Tag Archives: ahava

American Professor tells British audience “Israel is heading into an abyss.”

I only made it to the last 25 minutes of Joel Beinin’s talk at SOAS last night but, sadly, I still have enough material to write a blog about it.

Beinin’s talk, The New Internationalism, High-Risk Activism, and Popular Struggle against the Israeli Occupation in the West Bank, was chaired by Gilbert Achcar, who once publicly accused me of leaving insulting messages on his answering machine.

Meanwhile, Beinin is Professor of Middle East History at Stanford University. Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of him but Wikipedia has a surprisingly large page about him. According to the description he was “raised as a Zionist” and at one stage intended to make aliyah but having encountered some racist attitudes on a Kibbutz he returned to America instead.

Beinin has published a lot also. I only read one article of his when I got back last night but if I say that the article trashes Peter Beinart’s call for Israeli Jews living on the West Bank to be boycotted because this doesn’t go far enough you get the gist of Beinin’s politics.

In this article Beinin also denounces those who condone “indecent trivialisation of the Holocaust” when they compare levels of anti-Semitism today to those of the late 1930s. (That said, if anyone can explain the difference between boycotting Jewish-owned shops in the late 1930s and boycotting Jewish-owned shops, like Covent Garden’s Ahava and Brighton’s Ecostream, today then please let me know.)

But, hey, guess who is the real master of “indecent trivialisation of the Holocaust”? None other than Joel Beinin himself!

You see, last night, Beinin started discussing Israel’s Prawer Commission Plan to move the Negev’s Bedouin population into far better equipped towns in return for compensation. Beinin described this as “putting them into what would effectively be concentration camps.” (see here from 2 mins. 25 secs.)

Oh, really? So would that be concentration camps like Auschwitz or Treblinka, possibly?

But, of course, Beinin doesn’t indecently trivialise the Holocaust, remember.

Towards the end of the event Beinin said there was a “rightward drift of Israeli society”, “a degradation of whatever there ever was of the democratic process” and “Israel itself, besides the occupation, is heading into an abyss and it’s not clear at all what might stop that.” (see here from 30 secs.)

Abyss means an “An immeasurably deep chasm, depth, or void”. Alternatively, it means “The abode of evil spirits; hell.”

And all this because Beinin once encountered some racists on a Kibbutz?

SOAS Update.

Thank you very much for all the support I received in light of last Monday’s Palestine Society event at SOAS when I was manhandled and told I was a “typical Israeli”, eventhough I am a proud Brit.

I received incredible emails from all over the world with people appreciating my attempts to cover anti-Israel meetings in London and appalled by my treatment.

I received emails from those who completely disagree with my views on Israel, but were still appalled by the way I was dealt with.

And thank you for the Arabic translations too.

I never got to the bottom of why I was called a “typical Israeli”. Only that student knows what was in his mind.

I had a very constructive chat with SOAS who said they had been inundated with emails from both sides but who wanted to continue to welcome me to SOAS and they said they will be reviewing their filming policy.

Much has been made of my not applying for consent to film, but when I was thudded in the shoulder from behind and shouted at to stop filming I wasn’t asked whether I had been granted such permission by SOAS. As it happens I didn’t know there was a filming policy as it has never been mentioned at any SOAS event I have attended (and I have attended a fair few).

There was also at least one other person filming who, it seems, didn’t have the required permission either. Meanwhile, I always see students filming on their IPhones.

And, unless I nodded off temporarily, none of the required announcements in accordance with the filming policy were made at the start of last Monday’s meeting by the organisers themselves!

I believe that in a public space such as a university freedom of speech is commensurate with a right to cover that freedom of speech without fear or hindrance. No one should be disallowed from filming solely because of their political views.

I was targeted last Monday night because of my political views. No one else filming would have been roughed up like that. And I have never disrupted an event, despite what is being put about by my detractors.

Sadly, SOAS students, it seems, have received a highly defamatory and incendiary statement from the SOAS Student Union on behalf of the Palestine Society, which has potential repercussions for my personal safety at SOAS and which was sent to me by a concerned SOAS student. One of the paragraphs states of me:

“By now, we are well aware of his intentions. He first provokes, intimidates and insults (including racially) speakers, organisers or members of the audience and violates generally accepted conventions of public meetings.”

This is reminiscent of another SOAS talk I attended on 16th April about Israel’s Arab minority where I wasn’t even filming. At the talk I was verbally insulted by Gilbert Achcar, a SOAS lecturer, who, after I had asked a perfectly reasonable question during the Q&A, told the room that I was a “professional disruptor”, that had he known I was coming he would have barred me from attending and that I had left insulting remarks on his answering machine. He then told me to get out.

Of course I didn’t leave messages on his machine. I wouldn’t even dream of it.

