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Marxism Festival and The Labour Party

Marxism Festival 2018 is on the horizon. Looks like it’s all about Jeremy.

In case there was any doubt about who these Jeremy Corbyn supporting organisers of Marxism conference were:

Go along and find out how to support the Labour Party:

But it just wouldn’t be complete without the usual assault on the USA and Israel.

Apparently the Middle East is “on fire” as a “terrible consequence of Western colonialism and imperialism”. One day the people living in the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world may be viewed as people who should be held responsible for their own actions.

It’s hardly surprising that antisemitic (and other) conspiracy theories have found such fertile ground within the Far Left when their whole world view bizarrely places responsibility for every negative event on the shoulders of the USA and UK. Maybe, just maybe, years of dictatorial rule by the Assad family are responsible for the descent into civil war.

Maybe the people who formed ISIS are responsible for ISIS, maybe the Russians are intervening to prop up a monster and the Iranians have taken the opportunity to continue the growth of their own empire in the region.

Nah it’s the West…



The Rothschild’s Master Plan comes to NUS’s NEC

Despite our constant prompts, Ayo is yet to apologise:


To win back the youth, Israel must explode these myths

This is a cross-post from Lyn Julius writing in the Jewish News

Last week the Spectator carried a disturbing comment on the anti-Semitism furor engulfing the British Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Alastair Thomas, the twenty-something author, comes to a frightening conclusion: most Labour supporters of his age are indifferent to antisemitism.

Those who try strenuously to separate antisemitism and anti-Zionism include the leaders of the British-Jewish community, who banned Israeli flags from a recent demonstration against antisemitism.According to Thomas, it is a distinction without a difference. Decades of media bias have wrought their distortions: Israel is guilty of all kinds of crimes, his peers believe – and Jews outside Israel are guilty sympathisers.

All this comes from a post-colonial world view that ignores or downplays Arab and Muslim crimes. To give a flagrant example, the Taubira law memorialising slavery (adopted in France in 2001) mentioned the 11 million victims of the transatlantic slave trade, while ignoring the 17 million slaves trafficked by Arabs and Muslims.

How did people get it so wrong?  It is time that some of the misconceptions, that the left especially has been labouring under for decades, were exploded.

Jews are an inauthentic minority: Exaggerated and conspiratorial theories of Jewish power are applied to Israel, the Jew among states,  to constitute what has been termed ‘antisemitic anti-Zionism’. In fact Jews have been a defenceless minority not just in Europe, but in the Muslim world where they were inferior dhimmis. Indigenous Jews were colonised and ultimately victimised by Arab and Muslim racism.  There is a widespread but erroneous perception that Jews and Arabs lived together in peace and harmony before the creation of Israel. Jews themselves are to blame for any antisemitic backlash.

Zionists are white supremacists. Israel is viewed as a settler colonial state, populated by Jews from Europe and America. Yet Jews are native to the Middle East, having been living in Palestine, and the region, at least 1,000 years before the Arab conquest and Islam.   Guilt-ridden because of their own history of colonialism, many westerners view Israel as a white country and the Palestinians are perceived as non-white. But you only have to stroll down an Israeli street to see the preponderance of Jews of colour. Culturally, Israelis are accused of appropriating Arab foods, such as falafel and hummus, although Middle Eastern Jews – now comprising over 50 percent of the Jews of Israel –  have been eating them for centuries, if not millennia.

Israel is a tool of ‘western imperialism. The little Satan gets most of its support from the great Satan, the US. It exploits and oppresses the Palestinians, whose land they have plundered and colonised. This view, of course, inverts the facts: any dispossession and displacement of Palestinians was the consequence of the Arab defeat in the wholly avoidable 1948 war, which Arab states  instigated to snuff out the newborn Jewish state. Crucially, the left prefers to ignore the deliberate plundering and uprooting of close to a million Jewish citizens from the Arab world, who constitute more than half Israel’s Jews today. (The US has only supported Israel since 1967 – before that, Israel was supported by the French and at its birth, by the Soviet Union).

