Ronnie Kasrils was one of our international guests at the Free Speech Rally last weekend. Below is the speech he gave. It has also appeared as an article in the Morning Star.
Published on Tony Greenstein’s blog, Dec 18, 2020
Ronnie was commander of the ANC’s military wing, UMkhonte we-Sizwe, and a former ANC Government Minister, as well being Jewish. When Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize it was said that it was the day satire died. The idea of a Jewish anti-apartheid veteran being banned by neo-Nazis for anti-Semitism is another example of the death of satire.
It says everything about the political sewer that Austria’s Green and Social Democratic Parties have climbed into, in their eagerness to appease Zionism, that they voted alongside the Austrian neo-Nazis to ban Ronnie from speaking on Council premises.
It should not be a surprise that everywhere in Europe, from neo-Nazis to social democrats, there is support for the fake IHRA definition of ‘anti-Semitism’. This is a ruling class narrative and the Green Party is nothing if not a petit-bourgeois pro-capitalist party.
In Southern Ireland their Green Party has just joined a coalition with two conservative parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to keep out Sinn Fein.
There is no greater supporter of the IHRA is there than Donald Trump, the man who won the 2016 election campaign with an overtly anti-Semitic campaign.
Israel was the country that had the closest relationship with Apartheid South Africa. It recognised that there was a special affinity between the two ethno-nationalist states at the tip and top of Africa. It is little wonder that racists of all stripes, from Labour Leader Keir Stürmer to Boris Johnson love it so.
The Dilemmas of Being a Zionist – Sir Keir Stürmer
However that does not stop me having the greatest sympathy for Labour’s Sir Stürmer. You will no doubt have heard of Sir Keir’s terrible dilemma when a White Supremacist woman phoned into LBC whilst Stürmer was fielding calls. She had a complaint. We, the ‘indigenous people of Britain’ (for which read White) were in danger of becoming a minority by 2066.
The caller said this terrible prospect could be easily avoided by doing what Israel has done when it passed the Jewish Nation State Law in 2018. As the caller noted, this law only allows the ‘indigenous people’ of Israel (i.e. Jews) to have self-determination. Arabs have to be content with being able to stay there (for the time being anyway).
When Stürmer heard ‘Israel’ being praised it was quite understandable that he warmed to the woman. After all, any other reaction and he might be called ‘anti-Semitic’. It was only later that he realised that her message might be problematic back home.
Stürmer has spent the last 8 months suspending and expelling anyone who dared breathe a word against Israel. How could he criticise this woman, who was quite clearly a Zionist, or a law that Ha’aretz has termed an Apartheid law. What was he to do?
That is why Stürmer had no choice but to witter on about taking the knee whilst ignoring the woman’s advocacy of the White Replacement Theory. After all, as a ‘Zionist without qualification’he actually supports what she is saying in Israel.
Israel has its very own Jewish Replacement Law (the Jewish Nation State Law) designed to ensure that Jews cannot become a minority in their own state. So why is it so wrong that White British people have a similar law? After all, as another racist, ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown once said, it’s all a question of British Jobs for British Workers. Quite understandably Stürmer felt that if he criticised this woman he might be called an anti-Semites!!
Rivka Brown Withdraws from a Celebration of Jewish Radicalism
You may recall my blog about the scheduled appearance of Rivka Brown of Vashti and Novara Media, at Red Labour’s Celebrationof Jewish Radicalism rally last Tuesday. Rivka Brown had previously attacked Chris Williamson, the one honourable Labour MP who stood firm against the false anti-Semitism witchhunt, as a ‘Jew baiter’. In doing so she joined the reactionary and racist who engineered the ‘anti-Semitism’ attacks on Corbyn and anti-Zionism/Palestine solidarity supporters inside the Labour Party.
I wrote to Jewish Voices for Labour who were co-sponsoring the event asking them to withdraw their sponsorship. JVL had a long discussion and agreed to this. I also wrote to those appearing asking them to make their views clear, which a number of them did. It seems that Rivka Brown, under pressure from Red Labour, decided to withdraw from the event. Clearly it would not have been right for someone so lacking in an ability to understand the meaning of the word ‘solidarity’ to appear in a commemoration of Jewish radicalism. The event itself was very good and is worth watching if you haven’t already.
