The Colour of Money

20th May 2018

Castle

Windsor Castle – book now for 2019….

If every board member of every company listed on the FTSE 100 was a woman, it would not be a step forward for the equality of the sexes.  If every board member were black or gay it would not represent a step of any significance for tackling racial equality or homophobia.  Why?  Because the issue is not gender, race or sexual inclination, it is about oppression.  No matter what race or gender you are from, if you rise to the top in a system based upon exploitation you are simply being incorporated by the exploiters.

The fact that Margaret Thatcher was a woman did not prevent her from being an active enemy of the people.  Theresa May’s gender is not lightening the load of those facing homelessness, universal credit or zero hours contracts.

The aristocracy in the UK, the monarchy in particular, is the ruling class soap opera which is designed to distract people from these considerations.  The incorporation this weekend of a US citizen of mixed race into the British monarchy is, we are told, a sign that the monarchy is changing, becoming more modern, reflecting more closely the society of which it is a part.   To suggest that this is arrant nonsense is regarded as treachery in some quarters but we should not expect anything different from the Neanderthals of Little England.

The same cry taken up by the liberal press in the UK however, cannot be excused.  The gushing coverage of this weekend’s royal wedding, which kicks off the front page by Tim Adams in The Observer (20th May 2018), is a classic example.  Covering the build up and the service in fawning detail Adams concludes that, because Meghan Markle addressed a conference in Atlanta last year about racism in Hollywood, “you couldn’t help feeling that she had changed perceptions of princesses just a little bit, but perhaps forever.”

Similar twaddle is repeated by Alfua Hirsch, as The Observer continues its seven pages of royal wedding coverage, who suggests that Markle was “allowing her wedding to be not just a pageant of tradition, but also a celebration of blackness”, due to the ethnic diversity of the guests from TV, film and sports ‘royalty’.  Jess Cartner-Morley may have been the victim of some vicious sub editing but the piece on Markle’s wedding dress with her by-line was headlined, “cool and beautifully simple, a dress fit for a princess and a feminist icon.”  Feminist icon, really?

Buried further on in the comment and analysis section of The Observer it fell to Kenan Malik to restore a semblance of sanity to coverage, stating,

“As for the belief that Meghan will break down barriers for black people and make minorities more accepted as truly British, that’s as anachronistic as the monarchy.  Faced by an abusive skinhead or by a police officer about to stop and search me, my first thought has never been: “If only there was a black Windsor, then I might be accepted more.””

Meghan Markle may well be a perfectly decent, humanitarian and well intentioned person.  Swapping a relatively successful acting career for the job of selling royalty as celebrity to the British people however, may be her biggest performance to date.  As Kenan Malik concludes,

“Equality does not mean making inherited privilege more “diverse”.  It requires us to get rid of the whole shebang.  Adding a splash of colour to a feudal relic is not my idea of social progress.”

However it is dressed, the royal wedding was a knees up run by millionaires to celebrate their continued privilege, while the nation could only look on and count the cost.  At the end of the day, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that, whatever the colour of those on the guest list, when it comes to the British ruling class the only colour that really matters is the colour of money.

 

A one-sided massacre by Israeli troops on the Gaza border

15th May 2018

palestinian

Israeli troops’ wanton slaughter of unarmed protesters serves as a fitting reminder of the inhuman treatment meted out to Palestinians since being driven off their land to facilitate Israel’s establishment 70 years ago.

International disregard for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees scattered to the four winds by the zionists’ superior armed forces is again mirrored in bourgeois media coverage of today’s killing.

The New York Times recounted that “dozens of Palestinians have died in protests” near the border fence, giving the impression of a unforeseen accident or genetic weakness suddenly taking hold of them.

A similar headline on the BBC website, “Dozens die as US opens Jerusalem embassy” was changed after protests to “Dozens killed as US opens Jerusalem embassy.”

The BBC One O’Clock TV news informed viewers in a judgement-free observation that “violence erupted” on the Gaza border as though two sides had collided and resorted to fighting.

