Defend Jim Curran and Rosie Smith!
The recent Black Lives Matter protests in London, inspired by the struggles in the United States against racist police killers, have mobilised ordinary people and activists from a wide variety of political backgrounds and generations, and have played a unifying role in bringing such diverse people together in what promises a renewed struggle against racism and reaction. But this promising, spontaneous anti-racist movement has enemies, racist and far right elements including in the media who are looking for ways to derail it, to engage in provocation against it, and to divide it.
One manifestation, both of the inspiring character of the movement, and the attempts by racists to sabotage and divide it, is the affair of the widely-circulated photograph of two anti-racist activists: Rosie Grace Smith, a young black single mother who was attending her first demonstration in early June, and Jim Curran, veteran labour movement and Irish activist who is one of the most affable, well known figures who left-wing people invariably run into on a huge variety of anti-racist, anti-war political events.
Once posted on social media, particularly Twitter the photograph ‘went viral’ rapidly and became almost an iconic symbol of the new anti-racist movement. But it soon drew the sinister attention of Zionist racists.
Another Zionist Witchhunt
Apparently Jim Curran was logged by Zionists as attending meetings of a group called ‘Keep Talking’, which organises events at which some left wing activists have hosted events with conspiracy theorists about such things as 9/11, questioning the truth of the Nazi holocaust of Jews, and similar topics. Apparently Gilad Atzmon has spoken at an event of this body; he spoke about the Balfour Declaration, not the Nazi genocide or 9/11 Trutherism so from that point of view his material might even be viewed as quite innocuous by comparison. Vanessa Beeley has also spoken to them about Syria, as well as other fringe elements, some from the more eccentric and fossilised elements of the old far right.
Jim Curran was denounced by the Jewish Chronicle as an ‘anti-Semite’ for having attended meetings of this group. This is the same Jewish Chronicle that has written articles defending one Michal Kaminski, a Polish right-wing extremist who happens to be an ally of the Conservative Party. In 2001, on the 60th Anniversary of a notorious 1941 massacre of Jews in the town of Jedwabne by Polish collaborators with the Nazis, where 300 men, women and children were deliberately burned alive in a barn, the then-president of Poland, Alexander Kwasniewski, organised a special commemoration to make a ‘national apology’ for this vile crime. The Guardian then narratied Kaminski’s response:
“Beneath all the controversy, it is not difficult to establish basic truths about Kaminski’s past. The accounts of Polish journalists, historians and local people leave no doubt he was instrumental in urging Jedwabne residents to oppose the president’s apology and boycott the ceremonial event in 2001. He pressed his case at numerous meetings in Jedwabne during the first half of that year.
“’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,’ said Dr Rafal Pankowski, a member of the Never Again Association and author of The Populist Radical Right in Poland.https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/oct/11/michal-kaminski-europe-conservatives
But the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard, revealed very clearly why despite Kaminsky’s very clear genuine anti-Semitism, the JC defended him anyway:
“As Editor of the Jewish Chronicle, and founding chairman of the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, I am more alive than most to the dangers of the newly resurgent antisemitism. But there is simply no evidence that Mr Kaminski is an antisemite, only a series of politically motivated assertions. It is not Kaminski who is odious; it is those using antisemitism as a tool for their own political ends who deserve contempt.
“I have no axe to grind on Mr Kaminski’s behalf. But I do have an axe to grind against false labels of antisemitism. Far from being an antisemite, Mr Kaminski is about as pro-Israel an MEP as exists.”https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/michal-kaminski-the-debate-rages-1.11750
And that is the bottom line. Kaminsky, the old-style anti-Semite, is given a clean bill of health because he is “about as pro-Israel an MP as exists”. For these Zionists, accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ are purely instrumental, being turned on and off like a tap according to whether the alleged ‘anti-Semite’ supports Israel and Zionism or not.
