Not the Forde Inquiry but a Jolly Good Substitute!
Not the Forde Inquiry but a Jolly Good Substitute!
Not the Forde Inquiry but a Jolly Good Substitute!
Israel Bans Palestinian Human Rights Groups Yet It Still Calls Itself a Democracy
Interview with Tony Greenstein about Labour’s Witch Hunt
Two years ago, when the Zionists were doing their best to close down free speech in Brighton and elsewhere, we held a series of cultural and political events at Brighton’s Rialto Theatre. The Zionists had been intimidating and harassing venues in Brighton to cancel meetings with people like Chris Williamson on the grounds that they were ‘anti-Semitic’. The Brighthelm Centre had received a letter from local Zionist MP Peter Kyle and immediately obeyed his ‘advice’. The local Quakers Friends Meeting House also gave in as did the Holiday Inn.
The lies that Fiona Sharpe – the racist at the heart of Brighton & Hove Council’s ‘anti-racist’ strategy tells – free speech at the Rialto had no negative community impact unless Fiona is implying Jews don’t like freedom of speech!
The Rialto Theatre was run by someone who had had experience supporting the Kent Miners over 30 years previously and was made of sterner stuff. The bombardment of tweets, social media abuse etc. from Zionists like Fiona Sharpe had no effect so that this year there was nothing. The Zionists gave up because they had met resistance. If only the quaking Quakers had stuck to their principles and not retreated at the first sign of grapeshot then all would have been well. Free Speech is worth preserving and fighting for but these religious souls took fright and emboldened the racists and imperialists.
So when the book launch for Bad News for Labour was cancelled at the last minute by Waterstones Bookshop, because the head office was also put under pressure (the local store staff wanted to continue with the event), we put it on literally at the last minute. Instead of 30 people attending over 100 did, including Ken Loach.
Two years ago we could only put on a 2 day event because we had only booked the venue late in the day. This year we had plenty of time to prepare and we booked it from September 26 to 29, for 3½ days. We put on a whole series of political and cultural events called Resist at the Rialto. You can see them all here. There were 11 events in all:
The events were
Why alternative media is important to the left chaired by Greg Hadfield, who was expelled for putting on the 3 day events. It’s a sad state of affairs in the Labour Party when you can be expelled for putting on 3 days of socialist politics and culture. Former Telegraph political editor Peter Oborne, Asa Winstanley from Electronic Intifada and the irrepressible Lowkey participated.
The Palestinian resistance – and the need for international solidarity chaired by Anne Mitchell, Secretary of BHPSC, with Asa Winstanley, Huda Ammori of Palestine Action, Natalie Strecker a former human rights activist in Hebron, and Issa Amro, a Hebron-based human rights defender recognised by the UN as an anti-occupation and anti-apartheid activist. This was one of my favourite sessions.
The threat to academic freedomchaired by Dr Deepa Driver of Reading University with Dr Kevin Bean, lecturer in Irish politics at the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool and Mike Cushman, Chair of Free Speech on Israel and a member of BRICUP’s Organising Committee.
But the event which crowned the 3 days and was a pure piece of political theatre was the Not the Forde Inquiry.
You will remember when Labour’s Leaked Report was issued detailing the racist and misogynist abuse, by senior Labour Party staff like John Stolliday of Corbyn supporters. Senior employees of the Labour Party did their best to sabotage the 2017 election campaign. They openly supported the Tories. This Report had been compiled at the behest of Jennie Formby for submission to the EHRC.
When Starmer came in the Report, all 831 pages, was leaked. Starmer’s anger was not at the revelations of the racist abuse of Dianne Abbot or the treachery and deception of Stolliday, Emily Oldknow (both of whom have gone to UNISON) or Sam Matthews. His anger was directed at who leaked the Report. Starmer was forced to set up an Inquiry under Martin Forde QC. It was packed with right-wing Labour supporters but nonetheless Starmer has refused to release the Report using ‘confidentiality’ and the ongoing work of the Information Commissioner as his excuse. Because it is unlikely that the Forde Report will ever be issued, Resist at the Rialto decided to put on this production.
It was compared by Dorothy Walker, the late mother of Jackie Walker who had kindly agreed to come back to life to help us ward off the latest bout of McCarthyism, something which forced her to flee to London from the United States with Jackie in the 1950s.
