Israel hate came to the National Union of Teachers last night when the PSC was allowed to hold one of its meetings at the NUT’s sumptuous Hamilton House HQ in Euston, London.
About 80 teachers heard PSC Honorary President Betty Hunter call for a boycott of security firm G4S because of its work with Israel. G4S is tasked with securing the Olympics. Imagine the chaos in the UK this summer if the PSC had its way.
Chairing the event was Geoffrey Bindman of Bindman’s solicitors and the event was opened by Kevin Courtney, the Deputy General Secretary of the NUT, who welcomed us.
The title of the event was Bound, Blindfolded & Convicted: Palestinian Child Prisoners and the main speaker was Gerard Horton of Defence for Children International – Palestine Section who presented us with his organisation’s just released report Bound, Blindfolded & Convicted: Children held in military detention.
Horton had recently presented a similar talk at this year’s NUT annual conference.
Here is the 144 page report which took four years to compile. The report was based on interviews with 311 Palestinian children mainly aged from 14 to 17 (116 were 14-15 and 176 were 16-17).
97% of the testimonies were by males. Most arrests were for alleged stone throwing.
The report also contains 25 individual case studies of alleged bad treatment and/or torture by Israel.
The range of common complaints of the 311 included hand ties (95%), blindfolds (90%), physical violence (75%), detention inside Israel in violation of article 76 (63%), arrested between midnight and 5am (60%), confession during interrogation (58%), threats (57%), verbal abuse and/or humiliation (54%), strip searched (33%), transferred on floor of vehicle (32%), signed/shown documents written in Hebrew (29%), solitary confinement (12%).
So either Israel has a lot to answer for in its treatment of Palestinian children or someone somewhere is making a lot of money at the taxpayers’ expense producing what amounts to nothing more than anti-Israel propaganda.
Here’s some information about Defence for Children International – Palestine Section courtesy of NGO Monitor:
Its revenues in 2008 were $1,084,357. Known support includes a 600,000 Euro grant from the EU for the period 2009-2012 for a project called “Promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian children affected by armed conflict and occupation.” It is receiving $639,000 from Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden and Holland and £12,500 from the UK. It is an active supporter and promoter of boycott campaigns against Israel. It supported the Goldstone Report. It published a list of 352 children who died during Operation Cast Lead but some of them have been identified by B’Tselem as combatants. It continues to promote the libel of a “Jenin massacre” on its website. It calls for Israel to recognise the “right of return” for Palestinians.
The main problem with the report is that, unless I am missing something, you cannot properly identify any of the 311 who gave testimony. There is also an interview with an Israeli soldier from Breaking The Silence where the interviewee is merely known as “Soldier”.
Last night Gerard Horton quoted from Breaking The Silence’s own website, a website that, again, contains anonymous testimony from Israeli soldiers.
But surely, with the alleged offences being so serious some people, at least, need to be named. As a solicitor Geoffrey Bindman, himself, would acknowledge that the report lacks credibility and wouldn’t stand up in a proper court of law.
Gerard Horton seemed to be very pleased with himself that testimonies from 311 people had been taken. But even if the report was based on the testimonies of 3,110 people the result is the same if they are anonymous.
After his short talk Gerard Horton showed us this Defence for Children International propaganda clip starring both himself and anti-Zionist activist Jeff Halper who wishes to boycott Israel out of existence. We are shown Palestinian children with bruised eyes and swollen wrists allegedly inflicted by Israeli soldiers, but who really knows the truth behind the bruises and swellings.
On her way out one of the teachers told me that Israel is acting like the Nazis did. It’s a frightening prospect if any of your children are being taught by her.
In the meantime NGOs like DCI- PS need to be producing properly substantiated reports. Only then can the quote by Mark Regev, that Gerard Horton is so keen on, that “The test of a democracy is how you treat people incarcerated, people in jail, and especially so with minors” be tested with reference to Israel.
Otherwise what is the point of this NGO being heavily financed by us, the taxpayer? And what is a union like the NUT doing hosting what amounted to an evening of anti-Israel propaganda? Hasn’t the NUT got enough problems to sort out for its own members?