Open Letter to Left Unity: An Organisation that is Afraid to Campaign

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 Left Unity was formed last  year with the many of the members coming from the fall-out in the SWP over Martin Thomas and the question of rape/sexual harrassment.  Others are relatively new to politics and of course there are those who are members of existing left groups – Socialist Resistance and the Communist Party of Great Britain.

At the Conference I attended in London 30th there were some of the same hard-boiled cooks that had played a role in other prominent left groups.  Andrew Burgin as Chair of Stop the War Committee, Liz Davies, who Blair stopped from standing in Leeds and who became Chair of the Socialist Alliance, acting as a cover for the SWP as it proceeded to destroy the SA, Kate Hudson of CND, ex-Respect.  LU has about 1,500 members but it is doing nothing with them other than involving them in interminable intra party elections and affairs.

I therefore send an Open Letter to LU members making my criticisms clear.  I have had a favourable response from a number of members but it is doubtful that the central leadership understands it.  Despite submitting it to the website a week ago, it has yet to appear

Founding Conference

There is, of course nothing wrong with internal elections, quite the contrary.  For ex-members of the various left sects it’s probably a novel experience.  But the intricacy and complication of the election process are self-imposed burdens.  Instead of simple elections, weighted to ensure that minority political opinion is represented there is a full-blown PR system.  Women won’t be elected of course in accordance with their politics but simply because of the biological fact that they are women.  We have yet to go down the UNISON road with every minority of a minority being represented (except the working class) but no doubt that that is a delight to come as the Left Unity confuses its own organisation with the society it is seeking to create.  No better example of the contempt for democracy that this breeds is the statement:  ‘There is no obligation on individual members to vote for at least 50% women in any section though members may of course choose to do so.’

BBC News Interview

I can remember when the demand for positive discrimination first raised its head, in the student group of which I was a member, the Socialist Students Alliance, in the 1970’s.  The SSA was dominated by the International Marxist Group (now Socialist Resistance) which had abandoned working class politics for ‘movementism’.  Positive discrimination encouraged clichés, slogans and a superficial support for socialism, in place of any deep commitment to opposing this system or involvement in campaigns at the sharp end of the battle with this capitalism.  Most of those women either became supporters of New Labour (Blair was a particular supporter of positive discrimination and all-women shortlists) or dropped out of politics. This was not true of all the men – especially the Irish and anti-fascist activists. We had 101 women (New) Labour MPs, who 75% of whom voted in favour of the Iraqi war (as opposed to 40% of men who did so).

Coupling this with the fact that the 30th November Conference devoted the whole day to drawing up a constitution and it appears ever more obvious that Left Unity is like the Malaysian Airline plane – destined to crash but we know not where, at least yet.

Left Unity is an organisation with a small number of members, yet it has a Rolls Royce constitution fit for an organisation of hundreds of thousands.   Indeed, until New Labour took over, it could be said that our constitution is more complicated and cumbersome than the Labour Party’s.
Some people are losing sight of the fact that the purpose of Left Unity is to make a political impact in and away from elections that the mass media and the establishment cannot ignore.  One thing that UKIP and to a lesser extent the Green Party have shown is that it is possible for parties that are determined and dedicated to succeed, even electorally, despite First Past the Post elections.  To translate the ideas and desires of the working class and chunks of other parts of society, into a vehicle for socialism.  A thoroughgoing debate on how to achieve it, what issues to prioritise, the targeting of resources on particular areas, the concentration on campaigns that epitomise everything which is wrong with market capitalism.  I’m thinking of the NHS and Welfare ‘reform’ in particular and above all steady and solid work over the lifetime of a parliament, with a possible focus on by-elections, are just a few example of this.  This will lead to steady but slow recruitment. A weekly paper (no not Socialist Resistance revamped!) But this hasn’t even been subject to any debate, nationally or in the local branches.  Instead the focus has been wholly internal.  The first thing you see on LU’s website is the absurd and trite slogan ‘Coming soon to a ballot paper near you!!’ with a picture of a cross on a ballot paper and the top three articles are  concerned with internal elections and then an equally trite article ‘A budget for UKIP not ‘hardworking people’ which, apart from anything else, is nonsense.

The term ‘hardworking people’ not the working class or marginalised or unemployed, is in itself a reflection of New Labour ideology.  Are the disabled ‘hardworking people’?  Does it matter?

What is or should be the target for the website?  New Labour of course.  It is the beneficiary of the working class vote.  Articles hammering away at this would at least suggest that LU has some coherent strategy other than, as at present, being a mishmash of left and not-so-left ideas.  Attacking Miliband for support for the Benefits Cap, for following Gordon Brown’s strategy of engineering a boom via house prices inflation, the selling of council houses, privatisation of the NHS, the fact that the pension reforms will inevitably lead to growing poverty among the elderly, the pathetic suggestion of a 20 month prices freeze in utility bills when the real issue is nationalisation.  These are examples of what a focused and aimed political strategy might aim at.  But instead we debate the constitution and focus on internal elections!

There is also the absurd name – Left Unity.  What does it mean to people?  That the left is disunited?  Perhaps if we hadn’t faced a Hobson’s choice at the Conference, when suggestions could have been taken from the floor, we might have had ‘People Not Profit’ or something that sums up what LU purportedly stands for.

It is telling that no candidates came forward for the elections from Scotland, the North-East or South-West.  What does this say about LU’s present political trajectory and appeal?  Even the Socialist Alliance, before the SWP took it over and destroyed it had more political weight and substance.

One suggestion would be that national leaflets on renationalisation nd the NHS, Welfare attacks, the contrast between Bob Crow and the present TU leaders and privatisation, racism (G4S).  This would mean that LU becomes a vehicle moving in the same direction together.  How does LU achieve momentum and a critical mass?  This is of greater importance than interminable internal elections.  LU has a year at most before stagnation and decline set in.  It can either move forwards or backwards.   If it doesn’t start focusing on society out there as opposed to its own internal structures, it will lose any chance to do so.

