‘Notorious anti-Semite’ loses libel case

Posted On 06 Nov 2020 at 4:13 pm

Tony Greenstein in a picket outside Labour HQ in March 2018

One of the first Brighton Labour members to be expelled during Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis has lost his case for libel after being called a “notorious anti-Semite”.

A high court judge has ruled that Tony Greenstein’s defamation case against the Campaign for Anti-Semitism (CAA) should be struck out.

However, he is still able to pursue two claims of breaching data protection and misuse of private information because they reported historic criminal convictions for theft and dishonesty.

Mr Greenstein is due to speak at a virtual event called Reinstate Jeremy Corbyn tonight, which is calling for the suspension of the former Labour leader to be lifted.

Mr Corbyn was suspended after his response to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission report on anti-Semitism in the Labour party, in which he said it had been exaggerated by political enemies and the media.

He is part of a panel which also includes Councillor Nichole Brennan, who resigned from Labour after allegations of anti-Semitism, and Greg Hadfield, former Brighton and Hove Independent editor who is on his third suspension from the party after allegations of abusive behaviour.

The general secretary of Unite union, Howard Beckett, had been due to speak alongside them, which sparked complaints to the union yesterday.

A union spokesman said today that Mr Beckett was now not speaking at the panel. He has been replaced by former Labour MP Chris Williamson, who was expelled from the party after denying there was a problem with anti-Semitism in the party.

The judgement, by Justice Amanda Tipples QC, said the CAA was entitled to call Mr Greenstein a notorious anti-Semite as it was an honestly held opinion based on his tweets and a letter he signed published in The Guardian.

Mr Greenstein was complaining about five articles published by the CAA. The first said he had lied to the Charity Commission when attempting to have the CAA struck off its register by saying that it ignored far-right anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

It also said he had lied in a letter to the Guardian when he said the International Definition of Anti-Semitism (or IHRA) prevented criticism of Israel.

Mrs Justice Tipples said that it was possible for an honest person to hold this opinion, based on the facts that he must have known the CAA does challenge neo-Nazi anti-Semites, and that the IHRA explicitly says criticism of the Israeli government is acceptable.

The ruling also quoted tweets of Mr Greenstein’s such as: “I loathe racist scum and Jewish Nazis like you” and “yes the holocaust did happen and you Zios have been milking it ever since even though u collaborated with the Nazis.”

Mrs Justice Tipples said an honest person could reasonably hold the opinion Mr Greenstein was anti-Semitic based on tweets such as these.

An earlier ruling had allowed the CAA to rely on a defence of honest opinion rather than truth, which would have meant they would have to prove Mr Greenstein is an anti-Semite as a matter of fact, not opinion.

The case for breaching data protection and misusing data protection may now proceed in the county court.

Mr Greenstein said: “The judgment is highly likely to be appealed on ground of fact. But the overall judgement was not unexpected because there are two defences to a claim of libel under the Defamation Act 2013.

“Section 2 is a truth defence. What you say has to be substantially true. However the Campaign Against Antisemitism sought to avoid this and rely instead on Section 3 which is honest opinion. It reverses the burden of proof and I have to prove that the opinion is malicious, dishonest. That is a very high burden. The truth of a statement is irrelevant.

“Nicklin J decided in February 2019 that allegations of antisemitism were statements of opinion not fact which is very convenient. It means that when the CAA and others, in the Labour Party, accuse someone of ‘antisemitism’ then if challenged they can say it was only a statement of opinion. There is no need to back up such a serious charge.

“In other words the law is an ass.”

Mr Greenstein was pushed out of the party in February 2018 after allegations of harassment and abuse of fellow members, including dubbing them Zios, a term singled out as anti-Semitic by the party.

  1. Jenny Mulligan Reply

    So finally the High Court has ruled what most of us have known all along, that Tony Greenstein is in fact an antisemite.

