Art of Resistance – an interview with Oliver Weindling

March 17, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

Once again elements within Labour and Corbyn’s closest political ring have been caught performing vile authoritarian symptoms trying to interfere with the arts and freedom of expression. In the last two weeks Momentum, Jewdas and Guardian Journalist Owen Jones joined forces in an attempt to intimidate a London jazz club. Not only did they fail, their campaign backfired on a humongous scale. In this video I interview Oliver Weindling, Vortex Club’s director. I asked Oli about his family background and about his take on the recent assault on British artists and elementary freedoms.

I urge you to log in to All About Jazz https://www.allaboutjazz.com/ and give your vote to the Vortex (and also support other British jazz clubs: 606, Ronnies, Pizza Express, The Bear Inn and many others).

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Jewdas vs. Atzmon

March 14, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

exposed.jpg

BY Eve Mykytyn

Jewdas has put forth a call to “shut down Atzmon.” Their facebook headline proclaims that they intend to “stop Nazi apologist Jazz.” I had not realized that music could be ‘Nazi apologist.’ Perhaps Atzmon improvised Wagner’s ‘tunes?’ Why do a group of self proclaimed left wing activists attempt to control the music at a jazz venue? Apparently Jewdas has decreed that Atzmon’s crimes are so heinous that they are entitled to dictate to other Londoners what music they may listen to.

Created in London more than a decade ago, Jewdas describes itself as “radical Jewish voices” who see themselves as at odds with most of Britain’s mainstream Jewish organizations. The group claims to oppose capitalism and racism and is critical of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians. Last year, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn was denounced for celebrating passover with Jewdas because, according to the New York Times, Jewdas’s name, [a play on Judas] and antics, “risk stoking age-old myths and hatreds that have led to anti-Semitic violence.”

A visit to Jewdas’ web site is instructive. Jewdas is obsessed with antisemitism. “Antisemitism, like all racism, is poison and must be defeated.” Jewdas claims that the secret to ending antisemitism is for Jewish institutions not to “ally themselves with the rich and their political parties.” It seems that Jewdas differs from the ultra Zionist Committee Against Antisemitism only in tactics.

Watch Jewdas fabricate ‘antisemitic’ quotes:

The version of history put forth by Jewdas is remarkably judeo centric claiming that Jews were what maintained the nobility and are now what protects the wealthy. Mendi Medem writes “[in the past] antisemitism was encouraged in order to direct the public’s attention away from its exploitation, today antisemitism is vilified in order to divert public support away from the best chance for better living than we’ve had in decades.”  To Jewdas, antisemitism is the penultimate discrimination, used first by the nobility to protect themselves from the masses apparently by arranging it so that the peasants would attack the Jews rather than the nobility; and is now used now to  “control the conversation: as long as we (the public, that is) are reading and thinking about antisemitism, we’re not thinking about class oppression.” I guess they pity the poor who somehow don’t know they are poor because they are thinking instead about antisemitism.

Jewdas even addresses its exclusively Jewish membership, without, of course, acknowledging that a biological test for inclusion is, by definition, racist.  Apparently a nonJew can be admitted as an ‘honorary Jew’ if they take the tongue in cheek test to discover if they have a ‘Jewish’ soul. In other words, only Jews are allowed but maybe with the joking inclusion of nonJewish wannabes. This does not seem like left wing, the people vs the capitalists ideology to me, but then I did not pass their test.

So what has Atzmon done to earn Jewdas’ wrath? Atzmon writes that identity politics are anathema to the true left. According to Atzmon, by dividing us into biologically determined identity groups, the new left has diverted the causes that should be those of the left: decent education, housing, jobs and healthcare for all.  It is clear that Atzmon opposes groups like Jewdas who form their membership by race.

Jewdas can’t take on this argument. Are they, self-proclaimed radicals. going to oppose a decent living for all?  Certainly not, although you would be hard pressed to find political arguments for such equality on their site. Instead, Jewdas reverts to the shibboleth of “Nazi apologist.” An earlier version of their facebook page accuse Atzmon of Holocaust skepticism (my wording, not theirs).

