2010: Canada’s Secret Trial, ‘Who is Ernst Zundel?’

By VT Editors -May 1, 2021

By Gordon Duff, Senior Editor

March 19, 2010

VIOLATING HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE NAME OF HUMAN RIGHTS

First they came for the holocaust denialists and I did not speak out as I was not a holocaust denialist….

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

In Europe and Canada, saying that any commonly held belief taught in Israel about the holocaust may be incorrect can land you in prison for up to 20 years.  If you say only 5,999,999 Jews died, you go to prison.  If you say they were shot, not gassed, you go to prison.  In a world where the only part of the nightly news that can be believed is the sports scores, Americans are infamous for lying about the weather as are Italians, Ernst Zundel was sent from Canada to serve 5 years in prison in Germany for doubting the official version of the holocaust.

WHY IS THIS AN ISSUE?

Many Germans would like to find a version of history where they don’t seem barbarous.  Should that be a crime?  Palestinian who suffered hundreds of thousands dead at the hands of Israel say it is done because Jews use the holocaust as an excuse for murder.  Iran just loves starting trouble.  They are like that.  Is asking questions about history a crime?  Are there really well financed attempts to prove that the holocaust didn’t happen for the reasons Israel says, “So it can happen again?”  Is sending people to jail in violation of common sense and honor worth defending any idea?  Didn’t we end up doing things like this in the Middle Ages when the Catholic Church went on a several century murder rampage?

WHAT DOES ANYONE KNOW?When in Germany, I look across the street.  A synagogue was there.  Now the leader of the church choir lives there.  He took me thru the 500 year old building.  There is a small plaque on the sidewalk.  No Jews remain.  Now they visit on vacation, buy wine, eat cake at the outdoor cafes and never see the sign for the missing synagogue.  At the end of the street there used to be a Nazi Party headquarters.  In 1944, an American plane, maybe a B-26, came down the river.  No more building.  Nothing else was hit.  This guy was some pilot!

IS IT WORTH IT?

Saying large numbers of Jews and many other people weren’t enslaved and murdered by the Nazis is offense and wrong.  It is also stupid.  Stupid and criminal are not the same thing.  Saying it is OK to do something wrong to someone else, let’s say, the Palestinian, because the Germans were bad is wrong too.  We all learn this as kids.

We can’t fix what happened.  I expect everyone to learn, to prepare and if wise, arm themselves to the teeth until mankind proves themselves less toxic.  This is common sense.

HYPOCRITICAL CANADA

If Canada loves the Jews so much, Hitler would have sent them all to Canada, a country nearly empty, long before the killing started.  Hitler asked, Canada and so many other countries refused.  Ask any Jew, they know the list.  Jailing Ernst Zundel is so much easier than living with the truth.

Too little, too late.

The issue here is secret trials with secret witnesses and secret charges.  Canadians love bashing the United States for our Bush era fling with fascist tyranny but easily forget their own.  When remembering offenses, perhaps one could remember the offense against Ernst Zundel, done in the name of liberalism and political correctness.  Anyone who would send Ernst Zundel away would, if pushed, start transporting Jews “east.”

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.

What was said about Ernst Zundel, Canadians used to say about the Jews until it became “illegal.”

The Jewish Takeover of Canada: The Case of Arthur Topham

By Lasha Darkmoon –

October 10, 2014

Has Canada been taken over by Jews? It would seem so, if the relentless persecution
of Canadian patriot and freedom fighter Arthur Topham 
is anything to go on.

. . . by Lasha DarkmoonIT’S TOO LATE TO CRY — IT’S ALREADY HAPPENED

Canadian patriot and freedom fighter Arthur Topham is to be hauled before the Canadian courts next year on trumped-up charges. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Arthur is an innocent man. His trial date has now been set. He will appear in court on 26 October, 2015, and his trial will last for two weeks until 6 November.

If found guilty, this man who has said and done nothing that you and I have not said or done a thousand times, will be torn from the embrace of his wife, his family and his friends and be thrown into prison. It will be a major miscarriage of justice if this should occur.

The forthcoming trial of Arthur Topham (pictured) is therefore much more than the trial of one man. Canadian justice will itself be on trial.

arthur topham

What is Arthur’s alleged crime? Arthur’s only crime is that he is a political dissident who has chosen to exercise his democratic right to free speech. He has spoken out eloquently about the war crimes of the state of Israel and published books on his website which are regarded as offensive to many Jews. To criticize this privileged ethnic group in Canada or to question its cherished assumptions, is, it seems, strictly taboo. This is classified as “hate speech”.

At no time has Arthur advocated breaking the law. He has never incited anyone to violence. He has merely utilized his pen to express his political views in a rational and civilized way as any political dissident anywhere in the world would do.

If Arthur had been an American or British citizen, he would not be facing a possible prison sentence right now, and this is because whatever Arthur has said or done is not regarded as a crime in the United States or Britain.If Arthur is to be condemned in a Canadian court for “hate speech”, it will only be because Canada has now fallen under the dominant influence of a powerful ethnic group who have somehow managed to turn Canada into an Israelified police state.

Yesterday I received an email from an old friend of mine. His name is Felix Dean. He is a retired Canadian professional who dearly loves his country, just as Arthur Topham does. Unlike Arthur however, Felix can no longer bear to live in Canada. He feels that Canada has rapidly morphed into a police state under the malign influence of organized Jewry. So Felix now resides in self-imposed exile within “the civilized confines of Europe,” to quote his own words.

This is what Felix has to say about his Canadian compatriot Arthur Topham:

“To the best of my understanding, Arthur Topham’s cardinal sin is not what he said, but the fact that he PUBLISHED it. There is an individual by name of Richard Warman, the rabid Zionist attack dog whose only reason for living is to destroy truth tellers like Arthur. Warman is actually of German ancestry, not a Jew as far as I know, but he is a classical cult zombie, someone so thoroughly brainwashed and programmed for bloodshed that I cannot but regard him as little better than a Manchurian candidate of the worst sort.”

richard warman

Strong words, friend Felix. It distresses me to know that Canadian justice is now apparently relying on the evidence of Manchurian candidates. Has it really come to this?

It would appear that this man Richard Warman (pictured), an ardent Zionist with a reputation for being a “serial complainant”, has a personal grudge against Arthur Topham and would like to see him go to prison.

Though non-Jewish himself and with no official position, Warman is constantly to be seen filing complaints against critics of Big Jewry. It was he who tried to get David Icke into trouble recently, accusing Icke of unspecified “hate crimes”. Apparently mentioning “Jews” in the same breath as “lizards” is deeply disturbing to Mr Warman and could indirectly lead to a second Holocaust.

Needless to say, Warman is relatively small fry: a pest and a nuisance rather than a serious threat to champions of free speech. Arthur’s main adversary is a powerful Canadian Jew, Harry Abrams, British Columbia representative of B’nai B’rith Canada. It was he who in 2007 registered a section 13 complaint against Arthur as follows:

“This concerns a complaint filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission seeking relief for discriminatory publication under prohibited grounds caught by Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. The premise of this complaint is a contention that Arthur Topham of Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada, and his internet publication known as Radicalpress.com contrive to promote ongoing hatred affecting persons identifiable as Jews and/or as citizens of Israel.”

Cut out the legal jargon and it boils down to this: Arthur is a criminal because he has given offense to the Jews.

In 2012, Harry Abrams filed a second complaint against Arthur with the British Columbia “Hate Crimes” unit, alleging that:

“Roy Arthur TOPHAM, between the 28th day of April, 2011 and the 4th day of May, 2012, inclusive, at or near Quesnel, in the Province of British Columbia, did by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promote hatred against an identifiable group, people of the Jewish religion or ethnic origin, contrary to Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code.”

Impressive legal jargon reducible to the age-old whine: “This man is saying bad things about Jews and must be stopped!”

This is the charge Arthur is now fighting, and this is the question the Canadian courts must decide: is it permissible to contradict a Jew in any way, thereby hurting his feelings, and will you be sent to prison if he complains about you?

An instrument of oppression and a serious threat to free speech in Canada
An instrument of oppression
and a serious threat to free speech in Canada

A few more quotes from the email of my Canadian friend Felix will help to fill in the picture:

“Arthur had a brave and noble defender in his lawyer, Douglas Christie, who originally defended Ernst Zundel and other political dissidents. Christie unfortunately succumbed to liver cancer a few years ago, a true hero in every sense of the word.

Consider that all these guys are real Canadians, whose ancestors were the original pioneers and frontiersmen of our beloved country. These great Canadians earned combat medals, they fought and died in wars on behalf of Canada, and then what happens? These troublesome Jews show up and proceed to grind all our Canadian patriots to dust and ashes, as if they owned the world and all the surrounding planets.

No part of Canadian history holds any value for these alien interlopers. They respect none of our traditions. It is thoroughly disgusting.

You and I have said things that are hundreds of times more offensive to “the Jews” than Arthur Topham has, and yet no one is threatening to throw us in prison! So why do they pick on Arthur? It’s because Arthur has made a name for himself (through Christie) in the mainstream press. Ordinary Canadians know all about him and therefore he must be made a very public example of — his head must be paraded through the streets on a spike!

Arthur most certainly needs defending. In fact, I believe his wife is Jewish. Not that this will help him in any way.”

I was deeply moved by this eloquent email from my friend Felix, himself a Canadian citizen, as I say, who has chosen to leave Canada and live abroad because of the takeover of his country by an increasingly obnoxious, in-your-face Jewish minority. This natural aversion to being bossed around by pesky Jews naturally means that Felix is now regarded as an “anti-Semite” — a term which, according to B’nai B’rith Canada, can now be applied to four million Canadians.

It is amazing to think that even a man with a Jewish wife such as Arthur Topham should be regarded as a dangerous anti-Semite by B’nai B’rith Canada. Consider this sobering fact: not a SINGLE Canadian citizen has been named as a victim of Arthur Topham’s political activities. Who has complained to the police about Arthur Topham? Only TWO individuals out of 36 million Canadians: one a non-Jewish serial complainant, Richard Warman, already mentioned above, and the other a powerful Jew representing B’nai B’rith Canada, Harry Abrams. It is Harry Abrams who is currently leading the witch hunt against Arthur Topham.

The glib assumption that B’nai B’rith Canada, spear-headed in the British Columbia region by Jewish commissar Harry Abrams, represents Jewish interests in Canada and speaks for all Canadian Jews, is an assumption that cannot be granted. There is one Jew who certainly does not feel that B’nai B’rith Canada speaks for all Jews, and that is Arthur Topham’s Jewish wife.

I venture to say that Arthur’s Jewish wife is only one among thousands of Jews in Canada who are utterly appalled by the flagrant war crimes committed by the Jewish state in Gaza only quite recently. These Jews do not feel that B’nai B’rith Canada, with its undeviating loyalty to Israel, represents their interests in any way.


For the record, Arthur Topham’s Jewish wife is totally aware of Arthur’s political activities and is behind her husband 100 percent of the way in whatever he has said or done. Raised in a secular household of Russian Jews, Topham’s wife has no time for Zionism. She is a practicing spiritual healer, with clairvoyant abilities, who uses traditional medicines in her healing ministry. Ever since she was a child, I am told, “she has followed the Red path of the Native American Indians and never could relate to her Jewish background.”

Naturally, Arthur’s Jewish wife does not, unlike B’nai B’rith Canada, regard it as a crime that Arthur should have published The Protocols of the Elders of Zion on his site.

That B’nai B’rith Canada should actually go to the absurd length of suggesting that Arthur Topham should be sent to prison for, among other things, publishing the Protocols on his website—a book that anyone can buy anywhere—is a sure sign of desperation as well as malevolent overkill.

Apart from the Protocols, there are other books Arthur has published on his website which, according to B’nai B’rith Canada, he should not have published and which mark him out as a dangerous criminal who is a threat to Canada’s 375,000 Jews. These are books widely available not only on the internet but in major libraries and specialist bookshops, e.g., Eustace Mullins’ The Biological Jew and Elizabeth Dilling’s The Jewish Religion: Its Influence Today.

Elizabeth Dilling’s book, incidentally, happens to be a meticulously researched exposé of the Babylonian Talmud, revealing in quotation after shocking quotation the bizarre mindset of Talmudic Jewry. Here are a few examples of what will be found in the Jews’ holiest book:

(1) “When a Jew murders a gentile, there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a gentile he may keep.

(2) “A Gentile girl who is three years old may be [sexually] violated.”

(3) “If a Jew is tempted to do evil, he should go to a city where he is not known and do the evil there.”

(4) “Jesus is in hell, being boiled in hot excrement.”

B’nai B’rith Canada is naturally incensed that the official Jewish hatred of non-Jews should be so openly revealed. They would prefer to see their hatred of the non-Jewish majority kept carefully under wraps. It follows that this highly repressive Jewish organization would not only like to see Dilling’s book banned, but they would also like to see Arthur Topham given a stiff prison sentence for daring to draw attention to the book on his website.

The unbelievable chutzpah of B’nai B’rith Canada was perhaps even more flagrantly on display when they raised objections to Arthur Topham’s republication on his site of Theodore N. Kaufman’s hate-filled 1941 book Germany Must Perish! Written by a mentally deranged American Jew, this disreputable book called for the TOTAL EXTERMINATION OF THE GERMAN PEOPLE BY FORCIBLE STERILIZATION OF EVERY SINGLE GERMAN MALE!

In order to highlight the enormity of what this psychotic Jew was actually suggesting, Arthur employed the ingenious device of republishing the book on his website with a few significant alterations. First, he changed the title to Israel Must Perish! Then he substituted the word “Israel” for “Germany”, “Jew for “German”, and “Netanyahu” for “Hitler”. This at once transformed Kaufman’s hateful book into a Swiftian satire.

The point Arthur Topham was making was unmistakable. If it is permissible to call for the mass extermination of the GERMAN people by enforced sterilization of every single GERMAN MALE, then it was equally permissible to call for the extermination of the JEWISH people by the enforced sterilization of every single JEWISH male. The logic was impeccable.

Such perfect logic, however, was displeasing to B’nai B’rith Canada, Driven to desperation, this Jewish organization then resorted to dirty tricks. First it alleged, falsely, that Arthur had actually published a real, hard copy book called Israel Must Perish! He had done no such thing.

Secondly and even more egregiously, it made out that Arthur was himself advocating the genocide of the “whole Jewish population.” He was doing no such thing. It was Detective Constable Terry Wilson of British Columbia Hate Crimes Unit who told Arthur in person that B’nai B’rith Canada was attempting to make this defamatory and unprovable allegation.

Kaufman’s “hate-filled screed titled German Must Perish! [Arthur reveals on his website] “was promoted by the most prestigious mass media publications in the USA when it appeared in 1941 prior to America’s entry into the conflict. Magazines like Time and newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post lauded the idea of absolutely destroying the German nation and the German race as a whole, referring to this grotesquely contemptible concept as a “SENSATIONAL IDEA!”

5

The implacable Jewish hatred for the German people, oozing from every line of this nauseating book and easily demonstrated by its hysterical call for the mass “castration” of every single German male in the world by sterilization, was, you will regret to learn, not confined to one or two crazy Jews in Brooklyn. It was official government policy in an America already to a large extent dominated by its Jews.

In September 1944, the savagely vindictive Morgenthau Plan for Germany was unveiled. The evil brainchild of two Jews in the American administration, Harry Dexter White and Henry Morgenthau, this malevolent plan for postwar Germany amounted to little more than the mass castration of the German people—humiliation and punishment ad infinitum.

As the German propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels put it, “Hate and revenge of truly old-testament character are clear in these plans dreamed up by the American Jew Morgenthau. Industrialized Germany should be literally turned into a huge potato field.” This comment has naturally been dismissed as contemptible nonsense by the court historians and their Jewish mentors, given that Goebbels said it. Therefore to quote it as an indictment of Morgenthau is—you guessed it—”anti-Semitic”.

However, US Secretary of War Harry Stimson is not so easy to dismiss. Stimson’s final assessment of the Morgenthau Plan was that “it is Semitism gone wild for vengeance.” Morgenthau, he added, “was so biased by his Semitic grievances that he really is a very dangerous advisor to the President.” In his diary he wrote tersely: “Objective of punishment is prevention but not vengeance. Reason why Jew is disqualified.” (See here)

Needless to say, Stimson has himself been dismissed as an anti-Semite for saying this. De Judaiis nil nisi bonum.

Both Roosevelt and Churchill were to put their initials to the revengeful Morgenthau Plan. Helpless puppets of the powerful Jews who jerked their strings, it seems that neither world leader had much choice in the matter. Both lived to to regret their actions. Roosevelt later said “he had no idea how he could have initialled this.” Churchill was to parrot his words, “I had not time to examine the Morgenthau Plan in detail. I am sorry I put my initials to it.” (See here)

In his 1956 book The Controversy of Zion, Douglas Reed was to refer to the Morgenthau Plan as “The Talmudic Vengeance.” (Title of Chapter 42). An apt description, which perhaps helps to explain why Douglas Reed is another writer whose works organized Jewry would like to see banned, along with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Elizabeth Dilling’s exposé of the Talmud, The Jewish Religion.

Conclusion

To summarize: Arthur Topham has said nothing that you or I have not said repeatedly, day in and day out. If Arthur is guilty of “hate speech”, then we are all guilty of hate speech. If Arthur is to be consigned to a Canadian prison for his views, then we all deserve to join him there and be allocated adjoining cells.

If Arthur is guilty of speaking out against the state of Israel, especially after its recent war crimes in Gaza, then we are ALL guilty—for there is not one of us who has not cried out in revulsion against the wanton mass murder and maiming of Palestinians, most of them women and children, whose only crime is that they happen to own the land the Jews covet.

Let this be noted: Canada, now almost completely under the Jewish yoke, would like to criminalize EVERY SINGLE CRITICISM OF THE JEWISH STATE. Merely to give offense to a Jew, to hurt his feelings by disagreeing with him, will soon earn you a stiff fine or a prison sentence. Here is what B’nai B’rith Canada would like to see incorporated into Canadian law:

“We must repeat again and again these basic facts — TO BE ‘anti-Israel’ IS TO BE ANTI-SEMITIC. TO BOYCOTT ISRAEL, ISRAELI PROFESSORS and ISRAELI business, these are not political acts, these are acts of hate, acts of anti-Semitism! Anti-Israel hysteria is anti-Semitic hysteria. They are one and the same.”

The above statement was made in 2009 by Yuli Edelstein, Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, The capital letters are his. (See “Criminalizing Criticism of Israel in Canada”)

Dare to express pity for this little girl and demand the punishment of the Israeli soldier guilty of doing this to her
and you will soon face criminal proceedings in Canada

Here is the picture of an Israeli woman, an atrocity tourist who claims that the sight of Palestinian children being killed gives her exquisite pleasure, almost bringing her an orgasm:

Dare to criticize this sexually perverted Jewess
and you will soon be accused of “anti-Semitism” by B’nai Brith Canada and sent to prison

Can Canadian justice sink any lower? Do Canadian citizens really want to live in a totalitarian police state run by Jews? I don’t think so. Canadian justice must not be used as an instrument of oppression by a rabid and out-of-control Jewish minority.

B’nai B’rith Canada clearly does not represent the interests of most Canadian Jews, as it mendaciously claims. I know many Jews in Canada who totally reject being represented by this hate-filled organization. One such Jew is Arthur Topham’s beloved wife. If B’nai B’rith Canada has its way, her husband will be thrown into prison on trumped-up charges.

The witch hunt against Arthur Topham by B’nai B’rith Canada must stop.

If you are concerned for Arthur Topham
and would like to see him treated fairly
PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION

ABOUT VT EDITORS

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VT Editors is a General Posting account managed by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff. All content herein is owned and copyrighted by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff

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نصرالله عصر التنوير وماكرون محاكم التفتيش Nasrallah – the Age of Enlightenment, Macron – the Inquisition

ناصر قنديل

العلمانية التي ظهرت كنظام سياسي وعقد اجتماعي للدولة الأوروبية المعاصرة، هي منتج سياسي وقانوني لثقافة أعمق نهضت على أكتاف الثورة الصناعيّة وتجسّدت في القرنين الثامن عشر والتاسع عشر بثورة العقل والمنطق. وما عُرف بعصر التنوير الذي قاده عمالقة بحجم فولتير وروسو ومونتسكيو، وتبلورت شعاراتها السياسية بالحرية والأخاء والمساواة في الثورة الفرنسية، بينما تبلورت فلسفته العميقة بالاحتكام للعقل، وكانت قطيعة مع تاريخ معاكس مثلته محاكم التفتيش الكاثوليكية التي دفع فيلسوف كبير مثل برونو وعلماء كبار مثل كوبرنيكوس وجاليلو ثمناً باهظاً لها بتهمة الهرطقة على قاعدة تحريم الاحتكام للعقل والعلم، بينما سياسياً واجتماعياً طورد الإصلاحيون باسم التبرؤ من البدع كما حدث مع الفيلسوف ميشال سيرفيه الذي أحرق حياً في جنيف بتهمة رفض عقيدة التثليث، فيما شكلت جرائمها بحق المسلمين في الأندلس أبرز ما حمله سجلها التاريخي تحت عنوان فحص الولاء لله، وشكلت فكرياً وثقافياً وجهاً من وجوه استمرار الحملات الصليبية.

في ما يشبه استعادة مناخات الحروب الصليبية يتبادل الرئيسان الفرنسي والتركي عبثاً بالعقائد والعواطف والانفعالات المنبثقة عنها، حيث يصب كل منهما من طرفه وفي البيئة التي يخاطبها زيتاً على نار حرب عبثية، لا يتورّع فيها الرئيس الفرنسي امانويل ماكرون عن التحدث عن أزمة في الإسلام، وإرهاب إسلامي، وفاشية إسلامية، أملاً بأن يتزعم جبهة تضم العلمانيين بداعي الدفاع عن حرية التعبير في شقها المتصل بالتغطية على ما يطال المقدسات الإسلامية، وتضم المتطرفين المسيحيين، الذين لا يخفون ضيقهم من تنامي حضور وتعداد المسلمين في فرنسا خصوصاً وأوروبا عموماً، وإلى الفريقين تضم اليمين الوطني الرافض لتكاثر المهاجرين من البلاد الإسلامية، أملاً بأن يشكل هذا الثلاثي مصدر زعامة تشبه زعامات بناها قادة الحروب الصليبية، بينما يسعى الرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان، وفي ظل نزاع مصلحي بين الدولتين الفرنسية والتركية، لقيادة جبهة تضم الجاليات الإسلامية المقهورة تحت ظلم سياسات عنصرية في أوروبا، وتضم التنظيمات الإرهابية التكفيرية التي تشغّلها تركيا، وكانت فرنسا شريكها في التشغيل طوال سنوات الحرب على سورية، وتضم ثالثاً الشعوب العربية من المسلمين التي تسمع بصعوبة كلاماً منخفض الصوت لحكوماتها الواقعة تحت تبعية ذليلة لحكومات الغرب، فتعجز عن التجرؤ لمخاطبة الحكومات الغربية، والرئيس الفرنسي في المقدمة بلغة شجاعة تنتقد وتصحح وتعترض. وهذه الحكومات التابعة هي شريك لحكومات فرنسا وأوروبا في رعاية الجماعات الإرهابية وتشجيع الفكر التكفيري، لكن بغرض استعمال نتاج هذه الرعاية في ليبيا وسورية وليس في أوروبا.

في هذا القحط الفكري، والانفلات القاتل للعصبيّات، يخرج رجل دين معمّم من أتباع الرسول وعشاقه ليقود الدعوة للتعقل وتحمّل المسؤولية، ووضع النقاط على الحروف، مستعيداً المعاني العميقة لشعارات الثورة الفرنسية ودعوات روسو وفولتير، حيث الحرية هي الاحترام العميق لحرية المعتقد. وهو في الأولوية معتقد الأقلية والضعفاء والمقهورين، والأخاء هو الترفّع عن منطق التمييز العنصري على اساس الدين والعرق واللون والجنس، والمساواة هي نزاهة تطبيق معيار المحاكمة العقلية للمفاهيم قبل أن تكون المساواة أمام القانون، حيث لا يستوي نص تحريم الحرية والعقل تحت شعار معاداة السامية، ولو التزما كل التحفظ العلمي والضوابط الأخلاقية، وتطلق حرية بث الكراهيّة، ولو تمت بصورة عبثية تستخف بالضوابط الأخلاقية والقيمية للأخوة الإنسانية، تحت شعار حرية التعبير، فجادل رجل الدين المعمم، بلغة عصر التنوير كوريث لمنجزات الحضارة الإنسانية، من يفترض أنه الوصي على تنفيذ منتجاتها من الموقع الدستوري والسياسي، بعدما ارتضى أن يتحول إلى قائد جيش في الحرب الصليبية أو رئيس غرفة من غرف محاكم تفتيش.

