December 18, 2015

When Benn didn't meet Benjamin

The greatest pro-war orator of all time, Hilary Benn, appears to have been snubbed by Bibi during a visit to occcupied Palestine.  Here's the Jewish Chronicle's report:
Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn made a low-profile visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories this week.
Accompanied by a political adviser, he landed at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv on Monday morning for the start of the three-day tour.
Mr Benn - who avoided press interviews during the trip - started by travelling to east Jerusalem with the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs. On Tuesday, he laid a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum.
Mr Benn had a series of private meetings with senior Knesset members and Palestinian Authority representatives.

He met PA president Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and discussed settlements and a two-state solution.
So he met everyone who's anyone under the entity's rule with one fairly important exception:
It is thought many of his meetings were set up while on the road in Israel, with a late request to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unable to be scheduled.
It's not known if he put in a similar "I was in the neighbourhood so I thought I'd pop by" request to Hamas but I'm guessing he didn't. In fact, taking his penchant for both Israel and for the UK's wars in the middle east, Mr Benn appears to be touting himself as a chip off the Blairite rather than the Bennite block. Maybe they'll make Benn a peace envoy one day but I am surprised Bibi couldn't or wouldn't make time for him.

December 14, 2015

#BlackLivesMatter: A Guide to the Movement - Online Paralegal Programs

by Rick Dandes
Co-founders: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi
I first met Opal Tometi half an hour before an appearance at a university in Pennsylvania in the fall of 2015. She explained to me that #BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012, after Trayvon Martin’s “murderer,” George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and the dead 17-year old Trayvon was posthumously placed on trial for his own murder.
But Blacks weren’t the only ones affected by the verdict. Surveys by respected companies indicated that white America also took heed.
Read in full here

December 03, 2015

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network: Activism 2015


December 2, 2015

IJAN depends on grassroots fundraising to make our work possible.

Will you support us in sustaining our work?

Dear IJAN supporter:

As 2015 draws to a close, we reflect on important victories in the struggle against Zionism and all forms of racism, colonialism, militarization and repression as we prepare for more important struggles and victories in 2016. From the resistance in Palestine to the building movement for Black lives and power, 2015 has shown the power of people’s resistance to injustice.

B7fCEz9CAAA4nKa 2As we face attempts to frame the consequences of global relations of domination and exploitation as a “clash of civilizations", IJAN will continue to insist that the historic and current violence of the United States, Europe and its allies has created violent opposition. IJAN will continue to participate in and support the antidote to this violence: the many movements for justice that are fighting for a profound shift in the way power is used against the many for the benefit of the few.

Please consider donating whatever is within your means – whether that be $5, $25, $100 or becoming a monthly sustaining member!

Highlights from our work in 2015

IJAN-Business-of-Backlash-Executive-Summary-web1 (dragged)We Released The Business of Backlash....documenting who is funding zionist attacks on individuals and organizations standing up for justice and how can we respond in ways that strengthen our movements.
We Presented on policing and lawfare, campus repression, and the National Lawyers Guild confernece, US Social Forum, Left Forum, US Campaign to end the Israeli Occupation, American Muslims for Palestine, several college campuses across the country, as well as community presentations in San Francisco and London.
We Defended those targeted....including Rasmea Odeh, Students for Justice in Palestine at CUNY and UC BerkeleyArab Resource and Organizing Center, and Cheryl at the Berkeley Commission on Human Rights.
We Launched the #JCRCDoesntSpeakForMe part of a coalition with AROC,QUIT, and JVP, we took a leadership role in mobilizing Jews, Queers, local and international community to expose the Jewish Community Relations Council's continued use of economic coercion and Islamaphobia.

Anti-Zionism Isn't Anti-Semitism infographic_8.3.15 copy
We Developed the infographic "Criticism of Israel is not Anti-semitic, it's Anti-Racist"....In supporting AROC's Arabic language pathways this summer, we committed to developing tools to expose the reality that Zionism itself is a racist ideology and a commitment to anti-racism requires an anti-Zionist framework. We developed an infographic to make our case and spread it throughout social media, accumulating over 7,500 views online.
We continued to expose the ethnic cleansing of Palestine as part of the Stop the Jewish National Fund Campaign....On Land Day this year, we launched the IJAN-produced film Enduring Roots: Over a Century of Resistance to the Jewish National Fund to an international audience, with screenings in Europe, South America and several cities across the US. The Stop the JNF Campaign also organized a Land Defense Delegation to Palestine to connect international organizers and activists involved in land-based struggle, indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice work to Palestinians working to defend their land from further colonization from the JNF.
We responsded to the incidents in Beirut, Iraq, Nigeria and condemn the attacks as well as the incitement of islamaphobic fury that followed. And to reject any notion that Muslims in general have any particular responsibility.
We disrupted the Zionism 3.0 conference....coordinating with local organizers for a successful disruption of Israel's lead diplomat, deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely during her speech. (see picture below) The conference brought together liberal and right-wing Zionist organizations to analyze the threat of BDS, campus activism, and grassroots Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonization. The symbolic citizens arrest of Hotovely drew attention to her unapologetic support of the settlements and the many liberal Zionist organizations that lent legitimacy to Hotovely by helping to host the conference. 

We launched our website at our launch in March we've had more than 17,000 users, more than 33,000 page views, and people accessing the site from 135+ countries. We also have been able to increase our social media presence bringing an international jewish anti-zionist perspective to a wider audience.
CUdsozEVAAE9fz1If IJAN has been able to contribute to this struggle in significant ways, it could not have happened without the support, political and financial, that you and other members of our political community have given us. As we enter 2016, we hope that you’ll continue to support us in our work. As an activist network of almost entirely volunteer labor, it is through member dues and contributions that we are able to fund our work.

Please help us continue the fight for justice and the self-determination in 2016.

The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)

Check out some of the media coverage links below on IJAN's report: The Business of Backlash

Electronic Intifada: Are Climate Change Deniers Funding Attack on Palestine Activism
Salon: Business of Backlash: GOP Cashes in on Koch/Adelson anti-BDS Donations
Institute for Palestine Studies: Palestine Solidarity and “The Business of Backlash”
Mint Press: Pro-Israel Funders Target Surging Israeli Apartheid Week

October 30, 2015

Guardian Opinion Editor denies all knowledge of Guardian Editorial Opinion

An utterly bogus hasbara piece on The Guardian website titled The Guardian view on the war of knives in Israel and the West Bank and subtitled Editorial prompted an interesting twitter exchange.

