Monday 30 October 2023

Another Night of Terror


Israel is following policies which maximise its security threats... policies which choose expansion over security... policies which lead to their moral degradation, their isolation, their delegitimation, and very likely ultimate destruction.” Noam Chomsky

I wake up every morning to the news of another night of terror and death for the people of Gaza – and now also those living on the West Bank. Here in the UK our political ‘leaders’ (a misnomer there) continue to support the killings. In refusing to back calls for a ceasefire a Labour Party shadow minister argued that it would be wrong to say anything while there was ‘ongoing military action’. A bit like saying it would be wrong to say anything about Auschwitz while the gas ovens were still operating.

Talking of which I learned my anti-fascism from my father who was one of the first Allied doctors to enter Bergen Belsen concentration camp. As a toddler I emptied the bottom drawer of his desk and discovered photos of the emaciated bodies of the camp’s inmates. My politics developed from that moment.

I am proud of my many Jewish friends who are as angry as I am over Israeli massacres. Indeed I was going to attend last Saturday’s demonstration with Albert Einstein’’s great grandniece. Unfortunately she was too ill to come with me. 

There are one or two who wrote me out of their lifetime script after I supported Jeremy Corbyn and Ken Livingstone. They, and therefore me, were considered to be anti-semites. Today Jeremy Corbyn has been replaced with a leader who holds the record for expelling Jews from the Labour Party.

I have written before about the historical background to Zionism and of its opponents, the proud Jewish tradition of Bundism, that survives to this day. Here it is and I hope those who still support Israel will read it and wake up tomorrow sharing my nightmares and determined to take whatever action they can to bring this terror to an end. 

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Teaching the UN a lesson


In the past two weeks 2,400 Palestinian children in Gaza have been killed as a result of bombardment by the Israeli Defence Force. At present, 600,000 displaced people are sheltering in 150 UN facilities as food, medicine, water and fuel are running out. 

As of yesterday, Israel is refusing visas to allow UN officials to enter Gaza. This is after UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, criticised Israel for ordering the evacuation of civilians from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip. Guterres said that Hamas’s attack on October 7 did not happen “in a vacuum”. Gilad Erdam, Israel’s Representative at the UN said, “The time has come to teach [the UN] a lesson.” 

Like so many, I am angry and frustrated at this blatant inhumanity. Because of the pathetic response from our political leaders the street is our only power. I will join the weekly London demonstrations.

Thirty years ago, I was co-founder of the charity, War Child. We brought into the Bosnia Herzegovina city of Mostar a mobile bakery which fed 16,000 people a day. The Croatian besiegers gave us assurance that our food production and deliveries would not be attacked. Even in the midst of that barbarism, there were some rules. 

In Gaza today, there are no rules and the only assurance is death.

Monday 16 October 2023

"The (Israeli) state idea is not according to my heart." Albert Einstein


I have known Merilyn Moos for over 50 years. I first met her when we both taught at a north London college. She was then, and still is, a revolutionary socialist. The daughter of two communists who escaped Nazi Germany in 1933, they were some of the luckier ones. Many of their relatives were killed. Her surviving family live in the UK, the USA and in Israel. I helped to edit her recent memoir, Living with Shadows’. 

Just back from Bosnia, I visited her today. I wanted to know if she had been at Saturday's demonstration in support of Palestine and was eager to get her take on the terrible situation in Gaza. Despite ill health she had attended. I know she agrees with her great uncle, Albert Einstein, who said “The (Israeli) state idea is not according to my heart. I cannot understand why it is needed … I believe it is bad.” 

Like me,  she thinks the situation in Palestine/Israel will only become viable when the apartheid regime is dismantled and replaced with one state for all its people. I asked her if she had watched David Hearst’ recent broadcast, The Myth of Self-defence on the situation. 

She had, and told me that she had stopped reading The Guardian. We agree that the corporate media are as compromised as our politicians for discussing the situation totally out of context. we hve both turned to Al Jazeera and I said this cartoon sums up that situation. We found a moment in all this horror to share a laugh.

I told her that I would return home to write this blog. She asked me to mention her support for Medical Aid for Palestine and would I please add their link.

NOTE: Soon after leaving Merilyn, I learned that The Giardian cartoonist, Steve Bell, who had worked for them for four decades had been sacked for what thy regarded as an anti-semitic cartoon.

Friday 13 October 2023

The Train to Barbarism


I went to a meeting 50 years ago where Tony Cliff (Ygael Gluckstein) was speaking. Born to a Jewish family in Palestine, he was made stateless because of his opposition to Zionism. He said this, “we are all on a train. The rich are in the dining car, the middle class in the carriages, the working class standing in the corridors, and the train is speeding towards barbarism.” He was right, but he forgot to mention the driver and the guards. They are the politicians and the corporate media. We have to stop this train and reverse direction. This will involve pushing past the guards, taking control of the drivers cab and de-coupling the first class carriage.