LiveLeak Bans Parody Video Critical of America’s Military Intervention of Ukraine

A must see.


Despite claiming to be a bastion of free speech LiveLeak has banned a video that parodies America’s invasion of Ukraine by comparing it the popular US movie Team America by a user called Hughestown Pravda based in Pennsylvania.

Hughes 1

In the video the increasing US presence in Ukraine is shown with pieces of footage cut and pasted from several video including one from an official US Navy propaganda video and one from Iranian news outlet PressTV. The song Team America Fuck Yeah was added as a soundtrack to the piece.

Hughes 2

The video was up for less than an hour before it was removed by LiveLeak for breaching its terms of service and the user banned without an official explanation of why the video breached LiveLeaks Terms of Service.

Hughes 3

For those not in the know LiveLeak is a user uploaded website that shot to fame during the first gulf war where video…

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Corbynomics: Investment versus Speculation

Left Futures

Corbynomics and crashes: investment versus speculation
Posted: 03 Sep 2015 06:02 AM PDT
Words matter. But in economic discussion as elsewhere they are frequently abused. In economic commentary one of the most frequent falsehoods is to describe speculative activity as investment. Stock market ‘investors’ are in fact engaged in speculative activity. There is no value created by this speculation. The claim made by its apologists that it provides for the efficient allocation of capital to productive enterprises is laughably untrue in light of both recent events and long-run history. In fact, a vast number of studies show that that there is an inverse correlation between the growth rate of an economy and the returns to shareholders in stock market-listed companies.
The chart below is just one example of these studies, Fig. 1. The research from the London Business School and Credit Suisse shows the long-run relationship between real stock market returns and per capital GDP growth. The better the stock market performance, the worse the growth in real GDP per capita. The two variables are inversely correlated.
The Economist found this result ‘puzzling’. But it corresponds to economic theory. The greater the proportion of capital that is diverted towards speculation and away from productive investment, the slower the growth rate will be, and the slower the growth in prosperity (per capita GDP).
Fig.1 Stock market returns and per capita GDP growth

This is exactly what has been happening in all the Western economies over a prolonged period. SEB has previously identified a declining proportion of Western firms’ profits devoted to investment. The uninvested portion of this capital does not disappear. Instead, it is held as cash in banks and the banks themselves use this to fund speculation and share buybacks by companies (which simply omits the banks as intermediaries in the speculation). The effects of this are so marked that some analysts believe ‘financialisation’is the cause of the current crisis, when instead it is an extreme symptom of the decline in investment and the consequent growth of speculative activity.
Stock market crashes
It is now customary in the Western financial press to routinely ascribe all aspects of the Great Stagnation to some failing in China. So, China’s fractional currency devaluation has been identified as the culprit of the recent stock market plunges, even though the 3% devaluation of the Chinese RMB followed a 55% of the Japanese yen and a 27% decline in the Euro.
The claim that the crashes were caused by China’s currency move has no factual basis. Fig.2 below shows the closing level of the main US stock market index in August. The S&P 500 rose from 2,083 to 2,102 in the 4 days after the RMB’s 3.2% devaluation which finished on August 13 (first arrow).
On August 19 the Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) of the US central bank released the minutes of its most recent meeting (second arrow), which was widely interpreted as indicating a strong likelihood that interest rates would be increased in September. The prior closing level for the S&P500 was 2,097 and it fell sharply thereafter. Following speeches by a number of governors of the US Federal reserve (who vote on the FOMC) questioned the need for an increase in rates, and the market has recovered in response. Yet other speeches pointing once more to a rate rise led to stock market falls once more, and so on.
Fig.2 S&P500 Index

But this uncertainty over US rate increases is only the proximate cause of the crashes. This sharp fall is a stock market verdict that it cannot easily absorb higher US interest rates. The current valuations for the stock market are based on official short-term interest rates of 0.25% and a dividend yield on S&P500 stocks of 2.24%. Even if rates were only doubled to 0.5% the level of the stock market becomes much less attactive. If rates were to rise towards 2%, the risky stock market’s dividend yield looks extemely unattractive compared to risk-free short-term interest rates.
There is a spearate matter that the US economy does not look robust enough to absorb any significantly higher interest rates, but this hardly concerns stock market speculators. Fig. 3 below shows the pace of growth in US industrial production versus the same month a year ago. Production has slowed for a year and is down to a snail’s pace in the last 3 months, averaging less than 1.4% from the same period a year ago. The latest data show that the US economy is experiencing only modest growth, with GDP in the 2nd quarter just 2.6% higher than a year ago.
Fig.3 Growth In US Industrial Production

