21 February 2017

ZIONISM AND ANTISEMITISM: RACIST POLITICAL TWINS

Zionism and Antisemitism: racist political twins, by J-BIG

A briefing by Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, written by and for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists, explaining how the charge of antisemitism applies to Zionism itself.
Read the briefing in full here.

The movement for freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians opposes Israel’s occupation, colonisation of Arab lands and its apartheid system. The campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) targets the Israeli state, institutions and companies complicit in Israel’s crimes. 1
BDS has become an effective means for people of diverse backgrounds to express their humanitarian, anti-racist impulses in solidarity with Palestine. Recognising the power of BDS, Israel’s defenders have regularly accused the movement of antisemitism. They use this favourite weapon to intimidate and silence critics of Israel, including Jewish anti-Zionists, who are dismissed as ‘self-hating Jews’.

This briefing has been written by and for BDS activists to explain how the charge of antisemitism applies to Zionism itself. Indeed, they are racist political twins. Understanding their mutual dependence will help strengthen the BDS movement and inform our strategy. Antisemitism portrayed as eternal Zionism historically argued that antisemitism was inherent in non-Jews and thus would always persist. According to Leo Pinsker, founder of the 19th century Hovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion), ‘Judeophobia is a mental disease. As a mental disease it is hereditary, and as a disease transmitted for two thousand years it is incurable.’ 2

On this basis, antisemitism couldn’t be eliminated, so opposing it was futile. Founder of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl, wrote in his 1895 diary: ‘In Paris… I recognized the emptiness and futility of trying to “combat” anti-Semitism.’ 3 He also wrote that ‘the antiSemites will be our most dependable friends, anti-Semitic countries our allies’4 , i.e. by stimulating Jewish immigration to Palestine.

 According to Jacob Klatzkin, editor during 1909-1911 of Die Welt, the official Zionist newspaper: ‘We are… naturally foreigners. We are an alien nation in your midst and we want to remain one.’ 5

Early Zionists accepted stereotypes commonplace at the time: that Jews, especially Eastern European Jews, were backward. They were seen as having become degenerate because they lacked a homeland, so settling Palestine would uplift and cleanse them. For example Pinhas Rosenbluth, later Israel’s Justice Minister, wrote that Palestine was ‘an institute for the fumigation of Jewish vermin’.6 Seeing Jews as ‘human dust’, Zionists sought to redeem them through aliyah – i.e. ‘ascent’ to the ancient Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael).7 Zionists agreed with European antisemites that Jews didn’t belong and should be assisted or even pressurised to leave Europe.

But most Jews rejected this notion. In 1897 the first Zionist Congress had to be moved to Basel in Switzerland from Munich, because Jews there regarded Zionism as antisemitic and feared it would undermine their civil rights in Germany. 8

Antisemitic support for a Jewish State Zionism has always depended on support from antisemitic elites. Even before Jewish Zionist organisations developed, political Zionism was promoted by 19th -century European imperialists such as Lords Palmerston and Shaftesbury, Benjamin Disraeli and Napoleon III’s Secretary Ernest Laharanne. Many Christians believed Jewish immigration to Palestine would bring about the Second Coming of Christ, as in Biblical prophecy.

More pragmatically, they saw a future Jewish homeland as a British imperial outpost – ‘a “little loyal Jewish Ulster” in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism’, according to the first military governor of Jerusalem. 9 Such political motives explain the famous ‘Balfour Declaration’ of 1917, when UK Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour (a Christian Zionist) favoured ‘the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people’. Everyone else was classified as belonging to ‘non-Jewish communities’. The only opposition in Cabinet came from its sole Jewish member, Edwin Montagu, who warned that the plan would lead to discrimination against non-Jews in Palestine and against Jews elsewhere. 10

As Prime Minister a decade earlier, Balfour had promoted the 1905 Aliens Act, designed to block immigration of Jewish refugees from Czarist pogroms in Russia. He wanted them to go to Palestine instead. He warned against ‘the undoubted evils that had fallen upon the country [Britain] from an immigration that was largely Jewish’.11 Undermining an anti-Nazi boycott Zionists have often argued that only their own state can protect Jews from antisemitic attack. During the early stages of the Third Reich, moreover, the Nazis and Zionist organisations shared an outlook on Jewish separation.12 By attempting to separate Jews from the rest of humanity, the Zionists made destructive choices.

When Nazi Germany introduced antisemitic laws and promoted physical attacks on Jews, the Jewish diaspora in other countries organised an effective campaign for an international boycott. Mass rallies were held in many cities all over the world. In the USA and several European countries, large shops cancelled orders for German goods and found alternative sources. The Nazi regime’s accomplice to beat the boycott was the World Zionist Organisation (WZO). Under the Transfer (Haavara) Agreement of March 1933, the WZO actively opposed the boycott in exchange for the Nazis permitting some well-off Jews and their wealth to be transported to Palestine.

