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GMB members demand justice at union congress for ‘wrongly dismissed’ officer

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 10/06/2024 - 11:02pm in

Tahir Bhatti “allegedly bullied, harassed, victimised and sacked in a manner that appears to make a mockery of the union’s supposed commitment to equality”

Tahir Bhatti in 2019 with a group of striking union members

Supporters of former GMB union regional organiser Tahir Bhatti have issued a demand for justice for the sacked official, timed to coincide with the GMB’s annual congress. A statement from the ‘Friends of Tahir Bhatti’ group of current and former GMB members explains what he allegedly suffered at the hands of union officials, including bullying and Islamophobia, before being sacked after undergoing heart surgery and becoming the first GMB official to be deprived of the union’s customary long-service bonus:

As GMB’s 2024 Congress gets under way, we demand justice for Tahir Bhatti. The General Secretary’s report to GMB’s 2023 Congress highlighted the launch of a coaching, mentoring and support scheme for black and Asian staff. The London Region section of the report stated that ‘Sadly, some long serving staff left’ and included the name of Tahir Bhatti. What it did not say was that, after being diabetic, suffering a triple heart bypass operation and nearing his age of retirement, Mr Bhatti was allegedly bullied, harassed, victimised and sacked in a manner that appears to make a mockery of the union’s supposed commitment to equality. During his time in the GMB’s London Region, he allegedly suffered disrespectful comments about his religious beliefs and the Prophet Muhammed.

Tahir Bhatti was employed as a Recruitment Officer by GMB on May 10th, 1999. Despite his difficulties with spoken and written English, his ability to speak four different languages enabled him to recruit thousands of members amongst the Asian communities who lived and worked in West London. After 24 years of service, and after undergoing major heart surgery, he was dismissed in highly dubious circumstances for allegedly breaching data protection regulations after it was disclosed that one of his relatives helped him complete an application to the Central Arbitration Committee, after his secretarial staff had retired. His line manager and accuser, a white man who had literacy problems, continued to receive support without which he could not write a letter, but Tahir did not.

The testimonial payment awarded to all departing GMB officers who have completed at least 15 years of service was withheld because of Mr Bhatti’s supposed misconduct. He is the first Muslim and only officer of Pakistani heritage to have ever qualified for a testimonial payment and also the first ever GMB officer to ever have a testimonial payment withheld. Even the previous General Secretary, Tim Roache was allowed to walk away with an £80k payment despite plausible allegations that he was a serial sex offender.  

Mr Bhatti has submitted a claim to the Employment Tribunal that will be heard in October. The GMB’s recently departed legal director was a former partner of Pattinson & Brewer who are representing the union. Up until now, Mr Bhatti has not publicised the appalling treatment he has received at the hands of his former employer in the vain hope that there may be a settlement. Instead, all he has received is a string of aggressive communications from Pattinson & Brewer threatening him with costs if he does not drop his claim.

John Page of Friends of Tahir Bhatti said:

“GMB’s treatment of its first and longest serving Muslim, Asian officer smacks of racism. We are calling for Tahir Bhatti to be reinstated and a full investigation take place into the concerns he has raised about race discrimination, and/or that he is properly compensated for the appalling way he has been treated. Until there is a full and impartial investigation into his claims and justice for Mr Bhatti, GMB’s claim to be on the side of victims of racism will convince no-one.”

The GMB was contacted for comment but had not responded by the time of publication.

Ironically, GMB reps are currently helping staff of the TSSA union, another to be hit by a ex pest scandal, in their strike action against bullying and abuse they say they are receiving from their general secretary. The treatment of Mr Bhatti also appears to mirror the Unite union’s behaviour toward Irish trade unionist Brendan Ogle, who is taking Unite to an industrial tribunal and a libel court for its conduct after he returned from treatment for aggressive cancer.

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International Jewish Collective for Justice in Palestine meets in London this weekend

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 08/06/2024 - 3:53am in

Pro-Palestinian Jews from sixteen countries around the world to gather in London to march and work together for an end to genocide, occupation and apartheid

After almost four years of meeting monthly on-line, leaders and long-time organisers representing twenty-one Jewish groups from sixteen countries supporting justice for the Palestinian people are meeting in person in London for the first ever congress of the International Jewish Collective for Justice in Palestine (IJCJP).

IJCJP’s mission statement explains the reason for its formation:

We are Jews from diverse countries, part of local, national, international networks and organizations. We are connected by our involvement in the struggle for Palestinian rights, and by our determination to work for justice. We oppose Zionism and all forms of racism.

We came together to share our experiences of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism. Although it claims to protect Jews, the IHRA Working Definition is in fact being used to shield Israel from valid political challenge, silence Palestinians, and suppress any mention of Palestinian rights.

