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Monday, 19 March 2018

Victory in Glasgow as Racist COFIS Kept Off Anti-Racist March

The Shame of the SWP/SUTR as they accept the Zionists’ ‘anti-Semitism’ narrative

A replica of the Apartheid Wall was used to keep the racist COFIS away from an anti-racist march

Despite attempted obstruction from the march stewards Mick Napier of Scottish PSC captures what happened

Yesterday in Glasgow, despite the best attempts of the SWP/Stand Up to Racism leaders, the Zionists of the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland were kept off an anti-racist march.  Scottish PSC, Palestine solidarity supporters and anti-racists were sufficiently incensed by the arrogant and dismissive attitude of SUTR/SWP that they  built their own model replica of Israel’s Apartheid Wall in order to keep the Zionist racists away from the march.  The Zionists got a taste of what it must be like when you face a wall separating you from where you want to go!!

The Zionist contingent was cordoned off

How the Zionists saw their predicament

The march itself, was apparently only a few hundred strong and it set off almost immediately after the time scheduled for the marchers to rally.  It is clear that the leaders of the SWP/SUTR realised the counterproductive nature of their decision  to allow racists onto an anti-racist march and were determined to get it all over with as soon as decently possible.
How did it happen? The SWP formed a ‘united front’ (in fact a popular front) against racism appealing to the lowest common denominator politically with the Labour and Trade Union bureaucracy and just about anyone who would have them. The SWP is anxious to keep the support of the Labour bureaucracy at any price and is fully aware that much of that bureaucracy has fallen for the lie that being Jewish and being Zionist is one and the same thing. 
When the question arose of the participation of Zionists, supporters of the world’s only apartheid state, in their annual racist march, the SWP took fright.  If they told the COFIS that Zionist racists were not welcome on an anti-racist march it would mean the usual allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ and the possibility of the Labour bureaucrats taking away their ‘support’.  So the SWP decided that they would buckle first by swallowing their principles. 

This is of course not the first time that the SWP has found its principles to be a flexible and moveable feast.  When they were in Respect they kept quiet about abortion.  In Stop the War Campaign they kept quiet about gay rights.  Ten years ago they gave their support to Gilad Atzmon, an open anti-Semite and turned a blind eye to his anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. 'Anti-Zionist' holocaust denier, Time to say goodbye
COFIS's Facebook page talks of 'euthanising' Palestinians
Five years ago the SWP was embroiled in a crisis when a woman made allegations of rape against the National Secretary Martin Smith. Instead of Smith being suspended and the matter investigated or, if that were not possible, the Police being asked to investigate, the woman herself was penalised and made to feel responsible.  Another woman, a victim of serious sexual harassment was effectively sacked for making such allegations. 

In a series of articles that I and others wrote The Self-Destruction of the Socialist Workers Party – Now is the Time for a New Left Party, SWP Crisis Over Cover-up of Rape & Sexual Harassment Allegations against former National Secretary Martin Smith, SWP Central Committee - Rabbits Caught in the Headlights and Ten years on: a comment on the British SWP by the late Mike Marqusee the question was posed how this could happen in an allegedly revolutionary organisation.  My own view was not merely that the question of rape and sexism was not taken seriously but that the deformed internal political culture and lack of democracy in the SWP, whereby a self-perpetuating leadership slate is re-elected each year, resulted in an organisation which has no means of checking still less analysing its own behaviour.  In short there was no democratic accountability.  For the SWP leadership’s analysis of what went wrong see The politics of the SWP crisis.

Zionist marchers were hemmed in and isolated
In the front groups it sets up like Stand Up to Racism it replicates this lack of democracy.  None of its previous groups, Globalise Resistance, Unite Against Fascism, the Anti Nazi League etc. were remotely democratic.  They consisted of hand picked sponsors from the Labour Party, like Peter Hain in the ANL and SWP permanent full timers who effectively controlled the organisation.  In the Socialist Alliance they deliberately destroyed its democratic structures.

It is little wonder that when Palestinian supporters made demands on SUTR that an openly racist Zionist organisation should not be allowed to participate in their annual march, the SWP panicked.  Knowing full well the way that the false anti-Semitism campaign of Zionism had impacted on the Labour movement they took the decision that COFIS could participate because otherwise any decision would be painted as ‘anti-Semitic’. This was a deliberate concession to reformist and pro-imperialist currents in the Labour Party because the alternative was to stand up for international solidarity and anti-imperialism.  It is a concession to social chauvinism.
The lies of the Zionists who, by their own admission, couldn't take part in the march - calling Mick Napier a 'criminal' is like calling Ghandi a criminal, since he too was convicted of defying the British
Of course the obvious way out was simply to declare that Jews, whoever they were, were welcome on an anti-racist march but that supporters of Israel and Israeli flags in particular were not welcome.  Instead of confronting the Zionists’ attempts to confuse the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism the SWP simply caved in and made the situation worse. 
Even worse the SWP then went to the leaders of unions like the EIS (teachers union in Scotland) asking them to back them up, which unsurprisingly they did.  Equally unsurprising the Muslim Council of Scotland backed out of the march.  So the main representative of the community which is hardest hit by racism, the Muslim community, was not represented.  So Zionists, whose sole raison d'ĂȘtre is support of the Israeli state and who are not affected in any way by state racism, were welcome to participate on the march whereas the victims of state and fascist violence, Muslims, were forced into a position where they were not welcome.
Hemmed in an isolated in order to protect the public - Zionist racists
The dunderheads of the SWP, who parrot their opposition to Islamaphobia, fell at the first hurdle.  Islamapobia is the consequence of imperialist interventions in the Middle East and Afghanistan primarily.  A racism imported back to Britain in the same way as the racism used to justify the British Empire found is reflection in the anti-Black racism of the 1950’s and 1960’s as symbolised by Enoch Powell. 