This transfer amounted to at least $30m worth of German goods, thus making Hitler a significant economic sponsor of the Zionist project. The Agreement would ‘pierce a stake through the heart of the Jewish-led anti-Nazi boycott’, according to historian Edwin Black.13 Members of the World Jewish Congress sought to continue the boycott, but the WJC leadership soon joined the WZO in undermining it. Zionism gains from antisemitism in Poland In the mid-1930s Poland’s government also moved against the country’s Jews by enacting laws modelled on the Nuremberg Race Laws of Nazi Germany. For example, new laws restricted the kosher slaughtering of cattle and excluded Jews from specific professions. The Polish regime also negotiated with France to establish a ‘Jewish colony’ in Madagascar where Polish Jews could be sent.14

These developments and the antisemitism of the Catholic Church strengthened the Polish Zionist movement. Betar, a right-wing Revisionist Zionist movement opposed to trade unions, worked with antisemites in the Polish military from 1930 onwards. High-ranking army officers secretly trained Betar recruits, most of whom immigrated to Palestine by the end of the decade to join Zionist military forces there.

Nevertheless Zionism in Poland faced strong opposition from the Bund, a Jewish-secular socialist party, which had a stronger following than any other Jewish party in Poland. From the Holocaust to the ‘New Jew’ Zionism was a minority political force among European Jews until six million were killed by the Nazis.

The Holocaust strengthened Zionist efforts to gain international support for a Jewish state in Palestine. Most Jewish refugees sought escape to Western Europe or the USA but were blocked by immigration controls – supported by Zionist organisations – and so migrated instead to Palestine. Zionist colonisation depended on racist institutions which still operate today. The Jewish Agency promotes Jewish immigration to Israel. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) still allocates Israeli land only to Jews.15 The Histadrut – often mistakenly called a ‘trade union’ – has been in reality a business promoting ‘Hebrew-only labour’.16

The Israeli ‘Law of Return’ offered citizenship to all Jews, wherever they live in the world. Zionist militias attacked Palestinian civilians during the 1940s until the 1948 declaration of independence for Israel. In 1947-48 this terror campaign led to the expulsion of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes. Several massacres panicked Palestinians to flee their homeland. An official ‘state of emergency’ prevented refugees from exercising their right of return, thus violating international law to this day. Zionist settlement did not stop at taking over indigenous people’s land. Rather than exploit their labour, Zionism sought to expel or eliminate them, as earlier European settlers had done in the Americas, Australia and New Zealand.

Zionism sought to replace the indigenous population with colonial-settlers as the ‘New Jew’. This doubly racist project maligned the Bund’s working-class solidarity as backward and sought to replace immigrants’ Yiddish culture with a literally fabricated one. Israeli author Amos Oz explains: ‘Even new lullabies and new “ancient legends” were synthesised by eager writers’, e.g. glorifying the settlers’ land appropriation through agricultural labour (compare the two posters).17 Jewish futures: class solidarity versus colonial settlement Socialist Jew of the Bund youth organisation: ‘Join the Tsukunft’ (Future)18 New Jew of settler-colonialism: ‘Towards a new life in the Promised Land’

As the ideology underpinning Jewish settlement in Palestine, Zionism was embraced by many Jews as a route to a socialist Utopia based on collective labour and idealistic kibbutz communities. In practice they faced a choice: either break with Zionism or accept its racist, colonial nature. 19 Racist Right-wing politics As in the 1930s, Zionism and racist Right-wing politics have continued to converge. The US political scene features an alliance between Jewish Zionists and the far more numerous fundamentalist Christian Zionists. Today many of the 40 million Christian Evangelists there believe that a Jewish ‘return’ to Palestine will bring the Second Coming, Armageddon and then the Rapture, when the Righteous will be saved. Everyone who does not accept this prophecy, including Jews, will be sent to hell. Since 9/11 Christian Zionists have also seen Israel as a front-line defence against the so-called ‘Islamic threat’.

Jewish Zionists have exploited this support, even when combined with blatant antisemitism. According to Pastor John Hagee, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, ‘Adolph Hitler was a “hunter”, sent by God, who was tasked with expediting God’s will of having the Jews re-establish a state of Israel.’20

Nevertheless Hagee’s support for Israel has been welcomed by the Anti-Defamation League, which is meant to oppose antisemitism.21 Likewise Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, ‘The good news is that Israel is not alone – it has your support’, when addressing a rally of Hagee’s one million-strong Christians United for Israel. 22 As in the USA, European racist groups combine antisemitism with support for Zionism.23

Throughout Europe most major racist parties are antisemitic, Islamophobic and pro-Zionist. English Defence League members express antisemitic views, while also flying the Israeli flag. Support for Israel also comes from Robert Zines, MEP of Latvia’s Freedom & Fatherland Party, who joins the annual march in memory of SS veterans who guarded extermination camps.24 Similarly in Poland, the Law and Justice Party is a home for proIsrael antisemites. 25 Michal Kaminski MEP strongly supports Israel while also defending ‘the good name of Jedwabne’ – a town where hundreds of Jews were burned alive in a synagogue in 1941.26 Racist equation: Zionist = Jewish Western support for Israel is based on much more than collusion with antisemitism. Israel has demonstrated its utility in suppressing Arab nationalist aspirations for democratic control of the Middle East and its natural resources, especially since the 1967 war.

