This article with images can be found on Tony Greenstein’s blog here.
On 7th August the Daily Mail branded Jeremy Corbyn as someone who was happy to associate with holocaust deniers and one Paul Eisen in particular. Jeremy was alleged to have given money to Deir Yassin Remembered, a pro-Palestinian organisation that morphed under Eisen into an organisation of holocaust deniers, loony tunes and flat earthists. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3187428/Jeremy-Corbyn-s-links-notorious-Holocaust-denier-revealed.html
On 12th August the Jewish Chronicle picked up on the theme asking Corbyn seven loaded questions as to his relationship with Eisen and various alleged anti-Semites. http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/142144/the-key-questions-jeremy-corbyn-must-answer The list of anti-Semites included not only the Eisen, but Carlos Latuff a Palestinian cartoonist, whose cartoons often employ a Nazi metaphor. The Jewish Chronicle’s list also included the leader of Israel’s Northern Islamic movement, Raed Salah.
The Case of Raed Salah
In June 2011 Raed Salah was banned from entering Britain but as no one was notified he entered the country for a speaking tour before being arrested. The information supplied to Home Secretary Theresa May by the Community Security Trust [CST] , who sought to deport him, on the grounds that he had allegedly made a series of antisemitic statements in sermons and a poem, and that his presence in Britain was not conducive to the public good, was ‘very weak’ according to Justice Ockleton, the Vice-President of the Upper Immigration Tribunal. Theresa May was ‘misled’ as to a poem by Salah and the misleading was perpetrated by the CST, which is notorious for physically attacking left-wing and anti-Zionist Jews at Jewish meetings. It combines two roles – defending Jewish premises from attack and attacking Jewish opponents of Zionism.
In Theresa May’s haste to ban Raed Salah will be repented at leisure David Hearst http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/apr/09/theresa-may-raed-salah-ban quotes David Miller, a sociology professor from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, who submitted his report on the CST as part of the evidence. It gives a short history of the CST and its “controversial monitoring of pro-Palestinian activists,” summarizing that it has a “tendency to treat denunciation of Israel or Zionism as evidence of anti-Semitism.” https://electronicintifada.net/content/uk-government-conflates-criticism-israel-anti-semitism-salah-trial/10441
As Robert Lambert, a retired head of the Metropolitan police’s Muslim Contact Unit, and David Miller noted, the CST: “failed to distinguish between antisemitism and criticism of the actions of the Israeli state and therefore gives an unbalanced perspective.”
[Palestinian activist wins appeal against deportation, Ben Quinn] http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/apr/09/activist-deportation-overturned
Justice Ockelton said on 8 February that the original text of a poem by Salah was “completely different” from how it appeared in a government order banning him from UK territory. The original banning order had accused Salah of anti-Semitism, citing an altered version of the poem. https://electronicintifada.net/content/raed-salah-deportation-case-disintegrates-uk-court-verdict-still-follow/10935
According to Ockelton, the decision by Theresa May to ban Salah had been based not on the original text, but a “Jerusalem Post inaccurate summary” of the poem, entitled Civil Liberties. http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Editorials/Civil-liberties. In a June 2009 editorial, the Post had added the words “you Jews” to the poem, making it appear anti-Semitic. The original Arabic version was printed in a 2002 edition of an Islamic Movement publication. A UK Border Agency document of 21 June 2011 admitted that the agency had not been able to find the original text “despite extensive research.” See Court victory for Raed Salah deals blow to UK “anti-terror” policy https://electronicintifada.net/content/court-victory-raed-salah-deals-blow-uk-anti-terror-policy/11146 Despite this May went ahead with her decision to ban Salah on 23 June. The original text of the poem later emerged, as revealed by The Electronic Intifada in October.
The Post article was cited by people like Henry Jackson Society Research Director, Michael Weiss, (“PSC comes to Parliament …,” The Telegraph politics blog, 29 June 2011) to misleadingly portray Salah as an anti-Semite. Such is the quality of Henry Jackson Society researchers. Rosenorn-Lanng, a caseworker, had earlier admitted that the UK Border Agency had not sought the original text of the poem, relying instead on Internet sources.