The Times of Israel reported “dozens killed in Gaza clashes,” once again suggesting head-to-head fierce combat.

In contrast, Israeli daily Haaretz headlined in the early afternoon: “Jerusalem Embassy and Gaza Protests. 41 Palestinians Reported Killed by Israeli Gunfire at Border. Over 1,600 wounded, 772 from live gunfire.”

This lays bare the reality of a one-sided massacre, in which one Israeli soldier was slightly hurt by a stone while soldiers of “the most moral army in the world” fired live rounds freely against civilians because political and military leaders would back them regardless.

What chance is there of Israeli civil society or the judiciary curbing the blood lust of politicians from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu down after the Shin Bet security service issued a wild weekend warning?

It forecast: “On May 14, the Hamas terrorist organisation plans to send armed terrorists among 250,000 violent rioters to swarm and breach Israel’s border with Gaza and enter Israeli communities.”

Israel’s government purports to believe that, if it warns Palestinians that they could be “jeopardising” their lives by protesting, they and their troops are legally vindicated.

They must know that this attempt to flout international law is wrong and unfounded.

As human rights group Amnesty International commented, “we are witnessing an abhorrent violation of international law and human rights in Gaza … This must end immediately.”

Unarmed Palestinians are fully entitled to demonstrate for the right of refugees to return to the homes they were driven from in 1948 and several times since. This right is enshrined in United Nations resolution 194.

Every single Palestinian casualty shot by live rounds, wounded by rubber-coated steel bullets or disabled by gas grenades incurred their injuries in Gaza. Not a single one had crossed into Israel, despite the hysteria of zionist politicians, security service and military top brass.

While Israeli soldiers conducted their unrestrained butchery across the border, displaying their moral superiority by killing unarmed children, women and men, government ministers boasted of their achievement in having the Trump administration further display its contempt for international law by shifting the US embassy to Jerusalem.

As with the massacre of at least 52 civilians yesterday and over 1,200 wounded by gunfire, US recognition of occupied East Jerusalem as part of Israel’s capital city doesn’t make it lawful.

Nor does Trump’s plan to impose, alongside Israel, a “peace” settlement on the Palestinians.

Political and media toleration of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people should spur even greater efforts by civil society in Britain to reject our government’s shameful stance and win yet more support for the peaceful boycott, disinvestment, sanctions (BDS) campaign to isolate apartheid Israel.

This article appeared in the Morning Star 15th May 2018

Pouring gasoline on the fire

7th May 2018

netanyahu(2)

Netanyahu alleges Iranian nuclear capability

Events in the Middle East are building towards a critical point over the coming days with a combination of key decisions and key anniversaries combining to make what could be a potentially explosive mix of circumstances.  Added to which is the volatility of the key protagonists, not least US President, Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who have done their best to ramp up tensions in recent weeks.

Further uncertainty, provided by the theocratic dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and Iran, locked in a struggle for supremacy in the Muslim world, means that the chances of emerging from the next fortnight without a significant flashpoint are precarious.

The first key date is 12th May, when Donald Trump has a deadline by which to decide whether the US will continue to adhere to the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which limits the capacity for Iran to develop nuclear technology.  The deal was signed in 2015 under the Obama administration and engaged the key EU nations along with the US, China and Russia.  In spite of the fact that the deal has barely made an impact upon the international sanctions imposed upon the Iranian regime, Trump regards the deal as “the worst deal in history” and has pledged to pull the US out of it.

The Israelis and Saudis, in a somewhat unholy alliance, back the US on the basis that anything which brings pressure to bear upon Iran, weakening the chances of Iranian economic recovery, is in their interest.   In a bizarre television performance last week Netanyahu took to the airwaves in Israel to allegedly reveal evidence of Iran’s development of nuclear weapons technology.

Quite where Netanyahu sourced his information is unclear, as the inspection regime headed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as part of the JCPOA, has verified 10 times, most recently in February of this year, that Iran is in compliance.

