Jews vs. Israelis

 

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by Gilad Atzmon

 Now would be the correct time for Ali Abunimah, JVP,  & CO to form an orderly queue to issue their deep and sincere apology to me. Since the early 2000s my detractors within the so called Jewish ‘Left’ together with  their sometime stooges, have been harassing me, my publishers and my readers for pointing out that Zionism is an obsolete concept with little meaning for Israel, Israelis  and their politics let alone the conflict that has been destroying the Eastern Mediterranean region

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In my 2011 book The Wandering Who, I argue that “Since Israel defines itself openly as the ‘Jewish State’, we should ask what the notions of ’Judaism’, ‘Jewishness’, ‘Jewish culture’ and ‘Jewish ideology’ stand for.” Just before the publication of the book I was urged by both JVP’s leader and Ali Abunimah to drop the J-Word and focus solely on Zionism. In Britain, a gang of so called ‘anti’ Zionist Jews relentlessly terrorised my publisher and promoters. Funny, most of these authoritarian tribals who worked 24/7 to silence me have been expelled from the British Labour Party for alleged anti-Semitism. Now, they promote the ideal of ‘freedom of speech.’

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In ‘The Wandering Who’ and in the years preceding its publication, I realised that the Palestinian solidarity discourse has been suffocated with misleading and often duplicitous terminology that was set to divert  attention from the root cause of the conflict and that acted  to prevent intelligible discussion of  possible solutions.

Let’s face it. Israel doesn’t see  itself as the Zionist State: not one Israeli party integrated the word ‘Zionism’ into its name. To Israelis, Zionism is a dated and clichéd concept that describes the ideology that promised to erect a Jewish homeland in Palestine. For Israelis, Zionism fulfilled its purpose in 1948, it is now an archaic term. In ‘The Wandering Who’ I presented a so-far unrefuted argument that an understanding of ‘Jewishness’, a term familiar to every self-identified Jew, may provide answers to most questions related to Israel and its politics. It may also help us to grasp the fake dissent that has dominated the so- called Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist campaign for the last two decades.

Though I was probably the first to write about the crucial shift in Israeli society in favour of Judeo-centrism, this shift is now mainstream news.  Haaretz’s lead writer, Anshel Pfeffer, just wrote a spectacular analysis of this transformation. Pfeffer’s view is that Israelis are going to the polls this Tuesday to decide whether they are “Jews” or “Israelis.” 

According to Pfeffer, in the mid 1990s it was Netanyahu’s American campaign guru, Arthur Finkelstein, who promoted  “a message that could reach secular and religious voters alike. In his polling, he had asked voters whether they considered themselves ‘more Jewish’ or ‘more Israeli.’ The results convinced him there was a much larger constituency of voters, not just religious ones, who emphasized their Jewish identity over their Israeli one.”

In light of Finkelstein’s observation, Likud focused its message on Jerusalem. Its campaign slogan was:  “Peres will divide Jerusalem.” In the final 48 hours before Election Day there was also “an unofficial slogan, emblazoned on millions of posters and bumper stickers distributed by Chabad Hasidim: “Netanyahu is good for the Jews.”

In a Haaretz interview after his narrow 1996 defeat, Peres lamented that “the Israelis lost the election.” When asked then who had won, he answered, “The Jews won.”

Pfeffer points out that Netanyahu learned from Finkelstein that the “Jew” is the primary unifier for Israelis. This certainly applies to religious Jews but also to those who regard themselves as secular. After all, Israel has really been the “Jewish State” for a while.

This is probably the right place to point out that Netanyahu’s move of locating Jewishness at the heart of Israel is a reversal of the original Zionist promise. While early Zionism was a desperate attempt to divorce the Jews from the ghetto and their tribal obsession and make them “people like all other people,” the present adherence to Jewishness and kinship induces  a return to Judeo-centric chauvinism. As odd as this may sound, Netanyahu’s transformation of Israel into a ‘Jewish realm’ makes him an ardent anti Zionist probably more anti Zionist than JVP, Mondoweiss and the BDS together.

Pfeffer points out that when Netanyahu returned to power in 2009 and  formed a right-wing/ religious coalition, was when “the Jews prevailed — and have done so ever since in four consecutive elections, including the last one in April 2019.”

To illustrate this Pfeffer cites the 2012 Israeli  High Court of Justice decision to deny a petition by writer Yoram Kaniuk and others to allow themselves to be registered solely as ‘Israelis’ as opposed to ‘Jews.’

Every so often we hear from one Torah rabbi or another that “Zionism is not Judaism.” Those who have reached this point surely grasp that ‘Zionism vs. Judaism’ is a fake dichotomy. It serves to confuse and to divert questioning minds from the path toward an understanding of the conflict: In Israel Zionism is an empty concept, politically, ideologically and spiritually. Israel defines itself as ‘The Jewish state’ and orthodox rabbis are at the centre of this transition in Israeli politics and life.

