Apartheid Israel has been waging war on muslims and christians in Gaza, destroying 35 Churches and Mosques. During its blood-thirsty reign of terror on the neighbourhoods of the defenceless civilian population of Gaza which has left over 300 dead, including scores of children, the Jewish supremacist state has destroyed a school run by nuns, a building used by the international media, and the roads leading to hospitals. The Israeli army have released a tweet featuring a verse from the Quaran, taunting the dead, amongst whom lies Gaza’s chief Covid medic, who was killed in bed along with generations of his family- 11 in total- ranging in age from2 and 80 years old.
Apartheid Israel has vaccinated its entire Jewish population but denied the vaccine to the people of Gaza whose Covid centres they have been destroyed by airstrikes. Only 1% of Gaza’s 2 million citizens, who live in what David Cameron called “an open air prison”, blockaded by Israel, have been vaccinated. In a desperate cry for help, Palestinians are asking the world to boycott Israeli goods to put pressure on the ultra-right military state to stop the massacres, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes, and the attacks on their holy sites.
America claims Israel has the right to defend itself. Germany claims that boycotting Israeli goods is anti-semitic. The British Labour Party is in the process of purging all Palestinian activists on trumped up charges of anti-semitism. But individuals all over the world are answering Palestine’s call by boycotting Israeli goods.
Look at your barcodes. If anything begins with the numbers 729, it’s from Israel.
Tommy Tiernan might have been hosting not just Ireland’s Late Late Show, but America’s, instead of the exceptionally unfunny James Cordon, such was his popularity right before being black-balled for a routine on Israel which has since been scrubbed from the internet. From memory it went something like this:
“Does Israel not care about what the world thinks of them? When anyone says anything to them about what they’re doing it’s- Fuck off, Fuck off, Fuck off! And to the Palestinians- fuck off back to where you don’t come from”
It’s with this in mind that I read of Israel’s attack on Al-Tafawk Children’s Centre in Jennin where children were tear-gassed by the IDF. I don’t know if they found any Hamas operatives. Maybe they found rocket launchers? In the past few days aswell as lying to the media about an imminent ground invasion to try to lure Hamas fighters into tunnels, they have released footage of Hamas supposedly launching rockets from beside a school which was actually footage from Syria in 2018. They’ve tried to claim that 11 children were killed when a Hamas rocket backfired. We can’t know for certain if that is true. What we do know for absolute certain is that the IDF, by their own admission, are liars, and it would be folly not to treat everything they say- hasbara, is Hebrew word for what the IDF say- with the deep scepticism it requires.
Another thing that we know for certain is that the IDF, in the last few days alone, has killed scores of children (as the body count steadily rises) including babies, born and unborn. We also know what infrastructure they have been targeting with their American-made, surgically precise missiles: medical centres, children’s centres, schools and an orphanage. A fucking orphanage! Israel has one of the most sophisticated PR machines on the planet. Dark, shadowy operations like Black Cube, and the IDF’s cyber warfare Unit 8200, where the spy that Starmer hired as “Social Listening and Organising Manager” to monitor the social media posts of the Labour Party, cut his teeth, are what Israel lead the world in. That and far-right politics. Blowing up an orphanage is brazen. Killing all those children is deliberate. It’s sending a message to the Palestinians like the message the God of the Hebrews sent Pharaoh when the Angel of Death took his first born son: don’t fuck with the Jews. Only instead of the demand that a people be released from bondage, this time the message is: “shut up and die quietly, this is our land”.
And as we all sit impotently watching as our governments tell us that the Middle East’s most powerful military has the right to commit these sickening war crimes against a wretched, captive population, Israel’s lip curls in a contemptuous sneer: “we’re bombing their schools, we’re bombing their hospitals, we’re bombing your media, what are you going do do about it? We’ve got nukes. Or do we? We don’t even have to tell you. Fuck you. Fuck off”.
