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NB: Tony Greenstein is a British communist who campaigns for the destruction of Israel and cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

RETURN was a short-lived anti-Zionist magazine published in Britain during the late 1980s. Contributors included Tony Greenstein, Roland Rance and Uri Davis.

The British Anti-Zionist Organisation (BAZO) was a far-left faction that campaigned for the destruction of Israel and the banning of Jewish student groups during the same period. Its activists included Tony Greenstein.

Further details of the political views and allegiances of Tony Greenstein can be found here and here.

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Questions For Tony Greenstein

Michael Ezra

Can Tony Greenstein tell us a bit more about the “physical confrontation” he admitted – in a letter to the Jewish Chronicle – that he was involved in?

Can Tony Greenstein also tell us a bit more about why – as he admitted in that same letter – David Aaronovitch, the then President of the National Union of Students, had him banned from attending the NUS conference? [1]

Can Tony Greenstein tell us why Vicky Phillips, as President of the National Union of Students, urged people in 1985 to write to Anti-Fascist Action expressing concern about Greenstein’s involvement in its steering committee, “because I think it brings the whole organization into disrepute”? [2]

Tony Greenstein was on the founding editorial committee of, and went on to become the editor for, a magazine entitled RETURN that was banned in 1990 by the National Union of Students by its then President Maeve Sherlock, in a decision actively supported by Steven Twigg, the next President of NUS (who went on to become a Labour Party Member of Parliament) and other leading NUS members, including its Womens’ Officer. Maeve Sherlock specifically ruled that RETURN was “anti-Semitic.” [3]

Can Tony Greenstein tell us why, if he is an anti-racist, so many people have labelled either him, or organizations or journals he has been associated with, as antisemitic?

Can Tony Greenstein explain a little more about why he has referred to Alfred Lilienthal as a “reputable historian,” despite the fact that, as Greenstein admits, Lilienthal has questioned the authenticity of The Diary of Anne Frank, and in 1980 Lilienthal was one of the first signatories to a petition supporting the known Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson? [4]

Would Greenstein like to comment on the following quote from Lilienthal?

However much the essence of Judaism may have remained as distinct as ever from Zionism, the nationalist shadow has so overtaken the religious substance that virtually all Jews have, in practice, become Israelists, if not Zionists. Many who mistrust the Zionist connotation can still have their cake and eat it, through Israelism. [5]

Checking the Lilienthal book directly, we can see the following...

Page 481:

With the announcement of a new series of children’s books to be written by Wiesenthal for Raintree Publishers in Milwaukee, the very young were not to be given fairy tales – or were they? – but recitals of the Wiesenthal adventures in tracking down war criminals. The first was to deal with his search for the Gestapo police officer in occupied Holland who arrested Anne Frank, the overpublicized teenager whose diary (in twenty-six editions) told of Jewish persecution in Holland under the Nazis, but the veracity of whose saga has since come under serious question.

The footnote on page 849 reads:

Bestseller The Diary of Anne Frank, translated into many languages and printed in multifold editions, may be a fraud. It was sold as the actual diary of a young Jewish girl who died in a Nazi concentration camp after two years of abuse and horror. Any informed literary inspection of this book would have shown that it could not possibly have been the work of a teenager. Writer Meyer Levin won a suit in the New York Supreme Court against Otto Frank, Anne’s father, for $50,000 as an “honorarium for his work” on the diary. [6]

Would Greenstein like to comment as to why, as reported in the Jewish Chronicle, “Tony Greenstein... was busy at NUS conference distributing BAZO material” – an organization, the article goes on to say, with links to “the National Union of Iraqi Students, an organisation banned by NUS for its attacks on students”? [7]

Can Tony Greenstein tell us more as to why, after he spoke at a motion at Sussex University Students Union in 1982, Nigel Savage, the Vice President of that Union at the time, admitted that it led to “a number of Jewish students coming to my office to protest or confess to being scared”? [8]