Israeli counter-insurgency methods have been used widely by Western military forces, e.g. in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Israeli military has turned the Middle East into a laboratory for surveillance, control and armament systems to be extended globally. 27 Imperialist domination closely links the Western powers to the Israeli colonial-settler state. Palestinians regularly face Western demands ‘to recognise Israel as a Jewish state’, thus conflating a people with a state.

This conflation has been encouraged by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), whose supporters have described it as ‘the Jewish lobby’.28 A similar conflation was also promoted by the now-defunct EU Monitoring Centre (EUMC) on Racism and Xenophobia.29 According to its so-called ‘working definition of antisemitism’, it could be antisemitic to deny ‘the Jewish people their right to self-determination, for example by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour’. 30 Since this definition was rejected by the UK’s Universities and Colleges Union (UCU), Zionists have campaigned for universities to de-recognise the union.

This demonstrates once again that it is Zionists, not their critics, who continue to equate their colonial-settler project with all Jews. By claiming to be ‘the State of the Jews’, Israel implicates all Jews in Israel’s wars, occupation, land thefts, expulsions and other crimes. Mirroring that equation, some misguided supporters of the Palestinians have attributed their oppression to an international Jewish conspiracy, to ‘Jewish power’, to ‘a Jewish spirit’, etc. The extreme-Right journalist Israel Shamir promotes those elements of traditional European antisemitism, ostensibly to support the Palestinians. These explanations obscure the source of Palestinian oppression. They perversely accept Zionist claims to represent all Jews and ‘Jewish values’.

Leading Palestinian commentators and activists reject such “support” as damaging the Palestinian cause. Ali Abunimah, Joseph Massad, Omar Barghouti and Rafeef Ziadeh were among dozens who denounced those who blame ‘Jewish’ characteristics for the oppression of Palestinians. 31 As the Palestinian BDS National Committee has argued, ‘equating Israel and world Jewry… is itself antisemitic’. 32

The equation stereotypes Jews, threatens their civil rights and undermines their national identity in countries where they live. It originated from antisemites who saw Jews as an alien people not belonging in Europe and needing their own homeland. This equation is contradicted by the many people of Jewish origin who actively support Palestinian national rights and play central roles in the BDS campaign.

BDS – against Zionism and antisemitism Understanding Zionism and antisemitism as racist political twins – sometimes even partners in crime – underpins the Palestinian call for BDS. Its anti-racist aims – freedom from occupation, justice for refugees denied their right of return, and equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel – are best served by targeting Israel as a racist state aligned with the political-economic interests of the Western powers.

Published January 2013 (with expanded notes March 2013) by Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG) http://jews4big.wordpress.com, jews4big@gmail.com We are UK-resident Jews who support the Palestinian call for a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign to hold Israel to account for decades of breaching international law.

J-BIG is part of the Boycott Israel Network,

www.boycottisraelnetwork.net


Further reading on Zionism and antisemitism

Gilbert Achcar, Arabs and the Holocaust, Saqi, 2010.
Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine, Macmillan, 1984.
Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, Croom Helm, 1983
Norman Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry, Verso, 2003.
David Landy, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights, Zed, 2011.
Antony Lerman, The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist, Pluto, 2011.
Francis Nicosia, The Third Reich and the Palestine Question, I.B. Taurus, 1985.
Akiva Orr, The unJewish State: The Politics of Jewish Identity in Israel. Ithaca Press, 1983, http://www.akiorrbooks.com/files/The_Un_Jewish_State.pdf
Akiva Orr, Israel: Politics, Myths and Identity Crises, Pluto, 1994, http://www.akiorrbooks.com/files/israel_myths.pdf
Yakov Rabkin, A Threat from Within: A History of Jewish Opposition to Zionism, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.
John Rose, The Myths of Zionism, Pluto, 2005.
Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People, Verso, 2010.
Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland, Verso, 2013.
Nathan Weinstock, Zionism: The False Messiah, Inklinks, 1979.
Ben White, Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide, 2012.

