Politics

Tony Greenstein on the Abuse of Anti-Semitism to Silence Criticism of Israel

This video was put on YouTube two years ago, in March 2017, by Brighton BDS, the local branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and oppression of the Palestinians. It’s one of two videos from that meeting, in which Greenstein and Jackie Walker respectively tell of how accusations of anti-Semitism are used to stifle justified criticism of Israel. Both Greenstein and Walker are Jewish critics of Israel, and despite their being firm anti-racists and anti-Fascists, have thus been smeared as anti-Semites.

Greenstein begins his speech by welcoming his audience, and congratulating them in that they are going to see two anti-Semites for the price of one. He explains that the accusations of anti-Semitism have nothing to do with real anti-Semitism. They’re the method used to silence critics of the unjustifiable, like Israel’s destruction of a Bedouin village in the Negeb desert to make way for a Jewish village. And Administrative Detention, where the only people detained without trial are Palestinians. It is also difficult to justify a law which retroactively legalises the theft of Palestinian land, and the existence of two different legal system in the West Bank, one for Palestinians and the other for Jews. He states that in most people’s understanding of the word, that’s apartheid. It’s certainly racist. And it’s easier to attack critics as anti-Semitic, than deal with the issues concerned.

And Israel doesn’t operate in a vacuum. It receives more aid from the United States than every other country in the world combined. Israel is defended because it’s a very important partner of the West in the Middle East. It’s critics do single out Israel, because it’s the only apartheid state in the world, the only state that says one section of the population – Jews – will have privileges, while the other section won’t. He states that there are many repressive states in the world, but there is only one apartheid state. The Zionists then reply that there’s only one Jewish state. Greenstein responds to that by pointing to 1789 and the liberation of the Jews in France during the French Revolution, the first people to be granted such emancipation. The French Revolution established the principle that the state and religion should be separate. This is also a cardinal principle of the American Constitution, but it doesn’t exist in Israel. Greenstein states that he has the right to go to Israel, claiming citizenship, and get privileges like access to land because he’s Jewish, while Yasser – a member of the audience – has no such rights, despite being born their and having a family there, because he’s not Jewish. You can’t say it’s not racist and unjust, and so they accuse people, who criticise it, of anti-Semitism.

He makes the point that it’s like the British in India. They didn’t claim they were going there to exploit the natural wealth of India, and pillage and rape it. No, they justified it by saying they were going there to civilise it by getting rid of Suttee, the burning of a man’s widow on his funeral pyre. He cites Kipling’s metaphor as the Empire as a burden on the White man’s back. It was the Empire on which the sun never set, which was because, as some people said, God didn’t trust the British. It wasn’t just the Conservatives, but also the Labour party, who justified British imperial rule in these terms. The Labour Party justified it as trusteeship. Britain held the lands in Africa and Asia in trust for their peoples until they came up to our standard of civilisation.

It’s the same with Israel today. When Britain and America support Israel, they don’t do it because it’s colonisation, or because Jewish mobs go round Jerusalem every Jerusalem Day chanting ‘Death to the Arabs’, utter anti-Muslim blasphemies and their other actions, which mean Arabs have to stay in their homes to avoid being attacked by thousands of settler youths. It’s because of anti-Semitism and some vague connection with the Holocaust. But opposing Israel is in no way anti-Semitic. He states that the definition of anti-Semitism is simple. It is ‘hostility to Jews, as Jews’. He states that a friend of his, the Oxford academic Brian Klug, worked that out years ago. He then talks about how the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism was devised in 2004 to connect anti-Semitism with Israel by the European Monitoring Commission. It met much resistance, and was opposed by the University College Union, the National Union of Students opposed it along with other civil society groups. In 2013 the EUMC’s successor took it down from its website and it fell into disuse. It was then revived as the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism. This then emerged a few months previous to the meeting, when a Home Affairs Select Committee report, apart from attacking Jeremy Corbyn and Shami Chakrabarti for tolerating anti-Semitism in the Labour party, came up with this new definition. This takes 500 words to say what could be said in 50.

One of these is accusing Jews of being more loyal to each other than their own nation. He shows that definition is nonsense by stating that if he received a pound for every time he was called a traitor because he was an anti-Zionist, he’d be quite rich. The essence of Zionism is that Jews owe a dual loyalty, and their main loyalty is to Israel. Israel defines itself as the Jewish state, not just for its own citizens, but for Jews everywhere. This is unique, as most countries have a citizenship based on that country, to which everyone belongs, and a nationality. Britain has a British nationality. That nationality applies to everyone who lives in a particular place. If Scotland became independent, as the SNP made clear, then everyone living in Scotland would have Scots nationality. The same with France and Germany. But in Israel there is no Israeli nationality, although it says so on the Israeli passport. But the Hebrew translates as ‘citizen’ not ‘nation’, but the Israelis assume most people are too stupid to notice the difference. There are hundreds of nationalities in Israel, primarily Jewish, but also Arab, Islamic, Christian and those of other religions. But the only nationality that counts is Jewish, and it applies not only to Jewish citizens and residents, but also Jews wherever they live. He states that this is the foundation stone of Israeli racism, that some people – Jews- are returning, because their ancestors were there 2,000 years ago. This is one of the many racist myths that abound.