However anti-Muslim racism is also spearheaded by Zionist groups, their neo-conservative and far-Right allies and the State of Israel.  It is no accident that some of the leading Islamaphobic groups, in Britain and internationally, love Israel so much.  Whether it is Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, Marine Le Pen in France or Heinz Christian Strache of the neo-Nazi Freedom Party in Austria, all are agreed that Israel is the first line of defence of the Western world against the Muslim hordes.  Indeed the neo-Nazi founder of the alt-Right in the USA, Richard Spencer, declares that he is a White Zionist. In Britain a similar line is taken by the British National Party and Britain First – Holocaust denial groups at home but Israel supporters abroad.

According to Wilders, his film ‘Islamization in the West’  will show “how the forces of Islamization are specifically targeting Israel in a fight against all free societies.”  The leader of Netherland’s fascist Freedom Party explains that ‘The film will demonstrate that the fight against Israel is not territorial, and hence Israel is only the first line of defense for the West.’  But the SWP is too stupid to understand the relationship between Zionism and anti-Muslim racism and because it lacks any internal democratic structure such decisions cannot be challenged. 
The racist CoFIS  repeats the myth that the Arab refugees who were ethnically cleansed left voluntarily at the urging of the Arab states - this lie has been repeatedly shown by people like Erskine Childers to be false
What the debacle over the Glasgow SUTR march shows is that the SWP’s formal anti-Zionism and pro-Palestinian politics are a dead letter.  When the crunch comes they simply abandon them in an opportunist and unprincipled attempt to retain the allegiance of the labour and trade union bureaucracy.

Practically this means that the SWP’s credibility in the Palestine solidarity movement is about zero.  They have totally discredited themselves. Brighton PSC affiliated to Stand Up to Racism but I would not wager that that affiliation continuing much longer.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign nationally sent a letter to SUTR asking them to issue a statement that organisations participating in their march ‘need to stand on a platform of opposition  to all forms of racism – which includes resistance to or, at the very least,  not supporting the policies and laws of any state that are clearly racist.’
COFIS hold their own demonstration after everyone has gone home!
Instead they received a cursory, insulting response which addressed none of their concerns and merely informed PSC who SUTR supporters are and what their criteria are, namely ‘opposition to the rising tide of racism, Islamophobia, Antisemitism and the scapegoating of refugees and migrants.’  This response completely failed to address the question of the participation of an openly racist, pro-Israel organisation in a supposedly anti-racist march.
One of the problems with the SUTR response is the crude equation it draws between racism, Islamaphobia and anti-Semitism. Racism is not simply a prejudice but is closely related to the class division of labour in society.  It is about the exercise of power and the role of the state.  Anti-Semitism today is not directed by the state.  Jews do not suffer from state racism.  For example there are no Jewish deaths in custody.  Jews are not subject to stop and search or immigration controls or even fascist violence.  Jews are not the subject of economic discrimination such as low wages.  Whereas Mosques are attacked with firebombs and an attempt was made at Finsbury Park mosque to run over worshippers, killing one, no such attack has been mounted on a synagogue. 
Yet the bulk of State funding for the protection of religious premises goes to the Zionist Community Security Trust not Muslim organisations.  Jews are also not demonised like Muslims in the press.  It is noticeable that all Britain’s racist papers – from the Express to the Sun and Mail – throw up their hands at ‘anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party.  All of them are opposed to ‘anti-Semitism’ when the question of Israel arises.  Jews are not subject to the Government’s Prevent Strategy.  Jews are, for the most part, a privileged section of the White population.  Anti-Semitism is a marginal prejudice.
Anti-semitism in the UK and  internationally is far less than other forms of racism
This is born out by the Pew Global Attitudes Survey 2016 where by 7% of people hold negative attitudes about Jews compared to 28% in respect of Muslims and a whopping 45% when it comes to Roma.  The figures in the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden are similar.  The failure of the SWP/SUTR to take this on board testifies to the crude simplicity of their anti-racist strategy.  It is a simplicity that hit the buffers last Saturday in Glasgow.
Tony Greenstein
Letter from PSC to SUTR:
We wanted to follow up our telephone conversations with a written note about our concerns over the presence of the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland on the SUTR Glasgow march on Saturday.

We are aware that a range of groups in Scotland including Scottish Friends of Palestine and SNP Friends of Palestine have raised their worries about the participation of the Confederation. These include the fact that this places Palestinians – including a group of Palestinian firefighters currently being trained by the FBU – in a hostile environment on a march they had intended to a join.

