Posts Tagged ‘al-Jazeera’

Lobster on Blair and the Israel Lobby

February 9, 2017

On Sunday, Mike reported a story from the Skwawkbox, that Louise Ellman, the MP for Riverside, and Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement and vice-chair of Labour Friends of Israel, and her cronies blocked calls for an investigation into Israel’s influence in the Labour party. The Skwawkbox noted that the Jewish Labour Movement was notorious because of its links Havoda, the pro-apartheid Israeli Labour party, while the latter, Labour Friends of Israel was mentioned by an official at the Israeli embassy, who was filmed by al-Jazeera talking about how he set up pro-Israel groups within the Labour party. And both organisations are behind the discredited, but still persisting, slurs about anti-Semitism in the Labour party.

See: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/02/05/jewish-labour-movement-chair-and-exec-block-call-for-investigation-into-israeli-interference/

Ellman and her friends are staunch Zionists, so of course she’s going to do whatever she can to stop an inquiry into the grubby activities of her organisations in manipulating the Labour party.

In response to the Al-Jazeera’s revelations, Robin Ramsay, the editor of Lobster, has put up a piece from his 2002 book, The Rise of New Labour, describing how Blair’s contacts with the Israel lobby were partly responsible for his rise to the Labour leadership. Ramsay notes that Blair had always been sympathetic to Israel. When he became an MP, he joined Labour Friends of Israel, and he shared chambers with Eldred Tabachnik, head of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. In January 1994 he and his wife, Cherie, went on holiday to Israel, all at the expense of the Israeli government. Two months later, Blair was introduced to the businessman Michael Levy at a dinner party arranged by the number two diplomat at the Israeli embassy, Gideon Meir. Levy was impressed with Blair, and after John Smith’s death was responsible for raising £7 million for Blair’s personal use. Ramsay’s article gives the names, duly sourced, of some of those who donated money to the future Labour leader. They were

‘….a group of businessmen involved in Jewish charities whose decisions to give to Labour have been crucially influenced by the party’s strong pro-Israeli stance under both Tony Blair and his predecessor John Smith……Levy brought the world of North London Jewish business into the Labour Party…..some of the names whom Levy persuaded to donate include Sir Emmanuel Kaye of Kaye Enterprises, Sir Trevor Chinn of Lex Garages, Maurice Hatter of IMO Precision Control and David Goldman of the Sage software group…it is clear, however, that for this group Blair’s (and Smith’s before him) strong support for Israel is an important factor, especially with those such as Kaye, Chinn and Levy himself, who raise large sums for Israeli causes. Nick Cosgrave, director of Labour Friends of Israel, says Blair “brought back Labour Friends of Israel into the Labour Party, in a sense …….before the majority of supporters of Labour Friends felt uncomfortable with the Labour Party”.’

This allowed Blair to become independent of the Labour Party and the trade unions. He used the money to hire Alistair Campbell as his press officer and Jonathan Powell as his chief of staff.

Gideon Meir was also credited by Israel’s Jabotinsky Institute as cultivating both Blair and Gordon Brown, and making them favourable to the Israeli side in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Ramsay concludes

Blair joined Labour Friends of Israel and the Israelis helped to get him elected leader. He might have made it on his own – after four general election defeats the Labour Party was ripe for a televisual, middle class, Thatcherite, young careerist – but the money raised by Levy helped and made him independent of the Party.

See: http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster73/blair-israel.pdf

This explains the very close relationship between the Blairites and the Israel lobby, and how both of them were deeply intertwined in the anti-Semitism smears against Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum.

Ramsay’s article is also interesting as it notes that Blair hated the Labour party and viewed it as his enemy. According to the Daily Mail, c. 1997, an unnamed barrister friend of Blair said that he joined it simply because he thought he’d rise faster in Labour than the Tories. Ramsay remarks that it sounds like the authentic statement of a careerist, but then again, it does come from the Daily Mail, which Michael Foot called ‘the Forger’s Gazette’.