Tony Greenstein

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Zionist British opposition leader: I’m a ‘Jewish atheist’

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Ed Miliband, currently visiting Israel, says while his Jewish origin will always be a part of who he is, he does not believe in God.

Ynet

British opposition and Labour leader Ed Miliband described himself on Friday as a “Jewish atheist,” but noted he still believes in the importance of religion and faith, British media reported on Saturday.

While Miliband, currently on a visit to Israel, is of Jewish birth and considers his Jewish origin to be a part of who he is, he says he doesn’t believe in God.

“I don’t believe in God, but I think faith is a really, really important thing to a lot of people. It provides nourishment for lots of people,” he said. “In terms of faith for me, it’s a faith about how you change the world. And that is actually true for a lot of religious people as well.”

Miliband’s views of Judaism are a part of his upbringing as his parents were not practicing Jews.

His mother, a Polish Jew, survived the Holocaust thanks to being protected by Poles, and his father, of Polish-Jewish origins, fled with his parents to England during World War II.

Miliband also spoke on the impact his parents’ experience escaping Nazi persecution had on his decision to go into politics and expressed his desire to be elected “the first Jewish prime minister.” ???

“Someone asked me if I thought it was a disadvantage, that people would be less likely to vote for me because I’m Jewish, and I said absolutely not,” he said. “That’s one of the great things about Britain. There are elements of anti-Semitism, (and) it is really, really important to tackle those and have no truck with them. I have said I hope that I’ll be the first Jewish prime minister if we win the election, but it is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage.”

Despite this, he clarified, he views Britain as a “Christian country.”

“We are really lucky in having the Church of England as an established Church. It is a great institution, not just in the spiritual faith and nourishment that it gives to lots of people, but also the good work it does in communities,” he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is the only British party leader to say he believes in God. Miliband and leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg both declared themselves to be atheists.

Jewish origins

During his visit to Israel, Miliband got a tour of Jerusalem, where met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He was also taken to a hill overlooking the Gaza Strip and shown from where rockets are fired towards the Israeli south.

At a visit to Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, the Labour leader was given a document about his family history, that included a shocking fact – his grandfather had not died in Auschwitz as the family always believed, but in another concentration camp.

“I feel such a long way away from that family history in a sense, because I have led such a secure upbringing from a very stable family, but both my parents were refugees. Large numbers of their relatives – including my mum’s dad – lost his life in the Holocaust and so it is part of who I am, but a long way away, and then to come so close to it is incredibly painful,” Miliband told the BBC.

Sixty members of Miliband’s family were murdered in the Holocaust. Touching upon his family’s Holocaust history, Miliband said the only positive thing that came out of it was that he received an upbringing which said “don’t waste a life, don’t waste a single life.”

“They never said ‘our family has a Holocaust history so you better work hard and do your homework’, but they inculcated in me a sense of ‘you have got to try and repair a broken world,’” he added.

While in Israel, he also visited his mother’s cousin, Sara Ben Zvi, who he has not seen in 37 years. Ben Zvi, like Miliband’s mother, is a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust. She lives in a kibbutz just outside of Jerusalem and hosted Miliband and his wife, along with other relatives, for Shabbat dinner.

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Tony Benn at his stroppy best

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Zionist Tory MP Sajid Javid : After Britain, I$raHell is best

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By Martin Bright,
December 13, 2012

It is not often that the Prime Minister is upstaged when he is guest of honour at an official function. It is even more unusual when it is one of his own MPs who is responsible. But this is just what happened when Sajid Javid, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury and MP for Bromsgrove, spoke at the Conservative Friends of Israel “business lunch” on Tuesday.

This annual jamboree has grown from humble beginnings to become one of the key events of the year for supporters of Israel. And each year one of the MPs who has been on a CFI delegation reports back to the gathering of funders and fellow parliamentarians. Usually this is a rather bland “what I did on my holidays” routine, but this year it was different.

Mr Javid, who described himself as a “proud British-born Muslim”, announced that if he had to leave Britain to live in the Middle East, then he would choose Israel as home. Only there, he said, would his children feel the “warm embrace of freedom and liberty”. For him, only Israel shared the democratic values of the UK.

Such a speech would have been easy for almost every other MP in the room to make. Conservative MPS are a conventional bunch and support of Israel is expected of backbenchers (most of the parliamentary party was there on Tuesday). But, for a British Muslim, this was an extraordinary and courageous intervention in the world of Israel advocacy. The fact that Mr Javid no longer practises and is married to a Christian wife will make him more, not less of a target for Israel’s detractors within the Muslim community.

Saul Klein is to be Britain’s first Tech Envoy to Israel, Mr Cameron announced

Mr Cameron’s speech was one of his better ones. The prime minister is always more comfortable on domestic issues and even in foreign affairs he prefers talking trade to the hard end of diplomacy. So he talked about the support Jewish philanthropists had given to the government’s education agenda by funding schools. And he celebrated growing trade links between Israel and Britain.

And, in recognition of the success of Israel’s hi-tech sector, he announced the appointment of venture capitalist Saul Klein as the UK’s first tech envoy to Israel.

But Mr Cameron did not avoid the difficult issues. He urged Israel and its supporters to embrace the Arab Spring and the democracy it brought with it, touched on the thorny issue of settlements and reiterated the UK government view that the time was not right for an Israeli military strike on Iran.

Despite the UK government’s anger at the Netanyahu government over settlement building, the relationship between the Israeli establishment and the Conservative Party remains strong.

This was obvious from the genuine warmth of the speech given by Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub, who pointed out that only CFI could arrange such a “truly remarkable show of support” for Israel.

But, in terms of support, it is Mr Javid’s that will lodge in the memory. One MP on my table whispered that the Bromsgrove MP was being touted as a future prime minister. “Of Britain or Israel?” someone quipped.

