New Zealand Burials Start as PM Urges ‘United Front’ on Social Media

March 20, 2019

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

A Syrian refugee and his son were buried in New Zealand on Wednesday in the first funerals of those martyred in the twin mosque massacre as Kiwis braced for days of emotional farewells following the mass slayings.

An Australian white supremacist had gunned down 50 Muslim worshippers and wounded many more at two mosques in the southern city of Christchurch last Friday in a killing spree that he live-streamed.

Gunman Brenton Tarrant’s use of social media has put the spotlight on extremists’ use of such platforms, and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called on Wednesday for a global “united front” on the issue.

Hundreds of mourners gathered in the morning at a cemetery near Linwood Mosque, one of two places of worship targeted, to lay Khalid Mustafa and his son Hamza to rest.

The family arrived last year as refugees from the Syrian maelstrom only to find tragedy in a land where they had sought sanctuary.

A total of six burials were expected on Wednesday.

Ardern, who has vowed to toughen New Zealand’s lax gun-ownership laws following the killings, also said Wednesday the world needs to confront the dangers posed by social media.

“There is an argument there to be made for us to take a united front on what is a global issue,” she said at a press conference in Christchurch.

“This is not just an issue for New Zealand, the fact that social media platforms have been used to spread violence (and) material that incites violence.”

She had called on New Zealanders on Tuesday to deprive Tarrant of the publicity he craved by never uttering his name.

“He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless,” she said.

The 28-year-old was arrested after the shootings and is expected to spend his life in prison as New Zealand has no death penalty.

Dozens of relatives of the deceased have begun arriving from around the world, some hoping to take bodies back with them.

SourceAFP

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Trump Supporters in Denial over New Zealand Massacre

Trump Supporters in Denial over New Zealand Massacre

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 17.03.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

Trump Supporters in Denial over New Zealand Massacre

US President Donald Trump condemned the New Zealand massacre of 50 people by a self-declared white fascist as “horrible”. In an ambiguous choice of words, Trump said he sent his “warmest [sic] sympathies” to the victims of the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch. He also seemed to downplay white supremacy violence as a problem.

With several surviving victims still in a critical condition, the death toll could rise in coming days.

Of course, Trump would be obliged to join in the international outpouring of condemnation over the barbaric cold-blooded act of mass murder. How could he not, given the shocking horror and depravity of the crime?

But his repeated nationalistic and nativist rhetoric as well as the ideologues whom he associates with make it very hard for Trump and his supporters to deny that there is a link between the White House occupant and the terrorist attack on Muslims in New Zealand, or white supremacist violence generally.

Supporters of Trump have scoffed at media claims made against Trump following the massacre insinuating the president is associated with “white nationalism” and thereby linked to the violence.

Admittedly, anti-Trump media in the US, such as CNN and MSNBC, will always seek every opportunity to undermine Trump. Nevertheless, on the point of Trump’s dalliance with extremist rightwing groups and their ideological memes there is a valid criticism to be made.

The alleged shooter in the New Zealand attack Friday was named as Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian citizen. He openly declared himself to be a fascist, avowing white supremacist ideology. In a so-called manifesto, the suspect refers to Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity”.

More significantly, the themes the alleged murderer espouses are central to the Alt Right movement and numerous other white nationalist groups in the US and Europe, issues which Trump has also promoted for political gain.

The themes of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, white genocide by “invasion” or “replacement” by brown-skinned foreigners are run-of-the-mill talking points for far-right nationalist movements, which Trump has at times endorsed or given credence to.

Only days before the New Zealand massacre, Trump gave an exclusive interview with Breitbart News. The publication is a proponent of many of the themes surrounding fears of the “white race” being over-run by hordes of foreigners, and especially Muslim foreigners.

In his latest interview for Breitbart, Trump appeared to be inciting street violence by imploring his followers in the police and military to “get tough”. He tweeted a link to the publication. But following the horror in Christchurch, Trump deleted his tweet. That move suggests the president is fully aware of the toxic association with Breitbart at such a politically sensitive moment.

