The Lies that the Guardian’s Comment is Free Tells – Israeli Labour Party assertions re its ‘opposition’ to settlements are allowed to go unchallenged

The Lies that the Guardian’s Comment is Free Tells – Israeli Labour Party assertions re its ‘opposition’ to settlements are allowed to go unchallenged

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Israeli Labour Party Supports Netanyahu’s ‘Terror’ Bill
Israel — the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’  besieged by enemies as seen by ‘anti-Semitic’ Palestinian cartoonist Latuff
Guardian Denies Any Right of Reply
Michael Biran MK – Israeli Labour Party  liar
The strap line for the Guardian’s Comment is Free is that ‘Comment is Free but Facts are Sacred’.  It would be more honest to change it to ‘Facts are flexible under Freedland’.
The Guardian’s resident Zionist ‘liberal’ Jonathan Freedland – Chief Censor and Gatekeeper – addressing main ruling class Foreign Policy Thinktank despite knowing nothing of foreign affairs
On Tuesday the
Guardian published in its CIF section, an article, demanding clarification by Jeremy Corbyn as to his attitude to Israel, by Michal Biran,
an Israeli Labour Party MK which was a series of lies by assertion.    
brave Israeli soldier confronting terrorist
 Its argument, such as it was, was that the British
Labour Party was the ideological counterpart of the Israeli Labour Party.  Despite the appalling record of the British Labour
Party, it has at least been the venue for continuing strife and debate between
socialists and non-socialists for the past century.  The Israeli Labour Party however was set up,
as Mapai, as an explicitly anti-socialist party.  It rejected co-operation with the indigenous
Arab population in favour of a Jewish only state, which is why it was a Labour government,
under David Ben-Gurion which carried out the expulsion of ¾ million Palestinians
in 1948 (the Nakba).  It was always a
nationalist party which rejected in its entirety the idea that the class enemy
might be the capitalists – Jewish or non-Jewish in favour of an alliance with,
indeed the creation of, Jewish capitalism.
teaching ’em young
 The central lie of Biran’s miserable article
was that ‘‘The Israeli Labour party is itself a harsh
critic of the Israeli government’s policy’. 
This must be news to many people who remember that it was Labour governments,
between 1967 and 1977, which presided over the first settlements.  The Histadrut, the fake trade union of the
Zionists, always controlled by Labour Zionism, which was then the second
largest employer after the state itself, built via its building company Solel
Boneh the first settlements!
The ‘anti-Semitic’ Palestinian cartoonist Latuff showing how Israeli bulldozers face continual Palestinian terrorism
As the article below
shows, when it came to the recent Terror Bill introduced by Netanyahu, which
criminalises the wearing of t-shirts, facebook posts and makes any support for ‘terrorist’
groups – which themselves can be defined as any group the Israeli government dislikes
– punishable by up to 30 years imprisonment, the ILP supported Netanyahu.
Terrorism means one’s enemy – not one’s friend
I sent an article to the
Guardian’s Comment Is Free.  It was
ignored by these guardians of free speech. 
CIF prides itself on the statement of the Guardian’s most famous editor,
CP Scott that ‘comment is free but facts are sacred’.  The truth is that lies about Israel are even
more sacred.  At the suggestion of the Executive
Editor of CIF, Jonathan Freedland, I sent in a letter instead.  To date it has not been printed either.  Below is the letter and article I submitted
plus correspondence with Freedland.
Another ‘anti-Semitic’ cartoon by Latuff
The British Labour Party has never
been the ideological counterpart of Israel’s  Labour Party
 [30th September 2015,

Michal Biran of the Israeli Labour Party is worried that the
election of Jeremy Corbyn marks a break in the traditional support of the
Labour Party leadership for the Israeli settler-colonial state.  He fears
that it will no longer turn a blind eye to Israel’s murderous occupation of
their land, to say nothing of the treatment of Israel’s own Palestinian
citizens.  [The Israeli Labour party wants clarification from Jeremy Corbyn