كلام السيد حسن نصرلله في ما تشهده علاقة المسلمين والجاليات الإسلامية بالقضايا المثارة على مساحة أوروبا من وحي قضية الرسوم المسيئة للرسول والجرائم الإرهابية المتذرّعة بها، مرافعة فلسفية عقلانية تستعيد روح عصر التنوير والاحتكام للعقل، والحل الذي تبنّاه ختاماً لمرافعته، مستعيداً مقترح الأزهر بتشريع عالمي لتحريم النيل من المقدسات، حجر متعدد الأهداف في يوم الوحدة الإسلامية، بينما يتساءل بعض رجال القانون في فرنسا، لماذا لا تتم محاكمة أصحاب الرسوم المسيئة للرسول تحت بند العداء للسامية، أليس الرسول من أحفاد سام بن نوح، وقد روى الترمذي أن الرسول هو القائل بأن “سام أبو العرب ويافث أبو الروم وحام أبو الحبش”؟

Nasrallah – the Age of Enlightenment, Macron – the Inquisition

2/11/2020

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Secularism is a political regime and a social aspect of the contemporary European state, it is a political and legal outcome of a deeper culture that emerged as a result of the Industrial Revolution and was embodied in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the revolution of reason and logic or as was called the Age of Enlightenment led by the giants as Voltaire, Rousseau, and Montesquieu. Its political slogans called for freedom, brotherhood, and equality during the French Revolution. But this movement was faced with counter thinking represented by the Catholic Inquisition which a great philosopher as Bruno and great scholars as Copernicus and Galileo had paid a high cost in charge of heresy based on the prohibition of resorting to reason and science. Politically and socially, many reformists were chased under the name of the disavowal of heresies, as happened with the philosopher Michael Servetus who was burnt alive in Geneva on the accusation of rejecting the doctrine of Trinity. Its history was known for its crimes against Muslims in Andalusia under the name of loyalty to God, so intellectually and culturally it formed an aspect of the continuation of the Crusades.

As in the Crusades, the French and the Turkish Presidents exchanged in vain beliefs, emotions, and the outcome feelings. Each one of them has tried to evoke a futile war. The French President Emmanuel Macron did not hesitate to talk about a crisis in Islam, Islamic terrorism, and Islamic Fascism, hoping to lead a front that includes the secularists in order to defend the liberty of expression about Islamic sanctities, the Christian extremists, who are fed up with the growing number of Muslims in Europe in general and in France in particular, and the National right which rejects the growing number of immigrants from Islamic countries, hoping that this front can be a source of leadership as the leaderships of the Crusades. While the Turkish President Recep Erdogan was seeking to lead a front that includes the oppressed Muslim communities due to the tyranny of the racist policies in Europe, the takfiri terrorist organizations backed by Turkey, and the Arab Muslim nations who are suffering from their governments that are subordinated to the governments of the West, and do not dare to address them bravely, criticize or oppose. These governments are partners of the governments of France and Europe in sponsoring the terrorist groups and supporting the takfiri belief in order to be operated in Libya and Syria not in Europe.

In this intellectual aridity and fatal chaos of fanaticism, a religious man from the followers and lovers of the Prophet emerged to lead the call to be rational, to bear the responsibility, and to be clear, recalling the deeper meanings of the slogans of the French Revolution and the calls of Rousseau and Voltaire where freedom means the respect of the freedom of belief which is the belief of the minority, the weak, and the oppressed, and where brotherhood means to be away from the logic of the racial discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, and gender, and where equality is the fairness of applying the mental judgment of concepts before it is governed by law, and where the texts of prohibiting freedom and reason cannot be dealt with under the slogan of anti-Semitism even if scientific reservation and moral controls were taken into consideration, and the freedom of  feeling hostile cannot be spread irrationally underestimating all moral controls of the human brotherhood under the slogan of the liberty of expression. Therefore, this religious leader has argued in the language of the Age of Enlightenment “as a heritage of the achievements of the human civilization” the man who is supposed to be the trustee constitutionally and politically not an army commander in the Crusades or a head of one of the inquisitions.

The words of Al Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah regarding the relationship of Muslims and the Islamic communities with the issues rose in Europe after the offensive drawings against the Prophet and the terrorist crimes relating are a philosophical and rational argument that recalls the spirit of the Age of Enlightenment and the resorting to reason. He adopted the suggestion of Al Azhar of an international legislation to prohibit the underestimation of sanctities as a base in the Day of the Islamic unity. While some jurists in France are wondering why the owners of the offensive drawings are not prosecuted under the name of anti-Semitism, Is not the Messenger one of the grandsons of Sam Bin Noah?! Al Tirmidhi narrated that the Prophet “peace be upon him” said: “Sam was the father of Arabs, Ham the father of the Ethiopians, and Yafith the father of the Romans”.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

Alan Dershowitz vs. Bandy X. Lee

How can Dershowitz be complaining about being labeled psychotic when he is accusing people of anti-Semitism, of collaborating with Nazis, and of being completely evil and wicked?

By Jonas E. Alexis -April 2, 2021

…by Jonas E. Alexis, VT Editor

Alan Dershowitz is just an academic fraud. It’s just that simple. All you have to do is pick up a copy of Norman Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. But if you think that Dershowitz is just a fraudster who has a habit of defending pedophiles and hanging out with sexual predators like Jeffrey Epstein,[1] then you ain’t seen nothing yet. “Even after Epstein’s first arrest in 2007, Dershowitz stood by his side. Not only did he keep the friendship going, he helped draft the non-prosecution agreement that got Epstein a lenient sentence!”

What has Dershowitz been up to lately? He has recently complained to Yale University about psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee, who suggested that Dershowitz is probably suffering from psychosis. From the New York Times:

“Days later, Mr. Dershowitz complained in an email to Yale, saying that Dr. Lee had violated ethics rules by offering a public diagnosis without examining him. Shortly after, Dr. Lee says, the head of Yale’s psychiatry department warned her about her behavior. Dr. Lee eventually lost her position at the school.”[2]

What was one of Dershowitz’s complaints? “The idea that you can diagnose me, without ever having even met me, is unprofessional, irresponsible and unacademic,” he declared. Well, Dershowitz diagnosed the political ideas of people and passed radical judgements on them all the time! He called Finkelstein “an evil man” with “two Jewish parents.” Finkelstein’s parents died in Nazi Germany, and what was Dershowitz’s response?

“[Finkelstein] suspects his mother of having been a kapo (‘really, how else would she have survived?’ he asks rhetorically)… He suspects his own mother of being a kapo and cooperating with the Nazis during the Holocaust.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ed-lede-1300x731-1-320x180.jpg

If that isn’t wicked enough, this is Dershowitz at his best—and this is from his own book, The Case for Peace:

Finkelstein even doubted his own mother’s denial that she was a kapo, asking whether her frequent statements that nazi“the best didn’t survive” constituted “an indirect admission of guilt?” The most he was willing to do was “assume” that his mother answered him “truthfully.” But he questioned even that assumption: “Still, if she didn’t cross fundamental moral boundaries, I glimpsed from her manner of pushing and shoving in order to get to the head of a queue, which mortified me. . . . Really, how else would she have survived?”

Now how can Dershowitz be complaining about being labeled psychotic when he is accusing people of anti-Semitism, of collaborating with Nazis, and of being completely evil and wicked? Isn’t this man a lawyer? Shouldn’t he know common decencies and principles such as do unto others as you would have done unto you? And what the heck is this man saying in books such as Cancel Culture: The Latest Attack on Free Speech and Due Process? Did Finkelstein have the freedom to say what he wanted when he was being examined for a tenure position at DePaul University? Isn’t Brandy X Lee being let go for even having an opinion about Dershowitz?

Jeffrey Lieberman, a Columbia University professor who chairs the psychiatry department, declared that Lee’s opinion “problematic for the profession, because it means the profession is using terms too loosely and too glibly.”[3] Then why is Dershowitz getting off the hook, Lieberman? Why is he passing off radical judgement on someone’ mother who happened to be a survivor from Nazi Germany? Isn’t that problematic? If so, why aren’t you calling Dershowitz on it? Brandy X Lee has every right to sue the university.[4]


  • [1] For a recent development, see Kate Briquelet, William Bredderman, “Alan Dershowitz Has Close Ties to Firm Behind Explosive New Epstein Lawsuit,” Daily Beast, April 1, 2021; Joe Sommerlad, “Ghislaine Maxwell timeline: The life of the Jeffrey Epstein associate accused of sex trafficking,” Independent, March 30, 2021.
  • [2] Mihir Zaveri, “A Yale Psychiatrist’s Tweet About Dershowitz, Her Dismissal, and a Lawsuit,” NY Times, March 26, 2021.
  • [3] Ibid.
  • [4] Matthew Wright, “Yale psychiatry professor sues the university for firing her after she tweeted that Trump supporters suffered ‘shared psychosis’ and Alan Dershowitz had ‘taken on Trump’s symptoms by contagion,’” Daily Mail, March 24, 2021.

BIOGRAPHYJ

onas E. Alexis

Jonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, history of Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the new book Zionism vs. the West: How Talmudic Ideology is Undermining Western Culture. He is currently working on a book tentatively titled, Kevin MacDonald’s Abject Failure: A Philosophical and Moral Critique of Evolutionary Psychology, Sociobiology, and White Identity. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.

Logoswars1@gmail.com

JOE BIDEN’S HEARTFELT ILLOGIC ABOUT ISRAEL

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Stale Foreign Policy

Almost everyone in the West who is not a fan of Donald Trump—and if they are a fan, their sanity is to be doubted— assumes that U.S. President Joe Biden is now helping to save both the United States and the world. In some categories such as climate change, environmental regulation, economic reform favoring the poor and middle class, equal rights and, of course, combating the Covid-19 virus, they might have a point.

Nonetheless, it really saddens me to say that, at least in this author’s opinion, President Biden is not “the sharpest tack in the box.” That is, he is not the smartest guy in Washington, D.C. On the other hand, Joe has a strong point. He has the good fortune to have drawn together some very strong and progressive advisers on the domestic side of the political equation. It would also seem that, unlike his predecessor, Biden has the capability to actually listen to these people. He also has accommodated himself to the pressure put forth by true progressives such as Bernie Sanders.

The one exception to this wealth of good advice is on the other half of the job, in the area of foreign policy, in particular foreign policy toward the Middle East, and specifically policy toward the country of Israel. Here is where Joe has difficulty thinking straight and is out of luck with his chosen advisers.

To wit Andrew Bacevich of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft:

“Beneath a veneer of gender and racial diversity, the Biden national security team consists of seasoned operatives who earned their spurs in Washington long before Donald Trump showed up to spoil the party. So, if you’re looking for fresh faces at the departments of state or defense, the National Security Council or the various intelligence agencies, you’ll have to search pretty hard. Ditto, if you’re looking for fresh insights. In Washington, members of the foreign policy establishment recite stale bromides, even as they divert attention from a dead past to which they remain devoted.”

Part II—Analytical Shortcomings Nos. 1 and 1A: Policy Formulation toward Israel and the Palestinians

In the field of U.S.-Israeli relations, there are two areas where President Biden’s analytical shortcomings show themselves.

(1) The inability to formulate foreign policy that takes into account the behavior of the object of that policy.

President Biden says “my commitment to Israel is completely unshakable. As president, I’m going to continue our security assistance … and maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge. I’m not going to place conditions for the security assistance.” Essentially, this position abdicates U.S. national interests in favor of Israeli interests.

Here is a metaphor for such blind commitment. Think of how one adjusts attitudes toward friendships held over time. If you had a friend (we will refer to this friend as male) who, for whatever reason, evolved into a robber, would you give him a gun every year on his birthday? Would you do that because you remember he was a battered child and you think the arsenal you provide will make him feel secure and, hopefully, lead him to give up his criminal behavior? Or maybe you think he needs the gun because he lives in a bad neighborhood?

Biden believes that “Israelis wake up every morning facing an existential threat. That’s why we always have to be adamant that Israel must be able to defend itself.” But this is just a long-obsolete rationalization for spoiling your friend, who turns out to be head of the strongest gang on the block.

In the meantime, Biden points fingers at his predecessor for adopting exactly the same stance toward the Saudi Kingdom. Biden complained that “Donald Trump has given the government of Saudi Arabia a blank check to pursue a disastrous set of policies.”

(1A) The reverse side of this coin entails Joe Biden’s uninformed attitude toward the Palestinians. These are people who allegedly pose an “existential” threat to Israeli lives.

“The Palestinians need to end incitement in the West Bank and rocket attacks in Gaza. … No matter what legitimate disagreement they may have with Israel, it’s never a justification for terrorism.”

The truth is that it is the Palestinians who are under the “existential threat” and it is the Israelis who exercise massive violence against them, more often than not of a terroristic nature. When Palestinians resist Israeli oppression they are labeled terrorists, they are killed and their infrastructure is destroyed. When they do not resist, more and more of their land is taken. Volunteers must come from Europe to the West Bank so that farmers can harvest their olives without getting shot by Israeli settlers.  Gaza is under blockade, not able to obtain basic supplies or vaccines. It should come as no surprise that “the death tolls in the Israel-Palestine conflict are lopsided, with Palestinians far more likely to be killed than Israelis. According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, which has compiled month-to-month fatality records, looking at the figures since 2005, 23 out of every 24 conflict deaths have been Palestinian.”

Biden also insists that the Palestinian Authority should “acknowledge, flat-out, Israel’s right to exist—period–-as an independent Jewish state and guarantee the borders.” Actually, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) did so in 1993. The Palestinian Authority suspended recognition in 2018 due to incessant theft of Palestinian land by Israel.

It appears that Joe Biden takes none of these facts into consideration. Is it because he does not know them? Such ignorance is certainly possible, though for a U.S. president it would be inexcusable. More likely, he has heard the Palestinian side, but cannot interpret it objectively because he is ideologically committed to the Israeli worldview.

President Biden has declared that “I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” Commitment to Zionism is commitment to an ideology. Seeing the world on the basis of an ideology—any ideology—must distort your understanding. Thus, Biden’s view of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict becomes as lopsided as the conflict’s death toll.

Part III—Analytical Shortcoming No. 2: The BDS Movement

President Biden’s personal refusal to adjust U.S. policy to confront even those aspects of Israeli behavior he says he opposes—settlement activity and threats of annexation—carries over into his personal opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel, active both in the U.S. and Europe. Just as his reasoning is often faulty when refusing to match policy to Israeli behavior, it is also faulty as to his opposition to BDS.

On the one hand, “Joe Biden will protect the constitutional right of our citizens to free speech.” On the other, the president “has been unequivocal in condemning calls in the United States to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel.” In other words, Americans can say it, but in this case, Joe ain’t listening.

According to the president, “the BDS movement singles out Israel—home to millions of Jews—in a way that is inconsistent with the treatment of other nations, and it too often veers into anti-Semitism.”

It is obvious that in the case of the BDS campaign, Israel is “singled out.” However, this is not unusual or “inconsistent with the treatment of other nations.” It is quite consistent. Cuban Americans single out Cuba. Other groups single out China, or Russia, or Myanmar and the like. Does the president dismiss these defenders of human rights because of their single-country focus? Of course not. Thus, he is being a hypocrite when singling out BDS.

In the case of Israel, those involved in BDS are mostly victims of Israeli oppression (Palestinians) or Jews who are utterly disgusted with what the Zionists are doing in their name. Israeli actions, particularly in the Occupied Territories, are in clear violation of international law and human rights declarations, and this gives the BDS a solid legal grounding. So what is Biden complaining about? Nothing that he has seriously thought through. And, when pushed on this, he falls back on the charge of anti-Semitism. Yet, the suggestion that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic is just a red herring.

Here is another quite legitimate justification for Americans, and others in the West, to “single out” Israel for attention by supporting BDS. Israel is indeed unique in that through its agents—Zionist lobbies—it is powerful enough to divert the debate over the aims of foreign policy in relation to much of the Middle East. That is, these agents of a foreign power divert the debate away from what is in the best interests of the U.S. or this or that Western nation, toward the question what is in the best interest of Zionist Israel. As a result, billions of dollars, pounds, euros and other resources have been diverted into making Israel a supremely powerful apartheid state.

Can President Biden understand these arguments? No more than any other self-proclaimed Zionist. As a Zionist he must, if he is to stay ideologically consistent, let Israel off the hook for its crimes. Sometimes this blinkered way of thinking creates embarrassingly contorted positions.

Consider this emotional proclamation made by then Senator Joe Biden at the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Policy Conference, on March 20, 2016.

“Singling out Israel, [either at the UN or by BDS] is wrong! It’s wrong! I know it’s not popular to say, but it’s wrong, because as the Jewish people know better than any other people, any action that marginalizes one ethnic and religious group imperils us all. It’s incumbent upon us, all of us, that we stand up against those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes, who seek to scare and divide us for political gain, because the future belongs to the bridge builders, not the wall builders.”

Let’s unpack this declaration. We start with the sentence “the Jewish people know better than any other people, any action that marginalizes one ethnic and religious group imperils us all.” It is correct that, given their history, many Jews should recognize Biden’s statement as true. But all those who are Zionists will make an exception for Israel. They must do so in order to avoid outright contradiction. Why so? Because Israel has posited both its identity and its security on the “marginalization of one ethnic and religious group,” namely, Palestinians. Maybe President Biden senses that there is some inconsistency here, but being a Zionist he dismisses it as justified. Addressing an AIPAC audience, of course, meant no one challenged him.

We move on to the next sentence. “It is incumbent that all of us to stand up against those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes.” When Israeli leaders and Zionists such as Joe Biden constantly refer to Palestinians who resist Israeli oppression as “terrorists,” they too are “trafficking in pernicious stereotypes.” It is a safe guess that Biden does not realize this.

Next sentence, “It is incumbent that all of us that stand up against those who … seek to scare and divide us for political gain.” I cannot think of a more apt description of what the Zionist/Israeli aim is here in the United States and the West in general—to scare us away from the defense of Palestinian rights and divide us when it comes to legitimate criticism of Israeli behavior, all done for political gain in the form of maintaining an extraordinary level of financial and military support of an apartheid state.

Finally, the last statement, “because the future belongs to the bridge builders, not the wall builders.” It is amazing that, given his immediate audience, Biden made this statement with a straight face. For he was addressing those infamous for building a wall that divides and isolates.

Essentially, this entire declaration by Joe Biden attributes to BDS all the negative characteristics that Israel in fact displays. As a self-declared, true-believer Zionist, he does this without any recognition of the deep irony his declaration contains.

Part III—Conclusion

How much history does Joe Biden, or his foreign policy advisers, know? For instance, do they know the history of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency? Lyndon Johnson could have gone down in U.S. history as a remarkably successful and progressive leader. He could have done this on the basis of his championing civil rights. But he was destroyed by the Vietnam War—a war fought by the U.S. because of ideological imperatives.

President Biden may well be faced with the same choices. He probably could go down in U.S. history as the 21st century’s first truly great president for all those reasons listed at the beginning of this essay. But these achievements may be diminished by adherence to obsolete and dangerous foreign policies in the Middle East. If he follows his current trajectory he will bury the 2015 Iran agreement—one of the most promising diplomatic achievements of the 21st century. He may linger on in that “forever war” in Afghanistan. He will let both the Israelis and the Saudis off the hook for their past and future abominations. And, he will sustain Israeli dominance in the region even as that country confirms itself as a rightist, racist threat to human rights and international law. Through all of this Joe Biden may lose his moment in history.

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The Anti-Semitic Birth of the Zionist State: A History of Israel’s Self-Hating Founders

Self-Hating Jews Feature photo

By Miko Peled

Source

When the victims of Zionism finally have their day in court, the world will see just how cruel and racist the early Zionists really were.

Zhid, Kapo, Nazi, and Little Jew” — are among the epithets used by Zionists to insult Jewish people who oppose or reject Zionism and its racist ideology.

A recent episode of Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro’s podcast “Committing High Reason” recalls the history of Theodor Hertzl, the founder of Zionism and of the Zionist State, and sheds new light on the term “Self-Hating Jew.”

Committing High Reason

Rabbi Shapiro sources all of his claims methodically and when one hears what Hertzl, who was Jewish himself, wrote about Jewish people, the only conclusion is that he was the quintessential “Self-Hating Jew.” There can be no doubt that he hated Jewish people and wanted nothing more than to dissociate himself from the “common” Jew. Furthermore, he was not alone: other Zionist leaders — Vladimir Jabotinsky, Chaim Weizmann, and others — were equally openly hateful of their Jewish brethren.

In 2018, Rabbi Shapiro published a 1,400-page book titled “The Empty Wagon, Zionism’s Journey from Identity Crisis to Identity Theft.”  The book outlines the vast differences that exist between Judaism and its main nemesis, Zionism. The book was written for Orthodox Jews and indeed every Orthodox Jewish home I have visited in the last two years had a copy of this massive work. Even though it assumes a great deal of knowledge about Judaism, the book has an unprecedented amount of well-sourced information, so that even those of us who are not well versed in Judaism can learn a great deal from it.

The information presented in this particular episode of Rabbi Shapiro’s podcast can also be found in his book, and it leads to the undeniable fact that the founder of Zionism — and many of his contemporaries — hated everything about Jews and Judaism and hated the fact that they themselves were Jewish. According to Rabbi Shapiro and many other Orthodox rabbis whom he quotes, it was their hatred of Jews and not their desire to save them from anti-Semitism that was the driving force behind the creation of Zionism and the establishment of a Zionist state.

The founder of Zionism not only believed that the anti-Semitic trolls about Jews were true, but also justified them. He claimed only that these racist accusations applied to the “other” Jews, those who were not as secular and “enlightened” as he.

The story of Hertzl, as it is told in Zionist schools both in Israel and around the world, makes him seem like the savior of Jews, a man motivated by the desire to do good. However, a more in-depth look into the man and his motivations reveals that he despised Jewish people and wanted to separate himself from “common” Jews by creating a space, an existence for people like himself who were Jews by birth but despised what it means to be Jewish.

Vladimir Jabotinsky, the father of right-wing Zionism and today’s Israeli Likud Party, was another classic case of the “Self-Hating Jew.” He wrote that “[t]he Jews are very nasty people and their neighbors hate them and they are right.”

Another Zionist spiritual leader, Uri Zvi Greenberg, wrote: “Those loathsome Jews are vomited by any healthy collective and state not because they are Jews but because of their Jewish repulsiveness.”

Zionists worship physical strength while Orthodox Judaism looks down upon it. In a conversation I had once with Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Dovid Feldman of New York, I asked about this. I told him that to people like me, who were raised Zionist, Orthodox Jews look weak and pale and very unattractive. Rabbi Feldman looked straight at me and replied: “You have no idea how hard we work to maintain this look. Being a Jew is a spiritual-religious existence, not a masculine physical one.”

Maushel (or Moishel)

In the October 15, 1897 edition of the Zionist paper Dei Welt, a publication that Hertzl founded, he published an essay, titled “Maushe,” about a Jew who is an anti-Zionist. The focus of the essay was a fictional character, a Jew Hertzl called “Maushel,” which was a derogatory name for Jews used by anti-Semites at the time.

Dei Welt
The front page of the Zionist paper Dei Welt circa 1897

Maushel — or Moishel, depending on one’s accent — is the “common” religious Jew. The article was originally written in German, with an English version published in another Zionist publication called The Maccabean. Here are a few examples of how Hertz depicts the Jews in his essay:

Maushel | Theodore Herzl
Maushel | Theodore Herzl

“Maushel is an anti-Zionist. We know him well and long and we always felt disgusted when we saw him.” Hertzl is all the more disgusted and chagrin by being obliged to acknowledge that Maushel is indeed “of our people,” though there is “not the slightest use of being proud of the fact,” which he laments results from “the co-mingling at one dark period of our history of a lower class of people with our nation.”

Hertzl goes on to say that “[t]he disgust which we had for him was coupled with pity. We sought to explain his miserable and wretched appearance. We told ourselves that we must tolerate him that it was our sacred duty to civilize him.” Wanting to disassociate himself from the Maushel Jew, Hertzl says, “He is the terrible companion of the Jews and so inseparable from them that one is always mistaken one for the other. “

Hertzl continues with his blatant hatred and writes that Maushel is “the antithesis of a human being, something unspeakably degraded and obstinate…Maushel proceeds with his own dirty business in poverty Maushel is a wretched schnorrer.” Then sadly Justifying anti-Semitic attacks on Jews, Hertzl says, “Maushel always supplied reasons for the attacks upon us.” In other words the Jews, the “real” Jews” like Hertzl are targeted by anti-Semites because of this distant, unrelated person who the anti-Semites confuse for a Jew.

