Divide and Conquer

November 07, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Gilad Atzmon

I am not even remotely a Trump supporter,  but I do think that he has managed to expose the spectrum of western political morbidity, both left and right. Trump is the ultimate Post Political icon — the symptom as well as the disease.

For the last four decades, the West has been subjected to an intense cultural and social revolution. The cause of ‘social justice’ has made some fundamental changes in western society.  Elementary rights, such as the freedom to think openly, have been eradicated and replaced by a strict regime of correctness. In retrospect, it was reasonable to believe that there was little significant resistance to these social justice heroes. During that time, it seemed that their agenda had prevailed. Just five years ago it looked as if the Tyranny of Correctness was here to stay. But then, unexpectedly, the tide changed.

First the Scottish referendum let us know that every other Scot wanted to separate from the Kingdom. Soon after, half of the Brits voted to split from the EU, and then, totally unexpectedly, Trump won the presidential election.

It was Trump’s victory that really brought the identity war to the fore. For whatever reason, it was Trump and his combative rhetoric that most clearly exposed the demarcation line that divides the West.

America, like the rest of the West, is split into  ‘Identitarians’ and ‘Nationalists:’ Identitarians identify politically with their symptoms. These symptoms may be ethnic or cultural but most often are biological (skin colour, sexual orientation, gender, race, etc.). Nationalists, on the other hand, are people who identify politically with a piece of geography that is defined by their national borders.

‘Nationalists’ are not necessarily right-wing. As I explore in my recent book, Being in Time-a Post Political Manifesto, Trump’s nationalist populism shares some characteristics with left icons such as Bernie Sanders and the populism of British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. All three politicians resist divisive Identitarian ideologies. Steve Bannon, the bete noir of liberal America, explored this idea in a recent televised debate: “It is not a question whether populism is on the rise.. the only question before us is whether it is going to be populist nationalism or populist socialism…”

Populism is back everywhere, which raises the question of whether Trump is, in fact,  a populist. Does he actually care for the people or about the people? I do not see any clear evidence of that. Trump behaves as an oligarch, bonded with international oligarchy. Trump is popular, but ‘popularity’ and ‘populism’ are distinct concepts. The former refers to being loved by the people, the latter is someone who cares for the people. Liberals and progressives who castigate Trump as a ‘fascist’ should understand that while fascism is defined as a ‘National Socialist’ endeavour, Trump is more a ‘National Capitalist.’  He is popular because he successfully delivers a populist message.

This morning there is a new political situation. Trump is not going to save America. Even if he once believed that he could do so, the window for such a manoeuvre has closed. It is unlikely that Trump will be able to make significant changes. The Democratic House of Representatives will likely reject his initiatives. Despite this, Trump’s presence in the White House has revealed the conflict that shatters the West. The old political battle between Left and Right has been replaced by post- political Identitarian wars. WW3 is not going to be fought between countries, or states or across borders. It will be a war that splits states, societies and even families apart.

While Donald Trump’s promise to make America Great carried little substance, the red portion of the map of America shows a clear divide. As you move away from America’s coasts, a lot of people do not want what the liberals are offering. They want work, secure borders, education and health services. They want America to be great for real. They want justice and equality. They may or may not be bothered by uncertain or unconventional genders, they are far more concerned with being able to get a decent job.

Whether anyone within the Democratic or the Republican party truly understands this longing is an open question. But I have no doubt that the thirst for a radical change is going to bring more populist politics to America and beyond.

To understand the current dystopia read Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto, 

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Amazon.co.uk , Amazon.com and  here (gilad.co.uk).

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The Immaturity Of American Concepts

The Immaturity Of American Concepts

by Denis A. Conroy for the Saker blog

One imagines… from outside of America at least…that the political system there, robust one year, retro the next, is on its way to drowning in a sea of vitriolic comeuppance. Half the population think Donald Trump is a buffoon while the other half think the Donald is o.k. But what we overlook is the fact that the population of America living within the aegis of casino capitalism has produced…per se…the conditions for buffoonery. It appears that the working-and middle-class were too busy lapping up dollar benefits to notice that global capitalism had allowed an international corporate class to acquire massive political power across the nations…neo-conservative doctrines arrived to privatise fruition…and the people too immature to understand what was happening.

But the truth of the matter is that American predatory practices are accepted as the norm by the population so long as they get a piece of the action. They are fine with that so long as the ‘trickle-down-effect’ of wealth continues to work for them. They are fine with everything their government does so long as they make money. They are even fine with their government’s foreign policy programs which demonise foreign competitors before destroying their infrastructure and systems of government. ‘To the victor goes the spoils’ factor that they benefit from has become the modus operandi of the world’s richest ‘democracy’ doing it for oligarchs and dictators who basically abjure the concept of democracy.

The systemic roots of degeneracy were much in evidence, but a glib population went along for the ride…as long as Corporate America and the military could impose their own concept of maturation on the system, things would come to fruition. Dollars would keep coming. The people had been indoctrinated into believing that might was right. Those among us who might challenge the inhospitable hegemonic pretentions of the power elites could be restrained. The rhetorical harbingers of American style progress…those who controlled the wealth of the nation…would in time align themselves with the House of Saud, the House of Abraham and the House of Christian Evangelism. Their respective muses manufactured metaphysical chicanery to keep their communities from becoming free from their cant. Political thinking had to be privatized.

But what came into being in America was a brand of ‘democracy’ which professed an aversion to public ownership, public accountability and anything and everything relating to any form of public scrutiny. It would become the ‘stuff’ of American culture long before Margaret Thatcher distilled the privatisation factor for neo-con-speak with such statements as, “There is no such thing as Society, there are individual men and women, and there are families”. She also said, “As God once said, and I think rightly” …!!…which leaves one to wonder if privatising morality is a good thing, as the energies and programming that go into self-gratification must inevitably conform to practices that escape the notice of the public. Was Maggie onto something…a recipe for corporate greatness perhaps…when she said, “You don’t tell deliberate lies, but sometimes you have to be evasive”.

So, on with the motley; isn’t Western capitalism an outcrop of European colonialism? Isn’t corporate jingo-speak the language of exploitation? Isn’t it cute, though inexplicably absurd, that Americans mistook Shylock for Santa Claus.

Evidently the elite operate on the basis that the ‘people’ are too immature to comprehend the concept of democracy…which means that they are vulnerable when ‘democracy’ from above is imposed on them. It was Margaret Thatcher who presaged The War on Terror with her statement, “All attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail. It must be business-as-usual”. This said, business as usual was heating up the planet as was Margaret’s rhetoric.

