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Livingstone’s Leaving Potshots

It has been widely reported that Ken “Hitler was a Zionist” Livingstone has quit the Labour Party. The long statement he wrote when he did so has been less widely publicised. Jewish Voice for Labour of course posted the statement on their website. It’s worth taking a look at the below quotes from that statement. You can read the whole thing on the JVL website.

“It is wrong to accuse someone of antisemitism because they make a historical argument about a part of the Zionist movement’s relations with the Nazi regime in the 1930s. I believe that a major reason for the attacks on me is that I support the Palestinian people’s human rights, which can in no way be equated with being anti-Jewish. I have strongly criticised the policies of successive Israeli governments, and campaigned for Palestinian rights for decades as part of a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The brutality of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory is renowned. In 2008-9 and 2014 several thousand Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed by Israel’s military assaults on Gaza. This violence continues to this day, as demonstrated when hundreds of Palestinian civilians in Gaza were gunned down by the Israeli army this month, with scores killed, including children. I am an opponent of the political regime that is responsible for these crimes, not the Jewish people.”

“What is misguided is the cynical exploitation of the issue for the political end of attacking Jeremy Corbyn and others who are rightly concerned at the plight of the Palestinians who have been unjustly driven from their lands and kept in conditions of discrimination and repression for the past 70 years.”

“These accusations are utterly false. Had I said Hitler was a Zionist I would have apologised, as it is an evidently ridiculous idea. Hitler loathed Jews all his life and I would never suggest he was ‘a Zionist’. I simply stated the historical fact that Hitler was, for his own loathsome reasons, prepared to do a deal with Zionists to remove Jews from Germany.”

“It is quite clear that this campaign against me has nothing to do with antisemitism, for which no evidence has been produced, to the point that the legal representative for the Labour Party at my NCC hearing did not accuse me of it. This campaign is in fact because of my criticism of the massacres and discriminatory actions carried out by the leaders of the Israeli state and is using the pretext of my accurate statement of historical fact, that a practical agreement was arrived at between Hitler and some Zionists in the 1930s.”

“However, I recognise the fact that the way I expressed a historical point caused real offence and upset in the Jewish community, and I deeply regret that.”

“In the hearing, I was supported by Jewish witnesses and many others signed a letter in my defence.” (note these witnesses were: Jenny Manson, Diana Neslen, Jonathan Rosenhead, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Walter Wolfgang)

“In the 11 months the party spent investigating this issue no evidence was found to confirm any allegation of antisemitism against me, which is why at the NCC hearing this accusation was never made. This was never about antisemitism but about undermining Jeremy.”

“But in the run-up to Jeremy’s second leadership victory the bureaucracy wasted a vast amount of time investigating 70,000 Labour members for suspension. Those thousands of hours should have been spent preparing for the general election. So, I would urge Labour to stop its staff wasting their time in this way and instead concentrate on preparing for the next election.”

“I also recognise that the way I made a historical argument has caused offence and upset in the Jewish community. I am truly sorry for that.”

It’s worth adding this interview on Press TV:



On 100th anniversary of Georgian independence, a struggle for LGBT rights

Eric Lee of LabourStart has written an excellent history of the tragically short-lived experiment in democratic socialism in the Republic of Georgia a century ago, crushed by the Russian Bolsheviks in 1921.

Georgia remained under the control of the Soviet regime in Moscow before regaining independence with the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

Eric and Peter Tatchell have written about the struggle for LGBT rights in democratic Georgia on the 100th anniversary of the founding of a Menshevik-led state.


Chabloz found guilty after posting antisemitic songs to YouTube

Alison Chabloz has expressed the most vile antisemitism in her ’satirical’ songs.

The 54-year-old was convicted at Westminster Magistrates’ Courton Friday of three charges relating to three self-penned songs.

District judge John Zani said he was satisfied the material of the songs was grossly offensive and that Chabloz intended to insult Jewish people.

No decent person could dissent from this analysis of the songs, and many will be relieved at the verdict in this private prosecution brought by the Campaign against Antisemitism (CAA).

The chair of the CAA, Gideon Falter, said: “Alison Chabloz has dedicated herself over the course of years to inciting others to hate Jews, principally by claiming that the Holocaust was a hoax perpetrated by Jews to defraud the world. She is now a convicted criminal. This verdict sends a strong message that in Britain Holocaust denial and antisemitic conspiracy theories will not be tolerated.”

However it’s not only her fans who are unsure about the outcome.