He then goes on to another definition, ‘Denying the Jews the right to self-determination’. He states that he asked Joan Ryan, the Labour MP and chair of Labour Friends of Israel, when she was wittering on about how anti-Semitic to oppose the Jewish right to self-determination about it. He wrote her a letter, to which she never replied, which asked her when precisely Zionism talked about the Jewish right to self-determination. It’s only very recent. If you look back at Zionist documents, like The Jewish State, by the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, it talks about colonisation. The first Zionist congress, held in 1897, was a result of the publication of Herzl’s pamphlet. The Zionists never talked about Jewish self-determination, they talked about colonisation and did so for most of their history. But with the change in zeitgeist they changed it to Jewish national self-determination. But this means that Jews are not citizens of the country where they live. He compares Jews to Roman Catholics, as the idea that all Roman Catholics form the same nation is clearly a retrogressive step. In many ways it’s an anti-Semitic step, as it says that Jews do not belong in the countries in which they live, as they’re all one and the same. 

He goes on to talk about Herzl himself, and encourages his audience to Google him, if they haven’t already. Herzl was a Viennese journalist, who operated in Paris. His diaries are particularly interesting, as if you read all four volumes of them, you find he talks about anti-Semitism as having the divine will to good about it. In other words, there would be no Zionism without anti-Semitism, which provides the propulsion for Jews separating out of their own nations and going on for what he hoped would be a Jewish nation. Herzl traveled around Europe trying to create an alliance between Zionism and one of the imperial powers of the time. Eventually in 1917 they reached an agreement with the British imperialists, Lloyd George’s war cabinet, the Balfour Declaration, in which Britain granted them the land of Palestine over the heads of the Palestinians, who were not asked for their opinion.

When Herzl was going around the European princes, he met the Kaiser’s uncle, the Grand Duke of Baden, who told Herzl that he agreed with him and supported him. This was because Herzl told him that Zionism would take the revolutionary Jews away from the socialist movement and move them to a pure national ideal. The Grand Duke said he had no problems supporting Zionism except one. If he supported Zionism, which was at that time very small, only a handful of Jews supported Zionism up to 1945, then people would accuse him of being anti-Semitic. Most Jews at the time considered Zionism to be a form of anti-Semitism. Greenstein asks how many people know that on Lloyd George’s war cabinet, the one member who opposed the Balfour Declaration was its only Jewish member, Sir Edwin Montague, who later became the Secretary of State for India. He accused all his fellows of anti-Semitism, because they didn’t want Jews in Britain, but wanted them to go to Palestine. And he states that is what they’re opposing today. The opposite is true when they accuse Israel’s opponents of being anti-Semitic. It is the Zionist movement that has always held that Jews do not belong in these countries  and should go to Israel. We see it today in the election of Donald Trump. There has been an outbreak of anti-Semitism, and the Zionist movement has no problem with it, because Trump is a good supporter of Israel. And the appointment of Steve Bannon was welcomed by the Zionist Organisation of America, who invited him to speak at their annual gala in New York. He didn’t attend because there was a large demonstration of leftists and anti-Zionists. He concludes that if someone today tells him he doesn’t belong in this country, they’re either a Zionist or an anti-Semite.

Greenstein thus exposes the real agenda behind the anti-Semitism accusations and the utter hypocrisy of those making them, as well as the real anti-Semitism that lies at the heart of Zionism itself. It’s to silence critics like Greenstein and Walker that they, and so many other decent anti-racists, have been accused of anti-Semitism while the real anti-Semites, like Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, have been given enthusiastic welcomes by the Israeli state.

However, the decision by many Democrat politicos not to attend the AIPAC conference this weekend may indicate that there’s a sea change coming in the American people’s tolerance for this nonsense. Hopefully it won’t be too long before Israel’s critics like Greenstein and Walker are properly recognised as the real opponents of racism and anti-Semitism, and the people who smeared them held in contempt for their lies and vilification.

Progressive Democrats Turn Back on AIPAC as Trump Endorses Israel’s Seizure of Golan Heights

This is a piece put up by Rebel HQ on YouTube. Rebel HQ are, I think, a Progressive Democrat news organisation, unlike Rebel Media, who are a bunch of highly reactionary racists and White Supremacists led by Canadian lawyer, Ezra Levant. In this video, presenter Emma Vigeland reports on the decision by a stream of Democrat politicos to stay away from the big AIPAC conference this weekend. AIPAC are the big Jewish fundraising and lobbying organisation in America for Israel.

But she begins with Trump’s noxious decision to recognise Israel’s possession of the Golan Heights. This is Syrian territory that was illegally seized by Israel during the 1967 war, which has been condemned by the United Nations, as she shows with a quote from the New York Times. This was described by CNN as ‘disputed territory’, when under international law it is anything but. Vigeland makes the point that if America had a president, who was actually concerned with international law, knew anything about history and wasn’t biased towards the very right-wing government of Israel while pretending to want peace, this wouldn’t have happened. Instead he handed a great victory to Benjamin Netanyahu, or ‘That Bastard’ Netanyahu as I’ve heard one British Jewish professor describe him. This is comes just as the Israeli premier is under pressure from corruption charges just ahead of the Israeli elections on April 9th. She says that Trump is glad to help out anyone, who says nice things about him, and hey, Netanyahu slept in Jared Kushner’s bedroom as a child.

