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MintPress News: Israel Protests and UK Spying on Palestinian Refugees, with Asa Winstanley

Israel is currently engulfed in strife, as hundreds of thousands have come out to protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial power grab. Netanyahu is attempting to overhaul the judicial system and has dismissed defense minister Yoav Gallant, a move that ignited a storm of indignation.

But as returning “Watchdog” guest Asa Winstanley notes, observers should not mistake this for a liberatory movement. “The protests are not for democracy as they claim. They’re for preserving the Jewish citizens of Israel’s own privileges within the settler colonial entity. That’s what they’re for,” Winstanley told Lowkey today, adding:

They’re not advocating for an equal state, even of all its citizens. Even of all the Palestinian citizens of Israel who live within Palestine, not even advocating for equality for them, let alone the equality of the majority of the population between the river and the sea…they’re not seeking equality.”

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who has been writing about Palestine and the Israel lobby since 2005. He is also the author of the new book “Weaponising Anti-Semitism: How the Israel Lobby Took Down Jeremy Corbyn.” It focuses on the Corbyn era and how an effective smear campaign against him destroyed the movement that brought him to power.

Nevertheless, the scale of the protests and the fact that they have so much support from among the establishment makes this something worth watching, argued Lowkey, who notes that Mossad chief David Barnea has broken protocol and allowed his agents to join the movement and publicly protest.

For many, Netanyahu’s attempts to bend the judicial system to his will signal a dangerous descent into authoritarianism. Winstanley, however, is not convinced, telling Lowkey:

Some are trying to kind of posit what’s happening as a slip into fascism. But the fascism was always there. You don’t get much more fascistic than the cleansing and displacement of three quarters of a million people simply for existing from the land that they were in!”

The United Kingdom, where both Winstanley and Lowkey are from, has long collaborated with Israel, even before it was established. The Balfour Declaration, which the British government signed in 1917, paved the way for the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine. Since then, the U.K. has been a close ally of Israel, promoting its interests and defending it from criticism to this day.

This collusion includes, if Winstanley’s new bombshell report is to be believed, the U.K. government paying for organizations to spy on Palestinian refugees, with that information likely shared with Israeli authorities.

Together with MintPress contributor Kit Klarenberg, Winstanley obtained a cache of leaked documents from the U.K. government-funded Adam Smith Institute showing that the group, alongside the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, was tasked with “infiltrating Palestinian refugee camps”.

Officially, Winstanley notes, the project was aimed at countering extremism in Arab communities, trying to oppose radical narratives put out by the likes of al-Qaeda. But, as Winstanley told Lowkey, the Adam Smith Institute was exposed by a BBC documentary aiding al-Qaeda and al-Nusra in Syria. Therefore, this claim appears weak, at best, and, at worst, nothing more than a cover story.As always, when Winstanley joins the show, an extraordinary amount of knowledge is dropped. Be sure to watch or listen to the full cast here at MintPress News.

The MintPress podcast, “The Watchdog,” hosted by British-Iraqi hip hop artist Lowkey, closely examines organizations about which it is in the public interest to know – including intelligence, lobby and special interest groups influencing policies that infringe on free speech and target dissent. The Watchdog goes against the grain by casting a light on stories largely ignored by the mainstream, corporate media.

Lowkey is a British-Iraqi hip-hop artist, academic and political campaigner. As a musician, he has collaborated with the Arctic Monkeys, Wretch 32, Immortal Technique and Akala. He is a patron of Stop The War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Racial Justice Network and The Peace and Justice Project, founded by Jeremy Corbyn. He has spoken and performed on platforms from the Oxford Union to the Royal Albert Hall and Glastonbury. His latest album, Soundtrack To The Struggle 2, featured Noam Chomsky and Frankie Boyle and has been streamed millions of times.

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