Notes

1 http://www.bdsmovement.net/call#.TqsNhnPajNM
2 Leo Pinsker, Autoemanzipation: ein Mahnrufan seine Stammesgenossen, von einem russischen Juden, Berlin, 1882, pp.4-5; http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/pinsker.html; for bringing together many sources cited here, thanks to Tony Greenstein’s blog, azvsas.blogspot.com
3 See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodor_Herzl; the Zionist spelling of ‘anti-Semitism’ has an essentialist meaning, so it is used here only for direct quotes (otherwise ‘antisemitism’).
4 The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl, edited by Raphael Patai, translated by Harry Zohn, New York, 1960, page 19.
5 Jacob Klatzkin, Krisis und Entscheidung im Judentum: Probleme des modernen Judentums, 2d edition, Berlin: Jüdischer Verlag, 1921, p.118; cited in Klaus Herrmann, ‘Historical perspectives on political Zionism and antisemitism’, in Zionism & Racism, 1977, p.204 http://www.eaford.org/publications/1/ZIONISM%20&%20RACISM.pdf
6 Joachim Doron, ‘Classic Zionism and modern anti-semitism: parallels and influences’ (1883-1914), Studies in Zionism 8, Autumn 1983.
7 Aki Orr, The unJewish State. Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Land of Israel. Les Levidow, ‘Zionist antisemitism’, http://www.iahushua.com/Zion/zionrac12.html
8 Nathan Weinstock, Zionism – A False Messiah, Inklinks.
9 Memoirs of Sir Ronald Storrs, 1937, p.364
10 http://www.zionism-israel.com/hdoc/Montagu_balfour.htm
11 Jason Tomes, Balfour and Foreign Policy: The International Thought of a Conservative Statesman, Cambridge University Press, 1997, p.201; Michael Joseph Cohen, Churchill and the Jews, 1900-1948, Frank Cass, 2003, p.19.
12 Francis Nicosia, The Third Reich and the Palestinian Question, Taurus, 1985.
13 Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement. Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators.
14http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Total/Polish%20Antisemitism.htm
15 http://www.jnews.org.uk/commentary/background-paper-the-controversial-laknd-policies-of-the-jewishnational-fund
16 http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2009/03/histadrut-israels-racist-trade-union.html
17 Haim Bresheeth, Self and Other in Zionism: Palestine and Israel in recent Hebrew literature, in Khamsin, 14/15. Palestine: Profile of an Occupation, London, Zed Books, 1989, pp.120-52.
18 http://www.yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/Tsukunft
19 Antony Lerman, The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist.
20 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/05/21/mccain-backer-hagee-said_n_102892.html
21 http://www.adl.org/PresRele/HolNa_52/5299_52.htm, June 2008
22 http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/waiting-for-the-messiah-netanyahu-addresses-evangelicalchristian-gathering-in-jerusalem-1.419432
23 http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/europe%E2%80%99s-islamophobes-and-israel-right-alliance
24 http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2009/10/conservatives-anti-semitic-fascist.html, http://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-anti-semitic-friends/8516
25 http://electronicintifada.net/content/bad-romance-poland-and-israels-love-story/9266
26 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/29/conservatives-europe-miliband-hague-kaminski
27 Steve Graham, ‘Settler colonial securitism: Israeli surveillance and control regimes at airports and megaevents’, http://campacc.org.uk/uploads/images/Steve%20Graham.pdf Israel’s Worldwide Role in Repression, https://israelglobalrepression.wordpress.com/download/ NeoConOpticon: The EU Security-Industrial Complex, TNI, http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/neoconopticon-report.pdf
28 Chuck Hagel and the Ghost of AIPAC Past, http://www.lobelog.com/chuck-hagel-and-the-ghost-of-aipac-past/
29 UCU resolution on EUMC working definition of anti-semitism, http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5540#70; Richard Kuper, Any critic of six-year-old definition of antisemitism attacked as antisemitic, http://jfjfp.com/?p=23479; Antony Lerman, http://antonylerman.com/2011/06/02/the-farcical-attack-on-the-ucu-for-voting-against-use-ofthe-eumc-working-definition-of-antisemitism/
30 http://www.european-forum-on-antisemitism.org/working-definition-of-antisemitism/english/
31 http://uspcn.org/2012/03/13/granting-no-quarter-a-call-for-the-disavowal-of-the-racism-and-antisemitism-ofgilad-atzmon/
32 http://www.bdsmovement.net/2011/die-linke-protecting-7427#.TqsUsnajNM

12 February 2017

BEGGING LETTERS - HOW TO - OR NOT TO WIN PENSIONER FRIENDS AND LOSE DONATIONS

I am 90 years old and my partner is 90 years old.

We have been giving donations to organisations over the years as and when we have been able to.

We live on age pensions and have a very modest lifestyle. We don't own a car and don't go out very much.Our entertainment consists of DVDs, going with a friend in his car to Preston Market once a week to do our weekly shopping and often as well on a Saturday to buy groceries which are heavy to drag along to catch the bus when the friend is not available.

Lately I have been getting begging letters from organisations mainly in Sydney who got my name and address from where? from a donation once given to some organisation and then all organisations decided he is an easy touch.

Well I have had enough.

From today, in this blog, I am going to list all those organisations from who(m?) i get these begging letters, starting with:

1) Time for Hope Collection

27 January 2017

THE ISSUE IS NOT TRUMP, IT IS US - JOHN PILGER


The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us

Photo by Diego Torres Sylvester | CC BY 2.0

On the day President Trump is inaugurated, thousands of writers in the United States will express their indignation.  “In order for us to heal and move forward …,” say Writers Resist, “we wish to bypass direct political discourse, in favour of an inspired focus on the future, and how we, as writers, can be a unifying force for the protection of democracy.”

