Main menu:

Recent posts




To help keep HP running


Or make a one-off donation:

Ed Miliband silent on Labour front bencher who encouraged store thuggery

This is a cross post from Adloyada

Shabana Mahmood is a Labour Shadow Front Bencher. She’s Shadow Labour Treasury Exchequer Secretary with responsibility for tax and growth policy. Following the trashing of a local Tesco store in Birmingham Hodge Hill, she today put out a pious statement deploring the violence, along these lines:

“It’s an important right in this country to be able to air ones views and to think and say what we like without fear of violence or retribution. “Peaceful demonstrations and protests play a large part in that and I have been on my fair share. “Shoving people, intimidating people and throwing things as I am told happened by a small group of people at the Hodge Hill Tesco on Saturday are not the actions of people committed to taking part in a peaceful protest movement. It’s criminal behaviour that damages the cause that we fight for. “There are a plethora of views around the boycott and sanction movement and Israel but I have been clear from the start. I support proper labelling of goods that have been produced in the illegal settlements as per the DEFRA guidelines and personally chose to boycott those supermarkets that stock goods from those areas. But my choice is a peaceful one – I make my point with my wallet and my words. I hope others in Birmingham who support boycotting goods produced in the illegal settlements choose the same.”

But just over a week ago, she was saying something very different, urging the very supermarket thuggery she now distances herself from, as the Communist Morning Star was proud to report: FRONTBENCH Labour MP Shabana Mahmood called on activists at the weekend to take direct action against British firms that do business with Israel — lauding the success of a Birmingham protest which shut down a Sainsbury’s branch for five-and-a-half hours. Ms Mahmood, the party’s shadow exchequer secretary to the Treasury, made the plea at a 150,000-strong rally for solidarity with the people of Gaza on Saturday. She told crowds in London’s Hyde Park:

“Just as powerful as our passion is the practical action we can all take to make our government sit up and take notice. She pleaded with demonstrators to support the boycott movement and to lobby their MPs She said: “We lay down in Sainsbury’s in Birmingham and closed down a store for five-and-a-half hours at peak time on a Saturday. “The bombing must be condemned without equivocation.”

And of course even the apparent condemnation of violence she’s now switched to still parades her encouragement of active boycotting of”settlement” products. Which in practice in terms of the actions of those she urges means all goods produced in or wrongly associated with Israel.

Lib Dem MP David Ward and Respect MP George Galloway have rightly been very widely condemned for explicit and implicit support of violence, thuggery and blanket discrimination against Israelis and anyone who supports Israel.

But Shabana Mahmoud is on record as having encouraged a huge crowd of angry protesters to take the very action she now piously distances herself from, and she’s attracted none of the opprobrium and condemnation heaped on Ward and Galloway.

One particular silence is noticeable. There’s not been a word from Ed Miliband about Shabana Mahmoud and her encouragement of physical thuggery and boycott action against UK supermarkets stocking Israeli products. It’s noticeable that almost all the supermarket thuggery actions which have hit the headlines in the UK have happened since she made her inflammatory speech on 11th August in front of the angry demo crowd

Time to ask him some very tough questions about his front bencher who says one inflammatory thing in front of an angry crowd of protesters, and quietly issues a pious press statement from her office, distancing herself from the direct action against supermarkets she’d previously encouraged, but still encouraging individuals to boycott Israeli goods.

We will deal with this atrocity campaign simply through the incisive weight of the measures listed

This proclamation was published in the NSDAP newspaper Voelkischer Beobachter (Sueddeutsche Ausgabe) on March 29th 1933:

An Order to the Whole Party! The following order is accordingly issued to all Party offices and Party organizations.   Action Committees for the Boycott against the Jews. In every local branch and organizational section of the NSDAP, Action Committees are to be formed immediately for the practical systematic implementation of a boycott of Jewish shops, Jewish goods, Jewish doctors and Jewish lawyers. The Action Committees are responsible for making sure that the boycott will not affect innocent persons, but will hit the guilty all the harder.

Maximum Protection for all Foreigners. The Action Committees are responsible for ensuring maximum protection for all foreigners, without regard to their religion, origin or race. The boycott is solely a defensive measure, directed exclusively against the German Jews.

Propaganda for the Boycott. The Action Committees will immediately use propaganda and information to popularize the boycott. The principle must be that no German will any longer buy from a Jew, or allow Jews or their agents to recommend goods. The boycott must be general. It must be carried out by the whole nation and must hit the Jews in their most sensitive spot.

Central Direction: Party Comrade Streicher. In doubtful cases the boycott of the store concerned is to be postponed until definite instructions are received from the Central Committee in Munich. The Chairman of the Central Committee is Party Member Streicher.

