Wednesday September 11, 2019 marks the 18th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center ‘Twin Towers’ in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. In the 18 years that have passed since that day in 2001, countless conspiracy theories have arisen that reject the mainstream account of what happened and who was responsible. Some of the conspiracies come from the lunatic right such as the notorious Alex Jones of InfoWars. But others appear to come from the left. As anti-imperialists, it can indeed be tempting to believe that the US government and foreign policy establishment conspired to create a justification for intervention in the Middle East. But the reality is that such theories are not only far-fetched but also harmful to the cause of opposing needless war.
A long history
The story of what has come to be known as the ‘9/11 Truth movement’ now has a history spanning almost two decades. Practically as soon as the dust had settled over Lower Manhattan, people began questioning what ‘9/11 Truthers’ call the ‘official account’. About a year after the attacks, street rallies proclaiming that “Bush Did It!” were held in California. Soon, a steady stream of books followed, such as Barrie Zwicker’s Towers of Deception, Michael Ruppert’s Crossing the Rubicon, and Mathias Bröckers’ Conspiracies, Conspiracy Theories and the Secrets of 9/11. The internet, meanwhile, has provided a Petri dish in which followers of 9/11 Truther theories can reinforce their mutual belief that the attacks were an ‘inside job’.
Last week, The Canary released Part 1 of an interview with renowned Jewish academic Norman Finkelstein in which he discussed the antisemitism smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. In Part 2, Finkelstein speaks about the alt-right’s love affair with Israel, what he sees as the complicity of swathes of its population in human rights violations in occupied Palestine, and the prospects of a two-state settlement in the possible event of a Bernie Sanders presidency.
The far-right love affair with Israel
Asked about Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s growing alliance with far-right governments around the world, Finkelstein said he sees a strange fetishization of Israel by the ‘alt-right’ because of its brutality to the Palestinians. He said:
Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents have long used antisemitism allegations as a political football to attack the Labour leader. But now, renowned Jewish scholar Norman Finkelstein has demolished the smear campaign’s arguments in an exclusive interview with The Canary.
Antisemitism smears emerged as the Israeli state “lost the battle for public opinion”
Finkelstein, who is the son of Holocaust survivors, began by explaining how smear campaigns based on bogus accusations of antisemitism have a long history. Israeli governments – as well as organisations acting under their command – have periodically used such smears to deflect criticism of the state’s policies:
The Canary has been consistently exposing the shameless use of antisemitism as a political football to attack Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. In recent weeks, for example, ex-MP Clare Short and Jewish-Canadian psychologist Gabor Maté have come to Corbyn’s defence. Prof Norman Finkelstein, a prolific scholar of the Israel-Palestine conflict and son of Holocaust survivors (whose entire extended family died in Nazi death camps), has also been outspoken on the issue. And he recently issued a searing attack on the smear campaign’s orchestrators.
British ruling elites protecting the status quo
Speaking at an event at the Portland State University in Oregon in April, Finkelstein said:
The smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn and his allies shows no sign of abating. It seems his opponents on the right will sink to any depths to dethrone him as Labour Party leader. But now, a former MP has spoken out. And a renowned academic has backed her words up.
Strongly worded letter
In a letter to the Financial Times titled Anti-Semitism accusations are misplaced, former Labour MP Clare Short suggested that the smear campaign is a response to “the growing awareness of the injustice and suffering inflicted by Israel on the Palestinians”. She also pointed out that, “given Jeremy Corbyn’s history on the question, supporters of Israel have worked to extend the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel”.
10 of the candidates running in the Democratic Party primary race went on stage on 31 July for the latest televised debate. Facing off against several establishment figures who argued for traditional centrist proposals, Bernie Sanders made waves with his full-throated advocacy for bold progressive action, including a call for an end to the war in Afghanistan. But it was radical healthcare reform that dominated the debate. And Sanders led the way.
Sanders laying the smackdown
One of the most memorable parts of the debate came when one of the various unmemorable centrist Democrats on stage tried to dismiss Sanders’ Medicare-for-all proposal as unrealistic. Sanders was listing all the things that could easily be covered when congressman Tim Ryan interrupted him by claiming Sanders couldn’t be sure that universal care could be that comprehensive. But Sanders quickly replied, “I do know that; I wrote the damn bill.”
When it comes to carbon emissions, the transport, energy and food industries are usually (and rightly) in the crosshairs of progressive activists and media commentators. But a recent study reveals that there is another major culprit: the US military. In addition to its record of violating human rights, national sovereignty and international law, it turns out that the US military is also a major producer of carbon emissions as well.
A carbon behemoth in its own right
The study from three UK-based academics shows that, if the US military were its own country, it would be the 47th biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, ranking between Peru and Portugal. Summarizing their findings in the Conversation, the researchers say their report “shows that the US military is one of the largest polluters in history.”