Not Forgetting Palestine 140


Once you have been active in politics for a few decades, you get used to the popular convulsions of support for Palestine every few years when Israel military action against Gaza becomes particularly intense. Then follows a ceasefire, the media move on and Israel resumes the daily routine of low level evictions, destruction of tree crops, imprisonments and murders that accomplishes the gradual extinction of the territories that the Western powers pretended to intend for a Palestinian state.

For the media, 50 Palestinian children killed in a week has been a story. The regular killing of 50 a year is not; and anybody who thinks it is must be labeled an anti-semite and hounded from political life.

As a young man, the two great injustices we campaigned on were South Africa and Palestine. I never dreamt the latter abuse would possibly outlast me. These two issues resonated so much because they were both remnants of European colonial arrogance, founded on racism and a sense of cultural superiority. Nowadays I cannot even think myself into a mindset that says that for the greater good of the United Kingdom, it is OK to deport the entire population of the Chagos Islands to make way for a military base. But that was the view not just of governments, but of Labour governments, inside my own lifetime.

I should like to think that the undeniable openness of Israeli apartheid rule has made a fundamental shift in thinking towards Palestine, but I do not think much has in fact changed, and the media and political class remain bought and paid for on the issue.

The general British population may return to slumber until the next major bombings, but one man who will not forget is Richard Barnard of Palestine Action. Incredibly, Barnard has been charged by police and the Crown Prosecution Service with blackmail for proposing to hunger strike until the Israeli Elbit weapons factories in the UK are closed down.

That is not a mistake; he really is charged with blackmail for a proposed hunger strike. I have been trying to find precedent for this and while I can find examples of the argument being made that hunger strike is emotional extortion, I certainly cannot find any example, anywhere in the world, of actual prosecution. The International Committee of the Red Cross has considered the ethical argument with relation to prisoners:

Hunger strikers are often criticized for using their physical welfare as an instrument of protest, the (debatable) argument being that this constitutes a form of blackmail. It is inappropriate to assert, however, that hunger strikers should be placed in the same category as persons intending to commit suicide. This is a simplistic approach to the issue which wrongly reduces it to purely medical terms: namely, that since any doctor would come to the assistance of someone who attempts suicide, so hunger strikers should be „assisted“ (i e force-fed) to prevent them from „killing themselves“.

This is certainly a misconception. Someone who attempts suicide is either appealing for help, as in the majority of cases, or he truly wants to end his life. (The “black-and-white case” often cited here is that of a general, found guilty of treason, who prefers to blow his brains out rather than face a shameful court-martial. Although some doctors would even argue for a case of acute and severe depression, it can be claimed that not all suicides are necessarily to be “medicalized”.) The clear-cut case of a politically motivated hunger striker is different. The striker does not want to die: on the contrary, he wants to „live better“, by obtaining something for himself, his group or his country. If necessary, he is willing to sacrifice his life for his cause, but the aim is certainly not suicide. (Soldiers charging a heavily defended enemy position also run the risk of dying. Are the suicidal too?} All too often hunger strikers who fast up to or beyond the limits of irreversible physiological consequences are labelled as suicidal. This naturally gives any prison or judicial authority the perfect excuse for ordering doctors to intervene forcibly.

As I am shortly likely to become the first person in the UK – and so far as I can tell, the first person in the world – to be jailed for supposed “jigsaw identification” of witnesses, I accept I have a jaundiced view of the novel abuse of law against dissenters. Having witnessed and reported day after day after day of abuse of process in the extradition hearing of Julian Assange, I have entirely lost any faith in the justice system where it collides with the wishes of government. But the persecution of Richard Barnard for his calling out the UK’s role in the manufacture of instruments for the death and maiming of Palestinians takes things to a whole new level. The law is twisted by power to make all dissent criminal.

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140 thoughts on “Not Forgetting Palestine

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  • S

    Wow. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. What a contrast to how we remember the suffragettes. Should they be posthumously prosecuted for blackmail? It always amazes me that their efforts are universally regarded as brave and something to be celebrated, while all the same we prosecute people who carry out the same actions now for other causes.

    • Phil Espin

      Where do they dream up this nonsense? If he get jailed and goes on hunger strike to protest do they keep charging him with further offences and keep him there until he dies. Will it be boycotts next? Cameras on the aisles at Tesco to check who is giving Jaffa’s the cold shoulder?

      We really need to laugh these jokers out of power. Isn’t that what a free press is supposed to be for?Which reminds me of one of my favourite Not the 9 o’clock News sketches. One assumes our PM can now be arrested for “Possessing an offensive wife”?

      Of course I appreciate that being on the wrong end of twisted abuse of the legal system is no laughing matter and you have my empathy and respect Craig.

      • Bayard

        I can imagine the scene: Security guard, to customer who has picked up an orange, looked at it and put it back, after seeing that it was grown in Israel, “Excuse me sir, any particular reason why you didn’t buy that orange?”

        • Jimmeh

          No joke.

          If BDS is antisemitic, and antisemitism becomes illegal, then it will become illegal for me to choose how I spend my own money. Apparently that would be the case even if my boycott extended only to the produce of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

          One of the awkward problems about boycotting settlement goods is that they are not all clearly labelled. Marks and Spencer sells clothes made by settler-owned companies; but they outsource the actual manufacture, so these settler products appear on the racks labelled as “Made in Bangladesh” or “Made in Thailand”. They’ve been labelling West Bank settler argicultural produce (like avocados) as “Israel” for decades.

          If they refuse to be honest about the origins of these products, I’m obliged to stay clear of Marks and Spencers, which grieves. me.

