going underground this week

Iranian Professor: Pindo Sanctions on Iran Amount to WAR CRIMES
RT.com, Jul 17 2019

On this episode of Going Underground, we speak to Notis Mitarachi, the Deputy Minister for Social Security in the New Democracy government in Greece. He discusses why Syriza lost the election, whether austerity is coming to an end in Greece, human rights issues in Greece such as conditions for refugees, how Greece can find its way out of the economic crisis and more! Next we speak to former Minister of State at the Home Office Norman Baker (Liberal Democrat) on this weeks top stories including a poll which has Labour finishing in first place in a hypothetical general election, Diane Abbot’s column in the Independent saying the government’s compensation on Windrush is not enough, mainstream media ignoring continued Yellow Vests protests and an Israeli government minister supporting gay conversion therapy and calling for Palestinians’ right to vote being taken away. Finally we speak to Prof. Seyed Mohammad Marandi on escalating US-Iran tensions, the UK seizing an Iranian tanker allegedly bound for Syria, US sanctions amounting to war crimes and more!

Cartoonist slams Groan for spiking illustration over ‘anti-Semitism’
RT.com, Jul 18 2019

Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell has written an angry email to staff after the newspaper declined to publish his latest cartoon, allegedly over worries about “anti-Semitism” and a possible “legal challenge.” In a leaked letter posted to Twitter by BuzzFeed journalist Mark Di Stefano, Bell refers to a “bizarre telephone conversation” he had, presumably with an editor, about his latest cartoon. Bell was told that the paper’s lawyers “were concerned” about the cartoon, which features the Labour Party’s deputy leader Tom Watson as a witchfinder on the hunt for “unholy anti-Semitic tropes,” as well as Bibi Netanyahu.

One of the panels shows Netanyahu with two plush puppets he calls “Trumpy Wumpy” and “Bozzy Wozzy,” clearly referring to Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. “Sorry,” says the cartoon Watson, backing down. “I thought you were members of the Labour Party.”

Bell contends that the caricatures are “not anti-Semitic” or “libelous” and that if Watson objected, he would “make himself look far sillier than he does in the cartoon.” Watson has recently criticized Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of accusations of anti-Semitism within the party. Corbyn’s defenders accuse his political opponents of launching a witch-hunt against him to serve a political agenda. Bell said he “cannot understand” why the cartoon in question would be more open to a legal challenge from Watson than his two previous illustrations, which the Guardian had already published. Those cartoons labelled Watson the “anti-Semite finder general.” Bell writes:

I suspect that the real problem is that it contravenes some mysterious editorial line that has been drawn around the subject of anti-Semitism and the infernal subject of ‘anti-Semitic tropes.’

The email then heats up even more, with the cartoonist suggesting that the Guardian refused to publish the latest cartoon because they too have taken part in much of the Corbyn-bashing. Bell asks:

Does the Guardian no longer tolerate content that counters its editorial line? Is it that you don’t want to offend poor Tom but are quite happy to offend poor Jeremy?

He was referring to a “highly partisan and personally insulting” advert against Corbyn published in the paper on the same day it refused to publish his cartoon. Bell also notes that the Guardian recently published and then deleted a letter in support of Labour’s Chris Williamson, who was accused of anti-Semitism. The letter had been signed by 100 Jews, including academic Noam Chomsky.

The letter sparked outrage among Bell’s fans and Corbyn’s defenders on Twitter. Kerry-Anne Mendoza, editor of the left-wing Canary News, tweeted in “solidarity with a great cartoonist who deserves better than this.” Journalist Jonathan Cook tweeted that the cartoon might have hit “too close to the bone” for the Guardian, “which has been cheerleading the same witch-hunt” that Bell alludes to in his cartoons.

Last month, the NYT announced it would discontinue all political cartoons, after receiving backlash for “anti-Semitism” over a caricature of Netanyahu, who was portrayed as a dog leading a blind Donald Trump. RT’s Going Underground talked censorship with Steve Bell in May. Watch the full video below.

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