And:  “We urge local organizers and speakers to avoid using the names of politicians or adopting ‘anti’ language as the focus for their Writers Resist event. It’s important to ensure that nonprofit organizations, which are prohibited from political campaigning, will feel confident participating in and sponsoring these events.”

Thus, real protest is to be avoided, for it is not tax exempt.

Compare such drivel with the declarations of the Congress of American Writers, held at Carnegie Hall, New York, in 1935, and again two years later. They were electric events, with writers discussing how they could confront ominous events in Abyssinia, China and Spain. Telegrams from Thomas Mann, C Day Lewis, Upton Sinclair and Albert Einstein were read out, reflecting the fear that great power was now rampant and that it had become impossible to discuss art and literature without politics or, indeed, direct political action.

“A writer,” the journalist Martha Gellhorn told the second congress, “must be a man of action now . . . A man who has given a year of his life to steel strikes, or to the unemployed, or to the problems of racial prejudice, has not lost or wasted time. He is a man who has known where he belonged. If you should survive such action, what you have to say about it afterwards is the truth, is necessary and real, and it will last.”

Her words echo across the unction and violence of the Obama era and the silence of those who colluded with his deceptions.

That the menace of rapacious power — rampant long before the rise of Trump —  has been accepted by writers, many of them privileged and celebrated, and by those who guard the gates of literary criticism, and culture, including popular culture, is uncontroversial. Not for them the impossibility of writing and promoting literature bereft of politics. Not for them the responsibility to speak out, regardless of who occupies the White House.

Today, false symbolism is all. “Identity” is all. In 2016, Hillary Clinton stigmatised millions of voters as “a basket of deplorables, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it”. Her abuse was handed out at an LGBT rally as part of her cynical campaign to win over minorities by abusing a white mostly working-class majority. Divide and rule, this is called; or identity politics in which race and gender conceal class, and allow the waging of class war.  Trump understood this.

“When the truth is replaced by silence,” said the Soviet dissident poet Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.”

This is not an American phenomenon. A few years ago, Terry Eagleton, then professor of English literature at Manchester University, reckoned that “for the first time in two centuries, there is no eminent British poet, playwright or novelist prepared to question the foundations of the western way of life”.

No Shelley speaks for the poor, no Blake for utopian dreams, no Byron damns the corruption of the ruling class, no Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin reveal the moral disaster of capitalism. William Morris, Oscar Wilde, HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw have no equivalents today. Harold Pinter was the last to raise his voice. Among today’s insistent voices of consumer-feminism, none echoes Virginia Woolf, who described “the arts of dominating other people… of ruling, of killing, of acquiring land and capital”.

There is something both venal and profoundly stupid about famous writers as they venture outside their cosseted world and embrace an “issue”. Across the Review section of the Guardian on 10 December was a dreamy picture of Barack Obama looking up to the heavens and the words, “Amazing Grace” and “Farewell the Chief”.

The sycophancy ran like a polluted babbling brook through page after page. “He was a vulnerable figure in many ways …. But the grace. The all-encompassing grace: in manner and form, in argument and intellect, with humour and cool ….[He] is a blazing tribute to what has been, and what can be again … He seems ready to keep fighting, and remains a formidable champion to have on our side … … The grace … the almost surreal levels of grace …”

I have conflated these quotes. There are others even more hagiographic and bereft of mitigation. The Guardian’s chief apologist for Obama, Gary Younge, has always been careful to mitigate, to say that his hero “could have done more”: oh, but there were the “calm, measured and consensual solutions …”

None of them, however, could surpass the American writer, Ta-Nehisi Coates, the recipient of a “genius” grant worth $625,000 from a liberal foundation. In an interminable essay for The Atlantic entitled, “My President Was Black”, Coates brought new meaning to prostration. The final “chapter”, entitled “When You Left, You Took All of Me With You”, a line from a Marvin Gaye song, describes seeing the Obamas “rising out of the limo, rising up from fear, smiling, waving, defying despair, defying history, defying gravity”.  The Ascension, no less.
One of the persistent strands in American political life is a cultish extremism that approaches fascism. This was given expression and  reinforced during the two terms of Barack Obama. “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being,” said Obama, who expanded America’s favourite military pastime, bombing, and death squads (“special operations”) as no other president has done since the Cold War.

According to a Council on Foreign Relations survey, in 2016 alone Obama dropped 26,171 bombs. That is 72 bombs every day.  He bombed the poorest people on earth, in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan.
Every Tuesday — reported the New York Times — he personally selected those who would be murdered by mostly hellfire missiles fired from drones. Weddings, funerals, shepherds were attacked, along with those attempting to collect the body parts festooning the “terrorist target”. A leading Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, estimated, approvingly, that Obama’s drones killed 4,700 people. “Sometimes you hit innocent people and I hate that,” he said, but we’ve taken out some very senior members of Al Qaeda.”

Like the fascism of the 1930s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent media whose description now fits that of the Nuremberg prosecutor: “Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically … In the propaganda system … it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons.

