Archive | June 8th, 2017

The State-Name of Macedonia Historical Analysis, Political Implications


The “Macedonian Question” is today actual for several reasons of whom two are of the fundamental importance:

1. The Albanian secession in the FYROM; and

2. The Greek dispute with the FYROM authorities over several issues.[1]

For the matter of illustration, for instance, Greece is so far blocking Macedonia’s joining NATO and the EU because of an on-going dispute between the FYROM and Greece. The main disputable issue is the title of “Macedonia” used in the country’s Constitution in the form of the official state-name as the Republic of Macedonia.[2] When the ex-Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Macedonia voted for independence on September 8th, 1991[3] as the Republic of Macedonia that was confirmed as the official constitutional name in November 1991[4], Greece became with a great reason immediately reluctant of recognising the country under such official name in addition to some other significant disputable issues in regard to the independence of FYROM.

In essence, according to the Greek administration, the use of this name is bringing direct cultural, national and territorial threat to Greece and the Greek people. The Greeks feel that by using such name, the FYROM imposes open territorial claim on the territory of the North Greece that is also called (the Aegean) Macedonia. To make things clear, Greece claims and with a right reason, to have an exclusive copyright to the use of the name of Macedonia as the history and culture of ancient Macedonia were and are integral parts of the Greek national history and civilization and nothing to do with the present-day “Macedonians” who are the artificial creation by the Titoist regime of the Socialist Yugoslavia after the WWII.[5]

The FYROM (the Republic of Macedonia)

A Basic Historical Background

A present-day territory of FYROM was formerly part of the Byzantine, Bulgarian and Serbian Empires until 1371/1395 when it became included into the Ottoman Sultanate followed by the process of Islamization. The Christian population of the land was constantly migrating from Macedonia under the Ottoman rule especially after the Austrian-Ottoman wars and uprisings against the Ottoman rule. After the 1878 Berlin Congress, Bulgaria started to work on annexation of all historical-geographic Macedonia and for that reason it was established in 1893 openly pro-Bulgarian Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (the IMRO).

After the Second Balkan War in 1913 Macedonian territory became partitioned between Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria. During the WWI, Macedonia was a scene of a heavy battles between the forces of the Central Powers and the Entente (the Salonika Front or the Macedonian Front). After the WWI, according to the Treaty of Neuilly, the territorial division of historical-geographical Macedonia between Serbia (now the Yugoslav state), Greece and Bulgaria was confirmed followed in the next years by a large population movement which transformed the ethnic and confessional composition of Macedonia’s population primarily due to the population exchange between Greece and Turkey after the Greco-Turkish War of 1919−1922. In the interwar period, despite continued activism by the IMRO terrorists from Bulgaria, the aim to annex the Yugoslav (Vardar) Macedonia became unfulfilled. After WWII, the Vardar Macedonia became transformed into one of six Yugoslav socialist republics (the Socialist Republic of Macedonia) followed by the official recognition of the Macedonian nation, language and alphabet by the Yugoslav communist authorities – a decision which alienated Bulgaria and Greece from Yugoslavia.[6]

The FYROM flag from 1995

The proclamation of state independence of the Yugoslav portion of Macedonia under the official name the Republic of Macedonia immediately created an extremely tense relationship with the neighbouring Greece as Macedonia developed rival claims for ethnicity and statehood followed by the appropriation of the ancient Macedonian history and culture. This Greco-Macedonian rivalry became firstly epitomized in a dispute on Macedonia’s official state-name for the very reason that Greece objected to the use of the term Macedonia in any combination of the name of the state of its northern neighbour.

An Origin of the Dispute

The dispute between Greece and the FYROM regarding the Macedonian official state-name came on agenda when ex-Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Macedonia adopted its new Constitution in November 1991 in which the country official name was declared as the Republic of Macedonia. As a matter of political fight against the FYROM Government, Greece blocked the European Union (the EU) to recognize Macedonia’s independence[7] and on December 4th, 1991, the Greek Government officially declared its good will to recognize the independence of ex-Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Macedonia but only if it would:

  1. Made a clear constitutional guarantee of having no claims to the Greek territory.
  2. Stop a hostile propaganda against Greece.
  3. Exclude the term “Macedonia” and its derivatives from a new official name of the state.

The first of these three conditions was a Greek reaction to the disputable Article 49 in Macedonia’s new Constitution which declared that the Republic of Macedonia cares for the status and rights of those persons belonging to the Macedonian people in all neighbouring countries as well as the Macedonian expatriates, assisting in their cultural development, and promoting links with them.[8] This article was interpreted by Greece as an indirect reference to the (unrecognized) Macedonian minority (i.e. “Slavophile Greeks”) in the North Greece (the Aegean Macedonia) and it was perceived as a threat to the territorial sovereignty and integrity of Greece. The EU concerning this matter supported Greece and stated in the same month that it would only recognize a new Macedonian state if it guaranteed to have no territorial claims against any neighbouring EU member state[9] and not to engage in any act against such state, including and the use of a state-name that potentially can imply the territorial claims.

Basically, only under the pressure by Brussels, the Parliament (Sobranie) in Skopje amended Macedonia’s Constitution in January 1992 and as the results, the formal constitutional guarantees were provided that the country would not interfere in the internal affairs of other states and would respect the inviolability of the international borders of any state. Macedonia’s authorities fulfilled only the minor EU requirements, hopping to be soon recognized by the same organization, but two crucial problem-issues (the state-name of Macedonia and the Article 49 in the Constitution) which caused the fundamental Greek dissatisfaction, still remained unchanged. Therefore, the EU sided with Greece and decided in June 1992 not to recognize the republic if it uses the term Macedonia in its official state title.[10]

However, at the first glance, it may seem that the EU supported the Greek policy in 1991 toward the Macedonian Question as it aligned itself with Greece as a member state of the bloc, but in fact, it was not the case. Greece’s position and arguments have been publicly rejected and even ridiculed by the officials from several EU member states, but three crucial real politik reasons made the EU to officially side in 1992 with Greece in her dispute with the FYROM:

  1. In an exchange for the EU support on the Macedonian Question, Greece promised to ratify the Maastricht Treaty (signed in February 1993), to participate in sanctions against Serbia (its traditional ally), and to ratify the EU financial protocol with Turkey.
  2. By taking the same position as Greece, the EU demonstrated its own internal political cohesion and unity, trying at the same time to thwart the use of Greek veto right in order to protect its own national interest within the EU.
  3. A last factor that contributed to the EU support for the Greek case was a fear that the Greek Government might fall if the Republic of Macedonia would be recognized under that name.[11]

Alternative Official Names for Macedonia

A variety of alternative names for ex-Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Macedonia were proposed after 1991 in order to solve the problem and normalize relations with Greece – a most important Macedonia’s neighbour and economic partner. It was quite clear that Greece herself would not accept any kind of state-name that includes a term “Macedonia” and therefore a variety of solutions without a term of “Macedonia” were suggested by Athens, ranging from Dardania and Paeonia (used in antiquity to name regions to the north of the ancient Macedonia) to the names of the South Slavia, the Vardar Republic[12], the Central Balkan Republic and the Republic of Skopje (named after Macedonia’s capital). All other name suggestions which used the designation Macedonia, mainly proposed by the Macedonian side, were in no way acceptable to Greece from political, historical and moral reasons.

What Greece could accept as a kind of temporal solution was the state-name of the country with the designation Macedonia but only to make clear difference between Macedonia as a former republic of Yugoslavia and Macedonia that is a region in (the North) Greece. These solutions included names, for instance, the North Macedonia, a New Macedonia or the Slavic Republic of Macedonia.[13] Greece even suggested that a new state of Macedonia could adopt two names: 1. One official for the external use, without mentioning designation Macedonia, and 2. One unofficial for internal use, which could include designation Macedonia. However, all these Greek solutions were rejected by the Macedonian authorities who insisted on the recognition of Macedonia’s independence exactly under the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia.[14]

Ancient Vergina in Greece

The FYROM and the “Sun of Vergina”

The ex-Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Macedonia was gaining the international recognition step by step, although not in majority cases under its constitutional name as the Republic of Macedonia. By early 1993 the new state was able to become a member of the International Monetary Fund (the IMF) under the name the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (the FYROM)[15] and by April 1993 the United Nations (the UN) also admitted Macedonia under such provisional name as a temporal compromise between the Macedonian and the Greek authorities. It was agreed that a permanent state-name of Macedonia that is going to be used in the foreign affairs had to be decided later through a process of mediation by the UN. However, the FYROM was not allowed to fly its original state flag (from 1991) at the UN headquarters as the official state emblem as Greece strongly opposed such idea.