The Cross-examiners in chief were Ken Loach and Graham Bash of Labour Briefing/LRC.
The Prosecutor for the Labour Party was Sir Norman Licky QC otherwise known as Paddy Keefe, an expelled member of the Brighton Labour Party and a professional actor. Witnesses were:
Esther Giles, suspended secretary of Bristol North-West CLP,
Becky Massey, expelled member of Hove CLP,
Roger Silverman, expelled member of West Ham CLP, son of the late Julian Silverman, a Jewish MP responsible more than anyone else for the ending of capital punishment in Great Britain
Leah Levane, co-chair of Jewish Voices for Labour and a former Hastings Councillor, who was expelled at the Labour Party Conference itself for attending a rally against the witchhunt!
Chris Williamson, the only socialist Labour MP, who was disgracefully suspended by Jennie Formby under Jeremy Corbyn.
Greg Hadfield, newly expelled member of Brighton Pavilion Labour Party had been suspended 3 times. When he was elected Secretary of the Brighton and Hove District Labour Party by a massive majority at the largest ever meeting of over 600 people, he was removed by the simple device of suspending him 2 days later.
I hope you are able to watch all these events but especially the Not the Forde Report.
Interview of Tony Greenstein by Stan Heller
On October 5th I was interviewed by Stan Heller of the United States Struggle Video Media about the Labour Party witchhunt and you can watch it here
6 Palestine Human Rights Groups Declared ‘Terrorist’ Groups by Israel
Children as young as 12 (as long as they are not Jewish of course) are subject to arrest in the early hours of the morning. They are blindfolded, beaten, often sexually abused, not allowed to see their parents or a lawyer and forced to sign confessions in a language, Hebrew, that they don’t even understand.
A few weeks ago their offices were raided in Ramallah, their records, computers and other information was seized. Today they and five other organisations have been declared terrorist organisations and banned.
These are the actions of an authoritarian state, not a democracy as Israel likes to claim to be. The new Israeli government was supposed to be an alternative to the bad old Benjamin Netanyahu. It contains the so-called left Zionists of the Israeli Labor Party and Meretz and even includes, on the outside the conservative Arab Party Ram.
Yesterday the Defence Minister and former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, a veteran war criminal, formally banned the organisations without a squeak out of the above named parties, thus proving what I have always said. That there is no fundamental difference between the different shades of Zionism.
The groups are Al-Haq, a human rights group founded in 1979, Addameer, Defence for Children International – Palestine, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.
The pretext is that they are linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, in other words guilt by association. The PFLP is a legitimate left-wing Palestinian group and even if there were a grain of truth in the allegations it would be no justification for the banning.
Israel’s B’Tselem organisation, which itself declared in January that Israel was an Apartheid and Jewish Supremacist state, issued the following statement:
“Israel’s ‘change’ government’s designation, earlier today, of Palestinian human rights organizations as ‘terror organizations’ is not merely declarative. It is an act characteristic of totalitarian regimes, with the clear purpose of shutting down these organizations,” B’Tselem said in a statement, accusing Israel’s new government of trying to perpetuate a “violent apartheid regime.”
Even South Africa at the height of Apartheid did not ban human rights organisations. The decision of the Naftali Bennett government gives the lie to the idea that the Israeli state is at all interested in peace. Repression is the only game they understand. It is even more of a reason to support the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, who work closely with many of these groups, issued the following joint statement:
“This appalling and unjust decision is an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement. For decades, Israeli authorities have systematically sought to muzzle human rights monitoring and punish those who criticize its repressive rule over Palestinians. While staff members of our organizations have faced deportation and travel bans, Palestinian human rights defenders have always borne the brunt of the repression. This decision is an alarming escalation that threatens to shut down the work of Palestine’s most prominent civil society organizations. The decades-long failure of the international community to challenge grave Israeli human rights abuses and impose meaningful consequences for them has emboldened Israeli authorities to act in this brazen manner.
How the international community responds will be a true test of its resolve to protect human rights defenders. We are proud to work with our Palestinian partners and have been doing so for decades. They represent the best of global civil society. We stand with them in challenging this outrageous decision.”