Tag Archives: bds

Yachad and UJS to host talk by boycotter Peter Beinart at UJIA.

Yachad calls itself “The pro-Israel pro-peace voice of British Jews”. It’s as if no other pro-Israel British Jew can possibly be “pro-peace”. Just those Jews who support Yachad, you understand.

At the United Nations in New York today at what is euphemistically called Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, “Palestine” is due to be recognised as a non-member observer state.

However, today’s rhetoric has had nothing to do with Palestinian statehood, but has been tantamount to incitement to murder Jews and Israelis and to boycott Israel out of existence. One Arab delegate accused Israelis of burning the Koran, and Roger Waters spoke for 25 minutes. Waters accused Israel, inter alia, of apartheid and prioritising Jewish people above its other citizens. He demanded a boycott of Israel.

Delegate after delegate called for a two-state solution and for UNGA Resolution 194 to be implemented. 194 calls for a return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. As the UN classes ALL Palestinian descendants as refugees this would soon lead to the demographic destruction of Israel as the world’s only Jewish state. What UN delegates are, in effect, calling for is a two-state solution as long as both states are Palestinian.

Waters, ludicrously, claimed that Hamas has agreed to future peace with Israel as long as a Palestinian state is agreed along the 1967 ceasefire lines. He claimed that New Yorkers, cut off from the outside world, don’t know this. Hamas who, in their Charter, call for the murder of all Jews are hardly going to agree to any Jewish state along any lines. It is Waters who is cut off.

But, now, with this growing febrile atmosphere against Israel where Israelis are demonised and demands made that they be boycotted Peter Beinart has been invited by Yachad and the Union of Jewish Students to address a Jewish audience at the offices of the United Joint Israel Appeal (UJIA). UJIA, a charity, is supposed to have the interests of Israel and all Israelis at heart.

It is a student-only event. Here is the Facebook page where the location of the event has now been hidden:

As you can read Beinart calls for “a boycott of West Bank Settlement produce”.

So because Beinart disagrees with a group of people, in this case Israeli settlers, he wants their businesses and livelihoods immediately destroyed and their ability to feed their families and young children immediately curtailed. All they have worked for should be destroyed overnight on the say so of someone living thousands of miles away?

Hannah Weisfeld, who heads Yachad, claimed in March this year:

“While we hugely respect Peter Beinart and believe he adds an important voice to the debate, we believe that all forms of boycott are counter-productive.”

However, a month earlier at an Israeli Society event at SOAS discussing whether Israel should be boycotted Weisfeld was far more ambiguous when she said:

“I think we would be having a very different conversation in this room if the BDS movement was about a targeted (settlement) boycott. I am not saying that I would necessarily support it, but I think the entire debate would be different…”

Now Weisfeld, Yachad and the Union of Jewish Students have invited Beinart to make the case, via Skype, for just such a targeted boycott of those Israeli families living on the West Bank.

By all means disagree with their living their and make the case that they shouldn’t be. Try to achieve a gradual change in Israeli government policy, like when Ariel Sharon finally decided to order Israeli settlers to be removed from Gaza.

But for Beinart and others to encourage the wrecking of people’s livelihoods overnight is crossing a red line, let alone a green one. We hear it enough at the hundreds of anti-Israel events that take place annually.

Meanwhile, UJIA have confirmed that they are hosting the event:

Protests fail to disrupt Batsheva Ensemble’s Deca Dance show at Sadler’s Wells.

The Batsheva Ensemble, the youth wing of the main Batsheva dance company, received a standing ovation at Sadler’s Wells in London last night after an outstanding display of music and dance. Batsheva’s Deca Dance show, a collage of impressive pieces, consists of 16 dancers aged between 18 and 24 years-old. The 16 are mainly Israeli although there are two dancers from Spain and one from Russia, America and Japan, respectively.

As you enter the auditorium there’s a single dancer already on stage welcoming you in with some humorous improvisation.

Ten minutes in to the show shouts of “Free Free Palestine” were quickly drowned out by spontaneous audience applause. Security was dotted unobtrusively around the theatre to deter anything more prolonged. Two more similar attempts at disruption took place during the show but they were met with a similar audience response.

