Posts Tagged ‘GLC’

Vox Political on More False Claims of Abuse and Intimidation against Corbyn

July 25, 2016

Mike on Saturday put up another piece on the antics of the Blairites trying to accuse Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters of harassing and intimidating them. On Friday, Paula Sheriff and 43 other female Labour MPs sent a letter to Corbyn demanding that he act against groups that they claimed were intimidating them in his name. They also criticised John McDonnell and other Shadow Ministers for attending rallies were bullying was rife or quietly condoned.

The women behind the letter gave no evidence that the people involved in such campaigns against them were supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, or even members of the Labour party. As for their claims of bullying and intimidation, Corbyn himself has been making appeals for reconciliation. The personal attacks and criticisms come from the Blairites – Owen Smith, Angela Eagle and the Blairistas. And their tactics of abuse and misrepresentation have become so bad, that the Corbyn camp has drawn guidelines urging their supporters to have nothing to do with the Blairites, because they will mock and attempt to twist their words so as to misrepresent them.

Mike states that he can confirm these tactics are being used, because people have tried it on him. As for their demands, Mike reports that Corbyn is quite happy to hold meetings with women in the Parliamentary Labour party. He has also already issued statements condemning threatening behaviour. As for bullying at rallies, Mike states very clearly that it is difficult for him to control some of it, when it does not come from his camp but the Blairites themselves. Such as that ‘Eradicate Blairite Scum’ T-shirt, produced by Anna Phillips, of the Blairite pressure group, Progress, and her pet PR stunt organiser, Lewis Parker. This was the occasion where a threatening slogan was used on a T-shirt, as Madam Sheriff claims. Mike asks rhetorically whether those responsible for the T-shirt have come forward. Obviously, they haven’t, nor are they likely to.

See Mike’s article at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/07/23/is-there-any-evidence-at-all-to-connect-threats-of-abuse-to-labour-mps-with-jeremy-corbyn/

All this reminds me of the tactics Mussolini used to try and justify Italian imperialism on the international stage. The Fascists claimed that Italy was a ‘proletarian nation’ that was being discriminated against by the other European powers, who were preventing it from acquiring the empire it so richly deserved. Apart from Ethiopia, and North Africa, Musso also had his eye on Nice in France, Greece and Albania. Before he finally launched his invasion of the last two, the Duce made a number of inflammatory speeches claiming that Italy has a right to them. When the Great Powers, France and Britain, told him precisely where he could go, he then made a series of new speeches complaining about how poor Italy was being bullied by France and Britain. Even though the ranting and aggressive militarism was all coming from him.

So it is with the Blairites. In fact, there is something very childish about the way they behave. It all reminds me very strongly of school bullies. You know, the type that liked to punch people from behind, and then run away screaming for miss the moment they were accused. Or would issue a stream of insults, challenging you to a fight, but demand that you should hit them first, so they could say you started it. And if you weren’t drawn, they’d then start yelling that you were obviously a coward and afraid of them. It’s all at that level.

And several of their demands actually look to me like a way of trying to close down democratic debate through the back door. Let’s take their demand that people should stop demonstrating in front of constituency offices, because they and their staff feel threatened. The most logical place for a demonstration against an unsatisfactory politician is in front of their office. Now this should be done without personal threats or abuse. But it should be a perfectly legitimate form of the right to demonstrate. It only becomes harassment if threats and insults are made. I would argue that demonstrations, simply as demonstrations, only constitute harassment if they are made outside the person’s home, or that of other members of their family. The Blairite ladies are here using the precise logic that has seen Cameron’s government crack down on the right of the public to hold demonstrations. These can now be banned by the local authorities if they feel they constitute a ‘nuisance’. Not if they may lead to public order problems, like possible rioting or fighting, but simply ‘nuisance’. It’s part of the same desire to find ‘soft’ reasons for limiting public expressions of disapproval, and so maintain the image of overwhelming public support.

And I don’t take seriously the Blairite’s claims that there is somehow a culture of misogyny under Corbyn. A year or so ago he was being ridiculed for suggesting segregated, women-only railway carriages might be a solution to the problem of sexual assaults and rape against women on the trains. His opponents rightly pointed out that wasn’t the answer, and that women should be safe regardless of where they were. Absolutely. But Corbyn’s answer, although extreme, showed that he took the issue very seriously indeed. In many ways, it reminded me of the controversies over Ken Livingstone’s GLC over the way they funded radical feminist, gay and anti-racist groups.

This is yet another bullying attempt by the Blairites to play the victim and smear their opponents. All such antics are doing is revealing quite how childish and bullying Smiff, Sheriff and the Blairites are.

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Lobster on the Anti-Semitism Allegations, the Zionists and the Nazis

June 30, 2016

Mike has posted up yet another piece, which shows the disgusting attitude of the Blairites and their willingness to do anything to unseat and smear Jeremy Corbyn. It seems Sami Chakrabarti’s inquiry into anti-Semitism in the Labour party has generally given the party a clean bill of health. However, that hasn’t been good enough for Ruth Smeeth and Sam Stopp, two members, who seem absolutely convinced that the party is riddled with it and it’s all Corbyn’s fault. In the case of Smeeth, it seems to be because someone else in Labour called her a traitor because she was giving some assistance to the Torygraph in writing an article about it. And as she’s Jewish, she decided it must be because of her religion/ ethnicity, rather than in the fact that she was helping the notoriously anti-Socialist paper. In the case of Stopp, it’s because he looked at a speech in which Corbyn made it clear that Jews weren’t responsible for the actions of Israel, any more than Muslims were responsible for atrocities committed by ISIS, and came to the direct opposite of what was being meant. He perversely concluded that Corbyn was saying that Jews were responsible for the actions of Israel, and like Smeeth, promptly threw his toys out of the pram. See Mike’s article: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/06/30/farcical-anti-semitism-accusations-fly-at-anti-semitism-inquiry-report/

These accusations about anti-Semitism in the Labour party are partly based on Ken Livingstone’s statement that Hitler too supported sending Jews to Israel. This was perfectly true, but was too much for the historically challenged Blairites, who in the person of John Mann, threw a fit and started accusing Red Ken of being a Nazi himself. Of course the old Leninist newt-fancier isn’t. When he was the head of the GLC, it was notorious for being right-on, anti-racist, anti-sexist and anti-homophobic. In his 1987 book, Livingstone’s Labour, Leninspart makes it very clear that he has no truck with racism, whether against Blacks, Jews or Irish, and provides deep and telling criticism of how the British and American governments recruited the real thing as part of their campaign against Communism. The Nazis they recruited as anti-Communist spies included heinous individuals, who had taken active part in the Holocaust and pogroms against the Jews during the invasion of the USSR. I’ve blogged about this before, many times, and quite simply I’m sick of having to explain it yet again.

John Newsinger, one of the long-time contributors to the parapolitics magazine, Lobster, has also put up a piece about the scandal, entitled in ‘Livingstone, Zionism and the Nazis in issue 71 of the magazine for Summer, 2016. Newsinger is, or was, a history prof at Bath Spa university. He makes it clear at the beginning of the article that’s he’s not impressed with Leninspart, because he played into the hands of the Blairites and their appalling allies in the Labour Friends of Israel and the Israeli ambassador to Britain, Mark Regev, an Israeli ‘hawk’. But he cites histories of the Holocaust written by Jewish historians, including David Cesarani, to show that Livingstone was historically correct. He also goes on to show, more specifically, the vile attitude of Israel’s founders to the plight of their fellows under the Nazis in Europe. The great Zionist pioneers had nothing but utter contempt for Jews, who wished to stay in their European homelands, and were more than content to see the Nazis persecute and butcher them, if it meant that some would go to Israel.

