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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

A Jewish, Settler Colonial, State Can Only be a Racist State


Israel is the only Jewish State in the World – it is also the only Apartheid State in the World

One of the most familiar Zionist refrains is that Israel is ‘the only Jewish state in the world’.  This is a last ditch defence of Israel. However bad Israel might be, whatever it does, it is the only thing that Jews in the world have. It is therefore important to understand why a Jewish state, in a settler colonial context, must be a racist state.
Demonstration in Afula against selling homes to Arabs
In Britain for example if individuals were to campaign to exclude Black or Muslim people from living in a town they would be charged with incitement to racial hatred. The state, even though it is racist, as the appalling treatment of the Windrush people demonstrates, is also committed to a formal legal and political equality.
That was the legacy of the Scarman Inquiry in the early 1980’s, set up as a result of the inner city riots. It was realised that the existing level of police racism and violence and the fascist violence of organisations such as the National Front could no longer be tolerated if British society were not to be torn apart.
Killing a sea-turtle will get you a heavier sentence than killing a Palestinian in Israel
In Israel it is different.  It is the State itself which is responsible for implementing and reinforcing the already existing level of racism.  It is the State which, for example, sponsors and works with the the Jewish National Fund, the Zionist organisation which openly refuses to allocate land for the use of Israeli Palestinians.
Israel is a Jewish supremacist state. In Israel being Jewish means you are entitled to privileges that non-Jews don’t receive whereas in Iran or Saudi Arabia being a Muslim give you privileges.  A Muslim state merely legitimises its repression through the use of Islam.
The British state is formally Christian. The Irish Republic is Catholic, albeit not much of one after the votes legalising gay marriage and abortion. However the difference is that the rights and privileges of non-Christians is not dependent on their religion.
The Zionists argue, if you are opposed to Jews having just one Jewish state then that is anti-Semitic. There is however a gaping hole in this ‘logic’.  The primary reason for opposition to a ‘Jewish’ state is not that it is Jewish but that it is discriminatory.
In Britain there is no Christian National Fund which owns or controls 93% of the land. No one says to me, sorry you cannot rent or buy a property or live in a particular area because you aren’t Christian. But in Israel, if you are not Jewish, then your right to live anywhere you want is severely restricted.  93% of the land is owned or controlled by the JNF whose constitution reserves the land it owns to Jews only.
In Israel over 400 towns or villages bar non-Jews from living in them.  As the report from Afula demonstrates, when Arabs bid for houses in a ‘Jewish’ area or actually manage to buy a property there then it causes mass demonstrations of Jewish residents.
In the good old days when Israeli Labour welcomed their fellow apartheid politicians from South Africa
In Israel there is no Group Area Act or petty apartheid as used to be the case in South Africa, there are no signs barring Palestinians from certain areas but nonetheless there is a residential apartheid in Israel which is just as effective as that in Apartheid South Africa.
In 2014 the Knesset passed a Receptions Committee Law with the express purpose of allowing Israeli Jewish villages to bar Arabs and anyone else they didn’t like.  This decision was upheld by 5-4 in the Supreme Court. High Court Upholds Residential Screening Law, Enabling Jewish Villages to Keep Arabs Out  
The law didn’t specifically state that Arabs could be barred but that was the motive. In so doing the Court retreated from its own decision in 2000 when it ruled, in the Ka’adan case, that an Arab couple could not be refused the right to buy property because they were not Jewish.
Israeli soldiers firing tear gas at demonstrators
In the Jewish Nation State bill which is making its way onto the Statute Book there is a provision which explicitly allows for the creation of Jewish only communities. As Ayelet Shaked, the ‘Justice Minister’ explained: “There is place to maintain a Jewish majority even at the price of violation of rights.” ‘Shaked referred to Ka’adan and said regarding “the argument over whether it’s all right for a Jewish community to, by definition, be only Jewish, I want the answer to be ‘yes, it’s all right.’
In 70 years in Israel, despite a tenfold increase in the Arab population not one new Arab town or village has been created. Arabs are confined to about 3% of the land despite being 20% of the population.
Opinion polls demonstrate the racist nature of the Israeli state as reflected in the opinions of ordinary Israelis. An article ‘Marriage to an Arab is national treason’ (27.3. 07) revealed that over half of the Jewish population in Israel believes the marriage of a Jewish woman to an Arab man is equal to national treason. Note it is not a religious offence but it is seen as treasonous towards the (Jewish) nation.
Over 75 percent of participants did not approve of apartment buildings being shared between Arabs and Jews. Sixty percent of participants said they would not allow an Arab to visit their home. About 40 percent of participants agreed that “Arabs should have their right to vote for Knesset revoked”. The number was 55 percent lower in the previous survey. Also, over half of the participants agreed that Israel should encourage its Arab citizens to emigrate. Over half of the participants said they would not want to work under the direct management of an Arab, and 55 percent said “Arabs and Jews should be separated at entertainment sites”. Over 56 percent of participants said they believed that Israel’s Arab citizens posed both a security and a demographic threat to the country.
These results have been repeated subsequently.  For example in the Pew Research Centre’s Israel’s Religiously Divided Society in 2016 48% of Jews say all Arabs should be expelled from the country, compared to 46% who are opposed.
A Jewish State established by settler colonialism cannot be other than racist.  That is the truth that racist hypocrites like Emily Thornberry refuse to see.
I am copying below articles that illustrate the depths of racism in the ‘Jewish’ state and why it is qualitatively different to normal western capitalist states. This is important to understand.  Israel is not a ‘normal capitalist state.  Its political economy and social relations are distorted by its settler colonial nature.
1.      The first article Ignoring Racism in Afula is about two days of demonstrations in the Jewish town of Afula in Northern Israel.  They are demonstrations by 150 Jewish residents against the sale of a house to an Arab.  “The residents of Afula don’t want a mixed city, but rather a Jewish city, and it’s their right,” explained Avi Elkabetz, a former Mayor who is running for the position again. There has been no condemnation of this by Netanyahu or indeed the Opposition parties.  Such things are taken for granted in the ‘only democracy in the Middle East. Neither Elkabetz nor any of the demonstrators were arrested or charged.  Contrast this with the Israeli Palestinian poet Nadeen Tatour, who was arrested and charged in October 2015 and spent several months in prison before being held under strict conditions of house arrest.  She has just been convicted of “inciting violence and supporting a terrorist organisation over comments she made on social media.”. The Israeli state is seeking to gaol her for having written a poem which included the lines “Resist, My People, Resist Them”.
Miki Zohar, Israeli MK and expert on Jewish Race
2.   The second article, Israeli lawmaker proclaims supremacy of ‘Jewish race’ concerns the comments of Miki Zohar, a Likud member of the Knesset. Zohar was explaining why it was that, despite the clear evidence of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s corruption, such as accepting hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of the best champagne and cigars, Israeli Jews are unconcerned. The ability of Netanyahu to play the race card is such that everything else is secondary.  Zohar’s explanation? The ‘Jewish race’ is so superior to everyone else in the world that they can see through the Israeli Police case against Netanyahu! 
3.    The third case, the killing or rather murder of Samir Awad, a child of 15 from the village of Budrus, is truly shocking. Two soldiers, known only by their initials A.G. and A.D, caught Samir trying to cross a forbidden fence circling the village.  First they shot him in the thigh and got hold of him but the little devil escaped from their clutches and so. as he was running, they shot him in the back and in the neck.
No doubt, like me, you will be wondering why A.G. and A.D were ever charged and the answer is because of the interference of the B’tselem human rights organisation. For over two years, the soldiers had hanging over them the charge of committing “an act of haste and negligence”. Outrageous I’m sure you will agree as it is clear that this young scamp, had he grown up, would have become a terrorist.
4.    The fourth case concerns a swimming pool in Mabu'im in Israel’s south.  At the swimming pool in question, there is strict separation between Bedouin and Israeli Jews. When the Jews want to use the pool, which is most of the week, the Bedouin can’t use it and when the Bedouin are able to use the pool Jews are banned. In other words there is complete equality. Only malevolent and malicious troublemakers would wish to upset this arrangement. It is cultural self-determination. Each group prefers to be amongst its own and only a handful of leftists could possibly object.
The Board of Deputies, which is always concerned about 'antisemitism' harbours a number of vile Islamaphobes
Roslyn Pine's manifesto when she stood for Vice President of the Board of Deputies
5.    The next story concerns Roslyn Pine of the Board of Deputies who described Muslims as “the vilest of animals” and Arabs in similar terms.  I am sure you will agree that Ms Pine, although she might be considered a tad controversial, is entitled in a free society to express her opinions.  Only leftist troublemakers and anti-Semites could possibly object to her expressing her opinion.
The fact that the Board of Deputies has been leading the charge against Corbyn’s ‘anti-Semitism’ is completely irrelevant. There is no comparison between anti-Semitism, which as we all know is the world’s longest hatred and calling Muslims ‘animals’ when we all know that most Muslims are only waiting for the chance to become martyrs in the global jihad.