          • SA

            Comrade
            Principles call for sacrifices. Sorry your realisations are so belated.

          • nevermind

            Not to worry Jimmeh, you are not missing anything but the overpacked (plastic galore) goods of a company with a penchant for goods made under oppression.
            Those who toiled to make them in Bangladesh or those produced in Palestine under the threats of an Apartheid/IDF controlled Zionist ideal that is spreading its racism far and wide under the banner of antisemitic accusation and threats that reach polluted minds far beyond its border. There are plenty of other retailers in the world. you don’t really have to tie yourself to mucks and purveyors of blood splattered goods. take care

          • Tom Welsh

            I have seen bottles of olive oil prominently marked as the produce of Jewish and Palestinian women working together in an Israeli enterprise.

            I briefly considered the purchase, before switching on my brain to consider which women performed which duties. I had a vivid image of Palestinians labouring in the vineyards and doing the manual work, while well-dressed Jewish women sat in offices managing.

      • Ron Soak

        There had to be some rational explanation for why wage rate levels in recent times have been at their lowest since the Napoleonic Wars.

        Clearly the UK’s new role following Brexit is that of the entire Country becoming an 1820’s theme park. Having trialled draconian and politically motivated prosecutions in Scotland with little in the way of meaningful pushback (how else would you describe the Holyrood election results?) charging someone with conspiracy to blackmail for threatening a hunger strike seems a logical next step.

        The return of Transportation for dissident voices who refuse to obey their ‘betters’, possibly to the Chagos Islands, in the next year or so appears entirely feasible on present trends.

        • Radical Rose

          Having just been threatened with arrest by an abusive cop dangling handcuffs in front of my eyes, for my vehicle breaking down and my breakdown company being temporarily unavailable I would welcome transportation to Botany Bay immediately as I have been totally destroyed physically and ongoing by the virus or rather the NHS callous ignorance and orders not to treat people and the daily reminder that despite isolating and barely able to leave my home that when I do I am treated in such aggressive misogynistic abusive manner if more misfortune befalls me. I cannot feel sorry for myself because thinking of how life is in Gaza and elsewhere is so much worse. But when living in this world is a comparison to who has the worst death it is truly a lost civilisation. I have researched my family and history and we relive 1920 and 1820. And there were solutions in each of these times but instead the powers that be chose persecution and examples being made. Just transport me to Botany Bay now and make my day!

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Dear Rose,

            Sorry to hear about your current predicament with Covid and hassles with the thin blue line.

            Although it’s very unlikely to be a complete cure, taking 2-3 thousand international units (IU) (50-75 micrograms) of vitamin D per day could well ease many of your symptoms, since Covid & long Covid are primarily disorders of various inflammatory aspects of the immune system, which vitamin D helps to regulate. I strongly believe that if it had been administered in large amounts to Covid patients as soon as they were admitted to hospital, tens of thousands of lives could have been saved (or extended, if you want to be pedantic) in the UK alone.

            There have been a number of studies which support this, beyond any level of reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, Big Pharma doesn’t want people to know about them, as taking sufficient amounts of vitamin D would almost certainly also have a hugely positive role to play in the management of sundry chronic inflammatory auto-immune conditions, current treatments for which generate billions of dollars in profits each year. An example: in 2013, Remicade, a TNF-alpha inhibitor, alone generated nearly 10% of the revenues for Johnson & Johnson, the biggest pharma by market cap in the US.

            Disclaimer: I am not a (medical) doctor.

            Wishing all the best for the future.

          • Bramble

            No. The People chose this. We are now ruled by those who think it okay to abuse the vulnerable in distress, blame the hungry for being inadequate and wave the flag at every opportunity. Democracy fails when the electorate fails to learn and feel compassion.

          • Bayard

            We have been overtaken by selfishness, greed and a guiding principle that what matters is not what should be done, but what can be done and got away with. That is why we have the government that we have and why Israel behaves as it does.

    • David

      And now it’s been brought to my attention I shall head off over to The Guardian and read all about it.

    • Bayard

      That’s probably because the people who regard the suffragettes as brave and something to be celebrated are not the same people who are prosecuting those who carry out the same actions now. Indeed, I would not be surprised if the latter group regard the suffragettes as a pack of bloody awkward women who should have been dealt with more firmly at the time.

      • S

        Maybe not the people directly prosecuting on the ground, but I’ve not read anyone mainstream really condemn the suffragettes. Their heroism is taught in schools here.

        • Tom Welsh

          I think the key is that the suffragettes are all safely dead. It is considered safe and, indeed, good policy to praise the dead. Just as it is good politics to apologise for the acts of those who lived and died centuries ago.

          • Polly Titian

            “It is considered safe and, indeed, good policy to praise the dead. “

            Hence the Gandhi and Mandela statues in Parliament Square. The irony of the Mandela one is all too clear when one recalls that for years the UK government’s position on Mandela was that he was a terrorist, and recall in the 80’s young Tories (like Theresa May) wore ‘Hang Nelson Mandel’ badges at party conference.

    • Ray A

      When I think of the suffragettes, I think of their part in the White Feather campaign. It is difficult to imagine what level of hate was created for women to show such ugly, nasty, misandry, leaving a stain across “feminism” for all time.