But Salah was clear that the poem was addressed to all perpetrators of injustice, regardless of religion, race or group. He pointed out that his poem also addressed Arab oppressors with certain references to the Quran, and also addresses Pharaoh as an oppressor. Salah had said that Pharaoh was an Arab. And that he had oppressed the followers of Moses and that “God is not a racist,”
Aside from the distorted poem, the other main citation of the government was a speech Salah gave in Jerusalem in 2007, in which he had talked about Israeli soldiers shedding the blood of Palestinians. The citation had reportedly included the line: “Whoever wants a more thorough explanation, let him ask what used to happen to some children in Europe, whose blood was mixed in with the dough of the holy bread.”
Hostile press coverage in Israel inserted the word “Jewish” in square brackets before the words “holy bread” (“Islamic Movement head charged with incitement to racism, violence,” Islamic Movement head charged with incitement to racism, violence Haaretz, 29 January 2008).
Contrary to the assertions of the British press, Raed Salah was not convicted of making blood libel allegations against Jews. He was convicted of racist incitement. That might sound like a semantic difference, but note that according to the Jerusalem Post, ‘The conviction was a reversal of an acquittal on those charges by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court in 2013 when that court convicted him of incitement to violence, but acquitted him of racist incitement.’ In other words the evidence before what is a colonial court for Israeli Arabs was not strong enough to convict him of the charge of racism before the lower court. It was a political decision by the higher Jerusalem District Court that found him guilty. Clearly the evidence was not unambiguous.
Islamic Movement leader Salah convicted of racist incitement on appeal http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Islamic-Movement-leader-Salah-convicted-of-racist-incitement-on-appeal-381337.
When the Home Office’s Neil Sheldon QC accused Salah of invoking the blood libel, Salah responded that: “this interpretation is out of bounds, and has no origin in fact.” He then went into some detail, saying that his purpose had been to liken the Israeli occupation forces to the inquisitions in Europe that used to shed the blood of children, and which used religion to perpetuate injustice. https://electronicintifada.net/content/uk-government-conflates-criticism-israel-anti-semitism-salah-trial/10441
Sheldon admitted that the government had relied on a “misquotation” of Salah’s poem in The Jerusalem Post. Salah’s lawyer Raza Husain argued the misquotation could only have been a “malign” attempt to defame the character of his client, not an innocent misunderstanding. Ockelton questioned the value of May’s decision to ban since it was based on incorrect information.
In the Appeal hearing Dr. Stefan Sperl, an expert in Arabic poetry from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, gave an analysis of the original text of a poem by Salah called “A Message to the Oppressors” saying it was addressed to all “perpetrators of injustice,” whether Jews or not. He said a Jerusalem Post article characterizing it as anti-Semitic was deliberately misleading. A version with the words “you Jews” inserted into the poem seems to have been used in the UKBA document.
So the allegation, by Cathy Newman of Channel 4 and others, that Jeremy Corbyn had associated with someone convicted of holocaust denial is patently false.
[much of the research quoted above was done by Asa Winstanley, a correspondent for the Electronic Intifada]
False Concern About anti-Semitism – The case of Stephen Pollard
The key protagonist in the allegations of anti-Semitism and associating with holocaust deniers is however Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle and member of the cold war Henry Jackson society. Pollard is ex-editor of the Daily Express, owned by Britain’s largest porn merchant Richmond Desmond.
Pollard is an Israel firster. A dedicated Zionist who has turned the Jewish Chronicle from a newspaper with strong Zionist allegiances into a Zionist propaganda rag which brooks no opposition. It has completely cut out of its pages not only anti-Zionists but non-Zionist dissidents like Tony Lerman and Dr Brian Klug and indeed anyone who doesn’t toe the Israel right or wrong line.
