Brighton’s Labour council leader threatens to ban his party’s conference over anti-semitism

Posted On 27 Sep 2017 at 9:58 am

The Labour Party may be banned from holding its conference in Brighton if it fails to tackle anti-semitism.

The threat was made by the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, Warren Morgan.

Councillor Morgan said in a post on Facebook: “Anti-semitism will not be tolerated in the city. I have told the Labour Party general secretary this today.”

He shared publicly a letter that he sent to general secretary Iain McNicol.

In the letter he singled out a local campaigner Tony Greenstein, who comes from an Orthodox Jewish family but campaigns for a boycott of Israel over Palestinian issues.

The letter followed a Labour conference fringe event at the Friends’ Meeting House in Brighton at which anti-semitic views were reported to have been expressed.

According to the Guardian newspaper: “Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has said the party will investigate how it gave a platform at a conference fringe event to a speaker who said people should be allowed to question whether the holocaust happened.

“The remarks by the Israeli-American author Miko Peled have renewed alarm about antisemitism in the Labour party.”

Mr Peled, who is also Jewish, said that did not deny that the holocaust had happened but felt that it was important to debate openly with those who did.

Councillor Morgan’s letter said: “I hope that you and the entire Labour team in Brighton and Hove are enjoying your stay and that the facilities offered by the Brighton Centre are everything that you would expect from us.

“As a city we very much appreciate the business that conference brings to our hotels, restaurants and shops.

“I am, however, very concerned at the anti-semitism being aired publicly in fringe meetings and on the floor of conference.

“We have a significant Jewish community in Brighton and Hove and I met with them only last week to discuss the anti-semitism already on our streets, causing them fear and alarm.

“We have the prominent activist and suspended Labour Party member Tony Greenstein here, who indeed was present at the fringe meeting where it was suggested that Holocaust denial should be allowed. His expulsion, in my opinion, is long overdue.

“As the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, I will undoubtedly face questions as to why we allow any event where anti-semitic views are freely expressed to happen in the city, particularly on council premises.

“As a Labour Party member I expect the inquiry announced today to take firm action. As leader I will need reassurances that there will be no repeat of the behaviour and actions we have seen this week before any further bookings from the party are taken.

“I must apply the same standards to Labour as I would to any other party conference or political event. While none of us can control what is said at meetings we do not run, I have to make the strongest possible representation on behalf of the residents of the city who are Jewish.

“We are a city of sanctuary and I have to speak up against any form of racism as and when it is given a platform in the city.”

This morning on his blog he wrote a post headed: “Standing up to racism.”

Councillor Morgan wrote: “Yesterday I made a public statement regarding anti-semitism at the Labour conference in Brighton and Hove.

“As a city, we have clear policies on equalities, discrimination and racism. It is my job as leader of the city council to speak out against racism, bigotry and prejudice in all its forms.

“I’ve done so when the far right came here to march. I’ve done so when refugees faced abuse, when the Muslim community faced hostility in the wake of events elsewhere.

“Whatever my views on conflicts elsewhere in the world, my firm belief is that those conflicts should not be played out by groups or individuals against communities in our city.

“We are a city of sanctuary, where people from all backgrounds should live alongside each other, live and work together, without the wars and conflicts in countries they may have connections with coming into daily life here.

“Our right to free speech is bounded by the rights of others not to have their daily life subject to intimidation and fear.

“People are of course free to criticise and protest against the actions of the Israeli government.

“Jewish people here are no more responsible for those actions simply for being Jewish than Syrian people are responsible for Assad or Americans are for Trump.

“Legitimate debate on the Israel/Palestine issue should not be stifled but neither should that issue it be a justification for the demonisation of an entire group of people based on their ethnicity or religion. My statement was not about that conflict.

“Nor was it about the Labour leadership. Jeremy Corbyn and the front bench have been clear on their condemnation of anti-semitism.

“Conference approved a rule change with the support of 96 per cent of delegates to make anti-semitic behaviour even more explicitly against the party rules than it was previously.

“I’m calling for those rules to be enforced so that we can welcome conference back to Brighton and Hove again.

“Anti-semitism is racism. The Labour Party is an anti-racist party. Brighton and Hove is a city where all should feel safe and secure. These are things which should not be in question.”

  1. Valerie Paynter Reply

    This is pompous cant from Warren.

