Andrew Feinstein

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Andrew Feinstein
Feinstein at the presentation of the documentary "Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade" in Copenhagen, 2016
Member of the National Assembly of South Africa
In office
Personal details
Born (1964-03-16) 16 March 1964 (age 59)
Cape Town, South Africa
CitizenshipSouth Africa
Political partyAfrican National Congress; Labour Party (UK)
Simone Sultana
(m. 1993)
Residence(s)London, England
Alma mater

Andrew Josef Feinstein (born 16 March 1964) is a South African former politician who currently resides in the United Kingdom.

Early life and education[edit]

Andrew Feinstein was born in Cape Town to Jewish parents Josef Feinstein and Erika Hemmer.[1] Nearly 40 members of Hemmer's family were murdered during the Holocaust,[2] whilst she herself hid from the Nazis in Vienna.[3]

Feinstein graduated from Wynberg Boys' High School in Cape Town in 1981; he then attended the University of Cape Town, the University of California at Berkeley, and King's College, Cambridge.[4]

African National Congress[edit]

A member of the African National Congress (ANC), his political life began when he served as a Member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature and an advisor to Gauteng's then-MEC of Finance, Jabu Moleketi, from 1994 to 1996. He also worked as an economic advisor to then-premier Tokyo Sexwale. He was elected as a member of the South African Parliament's lower house in 1997. He was the first South African MP to introduce a motion relating to the Holocaust.[5][2]

During his time in office, he served on the Finance Committee, and chaired the sub-committee that drafted the Public Finance Management Act (Act 1 of 2000), as chair of the ANC study group on public accounts and the ANC's official spokesman on the National Assembly's public accounts committee. Feinstein was at the time referred to as "one of its most vocal and talented MPs", who argued that a thorough investigation into the South African Arms Deal had to be done.[6] However, he resigned in 2001 when the ANC refused to launch an unfettered investigation into the matter.[7][8] He was succeeded by Geoff Doidge in both positions.

Post-political career[edit]

He[when?] now resides in London, where he is Executive Director of Corruption Watch UK and chaired the Aids charity Friends of the Treatment Action Campaign, and lectures and writes on South Africa and the global arms trade. He is now considered an ANC dissident and critic, with his memoirs, After the Party, being severely critical of the political culture of the ANC. He describes the ill-fated arms deal as the "point at which the ANC lost its moral compass".[9]

In an interview with Democracy Now!, he noted the ways in which the global arms trade was linked to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.[10]

About l'affaire Dadak, concerning the activities of a Franco-Polish arm dealer Pierre Dadak, Feinstein stated: "Dadak's story reflects the complete amoral nature of the arms trade. The distinction between arms dealers and grifters is extremely fuzzy. A lot of these people are almost caricatures, they have huge personalities, they’re delusional. The extraordinary thing is how company after company, government after government, actually fall for these people. And the reason they do it is because everything that happens in this trade is secret, so it provides absolutely fertile ground for these sorts of conmen".[11]

Feinstein is a member of the British Labour Party.[5] In December 2019, along with 42 other leading cultural figures, Feinstein signed a letter endorsing the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership in the 2019 general election. The letter stated that "Labour's election manifesto under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership offers a transformative plan that prioritises the needs of people and the planet over private profit and the vested interests of a few."[12][13]

In December 2020, he described Sir Keir Starmer, Corbyn's successor as the Labour Party leader, as "inauthentic" and "severely lacking in charisma".[14]

A staunch critic of the nature and regulation of the global arms trade, Feinstein is a board member of Declassified UK, an investigative journalism website set up in 2019 by Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis to cover the UK's role on the international stage.[15]

Shadow World[edit]

In 2011 Feinstein published The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, an investigation into the global arms industry published internationally by Penguin in 2011 and 2012 and in the United States by Farrar, Straus, Giroux. The Washington Post described the book as "A comprehensive treatment of the arms trade, possibly the most complete account ever written."[16] The Independent said of it: "one thing that has been missing has been a comprehensive book for the more general reader, along the lines of Anthony Sampson's The Arms Bazaar, back in the late 1970s. Andrew Feinstein's The Shadow World does just this, and in some ways it is even better than Sampson's influential volume. What is particularly useful is the very unusual combination of a thoroughly readable book that also provides a quite extraordinary range of sources - some 2,500 footnotes in all."[17] Feinstein reported "that the trade in weapons accounts for around 40 percent of all corruption in all world trade in weapons is extremely closely tied into the mechanics of government. The defence manufacturers, those who make the weapons, are closely tied in to governments, to militaries, to intelligence agencies and crucially to political parties."[18]