Trump and his supporters may try to play the innocent card, decrying what they would call are scurrilous attempt by the “liberal media” to bracket him with the violence of the far-right.

However, what else is one to conclude about Trump when he has personally amplified the touchstone causes of numerous fascist, white nationalist groups?

This week, Trump has pushed on with his border wall project. He has repeatedly sought to justify that project in sensationalist, scaremongering terms of preventing an “invasion” into the US from Mexico. The actual figures of migration over the southern border do not merit such high priority given by Trump to the “problem”. The proposed expenditure of $8-9 billion and declared state of emergency are “dog-whistling” techniques by Trump to mobilize far-right nationalist support.

Look at the people who associate with Trump. He may claim that their association is not reciprocated.

White neo-Nazi groups like Proud Boys and Alt Right have been hosted at Trump rallies. Alt Right leader Richard Spencer is partial to giving Nazi salutes at conferences and declaring “Hail Trump!”

David Duke, the grandmaster of the Klu Klux Klan, has publicly endorsed Trump.

Steve Bannon, Trump’s former political strategist in the White House, is a big proponent of the “replacement theory” whereby it is claimed that Muslim, African and other immigrants are “invading” the US and Europe to obliterate traditional white Christian communities. This was a prime motive for the alleged shooter in the New Zealand massacre. It was also a motive for the mass murder in 2011 by Norwegian neo-Nazi Anders Breivik.

Trump has taken up the cause of white South African farmers who claim that they are being expelled from colonial lands by the ruling ANC black government. This theme has also been taken up in Zimbabwe, and is a major touchstone issue for white supremacist, fascist groups around the world. For Trump to dally with the issue is an unmistakable sign of his witting – albeit tacit – support to such ideology, even though he may publicly try to distance himself at times, such as in the aftermath of the Christchurch atrocity.

Typically with Trump there are abundant contradictions. His son-in-law and special advisor Jared Kushner is Jewish. Yet Trump was accused of giving support to a “Unite the Right Rally” in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, where the torch-bearing marchers chanted slogans about not being replaced by Jews.

There seems little room for denial by Trump or his supporters about his links to the rise of extreme rightwing, white nationalist, fascist groups. His blanket ban on asylum-seekers from Muslim countries, his unhinged rhetoric about “invasion” by foreigners, and Trump’s association with racist, fascistic ideologues all put this president in the dock for incitement. The reckless rhetoric of Trump’s demagoguery is manifest in depraved actions such as the mass murder of 49 Muslims in New Zealand.

Trump can’t wash his hands after cynically dabbling in the cesspool of fascist ideology.

Forget “anti-semitism, this is real racism: israelis ‘undergo Jewish DNA test before being allowed to marry’

Israelis ‘undergo Jewish DNA test before being allowed to marry’

MEMO | March 12, 2019

DNA test sample [File photo]

DNA test sample [File photo]

Israel’s rabbinate “has been performing genetic testing on Israelis from the former Soviet Union, to check if they are ‘genetically Jewish’ as a condition for marriage registration”, according to Ynet.

The new site reported that “at least 20 couples have come forward after having been asked to undergo the procedure in the past year.”

“Although the existence of such tests was initially denied by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau admitted to having requested that some couples prove their Jewish status,” Ynet added, noting that “Lau claimed those were isolated incidents and there was no coercion.”

Ynet’s investigation revealed that “the complicated procedure was undertaken not only by the couples themselves but also by their relatives.”

“In one instance, a young woman who went to the rabbinate before her wedding was asked to conduct a DNA test along with her mother and her aunt, in order to eliminate the possibility that her mother was adopted,” the article stated.

“The young woman was told that if she refused the request, her marriage application would be denied,” Ynet added. “The rabbinate has control over Jewish religious rites in Israel.”

“According to the evidence accumulated by Ynet, these instances are examples of what appears to be a growing phenomenon where those applying to register for marriage, are being asked to undergo genetic testing if they want to have their requests granted,” the paper stated.

“Unfortunately, there are immigrants who, despite their eligibility under the Law of Return, are not defined as Jews according to Halacha,” said Lau in response. “In a few cases, there are those who claim to be Jews, but don’t possess the necessary documents to confirm it…or we find contradictions between their statements and what we would uncover about them”.

