Tom Gross Mideast Media Analysis

“The soul of our nation is at stake” (& Lebanese businessman buys Hitler items, donates to Israel group to prevent them falling into Nazi hands)

November 28, 2019



[Notes by Tom Gross]

I attach below a comment article published in today’s Times of London by Britain’s Chief Rabbi, warning that the “soul of our nation” is at stake if the extreme left-wing leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn becomes Britain’s prime minister at the December 12 general election.

The head of the Church of England, the archbishop of Canterbury, this morning said he supported the chief rabbi’s warnings and that they should be taken seriously.

It is unprecedented for the British chief rabbi to make political comments like this. Chief Rabbi Efraim Mirvis is a moderate man not known for making dramatic statements.

He writes:

“A new poison – sanctioned from the top – has taken root in the Labour Party. Many members of the Jewish community can hardly believe that this is the same party that they called their political home for more than a century. It can no longer claim to be the party of equality and anti-racism.”

He also writes: “The Jewish community has watched with incredulity as supporters of the Labour leadership have hounded parliamentarians, members and even staff out of the party for challenging anti-Jewish racism. Even as they received threats, the response of the Labour leadership was utterly inadequate… And all of this while in opposition. What should we expect of them in government?

“The way in which the leadership has dealt with anti-Jewish racism is incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud — of dignity and respect for all people. It has left many decent Labour members both Jewish and non-Jewish, ashamed of what has transpired.”



I also attach below, an article by the English historian Tom Holland (who, for the record, is not Jewish) pointing out that Corbynite-type conspiracy theories about Jews have a long history in England:

“In 2011, writing in [the communist paper] the Morning Star, the future Labour leader condemned ‘the Zionist lobby’ for securing the deportation from Britain of a Palestinian activist named Raed Saleh. A year later, Corbyn was still campaigning on Saleh’s behalf, and even issued him an invitation to ‘tea on the House of Commons terrace.’ It is hard to think of anyone less deserving of such an invitation. Saleh has been convicted of deploying the most repellant of all the many calumnies directed against the Jews over the centuries: the charge that they are in the habit of mixing children’s blood with their ritual bread.

“This blood libel is widely repeated across the Middle East today – but it did not originate there. It originated in England. The context was a growing dread in 12th century Christendom of the Jews as willing agents of the Devil. Increasingly they were fingered as sorcerers and blasphemers: enemies of the Church who, given the chance, would pollute the sacred vessels used in the eucharist with their spit, their sperm, their excrement. Darkest of all, they were charged with murder.”



Tom Gross adds:

As NOT pointed out by the BBC in their reports this morning about the Chief Rabbi’s article, for years Corbyn has stood alongside Holocaust deniers, as well as showing support for those who murder Israelis.

For example, Corbyn traveled to Tunisia to lay a wreath at the grave of the one of the terrorists who murdered and castrated Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics:

Corbyn admiringly called the terrorist mastermind behind the blowing up of a cafe his “brother”. That terrorist killed Dr David Applebaum and his 20-year-old daughter Nava on the eve of her wedding, and killed and wounded dozens of other Jews.



By their actions and inactions, Corbyn and his allies have encouraged hatred against Jews at almost every level of the party. See, for example, these shocking Facebook posts leaked from the private Labour Party supporters Facebook group:

These are the kind of flyers handed out at Labour party events, complete with swastika images:

British Labour councilor Damien Enticott posted on his Facebook page that “Jews believe it is okay to rape children” while other Labour councilors have posted caricatures of a hook-nosed, bloodthirsty Jews or engaged in overt Holocaust denial – “Holo-brainwashing”, as a former Labour council candidate in Kent

For a screenshot scroll down here:

Other Labour activists have spoken of “Jewish final solutions”:

Some Labour party politicians have been suspended for their hatred against Jews (but only after having been exposed in the media) but many others remain.



Many, including myself, think that Corbyn is not only a danger to Jews.

The Daily Telegraph reports:

The former head of MI6 has called Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn a danger to national security who is unfit to lead the country.

Sir Richard Dearlove says Corbyn would pose a “present danger to our country” if he became prime minister and has access to top-secret files.

Sir Richard, who spent 38 years with Britain’s intelligence service, said Corbyn’s past political activities [including support for Communist regimes in the Soviet Union and elsehre] would make him a security risk if he was in possession of such sensitive information.

More here.



See also this short TV interview with me about Corbyn’s foreign policy from the 2017 election:

Would Western intelligence agencies share info with Corbyn, sympathizer with Russia, Iran & Assad?



AFP (Agence France Presse) reports:

A Lebanese businessman living in Switzerland has offered Adolf Hitler’s top hat and other former possessions to the Israel-based Keren Hayesod charity.

Abdallah Chatila, born in Beirut to a Christian Lebanese family, who made his fortune in diamonds and real estate in Geneva, said he had bought the items at a controversial auction in Germany last week in order to keep them out of the hands of neo-Nazis.

He “wanted to buy these objects so that they would not be used for neo-Nazi propaganda purposes,” Chatila told the Swiss weekly Le Matin Dimanche. “My approach is totally apolitical and neutral.”

He told the paper that the Nazi artifacts “should be burned,” but that “historians think that they must be kept for the collective memory.”

Chatila spent 545,000 euros ($601,000) on 10 lots at the Wednesday auction in Munich by the German auction house Hermann Historica, including a top hat worn by Hitler, his cigar box and typewriter, as well as a luxury edition of his book “Mein Kampf” embossed with an eagle and a swastika that belonged to the Nazi leader Hermann Goering, one of Hitler’s chief lieutenants.

I attach two articles below. The first is from last week by the English historian Tom Holland, and the second by the chief rabbi in today’s Times -- Tom Gross



As a historian of England’s shameful anti-Semitic past, I dread the idea of Prime Minister Corbyn
By Tom Holland
Daily Telegraph
November 16, 2019

On Thursday I joined John Le Carré, Trevor Phillips, Fiyaz Mughal and many others in signing a letter explaining our refusal to vote Labour on 12 December. The concern – indeed, the dread – which we expressed was “the prospect of a prime minister steeped in association with antisemitism.” Whether Jeremy Corbyn is personally anti-semitic, or wilfully blind, or both, I do not presume to judge; but the sheer range of his contacts with indisputable anti-semites, his repeated expressions of enthusiasm for them, means that I have long found it impossible to ignore the anxieties of Jewish friends.

One association in particular seems to me beyond the pale. In 2011, writing in the Morning Star, the future Labour leader condemned “the Zionist lobby” for securing the deportation from Britain of a Palestinian activist named Raed Saleh. A year later, Corbyn was still campaigning on Saleh’s behalf, and even issued him an invitation to “tea on the House of Commons terrace.” It is hard to think of anyone less deserving of such an invitation. Saleh has been convicted of deploying the most repellant of all the many calumnies directed against the Jews over the centuries: the charge that they are in the habit of mixing children’s blood with their ritual bread.

This blood libel is widely repeated across the Middle East today – but it did not originate there. It originated in England. The context was a growing dread in 12th century Christendom of the Jews as willing agents of the Devil. Increasingly they were fingered as sorcerers and blasphemers: enemies of the Church who, given the chance, would pollute the sacred vessels used in the eucharist with their spit, their sperm, their excrement. Darkest of all, they were charged with murder.

In 1144, the discovery of a young boy’s corpse in a wood outside Norwich prompted a host of sensational accusations: that the boy had been kidnapped by the city’s Jews, tortured as Christ had been tortured and offered up as a sacrifice. The story spread like wildfire. As similar tales were reported across Christendom, a further hellish refinement was added: that the Jews, in a grotesque parody of the eucharist, mixed blood into their bread.

That this claim was condemned as a libel first by an imperial commission, and then, in 1253, by the papacy itself, did nothing to stop its spread. Two years later, the discovery in Lincoln of a small boy named Hugh at the bottom of a well saw ninety Jews arrested for the murder on the orders of the king himself. Eighteen of them were hanged. The murdered boy was hailed as a martyr. That the papacy pointedly refused to confirm this canonisation did little to check the growth of the cult of Little Saint Hugh.

England, as the birthplace of this most toxic of lies, has a particular responsibility to take a stand against it. Taking a stand against it, however, is something that Jeremy Corbyn, by backing a promoter of the blood libel, has failed to do. It shames him, and soon perhaps, the country as well.



What will become of Jews in Britain if Labour forms the next government?
By Ephraim Mirvis
The Times
November 26, 2019

Elections should be a celebration of democracy. However, just weeks before we go to the polls, the overwhelming majority of British Jews are gripped by anxiety.

During the past few years, on my travels through the UK and further afield, one concern has been expressed to me more than any other. Of course, the threats of the far right and violent jihadism never go away, but the question I am now most frequently asked is: What will become of Jews and Judaism in Britain if the Labour Party forms the next government?

This anxiety is justified. Raising concerns about anti-Jewish racism in the context of a general election ranks among the most painful moments I have experienced since taking office. Convention dictates that the Chief Rabbi stays well away from party politics — and rightly so. However, challenging racism is not a matter of politics, it goes well beyond that. Wherever there is evidence of it, including in any of our political parties, it must be swiftly rooted out. Hateful prejudice is always wrong, whoever the perpetrator, whoever the victim.

The Jewish community has endured the deep discomfort of being at the centre of national political attention for nearly four years. We have been treated by many as an irritant, as opposed to a minority community with genuine concerns. Some politicians have shown courage but too many have sat silent. We have learned the hard way that speaking out means that we will be demonised by faceless social media trolls and accused of being partisan or acting in bad faith by those who still think of this as an orchestrated political smear. Yet, I ask myself: should the victims of racism be silenced by the fear of yet further vilification?

Therefore, with the heaviest of hearts, I call upon the citizens of our great country to study what has been unfolding before our very eyes.

The Jewish community has watched with incredulity as supporters of the Labour leadership have hounded parliamentarians, members and even staff out of the party for challenging anti-Jewish racism. Even as they received threats, the response of the Labour leadership was utterly inadequate. We have endured quibbling and prevarication over whether the party should adopt the most widely accepted definition of antisemitism. Now we await the outcome of a formal investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission into whether discrimination by the party against Jews has become an institutional problem. And all of this while in opposition. What should we expect of them in government?

The way in which the leadership has dealt with anti-Jewish racism is incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud — of dignity and respect for all people. It has left many decent Labour members both Jewish and non-Jewish, ashamed of what has transpired.

The claims that the party is “doing everything” it reasonably can to tackle anti-Jewish racism and that it has “investigated every single case”, are a mendacious fiction. According to the Jewish Labour Movement, there are at least 130 outstanding cases before the party, some dating back years, and thousands more have been reported but remain unresolved.

