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Friday, 10 November 2017

Emily Thornberry – Labour’s Racist Foreign Secretary in Waiting

Thornberry’s support for 2 States equals support for continuing Apartheid

Imperialism in the Guise of Peaceful Progress was always the basis of Labour Support for Empire

Emily Thornberry has, quite undeservedly, a reputation, as being on the Left, albeit the soft-Left. This is because she was one of the few who didn’t resign in the ‘chicken coup’ engineered by Hilary Benn in the summer of 2016.  It was because stayed loyal to Jeremy Corbyn that  she has gained her present influence and reputation.  There can however be no doubt from what Emily Thornberry has been saying and doing recently that she is a die-hard albeit sophisticated Zionist.  Thornberry is not a headbanger like Jeremy Newmark, Louise Ellman  and Ian Austin.  That is what makes her so dangerous

Thornberry is also an opportunist.  She is one of 36 of Labour Friends of Israel’s sponsors who are also supporters of Labour Friends of Palestine.  She not only supports the Palestinians but she also supports their oppressors!  That’s what’s called even-handedness. 
Peter Edwards, Blairite Editor of Labour List refused to allow a response to the piece on Emily Thornberry because 'it will cause huge offence to our readers' - Edwards doesn't mind 'hugely offending' his readership every time he carries an article by the execrable arms salesman Luke Akehurst - that is 'free speech'
In an article for the paint strippingly boring Labour List, the official Labour site which is run by Blairite Peter Edwards, Thornberry stated that ‘People who believe Israel does not have the right to exist should be drummed out of the Labour Party.’  What she means by Israel is not the right of Israelis to live there just like White South Africans were welcomed to stay, but the right of a racist ethno-religious state of Jewish supremacy.
A reminder that Thornberry is currently touring Israel and flattering the Zionist
The Balfour Declaration

Thornberry used a speech commemorating the centenary of the Balfour Declaration ‘to condemn the “scourge” of anti-Semitism.’  Admittedly this is indeed a good time to condemn, not merely the scourge of anti-Semitism but the scourge of all racism and who better to use as an example of this anti-Semitism and racism than Balfour himself.

Arthur James Balfour was nothing if not a racist and imperialist.  As Chief Secretary to Ireland he was known as ‘bloody Balfour’ for having ordered the troops to  open fire killing 3 Irishmen who were demonstrating in Mitchelstown, County Cork.  In 1893, he spoke in parliament describing how Cecil Rhodes, the godfather of white supremacy, was “extending the blessings of civilization.”  Two years later – then in opposition – he described Black people as “less intellectually and morally capable” than whites. [The racist worldview of Arthur Balfour, David Cronin]
This is the reality of today's Israel - Democracy Index Report 2017
In 1906, the British House of Commons was engaged in a debate about the native blacks in South Africa. Nearly all members of Parliament agreed that the disenfranchisement of the blacks was evil. Not so Balfour, who – almost alone — argued against it.

“We have to face the facts,” Balfour said. “Men are not born equal, the white and black races are not born with equal capacities: they are born with different capacities which education cannot and will not change.”  [see Yousef Munayyer, Jewish Forward, It’s time to admit that Arthur Balfour was a white supremacist — and an anti-Semite, too

Balfour was one of the most racist and reactionary politicians of the imperialist age.  He was a white supremacist.  It is no accident that whilst he fought bitterly against the idea of admitting Jewish refugees to Britain from Czarist Russia’s pogroms he also welcomed Zionism.  Zionism was seen as an ‘antidote to socialism’ in the words of Count von Plehve, the Czarist Minister of the Interior and author of the Kishinev pogrom. 
Thornberry is seen here doing her best to boost the Jewish Labour Movement - which is the 'sister party' of the overtly racist rednecks of the Israeli Labour Party
Balfour also didn’t like Jews very much.  He told Chaim Weizmann, the President of the Zionist Organisation and later Israel’s first President, that ‘he agreed with some of Cosima Wagner’s ‘anti-Semitic postulates’. These postulates were that Germany’s Jews had “captured the German stage, press, commerce and universities and were putting into their pockets, only a hundred years after emancipation, everything the Germans had built up in centuries”. [Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 153].

As Leonard Stein noted, if Balfour was an ardent Zionist, “it was not out of a sentimental tenderness for Jews”. When the anti-Zionist leader of British Jewry, Lucien Wolf, appealed to him to intercede with the Russian government to end Jewish persecution, Balfour “admitted that the treatment of the Jews was abominable beyond all measure”, but also went on to remind Wolf that “the persecutors had a case of their own”.  See Tony Greenstein, Centrepiece of imperial strategy, Weekly Worker, 3 November 2017]

