‘Rising from the east’ – communities, culture and politics in London’s East End

‘Rising from the East’, Sunday 15th November

A day to explore communities, culture and politics in London’s East End, organised by the Jewish Socialists’ Group.

Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6LS
Entrance £5 (£3 concs). Places limited to 90.

Book in advance by sending a cheque/PO to “JSG” at:
JSG, BM 3725, London WC1N 3XX

Flyer [PDF]


11.00 Registration

Session 1: Rebels with a cause

11.30-12.10: East End Jewish anarchists before WW1 – lessons for the 21st century
(Ben Gidley)

12.15-12.55: Minnie Lansbury – feminist, socialist and rebel Poplar Councillor
(Janine Booth)

Lunch / Book signing by Bill Fishman, author of many books on East End history and a Cable Street veteran

Session 2: The struggle for better lives

1.35-2.15: Self-help, solidarity and socialism: the Workers’ Circle
(David Mazower)

2.20-3.00 Doctors and Politics in East London
(John Eversley)

Break for refreshments

Session 3: Bengalis and the East End – a continuing story

3.15-3.55 The East India Company and the silencing of East End histories
(Georgie Wemyss)

4.00-4.40 Bengali politics in London’s East End
(Ansar Ahmed Ullah)

Jewish Telegraph article on the Octagon Theatre Bolton.

Read the article

All cures for breast cancer welcome except Israeli cures

This is the academic boycott of Israel. Delegates to a breast cancer conference in Cairo receive disinvitations from the Egyptian Health Minister. These doctors and scientists are refused access to conferences and denied entry into Egypt because they are Israeli. And we learn that aggression against Israeli doctors and scientists is frequent.

“IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman said that Israeli doctors and scientists are often confronted by hostility when attending professional conferences abroad.

Eidelman said that medicine and science are not political. Even those who oppose policies of the government of Israel should never inject politics into these fields, which aim to save lives and to which Israelis contribute a great deal, he said.

He called on the government to launch a serious campaign against such boycotts and have “zero tolerance” for them. The IMA, he said, would be happy to participate in such efforts.”

The conference organisers eventually obtained assurances from Cairo that Israelis would be able to attend. It’s not clear whether they did attend.

Boycotting Israeli academics and academia has nothing to do with Palestinian emancipation – it’s just a vindictive, opportunistic and self-harming pursuit undertaken by campaigners pursuing ulterior motives at the peripheries of that struggle.

The Israel Medical Association on Tuesday denounced all boycotts of Israelis at international medical conferences such as the one held in Cairo last week on coping with breast cancer.

IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman said that Israeli doctors and scientists are often confronted by hostility when attending professional conferences abroad.

Eidelman said that medicine and science are not political. Even those who oppose policies of the government of Israel should never inject politics into these fields, which aim to save lives and to which Israelis contribute a great deal, he said.

He called on the government to launch a serious campaign against such boycotts and have “zero tolerance” for them. The IMA, he said, would be happy to participate in such efforts.

Eidelman added that conferences that keep Israelis out would constitute a “black day for science in Israel and around the world.”


David Cesarani on Kaminski and the Tories on The Guardian’s Sounds Jewish.

Listen to the October edition of Sounds Jewish Here.

Unpacking the PACBI Excuse

Interesting article on DIVEST THIS! : Unpacking the PACBI Excuse.

INVESTIGATE: All My Children

The Octagon Theatre in Bolton announced they were to show the play “Seven Jewish Children” with a panel debate. They have now decided to show “Seven Other Children” as well and now have a slightly more balanced panel for the panel debate.


All My Children seeks to offer audiences the opportunity to consider the issues raised by All My Sons and Seven Jewish Children. We have also extended an invitation to Richard Stirling, the author of Seven Other Children, and the original cast of the New End Theatre production of Seven Other Children to perform the play as part of the event. Seven Other Children was written as a direct response to Seven Jewish Children.

Some speakers have been suggested by the Bolton Palestine Solidarity Society. Other speakers, including Richard Gold and Jonathan Hoffman will be offering an alternative perspective. Scroll down for a full line-up of speakers.

Although some speakers have firm political views, they understand that the purpose of the event is to consider the issues raised by the three plays, and to assess their merits as plays.

The convener and facilitator for All My Children will be David Thacker, Artistic Director of the Octagon Theatre Bolton.

Order of events


1. Octagon Theatre Bolton presents
An extract from
All My Sons
By Arthur Miller
Director David Thacker

“An excellent cast is headed by George Irving… Margot Leicester… She gives a beautifully layered performance… Miller’s powerful work still has resonance today, as does his condemnation of those who make deceitful profit from war.” THE STAGE

Although some productions of Miller seem to show him to be dated and long-winded, Thacker has shown that with the right hand on the helm he can still be as powerful, emotionally-charged and relevant as he ever was.” BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE

Discussion of some of the issues raised by the play.