Can Tony Greenstein tell us why BAZO – an organization he was closely associated with – published an advert in The Guardian on November 4, 1977 and included names such as Harvey Minsky and David Tomlinson, amongst others who denied signing in support? This led to The Guardian printing an apology. [9]

Can Tony Greenstein comment on the following. At one BAZO meeting, trade unionist speaker Joseph Monaghan asked:

Why did the Jews not bomb the ovens at Auschwitz and so stop the killings in the last war? With all the money they have, they could have got an air force. The Holocaust – the killing of six million Jews in Europe – was done by Nazis working with the Jews. [10]

Can Tony Greenstein comment on why Dr. George Mitchell, the President of BAZO, attended a Jewish Society meeting at Strathclyde University, took photographs of those present and threatened to send the pictures to
Beirut? [11]

Can Tony Greenstein comment on why NUS publicly condemned a BAZO leaflet entitled Against Zionism as antisemitic, and why its conference noted that BAZO literature was not dissimilar to that of the fascist National Front and therefore called upon NUS to ban BAZO activities “from its base in Strathclyde Union and any other campus in the United Kingdom”? Given that Tony Greenstein calls himself an anti-fascist, can he also comment on why he was distributing BAZO material at the NUS conference? [12]

Can Tony Greenstein comment on why the same literature that was distributed by BAZO was also advertised by the neo-Nazi British Movement? [13]

Can Tony Greenstein explain why BAZO booked a stall at the NUS conference in Spring 1981 under a false name and was subsequently ordered to take the stall down? Can Greenstein explain why, at that conference, BAZO were advertising that they were selling Lilienthal’s book – a book by an author who questioned the authenticity of The Diary of Anne Frank, who had signed a petition supporting a known Holocaust denier, and who was promoted by the National Front – a book that the then President of NUS called “antisemitic,” warning delegates: “I don’t want to see this book at conference”? Can Greenstein also comment on why the NUS executive put out a statement at that conference, saying that “the actions of BAZO help antisemites in their activities,” and went on to add: “We are not willing to allow BAZO to have stalls at our conferences, or publicise their material through our publications”? [14]

Jewish students may join their Jewish Society for all manner of reasons – religious, cultural or social – but why did RETURN magazine hold the Union of Jewish Students in complete contempt, calling them, in an editorial, “a wing of Israel’s propaganda network”? And why did Tony Greenstein argue that UJS “act as paid and unpaid informers for Mossad”? [15]

Can Tony Greenstein explain what he meant when he wrote: “Never, not once, have I experienced anti-Semitism at the University of Sussex”? [16] His use of a double negative is perplexing. Surely what he meant to say was that he has been the main cause of antisemitism at the University of Sussex?

Can Tony Greenstein explain to us why he opposed Holocaust Memorial Day and went so far as to call it “obscene”? [17] Tony Greenstein should be ashamed of himself for this – but it seems he has no shame.

Why did Tony Greenstein say that the opinions held by the late Chaim Bermant “almost cost him his job” at the Jewish Chronicle when this was false? [18] Does Tony Greenstein just make up information to suit his views?

Can Tony Greenstein explain why he was full of praise for Israel Shahak, calling him “one of the few lights in a sea of darkness,” despite the fact that Shahak once wrote: “These ‘Holocaust memories’ are a fake” – which gave great delight to neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers? Indeed, giving further comfort to the far-right fringe were other comments that Shahak made – such as that the Nazi Nuremberg laws were “infinitely more moderate than the ‘Gentile’ regulations in Talmudic Law.” But then again, as Paul Bogdanor shows, Shahak in his book Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years just made up incidents and got Talmudic law completely wrong. Shahak even went so far as to accuse religious Jews of Devil-worship, writing that when they wash their hands, they are “worshipping Satan.” According to Shahak, Judaism itself is “dominated by profit seeking.” It is absolutely astonishing that Greenstein can praise such a man. [19]

