Tag Archives: Zionism

Backlash against Zionism as Israeli soldiers commit more atrocities

Let’s remind ourselves of the things done by representatives of Israel in the name of their ethno-political ideology, Zionism:

Israeli soldiers shot on Thursday a restrained Palestinian teenager they had detained for suspected stone-throwing as he was attempting to flee, although he was blindfolded and handcuffed.

The soldiers pursued the detainee near the Palestinian village of Tekoa in the West Bank.

The suspect was kept detained at the scene even after he had been shot, however, after clashes between soldiers and Palestinians at the scene, the Palestinians evacuated the suspect to receive medical treatment.

There is video evidence:

It is in this context that supporters of Israeli Zionism including Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement demanded an apology from Labour MP Richard Burgon after video evidence emerged of him saying Zionism was “the enemy of peace”.

And in this context it is welcome that Jewish lawyers Geoffrey Bindman and Stephen Sedley wrote to The Guardian to express their dismay at the pressure that was put on Mr Burgon, and their shame at Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinian people.

They wrote: “As Jewish lawyers who have been concerned for much of our lives with opposing racism in general and antisemitism in particular, we see no reason for any such apology.

“We are among the large number of Jews, worldwide, who regard with shame the military oppression by Israel of the Palestinian people and the ongoing appropriation, by illegal settlement, of the little land that is still theirs.

“The Jewish Labour Movement, a pro-Zionist group within the Labour party, has no entitlement to speak for Jews at large in seeking to stigmatise all criticism of Zionism as antisemitic. The undoubted misuse of “Zionist” as a surrogate for “Jewish” has to be dealt with case-specifically, not by immunising Zionism from all criticism.”

Last year, one of the accusations against This Writer, under which the Labour Party wanted to expel me, was that I outed the Jewish Labour Movement as the “Zionist Labour Movement” and said it spoke for Zionists who supported Israel rather than for all Jews – which is exactly what these learned men have said. Apparently this was proof of anti-Semitism.

Labour’s National Kangaroo Court Constitutional Committee decided to find the case against me proved, despite having had it demonstrated that there was no anti-Semitism at all in my comment; it was merely a statement of the facts.

Now these learned gentleman – who are Jewish – have supported my statements. I think I deserve a rather large apology from the Labour Party, don’t you?

Or are these lawyers also “the wrong kind of Jew”?


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‘Zionism’ remarks: Burgon urged to apologise – to supporters of atrocities

Richard Burgon: He has no need to apologise.

I can’t say I’m impressed with Richard Burgon’s rationalisation of his remarks about Zionism, that were caught on video five years ago.

Investigative journalist Iggy Ostanin posted a video showing Mr Burgon denying having made the comments to the BBC’s Andrew Neil, followed immediately by proof that he did:

Interesting clip, that.

It’s from 2014, when the Israeli government had launched Operation Protective Edge, a hugely-controversial offensive against Palestinians in Gaza in which it was estimated that more than 2,125 Palestinians were killed and more than 10,500 wounded, compared with 67 military and six civilian Israeli deaths, with 469 Israeli soldiers and 87 civilians wounded.

It is known that Israeli government policy is to deprive the Palestinian people of their land and – if they resist – of their lives. We have seen that in action but if you would like evidence of their behaviour, here’s some:

According to Maureen Murphy, “The Israeli military killed one Palestinian child in the West Bank and Gaza per week on average last year, typically injuring them in their upper body and head. You can’t blame Hamas for Israeli snipers training their guns at children’s torsos and heads, however hard you try.” She supported this with a link to evidence. Read it here.

The ideology that informs these atrocities is Zionism. It is an ethno-political belief that a Jewish nation in what is now Israel should be established and – now that it has been – developed and protected. It should never be connected directly with the Jewish people as a whole; they are separate and many Jews reject Zionism, especially as it is practised by the Israeli government and its supporters.

It is an ideology of hatred. Before Israel was established, it was considered by many to be anti-Semitic. Think about it: anyone saying they support the migration of Jewish people away from their current home to a foreign land (that was already occupied, remember) could open themselves up to accusations that they hate Jews because they are Jews – the classic definition of the anti-Semite.