After Israeli Lobbying Exposes, Time to Expose those Behind the Anti-Semitism Smears

January 18, 2017

Mike also put up another excellent piece today, pointing out that Al-Jazeera’s investigation into the nefarious attempts by the Israeli embassy to interfere with democracy in this country has resulted in this all starting to fall apart. The lobbyists thought that they could simply manipulate everything covertly from the shadows. Now they find instead that they’ve been pulled into the light. The Mondoweiss article Mike’s piece quotes and is based on states that the author found it clear that the purpose of Labour Friends of Israel was simply to smear Palestinians and their supporters with spurious charges of anti-Semitism. The programme showed a number of Zionist activists, including Mark Regev, the Israeli ambassador, Jennifer Gerber, the director of the Labour Friends of Israel, and Ella Rose all advising the pro-Israel wing to smear their opponents with this accusation, and stating that it is now the ‘dominant narrative’. And if their victims hit back, they respond by acting the victim, like Michael Foster, a Jewish donor, who started screaming that his accusers were acting like Nazi stormtroopers.

That’s a truly vile accusation, especially as many of the people smeared were Jewish, or of Jewish heritage, and so very likely had lost family members to the real Nazi stormtroopers. Quite apart from gentile Brits, whose parents and grandparents did their bit to keep Europe free from Hitler’s hordes.

Mike wonders if this conspiracy wouldn’t have been uncovered if he and others hadn’t objected and questioned the smearing of Jackie Walker, Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone. Mike says he was advised not too, as the people he was taking on were too powerful.

Mike makes it clear that now is the time to pull in and start questioning the very people behind these disgraceful smears and libels. Like John Mann, Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jackie Walker’s accusers in the Jewish Labour Movement and even in Momentum, as well as all the newspaper editors and proprietors, who thought fit to publicise the smears.

He concludes

The list of possible suspects gets ever-larger, and is likely to grow even further, if these people are contacted and questioned in a thorough manner.

The issues here are serious. We are being told that agents of a foreign country have infiltrated our institutions and undermined our foreign policy with false accusations against our politicians and political figures.

As the extract below shows, the trail leads back at least as far as Mark Regev – and he is Israel’s ambassador to the UK.

At the very least, this is a major diplomatic incident.

So why is the Conservative Government refusing to take the necessary investigative steps?

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/01/18/accusation-games-its-all-falling-apart-for-the-knee-jerk-anti-semitism-accusers/

Mike’s calling this nasty little piece of clandestine plotting a conspiracy – which is exactly what it is. There are dangers to doing so, as in the past when someone has discussed the pernicious influence of Zionist lobby, like the authors of the book of the same name did a few years ago in their treatment of the funding of US politicos by Zionist and pro-Israeli firms and individuals, they were accused of anti-Semitism. Their accusers stated that by claiming that there was covert influence – a conspiracy – they were repeating the stereotypical lies that Jews are engaged in monstrous conspiracies against gentiles, like the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In fact the authors weren’t. One of them was even Jewish. I’ve got a feeling it may well have been that long-term anti-Zionist dissident, Norman Finkelstein.

It was the same when it was revealed that Likud had laid out plans with the Republicans for the invasion of Iraq twenty years before 9/11 gave them the pretext that Saddam Hussein was conspiring with Osama bin Laden. As soon as that came out, the Republicans and the Israeli lobby starting shouting very loudly that this was ‘conspiracy theory’, and so anti-Semitic. They’ve had to stop, since it’s become very clear that this was one conspiracy that was absolutely true.

As many conspiracies are. Not the stupid, poisonous theories about the Jews being engaged in some vast, worldwide plot to destroy or enslave the White race. Or the same paranoia about Freemasons, reptoid aliens, or little Grey creatures from Zeta Reticuli.

The real conspiracies have been plots by the intelligence agencies or private interests to manipulate public opinion. Such as the CIA covertly funding arts and literature, setting up various front groups and campaigns, and infiltrating and manipulating the trade unions and internationalist Socialist movement as part of the campaign against Communism during the Cold War. Or the way the same intelligence agencies, government think tanks, and right-wing pressure groups and big business arranged coups against left-wing regimes around the world, and conspired to bring down left-wing leaders and movements at home. The parapolitics magazine, Lobster, has been documenting and discussing these ever since it was founded in the 1980s. As has Counterpunch, and Larry O’Hara’s Notes from the Borderland.

Mike also asks why Al-Jazeera had to investigate the connections between the Israelis, the Zionist lobby and the anti-Semitism smears. Why not, he asks, the Beeb, ITV, Channel 4 or the mainstream British print media?

