A plea to Hillary’s Democrat critics: don’t hand the White House to Trump | Jonathan Freedland

Hostility to Clinton on the Sanders side is so deep that they are in danger of letting the Republican win

Maybe it’s a mistake to worry too much about Susan Sarandon. But her recent musings on the US election make me anxious. Not because I think she has huge influence – if celebrity endorsements swung elections, we’d all be reading Neil Kinnock: The Downing Street Years – but because I fret that others might think like her. And if enough do, we need to brace ourselves for President Donald Trump.

Related: Debra Messing and Susan Sarandon end Twitter fight over Hillary Clinton

Barring a freak event, the choice will be between Clinton and Trump. And anyone on the left should know where they stand

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Brexit, Juncker, Austria and Venezuela – Politics Weekly podcast

Anushka Asthana, Larry Elliott and Jonathan Freedland join Tom Clark to discuss the short-term economic shock projected in the event of Britain leaving the EU – and why Jean-Claude Juncker is hoping Britain’s next PM is not Boris Johnson. Plus Kate Connolly on a knife-edge presidential election in Austria and Jon Watts on the turmoil in Venezuela

The government has released another blood-curdling premonition on a post-Brexit Britain. The country, it says, would face 820,000 job losses and a year-long recession if it votes to leave the EU next month. Meanwhile in Tokyo, EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has been criticising the leave campaign’s figurehead Boris Johnson – but will his intervention have the desired effect?

Joining Tom Clark this week are Guardian political editor Anushka Asthana who is in Japan for the G7 summit; economics editor Larry Elliott and columnist Jonathan Freedland.

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Don’t play the Nazi card

If there's one good thing to have come out of the debate over Labour and antisemitism, it might be the emerging consensus that, when discussing the Middle East, it's best to leave Hitler out of it. And not just the Middle East. Boris Johnson was widely mocked for likening the EU to Hitler's ambitions for Europe, leaving open the possibility that Sadiq Khan might become the first ever London mayor not to make crass references to the Führer.

Still, the casual Hitler comparison is especially toxic when discussing Jews and Israel. It's not just that the charge cannot be sustained - no matter how badly you feel Israel is behaving, it is not guilty of the crimes of the Third Reich - it's also designed to hurt Jews in their most sensitive spot. This is why the near-universal condemnation of Ken Livingstone's declaration that Hitler was a supporter of Zionism is heartening: it suggests people understand how cruel it is to put Jews on the same moral plane as their most murderous persecutors, whether by accusing them of committing an equal horror or suggesting, as Livingstone did, that they colluded with their killers as ideological comrades.

I wish I could say I was blameless on this score, but I can't. Sixteen years ago, I was appalled by a short book called The Holocaust Industry by Norman Finkelstein. I wrote that it echoed arguments made by David Irving, who had just lost his notorious libel action and had been branded by the High Court as nothing more than a "pro-Nazi polemicist". Finkelstein's book praised Irving as having made an "indispensable" contribution to our understanding of the last war. In the final line of the piece I wrote that Finkelstein's outlook took "him closer to the people who created the Holocaust than to those who suffered in it."

I now regret writing that sentence. Finkelstein is a child of Holocaust survivors but even if he were not, I should not have written those words. If I could withdraw them, I would. Implicitly, I had made the comparison - of Jews and Nazis - that I believe should be off-limits.

And yet, drawing that boundary is not as easy or absolute as we might like. Not long after Livingstone's outburst, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Israeli military, told a Yom Hashoah ceremony he saw troubling signs in Israel of the "horrific processes" - of "intolerance, violence and… moral degradation" - that had unfolded in Germany in the 1930s. Last Friday, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak declared that Israel had been "infected by the seeds of fascism".

Naturally, some of Livingstone's initial defenders seized on those remarks to suggest their man was in the clear: if these Israelis could say that, why couldn't he say what he liked?

But the sentiments were completely different. Neither Golan nor Barak were twisting the historical record to suggest Nazis and Zionists were partners in a shared enterprise, as Livingstone had done. They were sounding the alarm - the ultimate alarm - about what's happening in their country today.

And that's the key difference: intention. Golan and Barak were not engaged in scoring points. They were not trying to inflict hurt on Jews, by poking into their deepest wound. They were not taking gleeful pleasure in Jewish anguish. On the contrary, they invoked the precedent of the 1930s because they wanted to warn the country they love - and which they have served - off the dangerous path they fear it is taking. It's not a parallel I would want to invoke. But if it's ever to have a legitimate use, then used this way, by these people, is probably it.

Jonathan Freedland is a columnist for The Guardian

The Greek bailout shows the EU is on its best behaviour – until 24 June | Jonathan Freedland

There’s a sense that our fellow EU states are avoiding issues that will fuel Brexiteers. Instead they are playing nicely, as they did with the loan to Athens

Imagine what’s going to happen at 10.01pm on Thursday 23 June. The polls will have just closed in the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union and, in an instant, the rest of Europe will be able to relax – and revert to type.

Suddenly, the migrant boats will be back on the water, heading for the Greek coast. The floodgates that have been slammed shut will be flung back open. In Brussels, the bureaucrats will reach for the desk drawer they’ve kept dutifully locked and pull out their grand plans to impose straight bananas and ban tasty crisps. And the central bankers will be able to tighten the screws on Greece once more. No longer obliged to play nice – as they did in the early hours of Wednesday morning, when they agreed to release €10.3bn in bailout money for Athens – they’d now be able to revive their demand that Greece live on ever more meagre rations in penance for its huge debts.

