Labour purged Ken Loach because he's too socialist for them - #20
Famed director kicked out of party; Israel fakes knife attack; and my latest articles -- all in this week's newsletter.
Keir Starmer’s Labour is intensifying its purge of pro-Palestinian socialists from the party. On Saturday, veteran left-wing film maker Ken Loach announced that he had been kicked out:
The director of such films as I, Daniel Blake, The Wind That Shakes the Barley and Land and Freedom, Loach has long been a thorn in the side of the Labour right. In the Blair years he opposed New Labour’s neoliberal dogma, but in the Corbyn years he joined the party.
All along, Loach adamantly opposed the McCarthyist witch-hunt against Corbyn, the left and opponents of Israel and its official ideology Zionism.
Loach is a supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
As I reported last year, he has paid a price for these stances, with the anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card effectively dumping him as a schools competition judge after a ferocious Israel lobby intimidation campaign, which was said to have threatened the charity’s “very existence.”
In 2018, Loach defended anti-racist activist Marc Wadsworth from false allegations of anti-Semitism (which were whipped up by US embassy “strictly” protected source Ruth Smeeth and her friends in the Israel lobby).
Loach correctly called the charges against Wadsworth “nonsense” and “part of the right-wing attempt to destabilize the Labour leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.”
Wadsworth was expelled a few months later (while Corbyn was still leader, remember, either too weak or too cowardly to prevent it). Since last year, Corbyn has been kicked out of the Labour group in Parliament, and sits as an independent.
Now Loach has been expelled too.
Many people saw this coming a long time ago. It’s another sad reflection of the state of the Labour Party and the complete defeat of the British left.
Also worth reading for more background is the latest article by David Hearst and Peter Oborne in Middle East Eye. As they report, left-wing group Jewish Voice for Labour is effectively being purged from the party. A recent report by the group has documented how left-wing Jews are disproportionately being targeted for expulsion, suspension and other disciplinary measures.
I also recommend you read one of my colleague Tamara Nassar’s latest articles. The Israeli army last week used its verified Twitter account to fake a knife attack on one of its soldiers. Israeli journalists dutifully reposted the name of the alleged attacker along with a photo of a mysterious hand holding a kitchen knife.
The problem was that the exact same photo had been posted online several years before — in 2018, by a pro-Israel Twitter account again alleging a knife attack against the Israeli army.
And this wasn’t some sort of clumsy mix-up either. It was a deliberate fabrication. The users of the Israeli military’s blue-check Twitter account had cropped and rotated the photo (perhaps an attempt to make it harder to find on a reverse image search).
As Tamara explains in her report:
No Israeli soldiers were injured during the incident, as in many previous cases in which an alleged Palestinian attacker was shot or killed.
This is not the first time Israeli officials present old or falsified media in order to justify crimes against Palestinians.
Israel propagandists, including Naftali Bennett – who is now prime minister – repeatedly used fake or manipulated photos and videos to justify Israel’s massacre of Palestinian civilians in Gaza in May.
Palestinians posted online exposing the fabrication and mocking the Israeli army’s lies:
My articles this week
I reported for The Electronic Intifada on Friday about how three Israeli cities are imposing new apartheid measures to keep Palestinians off their beaches.
Palestinian human rights group Adalah is taking legal action against Akka, Netanya and Hadera, after they began using the pretext of the coronavirus pandemic to bar Palestinians (and only Palestinians) from its beaches.
It’s often said that Israel is different from apartheid South Africa in that it doesn’t impose “petty apartheid” on Palestinians, but that’s a myth. Here’s another example of that.
Here’s my Middle East Monitor column from the weekend. It’s about a recent headline in the Israeli press about how the Israeli army chief has called on his troops to “reduce” the numbers of fatal shootings of Palestinians because its starting to look bad.
Hard to know where to start with such callous indifference.
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