So, when Donald Trump won the presidency, the business that is the business of the two-party system experienced an upping of the ante when the new chief deal-maker began pouring ever more toxicity into the swamp by nationalising his emotions per twitter twaddle. Fear and loathing had now reached such levels that it threatened to deflect the public from the real issues which were parasitism, inequality and evasiveness…the narcissism that cannibalises what is left of the American soul.

The red and blue fight involving the Republican and Democratic parties, hardly disguise the level of hatred that runs through the veins of the monochromatic American political beast that has been nurtured on dollars. The twin-headed beast has become a threat to the well-being of the entire globe.

From the European and Middle Eastern wombs came concepts of the hoary hegemonic kind that had roots in hoary religious tomes spewing forth monochromatic texts dealing with identity and ownership of truth. Over time becoming the boundaries that defined states. The British Crown, claimed that much of the world was their backyard, believing that the sun never set upon its empire. From the American ‘crown’ came the belief that God gave them the engineering skills to revamp his creation, garrison the globe with military bases, engineer wars for profit while celebrating whiteness, and generally fuck-over anyone who disagreed with them, be they climate scientists or the more sentient among the population who questioned notions of maturity.

But the strangest engineering feat of all was the creation of a coalition of the willing…the children of Western enlightenment no less, the white educated class who believed that they, and only they, possessed mature knowhow that would save the developing world from itself. In time it would become known as the white man’s burden and cost the natives of far-flung lands dearly.

But when America succeeded Britain in the role of super-grandee rearranging the complexion of the oil rich Middle East, it did precisely what its predecessor had done…suppress the aspirations of the various people who were seeking liberation from oppression by supporting dictators amenable to the interests of these latter-day colonists. To establish a hegemonic system loyal to the interests of Western banking, the petro-dollar system was implemented so as to give the emerging empire currency primacy and control over the vital interests of large parts of the globe.

But what defines the corporate mind is evasiveness. The selective particularism of the established news outlets demonstrate how active support for obtuse lesser-evil concepts can generate negative energy on both sides of the political equation for the purpose of giving identity politics ad hominem status by denigrating the character of entire groups. An ugly red versus blue spat roils the political waters as either side presents its case for doing the business of America. Degeneration had been an American weapon of export till it arrived back in the homeland as blowback.

But it is the business of America that throws a shadow across the globe. Specious killing has become its bottom line simply because killing is good for business. The lesser of two evils twaddle is a misnomer in a society that has never found its moral compass. Americans appears to be forever readying for an election, but nothing of significance ever changes or is even discussed. In a nation of private banks, public welfare has become passe. Meanwhile, millions in public service and academia mutely wait out their time in a manner that doesn’t threaten the safety of their pension funds while occasionally…and wistfully perhaps…reflect on the consequences of the aggression America and its allies have wrought on the world at large.

Too bad about hapless Yemen and the wanton slaughter of civilians over there! Too bad about hapless Gaza and the wanton slaughter of civilians over there! Or put more simply; it’s too bad about hapless Yemen, Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, Honduras, and the wanton slaughter of people across the globe. Propaganda had become playdough in the greasy hands of Anglo-Zionist corporatism, and the journalism provided by the New York Times was strictly for the manicured minds in the Beltway.

But as nothing is as it seems to be, truth must remain a shadow on the cave wall, sometimes a statistical blur, sometimes a pig-in-a-poke. But the cleverest pig in the American poke must be AIPAC, an institution that manages…quite rabbinically…the tensions that exist between anti-Semitism and Philo-Semitism in a country that is xenophobic, socially underdeveloped and evangelical. It has made pig-in -the-poke politics extraordinarily successful by secreting itself into the heart of the system, thereby gaining inordinate control of the so-called Western narrative. Having situated itself as a media player…with the help of the New York Times etc…it has been extremely successful in deflecting critical attention from the destruction of Palestine. It became an institution that gave new meaning to the ‘embedded’ concept.

AIPAC had read the cards correctly and knew only too well how to play the evasive corporate game; keep public interest from spoiling the privateer’s banquet for a start. Its biggest achievement to date is to have ventured into the very heart of its host country economically and achieve unconditional military support for its colonization of Palestine. Its other significant achievement has been to present the Jews as a people of great moral stature to the American people and have them share in their hatred of the Palestinians. But the cleverest achievement of all…and I wonder how this reflects on the American public and much of the West…is to have played the anti-Semitic card to such effect, that so-called civilized communities across the West are rendered mute when confronted by the barbaric colonization that is going on in Palestine. It’s as if the American public, upon observing what is happening in Palestine, see the mirror image of their own business-as-usual mentality, and accept it as normal.

But from outside the west, the perspective is very different, Zionism is seen as a critical mass controlling the critical responses to Zionist propaganda in the many countries that host them. Anti-Semitism is unique to those who imagine that Jews live off the bounty created by non-maleficent business practices in a variety of Western countries, while retaining allegiance to an historic mythological narrative from which they derive notions of exceptionality. That they project them onto their host countries becomes another issue. For instance, the accusations of anti-Semitism against Jeremy Corbyn…an honourable man and non-racist who has many supporters who regard the criticism of him as a conspiracy…illustrates how Zionist propaganda can release ad hominem viruses into Western institutions for the purpose of establishing for itself the role of the supreme arbiter in matters pertaining to the moral high ground.

John F. Kennedy is on record as saying,

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.

When he said these words, he was not addressing special interest groups or portions of the community…he was thinking of the ‘social’ fabric, the entire community. Wall Street casino capitalism, big wasteful Pentagon military budgets, CIA stoked instability, Zionist style Machiavellianism, media-military collaboration and relationships during times of perpetual war were some of the ‘portions’ he had to bypassed. John F. Kennedy, like Martin Luther King was aware that proportionality was a prerequisite to inclusiveness; unfortunately, both were assassinated.

The American way was always to shoot off guns or shout down those who had a social vision. The elites imagined that the many were there to serve the celebrated few. If Margaret Thatcher had been an American, would she have said…’there is no public, there is only The Dow’?

Denis A. Conroy
Freelance Writer
Australia.

Why Holocaust Education is Failing?