Here are some chunks from the editorial:

For openers:
Off-duty soldiers go jogging with submachine guns slung across their chests. Men and women who have never owned a firearm hesitate at the door of gun shops after the laws on weapon ownership were relaxed. People eat at home, and plan their trips to the supermarket or their bus journeys to avoid the places where the Palestinian stabbing attacks, which have surprised and frightened Israelis in recent weeks, seem most likely.
The issue here is "the Palestinian stabbing attacks" and the Israeli response.  Palestinian actions couldn't possibly themselves be a response.
On the Arab side, parents worry that a loved son or daughter will decide to trade their own life for that of an Israeli, or that a family member will be caught in crossfire.
Not deliberately killed by Israelis simply for being Palestinian.
at the last count, nine Israelis dead, although with more than 60 Palestinians killed as armed Israelis reacted to the attacks or tried to forestall attacks they thought imminent. The Palestinian dead include some who were demonstrators, not perpetrators, some who were killed in error, and some who just got in the way. 
Wow, a concession to the idea that Palestinians might, just might, get killed by Israelis simply for demonstrating.

Well it was only a small concession and it was soon marred by this little gem:
For one thing it is hard to imagine that the influence of jihad movements beyond Israel’s and Palestine’s borders has not played a part in inflaming young minds, a development that must be bad news for both Israelis and Palestinians.
Which brings us to Twitter and a tweet from Ben White:
He quickly followed up with a question to Jonathan Freedland whose profile page at The Guardian reads:
Jonathan Freedland is the Guardian's executive editor, Opinion, overseeingComment is freeeditorials and long reads.
Here's the question:
And here's Jonathan Freedland's response:
Then David Aaronovitch appears in the thread:
"Well, you know..", as Ben White points out, it's in Jonathan Freedland's job description and he often opines in The Guardian and elsewhere in favour of Israel.  I'm fed up with embedding, copying and pasting but you can follow the thread for yourself where you'll see that Aaro seems to be saying that there are lots of people at The Guardian with the same JD and who write about Palestine.  But I think there is only one person with the JD which states, that the person in question is the Guardian's executive editor, Opinion, overseeing Comment is freeeditorials and long reads and that is Jonathan Freedland.

Now surely that makes it fair to assume that Jonathan Freedland was responsible for an editorial comment at The Guardian or if he's not directly responsible he could "provide some insight into how such an 'observation' made it into the editorial."

He claims that he can't.

October 23, 2015

Netanyahu the historian?

Apparently Bibi's dad was a historian. That's according to Anschel Pfeffer in today's Jewish Chronicle. Look:
According to Mr Netanyahu - whose father was a lauded historian - Hitler asked Al-Husseini: "What should I do with them [the Jews]?" He replied: "Burn them."
 I don't know if Netanyahu Senior was a zionist "historian" or a historian who happened to be a zionist but clearly Netanyahu Junior is no historian.

But then Aschel Pfeffer is no historian either.  Watch how he stumbles into no-shit-Sherlock territory:
Some commentators said that Mr Netanyahu's words revealed either that he sees the conflict between Israel and its immediate neighbours as a continuation of the Holocaust, or that he is prepared to manipulate history for political purposes.
Wow, there's an insight.  Zionist leaders play the holocaust card for political advantage.

Norman Finkelstein's The Holocaust Industry is available in good bookshops, at least it was several years ago. It might of interest to wannabe historians like Netanyahu Junior and Anschel Pfeffer.

October 21, 2015

Shooting the Eritrean: What was the "mistake" exactly?

It looked quite deliberate to me:

Bibi: not just a Zionist Revisionist, he's a Holocaust Revisionist too

Bibi Netanyahu has made a complete dick of himself again.   Addressing the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem he said that Hitler had no plans for the holocaust until that British invention, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, persuaded him to carry it out.  Here's Marcus Dysch in The Jewish Chronicle:
Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed Hitler only decided to carry out the Final Solution after being convinced by a Palestinian leader.
Speaking at the World Jewish Congress, the Israeli Prime Minister said the plan to exterminate European Jews was developed after the Nazi leader met the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.
Of course being written by Marcus Dysch they had to get something wrong. It wasn't the World Jewish Congress Bibi was addressing, it was the World Zionist Congress. Anyone would think that the JC uses the words Jewish and Zionist interchangeably.

October 17, 2015

Demonstration for Palestine

Demonstration for Palestine 

Today: Saturday 17th October, 12 noon-2pm 

Outside the Israeli Embassy, Kensington High Street.  

End the occupation! End the killing!

Called by Palestine Solidarity Campaign

October 14, 2015

Zionists outnumbered at their own demo

As far as I can tell from the Jewish Chronicle and its twitter account Zionists were outnumbered by Palestine solidarity supporters on a demonstration outside the Palestinian mission in London organised by some major Zionist groups for last night (13/10/2015).  Here's the JC:
An estimated 70 pro-Israel supporters gathered outside the Palestinian Mission in London on Tuesday evening to protest against the lack of condemnation for recent terrorist acts in Israel.

Is that the BNP and EDL in the background?

And here's a tweet retweeted by the @JewishChron account:
So not UK Zionism's most successful outing.

