Thursday, 20 April 2017
Saturday, 18 March 2017
In a crack down on social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter, Germany has proposed levying fines of up to €50 million (£44m) for the failure to remove such posts.
As part of the measures, sites will have to delete offending material within a week and run 24-hour helplines for concerned users. Illegal material, such as racist language, will have have to be removed within 24 hours.
The proposals from Heiko Maas, German justice minister, are significantly greater than previous suggestions to impose €500,000 fines on the companies. They will be part of a bill that will be put to the German Parliament in an effort to combat malicious activity and disinformation campaigns online.
At the moment Facebook removes 39 per cent of flagged content, while Twitter deletes just 1 per cent, according to research released alongside the proposals. It also showed Facebook removes 33 per cent of offending material within 24 hours, and Twitter none.
"It is now clear that we must further increase the pressure on social networks," said Maas. "We need legal regulations to make companies even more obligated to eradicate criminal offences."
The severe measures come amid fears that online hoaxes could influence the German federal elections later this year.
Facebook has already introduced a tool in Germany that lets users flag suspicious content in response to claims that "fake news" on the network influenced the outcome of the US presidential election. It has also said it plans to employ 700 people in Berlin to monitor flagged material by the end of the year.
If the measures pass into law it will require social media companies to employ staff that monitor content around the clock. Individual members of staff responsible for handling complaints could also be fined up to €5 million for failing to comply with the regulations.
Bitkom, the German digital trade association, told the Financial Times the proposals would be "utterly impossible to implement in operational terms".
[Ed: Zionists attempt to deliver the coup de grâce - they know all about fake news as they are the original and Chief Offenders]
Monday, 6 February 2017
Trump as Nero
Der Spiegel Editorial By Klaus Brinkbäumer
There are times in life that really do count. Times when a person's character is revealed, when the important is separated from the unimportant. Soon decisions are taken that will determine the further path a person takes. With some, this can be tragic, and the moment comes too soon in their youth at a time when they aren't mature enough yet to foresee all the potential consequences. They make the decisions cheerfully and they lead to either luck or bad luck. But countries and governments are seldom as innocent when it comes to their decisions.
That's the kind of situation now approaching. The people who will soon have to decide are already grown up. They now have to start preparing, even if it will be painful.
Germany must stand up in opposition to the 45th president of the United States and his government. That's difficult enough already for two reasons: Because it is from the Americans that we obtained our liberal democracy in the first place; and because it is unclear how the brute and choleric man on the other side will react to diplomatic pressure. The fact that opposition to the American government can only succeed when mounted together with Asian and African partners -- and no doubt with our partners in Europe, with the EU -- doesn't make the situation any easier.
o far, Germany has viewed its leadership role -- at least the leadership understanding of Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble -- as one that is by all means in opposition to the interests of other European countries. Whether Schäuble's austerity policies or Merkel's migration policies, it all happened without much co-coordination and with considerable force. It is thus somewhat ironical that it is Germany, the country that is politically and economically dominant in Europe, that will now have to fill in many of the gaps created by America's withdrawal from the old world order, the one referred to by former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer as "Pax Americana." At the same time, Germany must build an alliance against Donald Trump, because it otherwise won't take shape. It is, however, absolutely necessary.
It is literally painful to write this sentence, but the president of the United States is a pathological liar. The president of the U.S. is a racist (it also hurts to write this). He is attempting a coup from the top; he wants to establish an illiberal democracy, or worse; he wants to undermine the balance of power. He fired an acting attorney general who held a differing opinion from his own and accused her of "betrayal." This is the vocabulary used by Nero, the emperor and destroyer of Rome. It is the way tyrants think.
A Serious Threat
Donald Trump and his fire-starter Stephen Bannon discriminate against certain people by decree, but not against those from countries in which Trump does business. The contempt the president of the United States and his most important adviser have for science and education is so blatant that it's almost difficult to write. But their disdain for climate and environmental policies has to be stated, because four or eight years of it could become a serious threat.
Among the things that counted as true progress during the 20th century were multilateralism and free trade. The world has become so complex that no single country can solve the major problems on its own -- that was our recognition. Organizations like the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, NATO and the EU were all created for this reason. None of these organizations is perfect, but they are what we launched -- and we do need them. Bannon now wants to wipe them away, and either Trump is executing Bannon's intentions or he shares them.
That's why under President Trump, both the justified and the contemptible will be melded. Injustice is a major issue of our times, as are fears of digitalization and globalization -- and rightfully so given that the division of society and the speed of modern life is, in fact, extreme. Trump fuses these worries of his voters with nationalism and xenophobia. That's how demagogues work and it is how they become effective. The fact that the United States, a nuclear superpower that has dominated the world economically, militarily and culturally for decades, is now presenting itself as the victim, calling in all seriousness for "America first" and trying to force the rest of the world into humiliating concessions is absurd. But precisely because this nonsense is coming from the world's most powerful man, it is getting trapped by him.
This is not a threat that will somehow resolve itself. The German economy has become the target of American trade policy and German democracy is ideologically antithetical to Trump's vision. But even here, in the middle of Germany, right-wing extremists are trying to give him a helping hand. It is high time that we stand up for what is important: democracy, freedom, the West and its alliances.