Today four years ago I was standing in a square in Budapest. Behind me Donald Trump was making his inaugural speech, live on a huge screen, organised by Fidesz, Viktor Orban’s far right party. A small crowd huddled around in the sub zero January night, probably paid to be there, I remember thinking at the time. At the other side of the square there was a small counter-demonstration consisting of about a dozen Americans (members of The Democratic Party) holding candles, me, and my partner.
When each member of the group began to list all the good things Obama had done during his two terms, I began to feel a bit uneasy. Someone would say, “Obamacare”, then someone would say, “dealing with the financial crisis”, or some shit, I can’t remember exactly what they said, but they were doing really well, listing a seemingly endless litany of things that Obama had done that were supposedly good. Apart from being African American, I couldn’t think of anything good Obama had done, and he didn’t really do that. He couldn’t help being African American. When everyone had contributed, except me, I felt too self-conscious to hang about and discreetly exited stage left.
I didn’t know what was worse, seeing Hungarian fascists applaud Trump’s big oompah loompah harbinger of doom head spouting shite about American carnage, or the Democrats who I was slinking off from, oblivious to the fact that their celebration of Obama, their list of things Obama did, were the very things that put Trump in the White House. Those people either didn’t know what life in America was like for those who were not in the top 20% of the income bracket, or didn’t care.
The Democratic Party’s skill in transforming itself into the Party of corporate America under Clinton, which resulted in working class Americans abandoning it because it was seen as no longer serving their interests, which it doesn’t, was the force responsible for putting a ludicrous, narcissistic, far-right, con-man in the White House, who then proceeded to test the country’s democratic institutions. Four years later, watching Biden get sworn in, the one thing that’s painfully clear is that the Democrats have learnt nothing. They will continue to serve the top 20%, their donors, and Corporate America, until the next election cycle, when a real fascist- Tom Cotton, Nikki Haley, or some as yet unknown Omen figure- with an IQ in the triple digits, is ready to step in and not just test America’s democracy but launch a full on offensive. Trump was born out of the desperate need in America for things to fundamentally change. Biden’s promise that “nothing will fundamentally change” is therefore a grim threat.
In both 2016 and 2020, The Democratic Party, their apparatchiks, Corporate America, and crucially Obama, conspired to keep Bernie Sanders from winning the nomination, which should rightfully have been his, through dirty tricks and fraud. The details were made public by Julian Assange when Hilary’s emails were leaked to Wikileaks, which is why powerful actors have been trying to torture Assange to death ever since. I’d like to say the second time played out as farce but to me it was just even greater tragedy. And in denying Sanders the presidency, the Democrats might just have doomed America, and four years from now we might all end up paying a heavy price for what they have done. It didn’t have to be this way. Like in 2016, as in 2020, it could have been Bernie. It should have been Bernie.
Techno’s for big systems, really. Good luck if you’ve been able to hear it on a rig during this shitshow of a year. Yet, it was a bit of a bumper year for techno music in my view. Here’s some of my faves:
Blawan – Many Many Pings
This 4 tracker is a straight-up, no bullshit, no beatless ambient track at the end, full-on assault. It’s getting lashed with sweat by a massive gyrating bear in the main room of Berghain at 5AM. It’s very functional music, an unholy alliance of machine funk and brutality. Not that it’s artless: Hapexil Rotator is a percussive trance track which features the sound of a phone pairing with a speaker repeated as part of the drum palette. Lox is “boom-chk” for big systems, and a demonstration of the limits to which uncompromisingly hard music can be taken whilst retaining the funk. Lead track, Many Many Pings, is possibly the leeriest techno track I’ve ever heard. It’s the sonic equivalent of a Belfast teen, smashed on cans of Carling and cheap speed, skippy dancing around a bonfire, giving you a semi-good natured glancing head-butt that stops just short of your face. It’s falling into a K-hole at a gabba rave and experiencing the world fracture into a vista of nightmarish cartoons. In a good way, like.
