Posts Tagged ‘Labour Friends of Israel’

Tony Greenstein on the Abuse of Anti-Semitism to Silence Criticism of Israel

March 24, 2019

This video was put on YouTube two years ago, in March 2017, by Brighton BDS, the local branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and oppression of the Palestinians. It’s one of two videos from that meeting, in which Greenstein and Jackie Walker respectively tell of how accusations of anti-Semitism are used to stifle justified criticism of Israel. Both Greenstein and Walker are Jewish critics of Israel, and despite their being firm anti-racists and anti-Fascists, have thus been smeared as anti-Semites.

Greenstein begins his speech by welcoming his audience, and congratulating them in that they are going to see two anti-Semites for the price of one. He explains that the accusations of anti-Semitism have nothing to do with real anti-Semitism. They’re the method used to silence critics of the unjustifiable, like Israel’s destruction of a Bedouin village in the Negeb desert to make way for a Jewish village. And Administrative Detention, where the only people detained without trial are Palestinians. It is also difficult to justify a law which retroactively legalises the theft of Palestinian land, and the existence of two different legal system in the West Bank, one for Palestinians and the other for Jews. He states that in most people’s understanding of the word, that’s apartheid. It’s certainly racist. And it’s easier to attack critics as anti-Semitic, than deal with the issues concerned.

And Israel doesn’t operate in a vacuum. It receives more aid from the United States than every other country in the world combined. Israel is defended because it’s a very important partner of the West in the Middle East. It’s critics do single out Israel, because it’s the only apartheid state in the world, the only state that says one section of the population – Jews – will have privileges, while the other section won’t. He states that there are many repressive states in the world, but there is only one apartheid state. The Zionists then reply that there’s only one Jewish state. Greenstein responds to that by pointing to 1789 and the liberation of the Jews in France during the French Revolution, the first people to be granted such emancipation. The French Revolution established the principle that the state and religion should be separate. This is also a cardinal principle of the American Constitution, but it doesn’t exist in Israel. Greenstein states that he has the right to go to Israel, claiming citizenship, and get privileges like access to land because he’s Jewish, while Yasser – a member of the audience – has no such rights, despite being born their and having a family there, because he’s not Jewish. You can’t say it’s not racist and unjust, and so they accuse people, who criticise it, of anti-Semitism.

He makes the point that it’s like the British in India. They didn’t claim they were going there to exploit the natural wealth of India, and pillage and rape it. No, they justified it by saying they were going there to civilise it by getting rid of Suttee, the burning of a man’s widow on his funeral pyre. He cites Kipling’s metaphor as the Empire as a burden on the White man’s back. It was the Empire on which the sun never set, which was because, as some people said, God didn’t trust the British. It wasn’t just the Conservatives, but also the Labour party, who justified British imperial rule in these terms. The Labour Party justified it as trusteeship. Britain held the lands in Africa and Asia in trust for their peoples until they came up to our standard of civilisation.

It’s the same with Israel today. When Britain and America support Israel, they don’t do it because it’s colonisation, or because Jewish mobs go round Jerusalem every Jerusalem Day chanting ‘Death to the Arabs’, utter anti-Muslim blasphemies and their other actions, which mean Arabs have to stay in their homes to avoid being attacked by thousands of settler youths. It’s because of anti-Semitism and some vague connection with the Holocaust. But opposing Israel is in no way anti-Semitic. He states that the definition of anti-Semitism is simple. It is ‘hostility to Jews, as Jews’. He states that a friend of his, the Oxford academic Brian Klug, worked that out years ago. He then talks about how the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism was devised in 2004 to connect anti-Semitism with Israel by the European Monitoring Commission. It met much resistance, and was opposed by the University College Union, the National Union of Students opposed it along with other civil society groups. In 2013 the EUMC’s successor took it down from its website and it fell into disuse. It was then revived as the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism. This then emerged a few months previous to the meeting, when a Home Affairs Select Committee report, apart from attacking Jeremy Corbyn and Shami Chakrabarti for tolerating anti-Semitism in the Labour party, came up with this new definition. This takes 500 words to say what could be said in 50.

One of these is accusing Jews of being more loyal to each other than their own nation. He shows that definition is nonsense by stating that if he received a pound for every time he was called a traitor because he was an anti-Zionist, he’d be quite rich. The essence of Zionism is that Jews owe a dual loyalty, and their main loyalty is to Israel. Israel defines itself as the Jewish state, not just for its own citizens, but for Jews everywhere. This is unique, as most countries have a citizenship based on that country, to which everyone belongs, and a nationality. Britain has a British nationality. That nationality applies to everyone who lives in a particular place. If Scotland became independent, as the SNP made clear, then everyone living in Scotland would have Scots nationality. The same with France and Germany. But in Israel there is no Israeli nationality, although it says so on the Israeli passport. But the Hebrew translates as ‘citizen’ not ‘nation’, but the Israelis assume most people are too stupid to notice the difference. There are hundreds of nationalities in Israel, primarily Jewish, but also Arab, Islamic, Christian and those of other religions. But the only nationality that counts is Jewish, and it applies not only to Jewish citizens and residents, but also Jews wherever they live. He states that this is the foundation stone of Israeli racism, that some people – Jews- are returning, because their ancestors were there 2,000 years ago. This is one of the many racist myths that abound.