The IHRA’s weaponization of antisemitism sets a dangerous precedent for limiting speech on many issues. We take this as our immediate priority, but it is only a starting point for our collective commitment to build a more just world.

Participants will also be joining the Jewish Bloc on the National Demonstration for Gaza march in London tomorrow, expressing their conviction that justice for the Palestinian people is a precondition for justice for us all.

While Israel claims to speak for the Jewish people, growing numbers of Jews around the world are declaring that settler-colonial Israel does not speak in their name. The  organisations are partners in the global movement for Palestinian justice and activists are coming together to learn from one another and maximise the impact of their work. The groups stand in strong opposition to Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza and are active participants in global organising demanding a cease-fire now and full justice and dignity for the Palestinian people.

IJCJP activists are social justice organisers, educators, writers, and others representing Jewish groups from nations around the world: New Zealand, Belgium, France, Israel, United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Luxembourg, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, UK, Germany, Catalonia and Netherlands.

Antony Lerman, author of Whatever Happened to Antisemitism: Redefinition and Myth of the ‘Collective Jew’, a former Director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, said:

Around the world progressive Jewish groups have taken strong stands against the ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, staging eye-catching public protests. The gathering of representatives of many of those groups in London from 8-9 June aimed at maximising impact through closer international cooperation is a natural and significant initiative spearheaded by the International Jewish Collective for Justice in Palestine (IJCJP). It constitutes a major challenge to Jewish establishment bodies giving carte blanche to Israel to continue flouting international law.

On Friday evening, participants will join a Shabbat protest at 6pm at the German Embassy, 23 Belgrave Square SW1X 8PZ, organised by the Black Jewish Alliance. On Saturday 8 June, the agenda is:

  • Attendees will join the Jewish Bloc assembling at 12.15 pm (tbc) in Bloomsbury Square Gardens, WC1A 2NS (the Charles James Fox statue) to take part in the National Demonstration for Gaza.
  • Wieland Hoban from Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East (Germany) will represent the Bloc and the International Jewish Collective for Justice in Palestine as a platform speaker at the rally in Whitehall. Estimated time 2.30 pm (tbc)

Some of those attending the event have spoken about why they are here:

I made this trip to represent AJV because we see genocide being done in our names. We came to throw our weight on the side of life, peace and justice. We will not let our friends – our world – be harmed without making our voices heard. Jewish people are not endangered by protest; all people are endangered by silence in the face of genocide.

IJCJP has let us learn from worldwide experience, while we brought the wisdom of small communities. This conference is very bittersweet. We’ll finally meet in person, but every one of us is heartbroken. It will be quite a mix of emotion and purpose.

Marilyn Garson, Alternative Jewish Voices, Aotearoa (New Zealand)

As we witness the daily horrifying devastation of Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people, we know that groups and communities across the globe are organizing and protesting–with tremendous power and deep conviction–in solidarity with Palestinians. As a US based organization, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is proud to join Jewish groups from 16 countries across the globe this week in London to strengthen and deepen our work as a collective Jewish voice outraged by Israel’s actions and standing strong with Palestine. As partners in the movement for Palestinian justice, we say loud and clear, ‘Not in our Name’ and ‘Never again means never again for anyone.’

Stefanie Fox, Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace, United States

As the unprecedented horror in Palestine continues to unfold, the global solidarity movement has reached an equally unprecedented intensity. This activism is more important than it’s ever been, and that context makes it especially timely for a group that has existed in a digital diaspora for four years to finally meet in person. While the possibilities for online communication and coordination have enabled countless actions that would have been impossible not so long ago, gathering in one place is always a different experience that stimulates different forms of exchange and creativity, and these are more urgently needed than ever.

The situation for Palestine solidarity activists, Jewish and otherwise, is different in each country, and in Germany the movement is faced with particularly repressive methods by the state as well as hostility in the political, cultural and academic mainstream. This makes it especially important to have allies, and it also puts German-based groups like Jüdische Stimme in a position to give other activists information that may help them to deal with their own challenges.

Wieland Hoban, Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East/Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost, Germany

This gathering is enormously significant. IJCJP represents the flourishing Jewish opposition to Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza. We are challenging the moral certainty of those legacy Jewish organizations whose policies and utterances represent unmistakable complicity with Israel’s actions. We call on our fellow Jews around the world to courageously break ranks, embrace Jewish traditions of social justice, and stand up for Palestinian human rights.

