organization:labour party

  • How the Israeli army takes Palestinian land and hands it to settlers -

    45 settlements have been built on Palestinian land requisitioned for military purposes. A new study explains how
    Amira Hass

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-how-palestinian-land-goes-from-the-army-to-the-settlers-1.7004514

    In the end, the result is the same: More Palestinian land stolen and transferred to Jews because they are Jews (born in Israel or the Diaspora) and for their benefit. But the Jewish brain invents tricks of the trade, and the means and methods that the military bureaucracy has created and is still creating to reach this result are many and varied, until confusion and fear take over at the sheer multitude of details.

    Dror Etkes, a researcher of Israel’s settlement policy, wants, as usual, to put things in order. In a new study he will be publishing this week, he focuses on the history of orders to seize Palestinian land, issued by generations of army commanders in the West Bank (not including the part that was annexed to Jerusalem). More than 1,150 seizure orders have been issued from 1969 to the present. After subtracting those that were revoked or that overlap, it turns out that this particular trick enabled Israel to take over more than 100,000 dunams (25,000 acres) of Palestinian land. More millions of dunams of Palestinian land have been stolen in other ways, which Etkes has been researching too.

    The declared purpose for such seizure is security and military needs. On the website of the Military Advocate General, the body that advises the army on legal issues, this goal is stressed. Etkes quotes at length from this source in his study: In accordance with the laws of belligerent occupation detailed in customary international law, an occupying power is prohibited from confiscating the private property of a local population in an area under its belligerent occupation. [But] the commander of the area has the authority to take possession of private land if there is a military need. … Exercising this authority does not invalidate landowners’ rights of possession, although they are temporarily prevented from holding and using the land. ... The word temporary is used, because the occupation is meant to be temporary, and because military needs may change.

    Surprise surprise. Some 40 percent of the area officially seized for military and security needs have been allocated over the years to settlements (a quarter of the total area is indeed used for military purposes and another quarter is occupied by the separation barrier). The governments of the Alignment, the Labor Party’s predecessor, started this tradition. They allocated 6,280 dunams to settlements – 28 percent of the approximately 22,000 dunams that have been seized for military use in those years. As expected, the rise of Likud to power has seen a huge spike in allocation to settlements of land that was originally seized for military use. From Likud’s victory in May 1977 to the end of 1979, more than 31,000 dunams were seized. Out of this total, 23,000 were allocated to settlements – that is, 73 percent.

    If we thought this method was quashed by the High Court of Justice ruling in the case of the settlement of Elon Moreh – which was handed down in October 1979 and placed restrictions on the authority of an Israeli military commander in the West Bank to seize land for settlement construction – it turns out we were wrong. Because for three years, commanders continued under Likud to issue seizure orders for security needs that benefited the settlements: Out of some 11,000 dunams seized, 7,040 dunams were given to 12 new settlements. (The dates on some of the orders are unclear; therefore they are not included in the breakdown above that Etkes produced at Haaretz’s request. But the goal of those orders, too, is clear: settlement. And they apply to areas amounting to about 2,000 dunams).

    Following the High Court ruling on Elon Moreh, Israel found a surer method of robbery: declaring Palestinian land to be state land (that is, for Jews), in a very lenient interpretation of an Ottoman law on the matter. The raw material from Etkes’ research is digital maps and layers of data given to him by the Civil Administration (through gritted teeth) by dint of the Freedom of Information Law. According to this information, Etkes estimates that since the 1980s, Israel has declared some 750,000 dunams as state land, out of approximately 5.7 million dunams in the West Bank. (Reminder: This column does not recognize the legality of the Israeli definition of Palestinian land as state land, and even less the legality of their transfer to Jews).


  • Jeremy Corbyn and the truth about Tom Bower’s book | Middle East Eye
    Peter Oborne - 9 March 2019
    A biography about the Labour leader systematically distorts the truth, writes Peter Oborne
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/tom-bower-book-dangerous-hero-jeremy-corbyn-labour-leader-truth

    Those of us who report on politics are at liberty to express, within limits, whatever opinions we like. These limits include an obligation to observe standards. We should strive to be accurate. We can make strong arguments but ought not to distort the truth or suppress relevant information to make our point.

    Writer Tom Bower fails catastrophically to meet these standards. It is not only that Dangerous Hero: Corbyn’s Ruthless Plot For Power, his new book on Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, contains numerous falsehoods. It systematically omits relevant facts in order to portray Corbyn as a ruthless Marxist and anti-semite hell-bent on destroying Western liberal values.

    The Times, the nearest thing that Britain has to a paper of record, has awarded it a prominent review. Ditto the Sunday Times. Tom Harris, a former Labour MP, was not far short of reverential in the Daily Telegraph, calling it a “meticulous and highly readable account”. In the US, an interview with Bower has appeared in the Washington Post. (...)

    #Corbyn

    • This book fails at a basic intellectual level. For example, Bower often seems to equate Corbyn’s criticism of Israel with anti-semitism. Yet he makes little attempt to explain why the two should be treated as identical. The failure to explain his methodology is made worse by the lack of serious analysis of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-semitism. Bower says it is internationally recognised, but fails to add that as of September last year, it was thought to have only been formally adopted by eight countries. He also fails to address the concerns of experts who remain alarmed that the definition is confusing and conflates criticism of Israel with anti-semitism.


  • Kahanists make it easy to ignore everyone else’s racism
    Gideon Levy - Feb 28, 2019 - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-kahanists-make-it-easy-to-ignore-everyone-else-s-racism-1.6978802

    Kahanism is bad for racism. It gives racism a bad name, which it doesn’t have in Israel. It shakes Israeli racism out of its tranquility and correctness, exposes it and generates opposition to it. On the other hand, this opposition is good for respectable racists, allowing people who aren’t all that less racist to be portrayed as moderate and moral — downright champions of human rights.

    The influence of the Kahanists on public debate should not be underestimated. Because of them, one can live comfortably in the settlement of Shilo and dare to talk about principles; to be Naftali Bennett and Bezalel Smotrich and still be portrayed as moderates; to be in the Labor Party and believe that you are enlightened, and to vote for Kahol Lavan and think you’re a liberal. After all, you’re against Itamar Ben Gvir. It’s the undeclared racists versus the professed ones. Just as the “illegal” outposts have legitimized the “legal” settlements, Kahanism legitimizes this other racism.

    Kahanism allows the rest of the racists to feel good; we are not like them, we’re not Ben Gvir; we even walk out of a panel he is on, in protest. What courage, what a role model, what morality. Let us fight Kahanism and our camp will be pure. We will condemn Benzi Gopstein, turn our backs on Michael Ben Ari, and be ethical.

    The Kahanists are the cleaners of the national conscience. They cleanse the conscience of the settlers, who, as we know, are determined opponents of apartheid and of granting rights to Jews only; they cleanse the conscience of the Labor Party, the founding father of the occupation, which continues to be a partner to the shameful silence about the siege on the Gaza Strip. They even cleanse the conscience of AIPAC, the ultranationalist organization that forgives Israel everything, but was shocked by the deal with Otzma Yehudit.

    These Israeli neo-Nazis are genuinely repulsive and despicable. There aren’t enough words to describe the disgust they evoke. Anyone who says, “If there were an Arab waiter here, he wouldn’t be serving food but looking for the nearest hospital” is scum. These are violent racists of the lowest kind, rednecks, the white trash of Israel, and they must be ostracized.

    But contaminating the debate isn’t the worst damage they wreak. They conceal the other racism, institutionalized and accepted racism, which causes more harm to its victims. To live in a country that imprisons 2 million people and to be shocked by Ben Ari is outrageous. To be part of a society that abuses an additional 2 million people while clicking one’s tongue over a threat to an Arab waiter is arrogance.

    Most of the Zionist parties are full partners in the Israeli race project; some even have founding shares. They are partners to the crime — from the ethnic cleansing in 1948, through the military government in the Little Triangle and the Galilee, to the days of military tyranny in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. They have no moral right to condemn the Kahanists, because sometimes the Kahanists are only saying what the others are thinking.

    When Likud, Kahol-Lavan and Labor compete over who can distance themselves from the leprous Arab parties more, how dare they condemn other racists? When these parties liken Otzma Yehudit to the Arab party Balad, even though the difference between them is vast, with one preaching violence and expulsion and the other equality, they have no right to be portrayed as fighting racism.

    Of course there are degrees of evil and of racism. Ben Gvir is preferable to Gopstein; perhaps Smotrich is preferable to both. But is this meaningful? Does it render any of them kosher? When Europe boycotts its extreme right — which is, by the way, more moderate than Israel’s non-extreme right — it’s relatively enlightened leaders who are doing so. Here, it’s respectable racists boycotting disreputable racists.

    Are Moshe Ya’alon and Benny Gantz, the warriors of Operation Protective Edge, more moderate and humane than Ben Gvir and Gopstein? They are no less brutal and have a lot more blood on their hands, although their language is much more pleasant. But they would never speak that way about an Arab waiter; after all, Gantz eats in Kafr Qasem. So just avoid Ben Gvir the Terrible.


  • ‘Austerity, That’s What I Know’: The Making of a Young U.K. Socialist - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/24/world/europe/britain-austerity-socialism.html

    The general election of 2017 exposed the starkest generation gap in the recent history of British politics. Young voters broke dramatically for the Labour Party, whose socialist leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has promised to rebuild the welfare state and redistribute wealth. Hardened against the centrists of their parents’ generation, they have tugged the party to the left, opening up rifts that are now fracturing Labour.

    #austérité #jeunes #gauche #grande-Bretagne


  • The Knesset candidate who says Zionism encourages anti-Semitism and calls Netanyahu ’arch-murderer’ - Israel Election 2019 - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium.MAGAZINE-knesset-candidate-netanyahu-is-an-arch-murderer-zionism-e

    Few Israelis have heard of Dr. Ofer Cassif, the Jewish representative on the far-leftist Hadash party’s Knesset slate. On April 9, that will change
    By Ravit Hecht Feb 16, 2019

    Ofer Cassif is fire and brimstone. Not even the flu he’s suffering from today can contain his bursting energy. His words are blazing, and he bounds through his modest apartment, searching frenetically for books by Karl Marx and Primo Levi in order to find quotations to back up his ideas. Only occasional sips from a cup of maté bring his impassioned delivery to a momentary halt. The South American drink is meant to help fight his illness, he explains.

    Cassif is third on the slate of Knesset candidates in Hadash (the Hebrew acronym for the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality), the successor to Israel’s Communist Party. He holds the party’s “Jewish slot,” replacing MK Dov Khenin. Cassif is likely to draw fire from opponents and be a conspicuous figure in the next Knesset, following the April 9 election.

    Indeed, the assault on him began as soon as he was selected by the party’s convention. The media pursued him; a columnist in the mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Ben-Dror Yemini, called for him to be disqualified from running for the Knesset. It would be naive to say that this was unexpected. Cassif, who was one of the first Israeli soldiers to refuse to serve in the territories, in 1987, gained fame thanks to a number of provocative statements. The best known is his branding of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked as “neo-Nazi scum.” On another occasion, he characterized Jews who visit the Temple Mount as “cancer with metastases that have to be eradicated.”

    On his alternate Facebook page, launched after repeated blockages of his original account by a blitz of posts from right-wing activists, he asserted that Culture Minister Miri Regev is “repulsive gutter contamination,” that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an “arch-murderer” and that the new Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, is a “war criminal.”

    Do you regret making those remarks?

    Cassif: “‘Regret’ is a word of emotion. Those statements were made against a background of particular events: the fence in Gaza, horrible legislation, and the wild antics of Im Tirtzu [an ultranationalist organization] on campus. That’s what I had to say at the time. I didn’t count on being in the Knesset. That wasn’t part of my plan. But it’s clear to me that as a public personality, I would not have made those comments.”

    Is Netanyahu an arch-murderer?

    “Yes. I wrote it in the specific context of a particular day in the Gaza Strip. A massacre of innocent people was perpetrated there, and no one’s going to persuade me that those people were endangering anyone. It’s a concentration camp. Not a ‘concentration camp’ in the sense of Bergen-Belsen; I am absolutely not comparing the Holocaust to what’s happening.”

    You term what Israel is doing to the Palestinians “genocide.”

    “I call it ‘creeping genocide.’ Genocide is not only a matter of taking people to gas chambers. When Yeshayahu Leibowitz used the term ‘Judeo-Nazis,’ people asked him, ‘How can you say that? Are we about to build gas chambers?’ To that, he had two things to say. First, if the whole difference between us and the Nazis boils down to the fact that we’re not building gas chambers, we’re already in trouble. And second, maybe we won’t use gas chambers, but the mentality that exists today in Israel – and he said this 40 years ago – would allow it. I’m afraid that today, after four years of such an extreme government, it possesses even greater legitimacy.

    “But you know what, put aside ‘genocide’ – ethnic cleansing is taking place there. And that ethnic cleansing is also being carried out by means of killing, although mainly by way of humiliation and of making life intolerable. The trampling of human dignity. It reminds me of Primo Levi’s ‘If This Is a Man.’”

    You say you’re not comparing, but you repeatedly come back to Holocaust references. On Facebook, you also uploaded the scene from “Schindler’s List” in which the SS commander Amon Goeth picks off Jews with his rifle from the balcony of his quarters in the camp. You compared that to what was taking place along the border fence in the Gaza Strip.

    “Today, I would find different comparisons. In the past I wrote an article titled, ‘On Holocaust and on Other Crimes.’ It’s online [in Hebrew]. I wrote there that anyone who compares Israel to the Holocaust is cheapening the Holocaust. My comparison between here and what happened in the early 1930s [in Germany] is a very different matter.”

    Clarity vs. crudity

    Given Cassif’s style, not everyone in Hadash was happy with his election, particularly when it comes to the Jewish members of the predominantly Arab party. Dov Khenin, for example, declined to be interviewed and say what he thinks of his parliamentary successor. According to a veteran party figure, “From the conversations I had, it turns out that almost none of the Jewish delegates – who make up about 100 of the party’s 940 delegates – supported his candidacy.

