April 21, 2014

Does Bennett know where Abbas comes from?

I ask because Bayit Yehudi Chairman, Naftali Bennett, has said that Abbas can "go home".  Here's YNET:
Reaching the current threat to dismantle Palestinian self-rule, Bennett wrote: "Now they are saying: Give away Judea and Samaria, otherwise Abbas will go home. You know what? Let him go home."
Abbas actually comes from Safed in Upper Galilee.  Yup, it so happens that what Bennett calls Bayit Yehudi is also Bayit Abbas.  I hope all Palestinians can one day go home to towns like Safed.

April 20, 2014

Dershowitz and the truth: are they by no chance related?

Check this out in the New York Times.  It's various lawyers, academic, practising and both, commenting on the Pistorius case in South Africa.  They asked Alan Dershowitz for his take on the whole thing.  Of course, Dersh defends criminals for a living and for a hobby:
Mr. Dershowitz said....there are numerous ways to interpret Mr. Pistorius’s demeanor. One possibility is that he is telling the truth and is filled with horror and remorse at a genuine, horrific mistake. Another is that he is lying but is tormented by guilt, regret and the burden of having to stick to a fake story.

He could also be lying but have come to believe his account to be true. “I’ve had people who have really persuaded themselves that they didn’t do it, because they’ve been rehearsing and rehearsing and now it’s become part of their psyche,” Mr. Dershowitz said.
 See anyone you recognise there?

April 19, 2014

Foxman decides to oppose false allegations of antisemitism

And about time too but I am surprised at Abe Foxman, of all people, denouncing a practice that has earned him over half a million dollars a year for the whole of this century and a big chunk of the last one.

Let's have a closer look at this.  Here he is in USA Today:
The Jews of Donetsk, Ukraine, were greeted on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover with some deeply unsettling news. A flier apparently on the official letterhead of the self-proclaimed, separatist Donetsk People's Republic announced that all Jews must register with the government or face deportation and confiscation of their property.

While Ukrainian Jewish leaders recognized the flier as a political dirty trick, it caused widespread outrage here in the United States, where just about everyone — from Jewish community leaders to the State Department — was immediately struck by its echoes of the Nazi policies that led to the Holocaust in Europe.

And yet unfortunately, this was just the latest escalation in a series of political maneuvers in Ukraine where the anti-Semitism card has been repeatedly overplayed.

Manufactured incidents of anti-Semitism have been cynically used to discredit political opponents as anti-Semites, whether they are, or not. In recent years, some Ukrainian political operatives have spread rumors that opposing candidates are Jews, likewise whether they are, or not.

Last year, political operatives, presumably of deposed former President Viktor Yanukovych, sent a dozen young men to an opposition rally with T-shirts that read "Beat the Jews!" on one side, and "Svoboda," the name of the ultra-nationalist opposition party, on the other.

Both classical political anti-Semitism and the manufactured, manipulative version rely on a common assumption, that a significant number of Ukrainian citizens do not consider their Jewish compatriots to truly be part of the Ukrainian nation.

That attitude, unfortunately, continues to play a significant role in the Ukrainian nationalist movement. The Svoboda party has a history of anti-Semitism and venerates Stepan Bandera, a leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement of the 1930s and 1940s. Bandera allied with the Nazis during World War II when he thought it was in the interest of his movement and was complicit in mass killings of Jews and Poles by Ukrainian partisans.

When Jews are considered a natural part of the Ukrainian nation, anti-Semitism in Ukraine should wane and the temptation to use anti-Semitism in politics should follow.

And that will be a relief, because anti-Semitism is a big enough problem without having anyone with a political ax to grind add to it artificially.

A positive first step was taken in today's statement from the U.S., the European Union, Russia and Ukraine, with the firm, clear and direct condemnation of "all expressions of extremism … including anti-Semitism."

To change Ukraine's atmosphere of insecurity, political, civic and religious leaders in Ukraine and Russia must continue to reinforce this message.
I posted a couple of months ago that Foxman is retiring.  If the false allegations of antisemitism is being ditched then he really has nothing more to do.

April 18, 2014

FUCUps go for broke

I've only just seen this Engage piece by David Hirsh about a preliminary hearing on costs in the Fraser v University and College Union case.  The case was possibly the biggest disaster to befall the zionist movement in the UK since its inception with all of Fraser's claims of antisemitism against the union found to be "without merit".

Well next up came the question of costs.  Ronnie Fraser's lawyers argued at the costs hearing last year that the original tribunal had been so scathing that they had effectively decided the question of where they (the tibunal) stood on costs at the original hearing. In fairness, going from memory, the tribunal did say that the case was an enormous waste of money.  So the original tribunal recused (absented) itself and a new hearing was ordered.

Now Fraser's people are arguing that the delay should mean a decision in Fraser's favour.

