Facebook Hires NATO Press Officer Ben Nimmo as Intelligence Chief

By Alan Macleod

Source

Ben Nimmo

Ben Nimmo, a former NATO press officer and current senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, has announced Facebook has hired him to “lead global threat intelligence strategy against influence operations” and “emerging threats.” Nimmo specifically named Russia, Iran and China as potential dangers to the platform.

His announcement was greeted with joy by several NATO officials but was not met with such enthusiasm by others. “More censorship on the way as the former NATO press officer turned Pentagon-funded ‘researcher’ who labeled real people as Russian bots and peddled disinformation to link Jeremy Corbyn to Russian active measures moves to big tech,” responded investigative journalist Max Blumenthal.

Nimmo’s questionable past certainly raises questions over whether such an official having a substantial say in what 2.8 billion Facebook users worldwide see in their feeds is such a positive step for the free and open exchange of information.

“Disinformation agents”

For example, in 2019, U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn revealed secret Conservative Party documents showing negotiations the Tory government had with the U.S. over the privatization of the National Health Service (NHS). With just days to go before the U.K. general election, the scandal could have toppled the government and brought into power the most radical antiwar, anti-establishment government in the country’s history. Corporate media went into overdrive to spin the news, and Nimmo was a key part of this, immediately announcing, without evidence, that the documents “closely resemble…a known Russian operation.” His supposedly expert conjecture allowed the story to become “Corbyn’s links to Russia” rather than “Tories privatizing the NHS in secret.” Nimmo’s work helped the Conservatives to an election victory and consigned Corbyn to the scrapheap.

This was much to the relief of Nimmo’s Atlantic Council, who had branded Corbyn the “Kremlin’s Trojan Horse” — someone pushing Moscow’s agenda abroad. A British Army general was of a similar opinion, claiming that if Corbyn were to win the election, the military would respond. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said that the U.S. government was “doing its best” to prevent a radical leftist from winning power in the U.K.

Nimmo has been extremely liberal with whom he labels Russian disinformation agents. In 2018, his research identified one Twitter user, @Ian56789, as a “Kremlin troll.” In reality, the user, Ian Shilling, was a British pensioner, as Sky News was easily able to confirm, interviewing him on air and asking him the patently absurd question if he was actually a Russian bot or not. Despite clearly being a flesh and blood human, Shilling’s account was later deleted anyway.

In the past, Nimmo has also insisted that Ruslana Boshirova was an influential Russian bot. In reality, she is an internationally known concert pianist, as one Google search would have shown. This sort of behavior does not augur well for those critical of Western foreign policy, who have faced constant harassment, suspension, or outright bans from social media.

Pro-war putsch

The Atlantic Council began as an offshoot of NATO itself and maintains extremely close connections to the military alliance. It continues to receive major funding from Western governments and weapons contractors, and its board of directors is filled to the brim with senior American statespersons, such as Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Henry Kissinger. Also appearing on the board are no fewer than seven former CIA directors and a number of top military generals, such as Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis, Wesley Clark, and David Petraeus.

In recent years, the council’s employees have penetrated deep into big tech and social media organizations. In 2018, it announced it had partnered with Facebook to aid in the curation of Facebook news feeds of users worldwide, giving it considerable power over what sort of views to highlight and which to demote. One year previously, Jessica Ashooh left the position of the council’s Deputy Director of Middle Eastern Strategy to take the position of Director of Policy at Reddit, the eighth-most visited website in the United States. However, as with many intelligence agencies, it is unclear whether one truly “leaves” the Atlantic Council.

It is not just Russia that is in NATO’s crosshairs. Last week, the Atlantic Council published an anonymous, 26,000-word report stating that their goal for China was regime change and advising President Biden to draw a number of “red lines” around it, beyond which the U.S. would respond militarily. Meanwhile, the head of STRATCOM, Admiral Charles A. Richard, wrote that the U.S. must prepare for a potential nuclear war with Beijing.

Greater control

The military escalation has been mirrored by an intensifying online propaganda war, where the U.S. has attempted to isolate China economically and stop advancing Chinese technologies such as Huawei’s 5G network, mobile phone, and semiconductor manufacturer Xiaomi, and video sharing app TikTok. Nimmo has played his part in ramping up suspicions of nefarious Chinese activity online, claiming the existence of a wide-ranging pro-Beijing bot network encouraging Americans to believe that China has handled the COVID-19 pandemic far better than the United States. That Americans might have come to that conclusion on their own appears not to have been considered.

There is an enormous government effort to convince its population of the existence of (foreign) government efforts to manipulate their opinions online. In a massive case of projection, Western governmental organizations point the finger at their enemies, all the while securing greater access and control over the means of communication themselves, to the point where it is now difficult to distinguish where the deep state ends and the fourth estate begins. Nimmo’s move from NATO to NATO-aligned think tank to Facebook is just another example of this phenomenon. Perhaps the reason Nimmo is not looking for any Western influence operations online is that he is part of one.

‘Times are a Changing’: Launch of Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace & Justice Project

British politician Jeremy Corbyn. (Photo: File)

By Ronnie Kasrils

I salute Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace & Justice initiative which could not be more timely, and I am proud to be part of it.

We live in troubled times: the raging pandemic, rise of neo-fascist forces; the rapacious neoliberal global system.

For so many, survival against war, police brutality, starvation, disease, collapsing economies, refugee camps, is the stark reality.

All of this is compounded by the climate crisis; environmental pollution; collapse of food and water security.

The pandemic has exposed to the light of day too often hidden or denied chasms of inequality both within and between nations and peoples around the world — both in the disproportionate impact on the poorest, most vulnerable, people of color, in getting the virus, and especially in the inequities of access to the vaccine.

The rich grow obscenely richer, the poor grow poorer. Less than one percent owning more than half the world’s population.

Yet “the times are a changing”; Bob Dylan sang at the time of the civil rights and anti-colonial liberation struggles; and the melody continues to rhyme with history – reflected to this day by the pressure of billions across the planet demanding a better life.

Two centuries ago the poet Shelley wrote in the wake of the Peterloo massacre you are the many they are the few”.

Not long after, Marx and Engels pointed to the consequences of the increasing concentration of the means of production and wealth in fewer and fewer hands. Then, as now, the challenge was to understand the world in order to change it.

To do that we must not ignore the repercussions of colonial conquest as a prelude to the rise of the capitalist era.

The hangover of that colonial past exists: in power relations between peoples and nations; between global north and south; in the neo-colonial masquerade of the Bolsonaro’s, Modi’s and El Sisi’s trying to subvert progress.

Progress such as the Black Lives Matter movement, which is energized not only by revolt against police crimes but to overturn the weight and consequence of centuries of slavery, white supremacy and inequality.

Struggle for change, as ever, requires an understanding of the material conditions of political and economic life, to avoid reductionism into identity politics and racial or gender essentialism, at the expense of class-conscious clarity.

Likewise, loser Trump’s rage and the mob that attacked the Capitol building are a consequence of America’s past, and symptomatic of the frustration of white supremacists whose psychosis, as in the 1930s, is stoked by demagogues.

Enormous irony is seen in the double standards of the “Free World”. On the one hand: unbelievable shock that the USA’s seat of democracy has been assaulted. On the other: the sanguine promotion of military intervention, neo-colonial coups, punitive sanctions abroad in the name of that democracy.

To control the Middle East, Israel – a colonizing project – receives massive US military and financial aid. Disregard for Palestinian rights is reflected in Trump’s Deal of the Century and the so-called “normalization” between Israel and corrupt Arab fiefdoms.

If Biden is to commit to democracy, he must quit the double standards of previous administrations and apply the visions of a Franklin D Roosevelt and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Biden needs to apply and significantly extend a “New Deal” project which in FDR’s day cut black Americans short; he must commit to world peace in recognition of the national and human rights of all peoples; uphold international law under the writ of the United Nations – an institution whose authority the US has systematically undermined.

And as King’s birthday is commemorated this weekend, Biden needs to note King’s most important speech – “Beyond Vietnam” which described the US government as the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world”, and crucially identified the three interlocking evils that must be challenged – systemic racism, poverty, and militarism.

For the Corbyn Project to succeed it must become an international champion, furthering both FDR and King’s visions – and connect with movements for peace and justice throughout the world.

From the multitude that filled the streets opposing the invasion of Iraq, to the Arab Spring and BLM rebellion; waves of protest are signaling a new dawn. In India alone, over 250 million participated in strikes and protests last year. We must spare no effort in making this rising tsunami unstoppable.

And if we wish to talk about courage under fire, note the men, women and children of Palestine, facing the bombs and bullets of the Israeli Defense Force in their peaceful protests, refusing to submit.

Like others around the world, we South Africans have developed a vibrant civil society, with grassroots movements, encouraging our and all governments to act decisively in tackling the fault lines of the 21st Century, as we did in the struggle against Apartheid in the previous century:

For people’s involvement in the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine and global vaccine equality;

For the protection of the eco-system and food security through a Climate Justice Charter and Global Food Sovereignty Agenda;

For a global anti-racist, anti-war, pro-peace platform. Together we must defeat a second coming of fascism – for in Berthold Brecht’s words (referring a system, not the gender) – “The beast is on heat again.”

No Pasaran! They shall not pass. This is a time when, in Seamus Heaney’s words, “hope and history rhyme.” Through people’s power, in unity, action, and international solidarity, we will win. For people and the planet. For the many, not the few!

– 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.

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

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.

Being ‘Chosen’ vs. Being ‘Ordinary’ in 2020s America

 BY GILAD ATZMON

choseness vs ordinary .jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

America is divided and the rupture is so deep that Americans can’t even see across that which splits them in the middle. If there was a hope at one point that someone could unite the nation, this hope has faded away. In fact, the American mainstream media works relentlessly to sustain that cultural and even metaphysical separation. It is reasonable to determine that rather than delivering something that resembles news, the American media operates as propaganda outlets. Like in the Soviet Union, American mainstream media manufactures stories that sustain premeditated narratives.  The commitment to impartiality, truthfulness, honesty or any journalistic standard has been replaced with blind adherence to a ‘party line,’ an ‘ideology,’ a ‘worldview.’

 On one side of that dividing line we find the so-called ‘progressives’: ‘liberals’ and Identitarians who are largely associated with cities and the urban lifestyle. On the other side we find people who are conservative, nationalist and patriotic. More than often, they are slightly removed and even repulsed by urban culture.

 It doesn’t take a genius to gather that the progressive worldview is, in fact a celebration of choseness (exceptionalism). To be ‘progressive’ is to believe that someone else must be ‘reactionary.’ To be progressive is practically a severe form of self-love. As such, progressives and liberals do believe themselves to be on the right side of history and this belief legitimises their conduct, which often verges on hardcore authoritarianism. After all, ‘reason,’ progressives believe, is embedded in the core of their liberal perception.

 ‘Ordinary’ people, on the other hand, do not deny or refute reason. They just accept that reason is merely one aspect of the human existence. To be ‘ordinary’ is to acknowledge that ‘Being’ is prior to reason. Unlike the liberal and the progressive who adheres to the Cartesian Cogito, Ergo Sum; ‘I think therefore I am,’ the ‘ordinary’ accepts that you actually ‘think because you are’ (Heidegger). But it goes further: to be ‘ordinary’ is to accept that you actually ‘are where you do not think’ (Lacan).  To be ‘ordinary’ is to let the unconscious guide you to safety. To be ‘ordinary’, as such, is to accept that ‘Being’ proceeds rationality, to acknowledge that ‘Being in the World,’ transcends beyond reason and rationality. Thus, true existential understanding is when rationality comes to terms with its boundaries.  And ecstasies, as the ultimate form of existential celebration is the instant in which the reason lets off its guards and the soul is finally free to explore its true nature.   

 While the ‘chosen’ sees oneself as the shiniest product of enlightenment, the ‘ordinary’ is often unimpressed by the enlightenment and its ‘achievements.’  For the ‘ordinary’, family values, the church, the commitment to the soil and even ‘love’ as a thing in itself do not beg for rational ‘explanations’ or analytical explorations. The ‘ordinary’ does not see oneself as the ruler of the universe. The ‘ordinary’ is instead a humble visitor: he or she embraces the climate and accepts its changes. The ordinary people also seem slightly less fearful of ‘global pandemics.’ They are often made of combatant fabric and like soldiers they accept that temporality is inherent to existence.

People may oppose and mock Donald Trump for understandable reasons, but no one can deny the fact that Trump contributed more than anyone else to emphasise this sharp and unbridgeable divide between the ‘chosen’ and the ‘ordinary.’