“In these cases we suggest undergoing DNA tests that would strengthen their claims,” he said. “It’s never forced upon anyone and only used to assist applicants in the research process.”

Jewdas Lies Again

March 11, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

jewdas.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

In August 2017 Jewdas,  a bunch of self- proclaimed ‘alternative’ Diaspora Jews were exposed as merely a brand of dishonest Zionist merchants. They picketed my concert at the Vortex and handed out flyers presenting a pile of fabrications and misquotes attributed to me.

They were filmed and exposed as liars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKMITv5ZPdw

Watch Jewdas lying through their teeth…

But Jewdas did not learn their lesson. They are attempting to repeat their failure. This time they call to Shut Down Nazi Apologist Jazz with a plan to picket my concert at the Vortex on Friday.

I am not a Nazi apologist. I am an opponent of all forms of racism and discrimination. Jewdas does not even attempt to explain why they call  me a ‘Nazi apologist,’ Instead they provide a  link to a Zionist write-up on Rationalwiki that is in itself a set of quotes taken out of context in an intentionally misleading manner. Here is Rationalwiki’s takedown of me:  “Atzmon has been accused of denying the Holocaust; he objects to this. ‘I have never denied the Holocaust or any other historical chapter,’ he says. ‘I also find the notion of ‘holocaust denial’ to be meaningless, and on the verge of idiotic.’

Here is the actual quote of my talk delivered in Freiburg, Germany in 2011. “Needless to say, I have never denied the Holocaust or any other historical chapter. I also find the notion of ‘holocaust denial’ to be meaningless, and on the verge of idiotic. However, I do indeed insist, as I did here today, that history must remain an open discourse, subject to changes and revision, I oppose any attempt to seal the past, whether it is the Nakba, the  Holocaust, the Holodomor or the Armenian genocide. I am convinced that an organic and ‘elastic’ understanding of the past is the true essence of a  humanist discourse, universalism and ethics.”https://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/gilad-atzmon-being-in-time.html)

One may wonder, if there was any truth in their  claim, why those Zionists and their so-called ‘alternative’ twins see the need to attribute to me fabricated quotes and misquotes in an attempt to deceive? One possible answer is that I brought to light a truth which they can’t handle let alone suppress.

In my work I repeatedly argue that history must be open to discussion. Revisiting and rethinking history is at the core of universal ethical thinking and the aspiration for a better future! If the English speaking empire had been brave enough to face its past conduct, it might have saved itself from repeating its crimes in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. If Israel and its Lobby were honourable enough to examine Jewish history, it would probably attempt to prevent its enthusiastic Lobby from causing more harm. If Jewdas were simply able to re-visit its recent past or just watch the above expose of themselves caught in their lies, one would think they would want to avoid re-exposure as an authoritarian intolerant Jewish thought police dedicated to harassing a non-political music venue.

Given Britain’s present economic and political woes, perhaps the Jewdas warriors for their own particular brand of correct ‘alternative’ Jewish thought would be wise to support elementary freedoms and civilized debate. Jewdas might even wish to allow the Brits a night off from the toxic political environment to just enjoy music. The music might even soothe the self-righteous arrogance of those whose satisfaction is gained by calling me and others names.

 Defy the oppressive, duplicitous and dictatorial forces. Join us at the Vortex this weekend

To Book on line:

Fri March 15 click here

Sat March 16 Click here

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Dual Loyalty as Racism

ilhan3.jpg

March 08, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

GA: How reassuring is it that the only American who upholds the core values of liberty, patriotism and freedom is a black muslim and an immigrant…

By Eve Mykytyn

The US House of Representatives just passed a resolution that declared, “whether from the political right, center, or left, bigotry, discrimination, oppression, racism, and imputations of dual loyalty threaten American democracy and have no place in American political discourse.”  The key words in this resolution are “dual loyalty” which make clear that this otherwise banal condemnation of racism was made in direct response to Representative Ilhan Omar’s controversial statement:

“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says that it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

Apparently, the House resolution was a disappointment to some. The New York Times reports that this ‘all-inclusive’ approach was criticized for not “solely condemn[ing]  anti-Semitism.” Representative Ted Deutch asked  “Why are we unable to singularly condemn anti-Semitism? Why can’t we call it anti-Semitism and show we’ve learned the lessons of history?”