    “He is perceived, and rightly so,” the party veteran continues, “as someone who closes doors to Hadash activity within Israeli society. Each of the other Jewish candidates presented a record of action and of struggles they spearheaded. What does he do? Curses right-wing politicians on Facebook. Why did the party leadership throw the full force of its weight behind him? In a continuation of the [trend exemplified by] its becoming part of the Joint List, Ofer’s election reflects insularity and an ongoing retreat from the historical goal of implementing change in Israeli society.”

    At the same time, as his selection by a 60 percent majority shows, many in the party believe that it’s time to change course. “Israeli society is moving rightward, and what’s perceived as Dov’s [Khenin] more gentle style didn’t generate any great breakthrough on the Jewish street,” a senior source in Hadash notes.

    “It’s not a question of the tension between extremism and moderation, but of how to signpost an alternative that will develop over time. Clarity, which is sometimes called crudity, never interfered with cooperation between Arabs and Jews. On the contrary. Ofer says things that we all agreed with but didn’t so much say, and of course that’s going to rile the right wing. And a good thing, too.”

    Hadash chairman MK Ayman Odeh also says he’s pleased with the choice, though sources in the party claim that Odeh is apprehensive about Cassif’s style and that he actually supported a different candidate. “Dov went for the widest possible alliances in order to wield influence,” says Odeh. “Ofer will go for very sharp positions at the expense of the breadth of the alliance. But his sharp statements could have a large impact.”

    Khenin was deeply esteemed by everyone. When he ran for mayor of Tel Aviv in 2008, some 35 percent of the electorate voted for him, because he was able to touch people who weren’t only from his political milieu.

    Odeh: “No one has a higher regard for Dov than I do. But just to remind you, we are not a regular opposition, we are beyond the pale. And there are all kinds of styles. Influence can be wielded through comments that are vexatious the first time but which people get used to the second time. When an Arab speaks about the Nakba and about the massacre in Kafr Kassem [an Israeli Arab village, in 1956], it will be taken in a particular way, but when uttered by a Jew it takes on special importance.”

    He will be the cause of many attacks on the party.

    “Ahlan wa sahlan – welcome.”

    Cassif will be the first to tell you that, with all due respect for the approach pursued by Khenin and by his predecessor in the Jewish slot, Tamar Gozansky, he will be something completely different. “I totally admire what Tamar and Dov did – nothing less than that,” he says, while adding, “But my agenda will be different. The three immediate dangers to Israeli society are the occupation, racism and the diminishment of the democratic space to the point of liquidation. That’s the agenda that has to be the hub of the struggle, as long as Israel rules over millions of people who have no rights, enters [people’s houses] in the middle of the night, arrests minors on a daily basis and shoots people in the back.

    "Israel commits murder on a daily basis. When you murder one Palestinian, you’re called Elor Azaria [the IDF soldier convicted and jailed for killing an incapacitated Palestinian assailant]; when you murder and oppress thousands of Palestinians, you’re called the State of Israel.”

    So you plan to be the provocateur in the next Knesset?

    “It’s not my intention to be a provocateur, to stand there and scream and revile people. Even on Facebook I was compelled to stop that. But I definitely intend to challenge the dialogue in terms of the content, and mainly with a type of sarcasm.”

    ’Bags of blood’

    Cassif, 54, who holds a doctorate in political philosophy from the London School of Economics, teaches political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Sapir Academic College in Sderot and at the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo. He lives in Rehovot, is married and is the father of a 19-year-old son. He’s been active in Hadash for three decades and has held a number of posts in the party.

    As a lecturer, he stands out for his boldness and fierce rhetoric, which draws students of all stripes. He even hangs out with some of his Haredi students, one of whom wrote a post on the eve of the Hadash primary urging the delegates to choose him. After his election, a student from a settlement in the territories wrote to him, “You are a determined and industrious person, and for that I hold you in high regard. Hoping we will meet on the field of action and growth for the success of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state (I felt obliged to add a small touch of irony in conclusion).”

    Cassif grew up in a home that supported Mapai, forerunner of Labor, in Rishon Letzion. He was an only child; his father was an accountant, his mother held a variety of jobs. He was a news hound from an early age, and at 12 ran for the student council in school. He veered sharply to the left in his teens, becoming a keen follower of Marx and socialism.

    Following military service in the IDF’s Nahal brigade and a period in the airborne Nahal, Cassif entered the Hebrew University. There his political career moved one step forward, and there he also forsook the Zionist left permanently. His first position was as a parliamentary aide to the secretary general of the Communist Party, Meir Wilner.

    “At first I was closer to Mapam [the United Workers Party, which was Zionist], and then I refused to serve in the territories. I was the first refusenik in the first intifada to be jailed. I didn’t get support from Mapam, I got support from the people of Hadash, and I drew close to them. I was later jailed three more times for refusing to serve in the territories.”

    His rivals in the student organizations at the Hebrew University remember him as the epitome of the extreme left.

    “Even in the Arab-Jewish student association, Cassif was considered off-the-wall,” says Motti Ohana, who was chairman of Likud’s student association and active in the Student Union at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s. “One time I got into a brawl with him. It was during the first intifada, when he brought two bags of blood, emptied them out in the university’s corridors and declared, ‘There is no difference between Jewish and Arab blood,’ likening Israeli soldiers to terrorists. The custom on campus was that we would quarrel, left-right, Arabs-Jews, and after that we would sit together, have a coffee and talk. But not Cassif.”

    According to Ohana, today a member of the Likud central committee, the right-wing activists knew that, “You could count on Ofer to fall into every trap. There was one event at the Hebrew University that was a kind of political Hyde Park. The right wanted to boot the left out of there, so we hung up the flag. It was obvious that Ofer would react, and in fact he tore the flag, and in the wake of the ruckus that developed, political activity was stopped for good.”

    Replacing the anthem

    Cassif voices clearly and cogently positions that challenge the public discourse in Israel, and does so with ardor and charisma. Four candidates vied for Hadash’s Jewish slot, and they all delivered speeches at the convention. The three candidates who lost to him – Efraim Davidi, Yaela Raanan and the head of the party’s Tel Aviv branch, Noa Levy – described their activity and their guiding principles. When they spoke, there was the regular buzz of an audience that’s waiting for lunch. But when Cassif took the stage, the effect was magnetic.

    “Peace will not be established without a correction of the crimes of the Nakba and [recognition of] the right of return,” he shouted, and the crowd cheered him. As one senior party figure put it, “Efraim talked about workers’ rights, Yaela about the Negev, Noa about activity in Tel Aviv – and Ofer was Ofer.”

    What do you mean by “right of return”?

    Cassif: “The first thing is the actual recognition of the Nakba and of the wrong done by Israel. Compare it to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in South Africa, if you like, or with the commissions in Chile after Pinochet. Israel must recognize the wrong it committed. Now, recognition of the wrong also includes recognition of the right of return. The question is how it’s implemented. It has to be done by agreement. I can’t say that tomorrow Tel Aviv University has to be dismantled and that Sheikh Munis [the Arab village on whose ruins the university stands] has to be rebuilt there. The possibility can be examined of giving compensation in place of return, for example.”

    But what is the just solution, in your opinion?

    “For the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.”

    That means there will be Jews who will have to leave their home.

    “In some places, unequivocally, yes. People will have to be told: ‘You must evacuate your places.’ The classic example is Ikrit and Biram [Christian-Arab villages in Galilee whose residents were promised – untruly – by the Israeli authorities in 1948 that they would be able to return, and whose lands were turned over to Jewish communities]. But there are places where there is certainly greater difficulty. You don’t right one wrong with another.”

    What about the public space in Israel? What should it look like?

    “The public space has to change, to belong to all the state’s residents. I dispute the conception of ‘Jewish publicness.’”

    How should that be realized?

    “For example, by changing the national symbols, changing the national anthem. [Former Hadash MK] Mohammed Barakeh once suggested ‘I Believe’ [‘Sahki, Sahki’] by [Shaul] Tchernichovsky – a poem that is not exactly an expression of Palestinian nationalism. He chose it because of the line, ‘For in mankind I’ll believe.’ What does it mean to believe in mankind? It’s not a Jew, or a Palestinian, or a Frenchman, or I don’t know what.”

    What’s the difference between you and the [Arab] Balad party? Both parties overall want two states – a state “of all its citizens” and a Palestinian state.

    “In the big picture, yes. But Balad puts identity first on the agenda. We are not nationalists. We do not espouse nationalism as a supreme value. For us, self-determination is a means. We are engaged in class politics. By the way, Balad [the National Democratic Assembly] and Ta’al [MK Ahmad Tibi’s Arab Movement for Renewal] took the idea of a state of all its citizens from us, from Hadash. We’ve been talking about it for ages.”

    If you were a Palestinian, what would you do today?

    “In Israel, what my Palestinian friends are doing, and I with them – [wage] a parliamentary and extra-parliamentary struggle.”

    And what about the Palestinians in the territories?

    “We have always been against harming innocent civilians. Always. In all our demonstrations, one of our leading slogans was: ‘In Gaza and in Sderot, children want to live.’ With all my criticism of the settlers, to enter a house and slaughter children, as in the case of the Fogel family [who were murdered in their beds in the settlement of Itamar in 2011], is intolerable. You have to be a human being and reject that.”

    And attacks on soldiers?

    “An attack on soldiers is not terrorism. Even Netanyahu, in his book about terrorism, explicitly categorizes attacks on soldiers or on the security forces as guerrilla warfare. It’s perfectly legitimate, according to every moral criterion – and, by the way, in international law. At the same time, I am not saying it’s something wonderful, joyful or desirable. The party’s Haifa office is on Ben-Gurion Street, and suddenly, after years, I noticed a memorial plaque there for a fighter in Lehi [pre-state underground militia, also known as the Stern Gang] who assassinated a British officer. Wherever there has been a struggle for liberation from oppression, there are national heroes, who in 90 percent of the cases carried out some operations that were unlawful. Nelson Mandela is today considered a hero, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but according to the conventional definition, he was a terrorist. Most of the victims of the ANC [African National Congress] were civilians.”

    In other words, today’s Hamas commanders who are carrying out attacks on soldiers will be heroes of the future Palestinian state?

    “Of course.”

    Anti-Zionist identity

    Cassif terms himself an explicit anti-Zionist. “There are three reasons for that,” he says. “To begin with, Zionism is a colonialist movement, and as a socialist, I am against colonialism. Second, as far as I am concerned, Zionism is racist in ideology and in practice. I am not referring to the definition of race theory – even though there are also some who impute that to the Zionist movement – but to what I call Jewish supremacy. No socialist can accept that. My supreme value is equality, and I can’t abide any supremacy – Jewish or Arab. The third thing is that Zionism, like other ethno-nationalistic movements, splits the working class and all weakened groups. Instead of uniting them in a struggle for social justice, for equality, for democracy, it divides the exploited classes and the enfeebled groups, and by that means strengthens the rule of capital.”

    He continues, “Zionism also sustains anti-Semitism. I don’t say it does so deliberately – even though I have no doubt that there are some who do it deliberately, like Netanyahu, who is connected to people like the prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, and the leader of the far right in Austria, Hans Christian Strache.”

    Did Mapai-style Zionism also encourage anti-Semitism?

    “The phenomenon was very striking in Mapai. Think about it for a minute, not only historically, but logically. If the goal of political and practical Zionism is really the establishment of a Jewish state containing a Jewish majority, and for Diaspora Jewry to settle there, nothing serves them better than anti-Semitism.”

    What in their actions encouraged anti-Semitism?

    “The very appeal to Jews throughout the world – the very fact of treating them as belonging to the same nation, when they were living among other nations. The whole old ‘dual loyalty’ story – Zionism actually encouraged that. Therefore, I maintain that anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are not the same thing, but are precisely opposites. That doesn’t mean, of course, that there are no anti-Zionists who are also anti-Semites. Most of the BDS people are of course anti-Zionists, but they are in no way anti-Semites. But there are anti-Semites there, too.”

    Do you support BDS?

    “It’s too complex a subject for a yes or no answer; there are aspects I don’t support.”

    Do you think that the Jews deserve a national home in the Land of Israel?

    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘national home.’ It’s very amorphous. We in Hadash say explicitly that Israel has a right to exist as a sovereign state. Our struggle is not against the state’s existence, but over its character.”

    But that state is the product of the actions of the Zionist movement, which you say has been colonialist and criminal from day one.

    “That’s true, but the circumstances have changed. That’s the reason that the majority of the members of the Communist Party accepted the [1947] partition agreement at the time. They recognized that the circumstances had changed. I think that one of the traits that sets communist thought apart, and makes it more apt, is the understanding and the attempt to strike the proper balance between what should be, and reality. So it’s true that Zionism started as colonialism, but what do you do with the people who were already born here? What do you tell them? Because your grandparents committed a crime, you have to leave? The question is how you transform the situation that’s been created into one that’s just, democratic and equal.”

    So, a person who survived a death camp and came here is a criminal?

    “The individual person, of course not. I’m in favor of taking in refugees in distress, no matter who or what they are. I am against Zionism’s cynical use of Jews in distress, including the refugees from the Holocaust. I have a problem with the fact that the natives whose homeland this is cannot return, while people for whom it’s not their homeland, can, because they supposedly have some sort of blood tie and an ‘imaginary friend’ promised them the land.”

    I understand that you are in favor of the annulment of the Law of Return?

    “Yes. Definitely.”

    But you are in favor of the Palestinian right of return.

    “There’s no comparison. There’s no symmetry here at all. Jerry Seinfeld was by chance born to a Jewish family. What’s his connection to this place? Why should he have preference over a refugee from Sabra or Chatila, or Edward Said, who did well in the United States? They are the true refugees. This is their homeland. Not Seinfeld’s.”

    Are you critical of the Arabs, too?

    “Certainly. One criticism is of their cooperation with imperialism – take the case of today’s Saudi Arabia, Qatar and so on. Another, from the past, relates to the reactionary forces that did not accept that the Jews have a right to live here.”

    Hadash refrained from criticizing the Assad regime even as it was massacring civilians in Syria. The party even torpedoed a condemnation of Assad after the chemical attack. Do you identify with that approach?

