Steve Cohen z''l
Steve was also involved in No One Is Illegal, the campaign against immigration controls. (The phrase was taken from Elie Weisel, speaking to members of the Sanctuary movement in Arizona.) NOII exposed the connections between immigration controls and fascist politics in Britain, since at least 1905:
Immigration controls are not fascism. Detention centres are not extermination camps. However, immigration laws are different from other laws in one other significant way. They are the result, at least in part, of organised fascist activity. This countryÊs first controls were contained in the 1905 Aliens Act and were directed at Jewish refugees fleeing anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe and Russia. A major, perhaps the major, reason for the implementation of this legislation was the agitation of the British Brothers League. This was a proto-fascistic organisation formed in 1901 specifically around the demand for controls, which organized major demonstrations in London's East End and which can legitimately be viewed as the main force behind the legislation.Although in 1984 Steve was a Bundist, he became increasingly critical of all nationalisms. For this reason, he called himself an "anti-Zionist Zionist", a term I like:
I have started to assume the somewhat novel self-description of being an “anti-zionist Zionist”. I am an anti-zionist like no other (maybe I exaggerate) in that I refuse to accept anti-zionist myths and untruths. I am a Zionist unlike no other (here I don’t exaggerate) in that I am opposed to the state of Israel.”Tributes from Hak Mao, from Jim at Shiraz Socialist, from David at Engage, from Ben at Z-Word, from Andy at Socialist Unity; from Ionnek at Indymedia London; and from TNC. The comments at all these posts give you some sense of Steve's importance, despite his relatively low profile. In particular, David Rosenberg of Jewish Socialist contributes some words here.