October 17, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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 By Gilad Atzmon

Despite the vast amount invested in Holocaust education and in spite of the fact that the Holocaust is the only compulsory subject in the British national history curriculum, British pupils seem not to follow the message of the rigid topic. For some reason, they struggle to buy into the primacy of Jewish suffering. They show little interest and learn mostly nothing.  Yesterday’s Tablet Magazine article,  “The Failure of Holocaust Education in Britain”, produced a clumsy attempt to grasp the reason for the failures of Holocaust education.

UCL’s  Centre for Holocaust Education has recently conducted  the ‘world’s largest ever study of its kind, it interviewed over 8,000 pupils aged 11-18 in England. Andy Pearce who work as a researcher at the centre told the Tablet that apparently  25-30 years of Holocaust education “is failing to make an impact.”

Pearce reports that when students were asked who was responsible for the Holocaust, “Hitler dominated the answer.” This is presumably a ‘wrong answer.’ Pearce continues, “Incredibly when we asked them to tell us who the Nazis were, students responded by saying they were ‘Hitler’s minions’ and ‘Hitler’s paratroopers.’” Pearce wasn’t happy with this answer either. “There was no reference to the Nazi Party as a political movement. Students also told the researchers that most Jews were killed in Germany. There was no understanding of collaborating regimes and many believed that mass killing began in 1933.”

Pearce inadvertently provided some crucial insights into the systematic failure of ‘holocaust education.’ While Heidegger taught us that to educate is to teach others how to learn, indoctrination is a very different exercise. It teaches how to produce the ‘right’ answers. The Holocaust, as taught and preached, falls into the domain of indoctrination. It is not a subject matter that is open to discussion or revision. The Holocaust as a subject does not accommodate dilemma or confusion. It is treated like a religious text with a rigid structure that doesn’t allow deviation.

For history to be relevant it must contain a dynamic discourse with present day, historical and contextual connotations. If the Holocaust is to be a vibrant topic that is engaging and enlightening for young enthusiastic minds, then the Holocaust must be placed into a context, such as comparing Auschwitz to Gaza. Nuremberg laws must be juxtaposed with the Israeli National Bill and the Israeli Law of Return. For the Holocaust to win our kids’ attention they must try to address the most difficult of questions: How and why was it that just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz, the newly born Jewish State ethnically cleansed the vast majority of the indigenous Palestinians? For the Holocaust to garner universal interest, it must carry a universal message!

Apparently ‘Holocaust education’ in Britain and in the West in general is dependent on Holocaust survivors. Elli Olmer is an outreach teacher for the Holocaust Education Trust. She told the Tablet, “I love what I do and hope to do it for many years but it all depends on what happens after we lose our survivors.” Despite Israel’s scientific gains in life extending technologies, it seems survivors aren’t going to live forever. Moreover, many survivors complain that their ability to reach young audiences is fading for the obvious reasons. However, their approach that engagement with a chapter in the past can only be reached through personal experience with people who lived through that chapter shows that the Holocaust is understood by these so called ‘educators’ as an a-historical narrative.

Historians revisit Napoleonic wars without depending on ‘meetings’ with survivors of those wars. We believe that we can learn about  the Roman empire without expecting veteran Roman generals to visit our classes. Why then does the Holocaust needs its survivors? Why can’t the Holocaust be taught as a proper historical chapter through analysing texts and documents and encountering some opposing views? Because Holocaust education is driven by political interests and laws requiring such education are passed by means of emotional manipulation. It is there, of course, to serve Israeli and Jewish politics — the Holocaust is the raison d’être behind the Jewish state. But the Holocaust is also used to serve other global political trends such as (im)moral interventionism, pro immigration, anti racism, pro liberalism and so on.

The use of the Holocaust for political ends suggests that British youngsters may actually be more sophisticated than the banal minds that attempt to crudely indoctrinate them into submission. They sense that something about the holocaust education is not ‘straight forward,’ so to say. It is not taught as an open discourse, it is somehow different than other chapters in the past. It isn’t really open to discussion.

As could have been expected, Corbyn and the Labour party are dealt some of the blame. “The current debate over anti-Semitism in Britain’s opposition Labour Party and the views of its leader Jeremy Corbyn have also had a negative impact on Holocaust education in the classroom and made better teacher training even more imperative.”  Apparently, British youngsters do not live in a bubble. “Students now ask about Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism… Two to three years ago I would not have had pupils who would have heard the terms,” a teacher said.

The UCL team also examined what teachers hope to achieve by teaching the Holocaust.  “There is a belief that if we study the Holocaust it will stop it happening again.” The truth of the matter is that  there is more than one  holocaust happening at the moment: Palestine, Libya, Syria just to mention a few. The Holocaust will become a meaningful lesson when it is finally emancipated from the primacy of Jewish suffering and  when we return to empathy and compassion as a basic tenet of our culture. Unfortunately I do not see the Holocaust Education Trust leading us in such a direction.

Surprisingly enough, Mike Levy, a Holocaust educator based in Cambridge, admitted to the Jewish outlet  that there is “an atmosphere of fatigue in the air when it comes to talking about the Holocaust and that students and teachers want to learn more about other genocides and contextualize the Holocaust.” I  agree with Mr. Levy. Let’s expose our kids to Aleppo, Tripoli  and Gaza and show them the crimes that are committed by our own democratically elected governments.  Let them figure out for themselves who are the Nazis of our time.  I believe that this would be the first step in preventing the next Holocaust.

 

After 70 Years of Abuse, A Definition of Anti-Palestinian Racism

BY Stuart Littlewood
Source

photo_2018-10-08_13-18-04_6aafa.jpgIs this where the fight-back begins?

What is the matter with the Palestine solidarity movement? Since 1948 (and before that, even) the Palestinians have been viciously abused and dispossessed while the perpetrators and their supporters, including unprincipled politicians of the Western Powers, have continually played the anti-Semitism card.

Lately, bemused spectators were bored witless by the long and ludicrous propaganda campaign to vilify Jeremy Corbyn, bully the Labour Party into making the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism a cornerstone of their code of conduct and stifle discussion of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. The expected riposte never came.

Jewish Voice For Labour, of all people, have now stepped in and struck back with a useful looking definition of Anti-Palestinian Racism which they decribe as “hatred towards or prejudice against Palestinians as Palestinians”. In a document faintly mocking the pronouncements on anti-Semitism they suggest that manifestations of anti-Palestinian racism might include the denial of Palestinian rights to a state of Palestine as recognised by over 130 member countries of the United Nations and blaming Palestinians themselves for their plight under brutal military occupation and lock-down. Here’s how they put it:

Contemporary examples of anti-Palestinian racism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

1. Denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination and nationhood, or actively conspiring to prevent the exercise of this right.

