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Posts Tagged ‘Anti-Semitism

Roshan Salih, Press TV and the Enfield Labour Vote of No-Confidence in Joan Ryan.

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Is it true that Salih is a member of the Labour Party?

I am not a member of Enfield Labour Party and am in no position to comment in depth on the events.

But it does appear that there was a broad coalition behind the vote of no-confidence in MP Joan Ryan.

In these conditions it is highly misleading to talk of “Trotksyists” “Communists” and “Stalinists” behind last night’s decision.

I hope that the result can be linked to her wider – right of the Labour Party – politics and not to the issue of ‘Zionism’.

Not to mention local concerns about her performance as an MP.

But this raises wider issues:

Press TV footage apparently filmed inside CLP vote of no confidence in MP Joan Ryan

Labour activists are calling for an inquiry after an Iranian state-backed TV station which is banned in the UK carried footage of a local party meeting passing a vote of no confidence in the Enfield North MP, Joan Ryan.

The Press TV footage, which appeared to have been filmed inside the meeting, was carried on the station’s Twitter feed and referred to Ryan, who is the chair of Labour Friends of Israel, as a “pro-Israel MP”. It included the hashtag #WeAreEnfieldNorth.

Press TV had its licence to broadcast in the UK revoked by the media regulator, Ofcom, in 2012, over claims that editorial decisions were being made in Tehran.

The chair of the Enfield North constituency Labour party (CLP) tweeted that he had informed Labour party headquarters about Press TV’s apparent access to the meeting, and an investigation would take place.

Press TV’s licence was taken after, amongst other things, for this (Independent 2010).

in an interview with Channel 4 News, to be broadcast tonight, Mr Bahari explains that Press TV betrayed those promises, by sending a journalist to cover his forced confession in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

‘I was somewhat surprised because I thought Press TV would at least pretend to have some credibility and wouldn’t come and interview a prisoner in an interrogation room when I was under duress.’

Mr Bahari says he was tortured and then forced to make his confession on television, under threat of execution. He describes how he sat inside a room in the prison, before three cameras, and responded to questions suggested by a government interrogator, who stood behind a red curtain. He says he kept his blindfold on his knee, in full view, so it should have been clear that he was under duress.

Press TV then broadcast the confession, as though it was a legitimate interview, and Mr Bahari a willing guest; the presenter even suggested Mr Bahari might have participated in the protests.

Is Salih a member of the Labour Party?

The Tweet on ‘Zionist Infiltration’ was preceded  by this:

Today this is one comment he retweeted:

This is his own reaction after his coverage appeared on Press TV

This was another of his scoops – earlier this year (January)

Ken Livingstone appeared on Iranian state television on Holocaust Memorial Day on a programme that asked whether the Shoa has “been exploited to oppress others.”

The former Mayor of London – currently suspended from the Labour Party over antisemitism claims – appeared on Press TV on Saturday with host Roshan Muhammed Salih.

Several callers phoned into the show – which suggested ‘Zionists’ had exploited the Holocaust – and repeated openly antisemitic tropes.

At one point the presenter says: “I don’t know whether 6 million, or 4 million died or 2 million died.”

One caller to the programme, Ali, said: ”If it wasn’t for Hitler there would be no Israel. So this idea that Hitler was a bad guy – he wasn’t so bad for Israel.”

Mr Livingstone disagreed saying the remarks were “deeply offensive” to Jewish communities around the world.

But later Mr Livingstone attempted to justify his own past comments on Hitler and Zionism.

He said: ”I mean Hitler wanted to eliminate every Jew who was living inside Germany and that’s what he did in the 1930s. He worked with the Zionist movement to move …to get 60000 to go. But it was about half a million and then he changed his policy and went for genocide. “

Host Mr Salih at one stage spoke of the “industry” that has built up around the Holocaust.

Salih is the Editor the pro-Iranian Islamist site, 5 Pillars.

Editor – Roshan Muhammed Salih

These are some of his views:

The two-state solution means Palestine’s destruction, so why does Jeremy Corbyn support it?

If Jeremy Corbyn really cares about Palestine why does he keep talking about a two-state solution, asks Roshan Muhammed Salih.

The article ends with a call for support for action, military if need be, against Israel.

With the advent of a multi-polar world and rising Muslim powers, will Palestinians finally get the financial, military and political backing they deserve?

None of us know the answers to these questions but I do know that time is against Israel and an argument can be made that they need a deal more than the Palestinians do.

But non-Palestinians should not tell Palestinians what to do; our role is to simply support them. Whatever the Palestinian consensuses is I’m fine with that. If the consensus is to fight Israel with arms I support that because an occupied people has the right to resist an occupation militarily. If they want to struggle by peaceful means through cultural boycotts or politics then I also support that. And if they want to do a combination of both then that’s great too.

But like the majority of Palestinians I do not support a two-state solution. And neither should Jeremy Corbyn.

Then there’s this:

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Note: Harry’s Place asserts this: Press TV’s Roshan Salih films no confidence vote against Joan Ryan

But

Update: There is some haziness over the precise circumstances around the filming, but it seems clear that it was in no way condoned by the CLP’s chair, Siddo Dwyer.”