Cesarani himself was the son of Italian Communists, and a strong supporter of Zionism. He briefly became disillusioned while staying America, but when he came back to Britain, he returned not only to Liberal Judaism, but also was one of the first to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Nevertheless, Cesarani’s book on the Final Solution provides abundant quotes showing the Livingstone was correct. Cesarani’s book states that the Zionists took very little interest in defending Jewish Germans, and were opposed to Jewish organisations, such as the Centralverein and the Reichsbund Judischer Frontsoldaten, a patriotic Jewish servicement’s league, that did. For the RjFS, leaving Germany was out of the question. It was a form of surrender. Cesarani describes how the Nazis actively promoted the Zionists as a way of getting the Jews out of Germany anyway they could, even providing quotes from those responsible. In 1935, Reynhard Heydrich wrote in the SS newspaper, Das Schwarze Korps, that the Nazi regime was ‘in complete agreement with the great spiritual movement within Jewry itself, the so-called Zionism, with its recognition of the solidarity of Jewry throughout the world, and the rejection of all assimilationist ideas.’

Cesarani also provides some chilling quotes showing the indifference of leading Zionists to their people’s suffering. He describes how (I)n January 1934, the
American, James McDonald, was appalled by the attitude of Chaim Weizmann when he ‘expressed his contempt for German Jews as a whole, his indifference to their fate, and for that matter, his indifference to the fate of millions of Jews elsewhere, just so long as a saving remnant could be preserved in Palestine’. pp. 132-133)
This grotesque attitude was also shared by David Ben Gurion, who told a closed meeting of the Jewish Agency ‘If I knew that all the Jewish
children of Europe could be saved by settlement in Britain and only half could be saved by settlement in Palestine, I should choose the latter’. He also notes that Zionists and Orthodox Jews were quite satisfied with the ban on mixed marriages in the Nazis’ notorious 1935 Nuremberg Laws.

Cesarani’s book also describes how the Nazis supplied arms and support to the Haganah, the Jewish organisation in Palestine that helped the British crush the First Intifada, the Palestinian insurrection against the Mandate. Eichmann also gave his support to people smugglers, like Bernard Storfer, whom he put in charge of the illegal emigration of Jews to the embryonic Israeli colony. While Newsinger is clearly not a Zionist, he is deeply impressed with Cesarani’s scholarship, and urges Lobster’s readers to look at Cesarani’s first book, Justice Delayed: How Britain Became a Refuge for Nazi War Criminals. This describes how the post-War Labour government recruited immense numbers of Nazis as potential recruits for SIS, one of Britain’s intelligence agencies. Among those recruited were the 9,000 members of the SS’ Galician Division, Ukrainians responsible for horrific atrocities in that part of the USSR. He also rightly takes the British government to task for failing to take in Jewish refugees during the Third Reich. In his concluding paragraph, he states that a firm resistance to anti-Semitism must be a part of any determined anti-Zionist campaign, as it was only due to anti-Semitism in Europe that there was any real support for Zionism. He ends with this observation:

If the United States, Britain, and other countries had opened their doors to Jews fleeing the Nazis, these countries would almost certainly have been the destiny of choice for the overwhelming majority of European Jews. Instead, the doors were kept closed except for a comparative few. Once again, this was anti-Semitism at work. It was European anti-Semitism, culminating in mass murder and
attempted genocide, that made the Zionist project viable at the expense, we have to insist, of the Palestinian people. Consequently the fight against anti-Semitism is a vital part of the fight against Zionism.

This is very much the attitude of most liberal critics of Israel. The American radical left magazine, Counterpunch, has also run articles recently on how Winston Churchill and the British government bowed to the prejudice and xenophobia expressed by papers like the Daily Mail, and had German and Austrian Jews interned as ‘enemy aliens’ during the War in camps with the very Nazis that were persecuting them. And Newsinger also shows that, despite his obvious anger at Livingstone for giving the Israel lobby a weapon, the great newt fancier was very largely correct.

The article is at: http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster71/lob71-livingstone.pdf. Read it for the information that the Blairite’s don’t want you to have.

The Guardian and the ‘Femsplaining’ of Corbyn

June 7, 2016

On Sunday Mike posted up a piece critiquing an article in the Guardian by Catherine Bennett attacking Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn, she opined, was purely interested in expanding his power base at the expense of winning elections. She also claimed that he was a nasty male chauvinist, who passed over women for important cabinet and political posts, like Ed Miliband and Gordon Brown.

Mike described the attack as ‘femsplaining’, a word he coined as the female equivalent to ‘mansplaining’, which is when a man gives a bloking, and usually spurious explanation of an issue. Mike pointed out that the article really wasn’t so much a feminist critique of Corbyn so much as a hit piece by his Blairite rivals in the Labour party.

See the article: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/06/05/corbyn-femsplained-as-a-blairite-tries-to-put-women-off-the-labour-leader/

The article wasn’t the most bizarre attack on Corbyn from a feminist/ gender politics slant the Groan has published recently. A few weeks ago, it printed a letter from a reader, Val Walsh, who accused Corbyn and Bernie Sanders in America of having suspect and reactionary attitudes to gender and the politics of sexual identity based purely on the fact that they dressed in a style reminiscent of mid-20th century men’s fashions. The letter was so bizarre, it got into the ‘Pseud’s Corner’ section of Private Eye.

Marsh wrote:

Hadley Freeman [29 March] overlooks a key feature of the outfits sported by leftwing male politicians, such as Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn. These represent 1950s ‘manly’ dressing: loose, shapeless and generally dull; designed to make sure men were not mistaken for women or seen as feminine, and at the same time meant to function as both camouflage (of the body) and as sufficiently ‘bloke’. the style pre-dates the impact of young gay men and gay-influenced heterosexual men who started (a long time ago) wearing clothes that fit (not necessarily tightly). Bernie and Jeremy’s outfits are surely a size of two bigger than necessary, and not so much retro, but simply the habit of older white heterosexual men of carrying on a before, as if 1950s western manliness was an exemplar, and pretending their embodiment is not party to their politics.

This tells us they have given little thought to their own sexual identity ande its part in the new ‘old’ politics in 2016. They lack awareness of the problematic part played by hetero-patriarchal masculinities in the politics of left or right, and in this continuity they identify themselves with that old hegemonic masculinity…. [continues] (Private Eye 15-28 April 2016, p. 35).

It’s clearly a bonkers piece, and is an example of someone projecting their own prejudices onto the person they’re writing about, rather than a genuinely reasoned analysis. Bernie Sanders is a case in point. I don’t know whether Sanders has given much thought to his sexuality. It’s immaterial. Sanders is probably the most left-wing of the Democrats, and he was supporting gay rights long before many other people, as far back as the 1970s. That’s just about forty years before Hillary finally decided she was in favour of gay marriage. As for Jeremy Corbyn, I honestly don’t know what he stance on sexuality and gender is, but I think I can guess. If he’s left-wing, ‘Old Labour’, then it’s almost certain that he also supported feminism and gay rights. This was, after all, the stance of the GLC in London as a whole, not just ‘Red’ Ken Livingstone. Also, a few weeks ago Private Eye joked about an article in one of the papers which described Corbyn’s hobbies. One of these was baking bread. Not exactly the most macho of pastimes.