The only report on this costs business is on Engage so see what you think:
It is possible for costs to be awarded against a claimant, but there are stringent conditions.  Firstly, the claimant must not only be wrong, his action must be “misconceived or otherwise unreasonable”.  And secondly the hearing for costs must be capable of being heard promptly and quickly, in summary form.

Lawyers for the UCU argued that both of these conditions could be satisfied.  They said that the new tribunal could have one day’s reading preparation for a costs hearing and the hearing itself would be heard in another day; the decision on costs could be based on the material already in the Snelson judgment.

Barristers for Ronnie Fraser and his original lawyers did not agree.  They argued that the pursuit of costs had already violated the requirement for promptness since this was the third hearing in over a year and since any costs hearing would have to look far beyond the Snelson judgment for evidence.  Proving that the case was “misconceived or otherwise unreasonable” would require a long and complex case.

The Snelson judgment had made findings of fact on the substantive issues: were the charges made by Fraser proven?

But now the new tribunal was being asked a set of new questions: were the charges made by Fraser “misconceived or otherwise unreasonable”?

Normally, a tribunal which had already decided upon substantive issues could apply the new, more stringent test, for costs, to the same body of evidence and argument.  But in this case there was a new tribunal.  The Snelson tribunal’s determinations as to the substantive issues would be accepted, but the Snelson tribunal’s determinations as to whether the case was “misconceived or otherwise unreasonable” could already be seen, by Snelson’s own admission, to appear prejudicial to a costs hearing.

Where the Snelson tribunal did what it was supposed to do, that is, judge the substantive case, it would be accepted.

But where the Snelson judgment over-reached itself, in a consideration of whether the case was “misconceived or otherwise unreasonable”, Fraser’s barristers argued, its findings could not be relied upon in the costs hearing.  This would mean that the costs hearing would have to make new judgments as to whether elements of the case were “misconceived or otherwise unreasonable”.  This couldn’t be done by a quick one day trial but would require a re-examination of evidence, the presentation of new evidence and perhaps new cross-examinations.

The new Judge will decide if a fair hearing on costs is possible, and whether it would be within the rules of the Employment Tribunal.

Third hearing in over a year? I think that must be counting the original hearing where Fraser's people are claiming the tribunal took a position on costs and the one where Fraser's people requested the recuse.  This means that Fraser's own interpretations and actions are now being used by Fraser to bolster his own case.  Ok I'm not a lawyer. I'm just saying how it looks to me.

By the way, here's the original judgment.

April 17, 2014

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network supports Palestinian Prisoners' Day at Passover

Passover, Haggadah and Action

Liberation Seders are part of a long tradition of recommiting ourselves to today's struggles for justice. In this spirit, we ask you to join US Palestinian Community Network in taking action below in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. 

Click here for a downloadable Liberation Seder Haggadah in single page format, or here for a Haggadah in booklet format.


Palestinian Prisoners Day Action: Demand Gates Foundation Divest from G4S

April 17 marks Palestinian Prisoners' Day, a day of international action and solidarity with the over 5,100 Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails. This year - the 40th anniversary of the liberation of Palestinian prisoner Mahmoud Hijazi in a prisoner exchange - Palestinian organizations are calling for action to demand that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation end its investments in G4S.
Addameer, the Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association in Palestine, and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee are calling upon organizers globally to take action. G4S, the global security corporation, is subject to an international boycott campaign because of its direct involvement in the imprisonment of Palestinians, including providing surveillance and security equipment and operations to multiple Israeli jails, detention centers and military courts holding Palestinian political prisoners where they are tortured and wrongfully detained.
The US Palestinian Community Network joins hundreds of Palestinian and international organizations in calling for an end to the Gates Foundation's investment in G4S. Numerous G4S contracts have already been brought to an end in response to the Palestinian call for boycott and community campaigns for justice around the world.
The Gates Foundation owns shares in G4S worth more than $170 million. The foundation claims it is “guided by the belief that every life has equal value” and that it uses its investments to fund projects that “help all people lead healthy, productive lives”. But through its holdings in G4S, it is legitimizing and profiting from Israel’s use of torture and mass incarceration.
This Palestinian Prisoners' Day, take action:
2) Share the G4S Divest campaign graphics on social media. Find them on Addameer's page.
3) Tell the Gates Foundation to divest via Twitter and Facebook. Tweet @gatesfoundation and use#StopG4S. Post a message on their Facebook page.
4) Watch and share G4S: Securing War Crimes.
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Updating The Jewish Chronicle

Hey this is a curious thing.

I posted earlier about a JC print edition article headed, Beth Din won't cater for Riba boycotters and I noted then that the article hadn't appeared in the on line edition.  Then within the last couple of hours, Frank Fisher posted a link to the on line article to the Just Peace UK list.  I clicked the link in the email but it took me to the JC's homepage so I googled, Beth Din won't cater for Riba boycotters.