The real reason for this Greek decision was basically of the essential nature of the political conflict with the authorities in Skopje as the flag was composed by the yellow-coloured sixteen-ray sun of star from Vergina on the red-coloured background. The background colour was not a problematic issue, but the yellow “Sun of Vergina” on the flag, however, created the fundamental dispute between two states together with the issue of the official state-name of Macedonia. The Greek Government strongly opposed the Macedonian authorities to use the “Sun of Vergina” as a state emblem at least for two good reasons as:

  1. It was an insignia of the ancient Macedonians of the Macedonian Empire.
  2. It was found between two world wars in Vergina that is an ancient town on the territory of the present-day Greece but not of the FYROM.

The Greek authorities is understanding the “Sun of Vergina” as a symbol which has nothing to do either with the territory of the FYROM or with the ethnic Macedonians, or better to say, with Macedonia’s Slavs.[16] The Greeks are clear in this matter having a position that the history and culture of the ancient Macedonians does not belong to the historical and ethnic heritage of the FYROM but quite contrary, they belong to the Greek (Hellenic) inheritance. Therefore, the use of the “Sun of Vergina” by the FYROM authorities is seen by Greece as an act of falsification of history and a cultural aggression on the state territory of Greece with unpredictable political consequences in the future. That is the same as well as with the cases of naming certain institutions and public objects with the names of Philip II (national soccer stadium in Skopje) or Alexander the Great (the highway in the FYROM and the Skopje airport) or with erections of the monuments devoted to them (on the main city square in Skopje).

The Embargo and Further Negotiations

In 1993 several states recognized Macedonia under the official state-name as the FYROM but there were also and those states who recognized the country as the Republic of Macedonia. Macedonia was recognized by six EU members followed by the United States of America (the US) and Australia by early 1994. However, the Greek Government experienced Macedonia’s recognition of independence without the final fixing the question of Macedonia’s administrative name for the external usage as her own great diplomatic and national defeat, and as a response to such situation, Athens imposed a strict trade embargo to the FYROM on February 17th, 1994 for the sake to more firmly point out its unchanged position regarding several problematic issues in dealing with its northern neighbour. The embargo had a very large, and negative, impact on Macedonia’s economy as its export earnings became reduced by 85% and its food supplies dropped by 40%. On the other side, the economic blockade was very much criticised by the international community including and the EU and, therefore, not much later became lifted in 1995, but after successful negotiations between Greece and the FYROM, when these two countries finally recognized each other and established diplomatic relations. The FYROM, as a part of a settlement package with Greece, was also forced to change the official flag of the state on which the “Sun of Vergina” was replaced with the “Macedonian Sun”.[17]

The flag of Greek Macedonia (the Aegean Macedonia) with the Sun of Vergina

However, the negotiations between the FYROM and Greece in regard to a permanent state-name of Macedonia are still being conducted by the UN, and this problem is not solved properly up today on the way that the both sides are going to be fully satisfied. The issue arose several times concerning the FYROM possibility to join both the NATO and the EU as Greece (member state of both organizations) threatened to use a veto right in order to stop Macedonia’s admission if previously the problem of Macedonia’s state-name is not solved in the Greek favour. Talks between the FYROM and Greece are permanent up to now with some new alternative state-name proposals by both sides as, for instance, the Constitutional Republic of Macedonia, the Democratic Republic of Macedonia, the Independent Republic of Macedonia, the New Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Upper-Macedonia.

Nevertheless, the talks proved that no one of these proposals is acceptable for both parties. The FYROM proposed as a workable solution to use changed state-name only in relations to Greece, but at the same time to keep its constitutional state-name in all other international relations. However, even this proposal did not lead to a final and sincere solution as Greece insisted that a final deal must be applied internationally. The UN mediator’s compromising proposal to rename the state was as the Republic Macedonia-Skopje. Nevertheless, despite all possible efforts that were made to solve the problem, no agreement could be reached so far and, therefore, the NATO and the EU memberships of the FYROM are very problematic as one of the membership requirements is to reach agreements with Greece on all disputable political questions including and the official Macedonia’s state-name.[18]

Concluding Remarks

It is quite remarkable that a dispute between the FYROM and Greece on Macedonia’s official state-name after 1991, which looks probably quite trivial on the first sight, can have so large political and other implications with unpredictable consequences in the future. One can wonder how Greece and the FYROM became firmly stuck to their positions for a quarter of century. However, the very fact is that this dispute is actually directly connected with their national identities and cultural inheritance.


Georges Castellan, History of the Balkans from Mohammed the Conqueror to Stalin, New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.

Loring M. Danforth, “Claims to Macedonian Identity: The Macedonian Question and the Breakup of Yugoslavia”, Anthropology Today, 9 (4), 1993, 3−10.

Nicolaos K. Martis, The Falsification of Macedonian History, Athens: Graphic Arts, 1983.

James Pettifer (ed), The New Macedonian Question, New York: Palgrave, 2001.

Hugh Poulton, The Balkans: Minorities and States in Conflict, London: Minority Rights Publications, 1994.

Victor Roudometof, “Nationalism and Identity Politics in the Balkans: Greece and the Macedonian Question”, Journal of Modern Greek Studies, 14 (2), 1996, 253−301.


[1] James Pettifer (ed), The New Macedonian Question, New York: Palgrave, 2001, 15−27.

[2] The term Macedonia is of the Greek origin.

[3] This day is celebrated in the FYROM as the Independence Day.

[4] James Pettifer (ed), The New Macedonian Question, New York: Palgrave, 2001, xxv.

[5] Nicolaos K. Martis, The Falsification of Macedonian History, Athens: Graphic Arts, 1983.

[6] Bulgaria never recognized separate Macedonian nationality, language and alphabet. For Bulgarians, all Macedonia’s Slavs are of the Bulgarian origin. Greece is recognizing only the existence of the Macedonian Slavs but not on its own territory where all Slavs are considered as the Slavophone Greeks [Hugh Poulton, The Balkans: Minorities and States in Conflict, London: Minority Rights Publications, 1994, 175].

[7] Greece is a member of the EU from 1981.

[8] The Constitution’s day of adopting is November 17th, 1991 and day of entry into force November 20th, 1991.

[9] At that time it was the European Community which became next year the European Union.

[10] Victor Roudometof, “Nationalism and Identity Politics in the Balkans: Greece and the Macedonian Question”, Journal of Modern Greek Studies, 14 (2), 1996, 253−301.

[11] Loring M. Danforth, “Claims to Macedonian Identity: The Macedonian Question and the Breakup of Yugoslavia”, Anthropology Today, 9 (4), 1993, 3−10.

[12] The territory of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (the FYROM) is also known as the Vardar Macedonia, contrary to the Macedonian territory in Bulgaria – the Pirin Macedonia, and in Greece – the Aegean Macedonia. A geographical-historical territory of Macedonia became divided between Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria as a consequence of the Balkan Wars of 1912−1913: “…Bulgaria who had only a little piece of Macedonia in her share: the Struma Valley between Gorna Dzumaja (Blagoevgrad) and Petric with the Strumica enclave. Greece received all Macedonia south of Lake Ohrid and the coast with Thessalonika and Kavala. Serbia was given Northern Macedonia and the center up to Ohrid, Monastir (Bitola) and the Vardar” [Georges Castellan, History of the Balkans from Mohammed the Conqueror to Stalin, New York: Columbia University Press, 1992, 381]. In essence, Greece received 60%, Serbia 30% and Bulgaria 10% of the geographic-historical territory of Macedonia. A Present-day FYROM is in fact the Vardar Macedonia that became annexed by the Kingdom of Serbia in 1913 known in Titoist Yugoslavia as the Socialist Republic of Macedonia with the capital in Skopje.

[13] The Greeks are not the Slavs.

[14] Loring M. Danforth, “Claims to Macedonian Identity: The Macedonian Question and the Breakup of Yugoslavia”, Anthropology Today, 9 (4), 1993, 3−10.

[15] Victor Roudometof, “Nationalism and Identity Politics in the Balkans: Greece and the Macedonian Question”, Journal of Modern Greek Studies, 14 (2), 1996, 253−301.

[16] Loring M. Danforth, “Claims to Macedonian Identity: The Macedonian Question and the Breakup of Yugoslavia”, Anthropology Today, 9 (4), 1993, 3−10.

[17] The Greeks in the Aegean Macedonia are using regularly a blue flag with the “Sun of Vergina” which is also in many cases put on the state flag of Greece as a historical amblem of the North Greece.