He then goes on to another definition, ‘Denying the Jews the right to self-determination’. He states that he asked Joan Ryan, the Labour MP and chair of Labour Friends of Israel, when she was wittering on about how anti-Semitic to oppose the Jewish right to self-determination about it. He wrote her a letter, to which she never replied, which asked her when precisely Zionism talked about the Jewish right to self-determination. It’s only very recent. If you look back at Zionist documents, like The Jewish State, by the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, it talks about colonisation. The first Zionist congress, held in 1897, was a result of the publication of Herzl’s pamphlet. The Zionists never talked about Jewish self-determination, they talked about colonisation and did so for most of their history. But with the change in zeitgeist they changed it to Jewish national self-determination. But this means that Jews are not citizens of the country where they live. He compares Jews to Roman Catholics, as the idea that all Roman Catholics form the same nation is clearly a retrogressive step. In many ways it’s an anti-Semitic step, as it says that Jews do not belong in the countries in which they live, as they’re all one and the same. 

He goes on to talk about Herzl himself, and encourages his audience to Google him, if they haven’t already. Herzl was a Viennese journalist, who operated in Paris. His diaries are particularly interesting, as if you read all four volumes of them, you find he talks about anti-Semitism as having the divine will to good about it. In other words, there would be no Zionism without anti-Semitism, which provides the propulsion for Jews separating out of their own nations and going on for what he hoped would be a Jewish nation. Herzl traveled around Europe trying to create an alliance between Zionism and one of the imperial powers of the time. Eventually in 1917 they reached an agreement with the British imperialists, Lloyd George’s war cabinet, the Balfour Declaration, in which Britain granted them the land of Palestine over the heads of the Palestinians, who were not asked for their opinion.

When Herzl was going around the European princes, he met the Kaiser’s uncle, the Grand Duke of Baden, who told Herzl that he agreed with him and supported him. This was because Herzl told him that Zionism would take the revolutionary Jews away from the socialist movement and move them to a pure national ideal. The Grand Duke said he had no problems supporting Zionism except one. If he supported Zionism, which was at that time very small, only a handful of Jews supported Zionism up to 1945, then people would accuse him of being anti-Semitic. Most Jews at the time considered Zionism to be a form of anti-Semitism. Greenstein asks how many people know that on Lloyd George’s war cabinet, the one member who opposed the Balfour Declaration was its only Jewish member, Sir Edwin Montague, who later became the Secretary of State for India. He accused all his fellows of anti-Semitism, because they didn’t want Jews in Britain, but wanted them to go to Palestine. And he states that is what they’re opposing today. The opposite is true when they accuse Israel’s opponents of being anti-Semitic. It is the Zionist movement that has always held that Jews do not belong in these countries  and should go to Israel. We see it today in the election of Donald Trump. There has been an outbreak of anti-Semitism, and the Zionist movement has no problem with it, because Trump is a good supporter of Israel. And the appointment of Steve Bannon was welcomed by the Zionist Organisation of America, who invited him to speak at their annual gala in New York. He didn’t attend because there was a large demonstration of leftists and anti-Zionists. He concludes that if someone today tells him he doesn’t belong in this country, they’re either a Zionist or an anti-Semite.

Greenstein thus exposes the real agenda behind the anti-Semitism accusations and the utter hypocrisy of those making them, as well as the real anti-Semitism that lies at the heart of Zionism itself. It’s to silence critics like Greenstein and Walker that they, and so many other decent anti-racists, have been accused of anti-Semitism while the real anti-Semites, like Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, have been given enthusiastic welcomes by the Israeli state.

However, the decision by many Democrat politicos not to attend the AIPAC conference this weekend may indicate that there’s a sea change coming in the American people’s tolerance for this nonsense. Hopefully it won’t be too long before Israel’s critics like Greenstein and Walker are properly recognised as the real opponents of racism and anti-Semitism, and the people who smeared them held in contempt for their lies and vilification.

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Irish MP Richard Boyd Barrett Reads Out Genocidal Quotes from Israeli Ministers and Officials

March 23, 2019

It’s the big AIPAC conference this weekend, and many left-wing and progressive Democrat politicos have decided to stay away from the gathering of the main Jewish pro-Israel lobby. This has already prompted screams of ‘anti-Semitism!’ by Israel’s outraged supporters, including Donald Trump. However, as Trump is himself a racist supported by the Alt Right, including a former cabinet minister, Steve Bannon, who was himself anti-Semitic, these screams should carry little weight. Especially as one of the Democrat politicos staying away was Bernie Sanders, who’s Jewish.  Not that race or religion really matters to the Israel lobby in this – Jewish critics of Israel have complained that they’re attacked and smeared as anti-Semites more viciously than non-Jews.

Just to remind people how criticism of Israel isn’t anti-Semitism, but an entirely reasonable, moral response to a state that viciously persecutes its indigenous people and has no crimes against committing war crimes against them and the surrounding nations, including women and children, I found this little video on YouTube of Irish MP Richard Boyd Barrett reading out horrifically vile statements from Israeli ministers from 2014 and 2015. The video was posted in 2015, and comes from the Questions to the Taoiseach in the Dail, the Irish parliament. I assume this is the equivalent of the British Prime Minister’s Questions in the UK parliament.

Mr Barrett begins with Defence Minister, Moshe Yalon, ‘Israel is going to hurt Lebanese civilians to include kids of the family. We went through a very long discussion. We did it then, we did it in the Gaza strip, we are going to do it in any round of hostilities in the future.’

The military chief of staff, Benny  Ganz, ‘The next round of violence will be worse, and see this suffering increase’. Ganz led the last two military assaults on Gaza.