Netanyahu has stated that Israel is prepared to go to war with Iran in order to stop Iranian influence in the war of intervention in Syria, stating,

“We are determined to block Iran’s aggression against us even if this means a struggle. Better now than later.  Nations that were unprepared to take timely action to counter murderous aggression against them paid much heavier prices afterwards. We do not want escalation, but we are prepared for any scenario.”

Iran’s aggression against Israel appears to be the support provided to the government of President Assad in Syria.  This has resulted in the striking of Iranian targets inside Syria, by the Israelis, several times in recent weeks.

The provocation from Netanyahu and Trump is matched in kind by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who has pitched in to suggest that,

“If the United States leaves the nuclear agreement, you will soon see that they will regret it like never before in history.  Trump must know that our people are united, the Zionist regime (Israel) must know that our people are united.”

Iran has said that if the US reimposes sanctions it may resume enriching uranium.

Israel on the other hand has an undeclared nuclear arsenal of an estimated 200 nuclear warheads and is not a signatory to the international non-proliferation treaty.

The next date of significance, 14th May, is the 70th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel.  It is closely followed by the day commemorated by Palestinians as the Nakba or ‘catastrophe’ on 15th May when thousands were driven from their land to make way for the Israeli state.

The wave of protests building up to these dates has already seen the Israeli Defence Force shoot dead 40 Palestinian protesters and injure countless others, as peaceful protests have been targeted by the Israeli state with live ammunition.

Jerusalem’s status has been a major obstacle in peace negotiations.  The international community, through the United Nations, hold that sovereignty over the city should be agreed between the two sides. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as a capital of a future independent state, but Israel captured it in 1967. It later annexed the city and claims the entire area as its “eternal and undivided” capital.

During the course of this week of significant anniversaries the contribution of the US will be to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  Writing in Israeli paper Haaretz, Ilan Goldenberg, who was part of the US team during the 2013-14 Israeli-Palestinian negotiations stated that the embassy move,

“…could explode – and we could find ourselves in the middle of a new war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Nobody knows, but it is irresponsible for the US to be dumping gasoline on this potential fire.”

European leaders, Emmanuel Macron of France, Angela Merkel of Germany, even UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson has attempted to persuade Donald Trump this week not to cut loose from the Iran deal and open the pandora’s box which would follow.  Will Trump listen to reason?  The track record so far is not good.  The clock is ticking….

 

 

Hostile environment at the Home Office

29th April 2018

MayRudd

Amber Rudd and Theresa May – colluding to hang on to their jobs

In any other government at virtually any other time Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, would be heading for the backbenches, her feet barely touching the ground.  It should have been enough that she has a blind spot to the growing Windrush scandal, which has seen legitimate residents of the UK threatened with deportation or refused entry back into the country.  Rudd however has denied that the Home Office had any deportation targets one day then, upon ‘discovering’ that they did the next day, she decides to abolish them.  Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted perhaps?

If these scandals were not enough Rudd’s paper thin narrative unravels even further with evidence produced by The Guardian that she was copied into internal memos from her department, advising on progress being made against the targets for deportations, targets she denied knowing anything about!

The memos are not even remotely ambiguous.  One indicates that progress has been made on the “path towards the 10% increased performance on enforced returns, which we promised the home secretary earlier this year.”  Sources inside the Home Office, quoted by The Guardian, claim that the department was tasked to achieve a 10% increase in the number of people being removed from the UK every year.  Better still, the target was set by Rudd personally!  The source went on to say,

“These programmes are being run by civil servants, but the policies are being driven by politicians.  The pressure comes from the top and Amber Rudd is at the top.  She is the one cracking the whip.”

In the cut and thrust of political debate calls for sackings and resignations can become routine.  In this instance we have a Secretary of State who is at best exposed as incompetent, at worst she has deliberately misled the House of Commons.  As Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, has said,

“Amber Rudd either failed to read this memo, and has no clear understanding of the policies in her own department, or she has misled parliament and the British people.  Either way, she needs to accept responsibility and resign immediately.”