Vigeland points to Netanyahu’s gleeful praise of Trump for his decision, declaring that the Orange Generalissimo had made history. As Trump handed Netanyahu this victory, the UN Human Rights Council was condemning Israel for its ‘unlawful, lethal and excessive force’ against civilians in Gaza. This is one of the reasons why the Democrat hopefuls for the 2020 elections did not attend AIPAC this weekend. This is a significant achievement for progressive activists, who have been trying to get the Democrats to do it for years. So far, those refusing to attend include Senators Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, former Representative Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington, and Julian Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development Secretary. This is significant, as O’Rourke and Castro have supported AIPAC in the past.

She then shows Trump predictably attacking the Democrats as ‘the anti-Semitic party’, following the weaponisation of the accusation of anti-Semitism against the critics of the Israel lobby, who, she says, are largely weapons contractors and evangelical Christians, who support Israel in the hope that it’ll hasten Armageddon. This is followed by a clip of Trump declaring that the Democrats have once again shown themselves to be anti-Israel, commenting that it’s a disgrace. He states that he doesn’t know what happened to them, but they’re anti-Israel, and he thinks they’re anti-Jewish. Vigeland remarks with heavy irony that yes, Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish, is definitely anti-Jewish. She goes in the same way to thank Nancy Pelosi and other for giving this talking point life by smearing Ilhan Omar as anti-Semitic for saying the very thing that these candidates are now saying. Omar is, you’ll recall, the Muslim congresswoman, who said that American politics had been bought by Netanyahu and the Israel lobby, for which she was pilloried as, you guessed it, an anti-Semite. And Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are also speaking at AIPAC.

She states that the point is that America’s support for Israel has now become the hot-button issue that it should all along. She states that America pretends to be neutral arbiters of peace in the region, but it consistently sides with and gives money to the country that breaks international law, emboldening them as they commit war crimes. The conversation is changing and its becoming more and more clear what the right side is to the American people.

I have no doubt that this development has shaken the Israel lobby, which in America, as in this country, demands absolute, unconditional support for Israel. Those, who don’t toe the line are smeared as anti-Semites and every care taken to destroy their political careers. They did this a little while ago to one of Sanders’ aides. Like him, she was Jewish, and very involved with her community. But nevertheless, she was critical of Israel, and so was smeared as an anti-Semite and removed from her position with Sanders’ staff.

I have the greatest respect for those Democrat politicos not attending AIPAC, and particularly Bernie Sanders. As I’ve said many times before, I’d love it if we had him in the White House and Corbyn in No. 10. And I wish our politicians would stand their ground against the fake accusations of anti-Semitism by the Conservative establishment, including the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Chief Rabbi, neither of whom speak for the whole of British Jewry, as numerous left-wing Jewish organisations and bloggers have made very clear. Instead of politicians standing against Israel’s brutality being smeared and destroyed, it should be the Israel lobby itself that should face stern questioning and rebuke for its repeated interference in British politics, its legitimisation of an increasingly Fascistic Israeli regime, and the lies and smears against genuinely decent, anti-racist men and women.

Progressive DA Rachael Rollins Hasn’t Stopped Prosecuting Petty Crimes, Despite Pledge. Police Are Still Furious.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 24/03/2019 - 9:00pm in

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Rachael Rollins won the election for district attorney in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, last November on a campaign that promised progressive reforms, including the end of cash bail, as well as a halt to prosecutions for petty, poverty-related crimes.

It was such a direct challenge to the lucrative churn of the criminal justice system that the National Police Association filed a bar complaint against Rollins in late December, days before she was sworn in, specifically in response to her pledge to not prosecute certain low-level crimes.

Yet people are still being prosecuted, according to observers from the Boston-based oversight group, CourtWatch MA, as well as the local American Civil Liberties Union.

Rahsaan Hall, director of the Racial Justice Program for the ACLU of Massachusetts, says Rollins’s “do not prosecute” list, which includes 15 types of offenses, has not had any effect on conviction rates, because the cases are still being prosecuted, just in different ways. He described the turn to diversionary programs, suspended sentences, and no incarceration for the offenses as, at best, a different approach than what the district attorney promised voters would be her approach to crimes like drug possession, standalone resisting arrest, and being a minor in possession of alcohol.

“We see a significant number of these cases still being prosecuted and the ADAs are still making bail requests,” said Hall.

In early February, Rollins said that changing over to non-prosecution was “a process” but one that was “partly in place.”

The early tenure of Rollins, at once attacked by police as too soft on crime, and challenged by reformers as too soft on the police, underscores the tightrope that the new wave of progressive prosecutors are walking as they challenge a deeply entrenched system on behalf of a movement with little patience left.

Despite the backsliding, Rollins’s office has been strong in pushing back against Immigration and Customs Enforcement encroachment into city courtrooms, Hall said, and working on community engagement.

“There are challenges of coming in with these progressive views and developing policy,” said Hall. “There’s some deference given to allow people that come into organizations to bring in staff, establish policies, but deference only extends so far.”

While the complaint looks unlikely to go anywhere, the fact that it was filed at all reveals a hostility from police in general to Rollins’s programs and plans.

“The NPA bar complaint says we’re doing something right,” said Rollins. “They’re scared, because I meant what I said.”

