Congratulations! Mike Is Asked to Speak at a Workshop on ‘Resisting Lawfare’

Kudos and respect to Mike on Vox Political. Nottingham is hosting a ‘Festival of Resistance’ on October 16th and 17th, and Mike has been invited to speak at a workshop on ‘Resisting Lawfare’. Lawfare is the term used to describe the use of the law by political organisations to penalise and silence their opponents. The Israel lobby is currently using this tactic to criminalise the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement in America. Various states and other areas have passed legislation outlawing the BDS movement as anti-Semitic, with Zionist groups pushing for the prosecution of people and organisations that adopt and promote it. The BDS movement, in my view, is very far from anti-Semitic, though I can well see how its opponents believe and make the claim that it is. Real anti-Semites have organised boycotts against Jewish firms, the most infamous being the Nazis’ though they weren’t remotely alone. Right-wing Polish nationalists demanding independence from the Russian empire also saw Jews as their enemy and organised boycotts against them. But the BDS movement isn’t against the Jews, or even Israel as a whole. It is just against trading with Israeli businesses in the occupied territories. It is not anti-Jewish, anti-Israel, but pro-Palestinian. And it is backed by a number of Jewish Americans, who despise the Israeli government’s persecution of the indigenous Arabs.

Rachel Riley has risibly accused Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters of anti-Semitism, even going so far as compare the band at the Durham Miners’ Gala to the SS because they dared to play ‘Hava Nagila’ at their annual gala as they do every year. It’s a ridiculous, deeply insulting claim particularly as it was the trade unions and the Communists who joined their Jewish brothers and sisters and resisted real Fascists in the shape of Oswald Mosley and his storm troopers when they came goose-stepping down the East End. Riley has also threatened anyone who dares to contradict her with legal action, and her prosecution of Mike for libel may, I feel, be reasonably seen as lawfare.

Mike, I can state with utter honesty, is very firmly anti-racist and definitely far from an anti-Semite. Genuine Jew-haters and Holocaust-deniers will get short shrift from him, as will other bigots and racists. Mike will not be giving details of the Riley case, but he does intend to talk about what it feels like to be on the end of such SLAPP suits. He makes the point that the bullies behind them are trying to make their victims feel helpless, but that hasn’t been the case with him because of the donations he has received from his supporters. He is very grateful, but asks people to continue giving. He also hope some of the people, who have supported him against Riley, will come to the Festival as he’d really like to meet them.

I think it’s great that Nottingham is hosting such as Festival, as we need to resist the Tories even more now as they pursue their policies of attacking the welfare state, privatising the NHS and driving more and more working people into poverty while promoting racism and bigotry. The Labour left has organised Zoom rallies for such resistance as part of the Arise festival of left-wing ideas. I’m pleased that Mike has joined what I’ve no doubt are a number of other great people to speak. I regret, however, that at the moment my illness prevents me from travelling anywhere outside Bristol, and so I shan’t be able to go and see him and the others. I hope some of his supporters will be able to go and meet him, as they’re great people doing a great job.

And solidarity to our left-wing brothers and sisters in Nottingham and to every socialist and critic of Israel who has or is being threatened with prosecution or expulsion from the Labour party simply for criticising Israel and its barbarous ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

As the late Bobby Ball, of comedy double act Cannon and Ball, used to say, ‘Rock on!’

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