The fact that Rudd continues to hang on is an indication of the weakness of Theresa May and the precarious majority of her government.  As the previous Home Secretary, May is implicated in much of the Windrush debacle herself, not to mention the notorious “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants policy, of which she was the perpetrator.  Keeping Rudd in place is akin to using the present Home Secretary as a human shield, lest May’s failings in the post are examined even more closely.

May lacks the authority to tackle any of the big players in her Cabinet.  In spite of the wafer thin majority she has in her Hastings constituency, Rudd still qualifies as a big player and key ally for May.  The regular indiscretions and lapses of discipline on the part of Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, regularly go unpunished as May desperately tries to keep the pro and anti Brexit wings of her Cabinet flying in the same direction.

Rudd’s position will also appeal to the xenophobic tendency at the grass roots of the Tory Party and undoubtedly plays to the ultra right views of the DUP in Northern Ireland, who continue to prop up May’s flagging administration.

With local elections fast approaching this week, where the Tories are likely to lose seats and control of many Councils, May has even less room for manoeuvre.  A high profile sacking or resignation would reinforce the view that her government is little more than a coalition of chaos.

In spite of the evidence uncovered by The Guardian, the BBC have continued to report the story as if Rudd was unaware of the Home Office targets.  The line taken has been that of Cabinet colleagues rallying to support Rudd, with an oleaginous Michael Gove wheeled out to suggest that no blame can be ascribed to Rudd as, in spite of being Home Secretary, she could not possibly have known what was going on.

Rudd is apparently going to clarify matters in the House of Commons on Monday (30th April).  Quite what device she will come up with to justify keeping her job is anyone’s guess.  It is clear to all and sundry however that the only reason she is hanging on to her job at all is that the Prime Minister is desperate to hang on to hers.

 

 

Still nasty after all these years

22nd April 2018

Amber+Rudd

Amber Rudd – boasting she would get “ruthless” with illegal immigrants

Since becoming Prime Minister Theresa May has stated her desire to see the Tory Party shake off its tag as the Nasty Party.  The past week, in particular the events surrounding the so called Windrush generation, have simply reinforced the inherent nastiness of the Tories.  Nastiness is endemic, it is part of the Tory DNA, and no amount of scrubbing will ever wash out the stain.

Following the Second World War Britain made a call to the nations of the Commonwealth to send citizens to help with post war reconstruction.  The first such ship, the Empire Windrush, landed at Tilbury Docks on 22nd June 1948 with 492 West Indians on board, hoping to make a better life for themselves in Britain.

The name of their ship has become a shorthand for the wave of migration which followed, encouraged by the 1948 British Nationality Act, which enshrined in law the right of all British subjects to have the automatic right to travel to and settle in the United Kingdom.  The following two decades saw increasing numbers migrating from the Commonwealth but increasing tensions as the politics of race increasingly took centre stage in the UK.

The political debate took on a new momentum with the famous “rivers of blood” speech by right wing Tory politician, Enoch Powell, in 1968.  Powell’s speech led directly to racist attacks and increased intimidation of the black and ethnic minority community in the UK.  Powell gave a veneer of respectability to deeply held prejudices in British society and laid the basis for race riots which continued in parts the UK in the seventies and early eighties.

One immediate impact of the Powell speech was a new immigration act in 1971, which stemmed the flow of new Commonwealth immigrants, while granting those who had already arrived indefinite leave to remain.

In spite of this we are now in a position where up to 50,000 migrants are facing problems securing citizenship, health care and benefits as the Home Office demands proof of their right to be here.  Even the Church of England, hardly a hotbed of radicalism, has been moved to call for an inquiry into immigration policy.

Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has been forthright stating,

“The truth is now out.  Hard working, tax paying immigrants who were invited to this country to help with post war reconstruction have been treated appallingly.  It is never too late to repent, but it is unwise for the penitents to boast about their achievements.  Instead the government needs to set up an inquiry urgently to discover where other aspects of our immigration policy are treating people as less than human.”