    • DAVID ROGER Reply

      Mr Greenstein is the Jewish son of a Jewish Rabbi
      The court did not say he was an anti semite

      • Jenny Mulligan Reply

        Says the man who was kicked out of Labour for actual antisemitism.

        Not even Lloyd Russell-Moyle would write a letter of support for you.

  2. DAVID ROGER Reply

    He is not an anti semite
    The High Court has said people have a right to perceive him as
    Anti Semitic which is not the same as saying he IS anti Semitic so be careful in your choice of words please
    Tony Greenstein is Jewish and the son of a Rabbi
    He has always defended the rights of Palestine to exist as have millions of Jewish non Zionists . Can a Jew be anti Jewish Jenny ? You must differentiate between Judaism and Zionism which nowadays provides the racial supremacist ideology of the current Israeli government and is embraced by Trump , Tommy Robinson, Katie Hopkins & other far right horrors

  3. Gerry R Reply

    Just when you thought Brighton and Hove Labour and its horrific ex members couldn’t sink any lower…this party has been and still really is a cesspool of racism and Jew hatred, in all its forms. Sir Keir – please disband it now, clear out the racists from top to bottom then …maybe…in a couple of years time it will be a decent non racist local party again. Here’s hoping…

  4. Hendrik Reply

    Corbyn should not have been suspended. He should have been kicked out. And good riddance to very bad rubbish!

  5. Greens Out Reply

    What a vile little man

  6. tony greenstein Reply

    Jenny Mulligan is wrong. I was not expelled from the Labour Party for antisemitism but for responding to the abuse of Labour right-wingers like her!

    In the 1950’s McCarthy accused socialists and even liberals of being communists. Today ‘communist’ has been replaced by ‘antisemitism’. Of course it bears no relationship to actual antisemitism, which is hostility to or prejudice against Jews. It’s all about the world’s most racist state Israel (a state whose population supported Trump over Biden by 71-19%.

    I have been targeted and physically attacked throughout my life by neo-Nazis and anti-Semites. I suspect Ms Mulligan hasn’t fought for anything more than a good seat in a restaurant.

    • Hendrik Woolf Reply

      And if this country was bombarded with rockets, on a daily basis, by a regime that is set about our complete elimination, and we fought back, would you say that we would be racists? Would you be happy if we all lived in constant fear of terrorists harming our own people?

      You say that Israel is the world’s most racist state, but perhaps you are not aware that in China you could be put in a concentration camp for just being a Muslim? Does that have a ring of familiarity about it?

      And what if the population of Israel did support Trump over Biden? They were not USA citizens casting their votes. So what difference does that make, even if that were true?

  7. Esther Reply

    Tony Greenstein, have you ever reflected on your lifetime of believing that you have been working in favour of the Labour Party or the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and noticed that you have only wrought harm on both of these? The Labour Party is out of power for a generation and has lost the devotion of the English, Scottish and Welsh working classes because of the antics of the obstinate Left, pushing identity politics over their working class issues – and delusional thinking about how the World works. The Palestinians have got nowhere under the corrupt, racist and inflexible leadership of Hezbollah and Hamas, whereas every opportunity for a settlement less than their idea of an Islamic utopia has been spurned. In your own quest for what you expect wrongly to be utopias (but which would actually be dystopias) you have only helped achieve the opposite of what you think would be desirable. Don’t you ever think therefore, that you’ve spent your life being a failure and an idiot?

  8. Gerry R Reply

    Esther – excellent points. This man, and other horrors like Councillrs Brennan, Knight, Pissaridou, and indeed my MP Lloyd Russell Moyle, are really just unhinged attention seekers with a saviour complex, utterly obsessed with Jews, Israel, Zionism. I actually, genuinely, feel very sorry for decent Palestinians – in whose name these cranks forever claim to speak. Please, Mr Greenstein and the rest of your crew….leave Palestinians alone! You make their cause seem totally grubby, hateful, deranged, extreme. Sad.

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