It is bizarre that Mr. Deutch seemingly objects to condemning racism per se. Would Mr. Deutch prefer that the House pass separate resolutions condemning prejudice against each of the ever growing list of identity groups?  The House would be so busy debating these resolutions that they would  accomplish nothing else, although admittedly, that might be a positive outcome.

Omar has not retracted her statements. In response to criticism from representative Nita Lowy, Omar tweeted,

“I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.”

Omar’s point has been substantiated by the reaction it has provoked. Omar claimed that accusations of anti-Semitism tend to be used to silence critics of Israel. In response, she was called a “Jew hater.”

Representative Juan Vargas tweeted, “It is disturbing that Rep. Omar continues to perpetuate hurtful anti-Semitic stereotypes that misrepresent our Jewish community. Additionally, questioning support for the U.S.-Israel relationship is unacceptable.”

Omar is condemned for criticizing dual loyalty by those who insist upon loyalty to Israel. As journalist Jordan Weisman noted,

“If Israel’s most devoted U.S. backers are really so concerned over dual loyalty smears, maybe they should think more carefully about how they’re encouraging them. “

 

French anti-semitism: Macron’s tool to silence Palestinian solidarity

Malia Bouattia is an activist, the former President of the National Union of Students, co-founder of the Students not Suspects/Educators not Informants Network and presenter/panelist on British Muslim TV’s Women Like Us.
By conflating anti-Zionism with anti-semitism, Macron is attempting to shield the government from criticism over its active participation in other forms of racism
People hold up Palestinian flags at a rally in Paris on 16 May 2018 (AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron has committed himself to making anti-Zionism illegal, by making it – legally – equivalent to anti-semitism, and therefore a hate crime.

This announcement follows a verbal attack against French pro-Israeli writer Alain Finkielkraut during a Gilets Jaunes protest, where one demonstrator hurled the words “dirty Zionist”. The confrontation was described as anti-semitic by the president and numerous commentators.

A Jewish cemetery was also vandalised this month with Nazi swastikas, with around 80 graves targeted in the eastern French village of Quatzenheim, while a portrait of French Holocaust survivor Simone Veil was defaced with Nazi imagery.

Targeting political movements

The alarming rise of anti-semitism has plagued not just France, but the whole continent, with far-right groups gaining ground electorally and on the streets. In France alone, anti-Jewish attacks have risen by 74 percent over the last year.

But the problem with the French state’s response – which is not dissimilar to that of other governments, including the UK and US – is that it targets legitimate political movements, rather than dealing with a form of oppression woven into the fabric of French institutions.

It is striking that it is not the far-right and its numerous splinter groups that are being targeted by the president, nor is it the growing normalisation of racist rhetoric, including by the French leader himself.

Racism and fascism are structural forms of oppression that only manifest themselves on the streets because they have been normalised through state institutions

Instead, it is solidarity with the Palestinian people and opposition to Zionism – the ideology that justifies their dispossession – that is made to bear the responsibility.

Macron is showing us exactly what not to do in the face of rising fascism. He is effectively co-opting the rise in anti-semitism to target political dissent in the vein of pro-Palestine, anti-Zionist efforts.

Racism and fascism are structural forms of oppression that only manifest themselves on the streets because they have been legitimised, defused and normalised through state institutions.

Macron is surely aware that in World War Two, anti-semitism, and the consequent dehumanisation of entire peoples, became so widespread only because the Nazi party’s rhetoric gained influence within political institutions.

White-washing history

It is especially rich that Macron is attempting to equate anti-Zionism and anti-semitism when, just a few months ago, he came under fire for defending plans to pay tribute to Nazi collaborator Philippe Petain. Indeed, he claimed it to be legitimate because Petain was a marshal who led the French army to victory a century ago.