Despite the widespread hype about the British economy, the equivalent data on industrial production is growth of 1.5% for the latest 3 months compared to a year ago. For the Eurozone it is 1.2%. In China, industrial production has grown by 6.3% in the latest 3 months compared to the same period a year ago.
Corbynomics and crashes
Since 2010 the major central banks of the US, Japan, and the Eurozone have created US$4.5 trillion, Yen 200 trillion and €1.1 trillion in their respective Quantitative Easing programmes. The Bank of England has added £375bn of its own. Over the same period short-term official interest rates have been at or close to zero. Long-term interest rates have also plummeted. This has not led to a revival of investment in the advanced industrialised economies. After the short-lived stimulus in some Western economies to end the 2008-2009 slump, total fixed investment (Gross Fixed Capital Formation) has slowed to a crawl in the OECD as a whole, as shown in Fig.4 below.
Fig. 4 OECD GFCF, % change 1996 to 2013

Yet over the same period the main stock market indices in the OECD economies have soared. The stock markets and real GDP are inversely correlated. The S&P500 index has effectively doubled since 2011. The Eurofirst 300 has risen by 55%, the Nikkei 225 in Japan has risen by 125% (boosted by currency devaluation) and the FTSE100 has risen by 25% (a poorer performance held back by the predominance of weak international oil and mining stocks). Data for 2014 is not yet available but the total cumulative increased on OECD GFCF from 2011 may not have reached 10%.
Corbynomics is the policy of attempting to address an investment crisis with an increase in investment. Its critics repeatedly claim that this policy will cause financial turmoil. In light of recent events this assertion ought to cause a wry smile. At the very least, the most powerful central banks in the world have to reassess their intentions on policy simply because of the wild gyrations in the stock markets. These have been accompanied by further large movements in global currency exchange rates.
The reason stock markets are so febrile, and policy so easily blown off course is that a bubble is being created in financial assets because of the combination of monetary creation, ultra-low interest rates and weak investment. Capital that could be directed towards increasing the productive capacity of the economy is instead being used to finance speculation; the worst of both worlds. This policy has caused inflation in financial assets such stock markets, in house prices and (previously) in commodities prices. But continued economic stagnation means that deflation is now the greater risk in the OECD economies at the level of consumer prices.
Corbynomics addresses those risks because its aim is to raise the level of investment in the economy. By increasing the productive capacity of the economy through investment-led growth it overcomes the weakness of the economy. By redirecting the flow of capital from speculation towards investment, it deflates the speculative bubble. So, to take an obvious example, by building new homes it provides housing and employment while deflating the house price bubble.
The root of the objection to Corbynomics is the insistence that the private sector, private capital must be allowed to dominate the economy in its own interests. But the current Western economic model is a combination of shopping and speculation, leading to stagnation. Corbynomics is the antidote to these; prosperity through investment-led growth.
This article first appeared at Socialist Economic Bulletin