Atzmon is neither a Nazi apologist nor a holocaust denier. I’m not familiar with the unidentified work of Atzmon’s in which he apologizes for the Nazis. Perhaps in making such a claim Jewdas itself should identify their source. As for ‘holocaust denier’ Atzmon has simply made the point that the holocaust, like all historical crises (slavery, Armenian genocide, Rwanda, etc. etc.)  should be open to intellectual examination.  In fact, the more we can actually study the holocaust for real the more likely we will be able to avoid repeating its horrors.

Jewdas has somehow tried Atzmon, found him guilty of disproven, unspecified or imaginary crimes, and sentenced Londoners to have to put up with Jewdas protests in order to listen to jazz. Community activist Boaz Ben Hanoch, justifies harassing the music venue, claiming, “The Vortex hails itself as a community venue but by hosting, promoting and giving a platform to Atzmon who mixes his politics with his music, the club is supporting his beliefs.” Hanoch’s statement is first and foremost a statement in opposition to free speech rights, providing a platform does not constitute agreement, but in any case his claim that Atzmon mixes politics with music is simply wrong. I assume Hanoch has not heard Atzmon in concert, the only thing remotely to do with Jewish in his music act is a penchant for bad jokes.

When asked why he doesn’t simply report Atzmon to the police for ‘hate’ speech,  Hanoch claims Atzmon disguises his ‘hate’ speech in a mysterious code.  Hanoch noted: “ Gilad is a master of the art of shrouding a lot of what he says in psychobabble. It’s not easy to pin him down in those kinds of contexts.” Perhaps Hanoch’s problem stems not from an inability to pin Atzmon down, but rather from Hanoch’s failure to read or understand Atzmon’s work.

My battle for truth and freedom involves  some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

Denote

More Power to You Miss Omar

More Power to You Miss Omar

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 10.03.2019

More Power to You Miss Omar

Eric S. MARGOLIS

“Tell me who you cannot criticize and I will tell you who is your master”. (Attributed to Voltaire).

Saying anything negative about Israel has long been the third rail of US politics and media. Israel is our nation’s most sacred cow. Any questioning of its behavior brings furious charges of anti-Semitism and professional oblivion.

I keep in my bookcase a cautionary book, ‘They Dared Speak Out’ written by US senators and congressmen who all lost their positions after rebuking Israel for its mistreatment of Palestinians or daring to suggest that Israel had far too much influence in the US.

Journalists learn this first commandment very early. Criticize, or even question, Israel at your own peril. Until recently, we journalists were not even allowed to write there was an ‘Israel lobby.’ It was widely considered Washington’s most powerful lobby group but, until lately, mentioning its name was seriously verboten.

Now, young Democratic stars Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a feisty congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, have suddenly broken the taboo and said what dared not be said: there is too much rightwing Israeli influence and there must be justice for Palestine.

Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have come to the defense of Ilhan Omar against the usual charges that she is anti-Semitic. So have black groups and smaller liberal Jewish groups. The Democratic Party, that once received half its financial support from Jewish sources, . Its old guard is retreating and does not know what to do beyond issuing fiery denunciations of the heretical Miss Omar. The Democrat Party split comes just at a time when it is trying to bring down President Donald Trump.

Many people seem unaware that Islam is now America’s third largest religion and may soon surpass the number of Jews. In Canada, Muslims are already the second religion.

Ilhan is not anti-Semitic. I grew up in New York and New England where vicious anti-Semitism abounded. I know real anti-Semitism when I see it. But she is quite right in charging that vast amounts of pro-Israel money have bought Congress and the media.

Sheldon Adelson, the pro-Israel casino tycoon, has given well over $100 million to the Republican Party and its leaders. This money comes from legal gambling, a sickness that preys on addicts and the unfortunate.

In the 1700’s, Dr. Samuel Johnson well defined lotteries and gambling as ‘a tax on fools.’ Such is the source of Adelson’s billions and his influence over the US political process. He is also the primary financier of Israel’s prime minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, who now faces serious charges of corruption.

Interestingly, Britain faces a similar political storm. Its left-leaning Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, has called for justice for the Palestinians and a viable state for them. Britain’s pro-Israel groups and media have launched furious counterattacks on Corbyn and his allies, barraging them with false accusations of being anti-Semitic. This is utter nonsense. To find real anti-Semitism in Britain you need look into the recesses of the Conservative Party. I’ve seen its ugly face.

