Yes, you read that right. Bear with me.
Tony Greenstein is a Communist, a founder of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and a member of the self-help group, ASHamed Jews.
Last week the Observer broke the news that a Californian lunatic who calls himself the “Surfing Rabbi” has pledged his support to the English Defence League. Although the Observer described Nachum Shifren as a “senior US Rabbi”, we found that he is an absurd and nasty figure, who believes (for example) that the ADL is working to destroy America, and who worked for the assassinated far Right Rabbi Meir Kahane. He should be banned from entering Britain.
The Jewish Chronicle contains an article by our friend, Nick Lowles of Searchlight, opposing the EDL and the proposed demonstration featuring Nachum Shifren:
While many in the Jewish community have understandable concerns about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, it is important to remember that the EDL are not our friends.
The main article on the visit also sets out the rejection of the EDL and of this rabbi by a number of prominent Jewish organisations:
Board of Deputies chief executive Jon Benjamin said: “Rabbi Shifren displays breathtaking naivety and ignorance in associating himself with the EDL and in the way he characterises the British Jewish community.”Whatever the dangers of radicalisation in the UK, they apply just as much to the right as to the left and to Islamism.
Mark Gardner, Community Security Trust communications director, said: “The EDL’s Jewish branch is a tiny part of a far larger movement, dominated by white males who would previously have made up National Front marches and English football hooligan gangs.
“EDL actions are violent and intimidatory, attacking police and random Asians. Any Jews thinking that they can shape such dangerous forces and find shelter there are utterly deluded.”
So, there is unity in opposition to the EDL.
Indeed, in the online poll – “Should a rabbi associate with the EDL?” – the overwhelming majority of readers are opposed.
What about anti-Zionist Jews, though? Surely they’re also against rabbis taking part in EDL events?
The exchange is a pretty shocking one.
Terry Gallogly, Chairman of York PSC says:
“People might like to vote in this poll if only to embarass Hoffie and the Zionist Federation”
Tony Greenstein replies:
“Done so and voted – in favour of course. Please try to make sure that people on BIN vote and to vote yes.
… It will be quite good for us that a JC poll comes out in favour of working with the EDL!!!”
So, in a nutshell, Tony Greenstein is suggesting that anti-Zionists should try to rig a JC poll, so that they can falsely paint Jews as racists. This, despite the fact that the JC makes it very clear that there is consensus amongst Jewish organisations, and the JC, that the EDL must be opposed.
Tony Greenstein needs to be careful. He may end up with a reputation for dishonesty.