31 January 2010

State must apologize to Israel's Holocaust survivors - Knesset Speaker

A little reminder after Holocaust Memorial Day that when Zionists claim that the Holocaust sanctifies them and Israel uses the holocaust to ward off criticism, as to their real attitude. Israel claims (mistakenly) that it arose on the ashes of the Holocaust. It's a good story, but even now, when holocaust survivors are rapidly dying out, Israel does its best to ensure that the reparations for the holocaust go toward the upkeep of the Zionist state and in funding ‘educational’ trips to Auschwitz for Israeli school kids. These kids are kept apart from the Polish population, whom they are told are all anti-Semites, and the message they are fed is that only blood, fire and racism can ward off another holocaust – rather than those for whom the money was intended.

'Never Again' has been twisted and distorted into 'Never Again for Jews'

It is this which should put in context the Zionist exploitation of the holocaust in order to legitimise the apartheid State of Israel. Below is one of numerous article on Zionism’s real attitude to the holocaust survivors, an attitude that Tom Segev details in his book The Seventh Million, where those who first came to Israel were termed ‘soap’.

Tony Greenstein

Dalia Itzik: State must apologize to Israel's Holocaust survivors
Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz 20.8.07.

Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik said Monday that the State of Israel must apologize to Holocaust survivors for all the funds that the state has withheld from them over the years.

Itzik spoke during a special Knesset discussion on the topic of monetary assistance to impoverished survivors.

"The State of Israel demanded the reparation money that was transferred from
Germany, but wasn't wise enough to channel the funds correctly for the benefit
of those who needed and deserved it," Itzik said at the discussion. "Today we
are here to repair that mistake, so that we are able to look the survivors in
the eye, and with humility, tell them on behalf of the State of Israel, and on
behalf of Israeli society, that we are sorry."

Last week, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss published a special report which concluded that the Finance Ministry had delayed and canceled financial support for institutions that assist survivors.

The report found that funds that were designated for survivors were not used for that purpose, nor is the primary body charged with coordinating the activities of survivors' organizations funded at all. According to the report, the problem is a result of mismanagement in the Finance Ministry.

Lindenstrauss further determined that survivors experience years of delays in processing their claims due to bureaucratic obstacles and the lack of adequate manpower.

During Monday's discussion, several MKs criticized Itzik for deferring the discussion until after a deal was struck Sunday between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the survivors' groups over the amount of monthly assistance they would be eligible to receive.

Meretz Party Chair Zahava Gal-On criticized Olmert for failing to attend the special discussion. She added that the government mustn't discriminate between types of survivors, referring the distinction the prime minister had made between survivors who endured the camps, and those who escaped the Nazi-controlled areas and ended up in Soviet territories. The agreement reached between the Olmert and the survivors stipulated a monthly stipend for those who had survived the camps, but not the "second circle" survivors.

"There is no difference between people who experienced pain, suffering, humiliation, were tortured and fled," Gal-On said.

MK Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) said that "Israel cannot conduct another selection," referring to the selection the survivors underwent on their way to the camps.

However, government representative and Pensioners' Minister Rafi Eitan said that the large number of survivors requires such a sub-division.

MK Collette Avital (Labor) warned against the possibility that the treasury would undermine the planned assistance by dragging its feet.
"Israel's government must take organizational decisions
in addition to budgetary decisions. If we don't make the bureaucratic
system more efficient, repair those failures the state comptroller referred to
in his report, and ensure that the survivors receive appropriate and respectable
treatment, the money allocated to them will continue to get stuck in the
depths of bureaucracy and one day soon we will discover that the pretty
decisions made yesterday (Sunday) won't be worth more than the paper they are
written on."

MK Sarah Marom Shalev (Pensioners), a Holocaust survivor herself, urged the Knesset not to approve the 2008 budget until the financial aid to survivors is finalized. She said "yesterday I was at the funeral of one of my closest friends, a Holocaust survivor. He died at age 72 with nothing."

On Sunday, Olmert agreed, during his meeting with representatives of Holocaust survivors, to allocate NIS 100 million next year for medical and nursing-care benefits to survivors living in Israel.

In addition, he said the survivors would enjoy municipal tax discounts, an exemption from the television tax, and NIS 30 million in vacation and convalescence benefits.

The funds allotted for convalescence and for medical and nursing-care benefits, which will be distributed by the Holocaust Survivors' Welfare Fund, will double in 2009.

Olmert refused, however, to grant benefits to survivors who fled Nazi-controlled territory and were not placed in concentration camps or ghettos, saying that to do so would be to create an "ethnic gap" between European Holocaust survivors and elderly Israelis who fled persecution in other countries, such as Iraq.

"I don't doubt for even one moment the distress of those who fled from countries where the Nazis were, and they are survivors of the Nazi occupation," Olmert said, adding, on the other hand, that "I am not disregarding those who fled from the enemies of Israel - the Persians, the Moroccans, the Tunisians and the Syrians."

Noah Flug, who heads the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, which represented the survivors in negotiations, told Olmert that two-thirds of Holocaust survivors from Poland managed to flee eastward during the Nazi occupation. He said most international groups and foreign governments - and previously, the Israeli government - recognized such refugees as survivors in every way.

The government negotiators were initially leaning toward granting benefits to those who fled Nazi-controlled territory, but changed their position due to the opposition of the Finance Ministry's budget division.

The ministry said financial problems relating to such survivors should instead be resolved within the context of a solution for all needy elderly Israelis. The National Economics Council is due to come up with such a solution by the Rosh Hashanah holiday in mid-September.

The Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors is aiming to help those who have fallen through the cracks, and who receive little government support in the form of the benefits received by most survivors that were in concentration camps or ghettos.

Some 8,000 survivors who have yet to receive a special government allotment for various bureaucratic reasons will be receiving NIS 1,200 a month for the next two years. The government will try to convince Germany to provide the funds for the payout. If it does not succeed, it will increase the benefits paid by Israel to NIS 1,600 a month after the two years have passed.