Aggressive targeting of those supportive of Israel is not confined to university campuses. At the beginning of the year I was put through a torrid few months when Peter Scott and Salim Alam of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign tried to have me prosecuted for harassment because of some videos and photos I posted of them demonstrating against Veolia outside the Natural History Museum in December.

I was at a reasonable distance while filming their political activism but I ended up being called into Notting Hill Police Station to be questioned about my filming and what I had written on my blog. Scott and Alam seemed to have failed to tell the police that I and others are constantly filmed and photographed for their anti-Israel blog.

To my relief the police eventually decided against any further action, but had it come to court the following footage might have made interesting viewing. It shows Salim Alam outside the now defunct Ahava shop in Covent Garden getting up close and personal to the camera of Roy from Campaign4Truth who was filming legally but still, as you can see, gets his camera whacked by one of Alam’s colleagues:

Daniel Machover’s dangerous game of Lawfare against Veolia and Israel.

Zena from "Palestine", Daniel Machover, Yael Kahn listening to an activist at ULU last night.

Zena from “Palestine”, Daniel Machover, Yael Kahn listening to an activist at ULU last night.

First, the drama bit.

I was sitting quietly before the start of last night’s Excluding Complicity with Israeli War Crimes meeting at University of London Union (ULU) when I was approached by the Israeli anti-Israel activist Yael Kahn. Kahn wanted me to leave saying:

“We don’t want you. You’ve been undermining people’s meetings. You interfere with people’s freedom of speech. We don’t want you here. Goodbye to you. We don’t want you. You are here for one purpose; to interrupt and to undermine people. I’ve seen you many times. I’ve seen you in action many times. You’re not invited.”     Listen here: Yael Kahn asking me to leave.

Once I told her that I wasn’t leaving as it was a public meeting and that she should have arranged the meeting in her home she shuffled off to chair the event instead.

It’s incredible that these Israel haters are supplied with a room paid for by the British taxpayer at a British university and presume they can exclude anyone they don’t like (the advert states the meeting was “sponsored by ULU”).

The main speaker was Daniel Machover, described as “Solicitor, the UK expert on Human Rights, Israel and Veolia”. Jeremy Corbyn MP was also supposed to speak but failed to show up.

Machover presented his lengthy legal opinion on how to exclude Veolia from the public contracts given out by local authorities. Veolia deals in waste management and construction and has been building the Jerusalem Light Railway, which, Machover says, is in breach of the Geneva Convention and UN resolutions because it serves “illegal Israeli settlements”.

The main UN resolution Machover relied on was that passed by the UN Human Rights Council in April 2011 and called The grave human rights violations by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (see clip 1 below).

At that time countries on the UNHRC included Libya, Bahrain, Ukraine, Jordan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Qatar. All have brutal human rights records so for Machover to cite such a resolution proves the weakness of his case.

Machover also seems to be adopting the similar failed tactic of Michael Mansfield QC. At an event at Amnesty International in November 2010 Mansfield gave a legal opinion on the defence anti-Israel activists could employ if they entered the shops or offices of companies doing business in the “illegal Israeli settlements” and were arrested.

With such advice in mind anti-Israel activists Matthew Richardson, Gwendolen Wilkinson, Jessica Nero and Christopher Osmond entered the Ahava shop in Covent Garden and succeeded in shutting it down for a few hours while making their protest but they were subsequently landed with criminal convictions for aggravated trespass.

Happily though for Mr Mansfield his chambers picked up the business as the four defendants were represented by barristers from Tooks.

Similarly, Machover seems to be pushing local councillors to exclude Veolia from local authority business but for all his lengthy quoting of local council law to support his view he still has to overcome the same hurdle that the four convicted anti-Ahava activists failed to do; the legality of “the settlements”.

Machover said last night:

“Let me make it clear. Settlements that are built in east Jerusalem or the rest of the West Bank are illegal under international law. There is absolutely universal consensus about that. The British government says so, the American government says so…this is entirely uncontentious territory.”

Apart from the fact that the American government doesn’t “say so” how would Machover explain the decision of the judge in the Ahava case outlined above that Ahava, with its factory on the West Bank, was “trading lawfully”?

Machover’s advice could have extreme financial consequences for local councillors who incorrectly exclude Veolia from a public contract, as Machover himself acknowledged. The local councillors could leave themselves open to being personally surcharged millions of pounds for any loss to Veolia like Dame Shirley Porter was in the 1990s “homes for votes” scandal.

Councillors could be made bankrupt, but Machover couldn’t resist encouraging them anyway last night with this:

“It’s very problematic. It’s very expensive litigation that Veolia could mount. Obviously they’re a very significant company with much more resources than most local authorities. But if they’re prepared to stand up to other bodies…they should be prepared to stand up to a big bully like Veolia. I understand their fears because they don’t want to use council taxpayers’ money on a bad legal case. But, I repeat, I don’t think it is a bad case. So local authorities who have the courage of their convictions should proceed. And I genuinely think that it’s not straightforward as to whether Veolia would actually take it to court.” (see clip 2)

Yael Khan then tried soothing everyone’s nerves by claiming that there had been, apparently, no challenge by Veolia after it lost a £1bn contract in South London, although I doubt that loss had anything whatsoever to do with her and her colleagues.