October 12, 2015

Racists appropriate anti-racist slogan #IsraeliLivesMatter

Giving another example of the working definition of chutzpah zionists are demonstrating against the Palestinian mission in London tomorrow under the hashtag #IsraeliLivesMatter.  Here's Jewish News:
A protest has been planned to take place outside the Palestinian Mission in response to the recent wave of violence, writes Jack Mendel.
The event will highlight the role that incitement has played in motivating attacks on Israelis in recent weeks, which has led to four Israelis deaths with hundreds injured across Israel, in stabbing, rock throwing and shooting incidents. 
Organised by the ZF in partnership with the Board of Deputies and other cross-communal organisations, the event has been set up on Facebook and on Twitter using the hashtag #IsraeliLivesMatter.
And here's Jewish Socialist Group:
 Emergency Counter Protest: Tuesday 13th October 5pm, 5 Galena Road, W6 0LT  The Board of Deputies has called a vigil outside the premises of the Palestinian Mission to protest “Palestinian violence and Incitement”, and has appropriated the anti-racist slogan “Black Lives Matter” to publicise the vigil with the hashtag #IsraeliLivesMatter. Several Jewish groups including the JSG are joining together in a counter protest under the slogan “End the Occupation - End the Killing”, recognising the fundamental role of the occupation in fuelling the current conflicts – and recognising too that the Palestinians are suffering far greater casualties and fatalities. Our counter protest will be at the same time as the Board’s protest, also near the Palestinian mission.Please make every effort to attend.JFJFP are meeting at 4.30pm  outside the Lyric Theatre, King Street, Hammersmith, and will walk to Galen Road from there

October 08, 2015

Gabriel Ash on Assad

I just stumbled on this little gem by my friend Gabriel Ash on Louis Proyect's marxmail thingy:

The immediate problem is indeed Assad. But that is the tip of the iceberg. Assad has been a stellar prince. He has fully grasped the potential of the current historical moment, the fortuna that opens possibilities for virtù, and acted on that understanding singlemindedly. Bombing one's own country to the stone age and expelling the majority of the people is a very high risk strategy, and few tyrants have survived it. But Assad has grasped where the world is today. He has correctly understood that defeating the threat of expanding democracy, everywhere, but especially in the Middle East, is not only the point of unity of all the world's powers, but even the dominant intellectual and cultural mood, and if he positions himself at that very point, he will be untouchable. He understood that none of his adversaries, not Turkey, nor the US, nor Israel, would risk his downfall if it meant an opening for popular empowerment. And the more he murders, the more he destroys, the more impossible it is it remove him without conceding the revolt. Syria is the 21st century Paris Commune. It is a flash of lightning that illuminates a furious global counter-revolution. Even hundreds of thousands of refugees are unlikely to change that. the EU would much rather build new concentration camps for them than risk inadvertently helping a popular victory against tyranny. About the left, the less one says the better.
Gabriel Ash

October 07, 2015

Yom Vanunu?

I've just received an email announcing a vigil at the Israeli embassy in London for Mordechai Vanunu on the day before his birthday.

Here's the email's content:
There will be a vigil for the nuclear whistleblower,Mordechai Vanunu(on the eve of his 61st birthday):

Israeli Embassy,Saturday,10th October, 12-2pm

The vigil will call for him to be allowed to leave Israel.

October 05, 2015

Jews for JC in the JC

I suppose most great religious identities have their schisms.  Muslims have Sunni and Shia, etc.  Christians have Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant and so on.  Well if you read Counterpunch, Harry's Place or the Jewish Chronicle you will know that Jews have been a monolithic bloc throughout the millennia.  Well not any more. Jews are now divided into for or against Jeremy Corbyn and those for Jez even have a letter in the most recent edition of the Jewish Chronicle to proving that they exist. [12:40 pm, 7/10/2015 - I just got a call asking me to point out that there is a semi-formal group calling itself Jews for Jeremy and whilst there is an overlap between its members and the JC letter's signatories, not all if its members signed and not all of the letter's signatories are members of JfJ and not all of the signatories even support Jeremy Corbyn but I thought "for Jez" was convenient shorthand.]

The JC doesn't publish its letters page on line so I'm reproducing the letter here with a link to the Jonathan Freedland article it was criticising.
Dear Sir or Madam:
It must be galling for Jonathan Freedland and those who allege that Jeremy Corbyn is happiest when in the company of holocaust deniers, to find their warnings falling on stony ground.  Their problem is that despite the dog whistles, even they cannot bring themselves to accuse Corbyn of being anti-Semitic. [Friends who are enemies Jewish Chronicle September 17, 2015] 
Is it any surprise that the combined efforts of the Jewish Chronicle, Daily Mail and Board of Deputies have had no discernible effect?  Why should someone who has spent his parliamentary career opposing racism develop a soft spot for holocaust denial?  This is just another case of accusing anti-Zionists and supporters of the Palestinians of being anti-Semitic.
Jeremy Corbyn has answered these allegations repeatedly, in the Jewish Chronicle, The Guardian and elsewhere but Freedland and yourselves aren’t interested in explanations but in trying to get mud to stick.
According to Freedland “…15 years ago he attended meetings of a group called Deir Yassin Remembered, founded by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen.” Since Eisen didn’t reveal himself as a holocaust denier until 2004, Jeremy Corbyn and the many others attending a fund-raising concert in 2001, including rabbis and MPs, would have had to have had psychic gifts.  All these allegations rest on the word of a self-confessed holocaust denier.
What is particularly ironic is that the JC's editor, Stephen Pollard, has said of arch anti-Semite Polish MEP Michal Kaminski: ‘It would be harder to find a greater friend in Brussels.’  (JC 9.10.09.).  Kaminski was leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists in the European parliament, a group initiated by Cameron and to which the Tories continue to ‘belong’.  He combines ardent Zionism with opposing a national Polish apology for the burning alive of 300 Jews in Jedwabne in 1941. 
Notwithstanding the Jewish Chronicle’s campaign, thousands of Jews voted for Corbyn.  These so-called ‘community’ leaders do not speak for British Jews who are critics of Israel, oppose the Occupation, or support secular, rather than faith schools. We have no recollection of participating in any democratic process to elect them. 
Yours faithfully,
In case you're wondering, the letter was published in full much to the surprise of its signatories detailed on Tony Greenstein's blog.

October 02, 2015

Anger as Jeremy Corbyn fails to name the Zionist entity at a Zionist gathering

So Jeremy Corbyn addressed a Labour Friends of Israel fringe meeting a couple of nights back.  I haven't managed to find a transcript of his speech though I have seen three reports in Jewish News,  The Jewish Chronicle and The Daily Telegraph.  The last of those helpfully linked to a 4 minute, 27 second long video of the speech that was reported to have been 10 minutes long:

The video was made and uploaded by a Shlomo Anker for which Jeremy Corbyn duly thanked him on Twitter.

