David Miller is a test case for Israel lobby - #28
Lobby wants "to ban all criticism of the state of Israel, its policies and its ideology."
Some updates on last week’s leading story, the firing of Professor David Miller at the insistence of Israel and its lobby.
First of all, a new petition in support of Miller started only two days ago has already been signed by more than 17,000 people. It calls on Bristol to give him his job back and emphasises that:
Professor Miller is a test case – Israel’s lobby in Britain wants to use the widely criticised IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism to ban all criticism of the State of Israel, its policies and its ideology. It’s essential that we prevent this.
Hop on over to Change.org to add your name.
Meanwhile, in a new interview with Muslim community news site 5 Pillars, David revealed that the independent QC’s report mentioned in Bristol’s original statement firing him, had fully cleared him of anti-Semitism.
The Bristol statement said only that the QC’s report “found that Professor Miller’s comments did not constitute unlawful speech.”
While a statement could theoretically be both anti-Semitic and lawful, I read between the lines and reported at the time that their statement “appeared to exonerate Miller from the Israel’s lobby’s deliberately false allegations of anti-Semitism.”
If it had found him guilty of anti-Semitism, if there any doubt the university would have said as much? Clearly not.
I reached out to Bristol university for comment, but so far they have not got back. I’ll report back if they do.
There was a lot written last month around the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the US, as well as on the imperial defeat and withdrawal from Afghanistan.
But for my money, probably the best articles came from Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad. Two recent pieces he wrote in his Middle East Eye column should be read together.
In “Afghanistan: US ‘war on terror’ really began in 1945,” Massad explains how this war has much deeper historical roots than 9/11. The Islamist groups behind the terrorist attacks — as is fairly well known — were effectively founded by the US, during their proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, starting in the late 1970s.
But CIA backing for groups like al-Qaida, the Taliban and ISIS has roots that go right back to World War II. As Massad puts it, “the counter-revolutionary history of the US and the wars that it launched across the globe since World War II to assert its imperial control” have cost millions of lives.
He relates an aspect of the Eisenhower Doctrine which I had known little about before now:
Eisenhower insisted that the Arabs should obtain inspiration from their religion to fight communism and that “we should do everything possible to stress the ‘holy war’ aspect”
Astonishingly, in 1954:
the CIA dispatched spy agitators to Mecca during the Muslim pilgrimage to foment anti-Soviet sentiments among Soviet pilgrims. The CIA agents were Soviet Muslim collaborators with the Nazis who had previously worked with the Nazi regime to mobilise Soviet Muslims against their government during World War II
This was only one part of a far-wider recruitment of leading Nazis by US and British spies, deploying them across the world to fight communism and socialism. (That’s a story to which I myself am going to return in a series of articles for Substack subscribers starting soon.)
It’s a brilliant article, and quite staggering in its historical sweep and debunking of received wisdoms. Read the whole thing here.
In the second article, “The binary imperialist world of terrorists and anti-terrorists,” Massad explains the truth behind the reality of the ideology of the “War on Terrorism.” He explains how the identity “terrorist” has less to do with the actions of the perpetrators, and more to do with their identity.
In Western imperial ideology, colonial and settler-colonial violence is almost by definition justified, while anti-colonial resistance is by definition deemed illegitimate. But:
If conferral of the identity “terrorist” aims to give moral justification for imperial and colonial violence in order to differentiate “legitimate” state violence from anti-imperial resistance deemed “terrorism”, it has failed to persuade its victims.
Massad explains the historical truth of how Israel and, before it the Zionist movement, introduced terrorism into the region:
Zionists not only introduced car bombs and market and cafe bombings to the Middle East, Israel would also introduce plane skyjackings as early as 1954. The Israeli air force would often seize civilian airliners in international skies and divert them to Israel, subject the passengers to inspection, interrogation as well as incarceration.
Moreover, Israel remains the only party in the Middle East that shot down a civilian airliner, as it did a Libyan plane in 1973, killing 106 passengers on board. In the early 1980s, it specialised in planting car bombs in Lebanon.
Read the whole piece here.
My colleague at The Electronic Intifada Nora Barrows-Friedman has just released this brilliant mini-documentary: “Why anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.”
You should watch it in the YouTube video above.
It was made by Tala Kaddoura, the same brilliant producer behind the mini-documentary I did in April, on how Israel helped bring down Jeremy Corbyn.
My Work this Week
I wrote this report on Labour conference, about the revenge of the Israel lobby and its return to control of the lever of power in the party.
Despite the conference resolution calling for an arms embargo on Israel (which correctly described Israel as an apartheid regime) being passed by three quarters of party members, Labour’s leadership has made clear they will be aggressively ignoring the resolution, and un-doing the party’s Corbyn-era policy of an arms embargo.
Possibly the most disgusting aspect of all this is the position of Lisa Nandy — once the chair of a group calling itself “Labour Friends of Palestine,” but who, now she has the taste of a tiny bit of power, has gone over to the enemy. She calls herself “a Zionist” and claims it’s “racist” to oppose Israeli apartheid.
This year she went as a star speaker to Labour Friends of Israel and said she would “always, always, always stand alongside you.”
As bad as things are in the Labour Party, they can always get worse.
Speaking of Labour conference, I spoke at the Resist! event at the Rialto theatre. There were lots of great panels, but I spoke on these two about alternative and independent media, and about international solidarity with the Palestinian resistance.
You can watch them back in these two videos.
Tweet of the Week
Click through to read this thread of ridiculous British press stories from the Corbyn era. The British media is truly the worst in the world — and not by accident.