The second half was dominated by the female and male dancers seemingly dressed as Chabad Lubavitch Jews in dark hats, white shirts and dark trousers. They then interacted brilliantly with the audience, and the audience with them, before bringing the curtain down with the most powerful rendition of all thirteen verses of Echad Mi Yodea, the Passover table song, you will ever see and hear.

The 1500 seats were virtually sold out although you can walk in just before the show and pick up a ticket. The show continues tonight and tomorrow night at the same place before, finally, moving on to Plymouth on Friday and Saturday. Try to see it before it leaves these shores.

Typically, The Guardian newspaper, who are quite happy to promote racist cultural boycotts against Israel that also demean apartheid, linked their report Batsheva Dance Company braces for Gaza protests in London straight through to the Facebook page of Don’t Dance With Israeli Apartheid.

Sadly, for The Guardian and the boycotters the disruptions were muted and the audience loved Batsheva’s performance, as could be seen by the rousing ovation and the three curtain calls given to Batsheva last night. Here is part of that ovation:

Palestine Solidarity Campaign presents the case for a cultural and academic boycott of Israel.

View from the back last night.

View from the back last night.

The once hero of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign Norman Finkelstein recently declared the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against Israel “a cult” and its activists dishonest about their real motive which is the destruction of Israel, not solidarity with the Palestinians.

Last night PSC cultists came to the University of London Union with the platform being given to Rafeef “the poet” Ziadah, Ben “I can understand why some people are anti-Semitic” White, Mike “I’m only Jewish because my mother is” Cushman and, finally, Ronnie “I’m a privileged Jew” Barkan.

Their aim was to brainwash, I mean persuade students to boycott Israel.

In the Chair for the evening was Salim Alam. The last time Alam chaired a PSC event I was accosted afterwards by an audience member who claimed, inter alia, that Jews only died in the Holocaust because “they had their foreskins chopped off.”

Ziadah started by claiming that “Israel has oppressed the Palestinians for decades” and has “denied them their fundamental rights of freedom, equality and self-determination” and that eventhough there were “drawers of UN resolutions saying Israel is wrong”, still nothing has happened.

She took offence that the Dome of the Rock, a Palestinian icon, appeared in Israeli travel brochures and that hummus and falafel had been appropriated by Israelis for their national dish.

She presented the case for a cultural boycott of Israel and started by saying that “Israel sees culture as political and as Hasbara”, and that “all Israeli cultural institutions are complicit unless proved otherwise. All Israeli institutions must be boycotted.”

Mind you, this type of rhetoric is actually an improvement for Ziadah. When she spoke earlier this year at UCL she praised Islamic Jihad terrorist Khader Adnan. In 2007 Adnan made his thoughts known as to what he thought should happen to innocent Israeli men, women and children. Addressing his followers he asked:

“Who among you is the next suicide bomber? Who among you will carry the next explosive belt? Who among you will fire the next bullets? Who among you will have his body parts blown all over?”

Last night Ziadah painstakingly detailed the PACBI guidelines for boycotting Israel, including any event that promotes “balance” between Israelis and Palestinians, even if it should “encourage dialogue”. Although, seeing as Ziadah said that all Israeli institutions are complicit , unless proved otherwise, the guidelines do seem rather surplus to requirements.

But here was her deal for Israeli artists: Should they announce that they agree to the BDS requirements of ending the occupation, ending discrimination of Arabs in Israel and allowing the return of some five million so-called Palestinian refugees to Israel then such Israeli artists won’t be boycotted.

Basically, she approves of any Israeli that wants to destroy their own country:

Meanwhile, Mike Cushman, of Bricup, gave exactly the same talk that he gave at the corresponding ULU event last year. He demanded an academic boycott of Israel and once again told the audience that he’s Jewish because his mother is and that “If you thought Jewish Zionists were scary, these Christian Zionists are far, far worse.” The only blessing is that this time he didn’t grab the microphone like last year to repeatedly scream into it “Free, Free Palestine”:

During the Q&A a student asked how to defend the accusation that the call for BDS was comparable to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews. Cushman said their was a huge difference between peaceful protest and Stormtroopers standing outside a shop.

