Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2476

The Israeli ambassador is not welcome in Birmingham 

Last week we found out at short notice that the Israeli ambassador Eitan Na’eh was coming to visit Birmingham.

West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign quickly organised protests.

Part of the ambassador’s trip involved a secret visit to Camp Hill School for Girls.

When the students there heard their visitor was the Israeli ambassador some walked out while others stayed to challenge him.

Now some of the students have written an open letter condemning the visit.

The letter says, “On a week where we heard of an Israeli air strike killing a pregnant woman and her child, when Netanyahu has authorised the sealing-off Palestinian areas of Jerusalem, to host an Israeli Ambassador is nothing less than the endorsement of a state that is currently undertaking what the United Nations has described as war crimes.

“How can we meaningfully support education for all whilst hosting a representative of a state that bombs UN schools in Gaza? A state that bombs Gaza’s university?

“It is a gross insult to the 94 percent of schools in Gaza that are forced to operate on a ‘double shift’ system, to the students who are being denied a quality education as a direct result of the Israeli occupation and blockade.

“If the school wanted to introduce us to a potential career of a diplomat, it could have hosted a diplomat of a country that isn’t illegally occupying another. 

“It could have hosted a diplomat whose state does not encourage voting against recognising the statehood of another country.

“We demand a formal explanation from the school as to why this happened.”

As Israel tries to crush Palestinian resistance, we need to organise however we can to show our support.

Mirfat Sulaiman, Birmingham

Read the students’ full statement at:

Don’t whip over Syria

I can understand the call for Jeremy Corbyn to whip his MPs to vote against any military intervention in Syria (Socialist Worker, 17 October). 

But this would only give his opponents within Labour something to attack their leader about. 

It would be better to point out to those Labour MPs how incompetent Cameron is when it comes to military matters. 

Cameron made the same mistakes in Libya in 2011 that Tony Blair made in Iraq in 2003. 

With the Russian air force flying over Syria any mistake made by our prime minister would be very serious.

David Aitcheson, Dudley

Do robots take jobs?

Stephen Hawking ran an online Q&A session earlier this month. He was asked about the threat that machines pose to employment. This is how he answered.

“If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. 

“Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. 

“So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.”

Graham Hodgin, West London

News boss’s big bonus shows the need to fight

Massive pay rises for bosses at one of the biggest media groups shows why journalists need to fight over pay.

Many Newsquest journalists are paid less than the Living Wage. Yet its latest accounts show it made £60 million before tax while saving £5 million by sacking 228 staff.

Chief executive Henry Faure Walker’s base pay was £401,505. But the accounts show a rise in “performance related payments” of more than a third of a million pounds to him and the finance director.

Strikes at Newsquest earlier this year showed a willingness to fight back. 

Now we need a clear response from our union. 

The NUJ union has a pay conference on 31 October—let’s make it the place to start the fightback.

Phil Turner, Rotherham

Call for solidarity for refugees

This Government and the media have done their utmost to dehumanise refugees. 

The 100,000 people who demonstrated in Manchester at the Conservative Party conference shows that unity is alive and growing against austerity and racism. 

We call on anti-racists, trade unionists, politicians, academics, students, youth, faith, refugee and community groups to support the convoys taking much-needed items to Calais. 

Take part in local activities welcoming migrants and refugees to our cities and towns.

Rhetta Moran and other signatories, Stand up to Racism Greater Manchester

Our pub won’t serve Nazis

While on my break at the Wetherspoons I work in the organiser of the EDL’s anti-immigration march told me they wanted to start the march in our pub.

As soon as this fascist left my sight I started contacting fellow employees. We all agreed that we could not let this happen and went to our manager.

Within 24 hours management ordered our pub in Scarborough to shut for the entirety of the march, refusing to provide for these bigots.

Kirsty Lincoln, Scarborough

You’re wrong about Labour

It doesn’t have to be an either or dichotomy between working in parliament and organising outside (Socialist Worker, 17 October). The establishment will do their best to exert pressure on Jeremy Corbyn. But pressure can be resisted. 

I’m sure Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are highly aware of the movement outside parliament.

Richard Banker, Derby

Don’t bully the poor MPs

Some 21 Labour MPs abstained in the vote on George Osborne’s charter last week.

Now they’re complaining that people are having a go at them on Twitter.

My heart goes out to them.

Anita Sefton, Leeds

Politics of the pigsty

I saw the front cover parodying David Cameron with a pig’s snout (Socialist Worker, 3 October). 

I wish Socialist Worker was following Jeremy Corbyn’s dignified example, firmly challenging the issues without getting personal.

Cameron’s youthful experimentation would surely be accepted and tolerated in someone less nasty. Should anyone be pilloried for their sexual preferences?

Name provided, Birmingham


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Article information

Tue 20 Oct 2015, 16:39 BST
Issue No. 2476
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