Rollins, with her election victory, joined other district attorneys in the nation like Andrea Harrington — who won her election the same night as Rollins on the other end of the state in Massachusetts’s western Berkshire County — and Philadelphia’s Larry Krasner, in a small but growing movement to change the way the system affects the people at its mercy at the institutional level.

The elections of both Harrington and Rollins showed a desire on the part of Massachusetts voters for criminal justice system reform, Jonathan Cohn, co-chair of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts, told The Intercept. But, Cohn said, community oversight is essential to ensure that victories at the ballot box actually translate into real reforms.

“Voters in Berkshire and Suffolk County and other counties across the country showed that they want their district attorneys to be a part of the solution instead and want to see an end to the systemic injustices that plague our criminal legal system,” said Cohn. “With Rachael Rollins and Andrea Harrington now in office, it is important for the public to now work to hold them accountable to their campaign promises and empower them to do so.”

The institutional limitations district attorneys face are serious. But there is a clear mandate from voters to change the system. Rebecca Kavanagh, a public defender in New York City who frequently comments on criminal justice reform issues, said in an email that she thinks deflecting the call for reform would be a mistake.

“In the past when prosecutors have pursued harsh criminal justice policies, it has been easy to understand, if not justify, because tough-on-crime rhetoric is what got them elected,” said Kavanagh. “When reform prosecutors win office promising radical change and then things seem to continue as before, that is much more difficult to comprehend.”

The role of district attorney in the criminal justice system is part of a problem that has affected America for centuries, said Boston-based criminal defense attorney Carl Williams — a former lawyer with the Massachusetts ACLU — and that begs the question of whether it can be reformed at all.

“There are two ways to look at it,” said Williams. “First, you can think that despite some problems or missteps, the car is still in good condition and you can polish it up to make it shiny again. The secondary analysis holds that the system is rotten to its core.”

Williams told The Intercept that he buys more into the second analysis and called the criminal justice enforcement structure a system of social control that, if maintained, will continue to guarantee bad outcomes for the poor and people of color.

“Right now, people are being put through the grinder,” Williams said, “That must stop.”

“If promises were made, and the changes aren’t being made in the commonwealth, it calls into question whether or if the changes will happen,” said Williams. “Or is this just the same old, same old with some new talking points around it?”

Rollins, who was elected in a landslide with over 72 percent of the vote, told The Intercept that she welcomed being observed by CourtWatch. “I’m happy people spend time out of their day to hold me accountable,” she said. “I have the ability to take away people’s freedom. Any day when your liberty is taken away is a major decision that impacts your life.”

Atara Rich-Shea, an organizer with CourtWatch, told The Intercept that she was pleased Rollins was welcoming the group’s unofficial oversight. But, Rich-Shea said, just being open to accountability isn’t enough — especially if Rollins is shifting from declining to prosecute to a “soft prosecution” approach to certain crimes.

“When progressive candidates become officials, the status quo is easier,” said Rich-Shea. “Community accountability is essential to make real change; it bolsters their seemingly radical promises.”

Over in Berkshire County, Harrington has had an easier ride than Rollins. That’s in part due to the sparsely populated but large geographic layout of the Berkshires and the fact that the county lacks the kind of cohesive criminal justice reform movement found in Suffolk. Thus far, Harrington says she’s concentrating on how to put into place the social safety nets and programs that she believes will reform criminal justice in the Berkshires. Harrington acknowledged that it’s an uphill battle, and that putting her plans into place may take longer than some of her supporters had hoped — though she has unveiled a plan to end cash bail in the county.

“I think a lot of the work is structural change,” said Harrington. “We need to get money into the system for programs that help people.”

But Harrington, unlike Rollins, feels that she has to be more cautious in how she raises these issues within her community, because her election was more divisive. “She’s able to be very outspoken,” said Harrington of Rollins. “I have to bring people together.”

Rollins was one of five competing for the Democratic primary, after which she faced a disorganized independent in the general election. But Harrington was up against two opponents in her primary, making for a closer and more personal race. The incumbent Harrington unseated also ran a write-in campaign against her in the general, muddying what likely would have been a clear walk to the win. Rollins, on the other hand, cruised to victory in November with a clear mandate.

The changes both district attorneys are trying to implement are unpopular with the old guard, including law enforcement. Other reform candidates often face similar opposition: Krasner, who has made headlines for his progressive reforms in Philadelphia, has had a frosty relationship with the city’s police. Krasner told The Intercept that the pushback he’s received has come from the Fraternal Order of Police, rather than officers in the department itself. That’s because FOP members are mostly older, retired officers — overwhelmingly white Republicans who don’t live in the city. Of the 25,000 FOP members, Krasner said only around 6,800 of them are active duty, giving the older, more conservative members outsized influence.

And then there’s the money.

“They all are affected financially, directly, by decisions we make,” said Krasner. “This is true of the police, correctional officers, and other criminal justice institutions.”

If the district attorney’s office were to decriminalize marijuana, for example, then officers wouldn’t be paid to go to court to defend marijuana arrests. And the demand for correctional officers would decline with lower incarceration rates and the closure of prisons and jails.

“We’re dealing with a systemic incentivization for arresting people for everything to go to court and make money,” said Krasner.

Judges, too, can act as barriers to reform. Krasner argued that judges belong to an older, more conservative culture that’s different than the culture now seen in Philadelphia, particularly since his election in 2017.

“The hands of the past love to tie the hands of the future,” Krasner said.

