Lowkey on Gaza

18 Nov

Lowkey addresses a Free Julian Assange demo in London, October 2021

I’ve seen and snapped Lowkey twice at rallies for Julian Assange but, not being a rap fan, 1 paid little heed beyond noting with approval that, as with Roger Waters and Vivienne Westwood, here was a celebrity on the right side of history.

Anyone who incurs the ire of Britain’s formidably well funded Israel Lobby gets my sympathetic if not my full attention. But when that lobby bays for his removal from Spotify – presumably a key source of his livelihood – on account of his “problematic songs”, I sit up and take notice.

Which has led me to see him differently. More than an icon for the rebels of a generation much younger than mine, he is a journalist outside the corporate sphere of that degraded profession.

And one in remarkably full possession of the facts.

Judge for yourself. The first video runs for 21:18 and shows Lowkey interviewed by sympathetic anchors for America’s Breakthrough News, founded in 2020 by NYC journalists Ben Becker and Eugene Puryear to:

… tell the untold stories of resistance from poor and working-class communities – because out of these stories we will construct a different narrative of the world, as it is.

The second runs for 14:42 and has Lowkey interviewed by a more adversarial but, to give him his due, polite Piers Morgan. Predictably, the latter seeks to pin down his guest on the narrow question: will he or will he not condemn the Hamas attacks of October 7?

Lowkey’s response is a masterclass in the importance of doing your homework, 2 but also in how not to be caught in reductive traps. 3

* * *

  1. I don’t mean I dislike rap music – rappers like Eminem (whose dark ballad, “Stan”, made this site’s hallowed Tune of the Day slot) and Dr Dre amaze me with their wordplay – but I don’t know the form or its artists well enough to claim to be a fan.
  2. As Norman Finkelstein, one of Israel’s most effective scourges, has pointed out, the key to remaining unruffled in exchanges with defenders of the apartheid state is – and this is generalisable to other adversarial exchanges where we sense our interlocutor is wrong but, lacking the information, lose our tempers – is to know our facts. To which I would add that it is equally important to not lose sight of the bigger picture: in this case of Israel as a beachhead in the middle east.
  3. ‘Reductive traps’ are as old as the hills – would the Nazarene,  the Pharisees demanded, have his followers pay their taxes (and thereby support the Roman occupier)?   Fast forward two millennia: would Arthur Scargill condemn the violence of striking miners?  What they share, besides simplistic reductivism, is a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t invitation to dance to the tunes of abusive power. Same day update: I’ve just seen Yanis Varoufakis interviewed yesterday on Al-Jazeera. See his reply to the “why won’t you condemn Hamas?” trap at 10:50.(Also noteworthy is his assertion at 05:05, apropos the ridiculous Queen Ursula’s Gaza comments, that “we have a duty, as Europeans, to not take this person seriously”.)

10 Replies to “Lowkey on Gaza

  1. Whoops!


    “Challenged by MSNBC interviewer Mehdi Hasan about Israel’s revision of its claimed death toll from 1,400 to 1,200, Regev answered that two hundred bodies they had thought were ‘ours’ were in fact Hamas operatives:

    But as French entrepreneur Arnaud Bertrand has pointed out in a tweet highlighting the video clip, this means that for six weeks the Israelis believed that burned bodies in cars and houses were their own people – and that they were burned by Israel, since Hamas would not have had the inclination – and indeed did not have the means – to incinerate their own operatives during the raid:

    So 200 burned bodies previously identified as Israelis were in fact Hamas… Which tends to confirm they were burned by Israeli fire (doubtful they self-immolated) and would therefore mean that Israel thought during a month they’d burned 200 of theirs…..

    …..Regev’s accidental admission, as he tried to cover Israel’s barbarity and deception even toward its own, appears to put beyond any reasonable doubt of the truth of eyewitness and investigative reports that Israel’s response to the Hamas raid was in fact responsible for most if not all of the deaths surrounding the kibbutz. So much so that for weeks Israel didn’t even know that some of the people it immolated were not their own citizens.”

    I wonder what the odds are on Piers Morgan insisting that Zionist apologists condemn any slaughter of Israeli citizens by the IDF on 7th October? It would have been far better to wait until the Truth had got its boots on following an independent review of the evidence rather than falling for The Official Narrative which, as Jonathan Cook observes….


    …..was created with the express purpose of attempting to justify Genocide.

    I guess the concept of due process is beyond the ken of simpletons like Piers Morgan. Just as it is with the rest of the collective Western political and media classes.

    • Exactly.