  • Alyson

    Indeed. I recall that the British Protectorate of Palestine was well received following liberation from the Turkish Occupation, which had not been kind. Palestinians valued the Civil Service, bringing order and rules to contracts and land management. Land owners were asked if they could build villages to welcome European refugees following WW2 and so they did. Everyone had property deeds for their homes and land. Education, healthcare, and law abiding people were becoming a way of life. They expected the Europeans would be like the British. Soon after they arrived the land owners found themselves in the small houses in the villages they had built to welcome the refugees. The villages in turn get bulldozed for road building, and the remaining land owners say there is still plenty of land, so there is no reason to make people homeless. The diaspora who found themselves in Lebanon and Jordan took with them their house keys and property deeds, issued by the British, who were so fond of law abiding citizens. Massacres by Israel occur from time to time, over and above regular sniping at children and preganant women, and the world looks on. Chemical weapons, with white phosphorus in 2014, of schools and hospitals, and indiscriminate bombing of civilians, and the international courts make no arrests. It is sad, we say. It is wrong, we say. But they are our allies, our leaders say.

  • Xavi

    Individuals enriching themselves from the indiscriminate bombing of infants, women and old folks trapped in a concentration camp.

    Man feels so disgusted he threatens to starve himself in desperate attempt to thwart it.

    According to the values of liberal-democratic Britain one of these is a criminal act.

      • Squeeth

        Told you that C20th-C21st bourgeois liberalism is one of the three bastard children of C19th liberalism, the others being fascism and Stalinism.

    • Ingwe

      Off topic but can anyone get onto Jonathan Cook’s blog? Received a message that he’s put out a new post but get a message that server cannot be found. Tried other links and Duck Duck search bit same. Is this a denial of service?

          • `Carlyle+Moulton

            1/ Can you copy the url on your address bar and paste it into a reply.

            2/ The correct url is https://www.jonathan-cook.net/

            3/ Are you having problems with any other web site?

            4/ What messages do you get on the screen when you attempt and fail to access Jonathan Cook’s site?

          • Chris

            Might be a DNS (domain name server) problem, Ingwe. This is a setting buried within the details of your internet connection, rather than the browser.

  • tony

    Richard Barnard conspiracy to blackmail is in connection to letters and e-mail sent to LaSalle limited demanding the eviction of Elbit

  • Clark

    There is no chance that the police would have pursued this without political direction. There is no way that the Crown Prosecution Service can claim this to be “in the public interest”. This is blatantly politically directed. Therefore there are no longer any separation of powers in the UK, and the UK can no longer claim to be a free country.

    Politics is fucked; time to rebel.

    • Justin

      “There is no chance that the police would have pursued this without political direction. There is no way that the Crown Prosecution Service can claim this to be “in the public interest”. This is blatantly politically directed.”

      Yes indeed. That’s what Kenny MacAskill said about Craig’s case in his speech on Press Freedom Day:

      “We have seen Craig Murray – a blogger, indeed a former British senior civil servant – now facing a prison sentence of 8 months – something that is not only shocking in itself, but also drives a coach and horses through a position brought in by the Scottish Government that there would be a presumption against the sentence of imprisonment for less than a year. The absence of criticism – their failure to comment – has in fact been quite shocking. And it’s not simply those cases brought by the crown; there’s been cases that have been pursued by the police where people so much as tweeting anything that might be seen as possibly identifying a witness have faced a knock on the door from the police. That is fundamentally damaging to Scottish democracy. It’s not what I expect, and it hasn’t come about by happenchance. It has been deliberate; it has been targeted; it has been driven by the Crown Office.”

      • AmyB

        “And it’s not simply those cases brought by the crown; there’s been cases that have been pursued by the police where people so much as tweeting anything that might be seen as possibly identifying a witness have faced a knock on the door from the police. “

        – unless you’re Kirsty Wark or Dani Garavelli, of course.

        • Justin

          Yeah, I think that’s what Kenny meant when he said “it has been targeted” – i.e. targeted at the people that the Lord Advocate (a member of Nicola’s Cabinet) has on his hit list. He (MacAskill) went on to say:

          “If we are to have a free press, then there has to be free reporting. That has to apply to bloggers as much as it applies to the mainstream press. That people have been charged in Scottish courts and have faced now possible terms of imprisonment for simply doing exactly the same as the mainstream press has done but not faced prosecution, is simply unacceptable.

          “… Because the position of the Lord Advocate in Scotland is no longer tenable. There has to be a separation of powers, of having one individual who is both the legal adviser to the Scottish Government, and also the head of the prosecution service in Scotland. That is no longer appropriate.”

    • Tom Welsh

      “…the UK can no longer claim to be a free country”.

      As far as I know, no one who understood the way things work has ever tried to persuade another such person that Britain is, or ever has been a free country.

      Such propaganda is for the broad masses – who, it must be admitted, eat it up with great relish.

  • Republicofscotland

    In my opinion the blood of the Palestinian folk lies on the hands of present and previous US presidents anyone of them could’ve if not bartered a deal for a two-state solution, at the very least they could’ve stopped the unlawful new settlements that are reducing lands that the Palestinian people have lived on rightfully and lawfully for centuries.

    The Great Satan (USA) has no political will to do either, and the suffering will continue, and the world will watch on with the corporate media reporting it as if the slaughter and persecution of the Palestinian folk is somehow an equal war between them and Israel, when the that description of it couldn’t be further from the truth. Shame on the EUN and the UN for normalising the oppression of the Palestinian folk, Israel is allowed to attend World Football Cups, UEFA Cups, the Eurovision Song Contest etc, as though it weren’t doing anything out of the ordinary.

    As for Richard Barnard of Palestine Action, the UK government is pro-Israeli so any dissent even of this nature will be twisted to find a way to imprison the man.