It’s possible that Veolia, itself, would not have to sue. A concerned resident could possibly have locus standi to instigate proceedings to have councillors surcharged.

Finally, we heard from Zena who had just arrived from “Palestine” that morning. She told us how evil “the settlers” are and how their actions are having a detrimental effect on the health of the Palestinians. (see clip 3)

Just like other Palestinians who have come over here and made the same claim they all look very well to me. Maybe they’re just the lucky ones….

Clips and photos:

The welcoming party on the door at University of London Union last night.

The welcoming party on the door at University of London Union last night.

Clip 1 – Machover outlines his weak case against Veolia:

Clip 2 – Machover encourages councillors over Veolia despite major concerns:

Clip 3 – Palestinian Zena’s view on “settlers”:

Clip 4 – Conclusions of Zena and Machover. Zena calls for boycott:

Clip 5 – Jewish Anti-Zionist Network activist calls for boycott of Hewlett Packard:

A Canterbury activist from anti-Israel Conservative MP Julian Brazier's constituency.

A Canterbury activist from anti-Israel Conservative MP Julian Brazier’s constituency.

IPO disruptor Jonathan Rosenhead: “Israel National Theatre at The Globe is next target.”

Professor Jonathan Rosenhead: Next target is Habima at the Globe in May.

Professor Jonathan Rosenhead: Next target is Habima at the Globe in May.

LSE Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, Chair of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), who helped to disrupt the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 1st September 2011, has said that the performance by the National Theatre of Israel (or Habima) of The Merchant of Venice at the Globe Theatre on 28th and 29th May will be the next target for anti-Israel activists.

He said that they had purchased 45 tickets (see from 4 mins. 7 secs. in following clip) for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s disrupted concert and he boasted about the BBC taking the concert off air.

He was speaking on Friday at King’s College London about the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. KCL is one of the organisations conducting research with Ahava through an EU-funded project called Nanoretox and activists are, once again, claiming, without any substantiation, that Ahava is based on an illegal settlement.

Last April four activists were found guilty of aggravated trespass for their efforts in disrupting business at the Ahava store in Covent Garden. District Judge Ian Baker found that Ahava was “trading lawfully” and gave Gwendolen Wilkinson, Matthew Richardson, Jessica Nero and Christoper Osmond 18 month conditional discharges and ordered them to pay £250 costs each.

When questioned further Rosenhead admitted to being one of the disruptors of the IPO and he welcomed any prosecution that might follow seeing it as an opportunity to publicise their cause.

But he threatened that Habima will be next:

“They have made themselves a target, and they will be one. Various things are afoot to try and make sure, to pressure The Globe in the first instance, because if The Globe withdraws the invitation then that’s no problem.”(see clip from 6 mins 25 secs.):

I had initially gone to KCL to hear Omar Barghouti speak. Barghouti is a member of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) and holds degrees from Columbia University and…..Tel Aviv University.

He compares himself to Nelson Mandela who, he says, studied in an apartheid South Africa university, when he was asked how can can claim to be part of a boycott movement while having studied in the country, Israel, he is supposed to be boycotting!

The parallel with Mandela fails on every level, but specifically because Barghouti is neither Israeli nor Palestinian having been born in Qatar and having grown up in Egypt, whereas Mandela is South African!

I was hoping to show footage of Barghouti making the usual racist comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany and apartheid South Afica (the man really knows how to demean peoples’ past sufferings), but, once again, I was stopped from filming under threat of being removed by security.

I should have a right to film a public meeting, especially where there is racist rhetoric and where others are filming. Barghouti ordered that I stop filming as did the Chair of the event, Maha Rezeq. But both have no connections to KCL! Rezeq called my filming “unethical” on the basis that the footage will be available online.

But their’s will be edited, cleaned up footage. Barghouti compared the boycott of Israel to the boycott of Nazi Germany and compared Israeli Arabs who don’t boycott Israel (for example, those who might stay in Israeli hotels or use Israeli airlines) as being equivalent to Kapos. He called El Al a racist airline:

“The most important aspect that Palestinian citizens of Israel are involved in in terms of the BDS campaign is not to allow themselves or their institutions to be used as figleaves. Quite often Israel uses some Uncle Toms and (Aunt) Jemimas, whatever you want to call them, which exist in every society. I mean in every society you have people who wish to profit from self-interest rather than principle. It’s not a Palestinian phenomenon, it’s an international phenomenon. Some Jewish victims during the Holocaust were serving the Nazi victimisers. So in every sociey you get a small minority that betrays their own”.

