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.
CROSSPOST: Nadia Elia
Last week, millions of Palestinians around the world commemorated the 68th anniversary of Al Nakba, the catastrophe that befell Palestine, without which the Jewish state could not have come into being.
Palestinian refugees in the Naqab desert, in Gaza, in the West Bank, and in a number of refugee camps in neighbouring Arab countries held symbolic “return marches” in a determined assertion that we are not surrendering our Right of Return. The “March of Return” in the Naqab was especially significant, as it was held in defiance of Israel’s ban on any commemoration of Al Nakba.
Pro-Israel activists have been gathering momentum in their concerted effort to conflate Zionism with Judaism/Jewish identity and therefore censor particular references and discourses.
Based on dubious and deceptive conflation, several Labour MPs have been suspended. Notable organisations fronting these efforts are “feeder” groups which often forward information onto other Israel lobby groups like the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council. These grassroots organisations are linked to other organisations which have been, for instance, directly responsible for the eventual suspension of Jackie Walker – a Jewish anti-racism activist who made the “mistake” of saying “millions more Africans were killed in the African Holocaust”. Similar conflations by these organisations have been made about NUS President Malia Bouattia (see here and here, for instance).
A brief peruse down the social media timelines shows that some of their campaigns have targeted (I would argue legitimately) those instances which genuinely constitute anti-Semitism. This, however is insidiously supplemented by a concerted campaign to confuse anti-Israel views and political activism with anti-Semitism. Bullying and intimidation tactics, like in the case of Walker, are adopted to force this conflation. In doing so, boundaries on what can and cannot be articulated about Israel are redrawn and free speech – the favoured neocon invocation for anti-Islam hate – is assaulted. The organisations also profess views which are often aired from the Zionist far-right.
Mark Sykes, 1917
“I want to see a permanent Anglo-French entente allied to the Jews, Arabs, and Armenians which will render pan-Islamism innocuous…” – Mark Sykes, 1917
The Middle East is experiencing convulsions as the vicious cycle of violence continues and the boundaries which were once drawn upon ignorance and arrogance remain in a state of uncertainty. The continued Western violence in the Muslim world and the destructive responses of individuals in Europe too are also not disconnected from history and historic politics. Indeed, the upheavals in the Middle East are not an isolated phenomena, as is often made out to be.
The source of this great distress for Muslims has been in no part due to the intrigues and “great games” which have played out over the past century.
Image Source: Middle East Eye
Crosspost: CJ Werleman
Last week UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem an “affront” to not only the international community but also to Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution.
What does this mean for those who pay scant attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Not much.
Not much because typically most casual observers of the conflict, particularly in the West, are befuddled by pro-Israel propaganda (hasbara) that by design is meant to mislead and confuse, and there’s hardly a more misleading word in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lexicon than the word “settlements”.
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.
Towards the beginning of this year, I covered the takeover of Golden Hillock School in Birmingham by ARK Schools, the Academy chain which had, in scandalous circumstances, taken over another Muslim-majority school subjected to spin and lies: Oldknow Academy. I also found ARK’s links to the “Christian influence” (undue influence?), how ARK has been a favoured chain by the notorious anti-Muslim neocon Michael Gove, whilst Ofsted’s head, Michael Wilshaw, not only headed the first ARK Academy school, but was an Education Director at ARK before becoming Chief Inspector.
Disconcertingly, the “old-boys network” of pro-Israel, hate-mongering neocons also extend their links into ARK. “Vanilla tax”-avoiding Stanley Fink, a major donor of the Tories, bigoted Henry Jackson Society’s Israeli-crime whitewashing project Just Journalism, became the chair of ARK in 2009.
Applying the presumptions about Muslims propagated by neocons (Muslims are untrustworthy due to Islam and their actions are to be seen as a form of sinister subversion) the Trojan Horse test set out for Muslims, there is one hell of plot here for Peter Clarke to investigate.
“We will be absolutely clear about the people and groups we will not deal with because we find their views and behaviour to be so inconsistent with our own.”
~ Counter-Extremism Strategy document
Following on from my previous blog, I take brief look at the Counter-Extremism Strategy which has been published to much neocon fanfare and celebration. Most of the measures have been either already implemented unofficially, or announced as upcoming proposals. I have covered these parts in detail in the following blogs:
In short, it’s the usual inevitable neoconservative mix of Machiavellian fear (“dangerous”, “poisonous”, “harmful”, “threat”, “extremists”, “Islamists”!), double speak (protect freedoms by curtailing them/“targeted powers” which are “flexible”/claiming “not about Islam” but advancing only “liberal” Islam), and irrationality (the Strategy is based on the PM’s assertions rather than empirical evidence, whilst conflating crime into the extremism discourse), not to mention implicit association with negative cultural practices with Islam and Muslims (or the phantom menace that are the “Islamists”), adding to the stigmatisation of the Muslim minority.
Any additional points? There are few which twiddled my whiskers as they say. Below is my elucidation of those points.
We have an “imposition of an interpretation of religion” (Maajid Nawaz’s definition of “extremism”) in the justification for the creation of Israel, but no ” Jewish extremism” label is heard.
We have violence erupting thanks to “millenials” stealing land and justifying it through Biblical texts, but no label of “violent extremism” is applied.
We have people joining them from the West, but no Jewish mothers are compelled by the State to spy on their children, no teachers are referring Jewish children to PREVENT Officers to be deradicalised for supporting the Zionist entity, and Jewish practices shared with these “extremists” are not being derided in the media, mocked in public “debates”, and attacked by government officials as “extremist”.
Extremism: a political term to manufacture an enemy for the State.