In addition, some 7,000 survivors who receive reparations from a German fund established in the 1990s, and who subsist thanks to income supplements, will receive an annual grant of NIS 3,000. The government will also fund a center that will inform survivors concerning their financial rights and help them receive the money that is due them.

The government, whose negotiating team was led by Prime Minister's Office director general Raanan Dinur, also agreed to symbolic gestures such as granting survivors a badge of appreciation on the occasion of Israel's upcoming 60th birthday. It will also establish a committee - half of whose members are survivors, and half ministerial directors - which will meet twice a year to discuss survivors' benefits and any related problems that might arise.

The government also committee to promote legislation recognizing the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors as the representative group in any future negotiations with the government

A Zionist & A Holocaust Denier Hold Hands Together

"It's a shame that either Hitler or the Angel of Death, missed your family's house. Or Neturei Karta's."

Normally I don't put anti-Semitic, holocaust denial or overt Zionist racist comments on my blog. However I'm going to make an exception today. Well I'm not going to post them but I'm going to place them together in the same article rather than as posts to older articles.

The first is by a charming fellow by the name of 'Mossad' - quite fitting in the circumstances. Our fascist Zionist, because there is little doubt that he is such, starts off with the usual accusations of being a traitor (don't know where he got the bastard bit) as well as being a 'leftist liberal Jew'. One of Hitler's pet hates except be believed all Jews were such. Actually I'm not a liberal leftist but a Marxist! And, unusual but not unknown even for Zionist lunatics, he ends up wishing that Hitler (or the Angel of Death (grip reaper!)) had managed to kill a few more people, viz. my family. But it is becoming more common and there was an example a few weeks ago in Jerusalem of settlers saying to Jewish demonstrators protesting against ethnic cleansing, that Hitler was right.

And of course, this is understandable. As the Defence Lawyer, in the trial of the 2 Revisionists in Palestine who were accused of the murder of Haim Arlossoroff in 1933 stated - but for Hitler's anti-Semitism we could have become the most ardent supporters of German fascism!

But there is nothing new in this. The phenomenon of 'cruel Zionism' is as old as Zionism. Zionism starts off from anti-Semitism, which it classifies as something you cannot fight because it is inherent in the Gentile. Then it finds that people do fight it successfully. So the Zionist movement either simulates anti-Semitism by, as in Iraq in the early 1950's, actually getting their own agents to plant bombs or by expressing the desire that if only anti-Semitism were a bit more virulent then those ungrateful Jews would come to their own state.

But as Theodore Herzl noted in his Diaries 'anti-Semitism too probably contains the Divine will to Good, because it forces us to close ranks, unites us through pressure, and through our unity will make us free.' [Complete Diaries, p.231, ed. Ralph Patai). In the 1950's a columnist in the Histadrut paper, Davar, wrote that:

"I shall not be ashamed to confess that if I had the power, AS I HAVE: THE WILL, I would select a score of efficient young men... and 1 would send them to the countries where Jews are absorbed in sinful self-satisfaction (!). The task of these young men would be to disguise themselves as non-Jewish and plague Jews with anti-Semitic slogans such as 'Bloody Jews', Jews go to Palestine' and similar intimacies. I can vouch that the results, in terms of a considerable immigration to Israel would be ten thousand times larger than the results brought by thousands of emissaries, who have been preaching for decades to deaf ears." A Lillienthall, 'The Other Side of the Coin' New York, p. 84 cited in Hirst p. 160.

The second comment is from one of the cruder holocaust deniers. Probably someone with whom 'Mossad' could have allied with, if only he had got over his obsession over the holocaust.

Bear this in mind next time you hear a Zionist accuse an anti-Zionist or supporter of the Palestinians of anti-Semitism.

I wonder whether Mark Gardener of the Zionist Community Security Trust will be logging this as an anti-semitic incident!

I've kept both comments on the log page as well as taking a screen shot, just in case someone doubts that there are Zionists who are quite capable of summoning the Nazis in their defence.

Tony Greenstein

Greenstein, you traitorous bastard, you leftist liberal Jew.

What do you leftist Jews think you are proving by being anti-Zionist?

You think you are a intellectual or something by choosing, supposedly, to "not follow the herd"?

You think these Jew-hating Muslims and other anti-Israel Jew-haters are your friends? When the time comes, they will wipe you out as well.

You don't want Zionism? So go back to live under Europe's boot. Go back to live in your little shtettls and ghettoes with the Jew-hater's hob-nailed boot over your head. Let us Jews who want to fight for themselves be. You cowardly traitor.

"Europe's Jews were primarily anti-Zionist"??? Where'd you get this? But I agree with the other poster.I usually don't ever make references to the Holocaust in this type of ugly manner, or curse fellow Jews, but for you it's an exception.

It's a shame that either Hitler or the Angel of Death, missed your family's house. Or Neturei Karta's.

Don't even call yourself a Jew,traitor.

Publish Reject

It is time to face the truth about the holohoax. The Nazis did not try to exterminate the Jews. The gas chambers are a hoax. The six million dead is phantasmagoria. Now, there is a web site that presents the salient facts about the hoax at xxx

Check it out with an open, skeptical mind. Here's a summary for those afraid to click on the site ...

I'll check back to explore any questions ...

The fundamentals of the holohoax are explained and documented at holohoax101.com Here's a brief summary -

1. The Zionists claimed that there was holocaust of six million Jewish victims during World War ONE. Documented by articles from the NYT.

2. The 'gas chambers' are a preposterous hoax, the only two in existence have plate glass windows. Photos included.

3. The pictures of Belsen victims, shown as evidence of the holohoax, died of typhus, other pictures taken at the same

time, which you've never seen, show healthy prisoners and happy children, documented by pictures.

4. Nazi death books at Auschwtiz show that more Roman Catholics died there than Jews, these books are now available to

the public. Link provided.