    “Hadash was critical of the Assad regime – father and son – for years, so we can’t be accused in any way of supporting Assad or Hezbollah. We are not Ba’ath, we are not Islamists. We are communists. But as I said earlier, the struggle, unfortunately, is generally not between the ideal and what exists in practice, but many times between two evils. And then you have to ask yourself which is the lesser evil. The Syrian constellation is extremely complicated. On the one hand, there is the United States, which is intervening, and despite all the pretense of being against ISIS, supported ISIS and made it possible for ISIS to sprout.

    "I remind you that ISIS started from the occupation of Iraq. And ideologically and practically, ISIS is definitely a thousand times worse than the Assad regime, which is at base also a secular regime. Our position was and is against the countries that pose the greatest danger to regional peace, which above all are Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and the United States, which supports them. That doesn’t mean that we support Assad.”

    Wrong language

    Cassif’s economic views are almost as far from the consensus as his political ideas. He lives modestly in an apartment that’s furnished like a young couple’s first home. You won’t find an espresso maker or unnecessary products of convenience in his place. To his credit, it can be said that he extracts the maximum from Elite instant coffee.

    What is your utopian vision – to nationalize Israel’s conglomerates, such as Cellcom, the telecommunications company, or Osem, the food manufacturer and distributor?

    “The bottom line is yes. How exactly will it be done? That’s an excellent question, which I can’t answer. Perhaps by transferring ownership to the state or to the workers, with democratic tools. And there are other alternatives. But certainly, I would like it if a large part of the resources were not in private hands, as was the case before the big privatizations. It’s true that it won’t be socialism, because, again, there can be no such thing as Zionist socialism, but there won’t be privatization like we have today. What is the result of capitalism in Israel? The collapse of the health system, the absence of a social-welfare system, a high cost of living and of housing, the elderly and the disabled in a terrible situation.”

    Does any private sector have the right to exist?

    “Look, the question is what you mean by ‘private sector.’ If we’re talking about huge concerns that the owners of capital control completely through their wealth, then no.”

    What growth was there in the communist countries? How can anyone support communism, in light of the grim experience wherever it was tried?

    “It’s true, we know that in the absolute majority of societies where an attempt was made to implement socialism, there was no growth or prosperity, and we need to ask ourselves why, and how to avoid that. When I talk about communism, I’m not talking about Stalin and all the crimes that were committed in the name of the communist idea. Communism is not North Korea and it is not Pol Pot in Cambodia. Heaven forbid.”

    And what about Venezuela?

    “Venezuela is not communism. In fact, they didn’t go far enough in the direction of socialism.”

    Chavez was not enough of a socialist?

    “Chavez, but in particular Maduro. The Communist Party is critical of the regime. They support it because the main enemy is truly American imperialism and its handmaidens. Let’s look at what the U.S. did over the years. At how many times it invaded and employed bullying, fascist forces. Not only in Latin America, its backyard, but everywhere.”

    Venezuela is falling apart, people there don’t have anything to eat, there’s no medicine, everyone who can flees – and it’s the fault of the United States?

    “You can’t deny that the regime has made mistakes. It’s not ideal. But basically, it is the result of American imperialism and its lackeys. After all, the masses voted for Chavez and for Maduro not because things were good for them. But because American corporations stole the country’s resources and filled their own pockets. I wouldn’t make Chavez into an icon, but he did some excellent things.”

    Then how do you generate individual wealth within the method you’re proposing? I understand that I am now talking to you capitalistically, but the reality is that people see the accumulation of assets as an expression of progress in life.

    “Your question is indeed framed in capitalist language, which simply departs from what I believe in. Because you are actually asking me how the distribution of resources is supposed to occur within the capitalist framework. And I say no, I am not talking about resource distribution within a capitalist framework.”

    Gantz vs. Netanyahu

    Cassif was chosen as the polls showed Meretz and Labor, the representatives of the Zionist left, barely scraping through into the next Knesset and in fact facing a serious possibility of electoral extinction. The critique of both parties from the radical left is sometimes more acerbic than from the right.

    Would you like to see the Labor Party disappear?

    “No. I think that what’s happening at the moment with Labor and with Meretz is extremely dangerous. I speak about them as collectives, because they contain individuals with whom I see no possibility of engaging in a dialogue. But I think that they absolutely must be in the Knesset.”

    Is a left-winger who defines himself as a Zionist your partner in any way?

    “Yes. We need partners. We can’t be picky. Certainly we will cooperate with liberals and Zionists on such issues as combating violence against women or the battle to rescue the health system. Maybe even in putting an end to the occupation.”

    I’ll put a scenario to you: Benny Gantz does really well in the election and somehow overcomes Netanyahu. Do you support the person who led Operation Protective Edge in Gaza when he was chief of staff?

    “Heaven forbid. But we don’t reject people, we reject policy. I remind you that it was [then-defense minister] Yitzhak Rabin who led the most violent tendency in the first intifada, with his ‘Break their bones.’ But when he came to the Oslo Accords, it was Hadash and the Arab parties that gave him, from outside the coalition, an insurmountable bloc. I can’t speak for the party, but if there is ever a government whose policy is one that we agree with – eliminating the occupation, combating racism, abolishing the nation-state law – I believe we will give our support in one way or another.”

    And if Gantz doesn’t declare his intention to eliminate the occupation, he isn’t preferable to Netanyahu in any case?

    “If so, why should we recommend him [to the president to form the next government]? After the clips he posted boasting about how many people he killed and how he hurled Gaza back into the Stone Age, I’m far from certain that he’s better.”

    #Hadash

    • traduction d’un extrait [ d’actualité ]

      Le candidat à la Knesset dit que le sionisme encourage l’antisémitisme et qualifie Netanyahu de « meurtrier »
      Peu d’Israéliens ont entendu parler de M. Ofer Cassif, représentant juif de la liste de la Knesset du parti d’extrême gauche Hadash. Le 9 avril, cela changera.
      Par Ravit Hecht 16 février 2019 – Haaretz

      (…) Identité antisioniste
      Cassif se dit un antisioniste explicite. « Il y a trois raisons à cela », dit-il. « Pour commencer, le sionisme est un mouvement colonialiste et, en tant que socialiste, je suis contre le colonialisme. Deuxièmement, en ce qui me concerne, le sionisme est raciste d’idéologie et de pratique. Je ne fais pas référence à la définition de la théorie de la race - même si certains l’imputent également au mouvement sioniste - mais à ce que j’appelle la suprématie juive. Aucun socialiste ne peut accepter cela. Ma valeur suprême est l’égalité et je ne peux supporter aucune suprématie - juive ou arabe. La troisième chose est que le sionisme, comme d’autres mouvements ethno-nationalistes, divise la classe ouvrière et tous les groupes sont affaiblis. Au lieu de les unir dans une lutte pour la justice sociale, l’égalité, la démocratie, il divise les classes exploitées et affaiblit les groupes, renforçant ainsi le pouvoir du capital. "
      Il poursuit : « Le sionisme soutient également l’antisémitisme. Je ne dis pas qu’il le fait délibérément - même si je ne doute pas qu’il y en a qui le font délibérément, comme Netanyahu, qui est connecté à des gens comme le Premier ministre de la Hongrie, Viktor Orban, et le chef de l’extrême droite. en Autriche, Hans Christian Strache. ”

      Le sionisme type-Mapaï a-t-il également encouragé l’antisémitisme ?
      « Le phénomène était très frappant au Mapai. Pensez-y une minute, non seulement historiquement, mais logiquement. Si l’objectif du sionisme politique et pratique est en réalité de créer un État juif contenant une majorité juive et de permettre à la communauté juive de la diaspora de s’y installer, rien ne leur sert mieux que l’antisémitisme. "

      Qu’est-ce qui, dans leurs actions, a encouragé l’antisémitisme ?
      « L’appel même aux Juifs du monde entier - le fait même de les traiter comme appartenant à la même nation, alors qu’ils vivaient parmi d’autres nations. Toute la vieille histoire de « double loyauté » - le sionisme a en fait encouragé cela. Par conséquent, j’affirme que l’antisémitisme et l’antisionisme ne sont pas la même chose, mais sont précisément des contraires. Bien entendu, cela ne signifie pas qu’il n’y ait pas d’antisionistes qui soient aussi antisémites. La plupart des membres du BDS sont bien sûr antisionistes, mais ils ne sont en aucun cas antisémites. Mais il y a aussi des antisémites.


  • Anti-BDS bill passed Senate, but trouble awaits in House
    Some Democrats are convinced the decision to tie the controversial bill together with motions on aid to Israel and Jordan and sanctions on Syria was designed to spark intra-Democratic fighting
    Amir Tibon Washington
    Feb 10, 2019 11:52 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-anti-bds-bill-passed-senate-but-trouble-awaits-in-house-1.6920012

    WASHINGTON – The Senate passed a bill last week that encourages state governments across the U.S. not to sign contracts with supporters of boycotts against Israel and its settlements in the occupied West Bank. The bill has since been introduced in the House of Representatives, but Congressional sources from both parties told Haaretz in recent days they doubt it will pass the House any time soon.

    The bill in question is called the Combating BDS Act. It passed the Senate as part of a “package” of Middle East-related bills after being introduced by Republican Senator Marco Rubio. The other bills in the package deal with non-controversial, consensus issues such as military aid to Israel and Jordan, and sanctions on the Assad regime in Syria.

    Rubio and Senate Republicans added the anti-BDS bill into the package, setting the stage for an intense fight about it on Capitol Hill. The reason is that civil rights organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union are concerned that the Combating BDS Act is unconstitutional and harms American citizens’ freedom of speech.

    The bill encourages the implementation of local legislation passed in recent years by half of the states in the U.S., putting limits on state governments’ abilities to sign contracts with supporters of boycotts against Israel or the settlements. Two such laws have been frozen by federal courts in Arizona and Kansas, following lawsuits by state contractors who said the laws harmed their freedom of speech. Similar lawsuits have recently been filed in Texas and Arkansas.

    When the package bill came up for a vote last week, 23 senators voted against it, including one Republican, Rand Paul of Kentucky. Many of those who voted against it clarified that if every aspect of the bill had been voted on separately, they probably would have supported the bills on assistance to Israel and Jordan and on sanctioning Assad, and would have only objected to the BDS bill, mainly because of concerns surrounding freedom of speech.

    Such a vote could take place in the Senate, where Republicans hold the majority, but not in the House, according to the Congressional sources who spoke with Haaretz. Democrats are convinced that the entire purpose of the Republican decision to add the anti-BDS bill into the broader Middle East package was to orchestrate an intra-Democratic fight over the issue, and force many Democrats to choose between their position on the free speech criticism of the bill, and their general opposition to BDS.

    The Democratic leadership in the House, which has a majority ever since the midterm elections, will most likely break up the package into a number of separate bills. That will allow the House to approve the non-controversial bills on security aid to Israel and sanctions on Syria, without immediately setting the stage for a new round of internal party tensions on the “constitutional right to boycott” question.

    While the other bills are probably going to see quick and easy approval, the anti-BDS bill could be up for a lengthy period of debate in the relevant House committees. There could also be an amendment process. In the Senate, for example, one Democratic senator, Gary Peters of Michigan, offered an amendment that would make it absolutely clear that the bill only refers to large companies, not to small businesses or sole proprietors. Another amendment offered to distinguish in the bill’s language between Israel proper and the settlements in the occupied West Bank.

    Lara Friedman of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, one of the most vocal opponents of the legislation, told Haaretz last week that Democrats in the House “can see what happened in the Senate and take a good guess that it will be even more controversial” in their chamber. “The only ones who benefit from seeing Democrats fight amongst themselves on this issue are the GOP and folks in the U.S. and Israel who want to see Israel turned into a weapon for partisan gain,” she added.

    AIPAC, the powerful lobby that supports the Israeli government, is urging Congress to pass the legislation. The organization wrote in its monthly publication, the Near East Report, that “Congress should take up and pass the Combating BDS Act as quickly as possible. This important bipartisan bill seeks both to protect states against claims they are preempting federal authority, and to demonstrate Congress’ strong support for state measures consistent with Congress’ historic commitment to oppose boycotts of Israel.”

    #BDS

    • En complément : attaquer Omar, Tlaib et Ocasio-Cortez, par imputation d’antisémitisme, pour explicitement diviser les Démocrates : McCarthy pressures Democrats to rebuke two Muslim lawmakers over alleged anti-Semitism
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/mccarthy-gop-challenge-house-democrats-to-denounce-alleged-anti-semitism/2019/02/08/aef28514-2bae-11e9-b2fc-721718903bfc_story.html

      Republicans are focusing their ire at the two Muslim women in Congress, accusing them of anti-Semitism and pressuring Democratic leaders to rebuke the lawmakers as attitudes in the party toward Israel shift from unquestioned support.

      The pressure on Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) is part of a larger GOP effort to drive a partisan wedge into the traditionally nonpartisan relationship between the United States and Israel. Republicans are casting themselves as the more resolute defender of Israel, heightening the party’s appeal to traditionally Democratic Jewish voters.

      […]

      Ralph Reed, the head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and an ally of the Trump White House, said Republicans are working to “change the center of gravity in the American electorate on the issue of Israel.”

      “The leftward drift of the grass roots of the Democrat Party, away from wholehearted and robust support of Israel, means you have people in that party who see Israel through the prism of apartheid and occupation,” he said. “That’s an opportunity for Republicans to say, ‘That’s not how we see Israel.’ ”

      Some Republicans have pointed to a recent phone call between Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the high-profile young leader of her party’s hard-left wing, to British lawmaker Jeremy Corbyn, the head of the Labour Party who has come under intense criticism for tolerating anti-Semitism in his ranks.

      (Accessoirement donc : internationalisation de la manipulation anti-Corbyn…)


  • Toward a democratic, not Jewish, state

    A civil alternative to the right’s doctrines – one God, one people, one land and one leader – is urgently needed, and whoever has the courage and inspiration to stand at this front will win it all
    Avraham Burg
    Jan 25, 2019 1
    Haaretz.com

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-toward-a-democratic-not-jewish-state-1.6872815

    The spirit in the election atmosphere is the spirit of the time, the insane Netanyahu spirit. That’s the wind blowing in the sails of his fervid supporters and defining his rivals. He is asking for the voters’ confidence to do more of the same and his opponents say “Just not Bibi.”
    Haaretz Weekly Ep. 13Haaretz

    For 35 years Israel has had no opposition. We have no experience and memories of alternative thinking anymore. There is nobody to offer a different kind of hope at the end of all the despair.