The Khomeinist IHRC versus Freedom of Speech

If you’re a Khomeinist, freedom of speech is easy. You should have it. People you dislike should not.

This week, the self-styled Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has provided yet another illustration of this core principle.

Here’s the background. Stung by Sadiq Khan’s call to ban its Al Quds Day hatred march in London on June 10, the IHRC gathered far left supporters to sign an open letter demanding its right to freedom of expression be upheld.

Salman Rushdie should be so lucky. Go back to 1989 for some of the ugly scenes in the UK after Ayatollah Khomeini called for Rushdie’s murder:

What does IHRC director Arzu Merali make of this history? It was an important victory, that’s what. In a new podcast, she says (from 46:30):

Half a million people came out for the Rushdie affair and you could say that didn’t change a thing either. But actually, I think, when you look back historically, these things will have had a major impact. What if that hadn’t happened? Certainly, I think, in the United Kingdom, if we hadn’t had the kind of mobilisation we had against The Satanic Verses, I think our situation in terms of civil and political rights would be much, much worse.

Sometimes, if you just don’t stand up and say “this is who I am and I’m upset and if you don’t get it, well you know, maybe try. You don’t have to agree with me but you’re going to have to try and get into this mind-set.” I think that’s absolutely essential.

A media report from 1989 captures some of the “impact” Merali praises:

Thousands of Muslims on Saturday fought among themselves and clashed with police during a march to demand that Britain change its blasphemy laws to allow them to challenge the novel “The Satanic Verses” in court.

Police said 84 people were arrested and six police officers were injured during the march, which erupted in a scuffle before the Parliament building.

An estimated 20,000 demonstrators waved banners denouncing author Salman Rushdie and shouted slogans such as “Rushdie must die!” as they began their march in Hyde Park.

An effigy of Rushdie hanging from gallows was thrust into the air.

At their next stop in Parliament Square, thousands of protesters stood under Big Ben and blocked traffic as fighting broke out. Riot police poured into the area to break up the clashes and force protesters onto Westminster Bridge, out of the square.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said 71 people were arrested and marchers only moved on across the bridge after receiving guarantees that protesters detained would be released.

Now it is rather amusing to see the IHRC Khomeinists demanding their Western rights be respected. These rights are a Jew, oh, sorry, ‘Zionist’ plot and they have figured it out!

In fact, the formulation of human rights theory has also largely been politically motivated, and led by advocates with narrow political agendas of their own. The idea of a universal definition of human rights can be dated back to the proposal of an International Bill of Rights of Man in 1945 by Hersch Lauterpecht, a leading Zionist.

Last year the IHRC’s “charity” arm claimed £50,647 in “Gift Aid” from HMRC. It passes the funds it collects to the IHRC limited company. The company’s only mission is Khomeinist agitation. So, effectively, taxpayers are helping to fund the Al Quds Day hatred rally. Howzat for “Islamophobia”.


Fathom 20 | Israel’s grand strategy and the return of Russia as a Great Power

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Former head of Mossad Efraim Halevy presents a sweeping overview of Israel’s strategic situation. He argues that the desire in both US political parties to pivot away from the region, coinciding with the equally strong desire of Russia to return to the Middle East as a status-hungry great power will have significant long-term consequences for Israel and for the peace process. ‘Trump will be unable to close a deal without President Putin on board,’ says Halevy, so while a joint American-Russian peace plan (or at least one signed off by Putin) for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may seem outlandish, it may also be the only prospect in town.

1948 AND THE CZECH RIFLE

In 1948 the US imposed a wide sweeping arms embargo on the entire Middle East, although Israel was the only true victim of this shameful act. This embargo was effectively enforced and were it not for the critical supplies of light arms and ammunition provided by the Communist Bloc led by the Soviet Union, victory might well have eluded the nascent state with truly disastrous consequences. There were days when the fighters who fought under Harel battalion commander Yitzhak Rabin had only 20 bullets left in their belts. The so-called ‘Czech’ rifle became one of the symbols of our War of Independence. It was augmented by a smaller quantity of heavier arms and even a few light aircraft.

The hard fought victory of 1948 was achieved against all odds – so many military figures and statesmen in the international community gave the six hundred thousand Jews in the Holy Land less than 50 per cent chance of survival against the combined forces of Egypt invading from the south, the Arab Legion of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Iraqi Armed Forces marching into Palestine from the east, and the Syrians and Palestinian elements coming down from the north. Added to all that were the armed groups of Palestinians, who harassed and attacked Jewish towns and settlements, causing many civilian deaths and casualties.