Pollard has taken to heart the traditional Zionist line that anti-Semitism is not a Zionist concern unless it concerns anti-Zionists such as Jeremy Corbyn. But mindful of the libel laws and knowing his own case is reliant on guilt-by-association, as befits a McCarthyist, Pollard denies that he is accusing Corbyn of anti-Semitism. https://twitter.com/stephenpollard/status/634422619920580608?replies_view=true&cursor=APDWehIs1wg
Pollard hasn’t always been so keen to call out an anti-Semite, especially when the anti-Semite is a far-right politician who is also a Zionist. One such was Michal Kaminski MEP of the Polish Law & Justice Party and Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reform Group. Another such is Robert Zile of the Latvian Fatherland and Freedom Party [LNNK], who were both guests at the Conservative Party Conference in 2009 and of the Conservative Friends of Israel.
To understand the controversy at the time one has to understand the background. Kaminski was an MP for an area of Poland including a village Jedwabne. On July 10, 1941, more than 300 Jews were burnt alive in a barn by their Polish neighbours, in a Polish village Jedwabne under the watchful eye of the SS and Order Police. Although over 60% of Jedwabne’s pre-war population was Jewish, today there are no Jews left of what was a 300 year old community. [“Burning Alive” by Andrzej Kaczynski, published May 5, 2000 in the Polish newspaper “Rzeczpospolita”, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/jedwabne/yed999.html Introduction by Morlan Ty Rogers, June 27, 2000]
The massacre in Jedwabne was the subject of a book by Polish-Jewish historian Jan Tomasz Gross.[Neighbours: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland, May 2000] It caused a far-reaching public debate that split public opinion. [The Legacy of Jedwabne] http://www.jedwabne.net/ Most of the population of Jedwabne opposed President Aleksander Kwasniewski’s belief that a national apology should be made, in Jedwabne itself, to mark the massacre’s sixtieth anniversary (10 July 2001). Michal Kaminski, was instrumental in urging Jedwabne residents to oppose the President’s apology and boycott the ceremonial event in 2001.
The campaign against an apology had ‘strongly anti-Semitic overtones,’ according to Dr Rafal Pankowski, author of The Populist Radical Right in Poland. The Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich said: “Mr Kaminski was a member of NOP, a group that is openly far-right and neo-Nazi. Anyone who would want to align himself with the Committee to Defend the Good Name of Jedwabne… needs to understand with what and by whom he is being represented.” Yet again, Tories fawn over the far right, By Alex Hern, October 6, 2011 http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/10/tories-fawn-over-fascists
In an interview with Martin Bright of the Jewish Chronicle [EXCLUSIVE Michal Kaminski: ‘I’m no antisemite’] http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/20816/exclusive-michal-kaminski-im-no-antisemite, 9.10.09. Kaminski stated that
‘If you are asking the Polish nation to apologise for the crime made in Jedwabne, you would require from the whole Jewish nation to apologise for what some Jewish Communists did in Eastern Poland.’
It was, of course, a false comparison. Poland, where anti-Semitism had been endemic among the middle class, sections of the peasantry and the military/aristocracy, had not been an easy place to live for Jews before the war. The welcome given by many Jews to the Soviet invasion was therefore understandable. But the fact that some Jews collaborated with the Soviet invaders in 1939 doesn’t mean that all Jews or the ‘Jewish nation’ should be held collectively guilty. The mass murder of the Jews of Jedwabne, which was carried out by only a minority of Poles in the village, is something that the Polish state should apologise for in its own terms. Yet Pollard was quite happy with this explanation.
In his interview with Bright, Kaminski claimed that he did not remember giving an interview to the ‘ultra-nationalist’ Nacza Polska, when he is alleged to have said he would only apologise for Jedwabne when “someone from the Jewish side will apologise for what the Jews did during the Soviet occupation between 1939 and 1941, for the mass collaboration of the Jewish people with the Soviet occupier.”.
He also denied wearing the Chrobry sword, the symbol of the National Radical Camp Falanga, a Catholic fascist group formed in 1935. He issues a categorical denial: “No, I never wear it. I don’t even know which symbol you are referring to. In a later statement to the Jewish Chronicle he admited that he did wear the sword but that it was ‘After 1989 it was used as one of the symbols of the Christian National Union and many Conservative politicians would wear it, including politicians now in the Civic Platform. In recent years it has been taken as a symbol by the Far Right.’