The Minister for Education: ‘There will never be a peace plan with the Palestinians. I will do everything in my power to make sure they will never get a state’, and ‘If you catch terrorists, you simply have to kill them. I’ve killed a lot of Arabs in my life, and there’s no problem with that.’

The Minister for Justice: ‘Palestinians are all enemy combatants. This also includes the mothers of the martyrs. They should follow their sons. Nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes, otherwise more little snakes will be raised there.’

The Deputy Minister for Defence: ‘Palestinians are beasts. They are not human.’

The Minister for Foreign Affairs: ‘My position is that between the sea and the Jordan river there needs to be one state only, the state of Israel. There is no place for any agreement of any kind that discusses the concession of Israeli sovereignty over lands conquered in 1967’.

Barrett makes the point that these are official statements of the-then current government of Israel, including the advocacy of genocide, including children, and calling them snakes. He asks the Taoiseach that if they’re defining terrorism whether he does not think that this is the language and thinking of terrorists. He passionately states that this is absolutely unacceptable in civilised politics and civilised international relations for the heads of government of a state that Ireland carries on normal relations with, and whom the Taoiseach met in Paris, to advocate those sort of views, when people know that they have led to the deaths of thousands of civilians, innocent men, women and children. He asks him what he has to say about those sort of views expressed by the Israeli government.

The quotes from the Israeli officials aren’t just genocidal and that of terrorists themselves, they are extremely similar to remarks made by the Nazis to justify the destruction of those whole communities in occupied Europe that resisted them, such as Lidice in Czechoslovakia. They stated that they were also going to kill those communities’ children so that the sons and daughters of the people they murdered would not seek revenge on them.

The complete intransigence of the politicians quoted to accept a Palestinian state also shows the hollowness of the two-state solution being touted by the Israelis and their puppets, like Labour Friends of Israel to the conflict with the Palestinians. They have absolutely no interest in allowing the establishment of a Palestinian state in reality, something that is very clear if you read the works of critical historians and political commentators like Ilan Pappe and Tony Greenstein. Given this, it is no wonder that Joan Ryan, the organisation’s chair, threw a strop when she was asked about what would happen to the Jewish settlements in Palestine if the two-state solution became a reality at the 2017 Labour Party conference, and why she later smeared the woman who asked her as an anti-Semite.

These quotations are an indictment of Netanyahu’s government and the foreign politicians, who support it. They provide ample proof that the real anti-racists this weekend are the Democrat politicos, like Bernie Sanders, who are staying away from the AIPAC conflab.

Tweezer Invites Umunna and Soubry to Party Leaders’ Meeting, Corbyn Walks Out

March 22, 2019

On Wednesday Mike put up another piece reporting and commenting on Corbyn’s departure on a meeting Tweezer had called between the party leaders. He walked out when Anna Soubry and Chuka Umunna of The Independent Group walked in. The lamestream media were spinning this as a fit of pique on Corbyn’s part. In fact, as Mike and the peeps he quotes on Twitter pointed out, Corbyn was quite right: TINGe shouldn’t have been there. They’re not a party, and their inclusion in the talks was a calculated insult. Labour stated that Corbyn walked out as the talks were supposed to be bilateral, and Tweezer had changed the format from what had been previously agreed. And Mike and the Tweeters also weren’t impressed with Tweezer’s decision to hold a press conference later that evening at which she said zero that was new or even interesting. Many of them made the point that she’s now an utterly spent force, with no authority whatsoever. It’s about time she left and there was a general election.

https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/03/20/umunna-walks-in-corbyn-walks-out-of-a-party-leaders-meeting-not-one-of-company-executives/

There are other reasons why Corbyn was quite right to walk out on them. Firstly, they’re a danger to democracy. As has been said, they ain’t a party but a private corporation. This means that they don’t have to display their accounts as proper parties are supposed to, and so we don’t know who’s funding them. Donald Trump is under investigation in America of being a stooge for Putin. By the same logic, it’s entirely proper to ask if TINGe are also in the pay of a foreign government. And it is not remotely anti-Semitic to ask if that government is Israel, considering that their official have conspired to undermine the British cabinet, Zionist groups within the Labour party that are hostile to Corbyn, such as Labour Friends of Israel, have received funding from them and the Israeli government has an entire ministry, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs under cabinet minister Gilad Elon devoted to spreading propaganda, including most particularly accusations of anti-Semitism, against perceived opponents of Israel.

The question of funding also concerns potentially corrupt relationships between ministers and government officials and industry in this country. New Labour, and John Major’s government before it, became notorious for ‘sleaze’, in which private industry received favours from the government in return for sponsoring them. George Monbiot described the situation under Blair’s Labour party, and the holding of government posts by various leading industrialists in his book, Captive State. By keeping their accounts secret, it appears that TINGe are determined to go on in this manner. In America, the corporatist corruption of Congress has proceeded to such an extent that Americans have lost faith in their politicians’ willingness to represent them, and a study published by Harvard University stated that as a result America was no longer a fully functioning democracy.

Furthermore, TINGe also aren’t a genuine political party in that they have no mass membership nor any mechanism for allowing one to decide party policy. Just as they don’t really have policies. Except, of course, that Chris Leslie and the voting records of the others have made it very clear that they stand for all the neoliberal, anti-welfare policies of the Tories, including tuition fees and not raising taxes on the rich. They’ve also said that they would go into a supply and confidence relationship with Tweezer if the DUP pulled out of theirs.