Another example of a brave Israeli soldier – part of the world’s ‘most moral army’
However
Biran basis her argument on a fundamentally dishonest basis.  There is no
basis for her assertion that the Israeli Labour Party is the ideological
counterpart of the British Labour Party.  The British Labour Party has
always been the site of fierce struggles over the meaning of socialism and
whether or not it should be a party of managerial capitalism or a force for
more fundamental socialist change in society.  The ILP, formerly Mapai,
has always been a nationalist party which was fiercely anti-socialist [see Zeev
Sternhell, the Leon Blum Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew
University, ‘The Founding Myths of Israel.’].  Mapai only came into
being in 1930 as a result of a merger of Ahdut Ha’avodah and Hapoel Hatzair,
when the latter was convinced that the former had  abandoned even a
cursory commitment to socialism.
Class
struggle never played any part in Mapai’s politics.  Mapai, a Jewish only
party, saw the role of the Jewish working-class as a nationalist battering
ram.  ‘From class to nation’ was its founder, David Ben-Gurion’s rallying
cry.  Unsurprisingly it didn’t even acknowledge the Arab working-class in
Palestine, since it sought replace them with Jews.  Faced with the
Arab-Jewish Union of Railway, Postal and Telegraph Workers which was a bastion
of the political left. [Gabriel Piterberg, Returns of Zionism, pp. 72-3]
Histadrut, the Zionist’s Apartheid ‘trade union’ sought to incorporate them
in order to hive off the Arab workers into a separate national section. For 46
years Histadrut, which was always controlled by Israeli Labour, refused even to
admit Arab workers.  As an
The
dilemmas of a socialist Zionist were explained by David Hacohen to the Mapai
Secretariat:

‘I had to
fight my friends on the issue of Jewish socialism, to defend the fact that I would
not accept Arabs in my Trade Union, the Histadrut; to defend preaching to
housewives that they should not buy at Arab stores; to defend the fact that we
stood guard at orchards to prevent Arab workers from getting jobs there… to
pour kerosene on Arab tomatoes; to attack Jewish housewives in the markets and
smash Arab eggs they had bought… to buy dozens of dunums from an Arab is
permitted but to sell God forbid one Jewish dunum to an Arab is prohibited; to
take Rothschild the incarnation of capitalism  as a socialist
and to name him the ‘benefactor’ – to do all that was not easy.’

Michal
Biran instead refers to the Israeli Labour Party as ‘a harsh critic of the
Israeli government’s policy. We fiercely object to the current government’s
settlement policy’
.  Would that this were true.  Where is the
evidence?  It was Mapai which presided over the establishment of
settlements between 1967 and 1977.  Not once has it called for the
establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the dismantlement of
the settlements.  Even the Oslo Accords which Yitzhak Rabin negotiated
made no provision for a Palestinian state.
The
Israeli Labour Party today cowers in fear of Likud. It doesn’t even dare stand
for elections in its own name, preferring to stand as Zionist Union, with
ex-Likudnik Tzipi Livni, just to emphasise their nationalist anti-Arab
credentials.

In a speech to the Knesset Jamal Zahalke, leader of Balad, which is
part of the Joint Arab List [Jerusalem Post, 7.9.15. MK Jamal Zahalke says
Labor Zionists build kibbutzes on the ruins of Arab towns Labour Zionism invented racism says Joint List MK  spoke of how Israel Labour’s ‘”Miss Social Justice Stav Shaffir has never
said a word to me. She’s never even said hello to me! I am transparent to her.
Arabs do not exist! Racist! Racist of silence! Racism of ignoring; I will tell
you what that is! Ignoring the existence of a person!’

Zahalke
called the Labor Party ‘the “mother and father of racism.” “You
invented racism. The people who took our land, who expelled us, weren’t the
ones who chant ‘death to Arabs.’ They’re the ones who said ‘we’re bringing
peace to you.’ Shame! You should be embarrassed by the racism and
discrimination!… Give us back the land you took from us…in the name of
universal values!”

