Trotskyism has always interested Jews because of its almost Talmudic adherence to text and interpretation. Its leaders were treated like Chasidic rebbes, held court for their followers and did not work for a living.
Despite Trotsky's comment that he was not a Jew, but an internationalist, Stalin used antisemitism in his struggle against Trotsky in the mid-1920s. In exile Trotsky attracted a disproportionate number of Jews to his standard.
Tony Cliff - aka Yigael Gluckstein from Zikhron Ya'akov - founded the Socialist Workers Party in the UK, while Ted Grant - aka Isaac Blank from Johannesburg - was the mentor of the Militant Tendency. Both groups embedded themselves in the Labour Party in the 1960s .
Grant - whose family ran a grocery store in Johannesburg - and his sister Zena joined other members of the Litvak community in forming the Bolshevik-Leninist League in 1934. His father had come from Tavrig, near the Lithuanian-Prussian border. The entire family left behind in Tavrig perished in the Shoah.
Cliff came from the Zionist elite in the Yishuv and gradually moved to a Trotskyist position. He was a leading light of Brit Spartakus, a group which campaigned against attempts to enlist Hebrew University students into the British forces to fight Nazism.
In South Africa, some young Jews, shocked at institutionalised apartheid, found their salvation in Trotskyism.
In the UK, Blank joined the Labour League of Youth while his fellow Jewish South African, Max Basch - aka Sid Frost - joined the Independent Labour Party. They had both been influenced by Frank Glass, a founder of the South African Communist party who ran the left-wing Vanguard bookshop in Johannesburg. Converting to Trotskyism, Glass left for China in 1931 to continue his life as a revolutionary activist where he was known as Li Fu-jen.
Some left-wing Zionists, members of Hashomer Hatzair, such as the Belgian theorist Abram Leon, left Zionism as a reaction to Hashomer's blind subservience to Stalin and in disgust at the Moscow show trials of the 1930s .
Despite their Jewish origin, both Cliff and Grant regarded the Second World War as a contest between rival imperialisms - that one side was as bad as the other when it came to the interests of the working class.Source