According to Pollard ‘The real story behind the accusations against Michal Kaminski has nothing to with antisemitism.’ Rather ‘It is, rather, a grubby story about the EU and base politics.’ As for joining the NOP, well Kaminski was only 15 and and anyway ‘when he joined the NOP in 1987 when it was still an underground movement.’
Indeed the Jews had no better friend than Kaminski. In ‘Poland’s Kaminski is not an antisemite: he’s a friend to Jews’ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/oct/09/michal-kaminski-antisemitism Pollard argued that Kaminski’s concern was merely that a national apology for Jedwabne would let the actual killers ‘off the hook’. It had nothing to do with Poles against Jews, ‘but was a vile crime committed by specific individuals.’ It is true that not all Poles are guilty. The Polish working-class had an honourable record of fighting fascism and anti-Semitism, though Pollard as a Zionist is the last person to make such an argument, but as a national minority Poland’s Jews suffered hideous anti-Semitism and an apology on behalf of the whole Polish nation would be at least a token act of amends. But Pollard argued, since President Kwasniewski ‘was a former communist’ what was required was an apology for the ‘antisemitic campaign of 1968’. Pollard’s anti-communism trumps his alleged concern for anti-Semitism. I’m not aware that in the 1968 ‘anti-Zionist’ campaign 300 Jews were burnt alive.
Replying to an article by the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland, Pollard also dismisses the fact that Roberts Zile’s Latvian party, the LNNK “have played a leading part in the annual parade honouring veterans of the Latvian Legion of the Waffen-SS“. Pollard says ‘I know the facts about Kaminski, but I can think of no source for evidence against Zile other than those who so disgracefully besmirch Kaminski.’ The information was, of course, widely known and on March 8 2012 Emma Stock wrote, in the Jewish Chronicle, an article Calls to ban Baltic neo-Nazi marches in which she referred to the fact that ‘Disturbingly, the Riga march is supported by Latvian officials and MEPs such as Robert Zile, who sits alongside UK MEPS in the new European Conservatives and Reformists party in the European Parliament.’ Or Pollard can consult The little European problem that the Conservatives would prefer to forget’ by his Political Correspondent, Martin Bright on October 11 2012: ‘Still more troubling for the Jewish community is the hard-right Latvian MEP Robert Zile, whose also sits in alliance with the Tories in Europe. Mr Zile is a long-time supporter of the Latvian “Legionnaires Day” rally which each March celebrates the Waffen SS.’ For some strange reason, Pollard hasn’t seen to update his apologia for Zile and the LNNK. He must be too busy dealing with his Corbyn problem!
In Is Michal Kaminski fit to lead the Tories in Europe?’ Toby Helm noted that http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/oct/11/michal-kaminski-europe-conservatives
“As a local MP, Kaminski played a key role in the campaign questioning the Polish responsibility for the Jedwabne massacre. The campaign had strongly antisemitic overtones,” quoting Dr Rafal Pankowski, a member of the Never Again Association and author of The Populist Radical Right in Poland.
But when Kaminski was contacted he denied all. “I never tried to stop the commemoration, that is not true,” he said. He had always been in favour, he insisted. But when asked if he had, as the local MP, attended the event in Jedwabne, he couldn’t remember!
Kaminski also denied having conducted the interview with Nasza Polska or telling the paper – which is known for carrying far-right material – that the Poles should not apologise until the Jews apologised to them. “I never said it. It is absolutely not true,”
However the Observer contacted the editor-in-chief Piotr Jakucki, who confirmed that the interview had been conducted with Kaminski by the paper’s Kaja Bogomilska and that the article had been published on 20 March 2001. He also sent a hard copy.
When the row over Kaminski and Zile first blew up, the Conservatives achieved what they ‘believed to be a decisive counter-strike’. They obtained the support of Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, who leaped to Kaminski’s defence, saying there was nothing to suggest the Polish MEP was an anti-Semite. Pollard claimed there was not “a shred of evidence” that Kaminski had demanded a Jewish apology for crimes against Poles as a condition for Polish contrition.