2. Octagon Theatre Bolton presents
Seven Jewish Children

By Caryl Churchill
Director Elizabeth Newman
Performed by the cast of All My Sons
“Carol Churchill’s ten-minute play was written in response to the recent tragic events in Gaza. …What she captures, in remarkably condensed poetic form, is the transition that has overtaken Israel, to the point where security has become the pretext for indiscriminate slaughter. Her play becomes a heartfelt lamentation for the future generations who will themselves become victims of the attempted military suppression of Hamas.” Michael Billington (THE GUARDIAN)

An open analysis of the play – facilitated by David Thacker

3. Evergreen Theatrical Productions Ltd presents
Seven Other Children

By Richard Stirling
Director Simone Vause

“The issues to be raised and discussed during the afternoon are sensitive but vital. As is happening in similar theatres elsewhere, such as in Norway and California, the Octagon has shown it is not afraid of embracing these issues in a theatrical forum for debate.” Richard Stirling (WRITER)

A theatrical response to Seven Jewish Children allows Caryl Churchill’s play and Seven Other Children to be subjected to balanced scrutiny, in the context of a debate about the responsibilities of writers and artists in society.

Simona Armstrong
Rob Cavazos
Philip Chamberlin
Gerel Falconer
Joel Laurence
Joy McBrinn
Claire Malka
Jodie Osterland
Phineas Pett

An open analysis of the play – facilitated by David Thacker

All My Children will be the sixth in our Investigate series, which is designed to encourage theatre-goers to investigate plays and consider the issues raised by them. The first in this series – on verbatim theatre – was chaired by David Edgar who, in his summing up, said that it was the most important discussion on theatre that he had ever attended.


Linda Clair – Chair of Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Of Jewish origin. Recently visited the West Bank.

Richard Gold – an editorial board member of Engage. Engage is a single issue campaign. It focuses on anti-Semitism.

Jonathan Hoffman – co-Vice Chair of the Zionist Federation. His articles and letters are published in a wide range of newspapers including the Jerusalem Post, the Guardian and the Independent.

Dr Brian Iddon – Labour MP for Bolton SE and secretary to the All Parliamentary Britain-Palestine Group. Has visited Palestine several times. He is also a patron of the Octagon Theatre.

Asad Khan – Consultant Physician in Bury. Visited the West Bank in 2007. Member of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel and the British Medical Committee on Palestine.

Richard Kuper – Chair and Publications officer of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, an organisation of more than 1,300 Jews in Britain.
Norma Turner – Manchester health care worker. Visited Gaza post Jan 2009 and recently visited the West Bank.

Final Plenary

UPDATE : The minibus bringing the cast of “Seven Other Children” from London has a few spaces on it. So if anybody wants to come and needs a lift from London and back then contact engage.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and the “over-influential Friends of Israel”

Read about Alibhai-Browns bigotry Here.

It is hard to believe that someone as bright as Naomi Klein gets it wrong so many times.

This is a guest post by Absolute Observer.

New Voices in an Interview of Naomi Klein.

Reading I thought, yup, she nicely sums up the BDS campaign in a few words. Then, you realise that she is not talking about the anti-Zionists, but Jews! (I like also the way NK takes the latest anti-Zionist view (see the President of Iran) and projects the Israel – Holocaust link onto the Jews, as if that is the only way Jews think about Israel.

“There’s a way in which we want to exclude Israel from the world and say it is so special, so different, that no analysis except for one specific to the Jews and the Holocaust is allowed to have any place in the discussion. For so many Jews, there’s a deep defensiveness around Israel, a profound desire to see Israel as an exception in every way. I get letters from people saying, I agreed with you about everything in the book, but you lost me completely on Israel.'”

Then there’s this gem……….Here it is Klein herself who can’t seem to break the link with Jews and their experience in Germany (all 250,000 them!) which she then universalises. Apparently, it is “shocking” for Klein, that Jews “of all people” can be “right-wing economists” bearing in mind, not their experiences in Nazi Germany, but in Weimar!

“Of all people”??

Whilst someone once asked, “Will Jews never be forgiven for the Holocaust?”; Klein now asks, will Jews ever be forgiven for the economic conditions that may, assuming other factors being equal, give rise to “Fascism”?

“One of the most disturbing reactions that I got to the book was when I presented it in Germany. Some of the right-wing economists I’m writing about are Jewish, like [Milton] Friedman. Talking to German journalists who were essentially accusing me of anti-Semitism was a really unique phenomenon. I never make an issue in the book of Friedman being Jewish, but I can tell you on a personal level that I find it shocking that Jewish economists, of all people, knowing the history of the conditions in the Weimar Republic that created the rise of fascism, willfully shocked economies and created conditions where tens of thousands of people were suddenly thrown into poverty.”