The post Progressive DA Rachael Rollins Hasn’t Stopped Prosecuting Petty Crimes, Despite Pledge. Police Are Still Furious. appeared first on The Intercept.

Taxcast: Mainstream Media Misrepresentations of the Financial Crash

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 24/03/2019 - 8:25pm in

This month’s Taxcast discusses misleading reporting from the mainstream media on the financial crisis: it was overloaded with finance ‘experts’, fed us all sorts of misunderstandings about the financial crash, sold us the austerity narrative, and omitted alternative solutions.

Irish MP Richard Boyd Barrett Reads Out Genocidal Quotes from Israeli Ministers and Officials

It’s the big AIPAC conference this weekend, and many left-wing and progressive Democrat politicos have decided to stay away from the gathering of the main Jewish pro-Israel lobby. This has already prompted screams of ‘anti-Semitism!’ by Israel’s outraged supporters, including Donald Trump. However, as Trump is himself a racist supported by the Alt Right, including a former cabinet minister, Steve Bannon, who was himself anti-Semitic, these screams should carry little weight. Especially as one of the Democrat politicos staying away was Bernie Sanders, who’s Jewish.  Not that race or religion really matters to the Israel lobby in this – Jewish critics of Israel have complained that they’re attacked and smeared as anti-Semites more viciously than non-Jews.

Just to remind people how criticism of Israel isn’t anti-Semitism, but an entirely reasonable, moral response to a state that viciously persecutes its indigenous people and has no crimes against committing war crimes against them and the surrounding nations, including women and children, I found this little video on YouTube of Irish MP Richard Boyd Barrett reading out horrifically vile statements from Israeli ministers from 2014 and 2015. The video was posted in 2015, and comes from the Questions to the Taoiseach in the Dail, the Irish parliament. I assume this is the equivalent of the British Prime Minister’s Questions in the UK parliament.

Mr Barrett begins with Defence Minister, Moshe Yalon, ‘Israel is going to hurt Lebanese civilians to include kids of the family. We went through a very long discussion. We did it then, we did it in the Gaza strip, we are going to do it in any round of hostilities in the future.’

The military chief of staff, Benny  Ganz, ‘The next round of violence will be worse, and see this suffering increase’. Ganz led the last two military assaults on Gaza.

The Minister for Education: ‘There will never be a peace plan with the Palestinians. I will do everything in my power to make sure they will never get a state’, and ‘If you catch terrorists, you simply have to kill them. I’ve killed a lot of Arabs in my life, and there’s no problem with that.’

The Minister for Justice: ‘Palestinians are all enemy combatants. This also includes the mothers of the martyrs. They should follow their sons. Nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes, otherwise more little snakes will be raised there.’

The Deputy Minister for Defence: ‘Palestinians are beasts. They are not human.’

The Minister for Foreign Affairs: ‘My position is that between the sea and the Jordan river there needs to be one state only, the state of Israel. There is no place for any agreement of any kind that discusses the concession of Israeli sovereignty over lands conquered in 1967’.

Barrett makes the point that these are official statements of the-then current government of Israel, including the advocacy of genocide, including children, and calling them snakes. He asks the Taoiseach that if they’re defining terrorism whether he does not think that this is the language and thinking of terrorists. He passionately states that this is absolutely unacceptable in civilised politics and civilised international relations for the heads of government of a state that Ireland carries on normal relations with, and whom the Taoiseach met in Paris, to advocate those sort of views, when people know that they have led to the deaths of thousands of civilians, innocent men, women and children. He asks him what he has to say about those sort of views expressed by the Israeli government.

The quotes from the Israeli officials aren’t just genocidal and that of terrorists themselves, they are extremely similar to remarks made by the Nazis to justify the destruction of those whole communities in occupied Europe that resisted them, such as Lidice in Czechoslovakia. They stated that they were also going to kill those communities’ children so that the sons and daughters of the people they murdered would not seek revenge on them.

The complete intransigence of the politicians quoted to accept a Palestinian state also shows the hollowness of the two-state solution being touted by the Israelis and their puppets, like Labour Friends of Israel to the conflict with the Palestinians. They have absolutely no interest in allowing the establishment of a Palestinian state in reality, something that is very clear if you read the works of critical historians and political commentators like Ilan Pappe and Tony Greenstein. Given this, it is no wonder that Joan Ryan, the organisation’s chair, threw a strop when she was asked about what would happen to the Jewish settlements in Palestine if the two-state solution became a reality at the 2017 Labour Party conference, and why she later smeared the woman who asked her as an anti-Semite.

These quotations are an indictment of Netanyahu’s government and the foreign politicians, who support it. They provide ample proof that the real anti-racists this weekend are the Democrat politicos, like Bernie Sanders, who are staying away from the AIPAC conflab.

Elections in NSW.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 23/03/2019 - 2:08pm in

Today is election day in New South Wales. As citizens, we are asked to choose among alternatives often hard to distinguish.

In NSW the main socialist party is the Socialist Alliance. These are their policies. They publish the Green Left Weekly. I sympathise with them, without fully embracing that option. In electoral terms their chances are reduced. I’d give them the highest preference, not because I’d expect them to win, but to send a message: if my higher preference is not elected, the vote “flows” to the lower preferences.

My second preference could involve the Greens.