The decision to go ahead and declare a ‘state’ was a subject of heated debate in the then ten-man leadership of the Jewish Yishuv (the Jewish community in Palestine). There were moments when there was a tie and it took David Ben-Gurion all the power he could summon to break it.

In addition to that there were three armed groups operating inside the Jewish Yishuv. One was the Haganah with its elite crack unit – the Palmach – representing the mainstream of the population. Besides it was the ‘Irgun Zvai Leumi,’ the Etsel, mainly based on the revisionist wing of the Zionist national movement, and ‘Lohamei Herut Yisrael,’ which had split away from the Etsel and propagated an even more extreme policy against the British presence during the Mandate. READ MORE.


Sad!

Oh what dreadful news!

Ken Livingstone has quit the Labour party, claiming the row over his alleged anti-semitism had become too much of a ‘distraction’.

The former Mayor of London’s surprise announcement brings to an end a two-year saga during which he linked Jews to Hitler and Nazism.

Jeremy Corbyn reacted to the news by saying: “Ken Livingstone’s resignation is sad after such a long and vital contribution to London and progressive politics, but was the right thing to do.”

Oh yes, I can’t hold back the tears!


Saying Kaddish for Hamas

This is a Facebook Post by David Collier that has been reposted here

A couple of days ago a small group of Jewish people held ‘Kaddish’ for Gaza in Parliament Square. I have little interest in attacking the kids who turned up. An aggressive political stance in this situation can be self-defeating. I don’t want to place dividing walls between myself and them. For the most part, I want what they want, and the differences between us are down to ‘who is to blame’, ‘what can be done’, and ‘the nature of the enemy we face’. These are opinions not goals and I’d rather talk to them than alienate them.

I went through the list of those that attended. About forty in all. Most have signaled affiliation with Jewdas or Yachad. As is always my way, I am not in this for a naming and shaming exercise. At the time the ‘Kaddish’ was called, the organisers did not know that at least 53 of those who were killed belong to terrorist organisations. I get it. These groups, especially Jewdas, like sticking two fingers up at the establishment. This type of action is edgy, it suits the type of political action students like this engage in, and it will annoy their parents. It ticks all the boxes of what young rebels do.

At a certain point it became clear that this event would recite the names of more than 50 terrorists. And when this became clear, then giving them such recognition becomes no different than seeing anti-Israel groups honour terrorists by creating picture montages on the steps of SOAS during the stabbing intifada. Honouring people that either killed or wanted to kill Jews. Those montages were sick and roundly condemned and so should this be.

Which brings me to the leaders of this event. Those who come up with the idea, promoted it, and then led Jewish youth into performing an action that was both shameful and an insult to Israelis and Jews worldwide who have been victims of terror attacks. As soon as it became clear that the vast majority of fatalities on the Gaza border were not random at all, then the event should have been called off.

It wasn’t called off. And those leaders who advertised it, like Amos from Yachad either continued to promote it or just fell silent. Not one, not a single one, came out and said it was no longer a good idea. Not everyone present was a naive kid. And here is the problem. Once all possible legitimacy for the action had fallen away those responsible for the event still went ahead with it. Not one showed the slightest sign of ethical or moral leadership. It became Ideology above all, an issue of not backing down, which is an dangerous stance for any group to have, whether on the left or right of the spectrum. It is certainly not a lesson we need to be teaching our children.

So those people who organised this event should be named and shamed. Where possible, any community responsibility or legitimacy they have should become limited at best or removed completely. If our community organisations have ties with them they should be cut. They said kaddish for Hamas terrorists. There is no reason we should just silently accept the unacceptable.

Israel Advocacy Movement took video of the event, it’s unclear if the the thug shouting at the group was brought by them.

What’s also interesting to note is that one of the people reading out the names of the dead was at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign demonstration outside the Israeli embassy on the 11th of May. We tweeted about some of the things that were going on at the demonstration earlier.


Israel’s ‘Victory’ in Gaza

Around the world Israel is under attack from headlines and tweets. In Gaza Palestinians are under attack from bullets.

While questions are asked in the British Parliament and while journalists, television news pundits and the twitterati pound Israel for the number of dead at the Gazan border, Israeli politicians will be basking in the warmth of victory.

Hamas did not pass. The border was maintained. Furthermore the Israelis sent a message to Hamas; It doesn’t matter how many people you send like lemmings to the border, we will kill them and do it in full glare of the international spotlight. We will not flinch.