Next up was the Israeli Ronnie Barkan who heads up Boycott From Within. Yes, that’s right, such an, apparently, “oppressive state” as Israel actually allows such an organisation to operate in Israel.

Barkan described himself as a “privileged Jew” and viewed Israel as an “ethnic supremacist state”, which had ethnically cleansed and ethnically segregated the Palestinians. In fact segregation, according to Barkan, was so complete that Arabs are unlikely to be spotted in Tel Aviv. He said you wouldn’t find an Arab living there as they are confined to Jaffa. I’m sure my Israeli friends will tell me this is far from the truth.

Ben White also demanded an academic boycott of Israel. He said that “Israeli institutions are in bed with state organisations of oppression”. He condemned Tel Aviv University, Bar Ilan University, Ben Gurion University and even Haifa University for its National Security Studies Centre which has “trained hundreds of senior offices in the IDF that then go onto commit war crimes”.

There were some good pro-Israel questions asked during the Q&A, but it would have been good to have seen audience members leafleted with balancing literature on their way out of the venue (ZF, BICOM, CFI etc. where are you at times likes this?).

Apart from the woman next to me accusing me of being a “Zionist spy” and claiming that I “want to exterminate all Palestinians”, it really wasn’t as bad as some of the PSC events I have been to. Although, that’s not really saying much.

Admin: X7BNEB4HB2PB

Holocaust analogies and calls for Israel’s destruction at SOAS’ Centre for Palestine Studies.

Naomi Foyle, Rachel Shabi, Bidisha, Miranda Pennell, Selma Dabbagh last night.

Naomi Foyle, Rachel Shabi, Bidisha, Miranda Pennell, Selma Dabbagh last night.

This article by me also appears at CIFWatch

The London Middle East Institute (LMEI), which is based at the School of Oriental and African Studies, used to give serious lectures. Not any more. The recently established Centre for Palestine Studies (CPS) now sits like a cuckoo in the nest of the LMEI.

Last night the first LMEI lecture of the new academic year was presented under the auspices of CPS. Palestine Now: Writers Respond was all about attacking Israel; nothing about studying the Palestinians.

Bidisha (The Guardian), Rachel Shabi (The Guardian), Selma Dabbagh (author), Miranda Pennell (film-maker) and Naomi Foyle (British Writers in Support of Palestine) had simply come to talk about how to fight for “the Palestinian cause” and against “Hasbarah”.

New students heard calls for the destruction of Israel dressed up as justice for the Palestinians, racist calls to boycott Israel and a totally gratuitous Holocaust analogy. Shame on LMEI for allowing this.

Dabbagh, Pennell and Foyle said they supported BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against Israel.

Dabbagh explained that she writes in order to get more people involved in the Palestinian cause and told of how she refused to speak at Jewish Book Week (JBW), when asked to, because of its Israeli government funding.

Bidisha suggested it might have been better for Dabbagh to go to JBW and get her message across to the audience, but Dabbagh said she felt she couldn’t break the call to boycott Israel.

Dabbagh, who is also a lawyer, has been living in Bahrain from where she said she has been helping to sue, not the Bahrain police, but the British police!

Bemusingly, Shabi said that she agreed with the ‘D’ of BDS (divestment) but not the ‘B’ (cultural boycott) which she viewed as a “witch-hunt”. Bidisha said she was equally “ambivalent” about the boycott.

During the Q&A I asked whether any of the panelists had accepted funding from a government whose actions they disagreed with and what the panelists were doing about the oppression of gays, women and dissidents under Hamas rule. I said BDS was racist and that it calls for the destruction of Israel by demanding “the return of Palestinian refugees”.

Naomi Foyle refused to accept that Israel would be destroyed by BDS. Using a crude Holocaust analogy she explained:

After the Holocaust Jews, who suffered in the Holocaust, were allowed reparations. They had their property returned to them. They were allowed to sue. Of course they were allowed to do it. That was their right. The Palestinian refugees, whose population has mushroomed, are living in squalid conditions, horrendous conditions with no passports, no freedom of movement, no sanitation, no hospital care. These people have keys to their family homes and their right to these family homes must be recognised. Once that right is recognised then the negotiations can begin on what this means for Israel as a state; whether it will become one state, whether it will become a secular state. No one is calling for the destruction of Israel. Is South Africa destroyed now because the blacks in South Africa have human rights? Israel is being asked to evolve.”