I guess that Abunimah and JVP were desperate to silence me at the time as they foolishly believed that shooting the messenger or alternatively burning books was the way forward for human rights activism. I stood firm. The observations I produced in ‘The Wandering Who’ were endorsed by the most profound thinkers associated with the conflict and the anti war movement. My observations are more relevant than ever and in Israel they have entered mainstream analysis. When it comes to Palestine solidarity we have managed to waste a good two decades of intellectual progress thanks to authoritarian lobbies operating in our midst. For truth and justice to prevail, we have to learn to speak the truth as we see it, and to accept JVP and Abumimah’s apologies when they are mature enough to come clean.

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‘Israeli’ Account Reporting on Al-Ahed’s Twitter Account

By Staff

A Zionist Twitter account based in the ‘Israeli’-occupied territories reported on al-Ahed News website’s account after, normally, doing our principal job in covering news and breaking news from all over the world.

Captioned with “REPORT THIS SITE FOR GENOCIDAL INCITMENT,” Rachel Yadin retweeted al-Ahed’s tweets covering stances made by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] top Chief Major General Hossein Salami.

The tweets didn’t comply with the mentioned caption. They only read Salami’s stances as the following:

“Our enemies are scattered, Muslims countries are being freed from political and military hegemony of enemies.”

Another tweet read:

“Zionists and their allies show no desire for war fearing its spill into their territories.”

It is worth noting that Facebook has been suspending al-Ahed News Arabic, English, French and Spanish pages for innumerable times.

Penguin, Rothschild and Zionist Pressure

July 02, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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by Gilad Atzmon

Penguin announced this week that in response to claims of ‘antisemitism’ it has stopped printing Col. Pedro Baños’ best selling book, “How They Rule the World.

 The scandal erupted when it was revealed that passages in the original Spanish edition of the book related to the Rothschild dynasty were omitted from the Penguin Random House English translation. The meaning of this deletion is in itself devastating. It suggests that Penguin attempted to kosherize a book by editing and deleting sections so it would  not offend Jewish sensitivities.

 The publisher initially rejected allegations that the book which claims to reveal “the 22 secret strategies of global power,” is antisemitic. But after continued pressure from various organisations including the Campaign Against Antisemitism, Penguin commissioned an “external review” led by Rabbi Julia Neuberger.

The Jewish Chronicle (JC)  ‘reveals’ that Col. Baños’ original Spanish edition makes several references to the Rothschild family, including a passage accusing the banking family of holding “gigantic” economic power and influence which has “led to multiple speculations about their capacity to intervene in key global decisions”. Needless to say,  this an historical description of the family and its role in history.

The hypocrisy displayed here by the Jewish media and pressure groups is mind blowing. Jews, themselves, do not hide their pride and admiration for the Rothschild Dynasty and its global political power. In the following video you can watch a Zionist bragging about the Balfour declaration that “changed the course of history” and the power and influence the Rothschild family exercised behind the scenes.

Most English speakers are familiar with the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, but not many Brits or Americans are aware that in Hebrew and in Yiddish the musical’s greatest hit ‘If I were a Rich Man’ is sung “If I were a Rothschild.”  In the following video you can listen to ‘If I Were a Rothschild’ (in Yiddish) while viewing the many estates of this influential family.

Penguin initially argued that while the book  “clearly expresses robust opinions,” it was not anti-Semitic. However, persistent pressure from Jewish organisations  led the publishing giant to commission a Rabbi to review the book. It came as no surprise that Rabbi Neuberger with the aid of two Spanish ‘antisemitism experts,’ reached  the conclusion that the Spanish edition contains “echoes of Jewish conspiracy theories.”  The phrase ‘Jewish conspiracy theories’ is confusing. It basically applies to events in the past which reflect badly on Jews in the present. It is there to suppress free discussion.  Jewish power as I define it, is the power to silence criticism of Jewish power. Penguin Random House shamelessly succumbed to precisely this power last week.

 In an attempt to justify his company’s decision, Penguin’s chief executive declared that “Penguin Random House UK publishes for readers of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities.”

 One may wonder what Penguin’s next move will be. Is the compromised publishing house going to remove George Orwell from its catalogue because some Jews insist that deep inside, Orwell was a vile ‘anti-Semite’? Maybe Penguin should provide us with the list of titles that are fit for “all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities.” Out of interest, is Penguin planning to delete Deborah Lipsdat’s books because they may offend ‘Aryan sensitivities?’ Will Penguin delete Salman Rushdie’s titles because he once offended a few Muslims? For some reason, I‘m guessing that T. S. Eliot will be the first to go.

For my part, I  welcome Penguin’s shameless decision. It affirms every warning I have produced for the last two decades. The fact that a publisher omitted innocent factual segments from a book simply to appease one Jewish group or another reveals a gross lack of intellectual integrity and commitment to truth. In the Britain of 2019, a leading publishing house doesn’t trust readers to think for themselves. This exposes how radically Britain has changed. It is no longer an open society. Britain is now an authoritarian society. It is, in effect, an occupied zone.