Now Israel has been established, anybody supporting the Zionism practised by its government and soldiers is supporting the theft of Palestinian land and the displacement – or genocide – of Palestinian people. And it could still be said to be anti-Semitic as the behaviour of the Israeli government and its soldiers is likely to breed opposition against them that develops into hate. That hate could then be spread to apply to all Jews.

Oh, and it turns out there are many Jews who don’t support Zionism. Many do, but if anyone tries to tell you they speak for all Jews in supporting this ideology, they are lying.

In this context, it is clear that Mr Burgon’s comments in 2014 were reasonable expressions of opinion, based on the facts. As they continue to be. It’s just a shame he felt he had to backtrack on his words about Zionism as practised by the Israeli government.

His critics – defenders of Zionism like The Board of Deputies of British Jews (who don’t represent a huge number of British Jews at all – secular Jews represent a third of the population in the UK and have nothing to do with the BoD), Jonathan Goldstein of the Jewish Leadership Council, Labour Friends of Israel director Jennifer Gerber and Jewish Labour Movement chairman Mike Katz – have tried to equate peaceful opposition to their hate-filled ideology with hatred of all Jews and that is nothing but a lie. It’s a despicable lie, at that.

Why have they done it? Well…

Another commenter, Phil Vanes, suggested: “Do remember me saying some time ago that because Corbyn is untouchable, his opponents will instead concentrate on picking off his close supporters one by one. Well guess what? It looks like it’s Richard Burgon’s time now.”

One more point: In the clip of him attacking Zionism, Mr Burgon calls for Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) resign from that group “to show support for all humanity” instead of supporting the atrocities carried out by the Israeli government and its soldiers, yet we have seen LFI’s Jennifer Gerber, and Mike Katz of the Jewish Labour Movement, condemning those words.

Logic dictates that they must therefore support the atrocities in the articles to which I have linked above.

LFI and the JLM support the theft of Palestinian land.

LFI and the JLM support violence against – and the murder of – Palestinian people.

Their outbursts against Mr Burgon prove it.

Or are we about to see a protestation of opposition to these Israeli atrocities? I won’t hold my breath waiting.


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Burgon accused in ‘Zionism’ row as anti-Labour smears mount up

Richard Burgon: He wasn’t wrong!

It seems Labour’s Richard Burgon lied about saying Zionism was “the enemy of peace”. Does anybody blame him?

An investigative journalist called Iggy Ostanin put the evidence together in this tweet:

Shame on him for lying about it – but, as I say, does anybody blame him?

The Labour Party is currently in the grip of a witch-hunt in which anybody accused of anti-Semitism is immediately condemned as guilty without trial – unless they are themselves members of the witch-hunt, or are high up in the Labour hierarchy. We’ve all seen evidence of it; we know it to be correct. Right?

Zionism itself is just an ethno-political ideology. It relates to Jewish people but you don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist. In its current iteration is it extremely unpleasant as it supports the theft of Palestinian land and the brutalisation of Palestinian people.

This is in opposition of Labour Party policy, of course. Labour claims to support the right of all peoples to self-determination. In practice, this seems to apply only to the Jewish people in Israel. Palestinians are routinely denied that right in the name of – guess what? Zionism.

The Jewish Labour Movement was formerly Poale Zion – “Workers of Zion” – and still identifies itself as a Zionist organisation (although the Labour Party tried to deny this when I was accused of anti-Semitism and dismissed from the party. The charge didn’t stick because it was false, but I was expelled anyway). Non-Zionists are not welcome there.

Labour Friends of Israel is a group within the party that specifically states that it supports the current Israeli government in its policies of hatred towards Palestinians, motivated by – guess what? Zionism. So it is understandable that Mr Burgon would say what he did about that organisation, and about Zionism, in the video that Mr Ostonin found.

Zionism is, of course, mixed with Judaism by the witch-hunters – falsely.

And in that atmosphere of hatred and ostracism of anyone who dares to question these false links between Zionism, Judaism and, yes, Israel, is it any wonder that Mr Burgon, confronted with this accusation by Andrew Neil on a BBC politics programme, denied it?