Supervision of Newspapers. The Action Committees will scrutinize newspapers most stringently with a view to observing the extent to which they take part in the information campaign against Jewish atrocity propaganda abroad. If any newspaper fails to do this or does so to a limited extent only, then they are to be excluded immediately from every house in which Germans live. No German person and no German business may place advertisements in such newspapers. They must be subjected to public contempt, as written for members of the Jewish race, and not for the German people.

The Boycott Will Start on April 1! The boycott is not to begin piecemeal, but all at once; all preparations to this end are to be made immediately. Orders will go out to the SA and SS to post guards outside Jewish stores from the moment that the boycott comes into force, in order to warn the public against entering the premises. The start of the boycott will be made known with the aid of posters, through the press and by means of leaflets, etc. The boycott will start all at once at exactly 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 1. It will continue until the Party leadership orders its cancellation.

Mass meetings to demand the Numerus Clausus! The Action Committees will immediately organize tens of thousands of mass meetings, reaching down to the smallest village, at which the demand will be raised for the introduction of a limited quota for the employment of Jews in all professions, according to their proportion in the German population. In order to increase the impact of this step the demand should be limited to three areas for the time being: a. attendance at German high schools and universities b. the medical profession c. the legal profession.

The Need for Explanations Abroad. The Action Committees also have the task of ensuring that every German who has any kind of connections abroad will make use of these in letters, telegrams and telephone calls. He must spread the truth that calm and order reign in Germany, that the German people has no more ardent wish to go about its work in peace and to live in peace with the rest of the world, and that its fight against the Jewish atrocity propaganda is solely a defensive struggle.

Quiet, Discipline and No Violence! The Action Committees are responsible for ensuring that this entire struggle is carried out in complete calm and with absolute discipline. In future, too, do not harm a hair on a Jew’s head! We will deal with this atrocity campaign simply through the incisive weight of the measures listed. More than ever before it is now necessary for the whole Party to stand in blind obedience, as one man, behind the leadership.

Tauheedul Islam Girls High School’s radical transformation

This is a guest post by Henry Jacob

According to the Sunday Times, the Tauheedul Islam Girls High School in Blackburn has made a remarkable turnaround over the past 12 months and is now seen as model for other faith schools by the DfE.  Here is the full Sunday Times article:

Muslim school drops strict dress code

A state-funded Muslim school exposed by The Sunday Times for forcing its students to wear Islamic headdress both in and out of class has become a model for improvement after it tore up its dress code and became more welcoming to other faiths.

Officials from the Department for Education (DfE), who are understood to have been impressed by the transformation at the Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School in Blackburn, are now using it as a benchmark for other faith schools and have approved it to set up three more schools around the country.

The 750 students at the school were formerly required to wear the hijab, or Islamic headscarf, both in class and “outside the school and home”. The rule no longer features on Tauheedul’s dress code and its new uniform policy states that, while the hijab is part of the school dress code, “any student who does not wish to wear the headscarf due to individual values or cultural or faith sensitivities will not be required to do so”.

Visiting speakers are now properly vetted after the school faced criticism for inviting Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, a controversial Saudi cleric, to speak. Tauheedul, which is the flagship school of the Tauheedul Education Trust, has recently invited a range of speakers, including vicars, rabbis and business leaders.

The trust runs two primary and two secondary schools and has been approved by the DfE to open in two more girls’ secondary schools in Coventry and Waltham Forest, east London, as well as a high school for boys in Bolton.

“Tauheedul has made a remarkable turnaround in the last year by becoming more inclusive of other faiths and dropping policies to which it once subscribed, including imposing Islamic headdress on its students,” a senior Whitehall official said. “It really has become a model by which we’re now measuring other faith schools.”

Last year The Sunday Times revealed that Tauheedul had banned its students from bringing stationery to school that contained “un-Islamic images”, such as pictures of pop stars, or accessing material on the internet that was deemed “un-Islamic in nature”.

The rules have been relaxed, with students now required only to ensure their stationery does not contain “inappropriate or offensive images” and any material accessed via the internet is not “inappropriate or offensive in nature”.

Tauheedul was rated “outstanding” by Ofsted in March. The education watchdog carried out a separate inspection last month after concerns about leadership and management issues but the school was cleared of any wrongdoing.

This is significant progress and it would be great if other faith free schools followed Tauheedul’s example and became more inclusive of all lifestyles.  We’ll be keeping an eye on any such developments!

Not Kosher: Sainsburys in Holborn

A Sainsburys store in Holborn removed all its Kosher products yesterday. Apparently this was due to a fear of attacks – perhaps prompted by disgraceful scenes in a Birmingham Tesco. However it’s concerning that at least one member of staff gave the impression they thought the decision was political, motivated by opposition to Israel.