The current scandal dates back to the decision of then Home Secretary, Theresa May, in 2013 to create a “really hostile environment” for people living in the UK illegally.  This was the policy which introduced the now infamous Home Office ‘go home’ vans, with billboard size slogans stating “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest” emblazoned on the side.

The Immigration Act 2014 includes measures to restrict NHS access, limiting so called ‘benefit tourism’, as well as introducing the “right to rent” policy.  The impact of the latter measure, according to the Residential Landlords Association has been that the checks on tenants mean that 42% of landlords are less likely to let to anyone without a British passport.

Quite how May thought these measures would lighten the Tories’ nasty image is anyone’s guess.  The racist character of much of the Leave campaign, allied to the hi-jacking of the Brexit debate by the anti-immigration lobby, has served to reinforce a climate of intolerance and xenophobia in the UK.  This has allowed the Windrush issue to go virtually unnoticed, in spite of having been consistently reported in the national press, over the past six months.

Theresa May’s initial reluctance to meet Caribbean leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting this week had to be quickly reversed and the Prime Minister was forced to issue an apology, claiming that she is “genuinely sorry” about the treatment of Windrush era migrants and their families.

That is scant compensation for many who have been denied medical access, lost jobs due to being unable to verify their citizenship status and then being denied access to benefits for the same reason.

Current Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has not resigned over the scandal.  The main perpetrator as Home Secretary and current Prime Minister, Theresa May, has not resigned.  For both they would appear to regard glib apologies as being enough.  For many still caught in the anti-immigration net that may simply not be enough.

Speaking at the Welsh Labour Party Conference this weekend Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn said,

“This week, something rotten at the heart of government has come to the surface. The Windrush scandal has exposed how British citizens who came to our country to rebuild it after the war have faced deportation because they couldn’t clear the deliberately unreachable bar set by Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ for migrants.

“And it’s not as if they weren’t warned. At the time the Tories were pushing their hostile environment policy through parliament, some of us – sadly far too few – warned about the consequences for those born in the UK and those born abroad alike. So now we’re seeing those consequences in a string of harrowing human stories. People’s lives ripped apart because of the personal decisions and actions of Theresa May and her government.”

Labour will continue to press for a review of immigration policy and a reversal of the “hostile environment” policy.

 

 

Middle East – time to talk

10th April 2018

 Gaza

No immunity for the press in Gaza

While the right wing press in the UK focuses its attention upon the alleged problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party the slaughter of Palestinian civilians in Gaza continues apace.  The condemnation of the Israeli government and its actions in killing, at the last count, at least 27 civilians has not been as loud or vociferous as the calls for Jeremy Corbyn to take action against alleged anti-Semites in Labour’s ranks.

As Corbyn has made absolutely clear time and time again, antisemitism is a cancer which must be cut out wherever it rears it head in society, at whatever level.  He has made it clear that he includes the Labour Party in that statement and has been equally clear that he would apply the same approach to racism of any description.  Such an unequivocal position has not been forthcoming from the government of the day or the cheerleaders of the Tory press.  Clearly they are wary of such hostages to fortune.

Corbyn has been equally forthright in his condemnation of the recent shooting of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli Defence Force in Gaza.  The world’s fourth biggest military force uses its might against people with little more than stones to throw.

In a message read out to a demonstration outside Downing Street opposing the killings, Corbyn demanded that UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, supported the call of the United Nations for an independent inquiry into the killings in Gaza and the removal of arms sales that could be used in violation of international law.  Corbyn stated that

“…firing live ammunition into crowds of unarmed civilians is illegal and inhumane and cannot be tolerated.  The silence from international powers with the responsibility of bringing a just settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict must end.”

UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, has not commented.

It is 70 years since 700,000 Palestinians were forced to flee their land in order to make way for the State of Israel as part of the post World War 2 settlement.  Over the years there have been attempts at reconciliation, most famously the 1993 Oslo accord between Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organisation leader Yasser Arafat.   Even then the Palestinians were prepared to settle for less than half a loaf, with Arafat agreeing to settle for a mere 22% of historic Palestine as a state.