    • `Carlyle+Moulton

      A good portion of the culpability for the plight of the Palestinians belongs to the UK.

      The UK collaborated with Jewish militias in putting down the Palestinian revolt of 1936 to 1939 so the UK knew of the of the existence of these militias. In 1948 these militias outmanned and outgunned all the armies of the surrounding Muslim states.
      It is not that the problem in Israel is Palestinian terrorists it is that the problem in Palestine is terrorist Jews.

      It is time to reassess the events of 1948 as several war crimes by Israel, the murder of 7,000 Palestinians by Jewish death squads to encourage 700,000 to flee. The 700,000 did not flee because Arab radio stations told them to do so but because Jewish death squads told them that they would be killed if they did not flee and then killed 1% to emphasise their point.

      Surely it is beyond time to withdraw recognition of Israel as a legitimate sovereign nation and to recognize that justice for Palestinians requires the expulsion of all Jews from Palestine.

      • Susan

        I agree, C+M. Sometime in the last couple of weeks, I found myself uttering the words “Israel does not have the right to exist”. I shocked myself with my utterance. But I feel the inhuman, vicious way the Israelis have behaved toward the indigenous Palestinians completely invalidates their right to claim Palestine as their homeland. They were given the chance to prove they were worthy, but instead they descended into apartheid, genocide, and war crimes.

      • Republicofscotland

        C+M.

        Agreed, but the USA hold the keys to unlocking the door on this one, the only other way I see forward is-see my 18.50pm comment.

      • Squeeth

        Zionist terrorists, not Jewish terrorists; you can’t be a Jew and a zionist.

      • Tom Welsh

        “The 700,000 did not flee because Arab radio stations told them to do so but because Jewish death squads told them that they would be killed if they did not flee and then killed 1% to emphasise their point”.

        A brisk and down-to-earth tactic straight from the playbook of you know who. Assuming you have no conscience, where’s the objection? Quick and efficient.

      • Jimmeh

        “requires the expulsion of all Jews from Palestine.”

        Where do you expect them to go? There is no “land without people”, there never was.

        The only solution that is fair to everyone that lives in that benighted part of the world is a single-state solution. A “two-state” solution implies that one of the states is to be a racist theocracy. A single state would confer equal rights on all, and make some kind of provision for a right of return.

        A single-state solution would require Jews and Arabs to live as civilised neighbours. I don’t think that fanatic settlers are ever going to be good neighbours to anyone but other fanatic settlers; so intern them and re-educate them. I guess Gaza could be used as the internment camp.

        They’re armed criminals, what you do with armed criminals is lock them up.

        Israel’s major international backers are not up for a single-state solution, unfortunately. They want to “continue” a peace process that broke down 20 years ago, and shows no signs of life. Until the US and other Western states are prepared to endorse the single state, no progress will be made, and the periodic “grass cutting” will continue.

  • Jimmeh

    “I have entirely lost any faith in the justice system where it collides with the wishes of government.”

    Me too.

    I’m appalled at the judicial treatment that has been handed down to Salmond, Assange, and yourself. I’m ashamed.

    Be well, Craig.

  • DunGroanin

    “Far-right politician would be Israel’s next PM in proposed deal”

    Pontificates a Groaniad headline today!

    My question – How can you tell the difference?
    What is a ‘far-right’ ?
    Wtf is NuttyYahoo in that case?
    Is that comparison supposed to excuse Nutties Killings of civilians? And land grab?
    Will the Far-Right Israelis dress up in their Gucci uniforms and goose step around the wailing wall with posters of Il Duce and Adolf? Will they be wearing swastikas?
    Will they invite Yaxley-Lennon, the Groan’s fav Right-whinger, to Palestinian shooting parties?

    Right-Wing Israeli prime minister!!!

    How will we tell the difference?????

    • Tom Welsh

      More to the point, how can any Israeli politician be described as “left wing”?

      If right wing is conservative, they all without exception want to conserve the status quo whereby they have everything and the Palestinians have nothing.

  • Stevie Boy

    I understand that Paypal is onboard and contributing to the suffering caused by the zionist, apartheid state and their sanctions against Palestine. Paypal has been preventing payments to Palestinian organisations.
    Maybe Paypal should be boycotted ?

    • Tom Welsh

      May I remind you that Paypal is a financial corporation. Of the type that is often thought to be owned, run and staffed by, well, you know who.

    • Jimmeh

      I’ve always despised Paypal, and I’ve never used it to make a payment. Nothing to do with politics – they’re just a nasty organisation. If a web-shop insists on Paypal for payment, I buy from someone else.

  • Keith

    Surprisingly different treatment by the police than that of the hunger strike by Richard Ratcliffe outside the Iranian embassy, which seemed to be encouraged/rejoiced by the establishment as a legitimate protest against the actions of a rogue state!?

  • Bob (original)

    This is not a criticism, but am genuinely curious. I am a huge supporter of Craig and happily donated to last 2 fund raising campaigns.

    But, why did Craig join the Foreign Office in the first place?

    Was it for idealistic reasons: to try and change it from within ?

    Or was it only in later years that Craig realised just how corrupt the UK institutions really are – and probably always have been?

    Good luck with the sentencing: just like Assange, the submissive MSM is looking the other way…

    • Jimmy Riddle

      Bob (original) – well, I for one never imagined that the Foreign Office was so corrupt until recently.
      I never tried it myself, but a-priori it looks like a nice career path. I have a niece who is thinking about it – I should probably try to advise her against it.

    • DunGroanin

      Read his book. Or do a search on this site where he has written of his trajectory.