 

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Revolutionary Communist Group (Fight Racism, Fight Imperialism) Storms Newcastle Council Debate to Prevent Adoption of Anti-Semitism Guidelines.

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RCG Says, “Smash Zionism!”

Far-left protesters storm council chamber as anti-Semitism debate descends into chaos

The Chronicle (Newcastle)

A council meeting descended into chaos as protesters stormed the chamber during a debate on anti-Semitism.

“Frightened” councillors were forced out of the room and left in tears due to the angry protest from far-left campaigners, one of whom had to be dragged from the chamber by securit

The protest – led by the revolutionary communist Fight Racism Fight Imperialism group – was opposing Newcastle City Council’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which they claimed would “criminalise solidarity with Palestine in Newcastle”.

After Lib Dem opposition deputy leader Nick Cott raised the motion to adopt the definition, protesters in the public gallery above began chanting, unfurled Palestinian flags, and shouted abuse at councillors.

As councillors left the room, one man broke into the main council chamber and was dragged away by security as Lord Mayor David Down tried to calm the protesters down.

It was claimed that one member of the civic centre’s security staff was put into a headlock by the demonstrators, some of whom were led away by police.

Afterwards, council leader Nick Forbes labelled them “clowns” who “don’t do anything to further the cause of the Palestinians”.

The result?

“When councillors returned to the chamber after around 25 minutes, Coun Forbes seconded the motion – having agreed to drop an amendment he had proposed – and it was passed unanimously.

Coun Forbes told the chamber that adopting the IHRA motion would “show we understand the upset and hurt that many people in our Jewish communities feel”.

Flagged up here: Revolutionary Communist Group attack Anti-Semitism Debate.

And on their Facebook Page: “Fight Racism – Fight Imperialism – FRFI North East

We have won the right to address the council! Thanks to everyone who signed the petition. See you at the protest today. Fight the council motion – defend the right to defend Palestine!

 

This was the campaign mounted by the RCG/Fight Racism, Fight Imperialism!

Don’t criminalise solidarity with Palestine in Newcastle.

1. Vote against the motion to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

2. State that the IHRA definition is an attempt to criminalise solidarity with Palestine by aiming to restrict protests, meetings and individuals that criticise Israel.

—————————————————————————–
This campaign is being run by a member of the public on the Campaigns by You website, not by 38 Degrees itself. 38 Degrees does not endorse all of the petitions on the website.

Why is this important?

On 5th September 2018, at its full council meeting, Newcastle City Council is due to vote on a motion as to whether the council should adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

The definition comes with examples of anti-Semitism, including: “”Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.”

We say: Israel is a racist state and saying so is not anti-Semitic. Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.

Israel is a racist colonial settler state, based on the disposition of the Palestinian people, it must maintain itself by extending that dispossession through violent means, and has done so constantly since the 1993 Oslo Agreements.

We the undersigned call on Newcastle City Council to:

1. vote against the motion to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

2. state that the IHRA definition is an attempt to criminalise solidarity with Palestine by aiming to restrict protests, meetings and individuals that criticise Israel.

Acts of anti-Semitism show hatred towards Jewish and other Semitic people. Our assertion that Israel is a racist state is not informed by hatred towards Jewish people but rather by solidarity with the people of Palestine and their struggle against occupation and colonisation. Israel defines itself as a Jewish state. Non-Jewish Israeli’s and non-Jewish Palestinian’s are discriminated against on a vast scale. This discrimination and the collective punishment of Palestinians by Israel has been recognised by international humanitarian organisations, including Amnesty International.

There are many Jewish organisations who are opposed to Israel because of its Zionist and racist nature. For example, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network states:

“Zionism is racist. It demands political, legal and economic power for Jews and European people and cultures over indigenous people and cultures. Zionism is not just racist but anti-Semitic.” Non-white, non-European Jews, are treated as second-class citizens, and face racism and economic exploitation at the hands of the Israeli state.

There has also been a witch hunt in the Labour Party against any politicians who criticise Israel. This includes the suspension of Jackie Walker, who is both black and Jewish. Does the council support this suspension?

We oppose all forms of racism and oppression. That means we must defend the right to defend Palestine. We ask Newcastle City Council to do the same.

The RCG’s background (Wikipedia)

The RCG grew out of the “Revolutionary Opposition” faction of the International Socialists (IS), (forerunners of the Socialist Workers Party), being strongly influenced by the politics of Roy Tearse. When the leading figures of the “Revolutionary Opposition”, the name itself only first appearing in print in their appeal document, were expelled from the IS its members met to decide on their course of action, and disagreements between Tearse’s allies and the majority of the faction around David Yaffe rapidly surfaced. The result was that Tearse’s supporters formed the Discussion Group which led a quiet life for a number of years inside the Labour Party before dissolving. Meanwhile, Yaffe and his comrades proceeded to found the Revolutionary Communist Group in 1974.[4]

In 1975, the RCG began publishing a theoretical journal called Revolutionary Communist in which it in part espoused a view of crisis theory, a theme they had already addressed in the IS when challenging the work of the theoreticians of that group.[5] They developed Karl MarxFriedrich Engels and Vladimir Lenin‘s analysis of the labour aristocracy, and showed its relevance for politics in the period after the Second World War. Their conclusions led them to call for no vote for the Labour Party.