Bennett’s and the other faux-feminist critiques of Sanders and Corbyn constitute attempts to appeal to female voters by smearing their left-wing male rivals as misogynists and sexists in order to try to cover up their preferred candidates’ right-wing, corporate stance as ‘establishment’ candidates. Hillary Clinton’s supporters’ denunciations of Sanders are evidence of that. They decided that Bernie and his supporters must be sexist, because they were standing against Hillary, who was a woman. Clinton is also very much a part of the corporate establishment, a very rich woman, whose policies reflect the interest of the corporate donors financing her against the interests of ordinary, regular blue-collar America. Clinton’s response, when this is pointed out, is to claim that as she’s a woman, she can’t be a member of the establishment. This is complete twaddle, as she manifestly is.

The same with the Blairites and Corbyn. The Blairites represented the ‘aspirational’ working class, and attempted to appeal to them and middle class swing voters. They stood for Thatcherite privatisation and the destruction of the welfare state. They began the privatisation of the NHS, which has accelerated under Lansley, Cameron and the Tories. They have absolutely nothing to offer the working class except misery and poverty.

But they’re determined to hang on to power, and the Guardian’s giving them space because while it’s liberal, it supports the Lib Dems, not Labour. And it’s not a working class paper. I posted up a piece yesterday quoting Mark Hollingworth’s The Press and Political Dissent: A Question of Censorship on the Groan’s extremely affluent readership back in 1979 and ’81, and its need to appeal to these affluent readers and potential advertisers. That was over thirty years ago, but I don’t think anything has changed since. If anything, it’s going to get worse because of the massive losses the Guardian is suffering.

As for Bennett and Hillary Clinton, their spurious feminist attacks on their rivals disguise the fact that they really don’t support or have anything to offer working class women. It’s been pointed out that female workers are those, who have suffered the most from the government’s austerity programmes. They predominately work in the sectors of the economy that have seen the most cuts and lay-offs. They also suffer disproportionately from some of the welfare cuts introduced by the Thatcherites, such as to child benefit.

Ultimately, Hillary and Bennett don’t represent the aspirations of all women. They represent the desires and ambitions of elite, affluent women to succeed, while making sure that working class women, along with the rest of their class, are kept firmly in their place and don’t rock the corporate, establishment boat.

The Reason the Press Hated Livingstone: His Support for Worker’s Control

June 6, 2016

Right at the beginning of the chapter on the press’ vicious campaign against Ken Livingstone and the GLC in Mark Hollingworth’s The Press and Political Dissent: A Question of Censorship, there’s a snippet of dialogue between Livingstone one of the gentlemen of the press, in which ‘Red’ Ken – actually never a Marxist, despite the press’ claims – expressed his opinion that factories should be run by their workers, and schools by parents and teachers. This idea was simply rubbished by the interviewer. Hollingworth considers that this shows the fundamental reason why the press hated Livingstone with such bitterness. They really didn’t like the idea that ordinary people could or should run things. Hollingworth writes

During an interview with Terry Coleman, the former Daily Mail columnist who writes for the Guardian, Ken Livingstone remarked that he believed every factory should be run by its workers and each school by the parents and teachers.
‘Chaos’, replied Coleman.
‘No, no, no,’ said the GLC leader. ‘Concentrations of power produce chaos.’
‘But surely few people could run anything,’ responded Coleman. Livingstone then said that everyone was capable, given a chance, and that there was, for instance, nothing special about him.
‘Rot,’ replied Coleman.
‘No, seriously,’ said Livingstone, ‘that potential is there in everybody’.

That conversation revealed as much about Fleet Street as it did about the politics of Livingstone and the Labour group he led on the Greater London Council. It showed that one of the key factors behind the press hostility to the labour movement was their intense opposition to syndicalism – whether political, industrial or cultural. That in the eyes of editorial management, groups of ordinary people were incapable of running their own affairs. And it was neither practical nor desirable.

This attitude came into direct conflict with what the Labour group of GLC councillors were trying to do between 1981 and 1985. Their view was that people did have the potential for self-management – from tenants’ associations on council estates to workers in factories. Also that the GLC would be a political and financial peg on which a whole range of groups in London – Blacks, workers, Irish, women, gays – could hang their grievances, fulfill their capabilities and combat discrimination.

This may sound highly utopian and idealistic, but it was what the GLC administration tried to do on a local government level. ‘Socialism,’ said Livingstone in December 1983, ‘means people having day-to-day control over their own lives.’

It’s probably no surprise that this put Leninspart in conflict with the right-wing press. Thatcher talked a lot of waffle about liberating people – all that stuff about how ‘there is no such thing as society, only people’ – but the only people she wanted liberated were the owners of capital – financiers and businessmen. The workers were simply there to work, and respectfully take their orders and their beating from an increasingly macho management style. When Ken talked about liberating people, he meant it for the working class and other, traditionally excluded and marginalised groups. And that terrified the editors of the Express, Mail, Scum and the others. I can remember Ken appearing on a page of photographs of supposedly dangerous subversives published in the Sun, which one of the right-wing students at College had stuck to the wall outside his room. Under Ken’s photo was a quote, in which the scourge of the Thatcherites declared that he didn’t believe in the army, but wanted the workers to be armed to defend the factories.

Lenin introduced worker’s control in the factories for a short time during the Bolshevik coup of 1917, but quickly reversed the policy as it didn’t work. On the other hand, the experience of the Spanish anarchists and Syndicalists during the Spanish Civil War shows that workers could run industry, though some political scientists have suggested that this would probably break down in the large scale industries now common in the developed world. Nevertheless, that aspect of the anarchist experiment in Spain was successful, and it does provide some support for Ken’s views. Which is enough reason for the press to hate and fear him.

And just how much the Tories hated him is shown in one of the more bizarre stories in that chapter. Apparently one of Livingstone’s Conservative opponents woke up an hour earlier every morning so that he could give himself another hour in which to hate Livingstone. We are dealing with some seriously deranged right-wingers.

Ken Livingstone, the Daily Mail and the Anti-Semitism Allegations

June 5, 2016

Hollingworth’s book, The Press and Political Dissent: A Question of Censorship, also throws some light on the ultimate origins of the anti-Semitism allegations, at least as far as they concern Ken Livingstone. In the chapter on Leninspart and the GLC, Hollingworth describes how the editor of the Daily Heil, at that time David English, was convinced Red Ken was an anti-Semite, and approached George Tremlett, a Conservative councillor and chair of the GLC Housing Committee, to ask questions about the GLC supporting two Jewish organisations in order to expose him. He writes

Two months later, in March 1983, Tremlett received another call, from Arthur Williamson. According to Williamson, Sir David English, the editor of the Daily Mail, had personally drafted a question for Tremlett to ask in the council chamber. English was convinced that Livingstone was anti-Semitic. And so he wanted a Conservative councillor to request that Jewish groups like ‘The Student and Academic Campaign for Soviet Jewry’ and ‘Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry’ be given facilities at County Hall. The Mail’s editor wanted it to be asked in Question Time because he was sure Livingstone would refuse, but Tremlett again refused to co-operate. However, the Mail persisted, and the paper’s home affairs correspondent, Anthony Doran, twice telephoned Tremlett to find out if he had asked the question. Unperturbed, the Mail launched its own campaign to champion these Jewish organisations – ‘Jewish Group Accuses GLC: Why Can’t We Hold Exhibitions? reported Doran on 18 March 1983. The Mail’s campaign lasted nearly a year with the paper accusing the GLC of being ‘The Politburo Beside The Thames’. 97-8).