    There is no finer example of an honourable Jew, socialist and humanitarian in this city than the self-sacrificing Tony Greenstein.

    Debate is at the very heart of the Jewish religion and its use to kill lies, rumours, ignorance does more than silence ever could to counter holocaust deniers and racist bigots, as well as those in Israel who dishonour that state with extremist intolerance.

    Anyone claiming to be a seriously good and genuine friend of Israel, should not fear criticism of it or have any need to stifle criticism of it. To withold proper criticism is hypocrisy.

    • Matt Taylor Reply

      Well said Valerie; I agree with everything you said.

  2. tony greenstein Reply

    PO Box 173, Brighton BN51 9EZ
    Press Release
    27th September 2017
    Warren Morgan should resign as leader of Brighton and Hove Council for his lie that I support or ‘associate’ with Holocaust denial
    There is no truth whatsoever in Warren Morgan’s statement that
    ‘We have the prominent activist and suspended Labour Party member Tony Greenstein here, who indeed was present at the [Free Speech on Israel] fringe meeting where it was suggested that Holocaust denial should be allowed. His expulsion, in my view, is long overdue.’
    This is a good example of how Labour’s false antisemitism allegations have been manufactured over the past two years. No one at the Free Speech on Israel meeting last Monday even mentioned holocaust denial, let alone suggested that it should be discussed. I would be completely opposed to such a discussion. In my 40+ years involvement in the Palestine solidarity movement I have never known of such a discussion.
    On the one occasion that someone expressed Holocaust denial views in Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in 2012, I proposed their expulsion both locally and nationally. What Miko Peled said was: ‘Israel, Zionism, even the holocaust – can these subjects not be discussed, yes or no?’ He obviously was not disputing the holocaust
    At the packed Free Speech on Israel meeting where I spoke on Monday, nearly half of the 150+ people in attendance were Jewish. Perhaps they too ‘associated’ with Holocaust denial?
    It is not illegal to support Holocaust denial in Britain, unlike in Germany and Austria. Many people e.g. Noam Chomsky support this because of the question of free speech. The most famous Holocaust historian, Raul Hilberg, went so far as to say that we can even learn things from holocaust deniers. When you suppress something then people suspect that someone is trying to suppress the truth.
    Last year Warren Morgan alleged that there was spitting at the Labour Party AGM in Brighton. It was totally untrue but it achieved its purpose, the suspension of Brighton & Hove Labour Party and the annulment of the elections. Warren Morgan is completely unfit to be Labour leader in Brighton and Hove. He has no regard for the truth.
    Even if someone had mentioned Holocaust denial at the meeting in question, why does that make me guilty? This is an excellent example of the McCarthyist technique of guilt-by-association. Socialists and democrats fought hard against the techniques of Joe McCarthy, who was himself an anti-Semite.
    I have been an active anti-racist and anti-fascist throughout my life. I have been arrested and beaten up for opposing the fascists. I co-founded Brighton & Hove Anti-fascist Committee and was Secretary of the Brighton and Hove Anti-Nazi League.
    As the accompanying article from the Argus of October 16 1983 demonstrates I have myself been at the receiving end of this vile literature.
    This is not about Holocaust denial but defending the Israeli State. How else do you defend barbaric practices such as gaoling and shackling Palestinian children as young as 12 or the demolition of Palestinian villages in order to build Jewish towns and settlements, other than by accusing Zionism’s opponents of anti-Semitism? Israel today is a racist and repressive state, which is attacking even Israeli human rights organisations such as Btselem.

  3. Barney Reply

    I agree with Valerie Paynter. Every other aspect of history is open to debate, so why not this? Be brave. Stand up. Let them throw their doubts and insults. The truth always comes back stronger than ever in the end, so what have you got to lose?

    Bigots will be bigots, so let them expose themselves as such. What harm can it do? Making something “taboo” or illegal only arouses people’s suspicions and feeds their prejudices.

    Bring the subject out into the open. Let people have a free and open debate. The truth needs no protection.

    I realise this is a sensitive subject for some, but it seems to me that some are over-sensitive.

    I’m not trying to belittle anyone’s suffering. I just don’t see the point in all this paranoia over something from so long ago.

    The war is over. It’s been over for longer than most of us have been alive, but some people don’t seem able to accept that.

