When did it start?

My wife and I read The Guardian (and The Observer on Sunday) to see what is going on. It does carry news, but an awful lot of nonsensical commentary. Obviously, at the moment it is necessary to follow what is going on in Gaza and The Guardian carries several pages on this each day.

It was clear quite early in the current catastrophe that there was a bias (surprise, surprise) and one of its manifestations was the way in which Israeli loss was personalised unlike that of the Palestinians. This has been noted, I’ve seen online, in the US mainstream media too.

The Guardian will show pictures of grieving relatives of the Israeli dead (whether from October 7 or from Israeli soldiers going down since), while Palestinians are mostly seen as just rows of wrapped bodies or maybe a dead child being carried through the rubble.

It is not entirely presented this way (they do have liberal readers to take into account, of course) - just mostly. There has been, lately, a little criticism of Israel (or at least Netanyahu) over destruction, starvation, dead children, etc, and even some Palestinian commentary from inside Gaza. Any criticism tends to be ahead (but not too far) of that from Biden or Cameron.

I skim these articles (and most of the paper) because there is not a lot to them, but one of the things I’ve been watching out for from the start of the current conflict is how quickly they will bring in the October 7 attack. Generally, pretty quickly.

In a pompous piece, entitled ‘The new world disorder: how the Gaza war disrupted international relations’, on April 6 Patrick Wintour, the paper’s diplomatic editor, managed to hold out until paragraph four and then: “… Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, vowed on 9 October, two days after the Hamas massacre in Israel that triggered the war …”

On the same day in the ‘Journal’, the Guardian’s ‘opinion’ section, Jonathan Freedland (who seems to lead the paper’s Zionist stance) opens with ‘Six months after the attacks of 7 October, and it’s time to count again the losses’. I’ve looked at these two papers every day and, as far as I’ve seen, over six months they’ve brought in October 7, 1,200 killed, mostly civilians, 240 hostages … every day, somewhere - in at least one article.

This is all, as Weekly Worker readers and millions of others know, a desperate attempt to make current events the entire responsibility of Palestinians and not the Israeli government, whereas many online articles from the left refer over and over to the past 75 years or even longer. The powers-that-be (ie, the US government) do seem to be a little more worried now, after some non-Palestinians have been butchered, but we will see what happens.

I’ve written about The Guardian’s coverage, but a few weeks ago I got a copy of the Daily Mail just to see. It had Gaza filling a quarter of a page - I can’t remember what it said. I guess there must be a lot of people out there who know even less about this criminal activity than Guardian readers - good lord!

Jim Nelson

Not guilty!

By unanimous decision, a Wood Green crown court jury found Palestine Action activist Blyth Brentnall not guilty of “possessing articles to commit criminal damage” after a two-day trial. Despite being permitted no defence, and having admitted the intention to throw the items - eggs filled with red paint and ketchup - at a building, the acquittal took only one hour’s deliberation.

The intended target was to be Elbit Systems’ former HQ at 77 Kingsway, London, which was vacated over two years ago after Palestine Action’s regular disruption at the site. Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest weapons firm, producing 85% of its military drone fleet and land-based equipment. They also manufacture missiles, bombs, bullets and digital warfare for the Israeli occupation forces - its CEO even boasting of the central role the company is playing in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza.

The activist was arrested after the police found eggs in his backpack during a protest against Elbit Systems’ presence in Britain, occurring amidst the bombardment of Gaza in May 2021, in which Israel killed at least 260 Palestinians, injured 1,900 and destroyed 1,800 residential units.

Due to the nature of the charge faced, the activist had a choice of whether the matter should be heard in a magistrates court or crown court - the defendant chose the latter, so that a jury, rather than a judge, would decide the verdict. Despite the jury’s role, the judge disallowed all defences raised by the defendant, including that an act against Elbit would be one taken to save lives or to prevent a greater crime, and defences relating to the act being a proportionate protest. Despite this, it only took the jury just over an hour to reach a unanimous verdict: not guilty.

The government has increasingly acted to curtail defences available to individuals who engage in protest, civil disobedience and direct action, including most recently the stripping of a ‘consent defence’ - one of the few still available. Nevertheless, the jury upheld reason, deploying the principle of jury nullification in order to decide, as is their right, that no crime had been committed - despite the state’s laughable attempt to prosecute the activist in this fashion. In her closing speech, the activist reiterated the jury’s right to acquit based on their conscience: “According to the judge, I have no defence in law. So it is entirely up to you, the jury, to decide who is the criminal here.”

Speaking after the acquittal, Blyth commented: “I would have been very disappointed if people thought that such a small attempt at direct action was deserving of punishment, in contrast to the genocide being committed right now. Everyone should consider joining Palestine Action if they wish to help end the atrocities taking place by taking action from within the UK.”

Palestine Action


I’ve long had little interest in or respect for Daniel Lazare as a comrade, due to the way he has debated with comrades Moshé Machover and Tony Greenstein - and particularly his denigration of the Palestinian BDS campaign.

