Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Welcome Back on the Street

 The latest issue of Jewish Socialist magazine has hit the streets somewhat later than planned, in time for Saturday's demonstration against racism, but having gone to press before the editors had time to consider saying anything about Ukraine. Perhaps that's just as well.  While the great powers have thankfully hesitated so far to go to war, no such inhibition has restrained those friends on the Facebook left who rushed to take sides, throwing far more heat than light on the matter, and denouncing each other in terms that suggested imminent fisticuffs, not least among those gathered in the name of Left Unity.

That new grouping does get a mention, along with the People's Assembly initiative, in the latest Jewish Socialist.

More important however, is the magazine's focus on fighting all forms of racism and chauvinism, wherever they're found.  Roma Gypsies proudly waving their flags were at the front of Saturday's march in London, and Jewish Socialist has an original feature by Margaret Greenfields on how Jews and Roma are coming together in Solidarity in Budapest, as well as a report on resistance to clearances of Negev Bedouin.

Colin Green asks whether Israeli military operations on Gaza have been used as a testing ground for new weapons, while a new book on Anarchists Against the Wall is reviewed by Ross Bradshaw.

From generation unto generation, some memories evoked by last year's 75th anniversary statement on Kristallnacht and today's attacks on minorities are published, as is a report by two thoughtful school students on their visit to Auschwitz.

How the Left should confront the insidious growth of 'respectable' anti-immigrant racism exploited by Nigel Farage's UKIP, tipped to do far too well in coming Euro-elections, is  considered by veteran campaigner Don Flynn; while critical scientist Dave King alerts us to the sinister resurgence of research attempting to link genetics and I.Q. , a familiar way of trying to justify inequality.

All work and no play makes Yetta and Yankel into dull girls and boys, but fortunately Jewish Socialist maintains its claim to wider interests, with Dave Rosenberg visiting an exhibition on Jews in football, and Mike Gerber introducing us to hip-hop artist and poet the Ruby Kid.   A moving poem by 'the Kid' about the horrific 1911 Triangle  Shirtwaist fire in which over 100 garment workers were killed might suitably be footnoted by reference to the item by Paul Collins, of War on Want, on the struggle of garment wokers in Bangladesh.  

Tears of the Merry Widow

MUST admit I often turn first to the back of Jewish Socialist magazine to see what mischief is being wreaked in Dybbuk's Diary, and in this issue I am pleased to find some interesting info about America's first lady of Islamophobia, Pamela Geller. I don't often praise Home Secretary Theresa May, but I was pleased by her decision last year to stop a visit to Britain by Geller and her comrade in arms Robert Spencer. The pair had been due to delight an English Defence League (EDL) rally in Woolwich, with the obvious aim of exploiting the murder of Lee Rigby,for which two men have now received lfe sentences.

Geller's campaigns have ranged from opposing a Muslim cultural centre in New York (the supposed "ground zero mosque") through posters on the New York subway backing Israel as the "civilised man" against "savages", to allegations that President Obama's mother appeared in porn films and that Obama is Malcolm X's "love child". She has threatened to sue HM government over its ban on her and Spencer. Though various trusts fund their political campaigns, she has money of her own.

In 2007, police investigating a murder at Long Island's Universal Auto Sales, owned by Pamela Geller's  former husband Michael Oshry, uncovered a racket in which drug dealers and other criminals had been able to launder their proceeds and acquire expensive fast cars, which were registered to other owners. They also found bank statements had not been sent to the firm's office but to the Oshrys' home. Pamela Geller, though listed as a partner in the business, burst into tears, and told the cops she had known nothing about her husband's business affairs. That's quite a change from her usual beaming grin in photographs, and claims to know the President's innermost family secrets.

But, as Dybbuk says, it seemed to work. While a dozen people linked with Universal Auto were arrested, "Pamela Geller remained free to .collect a $4 million divorce settlement, a portion of the $1.8 million realised from the sale of theLong Island home, and then a $5 million life insurance payment when Michael Oshry died a few months after remarrying in 2008".

That sounds like quite a cutie the 'Tea Party' have got as a hostess, and the EDL have had as a friend, though I hear the police have not yet finished with Universal Auto. There is speculation that the shooting of Collin Thomas might be linked somehow with the killing of two cops, also in Long Island. There have been calls for the case to be handed over to the FBI.

Meanwhile I am interested in finding out more about the trusts that have been channeling funds to Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. And whether all that money has remained in the USA.


And talking of money, YOU may be able to buy Jewish Socialist at political events or a decent bookshop, it's £2 a copy,  but to subscribe you can send cheques or POs for £10 for four issues, made out to Jewish Socialist publications. Send to Jewish Socialist, BM3725, London WC1N 3XX.    

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