5. The holohoax is based on the lies of the 'survivors', the three best known, E. Wiesel, O. Frank, and P. Levi, were in

the hospital in Auschwitz when the Russians approached. Examples given.

6. No defendant at Nuremberg admitted to any part in the killing of Jews. Only one was charged with direct involvement,

and he testified that he learned of the hoax on allied radio. Testimony given.

7. Billy Wilder, famous Hollywood director, made a movie in Buchenwald within a week of its capture, full of degenerate

lies like shrunken heads, lampshades made of skin, and soap made from human fat. Documented by photo. The Zionist press

keeps these lies alive.

8. The Zionists are teaching the holohoax to students in many states starting in kindergarten. Links given.

For this and much more, with links, visit holohoax101.com

26 January 2010

PSC AGM 2010 - Executive Libels Its Critics

PSC Executive Accuses Its Opponents of Being Zionist Agents

Executive Response to Criticism is to Restrict Democracy Further

Last summer, 13 of us (subsequently 27) sent a letter to Palestine Solidarity Campaign Executive. It is copied below*: As can be seen, we raised issues concerning the way PSC was being run. In the Annual Report of PSC Executive, which has just been sent (to some people) it states that ‘in August a group of 13 people made unsubstantiated allegations to the EC.’

A cursory reading of the Open Letter demonstrates that it wasn’t alleging anything, merely asking questions. Having the audacity to raise such questions was, however, deemed an act of lese majeste. PSC Executive and its Socialist Action/Communist League components, don’t do accountability and transparency.

A Stalinist Charge Sheet from ex-Trotskyists

The whole of the relevant section of the Annual Report, ‘PSC Internal Matters’, is copied below.** It reads like a caricature of a Stalinist charge sheet during the Moscow Trials. We are not authors of a letter asking questions, we are ‘perpetrators’. We are not calling for a debate or discussion, we are subjecting the EC to ‘public calumny.’ And most shocking of all, the authors (including two who were the co-founders of PSC) are accused of ‘help(ing) those who want to see PSC fail in our efforts to build a mass movement.’ This is the big lie at the heart of the passage. If you oppose us you are on the side of the Zionists and want us to fail.

This kind of argument has a long pedigree. In the 1930’s, in Stalin's Purges, Zinoviev, Kamenev etc. were accused of simultaneously being in league with Trotsky and agents of Hitler. The logic was that if you opposed Stalin you were bound to be a paid agent and lackey of Hitler.

It is the staple argument of the war monger. If you oppose ‘our troops’ you support the other side, a traitor in league with ‘our’ enemies. This was the argument of Thatcher and then Bush. If you oppose us you’re with General Galtiera/Saddam Hussein/Al Quaeda. It has all the intellectual and moral sophistication of the younger Bush, albeit without his eloquence.

In fact there is very little use the Zionists can make of debates inside the Palestine solidarity movement. It is a measure of the desperation of the PSC Execitove that instead of dealing with the arguments they resort to the kind of rhetorical device that McCarthy and his House of UnAmerican Affairs specialised in.

A couple of years ago UK and Israel JNF were at each others’ throats in the High Court. After the expenditure of millions of pounds, with virulent attacks on each other, they settled their differences. Did this affect support for the Zionists? Of course not. Support for the Israel and Zionism depends on things such as Israel's latest war, their settlements, the discrimination etc., not whether Betty Hunter and Tony Greenstein don’t see eye to eye on whether PSC should be democratic or not.

Healthy debate in PSC, if it leads to a rejuvenated and vigorous organisation and serious thinking about where we are going and how we can best get there, can only do the cause of Palestine solidarity good. The idea that, in the name of Palestinian unity, critics of Socialist Action/CL should shut up, can only damage the very cause that they purport to support. What PSC Executive are trying to achieve is some kind of para-Leninist command organisation. The Executive decides the priorities and campaigns and gives the orders and the membership blindly follow.

The problem is that some people have their own ideas and are not always convinced of the Executive's god given wisdom. Especially when PSC Executive reacts in its normal, cautious, hesitant and sometimes hostile manner as it seeks to retain control over PSC. Because control freakery is the other side of their political timidity.

Democracy & PSC Priorities

Above all this is about democracy. PSC’s Executive Report complains that critics of the EC are not using PSC’s ‘democratic processes’ and resorting to blogs and open letters. But this begs the question - what democratic processes or forums are there to debate where PSC should be going or doing or how it should be conducting campaigns? No doubt they exist within Socialist Action but not within PSC. There is no means, other than through personal contact, for PSC members to communicate and exchange ideas with other members across branches. In fact PSC Executive have made clear their dislike for the whole idea of regions – ‘another layer of bureaucracy’ in the words of their more sycophantic supporters.

In this debate PSC Executive have access to the whole of PSC's machinery to attack a letter that most people haven't seen. We have no such opportunities hence why this article has to be put on a public blog. Nor do we have unfettered access to PSC's mailing list.

The libellous accusation therefore of wanting PSC to fail should be seen as exactly that – a libel no different from the Zionist lie that to be an anti-Zionist is to be an anti Semite.

It was similar behaviour by Socialist Action which helped lead to extremely unfavourable publicity for Ken Livingstone in London and his downfall. But at least Ken knew the political affiliations of those he appointed as his advisors. In PSC this information is hidden away andwhen challenged PSC Executive members deny that they are members of Socialist Action. In the meantime SA are running PSC according to their political agenda. And at the top of that agenda is never, ever criticising the Palestinian leadership and Abbas, even if the latter is faithfully following Israel’s agenda by withdrawing the Goldstone Report from the UN's Human Rights Committee.