Further, Hertzl writes:

In the eyes of the anti-Semite the Jew and Maushel were bound together; then Zionism appeared and the Jew and Maushel had to define their position, and now Maushel did the Jews a service: he divorced himself from the union because he is an anti-Zionist.”

In other words, Hertzl claims that only the real Jews are secular Zionist Jews. He then goes on to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism: “When people say that Jews do not support Zionism the answer is no! The Jew cannot be an anti-Zionist, only Maushel is.”

Rhetoric like this is very common in Israel today, that the real Jews are the secular Zionists and religious non-Zionist Jews are described in a variety of derogatory terms.

“That’s fine,” Hertzl continues, “let us be relieved of him. It is an opportunity to purify ourselves of these degrading elements.”

The confusion regarding Jewish identity and the claims that Zionism is part of Jewish identity is very common, and indeed very troubling. This deep misunderstanding of both Judaism and Zionism clearly can be traced back to the founder of Zionism, Theodor Hertzl.

What makes a Jew a Jew?

The great Jewish sage, Rabbi Sa’adiya Ga’on- – whose full name was Sa’id Bin Yousef El-Fayyumi — was one of the most important Jewish rabbinic figures of all times. He was born in Fayyum in upper Egypt in the late Ninth century; went on to study in Tabariya, Palestine, which was an important center of Jewish learning; and later lived, worked, and wrote in Baghdad. In what is considered one of his most important books — “Emunot Ve-Deot,” or “Beliefs and Opinions,” which he wrote in Arabic using Hebrew letters — Ga’on wrote that the people of Israel — in other words, Jews — are a nation only by virtue of their religious laws (he used the term Sharia in Arabic for religious laws). In other words, a people bound by faith.

Saadiya Ga'on
A Page from Rabbi Sa’adiya Ga’on’s book “Emunot Ve-Deot”

According to Hertzl, Jews are a nation because, as he put it, “our enemies made us one without our consent; distress binds us together.” The former defines Jewish people as a religious group bound by laws and faith, the latter as an undefined group united by the hatred of non-Jews.

A eulogy to Hertzl

Vladimir Jabotinsky’s eulogy to Hertzl was a monumental offering of praise and even veneration. First published as a booklet in Odessa in 1905, it was written in Russian and later translated into Hebrew. In it, Jabotinsky discusses the legacy of Hertzl, whom, despite their differences, he admired deeply. In one section, Jabotinsky praises the wonderful features of a Hebrew and compares them to what he calls the disgusting features of a Jew. Instead of saying Jew, he used the horribly degrading, anti-Semitic term “Zhid.”

Dr. Hertzl
“Doctor Hertzl,” the cover of the booklet containing Jabotinsky’s eulogy

The eulogy begins with Jabotinsky admitting that no one has ever seen a true Hebrew (“None of us has seen the true Hebrew with our very eyes.”) and continuing on to say that the Jew we see around us today is not a Hebrew but a Zhid (“And so today, we take as our starting point the Zhid, and try to imagine his exact opposite,” in an effort to imagine a Hebrew.).

Vladimir Jabotinsky Likud
Vladimir (Zeev) Jabotinsky’s photo on the Likud Party website

“Because the Zhid is ugly, sickly,” the father of Israel’s Likud Party writes, “we will give the ideal image of the Hebrew masculine beauty, stature, massive shoulders, vigorous movements,” Jabotinsky concludes:

The Zhid is frightened and downtrodden, the Hebrew proud and independent. The Zhid is disgusting to everyone, the Hebrew should be charming to all. The Zhid accepts submission, the Hebrew ought to know how to command. The Zhid likes to hide from the eyes of strangers, the Hebrew will possess brazensess and greatness.”

Hertzl, according to Jabotinsky, was the perfect specimen of the Hebrew that no one has ever seen.

Zionism — for whom?

If indeed Hertzl and the other leaders of Zionism were self-hating Jews and looked down upon the “common” Jew, what was their motivation for establishing Zionism and working so hard to found a Zionist State?

In Chapter One of his book, Rabbi Shapiro quotes one of the most respected rabbis of his day, Rabbi Chaim Soloveichik, who lived in Eastern Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. According to the quote, Rabbi Soloveichik says that Zionists wanted to create a state in order to destroy Judaism.

In other words, Zionists were secular and viewed themselves as enlightened and better than the “common” Jew. They looked down at Torah-observant Jews. They wanted a place where people like them, who did not look or live like “common” Jews, would be able to live without having to deal with (or even see) observant Jews, and where they could be like other nations.

The State of Israel was not created for the “common” Jew, the one with a long beard and payot (the curls that dangle from the side of their heads), those who lived in the shtetl (ghettos) of Europe. Neither was the Zionist state created for the Arab Jew, but for the secular European Jew, who wants more than anything to be European.

In a book that describes how Zionist leaders viewed the Jews of Europe, there is a photo that shows Jews in the market in Nalewni Ghetto in Warsaw. There is a quote attributed to Chaim Weizmann, a major leader in the Zionist movement and later the first president of the State of Israel. The caption reads, “Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel, or Palestine) was not meant for the peddlers of Nalewski, Warsaw.” These are the Jews that Hertzl and the other Zionist leaders despised.

When the victims of Zionism finally have their day in court, the world will see just how cruel and racist the early Zionists really were. The world will see that Israel, today’s Zionist state, is a perfect reflection of what the early Zionists were: racist, violent, and hateful.

In Israel today, Ultra-Orthodox Jews who oppose Zionism are despised and ridiculed; non-religious, anti-Zionist Jews are pushed away; and Palestinians are merely collateral — the price that needs to be paid so that the vision of Hertzl and the other “Self-Hating Jews” could become a reality.

The ICC and Israel’s Charge of Anti-Semitism

MARCH 12, 2021

BY NEVE GORDON

Photograph Source: Greger Ravik – CC BY 2.0

We are at a critical historical juncture in which it is becoming increasingly difficult to criticize Israel without being branded an anti-Semite. You are an anti-Semite if you support the International Criminal Court’s recent ruling that it has jurisdiction to open a war crimes investigation against Israel. But you are also likely to be called an anti-Semite if you reject the logic informing the court’s decision.

Target List

The ICC is on Israel’s target list. This becomes clear when searching for the terms “ICC ruling” and “Israel” together; instantaneously, an ad pops up at the very top of Google’s list of 1,390,000 results: “ICC & Israel: No Standing. No Jurisdiction. No Case.” Clicking the ad, will take you to a slick blue and white website (i.e., the colour of Israel’s flag) called “ICC Jurisdiction” with the large “No Standing….”  slogan at the centre of the page.

Under the slogan one reads that “The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established as a court of last resort to try the perpetrators of some of the world’s worst crimes. It has been widely recognized that the ICC has no jurisdiction over Israel. Any other conclusion is the outcome of a politicized process which upholds a wrong interpretation of international law.”

Israel’s official view, then, is that the ICC has no standing to investigate alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories that Israel had occupied in 1967. Israel, so the claim goes, is not a party to the Rome Statute that established the ICC; moreover, the Palestinian Authority is not sovereign and therefore cannot delegate jurisdiction and request that the ICC intervene on its behalf as required by the Statute. This is why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu angrily rejected the ICC’s recent ruling that paves the way for a war crimes probe, averring that “The decision of the international court to open an investigation against Israel today for war crimes is absurd. It’s undiluted antisemitism and the height of hypocrisy.”

Several Israeli allies, including the US, Germany, and Hungary, appear to agree with Israel’s analysis. Although US Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not invoke the anti-Semitism charge, he did parrot Israel’s Prime Minister when he declared that “the Palestinians do not qualify as a sovereign state and therefore, are not qualified to obtain membership as a state in, participate as a state in, or delegate jurisdiction to the ICC.”

Avoiding Hypocrisy

Yet, if one insists that the Palestinians have no standing before the ICC since they lack sovereignty, then the only way to avoid Netanyahu’s accusation of hypocrisy would be to infer that the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River as well as the people living in it are controlled by Israel.

This, however,  would mean agreeing with Israel’s foremost human rights organization B’tselem, which has claimed that the Palestinian territories are ruled by one regime—namely, Israel. B’tselem goes on to explain that this regime is “organized under a single principle: advancing and cementing the supremacy of one group—Jews—over another—Palestinians.” The human rights organisation concludes that “a regime that uses laws, practices and organized violence to cement the supremacy of one group over another is an apartheid regime.”

But the claim that one regime controls the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is also considered anti-Semitic. After the publication of B’tselem’s report, professor Eugene Kontorovich, head of the Kohelet Policy Forum’s International Law Department, said that the rights organization’s charge of apartheid was akin to an anti-Semitic “blood libel.” In a similar vein, NGO Monitor claimed that B’Tselem’s report is informed by anti-Semitic tropes, while specifically flagging the phrase from the “River to the Sea” as extremely disturbing.

Of course Palestinians who have dared to talk about “Israeli apartheid” or students who have organized an “Israel Apartheid Week” on campuses have frequently been subjected to similar accusations.

Parallel Universe 

There is, of course, one way to speak about Israel without being cast as an anti-Semite. But to do so one would have to have a very creative imagination or live in some kind of parallel universe, where Israel does not have a colonial project, where Palestinian rights are not continuously violated, and where, in fact, Palestinians do not even exist.

Neve Gordon teaches human rights and international humanitarian law at Queen Mary University of London and is the co-author of Human Shields: A History of People in the Line of Fire.  

The Charge of Anti-Semitism versus Israeli Behavior

About me
Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

March 9, 2021  

Posted by Lawrence DavidsonIsrael

The Charge of Anti-Semitism versus Israeli Behavior

Part I—The Misuse of Anti-Semitism

When it comes to anti-Semitism, the Israelis and their Zionist supporters are so deceitful that they risk the moral degradation of Judaism. How do these two things, deceitfulness and the moral degradation, that is the deterioration of ethical standards, go together in this case?

First, the Zionists are deceitful because they purposely conflate Zionism which is an ethnocentric political ideology adhered to by a subset of Jews, with Judaism, a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural religion. Then they insist that Israel’s allies—particularly the United States—adhere to this same propagandistic conflation.

Second, this deliberately instigated error is an attempt to stave off criticism of the Israeli state and its policies toward Palestinians. Those policies are harsh and include segregation, ethnic cleansing and other apartheid-style acts of discrimination. By insisting that (1) the political ideology that promotes and rationalizes this behavior is an expression of religion of Judaism and therefore (2) criticism of these policies is the equivalent of anti-Semitism, the Zionists insist that Israeli state behavior is sanctified by the religion. This is a direct attack on the ethical standards of Judaism, hence the moral degradation. The tactic also undermines the gravity of the charge of anti-Semitism due to chronic misapplication by the Zionists.

Part II—Saturday Night Live Tells a Joke

Let’s take a look at the background of this situation.

First, the sad truth is that Israeli state policies result in racist behavior towards the Palestinians.

The noted journalist Jonathan Cook, who covers Israel and Lebanon as a freelance reporter, has concluded the Palestinians “are viewed as an unwelcome, surplus population that serves as a demographic obstacle to the political realization of a Greater Israel. The severe economic and military pressures Israel imposes on these Palestinians are designed to engineer their incremental displacement, a slow-motion ethnic cleansing.”

This observation has been confirmed by the recent report put out by Israel’s most respected human rights organization, B’Tselem, entitled “A Regime of Jewish Supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This Is Apartheid.” Among other points, the B’Tselem report demonstrates that “in the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, the Israeli regime implements laws, practices and state violence designed to cement the supremacy of one group—Jews—over another—Palestinians.”

Second, Israel and the Zionists insist that criticism of Israeli state policies is anti-Semitism.

Here is the most recent, admittedly rather absurd, example of the Zionists’ obsessive misuse of the charge of anti-Semitism—in this case directed toward a joke told on U.S. national television.

On February 24, the satiric comedy show, Saturday Night Live (SNL), joked about the Israeli discriminatory distribution of Covid-19 vaccine. It went as follows: “Israel is reporting that they vaccinated half of their population,” said the comedian Michael Che, “and I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half.” It is not a hilarious sort of joke, but it is attention-getting in a way that draws a smile and an affirmative nod. This is because those in the know, know it is close to the truth, but like the skeleton in the closet, it is not supposed to see the light of day.

The immediate response by American Zionist organizations and spokespeople was, as the saying goes, over the top. The American Jewish Committee (AJC) declared that “Saturday Night Live’s ‘joke’ is dangerous, a modern twist on a classic anti-Semitic trope that has inspired the mass murder of countless Jews throughout the centuries.” This description is such an exaggeration that it smacks of a guilty conscience.

The AJC also said that the assertion that Israel had only vaccinated that half of the population that is Jewish is “untrue.” If you are only counting Israel proper (1948 Israel) the AJC is technically correct. However, if you include the Occupied Territories, which Israel claims to be part of the Jewish state, it is absolutely true that Israel has been holding back on supplying vaccines to the bulk of the Palestinian population—they have transferred only about 5000 doses for a population of almost 5 million and interfered with the Palestinian Authority’s own efforts to import vaccines. So whose “mass murder” are we really talking about?

The AJC complaint was followed up by remarks by the Israeli ambassador in Washington, Gilad Erdan. He said that the SNL joke “isn’t funny. It’s ignorant. It perpetuates anti-Semitism.” Then he told us, “the fact is that the success of our vaccination drive is exactly because every citizen of Israel —Jewish, Muslim, Christian—is entitled to it.” Here he is being purposely misleading. While claiming the OT to be part of Israel, the Israeli government has denied the Palestinians in that territory Israeli citizenship. Nonetheless, Israel has responsibility for Palestinians in the OT under international law. So, the ambassador is hiding his country’s racist vaccine policy, and its violation of international law, by using the term “citizen” in an obfuscating manner.

For the other side of the joke-response story, the reader should see journalist Abby Martin’s YouTube presentation in defense of Saturday Night Live, as well as going to the Israeli progressive website, 972, which reported on the SNL joke under the headline, “SNL Tells the Uncomfortable Truth About Israel.” Their point is that “For over half a century, Israel has lorded over Palestinian society, plundered their land, erased the border of Israel Proper, and settled hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers in a territory slated for a Palestinian state. With this one-state reality firmly in place, Israel is now attempting to obfuscate who exactly counts as part of Israel’s ‘population’—and whether they are deserving of the country’s public health service.” When the Israelis are not trying to confuse the issue, they are using access to Covid-19 vaccines as bait in attempts to wring concessions out of the Palestinian Authority or the Hamas government in Gaza.

So there sure is more than a core of truth to the SNL joke. The non-Jewish half of the population is being discriminated against when it comes to health care, as well as all other aspects of state support. Consider the statement by the Israeli minister of health, Yuli Edelstein, who asserted that the “State of Israel had no more obligations to take care of Palestinians, than the Palestinian minister of health has responsibility to take care of dolphins in the Mediterranean.” Of course the Palestinian minister of health is a powerless figure who is not bound, as is his Israeli counterpart, by the Fourth Geneva Convention. And, now consider Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to reward some twenty foreign countries which “have done favors” for Israel with thousands of vials of Covid vaccine, while the Palestinians in the OT get almost nothing. The Israeli government appeared to back away from this policy only after it generated harmful publicity abroad.

Part III—Promoting a Tribal Worldview

Except for some newspaper editorials and the report from 972, most Israeli Jews have been silent. There seems to be a numbness when it comes to the Palestinians that, in this case, makes many Israeli Jews either accepting of the government’s biased approach to the delivery of vaccines, or too uncaring in the face of the pandemic to notice.

Actually, we should not be too surprised at this. Israeli society has been structured to produce a predetermined sort of Jewish citizen—one who, under normal circumstances, rarely comes in contact with Palestinians (again, it is a segregated society) and, if and when they do think of them, sees them as dangerous interlopers on Jewish land.

Consider the context determining this outlook.

—More than most states, Israel is a tribal nation—a tribe with a flag, if you will. This sense of strong ethnocentrism is the product of centuries of anti-Semitism. The core of this outlook lay with the Ashkenazi—the European Jews who suffered the brunt of anti-Semitism, pogroms, and finally the Europe-centered Holocaust. It was their surviving leadership, guided by the ideology of Zionism, who finally realized the founding of Israel.

—Zionism is the political ideology that combines the goals of ethnic survival, statehood and the reshaping of the modern Jew into a citizen dedicated to the defense and future of a Jewish state.

—In other words what Israel does, or equivalently what Zionism does, is to institutionalize a tribal group sensitivity and ongoing sense of grievance. An expression of this sensitivity is the charge of anti-Semitism against anyone who is critical of Israel and its policies.

—How does Israel maintain and hone this sense of grievance as a basis of tribal solidarity? Through the institutions of society, particularly the state’s educational system and military service, which are designed to realize the appropriate Zionist worldview.

—For this it helps to have enemies right now: the whole non-Jewish world in general and the Palestinians in particular.

—Drill this worldview into successive generations and you get a first-class citizenry which sees no problem with discriminating and ultimately cleansing all supposed second-class interlopers. Thus, the miserly and begrudging outlay of Covid-19 vaccines for those “others!”

Part IV—Conclusion

The promotion of such a skewered worldview is not peculiarly Israeli, and certainly is not inherently Jewish. Tribalism was the social unit of all human beings for millennia and really did not start to break down until modern times. This breakdown process is imperfect, and so there are any number of groups resisting the trend toward multi-ethnic and multi-cultural societies. They still react, often violently, to immigrants and other strangers in their midst, and stick together based on ethnicity, religion, or other tribal-like identities. Here in the U.S., Donald Trump is the rather nasty leader of such a reaction.

However, as the growth of integrated societies testifies, tribalism isn’t inevitable. Rather, the modern tribal impulse for an ethnocentric state has to be artificially manipulated through incessant propaganda and organized miseducation.
This manipulation is exactly what is happening in Israel. As a result, the Israelis, and more broadly the Zionists, just can’t take a joke—particularly if it shines a light on their racist behavior.

Jon Ossoff Victory Proves That the Israel Lobby Still Has an Iron Grip on Democrats

Jon Ossoff Israel Lobby Feature photo

by Jessica Buxhaum

Source

An analysis by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs shows the pro-Israel lobby contributes significantly more money to Democrats than Republicans. And those campaign funds appear to be doing their job.

Jerusalem — Jon Ossoff’s historic win was presented as defying America’s far-right. His election to office helped flip the Senate blue and after six long years, changed Mitch McConnell’s title from majority to minority leader. He defeated Donald Trump ally Sen. David Perdue by teaming up with a Black reverend associated with the late civil rights icon, Rep. John Lewis. And he was the first Jew to win a Georgia Senate seat while a racist, anti-Semitic mob raided the U.S. Capitol.

Despite these progressive feats, Ossoff’s political experience and campaign donations reveal he’s more aligned with the Democratic establishment than meets the eye.

Ossoff’s undeniable love affair with the Israel lobby

Ossoff was one of the pro-Israel lobby’s top donation recipients for the 2019-2020 campaign cycle, ranking at number four with a total of $607,915. J Street, the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI), New Israel Fund, and the Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs (JACPAC) all funded his campaign. Out of the Israel lobbying groups, JACPAC handed Ossoff the most money with a sum of $12,250. Pro-Israel groups J Street, DMFI, and the Jewish Democratic Council for America endorsed him as well.

Before becoming a senator, Ossoff didn’t have many political credentials to his name. According to The Forward, he handled foreign policy issues as a congressional aide for Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson. In the role, he “work[ed] on legislation improving military funding for Israel and mandating tougher inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities.”

While he supports the Iran Deal and opposes Israeli annexation of the West Bank, the senator has openly embraced Zionist views. He is opposed to the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, has supported Israeli attacks on Gaza, commended Israel’s normalization agreements with Arab countries, and supports a two-state solution. A two-state solution is a longtime Democratic Party position, but progressive public support for it is diminishing with the growing momentum for the One Democratic State Campaign.

Foreign policy wasn’t a large section of Ossoff’s campaign platform. As a state senate hopeful upholding a “Black-Jewish alliance,” he focused more on domestic race relations than geopolitics. However, Ossoff’s campaign did publish a document outlining his stance on Israel. In it, he pledged unwavering support for the state, specifically lauding his commitment to Israel’s security and his opposition to BDS as well as any legislation permitting the U.S. to divest from Israel.

Ossoff-Israel-PaperOssoff-Israel-Paper

“Israel’s security requires the Israel Defense Forces to maintain a Qualitative Military Edge (QME) in the region. U.S. foreign assistance ensures that Israel has the military and intelligence capabilities necessary to maintain that QME, to defend itself against missile and rocket threats, and to prevent terrorist attacks within Israel,” the statement read.

“In the Senate, I will push for strong, mutually beneficial, and mutually respectful U.S.-Israel relations, whose strength can sustain Congressional support for the appropriation of U.S. foreign assistance vital to Israel’s security,” Ossoff said.

This excerpt suggests Ossoff supports continuing U.S. military aid to Israel—an issue that received nationwide condemnation after Congress voted to give $600 to Americans amid a pandemic-spurred recession yet handed $500 million in aid to Israel.

In addition to the pro-Israel endorsements Ossoff snagged, he often touts his connections to pro-Israel politicians. His June, 2020 position paper cited his relationship to Michael Oren, the far-right Israeli ambassador he studied under at Georgetown University. Ossoff also credits his historic rise in politics to Rep. Lewis. While Lewis is remembered as a prominent civil rights activist, he was also staunchly pro-Israel. Like Ossoff, he opposed the BDS movement and was considered a friend to Israel.

The Democratic Party toeing the line with pro-Israel funds

Along with Ossoff being the first Jew elected to Georgia’s senate, Rev. Raphael Warnock also made history as the first African-American elected to Georgia’s senate. Together the Democratic pair attributed their success to having fostered a strong Black-Jewish alliance.

Despite his win, Warnock’s campaign was marred with controversy prior to the state’s highly-publicized runoff election in January. Warnock’s Republican opponent, Kelly Loeffler, targeted the reverend’s past criticism of Israel in an attack ad. Warnock signed a letter in 2019 comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa. He also criticized Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and slammed Israel for shooting Gazan protesters.

Loeffler’s smears worked. His campaign was losing public support and funding was drying up. Two days after Loeffler’s attacks, Rev. Warnock immediately backtracked and released a statement “condemning” the BDS movement and declaring his support for Israel. His quick reversal earned him an endorsement from the Israel lobby group DMFI. Similar to Ossoff, Warnock was also part of the Israel lobby’s top 10 campaign donation recipients, securing funding from J Street, DMFI, and the New Israel Fund. Warnock may not have been as successful with fundraising if he had maintained his previous position on Israel.

Sut Jhally, documentary filmmaker and communications professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, was surprised at how easily Warnock caved to pro-Israel pressure.

“He was persuaded by the mainstream Democrats to win the Georgia election, so he had to make this horrible statement about Israel and BDS,” Jhally told MintPress News.

Warnock and Ossoff ran for Senate on a civil-rights-branded agenda. But for Jhally, you can’t call yourself a progressive if you ignore Palestine.

“The test of whether you’re a true progressive is your position on Israel,” Jhally said. “Because you can’t be progressive about everything else and espouse human rights for everyone else and not espouse human rights for the Palestinians.”

Warnock’s swift 180 on Palestine-Israel demonstrates just how strong of a grip the Israel lobby has on the Democratic Party. While the Trump administration’s policies favorited Israel, the Democratic Party is largely kept in check with pro-Israel funding.

An analysis by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs shows the pro-Israel lobby contributes significantly more money to Democrats than Republicans. And those campaign funds appear to be doing their job in scratching both the Democrats’ and the lobby’s backs. The top recipient of Israel lobby donations in 2020, President Joe Biden, has made it clear he’s willing to reverse every Trump-era policy except those related to Israel.

Keeping with the status quo

Criticism of Israel is growing louder in the Democratic Party with remarks from more progressive politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Ilhan Omar, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib. And while Professor Jhally agrees there’s an unprecedented divide emerging in the party over Israel, that will only generate discussion and not substantial policy reform.

“The Israel lobby is still very powerful within both the Republican and Democratic parties and their role right now is to make sure policy does not change,” Jhally said. “And that is about putting pressure on progressives and making sure BDS becomes delegitimized.”

With BDS—arguably the best international strategy available to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine—still seen as a dirty word in American politics, Democrats will likely adhere to the Israel lobby’s agenda rather than risk losing money or being perceived as anti-Israel. And that means sticking with the status quo in the Democratic establishment: condemning BDS, promising U.S. aid to Israel, and supporting Israel’s right to defend itself against “terrorists.” Just like the self-proclaimed progressive Ossoff did in cementing his election win.