Sheryl Nestel, Independent Jewish Voices, Canada

It is crucial that we link with Jewish organisations across the world and stand up in opposition to the genocide being committed in Gaza, the brutal occupation in the West Bank and the decades long dispossession of Palestinians from their land and, indeed, their human rights. Throughout the world, Jewish people are warmly welcomed to the protests in support of Palestinians, not least in London. Being part of this international network means we can learn from each other, exploring the similarities as well as the differences we face in our very different circumstances. After more than four years of meeting via zoom, I am looking forward to meeting in person but when we originally planned this congress, we could not imagine that it would be while Israel seems bent on destroying Gaza – actions which Israel claims is to protect us as Jews; nothing could be further from the truth.

Leah Levane, Jewish Voice for Labour UK

The IJCJP member organisations are shown below, along with their web addresses:

Alternative Jewish Voices of Aotearoa NZ – Sh’ma Koleinu (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Another Jewish Voice /Een Andere Joodse Stem (Belgium)

Boycott From Within/Israeli Citizens for BDS (Israel)

French Jewish Peace Union/Union Juive Francaise Pour La Paix (France)

Independent Jewish Voices (Canada)

Independent Australian Jewish Voices (Australia)

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)–Canada

Jewish Call for Peace (Luxembourg)

Jewish Network for Palestine (UK)

Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East/Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost(Germany)

Jewish Voice for Labour (UK)

Jews for Palestine–Ireland (Ireland)

Jewish Voice for Peace (USA)

Jews Against the Occupation ‘48 (Australia)

Jews Say No! (USA)

South African Jews for a Free Palestine (South Africa)

Tzedek Collective Sydney (Australia)

Erev Rav (Netherlands)

Associació Catalana de Jueus i Palestins – JUNTS (acjp.cat) Spain (Catalan)

Tsedek! Collectif Juif Decolonial (France)

Coletivo Vozes Judaicas por Libertação (@vozesjudaicasporlibertacao) • Instagram photos and videos  (Brazil)

The congress will continue on Sunday.

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US Congress passes Act to defund Defense, State Depts and NSC unless Israel gets all arms

US political insanity regarding Israel in a nutshell as politicians move to cripple their own government unless it enables foreign regime’s genocide

The US Congress has passed a bill that will de-fund the Defense Department, State Department and National Security Council if Joe Biden does not immediately agree to send Israel any and all weapons it wants, with no strings attached.

Biden had delayed some shipments of the largest and most indiscriminate bombs, in a token effort to show that he is not enabling Israel’s genocide, after polling showed many usual Democrat voters will not back him in November’s presidential election because of his support for Israel despite its slaughter of tens and tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children and its deliberate creation of famine in Gaza. But it seems even that token show of resistance is intolerable to Zionist groups.

More than a dozen Democrats colluded with Republicans to pass the new Act titled “To provide for the expeditious delivery of defense articles and defense services for Israel and other matters” by 224-187 votes. The text of the Act reveals the genocidal insanity of a majority of US politicians, most of whom will have received significant funding from pro-Israel groups, or else been threatened that the same groups will fund their opponents at the next election. It mandates the defunding of the three key government departments if Biden does not submit and send Israel :

The world has not gone insane in the fact that so many western politicians – including in the UK – are prepared not just to turn a blind eye to genocide, but to actively enable it. It has long been insane, but the madness has been exposed by apartheid Israel’s nakedly genocidal ambitions.

Biden is said to be prepared to veto the legislation if the Senate does not block it.

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Video: ‘Goodbye Palestine’ – deranged US congressman wants Palestine erased

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 08/03/2024 - 1:53am in

Republican Chuck Fleischmann’s ‘Israel forever’ rant

Republican US congressman Chuck Fleischmann has been caught on video in a deranged rant in which he tells a Palestinian-American ‘Goodbye to Palestine’, appearing – and not denying when asked – to wish for Palestine and its people to be ‘wiped off the face of the earth’.

Fleischmann was challenged by two anti-genocide activists about his support for Israel and began his rant that he will always support Israel before gesticulating in the face of one of the pair and telling them ‘I will never support the Palestinians. Never!’:

Fleischmann’s unhinged rant is a frightening window into the mentality of the US right – and the UK Israel lobby’s murderousness, which differs primarily in being less obviously expressed.

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Cartoon: 2024 congressional schedule

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 06/01/2024 - 9:50am in

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The Year in Corruption

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/12/2023 - 12:59am in

Graft is the ever-present temptation in politics, then and now.

Cartoon: Meet Mike Johnson

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 28/10/2023 - 1:03am in

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Comics, Congress, coup

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Cartoon: Kevin McCarthy's Inquiries

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/09/2023 - 7:50am in

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Cartoon: Aliens address Congress!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 28/07/2023 - 7:50pm in

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