The early years of the RCG saw the group lose a large part of its initial membership. For example, in September 1975 the Birmingham branch decamped in order to join the Workers’ Socialist League.

Hungarian sociologist Frank Furediwas an early member of the RCG before being ejected in 1976, following which he founding the Revolutionary Communist Tendency. In later life he rejected socialism and became a libertarian.

A few years after the RCG’s foundation, disagreements emerged amongst its members regarding such topics as Stalinism and the South African government. One group, dominated by Frank Furedi (1947-), a sociologist at the University of Kent who used the pseudonym of “Frank Richards”, began to argue against the views put forward by David Yaffe and his supporters. Yaffe himself later remarked that Furedi had been “organising among a clique of middle-class members, and became their self-styled guru”.[6] In November 1976, Furedi and his followers were expelled from the RCG, following which they went on to form their own rival organisation, the Revolutionary Communist Tendency(RCT). Soon, the RCT itself splintered, with a group calling itself the Committee for a Communist Programme (CPP) being founded by several dissenting members.[7] Following this, the RCT went on to change its name to the Revolutionary Communist Party in 1981, and would publish the magazine Living Marxism from 1988 to 2000, in which their political position moved from Leninism to Libertarian Marxism.”

Fringe Warns, “Corbyn’s leadership in danger” after NEC reaches agreement on Anti-Semitism Issue.

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Tony Greenstein appears at a pro-Jeremy Corbyn protest outside Labour HQ

100 fringe Protesters failed to Stop NEC reaching agreement on the fight against Anti-Semitism.

The UK Labour Party’s ruling body has agreed to adopt in full an international definition of anti-Semitism, after months of rows.

It will incorporate all the 11 examples of anti-Semitism cited by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance into its code of conduct.

BBC.

There are some who are less than happy at this.

Corbyn’s leadership in danger

Written by John Rees. Counterfire.

The defeat for the Palestinian cause at the hands of the Labour Party’s NEC should not be underestimated

Who thought they would see the day when a left-led Labour Party would ignore the voices of Palestinian civil society, the highly respected former Palestinian ambassador to the UK, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, prominent figures in the anti-war movement, of Jewish socialist groups, and of 4,000 Labour Party members who lobbied the NEC online?

Who thought that this defeat would be delivered in part by mistakes made by Momentum’s national leaders, and the trade union leaders of Unison, Unite, GMB and Usdaw?

And there is the importance of this episode for the future. This reverse was the result of a divided left.

The leader of the Counterfire  revolutionary socialist groupuscule generously offers his advice to the Labour Party, the divided  left and the world at large:

Why were the left leaders either absent or actively working to get the IHRA examples adopted?

The short answer is that they imagine that they can buy off their enemies by surrendering to them. But that didn’t and won’t work. Not without getting rid of Jeremy Corbyn.

And there’s a danger that the argument will become, even from those who claim to support Corbyn, ‘oh, I support Jeremy, but he’s too much trouble’. This is dangerous nonsense. There is no candidate B and the very process of getting rid of Corbyn would demoralise and further split the left. It would, even if there were a period with another left leader, pave the way for the return of the right.

The full impact of the NEC decision is that they have set a pattern for compromise.

Socialist Worker is also going full froth.

Stand with Palestine after Labour Party accepts antisemitism definition Nick Clark

The Labour Party’s ruling body has adopted a definition of antisemitism that restricts criticism of Israel.

The decision by the party’s national executive committee (NEC) on Tuesday is a betrayal of the Palestinians. It is the result of relentless smearing by the right, and is a humiliating climb-down for Labour’s left wing leadership.

And Monster Raving, well what can you say?

“John McDonnell’s stupid and cowardly statement that Labour should adopt the IHRA in its entirety in order to put the false anti-Semitism campaign to bed beggars belief. “

Having talked about the decision with a number of people this looks a much more realistic assessment than these, and other, melodramatic attempts to stir up division.

The tussle over the IHRA shows neither Corbyn nor his opponents realise how secure he is

STEPHEN BUSH New Statesman.

The only thing that matters is that the NEC’s reccomendation means that IHRA, along with the Code of Conduct itself, will recieve an expedited passage through the rule-making institutions of Labour party conference and is essentially certain to pass unamended.

Bush continues with a carefully weighted analysis:

That’s provoked dismay among those within the Corbyn project who believe that IHRA has a chilling effect on free speech. Are they right to worry? Well, no. Ultimately both the NEC and the NCC are interpretative bodies: the NEC is not only the Labour party’s sovereign body but effectively its supreme court as well. Any ambiguities in the text are within the control of the NEC, which is dominated by Corbyn supporters and will be for the foreseeable future. Bluntly, should the Corbynsceptics retake control of the NEC – a near impossible prospect in my view – they will reshape the rules to expunge the party of some of Corbyn’s supporters anyway regardless of what a Corbynite majority NEC has done or not done. The only change to the day-to-day life of the Labour Party that would result from inserting caveats would be continuing the row over IHRA.

