politics

Netanyahu's "Arab voters are voting!" Facebook video

Netanyahu’s “Arab voters are voting!” Facebook video.

Despite polling predictions that Israeli voters were abandoning him, Binyamin Netanyahu won by far the biggest share of seats in the Knesset last Wednesday. There has since been much despair in my social feeds and the international press that Israel is right-wing and only sliding further in that direction.

In my opinion, for all this talk of Netanyahu as a political magician, he has walked over a cliff this time. You can’t insult the President of the United States by coming to his country behind his back, and then explicitly repudiate US foreign policy in the Middle East, and just expect to get away with it. For all the jubilant talk of Netanyahu sticking it to that lame-ass lame-duck softy-on-security Barack Obama, he’s the President of the United States. One of the only things holding Mahmoud Abbas from filing cases against Israel in the International Criminal Court is a law the US Congress passed automatically cutting off $400m in aid in the event that they did.* One commitment from Barack Obama to fund that $400m from appropriations under the control of the Executive would clear that obstacle in the time it took to hold a press conference. He can withhold the US veto from the UN the next time an Israel-bashing resolution comes up. He could endorse settlement-produce labeling. He could do anything, and because he’s a lame-duck, there’s pretty much no personal consequences to him doing so. It would tear the Jewish diaspora apart, as Israel’s current trajectory is already facilitating.

But anyway. This post is not a caravan of despair. I was reading a piece by Jonathan Freedman, who commented that buried in the numbers of the election, there was left-wing hope. And I’m tired of people talking about number of seats, so I went and looked at actual numbers of votes: [click to continue…]

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I was very struck, when I read Barack Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope by the total inaccuracy at criticisms levelled by the American and global left that he has been a disappointment as a President because he sold out on his ideals. Actually, if you read his pre-Presidency book, he outlined all of the positions he has taken in office for our viewing pleasure. In the extract below, he has a lot to say about the separation of Church and State and why respecting that doesn’t mean one must keep religion out of politics.

“Jefferson and Leland’s formula for religious freedom worked. Not only has America avoid the sorts of religious strife that continue to plague the globe, but religious institutions have continued to thrive – a phenomenon that some observers attribute directly to the absence of a state-sponsored church, and hence a prmium on religious experimentation and volunteerism. Moreover, given the increasing diversity of America’s population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation; we are a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of unbelievers.

But let’s even assume that we only had Christians within our borders. Whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? James Dobson’s or Al Sharpton’s? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests that slavery is all right and eating shellfish is an abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggest stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage so radical it’s unlikely our Defense Department would survive its application? [click to continue…]

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Peter Reynolds and the MPs who Weren’t

January 20, 2012

The response to my earlier blogposts on Peter Reynolds has been spectacular, really. Over 400 unique people have read the homophobia article. The response has been mainly positive, but there has been a persistent, and frankly, deluded trail of commenters who keep telling me and others that pointing out that Peter Reynolds is homophobic is […]

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Peter Reynolds and the

January 13, 2012

Related Posts:Peter Reynolds and the MPs who Weren’tPerverts in the Fashion Industry and Cannabis Law ReformEveryone Vs. Peter Reynolds (Lol)Peter Reynolds vs. Everyone (Apparently)Peter Reynolds and the Rampant Sexism (Aimed at Me)

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Perverts in the Fashion Industry and Cannabis Law Reform

January 4, 2012

There is currently something of a storm erupting in the cannabis law reform community. Peter Reynolds, the leader of Clear, the cannabis law reform party, is known publishing right wing and controversial opinions on his personal blog, and somewhat more dubiously, on his Facebook profile which he uses for both personal and public commentary. Fair […]

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Free Market Capitalists and Anarchism – a Short Play

October 17, 2011

Capitalism is a system where one person acquires all the equipment to make things, gets someone to make something, and sells it on their behalf, giving the original creator either a cut of the profit or by paying them a regular wage to make things for them. If you can’t spot the unfairness of that […]

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Chavs: A Review of The Demonisation of the Working Class

July 25, 2011

I do not subscribe to a “class conscious” philosophy that suggests that I shouldn’t condemn the animal cruelty involved in producing cheap meat in supermarkets because otherwise poor working class families wouldn’t be able to afford it, or that the environmental movement shouldn’t try to end cheap flights because otherwise working class families might not […]

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Spot the difference: the West Bank and the White House

May 2, 2011

This is footage of people in the West Bank celebrating the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Both the celebrations and the attacks themselves were condemned by pretty much everyone, including Palestine’s leaders. There’s a rumour that this was footage from 1991 celebrating the Gulf War, it wasn’t and Snopes has more if you’re interested. Now, this […]

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Help Wanted: Were You at the 9th of December Student Fees Protest?

April 18, 2011

Please see below for a shout-out for witnesses by two of my friends who got beaten up and nicked by the police on the 9th December at the student protests. They need help, so please spread widely! Help Wanted With Our Defence Were You at the 9th of December Student Fees Protest? Did You see: […]

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A New Phase for the Student Movement is Starting

March 14, 2011

Newly published from myself on Manchester Mule: The student movement against fees and cuts has been a pretty big fail by our stated goals so far. Tuition fees have tripled, our teaching budgets are still being cut by 80 percent, and I don’t think anyone outside the student bubble even noticed the day the Commons […]

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