[18] The FYROM is currently a candidate state for the EU membership together with Turkey, Serbia and Montenegro.

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Terror as Opportunity: Exploiting the London Attacks


The hallmark of any administration worth its corruptly curing salt is making hay while the sun shines its searing rays. Not long after the slashing and running down was taking place in London, moving from London Bridge to Borough Market, the tweets of blame and fire were already coming through.

That nasty sovereign known as social media was already agitating. One of the biggest themes: the rollback on human rights protections, and the marketing of pure fear. Across the Atlantic, President Donald Trump was adding his little rough side to the debate.

“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’”

Image result for Sadiq Khan

A spokesman for Sadiq Khan (image on the right) was hoping to deflect the Trump tweet as misdirected spittle, preferring to focus on the job at hand:

“The mayor is busy working with the police, emergency services and the government to coordinate the response to this horrific and cowardly terrorist attack and provide leadership and reassurance to Londoners and visitors to our city.”

In short, Khan had “more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks urging Londoners not to be alarmed when they saw more police – including armed officers – on the streets.”

Alarm, however, can be quarried and built upon. The attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market has enabled Prime Minister Theresa May to revive the inner Home Secretary in her, one replete with suspicions and hostility towards free agents and choice in society.

With only hours to go to the polls, May has been promising flintier measures against extremists, notably in terms of controls using risk as a key indicator. Even in the absence of concrete evidence for prosecution, the prime minister fancies making the lot of the state easier in how to control suspects and limit liberties.

More had to be done to

“restrict the freedom and the movements of terrorist suspects when we have enough to show they present a threat, but not enough evidence to prosecute them in full in court.”

If that nuisance known as human rights laws were

“to stop us from doing it, we will change those laws so we can do it.”

Chillingly, this language would sit rather easily with the next fundamentalist reformer keen to ignore human rights in favour of undeviating scripture and the pure society.

Her words read like a laundry list of security promises and heavy-handedness, much of it pointed in the direction of the Human Rights Act, never a beloved instrument of those keen on trimming civil liberties:

“I mean longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorist offences. I mean making it easier for the authorities to deport foreign terror suspects to their own countries.”

Tory lawmakers are also pondering the prospect of curbing communications and access to devices, curfews and restrictions on associating between claimed extremists. May is also open to extending the period for which a terrorist suspect can be held without trial. (The current number is 14 days.)

Many of May’s promises are marked by contradiction. The spirit of austerity still haunts the Tory drive to perform its protective duties for Britannia. It wants a fully functioning and efficient security apparatus, but prefers to keep it cash strapped and hobbled.

Khan has reminded the prime minister that talk of robust security is all dandy, until you realise that cuts of up to 10 to 40 per cent in police numbers have been implemented, much of this presided over by May herself when she held the post of Home Secretary.

Image result

Steve Hilton (image on the left), former prime minister David Cameron’s strategy chief, decided to also weigh in on that point, suggesting that May throw in the towel for her sloppiness. It was the prime minister, he charged, who had to be held

“responsible for [the] security failures of London Bridge, Manchester, Westminster Bridge.”[1]

Terror suspects had eluded the counter-terror web; radicalisation fears had been ignored.

May’s proposed legal measures will be subjected to judicial scrutiny when the time comes. Labour, when in office, found the issue of control orders a problem, despite their championing by such figures as former home secretary David Blunkett. Blunkett, a sort of amateur fascist, even insisted that May consider restoring such orders in the wake of the suicide bombing in Iraq by British ex-inmate of Guantánamo, Jamal al-Harith.

What is being proposed is a milder variant of permanent surveillance and indefinite control over someone not accused of any crimes, but highlighted as a threat. This is actuarial risk assessment at its worst. Coupled with the badgering of telecommunications companies to do their bit in undermining privacy, and hectoring companies to downgrade their encryption standards, and the world looks ever bleaker. All this will keep human rights lawyers in clover for sometime.


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Six-Day War, 50-Year Occupation — What Really Happened in June 1967?


In the first of an extended three-part interview on the 50th anniversary of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war, author and scholar Norman Finkelstein debunks the enduring myths surrounding that historic confrontation — myths that have sustained​ the ensuing Israeli ​occupation of Palestinian lands​.

TRNN transcript:

Aaron Mate: It’s the Real News, I’m Aaron Mate. June 5th marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 war between Israel and neighboring Arab States. In six days of conflict, Israel captured the Egyptian Sinai, the Syria Golan Heights, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Except for the Sinai, Israel still controls all of those territories. In fact, the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is the longest in modern times. In this segment, we’re going to explore what happened in 1967. But this isn’t just a history lesson. The dominant narrative of 1967 is that Israel faced an existential threat, that it fought a defensive war, and didn’t want to occupy Arab lands. That narrative has been repeatedly used to justify Israel’s violence and repression in the occupied territories, so it’s important we get the history right and correct those who misuse it. My guest is someone who’s been doing that task for decades. Norman Finkelstein is a scholar, an author of many books on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and I’m very pleased he’s here with us. Welcome, Norman.

N Finkelstein: Well thank you for having me, Aaron.

Aaron Mate: Thanks for being here. We’re going to hear a lot of commemorations of the ’67 war, and the narrative we’re going to get is much like this one. This is from the New York Times. The Times writes:

“This year marks half a century since the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 in which Israel defied annihilation by its Arab neighbors and also came to rule over Palestinian Arabs in captured areas, including in the old city.”

Norman, that’s The Times saying that Israel “defied Annihilation” in ’67. What’s wrong with that picture?

N Finkelstein: Well, what’s wrong with it is it never happened, and that’s usually a big problem. It’s called “falsifying history.” The record’s very clear on 1967, at least on the point that we’re now going to address. The United States had multiple intelligence agencies monitoring the situation between Israel and its Arab neighbors, probably close to a half dozen intelligence agencies and the US administration under Lyndon Johnson was being kept abreast of everything that was happening there.

Now the big question for Israel in 1967 was not whether they were going to prevail over the Arabs. They knew that was a done deal because they already had the dress rehearsal in 1956 when they conquered the Sinai in about 100 hours, and this is just a decade later and they know they are going to easily prevail. Their big concern was, how would the US react? In 1957, that decade before, the US acted rather harshly. Dwight D. Eisenhower gave Israel an ultimatum: Get out or else. Meaning, get out of the Sinai or you’re going to face a strong reaction from the US Government. The Israelis were afraid there was going to be a repeat of ’57 in ’67.

So, the Israelis are sending over lots of people to feel out the US Administration, asking questions from people who had insight and who were connected to Johnson. Among the people they sent over was Major General Meir Amit, who was the head of the Israeli Mossad, the intelligence agency. Now the US had reached two firm conclusions about 1967. Conclusion number one, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, he was not going to attack. There was no evidence he was going to attack. Conclusion number two, if, against all odds, he did attack, as Johnson said at the time, “You will whip hell out of them if he attacks. That’s what all our intelligence agencies say.”

Now you might ask the question, well that’s what US intelligence says, what did Israeli intelligence say? Well we know, because on June 1, Major General Meir Amit, he came to Washington and he spoke to senior American officials. He said, and now I’m quoting him, there were “no differences in the assessment of the intelligence situation now unfolding in the Middle East. No differences.” Which means the Israelis also knew Nasser wasn’t going to attack and they also knew if he did attack, it was going to be, as Johnson said, “You’ll whip hell out of them.” In fact, that’s what happened-

Aaron Mate: Okay, wait a second-

N Finkelstein: The Secretary of Defense at the time was Robert McNamara and in the internal discussion, he predicted the war would last between seven to ten days. Later on, he would boast how close his estimate was. In fact, the war was over not in six days, the war was over, really literally, it was over in about six minutes. The moment Israel launched its Blitzkrieg strike and flattened the Egyptian Air Force, which was still on the ground, then the ground troops had no air support. It was over. The only reason it lasted six days is because they wanted to grab territory. It was a land grab.

Aaron Mate: Okay, but the narrative that we’ve heard over 50 years, I learned this in Hebrew School, in Sunday School, and at my Jewish summer camp, was that Israel faced an existential threat and it fought a defensive war. So let’s go through some of the key points that are used to advance that argument. Since you mentioned Nasser, let’s start with him. He did order the withdrawal of UN troops that were stationed on his side of the Egyptian-Israeli border. That’s often cited as evidence that he was preparing to attack Israel.

