Posts Tagged ‘Casinos’

Jeffrey Archer Demands Ban on Gambling Advertising in Radio Times

October 30, 2018

Heavens, and what is the world coming to! I’ve just read something by Jeffrey Archer that actually made sense, and with which I agreed. The scribe of Weston-Super-Mud is in the ‘Viewpoint’ column of the Radio Times today, for the week 3-9 November 2018. His piece is titled ‘We have a gambling epidemic’ and has the subheading ‘Cigarette advertising is banned – so why not ads for betting?’

Archer begins by talking about how the Beeb has lost much of its sport coverage to the commercial channels, and so he has his enjoyment of the footie, rugger, golf and cricket ruined by advertising for gambling. He describes how these try to tempt you into having a flutter, even though the odds are stacked against you. You may win occasionally, but in the long term you’ll lose. He then goes to compare this with tobacco advertising, which also took many years to ban because powerful commercial interests were involved, which also heavily sponsored sport. He also claims that the NHS wouldn’t be in crisis if no-one smoked, because the money thus saved would vastly outweigh the tax revenue tobacco brings in. He then writes

Fast forward: we now have a gambling epidemic. More than 400,000 punters have become addicts, 26,000 of them aged 16 or younger. So how long will it take the Government to ban gambling advertising on television? Far too long, I suspect. A good start was made at the Labour party conference in September by deputy leader Tom Watson, who promised immediate legislation to dealwith the problem if a Labour government were elected. Watson pointed out that several experts had shown that unfettered gambling causes impoverishment for the least fortunate in our society, and this often results in abusive behavior towards young children and partners,, and all too often ends in bankruptcy, imprisonment and even suicide.

Rewind: successive governments took years to acknowledge that “Smoking damages your health”, and even longer to admit that “Smoking kills” should be printed on every cigarette packet; and it took even more time before they finally stamped out all forms of smoking advertising. Please don’t let’s take another 20 years before the Government bans gambling advertising, and wastes a generation of young people simply because of the tax revenue.

He then recommends that Tweezer’s new Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, should steal Watson’s clothes and bring in tough legislation dealing with gambling addiction before the next election, because ‘No one ever remembers whose idea it was, only the party person who passed the law.’

His piece ends ‘The slogan ‘When the fun stops stop’ is pathetic, and will reman so until it’s stopped.’ (p. 15).

Archer and Watson are absolutely right about the damage tobacco advertising has done, and which gambling and the advertising for it is continuing to do. And obviously a disagree with his recommendation that the Tories should appropriate Labour’s policy. If they did, it would only be token gesture of actually doing something for ordinary people, like Hammond’s wretched budget. A cosmetic improvement designed to get them re-elected so they can continue wrecking people’s lives in other ways, through destroying what remains of the welfare state and privatizing the health service.

But I’ve absolutely no fear whatsoever that the Tories will ban gambling advertising, for the same reason that they’ve never banned advertising for alcohol. There are heavy restrictions on the way booze is advertised, but not an outright ban. Which the European Union wished to bring in, according to Private Eye a few years ago.

The contemporary Tory party is a creature of its corporate donors. Always has been, to a certain extent. The Tories have always boasted that they represent business, and their MPs, like MPs generally in a political culture dominated by corporate cash, include the heads and managing directors of companies. Indeed, this is one of the reasons the Tories are dying at grassroots level. Ordinary party members in the constituencies are annoyed at the way they’re being ignored in favour of the donors from big business.

Going back 30 years to Major’s government, there was a demand in the early 1990s for an end to alcohol advertising. Major’s government was firmly against it. And one of the reasons was that very many Tory MPs had links to the drinks industry. Which Private Eye exposed, giving a list of those MPs and their links to particular companies.

I’m very confident that the Tory party now has very strong connections to the gambling industry, and so will very definitely not want to risk losing their cash. Just as it wouldn’t surprise me that if Labour did try to ban gambling advertising, the Thatcherite entryists in the party would turn against it. One of Tony Blair’s grotty schemes was the establishment of megacasinos in this country, modelled on America, of course. One of the ideas being kicked around was to turn Blackpool into a British Las Vegas. It’s a very good thing it failed.

Archer’s absolutely right to want gambling advertising to be banned. But the Tories are the last party that’s going to do it. If any party will, it will be Labour under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

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Jim Lobe on Who Funds AIPAC

September 23, 2018

This is a short, five minute clip from The Real News, based in Boston, put on YouTube ten years ago in 2008. It’s an extract from a longer interview with Jim Lobe, the bureau chief of the Inter press Service in Washington, about the Neocons, the Israel lobby and their power in the US. In this clip, they ask Lobe who’s funding AIPAC, one of the main organisations in the Israel lobby in America.

