State of the UK Labour Party

Two articles about the UK Labour Party, Craig Murray discusses the pointless Keir Starmer:

Starmer’s role has been simply to emasculate the Labour Party, and to purge it of any elements that might seek to pose a threat to rampant neo-liberalism and wealth inequality. His efforts to ban Labour MPs from supporting striking railway workers must be anathema to anybody who has the slightest feel for the history and traditions of that party and indeed the most basic understanding of its very raison d’etre.

This Tony Benn quote from the 1980’s has come into vogue because it is prophetic, and the process appears now complete:

If the Labour Party could be bullied or persuaded to denounce its Marxists, the media – having tasted blood – would demand next that it expelled all its Socialists and reunited the remaining Labour Party with the SDP to form a harmless alternative to the Conservatives, which could then be allowed to take office now and then when the Conservatives fell out of favour with the public. Thus British Capitalism, it is argued, will be made safe forever, and socialism would be squeezed off the National agenda. But if such a strategy were to succeed… it would in fact profoundly endanger British society. For it would open up the danger of a swing to the far-right, as we have seen in Europe over the last 50 years.

Starmer is in one sense the apotheosis of this process. Not only has he acted to purge the Labour Party of socialism, he also offers so very little of a meaningful alternative to the Tories that there is very little danger of the Tories being voted out of office. Not only is he a safe right-wing backstop, he is a self-redundant safe right-wing backstop.

Jeremy Corbyn Sophie BrownCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

and Jeremy Corbyn openly discusses the many parties that obstructed him. The article also discusses Julian Assange.

The Guardian has long been viewed as the voice of the liberal-left in Britain, so it surprised many during the Corbyn leadership to see it act as one of the main media vehicles through which the campaign to bring him down was fought. 

The paper was a key part of the “anti-semitism crisis” that engulfed Corbyn’s leadership. From 2016-19, the Guardian published 1,215 stories mentioning Labour and anti-semitism, an average of around one per day, according to a search on Factiva, the database of newspaper articles. 

In the same period, the Guardian published just 194 articles mentioning the Conservative Party’s much more serious problem with Islamophobia. A YouGov poll in 2019, for example, found that nearly half of the Tory party membership would prefer not to have a Muslim prime minister. 

The Guardian’s coverage of anti-semitism in Labour was suspiciously extensive, compared to the known extent of the problem in the party, and its focus on Corbyn personally suggested that the issue was being used politically.

The late Jewish anthropologist David Graeber commented after the 2019 election: “As for the Guardian, we will never forget that during the ‘Labour antisemitism controversy’, they beat even the Daily Mail to include the largest percentage of false statements, pretty much every one, mysteriously, an accidental error to Labour’s disadvantage”.

Keir Starmer says he is scrapping Labour’s manifesto and ‘starting from scratch’ on policy

Continue ReadingState of the UK Labour Party

Sanders Says US Must ‘Take a Hard Look’ at Nearly $4 Billion in Annual Military Aid to Israel

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/05/17/sanders-says-us-must-take-hard-look-nearly-4-billion-annual-military-aid-israel

“It is illegal for U.S. aid to support human rights violations,” said the Vermont senator. by Jake Johnson, staff writer

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said Sunday that lawmakers must “take a hard look” at the nearly $4 billion in military aid the U.S. sends to Israel on an annual basis as the Netanyahu regime continues its devastating assault on Gaza and attempts to forcefully expel Palestinians from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem.

“The devastation in Gaza is unconscionable. We must urge an immediate ceasefire,” Sanders, the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, tweeted Sunday. “The killing of Palestinians and Israelis must end. We must also take a hard look at nearly $4 billion a year in military aid to Israel. It is illegal for U.S. aid to support human rights violations.”

“Now is the time to send a clear message to the Israeli government: Not one dollar more of U.S. military aid can be used to demolish Palestinian homes, annex Palestinian lands, and torture or kill Palestinian children.”
—Rep. Betty McCollum

The senator’s call came after Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip killed 42 Palestinians early Sunday, bringing the death toll since last week closer to 200.