The Jewish Leadership Council and the European Jewish Congress have both welcomed the move, but both organisations have, as you’d expect, criticised the time it took Labour to get here. The European Jewish Congress have said it does Labour “no credit” that it took this long, while the JLC have said that “under a competent leader” the row would never have gone on so long. But while Corbyn won’t be framing either of those statements on his wall, the Labour leadership will be relieved at least that both organisations want to move on to the remaining five requests made of the Labour leadership when the JLC and the Board of Deputies met with Corbyn in April.

But Corbyn is also under fire for the 500 word statement he wanted the NEC to pass, which did apply caveats to the definition. Obtained by Robert Peston, who has posed it on his Twitter feed – this has been sharply criticised by the JLC.  While that row won’t help rebuild trust between Labour and the majority of Britain’s Jews, that Corbyn was rebuffed means that row isn’t going to rumble on. The correct outcome – as far as the bulk of community organisations and the party’s official Jewish affiliate, the Jewish Labour Movement are concerned – has been reached and no-one is going to litigate the last hours before Labour got there.

But what Corbyn’s attempt to insert an extra statement reveals is a strange point of unity between him and some of his vociferous opponents within Labour: an inability to recognise that he is the party’s hegemonic leader and therefore all his proposed statement would have brought was hassle. (It was that calculation that was decisive in persuading the left members of the NEC to defy Corbyn and speak against the statement, though the strength of feeling in the room was enough that it did not come to a vote.)

Written by Andrew Coates

September 5, 2018 at 1:20 pm

Burston Rally 2018: a Report.

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Ipswich Trades Council’s New Banner on the Burston March.

The annual Burston Rally (“to commemorate the longest strike in history and to celebrate the people who continue to fight for Trade Union rights, working class education, democracy in the countryside and international solidarity” on Sunday was well attended (See: Eastern Daily Press. Burston Strike School Rally in Norfolk.)

Eastern Daily Press.

Arriving on the full Ipswich/South East Suffolk Coach the Village Green was already full of stalls.

There were all the main trade unions and linked organisations – Norwich Trades Council had an impressive display – a long list of Norfolk and Suffolk Labour parties (although many IPswich Labour councillors were apparently filling out the sparse ranks of a local Temperance event in Alexandra Park), and campaigns (Amnesty, Palestinian Solidarity, Norfolk anti-fracking group) and fringe groups, such as the Communist Party of Britain,  the SWP the Socialist Party and the Jewish Voice for Labour.

In the morning we were entertained by bands and by the comedian Kate Smurthwaite.

Trade Unionists, such as Sean McGovern (UNITE) angrily attacked the anti-Labour media campaign, and concentrated on the injustices faced by the disabled, and the hard time imposed on workers and consumers by those in charge of the privatised public services.

There was comradely atmosphere, only occasionally spoilt by SWP activists attempting to gather support for their ‘Defend Jeremy Corbyn’ petition, and to raise backing for their autumn anti-racism demonstration.

It was noted that a Momentum group, calling itself  Norfolk Momentum, displayed material in support of a policy backed by other break-away bodies, such as Camden Momentum, against Labour’s National Executive taking a position on the 4 September, to oppose the adoption of the  International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition of Anti-Semitism (IHRA definition) of antisemitism.

I bought the highly recommended  The Village in Revolt: The Story of the Longest Strike in History.  Shaun Jeffery.

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I also got  the – very far from esteemed  – Britain in the World Front, Palme Dutt, (1942) from the CPB bookstall.

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The march, around the village in the tracks as the original school strikers’ first protest, was enlivened by trade union bands.

In the heat of the early autumn sunshine we returned to hear the afternoon addresses to the crowd.

Mick Cash (RMT) followed earlier speakers was rightly angry at the way the media had run down Jeremy Corbyn, stirred up division in the Labour Party, and diverted attention from the disaster of privatised companies. Concentrating on the policies of his rail union he called for nationalisation and a the creation of a genuine public transport service.

It was unfortunate that a divisive speaker from Jewish Voice for Labour (recently founded – 2017)  was called.

He outlined his group’s position on the Israel Palestine conflict.

While people are dying in next-door Syria, amid mass murder and torture, and millions have been made refugees this appeared as if it were the sole issue in the Middle East.

Denouncing Israel, whose policies he compared to apartheid, he advocated opposition to  the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

There were other contributions, more in line with labour movement traditions of unity.

The best speaker of the day was, without a doubt, John McDonnell.

Beginning with references to the Middle East (though not Syria) he called for justice in the region.

But the heart of his talk was – and the words are weighed – a brilliant outline of Labour’s plans to bring serious change in the economy and public services, from education to local government.