Look what happened:
  1. Jewish Chronicle ‎- 5 hours ago
    A Beth Din has revealed that it will no longer cater kosher events at the headquarters of the British architecture institute which has adopted an ...
See that "5 hours ago"?

See what came up next:

More news for "Beth Din won't cater for Riba boycotters"

Jews sans frontieres: Beth Din Boycotts RIBA

10 hours ago - In today's print edition of the Jewish Chronicle there's a report that the Beth Din won't cater for Riba boycotters. It's not in the on line edition.
See? 10 hours ago.

Now follow the link to the JC:

Beth Din won’t cater for Riba boycotters

So why didn't google say, 3 days ago? And why couldn't I find Marcus Dysch's article when I posted my post 10 hours ago?

In the same post I mentioned,
Elsewhere in the paper but not on line there's a report of Ed Miliband's trip to the last of the colonial settler states and the fact that he wouldn't be drawn on whether he calls himself a zionist or not.
 See? Not on line again.  Well it is now.  Let's google again and look:
  1. Jewish Chronicle ‎- 2 hours ago
    More than three years since becoming Labour leader, last week Ed Miliband made his first official foreign trip — to Israel. He could hardly have ...
 2 hours ago?  And follow the link to the JC :

Ed connects — but still won’t say the Z-word

I don't what the JC's playing at but it looks like they're backdating their content.  Of course there could be a perfectly good technical or, given it's Pesach (Passover), religious reason but the JC has such form for dishonesty it's hard to know what's gone on or why.

Beth Din Boycotts RIBA

In today's print edition of the Jewish Chronicle there's a report that the Beth Din won't cater for Riba boycotters.  It's not in the on line edition.  It's by that Marcus Dysch chap so maybe the JC doesn't want it too permanently on the record.

Anyway, one of the authorities responsible for supervising kosher catering are refusing to make commitments to supervise offerings of food at future events at Riba because of Riba's support for the suspension of their Israeli counterparts from the Union of International Architects.  There are other kosher supervisors some of whom are anti-zionist so lets see how this turns out.

Elsewhere in the paper but not on line there's a report of Ed Miliband's trip to the last of the colonial settler states and the fact that he wouldn't be drawn on whether he calls himself a zionist or not.  But earlier this week he was happy to promote the zionist fiction that Israel is "the homeland for the Jewish people" during a meeting with Hebrew University of Jerusalem students on Thursday".   Now of course Ed Miliband is Jewish.  Suppose he becomes Prime Minister.  How much time could he spend in his "homeland" if he's the PM of another country altogether.  Aha, I know.  Outsourcing. The UK outsources its Prime Minister to Israel.

And one last piece from both the print and on line editions, Boy George is gonna be shaking his homonationalist bootie in the Holy Land for the gay pride shindig.  Cop this:
It looks like singer Boy George could soon be changing his lyrics to “Shawarma Chameleon”, following news that he is to open gay pride events in Israel this year.

Ah, sigh, vey iz mir .  Boycott busting, cultural appropriation. Is nothing sacred to these pop stars in the holy land?

What a difference a day makes...

Did you see Google's doodle?  It looks like this:

You can click on it if you're feeling lucky.or if you visit the real deal you can hover your mouse over it where you'll be told that today is the 63rd Anniversary of the Peak District National Park.

Well I thought the 63rd Anniversary of a park, national or otherwise was a little bit arbitrary or random a choice so I wondered what else may have happened on this day that might have been considered a priority to our doodlers.

It turns out there's a website called simply On-This-Day.com and they set out, through the years, all the events that happened, er, on this day.

There's some really random stuff and, sure, why wouldn't there be? For example, snooker was invented on 17th April 1875. In 1964 Jerrie Mock became the first woman to fly an airplane solo around the world. Apparently, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers "performed a bunt [sic] for his first major league hit".  That was in 1947.  I'll assume "bunt" wasn't a typo but I don't know what one is.

On political turf now, the first on the list, and one which could be said to have truly changed the world was in 1492, Christopher Columbus signed a contract with Spain to find a passage to Asia and the Indies. I'm guessing there are more significant days involving Columbus for the doodlers to get busy about.  I suppose the excommunication, on this day, in 1521 of Martin Luther from the Roman Catholic Church was fairly significant in terms of the Protestant/Catholic (old firm) thing.  But it has to pale up against the journey of Christopher Columbus.

A bit closer to the stuff of this blog is the fact that on this day in 1946 the last French troops left Syria.  A mere two years later Syria would try and fail to prevent the ethnic cleansing of the Palestnians.