Take the catastrophe in Libya. In 2011, Obama said Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi was planning “genocide” against his own people. “We knew… that if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.”

This was the known lie of Islamist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. It became the media story; and Nato – led by Obama and Hillary Clinton – launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that “most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten”.
Under Obama, the US has extended secret “special forces” operations to 138 countries, or 70 per cent of the world’s population. The first African-American president launched what amounted to a full-scale invasion of Africa. Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, the US African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments.  Africom’s “soldier to soldier” doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. Only pith helmets are missing.

It is as if Africa’s proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master’s black colonial elite whose “historic mission”, warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the promotion of “a capitalism rampant though camouflaged”.

It was Obama who, in 2011, announced what became known as the “pivot to Asia”, in which almost two-thirds of US naval forces would be transferred to the Asia-Pacific to “confront China”, in the words of his Defence Secretary. There was no threat from China; the entire enterprise was unnecessary. It was an extreme provocation to keep the Pentagon and its demented brass happy.

In 2014, the Obama’s administration oversaw and paid for a fascist-led coup in Ukraine against the democratically-elected government, threatening Russia in the western borderland through Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, with a loss of 27 million lives. It was Obama who placed missiles in Eastern Europe aimed at Russia, and it was the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize who increased spending on nuclear warheads to a level higher than that of any administration since the cold war — having promised, in an emotional speech in Prague, to “help rid the world of nuclear weapons”.

Obama, the constitutional lawyer, prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other president in history, even though the US constitution protects them. He declared Chelsea Manning guilty before the end of a trial that was a travesty. He has refused to pardon Manning who has suffered years of inhumane treatment which the UN says amounts to torture. He has pursued an entirely bogus case against Julian Assange. He promised to close the Guantanamo concentration camp and didn’t.

Following the public relations disaster of George W. Bush, Obama, the smooth operator from Chicago via Harvard, was enlisted to restore what he calls “leadership” throughout the world. The Nobel Prize committee’s decision was part of this: the kind of cloying reverse racism that beatified the man for no reason other than he was attractive to liberal sensibilities and, of course, American power, if not to the children he kills in impoverished, mostly Muslim countries.

This is the Call of Obama. It is not unlike a dog whistle: inaudible to most, irresistible to the besotted and boneheaded, especially “liberal brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics,” as Luciana Bohne put it. “When Obama walks into a room,” gushed George Clooney, “you want to follow him somewhere, anywhere.”

William I. Robinson, professor at the University of California, and one of an uncontaminated group of American strategic thinkers who have retained their independence during the years of intellectual dog-whistling since 9/11, wrote this last week:
“President Barack Obama … may have done more than anyone to assure [Donald] Trump’s victory. While Trump’s election has triggered a rapid expansion of fascist currents in US civil society, a fascist outcome for the political system is far from inevitable …. But that fight back requires clarity as to how we got to such a dangerous precipice. The seeds of 21st century fascism were planted, fertilized and watered by the Obama administration and the politically bankrupt liberal elite.”
Robinson points out that “whether in its 20th or its emerging 21st century variants, fascism is, above all, a response to deep structural crises of capitalism, such as that of the 1930s and the one that began with the financial meltdown in 2008 …. There is a near-straight line here from Obama to Trump … The liberal elite’s refusal to challenge the rapaciousness of transnational capital and its brand of identity politics served to eclipse the language of the working and popular classes … pushing white workers into an ‘identity’ of white nationalism and helping the neo-fascists to organise them”..

The seedbed is Obama’s Weimar Republic, a landscape of endemic poverty, militarised police and barbaric prisons: the consequence of a “market” extremism which, under his presidency, prompted the transfer of $14 trillion in public money to criminal enterprises in Wall Street.

Perhaps his greatest “legacy” is the co-option and disorientation of any real opposition. Bernie Sanders’ specious “revolution” does not apply. Propaganda is his triumph.

The lies about Russia — in whose elections the US has openly intervened — have made the world’s most self-important journalists laughing stocks. In the country with constitutionally the freest press in the world, free journalism now exists only in its honourable exceptions.

The obsession with Trump is a cover for many of those calling themselves “left/liberal”, as if to claim political decency. They are not “left”, neither are they especially “liberal”.  Much of America’s aggression towards the rest of humanity has come from so-called liberal Democratic administrations — such as Obama’s. America’s political spectrum extends from the mythical centre to the lunar right. The “left” are homeless renegades Martha Gellhorn described as “a rare and wholly admirable fraternity”. She excluded those who confuse politics with a fixation on their navels.