Many on PSC Executive see its role as some kind of not campaigning but diplomatic. We are there to influence government and act as an adjunct to the quisling Palestinian Authority in Britain. And how? By lobbying individual MPs. In their eyes, Britain’s pro-Zionist political stand has nothing to do with economic interests, imperialism or domination, still less capitalism. It is because individual MPs haven’t been ‘won over’. No doubt they will have even more fun with Cameron’s government given that 80% of Tory MPs are estimated to be in Conservative Friends of Israel.

When it comes to pickets and activities, PSC Executive are nearly all conspicuous by their absence. Most of PSC Executive are there not as activists but to make up the numbers. Ahava, Agrexco, the Windsor JNF picket, Barak picket – you’ll be lucky if more than one EC member attends at best. Two States is the objective and above all, it is important that a solidarity organisation engages in no internal debate about Palestine. Because if there were a thorough going debate PSC would have to face up to the fact that not only is an independent Palestinian state impossible but that to continue to campaign for this now means in effect to accept that Israel is right to deny political and civil rights to the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza. That is the real apartheid. We have one state already, but nearly half the population have no rights whatsoever.

And it might also mean having to face up to the fact that Israel's junior partners-in-crime are the Arab regimes. It was noticeable at the picket of the Egyptian Embassy over the attack on the Gaza Freedom March and Viva Palestina recently there was just one member of PSC.

The argument is often made that we are just a solidarity movement. But that is a cop-out. The first question that people often ask is what is our solutio. What do we want to see? Are we to say that we want to see Israel as a Jewish state established in harmony side by side with a Palestinian state? Do we accept that Israel, as a Zionist state is acceptable even behind the Green Line? Is this a solution to the question of Return? What about Israeli Arabs? Of course in practice these issues are buried and ignored in the hope they will go away. This means illusions in the ‘peace process’, [‘Will Obama do this etc.]

An example of how PSC’s priorities are distorted is the Gaza convoy, Viva Palestina. When the first convoy went at the beginning of last year, PSC nationally did nothing to help organise support for it. Remarks such as we are a political organisation and this is merely charitable were made by officers. But the recent convoy was supported (although the PSC Office didn’t let people know on a daily basis what was happening). So much so that Ms Collector went on it and Ms Colborne flew out to Egypt at one point. Why the change of heart? Because following the defeat of Ken Livingstone, Socialist Action have pulled out of entry work in the Labour Party and are now chasing George Galloway in Respect. They have even revealed their existence in a newly created, albeit sparse, website. And if there is a falling out of love with GG then we can expect PSC to drop its enthusiasm for convoys. This is the kind of sleight of hand that most members of PSC knowing nothing about. PSC’s choice of a campaign is now inseparable from Socialist Action's own political priorities.

Internal Matters

The section of the Annual Report on the resignation of 2 EC members is telling. Why were members of PSC not informed of the resignations? Why was the Branch Forum not told of the resignation of our Vice-Chair Kamal Hawwash and ex-Treasurer Zoe Mars? Why was there even an attempt to prevent them speaking?

Despite being ‘unsubstantiated’ the fact is, as Betty Hunter herself admitted to the Sheffield forum, that Sarah Colborne is a member of Socialist Action. She moved across from being Chair of PSC to Direction of Campaigns and Organisation. There is nothing wrong with this in itself, though it is unusual. And nor do I, or any of the signatories to the Open Letter, have any objection to PSC staff or EC members being members of any left-wing political organisation. What we object to is when small and secretive groups (SA/CL) with at most a hundred members, actively conspire to take over another organisation and run it, PSC, in line with the political priorities of Socialist Action/CL.

Our recruitment practices are fair and in accordance with equal opportunities’ the Annual Report states, yet it also states that ‘in July Ruqayyah Collector was appointed as Campaigns and Communications Officer.’ Ms Collector was also the last member of the National Union of Students Executive, elected on the Student Broad Left slate. PSC’s Student Officer, Bryony Shanks, was SBL’s unsuccessful candidate for NUS Executive and a member of SA.

It is a matter of common knowledge that SBL is Socialist Action’s student front. It is puerile and dishonest to pretend otherwise. What PSC Executive have effectively done is sub-contract out its student work to the weakest of all the left political factions in NUS. By any standards that is pretty stupid. Far from building alliances, as they claim, they are destroying any possibility of them. Hence why they were taken by surprise and at a loss to say anything, when a wave of occupations broke out in colleges and universities at the beginning of 2009 in protest at Israel’s savagery in Gaza.

And when one takes that with the short-term appointment of SA member Denis Fernando, the advertising for whose post was tightly restricted, this means that 3 of the last 3 staff appointments have been from one particular, small political faction. Is this really a coincidence? If so, the odds on winning the jackpot on the National Lottery are smaller.

Personal Abuse

The Annual Report speaks of ‘personal abuse’. Perhaps it was thinking of Hilary Wise’s e-mail of 10th February 2009 to me. This was her response to the fact that I had disclosed on this blog a secret memo from PSC Trade Union Officer Bernard Regan to cronies and friends in the trade unions (some not even members of PSC), urging them to come to PSC AGM to oppose any motions that sought to break links with Israel’s racist ‘union’ Histadrut and to vote in favour of his own slate.

‘Like everyone else I know and work with closely in PSC, I am interested in the issue of Palestine and am working hard to try and change the situation. I don’t recall ever having seen TG at any of the dozens of meetings, demos, vigils, lobbies film shows etc where you find genuinely committed activists.’

Strangely I’ve never seen Ms Wise at a demonstration in Brighton either, nor for that matter in London! PSC Executive’s attack dog followed this up at the September Sheffield Branch Forum when even her supporters tried to shut her up, accusing me of being a ‘wrecker’. Presumably she meant helping to found PSC! Or maybe PSC EC was thinking of the time when Dianne Langford, in an open letter last summer (circa September) bizarrely referred to

‘the letter addressed to you plus copies of various emails originating from Tony Greenstein, including one urging the Merton branch not to affiliate to PSC and trying to recruit members to join the `opposition' to PSC.’