N Finkelstein: Right, well what happened was, in April 1967, there was a dog fight between the Syrian Air Force and the Israeli Air Force. In the course of the dog fight, Israel downed six Syrian planes, including one over Damascus. You might ask, why did that happen? Well, the evidence is perfectly clear why it happened and we got it from an unimpeachable source, namely Moshe Dayan, and Moshe Dayan, in 19-

Aaron Mate: Who was an Israeli General.

Moshe Dayan (Source: Wikipedia)

N Finkelstein: He was the leading figure in ’67, and then he became under Begin the Foreign Minister, when Begin came to power in 1977. But in 1976, Moshe Dayan, he gave an interview and he said, “I’ll tell you why we had all of these conflicts with Syria. There was a demilitarized zone formed after the 1948 war, between Syria and Israel. So what happens in this demilitarized zone?” Dayan said, “At least 80 percent of the time, probably more, let’s just limit ourselves to 80 percent of the time, we would send bulldozers into this demilitarized zone, because Israel was engaged in a land grab.” It was trying to get land inside the demilitarized zone. It would send in bulldozers, the Syrians would react, and then it would escalate. In April ’67, it escalated into a dog fight between the Syrians and the Israelis.

After that, Israel start to threaten, verbally, that it was going to launch an attack on Syria. Many Israeli officials, the most famous statement came from at that point Yitzhak Rabin, but many Israeli officials were threatening Syria. It happened that the Soviet Union got wind of the Cabinet meetings going on in Israel. In mid-May, the Cabinet made a decision. We’re going to attack Syria. The Soviet Union communicated that knowledge to the neighboring Arab States. In the official history, it’s called the false alarm, that the Soviet Union invented this imminent Israel attack.

Aaron Mate: When you say, “the official history,” the history that we’re often taught and hear about in the media, yeah.

N Finkelstein: It’s a history that literally apart from a handful of scholars, including Israeli scholars-

Aaron Mate: Well let me quote one, actually.

N Finkelstein: Yeah.

Aaron Mate: Israeli Historian Ami Gluska, and the Israeli military on the origins of the 1967 war, he writes, “The Soviet assessment from mid-May 1967 that Israel was about to strike at Syria was correct and well-founded.”

N Finkelstein: You know, I often use that quote because it was the first time I ever saw in print. There were rumors that Israel was going to attack, and there were occasional hints of a Cabinet meeting where they reached that decision, but it had never actually appeared in print until I read Gluska’s book. He says yes, the Israelis had made the decision to attack. So Egypt has a defense pact with Syria. Knowing that an Israeli attack is imminent, he has an obligation to rise to Syria’s defense. So he moves Egyptian troops in the Sinai. Separating Egypt from Israel was a peace-keeping force called the United National Emergency Force, UNEF. He asked U Thant to remove-

Aaron Mate: The Secretary General.

U Thant (Source: Wikipedia)

N Finkelstein: Excuse me, yes. The UN Secretary General. He asked UN Secretary General U Thant to remove the UNEF, the United Nations Emergency Force. Under the law, U Thant had an obligation to remove those forces. Now, U Thant was very viscously attacked for that decision. In fact, it wrecked his term of office in the United Nations, because everyone blamed him for the ’67 war. It’s all forgotten now, but that’s what happened. But there was a simple answer. There was a simple response.

Aaron Mate: Put them on the Israeli side.

N Finkelstein: Yeah, because in 1957, when the UNEF was installed, the agreement was it was supposed to be on both the Egyptian side of the border and the Israeli side of the border. So in ’67, once Nasser says, “Remove UNEF from our side,” all Israel had to say was, “Fine, we will reposition it on our side of the border,” meaning the Israeli side. They didn’t do that. If the UNEF really could have averted an Egyptian attack, which is what Israel suggests when it said U Thant committed this monumental blunder by removing it, why don’t you just put it on the other side of the border?

Aaron Mate: Let me go on then to the other reasons that are cited for Israel launching the war. You had guerrilla attacks coming onto the Israeli side from both Jordan and Syria.

N Finkelstein: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Aaron Mate: Those are described in the official history as a major threat to Israel’s security.

N Finkelstein: Well, first of all we have to understand what was behind those attacks. These were Palestinian commando raids, mostly supported by the Syrian regime. But the Israeli senior officers acknowledged, the reason Syria was sponsoring those commando raids was because of the Israeli land grab in the demilitarized zones. Secondly, with all due respect, I’m not out to ridicule the Palestinians or the PLO, I recognize these were acts of courage by people who had been dispossessed of their homeland-

Aaron Mate: In ’48.

N Finkelstein: In ’48. These were refugees. Remember, it’s a short time between ’48 and ’67. It’s within a generation. But the record is these commando raids were extremely ineffective. One of the heads of the Israeli intelligence, Yehoshafat Harkabi, he described him after ’67 as by any standard very unimpressive.

Aaron Mate: Okay, the other main historical incident that is cited is Nasser closing the Straits of Tiran.

N Finkelstein: Yeah, so in the middle of May, I think it was May 17th or 18th, Nasser closes … There were also UNEF forces stationed by the Straits of Tiran, and they were removed when Nasser asked U Thant to remove the UNEF. U Thant, again he was very heavily criticized. There was a claim he could have just removed the UNEF from the Egyptian-Israeli border and not from the Straits of Tiran, but he removed all of them. I’ve read his defense. I found his defense very credible. He was an extremely honorable man, U Thant. Probably the most honorable Secretary General of the UN it its history. In any case, the UNEF was removed from around the Straits of Tiran, and Nasser declared the Straits of Tiran closed. Now, the Straits of Tiran-

Aaron Mate: So UNEF was removed from Sharm El Sheik.

N Finkelstein: Yes. It’s basically the same area.

Aaron Mate: Oh, okay.

N Finkelstein: That was the waterway to Eilat, the Israeli port city of Eilat. Well what do you make of that decision?

Aaron Mate: Yeah.

N Finkelstein: Number one, Abba Eban, who was always given to drama-

Aaron Mate: A famous Israeli diplomat.

N Finkelstein: He was at that time the UN representative. Later, he became foreign minister. He said, very dramatically, “Israel is now breathing with only on lung.”

Aaron Mate: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

N Finkelstein: That was his famous line. In any event, Eilat was barely used. The only significant commodity that came through Eilat was oil, but Israel had several months’ supply of oil accumulated, so the oil supply wasn’t, at least for several months, it wasn’t endangered. But the biggest point is there was no blockade. It happened that Nasser’s a blowhard, he announces a blockade, enforces it it’s usually estimated about two to three days, and then he start to let ships go through quietly. There was no blockade. The issue was not a physical blockade, the issue was political. Namely, Nasser had defied Israel in public. It had sealed a quote unquote “international waterway,” Israel claimed. Whether it was an international waterway, or whether it belonged to Egypt, is also a complex legal question. Nasser said, at the end of May he repeatedly said, “Israel claims it has the right of passage in the Straits of Tiran. We say they don’t. Let’s go to the International Court of Justice to adjudicate it.”

Aaron Mate: That just days before the war breaks out.

N Finkelstein: A few days, yeah. About a week before. Israel says, “No, we’re not going to the International Court, because Israel wants the right to do as it pleases, when it pleases. You don’t go on an equal footing with an Arab to the International Court of Justice. That’s just not the way things work here. We’re in charge.” So it wasn’t a significant waterway. The only significant commodity entering was oil. They had significant supplies of oil. The waterway wasn’t closed. Nasser offered to take it to the International Court of Justice to adjudicate. This is not the technical language, this is not a casus belli, a justification for war.

Then there’s a separate legal questions, which is, under Article 51 of the UN Charter, you’re only allowed to launch a preemptive attack if there is an armed attack against you. Closing a waterway is not an armed attack. That should have gone to the Security Council. So there are 1,000 reasons, you know, it’s a layered question, but in every count, Israel had no case. On every count, it had no case.

Aaron Mate: You touched on this a little bit, but maybe if you can go into more detail: Why did Israel go to such extraordinary lengths to launch this war and take over so much territory? What was their motivation?

N Finkelstein: Well, it is several motivations that converge. The overall picture is, Israel, from its founding in 1948, in particular its Prime Minister and dominant figure, David Ben-Gurion, he always worried about what he called an “Arab Ataturk” rising to power in the Arab World. Namely, somebody like the Turkish figure Kemal Ataturk who modernized Turkey, brought Turkey into the modern world, and there was always the fear by Ben-Gurion that a figure like Ataturk might emerge in the Arab World, and the Arab World would then remove itself from the state of backwardness and dependence on the West, and become a power to contend with in the world and in the region. In 1952, when there was the Egyptian revolution, and eventually Nasser emerges as the dominant figure, and Nasser was a kind of an emblematic figure of that era. It’s obviously been completely forgotten by everybody except historians, but it was a very heady era, it was the post-war era of non-alignment, Third-World-ism-

Aaron Mate: Third World solidarity, yeah.

