Antisemitism in Political Parties

“Antisemitism is the organisation of politics against the Jews” — Ruth Wisse

Green Party

Our analysis of antisemitic discourse amongst Green Party office holders indicates that they seem to have little or no consciousness of the nature of post-Holocaust antisemitism, so that even parliamentary candidates repeat bizarre antisemitic myths without inhibition, and support prominent antisemites in other parties. Following repeated requests by Campaign Against Antisemitism, they have failed to confirm whether they accept the International Definition of Antisemitism already adopted by various other parties and the British Government.

5

cases

0%

Good outcomes

20%

Unsatisfactory outcomes

80%

Bad outcomes

Tony Clarke

2015 parliamentary candidate, Northampton North
Former National Spokesman for Foreign Affairs
Former Labour Party MP

Incident

In an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live on 17 November 2015, Mr Clarke, then the Green Party’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, said: “There are British oil companies such as Genel Energy, run by Nathaniel Rothschild, one of George Osborne’s friends, who are making money, who are buying oil from ISIS, who are putting money into the pot, allowing ISIS therefore to fuel their evil across the world.”

Outcome

Mr Clarke’s statement was incorrect, as Nathaniel Rothschild was merely a shareholder and a non-executive director of Genel Energy and did not “run” it, as Mr Clarke claimed. The Rothschild family, a prominent Jewish family of bankers and philanthropists, has been the subject of antisemitic conspiracy theories for over 150 years, and alleging control by the Rothschild family is often a shorthand reference to nefarious Jewish financial influence. For many years, conspiracy theories pertaining to the Rothschilds were favoured by those on the far right, including the Nazis, but such theories have recently found favour on the British left. It is common to hear antisemitic conspiracy theorists claim that ISIS is funded by the Rothschild family.

Following the comment on Radio 5 Live, a statement was swiftly issued on behalf of both Mr Clarke and the Green Party. They retracted the statement, acknowledged it to be untrue, and apologised to Genel Energy. However, no apology was offered to Nathaniel Rothschild or the Rothschild family, nor was there any acknowledgement that Mr Clarke’s comment evoked antisemitic conspiracy myths.

As of 12th September 2017, it is unknown whether the Green Party ever instigated any disciplinary proceedings against Mr Clarke for his comment.

In September 2017, we put this matter to Mr Clarke, but we did not receive a response.

Martin Deane

Local party chairman, Hull and East Riding
Parliamentary candidate, Hull North
Council candidate, Avenue, Hull

Incident

On 24 July 2017, Mr Deane posted summaries of thirty articles on his Facebook page. The post implicated a number of Jewish and non-Jewish individuals in supposed “Zionist paedophile ring(s)”, a phrase Mr Deane repeated three times, as well as linking Zionism to Nazism, and claiming that “the Zionist propaganda machine constantly tries to demonize Islam by producing fake stories in an attempt to inflame tensions in other countries”. The post included links to the websites of  countercurrents.org (which elsewhere toys with antisemitic conspiracy theories), to the website of Gilad Atzmon (who has been disavowed by a number of pro-Palestinian activists on account of his overt antisemitism), and to redressonline.com (which hosts a number of articles by the same Gilad Atzmon).

Outcome

As of 14th September 2017, it is not believed that the Green Party has instigated any disciplinary proceedings against Mr Deane.

In September 2017, we put this matter to Mr Deane, who said that he was “happy to keep anything antisemitic off my page” and that he had rewritten some introductory text to one of the articles. He pointed out that he had written about a neo-Nazi protest in Charlottesville.

Bill Linton

2017 parliamentary candidate, Enfield North

Incident

On 15th August 2014, the Independent reported on the Jewish Chronicle’s apology to readers who complained about an advert for the Gaza Disasters Emergency Appeal on the grounds that many of the “civilian casualties” referred to in the advert were likely to have been terrorists. The following day, Mr Linton tweeted a link to the article, blaming the apology on “The power of the Zionist lobby”.

On 3rd November, 2015 the Guardian journalist Owen Jones gave his support to the notion that Sir Gerald Kaufman MP’s infamous comments that “Jewish money” controls British politics were “completely unacceptable”. Mr Linton retorted on Twitter: “But he was probably right”.

Attendees at an event in Parliament organised by Baroness Jenny Tonge  compared Israel to ISIS and blamed Jews for the Holocaust. In the aftermath, on 27th October 2016, having been suspended as a result of the event by the Liberal Democrats, Baroness Tonge resigned from the Party. However, the next day Mr Linton attempted to defend her, tweeting: “Deliberate misinterpretation of what she said: that some antisemites are such because of the actions of Israel. Explanation not approval.” Baroness Tonge had formerly maintained that an increase in antisemitism against UK Jews “surely…reflect[ed] the disgust amongst the general public of the way the government of Israel treats Palestinians and manipulates the USA and ourselves…”

On 3rd March 2017, in the course of a conversation with an Enfield Labour councillor on social media about Israel and the Palestinians Mr Linton tweeted: “You’re Labour, so probably quite fair-minded. Try taking off the Jewish hat (only metaphorically!) and looking with the fair-minded hat on.”