Looks like that on this question, the German journalists understood the point Klein was making better than she did herself.

Karl Pfeifer: anti-semitism (explicit and implicit) in Hungary

This is a guest post by Karl Pfeifer:

Anti-semitism (explicit and implicit) in Hungary

By Karl Pfeifer, Vienna

The implicit anti-semitism of a Hungarian Catholic bishop

A year ago I published an article about Hungarian anti-semitism in which I mentioned the Catholic bishop Balázs Bábel who:

“…was educated according to the doctrines of Ottokár Prohászka”, “one of the leading persons of anti-semitic ideology.”

Prohászka published his antisemitic views in English: The Jewish Question in Hungary, The Hague, Holland, 1920, and also in German: Die Judenfrage in Ungarn, Hammerschlaege, Deutschvölkischer Schutz und Trutzbund. Hamburg 1921, Heft 21. (see illustration).

On October 6, 2009 bishop Balász Bábel delivered a speech at the commemoration of the 13 revolutionary generals who were executed by the Habsburg rulers, after the crushing of the first Hungarian republic in 1849 in Arad (nowadays in Romania). He used this occasion to spread his coded anti-semitism: and to state that today:

“we are at the mercy of the big powers, but even worse, under the rule of impersonal money. They do not send an army against us, but the hawk-capital”.

The expression “hawk-capital” (“karvaly tőke”) was previously used by the Hungarian Nazi Arrow Cross leaders, the German Nazi term was “raffendes Kapital” (“money-grubbing capital”) i.e. Jewish capital.

In the leftwing Budapest daily “Népszava“ László Bartus published an article on this subject and reminded his readers, that the leader of the Hungarian revolution Kossuth characterised three Catholic bishops as “traitors“. Bartus described the help given by the Hungarian Catholic Church to the Habsburgs in crushing the revolution.

Kossuth said of the Hungarian Jews “nobody has given so much in life and material for Hungarian liberty as the Jews.“ [1]

Oszkár Molnár’s, Fidesz MP wild antisemitic, racist and homophobe statements [2]

This politician has stated on record that he has evidence that gypsy mothers take medication so as to bring mentally disabled children into the world and that they often beat the unborn child in the mother’s womb with rubber hammers in order to make the child physically handicapped after birth. Of course he has no such evidence and the local social welfare authorities deny his charges. Around 400 Roma women have initiated legal proceedings against Oszkar Molnar, an MP of the opposition Fidesz party and mayor of Edeleny (NE Hungary), in response to these “defamatory remarks” about Roma women. [3]

The Jews want to occupy and buy up Hungary and are assisted enthusiastically by our political leaders, motivated by their wish to increase their fortune. At least this is the opinion of Oszkár Molnár, mayor of Edelény and member of parliament for the right wing Fidesz party. Molnár, the “hospitable nationalist” who joined Fidesz in 1993, has neglected local politics and recently has been implicated in various political scandals, of which his statement about gypsy mothers was just the first. Népszava has linked its article with three videos

The Fidesz MP explains in the first video [4] that, “Jewish big business wants to occupy our land, with our agriculture, drinking water, hospitals and schools. One has to be quiet about that in Hungary”. But he is not “quiet“. Not satisfied with these declarations he adds, that children in Jerusalem learn Hungarian because they regard Hungary as the future homeland of Jews.

In the second video [5] Oszkár Molnár expounds some surprising ideas: The original language of humanity is it seems Hungarian. According to this conservative MP the Hungarians are the oldest people of the world, and are genetically more developed than others. Thanks to this, the Hungarian will survive everything. Similar statements were also made by the Nazis and of course by their counterparts the Hungarian Arrow Cross movement.

This politician says in the third video [6] that shocking things happen in Hungary and he threatens gays (who he describes in the most crude and offensive language) with prison.

Fidesz seems happy to tolerate the fact that one of its prominent members peddles racism, anti-semitism and homophobia, despite the fact that they belong to the mainstream European People’s Party.


  1. Bartus László: A bishop remembers (Egy érsek megemlékezik), Népszava, Oct 8,2009
  2. The Jews ruin our land, on which the gypsies and the homosexuals are sponging – look at the videos of Oszkár Molnár, Népszava, 9.10.09
    (A zsidók tönkreteszik országunkat, amin a cigányok és a melegek élősködnek! – Nézzen Molnár Oszkár videókat! )
  3. http://www.politics.hu/20090914/roma-women-file-defamation-suit-against-mayor
  4. Oszkár Molnár doesn’t even spare the Jews
  5. Hungary above all
  6. Homosexuals should go to prison

Good luck to Dave Osler !

Good luck to Dave in defending a libel case. Read the latest HERE.