Then we see the Daily Mail chiming in. This is now Britain’s biggest selling tabloid newspaper, having only recently overtaken Rupert Murdoch’s Sun. It also has a long history of real racism against Jews, in the period when Jews were an oppressed group in Western countries. It is most well-known for its notorious headline ‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts’ in January 1934, hailing Mosley’s pro-Hitler fascist party that tried to terrorise Jews in the East End of London. In 1938, in the middle of Hitler’s rising persecution of Jews in Germany, the Daily Mail headlined “German Jews pouring into this country” and highlighted a quote from a magistrate:
“The way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring in from every port of this country is becoming an outrage..,”
It is very clear that this rag historically supported fascism and again, genuine anti-Semitism. Today its apologists claim it has changed, its long-lasting Rothemere owning dynasty no longer hate Jews. No, they have changed their hatred to Black people and other immigrants and asylum seekers, you name it. Its modern rantings against migrants, so universally known as to not require quoting, are very similar to the quoted rant against Jews. But it no longer usually targets Jews as Zionism and Israel has led to a situation where Jews in general are regarded as part of the ‘civilised’ Western camp, and in fact Israel is regarded by the racist right as the very model of an ethnic state in much the same way as Nazi Germany was in the 1930s. And unlike Nazi Germany, Israel has so far not been defeated, which makes it even more attractive to the far right.
Thus instead of publishing the earlier Viscount Rothemere’s pro-Hitler material, today the Daily Mail publishes material by the ex-liberal, anti-Muslim racist Jewish-Zionist ideologue Melanie Philipps, author of Londonistan, which portrays London as a nest of Muslim terrorists the way pre-WWII anti-Semites in the US used to talk of Jew York: New York as the centre of supposed plots for ‘Jewish world domination’. The pro-Zionism of the Daily Mail is as central to what it stands for today as was the anti-Semitism and pro-Hitler politics of the Rothemeres in the 1930s.
Zionism today: A far right racist movement
In fact, Zionism is now so popular on the far right that where at least covertly Nazi symbolism was often seen in the past, now Israelis flags are commonly seen at far-right events. It is this reversal and paradox that is at the core of some aspects of ideological confusion on parts of the left, often the part that is angriest and subjectively closest to revolutionary politics. The soft left has much less trouble reconciling themselves to Zionism and are less bothered by such things.
The Zionist ‘Community Security Trust’ and their fake ‘anti-racist’ allied group, Hope not Hate (HnH) also denounced Jim Curran. These fake anti-fascist, fake anti-racist groups both exist to defend Zionist racism, not to campaign against racism of any kind. HnH often target the Labour left, not the far right, as shown by their recent campaign against Chris Williamson, who was the only MP in the entire PLP who defied the Zionist/Blairite campaign to destroy Corbyn’s leadership.
The CST, which is closely allied to HnH and the other gaggle of forces that howled about this, are indicative. They are not an anti-racist group at all. A key struggle that drives anti-racist militants today is the cause of the Palestinians, who have faced ethnic cleansing, pogroms, massacres and racial persecution by Israel for more than 70 years, and who now face a new round of atrocities and slow genocide as Israel plans to annex the West Bank and either expel, or subjugate the bulk of its population. Their leader, Dave Rich, made very clear in his 2016 book The Left’s Jewish Problem that he defends the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, and considers it to be morally justified because of the crimes of the Nazis in Europe:
“Comparing the plight of the Palestinians with the Holocaust performs several functions. Its political goal is to undermine the idea that the Holocaust provided a moral justification and a practical need for the creation of a Jewish state.”(The Left’s Jewish Problem, Biteback 2016, Kindle Edition, location 2875)
The Jewish state that Rich extols the virtue of was created by the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1947-8, , that drove out around three quarters of the Arab population of Palestine, an overwhelmingly Arab territory when the British occupied it in 1917, almost simultaneously with the Balfour Declaration where the British Foreign Secretary wrote to the chief Zionist representative, Lord Rothschild, promising a ‘national home’ for the Jews. The Nakba was the eventual outcome of the handing over of Palestine to a third-party: a massive pogrom accompanied by massacres such as Deir Yassin and Tantura, and even the use of germ warfare against the Arab population at Acre. According to the CST, this was morally justified.