Outcome

As of 10th September 2017 we have no evidence that the Green Party has at any time taken steps to initiate any kind of investigation or disciplinary process as a result of Mr Linton’s comments.

In September 2017, we put this matter to Mr Linton, who sent us a detailed response. He said that his support for Sir Gerald Kaufman’s reference to “Jewish money” was intended “to suggest that ‘Jewish money’ — or to be more precise Israeli money — influenced British politics in respect of its treatment of Israel — a contention subsequently borne out by an undercover Al Jazeera report of which no doubt you are aware.” He said that his support for Baroness Tonge was intended to convey that “some members of the public may hold Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the State of Israel” but that he does not. He claimed that his suggestion in an exchange on Twitter that his correspondent remove their “Jewish hat” and replace it with a “fair-minded hat” was a reference to his correspondent’s supposed bias, and not a remark about the ability of Jews to be fair-minded. He said that the International Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the British Government was “a nonsense” and that no complaints had been made about him and that the chair of his local party supported him.

Wendy Olsen

2016 council election candidate, Irwell Riverside
Membership Secretary, Salford Green Party

Incident

On 23rd July 2014, Ms Olsen initiated a conversation on Twitter with a Twitter user, “@TomFromIreland” who had previously posted antisemitic tweets, and has referred to Israel as “Jewish State” by analogy with ISIS. The account is typical of online critics of Israel whose extreme language towards Israel regularly crosses the line into antisemitism. On 22nd July 2014, for example, the user tweeted: “This is Zionism. This is Israel. It’s not holy. It’s godless hatred. Zionism will be defeated like Nazism.” The next day, Ms Olsen posted a tweet directed to the user, saying: “Thanks — intriguing, @TomFromIreland ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was trained in Israel. Anyone surprised?”

On 20th November, 2016 Ms Olsen wrote in a post on her Facebook page: “Interesting re the future of rightwing antisemitism. [Jared] Kushner is not from the reform wing of Judaism but the orthodox wing. Patriarchy rules in their rich families…”

Outcome

As of 10th September 2017 we have no evidence that the Green Party has at any time taken steps to initiate any kind of investigation or disciplinary process as a result of Ms Olsen’s comments.

In September 2017, we put this matter to Ms Olsen, but we did not receive a response.

Roisin Robertson

2017 parliamentary candidate, Bromley and Chislehurst
2016 London Assembly candidate
2004 and 2008 council candidate

Incident

On 25th September 2014, Roisin Robertson tweeted a link to a Press TV interview with Ken O’Keefe. She wrote: “Ken O’Keefe dares to say what others do not”. Press TV is a state television service of the Iranian regime, which at one time had its UK broadcasting license revoked for broadcasting confessions obtained by torture.  Ken O’Keefe is an American conspiracy theorist, Holocaust denier and Hitler apologist who explicitly compares Jews who support Israel to Nazis. In the course of the Press TV video Mr O’Keefe put forward conspiracy theories about “Greater Israel…psychopaths”, and asked: “…are you going to sacrifice more of your American sons and daughters for Israeli wars, for Zionist wars?”

On 24th October 2016, Ms Robertson tweeted: “Zionist history” along with a tweet that reads: “Opinion: Of course the word ‘Zionist’ is an accusation” and which further claims “Zionism is a violent ideology…”

On 15th October 2012 Ms Robertson tweeted: “UK, Israel seeking to develop SARS-like race-specific bio-weapon”. Although the specific page is now deleted, it links to a page on the far-right extremist David Duke’s website, indicating that it probably relates to a section of David Duke’s book, which reads: “The Ultimate Supremacist Terror-Weapon…The unholy marriage of Jewish supremacism and terrorism is best symbolised by an entirely new kind of weapon now under development in the Supremacist State of Israel. It is an ethnically-targeted, biological bomb…a biological weapon that would harm Arabs but not Jews…”

On 5th December 2015, Ms Robertson tweeted: “You couldn’t make it up Israel is getting oil on the cheap from ISIS”, along with a link to a conspiracy theory website.

On 7th April 2017, Ms Robertson alleged that the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra advances the cause of or is controlled by Israel, tweeting: “Homs: Strike clear sign US backs ‘terrorists’ al-Nusra and others means of American, Israel and Arab regimes”.

Outcome

As of 6th September, 2017 we have no evidence to suggest that the Green Party has challenged Ms Robertson’s views nor initiated any kind of disciplinary procedure against her.

In September 2017, we put this matter to Ms Robertson, but we did not receive a response.

Justice, justice, you shall pursue - צדק צדק תרדף
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