British as well as Israeli products were removed. Although staff may not have deliberately set out to remove all Kosher lines, even those from the UK, it’s certainly the case that not all boycotters seem much concerned by these distinctions. The CST’s Mark Gardner, responding to the violence in Birmingham, reported on the antisemitism infecting such protests.

Condemning the actions of the protestors, he said: ‘We have seen protestors claiming that all UK supermarkets are owned by Jews and that they give 25 per cent of their profits to the Israeli Army.

Now Sainsburys has stated that the shelves have been replenished. But, as Tal Ofer points out, the answer to safety concerns should be to ensure security is adequate, not cave in to those threatening violence.

habibi adds: have a look at Labour MP Shabana Mahmood gleefully taking part in street thuggery at another demonstration outside a Sainsbury’s.

This is Labour today.

More here.

FRONTBENCH Labour MP Shabana Mahmood called on activists at the weekend to take direct action against British firms that do business with Israel — lauding the success of a Birmingham protest which shut down a Sainsbury’s branch for five-and-a-half hours.

Ms Mahmood, the party’s shadow exchequer secretary to the Treasury, made the plea at a 150,000-strong rally for solidarity with the people of Gaza on Saturday.

She told crowds in London’s Hyde Park: “Just as powerful as our passion is the practical action we can all take to make our government sit up and take notice.

She pleaded with demonstrators to support the boycott movement and to lobby their MPs.

She said: “We lay down in Sainsbury’s in Birmingham and closed down a store for five-and-a-half hours at peak time on a Saturday.

Arguing against dead Gazan kids

Cross-Posted from my blog at the Times of Israel

Many words have been thrown around during the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas. One of those words is proportion, another is symmetry. One word that I haven’t heard used very much is rationality. As usual, behind the war raging in Gaza another war was raging for airtime in front of television cameras and for attention via the electronic signals of the internet.

People all around the world were incensed by the images of dead and wounded Gazans being broadcast to them on just about every media outlet. In order to provide some attempt to give the other side of the story media networks would switch from Palestinians carrying dead and bleeding kids into al Shifa hospital to an Israeli somewhere in the South of the country showing the hole they had in the roof of their house. Hardly likely to capture the imagination in the same way.

This belies the fact that neither an Israeli with a hole in their roof nor a picture of a dead Palestinian is educating people as to what is actually going on in Gaza. Or why we were fighting there. So is it really a surprise that people everywhere are incensed by Israel?

While the press were lining up to grab their images of “war porn” in al Shifa Hospital in Gaza they were quietly ignoring the Hamas command bunker located inside the same facility. They were ignoring the rockets being fired from behind their hotel, they were ignoring the armed Hamas fighters all around them. That is until Hamas finally allowed journalists to leave the Strip and they could tell their tales of woe unmolested…and largely ignored. The news has moved on. The hatred for Israel remains.

Now in the wake of the operation what everyone in Israel knew already was confirmed by whispers from journalists leaving Gaza. Too late to make an impact on the millions of people around the world who were glued to their television sets for a month of constant real life war stories. The story was simple. There was an aggressor and a victim. There were words such as asymmetry and proportionality but there was no rationality to speak of.

I don’t blame the journalists. There is an inevitability to this one sided reporting when they’re in a territory ruled by a fascist, theocratic dictatorship. The fact that this is who Israel is fighting means that there is a depressing inevitability to the continuation of conflict between Hamas and Israel. Whatever the short term causes are, in the long term, the commitment Hamas holds to Israel’s destruction will ensure that conflict will always begin again.

On the streets of Europe the damage has been done. The thousands of demonstrators have already taken to the streets to bare their fangs. In Paris they took out their anger on Jewish targets, in London, Berlin and elsewhere in the world the demonstrators, shouted Jew hating slogans. Anti-Semitic incidents went through the roof. Here also rationality was missing. did people in Berlin really think that by chanting “Jews to the gas chambers” they were helping Gazans?

Where does proportionality and symmetry fit into a Parisian attacking a synagogue in the name of Gaza?

Hamas are so ruthless that they even murder their own operatives in cold blood. They are perfectly happy to fight to the last Gazan. In fact when journalists in Gaza are so scared of Hamas that they simply refuse to film them the entire idea of having a rational conversation about Hamas becomes impossible. When dead kids are being broadcast 24/7 on TV the man talking rationally appears simply to be the man who doesn’t care about the dead and the wounded.

With all of this bizarre irrational commentary the events of the Middle East, particularly the “Israeli/Palestinian” conflict has been broken down into a fight between weak Palestinians and strong Israelis. This is a narrative constructed to fit a 2 minute TV segment and it’s wrong.

What this fighting is about is extremists doing everything they can to prevent peace between Israelis and Palestinians. What’s good for Israelis is also good for Palestinians. What’s good for the majority is bad for the extremists. When they feel they’re losing power they order the killing of three kids and set the snowball in motion that led all the rest of us into war.