Whilst we understand that SUTR want to build a broad coalition of partners wishing to fight racism – including anti-Semitism, a brief visit to the Facebook page of the Confederation reveals them as propagators of the most offensive anti-Palestinian narratives. These include denying the Palestinian Nakba and posting material stating that no Palestinian villages and towns were destroyed prior to and after the establishment of the state of Israel; denying the status of Palestinian refugees and posting an article from the CEO of AIPAC which states that any Palestinian state is incompatible with Israel’s security. The Confederation is also part of a campaign to have student activism on UK campuses under the banner of ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ closed down. The Confederation has links with groups in the UK who – alongside Britain First and the EDL – have attempted to disrupt PSC marches and meetings.

We understand that the Confederation has framed its desire to attend within the context of an opposition to anti Semitism and that there is a concern that to indicate that their presence is not welcome will leave organisers open to the charge of anti-Semitism.

There are many definitions of racism, but to promote prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against people of a different race, ethnicity or culture, as the Confederation does, must surely give you as organisers cause for concern.

We would hope that there could be a clear statement that all of those organisations participating in a SUTR march need to stand on a platform of opposition  to all forms of racism – which includes resistance to or, at the very least,  not supporting the policies and laws of any state that are clearly racist. As organisers, we would hope that you would agree that anyone who cannot sign up to these basic principles would not be welcome and that behaviour designed to intimidate other participants will not be tolerated.

We would hope it is not too late for such a statement to be issued. Notwithstanding this, after the events of this weekend, we would wish – as the PSC – to have a more detailed conversation with SUTR about the long term strategy to address these issues.

Ben Jamal, PSC Director, and Hugh Lanning, PSC Chair.

SUTR Response
Dear Ben and Hugh,

For your information the SUTR Scottish Steering Committee unanimously agreed the following statement:

Stand up to Racism is a broad coalition comprising many civic organisations, refugee and migrant communities, as well as trade unions, political organisations and individuals. The key criteria are opposition to the rising tide of racism, Islamophobia, Antisemitism and the scapegoating of refugees and migrants. If you support these principles please come and join us on M17.

Signatories: Scottish Trades Union Congress, Unison Scotland, Unite the Union Scotland, Educational Institute of Scotland, University and College Union Scotland, Scottish Labour Party, Church of Scotland, Justice and Peace Scotland, Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, Scottish Refugee Council, Muslim Council of Scotland, Scottish Faiths Action For Refugees, Show Racism The Red Card, City of Edinburgh Unison, Glasgow City Unison, Unison South Lanarkshire, Edinburgh College EIS-Fela, Unite Scottish Housing Associations branch, Unite NHS Ayrshire & Arran, Unite GPM and IT Branch, Unite Glasgow retired members, MEND, Afghan Human Rights Foundation, Social Work Action Network, The People’s Assembly Scotland, Govanhill Baths Community Trust, Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees, Govanhill Against Racism, Maryhill Integration Network, Perth Against Racism, Women for Independence Glasgow, Scottish Jews For A Just Peace, PCS Scotland, RMT Scotland, FBU Scotland, Interfaith Glasgow.

We urge the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to join us.

The depraved racist views of COFIS (Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland) have not been a sufficient barrier to organisers allowing them to participate in the march tomorrow in Glasgow. COFIS, working in partnership with the Israeli Embassy, share posts about "euthanising" Palestinians, and jeer at a people under illegal occupation whom they call "Fakestinians". COFIS suppports EVERY Israeli crime against the Palestinian people - massacre, mass incarceration, home demolitions, and the brutal siege of Gaza.

Their presence on the march tomorrow has nothing whatsoever to do with anti-semitism - which they equate with opposition to Israel's crimes - but is part of the Israeli Embassy's psychological war against the Palestinian people and their supporters. It is an integral part of the Israeli State's war against the Palestinian people, and against their supporters in Scotland and internationally..

That well known anti-racist Rupert Murdoch's The Times today provides a platform to COFIS to cover up their nauseating racism. COFIS has announced they will bring their members from across Scotland for the march tomorrow. The same publication that promotes uber-racist COFIS ran a Goebbels-like attack piece some months ago calling Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign "an open sewer". The Murdoch press are drawing a line.

And some people are on the wrong side. The Israeli Embassy was shown in Al Jazeera's The Lobby series putting millions into shifting domestic UK politics, not only against a Tory Minister but especially the Labour Party and wider labour movement. It is simply unacceptable that SUTR organisers to fail to acknowledge this and to attack as "obssessed with COFIS" and "dividing the movement".all those who want the Palestinian people to be acknowledged among the victims of racism.

We want anti-racists to oppose state-enforced racism of an increasingly genocidal type. SUTR has quietly removed the name of the Muslim Council of Scotland from their published list of supporters for the march but have refused to engage with the MCS concerns, or the pain shared by all Palestinians in Scotland and communicated eloquently to SUTR Scotland by APCS. Along with anti-racist Jews, UK Palestine Solidarity groups, they are being ignored while COFIS prepares to exploit an ANTI-racist march in Israel's war against the Palestinian people.