2. Denial that Israel is in breach of international law in its continued occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

3. Denial that Israel is an apartheid state according to the definition of the International Convention on Apartheid.

4. Denial of the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba and of their right, and the right of their descendants, to return to their homeland.

5. Denial that Palestinians have lived in what is now the land of Israel for hundreds of years and have their own distinctive national identity and culture.

6. Denial that the laws and policies which discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel (such as the recently passed Nation State Law) are inherently racist.

7. Denial that there is widespread discrimination against Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories in matters of employment, housing, justice, education, water supply, etc, etc.

8. Tolerating the killing or harming of Palestinians by violent settlers in the name of an extremist view of religion.

9. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Palestinians — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth of a Palestinian conspiracy to wipe Israel off the map.

10. Justifying the collective punishment of Palestinians (prohibited under the Geneva Convention) in response to the acts of individuals or groups.

11. Accusing the Palestinians as a people, of encouraging the Holocaust.

I am not sure how Palestinians, as genuine Semites living there for thousands of years, will react to No.5 which claims their homeland is “now the land of Israel”. Despite being illegally occupied by an apartheid entity most of whose members have no ancestral links to the ancient “land of Israel” it is still Palestine.

For decades activists have been telling the Israel lobby to look in the mirror and address their own racial hatred towards the Palestinians. You must truly hate people to deny them their freedom and even their right to return to their homes and livelihoods. Why has it taken so long for such a simple and obvious weapon to be produced? Doesn’t it make you wonder about the true agenda of those in charge of Palestine solidarity? And why is it left to a group of Jews (bless ’em) to do it?

The question now is how best to deliver this somewhat delayed riposte. It might have been most effective while the iron was hot, at the height of the anti-Semitism witch-hunt and media onslaught. Many activists wanted Corbyn to turn on his tormentors and tell them to mend their own vile attitude towards Palestinian Arabs before daring to smear others with accusations of anti-Semitism.

On the other hand it will benefit from careful honing, cool planning and the massing of pro-Palestinian support to make the hit really count.

For reasons we know only too well our politicians won’t adopt it as eagerly as they embraced the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism. But it is at least a starting point in the fight-back especially if deployed by a coalition of genuine pro-Palestine groups and the BDS movement as the centrepiece of a new, high-octane strategy.

Lies, damned lies….

Meanwhile I hope all those who allowed themselves to be suckered by the Israel lobby will hang their heads in shame when they read this report by the Media Reform Coalition: Labour, Antisemitism and the News – A disinformation paradigm. The Executive summary says that an analysis of over 250 articles and news segments from the largest UK news providers (online and television) showed:

• 29 examples of false statements or claims, several of them made by anchors or correspondents themselves, six of them surfacing on BBC television news programmes, and eight on TheGuardian.com

• A further 66 clear instances of misleading or distorted coverage including misquotations, reliance on single source accounts, omission of essential facts or right of reply, and repeated assumptions made by broadcasters without evidence or qualification. In total, a quarter of the sample contained at least one documented inaccuracy or distortion.

• Overwhelming source imbalance, especially on television news where voices critical of Labour’s code of conduct were regularly given an unchallenged and exclusive platform, outnumbering those defending Labour by nearly 4 to 1.

In all, there were 95 clear-cut examples of misleading or inaccurate reporting on mainstream television and online news platforms, with a quarter of the total sample containing at least one such example. On TV two thirds of the news segments contained at least one reporting error or substantive distortion.

The report points to “a persistent subversion of conventional news values”. Furthermore, coverage of Labour’s revised code of conduct during the summer of 2018 often omitted critical discussion of the ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism promoted by the IHRA and wrongly described it as universally adopted. “We established through background case research that although the IHRA is an international body with representatives from 31 countries, only six of those countries have, to date, formally adopted the definition themselves.

• In spite of a call for local authorities to adopt the definition by the UK’s central government in early 2017, less than a third of councils have responded and several of those have chosen not to include any of the controversial examples contained within the working definition.

• Several high-profile bodies have rejected or distanced themselves from the working definition, including the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (a successor to the body that drafted the original wording on which the definition is based) and academic institutions including the London School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies.

• Mainstream academic and legal opinion has been overwhelmingly critical of the IHRA definition, including formal opinions produced by three senior UK barristers and one former appeals court judge. Virtually none of this essential context found its way into news reports of the controversy. Instead, the Labour Party was routinely portrayed by both sources and correspondents as beyond the pale of conventional thinking on the IHRA definition.”

Which all goes to show that Britain’s mainstream media has a hill to climb to get back its self-respect.

Blanket Silence: Corporate Media Ignore New Report Exposing Distorted and Misleading Coverage of Corbyn

Source

By Media Lens,

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the 17 years since Media Lens began, it’s that media professionals generally hate being challenged, critiqued or criticised. This fierce antipathetical belligerence underlies the corporate media’s total refusal to mention, far less discuss, a recent damning report on how the corporate media have been misreporting Labour and its supposed ‘problem’ with antisemitism.

The report was published last week by the Media Reform Coalition (MRC), set up in 2011 in the wake of the News International phone hacking scandal, to promote debate about the media and democracy. The MRC coordinates effective action by civil society groups, academics and media campaigners, and is currently chaired by Natalie Fenton, Professor of Communication and Media at Goldsmiths, University of London.

The urgent need for such a media initiative is highlighted by the disturbing reality that Britain has one of the most concentrated media environments in the world, with just three companies in control of 71% of national newspaper circulation and five companies running 81% of local newspaper titles.

In the careful MRC study, articles and news segments on Labour and antisemitism from the largest UK news providers, both online and television, were subjected to in-depth analysis. The research was undertaken by Dr Justin Schlosberg, Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Media at Birkbeck, University of London, together with Laura Laker, an experienced freelance journalist.

In their study, Schlosberg and Laker identified:

‘myriad inaccuracies and distortions in online and television news including marked skews in sourcing, omission of essential context or right of reply, misquotation, and false assertions made either by journalists themselves or sources whose contentious claims were neither challenged nor countered. Overall, our findings were consistent with a disinformation paradigm.’

In other words, the corporate media have been pumping out reams of ‘fake news’ promoting a narrative that Corbyn and Labour are mired in an ‘antisemitism crisis’.

