British Labour Activist Who Called Jews ‘Zios’ Expelled From Party; Jewish Groups Call for Further Action
Jewish groups in Britain are hailing the Labour Party’s expulsion on Sunday of a virulent anti-Israel activist, but warned that further steps needed to be taken.
Tony Greenstein was a prominent Labour supporter and member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign who regularly employed slurs like “Zio” on his blog and social media accounts.
“Zio” is a term used by American white supremacists such as David Duke to slander Jews. It has recently been adopted by the radical Left as well.
According to a statement from the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) watchdog, Greenstein, who is Jewish, was expelled on three charges: “Repeatedly using ‘zio’ as a term of derision, stating ‘Gay zionists make me want to puke’ and referring to others as ‘Zionist scum’”; accusing a Labour MP of supporting child abuse; and making a “distasteful joke” about the Holocaust in an email to the general-secretary of the Labour party.
In a January hearing on a related matter, a Brighton County Court had ruled, “Whilst [Greenstein] claims to be viewed out of context he has within document repeatedly used language which is offensive in any context — ‘racist Zios’ ‘fascist scum’ to give two small examples.”
Joe Glasman, head of political and government investigations for the CAA, hailed Greenstein’s expulsion, saying, “We are pleased that the Labour Party has at long last begun to expel those it finds guilty of abusive conduct, but its action is more than two years overdue.”
Glasman called for an end to the party’s “secret hearings” on antisemitism charges and urged the party’s leadership to “urgently and transparently hear the hundreds of stalled cases awaiting decisions.”
He also noted Labour’s longstanding problem with antisemitism, mentioning several members who have been involved in antisemitic scandals: “We must not forget that this is still a party that counts Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, and hundreds of others like them among its members.”
Since the Labour Party was taken over by leader Jeremy Corbyn in 2015, it has been beset with antisemitic incidents linked to a violent hatred of Zionism and the State of Israel.
The UK’s Jewish Chronicle quoted Jonathan Arkush, head of the umbrella Jewish organization the Board of Deputies of British Jews, saying of the expulsion, “The Jewish community has waited long enough for the Labour Party to show that it is serious about zero tolerance of antisemitism. This result is a step in the right direction, but there is a way to travel yet.”
Euan Philipps, a spokesperson for Labour Against Antisemitism, echoed these sentiments, saying, “We are delighted that Mr. Greenstein has been expelled, and it is a welcome sign that the party does have a red line on antisemitism.
“However, his expulsion shouldn’t mask the fact that the Labour Party still has a great amount of work to do in dealing with antisemitism and we expect to see further evidence of progress in the coming weeks,” Philipps continued.
Greenstein has a long history of colorful racist statements about Israel and Jews.
In one article, he wrote, “Zionism is a Jewish variant of anti-Semitism. After all, even today, if someone tells me I don’t belong in England they are either a Zionist or a fascist and anti-Semite. … Zionist attacks on people who are not anti-Jewish have one effect, to legitimise anti-Semitism.”
He also expressed his support for the annihilation of the Jewish state, saying, “Yes, I want the state of Israel to be destroyed.”
Following his expulsion, Greenstein remained combative, tweeting, “I was expelled 4 opposing labour’s apartheid lobby,” and pledged to fight for reinstatement.
— Tony Greenstein (@TonyGreenstein) February 19, 2018