In the clip below Rosenhead said he withdrew his consent for me to film him. I only stopped filming when Mehdi Beyati, a student at KCL, got up to call security. Beyati’s behaviour would be expected in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Gaza, but isn’t becoming in a British University:

Here Beyati reads and analyses KCL’s response to the call to stop KCL collaborating with Ahava:

Bar Standards Board clears Michael Mansfield QC of professional misconduct over anti-Israel speech.

Jessica Nero and Christopher Osmond lying on floor inside Ahava on November 22nd 2010 shortly after Michael Mansfield's speech at Amnesty.

Jessica Nero and Christopher Osmond lying on floor inside Ahava on November 22nd 2010 shortly after Michael Mansfield's speech at Amnesty.

Last night I went to Tooks Chambers for a Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers talk given by Antonia Mulvey, the Senior Justice Expert for the Norwegian Refugee Council based in New York, on Palestinian housing issues in East Jerusalem and the West Bank (specifically Area C).

This was not long after a complaint for professional misconduct against Michael Mansfield QC, one of the senior barristers at Tooks, had been dismissed by the Bar Standards Board.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine had held an anti-Israel hatefest at the Law Society on the weekend of 20th and 21st November 2010. RTOP is a Kangaroo Court where anti-Israel activists get together to make up international law with which to condemn Israel.

It’s a bit like playing doctors and nurses, but as lawyers.

They even have a “jury” and on 22nd November 2010 Michael Mansfield QC, as head juror, pronounced all the firms “on trial” guilty of complicity in Israel’s “breaches of international law”. This “judgement” was given at Amnesty International.

At the end of Mansfield’s “verdict” the following exchange occurred in response to a question on the legalities of civil disobedience. Mansfield was possibly encouraging the law to be broken, especially in light of what immediately took place at the Ahava shop in Covent Garden. The following transcript formed the basis of the complaint to the BSB (listen to audio at end of post):

Questioner:

“I just wanted to ask, do you think the findings have any ramifications on those engaging in civil disobedience as a means to highlight corporate complicity and promote the BDS campaign?” 

Mansfield:

“Yes, I can answer that one directly. The answer is yes.

In fact we heard from a lawyer who has been involved in two actions where there were criminal prosecutions. He represented those who had actively protested in relation to two different companies; one in Northern Ireland and one not.

And the position is very important and it stems again, not only from the advisory opinion, but it is there in the advisory opinion. Because what the advisory opinion is saying to governments and everyone; we all have an obligation to bring the wall and the settlements to an end, which means that those who wish to, as it were, actively protest in relation to that here, in this country or in Northern Ireland, wish to protest about that, are entitled if and when, they are not always prosecuted, if the prosecuting authority decides that they are, for criminal damage or whatever it happens to be, they are going to prosecute the individuals who entered offices or whatever it is, then the individuals who are prosecuted have a, a defence, sometimes called “necessity”, in which they are saying “there is a greater good”.

Yes, there is damage, but the damage was done as of “necessity” to prevent a greater evil being caused. So, actually…if people, come and tell us that is exactly what is being (unclear), and jurors, that’s the interesting thing, courts in the United Kingdom, juries, ordinary people in the United Kingdom, the democratic aspect of our system, are saying “we find you not guilty because of the greater good”.

So it’s extremely important that it’s a two-pronged thing: One is proactive, in other words actually going to companies and corporations, the other is reactive, if we get accused then we have a perfectly legitimate defence.

And may I just add a foot-note on this. I know time is restricted, what we are equally horrified to note is that the Israeli government is currently considering making protests and objections along these lines a criminal offence. So therefore this is, as I see it, a totally appropriate situation in as much as you are not going to be easily allowed to stick up against it.

Can I just add as a footnote – there is a protest, a perfectly lawful legitimate nonviolent protest, going on in London now, today, in relation to a company, Ahava, that you may have heard of, that produces goods that are mislabelled for a start off, but in any event are exploiting natural resources in Israel/Palestine and it is essentially complicit, we will be dealing with it in the full report, complicit in the illegality that people have already talked about. I don’t know exactly where it is happening in London, but it is happening now.”

A Woman:

“Monmouth Street, Covent Garden.”

Mansfield:

“Thank you very much….Dead Sea Products, yes….How are we doing on time….fine, any more questions?” 

So, at the very least, Mansfield seems to admit to knowledge of events at Ahava where Jessica Nero and Christopher Osmond entered the store either during or soon after his speech and were eventually arrested. On 21st April 2011 both Nero and Osmond were convicted of aggravated trespass, given 18 month conditional discharges and ordered to pay £250 costs each.

And guess who represented Nero and Osmond at their trial? James Mehigan, a barrister at Tooks!

