by Martin Odoni

What a pointlessly horrible individual Nick Ferrari can be sometimes. He wanted to interview Diane Abbott this morning on his LBC Radio show about the resignation as Home Secretary of Amber Rudd. As the programme wore on, Ferrari expressed growing frustration that Abbott appeared to be giving interviews to every other news outlet except him.

Seldom slow to be vindictive when feeling slighted, Ferrari retaliated at the end of the programme by doing something genuinely cruel, unfair, and utterly vindictive. Now, Ferrari was the interviewer interrogating Abbott during the General Election campaign almost exactly a year ago, when she had the notorious ‘brain-freeze’ moment while discussing police funding. As an obvious two-fingered salute to her, Ferrari ended today’s show by playing a recording of that interview to mock her.

nick ferrari mocks diane abbot for her illness

Ferrari’s conduct is childish and cruel, and betrays a really ugly nature that lurks not far below the dignified surface.

Anyone smirking about that little stab should be ashamed, as should Ferrari himself. There is a detail about it that many people, especially smug, jeering, right-wing journalists like Ferrari, keep omitting to mention; Abbott was very ill at the time. (As James O’Brien, speaking on the very next programme on LBC this morning noted, the signs are that she probably still is.) To be precise, she was suffering from diabetic withdrawal this time last year, and it became so bad that she had to drop out of the last couple of weeks of campaigning.

The amount of vicious abuse Abbott receives on a daily basis is an abhorrent indictment of the dark side of this country, in terms of both racism and misogyny. But her diabetic illness has added another ugly dimension to it over the last year. It seems the symptoms of an almost-crippling condition are also considered fair game for mockery and cruel taunts when the sufferer is a left-wing Member of Parliament. (Once again, we can expect her colleagues on the right of the Labour Party to offer her no sympathy, even as they pretend to be concerned about anti-Semitism.)

What on Earth is wrong with modern Britain, that these sorts of malicious behaviours are not only becoming increasingly commonplace, but are even rewarded with a regular show in the media? To mock anyone for symptoms of an illness is frankly as infantile and ignorant as it is spiteful and Medieval. It is difficult, indeed, to distinguish Ferrari’s behaviour from Donald Trump’s at that horrifying moment in 2015 when he mocked a disabled reporter during the Republican Primaries for the US Presidential Election. Trump was widely and rightly castigated for such appalling cruelty – although it is a tragic reflection on the modern USA that it was not enough to stop him becoming President – and so Britain should now do the same to Ferrari. It would hardly be before time; given his ‘othering’ attitude towards asylum seekers and Muslims, Ferrari’s resemblance to Trump is a lot stronger than he would probably like to admit.

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by Martin Odoni

The current chapter with Ruth Smeeth and Marc Wadsworth has only underlined how the right wing of the Labour Party have nothing to offer but theatrics. They are far more resistant to the left wing of their own party than they will ever be to the Conservatives. The ridiculous ‘march-of-solidarity’ a number of Red Tory MPs carried out with Smeeth on Friday, as she headed out to hear the findings of the National Constitutional Committee’s investigation, was just another example of their over-orchestration.

No one should be fooled for a moment by any of this. These people are no more worried about racism than they are about an invasion of Earth by the armies of Ming The Merciless. Their expressions of disgust are only triggered selectively after all. The current clamour about the appalling mistreatment of the Windrush Generation by the Tories is the clearest and most scandalous example of institutional racism in this country in generations. An unspoken but clear expression that victims did not ‘count’ as truly British, and were therefore perfectly acceptable fodder for a policy designed to get net immigration down by any means. And yet all of these Labour MPs shedding crocodile tears for Ruth Smeeth – and indeed Smeeth herself – seem incredibly reluctant to call it racist. They rightly attack the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, for incompetence. Her lack of awareness of so many goings-on at the Home Office are reminiscent of Jim Hacker trying to find out information from Sir Humphrey Appleby, and Yes, Minister was supposed to be a parody. But the racial dimension is unmistakable, and yet few of the people losing bladder-control over Smeeth’s spat with Wadsworth (over something that could only be interpreted as racist by the most ridiculous mental gymnastics), will mention that dimension over the Windrush Scandal.

Luciana Berger, who is also Jewish, is one Labour MP I particularly want to single out for condemnation. I used to respect her for her work on mental health. I was marching next to her at an anti-Tory protest in Birmingham about eighteen months ago. But she no longer has my respect, and if the chance ever came up, I would refuse to march with her ever again.