Robin Ramsay, in one of his pieces in Lobster, remarked that the Beeb frequently ties itself in knots trying to claim that it isn’t biased towards Israel when it blatantly is. And some of that bias is very subtle indeed. For example, you may remember the Adam Curtis documentary a few years ago that took apart the Neocons. Curtis is a great film-maker, and I highly recommend his series The Century of the Self, The Power of Nightmares, All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. His demolition of the Neoconservatives was effective and very welcome. But he omitted one fact. The Neoconservative programme was launched in the pages of an American Jewish magazine in the late ’60s explicitly as a way of drumming up public support for Israel.

Now I can appreciate why some people might be reluctant to include that fact for entirely decent reasons. Many people would be afraid to include it because it might be seized upon by real anti-Semites to provide a specious justification for their racist nonsense. But that doesn’t stop it being true that Neoconservatism has always been about promoting and defending Israel.

I also wonder if part of the silence from the mainstream media in this country is because so many of their management have links to Israel. Danny Cohen, who was a senior manager with the Beeb, emigrated to Israel a year or so ago, loudly declaring that this country, and Europe, was becoming unbearably anti-Semitic. Barbara Amiel, the wife of Conrad Black, the convicted fraudster who used to own the Torygraph, used to write for the Jerusalem Post, urging the Israeli political leaders to be even more right-wing than they already were. Though it also has to be said that Channel 4 has stood up to the Israelis. There was a nice exchange between Jon Snow and Mark Regev when the Israelis were pummeling Gaza three years ago, when Snow got fed up with Regev’s lies and told him that he was a liar.

My guess is that a large measure of the support the British mainstream media gives Israel may well be a hangover from the Cold War and British colonialism. The founders saw themselves as a western country, not part of the Middle East, and far superior to its indigenous peoples. There were accusations during the British mandate that the British government wanted to encourage Jewish colonisation in order to create a pro-British enclave within a potentially hostile indigenous population, like Protestant Belfast amongst the Nationalist, Roman Catholic parts of Ulster.

The country also became a vital part of the Global war against Communism. The surrounding Arab nationalist regimes, such as the Ba’ath regimes in Syria and Iraq, and Nasser’s Egypt, were Socialist, and pro-Communist, though their ruling parties weren’t Marxists. Israel, and the ghastly theocracies in the Gulf, like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the rest, provided extremely useful pro-western bulwarks against Communist influence in the region.

I also believe that American influence here has also been decisive. Since the Second World War, Britain has tried to maintain itself as a world power through supporting the Americans. This became particularly necessary after the Suez Crisis. Our attempt to take back the Suez Canal, which had been nationalised by Nasser, collapsed when the Americans said they weren’t going to support us. America has staunchly supported Israel, and so, I believe, Britain has fallen in line. And much of the EU’s support for Israel has also been dictated by the Americans.

And in this instance, the British establishment were also all too keen to promote any lie to smear Corbyn and his followers, because it fears the end of Neoliberalism. Hence the repeated lie that he’s a Trotskyite, and he and his followers are ‘far left’.

This has all come together so that the neoliberal political establishment and the mainstream media have been all too eager to promote the lies and smears that Momentum and the Labour left were anti-Semites.

Now, thanks to an Arab news broadcaster, this web of lies and smears has been exposed. It has also shown, through their silence, the complicity in these smears of the mainstream news outlets. It’s shown why we need alternative news sources like Al-Jazeera and RT, which is owned by the Russians, and other internet news shows like The Young Turks, Sam Seder’s Majority Report and Secular Talk. I don’t agree with the show’s anti-religious viewpoint, but on non-religious issues it provides a very good, left-wing analysis of news and events on the other side Pond.

It’s why the corporatist wing of the Democrats and the Beeb are all screaming about the threat of ‘fake news’.

Well, we’ve had ‘fake news’ for decades till we’re sick of it. And much of it comes from the mainstream news sources, including the Beeb, which haven’t been doing their job, and just fed us lie after lie after lie.

It’s time this stopped, and they were made accountable to the public they’ve kept ignorant and misinformed. They need to be questioned over this issue along with politicos like John Mann. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that this is just one, albeit very significant episode, in a long history of bias and lies.