There was of course no e-mail to Merton branch, but why let that come between the facts and Ms Langford? Ms Langford’s previous claim to fame was ensuring that the SWP was kept off PSC’s Executive. Langford’s letter went on to allege that:

he [Tony Greenstein] and Roland Rance demanded that PSC should use its resources on a speaking tour denouncing Arafat and the PLO. The then National Secretary of PSC, John Gee, was castigated for standing firm on the principle of self-determination for the Palestinian people…. At the last AGM, while Gaza was still burning, valuable time was spent debating an unnecessary resolution on the issue of the Histadrut.’
The letter and e-mail Langford speaks about have only ever existed inside her head. They are total inventions, but why let that get in the way of a good story? But Langford lets slip what is the purpose of her fantasies. Boycotting Histadrut, as every Palestinian trade union and PACBI call for, is seen as a diversion by PSC Executive. It might even mean a disagreement with their trade union buddies. And what Ms Langford says openly PSC Executive says behind closed doors.

PSC AGM 2010

On the 6th February PSC will hold its Annual General Meeting. Socialist Action/CL's response to our letter expressing concern at the lack of democracy in PSC has been to put forward constitutional proposals which, if passed, will all but destroy PSC’s democracy. There will be an annual conference, but its powers will be limited. It will certainly not be sovereign, even theoretically. The Trade Union Action Committee, whose membership is unknown and is not open to ordinary PSC trade union activists or members, at present sends 2 delegates to PSC Executive. Constitutional amendment 5, which has clearly been instigated by the Executive, suggests that the representation of TUAC be doubled to 4! As these places are Bernard Regan's gift, this will mean that a fifth of the EC (4/20) will be ‘elected’ by another member of the EC.

Constitutional amendment 4, by the same 2 individuals, suggests that organisations, i.e. trade unions with 500,000 members should be entitled to 7 votes at the Annual Conference (an increase from 3). So the GMB, which tried to amend the FBU motion to the TUC Congress to substitute ‘regret’ for ‘condemn’, in reference to the statement of Histadrut supporting the attack on Gaza, will be entitled to exercise 7 votes at a meeting of a body which is pro-Palestinian.

PSC has provision in Clause 6 of the existing Constitution for 5 regional representatives to be elected. This clause has never been operated and when Northern Network tried to so earlier this year, bureaucratic obstacles were put in its way by the EC. This is totally understandable from the point of view of SA. If you are a small group trying to control a larger group, then you don’t want the Executive Committee to be diluted by people that you can’t control or indeed what you may perceive as alternative centres of power. So the two movers speak express their ‘concern regarding the proposal for a formal regional structure of PSC is that it would divert local energy away from contributing to actions co-ordinated through a national campaign.’

Clearly devolution hasn’t yet made an appearance in PSC but in fact no machinery or bureaucracy is proposed. The idea of a diversion from national campaigns is laughable. This is a feeble excuse for keeping all power in the hands of the Executive. The establishment of regions would not only enable branches to co-ordinate campaigns more effectively but would enable individuals not in any branch to participate. Indeed the only ones who talk of bureaucracy or a diversion of energy is the Executive with their proposals for a ‘devolved administration’ i.e. the policing of the regions.

The real reason for this amendment becomes clear when reading Constitutional Amendment 3 from the Executive. They propose a new Point 9.6 of the Constitution. It is proposed that the election of regional representatives takes place not in the regions but at a London AGM. The reasoning is quite obvious. It is to ensure that SA can more effectively mobilise votes, in London, behind their preferred regional candidates. Because they do not trust the membership, they cannot allow the elections to take place in the Regions. It is as simple as that.


What we have is an Executive that has run out of ideas except to exhort the membership to more routine activity. Rallies with Ken Livingstone and George Galloway are the main way of organising students rather than building with all forces in the student movement who genuinely support the Palestinians. Coupled with resolutions that lie in the filing cabinets of trade union general secretaries, an annual march and lobby of Parliament, this is the EC’s preferred annual cycle of activity. Routine activity ends up as little more than the Executive congratulating itself on another 'successful' year. It means going through the motions whilst in practice mounting no effective political challenge to the British government’s support of Israel. Political initiatives are to be frowned upon but they are not easy to control.

Yet none of these routines makes the slightest difference or impact as far as the Palestinians are concerned. The one thing which has been shown to rattle the Zionists and Israel is Boycott. Because it hits the settler state where it hurts most and in Israel’s case, it also hits its image and political support. The Academic Boycott set off a wave of activity in Britain, yet the EC initially opposed such a tactic and has had an uneasy relationship with Bricup. The relation of PSC Executive with its own Boycott Committee, which has in practice led to the setting up last year at the gathering at Wooller Youth Hostel of the Boycotting Network, is similar.

On trade unions the EC and Bernard Regan prefer to ally with an assortment of minor trade union bureaucrats, headed by Hugh Lanning of PCS, rather than develop an ongoing network of activists. Cosy chats between trade union friends – past and current - might seem a short-cut to success but what it means is allowing the Trade Union leaders to dictate to, and even control with SA, PSC’s work in the unions.

Union leaders spend much of their time dampening down strikes and struggles. They are innately conservative creatures. Their support for international struggles is strictly limited and ideas like Boycott are not well received. Trade unions in this country are now very weak, having lost half their members in the past 30 years. PSC Executive are, in effect, suggesting we model ourselves on organisations which themselves are controlled by Executives which deplore independent activity by their members. To allow union leaderships, even the more left ones, to tie our hands, is to weaken our campaigning abilities.

The purpose of work in the unions is to get them to support us and to show solidarity, not to enable them to take us over. Autonomy is a principle worth fighting for yet it is being surrendered by a sect in order that they can retain their own power. Motion 2, from Kevin Courtney (NUT) and John McGee (FBU) gives a flavour of this. It talks about supporting a Boycott only where ‘where trade union members should not put their own jobs at risk by refusing to deal with such products’. This must be the first time that cowardice has been enshrined as a principle! Should South African dockers who blacklisted ships to Israel or Greek workers who embargoed arms shipments first have asked their employer to promise not to dismiss them? If we follow this road there will never be a successful boycott. Indeed there would never have been trade unions either!!

