The other day, in a discussion among friends on Israel’s attack on Gaza (I generally avoid them, even on Twitter), one said Hamas started the latest round of shelling by bombarding Israeli towns and inviting a response.
I have no way of verifying this, so I shrugged. Its irrelevant who started it.
On social media I’ve seen Israelis blame Hamas and say they’re merely defending themselves, so they’re justified in attacking Gaza. Israelis ask “what would you do if someone attacked you with rockets?“. Its a really stupid and short-termist question to ask and it misses the wood for the trees.
The Washington Institute recently published a note titled ‘The War Between ISIS and al-Qaeda for Supremacy of the Global Jihadist Movement’ – on tensions between the two movements.
Its worth emphasising briefly that there are differences between the two, mostly that ISIS are even more brutal than AQ and freely break many rules that Osama Bin Laden set for his own people.
But al Qaeda has effectively lost the battle for terrorism supremacy to ISIS / Islamic State.
Orthodox British Muslims are frequently accused of ignoring the voices of women, especially liberal Muslim women, for good reasons. But those aren’t the only ones: their voices are also frequently ignored and used by right-wingers with their own agenda.
It turns out that right-wingers are also happy to ally with liberal Muslim women in their agenda to criticise orthodox Muslims, but will also ignore these voices when it doesn’t suit their agenda. Yep, I’m as shocked as you are!
This particular case involves the long-running dispute over the proposed ‘Mega Mosque’ in East London.
A few observations on the ongoing crisis in Iraq and Syria.
A group called ISIS, which even some in the al-Qaeda leadership have disassociated themselves from, are now rapidly taking over large parts of Iraq. There is a sense of panic in the air because it obviously means more conflict in the Middle East, and more refugees trying to escape their brutal control.
But it has also sparked an odd debate here in the UK.
In the Guardian, Owen Jones writes: ‘We anti-war protesters were right: the Iraq invasion has led to bloody chaos’.
But this has been obvious for a few years now.
A bizarre notion has taken hold of some of my fellow Labour commentators. Some of them believe that the Labour party is going to get around 40% at the next election and win by a landslide. They believe this is not only possible but within reach.
This is a fantasy. The results of the 2015 general election are going to be close. Too close for comfort, in fact.
There are simple reasons for this.
Political journalists love reporting on infighting: it adds drama and excitement to a beat that is usually about boring policy announcements. This isn’t a criticism – as a blogger I loved reporting on infighting too (even within Labour) because it meant clicks, eyeballs and excitement. Its the stuff we worked for.
The local / EU elections have brought Labour MPs John Mann and Graham Stringer to the forefront for precisely this reason: they’re willing to fuel the infighting narrative.
But listen to what they actually say and you soon realise they’re just spouting empty platitudes.
Suzanne Moore has written a column in the Guardian today that I whole-heartedly agree with.
Here’s the key argument:
The rallying cry that “we should call out racism when we see it” is an easy one to make on the Left.
It is up there with “Tories are heartless, evil bastards” and “we should set up a political party that really represents the working class” – in making us feel all fuzzy and perhaps even mobilised to take on the world. Especially when these days you can call out racism with just an ill-tempered and carefully worded tweet. Doing it when Nigel Farage is on BBC Question Time gets you bonus retweets.
But there are several problems with this cry, especially defining what exactly constitutes racism. Furthermore, such accusations don’t always help those its intended to.
The European/Local Elections are coming up next month and the establishment is in full panic. For the first time in British history there is a chance neither the Conservatives nor Labour come first in local elections.
In the Observer on Sunday, Nick Cohen is the latest one to sound the alarm, blaming the media for giving UKIP an easy ride.
This isn’t just lazy, but simply untrue.
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