Monday, 19 November 2018

Stop the (Brexit) Bomb

In yesterday’s Guardian, Margaret Thatcher’s Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Heseltine, writes about three times in his life in which he has lived through “momentous history”.  Heseltine refers to the 1939 announcement by Neville Chamberlain that Britain is at war with Germany, the 1945 street party in London, when “delirious crowds celebrate the end of the second world war” and finally in Berlin in 1961, when the Russians closed the wall.

In his article, Heseltine – who calls for another vote on Brexit – speaks of the third week of November 2018 as another “encounter with history of our time”. 
Before it is too late: Those in Britain who oppose Brexit should cause the necessary discomfort – strikes and any other legal means – to enforce a second referendum.  

Mind your language

A friend posted the following on his Facebook wall:
Four years ago today, two Palestinian Arab murderers entered a synagogue during morning prayers in Har Nof, and brutally slaughtered the praying congregants with axes, knives, and a gun.
They killed praying Jews and one heroic police officer, a Druze, who died taking down the terrorists.

Some tend to describe nationalistic killings of Israelis that are carried out by Palestinians as anti-Jewish acts. This serves to instil the feeling that we have a phenomenon akin to Antisemitic pogroms of the Christian kind. This is both wrong and misleading.

Murder is terrible, whether brutal or not. It is even terrible when those who have drones at their disposal carry it out from the luxury of their comfortable faraway operation centres.

There are Palestinians who use murder in their fight against Israel and against the occupation their land. This is unpardonable, but we should not confuse the issues: This is not about killing Jews in their Synagogues but about fighting occupation.  Deplorable but not Antisemitic.  

Green Card Lottery

Last week I was in Chicago for a few days. It was wonderful to visit an old friend of my parents, I also met one of her sons, as well as the son of another of my parents’ friends, went to a delightful jam session in a jazz club and ate an amazing steak. When distances were too long to walk, I used Uber in order to get from place to place in that beautiful city.

Conversations with drivers are a well-known means of informing one-self about a country/city/political situation etc. And thus, I had some interesting conversations with my drivers. Invariably they were immigrants and when it came to the question how they had managed to come to the US, the response was often that they had applied for a visa in the Green Card Lottery and won. I recall having had the same experience on previous visits to the USA.

The Green Card Lottery, the real name of which is “Diversity Immigrant Visa Program”, makes available 50,000 visas annually. Do they all become Uber drivers? Or is that a now established “get off my back and don’t ask me whether I am legal” response?

Monday, 22 October 2018

Bollocks to Brexit

I didn’t specially fly in for the demonstration, but I happened to be in London and joined the almost 700,000 calling for a second referendum.

It was an impressive show, which made “remainers” feel good about themselves. But will it make a difference? No. The Tory government does not want a second referendum and Corbyn, the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, is not opposing: He’s is a brexiter himself.

So, we have no opposition fighting the government for something that half of the British population has voted for. Half of the country’s population, who do not want Brexit. has been hung out to dry.  

Without political representation, the only solution is a show of force. If Britain was France, we would have strike actions bringing London to a halt – the only thing that politicians understand. But Britain is not France and we are unlikely to see violent action.

In this placard they only thing French they are worried about is Brie…

I particularly liked the arrogant look of disdain of these two men, whose Saturday shopping was disturbed by the demonstration: 

They may not have seen the warning on this placard:

The Prince is not a Fairy

So, it turns out that the young prince, everyone’s hope, who has even allowed Saudi women to drive, gets rid of people he doesn’t like. And there we were led to believe that he was going to be the great reformer. Finally – we thought – Saudi Arabia was going to be like “one of us”.

So, why the big surprise?  He is, indeed, like “one of us”. Others do it too. Perhaps not so brazenly and normally without causing so much media attention. Killer-drones are constantly out and about getting rid of whoever the US, Israel, Saudi-Arabia and various other countries consider worthy of such attention. Does anyone think that Guantanamo, or any of the other outsourced CIA bases were any gentler? Have I mentioned Russia yet?

Consider the poor prince: We sell them all those sophisticated weapon systems, which are just right if you want, for instance, to obliterate a whole continent. But what to do if all you want to kill is one man in Istanbul? You need to get your hands dirty.

It is a bit inconvenient as there is so much money involved but they will get over it and everyone (that is almost everyone) will continue with their business deals happily and profitably.

Israel – Slippery Slope – now Very Steep.

A former head of Israel’s internal security service, shabak, Ami Ayalon has come out in a rare statement criticising the willingness of the shabak to question people, whose views they do not approve of.  He warned: "This is no longer a slippery slope ... This is what is called a very steep slope. The Israeli security agency is becoming a problem of democracy."

There has been an increasing number of reports that shabak as well as Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs have intensified the questioning of left-wing and human-rights activists at the country’s borders. Ayalon explained that it should not be the secret service’s role to arrest or question people who have not acted clandestinely, but openly participated in a demonstration or in a tour organised by Breaking the Silence.

Israel – Even Steeper

The Israeli government is promoting a new law, that will tie public funding of the arts to loyalty to the state. 

How will they call art, which does not suit the Minister's wishes?

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Yom Kippur

Wednesday is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the highest holiday in the Jewish calendar. Observant Jews as well as many half-observant and even non-observant Jews spend the day fasting and praying for forgiveness for their sins. Some take the purpose of the day very seriously, many only go through the motions and partake in the rituals.

Every Jew, who is uncomfortable with what Israel is doing and has been doing for a long time with and to the Palestinians, should make use of Yom Kippur to consider what she or he can do to bring an end to the immorality of the Occupation and land-grab in the West-Bank. This is carried out by us Jews and supposedly on behalf of us and for us. It is wrong. Had I been a believer, I would have demanded that God punish the perpetrators. Perhaps those that are, will.