I’ve read nothing to suggest that Ken’s an anti-Semite, and much that points in the opposite direction. He very clearly condemns all kinds of racism, including anti-Semitism, in his book, Livingstone’s Labour. He is also genuinely horrified at the way the US and Britain after the War employed former Nazis, men who were responsible for the most horrific atrocities against Jews and others during the War, as part of the global fight against Communism. This looks to me very much like the Israel Lobby and the Blairites trying to hang on to power using a script that was first used 30 years ago by the Daily Heil. It’s an accusation that even Ken’s Tory opponents on the council refused to indulge.

Book Review: The Press and Political Dissent: A Question of Censorship

June 4, 2016

By Mark Hollingsworth (London: Pluto Press Ltd 1986).

Press Dissent Pic

I found this in one of the second-hand bookshops in Cheltenham. Although it came out thirty years ago, and covers the major issues of that decade, it’s still acutely relevant. The press and media is still overwhelmingly right-wing, and bitterly hostile to anything like genuine Socialism. This is shown by their refusal to cover Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party, the uncritical support given to farcical and frankly libellous accusations of anti-Semitism, and its complete and utter failure to give to proper coverage to protests and demonstrations against the government’s austerity programme. One of the most flagrantly biased in this campaign is the Beeb’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, who has been booed and hissed by audiences at speaking events because of her blatant Tory bias, as recently covered in several of Mike’s posts over at Vox Political.

Individual chapters deal with the press’ attacks on and vilification of Tony Benn, Ken Livingstone and the GLC, press racism, Peter Tatchell and the Bermondsey bye-election, the Greenham women’s peace camp, the 1983 General Election, and the miner’s strike. The conclusion considers what may be done to alter this terrible situation. There are also four appendices. The first gives the commercial interests of the companies owning the British press. The second give the circulation figures for the national papers. The third lists the Fleet Street editors, and the fourth gives the NUJ code of professional conduct.

I remember many of these controversies from when I was growing up in the 1980s, but reading through the book I was shocked and amazed at the sheer venom and bile poured out on the people and causes featured in the book. Many of the ad hominem attacks sound like the kind of personal vilification Stalin meted out to his political opponents just before sending them to the gulags. It also shows how times have changed that the homophobia that was so prevalent in the 1980s, and which comes out particularly strongly in the press’ attacks on Peter Tatchell, is probably even more shocking now. And then there’s the attempts by the press to play down and demonise the women’s peace camp at Greenham common, which is shocking in its bias and repeated spiking of any positive articles or discussions of what they were doing. And if the press couldn’t simply distort the truth, they made it up, as shown in their articles about Black criminality and racist aggression against Whites, and the Miner’s Strike. There they fabricated a story about how the miners were all Communists – a standard line of attack on most of the left-wingers featured in the book – but were also being given paramilitary training by the IRA in Ireland.

Tony Benn

The book states that the businessmen, who worked with Benn had a high opinion of him. They found him clear and rational. John Shore, the chief executive of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, who dealt with Benn as the local MP for 14 years, says of him ‘I certainly never found him bonkers. He always presented in all his dealings with us a well-reasoned response to anything that we put to him.’ The Evening News, however, discussing Benn’s supposed political ambitions at the time of the EEC referendum in 1975, screamed that ‘Benn has gone too far to be treated as a joke… now he is seen in some quarters as a vampire, a fanatic and a bully.’ (p. 47). The Sunday Express ran a photograph of Benn, adding a Hitler moustache under the headline ‘Frightening Sketch of Wedgie’. It then went on to portray him very much as a traitor. It said, ‘In 1940 we knew we had no enemies within our own shores, that we were all united against Hitler. Can we say the same thing now? Could you, for example, be absolutely positively sure on whose side you would find people like Anthony Wedgwood Benn?’ Benn, the book notes, had volunteered and served as an RAF pilot during the War.

Ralph Miliband

This kind of smear was repeated a few years ago against Ed Miliband’s father, Ralph. Ralph Miliband was a Jewish immigrant from Belgium, and a committed and respected Marxist intellectual. He also fought for Britain in the Second World War. Nevertheless, the Mail denounced him in a long, ranting column as ‘The Man Who Hated Britain’.

Ken Livingstone

On the 27th September 1981, the Sunday Express denounced Red Ken as ‘The IRA-loving, poof-loving, Marxist leader of the GLC Mr Ken Livingstone’. The papers hated him for subsidizing gay and feminist organisations, and for championing the Nationalist cause in Northern Ireland. In their attacks, they published a series of articles by psychiatrists and psychologists supposedly diagnosing Leninspart as a clinical maniac. This was a gross misrepresentation of what the doctors had actually said. They made clear that they were discussing a type of personality, and not specific individuals, and duly complained.

Peter Tatchell

As for Peter Tatchell, not only did he suffer because of his sexuality, they also tried linking, spuriously and unfairly, with Militant Tendency. One reported told Tatchell that ‘We’re going to dig up everything you have ever said or done from the day you were born’. Questions were asked whether he ever visited gay brothels. They also turned up outside one of his neighbours, claiming to be officers from Southwark Council, claiming that they were investigating complaints that he had been holding loud, all-male parties during the night. They went away disappointed when the neighbour told them otherwise.

Fleet Street Racism

The book also shows how prevalent and pernicious was the racism in Fleet Street. Newspaper editors frankly said that aspiring Black journos shouldn’t try getting into journalism, because they wouldn’t be valued and would find their careers blocked, no matter how good or respected they were in their countries of origin. A Sun editor, discussing what kind of image they should put on the front page to show happy folk winning the Scum lottery, said that they should put ‘darkies’ on it, as no-one wanted to see that. And the Dirty Digger, Rupert Murdoch, himself said to Harold Evans, the editor of the Times, regarding a Black protest march, that there was nothing that couldn’t be solved by a crack over the head with a police baton. Asians were more than 50 times likely to suffer a racial attack than Whites, and Blacks more than 35 times. But there was absolutely no interest in reporting these racist attacks. One journo said that the newspapers were not interested in crimes and tragedies where the victims were either working class or Black. And while they claimed that Whites were being racially attacked by Blacks at every opportunity, they were keen to do the complete opposite involving racial attacks on Blacks and Asians. This was shown in the press’ treatment of an arson attack on a Black household, that killed 13 people. The press described it merely as arson, and did not interview any of the grieving relatives, even when it was clear that it was a racial attack, and members of the British Movement were jailed for violence and making firebombs. The statistics were also flagrantly manipulated, with non-violent crimes included with violent robberies to produce a grossly inflated picture of violent Black criminality responsible for drug-dealing and mugging, and ample space given to extreme right-wingers like Harvey Proctor and Enoch Powell demanding their repatriation.

Greenham Common Women

The Greenham women were repeatedly ignored. One female editor on the Times, responsible for ‘Look’, the newspaper’s women’s supplement, tried to have a sympathetic article on them published. Despite having successfully edited the women’s sections for the Grauniad and Observer, she was sacked. There were repeated attempts to uncover violent incidents committed by them, and they were accused of being agents of Moscow and supporters of the IRA.

The Miners

This was also one of the accusations aimed at the miners. One of their organisers had gone to Dublin seeking funding from sympathetic trade unionists in Eire. The papers claimed he had gone off to get the IRA to train them in paramilitary tactics they could use against the police. Someone, however, took the trouble of actually interviewing the Irish mining union, which had given its support to the British miners. They stated very clearly that they weren’t connected to the IRA, and not only weren’t providing any kind of ‘paramilitary training’, they didn’t even know how.