Related: Eurozone unlocks €10.3bn bailout loan for Greece

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The Greek bailout shows the EU is on its best behaviour – until 24 June | Jonathan Freedland

There’s a sense that our fellow EU states are avoiding issues that will fuel Brexiteers. Instead they are playing nicely, as they did with the loan to Athens

Imagine what’s going to happen at 10.01pm on Thursday 23 June. The polls will have just closed in the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union and, in an instant, the rest of Europe will be able to relax – and revert to type.

Suddenly, the migrant boats will be back on the water, heading for the Greek coast. The floodgates that have been slammed shut will be flung back open. In Brussels, the bureaucrats will reach for the desk drawer they’ve kept dutifully locked and pull out their grand plans to impose straight bananas and ban tasty crisps. And the central bankers will be able to tighten the screws on Greece once more. No longer obliged to play nice – as they did in the early hours of Wednesday morning, when they agreed to release €10.3bn in bailout money for Athens – they’d now be able to revive their demand that Greece live on ever more meagre rations in penance for its huge debts.

Related: Eurozone unlocks €10.3bn bailout loan for Greece

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The Greek bailout shows the EU is on its best behaviour – until 24 June | Jonathan Freedland

There’s a sense that our fellow EU states are avoiding issues that will fuel Brexiteers. Instead they are playing nicely, as they did with the loan to Athens

Imagine what’s going to happen at 10.01pm on Thursday 23 June. The polls will have just closed in the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union and, in an instant, the rest of Europe will be able to relax – and revert to type.

Suddenly, the migrant boats will be back on the water, heading for the Greek coast. The floodgates that have been slammed shut will be flung back open. In Brussels, the bureaucrats will reach for the desk drawer they’ve kept dutifully locked and pull out their grand plans to impose straight bananas and ban tasty crisps. And the central bankers will be able to tighten the screws on Greece once more. No longer obliged to play nice – as they did in the early hours of Wednesday morning, when they agreed to release €10.3bn in bailout money for Athens – they’d now be able to revive their demand that Greece live on ever more meagre rations in penance for its huge debts.

Related: Eurozone unlocks €10.3bn bailout loan for Greece

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Israel has turned right and exposed the battle within | Jonathan Freedland

Binyamin Netanyahu’s reshuffle was brutal, but don’t rule out one last diplomatic push from President Obama

If the Sopranos did a cabinet reshuffle, it would look a lot like this one. Israel’s defence minister is out, departing not with the polite exchange of letters that would be Westminster custom but a fusillade aimed directly at his former boss. He said he could no longer trust Binyamin Netanyahu – and not only because Netanyahu had just offered his job to someone else.

Related: Israel's defence minister quits over rift with Binyamin Netanyahu

Ya’alon is no peacenik. But he holds to a military ethos that believes might has to be constrained by the rule of law

Related: Israeli PM asks Avigdor Lieberman to be defence minister in shock move

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Israel has turned right and exposed the battle within | Jonathan Freedland

Binyamin Netanyahu’s reshuffle was brutal, but don’t rule out one last diplomatic push from President Obama

If the Sopranos did a cabinet reshuffle, it would look a lot like this one. Israel’s defence minister is out, departing not with the polite exchange of letters that would be Westminster custom but a fusillade aimed directly at his former boss. He said he could no longer trust Binyamin Netanyahu – and not only because Netanyahu had just offered his job to someone else.

Related: Israel's defence minister quits over rift with Binyamin Netanyahu

Ya’alon is no peacenik. But he holds to a military ethos that believes might has to be constrained by the rule of law

Related: Israeli PM asks Avigdor Lieberman to be defence minister in shock move

Continue reading...

Israel has turned right and exposed the battle within | Jonathan Freedland

Binyamin Netanyahu’s reshuffle was brutal, but don’t rule out one last diplomatic push from President Obama

If the Sopranos did a cabinet reshuffle, it would look a lot like this one. Israel’s defence minister is out, departing not with the polite exchange of letters that would be Westminster custom but a fusillade aimed directly at his former boss. He said he could no longer trust Binyamin Netanyahu – and not only because Netanyahu had just offered his job to someone else.

Related: Israel's defence minister quits over rift with Binyamin Netanyahu

Ya’alon is no peacenik. But he holds to a military ethos that believes might has to be constrained by the rule of law

Related: Israeli PM asks Avigdor Lieberman to be defence minister in shock move

Continue reading...

Welcome to the age of Trump | Jonathan Freedland

Whether he wins the US presidency or not, his rise reveals a growing attraction to political demagogues – and points to a wider crisis of democracy

It was the night the American media were too demure to call Pussygate. At the time, Donald Trump had won nothing. Twenty-four hours later, he would be celebrating his first victory in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, setting him on the path to face Hillary Clinton in November. But on this frigid Monday night in February, while a blizzard whipped outside, Trump stood before a packed Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire and prepared to unleash his tongue.

After a rambling monologue that moved from his TV career to the happy, sunny world that would follow his elevation to the White House, Trump came to another of his pet themes: the inadequacies of his rivals. He was attacking the Texas senator Ted Cruz for being insufficiently enthusiastic about the torture technique of waterboarding when a woman in the standing area directly in front of the stage, a kind of Trumpian moshpit, called out, “He’s a pussy!” Trump pretended to look appalled, even walking away from the lectern in faux disgust, before finally, as if under pressure, repeating the insult for the benefit of the cameras that might not have caught it. “She said, ‘He’s a pussy.’ That’s terrible … Ma’am, you’re reprimanded,” he told the heckler, in the manner of a lax teacher going through the disciplinary motions.

Trump is funny. His speech pattern is funny. His flamboyant self-love is funny, his mocking of his enemies is funny

Related: Donald Trump tore up the rulebook of American politics – and is winning | Jonathan Freedland

This rage against the system powers many of the populist movements now making waves around the world

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