Roslyn Pine's opposition to 'antisemitism' doesn't extend to Muslims
However I am sure that you will all be pleased to hear one piece of good news from Israel. The Times of Israel reports that a man was sentenced to 10 months for stabbing a rare sea turtle, killing the blighter.  This is one more month than Elor Azaria received for murdering Abed al Fatah a-Sharif, a wounded Palestinian who was lying unconscious on the road. Yes I hear you say, how disgraceful that the turtle killer received one more month in prison than an Arab killer.  Don’t they know that, according to the Deputy Defence Minister Eli Dahan Palestinians are animals? New deputy defense minister called Palestinians ‘animals’ What possible justification is there for having given Azaria only 1 month less than the turtle killer? The turtle in question was very rare .  Palestinians by way of contrast are only too numerous.  Clearly the Israeli justice system leaves a lot to be desire!

Ignoring Racism in Afula

Netanyahu and his fellow cabinet members promote racist laws whose sole purpose is to give this superiority the force of law
Haaretz Editorial, Jun 18, 2018
Some 150 Afula residents, including former Mayor Avi Alkabetz, who is running for the position again, and Acting Mayor Shlomo Malihi, demonstrated Wednesday against the sale of a home in the city to an Arab family. “The residents of Afula don’t want a mixed city, but rather a Jewish city, and it’s their right,” explained Elkabetz, adding, “That’s not racism.”
If that isn’t racism, then what is? In Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel, which translated the Zionist vision of a national home for the Jewish people into an ultranationalist project of Jewish supremacy, it is easy to get confused. Racism and ethnic superiority have acquired legitimacy, and Netanyahu and his fellow cabinet members promote racist laws whose sole purpose is to give this superiority the force of law. Theoretically, if we’re talking about the kind of Jewish state the right talks about, why resist Afula’s desire to be a Jewish city?
As long as such racist behavior gets by without provoking determined opposition, public condemnation and vocal criticism, it will increase and become legitimate and transparent. The opposition to the right-wing government has an important role to play here. It must draw red lines and mold the public discussion  in accordance with its worldview. Why weren’t Zionist Union Chairman Avi Gabbay, Meretz Chairwoman Tamar Zandberg and even Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid in Afula leading an anti-racism counterdemonstration? Why didn’t they express support for the sale of the home to an Arab family?
This is a critical ethical question with far-reaching political implications. The right, as it is reflected in the most ultranationalist government in Israel’s history, draws its power in part from a blatantly racist, anti-Arab base. Netanyahu himself appealed to his potential voters in the last election by warning that “Arabs are coming to the polls in droves.”
The left must recognize that its main purpose is to erase racism and represent a sane, enlightened alternative to the moral darkness into which Netanyahu is leading Israel. Otherwise the left will never be reawakened and it will be wiped off the political map.
Israel expects foreign governments to take expressions of anti-Semitism within their borders seriously and to publicly denounce it. In Israel, in contrast, expressions of hatred for Arabs are met with total indifference at best or encouragement at worst. To our great shame, we cannot expect the government to denounce such ugly behavior, since the right itself spreads hatred and racism and benefits from them in elections. But if the protest in Afula failed to bring opposition leaders, who claim to champion equality and human dignity, to the streets, then who needs them?
The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.  See also:

Dozens of Israelis Demonstrate Against Home Sale to Arab Family for Second Straight Day

Israeli lawmaker proclaims supremacy of ‘Jewish race’

Likud's MK Miki Zohar says Jews are the smartest in the world, so know Netanyahu isn't corrupt

Stuart Winer13 June 2018
Likud MK Miki Zohar speaks during an Interior Affairs Committee meeting at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, February 20, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A lawmaker from the ruling Likud party said Wednesday that the “Jewish race” is the smartest in the world and possessing of the “highest human capital,” which is why, he said, the Israeli public did not buy into the allegations of wrongdoing by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
MK Miki Zohar made the comments during a radio debate with veteran political journalist Dan Margalit about the corruption investigations in which Netanyahu is either a suspect or has given testimony.
Ahma Tibi notes the similarity between Jewish race specialists and Nazi race specialists
His assertions led to a Twitter spat with Joint (Arab) List party MK Ahmad Tibi, who noted Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews as a race during the Holocaust.
Citing recent opinion polls that show Netanyahu enjoying strong support despite being a suspect in three graft investigations, Zohar argued that the media focus on the probes has not convinced the Israeli public that the prime minister is unsuited to lead the country.
“I can tell you something very basic,” Zohar said during the Radio 103FM debate. “You can’t fool the Jews, no matter what is the media writes. The public in Israel is a public that belongs to the Jewish race, and the entire Jewish race is the highest human capital, the smartest, the most comprehending. The public knows what the prime minister is doing for the country and how excellent he is at his job.”
Tibi, in response, tweeted a picture of Zohar with the message: “An elected official in ‘the Jewish state’ presents: race theory.”
Tibi, whose party and its members have often raised ire among their Jewish colleagues with their open support for the Palestinian cause, followed that tweet up with a photo of himself reading Amos Elon’s book “The Pity of It All,” which examines how the Holocaust brought an end to German-Jewish culture.
Zohar tweeted back: “And on the back cover there is a photo of Albert Einstein, another Jew who brought great news to the world.”
What’s the connection between you and Einstein?” Tibi rejoined. “It isn’t even a relative relationship.”
In a follow-up interview with Hadashot TV news, Zohar at first denied that he had spoken about the supremacy of the “Jewish race,” but, presented with a recording of his earlier comments, doubled down and reiterated: “The Jewish people and the Jewish race are of the highest human capital that exists.”
What can you do? We were blessed by God… and I will continue to say that at every opportunity,” he said. “I don’t have to be ashamed about the Jewish people being the Chosen People; the smartest, most special people in the world.”
Zohar cited the many innovations and discoveries made by Jews, and said that Israel had achieved more in its 70-year span than some peoples had in thousands of years.
“You can understand why we usually win a lot of Nobel Prizes,” he said.

Killing a Child Is 'Not Right', but Not Wrong Enough for an Indictment

Israeli prosecutors concluded that the two soldiers acted properly when they shot and killed an unarmed teenager 10 meters away as he ran away from them

Gideon Levy, Jun 14, 2018 4:57 AM
 
Opinion
Palestinian and Israeli activists flee tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers during a demonstration against Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank, on November 17, 2016. Majdi Mohammed/AP
A.G. and A.D. presumably celebrated. Maybe they raised a toast with their lawyers at some fashionable pub, or perhaps they just basked in the good news with their families. It was the relief of their lives. The poor souls’ nightmare is over. How they harassed them when the teenager was killed, but all’s well that ends well: The central district prosecution decided last week to withdraw the indictment against them, two-and-a-half years after it was filed.
True, it was sickeningly ridiculous that they were charged with “an act of haste and negligence” for shooting an unarmed, already wounded teenager in the back as he was running or his life. Still, it was an indictment, which itself was only filed after the deceased’s family and B’Tselem petitioned the High Court of Justice.
For a moment it seemed as if the two would be given a suspended sentence of maybe a day, or even a one-penny fine for killing a boy who had not yet turned 16, even though he didn’t pose any danger or threat to them. But even this faint hope for a remnant of delayed and symbolic justice – for even the faintest likeness of justice – was dashed, and what could be more predictable than that?
The indictment was withdrawn. A.G. and A.D. acted properly when they shot an unarmed teenager from a range of 10 meters as he ran from them. They violated nothing. Their act of killing wasn’t even hasty or negligent. They are good soldiers, excellent ones, even though the day after the killing a senior officer said, “Something that wasn’t right happened there.” Not right, but apparently not wrong enough. So go ahead, dear soldiers; continue to kill Palestinian teenagers who don’t endanger you. You can even kill them as they run away, because no harm will come to you.
A.G. and A.D. were a platoon commander and a soldier from the 71st Battalion of the Armored Corps. They shot from behind and killed Samir Awad, who tried to cross the fence that constricts his village, as he ran from an ambush the soldiers had set up in the prickly-pear bushes. They shot him in the back and will never be punished for their act. They shot him in the leg first, and after he fell wounded and got back on his feet they managed to grab him by the arm, but he got away from them. Then they shot him twice from behind, a bullet to the back of his neck and a bullet in his back, killing him. So now they can calmly fly off to India or Costa Rica for their post-army trip – perhaps they’ve already done so – and forget everything. But the home of the boy they killed in Budrus will never be the same again.
It was winter 2013, the last day before the semester break. The science exam was over, and the pupils left the school, located around 200 meters from the fence. Six of them came down the hill, for their usual test of courage – crossing the fence. It was Munir, Hosni, Muhammad, Saher, Musa and Samir.
The first five sensed danger and decided to back off. Samir chose to continue. He did not know that six soldiers lurked among the cactuses. He crossed an old hole in the inner fence and was caught in the space between two fences. Then the soldiers of the brave Reshef battalion emerged from their hiding places and shot in the air. Samir was scared to death and tried to retrace his steps. His legs got tangled in the brambles. They shot him in the thigh. He managed to extract himself and began to run, wounded, back toward the village. They shot him twice more from behind. The indictment that was annulled detailed the serious deviations from the rules of engagement.
When I came to the village the day after the killing, Samir’s blood was still smeared on the rocks. Here the soldiers hid, and here he was caught between two fences and here’s where they shot him. The picture was clear, the facts decisive. After two and a half years of intensive investigation it emerged that there was no evidence. In the interim, Israeli soldiers also killed Lafi Awad, in the same place, the same way. Why not? The two graves are next to each other, and the two killers are already someplace else.