 Trump appeared on the world’s political stage when it seemed as if the liberal agenda had prevailed. Trump’s presidential victory in 2016 revealed that half of the American people weren’t sure about the plan to ‘revise’ the ‘World Order’. Four years later, the battle zone is fully transparent. On November 3, 2020 Trump and the Republican Party were destined to disappear electorally. Many pollsters promised us a Biden/Democratic ‘landslide victory.’ This didn’t happen. The Democratic party lost seats in the house. The Republicans gained them. And if this is not bad enough, Trump increased his raw vote tally considerably, growing stronger within diverse community segments that are traditionally associated with the Democratic party. Judging by the election results, many people actually prefer to be ‘ordinary.’   

 A legal battle is taking place at the moment over issues to do with the integrity of the November election. The American Progressive media pretends that this battle isn’t taking place. While Trump’s legal team fights in the swing states not one American liberal mainstream outlet is brave enough to admit that half of America has drifted away to alternative outlets. In just a matter of days those outlets increased their ratings significantly. The ‘ordinary’ doesn’t buy into the ‘chosen’ narrative. He and she actually prefer an ordinary tale.

 And yet, it is important to grasp the role of Trump in all of this. How did this real estate tycoon emerge to become the voice of America’s Working Class? How is it possible that the Democratic Party, once upon a time the voice of working America, has become the mercenary force of Wall Street and Silicon Valley while the Republicans are now the voice of the Ordinary people and working Americans? Trump provides an answer. 

 Peculiarly enough, Trump is that which Bernie and Corbyn pretended to be but never were. Trump, himself, an exemplary ‘chosen’ character has become the favorite of the ‘ordinary.’ Trump’s communication is existentially driven. The man has managed to excite tens of millions of voters shaking his behindto the music of YMCA. As opposed to the rationalist enlightened ‘chosen’ who searches for the reasoning that connects words to meanings, the ‘ordinary’, reacts to the deafening silence between the words. Trump is a master of that deafening silence. He knows how to articulate his massage in between words. I assume Trump has never read Lacan, but he understands very well the role of the unconscious: you ARE where you do not think. You are your guts.

  That which progressives and liberals hate about Trump is exactly what more than 74 million American voters love about the man. Liberals and progressives see Trump as a reckless, failed businessman with a trail of bankruptcies and (pandemic) deaths behind him. Yet, for his admirers, these facts make Trump into an Übermensch, a resilient human hero who prevails against all odds. Like some military figures such as MacArthur, Patton, Sharon and historical state leaders such as Hitler, Stalin and Churchill, Trump, throughout his entire adult life, has been willing to risk everything to win a battle or fulfil a dream. Like the above historical figures, Trump manages to drive his troops into ecstasy yet, unlike many of them, Trump didn’t start a single war. ‘Ordinary’ people appreciate this fact as it is often them who send their sons and daughters to fight and die in the so-called ‘American wars.’

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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/

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.”

“Sin Begets Sin:” The Fall of Jeremy Corbyn Will be Felt Around the World

By Miko Peled

Source

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party have finally succumbed to pressure from Zionist organizations in the UK in a move with enormous international ramifications.

There can be little doubt that the ousting of Jeremy Corbyn from the UK Labour Party was the result of a well-planned strategy by a coalition of Zionist organizations, which includes the state of Israel’s own Ministry of Strategic Affairs. And while Corbyn is undoubtedly not anti-semitic, nor racist in way shape, or form, he made one colossal strategic mistake. He did not fight the Zionist propaganda levied against him nor did he fight the outrageous accusations of anti-semitism that were laid upon him and so many other good hard-working anti-racist members of his Party.

The IHRA

Israel is a racist, violent state that peddles enormous amounts of sophisticated weapons to the darkest regimes on earth. It holds thousands of political prisoners, denies people water, medical care, food, and even the basic most freedoms, simply because they are Palestinian.

In order to shield the country from those who would expose that racism and violence, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, or IHRA, created what it calls a working definition of anti-semitism. It is a new definition that exists to protect Israel from its critics.

The question that immediately comes to mind is what was wrong with the “old” definition of anti-semitism which defined anti-semitism as racism against Jews. The answer: It was not broad enough to include Israel or Zionism. Since Israel is a major violator of international law and human rights and has been so from its inception in 1948, it needed some sort of blanket protection that would shield it and paint its crimes as protection of Jews. It also needed a tool that would allow it to attack its critics by weaponizing the term anti-semitism.

In an attempt to conflate anti-semitism (or racism) with criticism and rejection of Zionism, which itself is a racist ideology, the IHRA released its “working definition of antisemitism.” That definition is a rather sophisticated mechanism that provides blanket protection for Israeli government crimes. If rejecting Zionism is anti-semitism, as the new definition claims, then all of Israel’s critics can be labeled racists, and the so-called “Jewish state,” can claim to be a victim of racism.

How to silence a conversation

The following portions of the IHRA’s new definition touch on the state of Israel itself. They are written in a way that places anyone who rejects their premise on the “wrong” side of the issue. The problem is never the issue, but rather pointing it out. Here are a few examples.

Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.“

This definition does not actually address Holocaust denial as one might think. The issue here is that Israel partisans have their own version of what took place during the Holocaust and do not want it to be challenged.

According to the Zionist version of events, the creation of the state of Israel was the answer to the Holocaust, even though the majority of Holocaust survivors initially chose not to go to the nascent state and many rejected Zionist ideology altogether. Israel’s backers also want to associate Palestinian resistance with Nazis and to conflate Palestinians rejection of its right to exist on their land with the Nazi desire to eliminate the Jewish people.

Israel’s apologists also want to silence any conversation about the Holocaust that they are not comfortable with. Rescue efforts attempted by non-Zionist Jewish organizations in the wake of the Holocaust were ultimately foiled by Zionist groups and discussing the topic often sparks accusations of anti-semitism. Interestingly, most, if not all of the Jewish people I have spoken to whose families perished in the Holocaust see no problem debating these issues. During a conversation I had with Rabbi Dovid Feldman of Monsey, New York, the Rabbi asked, “why would we not want to discuss these issues?”

Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.”

According to strict Jewish law, Jews must be loyal citizens to whatever countries they reside in, and because of the racist and violent nature of the state of Israel, supporting it is a violation of international law and in some countries, contravenes the laws of the land. Providing the Israeli government with weapons and funds even contravenes U.S. law due of its use of weapons against unarmed civilians,

Zionist organizations that lobby their governments, elected representatives, and civic organizations to support Israel are, in fact, placing the Israeli government above the interests – and indeed the laws – of the countries they live in.

Jewish citizens from Western countries even volunteer to serve in the Israeli army, an army whose de facto purpose is the oppression, dispossession, and killing (or in other words, the terrorizing) of the Palestinian people. It is, therefore, not about Jewish people in general, but about Zionists in particular.

Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

To begin with, Israel is not an expression of Jewish self-determination, it is an expression of Zionist and Israeli self-determination. Jewish people have historically rejected Zionism and there are still large communities and countless individuals who do so today. The IHRA’s attempts to conflate Zionism and Judaism are obvious.

As for Israel being a racist endeavor, immediately upon its creation, Israel brutally forced Palestinians out of their country and replaced them with Jewish migrants from around the world. Israel took the land, homes, private and common property, cultivated fields, crops, machinery, livestock, and even the bank accounts of displaced Palestinians. They then banned their return.

Palestinians became stateless practically overnight while the new state enriched its coffers with stolen property, money, and goods. Israel then defined citizenship in the newly created state as almost exclusively for Jews. This definition is meant to shield Israel by criminalizing those dare claim that it is a racist endeavor.

Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

This accusation is little more than an attempt to silence critics of Israel by asking, “why don’t you also criticize Saudi Arabia?” The idea that one must list every country that is a violator of human rights when discussing some other regime accused of violating them is absurd. It is an attempt to shift the conversation away from the issue of Israeli crimes and Zionist racism.

In short, the IHRA’s new definition of anti-semitism includes almost everything that Zionists have been accused of doing and defines even pointing out that fact as anti-semitism.

“Sin Begets Sin”

One thing leads to another, or as Jews say, “Sin Begets Sin.” The sin here is not anti-semitism, but the capitulation of progressive anti-racist forces in the face of an obvious smear campaign by a racist state and the institutions that represent it in the United Kingdom.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews claims to represent all Jews in the UK, in reality though, it only represents Zionist Jews. It is a Zionist organization that places Israeli interests above all else. How else can one explain its support for the smear campaign against Corbyn and other public servants on one hand, and its silence in the face of Israeli crimes on the other?

The fall of Jeremy Corbyn at the hands of Zionist organizations is not an issue exclusive to the UK, and its international ramifications are enormous. There can be no doubt that the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the Israeli Embassy in London, the Jewish Labour Movement, and other Zionists groups that were behind the smear of Corbyn were popping champagne when they heard that he had been suspended from the Labour Party.

The capitulation of Labour was, in fact, an act of suicide. Under Corbyn’s leadership, the party had reached an unprecedented number of members and enjoyed tremendous support. The creation of the IHRA’s new definition of anti-semitism, followed by demands that it be accepted by the Labour Party, and the defamation of Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s top echelon (people like Ken Livingston and Chris Williamson), were all part of a well-planned strategy to punish those who oppose Zionist crimes in Palestine.

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.

Anglo-Zionist Smearing of Jeremy Corbyn

By Stephen Lendman

Source

While anti-Semitism is real, time and again the accusation is made to smear and discredit individuals or groups for justifiable criticism of Israel.

It’s also an unjustifiable tactic used to divert attention from Israeli high crimes of war, against humanity, and persecution of Palestinians for not being Jewish — especially by Jewish state officials.

Anyone forthrightly criticizing Israeli apartheid ruthlessness is vulnerable to unjustifiable vilification.

Zionism is tyranny by another name. It’s undemocratic, hateful, ruthless, racist, destructive, and hostile to peace, equity, justice, and the rule of law.

It’s a monster threatening anyone and anything it opposes, a cancer infesting Israel, America, other Western societies and elsewhere.

The late Joel Kovel called Zionism “a machine for the manufacture of human rights abuses.”

Daring to criticize Israel and Zionist extremism got him fired by Bard College. Other US academics have been mistreated the same or in similar ways.

Zionism is an ideological scourge. It considers Jews superior to others. Nazism believed in Aryan superiority.

Anglo-Zionism is a hugely destructive force threatening everyone everywhere. 

Britain’s so-called Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) was legislatively established by the militantly hostile to peace, equity and justice Tony Blair regime in 2006.

Pretending to promote and enforce equality and non-discrimination in the UK, it unjustly and irresponsibly accused former Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn of “serious failings (on the issue of) addressing antisemitism and an inadequate process for handling antisemitism complaints (sic).” 

“Our investigation has highlighted multiple areas where its approach and leadership to tackling antisemitism was insufficient (sic),” according to its interim EHRC head Caroline Waters, adding:

“This is inexcusable and appeared to be a result of a lack of willingness to tackle antisemitism rather than an inability to do so (sic).”

Time and again in the West, anti-Semitism is over-hyped, and irresponsibly used to smear legitimate critics of Israeli viciousness.

Corbyn’s support for Palestinian rights got him falsely accused of anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions — the price he paid for honesty.

Throughout last year’s campaign ahead of parliamentary elections in Britain, establishment media one-sidedly supported hardline PM Boris Johnson-led Tories over Labor leader Corbyn’s progressive change agenda.

Last April, Keir Starmer replaced him as Labor leader in the wake of the vilification campaign against him that cost the party 59 seats in parliament.

On Thursday, a Labor spokesman said Corbyn was suspended from the party, pending an investigation, adding:

Under his leadership, the party became “institutionally anti-Semitic (sic).”

The phony accusation reflects how Israeli critics in government, academia, and other walks of life are systematically and wrongfully vilified.

Israeli influence in the West has much to do with singling out legitimate critics for vilification.

Often they’re sacked or in Corbyn’s case prevented from gaining a Labor Party electoral victory and being suspended — for doing the right thing.

Earlier and current anti-Semitism charges against Corbyn were and remain manufactured, not legitimate.

UK owned and controlled BBC propaganda falsely claimed anti-Semitism became “a big problem” in Britain’s Labor Party after “Corbyn’s election” as party leader in September 2015 (sic), adding:

“Mr Corbyn and his allies on the left had spent decades campaigning for Palestinian statehood, in contrast with the more nuanced position taken by many of his predecessors (sic).”

“Nuanced” is code language for one-sidedly supporting Israel, ignoring its decades of high crimes against Palestinians and regional states.

Accusations of anti-Semitism are longstanding canards used against public figures, academics, and others who forthrightly criticize Israel and call for accountability.

Ignored is that anti-Zionism isn’t anti-Semitism.

Yet the long ago discredited canard keeps resurfacing against figures like Corbyn and numerous other profiles in courage like him.