Corbynomics And PQE With Ellen Browne

Corbynomics and PQE
British MP Jeremy Corbyn has proposed a “People’s QE” that has critics crying hyperinflation and supporters saying it’s about time.
Dark horse candidate Jeremy Corbyn, who is currently leading in the polls for UK Labour Party leadership, has included in his platform “quantitative easing for people.” He said in a July 22nd presentation:
The ‘rebalancing’ I have talked about here today means rebalancing away from finance towards the high-growth, sustainable sectors of the future. How do we do this? One option would be for the Bank of England to be given a new mandate to upgrade our economy to invest in new large scale housing, energy, transport and digital projects: Quantitative easing for people instead of banks.
As his economic advisor Richard Murphy further explains it:
People’s quantitative easing is . . . a highly directed process where the debt that is . . . repurchased has been deliberately created and issued either by a green investment bank or by local authorities, health trusts and other such agencies for the specific purpose of funding new investment in the economy at the time when big business and financial markets are completely failing to deliver the scale of investment that is needed to get the UK working again and to restore our financial prosperity.
According to the Positive Money group:
Ideas in a similar vein have been advocated or at least suggested by notable economists including J M Keynes (1), Milton Friedman (2), Ben Bernanke (3), William Buiter (4) and Martin Wolf (5). Most recently, Lord Adair Turner (6) has proposed similar ideas, highlighting that ‘there are no technical reasons to reject this option’.
Perhaps, but critics have found plenty to criticize. Peter Spence writes in the UK Telegraph:
A victory for Jeremy Corbyn in the next general election would put Britain on a collision course with Brussels and condemn the UK to “Zimbabwe-style ruin”, experts have warned.
. . . Tony Yates, a former Bank economist and now a professor at the University of Birmingham, said: “Down that road leads monetary policy ruin. . . . That’s what Zimbabwe was doing, where they ended up paying all their bills by printing new money.”
Spence also quoted Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who said, “The reason why one doesn’t even start on this conversation is the removal of any discipline on fiscal policy that comes from that.”
The Bogus Hyperinflation Threat
Dire warnings of Zimbabwe-style hyperinflation have been leveled against quantitative easing (QE) ever since the Federal Reserve embarked on it in 2008. When the European Central Bank announced in January 2015 that it, too, would be engaging in QE – along with the US, the UK and Japan – alarmed commentators warned of currency wars, competitive beggar-thy-neighbor devaluations and hyperinflation. But QE has been going on since the late 1990s, and it hasn’t happened yet. As Bernard Hickey observed in the New Zealand Herald on August 30th:
The US Federal Reserve cut its Official Cash Rate to almost 0 per cent in 2008 and has left it there. It launched three rounds of so-called quantitative easing and has only just stopped printing money to buy Government bonds.
The Bank of Japan has been printing for years and only recently ramped that up to try to lift its economy out of decades of perma-recession. The European Central Bank has cut its deposit rate to minus 0.2 per cent to try to force savers to invest. That means savers have to pay the bank to mind their money. . . .
China has blown $310 billion propping up a stock market that has fallen at least 43 per cent from its peak. It pushed the Chinese yuan lower and spent another US$200b to stop further falls.
This week the People’s Bank of China cut its main lending rate to 4.6 per cent and loosened lending rules for banks.
Yet there is no sign of the threatened hyperinflation:
All this rate-cutting and money printing has made it attractive to buy stocks, property and bonds that produce a regular income greater than the near-zero interest rates. . . .
But, curiously, all this money printing and 0 per cent interest rates have yet to unleash the inflation dragon, at least for goods and services. Asset prices are pumped up and juicy, but goods manufactured in factories and in cloud services are firmly in deflationary mode.
Why? According to conventional economic theory, increasing the money in circulation has only one effect: when the quantity of money goes up, more money will be chasing fewer goods, driving prices up. Why hasn’t that happened with the massive rounds of QE now gone global?
A Flawed Theory