      Here’s something from the vaults of 2016

      More importantly, the fact Piers is trying, by his standards, to be respectful with Lowkey highlights the more glaringly his own unconscious indoctrination. I don’t call it hypocrisy. It’s more insidious than that. Because the ruling ideas of any epoch are the ideas of its ruling class, this man genuinely believes he’s approaching this with a fair and open mind.

      He isn’t because he can’t.

    • Cheers Steve. Yes, the Ben and Michael dialogue is well worth a listen. It would have had an airing in one of my last few posts but I was too spoilt for choice! I’m glad you’ve added this link.

  2. Thanks again Phil for this. I am so far out the loop up here that I am delighted you have introduced me to the wonderful Lowkey. I have now sent that link onto all sorts of people. We are having a peace vigil in Dunoon organised by a lovely woman who is Israeli who is also a well respcted Interfaith minister here. Her stance is subtle and sounds like a call for peace, which it is, and most people are drawn into what she’s saying. But it is not what it seems. She is saying until both sides acknowledge the right to the other to exist then nothing can happen or will happen. Investigating closer I disicovered she was talking about Hamas having to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. Compassion, empathy, a true seeing of the apartheid oppression of a whole people, steallng their land and occupying them, and now this genocide is absent. This woman is going to make a speech. I will have to stand up and give a different kind of speech. I am trying to work out how to do it in a way that people can hear as Dunoon is not a sophisticated place. I think I will call on some of what we had to do in Ireland. Wish me liuck!

    • Hi Anne. It would seem reasonable to tease out the definitions of the terms being used when statements are made about recognition of the right to exist.

      What is it that we are being asked to recognise when we are being asked to recognise the right of Israel to exist? If it is to recognise an Aparthied State committed to treating anyone and everyone – including not only Palestinians but also every other group and religion – as not only second class citizens but as having no rights to exist to contaminate the purity of such a State which is seeking to expand into the lands of neighbouring peoples (Lebanon, Syria, the Sinai in Northern Egypt) then that should be made explicit to enable people to make an informed assessment.

      Such a State is not and never will be serious in reciprocating recognition to anyone else. It is an exclusionary State which has no respect for anyone else who it views as sub-human.

      • Our replies to Anne have crossed Dave. Hence the overlapping of yours with the caveat in the opening paragraph of mine:

        Israel’s right to exist – as distinct from existing in its current, unsustainable form …

      • Thank you very much for this Dave. And thank you too to you Phil. What you have both said is clear and articulate and I wil be using it! I have stood up and spoken in all sorts of situations so I am not sure why I am so anxious about this. Feeling the support from you two is great. Thank you.

    • Anne, I’m dashing out so can’t give this the reply it merits. IMO, refusal to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist – as distinct from existing in its current, unsustainable form – is a non starter. Why not insist on Australia, Canada, USA and other colonially “settled” states ceasing to exist? It’s so not going to happen. Such morally absolutist grandstanding is of a piece with the virtue-signalling, red line drawing I open the next post with.

      Flip that and you see the mirror opposite: Zionist weaponising of the “we can’t deal with Hamas because they want our total elimination” card. The real aim isn’t to damn Hamas (in part an Israeli creation to weaken Fatah). It is to block any form of Palestinian state.

      I see the faint outline of a way forward through the emerging bipolar world expedited by this and by Ukraine. Washington’s hand, at the root of both Israeli intransigence and the region’s wider turmoil – not for nothing do we speak of the Empire of Chaos – is rapidly weakening. So are those of the Israeli Right, and of Hamas. Both China and Russia have seen armed jihad, in Xinjiang and Chechnya, and don’t like it one bit. India even less! Yet these will be the movers and shapers of a just, hence durable, peace in the region. The aims of Hamas, with its Muslim Brotherhood links, are no more realistic than the ISIS pipe dream of a 21st century Caliphate. Any serious moves to settling the Palestine Question – and again I think these will be one consequence of October 7, so Hamas can be thanked for services rendered even as its leaders are shown the door – will soon marginalise both the “drive out the Jews” brigade, and the Greater Israel fantasists.

      • Oops. Got carried away in my last sentence. Replace “soon marginalise” with “sooner or later marginalise” …

        I’m inclined to caution on such matters though as regards moving the fading of the US hegemon, events do seem to be speeding up.

        While I’m in edit mode, let me replace:

        Both China and Russia have seen armed jihad, in Xinjiang and Chechnya …


        Both China and Russia have seen (as has Syria) Western backed armed jihad, in Xinjiang and Chechnya …

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