Lobe replies that one of them is Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate. Adelson owns the Las Vegas Sands in Las Vegas, has opened casinos in Macao, and is the third wealthiest America with a fortune worth between $12 and $30 billion. He offered to be the major donor for AIPAC’s new building. He’s very close to Benjamin Netanyahu and Natan Sharansky, who is part of the Shalem Centre, a Natanyahu/Likud front thinktank in Israel. Adelson founded his own institute, the Adelson institute in Israel, which is headed by Sharansky. He’s also the biggest contributor to the Republican Jewish Coalition, a very Neoconservative, pro-Likudist group, and was also a founder and by far the biggest contributor to another lobby group, Freedomswatch, which was aiming to influence the Congressional races in November 2009.

Lobe says that there are also other, very wealthy contributors, and recommends that the interviewer talks to Michael Massing, who has written quite a bit on the Israel lobby as a kind of corrective to the Walt Mearsheimer thesis first published in the London Review of Books. Asked about Mearsheimer’s views, Lobe replies that they’re putting the issue of the influence of the Israel lobby – that is the confluence of American presidents, AIPAC, the really big organisations, on US policy into the debate – is absolutely critical, particularly under this Bush administration. What we’ve seen is things go seriously, seriously bad in the Middle East, and that a lot of that is due to the policies that these large, very influential American Jewish organisations have first endorsed, then pushed.

Their ( Mearsheimer’s) idea of Israel is something along the two-state solution and getting it done. And they see Israel without such a solution still holding onto Arab lands and so on, as a serious drag on US foreign policy success, as a detriment in the region. They took a realist position, but not one Lobe feels compromises or would compromise Israel’s security so long as it defines its borders more modestly than it does at the present time. Lobe thinks that they were saying that support for Israel should not be unconditional, that there should be clear conditions put on that support, which Israel can either accept or reject. But their main point was that the influence of the Israel lobby, particularly organisations such as this, on Congress, was distorting American interests because the support for Israel in Congress is essentially unconditional, and that’s not getting the US anywhere. It’s also undermining Israel’s security in the long-term. Lobe says that there isn’t much to disagree with in that assessment, or at least Lobe himself says he doesn’t disagree with it much.

Of course, the Israel lobby isn’t confined to American Jews. It also includes Christians, like Ted Hagee’s Christians United For Israel, while many American Jews are becoming increasingly alienated and critical of Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians.

Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ Documentary from 2009: Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby – Part

March 11, 2018

The documentary then moves on to January, 2009 and the invasion of Gaza, and allegations of Human Rights abuses by Israeli forces were still circulating months later. But Oborne points out that you wouldn’t know it from the contents of the News of the World and the Mirror. Both these rags ran stories instead about the threat to Israel from the surrounding Arab nations. The hacks behind these pieces had been given free trips to Israel by BICOM, one of the wealthiest lobby groups in Britain. Oborne then goes on to interview David Newman in his office in Jerusalem. Newman worked alongside BICOM in disseminating Israeli propaganda in British universities. Newman states that there is indeed a debate within Israel about the status of the settlements in Palestinian territory. Groups like BICOM close down this debate abroad, and instead demand absolute for Israel.

Plocha Zabludowicz, the head of BICOM, is the 18th richest person in Britain. And he is very definitely not part of traditional British Anglo-Jewish society, but came up through the Jewish Leadership Council, who are described as the lords of the big Jewish donors. Oborne then interviews the head of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, Rabbi Emeritus David Goldberg, and asks if he knows him. Goldberg states that his name doesn’t ring a bell. Zabludowicz is actually of Polish ancestry. He is a Finnish citizen with a house in north London. His father made a fortune peddling Israeli arms, as did Zabludowicz himself before moving into property and casinos. His company is registered in Lichtenstein. He is, in short, ‘a rank outsider’. He was also one of the guests at Madonna’s birthday party in Italy.

Zabludowicz generously bankrolls BICOM, to whom he gave £800,000, who wrote a clause into their accounts recognising his generosity. He had given them £1.3 million in the previous three years, and has business interests in the Middle East. These cast doubt on the possibility of reaching a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Oborne then goes on to discuss the case of one of the illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine, whose supermarket is owned by Zabludowicz. Newman states this indicates the direction in which BICOM is moving. Rabbi Goldberg states that it shows that Zabludowicz calculates that the settlement won’t be returning to the Palestinians, even under the most generous peace deal. As for Zabludowicz himself, he declined to meet the Dispatches team, but instead released a statement claiming that he was a major supporter of the creation of a separate Palestinian state, and that he understood that concessions would need to be made. Oborne was, however, successful in talking to Lorna Fitzsimons, BICOM’s chief executive. She claimed that BICOM was very open, that their donors do not influence policy. When asked about Zabludowicz, she claimed he was different from anyone else and she didn’t know about his business connections. All the organisation was doing was to make journos and people aware of the different strands of the debate on Israel.