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Zionist Miliband, U.K.’s leader-in-waiting, journeying to his Jewish roots

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Ed Miliband’s current visit to Israel is another step in the U.K. Labour party leader’s gradual embrace of his Jewish identity and connection to Israel.

Haaretz

Something is changing in the Jewish identity of British opposition leader Ed Miliband, and his visit to Israel this week is another chance to watch this develop.

When Ed Miliband made his first major address in 2010 as leader of the Labour party, he gave the UK Jewish community and other supporters of Israel some cause for concern. In a speech which was light on foreign policy, he made a point of condemning Israel’s policies in the Gaza Strip, and declared that we must “strain every sinew” to end the blockage on Gaza. There was no mention of Hamas or its rockets.

This approach played to views common among the British Labour party grassroots, and the British left more generally, which is strongly supportive of the Palestinian cause.

Ed Miliband’s leadership campaign succeeded by outflanking his rival, and older brother – former Foreign Secretary David Miliband – by shifting to the left, earning the support of the trade unions and the nickname “Red Ed.” Though the Miliband brothers are the sons of a well-known Marxist intellectual, Ralph Miliband, they had both been closely associated with the modernising, centrist, “New Labour” project led by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Ed deliberately distanced himself from that branding, tarnished in part by Tony Blair’s decision to send British troops to participate in the Iraq War.

The fact that both Ed’s father and mother, Marion Kozak, were Jewish refugees who escaped the Holocaust was not – until recently – well known or seen as relevant to the politics of either brother. The Milibands senior were fully assimilated and the family had no active involvement in the Jewish community. Leftist politics and social activism were their passion, not Judaism. Indeed Marion Kozak is known for her pro-Palestinian activism, among other causes.

In a sense, both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were more “Jewish” than the Milibands. Both Blair and Brown had close relationships with the Jewish community, and were overtly warm towards Israel. They both joined the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) parliamentary group when they became MPs in the early 1980s.

By contrast, as MPs neither Ed nor David Miliband developed much connection with the Jewish community, and neither engaged with LFI, despite it being a popular affiliation for many other MPs associated with New Labour. David Miliband, though not seen as generally hostile to Israel, steered British policy in a more noticeably confrontational direction with Israel over the issue of settlements during his time as Foreign Secretary.

So when Ed Miliband was elected as party leader, it was perhaps not surprising that he took a much cooler position on Israel than that associated with Blair and New Labour, which was more in tune with the mood of the party base. The Labour grassroots, especially on its left flank, see the Palestinian issue as a pre-eminent human rights concern and Israel’s occupation and settlements as the root of the conflict.

Over the past two years however, something has changed. Ed Miliband has made an effort to reassure the British Jewish community, and Jewish voters, that he is has a moderate and balanced position on Israel. But more than that, he has started to increasingly talk and write about his own Jewish identity.

In 2011, Miliband made a speech to the annual LFI lunch in which he spoke about his family connection to Israel, where his grandmother moved after surviving the Holocaust. He told the audience, “The thing I feel overwhelmingly about the State of Israel is that out of the darkness of the war and the Holocaust it gave light to my family.”

Then in an article in the leftist weekly political magazine the New Statesman in 2012, Miliband wrote explicitly about his Jewish identity: “For me, my Jewishness and my Britishness are intertwined. My parents defined themselves not by their Jewishness but by their politics. They assimilated into British life outside the Jewish community. There was no bar mitzvah, no Jewish youth group; sometimes I feel I missed out.” But he added, “I did not miss out on many other aspects of Jewishness: my mum got me into Woody Allen; my dad taught me Yiddish phrases (there is no better language for idio­matic expressions, some of them unrepeatable). And my grandmother cooked me chicken soup and matzo balls.”

So what did this mean for his attitude to Israel? He rejected the suggestion that this might complicate his view of Israel stating, “I support a two-state solution because I long for the peace that both Palestinians and Israelis need so badly.”

Then in a major political speech in 2012, he spoke at length about his family history and background as the son of Holocaust survivors. Miliband was trying to tell the British public more about his personal background, and to shake off the image of a political geek, whose entire career between graduating from Oxford and becoming an MP was spent as a political advisor. This speech was a conscious attempt to reshape public perceptions of himself: A child of refugees who went to the local school and whose parents thanked Britain for their salvation from the Nazis.

But that was not the end of it. Remarkably, he dedicated the rest of the speech to praising the “One Nation” principles of none other than Benjamin Disraeli, a nineteenth century British Prime Minister famous for retaining pride in his Jewish roots, despite having converted to Christianity at the age of 12. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but even so it was perhaps one of the most Jewish speeches ever made by a British political leader.

Once he had identified himself so publicly as Jewish, the question of his relationship with Israel inevitably arose again. In a large meeting with British Jews in early 2013 he was asked directly if he considered himself a Zionist. He reportedly answered, “Yes, I am a supporter of Israel.” His office subsequently stressed that he was not using the word Zionist to describe himself, but it was nonetheless seen as another positive shift regarding his attitudes to Israel.

In a more recent speech to a leading Jewish community organisation in early March this year Miliband noted again that Israel “provided sanctuary” to his grandmother after the Holocaust, and added that he felt, “more part of the Jewish community than at any other time in my life.”

And now Miliband is making a major public visit to Israel. This is not an obvious thing for him to do. Foreign policy is not usually high on his list of priorities for a British opposition leader, and the Israeli-Palestinian arena is a risky issue for any foreign politician to get involved with.

His trip is intended to serve several purposes. He will be hoping to show his credentials as a leader ready to play a role on the world stage. It is also about demonstrating commitment both to Britain’s relations with Israel and to the Palestinian national cause. But most intriguingly, Ed Miliband’s visit looks set to be the continuation of a process showing the British public the Jewish roots and identity of the man who may well be their next Prime Minister.

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Who will finally heal the ‘running sore in the East’?

