Issue #5 - Not getting the message

Labour polling; red-sign ratio; speaking at IsraelApartheidCon; and will Marwan Barghouti run in the PA elections?

Good morning — if you’re reading this as soon as it was sent, that is. If you’re in the UK, you should be getting this in your email inbox first thing on Tuesday morning.

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Here’s what I’ve been writing and reading this week.

61% of Labour supports BDS

Only 8 percent of Labour’s members oppose the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, according to recent polling. And almost half of the membership say they agree that Israel is an apartheid state.

Read more in my EI article here.

70% say “Labour anti-Semitism” exaggerated

In a second article for EI, I wrote about a different, but related, aspect of the same poll — how Keir Starmer’s message is really not getting across to the Labour membership. A whopping 70 percent of Labour members say either that the party “has a problem with anti-Semitism, but the extent of the problem has been exaggerated” or that Labour “does not have a serious problem with anti-Semitism”.

And could Jeremy Corbyn really return to the leadership of Labour? Read about it in my article.

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Those red signs in the West Bank

“The ratio” — thus spake the youths who want to mock a bad tweet. I wrote in my MEMO column this week about this particularly bad tweet. And it did indeed have a high ratio of critical replies and quote-tweets compared to its miserably low level of “favourites”.

These red signs are Israeli government signs and are part of the Israeli army’s apartheid system against Palestinians. Read more in my column here.

Speaking at IsraelApartheidCon this weekend

I will be speaking at IsraelApartheidCon on Saturday at 4pm UK time (11am Eastern), along with a host of other great speakers. I’ll be talking about the similarities and differences between the Israel lobby in the UK and the US and especially the lobby inside the ostensibly centre-left parties — Labour and the Democrats. Here’s part of the blurb:

Experts will speak and take questions at the only annual national conference challenging the Israel lobby's repressive agenda while proposing better alternatives for America.

IsraelApartheidCon is solely sponsored by the American Educational Trust, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep).

Register now to join us on Zoom this weekend.

What I’ve been reading

Here’s what Israeli newspaper Haaretz has been reporting recently about the upcoming Palestinian Authority elections. Elections to the PA’s legislative assembly are due to be held next month, while the presidential election is due in July. According to the paper’s (I think) only Palestinian reporter, Jack Khoury, imprisoned Fatah leader and alleged militant Marwan Barghouti is going to run an independent list next month, and may even run in the presidential elections, against the PA’s leader, Mahmoud Abbas.

And according to another report which paper ran at the end of March (quoting state TV) the head of Israel’s Shin Bet spy agency Nadav Aragman (a notoriously abusive death squad which habitually tortures Palestinians) ordered Abbas to call off next month’s elections — because they include Hamas, Palestine’s Islamic resistance movement.

It’s a little difficult to know what to believe out of all this. Much reading between the lines and many grains of salt are required. Marwan Barghouti running in the PA presidential election is an idea that’s quite old. He was first kidnapped by Israel in 2002 and tried by Israel’s racist kangaroo court system for allegedly directing armed resistance operations in the West Bank on behalf of an armed faction of Fatah. On my very first trip to Palestine in January 2005 — during the PA presidential election which ultimately resulted in Abbas’ victory — a Barghouti run from inside prison was being talked up by some Palestinians even then. He pulled out in the end and may do so again.

The main reason I’m sceptical on the report about the Shin Bet is that the second Haaretz article (which has no byline) claims Abbas openly defied Aragman to his face, refusing to cancel the election and retorting “I don’t work for you.” These quotes stink of Abbas PR for his voters (Palestinians in the West Bank keep a very close eye on the Israeli press and many understand Hebrew).

Tweets of the Week

Richard’s commentary on Brooke Goldstein’s lying tweet sums it up.

And left-wing Labour activist Colin Monehen explains why people are not getting Keir Starmer’s message.

I’ve been putting this newsletter out every week via Substack for five weeks now. This is the first issue to go out on a Tuesday morning. Let me know in the comments what you think of it all so far.