This is a guest post by Mikey
Last night the The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) launched its founding Charter. Opposing Jewish statehood – because, they believe, it excludes non-Jews – the anti-Zionists will accept Jewish members only. (Non-Jews are, at best, “network affiliates.”) Like any good Jewish group, IJAN held its event in the local Trinity United Reformed Church, on the Jewish Sabbath.
Fascinated by these self-proclaimed “anti-racists” who launching a Jews-only campaign group in a church, I went along with a friend. We arrived late and I took my place in the back row by the aisle. Predictably, the meeting was very dull. I started chatting with my friend on Blackberry instant messenger. From the front echoed the buzzwords we all expect to hear at such meetings: “warmongers,” “solidarity,” “colonialism,” “Iraq,” “Ireland,” “struggle,” “neoconservatives,” and so on, and so on.
I do not believe I was alone in my boredom. Soon enough, numerous audience members appeared to be slumping in their chairs, perhaps hoping that sleep would provide some relief.
Tony Greenstein was at the meeting. He is to be found at all such meetings. After taking a phone call at the back of the room, he walked back past me to his seat. As he passed me, I quietly called out his name.
Tony Greenstein turned around, summoned all his strength, and kicked me in the shins. He started shouting and screaming. He ranted that I was a Zionist spy. He raved that I had tried to trip him up. He demanded that I be driven from the room.
As I sat there in stunned silence, and no small amount of pain, Roland Rance joined in. Possibly livid at my recent exposure of his views, he told everyone that I had a history of threatening violence: which anybody who knows me will appreciate is a hilarious fabrication. He too demanded my expulsion but he did not explain why my imaginary threats of violence offended him so much more than his comrade’s actual violence.
Amazed at the disgusting spectacle, I kept silent as the commotion increased. The word “spy” was repeated over and over. According to a woman at the back (who appeared to be assisting the organisers), my friend and I were using Blackberrys and looking around the room: proof that we were Zionist spies. As it happens, we had no commission for our troubles from MI5, the CIA, the Mossad or the Bilderberg Group, but it would have been irrelevant even we had. We were, after all, audience members at a public meeting.
An honest man sitting across the aisle, who had witnessed the attack on me, interjected that it was not my fault.
All this was in the middle of a tedious speech. The chair asked that the speaker be allowed to continue; the matter could be investigated afterwards. At that point Tony Greenstein was given the opportunity to repeat his libels and his demand for my expulsion. Roland Rance followed suit; others stood up and commented. The word “spy” was used constantly. Someone said that even if we were spies, kicking us out would do little good because the room possibly contained further spies!
From the platform, Moshe Machover tried to defuse the situation, indicating that if I behaved I should be allowed to stay. The chair seemed to agree, and so did the audience. No-one thought it relevant that I had been the victim of a spontaneous assault by Greenstein. And at no point did anyone think of asking me for my opinion. It was almost as if I was the defendant in a Stalinist show trial.
Finally, I requested to speak. I was granted a few moments to explain that Tony Greenstein had assaulted me, that I had not tried to trip him up as he was now claiming, that I was not a spy and that I had been quiet throughout the meeting. At this point the chair cut me off and I returned the microphone without complaint.
Thanks to the attack I had already suffered and the subsequent intimidation, I wondered if Greenstein and comrades were preparing a more thorough assault against me. My friend and I thought it best to leave before the end.
Only this week, Tony Greenstein was boasting on this site of his criminal violence which landed his political opponents in hospital. And others have described similar conduct by him. Does Tony Greenstein, unable to win an argument, now plan on answering all his critics with violence, instead of dialogue?