Last night I debated Sean Matgamna of the Alliance for Workers Liberty at a central London pub in front of an audience of about 30 people. My notes for the debate follow.
Archive for July, 2006
I’d like to invite you to attend a debate taking place next week on the subject of the current crisis in the Middle East.
It would take a book to answer all the questions and criticisms that followed the publication of this article. I’ve decided to attempt short answers to a dozen of these.
No socialist group in Britain is saying what needs to be said today about the crisis in the Middle East. All the groups on the organised Left are busy denouncing Israel for its “aggression” against Gaza and Lebanon. Many are expressing their solidarity with the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples. None are saying that Israel needs and deserves the support of the Left.
Most of the websites that I look at, the ones that largely share my political perspective, have been strangely silent over the last couple of days regarding recent developments in the Middle East — especially the fighting taking place in northern Israel and Lebanon.
But there has been at least one very good, cogent analysis of what is going on — seeing it as a war by Iran and Syria against the Jewish state, waged by proxy — and it was written by Melanie Phillips. It’s on her blog and while I don’t always agree with everything she writes, this is a good one.
As I listen to the news on Kol Israel radio (broadcast through the net), I want to do something to help. I’m sure others do as well. Writing and speaking the truth is one thing — and we need to do more of that. There are also practical things to do.
For example, one can make a donation to the Magen David Adom, Israel’s “red cross”. In the UK, you do this from here.
Any other ideas?
(This was submitted as a Letter to the Editor to The Independent, which did not see fit to publish it.)
Johann Hari says he knows the real reasons behind Israel’s incursions into Gaza these past few weeks (“The real reason why Israel is using such violence against the Palestinians in Gaza”, The Independent, 10 July 2006).
He does not tell us how he has discovered this secret — but he assures us that, Israeli government assertions to the contrary, all this has nothing to do with the kidnapping of Corporal Gilad Shalit, or the endless shelling of Sderot and now Ashkelon. He knows for sure the real reason: it’s all part of the Israeli government’s secret plan to prevent
peace from coming about.
In the course of revealing these secrets, Hari makes at least one ill-informed remark, tells one outright lie, and write one utterly obscene passage.
At the recent May Day march and rally in London, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber made a strong call for “a Trade Union Freedom Bill to allow unions to properly protect their members”. I wonder how many in the audience had ever heard of the proposed Bill, and went looking online to see what I could find out.