Oborne moves on to the other groups involved in the Israel lobby – the Jewish Leadership Council, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Zionist Federation, and states that some members of these groups are very aggressive towards the TV and press. He then interviews Alan Rusbridger about his experiences of dealing with them. Rusbridger states that some TV editors warned him to stay away from them and the whole subject of Israel and the Palestinians. The Guardian was attacked for criticising Israel in a way that no other country does. There was a special meeting at the Israeli embassy between the ambassador, Zabludowicz, Grunewald of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the property magnate Gerald Reuben. They were unhappy about a Groaniad article comparing the Israeli’s occupation of Palestine with apartheid South Africa. So Grunewald and his mate, Roman Leidel, decided to pay Rusbridger a visit. Grunewald is a lawyer, claimed that the article was fomenting anti-Semitism, and would encourage people to attack Jews on the street, a risible accusation which Rusbridger denied. This was followed by complaints to the Press Complaints Commission about the article by the pro-Israel American group, CAMERA, or Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, which specialising in attacking journos critical of Israel. The Press Complaints Commission duly investigated the article, and found that only one fact was wrong. When asked about this, Rabbi Goldberg states that Israel is indeed an apartheid state. There are two road systems, one for use by Israelis and one for the Palestinians. There are two legal systems in operation. The Israelis are governed by Israeli law, while the Palestinians are governed by military law. When asked what will happen to him when his comments are broadcast, the good rabbi simply laughs and says that he’ll be attacked once against as being an ant-Semitic, self-hating Jew.

Many other Jews are also critical of Israel. Oborne goes on to talk to Tony Lerman, formerly of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, and now a Groaniad journo. Lerman states that the Israel lobby don’t take into account the diversity of Jewish views on Israel. This is confirmed by Avi Shlaim, who says that there is a split in the Jewish community over Israel. The community’s leaders are largely pro-Israel with a narrow rightwing agenda that is not typical of Jewish Brits. And libelling Israel’s critics as ‘anti-Semitic’ is now common policy.

One example of this use of libel is a New York blogger, ‘Hawkeye’, who hunts through the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ column, claiming it is full of anti-Semitic bias. Rusbridger states that this is dangerous and disreputable. ‘Hawkeye’ attacked Lerman in particular as a nasty anti-Semite. Lerman states that this tactic has been adopted because it’s a useful defence of Israel. Rabbi Goldberg concedes that some people might be seriously anti-Semitic, others are just voicing genuine opinions, which should be respected. Michael Ancram, even, was accused of being anti-Semitic, which he said he takes with a pinch of salt.

But this leads into the whole question of whether the BBC has been corrupted by the influence of the Israel lobby. On record, BBC journos and spokespeople claim that the Corporation’s reporting of Israel is unbiased. Off-record, the stories different. News staff state that there is always pressure from top management for a pro-Israel slant. Oborne then interview Charlie Brebitt, an accountant at the LSE, who was formerly of Channel 4, who confirms that there is a very strong and active Israel lobby, and a sizable body of sympathy with Israel. The BBC has no choice but to respond. Honest Reporting, another pro-Israel media attack dog, and the other parts of the Israel lobby take advantage of this, alleging that there is an institutional bias at the Corporation against Israel.

In 2003 during the Iraq invasion the Beeb broadcast a hard-hitting documentary investigating Israel’s secret nuclear weapon’s programme, entitled ‘Israel’s Secret Weapon’ on the 16th March. The Israeli Press Office issued a statement comparing this to the worst of Nazi propaganda, and imposed restrictions on BBC staff in Israel. When Ariel Sharon, the Israeli leader, visited Downing Street, the only journos banned from covering the meeting were the Beeb. Honest Reporting UK complained that the programme was part of a campaign to vilify Israel. One member of the group, Nathan Sharansky, complained that the late Orla Guerin, here shown with two eyes, was anti-Semitic, and that she shared the goals of Palestinian terror groups.

Continued in Part 3.