To buy How They Rule the World. on Amazon UK click here.

My battle for truth and freedom involves some expensive legal and security 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 and others.

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Nahida Izzat, The Master of Poetic Resistance

May 30, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Nahida Izzat interviewed by Gilad Atzmon

The outspoken Palestinian poet Nahida Izzat has been an inspiration for a growing number of people. This fact has been a great concern for both Zionists and the so-called ‘anti.’ I have been witnessing the campaign against Nahida for over 10 years.  In recent days the desperate attempts to silence Nahida  have intensified. I spoke with Nahida about her life and her battle for truth. I urge you to listen to the spectacularly lucid voice of an heroic exiled poet.    

Gilad Atzmon: Recently FB has both suspended you at least once a day  and then lifted your suspension a few hours later after reviewing your appeal. It seems that someone is desperate to silence you. What are your feelings about this, and why do you think it’s happening?

Nahida Izzat:  That is true, Gilad. In the past, my account was suspended and my posts/comments deleted. To have my account reinstated, FB asked me to provide documentation (A copy of 2 of these items: Passport, Birth Certificate,  Driver’s License, or Bank Account) to prove my identity and that my account is not a fake.

This time around, I have been subjected to harassment on an almost daily basis, receiving notice that a post of mine “goes against FB Community Standards” of “Hate Speech”. I have protested immediately each time and requested a review, a few hours later I receive an apology from FB for their mistake in suspending my account and they have lifted the ban.

Whoever is reporting me recently has been trying desperately to find an excuse to silence me for being one of the most outspoken Palestinian voices in the West, daring to step outside the red line and break the “boundaries” as defined to us by the self-appointed gatekeepers in the Palestinian support movement.

Some years ago, and like yourself, I experienced some real harassment and attempted censorship  by no other than the Jewish anti-Zionist ‘supporters’ in the movement, those to whom I had given my trust after working closely with them for many years. They did this to me because I dared delve into the ‘forbidden’ topics they deemed taboo, and I stepped out of the boundaries they set as they claimed that anything beyond their boundaries was not ‘permissible’ in the discourse of the Palestinian struggle. They used the same accusation they use now of “antisemitism” to stop me from writing and to stop my writing from being published online.

 Some years ago, I identified some of the subjects they deem impermissible, including:

  • The doctrine of Jewish supremacy, (chosenness)  and its role in Palestine Struggle and the ramifications it has had on Palestinian lives and on their destruction;

  •     The global Jewish Zionist network which functions as the international blood line that has enabled the continuous survival of the Jewish state;

  •     The veneration of the holocaust as an article of faith rather than a chapter in history, and the implications of that for the Palestinian struggle for liberation; and

  •     The concealment of False Flag operations perpetrated by Mossad and the intentions and role of both the concealment and the operations themselves in the destruction of much of the Middle East.

All efforts to silence my roaring Palestinian voice have come to naught.  In fact, such efforts had the opposite effect. Instead of my having a voice that faintly echoes from a small city in the UK, their attempts to silence me have helped me raise the volume, so that my voice is propelled far and wide.

I see what is happening on FB now as deja vu, once again one or more people are out there desperately trying to smother an authentic, free and untamed Palestinian voice and to incarcerate an independent thinking mind by clutching a straw, building a castle on quicksand or throwing a handkerchief in people’s eyes to stop daylight from breaking through.

GA:  While in the early days it seemed as if it was Zionists and Israeli stooges who were interfering with our intellectual work, now it is established that Anti Zionist Jews are way more active on that front. What is your explanation?

NI: Zionist hawks are not interested in playing in a mind field, they prefer to play with bombs, bullets and minefields. Their interest is in totally eliminating their enemy.  By contrast, anti-Zionist ‘doves’ wave the banners of morality and universal values, it isn’t befitting to their moralist role to play with guns, so they focus on the mind field. But their arguments are feeble and cannot stand the heat of truth, the goals of their game evolve into working to spin and conceal truth for as long as possible, hoping that in their end game they can bury truth forever in the dungeon of “hate speech” locking it with the “antisemitism” and “holocaust denial” keys.

What these poor souls fail to see is that truth has an innate irrepressible light that can never be extinguished by their blows.

GA: What should be the role of anti Zionist Jews?

NI: If anti Zionist Jews are to be truthful with Palestinians, with our supporters and with themselves, all their energy, all their sincerity and all their might must turn inside out. They will have to turn over and look within. They should focus on diagnosing the root causes of the problem not, as they have insisted upon, merely describing the symptoms. Looking within is a huge undertaking, it requires a long and agonising journey within the self. I dare to suggest as a first step in this monumental task, that they approach it with honesty and sincerity not the avoidance and concealment we have seen.