      The FO housed many experts on worldwide laws as I understand many worked for the EU in treaty negotiations.

      Don’t mix up the spooks and DS with actual dedicated civil servants who eschewed commercial salaries. Unlike these days when they have been taken over by the revolving doors.

    • Franc

      I’m sure that I once read, that Craig chose to take the F.O. exams because an attractive female he knew, was also taking them. Commendable choice!

    • Tom Welsh

      Bob, when I was 22 I went through the Civil Service selection procedure, aiming specifically at the Diplomatic Service. I sailed through a number of sets of tests of various kinds, and qualified for the final interview.

      I still treasure the memory of the letter they sent me shortly after. From memory, it said something along the lines of, “Candidates awarded an A grade are considered suitable for appointment”.

      I was awarded an “E” grade, which I understood to mean (with apologies to Schultz) “We would not appoint you if you were the last human being in the universe”.

      The point of this anecdote is that I seem to have aced all the objective tests of knowledge, intelligence, skill, etc. But five minutes’ actual conversation with me made them react like a vampire confronted with a sharepned stake made of garlic.

      All of us, I expect, are naive in our early years; and we do tend to put a lot of faith in what our elders tell us. In those days I listened to the BBC, and read (from time to time) all the major newspapers. I was thoroughly brainwashed, and I honestly thought that I would fit into the system.

      But the people who ran the system, being older and wiser, immediately recognised a maverick who would not suit their purposes.

      Dr Noam Chomsky made this point very clearly:

      Marr: “How can you know that I’m self-censoring? How can you know that journalists are…”

      ‘Chomsky: “I’m not saying you’re self censoring. I’m sure you believe everything you’re saying. But what I’m saying is that if you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting where you’re sitting”’.

      — Transcript of interview between Noam Chomsky and Andrew Marr (Feb. 14, 1996) https://scratchindog.blogspot.com/2015/07/transcript-of-interview-between-noam.html
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2EPgix5_5w

      • arby

        I wonder sometimes whether the Establishment’s vindictiveness shown to Craig, as illustrated by the Contempt of Court farce, is fuelled by the fact that he was one of their own, got past the initial screening, and subsequently went on to move to the light side and shine that light on their dark mendacity.

        Making them look doubly bad.

  • Jack

    What is the next step for actually generating change? I mean the argument we hear from pro-israelis is the same argument we heard 7 decades ago meanwhile the situation for palestinians have not moved an inch.

    • Republicofscotland

      Jack.

      The only way forward that I can see is if a growing number of younger Israelis (older ones probably still fear a pre-1948 future) come to realise that it will never end, unless they themselves get around a table and barter out a solution with the Palestinian folk. First off the Israelis need to remove an oppressive government with one that’s willing to concede on the idea.

        • Republicofscotland

          I very much doubt that will happen even after a two-state solution.

          • Carl

            There hasn’t been a two state solution for decades. How can you still be writing that on Craig Murray’s blog in 2021?

          • Republicofscotland

            Carl.

            Well, in my opinion a two-state solution is the way forward.

      • `Carlyle+Moulton

        The following video @ Information Clearing House will demonstrate that what you suggest is impossible.

        http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/56541.htm

        Israeli politics is now dominated by Nationalists and religious bigots and the Overton window is so far to the right that a final solution of the Palestinian question would not be a surprise.

        • Republicofscotland

          C+M.

          I didn’t say it would happen anytime soon, its just a possibility but it must come from within Israel itself, I don’t believe that every single Israeli is against a two-state solution, just as I believe that not every Palestinian is for it.

          • nevermind

            Exactly, RoS, it will never happen under the current trend to replace one devil with another beelzebub.

            I have held this view for some time. Two states would never stop their antagonism as one desperately over writes the laws, changes ownership deeds and the explicit word they gave to respect Balfour’s stated aims that underlined the UNs decision to grant access. Since then we have had nothing but wars for dominance in Palestine, with Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon more than once, not to speak of the constant attacks and interference in Syria, bending over backwards to help terrorists to dethrone Assad.

            Those who have come to Palestine since the Yom Kippur war should learn to share Palestine with all its rightful inhabitants, work it out with equally applying laws, education of both parties past and reconciliation as the only option available. This will mean a 180 deg. change, a de militarisation and a common shared responsibility for security energies, resources, and international diplomacy.
            I believe that these two tribes can work it out as it is the only solution that will guarantee both of them a peaceful future for their children.
            Thanks for bringing Elbit and its dodgy UK supported aims to our attention. The law is an old knackered ass.
            @Clark, we are not far off it.

          • Squeeth

            The “two-state solution” was always a fraud; the end to this will be the zionist colony slipping round the u-bend of history, same as the pied Noir colony in Algeria, the Smith Regime and the of Boer hegemony in South Africa.

        • Kempe

          The only alternative to a negotiated settlement is total military conquest, and subsequent genocide, by one side over the other otherwise the cycle of violence is just going to continue.

          It’s up to the backers of both sides, the US and Iran, to apply pressure to get talks started. Israel needs to be prepared to make some major concessions and I fear they’ll only do that under US influence.

          • Squeeth

            No, the Palestinians will decide on the fate of the colonists; if they’ve got any sense they will kick them out bags and baggage.

    • Jimmy Riddle

      Jack – absolutely nothing will change until national governments of USA and UK have a complete, radical, about-turn and – particularly – stop involving themselves in the Middle East.

      I see independence for Scotland as a total cop-out; the UK Foreign Office will continue in exactly the same manner, with exactly the same influence, as the England Foreign Office.