So I’m not getting into debate with his letter that cast accusations of dishonesty at me (April 4). He merely proves my political instincts correct that he will twist, misappropriate and is not to be trusted. This is particularly disgraceful when in the context of the genocidal attacks on the Palestinian people right now, for whom Lazare shows no solidarity or empathy whatsoever.

His charges against me are utterly false and disrespectful, if anyone wants to read what I actually had to say in my article about Juliano Mer-Khamis’s assassination (‘Promote a second front’ March 28).

Despite everything thrown at it, the Freedom Theatre that Juliano founded still exists in the Jenin refugee camp and is now launching ‘theculturalintifada.com’ inspired by him. That’s what I was promoting, whilst Lazare cuts and pastes from the London Review of Books in order to carp from the sidelines.

As to his comments on Communist Culture Club - along with my frustrations, as previously expressed, I found it strange that chair Tina Werkmann specifically asked Lazare to be first to comment on the Al Jazeera October 7 film because of his “differences with Tony”. He immediately patronised and accused comrade Greenstein of being “not factual”, but Tony’s was a pre-recorded segment, so no debate on that was possible!

Most telling though was Lazare’s complete ignoring of the extensive evidence in the programme, highlighted by Tony, of Israel’s employment of the ‘Hannibal Directive’- meaning it was better to kill Israelis rather than have them become hostages. Lazare ludicrously justified this as “friendly fire”, killing only “two or three dozen”, with no evidence to back that up. He then went on to say that “something really, really bad happened on October 7”.

Such wilful ignorance and moralistic condemnation of Palestinian resistance puts Lazare firmly alongside the sickening mainstream media and its complicity with the genocide. Shame on him.

Tam Dean Burn

Fantasy world

We know that Gerry Downing is a fantasist, because for some years he has been founder member and (since splitting with the only other member) lider supremo of the Socialist Fight one-person outfit. In this capacity he ‘represents’ one of the many oil-slick Trotskyite internationals. And, judging from his letter to the Weekly Worker (March 28), he is a sociopath as well.

His characterisation of Tommy Robinson as a fascist is definite, because Downing says it must be so.
Downing goes off tangentially into a rant about Gaza, which has no relevance here, so I will not comment on it. Anyone interested in his views (and there is no earthly reason why you should be) can have a look at YouTube, where he is struggling against Andrew Neil’s questioning to explain just what type of Islamic State supporter he is, or an Ian Dale LBC interview, which exposes his deep anti-Semitism.

Downing makes a big show of an article by Paul Demarty in which I simply do not feature - and neither do people such as Tucker Carlson or Eric Zammour. In fact the article concentrates on Frank Furedi’s move to Substack. This reveals Downing’s propensity to ‘read into’ the text like some demented Derridean until the text is deconstructed to fit his requirements.

“I think abuse and ridicule are the proper ways to attack gammon,” says Gerry in school-playground style. In fact they are your only way when you have no actual arguments to present. This is an excellent tactic for the ilk of Downing, who can simply heap abuse on anyone who does not kowtow to them, often employing the race card. Is not this mindless shouting down of opponents more reminiscent of Nazis than anyone rational?!

On gammon, insomuch as it relates to age, I would plead guilty to not being the first ever person to defy age. The problem for Gerry is that on the YouTube vids, from eight years ago, I recall, he looks a damn sight more gammony than me.

To finish off his missive Gerry issues a death threat, which seems to me rather stupid. One, it could put him and the paper in legal jeopardy (as his former colleague managed to do previously) and, more importantly, he has no way to carry it out. It is yet another example of Downing’s fantasy world, where he is some kind of leftist Mafia don.

Yes, Gerry’s missive is amusing, but there is a dark undertone to his writings. So, not wishing to attract any more death threats, I will leave it there.

Ted Talbot


For over six months, hundreds of thousands have marched in cities across the country against Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza. In response, both the Tories and Starmer’s Labour Party have vilified pro-Palestinian activists and many have been arrested.

Escalating these attacks, the government, with the support of Labour, recently moved to designate several Muslim organisations as “extremist”, which opens the door to an outright ban. This is an outrageous threat to the entire Muslim community in Britain. The government’s repression of a vulnerable minority of the British population represents an attack on the whole workers’ movement as well as the left. It must be opposed by the broadest possible forces. An injury to one is an injury to all!

The organisers of the national marches, as well as Muslim and socialist groups, have denounced the government’s attack. They speak of legal action and make the call to continue demonstrating for Palestine. While necessary, this is far from enough. Many have recognised that this is one of the most severe attacks on democratic rights since Prevent, but it has not yet been met with a strong, large fightback!

We call on the Muslim Association of Britain, CAGE International, MEND, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Stop the War Coalition, trade unions and all socialist organisations to come together in a united front. A first obvious step is to organise a large national demonstration to defend the rights of Muslims and oppose the government’s attacks as soon as is feasible.

Partisan Defence Committee