As Denis MacShane wrote in ‘The curious case of Michal Kaminski’ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/oct/06/conservative-conference-michal-kaminski Kaminski made a Polish apology condition on ‘someone from the Jewish side’ as if Jews were not also Polish, apologising ‘for what the Jews did during the Soviet occupation between 1939 and 1941. It seems that the visit to Yad Vashem had had no effect too on his consciousness (and maybe, being a propaganda showpiece it didn’t). However half the Jews, 3 million, who died in the holocaust were Polish.
And further evidence of Kaminski’s anti-Semitism is provided by Craig Murray, who became the British Ambassador in Uzbekistan and who was then First Secretary at the British Embassy in Poland.
When Alexander Kasniewski defeated Lech Walesa to become President of Poland in 1995, Kaminski was involved in lobbying the media to publish stories stating that Kwasniewski’s grandmother was Jewish. That accusation became the focal point of the entire election campaign. ‘Michal Kaminski, The Tories and Polish Anti-Semitism’, https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2009/10/michal_kaminski/
In an article ‘But is Kaminski good for the Jews?’ Antony Lerman http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2009/aug/21/stephen-pollard-michal-kaminski-jews observed that Kaminski’s Law & Justice party, was hardly a home for anti-racists. Citing the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Racism and Antisemitism, it contained radical nationalists and former members of antisemitic organisations and maintained a strategic alliance with Radio Maryja, “the mass-audience nationalist Catholic radio station and a key force on the far right”, which gives airtime to antisemitic demagogues. None of this stopped Kaminski speaking to to the Global Counter-Terrorism Conference in Herzliya, Israel in September 2009.
In ‘Kaminski apologists play with fire’ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/oct/09/kaminski-zile-conservatives-antisemitism Peter Beaumont notes how the defenders of Kaminski so easily resorted to anti-Semitism. David Miliband, when he criticised the Tories for their alliance with the Kaminski and Zile, (opportunistically no doubt) the comments of Tory supporters either defended members of Zile’s party who marched with the Latvian SS, because they fought the Bolsheviks, or ‘more scandalously, suggested that Miliband had no “right to comment on Nazism”, as he was a Jew with “Bolshevik grandparents”.
However, to be fair to Pollard, he wasn’t alone in having a problem with criticism of the Tories far right and neo-Nazi allies in the European Parliament. [Leaders split over David Cameron’s Euro allies] http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/20815/leaders-split-over-david-camerons-euro-allies
When Vivien Wineman of the Board of Deputies wrote to David Cameron concerning the Tories’ allies in the European Parliament it caused a rift with the Jewish Leadership Council [read big Zionist capitalists] One JLC member described colleagues as “livid” at the timing of the letter. Another said he was “incandescent”.
A senior Jewish Conservative said: “The Board… has been manipulated by left-wing interests into a completely inappropriate position. The irony is that the new Tory European group will be the most pro-Israel lobby group.” And this is true, anti-Semites are often the Zionist best friend. A point made by Pollard in his original defence of Kaminski ‘David Miliband’s insult to Michal Kaminski is contemptible’ http://www.thejc.com/blogpost/david-milibands-insult-michal-kaminski-contemptible . ‘Far from being an antisemite, Mr Kaminski is about as pro-Israel an MEP as exists.’
Dean Godson, of the Policy Exchange think tank, accused Wineman and others who had criticised the Tories’ links with Robert Zile of Latvia’s Fatherland and Freedom party [LNNK], of “a certain form of left McCarthyism’.
It would seem that those who are so keen to examine the finest details of those Jeremy Corbyn has encountered over the years are nonetheless happy to give a carte blanche to bona fide 24 carat anti-Semites. Hypocrisy doesn’t somehow seem a strong enough word to describe the behaviour of the Stephen Pollard’s of this word. Perhaps given the credentials of his friend and ex-employer Desmond, we can call it Political Pornography.