It’s also been suggested by commenters on alternative media that they intend to try to discipline the Labour party and pull it in a rightward direction from outside, at the very moment that the country’s political mood as a whole is going left. TINGe have promised that they will open up their books sometime in the future, but this is just promises. As it stands, by incorporating themselves as a business, not a party, they have made themselves literally unaccountable as a political movement.

TINGe thus represent nothing so much as a Blairite splinter group, determined to shore up the Tories from outside. Just like Blairites in the local parties tried to get Conservatives and Lib Dems to join in order to oust Corbyn in the Labour leadership elections. Corbyn was right to see the political trap and walk. As for the meeting itself, I doubt Tweezer was going to say anything of value whatsoever. She didn’t when she called an earlier meeting of the leaders of the other political parties before. She didn’t listen to them, just harangued them about how they should vote for her deal. I doubt anything changed this time.

Tweezer and TINGe are an affront to democracy. We need a general election to get rid of both of them.

Asa Winstanley Suspended from Labour Party Charged with ‘Anti-Semitism’

March 12, 2019

Asa Winstanley, a journalist with the pro-Palestinian website, The Electronic Intifada, has become yet another casualty in the Labour right’s attempts to silence critics of Israel. He was suspended from the party because of a Tweet he posted, which said

Israeli embassy proxy the JLM confirms it was responsible for the referencing of Labour to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for supposed “institutional antisemitism”.

Shameless sabotage of the party.

This is what Israel terms “lawfare”

https://electronicintifada.net/tags/lawfare

Like other members of the party, who have similarly been suspended and smeared as anti-Semites, Winstanley only knew of this after it was published by the Jewish Chronicle, which also chose to reveal Winstanley’s private details. A hack from the Chronicle, Rosa Donerty, posted

It is understood that Asa Winstanley is suspended from Labour party pending investigation.

to which Winstanley commented that

The fact that a Jewish Chronicle journalist is claiming to be the first to know information, which would, if true, be confidential indicates attempts to politicise and compromise Labour’s disciplinary process.   

And, as you might expect, the abuse started. Someone calling himself ‘Dr. Gonzo’ responded in classy fashion with

F**k off you anti-Semitic piece of s**t. Go play with the traffic you insufferable racist c**t.

Ali Abunimah’s article about this mentions that two years ago in 2017, lawyers from the Jewish Labour Movement, which has close ties with the Israeli embassy, tried to shut him down by threatening legal action.

See: https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/labour-party-investigates-electronic-intifada-journalist

Mike states in his piece about this latest vile attack on a critic of Israel that it resembles his own experience. He only heard that he had been suspended when someone phoned him up about it from the Welsh paper The Western Mail. Mike also agrees with Winstanley that the disclosure of the information to a third party may be a breach of the Data Protection Act. Mike’s currently taking the Party to court, and this is very definitely going to be a part of his case. And yes, Mike has also suffered vile abuse following the Labour party’s actions. Mike also makes the point that although the party describes its investigations procedure as quasi-judicial, it has no legal validity. This means that the party can be sued by members or former members, who have suffered harm to their reputations after their treatment by the party.

The Electronic Intifada’s article states that the complaints procedure was expected to become fairer with the appointment of Jenny Formby. It hasn’t. Mike concludes

But then, it seems the attitude of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee and complaint-handling “compliance unit” really hasn’t changed in the nearly two years since my case began.

They still treat the people who pay their wages with nothing but contempt.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/03/12/labour-investigation-of-asa-winstanley-shows-it-is-still-abusing-rank-and-file-members/

I’m not surprised that the Labour party has accused Winstanley of anti-Semitism. As the Electronic Intifada’s article on him says, he’s been with them since 2015, and has appeared frequently on the various alternative news media discussing and commenting on Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians, and the Israel lobby’s attempts to silence opposition and dissent, with other journalists and activists. In a way, I’m just surprised that it took this long to get round to him.

I suspect the tweet about the Jewish Labour Movement being a front for the Israeli embassy got him into trouble because, as last Friday’s piece in the I by the United Synagogue’s Richard Verber shows, the Israel lobby is claiming that accusations that Jewish or other organisations are funded by Israel is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. In some cases, it may well be. But the Jewish Labour Movement was founded in 2015, as its leader, Jeremy Newmark admitted in 2016, in order to fight opposition to Israel. It has strong ties to the Israeli embassy, as does Labour Friends of Israel, whose chair, Joan Ryan, hobnobbed nearly every day with disgraced conspirator Shai Masot. And six of the original eight founders of The Independent Group were members of the LFI, and they included that organisation’s chair. Which means that Ruth George was quite right when she tweeted that she wouldn’t blame anyone for suspecting that they were funded by the Israelis.

The accusation also shows how fake and contrived these accusations of anti-Semitism are. I’ve read many articles by Winstanley and the other journos at the Electronic Intifada, and absolutely none of them have been genuinely anti-Semitic in the real, legal sense of of expressing or trying to provoke hatred of Jews as Jews. Indeed, I believe from the tenor of the articles that the opposite is true. The articles have always been very well informed and precisely worded, so that the object of criticism has been the Israeli state and right-wing politicians, activists and Israeli racism in general. But never Jews or the Israelis as a people.

Which is why I’ve no doubt that the JLM is trying to silence him now. He’s too well-informed, accurate and reliable, and definitely not an anti-Semite. I wish Mr Winstanley every success in dealing with this vile calumny and give him my full and staunch support, as I do with everyone like him – Mike, Jackie Walker, Martin Odoni, Marc Wadsworth and Ken Livingstone. May they get re-instated soon, their names cleared, and those who besmirch them exposed and thrown out instead.