Dealing with the Press in the Age of the Internet

The picture given is of a frankly out of control press, that lies as easily as most people breathe. It is corrupt and deeply mendacious. But the book also gives clues on how it can be dealt with. Apart from its own suggestions in the final chapter, Hollingsworth notes that at one point the coverage of Tony Benn became markedly less hysterical, more level and less biased, because Benn took control of the situation. Instead of letting the mainstream press set the agenda, Benn was refusing to give interviews to them, preferring instead to talk to other magazines and journals.

This might give a clue on how to handle the latest biased reporting by the Beeb and the press, including not just right-wing papers, but also the Graon and Indie. The net now provides an alternative outlet for news, one that is actually preferred by the younger generation. The old, lamestream media like the Beeb are under threat, and they know it. Hence the rants by Beeb hacks in the Radio Times lamenting the fact that the political consensus previously created through everyone in the nation getting their news from the same sources, is vanishing. There are, of course, negative aspects to this. Mike says one of the problems is the decline in investigative reporting. But people are turning to the alternative media – the internet with its blogs and vlogs, because the mainstream press and the BBC have shown themselves consistently uninterested in anything like objective, unbiased reporting.

This is a crisis in journalism, but it also presents new opportunities for better reporting from a media not quite so dominated by the old media giants. And if people are abandoning the Beeb and the dead tree press, then they can only blame themselves. More and more people are sick and tired of their bias, and their hounding and vilification of those they despise as enemies of capitalism and the Tory party. If they want to regain some of the public trust they’ve lost, they can do so by redressing the issue of balance. In fact, as their readerships decline despite them becoming more extreme and opinionated, their survival depends on it.

Twitter Bigot Falsely Accuses Vox Political Writer of Anti-Semitism For Criticising Anti-Semitism Allegations

May 30, 2016

I suppose it had to happen. The grotesque abuse of allegations of anti-Semitism is now so widespread, and so promiscuously used, that even those seeking to defend those accused of it are now themselves being accused. And Mike over at Vox Political has now joined their numbers.

He reports that yesterday, somebody on Twitter calling themselves ‘Porky Scratchings’, using a picture of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter from the Alice in Wonderland film, accused him of anti-Semitism. Mike was anti-Semitic, according to this idiot, because he rejected the accusations of anti-Semitism against the various members of the Labour party. Porky Scratchings, then departing from most reasonable standards of logic, attempted to support this accusation by arguing that if Jews said someone or something was anti-Semitic, then it was. Mike refuted this by arguing that something was not anti-Semitic, if it was true. He also accused Porky Scratchings of racial supremacism in his turn, as he was trying to argue that Jews had a right to use double standards when it came to defining who was anti-Semitic. Mike also stated that he was ending the conversation.

At that point, Mike’s Twitter account went down, and Mike was then told that somebody had tried to hack in. It had therefore been frozen, and Mike was requested to change his passwords.

See Mike’s article at: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/05/29/wow-did-vox-politicals-writer-just-endure-an-anti-gentile-attack/

So it looks very much like Porky Scratchings, really he wasn’t going to get anywhere with Mike, threw a strop and tried a bit of cyberwarfare.

This is risible and grotesque, as are the accusations of anti-Semitism against the Labour party members. Mike has always been anti-racist, anti-Nazi and very definitely not any kind of anti-Semite. It was Mike, brought me back from a College trip to Berlin a book from a exhibition on the Gestapo, SS, and Reich Security Service Headquarters in the city, which documented their crimes against humanity when I was studying it at Uni.

Terror Topography

On his site, he has put up numerous pieces attacking the Right for racism. In one recent piece, he reminded everyone how the Tory MP, Gulzabeen Afsar, had said that she would not serve under ‘that Jew’, when Ed Miliband was campaign to be PM. Miliband’s Jewish, and Afsar’s comment is clearly anti-Semitic. Mike was outraged not just at the comment, but also at the leniency with Zabar was treated by the Tories. She simply issued an apology, and the Tories then claimed it was all over. Which is precisely what they aren’t doing with the accusations of anti-Semitism in the Labour party.

See: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/05/26/remember-when-tories-practised-anti-semitism-rather-than-hypocritically-complaining-about-it/

Mike also recently reblogged a piece from Pride’s Purge, about how one of the Nazi grouplets tried to set up a stall in Leicester to persuade people to join the ‘Leave’ campaign on the EU. This group is Britain First, which most definitely is anti-Semitic. One of the drawings the group has produced, which Pride’s Purge did not reproduce, shows a stereotypical kneeling Jew being shot through the forehead from behind. The fact that Mike reblogged this story attacking those nutters should be enough to show that, whatever his views on the anti-Semitism allegations, he isn’t a Nazi or anti-Semite, as Porky Scratchings has alleged.

See: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/05/26/nazi-sympathiser-working-for-vote-leave-campaign-prides-purge/

The post about Britain First, on which Tom Pride drew for his piece about them trying to attach themselves to Vote Leave, including their vile cartoon, is at the anti-racism, anti-religious extremism website, Hope Not Hate. See http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/insider/something-very-unpleasant-attaches-to-vote-leave-campaign-4891

None of this should really need to be said. There is ample evidence enough on Mike’s own website. But this isn’t about history or attacking real, genuine anti-Semitism. The character of the accused show this. Red Ken has been accused, yet Ken Livingstone’s administration when he was head of the GLC was reviled by the Tory press and media because of its firm stance against all forms of prejudice, including racism. I’ve put up pieces from his book, Livingstone’s Labour, in which Marxist-Leninist Newt Fancier clearly condemns racism, including anti-Semitism, and attacks the post-War US and British authorities for dropping charges and actively recruiting Nazi war criminals in the Cold War campaign against Communism. Jackie Walker, one of the others accused, is of mixed Black and Jewish heritage. Her mother was a Black civil rights activist thrown out of America for campaigning against the oppression of Black Americans. Her father was a Russian Jew, who would therefore have been well acquainted with real, brutal anti-Semitism. She herself actively campaigns against racism, and her partner is also Jewish. As for Naz Shah, she has the support of her local synagogue. The real crime of the above it isn’t anti-Semitism; it’s simply that they dared to criticise Israel for its barbarous oppression of the Palestinians.

This is about the Israel lobby trying to deflect criticism and international outrage against its occupation of the West Bank, its bombardment of Gaza and its seventy year long project of expelling the indigenous Palestinians from their ancestral homes. And those who criticise this policy in America have also been accused of anti-Semitism, even when they manifestly are not. Like former President Jimmy Carter, and the head of Obama’s Jewish Outreach Campaign. This lady was not only Jewish, but she was also a very active part of her community. It didn’t matter. She was still dismissed on a trumped-up charge of anti-Semitism.

Norman Finkelstein, who has done so much to document and raise awareness of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian and other Arab nations, has stated that these accusations are wearing very thin. The accusations of Holocaust denial, or moral complicity in the Holocaust, have been overused to such an extent that he says, ‘We’re all Holocausted out’. And the same is true of the allegations of anti-Semitism. Just how seriously the majority of young American Jews took it can be shown by the fact that when Carter came to debate Alan Dershowitz at Brandeis University, the largest secular Jewish uni in the US of A, Carter got 3 or 4 standing ovations from the students before he even spoke. And when it was Dershowitz’s time to speak, 2/3 of them walked out before he had opened his Neo-Con gob.