That’s why I tweeted this to Mr Ostanin: “Of course, Zionism is an ethno-nationalist political ideology and it could be argued that it is causing much of the harm between Israel and Palestine now. I would suggest that he denied saying it in fear of the witch hunt that falsely equates Zionism with Judaism.”

I followed it up with this: “So my question is, are you trying to suggest that Mr Burgon is an anti-Semite? Or are you trying to suggest that he was afraid of the witch-hunters? In the first instance I would suggest you were making a false accusation. In the second, wouldn’t you be?”

There’s been no reply at the time of writing. People like Mr Ostanin seem content to cause mischief but are unwilling to stick around and justify it.

If he thought he’d stir up anti-Burgon sentiment, he’s had a nasty shock:

https://twitter.com/robinjamesbanks/status/1118152687562964992

https://twitter.com/LabLeftVoice/status/1118099750232961030

Perhaps we should all do that. How would the witch-hunters like to be equated with fascists?

Labour’s NEC – and NCC – has taken sides against the ‘wrong kind of Jews’

Last week I made it clear that Labour’s National Executive Committee has descended into racism in order to attack innocent party members like myself under a false pretence of anti-Semitism.

In the same accusation against me, the NEC also fell into anti-Semitism – by supporting an affiliated organisation that victimises people it considers to be the “wrong kind of Jews” (although they may not be described in that way).

By now, readers of This Site will be well aware that I attended a disciplinary hearing arranged by Labour’s National Constitutional Committee, at which a prejudiced panel arbitrarily decided that all the accusations against me were proved, despite having heard no evidence at all in support of such a claim.

One of these accusations concerns the Jewish Labour Movement and ran as follows:

On 2nd October 2016 Mr Sivier posted: ‘JLM is not a movement that represents Jews; it represents Jewish Zionists’. ‘The Jewish Labour Movement does not represent Jews who are not Zionists. It persecutes them’.

“This comment is grossly offensive to those the Party seeks to represent particularly the Jewish community. Comments like these have had and continue to have a serious impact on the Party’s position as an inclusive organisation, which stands against antisemitism.

“To state that the Labour Party’s official Jewish affiliate does not represent Jews denies Jews the right to self-define. This conduct is abhorrent, antisemitic and falls way below the standards expected of Party members. This is clearly prejudicial and/or grossly detrimental to the Party.”

Of course I was not suggesting that the JLM does not represent any Jews; my words make it clear that I was saying the organisation – the Labour Party’s official Jewish affiliate, according to the NEC – represents only those Jews who support the political doctrine of Zionism (and even then, only those who support the interpretation of that doctrine supported by that organisation’s leaders).

I confess I was amazed to see this put forward as a charge against me, because my reasons for saying this were supported by the Jewish Labour Movement itself.

When I was interviewed by Labour investigating officer Stewart Owadally about this and other charges in October 2017 and he challenged me on this, I asked him if he had read the article – and he said that he had not. He had not read any of my articles beyond the specific parts he had been asked to highlight and question. This explained why he had not spotted the answer to his question, directly below the words he had highlighted. I simply read it out.

My article argues: “Look at the organisation’s own website. It states:

“The Jewish Labour Movement is also affiliated to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Zionist Federation of the UK, and organise within the World Zionist Organisation… Our objects: To maintain and promote Labour or Socialist Zionism as the movement for self-determination of the Jewish people within the state of Israel.”

““Zionist”… “Zionist”… “Zionism”… “within the state of Israel”.

““It seems clear that “Jewish Labour Movement” is a misnomer. It should be “Zionist Labour Movement”.”

In my written defence, I went further: “What about Jews who aren’t Zionists, as the JLM defines them?

“How do you think the members of Jewdas – attacked as the “wrong kind of Jew” after Jeremy Corbyn attended an event organised by the group – would describe the JLM?