The NSW Greens started out as a radical Left movement. Unfortunately, soon enough they gravitated towards a New Left stance at the time still fashionable, represented by B_o_b___B_r_o_w_n’s Tasmanian, culturally liberal, economically conservative petty bourgeois tree-hugging hippies.  After confederation, the latter (the “Tree Tories”) managed to wrestle most of the power from the former (the “Watermelons”). It wasn’t so much a merger, but a hostile takeover which reached its climax a few years back, with Lee Rhiannon’s expulsion at the hands of the Di Natale Tree Tory gang.

To their credit, some Greenies, like David Shoebridge, attempt to navigate a more Left-wing path (kind of like the American Democratic Socialism: PDF). Personally, I’d support and vote for them: they may not be real socialists, but they are the best one can realistically expect from the Greens. The problem is that, in NSW, for every Lefty like Shoebridge the Di Natale clique managed to push people like Justin Field and Cate Faehrmann. But is at a federal level where Tree Tories like Julian Burnside (the new star candidate the Greens are fielding against Josh Frydenberg) completely manage to discredit the Brown-Di Natale wimpy “New Leftism” revealing it as the laughing stock it always was:

(source)
If one plans to vote for a party list (“above the line” in the big ballot), why should one prefer a “Labor Party” -- which is all the Greens really are -- in all but name to the real deal? Because of the “Green” brand label? Labor ain’t no ecosocialist party; then again, neither are the Greens. Even if one believes the whole Nature Conservation Council of NSW scorecard, the difference between the Greens and Labor is at best quantitative, not qualitative.

(source)
On the other hand, if one votes “below the line” one can be more discriminating. One could place a more lefty Greenie (like Shoebridge, for example) high in the preference order; after that one shift one’s preferences to members of other party lists. Me, I’d give Shoebridge a higher preference and after him I prefer Labor pollies.

Unless, of course, one intends to vote for the Liberal/National COALition, the first choice of water-stealing irrigators, coal miners and coal-fueled electricity generators, builders of that unnecessary stadium, enemies of trade unions. In which case (even if one were foolish enough to believe Scott Morrison’s fake anti-Islamophobia, as fake as his Climate Solutions Fund), in the likely resulting hung parliament, reactionary, demagogic, or even krypto- (and not so krypto-) Nazi/Fascist parties like One Nation, the Australian Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats or the Fred Nile religious fana/lunatics may hold the “balance of power”.

Then we’ll be really fucked.

Tweezer Invites Umunna and Soubry to Party Leaders’ Meeting, Corbyn Walks Out

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 23/03/2019 - 5:17am in

On Wednesday Mike put up another piece reporting and commenting on Corbyn’s departure on a meeting Tweezer had called between the party leaders. He walked out when Anna Soubry and Chuka Umunna of The Independent Group walked in. The lamestream media were spinning this as a fit of pique on Corbyn’s part. In fact, as Mike and the peeps he quotes on Twitter pointed out, Corbyn was quite right: TINGe shouldn’t have been there. They’re not a party, and their inclusion in the talks was a calculated insult. Labour stated that Corbyn walked out as the talks were supposed to be bilateral, and Tweezer had changed the format from what had been previously agreed. And Mike and the Tweeters also weren’t impressed with Tweezer’s decision to hold a press conference later that evening at which she said zero that was new or even interesting. Many of them made the point that she’s now an utterly spent force, with no authority whatsoever. It’s about time she left and there was a general election.

https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/03/20/umunna-walks-in-corbyn-walks-out-of-a-party-leaders-meeting-not-one-of-company-executives/

There are other reasons why Corbyn was quite right to walk out on them. Firstly, they’re a danger to democracy. As has been said, they ain’t a party but a private corporation. This means that they don’t have to display their accounts as proper parties are supposed to, and so we don’t know who’s funding them. Donald Trump is under investigation in America of being a stooge for Putin. By the same logic, it’s entirely proper to ask if TINGe are also in the pay of a foreign government. And it is not remotely anti-Semitic to ask if that government is Israel, considering that their official have conspired to undermine the British cabinet, Zionist groups within the Labour party that are hostile to Corbyn, such as Labour Friends of Israel, have received funding from them and the Israeli government has an entire ministry, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs under cabinet minister Gilad Elon devoted to spreading propaganda, including most particularly accusations of anti-Semitism, against perceived opponents of Israel.

The question of funding also concerns potentially corrupt relationships between ministers and government officials and industry in this country. New Labour, and John Major’s government before it, became notorious for ‘sleaze’, in which private industry received favours from the government in return for sponsoring them. George Monbiot described the situation under Blair’s Labour party, and the holding of government posts by various leading industrialists in his book, Captive State. By keeping their accounts secret, it appears that TINGe are determined to go on in this manner. In America, the corporatist corruption of Congress has proceeded to such an extent that Americans have lost faith in their politicians’ willingness to represent them, and a study published by Harvard University stated that as a result America was no longer a fully functioning democracy.

Furthermore, TINGe also aren’t a genuine political party in that they have no mass membership nor any mechanism for allowing one to decide party policy. Just as they don’t really have policies. Except, of course, that Chris Leslie and the voting records of the others have made it very clear that they stand for all the neoliberal, anti-welfare policies of the Tories, including tuition fees and not raising taxes on the rich. They’ve also said that they would go into a supply and confidence relationship with Tweezer if the DUP pulled out of theirs.