Pretty Sneaky (S/T)
I’ve been collecting a series of records with no info except for a little hand stamp of a half-peeled banana. They are really, really DIY. Some tracks are just 10 minutes of percussion, where it sounds like someone’s hit themselves up the head with a banana, sampled it and looped it, yet somehow made it mesmeric, deeply funky, and poly-rhythmic (or at least playful with time-signatures). There have been 6 12″s to date, and an album. All are good, 5’s my favourite of the 12s, but the album is the one for me. I’ve a feeling that Pretty Sneaky could take a drum stick, a sound recorder, and a sampler and, after 10 minutes in any environment, produce something with zero budget yet limitless soul. Most people’s idea of minimal is Ricardo Villalobos. This is minimal. This and Kraftwerk.
Buttechno– Minimal Cuts
Basic Channel is the benchmark by which all dub techno is and will always be measured. There are lots of bad imitations, then there’s producers doing there own thing. Buttechno is a Russian lad whose productions are always interesting. This is an EP of swaggering , highly danceable dub-infused, club orientated techno.
Willie E. Coyote and The Road Runner
Bootleg here with a picture of Wily Cayote on one side and Roadrunner on the other. Atmospheric minimal techno with a female vocal that I can’t place, but works a treat. There’s a french minimal techno producer called Traumer who this sounds suspiciously like (to me anyway).
When played alongside some of Hamburg’s Growing Bin releases, this varied, very accessible, hugely enjoyable EP from a new Australian producer is a bit of an outlier in that it is a fairly straight-up club record, albeit an impeccably sound-designed one. Emulator is an absolute destroyer.
Another dub techno record but of a slightly different flavour to Buttechno’s. It has elements of garage in there, in that hybridized UK sort of way. Extra-shuffley, wee bit rude-bwoy, deep as the Atlantic fault. Like Basic Channel stuff, you can hear a love of Jamaican music in the DNA. This is dub music of the very highest quality. Love it.
I wish Britain was the kind of place where people cared whether their Prime Minister had a problem with Jews. Sadly they don’t. When Brits went to the polls in 2017 and 2019 they didn’t care whether or not Corbyn hated Jews, Pakistanis, or the Irish. They cared about one thing: Brexit.
The Tories knew this; they’ve always done focus group-based research better than Labour. They got that Brits don’t really get referenda- they voted in in 1972, they voted out 46 years later. They don’t have them much, and they think a referendum is like a first past the post election and the result must be implemented. Those that voted to remain demanded that Brexit be implemented, and “Get Brexit Done” is exactly what the people voted for in 2019.
2017 was a different story. May was the remainer charged with leading the leave party. Corbyn was a closet leaver expected to pose as a remainer. Both parties had pledged to respect the outcome of the referendum and Corbyn, having swelled the party membership to the largest in Europe and the biggest increase in votes since the end of WW2 came a couple of thousand votes from power, in spite of being the most vilified politician in British history (not hyperbole).
That scared Murdoch, who on hearing the exit polls and thinking Corbyn was on his way to number 10, allegedly stormed out of the room and slammed the door. It scared the military and security services. It scared Israel. It scared Washington. It scared the BBC. Then, after the Manchester bombing, when he linked terrorism to British foreign policy, and to the shock of the aforementioned, it resonated with the general public, it was the last straw. He needed to be stopped. So they (the aforementioned) pulled out all the stops and smeared the man and his movement as antisemitic unrelentingly for two years, until in 2019 Labour suffered a disastrous defeat. But not because people cared about Corbyn being a jew-hater. As I say, I wish Britain was that sort of place. People rejected Labour at the ballot box because they thought they weren’t going to honour the result of the referendum. The media’s relentless, shameful smearing of the Corbyn movement as “an existential threat to Jews”, as Rabbi Jonathan Sachs- the calm, sober, reasoned voice of the British political centre, posited on Radio 4, was merely a strategy for avoiding talking about funding the NHS, public spending, taxing the rich, higher minimum wage, ending zero hours contracts, job security, ending tuition fees, re-nationalisation – all the things even tory voters wanted in austerity-battered Britain.