This does not mean escalation or that we must abandon our contacts with America and all the working groups between our governments. What is does mean, though, is that Europe must grow stronger and start planning its political and economic defenses. Against America's dangerous president.
February 05, 2017
Ed - a totally deranged article. The EU has inverted natural law. At least Trump is trying to reverse 70 years of globalism, foreign wars and multi racialism.
Wednesday, 1 February 2017
The White House statement on Holocaust Remembrance day did not mention Jews or antisemitism.
Deborah Lipstadt - Jan 30, 2017
Holocaust denial is alive and well in the highest offices of the United States. It is being spread by those in President Trump’s innermost circle. It may have all started as a mistake by a new administration that is loath to admit it’s wrong. Conversely, it may be a conscious attempt by people with anti-Semitic sympathies to rewrite history. Either way it is deeply disturbing.
For me these developments are intensely personal—not because I have immediate family members who died in the Holocaust. I don’t. But I have spent a good number of years fighting something which the White House now seems to be fostering.
Last Friday, I was in Amsterdam attending a screening of the movie Denial. It’s a film about the libel suit David Irving, once arguably the world’s most influential Holocaust denier, brought against me for having called him a denier. The trial, held in 2000, lasted 10 weeks. Because of the nature of British libel laws which placed the burden of proof on me, I had no choice but to fight. Had I not fought he would have won by default and his denial version of the Holocaust—no gas chambers, no mass killings, no Hitler involvement, and that this is all a myth concocted by Jews—would have been enshrined in British law.
After an intense day of press interviews and screenings, I had gone for a short walk. Intent on enjoying my surroundings, I ignored the pinging of my phone. Ironically, I had just reached the Anne Frank House, the place where Anne wrote her diary, when the pinging became so incessant that I checked to see what was happening.
I quickly learned that the White House had released a statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention Jews or anti-Semitism. Instead it bemoaned the “innocent victims.” The internet was buzzing and many people were fuming. Though no fan of Trump, I chalked it up as a rookie mistake by a new administration busy issuing a slew of executive orders. Someone had screwed up. I refused to get agitated, and counseled my growing number of correspondents to hold their fire. A clarification would certainly soon follow. I was wrong.
In a clumsy defense Hope Hicks, the White House director of strategic communications, insisted that, the White House, by not referring to Jews, was acting in an “inclusive” manner. It deserved praise not condemnation. Hicks pointed those who inquired to an article which bemoaned the fact that, too often the “other” victims of the Holocaust were forgotten. Underlying this claim is the contention that the Jews are “stealing” the Holocaust for themselves. It is a calumny founded in anti-Semitism.
There were indeed millions of innocent people whom the Nazis killed in many horrific ways, some in the course of the war and some because the Germans perceived them—however deluded their perception—to pose a threat to their rule. They suffered terribly. But that was not the Holocaust.
The Holocaust was something entirely different. It was an organized program with the goal of wiping out a specific people. Jews did not have to do anything to be perceived as worthy of being murdered. Old people who had to be wheeled to the deportation trains and babies who had to be carried were all to be killed. The point was not, as in occupied countries, to get rid of people because they might mount a resistance to Nazism, but to get rid of Jews because they were Jews. Roma (Gypsies) were also targeted. Many were murdered. But the Nazi anti-Roma policy was inconsistent. Some could live in peace and even serve in the German army.
German homosexuals were horribly abused by the Third Reich. Some were given the chance of “reforming” themselves and then going to serve on the eastern front, where many of them became cannon fodder. Would I have wanted to be a homosexual in the Reich, or in the rest of Nazi occupied Europe? Absolutely not. But they were not systematically wiped out.
This is a matter of historical accuracy and not of comparative pain. If my family members had been killed by the Germans for resisting or for some other perceived wrong I would not be—nor should I be—comforted by the fact that they were not killed as part of the Holocaust.
Had the Germans won, they probably would have eliminated millions of other peoples, including the Roma, homosexuals, dissidents of any kind, and other “useless eaters.” But it was only the Jews whose destruction could not wait until after the war. Only in the case of the Jews could war priorities be overridden. Germany was fighting two wars in tandem, a conventional war and a war against the Jews. It lost the first and, for all intents and purposes, nearly won the second.
The de-Judaization of the Holocaust, as exemplified by the White House statement, is what I term softcore Holocaust denial. Hardcore denial is the kind of thing I encountered in the courtroom. In an outright and forceful fashion, Irving denied the facts of the Holocaust. In his decision, Judge Charles Grey called Irving a liar and a manipulator of history. He did so, the judge ruled, deliberately and not as the result of mistakes.
Softcore denial uses different tactics but has the same end-goal. (I use hardcore and softcore deliberately because I see denial as a form of historiographic pornography.) It does not deny the facts, but it minimizes them, arguing that Jews use the Holocaust to draw attention away from criticism of Israel. Softcore denial also makes all sorts of false comparisons to the Holocaust. In certain Eastern European countries today, those who fought the Nazis may be lauded, but if they did so with a communist resistance group they may be prosecuted. Softcore denial also includes Holocaust minimization, as when someone suggests it was not so bad. “Why are we hearing about that again?”