The Palestinians are the underdog: Since the 1967 war,  the conflict between Israel and the Arab states has been decontextualised and reframed as a struggle between the Palestinian David against the Israeli Goliath. The theories of Jean-François Revel, Michel Foucault and Edward Said hover in the background of many a ‘progressive’ Westerner’s’ views of the Middle East. We are at the stage where Palestinians have been so emboldened  by mainstream anti-Zionism in the West that their demand to destroy Israel by enforcing their ‘right of return’ is no longer seen as unreasonable. To support such a Palestinian right is to shill for Arab and Islamist imperialism.

The Palestinians are paying the price of  the Holocaust: widespread is the myth that Palestinians are the innocent  victims  of a calamity inflicted on the Jews of Europe. Yet the 20th century produced a virulent form of genocidal racism, encouraged by the Palestinian Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, against the Jews of the Arab world, as well as in Palestine. The Mufti collaborated with the Nazis and in the event of Nazi victory would have presided over the extermination of the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa. More Jews were driven out by Arab regimes than Palestinian Arabs who fled Israel. Today the torchbearers of Nazi antisemitism are the Islamists and Iran. The Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, has a doctorate in Holocaust denial. It is no accident that the swastika was flown in Gaza during the recent March of Return mass protests.

The spread of falsehoods and propaganda is amplified by social media; liberal opinion is shaped by such ‘impartial’ media as the NY times and the BBC. This is not to say that the left was never anti-Jewish. Indeed the left has an ignoble tradition of antisemitism, often described as the ‘socialism of fools’. If class warfare is the engine of history, Communism has long viewed Jews as capitalists exploiting the workers. In the 1970s, Israel became the main focus for the ‘anti-imperialism of idiots’ when vicious, well- funded and long-running anti-Zionist campaigns were conducted by the Soviet Union.

So deeply embedded is ideological antisemitic anti-Zionism that calls for Corbyn’s left to clean out its stable of antisemites is like asking the Pope to become an atheist. Beyond this, Israel is increasingly illegitimate in the eyes of the youth, the decision-makers of the future. Something needs to be done urgently before we lose them altogether.

Lyn Julius is the author of ‘Uprooted: How 3,000 years of Jewish Civilisation in the Arab world vanished overnight’. Available in paperback and Kindle after 12 April.


Syrian Chemical Weapons Targets Hit by West

American, British and French air forces have launched coordinated strikes on the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons facilities.

Apparently the Russians did not open fire on the jets invading Syrian air space.

The Times:

Britain, the United States and France launched more than 100 airstrikes in a “one time shot” against Syria early this morning to stop President Assad from using chemical weapons.
It was double the firepower of a US attack against a single Syrian air base a year ago, James Mattis, the US defence secretary said.

The Guardian:

The US, UK and France have launched air strikes against what they allege are Syrian chemical weapons facilities in response to chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb a week ago.

The Pentagon said the air strikes, which began at 4am Syrian time (2am GMT), involved planes and ship-launched missiles, more than 100 projectiles in all. Officials named three targets: a scientific research centre in Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs, and another storage site and command post nearby.


Labour’s Problem is NOT Antisemitism

The antisemitic views expressed by Labour members have been getting a great deal of media attention recently, at HP we have done our best to shine a light on some of the antisemitic discourse that has become almost a staple of far left discussions on social media. Recently the Jewish community held two demonstrations against the antisemitism in the Labour Party, but no one seems to know what to do about it. Those who wish to fight it might want to start by addressing the root cause of antisemitism rather than just the discourse itself.

Jeremy Corbyn is proud of his hard left socialist views. He’s been writing for the Morning Star since becoming a Member of Parliament in 1983. This is a publication that was founded in 1930 to represent to the Communist Party of Great Britain. He called for a complete rehabilitation of Leon Trotsky in 1988 in Parliament. Recent revelations that he was in contact with a member of, what was then, Czechoslovak intelligence during the Cold War have come to the fore. Danny Finklestein points out that;

“No one would have had to pay Mr Corbyn to take a sympathetic view of the Soviet Union’s world role because he saw that as all part of the service as MP for Islington North. And far from advancing his ideas in clandestine encounters, Mr Corbyn was entirely open about his opinions.”

