Friday 16 February 2024

Wander No More

Last night, the BBC excelled itself. On Question Time, Lucy Powell was allowed to repeat the old chestnut that Luciana Berger had had to have personal Police protection to attend a Labour Party Conference under Jeremy Corbyn, a story long since denied by Merseyside Police. Question Time is edited, and that was broadcast, as was someone or other from the Telegraph's ritual recitation of the beheaded babies nonsense, which the Israelis themselves stopped peddling months ago. Ah, the Telegraph. Soon, my precious. Soon.

Over on Newsnight, Howard Jacobson was having a kind of breakdown, and railed without challenge that, "People are walking through the streets of England shouting "Kill Jews"," while calling the Corporation on which he was appearing anti-Semitic for having had the effrontery to show dead and injured Palestinian children.

This week has also seen Labour Friends of Israel's claim that anti-Zionism was an invention of Soviet propaganda, because nothing exists until a member of the white elite says it or does it. The reality was that the Soviet Union picked up, perhaps opportunistically, on the anti-Zionism of the wider anti-imperialist movement, and disseminated it both in its own Bloc and through its networks in the West. Among Jews, anti-Zionism had been widespread for as long as Zionism had existed, but Jews had rarely been elite figures in those days. Until that change of line, the USSR and those Communist Parties loyal to it had been strongly pro-Israeli, with Phil Piratin, and fellow-travellers such as John Platts-Mills, using Parliament to call for Glubb Pasha to be prosecuted under the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870. Of course, he never was. Unlike some today, he was not in breach of it.

The black and white keffiyeh was created by that British Lieutenant-General, who was already a Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, and who was subsequently also made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath after he had commanded one of the last great victories of an Imperial client princely state's British-led Army, namely the British-funded Arab Legion's securement of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1948. That securement was recognised immediately by the Labour Government in Britain, and for that matter by the United States. Think on about that as much as about, for example, the Chilean capital of Santiago's Club Deportivo Palestino, which I may even take to following, and which was founded in 1920 both under that name and with this badge. For whom did Glubb design a keffiyeh distinct from the red and white? Which distinct people needed such a headdress? This distinct people did and does.

So much for this or that's having been made up in the 1960s by the pesky Russkies. But all bad things have to be Russian, don't they? And all things Russian have to be bad. Take it from a fortysomething that apparently healthy people in their forties do indeed just drop down dead, even if their living conditions are a very long way removed from those of FKU IK-3. And it is of course the case that the state that is holding anyone who dies in custody is responsible and must be made to answer. Alexei Navalny. Gonzalo Lira. Jeffrey Epstein. Palestinians in Israeli prisons. Deaths in custody in the United Kingdom.

In that last case, one of the obvious people to whom to express one's concerns would be the relevant Police and Crime Commissioner. But what if she herself had serious questions to answer?

They seem to want Kim McGuinness off the ballot paper. I don't. I want Jamie Driscoll to defeat her. And if you read those questions carefully enough, then you will also work out who ought to be Northumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner instead of her.