The heart of the problem and the root cause of the Palestinian Nakba lies in the demon of ‘chosenness’, i.e ideological Jewish supremacy as manifested in their innumerable texts that separate Jews from ‘gentiles’ and puts them not merely miles apart, over and above the rest of mankind, but places them within a totally different paradigm, with different histories, terminology and perception of the world, themselves, and  the outside world. Without an end to this separation there can never be a true solution in which we achieve a workable, egalitarian, fair and humanistic world with universal values that apply to all.

In order for their self-chosen, self imposed separation to end, they must take a hard and honest look at the core issue, the elephant in the room, that which no one dares to name, ‘chosenness.’

They must examine why they feel the need to conceal this issue.

They need to discover why they ‘freak out’ and behave irrationally at the mention of this word.

They need to ask themselves the difficult questions:

Why do they feel entitled to control the terminology that defines what is good for mankind and why do they believe no one else can?

Why do they feel that their narrative is the one and only possible narrative?

Why do they believe that their own suffering supersedes that of others?

What is it that terrifies them when they feel they have no control in making the rules?

How do they demand that Palestinians be thoughtful of Jewish sensitivities, Jewish security and the Jewish future all while the Palestinians are being maimed, tortured and slaughtered?

Why do they expect Palestinians to consider the welfare, security and future well being of the Jewish ‘Israelis’ who are slaughtering them and bombing their society to smithereens?

What is it that makes them feel entitled to expect Palestinians to give up on their inalienable rights of liberation, land ownership and sovereignty for the sake of the same people  who have been robbing and destroying these rights for seven decades?

If they are able to manage a mile or two of honestly exploring these questions then they can move on to scrutinize and dissect the four boundaries that they have set for themselves and others that are listed above.

GA: Three days ago we were shocked to see an abusive and patronising post by the pro Palestinian Israeli activist Abigail Abarbanel.  She  has accused you of antisemitism and racism for publishing primary sources of Judaic texts. Abarbanel wrote of you that you “can be clumsy”, “bitterness has always been there in Nahida’s poetry, “she posted blatantly racist comments”, ” Nahida does not have good emotional regulation. She can be out of control and expresses incredibly racist views against Jews”,  “she seems unable to differentiate between her anger with the state of Israel/Zionism and what it has been doing to her people, and maligning the entire Jewish people for it”, she “expresses racist views against Jews in general, not just share specific examples of Jewish racism..” etc.  How does it feel when an Israeli who claims to be a supporter of your cause refers to you as ‘clumsy’ and ‘racist’?

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NI: Ok, how it feels!  Even though she has published some nasty stuff about me, I do not feel anger, hostility or hate toward her. I‘ve never met her personally, and on a human level I feel sorry for her, for her inability to empathise with others when her sensitivities are rubbed. I feel sorry for her inability to see beyond the bubble of tribalism she has chosen to dwell within. I feel sorry for her belief that she has mastered all there is to morality and humanity; when she goes out of her way to smear a fellow human being for the ‘sin’ of relying upon and quoting Jewish sources to provide evidence of ideological racism and supremacy and for asking her to challenge her own belief in  supremacy.

I feel sorry for her for thinking she has healed the wounds of childhood  abuse inflicted upon her by her family members and by her tribe even as they indulged in mass scale abuse of an entire people, although she is incapable of touching the infected core of the problem.

I am sorry to witness her fall as she swims out of her depth and lashes out at a concerned ‘outsider’ who has put a finger where it really hurts in the hope that if a correct diagnosis and attention to a cure is given, healing may occur.

On the collective humanist non-personal level, I experience deep pain from the ugliness of her betrayal of a people she claims to support. I grieve as a witness to her failure, watching as she faced a choice between blind loyalty to a tribe and the truth and made the wrong choice.

GA: Years ago both of us were portrayed as lone voices with marginal followings, nowadays things have turned around.  All over Europe people are expressing fatigue with Zionist power over Western politics, culture, media, etc. We are facing a shift in mass consciousness. Does this change translate into hope? 

NI: Absolutely.

As a witness to so many changes in the short time over the past decade, and as an observer of the grave upheaval raging all around, destabilising major political systems, shifting and shoveling global powers, one cannot fail to see the meaning of “everything is in flux!” Change is a law of the universe.

And watching Zionists and anti-Zionists alike, of all shades, colours and persuasions stuck in an ever shrinking narrowing field in the battle of ideas, with no weapons in their hands other than ad hominem attacks and laughable accusations of ‘antisemitism’, I have no doubt that they are slowly but surely losing the battles of the mind and the soul.

As witness to all this, I feel resolve, confidence and resilience from within, filling me with all the hope, energy and fortitude needed to persist.  As a person of faith, a believer in the existence of a Supreme Intelligence with Most High Principles, Ultimate Justice and Sublime Love, I feel this energy invigorating me and giving me even more power and the determination to continue roaring with passion for the sake of truth, justice and humanity.

