You might think that with all the things which have come out about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange– his collaboration with the nasty antisemite “Israel Shamir”; his view that if the names of Afghans who cooperate with the US appear in Wikileaks documents, and they are killed as a result, “they’ve got it coming to them”– the “antiwar” Left might want to keep its distance.
You would, of course, be wrong, as you can learn from the Stop the War Coalition website.
As Nick Cohen wrote in The Observer last month:
Once we have repeated Orwell’s line that “so much of leftwing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot”, there is work to do. First, there needs to be relentless pressure on the socialist socialites and haggard soixante-huitards who cheered Assange on. Bianca Jagger, Jemima Khan, John Pilger, Ken Loach and their like are fond of the egotistical slogan “not in my name.” They are well-heeled and well-padded men and women who know no fear in their lives. Yet they are happy to let their names be used by Assange as he brings fear into the lives of others.
Unfortunately I suspect none of the above-named celebrities has denounced Assange, let alone refused to appear on a stage with him.
As for the Stop the War demonstration— which will call for the immediate withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan and, undoubtedly, a lot of other things too– it is scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday October 8, which also happens to be the afternoon of Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. It’s a day that even many secular Jews spend in synagogue and fasting. If you are serious about being an inclusive movement in a country like the UK, it is not a day on which you would hold a mass rally.
Now it’s possible the organizers knew it was Yom Kippur but didn’t care. However I will give them the benefit of the doubt and guess that they simply didn’t know or care.