Stop the witch-hunt of Tricycle theatre for a “boycott” that never was and a false charge of antisemitism

Jewish Chronicle fronFor a number of years, the Tricycle theatre & cinema in Kilburn (alongside other cinemas in London, Manchester and elsewhere) has hosted a Jewish film festival. Although most films are non-political, last year, films did include UK premieres of ‘Besa: the Promise‘ about mostly Muslims Albanians who risked their lives sheltering Jews during WWII, ‘From Cable Street to Brick Lane‘ about the triumph of immigrants and trade unions in London’s East End over prejudice and intolerance, and ‘Inheritance‘, the directorial debut of Palestinian actress Hiam Abess.

This year Tricycle decided that, in the circumstances of the Gaza war, it could not accept sponsorshop money from any government agency involved. As a result, it is the victim of a witch-hunt for a boycott that never was, launched by the self-styled Campaign against Antisemitism launched only this month, which compares Tricycle’s decision to “the Nazi boycott of Jewish enterprise after Hitler’s election“. Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn’s letter to the PM seeking parliament’s recall over Gaza

Jeremy_CorbynJeremy Corbyn today revealed he’d written to David Cameron seeking the recall of parliament to discuss the Gaza conflict “in view of the serious violations of international humanitarian law taking place.” The request is especially timely coinciding with the resignation of Sayeeda Warsi who’d said “the government’s approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible.

Jeremy Corbyn argues that “by repeatedly championing Israel’s “right to defend itself” above anything else, the UK is seen by many as being complicit in the wholesale slaughter of Palestinian civilians, and thus in violating the Geneva Convention.” The full text of his letter is as follows: Continue reading

Respect to Sayeeda Warsi

eton messThe outpouring of respect for Sayeeda Warsi’s honourable act of resignation in the Twittersphere from sundry lefties is entirely justified. Resignation on a point of principle is not unprecedented (I am reminded of Jim Sheridan’s resignation over the New Labour line on Israel incursion into Lebanon almost exactly 8 years ago) but it is far too rare.

There’s plenty in Warsi’s record to criticise, she is still a Tory. But she was the first Muslim in a British cabinet, and a woman with working class origins at that — perhaps the characteristic that David Cameron came to regret the most with her Eton mess jibe when she said: Continue reading

Gaza seen through Israeli eyes: two different wars on different planets

Get Out - ad for anti Gaza war demo in Tel AvivThere was this village in England which took great pride in its archery. In every yard there stood a large target board showing the skills of its owner. On one of these boards every single arrow had hit a bull’s eye.

A curious visitor asked the owner: how is this possible? The reply: “Simple. First I shoot the arrows, and then I draw the circles around them.

In this war, our government does the same. We achieve all our goals – but our goals change all the time. In the end, our victory will be complete.

When the war started, we just wanted to “destroy the terror infrastructure“. Then, when the rockets reached practically all of Israel (without causing much damage, largely owing to the miraculous anti-missile defense), the war aim was to destroy the rockets. When the army crossed the border into Gaza for this purpose, a huge network of tunnels was discovered. They became the main war aim. The tunnels must be destroyed. Continue reading

War – what is it good for?

August is traditionally a time of concentrated conflict and when wars have started. One hundred years ago this week the first world war broke out as a result of a series of dangerous interlocking military alliances, a massive arms race between Britain and Germany, and a competition between European powers for trade and colonial influence all across the globe.

Four years later with 13 million dead and the empires of Russia, Austria, Hungary and the Ottoman in tatters, Britain and France desperately in debt, the real victors of the war were US bank financiers and arms manufacturers. The first world war was also a major contributory factor to the Russian revolution and the birth of the Soviet Union.

What we should also remember is that at the outbreak of war in 1914 the whole population did not go waltzing down the street to the nearest army recruiting office. Many instead took to the streets to protest at the waste, the potential loss of life and to proclaim that workers in Britain and France had no enemies in the working-class movement of Germany and Austria. Unfortunately these voices were a minority, drowned out by the drum of chauvinism. Continue reading