So those making the accusations are becoming increasingly isolated and impotent. Hence the shrill accusations and petulant foot-stamping.

Now let’s go through some of the issues raised in Mike’s argument with Porky Scratchings. Firstly, Mike is entirely right that it is not anti-Semitic, or indeed prejudiced generally, to use facts and historical truth. For example, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the notorious forgery produced by the Tsar’s secret police, are anti-Semitic because it’s an enormous lie, produced with the object of provoking hatred. The Protocols purports to be the notes of a secret meeting of Jewish leaders discussing their plans for world domination and the enslavement of Gentiles. No such meeting took place, or has ever taken place. The Protocols were written by the Tsarist Okhrana to drum up support for their persecution of the Jews in Russia.

It was not anti-Semitic to point out that in 1995, the Republican Party in America and Israel’s Likud party jointly produced a plan for the invasion of Iraq, an illegal invasion that was eventually carried out by George Dubya, and which 70 per cent of Jewish Americans under 35 oppose.

It is similarly not anti-Semitic to compare the enslavement of Black Africans, the Holocaust and the Israeli persecution of the Palestinians, as Jackie Walker did. These were all terrible crimes against humanity, which were and are all too real.

Now there’s the matter of the subjective nature of Porky Scratching’s argument about what constitutes anti-Semitism. Porky Scratchings states that it’s only prejudice, if the offended person believes it is. He cites the example of a female victim of sexual harassment. If the woman was offended, then it’s sexual harassment. But this flies in the face of accepted standards of truth and justice. These are notions which depend on objectivity. Just because someone is offended by something, doesn’t mean that it’s a case of prejudice or injustice to mention it.

To give another example, much of the bitter hostility towards Britain in Iran is due to our maltreatment of the country during imperialism, our domination of their oil industry – it was completely owned by us as British-Persian Oil, and our toppling of Mossadeq, the Iranian Prime Minister, in 1957 when he nationalised it. Now the chants of ‘Death to Britain’ by the Mullah’s legions is clearly anti-British. However, it would not be anti-British for a delegate from the Islamic Republic to discuss Britain’s exploitation and abuse of his country and its people if this once again became an issue, such as perhaps an unfair trade deal. Or if he were trying to explain to a Western audience just why the Islamic Republic will not allow westerners to own its industries.

Under Tony Blair, New Labour passed a number of laws further defining and outlawing hate speech. This was criticised by the Conservatives in this country, just as the Republicans attack similar legislation in America, partly on the grounds that it left too much to the perception of the offended party. If somebody believed they had been the victim of a racial slur, they were, even when they weren’t.

One of the victims of such an attitude was a Black White House aid under Obama. He worked for the US Treasury, and was accused of racist abuse by another Black government official because of a remark during a discussion about funding. The budget for some aspect of US state spending was considered too parsimonious by the man’s accuser. The man responded by saying, ‘No, I’m not being too niggardly.’ He was then prosecuted for using a racial slur. But he hadn’t. ‘Niggard’ comes from the Middle English term, nig, which simply means a miser. It has absolutely nothing to do with the ‘N’ word.

Or consider the case of the exasperated Jewish student, who was sued for racial harassment by a group of Black sorority girls at his university. This poor fellow had been revising ready for an exam the following day. Unfortunately, the sorority girls were just outside his window. They were loudly celebrating something, and he couldn’t concentrate. So he lost his patience with them, and shouted out, ‘Shut up, you water buffalo!’ So they sued him for racial abuse. Members of the academic staff solemnly stood up at what was basically his trial, to testify that the water buffalo was an African animal, and so the Jewish guy must have been prejudiced. Water buffalo ain’t. They come from Indonesia. At the time this case was reported in the Financial Times, the maligned student was trying to defend himself by saying that ‘water buffalo’ was his translation of the Hebrew behema, ‘beast’, which has no racial connotation.

So you see how dangerous it is to use definitions of abuse and prejudice, based simply on perception and feeling, rather than actual fact.

Finally, Mike states that Porky Scratching’s double standards on the issue of anti-Semitism – it’s anti-Semitic only if Jews say it is, whatever gentiles believe – shows that Porky Scratchings is himself bigoted against gentiles. In this case, Porky Scratchings has by his behaviour tried undermine something Jews have been trying to dispel as part of their campaign for emancipation and freedom to participate in their country’s national life as fellow citizens. In the 1920s at least some synagogues in Germany dropped one of the lines in the service, as it was feared this gave the impression that Jews believed they were superior to them. They did not wish to give any support whatsoever to anti-Semitic impressions and misperceptions.

Mike isn’t an anti-Semite by any measure. But I think he’s right about Porky Scratchings’ own bigoted views. And it’s a disgrace that Porky Scratchings holds them, after so many people, Jews and Gentiles, have struggled for so long against bigotry and prejudice.

The Break-Up of American Zionism and the Anti-Semitism Allegations

May 28, 2016

I’m aware that I’m in serious risk of doing this subject to death, but this needs to be said. I’ve put up several blogs featuring the videos of talks and interviews given by Israeli and American Jewish activists and historians – Ilan Pappe, Elizabeth Baltzer and Norman Finkelstein, laying bare the terrible history of Israel’s persecution and systematic ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population. As I’ve repeatedly said, this is because of the smears against leading figures in the Labour party that they are anti-Semites, when they are nothing of the sort, and demonstrably nothing of the sort. Ken Leninspart, when he was leader of the GLC, was notorious and reviled for his anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia stance. And if you want to read what he has to say about anti-Semitism, it’s written down in his book, Livingstone’s Labour. He decries it as one of the worst forms of reaction, along with all other forms of racism, whether it be against Blacks, Jews and Irish. Naz Shah has the backing of her local synagogue. And Jackie Walker is the daughter of a Russian Jew and Black civil rights activist, deported from America as one of the ‘Reds under the Bed’ McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover were so scared of. Her other half is also Jewish. It’s truly grotesque that she should be slandered as an anti-Semite when it is clearly not the case.

Jimmy Carter

These slanders have not been confined to Britain. They were made against the Jewish Outreach Officer of one of the Democratic presidential candidates. The lady was forced to resign, despite the fact that she was not only Jewish, but a very active member of her community dedicated to their welfare. They even tried it on with Jimmy Carter, who was just about called everything bar a card-carrying member of the American Nazi party and supporter of Stormfront. Again, dead wrong. I can remember way back in the 1970s when old peanut teeth hosted the Camp David peace negotiations between Israel and Egypt. In his own state, he was instrumental in removing the colour bar and segregation laws against people of colour. He is not, and never has been an anti-Semite or a Nazi, whatever his failings as president were. And he certainly doesn’t have the sheer amount of blood on his hands that his successor, Reagan, had through his sponsorship of real Fascists in South and Central America.

And Carter showed that he wasn’t afraid to prove he was innocent of all charges, guv. He went in front of the students at Brandeis University, the biggest secular Jewish university in the US to debate one of the author of the smears, Alan Dershowitz. He got three or four standing ovations simply for appearing on stage. And when it came to Dershowitz’s time to speak, 2/3 of the audience walked out even before the old Neo-Con warmonger had opened his mouth.