While heading the Vichy government, however, Petain and his administration facilitated the deportation to death camps of thousands of Jews. Much of this was later white-washed, with those involved integrated into the postwar administration of the republic.

French President Emmanuel Macron is overseeing the "normalisation of racist rhetoric" (Reuters)
French President Emmanuel Macron is overseeing the “normalisation of racist rhetoric” (Reuters)

The state’s targeting of the entire Gilets Jaunes movement over an isolated incident also discredits efforts to fight racism. The movement, which is non-hierarchical and has been described as leaderless, also includes far-right protesters – a point of much internal political debate in recent months. Anti-racist groups have expressed the need to fight for an inclusive and intersectional space, which is only likely to happen if they are part of the political events, protests and rallies.

There is a recognition at the grassroots level that in a society plagued by racism, it is only normal that even in anti-austerity efforts and among left-wing organisations, reactionary and conservative ideas exist. The difference is that there is a willingness to partake in a process of consciousness-raising, to set the direction of the movement and roll back the growing dominance of racism across French society.

The juxtaposition couldn’t be starker. Anti-racists in France are participating in a mass movement against austerity and taking on reactionary ideas, while the president, who himself has a poor track record on racism, is attempting to capitalise on it to launch a broader assault on solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Cosying up to the far-right

Communities are fearful for their safety. To provide the false illusion that Macron and his counterparts in the UK and US are legislating a fight back is despicable. They are targeting groups with a long-standing history of anti-racism, because they’re also likely to support the anti-imperialist struggle against Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

At the same time, these very same politicians are cosying up to the anti-semitic Hungarian government, the far-right, and individuals such as former White House strategist Steve Bannon. They are putting Jewish communities at risk, while instrumentalising them to justify their attacks on the left and communities of colour, and their foreign policies in the Middle East.

The ‘gilet jaunes’ are uniting France in a rage against Macron’s regime

Read More »

In Britain, we have witnessed the targeting of pro-Palestine efforts through counter-terrorism strategies, including Prevent. This has led to the cancellation of events, the questioning and demonisation of young activists, and threats to make the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement illegal.

In the US, there’s a continued targeting of activists and public figures by groups such as the Canary Mission. The recent swearing-in of Congress representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib was followed by a media onslaught over their support for Palestinian liberation – not to mention the Middle East security bill voted through the US Senate in order to criminalise BDS.

The need to resist

The international pattern is clear. Around the world, the rich and powerful are stoking racism to divert anger about growing inequality and injustice, including the normalisation of far-right groups, individuals and governments. In this process, anti-semitism is re-emerging, including among the very people who are close to power.

Today, the struggle against anti-Zionism is justified by a false conflation with anti-semitism

Yet, it is the left – the pro-Palestine movement and communities of colour – who are being accused by those very same governments around the world.

Today, the struggle against anti-Zionism, justified by a false conflation with anti-semitism, has a triple purpose: to weaken the left at home, shield the government from criticism over its active participation in the rise of anti-semitism and other forms of racism, and hide its geopolitical support for Israel behind a supposed protection for Jewish communities, endangering them in the process. All three aspects should be resisted ferociously.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Cohen’s Explosive Testimony: Trump A Racist, Conman

By Staff

US Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen arrived on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to deliver explosive testimony before a Congressional oversight committee, blasting the US president as a “racist”, a “conman” and a “cheat” who committed wrongdoing as a candidate and as president.

In his opening remarks to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cohen – who has been sentenced to jail for crimes related in part to his work for Trump – expressed regret for his past loyalty.

“I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience,” Cohen said. “I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is.”

“He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat,” he stated.

“I regret the day I said “yes” to Mr. Trump. I regret all the help and support I gave him along the way,” he said.

“The last time I appeared before Congress, I came to protect Mr. Trump. Today, I’m here to tell the truth about Mr. Trump,” Cohen said.

“Mr. Trump is a racist. The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him call poorer countries ‘shitholes.’ In private, he is even worse,” Trump’s former lawyer said.

“While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. And, he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid,” Cohen recalled.

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