In a disturbing coincidence in Missoula, Mont., a Palestine solidarity march to protest the bombardment of Gaza ran into a separate but simultaneous anti-Israel march by neo-Nazis. Since the Gaza bombardment began, open neo-Nazi marches have also been reported from Madison, Wisc., Dallas, Tex., and elsewhere around the country. Yet, in addition to displaying enthusiasm for Hamas, their banners also read "REFUGEES NOT WELCOME"—and we may assume it was a similar ultra-right xenophobe who shot three Palestinian youths in Burlington, Vt. This makes it all the more maddening that elements of the "left" share with the Nazis an unseemly enthusiasm for Hamas—providing much fodder for the pro-Israel and "anti-woke" right. In Episode 201 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg continues to explore the dilemma. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
Amid Israel's massive aerial bombardment of Gaza, accusations of anti-Semitism at demonstrations for Palestine are mounting. But some instances were later revealed to have been distorted or exaggerated. The increasingly accepted official "working definition of anti-Semitism" dangerously muddies the water by explicitly conflating anti-Zionism and Jew-hatred. Media questioning of the claims of the Israeli military has even been compared to Holocaust denial. Yet actual, unambiguous Jew-hatred is meanwhile much in evidence, in America and Europe alike. This raises the imperative on activists to genuinely grapple with the distinction, rather than merely dismissing anti-Semitism as Zionist propaganda—which is, ironically, itself an anti-Semitic response. In Episode 201 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores the dilemma. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
As Israel crosses the genocidal threshold in Gaza, a regional summit in Riyadh protests, and issues an urgent call for a ceasefire. Yet the regional powers at that summit are guilty of equivalent crimes—Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and Iran and the Basar Assad regime in Syria. Assad's propaganda chief Bouthaina Shaaban especially decried Israel's targeting of hospitals in Gaza. Yet as recently as last month, the Assad regime bombed hospitals in Syria's rebel-held north. Indeed, the Assad regime also savagely bombed and besieged Palestinians for months, at Yarmouk refugee camp outside Damascus. In Episode 200 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes with chagrin that key organizers of this month's National March on Washington for Palestine included pseudo-left "tankie" formations that actively support the genocidal Assad regime. They also now abet Russia's genocidal campaign in Ukraine, in which hospitals have been repeatedly targeted. This moral contradiction undercuts our effectiveness in advancing the urgent demand for a ceasefire in Gaza.
In Episode 197 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes that as Israel crosses a genocidal threshold in Gaza, Vladimir Putin hypocritically protests the carnage—despite the fact that he has already crossed that threshold in Ukraine. This hypocrisy is precisely mirrored by that of Joe Biden. The moral position of Ukraine's resistance to Russian aggression, occupation and genocide is undermined by the contradiction of its Western backers such as the US marshalling massive resources—in the very same legislation just introduced by Biden on Capitol Hill—to assist Israeli aggression, occupation and genocide.
On Oct. 18, unknown assailants targeted a Berlin synagogue with Molotov cocktails, while rioters in Tunisia burned down the historic El Hamma synagogue. Berlin police reported that two unidentified persons threw the Molotov cocktails at the Kahal Adass Jisroel synagogue in the center of the city. No casualties or significant property damage were reported. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned the attack and promised to protect the country's Jewish communities, saying, "Anti-Semitism has no place in Germany." He also noted in later comments that the legacy of the Holocaust means Germany must be extra vigilant. The Kahal Adass Jisroel community was resolute, with the synagogue's chairperson saying, "We will live on, we will be strong, we will stay."
On Oct. 13, Israel ordered 1.1 million people living in the north of the Gaza Strip to evacuate to the south of the enclave within 24 hours, ahead of an expected ground invasion. The order came after gunmen from Hamas, the political and militant group that governs Gaza, carried out an unprecedented incursion into Israel on Oct. 7, killing more than 1,300 people, including many civilians, and taking between 100 and 150 hostages. The UN called on Israel to rescind its evacuation order, with a spokesperson saying it is "impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences."
There is "continuous evidence" that Russian armed forces are committing war crimes in Ukraine, including unlawful attacks with explosive weapons and attacks harming civilians or targeting energy infrastructure, as well as torture and sexual and gender-based violence, the UN Human Rights Council's Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine said in its latest update Sept. 25.
In Episode 190 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses the cases of Azat Miftakhov, Darya Polyudova, Aleksandra Skochilenko, Yelena Milashina, Larysa Schchyrakova, Maksym Butkevych and other Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian anti-fascist activists imprisoned by the dictatorships of Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko. These courageous women and men recognize these twin allied regimes as now actually having crossed the line into fascism—despite the paradoxical fascist pseudo-anti-fascism of their propaganda. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.