It’s also been suggested by commenters on alternative media that they intend to try to discipline the Labour party and pull it in a rightward direction from outside, at the very moment that the country’s political mood as a whole is going left. TINGe have promised that they will open up their books sometime in the future, but this is just promises. As it stands, by incorporating themselves as a business, not a party, they have made themselves literally unaccountable as a political movement.

TINGe thus represent nothing so much as a Blairite splinter group, determined to shore up the Tories from outside. Just like Blairites in the local parties tried to get Conservatives and Lib Dems to join in order to oust Corbyn in the Labour leadership elections. Corbyn was right to see the political trap and walk. As for the meeting itself, I doubt Tweezer was going to say anything of value whatsoever. She didn’t when she called an earlier meeting of the leaders of the other political parties before. She didn’t listen to them, just harangued them about how they should vote for her deal. I doubt anything changed this time.

Tweezer and TINGe are an affront to democracy. We need a general election to get rid of both of them.

A Constitution Should Help A Country Govern, Not Hobble It

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 23/03/2019 - 5:10am in

My short essay ‘A Constitution Should Help A Country Govern, Not Hobble It‘ is up at Aeon Magazine. Comments welcome. (Many thanks to Sam Haselby, my editor at Aeon, for all his help.)

House Democratic Leadership Warns It Will Cut Off Any Firms That Challenge Incumbents

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 23/03/2019 - 2:35am in

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Politics

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee warned political strategists and vendors Thursday night that if they support candidates mounting primary challenges against incumbent House Democrats, the party will cut them off from business.

The news was officially announced Friday morning, paired with a statement on the committee’s commitment to diversity in consulting — “which, obviously, is just to give themselves cover,” a Democratic political consultant who learned of it Thursday told The Intercept. The consultant asked for anonymity given their relationship with the DCCC, and the party organization’s professed strategy of blacklisting firms that don’t fall in line.

To apply to become a preferred vendor in the 2020 cycle, firms must agree to a set of standards that includes agreeing not to work with anyone challenging an incumbent.

“I understand the above statement that the DCCC will not conduct business with, nor recommend to any of its targeted campaigns, any consultant that works with an opponent of a sitting Member of the House Democratic Caucus,” the form reads.

It’s no secret that the DCCC and national party leaders often interfere on behalf of preferred candidates. Or that they otherwise jump into the game too late, if they don’t completely write off newcomers who don’t meet their standards. The DCCC is known for prioritizing candidates and direct them to its own consultants, most of whom are alumni of the DCCC, which is known in Washington as a “consultant factory.” The latest move only reaffirms that reputation and sends a warning shot to grassroots and progressive consultants.

Groups working to diversify Congress say the committee has been slow to adequately address lack of representation — i.e., recruiting more women and people of color. Collective PAC, which works to elect black Democrats, sent a letter to the DCCC last year asking why the group didn’t include any black candidates in its “Red to Blue” program, which targets seats that have a promising chance to flip. They added several candidates after that, including current Reps. Lauren Underwood of Illinois and Colin Allred of Texas.

D-trip claims its top priority is protecting the majority, and that in order to do so, they must keep internal discord at a minimum. But as progressive candidates, organizers, and members build grassroots campaigns and prove they can hold their own, the D-trip’s old playbook is having the opposite effect.

The strategy isn’t new. Though it did bring a few more hiccups in 2018 than expected, which makes the rollout all the more puzzling. “There was never an enforcement that I’ve ever seen,” the strategist told The Intercept. “This is the first time that they are ever making it open policy.”

After their coordinated attack on Laura Moser in Texas’s 7th District, she raised $86,000, got an endorsement from Our Revolution, and made it to a runoff. She eventually lost to current Rep. Lizzie Fletcher. But the episode gave fodder to progressive groups like the Working Families Party, Justice Democrats, and Collective PAC, which had formed for precisely that occasion — the party’s increasing inability to make space for new voices, many of them progressive. D-trip proved their point, and Our Revolution and WFP stepped in instead.

And in Nebraska’s 2nd District, the DCCC backed former Rep. Brad Ashford over Kara Eastman, who ended up winning the primary and losing the general election. Ashford was a former Republican who flip-flopped on access to abortion throughout his time in the state legislature and later as a Democrat in the U.S. House, and opposed single-payer health care. Eastman was a staunchly pro-choice progressive who supported Medicare for All. She was one of only two insurgents to beat DCCC-backed candidates last cycle. In the Democratic primary for Kentucky’s 6th District, Amy McGrath beat Jim Gray and later lost to Republican Rep. Andy Barr. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is now recruiting her to run against Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020.

Strategists and congressional staffers with knowledge of the change say it will disproportionately impact vendors and candidates who are women and people of color, as the consultants who work with incumbents are the ones who’ve come up through the party at a time when its commitment to diversity was even dimmer than it is today.

The committee is telling firms they can’t oppose sitting members, the strategist said. “I’d rather keep the majority too, which is why to me this is kind of stupid to have a blanket rule. Because, if it’s a safe incumbent seat, why does it matter?”

The DCCC’s move also creates a new niche business, paradoxically, opening the door for consultants who don’t want to be under the thumb of the party. “From here on out, let’s refer to the DCCC for what it is, the White Male Centrist Campaign Protection Committee,” said Sean McElwee of Data for Progress. “My email is seanadrianmc@gmail.com. Any challenger looking for firms to work with them can feel free to reach out. There are plenty.”