McDonnell pitched his plans as an effort to transfer wealth and power to ordinary people. His plans for nationalisation, of the utilities and transport, did not include a return to old style Morrison-style administration, but democratic bodies under Parliamentary, consumer, worker and community control. Tackling ‘Magic Money tree’ – that is the money pumped out to tax shelters on the Paradise Islands – would provide some of the basis for the funds the project would need.

Finishing, the Labour Chancellor raised the issue of a People’s Vote on Brexit. After cries from the audience in support of the campaign against Brexit (there were campaigners for the Left Against Brexit present all day), McDonnell defended the Labour Line of attempting to defend the best possible deal that could be got at present. He added, that while the best People’s Vote would be a ballot  to remove Theresa May, he did not rule out a future referendum on EU membership.

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John McDonnell hears the Tendance Line.

To  the chagrin of those trying to divide the labour movement this has just been published,

John McDonnell says he expects Labour’s ruling NEC will adopt the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism

The shadow chancellor said he hopes the Party can move on from the bitter row which has dominated the news over the past few months

John McDonnell says he expects Labour’s ruling NEC to adopt the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism after a crunch meeting.

The shadow chancellor said he hopes the Party can move on from the bitter row which has dominated the news over the past few months.

He told BBC Radio Kent: “I think what will happen, I’m hoping what will happen is exactly what people are saying is an acceptance of the IHRA definition and examples, that’s what people are pressing for.

“But also to ensure, exactly what Rabbi Sacks said yesterday, that there’s freedom of speech so people are free to criticise Israel and its policies free to advocate the rights of the Palestinians but at the same time make sure it’s done in language that’s acceptable.

 

Neither Norman Finkelstein nor Jonathan Sacks but Democratic Socialist Internationalism!

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Just when you thought Jonathan Sacks had scraped the bottom of the barrel.

There is hysteria, and there is hysterical foam-speckled raving.

British politics has seen the two merge over the last month as some people have made what can only be called – charitably – as the Media Madness of Crowds.

The most offensive delusions, that the a Labour Government, led by, Jeremy Corbyn, would pose an “existential threat” to British Jews, have been peddled.

The wildest seers, like Norman Finkelstein, have been given free reign to speculate on the site of the Flagship publishers of the New Left about whether Jewish wealth, “didn’t translate into outsized Jewish political power” in Britain. Having found that, “Were it not for the outsized power of British Jews, it’s hard to conceive that British society would be interminably chasing after a hobgoblin.”

At present Finkelstein feels armed from his American pulpit to intervene in the British debate on what kind of procedures the Labour Party should adopt on fighting anti-semitism FINKELSTEIN CRITIQUES IHRA ‘DEFINITION’ – AND REJECTS IT WHOLE.

The author of the Holocaust Industry uses all the moral authority of John Stuart Mill to defend the right to rant – something he so far not had much success with when lecturing his close friends in the Islamic Republic of Iran (Norman Finkelstein: Teaching John Stuart Mill in Iran  2014)

Then there is this.

Corbyn’s “Zionist” remarks were “most offensive” since Enoch Powell, says ex-chief rabbi

New Statesman.  GEORGE EATON

Whatever the Conservative former Chief Rabbi’s politics are today, this is what the Editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard, who gave Enoch Powell’s discipline Nigel Farage a platform in his paper, had to say after the Brexit vote:

Brexit: It’s a wonderful day for Britain – and its Jews

It’s certainly a truism that when times are troubled, the Jews are often the first target. But the referendum demand from voters that we regain control over immigration isn’t an attack on immigrants, on foreigners – or on Jews. It’s an attack on people being denied any say on a core issue of politics.

Indeed, far from Brexit hurting minorities, the real problem for minorities comes when politics ignores such concerns – when the mainstream loses touch with people and the only vehicles left to make a point are extremists. Marine Le Pen is surging in France not because all the French are fascists but because the French governing class – Eurofanatical to the core – treats its voters with contempt.

That has been the EU’s fundamental flaw. It regards voters as uncouths who need to have what’s good for them imposed on them. Just look at Greece. That’s how and when extremists prosper – and that’s when the Jews suffer.

Our freedom from the EU will make extremism less, not more, likely, as the pressure cooker is released.

We will take no lessons on far-right extremism from Pollard – who looks even more of an empty vessel after we’ve seen the ‘Tommy Robinson’ campaign merge into a pro-Brexit, pro-Trump one.

Nor, as David Rosenberg writes, is Sacks in a strong position to attack Powell.

You were never my Chief Rabbi, bruv.

When asked last year what were his four favourite books of 2017, Sacks included Douglas Murray’s the Strange death of Europe, which the “respected rabbi” described as “unsettling” and “disturbing”. Sacks continued: “Murray weaves a tale of uncontrolled immigration, failed multiculturalism, systemic self-doubt, cultural suicide and disingenuous political leadership. Accurate, insightful and devastating.” (1) Lots of Powellite themes there which Sacks found strangely attractive. Needless to say Murray included an apologia for and re-interpretation of Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech.