How the Left is being Manipulated into Colluding in its own Character Assassination

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.  He is a frequent contributor to Global Research

By Jonathan Cook

Global Research, January 09, 2021

There was a fascinating online panel discussion on Wednesday night on the Julian Assange case that I recommend everyone watch. The video is at the bottom of the page.  

But from all the outstanding contributions, I want to highlight a very important point made by Yanis Varoufakis that has significance for understanding current events well beyond the Assange case. 

Varoufakis is an academic who was savaged by the western political and media establishments when he served as Greece’s finance minister. Back in 2015 a popular leftwing Greek government was trying to oppose the imposition of severe loan conditions on Greece by European and international financial institutions that risked tipping the Greek economy into deeper bankruptcy and seemed chiefly intended to upend its socialist programme. The government Varoufakis served was effectively crushed into obedience through a campaign of economic intimidation by these institutions.

 Varoufakis describes here the way that leftwing dissidents who challenge or disrupt western establishment narratives – whether it be himself, Assange or Jeremy Corbyn – end up not only being subjected to character assassination, as was always the case, but nowadays find themselves being manipulated into colluding in their own character assassination.

 Here is a short transcript of Varoufakis’ much fuller comments – about 48 minutes in – highlighting his point about co-option:

 “The establishment, the Deep State, call it whatever you want, the oligarchy, they’ve become much, much better at it [character assassination] than they used to be. Because back in the 1960s and 1970s, you know, they would accuse you of being a Communist. They would accuse me of being a Marxist. Well, I am a Marxist. I’m really not going to suffer that much if you accuse me of being a left-winger. I am a left-winger!

 “Now what they do is something far worse. They accuse you of something that really hurts you. Calling somebody like us a racist, a bigot, an antisemite, a rapist. This is what really hurts because if anybody calls me a rapist today, right, even if it’s complete baloney, I feel as a feminist I have the need to give the woman, implied or involved somehow in this accusation, the opportunity to speak against me. Because that is what we left-wingers do.”

Varoufakis’ point is that when Assange was accused of being a rapist, as he was before the US made clear the real case against him – by trying to extradite him from the UK for exposing its war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan – he could not defend himself without alienating a significant constituency of his natural supporters, those on the left who identify as feminists. Which is exactly what happened.

 Similarly, as Varoufakis notes from earlier conversations he had with Assange, the Wikileaks founder was in no position to properly defend himself against accusations that he colluded with Russia and Donald Trump to help Trump win the 2016 US presidential election against Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

 At the time, Assange’s supporters were able to point out that the leaked emails were true and that they were in the public interest because they showed deep corruption in the Democratic party establishment. But those arguments were drowned out by a narrative confected by the US media and security establishments that Wikileaks’ publication of the emails was political interference because the emails had supposedly been hacked by Russia to sway the election result.

 Because Assange was absolutely committed to the principle of non-disclosure of sources, he refused to defend himself in public by confirming that the emails had been leaked to him by a Democratic party insider, not the “Russians”. His silence allowed his vilification to go largely unchallenged. Having already been stripped of support from much of the feminist left, particularly in Europe, Assange now lost the support of a sizeable chunk of the left in the US too.

In these cases, the one who stands accused has to defend themselves with one hand tied behind their back. They cannot hit back without further antagonising a substantial section of their supporters, deepening divisions within the left’s ranks. The victim of this kind of character assassination is caught in the equivalent of reputational quicksand. The more they fight, the deeper they sink.

Which is, of course, exactly what happened to the UK’s former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn when he was accused of being a racist. If he or his supporters tried to challenge the claim that the party had become antisemitic overnight under his leadership – even if only by citing statistics that showed the party hadn’t – they were immediately denounced for supposed “antisemitism denial”, posited as the modern equivalent of Holocaust denial.

Notice Ken Loach, who was also on the panel, nodding in agreement as Varoufakis speaks. Because Loach, the noted leftwing, anti-racist film-maker who came to Corbyn’s defence against the confected media campaign smearing him as an antisemite, soon found himself similarly accused.

Jonathan Freedland, a senior columnist at the liberal Guardian, was among those using precisely the tactic described by Varoufakis. He tried to discredit Loach by accusing him of denying Jews the right to define their own experience of antisemitism.   

Freedland sought to manipulate Loach’s anti-racist credentials against him. Either agree with us that Corbyn is an antisemite, and that most of his supporters are too, or you are a hypocrite, disowning your own anti-racist principles – and solely in the case of antisemitism. And that, QED, would prove you too are motivated by antisemitism.

Loach found himself with a terrible binary choice: either he must collude with Freedland and the corporate media in smearing Corbyn, a long-standing political ally, or else he would be forced to collude in his own smearing as an antisemite.

It’s a deeply ugly, deeply illiberal, deeply manipulative, deeply dishonest tactic. But it is also brilliantly effective. Which is why nowadays rightists and centrists use it at every opportunity. The left, given its principles, rarely resorts to this kind of deceit. Which means it can only bring a peashooter to a gun fight.

https://twitter.com/Jonathan_K_Cook/status/131348440736224870

This is the left’s dilemma. It’s why we struggle to win the argument in a corporate media environment that not only denies us a hearing but also promotes the voices of those like Freedland trying to destroy us from the centre and those supposedly on the left like George Monbiot and Owen Jones who are too often destroying us from within.

As Varoufakis also says, the left needs urgently to go on the offensive.

We need to find ways to turn the tables on the war criminals who have been gaslighting us in demanding that Assange, who exposed their crimes, is the one who needs to be locked up.

We need to make clear that it is those who are so ready to smear anti-racists as antisemites – as Corbyn’s successor, Sir Keir Starmer, has done to swaths of Labour party members – who are the real racists.

And we need to unmask as war hawks those who accuse the anti-war left of serving as apologists for dictators when we try to stop western states conducting more illegal, resource-grab wars with such devastating results for local populations.

We must get much more sophisticated in our thinking and our strategies. There is no time to lose.

This essay first appeared on Jonathan Cook’s blog: https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/ 

For Years, Journalists Cheered Assange’s Abuse. Now They’ve Paved His Path to a US Gulag

The ‘Israel’ Lobby at the University of Sydney

The ‘Israel’ Lobby at the University of Sydney

By Tim Anderson – The American Herald Tribune

Documents released under freedom of information law show that an ‘Israeli’ organization has, over many years, privately contributed millions of dollars to the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences [FASS]. A sub-branch of the ‘Israeli’ World Zionist Organization [the Fund for Jewish Higher Education] contributes around half a million dollars to FASS each year, with contributions peaking at $819,000 in 2019. The WZO is committed to the ‘Israeli’ colony in Palestine, where more than half the population is denied full citizenship rights.

These amounts are way out of proportion to the nominal beneficiaries at the University: Hebrew, Biblical, Jewish and Holocaust Studies, and give the ‘Israeli’ lobby influence with University of Sydney management. This ‘Israeli’ funding is sustained while federal ‘foreign influence’ laws are trumpeted against China, and form part of a much larger private fund pool – one billion dollar plus, announced with pride in the University’s 2019 Annual Report  – at the University, for which there is little public accountability. The door is wide open for corruption, alongside secret foreign influence.

2020 data on the WZO confirms documents provided to me by a whistle-blower within the administration, back in 2018, which showed that the ‘Committee for Jewish Higher Education’ had been the largest single donor [by far] to FASS, with combined donations of $571,000 [in eight separate donations] in the first five months of 2012, all tagged for the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies, including its specialty in Holocaust Studies.  With about 10 academics staff [not all full time] that department represents less than 2% of the 700 or so academic staff in the Faculty.

With all senior managers eligible for performance bonuses, at least in part based on their fund raising, these large undisclosed sums indicate a great potential for corruption, all the more so now that the Federal Court of Australia [in the case brought by the NTEU and myself] has rubber stamped management gag orders, even when they concern public academic work.

The ‘Israel’ lobby, acting through the tabloid media, pressured University of Sydney managers to expel me from my academic position in 2018-2019. The final issue was my graphic linking of one of ‘Israel’s’ Gaza massacres with the racial massacres of Nazi Germany; and my refusal to submit to secret gag orders, effectively made under pressure from the ‘Israel’ lobby. In late 2020 the Federal Court ruled that academics must follow management orders, even when it concerns their research and teaching. I have published some detail on this case and its implications; showing the vulnerability of the corporate university to outside pressures.

‘Israel’ lobby influence on the wider phenomenon of academic ‘cancel culture’ deserves attention. A recent Guardian article cites several British academics on the problem of university managers trying to “silence academics on social media.” This was said to be part of a tension between the corporate university and social media, where “on the one hand unis are pushing their staff to be more active online … but when that individual voice is in conflict with the official brand it creates a tension … it is about brand protection.” The corporate media has discovered that it can use this tension to goad management to move against certain academics.

The ‘Israel’ lobby has spent time and effort in this territory, in particular by trying to vilify as ‘racist’ public figures who criticize ‘Israel.’ The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance [IHRA] has had some success in its attempts to extend the definition of anti-Semitism “to criticism of ‘Israel’ and support for Palestinian rights.” But I am one of many who have written that there is no legitimate basis for conflating criticism of a state or government with inciting hatred against a people.

An ‘Israel’ lobby group in the USA, under the guise of ‘protecting Jewish students’ branded as ‘biased’ more than 200 academics who supported the boycott against ‘Israel.’ Academics and teachers have been hounded from their positions in the USA, the UK, Australia and New Zealand because of their comments on ‘Israel,’ including those who have raised legitimate academic questions about ethno-nationalist settler colonialism” and of “victims becoming perpetrators.”

Jewish writers have not been immune from these attacks. Some have hit back, saying that “unfounded allegations of anti-Semitism [are used to] cover up ‘Israeli’ apartheid.” Last year sixty Jewish and ‘Israeli’ academics condemned the German parliament for its attempts to equate the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement with anti-Semitism.

A 2017 letter signed by more than 200 British academics complained of the ‘Israel’ lobby’s repeated attempts to link academic criticism of ‘Israel,’ and support for the Palestinian people, with anti-Semitism. These moves were “outrageous interferences with free expression” and “direct attacks on academic freedom.” The group said “we wish to express our dismay at this attempt to silence campus discussion about ‘Israel,’ including its violation of the rights of Palestinians for more than 50 years. It is with disbelief that we witness explicit political interference in university affairs in the interests of ‘Israel’ under the thin disguise of concern about anti-Semitism.”

In the USA, President Donald Trump in 2019 signed an executive order to withhold funds from universities which did not do enough to stop “anti-Semitic practices,” which includes criticism of ‘Israel.’ Defense of the ‘Israeli’ colony in Palestine is taken seriously.

‘Israel’ and academic freedom became an issue at the University of Sydney in March 2015, after students shut down a talk by former British Army Colonel Richard Kemp, who had been invited on campus to defend the ‘Israeli’ military’s slaughter of more 2,000 Palestinian civilians in Gaza in 2014. According to the Times of ‘Israel,’ Kemp was to give a lecture about “ethical dilemmas of military tactics and dealing with non-state armed groups.” The ‘Israel’ lobby claimed the protest and student behavior was an attempt to intimidate Jews. A wider debate over the intellectual freedom afforded to visitors like Richard Kemp ensued.

At around this time I looked into the reporting of the slaughter in Gaza, preparing a graphic which showed – from relatively independent sources – that ‘Israeli’ forces had slaughtered more than 1,000 Palestinians [the final count was more than 2,000] of whom, according to UN sources, more than 75% were civilians.

The person who invited Colonel Kemp was former University of Sydney academic Dr. Suzanne Rutland. At her retirement a few months later Provost Stephen Garton praised Suzanne as a person of “moral courage” who had made “an effort to bridge the cultural and political divide, to promote tolerance and understanding … [and] we owe her a debt of gratitude.” Stephen used the occasion to backhand the students who had confronted Kemp, saying that some on campus “confuse academic freedom with the right to disrupt.”

Dr. Rutland had a high profile from her academic and community work. In 2008 she received the Order of Australia for her services to Higher Jewish Education and “interfaith dialogue.” She was also active in campaigns against anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial. However her response to the students who confronted Colonel Kemp was not so tolerant. She denounced them as vicious racists, saying “when they stand there chanting, ‘free Palestine’ what they mean is the dismantling of the Zionist entity which means genocide against ‘Israel’s’ Jewish population.” This is an extreme view.

In fact, the better view is that ‘Israel,’ by its repeated massacres and ethnic cleansing, is engaged in a form of genocide. The US Centre for Constitutional Rights, noting a controversy over this question, wrote that:

“Prominent scholars of the international law [on the] crime of genocide and human rights authorities take the position that ‘Israel’s’ policies towards the Palestinian people could constitute a form of genocide. Those policies range from the 1948 mass killing and displacement of Palestinians to a half century of military occupation and, correspondingly, the discriminatory legal regime governing Palestinians, repeated military assaults on Gaza, and official ‘Israeli’ statements expressly favoring the elimination of Palestinians.”

Attacks on the critics of ‘Israel’ are often aimed at deflecting attention from this.

The now Emeritus Professor Suzanne Rutland was not just an academic, she was a conduit of ‘Israeli’ finance to the university.  Her online CV [now redacted online] listed her as ‘Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Jewish Education for Australia, for the World Zionist Organization.’ The WZO was founded in 1897 with the aim of creating a Jewish ‘state’ and, since the creation of ‘Israel,’ it has become an umbrella group for a range of ‘Israel’ lobbies. The WZO declares its commitment to “‘Israel’ education.”

At the political level the ‘Israel’ lobby remains influential. A 2018 study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute [APRI] found that an ‘Israeli’ lobby group in Australia [AIJAC] was the biggest single foreign funder of Australian MPs’ overseas travel. MPs from both major parties were beneficiaries of these ‘study tours’. While the public focus of foreign influence in Australia has become China, with special new laws to criminalize ‘foreign influence,’ the APRI study showed that influence peddling from ‘Israel’ has been greater than that from China or the USA. While Australian MPs had been funded for nearly 60 trips to China and 45 to the US, AIJAC had sponsored around 100 visits to ‘Israel,’ “nearly evenly split between Labor and Liberal.”

Against the Witch Hunt: On the Instrumentalization of Antisemitism in Britain’s Labour Party

December 17, 2020

UK Labour Party voted in favor of a motion which could see Britain cease trade with Israel. (Photo: via Twitter)

By Ronnie Kasrils

The assault on free speech within Britain’s Labour Party speaks like a ghost from my past. I was banned from public speaking in apartheid South Africa almost sixty years ago. My crime aged 23, was advocating votes for all. The apartheid government accused those like me of undermining the safety of whites. When all avenues of peaceful change were blocked, we had no option but to turn to armed struggle.

We argued that there was no equivalence between the state violence of the oppressor and the resistance of the oppressed. International solidarity helped bring about the demise of the apartheid system. We empathize with those in the Labour Party today, who are being victimized by a double agenda: for their socialism and defending Palestinian rights. It is astonishing and deplorable that a witch hunt is underway within those ranks – as elsewhere.

I was invited to address a BDS event in Vienna over a year ago which the city council quickly banned. A couple of months ago I was involved in a planned event with Palestinian freedom fighter Leila Khaled, at San Francisco State University, which was blocked. Then attempts to have our discussion broadcast via Zoom, Facebook and YouTube were obstructed. The voice opponents of free speech were desperate to gag was Leila Khaled. The Palestinian narrative being the primary target.

Those who attack human rights, whether in advanced capitalist countries or feudal tyrannies, simultaneously attack Palestinian rights. They follow violent precedents and consequences.

Repressing freedom of speech in South Africa paved the way for the emergence of a terrorist state. Ruthless suppression was instrumentalized in Europe’s colonies, and by USA imperialism on the back of slavery and genocide; and in the colonization and dismantling of Palestine.

The latter context falls within the project to counter the national liberation upsurge of the 20th Century.

The Apartheid regime’s use of anti-communism as a blanket device to smash opposition; along with Joe McCarthy’s witch-hunting; is mirrored in manipulating “anti-Semitism” as a shield to protect Israel. It is an umbrella formula to delegitimize the Palestinian cause and BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign.

Upholding Palestinian rights has been reflected in United Nations resolutions; and statements by Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu, Angela Davis, Arundhati Roy, Noam Chomsky; and back in time Jewish scholars such as Eric Fromm and Martin Buber.

Apartheid alleged the South African struggle was about sweeping whites into the sea and handing the country to Russia. This echoes the claim that giving in on the human and national rights of the dispossessed Palestinians means the extinction of the Jewish people.

Those linking freedom of expression and Palestinian solidarity articulate the same goals as we did in South Africa’s struggle – the objective is about changing a system not destroying a people.

Criticizing Zionism, an exclusivist ethnic-based political doctrine is not anti-Semitic. It is the valid criticism of a reactionary political theory.

Zionism, not the Judaic religion; Israel, not the Jewish people is the focus of criticism.

The anti-communism of apartheid South Africa, and charges of anti-Semitism against Israel’s critics, are terms of Machiavellian elasticity stretched by charlatans to stifle opposition. This is the new taboo. The untouchable holy cow shamelessly peddled in Western countries that preach freedom of expression.

Those who fall prey, who are deceived by the confusion sown, should note the lesson of the boy who cried wolf. When the real monster of anti-Semitism strikes, the most steadfast of opponents, have been on the left of the political spectrum.

False allegations of anti-Semitism weaken the fight against the real demon. This is exactly the pitfall of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) treatise conflating criticism of Israel with hate speech. It is biased and fatally flawed. A dubious, non-internationally represented Eurocentric document, devised by a hand-picked cabal of sophists seeking to be referee and player at the same time. With a veiled attempt at “objectivity,” Israel is given umbrella-like cover, impunity for its crimes and a cudgel to beat its opponents.

In 1948 when Menahem Begin visited New York to raise funds for his party – later to become Sharon and Netanyahu’s ruling Likud – Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt labeled him a “fascist”. After cold-blooded massacres of Palestinians that year, an Israeli cabinet minister, Aharon Cizling, declared “now we too have behaved like Nazis and my whole being is shaken.”

In terms of the IHRA’s guidelines, they would be labeled anti-Semitic. Jeremy Corbyn’s “crime” that accusations of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party have been exaggerated is minuscule by comparison.

Manufacturing mountains out of molehills, characterizes the sophistry of medieval inquisitors, hitching Labour to the Blairite anti-socialist bandwagon. Unopposed this witch hunt will escalate, attacking popular protest wherever humanity opposes injustice.

We say to the deceit of Labour Party leaders, Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner, who misappropriate a sacred trade union principle: Yes! “An injury to one is an injury to all” – but in your denialism you ignore the millions of Palestinians facing the bullets and bombs of Israeli aggression.

The recent statement of prominent Palestinian and Arab figures with regard to the IHRA’s false strictures eloquently attests to how the issue of anti-Semitism should be formulated.

They declare:

“Antisemitism must be debunked and combated. Regardless of pretense, no expression of hatred for Jews as Jews should be tolerated anywhere in the world.”

The left and human rights movement, including Black Lives Matter and formations such as the African National Congress of South Africa, should join those Palestinian and Arab voices in formulating genuinely international guidelines regarding defense of free speech; and in combatting the scourge of anti-Semitism and all forms of racism.

– Ronnie Kasrils, veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, and South Africa’s former Minister for Intelligence Services, activist and author. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle

Antisemitism Claims Mask a Reign of Political and Cultural Terror across Europe

December 14, 2020

The German Parliament passes a resolution that designates the BDS movement as antisemitic. (Photo: File)

By Jonathan Cook

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has run a fascinating long report this week offering a disturbing snapshot of the political climate rapidly emerging across Europe on the issue of antisemitism. The article documents a kind of cultural, political and intellectual reign of terror in Germany since the parliament passed a resolution last year equating support for non-violent boycotts of Israel – in solidarity with Palestinians oppressed by Israel – with antisemitism.

The article concerns Germany but anyone reading it will see very strong parallels with what is happening in other European countries, especially the UK and France.

The same European leaders who a few years ago marched in Paris shouting “Je suis Charlie” – upholding the inalienable free speech rights of white Europeans to offend Muslims by insulting and ridiculing their Prophet – are now queuing up to outlaw free speech when it is directed against Israel, a state that refuses to end its belligerent occupation of Palestinian land. European leaders have repeatedly shown they are all too ready to crush the free speech of Palestinians, and those in solidarity with them, to avoid offending sections of the Jewish community.

The situation reduces to this: European Muslims have no right to take offense at insults about a religion they identify with, but European Jews have every right to take offense at criticism of an aggressive Middle Eastern state they identify with. Seen another way, the perverse secular priorities of European mainstream culture now place the sanctity of a militarized state, Israel, above the sanctity of a religion with a billion followers.

Guilt by Association

This isn’t even a double standard. I can’t find a word in the dictionary that conveys the scale and degree of hypocrisy and bad faith involved.

If the American Jewish scholar Norman Finkelstein wrote a follow-up to his impassioned book The Holocaust Industry – on the cynical use of the Holocaust to enrich and empower a Jewish organizational establishment at the expense of the Holocaust’s actual survivors – he might be tempted to title it The Antisemitism Industry.

In the current climate in Europe, one that rejects any critical thinking in relation to broad areas of public life, that observation alone would enough to have one denounced as an antisemite. Which is why the Haaretz article – far braver than anything you will read in a UK or US newspaper – makes no bones about what is happening in Germany. It calls it a “witch-hunt”. That is Haaretz’s way of saying that antisemitism has been politicized and weaponized – a self-evident conclusion that will currently get you expelled from the British Labour party, even if you are Jewish.

The Haaretz story highlights two important developments in the way antisemitism has been, in the words of intellectuals and cultural leaders cited by the newspaper, “instrumentalized” in Germany.

Jewish organizations and their allies in Germany, as Haaretz reports, are openly weaponizing antisemitism not only to damage the reputation of Israel’s harsher critics but also to force out of the public and cultural domain – through a kind of “antisemitism guilt by association” – anyone who dares to entertain criticism of Israel.

Cultural associations, festivals, universities, Jewish research centers, political think-tanks, museums, and libraries are being forced to scrutinize the past of those they wish to invite in case some minor transgression against Israel can be exploited by local Jewish organizations. That has created a toxic, politically paranoid atmosphere that inevitably kills trust and creativity.

But the psychosis runs deeper still. Israel, and anything related to it, has become such a combustible subject – one that can ruin careers in an instant – that most political, academic and cultural figures in Germany now choose to avoid it entirely. Israel, as its supporters intended, is rapidly becoming untouchable.

A case study noted by Haaretz is Peter Schäfer, a respected professor of ancient Judaism and Christianity studies who was forced to resign as director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum last year. Schäfer’s crime, in the eyes of Germany’s Jewish establishment, was that he staged an exhibition on Jerusalem that recognized the city’s three religious traditions, including a Muslim one.

He was immediately accused of promoting “historical distortions” and denounced as “anti-Israel”. A reporter for Israel’s right-wing Jerusalem Post, which has been actively colluding with the Israeli government to smear critics of Israel, contacted Schäfer with a series of inciteful emails. The questions included “Did you learn the wrong lesson from the Holocaust?” and “Israeli experts told me you disseminate antisemitism – is that true?”

Schäfer observes:

“The accusation of antisemitism is a club that allows one to deal a death blow, and political elements who have an interest in this are using it, without a doubt… The museum staff gradually entered a state of panic. Then of course we also started to do background checks. Increasingly it poisoned the atmosphere and our work.”

Another prominent victim of these Jewish organizations tells Haaretz:

“Sometimes one thinks, ‘To go to that conference?’ ‘To invite this colleague?’ Afterward, it means that for three weeks, I’ll have to cope with a shitstorm, whereas I need the time for other things that I get paid for as a lecturer. There is a type of ‘anticipatory obedience’ or ‘prior self-censorship.’”

Ringing off the Hook

There is nothing unusual about what is happening in Germany. Jewish organizations are stirring up these “shitstorms” – designed to paralyze political and cultural life for anyone who engages in even the mildest criticism of Israel – at the highest levels of government. Don’t believe me? Here is Barack Obama explaining in his recent autobiography his efforts as US president to curb Israel’s expansion of its illegal settlements. Early on, he was warned to back off or face the wrath of the Israel lobby:

“Members of both parties worried about crossing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Those who criticized Israeli policy too loudly risked being tagged as ‘anti-Israel’ (and possibly anti-Semitic) and confronted with a well-funded opponent in the next election.”