‘I’ Newspaper Smears Corbyn’s Labour as Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theorists: Part 2

March 10, 2019

Verber then goes on two deal with two more conspiracy theories, which are ‘Israel Is Undermining British Democracy’ and ‘Twisting or Denying the Facts of the Holocaust’. Throughout the article, Verber appears sweetly reasonable. For example, of the first conspiracy theory he writes

It is healthy in any democracy to question foreign states’ actions. You can question whether Israel’s engagement is good for Britain, just as you might our relationship with the EU or the US. But these questions need to be rational and built on evidence, not an instinctive feeling that something “shady” is going on, just because it is Israel.

Form modern racists, Israel, as the world’s only Jewish state, has become code for “Jews” in general, whether they live there or have any links with it or not. “Israel” and “Jews” are not synonymous.

Which is true enough, but not the whole truth. People believe that Israel is meddling in this country’s affairs not out of anti-Semitism, but because it is. It was revealed doing so in the al-Jazeera documentary ‘The Lobby’, where Shai Masot of the Israel embassy was recorded conspiring to have Alan Duncan removed from the cabinet. It was also revealed doing so in Channel 4’s 2009 documentary on the Israel lobby by Peter Oborne, which described how the Israel lobby gave funding to MPs in the two parties’ ‘Friends of Israel’ organisations, how the Board itself had tried to close down impartial reporting of atrocities committed by Israel and its allies with grotesque accusations of anti-Semitism, and how Mossad had tried to have independent Jewish organisations recording anti-Semitic incidents merged with those backed by Israel. If they couldn’t do this, then they tried to shut them down. And then there’s the wealth of evidence about the Israelis directing all this from their Ministry of Strategic Affairs and the various Israeli funded organisations designed to push the pro-Israel view, like BICOM. As for Israel and Jews not being synonymous, here Verber is trying to have it both ways. Now many of the verbal attacks on Jews are sloppily worded criticisms of Israel. But Netanyahu himself has stated that Israel and the Jews are one and the same, and that by attacking Israel you are attacking the Jews. And this was long before he passed his wretched law declaring that Israel was the nation state of the Jews.

Verber gives as an example of this conspiracy theories Ruth George’s accusation that the Independent Group was funded by Israel. After briefly describing George’s comments and her apology, where she said she had invoked a conspiracy theory, Verber writes

It is absolutely legitimate to ask “who is funding The Independent Group”. UK political parties are obliged to to record the donations they receive. (The Independent Group has said that it will do this once it is a registered party). However, it is not legitimate to suggest – with no evidence at all – that “Israel” is secretly funding a new group, simply because some of its members are Jewish, and one of them previously chaired a Friends of Israel Group.

But it is fair to ask if Israel is funding them, because Joan Ryan, one of the chairs of Labour Friends of Israel, was recorded by al-Jazeera in their documentary stating that she talked to conspirator Shai Masot nearly every day and had secured a million pounds worth of funding from the Israeli government. No-one is accusing the Group of being funded by Israel because it contains some Jews. They’re accusing them because many of their members – six of the original eight – were members of Labour Friends of Israel. As for the Independent Group opening up their accounts, the question is – when? Saying they will eventually is simply a promise, and one that may well prove empty.

Once again, Verber uses fine words to twist the facts subtly and try to make a reasonable question look terribly anti-Semitic.

Private Eye on the Connections between the Independent Group, Progress Centre and New Labour

March 6, 2019

This fortnight’s Private Eye for 8th -21st March 2019 has an article on the connections between Chuka Umunna’s Independent Group, the Blairite think tank Progress Centre and Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson. It suggests that Paul Myners, who sits on the think tank’s advisory board, could be funding it. The article on page 7 runs

MYNERS STRIKE

AS WELL as launching “The Independent Group” (TIG) of MPs, Chuka Umunna also chairs a think-tank called Progressive Centre UK. Last August this “next generation ideas lab” gave him a £65,000-a-year (for 12 hours a month) chairing its advisory board.

As TIG launched, the Progressive Centre paid for polling that “shows real appetite for new party” – which was handy for TIG, as its PR people admitted it did not yet have the cash to fund its own polling. The Progressive Centre also published work by academic Steven Fielding arguing that “despite what many believe, the future of the Independent Group might be very bright indeed”.

The most heavyweight member of the Progressive Centre’s advisory board is Lord (Paul) Myners, Gordon Brown’s City minister from 2008 to 2010, and deeply involved in the bank bailouts during the financial crisis. Indeed, the Commons treasury committee criticised Myners over his “City background and naivety” for allowing the disgraced Fred Goodwin to escape from the bailed-out RBS with an £8m pension top-up.

Myners, who also chairs PR firm Edelman and is vice-chair of Peter Mandelson’s lobbying firm Global Counsel, gave Umunna £9,000 for office costs in 2016-17. This was when Umunna was believed to be raising funds for a leadership bid, which was called off when Jeremy Corbyn failed to crash adn burn in the 2017 election.

Could Myers be funding the Progressive Centre itself? The think-tank doesn’t say who funds it – but if he is backing it, it could at least get his name right. On its “People” page its website lists him as “Peter Myners”.

The Progress Centre sounds like a standard Blairite political faction. Myners is a banker and the head of a PR firm, and New Labour was notorious for its insistence on a light regulatory touch for the financial sector, as well as its connections to industry and banking. It was also notorious for PR and spin, instead of real policies. And like the Blairite faction in the Labour party, it’s trying to sound progressive and forward-thinking while in fact it’s just more of the same, shop-worn Thatcherism.