The party leadership have never understood that their failure is not just one of procedure, which can be remedied with additional staff or new processes. It is a failure to see this as a human problem rather than a political one. It is a failure of culture. It is a failure of leadership. A new poison – sanctioned from the top – has taken root in the Labour Party.
Many members of the Jewish community can hardly believe that this is the same party that they called their political home for more than a century. It can no longer claim to be the party of equality and anti-racism.

How far is too far? How complicit in prejudice would a leader of Her Majesty’s opposition have to be to be considered unfit for office? Would associations with those who have incited hatred against Jews be enough? Would describing as “friends” those who endorse the murder of Jews be enough? It seems not.

It is not my place to tell any person how they should vote. I regret being in this situation at all. I simply pose the question: What will the result of this election say about the moral compass of our country? When December 12 arrives, I ask every person to vote with their conscience. Be in no doubt, the very soul of our nation is at stake.


* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page on Facebook

The Iran Cables revealed (& Dozens of pro-democracy protestors shot dead inside Iran in recent days)

November 18, 2019

Above: Graffiti painted last month in the Iraqi city of Najaf. Iraqis painted over the street’s Iranian regime-enforced name (Khomeini Street) and replaced it with “Revolution Street”.

These are part of a wave of protests against the Iranian regime in Iraq and Lebanon that have spread to Iran itself in recent days. Dozens of anti-regime protestors in Iran have been shot dead since Friday (as I noted in Facebook posts in recent days) but the western media have barely bothered to report on it.

See this report yesterday for example:

– Tom Gross



[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach below a New York Times report that went online today titled “The Iran Cables: Secret Documents Show How Tehran Wields Power in Iraq”.

These are important cables translated from Persian to English and published simultaneously by the online publication The Intercept and by The New York Times.

I have repeatedly criticized western media (including the New York Times and BBC) for significantly downplaying (or covering up completely) the central role anger against the Iranian regime has played in the deadly protests in Lebanon and Iraq these past weeks.

The publication today by the Times is welcome. It is currently lead story on the newspaper’s website. (By contrast, the BBC World service has not mentioned the Iran cables at all in any of the broadcasts I listened to in recent hours, including thirty-minute broadcasts covering at least 20 different international stories. I have documented many times over the years how the same media who are obsessively critical of Israel, such as the BBC, are the same media who repeatedly cover up for the Iranian Islamic regime.)


For example, in this dispatch two weeks ago, I wrote in the first item:

There are further reports of Iranian regime and Iranian regime-controlled militia snipers continuing to use live fire with shots to the head and chest to pick off Iraqi protestors chanting “Iran out, Iran out”.

In recent weeks, snipers have shot dead Iraqis taking cellphone footage of crowds protesting the de facto Iranian occupation of large parts of Iraq. At least 250 Iraqi protestors have been killed and thousands injured.

Even by the BBC’s and New York Times’s standards, the coverage of the anti-Iranian-protests in both Lebanon and Iraq in recent weeks has been truly disgraceful. Most reports have managed to avoid any mention at all of Iran or (in the case of Lebanon) its proxy militia Hezbollah. In reports on the protests by the BBC’s “award winning” foreign affairs correspondents John Simpson and Jeremy Bowen, Iran has not been mentioned.

These same media also covered up Iran’s central role in the killing in Syria these past years.


The New York Times piece today finally makes clear what has been happening in Iraq these past weeks. It begins:

In mid-October, with unrest swirling in Baghdad, a familiar visitor slipped quietly into the Iraqi capital. The city had been under siege for weeks, as protesters marched in the streets, demanding an end to corruption and calling for the ouster of the prime minister, Adil Abdul Mahdi. In particular, they denounced the outsize influence of their neighbor Iran in Iraqi politics, burning Iranian flags and attacking an Iranian consulate.

The visitor was there to restore order, but his presence highlighted the protesters’ biggest grievance: he was Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, head of Iran’s powerful Quds Force, and he had come to persuade an ally in the Iraqi Parliament to help the prime minister hold onto his job.

It was not the first time General Suleimani had been dispatched to Baghdad to do damage control.



The Iran Cables: Secret Documents Show How Tehran Wields Power in Iraq

Hundreds of leaked intelligence reports shed light on a shadow war for regional influence — and the battles within the Islamic Republic’s own spy divisions

By Tim Arango, James Risen, Farnaz Fassihi, Ronen Bergman and Murtaza Hussain
New York Times
Nov. 17, 2019

Tehran’s efforts to prop up Mr. Mahdi are part of its long campaign to maintain Iraq as a pliable client state.

Now leaked Iranian documents offer a detailed portrait of just how aggressively Tehran has worked to embed itself into Iraqi affairs, and of the unique role of General Suleimani. The documents are contained in an archive of secret Iranian intelligence cables obtained by The Intercept and shared with The New York Times for this article, which is being published simultaneously by both news organizations.

The unprecedented leak exposes Tehran’s vast influence in Iraq, detailing years of painstaking work by Iranian spies to co-opt the country’s leaders, pay Iraqi agents working for the Americans to switch sides and infiltrate every aspect of Iraq’s political, economic and religious life.

Many of the cables describe real-life espionage capers that feel torn from the pages of a spy thriller. Meetings are arranged in dark alleyways and shopping malls or under the cover of a hunting excursion or a birthday party. Informants lurk at the Baghdad airport, snapping pictures of American soldiers and keeping tabs on coalition military flights. Agents drive meandering routes to meetings to evade surveillance. Sources are plied with gifts of pistachios, cologne and saffron. Iraqi officials, if necessary, are offered bribes. The archive even contains expense reports from intelligence ministry officers in Iraq, including one totaling 87.5 euros spent on gifts for a Kurdish commander.

According to one of the leaked Iranian intelligence cables, Mr. Mahdi, who in exile worked closely with Iran while Saddam Hussein was in power in Iraq, had a “special relationship with the I.R.I.” — the Islamic Republic of Iran — when he was Iraq’s oil minister in 2014. The exact nature of that relationship is not detailed in the cable, and, as one former senior U.S. official cautioned, a “special relationship could mean a lot of things — it doesn’t mean he is an agent of the Iranian government.” But no Iraqi politician can become prime minister without Iran’s blessing, and Mr. Mahdi, when he secured the premiership in 2018, was seen as a compromise candidate acceptable to both Iran and the United States.

The leaked cables offer an extraordinary glimpse inside the secretive Iranian regime. They also detail the extent to which Iraq has fallen under Iranian influence since the American invasion in 2003, which transformed Iraq into a gateway for Iranian power, connecting the Islamic Republic’s geography of dominance from the shores of the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea.

The trove of leaked Iranian intelligence reports largely confirms what was already known about Iran’s firm grip on Iraqi politics. But the reports reveal far more than was previously understood about the extent to which Iran and the United States have used Iraq as a staging area for their spy games. They also shed new light on the complex internal politics of the Iranian government, where competing factions are grappling with many of the same challenges faced by American occupying forces as they struggled to stabilize Iraq after the United States invasion.

And the documents show how Iran, at nearly every turn, has outmaneuvered the United States in the contest for influence.

The archive is made up of hundreds of reports and cables written mainly in 2014 and 2015 by officers of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, or M.O.I.S., who were serving in the field in Iraq. The intelligence ministry, Iran’s version of the C.I.A., has a reputation as an analytical and professional agency, but it is overshadowed and often overruled by its more ideological counterpart, the Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which was formally established as an independent entity in 2009 at the order of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, which Iran considers crucial to its national security, the Revolutionary Guards — and in particular its elite Quds Force, led by General Suleimani — determines Iran’s policies. Ambassadors to those countries are appointed from the senior ranks of the Revolutionary Guards, not the foreign ministry, which oversees the intelligence ministry, according to several advisers to current and past Iranian administrations. Officers from the intelligence ministry and from the Revolutionary Guards in Iraq worked parallel to one another, said these sources. They reported their findings back to their respective headquarters in Tehran, which in turn organized them into reports for the Supreme Council of National Security.

Cultivating Iraqi officials was a key part of their job, and it was made easier by the alliances many Iraqi leaders forged with Iran when they belonged to opposition groups fighting Saddam Hussein. Many of Iraq’s foremost political, military, and security officials have had secret relationships with Tehran, according to the documents. The same 2014 cable that described Mr. Mahdi’s “special relationship” also named several other key members of the cabinet of former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi as having close ties with Iran.

[Undated Fragment]
هدف بالفعل که ایشان می تواند همکاری نماید در راستای اشراف اطلاعاتی از روابط و برنامه های دولت ایالات متحده آمریکا در عراق و بر خورد با موضوع داعش و هر گونه برنامه پنهان این کشور در این موضوع، و در هدف بالقوه ایشان می تواند نشانگر خوبی در وزارت خارجه آمریکا و یا در بین افراد مستعد همکاری، سران اهل سنت و اکراد عراق، باشد.

The current objective is for this person to provide intelligence insights into the U.S. government’s plans in Iraq, whether it is for dealing with ISIS or any other covert operations. The ultimate goal is for this person to be an informant, either in the U.S. State Department or with any Iraqi Sunni or Kurdish leaders who are willing to cooperate.

A political analyst and adviser on Iraq to Iran’s government, Gheis Ghoreishi, confirmed that Iran has focused on cultivating high-level officials in Iraq. “We have a good number of allies among Iraqi leaders who we can trust with our eyes closed,” he said.

Three Iranian officials were asked to comment for this article, in queries that described the existence of the leaked cables and reports. Alireza Miryusefi, a spokesman for Iran’s United Nations mission, said he was away until later this month. Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Iran’s United Nations ambassador, did not respond to a written request that was hand-delivered to his official residence. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif did not respond to an emailed request.

When reached by telephone, Hassan Danaiefar, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq from 2010 to 2017 and a former deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ naval forces, declined to directly address the existence of the cables or their release, but he did suggest that Iran had the upper hand in information gathering in Iraq. “Yes, we have a lot of information from Iraq on multiple issues, especially about what America was doing there,” he said. “There is a wide gap between the reality and perception of U.S. actions in Iraq. I have many stories to tell.” He declined to elaborate.

According to the reports, after the American troop withdrawal in 2011, Iran moved quickly to add former C.I.A. informants to its payroll. One undated section of an intelligence ministry cable shows that Iran began the process of recruiting a spy inside the State Department. It is unclear what came of the recruitment effort, but according to the files, Iran had started meeting with the source, and offered to reward the potential asset with a salary, gold coins and other gifts. The State Department official is not named in the cable, but the person is described as someone who would be able to provide “intelligence insights into the U.S. government’s plans in Iraq, whether it is for dealing with ISIS or any other covert operations.”

“The subject’s incentive in collaborating will be financial,” the report said.