The BSB dismissed the complaint for professional misconduct against Mansfield in a letter from Natalya Browning, an assessment officer, on the following grounds (Browning’s response is edited for brevity):

1. Mr Mansfield QC incited the crime of aggravated trespass:

The BSB does not have the power to consider allegations of criminal conduct. If you consider that Mr Mansfield QC is guilty of a criminal offence, you should refer the matter to the police in the first instance. I would also point out that Mr Mansfield’s comments were made in his personal capacity and not in connection with the provision of a legal service.

2. Mr Mansfield QC profited from inciting a crime, by representing two defendants who had committed the crime, possibly with the use of public money in the form of legal aid:

Mr Mansfield QC would not have been paid a share of the fees earned by Mr Mehigan. I can see no evidence on the information before me to suggest that Mr Mansfield QC profited from Mr Mehigan’s representation of the defendants and, as explained above, we cannot consider whether or not Mr Mansfield has incited or encouraged a crime.

Sadly, the police should have been informed within six months of Mansfield’s speech, incitement being a summary-only offence.

I will leave you to draw your own conclusions, but please be careful if leaving a comment below the line. I don’t want to be sued.

As for last night’s Haldane Society talk, Antonia Mulvey spent an hour propagandising about alleged illegal evictions of Palestinian “women and children” and the route of Israel’s Security Wall. The case studies she mentioned are still being challenged through the Israeli court system.

She claimed that a Palestinian family had been fined for nuisance for sitting outside their old home having been recently evicted from it and that Palestinians must pay for the demolition of their homes and for removal of the rubble, which they can’t afford along with the huge fines for not having a valid building permit.

Sat among the audience, some of whom were calling for boycotts of Israel and for Israel to adhere to Jewish values as set out in the Torah (ex-Labour MP Martin Linton even accused Israel of “ethnic engineering” the Palestinians in east Jerusalem), I mentioned that many of the case studies given by Mulvey were no different to property disputes common in Britain.

I also pointed out that the backdrop of Palestinian terrorists constantly attempting to murder Israelis might mean that Palestinians were inconvenienced by the route of the security wall. I asked whether she preferred the inconvenience or more Israelis, like three-month old Hadas Fogel who was decapitated in her bed by a Palestinian, being murdered.

For her answer she relied on the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice 2004 on the legal consequences of the construction of the wall. Mulvey said that the opinion (which, being only an “advisory opinion”, is not binding) criticised the building of the wall inside the green line.

So one might infer that Mulvey has no qualms about the beheading of Hadas Fogel; it being preferable for the security wall to be moved to the green line so exposing even more Israelis to Hadas Fogel and her family’s tragic fate.

Audio of Mansfield at Amnesty (22nd Nov. 2010)

(Thanks to Sharon and Leslie for their cooperation)

PSC comes to North-West London to try to “dump Veolia”.

Salim Alam, Michael Deas, Chair, Simon Natas last night.

Salim Alam, Michael Deas, Chair, Simon Natas last night.

It was good to catch up with some old faces when I turned up for Brent PSC’s “Dump Veolia” meeting at Willesden library last night.

I was sat behind my old friend Abe Hayeem, of Architects for Palestinians, who I once sat down next to at an event when that was the only vacant chair left in the room and he promptly got up as if I was carrying the plague.

Last night he again showed his love when he noticed I was filming and asked that I be told to desist from such democratic behaviour, but luckily, the fairly nice Chair agreed that no harm was being done and allowed me to continue filming, although not before someone else from the audience shouted for me to have my camera confiscated. Here’s the clip:

I missed Michael Deas, Europe Coordinator of the
BDS National Committee, talk but I heard Simon Natas, a London solicitor, give his pick’n’mix interpretation of internation law (see clip below) in which he concluded that “the occupation is seen as being illegal under just about every tenet of international law” before going on to cite the UN Charter, UN Security Council resolutions “ordering Israel to vacate the OPT” and the 2004 ICJ ruling as evidence.

This, he suggested, would affect Veolia, especially as it is building the Jerusalem Light Railway which, he argued, will be transferring people into the “illegal territories”.

That might be Natas’ opinion, but it can also be argued that “the occupation” is not illegal. The ICJ ruling is non-binding, there are no binding Security Council resolutions that call for Israel to vacate any territory unilaterally and as the UN Charter technically incorporates the Balfour Declaration via the League of Nations’ incorporation of the British Mandate it can, therefore, be argued that Jews can live on the West Bank.

There was also this April’s ruling by a judge in the Ahava trial, where four anti-Israel activists were found guilty of aggravated trespass, that Ahava was “trading lawfully” at the time it was invaded by those activists.