End Separation of Jews and Bedouin at Pool in Israel's South, Lawmakers Tell AG

MKs say the practice, which is unofficial but familiar to residents, 'has no place in a democratic state'
Almog Ben Zikri, Jun 19, 2018 6:43 PM
The entrance to the pool, Mabu'im, June 17, 2018. Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Knesset members from both the opposition and the ruling coalition called on the attorney general Tuesday to work toward ending the separation between Bedouin and Jews at a public swimming pool in southern Israel.
As Haaretz revealed at the beginning of the week, Bedouin are not permitted to enter the pool in Mabu'im at hours designated for Jews – and vice versa. Bedouin who wanted to enter the pool on Saturday were stopped at the entrance and were told that the pool was "for members only."
In a letter to Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, Knesset members called the separation "a grave practice that has no place in a democratic state" and said it violates an anti-discrimination law.
They added that "it is difficult to stand idly by while children are kept outside of the pool only because of their religion, in a country where they are considered equal citizens."
The letter was signed by Meretz MKs Tamar Zandberg, Mossi Raz, Michal Rozin, Ilan Gilon, and Esawi Freige; MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List); Zionist Union MKs Eyal Ben-Reuven and Stav Shaffir; Yesh Atid MKs Pnina Tamano-Shata and Yael German, and MK Akram Hasson (Kadima).
As previously reported by Haaretz, the separation is undeclared but nevertheless familiar to both residents and visitors, Jews and Bedouin alike.
An employee said the pool has activities for the Bedouin community during the week ater 6 P.M. and on Friday nights, while the rest of the time the pool is open only to members.
"There is a tacit agreement here," a resident of Mabu'im said. "Bedouin will not enter the pool when there are Jews because the residents threatened to stop coming."

Senior Member of The Jewish Board of Deputies labels Muslims as “the vilest of animals”

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For some time now, the Board of Deputies of British Jews has been leading the charge against Jeremy Corbyn over highly controversial allegations of anti-Semitism. But now, undeniable evidence has reportedly emerged exposing that a leading member of the Board of Jewish Deputies is an out-and-out racist.
Last Thursday the Jewish Chronicle reported that they had “seen tweets shared by Roslyn Pine, who stood unsuccessfully to be vice-president of the Board in last month’s elections, describing Muslims as “the vilest of animals”, as well as one describing Arabs as “so evil”. She also retweeted a message describing Arab migrants to Europe as “an invading army”.
When challenged by the Chronicle on her abhorrent views Pine, who represents a far-right tendency within the Board, was emphatic
I detest the creed of Islam and I’m entitled to say it.
Her invective stands in stark contrast with the words and actions of the longstanding anti-racist campaigner Marc Wadsworth – who was recently expelled from the Labour Party over extremely dubious allegations of anti-Semitism – as well as Jeremy Corbyn himself.
And Pine’s dangerous views are not anomalous amongst the leadership of the Board of Deputies either. Robert Festenstein, who also stood to become a Vice President of the Board, courted controversy recently by agreeing to be interviewed by Britain’s leading Islamophobe, Tommy Robinson. Festernstein is also a director of the right-wing Jewish Human Rights Watch, a group that conflates opposition to the crimes of the Israeli State with anti-Semitism.
In August 2015, another representative of the Board of Deputies (as well as Jewish Human Rights Watch), Jonathan Neumann, compared Leicester City’s Labour-run Council to Hitler’s genocidal regime because the Council had agreed to boycott goods from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
In a YouTube video made at the time, Neumann explains, in direct reference to Leicester’s boycott: “When the Nazis first came to power in 1930s Germany, one of the very first things they implemented were boycotts of Jews.
Who do the Board of Deputies Represent?
The Board of Deputies of British Jews has been presented in the Tory press as an organization that represents the voice of Jewish people in Britain… as if there is just one voice! This is not the case. As Jewish Voice for Labour made clear in a recent statement:
“We are appalled by the actions and statements of the Board of Deputies. They do not represent us or the great majority of Jews in the Party who share Jeremy Corbyn’s vision for social justice and fairness.”
Rather, the Board of Deputies represents a very particular strain of thought – one which unflinchingly supports the actions of the current Israeli government. This was confirmed by Roslyn Pine herself when, during her leadership campaign, she was askedHow will you [as a potential Vice President of the Deputies] represent the diversity of opinion in our community with regards to Israel?” She responded:
That is not required by the Board’s constitution, nor is it feasible. The Board should take no view as to this or that Israeli policy. The Board’s remit is to do whatever in its power to support Israel’s security, well-being and standing.
Clearly a large part of this mission includes smearing and attacking those who oppose Israeli State terror, including Labour’s current leader.