Corbyn and the Tyranny of Correctness

 BY GILAD ATZMON

corbyn.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

Liberal film maker Michael Moore, who in 2016 predicted Donald Trump’s electoral victory, is again interfering with the premature celebration over Biden’s victory.

 Yesterday, just  five days before the election, Moore sounded the alarm, strongly suggesting that the polls showing Biden with a comfortable lead over Trump are not accurate. 

In a TV interview Moore said: “The Trump vote is always being undercounted. Pollsters- when they actually call the Trump voter, the Trump voter is very suspicious of the ‘Deep State’ calling them and asking them who they’re voting for.”

 Moore is devastated by the thought that Trump may continue residing at the same address for another four years, but that does not affect the acuity of his observation. In this peculiar world, a large proportion of Americans are reluctant to admit their support for the elected president. This is not just an American phenomenon. Many Brits won’t admit that they voted Brexit and would probably vote Brexit again. Many Brits wouldn’t admit that they supported the Tories but when they voted, they served up the Labour party its biggest blow in its electoral history. The same happened in Israel’s recent elections. Netanyahu performed far better on election day than in the pollsters’ predictions. The explanation given in Israel was that his voters do not tell the truth to pollsters.

History provides us with a manifold of occasions in which the masses pretended to support the regime, the ruling party or a tyrant. What we  see in the West currently is the opposite. A large segment of the public is actually fearful of the opposition, of those who are committed to ‘liberate’ them from their ‘crypto fascist’ rulers in the name of ‘liberal values’ and ‘freedom.’

Americans aren’t fearful of Trump, his party, the intelligence services, the NSA, the FBI or the CIA.  They are actually afraid of the ‘progressive’ social media giants and their ‘community standards’. In the USA much of the mainstream media  isn’t shy of being one sided and  blatantly conceals  news that may present the presidential challenger in a negative light. It is even more disturbing that many Americans appear to be fearful of the opposition and its powers over them. This suggests that America isn’t even remotely a free place. In America, as in Britain, the opposition has evolved into a dark, authoritarian force.

What is at the core of this authoritarian shift?  The so-called Left; ‘liberals’ and ‘progressives’ are totally removed from the cultural and political core values that made the Left into a meaningful argument. The level of detachment is so severe that most Leftists, progressives and liberals don’t even remember what those values are. The so-called Left has failed to adapt to the new reality. They, evidently,  seek political  power, but they fail to provide a plan that would make the world a slightly better place. It doesn’t take a genius to point at Trump’s dysfunctional operation as much as it is easy to point at Boris Johnson’s comical cabinet but what is it that the opposition offers instead? I would have liked to say ‘not a lot,’ but the answer is actually ‘nothing at all.’

The humiliating crash of Jeremy Corbyn is probably the most useful window into the evaporation of Left and progressive politics on both sides of the Atlantic. When Corbyn was elected to lead the Labour Party in September 2015, he was regarded as a principled Left ideological icon, a man who had supported the oppressed throughout his entire political career: even those who did not support him agreed that Corbyn was Britain’s leading anti racist. Within days of  Corbyn’s nomination as the Labour PM candidate, Corbyn displayed all the traits of a rock star. Millions of young Brits and others around the world saw him as a hero of justice and offered themselves as his avant-garde in his battle for justice and against austerity.

Yesterday, the same Corbyn was subject to the final humiliating blow. He was suspended from the party he led until a few months ago. What happened between 2015 and 2020?  

As soon as Corbyn assumed the lead of Labour both he and his party were subject to relentless attacks by the Israel Lobby and British Jewish Institutions. One after another, Corbyn’s closest allies were targeted. Corbyn didn’t stand up for any of them, or if he did, he made sure to conceal his intervention. Thousands of Labour members were suspended and expelled from the Party for criticising Israel, its lobby, or noting any exceptionalist aspects of Jewish political culture. But throughout the witch hunt, Corbyn remained silent. And when it came to politics, Corbyn couldn’t take a firm position on Brexit or any other matter. It took Corbyn only four years to waste the huge support he had initially  and to reduce his party into a tragic act. In those four years, the British Labour Party explored every authoritarian method. It harassed and collected private information about its members, it even spied on its members’ social media accounts.  It operated in concert with the police and the Israel lobby against its own precious members. During all that time while Corbyn was the leader of the party,  not once did he act as a  leader and stand  up and call for a stop to the madness.  

Corbyn was suspended yesterday following his reaction to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) verdict that Labour had broken the law in its handling of antisemitism complaints during the period when Mr Corbyn was in charge.

No one in the treacherous British press dared mention it, but the meaning of this suspension is that even the ex-leader of the Labour party, a person who was a PM candidate last December, is not allowed to express his personal views. All he is allowed to do is to follow the script. Clearly it isn’t just the masses who are terrorised by tyranny of correctness, even the Labour Party and its leadership are subject to the most authoritarian proscriptions. They are commanded to follow a script. The only question that remains open  is who writes the script and who translates it into English?

But the absurdity is even greater. The EHRC was formed by the Labour government back in 2007. Its non-official task was to tackle right wing racism in an attempt to interfere with the British National Front. From its inception, the EHRC was designed to police thought and speech. Looking at Corbyn and the damage the Labour party inflicted on itself, the chickens have come home to roost. Labour has been beaten by the dictatorial machine it invented to police its political enemies.

We do not yet know who is going to win the USA presidential election. But even if Biden wins, it is impossible to deny the fact that pretty much every second American voter believes that Trump is the better man to lead the country. The same applies in Britain, even if Labour had won the last election, every second Brit believes that Brexit is the right way forward.

I believe that if there is anything left out of the Athenian spirit and Christian ethos that made the West into a precious civilization that inspired others, it is that we must  ‘love our neighbour.’  In 2020 loving your neighbour means to agree to disagree, to see a human and humanity in each other. To love your neighbour is to search for that which unites us and to stand firm against those who break us into biological identitarian segments separated by gender, skin colour, sexual orientation etc. To love your neighbour in 2020 is to seek harmony.

The Left in its current authoritarian form cannot lead us towards this goal. It is an occupied zone. The Left needs a reset, it needs to delve into its metaphysical origin: into that unifying instinct that is also universal. Corbyn was a star when people believed that he really cared for ‘the many’ and not ‘the few.’ He evaporated as a political power when the many understood that he and his party were puppeteered by the very few.  

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The Death of the Nation State has been somewhat exaggerated (Part 2)

The Death of the Nation State has been somewhat exaggerated (Part 2)

October 12, 2020

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

Globalization – i.e., neo-liberalism writ large – is essentially a negative phenomenon destroying the sovereignty and cohesion of nation states and thereby depriving markets of the social and political guidance without which they cannot function effectively…The result will be a socially divisive, politically destructive, ethically abhorrent and even economically inefficient structure.(1)

JOINED AT THE HIP

Transnational Corporations (TNCs) can be compared to a tree: they have extensive branches everywhere, but their roots are firmly based at National HQ. Of late this has become a disputed view. One of the contemporary clichés in the current discussion of global political economy is the rather dubious concept of the end of the nation state and the subsequent breaking of the shackles which had hitherto tied TNCs to specific geographical and legal locations. It has been argued that these organizations have moved beyond the control of nation states who can no longer exercise effective jurisdiction over their activities.

This ‘state-denial’ thesis has been articulated by the influential hyper-globalist faction ensconced in the financial press, academic economics departments and political parties. In a ‘borderless’ world the state apparently no longer matters; economic power has shifted from sovereign states to global markets. In the words of the German political and social theorist, Wolfgang Streeck, ‘Markets were once fitted into states; now states are fitted into markets.’(2)This change has involved a global transmutation which reputedly has been brought about by the invention of revolutionary technologies in transport and communications. Such is the thesis put forward by the spokespersons of globalization.

True to say that in general terms all states have to choose a global strategy; they have to look at the full range of choices, then they have to decide what is in their best interests. In the current era of global competition, trade liberalization via the market remains the riskiest choice of all. It demands that trade barriers of all kinds be dismantled – the EU model being the archetype. With this policy governments have to let international competitive pressures restructure industries without recourse to state aids or other protectionist methods. This requires states to open their borders regardless of the costs and consequences in industries and vulnerable workers. Russia in the 1990s was a textbook example of what would happen if a state opened its economy too early, namely, a massive economic contraction. In the official textbooks among the neo-classical scribblers in academe and the media, markets are seen to be self-organizing social and economic space responding to universal demand and supply signals.

For countries which accept this view of the world economy, state power to make policy independent of a country’s major trading partner is being progressively eroded as countries find themselves trapped in a seamless web of interdependency. Larger markets do not come without a cost. This much is axiomatic.

Since the 2008 crisis, however, and now the 2020 blowout the state-denialist view has been more difficult if not actually impossible to sustain. It was after all the allegedly redundant state (or states) which pulled capitalism’s chestnuts out of the fire with the bail-out of insolvent American banks in 2008. As the story goes, during the meeting between Obama and the Wall Street elite at the height of the 2008 crisis the President apparently remarked that it was only himself who stood between the assembled financial movers and shakers of Wall Street and ‘the pitchforks’. The US government also ponied up some US$50 billion to bail out distressed auto manufacturers General Motors and Ford who were based in ‘Motor City’ (Detroit). Detroit itself was also bankrupt but the Federal government was unable to find an additional US$13 billion to bail out the city itself. Maybe – just a thought – because the population of Motor City was largely African-American.

However, the received wisdom emanating from the neoliberal elite has been challenged with a more critical assessment coming from heterodox economic theorists.

As follows.

‘’Contrary to the globalist supposition and as a matter of fact, the (sovereign) state always has, and continues to be the mobilizing force in shaping and guiding national economic development, including globalization itself. Given that an increased capability to overcome geographical distance made possible by technological innovations in transport and communication technologies is of little use if there are political barriers to such movements. Thus, policies of liberalization, deregulation and privatisation were necessary to overcome non-technical barriers to the free flow of labour, capital, and commodities. Therefore, the enabling force of globalization was the state. In fact, the bigger and more powerful states have used globalization as a means of increasing their own power and interests.

States actively construct globalization and use it as soft geo-politics and to acquire greater power over, and autonomy from, their national economies and societies respectively … E.g. … The US and G7s other dominant members design and establish the international trade agreements, organizations, and legislation that support and govern trans-border investments, production networks, and market penetration constitutive of contemporary globalization. Advanced capitalist states, particularly, use these political instruments to shape international economic decision making and policy making in their interests.’’ (3)

In addition, nation-states protect, subsidize, manipulate currencies, impose quotas, sanctions, give tax breaks and exemptions to export industries, R&D, and grant patents, use procurement policies and intellectual property rights to their indigenous corporations to both protect their home markets and help them penetrate overseas markets. This is laughingly described as ‘free trade’. States and corporations are not antipodes they are twins, and arguably the state is the senior partner in this arrangement.

For example, in 1934 the Roosevelt administration passed the Glass-Steagall Act. This involved a forced separation of investment banking from commercial banking which stopped banks speculating with depositors’ monies. In 1999, however, Bill Clinton signed the Financial Services Modernization Act, commonly known as Gramm-Leach-Bliley, repealing the key components of Glass-Steagall whose articles became largely toothless. This was what Wall Street had been angling for and which gave an additional push to the eventual debacle in 2008.

The state giveth, and the state taketh away.

Thus, the notion that powerful trends of internationalization and interdependence have ended national sovereignty is vastly overstated. States remain in charge of the essential part of their national sovereignty: monetary policy, (except in the Eurozone of course) law-making, macroeconomic policy, finance and taxation, environment, education, labour markets, industrial relations, pensions, health and welfare, social policy, science and technology and so forth. Arguably no supra-national entity has yet been designed to replace what has been an effective system of national government. Unimpeded global flows of capital in search of lucrative investment opportunities, are hardly conducive for countries wishing to plan and stabilize their future free from the vagaries of uncontrolled markets

TENSIONS

Power to shape/control the global system is concentrated in the hands of states and/or the newly emergent TNCs. Of course, there is not going to be a simple description of this development as the relationship between these two pillars of modern imperialism is both fractious and permanently mutating. The received wisdom, as put forward by the various spokespersons for globalization, ranging from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) OECD, WTO, World Bank and IMF, and through the globalist house journals of the global Transnational Uberklasse – The Financial Times, The Economist and Wall Street Journal – is predictable enough. Namely that the state is always in a subservient position vis-à-vis the dominant TNCs.

This perhaps would qualify as a procrustean effort to make the facts fit the theory. Contrary to the image of the all-powerful TNC demanding fealty and obedience from prostrate states, the relationship is somewhat more symmetrical; corporations and states are always to a certain degree joined at the hip.