But then again it wasn’t the likes of Rabbi Sacks, and the cushioned middle classes who experienced on the streets the fallout from Powell’s hate speech. It was predominantly the Asian communities facing vicious racial violence, including racial murders, and the anti-racist movements, abused and attacked by the far right forces Powell encouraged. Those Asian communities, the anti-racist movements, the refugee communities today, in the face of brutal attacks, have continued to resist. And through those years of resistance they have known they can rely on solidarity from allies beyond their own communities. One absolutely constant and ever-present ally, at their side then and now, is Jeremy Corbyn.

We do take seriously the threat posed by the racist far right.

If there are attacks on Jews in Europe, they are not alone.  Let’s begin with the events in Chemnitz where, “For two nights running, hundreds and then thousands of right-wing extremists and sympathisers have taken to the streets.” Their targets? “Far-right vigilantes ‘hunting down’ migrants in Germany after man’s death.” (Sky)

This Blog is not a supporter of the extreme ‘anti-Zionist’  politics presented as the core of ‘anti-imperialism’ which many consider one of the origins of this dispute. This approach has resulted in a failure to defend Syrian democrats, even the Kurds in their to-the-death-struggle against the ISIS genociders, and an obsessive concentration on Israel in a world rent with human rights abuses, from Myanmar to Central Africa. (1)

Nor do we wish to turn the Labour Party into a forum for people all-too-anxious to ‘debate’ playground motions expressing their hatred of ‘Zionism’.

But it is hard to argue that pro-imperialist, or pro-West politics are anything other than despicable faced with their equal inability to bring a solution to the Syrian civil war, the creation of a viable two-state solution to the Israel and Palestine conflict,  or the horrors taking place in Yemen.

The present frenzy looks less and less to do with such issues.

For the first time in many years this Blog agrees with  Lindsey German on what the relentless campaign means,

There can be no doubt about what this represents – the serious attempt to remove a twice-elected Labour leader who has left wing politics, who supports a range of causes and movements including those for the Palestinians, who is committed to redistribution of wealth and power, who wants more money spent on decent public services, and whose election as prime minister would inspire working people around the world.

When the lying has to stop – weekly briefing

It is as simple as that.

Common decency, as they say, ranges the left behind Labour.

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(1)  I have read the Murray book, which draws on somebody I am lot more familiar with, Renaud Camus, the theorist of the “great replacement” (the take-over of Europe by immigrants) and a pillar of the French far-right.

(2) For a thought-provoking introduction to different views read the latest at Shiraz: A history lesson for Corbyn on antisemitism, Zionism and Stalinist-influenced “anti-imperialism”

Verso Publishes Norman Finkelstein’s diatribe that “Jews have too much power in Britain.”

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Finkelstein, “Jew have too Much Power in Britain” – to join Gerry Downing in Socialist Fight? 

The chimera of British anti-Semitism (and how not to fight it if it were real)

Amongst Finkelstein’s pseudo-learning we hear that,

Jews have too much power in Britain. The three richest Brits are Jewish.[12] Jews comprise only .5 percent of the population but fully 20 percent of the 100 richest Brits.[13] Relative both to the general population and to other ethno-religious groups, British Jews are in the aggregate disproportionately wealthy, educated, and professionally successful.[14] These data track closely with the picture elsewhere. Jews comprise only 2 percent of the US population but fully 30 percent of the 100 richest Americans, while Jews enjoy the highest household income among religious groups.

Jews comprise less than .2 percent of the world’s population but, of the world’s 200 richest people, fully 20 percent are Jewish.

Jews are incomparably organized as they have created a plethora of interlocking, overlapping, and mutually reinforcing communal and defense organizations that operate in both the domestic and international arenas. In many countries, not least the US and the UK, Jews occupy strategic positions in the entertainment industry, the arts, publishing, journals of opinion, the academy, the legal profession, and government. “Jews are represented in Britain in numbers that are many times their proportion of the population,” British-Israeli journalist Anshel Pfeffer notes, “in both Houses of Parliament, on the Sunday Times Rich List, in media, academia, professions, and just about every walk of public life.”

The wonder would be if these raw data didn’t translate into outsized Jewish political power. The Israel-based Jewish People Policy Planning Institute rhapsodizes that “The Jewish People today is at a historical zenith of wealth creation” and “has never been as powerful as now.”[18]

It is certainly legitimate to query the amplitude of this political power and whether it has been exaggerated,[19] but it cannot be right to deny (or suppress) critical socioeconomic facts.

He continues, froth speckling,

Were it not for the outsized power of British Jews, it’s hard to conceive that British society would be interminably chasing after a hobgoblin. True, although fighting anti-Semitism is the rallying cry, a broad array of powerful entrenched social forces, acting on not-so-hidden agendas of their own, have coalesced around this putative cause. It cannot be gainsaid, however, that Jewish organizations form the poisoned tip of this spear.

He (provisionally) concludes with that mind-reading ability that is the gift of those able to see beyond mere appearance,

..the truth is, Jewish elites do not for a moment believe that anti-Semitism is a burning issue. If they truly feared that it posed a clear and present danger now or in the foreseeable future, they wouldn’t be shouting from the rooftops that Corbyn was a “fucking anti-Semite.” For, if the UK was awash with closet anti-Semites, then, logically, broadcasting this accusation would hand Corbyn free publicity as it would be dulcet tones to the ears of potential voters. Far from damaging him, its diffusion could only facilitate Corbyn’s victory and pave the way for a second Holocaust.

