31 January 2017

Brighton & Hove’s Monster Demonstration Against Trump

Praise from one racist Israel's Prime Minister to Donald Trump -  it's what I've already done Netanyahu tweeted

Only Israel and Netanyahu Welcome the Mexican Wall and the Ban on Muslims

Completely blocked - the intersection of Bartholomew Square, where Brighton town hall is situated, with Prince Albert Street and The Laines, with Cafe Rouge on the corner
On the steps of Brighton Town Hall - Momentum and Brighton & Hove PSC - no Zionists or Jewish Labour Movement were to be seen - probably because opposition to anti-Muslim racism is anti-Semitic!
I have seen some large demonstrations in my time in Brighton.  Over 5,000  demonstrated in April 2003 at the start of the Iraq War.  Some 4,000 school students demonstrated in 2010 against the massive increase in tuition fees but this was the largest demonstration I can remember in 40 years.  People came from everywhere.  Bartholomew Square in which the town hall was situated was packed solid.  It was impossible to get anywhere near the demonstration as Prince Albert Street was impassable.  So too were the Laines approaches. 

What was so impressive was not only the youthful nature of the demonstrators but the fact that this represented a cross-section of Brighton and Hove.  Parents with their children, old people and of course veteran protestors like me!  The chanting focussed on the racist bigotry of Trump’s measures against Muslims.  ‘Refugees are welcome’ was the cry.  Even a few of our New Labour councillors, such as Emma Daniels, a strong supporter of Israel’s racist anti-Muslim politics, showed her face before scuttling away.  It was also good to see Brighton and Hove’s Green Mayor Pete West.
Photograph taken from Prince Albert Street which was impassable

The hypocrisy of Trump’s measures, which conveniently excluded Saudi Arabia, the country from which the 9/11 bombers had come, made it clear what the purpose of the immigration ban was – to demonise Muslims and Arabs.  It was an attempt to use the race card to divide American society.  What is gratifying, at a time when New Labour politicians are allowing Brexit to divide people in Britain, is the strength and size of the opposition to Trump in America.

We are living in new times.  The election of Trump, who received fewer votes even than the detested Hilary Clinton, has little legitimacy in the eyes of a majority of American voters.  Most American Presidents enjoy a honeymoon when elected.  Trump has started out with negative ratings.
The election of Trump is not only unpopular with the American people but also with the majority of the American capitalist class and its political establishment.  It’s not simply his policies.  There is a lot of truth in the argument that what Trump does aloud Obama did behind closed doors. That Obama too banned Iraqis from visiting America for 6 months.  That Obama also presided over mass deportations of Mexicans.  But Trump makes a virtue out of his racist reaction.  He deliberately plays footsey with the American far-Right who are in ectasy.  He deliberately stirs up racial divisions in order to prop up US corporations.  He uses race in order to satisfy his lumpen working class support.
What is appalling in their eyes is that Trump is stripping the United States of its moral legitimacy as the leader of the democratic world.  To socialists and lefties this has always been a dubious and hypocritical proposition.  Chile, Iraq, El Salvador – the list of countries that the United States has despoiled is endless.  Its support for Israel is well known.

But today people identify the United States with a loud-mouthed bigot, who wears his racism on his sleeve, who is on record of boasting about sexual attacks on women, who has called all Mexicans rapists and who has appointed open racists and anti-Semites like Steve Bannon of Breitbart as his Strategic Advisor.  Tonight his immigration ban has been countermanded by the Acting Attorney General, an almost unprecedented action.
Brighton's Bartholomew Square

I predict that  Trump may serve one of the shortest terms of any American President.  It is almost certain that evidence is going to be provided of his many misdemeanours and crimes – from rape and sexual assault to fraud in the way his charity operated to tax evasion.  New York State already has an investigation into Trump’s charity underway.  I think it is odds on that Trump is going to be impeached.  At the end of the day it will only be America’s far-Right Zionists, White Supremacists and Fundamentalist Christians who will be his supporters.  Although Republicans have lined up in his support for the moment that is unlikely to last.

The fact that  Theresa May went to pay homage to Trump in America without saying a word about his anti-Muslim rhetoric and  racist tirades against Mexicans says everything you need to know about this tawdry woman who goes begging, from one tyrant to another, seeking a way out from her ‘hard Brexit’.  May is demonstrating, despite her fine words on succeeding to Cameron, that she is willing to support anything and anyone who provides her with an economic escape route from her difficulties on Europe and Brexit.  It was toe curlingly embarrassing to see her hand in hand with a man who boasts about grabbing women by the ‘pussy’.  It is or should be a good example to those who believe that having a woman in power is a good thing in itself.
Brighton's Bartholomew Square
There was, not surprisingly, just one voice in the world that welcomed  Trump’s anti-Muslim directives.  That was the State of Israel which has pioneered racial profiling.  Israel has, as Netanyahu boasted, constructed its own wall on the Egyptian border to keep out African refugees.  Israel has refused to accept any Syrian refugees and has called those refugees who did manage to gain entry before the Egyptian wall ‘infiltrators’ (a comparison with Palestinian refugees from 1948 who sought to return to their lands).