They are both competitive and competing, both supportive and conflictual. They operate in a fully dialectical relationship, locked into unified but contradictory roles and positions, neither one nor the other partner completely able to dominate.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Additionally, the widespread notion that a TNC can simply up sticks and move lock, stock, and barrel to a more compatible venue if its home base no longer suits its purposes, is fanciful in the extreme. All TNCs have home bases, national HQs. Here is where global strategy is determined; here is where top-end R&D is carried out; here is where design and marketing strategies take place; here is where the domestic market is situated and where long-term domestic suppliers are located; here is where overseas operations are conceived planned and carried through; here is where AGMs of the Corporations takes place with published accounts circulated to all shareholders; here is where the local workforce, at all levels, is recruited; here is where the political bureaucracy and the above mentioned institutions are situated and amenable to lobbying. Picking an obvious example, the US defence industries, Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop-Grumman, General Dynamics, Boeing, are all based domestically and are not, even if they could, going to jump ship anytime soon.

It is unquestionably true that TNCs and states often have divergent goals: TNCs’ primary function is to maximise profits and enhance shareholder value, whereas the economic role of the state should be to maximise the economic welfare of its society. But although this conflictual relationship exists, states and TNCs need and lean on each other in a variety of ways. States might wish that TNCs are bound by allegiance to national borders – and in many ways they are (see above) – but total allegiance is not an option in a liberal capitalist economy. Indeed, it would be true to say that some states regard TNC (activities) as being complementary to their foreign policy. Here economic issues merge with geopolitical imperatives. For example, American political leaders have believed that the national interest has also been served by the foreign expansion of US corporations in manufacturing and services. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has been considered a major instrument through which the US could maintain its relative position in world markets – as is of course the US$ acting as the world’s reserve currency – with the overseas expansion of TNCs being regarded as a means to maintain America’s dominant world position. As it was succinctly stated. ’What’s good for General Motors is Good for America’.

THE EU: SUPRANATIONAL OR NATIONAL STATES.

Which brings me to the EU. The state-declinist thesis seems to have gained a considerable traction in Europe among the orthodox left. No less a personage than Yanis Varoufakis – the initiator of DiEM2025 (Democracy in Europe) – has been reading the last rites of state democracy and sovereignty in Europe. Apparently, the model of politics based on the nation state is ‘finished’. The sovereignty of national parliaments has been dissolved. Today, national electoral mandates are impossible to fulfil. Hence, reform of the European institutions (specifically the Euro Parliament), is the only remaining option.

Essentially this is the latest version of the TINA ‘argument’, (there is no alternative), pioneered by Mrs Thatcher and rolled out with monotonous regularity ever since by every cornered establishment politician, both left and right. As has been noted elsewhere. ‘’Tell the population that the nation-state is ‘finished,’ that it is unable to guarantee full employment (or to work towards it) and you free yourself of the responsibility of even trying.’’ The same goes for austerity or anything else. If the nation state is ‘kaput’ it is futile to oppose it.’’(4)

Globalization, however, is far from being the all-powerful and all- encompassing Leviathan postulated by the declinists. ’There are major cultural and linguistic differences that preclude a full mobilisation of resources across national borders. There is ‘home bias in investment portfolios. There is a high correlation between national investment rates and national saving rates. Capital flows between rich and poor nations fall considerably short of what theoretical models predict. There are still severe restrictions to the international mobility of labour. The truth is that we do not live in a completely globalised world, far from it. Ergo, nation-states can pursue their own fiscal and monetary policies.

Ex-leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn’s (quite moderate) policy proposals, during the 2017 and 2019 UK elections, namely, peoples’ QE, renationalisation of the Railways, taking into public ownership the energy and water industries together with the Royal Mail were not beyond the scope of the UK qua sovereign and democratic state. Additionally, these policies found considerable support among the UK’s population at large. (5) Unfortunately Corbyn’s programme was derailed by pro-EU elements in the Parliamentary Labour Party, the MSM and a vicious and mendacious ‘antisemitic’ smear campaign aimed at Corbyn. But this doesn’t alter the fact that a sovereign country can issue its own currency and formulate its own fiscal and monetary policy that can override the EU neo-liberal package of free movement of labour, capital, and commodities. This in addition to blocking the drive to deregulate labour markets (euphemistically, ‘flexibilization’). The sovereign state is perfectly capable of a policy for growth rather than for continued austerity which has become the hallmark of the EU area. But to carry out such growth policies would require an exit from the EU. There’s the rub. Social-democratic policies are incompatible to the EU’s liberal orientation, which is a structurally, neo-liberal capitalist institution.

The euro has in fact simply been designed to ensure that Germany runs a permanent trade surplus whilst the southern periphery runs continuing trade deficits – a simple accounting identity. Eventually something will have to give. It is also noticeable that Germany seems to be harbouring increasingly regional hegemonic ambitions regarding the rest of Europe. It seems to be positioning itself as the EUs anti-Russian key front-line probably with US backing. Euro state Socialism or even tepid social democracy can never truly thrive within such a hostile and increasingly militarised political environment. But that’s another explosive can of worms.

The position of the globalist left as outlined in the DiEM2025 manifesto, however, seems like a back-to-front attempt to by-pass national institutions and to attempt through a supra-national democracy to make fundamental reforms, through a democratised and strengthened EU. But even Varoufakis regards this as being ‘utopian.’ But he continues, it is ‘a lot more realistic than trying to maintain the system as it is’ or ‘trying to leave.’ (6)

More realistic, really? But this begs the obvious question of why such an entity is going to be any different from the present dispensation; will be any less neo-liberal and undemocratic if it is given greater powers and is integrated further? It seems to make more sense to work from the national to the supra-national level than the other way around – particularly given that most states in the EU are governed by centre right coalitions with social-democrats in tow (but acting like centre right liberals). Moreover, the transfer of local democracy – which we are told is now obsolete – to supranational democracy contributes to a weakening of popular control. This leapfrogging of national democracy to supranational democracy perforce requires a supranational electorate. This is problematic however since for the great majority of ordinary European citizens linguistic barriers and cultural differences impair the opportunity for political participation at a supra-national level. And so the dialogue, such as it is, goes on – ad nauseam.

This should not be considered a mere academic nit-picking issue for Socratic Senior Common Room dialogue. It is the key geopolitical issue of the day, as to whether sovereign nation states can determine their own future and political structures and policies, against the globalist project to turn the world into a borderless playground for international finance, corporate hegemony and the corollary of extinguishing democracy.

IDEOLOGICAL INTEGRATION OF STATES INTO NEOLIBERAL MARKET THEORY

But perhaps a more disturbing feature of the state/economy relationship has been the ongoing and gradual privatisation of the state itself. The role of the state has traditionally been a provider of public goods – education, healthcare, culture, parks, libraries, museums, transport infrastructure, including water, energy, forests and national parks, defence, law and order and judiciary, telecommunications, egalitarian social policies and so forth. The role of the market qua economy is to produce private goods and services for sale on a market. There has always been a tension between ‘the commons’- i.e., that which is public and open for everyone to use – and ‘commodification’ which turns things into commodities for private ownership and money-making. To use Marxist terminology, the commons has use-value, not an exchange-value (a market price) simply because it is not – and by definition cannot be – a commodity that can be bought, sold, or commercialised. The elevation of use-value over exchange-value is integral to the commons.

Throughout history, powerful interests have sought to privatise, close, and commodify the commons whether land, other spaces, amenities, or even intellectual ideas – to contrive scarcity and create income-earning assets. To the extent to which the succeeding enclosure and privatisation drives up rental income and proliferate its sources, increasing private riches while eroding public wealth. Such asset-stripping, rent-seeking behaviour by private companies intent on rent-extraction is not only tolerated by public authorities but actually encouraged.

Other examples of this have been the government/private sector liaison whereby private companies are now employed by the government to perform the role which was once the prerogative of governments. These government/private financial arrangements were called Private Financial Initiatives PFIs or Public Private Partnerships PPPs and were operationalised in both the UK and Australia. These predatory organizations were simply looking for public authority institutions to milk. Their incompetence – and outright looting – was legendary. The privatisation of British Rail, for example, led to increased accidents, higher costs, monopolistic rents (in terms of ticket prices), overcrowded trains, and failure to meet the timetable criteria.

In Australia, a report by the New South Wales Auditor General in 2002 warned of the considerable risks associated with the outsourcing of information technology and of the need to ensure that agencies are clear why they should do so. The previously inconceivable opportunities for the security of private information, collected and held by governments to be compromised, opening the way for identity fraud and held by governments was dramatically exposed in November 2007, when the British Department of Revenue and Customs was unable to account for two compact disks which had been sent through the mail at the National Audit Office. These disks contained highly detailed personal information concerning the 25 million citizens who received child benefits, information which included their addresses and bank account numbers, along with details of their children.

This was not an unusual occurrence it was simply another example – among many – of the ongoing rip-off of the public taxpayer by rent-seeking marauders. The market is always right, always works best, and always delivers the goods, or so it is ordained. Such is the categorical imperative of neoliberalism.

Coming full circle, the point of arrival involves a recognition that the relationship between (usually capitalist) states and markets has been a permanent and alternating process which started with the industrial revolutions in western Europe and North America. On the one side there are the permanent state bureaucracies and organizations which function as the basis for the production of public goods, and the national interest as they define it. This is complemented by the free-wheeling, cosmopolitan, financial and corporate interests whose outlook and policies are global as well as national and whose objectives are both practical and ideological. Practical in the sense that their motives are commercial and predicated on the imperative of growth and development not necessarily restricted to their national base. Ideological in terms of their neo-liberal Weltanschauung.

It was the great American social and political theorist C. Wright Mills who postulated the existence of what he called, The Power Elite as early as 1956. The American elite groups were composed of most importantly The Corporate Rich, The Warlords and The Political Directorate which together with various lower ranking sub-elite groups controlled the United States. State and Economy have to an extent always coexisted, their positions and influence moving back and forth, but in recent years (circa 1980) there has been – to put it mildly – a marked tendency of power and influence to tilt away from the state and toward the corporate/commercial configurations. Whether this trend will continue is an open question; but it would not be amiss to assert that nothing goes on forever.

NOTES

(1)Manfred Bienefeld – Is a Strong National Economy a Utopian Goal at the end of the 20th Century? – States Against Markets – pp. 434,435

(2) Wolfgang Streeck – ‘Buying Time’ – The Democratic Crisis Of Democratic Capitalism. ‘

(3) M. Gritsch – (2005: 2-3) (Nye 2002) Quoted in – The State Really Does Matter, Global Shift 2012 – p.223

(4) Picciotto, S. 1991 The Internationalisation of the State – Capital and Class 43.43-63 – quoted in Global Shift 2012– Peter Dicken)

(5) Although it should be said that the 2019 – the Brexit election – was very much watered down to the policies of the electoral manifesto of 2017.

(6) The IndependentUK Newspaper

(7) In Government We Trust – Market Failure and the Delusions of Privatisation. pp.90

Russia Report: Short on Details, But Long on Recommendations for Sweeping New Intelligence Powers

By Alan McLeod

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The much hyped Russia Report, detailing supposed foreign interference in British democracy has been released. The story is the number one topic in the United Kingdom right now, with new Labour leader Keir Starmer calling for Russian TV network RT to be kicked out of the country, and promising to make this new national security threat top priority.

Written by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, the 55-page document makes a number of confusing assertions and contains many well-worn stereotypes, but is particularly thin on evidence, given the media pandemonium over it. Russia, we learn, is a simultaneously “strong” and “weak” country, with a “fundamentally nihilistic” outlook. The committee also allege that Moscow is fuelled by “paranoia,” “believing that Western institutions such as NATO and the EU have a far more aggressive posture towards it than they do in reality.” In fact, the “reality” is that NATO has indeed been creeping steadily towards Russia for decades. Despite promising Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that the organization would never move even “one inch to the east” of Berlin, it now contains not only a number of ex-Eastern bloc nations, but even counts multiple nations of the former USSR as members. Thus, NATO is now directly on the Russian border.

The report offers no new evidence of Russian hacking, meddling or serious interfering, simply noting continually that “there has been widespread public allegations” about Russia’s role in the UK’s European Union referendum, Scotland’s independence vote, and the UK general election. It also points to “credible open source commentary” that Moscow undertook influence operations. This commentary cites Moscow-funded outlets like RT and Sputnik’s generally pro-Brexit stance as equating an attack on democracy.

The first part of the document is so vague that some might wonder why it was written at all. The recommendations section, however, gives a clue. “Given the difficulties inherent in seeking to counter Russian Hostile State Activity, it is essential that the Intelligence Community have the legislative powers and tools they need,” they write, also asking parliament to “consider whether there is a need for new counter-espionage powers to clamp down on the full spectrum of hostile activities of foreign agents in our country.” “A new Espionage Act,” they conclude, is vital.