Israel’s brutal repression of Palestinians has sparked bitter anti-Israel sentiments across Europe. Not so much in America, where media leans far over to Israel’s side and evangelical Christians have been bamboozled into believing that a Greater Israel is somehow necessary for the Second Coming.

But young Americans, and even more so Europeans, are increasingly hearing the call of justice for Palestine. They want no truck with Israel’s right-wingers, whom many leftist Israelis, including the late great writer, Uri Avnery, brand ‘fascists.’

The prescient and courageous Pat Buchanan said it years ago: the US Congress was ‘Israeli occupied territory.’ His political career was ruined.

So was my mother’s career. She was one of the first American female journalists to cover the Mideast in the early 1950’s. After extensively reporting the unknown fact that there were nearly one million Palestinian refugees driven from the new state of Israel, she was silenced by advertisers pulling ads from the papers she wrote for and, finally, threats to throw acid in my face. Her career was ruined.

So I say to Miss Omar and the other brave ladies, full speed ahead. Damn the torpedoes. Do what is good for the world and your country. Break the hold of big money over our republic.

ericmargolis.com

Why is Corbyn so Important?

March 10, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

pacified corbyn.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

For the same reasons that President Trump has been a significant political development.

These two post-political characters bring to the surface what has been suppressed for decades: we are subject to foreign occupation. We the people, are reduced to mere consumers and our so-called ‘elected politicians’ are a bunch of detached, compromised actors.

Trump was elected to make ‘America great again.’ Throughout his election campaign Trump was accused by Jewish media of spreading  ‘dog whistling anti-Semitic tropes’  in order to appeal to White nationalists who indeed responded to their new master. They made Trump president only to discover that their beloved country isn’t that great and is not going to reinstate its greatness any time soon. However, Trump and his administration have been working relentlessly to make Israel great again.

https://youtu.be/YkDmKIKX_bs

Trump has succeeded in illuminating the hopeless state of the democratic adventure. Trump has exposed the vast depth of the political crisis that splits America apart; the battle between the ‘Identitarians’ and the rest. America’s battles could deteriorate into a civil war at any time. Trump is not the cause of this demographic, geographic, cultural and spiritual clash. He just galvanized the symptoms of that clash.

Similarly, Corbyn acts as a catalyst to awaken a new consciousness. Through Corbyn we learn to perceive how grim our situation is and how truly impotent the contemporary Left and the Labour party are.  Corbyn’s struggles allow us to see that the Labour party is an occupied zone. Corbyn’s helplessness has revealed that the best radical candidate the British Left has produced in decades is, tragically, very weak and can’t hold his ground on any issue from Israel/Palestine to Brexit and beyond.

Since Corbyn was chosen to lead the Labour party this old political institution has revealed its true tyrannical nature, engaged in a constant purge of the best of its members. Any criticism of Israel or its intrusive Lobby leads to immediate suspension and even expulsion. Since Corbyn was elected to save us from the Tories, the Labour party has adopted an Orwellian Big Brother attitude. The party has been spying on its members and digs into their social media accounts, even evicting members for comments they made years before they joined the party.

Indeed, Corbyn has helped us see the dark machinations at the core of his party, and  the way in which it is  puppeteered  by Tel Aviv and its local British stooges.

Most devastating is that through Corbyn it has been revealed that the Left has most likely finished its historical political role. Corbyn promised to ‘care for the many not the few,’ a pledge that initially sounded promising but has been largely contradicted by the reality on the ground. The Labour party and its leader ignore the many as they follow the orders of the very few. The British working class aren’t impressed by the closest ally they have ever had at the helm of the Labour Party.  It is through Corbyn and his to date colossal failure that we understand that a fresh form of opposition is crucial for our survival as ethical and dignified people.

My battle for truth and freedom involves  some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

Denate

Arms sales to Middle East increase dramatically, research shows

Saudi Arabia’s arms purchases grew by 192 percent over 2014-2018 (AFP)

By 

in

New York, United States

Arms flows to the Middle East grew by 87 percent in the past five years and now account for more than a third of the global trade, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report on Sunday.