    >> Read more: Meretz leader Zandberg shines as stand-up comic in celebrity roast that showcased her party’s sad reality ■ The war that will decide Israel’s future won’t involve airstrikes, tanks or missiles

    Many years ago I contended for the leadership of the Labor Party, which at the time was stuck in the mire of the national unity government. It was characterized by no governance and little unity. That is exactly where the destruction of democracy and the nationalization of the political discourse, together with its turn to ultra-nationalism, began.

    At the time I planned to take Labor out of the government, to turn it into a civil alternative to the right’s doctrines – one God, one people, one land and one leader. I was told then: Your ideas are premature. Today I’m telling us all: In a moment it will be too late. Because this is exactly what is urgently needed, even more than before.

    In this sense Avi Gabbay is absolutely right to make the public commitment he is making – not to join Netanyahu’s next government. But this is an empty commitment. It deals with title and status, not with content. To replace Netanyahuism one must present a comprehensive, complete worldview.

    The right of recent years stands on five legs: sowing of fear, Jewish supremacy, abandonment of Western values, systematic weakening of the institutions of law and divisiveness.
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    After so many years of such thorough indoctrination it’s not enough to say “I won’t sit in the same government with him.” It must be self-evident – what’s needed is to “turn from evil.” But what does it mean to “do good,” what is the ideological content that will heal Israel from Netanyahu’s curse?

    The renewal of Israel must stand on a foundation of civil equality. There is no other supreme value capable of uniting the variety of our identities, with absolute commitment to a democratic way of life. To achieve it we must set up a coalition for civil equality including various parties, movements and interests, all of which have one ultimate goal: changing Israeli discourse from ethnic domination to equal citizenship for all. The coalition’s agenda should include:

    Redefining Israel from “a Jewish-democratic state” to “a constitutional democracy in which part of the Jewish people has established its sovereignty, and which belongs to all its citizens.”
    Proposing a civil constitution including complete civil equality, secularizing the public sphere, separating state from religion, a fair distribution of public resources and decent, fair “rules of the game.”
    Significantly minimizing the Law of Return and closing all the automatic fast tracks granted on the basis of (at times dubious) genetic connection to the Jewish collective.
    Changing the Israeli security concept, from the obsessive amassing of power to the constant striving for long-term political arrangements, including with the Palestinian people.
    Waiving the monopolies and privileges of Israel and the Jews between the Jordan River and the sea. Turning it into a shared space as much as possible, in which every person is entitled to the same rights and every nation has the right to self-determination and confederate partnership in every walk of life.
    Implementing a policy of affirmative action and justice to redress past iniquities to the excluded and discriminated-against populations in Israel, centering on the Arab population, until the goals of civil equality are met.

    Yes, all these things mean a painful parting from the Jewish comfort and supremacy zones. It’s a dramatic evolution from the ideas of 1948 and 1967 to a new model of society, in a world of populistic madness stretching from Washington to Ankara and from Moscow to Balfour Street in Jerusalem.

    Anyone who has the courage and inspiration to stand at this front, and is ready to pay the price, will win it all. And make all of us winners.


  • Netanyahu will do all he can to destroy Jewish-Arab alliances

    The alliance between Palestinian citizens of Israel and the Jewish left has historically been viewed as a threat to the rule of the right. That’s why Netanyahu is doing everything he can to undermine it.

    By Eli Bitan

    https://972mag.com/netanyahu-will-do-all-he-can-to-destroy-jewish-arab-alliances/139103

    The Israeli right knows exactly how to harm the left: by making its alliance with Palestinian citizens not only impossible but illegitimate, thus drawing away its power. The Jewish left, for its part, has historically done enough to undermine this alliance. But recent events have created new possibilities — and that’s why the right is coming out with guns blazing.

    Related stories
    This is how to fight Israel’s Jewish Nation-State Law By Said Zeedani | November 29, 2018
    The right keeps winning in Israel because Israelis are right wing By Dahlia Scheindlin | November 19, 2018
    In the age of Trump and Netanyahu, progressive values are winning By Bar Gissin and Maya Haber | November 16, 2018
    The case for a unified Palestinian protest movement By Rabeea Eid | September 24, 2018
    This dynamic is currently playing out in Haifa, where in the recent municipal elections, newly-elected Mayor Einat Kalisch-Rotem appointed Raja Zaatry, a veteran activist from the Jewish-Arab Hadash party, to be her deputy. Kalisch-Rotem, who defeated incumbent Yona Yahav from the Labor Party, was elected with the support of the left and the ultra-Orthodox community. In early December, she announced her coalition, which excluded the right-wing Likud, and included the Haredi party, Hadash, and Meretz.

    Then, on Dec. 4, Makor Rishon, the newspaper of Israel’s religious-nationalist community, published an article on Zaatry, which painted him as a supporter of BDS and a Hezbollah sympathizer who previously compared Israel to ISIS.

    The furor came almost immediately. Interior Minister Aryeh Deri demanded Kalisch-Rotem walk back from her decision, while Prime Minister Netanyahu opened his weekly cabinet meeting by discussing Zaatry. Yair Lapid, who in the eyes of many Israelis has come to represent an opposition to the Netanyahu government, decried Zaatry’s appointment on Facebook.

    On Wednesday afternoon, Netanyahu even phoned the mayor in an attempt to persuade her to change her mind. Kalisch-Rotem, however, made clear to him that her coalition agreement would remain unchanged. The controversy might appear like a tempest in a teapot, but it is evidently enough to concern both Netanyahu and Lapid. Kalisch-Rotem’s coalition, it turns out, is a threat to the right’s rule in Israel.


  • Flawed reporting on antisemitism claims against the Labour party | Letter | Politics | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/sep/30/flawed-reporting-on-antisemitism-claims-against-the-labour-party

    We have long had serious concerns about the lack of due impartiality and accuracy in the reporting of allegations of antisemitism against Jeremy #Corbyn and the Labour party. The recent report by the Media Reform Coalition examining coverage of Labour’s revised code of conduct on antisemitism shows that we are right to be concerned.

    #désinformation

    • New MRC research finds inaccuracies and distortions in media coverage of antisemitism and the Labour Party - Media Reform Coalition
      http://www.mediareform.org.uk/blog/new-mrc-research-finds-inaccuracies-and-distortions-in-media-coverag

      We use the concept of disinformation to denote systematic reporting failures that broadly privileged a particular political agenda and ideological narrative. This does not mean that these failures were intentional or that journalists and news institutions were inherently biased. We recognize, for instance, that resource pressures combined with acute and complex controversies can foster particular source dependencies or blind spots. 

      Nor does our research speak in any way to allegations of smear tactics. To interrogate the root causes of disinformation would necessitate a far more wide-ranging study than was undertaken here.

    • Signé par:
      Prof Noam Chomsky
      Brian Eno
      Francesca Martinez
      Yanis Varoufakis
      Ken Loach
      Raoul Martinez
      Justin Schlosberg Birkbeck, University of London
      Prof Des Freedman Goldsmiths, University of London
      Prof Imogen Tyler Lancaster University
      Prof Aeron Davis Goldsmiths, University of London
      Prof Annabelle Sreberny Soas, University of London
      Prof Greg Philo University of Glasgow
      Prof Natalie Fenton Goldsmiths, University of London
      Prof David Miller Bristol University
      Prof David Hesmondhalgh University of Leeds
      Prof James Curran Goldsmiths, University of London
      Prof Julian Petley Brunel University
      Stephen Cushion Cardiff University
      Jason Hickel Goldsmiths, University of London
      Einar Thorsen Bournemouth University
      Mike Berry Cardiff University
      Tom Mills Aston University
      Jenny Manson Jewish Voice for Labour
      Leah Levane Jewish Voice for Labour
      Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition
      Mike Cushman Free Speech on Israel
      Glyn Secker Jewish Voice for Labour


  • Royaume-Uni : la base du Parti travailliste éjecte l’animatrice du lobby israélien 10 Septembre 2018 - Le Grand Soir
    https://www.legrandsoir.info/royaume-uni-la-base-du-parti-travailliste-ejecte-la-cheffe-du-lobby-is

    Alors qu’une campagne de chantage à l’antisémitisme sans précédent se déchaîne tous azimuts contre le leader de l’opposition travailliste Jeremy Corbin, les militants de base de ce parti ont infligé un camouflet retentissant à Joan Ryan, une sorte de Manuel Valls locale, présidente du lobby « Labour Friends of Israel » (Les Travaillistes Amis d’Israël, LFI).

    Le rôle du LFI en tant qu’agent du gouvernement israélien au sein du Parti travailliste avait été mis au jour par la chaîne al-Jazeera, dont le documentaire, The Lobby , illustrait, entre autres, les contacts quotidiens entretenus par Joan Ryan et son officier traitant à l’ambassade, un nommé Shai Masot.

    A la suite de la diffusion du reportage, réalisé grâce à des enregistrements en caméra caché, Shai Masot avait été précipitamment rappelé en Israël, mais Joan Ryan a continué de sévir en qualité de député au parlement britannique.

    Sauf que ... Les membres du parti de la circonscription électorale de Ryan (Enfield North, dans la périphérie londonienne) n’ont pas apprécié d’être représentés par un tel personnage, qui se traîne également quelques casseroles pour ses notes de frais astronomiques aux frais du contribuable.

    Réunis en assemblée générale à la veille du week-end, ils ont mis aux voix une motion de défiance à l’encontre de la lobbyiste du régime d’apartheid dans leurs rangs. Et en dépit des efforts frénétiques de Ryan et de ses comparses, la motion a été adoptée à la majorité des 190 membres du parti participant au scrutin : Ryan n’aura plus l’investiture du Labour Party à Enfield North lors des prochaines élections législatives, et c’est un autre candidat qui représentera le parti.

    On rappelle que la rédaction d’al-Jazeera a réalisé un autre reportage, concernant cette fois les agissements secrets du lobby israélien aux Etats-Unis, et notamment ses tentatives pour contrer le développement de la campagne BDS.

    Mais al-Jazeera est une chaîne qui appartient au gouvernement du Qatar, lequel a accédé aux demandes israéliennes, et a interdit la diffusion du documentaire, tout aussi ravageur que son équivalent britannique.

    Seuls des extraits, dont rend compte le journaliste Alain Gresh dans le dernier numéro du mensuel Le Monde Diplomatique , ont à ce jour « fuité ».

    #Joan_Ryan #lobby #parlement #BDS #angleterre #parti_travailliste #Labour_Party

    Source  : The Electronic Intifada
    Local party votes to oust Labour MP who faked anti-Semitism charge
    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/local-party-votes-oust-labour-mp-who-faked-anti-semitism-charge


  • Attaques contre #Jeremy_Corbyn (et accusations d’antisémitisme) :

    Dans le #Guardian :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/606127

    I’m ashamed at the way my party is offending Jews, says Labour MP
    Peter Walker, The Guardian, le 29 juillet 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/711737

    Remarks about Zionists draw official complaint against Jeremy Corbyn
    Michael Savage, The Guardian, le 26 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/717315

    Israël se cache-t-il derrière les attaques contre Jeremy Corbyn ?
    Jonathan Cook, Middle East Eye, le 30 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/716567

    Dans #Le_Monde :

    Antisémitisme : le leader travailliste britannique Jeremy Corbyn à nouveau dans la tourmente
    Eric Albert, Le Monde, le 14 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/715022

    Dans #Médiapart :

    Au Royaume-Uni, la décomposition du paysage politique se poursuit
    Ludovic Lamant, Médiapart, le 21 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/716567
    –--------------------------------------------------------
    Comment un diplomate israélien a travaillé au cœur du Parti travailliste pour mettre à mal Corbyn
    Alex MacDonald et Simon Hooper, Middle East Eye, le 9 janvier 2017
    https://seenthis.net/messages/715022

    Jeremy Corbyn appelle à une révision de la question des ventes d’armes du Royaume Uni à Israël après les morts sur la frontière de Gaza
    Jeremy Corbyn, le 10 avril 2018
    https://www.aurdip.org/jeremy-corbyn-appelle-a-une.html

    Antisémitisme. Offensive orchestrée contre Jeremy Corbyn au Royaume-Uni
    Jonathan Cook, Orient XXI, le 8 mai 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/692587

    The Jewish establishment’s ‘War Against Corbyn’ risks bringing real antisemitism to Britain
    Robert A. H. Cohen, Patheos, le 28 juillet 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/711737

    Who’s guilty of antisemitism ? Questioning Labour’s Definition Bind
    Peter Hallward, Verso, le 6 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/714306

    How Israel lobby attacked an Auschwitz survivor to smear Corbyn
    Adri Nieuwhof, Electronic Intifada, le 7 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/713760

    Jeremy Corbyn, le futur premier ministre du Royaume-Uni ?
    Gidéon Lévy, Haaretz, le 9 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/716567

    Israel Is The Real Problem
    Media Lens, le 9 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/715022

    La vérité sur la relation spéciale du Royaume-Uni avec Israël
    Mark Curtis, Middle East Eye, le 10 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/715335

    No, this Netanyahu row won’t destroy Corbyn – it will only make him stronger
    Richard Seymour, The Independent, le 14 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/715078

    Grande-Bretagne : le leader travailliste Jeremy Corbyn attaqué par Benyamin Netanyahou
    Middle East Eye, le 14 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/715022

    Anti-Semitism and Labour : Jeremy Corbyn must stop apologising and start fighting back
    Ghada Karmi, Middle East Eye, le 14 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/715022

    Netanyahu Falsely Attacks Corbyn for Laying Wreath on Palestinian Terrorist’s Grave
    Richard Silverstein, le 15 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/715022

    Jeremy Corbyn, les Palestiniens et l’antisémitisme
    Alain Gresh, Orient XXI, le 16 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/715399

    Israël se cache-t-il derrière les attaques contre Jeremy Corbyn ?
    Jonathan Cook, Middle East Eye, le 30 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/716567

    It’s time to stand up and be counted - what defending Corbyn really means
    Chris Nineham, Counterfire, le 30 août 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/719141

    Ken Loach appelle les Travaillistes à ne pas ‘trahir la Palestine’ en cédant aux ennemis de Corbyn
    Ben Chacko, The Morning Star, le 3 septembre 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/719511

    Grande-Bretagne : le Labour adopte la définition complète de l’antisémitisme
    Sonia Delesalle-Stolper, Libération, le 4 septembre 2018
    https://seenthis.net/messages/719685

    #Royaume-Uni #Grande-Bretagne #UK #Labour #Parti_Travailliste #antisémitisme #antisionisme #Palestine #censure #IHRA #recension


  • Jeremy Corbyn must not back down on Palestine | The Electronic Intifada

    https://electronicintifada.net/content/jeremy-corbyn-must-not-back-down-palestine/25341

    Since his election as Labour leader in 2015, Jeremy Corbyn has faced an unprecedented campaign of vitriol from the combined forces of the Jewish Labour Movement, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, right-wing Labour MPs, and pro-Israel newspapers with mainstream press and broadcast media all too happy to jump on the bandwagon.

