Tag Archives: Israel-Palestine

“Only the mood music has changed”: Tariq Ali on Obama’s presidency

Tariq Ali interviewed by Christian Avard for Huffington Post, October 7, 2010

Is president Barack Obama the change America has been waiting for or is he another corporate Democrat representing elite interests? According to Tariq Ali, very little has chanced between Obama and former president George W. Bush. In his latest book The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad, Ali argues that Obama is carrying on the reckless policies of the Bush regime. If Obama continues down this path, the Democratic Party not only face the prospect of the House & Senate in 2010 but also the presidency in 2012. This should be a cause for concern.

I caught up with Ali during his American book tour and here’s what he had to say about the Obama presidency.

What do you think are the biggest myths that are being perpetrated about Barack Obama as a president and his policy making?

The myths being perpetrated about him by his enemies are that everything he has done has been incredibly radical. The myths being perpetrated about him by his friends are that this marks a definitive break with Bush-Cheney. Both are wrong. My book stresses the continuities in foreign policy between the Bush and Obama administrations. I argue that all that has changed is the mood music.

This change of mood music is not unimportant because it gets the whole of Europe back on (the U.S.’s) side and some of them were alienated by Bush’s disconcerting way of putting it on the line. If he was doing something, he would say “This is how we are going to do it. We are going to take these guys out.” Europe found that a bit insensitive whereas Obama coats with it with sugar and honey and does the same thing.

He speaks fine and lofty words but when it comes down to it, the policies are no different. In the cases of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the policies are much more reactionary and worse in the sense that the wars are being escalated. read more

For an extended version of Christian Avard’s interview, please visit pulsemedia.org

The Obama Syndrome: A Live Interview with Tariq Ali and Joel Whitney

As part of his tour to launch The Obama Syndrome, Tariq Ali appeared at New York’s Asia Society September 17th, 2010 where he was interviewed on stage by Joel Whitney, Founding Editor in Chief of Guernica magazine.

Tariq Ali on Palestine and President Obama

Tariq Ali interviewed by Phillip Adam’s for ABC Late Night Live, October 5, 2010

Currently touring Australia to launch The Obama Syndrome, Tariq Ali talks to ABC Late Night Live‘s Phillip Adams about Palestine and the (dismal) performance of US President Barack Obama. Please visit the ABC to listen to the interview.

Tariq Ali reviews Gilbert Achcar’s excellent new book ‘The Arabs and the Holocaust’

Tariq Ali reviews The Arabs and the Holocaust by Gilbert Achcar for the Guardian, June 26, 2010

Tariq Ali applauds an attempt to analyse the Arab-Israeli conflict

“Since the fourth century after Christ,” wrote the late Raul Hillberg in his masterwork, The Destruction of the European Jews, “there have been three anti-Jewish policies: conversion, expulsion, and annihilation. The second appeared as an alternative to the first, and the third emerged as an alternative to the second.” What this suggests is that “Judeo-Christian civilisation” is a relatively new and an essentially ideological construct.

If anything, from the eighth to the 19th centuries, there can be said to have existed an Islamo-Judaic civilisation that spanned the Iberian peninsula, the Arab world proper, Persia and the Ottoman lands. The Christian reconquest of Portugal and Spain led to forced conversions and expulsion of Jews and Muslims. Tens of thousands of Jews were given refuge in Muslim North Africa and the Ottoman empire.

It was not until after the first world war that relations between the communities began to deteriorate seriously. The reason for this was the Balfour declaration (opposed by Edwin Montagu, the only Jewish member of the British cabinet) that offered a homeland in Palestine to the Zionist Federation, without any consultations whatsoever with the people who lived on the land. Hitler and the judeocide of the second world war further cemented the foundations of the settler-state and led to the nakba for the Palestinian Arabs of the region. Hardly surprising that this led to the “war of narratives”.

In a systematic and scholarly refutation of the simplistic myths that have arisen following the formation of Israel, Gilbert Achcar, the Lebanese-French historian, who is currently professor of international relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies, has provided us with the best book on the subject so far. Achcar has little time for Arab pieties. He makes no bones about the fact that Holocaust denial is not uncommon in the Middle East and that charlatan historians (Roger Garaudy is one of many examples cited in the book) have received a warm welcome from many in power in the Gulf states. He could have added that the late King Ibn Saud of the kingdom that bears his name was in the habit of presenting visiting western leaders with copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. There is no recorded instance of any US President or western European leader refusing the gift. read more

Breaking the Siege of Gaza – Tariq Ali speaks at Socialism 2010

‘Breaking the Siege of Gaza’, Tariq Ali speaks at Socialism 2010 alongside Kevin Ovenden, Gilbert Achcar and Ahmed Shawki, June 18, 2010

With thanks to We Are Many for the video footage.

From the archive

  • Tariq Ali in Bella Caledonia

    March 11, 2014

    Tariq Ali, interviewed by Bella Caledonia.

     

    JF:  Scottish Labour politicians claim they speak for internationalism, and often accuse independence supporters of parochialism and petty nationalism.  As an internationalist living in London, why are you supporting independence?

    TA: Because I don’t accept the claims of New Labour or their coalition lookalikes that they are the internationalists.  Their internationalism essentially means subordinating the entire British state to the interests of the United States.  They have made Britain into a vassal state: on Iraq, on Afghanistan, on various other things.  This isn’t even a big secret. So I would challenge very strongly any idea that the governments within the British state have been internationalist.  They haven’t been, for a very long time.  That is something that needs to be squashed.

     

    The second point is this: an independent Scotland, a small state,  …

  • 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 on the ‘disgusting attacks on Gunter Grass’

    April 16, 2012

    The German writer Gunter Grass (The Tin Drum) had already predicted the response to his poem in SdZ. There is no reason to be surprised, but there is every reason to be disgusted. Within Germany both the elite and a layer of the population by their words and actions appear to have accepted the disgraceful Goldhagen thesis whereby all German were guilty for the crimes of the Third Reich. This thesis has now been developed further: all Germans are guilty for eternity for the crimes of the Third Reich.

    Behind this thinking is the Zionist and Zionophile argument that the crime against the Jews of Europe was unique in the annals of history. This was true as far as the method of extermination was concerned, but not in any other way. The Belgians massacred the Congolese in greater numbers:  …

  • 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.

  • Stuart Hall’s message to those who want change

    February 12, 2014

    It is the way our sympathy flows and recoils that really determines our lives. This opening sentence from Stuart Hall’s 1960 review of Lady Chatterley’s Lover belongs to DH Lawrence. The critic had unearthed it from deep inside the novel. It could serve as an epitaph for Stuart himself. His own sympathies and aversions played a huge part in determining his political makeup. It is not easy to sum up what he leaves behind in a few words. Soon, one hopes, that the conversation his colleague and friend, Bill Schwartz had been conducting with him over several years will be edited and published in book form.

    He was, first and foremost, a political person. Politics mattered to him and enabled him to develop his skills as a mesmerising orator.

    He was a 1956-er. The twin crises that erupted that year  …