The State Department declined to comment on the matter.

In interviews, Iranian officials acknowledged that Iran viewed surveillance of American activity in Iraq after the United States invasion as critical to its survival and national security. When American forces toppled Saddam Hussein, Iran swiftly moved some of its best officers from both the intelligence ministry and from the Intelligence Organization of the Revolutionary Guards to Iraq, according to the Iranian government advisers and a person affiliated with the Guards. President George W. Bush had declared Iran to be part of an “axis of evil,” and Iranian leaders believed Tehran would be next on Washington’s list of regime-change capitals after Kabul and Baghdad.


Around the world, governments have had to contend with the occasional leak of secret communiqués or personal emails as a fact of modern life. Not so in Iran, where information is tightly controlled and the security services are widely feared.

The roughly 700 pages of leaked reports were sent anonymously to The Intercept, which translated them from Persian to English and shared them with The Times. The Intercept and The Times verified the authenticity of the documents but do not know who leaked them. The Intercept communicated over encrypted channels with the source, who declined to meet with a reporter. In these anonymous messages, the source said that they wanted to “let the world know what Iran is doing in my country Iraq.”

Like the internal communications of any spy service, some of the reports contain raw intelligence whose accuracy is questionable, while others appear to represent the views of intelligence officers and sources with their own agendas.

Some of the cables show bumbling and comical ineptitude, like one that describes the Iranian spies who broke into a German cultural institute in Iraq only to find they had the wrong codes and could not unlock the safes. Other officers were browbeaten by their superiors in Tehran for laziness, and for sending back to headquarters reports that relied only on news accounts.

But by and large, the intelligence ministry operatives portrayed in the documents appear patient, professional and pragmatic. Their main tasks are to keep Iraq from falling apart; from breeding Sunni militants on the Iranian border; from descending into sectarian warfare that might make Shia Muslims the targets of violence; and from spinning off an independent Kurdistan that would threaten regional stability and Iranian territorial integrity. The Revolutionary Guards and General Suleimani have also worked to eradicate the Islamic State, but with a greater focus on maintaining Iraq as a client state of Iran and making sure that political factions loyal to Tehran remain in power.

This portrait is all the more striking at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran. Since 2018, when President Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions, the White House has rushed ships to the Persian Gulf and reviewed military plans for war with Iran. In October, the Trump administration promised to send American troops to Saudi Arabia following attacks on oil facilities there for which Iran was widely blamed.


With a shared faith and tribal affiliations that span a porous border, Iran has long been a major presence in Southern Iraq. It has opened religious offices in Iraq’s holy cities and posted banners of Iran’s revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, on its streets. It supports some of the most powerful political parties in the south, dispatches Iranian students to study in Iraqi seminaries and sends Iranian construction workers to build Iraqi hotels and refurbish Iraqi shrines.

But while Iran may have bested the United States in the contest for influence in Baghdad, it has struggled to win popular support in the Iraqi south. Now, as the last six weeks of protests make clear, it is facing unexpectedly strong pushback. Across the south, Iranian-backed Iraqi political parties are seeing their headquarters burned and their leading operatives assassinated, an indication that Iran may have underestimated the Iraqi desire for independence not just from the United States but also from its neighbor.

In a sense, the leaked Iranian cables provide a final accounting of the 2003 United States invasion of Iraq. The notion that the Americans handed control of Iraq to Iran when they invaded now enjoys broad support, even within the United States military. A recent two-volume history of the Iraq War, published by the United States Army, details the campaign’s many missteps and its “staggering cost” in lives and money. Nearly 4,500 American troops were killed, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died and American taxpayers spent up to $2 trillion on the war. The study, which totals hundreds of pages and draws on declassified documents, concludes: “An emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.”

Iran’s rise as a power player in Iraq was in many ways a direct consequence of Washington’s lack of any post-invasion plan. The early years following the fall of Saddam were chaotic, both in terms of security and in the lack of basic services like water and electricity. To most observers on the ground, it appeared as if the United States was shaping policy on the go, and in the dark.

Among the most disastrous American policies were the decisions to dismantle Iraq’s armed forces and to purge from government service or the new armed forces any Iraqi who had been a member of Saddam’s ruling Baath Party. This process, known as de-Baathification, automatically marginalized most Sunni men. Unemployed and resentful, they formed a violent insurgency targeting Americans and Shias seen as United States allies.

As sectarian warfare between Sunnis and Shias raged, the Shia population looked to Iran as a protector. When ISIS gained control of territory and cities, the Shias’ vulnerability and the failure of the United States to protect them fueled efforts by the Revolutionary Guards and General Suleimani to recruit and mobilize Shia militias loyal to Iran.

According to the intelligence ministry documents, Iran has continued to take advantage of the opportunities the United States has afforded it in Iraq. Iran, for example, reaped an intelligence windfall of American secrets as the United States presence began to recede after its 2011 troop withdrawal. The C.I.A. had tossed many of its longtime secret agents out on the street, leaving them jobless and destitute in a country still shattered from the invasion — and fearful that they could be killed for their links with the United States, possibly by Iran. Short of money, many began to offer their services to Tehran. And they were happy to tell the Iranians everything they knew about C.I.A. operations in Iraq.

In November 2014, one of them, an Iraqi who had spied for the C.I.A., broke and terrified that his ties to the Americans would cost him his life, switched sides. The C.I.A., according to the cable, had known the man by a nickname: “Donnie Brasco.” His Iranian handler would call him, simply “Source 134992.”

Turning to Iran for protection, he said that everything he knew about American intelligence gathering in Iraq was for sale: the locations of C.I.A. safe houses; the names of hotels where C.I.A. operatives met with agents; details of his weapons and surveillance training; the names of other Iraqis working as spies for the Americans.

Source 134992 told the Iranian operatives he had worked for the agency for 18 months starting in 2008, on a program targeting Al Qaeda. He said he had been paid well for his work — $3,000 per month, plus a one-time bonus of $20,000 and a car.

But swearing on the Quran, he promised that his days of spying for the United States were over, and agreed to write a full report for the Iranians on everything he knew from his time with the C.I.A.

“I will turn over to you all the documents and videos that I have from my training course,” the Iraqi man told his Iranian handler, according to a 2014 Iranian intelligence report. “And pictures and identifying features of my fellow trainees and my subordinates.”

The C.I.A. declined to comment.

Date: 2014-11-23
منطقه عمومی جرف صخر کاملا از عوامل تروریست پاکسازی و حتی خانواده ها نیز ازآنجا کوچانده شده اند و منازل توسط نیروهای نظامی تخریب شده و باقیمانده آنها تخریب خواهند گردید ودر برخی مناطق درختان نخل از ریشه کنده تا سوزانده شوند و امکان حضور تروریستها و پناه گرفتن در میان منازل و درختان میسر نگردد. احشام مردم منطقه (گاو گوسفند) در نقاط مختلف پراکنده شده اند و بدون صاحب مشغول چرا هستند.

The area around Jurf Al-Sakhar has been cleansed of terrorist agents. Their families have been driven away, most of their houses have been destroyed by military forces and the rest will be destroyed. In some places, the palm orchards have been uprooted to be burned to prevent the terrorists from taking shelter among the trees.

The people’s livestock (cows and sheep) have been scattered and are grazing without their owners.

Iranian spies, Iraqi officials say, are everywhere in the south, and the region has long been a beehive of espionage. It was there, in Karbala in late 2014, that an Iraqi military intelligence officer, down from Baghdad, met with an Iranian intelligence official and offered to spy for Iran — and to tell the Iranians whatever he could about American activities in Iraq.

“Iran is my second country and I love it,” the Iraqi official told the Iranian officer, according to one of the cables. In a meeting that lasted more than three hours, the Iraqi told of his devotion to the Iranian system of government, in which clerics rule directly, and his admiration for Iranian movies.

He said he had come with a message from his boss in Baghdad, Lt. Gen. Hatem al-Maksusi, then commander of military intelligence in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense: “Tell them we are at your service. Whatever you need is at their disposal. We are Shiite and have a common enemy.”

General al-Maksusi’s messenger continued, “All of the Iraqi Army’s intelligence — consider it yours.” He told the Iranian intelligence officer about secret targeting software the United States had provided to the Iraqis, and offered to turn it over to the Iranians. “If you have a new laptop, give it to me so I can upload the program onto it,” he said.

And there was more, he said. The United States had also given Iraq a highly sensitive system for eavesdropping on mobile phones, which was run out of the prime minister’s office and the headquarters of Iraqi military intelligence. “I will put at your disposal whatever intelligence about it you want,” he said.

In an interview, General al-Maksusi, who is now retired, disputed saying the things attributed to him in the cables and denied ever working for Iran. He praised Iran for its help in the fight against the Islamic State, but said he had also maintained a close relationship with the United States. “I worked for Iraq and did not work for any other state,” he said. “I was not the intelligence director for the Shiites, but I was intelligence director for all of Iraq.”

When asked about the cable, a former American official said the United States had become aware of the Iraqi military intelligence officer’s ties to Iran and had limited his access to sensitive information.


By late 2014, the United States was once again pouring weapons and soldiers into Iraq as it began battling the Islamic State. Iran, too, had an interest in defeating the militants. As ISIS took control of the west and the north, young Iraqi men traveled across the deserts and marshes of the south by the busload, heading to Iran for military training.

Some within the American and Iranian governments believed the two rivals should coordinate their efforts against a common enemy. But Iran, as the leaked cables make clear, also viewed the increased American presence as a threat and a “cover” to gather intelligence about Iran.

“What is happening in the sky over Iraq shows the massive level of activity of the coalition,” one Iranian officer wrote. “The danger for the Islamic Republic of Iran’s interests represented by their activity must be taken seriously.”

The rise of ISIS was at the same time driving a wedge between the Obama administration and a large swath of the Iraqi political class. Mr. Obama had pushed for the ouster of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki as a condition for renewed American military support. He believed Mr. al-Maliki’s draconian policies and crackdowns on Iraqi Sunnis had helped lead to the rise of the militants.

Mr. al-Maliki, who had lived in exile in Iran in the 1980s, was a favorite of Tehran’s. His replacement, the British-educated Haider al-Abadi, was seen as more friendly to the West and less sectarian. Facing the uncertainty of a new prime minister, Hassan Danaiefar, then Iran’s ambassador, called a secret meeting of senior staffers at the Iranian Embassy, a hulking, fortified structure just outside Baghdad’s Green Zone.

As the meeting progressed, it became clear the Iranians had little cause to worry about the new Iraqi government. Mr. Al-Abadi was dismissed as “a British man,” and “the Americans’ candidate,” but the Iranians believed they had plenty of other ministers in their pocket.