Back in the USA, in 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court barred Muhammad Ali's request to be blocked from induction into the U.S. Army, a move which led to Ali receiving a 5 year jail sentence though he ended up serving no time.  But the risk he took was recognised by many black and white alike and opposition to the Vietnam war draft led in no small part to America losing that war.  Before that whole business sapped America's imperial confidence for a generation there was an event that with hindsight could have been the writing on the wall: the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961.

Also in the 60s in the Eastern bloc, Alexander Dubcek was ousted in 1969 marking the end of the Prague Spring and of "socialism with a human face".  Coincidentally on the same day in 1983, police in the Polish capital, Warsaw, "routed 1,000 Solidarity supporters".

So there you go, for no special reason I've just given you a smattering of events which took place on this day over the years between 1492 and now.  Well not now.  The last entry they have is 2002 and guess what.  They don't have an entry for the founding of the Peak District National Park but I think it's an American site.

Still it's interesting and sometimes fun to see what happened on a given day no matter what made you think of that given day and On-This-Day.com has separate pages for Birthdays and Music industry events so lots of food for doodling thought.

April 16, 2014

Orwellian Prizes

I've seen a few bloggers and twitterers claiming some inspiration from George Orwell.  It's usually the more brazenly dishonest who make the claim with a masthead quote (well paraphrase) like "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear" or a twitter pic with their twitter id thus:

Today I saw a quote from George Orwell in The Week magazine which they said had been in The Observer though I couldn't find it in the recent on line edition.  In addition to the twitterers and bloggers it got me thinking of the Orwell Prize and what a sick joke I think it is.  But anyway, here's the quote:
the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words
Does this remind you of anyone? I immediately thought of how one blogger often uses words like nativism [someone mentioned the rights of the Palestinians], conspiracism [someone accused the government of lying about this or that war], endemic [there might be a kernel of truth in a false allegation], systemic [shit happens].  Ok the words are getting shorter but their meaning is usually a lot bigger than that attributed to them by the writer.

So what's with these people who claim Orwell as their inspiration?  Is it freudian? Are they aware of their newspeak?  I don't know, I just wanted to run the quote and wonder if any disingenuous souls might have a pang of conscience about it.

April 15, 2014

Ayaan Nations?

Who is this Ayaan Hirsi Ali person?  I've been away for a little over a week and I've seen this former Somali former Muslim in various parts of the blogosphere, mostly in connection with an invitation/uninvitation from Brandeis University.

So where to turn when you have no clue about a bit of a news item?  Wikipedia of course.  First up I looked for Brandeis Uni.  Scrolling down I find the Hirsi Ali controversy.  Here's the opener:
In 2014, Brandeis courted controversy when first inviting, then after public pressure from amongst others the Council on American-Islamic Relations publicly uninviting Hirsi Ali, the outspoken campaigner against female genital mutilation, and withdrawing her nomination for an honorary degree. [32].
Now according to this Flying Rodent chap, who I keep quoting lately mostly because he wades through all manner of far-right but mainstream stuff so that you and I don't have to, this reported "outspoken[ness]... against female genital mutilation" is somewhat reductionistic.

He seems to be saying that Hirsi Ali makes the following claims:
- Muslims are inherently incapable of negotiating in good faith because of their religion, or that

- We should have a war on Islam generally and specifically not a war on Islamists or extremists and terrorists, or that

- Repressive, religiously-targeted laws intentionally aimed at one faith only are highly desirable
Me? I don't know what to think.  I just noticed that her first name looks a bit like Aryan and her politics look a tad Aryan too.

April 06, 2014

So what did happen to King's College London Students's Union's vote for BDS?

I'm asking because I don't know what's happened here.

Last week the Jewish Chronicle reported this:

Kings College London's student union votes for Israel boycott

Pretty clear, huh?

Let's see a chunk of the article, by Charlotte Oliver:
Students at Kings College London passed a controversial anti-Israel motion this week, despite strong opposition from Jews on campus.

The motion, which was passed by the student union, called for the university to boycott Israel and “raise awareness of the country’s apartheid policies”.

It also urged Kings to affiliate with the Palestine Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee.
Clearer still, yes?

Well now, in Friday's print edition there's an article headed, Students made to back down on Israel boyott [sic].  In all the excitement they typoed the word, "boycott".

The article, which I can't find on line, is by Marcus Dysch and gives some useful information like the vote was 348 for a boycott, 252 against but that "while the motion would stand as a record of the majority's view, it would not be acted on."[my emphasis]

It says that the "union president and chairman of trustees, Sebastiaan Debrouwere said there had been lengthy deliberation of the "legal implications"".  It went on, "He described the week since the vote as "testing and challenging"...

Now it starts getting weird.  He said, "I'm confident we can come together and get through these times as a stronger union".

Don't you think that's weird.  The union took a vote and a democratic decision was made and union bureaucrats have decided not to implement the decision.  How does that make the union stronger?

