Archive for January, 2009

Workers Liberty – a muddled message on Gaza War

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

An online discussion of this article can now be found on the AWL website, here.
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yestopeace.jpgThe most recent issue of Solidarity features a number of articles about the conflict in Gaza. These articles do the AWL no credit.
Ira Berkovic’s “Who speaks for Jewish people in Britain?” reports on the rallies organised by the Jewish community in Britain without once mentioning the politics of those rallies. That’s extraordinary. More than that, it’s dishonest. As even the BBC reported, these rallies called for peace and an end to Hamas terror. They were not the mirror-image of the pro-Hamas rallies which – as you reported elsewhere in Solidarity – did call for the destruction of the Jewish state.
But to be fair, I think the comrades of the AWL may not be deliberately misrepresenting the Jewish community rallies. I think the article actually reveals the depth of your ignorance. You don’t actually know what the rally was about — because you weren’t there.

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UnionBook – the social networking website for trade unionists

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

UnionBook logo.This weekend will see the public launch of UnionBook – the social networking website for trade unionists, sponsored by LabourStart.
UnionBook offers many features that you and your union will find useful. Among these are:
* Blogs – build your own blog today. Free, with no ads.
* Groups – create a group to support your union and your campaigns. Groups can have discussion forums and shared documents. They can be public or closed. They’re a very powerful tool.
* Post your profile and sign up your friends – just like in any other social network (with certain subtle differences).
We’re adding more features all the time, fixing and tweaking things, but with over 500 users already using our beta version, we think it’s time to go live and to recruit thousands more trade unionists. UnionBook will never be as big as the giant commercial networks like Facebook, but once we have several thousand trade unionists using it, I’m confident that it will become a powerful tool for our movement worldwide.
We’re not telling anyone to stop using other social networks. If you are active in Facebook or any of the others, that’s fine. But use UnionBook for your trade union activities and see how easy it is to build and form groups, and to publish content online.
Please spend some time on UnionBook.org and explore the possibilities. And then spread the word — because together, we can create something amazing here.

A “decisive loss for Israel”?

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Mousa Abu Marzook, deputy chief of the Hamas political bureau, thinks that Israel has lost the battle in Gaza. He certainly has the right to think that. And one can understand why Hamas leaders will want to say such things. But why anyone outside the ranks of that organisation would want to listen is beyond me.
Anyone watching television news in recent days, now that foreign reporters have been able to enter Gaza, can see with their own eyes what has happened.
Whatever one thinks of what Israel did, whether it was provoked or not, whether it should or should not have attacked, the fact remains that Israel attacked Gaza with overwhelming military force.
The only way that could have turned into a Hamas victory would have been divine intervention. But not only was there no divine intervention, no earthly power came to Hamas’ aid either. Not their fellow Islamists in Hizbollah. Not their fellow Palestinians in the West Bank. Not even their sponsors, Iran.
Everyone had kind words for them, but in the end they faced the full power of the Israel Defence Forces alone.
It takes a very special way of looking at things to see here some kind of victory for Hamas.

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Press.tv Debate on Gaza War – now online

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

programs20090121191143906.jpgLast week I was invited to appear on Press TV – the Iranian-backed satellite news channel. It was supposed to be a debate on Gaza, with Jeremy Corbyn MP moderating. The show is now available for viewing online here. Today I donated my fee for appearing on the show to Magen David Adom – Israel’s emergency medical service.
Tomorrow I will be debating at Imperial College London. Here are the details:
Title: Israel/Hamas: Who is the aggressor?
Sponsor: ICU Political Philosophy Society
Date/time: Thursday, 22.1.09 19:30
Venue: Clore Lecture Theatre, Huxley Building,
Imperial College – South Kensington SW7 2AZ
Other participants include:
Chris Doyle, Directory, Council for Arab and British Understanding
Husam Zomlot, Senior Political Advisor to the Palestinian Diplomatic Mission to the UK

The Godfather – Part One

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Who is “the godfather of the online global labor movement”? Click here to find out.

»Wir sind alle Hamas«

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Die britische Linke ist israelfeindlicher denn je. Die wichtigsten Gruppierungen verbünden sich mit den Islamisten.
Full article here.

Liberal Democrat leader responds

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

The office of Nick Clegg MP, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, has responded to my letter. You may recall that the entire point of my letter was to answer Clegg’s failure to cite the Nazi rocket attacks on Britain in 1944-5 as a precedent for what Israel has suffered for the last several years from Hamas. (The photo below shows a damaged building hit by V1 rockets in London in 1944.)
v1rocketdamage.jpgBritain’s response to those attacks was to intensify the strategic bomber offensive against Germany even though the Third Reich was in already in defeat and could not really defend itself against aerial bombardment. The vast majority of victims of those bombings were civilians, including thousands of women and children.
In my letter, I did point out the irony of the fact that Clegg’s predecessor as party leader actually helped plan the firebombing of Dresden – something which the Liberal Democrats today would almost certainly characterize as ‘disproportionate’ and even a ‘war crime’. But that is not what they thought at the time, when German V1 rockets were falling on London.
You’ll see that the letter I’ve received from Clegg’s office is boilerplate and makes no reference to any points I raised (such as at the very least dismissing the analogy I made). Click on ‘Read more’ to read the full text of their reply.

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Die Linke, Israel und der “Holocaust” in Gaza

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Die erwartete Reaktion der internationalen Linken auf Israels Offensive gegen die Hamas in Gaza blieb nicht aus. 1500 Menschen demonstrierten gestern vor der israelischen Botschaft in London gegen den »Holocaust« in Gaza, das Internet wird von E-Mails überschwemmt, die von einem »Genozid« reden und Mainstreammedien sprechen von einem israelischen »Blitzkrieg«. Mit Sicherheit haben auch schon einige Journalist_innen von einer »Endlösung« gesprochen, um das aktuelle Vorgehen Israels zu beschreiben. Bald werden ihnen vermutlich die Hitleranalogien ausgehen – was dann? Wird jemand das, was Israel tut, mit anderen Massenmorden vergleichen?

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Ghostbusters in Gaza

Monday, January 12th, 2009

ghostbusters.jpgIn an extraordinary interview in today’s Times, a 24-year old Hamas fighter named “Mohammed” explains in some detail how the organization is preparing to deal a crushing blow to the Zionist enemy. He talks about their tunnels and booby-traps and how Hamas has essentially already won the war.
“We are the soldiers who run towards death,” he boasts. “They run away from it.”
And adds: “I tell you, even our ghosts will defeat the Israelis.”
Our ghosts?

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The British Left and Gaza

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

If the recent fighting in Gaza was a test for the British Left, the Left failed miserably. There can no longer be any doubt that the British Left has lost its moral compass.
Sympathy for the Palestinians goes far beyond the Left in Britain, which has historically had close relations with the Arab world. Nevertheless, the Left had its own special relationship with the Palestinian cause which may have made sense a generation ago. Back then, the main Palestinian terrorist groups boasted of their “Marxist-Leninist” credentials and put women fighters like the photogenic Leila Khaled in the spotlight.
But those days are long gone and the Palestinian “resistance” in Gaza consists of men like Hamas leader Nizar Rayan, killed with two of his wives in an Israeli air strike. To a man like Rayan, left-wing ideas were Jewish-inspired and conflict with the holy teaching of the Koran. It’s hard to imagine what socialists and feminists think they have in common with the religious fascists of Hamas.

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