Media 99: Anti-semitism campaign a fabrication – Norman Finkelstein charges the British elite & its media
Richard House has drawn attention to the latest Media Lens report: ‘Suspending Chris Williamson – The Fury And The Fakery’ – which includes a comment in a forceful and eloquent video by American political scientist, activist, professor and author, Norman Finkelstein (right), whose mother survived the Warsaw Ghetto, the Majdanek concentration camp and two slave labour camps and whose father was a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and the Auschwitz concentration camp. He writes:
‘Corbyn . . . did not present a threat only to Israel and Israel’s supporters, he posed a threat to the whole British elite. Across the board, from the Guardian to the Daily Mail, they all joined in the new anti-semitism campaign . . . this whole completely contrived, fabricated, absurd and obscene assault on this alleged Labour anti-semitism, of which there is exactly zero evidence, zero.’
Media Lens points out that more than 150 Labour MPs and peers – the “infamously pro-war, Blairite section of the party have added to the propaganda blitz by protesting against the decision to readmit Williamson in a statement led by the bitterly anti-Corbyn deputy leader Tom Watson”.
A recent blog on the Jewish Voices for Labour site also stated that a “hostile, personal campaign is being waged against Chris, who is a hard-working and diligent MP with great standing in his constituency and a strong record of anti-racist campaigning”.
It adds: “This country stands in desperate need of a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, aiming to unite people around protection and promotion of hard won rights and services, the party needs the dedication and principled commitment of Chris Williamson and others like him”.
In 2018, Noam Chomsky commented on this campaign: ‘The charges of anti-Semitism against Corbyn are without merit, an underhanded contribution to the disgraceful efforts to fend off the threat that a political party might emerge that is led by an admirable and decent human being, a party that is actually committed to the interests and just demands of its popular constituency and the great majority of the population generally, while also authentically concerned with the rights of suffering and oppressed people throughout the world. Plainly an intolerable threat to order.’ (Chomsky, email to Media Lens, 9 September 2018).
He commented on these issues again this month in correspondence with journalist Matt Kennard:
‘The way charges of anti-Semitism are being used in Britain to undermine the Corbyn-led Labour Party is not only a disgrace, but also – to put it simply – an insult to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The charges against Chris Williamson (right) are a case in point. There is nothing even remotely anti-Semitic in his statement that Labour has “given too much ground” and “been too apologetic” in defending its record of addressing “the scourge of anti-Semitism” beyond that of any other party, as he himself had done, on public platforms and in the streets.’
Media Lens’ challenging conclusion asks what sanction the Labour Party should put on those politicians who personally voted to authorise illegal British and US wars in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria – acts which did not merely offend but killed, maimed and displaced millions of people, bringing whole countries to their knees.
Media 98: mainstream media’s “propaganda blitz” in support of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó
Media Lens outlines the mainstream media’s “propaganda blitz” in support of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, quoting from and analysing articles in the BBC, the Nation, the Guardian, the Times, the Economist, the mail on Sunday, the Sun and the Independent.
The views of ‘independent thinkers’ who have argued that Maduro was elected last May in free and fair elections are the recorded
Media Lens presents evidence from Venezuela Analysis, which Noam Chomsky values for its “analysis, and commentary on developments in Venezuela, rarely available in the US or the West generally, and valuable for a balanced understanding not only of Venezuela but of Latin American generally in the current very exciting phase of its history.”
- Human rights lawyer Daniel Kovalik of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, commented: ‘I just returned from observing my fourth election in Venezuela in less than a year. Jimmy Carter has called Venezuela’s electoral system “the best in the world,” and what I witnessed was an inspiring process that guarantees one person, one vote, and includes multiple auditing procedures to ensure a free and fair election”.
- More than 150 members of the international electoral accompaniment mission for the elections published four independent reports. Their members ‘include politicians, electoral experts, academics, journalists, social movement leaders and others’. The mission’s General Report concluded: ‘We the international accompaniers consider that the technical and professional trustworthiness and independence of the National Electoral Council of Venezuela are uncontestable.’
- The Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America, a grouping of electoral technicians from across the continent, many of whom have presided over electoral agencies, commented: ‘The process was successfully carried out and that the will of the citizens, freely expressed in ballot boxes, was respected…the results communicated by the National Electoral Council reflect the will of the voters who decided to participate in the electoral process.’
- The African Report: ‘Our general evaluation is that this was a fair, free, and transparent expression of the human right to vote and participate in the electoral process by the Venezuelan people, and that the results announced on the night of May 20 are trustworthy due to the comprehensive guarantees, audits, the high tech nature of the electoral process, and due to the thirteen audits carried out previous to and on the day of elections which we witnessed”.
- And also the Caribbean Report: ‘The mission was satisfied that the elections were conducted efficiently in a fair and transparent manner. All of the registered voters who wanted to exercise their right to vote participated in a peaceful and accommodating environment. Based on the process observed, the mission is satisfied that the results of the elections reflect the will of the majority of the voters in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.’
See also Manufacturing Consent in Venezuela: Media Misreporting of a Country, 1998–2014, by Ian MacLeod, published in December, which found that:
“The major newspapers in the UK and US reproduce the ideology of Western governments, ignoring strong empirical evidence challenging those positions. The press portrayed Venezuela in an overwhelmingly negative light, presenting highly contested minority opinions as facts while barely mentioning competing arguments, as Herman and Chomsky’s (2002) propaganda model would predict”.
Ed: note that though the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Germany agreed in Brussels to recognise Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela, the Times reported that foreign minister Simon Coveney said that Ireland will not follow other European Union countries in doing so.
In 2000 Chomsky presented an analysis of the United States and its allies as the world’s ‘rogue states’.
George Monbiot continues:
“Obama’s failure to be honest about his nation’s record of destroying international norms and undermining international law, his myth-making about the role of the US in world affairs, and his one-sided interventions in the Middle East, all render the crisis in Syria even harder to resolve.
“Until there is some candour about past crimes and current injustices, until there is an effort to address the inequalities over which the US presides, everything it attempts – even if it doesn’t involve guns and bombs – will stoke the cynicism and anger the president says he wants to quench.” So writes George Monbiot in an article highlighted by a Moseley reader.
It made the following charges:
- that “the Pentagon has built a germ factory that could make enough lethal microbes to wipe out entire cities“;
- that the Bush government also rejected the verification protocol required to make the Biological Weapons Convention work as an effective instrument;
- that the US provides ‘cover ‘ for Israel’s weapons of mass destruction and its use of white phosphorus as a weapon in Gaza;
- that US used millions of gallons of chemical weapons in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. It also used them during its destruction of Falluja in 2004;
- that the Reagan government helped Saddam Hussein to wage war with Iran in the 1980s while aware that he was using nerve and mustard gas;
- that the US remains outside the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court;
- that it committed a crime of aggression in Iraq;
- that US troops committed war crimes during the invasion and occupation of Iraq;
- that prisoners were held without trial, abused and tortured in the US run prison in Guantánamo Bay, where – as of August 2013 – 164 detainees remain.
Some years ago, Ken Veitch wrote in the Friend:
Has Britain been a lesser rogue state?
Time for change.