And the Progress Centre and the Independent Group also have another feature in common: they’re heading their financial backers.

As for the Independent Group’s prospects for the future, I think Fielding and his pollsters are being wildly optimistic. The mood of the public is moving left. Labour’s policies are massively popular with the public, unlike those of the Tories and Blairites, who aren’t offering anything except more privatisation and austerity.

As they are now, both the Progress Centre and the Independent Group are also a positive threat to democracy. They won’t reveal who their backers are, but following standard Blairite practice, it’s more than likely that they represent those backers’ interests, rather than that of the British public. They represent more Blairite and Conservative corporatism. And as six out of the eight Labour founders were members of Labour Friends of Israel, including Joan Ryan and her connections with Masot and the Israeli embassy, it’s likely that they’re also receiving money from them. And so they’ll also represent Israeli interests, rather than those of the constituents, who elected them.

Corbyn Calls for Britain to Condemn Israeli War Crimes after UN Report

March 5, 2019

This is a very interesting video of just under five minutes long, posted by the Last American Vagabond yesterday, 4th March 2019. It’s an excerpt from a much longer piece, but it reports that Jeremy Corbyn has called for Britain to condemn and stop arms sales to Israel after the publication a few days ago of a UN Report describing Israeli war crimes against Palestinian civilians.

The Vagabond was obviously talking in his longer broadcast about American intervention in Syria, as he begins this segment by saying that America is in Syria to protect Israel. And the double-standards in this is shown by a story in Anti-Media reporting that Corbyn called for the UK to condemn Israel’s killing of Palestinians. The Vagabond states that they all know the stories of Corbyn being called an anti-Semite because he calls out Israel’s crimes. This is breaking through, but he’ll still be called an anti-Semite. That’s their plan to diminish the efforts of people, who point out the crimes they’re committing. You’re and anti-Semite if you point out the crimes of Israel, just as if you call out America in Syria, you’re anti-Christian. This doesn’t work.

But this is important. This has been growing. And he’s using the recent UN report to say that we all can see what’s happening, they need to be condemned for their actions. Corbyn is calling for the British government to condemn Israel’s killing of Palestinians, and freeze arms sales to the occupation state. Nothing about Jewish people, nothing about anti-Semitism, just saying that the Israeli government is killing these people, which is very easy to see. The UN report said the Israelis are intentionally killing children and journalists. And because of this we need to freeze arms sales. But people don’t want this to be the case, as Israel is very powerful and has influence in all of these government.

Corbyn’s remarks came in the wake of the UN Report, the funny thing of which was, and they did this more than once, says that Israel might have committed war crimes, while presenting the evidence of all the children, women and doctors they’ve killed. Which shows the absurd nature of the United Nations and its ruling factions. But it’s another opportunity to get this out to people, who’ve never seen it before, who don’t realise that the Israelis are killing children and journalists. Corbyn is now jumping on this to make what should happen, happen, that the international community should have the courage to say ‘You guys are a criminal organisation, your government organisation, not the entirety of Israel but what this government is doing, is very bad.’ And when you realise that they are allowed to get away with this stuff to a certain degree, it gives smaller nations, that really do want to carry this out, not necessarily the power, the drive to do so. Because Israel can get away with it, and shows them the line they can use to get away with it, say Iran’s there, say they’re all terrorists, same with what the US is doing.

He then quotes a tweet from Corbyn, which said

Israel’s killing of demonstrators in Gaza, including children, paramedics and journalists, may constitute war crimes against humanity. The UK government must unequivocally condemn the killing and freeze arms sales to Israel.

The UN report published earlier this week said

The Israeli security forces killed and maimed Palestinian demonstrators who did not pose an eminent threat of death or serious injury to others when they were shot. Nor were they directly participating in hostilities. And the protest had been predominantly civilian in nature.

He says it’s on record that thousands and thousands of people have been shot in the nine months, unarmed, verified – that’s a crime. And it’s time they paid for it and were held accountable.

This is why the Blairites, the Israel lobby and the British establishment are so determined to destroy Corbyn and have him and his supporters purged from the Labour party. Why they smear decent, anti-racist people like Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, Marc Wadsworth, Mike, Martin Odoni and so many, many others as anti-Semites. It’s because Corbyn stands up for the Palestinians against Israeli racism and colonialism. Because Corbyn’s supporters call out the neo-Conservative lies, distortions and the selective editing of history to try to justify the Israeli state’s crimes against humanity. Just like they call out racism and injustice at home, like the Tories’ targeting of immigrants and folk of colour for vilification and deportation.

Now the departure of the eight quitters from the Labour party last week, and the manufactured outrage against Chris Williamson for daring to book a room to show the film Witchhunt, about the anti-Semitism smear campaign in the Labour party, makes me wonder if the Israelis knew the report was coming out, and so mobilised their puppets in readiness. Because of the eight splitters, six were members of Labour Friends of Israel. Joan Ryan was its chair, and as she was filmed saying by al-Jazeera, she obtained a million pounds worth of funding from the Israelis and most days met Shai Masot, the Israeli embassy official, who conspired to have Alan Duncan removed from the cabinet. And the Independent group is a private corporation, precisely so they don’t have to disclose their funding. Which seems to me will almost certainly include money from the Israelis.

 

Joan Ryan Repeats Corbyn Anti-Semitism Smears – But Who Paid Her?