Forward/Backward ?

April 30, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Introduction by GA: Forward’s Editor Jane Eisner is frustrated. She believes that the US and its Constitution have betrayed the Jews. In the following article Eve Mykytyn suggests that Mrs. Eisner doesn’t grasp the constitution and is pretty removed from the American ethos.

By Eve Mykytyn

Jane Eisner wrote an editorial in The Forward on Sunday entitled, “Spare Me your Thoughts and Prayers. The US Has Betrayed Its Jews.”  Her thesis is that by abiding by a “perverted, outdated, self-serving view” of the constitution, the government  has failed in its “oblig[ation] to ensure that citizens have the freedom to live lives of dignity, equality and security.”

Specifically she blames the Second Amendment right to bear arms which she claims “was not meant to turn America into a killing field,” and the freedom of speech clause of the First Amendment which she opines, “was not meant to allow a few powerful, private corporations to ignore their civic responsibilities to prevent incitement and promote social harmony.”

Ms Eisner dismissively allows that “scholars” have noted that the Constitution was drafted to define rights as “negative rights.” She bemoans the lack of emphasis on “positive rights,” that would make it the duty of the “government to ensure that citizens have the freedom to live lives of dignity, equality and security.”

Perhaps Ms Eisner has failed to read the Constitution which sets forth the various powers of the federal government and then in its amendments makes clear its intent that the government interfere with its citizens to the least extent possible. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments specifically grant nonenumerated rights and powers to the States or the people. Importantly, even the 14th Amendment which has expanded certain rights of citizens is phrased in the negative. “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens… ; nor …deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person … the equal protection of the laws.”

Nowhere is there a positive obligation placed on the government to ensure that its citizens “live lives of dignity, equality and security.” Instead the constitution prescribes equality under the law and protection from government interference.  Understanding this makes axiomatic the right to own a gun or to allow speech that Ms Eisner does not like.

Yet, Eisner claims the federal government has totally failed in its “central” job to “protect its people.” From what constitutional or other law does Eisner derive this “central job?” Would a government attempt to prevent attacks on what Eisner calls “vulnerable minorities (her list – Jews, African Americans or Muslims or gays and lesbians or random children in a school.) by eliminating guns and free speech deprive all of us of liberties?

The United States has existed for 240 years with our constitution and its particular blend of rights and obligations. Ms Eisner apparently seeks to add additional restrictions in order to ensure the safety of the Jews. This is a dangerous route. The framers (of the Constitution and its Amendments) were wise enough to understand that positive obligations placed on the government must be balanced by the burdens they place on individual freedom. If we were to enact some version of Eisner’s ‘dignity and security’ we would be inviting the government to control more aspects of our lives.

Neither private citizens nor corporations are obliged to let everyone speak nor to police other’s speech. And fortunately, there is no exception to free speech that requires media to “prevent incitement and promote social harmony” even if one could somehow determine precisely what speech that would prohibit. Ms Eisner has it exactly wrong, free speech is most meaningful in allowing political criticism which indeed may not promote social harmony. See.

While some may plan nefarious deeds on Facebook, information can and is published in other ways. The shooter in Poway, John Ernest, posted his manifesto on pastebin. It is also possible that by allowing the type of speech that Ms Eisner does not like, anger may be defused. Christopher Poole, creator of 4chan, said he was often thanked for providing an outlet to vent frustrations.

Ms Eisner charges that “America has failed its Jews.” Her solution is to  change the constitution and limit freedom in ways that are foreign both to the intent and to the various interpretations of the constitution. Nor is it at all clear that suppressing speech and prohibiting guns (especially given the number of guns already owned) would end terrorist shootings.

Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, said that “[the shooting] is clearly Hashem telling the Jews to come home, to return to Jerusalem because “the sanctity of Israel can protect the Jews.” Perhaps Rabbi Berger could explain why God does not protect the Jews wherever they are.

Source: https://www.evemykytyn.com/-

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.

“THEY JUST WANT ME IN PRISON”: MINT PRESS CONTRIBUTOR EVA BARTLETT INTERVIEWS JAILED UKRAINIAN JOURNALIST KIRILL VYSHINSKY

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The Ukraine courts are still dependent on political authorities, and the special service is used to carry out political schemes and to fight inconvenient points of view and dissent, rather than to protect national security.” — Imprisoned Ukrainian-Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky tells Eva Bartlett.

 –by Eva Bartlett, February 25th, 2019, Mint Press News

KHERSON, UKRAINE (Interview) — Ukrainian-Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky has been imprisoned by Ukraine since his May 2018 arrest on yet unproven allegations of “high treason” and of conducting an “information war” against Ukraine in his role as chief editor of RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency.

To date, Vyshinsky has not been allowed a trial, the Ukrainian authorities instead repeatedly prolonging his pre-trial detention and delaying his right to justice.