“Here’s how. Responding to attacks on Mr Corbyn for attending the event in late March, the Jewdas website – at https://www.jewdas.org/enough-is-enough/ stated: “What has happened over the last week is anything but an attempt to address antisemitism. It is the work of cynical manipulations by people whose express loyalty is to the Conservative Party and the right wing of the Labour Party. It is a malicious ploy to remove the leader of the Opposition and put a stop to the possibility of a socialist government. The Board of Deputies, the (disgraced for corruption) Jewish Leadership Council and the (unelected, undemocratic) Jewish Labour Movement are playing a dangerous game with people’s lives.”

“So these Jews consider the JLM to be unelected, undemocratic, and playing a dangerous game with people’s lives. Representative of Jews in general? No.”

I continue: “What about Jewish Voice for Labour, which admits full membership only to Labour Party members who identify as Jewish – unlike the JLM, which allows full membership to non-Jews, and also to non-members of the Labour Party? This organisation has campaigned against what it sees as false accusations of anti-Semitism against notable figures like Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker, and Marc Wadsworth (as has This Writer), and also campaigns against the persecution of Palestinian people by the state of Israel.

“And JLM members hate it. Responding to Harrow East Labour Party’s decision to affiliate to JVL, JLM chair Ivor Caplin told the Jewish Chronicle it was a “stupid decision” to affiliate with an “obsessive group that is often far too generous to antisemites and Holocaust revisionists”. But at least members of JVL are all Jewish, which is more than can be said for the JLM.”

So how can we describe the claim that I am denying Jews the right to self-define?

Bogus. It is the JLM that denies Jews the right to self-define – by siding with those who treat other Labour-supporting Jewish organisations as the “wrong kind of Jews”.

In declaring support for the Jewish Labour Movement and its anti-Semitic* aggression against such people and organisations, the NEC is also declaring its own anti-Semitism.

*I know – it seems strange to describe an organisation claiming to represent Jews as anti-Semitic. But the JLM’s aggression towards the JVL, Jewdas and the others is entirely due to their identity as groups of Jews, so it is entirely appropriate to describe that organisation – and therefore Labour’s NEC – in that manner.

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Luciana Berger SHOULD BE unwelcome in the Labour Party – but not because she is Jewish

Luciana Berger: Spreading lies.

I see pro-Israel troll Luciana Berger has been accusing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of anti-Semitism again – and she is doing so by committing the cardinal sin of deliberately confusing Zionism with Judaism.

She was referring to details released by the Daily Mail of a London conference in 2013 – remember, anti-Corbyn trolls have been reduced to trawling through recent history to find anything they can use against him.

It seems Mr Corbyn referred to an altercation between a group of people self-identifying as Zionists and the Palestinian representative to the UK, Manuel Hassassian, following a speech Mr Hassassian had made in Parliament.

He said yesterday (August 24, 2018) that the Zionist group, for whom English is their first language, had made “deliberate misrepresentations” of what Mr Hassassian, for whom it is not, had said.

In his speech at the 2013 conference, Mr Corbyn, then a backbench MP, went on to claim that the people concerned “clearly have two problems.

“One is they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either.”

The irony being that the people with a firm grasp of English were deliberately misinterpreting statements by someone less well-schooled in it.

There is nothing wrong with that statement.

Indeed, those of us who have suffered Zionist bullying know very well that these people like to “doctor” our comments – they quote us out-of-context, and they quote us selectively in order to change the meaning of our words. Then they accuse us of anti-Semitism.

Another way these people like to accuse others is by deliberately co-mingling the meaning of the words “Zionist” (or “Zionism”), “Jew” and “Israeli”.

These are three different things, but note how Luciana Berger – who happens to be Jewish, pro-Israeli-government and Zionist – tries to pretend they are the same.

Mr Corbyn referred to “Zionists” who listened to Mr Hassassian – not Jews. It is unlikely he knew whether they were Jews or not because there are plenty of Gentile (non-Jewish) Zionists.

But Ms Berger said: “The video released today of the leader of making inexcusable comments – defended by a party spokesman – makes me as a proud British Jew feel unwelcome in my own party. I’ve lived in Britain all my life and I don’t need any lessons in history/irony.”