“Who
harmed us more, the Likud or Labor? Labor, of course. Likud built settlements
next to Arab residents. You built your kibbutzes and your socialism on the
ruins of our towns.’

Michal
Biran seeks to fool the Guardian’s readers into believing that Israel’s Labour
Party is no different from any other social democratic party.  You can’t
however change a Zionist leopard’s spots.  As Asher
Schechter
wrote in Israel’s liberal daily, Ha’aretz [The ‘terror bill’ that
outed the Israeli left’ September 8, 2015, http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.675130]
the ILP supported a bill that enables the Israeli state to define virtually any
opposition to it as “terrorism”.  It is ‘so farcically wide it includes
such actions as wearing certain t-shirts.’

Anyone
expressing praise, support or sympathy for a terrorist organization could get
three years. ‘A Facebook post would suffice to warrant serious hard time and since
the minister of defence is empowered to declare any entity a terrorist
organization, without any due process, ‘almost any body organization that might
be seen as a threat to those in power – civic or military, the bill makes no
distinction -can be dubbed a “terrorist organization”, and the people
supporting it (or god forbid, wearing its t-shirts) instant terror-supporters.’

Yet
‘Zionist Union, the purported leader of opposition, voted for the bill and even
enforced party discipline, despite serious objections from a few Labor
MKs.’  This was no aberration.  There is nothing that Netanyahu and
Likud have done that Israeli Labour didn’t do before them.  At least Likud
have the honesty to be upfront and not hide behind warm words and slogans. 
Michal Biran
may choose to forget, but people don’t forget that the Israeli Labour Party:
1.            
Supported every
attack against the Gaza Strip including Operation Protective Edge, which killed
over 550 children.
2.            
Was the party of the Nakba, the expulsion of 750,000
Palestinians in 1948 and the murder of thousands of them.
3.            
Was the party that demanded that the Holocaust be
played down if not ignored in order that the sole focus could be on building a
Jewish state. They even opposed the rescue of Jews if that meant going to other
countries. [Robert Silverberg, If I Forget Thee O Jerusalem, p. 175. Pyramid Book, New York, 1972. Even
Ben-Gurion’s official biographer concluded that ‘If there was a line in
Ben-Gurion’s mind between the beneficial disaster and an all-destroying
catastrophe, it must have been a very fine one.’ [Shabtai Teveth, The Burning
Ground, p.851] 
4.            
Mapai was the party that kept Israel’s Arabs under
miliitary rule for 18 years, from 1948 to 1966.
5.            
Mapai presided over apartheid in Israel.  93% of
land was controlled by the Jewish National Fund and the Israeli Land Authority,
which meant Arabs could not lease or rent it.  The policy of not
recognising half the Arab villages in Israel was a Labour Zionist policy as was
the ‘Judaification’ of the Galilee and Negev.
6.            
Mapai was the party that preferred an alliance with
the National Religious Party, now the settler Jewish Home, to an alliance with
even the left Zionist Mapam.   Labour granted the Rabbis the power to
define who is a Jew for the purposes of marriage, birth and death. It accepted
that there could be no civil marriage in Israel.  An Israeli Arab cannot
marry an Israeli Jew, the foundation  stone of personal and social apartheid.
7.            
Mapai was the party of the Suez invasion and supported
every Israeli war, including that of Begin and Sharon in Lebanon in 1982. 
It was a last-ditch supporter of the French in Algeria.
8.            
Histadrut’s building company built the first
settlements under Yigal Allon’s Plan which envisaged keeping the Jordan valley
for ‘security ‘ reasons.
Labour it was which pioneered the
close military and economic links with Apartheid South Africa that culminated
in the state visit of South African Premier John Vorster to Israel in
1976.  Vorster, who had been interned for his Nazi sympathies during the
world war 2, made the holocaust memorial Yad Vashem his first stopover.
The Israeli Labour Party has
always been a nationalist, racist and anti-Arab party.  The British Labour
Party should take the opportunity of Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to break its links
with this relic of British colonialism.
Tony
Greenstein
Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods and founder
member and first Chairperson of the Labour Committee on Palestine and founding
member of Jews for Jeremy.

