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The Smearing of Ken Loach & Jeremy Corbyn PDF Print E-mail
Apr 14, 2020 at 12:00 AM

The vilification campaigns against the two men — both passionate defenders of Palestinian rights and champions of unabashed class struggle — is the face of our new toxic politics.

Ken Loach, one of Britain’s most acclaimed film directors, has spent more than a half a century dramatizing the plight of the poor and the vulnerable. His films have often depicted the casual indifference or active hostility of the state as it exercises unaccountable power over ordinary people.

Last month Loach found himself plunged into the heart of a pitiless drama that could have come straight from one of his own films. This veteran chronicler of society’s ills was forced to stand down as a judge in a school anti-racism competition, falsely accused of racism himself and with no means of redress.

Voice of the Powerless

There should be little doubt about Loach’s credentials both as an anti-racist and a trenchant supporter of the powerless and the maligned.

In his films he has turned his unflinching gaze on some of the ugliest episodes of British state repression and brutality in Ireland, as well as historical struggles against fascism in other parts of the globe, from Spain to Nicaragua.

But his critical attention has concentrated chiefly on Britain’s shameful treatment of its own poor, its minorities and its refugees. In his recent film “I, Daniel Blake” he examined the callousness of state bureaucracies in implementing austerity policies, while this year’s release “Sorry We Missed You” focused on the precarious lives of a zero-hours workforce compelled to choose between the need to work and responsibility to family.

Inevitably, these scathing studies of British social and political dysfunction – exposed even more starkly by the current coronavirus pandemic – mean Loach is much less feted at home than he is in the rest of the world, where his films are regularly honored with awards.

Which may explain why the extraordinary accusations against him of racism – or more specifically anti-Semitism – have not been more widely denounced as malicious.

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Academic freedom at UBC threatened by false allegations of anti-semitism PDF Print E-mail
Feb 12, 2020 at 12:00 AM

https://thetalon.ca/academic-freedom-at-ubc-threatened-by-false-allegations-of-anti-semitism/

In 2018, six members of the UBC community were the subjects of an investigation based on allegations that they had engaged in antisemitic behaviour after they declared their opposition to holding the Geography Department’s year-end party at Hillel UBC. 

Their email comments explaining this opposition became the subject of a six-month investigation that ended with an outside investigator finding there had been no expression of antisemitism. Although the 52-page report was completed in October 2018, UBC officials have refused to publicly acknowledge the fact that the case was dismissed. In addition, they have not released the investigator’s findings.

As members of Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV), a grassroots organization that opposes all forms of racism and advocates for justice and peace for all in Israel-Palestine, we provided support to the students who were the subject of the investigation. Because we were participants, we were given redacted copies of the investigator’s report. After careful consideration, we have become convinced that the findings in this investigation are too important to be kept secret.

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The Holocaust, BBC & Anti-Semitism Smears PDF Print E-mail
Jan 28, 2020 at 12:00 AM

Senior BBC news reporter Orla Guerin has found herself in hot water of an increasingly familiar kind. During a report on preparations for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp, she made a brief reference to Israel and an even briefer reference to the Palestinians. Her reporting coincided with Israel hosting world leaders last week at Yad Vashem, its Holocaust remembrance center in Jerusalem.

Here is what Guerin said over footage of Yad Vashem:

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Antisemitism and the Crisis of Liberalism PDF Print E-mail
May 28, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Contemporary antisemitism must be confronted. Yet liberals who insist on equating leftists like Jeremy Corbyn with the open antisemitism of right-wing figures like Donald Trump are not only blatantly dishonest, but prevent us from fighting anti-Jewish bigotry

Review of Antisemitism: Here and Now by Deborah E. Lipstadt (Schocken, 2019).

These are strange times to be Jewish in the US. We have a president attacking progressive representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib with false claims of antisemitism. Only a short time before, the same president ran the first openly antisemitic presidential campaign in living memory.

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The chimera of British anti-Semitism (and how not to fight it if it were real) PDF Print E-mail
Aug 19, 2018 at 12:00 AM

The current hysteria engulfing the British Labour Party resolves itself into a pair of interrelated, if discrete, premises: Anti-Semitism in British society at large and the Labour Party in particular have reached crisis proportions. If neither of these premises can be sustained, then the hysteria is a fabrication. In fact, no evidence has been adduced to substantiate either of them; on the contrary, all the evidence points in the opposite direction. The rational conclusion is that the brouhaha is a calculated hoax - dare it be said, plot? - to oust Jeremy Corbyn and the principled leftist politics he represents from British public life.

But even if the allegations were true, the solution would still not be to curb freedom of thought in the Labour Party. At its worthiest, the Left-Liberal tradition has attached a unique, primordial value to Truth; but Truth cannot be attained if dissentients, however obnoxious, are silenced. Given the fraught history of anti-Semitism, on the one hand, and its crude manipulation by Jewish elites, on the other, an objective, dispassionate assessment could appear beyond reach. Still, it must be attempted. The prospect of a historic victory for the Left might otherwise be sabotaged as, thus far, Corbyn's supporters, whether it be from fear, calculation, or political correctness, dare not speak the name of the evil that is afoot.

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Arrests underway in Toronto Israeli Consulate Sit-in

Toronto: Wednesday January 7, 2009   Time: 11:20 am

Police have moved in to arrest a group of Jewish Canadian women who are currently occupying the Israeli consulate at 180 Bloor Street West in Toronto.

The women took their action in protest against the on-going Israeli assault on the people of Gaza.

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