Posts Tagged ‘Madagascar’

Video on My Model of the Neolithic Mortuary House at Loftus in Britain

December 21, 2019

A bit more archaeology now, for those interested. Four years ago in 2015 I made this video about the model I’d made of the Neolithic mortuary house and palisade around its forecourt discovered beneath a long barrow, also from the Neolithic, at Loftus in Cleveland, Britain by Blaise Vyner during excavations from 1979 to 1981. The Neolithic was the period c. 4,000 BC when hunter-gatherers were settling down into settled communities and farming. The built long barrows to house the remains of their dead. The remains come from many different skeletons, and are often sorted according to body part. Long bones, for example, may be stored in one chamber while other parts of the skeleton were kept in another. Many of the barrows also have forecourts, some of which have traces of burning dating from the time they were built and used. From this archaeologists have suggested that the barrows were also the centres of religious ceremonies in which parts of the skeletons were handled in order to commune with the ancestors.

Mortuary houses are structures in which the bodies of the dead are kept during decomposition, after which they are buried for a second time with appropriate rituals. It’s a funerary practice found in many different society throughout the world, including North American First Nations and the people of Madagascar.

Incidentally, today is the winter solstice, which some archaeologists believe was the real time the stone circle at Stonehenge was built to mark. This is the shortest day of the year, after which the sun returns and the days start lengthening again. This would be seen by the monument’s ancient builders as the return of warmth, light and the revival of life after the cold of winter, and so an important event for early agricultural communities.

But considering how cold and miserable it’s been, I think it’ll be a very brave set of pagans, druids and hippies, who would go down there to celebrate it today. But I’ve no doubt some hardy souls will do it.

 

Melanie Philips Criticised by Board of Deputies for Islamophobia Article in Jewish Chronicle

December 18, 2019

Oh the irony! Melanie ‘Mad Mel’ Phillips, Daily Mail hack, author, and determined opponent of anti-Semitism and Islamism, has been slapped down for an article she wrote in the Jewish Chronicle denying Islamophobia. According to her highly informed opinion (sarcasm), islamophobia is simply a made-up term used to close down criticism of the Islamic world, including Islamic extremism.

According to Zelo Street, without any trace of irony or self-awareness,  Phillips started the piece off by conflating anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism. Anti-Zionism, she declared, was merely the latest mutation of anti-Semitism. The two, according to her, share ‘the same deranged, obsessive falsehoods, demonic conspiracy theory and double standards. It is furthermore an attack on Judaism itself, in which the land of Israel is an inseparable element.’ This is twaddle. Zelo Street points out that Zionism and Judaism certainly aren’t the same, because how else can you explain Christian Zionism? It’s a good question, especially as Christian and non-Jewish Zionism often stemmed from anti-Semitism. Many genuine anti-Semites and Fascists supported the foundation of a Jewish state as a way of clearing Jews out from their own countries. This attitude was so strong that, when one German aristocrat was approached by the Zionists c. 1920 and asked why he didn’t support the creation, he replied that he did, but didn’t want to make it public in case people thought he was an anti-Semite. The Nazis and other European Fascists considering setting up a Jewish homeland in Madagascar, and the were similar schemes among British Fascists for Uganda. This was succeeded by the infamous and short-lived Ha’avara Agreement between the Zionists and the Nazis, in which the Nazis smuggled Jewish settlers in Palestine, then under the British Mandate. But mentioning this, according to the Israel lobby in this country, means that you’re an anti-Semite. Look what happened to Mike when he did in his long piece defending Ken Livingstone, The Livingstone Delusion.

The identity of Zionism and Judaism is also highly dubious. Ultra-Orthodox Jews, such as the Haredi and True Torah Jews, passionately reject the state of Israel for religious reasons. They believe that Israel can only be founded by direct divine action through the Messiah. Modern Israel was founded by secular atheists, and so to them is an abomination. Before the Second World War, most Jews throughout the world, whether in America or Europe or wherever, simply wanted to be equal citizens of the countries, where they had lived for centuries, if not millennia. They regarded these as their real homelands.

As for the accusation that anti-Zionism is based on conspiracy theories, well, there is a mass of very strong evidence showing that the attacks on anti-Zionists and critics of Israel as anti-Semites are very much instigated and supported by the Israeli state through its Office of Strategic Affairs. And recognising that is very different from believing idiotic, murderous myths about the Jews controlling capitalism and trying to destroy the White race.