- Free Speech Rally
The international campaign; IHRA fake definition of anti-Semitism and right for free speech;
Ronnie Kasrils – 12th December, 2020
- Forgive me for starting on a personal note. I was banned from public speaking at the age of 23 in South Africa. My crime had been to call for a universal franchise. The apartheid government accused those like me of agitating black people in a way that threatened the safety of whites. I was banned from membership of political organisations, and attending meetings. My movements were restricted. I was fired from my job. Others faced far worse.
- Quite recently I was invited to address a BDS event in Vienna which the city council banned. This of course has become commonplace. More recently another event I was involved in, with Palestinian freedom fighter Leila Khaled, at San Francisco State University, was similarly banned. Attempts to have our restricted discussion broadcast via Zoom, Facebook and You-tube was obstructed.
- The South African apartheid regime’s use of anti-communism as a blanket device to shut down opposition, is being emulated by distorting the term anti-Semitism to gag critical discourse on Israel – an umbrella formula to smear those defending the Palestinian cause.
- Upholding Palestinian rights has been reflected in United Nations resolutions, verdicts of the international criminal court; statements by the likes of Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu, Angela Davis, Arundhati Roy, Noam Chomsky; and back in time Jewish scholars living in Israel such as Eric Fromm and Martin Buber.
- Apartheid claimed the ANC struggle was about sweeping the whites into the sea. This equates with Israel’s claim that recognising Palestinian rights means the extinction of the Jewish people.
- Those on the Left articulate the same goals as we did in the struggle for South Africa’s liberation – that the struggle is about changing a system not destroying a people. Equating the overthrow of white supremacy with the destruction of the white population, is akin to equating the condemnation of Israel’s policy and practices with anti-Semitism.
- Neither is criticising Zionism, an exclusivist ethnic-based political doctrine, anti-Semitic. We criticise Zionism not the Judaic religion. We criticise Israel not the Jewish people. We are not Holocaust deniers; which for many Jewish opponents of Israel is the reason why we oppose the inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people.
- The anti-communism as used by apartheid South Africa, and allegations of anti-Semitism against those daring to criticise Israel, are terms of Machiavellian elasticity to throttle opposition. It is the new taboo. The untouchable holy cow shamelessly peddled in Western countries that preach democratic freedoms.
- Its advocates should take note of the lesson of the boy who cried wolf. When the real monster of anti-Semitism strikes, they should realise that the most steadfast defenders of people against all forms of discrimination, have been found on the left of the political spectrum. Remember Cable Street, and so much more!
- If such a threat is repeated where will such fair-weather friends be, from racists like Trump and Johnson, Christian Zionists and the yellow inquisitors of the Labour Party and BBC? History attests to who the most dependable opponents of fascism are.
- Whilst some aspects of the IHRA are acceptable, such as denial of the Holocaust, others relating to Israel’s existence and how that issue is phrased; and how Israel’s repressive measures can be characterised; are flawed, and make it the dubious document it clearly is.
- In 1948 when Menahem Begin visited New York to raise funds for his party – later to become Sharon and Netanyahu’s ruling Likud – Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt labelled him a “fascist”. Around that same time, after the massacre of Palestinians at Deir Yassin, an Israeli cabinet minister, Aharon Cissling, stated “now we have behaved like Nazis and my whole being is shaken.”
- In terms of the IHRA guidelines those eminent Jews would be labelled anti-Semitic. Their terminology is far stronger than the criticism used by those axed by Starmer and company.
- Corbyn’s “crime” that accusations of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party have been exaggerated, pale in comparison to Einstein and Cissling’s statements.
- Manufacturing mountains out of mole hills characterises the inquisition, hitching Labour to the Blairite anti-socialist bandwagon. Unopposed this witch-hunt will balloon, attacking popular protest wherever humanity opposes injustice.
- There are myriad examples of criminal repressive states which routinely harass and imprison journalists and activists for their work: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Philippines…the witch-hunt will spread like the plague, aided and abetted by Western hypocrisy.
- To use a glorious international slogan of the left, our clarion call must be “non-pasaran”.
- An injury to one is an injury to all – foremost the millions of Palestinians, women and children, the elderly among them, facing the batons, bullets and bombs of Israeli aggression.