he Labour Party on Sunday expelled prominent Jewish anti-Zionist Tony Greenstein, citing his allegedly abusive language and his criticism of leading pro-Israel figures in the UK’s main opposition party.
A disciplinary panel expelled Greenstein for what it claimed was online abuse.
But Greenstein disputes this and says the real reason was that he has spoken out against the Israel lobby within the Labour Party.
“I expected it,” he told The Electronic Intifada after his expulsion.
He said that he had been “overwhelmed by the number of supportive messages, so I shall be fighting from outside” and would press for membership reinstatement.
Greenstein is vice-chair of Labour Against the Witch-hunt, a group set up to combat what it calls a “witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters and critics of Israel” in the Labour Party.
Since Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader in 2015, he has been constantly attacked by right-wingers and Israel lobbyists within the party.
Their claims that Labour is now “institutionally anti-Semitic,” have been been based on exaggerated and fabricated allegations of anti-Semitism.
Although the disciplinary panel that expelled Greenstein claims it was not because of his views, a Labour Party document seen by The Electronic Intifada suggests otherwise.
Written on behalf of the party’s National Executive Committee by party lawyer Thomas Ogg, the main thrust of the document is that Greenstein should be expelled for using the term “Zio,” which it contends is an anti-Semitic epithet.
But it also suggests Greenstein should be expelled for a blog post he wrote criticizing Louise Ellman – a Labour lawmaker with a long history of supporting Israel.
The article – written months after Labour suspended Greenstein in 2016 – described Ellman as an “apologist for Israel’s occupation forces” and a “supporter of Israeli child abuse.”
Greenstein told The Electronic Intifada on Monday that Ellman is “quite clearly complicit” with Israeli human rights abuses. She has “put forward the standard Israeli security argument.”
As detailed in the blog post, Ellman had, during a 2016 Parliamentary debate, strongly defended the Israeli army’s practice of night-time detention of Palestinian children.