This is what the former head of the Shin Bet and current chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committee Avi Dichter meant when he said:

[Security forces] won’t let anyone put soldiers, and certainly not civilians, in danger,….The IDF has enough bullets for everyone. I think that ultimately, the means that the IDF prepared, whether non-lethal, or if needed, lethal, in cases where it’s justified by the open-fire regulations — there’s enough ammunition for everyone.

The clashes on the Gaza border with Israel have been ongoing for months with the stated aim being to have a million people take to the border.

The first demonstration was on the first day of Pesach and the plan was for the apex of the demonstrations to be today, May 15th, Nakba Day.

On the first day over a dozen Gazans were killed and the death toll has been rising ever since. Though if you were living in London or New York you might not know that since the media only really jumped on it in the context of the US embassy moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. President Trump has given American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The juxtaposition of the two events happening at the same time makes for a bleak instant summary of the day.

The Haaretz journalist Anshel Pfeffer reported on the initial demonstration on the Gaza border. Importantly he stated that there were effectively two demonstrations, one close to the border but outside of the danger and another, smaller demonstration on the border itself, Pfeffer says:

Much smaller groups consisting mainly of young men, some throwing stones and rolling burning tires, pushed forward toward the fence. These were met mainly by tear gas grenades dropped from mini-drones. And every few minutes, individuals darted forward to reach the fence and other border installations, trying to wreck them or set them alight, and were hit by sniper fire.

This was from the demonstrations at the start of the wave that has now reached its crescendo. The bodycount serves as testament to the rising intensity.

Something that has fallen by the wayside was the original proposition that Hamas weren’t behind these demonstrations. I first heard this put forward by Rami Younis at the start of the demonstrations. He argued that left wing groups and Fatah were behind them and they were avowedly non-violent demonstrations. The rhetoric and publicity put out by Hamas since then has made a lie of these words.

In fact the tension on the border has been rising markedly over the last few days with little attention paid to the actions Hamas has taken against their own gas supply (among other things):

There are also several documents online referring to Hamas instructions to demonstrators that should be acknowledged. This one in particular caught my eye:

Israel has come in for a great deal of flack, the bodycount – and the lack of one on the Israeli side – have come in for particular question. How dangerous can these riots really be if the rioters haven’t succeeded in killing a single Israeli soldier?

Writing in the Jewish Chronicle Daniel Sugarman wonders if the IDF is doing enough to keep the bodycount low, in fact he goes further, castigating the state of Israel:

In front of the entire world, Israel keeps shooting, and protestors, including those younger than my friend Gal was in 2002, keep dying. You may tell me that Hamas wants these deaths, wants to create martyrs, wants to fill the hearts of the people of Gaza with rage against Israel because the alternative is for people to look at their lives in Gaza and rage against Hamas. But if you tell me that, why are you not asking yourselves why Israel is so willingly giving Hamas exactly what it wishes?

Sugarman can accept that Hamas are callous enough to throw human fodder into the breech to die but he cannot accept that Israel will take on the task of killing them. What we’re witnessing in Gaza right now is communication between the Israeli government and Hamas with the words written, as usual, in blood.

The Israelis are sending Hamas the message, if you are strong enough to die, we are strong enough to kill you.

I fear such blood is a result of an Israeli inferiority complex vis a vis Arab brutality. As if Israel needs to kill a bunch of Palestinians every now and then just to prove it can be every bit as tough as her neighbours who wouldn’t spare a thought or shed a tear for killing this many people.

But what Israeli and Palestinian politicians should be asking themselves right now is, is this what victory looks like?

If it is we can all fear for the future.

UPDATE:

Hamas are determined to leave no one in any doubt as to their intentions:


Fathom 20 | ‘Leadership is about telling your own people the things that are difficult to hear’: an interview with Yair Lapid

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According to the latest polls, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid is Israel’s most liked politician after the Prime Minister. In this exclusive interview with Fathom, he talks about Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal, prospects for restarting peace talks, and why he believes centrist politics still holds the key to Israel’s future security as a Jewish and democratic state.

Fathom: What are your thoughts on the JCPOA nuclear agreement and US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from it?