This ‘moral justification’ is at the core of the IHRA psuedo-definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ that has been imposed on the Labour Party by the Zionists, which says that denying Jews’ alleged “right to self-determination” at the expense of the Palestinians, and saying that Israeli is a “racist endeavour” are both ‘anti-Semitic’ positions. Adhering to this vile, racist concept, which was conceived long before anyone had heard of Hitler, shows clearly that the CST and HnH are anti-Arab racist organisations, that are in principle no better than neo-Nazis. There is no difference in principle between ‘morally’ defending Zionism’s ongoing racist crime against the Palestinians and defending the gassing of Jews. And the Labour Party, which has not only adopted the racist, anti-Arab IHRA into its rules, but also elected a leader that says he supports Zionism ‘without qualification’ should also be regarded as an anti-Arab, racist party.
In response to the vilification of Jim Curran by the Zionists, Rosie Smith defended him, tweeting that “I spoke with Jim and judge him on our convo and from his vibe and work”, and concluded that “The Jews are not innocent, #israelisnotinnocent they deal with mad racism”. This was itself slammed as ‘anti-Semitic’ by various Zionist racist bullies, and Rosie felt compelled to apologise for her remarks, and made her Twitter account private. So the outcome of this is that this black, anti-racist young female activist has been bullied off Twitter by as vile a bunch of pogromists and racists as you will find anywhere, allied with the Nazi-loving, Arab-hating criminal hate-rag the Daily Mail, which even Microsoft’s Newsguard flags as an unreliable source that presents its own views as ‘news’.
Tarnishing the memory of Nazi crimes
We do not have to agree with everything Jim Curran does to defend him and denounce the witchhunt against him. The fact that the Nazi genocide has been instrumentalised to justify crimes against Arabs, for many decades, far longer than the 12 years that Hitler’s regime has lasted, has led to a certain shift in the appreciation of that historical event by some sincere opponents of racism. The Zionist instrumentalisation and abuse of the Nazi holocaust has led to it becoming tarnished to a degree among those whose gut impulse is to oppose racism in all its forms. Therefore leftists, anti-racists like Jim Curran, can at least give a hearing to conspiracy theorists about the Nazi genocide, like Nick Kollerstrom, even if they do not necessarily agree with them. Zionism is responsible for this paradox and Zionism alone.
Rosie Smith could better have said “The Jews are not collectively innocent”; rather than “the Jews are not innocent”. But then she has very little political experience, so slight misformulations are hardly surprising. And in fact, most of the left either does not understand the paradoxes involved in the Jewish question today, or are too cowardly politically to try to address them.
It is grossly hypocritical for Zionists to condemn Rosie Smith for verbally treating ‘the Jews’ as a collective when Zionists do the same thing. They treat “the Jews” collectively, promote that as an unambiguously good thing, and deny that Jewish people who dissent from Zionism are really Jews at all.
There is a tawdry assumption here, that anyone who says anything about ‘the Jews’ that is critical, is talking about every single Jewish person. Today, when most Jews support a racist movement and there are real questions of oppression carried out against ethnic groups who are oppressed by (mainstream) Jews, that assumption is malicious, and racist.
When Diane Abbot made her remarks several years ago about how “white people love to divide and rule” she was talking about the mainstream, not every single white person irrespective of their views. Only racists, only people completely unaware or uncaring of the enormous historical and current oppression that bears down upon Black people, could make such an assumption. The same is true today when someone talks about ‘the Jews”. This is not 1942. This is 2020, when the world’s only Jewish state is also the most openly racist state in the world.
The cowardly British left have taken a dive over the defence of Rosie Smith and Jim Curran from this witchhunt. No left organisation that we know of, apart from ourselves, has published anything in defence of comrade Curran, who has been a fixture at anti-racist, anti-war, labour movement and Irish events for many years. decades in fact. The only prominent figure that has any kind of left-wing reputation, albeit a contradictory one, who has denounced this witch-hunt, is Gilad Atzmon. This is to his credit, though he has himself been vilified, partly because he himself has long been caught up in the same paradoxes as comrade Cullen. He too is motivated by fervent anti-racism but has been driven by this into a similar situation. What is also important is that this phenomenon is deeply embedded in this historical period; it is not going to go away anytime soon, and addressing it properly is one of the left’s most crucial responsibilities today.