In November, 2018, I spoke with journalist Vladimir Rodzianko about the case of Kirill Vyshinsky. In our interview, Rodzianko explained Vyshinsky’s May 2018 arrest, Vyshinsky’s work as an editor, the absurdities of Ukraine’s accusations against Vyshinsky, and the lack of outcry on his imprisonment.

Through intermediaries, I was later able to interview the imprisoned journalist, via email. While his replies came at the end of 2018, my intermediaries just recently were able to provide a translated transcript of Vyshinsky’s words.

More recently, I went to Kiev to interview Vyshinsky’s defense lawyer, Mr. Andriy Domanskyy. That interview will be published in the near future. While conducting the interview with Mr. Domanskyy on February 19, he received a phone call from the Kherson Court informing him that during the February 21 pleading, the court would limit the time during which Vyshinsky and Domanskyy could read the case files–case files amounting to 31 volumes.

Below is my correspondence with Kirill Vyshinsky.

EB: What do you believe was the motivation for the Ukrainian authorities to arrest and detain you?

KV: My detention and arrest represent an attempt by the Ukrainian authorities to bolster the declining popularity of President [Petro] Poroshenko in this election year. How? First, my arrest was used to stoke another scandal involving a story about “terrible Russian propaganda.” I’m a journalist, a citizen of the Russian Federation and Ukraine, and my arrest can be explained as part of the fight against “Russian propaganda.”

Second, from the very first hours of my detention, without a trial and even before pre-trial restrictions were set for me, high-ranking Ukrainian politicians started talking about the need to swap me for a Ukrainian convicted in the Russian Federation. Swaps are a favorite PR topic of the current Ukrainian government, which, in the past five years, has been unable to accomplish anything to benefit the country’s economy, achieve peace in Ukraine, or resolve the civil conflict in Donbass. This government did nothing to improve the well-being and safety of its citizens, so it was looking for other ways to score electoral points. Anti-Russian hysteria and PR around a prisoner swap is one such way.

EB: Had the Ukrainian authorities harassed you prior to May 2018?

KV: Nothing happened before May 2018, this is what amazes me! Accusations
against me in the case investigated by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) are connected with posts on the website that I run dating back to the spring of 2014.
The posts were made in the spring of 2014. According to the SBU, they represented a threat to the national security of Ukraine, but they remembered them only in 2018! And this is despite the fact that the SBU and Ukraine’s Ministry of Press and Information (another supervisory authority) have been regularly publishing lists of websites that were a “threat to national information security,” while my website was never listed!!

And then, in May 2018, I was arrested.

EB: The authorities accuse you of “treason”. How would you counter this? What had you been covering in Ukraine?

KV: I believe that accusing me of treason is false and absurd. None of the posts they are using to incriminate me are under my byline. These texts were submitted by our contributors, who shared their point of view on the developments in Ukraine in the spring of 2014, when the referendum was held in Crimea, and everything was just getting started in Donbass. All these materials are from the Opinion and Point of View sections, and each of them is followed by a disclaimer that “the author’s views do not necessarily represent those of the editorial board.”

From the vast number of texts that were published in the spring of 2014, the SBU picked only about 15 that they deemed “treasonous.” They simply ignored other texts with other views posted on our website and accuse me of conducting “special operations.” Again, they accuse me of conducting an “information war” for the mere fact that we posted a variety of opinions on our website. What does the fact that I impartially let people speak in support of Maidan or against it have to do with special operations?

As for the events that I covered, ours is a news website, and we post many texts on social and political issues. None of the texts that are included in the SBU files were written by me. I’m accused of providing an opportunity to speak about the situation in the country to people whose opinion is inconvenient for official Kiev. That’s all there is to it.

EB: How did your coverage of the proposed autocephaly for a ‘national Ukrainian church’ influence your detention?

KV: This is the most absurd accusation! This is the only episode from 2018. We posted a news piece on our website, in which Ukrainian political scientist Dmitry Korneychuk expressed skepticism about the possibility of granting autocephaly [a form of self-governance exceeding basic autonomy] to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The same news piece included the point of view of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has argued for the need for autocephaly!! It was a classic piece of journalism providing two points of view, for and against, where the reader has to decide which one is more credible.

However, the SBU believed that posting this material was part of my personal war against the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church!! I read this text out more than once in court. In it, the view “against” autocephaly takes up 11 lines, whereas the case “for” autocephaly is laid out in 17 lines, and I’m being accused of conducting a special operation against Ukrainian autocephaly!

EB: How have you been treated in prison? Do you have access to doctors? How has your health been since in detention? Are you allowed visitors and if so, under what conditions?

KV: I consider the prison conditions to be tolerable by Ukrainian standards, although access to medical care is quite limited. The prison medical unit was downsized, and I had to wait for a specialist doctor appointment for months. To alleviate acute neuralgia pain, I was given …diphenhydramine! It’s like treating acute heart pain with vitamin C. It won’t make things worse, but it doesn’t do much to help, either.