September 18, 2015

Jeremy Corbyn and the Minister for Jews

Jewish Chronicle editor, Stephen Pollard, came in for a lot of criticism/ridicule recently when he bragged that the JC had scooped the idea that Jeremy Corbyn was considering a minister for Jews should Corbyn form a government one day.  Well undeterred, the JC has now run a front page headline in its print edition thus:

I don't know how much lower they can go with this but they'll probably manage something.

September 15, 2015

Charlie Pottins

Sad news yesterday from David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group:
We are heartbroken to report the news that one of our most longstanding, much loved and admired Jewish Socialists' Group members, Charlie Pottins, has died. A lifelong socialist and trade unionist, Charlie was a brilliant thinker and a talented writer, and we will all really miss him. We will post more news as we get it.
Charlie blogged at Random Pottins and had a Facebook page here.

September 03, 2015

Mea Culpa or Wea Culpa?

Here's a curious opinion piece in the Jewish News owning up to the Zionist propensity for crying wolf with bogus allegations of antisemitism.  So far so welcome but the piece isn't actually objecting to the bogus allegation itself but to its efficacy.  It's also not clear what the author (Jack Mendel, JN online editor) is referring to when he objects to the crying of wolf.  And he makes the assumption that whatever it is he is objecting to he is expressing himself as if for the entire Jewish community.  Take this for openers:
Jeremy Corbyn’s likely ascension to Opposition Leader will mark the moment when the Jewish community becomes the community that cried wolf.
If we were to take a collective selfie to mark that moment, we would appear visibly worried, because we’ve long mocked the left-winger’s brand of politics, caricaturing the ‘loony left’ and degrading it as an insignificant, irrelevant fringe, only to now see it on the verge of victory.
So was the crying of wolf not taking the "loony left" seriously enough?  Or is it the taking it seriously now?  What's he saying?  Well he's certainly saying that we Jews don't like Jeremy Corbyn and now what are we Jews gonna do?

You see, having leveled the charge of antisemitism at so many people over the years we Jews may have devalued the currency.  My thoughts?  Well close to my thoughts except I don't go in for generalisations about "we Jews".  Nope, I was actually paraphrasing the articles rather confused and confusing author:
We are to blame. Looking back we have not picked our battles well, smearing and disparaging lesser men, running our account dry. Now, when a genuine need arises (i.e. to shed light on Corbyn’s questionable links) we find we are all out of credit, ourselves discredited as “smearers” out to blacken a good man’s name.
Compared to the likes of Galloway and Livingstone, Corbyn’s politics is more intelligent and palatable, but radical nonetheless, at least in our current climate of mundane consensus. Our reaction to him should have been different. Yet we have reacted to him as if he were calling for an Israeli-free London.
We have played the wrong game. We’ve relied on character assassination, but on this he seems impenetrable.[emphases added]
Apart from Mr Mendel's use of the word "we" there's not a whole lot to disagree with here.

August 07, 2015

Scottish PSC reaffirms commitment to anti-racism while CounterPunch reaffirms commitment to antisemitism

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign has sent an open letter to the US Campaign to End the Occupation supporting the latter's disassociation from certain white supremacist and antisemitic elements who seek to legitimise themselves by cosying up to the Palestine solidarity movement.

Here's a chunk, indeed the gist of SPSC's letter:
Across the whole range of Palestine solidarity groups and networks in the UK, none could write or appear even once in White supremacist newspapers or social media; it is unthinkable. Any association with any brand of extreme right, racist formations would disgust and repel all those who currently give us active and passive support. It would be madness. 

The back story to the controversy mostly in the US between Palestine solidarity activists who believe the movement must be anti-racist across the board and those who believe that the movement should be so broad as to accommodate racists has become a little complex now but it began with Jewish Voices for Peace writing privately to a fairly high profile antisemite, Alison Weir, stating their disapproval of her approach and her associations.  She went public on the spat and far-rightists seem to have taken the opportunity to try to steer the movement their way.  Here's the take of the US Campaign to End the Occupation.  I'll just provide the intro here:
The following statement, issued by the Steering Committee of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation 

1. summarizes our receipt of a complaint against Alison Weir and the organization If Americans Knew and our subsequent action following that complaint, 

2. provides further discussion of our position on the political issues that this case touches upon,  

3. and provides evidence and documentation that undergirds the decisions that have been made by the organization. 
Among many issues raised regarding Weir was a clearly antisemitic article she had published in CounterPunch where she reran the allegation that Israel hunts people down and kills them specifically to take their internal organs (the kernel of truth being that Israel, in common with several other states including the UK, has indeed taken organs from the dead) and she linked this to the allegation that Jews killed Christians in medieval times to use their blood for ritual purposes.

Support for the far-right came from an unexpected quarter when Louis Proyect, a high profile former leftist published an utterly bogus defence of Alison Weir and an attack on JVP on his blog which he still calls Unrepentant Marxist.  Subsequently he also posted some kind of petition to support Alison Weir that he hasn't actually signed himself as far as I could see last time I looked.

Well I was wondering when CounterPunch would host something in support of their antisemitic occasional (but by no means isolated) guest. I assumed they would come up with something denying the antisemitism but I was wrong.  They've posted something openly antisemitic.  Certainly the article by a Jack Dresser repeats all the lies and glossovers you can see on Louis Proyect's blog and which are ably exposed in US Campaign's statement but Dresser introduces a real howler:
Alison’s politically incorrect policy has been to disseminate salient facts to anyone, anywhere to achieve the broadest possible reach among American citizens, without political discrimination. The expelling organizations undoubtedly fear that the knowledge will feed anti-Semitism. Maybe it will, but the appropriate remedy would be a collective demand by the Jewish diaspora to end the Zionist project, make reparations to its victims, and establish a democratic state, not to withhold information from people who might use it to make Jewish Americans uncomfortable.[emphasis added]
Ok, let's leave aside the guy's ignorance of the fact that many zionists are antisemitic and vice versa but how do Jews issue a collective demand?  Really, unless you believe there is such a thing as a worldwide Jewish conspiracy to which all Jews are party, how can you believe that Jews are capable of issuing a collective demand?