The Fight for Democracy

And while Corbyn and his supporters have always sought to promote democracy and fairness, the Board of Deputies serves the opposite purpose. Indeed, Roslyn Pine again provides evidence of this when responding to the following questionWhat is the one thing that most frustrates you about the Board?” She replied:
Not having any role in decision making, despite sitting on a division (International). The democratic mandate seems to be for the very few. It seems that the views of the average deputy count for very little.
Her wording (unconsciously) evokes the very antithesis of the Labour Party’s current slogan – “for the many, not the few” – as well as the underpinning values of the labour movement.
But clearly there remains a minority of Labour Party members who do not share in this noble idea – including numerous MPs and Councillors, many of whom are enthusiastic supporters of the ongoing witch-hunt against socialists.
One of the main tasks facing Labour members at the moment, therefore, is to push for the full democratisation of the Labour Party – including the readmission of expelled socialists and the reintroduction of mandatory reselection – which would enable pro-working-class MPs and councillors to replace the current pro-capitalist ones.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Unison’s Shameful Betrayal of its members – it supports the right to dismiss a worker for attending a demonstration

Why I face disciplinary action for criticising London Regional Organiser Steve Terry who scabbed on Stan Keable





Two weeks ago I was called to an investigation hearing. A complaint had been made against me regarding criticism I had made in various articles of UNISON’s London Region Organiser, Steve Terry, a right-wing Labour Councillor in Walthamstow.  The articles are below:

No criticism permitted

Stan Keable, an employee of Hammersmith and Fulham Council and also Secretary of Labour Against the Witch-hunt, attended a demonstration in London on March 26th called by Jewish Voice for Labour.  It was called in opposition to the Zionists’ ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration outside Parliament. It was part of the fake anti-Semitism campaign before the local elections, whose target was Jeremy Corbyn.
Unison sells itself more as an insurance company than a trade union
The Zionist demonstration was billed as an ‘anti-racist’ demonstration (the first one the Board of Deputies has called in its history) but an anti-racist demonstration at which Norman Tebbit and the Democratic Unionist Party are participants, to say nothing of Uncle Tom Chuku Ummuna and Sajid David is unlikely to be about fighting racism.
BBC 'journalist' David Grossman, with the ethics of a rattle snake
Stan got into a discussion with a Zionist in the course of which he expressed the view that the Zionist movement had collaborated with the Nazis.  The discussion was recorded by BBC Newsnight editor and all round bigot, David Grossman.  Placed on social media it caused the racist local Tory MP, Greg Hands to demand that Stan be sacked. Thus we see how the false anti-Semitism campaign is a threat to free speech and democratic rights, aided by yellow journalists such as the BBC’s Grossman.
H&F Council leader Steve Cowan promptly ensured that Stan was suspended and last month I represented Stan at his disciplinary hearing the result of which was that he was sacked.  I should not, of course, have had to represent Stan as I am from Brighton and Hove UNISON not Hammersmith but when Stan approached the London Regional Organiser, Steve Terry for support he received none.
Terry’s advice was that Stan should plead guilty and plead for forgiveness.  In a letter of May 8th Terry advised Stan that:
‘the course that you should take is to indicate that you regret any offence caused by your remarks and plead mitigating circumstances.’
A supporter of Progress, Terry was completely unfit to make a decision in this case. His own prejudices rendered him incapable of seeing that the main issue was not whether or not Stan was correct in his views but an elementary one of the right to free speech and free assembly, rights guaranteed under Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The ECHR was drawn up and approved by the European countries precisely because of the lack of rights of civilians under Nazi occupation during the war. Terry however is a pen pushing bureaucrat, incapable of comprehending such issues.  For him, defence of Zionism was the only issue. 
Tony Jones - one of my two investigators
The two main charges against Stan were:
1. That, in attending a counter demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament on the 26th March 2018, you knowingly increased the possibility of being challenged about your views and subsequently proceeded to express views that were in breach of the Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and the Council’s Code of Conduct (‘Working with integrity’ and ‘Working with the media’).
2. That you made inappropriate comments which were subsequently circulated on social media which are deemed to be insensitive and likely to be offensive and potentially in breach of the Equality Act 2010 and/or the Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.
In other words Stan should not have attended the demonstration in question because he rendered himself susceptible to being challenged about his view!  Could you have a more pathetic attack on the basic rights of any citizen?
Gail Adams, the second of my investigators, receiving a CBE from Prince William
To anyone with a modicum of understanding of human rights issues, let alone employment rights, these charges were a threat to all workers. Terry however was too dim to understand that.
The idea that by ‘causing offence’ Stan was guilty of a disciplinary offence is outrageous. Where lies freedom of speech? As Jodie Ginsberg wrote in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings and the murder of a Danish filmmaker by jihadists,
the right to free speech means nothing without the right to offend.  If all you have the right to do is to utter platitudes then free speech is meaningless.
Of course Terry was unconcerned by issues such as free speech. This overpaid and useless official considers that the members are accountable to him. It was therefore not surprising that Terry, who is not used to criticism from members, made a complaint via his superior, the London Regional Secretary against me.
The racist Zionist demonstration whose counterdemonstration Stan joined
On June 4th I was called to an investigation hearing conducted by 2 more officials, Gail Adams and Tony Jones from the southern region. Ms Adams is Head of Unison’s Professional Services Unit and Tony Jones is Regional Manager for the South-East and as Tony revealed during the course of the interview is himself a Labour councillor in Reading!  Most of the interview was conducted by Tony Jones, who was jovial and pleasant.  Gail Adams was mostly silent but her hostility was evidenced by her body language and general demeanour.  Clearly the idea of criticising a fellow official didn’t go down well.
You can read the whole interview here or you can listen to the tape of the interview here. Amongst the ‘highlights of the interview was my statement, in a letter to the Head of UNISON’s Executive Office, Beth Bickerstaffe, that the Inquiry could only be a ‘stitch-up.’ Tony Jones was offended by this description so I had to point out that this was not intended personally. Rather it was the fact that I was the person who was subject to a complaint rather than Terry, for his refusal to defend a member under attack and his incompetence in failing to have any grasp of basic employment or human rights, to  say nothing of his refusal to get a legal opinion.  On any objective basis Terry should be suspended on charges of gross misconduct as a prelude to his dismissal. But of course to Ms Bickerstaffe, daughter-in-law of former UNISON General Secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe, it is me who is guilty of the ‘crime’ of criticising a full-time official.
What my case demonstrates is the democratic deficit in UNISON.  Despite supporting Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership elections in 2015 and 2016 (despite rumours that Dave Prentis would withdraw his support) UNISON is not a left-wing union. In the past 8 years, at a time of massive cuts in local government, it has abysmally failed to take any action against those attacks on members’ jobs and conditions or pay. When there was action a few years ago and strikes over pensions the union leadership did their best to get the action called off by pretending that they had secured concessions. Prentis is well-known for his lack of backbone.
Despite the fact that UNISON has good policy on Palestine and supports BDS (albeit doing very little to implement it) it has also supported the false ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign against supporters of Palestine.  I spoke on the motion in 2007 and again 2008 at national conference when policy on BDS was first proposed.  The arguments of the Zionists were basically that those supporting BDS were supporters of Hamas and anti-Semitic! Rodney Bickerstaffe, when he spoke at a PSC AGM attacked the use of false accusations of anti-Semitism against supporters of Palestine.  People are well aware of how Zionists weaponise ‘anti-Semitism’ but today they remain silent.
That is what the actions of Terry are about.  He is a fulsome supporter of the idea that support for the Palestinians is ‘anti-Semitic’ and in particular criticism of Zionism, the ideology of the movement that dispossessed the Palestinians. That is why Stan has been abandoned and that is why I am subject to a bogus ‘investigation’ that can only conclude that I am guilty as charged, even though charges have yet to be laid.
Tony Greenstein