Rebecca Katz, a longtime Democratic consultant, also said she’d be happy to work with the challengers. “The people who can’t understand the party is stronger because we have Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley in Congress should not be in the business of choosing who can run for Congress,” she said.

Alex Rojas, the head of Justice Democrats, the bane of the DCCC, is backing a primary challenge to incumbent Henry Cuellar in Texas, while looking for other candidates across the country. “Make no mistake — they are sending a signal that they are more afraid of Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez winning primary challenges than Henry Cuellar who votes with Trump nearly 70 percent of the time,” she said.

For both parties, campaigns are a big business, and it has created an ecosystem that feeds those within it and starves those outside of it. “The Democratic and Republican parties are commercial enterprises and they’re very much interested in their own survival,” Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., previously told The Intercept. “The money race is probably more important to them than the issues race in some cases.”

The main beneficiaries are the consultants in the good graces of party leadership. “It’s a commercial enterprise,” said Lynch.

The post House Democratic Leadership Warns It Will Cut Off Any Firms That Challenge Incumbents appeared first on The Intercept.

Zionist Entryists Jewish Labour Movement Threaten ‘No Confidence’ Vote against Corbyn

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/03/2019 - 11:13pm in

Mike earlier this week also put up a post reporting that Jeremy Newmarks’ Jewish Labour Movement is threatening a ‘no confidence’ vote against Jeremy Corbyn. This should surprise no-one, as the JLM, formerly Paole Zion, ‘Workers of Zion’, has been desperately trying to depose Corbyn since it staggered out of its political grave in 2016. It has been one of the chief organisations in the Labour Party flinging accusations of anti-Semitism around.

Paole Zion, from which the JLM is descended, has been part of the Labour party for over a century, but was more or less moribund and defunct by 2014. Then, as the Electronic Intifada has revealed in a recent post, it was taken over by the egregious Newmark, who pumped money into it and refounded it as the Jewish Labour Movement. Newmark is the former head of the very Conservative Jewish Leadership Council, who was quietly released from his position for massive embezzlement. He is, apparently, as crooked as a nine-bob note. So crooked, in fact, that one Jewish blog described him as a ‘one man crime wave’. No Morals took over Paole Zion because he was upset at the bad press Israel was getting because of their bombardment of Gaza. The JLM states in its constitution that it is a Zionist organisation, although when Mike was hauled before the Labour kangaroo court, one of the charges against him was that he had accused them of representing only Zionist Jews. This was despite the evidence from the organisation itself, which claims to represent all Jews. Er, no. No, it doesn’t. There are other Jewish organisations in the Labour party, like Jewish Voice for Labour, Jewdas and the Jewish Socialist Group, who also speak for Jews. But they’re the wrong kind of Jews, because they support Corbyn, and so they’re ignored by the Conservative, establishment media. Also, to join the JLM you don’t have to be Jewish, which means that there’s going to be a lot of Jewsplaining by its gentile members going on, as these non-Jews tell real Jews what they should believe as Jews. You also don’t have to be a member of the Labour party to join, which is presumably why the massively right-wing nutter Jonathan Hoffman is a member. It also has a tiny membership. There are only about 2,000 of them. This is larger than that mighty conquering movement, The Independent Group, and far larger than the obnoxious Nazi and Fascist grouplets running berserk, but still tiny compared to the Labour Party’s overall membership of 500,000, the overwhelming majority of whom support Corbyn.

Mike in his piece about them showed ‘No Morals’ Newmark in a photo, in which he stood between Shai Masot and Mark Regev. It’s pretty much a rogue’s gallery, and good evidence why you should trust nothing he says. Masot was the official at the Israeli embassy, who got sent back home for conspiring to select who should be a member of the Tory cabinet. Regev is the Israeli ambassador himself, who used to be one of the lecturers in an Israeli military academy and who now spends his time lying publicly for his country. Think this is too hard? Not so. Jon Snow called him a liar years ago on Channel 4 News during the bombardment of Gaza, when Regev tried telling the British public that if you sent aid to a place in Israel, rather than Gaza, it would still get through. Snow knew he was lying and said so.

As Mike points out in his article, the supposed vote is nothing more than another piece of political theatre to try to unseat Corbyn. Like their announcement the other week that they were considering seceding from the party. As Asa Winstanley had said then, he’d predicted they’d try something like that year’s before, as the Zionists had pulled the same stunt at the Universities and Colleges Union in order to present them as being so anti-Semitic that Jews were being forced to leave. The reality was that the Zionists were angry because the union had passed resolutions against Israel. This was simply more of the same stunt and tantrums.

The JLM is a complete fraud. It doesn’t really represent Jews so much as Zionist Jews, and Zionists generally. It’s an entryist group, as its members don’t have to Labour members and includes at least one Tory. It’s headed by an embezzler, and in any case, it’s tiny membership means that in its attack on Corbyn, it’s another case of the tail trying to wag the dog. Its stupid stunts and rantings should really be ignored. But they won’t, because its determination to unseat Corbyn through the anti-Semitism witchhunt coincides with the political and media establishment’s own. That is, until someone in the Labour party has enough of them and finds the determination and strength to insist that they obey the same rules that apply to everyone else.

 

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