More than 40 Labour MPs formed a human shield around their Jewish colleague Ruth Smeeth this morning as she arrived at a disciplinary hearing of an activist accused of being anti-Semitic towards her.
Flanked by dozens of her colleagues, Ms Smeeth, an outspoken campaigner against anti-Jewish hatred in the Labour Party, was heckled by far-left activists demonstrating outside the hearing in Westminster.
She was due to give evidence against Marc Wadsworth, a Jeremy Corbyn supporter who is alleged to have accused her of colluding with the media during a press conference on anti-Semitism two years ago.
The exchange, which took place at the launch of Labour’s Chakrabarti report, resulted in Ms Smeeth breaking down in tears.
Mr Wadsworth was condemned afterwards by Baroness Chakrabarti, who said he had behaved “incredibly rudely”. He was later suspended pending investigation.
Read more from the Telegraph 24 April 2018: http://tgr.ph/Hj0MNJ
As Smeeth walks out (from the Chakrabarti Report Launch) I hear Jeremy Corbyn dealing with what Wadsworth has said. He is dealing with it calmly, no dramatics. This is what I expect from politicians, rationality. I am too often disappointed. ‘How dare you? How absolutely dare you?’ shouts Smeeth Is that what we should expect from those who have the privilege to represent us? Yes Wadsworth is clumsy, but Smeeth is cruel.
When she shouts ‘how dare you’ and walks out it no longer matters what Wadsworth has said, what he alleges, Smeeth has changed the nature of the interaction argument to intimidation. How dare he challenge her? To challenge authority and privilege is indeed an act of daring. Observe this carefully, observe where power lies and ask who is being victimised.
Marc Wadsworth has been expelled from the party, not for the antisemitism that he had been accused of but for ‘bring the party into disrepute’. It is not however Wadsworth who has brought the party into disrepute it is Smeeth. To my eyes it is Smeeth but I suppose my eyes do not matter.
Ken Livingstone has been in the news again. The fuss over a remark he made two years ago continues.
It seems to me that Ken made a daft and irrelevant remark that was not dismissed as a daft remark but was immediately attacked as heresy. I find the reaction a lot more scarily fascistic than anything Ken said ..
Where there is free speech there are going to things said that offend others. Sometimes this will be understandable and we will take other people’s being offended or hurt into account, at other times we will explain why what we have said is important to us.
I understand the sensitivities around comparing the behaviour of the Israeli state to that of the Nazi regime but where the analogy is apt it should not be out of bounds. The analogy is not used of particular Israel individuals, behaviours or institutions on account of their Jewishness but on account of their oppressiveness and to fail to condemn that oppressiveness is as much a betrayal of those who suffered under Nazi oppression as it is of those who suffer in Gaza under Israeli oppression. This Holocaust survivor makes this point powerfully:
(BTW, I do not endores the headlined equivalency. I don’t know much about the Zionist philosophy but I condemn oppressive Israeli practices)
All occupying armies become Nazis, all soldiers in occupying armies commit or permit atrocities. You would and I would, not because we are intrinsically evil but because doing evil is an inevitable consequence of being part of an invading and occupying army. Each war crime is a consequence of the initial war crime, which is the decision to invade or attack a country that has not attacked or threatened your own. In a democracy the people responsible for this decision are, in order of culpability, those who command it, those who implement it and those who consent to it, the government, the military and the citizenry. Those with greatest power bear the greatest responsibility but to the extent that we live in a democracy we all have some power.
“Antisemitism is not just a form of racism, it is a unique derangement that is based entirely on lies and demonisation. The same cannot be said of what is considered Islamophobia” says Melanie Phillips.
The implication here is that racism is not a derangement based entirely on lies and demonisation, that there are elements of rationality in racism. This is not true even on the most basic logical premise since racism is assigning negative qualities prejudicially to individuals in a group (demonising) on the assumption that all members of that group have those negative qualities.
Phillips’s statement about the way ‘Islamophobia’ is used to shut down legitimate criticism of Muslim communities is not something I would take issue with but the very same fomulation she uses can be applied to the way ‘antisemitism’ is used:
“Any criticism of Israel is considered antisemitic .. and is used as a means of shutting down legitimate criticism of the Israeli government. The term antisemitism itself is used to cover legitimate criticism of the state of Israel and specific Jewish institutions or individuals; criticism on the grounds of their behaviour an not of their Jesishness.”