Saturday, 16 June 2018

It is time that the Palestine solidarity movement recognised that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are integral to the Occupation and the Siege of Gaza


Palestinians take part in a protest demanding the lifting of Palestinian Authority sanctions on the Gaza Strip, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on 10 June. The PA used riot police and party thugs to violently suppress a similar protest on 13 June. Eyad Jadallah APA images
As the articles below from Electronic Intifada  and Middle East Eye show, the behaviour of the Palestinian Authority is shameful. The PA, which is nothing less than subcontractors for the Israeli state, violently attacked a demonstration in Ramallah in support of their brothers and sisters in Gaza.  And they did this on behalf of Israel (& the United States & Europe).

The demands of the demonstrators were simple - that the PA stop acting as a collaborator in enforcing Israel's siege of Gaza e.g. by requesting that Israel cut the amount of electricity Gaza receives to 3-4 hours a day or by itself cutting the salaries of 50,000 civil servants in Gaza.

It is  clear that the actions of Fateh thugs who, in co-ordination with the Palestinian Security Police, attacked the demonstration mean that Fateh should no longer be seen as a resistance movement and should be treated in the same way as the Village Leagues used to be treated.  Collaborators.

What is also shameful is that Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and the solidarity movement in this country has nothing to say about this. The Anti-Apartheid Movement never hesitated to condemn Inkatha under Mangosuthu Buthelezi in South Africa.  Inkatha Freedom Party was used and helped by the Apartheid regime to attack the anti-apartheid struggle and the ANC.  It was responsible for much of the appalling violence in the lead up to South Africa's independence.

I'd be interested to hear what the difference is between the PA and Inkatha.  I have moved motions in the past at PSC AGM calling the PA a quisling regime, the equivalent of the Vichy regime in France under the Nazis and calling for PSC to dissociate itself from the PA.  Always the response is that this is 'internal' to the Palestinian movement.  This is a shameful and cowardly response.  If we condemn Israel we cannot avert our eyes from those Palestinians who enforce Israel's occupation.

It should be a matter of shame that someone can say that 'It is a bizarre feeling when everyone around you is more scared of Palestinian forces than they are of the Israeli army.'

No doubt the PA feel the need to prove to Israel and Trump that they are 'reliable'.  That whatever rhetoric they indulge in they can be relied on to uphold the occupation's norms.  In Abbas's own words, security co-operation with Israel is 'sacred'.  As an article in the Jerusalem Post last year WILL ABBAS SEVER HIS ‘SACRED’ SECURITY COOPERATION WITH ISRAEL? made clear 'suspending security cooperation is one of the Palestinians’ strongest cards. If Abbas does follow through on his threat to end it, Israel’s security will be greatly affected, as Palestinian security forces have stopped many attacks in the West Bank since a wave of terrorism broke out in October 2015.'

The suggestion that the PA is 'internal' to the Palestinian movement is a lie.  It is a threat to the Palestinian resistance movement and it has never hesitated to act to control and prevent any movement growing which challenges the Israeli state.  It is part of the political incoherence and worse of PSC and its current leadership that they have nothing to say about the role of the PA.

Tony Greenstein
Abbas  - is the Palestinian equivalent of the Mangosuthu Buthelezi - the Black African collaborator with Apartheid

Palestinians deserve better than PA brutality


Yet this week I found myself echoing a view expressed by Jason Greenblatt, a Middle East envoy for the US president. For very different reasons to the ones he cited, I arrived at the same conclusion as Greenblatt: the Palestinian people deserve better than the Palestinian Authority.
This was evident as I observed the PA’s handling of a protest on Wednesday evening.

The protest was organized by ordinary Palestinians who object to how the PA has imposed sanctions on Gaza. It was banned by the PA on the spurious pretext of avoiding disruptions to the Eid al-Fitr holiday celebrations.

Yet the protest went ahead – without official approval – in Ramallah, a city in the occupied West Bank. Its organizers refused to be bullied into canceling a display of solidarity with their fellow Palestinians in Gaza.