What we saw from the White House was classic softcore denial. The Holocaust was de-Judaized. It is possible that it all began with a mistake. Someone simply did not realize what they were doing. It is also possible that someone did this deliberately. The White House’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, boasted that while at Breitbart he created a platform for alt-right. Richard Spencer, the self-proclaimed leader of the alt-right, has invited overt Holocaust deniers to alt-right conferences, and his followers have engaged in outright denial. During the campaign, he was reportedly responsible for speeches and ads that many observers concluded trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes.
After Hicks’s defense of the statement, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus doubled down, insisting that they made no mistake. On Meet the Press Chuck Todd gave Priebus repeated chances to retract or rephrase the statement. Priebus refused and dug in deeper, declaring “everyone’s suffering in the Holocaust, including obviously, all of the Jewish people… [was] extraordinarily sad.”
In the penultimate sentence of the president’s statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day, the White House promised to ensure that “the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good.” But the statement was issued on the same day as the order banning refugees. It is hard not to conclude that this is precisely what happened at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Ed - It looks like the beginning of the end for 'holocaustianity'. David Irving failed in his legal action because he denied he was a 'denier'. That was not a logical position and the British legal system is rigged in any legal action concerning race and 'anti-Semitism'. How can 3 million Jews be lost from the death total at Auschwitz and then exactly the same figure be immediately substituted in the form of deaths by shootings at other locations? The alleged deaths of additional 5 million Romas, 'gays', Communists etc. is now denied by the likes of Lipstadt. With so many inconsistencies already acknowledged no wonder they have persecuted revisionists.
Thursday, 19 January 2017
[Statement] on Holocaust Remembrance Day
‘[I]f there is anything that frightens me in remembrance of the Holocaust, it is noticing horrific processes which developed … in Germany – 70, 80, and 90 years ago, and finding evidence of them here among us in the year 2016,’ Maj. Gen. Yair Golan told an audience earlier this month. by Richard Silverstein
SEATTLE - Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, was commemorated in Israel and throughout the Jewish world earlier this month with solemn ceremonies of remembrance. But one speech rocked Israel with its moral criticism of Israeli society.
Speaking to an audience gathered at Tel Yitzhak, a kibbutz in central Israel, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, the Israeli Defense Forces deputy chief of staff, warned Israel that the Jewish state threatened to fall into a moral chasm like the one that befell Nazi Germany for its treatment of “foreigners” — read: Palestinians and African refugees.
Here are some of his remarks [author’s translation]:
“The Holocaust should bring us to ponder our public lives and, furthermore, it must lead anyone who is capable of taking public responsibility to do so. … Because if there is anything that frightens me in remembrance of the Holocaust, it is noticing horrific processes which developed … in Germany – 70, 80, and 90 years ago, and finding evidence of them here among us in the year 2016.”
“The Holocaust … must bring us to … deep soul-searching regarding the responsibility of [our national] leadership and the quality of our society. It must lead us to fundamentally rethink how we, here and now, behave towards the other: the foreigner, the widow and the orphan [these are traditional Jewish social justice concepts].”
“There is nothing easier and simpler than hating the foreigner … There is nothing easier and simpler than fear-mongering and making threats. There is nothing easier and simpler than behaving brutishly, being indifferent [to the plight of the Other], and self-righteous.”
“On Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is worthwhile to consider our capacity to uproot the first buds of intolerance, violence, and self-destruction that lie on the path toward moral decay.”
In his speech, Golan refers in particular to the extraordinary level of incitement, hate and violence in Israeli society toward “foreigners.” Since the current round of violence began in the fall, 200 Palestinians have been killed. The majority have been Palestinians who attacked Israeli soldiers and police to protest Israeli encroachment on Jerusalem’s Muslim holy sites. But close to one-quarter of the Palestinian dead have been civilians murdered by Israeli forces in incidents like this and this.
Window-dressing a deadly, pervasive problem
The IDF’s deputy chief of staff also referenced the murder of a young Palestinian man at a Hebron checkpoint in March, which was filmed by a Palestinian videographer. The graphic evidence offered by the video raised a storm of controversy within Israel, with most excusing the shooting or even lionizing the IDF shooter, whose name I first identified when it was under Israeli gag order.
Feeling compelled to act to protect its international image, the army medic who turned his gun on the incapacitated Palestinian lying on the street was charged with negligent homicide by the IDF. He is being tried in military court.
Golan’s speech highlighted the supposedly high moral standards of the IDF in prosecuting its own soldier. The legal proceedings pointed, he maintained, to a standard he urged Israel itself to emulate in its relations with Palestinians. The problem is that much of this is window-dressing. Scores of unarmed Palestinians have been killed in very similar circumstances, but only when there is a camera on hand in possession of a Palestinian or peace activist is there any accountability.
Proof of this may be seen in a tragic incident on April 27. Private Israeli security guards at Qalandiya West Bank checkpoint murdered a 23-year-old Palestinian mother who was five months pregnant and her teenage brother. The latter had secured a permit to attend a medical appointment in Israel, and they were navigating the Qalandiya checkpoint for the first time. They inadvertently entered the vehicle lane and misunderstood Hebrew language commands to retreat.
Israeli forces claimed the two “threw knives” at the guards, but Palestinian eyewitnesses say the shooter was 60 feet from the brother and sister and seemingly not in any danger. They also claim the pair did not have knives, and the weapons were planted on their bodies afterward. Though there are security cameras monitoring the spot, the IDF refuses to make the footage available.