      Just in case Scottish independence could theoretically put some spanner in the works (always unlikely), they have managed to get Nicola Sturgeon installed.

      In any case, somehow the power or the Foreign Office has to be smashed – and something similar has to happen in the USA.

      I’ve no idea how to go about this – but information is slowly, but surely, getting out and this is having an influence (much slower than we would like)

      • Republicofscotland

        ” nothing will change until national governments of USA and UK have a complete, radical, about-turn and – particularly – stop involving themselves in the Middle East.”

        That will never happen, for a number of reasons, one of the off the top of my head is allowing China influence in the region.

        • Jimmy Riddle

          ….. well, as you’ve probably observed, the USA/UK alliance have made themselves a stench in the nostrils of much of the Middle East – they only have themselves to blame if the Middle East prefers to turn to China.

          You’re right, of course. The USA/UK have got themselves into a position where they are so hated by most of the Middle East that they can only maintain their unpopular presence by force. If they pull out, then exactly what you suggest will happen.

    • clay sucre

      We the people-‘ the lumpen-the grassroots-the unwashed the wild and maddening herd-the basket of deplorables’we need to simply voice our views on the Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians.Write our governmenr reps and let them know our position and demand that they act NOW! BDS all goods services and companies of Israeli origin.Let our neighbours- friends-etc know what injustices are being done in our names under DEMOCRACY to the children,women sick and seniors of Palestine.Join a group/body that is actively seeking to act on the issue-eg when MR.Barnard has a march or event join in.Support with a contribution toassist with their legal matters or the groups cause-WE MUST BECOME MORE VIGILAND and active Now- do not fear-RESIST we are all now with and part of the RESISTANCE.Salaam

  • Manel Fonseka

    Craig, i, for one, was coming to believe that the Palestinian struggle had won a new level of support in recent weeks, but now fear that, as you say, other events have drowned the new voices. And now, the awful prospect of a coalition in Israel whose PM for the first 2 years will be a former settler, determined to annex the West Bank as soon as he can. I have grieved for the Palestinians from the mid ’60s when i first came to understand what had happened to them, & abandoned the kind of existential guilt for the Jews I had from childhood in England. And this latest devastation of Gaza has finally brought me to say, “No! I do not believe Israel has a right to exist…. at least, not in the form it has finally come to assume.” It is every bit as guilty as South Africa was, and it is horrific that so many govts continue to support and deal with it. Including the one I now live in in South Asia.

  • mark golding

    Many parallels could be drawn between the Palestinian and the Irish struggles for liberation. An important analoque, certainly when we consider hunger strike, is a person’s right to retain their dignity. Britain is apathetic to dignity, not sleeping, just uninterested. Why? Certainly after hundreds of years of experience in subjugating and degrading conquered peoples we understand what dignity means to a conquered people. Therefore it is easy to hold a cold and deliberate policy to crush the spirit of the unconquerable.

    Much like Ireland, much like Palestine. The issue of England’s illegal and undemocratic involvement in Irish affairs was never as clear as at the moment, and now is the time for complete solidarity of all the Nationalist people in Ireland in a final move to evict the invaders from Irish shores.

    Until that time any ‘shift in thinking towards Palestine’ will remain, will continue, to be sidelined save various methods of repression and torture, including solitary confinement and force-feeding.

    To this day, the state of Israel enjoys unprecedented international impunity under a British inspired world order that has been more invested in the material sustainability of Israel than achieving justice for the indigenous people of Palestine.

  • shugsrug

    I read the other day that Hitler was weak, and did not adopt the Ludendorff principle of total war. Some I think have, not least those in the Middle East, and Craig is no doubt one of their targets. Their reach extends into Scotland, maybe even our justice system.

    • mark golding

      Ludendorff was convinced that in order to achieve more effective control over public opinion, the organizational structures for the dissemination of propaganda needed to be reshaped and better co-ordinated. The Establishment is cementing that control within a so called ‘reset’ acheived by exploiting a pandemic…

    • Squeeth

      That’s a bit of a myth, Germany in 1939 was the most mobilised non soviet state in the world.

  • mark

    I don’t comment much now as I truly believe that we are living in a Hall of Mirrors where distortion is the truth and the real ( opposite image – left to right but not upside down ) is the lie.

    Johnson has facilitated the deaths of 130k plus and ballsed up Brexit and deeper and further austerity is on the cards and he gets a free pass to carry on according to the pollsters.

    Jaffa oranges for sale and if I don’t buy some will I be questioned?

    I am in awe of Mr Barnard for his sincerity and wish him well – although it may cost him his life – Mr Netanyahu would never put his life on the line or any Guardian columnist and Julian Assange and maybe Craig ( I hope not?) are willing to take the rap as they say for their opinions.

    The blackmail argument is spurious as one thing the well off and the rich do not do is sacrifice for any cause – not even for their own cause.

    Netanyahu’s main sacrifice is to stay out of prison.

    That way he can still have access to his bank accounts and gotten gains of course.

    My money is that he will end up being looked after in New York.

    I can’ t say good luck to Richard as a hunger strike is fraught with danger but I can say he is brave human being.

  • Pigeon English

    I had to read several times a sentence about Mr RB instead of continuing reading and get confirmed by CM that I did understand it correctly that RB hunger strike is blackmail. Fair enough if Mr Navalny hunger stike is treated the same. But no, one is a Hero other one is Villain!

  • giyane

    Has James Wolffe been head-hunted for the job of CPS made-up charges? Who has Mr Barnard conspired with? and How can making others feel guilty be called blackmail? Is this another Sturgeon who chooses words for dramatic effect regardless of their actual meanings?