During the early stages of the protest, riot police working for the PA attacked its participants. They beat protesters, taking a number of them into custody. I saw one riot police officer – his face covered by a balaclava – rolling a stun grenade towards the crowd.

After about an hour, groups of thugs and secret police dispersed among the crowd took over the task of suppressing the protest.

The thugs in question wore hats, identifying themselves as supporters of Fatah, the party dominating the PA. Some of these hats depicted a kuffiyeh, the Palestinian checkered scarf. The irony involved here was sordid: the kuffiyeh is supposed to be a symbol of liberation.

Secret police

The secret police in the crowd were easy to spot, if you looked for them. They were men with large muscles, who watched over everyone else. They could be found in groups of four.

The secret police could be seen pointing out individuals to the thugs with the Fatah hats. If individuals who had been pointed out resisted arrest by these thugs, they were dragged away and beaten. None of the thugs looked older than 25.

The thugs grabbed many protesters and placed them in headlocks. Other protesters were punched and slapped in the head. One man had his shirt completely ripped off him by the thugs before they handed him over to the riot police.

Numerous protesters were rounded up and placed in vans, which were waiting near al-Manara Square in the city center. In one case, a protester was placed in an ambulance.

I later learned that protesters who had been rounded up were driven to police stations and to the headquarters of the PA’s “preventive security” division.

While I was standing next to some protesters on Wednesday, I suddenly felt my arms being restrained. One of the secret police had forced my hands behind my back. He did not use extreme force to do so. But he was certainly asserting his control.

The man told me to come with him. He pushed me down a lane. “Don’t be scared,” he whispered. “We respect people.”

I would have laughed – if I was not worried about having my head bashed in, which the man could have done on a whim.

The secret police officer brought me near the vans full of protesters who had been arrested. He handed me over to another man, who was carrying a walkie-talkie. That man asked me – in fluent English – what I was doing at the protest. Where was I from? Was I a journalist?
I replied in Arabic that I was not a journalist.

The man took my phone and went through the photos and messages saved on it. When he handed the phone back to me, he asked me for my ID card. I told him I did not have it with me.
The man then instructed the secret police officer who had grabbed me to take me away. I was ordered to go home. As I did so, I was followed through the streets by three other secret police officers.

Police working for the Palestinian Authority are funded and trained by the European Union and the United States. A key purpose of this training is to ensure that the PA works in the interests of Israel.

The way they handled this week’s protests illustrated how the PA’s police can be similarly brutal to Israel’s forces of occupation. Palestinians surely deserve better than that.

The author is a human rights worker in Palestine. They requested anonymity as they had been instructed by their organization to remain silent on how the PA handled Wednesday’s protests.

Protests in Ramallah: Does the PA actually care about Palestinians?



It is a bizarre feeling when everyone around you is more scared of Palestinian forces than they are of the Israeli army




Photo: Palestinian security forces stand guard in Ramallah on 13 June 2018, during a protest calling on President Mahmoud Abbas to end financial sanctions against Palestinians in Gaza (Reuters)
Tessa Fox's picture
As I stepped out onto Rukab Street, one of the main streets in Ramallah, at once I heard the cries: "There's gas!"

Wednesday night's protest, organised by the Campaign to Lift PA Sanctions on Gaza, had only just begun, but security forces were already firing stun grenades and tear gas cannisters directly at crowds that only 20 seconds earlier had raised banners demanding that sanctions against Gaza be lifted and chanted: "In spirit, in blood, we redeem you Gaza."

Everyone seemed still for a while: many were scattered in different areas around central Ramallah. Tension lay heavy in the air as people stood frozen on footpaths and in the streets, staring at the number of government personnel present.

It seemed as if the Palestinian Authority had sent out every member of its security forces for this event, including the National Security Service, the Palestinian police (including riot police), the General Intelligence Service and the Preventive Security Service.

There was also a downright terrifying gang of Fatah party members, loyal to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Some carried pepper spray. Each wore a white cap. All of them were prowling around the gathered protesters.

On Tuesday, the night before the demonstration, the PA called for a counter-protest. This, everyone knew, would be a recipe for disaster.

"I don't even know if there's going to be protest," a friend said to me. People's concerns were repressed before they could even be expressed.

The protesters' simple message was directed at the PA, which more than a month ago halved the salaries of approximately 50,000 government employees in Gaza, leaving workers unable to provide for their families.

Palestinian security personnel confront a protest in Ramallah on 13 June 2018 (Tessa Fox/MEE)

The cut came after the PA also stopped paying for Gaza's electricity last year, further limiting residents' access to power and crippling industry and essential public services including hospitals, schools.

The Palestinian National Council, the PA's legislative body, as well as factions within the PA have all called for the sanctions to be lifted. That's left Abbas to shoulder much of the blame, as his critics accuse him of trying to unseat Hamas from Gaza, where it rules the territory, while using Gaza's two million residents as political pawns.

It's left Gaza caught in a dire humanitarian crisis, between the Israeli blockade of the strip on one side and on the other the punitive approach of the PA, whose actions have been so extreme that residents within Ramallah itself, the PA's seat of government, have risen up against the authorities and called for sanctions to be lifted.

PA uses same tactics as Israel





Photos and captions circulating on social media suggested that thousands of people were there, although it was hard to differentiate between protesters, bystanders and undercover police.

I tried to push as close as I could to what was going on to take some pictures, even though I had been warned only half-an-hour earlier that taking photos and videos was banned.

I was also warned that the police were trying to break cameras and confiscate memory cards. To me, this is one of the first signs that a government can give to show that it is actually an oppressive regime. That night the PA did everything in its power to restrict the free flow of information.

Palestinians in Ramallah demand the lifting of sanctions against Gaza on 13 June 2018 (Reuters)

The whole scene was one of chaos. In one area, security forces threw rounds of sound bombs. Riot cops started running down yet another street to try to block any entrance to al-Manara, the main square in Ramallah. And dotted among the crowd were those white-capped members of Fatah, some of whom were undercover officers, taking matters into their own hands and beating up protesters, all under the watchful eye of the police.