Obviously Israel would be destroyed as a Jewish state, but it would have been decent for another panelist to have pointed out to Foyle that it was slightly impossible for 6,000,000 Jews to have had their property returned because they were actually dead, having been murdered by the Nazis. However, no one uttered a word; not even Shabi.

And ignoring that more than 50 rockets had landed in Israel on Monday alone without condemnation from any quarter Foyle stated:

“Palestine is shrinking by the day. We have to say no, we have to put moral pressure on. Palestinians haven’t been allowed, in international opinion, to fight back with armed resistance. That’s been a complete disaster for them.”

Foyle continued that BDS doesn’t call for Israelis to go unfunded by the Israeli government, as “that’s their right as taxpayers”. She said it merely calls for Israelis not to leave Israel to perform and for performers not to go to Israel.

She said she had taken funding from the Canadian and British governments to support her writing and education, and then added:

“If there was a boycott of Great Britain that had any hope of helping the people of Afganistan or Iraq and all I was being asked to do was not travel abroad to a foreign festival; it’s a no brainer.”

This all goes to show that boycotting Israel has nothing to do with objecting to settlements. It is a racist boycott of Israel per se.

Anti-Israel activists neatly try to evade accusations of racism by claiming that “Palestinian society” has called for BDS. In reality, such a call has merely come from a large group of tiny anti-Israel NGOs posing as “Palestinian society”.

Shabi, who described herself as a British/Israeli/Iraqi, then told of her research for her book which involved her seeing how easy it is to buy a house in a settlement and how she had to perfect a “back story” to do this. She said she knew her back story was perfect when her neighbour asked why she was disguised as a “British Jewish religious tourist”.

Meanwhile, Dabbagh admitted that she was “uncomfortable with the way women and gays are treated by Hamas”, but blamed Israel’s “siege” for keeping Hamas in power.

And Bidusha, addressing me directly, said that Palestinian children are brutalised by “the siege of Gaza”. I replied that Egypt is also conducting “the siege”. She had no answer.

As for the future, Shabi concluded that there was already “one-state on the ground” and the discussion in Israel was now just centred around whether it will be a left-wing or right-wing state. This is, of course, pure fantasy from Shabi.

While this brainwashing of new students was taking place a brave girl, Malala Yousufzai, who is 14, was still recovering in hospital after being shot in the neck and head by the Taliban for standing up for women’s education in Pakistan.

SOAS’ students should look to the likes of Yousufzai, not to phoney human rights activists, for inspiration in fighting against real injustice.

BDS blunder as Frank Barat posts anti-BDS video on youtube.

I have come as close as is humanly possible to feeling sorry for someone in the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is aimed solely at Israel.

A week ago Frank Barat, who is behind the kangaroo court Russell Tribunal on Palestine, where BDS movement activists meet once a year to put Israel, and companies that do business with Israel, on trial for various “charges” and then finds them all “guilty” without hearing from the “defendants”, interviewed Norman Finkelstein, one of Israel’s biggest critics, about BDS.

Barat sat there for half an hour looking like a rabbit caught in headlights as Finkelstein tore apart every one of Barat’s flimsy arguments before, finally, hearing Finkelstein describe the BDS movement as “a cult” and “dishonest”.

Barat then shakes hands with Finkelstein and thanks him. At that point, if you were Barat, you’d have never let the interview see the light of day, but someone uploaded it to youtube. After realising the positive feedback it was receiving from the pro-Israel blogsphere, the clip was deleted but not before the guys at Huffington Post Monitor had downloaded it.

So here it is again. It has already been re-posted and discussed at places like CiFWatch, Harry’s Place and the JC (via Jonathan Hoffman). Hopefully, as many people as possible will watch it, if anything as further proof that those in the BDS movement are not very bright, and also because of the way Finkelstein lays bare the dishonesty of the movement.

Finkelstein describes the BDS movement as “a cult” because everyone in the movement just nods their heads in approval when told how successful they are, eventhough, as Finkelstein admits, he can count their successes on the fingers of his two hands, if that.