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Exasperated people across the globe are entitled to say to their leaders: “You’ve had your chance. We demand that you do the right thing, the just thing, the lawful thing, the decent thing, and see to it that the Palestinians are reunited with their lands, property and freedoms, and granted self-determination as guaranteed by the international laws, treaties, charters and codes we hold dear. No more excuses.  Get it done or quit your post.”
by Stuart Littlewood

Do world leaders today even know the underlying causes of the Holy Land’s misery?

Hansard is the official verbatim report of proceedings in the UK Parliament. You’d expect powerful intellectual stimulation, especially from the House of Lords, but too often the record reads like pulp fiction, punctuated as always with antique language, flowery manners and a pinch of pompous poppycock. But from behind it all emerge some uncomfortable truths.

For example, in the House of Lords on 27 Januaryhttp://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldhansrd/text/140127-0001.htm#1401272000428 we were presented with this:

Baroness Falkner of Margravine  640 x 360

Baroness Falkner of Margravine

Baroness Falkner of Margravine: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assistance they have given to the people of Gaza over the last three months.

Baroness Northover (Government Spokesperson in the House of Lords on International Development): My Lords, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is precarious. There is a significant danger that food, water and fuel will run out later this year. The UK is a leading provider of humanitarian support, which includes supporting the UN Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, to provide basic services, providing food vouchers to vulnerable households, supporting the International Committee of the Red Cross to provide humanitarian assistance and supporting the UN Access Coordination Unit to assist the passage of personnel and humanitarian aid. 

Israel aiming to make Gaza ‘unliveable’ by 2020?

Baroness Falkner of Margravine: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for that response. The humanitarian aid is terribly important, particularly when the 1.7 million people in Gaza are now living life at breaking point, with 11,000 people displaced by last month’s floods. Fuel shortages are such that donkey carts have replaced cars…. the streets are overflowing with raw sewage and, with nearly 50% unemployment, the situation is like a tinderbox. The United Nations has said that Gaza will be unliveable by 2020, so what are Her Majesty’s Government doing…. so that a final settlement can be reached for people to live in civilised form next door to each other?

Baroness Northover: My noble friend is right. The UN has described Gaza as being currently in a state of de-development….  We strongly support the peace process. Meanwhile we are of course asking Israel to ease the blockade immediately, but in supporting the peace process we hope to see a two-state solution. The aim is to achieve a secure Israel alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state, with all issues—borders, Jerusalem, refugees, all of them—addressed.

She doesn’t miss the opportunity to recite that same old mantra: a secure Israel alongside a viable Palestine, which peddles the obnoxious idea that Palestinians don’t qualify for security of their own, now or in the future. Lord Warner intervened to point out that the situation in Gaza had been intolerable ever since Operation Cast Lead, five years ago. “In the past six months, how many meetings have this Government had with the Israeli Government about lifting this blockade, which is a cause of great humanitarian suffering to the Gaza population, 50% of whom are children?” Baroness Northover didn’t know; she would write to him with the number.

The Lord Bishop of Wakefield  444 x  310

The Lord Bishop of Wakefield

The Lord Bishop of Wakefield then spoke up: “My Lords, following Egypt’s closure of the tunnels… will the Minister give an assurance that the Department for International Development will adjust its aid package accordingly, to try to address some of the terrible suffering….?”

Baroness Northover said the UK and EU were putting in massive amounts of assistance. “However, the tunnels themselves help to fund Hamas and this is an opportunity to encourage Israel to open the borders there and to support the moderate elements in Gaza…. The international organisations are saying that the underlying causes of the problems need to be addressed. The immediate shortages are being dealt with adequately.”

Baroness Morris of Bolton, who is also president of Medical Aid for Palestinians and the trade envoy, acknowledged that some industrial fuel had reached Gaza but it was not enough and well below demand level. “Hospitals have regular power cuts and some families have only 12 hours of power a day…. What are we doing to ensure that more fuel is going in now? It will take a long time to solve the peace process but we can do something to alleviate the hardship now.”

“Those shortages are being addressed,” replied Baroness Northover. “However, the most important issue here is to address the underlying root causes of these problems.”

So, we’re told the life-threatening shortages are being dealt with “adequately” – an obvious lie – and, anyway, none of that is as important as addressing the underlying root causes. Her rather cruel remark actually touches on the crux of the whole nasty business, though without explaining what the root causes are.  Who in Westminster remembers? They go back nearly 100 years. They came to a murderous head in 1948 and have been a pain in the ass to the entire world, not just the Palestinians, ever since.

And they’ve never been properly addressed…

Lord Sydenham  200 x 260

Lord Sydenham

Lord Sydenham described the main cause when, in 1922, he issued this awful warning in the same House of Lords: “The harm done by dumping down an alien population upon an Arab country… may never be remedied… What we have done is, by concessions, not to the Jewish people but to a Zionist extreme section, to start a running sore in the East, and no one can tell how far that sore will extend.”

What has Her Majesty’s Government been doing since then to heal the sore and reduce the harm? Answer: nothing, except make a spectacle of itself endlessly grovelling to the grasping racist regime in Tel Aviv and pandering to its every whim.  Asking Israel to do this, urging Israel to stop doing that is a waste of time.  Israel simple says, “We’ll do as we please, we’ll steal all we want. Get off our back and sign us up for more trade benefits.” And the buffoons in Westminster, Berlin, Brussels. Madrid and Paris tug their forelock and say, “Yes-sir, Mr Netanyahu, anything you and your hoodlums say!”

The stain on British honour

Lord Hylton  512 x 288

Lord Hylton

Meanwhile, back in the Upper House Lord Hyltonwas asking what assessment HMG had made of the current situation in the Gaza Strip following the recent severe floods; whether UNRWA is now receiving promised construction materials; whether aid is being received from Qatar; and what is HMG’s assessment of the prospects for the full reopening of crossings into Egypt?

Baroness Northover replied that UNRWA was unable to proceed with twenty projects worth over $42 million due to Israel’s continuing block on construction materials into Gaza. “We remain concerned at the frequent closures of the Rafah crossing, and the additional pressure that this puts on the fragile humanitarian situation.”