Here’s the tweet (although I cannot guarantee it will stay available once enough of us have shown that we have seen through her lie):

“As a proud British Jew” she does not have any reason to feel unwelcome.

As a Zionist who supports the perversion of another person’s words because she sees them as hostile to her cause, she does.

Don’t get me wrong: My understanding is that there are Zionists (the term refers to people who want the restoration of the historic Jewish homeland in the Middle East) who want to achieve their aim by peaceful means and do not object to co-habitation with the Palestinian people. Ms Berger is not one of them.

She is an aggressive Zionist who, in her words and deeds, supports the mass-murder of Palestinians by the Israeli government and works hard to attack, undermine and discredit those who act as advocates for peace.

That is the reason she should be unwelcome in the Labour Party – or anywhere else in British politics.

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Accusation games: It’s all falling apart for the knee-jerk “anti-Semitism” accusers

Momentum’s former vice-chair, Jackie Walker: Does she look like an anti-Semite now? [Image: Andy Hall for the Observer].

Isn’t it funny how these people are starting to be pulled into the light, when they thought they could play their dirty little accusation games from the shadows.

It’s like a game of aggressive-Zionist join-the-dots now; Shai Masot leads to Labour Friends of Israel, and from there on to the Jewish Labour Movement and who knows where.

This Writer has to wonder whether this conspiracy – and it is a conspiracy, have no doubt about that – would have been rumbled if, for example, people like myself hadn’t objected to the claims of anti-Semitism when they were levelled at Naz Shah, Ken Livingstone and Jeremy Corbyn last summer.

I was warned off, you know. Good friends told me to be very careful of what I was saying, because the people I was accusing are “very dangerous indeed”.

Maybe they are, but facts have a habit of getting out. And while my articles back then produced a strong opposing – verbal – reaction from certain of our favourite figures and organisations (including a few of the kind of ad hominem claims mentioned below) there have been no bullets or bombs (yet).

They also seem to have got people thinking.

When Jackie Walker (mentioned in the Mondoweiss article quoted below) was accused at the Labour Party Conference, it seems more alarm bells started ringing.

And now we have the Al-Jazeera investigation (why not BBC? Why not ITV? Why not Channel 4 or the British mainstream print media?) that revealed Shai Masot and his little network of … I think they’re being called “infiltrators”.

It is time to root out every last one of these operators.

Anybody who has been involved in the anti-Semitism witch-hunt within the Labour Party last summer needs to be pulled in and checked out. That includes Paul Staines of the Guido Fawkes blog. It includes John Mann, who accused Ken Livingstone. Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who gave evidence to the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee when it was accusing Mr Corbyn, would be worth questioning – as would every member of the committee itself, as their performances in the evidence sessions made it clear that they had already made up their minds before asking a single question.

Some of them might have nothing to do with it – perhaps all of them. But that has yet to be demonstrated.

What about Jackie Walker’s accusers in the Jewish Labour Movement – and, for that matter, in Momentum?

What about the national newspaper writers and editors who reported each story?

The list of possible suspects gets ever-larger, and is likely to grow even further, if these people are contacted and questioned in a thorough manner.

The issues here are serious. We are being told that agents of a foreign country have infiltrated our institutions and undermined our foreign policy with false accusations against our politicians and political figures.

As the extract below shows, the trail leads back at least as far as Mark Regev – and he is Israel’s ambassador to the UK.

At the very least, this is a major diplomatic incident.

So why is the Conservative Government refusing to take the necessary investigative steps?

While an Israeli operative’s efforts  to “take down” Britain’s Deputy Foreign Minister, may appear to be the biggest scandal to arise out of Al Jazeera’s investigative documentary The Lobby, what became clear to me throughout the four-part series was that the primary function of the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) and other pro Israel groups in the UK working with the Israeli embassy was smearing Palestinians and their supporters with charges of anti Semitism and other nefarious ad hominem claims.

Jackie Walker, former vice-chair of Momentum, the left wing of the Labour party, called this “a constructed crisis for political ends”.