The defence think tank’s annual survey showed that Saudi Arabia became the world’s top arms importer between 2014-18, with a growth of 192 percent compared to the preceding five years.

Egypt, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq also ranked in the top 10 list of global arms buyers.

The report shows how the United States and European nations sell jets, jeeps and other gear that is used in controversial wars in Yemen and beyond, SIPRI researcher Pieter Wezeman told Middle East Eye.

“Weapons from the US, the UK and France are in high demand in the Gulf, where conflicts and tensions are rife. Russia, France and Germany dramatically increased their arms sales to Egypt in the past five years,” said Wezeman.

The growth in Middle Eastern imports was, in part, driven by the need to replace military gear that was deployed and destroyed in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya, said Wezeman.

It was also driven by tensions and a regional arms race, he added.

Exporting American’s gun problem? The proposed rule that has monitors up in arms

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The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel are readying for a potential conflict with Iran, said the 12-page report. Since 2017, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and others have rowed with Qatar in a rift, which, at times, looked like it could turn violent.

Between 2014-18, Saudi received 94 combat jets fitted with cruise missiles and other guided weapons from the US and Britain.

Over the next five years, it is set to get 98 more jets, 83 tanks and defensive missile systems from the US, 737 armoured vehicles from Canada, five frigates from Spain, and Ukrainian short-range ballistic missiles.

Between 2014-18, the UAE received missile defence systems, short-range ballistic missiles and some 1,700 armoured personnel carriers from the US as well as three corvettes from France, the report says.

Qatari imports grew by 225 percent over the period, including German tanks, French combat aircraft and Chinese short-range ballistic missiles. It is set to receive 93 combat aircraft from the US, France and Britain and four frigates from Italy.

Iran, which is under a UN arms embargo, accounted for just 0.9 percent of Middle Eastern imports.

For Wezeman, “the gap is widening” between Iran and its foes across the Gulf, which have more advanced weapons.

US remains top arms seller

The US has kept its position as the world’s top arms seller. Its exports grew by 29 percent these past five years, with more than half of its shipments (52 percent) going to customers in the Middle East.

British sales grew by 5.9 percent over the same period. A total of 59 percent of UK arms deliveries went to the Middle East — most of it combat aircraft destined for Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Arming governments in the turbulent Middle East is increasingly controversial in the West, said Patrick Wilcken, an arms control specialist with Amnesty International, a UK-based rights watchdog.

He pointed to cases where sales are merited – such as re-tooling Iraq’s army after it lost much of its hardware and territory during the so-called Islamic State (IS) group’s surprise attack in 2014.

But, more often, western arms end up being used in human rights abuses, he added, pointing to Egypt’s crackdown on opponents, Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

He blasted the “hypocrisy” of western governments not following their own rules by continuing to supply authoritarian leaders who commit wartime abuses or violations against their own people.

“A critical problem for the region is the emergence of armed groups like IS,” Wilcken told MEE.

A critical problem for the region is the emergence of armed groups like IS

– Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty International

“In Yemen, totally unaccountable militias are being armed and supported by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which is setting the scene for a future period of instability and human rights violations.”

The problem has not gone unnoticed in western capitals.

In the US, lawmakers in both houses have passed resolutions to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition, though US President Donald Trump has vowed to veto the document if it reaches his desk.

In Britain, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for a ban on arms exports to Saudi. Last month, a parliamentary committee concluded that the UK was on “the wrong side of the law” by arming Riyadh.

In October, Amnesty released a report about French-built armoured vehicles being used by Egyptian government forces to “disperse protests and crush dissent” in crackdowns between 2012-2015.

Germany, however, has taken a stand. This week, it extended until the end of March a unilateral freeze on arms supplies to Saudi over its war in Yemen and the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

This has caused a rift with Britain and France, its partners in European defence projects, as it puts a question mark over orders, including a $13.1bn deal to sell 48 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Riyadh.

Jeff Abramson, a scholar at the Arms Control Association, an advocacy group, said the US should follow Germany’s example.

“Instead of being challenged, the US continues to claim a larger share of an expanding global arms market,” Abramson told MEE.

“As such, the US should take the lead in promoting responsible behavior, rather than encouraging trade to repressive and irresponsible regimes, such as those in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”

Other findings

The report made other interesting findings.