Out of over 250 articles and news pieces examined by Schlosberg and Laker, fully 95 examples were found of misleading or inaccurate reporting. In particular, there were (our emphasis):

• 29 examples of false statements or claims, several of them made by news presenters or correspondents themselves, six of them on BBC television news programmes, and eight on the Guardian website.

• A further 66 clear instances of misleading or distorted coverage including misquotations, reliance on single -source accounts, omission of essential facts or right of reply, and repeated value-based assumptions made by broadcasters without evidence or qualification. In total, a quarter of the sample contained at least one documented inaccuracy or distortion.

Overwhelming source imbalance, especially on television news where voices critical of Labour’s code of conduct on antisemitism were regularly given an unchallenged and exclusive platform, outnumbering those defending Labour by nearly 4 to 1. Nearly half of Guardian reports on the controversy surrounding Labour’s code of conduct featured no quoted sources defending the party or leadership.

This is, to say the least, totally unacceptable from any supposedly responsible news outlet. It is even more galling when it comes from the Guardian and BBC News, both with large global audiences, who constantly proclaim their credentials for ‘honest and balanced reporting’.

Much recent corporate media coverage has focused on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of ‘antisemitism’. Corporate media across the spectrum have argued that in refusing to accept the IHRA definition in total, with all of its accompanying examples, Corbyn has promoted antisemitism, alienated Britain’s Jewish community and divided his own party.

Philip Collins wrote in The Times of Corbyn (our emphasis):

‘He has, for some reason he cannot articulate, insisted that the Labour Party should be just about the only institution that does not accept the definition of antisemitism approved by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.’

In July, a Times editorial stated of Labour’s National Executive Committee (our emphasis):

‘Instead of adopting a standard definition of antisemitism formulated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and endorsed by governments around the world, the NEC has amended it in unacceptable ways… Let there be no doubt: these are unconscionable and antisemitic accusations.’

In September, another Times leader opined (our emphasis):

‘Labour’s national executive committee will vote today on whether to adopt the internationally recognised definition of antisemitism. It is essential that it does. Governments and organisations worldwide have adopted the carefully worded textdeveloped by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Jeremy Corbyn’s hamfisted attempt to rewrite it, without consultation and with the apparent aim of protecting certain activists, shames his party.’

The Times added:

‘British Jews are well placed to define what constitutes racism towards them, just as any minority deserves the last word in the debate as it applies to them. Gordon Brown has called for Labour to “unanimously, unequivocally and immediately” adopt all the examples. Anything less would mark a dark day indeed for the party.’

Noting that three leading British Jewish newspapers had declared that a Corbyn-led government would pose ‘an existential threat to Jewish life in this country’, senior Guardian columnist and former comment editor Jonathan Freedland asked:

‘How on earth has it come to this?’

Part, but not all, of the problem, Freedland suggested, was (our emphasis):

‘Labour’s failure to adopt the full text of the near universally accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, including all its illustrative examples’.

He added:

‘When Jews hear that the IHRA is not good enough, they wonder: what exactly is it that Labour wants to say about us?’

And yet, as the MRC report [pdf] makes clear, although the IHRA is an international body with representatives from 31 countries, only six of those countries have, to date, formally adopted the definition themselves. Several high-profile bodies have rejected or distanced themselves from the working definition, including the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency – a successor to the body that drafted the original wording on which the definition is based – and academic institutions including the London School of Economics and School of Oriental and African Studies. Moreover, academic and legal opinion has been overwhelmingly critical of the IHRA definition, including formal opinions produced by four leading UK barristers.

But, note Schlosberg and Laker:

‘Virtually none of this essential context found its way into news reports of the controversy. Instead, the Labour Party was routinely portrayed by both sources and correspondents as beyond the pale of conventional thinking on the IHRA definition.’

Nearly 50% of Guardian reports failed to include any quotes from those critiquing the IHRA definition or defending Labour’s code of conduct on antisemitism. In fact, media reporting (our emphasis):

‘effectively gave those attacking Labour’s revised code and championing the IHRA definition a virtually exclusive and unchallenged platform to air their views. By comparison, their detractors – including a number of Jewish organisations and representatives of other affected minorities – were systematically marginalized from the coverage. Furthermore, Labour MPs adopting even moderate positions defending the code were subjected to far more aggressive questioning from interviewers than those adopting extreme positions attacking it.

In a calm, methodical and rigorous manner, the MRC has exposed to public view the blatant anti-Corbyn bias of even the ‘best’ media outlets: the BBC and the Guardian.

Response To The Media Reform Coalition Report

Our searches using the ProQuest newspaper database reveal that there has not been a single news article or editorial published about the report. This is a remarkable symptom of the glaring tendency of the media to reject, or simply blank, reasoned, well-researched criticism.

When The Canary website published an article about the MRC report, they approached both the Guardian and the BBC for comment. The Guardian‘s response was boilerplate rhetoric – ‘The Guardianhas featured a wide range of voices in this debate’, etc – that failed to acknowledge the paper’s unambiguous distortions and omissions. The BBC did not even provide a comment.

The sole newspaper mention to date is a letter in the Guardian which may only have been published because Noam Chomsky is one of the signatories, along with high-profile figures such as Brian Eno, Yanis Varoufakis, Ken Loach and a number of media academics. They make a crucial point that relates to criticism of the Guardian itself (mentioned earlier):

‘In relation to the IHRA definition of antisemitism that was at the heart of the dispute, the research found evidence of “overwhelming source imbalance” in which critics of Labour’s code of conduct dominated coverage, with nearly 50% of Guardian reports, for example, failing to include any quotes from those defending the code or critiquing the IHRA definition.’

The letter also notes the MRC researchers’ conclusion that media distortions and inaccuracies:

‘were not occasional lapses in judgment but “systematic reporting failures” that served to weaken the Labour leadership and to bolster its opponents within and outside of the party.’

Chomsky and his co-signatories add:

‘In covering the allegations that Labour is now “institutionally antisemitic”, there have been inaccuracies, clear distortions and revealing omissions across our most popular media platforms. We believe that significant parts of the UK media have failed their audiences by producing flawed reports that have contributed to an undeserved witch-hunt against the Labour leader and misdirected public attention away from antisemitism elsewhere, including on the far right, which is ascendant in much of Europe.’

Given the Guardian‘s appalling record of boosting fake news of a Labour ‘antisemitism crisis’, and given its vehement opposition to Corbyn’s brand of moderate socialism, it is no wonder that #DumpTheGuardian and #BoycottTheGuardian were trending in the UK last Friday as part of a dedicated Twitter campaign.