Al-Jazeera Report into Israel Lobby in America and Qatar

March 10, 2018

‘Michelle’, another of the great commenters on this blog, sent me the link below to a report by Asa Winstanley in the Electronic Intifada on a forthcoming Al-Jazeera documentary exposing the activities of the Israel lobby in spying on anti-Israel activists in America, and their attempts to bring the United Arab Emirates into line with Israeli and American foreign policy. And, of course, suppress Al-Jazeera.

This is being done through the Neocon organisation, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, which is gathering the data of pro-Palestinian activists and the BDS movement in the US. The top civil servant at the Israeli Ministry of Strategy Affairs is Sima Vaknin-Gil, an Israeli army officer, whose boss is an ally of Netanyahu. The Ministry is in charge of propaganda against the BDS movement. Vaknin-Gil has said that she wants to create an army of pro-Israeli trolls to flood the internet, while being formally separate from the Israeli state.

The Foundation also receives funding from Sheldon Adelson, the American casion magnate, who makes it very clear that he stands for ‘Israel first’.

The documentary also shows pro-Israel lobbyist Max Adelstein, who works for AIPAC, the big pro-Israel lobby group in the US, boasting of how he is also working to bring the UAE into closer alignment with America and Israel.

The film also shows Jonathan Schanzer, the Senior Vice-President at the Foundation, telling his minions how they are to smear pro-Palestinian activists. And he reveals how the smears increasingly aren’t work. This part of the report says

According to the source, Schanzer admits to the undercover reporter that “BDS has taken everybody by surprise.”

He calls the response by Israel lobby groups “a complete mess,” adding, “I don’t think that anybody’s doing a good job. We’re not even doing a good job.”

According to the source, Schanzer laments that attempts to smear Students for Justice in Palestine and American Muslims for Palestine as linked to extremist Islamic terrorism have failed to gain traction.

He is also said to regret that the Israel lobby’s habitual tactic of falsely alleging Palestine solidarity activists are motivated by anti-Jewish hatred is losing its impact.

“Personally I think anti-Semitism as a smear is not what it used to be,” he is said to tell the undercover reporter.

Schanzer’s views echo a secret report endorsed by the Israeli government and distributed to Israel lobby leaders last year. That report, a leaked copy of which was published by The Electronic Intifada, concludes that Israel’s efforts to stem the growth of the Palestine solidarity movement have largely failed.

And the Emirates’ links to the Trump administration are also being investigate by Robert Mueller, who is moving away from the supposed Russian influence to include them through their connections to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

It also discusses Al-Jazeera documentary, The Lobby, which showed Shai Masot conspiring with members of the Conservative and Labour parties. This new documentary was supposed to be shown five months ago, but has not yet come out.

The Israel lobby has also been active travelling to Qatar to get the film suppressed, and supposedly received assurances that it won’t, though the Qataris deny this. Al-Jazeera’s investigation has been decried by Noah Pollak, another Neocon, as a foreign espionage investigation on American soil. The Israel lobby is pressuring the US government to force Al-Jazeera to register as an arm of the Qatari government.

https://electronicintifada.net/content/whats-al-jazeeras-undercover-film-us-israel-lobby/23496

I am frankly completely unsurprised that the Neocons were up to their neck in this. The Neocon project always was a Zionist outfit. It all started with an article in the late ’60s by their chief ideologue, William Kristol, about ways to get the American public to back Israel. Which included the vast majority of Jewish Americans at the time, who were completely indifferent in Israel, a foreign country they had never seen and had no desire to emigrate to.

As for AIPAC, there’s more than a whiff of double standards here. One of the left-wing American news channels pointed out that FARA, the piece of American legislation dating from World War II, which demands that foreign lobbyists register with the US authorities, should cover them. But it doesn’t. Because of their very powerful influence since the 1950s.

What is encouraging, however, is Schanzer’s admission that the lies and smears he and his scummy friends have been directing against pro-Palestinian activists, that they’re all connected to Islamist terror groups, or anti-Semites, increasingly aren’t working.

And when they fail completely, how is this going to make McNichol and the kangaroo courts persecuting decent, anti-racists and campaigners against anti-Semitism, who’ve been libelled by the Israel lobby because of their anti-Israel activism, going to look?

Lies, Libels, Criminal and Political Manipulation Catch Up with the Israel Lobby

March 4, 2018

Oh dear, the various crimes and misdeeds of prominent members of the Israel lobby are starting to come to home to roost. Mike yesterday put up a series of article discussing the various shady figures in the Jewish Labour movement, their criminal activities, and the connections of the organisation’s leading members to the Israeli embassy at the time when Shai Masot, an official at that embassy, was taking it upon himself to decide what Conservative politicians should be in our cabinet.