Now I have to say, from what I have seen of CounterPunch over the years this kind of thing is by no means atypical.

I blogged about Elise Hendrick's post titled CounterPunch or Suckerpunch where using samples of posts from CounterPunch she demonstrated that the motivation of the editors appears to be the promotion of some kind of red-brown alliance given the ratio of far-right posts to leftist posts.  All the various supporters of CounterPunch have managed to do so far is quibble over her arithmetic.

The idea that CounterPunch is bona fide leftist publication is no longer tenable (if it ever was) unless essentialising bigotry aka racism is part of the leftist credo.

July 25, 2015

Emergency demonstration against the demolition of the Palestinian village, Susiya

Sunday 26 July 2015 2-4pm: 

Emergency demonstration against the demolition of the Palestinian village, Susiya, in Occupied Palestine. There have been joint demonstrations by Palestinians and Israeli human rights activists. Let’s make our voice heard in support of them and Susiya’s 340 villagers.

Entrance to the Israeli embassy, Kensington High Street, London W8, nearest tube: Kensington High Street. 

More info on Susiya via Twitter

July 22, 2015

Red-Brown Black and Blue - CounterPunch Editor Licks His Wounds

Yes, it's as disgusting as it sounds.  Jeffrey St. Clair, the Counterpunch editor, has done what CounterPunch never allows its targets to do and that is exercise his right of reply on a blog.   The blog, Messages from Exile (or in the original, meldungen aus dem exil), belongs to Elise Hendrick who has written a wonderfully detailed report on CounterPunch's longstanding relationship with the far right.  It's titled CounterPunch or Suckerpunch.

Well, Jeffrey St Clair has been so stung by it he has penned as disingenuous a response as you will see anywhere on anything. It was so at odds with what had been written in the main post, I'm not even sure if Elise realised what he was playing at at first.  Now at this point you might want to go and read Elise's post but it really isn't necessary to see what a clown St Clair is being.  Just note that Elise's main objections to CounterPunch are its propensity for posting racism and conspiracy theories.

Now here's St Clair:
You are, naturally, quite free to draw what ever conclusions you like about the political slant of CounterPunch, but your assertions should at least have some tenuous tether to reality, especially when you purport to do a deep “statistical” analysis of stories and authors. We’ve published more than 55,000 articles since 1999. Ralph Nader, alone, has written more than 400 articles for us. Is Ralph left or right? Well, he’s of Lebanese descent, so we can surmise where you would slot Ralph. That’s another 400 articles for your right wingers, I guess. How about Edward Said. Dozens of articles for the pre-eminent intellectual critic of Imperialism. But, yes, Edward was Palestinian and thus by your crafty declinations he was a birth-right right-winger. Kaching! More bonus points for you!! What about Fidel Castro, left or right? We run all of Fidel’s columns, all of Ricardo Alarcon’s, too. Critics of Israel. Shame on them. What about Philip Agee, former CIA spook who spilled the beans? We ran lots of story by Phil before he died. How about Subcomandante Marcos. We’ve published almost all of his dispatches from the Lacondon. Left or right? Hard call. He is a smoker. Right hand column, I guess. Uri Avnery, Jew, former member of the Knesset, served with Begin in the Irgun. 500 articles by Uri. Hmm. Hard call. Put him in the excluded middle I guess. What about Kathy Kelly? Catholic Worker, nominated several times for Nobel Prize. We published more than 300 pieces by Kathy and a book. More bait to lure naives leftists into a ‘trap.’ Could be. What about one of the greatest living black novelists, Ishmael Reed? He is he dupe? How about his daughter, Tennessee. We published her book on how the US education system throws one roadblock after another in front of young black women. That’s an entire book. How about Kevin Alexander Gray, one of the leading black civil rights organizers in the US, led the campaign to vanquish the Confederate Flag in South Carolina for two decades. Dozens of articles by Kevin and two books. But, whoops, he’s a critic of Israel. Does that make him a black white supremacist? I guess they do exist, consider the spectacle of Clarence Thomas. But I don’t think even you could squeeze Kevin into that box–not in his presence anyway. What about our book, Killing Trayvons? Just another con job? Frankly, I don’t care how you align our writers on your bifurcated little list, which has ominous overtones of other little lists kept by your compatriots in the not-so-distant past, but you should at least acknowledge their existence! And stop calling what you’re doing “statistical analysis”. As that infamous right-winger Mark Twain said, there’s lies, damned lies and statistics. But you don’t even HAVE statistics. Just your own hand-picked glob of silly putty. Good luck with your auto-de-fe.
He's obviously too radical for spacing or paragraphs or anything conventional like that.

First, in his panic he's confused statistics with, er, counting every single one of something.  How about sampling and proportions, Jeffrey?  I know significance is a concept in statistics but even non-statistically the significance of CounterPunch publishing rather a lot of racist tosh among its 55,000 articles is lost on poor wounded Jeffrey.  And was it an issue with political, numerical or literary comprehension that Jeffrey missed Elise's (not so) honourable mention of Ralph Nader:
in his April 2014 Left-Right AliancesRalph Nader concludes:
 It is a neglected responsibility of the mainstream media to expand reporting on left/right concurrences, especially where they move into action around the country. It is our responsibility as citizens to more visibly surface these agreements into a new wave of political reform. Guess what? It starts with left/right conversations where we live and work. Not even corporatists can stop you from getting that train moving.
If there are any potential drawbacks to this strategy – perhaps evident from the various historical precedents for Querfront – Nader does not see fit to mention them.
Jeffrey St Clair didn't see fit to mention them either or maybe he just didn't see them.

And "how about Edward Said?" Indeed.  How about the fact that Edward Said died in 2003. I don't know if I knew Counterpunch in 2003 but I certainly discerned its then flirtation with antisemitism a year later. I well remember my dismay when I found there was no space for comments nor a letters page.