March 4, 2019

The Independent Group’s Joan Ryan is also in the pages of the I today, making the claim that there was no anti-Semitism in the Labour party until Jeremy Corbyn took over. This, as you would expect from Ryan, is simply a flat-out lie. Not only is Corbyn not an anti-Semite and the Labour party actually less anti-Semitic than the Tories, but the complaints and allegations of anti-Semitism began long before Corbyn took over. The whining started when Ed Miliband, who’s Jewish, was leader of the party, as CremantCommunarde has shown with his timeline of these lies and smears. And what provoked all these allegations against Miliband? He dared not to give his automatic backing to Israel. And cautious or qualified support is intolerable to the fanatics and totalitarians of Likud and the Israel lobby, who, like Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini and every other wretched dictator and despot, demand absolute and unquestioning support and obedience.

There’s also another, personal dimension here as well. Ryan herself has shown that she can’t be trusted. She was shown manufacturing a fake allegation of anti-Semitism against another member of the Labour party, Jean Fitzpatrick, in the al-Jazeera documentary, The Lobby. But she’s completely unrepentant about the incident. Moreover, this is the woman, who was chair of Labour Friends of Israel, got hold of £1 million of funding from the Israelis, and who claimed to meet and talk to Shai Masot at the embassy most days. Masot was the Israeli official, who was sent home in disgrace after plotting to have Alan Duncan removed from the Tory cabinet.

Well, Ryan’s no longer a member of the Labour party, but her new group is also thoroughly democrapic. They talk a lot about democracy and but really absolutely despise it. They don’t want to hold bye-election, and are an incorporated company so they don’t have to reveal who their donors are.

Ryan is therefore a liar, whose word cannot be trusted, and there are questions to be asked about who is paying her to repeat these lies. Is she still receiving money from the Israelis? Does she still meet and talk with somebody from the Israeli embassy ‘most days’, as she did with Masot? These are reasonable questions, and we have a right to see them asked and answered. No matter what she might squeal about anti-Semitism, or how she and her equally duplicitous friends might try to hide their funding.

Real News Network on Israeli Political Interference against Jeremy Corbyn

March 1, 2019

This is another great video from the Baltimore-based The Real News, posted on YouTube four days ago on the 25th February 2019. The news service’s host, Greg Wilpert, talks to Asa Winstanley of the Electronic Intifada about Israeli meddling in British politics to smear and discredit Jeremy Corbyn.

The Campaign against Ilhan Omar and Leah Whitson

Wilpert reports that the same day that Ilhan Omar in the US was attacked for anti-Semitism for comments she made about her country’s Israel lobby, an orchestrated campaign was launched in Britain to smear Leah Whitson of the Middle East section of Human Rights Watch. She had tweeted ‘Why is Israel interference in British politics acceptable? Is it only a problem when Russia does this?’ She was talking about the al-Jazeera documentary about how Israeli politicians tried to delegitimise left-wing politicians, particularly in the Labour party.  Then the eight Labour MPs split, accusing Corbyn of bad leadership on Brexit and anti-Semitism. The deputy leader, John McDonnell, said they were making a mistake and should hold bye-election. This is followed by a clip of McDonnell saying that they should remain in the party to fight their corner. But if they don’t, they lose Labour party support, and should hold an election.

Wilpert then introduces Winstanley, mentioning his recent article for the Electronic Intifada, ‘Yes, Of Course Israel Is Interfering in British Politics’. Wilpert states that Israel has allocated considerable funding for Hasbara -propaganda-operations through various channels. Hasbara groups are very media savvy and have coordinated attacks in America and Britain. He then asks Winstanley what they are trying to do. What would they gain by the sacking of Leah Whitson.

Winstanley replies that they have been doing a huge number of things over the years with various degrees of success and failure. Human rights watch has been a thorn in their sides for many years because Israel is a state that abuses human rights, and this is impossible for Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to ignore. Human Rights Watch puts out detailed information about human rights abuses in Israel, war crimes against Palestinians and injustices that Israel has always perpetuated against them.

Corbyn and the Labour Party

Wilpert then asks about what Israel is trying to achieve by smearing the Labour party with anti-Semitism. Winstanley replies that the anti-Semitism crisis in the Labour party is a campaign by racists to smear anti-racists. It’s a complete inversion of reality. Which is not to say that there is no such thing as anti-Semitism in the Party, it’s a mass movement of half a million people according to the latest figures, so statistically there are going to be some anti-Semites. In the main all the headlines about anti-Semitism in the Labour party have been at best an exaggeration and in many cases outright fabrications. A narrative that pro-Israel groups in the UK have been pushing for the last 3 1/2 years in order to sabotage the Labour Party. There’s footage at this point of pro-Israel demonstrators, wrapped in the Israeli flag, standing around with megaphones. Winstanley states that the party’s left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has for many decades been a Palestine solidarity activist. It fits in with the Israel lobby’s decades-long strategy of accusing anyone who is involved in Palestine solidarity of being an anti-Semite.

Wilpert remarks that Corbyn seems to be taking a passive approach to these attacks and is not going on the offensive against pro-Israeli groups. that are trying to undermine him and his party’s electoral chances. He asks Winstanley why he thinks Corbyn’s taking this approach. Winstanley replies that he doesn’t know the answer, and believes that there are several different reasons. But Winstanley feels that essentially he feels boxed in and limited it what he can do. Corbyn’s support from the party’s grassroots always comes most strongly when he fights his corner, as he had done on so many issues. Unfortunately the issue of anti-Semitism goes straight to the heart of what it means to be an anti-racist popular movement. Jeremy Corbyn has a strong record in this regard for decades, and the accusations of racism really hurt and are having an effect. Anyone on the left, who doesn’t realise this is deluded, and there are too many people in denial about it. Smears and allegations of anti-Semitism are the main weapon of the anti-solidarity movement, and this needs to be faced up to before it can be combated.

