Fury over £20k bill after failed Greenstein lawsuit

Tony Greenstein was ordered to pay a £20,000 legal bill — but claimed he was unable to do so, leaving Josh Jones to stump up the costs


A former Labour councillor has launched an appeal to help him cover eye-watering legal costs, after he was sued by a notorious anti-Zionist activist when he complained about antisemitism in the party.

Josh Jones used his life savings to defend himself against a failed defamation suit from Tony Greenstein, who claimed the former councillor had slandered him as a “Holocaust denier” when discussing a motion demanding firmer action be taken against Jew-hate in Labour.

Mr Jones, who is not Jewish, denied calling Mr Greenstein a Holocaust denier and the High Court struck out the case in December 2019. Mr Greenstein was ordered to pay the £20,000 legal bill — but claimed he was unable to do so, leaving the former councillor to stump up the costs.

The 32-year-old has launched a Crowdfunder to help him pay a bill that has had a significant impact on his mental health and forced him to delay his dream of buying a house.

He has already paid over £10,000 and is now liable for outstanding fees, also totalling around £10,000.

Mr Jones, who until May 2018 was a Labour Councillor and Shadow Deputy Leader of the Council in Dartford, said:

“From the outset I made it clear to him that I had not said anything defamatory of him.

“At the meeting in question in April 2017, at which Mr Greenstein was not present, I was seconding a motion challenging antisemitism within the Labour Party which demanded firmer action be taken in order to show solidarity with Jewish members and the Jewish community.”

Encouraged by friends, Mr Jones launched a Crowdfunder campaign to help him pay the rest as he was having to use credit cards to get by.

At the time of writing, Mr Jones had raised the £10,000 needed to pay the remainder of the legal fees and was closer to recovering some of the savings he had had to use.

“I never thought I would see those savings again,” he told the JC.

“Every time I have checked the campaign it makes me smile. I had no idea I would have so much support and the messages I have been getting from the Jewish community and allies just to say thank you has been lovely. It has really made me smile.

“I wish I knew about these people when I was going through what I was because it would have given me the strength, I needed to get through it.”

Mr Jones had to quit his role as a councillor due to the “toxic” and “awful” atmosphere in his local CLP.

He was called a “right wing Tory” for speaking up about antisemitism and suggesting the Jewish Labour Movement train members on antisemitism.

The stressed caused by Mr Greenstein taking him to court meant he needed to take time off work due to anxiety and depression.

“It got so bad at one point I was put on medication. I was having to use all my savings to defend myself, I closed down my ISA and I was living pay cheque to pay cheque,” Mr Jones said.

“Nothing like that has ever happened to me.”

Mr Jones, who is not Jewish, said it was “just seeing what was happening in the party around antisemitism and at meetings that pushed me to speak out.

“I suppose it was just old fashioned standing up to bullies. The whole experience has been an education for me and I’ve learnt .. about antisemitism and how it manifests itself.”

Mr Jones, who now works for John Lewis in their head office, was reluctant to go public about his case or ask for help at the beginning because he didn’t want to draw attention to Mr Greenstein.

“I knew that was what he wanted. I didn’t want to ask for help or give him [Mr Greenstein] any more attention. But my friends encouraged me because of what I had done.”

He said: “Seeing how many people have helped me even if it is as small as a £5 donation makes me so happy it feels like I am not alone which is what it had felt like previously.”

He said he “doesn’t take praise well at the best of times” but has loved hearing from people in the community who have thanked him for his efforts.

“I was prepared to lose my savings so the fact it looks like I might not have to is really wonderful.”

He said: “I know It sounds boring, but I just want to get my ISA back and get on with my life.”


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