With the present Israeli government it is clear than not even as little as that is on offer.  The illegal occupation of the West Bank continues in defiance of international law.  Since Hamas gained control of Gaza in June 2007 the Israelis have intensified the land, sea and air blockade while placing strict limits on Palestinians it allows to leave through Israel.

Life in Gaza has been described as being in an open air prison.  In an Israeli invasion launched in December 2008 more than 1,400 Palestinians died.  In February 2010 nine Turkish activists were killed in an Israeli attack upon an aid flotilla looking to break the blockade.  In November 2012 an Israeli missile assassinated Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari, resulting in confrontation which led to 174 Palestinian deaths.  In July 2014 the Israelis launched Operation Protective Edge, killing 2,100 Palestinians of which 495 were children.

It is estimated that, because of the 10 year old Israeli blockade, 80% of the population of Gaza are dependent upon humanitarian assistance.  Tap water is undrinkable.  On a good day Gaza will enjoy four hours of electricity.  Medicines are in short supply and over 60% of under 25 year olds are unemployed.

The recent protest by Palestinians, the “Great March of Return” had been intended as a series of peaceful protests leading up to the 70th anniversary of the Nakba or catastrophe, when Palestinians were forced from their homes.

B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories has launched a campaign against the shooting of unarmed civilians, pointing out that it is illegal in international law.  As the site states,

“Like all other countries, Israel’s actions are subject to the provisions of international law and the restrictions they impose on the use of weapons, and specifically the use of live fire. The provisions limit its use to instances involving tangible and immediate mortal danger, and only in the absence of any other alternative. Israel cannot simply decide that it is not bound by these rules.”

B’Tselem has launched a campaign entitled “Sorry Commander, I cannot shoot”. The campaign will include newspaper advertisements clarifying to soldiers that they must refuse to open fire on unarmed demonstrators.  Clearly not all Israelis are anti-Palestinian, just as not all of those opposed to the actions of the Israeli government are anti-Semites.  Some are actually Jewish.

For more information go to https://www.btselem.org/

The West meanwhile continues to focus upon its war of intervention in Syria, with claims of another chemical weapon attack upon civilians being levelled at the Syrian government.  With no evidence yet to show, recent events have already been a pretext for an Israeli raid on a Syrian air base, killing 14 people, and may yet result in further action from the United States.

Jeremy Corbyn, once again, has suggested that,

“The need to restart real negotiations for peace and a political settlement in Syria could not be more urgent.”

Without doubt it is time to talk but whether the US / Israeli / Saudi axis which leads the intervention will allow it, remains to be seen.  Given the recent appointment of further hawks, such as Mike Pompeo and John Bolton in the White House, the prospects for anything like a just settlement in the Middle East look bleak.  Still, every ounce of public pressure must be employed to keep their war plans at bay.

 

 

 

 

Tory witch hunt exposed

30th March 2018

news london gaza protest 5 030109

 Jeremy Corbyn speaks for Palestinian rights

In an exclusive interview with Jewish News this week Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is unequivocal in his condemnation of anti-Semitism, his opposition to all forms of racism and his desire to have a negotiated settlement and peaceful solution to the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory by the Israeli state.

Corbyn was asked how he felt about the demonstration outside the House of Commons last Monday, called to protest against the Labour Party’s handling of anti-Semitism and replied,

“I am not an anti-Semite in any way, never have been, never will be.  I’ve opposed racism in any form all my life.  It’s the way I was brought up, it’s the way I’ve lived my life.  I recognise the hurt that’s felt within the community and that’s why I responded immediately with an invitation to the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies to come and meet me.”

The interview went on to press Corbyn about the scale of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party and his long standing position of support for the Palestinian cause.  Once again Corbyn was very clear that “processes in our party had to be speeded up and that all of the recommendations of the Chakrabarti report had to be carried out”, going on to stress emphatically that,

“…anti-Semitism is a cancer in our society and it has resurfaced across Europe and Britain in recent years.  It has to be challenged at every single stage.”

