Palestine
Warsaw Ghetto

Podcast: from Warsaw Ghetto to Gaza Strip

Masha Gessen in a New Yorker essay draws a parallel between the Warsaw Ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland and the Gaza Strip, where Israel’s long siege is now escalating to genocide. Some Israeli military tactics in Gaza mirror those of the Nazis in Warsaw. Yet, while some voices on the ostensible “left” go so far as to glorify Hamas, Israel’s online partisans are drawing a parallel that reverses the roles, depicting Hamas as the new Nazis. In a case of paradoxical fascistic pseudo-anti-fascism, the genocidal rhetoric of figures such as hardline Israeli cabinet member Bezalel Smotrich dehumanizes the victims by portraying all Gazans as Nazis. In Episode 223 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg turns to the words of Leon Trotsky and Albert Camus to make sense of the seeming contradiction. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Stroop Report via Wikipedia)

Europe
Marek Edelman

Marek Edelman: Jewish hero, anti-Zionist

In Episode 222 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg marks the 81st anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by reviewing the new documentary on Jewish armed struggle against the Nazis, Resistance—They Fought Back. A nearly forgotten element of this struggle was the consciously anti-Zionist politics of some of the resistance leaders—most notably Jewish Combat Organization subcommander Marek Edelman, who was the last surviving leader of the Ghetto Uprising when he died in his native Poland in 2009. Edelman was a follower of the General Jewish Labor Bund, which rejected the colonization of Palestine in favor of fighting for a dignified and secure place for Jews within Europe This history is especially critical at this moment in light of credible accusations that the self-proclaimed Jewish State is committing genocide in Gaza, and propagandistic efforts to cynically conflate anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: New Jewish Resistance)

Europe
Extinction Rebellion

Climate protesters shut down The Hague

Climate protestors who attempted to create a road blockade at The Hague were detained by Dutch police. Among those detained was prominent climate activist Greta Thunberg. Protestors took to the streets to oppose fossil fuel subsidies, and especially the Dutch government’s tax concessions for companies such as Royal Dutch Shell. Hundreds of demonstrators marched from The Hague city center to a field next to the A12 highway, a main artery through the Netherlands, which some then tried to block with their bodies. The protest, organized by Extinction Rebellion, was part of an international campaign against fossil fuel subsidies in Europe. Simultaneous demonstrations also took place as part of the campaign in Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Poland, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the UK. (Photo: Extinction Rebellion)

Europe
Europe Farmers

Polish farmers clash with police

Polish farmers clashed with police during a mobilization on Warsaw, part of ongoing protests over increasing economic pressures on the agricultural industry. The demonstrations are part of broader farmer-led protests across Europe demanding relief from taxes and rising costs. Farmers are also protesting against new environmental regulations imposed under the EU Green Deal, which aims to combat global warming. Farmers are additionally unhappy with the waiver on custom duties for imports from Ukraine. Last month, Polish farmers launched a 30-day nationwide protest, while truckers blocked borders with Ukraine in conjunction with the farmers’ actions. (Photo: Silar via Wikimedia Commons. Sign reads: “I am a farmer, not an EU slave!!!”)

Europe
El Hamma

Synagogues attacked in Germany, Tunisia

Unknown assailants targeted a Berlin synagogue with Molotov cocktails, while rioters in Tunisia burned down the country’s historic El Hamma synagogue. There was no significant property damage at the Kahal Adass Jisroel synagogue in Berlin, but El Hamma in the Tunisian city of Gabes was effectively destroyed. Although El Hamma no longer functioned as a house of worship, it held major symbolic significance for Tunisian Jews, who are still shaken from a May shooting at the Ghriba Synagogue in Djerba, the oldest in Africa. (Photo showing damage to Tomb of Rabbi Yousef al-Maarabi at El Hamma synagogue via RadioJ)

Watching the Shadows
guantanamo

UN documents torture of Gitmo detainee

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention released a report finding that Afghanistan, Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Romania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and the US all participated in human rights violations against Abd al-Rahim Hussein al-Nashiri, the man accused of involvement in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. Al-Nashiri is currently held at Guantanamo Bay, though he is said to have been previously detained in the territories of each of these countries. The report contains graphic descriptions of “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by the US Central Intelligence Agency, including prolonged forced nudity, sleep deprivation, physical beatings, waterboarding, prolonged forced standing while chained, restrictive confinement in a small box, exposure to cold temperatures, and forced rectal feeding after prolonged food deprivation. (Photo: Pixabay via Jurist)