To add insult to injury, the Guardian’s Peter Beaumont reported that the young mother had committed “suicide by IDF,” as if a woman who was five months pregnant and with three young children would do such a thing. This is likely an idea planted in the journalist’s mind by official Israeli spin doctors who have launched false rumors blaming victims for their own murders in similar cases.
Evidence of collaboration between early Zionist leaders and the Nazis
Returning to Golan’s Yom HaShoah speech, considering the sensitivity with which Israel treats the Holocaust, it’s extraordinary for an active duty member of the senior military command to warn Israel that it threatened to fall into a moral chasm like the one that befell Nazi Germany. It must be seen as a clarion call from the nation’s most significant institution, urging a drawback from the abyss.
Characteristically, Golan was savaged for his outspokenness by far-right government ministers who harbor some of the same racist attitudes the major general was attacking.
In this context, it’s worth examining a political controversy inflaming the British chattering and political classes. This one has inundated the Labour Party’s left-wing leadership with controversial attacks by the British pro-Israel lobby and the largely pro-Tory press.
The debate has spilled over into the American media as well. Raw Story published a piece by Prof. Rainer Schulze which largely supports the notion that London’s former left-wing mayor, Ken Livingstone, has crossed a bright red line by claiming that Adolf Hitler “supported Zionism.”
The facts are far more complicated than Schulze makes them out to be. First, Livingstone’s claim, while overstated, is by no means a “historical error.” In fact, there is ample historical evidence that the Zionist leaders of the 1930s Yishuv and senior Nazi leaders collaborated in significant ways. Their collaboration was not based on shared values or principles, but on mutual self-interest. But that, of course, does not make the partnership less significant.
In 1933, German Zionist organizations, with the support of the Yishuv, signed the historic Transfer (“Haavara”) Agreement with Nazi authorities. It stayed in effect for nearly a decade and saved some 20,000 German Jews. But it is the method by which they were saved that is the most troubling: The Nazis liquidated the property of the emigrants and shipped Nazi goods of equal value to Israel where they were sold. Some of the proceeds of the sale were then returned to the emigrants when they resettled in Palestine.
For the Nazis, the deal solved critical needs. Germany faced an increasingly effective international boycott organized by American Zionists, led by Rabbi Stephen Wise. While the boycott had begun among the Jewish community here, it was beginning to resonate far beyond U.S. borders. Hitler had just begun to contemplate the military buildup that would eventually lead to World War II, and he knew an international boycott would destroy his rearmament effort.
Part of the deal meant that Wise and the American Zionists would call off the boycott. Thus ended one of the most promising attempts to strangle the Nazi infant in its cradle before it could grow up to wreak havoc on the world.
Further, in 1933 the German economy remained mired in the Great Depression and was also saddled with the onerous financial penalties of World War I reparations. The funds the Nazis looted from German Jews played a role in pumping needed cash into the economy.
Schulze minimizes and misconstrues both the history of the Nazi approach to the “Jewish Question” and the Transfer Agreement’s role in its evolution:
“While this implicitly always suggested murder and extermination, it took time until it became clear how this extermination could be effectively executed and until the Nazi authorities felt that such a radical ‘final solution’ could be pushed through.”
As the following sources show, it wasn’t until the early 1940s that it was clear that the Nazis had embraced the “Final Solution” of mass extermination. Prior to that, they had displayed a certain flexibility in their notions of how to deal with European Jewry.
‘Blood for Goods’
There is an even later and more obscure episode in the history of that era that involved negotiations between the Nazis and the Yishuv, in the form of the Jewish Agency. In 1944, a small group of Hungarian Jews established a rescue committee to try to save as many Jews from the Nazis as they could. Among them were Joel Brand and Rudolf Kastner, who would be assassinated in Israel in 1957.
They contacted the Nazis to offer bribes in return for stopping the deportations to Auschwitz. Not only were the Germans amenable, none other than Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Holocaust, met repeatedly with Brand and came up with a far more ambitious scheme. He appointed Brand to present it to the Jewish Agency, the foreign office of the Yishuv.
The plan would offer Jewish lives in return for supplies the Nazis desperately needed on the Russian front. Notably, 100,000 Jews would be freed (and permitted to emigrate to Palestine) for every 1,000 trucks the Jews or the Allies shipped to the Nazis. The plan was nicknamed “Blood for Goods.” A total of 1 million Jews were offered in return for up to 10,000 trucks.
When Brand traveled to the Middle East to present the plan to the Jewish Agency, the latter appeared not to understand the gravity of the situation in Europe or the seriousness of Brand’s proposal. The agency had sent a lower level official to meet Brand. After Brand protested, the agency sent the far more senior Moshe Sharett, a future prime minister.
When Brand told Sharett that 6 million Jews had already perished and that another 2 million would meet that fate unless the agency acted, Sharett reportedly looked at him as if he were a mad man.
But another factor proved even more decisive in arresting the plan: The British arrested Brand and imprisoned him in Egypt. They didn’t trust him or the plan. Brand never returned to Budapest to report to Eichmann, who in return began the mass deportations which led to the murder of 400,000 Hungarian Jews in Auschwitz.