Lord Hylton, pressing further, asked what recent representations HMG had made to the government of Israel about the blockade of Gaza.

Baroness Warsi (Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office) said the British Embassy in Tel Aviv had raised the need for a major easing of Israel’s restrictions with the Israeli National Security Council. The Minister of State for International Development, Alan Duncan, had also raised the issue with the Israeli government during his recent visit between 12-15 January. “On both occasions, UK concerns were noted.”

Noted? Only notedHMG is content with that, your ladyship?

Two month earlier The Lord Bishop of Worcester had asked about the confiscation of humanitarian aid and the prevention of access to communities in need of emergency assistance. On that occasionBaroness Northover replied: “Where humanitarian aid is needed, Israel is obliged under international humanitarian law to facilitate the work of humanitarian relief schemes. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv has raised this issue with the Israeli National Security Adviser and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

Why on earth does the UK, which provides considerable funds for humanitarian aid to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, tolerate Israel’s confiscations, import restrictions, bans on essential materials and outright wrecking of infrastructure paid for by British taxpayers? Israel’s repeated breaches of humanitarian law only cause issues to be “raised”. There are never any consequence for the psychopaths and they lose no sleep. Impunity rules. Not only that, Britain regularly rewards Israel for its delinquent behaviour by strengthening trading and technology ties.

Back to basics: remember your manners, say sorry, make amends

Perhaps those noble ladies Northover and Warsi and their ermine-robed colleagues in Government are not au fait with the wisdom of Lord Sydenham. Perhaps they don’t know about the machinations of that arrogant fool, Arthur Balfour, or even the sinister carve-up of the Middle East by Messrs Sykes and Picot. Perhaps they are unaware that the whole episode is a stain on British honour which hasn’t washed off to this day.

The Big Question puzzling all right-minded people remains unanswered… Why is the Holy Land, 66 years after Partition, still under foreign military occupation and total blockade when international law and the United Nations say it shouldn’t be? Or to put it bluntly, how can a bunch of terrorists in this day and age take over a treasured and blessed land by unlawful means, expel or subjugate the rightful inhabitants, and get away with it?

For world leaders who can’t give a sensible answer, this excellent document http://www.eccpalestine.org/israels-obligations-as-an-occupying-power-under-international-law-its-violations-and-implications-for-eu-policy/ will help. It’s a report on Israel’s obligations as an occupying power under international law, and its violations, and the implications for EU policy. They should read it and act on it. Other recommended reading for parliamentarians includes Challenges to International Humanitarian Law: Israel’’s Occupation Policy” by Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross http://www.icrc.org/eng/assets/files/review/2013/irrc-888-maurer.pdf .

Palestine being wiped off the Map -- Peter Lavelle

Palestine being wiped off the map because of the complicity of the zionist-controlled Western governments

Sydenham said the harm done may never be remedied…. Ninety-two years later (and counting) he’s still right. Exasperated people across the globe are now entitled to say to their leaders: “You’ve had your chance. Your grubby allegiances and treacherous pledges to foreign powers disgust us. We demand that you put all corrupt practices aside and do the right thing, the just thing, the lawful thing, the decent thing, and see to it that the Palestinians are reunited with their lands, property and freedoms, and granted self-determination as guaranteed by the international laws, treaties, charters and codes we hold dear. No more excuses. There can be no advance in world peace until it’s resolved. Get it done or quit your post.”

Inevitably the passage of time prevents full restitution. But the world needs to make amends for the monstrous blunder by the United Nations in cruelly partitioning Palestine in 1947 without consulting those who lived there and, worse still, turning a blind eye to the Jewish land grab that followed. Justice groups are saying it’s time the British government, which accepted the mandated responsibility for the Holy Land up to 1948, had the good manners to admit its part in the catastrophe and say sorry for the needless damage and suffering heaped on Palestinian Arabs who once considered themselves Britain’s allies. That would be a good starting point for dealing with the horrendous situation today.

US Secretary John Kerry plans to present a framework agreement in a few weeks’ time to settle the long drawn-out conflict. But Kerry, like so many before him, likes to bypass due process and ignore the underlying causes. He could be ‘Mr Fix-it’ but isn’t. The betting is that Kerry’s framework will be another giant fudge that offers nothing resembling justice for the oppressed and dispossessed.

Zionist accusations that Kerry has threatened to orchestrate a European boycott of Israel and de-legitimization of the ‘Jewish state’ if talks fail are just part of the hasbara cacophony. The fact is, Israel is going to be globally boycotted and increasingly isolated with or without Kerry’s input until that entity learns to behave. It has already de-legitimized itself by its own actions.

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BBC misreports John Kerry on talks failure

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BBC Israel Public Inquiry

By Nureddin Sabir
Editor, Redress Information & Analysis

For once, US Secretary of State John Kerry was not mincing his words when he blamed Israel for the breakdown of talks with the Palestinians.

But you would not have known this if you were following the story from the BBC News website.

What Kerry actually said

Here is how Philip Weiss, founder and co-editor of the news website Mondoweiss characterized Kerry’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 7 April:

John Kerry, Secretary of State, blamed the Israelis for the breakdown of peace talks during a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday. Israel failed to release prisoners on time according to a deal it had with Palestinians, then announced 700 settlement units – “poof!”– causing the latest breakdown in the talks…

And this is what Kerry actually said:

In my judgment both leaders have made courageous and important decisions up until now. For Prime Minister Netanyahu to release prisoners is a painful, difficult political step to take, enormously hard, and the people of Israel have been incredibly supportive and patient in giving him the space in order to do that. In exchange for the deal being kept of the release of prisoners and not going to the U.N. Unfortunately, the prisoners weren’t released on the Saturday they were supposed to be released. And so day went by, day two went by day three went by and then in the afternoon when they were about to maybe get there, 700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem. And poof! That was sort of the moment.