Philips then went on to declare that ‘Islamophobia’ was invented by the Muslim Brotherhood to mimic antisemitism’. Er, no. Zelo Street states that the term was invented before 1923, citing the article in Wikipedia, which suggests that the term was first used in a 1918 biography of the Prophet Mohammed by the painter Alphonse Etienne Dinet and the Algerian intellectual Sliman ben Ibrahim. The Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t founded until 1928. Philips then went on to claim that  “‘Islamophobia’ appropriates to itself the unique attribute of antisemitism – that it is deranged – in order falsely to label any adverse comment about the Islamic world as a form of mental disorder”. Zelo Street succinctly demolishes this absurd claim by stating that the term is simply used to describe anti-Muslim bigotry. Which is correct. I haven’t heard of anyone seriously suggesting that anti-Muslim prejudice is a form of mental illness, or demanding that those who allegedly suffer from it should somehow need psychiatric treatment to cure them. Philips then continued “The concept of ‘Islamophobia’ is thus profoundly anti-Jew. Islamophobia’ is not equivalent to antisemitism. It facilitates it”.

The Board of Deputies found these sentiments to be unpalatable, and issued the following statement in professed solidarity with Muslims and others suffering racism. the Jewish Chronicle’s “fearless journalism has been at the forefront of tackling antisemitism & its denial. The publication of this piece was an error. Anti-Muslim prejudice is very real & it is on the rise. Our community must stand as allies to all facing racism”.

The Muslim Council of Britain also wasn’t impressed. Zelo Street quote a tweet by Miqdad Versi, describing how the Jewish Chronicle has a lot of previous in stirring up anti-Muslim sentiment, especially with articles by Philips. Versi said

We should not be surprised by the Jewish Chroncile – it’s not the first time. When many Muslims were reeling after the massacre in Christchurch, they published a similar hate-filled piece by Melanie Phillips.They lied about the [MCB] & had to correct their lie … They lied about a Muslim charity, falsely linking it to terrorism, necessitating an apology and paying libel damages … When Baroness Warsi speaks up against Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, its editor tries to slur her … In one of a *number of articles* intending to undermine the definition of Islamophobia, it made false claims of links to extremism, about Professor Salman Sayyid, which it had to retract … This latest article is not a one-off but part of a pattern of behaviour – an editorial line on Muslim-related issues as the thread shows”. 

Zelo Street concludes that at least the Board of Deputies has called the Jewish Chronicle out on this one. It’s just a pity that it won’t have any effect on either Philips or the editor, Stephen Pollard.

See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2019/12/board-of-deputies-calls-out-jewish.html

I also find the Board’s statement somewhat hypocritical.

David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group stated in one of his articles that when he was growing up in the 1980s, the Board of Deputies did not want Jews such as himself attending any of the anti-racism marches or protests by organisations like Rock Against Racism. The ostensible reason was that they were trying to stop Jewish youth from hearing anti-Zionist propaganda. But others on the Left thought the real reason was simple racism on their part. Whatever the reason, some of the meetings held by Jewish anti-racists had to be held in non-Jewish venues, like Quaker meeting houses and church halls, because the Board forbade synagogues to allow them to meet there.

The Board of Deputies is a Zionist organisation. It’s in their constitution. And as such, it has absolutely no qualms accommodating real Islamophobes. Let’s take their mass demonstrations with the Chief Rabbi and the Jewish Labour Movement against Jeremy Corbyn last year or so. The former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, has led a group of British Jews to participate in the annual March of the Flags in Jerusalem. This is when Israeli super-patriotic bovverboys parade through the city’s Muslim quarter waving the country’s flag, vandalising Arab property and terrorising the neighbourhood’s people. Liberal Jewish organisations asked Sacks not to go. But he went anyway. As far as I am aware, there was not a peep of criticism from the Board, and they were happy to join the attacks on Corbyn by Sacks and his successor, Ephraim Mirvis, who may also have participated in the March. I also remember that among the protesters was one young man wearing a Kach T-shirt. Kach are an Israeli far-right organisation, which was banned under their terrorism laws. I am similarly aware of no criticism of this man by the Board.

In my experience, the issue of the Palestinians looms very large amongst this country’s Muslims. I studied Islam at College in the 1980s and early ’90s. I once came across the equivalent of a Christian parish magazine put out by one of the mosques. Among its articles was coverage of the closure of a mosque and a nearby church by the Israeli authorities. The Israeli state has a policy of closing down unauthorised non-Jewish places of worship as part of the general pressure and discrimination against the Palestinians. And certain sections of the Muslim community in this country were very aware of it. My guess is that the mosque that published the article wasn’t alone in its concern for its coreligionists in the Holy Land, and that this attitude is general and persists to the present day. That does not mean that they all hate Jews or want to see Israel destroyed and its people massacred. It does mean, though, that they want the religious and ethnic persecution of the Palestinians stopped. But the Board of Deputies flings around accusations of anti-Semitism in order to stop criticism of Israel for its actions against the Palestinians.