One by one, Danaiefar went down the list of cabinet members, describing their relationships to Iran.

Ibrahim al-Jafari — who had previously served as Iraqi prime minister and by late 2014 was the foreign minister — was, like Mr. Mahdi, identified as having a “special relationship” with Iran. In an interview, Mr. al-Jafari did not deny that he had close relations with Iran, but said he had always dealt with foreign countries based on the interests of Iraq.

Iran counted on the loyalty of many lesser cabinet members as well.

The report said the ministers of municipalities, communications and human rights “are in complete harmony and at one with us and are our people.” The environment minister, it said, “works with us, although he is Sunni.” The transportation minister — Bayan Jabr, who had led the Iraqi Interior Ministry at a time when hundreds of prisoners were tortured to death with electric drills or summarily shot by Shiite death squads — was deemed to be “very close” to Iran. When it came to Iraq’s education minister, the report says, “we will have no problem with him.”

The former ministers of municipalities, communications and human rights were all members of the Badr Organization, a political and military group established by Iran in the 1980s to oppose Saddam Hussein. The former minister of municipalities denied having a close relationship with Iran; the former human rights minister acknowledged being close to Iran, and praised Iran for helping Shiite Iraqis during Mr. Hussein’s dictatorship, and for help defeating the Islamic State. The former minister of communications said that he served Iraq, not Iran, and that he maintained relationships with diplomats from many countries; the former minister of education said that he had not been supported by Iran, and that he served at the request of Prime Minister al-Abadi. The former environment minister could not be reached for comment.

Iran’s dominance over Iraqi politics is vividly shown in one important episode from the fall of 2014, when Baghdad was a city at the center of a multinational maelstrom. The Syrian civil war was raging to the west, Islamic State militants had seized almost a third of Iraq and American troops were heading back to the region to confront the growing crisis.

Against this chaotic backdrop, Mr. Jabr, then the transportation minister, welcomed General Suleimani, the Quds Force commander, to his office. General Suleimani had come to ask a favor: Iran needed access to Iraqi airspace to fly planeloads of weapons and other supplies to support the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad in its fight against American-backed rebels.

It was a request that placed Mr. Jabr at the center of the longstanding rivalry between the United States and Iran. Obama administration officials had been lobbying hard to get the Iraqis to stop Iranian flights through their airspace, but face to face with the Quds chief, Iraq’s transportation minister found it impossible to refuse.

General Suleimani, Mr. Jabr recalled, “came to me and requested that we permit Iranian airplanes to use Iraqi air space to pass on to Syria,” according to one of the cables. The transportation minister did not hesitate, and General Suleimani appeared to be pleased. “I put my hands on my eyes and said, ‘On my eyes! As you wish!’” Mr. Jabr told the intelligence ministry officer. “Then he got up and approached me and kissed my forehead.”

Mr. Jabr confirmed the meeting with General Suleimani, but said the flights from Iran to Syria carried humanitarian supplies and religious pilgrims traveling to Syria to visit holy sites, not weapons and military supplies to aid Mr. Assad as American officials believed.

Meanwhile, Iraqi officials known to have a relationship with the United States came under special scrutiny, and Iran took measures to counter American influence. Indeed, many of the files show that as top American diplomats met behind closed doors with their Iraqi counterparts in Baghdad, their conversations were routinely reported back to the Iranians.

Throughout 2014 and 2015, as a new Iraqi government settled in, the American ambassador, Stuart Jones, met often with Salim al-Jabouri, who was speaker of the Iraqi Parliament until last year. Mr. al-Jabouri, although he is Sunni, was known to have a close relationship with Iran, but the files now reveal that one of his top political advisers — identified as Source 134832 — was an Iranian intelligence asset. “[I] am present in his office on a daily basis and carefully follow his contacts with the Americans,” the source told his Iranian handler. Mr. al-Jabouri, in an interview, said he did not believe that anyone on his staff had worked as an agent for Iran, and that he fully trusted his aides. (Mr. Jones declined to comment.)

The source urged the Iranians to develop closer ties to Mr. al-Jabouri, to blunt American efforts to nurture a new class of younger Sunni leaders in Iraq and perhaps bring about reconciliation between Sunnis and Shias. The source warned that Iran should act to keep the Parliament speaker from “slipping into a pro-American position, since one of Salim al-Jabouri’s characteristics is credulousness and making hasty decisions.”

Another report reveals that Nechervan Barzani, then the prime minister of Kurdistan, met with top American and British officials and Mr. al-Abadi, the Iraqi prime minister, in Baghdad in December 2014, and then went almost immediately to meet with an Iranian official to tell him everything. Through a spokesman, Mr. Barzani said he did not recall meeting with any Iranian officials at the time, and described the cable as “baseless and unfounded.” He said he “absolutely denies” telling the Iranians details about his conversations with American and British diplomats.

Sometimes, the Iranians also saw trade value in the information they received from their Iraqi sources.

One report from the al-Jabouri adviser revealed that the United States was interested in gaining access to a rich natural gas field in Akkas, near Iraq’s border with Syria. The source explained that the Americans might eventually try to export the natural gas to Europe, a major market for Russian natural gas. Intrigued, the intelligence ministry officer, in a cable to Tehran, wrote, “It is recommended that the aforementioned information be used in exchange with the Russians and Syria.” The cable was written just as Russia was significantly stepping up its involvement in Syria, and as Iran continued its military buildup there, in support of President al-Assad.

And although Iran was initially suspicious of Mr. al-Abadi’s allegiances, a report written a few months after his rise to the premiership suggested that he was quite willing to have a confidential relationship with Iranian intelligence. A January 2015 report details a private meeting between al-Abadi and an intelligence ministry officer known as Boroujerdi, held in the prime minister’s office “without the presence of a secretary or a third person.”

During the meeting, Boroujerdi homed in on Iraq’s Sunni-Shia divide, probing Mr. al-Abadi’s feelings on perhaps the most sensitive subject in Iraqi politics. “Today, the Sunnis find themselves in the worst possible circumstances and have lost their self-confidence,” the intelligence officer opined, according to the cable. “The Sunnis are vagrants, their cities are destroyed and an unclear future awaits them, while the Shias can retrieve their self-confidence.”

Iraq’s Shia were “at a historical turning point,” Boroujerdi continued. The Iraqi government and Iran could “take advantage of this situation.”

According to the cable, the prime minister expressed his “complete agreement.” Mr. Abadi declined to comment.

Date: 2014-11-29
ضرورت دارد که حد و حدودی برای جلوگیری از خشونت علیه افراد بی گناه اهل سنت درعراق و اقدامات آقای سلیمانی اندیشیده شود و الی خشونت و درگیری میان شیعه و سنی همچنان ادامه پیدا کرده و در حال حاضر هر گونه اقدامی علیه اهل سنت به حساب ایران نوشته می شود٬ چه ایران مستقیم و غیر مستقیم در آن نقش داشته باشد و یا نقشی در آن نداشته باشد.

We must think about limiting violence against innocent Sunnis in Iraq and limiting Mr. Soleimani’s measures, or else violence and strife between Shiites and Sunnis will continue. Currently, any actions taken against Sunnis will be blamed on Iran, whether Iran had a direct or indirect role in it, or none at all.

Ever since the start of the Iraq War in 2003, Iran has put itself forward as the protector of Iraq’s Shiites, and General Suleimani, more than anyone else, has employed the dark arts of espionage and covert military action to ensure that Shiite power remains ascendant. But it has come at the cost of stability, with Sunnis perennially disenfranchised and looking to other groups, like the Islamic State, to protect them.

A 2014 massacre of Sunnis in the farming community of Jurf al-Sakhar was a vivid example of the kinds of sectarian atrocities committed by armed groups loyal to Iran’s Quds Force that had alarmed the United States throughout the Iraq War, and undermined efforts at reconciliation. As the field reports make clear, some of the Americans’ concerns were shared by the Iranian intelligence ministry. That signaled divisions within Iran over its Iraq policies between more moderate elements under President Hassan Rouhani and militant factions like the Revolutionary Guards.

Jurf al-Sakhar, which lies just east of Falluja in the Euphrates River Valley, is lush with orange trees and palm groves. It was overrun by the Islamic State in 2014, giving militants a foothold from which they could launch attacks on the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf.

Jurf al-Sakhar is also important to Iran because it lies on a route Shiite religious pilgrims use to travel to Karbala during Muharram, the monthlong commemoration of the death of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein, a revered figure for Shiites.

When Shiite militias supported by Iran drove the militants out of Jurf al-Sakhar in late 2014, the first major victory over the Islamic State, it became a ghost town. It was no longer a threat to the thousands of Shiite pilgrims who would pass by, but Iran’s victory came at a high cost to the town’s Sunni residents. Tens of thousands were displaced, and a local politician, the only Sunni member on the provincial council, was found with a bullet hole through his head.

One cable describes the damage in almost biblical terms. “As a result of these operations,” its author reported, “the area around Jurf al-Sakhar has been cleansed of terrorist agents. Their families have been driven away, most of their houses have been destroyed by military forces and the rest will be destroyed. In some places, the palm orchards have been uprooted to be burned to prevent the terrorists from taking shelter among the trees. The people’s livestock (cows and sheep) have been scattered and are grazing without their owners.”

The Jurf al-Sakhar operation and other bloody actions led by Iran’s proxies and directed by Tehran further alienated Iraq’s Sunni population, according to one report, which notes that “destroying villages and houses, looting the Sunnis’ property and livestock turned the sweetness of these successes” against the Islamic State into “bitterness.” One of the Jurf al-Sakhar cables cast the impact of Shiite militias in particularly stark terms: “In all the areas where the Popular Mobilization Forces go into action, the Sunnis flee, abandoning their homes and property, and prefer to live in tents as refugees or reside in camps.”

The intelligence ministry feared that Iran’s gains in Iraq were being squandered because Iraqis so resented the Shia militias and the Quds Force that sponsored them. Above all, its officers blamed General Suleimani, whom they saw as a dangerous self-promoter using the anti-ISIS campaign as a launching pad for a political career back home in Iran. One report, which states at the top that it is not to be shared with the Quds Force, criticizes the general personally for publicizing his leading role in the military campaign in Iraq by “publishing pictures of himself on different social media sites.”

Doing that had made it obvious that Iran controlled the dreaded Shia militias — a potential gift to its rivals. “This policy of Iran in Iraq,” the report said, “has allowed the Americans to return to Iraq with greater legitimacy. And groups and individuals who had been fighting against the Americans among the Sunnis are now wishing that not only America, but even Israel, would enter Iraq and save Iraq from Iran’s clutches.”