Conventional monetarist theory was endorsed until the Great Depression, when John Maynard Keynes and other economists noticed that massive bank failures had led to a substantial reduction in the money supply. Contradicting the classical theory, the shortage of money was affecting more than just prices. It appeared to be directly linked to a massive wave of unemployment, while resources sat idle. Produce was rotting on the ground while people were starving, because there was no money to pay workers to pick it or for consumers to buy it with.
Conventional theory then gave way to Keynesian theory. In a March 2015 article in The International New York Times called “Keynes Versus the IMF,” economist Dr. Asad Zaman writes of this transition:
Keynesian theory is based on a very simple idea that conduct of the ordinary business of an economy requires a certain amount of money. If the amount of money is less than this amount, then businesses cannot function — they cannot buy inputs, pay labourers or rent shops. This was the fundamental cause of the Great Depression. The solution was simple: increase the supply of money. Keynes suggested that we could print money and bury it in coal mines to have unemployed workers dig it up. If money was available in sufficient quantities, businesses would revive and the unemployed labourers would find work. By now, there is nearly universal consensus on this idea. Even Milton Friedman, the leader of the Monetarist School of Economics and an arch-enemy of Keynesian ideas, agreed that the reduction in money supply was the cause of the Great Depression. Instead of burying it in mines, he suggested that money could be dropped from helicopters to solve the problem of unemployment.
And that is where we are now: despite repeated rounds of QE, there is still too little money chasing too many goods. The current form of QE is merely an asset swap: dollars for existing financial assets (federal securities or mortgage-backed securities). The rich are getting richer from bank bailouts and very low interest rates, but the money is not going into the real economy, which remains starved of the funds necessary to create the demand that would create jobs. To be effective for that purpose, a helicopter drop of money would need to fall directly into the wallets of consumers. Far from being “undisciplined fiscal policy,” getting some new money into the real economy is imperative for getting it moving again.
According to Social Credit theory, even creating more jobs won’t solve the problem of too little money in workers’ pockets to clear the shelves of the products they produce. Sellers set their prices to cover their costs, which include more than just workers’ salaries. Chief among these non-wage costs is the interest on money borrowed to pay for labor and materials before there is a product to sell. The vast majority of the money supply comes into circulation in the form of bank loans, as the Bank of England recently acknowledged. Banks create the principal but not the interest necessary to repay their loans, leaving a “debt overhang” that requires the creation of ever more debt in an attempt to close the gap. The gap can only be closed in a sustainable way with some sort of debt-free, interest-free money dropped directly into consumers’s wallets, ideally in the form of a national dividend paid by the Treasury.
As Keynes pointed out, price inflation will occur only when the economy reaches full productive capacity. Before that, increased demand prompts an increase in supply. More workers are hired to produce more goods and services, so that demand and supply rise together. And in today’s global markets, inflationary pressures have an outlet in the excess capacity of China and the increased use of robots, computers and machines. Global economies have a long way to go before reaching full productive capacity.
Running Afoul of the EU
A more challenging roadblock to Corbyn’s proposal may simply be that there are rules against it. Peter Spence writes:
Key parts of the Labour leadership frontrunner’s plans would fall foul of EU laws intended to avoid runaway inflation, and consign the UK to a three-year legal battle with the European Court of Justice (ECJ). . . .
Mr Corbyn’s proposals would clash with Article 123 of the Lisbon Treaty, which forbids central banks from printing money to finance government spending.
Perhaps; but the ECB has already embarked on a QE program involving the purchase of government securities. What are government securities but government debt used to finance government spending? The rule has already been bent. Why not bend it in a way that actually benefits the economy, the people, and the nation’s infrastructure? Corbyn’s proposal is needed, it will work, and it is an idea whose time has come.
with ellen Browne