To be a unicorn is to acknowledge that you are magical and that the world is magical. And, since this is true, being yourself is being a unicorn.
Being magical doesn’t mean that the world is always safe or that things magically go your way, it’s just that you know that even in the darkest of times, a light abides, and everything turns out well, even if you die.
Unicorns represent purity and the unicorn’s magic is only present to the extent of your purity. This is not intended to be moralistic, I’m not suggesting that you have to be an unsullied virgin or anything like that but you definitely need to be in harmony with yourself. As the song says ‘guilty feet have got no rhythm’, and magic is all about sensing, and weaving, harmonies and rhythms.
Be yourself. Be a unicorn.
Last month, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed the nerve agent used in the attack was delivered in liquid form. Police had previously said they believed the pair had been poisoned at the front door of Skripal’s home as specialists found the highest concentration of the nerve agent on the door.
Almost 200 military personnel in protective suits and boots will spend months decontaminating nine sites in the town.
So the story changes again. The Skripals must have been sprayed with Novichok rather than having been exposed to it through its being smeared on their front door handle by Russians trained in the art of door knob smearing. That makes so much more sense and explains the nine hotspots. But hang on .. Were the Skripals sprayed nine times with a lethal fast acting nerve agent in nine different places or were they sprayed once and trailed the lethal fast acting nerve agent around with them to nine different places? Perhaps there was a Russian with a water pistol following them from place to place and continuially missing until that one last time. It’s a miracle no one else was harmed by this stupendeously clumsy assassin.
“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
I sometimes wonder if the point of this theatre of the absurd is to condition us to believe all the improbable and impossible arguments that the government wants to sell to us.
BTW The Wikipedia definition of ‘Theatre of the Absurd’ is jarringly relevant to our current situation:
The Theatre of the Absurd (French: théâtre de l’absurde [teɑtʁ(ə) də lapsyʁd]) is a post–World War II designation for particular plays of absurdist fiction written by a number of primarily European playwrights in the late 1950s, as well as one for the style of theatre which has evolved from their work. Their work focused largely on the idea of existentialism and expressed what happens when human existence has no meaning or purpose and therefore all communication breaks down. Logical construction and argument gives way to irrational and illogical speech and to its ultimate conclusion, silence.
The picture is of me as ward secretary with three councillors, Jenny Bailey, Omana Gangadharan and Lester Hudson, representing my ward in Newham. It’s safe to say that Newham is a safe Labour borough but we campaigned actively winning all 60 seats and getting our new mayoral candidate Rokhsana Fiaz elected as Mayor.
I freely admit that I do not know much about the intricacies of national and party politics and so I was initially puzzled that some Labour supporters were disappointed by the overall results of the local elections in which Labour was well ahead in the number of seats gained. But I understand now that only 150 out of 405 councils held elections this year and a map of those councils shows a sea of blue with a few islands of red. It was this support boosted in the May 2017 local elections that made Theresa May miscalculate the odds of smashing Labour in the June 2018 general elections. With a total of 20,209 councillors, an increase by 77 is a drop in the ocean. Nevertheless given the mobilisation of the MSM and establishment against the Corbyn project a hold is a creditable performance. There is a lot of work to do if the Corbyn project is to succeed and given the orientation of the MSM much of this work has to involve very deep conversation that challenges political and ethical assumptions.
It’s hard to believe that I posted these pictures of some newspapers to Facebook just two days ago. In the space of three days since Monday morning the world has come to the point where the two most powerful nuclear armed nations are threatening to go to war with each other.
Douma is part of the East Ghouta where the Syrian government have been fighting the rebel/jihadi groups that have occupied the area. THey had defeated most of the rebels and recaptured most of East Ghouta when the Douma incident happened and the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad was accused of using chemical weapons on Douma.
Over the past three days I have posted a lot of stuff to Facebook and taken part in a number of discussions in Facebook groups. I don’t want to lose track of that content so I am reproducing some of my Facebook posts to this blog.
Propaganda and media distortion has been a feature of the Empire’s war on Syria since 2011.
Blaming Assad for all the killings in Syria is part of the West’s strategy to destabilise or destroy that country but people who have been to Syria and spoken to Syrians often report widespread support for Assad and question the ‘Butcher of Damascus’ narrative. This 2013 report by Mairead Maguire challenges that narrative:
“The US and the CIA should stop this illegal and counter productive war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad and should stay focussed on fighting who our enemy is, the Islamic extremist groups.”