I suppose it's not weird at all that Israel advocates are described as "delighted" and one of them, from StandwithUs UK, said that it was a "double victory for Israel on campus" before going on to say, "students rose en masse for the first time in a long while to counter anti-Israel activities".

So what happened here?  Should I think the unthinkable and assume that this guy was telling the truth and that there was some emergency debate and the original democratic decision was democratically overturned or do I assume that what was democratically decided was bureaucratically undecided?

Frankly, I just don't know what to make of it and Marcus Dysch is the last person I'd want to ask for clarification.

UPDATE:  Whilst looking for info on this I see that it's been all over the twittersphere for a week.  You can find stuff by searching on twitter.com for @kclsu  boycott or @kclsu BDS.  The only shock now is that zionists are actually proud that they could overturn a democratic decision by purely bureaucratic means.  Students need to keep a much closer eye on their "representatives".

I also found the KCLSU statement about the whole shabby business here.

Good Faith in the Jewish Chronicle?

Wow! I'm surprised to see a very good letter in The Jewish Chronicle. Unfortunately they don't publish their letters on line.

In the interests of balance, for which the JC has never been renowned, the good letter followed two simply appalling ones, the first of which says that the BDS movement, "fails to recognise any rights of Jews to live within the pre-1967 boundaries of Israel".

Anyway, here's the good one, painstakingly copy-typed by me:

It is quite extraordinary that critics of some of the policies and actions of the state of Israel (Leader, Architects of Hate, March 21) still have to face accusations of antisemitism.

Surely it is not too difficult to understand the difference between an ethnic/religious group and a state.All states are open to criticism, and that includes Israel.  Indeed, the accusation of antisemitism is absurd: verging on defamation: 20% of Israelis are not Jewish, but many critics of Israeli actions are.

The distinction is so obvious that it is difficult to understand how the accusation can be made in good faith.

Prof David Pegg and Dr Monica Wusterman, St Paul's Square, York.
They're basically calling Stephen Pollard a liar so it was big of him to publish it. It would be bigger of him still if he stopped making these bad faith allegations in the first place.

April 05, 2014

NYT equates Israel intensifying occupation and reneging on past agreements with Palestinians, er, asking for stuff

See this in the New York Times:
Mr. Kerry is not about to give up on the process. But like Mr. Baker, he is dealing with two parties that are paralyzed by intransigence and fall back on provocations: Israel announcing new Jewish settlements and refusing to release Palestinian prisoners; the Palestinians, in response, applying to join international organizations and issuing a list of new demands.
Have I missed something here?  Israel has reneged on its commitment to release prisoners and announced more breaches of international law on racist colonial settlement.  In response the Palestinian Authority has asked for some stuff that the NYT doesn't see fit to print.  Could it be that whatever it was the Palestinians did couldn't possibly be held by reasonable observers to interfere with any peace process worthy of the name?

Robert Fine, BDS and the right of reply

I have written about this Robert Fine character before here.  He's a sociology professor at Warwick University in the UK. 

He had a piece in the European Sociological Association newsletter some time ago where he flagrantly misrepresented the EUMC working definition of antisemitism and likened its opponents to the racists who opposed the Race Relations Act back in the 1960s and 70s.

I was particularly angry and perplexed about how so dishonest an operator could get his dishonesty published without caveat or counter-argument.  Now, thanks to Ben White, I know.

See Middle East Monitor where Ben is writing about how Robert Fine was recently humiliated in a debate on BDS when his anti-BDS argument presumably contributed to the fact that the votes for and against BDS moved from 53-27 to 68-23.  Not only is Ben pointing up Fine's defeat, he is also pointing out how the Israel advocacy crowd are promoting Fine's argument in the absence of counter-argument:
This is not the first time that Fine has embarrassed himself with a disingenuous anti-boycott argument. In the Winter 2012 issue of the European Sociologist, the newsletter of the European Sociological Association (ESA), Fine repeated the same misrepresentations and omissions.

When I approached the editors about contributing a response piece, the offer was welcomed with open arms. My finalised, editor-approved piece was sent to Fine to give him the opportunity to comment -and then, silence. Months later, the editor informed me that "the editorial committee have chosen not to publish your contribution as it does not meet the standards accepted by our organisation". The co-chair of the ESA's Committee for Publications? Robert Fine.
So that's how he avoids counter-argument.  He co-chairs or advisorily edits the sites and publications that publish his disingenuous hasbara.