Weiss called it possibly a historic moment.

As Juan Cole, Professor of History at Michigan University, stresses:

Kerry attributed the breakdown to two separate Israeli moves. One was to decline to release the remaining 25 or so Palestinian prisoners jailed before 1993, whose release had been agreed to in the Oslo Peace Accords (a pledge on which Israel reneged, as it did on the whole Oslo process), and which Israel had undertaken to free last August. The second was the announcement of 700 new squatter homes in Palestinian East Jerusalem by fanatical Israeli expansionist Housing Minister Uri Ariel.

Even the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said it was disappointed over Kerry’s remarks, which implicitly means they saw it as apportioning the blame for the talks’ collapse on Israel.

How the BBC reported Kerry to absolve Israel

However, the BBC News website chose to fudge the truth by making it seem that Kerry had blamed not Israel but both Israel and the Palestinians in equal measure.

According to the BBC, Kerry “blamed both sides for taking ‘unhelpful’ steps”.

But search Kerry’s full statement and you will not find the word “unhelpful” anywhere. The only person who mentioned the word “unhelpful” was State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, as reported by the Israeli news website Ynet.

So, either the person who wrote the BBC report is sloppy or incompetent, or there is something more sinister at work.

Although sloppiness and incompetence are no strangers to the BBC, there is reasonable ground to suspect that there is something more sinister.

Raffi Berg, the BBC’s in-house Israel flag waver

This is none other than Raffi Berg, the head of the Middle East section of the BBC News website.

Raffi Berg

As we reported last August, Berg had been caught sending his staff emails advising them to write more favourably about Israel. According to Electronic Intifada, which exposedBerg’s behind-the-scenes work on behalf of Israel, Berg sent an email to staff during Israel’s eight-day assault on Gaza in November 2012, which killed nearly 200 Palestinians, asking them

to word their stories in a way which does not blame or “put undue emphasis” on Israel for starting the prolonged attacks. Instead, he encouraged journalists to promote the Israeli government line that the “offensive” was “aimed at ending rocket fire from Gaza”.

This was despite the fact that Israel broke a ceasefire when it attacked Gaza on 14 November, a ceasefire which the Palestinians had been observing – firing no rockets into Israel

In a second email, sent during the same period, Berg told BBC journalists: “Please remember, Israel doesn’t maintain a blockade around Gaza. Egypt controls the southern border.” He omitted to mention that the UN viewed Israel as the occupying power in Gaza and has called on Israel to end its siege of the Strip. Israel’s refusal to do so is a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1860.

The similarity between the instruction to misreport the Israeli aggression on Gaza and the BBC News website’s downplaying of Kerry’s blame for the failure of the talks with the Palestinians is too close to be accidental. We detect the hands of Berg.

Zionists at the BBC’s helm

To be fair, Berg is not the only Israel pimp working at the BBC. Others include the notorious Zionist James Purnell, who in February 2013 was put in charge of BBC policy and strategy, and the head of BBC News, James Harding.

According to Electronic Intifada, in 2011 Harding spoke at a media event organized by the Jewish Chronicle, telling his audience:

I am pro-Israel. I believe in the state of Israel. I would have had a real problem if I had been coming to a paper [The Times, of which he was editor before taking up his BBC job] with a history of being anti-Israel. And, of course, Rupert Murdoch is pro-Israel.

Eight years ago the BBC’s governing body commissioned an independent report which concluded that BBC coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “does not consistently constitute a full and fair account of the conflict but rather, in important respects, presents an incomplete and in that sense misleading picture”. The reasons for this have long been the subject of serious academic studies, the best known of which is Greg Philo’s and Mike Berry’s More Bad News from Israel.

Without a doubt, the presence of Raffi Berg, James Purnell, James Harding and other Zionists in key positions at the BBC will ensure that the corporation’s bias in favour of Israel will not only continue but will get worst.

As we never tire of repeating, it is past time that an independent authority investigate how Zionists in key positions at the BBC are shaping coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

This is a matter of grave concern because not only is the BBC a publicly-funded news organization, but it is also self-regulated, which means that it pretty much gets away with murder before anyone will say “poof’, to use Kerry’s word.

Posted in Campaigns, Politics, UK, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Public meeting: The fascist coup in Ukraine

NOVANEWS

As the imperialist media’s vilification of Russia reaches ever new heights, we ask: who is behind the coup in the Ukraine and what do they really want?

Saturday 12 April, 6.00pm 

Saklatvala Hall, Dominion Way, Southall, UB2 5AA 

Map showing hall

The ill-fated fascist provocation in Ukraine is backfiring badly on its authors. Crimea has already broken away from the fascists grip and returned to Russia, while several cities in the industrial heartlands of the east have proclaimed their intention also to break away.

But how did all this start and why? How can the Soviet citizens who gave so much in the fight against fascism 70 years ago find themselves once more on the receiving end of fascist pogroms against ethnic Russians, jews and communists? 

Speeches and discussion will be followed by food and drink. Please come along and be part of building a movement in Britain that is capable of opposing and defeating imperialist wars.

Meeting leaflet

 

WATCH THIS: 

VIDEO: ‘The West’ has a duty to impose democracy! (YouTube, October 2010)

VIDEO: Imperialism is war — the USSR defeated fascism (YouTube, November 2010)

 

READ THIS: 

Crimea goes home (Proletarian, April 2014) 

Ukraine: fascist coup (Lalkar, March 2014) 

‘The vast majority of Ukrainians don’t want this new civilwar’ (Proletarian, February 2014) 

The devastating effects of the restoration of capitalism in the Ukraine(Lalkar, May 2011) 

Europe shivers in gas war (Proletarian, February 2009) 

Editorial: Imperialist agenda in Ukraine (Proletarian, December 2004)

 

 

Posted in Campaigns, UK0 Comments

Iris Mary Jessie Cremer 10 November 1943 – 2 April 2014

NOVANEWS

It is with great sadness that the CPGB-ML has to announce the death of one of its key founder members, Comrade Iris Cremer. She died peacefully on the evening of Wednesday 2 April, just five weeks after she had been diagnosed with an aggressive and already far-advanced lung cancer. Comrades and family were at her side.

