SSP drifts towards Morning Star

Submitted by AWL on 20 March, 2008 - 4:15

Gaza is “the world’ s largest concentration camp”, something to be compared to “the Warsaw Ghetto under the Nazis.” The position of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories “resembles that of Jews who once lived in the ghettoes of Eastern Europe before the Holocaust.”

Given that Israel has “internalised many of the oppressive features of Judeophobes,” it is “not surprising that the Israeli state itself should already have developed marked Apartheid features.” Israel is “a failed state.” It is “the unsafest place on earth for Jews.”

But “many Palestinians” continue to live “stoically and heroically on the lands wanted exclusively for the Israeli state”

That is what the reader of Scottish Socialist Voice (paper of the Scottish Socialist Party) learnt about the Israel-Palestine conflict from a recent report of a “very successful day-school” organised by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC).

The day that the SPSC held its day-school — which, hardly by coincidence, took place the same weekend as this year’ s Holocaust Memorial Day — the Morning Star newspaper carried an article by the SPSC press officer, John Wight, which argued along the same lines:

“The Palestinians are being subjected to much the same methods of oppression today by the state of Israel that were visited on the Jews by the Nazis throughout the 1930s.”

Palestinians were described by Wight as “the Holocaust’ s forgotten victims … sacrificed upon the altar of the West’ s continued blind support of that apartheid state otherwise known as Israel.”

The article triggered debate on a number of websites, especially on that of “Engage” (the campaign initially launched to oppose calls for a boycott of Israeli academia in what is now the UCU). In the course of that debate Wight variously argued:

“No apartheid state has the right to exist. Apartheid South Africa did not have the right to exist. Nazi Germany did not have the right to exist. And the apartheid state of Israel does not have the right to exist. …”

“The state of Israel is a hydra-headed monster, comprising Zionist ethnic cleansers, US imperialists and Arab collaborationist regimes. Arrayed against this monster are the forces of human progress. …”

“As soon as the scales fall from the eyes of international Jewry with regard to the racist and fascist ideology that is Zionism, the world will begin to emerge from the iron heel of war and brutality in the Middle East. …”

None of this was criticised in the Voice. To be fair to them, turning a blind eye to the left anti-semitism of the SPSC in general, and of its press officer in particular, is in line with SSP policy. For two years running SSP conferences have voted in support of a boycott of Israel and for co-operation with the SPSC.

If the Voice is uncritical of left anti-semitism within the SPSC it is positively servile in its adulation of Stalinism in Cuba (but, again, in line with agreed SSP policy).

“Democracy — Cuban Style” read the banner headline across a centre-page spread in the Voice after Castro had announced his retirement as Cuba’ s head of state.

According to the article: “Critics will no doubt continue to denounce Cuba as a one-party state. However, as the above [i.e. the article’ s description of Cuba’ s electoral system] should have made clear, this is a claim that makes little sense in the democratic system that exists there.”

The article continued: “The Communist Party of Cuba plays no role in selecting candidates, and given that members of the various institutions of People’s Power advertise no party affiliations, talk of political parties does not appear to be coherent in the Cuban context.”

Obviously: only the simple-minded would conclude that because there is only one political party in Cuba, and only one political party permitted by law, then that in some way makes Cuba a one-party state! Not at all, according to the Voice! On the contrary, it is simply not “coherent” to talk of political parties in the “Cuban context”.

Another article in the same of the Voice waxed lyrical about the supposed ongoing advances of the Cuban Revolution, now spreading throughout the rest of Latin America:

Such articles would certainly not be out of place in the Communist Party’ s Morning Star.

It was only consistent, therefore, that the same issue of the Voice opened its columns to an article by Morning Star editor John Haylett urging the paper’ s readers to fill the gaps between the fortnightly appearance of the Voice by reading … the Morning Star!

“The generally more progressive political outlook in Scotland,” Haylett continued, “could result in a big increase in readership … and we’re hoping that Voice readers will make up a fair section of that readership.” After all, the Morning Star is the only daily paper which “penetrates the blanket of disinformation about countries such as Cuba and Venezuela.”

Haylett, it must be said, is not necessarily wrong in identifying the readership of the Voice as a potential target audience for the Morning Star. After all, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between the politics of the two papers.

Perhaps the next stage could be a joint Morning Star-Voice article advocating withdrawal from the European Union?

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