On the contrary, Jewish organizations know full well that vilifying Corbyn as an anti-Semite would drastically reduce his appeal, as anti-Semitism resonates only among assorted antediluvians, troglodytes, and fruitcakes. In other words, the irrefutable proof that Corbyn’s pursuers don’t believe a word they’re saying is that by labeling him an anti-Semite they hope and expect to isolate him.

However, as the accusation is manifestly a red herring, it’s also possible that the current hysteria will pass most people by entirely, not because they are unconcerned by anti-Semitism but because it hardly occurs to them as an issue at all. If the controversy has an effect it will be restricted to exacerbating divisions in the Labour leadership and perhaps also adding to a more general perception that the stories promoted by mainstream media are fake news.

Here is another aspect of Finkelstein’s politics that makes this Blog loathe him even more: he spat on the graves of the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

“World renowned political science professor says he has ‘no sympathy’ for staff at Charlie Hebdo.”

 

New Left Review and Verso Stalwart Tariq Ali has had many friendly echanges with Finkelstein.

Perhaps he will invite him to the follow up to this event:

It would be remiss, surely, if Gerry Downing and Ian Donovan, pioneers in this matter, did not get an invite as well.

Why Marxists must address the Jewish Question concretely today

…the outcome of WWII, and then the rise of Israel, destroyed this worldview among the imperialist bourgeoisie. What took its place was an emerging understanding that the Jewish bourgeoisie was an important reserve for the survival of capitalism itself, particularly in its ability to see beyond narrow national horizons and look out for the interests of the bourgeois class on a broader basis.

As a distinct caste, this depends on the Zionist project for its internal coherence; without it this caste would disappear through assimilation into the separate imperialist bourgeoisies. The end of ethnocracy in Israel would spell the defeat of this extra resource of imperialism, which today’s Western ruling classes value highly indeed.

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

August 22, 2018 at 11:50 am

Backlash at Momentum Withdrawing Backing for Peter Willsman Exposes Deeper Left Rift.

with 13 comments

Image result for corbyn palestine

New forms of international solidarity, based on democratic human rights, should replace unconditional support.

Momentum withdraws support for Corbyn ally Peter Willsman for ‘deeply insensitive’ remarks about Jews

Independent.

The present crisis in the Labour Party over anti-semitism is a mess with which most people would recoil from.

The underlying problem is not this or that charge: it is a fight over Jeremy Corbyn’s politics.

Although the majority of the left stands with the anti-austerity programme, and for democratic socialist measures  to replace neo-liberal politics – give or take some divisions about how to respond to Brexit – there is no consensus about the politics of the Middle East and, above all, on the Israel-Palestine issue.

Is this  the central question of the age? In most people’s minds it is not. We could begin with the civil war in Syria, where massacres continue after genocides.

But there is no getting away from it.

Jeremy Corbyn comes from an honourable tradition on the left which puts international solidarity at the forefront of left campaigning.

It is part of his marrow.

Jeremy Corbyn has put the Palestinian people’s rights at the centre of his work.

It is scandalous to accuse him of underhand behaviour when he has acted in the plain light of day.

Or that Corbyn is of the same mind as everybody he’s been found in the company of.

Nobody can doubt that this involves cooperating, or at least appearing on the same platform,, as people he disagrees with.

But not everybody on the left accepted, or does now accept, the idea that solidarity means not taking a critical distance from the leadership and activists of liberation movements.

A thoughtful piece this year on the New Socialist site begins with a premise that seems very much of a different time:  Antisemitism and Our Duties as Anti-Imperialists. (The Editors April 2018)

The claim that groups like Hamas in the Gaza Strip, are liberation movements reflects a position of the 1960s and 1970s left on such struggles which has not worn well.

But in a wider sense what are the “duties” of “anti-imperialists”? Opposing colonialism, the occupation of whole swathes of the world by European powers, US intervention in Asian wars, ended by the 1970s.

The term ‘anti-imperialism’ was visibly coming apart after the the Khomeini  victory in Iran in 1979, which heralded a wider rise in diverse forms of political Islam – virulently opposed to the left. Yet these were, in Tehran,  ‘anti-imperialist’, as a whole section of the Iranian left claimed, before being executed or put in gaol.

Opposition to US-led intervention against Iraq, the Gulf War onwards, and in Afghanistan, had some meaning.

But it failed to inspire much support on the left for Baathism or the various Islamist groups that took power in Afghanistan

The idea of moral obligations to support positively anti-imperialist countries or movements opposing ‘imperialism’ has even less  meaning today when ‘anti-imperialism’ or ‘campism’ in the post-Soviet world has led some on the left to claim the mantle of ‘internationalism’ for support for a variety of repressive and reactionary states and movements opposed to the ‘West’.