Always there, always inspiring others — an unflappable leader, and a humble servant of the working class.

 

- COMRADE IRIS’S FUNERAL -

For all those who would like to attend Comrade Iris’s funeral, the details are below.

Thursday 17 April, 3.00pm

Mortlake Crematorium, Kew Meadow Path, Richmond, TW9 4EN, [nearest tube: Kew Gardens on the District Line].
Map showing crematorium

All are welcome to join Iris’s family and comrades afterwards at Saklatvala Hall, Dominion Road, Southall, UB2 5AA.
Map showing hall

See the party website for video of Iris paying tribute to her husband Godfrey, another great communist who we lost just two years ago.
CPGB-ML website

 

- RED SAULTE TO COMRADE IRIS -

It is with great sadness that the CPGB-ML has to announce the death of one of its key founder members, Comrade Iris Cremer. She died peacefully on the evening of Wednesday 2 April, just five weeks after she had been diagnosed with an aggressive and already far-advanced lung cancer. Comrades and family were at her side.

Iris leaves behind a daughter, Katt, and a grandson, Fred — along with a host of honorary sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, grandsons and granddaughters to whom she was a mother, sister, aunt and grandmother in all the ways that really count.

Iris’s contribution to the British working-class movement was incalculable. For 45 years she worked tirelessly and without ego, thinking only of what needed to be done and what would bring British workers closer to socialism. To her own convenience or preference, she was utterly oblivious.

Despite the heartbreak of losing her lifelong partner, husband and comrade-in-arms Godfrey Cremer two years ago, Iris never flagged in her commitment or her activity. Quite the reverse in fact — after his death, Iris not only carried on determinedly with her own work but also did everything she could to fill the huge gap that Godfrey had left in our ranks.

As a couple, Iris and Godfrey set the bar high. With a common purpose in life, the strength of their union was reinforced daily, and their shared priority was always to get the work done, come what may. On the morning of their wedding, they were writing a leaflet for a Palestine demo. And on the morning of the day she died, Iris instructed her daughter Katt to hold off calling the ambulance for 40 minutes while acetates for printing the latest issue of Proletarian were printed out. She left home for the last time content in the knowledge that the printing workers could carry on and that the paper would be published by nightfall.

It was Iris and Godfrey’s great sadness to live in a country and at a time when the communist movement was temporarily retreating. Nevertheless, Iris was the stuff that revolutions are made of –dogged, determined, completely single-minded and utterly uninterested in herself. She would have been as at home on the Long March as she was mailing papers and manning literature stalls — no sacrifice or difficulty was too much for her, and nothing made her hesitate in her commitment.

Iris was a hard taskmaster — but because she drove herself far harder than she drove anyone else, and because she never criticised or scolded, she was able to encourage people to work without them realising she had done so — usually with a smile or a kind word, and always with an understanding tone to her voice that made those she spoke to feel special and valued.

Together with Comrade Godfrey, she lived a life that, just as much as anything they read at study classes hosted in the Cremers’ living room, taught a whole generation just what it meant to really be a communist. Their selfless, work-focused home was as warm and welcoming a place as any of us have ever known, and their example lives on in all who had the good fortune to experience their generous hospitality and gentle guidance.

Indeed, in this world of alienation and stress, where so many people are searching fruitlessly to find individual paths to personal fulfilment, Iris and Godfrey had found a formula for true happiness. A shared purpose and a life dedicated solely to that goal and lived entirely for others kept them calm despite the mountains of work that constantly confronted them, and kept them positive and determined despite the apparent enormity of the task they had set themselves.

Iris’s many political contributions are too numerous to be listed here. Having met her close comrades the Brars in the women’s movement in the late 1960s, she went on with them and Comrade Ella Rule to form the Movement of Women for Liberation and then the Association of Communist Workers in the early 1970s.

A committed proletarian internationalist, she opposed British imperial policy in all its forms. In her younger years, she was especially active in the anti-Vietnam war movement, and in her solidarity with the Irish and Zimbabwean armed struggles. Later on, she gave the same dedication to opposing the British imperialist wars against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria — never giving an inch to the imperialist propaganda that threw so many in the anti-war movement off their course.

Her hatred of imperialism and its divide-and-rule policy meant that she was equally active in opposing racism at home on the streets of Britain. In fact, she gave many years of her life to working for a progressive organisation of which she was not even a member — the Indian Workers Association (IWA-GB) — since she believed that it gave opportunities to bring revolutionary theory to at least some of the masses in Britain at a time when the revisionist CPGB (and later the CPB) and others who called themselves communist were abandoning that task.

Through the ACW, and through her practical support for Comrade Harpal Brar’s work as editor of the IWA’s journal Lalkar, Comrade Iris was part of a small but vital movement to keep Marxist-Leninist science alive in Britain. To this end, she spent a small legacy when her uncle died in 1979 on buying a printing press, to which she and Godfrey were chained from that moment forwards.

From the time of her involvement with those organisations there is hardly a single ACW or IWA leaflet, nor a single issue of Lalkar or of our own party’s paper Proletarian, that Iris did not have a hand in producing. Understanding the vital importance of theoretical understanding as a guide for the working-class movement, she gladly took on any and every practical task to facilitate bringing the knowledge and the masses together — whether writing, laying out, printing, collating, posting or selling on the streets.

No meeting was too small for her to attend, and no potential comrade too marginal to be worthy of her full attention. If she thought it might further the cause of humanity’s liberation, Iris, like Godfrey, was totally unstinting of her time.

She was also a great organiser upon whom a whole host of practical responsibilities rested. Almost every party stall, demo contingent and public meeting in London was run under Iris’s watchful eye — delegating where possible or simply doing herself what needed to be done to make sure that every event was as successful as possible.