Or maybe not.  His losing argument has been posted in two parts to the Sociology@Warwick blog. (Part II here).  There is a comment space beneath the posts and I have tried posting one beneath each part thus:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Here’s Jonathan Rosenhead’s argument in favour of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the State of Israel:
Here is Ben White’s corrective to Robert Fine’s argument:
Here’s something by me on Robert Fine’s approach to these matters:
 Fine's piece on Sociology@Warwick was actually posted by,  or Alexander Smith, who tweets here, https://twitter.com/AlexTTSmith. Robert Fine appears to neither blog nor tweet. Mr Smith's tweets are protected but I have tried tweeting him to get him to approve my links to some counter-argument against Fine's stuff:

Let's see how it goes.  I ought to say, I don't even know if Mr Smith is the moderator but given Fine seems only to post in places where he can't be argued against I don't hold out much hope for even links to counter-argument to appear where he has chosen his own stuff to appear.

UPDATE (10:42 6 April 2014):  Sociology@Warwick  has now approved the comments linking to criticisms of Robert Fine's two parter.  I wonder if the European Sociological Association newsletter will ever do the same.  Anyway, many thanks to whoever tweets at @SocioWarwick.

April 02, 2014

Will Obama surrender Israeli spy? Maybe. Will Obama surrender to Israeli PM? Definitely

I'm really running out of words for the ludicrous nature of this so-called peace process supposedly between Israel and the Palestinians.  From the get-go Israel was allowed to hand pick it's negotiating partners and they opted to talk peace with people who they are not even at war with.  It's like Hitler talking peace with the Vichy regime.  Now they're negotiating as if they want peace with the USA and the USA is responding in kind.

You will have read that the release of this Israeli spy, or rather American spy for Israel, is now hovering above the table.  Apparently America might release this guy in return for Israel not making Obama look the complete ass it usually makes him look like in these situations.  Check out Daily Beast on it but I think the deal is if Obama releases Pollard Israel won't announce its new settlements so loudly.  Something like that.

But really, if the talks were between two opponents in a war then the concessions should be made by the parties to that war or the party that has anything to concede.  From Lavon through Liberty to Pollard, Israel often acts like it's at war with its biggest benefactor but what does America really get for this humiliating concession to Israel? if, of course, the concession is made...

April 01, 2014

Prick was ditched ages ago...

Apparently, The Jewish Chronicle hasn't called itself "the Organ of British Jewry" for some time.  Follow that link and you'll find a letter from 2004 saying the following:
It is axiomatic that this great institution, which once proudly proclaimed on its front-page banner that it stood as “The Organ of British Jewry,”
I don't have time now to follow other links that my search hauled up but I am curious to know when they ditched the "organ" thing.

Speaking of ditching organs, someone in my previous post noticed that Anthony Julius was ditched by The Jewish Chronicle ages, well months, ago as well.  See this:

An Extraordinary General Meeting of the JC on Tuesday night saw the appointment of a new board.

The majority shareholder, the Kessler Foundation, expressed its gratitude to the former board for its role in tackling a large deficit and breaking even.

Looking to the future development of the paper and JC brand, the Foundation decided that it wished to appoint Stephen Grabiner, who has extensive experience in media companies, to lead the JC board.

Following his appointment, Mr Grabiner will stand down from his existing role as a member of the Kessler Foundation.

Mr Grabiner paid tribute to the outgoing board: “When Anthony Julius, Lord Finkelstein, Paul Mann and Michael Marx joined the board, the paper was incurring unsustainable losses.

“Under their stewardship it has become a steady ship again. The intention now is to build on those foundations and take the JC to new heights.”
I missed it when it appeared back in October 2013 but did you notice that it was an extraordinary general meeting which saw Anthony Julius's ouster? Curiouser and curiouser....

March 31, 2014

Whatever happened to that Jewish prick?

Jews for Justice for Palestinians has a post about the Royal Institute of British Architects vote to call on the International Union of Architects to give their Israeli counterparts the boot and the Jewish Chronicle's rather nutty response to the same.

Actually, here are all the links:
1) Statement from JfJfP;
2) Richard Kuper: Absurd, malign and plain wrong, unpublished letter from Richard Kuper for JfJfP;
3) JC letter: RE: “Architects of Hate”, letter from Abe Hayeem, published with one omission;
4) RIBA V-P: A complex decision but not antisemitic, letter from Peter Oborn, published;
5) JC: Israeli architects ask David Cameron to block RIBA boycott, Marcus Dysch on Israeli architects with misguided beliefs on powers of a British PM;
6) JPost: Israeli architects appeal to Foreign Ministry, Britain against boycott threat, ditto, though it’s a propaganda point as it also makes a rhetorical link to women’s rights;
7) Jews sans frontieres: Bar Mitzvahs and Boycotts, welcomes the RIBA decision and points out the popularity of their building (photo above) for bar/bat mitzvahs;
8 – JC editorial: Boycott hypocrites, having read the above, the JC calls on the faithful to boycott the RIBA
When I read Stephen Pollard's desperate outpourings I thought, "what a fucking prick" and my mind wandered back to when The Jewish Chronicle called itself "the organ of British Jewry".  I remember I used to wince whenever I saw that.  Don't they know there's a double entendre in there somewhere?  Well I did notice that they no longer run that subtitle but when did they ditch it?  Whatever did happen to that Jewish prick?