The book was made into a feature documentary, Shadow World, by Louverture Films, directed by the Belgian Johan Grimonprez.[19] Feinstein co-wrote the film and features in it. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016 and won Best Documentary Feature Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2016, Tiempo de Historia Award (Best Documentary) Semana Internacional de Cine de Valladolid 2016, and Ensor Best Documentary at the Ostend Film Festival 2017.[20] It was screened at the Wales One World Film Festival in March 2017.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Feinstein married Simone Sultana on 18 December 1993; the couple have a son and a daughter. His interests include reading, classical music and theatre.[4]



  1. ^ Kamugasa, Stephen (10 August 2020). "Representative Democracy: An Interview with Andrew Feinstein". The Kamugasa Challenge. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b Feinstein, Andrew [@andrewfeinstein] (26 November 2019). "I am Jewish, the son of a Holocaust survivor who lost 39 of his family in the camps. I was the 1st MP to introduce a motion on the Holocaust in the SA Parliament. I've lectured at Auschwitz on genocide prevention. I unequivocally support Jeremy Corbyn & want him as the next PM" (Tweet). Retrieved 18 January 2021 – via Twitter.
  3. ^ "I Lost 39 Members of My Family in the Holocaust, Jeremy Corbyn is No Antisemite - Andrew Feinstein". YouTube. Double Down News. 29 October 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Andrew Feinstein | Who's Who SA". Archived from the original on 23 June 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b Snow, Jon (29 October 2020). "'I have never seen any evidence of racism, of antisemitism or anything closely related to' – Jewish Labour member Andrew Feinstein on Corbyn". Channel 4 News. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  6. ^ ANC seeks to play down Feinstein demotion, SAPA, 29 February 2001.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Statement by Andrew Feinstein MP - 30 August 2001 Archived 23 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Chambers, Dave (29 March 2019). "Activists urge UCT to support academic boycott of Israeli universities". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  9. ^ "The arms deal: what you need to know". Corruption Watch. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  10. ^ "As U.S. Faces Gun Epidemic Post-Newtown, Obama Urged to Break With NRA & Back Global U.N. Arms Treaty". Democracy Now!. 26 December 2012.
  11. ^ Belford, Aubrey; Ciesla, Wojciech; Gesina-Torres, Endy; Sarcevic, Lejla (24 February 2018). "How a French Fraudster Climbed the World of International Arms Dealing". Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Unit. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  12. ^ "Vote for hope and a decent future". The Guardian. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  13. ^ Proctor, Kate (3 December 2019). "Coogan and Klein lead cultural figures backing Corbyn and Labour". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Andrew Feinstein on Keir Starmer, the Weaponisation of Antisemitism & Purging the Left from Labour. - YouTube". YouTube. The Rose Report. 26 December 2020. Retrieved 27 December 2020.
  15. ^ "Declassified UK". Daily Maverick. 4 March 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  16. ^ Tirman, John (4 November 2011). "The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade by Andrew Feinstein". Washington Post.
  17. ^ Rogers, Paul (18 November 2011). "The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade by Andrew Feinstein". The Independent. Archived from the original on 20 November 2011.
  18. ^ South to North. "Is society inherently corrupt? A look at the global arms industry and the effect corruption has on our politics, society and culture". Al Jazeera English. Al Jazeera. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  19. ^ Shadow World at IMDb Edit this at Wikidata
  20. ^ "Shadow World". Louverture Films.
  21. ^ "WOW Wales One World Film Festival". Culture Colony (in Welsh). 17 March 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2022.
  22. ^ Andrew Feinstein (2007). After the party: a personal and political journey inside the ANC. Jonathan Ball. ISBN 978-1-86842-262-3.
  23. ^ Andrew Feinstein (2011). The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade. Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 978-0-241-14441-1.

External links[edit]