Pro-Corbyn Labour MP Chris Williamson tweeted his support in response to the MRC report:

‘My reference to McCarthyism vindicated by this report. The Guardian newspaper’s deplorable contribution explains why so many people are saying #BoycottTheGuardian’

Last Wednesday, Jeremy Corbyn gave a speech to the Labour Party conference in which he dared to criticise the British corporate media who have been gunning for him ever since he became the party’s leader:

‘It turns out that the billionaires who own the bulk of the British press don’t like us one little bit.

‘Now it could be because we’re going to clamp down on tax dodging. Or it may be because we don’t fawn over them at white tie dinners and cocktail parties.’

He added:

‘We must, and we will, protect the freedom of the press to challenge unaccountable power.

‘Journalists from Turkey to Myanmar and Colombia are being imprisoned, harassed or sometimes killed by authoritarian governments and powerful corporate interests just for doing their job.

‘But here, a free press has far too often meant the freedom to spread lies and half-truths, and to smear the powerless, not take on the powerful.

‘You challenge their propaganda of privilege by using the mass media of the 21st century: social media.’

Pippa Crerar, Guardian deputy political editor, responded with the standard kneejerk conflation of Corbyn’s reasoned comments with the idiotic ‘fake news’ mantra of Trump. She tweeted:

‘Corbyn criticises some parts of British media, claiming they “smear the powerless, not take on the powerful”. As a journalist, makes me very uncomfortable to hear him leading attack on our free press. Dangerous, Trumpian territory.’

We responded:

‘Honest, rational criticism is not an “attack”, and it is not “dangerous”. A corporate press that refuses to listen or respond to this kind of reasonable criticism is itself dangerous. If anyone has a right to criticise media smears, it is @jeremycorbyn.’

The level of popular support for this view is indicated by the fact that our tweet has so far received 518 retweets and 1,222 likes; a massive response by our standards.

To her credit, Crerar did engage with us reasonably, unlike the vast majority of her media colleagues over many years:

‘Totally agree media has to reflect/listen. Not for a minute saying we’re perfect (some elements extremely *imperfect*). But orgs also do invaluable work eg Windrush, grooming scandal, MPs expenses so just not true to say we don’t hold power to account.’

We answered:

‘Thanks for replying, Pippa, very much appreciated. Glad you agree “media has to reflect/listen”. Doesn’t that mean taking Corbyn’s thoughtful, reasoned criticism seriously, rather than lumping it in with Trump’s awful tub-thumping? Corbyn and Milne really aren’t “dangerous”.’

Her follow-up:

‘I’ve sat back today & watched pile-on. I’d always rather engage but not when abusive. Like I said, media far from perfect, but I fear JC’s comments ignored excellent journalism that does exist & undermined journalists who produce it. Of course, nowhere near as extreme as Trump.’

And our reply:

‘Our response generated nearly 800 [now 1,700] likes and retweets – that gives an idea of the strength of feeling. Like other media, the Guardian’s smearing of Corbyn has gone way too far. It’s time to start listening to your readers @KathViner.’

To date, there has been no further exchange; and certainly not a peep out of Guardian editor, Katharine Viner; which is typical for this extraordinarily unresponsive media professional.

Justin Schlosberg, lead author of the MRC report, told The Canary:

‘Neither the Guardian nor the BBC have acknowledged or even directly responded to the myriad reporting failures highlighted in our research. It is completely inadequate to offer blanket dismissals or simply kick into the long grass of their respective complaints procedures.’

Schlosberg pointed out:

‘The failure to answer to these allegations is even more serious than the reporting failures themselves.’

Conclusion

As a further, related example of bias, consider the corporate media’s stunning indifference to the bomb threat that interrupted the screening of a new film, ‘The Political Lynching of Jackie Walker’, in Liverpool on September 25. Walker is a former Momentum Vice-Chair who was suspended from the Labour party as part of a propaganda blitz attempting to silence critics of Israel. The screening was organised by Jewish Voice for Labour which has been supportive of Jeremy Corbyn.

If the corporate media were genuinely motivated by concerns about alleged rising antisemitism, this shocking threat would have generated headline coverage. Instead it was met by a blanket of silence. A brief online Guardian piece was, to say the least, ambiguous in its narrative. Ex-Guardian journalist Jonathan Cook noted:

‘Another “fake news” master-class from the Guardian. A bomb hoax to stop Corbyn-supporting, Jewish Labour members screening a film about how Labour’s “anti-semitism crisis” has been manufactured is framed as *more* evidence of Jew hatred in the party!’

According to our ProQuest database search, the only mentions in the print press have been in the Liverpool Echo and The Times of Israel. Where are all the editorials and major comment pieces in the Guardian, The Times and elsewhere?

As for the Media Reform Coalition report itself, it is no surprise that the BBC, the Guardian and the rest of the corporate media should brush away detailed reasoned criticism of their biased reporting, or pretend such clear evidence does not exist. These media outlets sell themselves as publicly accountable; or, at least, as defenders of the public interest; a valiant fourth estate standing up for the truth and honest, neutral news coverage. And yet, when the alternative media makes a mistake, or says ‘the wrong thing’, there are angry howls and screaming mockery from the corporate commentariat. The hypocrisy is staggering, and, again, entirely predictable.

*

Featured image is from Media Lens.

Stating the obvious, Criticism of israeli (apartheid state) Policy Is Not Anti-Semitic

Criticism of Israeli Policy Is Not Anti-Semitic

Jeremy Corbyn (Alexandros Michailidis via Shutterstock)Jeremy Corbyn (Alexandros Michailidis via Shutterstock)

by James J. Zogby

I was provoked to write this discussion of what is and what isn’t anti-Semitism by an article in Ha’aretz on the “controversy” created by the awarding of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to George P. Smith. According to the reporting, Smith is not only a brilliant scientist whose work has helped lead to the creation of new drugs that can treat cancer and a range of autoimmune diseases, he is also an outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights and a critic of Israeli policies.

The Ha’aretz piece notes that Smith has long been “a target of pro-Israel groups” and is listed on “the controversial Canary Mission website”—used by supporters of Israel to harass and silence critics.

As I read through the article looking for evidence of Smith’s sins, I found quotes saying that he “wished ‘not for Israel’s Jewish population to be expelled’ but ‘an end to the discriminatory regime in Palestine.’” At another point, Ha’aretz quotes from an op-ed written by Smith condemning Israeli policies in Gaza which he concludes by expressing his support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) calling it “Palestinian civil society’s call for the global community of conscience to ostracize Israeli businesses and institutions until Israel repudiates [their violence against Palestinians] and the Palestinian people, including the exiles, achieve full equality with the Jews in their shared homeland.”