N Finkelstein: … anti-imperialism, decolonization, and the emblematic figures were Nehru in India, Tito in Yugoslavia, and Nasser. The three of them were not officially the Soviet Bloc. They were a third force.

Aaron Mate: Non-aligned.

N Finkelstein: Non-aligned, exactly. The non-aligned tend to lean toward the Soviet Bloc because the Soviet Bloc was officially anti-imperialist, but it was non-aligned. Nasser was one of the dominant figures in that period, so he was anti-imperialist, he was a modernizer. Israel was seen, not wrongly, as a Western implant in the Arab World, and it was also seen as trying to hold back the Arab World.

So there was a sense of conflict and collision between Nasser and Israel. Beginning, again very scrupulously documented, not by Finkelstein, but by a very reputable mainstream historian, namely Benny Morris. If you look at his book, “Israel’s Border Wars,” it talks about the period from 1949 to 1956, and he shows that around 1952-53, Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan, they’re now determined, and I’m describing it literally from him, to provoke Nasser. To keep hitting him and hitting him until they have a pretext to knock out Nasser. They want to get rid of him, and to keep provoking him, and to some extent, he couldn’t help it after a point, he got caught in the trap essentially. Didn’t work exactly as the Israelis hoped and so in 56, they plotted, colluded with the British and the French to overthrow Nasser. That worked, to a point. They invaded the Sinai, the British and the French played their parts in this collusion-

Aaron Mate: The Americans told them to knock it off, though.

N Finkelstein: For several reasons not worth going into right now, the Americans told Israel to get out.

Aaron Mate: They wanted it delayed, basically.

N Finkelstein: Yes. Dwight Eisenhower didn’t think-

Aaron Mate: It was time.

N Finkelstein: … the time was right.

Aaron Mate: Yeah, yeah.

N Finkelstein: But of course, they also wanted to get rid of Nasser. They all saw him as a pin prick at their side. So ’67 is basically just a repeat performance of 56, with one critical change.

Aaron Mate: American support.

N Finkelstein: The US didn’t oppose it. They were very cautious and careful about how they worded it. Some people call it an amber light, a yellow light, some people call it the green light, but they didn’t openly support it, because it was illegal.

Aaron Mate: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

N Finkelstein: You know, what Israel did. At that point, the United States was fighting a war in Vietnam which was very unpopular, and they didn’t want again to engage themselves supporting Israel, which would also seem like Western Colonialism trying to assert itself over the Third World, the non-aligned world, whatever you want to call it.

The first goal was to knock out Nasser. That was a long-term goal, to keep the Arab World backward. To keep it in a subordinate, primitive state. Secondly, was what happened with the closing of the Straits of Tiran. Namely, Nasser was acting very uppity. He was challenging the Israelis. To some extent, he was goading them, I think that’s true. It was all hot air, and the Israelis knew it was hot air, but they thought, a very revealing phrase from one of the Cabinet meetings came from, at that point he was a Commander, Ariel Sharon. There were some members of the Israeli Cabinet who were still reluctant to launch an attack. He said, “We have to attack now, because we’re losing our deterrence capacity.” That’s a favorite phrase among the Israeli Military.

Aaron Mate: Continues today with Gaza-

N Finkelstein: Yes.

Aaron Mate: And Lebanon.

Nasser (center), King Hussein of Jordan (left) and Egyptian Army Chief of Staff Abdel Hakim Amer (right) at the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces headquarters in Cairo before signing a mutual defense pact, 30 May 1967. (Source: Wikipedia)

N Finkelstein: “Deterrence capacity” means the Arab World’s fear of us, that Nasser was now whipping up the Arabs and they were no longer afraid. For the Israelis, the fear, the deterrence capacity, is a very strong card on their side, to keep the Arabs in their place. So the second reason was that they had to restore, as they call it, their deterrence capacity. The third, I would not quote the reason, all the generals had their own desires about wanting to get back some lands. Everyone was agreed they wanted to get Jerusalem, because they lost part of it in ’48. Large numbers of them wanted the West Bank, others of them wanted the Golan Heights, others wanted the Sinai, so there was a land grab element to the war.

Aaron Mate: Okay, on that point, and a quick question as we wrap part one of this discussion.

N Finkelstein: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Aaron Mate: In terms of the land grab in the West Bank, the presence today in the West Bank of hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers, many of them religious fanatics who believe that they’re there because God promised them that land, was that kind of religious zealotry a strong component in the internal Israeli thinking at that time? Like wanting to-

N Finkelstein: It wasn’t religious-

Aaron Mate: [crosstalk 00:28:05]

N Finkelstein: … but you have to remember that the Zionist movement was overwhelmingly secular, overwhelmingly atheist. In fact, large numbers of them consider themselves socialists and communists and had no truck with a religion. But they still felt they had a legal title to the land, because in their thinking, the Bible was not just a religious document, the Bible was a historical document, and historically, the Jews had been in Palestine, and it was theirs. It was the same mentality in ’67. It was secular, but it was also deep-seated and fanatical. The fact that they had a claim to the land didn’t make it necessarily in their minds a religious claim. It was a secular claim, but still a fanatical claim, that it was their land, because it says so in the Bible, and the Bible is a historical document, you know, for them the Bible is a historical deed.

Aaron Mate: That’s going to wrap this part of the discussion. In the next part, we’re going to get into what changed for Israel after ’67 in terms of American Jewish support and also American government support, and how those two intertwined. My guest is Norman Finkelstein. Join us in the next part of this discussion.

Norman G. Finkelstein received his doctorate in 1988 from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. He currently teaches at Sakarya University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies in Turkey. Finkelstein is the author of ten books that have been translated into 50 foreign editions.

Featured image: TRNN via IMEMC

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Six-Day War, 50-Year Occupation — What Really Happened in June 1967?

Labour’s Roll Call of Shame – 16 MPs for Deselection


The 52 Racists Who Signed A Pledge to Support ‘Israeli’ Apartheid

Desmond Tutu: “Israel has created an apartheid reality.” (Joseph Wanyama/Flickr)

We should be grateful to the execrable Luke Akehurst, arms salesman and Labour First right-winger, who is employed by We Believe in Israel, one of the main Israeli propaganda organisations in Britain.  He has provided us with an excellent list of those MPs who should be first on a target list for deselection.  It is also quite remarkable that Akehurst’s exercise in racist politics has garnered so little support.  There are many members, even of the Labour Friends of Israel, who have not signed up to his Pledge.

The Apartheid Pledge

Luke sent out a Pledge for Israel and 52 Labour candidates – including 16 MPs – signed up to it.  They include unsurprisingly the Chair and Vice-Chairs, of the British branch of the Israeli Labour Party (or Jewish Labour Movement as it styles itself), Jeremy Newmark and Mike Katz.  Fortunately neither of these two are likely to be elected.

Paul Flynn MP

The 16 MPs include the corrupt MP for Enfield North and Chair of Labour Friends of Israel Joan Ryan, the woman who claimed more expenses than any single MP in 2007 and was runner-up in 2008.  It also includes Angela Eagle, the erstwhile challenger to Jeremy Corbyn, who falsely accused activists in her Wallasey constituency of homophobic abuse.  It includes Blairites like Caroline Flint, who was one of the foremost advocates of ‘welfare reform’ under Blair and the invisible MP for Knowsley, George Howarth.  Surprisingly it includes Paul Flynn, who is the only MP on the left on the list.  A man who should know better.  It also includes two Black MPs, David Lammy and Tulip Siddiq, who should feel ashamed of themselves for having signed this Apartheid Charter and the millionaire MP for Coventry NW, Geoffrey Robinson, whose ‘loan’ to Peter Mandelson caused Mandy’s first resignation from Blair’s government.   Luciana Berger who was parachuted by Blair into Liverpool Wavertree and Fabian Hamilton are well-known Zionists, as well the lunatic right-winger Ian Austin.

Ian Austin MP
Luciana Berger – former Zionist activist and imposed by Blair on Liverpool Wavertree

They are part of 198 candidates from all parties, including 6 from the Green Party.  Unsurprisingly it contains 5 MPs/candidates from the most sectarian Protestant party in Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party, including Ian Paisley Jnr.  It also includes 26 candidates from that well-known anti-racist party UKIP and 16 candidates from something called the Christian Peoples Alliance.  It’s not difficult to work out who these god botherers are – the kind that believe that Jews should ‘return’ to Israel in order that the second coming of Christ can occur wherein the Jews shall perish.