Thursday, 01
October 2015
Letters
Editor
The Guardian
119
Farringdon Road
London EC1
3ER
Dear Sir or Madam,
Michal Biran of the Israeli Labour Party [The Israeli
Labour party wants clarification from Jeremy Corbyn, Sunday 27th September]
flatters to deceive.  Israeli Labour, an anti-socialist party from its
inception, has never been the ideological counterpart of the British Labour
Party.  It always rejected joint Arab-Jewish solidarity in favour of
Jewish Labour.  As Labour Zionist veteran David
HaCohen explained:
 ‘I had to fight my
friends on the issue of Jewish socialism, to defend the fact that I would not
accept Arabs in my Trade Union, the Histadrut; to defend preaching to
housewives that they should not buy at Arab stores; to defend the fact that we
stood guard at orchards to prevent Arab workers from getting jobs there… to
pour kerosene on Arab tomatoes….’
The statement that ‘The Israeli Labour party is itself a
harsh critic of the Israeli government’s policy’ is laughable.  It was
under Israeli Labour that the first settlements were established.  Perhaps
Ms Biran has forgotten the Allon Plan of July 1967 which established a belt of
settlements in the fertile Jordan River valley and around Jerusalem? 
Histadrut’s building company, Solel Boneh, even built the first settlements!
Jamal Zahalka, leader of the Arab nationalist Balad party,
recently described how Labour’s ‘leftist’ MK Stav Shaffir had always ignored
him, unlike the right-wing Knesset members.  ‘She’s never even said hello
to me! I am transparent to her…. I will tell you what that is! Ignoring the
existence of a person!’
Zahalke asked “Who harmed us more, the Likud or Labor?
Labor, of course. Likud built settlements next to Arab residents. You built
your kibbutzim and your socialism on the ruins of our towns.’
There is nothing that Netanyahu has done that Israeli
Labour didn’t do before him.  At least the Israeli Right is honest enough
to say what it thinks rather than hiding behind socialist rhetoric.
Yours faithfully
Tony
Greenstein
Founding
Member – Jews for Jeremy
On
1 October 2015 at 01:00, Tony Greenstein <[email protected]>
wrote:
Dear Jonathan Freedland,
I would prefer that my submission
should be in the form of a CIF article.  It is true that it is somewhat
longer than the original but Ms Biran’s article relied on simple assertions and
in rebutting them it is inevitable that this will take up space.  A simple
denial of the assertion that the ILP has been a vigorous opponent of
settlements is hardly taking debate forward.
However, if your preference
remains for a letter, I shall compose one and send one to the letters editor
with a copy to you.

Regards
Tony Greenstein
On 30 September 2015 at 23:27,
Jonathan Freedland <[email protected]> wrote:

Dear Tony Greenstein
Thanks for this. My word count
tells me that your proposed reply to Michal Biran is around 1480 words – and
that her original piece was around 600 words long. Would you perhaps want to
distil your response into a shorter letter for possible consideration by the
letters page?

Sincerely

Jonathan Freedland

On
30 September 2015 at 05:00, Tony Greenstein <[email protected]>
wrote:
Dear Jonathan Freedland,
I sent a response to the article
on Commen is Free by Michal Biran of the Israeli Labour Party The IsraeliLabour party wants clarification from Jeremy Corbyn 

I have not received any response
from the editors and given the almost immediate closure of comments on 
the article it would appear that despite your professed commitment to free
debate, certain topics remain immunse from in-depth criticism.