The writers of the document did not have to wait long to get their wish. Today, the government announced that the secret services would indeed be granted new powers as a result. And therein, a cynic might think, lies the utility, and possibly the purpose of the report.

While the extent of Russian interference in British politics is much debated, the role of the country’s own security services in subverting democracy should not be forgotten. In 2017, former head of MI5 Stella Rimington (who Judi Dench’s character in the James Bond movies is based upon) claimed that her organization had constantly spied on the associates of then leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, claiming that they (and by association, Corbyn himself) were attempting to “destroy” democracy. Two years previously, an anonymous general in the British Army announced that if the British people did elect the pacifist socialist Corbyn into Number 10 Downing Street, then there would likely be a military coup.

The extent of Russian interference also pales in comparison to documented American meddling in British affairs. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was recorded telling British Jewish leaders that the US would “do our level best” to prevent Corbyn from ever becoming Prime Minister. “It could be that Mr. Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected,” he said, “You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”

President Obama also involved himself heavily in domestic British affairs, sharing a stage with Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, expressing his disapproval at the thought of Scottish independence, backing a “strong and united UK.” Obama also told the UK that it would be “hard to be advantageous” for it to leave the European Union, claiming it would put Britain at the “back of the queue” for trade talks, a statement Boris Johnson described as a “perverse” intervention.

Whatever the role of Moscow in British internal affairs, it is clear that the Russia Report is far from the definitive document some commentators have made it out to be. Often, it bears remembering, threats to democracy come from much closer to home.

The Anti Slavery Mural is Back, Hopefully Forever.

 BY GILAD ATZMON

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By Gilad Atzmon

Hip Hop legend Ice Cube came under fire last week for posting an anti- racist image on Twitter in support of Black Lives Matter.  The image was widely panned as ‘anti-Semitic’ by those who work hard to conceal images of slavery, oppression and abuse as soon as they gather that a member of their ethnic group may be complicit in such immoralities.  

Following the killing of George Floyd, Ice Cube uploaded an image of a group of bankers sitting around a game board that rests on the bowed, naked backs of black slaves.  “All we have to do is stand up and their little game is over” is the accompanying text.




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This anti slavery image isn’t new. It first appeared as a mural by artist Mear One in London’s East End back in 2012 when it sparked a controversy.  Some local Jews were offended and, of course, the  local Labour council of the London borough of Tower Hamlets was quick to react. It called in the police and reportedly gave the owner of the property 28 days to remove it.

Jeremy Corbyn, supposedly an ‘anti racist’  initially voiced support for the mural and the artist behind it. Later, following pressure from Jewish groups, Corbyn reversed himself and apologized. The Guardian,  once a respected Left leaning paper was also quick to cry foul  and located the anti racist mural within the Elders of Zion-Nazi propaganda spectrum. Even the ultra Left Morning Star turned against the pro black/anti capitalist  art “Bad Art and Bad Politics” is how our most dedicated ‘socialist’ paper referred to Mear One’s mural.

At the time Artist Mear One stated, loud and clear, that his “mural is about class and privilege…The banker group is made up of Jewish and white Anglos. For some reason they are saying I am anti-Semitic. This I am most definitely not… What I am against is class.”

It was also ­­­­revealed at the time that out of the six bankers figures depicted in the  mural (Lord Rothschild, John D. Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan, Aleister Crowley, Andrew Carnegie and Paul Warburg) – only two (Rothschild and Warburg) were Jewish. But none of that helped, our socialists, progressives and ‘Left’ icons left the black slaves to rot under the monopoly game board and stood firmly against Mear One’s art just because two of the bankers he depicted were Jewish.   

What I want to understand today is how it is possible that the Labour council of Tower Hamlets, the ‘anti racist’ Jeremy Corbyn, the presumably multicultural ‘progressive’ Guardian, the ultra left Morning Star, or shall we say the entire Left/progressive  spectrum all fell into the same trap, they turned their backs on Blacks and  slavery and committed to the defence of the most horrendous abusive bankers known to man just because two of them were  gifted (artistically)  with a well endowed nose.  One may wonder whether White Privilege is a valid notion as it becomes clear that Hooked Nose is by far the ultimate privilege. It literally allows for  total impunity. You even get away with slavery, at least in the ‘Left’ realm.

Time to admit it publicly – in the face of Jewish sensitivities, the Left seems to collapse. Its solidarity with oppressed minorities evaporates. Indeed, if there is one thing the Left is really good at, it is betraying its core supporters. The Left has repeatedly betrayed the working class. Instead it adopted Identitarian politics that were set to break the working class into biologically oriented fragments (defined by skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, etc.). The Left even betrayed its own ideology dismantling its own philosophy of class politics that initially united us regardless of our gender, race or ethnicity. Embracing biologically oriented identification is, in practice, an adoption of Hitlerian ideology. Corbyn had been anti- banker, but he has often been very forgiving towards Jewish financiers  such as the Rothschilds and George Soros. “Really important video which spells out the vile and destructive nature of antisemitic conspiracy theories,” is how Corbyn, as a  Labour leader, described a horrendous  video that presented the Rothschilds and George Soros as mere victims. Rothschild according to the video wasn’t even that  rich.  


Really important video which spells out the vile and destructive nature of antisemitic conspiracy theories.


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For the Left, I am sorry to say it, the Blacks are a solidarity pets. So are the Palestinians and other oppressed groups and minorities. I am afraid that this  shameful divisive parade is not going to stop anytime soon. But Black community leaders have started to wake up.  

Yesterday, members of African American Council were BOOED as they told protesters in Seattle’s ‘autonomous zone’ that they had  ‘hijacked’ the Black Lives Matter movement by pushing other causes.

And there is  some  good news in this mural saga: 1. By now we know that art, like books, can be physically burned, it can be erased from walls, removed from exhibition: but beauty like the truth unveils itself against all odds. Mear One’s mural is with us forever and so is the memory of Corbyn/Guardian/Morning Star betrayal of the Blacks and their history. 

 2. Despite horrendous harassment from Jewish pressure bodies, the American Hip Hop star stood firm. Unlike Corbyn, Ice Cube answered his critics tweeting “what If I was just pro-Black?… I’ve been telling my truth.” I have always wondered why Corbyn didn’t answer his critics: ‘what if I were pro Palestinian rather than anti Jewish?’ The brainless veteran Labour leader couldn’t even figure this out.  

Our world would look far better if our politicians in general and Left ones in particular had been just slightly more committed to truth. It would help if they had as much guts in their entire bodies as artists like Ice Cube have between their toes.

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Is This Controlled Demolition all over Again?

 BY GILAD ATZMON

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By Gilad Atzmon

For years Eco-Enthusiasts, both activists and scientists, have been telling us that the ‘party’ will come to an end. The planet we are stuck on can’t take it for much longer, it is getting too crowded and unbearably warm. Most people didn’t take any real notice of the situation and for a reason. This planet, we tend to think, isn’t really ‘ours,’ we were thrown onto it and for a limited time. Once we grasp the true meaning of our  temporality, we begin to acknowledge our terminality.  ‘Being in the world’ as such is often the attempt to make our ‘life-time’ into a meaningful event.

Most of us who haven’t been overly  concerned with the ecological activists and their plans to slow us down knew that as long as Big Money runs the world, nothing of a dramatic nature would really happen. In the eyes of Big Money, we tended to think, we, the people, are mere consumers. We understood ourselves as the means that make the rich richer.

Rather unexpectedly, life has undergone a dramatic change. In the present age of Corona, Big Money ‘let’ the world lock itself down. Economies have been sentenced to imminent death. Our significance as consumers somehow evaporated. The emerging alliance we have been detecting  between the new leaders of the world economy (knowledge companies) and those who carry the flag of ‘progress’ ‘justice’ and ‘equality’ has evolved into an authoritarian dystopian condition in which robots and algorithms police our speech and elementary freedoms. 

How is it that the Left, that had been devoted to opposition to the rich, has so changed its tune?  In fact, nothing has happened suddenly. The Left and the Progressive universe have, for some time,  been sustained financially by the rich. The Guardian is an illustrative case of the above. Once a left -leaning paper with a progressive orientation, the Guardian is now openly funded by Bill & Melinda Gates. It shamelessly operates as a mouthpiece for  George Soros: it even allowed Soros to disseminate his apocalyptic pre-Brexit view at the time he himself gambled on Brits’ anti- Brexit vote. By now it is close to impossible to regard the Guardian as a news outlet –  a propaganda outlet for the rich is a more suitable description.  But the Guardian is far from alone.  Our networks of progressive activists fall into the same trap. Not many of us were surprised to see Momentum, Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign support group within the Labour Party, rallying for the ‘Holocaust Survivor’ and ‘philanthropist’  George Soros.  When Corbyn led the Labour Party, I learned to accept that ‘socialists’ putting themselves on the line of fire defending oligarchs, bankers and Wall Street brokers must be the new ‘Left’ reality. We are now  inured to the fact that in the name of ‘progress’ Google has demoted itself  from a great search engine into a hasbara outlet.  We are accustomed to Facebook and Twitter dictating their worldview in the name of community standards. The only question is what community they have in mind. Certainty not a tolerant and pluralist western one. 

One may wonder what drives this new alliance that divides nearly every Western society? The left’s betrayal is hardly a surprise, yet, the crucial question is  why, and out of the blue, did those who had been so successful in locating their filthy hands in our pockets go along with  the current destruction of the economy? Surely, suicidal they aren’t.

It occurs to me that what we may be seeing is a controlled demolition all over again. This time it isn’t a building in NYC. It isn’t the destruction of a single industry or even a single class as we have seen before. This time,  our understanding of Being as a productive and meaningful adventure is embattled. As things stand, our entire sense of livelihood  is at risk.

It doesn’t take a financial expert to realise that in the last few years the world economy in general and western economies in particular have become a fat bubble ready to burst. When economic bubbles burst the outcome is unexpected even though often the culprit or  trigger for the crash can be identified. What is unique in the current controlled demolition is the willingness  of our compromised political class, the media and in particular  Left/Progressive networks to participate in the destruction.

The alliance is wide and inclusive. The WHO, greatly funded by Bill Gates, sets the measures by which we are locked down, the Left and the Progressives fuel the apocalyptic phantasies to keep us  hiding in our global attics, Dershowitz tries to rewrite the constitution , big Pharma’s agenda shapes our future and we also hear that Moderna and its leading Israeli doctor  is ready to “fix” our genes.  Meanwhile we  learn that  our governments are gearing up to stick a needle in our arms. Throughout this time, the Dow Jones has continued to rise. Maybe in this final stage of capitalism, we the people aren’t needed even as consumers. We can be left to rot at home, our governments seemingly willing to fund this new form of detention.  

I believe that it was me who ten years ago coined the popular adage  “We Are all Palestinians” – like the Palestinians, I thought at the time,  we aren’t even allowed to name our oppressor… 

Israel Prepares for Annexation of the West Bank

By Jeremy Salt

Source

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Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, Israel and its global lobbies have had an extraordinary run of success.

In the US and Canada, the passage of laws against the BDS movement; US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the shifting of the embassy there; the appointment of an ambassador who is no more than Israel’s point man in Washington; the Kushner plan and US acceptance of Israeli annexation of the West Bank; and in the UK, the defeat of Jeremy Corbyn, partly if not largely based on  a slanderous campaign launched against the Labor Party generally and Corbyn personally.

This was the most malicious political assassination in British history, with the corporate media and the zionist lobby driving in the knives day after day. The main Jewish newspapers had already maligned Corbyn in the same front page editorial when the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, used the Corbyn-hating Times to attack Corbyn as “mendacious” and to plant fear amongst British Jews: “What will become of Jews and Judaism in Britain if the Labor Party forms the next government?” Nothing would happen, of course, not to British Jews, but there would be significant changes affecting Britain’s relations with the racist settler enterprise it established in Palestine more than a century ago.

These attacks were not about Judaism but Israel. Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-semite. This is so obvious that it should not need saying. The false charge of anti-semitism is the weapon used by zionists throughout modern history to destroy critics of Israel and here it was being used again.

Had Corbyn expressed undying support for Israel – as Keir Starmer has since done –  this issue would never have arisen.  Jews inside and outside the Labor Party would have issued statements that while there were bad apples in every barrel,  anti-semitism was a minor issue which the party leadership was dealing with. They would not have hesitated to canvass votes for the Labor Party.

Corbyn has a lifelong record of defending human rights everywhere and that includes the human rights of the Palestinians. Had he been elected he would have re-orientated foreign policy in their favor. That had to be prevented at all costs and the accusation of anti semitism was the weapon used,  on the grounds that repeated often enough people would believe it.