Luke Akehurst – Zionist and racist lobbyist for ‘We Believe in Israel’

The text of the Pledge that each signatory agreed to was:

  • To oppose the extremists who challenge Israel’s right to exist.
  • To support the right of people in the United Kingdom to enjoy Israeli culture and promote business, educational, religious and other connections with the Jewish State without fear of discrimination, boycotts, harassment and/or intimidation.
  • To support those who genuinely seek to promote and establish a permanent, just and comprehensive peace between Israel and its neighbours.
  • To celebrate the fact that Israel is a free society and parliamentary democracy that extends to all its citizens the right to practice their religion and have access to religious sites in Jerusalem.
  • To support the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.
  • To encourage HM Government to promote trade with Israel that will increase investment and jobs for people in both countries.”  What is remarkable about this declaration is its dishonesty.
  1. It’s no surprise that the Pledge includes support for the bogus IHRA definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ which conflates anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.
  1. It says it’s ‘extreme’ (note the subliminal terrorist connection!) to oppose a racist Jewish state which privileges only the Jewish part of its population.  By the same token it was ‘extreme’ to oppose Apartheid in South Africa. No state has a right to exist, least of all a racist state.  Israel is Jewish in the same way as Northern Ireland was Protestant and South Africa was White and Nazi Germany was Aryan.
When the Israeli Labour Party ran the Government in Israel, they invited South African Premier John Vorster over on a state visit

Far from being a ‘free society’ Israel is a state that has maintained a military police state in the West Bank for the past 50 years, as well as a hunger blockade on Gaza.  In the West Bank there are two legal systems – Military Rule for the 3 million Palestinians and normal Israeli civil law for the Jewish settlers. That is Apartheid by another name.

John Vorster, interned for supporting the Nazis in the war, laid a wreath at the Holocaust propaganda museum in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem

The occupation has killed thousands of Palestinian civilians, meant the arrest of some 40% of the Palestinian male population, the widespread use of torture, administrative detention, constant check points and a pass system which is far worse than that which existed in South Africa.  Israel routinely arrests and tortures Palestinian children as young as 12.

On the West Bank Palestinian peasants are unable to dig a well to obtain the water stolen from them whilst lush settlements are granted unlimited rights to fresh water.

Police brought into Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran to protect the demolition squad

All of the racists who signed this pledge can be taken to endorse all the above because they unanimously oppose any pressure being put on Israel to disgorge its conquests or reform.  It is noticeable that the Pledge talks of a peace agreement between Israel and ‘its neighbours’ rather than with the Palestinians.  This is a reference to neighbouring states not the people who actually live on the land.

iii.           This Pledge has at its heart opposition to Boycott Divestment and Sanctions.  Like South Africa, Israel resents being boycotted even whilst it itself maintains a forcible boycott on Gaza.


  1. The Pledge talks about Israel as a ‘free society’ and a ‘parliamentary democracy’ whilst defining this in terms of the right to practice one’s religion.  Freedom of worship is a small part of a free society but even this is increasingly encroached upon in Israel e.g. the recent Muezzin Bill which prevents the traditional call to prayer in the early morning whilst specifically exempting Jewish religious practices which involve noise.
Hendrik Voerward
  1. The right to access land and resources equally is not something Israel practices.  The 2011 Reception Committees Bill allows Jewish communities to exclude Palestinians and non-Jews, as well as Black Jews from living in hundreds of Jewish villages. Israeli Palestinians cannot marry anyone they chose and still live in Israel.  Israel is a Jewish State and only in the last month the Knesset has passed a Jewish State Bill which removes Arabic as an official language in Israel and defines the state in terms of only part of its population.

The Pledge talks of access to religious sites.  In fact Palestinians and Muslims do not have the right to control access to their holy sites in Jerusalem – the Mosques of al Aqsa and the Golden Dome.  Ultra nationalist religious Jewish settlers are now being allowed to invade these mosques as the movement for a Third Temple to be established in place of the mosques grows in Israel.

Joan Ryan was delighted to hear she had been granted a $1m slush fund

Israel is the most racist society in the world.  A plurality of Israeli Jews, 48% according to the Pew Research Centre support the physical expulsion of Israel’s Palestinians.  ¾ of Israeli Jews would not want to live next to an Arab.  This is the gutter racism that the signatories to this Pledge, with their vacuous talk of Israel as a free society choose to ignore.

Israel is a deeply racist society in which a book can be banned from the high school syllabus because it portrays a relationship between an Arab male and a Jewish woman.  It is a society where half the Arab villages are ‘unrecognised’ and one such village Umm al Hiran was demolished in January this year to make way for a new Jewish town.  Israel is a society where education, housing, land and employment are segregated.  Talk of a parliamentary democracy is meaningless in a state which calls itself a Jewish state where the principal dividing line is between Jews and non-Jews and Arabs are in a permanent minority.  No Arab party has ever been part of an Israeli government coalition.

Dorit Rabinyan – her book Borderlife was banned from Israel’s high school syllabus for portraying sexual relationships between Arabs and Jews

The call for the promotion of trade and investment in Israel is a call for the promotion of Israeli apartheid.   It is no different from those who opposed the  Boycott of South Africa or the Boycott of Nazi Germany 80 years ago.

It is the veterans of the struggle against Apartheid, in South Africa who make the comparison with Israel.  In a message to the Presbyterian General Assembly in the United States in 2014 Archbishop Desmond Tutu said:

‘I know firsthand that Israel has created an apartheid reality within its borders and through its occupation. The parallels to my own beloved South Africa are painfully stark indeed. Realistic Israeli leaders have acknowledged that Israel will either end its occupation through a one or two-state solution, or live in an apartheid state in perpetuity. The latter option is unsustainable and an offense to justice. We learned in South Africa that the only way to end apartheid peacefully was to force the powerful to the table through economic pressure.’

Ronnie Kassrills – the Jewish former Police Minister in Israel

Ronni Kassrills, the Jewish former ANC Police Minister in an interview with Al Jazeera stated that:

In the Israeli case, it is quite clear that non-Jews do not receive equal rights and treatment as Jews, but the Zionists are embarrassed to admit this. Consequently, they attempt to conceal the fact that Israel is not a democracy for all its citizens, but they have various laws to ensure that Jews receive preferential treatment. It is apartheid by another name. I refer here to the situation in Israel itself where over 40 laws give Jews privileges and rights over non-Jews.

In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, it is quite a different matter where open and strict apartheid laws allow for the segregation and control of the Palestinian people whilst the illegal Jewish settlements receive State protection and privileges. But in both cases – Israel itself and the OPT – a clear system of apartheid-style rule operates. 

If one is in any doubt about the comparison between Apartheid in South Africa and in Israel, then who is in a better position to know than Hendrik Verwoerd, the South African Prime Minister, who famously said, “The Jews took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state,”

The List of Labour Party candidates who support the Apartheid Pledge – MPs in bold

Ian Austin Dudley North Labour
Luciana Berger Liverpool Wavertree Labour
Vernon Coaker Gedling Labour
Angela Eagle Wallasey Labour
Caroline Flint Don Valley Labour
Paul Flynn Newport West Labour
Yvonne Fovargue Makerfield Labour
Fabian Hamilton Leeds North East Labour
George Howarth Knowsley Labour
Diana Johnson Hull North Labour
David Lammy Tottenham Labour
Ivan Lewis Bury South Labour
Steve McCabe Birmingham Selly Oak Labour
Geoffrey Robinson Coventry North West Labour
Joan Ryan Enfield North Labour
Tulip Siddiq Hampstead & Kilburn Labour
Tonia Antoniazzi Gower Labour
Laween Atroshi Surrey Heath Labour
Terry Bridgeman Basingstoke Labour
Stephen Burke North Norfolk Labour
Patrick Canavan Christchurch Labour
Joe Cooke Castle Point Labour
Altany Craik Glenrothes Labour
Ashley Dalton Rochford & Southend East Labour
Nigel de Gruchy Orpington Labour
Michael Desmond Faversham & Mid Kent Labour
Rachel Eden Wantage Labour
Bill Edwards Bury St Edmunds Labour
Barrie Fairbairn Grantham & Stamford Labour
James Frith Bury North Labour
Rebecca Geach Spelthorne Labour
Danny Hackett Old Bexley & Sidcup Labour
Mike Katz Hendon Labour
Barry Kirby Gloucester Labour
Monique McAdams East Kilbride, Strathaven & Lesmagagow Labour
Blair McDougall East Renfrewshire Labour
Kevin McKeevor Northampton South Labour
Andy Merryfield Wells Labour
Jeremy Newmark Finchley & Golders Green Labour
Sam Rushworth Tatton Labour
Rosalind Scott Harwich & North Essex Labour
Mark Sewards Harrogate & Knaresborough Labour
Navin Shah Harrow East Labour
Allen Simpson Maidstone & The Weald Labour
Fiona Smith Hertsmere Labour
Jo Stevens Cardiff Central Labour
Sharon Taylor Stevenage Labour
Julian Ware-Lane Southend West Labour
Andrew Western Altrincham & Sale West Labour
Martin Whitfield East Lothian Labour
Emma Whysall Chipping Barnet Labour
Sean Woodcock Banbury Labour