    In response there has been an impressive show of solidarity from his supporters. Following days of manufactured outrage over comments made by Peter Willsman – Labour veteran and Corbyn ally – the hashtag #WeAreCorbyn trended at number one in the UK and number three worldwide. (Willsman’s crime: to demand evidence from those denouncing Corbyn for anti-Semitism.)

    This reflexive defense of Corbyn shows the level of respect for his hitherto unwavering commitment to social justice and fighting racism. The invective against him has, however, also prevented any real examination of Corbyn’s positions on Palestine -– positions that are far less radical than often presumed.

    More urgently at the present juncture, save for a few dissenting voices (such as The Electronic Intifada’s Asa Winstanley), he has also escaped opprobrium for manifestly failing to push back against the smear of anti-Semitism and for becoming increasingly apologetic for past solidarity with Palestine.

    This can no longer be allowed to stand. The stakes are much too high.

    Reports suggest Corbyn has capitulated to the demand that Labour incorporate into its Code of Conduct all four of the thus-far resisted “examples” of anti-Semitism devised by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). This is despite Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) voting against this in mid-July.

    Ostensibly, a Labour NEC working group is still “consulting” on the issue. However, Corbyn has preempted the final outcome. He has unilaterally announced Labour now has an issue with only “half of one [IHRA] example.” Worryingly, reports suggest Corbyn will seek adoption of the IHRA examples as early as 4 September, conveniently before the Labour Party Conference at the end of the same month.

    These developments reveal the need for an urgent refocusing away from defending Corbyn to the real task at hand: exposing the manufactured anti-Semitism crisis and the IHRA’s assault on the right to criticize Israel.

    Tragically, the fight over the IHRA now looks to have also become a fight against Corbyn.


  • i24NEWS - GB : #Corbyn s’incline, se dit disposé à adopter la définition de l’antisémitisme, sous condition
    https://www.i24news.tv/fr/actu/international/europe/181910-180816-gb-corbyn-s-incline-se-dit-dispose-a-adopter-la-definition-de-

    Le leader du parti travailliste britannique, Jeremy Corbyn, devrait adopter l’ensemble des termes de la définition de l’antisémitisme élaborée par l’Alliance internationale pour la mémoire de l’Holocauste (IHRA), après avoir refusé d’en admettre certains éléments, ont rapporté jeudi les médias britanniques.

    Corbyn’s Labour is being made to fail – by design
    https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2018-08-16/corbyn-labour-fail-design

    Worse, Corbyn himself has conceded too much ground on anti-semitism. As a lifelong anti-racism campaigner, the accusations of anti-semitism have clearly pained him. He has tried to placate rather than defy the smearers. He has tried to maintain unity with people who have no interest in finding common ground with him.

    And as he has lost all sense of how to respond in good faith to allegations made in bad faith, he has begun committing the cardinal sin of sounding and looking evasive – just as those who deployed the anti-semitism charge hoped. It was his honesty, plain-speaking and compassion that won him the leadership and the love of ordinary members. Unless he can regain the political and spiritual confidence that underpinned those qualities, he risks haemorrhaging support.

    But beyond Corbyn’s personal fate, the Labour party has now reached a critical juncture in its response to the smear campaign. In adopting the full IHRA definition, the party will jettison the principle of free speech and curtail critical debate about an entire country, Israel – as well as a key foreign policy issue for those concerned about the direction the Middle East is taking.

    #hélas


  • Antisémitisme : le leader travailliste britannique Jeremy Corbyn à nouveau dans la tourmente

    Plusieurs erreurs dans un article du Monde

    https://abonnes.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2018/08/14/antisemitisme-le-leader-travailliste-britannique-jeremy-corbyn-a-nou

    Le Daily Mail a publié samedi une photo montrant M. Corbyn en 2014 tenant en ses mains une couronne de fleurs lors d’une cérémonie à Tunis. Celui qui était alors simple député était sur place pour une conférence consacrée à la Palestine, organisée par le président tunisien. A la fin, deux gerbes de fleurs ont été déposées sur des tombes palestiniennes.

    La première commémorait 47 Palestiniens tués dans une attaque aérienne israélienne sur une base de l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine (OLP) en 1985. M. Corbyn affirme que c’est ce que la photo du Daily Mail montre. La seconde a été déposée sur les tombes de Salah Khalaf, le fondateur de Septembre noir, Fakhri al-Omari, son bras droit, et Hayel Abdel-Hamid, le chef de la sécurité de l’OLP. Tous les trois ont été assassinés vingt ans après l’attentat de Munich par le Mossad, les services secrets israéliens. C’est cette cérémonie à laquelle M. Corbyn dit avoir été simplement « présent ».

    Noter : que Salah Khalaf, aussi connu sous le nom d’Abou Iyad, a été assassiné par le groupe Abou Nidal. Mais le réduire à fondateur de Septembre Noir est une absurdité : il était un des principaux compagnons d’Arafat et un des principaux dirigeants de l’OLP. Il a soutenu les évolutions politiques de l’organisation après 1973. Il faut lire le livre qu’Eric Rouleau lui a consacré « Palestinien sans patrie ».Pourquoi refuserait-on de déposer des fleurs sur sa tombe ? Il faudrait alors refuser aux dirigeants étrangers d’aller sur la tombe de Yasser Arafat.

    La campagne engagée contre Corbyn ne vise pas des dérives antisémites, mais bien la solidarité avec les Palestiniens. Il est dommage que Le Monde y contribue.

    A relire sur OrientXXI
    https://orientxxi.info/magazine/antisemitisme-offensive-orchestree-contre-jeremy-corbyn-au-royaume-uni,2


  • How Israel lobby attacked an Auschwitz survivor to smear Corbyn | The Electronic Intifada - Adri Nieuwhof - Lobby Watch - 7 August 2018

    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/adri-nieuwhof/how-israel-lobby-attacked-auschwitz-survivor-smear-corbyn

    Hajo Meyer at his home in Heiloo, Netherlands on 29 July 2014. Adri Nieuwhof

    British media have been abusing my friend, the late Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer, as part of their campaign to smear Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as an anti-Semite.

    In 2010, Corbyn hosted a Holocaust Memorial Day event in London, where Meyer was the main speaker.

    In recent days, The Times created a furor with an article declaring that Meyer “made the comparison between the Nazi regime and Israeli policy.”

    Right-wing Labour lawmakers opposed to Corbyn went on the attack.

    MP John Mann declared that the event violated “any form of normal decency,” while fellow lawmaker Louise Ellman said that the event made her “wonder if this is the reason that the Labour Party wanted to dilute the definition of anti-Semitism in this way.”

    Ellman – a long-time apologist for Israeli human rights violations – is an officer of Labour Friends of Israel, a lobby group with close ties to the Israeli embassy.

    Ellman was referring to the deeply flawed International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism which mentions “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” as an example of anti-Jewish bigotry.

    Under pressure from pro-Israel lobby groups, Labour’s National Executive Committee last month adopted the IHRA definition as part of the party’s rule book. (...)


  • Israel running campaign against Jeremy Corbyn

    | The Electronic Intifada
    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/israel-running-campaign-against-jeremy-corbyn

    An app operated as part of an Israeli government propaganda campaign issued a “mission” for social media users to make comments against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, accusing him of anti-Semitism.

    This is the latest evidence of an Israeli campaign of psychological warfare against the UK’s main opposition party.

    The Act.IL app on Sunday falsely accused Corbyn of comparing Israel to Nazi Germany in a 2010 meeting which had been resurfaced by The Times last week.

    The “mission” was documented in this Tweet by Michael Bueckert, a Canadian researcher who has been monitoring the app since last year.

    The reality is very different from the app’s claims.

    As my colleague Adri Nieuwhof explains, Corbyn hosted a meeting titled “Never Again – For Anyone” with Hajo Meyer, a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp and an anti-Zionist who spoke out strongly for Palestinian rights.

    Meyer passed away in 2014.

    The Act.IL app asks users to comment on Facebook in response to a Huffington Post UK story about Corbyn’s alleged “anti-Israel remarks,” which it claims are “often a way to hide anti-Semitism.”

    The “mission” directs users to click “like” on a comment by Facebook user “Nancy Saada,” and write their own comments echoing her criticisms of Labour.

    “Nancy” has posted elsewhere on her Facebook profile a photo of herself in an Israeli army uniform posing on an armored vehicle draped with an Israeli flag.


  • The feminist storm troopers
    The battle for equal rights is being won, but do women really want the right to perpetrate war crimes or to maintain the occupation?
    Gideon Levy - Jul 01, 2018 - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-feminist-storm-troopers-1.6222588

    Merav Michaeli admires MJ Hegar. She even says she would vote for her – although, as far as is known, the Israeli Knesset member has no voting rights in Texas, where Hegar is vying for a Congress seat. Hegar was a helicopter pilot who served in Afghanistan until her chopper was shot down during her third tour. She’s since been on a crusade, aimed at opening combat roles in the U.S. Army up to women without discrimination.

    Michaeli, the queen of Israeli feminists and a representative of the center-left, wants to see more American female helicopter pilots in Afghanistan and Yemen – who can continue bombing no matter what, who and how much is on the receiving end. She also wants more female pilots in Israel to take part in airstrikes against Gaza, along with female tank combatants who can shell whatever the female helicopter pilots leave standing.

    The Labor Party meat grinder, which distorts the moral image of anyone elected to its list, alongside blind and rapacious feminism, have caused even Michaeli – one of the most impressive and committed members of the Knesset – to temporarily lose her moral compass. Just give her more female bombers. Let them bomb and shell in Afghanistan and Gaza, only let them be women.

    Four female soldiers who completed a tank commanders’ course last week induced drooling militaristic pride among numerous men and women in Israel: the feminist in the tank rules! Now there are female combatants in the air, on land and at sea, and the Israel Hayom and Yedioth Ahronoth dailies could not let the opportunity pass without spouting headlines such as “Queens of the skies” and “Armor piercing.”

    Corp. Keren Beit-On will complete her Snapir course this week and join a unit of naval speedboats patrolling the Gaza coast. On a good day, she might participate in the shooting of desperate Palestinian fishermen who exceeded the boundaries of their cages for their livelihoods, or at least spray them with water cannon until, helpless, they fall off their flimsy and pathetic surfboards into the water. This time, it won’t be at the hands of a macho male combatant, but one of the first female graduates of the feminist Snapir course. Beit-On, like Hegar the helicopter pilot, will fulfill the ideal of gender equality, without any discrimination. In the air, on land and at sea.

    The just and triumphant feminist train is racing ahead and no one stops to ask: Sorry, but equality in what? In oppression? In tyranny over another people? Female equality in abuse? Gender equality in perpetrating war crimes?

    A course instructor of the Snapir (“Fin”) Unit, a mixed male and female combat unit, practicing in inflatable rubber boats in the Haifa Bay.IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

    Is this what you want? Is this what you deserve? Is this what we deserve? After this goal is achieved, the feminists will be able to advance toward their next objective: gender equality in organized crime. That’s another arena where male dominion must be ended – to the barricades, until Rinat Abergil controls the family business equally with her husband Meir!

    Of course, the IDF should not be compared to crime families in order to understand the depth of the darkness. In order to achieve a goal that itself is absolutely correct – namely, gender equality in society – men and women are prepared to abandon any other moral value. It is true that the entrance to many halls of power still runs through service in combat units, though happily this is diminishing. But nothing could justify turning this service – a major part of which is geared toward perpetuating the occupation and the settlements – into a desired objective for women seeking equality.

    No Border Policewoman, armed from head to toe while evacuating a family in Silwan, raiding a house in Nablus in the middle of the night while brutally waking up female household members, or lording it over Palestinian passersby in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City in order to protect a handful of settlers, will add an iota of dignity to the struggle for gender equality. It will only bring shame by the fact that women are also participating in these actions.

    Women, you should be proud that you don’t have an equal role in maintaining the occupation. Be proud that you don’t share equally in bombing kite warehouses in Gaza, and that there isn’t yet gender equality in the disgraceful nightly arrest raids in the West Bank. There are more than enough male occupation-serving storm troopers doing this work.

    The road to equality, just and absolute, should be pursued using other, more moral, paths.


  • » Corbyn Visits Palestinian Refugees; Vows to Recognize Palestinian State
    IMEMC News - June 24, 2018 1:21 AM
    http://imemc.org/article/corbyn-visits-palestinian-refugees-vows-to-recognize-palestinian-state

    Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party in Britain, visited Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan Saturday and declared that if his party wins the country’s next election (in 2022), he will recognize the Palestinian state.

    Corbyn wrote on Twitter, “The next Labour government will recognise Palestine as a state as one step towards a genuine two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict”.

    Before his visit to the camps, Corbyn wrote, “Today I’ll visit the Al-Baqa’a refugee camp which was first created in 1968, where 100,000 Palestinians live.” (...)


