Photo: By Alex Beltyukov
Harry's Place outlines the list of shame:
The conference is organised by Unite Against Racism, which has an impeccable record of fighting against anti-Semitism in all its forms, even if it on occasion omits millions of Jews from its list of those who perished in the Holocaust. The lead speaker appears to be Jeremy Corbyn himself, who needs no introduction. Ably supporting him are, among others:
- Diane Abbott, the new Shadow Home Secretary;
- Owen Jones (who, sadly, appears to have made a “choice” that is increasingly clear);
- UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt;
- Harun Rashid Khan, Secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, whose website still carries a statement that trivialises the Holocaust by likening it to the Palestinian “genocide”;
- Salma Yacqoob, former leader of the Respect Party and current head of the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition, who described the 7/7 bombings as “reprisal attacks”;
- David Rosenberg, recently seen deflecting concerns about anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, by referring to Conservative policies from the 1930s;
- Malia “Zionist-led media” Bouattia, NUS President;
- and, of course, former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg.
Then of course there was the latest Stop the War conference (not sure as usual which war or whose armies they want to stop) but one Syrian dissident got himself removed for raising a protest about the policy Corbyn and his acolytes pursue. The assembled drones simply chanted "No more war" rather than listen to anyone that doesn't support their blinkered views.
This led to the publication of the following letter from some of Corbyn's more thoughtful supporters:
We write as members of the Labour Party and Momentum, as socialist activists, or as other supporters of your leadership of the Labour Party. We agree wholeheartedly with your opposition to militarism and nuclear weapons, and your call for an end to British arms exports to countries such as Saudi Arabia. Yet we are concerned by your silence – thus far – on the ongoing slaughter of civilians by Russian and Assad-regime forces in Syria.
We share your scepticism about kneejerk military responses to the situation in Syria, such as the bombing campaign against ISIS proposed by David Cameron last autumn. We are not asking you to back Western interventions of this kind, but simply to say clearly and unequivocally that the actions of Assad and Russia in Syria are barbaric war crimes, and that you will seek to end them, and to hold their perpetrators to account.
We applaud your efforts, over decades, to end the crimes of brutal regimes supported by Western powers. But we do not believe that this exhausts the duties of anti-imperialists, socialists and peace activists in Western countries. The fact that Assad is supported not by the USA or Britain, but by Russia and Iran, does not make his crimes any less horrific, or the political future he represents for the people of Syria any less dismal. Nor does it mean that Western political leaders are powerless in acting to oppose these crimes.
We know only too well that there are those in the anti-war movement who will denounce any move critical of Russia, Iran, or Assad as tantamount to support for Western imperialist intervention. We also know that there are those on the right of British politics who will claim any such move as a concession to their policy of militaristic grandstanding. The debate on Syria has been polarised between these two positions – scrupulous “non-intervention” in the face of massive carnage enabled by Russian intervention, versus support for bombing campaigns as part of a Western “war on terror”. We have all been asked to take up a position in these terms. But the terms are false.
We appreciate your concern not to lend support to right-wing calls for fruitless bombing campaigns. But in the face of the horrors being perpetrated across Syria, with impunity, and above all by Russian and Assad-regime forces, we believe socialists and anti-war activists cannot simply look on in silence. We ask that you condemn, clearly and specifically, the actions of Assad and Russia in Syria, which have caused the overwhelming majority of civilian deaths and which present the biggest obstacle to any workable solution to the Syrian crisis.
We also urge you to lend your wholehearted support to practical measures to support civilians and pressure the regime to end its attacks, such as airdrops of aid to besieged civilians by British military forces. Guaranteeing delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians is not only a way to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people at risk of disease and starvation. It is also a non-violent and humanitarian way to pressure the regime into a negotiated political solution to the conflict, by undermining a key part of its strategy: the “kneel or starve” campaigns deployed against opposition areas since 2013. “Food not bombs” should be the rallying cry, not “Hands off Syria”, which only gives the Assad regime and Russia carte blanche to continue with their slaughter.
Failure to act on this issue now threatens to undermine practically and politically much of the work done over many years by the anti-war movement. The legacy of yourself and the anti-war movement over Syria must not be one of silence and inaction in the face of such momentous atrocities.
This letter was signed by some 70 individuals not happy with the great leaders stance on this issue including fellow blogger Jim Denham & ex RMT Executive member Janine Booth.