Evidence of this runs throughout the four-part series. Mark Regev, Israel’s ambassador to the UK, at a private meeting held during the annual Labour Party Conference in Liverpool last September, advises key activist leaders of Labour’s pro-Israel contingent on strategy and talking points:

“Why are people who consider themselves progressive in Britain, supporting reactionaries like Hamas and Hezbollah?  We’ve gotta say in the language of social democracy, I think, these people are misogynistic, they are homophobic, they are racist, they are anti-Semitic, they are reactionary. I think that’s what we need to say, it’s an important message.”

Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, is captured saying in conversation at Labour’s annual conference that anti-Semitism is “the defining narrative actually now”. Defining narrative of what? The Labour party? Or the LFI’s strategy of taking down the leftwing branch of the party?

[Ella Rose] reveals a trajectory of what could be perceived as a strategy of accusation (of anti semitism), a gotcha focus with the objective of trapping people, as a means of one-upsmanship so as to advance the profile of the Jewish Labour Movement on the right flank of Labour, aligned with the faction of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

The suggestion by critics that anything untoward is taking place is angrily rebuffed. Labour’s right flank postures itself as the real victims– for being accused of falsely accusing! For example, Michael Foster, a generous Jewish donor (£700,000) to Labour, last summer accused Corbyn supporters of behaving like “Nazi stormtroopers”, and was suspended by the party for the abuse, leading to yet more glaring Blame-Corbyn headlines in the British press.

As for those targeted, the bigger fish the better, beginning with Jeremy Corbin, of course, and his supporters in Momentum, like Walker. Labour party members are targeted for re-education programs through Labour Party trainings on anti-Semitism, and if you slip up you’re subject to an inquisition with the threat of being thrown out of the party, loudly and publicly with the press cheering it on.

Source: ‘Constructed crisis for political ends’: anti-Semitism claims are prime weapon for UK Israel lobby, Al Jazeera shows

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Labour Jewish voters take down Tom Watson – and it’s a joy to read

Tom Watson.

If you’re fed up with Tom Watson and his silly campaigns, that aim to publicise divisions within the Labour Party and make it easier for the Conservatives to win again, read what follows and then visit Breaking Down The News for the rest of the open letter.

This Writer finds himself in agreement with much of what is written – although I would say Ken Livingstone wasn’t suspended solely for being supportive of the Palestineians but also for quoting historical fact correctly.

We read with interest your speech to guests at the Labour Friends of Israel luncheon recently and watched the video of you singing ‘Am Yisrael Chai’.  Perhaps you are not aware that this is the favourite chant of West Bank settlers and the fascist/neo-Nazi Jewish Defence League when attacking Palestinians and those they disagree with?

You began your speech by saying that you supported Israel because ‘our consciences dictate it’.  If you had a conscience you would not have spoken of your ‘special pleasure’ at the presence of Mark Regev, Israel’s Ambassador who, as-Chief Spokesman for Benjamin Netanyahu, defended Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014 when 2,251 Palestinians were killed, including 551 children.

You said that you were ‘ashamed’ at the ‘anti-Semitism in our midst’.  Let us reassure you that although you have much to be ashamed of, anti-Semitism is not one of Labour’s sins.  Anti-Semitism does not exist as a political force in the Labour Party.  It never has and never will.  Those who have been suspended for ‘anti-Semitism’, in particular, Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker, and Tony Greenstein, have been suspended for supporting the Palestinians, not because of anti-Semitism.  It is no coincidence that both the latter two are Jewish anti-Zionists.

You mentioned your recent, expenses paid trip to Israel recently, where you met the Chairman of the Israeli Labour Party Isaac Herzog. You spoke of his ‘determination to continue to push the path of peace’.  Is this the same Herzog who, Ha’aretz reports, pushed for ‘Separation From Palestinians as (the) Party Platform’?  In other words an apartheid solution with a Palestinian Bantustan?

I find it difficult to understand, in view of your purported opposition to anti-Jewish racism, why you turn a blind eye to Herzog’s virulent anti-Arab racism?  Herzog recently spoke of his fear of waking up to a Palestinian Prime Minister in Israel.  He said:

‘I want to separate from the Palestinians. I want to keep a Jewish state with a Jewish majority. I don’t want 61 Palestinian MKs in Israel’s Knesset. I don’t want a Palestinian prime minister in Israel.’