The irony is that it was the British government which had an opportunity to negotiate to save the largest remaining intact Jewish community in Europe, but it refused to do so. If Britain wishes to debate anything, it might review the choices its leaders made in this decisive moment.
A red herring>
In his recent report, Schulze seems fixated on the false notion that Livingstone is claiming the Nazis not only supported Zionists, but that they were Zionists. He writes:
“The Haavara Agreement does not mean the Nazis were ever Zionists. … These policies do not in any way resemble Zionism.”
At no point has Livingstone ever suggested they were, and Schulze sets up a red herring argument by claiming that he does. Schulze appears to be unaware of this little known, but critical source praising the affinity of Zionism and Nazism. It is this glowing encomium penned by Reinhard Heydrich, the SS chief, in 1935, which was published in a leading SS publication. Francis Nicosia quotes it in his 1985 book, “The Third Reich and the Palestine Question”:
“‘National Socialism has no intention of attacking the Jewish people in any way. On the contrary, the recognition of Jewry as a racial community based on blood, and not as a religious one, leads the German government to guarantee the racial separateness of this community without any limitations. The government finds itself in complete agreement with the great spiritual movement within Jewry itself, the so-called Zionism, with its recognition of the solidarity of Jewry throughout the world and the rejection of all assimilationist ideas. On this basis, Germany undertakes measures that will surely play a significant role in the future in the handling of the Jewish problem around the world.’
“Göring’s January 24, 1939, note to the Interior Ministry gave Heydrich the authority to determine which parts of the world were the most suitable destinations for Jewish emigrants. The SS had consistently favored Jewish emigration to Palestine and would continue to do so with its enhanced authority in emigration policy.”
It’s important to note that in 1935, the Nazis had yet to formulate their plan to exterminate European Jewry. That came in 1942, after the war terminated the opportunity to rid Europe of Jews via emigration. But regardless of this fact, it indicates that there was an affinity between senior Nazi leaders and Zionism.
Hitler, himself, may have viewed these matters differently, and so Livingstone’s claim is somewhat imprecise. But whatever reluctance the Nazi leader may have felt toward such arrangements was overwhelmed by the practical needs the Nazis had for material support the German Jewish plunder could provide.
Expressing genuine concern or exploiting a trope?
There were also significant elements in the Yishuv Zionist movement which returned the admiration Heydrich expressed above.
The Irgun, the militant rightist movement founded by Ze’ev Jabotinsky, was eager not only to do business with the Nazis, as the Yishuv did, but to forge an alliance based on ideological affinity. The Irgun envisioned a Jewish state that would not be a democracy, but rather one based on the totalitarian ideals espoused by the Nazis:
“The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.
“Proceeding from these considerations, the NMO in Palestine, under the condition the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Israeli freedom movement are recognized on the side of the German Reich, offers to actively take part in the war on Germany’s side.”
It’s important to note that the Irgun was considered the opposition to the majority Yishuv leadership. It was in the minority and would not take control of the state until 1977, under the leadership of Menachem Begin and later Yitzhak Shamir.
But the Irgun was a powerful force in pre-1948 Palestine. It conducted dramatic assassinations of British leaders and international negotiators like Count Bernadotte. The ruling Yishuv leadership often looked the other way at such mass violence. Some rightist violence was directed against indigenous Palestinians as well. The infamous 1948 attack on Deir Yassin was the work of Irgun “freedom fighters” under Begin’s leadership.
It is absolutely false to label criticism like Livingstone’s as unfounded or anti-Semitic. It is, in fact, historically accurate. The real question is how one deals with the historical record. It would be far better for Israel’s supporters to accept the truth and critique the decisions made by the leaders of the Yishuv than it would be to smear those who summon history to criticize Israel.
The Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, an Israeli academic institute which studies world anti-Semitism, recorded a dramatic decrease in anti-Jewish acts around the world. There was a 50 percent drop from 2014 to 2015.
Given these statistics, one wonders what exactly pro-Israel forces in Britain are worried about. Are they genuinely concerned about anti-Semitism, or are they exploiting a trope which they know will resonate among Jews and non-Jews alike, in order to sabotage the Labour Party’s left-wing leadership under Jeremy Corbyn?
There is an enormous danger in playing the anti-Semitism card in such a fashion. Like the boy who cried wolf, if you cry discrimination when there is none, there will come a time when you really need to warn the world of mortal danger to Jews, and no one won’t believe you because you abused their trust in the past. This would be a truly unfortunate development for Jews, Israel and the world.
Source - Mint Press News - Monday 16th May 2016 - Richard Silverstein
Editor's note - According to the Eichmann Memoirs Argentinian Edition, some Jews were paid £1,000 to settle in Palestine pre war - a very considerable sum of money. Some extracts were published in Life magazine 1960 by Walter Sassen, a Dutch journalist and former member of the SS.
Friday, 30 December 2016
The tail will be wagging the dog under Donald Trump
While the presidential campaign was still in progress it was possible to think that there might be some positive change in America’s broken foreign policy. Hillary Clinton was clearly the candidate of Washington Establishment hawkishness, while Donald Trump was declaring his disinclination for democracy and nation building overseas as well as promoting détente with Russia. Those of us who considered the foreign policy debacle to be the most dangerous issue confronting the country, particularly as it was also fueling domestic tyranny, tended to vote on the basis of that one issue in favor of Trump.