Labour were trounced in 2019 because Keir Starmer forced the party to back a policy of having a second vote, which back-fired (or worked, depending on whose perspective you see it from) spectacularly. Starmer talked about nothing but the second vote until he pressured Corbyn to reluctantly adopt it as policy. There’s been no mention of it from Starmer since- that’s how commited to the European Union he is. Of course there were some who have seen Starmer as the Shakespearean villain that he is from the outset: he was up to his neck in the chicken coup of 2016, was the primary reason for Labour’s crushing defeat in 2019, then became leader by promising to keep Corbynism, which he immediately jettisoned before culling the left (including Corbyn!) with Stalinistic ruthlessness.
Capital pushed back against the prospect of a fairer, more equitable society by weaponising false claims of antisemitism, instigated by the Israeli security services running psy-ops within the Labour party which there is lengthy video evidence for. If there is video footage of people conspiring it ceases to be theoretical and becomes hard documented fact. Conspiracy fact. The Israeli spy, Shai Masot, working for the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, set up to combat BDS, was caught by an undercover journalist, training members of Labour friends of Israel in how to weaponise antisemitism, rumbled and fled back to Israel. The media, with the honourable exception of the Channel 4 News, pretended this didn’t happen, and carried on smearing Labour with baseless, evidence free allegations of a culture of antisemitism, which to this day are completely unsubstantiated.
Labour lost the 2019 election because Keir Starmer forced the party to back a second referendum. Now he’s going about sacking left-wingers like his leadership opponent and his predecessor for unfounded allegations of antisemitism. He is the willing tool of Capital’s determination to make the opposition compliant again; sanitised. In so doing, Starmer has no problem in forgoing what the Czech dramatist and political dissident Vaclav Havel called living in the truth. He refused to reveal his donors during the leadership contest because the main one was ultra-right Israel lobbiest, Trevor Chin. Israel needs both of Britain’s main political parties to turn a blind eye to the IDF massacring Palestinian children, and Starmer, for a price, is perfectly prepared to.
He’s perfectly prepared to accept that antisemitism has been conflated with opposition to the settler colonial, apartheid zionist project by the IHRA definition, which he has unreservedly embraced, and now Antisemitism has become a political shibboleth in the media for left-wing. A self-described Zionist, he has no qualms about the IHRA’s chilling effect on criticism of Israel, he’s all for it. He’s all for using left-wing MPs’ criticism of Israel on social media to rid the party of socialists. He knows that for most socialists zionism is racism and therefore incompatible with socialism. Ironically, real antisemitism resides amongst non-Jewish zionists, as it always has done historically. The Tories eg. hold more antisemitic views than Labour but count more zionists amongst their number. This is an aspect of how political thought amongst the public has been perverted by the mainstream media, the right of British politics, and the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Starmer is happy to live in the lie, play the game, and be patted on the head when the time comes by those, like Murdoch, who will trust him not to do anything too principled when the time comes. Pretending the Labour Party is institutionally antisemitic is a test of ones principles, and Starmer’s acing that particular test by demonstrating that he has none.
But his time will never come. He’s over-played his hand. He’s divided the party in a way more profound than Michael Foot did in the 80s when Labour literally split. He crossed his rubicon with Corbyn, and badly lost the run of himself. Starmer’s problem is that he and Corbyn are playing very different games, at a different intersection of politics and history. Against an equally machiavellian opponent, Starmer might seem a shrewd, cunning practitioner of twelve dimensional political chess. Starmer’s gone to war with Corbyn, a man whose peerlessly unimpeachable integrity has earned him a cult following not just in Britain but in the US, and a devotion amongst his party’s base the like of which has been unseen since Thatcher. Capital can try pushing back against the tide of political fury represented by the Corbyn movement, but that was just the first wave. Starmer isn’t made of the same stuff Corbyn is and he’s going under. I’ll give it a year, 4 max, before he’s washed up and exposed as the bought, self-serving, unprincipled slime-ball that he is.