At times, the Iranians sought to counter the ill will generated by their presence in Iraq with soft-power campaigns similar to American battlefield efforts to win “hearts and minds.” Hoping to gain a “propaganda advantage and restore Iran’s image among the people,” Iran devised a plan to send pediatricians and gynecologists to villages in northern Iraq to administer health services, according to one field report. It is not clear, however, if that initiative materialized.

Just as often, Iran would use its influence to close lucrative development deals. With Iraq dependent on Iran for military support in the fight against the Islamic State, one cable shows the Quds Force receiving oil and development contracts from Iraq’s Kurds in exchange for weapons and other aid. In the south, Iran was awarded contracts for sewage and water purification by paying a $16 million bribe to a member of Parliament, according to another field report.

Today, Iran is struggling to maintain its hegemony in Iraq, just as the Americans did after the 2003 invasion. Iraqi officials, meanwhile, are increasingly worried that a provocation in Iraq on either side could set off a war between the two powerful countries vying for dominance in their homeland. Against this geopolitical backdrop, Iraqis learned long ago to take a pragmatic approach to the overtures of Iran’s spies — even Sunni Iraqis who view Iran as an enemy.

“Not only doesn’t he believe in Iran, but he doesn’t believe that Iran might have positive intentions toward Iraq,” one Iranian case officer wrote in late 2014, about an Iraqi intelligence recruit described as a Baathist who had once worked for Saddam Hussein and later the C.I.A. “But he is a professional spy and understands the reality of Iran and the Shia in Iraq and will collaborate to save himself.”

This story was reported in partnership with The Intercept, where James Risen is the senior national security correspondent and Murtaza Hussain is a reporter.

Additional Reporting: Matthew Cole and Laura Secor for The Intercept; Rick Gladstone, Falih Hassan and Alissa J. Rubin for The Times.

Research: Margot Williams for The Intercept.


* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page on Facebook

British founder of Syria’s brave White Helmets ‘murdered’ in Istanbul

November 11, 2019



[Note by Tom Gross]

I have many times over the years on this list praised the work of Syria’s White Helmets civil defense group for their incredible bravery in rescuing and treating injured civilians during the Syrian war. (A volunteer is pictured above.)

Today, James Le Mesurier, the founder of the group, was found dead. He was apparently pushed from the balcony of an apartment building in Istanbul, sustaining severe injuries to his head and legs.

Le Mesurier, 48, was a former British army officer who coordinated 3,000 volunteers, operating inside opposition-held areas in Syria.

White Helmet workers regularly rushed to the scenes of Syrian, Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah bombardments of civilians to try and rescue the wounded from the rubble. They have also helped to document war crimes by those working for Assad, Putin and Erdogan, including the use of chemical weapons.



When Assad and Iran closed in on the White Helmets in southwest Syria last year, Israeli troops under the instructions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (following a request to Israel by humanitarian organizations and European governments) took the extraordinary action of entering Syria to rescue them.

A special IDF mission evacuated 422 White Helmet volunteers from a war zone in south-western Syria.

Reports here from Reuters, Al Jazeera and the BBC:



The group continues to operate in Idlib, the last opposition-held territory in Syria.

The White Helmets have been nominated for the Nobel peace prize. A documentary about the group won an Oscar in 2017.


Among other recent dispatches concerning Syria:
Gruesome videos of Turkish-backed war crimes emerge from Syria


* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page on Facebook

Corbyn ally filmed calling Jew “Nazi” (& Omar accused of “dog-whistle” antisemitism against Bloomberg)

November 10, 2019

Photo above: German passersby laugh at a destroyed Jewish shop on the morning on November 10, 1938.


Yesterday evening was the anniversary of Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass). 267 Synagogues were destroyed in Germany and Austria, along with many thousands of Jewish homes, hospitals, schools and shops. Over 700 Jews were summarily executed on the streets of German and Austrian cities and another 30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps (including my grandfather’s brother who was taken to Buchenwald on November 10, 1938).

Yet western governments continued to appease Hitler afterwards and block the escape paths for other Jews in 1938 and 1939.

After Kristallnacht, the Nazi state then imposed a fine of one billion Reichsmarks ($400,000,000 in 1938 terms) on the Jewish community in Germany for damage caused in the pogrom.

More here:

A Brazilian soccer team wore Stars of David on their jerseys in memory of Kristallnacht victims.


A Jewish home ransacked in Vienna.



[Notes below by Tom Gross]

All these posts below are from my (public) Facebook page in recent days


The New York Post reports that a tweet yesterday (Saturday) by controversial far left Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar referring to possible presidential contender Michael Bloomberg and philanthropist Leon G. Cooperman has left critics accusing her of “dog-whistle” antisemitism.

(In February Omar apologized for several blatantly anti-Semitic tweets. And in March former Ku Klux Klan head David Duke called her “the most important member of the U.S. Congress.”)

Yesterday’s questionable tweet came in response to a CNBC article revealing that Cooperman would be supporting Bloomberg in his 2020 presidential bid.

“I wonder why,” Omar said, adding a suspicious “hmmm” emoji. Bloomberg and Cooperman are both Jewish.

A broad array of critics said her new tweet about Bloomberg was veiled anti-Semitism and a wink to followers.

“I suppose you think it’s all about the Benjamins? We get your insinuation. True to form,” countered Michael Dickson.

Even Czech tennis legend Martina Navratilova criticized Omar saying: “This is a wrong thing to say Congresswoman. Generalizing is wrong no matter which ‘group’ of people one talks about. It’s about assigning labels, and I hate that.”

Her tweet came just hours before Omar was to address the Council of American Islamic Relations in Washington, DC, for their annual gala. CAIR is the same organization that she spoke to in March, when she was accused of downplaying the 9/11 attacks as “some people did something.”



The Associated Press reports:


Tom Gross adds:

I attach an opinion piece from yesterday’s New York Times by Bret Stephens titled “Run, Mike, Run!”

He writes:

“Mike Bloomberg should run for president, for two reasons that ought to be dispositive. First, he would be a very good president, potentially a great one. Second, he stands a much better chance of beating Donald Trump than anyone in the current Democratic field.

“The main question is whether Democrats are inclined to allow the former New York City mayor to save them from themselves.”




Every day in Britain, new examples of antisemitism from allies of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, are emerging.

Among a few:

From today’s Mail on Sunday (including the video, which is extraordinary to watch):

Video footage (still photo, above) shows hard left trade union leader and ally of Jeremy Corbyn, Steve Hedley, shouting “Nazi” at British Jew Richard Millett.

Millett responds “Feel better?”, to which the highly paid union leader says: “Better than you, obviously. But then again, you’re one of the chosen people, so you might feel better than me, huh?”

Millett told the Mail: “I don’t see how someone who makes such obviously antisemitic remarks can hold such a senior role at a union. He should resign from his position… I feel these people have been emboldened to say what they really think and can get away with it now that Corbyn is Labour leader. And if he becomes Prime Minister, nothing is going to stop them.”

Hedley is facing calls to resign from his £105,000- a-year role as Senior Assistant General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union over the outburst.

In 2016, Hedley faced criticism after saying: “I think all the Tories are an absolute disgrace. They should be taken out and shot.”



Gideon Bull was forced to resign as a Labour Party election candidate on Friday after calling a Jewish female colleague “Shylock”. Corbyn supporters immediately rushed to Bull’s defense saying he “didn’t have racist bone in his body” only for a letter to be leaked that evening showing that Bull used the words “N**ger” and “P*ki” while he was a Labour councilor in the London borough of Haringey.



Labour general election candidate Kate Ramsden was forced to quit last week after she likened the actions of Israel to those of a child abuser.

The candidate, for the Scottish constituency of Gordon, said she was resigning for “personal reasons”.

Zarah Sultana, a Labour general election candidate for Coventry South, apologized earlier this week for saying she would celebrate the death of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.



BuzzFeed reported yesterday that another Labour MP, the acting shadow international development secretary Daniel Carden, changed the lyrics of the Beatles song Hey Jude to “hey Jews” while singing on a trip from the Cheltenham festival to London.

Carden, the Labour candidate for Liverpool Walton district, denies mocking Jews. The Liberal Democrat party leader, Jo Swinson, described the allegations as “disgusting”. She said: “At a time when the Jewish community feels under threat due to rising antisemitism, politicians have a duty to stand with them, not mock them.”

The allegations follow comments by the former Labour home secretary (under Tony Blair) David Blunkett that “antisemitism and thuggery” within the party made him despair and urged moderates to “stay and fight” in the party to ensure the “voice of reason” prevailed following the moderate Tom Watson’s decision to stand down as deputy Labour leader last week.


Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland writes:

“I understand that to many, all this will sound overwrought. I’m afraid that Jewish history has made us that way, prone to imagining the worst. We look at our usually sparse family trees and we can pick out the pessimists, those who panicked and got out. It was they who left their mark on us. You see, the optimists, those who assumed things would work out for the best, they never made it out in time.”

Here is the full article:

Many Jews want Boris Johnson out. But how can we vote for Jeremy Corbyn?
By Jonathan Freedland
The Guardian
Saturday November 9, 2019

For most progressive-minded, remain-leaning folk, is it even a dilemma? I’m not sure. To them the logic must seem simple and straightforward: they want to eject a cruel and useless government and stop Brexit, and that means denying Boris Johnson a majority and replacing him with Jeremy Corbyn, who will end austerity and hold a second referendum. Job done.

I wish it were as simple as that for me. But it’s not.

Because while I want desperately to avoid Brexit, and while I have nothing but contempt for Johnson and his hard-right party, the prospect of Prime Minister Corbyn fills me with dread. Not, I stress, the prospect of a Labour government, committed to spending billions on schools, hospitals and houses – Britain needs that badly – but specifically the notion of Corbyn and his inner circle running the country. The thought of it prompts in me, and the overwhelming majority of the community I grew up in, a fear that we have not known before.

I’m referring to Britain’s Jews who, for the first time in their history, have concluded that someone hostile to them is on the brink of taking democratic power. Yes, of course, not every single British Jew holds that view. But the most recent poll found that 87% regard Corbyn as an antisemite, meaning an anti-Jewish racist.

Why? The recitation is now wearily familiar. Recall that Corbyn’s first reaction on hearing of a plan to remove a mural filled with hideous caricatures of hook-nosed Jewish bankers was to ask, “Why?” Or that he decided to challenge two “Zionists” not on their arguments but by suggesting that, though they “might have lived in this country for a very long time”, they “don’t understand English irony”. Or that, when a Palestinian Islamist preacher was found by a British tribunal to have peddled the medieval and lethal myth of Jews feasting on the blood of gentile children, Corbyn declared that man a very “honoured citizen”, and invited him for tea in the House of Commons. (And those are merely some of the greatest hits; the full discography runs much longer.)