On December 1st in Cincinnati, president-elect Donald Trump made some interesting comments about his post-electoral foreign policy plans. There were a lot of good things in it, including his citing of $6 trillion “wasted” in Mideast fights when “our goal is stability not chaos.” And as for dealing with real enemies, he promised to “partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism…” He called it a “new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past” adding that “We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments, folks.”
Regarding the apparent inability of governments to thoroughly check out new immigrants prior to letting them inside the country, demonstrated most recently in Nice, Ohio and Berlin, Trump described how “People are pouring in from regions of the Middle East — we have no idea who they are, where they come from what they are thinking and we are going to stop that dead cold. … These are stupid refugee programs created by stupid politicians.” Exaggerated? For sure, but he has a point, and it all is part and parcel of a foreign policy that serves no actual interest for people who already live in the United States.
But, as so often with Trump, there was also the flip side. On the looney fringe of the foreign and national security policy agenda, the president-elect oddly believes that “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” So to reduce the number of nukes we have to create more of them and put them in more places. Pouring gasoline on a raging fire would be an appropriate analogy and it certainly leads to questions regarding who is advising The Donald with this kind of nonsense.
Trump has promised to “put America first,” but there is inevitably a spanner in the works. Now, with the New Year only six days away and the presidential inauguration coming less than three weeks after that, it is possible to discern that the new foreign policy will, more than under Barack Obama and George W. Bush, be driven in significant part by Israeli interests.
At least Obama had the good sense to despise Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but that will not be true of the White House after January 20th. Trump’s very first telephone conversation with a foreign head of government after being elected was with Netanyahu and during the campaign, he promised to invite Bibi to the White House immediately after the inauguration. The new president’s first naming of an Ambassador-designate to a foreign nation was of his good friend and bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman to Israel. Friedman had headed Trump’s Israel Advisory Committee and is a notable hard liner who supports the Israeli settler movement, an extreme right-wing political entity that is nominally opposed by existing U.S. government policy as both illegal and damaging to Washington’s interests. Beyond that, Friedman rejects creation of a Palestinian state and supports Israel’s actual annexation of the West Bank.
U.S. Ambassadors are supposed to support American interests but Friedman would actually be representing and endorsing a particularly noxious version of Israeli fascism as the new normal in the relationship with Washington. Friedman describes Jerusalem as “the holy capital of the Jewish people and only the Jewish people.” Trump is already taking steps to move the U.S. Embassy there, making the American government unique in having its chief diplomatic mission in the legally disputed city. The move will also serve as a recruiting poster for groups like ISIS and will inflame opinion against the U.S. among friendly Arab states in the region. There is no possible gain and much to lose for the United States and for American citizens in making the move, but it satisfies Israeli hardliners and zealots like Friedman.
The Trump team’s animosity towards Iran is also part of the broader Israeli agenda. Iran does not threaten the United States and is a military midget compared either to nuclear armed Israel or the U.S. Yet is has been singled out as the enemy du jour in the Middle East even though it has invaded no one since the seventeenth century. Israel would like to have the United States do the heavy lifting to destroy Iran as a regional power. If Washington were to attempt to do so it would be a catastrophe for all parties involved but that has not stopped hardliners from demanding unrelenting military pressure on Tehran.
Donald Trump is not even president yet but he advised Barack Obama to exercise the U.S. veto for the resolution condemning Israeli settlements that was voted on at the United Nations Security Council on Friday, explaining that “As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations. This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”
This is a straight Israeli line that might even have been written by Netanyahu himself. Or by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which fumed “AIPAC is deeply disturbed by the failure of the Obama Administration to exercise its veto to prevent a destructive, one-sided, anti-Israel resolution from being enacted by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). In the past, this administration and past administrations have rejected this type of biased resolution since it undermines prospects for peace. It is particularly regrettable, in his last month in office, that the president has taken an action at odds with the bipartisan consensus in Congress and America’s long history of standing with Israel at the United Nations.”
Ah yes, the fabled negotiations for a two state solution, regularly employed to enable Israelis to do nothing while expanding their theft of Arab land and one wonders how Trump would define what is “fair to the Palestinians?” So we are already well into Trump’s adoption of the “always the victim argument” that the Israelis have so cleverly exploited with U.S. politicians and the media.
Not content with advising Obama, Trump also reportedly took the Palestinian issue one step further by directly pressuring the sponsoring Egyptians to postpone any submission of the resolution. Expecting to have a friendly president in the White House after January 20th, Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi complied on Thursday but the motion was reintroduced by New Zealand, Venezuela, Senegal and Malaysia on the following day. The resolution passed with 14 yes votes and a courageous U.S. abstention after Obama finally, after eight long years, developed a backbone. But unfortunately, Trump’s interventions suggest that nothing critical of Israel will be allowed to emerge from the U.N. during his term of office. Referring to the U.N. vote, he said that “things will be different after January 20th.”
The United Nations resolution produced an immediate reaction from Israeli Firsters in Congress and the media, led by Senator Chuck Schumer and the Washington Post. The Post featured a lead editorial entitled The Obama Administration fires a dangerous parting shot and an op-ed The United States just made Middle East peace harder by no less a redoubtable American hero than Eliot Abrams. Look in vain for any suggestion of what might be construed as an actual U.S. interest in either piece. It is all about Israel, as it always is.