America kind of hates Britain. Well, not exactly Britain, but England. And when I say America I mean Irish America.
Whatever could I mean? Well, consider two separate court cases concerning the recent armed conflict involving Britain and Ireland. One in London, one in New York.
In response to the Guildford Pub bombings, carried out by the IRA in 1974, Paul Hill, along with three others, was picked up by police who obtained a confession from him through torture. Hill had the misfortune of being a 20 year old in London during a period of relatively recent history when pubs bore the legend “no blacks, no dogs, no Irish”, an Irish accent could get you spat on on public transport, and Irish jokes were the staple of the Saturday night family entertainment gameshow host. Judgement on the four innocents was passed as follows:
“The verdict was guilty. Mr. Justice Donaldson, bewigged and dressed in a scarlet robe, summoned up all the authority of his office to denounce the defendants’ crimes and lament the fact that Britain had abolished capital punishment. If hanging were an option, he told the three men, ”you would have been executed.”” (New York Times)
Contrast this with the 1982 Federal court case where a jury in Brooklyn acquitted five IRA men caught red handed buying weapons from undercover CIA operatives:
“Pandemonium erupted among 100 supporters of the defendants when the verdict was read at mid afternoon. The supporters, many of whom had been at the trial daily, cheered, clapped, waved flags and chanted slogans in a demonstration that spilled from Judge Joseph McLaughlin’s sixth-floor courtroom into the corridors of the United States Courthouse on Cadman Plaza East. ‘Up the Provos’ (New York Times, Nov. 6, 1982)
You see the difference?
I point this out not as an apologia for heinous acts commited by the IRA, of which there were many, and the Guildford Pub bombings amongst them, but rather as illustrative examples aimed at the gammon-faced Jim Davidsons out there: guess whose side America is on? I’ll give you a clue- it’s not yours.
You see, many Irish Americans are more clued up about Irish (and therefore British) history than English people. They know about Cromwell sacking whole towns like Drogheda and Toome, putting every man woman and child on spits. They know about the penal laws: masses celebrated in fields by priests under pain of death; the beloved Irish language whispered in secret for fear of imprisonment. They know about the Irish Famine, especially the fact that it wasn’t so much a famine as a genocide. There was plenty of food, it was just all exported to England. Peasants who toiled all day for potatoes, the only crop that they were permitted to subsist on by their overlords, were at the recommendation of The Economist magazine amongst other evil bastards, allowed to starve, forcing millions to emigrate. The population of Ireland never recovered. To this day there are millions fewer than there were in 1847 when half dead men, women and children boarded boats in Cork bound for New York, and “Coffin Ships” in Galway bound for Boston.
The English don’t learn about this in school, but the Irish American diaspora are a treasured repository of the folk memories of centuries of oppression. These live on in cultural practises like Irish grannies making sure everyone is warm enough and has enough to eat, forcing food on visitors every five minutes to the point of farce. The English version of The Troubles is “IRA bad”. Irish Americans know different. Irish Americans know what the BBC and the British education system make sure the population are left in the dark about: the civil rights movement, British Army collusion with loyalist death squads and the torture and murder of catholic civilians, the creation of Northern Ireland itself which was done against the will of the Irish people with the three most catholic counties of Ulster- Cavan, Monaghan, and Donegal- given to to the Republic in order to ensure a protestant majority where the first head of state declared it to be “a protestant state for a protestant people”.
There are now a lot of very educated, very clever, very influential Irish Americans in the corridors of power all over the country. The descendants of those who landed in Boston, half-dead, have honoured the memories of their ancestors with a zeal that only the children of the new world can. Their rise through Ivy League Universities to Washington D.C. has been meteoric. The Kennedy clan are as close to royalty as exists in the States. After Paul Hill of the Guildford Four had his wrongful conviction overturned, he married one of them.