Berger triggered last month’s ridiculous clamour about a mural that does not even exist anymore, just as Labour’s Local Election campaign was getting underway. It was so blatant what she was doing, it astounds me how few people have picked up on it. She put up a tweet with a screenshot of Jeremy Corbyn questioning on social media way back in 2012 the removal of the Brick Lane Mural, and claimed that she had demanded an explanation from the Leader’s office earlier that day. Not long after, she put up another tweet complaining that the response of the ‘spokesperson’ from the Leader’s office was not good enough. She did not state what the response was, or what was wrong with it. What is clear is that she had not offered much time for a response.

Why did Berger feel the need to announce this on social media? Why did she not make a full attempt to discuss it with Corbyn in private first? Why did she not at least give Corbyn time to look into it and refresh his memory? Why did she feel that this was important at all, given six years had passed since the mural had been painted over? Why did she feel it was important, given that, despite the clamour, the mural was not anti-Semitic in its content? Why did she have to announce it then, and not three years earlier when the matter had previously been raised in the media? Why did she have to choose a moment that was sure to de-rail a Local Election campaign?

The answer to all of these questions is the same, and it is obvious. She and her right-wing colleagues are trying to get rid of Corbyn any way they can, and they find the nearest they have to an effective weapon against him is supposed ‘anti-Semitism’ among his supporters. And as the Angry Yorkshireman points out, the Blairites and their allies had little choice but to side with the left during the General Election a year ago, because their own seats in the House of Commons were at stake. But they are perfectly happy to sacrifice local councillors and the hard work of grass-roots activists up and down the UK, in order to create a Local Elections disaster, for which Corbyn can then take the blame.

Berger was in yesterday’s march, even though she must have been as aware as anyone that Smeeth had repeatedly lied about what had happened during her spat with Wadsworth. Smeeth put up the following statement on social media not long after the contretemps; –

Smeeths statement on Wadsworth

Smeeth’s lies and exaggerations are considerable. Wadsworth most certainly did not say anything anti-Semitic, for reasons I outlined yesterday. He did not speak of a ‘media conspiracy’, nor did he espouse any other ‘vile conspiracy theories about Jewish people’. Smeeth’s statement then twisted events, on very doubtful grounds, into an attack on Corbyn. It is noticeable that Smeeth felt compelled to take the statement down from her Twitter feed in February this year, perhaps hoping that her false claims could not be summoned back to haunt her.

In a later interview with the Evening Standard, she claimed,

“Wadsworth… said, ‘Ruth Smeeth is working hand- in-hand with the Right-wing media to attack Jeremy’. So I shouted, ‘How dare you?’ The audience started shouting at me — at the launch of an inquiry into how we treat Jews in the Labour Party!

However, it is quite clear from video of the incident that no one was shouting at Smeeth. From the soundtrack, some people seemed to be hushing her because they were trying to hear what Wadsworth was saying, but that is quite different from what Smeeth claims.

Smeeth further claims that, in the aftermath of the spat, she received over twenty-five thousand abusive messages, including twenty-thousand in about twelve hours. That she sat there while receiving all this hostility, earnestly counting the messages, seems implausible in itself, but as Jonathan Cook points out, an analysis of the facts raises severe doubts about her claim anyway. The Community Security Trust, a Jewish lobby group in the UK that, a little like the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, has a habit of seeing anti-Semitic attitudes lurking around every corner, carried out a study of anti-Semitic activity on Twitter across a year-long period that, as luck would have it, included the spell in which Smeeth claims to have been ‘under siege’. Their research found that there were only fifteen thousand anti-Semitic tweets.

“She received fifteen thousand anti-Semitic tweets?!?” I hear you cry. “All right, it’s less than she said, but that’s still horrible!!!”

Well, yes, it would be, except for two details; the fifteen thousand figure is not the total number Smeeth received. It is in fact for the total number of anti-Semitic tweets the CST were able to detect for the entire year. And they were from all of the UK, including all anti-Semitic tweets that had not been directed at Smeeth.

In fairness to Smeeth, she might have meant abuse of a more general type, and some of it may have been away from Twitter, but given she has spent several years using this incident to talk up the phenomenon of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, it seems likely that she was being deliberately misleading. Either way, the twenty-five thousand figure sounds fantastically inflated, if not plucked out of thin air. So she was lying. Again.

I find it difficult to believe that Berger was unaware of all of this, and yet she, and other colleagues, still found Smeeth’s plight of “anti-Semitic bullying” so great that they had to express complete solidarity with her, while paying comparatively little mind to the far more severe plight of the Windrush generation.

To sum up the Labour Right position; –

An MP on the receiving end of a snide remark about co-operating with the Telegraph is a victim of racism. A generation of innocent people threatened with deportation from the country they helped to rebuild after the war, because they have a background of oppressed colonial slavery, are not victims of racism, but of incompetence.