Indeed it is quite natural that Zionists, in and out of the Labour Party, should wish to pay their respects to Arthur James Balfour.  When they declare that this representative of British imperialism is their hero we should acknowledge that they are indeed both cut from the same cloth.  What though is an utter disgrace is that Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, should be representing an anti-racist Party in paying homage to both an anti-Semite and a white supremacist.  For anyone else it would be an expulsion offence.
Despite praising the racist Lord Balfour Thornberry is happy to give support to the false anti-Semitism narrative
One would expect nothing else than for the Jewish Labour Movement (formerly Poale Zion) to honour the memory of Arthur James Balfour.  If you want to understand why Poale Zion, which supported a Jewish colour bar in Palestine, whereby Jewish employers who employed Arabs were picketed out by the Zionist trade union Histadrut, was allowed to affiliate to the Labour Party in 1921, you have to understand Labour support for the British Empire.  Whereas the Tories never hid their desire to exploit the Empire for imperial gain, Labour disguised their support for Empire under comforting words such as ‘Trusteeship’ – we were holding the colonies in trust for when the ‘backward peoples’ that inhabited it would become civilised.
When Labour finally achieved a majority government in 1945 under Clement Attlee, Labour became the most vicious of all imperialist governments.  We super-exploited colonies such as Ghana for cocoa and Malaya for tin and rubber.  It was under a Labour government that a murderous counter-insurgency war was begun against a guerrilla insurgency in Malaya from 1948  to 1960.

It was only a minority of Labour members under people like Fenner Brockway who supported the Movement for Colonial Freedom (renamed Liberation) from 1947 onwards.  The Attlee government built the welfare state on the backs of Black and South Asian people, something which is forgotten today.
But it was amongst the Left that support for Israel was greatest in the 1940’s onwards.  Tribune was a bastion of support for the Israeli state as was the New Statesman.  Israel was seen as recompense for the Holocaust.  The idea that the Palestinians should pay for Europe’s genocide of the Jews came naturally to those imbued with the ideas of imperialism.  People like Ian Mikardo, Harold Wilson, Jo Richardson, Tom Driberg and most infamous of all, the nakedly racist Richard Crossman were the most pro-Zionist of all.  Indeed in those days it was the Right of the Labour Party – from Ernest Bevin to Christopher Mayhew and David Watkins – who were supporters of the Arabs.

The Israeli Kibbutz was seen as an oasis of socialism where there were no private property relations and, in theory, everything was shared in common.  The fact that no Arab or non-Jew could be a member of the Kibbutz was ignored.  The natives rarely featured in social democracy’s vision of the world.  Today the Kibbutzim are no longer spoken of.  Today they are examples of collective managerial capitalism, employing cheap Arab or Jewish labour and heavily involved in the production of arms.
Thornberry supports 'both sides' the racists and the victims of racism
Thornberry is one of the sponsors of the Israeli States front organisation, Labour Friends of Israel
It was only the Lebanon War of 1982 that led to a political realignment.  Tony Benn, Eric Heffer and others on the Left resigned from Labour Friends of Israel after the latter’s support for the  Lebanon War.  Increasingly it was the Right who took up the cudgels of Zionism.  In essence this was because of the increasingly open support for the Israeli state from America.  The Right of the Labour Party, as symbolised by Blair’s support for Bush’s war in Iraq, has always seen support for US foreign policy as axiomatic.

There is no place in Labour for Israel’s ‘Right to Exist’

Thornberry made two statements that need to be challenged.  If you challenge the Israeli state’s ‘right to exist’ then you should not be in the Labour Party.  Well we should challenge every racist and ethno-nationalist state’s ‘right to exist’.  No state has a ‘right to exist’ least of all racist states.  Only human beings have the right to exist.  State’s are the creations of humanity and unlike humans have no rights. 

The Israeli state however is a special type of state, much like its South Africa cousin 25 years ago.  It is a self-declared ‘Jewish state’ – which means it is a State of all Jews, not merely Jews in Israel but throughout the world.  Even when they don’t wish to be represented by Israel.  Israel is not however a state of its own citizens.  That is the basis of the apartheid nature of the Israeli state, a  state which has over 50 laws on its statute books which directly discriminate against Israel’s own Palestinians.  In the Report brought out last year by the Pew Research Centre Israel’s Religiously Divided Society we learnt that a plurality of Israeli Jews, some 48% supported the physical expulsion of Israel’s own Arab citizens as compared to 46% who were opposed.

The Israeli state is the most racist state in the world. The Israeli Democracy Institute’s 2017 Report Jews and Arabs:  Conditional Partnership’ found that 2/3 Israeli Jews are opposed to Arabs buying land anywhere but in Arab areas (3% of Israel’s total land) and 25% oppose them buying any land!  This is the state that Emily Thornberry defends up to the point of expelling socialists from Labour.  My reply is that it is the Emily Thornberries and other racists of her ilk who should be expelled if they refuse to reform their racist ways.

A Palestinian State

The final sop of Thornberry is that a Palestinian state should exist side by side with Israel.  In other words partition, segregation and ethnic cleansing.  Such a state wouldn’t even be a Bantustan.  In South Africa the Bantustans or Homelands into which the majority of Black South Africans were supposed to go, had greater powers than the mini-enclave envisaged for the Palestinians.