And another thing, we know where Stephen Pollard is, well roughly anyway, but where is the Chair of The JC's board, Anthony Julius?  I remember there was a sighting some months ago but one between FUCU and now.

Now, where was I?  Oh yes, whatever did happen to that Jewish prick?

East End of London before the Bankers moved in

You must find something of interest in David Rosenberg's latest mailout:

David Rosenberg’s
 East End Walks Newsletter •24•
April 2014 

In this bulletin:
Next 6 walks • Radical Bookfair • Cable Street – the bigger picture • Weinstein’s War • Mackay’s hell of poverty • 100th anniversary • Phil’s photos • Bread and brotherhood
• Remembering Bob Crow

My next 6 walks

Sunday 6 April, 11am-1pm: THE RADICAL JEWISH EAST END

Sunday 13 April, 11am-1pm: FIGHTERS FOR EQUALITY (Westminster)


Saturday 17 May 10.30-1pm: VISIONARIES, DISSENTERS, REBELS (Islington)


Sunday 29 June, 11am-1.30pm: SPARK OF REBELLION IN BOW AND MILE END

These walks can be booked online at www.eastendwalks.com or by emailing: david@eastendwalks.com

SPECIAL OFFER TO RETURNEES: If you bring a friend on a walk you have already done, your friend pays the normal rate but you go free!

Radical Bookfair
The Bishopsgate Institute, near Liverpool Street, which borders the East End just near Spitalfields Market, will be hosting this year’s Radical Bookfair on Saturday 10th May from 10am-5pm. It will be taking place on all three floors of the building and will include bookstalls and talks from authors. There is sure to be some literature relating to the radical East End traditions, as Five Leaves Publicatons, who have an excellent East End list and published my book Battle for the East End, are among the principal organisers.

Cable Street: the bigger picture

To coincide with the bookfair, the Bishopsgate Institute asked me to do a special short course relating to the fight against fascism in the East End. My course, Cable Street and fighting fascism in 1930s London will be taking place over three sessions –  two in the classroom (evenings of Thursday 8th May, Friday 9th May) and a third session outdoors – a guided walk from Aldgate to Cable Street on the Saturday morning (10th May). Full details and booking on http://www.bishopsgate.org.uk/course/1661/Cable-Street--Fighting-Fascism-in-1930s-London?&Keyword=CABLE+STREET&Category=&TimeOfDay=&

Weinstein’s war
This is the title of a book that is based on the letters exchanged between an East End socialist activist Dave Weinstein, a gunner in the 8th army, and his wife Sylvia during the Second World War. David Weinstein had been a street speaker for the Independent Labour Party in the 1930s East End when the ILP together with the Communist Party were the main forces confronting the growth of fascism in East London. Co-author Jeremy Weinstein will be talking about the book at a meeting organised by the Jewish Socialists’ Group at 7.30pm on Sunday 11th May. Venue (central London) to be confirmed.
Email david@eastendwalks.com nearer the time for details of the venue.

Mackay’s hell of poverty
“The East End is the hell of poverty. Like an enormous, black, motionless giant kraken, the poverty of London lies there in lurking silence…”.  This oft-quoted piece of prose about the late 19th century East End is taken from The Anarchists, a novel published in 1891, set in London in 1887, and based on the very real struggles of that period, both in the East End and West End. The author was the Scottish-German writer and poet, John Henry Mackay. I tracked down a copy recently – definitely well worth a read!

100th anniversary
One hundred years ago, in March 1914, a new publication hit the streets of East London, often sold from a stall outside a shop at 321 Roman Road. That shop belonged to the East London Federation of Suffragettes (ELFS) and the newspaper was the Women’s Dreadnought edited by a leading figure in the ELFS – Sylvia Pankhurst. The newspaper’s title reflected both their preparedness for battle and that they dreaded/feared nothing and no one. Unlike most of their sisters in the West End, the ELFS stepped up rather than turned off their campaigning during war-time, being especially active in work for equal pay as women temporarily took jobs of men called up for war. They also launched many other local initiatives to support women struggling economically during the war.  The inspiring story of the ELFS and Sylvia Pankhurst’s role as and activist and organiser features in a couple of my walks: in Fighters for Equality on 13th April and in Spark of Rebellion in Bow and Mile End on 29th June. Book now at www.eastendwalks.com

Phil’s photos
Looking forward very much to getting to the tail end of the launch of my friend Phil Maxwell’s long-awaited book Brick Lane, which documents the area in and around this iconic street through the stunning photos he has taken over the last 30+ years. Brick Lane is published by Spitalfields Life Books. http://spitalfieldslife.bigcartel.com/product/brick-lane-by-phil-maxwell-published-on-april-3rd