I note that you yourself penned
what is, even by your standards, possibly the shoddiest and dishonest piece
that you have written.  I refer to your article ‘Friends
who are enemies’ Jewish Chronicle September 17, 2015.  I can only presume
that the article was written out of either malice or ignorance or perhaps a
combination thereof. 
A braver soul than
you might have thought twice about submitting an article alleging collusion
with anti-Semites by Jeremy Corbyn in a paper edited by Stephen Pollard. 
Pollard is on record as describing Michal Kaminski, the anti-Semitic and
far-Right Polish MEP thus:  ‘‘It would be harder to find a greater friendin Brussels.’  (JC 9.10.09.) 

It is difficult to
believe that you are unaware of this or the brouha over Kaminski and Robert
Zile  MEP, another member of the same Conservative & Reform Group in
the European Parliament, since the Guardian covered it at the time. 

You are the Executive
Editor of Opnion at the Guardian and therefore responsible for CIF.  You
are therefore responsible for commissioning an article that is a deliberate
lie.  By all means let the Israeli Labour Party defend its atrocious
record but to pretend that the ILP ‘fiercely object(s) to the current government’s
settlement policy’ is a lie made only worse by the fact that settlements were
begun and encouraged under successive Labour governments from 1967 to
1977.  The rest of the piece is simply a mixture of flatulence and
bombast.

If your boast that Comment is
Free but facts are sacred is to mean anything more than a ritual nod to C.P.
Scott, then perhaps you would explain how the comment of Jamal Zahalka in the
Knesset: 
“Who harmed us more, the
Likud or Labor? Labor, of course. Likud built settlements next to Arab
residents. You built your kibbutzes and your socialism on the ruins of our
towns.’
can possibly square with the
dishonest little article that you commissioned?
I am therefore submitting a
response to Biran’s article.  I have no illusions that you will live up to
your professed principles and publish my response because hypocrisy and cant is
second nature with what used to be called the Police State Democrats of the
Guardian. 

Tony Greenstein

Haaretz Tuesday,
September 8, 2015

The Israeli left proves it’s as culpable as the right
when it comes to destroying Israeli democracy.