Jewish Americans Liberal

American Jews are overwhelmingly liberal. Most of them want a two-state solution – for the Palestinians to have their own state. By and large they despise George Dubya Bush and 70 per cent of them are opposed to the war in Iraq. And despite the move of the majority of Israeli voters to the right, Ilan Pappe stated in his video that Israelis were decent people. He stated that going around, talking to people, especially small businessmen and farmers, who knew what it was like to have to struggle to make something for yourself, won people over to the Palestinian cause.

Livingstone, Shah and Walker Historically Correct

Nothing Leninspart, Shah or Walker said should be remotely interpreted as racist. Red Ken was factually correct: Hitler did briefly support Zionism and the emigration or deportation of the Jews to Israel. Walker was smeared because she compared the treatment of Black Africans under slavery to the Holocaust, and the persecution of the Palestinians in Israel. Now, I can understand historians picking at this to see if they really are equivalent. Africans were captured and worked to death simply as instruments of labour, rather than because there was a conscious desire to exterminate Black Africans, as in the Holocaust. Though against that was the gradual erection of the whole intellectual edifice trying to justify their enslavement as racially inferior, just as the Nazis used twisted biological theory to justify their extermination of the Jews. It’s reasonable for historians and political scholars to debate the similarities and dissimilarities between them. But I don’t think many genuine scholars, certainly not of the slave trade or the Holocaust, would dispute that these are terrible crimes against humanity. And the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians should be no different. There is a real debate on the legal definitions of genocide, because there are so many of them. So many, in fact, that I’ve heard an academic of the subject state that these definitions should be dropped simply in favour of ordinary, common sense. When states, or their majority populations start persecuting an ethnic group or trying to suppress their identity through force, then it’s genocide.

What also comes out is that the views of Livingstone et al by and large are supported by historical scholarship, including those of mainstream historians. Finkelstein states that there’s little difference between Israeli school textbooks and dissident, left-wing scholars on the origins of Israel. It is known that Israel had a programme of ethnic cleansing from the very first. It is incontrovertible that Israel is engaged in mass torture and human rights violations. And Finkelstein himself states that it is the Israelis, not the Palestinians, who consistently failed to ‘give piece a chance’ in the words of Lennon and Ono.

Denial of Palestinian’s History ‘Historicide’

As for the view produced by the historian, Peters, that there were no Arabs until the Jews settled in Israel, bringing development and jobs, this has been comprehensively disproven. Finkelstein or Pappe, I can’t remember which, describe it as ‘historicide’, the deliberate destruction of a people’s historical reality.

Jewish and Israeli Opposition to Persecution of Palestinians

There is absolutely no question that the facts are on the side of the accused. And I honestly believe that if Leninspart, Shah and certainly Walker were given the chance to rebut their enemies in debate at a university, they would do so in the same way Carter and his supporters vociferously routed Dershowitz. 72 per cent of British Jews say that Israel is important to them, compared to only 50 per cent of American Jews under 35. But that does not mean that British Jews do not want to see an end to their country’s persecution of the Palestinians. There are Jewish organisations in Israel helping the Palestinians defend their homes, families and livelihoods. You can find pictures of Orthodox rabbis in the long, black coats and broad-brimmed hats, forming cordons and lying down in front of bulldozers. University anti-racism and Palestinian solidarity groups have invited members of these organisations to speak. It would surprise me not one whit if many of those Brits reaching out to Palestine were Jews, and active members of their universities’ Jewsocs.

Political Motives behind Accusations

This isn’t about historical truth, however. This is about the Israel lobby trying to derail any criticism of the state and its persecution of the indigenous Arabs with accusations of anti-Semitism. It’s about the Blairites trying to hang on to power in Labour party by playing the race card against Jeremy Corbyn. But those accused have no real case against them. In any just court of law, they would be declared innocent, with damages found against their accusers.

Libel and Establishment Lies and Smears

Unfortunately, when it comes to libel, there is no justice in Britain. You are guilty until proven rich. And the accusations suit the British establishment very well. The Tories love it, because it harms Labour. And the Beeb’s Newsnight programme with Evan Davis uncritically swallowed all the guff from the guests that Labour had an ‘anti-Semitism problem’. One of the guests on RT’s Going Underground, with Afshid Rattansi, stated that the smears looked like the establishment coup against a leftwing British prime minister, as described in the novel and Channel 4 TV series, A Very British Coup. Listening to Finkelstein, I think that’s entirely plausible. There were smears by the establishment against Harold Wilson, which accused him of being a Communist spy. Many of them seemed to come from MI5. Finkelstein states that American funds Israel far and beyond the amount it gives to other nations, because it sees it as defending its interests in the Middle East.

Britain and America Supporting Israel to Retain Power in Region

I believe that this, or something like it, explains the British establishment’s attitude to the allegations. I can remember reading years ago a discussion on a right-wing American website about Israel, the Arabs and Britain under the Mandate. The site took the bog-standard right-wing American view that Brits must be anti-Semites, ’cause all Europeans hate Jews, as shown by the Holocaust and the increasingly secular nature of European society. The participants in the debate argued that the British deliberately set the Jews and Arabs at each other’s throats in order to maintain their control over the region. They quote the correspondence between one of the British officers involved in the Mandate, on this point. The quote was merely his own conclusion after studying the situation, and did not conclusively prove that it was so. They also quoted other correspondence, in which one British politician accused another wishing to establish a Jewish presence in the region as a kind of outpost of British influence, similar to Protestant Belfast amidst Roman Catholic Ireland.

It would not surprise me if something like that were the case. It may simply be that Britain gives unconditional support to Israel, because the Americans also give Israel their unconditional, or nearly unconditional support, in order to retain influence in the region. And since we declined as a world power, we’ve been acting as the American Empire’s junior partner and lickspittle. One former British ambassador to the US even went on Radio 4 and said that he was told by the Mandarins in London that his job was to go to Washington and ‘get up the American’s arse and stay there’.

The Beeb is the voice of the British establishment. It’s news programmes consistently support the Conservatives and industry, especially finance industry, against Labour and the trade unions. The establishment undoubtedly identifies British interests with those of Israel, though Robin Ramsey, the editor of Lobster, has said that the Beeb ties itself in knots trying to deny that it is pro-Zionist. So it is, unfortunately, a foregone conclusion that the Beeb and the establishment won’t give the accused a fair hearing. Not if there’s even more millions to be made from another bloody war.

Fighting Back against the Lies

Which doesn’t mean that the accused can’t win. The mainstream American media is also very staunchly pro-Israel and rabidly demonises the Arabs and the Muslim world. Despite this, in the polls Israel is just one point more popular amongst Americans than Iran. And you consider the massive negative campaign and image of that country in American media. The Israel Lobby – AIPAC and the leadership of J Street in America, the Labour Friends of Israel and BICOM over here, know that they’re losing the public’s hearts and minds. Hence the smears. I think the best course would be for Livingstone, Shah and Walker to stand up to them, call them out on their lies. Don’t expect any honesty from the press, ’cause that went long ago. But do it in the court of popular opinion – at public meetings, university seminars and talks, at literary events. Adam Shatz, of the London Review of Books, introduced Finkelstein and Baltzer when they spoke in New York. Perhaps the LRB can be relied on to give an unbiased platform. They should, at least regarding Jackie Walker. I can remember way back in the 1990s they published a piece on slavery at the time it was once again coming back into national consciousness. The treatment of Black people, and their abuse and discrimination, is of obvious acute interest to Jackie Walker, and so I think that more than some of the other media, they could be more inclined to give a sympathetic hearing.