A letter below was signed by a huge number of South African activists in a very short time and it should be some balm on Palestinian wounds caused by Israeli State agents marching and gloating about the surrender of Scottish anti-racist organisers to their intimidation. We remember that Stephen Hawking supported BDS and refused to attend an event in Israel in solidfarity with the Palestinian people. SUTR are now allowing the active enemies of the Palestinian people, extreme racists, to march with them in Glasgow posing as ANTI-racists.

Members of Nelson Mandela's family are shocked that a march passing near Mandela Place will fly Israeli flags while Palestine is occupied. They urge that "demonstrations on the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre should oppose all racism that blight our planet, especially the brutal apartheid system that still holds sway in Israel/Palestine." They acknowledge the role international solidarity played in their own struggle for liberation from state-enforced racial segregation and urge that we accept our "duty on this anniversary to build another example of successful international solidarity for the long-suffering Palestinian people.

Yet SUTR turns a deaf ear to all these concerns and seems determined to turn the march tomorrow into a dark farce by excluding Palestinians and their supporters (for how can we betray our principles of consistent anti-racism by marching alongside those who would "euthanise" Palestinians?) in order to admit a group onto their march that they acknowledge is racist and complicit in Israel's settler colonial regime.

The message from SUTR is clear and unambiguous: 'We are afraid to stand up to the false and weaponised accusations of anti-semitism that have led to anti-Zionist Jews being hounded out of the Labour Party. We will treat a racist pro-Israel campaign group as if it were a Jewish community group.'

Statement of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign

The Confederation of Friends of Israel in Scotland should be a pariah as we march in Glasgow, write MARGARET PACETTA and JOHN HILLEY
Morning Star,

15-year-old Muhammed Tamimi was shot in the head at point blank range and his sister Ahed has been in a Zionist prison for 3 months for slapping his attacker
ISRAEL is becoming increasingly isolated as worldwide criticism mounts over its illegal occupation, its siege of Gaza and its apartheid crimes. The rising support for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and widespread condemnation of Donald Trump’s endorsement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has seen the Israeli state also step up its external lobbying and media campaigning.

This is evident in the propaganda offensive against the Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, who was labelled a “terrorist” for slapping a soldier. Ahed and her mother — imprisoned for filming the incident — have had their trial, before a closed military court, continuously delayed.

Those criticising Ahed have to explain the awkward fact that an Israeli soldier had just shot her 15-year-old cousin, Muhammad Tamimi, removing part of his skull. While awaiting surgery, Muhammad was again arrested in a night raid and forced to “confess” he had sustained his injury from falling off a bike. Even after his doctors had shown medical proof of the shooting, the lobby has continued to malign the Tamimi family.

This is all part of a relentless hasbara seeking to intimidate anyone inclined to criticise Israel. US comedian Sarah Silverman has been denounced for urging fellow Jews to stand up for Ahed. Over here, the lobby has turned on Gary Lineker for daring to question Israel’s brutal treatment of children.
Netanyahu has approved a new $75 million “public relations commando unit” to counter BDS, with Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan leading a ”black-ops” campaign against BDS.

Among those targeted for supporting BDS are Roger Waters, with pressure on sponsors to close down his shows, and New Zealand singer Lorde, who has refused to play in Israel. Two young New Zealand women — one Jewish, one Palestinian — who sent a letter asking Lorde to support BDS are being sued by pro-Israel legal group Shurat HaDin.

Online Palestine activists are being censored as part of the corporate clampdown on “fake news.” Glenn Greenwald notes how Facebook executives approved Israel’s requests to delete huge numbers of pro-Palestine accounts.

Escalating fears over BDS and Israel’s deteriorating image has also placed the US lobby on heightened political alert. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, now before the US Congress, will make any support for a boycott of Israel a criminal offence in the United States.

The same US lobby has also launched a vociferous attack on Al Jazeera’s forthcoming exposĂ© of US lobby activity.

Here, a previous undercover Al Jazeera investigation revealed connections between lobbyists and the Israeli embassy.

With disgraced former international development secretary Priti Patel’s recent “family holiday” in Israel and co-lobbyist Lord Stuart Polak now exposed, Conservative Friends of Israel are working overtime with Michael Gove’s shrill warning of Palestine activists’ “dark and furious energy.”
The enduringly Blairite Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) remains on-message too, with Emily Thornberry delivering a speech to LFI that could have been written by a pro-Israel lobbyist.

The lobby’s relentless smearing of Jeremy Corbyn for “harbouring anti-semitism” goes on, no matter how much he denounces such tendencies. Encouragingly, newly founded Jewish Voice for Labour now provides a strong counter while Jews for a Just Peace has declared its support for BDS.

However, all this pressure on Israel has spurred other zealous lobbying.
A replica of the Apartheid Wall was used to keep racist COFIS away from an anti-racist march
One group pursuing that kind of mission here in Scotland is the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland (Cofis). Ignoring multiple UN resolutions and international law, Cofis defends Israel’s illegal acts.

It approves of Israel’s apartheid wall, blames Israel’s mass killing in Gaza on Hamas and fails to condemn Israel’s shooting and incarceration of children. It applauds Trump and his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It denounces BDS and artists such as Waters and insists that Ahed be punished as a “terrorist.”