And just in case someone does not know what I am talking about, Here’s an example.

Radio Interview – SWR2

The German radio station SWR2 ran a long interview with me a few days ago.
German speakers, who are interested, can hear the interview here.

German Secret Service - Maaßen

A few days ago, a committee of Germany’s parliament discussed recent public remarks made by Hans-Georg Maaßen, the head of the country’s internal secret service, the Bureau for the Defence of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz), and decided that he was able to provide justification for his view.

The committee met after Maaßen was criticised in the media for having downplayed the seriousness of a right-wing mob going wild in the streets of Chemnitz. This is not the first indication, that the head of Germany’s secret service may be harbouring right-wing sympathies. It had been reported some time ago, that Maaßen had briefed the heads of the extremist right-wing AfD party – on at least a couple of occasions –, as to how to avoid being tracked by his service.

Had Angela Merkel still been as powerful as she used to be, Maaßen would have been out. What he said contradicts her line and agenda. Moreover, the head of the secret service should be reporting to the government and not be making statements to the press. And definitely not without first clearing such statements with the prime minister. But Merkel has been weakened, not least by the constant berating and scolding she is subject to from the leaders of her party’s sister-party in Bavaria, the CSU. Was Maaßen’s deed done in collusion with his direct boss, the Minister of Interior and senior CSU member?

The three questions that should have been asked are:

1.   Has Maaßen divulged secret information to the AfD?

2.   Was it appropriate for Maaßen to come out publicly and belittle the right-wing mob actions in Chemnitz?

3.   Can Maaßen be relied upon to defend the country from the dangers of the rising right-wing?

The fact that such questions must be asked, suggest that Maaßen is not fit for office.

Friday, 7 September 2018

The American Jewish Committee (AJC)

Polls show that 80% of Jews in the USA opposed the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, without making significant progress in the peace process. Two countries followed the US decision, Paraguay and Guatemala. Now, Paraguay decided to reverse its decision of four months ago and move its embassy back to Tel Aviv.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC), an American Jewish lobby organisation, came out with “AJC is deeply disappointed by Paraguay's decision to close its recently opened embassy in Jerusalem and return it to Tel Aviv… This diplomatic reversal is shocking,"

AJC yet again proves that it represents only its right-wing funders and not the opinion of American Jewry.

Is it a coup?

From the first day, ever since Trump was elected, people have been asking themselves how he will be gotten rid of. Impeachment? Declaration of unfitness for office and removal as stipulated by the 25th Amendment or perhaps Trump getting tired of it all and resigning.

Collusion with Russia, serious mental instability, paying off women, he has had sex with, to buy their silence – there has been no lack of grounds. And nothing happened.

Special mention in the US hall of shame is due to the top echelon of senior Republican members of the US Senate: They should have acted and discreetly explained the situation to him and got him to resign. Instead, they acted – as Republicans always do – only for what they perceive to be the good of their party, forgetting that they are there to serve their country.

But, we may perhaps be seeing the beginning of the end. The evidence in Bob Woodward’s new book about the goings on in the White House, where civil servants seem to have taken over the Presidency, may be reassuring on one hand, but they are extremely worrying on the other. This is a coup by the administration. And the op-ed in Thursday’s NY Times, was described by former CIA Director, John Brennan as “active insubordination born out of loyalty to the country, not to Donald Trump.”  So perhaps?

Britain’s Labour Party and Antisemitism

Anyone who is interested in what is happening in Britain’s Labour Party Antisemitism row, should read Professor David Feldman’s splendid analysis in Thursday’s Haaretz.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Book Events and Lectures – October 2018

I will be talking at the following events in October 2018.

Come along (book a seat if required).

Please also pass the information on to anyone that might be interested.

Berlin: Thursday, 4 October, 18:30,  
Berliner Landeszentrale für politische Bildung
Hardenbergstr. 22-24

Munich: Monday, 8 October, 19:00,
Max-Mannheimer-Platz 1

Garching: Tuesday, 9 October, 20:00
Volkshochschule, Garching

Grafing: Wednesday, 10 October, 20:00
Stadtbücherei, Grenzstr.5, Grafing

Holzkirchen: Thursday, 11 October, 20:00
Max-Heimbucher Str.1, Holzkirchen

Zurich: Thursday, 18 October, 20:00
Theater Neumarkt, Neumarkt 5,  

Neudietendorf: 25 October, 15:00
Tagungs- und Begegnungsstätte, Zinzendorfplatz 3

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

John McCain

The world press is full of eulogies and tributes to the deceased Senator John McCain, who died a few days ago, referring to him, amongst others, as a “war hero”. The truth is that the man’s military track record is far from rosy. He was driven by unattractive macho behaviour, losing one aircraft after another, as he went on unauthorised missions or took unnecessary risks. His military and political connections and his money enabled him to leverage this military past and build a political career out of it. He then became one of the Senate’s central supporters of ever more spending on the military.

Moreover, this man gave the despicable right-wing populist Sarah Palin, a world-stage, as he made her his running-mate in 2008. With this choice – which fortunately did not get him into the White House – McCain unleashed the evil that has then won the 2016 Presidential election. Thus McCain – who opposed and sincerely despised Trump – has helped make him possible. We should not forget that.

Nor should we ever forget that beasts cannot be tamed. Attempts, to introduce or install nasty ideas or evil people, with the idea of making use of them, nearly always backfire.

McCain courageously, openly and vociferously criticised and admonished Trump – for which he deserves much credit. It is the shame of the Republican Party that none of McCain’s senior colleagues openly condemn Trump. For this cowardice, they deserve to roast in hell. We should, however, not let our anti-Trump sentiments colour the true picture of McCain.