  • Andrew Ingram

    Had you been aware of the equally great injustice that was Northern Ireland you would have campaigned against it but would never have made Ambassador.
    The British Empire started in Ireland, the only former colony in the EU, and the six counties represent its docked tail.

    • craig Post author

      Andrew,

      I have always advocated a united Ireland. The 1980s were a very different time – there were quite a lot of senior FCO people with what would now be regarded as highly dissident worldviews. The UK has become vastly less liberal over the last 40 years.

    • Carl

      Had Craig not attained that position he would not have a large and loyal audience for his dissenting views. Nobody today would give a sod what he thought about imperialism, Murrellism, or anything else.

  • Louis Celine

    Craig, I know that you feel young, but did you ever think that The law was not twisted by power? When was the law ” fair”? The Power is beyond any limitation. The powerful take it all.

  • William Heflin

    I spent some years in the prosecution service of British Columbia. We ran into hunger strikes repeatedly with the Freedomite Doukhobours of the interior of British Columbia. The Doukhobours were sponsored by Tolstoy to come to Canada when they foreswore violence and destroyed their weapons. This in the face of violent Cossack incursions into there lands.
    In typical Canadian fashion the bulk of the Douhobours were assimilated into Canadian culture by force majeure and the forced schooling of their children in government schools, etc.
    A small splinter group called the Freedomites resisted forcefully. This resistance initially took the form of bombings of the Canadian Pacific Railway and some other antics (for some of the history I recommend Slava Bohu, the annals of Doukhobours). By the 1940’s women were protesting by marching naked through the more populated districts of BC.
    Subsequently they seized on the idea of burning public buildings in the West Kootenay Region of BC to make their point. The men provided combustibles, transportation and support and the women would set arson fires. Some were very devastating. They targeted schools, museums of Doukhobour history and even the courthouse in Grand Forks, BC.
    I can recall prosecuting the “flame sisters” for an arson at an old one room school house in Grand Forks which had been turned into a Doukhobour cultural museum. There were three women who were deeply involved in these arsons.
    They appeared in Supreme Court in Vancouver. In front of a judge and jury, the three appeared naked and on hospital gurneys for their trial. Every time the women were taken into custody, they started a hunger strike. Some of the force of their gesture was lost on the jury because they lit a fire in the courtroom and the jury, judge and the rest of us, along with another four busy courtrooms were required to be evacuated. As an aside, we were called into the chambers of Mr. Justice Wally Oppal who instructed us that he would have to charge the jury to ignore the incident in their deliberations. Instruction accepted of course!
    There was a conviction.
    This is a rather large aside – an interesting story perhaps. What prompted me to write this, is as much of a pain the hind end these hunger striking females were, they were not “black mailing” the system. Hunger striking is the gesture of the weak and helpless (not morally but physically) against a system seen as oppressive and non-responsive.
    What I have seen of the prosecution of Alex Salmond, yourself and the current posturing of the English government against the latest protestor, shows me that the Island governments are using the courts as a sword not a shield and they deserve censure for it.

  • Cy Lester

    This was sent to me by a friend. The first I’ve ever heard of ELBIT! In Kingsway? Where are those young radical activists at the LSE? They could carry on reading Nietzsche on the pavement!
    I am in my ninth decade. I went down to Belmarsh last week (I would have done the same for Jesus Christ) expecting to join a hard-core group of Assange-supporters. No sign of anyone with a sign!
    Where is the tent-city for Assange? Like at Greenham?
    This is good work … this will work … eventually.
    Please keep in touch.
    Cy Lester

  • Clark

    Here are a couple of paragraphs. I have redacted a few ‘spoiler’ words; see if you can guess what the excerpt is about – Palestine? NATO in the Middle East?

    – The media might help here, remembering their duty to speak truth to power, to hold elected officials accountable. And yet much of the media is complicit too, trapped in ideological silos that see through a lens of political tribalism, worried about telling truths to their readers and viewers, owners, and political friends. In fact, truth has become dispensable as politicians and their allies are allowed to lie, mislead, and repaint history, with barely a hint of a challenge from journalists and broadcasters. Anybody who dares to speak truth to power is unpatriotic, disloyal, or a “hardliner.”

    – Ministers in the UK, for example, interact with the media through sanitised interviews, stage managed press conferences, off-the-record briefings to favoured correspondents, and, when the going gets tough, by simply refusing to appear. It is this environment that has allowed denial to flourish, for unaccountability to prevail, and for the great lies [redacted] to be spun. “The most important lessons,” argue [the authors], “are less about [the issue itself] but what it has revealed about the political systems that have responded to it.”

    • Clark

      Hint – it’s from a decades old, highly respectable mainstream source, much older than the internet.

      • Wikikettle

        I see Nigel Farage has gone to the Southern borders of USA ( conquered Mexico ) to complain about migrants. No doubt his next trip will be to Palestine.

  • Peter M

    If, back in the 1930s, Jews were behaving like they are at present in Palestine, I can understand how Hitler came to his ‘solution’. I do not agree with his methods, but when I see Palestinian suffering caused by Israeli state terror today, I sometimes suspect I could.

    I posted words to this effect a number of years ago and my Facebook account was terminated a short time later. So much for ‘free speech’.

    Looking at the treatment of Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Craig Murray and others, and now Richard Barnard, it appears Israeli style lying, breaking promises, terrorism, abuse of power, imprisonment without charges, etc., etc. is becoming more mainstream in the West by the day.

