15 January 2019

Gary Spedding or an appeal to the goddess of fairness


The gentleman in the picture is Gary Spedding*, mentioned in the headline. He was recently kicked out (BBC report) from Ben Gurion airport, back to wherever he has started his flight to Tel Aviv from. His report on Facebook** is placed at the end of the post here, for full disclosure. I would like to stress only one sentence from this report, the cry of an anguished innocent soul:
I invite Israeli authorities to respect legitimate democratic activities and process and permit me to continue with my journey.
Says BBC about the poor soul, being treated so unfairly:
A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in London said: "Mr Spedding's entry into Israel was denied due to his involvement in organising a violent protest in Queens University, Belfast, in which an Israeli representative was attacked, and others were forced to take shelter to prevent being hurt.
And here is the story, from 2011. Some choice quotes:
An Israeli law lecturer had to be rescued by security officers when a seminar was abandoned after being disrupted by pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

Solon Solomon, a former legal adviser to the Knesset Foreign Affairs committee, had been invited to speak to law school students at Queen's University in Belfast.

When the security team eventually moved him out of the university building, protesters attacked the car he was travelling in, punching the vehicle and attempting to smash its windows.

The protest was organised by Gary Spedding, president of the university's Palestine Solidarity Society. Mr Spedding works for the Holy Land Trust charity, which seeks to empower Palestinians in the West Bank.
You know, after reading the above, I can't get rid of a feeling that Gary Spedding wouldn't know legitimate democratic activities if the said activities bit him on his backside. And that Gary Spedding is a choice example of a hypocrite.

But it is neither here nor there. The important thing that he is back home and safe...

(*) Here is how he bills himself in Times of Israel, where he, apparently, is welcome to keep a blog:
Gary Spedding is a cross-party advocate and lobbyist on the Israel-Palestine conflict in the UK, Irish and European Parliaments and an applied peace and conflict researcher. He is a member of the UK’s Labour Party.
However, not being an expert on Gary Spedding, I shall let other people add to the above short blurb.
Here is a brief one.
And here is a longer one, in three parts!

(**) Here it goes:
Five years on, I have just been detained upon arrival at Israel’s Ben Gurion international airport. I have once again been refused entry. I will try to provide updates as I attempt to carry forward with my visit to Israel-Palestine.

I’ve spent the last five years banned from Israel. After having followed all stipulations required of me (including not attempting re-entry during the period of my ban). The main reason for my visit is to meet and catch up with Israeli and Palestinian friends and colleagues.

I do not believe that my political views and positions constitute a legitimate reason to deny my entry to Israel. I do not have a criminal record in any country, I do not post a security threat. It would be understandable if I held extreme views or dangerous tendencies - but I do not.

I wholeheartedly believe in peace, justice and equality for Israelis, Palestinians, Arabs and Jews in this land. It is my hope that this will be recognised and that I’ll be permitted to enter the same as any other UK passport holder without prejudice.

I invite Israeli authorities to respect legitimate democratic activities and process and permit me to continue with my journey.

Press release to follow if I still have access to my phone.

10 January 2019

You dare to call yourself friends of Jews?

A Jewish German political activist Aviel Tromm, who describes himself on his Facebook page:

My name is Aviel Tromm, I actively tried to shape politics from 2001 to 2014. I was chairman of the LAG Queer NRW, the party The Left, fractional employee of the city council faction in Brühl and sat there in 8 committees, have worked with the then parliamentary group and was networked with politicians across the country.
To this day, I have friends in various factions of the Bundestag and the European Parliament and I am still fighting actively in the BAK Shalom, but I am no longer a party member! My "career" ended in Essen in 2014 because I sided with Israel.
The letter to the German government, written by him, is borrowed from Benjamin Goldstein's blog.
You all annoy me the way you mentally please yourself with your ‘culture of rememberence’ and your ‘raison d’État’ and how you at the same time learned so much from history that in fifty years Germany will finally be as your murderish grandparents envisioned it – judenrein!

Every time a Jew in Germany gets beaten, you have to act like shocked politicans with your useless Sunday speeches and slogans and you pretend not to be able to understand where that hatred comes from. You prattle in talk shows that there wouldn’t be a place for anti-Semitism in Germany. You carry wreaths to memorials. Oh, how much you love your dead Jews. I’m inclined to attest you a propensity for necrophilia!

But every time when the living Jews resist, when they insist on their right to self-determination, then you’re there to pass UN-Resolutions together with the religious and ideological fanatics, painting Israel as the world’s demon. In [the Nazi propaganda magazine] ‘Stürmer’ they did it with cartoons. You do it with politics.

High-ranking politicans may clap hands when in the European Parliament Mr Abbas spreads the most anti-Semitic narratives. One may loudly speak of an apartheid state or a regime and it’s also perfectly okay for you to lay down flowers and wreaths on the graves of dead terrorists. Still today Europe must be very sad that the Arabs failed to drown the Jews in the Middle East in 1948 like a farmerman who’s killing kittens in a barrel of rain.

Either you’re so stupid that you can’t distinguish scrambled eggs from shit or you do it on purpose. You’re a bunch of lousy hypocrites who present themselves in front of memorials, howling in the minor chords of Klezmer-music, and at the same time you’re working only to get rid of the European Jews.

What did you learn from the last years? What have you done? Anti-Semitic riots throughout Germany, arson attacks on synagogues, endless insults and repressions against Jews and Jewish institutions. What was the consequence? The German parliament of the state NRW, for example, examined the incidents in the City of Essen, condemned them and after that the topic was over. Nothing of practical use followed. The guilty are still sitting exactly where they sat then. The only effective measure was a big rally, which wasn’t initiated by you, but the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

And what are you working on in practice? You condemn and criticize Israel since the 1960s perpetually. You have no understanding for self-defense and security needs. You reject Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and you pump billions of euros into the terrorist structures of Hamas and others on site. And what does that make of you after your own definition? You dare to call yourself friends of Israel and the Jews? Friends? What the hell is wrong with you?