When Obama went ahead anyway in 2009 and proposed a modest freeze on Israel’s illegal settlements:

“The White House phones started ringing off the hook, as members of my national security team fielded calls from reporters, leaders of American Jewish organizations, prominent supporters, and members of Congress, all wondering why we were picking on Israel … this sort of pressure continued for much of 2009.”

He observes further:

“The noise orchestrated by Netanyahu had the intended effect of gobbling up our time, putting us on the defensive, and reminding me that normal policy differences with an Israeli prime minister – even one who presided over a fragile coalition government – exacted a political cost that didn’t exist when I dealt with the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, or any of our other closest allies.”

Doubtless, Obama dare not put down in writing his full thoughts about Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu or the US lobbyists who worked on his behalf. But Obama’s remarks do show that, even a US president, supposedly the single most powerful person on the planet, ended up blanching in the face of this kind of relentless assault. For lesser mortals, the price is likely to be far graver.

No Free Speech on Israel

It was this same mobilization of Jewish organizational pressure – orchestrated, as Obama notes, by Israel and its partisans in the US and Europe – that ended up dominating Jeremy Corbyn’s five years as the leader of Britain’s leftwing Labour party, recasting a well-known anti-racism activist almost overnight as an antisemite.

It is the reason why his successor, Sir Keir Starmer, has outsourced part of Labour’s organizational oversight on Jewish and Israel-related matters to the very conservative Board of Deputies of British Jews, as given expression in Starmer’s signing up to the Board’s “10 Pledges”.

It is part of the reason why Starmer recently suspended Corbyn from the party, and then defied the membership’s demands that he be properly reinstated, after Corbyn expressed concerns about the way antisemitism allegations had been “overstated for political reasons” to damage him and Labour. (The rightwing Starmer, it should be noted, was also happy to use antisemitism as a pretext to eradicate the socialist agenda Corbyn had tried to revive in Labour.) It is why Starmer has imposed a blanket ban on constituency parties discussing Corbyn’s suspension. And it is why Labour’s shadow education secretary has joined the ruling Conservative party in threatening to strip universities of their funding if they allow free speech about Israel on campus.

Two Types of Jews

But the Haaretz article raises another issue critical to understanding how Israel and the Jewish establishment in Europe are politicizing antisemitism to protect Israel from criticism. The potential Achilles’ heel of their campaign are Jewish dissidents, those who break with the supposed “Jewish community” line and create a space for others – whether Palestinians or other non-Jews – to criticize Israel. These Jewish dissenters risk serving as a reminder that trenchant criticism of Israel should not result in one being tarred an antisemite.

Israel and Jewish organizations, however, have made it their task to erode that idea by promoting a distinction – an antisemitic one, at that – between two types of Jews: good Jews (loyal to Israel), and bad Jews (disloyal to Israel).

Haaretz reports that officials in Germany, such as Felix Klein, the country’s antisemitism commissioner, and Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, are being allowed to define not only who is an antisemite, typically using support for Israel as the yardstick, but are also determining who are good Jews – those politically like them – and who are bad Jews – those who disagree with them.

Despite Germany’s horrific recent history of Jew-hatred, the German government, local authorities, the media, universities and cultural institutions have been encouraged by figures like Klein and Schuster to hound German Jews, even Israeli Jews living and working in Germany, from the country’s public and cultural space.

When, for example, a group of Israeli Jewish academics in Berlin held a series of online discussions about Zionism last year on the website of their art school, an Israeli reporter soon broke the story of a “scandal” involving boycott supporters receiving funding from the German government. Hours later the art school had pulled down the site, while the German education ministry issued a statement clarifying that it had provided no funding. The Israeli embassy officially declared the discussions held by these Israelis as “antisemitic”, and a German foundation that documents antisemitism added the group to the list of antisemitic incidents it records.

Described as ‘Kapos’

So repressive has the cultural and political atmosphere grown in Germany that there has been a small backlash among cultural leaders. Some have dared to publish a letter protesting against the role of Klein, the antisemitism commissioner. Haaretz reports:

“The antisemitism czar, the letter charged, is working ‘in synergy with the Israeli government’ in an effort ‘to discredit and silence opponents of Israel’s policies’ and is abetting the ‘instrumentalization’ that undermines the true struggle against antisemitism.

Figures like Klein have been so focused on tackling criticism of Israel from the left, including the Jewish left, that they have barely noted the “acute danger Jews in Germany face due to the surge in far-right antisemitism”, the letter argues.

Again, the same picture can be seen across Europe. In the UK, the opposition Labour party, which should be a safe space for those leading the anti-racism struggle, is purging itself of Jews critical of Israel and using antisemitism smears against prominent anti-racists, especially from other oppressed minorities.

Extraordinarily, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, one of the founders of Jewish Voice for Labour, which supports Corbyn, recently found herself suspended by Starmer’s Labour. She had just appeared in a moving video in which she explained the ways antisemitism was being used by Jewish organizations to smear Jewish left-wingers like herself as “traitors” and “kapos” – an incendiary term of abuse, as Wimborne-Idrissi points out, that refers to “a Jewish inmate of a concentration camp who collaborated with the [Nazi] authorities, people who collaborated in the annihilation of their own people”.

In suspending her, Starmer effectively endorsed this campaign by the UK’s Jewish establishment of incitement against, and vilification of, left-wing Jews.

Earlier, Marc Wadsworth, a distinguished black anti-racism campaigner, found himself similarly suspended by Labour when he exposed the efforts of Ruth Smeeth, then a Labour MP and a former Jewish official in the Israel lobby group BICOM, to recruit the media to her campaign smearing political opponents on the left as antisemites.

In keeping with the rapid erosion of critical thinking in civil society organizations designed to uphold basic freedoms, Smeeth was recently appointed director of the prestigious free speech organization Index on Censorship. There she can now work on suppressing criticism of Israel – and attack “bad Jews” – under cover of fighting censorship. In the new, inverted reality, censorship refers not to the smearing and silencing of a “bad Jew” like Wimborne-Idrissi, but to criticism of Israel over its human rights abuses, which supposedly “censors” the identification of “good Jews” with Israel – now often seen as the crime of “causing offense”.

Boy Who Cried Wolf

The Haaretz article helps to contextualize Europe’s current antisemitism “witch-hunt”, which targets anyone who criticizes Israel or stands in solidarity with oppressed Palestinians, or associates with such people. It is an expansion of the earlier campaign by the Jewish establishment against “the wrong kind of Jew”, as identified by Finkelstein in The Holocaust Industry. But this time Jewish organizations are playing a much higher-stakes, and more dangerous, political game.

Haaretz rightly fears that the Jewish leadership in Europe is not only silencing ordinary Jews but degrading the meaning – the shock value – of antisemitism through the very act of politicizing it. Jewish organizations risk alienating the European left, which has historically stood with them against Jew-hatred from the right. European anti-racists suddenly find themselves equated with, and smeared as, fledgling neo-Nazis.

If those who support human rights and demand an end to the oppression of Palestinians find themselves labeled antisemitic, it will become ever harder to distinguish between bogus (weaponized) “antisemitism” on the left and real Jew-hatred from the right. The antisemitism smearers – and their fellow travelers like Keir Starmer – are likely to end up suffering their very own “boy who cried wolf” syndrome.

Or as Haaretz notes:

“The issue that is bothering the critics of the Bundestag [German parliament] resolution is whether the extension of the concept of antisemitism to encompass criticism of Israel is not actually adversely affecting the battle against antisemitism. The argument is that the ease with which the accusation is leveled could have the effect of eroding the concept itself.”

The Antisemitism Industry

It is worth noting the shared features of the new Antisemitism Industry and Finkelstein’s earlier discussions of the Holocaust Industry.

In his book, Finkelstein identifies the “wrong Jews” as people like his mother, who survived a Nazi death camp as the rest of her family perished. These surviving Jews, Finkelstein argues, were valued by the Holocaust Industry only in so far as they served as a promotional tool for the Jewish establishment to accumulate more wealth and cultural and political status. Otherwise, the victims were ignored because the actual Holocaust’s message – in contrast to the Jewish leadership’s representation of it – was universal: that we must oppose and fight all forms of racism because they lead to persecution and genocide.

Instead, the Holocaust Industry promoted a particularist, self-interested lesson that the Holocaust proves Jews are uniquely oppressed and that they, therefore, deserve a unique solution: a state, Israel, that must be given unique leeway by western states to commit crimes in violation of international law. The Holocaust Industry – very much to be distinguished from the real events of the Holocaust – is deeply entwined in, and rationalized by, the perpetuation of the racialist, colonial project of Israel.

In the case of the Antisemitism Industry, the “wrong Jew” surfaces again. This time the witch-hunt targets Jewish left-wingers, Jews critical of Israel, Jews opposed to the occupation, and Jews who support a boycott of the illegal settlements or of Israel itself. Again, the problem with these “bad Jews” is that they allude to a universal lesson, one that says Palestinians have at least as much right to self-determination, to dignity and security, in their historic homeland as Jewish immigrants who fled European persecution.

In contrast to the “bad Jews”, the Antisemitism Industry demands that a particularist conclusion be drawn about Israel – just as a particularist conclusion was earlier drawn by the Holocaust Industry. It says that to deny Jews a state is to leave them defenceless against the eternal virus of antisemitism. In this conception, the Holocaust may be uniquely abhorrent but it is far from unique. Non-Jews, given the right circumstances, are only too capable of carrying out another Holocaust. Jews must therefore always be protected, always on guard, always have their weapons (or in Israel’s case, its nuclear bombs) to hand.

‘Get out of Jail’ Card

This view, of course, seeks to ignore, or marginalize, other victims of the Holocaust – Romanies, communists, gays – and other kinds of racism. It needs to create a hierarchy of racisms, a competition between them, in which hatred of Jews is at the pinnacle. This is how we arrived at an absurdity: that anti-Zionism – misrepresented as the rejection of a refuge for Jews, rather than the reality that it rejects an ethnic, colonial state oppressing Palestinians – is the same as antisemitism.

Extraordinarily, as the Haaretz article clarifies, German officials are oppressing “bad Jews”, at the instigation of Jewish organizations, to prevent, as they see it, the re-emergence of the far-right and neo-Nazis. The criticisms of Israel made by the “bad Jew” are thereby not just dismissed as ideologically unsound or delusions but become proof that these Jews are colluding with, or at least nourishing, the Jew-haters.

In this way, Germany, the UK and much of Europe have come to justify the exclusion of the “wrong Jew” – those who uphold universal principles for the benefit of all – from the public space. Which, of course, is exactly what Israel wants, because, rooted as it is in an ideology of ethnic exclusivity as a “Jewish state”, it necessarily rejects universal ethics.

What we see here is an illustration of a principle at the heart of Israel’s state ideology of Zionism: Israel needs antisemitism. Israel would quite literally have to invent antisemitism if it did not exist.

This is not hyperbole. The idea that the “virus of antisemitism” lies semi-dormant in every non-Jew waiting for a chance to overwhelm its host is the essential rationale for Israel. If the Holocaust was an exceptional historical event, if antisemitism was an ancient racism that in its modern incarnation followed the patterns of prejudice and hatred familiar in all racisms, from anti-black bigotry to Islamophobia, Israel would be not only redundant but an abomination – because it has been set up to dispossess and abuse another group, the Palestinians.

Antisemitism is Israel’s “get out of jail” card. Antisemitism serves to absolve Israel of the racism it structurally embodies and that would be impossible to overlook were Israel deprived of the misdirection weaponized antisemitism provides.

An Empty Space

The Haaretz article provides a genuine service by not only reminding us that “bad Jews” exist but in coming to their defense – something that European media is no longer willing to do. To defend “bad Jews” like Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi is to be contaminated with the same taint of antisemitism that justified the ejection of these Jews from the public space.

Haaretz records the effort of a few brave cultural institutions in Germany to protest, to hold the line, against this new McCarthyism. Their stand may fail. If it does, you may never become aware of it.

Once, the “bad Jews” have been smeared into silence, as Palestinians and those who stand in solidarity with them largely have been already; when social media has de-platformed critics of Israel as Jew-haters; when the media and political parties enforce this silence so absolutely they no longer need to smear anyone as an antisemite because these “antisemites” have been disappeared; when the Jewish “community” speaks with one voice because its other voices have been eliminated; when the censorship is complete, you will not know it.

There will be no record of what was lost. There will be simply an empty space, a blank slate, where discussions of Israel’s crimes against Palestinians once existed. What you will hear instead is only what Israel and its partisans want you to hear. Your ignorance will be blissfully complete.

– Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). Visit his website www.jonathan-cook.net. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

The Smearing of Robert Fisk…Now That He Can’t Defend Himself

DECEMBER 3, 2020

Jonathan Cook: the View from Nazareth - www.jonathan-cook.net
Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism [ MORE ]

BY JONATHAN COOK

Something remarkable even by the usually dismal standards of the stenographic media blue-tick brigade has been happening in the past few days. Leading journalists in the corporate media have suddenly felt the urgent need not only to criticise the late, much-respected foreign correspondent Robert Fisk, but to pile in against him, using the most outrageous smears imaginable. He is suddenly a fraud, a fabulist, a fantasist, a liar.

What is most ironic is that the journalists doing this are some of the biggest frauds themselves, journalists who have made a career out of deceiving their readers. In fact, many of the crowd attacking Fisk when he can no longer defend himself are precisely the journalists who have the worst record of journalistic malpractice and on some of the biggest issues of our times.

At least I have the courage to criticise them while they are alive. They know dead men can’t sue. It is complete and utter cowardice to attack Fisk when they could have made their comments earlier, to his face. In fact, if they truly believed any of the things they are so keen to tell us now, they had an absolute duty to say them when Fisk was alive rather than allowing the public to be deceived by someone they regarded as a liar and fantasist. They didn’t make public these serious allegations – they didn’t air their concerns about the supposedly fabricated facts in Fisk’s stories – when he was alive because they know he would have made mincemeat of them.

Most preposterous of all is the fact that the actual trigger for this sudden, very belated outpouring of concern about Fisk is a hit-piece written by Oz Katerji. I’m not sure whether I can find the generosity to call Katerji a journalist. Like Elliot Higgins of the US government-funded Bellingcat, he’s more like an attack dog beloved by establishment blue-ticks: he is there to enforce accepted western imperial narratives, disguising his lock-step support for the establishment line as edgy, power-to-the-people radicalism.

Anyone who challenges Katerji’s establishment-serving agenda gets called names – sometimes very rude ones. Fisk is just the latest target of a Katerji hatchet job against any journalist (myself, of course, included) who dares to step outside of the Overton Window. That these “serious” journalists think they can hang their defamation of Fisk on to anything said by Katerji, most especially the thin gruel he produces in his latest article, is truly shameful. If their concerns really relate to journalistic integrity and reliability, Katerji would be the very last person to cite.

Katerji’s prime area of western narrative enforcement is the Middle East – perhaps not surprisingly, as it is the place where there is an awful lot of oil that western states and corporations are desperate to control. But one should not ignore his wide-ranging efforts to boot-lick wherever he is needed on behalf of western establishment narratives.

Here he is desperately trying to breathe life into two fairytales: that the election of the leftwing Evo Morales as Bolivia’s president was fraudulent, and that Morales was forced to resign last year rather than that he was ousted in a CIA-backed military coup. Notably, Katerji was clinging to these discredited story lines as late as last month, long after even the liberal corporate media had abandoned them as no longer tenable.

Katerji was also, of course, an enthusiastic recruit to evidence-free establishment smears that Labour was overrun with antisemitism under the leadership of the leftwing Jeremy Corbyn, the very same anecdotal claims promoted by the entire corporate media.

Not only that, but he even had the gall to argue that he was speaking on behalf of Palestinians in smearing Corbyn, the only leader of a major European party ever to champion their cause. Labour’s new leader Keir Starmer, like most other politicians in the wake of the Corbyn episode, has all but disappeared the Palestinians from the political agenda. Katerji must be delighted – on behalf of Palestinians, of course.

But Katerji’s beef with Fisk derives chiefly from the fact that the Independent’s foreign correspondent broke ranks with the rest of the western press corps over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Katerji is part of what – if we were being more brutally honest about these things – would be called the west’s al-Qaeda lobby. These are a motley crew of journalists and academics using their self-publicised “Arabhood” to justify the intimidation and silencing of anyone not entirely convinced that ordinary Syrians might prefer, however reluctantly, their standard-issue dictator, Bashar al-Assad, over the head-chopping, women-stoning, Saudi-financed jihadists of Islamic State and al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda franchise in Syria; or who question whether the western powers ought to be covertly funding and backing these extremists.

Exercise any doubt at all on either of these points and Katerji will lose no time in calling you an “Assadist”, “war crimes denier”, “antisemite”, “9/11 truther” and worse. Then in yet more evidence of a circle jerk, those establishment blue ticks, even ones beloved by much of the left, will cite his smears as proof that you are indeed an Assadist, war crimes denier, and so on.

Here are just a few examples of Katerji engaging with those critical of the imperial western narrative on Syria, so you get the idea:

Back in 2011 and 2012, in what looked like the possible eruption of an Arab Spring in Syria, the arguments of Katerji and co at least had an air of plausibility. But their real agenda – one that accorded with western imperialism rather than an Arab awakening – became much clearer once local protests against Assad were subsumed by an influx of jihadi fighters of the very kind that had been labelled “terrorists” by the western media everywhere else they appeared in the Middle East.

Inevitably, anyone like Fisk who adopted a position of caution or scepticism about whether the majority of Syrians actually wanted a return to some kind of Islamic Dark Age incurred the wrath of Katerji and his cohorts.

But Fisk infuriated these western al-Nusra lobbyists even further when he visited the town of Douma in 2018 and raised serious questions about claims made by the jihadists who had been ruling the town that, just before Assad’s forces drove them out, the Syrian military had bombed it with chemical gas, killing many civilians. The story, which at that stage was based exclusively on the claims of these head-chopping jihadists, was instantly reported as verified fact by the credulous western media.

Based solely on claims made by the al-Qaeda franchise in Douma, President Donald Trump hurriedly fired off missiles at Syria, in flagrant violation of international law and to cheers from the western media.

Fisk, of course, knew that in discrediting the evidence-free narrative being promoted by the western press corps (who had never been in Douma) he was doing himself no favours at all. They would resent him all the more. Most of his peers preferred to ignore his revelations, even though they were earth-shattering in their implications. But once the official watchdog body the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) issued its report into Douma many months later, implicitly backing the jihadists’ version of events, Fisk’s earlier coverage was snidely dismissed by fellow journalists.

Sadly for them, however, the story did not end there. Following publication of the OPCW’s Douma report, a number of its senior experts started coming forward as whistleblowers to say that, under pressure from the US, the OPCW bureaucracy tampered with their research and misrepresented their findings in the final report. The evidence they had found indicated that Assad had not carried out a chemical attack in Douma. More likely the jihadists, who were about to be expelled by Assad’s forces, had staged the scene to make it look like a chemical attack and draw the US deeper into Syria.

Of course, just as the corporate media ignored Fisk’s original reporting from Douma that would have made their own accounts sound like journalistic malpractice, they resolutely ignored the whistleblowers too. You can scour the corporate media and you will be lucky to find even an allusion to the months-long row over the OPCW report, which gained enough real-world prominence to erupt into a major row at the United Nations, including denunciations of the OPCW’s behaviour from the organisation’s former head, Jose Bustani.

This is the way frauds like Katerji are able to ply their own misinformation. They sound credible only because the counter-evidence that would show they are writing nonsense is entirely absent from the mainstream. Only those active on social media and open-minded enough to listen to voices not employed by a major corporate platform (with, in this case, the notable exception of Peter Hitchens of the Daily Mail) are able to find any of this counter-information. It is as if we are living in parallel universes.

The reason why Fisk was so cherished by readers, and why there was a real sense of loss when he died a month ago, was that he was one of the very few journalists who belonged to the mainstream but reported as though he were not beholden to the agenda of his corporate platform.

There were specific reasons for that. Like a handful of others – John Pilger, Seymour Hersh, Chris Hedges among them – Fisk made his name in the corporate media at a time when it reluctantly indulged the odd maverick foreign correspondent because they had a habit of exposing war crimes everyone else missed, exclusives that then garnered their publications prestigious journalism awards. Ownership of the media was then far less concentrated, so there was a greater commercial incentive for risk-taking and breaking stories. And these journalists emerged in a period when power was briefly more contested, with the labour movement trying to assert its muscle in the post-war decades, and before western societies were forced by the corporate elite to submit to neoliberal orthodoxy on all matters.

Notably, Pilger, Hersh and Hedges all found themselves struggling to keep a place in the corporate media. Fisk alone managed to cling on. That was more by luck. After being forced out of Rupert Murdoch’s Times newspaper for breaking a disturbing story in 1989 on the US shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane, he found a new home at Britain’s Independent newspaper, which had been recently founded. As a late-comer to the British media scene, the paper struggled not only to make money but to create a distinctive identity or gain any real visibility. Fisk survived, it seems, because he quickly established himself as one of the very few reasons to buy the paper. He was a rare example of a journalist who was bigger than the outlet he served.

Readers trusted him because he not only refused to submit to his peers’ herd-think but endlessly called them out as journalistically and intellectually lazy.

Those now trying to tarnish his good name are actually inverting the truth. They want to suggest that support for Fisk was cultish and he was hero-worshipped by those incapable of thinking critically. They will say as much about this piece. So let me point out that I am not without my own criticisms of Fisk. I wrote, for example, an article criticising some unsubstantiated claims he made during Israel’s massive bombardment of Lebanon in 2006.

But my criticism was precisely the opposite of the blue-tick crowd now traducing him. I questioned Fisk for striving to find an implausible middle ground with those establishment blue ticks (before we knew what blue ticks were) by hedging his bets about who was responsible for the destruction of Lebanon. It was a rare, if understandable, example of journalistic timidity from Fisk – a desire to maintain credibility with his peers, and a reluctance to follow through on where the evidence appeared to lead. Maybe this was a run-in with the pro-Israel crowd and the corporate journalists who echo them that, on this occasion, he did not think worth fighting.

The discomfort Fisk aroused in his peers was all too obvious to anyone working in the corporate media, even in its liberal outlets, as I was during the 1990s. I never heard a good word said about Fisk at the Guardian or the Observer. His death has allowed an outpouring of resentment towards him that built up over decades from journalists jealous of the fact that no readers will mourn or remember their own passing.

Fisk’s journalism spoke up for the downtrodden and spoke directly to the reader rather than, as with his colleagues, pandering to editors in the hope of career advancement. In the immediate wake of his death, his colleagues’ disdain for Fisk was veiled in weaselly language. As Media Lens have noted, the favourite term used to describe him in obituaries, even in his own newspaper, was “controversial”.

“It turns out that the term ‘controversial’ is only applied in corporate media to political writers and leaders deemed ‘controversial’ by elite interests.

“This was unwittingly made clear by the big brains at the BBC who noted that Fisk ‘drew controversy for his sharp criticism of the US and Israel, and of Western foreign policy’. If Fisk had drawn ‘controversy’ from China, Iran or North Korea, the ‘weasel word’ would not have appeared in the Beeb’s analysis…

“In corporate media newspeak, ‘controversial’ can actually be translated as ‘offensive to power’. The term is intended as a scare word to warn readers that the labelled person is ‘dodgy’, ‘suspect’: ‘Handle with care!’ The journalist is also signalling to his or her editors and other colleagues: ‘I’m not one of “them”!’”

The journalists who now claim Fisk was a fraud and fantasist are many of those who happily worked for papers that readily promoted the gravest lies imaginable to rationalise an illegal attack on Iraq in 2003 and its subsequent occupation. Those publications eagerly supported lies supplied by the US and British governments that Iraq had WMD and that its leader, Saddam Hussein, was colluding with al-Qaeda – claims that were easily disprovable at the time.

Journalists now attacking Fisk include ones, like the Guardian’s Jessica Elgot, who have been at the forefront of advancing the evidence-free antisemitism smears against Corbyn. Or, like the Guardian’s Hannah Jane Parkinson, have engaged in another favourite corporate journalist pastime, ridiculing the plight of Julian Assange, a fellow journalist who puts their craven stenography to shame and who is facing a lifetime in a US super-max jail for revealing US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Even the Guardian’s Jason Burke, who claims to have experienced Fisk’s lying first-hand while working for the Observer newspaper in 2001 (as was I at that time), has been unable to come up with the goods when challenged, as the pitiable Twitter thread retweeted here confirms:

Noticeably, there is a pattern to the claims of those now maligning Fisk: they hurry to tell us that he was an inspiration in their student days. They presumably think that mentioning this will suggest their disillusionment was hard-earned and therefore make it sound more plausible. But actually it suggests something different.