Yair Lapid: I believed the JCPOA was a bad agreement and needed to be fixed. But I thought it was worth giving ourselves another chance to try to recreate the international coalition that pressured Iran to negotiate in the first place. If you listen to what French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson were saying during their trips to the US, there was a feeling that an opening exists to create to more comprehensive agreement which will deal with Iran’s ballistic missile programme, its support for the proliferation of terrorism and eliminate the sunset provisions of the JCPOA. We need to make sure that the Iranians will never be able to return to a nuclear weapons programme. I thought it would have been good to give ourselves six months at most to see if there was a possibility of a coalition. But I was not disappointed in what Trump did because it was better than choosing to do nothing. If you cannot build a coalition then you have to go unilaterally and work to convince players to join afterwards.

Nobody – including the Americans – has said Iran is breaching the JCPOA at the moment, but if you look at the kind of lies and deceit from before, as well as the secret Iranian nuclear archives Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented, you understand they are going to lie and cheat at the first opportunity and the fact there is such a weak agreement relating to supervision is a huge problem.

During the pre-JCPOA period the sanctions were working and this is part of the reason why Trump withdrew, to renew pressure on the Iranian regime to talk and to negotiate a new agreement. Right now the Iranians are vulnerable to sanctions. Their currency, the rial is trading on approximately 40,000 to $1 on the official market (and around 60,000 to $1 on the black market). Tehran was also using the sanctions relief money to build an army in Syria than helping their own people.

The big question will be how to get to a new agreement and clearly the president feels the best way is to start unilaterally, believing in the power of conviction. READ MORE.


Another LSE Lecturer Caught Lying

This is a guest post from Golan Yarok

Mike Cushman, lecturer at the London School of Economics, was interviewed last month on the existence of antisemitism in the Labour Party on Radio Four’s 10pm News by BBC journalist Chris Mason (starts at 20 minutes in). Cushman belongs to the pro-Corbyn “Jewish Voice for Labour”.

Cushman denied in this BBC interview that he had ever seen any evidence of antisemitism in the Labour Party and moreover excoriated the Sunday Times and BBC for what amounted to a journalistic lack of integrity in their reports about antisemitism in the Labour Party.

Cushman said:

“The Sunday Times publishes a statistical report which if one of my undergraduate students or even an ‘O Level student were to produce I’d throw it back in their face. They trawled I don’t know how many hundreds of thousands, I don’t know or millions of Facebook posts to find 2,000 which they don’t describe in any detail, they just assert they’re all horrible in some undefined way and the BBC did not interrogate the basis of that report it just led with it on bulletin after bulletin on Sunday.”

BBC Interviewer Chris Mason objected:

“That’s simply inaccurate. I was the correspondent on duty yesterday. I saw all of the material. We scrutinized hundreds and hundreds of pages of Facebook feeds and came to our own judgement in how it was reported. That’s just simply not true.

Cushman then attempted to backtrack:

MC: I didn’t hear all of the BBC yesterday I heard Broadcasting House….but I don’t want to get into…

BBC: So you base your entire…..(not intelligible) on the BBC without listening to a single program, er did you read the Sunday Times piece all the way through?

MC: Um I don’t, it is hidden behind a paywall, I got hold of a bit of it but couldn’t get all of all of (sic) it.

BBC: You’re not obliged to read the Sunday Times but if you’re gonna come on the radio and be critical of its journalism would it not have been prudent to have read it in advance?

MC: I’m sorry its behind a paywall. I can’t see it, it hides it from people like me.

Mr Cushman did not explain why the paywall was such a barrier for him and instead went from never even having come across antisemitism within the Labour Party into a complaint of being attacked constantly…as a Jew!

MC: Given the pressure that people are under and I’ve not been under anything like the amount of abuse that I’m getting on Twitter and Facebook being called a Nazi being called a fake Jew being called a kapo…

BBC: Hang on a minute aren’t you a victim of the very phenomenon you claim is being exaggerated?

Well quite.

It is difficult to avoid thinking that in reality Cushman attempted to dishonestly use his status as a university lecturer in an attempt to blacken the journalists of the Sunday Times and the BBC and to whitewash antisemitism in the Labour Party, admitted now even by Mr Corbyn (despite his previously long standing passivity and even tolerance towards it).

Mr Cushman’s professional reputation is arguably now in tatters. The LSE and any other institution Cushman is associated with might ask themselves whether Mr Cushman’s dishonest misrepresentations on BBC Radio 4 have brought the validity of any work ever carried out by him for them into question?

Mr Cushman who was at pains to deny antisemitism in the Labour Party has himself previously been the subject of controversy in his posting of an antisemitic article about Jews in Parliament.

Cushman is the second lecturer from the London School of Economics to have publicly lied about issues relating to antisemitism and Jeremy Corbyn.

What’s going on at that once proud institution?