The real give-away though, is that these two-faced Blairite frauds are not even consistent in their anti-racist stance among their fellow MPs. No other MP in the UK has suffered as much, or as vile, abuse of both the racist and misogynistic varieties, as Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott. She gets abuse, especially on Twitter, every day. Including recently, calls for her beheading.

Diane Abbott beheading threat

You might laugh at the reference to lightsabres, but don’t ignore the bit when ‘Greg’ says “whatever you can put your hands on.”

Half the Labour Party were ridiculously quick to express sympathy and support for Berger when she tried to claim she was ‘hurt’ by the business with the mural. (Oh really? Grow a skin, Luciana!) And the same suspects were quick to join the march with Smeeth on Friday.

But when Abbott gets bombarded with, frankly, primitive abuse over social media or in public, these same MPs’ Twitter feeds are so quiet you can hear pixels on their profile pictures clearing their throats.

The above threat was sent to Abbott on the 15th of April.

Check Luciana Berger’s Twitter feed on that date and the days afterwards… nothing!

What about Harriet Harman, Mother of the House, and always a staunch champion of female MPs against misogynistic abuse…. no, nothing!

How about John Mann, who has been extremely loud in his opposition to supposed anti-Semitism? Does he oppose anti-black racist threats too….? No, nothing!

What about Ruth Smeeth? She demands so much solidarity and support when she claims to be a victim of racial abuse, so surely she would have spoken out against the threat Diane Abbott received…? No, nothing!

How about John Woodcock, who made a point of supporting Smeeth very publicly, while joining the insinuations that Jews who do not support Israel are ‘the wrong kind’? Did he back Diane Abbott against threats….? No, nothing!

And on. And on. As I say, Abbott gets abuse on a totally different scale from anyone else in Parliament every single day, and her colleagues on the right wing of the party always just ignore it. The reason, almost certainly, is that she is a Corbyn supporter in the Shadow Cabinet, and therefore, despite her admittedly modest talents, she is regarded as an ‘enemy’ who has to be removed. Expressing any support for her might evoke sympathy for her, and the Red Tories are worried that that would make it harder to get rid of her.

The strategy is comprehensible, but also makes a complete joke of the manufactured outrage against supposed ‘anti-Semitism’. The only racism they get fired up about is the type that is exaggerated and against individuals who are far less vulnerable than victims who are isolated (Abbott) and powerless (the Windrush Generation).

Being Jewish, I would welcome a sincere attempt to combat anti-Semitism. But that anti-Semitism has to be real to begin with, and the attempt to fight it should never happen at the cost of fighting more egregious racism that does more substantial harm. What real anti-Semitism there is in the Labour Party at present is intermittent and fleeting, and no matter how distressing it can be, it causes little real harm. Whereas the institutional racism highlighted by the Windrush Scandal has done enormous harm, and simply has to be dealt with first, on the basis of what it really is – not just Tory incompetence, but Tory racism and incompetence. Labour right wingers need to march with anti-racist groups and attend anti-racism demonstrations in support of all minorities, not just the ones in support of colleagues who are quite clearly telling lies anyway.

Otherwise, they are just using accusations of racism as a weapon, and as I have pointed out many times before, that makes them racists themselves.

by Martin Odoni

Around fifteen years ago, I was sweepingly dismissive of political correctness. Despite my generally leftist views, I found the sometimes-elaborate care people were expected to take to avoid offensiveness to be an obstruction to free speech and even to free thought. (My fellow blogger and Salford-Labour activist, Mara Leverkuhn, still feels that way.)

As the years have passed, my attitude towards it has softened, especially as I have come to realise that the, mainly right-wing, objections to it usually boil down to attempts to offload the blame for hurtfulness onto the person being hurt. Sometimes talking tough is necessary, of course, but that does not make it all right ever to encourage stereotype or urban myths. And when tough talk is not needed, why be hurtful anyway?

One of my old doubts about ‘PC’ rules, however, continues to bug me, despite friends repeatedly telling me that my worries are no big deal. Alas, the very sad outcome of the unpleasant spat between Labour MP Ruth Smeeth and party activist Marc Wadsworth is a concrete example of why I am probably right.

The spat in question began back in June 2016 at an event marking the publication of the Chakrabarti Report into supposed racist, and especially anti-Semitic, behaviour in the Labour Party. During the event, Wadsworth, a lifelong anti-racism activist, made a statement in which he levelled a withering insinuation at Smeeth, who is Jewish. She took the remark to be anti-Semitic – or at least she claims to –  and eventually lodged a complaint against Wadsworth accordingly.