It indicates instead that in their youthful idealism they aspired to become a journalist who would dig out the truth, who would monitor centres of power, who would comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. To do, in fact, exactly what Fisk did.

But once they got a footing on the corporate career ladder, they slowly learnt that they would need to adopt a more “nuanced” approach to journalism – certainly if they hoped to progress up that ladder, earning the right to their blue tick, and gaining a big enough salary to cover the mortgage in London or New York.

In other words, they became everything they despised in their student days. Fisk was the constant reminder of just how much they had sold out. His very existence shamed them for what they were too cowardly to do themselves. And now in death, when he cannot answer back, they are feasting on his corpse like the vultures that they are, until there is nothing left to remind us that, unlike them, Robert Fisk told uncomfortable truths to the very end.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jonathan-cook.net/

Ramzy Baroud on Pompeo’s Designation of BDS as ‘Antisemitic’

Source

November 20, 2020

Ramzy Baroud speaks about Pompeo’s visit to illegal Jewish settlements. (Photo: Video Grab)

The United States Secretary of State has made an unprecedented visit to an Israeli settlement in the illegally occupied West Bank and the disputed Golan Heights – the first chief diplomat from the U.S to do so.

Mike Pompeo visited The Psagot Winery – part of a network of settlements in the West Bank – which are considered illegal under international law.

Well, how significant is this trip? More so, that it comes hot on the heels of the projected victory of President-Elect Joe Biden, a past critic of illegal settlements.

To look into this, we spoke to Skype Dr. Ramzy Baroud, a US-Palestinian journalist, and Editor of the Palestine Chronicle.

Related News

BDS: US to label Israel boycott movement as ‘antisemitic’

ٍSource

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo makes announcement as he prepares to visit illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank

The United States will label the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which seeks to isolate Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians, as antisemitic, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.

Calling the movement “a cancer”, Pompeo said the US “will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as antisemitic… We want to stand with all other nations that recognise the BDS movement for the cancer that it is.”

Pompeo made his comments in a joint appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he prepared to visit an illegal Israeli settlement in a controversial breach of diplomatic protocol.

The outgoing secretary of state also said he will defy convention and visit the occupied Golan Heights.

The Golan Heights is Syrian territory that has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war, but was unilaterally recognised as Israeli by the US last year.

Pompeo’s announcements come as four Republican Senators call on US President Donald Trump to allow goods made in Israeli settlements as to be labelled as “Made in Israel”. 

Established in 2005, the BDS movement seeks to apply financial pressure on Israel to address its violation of Palestinians’ rights, a tactic the Israeli government has actively sought to discredit. The movement is inspired by the international pressure placed on South Africa’s apartheid regime.

Over the years, Israeli authorities have increased efforts to fight BDS, passing a number of laws seeking to criminalise calls for a boycott of Israel or Israeli companies.

Settlement-building is seen by many as the greatest obstacle for Israeli-Palestinian peace. However it has seen a huge uptick since Trump, a staunch supporter of Israel, took office in 2016.

The Long Goodbye of Social-Democracy

The Long Goodbye of  Social-Democracy

November 17, 2020

by Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

The ongoing process of political degeneration which has been happening in the UK Labour Party is basically part of a deep-going movement which has been taking place in all left-of-centre parties in Europe. In political/ideological terms, they have been swept away by the rampaging neo-liberal globalist forces – circa 1980 onwards and have, like good little boys and girls, trimmed their sails to the globalist agenda. This, straight betrayal has been justified by the usual TINA cliche. The roll-call of the sell-outs has included the SPD (Germany) the PS (France) Pasok/Syriza (Greece) the old ex-communist party of Italy, (now rebranded as the Democratic Party) PSOE (Spain) not forgetting the Democratic Party in the US. This historical betrayal has given the militant right a chance to attack the very real sell-out of the centre-left parties and publications which includes the Guardian, New York Times, Economist, Washington Post, . L’Express, La Figaro, Der Spiegel – the list is extensive.

THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY

The Guardian newspaper had long been a supporter of the Labour Party but more recently has been the trend-setter in this ‘liberal turn’ if we may call it such. There has taken place an unseemly metamorphosis from centre-left to the Blairite right. Going back to earlier days the Manchester Guardian, as it was then called, steered an honest social-democratic course under the leadership of C.P.Scott famous for his catchphrase, ‘’Comment is free but facts are sacred.’’ was the ultimate statement of values for a free press and continued to under-pin the traditions of good newspapers throughout the western world, (but sadly of course this is no longer the case, not by a long shot).  Looking back, Scott and the then Manchester Guardian resolutely opposed the British war against the Dutch settlers (Boers) in South Africa (1899-1902). For his pains Scott’s home was physically attacked by jingoistic mobs and he required police protection, as did the property of the Manchester Guardian which was also attacked.

That was then, this is now.

The rot in the current Guardian newspaper began with the conversion of what was once a campaigning left-of-centre political publication into a straightforward business journal with a centre-right political orientation; this happened earlier in this century when the Scott Trust was rebranded as the Scott Trust Limited, along with the Guardian Media Group – GMG – both of whom became registered as a commercial company by decamping to the tax haven of the Cayman Islands British Overseas Territory, for tax reasons – i.e. tax avoidance.

THE CORBYN AFFAIR

As for the whole ‘anti-semitic’ brouhaha surrounding ex-leader of the Party, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Labour Party itself, this was engineered from both internal and external sources. It should be understood that anyone who is anyone in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) and who entertains political and occupational preferment in the PLP is a member of the ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ – this is mandatory. The same is true of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats. So we have here a situation where an ostensibly sovereign state, the UK, has been penetrated by another sovereign state, Israel which in effect is selecting who and who shall not be members of the Labour Party’s policy and decision-making processes. This blatant process was caught by a mole planted by the Kuwaiti TV Station Al Jazeera and televised under the name of ‘The Lobby’ where the mole in question interviewed a member of the London Israeli embassy – Shai Masot – about the ‘taking down’ of pro-Palestinian politicians and spreading Zionist influence inside independent political groups active in the UK. This TV interview showed Mr Masot – who was blissfully unaware of being televised – discussing with his interlocutor how to cause embarrassment to pro-Palestinian politicians deemed to be detrimental to Israeli interests.

Students and campaigners told a reporter posing as a pro-Israel activist they had been given funding and support from Israel’s embassy in London to counter the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. When asked whether he had ever “built a group”, Mr Masot replied: “Yeah, I did several things like that, yeah…in Israel and here. Nothing I can share but yeah.’’

“It’s good to leave those organisations independent, but we help them actually.”

The UK National Union of Students said it was investigating alleged attempts to influence last year’s leadership election, which saw its first black, Muslim, female president Malia Bouattia voted in.

Following claims that opposing NUS members held “secret meetings” with activists supported by the Israeli embassy, a spokesperson for the union said: “The NUS takes these allegations seriously. We are looking into them and, when we have all the information available, the behaviour of NUS officers will be reviewed, and appropriate action taken.” (1)

This seemed outrageous, but such is the influence of extra-national political configurations in British politics. This was instanced in the manner in which the now ex-leader of the Labour party – Jeremy Corbyn – was subject to a relentless but bogus assault internally from the Blairites, the media and also Britain’s Jewish opponents on the basis of his ongoing support for Palestinian rights. Of course anyone who in Zionist terms is a supporter of Palestinian rights is ipso facto an anti-Semite. On absolutely no evidence Corbyn was suspended from the leadership of the party which was now under the leadership of one (Sir) Keir Starmer QC, who doesn’t seem to have any political views at all, apart from his unconditional support of Israel, which of course befits yet another political carpet bagger on the make. ‘What are my politics?’ What would you like them to be?’

Of course the same scenario also applies to the United States – a fortiori. This latter case of organized Jewish influence both internal and from outside (Israel) is so open, widespread and obvious that it barely needs mentioning. (2) Moreover, socialism in the United States, or even social-democracy, has, never, since the days of Eugene Debs been anything other than a minor curiosity and led by a leadership so venal that it collapses at the first serious challenge. Such was the fate of Bernie Sanders, who managed to capitulate to the DNC powers-that-be not once but twice.

But to return to the Labour Party, this political hollowing-out of what was once a mass and proud reformist party has by now been pretty much neutered and in keeping with centre-left conditions just about everywhere. The list does not make pretty reading. Currently there is no centre-left party, in western Europe at least, worthy of the name, the capitulation seems complete. As follows:

GREECE. THE RISE AND FALL OF SYRIZA

On its accession to power Syriza laid great emphasis on trying to convince their opponents that their proposals were financially sound and of benefit to all in the long-run. This is one of the characteristics of social-democracy. It is an approach based upon ‘the truth’, as they understood it, and rationality of their approach and compared favourably to the mistaken beliefs of their political opponents. What Syriza did not understand, however, was that the social virtues and heritage of social democratic reform was now history, buried deep under the refuse pile of new neoliberal values.

The political imperatives of SYRIZA’s position consisted of an adamantly committed policy to stay in the eurozone and the euro regime; but this was a regime of structural flaws which only benefitted the elites rather than ordinary folk. Concurrent with this the Greek people were consistently indicating in various polls taken that they did not want to leave the eurozone either. Like Syriza they wanted to end austerity and stay in Europe and keep the euro. Neither thus understood that the root of austerity lay in the neoliberal euro regime that they wanted to keep. One would have thought that following the crowd in this instance was a dereliction of duty on the part of the Syriza leadership who should have known better, but it is so much easier to take the easy way out than actually lead.

Syriza wanted a European version of the US 1930’s New Deal, but there was no FDR on the horizon, and, moreover, this was 70 years later, and history was not about to repeat itself.

The upshot of this sad historical nemesis was when Syriza took the road of least resistance. The European base of neoliberalism required the arrangement of goods and services and free movement of labour and capital which had indebted Greece (and other peripheral economies) and ensured some form of perpetual austerity. But this was precisely how the system was designed to work.

‘’Over the course of the third debt restructuring negotiations in 2015, Syriza would at first deny and then resist this reality, then concede in steps as it retreated from its positions and its Thessaloniki programme. In August 2015, it capitulated. Like its political predecessors, New Democracy in 2012, and PASOK in 2010, Syriza would also eventually settle into the ‘caretaker’ role for the neoliberal Troika.’’ (3)

FRANCE – LE PARTI SOCIALISTE – ABJECT FAILURE.

In late 2016, French President Francois Hollande became the first leader of the 5th Republic to announce that he would not seek re-election leaving his Parti Socialiste to find another candidate for the April 2017 presidential election. The five years of Hollande’s presidency had not been kind to the ruling party. Terrorist attacks, a shift to the right on domestic matters, persistent unemployment, internal party divisions, and even an illicit love affair, eroded confidence in Hollande’s government and left the Socialists with little in their playbook that remained popular with voters.

Hollande’s choice for economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, created new problems for the president right from the start. Just 36 when he was appointed in 2014, Macron was a former investment banker at a firm owned by the Rothschild family – an unusual choice for a president who once declared that the world of finance was his “enemy”.

Macron soon angered the Socialist’s left wing with his criticism  of the 35-hour work-week and by calling for the deregulation of the French economy. Socialist deputy Yann Galut spoke for many in his party when he accused Macron of “disowning all the values of the left”. But then what else from an investment banker did the party expect?

The pro-business reforms, known as the “Macron laws”, included allowing stores to remain open  on Sundays and late in the evenings. A more wide-ranging labour code 5, made it easier for firms to hire or fire and to extend employee working hours, soon followed suit. The proposed reforms prompted months of sometimes violent protests  over the summer from students and unions who were angry over diminished labour protections. Yes it was all straight from the neoliberal policy manual. Hollande’s government controversially pushed the bill  through parliament in June 2016 without holding a vote, igniting a new burst of outrage.

Macron was not the only member of Hollande’s cabinet to anger the party’s leftist base. Manuel Valls, 54 – the French Tony Blair – who served as interior minister and then prime minister before resigning to announce his own presidential run, has proved that even a Socialist Party can have a right wing.

As protests against labour reforms spread across France last summer, Valls once again took a hard line, moving to ban further demonstrations in Paris after sporadic outbreaks of violence. It was the first time since the 1960s that union demonstrations had been banned in France and it sparked outrage across the political spectrum, including within the already divided Socialist Party. After a weeklong stand-off, the unions were eventually allowed to hold a protest march via a different route.

Valls has said he wanted to ‘modernise’ the Socialist Party, even suggesting that it rename itself because the term “Socialist” is too “old-fashioned”. He says that a revitalised party could unite all of the country’s “progressive forces” into one movement. Valls’ brand of ‘right-wing Socialism’ (i.e., a neoliberal party) highlighted the quandary the party faced. If Hollande is seen as representing the traditional yet ineffectual left, its more dynamic members now look like the centre-right.

As unemployment continued to hit record highs, Valls infuriated many by saying more needed to be done to encourage the unemployed to get back to work. Macron, for his part, had said that the costly system of unemployment benefits needed to be revised, blaming the unions for deadlocking negotiations.

Statements such as these, coming as record numbers of French citizens struggled with a lack of job opportunities, have heightened resentment among much of the public and divided those within the Socialist party. And they seem more like admonishments that would come from the right-wing Les Républicains party than from the fresh new faces of France’s left. But after the erratic Hollande years, the party now faced the task of reinventing itself as a movement that combines traditional leftist values with a fresh dynamism that is ready to meet the challenges of the future. In short, the PS had to change into a neoliberal outfit. After all – TINA!

Humiliated, unloved, and threatened to be plundered by Macron’s movement, the French socialists stood shivering at a crossroad. Hardly unexpected of course. France was, after all, being corralled into the neoliberal sheep-pen.

France has predictably followed the universal neoliberal economic prescriptions and rewarded with the wholly expected failed outcomes. After growing at an estimated rate of 1.7% in 2018, GDP grew by an abysmal estimated 1.3% in 2019. Minimal growth rates needed to overcome this economic standstill needed to be at least 2% to make any impact on what has become a secular stagnation. This has had political ramifications.

The European elections of May 2019 saw the victory of the National Rally of Marine Le Pen (far right), gathering 23% of the vote, compared to 22% for the Republic in March of Emmanuel Macron. On the international scene, the president intends to strengthen the integration of the euro zone by revitalizing the Franco-German partnership. But Macron’s delusions of grandeur are simply swimming against the stream here with unemployment at 10%, trade figures all negative, private debt to GDP at 227% and Sovereign debt at 98%. Unquestionably France is in a deep structural political/economic crisis.

From Gaullism in 1945 consisting of independence and distrust of the Anglo-Saxon bloc, to the current force feeding of neoliberalism and an unquestioning loyalty to NATO. Mission accomplished? Not quite. And then comes the emergence of the Gilet Jaunes. What next for France?

GERMANY: THE SPD

The oldest, Social Democratic Party in Europe, the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, can be traced back to the 1860s, and for much of the 20th and 21st centuries it has represented the centre-left in German politics, although not the far left politics of the pre-war KPD (Communists) and SAP (Socialist Workers’ Party’ where Willie Brandt was once a member). Nevertheless from 1891 to 1959 the Party at least theoretically espoused Marxism. Of course this all changed in the main due to Cold War but more importantly for the need for political deals and coalition governments which were made the sine qua non for the formation of governments in Germany. At the present time, the SPD is in a fragile coalition government together with the conservative CDU/CSU and the SPD, the Grand Coalition as it is called.

THE EUROPEAN POWER-HOUSE:

In economic terms Germany had always been the economic powerhouse of Europe and possibly even the world. It’s dynamism came from a globally competitive industrial base, pivoting on automobiles, chemicals, and machine tools. Its exports enabled it to command vast surpluses on current account thus providing the wherewithal to lend globally.

Whether this Teutonic pre-eminence was a conscious policy choice on the part of Germany, or merely a policy-drift due to the internal structure of Germany’s post-war policy configuration seems debatable. Germany had certainly bucked the Anglo-American trend of de-industrialisation and financialization which had become de rigueur internationally as a result of the putative ‘efficiency’ of the Anglo-American model. Germany had not deindustrialised, had a smallish stock market compared with other developed states, eschewed as far as possible a system of equity funding and maintained a traditional reliance on bank funding for industry since long term relations were easier to develop among corporations and banks and the internal structure of corporations is not driven by the desire to placate stock markets. Moreover, the German banking system had a multitiered and competitively structured organization which included a raft of smaller and medium sized banks, the Sparkassen, which operated with a local focus. This stood in stark opposition to the oligopolistic banking monoliths of the Atlantic world.

Additionally, there were further reasons why Germany emerged as the EU hegemon. Primarily, Germany did not sacrifice its world class industrial-export sector on the altar of deindustrialisation. But instead adopted and adapted its own variant of financialization while at the same time protected its industrial sector by manipulating its exchange rate to protect exports. The German manufacturing sector is highly productive, export-oriented and has maintained relatively strong union representation in the wage formation process compared to the rest of the private (domestic) sector which has modest productivity and relatively weak unions in comparison with other EU countries.

In the domestic economy, however, Germany was able to restructure (i.e., lower) wage costs and working conditions with the imposition of the Hartz reforms – a set of policies arrayed against German labour which pushed down costs through the implementation of ‘flexible’ labour markets. This gave Germany a competitive first-mover, edge in intra-European trade resulting in an ongoing surplus on its current account. And when one state achieves a (recurring) surplus on current account other states must record a deficit on current account. In this instance this was the southern periphery. If this smacked of neoliberalism –that’s because it was.

In sharp contrast to the southern periphery the eastern periphery of central Europe was not part of the eurozone which means that they were not ensnared in the Iron Cage of EMU and enabled to keep their own currencies. But heavy German investment in this area produced a core-periphery relationship where low-wage, semi-skilled assembly work was farmed out to Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. That is the usual pattern of FDI supply chains. High-end production, including R&D was kept at Home Base.

Additionally, Central European peripheries have come to depend heavily on Germany for technology and markets. If Germany faced a severe recession so would probably be the whole of Central Europe.

Thus, Germany was to become the overseer of an increasingly neo-liberal order precisely at the time when the 2008 blow-out was to cross the Atlantic and usher in a quasi-permanent period of instability for the whole EU project. The main actors in the future development of the EU were the ECB the EC and the IMF, the infamous Troika. The ECB in particular was the paragon of Banking, monetary and fiscal rectitude. This was underlined insofar as it was domiciled in Frankfurt as was the Bundesbank and was heavily influenced in policy terms by this particular institution.

Then came the 2020 derailment. Prior to this, however, growth rates had been zero to miniscule at less than 1% per quarter since 2018. Then came the yo-yo bounce in 2020. Ten Year Bunds Yields were at -0.53 (that’s a minus sign BTW), unemployment was beginning to rise, inflation was at -0.2% which means that it was actually deflation, interest rates were at zero, consumer confidence was at -3.1, retail sales at -2.2%, Sovereign Debt-to-GDP 68%, Private Debt-to-GDP at 154% (but these latter private figures were based upon 2018 statistics).

THE SPD VANISHING TRICK:

And where was the SPD during all this time? It was following the trend of course. The then party leader and Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, defended his counter-reformist ‘Agenda 2010’ and praised Tony Blair’s ‘New Labour’ as a successful example of ‘modern’ social democracy. At the same time, up and down the country, some 90,000 workers responded to a call by the Trade Union Federation, the DGB, and demonstrated against attempts to dismantle the welfare state. In East Germany, 84% of all steel workers organised in the IG Metall voted in favour of industrial action for the 35-hour week which had been introduced in the West back in the 1990s.

Horrified by high unemployment (4) and fear of recession and even depression, Schroder and his think tanks were doing what they had always accused the previous Helmut Kohl government of doing: they were attacking the unemployed and not unemployment. They claimed that dismantling the welfare state and massive tax reductions were to the benefit of the employers and the rich but in general would open the path towards economic growth and a new jobs miracle. In doing this, they could count on the applause of the bourgeois media and politicians who kept pushing them further and further down that road.

But later developments in 2019 have led to a new inward turn of the SPD which will give the already rapidly changing party system a further push. Both the CDU and SPD have lost dramatically during recent European and regional elections. The winners have been the ‘woke’ Green party and the far-right Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD). The Green party, also led by a new team since January 2018, has been a clear beneficiary of the rise of the urban middle-class and the weakness of the two governing parties. The Green party is now solidly number two in the party system and highly likely to join the next government, either with the CDU or the two parties on the ‘left’, the SPD left centrist and Der Linke the old East German Communist Party.

CONCLUSION

Throughout Europe the Social-Democratic tradition has been in crisis since the 1980s onwards and is heading rapidly toward marginalization and oblivion. Having prostrated itself before the deities of neo-liberalism and globalization, and swallowed the holy dogmas whole there seems no way back. And if anything the situation in the southern and eastern peripheries are even more dire than those in Western Europe. The political structures in Europe now range from outright fascist, right and centre right, and an allegedly centre-left that acts like a centre-right, a Guardian-style liberal woke party. That’s it folks. Europe seems to be heading to a turbulent and ugly future

NOTES

(1) The Lobby – Al Jazeera – The Independent newspaper – London 12-January-2017

(2) The Israel Lobby – John J Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt – passim.

(3) Looting Greece: A New Financial Imperialism Emerges – Jack Rasmus – passim.

(4) The story of the German jobs miracle is misleading. It is true that the number of people in employment increased by more than 10 percent between 2003 and the end of 2016 from 39 to 43 million. But this was achieved mainly by replacing full-time jobs by part-time and mini jobs. In fact, actual working time did not increase at all up to 2010; the work was just spread over more people.” And also since the economic climate improved in 2011, the volume of work has been growing much more slowly than employment and is still below the levels of the early 1990s. And that is why in 2016, 4.8 million people in Germany were living entirely from mini jobs. A further 1.5 million are working against their will in part-time jobs. And then there are around 1 million contract workers and more than 2 million self-employed without employees, and most of them do not have enough work.

The “industrial reserve army“ of the unemployed, as Karl Marx once called them, “was reduced in size at the price of a growth in the reserve army of the under-employed in part-time work and the over-employed who have to do several jobs to get by.”

An Encore for Charlie Hebdo

November 13, 2020

Posted by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Insulting Islam

In mid October 2020 a French schoolteacher, 47-year-old Samuel Paty, decided to show his Freedom of Speech class cartoons demeaning Islam’s founding prophet, Mohammed. The cartoons were the same ones originally published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) in 2014-2015. At that time, the magazine’s actions resulted in the murder of twelve of its staff, including the editor, Stephane Charbonnier. The murders were committed by Muslim extremists associated with al-Qaeda. Samuel Paty’s fate turned out to be similar. Shortly after having shown the caricatures of the founder of Islam, the teacher was murdered by an 18-year-old Muslim immigrant. Other attacks have followed.  

In all of these cases, the killings were provoked as well as indefensible. The cartoons in question are all too easy to interpret as gratuitous insults against Islam and therefore against the almost 9% of the French population that are Muslim. Nonetheless, murder is incompatible with stable society. The latter being prima facie true, the next question is, What alternatives were available to those who were/are disgusted by the Charlie Hebdo caricatures? Lawsuits for defamation have been repeatedly filed. Some are still ongoing. However, to date, none have stopped the magazine’s demeaning ways. Well-organized public protests combined with steady political pressure might work in the long run. It was perhaps because such an effort was not forthcoming, at least not consistently, that action defaulted to emotionally driven individual fanatics.

By the way, Charlie Hebdo, with its own brand of fanaticism, is what you might call an equal opportunity defamer. Topics ranging from the Catholic Church to Italians killed in earthquakes have been depicted in distasteful, sometimes semi-pornographic fashion. As it stands, the right to publish gratuitously insulting cartoons is not only legal in France but, because of all the related violence, also now defended as an important expression of French national culture. To make this point clear, French officials have announced the publication of a booklet to include the Charlie Hebdo images. This will be “handed out to high school students as a commitment to defend the values of the Republic.”

Part II—A Trap 

The value referred to in the booklet is freedom of expression. As Charbonnier said in a 2012 interview, “We can’t live in a country without freedom of speech. I prefer to die than to live like a rat.” Of course, it is now obvious that Charbonnier’s ardent determination to avoid a rodent’s fate, and his nation’s embrace of the man’s grossness as a symbol of free speech, has led France into a trap. Here is how the Sorbonne Professor Pierre-Henri Tavoillot puts it: “what is at stake now is France’s laicite—the secularism that underlies its culture. If the nation compromises on laicite in this instance, this cultural principle may well unravel.” Refusal to consider a balanced way out of the situation paints the French into a corner while explicitly tying the culture to often semi-pornographic cartoons. 