After 50 years of military dictatorship in the West Bank and Gaza (as well as the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem) there is no prospect of any Palestinian state emerging.  The newly elected right-wing leader of the Israeli Labour Party, Avi Gabbay made his position quite clear on October 16th in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2
“I won’t evacuate settlements in the framework of a peace deal, If you are making peace, why do you need to evacuate?  If you are making peace, why do you need to evacuate?”
Without dismantling the settlements there can never be a two state solution.  Gabbay is right.  No Israeli government could possibly withdraw over ½ million settlers without a civil war.  There is no political force in Israel that genuinely wants a 2 state solution.  Zionism has always claimed the whole of the Land of Israel, not half or even two thirds.  God gave all of it!

Thornberry is perfectly aware of this.  She knows that the settlements are here to say. She also knows that Israel cannot give the vote or accord any basic democratic political or civil rights to the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza, who are estimated to number over 5 million, without the end of the Jewish state.

As the Jewish National Fund, one of the main instruments of Israeli land apartheid made clear when challenged over its policy of only allocating land to Jews,

A survey commissioned by KKL-JNF reveals that over 70% of the Jewish population in Israel opposes allocating KKL-JNF land to non-Jews, while over 80% prefer the definition of Israel as a Jewish state, rather than as the state of all its citizens.’

In other words the situation in the West Bank and Gaza will continue indefinitely because Israel is not prepared to become a democratic state at the expense of being a Jewish state.  It is a fiction even to talk of the Occupied Territories. There is no border except in the heads of racist hypocrites like Thornberry, between Israel and the West Bank. The Green Line has gone. It does not appear on Israeli maps.  In its place is an Apartheid state from the Mediterranean to the Jordan in which half the population has no rights whatsoever and a small proportion of the Palestinian, some 1.5 Israeli citizens are seen as a fifth column in Israel’s midst, awaiting a future move to ‘transfer’ them.
Those who talk of a non-existent Peace Process (Israelis call it the ‘Piss Process’) are deliberately drawing a shroud over the real issue, democratic rights for all Israelis and Palestinians.

Zionists often point to the assassinated war criminal and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who presided over the implementation of the Oslo Accords of 1993. It is often believed that they would have led to an independent Palestinian state.  This is a serious mistake.  Rabin was quite clear as to what he wanted. 

In the Knesset debate on the Oslo Accords of 5th October 1995, Rabin made his views explicitly clear:

As Amira Hass noted in Ha’aretz of 6 November 2017, in Setting the Record Straight on Yitzhak Rabin, contrary to the right-wing propaganda, the government headed by Labor had no intention of cutting the umbilical cord by which it was connected to its colonialist methods and goals. The argument with opponents in Likud was never about the principles, but only about the number and size of Bantustans to be allocated to the Palestinians.’ Rabin was quite clear:

We view the permanent solution in the framework of State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority. The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.

Far from supporting Israel’s Right to Exist, I actively oppose any such right.  The right of the Israeli state (not its residents or citizens of course) to exist is akin to the right of the Apartheid or the Nazi state to exist.  Racist states have no rights.  The people in them have the right to live as one in a democratic, secular and unitary state.

Those who oppose the idea that Israeli Jews and Palestinians can live together are racists.  They are no different from those who argued 25 years ago that Blacks and Whites could never live together in South Africa.  Socialists did not accept it then and we should not accept it now.

If Emily Thornberry can’t understand that human beings should not be divided on grounds of ethnicity she should make way for a socialist and anti-racist.

Tony Greenstein

Peter Edwards
People who believe Israel does not have the right to exist should be drummed out of the Labour Party, Emily Thornberry said today.

The shadow foreign secretary also used a speech to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration – which enshrined Britain’s support for a Jewish national homeland – to condemn the “scourge” of anti-Semitism.

Thornberry, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest allies, was clear to repeat Labour’s longstanding call for international recognition for a Palestinian state living alongside an Israel in “peace and security”.
She was speaking after Theresa May met Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, before a dinner timed to recognise the Balfour anniversary tonight.

Corbyn is not attending the dinner and asked Thornberry to attend in his place.

“As we look back over these past 100 years, we must also salute the resilience and strength of the Israeli State and the Israeli people against all those who have sought to harm and destroy them: a resilience that has had constantly to adapt as the threats over the years have changed from the conventional warfare of 50 years ago to the ever-shifting tactics of terrorists today,” Thornberry said today.

“But while the threats have changed, the underlying theme has not: it is the denial of Israel’s right to exist, and there should be no place in modern society, and – let me stress – no place in the Labour Party for anyone who holds that kind of abhorrent view.”

Public debate over the declaration has renewed in many nations in recent weeks in the run-up to the anniversary.

Palestinians regard the document as an injustice and protests were held in the West Bank today. Israelis and Jews living around the world see it as an historic achievement because it paved the way for the creation of the state of Israel.

Today Thornberry delivered a cautious judgement on the legacy of Lord Balfour’s work.
“Consider also Balfour’s promise that ‘nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine’. That too remains at best a work in progress,” she said.

“So, while marking this centenary, we must also be honest and say that – until Jewish communities all over the world are free from the threat of terror, and the scourge of anti-Semitism, until the rights of the Palestinian people are secure and we have a viable, secure, internationally-recognised Palestinian State, living side-by-side, in peace and security, with the State of Israel, then the work that Balfour started cannot be considered complete.”

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