CROSSPOST: Jonathon Cook
Palestinian politicians in Israel have found an unexpected ally inside the government against a new bill banning mosques from using loudspeakers to broadcast the call to prayer.
The so-called Muezzin Bill – named after the person who calls Muslims to prayer – was approved by a ministerial committee on Sunday, on the grounds that it is needed to reduce “noise pollution” from mosques.
A first vote in the Israeli parliament on the legislation – due on Wednesday – had to be delayed, however, after a small Jewish religious party raised objections.
Selective application and outrage of various freedoms is instructive of the neoconservative agenda to dehumanise and alienate Muslims as the manufactured enemy.
Neoconservatives have constructed their angst and hatred on the culturalist notions that the Muslim (“Islamist”) world is attacking free speech and therefore Western culture through responses to various provocations. This is precisely the position held by anti-Muslim neocon Michael Gove.
When Angela Merkel acceded to Ankara’s request to prosecute a comedian who recited an offensive poem about the Turkish president, neocons went into overdrive. To note, the Turks called on Merkel to enforce existing German law.
CROSSPOST: Dr Hatem Bazian
Three of Edward Said’s books are as timely today as the day they were published almost 40 years ago: Orientalism (1978), The Question of Palestine (1979), and Covering Islam (1981). The three constitute Said’s trilogy that focused on literary and artistic representation in the service of empire, colonial dispossession, and the media shaping and reproducing Orientalist tropes. Said’s contributions are an invaluable source for anyone attempting to deconstruct the ebbs and flows of events and development in the Arab and Muslim worlds. At the same time, the three books offer a strong critique of Western policies and public discourse that purport to cover the “East” as a separate and mysterious place filled with irrationality.
Observing the daily events in the Arab and Muslim worlds, one is at a loss to comprehend the sheer destruction and the snuffing out of hope faced by a multitude of peoples – 1.4 billion, to be precise. Said’s writing intuitively de-constructed the racialized lens used by Western academics, press, and policymakers to justify their continued disregard of the needs and well-being of the Arab and Muslim worlds.
The British government’s campaign against the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, which sees public authorities and possibly student unions prohibited from boycotting companies effectively operating illegally in Palestinian occupied territories, is morally bankrupt at the least, and an endorsement of violations of international law and various illegal settlements and annexations. Moreover, it is an unfettered threat to local democracy and the much vaunted “British value” of free speech – remember that one?
In a detailed piece on the role of dual, British/Israeli nationals and their loyalties, I highlighted how pro-Israeli backers of David Cameron, his party, and those like Greg Clarke who promote Zionist massacre-whitewashing lobby groups, have articulated and realised their aim of using law to suppress the BDS movement.
Pro-Israel activists like the aforementioned meanwhile, have acted as conduits for not British interests, but Zionist ones, to the detriment of the reputation of Britain. For all of David Cameron’s spiel of human rights and accountability, and promoting these “British values” internationally, he has acted as effective muscle to force through policies for an entity which has lost its legitimacy, and which continues to demonstrate this.
Cameron in his New Year message demanded that if people “walk our streets, learn our schools, benefit from our society, you sign up to our values. Freedom. Tolerance. Responsibility. Loyalty.”
With the government regularly eroding civil liberties, consistently targeting Islamic beliefs, dogwhistling the far-right, and courting murderous dictators from around the world, the call for enlistment to the values of freedom, tolerance and responsibility evidences empty, hypocritical rhetoric; demagogic words to which the elite feel unbound by.
“Loyalty”, is the aspect however, which will be the focus of this series. I want my readers to place in the back of their mind the question, who indeed is Cameron and his neoconservative syndicate “loyal” to?
To answer this, we will begin by analysing Jeremy Corbyn’s predicament.
The War on Terror breathed life into morbid industries. Those who were the fundamental cogs in the illegal, immoral and strategically catastrophic neoconservative war machine profiteered. Over the years it has also spurned another industry at the soft end of the War on Terror: counter extremism. Pimping the discourse of rights, and using it as a stick to beat a minority with, the language has shifted from rights to one of security.
Having observed over the past decade or so the recycling of the calls to “reform” or rather, deform Islam through various charlatans like Ziauddin Sardar, Ed Husain, Taj Hargey et al, the need to freshen the line up to resurge the desperate call is necessary. This is mainly because deconstructing Islam has been a somewhat difficult affair; Muslims understand the meticulous nature of their Book, belief and disbelief, and the fact that the calls to deform conveniently serve the neoconservative War on Terror agenda. Those who force a deformation of Islam using superficial and spurious argumentation do so often incredibly poorly, without any intellectual rigour and to the wine-sipping neo-colonial glee of the unctuous neoconservatives and their supporting, superficial Twitterati.
Crosspost: Jamal Juma
The past few days in Palestine have evoked images of the First Intifada. Burning tyres in the streets, youth wrapped in Palestinian scarves throwing stones, and Israeli military confronting them with tear gas, sound grenades and live ammunition. Entire Palestinian villages are under siege. Clashes are spreading like wild fire across Jerusalem and Palestinian areas on both sides of the Green Line.
The root causes for this rebellion are the same as ever: the Israeli regime of occupation, apartheid and colonialism makes Palestinians’ lives unbearable. However, there are fundamental differences between now and then, and the actions of Israel’s new settler militia will determine when, not if, a full scale Intifada will explode.