While they “heal” and “move forward”, will the Writers Resist campaigners and other anti-Trumpists reflect upon this? More to the point: when will a genuine movement of opposition arise? Angry, eloquent, all-for-one-and-one-for all. Until real politics return to people’s lives, the enemy is not Trump, it is ourselves.
John Pilger can be reached through his website: www.johnpilger.com

26 January 2017

PRESTON MARKET PROPOSED REDEVELOPMENT - OBJECTION SUBMISSION TO COUNCIL



TO:

STATUTORY PLANNING UNIT
Darebin City Council,
PO Box 91
Preston
Vic 3072


FROM:

E. J. De Saxe
2/12 Murphy Grove
Preston
Vic 3072
Postal Address:
PO Box 1675
Preston South
Vic 3072

25 JANUARY 2017

SUBMISSION: OBJECTIONS TO REDEVELOPMENT OF PRESTON MARKET AND PRECINCTS PROPOSALS

OBJECTIONS BASED ON OVER-DEVELOPMENT OF PRESTON MARKET PRECINCT AND THE POSSIBLE OBLITERATION OF THE MARKET WITH NEW SHOPS AND SHOPPING AREAS IN THE HIGH RISES PROPOSED.

1)      Murray Road is one of the keys to the objection because as it runs through the north of the proposed redevelopment of Preston Market and precincts, the road has two bus routes and boom gates just adjacent to the Market parking area.

The road has two traffic lanes in each direction, one lane of each in each direction has parking available at certain times of the day, limiting the narrow Murray Road in the vicinity of the proposed development into a one-lane each way roadway.

The proposed residential towers, if approved, will apparently contain 300 dwellings.

2)      High rises are the latest answer to the Victorian state government’s attempts to contain urban sprawl which is growing rapidly as Melbourne’s population growth is rapidly increasing. To place such high rise buildings as proposed by the developers would be totally out of keeping with the suburban precincts of Preston areas. Darebin Council has planning regulations which are allowing subdivisions in many parts of the suburb because of the state government’s demand to councils to increase population density to reduce/stop urban sprawl.

3)      If this development is allowed to proceed, Preston Market will be completely hemmed in by the high rise buildings on its north and west. How long before similar developments will then be approved in High Street and Gower Street. If this occurs, then in the years to come, this mass of overdevelopment will end up in the same situation as high rises in Flemington, Carlton, Collingwood, Richmond and other urban and suburban areas. Docklands comes to mind.


4)      The amenities provided at the moment by Preston Market will be materially altered if the proposed upgrading of the Market itself proceeds and increases in rents and supplies at the Market will increase to keep pace with the “gentrification” of the precinct.

5)      Preston Market itself needs some upgrading and modernisation, but not at the expense of stallholders being priced out of the Market because they can’t afford the new rents and because they possibly won’t have the customers to support them. Raising prices may well mean losing existing customers, but they may not be left with any choice.

6)      Preston Market is enclosed by four main roads which are narrow and carry vast amounts of traffic. Murray Road is a main east-west link and carries two bus routes – 903 and 527. High Street is a main north-south link running virtually from Gertrude Street in Fitzroy northwards along Smith Street, Queen’s Parade and becoming High Street at the southern most end of Northcote, travelling northwards through and beyond Reservoir. Gower Street is also an east-west link which carries traffic from the industrial and commercial businesses around Chifley Drive near Darebin Creek on the east side of Preston and going west into West Preston. Traffic is already a serious problem on all these roads, exacerbated by the fact that there are level crossings on Murray Road and Gower Street.

7)      If this development is allowed to proceed because approval is given by Darebin Council, does this mean that anywhere in Preston,  residential areas will be able to be rezoned to allow for high rise buildings such as those being considered around Preston Market?

8)      With the traffic along Murray Road already choking the road as an east-west link, motorists are taking short cuts through other quiet suburban roads running off Murray Road, such as our short street, Murphy Grove, where motorists escape Murray Road and use the short cut to Wood Street and also Tyler Street. Does this mean that what the real estate agents are saying about Preston that we are now inner city being only approximately 10 km from the Melbourne CBD?

9)      Preston infrastructure is early 20th century in many areas, road width included, so services such as water, gas, electricity, communications – are all out of date. With the proposed development around Preston Market, how will services such as fire and ambulance cope in an emergency? They are already finding difficulties in these areas because of the roads and hydrants and other similar services, so it would seem that disasters on a major scale become possibilities if there is a fire, for instance in a high rise such as a 14 storey building.

10)  Darebin Council is proudly displaying a banner outside their premises at the corner of High Street and Gower Street stating:

                                 “We love Preston Market”




Darebin Council cannot love Preston Market if they even contemplate allowing such a gross overdevelopment to be given the green light for the Preston Market precinct.

Melbourne – the most liveable city in the world – is on the way out. Melbourne and suburbia will become the slum capital unless these high rise proposals are stopped before they can be developed.

Mannie De Saxe

AL JAZEERA INVESTIGATES ISRAELI GOVERNMENT'S ATTEMPTS TO INFILTRATE THE UK GOVERNMENT


Al Jazeera Investigates:

 

About THE LOBBY

Al Jazeera Investigations exposes how the Israel lobby influences British politics. A six-month undercover investigation reveals how Israel penetrates different levels of British democracy.

Episode One: In part one, Al Jazeera Investigations reveals how pro-Israel groups are trying to influence Britain’s youth.

Episode Two: In part two, our undercover reporter joins a delegation from the Israeli embassy at last year’s Labour Party Conference.

