We recently suffered the very sad loss of Mick Goldstein. Goldstein was a stalwart of Jews Against the Occupation (JAO), who campaign for the rights of Palestinians. Like Bernie Rosen, whom we lost earlier this year, Goldstein was in the proud Jewish tradition of the international socialist left.
The mass participation of Jewish people on the left was largely decimated by the Nazi Holocaust, and lamentably, it has been overtaken by a reactionary Zionism which has now come to dominate Jewish communities around the world. But activists like Goldstein reminded us of what once was.
Goldstein grew up in Hackney, London, in a musical family with two brothers and two sisters. After hearing Yehudi Menuhin play on the radio at the age of 12, he was inspired to learn the violin. He was initially self-taught and won a scholarship for lessons. Music was a central love of his life.
From his teenage years, Goldstein was a close friend of writer Harold Pinter with whom he shared many interests – music, the arts generally and politics. Pinter particularly influenced him with his commitment to human rights and left politics. They also shared a passion for cricket. Goldstein was a highly educated, cultured person with wide-ranging interests.
He was an active long-standing member of the Democratic Socialist Party and then the Socialist Alliance. He was particularly committed to Green Left Weekly and understood the importance of independent media and speaking truth to power. Every week, rain, hail or shine, he would arrive to pick up a bundle to sell. Once, he arranged for his string quartet to play at a GLW dinner.
Goldstein migrated to Australia as a “£10 Pom” in early 1960. His love of music persisted and he played in a string quartet in Sydney where he met his partner, Anna. He continued to play with the quartet till his final illness.
He was so self-effacing, never obtrusive, and he always came up with wisdom and insight in discussions in JAO. He could be relied on to hold the banner at demonstrations and to hand out the leaflets.
A gentle, caring man, he was always there. JAO member Pat Zinn described him as “a real gentleman, very interesting to talk to. I thoroughly enjoyed his company and was always happy to see him. He was a friend you could confide in.”
Another JAO member, Alice Beauchamp, said: “One of the satisfactions of participating with Jews Against the Occupation has been working with someone of Goldstein's calibre. Always dedicated, yet gentle and measured, he was one of life's rare, true 'gentlemen'.”
Goldstein is survived by a son and a daughter and his partner, Anna. In the wider left, he will be sorely missed.