Thus a good man with good policies was thrown aside and a buffoon with no policies installed in his place. In time, once they realize they were duped, the British people may remember the knifing of Corbyn by the zionists.

Now Israel is moving on to its next success, the annexation of the West Bank. This is due to begin on July 1, Netanyahu and Gantz having agreed on its fundamentals and the US ready to rubber-stamp whatever portion of territory they decide to take.

Initially, this seems to be 30 percent plus the Jordan Valley. The 70 percent ostensibly left to the Palestinians will mostly consist mostly of rural land running alongside the border with Jordan.

The Trump-Kushner  ‘peace’ plan was deliberately written to be unacceptable to the Palestinians, all of them, including the now-embittered Mahmud Abbas. His ‘threats’ to rip up all accords if they go ahead is no more than the squeaking of a rusty wheel. He used the zionists and they used him. Now he has been discarded, Mahmud Abbas is of no relevance to anyone.

In the soundings he would have taken before his plan was released,  Kushner would have known perfectly well that the Palestinians would never accept it. No capital in Jerusalem, disarmament in Gaza as well as on the West Bank, Israel in charge of ‘security’ and all borders, no right of return, no more legal claims against Israel on the basis of history, no independent foreign policy, no joining of any international organization except with Israel’s approval, no more payments to the families of martyrs (Israel’s ‘terrorists’) and the acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state.  This was the price demanded of the Palestinians in return for their ‘state’ and as Kushner well knew, they could not possibly pay it.  His plan was designed from the start to be rejected by the Palestinians.

Even if they had accepted this ‘deal’ every loophole had been inserted into it to make sure  Israel ultimately gets what it wants  – all of the West Bank – anyway.  This situation,  of an offer they could not possibly accept,  is one imposed on them throughout their modern history.  When they reject what they cannot possibly accept, whether it be the Peel partition plan of 1937, the UN partition plan of 1947, the establishment of Israel on their land in 1948 or  the Camp David plan of the 1990s,  it is they who are made to shoulder the blame for the failure of the latest ‘peace process.’ If there is a difference now, it is that the Kushner-Trump-Netanyahu plan is so transparently shoddy that anyone with eyes in their head can see right through it.

With increasing portions of the West Bank annexed, under the false sovereignty of an occupying power, the Palestinians will eventually be outnumbered by the settlers poured into their land.  This is the script being written by Netanyahu and his cohorts. A racist parliament will endorse it and even more pseudo-legal and practical obstacles will be raised to make life even more unbearable for the Palestinians.

This is a heinous plan, a plan devoid of any legality, a plan cooked up by criminals and charlatans. The zionists may see it as the end of the road but this is a long war and annexation is no more than another milestone in the struggle against the takeover of Palestine by European colonists in the 20th century.

Hate vs. Peace and Harmony

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By Gilad Atzmon

We learned today that Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Dannon told AIPAC that Bernie Sanders is an ‘ignorant fool, a liar or both. “We don’t want Sanders at AIPAC. We don’t want him in Israel…Whoever calls the prime minister of Israel a  ‘racist’ is either a liar, an ignorant fool, or both,”  Ambassador Dannon announced.

The evidence of Israel’s racism and Netanyahu’s government’s racialist policies is, unfortunately, conclusive. One can look at Netanyahu’s government’s approach to Black migrants. Or examine the racist Israeli national bill. This leads one to wonder what motivated Ambassador Dannon to act so ‘undiplomatically,’ by attacking the Democratic Party frontrunner for expressing a reasoned criticism of Israel and its PM?

But even before we can get to that question, we have to consider what the same Israeli media outlets have informed us. In a leaked recording, Netanyahu senior adviser Natan Eshel, revealed that “hate is what unites” the Israeli right-wing and it “works well on non-Ashkenazi voters.”

Eshel, a former Netanyahu chief of staff who resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct, continues to work with the Israeli PM, and last year led the two coalition negotiations. 

In the recording, Eshel explains that Likud minister (and former IDF Spokeswoman) Miri Regev  is “excellent” at “stirring up” Likud supporters. Eshel refers to Regev as “an animal,” but notes her tactics work very well in  “drumming up the crowd.”

It is reasonable to think  that Ambassador Dannon’s description of Sen. Sanders served a similar purpose: to drum up the AIPAC crowd. And, of course, the British Jewish media together with Jewish pressure groups and the Israeli Lobby  have, since 2017,  also used this technique to ignite  their crowd’s hatred of the Labour party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn. Some people, so it seems, are united by hate.

Netanyahu’s senior adviser’s leaked recording shines a light on the ever- growing Jewish fear of antisemitism. Those who are so easily ‘united by hate’ tend to believe that others are also similarly hateful. The Jewish fear of antisemitism can be seen as projection. Those who are ‘united by hate,’ may well attribute their own hatefulness to their neighbours whether they are Palestinians, Labour voters, or even the Democratic frontrunner.

What we see is a lethal snowball of loathing and fear: the more hateful one happens to be, the more one is tormented by imagining that the Other is afflicted by the same hatefulness.

Jesus Christ diagnosed this very dangerous trait amongst his brethren. His solution was shocking, if simple. Instead of stockpiling weapons, he preached that his followers turn the other cheek: take a step forward, love your neighbour, break away from the vicious circle, seek peace and harmony.

The fate of Jesus is known to us all. The fate of those who try to preach peace to Israelis and Zionists isn’t exactly a secret either.

Trump-Kushner-Netanyahu ‘Deal’: A Reiteration of the War on Palestine

By Jeremy Salt

Source

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A reiteration of the war on Palestine, on the Arab world, on the Muslim world, on international law and human rights. There is no other way to describe the Trump-Kushner-Netanyahu ‘deal.’

Media comment centers on the last opportunity for the Palestinians.  Will they take the scraps they are offered, or will they miss yet another opportunity to have something taken away from them?

This was the line used over decades by the glib South African-born zionist ‘foreign minister,’ Aubrey (Abba) Eban.  The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, he said,  many times.  In fact, if anyone has never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity it is the zionists.  They could have chosen to live with the Palestinians instead of them.  They could have accepted their return after 1948. They could have handed back the land they seized in 1967.  They could have honestly engaged with the so-called ‘peace process.’ They could have ended the blockade of Gaza.  They could have stopped seizing and settling the land of other people.  They could have agreed to share Al Quds.  They could have stopped their wars, assassination and settlement.

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*(South African-born zionist ‘foreign minister,’ Aubrey (Abba) Eban.)

What they could have done they never did.  Instead, they headed in the opposite direction,  financed, armed, protected and encouraged by the most powerful nation in the world.  A vulgarian property developer who once made ads for Pizza Hut has now told his zionist settler sidekick that he can have Palestine with the lot.  Nothing is missed out,  not Jerusalem, not the Jordan Valley and not the illegal settlements – the ‘ouposts’ –  as well as the legal ones, so says Netanyahu.    All are completely illegal, of course,  as is the presence of every settler on occupied land.

This demented agreement was put together by the plastic-faced Jared Kushner, who said, seriously apparently,  that he read all of 25 books to get a handle on the situation. By comparison, Trump is unlikely to have read one,  so no wonder he thinks his son-in-law is a genius.   This ‘deal’ – a deal without wheels –  is being taken seriously in the mainstream media, even if it is regarded as unworkable by many commentators.  In a way, of course, it has to be taken seriously as the zionists have the weaponry to do whatever they want, no matter how mad, rapacious or destructive of their own interests in the long term.

And this is something the media seems to have missed.  For whom, really, is this plan the last opportunity?  The assumption is that it is the Palestinians,  but have Trump and Kushner noticed that while the Palestinians do not have the weapons, they have the numbers, that already the Muslim-Christian population of Palestine between the Mediterranean and the Jordan river is probably already greater than the Jewish population.

Silly to ask, but have either of these two taken into account the Muslim hinterland,  the Muslim population of the Middle East and  North Africa (close to 600 million) and the world Muslim population (about 1.8 billion)?  By comparison, the Jewish population of occupied Palestine is less than seven million.  Far from trying to settle into the Muslim world, over more than seven decades it has done nothing but antagonizes it.  Like a spoilt child, it then complains that no one likes it, that the real reason for Muslim loathing of the zionist state is anti-semitism, and not its racist, murderous and thieving behavior.

This is the double game played endlessly by the zionist lobby around the world.  It hides behind the symbols of the religion it has hijacked.  The Star of David flies from the pennants of the tanks that shell apartment buildings in Gaza and is inscribed on the wings of the planes that destroy entire families with missiles. It is scrawled trumphantly on the walls of the West Bank. This is the Israel that the lobbyists and the rabbis defended behind their accusations against Jeremy Corbyn.  It is he who wanted to end these horrors and they, behind their lies and false accusations of anti-semitism against Corbyn and the entire Labor Party, wanted to leave the zionist state free to continue them.  It is they who are the racists and anti-Arab Semites, not Jeremy Corbyn.

Palestine remains part of Arab and Islamic history and identity and remains an Arab and Muslim cause whatever the exasperation felt at Arab governments and  the bungled and/or collaborationist policies of the Palestinian leadership.  By themselves the Palestinians had no hope of resisting the zionist takeover of their land.  Zionism was an imperial project and the zionist state was sequentially backed by the two mightiest empires on the planet, first Britain and then the United States.  No small group of people anywhere would have been able to resist their power.

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George Habash

The greater danger to Israel always lay in the surrounding Arab and Muslim world.

George Habash, the founder of the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) was writing in the 1950s that the road to the liberation of Palestine ran through the Arab world and this remains as true today as it was then, although the statement has to be qualified by adding “and the Muslim world.”

Israel understood this just as well as George Habash and knew that if it were to survive in the long term, the Arab world had to be fragmented, subverted,  dominated and kept off balance permanently.  This was the sine qua non of Israel’s existence. The ties that bound states together, that bound the region together and connected it with the wider Islamic world had to be broken.

It was not just armies and states that had to be broken but the Arab national idea and the Arab world as a presence in history and a place on the map.  It would have to be what Israel and the US wanted it to be.  It would have to be remade.  Towards this end the zionists were looking for weak links in the chain of Arab states even in the 1930s. They thought they had found the weakest in Lebanon, where they hoped to set up a puppet Christian government.  Not only did this not work but since the rise of Hizbullah the weakest link in the chain has turned into one of the strongest.

The Yinon Plan of the 1980s set out the strategy in full.  All Middle Eastern states were to be subjected to ethno-religious or tribal division.   This broad script was fine-tuned by Netanyahu and the zionists inside the US administration in the 1990s.  Iraq was the first of seven states targeted for destruction. The destruction through two wars and a decade of sanctions was enormous but the political strategy failed.   The Kurdish state-in-being, planned for northern Iraq by the US and Israel as a new center of strategic operations, has collapsed. The Shia-dominated government in Baghdad maintains good relations with Iran and following the assassination of Qasim Soleimani,  the Iraqi parliament demanded the complete withdrawal of US forces. Millions of people marched through the streets of Iraq’s cities as they did in Iran to mourn the murder of this outstanding military commander. Anti-American feeling in Iraq is at an all-time high.

The war in Syria was designed to bring down the axis of resistance (Iran, Syria and Hizbullah) at its central arch but that has failed, too.  Syria, its people and its military have resisted the most determined attempt ever made to destroy an Arab government.  Always popular, Bashar al Assad is now more popular than ever, as the army, backed by Russian air power, drives the takfiri terrorists from their last redoubt in Idlib province.  Syrian cities have been shattered, perhaps half a million people have been killed but the US-Israeli political strategy in Syria has failed too.

For anyone who has been watching closely enough,  the wheel of history, once turning in Israel’s favor, has been slowly turning against it for decades. Israel came close to defeat in the first week of the 1973 war. It drove the PLO out of Lebanon only to awaken a far more powerful enemy, Hizbullah. In every war it has fought or operation it has launched,  the remorseless use of air power has been critical.  Nevertheless, even with air cover its foot soldiers were driven out of southern Lebanon in 2000 and, outfought by Hizbullah’s part-time soldiers,  humiliated again when they returned in 2006.

Hizbullah and Iran have been working for decades on how to neutralize Israel’s air power. If – or once – they succeed in doing this, Israel is going to be in deep trouble on the battlefield.  Threatened repeatedly with destruction by the US and Israel, Iran has had to develop a new range of missiles capable of causing devastation to US bases, aircraft and warships in the region.  The retaliation which followed the murder of Qasim Soleimani was an example.  The Americans failed to stop even one of the Iranian missiles directed against two of its bases in Iraq.  Aircraft were destroyed in their hangars and while no soldiers were killed – so the US government says – dozens suffered severe brain injuries, apparently from concussion, with a number being flown to Germany for emergency treatment.  Iran said immediately after the strike that the casualties were far greater than media reports indicated and now the US has admitted that more than 100 suffered “mild” brain trauma.