I’d go with the objective judgement of District Judge Ian Baker every time over the judgement of the ever so slightly biased Simon Natas in this matter with his membership of Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

As ever Hamas and its “let’s kill all the Jews” Charter were not mentioned once throughout his speech, so presumably Hamas is not in breach of international law and so should just be allowed to continue on their killing spree if Israel is ever forced by Natas’ version of international law to take down the Security Wall.

Next up was Salim Alam who I have written about on various occasions but without knowing his name, so it was good to, finally, hear him introduced last night. He spends large portions of his spare time hanging around outside supermarkets that stock Israeli produce. That’s when he is not speaking at meetings against Israel.

Alam got himself arrested outside Ahava last December when he threatened to knock my camera out of my hand while I was actually filming him. He was released without charge.

Last night Alam spoke (see clip below) about how the London boroughs of Ealing, Harrow, Brent, Richmond, Hillingdon and Hounslow have formed the West London Waste Authority which is inviting tenders from companies to dispose of their residual waste, which is waste left over after recycling. It is business worth £485m, but a letter has gone to the Authority signed by 576 people against Veolia being the successful bidder

From what I could guage there have already been some successes against Veolia and Eden Springs. Last night they claimed to have had Eden Springs water stopped from being used in certain offices and universities in the UK and Veolia also seems not to have won contracts with certain councils, although whether the latter was due to pressure on those councils after anti-Israel campaigns is unclear.

There was also mention of Israel’s diamond industry. While admitting that Israel only cuts and polishes diamonds, but doesn’t mine them, making it difficult for Israel to be caught by the Kimberley Process Natas argued that a case could be made against Lev Leviev who, according to Natas, invests the proceeds of his diamond polishing company in the settlements.

It was mentioned that the strategy of shaming celebrities who are caught wearing Lev Leviev diamonds should continue.

It’s funny how people speak of the “Zionist lobby”, because there are many lessons that could be learnt from the well-financed and strongly motivated anti-Zionist lobby.

Clip of Natas:

Clip of Alam:

Last night’s posters:

Ahava: My 5 favourite moments.

Ahava’s last day of trading in London’s Covent Garden is tomorrow (Tuesday).

It has suffered two years of racist, abusive and, at times, violent protests while Camden Council and our politicians looked away.

Not once did a politician of any rank stand up for Ahava’s right to trade or come to join the pro-Ahava counter-protest.

It is shameful that a shop that was trading 100% lawfully was forced to shut like this. It’s a stain on Britain’s democratic credentials.

Ahava’s all female staff were repeatedly bullied, not knowing whether they would arrive at work to find the locks glued, the shop front daubed in red paint or whether anti-Israel activists would invade the shop with heavy concrete blocks to lock themselves onto so making their removal from the shop virtually impossible.

After each invasion Ahava was forced to close for up to three hours, harming business and the ability of the staff to earn commission.

Israel’s flag was continuously denigrated outside Ahava by the anti-Israel activists. The most popular ways were cutting out the Star of David or replacing it with the word “apartheid”.

Three trials in all took place involving eight defendants. The first trial involving four anti-Israel activists collapsed when Ahava failed to show up, which was a great shame especially in light of the second, combined trial, involving another four activists which led to four convictions for aggravated trespass.

The defendants received conditional discharges of 18 months which means that should Gwendolen Wilkinson, Matthew Richardson, Jessica Nero or Christopher Osmond transgress again within that time then they could well end up detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Court costs of £250 were awarded against each defendant with one defendant pleading poverty to the extent that he claimed he had to wade through supermarket bins for food. The hard life of anti-Israel activists these days and I thought they were mainly well-soaked Champagne Socialists!

Incidentally, the Judge declared that Ahava was “trading lawfully”.

The good news is that Ahava will reopen somewhere else and along the way many good friends have been made and an unofficial group of intelligent, hardworking, passionate activists with a variety of skills has bonded which bodes well for the future in fighting the rising tide of Israel-hate/anti-Semitism in Britain.

So, here are Ahava’s best bits. Please vote for your favourite clip at the end.

Whichever clip wins it might be worth awarding a special gift to the pro or anti-Israel activists involved; maybe a spa day at the new Ahava shop when it opens.

(If you have problems viewing try to switch to another internet browser)

1. ARE YOU FROM MOSSAD?

Introducing Seymour Alexander, the chief photographer of the anti-Israel movement. He slinks around silently with his camera, but occasionally pops up to ask: “Are you from the Mossad?”

2. THE PRE-CHRISTMAS ARREST

This was hilarious. They were trying to harm Ahava’s pre-Christmas trade and this activist thought I was just taking photos, not filming. So when he threatened to knock my camera out of my hand the police arrested him on the basis of this footage and took him to the police station to interview him while I went off to see Oliver in the West End. I understand he was later released without charge, but still must have had a bit of a shock.