If the Board of Deputies is really serious about standing in solidarity with Muslims against racism, then one excellent place would be to start protesting against the treatment of Muslims – and by extension Christians – in Israel.

Until that happens, the Board is just being hypocritical.

The Nazis’ Collaboration with Zionists, and the Madagascar Plan

February 20, 2018

This is a bit more on the way the Nazis initially collaborated with the Zionists to send Jews to Israel, before they started murdering them in the ‘Final Solution’. I put up a piece yesterday about the British Fascist leader’s, Oswald Mosley’s qualified support for Israel, and another post this morning about another British Fascist and anti-Semite, Charles Gore, who supported the idea of a Jewish homeland in Madagascar. These are all historical facts, but it’s the type of information that the Israel lobby and their British thugs and libellers, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Labour Movement really don’t want people to know about. It was because Ken Livingstone dared to say, quite accurately, that Hitler originally supported sending Jews to Israel, that he was libelled as an anti-Semite by the Israel lobby and the Blairites. And it’s because Mike wrote his pamphlet, The Livingstone Presumption, defending Red Ken and some of the others libelled by them, that the CAA has also libelled him as an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier, things he most definitely isn’t and which he finds utterly repugnant.

But the lies and libels of the Israel lobby and Blair’s faction in the Labour party don’t alter history. And the Nazis’ collaboration with the Zionists and the plan to turn Madagascar into a new homeland for the Jews are both mentioned in James Taylor’s and Warren Shaw’s A Dictionary of the Third Reich (London: Grafton Books 1987). This is a work of respectable, orthodox scholarship, which contains many entries detailing the persecution of the Jews, the Holocaust, and the Nazi death camps, including separate entries for the most notorious, like Auschwitz. And the entry for ‘Anti-Semitism’ mentions the Nazis’ collaboration with the Zionists in a passage, which reads

At the outset the Nazis had tried to drive the Jews out of German living space, and were briefly in collaboration with the Zionist movement. Eichmann studied this aspect seriously and even, in May 1938, tried to curb Streicher’s excesses. There were fantasies like the Madagascar Plan (to turn that vast island into a Jewish colony) and, late in the War, Himmler’s attempts to trade Jewish lives for war materials. (p. 38).

Madagascar also has its own entry in the book, which reads

Madagascar. As a solution to what the National Socialists insisted was the ‘Jewish Problem’, the idea of deporting Jews to the large island of Madagascar came up from time to time before the war. As a proposal it was probably as serious as many of Himmler’s fantasies. By 1941, however, the Madagascar option was no more than a smokescreen for the true nature of the Final Solution.

The Nazis’ brief, initial collaboration with the Zionists, and their support, and that of British anti-Semites like them, such as Charles Gore, for a Jewish homeland in Madagascar as a way of purging the countries of Jews, is a fact of history.

The only people lying about it are the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, the Jewish Labour Movement and the Blairites.

Fascist Charles Gore’s Proposal for a Jewish State in Madagascar

February 20, 2018

Yesterday I put up a piece quoting Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists, who in 1961 gave his qualified support to Israel in his book Mosley-Right or Wrong? This is the kind of material the Israel lobby wishes to obscure or erase from history, as anyone who mentions that real anti-Semites and Fascists have promoted the idea of a Jewish homeland elsewhere as a way of removing them from their countries is immediately denounced as an anti-Semite. Thus, Ken Livingstone was smeared because he said, quite rightly, that Hitler initially supported Jewish migration to Palestine. This was under the short-lived Ha’avara Agreement between the Zionist authorities in Israel and Nazi Germany. And Mike has similarly been libelled as an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier by the CAA because he dared to defend Livingstone and many of the other Labour party members, who have also been vilified and smeared for their support of the Palestinians.

But this doesn’t alter the facts of history. And Mosley certainly wasn’t alone amongst Fascists in supporting a Jewish state outside Britain.

One of the others was Charles Gore, a close friend and collaborator with Arnold Leese. Leese was a vicious anti-Semite, who founded a tiny Fascist group between the Wars, the Imperial Fascist League. He believed and promoted all the stupid, murderous conspiracy theories about the Jews, such as the myth that they were trying to enslave and destroy gentiles. In 1938 he was prosecuted for seditious libel after publishing a pamphlet repeating the ‘Blood Libel’ – the anti-Semitic myth that Jews murdered Christians in order to use their blood in the matzo bread at Passover. Gore wasn’t a member of the IFL, but he did collaborate with Leese when the latter wrote another pamphlet trying to justify himself after the trial, My Irrelevant Defence. And Gore also wrote a book arguing that a new homeland for the Jews should be set up in Madagascar.