Hizbullah has its own stocks of missiles, far greater in number and sophistication than in 2006,  and has its targets already worked out for when the next war comes.  As Israel’s military commanders are making clear,  the next war is a question of ‘when’ and not ‘if.’ They are warning the civilian population to be prepared for the unprecedented scale of the casualties they are going to suffer.

So, for whom is the bell really tolling now, the Palestinians or the zionists? Gideon Levy writes that the Kushner-Trump deal is likely to trigger off a third nakba.  This is incorrect, as there has only been one nakba, continuing now for more than seven decades. David Hearst, writing in Middle East Eye, thinks all the Palestinians have to sit tight, because between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, they are going to win the war of numbers, if they haven’t won it already.   By implication, once the war of numbers is won, the war itself is won.  The zionist state will see reason and turn itself into the secular democratic state the Palestinians always wanted, with equal rights for all. Given that they would be the majority, they would have to be the dominant element in any freely-elected government.  The zionist dream-nightmare would be over.

This is not likely to happen.  Zionism is an extreme ideology and the politicians running the zionist state now are the most extreme since its foundation.  They are not going to surrender because of demographics.   They will simply try harder to overcome the problem. They still want all the Palestinians out of Palestine or at the very least reduced to an inconsequential ethnic remnant.   Between the apartheid state and the democratic state,  this is their preferred solution.

What they need is another war enabling them to strike down their external enemies and simultaneously solve the ‘Palestine problem’ once and for all.   If (or rather when) such a war does break out, Hizbullah will swamp the zionist state with missiles in such numbers as to overwhelm its defense systems.  The Palestinians will be determined to stay put but in the fog of war, while the world is looking elsewhere, at missile attacks on US bases and soaring oil prices following the closure of the Straits of Hormuz,  perhaps they can again be terrorized into leaving.  Even the most steadfast Palestinians have families to protect and if they won’t go,  then the level of terror only has to be increased until they do. This is the evil calculus applied before and likely to be applied again once the opportunity arises or, more accurately, can be created.

Who wants such a war? Not the Palestinians, and not Hizbullah or Iran although they have had no option but to prepare for it. Who has set up the conditions for such a war,  decade after decade to the point where it has to be regarded as inevitable unless ‘the Arabs’ and the Muslims really are the useless orientals of the western imagination, there to be kicked around endlessly?  Israel has, by its disgraceful behavior.  So has the US and so has the ‘west’ in general, its governments, its media and its institutions (where has the UN Secretary-General, the moral guardian of peace in the world, been during the eight atrocious years of war on Syria? Hiding in a cupboard?). It is ‘the west’ generically which created Israel, and has allowed it to get away with wars, ethnic cleansing, massacres, assassination and occupation generation after generation.

Perhaps a shattering setback is all that will bring this utterly dangerous state to its senses.  Of course, there is always the possibility that it will go completely off the edge and use its nuclear weapons, turning the central lands of the Middle East into a wasteland but at least taking its enemies down with it in the most pyrrhic of victories. These are grim possibilities but they have to be taken seriously.

Addressing the Lies Spread about Gilad

 BY GILAD ATZMON

For more than a decade and a half I have been subjected to a relentless and sometimes violent smear campaign. I have been accused of all sorts of ‘hate crimes’ including the totally ludicrous claim that I advocate the ‘burning of synagogues,[ ‘incitements of violence,’ and have routinely been labelled, among other slurs, a ‘notorious anti semite’ and a ‘Holocaust denier.’ Of course, if any of these accusations had merit, I would have spent time behind bars. The truth, as should be embarrassing for the name callers, is that I have never been charged with  hate speech or any other crime. No law enforcement authority anywhere has ever even questioned me about anything I wrote or said. I perform and teach all over the world, including in Germany and Austria, where ‘holocaust denial’ is vigorously prosecuted.

My detractors boast that they intend to ruin my reputation, smear and impoverish me and any others they deem improperly critical of Israel. I should have written this piece long ago but I found it demeaning to deny baseless accusations founded on lies and misquotes. For the record, I am not an anti-Semite, a Holocaust denier, nor a conspiracy theorist. 

My detractors are now terrorizing the extended music community in an attempt to accomplish their insane mission.  I defy the idea that we live in a ‘post truth era.’ Athens, for me, is a core of inspiration and truth seeking and is my life time adventure. Here, in response to the fabrications attributed to me by various Jewish institutions such as the JC and the CAA,   are the actual statements I made. 

Gilad on Burning Synagogues: Rationality vs. Justification

Zionist pressure groups have claimed that I advocated burning  synagogues. The origin of this preposterous assertion is a misquote attributed to me in a Guardian article in 2005. According to the Guardian “Gilad Atzmon, a pro-Palestine advocate, gave a talk to students this month, arguing: ‘I’m not going to say whether it is right or not to burn down a synagogue, I can see that it is a rational act.’”  A week later the Guardian agreed to publish my letter in which I explain and refute this claim. “Your quote …[of me] is inaccurate and taken out of context. By no means did I justify any form of violence against Jews, Jewish interests or any innocent people. In the School of Oriental and African Studies we were debating the question of rationality of anti-semitism. I claimed that since Israel presents itself as the ‘state of the Jewish people’, and bearing in mind the atrocities committed by the Jewish state against the Palestinians, any form of anti-Jewish activity may be seen as political retaliation. This does not make it right.”

At the time, pro Zionist online discussion groups complained that the police failed to charge me with incitement of hatred. The reason for that  is obvious, there was no evidence, I never advocated burning synagogues. I have always opposed any form of violence against Jews or anyone else!  The British authorities understood that I was discussing the ‘discourse of rationality’ (Reasoning) and not the ‘context of rationalisation’ (Justification).  Horrendous war crimes are grossly unethical but may also be rational. The decision to nuke Hiroshima, for instance, was a rational decision although insanely immoral. The same applies to Israel shelling Gaza with white phosphorus. A calculated military decision was made to engage in these vile war crimes.  Examining the rationale for such crimes may be our best hope to prevent them. Rationality and morality are categorically distinct concepts as my actual words made clear.   

Is Gilad a ‘Holocaust Denier?’

I have been accused of being a ‘Holocaust denier’ or a Holocaust revisionist.  This is simply false. I have never denied the Holocaust nor have I written a single revisionist text as I am not an historian of any sort.  I guess no need to  mention once again that my mother’s family suffered enormously in that terrible period. 

I am a philosopher. As such, I argue that this chapter in our past should be treated not as a religion or dogma, but must, like all other past events, be subject to scrutiny and open discussion. If history is the art of narrating the past as we move along, then revising our understanding of  the past is the true meaning of the historical endeavour. In my work I argue that engaging in a discourse of history that is open to revision is at the core of the ethical insight.

It is also crucial to mention that the notion of ‘holocaust religion’ was actually coined by the legendary Israeli philosopher prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz back in the 1970s. Leibowitz was followed by Adi Ophir, another prominent Israeli philosopher who offered his own criticism of the Holocaust religion in his paper On Sanctifying the Holocaust: An Anti-Theological Treatise.

Did Gilad really say that Hitler was right after all?

My  words as they appear in my 2011 book, “The Wandering Who?”  shows that I said the opposite: even the thought by some that Hitler might have been right is presented as an unacceptable scenario. 

“We, for instance, can envisage an horrific situation in which an Israeli so-called ‘pre-emptive’ nuclear attack on Iran escalates into a disastrous nuclear war, in which tens of millions of people perish. I guess that amongst the survivors of such a nightmare scenario, some may be bold enough to argue that ‘Hitler might have been right after all.’ The above is obviously a fictional scenario, and by no means a wishful one, yet such a vision of a ‘possible’ horrific development should restrain Israeli or Zionist aggression towards Iran.” (The Wandering Who? pg 179)

As you can read, my actual words are diametrically opposed to the manufactured misquotes attributed to me by various Zionist pressure groups. I used the extreme example of a nuclear war to argue that Israel should finally seek peace with its neighbours to deny anyone the thought that Hitler was right after all. 

Did Gilad ask Jews to apologise for the Holocaust?

In 2014, in the light of huge anti Jewish protests in Paris, I wrote a piece titled Holocaust Day – The Time Is Ripe For A Jewish Apology.  In the article I briefly elaborated on historical hatred of Jews and the Zionist promise to prevent the Jewish fate by ‘fixing’ the Jews and making them ‘people like all other people.’ I closed the article with the following paragraph.  “Many Jews around the world are commemorating the Holocaust this week. But if I am correct, maybe the time is ripe for Jewish and Zionist organisations to draw the real and most important lesson from the Holocaust. Instead of constantly blaming the Goyim for inflicting pain on Jews, it is time for Jews to look in the mirror and try to identify what it is in Jews and their culture that evokes so much fury. It may even be possible that some Jews would take this opportunity to apologise to the Gentiles around them for evoking all this anger.”

Nowhere in the article did I suggest Jews apologise for the Holocaust. I accept that my words may be infuriating to those who are contemptuous of conciliatory efforts. I reckon that it would not be such a bad idea for Campaign Against Antisemitism to apologise to Labour members and Jeremy Corbyn whom they smeared mercilessly. The British Chief Rabbi could join them, as might the editors of the three British Jewish papers who literally referred to Corbyn as an ‘existential threat’ and practically equated him with Hitler. Such a peace-seeking approach on the part of some Jewish institutions will help to diffuse the anger these bodies engendered  during the GE 2019 amongst many segments of the British Left.  

Is Gilad a “promoter of classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories?”

According to the ADL, I’m an “outspoken promoter of classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and a fierce critic of the State of Israel.” I am indeed a fierce critic of Israel and  I am outspoken. But not only do I not promote ‘antisemitic conspiracy theories,’ as I repeatedly state throughout my entire body of work, ‘there are no Jewish conspiracies. Everything is done in the open’ and in front of our eyes. 

What I do observe is that  we cannot speak about any of that: Jewish power, as I define it, is the power to suppress criticism of Jewish power. The Israel Lobby dominates American foreign policy, it pushes for a conflict with Iran. Similarly, the Congress’ performance of one standing ovation after the other for Netanyahu wasn’t a secret ritual. In Britain, Jewish institutions such as the Jewish papers, the Chief Rabbi and a Jewish charity declared an open war on the opposition party and its leader. None of that was ‘conspiratorial’ or secretive. We are dealing with mainstream news, yet we dare not talk about it let alone criticise it.

 Evoking animosity in others

In 2013 I was interviewed by Swiss writer Alimuddin Usmanani who asked me to define what it means to be a Jew. My answer was short and conclusive: “To be a Jew is to evoke animosity in others.” My answer was provocative and at least as challenging as the official Tikun Olam’s answer to the same question, i.e., ‘to be a Jew is to fix the world.’ However, while there are no statistics that show that Jews are actually engaged in fixing the world, my critics within the CAA, the ADL, The Jewish Chronicle and other Zionists institutions publish polls on an almost  daily basis that suggest that Jews are hated globally and locally.

The ethos that drove early Labour Zionism both ideologically and politically was the acceptance that, for one reason or another, Jews can’t assimilate  and would be safer somewhere else where they would become, through political training, into ‘people like all other people.’ I do not say that Jews should be hated. Rather like those early Zionists, I contend that Jewish institutions must self-reflect. Instead of accusing Goyim, Brits, Labour members, Americans, etc. they should engage in a true introspective process. Crying about antisemitism and/or terrorising jazz clubs and music venues won’t solve the Jewish problem, it will make it worse and the situation is clearly deteriorating as the ADL/CAA/CST statistics on anti semitism reveal.   

Is David Duke a humanist?

I oppose all forms of biologically oriented politics. I oppose all forms of politics that are defined by race, gender or sexual orientation. I contend that politics ought to unite us as equals rather than divide us on the basis of biology. David Duke and I hold distinctly opposite positions on this and other fundamental issues.

In March 2014 I gave an interview to larmurerie.fr/ I can’t trace the original French article but a  Google translation of the French original exists on my site. I was asked by the French Journalist the following question: Many French people share your opinion. For example, there is a French thinker, Hervé Ryssen, who uses the same metaphor as you when you talk about the mirror, saying that when a Jew accuses you of being an anti-semite, you just have to read the mirror image of the argument to reveal his racism towards goyim.”