I feel pretty good right now, but this is definitely not due to the prison medicine but to the efforts of my lawyers and the medications they passed me. Once a month, my father comes to see me. We talk through a phone, separated by a glass partition.

EB: How many times has your trial been delayed? What were the reasons given for the delay? Do you feel that you will be given a fair trial?

KV: The issue is not about adjourned hearings, but the fact that the SBU keeps extending the investigation all the time, citing the need to conduct some kind of expert analysis in addition to the one that is already filed in the case. That is why I have been in jail for seven months now. The charges are absurd, the evidence does not include any text that was written by me, but the SBU is acting upon a political order issued by the Ukrainian authorities, which is to keep me in prison while the authorities try to net some political dividends from my arrest. It has nothing to do with justice. They just want me in prison.

EB: Have any international bodies supporting journalists, or any international human rights organizations, been in contact with you about your imprisonment?

KV: Yes, the UN Monitoring Mission in Ukraine and the Red Cross office in Ukraine visited me. Representatives of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] mission regularly attend my court hearings in order to stay up to date on my case. Several international journalism organizations — such as the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Press Club Brussels Europe — my colleagues from Russia, and many friends spoke in my support, and I thank everyone so much! I am counting, primarily, on moral support and the ability to get as much information out about my actual case as possible, as opposed to what is published in the Ukrainian media at the behest of the SBU.

EB: Do you have any message you’d like to convey about this entire ordeal?

KV: My main takeaway from the past six months is huge disappointment in the level of political power in Ukraine and the state of its judicial system. Despite declarations about Ukraine’s “European choice,” the courts are still dependent on political authorities, and the special service is used to carry out political schemes and to fight inconvenient points of view and dissent, rather than to protect national security.

Kirill Vyshinsky
December 26, 2018, Kherson Detention Center
See also:

Vladimir Rodzianko On Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky, Detained in Ukraine

Media Ignores the Plight of Kirill Vyshinsky: A Russian Journalist Imprisoned Without Trial in Ukraine

Oh, The Services of Islington Council

January 12, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Introduction by GA: Many of us have, in the past, been open to leftist ideas. Ethically oriented thinkers are still excited by the idea of equality, freedom and opposition to racism. Sadly, these ideals are not reflected in New Left politics. While the Old Left taught us to transcend gender, race, sexual preference etc., the New Left builds walls dividing us along those same lines. As much as the Old Left was inspired to openness by Orwell’s criticism of the tyrannical, the New Left has slipped into that authoritarian dystopia. In a Kafkaesque manner that defies any reasonable rationale, the New Left is consumed with interfering with freedom of expression, meaning expression that does not comply with its strict newspeak protocol. The New Left bureaucracy is oblivious to the intent of the law and uses the form of the law to impose its will.

The Islington Council, a ‘Labour’ run operation, exemplifies everything that has gone wrong with New Left ideology, politics and practice. It operates bureaucratically masking its authoritarian positions,  following forms of procedure that are without substance so that the Council effectively insulates itself from its constituents and the rest of society.

We have to ask why, why is the New Left removed from traditional Labour values? Why is it detached from the people? Why would the New Left want to act as an obvious  Zionist tool? Why is it determined to bring Jeremy Corbyn down?

The answer is simple. The ideological and spiritual roots of the traditional Left came from working class politics. Traditionally, Labour and Left leaders both came from the working people and unions. They were proletarians who were inherently connected with the their class, its needs and its values. This ended when the evaporation of manufacturing made the working class workless. The unions have collapsed and the orientation of Labour politics has shifted radically. Instead of aspiring to be working class and union heroes, young Labour politicians are most often a dysfunctional herd of spoiled middle class former university activists who mature into party commissars. These New Left politicians may never have had to work and are in any case totally removed from the working people and their values as well as the values of the Old Left.

In the following article Eve Mykytyn dissects Islington Council’s institutional duplicity, the council’s formulaic pretences and most disappointingly, its removal from the Labour values of freedom and work.  While many of us are sympathetic to Corbyn and his politics, Britain may want to think twice before it gives his party greater access  to government. Labour politics seems to mean – end to free Britain as we know it. We shouldn’t let this happen. We better make sure that the Labour Party fix itself first.

 

Oh, The Services of Islington Council

 By  Eve Mykytyn

How does Islington Council respond to complaints about its decision to ban Atzmon?

The Islington Council issued a ‘detailed’ ‘stage one’ response to a complaint from a ticket holder(TH). The initial complaint, dated 19/12/18, expressed ‘disgust’ at the decision to ban Atzmon and a desire to see a music concert “that has no antisemitism in its show. ” In her first response, Lucinda Brown, venue business manager, had on 21/12/18 (the date of the concert) directed TH  to the Council’s (non) statement on its site.