First of all, Jonathan ‘No Morals’ Newmark, as I have decided to dub him, the former chair of the JLM, is now being investigated by the fuzz at the request of the organisation he once headed. No Morals has been credibly accused of stealing funds from Jewish charities when he was one of the head honchos of the Jewish Leadership Council. They released him, but decided not to start a police investigation in order to avoid a scandal. No Morals denied this, of course, and claims that he resigned instead due to health reasons. Well, we shall see.

The JLM is the morally corrupt organisation, which the Labour party wanted Mike to go to for a ‘training day’. They’re the outfit that smeared Jackie Walker as an anti-Semite for questioning the exclusive concentration on the Jewish Holocaust during the Second World War at their workshop on Holocaust Remembrance Day. She wanted other groups, who had also suffered genocide, like Blacks, to be included. It was meant to be a ‘safe space’ where anyone could speak freely without repercussions, but they taped her comments and then released them. She also committed the unforgivable sin in their eyes of rejecting their tortured attempts to expand the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel. As Israel is a racist apartheid state, she was right to do so. The anti-Semites themselves defined anti-Semitism, a word coined by their leader and founder, Wilhelm Marr, as hatred of Jews based on their biology and race. But this is forgotten by the Israel lobby, who are more concerned with defending Israel than really battling genuine anti-Semitism. Mike refused to attend their wretched training day, because he believes that this would be an admission of guilt on his part. And he’s absolutely right.

https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/03/03/newmark-to-be-focus-of-jewish-labour-movement-police-investigation-the-jewish-chronicle/

Then Mike posted up this 2016 article from the Electronic Intifada, pointing out that the JLM’s new director, Ella Rose, was an official at the Israeli Embassy during Shai Masot’s interference with our politics at the highest level. She did not declare this connection on her CV, stating only that she was head of the Union of Jewish Students. No Morals Newmark has declared her appointment a good career move, which seems to Mike to be highly suspicious.

https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/03/03/jewish-labour-movement-director-was-israeli-embassy-officer-the-electronic-intifada/

And he’s also put up a piece showing that Labour Against Anti-Semitism have also been libelling Jennie Formby, the new left-wing candidate for the post of General Secretary of the Labour Party. They claim that in 2016 she was forced to leave her post as Political Director of Unite the Union, because she questioned the impartiality of Baroness Royall to head an investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism amongst Labour students at Oxford University. This is supposedly because Baroness Royall had made several trips to Israel. Mike makes clear that this is based on the tortured definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the Zionist organisations, which states

“it is antisemitic to accuse ‘Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations’.”

This isn’t actually part of the definition, but just a guide to deciding what is or isn’t anti-Semitic.

There’s only problem with the LAA’s accusation against Ms. Formby. T’ain’t true. The union has issued a statement refuting the LAA’s accusation, pointing out that her departure had nothing to do with such allegations, and that she was a valued and respected part of their team. They state that rather than opposing Royall’s appointment, she actually supported her and wanted her investigation to be properly resourced. And also, nobody actually knows if Royall herself is anti-Semitic or not. And if she isn’t, this alone blows their accusation away. You cannot be anti-Semitic against someone who isn’t Jewish.

Mike’s article ends with this statement

LAAS is fronted by Euan Philipps, chair of Tonbridge and Malling Constituency Labour Party. He wrote a libellous blog article about This Writer on the Huffington Post website, so it is clear that he enjoys a questionable relationship with factual accuracy. The HuffPost‘s lawyers reckon his comments were “honest opinion” but that has to be based on accurate facts, so they are both in a highly actionable situation.

And a promise that he’ll let his readers know how this strand will develop.

https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/03/03/another-organisation-that-claims-to-fight-anti-semitism-is-accused-of-lies/

Mike states that he is actually fully in agreement with the IHRC’s guideline that it is anti-Semitic to accuse Jews of being more loyal to the Israel, or the interest of Jews worldwide, than to the nations of their birth. As a generally principle, so do I. But I make an exception to certain members of the Israel lobby, who clearly do make it clear that their priorities are elsewhere.

Like Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate, who is one of the most vocal supporters of Israel in America and a lavish political donor. Adelson states very clearly that he is ‘Israel first’. So by his own admission, he is more loyal to Israel than to the America in which he lives and made his money.

As for Ella Rose and her connections to the Israeli embassy while Shai Masot was trying to manipulate the Tories’ selection of cabinet ministers, if she was involved in this, then she too has dangerously divided loyalties. People who genuinely love their country don’t conspire with officials of a foreign power to manipulate their nation’s politics. They may try to alter the policies or appointment of personnel through negotiation at official levels, which is natural. But they do not do so at private, secret meetings, carefully hidden from scrutiny.