By Asher Schechter | Sep. 8, 2015 | 9:50 PM
A few days ago, the
Knesset approved a bill that threatens Israeli democracy.
No, it wasn’t the
amendment that prevents state-employed journalists from expressing “personal
opinions” on radio or television (that one will reportedly be repealed by
Benjamin Netanyahu), or the bill allowing the state to sentence Palestinian
stone-throwers to 10 years in prison without even proving intent to harm, both
of which passed in recent weeks. Alas, anti-democratic legislation has become
such a common occurrence in Israel these days that it’s hard to keep track.
The latest bill,
though, is no doubt the most draconian of them all: a sweeping counterterrorism
act that radically expands the government’s powers and the definition of what
constitutes terrorism.
Given the flurry of
anti-democratic initiatives, though, it barely registered in the media or in
the public.
What also failed to
register was that this last piece of wildly authoritarian, absurd legislation
was endorsed by the sad spectacle that is the Israeli left.
Treasonous t-shirt?
The
government-sponsored anti-terror bill that passed its first of three readings
into law last week, after five years of postponements and during a special
recess session of the Knesset, passed by 45:14. Zionist Union, the purported
leader of opposition, voted for the bill and even enforced party discipline,
despite serious objections from a few Labor MKs.
To understand just
how much this represents a betrayal of everything Zionist Union claimed to
stand for just a few months ago, when it tried to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu, it’s
worth seeing what the new terror bill includes, and what it means.
The new bill
incorporates all existing anti-terrorism laws into a single act, significantly
changing some, and significantly strengthening the state’s ability to oppress
anything defined as “terrorism” – which, under the bill’s definition, is so
farcically wide it includes such actions as wearing certain t-shirts.
Those who publicly
express “praise, support or sympathy” for a terrorist organization could get
three years. A Facebook post would suffice to warrant serious hard time.
Of course, since this
bill also empowers the minister of defense minister to declare any entity a
terrorist organization, without any due process, almost any body organization
that might be seen as a threat to those in power – civic or military, the bill
makes no distinction -can be dubbed a “terrorist organization”, and the people
supporting it (or god forbid, wearing its t-shirts) instant terror-supporters.
Negligent abetters
The bill also
significantly broadens the definition of terror-abettors, to include those
guilty of “negligently abetting” terrorist acts. In a clause that violates
basic tenets of criminal law, people who provide goods or services to people
involved in terrorism could be convicted of supporting terrorism, albeit
unwittingly. The maximum penalty for aiding terror is equated under the new law
to that for actual terrorist acts – 30 years.
The bill also
significantly increases the state’s ability to use confidential information to
convict suspects, and to withhold this confidential information from the
suspects themselves. For the first time, it legalizes administrative
detentions, finally doing away with the British emergency measures on which
Israel based its controversial policy so far, and making it easier than ever to
put Israelis and others in prison without trial.
“Terrorist acts” are
broadened to include vandalizing “national symbols”, like Israeli flags.
Meretz Chairwoman
Zehava Galon, who did oppose the bill, defined some of its clauses as
“totalitarian”. Indeed, it’s hard not to see this as the embodiment of the
“Shin-Bet state” Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz prophesied about.
Yet the bill won a
raving endorsement by Israel’s biggest center-left party. And why not? The bill
is currently sponsored by justice minister and right-wing firebrand Ayelet
Shaked – but it began as the brainchild of Tzipi Livni- until recently, the
great white hope of the Zionist left.
Labor on a right-wing
tear
Six months ago,
during the elections, the Zionist Union presented itself as the antithesis to
Netanyahu’s anti-democratic penchants, a staunch opposition against madness, a
political party that represents sanity and tolerance in the face of the right
wing’s ultra-nationalist, religious zeal.
But by supporting the
terror bill, the single biggest party of the Israeli Zionist left has been
outed as the accomplice of extremists. Instead of fighting for democracy, it
has been exposed as a full-fledged member of Israel’s anti-democratic camp.
True, the Israeli
left, specifically Labor, has been outed before. Hoping to cajole right-wing
voters, Labor has veered more and more to the right in recent years. In the
weeks before the elections, Herzog ran a right wing-lite campaign that said
nothing about ending the occupation of the West Bank, but boasted of
“understanding the Arab mentality” and “seeing Arabs through the crosshairs”.
In recent months,
following Zionist Union’s defeat, the movement and its MKs have been on a
right-wing tear, backing some of the government’s most controversial decisions.
When it comes to the major issues these days, from Iran to BDS to censorship,
it’s hard to differentiate between prime minister and opposition head.
Anti-democratic
behavior, of course, is not new to Labor – it lies deep in its troubled
history, as the party that first occupied the Territories, that started the
settlements, that first institutionalized the discrimination and
second-class-citizen status of Israel’s Arab population. Balad MK Jamal Zahalka
acknowledged this historical fact just this week, when he brutally attacked
Labor and its MKs for what he called their “racism” and hypocrisy. Joint List
leader Ayman Odeh voiced a very similar sentiment in July.
But Zionist Union’s
vote for the new terror bill goes beyond the problematic history and charts a
new, worrying path for the party, as well as Israeli democracy itself. In its
desperate, doomed quest to reclaim power, the Zionist left has given up its
leftism. How can there be a chance of meaningful change, if when faced with
this kind of oppressive bill, the opposition doesn’t even feign protest, but
simply endorses it? Meretz and Hadash alone seem to be the puny, scattered
remains of the Israeli left.
From abroad, it is
tempting to see Israel’s political system as divided almost-equally by left and
right. Throughout the elections, this has been the accepted narrative that
appeared in world media. But if Zionist Union’s vote for the terror bill proves
anything, it is that the left is not the savior of Israeli democracy – in fact,
it seems determined to be its pallbearer.
Asher Schechter
Haaretz Contributor

 

 

 

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