For four years, Britain’s Jews have – naively, perhaps – waited for the moment when one of these revelations would prove too much for the Labour faithful, shocking them into action. Perhaps it would be the discovery that, despite evidence against hundreds of party members – including those trafficking in grotesque neo-Nazi imagery and Holocaust denial – only a handful have actually been expelled. Or maybe it would be the BBC Panorama investigation that showed how Corbyn’s team repeatedly interfered in antisemitism cases as they went through a supposedly independent disciplinary process, “mainly so they could let their mates off the charge”, as one whistleblower, driven to the brink of suicide, put it. Or perhaps it would be the fact that Labour has become only the second political party ever to be investigated for institutional racism by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (the other was the BNP).

But no. No revelation has ever proved shocking enough that it couldn’t be explained away by those who’d rather not see it. So publicly Labour’s luminaries insist they are fighting a “ruthless” fight against antisemitism, doing all the Jewish community has asked of them, as John McDonnell said this week, even though the facts point the other way.

We’re meant to cheer that Chris Williamson has been barred from standing again as an MP. But Jews remember that, even when Williamson’s penchant for egregious Jew-baiting was well known, Corbyn was still praising him. Just a few months ago, in fact, Corbyn called him “a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not antisemitic in any way.”

None of this has stopped. Labour’s crop of prospective parliamentary candidates has included several with a documented history of anti-Jewish bigotry, Twitter back-catalogues playing on all the familiar tunes of Jewish conspiracy, greed and the rest of it. Two candidates were forced to step down on Thursday, one for calling a Jewish fellow councillor “Shylock”. It suggests this is no longer a problem of one man, but that the malaise is now institutional.

And yet Labour’s high command could soon be governing the country. Labour doesn’t even need to win many seats; Johnson needs only to fail to win a majority and Corbyn will be closing in on Downing Street. What should Jewish voters and those appalled by anti-Jewish racism do about that?

Plenty advise Jews to shelve their angst in return for a government that will stop Brexit (Jews are overwhelmingly pro-remain). In effect, Jews and their would-be allies are being told that some racism is, if not quite acceptable, then a price worth paying. That seems to have been the bargain struck with those Labour “moderates” who were once so admirably vocal in their denunciation of the leadership on this issue and who are now – minus Tom Watson – knocking on doors to put Corbyn in No 10: you’ve got your second referendum, now shut up about the Jews. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, to be part of a small community that can be so quickly cast aside for the supposed greater good.

Progressives and remainers who care about racism are left with a dilemma. Some try to swerve around it by denying the evidence, telling Jews they are wrong about the racism they experience. That’s not a great look. Others (rightly) point out that Johnson is himself a bigot and an Islamophobe – as if we should accept that this is a contest of two racists and we should back the one we agree with more. Still others war-game assorted hung-parliament scenarios that might magically both despatch Johnson and deliver a non-Corbyn prime minister.

But all of this is to dodge the main point – which is that none of us should have ever been put in this position. None of us should be forced to choose between a hard Brexit enforced by an Islamophobe, and electing a man whose record fills one of Britain’s smallest minorities with fear.

Many, Jews included, ask themselves how bad would it really be. What’s the worst that could happen? Of course this isn’t the 1930s and, despite the Sunday Telegraph’s front page, most Jews would not leave the country. But that the question is even in the air, that someone who sees Jews as not quite “us” – “they don’t understand English irony” – is deemed eligible to be prime minister, makes our presence here feel conditional and shaky. And, whether Corbyn makes it to Downing Street or not, to realise that the historic party of social justice in this country finds a little bit of racism acceptable for the sake of the larger cause, and that many millions of voters agree – well, that realisation contains its own heartbreak. It means that what we thought about this country wasn’t quite true.

I understand that to many, all this will sound overwrought. I’m afraid that Jewish history has made us that way, prone to imagining the worst. We look at our usually sparse family trees and we can pick out the pessimists, those who panicked and got out. It was they who left their mark on us. You see, the optimists, those who assumed things would work out for the best, they never made it out in time.



I attach an opinion piece from yesterday’s New York Times. Like Jonathan Freedland above, Bret Stephens is a longtime subscriber to this email list.

Run, Mike, Run!
A Bloomberg-Trump contest would be one between a maker and a faker.
By Bret Stephens
The New York Times
November 9, 2019

Mike Bloomberg should run for president, for two reasons that ought to be dispositive. First, he would be a very good president, potentially a great one. Second, he stands a much better chance of beating Donald Trump than anyone in the current Democratic field.

The main question is whether Democrats are inclined to allow the former New York City mayor to save them from themselves.

Until last week, the conventional wisdom was that they weren’t so inclined. Then came that New York Times Upshot/Siena College poll showing Trump competitive with, or ahead of, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the six battleground states that will likely decide the 2020 election.

If Trump is this strong now, in the midst of his impeachment woes and all the general distaste for him, where is he going to be in 11 months in a contest against opponents with nicknames like “Sleepy Joe,” “Crazy Bernie,” or “Uber Left Elizabeth Warren”?

This was no doubt the thought that induced Bloomberg to hurriedly dispatch staffers to Alabama to file primary paperwork in time for its Nov. 8 deadline. The case against a Bloomberg candidacy is that he can’t possibly win the nomination when so many Democratic primary voters want to cancel billionaires, soak the rich, and relitigate the crime-fighting strategies that defined his 12-year tenure as mayor.

But the case for a Bloomberg candidacy is stronger and infinitely simpler: In a field divided between politically feeble centrists, unelectable progressives, and one talented but awfully young small-city mayor, he … can … win.

How so?

Because his money instantly neutralizes the Trump campaign’s formidable fund-raising advantage, which as of last month had twice as much cash on hand as the Obama campaign did at the same stage of his re-election campaign.

Because he also neutralizes Trump’s strongest re-election argument, which is that “whether you love me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me.” The right’s charge-sheet against today’s Democrats is that they hate capitalism, hate Israel, hate the cops, think of America as a land of iniquity, and never met a tax or regulation they didn’t love. Against Bloomberg it all falls flat.

Because his views on gun control, abortion and climate change fit squarely in the Democratic mainstream without being obnoxious or frightening to middle-of-the-road America. The Democratic base will not sit out the election and squander its chances to oust Trump just because Bloomberg’s wealth offends them or because they won’t vote for a candidate who doesn’t embrace the Green New Deal.

Because even his opponents know there can be no gainsaying his ability to serve as president; or his talent for appointing competent deputies; or his mastery of the mechanics of government; or his overwhelmingly successful tenure as New York mayor; or his understanding of business and the economy; or his immediate credibility on the world stage; or his sobriety of judgment or general probity of character. Mike Bloomberg has donated more money — at least $6 billion — than Donald Trump has ever had.

Because the voters who will matter in the election — that is, those who live neither in deep blue nor deep red states — want a centrist. Democrats in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona and Florida tell pollsters they want “a Democratic nominee who is more moderate than most Democrats,” and that they prefer “one who would bridge the partisan divide,” according to a report Friday from my colleagues Jonathan Martin and Katie Glueck.

Oh, and because Bloomberg is what Trump only pretends to be: a bona fide billionaire and proven entrepreneur. In 2012, the Romney campaign tried to create a contest between “makers and takers.” A Bloomberg-Trump contest would be one between a maker and a faker.

All this should terrify the Trump campaign. Yes, Bloomberg has some weaknesses as a candidate. These include age (77), a less-than-charismatic speaking style, a reputation as a scold who wants to take away your supersized fizzy drink, his (Trumpian) reluctance to release his full tax returns, and the fact that he’s a technocratic master-of-the-universe in an era of populist demagoguery.

None of these should be deal-breakers for any persuadable voter. The real question is whether Democrats can quickly get the message that, contrary to what many of them have supposed, the election is not theirs to lose. A candidate who flubs his lines against Trump will yield the same disastrous result as one who sounds like the Party Line.

Of course, the Democrats could always get lucky. The recession might arrive by Easter. A convincing process of, and vote for, impeachment in the House could move a few Senate Republicans to vote for conviction. Some other major Trumpian scandal might come to light.

But if trouncing Donald Trump is essential to the preservation of liberal democracy, then it won’t do to cross fingers and hope he stumbles. A Bloomberg candidacy would be a gift to Democrats, the country, and the world. Sneer at it at your peril.


* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page on Facebook

“Why the Democrats don’t have to go the way of Labour” (& Italian Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre under guard amid death threats)

November 07, 2019



[Notes by Tom Gross]

Pictured above, tomorrow’s front page of the Jewish Chronicle, Britain’s oldest Jewish newspaper, which has been published every week since 1841. The paper does not normally take a political stance in elections.

Even if these fears are exaggerated, the situation is still dire, and Corbyn has done next to nothing to dilute them following decades of cozying up to Holocaust deniers, antisemites and terrorists. Furthermore some of those close to Corbyn such as his senior advisor Seamus Milne, whom I criticized on many occasions in this dispatch list while he was the opinion editor of the Guardian, have a track record of hatred towards Israel that goes far beyond reasonable criticism.



Below, I attach two articles in connection with next month’s “snap” British general election, from Haaretz and from the American news agency JNS which explains what is at stake in the British election for Americans.

First, a story from Sky News today. Ian Austin is a subscriber to this email list and a friend of mine. He becomes the latest MP on the moderate (Tony Blair / Gordon Brown) wing of the Labour Party to say that a Corbyn government would pose a threat to the UK (and I would add to some extent, given his world view, potentially a threat to the stability of the West).

Last night, Tom Watson the deputy leader of the Labour Party and until yesterday the most senior moderate remaining in the party, announced he was resigning from Labour and stepping down as an MP.


Ian Austin, who worked a special adviser for Gordon Brown and in Downing Street, said that Corbyn was an “extremist” who is “completely unfit” to be prime minister and told The Times that he would be voting for the Conservatives on election day.

“Voting for anybody other than Boris Johnson risks Corbyn getting into No 10 and I think that would be a disaster for Britain,” he said.

After he made his comments he was joined by John Woodcock, 41, another Labour MP-turned-independent who called Corbyn a “disgrace to his party” and “a disgrace to this country”.

The pair were joined by Tom Harris, 55, the Labour MP for Glasgow South from 2001 to 2015 and a minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who told Sky News: “Even if it’s a minority Labour government I would be extremely unhappy. Like Ian I would be far happier with Boris Johnson.”



The BBC, which for a long time under reported anti-Semitism, reports today that Italian Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre, who is aged 89, has been placed under police guard amid a spate of death threats.

Liliana Segre, who was deported to Auschwitz from Milan when she was 13, is currently receiving about 200 antisemitic hate messages and threats each day.

They come after Segre, who was last year appointed to the Italian senate by President Sergio Mattarella, called for parliament to establish a committee to combat hate.