This is discussed by Richard Thurlow in his book, British Fascism 1918-1985 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell 1987). He writes

Although not formally a member Gore had a profound influence on Leese. He thought that Fascism was played out in England and that the IFL should merge into a new organisation that he planned called the ‘National Union of British Workmen’. His literary pretensions were further highlighted when he sent a copy of his unpublished manuscript ‘The Island of Madagascar as a National State for the Jewish People and Why’ to Lord Rothschild, who forwarded it to the Board of Deputies in 1938. By this time Gore had split with Leese and offered information on the IFL to the Board of Deputies, which was declined. (P. 73).

I don’t think Gore was alone in arguing that Madagascar should be the new home of the Jews. I think it was considered at times by various other groups, including the early Zionists themselves, before they settled on Palestine. Other suggested locations for an independent Jewish state included Uganda.

It doesn’t matter what the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism or the Jewish Labour Movement (formerly Paole Zion) or indeed the rest of the Israel Lobby says. At various times anti-Semites and Fascists did support the demand for a Jewish homeland. And the above passage shows that Gore tried to interest the British community itself in his idea. It’s simple historical fact, and it is very definitely not anti-Semitic to mention it.

Fascism, Anti-Semitism and Zionism

May 2, 2016

Dominating the news this weekend has been the controversy surrounding Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone, who have been accused of anti-Semitism. Shah has been criticised, because she retweeted a graphic about Israel becoming popular if it was relocated in America. ‘Red’ Ken has been accused after he said that the embryonic state of Israel had made a deal with the Nazis to take in Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. This resulted in the Labour MP, Mann, screaming at Livingstone that he was a Nazi apologist as Livingstone went into a building and almost up there stairs. Livingstone also said that ‘everything the Nazis did was legal’.

In fact, as Mike has pointed out on his blog, ‘Red’ Ken is factually correct. The Nazis did make a deal with an Israeli organisation, Haavara, to send German Jews to Palestine. This might seem surprising to some, that the Nazis should give any support to a Jewish state, but it was part of an attitude common to many pro-Nazi, Fascist and anti-Semitic groups at the time. The anti-Semites of the European extreme Right didn’t want Jews in their countries, and were ready to use any methods to remove them. This included pogroms and their extermination. It could also involve setting up a ‘Jewish homeland’ as far away from the rest of the gentile population as possible. Richard Thurston in his book, Fascism in Britain, discusses the plans some of the Nazi and Fascist groups in Britain had in the 1920s and 1930s for setting up a Jewish homeland in Madagascar. Critics of the Christian Zionist Right in Britain and America have also pointed out that some of the Christians advocating a Jewish homeland in Palestine were not necessarily pro-Jewish. For some, it was a way of getting them out of Britain.

There was a similar movement in Stalin’s Russia. Stalin was viciously anti-Semitic and there was a similar culture of vehement anti-Semitism in the Russian Empire. Under the Tsars, Jewish settlement was only permitted within an area of territory known as the Jewish Pale. Jews were also fiercely discriminated against, and subject to terrible pogroms. After the Communist Revolution, Stalin and his lackeys decided to create an autonomous oblast (Soviet administrative region) for the Jews in Siberia, and many Jews were deported there. This was part of the old thugs general policy of deporting any Soviet nation or minority group he didn’t like further east. It’s been said that the only reason he didn’t try to do it to the Ukrainians was because there were 8 million of them. The fact that Stalin gave the Jews a nominally autonomous Soviet homeland doesn’t mean that he was pro-Jewish, although that was undoubtedly the spin he put on it at the time. Rather the opposite. It just shows that murderous anti-Semites will support Zionism and Jewish nationalism, when they believe that doing so will allow them to deport their own Jewish population.

Then there’s Ken’s statement that ‘everything Hitler did was legal’. This is also factually correct. Mike’s pointed out that this phrase first appeared in American ads against racial discrimination and the Jim Crow laws segregating Blacks and seeking to keep them in their place at just about the bottom of society. If I remember Mike’s article correctly, the point of the ad was to show that under an unjust legal system, moral acts – like White and Blacks folks helping each other, are illegal.