My answer was as follows. “I actually use the word projection, but the mirror image is no doubt similar. And projection, by the way, is something that Freudtaught us about. You know, we have to admit that some of the most interesting humanists in the history of the West are Jews: Christ, Spinoza, Marx were Jews. Why is that?…Now there is something very interesting and it’s again the first time I’m saying it. The left is devastated by David Duke for instance. He was in the KKK when he was young. But here is something quite amazing: I read him and I was shocked to find out that this guy knows more about Jewish identity than I do! How could a supposedly ‘racist’ Gentile who probably never entered a synagogue knows more than I do about Judaism? The reason is in fact very simple: he is a proud white man. He’s interested in nationalism, in the culture of his own people, so he understands things that I am not even allowed to think about. Believe it or not, even as a Jew, I wasn’t allowed to think of myself as a racist. I was a racist, maybe I am still one, but I was not allowed to acknowledge it. Once he acknowledges that he’s talking about white people’s rights, in a way he thinks like Avigdor Lieberman! But in fact, he is way better than Lieberman. David Duke is a humanist because he says, «I want to celebrate my right and you should celebrate your rights»  whether you are Muslim or black or whatever. He believes that all people should celebrate their rights, this is his current philosophy. Avidgor Liberman is not a humanist, because he wants to celebrate his rights at the expense of other people.”

In my book. Humanism is primarily a universal adventure. Duke, today, is no doubt a separatist. He prefers to see people  living in partitioned enclaves, he opposes immigration and his political thought is racially oriented, yet, if I understand it correctly, he believes that all people regardless of their race, ethnicity, skin colour or religion should enjoy such a right. At least in comparison with the right wing Zionist philosophy that adheres to the idea that one people should celebrate their self determination on the expense of another people, Duke’s current offering is more ethical, universal and humane. I understand that some Jews may be upset by the comparison, however, the way to deal with disagreement is to produce a counter argument rather than terrorising the music community.  I myself hold completely opposing views to Duke’s on the matter: I believe that people should learn to live together and seek harmony. This is why I left Israel. However, despite of my disagreement with Duke on some fundamental and crucial issues, in consistance with the Western intellectual tradition, I take pride in making an effort to understand positions before I criticize them. 

Does Gilad Hate Jews?

As I have stated time and time again, I have never criticized Jews or anyone else as a people, a race, an ethnicity or a biology. I challenge my detractors to produce a single reference in my work that contradicts this. No one has ever produced the goods. In my work there is no hatred whatsoever, against Jews or anyone else. Many years ago, I accepted that some Jews regard me as a ‘self hater’ yet, I fail to see how me hating myself is so unsettling for other Jews.   

In 2014 I produced a statement that some mistakenly saw as an admission of ‘Jew hatred’ and racism. At the time, I engaged in a brief twitter exchange with @OnePoundOne, an Israeli nationalist who frequently urged the murder of Palestinians, Muslims and Arabs.

On one occasion @OnePoundOne insisted  that ‘as a Jew’ I should support his violent anti Arab/Muslim rampage. I replied:

“@OnePoundOne 1. I am not a Jew anymore 2. I indeed despise the Jew in me (whatever is left) 3. I absolutely detest the Jew in you.”

@OnePoundOne’s twitter account was suspended shortly after our exchange for spreading hate speech and advocating violence.

suspended.jpg

Despite the suspension of @OnePoundOne’s account, some examples of his hateful communications survive on the internet in the form of screenshots.

onepound threats.jpg

I have never before publicly addressed the criticism over my answer to @OnePoundOne. Anti-Semites are people who hate Jews for being Jews. Anti-Semites do not accept that Jews can stop being Jews and morph into something else.  My response to @OnePoundOne dismantles this racist doctrine:

1.  I suggest that one can choose to stop being a Jew. In this view, Jewishness is a cultural or religious construct and is not either racially or biologically determined.

2. To the extent I myself retain that culture, I admit that I detest that cultural aspect in myself.

3. Further, I rejected any cultural impetus that may exist in @OnePoundOne’s hateful statements that called for violence against Arabs, Palestinians and Muslims ‘as a Jew’.

But there is a fascinating intellectual exercise to apply here that helps explain my reaction to @OnePoundOne’s vile incitement of violence. Replacing the word ‘Jew’ with ‘Protestant’  in my answer to @OnePoundOne would read as follows: “1. I am not a Protestant anymore 2. I indeed despise the Protestant in me (whatever is left) 3. I absolutely detest the Protestant in you.” While  some might find this offensive, it is not racist as Protestantism is a belief system rather than a racial identification. If we proceed with this exercise and replace the word Jew with a biological category such as skin-colour or race, the statement collapses instantly as ‘I am not  Black anymore’ is a meaningless statement for someone who is Black. Similarly, ‘I am not Caucasian anymore’ is just as silly and hollow. In other words, my answer to @OnePoundOne could never be grasped as a ‘racist’ offensive statement as it defies the idea that Jews are actually a race, as I myself managed to stop being one.

I am afraid to inform my detractors once again, that at least intellectually, I operate as a philosopher. If they want to fight my ideas, they will first have to invest some energy in understanding what I am saying. 

Look at these clueless British students recycling misquotes without verifying their authenticity or their meanings:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYecmT2GhHQ

Final words on the matter

I accept that my deconstruction of Jewish Identity politics upsets some Jews: no one likes to be scrutinized or criticized. But my work is limited to questioning politics and culture. I  have never criticized Jews or anyone else in racial, biological, physiological or ethnic terms. I dig into ideology, politics and culture assuming that these three must be subject to criticism. The fact that I am smeared and defamed for doing so, only suggests to me and others that in the eyes of some self identified Jews, their politics, ideology and culture are beyond criticism. In fact, this is exactly the supremacist view I deconstruct in my work.

I would expect that by now, considering their relentless efforts to destroy me, my detractors would have managed to spot a single incriminating line in my work so they don’t have to keep fabricating quotes and taking words out of context while terrorizing jazz clubs in between. So far they have failed to do so. This raises the assumption that their insane campaign against me, one that reflects very badly on my detractors, suggests that I have something very important to say.

I honestly believe that if my detractors would engage with my writing instead of attempting to burn my books, anti-Semitism wouldn’t be an issue in Britain or anywhere else. Jews would enjoy their lives and live in harmony with their neighbors.  I guess that in the minds of some Zionists crucifying me is the way forward. Some people must be foolish not to see that they turn me into an intellectual martyr, a Jazzus figure.   


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

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For the 0.5% not the 99.5%

 BY GILAD ATZMON

By Gilad Atzmon

If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results, then the British Labour Party is institutionally insane and beyond recovery.

Labour’s  leadership candidates didn’t learn a thing from their Party’s humiliating electoral defeat last month. Instead of returning to universal anti racist politics consistent with so-called ‘Labour values,’ the compromised contenders for party leadership bow to the demands made by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a self-elected pressure group that claims to represent 0.5% of the British public.  Our Labour leadership candidates have attended to whims uttered by a tiny privileged voice while ignoring at least 99.5% of the British public. ‘For the very few and no one else,’ falls short of describing this political suicide.

This weekend, Labour’s first leadership hustings in Liverpool provided another spectacular display of the candidates’ spineless and unprincipled behaviour. Each waited his or her turn to utter embarrassing statements that they hoped would appease their party’s bitterest enemy.

During the event, leadership candidate Jess Phillips took a furious swipe at her rivals’ ‘alleged silence over anti-Semitism.’ She claimed thatLabour‘s failure on antisemitism had lost the party its “moral high ground” in the battle against racism. She referred in her comments to Rebecca Long-Bailey, Emily Thornberry and Sir Keir Starmer, who had all been part of Corbyn’s team.

Emily Thornberry, who just a week ago was on “her hands and knees” asking for Jewish “forgiveness,”  hit back at the accusations, saying she has always been clear that antisemitism “undermines us as a party.” Vowing to kick out so-called ‘antisemites,’ she said: “What the Israeli government is doing at the moment is completely unacceptable. But that is not the fault of the Jews.”

Someone should remind the ‘kneeling enthusiast’ that in his entire career, Corbyn never  criticised Jews, Judaism or Jewishness.  He did criticise Israel and Zionism, while making a clear distinction between Jews and Zionism. It is this critique of Israel and its politics that made Corbyn and the party ‘antisemitic’ in the eyes of the Zionist pressure groups. If Thornberry insists on getting on her hands and knees to ask for pardon, she ought to understand the ‘fault’ that has been attached to her party, otherwise, her conduct fits too well with the definition of insanity.

Frontrunner Sir Keir Starmer, candidate  Rebecca Long-Bailey and candidate Lisa Nandy all repeated the same line. Each vowed to repair Labour’s relationships with British Jews. There is nothing inherently wrong with altering the Party’s appeal to Jews but the leadership candidates must have failed to notice that Corbyn wasted his political energy as a Party leader trying to do just that.

In the early stages of his leadership, Corbyn’s  popularity was the result of the false perception that he was an ideologically principled leader. It was Corbyn’s anti war stand, opposition to Anglo-American imperialism and Zionism that so many liked. As time passed, it became clear that Corbyn, the person, had little or nothing in common with his revolutionary image. The man zigzagged around every possible topic including antisemitism and Zionism, let alone Brexit. The man who at one stage was perceived as a ‘Left Icon’ publicly transformed into a caricature of a political ‘left over.’ Corbyn lost the election because he was unfit to dwell in Number 10. The Brits realised that if Corbyn couldn’t handle a tiny foreign lobby, he would struggle to deal with Putin.

But there was a lesson entangled in Corbyn’s political demise.  When Corbyn showed a bit of  willingness to resist the Lobby’s pressure, his public support grew dramatically.  Two weeks before the election, while being interviewed by BBC’s Andrew Neil, Corbyn refused to apologise to the Jewish community. He took a firm stand and upheld a universal anti racist approach to discrimination.  The spike in the polls was immediate.  In some of the polls Labour halved the gap with the Tories. At the time, I was skeptical about Corbyn’s bravery.  I thought his reaction was likely accidental. Perhaps he wasn’t prepared for the question and forgot to crawl on demand. It only took a few days before Corbyn and his shadow chancellor  reverted to their usual apologetic take on the matter: the rest is history. Corbyn’s Labour suffered its worst electoral defeat in 84 years.

 Jeremy Corbyn interviewed by BBC’s Andrew Neil https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tecUadXe82k

This week we learned that Labour’s leadership candidates haven’t learned a thing.  ‘Insanely’ they repeated Corbyn’s mistakes maybe expecting different results. Instead of producing a firm position consistent with their Party’s universal ideology, they competed to appease the whims and demands  of one hostile foreign lobby.

As in every tragic story, there was a glimpse of hope: MP Diane Abbott reported in a tweet from the Liverpool hustings that “Richard Burgon gets the most applause of anyone at the Liverpool deputy leadership hustings for his thoughtful response on the anti-semitism issue.”Diane Abbott MP@HackneyAbbott

So Richard Burgon gets the most applause of anyone at the Liverpool deputy leadership hustings for his thoughtful response on the anti-semitism issue @RichardBurgon #LabourLeader

View image on Twitter

890 · Hackney, LondonTwitter Ads info and privacy445 people are talking about this

Watching Deputy leader candidate Richard Burgon comments reveals that his seemingly  firm stand against the ‘antisemitism blitz,’ did indeed receive  warm applause from the Labour party members in the room.

Watch Richard Burgon’s attempt at reason: https://youtu.be/6S4czspYb9U

However, a careful listen to Burgon’s position clarifies that his stand on the issue is even more ridiculous than that of the other candidates. Burgon refuses to sign the BOD’s demands because he wants to work with the BOD as well as ‘all other Jewish organisations.” Burgon was referring particularly to the “minority within the minority, whether it would be LGBT Jewish people or Black Jewish people…”

The party that claimed to act for ‘the many not the few’ is now concerned with 5% (considered the demographics of sexual orientation and gender identity within western society) of the 0.5% of the entire British population. In mathematical terms,  Burgon rejects the BOD’s demands because he is concerned with a population that comprises 0.000025 of the country’s entire population. I haven’t  bothered to look at the percentage of Black Jews in Britain as there is no indication that such a community exists or is at all organized in Britain. And if it does exist, it has yet to oppose the BOD’s alleged hegemony.

Rather than looking  for a ‘minority within a minority’  to flirt with, Burgon and the Labour party  would do well to  reinstate the Party’s flat rejection of racism of all types. If such an approach comes short of satisfying the Israel Lobby, the Labour party is free to continue without their approval. This is the only meaning of acting as a true opposition party.  

It all paints a very grim picture. The Labour Party in its current form is an occupied zone. It is not occupied by Zionists, or Blairites, as we often hear, it is conquered by its own insanity.  The positive reaction to Burgon’s comments suggests that Labour supporters are still attuned to their party’s ideas. It is just the leadership that has drifted. 

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