Today, the needlessly-protracted investigation into the incident finally came to a conclusion (the frequent delays in getting these sorts of matters over with are just one more reason why Iain McNicol’s departure as General Secretary was clearly correct). The decision of Labour’s National Constitutional Committee was that Wadsworth should be formally expelled from the Labour Party.

Now, to be clear, Wadsworth was not officially charged with anti-Semitism, no matter how much the right wing media and pro-Israel groups want us to believe he was. The actual charge was Bringing the party into disrepute. Why that should apply in this case and not in, say, the cases of Tony Blair or Peter Mandelson, given their endless attempts to smear and undermine the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, could perhaps do with some explaining, but let us leave that on one side for now. It is perhaps telling that the charges levelled were more vaguely-defined ones than Smeeth’s original accusation.

Now the broad gist of Wadsworth’s statement was not about Smeeth particularly, it was more an appeal for the party to be more representative of a broader cross-section of the nation’s different ethnic communities. But the specific words spoken by Wadsworth, to which Smeeth took exception were as follows; –

“I saw that the Telegraph handed a copy of a press release to Ruth Smeeth MP, so you can see who is working hand-in-hand.”

Marc Wadworth

Marc Wadsworth making the statement that got him doubtfully expelled from the Labour Party.

This was interpreted by many, including, it seems, Smeeth herself, as Wadsworth accusing her of being part of a ‘Jewish-led media conspiracy’.

In the cold, objective light of day, this interpretation is completely ridiculous. Not only did Wadsworth not mention Jews or anything obviously relating to Jewish people or culture, he also did not mention a media conspiracy as such. He was simply pointing out reasons to suspect that one Labour MP, who happened to be Jewish (of which Wadsworth was probably unaware at the time anyway), appeared to be co-operating with a newspaper whose history is notoriously pro-Conservative and anti-Labour.

This description is quite remote from the silly old stereotype conspiracy-myth of an ‘evil cabal of Jews secretly running the world’s media’. But, and this where my above unease about political correctness comes in, there are a couple of points of resemblance. Only a couple, and not particularly strong ones, but they are there.

Working hand-in-hand with a person or organisation on the quiet can be labelled without too much of a stretch as ‘a conspiracy’. And as the organisation Smeeth was being accused of working with was a media organisation, there is an echo of the stereotype mentioned above.

It is quite ridiculous to say that these points of resemblance alone are enough to make the accusation conform to the stereotype of course. There are way too many other details that would have to be twisted far from reality in order to make it fit – not least that every person covering the Chakrabarti Report for the Telegraph would have to be made out to be both Jewish and answerable to this ‘hidden cabal’ that no anti-Semite can ever identify, but that every anti-Semite ‘just knows‘ is there. Wadsworth never implied either by any stretch.

The problem is that political correctness does not just work against offensive phrases and ideas, but also works against connotations of offensive phrases and ideas. The resemblance between the terms ‘conspiracy’ and ‘quietly working hand-in-hand’ is just strong enough that they can be assumed to be the same thing, especially by anyone nervously on the look-out for anything inappropriate. Then add in the resemblance between ‘conspiracy’ and the ridiculous undying myths that Jews are all part of a secret organisation dominating the world (if that really is true, I must be the one Jew they forgot to include – why me, fellow Hebrews, what did I do wrong?!?!), and the three ideas sort of ‘slot into’ each other like a hand-held telescope closing up. Even when a statement does not mention something offensive, if it is close enough to remind people of something offensive, it is still held to be politically incorrect. This is why casual use of objectively harmless words like ‘Jew’ and ‘black’ often makes people nervous. They have obscene connotations e.g. ‘k*ke’ and ‘n*gger’, and the original words are enough to remind people of the derogatory terms.

What happened to Wadsworth today demonstrates precisely why I am still not at all fond of political correctness; because it stigmatises passing resemblance to offensive ideas, and not just the offensive ideas themselves. And as we have seen, when that stigma is officially acted upon, it can be very destructive to the reputations of people who do not deserve it.

The whole, wildly-exaggerated ‘anti-Semitism-in-the-Labour-Party’ furore is simply a larger manifestation of the same problem. It is absolutely right that behaving anti-Semitically is classed as politically incorrect, as anti-Semitism is genuinely harmful and offensive to Jewish people. Take that from a Jew who knows what it is like to be on the receiving end. But as ‘Zionism’ and ‘pro-Israeli’ are connotations (certainly not synonyms, please note!) of Judaism, so being ‘anti-Zionist’ and being ‘anti-Israel’ become connotations of ‘anti-Semitism’. There is enough overlap for the terms to telescope into each other, making opposition to Israel ‘politically incorrect’ as well, and aiding the cynical attempts of the Israeli lobby to accuse opponents of Israel of being ‘anti-Semites’ by connotation.