Her father and grandparents were killed in the Auschwitz death camp, but she survived.



General election: Ex-Labour minister urges voters to support Conservatives as Jeremy Corbyn is “unfit” to lead the country.
Sky News
November 7, 2019


“I regard myself as proper, decent, traditional Labour, but I think Jeremy Corbyn is completely unfit to lead our country. He and people like John McDonnell have spent decades working with and supporting all sorts of extremists, and in some cases terrorists.

“I do not believe Jeremy Corbyn loves this country. He and the people around him always seem to back our country’s enemies - whether that’s the IRA when they were murdering people in shopping centers, hotels and pubs, terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah or even parroting Putin’s propaganda when he tried to murder people here in Britain.

“Finally, I think their economic plans would put businesses, investment and jobs at risk and it is impossible to take their Brexit policy seriously.”

“This has been a very difficult decision to take. There are good people and lifelong friends of mine in the Labour Party, but the truth is that only two people can be prime minister on December 13th: Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson.” …

[And on anti-Semitism]: “My dad was a Jewish refugee from the Holocaust. My aunts and grandmother were murdered by the Nazis.

“I was brought up always to stand up to racism and prejudice. I have done that all my life and I could not stand by as the Labour Party has been poisoned by racism, extremism and intolerance under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

“I joined the Labour to fight racism and I can’t believe I had to leave it to fight racism too.”



Why the Democrats don’t have to go the way of Labour
The British party’s drift towards anti-Semitism wasn’t inevitable; it was the result of a centrist collapse. While their situation is different, Democrats could face a similar situation.
By Jonathan Tobin
November 6, 2019

The upcoming general election being held in Britain on Dec. 12 isn’t getting much coverage in the United States. Americans generally don’t pay much attention to foreign policy, and the principal issue this year in the United Kingdom – Brexit – is something few Americans really understand.

But Americans ought to be paying attention to the outcome of the British vote because the transformation of the Labour Party in recent years illustrates what happens when a major political party in a democracy gets hijacked by extremists.

The December vote opens up the very real possibility that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could become Britain’s next prime minister. Corbyn is a radical leftist who has sympathized with anti-Israel terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and is openly hostile to Israel and Zionism. Under his leadership, anti-Semitism has found a home in Labour as his followers’ disdain for Israel and Jews has led Britain’s Jews, who were once as pro-Labour as American Jews are pro-Democrat, to view the possibility of a new such government as a direct threat to the future of their community.

How did Labour end up in the hands of someone like Corbyn?

The party traces its history back to 19th-century socialists. It in its early days, it may have had more in common with revolutionary movements like communism than with Britain’s established Conservative and Liberal parties. But in the aftermath of World War I, Labour supplanted the Liberals and has alternated in power with the Conservatives since the 1920s. Its platform in that era was radical, though as it became one of the natural parties of government in the postwar era, it dropped its revolutionary tone. Its leaders seemed to have a lot in common with American Democrats.

Labour took a turn to the hard left in the 1980s while the Conservatives’ Margaret Thatcher dominated British politics. It then returned to power under the leadership of Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1997. Blair helped rebrand Labour as a moderate party that was sympathetic to the interests of business and the middle class. That version of Labour closely resembled – and was to some extent modeled – on the way President Bill Clinton was able to steer the Democrats to the center in the 1990s.

Nevertheless, Blair’s political magic evaporated with his support for the war in Iraq starting in 2003. And when Labour eventually lost power in 2010, his supporters were supplanted by more left-wing figures. That came to a head in 2015 when Corbyn, who had long been regarded as a marginal figure, surprisingly won the leadership of the party. The party’s leftist grass roots and labor-union base loved him, even if most Labour members of Parliament did not. Within a few short years, Blair’s Labour vanished.

This transformation led to the marginalization of Jews in Labour. It wasn’t just that the party’s leaders and its leading activists embraced anti-Zionist rhetoric. Their detestation for Israel was expressed in ways that made it indistinguishable from classic anti-Semitism sending a signal that anything goes with respect to bashing Jews. While Corbyn and the party pay lip service to the problem, hate for Israel and its Jewish supporters is now so deeply ingrained in the culture of the British hard left that it’s clear there isn’t room for Jews in Labour’s ranks.

It’s little wonder that British Jews regard the possibility that Corbyn might win next month as a potential disaster. Though the polls show Corbyn trailing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives, if the British right splits its vote between his Tories and the hard-right Brexit Party, then it’s not out of the question that Corbyn will be the one tapped by Queen Elizabeth to lead the country.

Do Americans need to worry about the possibility that the Democratic Party could undergo a similar transformation?

There are vast differences between the Democrats and Labour in terms of their history and ideology. Still, the Democrats’ turn to the left in recent years is undeniable. Bernie Sanders was once as marginal a player in American politics, as Corbyn was during his 32 years as a Labour back-bencher, but he now has a not-insignificant chance to win his party’s presidential nomination in 2020.

Elizabeth Warren’s plans for the country are every bit as radical as those of the Vermont septuagenarian. And both have called for conditioning aid to Israel as part of a policy of pressuring it to make concessions that its citizens have rejected.

This is also a party that widely regards people like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) as a rock star who represents the face of the future. The same is true of fellow “Squad” members Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who are open supporters of the BDS movement and guilty of repeated instances of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric.

Many, if not most, Democrats – in Congress and out of it – still support Israel, and don’t think much of AOC and her pals or the radical plans of Sanders and Warren. But these radicals are popular among the party’s left-wing activist base.

Only a few short years ago, Labour was a moderate party that Jews saw as their natural home. All it took was one leadership election and the unleashing of extremists to change that.

Someone like Corbyn might be alien to American sensibilities. But it is not out of the question that a victory of the left in the Democratic primary race could produce a result that – while not identical to the debacle in Britain – would still leave one of our major parties in the hands of its left-wing with unknowable consequences. And with the hopes of centrist Democrats resting on the declining candidacy of former Vice President Joe Biden, such an outcome is by no means inconceivable.

Corbyn’s rise is a warning to Jewish Democrats that what happened in Britain can happen here. It’s up to them to work to find alternatives that will ensure that their party doesn’t fall into the hands of radicals who could marginalize pro-Israel Jews who still remain loyal Democrats.



Anti-Semitism in Corbyn’s Labour Forces U.K. Jews to Forefront of General Election
By Anshel Pfeffer
November 6, 2019

Britain’s relatively small Jewish community won’t have much of an impact on the general election next month; at most there are perhaps half a dozen seats in north London and Manchester where the number of Jewish voters could prove decisive. To win these seats, if the latest polls are to be trusted, the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn will struggle because only 6 percent of British Jews plan to vote Labour, according to polling company Survation.

But the Jewish question, or more specifically the issue of anti-Semitism associated with Corbyn’s Labour, could have a much wider implication for the election. A key element in the campaign strategy of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party is to encourage a split among voters who support remaining in the European Union and who in the last election in 2017 voted overwhelmingly for Labour.

The Conservatives, who are trying to monopolize the “leave” vote, know there is no chance that these remainers will come over to them. But a mass defection from Labour, which under Corbyn has been incoherent over the future of Brexit, to the strenuously pro-remain Liberal Democrats could push Labour down to second place in many constituencies and help the Conservatives win enough seats to gain a majority in the new parliament.

For many pro-remain voters, Corbyn’s history of left-wing euroskepticism and his insistence on running the campaign on issues other than Brexit will be enough to make them vote Lib Dem. Some may need just a bit of an extra push.

Focus groups have shown that the relentless series of revelations on Corbyn’s questionable associations with anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers, his history of controversial statements on Israel and the surge in the number of Corbynist party members making anti-Semitic comments on social media has registered with the broader public. It may not be the key issue for many non-Jewish voters, but together with Brexit and other question marks over Corbyn’s suitability to serve as prime minister (his personal ratings are the lowest for an opposition leader in polling history), this could be enough to nudge many wavering voters away from Labour and into the Lib Dems’ arms.


Corbyn’s rivals are already using the anti-Semitism talking point against him. The slavishly pro-Tory Sunday Telegraph ran on its latest cover an interview with Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly claiming that Jewish families will leave Britain if Corbyn is elected. The report was notable for not quoting any Jews. And it failed the basic test of news because it simply wasn’t. A raft of polls in recent years have said that a significant chunk of British Jews would consider emigrating should a Corbyn government come to power. The recent Opinium poll put this number as high as 47 percent.

Cleverly wasn’t alone. On Monday it was senior Conservative Minister Michael Gove who embarked on a long series of tweets demanding that prominent Labour activists condemn Corbyn for calling “anti-Semitic killers Hamas and Hezbollah” his friends in a speech back in 2009.

And it’s not just the Conservatives. At an event launching the Liberal Democrats’ campaign Tuesday, party leader Jo Swinson said a main reason she won’t join a Corbyn government if no party wins a majority in the next parliament is “Corbyn’s complete and utter failure to root out anti-Semitism in his own party … a total dereliction of duty when it comes to protecting that value of equality.”

There is a cruel dilemma for British Jews in this election. Naturally, the overwhelming majority – 87 percent of British Jews believe Corbyn is an anti-Semite according to the Survation poll and only 8 percent think he isn’t – want the country’s most prominent figures to call out what has been happening in Labour, but when it’s his political rivals doing the calling out during an election campaign, it leaves many Jews with a feeling of unease. Are they being treated as British citizens with equal rights and standing or as convenient political footballs?


British Jews are torn between their right to have their own political views and voting preferences and the need to stand up for their identities as Jews and in solidarity with their community. Sixty-four percent of them intend to vote Conservative. Many would have voted for the party anyway, but since two-thirds of British Jews are believed to have voted in the 2016 Brexit referendum to remain in the European Union, it seems that for many of them the vote for the now staunchly pro-leave Conservatives is principally due to their hope that Boris Johnson can block Corbyn’s path to Downing Street.

But many Jews are incapable of voting Conservative, especially when the party is going through one of its most right-wing and nativist evolutions. While there isn’t reliable data on Jewish voting patterns going back decades, it’s pretty safe to say that the 24 percent of British Jews planning to vote Lib Dem next month is the highest proportion in a century – since the days when the Zionist David Lloyd-George and Arthur Balfour (of Balfour Declaration fame) led the Liberal Party.

Even the small number of Jews who still intend to vote Labour are split three ways. There are those who have held on, despite the abuse at party branch meetings and online, in the hope that it’s still possible to “fight from within” and that Corbyn will eventually be ditched by the party.