The trap has many other dimensions. French enthusiasm for Charlie Hebdo has fueled Islamophobia and led others to use the situation to argue for the restriction of civil rights. France’s interior minister believes that the country is “at war against an enemy who is both inside and outside.” While it is true that the country’s 5.7 million Muslims (the highest number in any Western country) are increasingly alienated and fearful, the vast majority are peaceful. Yet they all have now been placed under suspicion of being terrorists. Now, the mayor of Nice is calling for a “modification of the Constitution” so that the nation can “properly wage war against Islamic extremists.” President Macron has announced a widespread crackdown on “Islamist individuals and organizations.” This includes closing French Muslim civil rights organizations and Arabic language schools. 

The whole affair has also brought France into conflict with Muslim populations and governments around the world. Presently, the French and Turkish governments are now trading insults. In Bangladesh, 40,000 people took part in an anti-French demonstration and called for the boycott of French goods. French goods were removed from shelves in shops in Qatar and Kuwait. 

Part III—Rationalizations

The French will tell you that their take on free expression was born in violence: in “eradicating the power of the monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church” during the French Revolution. Later, a 1905 French law made faith a strictly private matter and secularism the rule for the public sphere. There is nothing wrong with this arrangement. However, over the years the French have generally lost common sense relative to the subject and failed to be consistent in their approach to religion. On the one hand, laicite has caused some French men and women to see religion as a belief system that need not be taken seriously. Criticism of religion is seen as a “dear right.” On the other hand, recent history has led French governments to be very sensitive to even the slightest suggestion of anti-Semitism (which is illegal in France). Except in this case, the stipulation that one should not be critical of someone simply because he is observant is often forgotten.

Against this backdrop, French Muslims, the  most religious of French residents, have been held at arm’s length. Those who retain their traditional dress and ways stand out as outsiders and assimilation has not been made easy even for those Muslims who desire it. 

The French will also tell you that the art of caricature “is an old tradition that is part of our democracy.” French Muslims make the argument that “there should be limits to offensive satire [in the form of demeaning caricature] when it comes to religious beliefs.” They say that this is so because such satire “fuels extremism.” For millions of French Muslims, this suggests that “cartoons putting a prophet who is fundamental to millions of believers in suggestive and degrading postures” should not fall within the right to be satirical.

One can, of course, argue the issue of censorship. Free speech/expression rights are explicitly meant to protect speech we may not approve of. On the other hand, all societies impose some limits on speech—you can’t cry fire in a crowded theater. Who decides when, or if, there should be a legitimate restriction to free speech/expression? How about when there is a present atmosphere that leads to multiple murder and the breakdown of otherwise friendly foreign relations? Under such circumstances, can such competing issues be finessed by the application of common sense? The flamboyant display of such “art” as practiced by Charlie Hebdo, much less its presentation as a cornerstone of French culture, might be such a case.*

Part IV—Conclusion

How many cultures make rudeness a symbol of cultural excellence? It doesn’t seem to be a common practice. Yet, the French have done so in this case. It has gotten them nothing but trouble at home and abroad. 

The problem with the present French position is that it gives wide latitude to people who care little or nothing for cultural awareness. Stephane Charbonnier, the murdered editor of Charlie Hebdo, seemed uninterested in the real cultural consequences of his personal practice of freedom. In truth, he was an extremist who persisted on insulting a religion of 1.8 billion adherents, the vast majority of whom are peaceful folks. As he knew no bounds to his freedom to be brutally insulting, so his behavior activated a small number of Muslim extremists willing to be even more brutal than Charbonnier. This led to his violent death. In death he has become a French cultural icon—in total disregard of the extremist nature of his behavior and the counter-extremism it triggered.

All that Juice

 BY GILAD ATZMON

OJ.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

 If you are upset by the undeniable fact that our greatest scientific minds are failing in their battle against Covid-19, you should be relieved to learn that the West’s greatest minds are momentarily occupied with a way more important battle: the war against antisemitism.

 The Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) reported a few days ago that the Alfred Landecker Foundation (Berlin) launched a new international ‘Decoding Antisemitism’ project to stop hate online using ‘Artificial Intelligence. ’Apparently, the multi-national team comprised of ‘discourse analysts, computational linguists and historians,’ will develop a highly complex, AI-driven approach to identifying online antisemitism. 

 The Jewish news outlet reports that studies have shown that the majority of anti-Semitic defamation is expressed in implicit ways – for example through the use of creative codes such as ‘juice’ instead of ‘Jews. ’The highly sophisticated algorithm is, presumably, designed to scan the net continuously and attribute security alerts to every possible reference to ‘juice.’ However, if you see law enforcement agents surrounding your local grocery shop you should assume that its owner may have issued a complaint to the manufacturer about the integrity of his last orange juice delivery.

 The genius AI application will also spot certain conspiracy narratives or the reproduction of stereotypes, especially through unusual images. I guess that we are referring here to images of an un-named orange who kept his underwear on.  It may as well be that the AI application will be sophisticated enough to trace the exact favourite fruit extract that drives the Open Society Institute.  

 Issues to do with COVID-19 are particularly important as far as the new AI application is concerned due to “the rise in conspiracy myths accusing Jews of creating and spreading COVID-19.” This is no doubt a demanding task for the state of art application, as most Jewish outlets actually openly admit a unique and concerning level of intimacy between Jews/Israel and the virus. Back on 1st April, Zionist outlets were the first to admit that Jews were as much as 8 times over-represented amongst Covid 19 death in Britain, at least in the first days of the epidemic.  As early as the 3rd of March, an Israeli company named Migal was quick to announce that it has the vaccine for Covid-19. The new AI system will have to learn to turn a blind eye to the fact that Jewish outlets openly admit  that Orthodox Jews in New York and in Israel consciously and strategically let the virus spread in their communities as they truly believed (and for a good reason) in herd immunity.

 Dr. Andreas Eberhardt, CEO of the Alfred Landecker Foundation told the Jewish outlet that “Antisemitism and hatred directed against minorities are putting the future of our open society in jeopardy. And the problem is only getting worse in the digital sphere. It’s essential that we use innovative approaches – such as using AI – to tackle these issues head on.” I guess that Dr. Eberhardt is correct and the next obvious question is why are the German academic and his institute  fighting antisemitism in particular rather than fighting hatred in general and universally?

 On my part, I could save the Alfred Landecker Foundation a lot of energy and resources. Instead of adopting a Stasi doctrine, scanning the net, spying on our profiles for poetic expressions and ‘juicy images,’ just ask a few basic elementary questions: why is antisemitism back on the rise? What is it that Israel and its Lobby are doing that is so upsetting to a growing number of people? What is it that we cannot talk about and why?

 I actually believe that one old Zionist text from the late 19th century answers all those questions. Bernard Lazare’s Antisemitism: Its History and Causes attempted to figure out why Jewish history is an endless chain of tragedies and expulsions.

 Lazare believed that if Jews want to dominate their fate they must emancipate themselves from their choseness, that unique racially oriented sense of privilege and exceptionalism.  Zionism in its early version, was for Lazare the way forward. Zionism at the time was distinguished by its total rejection and negation of the Diaspora Jewish culture and identity (Shlilat Ha-galut). When Zionism was a spiritual metamorphic aspiration, the Jews were loved and admired, their Jewish state was even ‘forgiven’ for its colossal crimes against the indigenous people of Palestine (The Nakaba). But when Israel drifted away from its idealistic roots, when it gradually became the ‘Jewish State’, the tolerance towards Israel’s actions and its lobby also started to fade away.

 The Alfred Landecker Foundation may do better using their historians, linguists and computer scientists identifying this shift in the Jewish universe rather than treating the rest of us as suspected bigots. 

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on Prophet Muhammad’s [PBUH] Birth Anniversary

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on Prophet Muhammad’s [PBUH] Birth Anniversary

Translated by Staff

Speech of His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the occasion of the birth of Prophet Muhammad
10-30-2020

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and prayers and peace be upon our Master and Prophet, the Seal of Prophets, Abi al-Qassem Muhammad Bin Abdullah and his good and pure household and his good and chosen companions and all the prophets and messengers.

Peace and God’s mercy and blessings be upon you all.
God Almighty said in his glorified book:

{In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. O Prophet, indeed We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner. And one who invites to Allah, by His permission, and an illuminating lamp. And give good tidings to the believers that they will have from Allah great bounty. Almighty God has spoken truly.}

To start with, I congratulate all Muslims in the world as well as all the Lebanese who are one people and partners in happiness and sorrow.

I congratulate Muslims and everyone else on the birth of the greatest Messenger, our Master, and Prophet Muhammad bin Abdullah [PBUH], as well as on the birth of his great grandson, Imam Jaafar bin Muhammad Al-Sadiq [PBUH].

I’ll begin by talking about the occasion a little. From there, I’ll talk about some files and topics relevant to the current stage.

Our Master Muhammad bin Abdullah [PBUH] was born approximately 1495 years ago, in what was known as the Year of the Elephant [Am Al-Fil], in the month of Rabi ‘al-Awwal – this month. Some say he was born on 12 Rabi al-Awwal, others say 17 Rabi al-Awwal.

This blessed birth was the natural introduction to the birth and proclamation of the final divine message, after which there is no abrogation, modification, or alteration. Hence, ‘what is permissible [halal] during Muhammad’s era is permissible until the Day of Judgement, and what is forbidden [haram] during Muhammad’s era is forbidden until the Day of Judgement.’

It was also an introduction to rebirth of the true human life, for generations that would emerge from darkness into light, through this newborn child, and also the birth of a nation that would remain immortal until the Day of Resurrection.

We all know that the prophets and messengers performed miracles and accomplishments, especially when we are talking about great prophets like Ibrahim, Musa, and Isa [PBUT]. They all had miracles that were witnessed by the era they lived in and the generation that lived there.

These accounts were told to us. They were preserved in holy books, especially the Holy Quran, as well as history books. These accounts reached all the people – Muslims, Christians, and Jews. 

The Messenger of Allah Muhammad [PBUH] performed various miracles as well. The people of his time bore witness to them. Now his time has passed, and accounts were passed on to us through stories and history books. We, however, did not witness these miracles. The Messenger of God Muhammad [may God bless him and his family and grant them peace] had various miracles as well, as is the case with the miracles of the previous prophets. 

However, the Messenger of Allah Muhammad [PBUH] possesses an immortal miracle that will continue to live on until the Day of Resurrection and will be witnessed by all generations in all times and in all places. This miracle is His sacred book that God sent down to him – the Holy Quran.

One of the miracles of this great book is that its words, verses, and surahs have not been subject to any distortion, forgery, or modification for more than 1450 years. This means that despite the reasons, factors, and motives – among Muslims and non-Muslims, from within Islam and otherwise – to distort this religious book, its verses and surahs, it remained preserved form 1450 years.

This holy book remaining in this accurate and wondrous form is in itself a miracle. It is the fulfillment and validation of the divine promise: {Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.}

A religious book so important to the lives of millions and hundreds of millions, and now nearly two billion people cannot be preserved in this manner without being touched despite the existence of all reasons, doctrinal reasons, and political reasons to distort, falsify, or amend it.

This is evidence of divine preservation of this Prophet’s book. This Qur’an has been challenging humanity for the last 1450 years. And this challenge will remain until the coming of the Hour – if they all gathered to produce the like of this, to bring forth ten surahs like it, or produce a surah of the like.

And this Qur’an, which is still vibrant and brings people out of the darkness and into the light, is its immortal miracle. The prophets and messengers also have their accomplishments, and the greatest achievement of our Prophet and our Master, the Messenger of God Muhammad is this human achievement that has been achieved by his hands. It is in itself it the closest thing to a miracle – this deep and tremendous transformation that has been achieved in the society of the Arabian Peninsula by his hands and thanks to his vocation, efforts and jihad.

If we go back in history, the Arabian Peninsula was made up of Mecca, Yathrib [it was not called Medina yet], the city of Taif, a group of large towns, tribes, and clans, all the way to Yemen including its cities, civilization, and former kings. This entire region that we now refer to as the Arabian Peninsula was the main setting for the Prophet’s movement and missionary work.

Let us take a look at the people in that community before the birth of the Prophet and his missionary activities – their way of life, their religious life [What did they worship? What did they believe in?], their education [reading and writing], their level of knowledge, their culture, their values, their traditions, the values governing that society, poverty, deprivation, their security situation, the wars, the tribal wars, and their dispersion.

The Messenger of God [PBUH] did not come to address one aspect of the lives of these people, but rather all aspects, foremost is the doctrinal, belief, knowledge, cultural, ethical and behavioral dimensions. If we then studied the way of life of the people in the Arabian Peninsula after the Prophet’s missionary work, efforts, and jihad, what has become of these people?

What are the serious, deep, and very important transformations that took place, especially on the human side? Their faith and belief? The way they shifted from worshipping idols to worshipping the one God? Their sciences, their culture, and the system of values? Their perception of man, woman, other human beings, and the followers of other religions? Their customs, traditions, discipline, behavior, and morals?
This tremendous human transformation that took place in the Arabian Peninsula and constituted the main basis for the launch of this nation and the spread of its voice and message to the whole world, making it the basis for global change, is Prophet Muhammad’s accomplishment. 

The most important and very remarkable aspect is that this accomplished in 23 years only. We know that bringing about huge change in the lives of people within 10, 20, 30, and 40 years is hard, especially when it comes to culture, doctrine, values, and behavior. But this was achieved by the Messenger of God. He also paved the way, as we have said, for this humanitarian and religious pillar until the Hour of Resurrection.

I wanted to make this introduction so that I can delve into the topics that I want to speak about. All Muslims throughout history until the coming of the Hour have love, adoration, respect, and appreciation for this great Prophet, unmatched with any other human being and despite their love, appreciation, and reverence for all the prophets, messengers, awliya, imams, and righteous and good people throughout history.

All Muslims have a distinct view, a special faith and love, for this man, this person, and this figure. Muslims may disagree throughout history. This happened in several cases – intellectual cases of sometimes ideological nature, Islamic rulings, in cases of halal and haram, evaluating Islamic history, evaluating persons. In contemporary time, they may disagree on important social and political issues, conflicts, wars, etc.

But there are unanimous points and issues that Muslims have not disagree on throughout history, and they cannot depart from until the Hour of Resurrection. Among the most important of these unanimous points is their belief in Muhammad bin Abdullah [PBUH], his message, his prophethood, his greatness, and his stature.

They see him as the seal of the prophets since there is no prophet after him, the master of messengers, the master of creation, the master of beings, the most perfect man and the greatest human being, and the closest of God Almighty’s creations to Him, the most beloved and dearest of them to Him. This is how Muslims view this Messenger and this Prophet.

With this faith, his love is mixed with their blood, flesh, being, bodies, souls, minds and hearts because this belief is not only an epistemic belief, a philosophical belief, or a cultural or intellectual belief. No, there is a kind of distinct emotional, spiritual and psychological relationship. Of course, this is and will always be required towards the Prophet as they glorify him in this world and see his greatness and special stature in the Hereafter.

From here, we will use one point as a springboard to move on to other topics. Therefore, Muslims cannot tolerate any offense or insult directed at this great Messenger, and they consider defending the dignity of their Prophet as one of the highest priorities that comes before any interests and calculations, be it political, economic, or related to their lives. They consider this matter a top priority. They cannot be forgiving about it, nor can they remain silent about any behavior or practice that insults or offends the Great Messenger of Allah.

From here, I delve into the first file in tonight’s talk, which is the current problem that concerns all Muslims in the world today – the current problem between the French authorities [from the top of the pyramid] and Islam and the Muslims. I would like to speak calmly, objectively, and scientifically in order to dissect this issue and search for solutions, that is to reach a solution and not perpetuate enmities or search for new ones.

We begin with the latest incident that took place in the French city of Nice, in which a Muslim man killed three people and wounded others. 

We will start from the end and return to the beginning. We strongly condemn this incident, and Muslims from the various scholarly, religious, and political positions, as well as the Islamic world and Muslim communities in France, Europe, and everywhere condemned it.

Islam also condemns such incidents, and it is not permissible for anyone to regard it as belonging to Islam. Islam and the Islamic religion, which forbids killing, assaulting, or harming innocent people just because of differences in ideological affiliation, reject it and reject every similar incident that preceded it or comes after it.

For us Muslims and Islam, it is always rejected and condemned, wherever this incident occurred and whoever was targeted – in France or anywhere in the world.

Let us establish this point as a basis so that there is clarity later.

Secondly, in the context of this case, it is not permissible for the French authorities or others to hold the religion of the perpetrator or the followers of the perpetrator’s religion responsible for the perpetrator’s crime. In other words, if the perpetrator of the crime is a Muslim, it is thus not permissible for anyone to hold Islam or the Muslims in France or in the whole world responsible for this crime. This is fundamentally an incorrect, unrealistic, illegal, and immoral perception.

When a person commits a crime, he must be held responsible for this crime, regardless of his motives, even if he believed that his motives are religious. This happened in France and in Europe, and it is happening in other places in the world.

We might have to speak in terms of Muslim and Christian. We will, however, not come near the Jews. If a Christian man committed a crime of this kind – and this happened in France and most of the crimes that are committed in France are not committed by Muslims as well as in Europe – the media usually does not shed light on it. But whoever follows it knows about statistics and figures. Is it right for someone to say the one who is responsible for this crime is the Jesus Christ [PBUH], God forbid? Or the Christianity? Or hold the Christians in the world responsible? Or the Christians in the country where the crime was committed? No one accepts this behavior. Unfortunately, the French authorities are doing this.

President Macron and the rest of the French officials spoke about Islamic terrorism – now someone has translated it to Islamic terrorism or Islamic fascism, a lack of difference. There is no such thing as Islamic terrorism or Islamic fascism. If someone is committing an act of terror, then he is a terrorist. And if he commits a crime, then he is a criminal. But we cannot say Islamic terrorism and Islamic fascism.

Today the United States of America is committing massacres all over the world from the year 2000 onwards, the wars they’ve committed in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in the region after September 11. Let us put aside World War I and II, Hiroshima, and the likes and just talk about the current generation.

Millions of people have been killed, and the Americans admit that hundreds of thousands have been killed in these wars, even if some were killed by mistakes such as weddings that were bombed in Afghanistan, sometimes deliberately. Does anyone come out and say that since the United States of America’s president and government are Christians and its army is mostly Christian, then this American terrorism is a Christian terrorism? Or that the one who bears the responsibility for this terrorism, God forbid, is Jesus Christ or the Christian religion whose values and teachings contradict these terrorist acts? 

Muslims did not say that what the European armies, including the French army, did in Algeria and what the others did in Libya and elsewhere in our region is a Christian terrorism and that the Christian faith is responsible. Not at all. And if someone said this, then they are mistaken.

This phenomenon is at the very least not present. Therefore, it is absolutely impermissible to generalize and hold a religion or the Prophet of a religion or the nation that believes in a religion responsible for a crime committed by any person belonging to a certain ideology or religion whether he was a Muslim, Christian, or Jew. This is wrong and should stop. The French and French officials do it every day. However, there are those who are correcting and saying no, we respect Islam as a religion. If you respect Islam as a religion, you have to change the term “Islamic terrorism” and “Islamic fascism”, and you do not have to follow Trump who uses this kind of terms.

Third, we heard in the past few days that you are objecting that someone in France offended your Prophet. The most important is that some Muslims also offend your Prophet and your Islam. I would like to say here that some Muslims definitely offend Islam and that some Muslims offend the Prophet of Islam, and some commit very, very serious offenses.

And what we have witnessed in the past few years in terms of terrorist acts and crimes, including the demolition of mosques, churches, and historical monuments; the killing of people; the beheadings; the cutting open of chests; and the slaughtering of people like ewes based on their affiliations – foreign media have also promoted and photographed them in the world.

These are major offenses to our religion and our prophet, and we were attacking this and we strongly object to this, but suppose this is correct and not an assumption, if some Muslims offend our Prophet this does not justify you to offend our Prophet, if some of you offend your sanctities, are we allowed to offend your sanctities? This is absolutely no logic, the prophets, the apostles, the religions, the religious symbols, the sanctities of the nations must be respected, even if the followers, the nation or the group come out from within the community who does not perform this respect and exceed this respect.  

These are major offenses to our religion and our prophet, and we attacked this and strongly objected to this. But let us suppose, this is true and not an assumption, that some Muslims are offending our Prophet. This does not justify you to offend our Prophet. If some of you offend your sanctities, are we allowed to offend your sanctities? This is absolutely not logical. Prophets, messengers, religions, religious symbols, and the sanctities of nations must be respected, even if followers, a nation, or a group do not respect them.

Fourth, here I continue to address the French officials and the public. Instead of holding Islam and the Islamic nation responsible for these terrorist acts that are taking place in France, Europe, and other places, let us discuss together your responsibility towards these actions and groups.

Let us go back 10 years, from 2011 onwards – we won’t say 50 years ago – there was a terrorist takfiri ideology that adopted killing just because of ideological, intellectual, sectarian, and political differences. They even committed brutal crimes just because they disagreed with the other about a detail.

You protected this ideology. The Americans, the US administration, the French governments, the European governments, you protected it, you provided it with all the facilities in the world.
People that disagreed with your way of thought faced difficulties in obtaining a visa when they wanted to take part in an activity in your country. But doors were widely opened to those with this [takfiri] ideology and were protected.

You facilitated the presence of these groups that were formed and adopted this ideology in Syria and Iraq. You helped support, arm, and fund them until these groups gained experience and a fighting spirit. Now, you are surprised about a massacre or a beheading?

Where did this begin? Did it start in our region and countries? Who did this? You supported them politically, via the media, and financially. You provided them with international protection and international conferences. You opened borders for them, gave them passports, and facilitated their arrival to the region. Acknowledge your responsibility first and how much responsibility you bear regarding this matter.

I invite you to go back to the 2011-2012 archives where I or many others told this to you, especially to the Europeans – do not be part of this global war against Syria, Iraq and the region; these groups could not penetrate into Lebanon. Do not adopt them. Do not defend these people. Do not facilitate their arrival and do not strengthen them because you will lose this battle, and these groups will turn on you. This ideology will turn on you. These groups and these people will return to your country and will flood them with terror and destruction. 

They will return to your countries and do what they did in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and other countries. On that exact day, we told you, America is far away, and the closest to our region is Europe, and the most serious threat is to Europe and you have to be aware. But you were too proud to listen. You believed that you will win this war, and it is known afterwards where you ended up.

Today, you must also acknowledge your responsibility. Do not blame those who have no responsibility. What is the relationship of the Messenger of Islam, Muhammad bin Abdullah, with these crimes? What is the relationship of his religion, Islam, and the Quran with these crimes? What is the relationship of a nation of two billion Muslims with these crimes?

The people you embraced, protected, nurtured, and brought to your countries are the ones who are responsible. This is what you should reconsider because you are still pursuing these sorts of policies. I will repeat what I said and use the same tone that we used when we were stating our position: We cannot be in a front alongside those who behead, cut chests open, eat livers, and slaughter. 

These were your allies and your groups, and they were protected by you. That is why you – the French, the Europeans, the Americans, and their allies in the region – must reconsider your behavior and methods, including the employment of these takfiri terrorist groups as tools in political projects and wars. You never learn. You did this in Afghanistan, and you paid for it on September 11. You made mistakes and are repeating the same mistakes. The use of these type of groups as tools must stop. Otherwise, you too will be paying the price of these mistakes.

Secondly, the French authorities have put themselves and France and also want to involve all of Europe and the European Union in a battle with Islam and the Muslims for flimsy and sometimes incomprehensible reasons. I will speak from a position of concern and not to score points. What is the reason? Meaning these developments that took place in the past weeks and was clearly shown by the media – an open and clear war in France from the president to the government, from the ministers to the parliament, and from the media to the street. What is the reason? What started this problem? Who assaulted the other? Who offended the other?

This issue began when the sinister French magazine published insulting cartoons of the Prophet of Islam, so Muslims rose up to protest in more than one place in the world. This matter then developed into a series of events, including the killing and beheading of the history professor.

Instead of taking the initiative to deal with this matter, to absorb it, and to have a real and correct attitude towards it – let us wait, not confuse truth with falsehood, not to mix things together; there is a main reason that led to these repercussions – instead of dealing with the repercussions, unfortunately the French authorities declared a war of this kind. They insisted that this is freedom of expression, and we want to continue practicing freedom of expression and the satirical cartoons. This came from the top of the pyramid. Basically, what is the message you are sending to the two billion Muslims in the world?

What are we talking about here? It is not about a political, financial, or economic matter, nor is it a conflict or a battle. We are talking about a matter related to their Prophet, their Messenger, and their Master, whom I spoke about at the beginning and stated what he represents to them. To the French authorities, what deserves this sacrifice?