Finkelstein notes two criticisms of the USSR Corbyn made in a speech in 1991. Suffice it to say neither of them was a criticism of the antisemitism prevalent within the Soviet state. In fact, bearing in mind his determination to avoid blaming the Russian state, even now, for an attempted assassination in Salisbury or for chemical attacks made by Russia’s Syrian ally one wonders whether he’d admit there was any. Paul Anderson former editor of Tribune noted of Corbyn’s inner circle;

Labour Action for Peace, a pressure group that had no formal role in the Labour Party, and for which Corbyn was an officer, was notoriously and idiotically pro-Soviet. Corbyn, in making Seumas Milne and Andrew Murray key figures in his team, both of them rather keen on the Soviet Union in the 1980s, obviously doesn’t think any of that too important.

In short Corbyn isn’t hiding his far left views and in the current political climate it’s likely that those views gained him the leadership of the Labour Party. A massive influx of new members who had previously been hanging out in political irrelevance are now the newest, hardest working activists in the party.

During his election campaign for party leader in August 2015 Corbyn had his pick of any publication in the UK and even further afield to give an interview to, he chose Electronic Intifada and to speak to a man who had never voted Labour in his life;

Winstanley has been slavish in his devotion to Corbyn. He has also written a plethora of articles insisting that antisemitism in the Labour Party is a fiction invented by Zionists in order to attack Corbyn. Even after Corbyn stated explicitly;

I recognise that anti-Semitism has surfaced within the Labour Party, and has too often been dismissed as simply a matter of a few bad apples. This has caused pain and hurt to Jewish members of our Party and to the wider Jewish community in Britain. I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused, and pledge to redouble my efforts to bring this anxiety to an end.

Two days after Corbyn’s comments on antisemitism in the Labour Party Winstanley wrote an article criticising him entitled; “Jeremy Corbyn must stop pandering to Labour’s Israel lobby”. Winstanley represents the Labour voter who rushed to join the party to support him, now any statements by Corbyn about antisemitism risk alienating him. It’s worth bearing that in mind.

Another notable supporter is Roshan Salih who works for the Iranian propaganda mouthpiece Press TV. Salih claims to have interviewed Corbyn “countless times on Press TV”. Indeed Corbyn collected a wage from Press TV at precisely the moment Iranians were being murdered by the Islamic regime in Tehran during the Green Revolution. Writing in the Independent Tom Peck observed;

Fundamentalist Muslims and devout Marxists are not easy revolutionary bedfellows, but a lot of America-loathing goes a long way.

Corbyn’s motivation for working at Press TV is the same as for his defence of the USSR; his anti-Westernism, specifically the world view that the UK, USA and Israel are imperialists attempting to stamp their authority on poorer states around the world. This is why Winstanley has been so adamant in his refusal to accept antisemitism in the Labour Party, he’s petrified it will mean the end of the battle against Western imperialism, including against Israel.

Jeremy Corbyn referred to “pockets” of antisemitism in the Labour Party. He’s wrong. The issue is not that a bunch of antisemites suddenly joined the Labour Party. The issue is that a bunch of people holding extreme left wing views joined the Labour Party and invigorated the fringe extreme lefties still in Labour but banished into political irrelevance by Tony Blair and others. These activists share Corbyn’s belief system when it comes to the evils of a capitalist society and the evils of an Israel that, for them, represents all that is wrong with capitalism and the imperialism of the West.

When Corbyn now makes statements about the evils of antisemitism he appears to Winstanley and others as if he’s softening his stance on Western imperialism. The Jewish anti-Zionist activist Tony Greenstein even went so far as to argue a defence of Holocaust denial on this basis;

“If you use the Holocaust, not in order to teach about the evils of racism but to justify racism and every barbarous act of Israel, including ethnic cleansing, is it surprising that some people deny that there was a Holocaust?

This is not antisemitism as a determination to hate Jews, it’s antisemitism as a construct of most Jews as perpetrators of the worst crimes humanity has ever seen, the demonisation of their state as “evil” incarnate and forgiveness for those who attack Jews because Israel is so awful and Jews support Israel. It’s interesting to note that Greenstein was expelled from the Labour Party for obnoxious posts relating to antisemitism. It’s also worthy of note that there is a movement in the Labour Party calling for his expulsion to be lifted. The Chakrabarti Report specifically advises against expulsions from the party, should the report be adopted in full it’s possible that Greenstein and others will be admitted back into the party.