But hold on, what does St Clair say about Said?
Edward was Palestinian and thus by your crafty declinations he was a birth-right right-winger. 
And what did he say about Ralph Nader?
Is Ralph left or right? Well, he’s of Lebanese descent, so we can surmise where you would slot Ralph. 
Wow! What's he on about?  What's he on, period?  Could he really have simply invented a false allegation of essentialising ethnicities against Elise Hendrick or was he running with a kernel of truth for what was an egregious lie?  I thought and thought and I could only reckon that Jeffrey St Clair was so stung by criticism after people tiptoed round his racist rag for so long that he actually thought white supremacy was not an ideology but an ethnicity.  Really, he thought that in denouncing white supremacism Elise Hendrick was denouncing whites for being white.  There can be no other explanation.  And as I said earlier, if you look at the comments, it was so irrational a comment, even Elise missed it at first.

Anyway, he then lists out various contributors with their names, their subject, and, naturally, their ethnicity and there we see a pattern of the promoters of white entitlement seeing or claiming to see racism in their detractors criticisms.  And thus Jeffrey St Clair's integrity lies in tatters courtesy of a blog I had never heard of only one week ago.

But Jeffrey St Clair shouldn't see himself in denunciations of white supremacy.  He's just been beaten black and blue which isn't white at all. Maybe next time he should stay in his sewer to lick his wounds.

July 17, 2015

If Anti-Racists Knew Alison Weir

Statement on Complaint Filed Regarding Alison Weir and If Americans Knew 

July 16, 2015

The following statement, issued by the Steering Committee of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation 

1. summarizes our receipt of a complaint against Alison Weir and the organization If Americans Knew and our subsequent action following that complaint, 

2. provides further discussion of our position on the political issues that this case touches upon, 

3. and provides evidence and documentation that undergirds the decisions that have been made by the organization. 

Part 1: Process and Decision with Respect to Complaint against Alison Weir and If Americans Knew

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is a coalition of hundreds of US-based groups working for Palestinian rights. In 2012, the Steering Committee of the US Campaign, elected at our annual conference, formed a working group to address racism within the coalition as part of our ongoing effort to become an anti-racist organization. The work of this group resulted in the adoption of our anti-racism principles in 2013 and the establishment of procedures for handling instances of racism and bigotry within the coalition.

Earlier this year, the US Campaign received a formal complaint from a member group regarding actions and statements by Alison Weir while representing a coalition member group, If Americans Knew. A committee was formed to review this complaint, to allow Ms. Weir to respond to the complaint for herself, and to determine whether our anti-racism principles have been violated; importantly, the committee also assessed whether these violations are likely to continue in the future. 

After a thorough review and a correspondence with Ms. Weir, the committee has concluded that Ms. Weir’s repeated statements and actions, often as the Executive Director of If Americans Knew, did indeed violate our anti-racism principles, as detailed later in this statement. Ms. Weir's responses led us to believe that these violations will continue in the future.  Based on the report of the review committee, our Steering Committee voted in favor of removing Ms. Weir and If Americans Knew from our coalition.

Ms. Weir and If Americans Knew have been notified of this determination which is effective immediately. Per our established procedures, Ms. Weir and If Americans Knew are entitled to reapply to join the coalition, at which time the US Campaign Steering Committee will assess whether concerns detailed herein have been addressed.

Our decision was informed by the following actions taken that we believe violate our anti-racism principles. In the attachments to this decision, we include full footnotes and evidence undergirding each point:

1. Ms. Weir posted a blog on her personal website that references Jews as a race being “an object of hatred to all the peoples among whom it has established itself,” effectively blaming Jews for anti-Semitism. (See Section 1 of Part 3)

2. In writing about a controversy surrounding allegations of the Israeli military harvesting the organs of Palestinians in 2009, Ms. Weir responded to supporters of Israel claiming this was a new “blood libel” by citing the research of Ariel Toaff, who purported to have uncovered ritual murder of Christian children by Jews in medieval Europe (the very definition of “blood libel”). (See Section 2 of part 3)

3. Ms. Weir has appeared at least five times for hour-long episodes on notorious white supremacist and militiaman Clayton Douglas’s radio show, the “Free American Hour,” between 2010 and 2012. A cursory glance at Douglas’s homepage would raise concerns about the host and program’s political content. Douglas’s homepage features the confederate flag, a video that opens with the title “9/11 Brainwashing and the Holohoax,” and numerous references to the “Jew World Order” and its “war on Adolph Hitler,” as well as claims of “ritual murder of Christians and Children by Jews.” While interviewing Ms. Weir, Douglas:

a. made derogatory remarks about Arabs (See 3.a and 3.d of Part 3)

b. repeatedly asserted Jewish control of the world (3.b, 3.g, 3.h, and 3.j)

c. quoted and played speech by the former head of the KKK, David Duke, proclaiming a war on Christianity (3.c, 3.e)

d. demonized adherents of communism, insinuating it is a Jewish conspiracy (3.h)

e. downplayed or denied the existence of apartheid historically in South Africa, analogizing criticism of white South Africans during apartheid, which Douglas sees as unfair, to the treatment of white Americans today. Similarly, Douglas analogizes the average German between WWI and WWII and average white American today (3.f 3.j) 

Confronted with these assertions and statements, and knowing full well Douglas’s larger record of white supremacist views, Ms. Weir made little to no effort to challenge, confront, or rebut any of these views; on the contrary, she continued to appear on the show, placing Palestinian rights advocacy within the context of -- rather than in opposition to -- those views.

4. During appearances on Douglas’s radio show, Ms. Weir:

a. explained her view that Muslims are much closer to Christians than Jews, stating “...sadly, if you look at the theology of Judaism, that is quite different. So again, it’s not that I like to tell negative things about any group, but we do need to be fully informed on this.” (See Section 4a of Part 3)

b. acknowledged several books Douglas mentioned when ranting about communism and its connection to Jewish people, stating that she "read some portions of those books and they are as you say, they do discuss the Jewish connection to the Gulags..."(4b, Part 3)

c. acknowledged that Douglas is perceived as racist, but indicated that she dismissed these allegations. (4c, Part 3)

5. In addition to appearing on the “Free American Hour”, Ms. Weir spoke more than once, and as recently as April 2015, to the American Free Press, another white supremacist publication whose homepage currently features numerous defenses of the confederate flag, including an article proclaiming that the outrage around the Charleston shooting of nine Black church-goers is a tactic in the “ongoing war on traditional America.” The front page of their print publication declares “Civil War II: Hate group exploits tragic shooting as catalyst for vicious assault on Christian, Southern culture.” (See Section 5 of Part 3)

According to her response to our inquiry, Ms. Weir is fully committed as a matter of principle to continuing to contribute to American Free Press, “Free American Hour”, and any other show regardless of its agenda. That may be her principle but it is not ours.