I am not saying that the Israelis are unique in this. America has plenty of form in manipulating the politics of other nations, either trying to stop the election of parties they don’t like, or then overthrowing them when they do get in. And it’s a long list of countries, about 54 or more. The latest was the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine, overseen by Obama’s woman Victoria Nuland, and Hillary ‘Queen of Chaos’ Clinton. And Killary herself has gone on recorded saying that she regretted not interfering in the Palestinian elections.

But just because the Americans are doing it, doesn’t make it any better for the Israeli lobby over here to do so too.

There are series questions to be asked of all the pro-Israel organisations in the Labour party because of their smears, libels and political manipulation. And this isn’t anti-Semitic, because amongst the decent people they’ve vilified are decent, self-respecting, anti-racist Jews, many of whom have suffered anti-Semitic abuse and violence.

It’s time to end the charade that the JLM and similar bodies care anything about anti-Semitism. They’re just right-wingers terrified of the Left, and afraid that Israel’s Fascist character is being increasingly exposed.

Netanyahu Rejects Liberal American Jews for Christian Zionists

December 8, 2017

Yesterday, 7th December 2017, Jonathan Cook published a very revealing piece about Netanyahu’s attitude to towards liberal American Jews in Counterpunch. The Israeli butcher is basically turning his back on them. Cook begins his piece by noting that most American Jews are politically liberal domestically. But they support Israel, and have been prepared to overlook or support the atrocities it has committed as they believed they had the right to a strong state themselves following the Holocaust. But he goes on to argue that Netanyahu’s increasing intolerance towards liberal Judaism makes this position increasingly difficult, and that they will have to confront their hypocrisy.

Much of this centres around the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, the remains of Solomon’s Temple. At the moment it’s controlled by Orthodox rabbis, who do not want Reform Jews and women praying there. There was an attempt to set up a special space for them, but the Orthodox was resolutely against it and Netanyahu caved in. As a result there has been outrage amongst Jewish Americans. Avraham Infield, a liaison to the American Jewish community, told Haaretz that many Jewish Americans now believe that Israel doesn’t give a dam’ about them.

Matters have been made worse by Tzipi Hotovely, the deputy foreign minister. She criticised American Jews for not fighting in either the US or Israeli militaries. They were leading ‘convenient lives’. Cook notes that this echoes the views of Orthodox rabbis, who argue that Reform Jews aren’t real Jews, and may even be enemies of Judaism.

This has been accompanied by an increased intolerance of Israeli critics of the regime. Netanyahu’s government has for a long time denounced the Palestinian human rights group B’Tsalem and the veterans’ organisation Breaking the Silence as traitors. But now they have targeted the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which is the Israeli equivalent of the American Civil Liberties Union. According to Netanyahu, the group supports ‘terrorists’. Recent decisions by the government allow pupils to give racist answers in exams, and expand gender segregation at the universities. The government is also trying criminalise boycotting the Israeli state. There are two bills to make advocating this illegal, punishable with seven years in jail or $150,000 fine. The Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, wants stronger power to clamp down on protesters and critics, including the ability to detain without charge.

And Cook notes that for the first time, Jews are being asked at their airports what their political views are.

He also cites an article in the far-right Israeli newspaper, Makor Rishon, owned by the American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. This apparently gave Netanyahu’s reasons for turning his back on liberal American Jews. Netanyahu is convinced that the low birth rate and high rate of intermarriage amongst American Reform Jews mean that they will die out within a couple of generations. So he’s abandoned them in favour of cultivating closer ties to Orthodox Jews and Christian evangelicals.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/07/netanyahu-ditches-us-jews-for-alliance-with-christian-evangelicals-and-the-alt-right/

I am not surprised at Netanyahu’s attitude towards Reform Jews. Orthodox Judaism very much is the religion of the Israeli state. And the pronouncements of leading Jews in this country have shown their intolerance towards Reform Jews. A few years ago, the Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, caused outrage when he declared that Reform Jews were ‘enemies of the faith’. There is indeed a very high rate of intermarriage amongst male secular and Reform Jews in the Diaspora. I think it’s about 80 per cent, though against that the rate of intermarriage for women is much lower. As a result, many Jews are worried that they’re people are disappearing. As for Christian Zionists, as Richard Coughlan pointed out in his video on this issue, they’re the largest Zionist group in America.

It is thus all too credible that Netanyahu is turning his back liberal, American Jews.