Despite its obvious bankruptcy the influence of this stand can be seen at present far beyond the Middle East, with some continuing to back the blood-stained and  corrupt regime in Nicaragua on ‘anti-imperialist’ grounds.

The hollowness of this position is not hard to see. For those who wish to see them taken apart read Dan la Botz Nicaragua’s Popular Rebellion Stopped—For Now. (1)

Just as we would not tolerate unconditional support for Israel, above all in the form of the Israeli government, it is hard to see why why we should tolerate the – well-known – faults of the backward looking right-wing  Muslim Brotherhood ally Hamas.

This has its domestic translation.

In the present Labour Party row the issue keeps returning to the influence of anti-democratic, and prejudiced forces that style themselves ‘anti-Zionists’ operating in movements calling for  support for the Palestinians.

These range from those who have lost all sense of decency through their use of  ‘Nazi’ rhetoric against ‘Zionists’, Islamist and classic far-right anti-semites, to the probably more numerous, “conspiratorialist” individuals and groups.

But the Labour Party is not, as Labour Against the Witchunt and the its backers would like it to be, a playground where these individuals can engage in ‘debates’ on the template of the Letters Page in the Weekly Worker.

It is equally  true that the Labour Party is not going to be taught lessons about racialism from people like the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard, who declared in June 2016,

Our freedom from the EU will make extremism less, not more, likely, as the pressure cooker is released.

Brexit: It’s a wonderful day for Britain – and its Jews

But we are not going to resolve our difficulties without a coming to terms with the need for forms of international solidarity, based on democratic human rights, to replace the old unconditional support. for movements we think are ‘anti-imperialist’ or progressive.

In the deeper senses outlined above this is simultaneously a foreign policy issue and a domestic one, so that this analysis by Steve Bush in the New Statesman is right at both ends put together:

The issue at stake is that Corbyn himself regards the row as a foreign policy issue, confined to the question of how Labour members can talk about Israel, while his critics primarily see it as a domestic issue, confined to the need to reassure British Jews of Labour’s intentions and to take the sting out of the row, which risks derailing a summer of detailed policy interventions from the opposition.

Momentum dump Peter Willsman from their NEC slate – in direct defiance of Jeremy Corbyn’s office

The backlash at Momentum’s decision illustrates all these issues coming to the surface:

Momentum drops Pete Willsman – support the comrade!

 

And so it goes….

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Skwawkbox launches an organised wrecking operation against Momentum.

LOCAL MOMENTUM GROUPS COME OUT FOR WILLSMAN AND THE #JC9YES9

National Momentum – or rather the officer subset of Momentum’s ‘NCG’ (National Coordinating Group) – made the widely-condemned decision yesterday to withdraw support from left-slate member Peter Willsman in the vital National Executive Committee elections, over antisemitism claims that do not stand up to scrutiny.

The decision sparked a major online backlash, with large numbers announcing they had ended their membership.

But others are staying within the organisation yet still making clear that the NCG has not spoken for them.

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(1) Notably,

Many of my generation, the generation of 1968, who supported the Nicaraguan revolution of 1979 (as I did), may have found these arguments appealing, reflecting as they did the situation forty years ago, but not only do they have little factual or logical merit, but they are based on a specious reasoning that denigrates ordinary people and idolizes strongmen. Such arguments are based upon three fundamental suppositions:

1) Nicaraguans and other Latin Americans cannot have legitimate grievances against the “Leftists” governments and would any case be incapable of creating their own movement, so they must be manipulated by some other force;

2) the United States masterminds and controls all political developments in Latin America from Argentina and Brazil to Venezuela and Nicaragua, and it is the real force behind any apparent popular opposition;

3) existing “anti-imperialist” governments (Russia, Syria, Nicaragua), whatever their character, must be supported against the world’s only imperialist nation, the United States.

These arguments can only appeal to those who have no understanding of the complexity of international political developments, of a world where, for example, people can organize themselves, a left can develop critical of a so-called leftist government, and the United States, powerful as it is, cannot always call the shots. That these authors provide shameful support for an authoritarian, capitalist government murdering hundreds and wounding thousands of its citizens is not surprising, given their support for Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia, Iran’s theocratic dictatorship, and Assad’s dictatorship in Syria. Zeese and Blumenthal represent what writer Rohini Hensman has called a neo-Stalinist current that came out of the left but now has little that is even vaguely leftists about it.[18]

Fortunately, the international democratic left has rallied in defense of the Nicaraguan people’s rebellion. Noam Chomsky spoke out against Ortega’s “authoritarian” government on Democracy Now.[19] Dozens of leftist intellectuals and political activists  principally from Europe and Latin America signed a statement strongly condemning the Ortega governments and containing these demands:

The unconditional release of all political prisoners; the transfer of information from the authorities to human rights organizations about the real situation of the persons declared missing; disarmament of the paramilitary army organized by Ortega and his government; an independent international investigation into the various forms and facets of repression, with appropriate sanctions; the constitution of a transitional government — with a limited mandate, — leading to free elections; and the end of the Ortega-Murillo government.[20]