I read all of this in the context of this worrisome campaign that is unfolding here in the United States to silence critics of Israel or the exclusivist vision of Political Zionism. It is a well-funded multi-pronged effort, one component of which is the shadowy Canary Mission website that publishes the names, photos, and backgrounds of pro-Palestinian students and professors—terming them anti-Semites or supporters of terrorism. It does so with the expressed purpose of harming their careers. The Canary Mission list is also used to taint and smear these activists to intimidate politicians from engaging with them. And the lists have been used by the Israeli government to deny entry to, in particular, Palestinian Americans or progressive Americans Jews seeking to see family, study, teach, or simply visit that country.

Although the Canary Mission has done its best to keep its operations, leadership, and funding secret, recent articles published in the Jewish press have revealed that the project has been financially supported by some mainstream American Jewish philanthropic entities.

In addition to the Canary Mission there is the campaign that seeks to criminalize support for BDS or to penalize supporters of the movement to hold Israel accountable for its systematic violations of Palestinian rights. This effort is massively funded by the likes of Sheldon Adelson and we now learn, also from a recent expose in a prominent American Jewish newspaper, by millions of dollars funneled to the campaign from the Government of Israel.

Then there is legislation currently pending in Congress designed to make boycotting Israel a crime, complementing the 25 states that have already passed laws denying salaries, contracts, or benefits to individuals who support BDS.

Finally, in a replay of the effort that pressed the UK’s Labour Party to define criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic, Trump’s appointment to lead the Civil Rights Office at the U.S. Department of Education has made clear his intent to investigate anti-Israel activism on college campuses as forms of anti-Semitism. And there is legislation pending in Congress—the Antisemitism Awareness Act. Both this bill and the action by Kenneth Marcus at the Education Department seek to extend the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel.

In reflecting on these developments, there are several observations that should be made: anti-Semitism is real, ugly, and dangerous; criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism; and the effort to conflate the two not only silences needed debate, it distracts from the effort to root out real anti-Semitism, a scourge that has created great pain and enormous suffering in human history.

Anti-Semitism is hatred toward Jews—individually and as a group. It is also the attribution of evil intent or negative qualities to individuals or a group just because they are Jews. On the other hand, criticism of Israeli policy is not anti-Semitic. When Smith has criticized Israel’s massacres at the Gaza border or its systematic denial of equal rights and justice to Palestinians, he is not attributing this behavior to their religion or even suggesting that this behavior is due to their being Jews. For example, he is not saying “Israel is oppressing Palestinians because that’s the way Jews behave.” Nor is he saying that all Jews, as a group, are responsible for these actions—this would be anti-Semitic.  He said no such thing. The only reason to target Smith and those, like him, who critique the policies of the state (that by the way are not supported by all Israelis or Jews, worldwide) is to silence their voices.

This idea that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic (what is now called “the new anti-Semitism”) is decades old. It has received a push, in recent years, by the campaign to add to the definition of anti-Semitism any criticism that singles Israel out and doesn’t apply the same standard to other countries. This is, at best, a far-fetched effort to shield Israel. While it’s proponents claim that it targets only those who single out Israel for criticism, what they really seek to do is single out Israel as the one country that can’t be criticized.

It is also important to note that there is evidence that in, too many instances, the struggle to combat real anti-Semitism takes a back seat to the effort to shield Israel. For example, while some pro-Israel groups targeted Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party charging him with tolerating anti-Semitism, they ignored the virulent anti-Semites operating on the right-wing of UK politics. This led many Labourites to conclude that the real target was Corbyn’s unrelenting support for Palestinian rights. Much the same could be implied from Benjamin Netanyahu’s embrace of far-right anti-Semitic European leaders, because they were strong supporters of his government.

The bottom line is that this entire effort is designed not to combat anti-Semitism but to silence criticism.  And in the process of doing so enormous damage is done to: legitimate, well-deserved and necessary criticism of Israeli policies; the reputations of individuals like Smith and student activists who speak out because they are outraged by the injustices visited upon Palestinians; and the struggle against the scourge of real anti-Semitism.

James J. Zogby is the president of the Arab American Institute.

Jeremy Corbyn and Britain’s Largest Political Party Stand Strong with Palestine at Annual Liverpool Conference

As soon the conference began, one thing was clear: Palestine was going to have a significant place in the discussions and resolutions. What was also clear was that there is a segment within the U.K. Labour Party that is deeply Zionist, opposes Corbyn, and works within the party to undermine him.

by Miko Peled

 

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND — The 2018 U.K. Labour conference held in Liverpool, September 23-26, will be remembered as a turning point in U.K. relations to the Palestinian issue. Britain, which is rightfully accused for its role in promoting the Zionist takeover of Palestine, now seems prepared to make amends. In his final speech, on the final day of the conference and following many events and votes on the Palestine issue, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn made it clear that a Labour government led by him would hold Israel responsible for its human-rights violations, killing of unarmed protesters, and detention of children. Labour also made it clear it is ready to review the sales of British-made arms to Israel. All of this was achieved in spite of the fact that elements within the Labour Party have been striving to undermine Corbyn’s leadership.
Liverpool’s diversity is unique among European cities: it is home to the oldest Black African community in the United Kingdomand the oldest Chinese community in all of Europe. After the famine in Ireland between 1845 and 1852, over 2 million Irish migrated to the city in a single decade. The nickname “scouser” for people of Liverpool comes from an old Irish stew. Liverpool is home to England’s first mosque, established in 1889; and the Princess Road synagogue, which is one of England’s oldest and most beautiful Jewish synagogues.

During the Thatcher years, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is known to have ordered a “managed decline” to bring Liverpool to ruin, which it succeeded in doing. It wasn’t until the year 2000 that a £1 billion grant from the European Union helped the city to rebuild and regenerate itself, and today it is a beautiful and prosperous town. The EU also helped fund the cleaning of the Mersey River, which was at one point one of the most polluted rivers in Europe; as a result of an £8 billion clean-up of the sewage that once polluted the river, today it is one of the cleanest.

Struggle within U.K. Labour Party

As soon the conference began, one thing was clear: Palestine was going to have a significant place in the discussions and resolutions. What was also clear was that there is still a segment within the U.K. Labour Party that is deeply Zionist, opposes Corbyn, and works within the party to undermine him. In fact, an entire anti-Semitism and holocaust denying campaign against Corbyn was fabricated by Zionist groups.

