Posts Tagged ‘Israeli Defence Force’

More on Progress, the Groaniad, and the Israel Lobby

September 27, 2016

Lobster 70 also had some very interesting little snippets about the Israel lobby, and its connections to sections of the Labour party and the press, specifically ‘Progress’, and the Guardian.

‘Progress’ is the Blairite faction within the Labour party. In ‘Tittle-Tattle’ for that issue, Tom Easton praises Solomon Hughes in the Morning Star for his work investigating and exposing Progress and its dodgy donors. Hughes had written about the close connection between Tristram Hunt and David Sainsbury. As I’ve blogged previously, Sainsbury was a big corporate donor to the Labour party under Blair and Brown. He stopped funding the party as a whole when Ed Miliband became leader, but, according to Hughes, he continued funding Progress. Just as he continued funding the SDP rump under Dr David Owen after the rest of it had merged with the Liberals. One of the SDP’s members was Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee.

In November 2014 Hughes described Hunt’s speech at the previous Labour Conference, in which he made a joke about the secretive and numerically small nature of the faction, which did not go down well with the Progress hordes. He wrote

‘When I went to the Progress rally at the last Labour conference, Tristram Hunt was one of the speakers, where he declared he was “delighted to be with Progress” because “you might be an unaccountable faction dominated by a secretive billionaire, but you are OUR unaccountable faction dominated by a secretive billionaire”.

Here were two dozen true words spoken in jest. Hunt’s joke was so close to the bone that the shiny happy people of Progress — this is one of the biggest events on Labour’s fringe — seemed embarrassed into silence.

Hunt’s insistence that Progress was “the Praetorian Guard, the Parachute Regiment, the Desert Rats of Labour” also raised few laughs, even though the meeting took place in a Comedy Club at the edge of the Labour conference site. Even joking that Progress is new Labour’s shock troops was a bit too much.’

One of Progress’ board members is Patrick Diamond, who is a long-time associated of Peter Mandelson. He is the Vice-Chair of Mandy’s Policy Network, as well as frequently contributing columns to the Guardian. Progress’ president is Stephen Twigg, a former chair of Labour Friends of Israel. Progress’ chair, John Woodcock, the MP for Barrow and Furness, contributed the foreword to the Labour Friends of Israel’s The Progressive Case for Israel. And when it seemed Liz Kendall was about to don the mantle of leadership for New Labour, she got a positive press from the Jewish Chronicle. The week after Labour lost the election, the newspaper ran the headline, ‘Labour Must Now Pass the Israel Test’. Which shows just how close New Labour is to the Israel lobby. And in another item in the same column, Easton states that another former chairman of the LFI is Jim Murphy, the head of Scottish Labour. Which sheds yet more light on his determination to block Rhea Wolfson’s attempts to get on to the NEC. Murphy persuaded her local Labour party not to back her because of her links to that terrible anti-Semitic organisation, Momentum, despite the fact that they’re not, and Wolfson herself is Jewish.

A further item, ‘Grauniada’, also comments that that the Graun’s connections to Zionism goes back ‘to the early days of both’, noting that the newspaper itself had told the story of its relationship with Israel in 2008 when it published Daphna Baram’s Disenchantment: The Guardian and Israel. The same item also notes that Jonathan Freedland, one of the leading critics of Jeremy Corbyn, is also a columnist for the Jewish Chronicle.

All this shows the very strong connections between New Labour, the Labour Friends of Israel, and the Jewish Chronicle, and how they are absolutely united in their hatred of Jeremy Corbyn.

The same item in Lobster also speculates on how long the connection between the Graun and Zionism will survive, now that the new editor-in-chief is Katherine Viner. Viner and Alan Rickman produced a theatre production based on the diary entries and writings of Rachel Corrie. Corrie was the American peace activist, who was killed by bulldozer driven by the Israeli Defence Force in Gaza in 2003.

There’s also another section in that part of the magazine specifically about the Israel lobby. Most of the politicians reported in that item, ‘Israel Lobby News’, are Conservatives and Lib Dems, such as Eric Pickles, Nick Clegg’s head of communications, James Sorene, who went off to head BICOM, while local councillors elected in May that year were invited to join the Local Government Friends of Israel by Rachel Kaye, the Executive Director of We Believe in Israel. Kaye stated that the director of We Believe in Israel was Luke Akehurst, a former Labour councillor for Hackney, and had worked with Peter Mandelson’s former press secretary in the PR and lobbying firm Weber Shandwick.

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Warmongering Republicans Advert of Iran Nuclear Threat

March 22, 2015

The Republicans’ campaign against Obama’s talks with the Iranians over limiting their nuclear programme and preventing them from acquiring atomic weapons continues. In this video, Cenk Uyghur of The Young Turks discusses the latest attempt by three Repugs and the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to whip up war fever by raising the terrifying spectre of nuclear terrorism.

They have produced an advert showing a van driving through New York. On the radio can be heard the voices of two of the Repugs and Netanyahu warning of the consequences of a terrorist, nuclear Iran. When the van reaches its destination, it explodes.

It’s a vile, mendacious video. As Uyghur states, the Iranians don’t have nuclear weapons, nor are they anywhere near getting them. Netanyahu was lying when he gave a speech to the UN several years ago that they were. The Israel’s own secret services, Shin Bet and Mossad, and the Israeli Defence Force, have also made it clear that Iran is not a nuclear threat.

Yet still the Repugs, or at least a section of them, claim they are. The Young Turks point out that the three politicos involved have connections to the defence industry. They and their paymasters stand to make millions if America launches a war on Iran. And thousands, if not millions, will be killed, including the children and partners of ordinary, regular Americans, who will be sent to fight in this war.

All for nothing, except to boost the profits of another bunch of multinationals.

If America attacks Iran and sparks another war, then they will have succeeded in just about destabilising the entire northern sector of the Middle East, from Iraq to the borders of Pakistan. And the chaos spread by the destabilisation is going south. Yemen has been beset with the problems of tribal rebellions long before Bush’s invasion, but ISIS has entered the country to cause even more death and destruction. the situation can only get worse with a war with the Islamic Republic.

The Repugs aren’t promising America safety from a real and present threat. Their promising something worse – a world beset by violence and endless, a-symmetrical war. That’s terrorism, to you and me.

Fortunately, The Young Turks report that the advert was too much for most of the TV networks, who refused to run it. Except one. Faux News. Which tells you all you need to know about Rupert Murdoch. He really is like the villain in one of Piers Brosnan’s Bond outings, who was a newspaperman, played by Geoffrey Rush, intent on setting up a war between America and China so that he could make megabucks covering it. He ended up going down with his stealth yacht in a demise curiously similar to that of the very shady Robert Maxwell. It’s long past time Murdoch did likewise and vanished from the world scene.