The job of trade unions is to fight the employers and state if necessary not to ask for promises of immunity. It is our strength which guarantees that. What this means is passing resolutions that are never intended to be put into practice. It is mere posturing and hype.

That is why PSC Executive and Bernard Regan have opposed getting the unions to cut links with Histadrut. Cutting links with Histadrut is one of the few things unions can actually do themselves. They have the power to cut those links and in the daysbefore UNISON came into existence, its forerunner NALGO did boycott Histadrut.

The TUC’s foreign policy has historically been outsourced from the Foreign Office and even their staff in some cases were rumoured to be FO secondments. Cutting links with Histadrut would run counter to British foreign policy, itself something they would hesitate long and hard about doing. Instead the TUC has always treated Histadrut like any other trade union, despite the fact that it was a settler union which, from its formation, opposed even the employment of Arabs (‘Jewish Labour’). By refusing to call for a break in links with Histadrut PSC is effectively opposing a Boycott in the trade union arena.

The task is clear. If PSC is to live up to its claim to want to build a mass anti-apartheid organisation in Britain it first must belong to its own members, not a small ex-left sect like Socialist Action.

Tony Greenstein

* Letter to PSC Executive

Dear EC members

We, the undersigned, as members of PSC, would like to raise the following issues that have been of concern to us recently, and we would appreciate a response from you at the next branch forum meeting on12 September. We are sure that in the spirit of openness and transparency, the EC will welcome the opportunity to address these concerns.

1. Interference in the democratic process at the PSC AGM

Prior to the 2009 AGM, a secret memo was circulated to a selected list of people who had access to voting rights by virtue of their membership of PSC and/or affiliated organizations. The memo asked them to attend the AGM and dictated to them to vote on motions and for a list of candidates to the EC. The memo was headed “This is a personal note - not for circulation”. It stated that:

“This will in my view be an extremely important AGM because of the need to get the focus of the campaign firmly fixed on the events in Gaza and to keep trade unions at the centre of the PSC. There is an opposition within PSC which I firmly believe would take us well away from these objectives.”

The clear implication was that those candidates who were not on the list were doing the exact opposite. Because the memo was secret, the other candidates were therefore not given a chance to refute them. For a full copy of the secret memo which was leaked and put on the internet visit here. Some trade union representatives had three voting cards, and though they had no way of testing the truth of the allegations, their votes carried more weight than those of active members.

How does the EC intend to ensure that unfair methods to influence the outcome of votes will not be used again?

2. Fairness, accountability and equal opportunity in recruitment processes.

The three most recent appointments of office staff have gone to individuals with strong connections to the same, little known, organisation (Socialist Action.[1]) The three staff members who are reputed to be affiliated with this organisation are Sarah Colborne, Denis Fernando and Ruquayya Collector. We are not questioning the commitment or ability of these individuals to make an important contribution to the campaign for Palestine and we recognise that everyone has political beliefs. However, we do not believe it is plausible that a recruitment process incorporating principles of fairness and equal opportunities, and aimed at selecting the best candidate for the job, could have had this result. This is particularly the case when you consider that a job opportunity within a campaign organisation for Palestine would be expected to attract a significant number of candidates.

We are concerned that the interests of one organisation could have a disproportionate influence on PSC actions. Socialist Action members now act as gatekeepers between the membership and central administration. PSC’s reputation as an organization free of any political agenda other than solidarity with the people of Palestine and their campaign for liberation has been jeopardized, preventing it from becoming a mass movement.

Please explain how PSC ensures that staff recruitment conforms to equal opportunities, including an explanation of the advertising, short listing and interviewing process?

3. High staff turnover

Several people have left the PSC office unwillingly in the last few years. We are concerned about the high turnover of staff in PSC over the last few years, which has an inevitable effect on the ability of the office to provide a consistent and adequate service to the membership.

What steps are the EC taking to address this issue?

  1. Financial management

Members are very concerned about an (un-minuted) statement by the PSC Director at the branch 30th May branch forum that all the money collected during January as a result of the war on Gaza had been spent.

We therefore request an interim statement of accounts, and the budget for the current year, demonstrating how the Executive proposes to ensure PSC’s financial sustainability.

If we have a management / leadership team which is predominantly drawn from the same or similar background, or which holds to one political perspective there is little room for alternative viewpoints to be voiced, or for creative dissent to emerge. Constructive and challenging dialogue is a tremendous engine for imaginative thinking and precludes a blinkered approach; such dialogue is much likely to happen within a highly homogeneous group – where is the stimulating tension going to come from? And where's the democratic representation of the views of a diverse membership?


Internally it has been a difficult year for the EC and the staff of PSC who have been subject to a campaign of harassment and in some cases personal abuse by widely published emails and a blog. These actions can only detract from the work of PSC and help those who want to see PSC fail in our efforts to build a mass movement. We resisted engaging with the perpetrators, however in August a group of 13 people made unsubstantiated allegations to the EC. Since these were simultaneously distributed widely and the PSC were being subjected to public calumny, after two weeks the EC felt they had to make a response absolutely refuting the allegations. Regrettably two members of the EC resigned as they felt this had been dealt with precipitately.

At a branch forum in Sheffield .. they unanimously called for the two EC members to rescind their resignations. This call was later reiterated by the EC but unfortunately preconditions were demanded to which ther EC could not agree.

The size of the task that PSC has is enormous. We must continue to make solidarity with the Palestinian people our priority and not become embroiled in internal disputes. Differences in PSC should be conducted through the democratic processes that exist. Unity around our objectives, democratically agrred at the AGM, is of paramonunt importance if we are to build on our effectiveness.