Besides evangelising for Israel and whitewashing its crimes, Cofis consistently attacks Palestine solidarity groups in Scotland, as does Glasgow Friends of Israel (GFI).
Much of the literature Cofis hands out to the public comes from the same visceral right-wing group in the US, Stand With Us.

Film director Ken Loach, writer Paul Laverty and actor Tam Dean Burn were among the signatories of the Artists’ Pledge for Palestine, organised by Artists for Palestine UK, which in 2017 opposed Cofis’s “misnamed Shalom Festival, which promotes, not peace, but the apartheid state of Israel and its occupation.”

Their letter stated that the festival, organised by Cofis founder Nigel Goodrich and GFI’s Sammy Stein, and endorsed by Stand With Us, was “part of the state of Israel’s attempts to counter BDS.’ It claims to support ‘peaceful coexistence’ in Israel/Palestine, while whitewashing Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.”

Cofis claims to be anti-racist, while denying the inhuman effects of the occupation, the calamity of Gaza and Israel’s colonial settlements. This mirrors the very same deception Israel has peddled for generations with its contrived “peace process,” using every opportunity to extend the settlements, imprison Gaza, and deepen its racist treatment of Palestinians.

Cofis has no support from Palestinian civil society. While it speaks of “shared interests” and “open dialogue,” drawing in unwary progressives, serious observers see this supposedly “pro-peace” line for what it is: a cynical charade serving to normalise Israel’s land thefts and prioritise its “security concerns.”

People of conscience, whatever their background or religious beliefs, should reject any organisation which seeks to defend Israel’s apartheid state. And they should be particularly alert to any group which seeks to conceal their real purpose through stealth insertion into parliamentary life, mainstream parties or civil movements.

There should be no place for Israel-protecting bodies like Cofis at any authentic anti-racism event or demonstration.

The left must defend its position with principled argument rather than capitulate for fear of being falsely labelled.

Campaigns which help hide Israel’s mass crimes have to be resisted with moral resolve and tactical intent. You cannot stand up to racism while lying down to Israeli apartheid.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Why Israel is Racist in one word - Birthright

The Birthright Programme embodies all the assumptions of an Apartheid state

An all-white, all Jewish cast having a good time whilst Palestinians continue to pay the price
I must confess that when I was 16 I went on the equivalent of the Birthright programme.  It was a heavily subsidised trip for one month to Israel.  In 1969 the colonisation of the West Bank had barely begun.  A Labour Zionist government was in power but the racist framework was already over 20 years old.  Travelling in a hot bus in the Negev desert without any air conditioning and with Honky Tonk Women by the Stones at number one.

As long as you are Jewish you can be gay, straight or a young professional.  You can either be a progressive though if you live in Israel that will be knocked out of you
I went over already sceptical about Zionism and after losing my minders and hitch hiking around I became convinced that no good would come of the occupation of the West Bank.  The emphasis throughout the trip was that we were ‘returning’ to our home and that once kindled the spark would never die.  The only problem was that I didn’t feel any attachment to Israel, nor did I think of it as home.  It was too hot for me and I missed by real home back in Liverpool with its temperate climate!
Birthright however is the  programme that thousands of young Jewish people go on each year.  If you are between 18 and 26 and have at least one Jewish parent then you too are eligible for a free trip.  The reason for this programme is in order to encourage youngs Jews to emigrate to Israel and that is why, at its very heart, Birthright is the foundation stone of Israeli racism.
The most important category is that you are of 'Jewish descent' - Palestinians need not apply
If Israel is in need of immigrants then there are thousands of them languishing in the refugee camps of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.  The only problem is that they are of the wrong ethnic category.  They are not Jewish.  It matter not that they and their families originated from Palestine and were expelled in 1948 or subsequently.  They are not of the right race.  And that is why Birthright is Birthwrong.

Tony Greenstein

Thursday, 15 March 2018

The Desperate Dishonesty of the Zionists at Harry’s Place

‘Anti-Semitism’ trumps Collier’s       Far-Rights links

Times have not been good to the cold war site, Harry’s Place.  Having supported every war in the Middle East they have bathed in the Islamaphobic afterglow.

HP is a place where any racist and any warmonger can take part with pride, just as long as they support Israel.  That is why you have the imperialist warmongers of the ‘left’ like Andrew Coates posting there.

Most of the comments are combination of the juvenile, public school racism and the sheer malevolent, laced with a hefty dose of anti-communism.  Reflex support for Israel and an automatic demonization of any Palestinian or BDS is essential to politics there.

I guess I should be flattered that they reprint a post I did on the Facebook group Palestine Live, which was the subject of an ‘expose’ by far-Right Zionist blogger David Collier.  ‘Lucy Lips’ devotes all its attention to one phrase in particular:  Antisemitism doesn't hurt Jews but it does hurt the Palestinians.

How can this be the little neo-cons ask themselves.  Surely he doesn’t mean it.  In fact I did mean it as my response below explains (I posted it to Harry’s Place but despite their banner motto that ‘Liberty if it means anything means the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear’ doesn’t seem to want to extend it to me.  I was banned some years ago and I guess the ban is still in force as my comment hasn’t appeared.  [I went back after posting this and this time it appeared - however my comments used to be blocked!  I guess it was just a right-wing gremlin!]