I don’t know whether it will force them to reconsider their support for Israel. It may well do so, as an increasing number of young Jewish Americans are coming to despise the country and the way it treats the Palestinians, even when they have been on the heritage tours organised by the Israeli authorities. This includes Jews, who have been victims of anti-Semitism. Other critics of Israel, like Norman Finkelstein, have pointed out that Israel was traditionally very peripheral to mainstream Judaism, and that by far the majority of American Jews wanted to live as equal citizens in America. They definitely did not want to go to Israel, and did not see Israel as having any potential to revive interest in their religion or community.

This all changed in the late 1960s, when Israel defeated the Arabs in the Six Day War. The American Right also seized on these victories as psychological compensation for American defeats in Vietnam. And the Neocon movement was launched by American Jewish Zionists as part of a campaign to drum up support for Israel. American support for Israel is therefore a relatively recent phenomenon.

Whatever happens, I think we can expect more screaming and shouts of anti-Semitism at Israel’s critics, including Jews, as Netanyahu’s government becomes increasingly intolerant. And this may, in turn, cause more people to turn away from supporting Israel, as they find themselves tarred as anti-Semites and supporters of terrorism simply for not being quite so enthusiastic in their support as Netanyahu demands.

Spoof Interview with Benjamin Netanyahu on the Jimmy Dore Show

September 24, 2016

In this video from the American comedian and frequent guest on The Young Turks, Jimmy Dore, he takes a phone call from ‘Benjamin Netanyahu’. During their conversation, ‘Netanyahu’ talks about how some American politicos need to be given a stiff talking-to by him, as they have not spread panic and fear-mongering about all Muslims being responsible for the terrorist attacks on their country. He calls Muslims ‘the most dangerous of all the ‘M’s’, and praises Hillary Clinton as being every bit as belligerent and pro-war as he is. And also very manipulable. The only drawback is that while Clinton would give Israel more than previous American leaders, there would still be a ceiling on what they would give them. As for Donald Trump, he states that Trump’s surname was originally Drumpf, a German name, and the idea of America led by someone with a German name would not be particularly pleasing to his people. Nor is the anti-Semitism in the Alt-Right movement which supports him. But the man himself is not personally anti-Semitic, and, like ‘Netanyahu’ himself, is a bully, so he understands him and they can do business. Indeed, he thinks that if Trump wins the presidency, he will be the first president to give Israel everything it wants, including the ethnic cleansing or ‘resettlement’ of the Palestinians from Gaza. Indeed, he’ll offer The Donald a deal. If he allows it to go ahead, Bibi ‘Netanyahu’ will offer him a deal to build a casino there. It ends with Netanyahu offering Dore a series of gigs to perform there for three weeks, which he angrily withdraws when Dore asks if he can bring his own opening man. ‘Netanyahu’ also gets angry when Dore mentions that there are many Israelis, who dislike the fact that their country is now ruled by the Likud party, an extreme right-wing faction.

I know this is another video about America, but it makes several excellent points. Netanyahu is indeed the leader of an extreme Right-wing party, Likud. he is a thug and a bully determined to browbeat any opposition to the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Hillary Clinton is a belligerent hawk, fiercely pro-Israel, who is determined to start more wars. Trump is also a bully supported by neo-Nazis, who has tried to make money – and failed – from casinos. And Netanyahu has promoted the war on terror by promoting Islamophobia, and the fear that all Muslims are real or potential terrorists.

I’m also posting this up as it’s a subject that the Israel lobby is doing its absolute best to close down. As we’ve seen, any opposition to Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and the country’s numerous human rights abuses is loudly denounced as anti-Semitism, even when those protesting against them are committed anti-racists with a proud personal history of attacking anti-Semitism. Many of the victims of this smear tactic have been Jews, who have been abused as ‘self-hating’. This sketch probably wouldn’t be shown on mainstream American television, for fear of offending the Zionist lobby and influential Zionist donors to the political parties. I doubt if something similar would be shown over here either, for exactly the same reasons. If it was, I can imagine there would be howls of protest from groups like BICOM, Labour Friends of Israel, the pro-Israeli section of the Tories, and the Israeli ambassador, Mark Regev.