3. THE SINGING ISRAELI TOURISTS

This was brilliant. A group of Israeli tourists accidently stumbled upon the anti-Israel protest outside Ahava and for twenty minutes passionately belted out a medley of Israeli songs drowning out the chants of the stunned anti-Israel activists.

4. MARTYRMAN

This guy is determined to be arrested for the cause and enjoys nothing more than being dramatically dragged away by the police. At a recent “Nakba Day” protest he was photographed being hauled away in a similar fashion (see photo).

and

Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it's Martyrman

Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it's Martyrman

5. SWORDSWOMAN

The Respect Party’s Carol Swords enjoys nothing more than telling a Jew to go back to Russia (which she did outside Ahava recently) and she is currently awaiting trial for allegedly assaulting a pro-Israel activist. Read more about her here.

In this clip you will see her demanding that I don’t take her photo. It’s a bit surprising as she isn’t usually that camera-shy, especially when it comes to photos with the Jew-killers of Hamas (see photo).

Good luck at your trial, Carol!

Swords with Hamas' Ismail Haniya and Mahmoud Zahar (hurryupharry.org)

Swords with Hamas' Ismail Haniya and Mahmoud Zahar (hurryupharry.org)

Swords having a laugh with Hamas (hurryupharry.org)

Swords having a laugh with Hamas (hurryupharry.org)

Now vote for your favourite clip:

Why won’t the Royal Albert Hall complain to the police about the 1st September protests?

The only flag not welcome at the Royal Albert Hall.

The only flag not welcome at the Royal Albert Hall.

Why is the Royal Albert Hall being so reticent in reporting to the police the crime of aggravated trespass allegedly committed by the anti-Israel protesters who disrupted a performance by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra on 1st September?

Without this there is no possibility of a prosecution.

Yet, Section 68 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 states:

A person commits the offence of aggravated trespass if he trespasses on land [F1...in the open air]… and, in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in or are about to engage in on that or adjoining land [F2...in the open air]… , does there anything which is intended by him to have the effect—.
(a)of intimidating those persons or any of them so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity,.
(b)of obstructing that activity, or.
(c)of disrupting that activity.

Note: “in the open air” has since been removed.

The police are claiming that the anti-Israel protesters were not trespassing or treated as trespassers, because they bought tickets and were not told by RAH security that they were trespassing at the time they forced out.

But, surely they became trespassers as soon as they were asked to leave and refused to do so and had to be forcibly removed. It is all there in the footage.

Additionally, the case law seems to support the notion that a person who is permitted to enter property for one purpose is a trespasser if he enters it for a different purpose.

And judging by the blogs of the anti-Israel protesters they knew they would not be allowed in if the staff on the door knew their true intentions:

“We were promised enhanced security, bag searches etc. but this was all bluff. My bag search was cursory, there were no spotter cards of disruptors and I had no difficulty whatsoever getting to my seat!” states one of the protesters on his blog.

“Unknown to the Proms organisers, the protesters had bought over 40 tickets in a variety of locations in the Royal Albert Hall, including boxes,” states the general press release of the protesters.

Most of the anti-Israel protesters have been identified and the support of the Royal Albert Hall is essential so the police can put the evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service who would then decide whether to take the matter to trial or not.

Four anti-Israel activists were recently convicted of aggravated trespass in similar circumstances when they entered the Ahava shop in Covent Garden, lay down on the floor and refused to move. The sole difference being that it was impossible for Ahava’s two female staff to move them out of the shop, whereas at the Royal Albert Hall the protesters were eventually forced out by security.

Surely, the Royal Albert Hall has a duty to report an alleged crime where one might have been committed, otherwise what is the point of this legislation?

Then there are the many people who paid exorbitant amounts for tickets only to have their enjoyment of the event ruined by the interruptions, the blame for which lies with the Royal Albert Hall who laid on scant security checks.

Will the RAH be giving refunds?

It was lucky that something worse did not occur on the night. Someone with more hostile intentions could easily have brought in a knife and run amok with it. There were no scanners and only my bag was searched.

Meanwhile, the police and Community Security Trust were stationed outside the RAH!

In fact apart from removing the anti-Israel activists the only other time RAH security was engaged was to remove someone holding up an Israeli flag on the night, while at the Last Night of the Proms last night hundreds of other flags were waved and Lang Lang, the Chinese pianist, played undisturbed despite China’s appalling human rights record.

The latter is proof, if any were needed, that many anti-Israel activists are motivated more by their own anti-Semitism than the defence of human rights.

Feel free to write to the The Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP or use the form http://www.royalalberthall.com/contact/default.aspx

You can ask for a refund if you were at the concert and also ask that the RAH consider taking action against the anti-Israel protesters.

Alternatively, you can email Chris Cotton, the Chief Executive of the RAH, and ask him why the RAH is turning a blind eye to alleged criminality: chrisc@royalalberthall.com

In the meantime, enjoy the flag waving throughout last night’s rendition of Jerusalem.