My point, which is a simple one, is that the kind of anti-Semitism which occasionally graced the Palestine Live Facebook group, i.e. social media anti-Semitism doesn’t hurt Jews but does hurt the cause of Palestinians.  Obvious actual anti-Semitism in the real world does hurt people who are Jewish although even then, anti-Semitism prejudice in the Palestine solidarity movement, occasional and rare as it is compared to the virulent anti-Muslim racist of Zionists, hurts the Palestinian cause more than the Zionists.

Response to Harry’s Place
Let me put viewers of Harry's Place out of their misery.  I don't usually post here but someone drew my attention to this absurd piece of nonsense.

Any fair minded person, anyone who is not interested in deliberate distortion of someone's views would see that I unequivocally condemn all manifestations of antisemitism.  After all, unlike virtually all members of this site I have actually put myself on the line in the fight against fascist groups.  People here only talk about 'antisemitism' when they are defending the apartheid society of Israel.

On the day of the death of Steven Hawking let us remember that he too, like most reasonable anti-racist people, supported BDS and the Palestinians.  After all how can anyone who is an anti-racist support a state where 93% of the land is barred to Arabs or non-Jews, where Rabbis issue writs against leasing land or apartments to Arabs (Safed etc.) of where there are marches chanting 'death to the Arabs'.  All the circular wordplay on this site is devoted to defending the greater racism and of course most people except the elites in society and their echo chambers here know that.

What I meant about antisemitism not hurting Jews above is meant to be understood in the context in which it was said.  Of course it has nothing to do with the Holocaust, fascist attacks on the street etc.  It refers solely to what I refer to as the 'fruitcakes and loony tunes' who post on social media groups like Palestine Alive.  Social media anti-semitism, unless it is used to organise attacks on Jewish people, is anodyne.  It doesn't hurt a single Jew.  It is nothing more than people venting their frustration against Jews because of what the 'Jewish state' does in the name of Jews against Palestinians.

Such people are politically backward and reactionary and I called out Atzmon, Greta Berlin and Alison Weir.  My comments should not be understood as meaning I agree in any way with them but t o simply point out that they aren't hurting Jews, which they might like to do, but the very people they are purportedly supporting.

I suggest that if those who wish to ascertain 'antisemitism' in every crack or crevice were to turn their attention to the vicious racism in Israel, racism which people like Zeev Sternhell, a childhood survivor of the Holocaust, have compared to the Nazi era, then I would take their witterings over 'antisemitism' seriously.

Instead most of the posters here are serially dishonest in that they defend racism in the name of 'antisemitism', the new anti-communism.

You can’t Stand Up To Racism and then March under the Apartheid Flag of Israel

Putting Anti-racism and Anti-imperialism in Separate Compartments - the SWP's popular frontism in action

Below is a statement which has been issued by the Secretary of Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign.  We, like many Palestinian supporters have been dismayed at the stance of the Scottish STUR to allow supporters of Israel, the Confederation of Friends of Israel, to take part in Saturday’s anti-racist march in Glasgow, along with the flag of Israel.

This decision makes a mockery of the purpose of the march, to oppose racism.  There can be no doubt that Israel is a racist state, in the same way that Apartheid South Africa was a racist state.  It is a state with racism at its very core and essence.  It is literally a State of the Jews, not just its own Jewish citizens even but of all Jews throughout the world.  That is why when Netanyahu paid a visit to French Jews at the time of the killing of 4 Jews in a kosher Paris supermarket, he told them that they should ‘come home’. ‘Come home!’ Israeli minister urges French Jews amid terror wave 
Palestinian refugees, driven out in 1948 in order to ensure a Jewish demographic majority in Israel are not invited ‘home’, despite they and their families having lived there for generations.  Instead of being a state of its own citizens Israel is a state of its Jewish citizens and Jews outside the state. 

The fact that a plurality of Israeli Jews support the physical expulsion of Israel’s Arab citizens bears witness to the degree of racism in Israeli society.  The chant of ‘Death to the Arabs’ is a favourite one of Israeli right-wing demonstrations.  At this very moment Israel is in the process of trying to deport 40,000 Black African refugees for the crime of not being White or Jewish.
For Stand up to racism to allow people with Israeli flags to march as part of its demonstration is a disgrace which throws into question the purpose of SUTR.  It is no secret that SUTR is a front organisation of the SWP.  It runs and controls it behind the list of sponsors.  This is how the SWP have always operated.  Nonetheless many people have supported it who are not in the SWP, like Dianne Abbot, because it does good work in opposing Islamaphobia and the Prevent Programme. 
For SUTR to allow the flag of Apartheid Israel to be present amongst its ranks negates all of this.  Of course no one objects to someone who is a Zionist participating in the march.  But to allow the flag of Israel to be present is an entirely different matter.  The Israeli flag to Palestinians is like the Apartheid South African flag was to Black Africans and the Swastika was to Jews. 