You took it upon yourselves to protect this battle and adopt it, then you tell us you’ve got values including freedom of speech and that you don’t want to abandon them. Let us discuss this a little. Why did I say at the beginning, we want to speak calmly and objectively? The first discussion is operational and procedural. If it was really this and the way things are in France or in Europe, one could have said that let us see how we can approach the subject from another angle.

However, the issue is not like that. You must first convince the Muslims in the world that this claim is sincere. They do not accept that. This is not an honest claim. This is not a true claim. We have a lot of evidence and examples in France and Europe on practices by authorities that prevent freedom of expression, rather suppress freedom of expression. There are matters that may be less sensitive than a topic related to a prophet two billion people in the world believe in.

In order not to waste all the time, I will give one well-known example because it does not need much explanation. It’s about the French philosopher Roger Garaudy. You can find this example in television archives, documentaries, films, and articles. What the man did was write a book and a study regarding the myths behind the genocide of the Jews, or the so-called Holocaust. He presented a scientific discussion and figures, discussed numbers, wrote an academic scientific study, and spoke about the political exploitation of this incident. To date, Europe, especially Germany, is being blackmailed by international Zionism because of this issue. The man did not curse, insult, mock, or draw satirical cartoons. He did not even touch on Judaism. He only tackled an important and sensitive issue that happened in Europe. What did the French authorities do to this French philosopher?

The judiciary sued him. He was tried and defamed, and he was sentenced to prison. It is possible that because he was very old, they did not implement the sentence. The man was suppressed. Is this freedom of expression? Is this the value you are defending? Yes, it may be said that when the matter affects a certain sect, “Israel”, or the Zionists, then freedom of expression ceases to exist. But when it affects another sect, an entire nation with two billion people and their sanctities, freedom of expression remains absolute.

There are many more examples like Roger Garaudy that one can mention in different occasions, confirming that freedom of expression in France and in Europe is not absolute, but rather it is limited by legal, political, security, and other restrictions.

This claim – that it is an absolute freedom which allows anyone to do whatever they want, for a newspaper or a cartoonist to draw cartoons of the Prophet of Islam, or for someone to make a film mocking the Prophet of Islam – being acceptable is not right. We can give you many more examples. But this is unacceptable.

This means that your battle is now based on a non-existent and non-realistic basis. This is not your reality, and we can come up with a list of how you behave on television, newspapers, magazines, and radio stations because they adopt, for example, certain ideas or broadcast certain programs. This is in the archives. This is first.

The other aspect, which is also important, is the discussion – is it true that you really possess this value in this manner? If we look at it from a humanitarian and moral perspective, is there such a thing as absolute freedom of expression? Meaning, isn’t there a limit? Why does freedom of expression cease to exist when it comes to anti-Semitism? When a person insults, exposes, and attributes lies and crimes to others, is this acceptable? You don’t have a problem with this in France and in Europe? Is it really like this?

Is this true? If a person publishes secrets and documents affecting national security under the rubric of freedom of expression, how do you deal with him? How do America and the West deal with him?

If someone said some things, announced some things, or wrote about matters that may lead to internal strife or a civil war or breach national security, how do you deal with him? Does freedom of expression end when someone’s dignity is on the line?

We wish and demand a reconsideration because this is not a humanitarian value. This is contrary to humanity. This is not a moral value. This is against morals and moral values. Therefore, it must be reconsidered.

I would like to conclude this part and this file. I would like to address the French authorities and tell them, today in the Islamic world no one is looking for new enmities or new battles, and I do not think that two billion Muslims think in this way.

On the contrary, Muslims are working to alleviate enmities in this world and keep the specter of wars away from them and confrontations they always pay the price for. You should think about dealing with this sin and this great mistake that has been committed.

I heard French officials saying that we do not submit to terrorism. It is not required that you submit to terrorism. You are required to fix the mistake, and addressing the mistake is not submitting to terrorism. On the contrary, insisting on a mistake and going into confrontations that do not serve anyone is submitting to terrorism. It is heeding to the demands of terrorism and terrorists who want to blow up all the squares in the world. You must go back to the source and address this mistake. This is not submitting to terrorism.

First of all, you are applying it incorrectly. Apply it correctly. Apply it to Muslims just as you would apply it to non-Muslims. Be fair and be just. Offending our dignities, the dignity of our prophets, and the dignity of our Prophet is something that no Muslim in the world can accept. I would like to clearly tell you – even if the political regimes in the Arab and Islamic world found excuses for their conspiracies, concessions, and betrayals, they will not be able to remain silent and cover up the insults before their people when it comes to offending their holy Prophet who is adored and respected by the people. Therefore, this battle that you insist on fighting is a lost cause.

What will happen to the political and economic interests of France and the French people as well as its relations with the peoples of the Islamic world if it continues on this path? This matter must be addressed, and you can find a solution for it. 

I conclude by saying that instead of dealing with the repercussions and mobilizing more soldiers and security services to prevent terrorist operations of this kind, address the root of the problem. Stop the excuses and treat the root of the problem. Do not allow this mockery, this aggression, and this insult to continue, then the whole world will stand with you.

In any case, terrorist acts are condemned as I said at the beginning, but it is your responsibility and everyone’s responsibility to address matters from their roots.

Here, it is possible to consider His Eminence the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar’s proposal that calls for an international legislation to prohibit this type of action which concerns Muslims and the Islamic nation. The same or similar wording can be adopted. For example, we can talk about adopting international legislation criminalizing the act of insulting the prophets and messengers, insulting divine religions, or insulting the sanctities of nations. Any form of this kind.

Of course, if an international legislation of this kind is adopted, this will form a legal ruler over freedom of expression and will create a way out for the French government and for all other governments that claim to preserve freedom of expression as being part of their values and laws.

A solution to this matter must be found. The world does not need any more problems, confrontations, and wars. It is not permissible to push the world and its people, especially our Islamic nation and the European countries that such positions, into confrontations and wars of this kind for the sake of trivial, absurd claims that lack any humane, moral, and legal grounds. The responsibility of dealing with it today lies primarily on the French authorities, and everyone must cooperate to address this file and put an end to this strife.
This was the first file. In the context of marking the birth of the noble Prophet and the massive crowds we saw yesterday in Yemen’s Sana’a and in a number of Yemeni cities and governorates, one cannot help but take note of this scene and its indications.

Despite the devastating war – when we say war, that means there is killing, wounding, displacement, and destruction of buildings that is now in its sixth year – despite the blockade, the starvation, difficult living conditions, outbreaks and diseases, and despite all these difficult circumstances, we find the masses gathering in Yemeni cities. For what? To commemorate the birth of the Messenger of God and to defend him. I would like to talk about this topic for a few minutes. 

In Lebanon and elsewhere, we know what it means when a country is in a state of war. There is the possibility of an aerial bombardment at any moment, and the aggression does not hesitate to kill civilians including men, women and children. Despite all the security, health, and environmental dangers as well as the state of war, these people come out to express their deep faith in the Messenger of God, their great love for the Messenger of God, and their unparalleled willingness to defend the dignity and honor of the Messenger of God. Is this not a sign, a strong message that all people must take note of?

First and foremost, I call on Muslims in the world who believe in this Prophet, respect, and adore him to take note of what we saw yesterday in Yemen. These people chant for hours, repeat songs and slogans, and listen to their dear leader, His Eminence Sayyed Abdul Malik Al Houthi, as he explained and clarified. In the conclusion, he affirmed that they stood firmly and categorically by the Palestinian cause and alongside the Palestinian people.

Take a look. The besieged Yemenis, the strangers in this world today, the ones being attacked, those who are fighting diseases, hunger, blockade, and all difficult circumstances do not resort to any excuse to abandon Palestine, the Palestinian cause, or the Palestinian people. They declare their determination and adherence to Palestine and the Palestinian cause and their defense of the Palestinian people.

In return, there are those who have luxury and affluence, those who are immersed in the pleasures of the world, who did not engage in a war with the “Israeli” enemy in the first place rush to abandon Palestine, recognize “Israel” and normalize with it. Is this not a divine argument?

They affirmed that they will stand by the countries, people, resistance movements, and the axis of resistance in the face of American and Zionist projects, even though they are in dire need for the world to stand beside them and defend them. Muslims and all peoples of our Arab and Islamic region and the world should retake note of what we saw and heard yesterday.

They should take note of it with a humanitarian, ethical, and religious background. I tell you today this is a new, divine, religious argument on all Arab and Islamic scholars, officials, leaders, elites and people all over the world. It is a new, divine argument for them to break their silence. Those who support this American-Saudi-Emirati and unfortunately, Sudanese aggression against the people of Yemen must withdraw this support.

And those who are still silent about this daily crime should break their silence. A large and powerful wave and movement must be formed in the Arab and Islamic worlds to put pressure on those leaders, the leaders of the aggression who insist on continuing the aggression and the war. This is the least thing we can do to show loyalty to them – the people of knowledge, the people who adore the Messenger of God, and the people defending the Messenger of God [PBUH].

It is time for this unjust and criminal war to stop. The greatest and most urgent duty today is to work on ending this war. The greatest thing a Muslim can offer on these days to the Messenger of God is to stand by those who deeply believe in him, those who love him with affection, those who defend him with their souls, blood, money, and children. This is also in the context of the commemoration.

Time is over. I, in fact, wanted to talk a little about the topic of normalization in the region, the land border demarcation negotiations with occupied Palestine, the security situation at the southern Lebanese border with occupied Palestine, the “Israeli” military maneuvers, and the general situation in Lebanon. But considering that the first file took a lot of the time allotted, God willing, I will deliver a speech on Martyrs’ Day on 11-11, the day commemorating Hezbollah’s martyr. Therefore, I will postpone these topics. I will only talk about the formation of the government in Lebanon.

Of course, we hope that the Prime Minister-designate, in cooperation and understanding with His Excellency the President of the Republic and in cooperation with the rest of the parliamentary blocs, will be able to form a new Lebanese government as soon as possible. Of course, everyone knows that the financial, economic, and social conditions in Lebanon cannot be managed and addressed without a government with legal powers. The caretaker government cannot continue, so we carry this hope.

Our data indicate that the atmosphere is reasonable, positive, and good. We do not want to exaggerate the positivity, but the atmosphere is reasonable. We will cooperate from our part and will facilitate in whatever way we can, God willing.

Much of what is reported in the media and in articles is not true. Some are not accurate, while others are baseless, especially with regard to our approach to forming the government.

God willing, we are positive, and we will remain positive. We will provide whatever help we can to aid the concerned officials in forming the government as soon as possible. We will not spare any effort in this regard, God willing, especially now. This is the real challenge.

Regarding the anniversary of the October 17 movement, what was awaiting the country, and what some people were expecting, God willing, if there was time, we will talk about it later.

It’s not the time to engage in disputes and quarrels. It’s time for understanding, cooperation, and openness to form a government, God willing.

I want to conclude by mentioning the dangerous rise in coronavirus cases. Now, we are recording 2000 cases. This is a very dangerous thing. At the beginning, people used to complain when the numbers hit the 60, 70, or 100 mark. Now, the numbers are hitting 1600 and 1800 cases, and we will be nearing 2000. You know the situation of the hospitals. The death toll is rising day by day, and it seems that many people have become accustomed to this situation and are coexisting with it.

I repeat and say that negligence is inhumane, immoral, and illegal. In the religious sense, it is a sin, and it is haram.

There are countries in the world today -since we were talking about France- that are heading into lockdowns, the same in Germany, in Spain, and in Italy. The Americans cannot see in front of them – there are 80 thousand or 90 thousand cases. Some people in the world are going mad, while others are opting for new measures.

We cannot continue in this way in Lebanon. It is not a matter of the Health Ministry, but rather the whole government, the whole country, scholars, religious authorities, political leaders, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, parents, brothers, sisters. It is a humanitarian responsibility that concerns everyone. Everyone should wear masks, adhere to social distancing, and sanitize. These measures reduce the dangers of getting infected. Lockdowns that cause people to lose their jobs and starve are not the only solution. Coexistence is possible by adhering to the measures.

I would like to call on people once again and I will never tire because it is my legal, moral, religious, and humanitarian responsibility as well as the responsibility of each and every one of us to commit while we call on others to commit [to the health measures]. Otherwise, we are heading towards a very dangerous path at the health level that requires a major cry in the country and dissatisfaction with the existing reality.

I ask God to protect everyone, heal everyone, and guard everyone with his eye that does not sleep. Once again, I congratulate you on the birth of the Master of Messengers and the Seal of the Prophets Abi Al-Qassem Muhammad bin Abdullah. I ask God to make us among those who believe in him, his lovers, and those who are following on his path and are committed to his teachings. May He grant us his intercession on the Day of Resurrection and put us with him and never separate us from him in this life and in the Hereafter. May He allow us to mark this occasion again with goodness, blessing, victory, peace, and health. Many happy returns. Peace and Allah’s mercy be upon you.

Suspension of Corbyn will define Starmer as Iraq defined Blair

Source

David Hearst

2 November 2020 17:54 UTC |

David Hearst is the editor in chief of Middle East Eye. He left The Guardian as its chief foreign leader writer. In a career spanning 29 years, he covered the Brighton bomb, the miner’s strike, the loyalist backlash in the wake of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in Northern Ireland, the first conflicts in the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in Slovenia and Croatia, the end of the Soviet Union, Chechnya, and the bushfire wars that accompanied it. He charted Boris Yeltsin’s moral and physical decline and the conditions which created the rise of Putin. After Ireland, he was appointed Europe correspondent for Guardian Europe, then joined the Moscow bureau in 1992, before becoming bureau chief in 1994. He left Russia in 1997 to join the foreign desk, became European editor and then associate foreign editor. He joined The Guardian from The Scotsman, where he worked as education correspondent.

Keir Starmer’s silence on Palestine and his treatment of his predecessor have set the Labour leader on a collision course with many within his own party

Keir Starmer (L) with Jeremy Corbyn at a press conference in London in December 2019 (AFP)


One of the lesser known aspects of Keir Starmer’s assault on the left of his party since becoming Labour leader is his growing silence on Palestine.

Silencing the Palestinian lobby in Britain has always been a goal of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, which has gone to some lengths to condition debate inside the Labour Party on Israel.

In 2017, an Al Jazeera documentary exposed the efforts of the ministry’s man in London, Shai Masot, to start a youth wing in the Labour Party. Masot was also filmed by an undercover reporter saying he wanted to “take down” government ministers and MPs considered to be causing “problems” for Israel.

Silencing the Palestinian lobby in Britain has always been a goal of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, which has gone to some lengths to condition debate inside the Labour Party on Israel

When Masot was rumbled and expelled, a continuous feed of Jeremy Corbyn’s meetings as a backbench MP with Palestinians, dating back in some cases over a decade, was created to stoke the furore over the then-Labour leader.

This feed was doctored.

When Corbyn met three Hamas politicians whose Jerusalem IDs had been revoked and had staged a sit-in a tent in the grounds of the Red Cross (this was a cause celebre at the time and many Israelis went to show solidarity with the case), the presence of a second Labour MP, Andy Slaughter, who is not a Corbyn ally but is pro-Palestinian, was excised from British reports.

However, a picture of Slaughter appeared in Israeli news channel i24’s exclusive of “Corbyn’s secret visit” in its report in 2018, which was eight years after the MPs’ visit took place in November 2010. 

Role of Shin Bet

The precise details of Corbyn’s visit to Israel in 2010, including who was on it, who arranged it and who they met, were monitored and logged by Israel’s domestic security service, Shin Bet.

When these visits were over, Shin Bet invited Corbyn’s local fixer in for what turned out to be five hours of questioning in a police station in Haifa.

Shin Bet told her they were relaxed about her charity work for the Palestinian cause, but would not tolerate her campaigning inside the Houses of Parliament in the UK.EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Corbyn questions impartiality of EHRC antisemitism inquiry

If she did not heed the warning, she would spend the rest of her days in prison as an enemy of the state. Her lawyer told her that such a charge could indeed be fabricated against her and that an Israeli court would send her to prison if this happened. She is an Israeli citizen.

At the very least, the warnings given to Corbyn’s fixer confirm that Israel’s security services had set their sights on the MP at least five years before he became Labour leader and long before antisemitism in Labour became a newsworthy issue.

Nobody in the Labour Party was bothered with Corbyn’s travels, which certainly were not secret. He was a backbencher on the fringes of the party. Only Shin Bet took note.

The smear campaign has been wonderfully effective. Of course, many groups joined in for different reasons, including people indifferent to the conflict in Palestine who had shown no past interest in it.

The compromising material of Corbyn’s past contacts would have had no purchase had there not been a determination within the Parliamentary Labour Party and at Labour headquarters to stop Corbyn at all costs. But taken together, it worked.

A poll conducted by Survation last year asked member of the British public who were aware of antisemitism in Labour what percentage of party members had complaints against them.

Their mean average reply was 34 percent. The real figure is a fraction of one percent. The perception of antisemitism was over 300 times the reality in Corbyn’s party.

Palestine lost

Since becoming leader, Keir Starmer has avoided contact with Palestinian leaders, either in Israel or in Britain.

Starmer has had two opportunities to engage.

On 26 June this year, 15 members of the Knesset who comprise the Joint List wrote to all party leaders in Britain to urge them to “actively oppose” attempts by Israel to annex territory unilaterally.Israel’s Joint List urges British political parties to oppose annexation

The Joint List, the main coalition representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, is the third largest group of MKs in the parliament. The letter was sent by Yousef Jabareen, the head of the Joint List’s international committee.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson instructed one of his ministers, James Cleverly, minister of state for the Middle East and North Africa, to reply.

“We continue to urge Israel not to take these steps. The prime minister has conveyed the UK’s opposition to unilateral annexation to Prime Minister Netanyahu on multiple occasions,” Cleverly wrote.

Starmer did not reply, and still has not replied. Jabareen received an automated reply from Starmer’s office, telling him that he receives hundreds of emails each day.

On 16 September, a group of leading British Palestinians, many of whom were members of Labour, but some not, wrote an open letter to the Labour Party insisting on “the right of Palestinians to accurately describe our experiences of dispossession and oppression” and rejecting Labour’s attempts to conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism.

The letter was accompanied by emails to Starmer to set up a meeting. They were told that Starmer was too busy to meet them. They were referred to Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary, who also declined to meet them.

A ‘dressing down’

However when Stephen Kinnock, who comes from the right wing of the party and is a bitter critic of Corbyn, called in a parliamentary debate for the UK to “ban all products that originate from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories”, Nandy found the time to intervene.

Nandy told the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council – according to a source quoted by MailOnline – that Kinnock, a consistent and long-standing critic of Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians, had been given a “dressing down” for his remarks made during the Commons debate.

Starmer’s sole intervention in this debate occurred when he was asked by Jewish News about sanctions and he stressed the need instead to maintain a ‘strong working relationship with Israel’

“Lisa made no secret of the fact she and the leader were angry with Kinnock,” the source is quoted as saying.

“Especially after all the work that has been done to try and restore Labour’s relationship with the Jewish community.”

Starmer was said to be “infuriated”.

Nandy herself proposed a ban on the import of goods from illegal settlements in the West Bank, but only if Israel pressed ahead with annexation.

Starmer’s sole intervention in this debate occurred when he was asked by Jewish News about sanctions and he stressed the need instead to maintain a “strong working relationship with Israel”.

Starmer said: “I don’t agree with annexation and I don’t think it’s good for security in the region, and I think it’s very important that we say that.

“Whether sanctions follow is another matter but at the moment let’s resolve this in the proper way. But this is not good for security in the region. That should be a paramount consideration.

When pressed further, he added: “There needs to be a strong working relationship where we are able to exchange views frankly, as you would with an ally and on some of these issues, a frank exchange is what we most need, I think.”

Labour’s history

This Monday marks 103 years since the Balfour Declaration committed British governments to support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

The 1917 document predates Labour’s emergence as a political force in the years after World War One, but the party has a history of its own in the Middle East which no leader can ignore.Jeremy Corbyn suspended from Labour following antisemitism report

In 1944, when the territory of Palestine was still under British control, its national executive committee authored a motion, passed by conference, which read: “Palestine surely is a case, on human grounds and to promote a stable settlement, for transfer of population. Let the Arabs be encouraged to move out, as the Jews move in. Let them be compensated handsomely for their land and let their settlement elsewhere be carefully organised and generously financed.”

But it has history more recent than that.

The suspension of Corbyn after the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into antisemitism last week contrasts with Corbyn’s treatment of Tony Blair, who as a former Labour prime minister was excoriated by the 2016 Chilcot Report over his decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

John Chilcot, a former senior diplomat, eviscerated Blair, stopping short of accusing him of lying to parliament.

Chilcot said that at the time of the invasion, Saddam Hussein “posed no imminent threat” and revealed a private note that Blair sent to Bush in July 2002 which read: “I will be with you, whatever.”

In a two-hour press conference following the publication of the report, Blair was unrepentant. “I believe we made the right decision and the world is better and safer,” he declared.

He argued that he had acted in good faith, based on intelligence at the time which said that Iraq’s president had weapons of mass destruction. This “turned out to be wrong”.

Corbyn’s suspension

Corbyn offered a total apology on behalf of the party for the decision to invade Iraq.

He said: “So I now apologise sincerely on behalf of my party for the disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq in March 2003. That apology is owed first of all to the people of Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and the country is still living with the devastating consequences of the war and the forces it unleashed. They have paid the greatest price for the most serious foreign policy calamity of the last 60 years.”

He went on: “The apology is also owed to the families of those soldiers who died in Iraq or who have returned home injured or incapacitated. They did their duty but it was in a conflict they should never have been sent to.”

Corbyn appeared as if he was defying the leadership, even though at the time he spoke, he had no idea what Starmer would say on a key point that defined their dispute

Blair at the time was just a member of the party, in the same situation as Corbyn was last week.

Corbyn, however, did not suspend Blair for not apologising and uttering words which went against the party line.

Instead, the opposite was happening. The “party of war” within the Parliamentary Labour Party went on the offensive against the leadership.

MPs who had backed the Iraq war, and consistently voted against inquiries into it, went after Corbyn.

Of the 71 MPs who voted no confidence in Corbyn in 2016 and who had been in parliament in 2003, 92 percent had voted in favour of the Iraq war and seven against.

In justifying his action to suspend Corbyn, Starmer said that the former leader had defied his response to the EHRC report, which condemned anyone trying to claim that antisemitism had been exaggerated for political reasons.

The night before the report was published, Starmer phoned Corbyn to say he would not be condemning him by name in his statement of reply to the EHRC report. Corbyn and his team repeatedly asked Starmer what he would say in his statement. Starmer said he would send them his lines.

Angela Rayner, the deputy leader, also promised Corbyn’s team that she would send them the lines of Starmer’s statement. Both failed to do so. The reactions of the two men were thus set on collision course.

Corbyn appeared as if he was defying the leadership, even though at the time he spoke, he had no idea what Starmer would say on a key point that defined their dispute.

Corbyn subsequently failed to back down, but one possibility is that Starmer’s team knew what Corbyn would say, while Corbyn himself was kept in the dark until it was too late.

The left bites back

Corbyn did not defend himself against allegations that he tolerated antisemitism or that he himself was an antisemite, claims that are still being made today. To the extent that he let this campaign run unchallenged in the High Court, he himself is responsible.

Quite apart from the fate of Corbyn, support for Palestine is much greater in the party than Starmer is comfortable with. Palestine, which he knows about much less than Corbyn, is his blindspot

On the day Corbyn was suspended, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, the original complainant in the EHRC investigation, wrote to Starmer and David Evans, the general secretary, demanding investigations into 32 members of the Labour Party, including Angela Rayner, Starmer’s current deputy, and 10 other MPs. 

In response, seven trade unions affiliated to the Labour Party and one which backed Starmer as candidate, published a statement expressing “serious concern” about the manner and rationale for Corbyn’s suspension, suggesting it had undermined party unity and democratic processes.

Far from being his “Clause 4” moment – the issue that Tony Blair used to define New Labour by dropping the party’s historic commitment to state ownership of key industries – the suspension of Corbyn could define Starmer’s leadership in the same way that Blair’s decision to invade Iraq has cast a shadow over everything a man elected three times as prime minister did. The ghosts of Iraq follow Blair around to this day.

Quite apart from the fate of Corbyn, support for Palestine is much greater in the party than Starmer is comfortable with. Palestine, which he knows about much less than Corbyn, is his blindspot.

Unless Corbyn is reinstated quickly, the decision to suspend him from the party could prove to be a permanent and defining stain on Starmer’s leadership.

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

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