Can Tony Greenstein explain why gave his support to the IRA and their terrorist techniques with his statement: “The attack on Thatcher by the IRA was obviously legitimate. She was a military target”? It is no surprise that the Times columnist Oliver Kamm referred to Greenstein as “a political crank of the first order.” [20]

Can Tony Greenstein explain why he made the following ludicrous statement: “why, then, were the Taliban armed, trained and even created by the US?” [21] The statement is patently bizarre and a typical Greenstein lie. It wasn’t the Taliban, but the Islamic regime it overthrew that was backed by the US! For Greenstein’s information: the Taliban overthrew the mujahideen faction backed by US against the Soviets – Jamiat-e-Islami, led by Burhanuddin Rabbani.

As recently as 2002, Tony Greenstein described himself as “a student of Zionist history.” [22] Can he please explain why he gets so many facts wrong and distorts so many others?

Can Greenstein, or any of us for that matter, be at all surprised that Daniel Randall and Sacha Ismail ended an article about him with the words: “To rephrase Mark Twain’s old adage: there are lies, damn lies – and then there’s Tony Greenstein”? [23]

NOTES

[1] Letter, Jewish Chronicle, July 24, 1981.

[2] Simon Rocker, “Phillips Waves the Flag,” Jewish Chronicle, December 26, 1986.

[3] Unsigned Editorial, “NUS Attack on Freedom of Speech,” RETURN, No. 2, March 1990, pp. 4-5; Unsigned Editorial, “More Hypocrisy,” RETURN, No. 4, September 1990.

[4] Werner Cohn, Partners in Hate: Noam Chomsky and the Holocaust Deniers (Cambridge, MA: Avukah Press, 1995), p55.

[5] As reported by Inquiry magazine in November 1985, in a review of Lilienthal’s book.

[6] Alfred Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection II: What Price Peace? (New Brunwick, NJ: North American, Inc, 1982), pp481, 849n71.

[7] Jenni Frazer, “On Campus,” Jewish Chronicle, January 2, 1981.

[8] Quoted by Jenni Frazer, “Students Being Intimidated,” Jewish Chronicle, October 22, 1982.

[9] “Guardian Apology For BAZO Advert,” Jewish Chronicle, November 11, 1977.

[10] “Little Southern Comfort,” Jewish Chronicle, March 23, 1979.

[11] “BAZO Leader to Appeal,” Jewish Chronicle, August 24, 1979.

[12] Jenni Frazer, “UJS Learns to Push and Pull,” Jewish Chronicle, January 2, 1981.

[13] “Stuermer, British Style,” Jewish Chronicle, April 3, 1981.

[14] “Students Ban BAZO,” Jewish Chronicle, April 10, 1981.

[15] Editorial, “Lies, Damn Lies and the UJS,” RETURN, No. 3, June 1990; Tony Greenstein, “The Fossilisation of Identity,” RETURN, No. 4, September, 1990.

[16] Letter, The Argus, September 27, 2005.

[17] Letter, The Observer, February 6, 2000.

[18] Obituary Letters, The Guardian, January 28 & 29, 1998.

[19] Obituary Letters, The Guardian, July 24, 2001; Jason Maoz, The Wicked Son, The Jewish Press, September 19, 2001; Paul Bogdanor, “Chomsky’s Ayatollahs,” in Edward Alexander and Paul Bogdanor, eds., The Jewish Divide Over Israel (Transaction Publishers, 2006), pp115-34.

[20] Letter, The Independent, October 10, 2002; comments by Tony Greenstein and Oliver Kamm on Harry’s Place.

[21] Letter, The Argus, November 16, 2001.

[22] Letter, The Argus, August 6, 2002.

[23] Daniel Randall and Sacha Ismail, Lies, Damn Lies and Tony Greenstein, What Next?, No. 30, 2005.