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UKComments Off on Labour’s Roll Call of Shame – 16 MPs for Deselection

Why the British Establishment Wants Jeremy Corbyn Buried

In light of the imminent UK general election, we bring to the attention of our readers this article by Graham Vanbergen originally published in September 2015:

The term “the establishment” refers to leading politicians, senior civil servants, senior barristers and judges, aristocrats, Oxbridge academics, senior clergy, the most important financiers and industrialists, governors of the BBC, members of and top aides to the royal family to mention most, but not all.

The term in this sense is sometimes mistakenly believed to have been coined by the British journalist Henry Fairlie, who in September 1955 in the London magazine ‘The Spectator’ defined that network of prominent, well-connected people as “the Establishment”, explaining: “By the Establishment, I do not only mean the centres of official power—though they are certainly part of it—but rather the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised”.


Following that, the term, the Establishment, was quickly picked up in newspapers and magazines all over London, making Fairlie famous.  Today, the term ‘the establishment’ is used generally in a negative sense and it’s easy to understand why.

“The British public has become deeply cynical about the political class at Westminster”, states a recent Financial Times editorial.

“Bankers feel they have an ethical duty to steal from taxpayers” another reads

“Why are we subsidising the royal family at a time of gross inequality” says another headline.

There has been a rising tide of contempt and anger towards bankers, property speculators, hedge fund bosses, politicians and even religious leaders and the royal family.

For instance, membership of Britain’s unelected upper house, the House of Lords has soared from 666 peers in 1999 to nearly 850 today, well in excess of the House of Commons. The Lords is now the second largest parliamentary chamber in the world behind only the Chinese Peoples Congress. Whilst their chamber is 3.5 times larger, it’s population is 18 times the size of ours. The House of Lords is clearly an expanding repository of political patronage for the prime minister and is no longer fit for purpose or for a modern democracy.

It appears that those who lecture the working and middle classes about financial and moral belt-tightening are the very ones up to their necks in corruption and scandals of all kinds, including sex and paedophile rings to name but a few. The Establishment is now under fire.

In the past, these scandals were kept under wraps. They closed ranks to protect themselves. Top judges and police chiefs covered up for wealthy and powerful friends, including politicians. After all, they were from the same social class, shared the same clubs and sent their children to the same private schools, a grotesque example highlighted recently with David Cameron and Lord Ashcroft’s ‘Piggate revelations.

In recent times, the rich have become much wealthier and everyone else poorer. Tories, Liberal Democrats and New Labour fell over themselves to please their friends in the City of London, a gang of speculators who stripped the nation of its prosperity and then paid themselves huge bonuses for having got away with it.

David Cameron is currently at the centre of this group, financed by the rich and super rich who was described in the commons “a dodgy prime minister surrounded by dodgy donors”, who turned a blind eye to tax avoidance by the rich and big business.

In order to keep the reigns of power, the establishment is frightened of one thing and one thing only – Democracy.

Extending real voting options to the poor would obviously present risks to their position. For instance, Conservative statesman Lord Salisbury told parliament in 1866, Giving working-class people the vote would, he stated, tempt them to pass “laws with respect to taxation and property especially favourable to them, and therefore dangerous to all other classes”. Today, you can hear exactly the same narrative against the new labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a scathing attack by media barons and corporate executives along with politicians and even military generals.

The establishment is characterised by those with ideas that legitimise and protect the concentration of wealth and power in very few hands. The establishment do not want democracy at all but a veneer of democracy must be provided.

It is because the establishment is made up of politicians who devise our laws, police to enforce those laws, corporate entities who are increasingly dominating economic performance (unpaid taxes for instance) and a smaller band of media barons who also set the terms of debate and the result of that debate that we see a closed shop network construct itself.

A conflict of interest of epic proportions. It is here that we find a common psychology and shared understanding.

The scandal surrounding the money laundering and tax evasion operations at HSBC exposes the links between a corrupt banking elite and a rotten political establishment. Lord Green, former head of HSBC, was at the centre of this tax dodgers’ row. He chaired HSBC until December 2010, when he became a Conservative trade minister and was given a peerage by David Cameron. You can see a major conflict of interest here unless afflicted with total sensory deprivation.

Lord Green was then given staunch backing by the Church of England. Needless to say, these preachers of great moral fortitude have a long tradition in protecting their own. Lord Green, a millionaire banker is a devout Christian and ordained Anglican priest. The archbishops of Canterbury and York said they were grateful to the former HSBC boss for his contribution and expertise”. One could easily assume this to be a clan of hypocrites that have attacked politicians for failing to provide a “fresh moral vision”, but then act no differently.

Another religious entity, The Vatican, has large investments with the Rothschilds of Britain, France and America, with Credit Suisse in London and Zurich with Morgan Bank and Chase-Manhattan Bank and others in the US and UK. All of these organisations have been involved in global, anti-social criminality adopting fraud as the basis of its profit centres, especially in London.

The Catholic church is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. She is a greater possessor of material riches (such as property and gold bullion) than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe. With covering up sex crimes, inappropriate behaviour among prelates, political infighting and the existence of a clandestine gay cabal at the highest levels, the Catholic Church has a long shameful history and is the epitome of the establishment.

The crimes of the establishment are racking up at an alarming rate. However, if you get caught without paying your TV licence fee, laws designed to catch terrorists are used by the BBC to ensure your good behaviour.

In the meantime, one can take the example of how the establishment works when it blames society for all it’s troubles as a diversionary tactic. The media have managed to make the British population believe that 27% of social security money has been fraudulently gained when the figure is actually 0.7%. The media barons, and there are only five of them in Britain who own 80% of printed media outlets, don’t live in Britain and none pay tax in Britain but they want to continue pillaging Britain and get away with it.

This same tactic provides cover for the government to impose austerity that has caused the biggest transfer of wealth from the vulnerable, the poor, working class and middle classes directly in a route north.

The establishment are largely responsible for a neoliberal ideology that is so damaging to society as a whole – It’s the business model that fits. They use the term ‘economic freedom’ as if this is to somehow benefit us all, which it rarely does. For example, almost universally, this philosophy is used to transfer state assets to profit driven business (privatisation) that has enriched the few and made everyone else pay.

If the political system remains committed to the type of capitalism that exists in Britain today, it will always end up justifying a system that produces a mega-rich and privileged elite. Hence, why Jeremy Corbyn is such a threat to the establishment.

Jeremy Corbyn looks like the first senior politician who will not be corrupted by the establishment. Bankers will not be funding the party. He will not support war. He doesn’t support Israel, He is not religious and doesn’t believe in the monarchy. He will be the first prime minister (if elected) for decades that does not, and probably will not support the establishment.

So frightened of Corbyn, the establishment is now mobilising their entire resourcefullness at him, evidenced by a threatened military coup – not quite akin to Chile in the 1970’s but an extreme tactic to say the least, one spawned from desperation for sure.

The crisis of extreme, out of control ‘capitalism’ simply exposes the rottenness of the system. British capitalism has become casino capitalism, based upon property speculation, banking and financial services. In fact, the services sector now provides 80% of business activity in Britain leaving millions without meaningful work or income.

Extreme capitalism means a concentration of wealth at one pole, and poverty and degradation at the other with the bit in the middle being eviscerated. This is where the establishment languish. Jeremy Corbyn does not fit in. The stakes are very high.

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Gulf States Launch Naval Blockade Of Qatar


In what has emerged as the most significant escalation to result from the Qatar diplomatic crisis – which pits two of OPEC’s largest oil producers, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, against the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas and further disrupts stability in the region –  the biggest Middle East oil and container ports banned all vessels sailing to and from Qatar from using their facilities.