A friend who works at a local Palestinian TV station told me that around 2,000 undercover forces were within the area. Someone else told me that one female protester had a gun pointed at her head by one of the undercover officers. She couldn't talk afterwards, she was in such a state of shock.

It felt as if those undercover police were mirroring the same tactics as used by the Israeli mustarabeen, the undercover unit trained to look and act like Arabs.

By deploying so many police in civilian clothes, the authorities sought not only to maximise the number of arrests but also to dismantle any network of trust among civilians and destroy the solidarity that is a necessary tool against any oppressive regime.

It's always been the goal of the Israeli occupation to break the unity of historical Palestine, including movement to and from Gaza, using the building of illegal settlements, restrictions on access to pre-1948 areas of the West Bank and the Greater Jerusalem Bill.

Now it is out in the open that the PA, as led by Fatah, is prepared to crush the Palestinian cause and unity to retain power over the Palestinian population.

Undercover forces made the majority of arrests, which numbered more than 60 by the end of the night. I saw people, including women and young girls, kicked, punched and beaten with batons. People's bodies were pulled in all directions as they were dragged away by at least five men to a fenced-off car park, where riot police stood guard, waiting for vans to pick up their latest prisoners.

Need to witness brutality





I knew I had to try and document the brutality. But less than 10 minutes after arriving at the protest I had already been sternly warned by an undercover policeman not to take photos.

Eventually I managed to climb up the roundabout at al-Manara. Standing on top of one of the lion statues, I had a clear vantage point of just how many people were in the streets and the brawls that were unfolding below.

Soon, I heard someone yell at me, then realised that multiple people were pointing and starting to run in my direction. I ran down the back of the statue while taking my memory card out of my camera and shoving it in my pants.

By the time I jumped down, civilian and uniformed police had already climbed inside the fence. I was trapped. They grabbed me by my arms while another tried to take my camera. I thought for sure they were going to break it. I just kept screaming and yelling at them, telling them to let me go and to wait so I could "prove" to them I had no photos.

They then put three women police officers onto me. One held my arm and kept telling me to be quiet and calm down. I yelled back: "How on earth can I be calm down when you're trying to arrest me and break my camera?"

The sound of the commotion began to work in my favour, as an older Palestinian woman came over and started apologising for what was happening. A man dressed in civilian clothes stepped forward and declared that he was a policeman. I replied that he should be wearing uniform.

I wanted to yell at them that they weren't true Palestinians; that all they were was part of a single faction, Fatah, and were simply government employees; that they didn't care about the Palestinians in Gaza; that they didn't care about the Palestinians in Ramallah, who they were beating up; that they didn't care about the Palestinians who had travelled all the way from Haifa by bus to protest alongside their brothers and sisters; and that the the people living under dictatorships across the Palestinian territories counted for nothing in their eyes.

Why is Palestinian Authority doing this?





Finally I was released and found my friend. She was beside herself because the undercover forces had taken her cameraman's memory card while she was doing a live broadcast criticising the PA. She thought for sure that she would be arrested the next day. She was terrified.

The problem was, the Palestinian security forces were driven by complete emotion. Couple this with them not being experienced enough to deal with such large crowds and it meant that their use of weapons was a disaster.

At one stage, a security officer, holding a sound bomb in his hand, wrestled with a protester. During the scuffle, the bomb went off. It seemed like all the actions of the security forces were driven by impulse rather than orders from their superiors.

Stories have also emerged of sexual harassment, perpetrated by the men wearing those Fatah caps. One woman was chased down a side street and sexually abused before she was rescued by people she knew.

Many of the Fatah supporters are themselves from families of martyrs or political prisoners. Other Palestinians cannot fathom how they could act this way during a protest in support of their brothers and sisters in Gaza. Are they attempting to create conflict among the factions?
Protesters and residents are still in a complete state of shock, as well as physical and mental exhaustion. The night after the protest, those who had attended were still too scared to walk the streets or go into public spaces for fear of being arrested or beaten up.

People unconnected to the protests were targeted just for being in the street. I witnessed multiple families and women with babies, who were trying to walk home, standing bewildered as they were yelled at by the presidential guard.

Why the protests will continue





Another protest is already set for Wednesday. What sort of excuse will the PA use then to repress people's freedom of expression and assembly when it is held outside of the Eid holiday? Will they find new grounds to ban and criminalise protests?

Fatah and Abbas showed their true colours to the people of Palestine this week as well as alienating some of the supporters from their own party. The protest held last Wednesday night wasn't organised to bring down the PA or to depose Abbas.

It was in support of another persecuted population of Palestinians, who may live under separate Hamas rule in Gaza but whose fate has now been crushed still further by the regime controlling the West Bank.

But if the removal of sanctions against Gaza is not achieved in good time, then do not be surprised if those living in the West Bank focus their energies on removing heads of government. On Friday, 70 civil society organisations and trade unions within Palestine called for the dismissal of Rami al-Hamdallah, the Palestinian prime minister and interior minister.
The activists are now recovering, tending their wounds, being released from prison and embracing their close support networks to nurture their emotionally drained minds.

Hopefully the organisation and unity of Palestinians will now only be strengthened even more, as their fight for their brothers and sisters in Gaza is emboldened by the brutality that the protesters in Ramallah faced.

- Tessa Fox is a freelance journalist, photographer and filmmaker focusing on war & conflict, indigenous affairs and the environment. She has had work published for Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, Al-Monitor, The Independent (UK), Holistic News (Poland), Mail & Guardian (South Africa), Knack (Belgium), Australian Broadcasting Corporation, SBS World News, New Matilda, VICE and Crikey among others. Fox was also a finalist for the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma Asia Pacific Prize and, as a correspondent, has reported from Turkey, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Russia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Australia and the EU among others.

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