Brace For Quantitative Tightening

Brace for Quantitative Tightening, As China Leads Forex Reserves Purge
Thomson Reuters | Last Updated: August 29, 2015 12:06 (IST)
More From Global Economy
London: After six years of QE, prepare for QT.

Faith in the power of “quantitative easing” has prompted central banks, led by the US Federal Reserve, to pump trillions of dollars of stimulus into the global financial system to cushion the impact of the 2007-08 market crisis and recession.
This supply of liquidity continues to flow. The European Central Bank has taken the baton from the Fed and is leading the way with its 1 trillion euro ($1.1 trillion) bond-buying programme that will run through September next year. The Bank of Japan is also buying large quantities of bonds.
But a counter flow – call it “quantitative tightening” – is gathering force as China sells foreign exchange reserves to protect its economy and markets from the recent surge of capital out of the country. Other emerging markets are following suit.
Analysts at Citi estimate that global FX reserves have been depleted at an average pace of $59 billion a month in the past year or so, and closer to $100 billion over the last few months. A source at another large global bank said emerging market central banks may have sold up to $200 billion of FX reserves this month alone, of which $100-$150 billion likely came from China.
“The potential for more China outflows is huge,” said George Saravelos, currency analyst at Deutsche Bank in London. “The bottom line is that markets may fear QT has much more to go.”
China is by far the world’s biggest holder of FX reserves, most of which is in dollar-denominated assets like U.S. Treasury bills and bonds. At the end of June it had $3.69 trillion compared with around $150 billion at the turn of the millennium.
But that has fallen steadily from a peak of almost $4 trillion a year ago. Some of that is down to exchange rate fluctuations as the dollar has risen, but an increasingly important driver recently is outright selling.
It’s difficult to know with certainty how much and which assets specifically China has sold, because the currency and asset composition of its reserves is not disclosed.
Using International Monetary Fund currency reserves data as a proxy, around two thirds will be in dollars. U.S. Treasury data show that China holds $1.27 trillion of U.S. bills and bonds, but analysts agree it is substantially more than that.
China and emerging markets led the build up in global FX reserves following the 1997 Asian crisis to a peak of $12 trillion last year. This shielded them from the 2007-09 global crisis, and looks like it is once again being deployed.
“China selling long Treasuries ????” Bill Gross, the widely followed bond fund manager at Janus Capital, said on Twitter during Wednesday’s selloff in U.S. Treasuries.
The implications of China and others selling off their Treasury holdings are potentially huge.
In isolation, a reserves drop the equivalent to 1 percent of U.S. GDP (around $178 billion) would lead to a rise of 15-35 basis points in the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield, Citi said, citing a range of academic studies.
Yang Zhao, Chief China Economist at Nomura, estimates that the People’s Bank of China sold close to $100 billion of FX reserves in July, and again in August.
“Our calculation for capital outflow for July is $90 billion. But during July the exchange rate was unchanged, suggesting the PBOC sold a lot of FX … close to $100 billion,” Yang said in a briefing with journalists last week.
“After a 3 percent depreciation the PBOC tried to defend the renminbi and they started to intervene very aggressively. So I would say in August it would (also) be very close to $100 billion.”
Plunging commodity prices and fears over growth prospects, particularly in China, have sparked a rush for the emerging market exits. Figures from CrossBorder Capital, a research and money management firm in London, suggests capital flight from emerging markets in the past year is almost $1 trillion, of which more than $750 billion has come out of China.
This has forced many emerging market central banks to dip into their reserves to manage the fall in their currencies and stop it from turning into an even more savage rout.
But fears of intensifying global “currency wars” have been stoked by China’s devaluation of the yuan earlier this month, renewed slides across global EM exchange rates and subsequent devaluations of the Vietnamese dong and Kazakh tenge.

Asset Backed Securities Precipitated The Crash: Let’s Do It All Again

Asset-backed securities precipitated the crash: let’s do it again!
It is almost unbelievable, but true, that at the highest levels of today’s capitalism it is being proposed that the asset-backed securities which provoked the banking crash in the first place should now be relaunched as the best avenue for recovery. Both Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, and Carney, governor of the Bank of England as well as chair of the Financial Stability Board, have given their support in the last few days to a resumption of securitisation. The latter may have an arcane name, but the idea is clear enough. The banks, instead of waiting 25-30 years to get their money back on a mortgage loan, transform what is an illiquid asset (property) into a liquid asset by pooling them and slicing them into smaller securities that are then sold for immediate cash to investors. It’s being argued that that’s not only good for banks by enabling them to lend more (and thus make more profit) and to reduce their exposure to risk, it also (it is said) raises economic growth by increasing overall investment. This is a schoolboy howler: it may accelerate the financial merry-go-round of exotic financial derivatives, but it certainly won’t increase investment in real things.
There are two other aspects of this which really stand out. First, it is an incredibly risky manoeuvre. It will be said of course that the lessons of the 2008-9 crash have been learnt so that these proposed new securitised assets are much safer. It is however worth looking closely at the grounds on which these claims are being made. It is said that’incentives are now better aligned’ by making those selling these securities retain a part of the risk. But how big a part, and will it really stop that part being parked offshore beyond the UK jurisdiction or sold on by some form of regulatory arbitrage?
It is said there will be greater transparency to improve investor awareness of the underlying assets. But how will that work when most investors are so anxious to trade up their profits that they never read closely what’s written on the tin. And it is said there will be measures to stop banks off-loading low-quality lending. Really? After the experience of banks in the last decade, it’s surely naive to expect that will work.
But, second, the really big objection to this really barmy proposal is that it’s hugely dangerous. The last time round they nearly brought down the global economy. Does it make any sense at all to re-deploy such mechanisms even if this time around their riskiness has been marginally reduced? So why are they doing it? That’s the most interesting question of all. It is incredible that for ideological reasons they are so obsessed with using monetary mechanisms exclusively that they won”t even consider any fiscal relaxation (e.g. using public investment to generate expansion and job creation) to spark growth even though that’s obviously the right answer.