According to a notice posted on the website of Inchcape Shipping, Saudi Arabian and Bahraini authorities closed off all of their ports to Qatari-flagged vessels or ships traveling to or coming from the Persian Gulf state, in what has been described as a naval blockade.

As Bloomberg adds, container and oil terminals in the United Arab Emirates also closed off traffic to any ships touching Qatar.

See bigger picture here

Saudi Arabia’s eastern coast is home to the port of Ras Tanura, which state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co. says is the biggest crude terminal in the world. Jebel Ali port, the region’s biggest container terminal, will be restricted from Tuesday until further notice, its operator Dubai’s DP World Ltd. said in an emailed statement according to Bloomberg. In the U.A.E., DP World operates Jebel Ali along with Dubai’s Mina Rashid and Mina Al Hamriya ports. Elsewhere, government-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil closed its crude and refined-product ports to any vessels to or from Qatar. The port at Fujairah, a main oil transit and refined product hub, said Monday it was closed to Qatar-linked traffic.

For now, shipping at Egyptian ports was operating normally as of Tuesday, according to Inchcape. The company also said the Suez Canal Authority has advised that there aren’t restrictions on vessels in the waterway since it is an international route.

Separately, Bloomberg also reported that A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, which owns the world’s biggest container line, said it can no longer get cargo to Qatar as a result of the Saudi-imposed blockade of transport to and from the Gulf state.

See bigger picture here

Though the situation remains “very fluid,” with updates expected throughout the coming hours, Maersk Line expects “disruptions to our Qatar services,” spokesman Mikkel Elbek Linnet said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

For now, “we have confirmation that we will not be able to move cargo to or from Qatar,” he said.

Maersk Line doesn’t use its own vessels to bring cargo to Qatar, but relies on third-party so-called feeder services from the United Arab Emirates Jebel Ali port in Dubai.

“We will notify our customers on alternatives as soon as possible,” Linnet said.

Maersk ships about 16 percent of the world’s seaborne freight, making it the global leader in container transportation. Maersk, which has been working on splitting off its energy business to concentrate on its transport operations, said last year it lost the biggest oil field in its portfolio when Qatar ended a 25-year partnership with the Danish company. The agreement allowing Maersk to operate the Al Shaheen offshore field expires next month, after the company lost its bid for renewal to Total SA.

In addition to crippling overall Qatar-bound trade, the sea blockade will hurt shipments of oil and refined products from the world’s biggest energy exporting region.

According to Per Mansson, a shipbroker at Affinity Shipping in London, the Saudi ban on vessels going to and from Qatar will create logistical difficulties for some combination charters of crude oil supertankers from the Persian Gulf and will likely increase the use of smaller vessels.

“It will be a little more difficult, it will be a little bit more tricky for certain charters”: Mansson said, noting that there are “not huge quantities” of oil being exported from Qatar relative to other Gulf states.

Afffinty also says that the combination charters, where loading occurs in more than one nation, are popular on routes to Japan, Korea and adds that the use of Suezmax and Aframax ships on Qatar routes may increase. That said, companies could still book combination charters with Qatar and other nations that don’t have restrictions, including Iran and Iraq.

Yet while the shipbroker tried to talk down the potential impact of the shipping ban, according to Bloomberg oil strategist Julian Lee, blocking vessels going to/from Qatar is probably the most important direct move that Saudi Arabia has made in terms of hindering its smaller neighbor’s ability to export crude oil and condensates.

Saudi Arabia’s move mirrors similar restrictions by United Arab Emirates, which will mean ships going to/from Qatar no longer have access to the Middle East’s biggest refueling center at the port of Fujairah.

According to Bloomberg, 27 of 31 vessels that loaded Qatari crude, condensate in May co-loaded in either Saudi Arabia or the UAE.

The good news is that aside from the above, Lee believes that there is little reason – so far – to believe that measures against Qatar will have a materially negative impact on country’s energy exports.


Finally, there is the question of LNG shipments. Here, as Reuters reported earlier, LNG traders took a wait-and-see approach, alert to potential disruption of regional energy flows “but erring on the assumption that any trade shocks could be contained given well supplied global markets.”

Qatar’s top clients in Japan and India quickly received reassurances that supplies would continue as usual. Whether this persists is unclear: within hours of the diplomatic break, the UAE barred all vessels coming to or from Qatar using its popular anchorage point off Fujairah. The ban impacts about six LNG vessels linked to Qatar now anchored in the Fujairah zone which may need to be moved out, according to shipping data on Thomson Reuters.

But there was little sign yet of LNG supply being hit.

“I cannot see this impacting exports of Qatari LNG outside the Arab world at all and it won’t likely impact LNG and gas pipeline exports within the Arab world either,” Morten Frisch, an independent LNG and gas industry consultant, said.

Still, traders startled by the development began to plan for all eventualities, especially any upsets to piped gas supplies from Qatar to the UAE.

Egypt, while relying heavily on Qatari LNG brought in by Swiss commodity trade houses, is less vulnerable than the UAE because it has no direct deals with Qatar, domestic gas output is squeezing out the need for imports, and traders would be liable for any moves by Qatar to restrict exports.

“Trafigura, Glencore and Vitol frequently take LNG from Qatar and deliver it to Egypt but they take ownership of the cargoes at the Qatari port and don’t use Qatari ships, meaning technically that Qatar shouldn’t have sway,” one trade source said.

In reality though, Qatar can block exports to certain countries by issuing so-called destination restrictions.

“It’s not clear yet,” another LNG trader said of potential impacts to deliveries from Qatar to Egypt.


Can (and will) Qatar respond to the blockade?

Retaliatory measures such as suspending LNG supply deals would leave Qatar free to push more volumes into Europe where it has access to several import terminals. Under that scenario, trade houses with supply commitments to Egypt could turn to the United States, Algeria and Nigeria for replacement cargoes, traders and industry sources told Reuters.

The deterioration in ties between Qatar and Egypt contrasts with 2013 when the producer gifted five LNG cargoes to Egypt – when Mohamed Mursi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, served as president. Ironically, it is Qatar’s support for the MB – if only according to the “official narrative” – that is the catalyst for the current crisis.

Posted in Middle East, QatarComments Off on Gulf States Launch Naval Blockade Of Qatar

Islamic State Claims Twin Attacks on Iran Parliament and Khomeini’s Tomb


Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani dismissed the attacks, saying they were a ‘trivial matter’


The Islamic State group has claimed attacks on Iran’s parliament and the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini a few kilometres south of the capital on Wednesday morning, near simultaneous assaults that killed up to seven people, according to media reports. 

A security guard was killed when four gunmen burst into Tehran’s parliament complex, while a gardener was reported dead when several armed assailants entered the grounds of Khomeini’s mausoleum in the south of the city, according to the ISNA news agency.

“Fighters from Islamic State attacked Khomeini’s shrine and the Iranian parliament in Tehran,” IS’s news agency Amaq said.

An official at Khomeini’s mausoleum in south Tehran said “three or four” people had entered via the western entrance and opened fire, killing the gardener and wounding several people, according to the Fars news agency.

Fars said a female suicide attacker blew herself up outside the shrine and published photos showing the explosion. The Mizanonline news agency also said a female suicide bomber blew herself up outside the shrine, while another woman was arrested carrying six grenades.

Source: AFP / Middle East Eye

Lawmaker Elias Hazrati told state television three assailants, one with a pistol and two with AK-47 assault rifles, raided parliament.

Parliament was in session as the attacks unfolded, with live footage showing members continuing with routine business even as gun battles were reported in surrounding office buildings.

Speaker Ali Larijani dismissed the attacks, saying they were a “trivial matter” and that security forces were dealing with them.

Intensified gunfire was heard from the neighbouring offices as Fars news agency reported police had launched an assault.

Parliament in session as attacks unfold

Tasmin news agency said there were unconfirmed reports that the attackers had taken four hostages inside the parliament building, but the state news agency IRNA reported that the situation at parliament is under control and a session is going ahead.

Another lawmaker said one of the assailants was surrounded by security forces and all the doors to the building had been closed, ISNA news agency reported.

Members of Iranian forces run during an attack on the Iranian parliament in central Tehran (Reuters via Middle East Eye)

“I was inside the parliament when shooting happened. Everyone was shocked and scared. I saw two men shooting randomly,” said one journalist at the scene, who asked not to be named.

Several Arab media outlets claimed that the Islamic State group carried out the attacks, but removed the news report from their websites after half an hour, according to the semi-offical Fars News Agency.

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