Corbyn has been a consistent supporter over many years of the rights of the Palestinian people and, in line with the position of the United Nations and many governments around the world, has argued the case for a two-state solution, which both recognises the right of the State of Israel to exist but also acknowledges the rights of the Palestinian people, as agreed under internationally recognised UN resolutions.

Corbyn reiterates this view in the interview stating,

“I’d argue that there has to be a just solution for the whole region.  That means that the settlement policy should end, the occupation of the West Bank should end, to have an effective two-state solution.  As you know my party’s policy, which Ed Miliband led us on, was for recognition of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, and that was included in our manifesto as well.  Indeed that’s what Parliament voted for.”

At every turn in the interview, in which Corbyn is persistently pressed, he rejects any claims that he is anti-Semitic, based on his long standing record as an anti-racist activist; opposes any abuse aimed at activists from either wing of the party for expressing their views; and consistently commits to implementing the recommendations of the Chakrabarti report aimed at rooting out anti-Semitic views in the Labour Party.  In short his position could not be clearer.

Nevertheless Jewish News chooses to emblazon its front cover, which features a picture of Corbyn, highlighting the exclusive interview with the banner headline, ‘Not Good Enough’.  Clearly nothing Corbyn could say would be good enough for Jewish News which appears to have nailed its colours to the mast of the anti-Corbyn witch-hunt, currently being conducted under the banner of anti-Semitism, by the mainstream press and BBC.

The witch hunt has been called out by amongst others, the Jewish Socialists’ Group, who have made clear their,

“…serious concern over the rise of anti-Semitism especially under extreme right wing governments in central and Eastern Europe, in America under Donald Trump’s Presidency and here in Britain under Theresa May’s premiership.”

The JSG have pointed out that the accusations against Corbyn in particular have come from the unrepresentative Board of Deputies and the self styled Jewish Leadership Council, both dominated by supporters of the Tory Party.  Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies was one of the first to congratulate Donald Trump on his election and gives unqualified support to Israel’s anti-Palestinian Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

The JSG go on to point out that,

“Until very recently the Jewish Leadership Council was chaired by Sir Mick Davies, who was appointed Tory Party Treasurer in February 2016 and is now Chief Executive of the Conservative Party.”

Less widely reported than the anti-Corbyn protest last Monday was a counter demonstration organised by Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), which has praised Corbyn’s “consistent commitment to anti-racism” and accused the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council of playing party politics ahead of the May local elections.  The current chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, Jonathan Goldstein, launched a personal attack upon Corbyn when being interviewed on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme last Monday suggesting that,

“Jeremy Corbyn is now the figurehead for an anti-Semitic political culture, based upon obsessive hatred of Israel, conspiracy theories and fake news.”

JVL have also stressed that the bodies most quoted by the mainstream media are not representative of Jewish opinion stating,

“…we are appalled by the actions and statements of the Board of Deputies.  They do not represent us or the great majority of Jews in the party who share Jeremy Corbyn’s vision for social justice and fairness.”

The right wing press, who have historically supported every anti-progressive movement from the blackshirts to the apartheid regime in South Africa, are not going to acknowledge any differentiation in the opinions of the Jewish community, they will stay with those that can be used as a stick to beat Corbyn with.

The BBC however, in spite of its supposed ‘balance’, has responded in the same way and failed to challenge either the veracity or the motivations of those making the allegations of anti-Semitism.  Could the BBC be scared to tackle the powerful Tory lobby behind these allegations, in spite of the alleged independence from the government proclaimed in its Charter?

With local elections scheduled in May there is every indication that the Tories are heading for a meltdown.  Brexit negotiations are a constant headache for the Tories, exposing significant schisms in their ranks.  They have no solutions to the problems facing the majority of people in the country and are increasingly exposed at every turn as the party of the rich.

The Tories cannot argue against the policies advocated by Corbyn and the Labour Party.  Their only recourse would appear to be to attack the personal integrity of Corbyn and anyone associated with him.  It is a shallow tactic and one which, in spite of the weight of the right wing press and the BBC behind it, will be exposed.