  • “National security” cited as reason Al Jazeera nixed Israel lobby film | The Electronic Intifada
    https://electronicintifada.net/content/national-security-cited-reason-al-jazeera-nixed-israel-lobby-film/24566

    Al Jazeera’s investigative documentary into the US Israel lobby was censored by Qatar over “national security” fears, The Electronic Intifada has learned.

    These include that broadcast of the film could add to pressure for the US to pull its massive Al Udeid air base out of the Gulf state, or make a Saudi military invasion more likely.

    A source has confirmed that broadcast of The Lobby – USA was indefinitely delayed as “a matter of national security” for Qatar. The source has been briefed by a high-level individual in Doha.

    One of the Israel lobby groups whose activities are revealed in the film has been mounting a campaign to convince the US to withdraw its military forces from Qatar – which leaders in the emirate would see as a major blow to their security.

    The tiny gas-rich monarchy houses and funds satellite channel Al Jazeera.

    In April, managers at the channel were forced to deny a claim by a right-wing American Zionist group that the program has been canceled altogether.

    In October 2017, the head of Al Jazeera’s investigative unit promised that the film would be aired “very soon.”

    Yet eight months later, it has yet to see the light of day.

    In March, The Electronic Intifada exclusively published the first concrete details of what is in the film.

    The film reportedly identifies a number of lobby groups as working directly with Israel to spy on American citizens using sophisticated data gathering techniques. The documentary is also said to cast light on covert efforts to smear and intimidate Americans seen as too critical of Israel.

    Some of the activity revealed in the film could include US organizations acting as front operations for Israel without registering as agents of a foreign state as required by US law.

    The latest revelation over the censored film shows how seriously Qatar’s leadership is taking threats of repercussions should it air.

    Threats
    The Israel lobby groups reported on in the film could be expected to take legal action against Al Jazeera if it is broadcast.

    However, such threats alone would be unlikely to deter Al Jazeera from broadcasting the film.

    The network has a history of vigorously defending its work and it was completely vindicated over complaints about a documentary aired in January 2017 that revealed how Israel lobby groups in Britain collude with the Israeli embassy, and how the embassy interfered in British politics.

    Israel’s supporters are also pushing for the US Congress to force the network, which has a large US operation, to register as a “foreign agent” in a similar fashion to Russian channel RT.

    But the high-level individual in Doha’s claim that the film is being censored as “a matter of national security” ties the affair to even more serious threats to Qatar and bolsters the conclusion that the censorship is being ordered at the highest level of the state.

    A year ago, with the support of US President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed a transport and economic blockade on the country.

    Saudi rulers and their allies see Qatar as too independent of their influence and too open to relations with their regional rival Iran, and the blockade was an attempt to force it to heel.

    The Saudis and Israel accused Qatar of funding “terrorism,” and have taken measures to restrict Al Jazeera or demanded it be shut down altogether over what they perceive as the channel’s anti-Israel and anti-Saudi-monarchy biases.

    The blockade and the diplomatic assault sparked existential fears in Qatar that Saudi-led forces could go as far as to invade and install a more pliant regime in Doha.

    French newspaper Le Monde reported on Friday that the Saudi king has threatened “military action” against Qatar should it go ahead with a planned purchase of a Russian air defense missile system.

    In 2011, Saudi and Emirati forces intervened in Bahrain, another small Gulf nation, at the request of its ruling Khalifa monarchy in order to quell a popular uprising demanding democratic reforms.

    For three years, US and British-backed Saudi and Emirati forces have been waging a bloody and devastating war on Yemen to reimpose a Saudi-backed leadership on the country, clear evidence of their unprecedented readiness to directly use military force to impose their will.

    And no one in the region will have forgotten how quickly Iraqi forces were able to sweep in and take over Kuwait in August 1990.

    Air base
    The lesson of the Kuwait invasion for other small Gulf countries is that only the protection of the United States could guarantee their security from bigger neighbors.

    Qatar implemented that lesson by hosting the largest US military facility in the region, the massive Al Udeid air base.

    The Saudi-led bloc has pushed for the US to withdraw from the base and the Saudi foreign minister predicted that should the Americans pull out of Al Udeid, the regime in Doha would fall “in less than a week.”

    US warplanes operate from the Al Udeid air base near Doha, Qatar, October 2017. US Air Force Photo
    It would be a disaster from the perspective of Doha if the Israel lobby was to put its full weight behind a campaign to pull US forces out of Qatar.

    Earlier this year, an influential member of Congress and a former US defense secretary publicly discussed moving the US base out of Qatar at a conference hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

    FDD is a neoconservative Israel lobby group that happens to be one of the subjects of the undercover Al Jazeera film.

    As The Electronic Intifada revealed in March, FDD is one of the groups acting as an agent of the Israeli government even though it is not registered to do so.

    In July 2017, FDD’s Jonathan Schanzer testified to Congress that it would be an “insane arrangement” to keep US forces at the Al Udeid air base while Qatar continued to support “terror.”

    It will concentrate minds in Doha that FDD was one of the lobby groups most dedicated to destroying the international deal with Iran over its nuclear energy program, a goal effectively achieved when the Trump administration pulled out of it last month.

    In a sign of how vulnerable Qatar feels over the issue, Doha has announced plans to upgrade the Al Udeid base in the hope, as the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes put it, “that the strategic military hub will be counted as one of the Pentagon’s permanent overseas installations.”

    The final straw?
    The cornerstone of Qatar’s effort to win back favor in Washington has been to aggressively compete with its Gulf rivals for the affections of Israel and its Washington lobby.

    Their belief appears to be that this lobby is so influential that winning its support can result in favorable changes to US policy.

    Qatar’s charm offensive has included junkets to Doha for such high-profile Israel supporters as Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and Morton Klein, the head of the Zionist Organization of America who publicly took credit for convincing Qatar’s ruler Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to veto broadcast of the documentary.

    While an all-out Saudi invasion of Qatar over a film series may seem far fetched, the thinking in Doha seems to be that broadcast of The Lobby – USA could be the final straw that antagonizes Qatar’s enemies and exposes it to further danger – especially over Al Udeid.

    With an administration in Washington that is seen as impulsive and unpredictable – it has just launched a trade war against its biggest partners Canada and the European Union – leaders in Doha may see it as foolhardy to take any chances.

    If that is the reason Al Jazeera’s film has been suppressed it is not so much a measure of any real and imminent threat Qatar faces, but rather of how successfully the lobby has convinced Arab rulers, including in Doha, that their well-being and longevity rests on cooperating with, or at least not crossing, Israel and its backers.

    Asa Winstanley is associate editor and Ali Abunimah is executive director of The Electronic Intifada.

    Qatar Al Jazeera The Lobby—USA Al Udeid air base Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani Donald Trump Jared Kushner Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Bahrain Iran Kuwait Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Jonathan Schanzer Morton Klein Alan Dershowitz Zionist Organization of America

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    Asa Winstanley 31 May 2018

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  • In Britain, Austerity Is Changing Everything - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/28/world/europe/uk-austerity-poverty.html


    #austérité #pauvreté

    Britain’s Big Squeeze
    In Britain, Austerity Is Changing Everything

    After eight years of budget cutting, Britain is looking less like the rest of Europe and more like the United States, with a shrinking welfare state and spreading poverty.

    Raised in the Liverpool neighborhood of Croxteth, Emma Wilde has lost the welfare benefits she depended on to support herself and her two children.CreditAndrea Bruce for The New York Times

    By Peter S. Goodman

    May 28, 2018

    PRESCOT, England — A walk through this modest town in the northwest of England amounts to a tour of the casualties of Britain’s age of austerity.

    The old library building has been sold and refashioned into a glass-fronted luxury home. The leisure center has been razed, eliminating the public swimming pool. The local museum has receded into town history. The police station has been shuttered.

    Now, as the local government desperately seeks to turn assets into cash, Browns Field, a lush park in the center of town, may be doomed, too. At a meeting in November, the council included it on a list of 17 parks to sell to developers.

    “Everybody uses this park,” says Jackie Lewis, who raised two children in a red brick house a block away. “This is probably our last piece of community space. It’s been one after the other. You just end up despondent.”

    In the eight years since London began sharply curtailing support for local governments, the borough of Knowsley, a bedroom community of Liverpool, has seen its budget cut roughly in half. Liverpool itself has suffered a nearly two-thirds cut in funding from the national government — its largest source of discretionary revenue. Communities in much of Britain have seen similar losses.

    For a nation with a storied history of public largess, the protracted campaign of budget cutting, started in 2010 by a government led by the Conservative Party, has delivered a monumental shift in British life. A wave of austerity has yielded a country that has grown accustomed to living with less, even as many measures of social well-being — crime rates, opioid addiction, infant mortality, childhood poverty and homelessness — point to a deteriorating quality of life.

    When Ms. Lewis and her husband bought their home a quarter-century ago, Prescot had a comforting village feel. Now, core government relief programs are being cut and public facilities eliminated, adding pressure to public services like police and fire departments, just as they, too, grapple with diminished funding.

    By 2020, reductions already set in motion will produce cuts to British social welfare programs exceeding $36 billion a year compared with a decade earlier, or more than $900 annually for every working-age person in the country, according to a report from the Center for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University. In Liverpool, the losses will reach $1,200 a year per working-age person, the study says.

    “The government has created destitution,” says Barry Kushner, a Labour Party councilman in Liverpool and the cabinet member for children’s services. “Austerity has had nothing to do with economics. It was about getting out from under welfare. It’s about politics abandoning vulnerable people.”

    Conservative Party leaders say that austerity has been driven by nothing more grandiose than arithmetic.

    “It’s the ideology of two plus two equals four,” says Daniel Finkelstein, a Conservative member of the upper chamber of Parliament, the House of Lords, and a columnist for The Times of London. “It wasn’t driven by a desire to reduce spending on public services. It was driven by the fact that we had a vast deficit problem, and the debt was going to keep growing.”

    Whatever the operative thinking, austerity’s manifestations are palpable and omnipresent. It has refashioned British society, making it less like the rest of Western Europe, with its generous social safety nets and egalitarian ethos, and more like the United States, where millions lack health care and job loss can set off a precipitous plunge in fortunes.

    Much as the United States took the Great Depression of the 1930s as impetus to construct a national pension system while eventually delivering health care for the elderly and the poor, Britain reacted to the trauma of World War II by forging its own welfare state. The United States has steadily reduced benefits since the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s. Britain rolled back its programs in the same era, under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher. Still, its safety net remained robust by world standards.

    Then came the global financial panic of 2008 — the most crippling economic downturn since the Great Depression. Britain’s turn from its welfare state in the face of yawning budget deficits is a conspicuous indicator that the world has been refashioned by the crisis.

    As the global economy now negotiates a wrenching transition — with itinerant jobs replacing full-time positions and robots substituting for human labor — Britain’s experience provokes doubts about the durability of the traditional welfare model. As Western-style capitalism confronts profound questions about economic justice, vulnerable people appear to be growing more so.

    Conservative Party leaders initially sold budget cuts as a virtue, ushering in what they called the Big Society. Diminish the role of a bloated government bureaucracy, they contended, and grass-roots organizations, charities and private companies would step to the fore, reviving communities and delivering public services more efficiently.

    To a degree, a spirit of voluntarism materialized. At public libraries, volunteers now outnumber paid staff. In struggling communities, residents have formed food banks while distributing hand-me-down school uniforms. But to many in Britain, this is akin to setting your house on fire and then reveling in the community spirit as neighbors come running to help extinguish the blaze.

    Most view the Big Society as another piece of political sloganeering — long since ditched by the Conservatives — that served as justification for an austerity program that has advanced the refashioning unleashed in the 1980s by Mrs. Thatcher.

    “We are making cuts that I think Margaret Thatcher, back in the 1980s, could only have dreamt of,” Greg Barker said in a speech in 2011, when he was a Conservative member of Parliament.

    A backlash ensued, with public recognition that budget cuts came with tax relief for corporations, and that the extensive ranks of the wealthy were little disturbed.

    Britain hasn’t endured austerity to the same degree as Greece, where cutbacks were swift and draconian. Instead, British austerity has been a slow bleed, though the cumulative toll has been substantial.

    Local governments have suffered a roughly one-fifth plunge in revenue since 2010, after adding taxes they collect, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London.

    Nationally, spending on police forces has dropped 17 percent since 2010, while the number of police officers has dropped 14 percent, according to an analysis by the Institute for Government. Spending on road maintenance has shrunk more than one-fourth, while support for libraries has fallen nearly a third.

    The national court system has eliminated nearly a third of its staff. Spending on prisons has plunged more than a fifth, with violent assaults on prison guards more than doubling. The number of elderly people receiving government-furnished care that enables them to remain in their homes has fallen by roughly a quarter.

    In an alternate reality, this nasty stretch of history might now be ending. Austerity measures were imposed in the name of eliminating budget deficits, and last year Britain finally produced a modest budget surplus.

    But the reality at hand is dominated by worries that Britain’s pending departure from the European Union — Brexit, as it is known — will depress growth for years to come. Though every major economy on earth has been expanding lately, Britain’s barely grew during the first three months of 2018. The unemployment rate sits just above 4 percent — its lowest level since 1975 — yet most wages remain lower than a decade ago, after accounting for rising prices.

    In the blue-collar reaches of northern England, in places like Liverpool, modern history tends to be told in the cadence of lamentation, as the story of one indignity after another. In these communities, Mrs. Thatcher’s name is an epithet, and austerity is the latest villain: London bankers concocted a financial crisis, multiplying their wealth through reckless gambling; then London politicians used budget deficits as an excuse to cut spending on the poor while handing tax cuts to corporations. Robin Hood, reversed.

    “It’s clearly an attack on our class,” says Dave Kelly, a retired bricklayer in the town of Kirkby, on the outskirts of Liverpool, where many factories sit empty, broken monuments to another age. “It’s an attack on who we are. The whole fabric of society is breaking down.”

    As much as any city, Liverpool has seen sweeping changes in its economic fortunes.

    In the 17th century, the city enriched itself on human misery. Local shipping companies sent vessels to West Africa, transporting slaves to the American colonies and returning bearing the fruits of bondage — cotton and tobacco, principally.