The reason for this debacle is the politics of the SWP itself.  On the one hand they claim to be anti-Zionist, albeit in an extremely crude and unworked out way.  On the other hand they prioritise racism domestically.  They seem to have a blind spot for the fact that racism in Britain is a product of Britain’s role as an imperial power and the British Empire.  Although the SWP have no problem attributing the growth of Islamaphobia to the War on Terror and the Iraqi and Afghanistan invasions they do not see that in the Middle East the bastion of Islamaphobia and unadulterated anti-Arab racism is the State of Israel and Zionism. 
Zionists hold joint demonstration with EDL (in paramilitary uniform in background) at Ahava in Covent Garden - Jonathan Hoffman, Vice Chair Zionist Federation (right), Roberta Moore of Jewish Nazi Jewish Defence League (middle) and Harvey Garfield (left)
It is precisely the viciously anti-Islamic policies of the Israeli state, which tolerates fascist attacks by Lehava on Arab males who are  believed to be in mixed relationships, and which promotes anti-Islamic racism internationally that makes Israel so attractive to the European and American far-Right.  Some of the most vehemently Islamaphobic politicians from Geert Wilders in the Netherlands to Heinz Christian Strache, the Vice Chancellor Austria to our own Tommy Robinson ex EDL and Britain First admire Israel for its hostility to Muslims.

This adulation of Israel by the far Right seems to have passed the SWP by.  Pictures of fascist organisations marching and  demonstrating with the flag of Israel also seem to have passed them by.  If Israeli flags appear on Saturday in SUTR’s demonstration in Glasgow the shit as they say will hit the fan.

Tony Greenstein
Statement of Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Organisation
I write on behalf of the Committee of Brighton & Hove PSC (BHPSC). As an organisational affiliate to Stand Up To Racism (since October 2016), BHPSC is shocked and disappointed to learn of the decision, by the organisers of Saturday’s anti-racist march in Glasgow, to allow members of the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland (COFIS), to take part in the march.

In allowing representatives of an Israel advocacy group to take part (with banners and/or Israeli flags) the organisers of the Scotland march have undermined the fundamental principle upon which the march was planned – ie opposition to racism in all its forms. Moreover, they have failed to recognise that COFIS is not a group representing Jewish people, but instead an advocacy group (composed in part of evangelical Christians) for the racist and apartheid Israeli regime. COFIS has cynically manipulated the situation to normalise the image of Israel in Scotland.
EDL demonstration in Dudley
 The issue is not fundamentally one of support for the cause of Palestinian rights, or one of race hatred against Jewish people. It is about the racist nature of the Israeli regime, and the message that is conveyed to genuine campaigners against racism, and to genuine victims of racism, by allowing the visual symbols of that regime to be displayed in an allegedly anti-racist march.

We have written to Stand Up To Racism Scotland to urge them to reconsider their decision.

As affiliates to SUTR, and active supporters of the local SUTR group, we seek an assurance from SUTR that pro-Israel groups will not be allowed to take part in any overt way (and to carry pro-Israel banners and/or Israeli flags) in the London march on Saturday March 17th. We also seek a public statement from SUTR, distancing itself from the decision in Scotland. Of course individual members of pro-Israel groups wishing to take part in a personal capacity cannot be excluded, but pro-Israel banners and/or Israeli flags have no place in the anti-racist movement.

Ben Steele
Secretary, Brighton & Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Joint Palestinian-Israeli Demonstration in Tel Aviv in February 2017 against racism
"Palestinians have situated their struggle, the BDS movement, as part of a wider struggle against racism. Week after week Israel’s crimes escalate, fuelled by racism and genocidal discourse so malevolent that even Israeli generals, prominent journalists and Holocaust survivors have spoken out about how Israeli society develop ever more marked features resembling 1930s European fascism and Nazism."
As an anti-racist organisation, SPSC has participated over the years in Stand Up to Racism demonstrations; last year we provided a high-profile speaker, Prof Richard Falk, who co-authored the UN ESCWA report ‘Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid’ which concluded “that Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole”. A year later, the active agents of that apartheid state, defenders of its crimes against humanity are to be allowed onto the march.

We understand that racism is a mortal danger to any project for a better future in Britain, threatens to hurl us backwards into the abyss and that ALL racist organisations need to be challenged and quarantined like political and social Ebola.
According to SUTR publicity, March 17th marks the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 and is part of worldwide demonstrations called to combat all racism, including state-enforced racism.
How did this come to pass that an organisation that represents and works on behalf of apartheid Israel can be welcome to participate in such an occasion, in a city proud of the internationalism and solidarity that led to the naming of Mandela Place?

It is with great regret, that we have concluded that we cannot participate in Saturday’s march since SUTR in Scotland and UK-wide has let it be known that the racist Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland (COFIS), will be allowed to present itself as an anti-racist group on the march with a banner and Israeli flags.

COFIS is a group that considers extreme racist Tommy Robinson to be “a colourful character”, refers to Palestinians as 'Pallys' and 'Fakestinians' and posts about Palestinians being “euthanised”. COFIS is led by a Christian fundamentalist and is closely allied with Christians United for Israel. CUFI leader, Rev. John Hagee, asserts that Hitler was chosen by God to carry out the Nazi Holocaust to drive Jews to the only place they should live, Palestine.