These past five years, Turkey has increased exports of armoured vehicles, missiles and other gear by 170 percent, becoming the world’s 14th most important arms exporter and the second biggest in the Middle East, after Israel.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE were among Turkey’s top three importers of weapons in the past five years, despite Ankara being at odds with its customers over Khashoggi and the blockade on Qatar.

Continuing to buy arms from Turkey may be a bid by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to keep ties with Ankara on track despite the rift, said Wezeman.

Also, Algeria increased its arms imports by 55 percent over the past five years, with shipments from Russia, China, Germany and elsewhere.

This made it the world’s fifth biggest arms importer despite only having a $168bn economy.

Algeria buys arms for military prestige, to tackle militants from neighbouring Libya and because of its “long-standing rivalry with Morocco”, said Wezeman.

Sipri measures the volume of deliveries of arms, not the dollar value of deals. The volume of deliveries to each country tend to fluctuate, so it presents data in five-year periods that a give a more stable indication of trends.

Labour’s Fight Over israel (apartheid state) Long Time in Coming

Labour’s Fight Over Israel Long Time in Coming

The party is being dragged into the modern world by Corbyn’s anti-racist leadership towards Palestinians, writes Jonathan Cook.

By JonathanCook
Jonathan-Cook.net

An announcement this week by the Jewish Labour Movement that it is considering splitting from the British Labour Party could not have come at a worse moment for Jeremy Corbyn. The Labour leader is already besieged by claims that he is presiding over a party that has become “institutionally anti-Semitic.”

The threats by the JLM should be seen as part of concerted efforts to oust Corbyn from the leadership. They follow on the heels of a decision by a handful of Labour MPs last month to set up a new faction called the Independent Group. They, too, cited anti-Semitismas a major reason for leaving.

On the defensive, Corbyn was prompted to write to the JLM expressing his and the shadow cabinet’s “very strong desire for you to remain a part of our movement”. More than 100 Labour MPs, including members of the front bench, similarly pleaded with the JLM not to disaffiliate. They apologized for “toxic racism” in the party and for “letting our Jewish supporters and members down.”

Corbyn: Under siege. (David Holt via Flickr)

Corbyn: On defense.  (David Holt via Flickr)

Their letter noted that the JLM is “the legitimate and long-standing representative of Jews in the Labour party” and added that the MPs recognized the importance of “calling out those who seek to make solidarity with our Jewish comrades a test of foreign policy.”

That appeared to be a swipe at Corbyn himself, who is the first leader of a British political party to prioritize Palestinian rights over the U.K.’s ties to an Israeli state that has been oppressing Palestinians for decades.

Just this week the Labour leader renewed his call for Britain to halt arms sales to Israel following a UN report that said the Israeli army’s shooting of Palestinian protesters in Gaza’s Great March of Return could amount to war crimes.

Evidence Ignored

Despite the media attention, all the evidence suggests that Labour does not have a problem of “institutional anti-Semitism,” or even a problem of anti-Semitism above the marginal racism towards Jews found in the wider British population. Figures show only 0.08 percent of Labour members have been disciplined for anti-Semitism.

Also largely ignored by the British media, and Corbyn’s opponents, is the fact that a growing number of Jews are publicly coming out in support for him and discounting the claims of an “endemic” anti-Semitismproblem.

Some 200 prominent Jews signed a letter to The Guardian newspaper calling Corbyn “a crucial ally in the fight against bigotry and reaction. His lifetime record of campaigning for equality and human rights, including consistent support for initiatives against antisemitism, is formidable.”

At the same time, a new organization, Jewish Voice for Labour, has been established to underscore that there are progressive Jews who welcome Corbyn’s leadership.

In the current hysterical climate, however, no one seems interested in the evidence or these dissenting voices. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that Corbyn and his supporters are on the back foot as they face losing from Labour an affiliate group of 2,000 members who represent a section of the UK’s Jewish community.

But paradoxically, the loss of the JLM may be inevitable if Labour is serious about becoming a party that opposes racism in all its forms, because the JLM has proved it is incapable of meeting that simple standard.