    The cotton fed the mills of Manchester nearby, yielding textiles destined for multiple continents. By the late 19th century, Liverpool’s port had become the gateway to the British Empire, its status underscored by the shipping company headquarters lining the River Mersey.

    By the next century — through the Great Depression and the German bombardment of World War II — Liverpool had descended into seemingly terminal decline. Its hard luck, blue-collar station was central to the identity of its most famous export, the Beatles, whose star power seemed enhanced by the fact such talent could emerge from such a place.

    Today, more than a quarter of Liverpool’s roughly 460,000 residents are officially poor, making austerity traumatic: Public institutions charged with aiding vulnerable people are themselves straining from cutbacks.

    Over the past eight years, the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, which serves greater Liverpool, has closed five fire stations while cutting the force to 620 firefighters from about 1,000.

    “I’ve had to preside over the systematic dismantling of the system,” says the fire chief, Dan Stephens.

    His department recently analyzed the 83 deaths that occurred in accidental house fires from 2007 to 2017. The majority of the victims — 51 people — lived alone and were alone at the time of the deadly fire. Nineteen of those 51 were in need of some form of home care.

    The loss of home care — a casualty of austerity — has meant that more older people are being left alone unattended.

    Virtually every public agency now struggles to do more with less while attending to additional problems once handled by some other outfit whose budget is also in tatters.

    Chief Stephens said people losing cash benefits are falling behind on their electric bills and losing service, resorting to candles for light — a major fire risk.

    The city has cut mental health services, so fewer staff members are visiting people prone to hoarding newspapers, for instance, leaving veritable bonfires piling up behind doors, unseen.

    “There are knock-on effects all the way through the system,” says Chief Stephens, who recently announced plans to resign and move to Australia.

    The National Health Service has supposedly been spared from budget cuts. But spending has been frozen in many areas, resulting in cuts per patient. At public hospitals, people have grown resigned to waiting for hours for emergency care, and weeks for referrals to specialists.

    “I think the government wants to run it down so the whole thing crumbles and they don’t have to worry about it anymore,” says Kenneth Buckle, a retired postal worker who has been waiting three months for a referral for a double knee replacement. “Everything takes forever now.”

    At Fulwood Green Medical Center in Liverpool, Dr. Simon Bowers, a general practitioner, points to austerity as an aggravating factor in the flow of stress-related maladies he encounters — high blood pressure, heart problems, sleeplessness, anxiety.

    He argues that the cuts, and the deterioration of the National Health Service, represent a renouncement of Britain’s historical debts. He rattles off the lowlights — the slave trave, colonial barbarity.

    “We as a country said, ‘We have been cruel. Let’s be nice now and look after everyone,’” Dr. Bowers says. “The N.H.S. has everyone’s back. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are. It’s written into the psyche of this country.”

    “Austerity isn’t a necessity,” he continued. “It’s a political choice, to move Britain in a different way. I can’t see a rationale beyond further enriching the rich while making the lives of the poor more miserable.”

    Wealthy Britons remain among the world’s most comfortable people, enjoying lavish homes, private medical care, top-notch schools and restaurants run by chefs from Paris and Tokyo. The poor, the elderly, the disabled and the jobless are increasingly prone to Kafka-esque tangles with the bureaucracy to keep public support.

    For Emma Wilde, a 31-year-old single mother, the misadventure began with an inscrutable piece of correspondence.

    Raised in the Liverpool neighborhood of Croxteth, Ms. Wilde has depended on welfare benefits to support herself and her two children. Her father, a retired window washer, is disabled. She has been taking care of him full time, relying on a so-called caregiver’s allowance, which amounts to about $85 a week, and income support reaching about $145 a month.

    The letter put this money in jeopardy.

    Sent by a private firm contracted to manage part of the government’s welfare programs, it informed Ms. Wilde that she was being investigated for fraud, accused of living with a partner — a development she is obliged to have reported.

    Ms. Wilde lives only with her children, she insists. But while the investigation proceeds, her benefits are suspended.

    Eight weeks after the money ceased, Ms. Wilde’s electricity was shut off for nonpayment. During the late winter, she and her children went to bed before 7 p.m. to save on heat. She has swallowed her pride and visited a food bank at a local church, bringing home bread and hamburger patties.

    “I felt a bit ashamed, like I had done something wrong, ” Ms. Wilde says. “But then you’ve got to feed the kids.”

    She has been corresponding with the Department for Work and Pensions, mailing bank statements to try to prove her limited income and to restore her funds.

    The experience has given her a perverse sense of community. At the local center where she brings her children for free meals, she has met people who lost their unemployment benefits after their bus was late and they missed an appointment with a caseworker. She and her friends exchange tips on where to secure hand-me-down clothes.

    “Everyone is in the same situation now,” Ms. Wilde says. “You just don’t have enough to live on.”

    From its inception, austerity carried a whiff of moral righteousness, as if those who delivered it were sober-minded grown-ups. Belt tightening was sold as a shared undertaking, an unpleasant yet unavoidable reckoning with dangerous budget deficits.

    “The truth is that the country was living beyond its means,” the then-chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, declared in outlining his budget to Parliament in 2010. “Today, we have paid the debts of a failed past, and laid the foundations for a more prosperous future.”

    “Prosperity for all,” he added.

    Eight years later, housing subsidies have been restricted, along with tax credits for poor families. The government has frozen unemployment and disability benefits even as costs of food and other necessities have climbed. Over the last five years, the government has begun transitioning to so-called Universal Credit, giving those who receive benefits lump sum payments in place of funds from individual programs. Many have lost support for weeks or months while their cases have shifted to the new system.

    All of which is unfortunate yet inescapable, assert Conservative lawmakers. The government was borrowing roughly one-fourth of what it was spending. To put off cuts was to risk turning Britain into the next Greece.

    “The hard left has never been very clear about what their alternative to the program was,” says Neil O’Brien, a Conservative lawmaker who was previously a Treasury adviser to Mr. Osborne. “Presumably, it would be some enormous increase in taxation, but they are a bit shy about what that would mean.”

    He rejects the notion that austerity is a means of class warfare, noting that wealthy people have been hit with higher taxes on investment and expanded fees when buying luxury properties.

    Britain spends roughly the same portion of its national income on public spending today as it did a decade ago, said Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

    But those dependent on state support express a sense that the system has been rigged to discard them.

    Glendys Perry, 61, was born with cerebral palsy, making it difficult for her to walk. For three decades, she answered the phones at an auto parts company. After she lost that job in 2010, she lived on a disability check.

    Last summer, a letter came, summoning her to “an assessment.” The first question dispatched any notion that this was a sincere exploration.

    “How long have you had cerebral palsy?” (From birth.) “Will it get better?” (No.)

    In fact, her bones were weakening, and she fell often. Her hands were not quick enough to catch her body, resulting in bruises to her face.

    The man handling the assessment seemed uninterested.

    “Can you walk from here to there?” he asked her.

    He dropped a pen on the floor and commanded her to pick it up — a test of her dexterity.

    “How did you come here?” he asked her.

    “By bus,” she replied.

    Can you make a cup of tea? Can you get dressed?

    “I thought, ‘I’m physically disabled,’” she says. “‘Not mentally.’”

    When the letter came informing her that she was no longer entitled to her disability payment — that she had been deemed fit for work — she was not surprised.

    “They want you to be off of benefits,” she says. “I think they were just ticking boxes.”

    The political architecture of Britain insulates those imposing austerity from the wrath of those on the receiving end. London makes the aggregate cuts, while leaving to local politicians the messy work of allocating the pain.

    Spend a morning with the aggrieved residents of Prescot and one hears scant mention of London, or even austerity. People train their fury on the Knowsley Council, and especially on the man who was until recently its leader, Andy Moorhead. They accuse him of hastily concocting plans to sell Browns Field without community consultation.

    Mr. Moorhead, 62, seems an unlikely figure for the role of austerity villain. A career member of the Labour Party, he has the everyday bearing of a genial denizen of the corner pub.

    “I didn’t become a politician to take things off of people,” he says. “But you’ve got the reality to deal with.”

    The reality is that London is phasing out grants to local governments, forcing councils to live on housing and business taxes.

    “Austerity is here to stay,” says Jonathan Davies, director of the Center for Urban Research on Austerity at De Montfort University in Leicester, England. “What we might now see over the next two years is a wave of bankruptcies, like Detroit.”

    Indeed, the council of Northamptonshire, in the center of England, recently became the first local government in nearly two decades to meet that fate.

    Knowsley expects to spend $192 million in the next budget year, Mr. Moorhead says, with 60 percent of that absorbed by care for the elderly and services for children with health and developmental needs. An additional 18 percent will be spent on services the council must provide by law, such as garbage collection and highway maintenance.

    To Mr. Moorhead, the equation ends with the imperative to sell valuable land, yielding an endowment to protect remaining parks and services.

    “We’ve got to pursue development,” Mr. Moorhead says. “Locally, I’m the bad guy.”

    The real malefactors are the same as ever, he says.

    He points at a picture of Mrs. Thatcher on the wall behind him. He vents about London bankers, who left his people to clean up their mess.

    “No one should be doing this,” he says. “Not in the fifth-wealthiest country in the whole world. Sacking people, making people redundant, reducing our services for the vulnerable in our society. It’s the worst job in the world.”

    Now, it is someone else’s job. In early May, the local Labour Party ousted Mr. Moorhead as council leader amid mounting anger over the planned sale of parks.


  • New Zealand Steps Up Climate Change Fight With Exploration Ban - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-12/new-zealand-steps-up-climate-change-fight-with-exploration-ban

    New Zealand will stop granting offshore oil and gas exploration permits, saying it is committed to playing its part in tackling climate change.

    The government is taking “an important step to address climate change and create a clean, green and sustainable future for New Zealand,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Thursday in Wellington. It will limit the 2018 offer of exploration permits to onshore acreage in the oil-rich province of Taranaki, she said, adding existing exploration and any future mining permits are unaffected by the decision.

    Ardern came to power last year after her Labour Party and its ally the Greens campaigned on policies to protect the environment, including moving away from a reliance on fossil fuels. Her government plans to plant a billion trees over 10 years and wants to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2035 as it seeks to reduce carbon emissions after signing up to the Paris climate accord.
    […]
    The opposition National Party called the move “economic vandalism.” It will put thousands of jobs at risk and do nothing to tackle climate change because production will simply move elsewhere in the world, the party said.


  • A Plan to Nationalize Fossil-Fuel Companies
    https://jacobinmag.com/2018/03/nationalize-fossil-fuel-companies-climate-change

    ll progressives recognize that climate change is a grave threat that is already causing devastating damage around the world. There is less agreement about what policy options could seriously mitigate its effects.

    One strong option: nationalizing fossil-fuel companies. While hardly discussed in the US, this ambitious approach is being proposed by the Labour Party in the UK and is already in place in Norway. It would work just as well in the US.


  • Conservative Lawmaker Who Attacked Corbyn over Yemen Received Luxury Paid Trip from Saudi Arabia
    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=21329

    When the United Kingdom’s leftist opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn criticized the government for supporting a catastrophic Saudi war on Yemen and welcoming the Saudi crown prince to London, he was attacked by a pro-Saudi Conservative member of Parliament, who claimed the Labour Party chief is "so poorly informed on Saudi and Yemen."

    What this right-wing lawmaker failed to mention is that she previously received thousands of dollars in hospitality expenses from the Saudi regime, while on a luxury junket to meet the Saudi king.

    #vendu.e.s


  • ’We look at them like donkeys’: What Israel’s first ruling party thought about Palestinian citizens -

    Quand Ben Gourion et le parti travailliste israélien (la “gauche”) qualifiaient des Palestiniens d’Israël d’ “ânes” et réfléchissait sur la manière de les expulser

    Israel’s first ruling party, Mapai, was torn about the status of Arabs who remained in the country after the War of Independence; almost 70 years later, the ’Arab question’ has yet to be answered
    By Adam Raz Jan 13, 2018
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.834355

    “The Arab question in Israel” was the term used in the top ranks of Mapai, the ruling party in the young State of Israel – and forerunner of Labor – to encapsulate the complex issue that arose after the War of Independence of 1948-49. In the wake of the fighting, and the armistice agreements that concluded the war, about 156,000 Arabs remained within Israel (out of an estimated 700,000 before the war), accounting for 14 percent of the nascent state’s population. So it was with some justification that Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett stated in a meeting of Mapai Knesset members and the party’s senior leadership, on June 18, 1950, that “this is one of the fundamental questions of our policy and of the future of our country.” He added that the issue was one “that will determine the direction of the country’s morality,” for “our entire moral stature depends on this test – on whether we pass it or not.”
    Almost 70 years later, the “Arab question in Israel” continues to pose a conundrum for politicians when they address the issue of the status of Palestinian citizens of Israel (or, as they are often imprecisely called, “Israeli Arabs”).
    The minutes of the meetings held by Mapai, which are stored in the Labor Party Archive in Beit Berl, outside Kfar Sava, attest to the deep dispute in the party over two conflicting approaches concerning the Arabs in Israel. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and his associates – Moshe Dayan (Israel Defense Forces chief of staff 1953-1958) and Shimon Peres, at the time a senior official in the Defense Ministry – urged a policy of segregation and a hard hand against what he argued was a communal threat to national security; while Sharett and other Mapai leaders – Pinhas Lavon, Zalman Aran, David Hacohen and others – promoted a policy of integration.

    The disagreement between Ben-Gurion and Sharett mirrored the respective approaches held by the two regarding the Arab world in general. Sharett was critical of Ben-Gurion’s policy, which he said, held that “the only language the Arabs understand is force,” and called for an approach that preferred the “matter of peace.” Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, then a Knesset member, and later Israel’s second president (1952-1963), summed up succinctly the alternatives in a meeting of the Mapai MKs several weeks later, on July 9, 1950: “The question is the attitude the state takes toward the minorities. Do we want them to remain in the country, to be integrated in the country, or to get out of the country We declared civic equality irrespective of race difference. Does this refer to a time when there will be no Arabs in the country? If so, it’s fraud.”
    ’Transfer’ option
    The discussions within the party were quite freewheeling, even if speakers frequently expressed concern of leaks to the press, which could have lead to international pressure on Israel to improve the treatment of its Arab citizens. Indeed, the future of the relations between the peoples who inhabited the country demanded weighty political decisions. Among the issues in question: the right to vote, the Absentees’ Property Law, the status of the Arab education system, membership of Arab workers in the Mapai-affiliated Histadrut federation of labor, and more.