However antisemitism is not what we saw coming from the former head of the disciplinary committee Christine Shawcroft in her defence of then Labour candidate for local council Alan Bull. He had shared posts denying the Holocaust and another arguing that ISIS and Israel were working together. Shawcroft later claimed she hadn’t even seen the offensive material that she was defending Bull for sharing. It later emerged that two Jewish members of the National Executive Committee, Jon Lansman and Rhea Wolfson were sent Shawcroft’s email defending Bull. Despite being Jewish, Lansman is said to have moved to limit the penalty imposed. This points to another issue with far left politics, clannish devotion to the cause. It’s this clannish devotion that led to Shawcroft responding to Bull’s case with a knee jerk defence, by her own admission without even having seen the offensive material, and has served to compound the crisis Labour is facing when it comes to antisemitism. If the right person is being antisemitic then they’re practically guaranteed a defence from those who share their ideological sympathies, if not their overtly antisemitic outlook. This makes it impossible for the party to be able to police itself. Note this from The Guardian on the workings of the Labour Party disciplinary committee;

“People were generally outraged at the scale of the defence of just anything. It’s all about control: control of the party and control of the processes,” one source close to the NEC said.

The notion that Jewish members of the Corbyn clique are antisemitic has been ridiculed by many of the rank and file in the Labour party but it is clear that for Lansman the tribal nature of far left politics has caused him to even argue against those who have shared posts attacking his Jewish coreligionists. Is Lansman being antisemitic here? No. Is Lansman perpetuating a situation where those who are being antisemitic are able to continue? Yes.

Capital

The top echelon of the Labour Party consists of politicians and activists who actively agitate against Capitalism. Jeremy Corbyn immediately put forward the theory that oligarchs, (wealthy, unscrupulous capitalists) were responsible for the Salisbury poison attack and not the Russian state when the Skripal affair arose. John McDonnell recently dismissed the idea of Labour centrists breaking away to form their own party as an issue of wealth;

So those Jews who are wealthy, influential business people may well fall into the category of those who are loathed by the clique at the head of the Labour Party. If such individuals also hold portfolios within the Jewish community that clique are, at best, going to be presented with the dilemma of whether to deal with the kind of people they have spent their lives railing against at demonstrations. The fact that their Judaism is not the reason for being treated with hostility by Corbyn and his inner circle is rather besides the point. As things stand Corbyn has offered to meet representatives of the mainstream Jewish community who submitted to him certain preconditions. It’s really a bizarre situation to think that Corbyn will meet with Zionists and be able to find the wherewithal to take their concerns at face value without seeing the hand of Israel in their claims about antisemitism as relates to claims about Israel.

With this in mind it’s hardly surprising that Jeremy Corbyn chose to sit with Jewdas, a small group of anti-capitalist Jews who have vocally supported him and called for the end of capitalism. Corbyn specifically referenced the fringe group Jewish Voice for Labour during his interview with the Jewish News. It’s likely that even if he were aware of the extent to which referring to such a group would be regarded as a slap in the face by the Jewish community he would have done it anyway. The Jews of JVL spent their lives in the same political backwater that he spent the last 30 years of his own career in, his ascendancy is also theirs. What this means for the rest of the Jewish community can only be guessed at.

This is the institutional issue now at play in the Labour Party. Where the far left part ends and the antisemitic part begins is almost impossible to define and in any case irrelevant. A large part of the ideology of the current Labour party is anti-West, anti-wealth, anti-capitalist, anti-Zionist, anti many things. It is that kernel of seething resentment within it that leads to the massive amount of antisemitic discourse among the party faithful from street activists all of the way up to Prospective Parliamentary Candidates and union officials. But that hatred is also the powerful motivation that leads to this new wave of activists to get out onto the streets and campaign for Corbyn’s Labour Party. Anyone, including Corbyn, who seriously attempts to interfere with that driving force of hatred puts their own position in the party in doubt and also runs the risk of unravelling the whole movement right when it’s on the cusp of taking power.

On this basis any fight against antisemitism within that movement is likely to fail and any attempt to convince Corbyn and his clique to abandon their anti-Western, anti-Capitalist world view is an exercise in futility. If the antisemitism of the Labour Party is to be defeated it will have to happen at the ballot box.