The other year, when Israel embarked on yet another military attack on the Palestinians, Gerald Scarfe satirised it in the Independent in a cartoon showing Netanyahu building the wall, which is designed to keep Arabs out of Israel, using their blood as part of its mortar. Regev sent the newspaper an angry letter, complaining that the cartoon was anti-Semitic because it was allegedly based on the medieval blood libel that Jews ritually sacrificed Christians to use their blood in the matzoh bread at Passover. The blood libel is, of course, disgusting rubbish, and has been responsible for causing terrible pogroms and violence against the Jews ever since it appeared in the 12th century. However, blood is also a common metaphor for human suffering and carnage, and to me the cartoon is fair comment. The wall is metaphorically built on the blood of the Palestinians, who have been killed and expelled from their homeland. That’s fact, not a vile and pernicious medieval myth. Scarfe’s cartoon made no reference to the blood libel. He did not show it as any kind of ritual murder, or include any Jewish religious observance. And the cartoon wasn’t about the Jewish people as a whole, just Israel. And Scarfe is not an anti-Semite. Rather, the cartoon was part of his repertoire of bitter visual invective against brutality and atrocity, regardless of the ethnicity of those responsible.

The Indie should have defended Scarfe against Regev’s accusations. Instead, it printed his letter and an apology. The cartoon didn’t need one, and Regev didn’t deserve one.

I mention this incident as it’s an example of the difficulty in criticising Israel for its multifarious attacks on the persons, property and dignity of the Palestinians, and those Israelis, who courageously take a stand against this. But the more Likud and its allies smear and demonise critics of Zionism, the more opposition to them will grow as increasingly more people, including Jews, will become sick and tired of such bullying and harassment. The more Netanyahu and his allies complain, libel and smear, the more they will lose support.

Secular Talk: Trump Promises to Destroy the First Amendment

March 2, 2016

Donald Trump’s rage against the media for supposedly portraying him in a negative light has hit a new, very dangerous low. In this piece from Secular Talk, Kyle Kulinski discusses one of the Dimestore Duce’s speeches, in which he attacked journalists and the media as one of the lowest groups of humanity. He singled out in particular the New York Times and the Washington Post. When he got into power, he promised, he would extend the libel laws, so that people could sue them for their alleged lies and win ‘lots of money’.

Kulinski points out that this is Authoritarianism 101. The New York Times and the Washington Post are able to print their articles against Trump, because they’re protected by the First Amendment. You know, that pesky bit in the American Constitution that guarantees the people of America free speech. Trump wants to overturn that, and the protection it gives America, because journalists are saying nasty things about him.

Kulinski points out that there is absolutely no chance of this happening, as it would need a constitutional committee to be convened before there could be any change. But this is an authoritarian attitude. Authoritarianism is when you crack down and attack your enemies, while giving your friends a pat on the back. And you can see what he’s like by looking at how he behaves to his Twitter followers. Anyone who criticises him, he attacks mercilessly, while he praises those who supported him.

Kulinski also states that it’ll have a chilling effect on the media. Nobody, not even those who hate Trump, like to be attacked. So journalists will go softer on him, in order to avoid Trump lashing out at them again. So he’ll get them doing his propaganda for him. He also points out that what the New York Times and Washington Post wrote wasn’t libel. They merely discussed Trump’s failing businesses, like his casinos, using facts. Trump’s attack on free speech and promise to extend the libel laws is a threat, that should worry even his supporters.

Kulinski is absolutely right about this. Britain doesn’t have a written constitution, and our libel laws are extremely strict, so much so that they have been used to crack down on free speech. A while ago an American academic was sued for libel in a British court by a Saudi billionaire, Khalid bin Mahfuz, for what she wrote about the way the Sheikh’s charitable foundations had been used to fund al-Qaeda in her book, Funding Terror. She stated that the Sheikh was not involved in these transactions, nor was he even aware of them. And she was factually correct. This availed her nothing. Mahfuz won the case, arguing that while she was correct, it nevertheless harmed his professional reputation.

Private Eye printed a long piece reporting and attacking the judgement for it what it was – an attack that undermined the basis of democracy itself. In response, a number of American judges and states passed legislation officially declaring that British legal judgements and law had no validity in America, in order to protect free speech in their country from this and similar attacks.

And this hasn’t been the only time the libel laws have been used by the rich and corrupt to silence their critics. In the 18th and 19th centuries one of the way the British government sought to suppress those journalists and writers that criticised its corruption was to sue them for ‘seditious libel’. It why the great British journalist, Cobbett, spent several years in America, before returning to Blighty. Even foreign rulers got in on the act. One of the British radical journalists – I think it might even have been Cobbett again – was sued in the 1820s by the Russian Tsar when he described him as a tyrant, who ‘was ridiculous to his people’. Trump’s threat to expand the libel laws is a real danger to the genuinely great American tradition of free speech.

Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist, has boastingly called his show, Infowars, ‘1776 Worldwide’. He’s loudly backing Trump. What he fails to realise, is that Trump isn’t one of the Revolutionaries. He’s actually one of the Red Coats.