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

Climate protest news 21 April 2022

Just Stop Oil calls one-week halt to protests in hope of action from No 10

Just Stop Oil has said it will suspend its direct actions against fuel distribution for a week, but has told the prime minister its members will escalate their disruptive protests “if you do not fulfil your duty to the people”.

For two and a half weeks, the climate activists have been targeting oil terminals and oil tankers in the Midlands and the south-east of England with blockades and mass trespass.

The government and petrol retailers have attempted to downplay the scale of the disruption to fuel deliveries. But there have been widespread reports of petrol station forecourts running dry in various parts of the country.

Just Stop Oil’s activists have vowed to continue their campaign until the government agrees to a ban on new oil and gas extraction projects, or until they are all jailed.

Extinction Rebellion and Palestine Action activists blockade entrance of Israeli arms firm’s London HQ (Yesterday)

CLIMATE activists today targeted the London HQ of Israel’s largest private arms firm in protest at “brutal” attacks on al-Aqsa mosque by Israeli forces in recent days.

Members of the youth branch of Extinction Rebellion teamed up with the Palestine Action group to blockade the entrance of Elbit Systems’ offices in Holborn on Wednesday morning.

The groups said the action, which saw activists lock on to the entrance of the building at 77 Kingsway Road and hurl red paint across the facade, forced the offices to shut for the day.

Palestine Action said the activists wanted to show solidarity with Palestinian worshippers during Ramadan after Israeli forces launched a series of raids on the al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem, injuring dozens of Palestinians.

‘No Wars, No Warming’: Extinction Rebellion Marches on NYC 18 April 2022

Members of Extinction Rebellion (XR) marked Tax Day with the “No Wars, No Warming” demonstration outside a federal building in NYC where various agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), have offices.

Demonstrators perched on top of and locked themselves to two 15-foot tripods installed near the Charging Bull sculpture to block traffic on Broadway, according to organizers. Nine activists were arrested.

“We recognize that the people who are most often placed in harm’s way from armed conflict are also the people who have and will continue to face the brunt of the climate crisis,” says the XR event webpage. “In this moment, after two years of Covid-19, our tax money should be funding social services that benefit the communities most impacted by the climate crisis and most affected by decades of systemic underfunding.”

Continue ReadingClimate protest news 21 April 2022

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”

I need to do a series on Israel and Palestine because that is so important in contemporary politics

An iron fist hides the shining star

The gun’s dark black shadow over Bethlehem

The shadow over the streets of Palestine are so dark

They build walls and shut roads

Despite this evil

There are those that know that the message is more that words

that from the darkness the lightness of the Dawn comes

that justice will bring the evil dark walls down

the hour will come for me to sing Halleluliah

There are people who see clearly, see the truth

 

Continue ReadingI need to do a series on Israel and Palestine because that is so important in contemporary politics