One meeting I had was with Ben Bradshaw, MP from Exeter, whose record includes supporting the war on Iraq and opposing Jeremy Corbyn as leader. Bradshaw told me that BDS was too extreme, that we must not compare Israel to apartheid South Africa and that “you cannot impose a single state with an Arab majority on Israel.” He went on to insist that “it will never happen.”

Having been wrong twice already on major issues, it is not surprising Bradshaw is wrong again. It was Israel that had imposed a single state on Palestine and declared it to be exclusive, not the other way around. An Arab majority was inevitable because Palestinians, who love large families, have more children that Israeli Jews. When I asked him which of the three demands of the BDS call he did not agree with — the right of return, ending the occupation of 1967, or the demand for equal rights — he admitted he agreed with all of them. “But” he said, “BDS is too extremist and unbalanced because it doesn’t guarantee Israel’s security.”

A historic vote

On September 25 the conference held a historic vote on Palestine. The excitement in the conference hall was immense and one had to remind oneself that this was not a rally of a Palestine solidarity group but the conference of the U.K. Labour Party, which today is the largest political party in Western Europe. The support for Palestine among members and guests was made evident by the thousands of Palestinian flags held by members and delegates.

The motion that was voted and carried at the conference was unprecedented in its condemnation of Israel and reads as follows:

Conference condemns

This aggressive attempt to rewrite history, and erase the victims of the 1948 war, who were expelled or fled from their homes in Palestine.

Conference supports

Developing solidarity with Palestinian refugees, especially young refugees, and [exploring] developing links with UNRWA schools, its training centres, and its local staff serving across the Middle East.

Conference urges

The British government to increase its level of annual assessed contributions to UNRWA, providing much needed reassurance and stability to Palestinian refugees, and to encourage other member states to do the same.

This conference resolves

To call for an independent international investigation into Israel’s use of force against Palestinian demonstrators; a freeze of U.K. government arms sales to Israel; and an immediate unconditional end to the illegal blockade and closure of Gaza.

Two points of weakness

The party and its leader renewed their commitment to two things that on their face may seem like support for the Palestinian cause but in fact are counterproductive. The first is a commitment to the Two-State Solution — or, in other words, a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And the second is recognition of the State of Palestine.

The Two-State Solution is a Zionist idea that has allowed Israel to advance its policies while blaming Palestinians for rejecting peace. History shows that, contrary to popular belief, it was Israel that consistently rejected any compromise that would have led to a partition of Palestine into two states. The November 29, 1947 UN resolution 181 called for a partition of Palestine into two states and was extremely favorable to the Zionist community in Palestine. However, immediately after the resolution was passed, the Zionist militia in Palestine began its campaign of ethnic cleansing and destruction, a campaign that lasted over a year and is now called “The Naqba,” or catastrophe.

In 1967 a second opportunity arose for a two-state solution, this time under conditions even more favorable to Israel. Again, Israel reacted with a massive a operation of forced exile, the destruction of Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank, and the building of cities and towns exclusively for Jews, thus destroying any chance for a Palestinian state to be established. It seems that the declarations of support for this so-called solution are a sort of lip service given to Zionists so as not to “go too far,” as it were, and demand equal rights for all people who live in what was once Mandatory Palestine.

The recognition of a Palestinian state is also a form of lip service –recognizing, as it were, a state that does not exist. This creates the illusion that all Palestine needs is recognition of its status as a state rather than recognition that all of Palestine is occupied, that its people live under a violent oppressive regime and that BDS — boycott, divestment and sanctions — are required to bring about change.

The Hareidi Community stands up

A rare and extremely fruitful collaboration that I experienced during the conference was with the U.K. Haredi, or Ultra-Orthodox, Jewish community. In a statement published before the conference, Shraga Stern, a local Londoner and a member of the Haredi community wrote,

We believe that the anti-Semitism smear and witch hunt against Jeremy Corbyn is a Zionist agenda and has all the footprints leading to that direction. It is being promoted by the Board of Deputies and by the self-made unelected JLC, who are a well-known pro-Israel bodies-  and it’s completely cruel and unjustified.”

Leaders of this community came out to stand against false accusations of anti-Semitism in the U.K. in general as well as in the Labour Party. The Haredi community, which makes up over 20 percent of the 265,000 Jewish people who live in the U.K., came out with a clear message refuting the claims that Jewish people in the U.K. fear for their lives. Regardless of any individual’s political leanings, they said, it was clear that Jeremy Corbyn has always been a friend of U.K. Jewish people and is not in the slightest way a racist or anti-Semite, and that Jewish people live well and have no fear of anti-Semitism.

I had the honor of sharing a stage with Rabbi Ahron Cohen, who drove up from Manchester for the final day of the conference, and to stand with Rabbi Beck, who drove up from London to express support. In answer to a question regarding Israel’s right to exist, Rabbi Cohen replied, “what is Israel doing there to begin with?” and he went on to discuss the trouble that was brought on the indigenous communities in Palestine, both Arab and Jew, as a result of the ZIonist occupation of Palestine and the creation of Israel.

Rabbi Beck put it in another way,

I live in the U.K. over 30 years and I never saw a British soldier. In Israel every child sees armed soldiers all the time. How can anyone claim that life for Jews in Israel is better or safer than [in] the U.K.?”

IMG_5401_edited-1145x644.jpgRight to Left, Rabbi Beck, Miko Peled, Jack Thomas and another member of the Haredi community at the U.K. Labour conference in Liverpool, England, Sept 26, 2018. Photo | Miko Peled

The presence of the Haredi community, as well as their unwavering support, was a tremendous boost to Corbyn and to those in the party who know the anti-Semitism charges are false. It was an enormous step for the rabbis of this community — who made the effort to attend the conference, even though it was held during the Jewish High Holidays. It was a real pleasure to stand outside the conference hall on a sunny day in Liverpool with these fine people and to see the tremendous support we were getting from conference attendees as they were leaving the hall.

Even with its shortcomings, one must admit that the conference was an enormous boost to the cause for justice in Palestine. Furthermore, Jeremy Corbyn, who has been attacked by Zionist and neo-liberal groups working in unison, is as unwilling to bend as ever. In fact, one could argue that the U.K. may soon have a prime minister who is a truly a decent and honest man, and a true socialist who also cares deeply for Palestine.

Source

 

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