    Can’t we just get on with our lives now without continually worrying about whether or not people believe what they’re told? Let them speak. We know the truth, so what harm can it do? The liars and the misinformed can only show themselves up for what they really are.

    What happened to freedom of speech?

  4. Rod Jones Reply

    He’s right. Antisemitism has no place in the Labour party. For that reason I suggest Warren Morgan be expelled from the party for his deliberate hostility towards Tony Greenstein based SOLELY on the fact that Mr Greenstein is Jewish.

    antisemitism (noun): hostility to or prejudice against Jews.

  5. steven daily Reply

    Anyone who thinks Tony Greenstein is any kind of voice of the Jewish people is very disconnected from reality The Labour Party have become the home of Jew hatred, Israel Hatred and Holocaust denial, you are all so blinded by your own sense of righteousness that you have no idea about how terrified ordinary Jews are now of living in The UK. Tony Greenstein and other so called Jews use there Jewish roots only to hate other Jews make he is the worst kind of Jew he has no honour and is no voice of any Jewish organisation . The state of Israel is the Jewish nation and those obsessed with it’s destruction or those singling it out over other nations who are guilty of way worse human rights on a daily basis are and should be labelled Antisemites. Well done Cllr you have done Brighton proud i am honoured to support your stand against racism and hatred you are a brave and righteous man. People of Greensteins ilk and anyone who supports his views have brought our wonderful labour party into disrepute and we are now a laughing stock. i hope you are all proud of how much damage to you done to the legacy of The Labour Party and how much fear and mistrust you have put into the Jewish people of this country.

    • MK Reply

      I couldn’t agree with you more.

  6. John Spannyard Reply

    Warren Morgan is a duplicitous non-inclusive political thug, whatever weasel words he uses to convey the opposite impression. When I want lessons about anti-semitism, do I turn to the likes of Councillor Morgan, guilty of condoning anti-semitic attacks on Tony Greenstein or do I turn to Tony Greenstein himself, who has a long campaigning history against actual anti-semitism and some of whose family perished in Treblinka? The wonder in all this is that Warren Morgan, who seeks to feed spurious and destabilising allegations of anti-semitism within the Labour Party continues to be sponsored by the Labour Co-operative movement and I speak as an appalled member of the Labour Party. We all accept that anti-semitism is a given both within and outside the Labour Party but just not on the McCarthy like scale that Councillor Morgan would have you believe. it is an issue that has been weaponised for narrow political ends by the Right of the Labour Party in an unholy alliance with the Zionist lobby – Warren Morgan is just one of it’s mouthpieces and as such is not fit to be a member of the Labour Party, much less leader of a city as socially and culturally diverse as Brighton. Councillor Morgan should resign.

    • Steven daily Reply

      Anyone using Zionist lobby as a slur has no idea that all the Jewish donors have left Labour because of people being Antisemitic and blaming everything that goes wrong in their lives on the Zionist lobby.

      It is actually comical if you break it down how ignorant these comments above are.

      Antisemities using Antisemitism to justify their Antisemitism oh and the Alibi Jews of course all 3 of them that represent the entire Jewish community.

      Pls serious people see through this charade and all you are doing is facilitating the downfall of The
      Labour Party.

  7. Stephen Silverman Reply

    Cllr Morgan is a man of integrity with an admirable moral compass. If anybody is labouring under the misapprehension that Tony Greenstein speaks for the UK’s Jewish community, they should read this.

    https://antisemitism.uk/tony-greensteins-attempt-to-shut-down-campaign-against-antisemitism-showcases-the-similarities-between-far-left-and-far-right/

  8. Zion Lion Reply

    Looking at the posts on here from the self hating jews and leftist extremist anti semites it is no wonder jews are scared here in the UK, there is nothing more disgusting then people who side with Islamism against the worlds only Jewish state. However us proper Jews are stronger now we wont ever let Israel be destroyed by the new nazis on the left.

    Never again

  9. Steven daily Reply

    We know the left has seriously lost it’s way when it looks to Self hating deluded Jews like Tony Greenstein. If you think Tony Greenstein and his self hating buddies speak for anyone but themselves then you are a fool, naive and nothing more than a foot soldier for Antisemitism. He and others like him speak only and only ever for themselves, they are self serving and desperate for attention, shunned for good reason by decent Jews who now mistrust the left in this country. He has brought nothing but shame on the once great Labour Party.

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