    Am I anti-Semitic by pointing out how Israel is a role model in all this? If yes, then fiercely proud to be so.

    I hope things will work out well for you Craig. Stay strong.

    • Jay

      It has never been claimed by anybody (other than you) that Hitler’s Holocaust was an understandable reaction to Jewish behaviour in 1930s Palestine.

      • Stevie Boy

        Would be an idea to actually read what he wrote rather than what you think he wrote.
        “IF: introducing a conditional clause”

    • Cynicus

      “ Am I anti-Semitic by pointing out how Israel is a role model in all this?”
      ———
      At first glance, no.

      But you are beyond question anti Semitic with the absurd, ignorant anachronism of your opening sentence.

      Remember, not all Jews are Zionists. One such, CM supporter, Noam Chomsky, who was around in the 1930s is unlikely cheer you on.

      And not all Zionists are Jews (hello, Sir Keith).

      One last thing: possibly the most heroic, unarmed opposition to the Jewish State are Jews in that state who are ferocious critics of State policy towards Palestinians and Arab Citizens of Israel.

      • Annie McStravick

        It’s true that there is a group of Jewish people in israel who support justice for the Palestinians. But, as pointed out by the likes of Amira Hass and Michel Warschawski, that group is minuscule.

      • Jimmeh

        “Jews in that state who are ferocious critics of State policy towards Palestinians and Arab Citizens of Israel.”

        Moderate Israeli Jews are indeed sometimes critics of State policy. But according to Jonathan Cook, on the whole those moderates don’t want to share the land with Arabs. They just want a solution that lets them enjoy their privileges in peace. I’m not sure it’s accurate to describe that as a “heroic” posture (Cook lives in Israel, in an Arab town, Nazareth – he’s a reliable witness).

        The fact that those people exist is certainly welcome. But they don’t seem to be numerous enough to get people elected to the Knesset. Change can only come from outside pressure.

      • DunGroanin

        “ Remember, not all Jews are Zionists. ”

        Indeed so Cynicus. If you look back at the Cabinet papers of the First World War, when the proto Israeli state was inseminated by a cynical declaration that allowed US full-on involvement in Europe, you will see most high ranking English Jews were not enamoured by the Zionist intentions within their ranks and they were sidelined . You are right also about Zionists not being religious.

        That is proved by that infamous declaration in London, mid war, that was publicised across the world instantly, a ‘contract’. Which 30 years later delivered that contracted state in Palestine, thousands of miles from where it was concocted, upon the poor semites who always lived there. The work on which started immediately.

        I’m happy to point anyone to the relevant minutes if asked.

    • Squeeth

      It isn’t a novelty that the methods of colonial repression return to the metropole.

  • pete

    I am always heartened to read Craig’s posts, his unwavering and, it seems to me, righteous indignation at the absurd posturing of career politicians, their cronies and fellow travellers, the grotesque machinations of the greedy and the corrupt, the weird moral contortions exhibited by individuals trying to defend the indefensible, gives us all hope that this will one day be corrected.
    For Israel the two state solution is dead in the water – have a gander at this map to illustrate the point https://ifamericansknew.org/download/FourMaps.pdf The two parties need to come to a negotiated settlement, giving equal rights to all as well as equal access to resources.

    Palestine Action website give more information about the current situation there at https://palestineaction.org/news/

  • Anonish

    I suppose on a positive, if someone threatening to take their life unless their demands are met constitutes as blackmail, that implies their life is still valued enough by the other party to be used as leverage.

    I’ve never really personally been a fan of public spectacle and martyrdom as a means of getting stuff done; I feel like the public become more focused on discussing the morals surrounding the event or the person than the topic they were trying to draw attention to. In a world that’s so full of distractions, I think campaigners need to get smarter about how they grab people’s attention and hold it; people might stop to watch the circus but it’s still just fleeting entertainment. Plus, the only difference between a pointless suicide and martyrdom is how many people care that you died. In these times, I suspect not many.

    Still, the heavy-handedness of government with regards to protest lately is pretty worrying. I suppose when it comes to self harm there’s a certain moral duty to prevent people from doing so if the opportunity is present, but putting criminal charges on top is rather counter-intuitive to the moral stance.

    Is it negligence or respect of free speech to let a person starve themselves to death in the name of a cause?

    • vin_ot

      Mr Barnard radiates empathy, compassion and righteous anger. There is nothing pointless about his threatened sacrifice. I’d wager he also knows a tad more than you about what it takes to draw public attention to these swine.

      • Anonish

        Let’s hope so. There’s few enough good people around as it is without them disappearing of their own accord.

  • Stevie Boy

    It’s interesting how often the most rabid, right wing, nazi-like, zionists in Israel seem to be imported from either the USA or right wing, nazi-sympathetic, Eastern European states. A lot of the older Israelis who actually fled Hitler and the Holocaust don’t appear to be quite so objectionable or outspoken, or maybe I’m forgetting the likes of the Stern Gang ?.
    It’s funny how those fleeing Nazi oppression seem to have become a honey pot for those very Nazi oppressors.

    • Franc

      I knew someone who served in the British Army, in Palestine, who was in an army vehicle which was blown up by the Jewish terrorists. Fortunately, his injuries weren’t too serious. Unfortunately, back in England, he was befriended by two Jewish ‘Gentlemen’ who persuaded him to invest his then, recently inherited £3,000 ( enough to buy a house ), in some business venture. They disappeared with his money! Henceforth, the Jewish peoples, in his eyes, were hardly flavour of the month!

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