Podcast: from Baghdad to Bialystok —to Pico-Robertson

In Episode 232 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines the politics of the ugly dust-up between pro-Palestinian protesters and local Jewish residents in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pico-Robertson—and notes the anniversary of June 1941 anti-Jewish pogroms in Bialystok, Poland, and Baghdad, Iraq. Propagandistic and distorted portrayals of the LA protest as mere arbitrary anti-Semitism ignore the fact that the targeted synagogue was hosting a real estate event promoting sale of lands to create "Anglo neighborhoods" in Israel, and probably in the occupied West Bank (which would be a clear violation of international law). On the other hand, insensitivity to (or ignorance of) the historical context (and contemporary context) that makes an angry protest outside a synagogue an inevitably problematic "optic" only abets the propaganda. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Russia suppressing Ukrainian language in occupied areas: report

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on June 18 said that Russian authorities have violated human rights obligations by suppressing the Ukrainian language and injecting propaganda into educational curricula in occupied Ukrainian territories. Changes to the school curriculum include an array of disinformation aimed at justifying Russia's invasion and portraying Ukraine as a "neo-Nazi state." According to HRW, Russian authorities have also introduced military training in school, mirroring the resurgence of youth-military training in Russia, and have required secondary schools to send lists of all students aged 18 and up for conscription into the Russian military. International law prohibits the forced enlistment of an occupied population into the occupier's military.

Anti-Semitism versus anti-Zionism: beyond parsing

The Zionist propaganda machine continues to weaponize the accusation of anti-Semitism to delegitimize any effort to resist Israel's genocidal assault on Gaza. This increases rather than decreases the responsibility of activists to distinguish—and oppose—actual anti-Semitism. Yet in recent weeks, sectors of the activist response to the Gaza genocide in the United States have utterly surrendered to the most abject, undisguised, unambiguous anti-Semitism—playing right into the hands of the Zionist calumnies. Bill Weinberg discusses this difficult reality in Episode 231 of the CounterVortex podcast.

Honduras implements 'Crime Solution Plan'

The National Defense & Security Council of Honduran President Xiomara Castro announced in a national broadcast June 14 a sweeping plan to crack down on crime and safeguard public security. The Crime Solution Plan calls on the Defense and Security secretaries, the Armed Forces, and the Military Police are to immediately plan and execute interventions in municipalities with the highest incidence of major gang-related crimes, such as assassination, drug trafficking, extortion, kidnapping, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, and money laundering.

Podcast: from Palestine to Western Sahara

Benjamin Netanyahu's gaffe on French TV, displaying a map of the "Arab World" that showed the occupied (and illegally annexed) Western Sahara as a separate entity from Morocco, sparked a quick and obsequious apology from the Israeli Foreign Ministry. But the snafu sheds light on the mutual hypocrisy at work here. There is an obvious hypocrisy to Moroccan protests that demand self-determination for the Palestinians but not the Sahrawi, the indigenous Arab inhabitants of Western Sahara. The hypocrisy of Israel is also obvious: Israeli commentators and hasbara agents are the first to play the "whataboutery" game—relativizing the plight of the Palestinians by pointing to that of Kurds, Berbers, Nubians, Massalit and other stateless peoples oppressed under Arab regimes. But, as we now see, they are just as quick to completely betray them when those regimes recognize Israel and betray the Palestinians. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system. Bill Weinberg breaks it down in Episode 229 of the CounterVortex podcast.

Netanyahu's new map flap: multiple ironies

Well, this is ironic multiple ways. Israel was forced to apologize to Morocco after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was seen in a video displaying a map of the Middle East and North Africa—that failed to show the occupied (and illegally annexed) territory of Western Sahara as within the kingdom's borders. Netanyahu brandished the map in a May 30 interview with a French TV channel, showing what he called "the Arab world" in green, a swath of near-contiguous territory from Iraq to Mauritania—contrasting small, isolated Israel, "the one and only Jewish state." The point, as usual, being Israel's supposed vulnerability and (by implication, at least) delegitimization of Palestinian claims—as if all Arabs were an undifferentiated mass and 7 million Palestinians could decamp for Jordan or Egypt and be content. (The operative word in Israeli political rhetoric being "transfer.")

Podcast: New Caledonia in the Great Game

Azerbaijan, now facing accusations of genocide against Armenians, suddenly rallies to the defense of the Kanak indigenous people in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia, and accuses France of a legacy of "crimes against humanity" in its colonial holdings. This appears to be blatant retaliation for French support of Armenia in the conflict between the two Caucasus nations. The repression of the Kanak uprising in their colonized homeland and the cleansing of the Armenians from their usurped ancestral lands both demand our protest—but the propaganda game makes everything more complicated. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system. Bill Weinberg discusses in Episode 227 of the CounterVortex podcast.

France accuses Azerbaijan of interfering in New Caledonia

France accused Azerbaijan on May 17 of interfering in the conflict in New Caledonia, and spreading anti-French propaganda on social media to enflame the unrest in the French overseas territory. The charge was based on a report published by the French state investigative agency Viginum, alleging that Azerbaijan has disseminated "manifestly inaccurate or misleading content—photo or video montages—blaming France for its handling of the situation in New Caledonia in the context of the riots." The report came one day after French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin accused Azerbaijan of making an agreement with the New Caledonia independence leadership, implying that this was retaliation for French support of Armenia in the conflict between the two Caucasus nations. Darmanin further added that France will not cede to the violence, and that it maintains sovereignty over New Caledonia.

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