Thanks to a 10-year deal inked during the Obama presidency in 2016, Israel receives roughly $3.8 billion a year in military assistance from the United States. In a budget blueprint released last month, President Joe Biden indicated that he intends to adhere to the terms of the 2016 deal, which sends Israel $3.3 billion in military aid and $500 million for missile defense systems each year.

In the wake of Israeli security forces’ attack on worshipers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound last week, several members of Congress vocally reiterated their support for adding strict human rights conditions to the billions of dollars in U.S. military aid to pressure the Israeli government to end its brutal repression of Palestinians.

Under legal provisions known as the Leahy laws, the U.S. government is barred from providing military assistance “to any unit” of a country’s security forces that is committing “a gross violation of human rights”—mandates that have been applied only selectively in practice.

“American taxpayer money is being used to commit human rights violations,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the first Palestinian-American woman ever elected to Congress, tweeted last Monday. “Congress must condition the aid we send to Israel, and end it altogether if those conditions are not followed.”

In a joint statement that same day, Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), André Carson (D-Ind.), and Tlaib lamented that “we continue to provide the Israeli government with over $3 billion in military aid every year—with no conditions or accountability for wanton human rights abuses and continuing illegal seizures of Palestinian land.”

Last month, before Israel’s latest bombardment of Gaza began, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) introduced legislation that would prohibit Israel from using U.S. military aid in the occupied territories for “military detention, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention”; seizing or destroying Palestinian property and homes; or supporting the annexation of Palestinian territory.

The bill currently has just 19 co-sponsors in the House, including Omar, Carson, and Tlaib as well as Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“Now is the time to send a clear message to the Israeli government: Not one dollar more of U.S. military aid can be used to demolish Palestinian homes, annex Palestinian lands, and torture or kill Palestinian children,” McCollum told The Intercept last week. “Members need to decide if they want to talk peace and perpetuate conflict or if they want to really work toward reducing violence and conflict while actually taking a stand to advance human rights.

Originally published by Common Dreams. Shared under Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Israel/OPT: Pattern of Israeli Attacks on Residential Homes in Gaza Must Be Investigated As War Crimes

WASHINGTON – Israeli forces have displayed a shocking disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians by carrying out a number of airstrikes targeting residential buildings in some cases killing entire families – including children – and causing wanton destruction to civilian property, in attacks that may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity, said Amnesty International today.

The organization has documented four deadly attacks by Israel launched on residential homes without prior warning and is calling for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to urgently investigate these attacks. The death toll in Gaza continues to climb with at least 198 Palestinians killed including 58 children and more than 1,220 injured. Ten people in Israel, including two children, have been killed and at least 27 injured by Palestinian attacks.

“There is a horrific pattern emerging of Israel launching air strikes in Gaza targeting residential buildings and family homes – in some cases entire families were buried beneath the rubble when the buildings they lived in collapsed.  In the cases documented below, no prior warning was given to the civilian residents to allow them to escape. Under international humanitarian law, all parties must distinguish between military targets and civilian objects and direct their attacks only at military objectives. When carrying out attacks, parties must take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Continue ReadingSanders Says US Must ‘Take a Hard Look’ at Nearly $4 Billion in Annual Military Aid to Israel

Jerusalem Pogrom: Extremist Jewish Mobs injure 100 Palestinians, chanting “Death to Arabs”

( Middle East Monitor ) – The Encyclopaedia Britannica defines a pogrom as “a mob attack, either approved or condoned by authorities, against the persons and property of a religious, racial, or national minority”.That is exactly what is happening today against the Palestinian people in Jerusalem.

Middle EastEye: “Hundreds of far-right Israeli activists chant “death to Arabs” in East Jerusalem”

Palestinians are not a minority in Palestine – the country that lies between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. But due to Israel’s apartheid regime that has ruled the country since 1948, the majority of Palestinians were expelled from the areas that today form so-called “Israel proper”, and which many Palestinians term “1948 Palestine”.

Due to a slow process of Israeli ethnic cleansing since then, Palestinians are no longer the majority in Jerusalem. But in recent weeks that process has sped up in that city, the historic capital of Palestine.