The problem with Israel and its friends is that they are never satisfied and never leave the rest of us Americans alone, pushing constantly at what is essentially an open door. They have treated the United States like a doormat, spying on us more than any ostensibly friendly nation while pocketing our $38 billion donation to their expanding state without so much as a thank you. They are shameless. Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer has been all over American television sputtering his rage over the United Nations settlements vote. On CNN he revealed that Israel has “clear evidence” that President Obama was “behind” the resolution and he announced his intention to share the information with Donald Trump. Every American should be outraged by Israel’s contempt for us and our institutions. One has to wonder if the mainstream media will take a rest from their pillorying of Russia to cover the story.
For many years now, Israel has sought to make the American people complicit in its own crimes while also encouraging our country’s feckless and corrupt leadership to provide their government with political cover and even go to war on its behalf. This has got to stop and, for a moment, it looked like Trump might be the man to end it when he promised to be even-handed in negotiating between the Arabs and Israelis. That was before he promised to be the best friend Israel would ever have.
Israel’s quarrels don’t stay in Israel and they are not limited to the foreign policy realm. I have already discussed the pending Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, a bipartisan effort by Congress to penalize and even potentially criminalize any criticism of Israel by equating it to anti-Semitism. Whether Israel itself wants to consider itself a democracy is up to Netanyahu and Israeli voters but the denial of basic free speech rights to Americans in deference to Israeli perceptions should be considered to be completely outrageous.
And there’s more. Israel’s government funded lawfare organization Shurat HaDin has long been using American courts to punish Palestinians and Iranians, obtaining punitive damages linked to allegations regarding terrorist incidents that have taken place in Israel. Now Shurat HaDin is using our courts to go after American companies that do business with countries like Iran.
Last year’s nuclear agreement with Iran included an end to restraints on the Islamic Republic’s ability to engage in normal banking and commercial activity. As a high priority, Iran has sought to replace some of its aging infrastructure, to include its passenger aircraft fleet. Seattle based Boeing has sought to sell to Iran Air 80 airplanes at a cost of more than $16 billion and has worked with the U.S. government to meet all licensing and technology transfer requirements. The civilian-use planes are not in any way configurable for military purposes, but Shurat HaDin on December 16th sought to block the sale at a federal court in Illinois, demanding a lien against Boeing for the monies alleged to be due to the claimed victims of Iranian sponsored terrorism. Boeing, meanwhile, has stated that the Iran Air order “support(s) tens of thousands of U.S. jobs.”
So an agency of the Israeli government is taking steps to stop an American company from doing something that is perfectly legal under U.S. law even though it will cost thousands of jobs here at home. It is a prime example of how much Israel truly cares about the United States and its people. And even more pathetic, the Israel Lobby owned U.S. Congress has predictably bowed down and kissed Netanyahu’s ring on the issue, passing a bill in November that seeks to block Treasury Department licenses to permit the financing of the airplane deal.
The New Year and the arrival of an administration with fresh ideas would provide a great opportunity for the United States to finally distance itself from a toxic Israel, but, unfortunately, it seems that everything is actually moving in the opposite direction. Don’t be too surprised if we see a shooting war with Iran before the year is out as well as a shiny new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem (to be built on land stolen from Palestinians, incidentally). Trump might think he is ushering in a new era of American policy based on American interests but it is beginning to look a lot like same-old same-old but even worse, and Benjamin Netanyahu will be very much in the driver’s seat.
Friday, 18 November 2016
Why Trump’s Victory Was 30 Years in the Making and Why It Won’t Stop Here
By Mark Blyth
Trump’s victory was predictable, and was predicted, but not by looking at polls. Polling has taken a beating recently having failed to predict the victory of David Cameron’s Conservative Party in the British general elections, then Brexit, and now the election of Donald Trump. One can argue about what’s wrong with the methods involved, but more fundamentally what polls do is to treat these phenomena as isolated events when they are in fact the product of a common set of causes 30 years in the making.
There are two issues at play here. The first is known as Galton’s problem, after Sir Francis Galton, the inventor of much of modern statistics. Galton’s problem is that when we treat cases as independent—the British election, Brexit, the U.S. election—they may not actually be independent. There may be links between the cases—think of Brexit’s Nigel Farage showing up at Trump's rallies—and there could be subtler contagion or mimicry effects in play as information from one case “infects” the other, changing the dynamics of the system as a whole. Could there then be a higher set of drivers in the global economy pushing the world in a direction where Trump is really just one part of a more global pattern of events?
Consider that there are many Trumpets blowing around the developed world, on both the right and the left. On the one side, insurgent right-wing parties are bulldozing the vote shares of traditional centrist parties all over Europe. For example, the Finns Party is the second-largest party in the Finnish parliament. In Sweden, the Swedish Democrats are the third-largest party in parliament. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s political party, Fidesz, runs the country having won two elections. Meanwhile in France, the most popular political party is the National Front, which in all scenarios but one—whatever such exercises are actually worth—is expected to win the first round of voting in the 2017 French presidential election. But when all the other parties in France close ranks to prevent the National Front from winning the second round, it’s hardly a victory for democracy. And even in that bulwark of stability, Germany, the upstart Alternative for Germany beat German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union into second place in her own backyard.