While the Labour Party has been dragged into an increasingly fractious debate about whether anti-Zionism – opposition to Israel as a Jewish state – equates to anti-Semitism, everyone has been distracted from the elephant in the room. In fact, it is political Zionism, at least in the hardline form adopted by groups such as the JLM, that is racism — towards Palestinians.

Zionism, we should recall, required the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians to engineer a “Jewish state” on the ruins of Palestinians’ homeland. It fueled Israel’s hunger for an enlarged territory that led to it occupying the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, and further dispossessing the Palestinians through illegal settlement building.

David Ben-Gurion publicly pronouncing the Declaration of the State of Israel, May 14 1948, Tel Aviv, Israel. (Wikimedia) ;

David Ben-Gurion publicly pronouncing the Declaration of the State of Israel, May 14 1948, Tel Aviv. (Wikimedia)

Zionism has made it impossible for any Israeli government to offer meaningful concessions to Palestinians on statehood to create the conditions necessary for peace. It has justified policies that view “mixing between the races” – between Jews and Palestinians – as dangerous “miscegenation” and “assimilation.”

Furthermore, Zionism has kept Israel’s Palestinian citizens a segregated minority, hemmed up in their own ghettoized communities, denied rights to almost all land in Israel, and corralled into their own separate and massively inferior school system.

Efforts to Oust Corbyn

All of these policies were instituted by Israel’s Labor Party, the sister organization of the JLM in Britain. The JLM not only refuses to oppose these policies, but effectively shields Israel from criticism about them from within Britain’s Labour Party.

The JLM has remained mute on the structural violence of Israel’s occupying army, and the systematic racism – encoded in Israel’s laws – towards the fifth of its population who are Palestinian citizens.

Meanwhile, the JLM’s mother body, the World Zionist Organization, has a division that – to this day – finances the establishment and expansion of settlements in the West Bank, in violation of international law.

Added to this, an Al Jazeera undercover documentary broadcast in 2017 showed that the JLM was covertly working with an Israeli government official, Shai Masot, to damage Corbyn because of his pro-Palestinian positions.

 

Israel, remember, has for the last decade equated to the ultra-nationalist government of Benjamin Netanyahu. His coalition allies seek not a two-state solution, but the takeover of most of the occupied territories and ultimately their annexation, again in violation of international law.

Ella Rose was appointed director of the JLM in 2016, straight from a post at the Israeli embassy.

Relic of Old Politics

Times – and politics – move on. The JLM is a relic of a period when it was possible to claim to be anti-racist while turning a blind eye to the oppression of the Palestinian people. Social media and Palestinians armed with camera phones – not just Corbyn – have made that evasion no longer possible.

Labour giving pride of place to groups such as the JLM or Labour Friends of Israel – to which 80 of its MPs proudly belong – is, in the current circumstances, as obscene as it would have been 40 years ago for British parties to host their own Friends of South Africa groups.

The Labour Party bureaucracy is being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the modern world by its members, who have felt liberated by Corbyn’s leadership and his history of supporting all kinds of anti-racism struggles, including the Palestinian one.

While Britain has major and pressing issues to tackle, from dealing with its exit from Europe to imminent climate collapse, Labour’s energies have been sidetracked into a civil war about Israel, of all things.

The old guard want to be allowed to support Israel, even as it heads towards full-blown fascism, while much of the membership want to dissociate from what looks increasingly like another apartheid state – and one whose leaders are seeking to stoke conflict across a volatile region.

Redefining anti-Semitism

Israel’s most ardent supporters, and Corbyn’s enemies, in Labour will play dirty to protect Israel and their own role from scrutiny, as they have been doing all along.

The JLM led moves last year intended to divide the party by insisting that Labour redefine anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel.

Rumblings of dissatisfaction from the JLM will be cited as further evidence of the membership’s anti-Semitism, because that is the most powerful weapon they have to silence criticism of Israel and deflect attention away from their role in shielding Israel from proper scrutiny within Labour.

Politics is about choices and values. Labour has for many decades sided exclusively with Israel and ignored the rights of Palestinians.

In 1944 – four years before Israel’s creation – Labour’s annual conference recommended that the natives of Palestine, a large majority population, be ethnically cleansed to advance the goals of European Zionists colonizing their land. The resolution declared: “Let the Arabs be encouraged to move out, as the Jews move in.”