Vox Political: Pro-Israel Figures and Groups Should Be Investigated after Israeli Embassy ‘Take Down’ Comments

January 9, 2017

Mike over at Vox Political has posted another good article, stating that pro-Israel groups should be subjected to a public inquiry after Shai Masot, the senior political officer at the Israeli embassy, was recorded by Al Jazeera TV talking about how he wanted Sir Alan Duncan and other, unnamed MPs, ‘taken down’. Masot made the comments in October last year when he met Maria Strizzolo, an aide to education minister Robert Halfon, and an undercover reporter, referred to as ‘Robin’, in a restaurant.

Halfon is a former political director of Conservative Friends of Israel, and ‘Robin’ was posing as a pro-Israel activist, who had set up the meeting to find out how he could help combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. The meeting, and Masot’s comments, were recorded as part of an investigation by the Arab news agency.

Masot asked Strizzolo if he could give her some names of MPs that he would liked to have taken down. Strizzolo replied that all MPs had something to hide. Masot then carried on ‘I have some MPs. She knows which MPs I want to take down’, and then mentioned Alan Duncan specifically.

He also discussed Boris Johnson, saying he was ‘basically good’, but then qualifying it by saying ‘He just doesn’t care. He is an idiot… If something real happened it won’t be his fault .. it will be Alan Duncan. Duncan is impossible to rebuff… he has a lot of friends’.

The Israeli embassy issued a statement saying it rejects the comments about Duncan, and claimed they were made by a junior embassy employee who was not an Israeli diplomat. Mark Regev, the Israeli ambassador, also apologised and, like the embassy, stated they were unacceptable.

The Foreign Office has stated that they consider the issue closed. The Labour party, however, has rightly demanded an inquiry. Masot has previously admitted that he has set up party political and fake grassroots pro-Israel organisations, like Labour Friends of Israel. Duncan was specifically mentioned as someone the Israelis wanted removed because he has criticised their construction of illegal settlements in occupied Palestine.

Mike in his post asks the questions how many other politicians have also been subject to Israeli interference, how Britain can protect against further interference from the Israelis, and whether the pro-Israeli organisations set up by Masot were responsible for the smearing of Labour politicians on false charges of anti-Semitism. Until an inquiry is held and it’s known how far this rot has progressed, it’s unclear whether any of the claims about anti-Semitism, Zionism or Israel have any validity at all.

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/01/09/pro-israel-groups-and-figures-should-face-inquiry-after-take-down-video-leak/

This issue of Israeli interference in British political affairs deserves an investigation for several reasons. Firstly, the statement that Masot was a junior embassy employee is rubbish. If he’s the senior political officer, then by definition he’s not one of the junior staff. Secondly, the Israelis have been involved in the internal affairs of the Labour party. The anti-Semitism smears were made against Labour members, who were sympathetic to the Palestinians and critical of Israeli colonialism and brutality. Many of those who made the smears were members of Zionist organisations, such as the Labour Friends of Israel. And one of the leaders of these organisations had been a director in the Israeli embassy.

It’s interesting to see the Labour party demand an inquiry, as this could result in some very unpleasant material coming to light for the Blairites. Tony Blair and New Labour were, according to Lobster, financed through the Labour Friends of Israel, and by Israeli business people through connections arranged by Lord Levy and the Israeli embassy.

And the Israeli state in Britain has previous in interfering in strictly internal British affairs. There was, you will recall, a case a few years ago in which the Israelis were caught over here spying on British citizens in Blighty itself. This is quite contrary to accepted international diplomacy, which prohibits friendly countries from spying on each other. This did not, however, result in any punishment for the Israelis, save the metaphorical ‘slap on the wrist’, because they apologised.

This is in stark contrast to their treatment by Maggie Thatcher, when she caught them spying against Brits during her tenure at No. 10. The Israeli spy base was closed, and I think a whole slew of Israeli diplomats came close to being thrown out of the country. But when they were caught again this century, nothing happened. I have a feeling the incident might have occurred when Blair was in power, in which case he probably didn’t want to sour his own personal good relations with his sponsors in the Israeli state.

It’s also possible to contrast the treatment of this Israeli diplomat, who has clearly been caught trying to interfere with the appointment of British MPs, with all the yelling over the other side of the Atlantic about the Russians interfering in internal American politics. The FBI, CIA and the Democrats under Obama have accused Putin of meddling with the conduct of American democracy through leaking details of Hillary Clinton’s corrupt deals with Wall Street. Despite their claims, there’s no real evidence that Putin was behind the leaks, and the former British diplomat, who took custody of the leaked information, has said that it all came from dissatisfied Democrat insiders.