Some truly terrifying clips have been circulated online – including by credible journalists – showing rampaging mobs of mostly young Israeli men attacking Palestinians in Jerusalem and chanting “Death to the Arabs” (while being incited and led by mainstream Israeli political and religious leaders).

This is not a new phenomenon, but it has increased in recent weeks, partly due to a ruling by an Israeli court demanding new expulsions of Palestinian families from the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

The families have been until the start of May to leave their homes and hand them over to Israeli settlers.

These actions by the apartheid state of Israel have only encouraged the “Death to the Arabs” hate mobs. And therein lies the key to understating the essence of a pogrom.

https://twitter.com/TamaraINassar/status/1385321445006397446?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1385321445006397446%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.middleeastmonitor.com%2F20210423-israels-pogroms-in-jerusalem%2F

A pogrom is carried out by violent mobs, who are deemed in the discourse of the government and of the corporate media to be “extremists”. There is no doubt that these mobs are far-right Jewish-supremacist extremists by any objective definition.

France 24 English: “More than 100 Palestinians wounded in Jerusalem clashes

https://videopress.com/embed/EsIdDFSj?hd=1&loop=0&autoPlay=1&permalink=0

But they are not extremists in terms of the mainstream of Israeli political discourse and – crucially – of the actions of the racist state itself.

You can see this very clearly in a viral video clip that was circulated by the American anti-Zionist group, Jewish Voice for Peace.

The clip was from a 2009 film about Sheikh Jarrah. But as JVP notes, it could easily have been filmed today. Expulsions of Palestinians by mobs of highly ideological religious Zionist fanatics are still frequently carried out, in the same way seen in the clip.

But the most telling part of the video is perhaps not so much the actions of the mob itself, but how they are endorsed and backed by the racist state.

You see the thugs of Israel’s highly-armed military “Border Police” force standing by and watching the takeover, making sure that the Palestinians are not able to defend themselves or their homes.

This is the very definition of a pogrom.

In the clip posted by JVP, Israeli settler leader Jonathan Yosef is shamelessly explicit about all this, saying: “We take house after house. All this area will be a Jewish neighbourhood … We are going to the next neighbourhood and after that we’ll go [to] more. Our dream [is] that all East Jerusalem will be like West Jerusalem. [A] Jewish capital of Israel.”

He then gives a far clearer, far more honest – and frankly more accurate – definition of Zionism than the lying dissimulators of liberal and “left-wing” Zionism ever could (with their nonsense about “Jewish self-determination” in a country which has never been exclusively Jewish):

“I see this as a continuation of the Zionist project. The return to Zion. Is it at the Arabs’ expense? Yes. But our government institutions were also built at the expense of Arabs who lived here. And so was the state itself,” he says.”

Everything Yosef said in this definition of Zionism is objectively true. The difference though, is that he thinks that such violent, racist extremism is good and praiseworthy, while I (and the vast majority of people around the world) reject it as a horrifying injustice.

Yosef is no marginal figure or merely some obscure wild-eyed extremist. As my colleague David Sheen reports, he sits on Jerusalem’s city council for Shas – a religious extremist party which also happens to have won the third highest number of seats in Israel’s parliament in the election last month.

But the Palestinians show no sign of backing down, lying down, giving up, or, – in the words of Zionism’s racist founder Theodor Herzl – allowing Israel to “spirit the penniless population across the border” of Palestine.

Middle East Monitor

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

This work by Middle East Monitor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Continue ReadingJerusalem Pogrom: Extremist Jewish Mobs injure 100 Palestinians, chanting “Death to Arabs”

Checking in

Just checking in and addressing a few diverse issues.

I should really do the long promised Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) expo particularly since UK govt is to review the HHSRS scheme in the private rental sector https://www.localgov.co.uk/Whitehall-to-review-health-and-safety-standards-in-rental-sector/46276. I’m very relieved to be moving out of my slum private rented flat very soon.

Briefly,

Council Housing is maintained strictly to HHSRS standards. [21/1/19 Council housing should be maintained strictly to the HHSRS standard i.e. it is the minimal legal standard so councils should meet that standard. The reality is that – no doubt due to austerity – it’s often extremely difficult for council tenants to secure maintenance or repairs to that standard.]  It’s utilitarian but adequate.