He accuses the BDS movement of only choosing those bits of “international law” that suits it. It doesn’t recognise Israel’s right to exist, which is also, he says, part of “international law”.

He also calls the BDS movement “dishonest” because of their refusal to admit that their real aim is the destruction of Israel.

However, he says, they know they can’t admit this because the wider general public would never agree to the destruction of another country, which would be the effect of six or seven million (even this figure Finkelstein views as artificially inflated) Palestinians “returning” to Israel; the latter being one of the requirements of the BDS movement. But for such dishonesty, Finkelstein says, the BDS movement doesn’t deserve to reach the mainstream.

As for Barat’s claim that the call for BDS against Israel originated from Palestinian civil society Finkelstein says the Palestinian organisations named are nothing more than one-man NGOs and that the BDS movement cannot galvanise more than a few hundred Palestinians to protest against Israel or even stop the Palestinians themselves buying produce from “the settlements”.

First is the full 30-minute unedited clip and below the 5 minute highlights:

Pappe, Yachad, Chalcraft, +972 Mag. seize control of SOAS’ Israel Society.

Plonski, Pappe, Chalcraft, Weisfeld, Reider, Jones having a "discussion" at SOAS.

Plonski, Pappe, Chalcraft, Weisfeld, Reider, Jones having a "discussion" at SOAS.

When I did my Masters at the School of Oriental and African Studies the Israel Society there was a genuine counter-balance to the anti-Israel propaganda being disseminated by the SOAS Palestine Society. Students of all political persuasions could question Israeli politicians and diplomats and watch superb Israeli films like Beaufort.

Now, sadly, the SOAS Israel Society has been taken over by anti-Zionist activists Sharri Plonski and Dimi Reider (of the anti-Zionist+972 Magazine website) who desire so-called Palestinian refugees (including many who were never born there but, what the hell, let’s call them “refugees” anyway) to be allowed into Israel and destroy its Jewish sovereignty. On Monday they held the event Is BDS Working?

Their Facebook page states:

“The global campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel almost always sparks polarized discussion on its legitimacy and desirability, but the nuanced question of its effect on the ground is often lost in the debate. Join our panel discussion as we explore the effectiveness of BDS and its stated goals: End of occupation, right of return, and equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel.”

Plonski said she looked forward to a “discussion”, but warned (clip 1) that if there were any untoward interruptions she would call security (and you wouldn’t want to upset the dictatorial Plonski). Each speaker then slammed Israel after which they got asked compliant questions by a compliant audience. But there was no “discussion”.

The evening reached its Orwellian zenith when the panel was criticised for the lack of a Palestinian presence. Plonski agreed and said she would work hard to have one next time. But what about the Israeli government’s views, one might have asked? I doubt Plonski will be working too hard to have those aired on one of her “discussion” panels.

Where was the “discussion” in allowing an unchallenged Ilan Pappe to state:

“What do you do about a rogue state like Israel? How do you treat it? What is the right policy towards a country, a state, that violates systematically all the United Nations’ resolutions, that violates systematically and abuses civil and human rights? This is now the conversation, this is why all these pro-Zionist Jewish communites are so fidgety, this is why all the Israeli Embassies have nightly meetings ‘what do we do?’, not changing Israeli immoral behaviour, ‘how do we now justify Israeli immoral behaviour?'”

And in allowing him to demean what blacks went through in apartheid South Africa when he said:

“South Africa had the right to exist. And Israel has the right to exist. Apartheid had no right to exist. Therefore, we all worked for the change of regime in South Africa. The kind of regime Israel maintains in the occupied territories, the kind of regime it maintains towards its Palestinian minority in Israel and the kind of policies it pursies against Palestinian refugees has no right to exist. And I think that is what the (bds) campaign is all about…We are talking about a change of regime and we don’t even suggest bombing the Israelis to change the regime as we would have if it had been an Arab country.”

