Gallows Humour

Stupidity knows no bounds, especially when fuelled by narcissism and a tongue laced with demagogy. There is no other way to describe George Galloway’s absurd and offensive suggestion that Bradford should impose a total ban on Israeli tourists. Statistically it would be interesting to see how many tourists from any country visit Bradford (even after Galloway’s election as the Respect MP, an election that some of us welcomed at the time).

Politically it’s crazy. There are, after all, many Arab Israelis. Presumably they will not be excluded from savouring the delights of Bradford. And there are many anti-Zionist Israelis, including factions of the hassidim who were and remain opposed to the existence of Israel. Will they be punished too? Will there be Israeli-style checkpoints at every entrance to the city where Israelis will be asked whether or not they’re Zionists?  …

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Disgrace

The United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, denounced the bombing of the UN school in Gaza as ‘outrageous’ and ‘unjustifiable’. His officials have described the massacres as a ‘disgrace to the world’. Who stands disgraced? The UN General Assembly has regularly voted in favour of an independent Palestine. It is the Security Council that has vetoed the very thought and the Security Council, as everyone knows, is dominated by the United States; on this issue, Russia and China have remained on message.

What of the broader ‘international community’, in other words the United States/EU/Nato? They have backed Israel. As for the ideologues of the human rights industry, Samantha Power, the queen of ‘humanitarian interventions’, is the US rep on the Security Council and staunchly pro-Israel. Both the House and the Senate have unanimously written Israel a blank cheque; the French Socialist  …

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Motorway Accident in Wales

On Wednesday I received four calls from the BBC’s Good Morning Wales.

First morning call: was I available to be interviewed about Gaza tomorrow morning? I said yes.

First afternoon call: could I tell them what I would say? I said (a) Israel was a rogue state, pampered and cosseted by the US and its vassals. (b) Targeting and killing Palestinian children (especially boys) and blaming the victims was an old Israeli custom. (c) The BBC coverage of Palestine was appalling and if they didn’t cut me off I would explain how and why.

Second afternoon call: was I prepared to debate a pro-Israeli? I said yes.

Afternoon message left on my phone: terribly sorry. There’s been a motorway crash in Wales, so we’ve decided to drop your item.

Click here to view the LRB website. 

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LRB Diary

Conversations in Cairo are punctuated by dates: 11 February (Mubarak’s fall), 24 June (Morsi’s election), 30 June (Sisi’s coup), which takes a bit of getting used to. On the street murals depicting the martyrs are defaced with black ink; barbed wire, state-constructed barricades and gates used to seal off roads remain in place. My publisher, Karem Youssef, talks me through the geography of the uprising, describing how she herself was radicalised as week followed week. It’s too soon to treat the events nostalgically since, according to some, they are not yet over. I’m not sure about that, but what is indisputable is that hope is dead.

During and after the uprising Mubarak’s name stood for amorality, cynicism, duplicity, corruption, greed and opportunism. A few months after Morsi’s triumph at the polls, the same adjectives were being used to describe his rule,  …

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How Vladimir Putin became evil

Once again, it seems that Russia and the United States are finding it difficult to agree on how to deal with their respective ambitions. This clash of interests is highlighted by the Ukrainian crisis. The provocation in this particular instance, as the leaked recording of a US diplomat, Victoria Nuland, saying “Fuck the EU” suggests, came from Washington.

Several decades ago, at the height of the cold war, George Kennan, a leading American foreign policy strategist invited to give the Reith Lectures, informed his audience: “There is, let me assure you, nothing in nature more egocentric than embattled democracy. It soon becomes the victim of its own propaganda. It then tends to attach to its own cause an absolute value which distorts its own vision … Its enemy becomes the embodiment of all evil. Its own side is the centre  …

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From the archive

  • ‘Anyone for gulli-danda?’

    July 15, 1999

    ‘Anyone for gulli-danda?’ by Tariq Ali for The London Review of Books, July 15, 1999

    The cricket matches I grew up with in the Indian subcontinent during the Forties and Fifties lasted five days. The players were dressed in immaculate white or off-white flannels, the ball was dark red and the spectators were well-dressed and sedate. It was no different in the West Indies: English cricket was everywhere the model. Our heroes were the great English batsmen and bowlers of the time. There were great Australians, too, but, we joked, they were only Englishmen twice removed—once from prison and once from England. read more

  • Tariq Ali’s speech at the National Demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

    August 13, 2014

    Here is a video of Tariq Ali’s speech at the largest UK demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

  • ‘Official politics in the west ignores public opinion at will’

    February 27, 2007

    ‘Official politics in the west ignores public opinion at will’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, February 27, 2007

    The government crisis in Italy over US bases and Afghanistan reflects the increasing gap in Europe between rulers and ruled

    The states of western Europe continue to resist harmonisation. On the same day last week that the chicaneries of every antiquated careerist vying for the New Labour deputy leadership were made public, each justifying his or her grotesque decision to support the war and occupation of Iraq, the centre-left Italian government—not yet a year old—fell after a debate on foreign policy in the upper chamber.

    It was not Iraq that was at issue here. Unlike New Labour (protected by undemocratic electoral laws and MPs unmoved by the suffering in Iraq), all of the Italian left and 80% of the  …

  • Tariq Ali’s speech at the National Demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

    August 13, 2014

    Here is a video of Tariq Ali’s speech at the largest UK demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

  • Tariq Ali en Zaragoza, Pamplona/Iruña y Madrid – 15,16 y 17 de febrero de 2011

    February 9, 2011

    Tariq Ali en Zaragoza, Pamplona/Iruña y Madrid. 15,16 y 17 de febrero de 2011

    La Universidad Nómada presenta el ciclo de charlas, conferencias e intervenciones de Tariq Ali en Zaragoza, Pamplona/Iruña y Madrid para analizar cuáles son las tendencias de la presidencia de Barack Obama, las líneas centrales de su comportamiento como presidente de Estados Unidos tanto en política exterior e interior y las alianzas que está recreando en su país y en la escena internacional para implementar su proyecto político. También pretende evaluar el grado en que durante los dos primeros años de su mandato sus políticas han conseguido fracturar o romper en Estados Unidos e internacionalmente los grandes compromisos económicos, sociales, políticos y culturales. Se trata de evaluar su presidencia y las potencialidades de la misma para discutir qué tipo de políticas pueden llevar a cabo los movimientos.

     …