Muslims And Jews Working Together

London, United Kingdom – Muslims and Jews living in the same North London neighbourhood are making a stand together against hate crime amid concerns of an increased threat to both communities in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.
Jewish communities in the UK have been on a heightened state of alert since a siege orchestrated by a gunman at a kosher supermarket in the French capital left four hostages dead, with police and Jewish neighbourhood watch groups stepping up security around synagogues and schools.
The government also pledged police support for mosques amid reports of an increase in anti-Muslim hate crime following the linked attack by gunmen claiming allegiance to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula on the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
Meanwhile, a widely reported survey conducted earlier this month by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, a lobbying group established last year, suggested that increased numbers of British Jews were questioning their place in their own country.
More than half of respondents said they were fearful that Jews had no long term future in Europe, and one in four said they had considered leaving the UK because of rising anti-Semitism.
Although subsequently criticised as methodologically flawed, and described as “incendiary” by the Institute of Jewish Policy Research think-tank, senior politicians expressed alarm at those conclusions.
“I never thought I would see the day when members of the Jewish community would say they were fearful of remaining here in the United Kingdom,” said Theresa May, the home secretary. Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, vowed the city would remain a “safe haven” for Jews.
Difficult times
But in the Stamford Hill neighbourhood of Hackney, north London, where Europe’s largest concentration of Haredi Jews and a substantial Muslim minority share the same streets, community leaders of both faiths said they stood united.
“The Jewish community and the Muslim community are facing difficult times at the moment, but it is not a case of them or us. We are all in the same boat,” Munaf Zeena, chairman of the North London Muslim Community Centre, told Al Jazeera.
“We have a big Jewish community here, and they have been victims in Paris. I think we have a responsibility to make sure that those who feel uncomfortable or unsafe feel supported. It is our role to give them that moral support and to stand by them in every way we can.”
Rabbi Herschel Gluck, a veteran international conflict mediator and founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum, a local initiative established in 2000, said Jews and Muslims were “not just living side by side”.
“There is a palpable feeling of warmth when one sees members of the other community in the street or going about our business,” Gluck told Al Jazeera. “It is not just that we tolerate each other. We actually engage constructively as very good neighbours with each other.”
Gluck said the idea for the forum, the first Muslim-Jewish interfaith organisation of its kind in the world, grew out of his involvement in peace and reconciliation work in conflict zones, including the Middle East, Kashmir, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Sudan.
“I thought, ‘Hang on a second, here I am working throughout the world, what’s happening in my own backyard? Is everything as rosy as it could be?'” he said.
“I felt that while things were okay, we were living in a changing world and you never know what tomorrow is going to bring. I thought, ‘Is our relationship strong enough to stand a crisis in the future?'”
‘Never forgot’
Relations between the two communities in Stamford Hill have deep roots, dating back to the arrival of Muslim migrants from South Asia from the late 1950s onwards. Among those who initially welcomed and helped them settle was a small community of Hindi-speaking Indian-born Jews.
“When we came we had nothing, and a lot of the estate agents and solicitors were Jews. Many of them were very helpful at a grassroots level. We never forget someone who helps us and the relationship grew and blossomed,” Eusoof Amerat, a community advocate, told Al Jazeera.
“It isn’t just that we acknowledge each other’s faith, cultures and ways of life. It is more to do with justice and fairness. When we deal with things we try to be just. If it is our side that is wrong we will accept that. Whether at a local, national or international level, where justice and fairness are not there, division grows.”
One recent initiative endorsed by both communities has been the work of the Shomrim, a police-trained voluntary Jewish community patrol that responds to reports of crime, anti-social behaviour and other incidents.
In recent months, information provided by the Shomrim has helped police make arrests following a number of cases of apparently anti-Semitic vandalism, with vehicles and a school sign daubed with swastikas, and dozens of cars, including many belonging to Muslim families, having their tyres slashed.
But Ian Sharer, a local councillor, said none of the reported incidents had involved anyone from the local Muslim or Jewish communities.
“There have been a few nasty things, but the number of incidents involving Muslims and Jews in the past year is nil and despite everything that has happened in the Middle East and Paris it is still nil. Relationships are not strained at all,” Sharer told Al Jazeera.
In 2013 Al Jazeera reported on how the Shomrim had added local mosques and other Muslim institutions to the sites monitored on their patrols following attacks on places of Islamic worship in the aftermath of the killing of a British soldier in London.
The group has also advised the Muslim community on protecting its own buildings, and Chaim Hochhauser, Shomrim’s supervisor, told Al Jazeera he would be “more than happy” to see a Muslim counterpart organisation established.
“We still do patrols around the mosque. We are there for the whole community. At the heart of Shomrim’s objectives is an ethos of supporting all Londoners’ safety. If any harm happens to the community everyone suffers,” said Hochhauser.
Last year the Shomrim were cited for their “courage” in supporting the Muslim community by John Kerry, the US secretary of state, in a speech introducing the US’ annual report on international religious freedom. Addressing an anti-Semitism conference in Berlin in November, Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, also paid tribute to their efforts.
“The rights they were defending were not only the human rights of Muslims, but the human rights of Jews as well,” said Power. “The Shomrim understood that a Europe where anyone feels afraid or endangered because of the actions, beliefs, or speech of a neighbour is a Europe where everyone’s rights are at risk.”
Faithful cooperation
Stamford Hill’s Muslim leaders have also been praised for standing in solidarity with their Jewish neighbours.
“I was greatly impressed with the cooperation between the Jewish and Muslim communities, and particularly with the work done at the North London Muslim Community Centre, which is available to everyone in the area,” Gillian Merron, chief executive of the Board of Deputies, the representative body of the British Jewish community, told Al Jazeera during a visit last week.
“This is a great model of local cooperative engagement and something we all could learn from. It feels as if the community is really reaping the rewards of the many years of work through the Muslim-Jewish Forum.”
Munaf Zeena admitted that maintaining neighbourly relations sometimes meant agreeing to disagree on divisive issues, such as Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands. Yet, he said, when local Muslims raised money for the victims of Israel’sassault on Gaza last year, a substantial donation was made by the Jewish community.
“Everything we do here, we have a bigger picture in mind,” he said. “Sometimes you ignore problems that exist because if you want to have peace in the world, if you want people to be able to live side by side, then you look at the bigger picture.”
For local Haredi Jews, many of whose families arrived in London as refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe or as Holocaust survivors, Tuesday’s Holocaust Memorial Day and 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, marks a grim reminder of the darkest days in their history.
But Rabbi Gluck said he believed the example of Stamford Hill proved the potential for Jewish and Muslim communities elsewhere in the world to flourish side by side.
“Historically, Jews and Muslims have generally got on well,” he said. “Of course, different situations have a different dynamic and we can’t say it works here so it will work somewhere else. But at the same time, if we do put in the work it will certainly make things better.”