Even Jewish Corbyn supporters are split and bitterly at war with each other. Some, like Jon Lansman, the founder of Momentum, the Corbynist party within a party, acknowledge that Labour has anti-Semitism issues, and while continuing to support Corbyn, they have called for the more egregious Judeophobes like former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and MP Chris Williamson to be expelled from the party. And then there’s the tiny group of Jews who tokenize their identity to give cover to just about every anti-Semite on the left.

There has a been a lot of debate in the Jewish community about what kind of threat to Jewish life in Britain a Corbyn government would pose. Some of it has verged on the hysterical with words like “existential.” But one thing is now certain. The election has forced British Jews to the forefront of a toxic political struggle they never wanted, and certainly don’t deserve.



Tom Gross adds:: something bizarre to finish with:

People In Medieval Art Who’re Getting Murdered But Just Don’t Give a Damn


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Nazis dressed as Jews hand out leaflets denying Holocaust (& Al Jazeera: Jews run porn industry because they ‘hate Christ’)

November 05, 2019

Plainclothes militia from the Iranian-controlled Hezbollah movement assault a pro-democracy protestor in Beirut, Lebanon, on October 29. (Hassan Ammar/AP)



1. Iranian regime shuts downs internet in Iraq as it continues to shoot protestors
2. Netherlands finally admits killing 70 civilians in airstrike in Iraq
3. Neo-Nazis dressed as Jews hand out leaflets at US mall denying Holocaust
4. Neo-Nazi arrested in plot to blow up Colorado synagogue
5. Utah school principal and teacher suspended after allowing student to dress as Hitler
6. Poway names street after murdered Jewish woman
7. Al Jazeera-owned station claims Jews run porn industry because they ‘hate Christ’
8. British Labour Party candidate said she would “celebrate” Netanyahu’s death
9. Only 6 percent of British Jews say they will vote Labour
10. Guards stop attacker yelling anti-Semitic slogans from entering French Jewish school
11. Antisemitic attacks in Sweden rise to record high
12. Jewish astronaut Jessica Meir posts photos of Israel taken from space
13. Belgium’s first female prime minister is Jewish
14. Ethiopia appoints first female president


[Notes by Tom Gross]


On the orders of the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Qasem Soleimani, who is now in Baghdad chairing security meetings of Iraq’s puppet government, the Internet in Iraq has been cut off since last night.

There are further reports of Iranian regime and Iranian regime-controlled militia snipers continuing to use live fire with shots to the head and chest to pick off Iraqi protestors chanting “Iran out, Iran out”.

In recent weeks, snipers have shot dead Iraqis taking cellphone footage of crowds protesting the de facto Iranian occupation of large parts of Iraq. At least 250 Iraqi protestors have been killed and thousands injured.

Even by the BBC’s and New York Times’s standards, the coverage of the anti-Iranian-protests in both Lebanon and Iraq in recent weeks has been truly disgraceful. Most reports have managed to avoid any mention at all of Iran or (in the case of Lebanon) its proxy militia Hezbollah. In reports on the protests by the BBC’s “award winning” foreign affairs correspondents John Simpson and Jeremy Bowen, Iran has not been mentioned.

These same media also covered up Iran’s central role in the killing in Syria these past years.

See, for example, reports of funerals of Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syria that I researched ere (first item).



After years of denials, the Dutch government yesterday finally admitted that its airforce carried out an airstrike in northern Iraq that killed 70 civilians, including children in 2015.

The Dutch F-16 fighter jets had wrongly thought that they were targeting an Islamic State position near the city of the (until the 2017 ethnic cleansing of Kurds) mainly Kurdish city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq.

The Dutch broadcaster NOS and Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad have for years urged the Dutch Defense Ministry to admit to the killings.

Dutch F-16s flew about 2,100 raids over Iraq as part of the anti-IS coalition between October 2014 and 2018, according to the Dutch government.




A group of neo-Nazis dressed as orthodox Jews handed out fliers denying the Holocaust at Pearl Street pedestrian mall in Boulder, Colorado this past weekend. (One is shown in the photo above.)

The fliers also said “Academia is dominated by Marxist Jews,” Jews run the porn industry, “Jews ran the Atlantic slave trade,” and other lies about Jews.

More here from Boulder’s Daily Camera newspaper.

The antisemites livestreamed themselves handing out fliers to their followers online.



Also in Colorado, the FBI announced yesterday that a white supremacist was arrested on Friday for plotting to blow up the Temple Emanuel synagogue in Pueblo. The synagogue building which he planned to bomb was constructed 1900. The congregation in Pueblo comprises 35 families.

The FBI team said an undercover team had been tracking Richard Holzer, 27, for weeks. On several occasions, Holzer met with FBI agents posing as white supremacists and he discussed in detail his plan to blow up the synagogue. He told the FBI that he was preparing for a “RAHOWA,” or racial holy war against Jews.

Holzer also claimed to have a scheme to poison the synagogue’s water supply with arsenic.

FBI affidavit here.

Holzer’s arrest took place shortly after the one-year anniversary of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, in which 11 Jewish worshipers were murdered.



The principal and a teacher at Creekside Elementary School in Kaysville, Utah have been put on paid administrative leave after they allowed a student to dress as Adolf Hitler in the school’s Halloween parade.

The pupil wore a brown long-sleeve shirt with a red swastika armband on his sleeve and a Hitler mustache.

The school apologized after local Jewish groups complained, the local Fox News affiliate reported.



The City Council of Poway in California has announced it will name a street after Lori Lynn Gilbert-Kaye, who was shot dead during on the last day of Passover this year by a neo-Nazi who stormed into a Poway synagogue.

More here from the San Diego Union Tribune.

In the attack Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was killed and three people were wounded, including an 8-year-old girl and the synagogue’s rabbi, who lost a finger.

The gunman John Earnest, 20, has pleaded not guilty to all charges despite being caught on camera moments after the attack boasting that he did it to save “white people from the Jews”.



An Internet channel owned by Qatari government broadcaster Al Jazeera uploaded a video last week claiming that Jews control the porn industry in order to “corrupt people” because they “hate Christ.”

More here from the Middle East media watchdog MEMRI.

“Even in the famous Playboy magazine, which was founded in the mid-1950s, the Jews’ control over the magazine team was entirely clear from day one,” the Al Jazeera owned broadcast said.

(Playboy was first owned and operated by the non-Jewish Hugh Hefner and then his daughter, who is also not Jewish. Hugh Hefner’s mother was of Swedish ancestry, and his father was German.)

“Porn has become a means by the Jews to pollute Christian culture, because it quickly penetrates American homes,” claimed the broadcast.



A candidate for Parliament for the Labour Party at next month’s British general elections said she would “celebrate” the death of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Zarah Sultana, who made the comments in a now deleted tweet, is standing to represent Labour in the Coventry South constituency.

In separate remarks on social media she appeared to support terror attacks on Israeli civilians. She is a vocal supporter of the BDS movement.

The British Labour Party has faced a string of accusations of welcoming antisemites into the party since the extreme left wing MP Jeremy Corbyn became its leader.

Hundreds of incidents have been recorded involving Corbyn’s followers both by internal Labour groups, and external ones


* Among many other related previous dispatches, please see:

Jews denounced as being “in the gutter with rats” at Corbyn-endorsed London rally (& Auschwitz miniskirt scandal) May 13, 2019.




Above, a letter from today’s Times of London.

British Jews have despaired at Corbyn, as on the one hand he has denounced antisemitism as “an evil within our society” but at the same time has repeatedly encouraged antisemites and Holocaust deniers.

On Thursday, Britain’s Jewish Labour Movement said that for the first time in over a century it would not campaign for Labour in the December 12 election.

As in the US, where a majority of Jews vote Democrat, a majority of British Jews voted Labour in the past. Now, according to the latest polls, only 6 percent of Jews intend to vote Labour in next month’s election.

64 percent of Jews said they will vote Conservative and 24 percent will vote for the centrist Liberal Democratic party, in order to try and prevent Corbyn and his extremist supporters from coming to power.



A man screaming antisemitic slurs, who attempted to break into a Jewish school in Nice in southern France, has been arrested by the school’s security guard.

The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, praised the guard’s “quick action” in preventing an attack at the Or Torah School in Nice. “I condemn these intolerable acts,” said Estrosi. “I cannot accept the rise of anti-Semitism in our country.”

There have been many attacks on Jewish schools in France in recent years, including one in Toulouse where several pupils were shot.


As I previously reported here: “8-year-old Miriam Monsonego (photo below), was pulled by the hair and paraded around the school yard by an assailant who said he wanted to kill Jews in Toulouse. He then calmly took out a second gun and executed her in front of the other Jewish children. He made sure to film the attack with a body cam and upload it to the internet. His video has become very popular viewing among anti-Semites.

“Afterwards a teacher at another French school held a minute’s silence for pupils to honor not her, but her anti-Semitic murderer.”




The number of antisemitic hate crimes in Sweden in 2018 grew 53 percent over the 2016 figures, according to the Swedish government’s newly published report from The National Council for Crime Prevention.

The council decided not to publish hate crime figures for 2017 so alarmed was it by the rise in antisemitism. In one attack in 2017, the synagogue in Gothenburg was firebombed by a mob of about a dozen men

About 20,000 Jews live in Sweden.

Anti-Muslim hate crimes accounted for 8 percent of the hate crimes recorded in 2018, a proportion lower than that minority’s share of the population in Sweden.

The Swedish government has been criticized for obscuring the fact that many of the antisemitic attacks are perpetrated by Muslims who are being encouraged to hate Jews in sermons at local mosques.




Jewish astronaut Jessica Meir (photo above in her official NASA portrait), one of the first ever women in space, has posted photos of Israel that she took from space last month in honor of her late father, who fought in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. (Her father went on to become a doctor and later moved to Maine when he was offered a job there.) Meir also brought an Israeli flag onto the space station as one of her allowed personal items.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin responded to her in a tweet:

“Dear Jessica, thank you for taking us with you on your space voyage. We are proud of you and send warm regards from Israel.”



Sophie Wilmes has become the first woman and the first Jewish person to become the prime minister of Belgium. She replaced Charles Michel last week.

Wilmes, who is a centrist politician, has four children. Her Jewish mother lost many relatives in the Holocaust. Her father is a lecturer at the Catholic University of Louvain and is not Jewish.

The former editor in chief of Antwerp’s Jewish newspaper said Wilmes’ appointment is a “historic event that makes me feel proud.”

Belgium has a long history of violent antisemitism.



Ethiopia is also to be congratulated for appointing its first female president. Sahle-Work Zewde is now Africa’s only female head of state. Her appointment to the ceremonial position comes a week after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed a cabinet with half the posts taken up by women.

The prime minister’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, tweeted: “In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalizes women as decision-makers in public life”.

The last African female head of state was Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, who resigned in March over an expenses scandal. She denied any wrongdoing.


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