This is not an “Israeli Palestinian” conflict this is a conflict between extremists and everyone else. This truth is something journalists ignore every time.

The demands being made by Hamas right now are the perfect example of this divide. There is nothing extreme about going to war demand freedom of movement for your populace or the free flow of trade and goods into Gaza. But when you take into account the fact that these measures were only imposed after Hamas murdered the members of the ruling Fatah they overthrew and turned Gaza into a giant playground for terrorists you understand their necessity. Israel is dealing with Hamas and has no reason to believe that their demands are coming from anything other than a desire to get as many guns into the Strip as possible.

So while the world has been watching dead Palestinians being brought into the hospital which doubles as Hamas military HQ they are in no mood to hear the rational Israeli worries about a rearmed, re-equipped Hamas shooting into Israel once again in two years time.

The truth is that the extremists have won this round. Rationality has been swept aside. All thoughts for the majority of Israelis and Palestinians who are being dragged along for the Hamas ride are gone, replaced by an image of a dead kid and a hole in a roof.

No Such Thing As A Faith Child

This is a cross-post by John Sargeant at homo economicus

Adults are extolled in the Christian tradition to be childlike in their acceptance of the faith. Jesus says: “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” In the first letter of Peter “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation -“

That pure special diet is one some want their children to be exclusively fed. Proverbs reminds such parents, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Rather than a child free to explore the religions of this world, its cultures and philosophies so they can create their own identity, it is about a child continuing a parent’s self identity.

Children are not given the vote or expected to do jury service for a simple reason; they are children. The complexities of the big questions in society, or determining innocence or guilt in a trial would make it absurd to argue they have the competence that an adult would. There is no such thing as a Muslim child, an atheist child, let alone a Capitalist child or Marxist child, for this reason.

However, some will try and argue that children have their own faith. That complex questions as to the route to salvation, the nature of God, which religion is the true religion for this, can be answered by a child. That it is them expressing their faith when it comes to dress at school.

John Lewis is offering the hijab as part of selling school uniforms. The usual bigots and hate mongers are in hysterics in ways they are not about other expressions of faith in school. Like mandated Christian prayer at assembly, as if the state should have any right to say how we should worship. Selective outrage at children being used as an extension of parent’s beliefs so as to further the far right, need condemning.

Do read the rest of John’s post here

Yesterday’s anti-ISIS demonstration [updated with more pictures]

About 400 people attended yesterday’s demonstration against ISIS in London.  The majority appeared to be Kurds and, although their anger and concern is fully understandable, it was a pity not to see more, and more varied, support.  It was surprising to see activists selling socialist papers – but these turned out to be members of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (a party which bucks the far left trend by supporting a two state solution and being highly critical of radical Islam).  ‘It’s nice not to see any badly drawn pictures of Netanyahu eating babies’ remarked one demonstrator. Although one or two demonstrators thought they’d denounce Zionism for good measure

others did not (and appeared to attract no hostile attention.)

Other posters expressed solidarity with religious minorities in the Middle East, condemnation of ISIS terror, and criticisms of other countries in the region for aiding or supporting ISIS.

And of course many expressed anger and outrage at their brutal treatment of women.

Update: Another photo – via FormerCorr (thank you!)

Thanks very much to Jacobin as well for permission to use some of his photos too.

And you can see his whole set here.

Twenty-nine updings

Via The Everyday Antisemitism Project, a comment to a recent Telegraph article:

A reminder that those who think it’s possible to draw a sharp distinction between anti-immigration sentiment and antisemitism are fooling themselves.

The Stoppers’ sickening message

When will “Stop the War” have the decency to curl up and die? When will the unions and other organizations which fund it have the decency to disaffiliate?

Alex Rowell observes at NOW:

Britain’s Stop The War [Coalition]… said it was “vital that we oppose” the operation that rescued over 20,000 Iraqis from certain death at ISIS’ hands.

And friend-of-Stoppers Seumas Milne set aside the urgent need for action to save the Yazidis in order to explain all the reasons the US and Britain should not have done anything.

The Stoppers’ and Milne’s loathsome and selfish message to the Yazidis: Better to accept mass slaughter than US intervention.

Hamas: We deported journalists who filmed launch sites

A revealing interview with a Hamas spokesperson about journalists in Gaza:

Notable quote:

“[T]he journalists who entered Gaza were fixated on the notion of peace and on the Israeli narrative.

“So when they were conducting interviews, or when they went on location to report, they would focus on filming the places from where missiles were launched. Thus, they were collaborating with the occupation.”

If so, it’s amazing how few such reports there actually were.

The BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen reported last month after a week in Gaza: “I saw no evidence… of Israel’s accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields.”

Jeremy, it’s becoming increasingly clear you saw nothing in Gaza that Hamas didn’t want you to see.