    One proposition that arose frequently in the discussions was that of a “transfer” – the expulsion of the Arabs who continued to reside in Israel – a term that some found grating already then. In the June 1950 meeting, Sharett took issue with the allegation, voiced by Ben-Gurion and his supporters, that the Arabs in Israel were a “fifth column.” That was a simplistic assumption, Sharett said, “which needs to be examined.” As he saw it, the fate of the relations between the two peoples depended overwhelmingly on the Jews. “Will we continue to fan the flames?” Sharett asked, or try to douse them? Even though a high-school education was not yet mandatory under law (and the state was not obligated to offer one), a large number of the Jewish youth in the country attended high school, and Sharett thought that the state should establish high schools for the Arabs as well. Israel needs “to guarantee them their cultural minimum,” he added.
    For political reasons, the segregationists tended to ignore the difference between the Arabs living in Israel and those who were left on the other side of the border following the war, many of whom made attempts to “infiltrate” and return to their homes. Sharett took the opposite view: “A distinction must be made between vigorous action against Arab infiltration” and “discrimination against Arabs within the country.”

    David Ben-Gurion. Fritz Cohen / GPO
    Ranking figures such as Sharett and Lavon, who was defense minister in 1954-55, viewed positively a further exodus of Arabs from the country, but only “by peaceful means.” Sharett vehemently objected to the position taken by Dayan, who not only wanted to bring about a situation in which there would be fewer Arabs in Israel, but sought to achieve this through active expulsion. In Sharett’s view, “We must not strive to do this by a wholesale policy of persecution and discrimination.” Sharett spoke of “distinctly unnecessary forms of cruelty, which are tantamount to an indescribable desecration of God’s name.”
    Dayan, notwithstanding the fact that he was serving in the army at the time – as head of Southern Command – participated in Mapai’s political meetings and helped set public policy. He was one of the leaders of the aggressive stance against the country’s Arabs and was against a proposal that they should serve in the army (an idea that came up but was shelved). He opposed granting the Arabs “permanent-citizenship certificates,” opposed compensating those who had been dispossessed of their land, and in fact opposed every constructive action that could contribute to bridge-building between the peoples. “Let’s say that we help them live in the situation they are in today” and no more, he proposed.
    Dayan’s approach remained consistent over the years, and conflicted with the view taken by Sharett and the stream in Mapai that he represented. Speaking in the same June 1950 meeting, Dayan asserted, “I want to say that in my opinion, the policy of this party should be geared to see this public, of 170,000 Arabs, as though their fate has not yet been sealed. I hope that in the years to come there will perhaps be another possibility to implement a transfer of these Arabs from the Land of Israel, and as long as a possibility of this sort is feasible, we should not do anything that conflicts with this.”
    Dayan also objected to Sharett’s proposals to improve the level of education among the country’s Arabs. “It is not in our interest to do that,” he said. “This is not the only question on which the time for a final solution has not yet arrived.”
    Zalman Aran, a future education minister, objected to the military government that had been imposed on Israel’s Arabs at the time of statehood and remained in effect until 1966. Under its terms, Arabs had to be equipped with permits both to work and to travel outside their hometowns, which were also under curfew at night. “As long as we keep them in ghettos,” Aran said, no constructive activity will help. Lavon, too, urged the dismantlement of the military government. In 1955, a few months after resigning as defense minister, he savaged the concept at a meeting in Beit Berl. “The State of Israel cannot solve the question of the Arabs who are in the country by Nazi means,” he stated, adding, “Nazism is Nazism, even if carried out by Jews.”
    Even earlier, Lavon was a sharp critic of the line taken by Dayan and other advocates of transfer. At a meeting of another Mapai leadership forum, on May 21, 1949, he said acidly, “It’s well known that we socialists are the best in the world even when we rob Arabs.” A few months later, on January 1, 1950, in another meeting, he warned, “It is impossible to take action among the Arabs when the policy is one of transfer. It is impossible to work among them if the policy is to oppress Arabs – that prevents concrete action. What is being carried out is a dramatic and brutal suppression of the Arabs in Israel... Transfer is not on the cards. If there is not a war, they will not go. Two-hundred thousand Arabs will be citizens in terms of voting... As the state party, we must set for ourselves a constructive policy in the Arab realm.”
    Back in December 1948, during the discussions on granting the right to vote for the Constituent Assembly – Israel’s first parliamentary institution, which was elected in January 1949, and a month later became the “Israel Knesset” – Ben-Gurion agreed to grant the right to vote to the Arabs who had been in the country when a census was taken, a month earlier. About 37,000 Arabs were registered in the census. The decision to enfranchise them apparently stemmed from party-political considerations. The thinking was that most of them would vote for Mapai.
    This assessment was voiced in the discussions on the Citizenship Law in early 1951, when Ben-Gurion expressed the most assertive opinion. He refused to grant the right to vote to the Arabs who were living in the country lawfully (as Sharett demanded) but who had been elsewhere during the census (because they had fled or had been expelled in the wake of the war); or to those Arabs who resided in the “Triangle” (an area of Arab towns and villages on the Sharon plain), which was annexed to Israel only in April 1949, under the armistice agreement with Jordan. “Is there no country in the world that has two types of citizens in elections [meaning voting and non-voting],” Ben-Gurion asked rhetorically in a meeting of Mapai MKs on February 20, 1951.

    Moshe Dayan. Fritz Cohen / GPO
    In the view of Sharett, who submitted a conflicting draft resolution, it would not be possible to defend “this situation in regard to ourselves and in regard to these Arabs, and in regard to the Arabs in Israel as a whole and in terms of world public opinion. Accordingly, I suggest granting them the right to vote... Discriminate only against the Arabs who entered Israel without permission.”
    Sharett maintained that Ben-Gurion had not given consideration to the root of the problem. “Terrible things” were being done against Arabs in the country, he warned. “Until a Jew is hanged for murdering an Arab for no reason, in cold blood, the Jews will not understand that Arabs are not dogs but human beings.” Sharett’s view carried the day in the vote, and the Arabs in the Triangle voted in the elections.
    In the July 9, 1950, meeting, MK David Hacohen disputed the argument that discrimination against the Arabs and the institution of the military government were essential for the country’s security. Assailing the Absentees’ Property Law – a series of measures that allowed the state to expropriate land and homes abandoned by Palestinians who were displaced during the war, even if they subsequently returned to the country – he said, “I don’t know whether it was clear to us all, when we voted, how grave it is.” He noted that, “According to the law, when an Arab dies, his property does not go to his wife but to the Custodian of Absentees’ Property It is inconceivable for us to declare equality of all citizens and at the same time have a law like this on the books.”
    Apparently, no one took issue with the next comparison Hacohen drew: “These laws that we are coming up with in regard to Israel’s Arab residents cannot even be likened to the laws that were promulgated against the Jews in the Middle Ages, when they were deprived of all rights. After all, this is a total contrast between our declarations and our deeds.”
    A similar approach was voiced during the same meeting by Zalman Aran, who viewed Mapai’s handling of the Arabs as a “process of despair” that must be rejected instead of finding excuses for it.
    “Morally, if we are a movement that does not lie, and we do not want to lie, we are here living a total lie,” he said. “All the books and articles that have been written, and the speeches made internally and for external consumption, are groundless when it comes to implementation. I am not talking about the attitude of individuals in the country toward the Arabs. I am talking about a [policy] line. I reject this line, which has emerged within society and has a thousand-and-one manifestations. I do not accept all the excuses that have been put forward.”
    Taking issue with Dayan’s approach, Aran compared the situation of the Arabs in Israel with the situation of Jews in other countries. “On the basis of what we are doing here to the Arabs, there is no justification for demanding a different attitude toward Jewish minorities in other countries I would be contemptuous of Arabs who would want to form ties with us on the basis of this policy. We would be lying in the [Socialist] Internationale, we are lying to ourselves and we are lying to the nations of the world.”
    Dayan – still an officer in uniform, it must be remembered – objected to the opinions voiced by Hacohen and Aran, and saw no reason to draw a distinction between the Arab public in Israel and Arabs in enemy countries. “I am far more pessimistic about the prospect of viewing these Arabs as loyal,” he countered.

    Moshe Sharett. Frank Scherschel
    Flawed democracy
    During the same period of a decade-plus when Ben-Gurion was premier, a political battle raged in Mapai over the continued existence of the military government. Ben-Gurion persistently defended the military government, which he saw as a “deterrent force” against the Arabs in Israel. In a meeting of the Mapai Secretariat on January 1, 1962, he railed against the “dominant naivete” of those, such as Sharett and Aran, who do not understand the Arabs, and warned of the possible consequences: “There are people living under the illusion that we are like all the nations, that the Arabs are loyal to Israel and that what happened in Algeria cannot happen here.”
    He added, “We view them like donkeys. They don’t care. They accept it with love...” To loosen the reins on the Arabs would be a great danger, he added: “You and your ilk” – those who support the abolition of the military government or making it less stringent – “will be responsible for the perdition of Israel.” A decade earlier, on January 15, 1951, Shmuel Dayan, Moshe Dayan’s father, a Mapai leader and longtime Knesset member, had voiced similar sentiments in a meeting of Mapai MKs. The Arabs, he said, “could be good citizens, but it’s clear that at the moment they become an obstacle, they will constitute a terrible danger.”
    A decade later, Aran offered an opposite assessment of the situation. Speaking at a meeting of the Mapai Secretariat in January 1962, he maintained that it was the military government that “is exacerbating the situation.” He also rejected the Algeria analogy. On the contrary, he thought, the existence of the military government would not delay an Arab uprising but would only spur it. He reiterated his critique of the early 1950s a decade later. He was against a situation in which the Arabs are “second-class” citizens who lack rights like the Jews, and he was critical of both himself and his colleagues: “We accepted this thing, we became accustomed to it... We took it in stride... It’s hard to swallow... No Arab in the State of Israel is able, needs to, is capable of – whatever you give him economically, educationally – accepting that he is a second-class citizen in this country. I think that the world does not know the true situation. If it did, it would not let us keep going on this way.”
    Already then, Finance Minister Levi Eshkol, under whose term as prime minister the military government would be abolished, foresaw the dire consequences: “It would not surprise me if something new suddenly emerges, that people will not want to rent a stable – or a room – to an Arab in some locale, which is the [logical] continuation of this situation. Will we be able to bear that?”
    One person who was not impressed by such arguments was the deputy defense minister, Shimon Peres. In a Mapai Secretariat meeting on January 5, 1962, he maintained that in practice, the military government “is not a strain on the Arabs.” The military government, he added, was [effectively] created by the Arabs, “who endanger Israel and as long as that danger exists, we must meet it with understanding.” In contrast, Isser Harel, head of the Shin Bet security service (1948-1952) and the Mossad (1952-1963), stated in 1966, days after resigning as Eshkol’s adviser for intelligence and security, that “the military government is not a security necessity, and therefore there is no need for its existence. The army should not be dealing with the Arab citizens. That is a flaw in terms of our democracy” (quoted in the daily Maariv, July 10, 1966). That had been the view of the security hawks, including Yigal Allon, since the early 1950s.
    Over the years, it was claimed that the military government had served as a tool in Mapai’s hands for reinforcing its rule, both by giving out jobs and by distributing benefits, and also by intervening in election campaigns through the creation of Arab factions within existing parties that were convenient for the ruling party (and suppressing opponents on the other side). This is not the venue to discuss that allegation – for which evidence exists – but it’s worth noting one of the motifs of the hard-hand policy, which preserved the segregation between Arabs and Jews, as expressed candidly by Ben-Gurion in the meeting of the Mapai Secretariat on January 5, 1962: “The moment that the difference between Jews and Arabs is eliminated, and they are at the same level If on that day there does not exist a regime in a world where there are no more wars, I do not have the shadow of a doubt that Israel will be eradicated and no trace will remain of the Jewish people.”

    Adam Raz
    Haaretz Contributor


  • Labor hopeful says Israel should ’kick out’ Palestinians in future war |

    Departing from his party’s long-held dovish stances, former IDF general Amiram Levin urges expansion of settlements, says Israel was ’too nice’ in the Six Day War

    By RAOUL WOOTLIFF

    The Times of Israel
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/labor-hopeful-says-israel-should-kick-out-palestinians-in-future-war

    Appearing to call for ethnic cleansing, a retired IDF general seeking to become a key figure in the left-leaning Labor party said that if the Palestinians continue to violate their agreements with Israel, the military should “tear them apart” in a future war and forcibly transfer them to “the other side of the Jordan River.”

    Amiram Levin criticized longstanding left-wing policies, espoused the expansion of Jewish settlements and called for the rejection of the 1967 borders, in excerpts published Wednesday from an interview with the Maariv daily set to appear on Friday.

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    “The Palestinians caused the occupation. They didn’t accept the borders of the partition plan [after the 1948 War of Independence], and they started the war [of 1967]. We were right to take Judea and Samaria,” he said, referring to the West Bank.

    “We need to engage in tough negotiations that do not take us back to the ’67 borders,” Levin said of Israel’s pre-Six Day War borders, which negotiators have generally agreed will form the basis for partitioning the land under a future peace agreement.

    “We will give [the Palestinians] a carrot in the form of a state, and if they don’t want it, we will tear them apart,” he said. “I have said many times in the past that next time we have a war, they will no longer remain here, we will kick them out to the other side of the Jordan River. That’s how we need to fight. We were too nice in ’67.”

    Levin ran an aborted campaign in July’s Labor leadership race, and has since been touted as one of the party’s security experts by new leader Avi Gabbay. In a sign of his unofficial status in the party, last month Levin escorted Gabbay on a trip with Labor lawmakers to the Gaza border.