The same phenomenon that has brought down Wadsworth is being worked on the Labour Party on a far bigger scale.

As I said above, it is telling that Wadsworth was not charged with anti-Semitism, but only with bringing the party into disrepute. (Chris Williamson has summed it up rather well for me on social media.) I suspect the NCC realised that the allegation of anti-Semitic meaning could not be made to stick to what Wadsworth had said, but they also felt that they could not clear him of the charges in the current climate of manufactured hysteria against anti-Semitism. As ‘bringing the party into disrepute’ is a rather vague, very broad charge, it was the easiest fall-back option they could find. But it is undoubtedly a decision made for political reasons, not for reasons of justice.

However, looking again at the wording of Wadsworth’s comments, I fear the Labour Party may have opened up the fish-bait-tin rather by expelling him. If a mildly-insinuating comment like, “This Labour MP is co-operating with a Tory newspaper” (which is clearly all that Wadworth’s comment means, when all is said and done) is enough to ‘bring the party into disrepute’, then I suspect every single member of the party, including the Blairites on the extreme right, will be in trouble for something they have said or done in their past.

by Martin Odoni

Kevin Clegg is not a name that many people will be particularly familiar with, but it is the name of someone who is caught up in a very familiar controversy. He has been suspended from the Labour Party, under investigation into alleged ‘anti-Semitic’ behaviour.

I draw attention to Kevin’s case, because it is another textbook example of why the current ‘crisis’ of anti-Semitism in the party has been blown way out-of-proportion. In fairness to the party’s compliance unit, it has no choice but to suspend members until the accusations against them have been fairly assessed. But the problem, especially in the media, is the accusations themselves are being fallaciously presented as ‘evidence’ that anti-Semitism is endemic in the party. Close examination of many of the complaints, as I keep stating, paints a very different picture. This is certainly true in Kevin’s case.

NB: I am fairly sure there is an anti-Semitism complaint somewhere in the queue against me. Ironic, given I am Jewish, but last year I pointed out to the Zionist bully-boy, Jonathan Hoffman, that his behaviour towards Jewish critics of Israel is anti-Semitic. He claimed that he had reported me to Labour’s compliance unit for it.  (What precisely he has accused me of is unclear. Using the term ‘anti-Semite’ as an insult, perhaps, but even by Hoffman’s standards, that is amazing hypocrisy). That was eleven months ago, and I have heard nothing back from the Labour Party about the matter since. But the point is, if you feel that I can be presented as evidence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, you clearly have no idea what the term means. The worry is that an awful lot of people making official judgements on the matter do not appear to know either.

The document

Kevin was sent a document outlining the complaint against him, based on news articles he has shared on his Facebook timeline. He put together a response in his own words, so I do not need to go into a detailed analysis here; instead, you can view the response, which he has turned into a .PDF and uploaded to Dropbox, by clicking here.

What I wish to point out is that every detail of the complaint levelled at Kevin comes from a vintage conflation of anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and opposition to Israel. Only one instance of the word ‘Jews’ was highlighted in the entire document sent to him, and that was not Kevin’s use of the word; instead it was in the headline of an article to which Kevin had linked, reporting the findings of an opinion poll. The headline in question had only used it as part of the term ‘Israeli Jews’, simply to distinguish Israeli-Jewish views from the views of other people living in Israel.

Screenshot from 2018-04-21 11-26-27

All other references called into question were uses of the words ‘Israel’ and ‘Zionists’ – neither of which are or ever have been synonyms for ‘Jews’ no matter how much the Israeli lobby wishes they were – and an article rightly criticising the megalomania of Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

University of Manchester censors anti-Zionist speaker

Anti-Semitism in the Independent?!?

It is interesting that Kevin is being held responsible for the wording of journalists writing for The Independent. It is also interesting that, if they truly believe these articles Kevin is sharing on social media to be anti-Semitic, no one appears to be complaining to The Independent about the ‘racist attitudes’ of its journalists.

The wild exaggeration of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, transforming it from ‘slight problem’ to ‘crisis epidemic’, is crystallised by Kevin’s example. A deliberate, cynical and false conflation of Jews with Israel is what gives so much of the issue its legs. Remove that conflation, and the true scale of the problem would be shown to be a fraction of how it is being presented.

Paranoia is not justification

I hear people arguing that this cynicism is no such thing, but fear. There is a terror among modern Jews, they argue, that the current time of relative quiet among anti-Semites is just the temporary respite before ‘the next Pogrom’. I would say this is probably a correct explanation (although even that argument, once again, conflates Jews with Zionists and Israel supporters). It is a paranoia I have felt for myself at times in my life.