Source: Open letter to Tom Watson from Labour Jewish voters

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Three things MPs should be talking about if they really support Palestine | Middle East Eye

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This is highly interesting in the context of the debate being had in the UK Labour Party about Israel, Zionism and anti-Semitism.

The article points out that the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) organisation is launching a new campaign, “For Israel, For Palestine, For Peace”; the rebranding was launched at Labour’s annual conference last month.

Apparently it’s about persuading the UK government to support the creation of an international fund for peace between Israel and Palestine, that would back projects to promote coexistence, peace and reconciliation.

But the article states that this ignores the occupation of Palestinian lands and other abuses by the Israeli army, and suggests that the strategy is intended to distract people away from the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign that is currently popular.

It is also attractive because it seems more positive than simply denying Israeli crimes and provides a useful substitute for anything approximating external pressure on Israel to end its systematic and worsening human rights violations.

In other words, the campaign advocated by Mr Austin – the man who told Jeremy Corbyn to “sit down and shut up” while the Labour leader was castigating former prime minister Tony Blair in the light of the Chilcot Report on the Iraq War – is an attempt to pull the wool over everybody’s eyes.

Instead, author Ben White suggests the following as key elements of any discussion on Israel and Palestine.

Keep them handy, and check them against what advocates – on either side – say.

If a group, or MP, is not talking about the following, then you should ask why.

First, asymmetry. Is the framework one of occupier and occupied, coloniser and colonised? If the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians is being presented as one of two equal partners with shared responsibilities, then you’ve got a problem. The Palestinians are stateless, dispossessed, displaced, and occupied. Failing to reflect that is either a product of ignorance, or disingenuousness.

Second, international law. Is international law, or global human rights treaties, a benchmark or reference point? West Bank settlements, for example, are a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and a key part of an apartheid regime. If you’re not hearing about that at all, or if settlements are waved away as an issue to be resolved in negotiations, that’s another red flag.

Third, and perhaps most crucially, accountability. It is possible to acknowledge the occupation, criticise Israeli violations of international law, but still oppose any efforts designed to end Israeli impunity. So what about an arms embargo? What about a boycott of Israeli and international institutions and companies complicit in the colonisation of Palestinian land?

Asymmetry, international law, and accountability. It’s not perfect or comprehensive. But if an MP or lobby group is skipping one or more of these key elements, then there is good reason to doubt their intentions, even if they profess support for “peace” and Palestinian statehood.

Source: Three things MPs should be talking about if they really support Palestine | Middle East Eye

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Gaza resignation exposes splits among Conservatives

Policy-based resignation: Baroness Warsi's decision to leave the government over Gaza is the first resignation on a matter of principle in more than a decade - since Clare Short resigned over Iraq (as far as we can tell).

Policy-based resignation: Baroness Warsi’s decision to leave the government over Gaza is the first resignation on a matter of principle in more than a decade – since Clare Short resigned over Iraq (as far as we can tell).

This blog has had very little time for Sayeeda Warsi in the past.

When she pleaded to stay in the cabinet, back in 2012, claiming she fits the demographics of all the people the Tories need to get voting for them at the next general election, being a woman who is not white, from an urban area in the North, who is – she claimed – working class… this blog mocked her. And rightly so.

But Vox Political also praised her honesty when she admitted failing to declare rental income. She was let off the hook, but that is a reflection on the corruption in Parliamentary affairs, not on her.

Perhaps we have seen that rare (in a Tory) streak of honesty again today, motivating the Foreign Office minister to resign over what she described as her own government’s “morally indefensible” policy on the crisis in Gaza.

Her resignation letter went on to state that the Coalition government’s policy was “not in Britain’s national interest and will have a long-term effect on our reputation internationally and domestically”.

She added that the decision “has not been easy” but there is “great unease” within the Foreign Office over “the way recent decisions are being made”.

Lady Warsi, who was also minister for Faith and Communities, stated: “I must be able to live with myself for the decisions I took or the decisions I supported. By staying in government at this time I do not feel that I can be sure of that.”