Why No Official Investigations of Israeli Propaganda Groups?

Wilpert goes on to say that it isn’t just Corbyn, but the Israel/Palestine debate as been a major issue in British politics although Britain has not occupied Palestine for 71 years. Why doesn’t Britain investigate accusations of espionage by Israeli hasbara groups? And what do the eight former Labour MPs hope to achieve by going against the dominant political views of their own constituents? Winstanley replies that it’s an excellent question, and that when the al-Jazeera documentary ‘The Lobby’ first came out, showing Israeli interference primarily here in the UK, mainly in Labour but also in the Conservatives and others, the Labour Party’s initial response, even from people like Emily Thornberry, Corbyn’s shadow foreign secretary, who was one of the Israelis’ supporters in parliament, a supporter of Labour Friends of Israel, called for an investigation into ‘improper interference in British politics’. But this was not followed up and nothing came of it. And this week, with the defection of the eight, now nine, Labour MPs away from the party, all but one of whom joined this new group, called the Independent Group, a political party in all but name, the vast majority of whom were pro-Israel. Of the initial eight, six were listed as supporters of Labour Friends of Israel, and Ian Austin, who also resigned today [25th] is also a member of Labour Friends of Israel. This calls into question Labour Friends of Israel. If a number of its MPs are not in the Labour party, then what is it doing in the Labour party. In Winstanley’s opinion the NEC should proscribe this organisation. After all, it’s a front group for the Israeli embassy in the UK, and its activities really need to be investigated.

Ryan and the Theft of Labour Membership Details

We have also seen this week Joan Ryan, one of the MPs, who’s joined this Independent Group, she’s being accused of improper access to Labour Party members’ data. Winstanley doesn’t know the full details about this yet. It looks like she accessed Labour members private electoral data. With her known links to Israeli embassy agents, including the embassy spy, Shai Masot, who was expelled from our country in 2017 after being exposed by the al-Jazeera documentary, questions have to be asked. There should be an investigation by the British authorities into this. What is she doing with that data? and it is a completely fair question to ask if she’s sending it back to Israel. In the al-Jazeera documentary on America, one of the LFI’s members, Jon Rubin, said in his own words ‘Joan will talk to Shai most days.’ She was in close association with someone who was effectively an Israeli spy. Is she still talking to the Israeli embassy most days? This is a real question to ask, but the mainstream media aren’t going there.

 

Gardiner: Umunna Split from Labour Because Knew He Couldn’t Be Leader

February 26, 2019

Yesterday’s I also carried another interesting piece on page 9 by Adam Forrest, which reported claims that Chuka Umunna split off from Labour for no better reason than frustrated personal ambition. The piece ran

The shadow International Trade Secretary, Barry Gardiner, has claimed that Chuka Umunna only helped to form The Independent Group because “he knew he could never be the leader of the Labour Party”.

Mr Gardiner accused Mr Umunna of being motivated by frustrated personal ambitions. “It was fairly clear to me that the reason he wanted to leave the Labour Party was he knew hye could never by the leader of the Labour Party,” he told Sky News.

Mr Gardiner also cast doubt on anti-Semitic abuse as a primary motivation for leaving the party. Several of the nine Labour MPs who quit last week cited the party’s failure to tackle the abuse as a reason for leaving.

Mr Gardiner said he was “deeply saddened” that one of the MPs, Luciana Berger, felt she had to leave over the harassment she suffered in her Liverpool Wavertree constituency.

“I have no time for the others at all, because actually their reasons are varied by different,” he said. “What I’m clear about is that I don’t believe that [anti-Semitism] is the sole focus of why they’ve left the Labour party.”

No, I don’t believe that they left solely because of anti-Semitism either. It’s more likely because, like Umunna, all of them are Blairite mediocrities. Umunna was asked by Sky News to name a Labour policy he disagreed with. He couldn’t. Or, as has been remarked, he daren’t because they’re all popular. As for Leslie, as I’ve said, in his interview with New Scientist he was against a 50 per cent tax rate, renationalisation of the utilities, and ending tuition fees. Angela Smith’s also for keeping the water industry private. And all of them don’t want to hold an inquiry into the Iraq invasion. And they were all, or nearly all, the subject of ‘no confidence’ votes or threatened with deselection. They were jumping before they were pushed. Six of the original eight were also members of Labour Friends of Israel. And by anti-Semitism, they almost certainly anti-Zionism, or simply criticism of Israel. They’re thus standard Blairite neoliberals and warmongers.

And I don’t doubt, that as Blairites, they’re getting money from Israel. Joan Ryan was caught by the undercover journo for al-Jazeera’s documentary, The Lobby, saying that she met Shai Masot, the disgraced official at the Israeli embassy, most days for discussions. And Blair himself was financed by the Israelis and the Israel lobby through Lord Levy, whom he met at a gathering at the Israeli embassy.

These are almost certainly the real reasons they left: an attempt to preserve Thatcherite capitalism, western, corporate driven imperialism, and the preservation of Israel from justifiable criticism. Everything else is simply lies and propaganda.