But understanding the reasons for paranoia does not stop it being paranoia, nor  does it justify some of the deeds being carried out in the name of that paranoia. Knowingly throwing false accusations at people and sullying their names is illegal and it is malicious. No one should understand that better than the Jewish people, given the false accusations we have had to endure collectively ourselves down the centuries.

We also need to pause and ask ourselves where that logic can lead. It was, after all, another paranoia that led to the greatest crime ever committed against the Jewish people. It was the paranoia of the German people, thinking they were being made the world’s punching-bag for the troubles of the First World War and the economic disaster of the 1930s. The paranoia started with vilification of Jews, and from there slowly, gradually led to the Holocaust. We can understand that paranoia, especially given the deprivation and misery of the Hyper-inflation years in the Weimar Republic, but that does not come within a hundred-thousand miles of justifying what followed.

Nor is what Israel, or its supporters around the world, are doing right now.

by Martin Odoni

NB: No longer ‘unconfirmed’, please see postscript below.

As the title says, please do not consider this definitive, but Spirit Radio have published a podcast that they state is a segment of an interview with Robert Fisk, foreign correspondent of the Independent. If the recording is genuine, then any doubt that the air-strikes on Syria over the weekend by US, British and French planes were a war-crime will be ended forever. Fisk, if it really is him, claims in the recording that he is in the targeted city of Douma, and from his earliest findings there, he has concluded that no chemical weapons were used in the attacks during the previous weekend. The images of children choking and foaming at the mouth were genuine, but the reactions were caused by smoke inhalation and clouds of dust thrown up by explosions triggered by conventional weapons.

Da6ne1QX4AAC6hV.jpg:large

The implications of this are enormous, but again I must reiterate before anyone gets too excited that I do not know for sure if the recording is genuine. If it is, then the obscene possibility is raised that the suspiciously-timed air-strikes might have been carried out by allied forces in order to prevent inspections by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), whose representatives arrived in Douma the very next day, from revealing that no such weapons were used. If such a discovery were made, it would undermine the entire narrative used to justify the air-strikes. Such a militarised cover-up would be political corruption of the lowest order, and would surely raise the spectre of Donald Trump, Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron being sent to the Hague.

But again, we must wait and see whether the interview can be corroborated before we get carried away.

Spirit Radio say that the full interview will be at 10:30 am on Tuesday 17th April.

_____

POSTSCRIPT:

Confirmation: Fisk is indeed in Douma, and he writes in the Independent that, from conversations he has had with local medical personnel, the ‘chemical weapons reaction’ of the victims was probably hypoxia i.e. a reaction to smoke and dust inhalation.
 
It is therefore very unlikely that chemical weapons were used nine days ago in Douma.
 
Trump, May and Macron must now face severe repercussions for apparently lying to the world.

by Martin Odoni

FOREWORD: I shall admit in advance that the title above is slightly misleading, as I am not the person being hatcheted as such.

Jewish not Zionist

“Fame at last”, eh?

That bastion of journalistic bastardisation, the Daily Mail, with its long history of racism and anti-Semitism, has been getting very sanctimonious over the last few weeks about supposed anti-Semitism among other people. Yesterday, it seems, I was one of the would-be ‘anti-Semites’ in question. Seriously. The Mail has published (oh! How dirty I feel linking to a page on that website!) an attack on a Labour councillor called Dorian Bartley, who in turn published social media posts comparing Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to the Führer of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler. This has been spun as ‘anti-Semitic’, and as usual with these sorts of attacks, that is quite a stretch; once more, anti-Semitism’s definition is being expanded to encompass all opposition to Israeli policy and politicians. But a little way down the same page, the following image can be seen of a link Bartley shared on social media; –

Bartley link

The Daily Mail has made me famous!

Bartley’s link was to the article I wrote a couple of weeks back dismissing the allegations of anti-Semitism against the ‘Brick Lane mural’. Now that article really went viral. At almost 65,000 hits, it has been read more than twice as often as the second most popular article on this blog, which is otherwise usually a quiet sound in a noisy room. So if we are to assume that Bartley is an anti-Semite for sharing it, then there must be an awful lot of anti-Semites in the United Kingdom. Obviously I should run for my Jewish life!

Daily Mail deceitfulness

What I note about this is how perfectly it encapsulates the cynical deceitfulness of the Mail and its style of reporting. It is hardly going to be a revelation to readers of my blog, I am sure, when I suggest that the Mail is not a newspaper but a hate-rag, and its hypocrisy about racism, given its history, is too stark to be worth the bother of getting angry about. But that this reversal would go so far as to use publication of the work of a Jewish writer as evidence of anti-Semitism requires some serious gonads.