What is the Israel Palestine Conflict Really about?

Einat Wilf speaks;


Hershl Gwizdalski – We Remember


Abandon that hope!

Guest post by Karl Pfeifer

When I started to write about Hungary 39 years ago, I met many Budapest intellectuals and thought antisemitism and nationalism were not a big problem.

When 29 years ago a democratic system was established, I had to acknowledge my big mistake. The specters of the past were kicking and alive. I have published many articles at Harry’s Place about this.

In the lead-up to Sunday’s Hungarian election, Prime Minister and Fidesz party leader Viktor Orbán understood how to win a part of the electorate by whipping up antisemitism without ever mentioning the word “Jew.” George Soros, the “international speculator,” became Hungary’s Public Enemy Number 1. Soros is accused of having a plan to flood the country with migrants. Many Orbán supporters are victims of the prime minister’s policies. However as long as national flags are wagged in front of them, as long as Orbán is promising a good future, they vote for him.

Let me quote from the preliminary findings and conclusions of an OSCE ODIR commission:

The 8 April parliamentary elections were characterized by a pervasive overlap between state and ruling party resources, undermining contestants’ ability to compete on an equal basis. Voters had a wide range of political options but intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric, media bias and opaque campaign financing constricted the space for genuine political debate, hindering voters’ ability to make a fully-informed choice.

Orbán whipped up the sentiments against Muslims with sweeping judgments about them. A friend of mine, a journalist, tried to convince a woman to vote for the opposition. She screamed at my friend, “If Orbán loses the election, women will have to wear a Chador.”

To those who comfort themselves in vain that hatred against Muslims will result in tolerance and love of Jews, who believe that Hungarian antisemitism is ephemeral and will speedily disappear, I can only say: Abandon that hope!


Israeli Labor party suspends ties with Corbyn

A letter from the chair of the Israeli Labor party to Jeremy Corbyn. No doubt a cause for celebration among the Corbynites. They are probably only unhappy that he didn’t cut ties with British Labour entirely.


It’s been a long time coming!

He called for a boycott of Israel enough times. Here he is calling for one in 2014.


Democracy dead at NUS as BDS passes without vote

Speaking at a pro-Palestine rally opposite Downing Street, NUS representative Ilyas Nagdee said:

My name is Ilyas Nagdee and I am here today representing a union that has seven million members, seven million members who have decided to stand on the side of justice. Two weeks ago at our National Conference our students voted to continue adopting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on the state of Israel for the continuous occupation of Palestine. We voted to stand on the side of justice

NUS’s BDS policy was set to lapse at this year’s National Conference. There were no motions put forward to reaffirm this policy and therefore the policy lapsed. So why is Nagdee claiming that there was a vote to continue endorsing BDS?

Prior to the rally Nagdee tweeted:

So it would appear that NUS passed BDS via the back door. This doesn’t sound very democratic to us.

Nagdee claimed he was representing “seven million members who have decided to stand on the side of justice”. How many of that membership voted? How many of that membership know what BDS is? And how many care? Certainly not the seven million Nagdee claimed.

Who is Ilyas Nagdee?

Nagdee claims to represent and speak on behalf of seven million students. But who is he?

Nagdee is the NUS’s Black Students’ officer. A position within NUS that mandates him to represent “students of African, Asian, Arab and Caribbean descent”, not seven million members. In fact, there has been internal fighting within the BSC due to questions surrounding who they represent. Student activist Amarachi Ninette Iheke said of NUS BSC that:

“Black students feel their identities as well as their oppression(s) co-opted and monopolised”.

This is no surprise when BSC spend most of their time concerned with challenging the government’s counter-extremism strategy – Prevent, obsessing about Israel and running campaigns with Islamist groups such as CAGE and IHRC. Their representation of Black Students has been so poor that a separate group called “Black Impact” had to be set up in order to better represent ethnically black students.

What has occurred here has been a violation of the rights of Jewish and Israeli students. As support for BDS decreases, and the case for implementing it grows weaker I am sure we will see the same type of shunting through of BDS that we have seen within the NUS. After all, if democracy doesn’t work for you, so what? Make it.