[1] Though we recognise the Wikipedia is not an unbiased source of information for those unfamiliar with Socialist Action, a description is available here (there is little other information available because it does not have a website and operates in a secretive manner):

The Wikipedia entry states: Socialist Action is a small Trotskyist group in the United Kingdom. ... From the mid-1980s Socialist Action became an entryist organisation, attempting to take over other organisations,with members using code names and not revealing their affiliation."

24 January 2010

Blair Peach - Murdered by the Police

Coroner & British Establishment Covered Up Peach's Murder

None are so good at effecting a cover-up as the British Establishment. Blair Peach, an anti-fascist activist, was murdered by the Special Patrol Group in 1979 protesting against an NF election meeting. This group of thugs were responsible 30 years later for the murder of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 Protest. Their name changed but not their methods.

Unfortunately there was no CCTV at the time of Blair Peach’s death. But we all know who was responsible. Now we know for definite that the Coroner, John Burton, not only formed his view well in advance but did his best to marshall opposition to the very case that he was being presented with. Nor of course is this an isolated example.
The first Bloody Sunday investigation was conducted by Lord Widgery the Chief Justice. He too had private discussions and understandings with Ted Heath, then Prime Minister, as to what was in his report. Covering up the truth is second nature to the British establishment whilst at the same time effecting shock-horror at the fact that anyone could believe in such conspiracies!

Thirty years later, Coroner's courts are still being presided over by bigoted defenders of the Establishment. Many are legally untrained and are no better than the ordinary conservative magistrate, except they are in a position to do even more damage. Coroners have an unbroken record of supporting police violence and malpractice.

The following article is taken from the Guardian of 22.1.10.

Tony Greenstein

Doctor dismissed claims that Peach was killed by officer as political 'fabrication' before inquest had finished

Government officials withheld a document relating to the death of Blair Peach, the anti-fascist campaigner widely believed to have been killed by police in 1979, because they feared it would portray the coroner as biased and lend weight to calls for a public inquiry.

Peach, a 33-year-old teacher from New Zealand, died after being struck on the head at a demonstration against the National Front in Southall, west London. Witnesses said they saw him being attacked by police but after an internal investigation by the Metropolitan police no officers were charged. sdfsddf
The inquest, at which several suspected officers gave evidence, controversially returned a verdict of "death by misadventure", and the coroner, the late Dr John Burton, was accused by Peach supporters of prejudicing the jury.

Documents held at the National Archives at Kew reveal senior civil servants became concerned after discovering Burton had penned an "unpublished story" about the Peach death which railed against what the coroner saw as a leftwing campaign to destabilise the legal establishment.
Burton had also written to ministers before the end of the inquest, dismissing the belief that Peach was killed by an officer as political "fabrication". Fearing a public controversy if his leanings were made public, Home Office officials silenced Burton, the documents reveal. The Peach case will come under renewed scrutiny with the release of a three-decade old report written by Commander John Cass, the Metropolitan police officer who investigated the death.
The document is being reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service prior to being made public.
The Met commissioner agreed to release the Cass report last year after Ian Tomlinson, a passer-by at the G20 protests in London, died of internal bleeding after being attacked by a police officer. The incident, which was caught on film obtained by the Guardian, prompted comparisons with the Peach case.
Burton began writing to ministers about what he believed was "a widespread campaign to damage the institutions of the law" in January 1980, before the inquest had finished.
In letters to the home secretary, lord chancellor and attorney-general, he complained that an organised and well-funded campaign was spreading disinformation about the death. He criticised media organisations, including the BBC, which he accused of "biased propaganda".
Referring to some of the 11 witnesses who said they saw police attacking Peach, he noted how some were "totally politically committed to the Socialist Workers Party" and concluded: "The witness statements show that the story of the killing [of Peach] is a fabrication. This is a matter of fact and not of opinion."

After the verdict, Burton authored a lengthy article entitled The Blair Peach Inquest - the Unpublished Story and told civil servants he planned to disseminate the report to fellow coroners via the Coroners Society's annual report. A Home Office official noted how Burton was "extremely irate" at the way in which he thought the inquest had been hijacked by the "extreme left".

When his unpublished report was circulated in Whitehall in June 1980, it caused alarm. "I am a little disturbed at the proposal," one official wrote, "as I feel that if [his article] fell into the wrong hands it would be used to discredit the impartiality of coroners in general and Dr Burton in particular."

Another senior official agreed: "It only needs one leak for a great deal of harm to be done - not only to the standing of coroners but also in respect of the home secretary's decision that a public inquiry [into Peach's death] should be resisted ...

"An article like this would be a heaven-sent opportunity to those who wish to get maximum publicity out of this incident to argue that the coroner was biased and for this reason the inquest was unsound."

The civil servants met with Burton on to dissuade him from going public. After the meeting - and with apparent relief - an official relayed the news colleagues. "He accepted our advice that the whale which exposes his surface invites harpoons, and agreed not to publish."

Burton's seven-page report is a description of Peach's death and the subsequent inquest which, at times, implies a hostility toward Peach supporters. He complains about "the usual demonstrations by the usual people" outside the courtroom, and expresses frustration at what he saw his inability to control contemptible reports in the media.
He dismissed some witneses as telling "palpable lies" and, in an apparent reference to Sikhs who gave testimony, complained that some "did not have experience of the English system" to give reliable testimony. In contrast, he appeared to have more sympathy for the officers at the scene of Peach's death, even though there were also inconsistencies in their evidence.

"Many policemen pointed out that in such a situation one looked upwards for uncoming bricks and not around to see what others were doing," he wrote.

Peach supporters have long claimed that Burton was prejudiced, citing many of his official interventions before and during the inquest.

He initially resisted calls for a jury sit at the inquest - a decision overruled by the court of appeal.