She is not the only Conservative to be suffering doubts over the government’s position. The UK’s abstention from a UN vote to investigate possible human rights breaches in the disputed territory has been extremely controversial, and several backbench Tories have called on David Cameron to take a firm stance with Israel over its “disproportionate” actions in Gaza.

Commenters on this blog and elsewhere have voiced the belief that Cameron is supporting “the money”.

Labour has praised Baroness Warsi for the principled position she has taken. The Opposition Party led by Ed Miliband (himself accused of Zionism by many) has consistently opposed the Israeli incursion into Gaza.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander said his party had “repeatedly urged the Prime Minister to… speak out against the horrific loss of life witnessed in recent weeks, but he has so far failed to do so.”

He said Labour welcomed a decision by Israel to withdraw its forces, “but both sides must now fully respect the ceasefire to prevent further suffering and loss of life.

“In the longer term, both sides must also act to address the underlying causes of this conflict, and it must be recognised that Palestinian statehood is not a gift to be given but a right to be recognised.”

Considering his government’s plans for human rights here in the UK, it seems unlikely that Cameron will accept such a notion.

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Cameron on Gaza is like a little boy arguing over a toy gun

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Today we are all very disappointed in young David – or at least we should be.

As a ceasefire in Gaza collapsed with both sides blaming the other, Mr Cameron seemed to think the main issue was an entirely justified attack on him by Ed Miliband.

Mr Miliband, commenting on the UK’s abstention from a United Nations resolution that establishes a Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and demands that Israel ceases its military assaults and lifts the blockade of Gaza, said Cameron was “wrong” not to oppose Israel’s attacks.

The Labour leader made his position perfectly clear in a statement condemning all military and terrorist violence in the disputed area. He said Cameron had been “right to say that Hamas is an appalling terrorist organisation.

“Its wholly unjustified rocket attacks on Israeli citizens, as well as building of tunnels for terrorist purposes, show the organisation’s murderous intent and practice towards Israel and its citizens,” he said.

“But the prime minister is wrong not to have opposed Israel’s incursion into Gaza and his silence on the killing of hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians caused by Israel’s military action will be inexplicable to people across Britain and internationally.”

A Downing Street spokesman responded: “The PM has been clear that both sides in the Gaza conflict need to observe a ceasefire. We are shocked that Ed Miliband would seek to misrepresent that position and play politics with such a serious issue.”

This is – of course – a misrepresentation of the government’s position. It is an attempt to whitewash the UK’s refusal to vote in the UN resolution out of the public consciousness. And it is an attempt to trivialise a serious conflict causing appalling loss of life – 1,700 in Gaza during the last three weeks.

The situation in Gaza is terribly complicated. Palestinian political organisation Hamas has governed the Gaza strip since 2007 after it won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Parliament, but is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the UK and the USA, amongst others.

States including Russia and China do not consider it to be terrorist but actions such as the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel and the organisation’s creation of a tunnel network in order to carry out attacks on Israel mitigate against that belief.

That being said, Israel is a nation of vastly superior military might whose response appears wholly disproportionate – especially in the light of the Jewish people’s own history.

Persecuted for centuries until a decision was made for them to create a nation of their own in the land formerly known as Palestine, it seems clear that the new nation of Israel then set about the persecution of the Palestinian people who had formerly owned the land they had taken over.

It seems that Israeli politicians have learned nothing from their own history.

The matter is complicated by the fact that Palestine was a Muslim state, and Israel is surrounded by other Muslim states that vowed to drive the Jews into the Mediterranean Sea rather than tolerate a Hebrew state on their doorstep, so it would be accurate to say that there has never been any attempt at tolerance between these unwilling neighbours.

And the above is an extremely oversimplified attempt to explain the situation!

For David Cameron, though, it seems none of this is important. What’s important to him is that Ed Miliband showed him up for speaking against both Hamas and Israel, and failing to support this with action.

One final point: In the light of Mr Miliband’s condemnation of Israel, are there any silly people out there who still want to claim he is a Zionist?

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