Bread and Brotherhood
Solomon Lever was the General Secretary of one of the smallst but longest lasting Jewish trade unions in Britain, the London Jewish Bakers Union. Most of its members were concentrated in the Jewish bakeries of East London. Lever died in tragic circumstances in July 1959, when he was also acting General Secretary of the Workers’ Circle, set up as a Yiddish-speaking immigrant based socialist friendly society in East London. The Workers’ Circle moved to Hackney following the Second World War. Its original premises in Great Alie Street suffered major bomb damage. The details of Solomon’s life and the issues and activities he was part of have now been researched and documented by his great nephew Jason and these can now be accessed on a website that Jason has put up: http://www.unclesolly.co.uk/

Remembering Bob Crow
Early in 2009 I had a phone call from Adrian Scott, a trade unionist, eager to book a walk with me for members working at his union’s central office. I was really pleased to find that he was calling on behalf of Bob Crow, leader of the RMT. Adrian was very insistent about the timing: “It will need to end at 6pm because the men will need a drink”. Around 25 people turned up for the walk. They weren’t all men as it happened, though they did have a drink or three. But the heart and soul of this walking party was their General Secretary, Bob Crow.

This was the start of a friendship formed through these walks and through our common campaigning interests. It was a privilege and pleasure to take Bob and his comrades on walks on three occasions, and on each one of those events Bob contributed a great deal to my narrative from his own experience and his deep knowledge of London and labour movement history. We sat together on a platform close to the Cable Street mural in 2011, on the 75th anniversary of the battle, where we were both addressing a commemorative rally, a stone’s throw form where he grew up. He was very proud of the role that railway workers had played alongside tailors and dockers in fighting fascism in the East End of the 1930s and of those who went to fight fascism in Spain.

I last saw Bob and spoke with him about three weeks before he died suddenly, at just 52 years old. Our last conversation was about football. Bob was a die-hard Millwall fan, and me, West Ham – absolute rivals. I asked Bob if he knew why Millwall were doing so badly this year, and I suggested it might stem from when they appointed an ex-West Ham player (Steve Lomas) as their manager. Bob came back instantly with: “We all know about secret agent Lomas!”

Alongside several hundred others lining the streets by the City of London Crematorium in East London, I attended the emotional farewell to Bob Crow. He was a true representative of the East End’s militant traditions of trade unionism and anti-fascism. And he made sure that these traditions continued under his stewardship of the RMT. Salud comrade!

Hope you have found this newsletter interesting and useful and I would love to see you and your friends on a walk soon…
These walks are looking more attractive the more ordinary Joes are being driven out of the East End by bankers and corporate lawyers pushing property prices and rents beyond their reach. Still the East End's loss is Dagenham's gain.

New Jersey Governor apologises for calling Occupied Territories, er, Occupied

See this from Politico:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie apologized to Sheldon Adelson in a meeting Saturday for stepping on a fault line in Middle East politics during a speech he gave earlier in the day, according to a source familiar with the conversation.

Invoking a 2012 trip he and his family took to Israel, Christie recalled in the speech: “I took a helicopter ride from the occupied territories across and just felt personally how extraordinary that was to understand, the military risk that Israel faces every day.”

So, he's made himself look utterly ridiculous suggesting that the occupied Palestinians are the threat to the State of Israel and not the other way around but still he did a wrong thing.  And what was that thing? Well, it was "occupied territories":

the term is rejected by some conservative Zionists like Adelson who see it as validating Palestinian challenges over Israel’s presence. Other supporters of Israel oppose the use of the term as well.

Not long after his speech, Christie met with Adelson privately in the casino mogul’s office in the Venetian hotel and casino, which hosted the RJC meeting.

The source told POLITICO that Christie “clarified in the strongest terms possible that his remarks today were not meant to be a statement of policy.”
And there's more:

Instead, the source said, Christie made clear “that he misspoke when he referred to the ‘occupied territories.’ And he conveyed that he is an unwavering friend and committed supporter of Israel, and was sorry for any confusion that came across as a result of the misstatement.”

Adelson accepted Christie’s explanation, the source said.

The mini-controversy and quick apology highlight both the importance of Adelson as the reigning mega-donor in GOP politics, as well as the tricky terrain that Middle East politics can pose for American politicians courting Jewish donors and voters.

Before the meeting, Adelson ally Morton Klein, president of the hawkish Zionist Organization of America, had confronted Christie about his use of the term, telling POLITICO he explained to the New Jersey governor that “at minimum you should call it disputed territories.”

At a minimum?  And at a maximum?  What about that?  Maybe this Christie guy should cut off his own balls, put them in a jar and hand them over to this Adelson chap until whichever elections he wants to win with this Adelson's help are out of the way.