As of  11/2/19 Ms Brown claims she “had the opportunity to investigate the details” of the complaint  and her “findings were as follows:” Contact the promoter and “raise a complaint.”  Ms. Brown then finds that the complaint has been duly  investigated at “stage one of Islington’s Complaint procedure and not upheld.” TH was given 30 days to reply.

The Council claims to be a service organisation. What service did TH get? What might Ms. Brown have ‘investigated’? Did she herself check with the promoters to see if refunds were available?  Since the Council itself had prevented Atzmon from playing, a simple “I’m sorry” might have been more satisfying than the insulting pretence that a refund would be forthcoming if TH were simply to “raise a complaint.”  Why did Ms. Brown send this answer at all?  Does sending a nonsensical jargon filled note help to feign service?

London Councils, the parent organisation of Islington Council provides for a three step complaint procedure in which the complainant is entitled at each successive phase to have his appeal reexamined by an employee higher up the council ladder. Mr. Atzmon’s appeals were handled first by Martin Bevis, the assistant director of Financial Operations & Customer Service and then by Ian Adams, the director of Financial Operations and Customer Service . Mr. Atzmon was not informed of or offered the third level of review to the Corporate Complaints Officer of the London Council. The Council’s policy provides that  a complaint will only be reviewed at Stage 3 if “at the discretion…there is a clear reason for dissatisfaction….or that any remedy proposed is insufficient.” Atzmon was never given the chance to make a case for a third appeal. There is even a fourth step available, if appeals one-three fail to satisfy the complainant, he may bring the complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman at the London Councils.

Why was Atzmon not fully informed of his rights of review?

Atzmon would seem to be included in the Council’s mission statement, which reads as follows: “We’re determined to make Islington fairer. To create a place where everyone, whatever their background, has the opportunity to reach their potential and enjoy a good quality of life.” Did they add, ‘if we agree with their opinions?’

The Council made its decision weighing two competing interests. First, the rights of Mr Atzmon under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act of 1998 “to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.” Article 10 restricts this right as follows: “The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law…”

Article 10 makes clear that the right to free speech is not subject to a balancing test unless the speech violates a law. Atzmon, having crossed no legal limits in his speech, was not subject to speech restrictions. Indeed, the ban had to do with prior speech, no one alleged that Atzmon would speak while playing the saxophone at a rock concert.

The council referred to and quickly dismissed Atzmon’s rights under Article 10, citing article 10 rights to earn a living (which is not a provision of Article 10) and deciding that Article 10 rights are subservient to the Council’s duty under S 149 of the Equality Act of 2010. Are individual liberties properly curtailed by a council acting under a general non discrimination mandate? What if the Council thought it could make Islington safer for a protected group by bursting into homes instead of banning employment, would this be a legitimate override of personal freedom?

The Council claimed that its ban was necessitated by the law it found controlling, “the legal duty placed on the Council by s.149 of the Equality Act 2010.” But does the equality act even mandate the Council’s actions?

S 149 part 1 states the general purpose of the rule:  that a public authority must perform its duties with due regard to three factors; a. to eliminate discrimination, b to provide for equal opportunity and, c to foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

Section (5) of 149 explains how to ‘foster good relations’ as required by section 1(c). “Having due regard to the need to foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it involves having due regard, in particular, to the need to (a)tackle prejudice, (b)promote understanding.”

Mr Bevis and Mr. Adams ‘found’ that Atzmon’s views are well known and disliked in the Jewish community. But both men went beyond this. Acting not as lawyers, judges (or may I assume scholars of Jewish identity politics) they pronounced Atzmon’s comments  “to be, [regarded as] at the lowest, provocative and distasteful, and, at the highest, anti-Semitic and racist by many, particularly those in the Jewish community.”

Based on their personal (and not legal) reading of materials provided by opponents of Atzmon, the Council concluded that good relations with the Jewish community would be harmed by Atzmon’s appearance. Tickets to the concert cost money and the musicians were known. Were many Jews likely to find offence also likely to pay to attend a rock Christmas concert with Gilad Atzmon?

Further, while some may have cheered the Council’s choice to disregard Atzmon’s Section 10 rights, how did his banning help to foster good relations between Jews and others? What about the ‘others’ who merely wanted to go to the concert? What groups did the Council integrate with the Jews to foster good relations?

Or does ‘fostering good relations’ mean banning any speech any protected group objects to?


If you are a British citizen, you can file a Freedom of Information request asking for records relating to Gilad Atzmon’s ban, the standards relied upon for that purpose and the process and assistance used by Bevis and Adams in their decision making.

You can do this by using Islington Council’s complaints form here, by writing to Islington Council at 222 Upper Street, London N1 1XR, or by fax to 020 7527 5001.

To sign a petition in support of Gilad click here

Lodge a formal complaint with Islington Council: https://www.islington.gov.uk/contact-us/comments-and-complaints?status=inprogress

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