Episode Three: In part three, our undercover reporter witnesses a heated conversation between two opposing activists. The evidence raises serious questions about whether accusations of anti-Semitism are used to stifle political debate.

Episode Four:

---------------------------------------------------



www.aljazeera.com/investigations/thelobby/




 


20 January 2017

PRESTON MARKET, DAREBIN COUNCIL, DEVELOPERS






This seems to be a good place to start.

Preston Market has been on the developers' cards for many years. Plans have been submitted to Darebin Council and some, lately, seem to have been ready to be approved with some modifications.

However, as the article below indicates, Council is now considering allowing three high rise buildings to be built in the Market precinct and it seems there is no consideration or understanding of the infrastructure problems concerning the proposed development.

We have examined the plans at Darebin Council's planning department and they reveal horror upon horror of disasters awaiting the whole area at and around the Market.

The Council has erected a sign outside its buildings at the corner of High Street and Gower Street, Preston, and we are now trying to work out what the Council loves about the Market if they are now even prepared to consider the plans submitted to them by the developer who owns so much of the area on which the Market stands.



The following article is from the Preston Leader:




Three apartment towers on Murray Rd revealed as part of Preston Market revamp plans

1 December 2016
Preston Market concept shots — the residential buildings.


THIS is the new face of Murray Rd if a planning proposal by the owners of Preston Market goes ahead.
The artist impressions, provided to the Leader, have also been shown to market visitors over the past couple of weeks as part of the owner’s push to allay community concerns over the future of the popular site.

MARKET BUILDINGS SAFE UNDER $4M REVAMP
 
It shows three separate apartment towers, each of different design, which will have prime access to the market and retail outlets underneath.

The existing footprint of the fresh food market will not be impacted, although Aldi would be demolished to make more room for parking and moved to the new retail space. The Hood building would also be demolished to make way for parking.

TRADERS FACE BOOT AT PRESTON MARKET
 
An amended proposal was submitted to Darebin Council on Friday, which the owners said was to meet the State Government’s new design standards on providing more natural light. Salta Properties managing director Sam Tarascio said the proposal set “a new standard” for development in Darebin.

“It has been designed by leading architects, Breathe Architecture, who delivered The Commons in Brunswick, and NH Architecture, and will be well connected to the market,” Mr Tarascio said.

The mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments would be larger than many others in the area to appeal to owner occupiers, he said. Communal gardens and a basketball court feature in the proposed design.

The owners could not confirm exact parking numbers, but said it would be an increase on what is available now. Parking for market shoppers and residents will be separate.

However, not all apartments will be sold with a car space, because of the proximity to a variety of public transport options.

The public will have the opportunity to comment on the plans as part of normal planning processes.

This article in the Preston Leader of 17 JANUARY 2017 continues the story and advises when objections must be submitted to Council:

" ......., objectors to the 14-storey development planned for above Preston Market have until 25 JANUARY to lodge their disapproval.

The planning permit application for the 170-dwelling development is on display at Darebin Council's statutory planning unit, on the first floor at 274 Gower Street, Preston from 8.45am to 4.45pm. Monday to Friday.

People objecting must send a submission to Darebin Council, including the reasons for their objections." 

And people will assuredly object to not only the 14-storey development, but the two 10-storey developments as well!

17 January 2017

CONCENTRATION CAMPS - AUSTRALIA LEARNS FROM ITS BRITISH TEACHERS

Australia's apprenticeship on concentration camps ended some time ago, even before the establishment of the infamous pair Manus and Nauru.

Those on Christmas Island and on the Australian mainland were already emulating the best in the world - the British ones in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, the German ones during World War II, and, from 1948 onwards, the Israeli ones in Gaza and the Occupied Territories of the Palestinian West Bank which the zionists have always claimed as zionist homeland territory after falsifying history in the best traditions of colonial and occupying powers over the ages, not forgetting one of the other more infamous ones of the modern era such as the USA one called Guantanamo on occupied Cuban land.

One of the best ways of ridding oneself of unwanted refugees, asylum seekers, "foreigners" of various origins - is to lock them up in concentration camps and help them to die off while in imprisonment and then blame them themselves for their deaths.

Manus has been a particularly fruitful camp for asylum deaths in custody - people who have committed no crimes but who have fled from their countries of origin because of illegal wars perpetrated on their countries by such imperial powers as Australia, UK, USA, France and many others too numerous to mention - the African continent bears the brunt of so much these days.

The 20th century has seen endless crimes committed by countries spending untold amounts of money on arms and war equipment, and killing millions of innocent people on an ongoing basis - the Israeli government is a "good" example of this ongoing tragedy, and Australia has willingly joined its masters around the globe in these exercises in order to gain resources, territories, markets, and all the other spoils of war.

The one "spoils of war" issue that none of them wants is the influx of millions of refugees and asylum seekers from around the world, and what do we do? We lock them up and wait for them to die!

RED JOS - ACTIVIST KICKS BACKS



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90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm

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