Beyond this, Shrillary and her team have been claiming that Trump is somehow a tool of Putin because one of his staffers also has business dealings with the Russian president. Hence, some of the more hysterical Democrats have demanded that Trump should be tried for treason. Saturday Night Live, the American comedy show, even had a sketch with Putin referring to Trump as ‘the Manchurian candidate’, in other words, an undercover Russian agent ready to his bidding once he gets into power.

Now compare this outrage, whose basis in fact remains extremely tenuous, with the lack of similar concern and anger over the real interference that this interview implies has been exercised by the Israelis. Strizzolo has resigned, but no-one has demanded to know what connection her employer, Halfon, has in this affair, if any, or how many other British politicians and public servants have been keen to do the bidding of the Israelis against other British politicos. The Israelis frequently try to deflect criticism by claiming that they are unfairly singled out for opprobrium, while other regimes equally guilty of human rights violations are allowed to go with minimal criticism. This episode shows that, when it comes to meddling, or allegedly meddling, in the internal affairs of friendly nations, the opposite is true: Israel is treated far more leniently than other countries.

Imperial Blowback: Americans Aided Islamists against Secular Muslim States

December 21, 2015

Here’s another essay well worth reading from William Blum’s Anti-Empire Report, ‘Murdering journalists … them and us’. It’s his observations on the massacre of the staff of Charlie Hebdo. He states right at the outset that

After Paris, condemnation of religious fanaticism is at its height. I’d guess that even many progressives fantasize about wringing the necks of jihadists, bashing into their heads some thoughts about the intellect, about satire, humor, freedom of speech. We’re talking here, after all, about young men raised in France, not Saudi Arabia.

And then he asks the $64 million question: ‘Where has all this Islamic fundamentalism come from in this modern age?’ The answer?

Most of it comes – trained, armed, financed, indoctrinated – from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. During various periods from the 1970s to the present, these four countries had been the most secular, modern, educated, welfare states in the Middle East region. And what had happened to these secular, modern, educated, welfare states?

He then points out that these states, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, were overthrown by the US, and replaced by Islamist regimes, just as the US is now trying to topple Assad in Syria. This is part of America’s long campaign to overthrow left-wing regimes in the name of multinational corporate profits.

And for the past few years the United States has been engaged in overthrowing the secular Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. This, along with the US occupation of Iraq having triggered widespread Sunni-Shia warfare, led to the creation of The Islamic State with all its beheadings and other charming practices.

However, despite it all, the world was made safe for capitalism, imperialism, anti-communism, oil, Israel, and jihadists. God is Great!

Starting with the Cold War, and with the above interventions building upon that, we have 70 years of American foreign policy, without which – as Russian/American writer Andre Vltchek has observed – “almost all Muslim countries, including Iran, Egypt and Indonesia, would now most likely be socialist, under a group of very moderate and mostly secular leaders”. 2 Even the ultra-oppressive Saudi Arabia – without Washington’s protection – would probably be a very different place.

He then goes on to list the various occasions where the US and the West has also acted to kill journalists, mostly staff working at the state broadcasting agencies of our enemies. These include the bombing of the radio transmitters and 20 radio sites for the Taliban station, Radio Shari, in 2001 and the bombing of the Serbian broadcasting station, RTS, in 1999, because they were also broadcasting material we didn’t like; and the killing of various journalists, including a couple from Al-Jazeera, in Iraq.

The whole essay can be read at: http://williamblum.org/aer/read/136.

I think Blum view of the secular regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya is rather too positive. Saddam Hussein was a corrupt butcher. That was why it was easy to get the media to support the invasion, although Hussein’s vile crimes against his own people weren’t the reason we invaded. The West invaded simply so that they could grab Iraqi industries, and with the Saudis steal the country’s oil. Gaddafy also was the proverbial ‘mad dog’ of the Middle East. His regime was secular, it’s true, but he was still quite capable of sponsoring Islamic terrorism elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa when it served his purposes. However, with these secular strongmen now dead, their countries have degenerated into anarchic, violent states, riven by Islamist fanaticism and brutality. You could conclude from this mess that, however vile they were, Gaddafy and Hussein were far preferable to the even worse tyrants and butchers, who have replaced them.

But go and read his piece, and decide for yourself.