Jaramana Refugee Camp in Damascus, Syria, established after Nakba, 1948. (Wikimedia)

Jaramana Refugee Camp in Damascus, Syria, established after Nakba, 1948. (Wikimedia)

That is exactly what Israel did by expelling 750,000 Palestinians, more than 80 percent of the Palestinian population, in events we now call the Nakba (Catastrophe).

For decades after Israel’s creation, Labour Party members happily travelled to Israel to toil in agricultural communes, such as the kibbutz, that were built on stolen Palestinian land and which, to this day, refuse to allow any of the country’s 1.7 million Palestinian citizens to live in them.

In a speech in 1972, after Israel seized yet more Palestinian lands, including East Jerusalem, Labour leader Harold Wilson urged Israel to hold on to these conquered territories: “Israel’s reaction is natural and proper in refusing to accept the Palestinians as a nation.”

This is the dark, dishonorable underbelly of Labour racism, and the party’s decades-long support for colonialism in the Middle East.

Labour created a hierarchy of racisms, in which concern about hatred towards Jews enjoyed star billing while racism towards some other groups, most especially Palestinians, barely registered.

Under Corbyn and a much-expanded membership, these prejudices are being challenged in public for the first time – and that is justifiably making the party an “unsafe” space for groups such as the JLM and Labour Friends of Israel, which hang on to outdated, hardline Zionist positions.

The JLM’s claim to speak for all Jews in Labour has been challenged by anti-racist Jews like those of the Jewish Voice for Labour. Their efforts to defend Corbyn and Labour’s record have been widely ignored by the media or, encouraged by JLM, dismissed as “downplaying” anti-Semitism.

The JLM’s discomfort may be unfortunate, but it cannot be avoided. It is the price to be paid for the continuing battle by progressives to advance universal rights and defeat racism. This battle has been waged since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was published in 1948 – paradoxically, the year Israel was established by violating the core principles of that declaration.

Israel’s racism towards Palestinians has been indulged by Labour for too long. Now history is catching up with Israel, and with groups such as the JLM.

Labour MPs have a choice. They can stand on the wrong side of history or they can recognize that it is time to fully enter the modern era – and that means embracing a program of anti-racism that encompasses everyone, including Jews and Palestinians.

Jonathan Cook is a freelance journalist based in Nazareth. He blogs at https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/.

israel (apartheid state) lobby funders back breakaway British MPs

Israel lobby funders back breakaway British MPs

Asa Winstanley – The Electronic Intafada Feb 27, 2019

A multi-millionaire pro-Israel lobbyist is funding the UK Parliament’s new Independent Group, it was revealed this week.

Others are likely to follow.

David Garrard told newspapers he had already donated to the MPs who broke away from the opposition Labour Party and the ruling Conservative Party.

The Independent Group is expected to eventually register as a party.

Garrard has for many years been a major financial backer of Labour Friends of Israel, a front group for the Israeli embassy, and was recently appointed to its board.

Prior to left-wing Palestine solidarity activist Jeremy Corbyn becoming party leader in 2015, Garrard donated almost $2 million to Labour under former leaders Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband.

Garrard was so dismayed after Corbyn’s leadership election in September 2015, that he called in a loan of more than $2.5 million he had made to the party.

Despite this, Labour was last year reported to be Britain’s richest party, thanks to a massive influx of members enthused by Corbyn’s popular, moderately socialist agenda.

Despite leaving the party, Garrard has continued to fund individual anti-Corbyn MPs within Labour.

The Independent Group was formed last week by eight Labour MPs who quit the party, while alleging that Labour is now “institutionally anti-Semitic.”

While they were still in Labour, Garrard funded two of these eight.

Campaigning against Corbyn

The “moderate” faction was soon joined by three defecting Conservatives who agree with the group’s anti-Brexit stance.

Ian Austin, another anti-Corbyn MP, also quit Labour last week. But he has not formally joined the Independent Group, as he disagrees with its views on Brexit.

Garrard has also donated almost $28,000 since May 2016 to Austin – a leading supporter of Labour Friends of Israel.

As Austin explained to Sky News, “I’ve been campaigning against Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership for years.”

The majority of the Independent Group remain part of Labour Friends of Israel – despite no longer being members of the Labour Party.