It is more than that, however. All the Mail writer, Kate Ferguson, did was take a screencap of a bit of Bartley’s Facebook timeline. She did not offer a link to my article about the mural, so that readers could assess it for themselves and judge whether it really was credible evidence for Bartley’s ‘anti-Semitism’. Moreover, Ferguson either did not read the article I wrote, or she decided to avoid all mention of certain details – especially the fact that I stated quite explicitly in it that I am ethnically Jewish. It is not impossible to be prejudiced against one’s own race, but it is very counter-intuitive, and so it would have undermined Ferguson’s very obvious aim, which was to use Bartley’s suspension to add fuel to the ‘anti-Semitism-in-the-Labour-Party’ fire. She offered no specific quotations from my article either, which again should, I hope, raise alarm bells in the minds of healthy skeptics who have not yet read it. But also, note the rather amusing irony of what she wrote: –

And [Bartley] shared a post defending the mural which sparked the recent protests against Jeremy Corbyn – contradicting the Labour leader who admitted it was.

The sentence above is not only a classic example of appalling grammar – Ferguson wrote nothing to specify what Corbyn admitted. It should also make people laugh that the Daily Mail, and the rest of the mainstream media, spent the last three years telling everybody that Jeremy Corbyn is wrong about pretty near everything, and now tell us that we must accept that the mural was anti-Semitic, because Jeremy Corbyn has said that it was. (In this case, Corbyn is wrong. It was not. But his error in this instance is the exception rather than the rule.)

So, we have all the typical hallmarks of Daily Mail shabby ‘journalism’ – contrived outrage, hatred, quote-mining, hypocrisy, self-contradiction, ideologically-driven omissions, shoddy writing, and overall reporting shaped by an intolerant agenda.

Keeping the anti-Semitism narrative alive

This latest chapter reeks of desperation to keep the anti-Semitism narrative alive. There are signs, given the damp squib of the demonstration by the Campaign Against Anyone Being Allowed To Speak About Israeli Atrocities, sorry, I mean the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, on Sunday, that the furore is starting to fizzle out. (The CAA‘s laughable claim that the turn-out for the protest was over 2,000, when it was not a great deal more than 200, only serves to highlight once more how dishonest that ‘charity’ is.) Although this tiny protest was given ridiculously excessive coverage in the media – protests against the Conservative Party Conference regularly draw crowds in excess of 50,000 but seldom get any national coverage at all – the desperate attempt to talk up the occasion has led to a new pretence. That is, pretending that Maureen Lipman once again publicly martyring herself, by announcing that she is leaving the Labour Party, is some kind of big deal.

Yes! Yes, everyone! Let me repeat that for you, so you can all take in this mammoth development worthy of mention alongside the Moon Landings for its gargantuan impact on human history. Maureen Lipman says she is going to leave the Labour Party.

how interesting

Yes, that was pretty much my reaction too.

Oh, come on, British media! Do you seriously imagine anyone cares which party Lipman supports? (Do most people even remember her for anything other than those irritating British Telecom commercials from the 1980’s?) Lipman previously claimed during Ed Miliband’s time as leader that she was leaving Labour, but apparently did not. So one cannot help but feel that there is an echo of ‘child-running-away-from-home-hoping-it-gets-her-more-attention-from-mummy-and-daddy‘ about it. Whether she stays or leaves, Lipman has one of the most perverse and twisted perspectives on Israel/Palestine in the UK. She thinks that Labour’s position of favouring a homeland for the Palestinians is ‘anti-Semitic and racist’. This is of course nonsense. Lipman’s opposition to a homeland for the Palestinians is anti-Arab and racist. She is therefore acting a little like the Daily Mail, in her reversal of plain reality.

Zionism – a failed ideology

Lipman’s hate-enriched bigotry is not about protecting Jews, it is about protecting the gains of Zionism. Not only is that immoral, given what was taken from Palestinian Arabs to make those gains a reality, it is also foolish. This is because Zionism is an example of what is often called ‘a failed ideology’. Its aim was to give Jewish people a country of their own, so any Jew facing persecution anywhere in the world would have a safe space to which (s)he could retreat. The reason this ideology is a failure is self-evident; Israel is an unsafe place for Jews in which to live.

As I wrote last year, this conclusion is objectively true, at least if we accept the present Zionist narrative of Israeli policy being a necessity to combat dangerous and hostile neighbours. The establishment of Israel after World War II has not made its occupants safe from anti-Semitism. All it has done is move the hostility largely (certainly not completely) away from Europe, and transplanted the brunt of it into the Middle East. Israel being unceremoniously ‘landed’ on the space previously occupied by the British Mandate of Palestine has led to bitter resentment, not just among Palestinians, but also neighbouring Arab countries. Whether one feels that resentment is justified or not, it is there, and it has hardened to differing extents across the region into anti-Semitic feeling. Therefore, Jews living in Israel are major targets for anti-Semitism.

