Palestine Action & Balfour, Guardian, & lobbying

  • Post last modified:March 23, 2024
  • Reading time:7 mins read

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This week’s letters

This week we have people’s thoughts on Palestine Action’s Balfour painting defacing, the Guardian missing the point (when doesn’t it?), and a Canary editorial on political donations.

Balfour controversy

The corporate media reported the Palestine Action attack on the Balfour portrait as a terrorist act aimed at the author of the declaration that encouraged the Zionist movement to begin their activities against Palestinians. I don’t know if the activists explained there action or provided leaflets to do that.

It is important to explain that Balfour when he was a prime minister in the 1900s was an ardent antisemite who tried to refuse immigration to Jews from pogrom-riddled Europe. He saw his 1917 declaration as a way of persuading Jewish immigrants not to come to Britain.

When the UK cabinet discussed issuing the declaration there was one opponent in the cabinet, a Jew. Most Jews then opposed Zionism and in Britain this included the Jewish Board of Deputies. However the promise of a Jewish state in the land of the Bible gradually drew many Jews round the world into the settler/colonial Zionist project.

I am from a secular Jewish family who fully support the Palestinian cause and condemn Israel for its policies and actions.

I repeat, actions like the attack on Balfour’s portrait or other attacks on statues need to be backed up by full explanatory statements, otherwise the press and politicians will bury the facts of the conflict between Israel and Palestinians.

Greg, via email

I support Palestinians and their combats throughout the years. What was done to them over the years is incomprehensible. I can’t understand how good thinking people can stand with and support Israeli settlers who have just about demolished everything that was sacred for the Palestinians and somehow make out that it is all legal.

Invasion, occupation, and theft of possessions which don’t belong to you is criminal. There are videos of Israeli settlers breaking into Palestinian homes, with the support of the IDF and coming out, their hands full of objects, jewellery, and ornaments and mocking the owners on their way out. All this aided and abetted by the British and Americans.

When is justice going to prevail? When is the ICJ going to put Netanyahu and all the others in prison?


Annie, via email

The Guardian misses the point (again)

On 13 March 2024, the Guardian reported “Vandalism on rise at historic English sites amid cost of living crisis“, and missed the point entirely.

Although the headline identifies something close to the root cause of the problem – people can no longer afford to live (really, really think about what that means) – the article focuses entirely on measures that would make no difference to the wellbeing and survival of people, but would, of course, and crucially, protect inert, non-sentient matter, like pieces of stone, dubbed “heritage”, “cultural” and “historic”, whereas the people taking them for the money they need to do things like eat and not freeze to death in an alleyway are dubbed “offenders”, “gangs”, “thieves” and “criminals”.

The proffered solution to the problem of human survival this represents is more policing, CCTV, intelligence gathering, use of digital technology (the details are vague, as though no one, the article’s author included, has any idea what these things even mean).

What this article highlights, and is emblematic of, is a deliberate and ubiquitous misdirection by the media, intended to cover a cesspit of cruelty in a veneer of concern.

If increasing numbers of people are forced to scope for desperate opportunities to get cash, from wherever they can find it, the solution is not draconian policing to hide the problem. The human effort, and the materials used to create the technology deployed, to achieve such an aim would be an absolutely anti-human waste of time, energy and matter.

The root cause of the problem isn’t even the “cost of living” as this is just a euphemism. The root cause is systemic oppression and violence that attaches a “cost” to living. We are colonised by a system that creates the very conditions that make it impossible for millions of people to live.

The “cost of living”, then, is not a natural phenomenon, it is created by people with power. If Historic England and the National Police Chiefs’ Council want to stop people taking and selling stone and other artefacts, they need to refocus their care and concern, away from dead matter and onto oppressed, living humans, and call for profound, fundamental systemic change.

David Willetts, via email

ED: an excellent contribution, David – and we thoroughly agree.

Further to a Canary editorial…

Some further thought following the Canary editorial The racist Tory donor story is masking a much deeper scandal – in both the Tories and Labour:

Morality has been by replaced by market forces dogma that has stripped us of the fierce regulation that is needed to keep greed in check. The result has been devastation, from Grenfell to banking and all in between.

Market Forces = light regulation on the grounds that the market will correct itself. However, that Hayekian idealism fails to recognise the hostile commercial villainy that is focused on making sufficient money to make the owner of that money invulnerable either to economic distress or to prosecution.

In the City. It’s called ‘Fuck you money’. The ‘you’ being everyone else except the owner of the money.

Villainy is not defined here as law breaking crookery. It’s anti-social action that is kept rigorously within the law by stratospherically expensive lawyers working for villains. The lawyers interpret law that the villains have used political bribery to mould and that is policed by enforcement that the villains have similarly emasculated.

This ‘unlawing’ of society has been achieved largely through the bribery that is party political funding but also through the bait of hugely rewarded sinecure employment (Osborne, Black Rock: Blair, J.P. Morgan etc) and the corruption other goodies on offer such as access to exclusive holiday homes and facilities together with wildly overpaid speaking engagements and journalistic commissions – see Johnson for the full gamut.

The full formula is market forces = light touch regulation = license to exploit.

Brian Basham, via email

ED: thanks Brian – a succinct addendum

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