Ask why the extreme right across Europe and beyond fly Israeli flags and they will provide the answer; US White supremacist Richard Spencer calls himself a ‘White Zionist’ because Israel is already their model for a state built on racist principles, ethnic cleansing and permanent inferiority for the indigenous people.

Palestinians have situated their struggle, the BDS movement, as part of a wider struggle against racism. Week after week Israel’s crimes escalate, fuelled by racism and genocidal discourse so malevolent that even Israeli generals, prominent journalists and Holocaust survivors have spoken out about how Israeli society develop ever more marked features resembling 1930s European fascism and Nazism.
EDL demonstrators in Brighton, after having failed to attack PSC stall - with Israeli flag
An earthquake is sudden but it is the result of long-term movements in the earth’s crust. The shock of what happened last Saturday is the result of several factors:.
  • The support for the Palestinian BDS call has been growing year on year since 2005.
  • Since 2014, the Israeli government has mobilised their support through the new ‘Ministry of Strategic Affairs’, working with organisations around the world. In Scotland, that organisation is COFIS.
  • The smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn and the witch-hunt being conducted against his support base is having an influence, leaving activists fearful of being targeted by the campaign that secured expulsions and suspensions from the Labour Party of dedicated anti-racist, anti-Zionist Jews. Corbyn delivered a shattering defeat to the pro-war, pro-Israel Blairites to become leader of the Labour Party. He channelled the hopes of millions and spoke to tens of thousands.
  • The Old Guard of the Labour Party are fighting back and the pro-Israel Labour groups are spearheading the attack by smearing Corbyn as an ‘antisemite’.
  • Unfortunately, Jeremy Corbyn has allowed some of his most active supporters to be expelled and suspended following demonstrably false accusations.
  • The result has been increased intimidation of anti-racist, pro-Palestine voices across the unions and the wider society.
Corbyn will find that COFIS and their ilk are insatiable and will continue to come for him, for the left, and certainly for all of us concerned with ensuring a future in Palestine / Israel that is apartheid-free and based on equality, justice and freedom.

During the long agony of the Palestinian people, most of the British left openly sided with the colonisers. Groaning in a vast gulag, periodically massacred, denied minimum human rights, an entire people were violated over decades, while the Churchills and Thatchers cheered on and armed the colonisers.

But we also must acknowledge that the British Labour Party in 1944/45, in the most progressive Labour Government ever, asked the Palestinian people as a whole to move out of Palestine to make way for Jewish colonists. Only recently has the British trade union movement and most of the left begun to atone for this shameful past.

The movers of the motion to ‘unwelcome’ COFIS were informed that the decision to accept defenders of Israeli war crimes and apartheid on to the march “came from SUTR National Officers, from Diane Abbott all the way down”. The repeated reason given by SUTR for allowing COFIS onto the march was the fear of being attacked in the media as “antisemitic” if they told these uber-racists they were unwelcome.

This is a capitulation to racism in a double sense. Scottish SUTR officers agree that COFIS is a campaigning racist organisation. (“We fully agree with you about what COFIS is”). But as the letter from Scottish Jewish anti-racists makes clear, to treat COFIS as a Jewish community organisation is itself a racist position because it asserts that all Jews are in some way associated with the Apartheid State. When clear anti-racist politics are needed, when its ‘fight or flight time’, SUTR has chosen capitulation to a racist smear against Scottish Jews and has thrown the Palestinians under the bus.

We have seen that there is far to go and we have been thrown back by this rotten decision. We are even hesitant about communicating this betrayal to our friends in Palestine for we know the pain it will cause to people who gambled on our support and have been rejected by some in Scotland.
There is the danger of the retreat in the face of weaponised false antisemitism charges turning into a rout.

We pick ourselves up from defeats just as we have celebrated victories and we dedicate ourselves to a long struggle, seeking the new allies that will inevitably come to the aid of the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle.

Palestinians are being occupied, murdered and dispossessed, many living in cruelly besieged Gaza under a military that uses guidance systems made in Fife to get bombs to their targets on Palestinian universities, schools, hospitals and homes. The same flag that flies over their constant humiliation in Palestine will now fly over the demonstration in Glasgow.

We have never been in such a situation before where a hard racist organisation has learned that they will be welcome on an ANTI-racist demonstration. This is salt in open Palestinian wounds and sends a message – the message COFIS and the Israeli Embassy work tirelessly to send – that resistance is futile because Palestinians under Israel’s iron heel are completely isolated. “Just look – even Scottish anti-racists are with Israel!”

What better way to spread pain and despair, for Israel’s benefit. Those progressive Palestinians and citizens across the Middle East who argue that international solidarity can contribute to their liberation and a better world have been kicked in the teeth and those elements who thrive on despair - ISIS and Al Qaeda - can put another slide in their PowerPoint.

Those Palestinians, our comrades in the fight against the Apartheid they suffer under, have reached out to join with anti-racists around the world and have been told that the flag of their torturers is welcome in Glasgow.

But everything is now out in the open for all to see. New lines must be drawn with those who oppose all racism on one side of that line, and on the other extreme racists and their partners, racist and "anti-racist" alike.