With this policy of ‘friendship’ you created such a one-sided media coverage that there are only two types of Jews in the daily lives of Germans. Jews have almost disappeared completely from everday life.

First type: Jews in Germany appear in news articles about students who have to change schools because of their Jewish identity. Or in documentaries about the Shoa, which have become so irrelevant that they feel like a substitute of the black-and-white picture noise of the analogue TV set.

Second type: Jews encounter the majority of people in Germany as a boogeyman in the news when Israel every so often has to defend itself and even the headlines then leave no qualms that ‘the Jew’ is always the guilty one. In fact, the media almost always reports negatively about Israel. The attacks against the state of Irael are usually only mentioned as the last line in consistently tendencious articles, and politicians of all parties either drown in their calls for temperance or they curse Israel as an apartheid state like [former] Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel.

The West German post-war narrative is the attempt to avert the guilt. In order not to face the own history Israel is at least equated to the Nazis.

And finally, to crown your hypocrisy, you install anti-Semitism commissioners who have to beg to get heard at all. If they’re listened to, they can have the moral highground for a moment. [Note: I think that he means they are selectively given the mic for purely strategic political advantages.] Fabulous! Great show! So much perversion and deviousness is otherwise known only in psycho thrillers.

The result of over fourty years of German-Israeli ‘friendship’ is that anti-Semitism has become louder, that it’s becoming increasingly dangerous for Jews to walk the streets and that more and more Jews emigrate from Germany.

There’s only left to say that you’re bound by tradition, a German tradition which made it possible to slaughter Jews during the Crusades like livestock, a tradition that was inspired by Martin Luther’s letter of shame ‘From Jews and their lies’, a tradition responsible for the murder of six million Jews on government orders.

It’s not us who have become like your grandparents, no, you’re just as your murderish ancestors desired. At least be honest, this farce is almost unbearable.

08 January 2019

Murder of a poet - 80 years

Behind us still our fate was grimly holding,
A razor-handed madman, seeking fee.
(Arseny Aleksandrovich Tarkovsky)


The picture above is, most probably, the last picture of Osip Mandelshtam, one of the brightest stars in Russian poetry of XX century. It was taken by a prison photographer not long before his death. His murder, in fact. The poet signed his death sentence by his famous epigram of the tyrant:
We live, not feeling the earth beneath us
At ten paces our words evaporate.
But when there’s the will to crack open our mouths
our words orbit the Kremlin mountain man.
Murderer, peasant killer.

His fingers plump as grubs.
His words drop like lead weights.
His laughing cockroach whiskers.
The gleam of his boot rims.

Around him a circle of chicken-skinned bosses
sycophantic half-beings for him to toy with.
One whines, another purrs, a third snivels
as he babbles and points.

He forges decrees to be flung
like horseshoes
at the groin, the face, the eyes.

He rolls the liquidations on his tongue like berries
delicacies for the barrel-chested Georgian.
It is not my place to write about the life and poetry of the genius, but here are some memories of his last days. His last letter to the family:
Dear Shura! 
I am - Vladivostok, СВИТЛ*, the 11th barrack. Got 5 years for the к.р.д.** by decision of the ОСО***. From Moscow, the Butyrki, our group left on September 9, arrived on October 12. Health is very weak, exhausted to the extreme, emaciated, almost unrecognizable, but I don’t know whether to send things, food and money makes sense. Try all the same. Very cold without things.

My dear Nadinka, I do not know whether you are alive, my dove. You, Shura, write about Nadya to me now. Here I am at a transit point. I was not taken to the Kolyma. Wintering is possible.
My dear, I kiss you.

Osya and Shurochka, I am writing more. The last days I went to work, and it raised my spirits. From our camp, as a transit point, they send [people] to the permanent [camps]. I have obviously got "screened out", and I have to get ready for the winter.

And please send me a telegram and money by telegraph.
(*) СВИТЛ - Northeast Forced Labor and Correction Camps - a branch of GULAG.
(**) к.р.д. - Counter-revolutionary activities.
(***) ОСО, Special Committee) - an administrative body under the NKVD of the USSR, which existed from 1934 to 1953.

And a description of the poet's death:
...in November we have started being eaten alive by thoroughbred white lice. Typhus, of course, got to us. The sick people were taken away, and not seen anymore. On a morning at the end of December, a few days before the New Year, we were led to the baths, to "sanitary processing". There was no water. We were ordered to undress in the cold and take the clothing to the heating room*. And then we were transferred to the other half of the premises, the dressing room, where it was even colder. The room stank of sulphur and smoke. At this time two naked men fell unconscious.
Several flankeys came up. They took out pieces of plywood, twine and put tags on the dead. His tag said "Mandelshtam Osip, Article 58 (10), 10 years."
(*) Heating room - a preferred way then to kill the lice in clothing.

This is the end of one of the very few through whom the deity of poetry speaks.
Take from my palms some sun to bring you joy
and take a little honey - so the bees
of cold Persephone commanded us.

No loosing of the boat that is not moored,
no hearing of the shadow shod in fur,
no overcoming fear in life's dense wood.

And kisses are all that's left us now,
kisses as hairy as the little bees
who perish if they fly out of the hive.

They rustle in transparent depths of night,
their home dense forests on Taigetos' slopes,
their food is honeysuckle, mint and time.

So for your joy receive my savage gift,
a dry and homely necklace of dead bees
who have transmuted honey into sun*.
(*) Well, better a poor translation than nothing. Not that there is any possibility to translate him.