A clash outside the Labor Ministry in Athens, Greece, January 2013.
But there is also a left-wing version of this phenomenon. Consider the Scottish National Party (the clue is in the name), which has annihilated every other political party in Scotland, or Podemos in Spain, which has won 69 out of 350 seats in the Spanish parliament. Left-wing upstart Syriza runs Greece—even if it’s under Troika tutelage—and Die Linke in Germany is yet another drain on the vote share of the once-dominant Social Democrats, whose own vote share has utterly collapsed.
These parties of course have very different policy stances. The new right favors nationals over immigrants and has, at best, a rather casual relationship with the liberal understanding of human rights. The new left, in contrast, favors redistribution from top to bottom and inclusive rather than exclusionary growth policies. But they also have more in common than we think. They are all pro-welfare (for some people, at least), anti-globalization, and most interestingly, pro-state, and although they say it sotto voce on the right, anti-finance. To see why, consider our second issue.
At the end of World War II, the United States and its allies decided that sustained mass unemployment was an existential threat to capitalism and had to be avoided at all costs. In response, governments everywhere targeted full employment as the master policy variable—trying to get to, and sustain, an unemployment rate of roughly four percent. The problem with doing so, over time, is that targeting any variable long enough undermines the value of the variable itself—a phenomenon known as Goodhart’s law.
Long before Goodhart, an economist named Michal Kalecki had already worked this out. Back in 1943, he argued that once you target and sustain full employment over time, it basically becomes costless for labor to move from job to job. Wages in such a world will have to continually rise to hold onto labor, and the only way business can accommodate that is to push up prices. This mechanism, cost-push inflation, where wages and prices chase each other up, emerged in the 1970s and coincided with the end of the Bretton Woods regime and the subsequent oil shocks to produce high inflation in the rich countries of the West in the 1970s. In short, the system undermined itself, as both Goodhart and Kalecki predicted. As countries tried harder and harder to target full employment, the more inflation shot up while profits fell. The 1970s became a kind of “debtor’s paradise.” As inflation rose, debts fell in real terms, and labor’s share of national income rose to an all-time high, while corporate profits remained low and were pummeled by inflation. Unions were powerful and inequality plummeted.
The era of neoliberalism is over. The era of neonationalism has just begun.
But if it was a great time to be a debtor, it was a lousy time to be a creditor. Inflation acts as a tax on the returns on investment and lending. Unsurprisingly in response, employers and creditors mobilized and funded a market-friendly revolution where the goal of full employment was jettisoned for a new target—price stability, aka inflation—to restore the value of debt and discipline labor through unemployment. And it worked. The new order was called neoliberalism.
Over the next thirty years the world was transformed from a debtor’s paradise into a creditor’s paradise where capital’s share of national income rose to an all-time high as labor’s share fell as wages stagnated. Productivity rose, but the returns all went to capital. Unions were crushed while labor’s ability to push up wages collapsed due to the twin shocks of restrictive legislation and the globalization of production. Parliaments in turn were reduced to tweet-generating talking shops as central banks and policy technocrats wrested control of the economy away from those elected to govern.
But Goodhart’s law never went away. Just as targeting full employment undermined itself, so did making inflation the policy target.
Consider that since the 2008 crisis the world’s major central banks have dumped at least $12 trillion dollars into the global economy and there is barely any inflation anywhere. Almost a quarter of all European bonds now have negative yields. Unsurprisingly, interest rates are on the floor, and if it were not for the massive purchasing of assets in the Eurozone by the European Central Bank, deflation would be systemic. In sum, we may have created a world in which deflation, not inflation, is the new normal, and that has serious political consequences, which brings us back to Trump.
Using an ATM during a power outage in San Juan, Puerto Rico, September 2016.
In a world of disinflation, credit became very cheap and the private sector levered up—massively—with post-crisis household debt now standing at $12.25 trillion in the United States. This is a common story. Wage earners now have too much debt in an environment where wages cannot rise fast enough to reduce those debts. Meanwhile, in a deflation, the opposite of what happens in an inflation occurs. The value of debt increases while the ability to pay off those debts decreases.
Seen this way, what we see is a reversal of power between creditors and debtors as the anti-inflationary regime of the past 30 years undermines itself—what we might call “Goodhart’s revenge.” In this world, yields compress and creditors fret about their earnings, demanding repayment of debt at all costs. Macro-economically, this makes the situation worse: the debtors can’t pay—but politically, and this is crucial—it empowers debtors since they can’t pay, won’t pay, and still have the right to vote.
The traditional parties of the center-left and center-right, the builders of this anti-inflationary order, get clobbered in such a world, since they are correctly identified by these debtors as the political backers of those demanding repayment in an already unequal system, and all from those with the least assets. This produces anti-creditor, pro-debtor coalitions-in-waiting that are ripe for the picking by insurgents of the left and the right, which is exactly what has happened.
In short, to understand the election of Donald Trump we need to listen to the trumpets blowing everywhere in the highly indebted developed countries and the people who vote for them.
The global revolt against elites is not just driven by revulsion and loss and racism. It’s also driven by the global economy itself. This is a global phenomenon that marks one thing above all. The era of neoliberalism is over. The era of neonationalism has just begun.