I like this congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard. But Wolf Blitzer’s attempt to blame 200,000 to 300,00 deaths on Assad should be challenged. As well as supporting the insurgents militarily the US and its allies have been waging a propaganda campaign targeting Assad. We should not trust anything we hear on the mainstream media without examining it thoroughly.
For anyone who does not remember the liberation of Aleppo in December 2016. The US was doing its best to talk up an impending massacre a humanitarian disaster Samantha Power asked of Russia “have you no shame?”
Maria Zakharova had this reply from Russia:
When Aleppo was retaken by the Syrian Arab Army and its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies in December we did not see the massacres of civilians that Clinton and much of the US and UK mainstream media predicted instead we saw people relieved, celebrating their liberation from the oppression of the terrorists that Clinton, Obama, Cameron and Hollande had enabled. I highly recommend that you watch this short French documentary featuring interviews with the people of Aleppo:
As East Ghouta is liberated from the terrorists we see moving videos of their hostages exiting the liberated neighbourhoods. They are grateful to the army, they shout ‘God, Syria, Bashar’. This looks like a film produced by a state broadcaster but can anyone look at the faces, the emotions of these people and tell me that they are not genuine?
False Flag in Douma
The Russians informed the UN about chemical armaments found in liberated areas of East Ghouta almost a month ago.
They warned that “In East Ghuta, rebel jihadist fighters were preparing the staging of another alleged use of chemical weapons, which would then be blamed on the Syrian government and serve as a cause for a USA “reprisal” strike against Damascus.”
This video of suffering and dead children is distressing. Maybe it indicates that they were victims of chemical agents but it does not indicate that the were victims of the Syrian government using chemical weapons. It is counter intuitive, contrary to reason, to believe that with the Syrian Army on the brink of victory in Ghouta that they would needlessly use weapons whose use would give the worrld’s most powerful armed forces to attack them.
I don’t know how the chemicals might have gotten to the rebels/jihadists but look at this video from Tom Duggan a British journalist living in Damascus. He is walking through an arms factory in a liberated area of East Ghouta. It is clear that the rebels/jihadists have access to quite sophisticated armaments. It is clear that military supplies are coming in from somewhere.
The stakes are high. I’m not going to speculate about the Skripal case here but the way it has been used is to try to isolate Russia. This fits in with an agenda to attack Syria while Russia is on the backfoot. There is clearly coordination between the US and UK governments.
For me this image says it all – Syria, by the way, is the lady in the middle:
They are liars. And they know that they are liars
Here Syria’s ambassador Bashar Ja’afari responds to the threats of the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Halley, quoting the famous writer Najib Mahfouz:
“They are liars. And they know that they are liars.
And they know that we know that they are liars.
Even so, they keep lying very loudly so”
Exactly so. Everyone who looks knows that the US/UK are lying. Ja’afari tells them that he expects them lie about a chemical attack in order to justify an attack and a month later there is a chemical attack and they are using it to justify attacking Syria.
It is no big secret that false flags are standard practice for the Americans
Speaking of liars, here is Boris Johnson explaining how much the UK was giving in ‘non-humanitarian aid’ (what that) to help the White Helmets and to fund ‘police forces’ in Hama, Aleppo and Idlib, you know, the areas that were occupied by rebel/jihadists aka terrorists, at the time. What justifies setting up police forces in someone else’s country?
Unlike the case in other incidents Russian forces now have control of part of Douma and are able to inspect and invite inspections of the alleged chemical attack site.
The UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, opened the meeting by describing the reports about the alleged chemical attack in Douma and the subsequent airstrike against the Syrian T-4 air base. He called for an “independent investigation” of the alleged chemical incident and urged restraint for all sides, in view of the airbase attack.
Russia is deeply concerned by the fact that some capitals, Washington as well as London and Paris, which are “blindly following” their US allies, have engaged “in a confrontational policy against Russia and Syria without any justification,” The Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said during the meeting. He went on to say that Moscow recently faced “slander, hawkish rhetoric, sanctions, blackmail” and even “threats of force.”
When push comes to shove will Russia shove back?
There is no evidence that ‘Assad’ carried out a chemical attack, there is no verifiable evidence that there was a chemical attack, evidence is beginning to emerge that there was no chemical attack.
I appreciate good simple explanations of complex concepts – this looks like one.