21 January 2010

Milking Haiti's Plight for Israeli Public Relations

The Cynicism of Israel's PR Aid to Haiti

Is Israel’s help in Haiti really useful or a gigantic PR exercise asks Sol Salbe, the translater of the item below? As he notes, Yoel Donchin is a good person to answer the question. Prof Donchin is the director of the Patient Safety Unit at the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem. His
patriotism cannot be questioned he has served on most of Israel’s disaster relief missions. For his verdict read on. Naturally this item was meant for Israelis only, it was only published in Ynet but not Ynetnews and translated by this News Service.]

In fact the answer cannot be anything other than yes. After the United States, in the last 30 years, the State which has caused most devastation and loss of life in Central and South America has been Israel. When the US couldn’t for reasons of domestic opposition, supply weapons to particular regimes, as was the case with Guatemala during the Carter years and likewise Nicaragua under Somoza, who stepped into the breach? Israel.

It is clear from this article that Israel missions to disaster areas like Haiti stay there only as long as the cameras are their to record their stalwart efforts. And the two weeks quoted in the article is cynical even given the example that the US itself sets, where restoring ‘public order’ that is a dictatorship is seen as more important than providing aid.

If Israel is really concerned about saving life then they can allow medicine into Gaza, allow the rebuilding of the destroyed buildings, lift the siege, pledge never to drop phosphorous bombs, fleschettes or cluster bombs where children might find them and stop turning sick people away from their check points or delaying them until death.

Haiti demonstrates, in all its terrible reality, the naked truth about US relations with its neighbours. The US has commandeered Haiti’s only airport, and is barring aid missions in order that it can land troops and supplies for them! Such is the barbarism of imperialism’s dominant state at the beginning of the 21st century.

Tony Greenstein

Public Relations instead of saving lives

Sending portable toilets to Haiti would have been a better option, but this does not provide good photo opportunities.

Israeli missions to disaster areas in the past have shown that such activity was in vain.

Yoel Donchin

I received my final exemption from the army after I published an article which said that the State of Israel acts like the proverbial Boy Scout, who insists on doing a good deed daily and helping an old lady cross the road even against her will. How ungrateful of me to publish such a column when I had participated in almost all the rescue missions to overseas disaster areas! Suddenly I am no longer suitable to take part in such heroic endeavours. But in light of the experience I gained in such missions, my conclusion is that we have wasted our effort.

Generally speaking, we start preparing for such a mission within hours of the announcement of a natural disaster. Most often the Israeli mission team is the first one to land in the area. Like those who climb Mount Everest, it plants its flag on the highest peak available, announcing to all and sundry that the site has been conquered. And in order to ensure that the public is aware of this sporting achievement, the mission is accompanied by media representatives, photographers, an IDF spokesman’s office squad and others.

I understood the purpose perfectly when the head of one of the delegations to a disaster zone was asked whether oxygen tanks and a number of doctors could be removed to make room for another TV network’s representatives with their equipment. (With unusual courage, the delegation head refused!)

The lesson learnt from the activities of those missions is that when there is a natural disaster, or when thousands of people are expelled from their homes by force, as happened in Kosovo, survivors may benefit from international assistance only if it responds to the region's specific needs. Also assistance must be coordinated among the various aid agencies.

The competitive race to a disaster zone imposes a huge strain on the local health and administration authorities. Airports are clogged by transport planes unloading a lot of unnecessary but bulky equipment. Doctors and rescue organisations seek ways to utilise single carriageway roads and in fact they are a burden.

The correct way to help is to send a small advance force to gauge the dimensions of the disaster. Which infrastructures are still standing? Would sending a field hospital with all its components not overload the road system, or other infrastructure?

Would they still call that child Israel?
Three components are crucial:
shelter, water and food -- these things are crucial in order to save the largest number of people. Water purification equipment, tents, basic food rations are needed. But they do lack the desired dramatic effect. If we went down that track we would miss out on seeing that child who was born with the assistance of our physicians. Most certainly, the excited mother wouldn’t give her child (who knows if he will ever reach a ripe old age?) the name Israel or that of the obstetrician or nurse. (Would he get citizenship because he was born in Israeli territory? There would be many opposed to that.) The drama is indeed classy, but its necessity is doubtful.

It would be far more appropriate to send a limited force to faraway regions. It being Israel, our current force contains a Kashrut supervisor, security personnel and more.

In the present disaster, which is of a more massive scale than anything we have encountered to date, the need is not so much for a field hospital but field, ie portable, toilets. There is more of a need for digging equipment to dig graves and sewerage pipes.

A country which wants to provide humanitarian aid without concern for its media image should send whatever is required by the victims, and not whatever it wants to deliver. But would the evening news show the commander of the Israeli mission at the compound with 500 chemical toilets? Unlikely. It is much more media savvy to show an Israeli hospital, replete with stars
of David and of course the dedicated doctors and nurses, dressed in their snazzy uniforms with an Israeli flag on the lapel.

Does Israel have to enlist in the campaign and mobilise substantial resources to reach remote places thousands of kilometres away? If Israel does see providing humanitarian aid as part of its national character, if we see added value in having representatives on the ground in such places, it would be better to plan it in advance. It would be better to set a team of experts for such mega disasters who can decide what assistance should be sent depending on what is required and the means to deliver it.

It is quite likely that financial assistance commensurate with Israel’s resources would be preferable to the enormous expense and complicated logistics involved in the maintenance of a medical unit in the field. It is possible and desirable to assist in a different way.

But apparently a minute of TV coverage is much more important than all other considerations, and in fact Israel is using disasters as field training in rescue and medical care. After a fortnight, the mission will reportedly return to Israel. But to be truly effective a field hospital needs to remain for two or three months, but that’s a condition that Israel cannot meet.

Meanwhile, it is only in the Israeli aid compound in Haiti that large signs carrying the donor country’s name hang for all to see.

Prof Yoel Donchin is the director of the Patient Safety Unit at the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem. Translated by Sol Salbe. Hebrew original: http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3836494,00.html

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