Europe
Warsaw

EU action against Poland over ‘Russian influence’ law

The European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against Poland over the country’s recently-passed law aimed at officials who have allegedly come under Russian influence. The Commission says that the law “interferes with the democratic process” by potentially subjecting officials running for re-election to high-profile inquiries, effectively barring candidates from public office. The ruling right-wing Law & Justice Party (PiS) is ironically accused by the opposition of emulating Russia in seeking to impose an authoritarian regime through the subterfuge of a “Russian influence” law. Crowds at a massive Warsaw protest against the law waved the EU flag, making clear their antipathy to Russian designs on the continent. (Photo: Germany Today News)

Europe
Kremlin

Putin design to rebuild Russian Empire: blatanter and blatanter

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia reacted with outrage after China’s ambassador in Paris appeared to question the sovereignty not only of Ukraine, but all the former Soviet republics, saying they “do not have an effective status in international law.” Fearing diplomatic censure, Beijing’s Foreign Ministry backpedalled, releasing a statement saying: “China respects the sovereign status of former Soviet republics ” But such sentiments are fast gaining an alarming currency in Russian political circles. A commentator for pro-Kremlin newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda opined that “according to the Ukrainian scenario, we have an historical right” to Russian-inhabited lands of Kazakhstan. Former president Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, tweeted a call for Ukraine to “DISAPPEAR” (in caps), and referred to the country as “Malorossiya” (Little Russia)—a term from the empire of the czars for territories outside Great Russia (Russia proper). (Photo: Wikipedia)

Europe
Nordstream

Nord Stream pipeline sabotage: rush to judgment

Ukraine is denying involvement in September’s attack on the Nord Stream pipelines following a New York Times report citing anonymous US officials to the effect that an unnamed “pro-Ukrainian group” was to blame. Russia’s online partisans are meanwhile hyping a piece by Seymour Hersh, similarly citing anonymous officials to the effect that the attack was a US covert operation. Rarely has there been a more blatant case of the cyber-commentariat deciding what to believe on the basis of political convenience. (Map: Wikipedia)

Greater Middle East
Palestine

From Palestine to Iran: free the land

In Episode 160 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes hideous ironies in the current horrific headlines. Russia was excluded from the official commemorations of Holocaust Day at Auschwitz-Birkenau as it pursues its war of aggression and extermination in Ukraine in the perverse name of “de-nazification.” But Israeli flags were of course displayed at the commemoration—even as Israel escalates toward a genocidal solution to the Palestinian question. The fundamental contradiction driving the conflict is the expropriation of the Palestinian people of their lands, and the denial of their self-determination by Israel. The emergence of an explicitly anti-Zionist bloc in the protests against the new far-right government in Israel is a sign of hope. The US, however, is undertaking its biggest joint military exercises ever with the new Israeli regime, despite Biden’s supposed rejection of its extremist policies of settlement expansion and annexation—viewing the Jewish State as a strategic ally against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Meanwhile, the oppressive regime in Iran treats minority peoples such as the Kurds, Baluch, Ahwazi and Baha’i much as Israel treats the Palestinians. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: B’Tselem)

Europe
kherson

Podcast: against pseudo-left disinformation on Ukraine II

In Episode 150 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg calls out the panelists at The People’s Forum event on “The Real Path to Peace in Ukraine“—including the inevitable Noam Chomsky and Medea Benjamin—for actually spreading Russian war propaganda, in Orwellian manner. As Ukraine advances on the ground, liberating the city of Kherson (which Moscow had declared “annexed”), Russia retaliates with massive missile strikes targeting civilian infrastructure such as heating plants as the bitter Ukrainian winter approaches—clearly war crimes, aimed at breaking the will of the populace. But rather than protesting the Russian bombardment, these pseudo-anti-war voices join with the Trumpian right in calling for an end to military aid to Ukraine. And rather than Russian mass atrocities and illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory, they point to imaginary pressure on Kyiv from the US not to negotiate as the obstacle to peace. This war propaganda is all the more sickening for being disguised as peace propaganda. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo via Razom for Ukraine)

Europe
Lampedusa

EU doubles down on asylum double standards

More than 1.1 million refugees and asylum seekers have entered Germany this year—outpacing the 890,000 that arrived during the Mediterranean migration crisis in 2015. Back then, the vast majority were Syrians. This year, around one million of those who have entered are Ukrainians, although Syrians, Afghans, and others continue to arrive. For Ukrainians, the EU Commission has extended the Temporary Protection Directive—first activated in March, and allowing them to live, work, and access services throughout the EU. Some 4.2 million Ukrainians have registered under the directive, which is now valid until March 2024. Meanwhile, the EU is pursuing much less welcoming policies for asylum seekers and migrants from other parts of the world. These include the the Dublin Regulation, that since 2003 has required asylum seekers to apply for protection in the member state they first entered—often prolonging perilous journeys to reach sanctuary beyond countries with harsh immigration policies, such as Poland and Hungary. (Photo: Sara Creta/TNH)