Labour Friends of Israel’s chair Joan Ryan resigned from Labour a week ago citing Corbyn’s “hatred for Israel” and alleged failure to combat anti-Semitism.

Along with Ryan, the Independent Group MPs still listed as supporters of Labour Friends of Israel are: Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith and Chuka Umunna.

Before she first entered Parliament in 2010, Berger for years worked as the director of Labour Friends of Israel.

Millionaire funding

The official register of donations to members of Parliament shows that in 2016 and 2017, Garrard donated almost $9,000 to Ryan and more than $50,000 to Chuka Umunna and his office.

Umunna is currently being touted as a possible new leader of the Independent Group.

The latest register shows Garrard has also donated almost $20,000 to deputy Labour Party leader Tom Watson – who has long opposed Corbyn.

Garrard, a property tycoon, told The Sunday Telegraph and The Observer this weekend that he had “already done so” when asked if he would financially back the new Independent Group.

Labour has “been hijacked by an ultra-left cabal” who want to “turn our nation into a socialist republic,” he claimed. He also repeated the right-wing smears about alleged anti-Semitism that have dogged Labour for nearly four years.

Another millionaire former Labour donor signaled his intention to switch his financial backing to the new group this weekend.

Michael Foster, who was suspended from Labour in 2016 for abusing Corbyn and his team as Nazis, told The Sunday Telegraph of the new group that he “would support them in any way that I could.”

Other Israel lobby funders seem likely to follow Garrard.

The Sunday Times this weekend named Trevor Chinn and Jonathan Goldstein as two other “potential donors” to the group – although it cited no evidence.

Chinn is one of the leaders of BICOM and Goldstein is chair of the Jewish Leadership Council – both are British pro-Israel lobby groups.

Chinn donated more than $6,000 to Labour Friends of Israel’s chair Joan Ryan in 2017.

He donated a similar amount to deputy Labour leader Tom Watson in 2018.

Although the Independent Group has signaled its ultimate intention to set up a new political party, it is not yet registered as one.

Even though most voters in practice vote for a party rather than individual MPs, there is no requirement that lawmakers who quit their party resign their seats in Parliament and stand in a by-election.

Historically, however, some MPs who left their parties have chosen to resign.

But the Independent Group’s MPs have rejected calls that they resign and seek re-election, with one ironically justifying this refusal to face a democratic vote because it would supposedly “crush the birth of democracy.”

David Garrard

Garrard quit Labour in April 2018.

More than a decade ago, he was embroiled in the cash for peerages” scandal during the government of Tony Blair.

Garrard was one of four controversial names nominated by Blair to be “life peers” in the House of Lords, the UK’s unelected upper chamber.

The four were rejected, and it was later revealed they had previously loaned millions to the Labour Party, raising the question of whether they had effectively paid for the nominations.

Garrard denied any wrongdoing. Although Blair was questioned three times by police, and two of his aides were arrested, no one was ever charged with a crime.

Israeli embassy front group

These revelations about Israel lobby funding for the new group come soon after speculation by some in Labour of Israeli involvement in the splinter group.

Ruth George, a Labour MP, was forced to apologize after reports on a Facebook comment thread in which she had stated that “support from the state of Israel” for the new group “is possible” and that she “would not condemn those who suggest it, especially when the group’s financial backers are not being revealed.”

In 2017, an undercover investigation by Al Jazeera revealed that Labour Friends of Israel is effectively a front for the Israeli embassy.

One of the group’s staff privately admitted that, although “publicly we just try to keep the LFI as a separate identity to the embassy,” they work “really closely together.”

Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan would speak to Israeli embassy agent Shai Masot “most days,” he said.

The documentary also revealed that the Israeli embassy was trying to engineer the creation of a “Young Labour Friends of Israel” grouping within the UK’s main opposition party, to counteract strong grassroots support for Palestinian rights.

Shai Masot was expelled from the UK after the scandal broke in 2017.

More recently, Israel has used its Act.IL app to stoke opposition to Corbyn, accusing him of anti-Semitism and falsely claiming he had compared Israel to Nazi Germany.

Meanwhile, Joan Ryan remains Labour Friends of Israel’s chair despite quitting the Labour party.

 

 

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