UN Disengagement Force Shows Israel Helping Terrorists

The new documents show that Israel has been doing more than simply treating wounded Syrian civilians in hospitals.
The Syrian ambassador to the UN has long complained of a Zionist conspiracy working with the Syrian rebels to overthrow President Bashar Assad. Now, a report from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) reveals that Israel has been working closely with Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights and have kept close contact over the past 18 months. The report was submitted to the UN Security Council at the beginning of the month. The documents show that Israel has been doing more than simply treating wounded Syrian civilians in hospitals. This and a few past reports have described transfer of unspecified supplies from Israel to the Syrian rebels, and sightings of IDF soldiers meeting with the Syrian opposition east of the green zone, as well as incidents when Israeli soldiers opened up the fence to allow Syrians through who did not appear to be injured. At one point, a small tent city was erected around 300 meters away from the Israeli sector for about 70 families of Syrian deserters, the report said. The Syrian army then sent a letter of complaint to UNDOF, warning them to evacuate the camp or it would be considered a target, and claiming that terrorists were using the camp to cross into Israel. Israel’s health ministry says around 1,000 Syrians have received treatment in Golan hospitals, but maintains that only civilians are treated. The UNDOF report, on the other hand, says they have seen Israelis treating civilians as well as insurgents, including members of al-Qaida and Islamic State. The report said UNDOF “observed at least 10 wounded persons being transferred by armed members of the opposition from the Bravo side across the cease-fire line.” UNDOF has monitored the Golan Heights buffer zone between Israel and Syria since 1974. Six countries contributed to the 1,200-strong brigade. UNDOF peacekeepers have been the target of kidnappings and attacks carried out by al-Qaida on the Syrian side since September, causing hundreds of troops to withdraw to across Israeli border.