For many years she was also one of the main driving forces behind the Stalin Society. The society was formed in 1991 when a group of anti-revisionist communists that included many of our own leading comrades came together in response to the collapse of the USSR, and in opposition to the deluge of anti-Soviet and anti-Stalin propaganda that followed the collapse. Understanding that the attacks on Stalin were in fact attacks on Leninism and on the building of socialism, the society set itself the unfashionable task of defending the world’s first and mightiest socialist state, and of countering the plethora of lies about its achievements and its leadership.

As secretary of the Stalin Society, Comrade Iris for years coordinated its programme, managed the practical aspects of meetings and communicated with the society’s members. She was greatly cheered in her last months to see the establishment of a host of new Stalin Societies around the world. Many of these have been directly inspired by the work of the British society, and all of them are a recognition of the fact that the question of Soviet socialism and Stalin’s leadership of socialist construction is becoming more, not less relevant as time goes by and as the crisis of the capitalist system deepens.

It was the great joy of both Iris and Godfrey’s life to see their long years of struggle come to fruition in the founding of our own party 10 years ago. They had put huge efforts over seven years in the attempt to build Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party (SLP) into a real alternative to the social-democratic left in Britain, and into bringing a Marxist understanding to the party. However, having been eventually expelled by Scargill and his acolytes for this activity, our founding comrades decided that the time was ripe to found a new, truly revolutionary party in Britain.

Long years of even harder work followed, as our small band had to establish a presence on the ground, to develop a consistent policy and analysis that could demonstrate our worth and seriousness to British workers, and to break through the barriers of hostility and suspicion that greeted our arrival on the political scene.

Iris and Godfrey threw themselves into this work. They never doubted that it was the right thing to do, or that it would eventually succeed. In the last weeks of both their lives, the subject to which their conversation turned again and again was the great encouragement they felt when looking at the direction and growth of our party, and at the seriousness and commitment of its new young cadres.

Comrade Iris lived her life for the struggle — she was truly the stuff that revolutions are made of. As we bid a last farewell to one who was a mother, an aunt, a sister and a comrade to so many, we make the only tribute our fallen comrade would ask of us — we promise that the example she set us will strengthen our resolve and that we will continue to struggle until the final victory of socialism in Britain.

Red salute to Comrade Iris Cremer, soldier of the revolution.

 

SEE ALSO: 

Iris and Godfrey (YouTube, March 2013)

Being a British communist — Godfrey Cremer (YouTube, September 2012)

Culture of struggle (YouTube, December 2011)

Katt Cremer on the October revolution (YouTube, November 2013)

Posted in UK0 Comments

Culture secretary Maria Miller quits over expenses row

NOVANEWS

The government minister responsible for the future of press regulation, Maria Miller, has resigned as Culture Secretary, telling David Cameron the row over her expenses had “become a distraction from the vital work this Government is doing”.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “sad” at the circumstances of her departure and hoped she could make a return “in due course” but was accepting her resignation.

It follows days of mounting public and political pressure on the MP to quit and signs she was losing support among Tory colleagues despite Cameron’s backing.

In her resignation letter, the Basingstoke MP told Cameron she was “very grateful” for his personal support.

“But it has become clear to me that the present situation has become a distraction from the vital work this Government is doing to turn our country around,” she added.

She defended her work on press regulation – which allies have suggested has resulted in a media “witch hunt” against her.

“Of course, implementing the recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson on the future of media regulation, following the phone hacking scandals, would always be controversial for the press,” she wrote.

“Working together with you, I believe we struck the right balance between protecting the freedom of the press and ensuring fairness, particularly for victims of press intrusion, to have a clear right of redress.”

Cameron told her it was ” important to be clear that the Committee on Standards cleared you of the unfounded allegations made against you, a point which has been lost in much of the comment in recent days”.

The standards committee ordered her to repay £5,800 in overclaimed mortgage interest and say sorry on the floor of the House – an apology which has been widely criticised for its tone and brevity.

“As you leave the Government, you should be proud of your service on the Frontbench and in Opposition,” Cameron said – including steering through gay marriage and press regulation.

“I am personally very grateful for the support you have always given me, and which I am sure that you will continue to give.

“I hope that you will be able to return to serving the Government on the Frontbench in due course, and am only sad that you are leaving the Government in these circumstances.”

Labour MP John Mann, who made the allegations against Miller which triggered the standards investigation, said: “About time too.”

He told BBC Radio 4′s Today: “Maria Miller should have resigned immediately and when she didn’t resign, Mr Cameron should have shown a bit of leadership and sacked her.”

He said the case had shown the present system – which saw a cross-party committee of MPs dramatically reduce the sum an independent watchdog said Mrs Miller should repay – was “dead and buried”.

“I would like to see David Cameron announce today at Prime Minister’s Questions that that system is going to go immediately and there will be no more self-regulation of MPs by MPs.”

A Tory local councillor in Miller’s Basingstoke constituency said he was “disappointed that it has come to this but on the other hand we have achieved some sort of closure”.

Sven Godesen, who was among those who had called on her to repay the originally-recommended £45,000 or quit, said he hoped she would stay on as MP for the Hampshire town.

“She was and is a good constituency MP and we will all be very happy in 2015 to work to see that she does get re-elected.”

Shadow home office minister Steve Reed said on Twitter: “Cameron’s judgment in question for supporting Maria Miller as she resigns over expenses shame.”

A Labour Party spokesman said: “It is welcome that Maria Miller has finally done the right thing. By resigning, she has recognised that the public expect and deserve the highest standards from politicians.

“Labour said all along that you cannot have one rule for a Cabinet minister and one rule for everybody else.

“That it came to this raises questions for David Cameron, whose judgment has been found wanting. Yet again he has shown himself to be out of touch and a prime minister who only stands up for one of his own.”

Posted in UK0 Comments

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To see Part 2 go to the the link below, http://youtu.be/iL2OCRYOW6k

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