Problems with HHSRS in the privare sector are that

Environmental Health Officers (EHO) who enforce HHSRS in the private sector have absolute discretion over the application of HHSRS leading to the very real possibility of corruption. I got the impresson that EHOs were biased and very concerned to excuse landlords from their responsibilities e.g. building regulations. The senior EHO who was attending my slum flat to protect my landlord’s interests was very friendly with him as if they were members of the same club.

The HHSRS scheme is only concerned with appearance and it is perfectly acceptable to EHOs that problems are simply hidden. At my slum flat ceilings and walls damp from the sieve-like roof are hidden behind false walls and ceilings.

[25/11/18 Combi boiler has failed this weekend so no heating or hot water. This was the reason for my first report to EH in Nov/Dec 2 years ago. Attending EHO exercised absolute discretion by deciding that it was acceptable since it worked when she attended. There is some support for that decision since HHSRS is at the time of inspection except that she was biased and quite clearly protecting the slum landlord’s interests.

Combi boiler was installed by an unqualified cowboy* approx 10 years ago. Combi boiler has been unreliable since a ‘service’ a fornight ago. Landlord rushes around to satisfy legalities when expecting a HHSRS inspection i.e. those legalities are otherwise not satisfied. I have had to have HHSRS inspections to force landlord to do necessary repairs e.g. ceiling repair.

*cowboy is a UK slang term for workmen with little training or experience who will take your money for extremely poor service and workmanship.

Combi now briefly working.]

[28/11/18 I got the message that some people oppose my intended move. I’ll do wtf I like. I  can’t see my current flat existing in five years or so – it is seriously falling away from the rest of the street. The neighbouring property filled a 2″-wide gap recently and I often see new cracks at mine. Need to name my new flat.]

I was successful at a benefit’s appeal on 20 September after it taking about 16 months. The tribunal recommended that I was not reassessed for 24 months from that date. I was reassessed on Thursday, 22 November. I had the same assessor as last time so I had overturned her recommendation at appeal 2 months previously. It appears that the policy is to require appeals because so many claimants simply can’t manage that. I’m expecting it all again.

Lots of Brexit nonsense at the moment. While I am personally opposed to Brexit as a democratic Socialist I feel bound by the vote despite the all sorts of illegality in the Brexit campaign. The Brexit deal choice with one option reminds me of Blair and Campbell.

There are parallels between Brexit and the oppressively intelligent Donald Trump. He was elected and now he’s owned by the Israeli-Saudi Arabian axis. His Achilles’ Heel is fairly obvious – he was in a certain Israeli paedophile’s book of contacts, his daughter’s hinted at it, the way he treats women …

Continue ReadingChecking in

Comment on Labour party anti-semitism allegations

I am not and have never been a Labour party member.
Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party are repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism. Many people recognise that these accusations are directed at Corbyn and the Labour party because Corbyn has traditionally shown sympathy to the Palestinian cause. These accusers will not be satisfied until Corbyn is deposed as leader.
The Labour party cannot accept anti-Semitism being conflated with anti-Zionism. Zionism and the Zionist project is a political ideology and movement. To conflate anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism would mean that discussions of Zionism and Israel would be censored.
Continue ReadingComment on Labour party anti-semitism allegations

It’s not anti-Semitic …

to criticise Israel or the Neteniahu administration. Israel can be legitimately criticised as an oppressive regime similar to apartheid and Fascism. It is.

Accusations of anti-Semitism in such circumstances are simply protestations that Israel and Neteniahu should not be criticised.

Israel cuts water supplies to West Bank during Ramadan

 

Continue ReadingIt’s not anti-Semitic …

It’s not anti-Semitic …

to criticise Israel or the Neteniahu administration. Israel can be legitimately criticised as an oppressive regime similar to apartheid and Fascism. It is.

Accusations of anti-Semitism in such circumstances are simply protestations that Israel and Neteniahu should not be criticised.

“The Settlers”: New Film Reveals History & Consequences of Israeli Settlements on Palestinian Land

Continue ReadingIt’s not anti-Semitic …