This is ironic from a British angle. I suspect that, as ‘assimilates’ (as right-wing Israelis seem distastefully fond of labelling members of the Jewish diaspora), I and my family are safer from anti-Semitic violence here in the UK than we would be if we lived in Israel. Hence why I doubt that Zionism was necessary, and also why I contend that it has never really succeeded. If the point of Zionism was to create a safe space for any Jews to flee to from persecution, but the resultant nation of Israel is under constant threat, then it is time that Jews and Zionists around the world faced a sad reality; Zionism simply does not do what it says on the tin. If anything, it has renewed a problem that was partly-evaporated by the worldwide horror felt at the Nazi Holocaust.

‘World’s most moral army’ shoots teenagers in the back

If Zionism is not anti-Semitic in itself – and its acquiescence to the idea that Jews should be kept away from gentiles would suggest that it is – then it certainly results from anti-Semitism, and even provokes more of it. This is before we even take into account the appalling anti-Arab racism In Israel, which stubbornly manifests itself in the bloodthirsty way the Israeli Defence Force treats Palestinian protesters, even over the last two weeks. That British Zionists can persist in the fiction that the Israeli Army is ‘the most moral in the world’ after what has happened on the boundary of the Gaza Strip since ‘Land Day’  requires mental techniques that go beyond Orwellian doublethink.

Hoffman calls IDF most moral army

The bullying anti-Arab racist, English Defence League sympathiser, and former vice-President of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain & Ireland, Jonathan Hoffman, claims that the IDF is the most moral army in the world while its troops shoot unarmed Palestinian teenagers in the back.

Somehow, I doubt the complexities and nuance of the real discussion of this subject will ever be properly explored in the mainstream British media in my lifetime. It is far more click-bait-friendly to reduce the matter to the simple-minded, black-and-white, “If-you-oppose-Israel-then-you-hate-Jews” narrative so beloved of the British Zionist lobby. And if that narrative requires viciously telling Jews who oppose Israel that they are traitors who hate themselves, or that they are ‘the wrong kind of Jew‘, then it will continue to happen. As is always the way with these matters, what makes money is what decides.

While I am a Jew, I am not a Zionist, nor an Israel-supporter. I am also not a traitor, nor a self-hater. If that confuses people at the Daily Mail or their gullible readers, I suggest they learn to live with it. I am not going to change my moral or intellectual positions just to make it easier for the ignorant to slot different social groups into handy categories.

by Martin Odoni

I have received a comment on the article I put up yesterday. I am unsure whether the person who posted it – an Israeli Jew and presumably a Zionist – was aware of the irony, but in posting it, he demonstrated precisely the point the article was making.

NB: I considered concealing the name of the commenter from this screenshot, but then I thought, “What would be the point? He was happy singing out his name when making the comment in the first place, and he hardly deserves his privacy to be protected anyway.”

zionist malice

(Where Jacobs says “he”, he means Jeremy Corbyn.) The Jews to which Jacobs refers were the group ‘Jewdas’ and the fact that he put speech marks around the word “jews” shows that he cannot tolerate the idea that ‘Jewdas’ are Jewish people at all. They are “the wrong kind of Jew”.

Then, there is Jacobs’ use of the slur ‘Kapo’. This is a particularly malicious and dirty insinuation. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, Jacobs is accusing myself and other Jewish opponents of Israel of being prisoners in a World War II concentration camp who help the Nazi officers to run the facility, including by informing on any fellow prisoners who disobey the rules. It effectively implies a Jew who co-operates with the Holocaust. I am a Jew who dares criticise Israel’s barbaric treatment of the Palestinians, therefore I am the enemy-within. That makes me “the wrong kind of Jew” as well.

Is everyone clear just how cruel, and yes, anti-Semitic this topic of ‘undesirable kinds of Jews’ really is yet? And how vicious, bigoted, and aggressive hardcore Zionists can be, especially towards Jews themselves? Can you imagine the public uproar there would be if a Zionist had received remarks similar to these from someone in the Labour Party?

Zionism as a whole is anti-Semitic in tendency; it accepts the anti-Semitic notion that Jews cannot co-exist with gentiles (which is plainly untrue given how large the Jewish diaspora is) and so should be sent elsewhere, and its frequent intolerance of non-conformity of Jewish opinion is oppressive to Jewish people.

Zionists are not the victims in modern Britain, they are the aggressors in Palestine, and it is high time that the current establishment-narrative was exposed for the deceit it is.