Israel has followed a policy of ‘encouraging’ the 60,000 African refugees who did obtain entry in the early years of this decade, to leave.  Methods include indefinite imprisonment in the Holot detention centre in the Negev Desert.  A number of those who were forced out of Israel ended up dead at the hands of ISIS in Libya.  Israel refuses to recognise that Eritrea, where most refugees come from, is a country with a horrific human rights record.  
Ha’aretz described how 'On Saturday, the Israeli prime minister applauded Trump’s decision to set up a wall with Mexico, with the disputable claim, phrased in Trump-style syntax, “I built a wall along Israel's southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”  Netanyahu’s arguments in opposing the entry of refugees were explicitly racist.  It wasn’t about terrorism or lowering wages but identity – admitting non-Jewish refugees would dilute the Jewish majority:

"If we don't stop their entry, the problem that currently stands at 60,000 could grow to 600,000, and that threatens our existence as a Jewish and democratic state," Binyamin Netanyahu said at Sunday's cabinet meeting. "This phenomenon is very grave and threatens the social fabric of society, our national security and our national identity." Israel PM: illegal African immigrants threaten identity of Jewish state]
In an interview with the BICOM journal Fathom, Isaac Herzog, Leader of the Israeli Labour Party  put it more elegantly than Netanyahu but he sang from the same hymn sheet:

‘It’s complicated because one doesn’t want to create a precedent which could affect the equilibrium of the nation. There are millions out there who may want to come to Israel.’

In 2012 in an Op Ed ‘The next national target: Eritrea in the Jerusalem Post Herzog urged that Eritrean refugees, who form 2/3 of Israel’s refugees be sent back.  He repeated this on the eve of the 2015 elections. 

Theresa May has also invited Trump to visit Britain later this year.  A petition opposing the visit has already garnered 1.5m signatures.  It is a sign of the opposition that there will be on the streets when or if Trump shows his face.

Netanyahu’s anti-Jewish support for Trump’s anti-Muslim decree

Banning Syrian refugees and Muslim immigrants will help anti-American propaganda more than U.S. national security.

By Chemi Shalev | Jan. 29, 2017 

U.S President Donald Trump is a hero now for Muslim-haters who, in some countries, might even be the majority. He is being lauded by the hard-right in America, extolled as a man’s man in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, glorified as a god among racist parties in Europe and enjoys wall-to-wall support from his groupies in Israel, who are now being led, unabashedly, by Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Saturday, the Israeli prime minister applauded Trump’s decision to set up a wall with Mexico, with the disputable claim, phrased in Trump-style syntax, “I built a wall along Israel's southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.” Netanyahu’s intervention on a topic that is in sharp political dispute in the U.S. is questionable enough, but the timing of his decision to identify so strongly with Trump, just after the president issued his executive order on Syrian refugees and Muslim immigrants - a move viewed widely as a declaration of hate against Muslims - is a reckless gamble. For no discernible rhyme, reason or political imperative, Netanyahu has placed himself - and Israel, by extension - solidly behind a morally dubious move and a leader who could soon become the world’s most hated.

Trump’s spokespersons claim that the move is aimed at countering threats to U.S. national security, but that’s an obvious ruse. The U.S. already conducts the world’s most stringent screening for refugees. To this day, not one Syrian refugee or immigrant from any of the seven blacklisted countries has engaged in terrorist activities - while those who did attack America, including the terrorists who carried out the September 11 attacks, came from countries that were not included in Trump’s list, either because they’re too vital to U.S. interests or too lucrative for Trump’s business empire.

On the other hand, the damage that Trump’s move may cause, directly or indirectly, in the short term or in the long, is undeniable. The reports of refugees stuck on their way to the U.S. or in American airports, along with the shocking announcement by the Department of Homeland Security that green-card holders who are abroad will be barred from rejoining their families or their jobs, place a disturbing human face on the bureaucratic jargon of Friday's executive order. Much of Muslim public opinion is likely to be outraged by Trump’s actions - and they will be aided and abetted by hostile governments and jihadist groups eager to stoke the flames of hate. Friendly regimes, in places such as Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, will be under pressure to distance themselves from Washington. Preachers of radical Islam will be able to use the photo of Trump signing the order as proof of their age-old claim that America and the West are on a crusade against Islam. ISIS, which has been on the defensive for the past year and, according to some experts, on the verge of collapse, has been handed a propaganda victory and a new slogan for attracting new recruits.

Trump’s decision is bound to increase polarization between left and right, between liberals and some, but not all, conservatives. What supporters of the move will portray as a defensive imperative, its opponents will view as institutional discrimination and an assault on values. “Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty,” Senator Chuck Schumer said. The famous line of American-Jewish poet Emma Lazarus' The New Colossus “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” which is engraved in stone at the footsteps of Lady Liberty, will now need an asterisk that clarifies “  *Unless they happen to be Muslim.”

Trump’s decision is also bound to increase tensions in the American Jewish community, between the right wing that has adopted and compounded their Israeli counterparts’ anti-Muslim narrative and the more centrist and moderate elements - including most of the Jewish establishment - that remains loyal to the community’s traditional liberal values. Most Jews still view themselves as a vulnerable minority, just like Muslims. Most are deeply committed to the values of immigration and sanctuary. Most still carry the traumatized memories of their parents and grandparents of an America that locked its gates for Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis. Netanyahu’s imprudent encouragement of Trump, along with the overzealous welcome that Trump has received from the Israeli government, further expand the growing divide between the Jewish State and the world’s biggest Jewish diaspora.

One wonders of course about the silence of the GOP chickens, who were quick to blast Trump’s offer to ban Muslims when his prospects to become the party’s presidential candidate looked slim but who are now laying low out of fear and expediency. First and foremost of these is House Speaker Paul Ryan who was rightfully enshrined for a few hours on Saturday on the Wikipedia page for spineless invertebrates. Photos of Likud lawmakers who have been similarly struck dumb when asked about Netanyahu’s corruption charges and other shady shenanigans also deserve a place of honor in the same gallery of cowards. They and their patrons, Trump and Netanyahu, are the proverbial birds of a feather that mock us together.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please submit your comments below