Taken as a pattern, we concluded that Ms. Weir’s views and actions, on behalf of If Americans Knew, contradict the US Campaign’s anti-racism principles.

The US Campaign contacted Ms. Weir privately so that she could respond to the assertions herself, in her own words. Our correspondence with Ms. Weir was sent in accordance with our anti-racism procedures. Ms. Weir chose to publicize the private inquiry and misrepresent it as a public, divisive “attack” on her and her freedom to organize. Ms. Weir’s representation of our communication is inaccurate and functioned as a substitute to addressing the serious concerns we raised.

Although the Steering Committee of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation deliberated solely on the allegations made and the subsequent facts uncovered by our review, we acknowledge that this issue has raised significant political questions that are relevant to the movement at large -- issues such as white supremacy, anti-Semitism, privilege, racism, and others. In the following section, we elaborate on some of these issues.

Part 2 - The US Campaign’s Position on Issues Raised by the Alison Weir Case 

We are striving to build a progressive, inclusive, and effective movement for Palestinian rights in the US. If Americans Knew and Executive Director Ms. Weir have long contributed to our movement, providing useful resources and tirelessly advocating for Palestinian rights. It is precisely for this reason that many of us were taken aback and disappointed by the stance Ms. Weir took in responding to what we believed would be an opportunity for a member organization to send a clear and powerful message opposing white supremacy, hate and racism. Some, including Ms. Weir, have incorrectly claimed that the US Campaign is acting at the behest of Jewish Voice for Peace. This suggestion seems to assume that only Jews can be concerned about anti-Semitism and racism in our movement. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our movement cannot flourish and achieve its aims if we tolerate the same biases and bigotry against which we fight.

• On allies: In Ms. Weir’s response and public comments, she insists that we need to spread the word about Palestinian rights, wherever we can, to gain more allies to our cause. We strongly believe that one cannot be an ally to the Palestinian cause if one’s objection to Israel’s actions toward Palestinians is part and parcel of one’s broader worldview of hatred toward all non-whites and non-Christians. Such “allies” want to use our movement to further their racist aims rather than truly help the Palestinian people. Just as we would not accept the KKK as an “ally” we also cannot accept individuals or groups that believe in its hateful ideology. It is the same logic we apply in not accepting any overtly Islamophobic, Zionist or homophobic groups in our coalition. 

• On strategic value: Claiming a strategic value in appearing on white supremacist media without challenging the racist or bigoted views presented, on the basis that it allows our message further access, may sound compelling, and even courageous to some, but it is an argument rooted in white privilege. We know that it is Palestinians, their struggle, and other people of color who suffer the consequences when movement members carry such affiliations. Principled advocates of Palestinian rights appear on media outlets that have promoted bigoted narratives, such as Fox News or CNN, in order to challenge, not reinforce, racism in all of its forms, including anti-Palestinian bias, Zionist propaganda, Islamophobia and white supremacy.

• On white supremacy: White supremacy is racism emanating from white privilege, or the belief that white people are superior to all other groups and races. The institutionalization of this hateful ideology has led to the killing and oppression of millions of native, African-American and other non-white people throughout the history of the United States. Institutionalized white supremacy continues its attack on black and brown communities today in various forms including police brutality, mass incarceration, anti-immigrant policies, and widespread Islamophobia. Appeasing white supremacists for political gain empowers and legitimizes white supremacy, which contributes to its ongoing ability to materially affect people’s lives.

• On divisiveness: We have heard concerns that bringing up these issues can be considered ‘divisive’ in our movement. We do not take those concerns lightly. We weigh them against the tendency in dominant culture to shy away from discussion about race and racism in order not to break a perceived consensus. This is as true for race in this country as it is for Palestinian advocacy. However, to be true to our principles, we must recognize that what is truly divisive is condoning racism or bigotry of any kind. Appeals to unity that fail to address issues of racism are rooted in white privilege, ultimately placing the burden on people of color to accept this racism as part of joining the movement or our coalition.

• On muzzling of dissent: We recognize that advocacy for Palestinian rights is often met with attempts to muzzle speech or portray legitimate criticism of Israeli policies as anti-Semitic. We have all learned to be vigilant to bring these efforts to light whenever they occur. Just as we insist on continuing to speak up loudly and forcefully for Palestinian rights, we hold the same commitment regarding racism and other forms of bigotry. Failing to do both violates our principles and damages the movement at large. Part 3 - Evidence and Documentation Supporting the US Campaign’s Decision The evidence and supporting documentation presented below pertains to actions taken by Ms. Weir and referenced in Part 1 of this statement. It contains quotes from materials that she posted on her website, and statements made to her in public conversations that she did not challenge. None of the evidence presented below refers to re-posts of her materials on third party websites or other acts or expressions not under her control. We feel compelled to present this information in detail as it fully conveys the gravity of the situation. This is not an isolated incident, and it is not rumor or hearsay; rather, it is a series of repeated, documented instances of accepting and condoning extreme racist speech. Moreover, the quotes below illustrate that this is not a case of re-branding legitimate criticism of Israeli policies as anti-Semitic; rather, it is a case of an individual favorably re-posting racist content on her website and failing to challenge racist statements made during interviews she participated in.

1. As part of a series of attacks on Palestinians who signed a statement distancing themselves from Israeli writer Gilad Atzmon, Ms. Weir hosted an original blog post on her personal website by Roger Tucker. In this post, Tucker quotes Jewish-French thinker Bernard Lazare’s 1894 Anti-semitism, its History and Causes:

“If this hostility, even aversion, had only been shown towards the Jews at one period and in one country, it would be easy to unravel the limited causes of this anger, but this race has been on the contrary an object of hatred to all the peoples among whom it has established itself. It must be therefore, since the enemies of the Jews belonged to the most diverse races, since they lived in countries very distant from each other, since they were ruled by very different laws, governed by opposite principles, since they had neither the same morals, nor the same customs, since they were animated by unlike dispositions which did not permit them to judge of anything in the same way, it must be therefore that the general cause of anti-Semitism has always resided in Israel itself and not in those who have fought against Israel.”