This ain’t just about defending a group of accused Labour MPs. This is also about defending free speech and historical scholarship against the personal smears and gross historical distortions of a mendacious and deceitful establishment. An establishment that is prepared to grind down and destroy Jews, as well as Muslims, Christians, and those with no religion, in its campaign to preserve a monstrously racist order.

Ilan Pappe on Israel’s Foundational Myths and the Oppression of the Palestinians: Part 1

May 26, 2016

I’ve been blogging recently on Israel’s oppression of the indigenous Palestinians, because of its relevance to the recent allegations of anti-Semitism against leading members of the Labour party, such as Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker, Naz Shah and so on. None of the accused are anti-Semitic. Ken Livingstone has always stood against any and every form of racism. Indeed, back in the 1980s the former GLC under his leadership was notorious for it and its campaigns against sexism. Shah has the support of her local synagogue, which argues profoundly against her having any hatred of Jews. As for Jackie Walker, she is half-Jewish, and her partner is Jewish. Her mother was a Black civil rights activist, who was thrown out of America as a Commie during the McCarthyite witch-hunts. Her father was a Russian Jew, and so probably knew all too well from his personal experience, or that of his parents, what real anti-Semitism is like. Their real crime was that they made comments critical of Israel, which the militant Israel lobby, BICOM, the Labour Friends of Israel and Blairite faction in the Labour party, all automatically and quite arbitrarily defined as anti-Semitic.

Criticism of Israel is not automatically anti-Semitic, just as criticising the government of my country and its policies does not automatically make anyone ‘anti-British’, and certainly not when real historic or present oppression is involved.

The video below, made by the human rights group Americans for a Just Peace in the Middle East, is a long interview with the courageous Israeli historian and pro-Palestinian activist Ilan Pappe in his office at the University of Haifa in Israel, where he formerly taught. Dr Pappe no longer teaches there, as his scholarship and views are now so controversial and bitterly hated in his native country, that he has been forced abroad, and is now head of the history department at Exeter University in Devon, here in Britain.

Pappe had conventional views on the foundation of Israel, until his examination of Israel’s own archives and those of the British government revealed that the standard, accepted view of his country’s origins was merely a myth, contrived to justify the state’s oppression and dispossession of the Palestinians, the country’s indigenous inhabitants. He was one of a group, who became known as the New Historians, 3-4 historians, who working independently came to the same views. They included Benny Morrison, who since then has recanted. In the interview, Pappe talks about his experience researching the origins of Israel, the country’s founding myths, and his own experiences and that of some of the history students around him of academic and personal persecution and ostracism, and Israel’s possible future. Pappe states that he was interested in researching the British files on the foundation of Israel, as Britain under the Mandate was the occupying power, and he wondered how we saw the situation, as he believed the British hated both sides equally. Interspersed with Dr Pappe’s own comments are quotations from some of Israel’s leaders, such as David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dyan and Menachem Begin. These are chilling and horrifying in their cold-blooded espousal of violence, brutality and massacre in their ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Pappe states there are three myths about the foundation of Israel. These are:

1. It was a struggle between David and Goliath, with the nascent Jewish state the weaker combatant.

2. The Palestinians were hostile to the Jewish settlers from the start, and that they threatened the Jews with another Holocaust.

3. Israel has offered the Palestinians peace countless times, which they have repeatedly turned down.

He goes on to refute each of these.

He states that the War of Independence of 1948 certainly was not a conflict in which Israel was the weaker party. Israel and the invading Arab armies both had the same number of men and armaments. Israel was additionally helped by the fact that they had cut a deal with the Jordanians, who had been promised the West Bank if they did not fight alongside the other Arab nations. Nevertheless, the myth that Israel won against overwhelming odds has given the Israeli people the idea that they are invincible supermen. He states that this image can be seen in American movies, and the converse is true about Arabs and in particular the Palestinians. They are presented as the mysterious Other, hostile and cowardly.

He states that the Palestinians were not immediately hostile to the Jewish immigrants when they began to settle in Palestine. He states that Palestinians are Arabs, and the Arabs are very hospitable. This is true. It’s one of the characteristics, that have endeared the Arab people to many Westerners. People I’ve known, who’ve travelled to Egypt have told me about the unforced generosity of its people. Pappe states that many of the new settlers were taken in by their new Arab hosts, as the Palestinians felt sorry for them because many of them were very poor. This changed in the late 1920s when it became clear that not only did the Jewish immigrants not want to be guests, they wanted to be the possessors of the whole house, and its sole possessors at that.

As for rejecting the Israeli peace deal, the truth was it was the other way around. It was the Palestinians who first sued for peace in 1948. Furthermore, many of the peace deals that have been advanced by the Israelis since then have demanded such major territorial concession from the Palestinians, that they would be automatically unacceptable to every other nation as well, if they were placed in a similar position.

He also discusses the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. He states that after Israel’s victory in the 1948 War, the Jewish population was only 690,000 against 900,000 + Palestinians. They therefore began a deliberate policy of terror and harassment in order to force them out, as shown very clearly by the quotations from the Israeli leaders used in the video. The Israelis justified this through another myth: that the Palestinians had been encouraged to leave their homeland by the other Arabs, who told them that they could return to their homes after victory had been won. Pappe states that his examination of the records of the British listening posts showed that no such call was ever made. He also states very clearly that leading Israeli politicians, like David Ben-Gurion, who served as its president, are deeply implicated in this cleansing. Ben-Gurion was head of the organisation which had overall authority over the resettlement programme, and so had ultimate responsibility for its policies.

Red Ken on Racism and Anti-Semitism

May 18, 2016

Just to see whether Ken Livingstone ever showed any sign of anti-Semitism when he was leader of the GLC, and so see if there was anything to the allegations of anti-Semitism, I decided to check out the great man’s 1987 book, Livingstone’s Labour: A Programme for the Nineties. In fact, Red Ken has entire chapter devoted to his determination to combat racism in the Labour party and outside it, entitled, ‘Labour Didn’t Listen to Black People’. of course, the chapter is devoted to championing Black people and improving their position, but it has this this statement about racism generally on the very first page of the chapter, 112:

Racism itself is the uniquely destructive form of reaction that characterises the twentieth century – the holocaust is an indelible reminder of that – and any party which panders to it in any form, whether it be anti-Semitism, anti-black, or anti-Irish is doomed. (My emphasis).

I also looked to see what he had to say about Israel. This is it:

There is only one other country in the world that lacks a written constitution, and that is Israel. But if they ever tried to write one the whole country would be torn apart over the proposals the religious parties would make and they might not even be able to agree on the definition of who is a Jew. (p. 69).

This is fair comment. A few years ago the right-wing parties in the Knesset laid down that only those, whose both parents were Jewish, could legally claim citizenship and settle in Israel. This was condemned as racist by the Israeli human rights organisation, B’Tsalem.

Peoples views change over the years, and this was written nearly thirty years ago. But I don’t think Livingstone’s views on race and racism have changed that much. And it also seems to me that the allegations of anti-Semitism aimed at him are politically motivated for another reason: he’s too left-wing for the Blairites. Remember how Bliar had him deselected as the Labour candidate for mayor of London? That was sent up in in a cartoon in the Independent, which showed Leninspart as a gigantic newt strapped to the London Eye being dunked in the Thames like a prisoner on the Wheel while robed Blairite inquisitors looked on. This is probably the real reason for Dugher, Mann and the rest of the howling mob demanding his dismissal: he’s not anti-Semitic. He’s a persistent left-wing pain, and a genuine popular contender against their Neo-Liberal clique.