Jody McIntyre gone from the Indy, the HuffPo. and Channel 4.

Jody McIntyre; gone from the Indy, HuffPo. and Channel 4 for possible incitement to riot.

Jody McIntyre; gone from the Indy, HuffPo. and Channel 4 for possible incitement to riot.

It has been a bad two days for Jody “setting London alight” McIntyre. He was sacked as a blogger for The Independent newspaper in the wake of the London riots for tweeting:

“Be inspired by the scenes in #tottenham, and rise up in your own neighbourhood. 100 people in every area = the way we can beat the feds.”

And in an interview with The Huffington Post when asked if Footlocker was a valid target for the rioters he replied:

“On a personal level I think Brixton police station would be a better target than footlocker….I find it very difficult to condemn the looting myself. I feel sympathy when small cornershops and people’s homes are damaged but I don’t feel any sympathy for JD sports or M&S.”

Well, now Lucy Lips at Harry’s place reports that the HuffPo. interview has also been pulled and replaced with:

“Editor’s Note: The Huffington Post’s editorial policy prohibits the promotion of incitement to riot. It has been brought to our attention that some of the comments made by the interviewee in this article could be construed as inciting others to take part in unlawful activity. As such, we have removed this post.”

McIntyre was also due to have his own tv show starting on Channel 4 on August 18th called Bars For Change. Here is a peek from youtube.

It has also just been pulled.

As Lucy Lips says he will still have a home with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which, as we have seen, actually applauds rhetoric calling for London to be burned.

Meanwhile, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s anti-Israel demonstration will be taking place as usual outside Ahava this Saturday dragging even more essential police resources away from emergency situations across London.

Around 20 police officers have to present to stop anarchists from invading Ahava and intimidating its customers.

But if you have any spare Plasma TVs or Nike trainers please bring them down to Ahava and give them to the protesters. It could save an awful lot of London’s shop windows being smashed in.

Police protecting Ahava from Palestine Solidarity Campaign activists.

Police protecting Ahava from Palestine Solidarity Campaign activists.

“Anti-Israel” Lush opens in Brent Cross.

Lush has opened in Brent Cross, north-west London, but its website is viciously anti-Israel.

Lush’s website says, inter alia, that “the catastrophe facing the Palestinian people is one of the defining global justice issues of our time” and “life for most Palestinians living under the illegal Israeli occupation is at least as bad as that endured by black South Africans in the bad old days of apartheid”.

It gets worse:

“Israel’s siege of Gaza has condemned its 1.5 million inhabitants to levels of poverty more commonly associated with sub-Saharan Africa – a humanitarian disaster with no end in sight.”

Lush’s website is promoting the song Freedom For Palestine in its “Our ethical campaigns” section (a link to the song has suddenly reappeared having been originally removed).

For most of those appearing in the video “Freedom for Palestine” means campaigning for a racist boycott of Israel hoping that Israel will eventually disappear to be replaced by a Palestinian state in toto.

Ironically, some of those in the video have regularly appeared outside Ahava in Covent Garden, another natural cosmetics shop (a competitor to Lush you could say). Due to these noisy and, at times, violent protests Ahava has now been forced to close at the end of September.

The song itself talks of, inter alia, “more than six million (Palestinian) refugees”. This is a convenient number that alludes to the six million Jews gassed in the Holocaust. It is nothing less than an attempt to equate the Palestinian situation with the plight of those six million Jews.

The song also speaks of “racial segregation”.

Yes, there is segregation, but if there wasn’t then Palestinian suicide bombers would be getting into Israeli restaurants and onto Israeli buses on a regular basis in order to blow themselves up and kill as many innocent people as possible.

Is that what Lush supports in its promotion of this crude song?

Potential Lush shoppers should at least be made aware of Lush’s politics.

I spoke to someone at Lush’s HQ this morning (Tel: 01202667830) and I put this all to her and she said she “understood where I was coming from” and would put it to her Campaigns Department. I told her that someone had already spoken to this department which was pretty unsympathetic. I will be waiting for the return of the MD, Sofie, next Monday.

Please phone Lush and make it known to them that their campaign is not “ethical” and tell your friends what Lush stands for in its support for people that wish to see the ending of Israel’s existence and a song that denigrates the Holocaust.

On Monday pro-Israel activists protested
outside the London Jewish Cultural Centre in Golders Green that the LJCC was allowing anti-Zionist activist and International Solidarity Movement volunteer Ivor Dembina to perform his comedy act.

People going in on the night said they did not know about Dembina’s political activism and said they would not have bought a ticket had they known. One man who had not bought a ticket refused to go in to see him.

But, now the spotlight moves to Lush with the hope that those who support Israel’s existence and a peaceful two-state solution will be aware that Lush seeks to defame Israel in such cruel terms as those outlined above.