And there’s another, general point that needs to be made here. Everything Hitler did to seize power was legal. He, and Mussolini in Italy, achieved their ends through constitutional means. Hitler even got a nickname when he pursued this tactic – ‘Adolf Legalite’, given him by his loyal stormtroopers. This point has been made by anti-Nazi and anti-Fascist historians and political scientists. They point this out because of the danger posed by people uncritically accepted the Fascists’ own propaganda, that they seized power through a militant uprising. Both the Nazis and Italian Fascist liked to talk of their ‘revolution’. In fact neither group were in a position, at least not originally, to overthrow the state by force. So they adopted constitutional tactics, and co-operated with ruling elites and political groups, who helped them into power.

There is also the problem that Israeli nationalists also collaborated with the Nazis and Fascists in other ways. Guy Debord’s Cat has pointed out in one of his articles that during the 1920s there was a group of Israeli extremists, the Maximalists, who were deeply impressed with Mussolini’s Fascist Italy. They wanted to create a similar Fascist state in Israel, complete with a corporatist social system. This was at a time when the Italian Fascists were extreme nationalists, but before the turn to anti-Semitism after the rise of the Nazis.

Then, during the British Mandate in the Second World War, one of the sections of the Irgun also collaborated with the Nazis in waging war against the British forces in Palestine. Irgun wanted to combat what they saw as an occupying imperialist power, while the Nazis obviously also wanted to do whatever they could to cripple the British war effort.

None of this means that Jews or Israelis somehow secretly support Fascism or Nazis. Rather, it means that some committed revolutionaries will collaborate with their bitterest enemies if it means that it will help them reach a desired goal. As for the Maximalists and their attempts to copy Musso’s Italy, all this means is that Israelis are human, like everyone else, and ultra-nationalist, militaristic thugs exist in all countries.

As for Ken Livingstone, he’s been accused of anti-Semitism before because he supposedly described a Jewish reported as someone who would have served in the SS, or some such, and then tried to throw him off a wall. This was how it was reported in the press. Mike put up an article a year or so ago showing how the press reports were grossly distorted and the full truth very different. I suspect something similar is happening here.

The Secularist Persecution of Christianity in French Colonial Madagascar

June 7, 2013

The spread of Christianity in Africa is usually associated with European imperialism. Although Christian missionaries were often separate from the European colonial administrations, they usually expected the state to aid them in their evangelisation of indigenous Africans. The colonial authorities could also occasionally obstruct missionary activities, particularly of Christian denominations that were not the official or national church in the colonising nation. Thus the French colonial authorities attempted to block Protestant denominations from evangelising in their parts of Africa. There were also periods when official French culture was militantly secular. Under these regimes the authorities also tried to prevent the spread of the Gospel and actively persecuted the churches. This occurred during the French colonial administration of Madagascar from 1895 to the end of the Second World War.

Anglican missionaries from the London Missionary Society first reached Madagascar in 1818. They translated the Bible into the indigenous language, Malagasy, and established the foundations of a church. Christianity was persecuted under the brutal reign of Queen Ranavalona. Thnis particular monarch was so paranoid that she made dreaming about her carry the death penalty. She built a number of roads on the island, whose workers she then massacred in order to prevent her enemies knowing where they were. After her death it was found that the numbers of Christians in Madagascar had actually increased. The first Anglican bishop of Madagascar was consecrated in 1874. The Anglican Church is very much in a minority in Madagascar. In 1965 it only comprised 5 per cent of the non-Roman Catholic Christian population. The majority denominations are the Lutherans in the south, and the Congregationalists and Quakers in the centre and north. The Church did have good relations with these denominations, but the French Jesuits have been much more hostile. Madagascar’s status as an independent nation was recognised in a treaty signed between Britain and France in 1865. Thirty years later, however, French troops took Tananarive, the nation’s capital, overthrowing its monarchy. The French administration at this time was extremely anti-Christian and anti-clerical. Hundreds of Christian schools were closed, as were also a number of churches. At the end of the war there were plans for an indegenous uprising that would have resulted in the massacre of all the foreign, non-Malagasy people on the island.

Clearly the history of Malagasy Christianity shows that Christian mission in Africa has been dependent on the attitudes of the colonial administration. While the European colonial regimes have been eager to promote their own particular, national denominations – Anglican and Protestant in the British colonies, Roman Catholic in the French – it also shows that aggressively secular, anti-Christian administrations have also actively wished to end Christian evangelisation and persecute the church. Thus anti-Christian administrations can be as active in implementing their views with force and violence as administrations more favourable to Christianity have actively supported it. Atheists and secularists can therefore not claim that their ideologies have not also persecuted Christians for their faith when they wielded power.