For anyone reading the excerpt Tucker chose (emphasis ours), it is evident it is aimed at blaming Jewish people [referenced as “Israel” given that the state did not exist at that time] for any bigotry they might face. Tucker also exceptionalizes Jewish religious texts by citing them as evidence that Jewish people are inherently racist, a practice we often identify as Islamophobia when done to the Qur’an:

“Just take a look at the Old Testament, let alone the blatant contempt for the “goyim” (non-Jews) found in the Talmud. The dehumanization of “the Other” is a very old and characteristically Jewish pattern. For tribal Jews and their allies, the “shabbas goyim,” to bandy about the term “racism” is hypocrisy of the highest order. (“The term shabbos goy refers to a non-Jew who performs duties that Jewish law forbids a Jew from performing on the Sabbath.” – wikipedia) What I am getting at is that Ali Abunimah et al are arguably shabbas goyim, non-Jewish elements of the currently dominant political force in the Western world that James Petras refers to as the Zionist Power Configuration (JPC).”

Finally, Tucker attributes Israel’s apartheid and settler-colonial policies to Jewish culture:

“...take a look at this, Ali Abunimah attacking Gilad Atzmon at the Stuttgart One State conference (Dec 2010. “Jewish Culture.. doesn’t explain anything at all.” This remark is not only absurd – it would be like saying that slavery had nothing to do with the Civil War…”

On this last point, it is important to understand that to conflate Judaism and Jewish people globally with the state of Israel is to replicate Zionism, a political ideology that has spent decades trying to convince the world that they are one in the same.

2. See Ms. Weir’s 2009 article “Israeli Organ Harvesting”

3. Statements made by Clay Douglas to Ms. Weir during his interviews of her on his radio show:  
a. Made derogatory statements about Arabs [5:00],

b. referenced the Protocols of the Elders of Zion - a long debunked forgery claiming Jewish plans to control the world - as fact [22:25],

c. played clips of former head of the KKK David Duke speaking in which he declares that there is a war on Christianity in the United States, supporting sentiments Douglas himself frequently expresses. [35:00],

d. asked Ms. Weir, “The Palestinians aren’t Arabs; there’s a lot of them that are Christians TOO, aren’t they?” [32:23]

e. cited David Duke criticizing the presence of a menorah on the White House lawn but not a Christmas tree. Ms. Weir responded skeptically to the menorah story, but went on to state, “You know, if I moved to a country that was largely Muslim or largely Jewish, I wouldn’t feel, “Well, my.., I should suddenly take over and change that country, I would have to fit in and play a role.” [41:23]

f. downplayed the existence of apartheid in South Africa, criticizing the treatment of white South Africans and pejoratively calling Nelson Mandela a communist. Douglas went on to suggest that “Americans” (presumably referring to white Americans) are now similarly being unfairly treated as he believes white South Africans were under apartheid. [24:25]

g. claims that all of our media is controlled by Jewish people, then asks Ms. Weir, “If the Jews control the media and the newspapers, all of our sources of news, and they call our money… Alison, are we Palestinians on our own land, right now?" Ms. Weir responds challenging the use of the term 'the Jews,' highlighting that Jews aren't monolithic and mainstream Jewish organizations may take actions that not all Jews agree with. Yet at no time does she challenge Douglas' assertions including that Jews “call our money,” control all of the media, etc. [30:06]

h. begins ranting against Communism, claiming that all of the communist [used pejoratively] leaders were Jewish. Douglas says that the Russians used to call communism "Judaism for the masses." He continues on a bigoted and factually inaccurate rant, "60 million White Christian Russians were killed after the Soviet Union took over. The politburo in the Soviet Union was 90% Jewish. Marx and Lenin, the founders of communism, were Jewish. Stalin was Jewish. And all of the commissars that forced the Russians into battle against the Germans... they happened to be Jewish." Douglas then claims that the people running detention centers in the Soviet Union were Jewish. He continues, "We have the same setup, the same scenario, going on in America now." Ms. Weir begins her response to this rant by stating, "There's a lot happening that people truly need to wake up to..." [36:00]

i. Douglas regularly attacks communism and communists in all of the episodes of his show reviewed, including denouncing the late South African President and freedom fighter Nelson Mandela and his ANC party as communist.

j. mentions the possibility of President Obama being impeached due to a “lack of a birth certificate,” which Ms. Weir does not directly respond to but rather says she and Douglas agree on the point that "people should be getting the full facts." [44:50]

k. says that Hitler was "perceived as a hero to the German people because they were starving to death, their economy had crashed" and then appears to suggest that Americans are dealing with similar issues. Douglas subsequently blames the “Schiffs and the Rothschilds” for these issues, presumably referring to the two Jewish families. [45:40]

l. stated that, instead of calling those he was referring to “Jews,” he would call them “Morlocks,” a reference to fictional reptilian antagonists, in H.G. Wells novels, who dwell underground. [23:15

4. Statements made by Ms. Weir to Clayton Douglas on his radio show.

a. Ms. Weir explained that Muslims are much closer to Christians than Jews, stating “...sadly, if you look at the theology of Judaism, that is quite different. So again, it’s not that I like to tell negative things about any group, but we do need to be fully informed on this.” [29:00]

b. Ms. Weir acknowledged several books Douglas mentioned when discussing communism and its connection to Jewish people, stating that she "read some portions of those books and they are as you say, they do discuss the Jewish connection to the Gulags..." [38:55]

c. Throughout her interviews with Douglas, Ms. Weir repeats her belief and agreement that Douglas is not racist, violent or anti-Semitic.

5. As late as April 2015, Ms. Weir gave an interview to American Free Press. The front page of the American Free Press print publication declares “Civil War II: Hate group exploits tragic shooting as catalyst for vicious assault on Christian, Southern culture.” The website’s current top post is an apartheid apology and diatribe against Nelson Mandela

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