The Labour Party has expelled a controversial member in Brighton nearly two years after he was suspended.
Tony Greenstein, 65, was accused of anti-semitism when his membership was suspended in March 2016.
Mr Greenstein, who is Jewish by birth, insisted that he was anti-zionist, not anti-semitic, in that he opposes the Israeli state’s approach towards the Palestinians.
He was criticised for using the word zio to describe supporters of the Israeli state’s policy towards the Palestinians.
He accepts that the term is pejorative but said that it was not a racist or anti-semitic term. It was intended to be pejorative, he said, in the same way as calling someone a racist was intended to be pejorative.
After a disciplinary hearing at the Hilton Brighton Metropole today (Sunday 18 February) he was thrown out of the party, although primarily for his conduct towards officials since his suspension.
In the case against Mr Greenstein, Labour’s barrister said that he had used the word zio to abuse other party members repeatedly in contravention if the party’s rules.
Other than the use of the word zio, the party did not allege that Mr Greenstein was anti-semitic.
The hearing – organised by Labour’s National Constitutional Committee – was given a copy of extracts from a recent county court judgment when Mr Greenstein unsuccessfully sought information held about him by the party using the Data Protection Act.
The judge described Mr Greenstein as “demonstrably intelligent” and “a highly controversial figure”.
But District Judge Susan Brown also said: “He is intense and combative, being highly emotional about the subjects of Israel and Palestine.”
After the hearing today, Labour Against Anti-Semitism, said that it welcomed the decision to expel Mr Greenstein from the party.
The group, long-standing critics of Mr Greenstein, said: “Mr Greenstein has over many years made his abhorrent views widely known via public speeches, social media and on his personal blog.”
It said that his views were often “highly offensive”, adding: “Mr Greenstein has also personally targeted some Labour Party members for bullying.
“None of this is acceptable within a party that prides itself on diversity and whose catchphrase is ‘a kinder, gentler politics’.”