Powerful Irish Americans bit their lips while Thatcher played footsie with Reagan, but as soon as the Tories were kicked out Clinton got the Good Friday Agreement signed. And they really like it. . It’s one of those sacrosanct international agreements for Americans. They would be very displeased if some piss-ant little country who has been terrorising their ancestors for centuries would dishonour that agreement.
Since well before Brexit, commentators like Fintan O’Toole have been pointing out that the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, which is Internationally ratified, means that there must effectively be a border down the Irish sea if Britain leaves Europe. It’s that simple, and always has been. At the minute Dominic Raab is in Washington begging for a trade deal, wringing his cap in his hands like an Irish peasant begging an English landlord not to evict his family. What goes around comes around, as they say. Sometimes hope and history rhyme, and karmic justice plays out in unusual ways, like now, centuries on, as the Irish of the new world get to put a bit of manners on the callous elites of the former British Empire. I don’t know what they’re saying to Raab but I hope it goes something like this: “an Oxford education and a plum in your mouth doesn’t mean shit round here. Jump off a cliff all you like, but you’re not taking our mother country with you. Now fuck off.”
Kerry-Anne Mendoza of The Canary, in the light of Rebecca Long-Bailey’s sacking, has called for the left to re-organise. Unless the left is united in its response to the witch-hunt, Labour Party members who feel a deep moral obligation to stand with Palestinians in their struggle against the Israeli settler colonial project will be picked off until the purge renders any criticism of Israel taboo. It is crucial, in this particular moment, that we are not further divided over this issue in order to put a stop to the purge of those on the left of the party.
So, what might unity look like? Here’s a set of principles that might be useful when posing a united front against the witch-hunt. It’s a work in progress:
- The Labour Party is not institutionally anti-semitic, nor any more anti-semitic than any other British political party. There is no evidence to suggest otherwise and any suggestion to the contrary must be rejected unequivocally as slander or libel.
- We reject the IHRA definition of anti-semitism on the grounds that referring to Israel as “a racist endeavour” constitute’s anti-semitism. It is valid to hold this belief.
- We refuse to allow party policy to be dictated by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Campaign Against Ant-Semitism, or any other external organisation or pressure group. This includes a refusal to sign up to any set of principles imposed on party members by any such organisations, particularly those which aim to undermine the Labour Party’s electoral chances, or otherwise seek to influence the Party for their own political ends.
- That guidance on all matters regarding anti-Semitism as it relates to the Labour Party, and in wider society, should be sought from Jewish Voice for Labour, whose judgement on these matters, as the Labour Party’s only genuine leftist Jewish organisation, should ultimately be deferred to.
- As socialists we regard anti-semitism as as abhorrent as any other form of racism, and we are committed to educating ourselves about the various ways in which it manifests. We must know what anti-semitism is, and what it isn’t, and fight it where we find it.
- We are committed to ensuring that anti-semitism is exposed and confronted where it is most prevalent. All research indicates that this is on the right, and in particular the far-right of global and domestic politics, where it often goes hand in glove with support for Israel. An obsession by supporters of Israel on left-wing anti-semitism, real or imagined, is dangerous in its misrepresentation of where all data tells us the problem lies and ultimately harms Jews. We will robustly defend false accusations of anti-semitism against the left, whilst directing our energies toward fighting anti-semitism where it actually exists.
As a post note on strategy: attack is an effective form of defence. When confronted with false or dubious allegations of anti-semitism, attack the accuser as a bad faith actor, demand evidence, question their motives, demand apologies, threaten legal action, agitate, start social media campaigns and days of action against witch-hunters. Publicly call liars out as the liars that they are. Some will be associates of true anti-semites on the right. Expose them. Attack their conception of Judaism as one monolithic Israel-supporting group as the anti-semitism that it is. We are interested in the well-being of Jews, they are interested in Israeli imperialism , even if it harms Jews. Simplify the message. Attack.
Corbyn was an errand boy sent by us. The next one won’t ask so politely.