Where was the discussion in allowing Dr John Chalcraft to make the ridiculous assertion that BDS was responsible for loss of business amounting to $7bn? (I would be surprised if it were even $7)

Chalcraft thinks that organisations that are usually unconcerned about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when conducting business with Israel will now start to be concerned about the prospect of “nasty, grungy looking campaigners” (clip 5) showing up on their doorsteps with pictures of murdered Palestinian babies (incidentally, see here for Daniel Hochhauser’s total demolition of Chalcraft’s arguments when they debated This House Believes in an Academic Boycott of Israel).

Chalcraft denied BDS was racist by simply stating:

“Is there any other state in the world that is, right now, engaged in a project which has all sorts of affinities with nineteenth century settler colonialism?”

But we know that just like Pappe, Plonski and Reider, for Chalcraft the real problem is not “the occupation”, but Jewish Nationalism.

Chalcraft spoke of:

“interesting rifts in both Israeli society and academia that are opening up right now that BDS can exploit, because if you have a non-violent strategy of resistance then you do have to divide, in this case, Zionism”.

He spoke of rifts between the settlers and the IDF, between the segregationist movements on the buses and the more liberal Zionists and also between Liberal Zionists in America, like Thomas Friedman, and other “Newt Gingrich-style-Adelson-casino-owning movements in the United States”.

Chalcraft’s mention of Sheldon Adelson with its strong implication of Jewish money and power (see CiFWatch for analysis on why this can be considered anti-Semitism) was a theme taken up by Dr Lee Jones of Queen Mary’s College. Jones was there as a sort of constructive critic of the BDS movement. He thought that BDS on its own wouldn’t succeed without some bigger overall strategy, so he gave advice:

“Attacking the idea that you must not ever criticise Israel in the United States, otherwise you are some kind of disloyal Jew, for example. That does need to be challenged in the US and opening up different options for US foreign policy could be a start…which then forces the government into changes. So that’s the kind of dynamic that I’m talking about.” (clip 4)

Hannah Weisfeld’s (from “pro-Israel” Yachad) main arguments were that Israel has a right to exist, that BDS has had little impact on Israel and that BDS wouldn’t work anyway as it keeps Israelis on the defensive. She didn’t think BDS was anti-Semitic, but she described what Israel was doing beyond the Green Line as “criminal”.

Weisfeld just wants Israel to end “the occupation”, even if that is achieved by BDS. But because she also doesn’t think BDS will succeed she also gave some advice to the BDS movement (clip 3):

“A unified Palestinan strategy is hugely important and you are much better placed than me to suggest whether BDS is having that impact on Palestinian society. I come from the perspective of what I think is going to end the occupation…I don’t think the BDS movement is racist. I think there are elements in it that are questionable and I think there are parts of its aims that are highly questionable in terms of whether you think Israel has a right to exist or not. I don’t think people who engage in BDS engage in it because they are anti-Semites.”

and:

“I think we would be having a very different conversation in this room if the BDS movement was about a targeted (settlement) boycott. I am not saying that I would necessarily support it, but I think the entire debate would be different, because I think the position would be a position that does not put people on the defensive because it recognises the legitimacy of the other side to exist and I think that the level of criminality that exists inside the Green Line, over the Green Line is not distinguished…is exactly the reason BDS will not succeed in ending the occupation.”

How disappointing that Weisfeld thinks that neither singling out the one country that just happens to be Jewish for a boycott nor the desire of BDS to end Israel’s Jewish sovereignty are racist. And neither does she totally dismiss the possibility of herself supporting a targeted boycott of Israelis who live on the West Bank.

On top of all this Weisfeld never articulated what she expected to happen after any such unilateral settlement withdrawal by Israel. What happens if rockets fired from the West Bank then start hitting Tel Aviv, for example?

And how has the Israel Society at SOAS been hijacked like this? You would have thought that university societies existed to reflect their subject matter in a positive light. However, students at SOAS are now being fed horrendous lies about Israel not only by the SOAS Palestine Society but now by the SOAS Israel Society as well.

Clips:

1. Plonski introducing event:

2. Weisfeld talks about Yachad and adresses BDS:

3. Pappe speaks of Israel’s “criminality” as an admiring Plonski watches on and Weisfeld ponders a targeted settlement boycott:

4. Dr Lee Jones of QMC on “the Jews”:

5. Chalcraft on anti-Israel activism:

6. Dimi Reider on the cultural and academic boycott:

Threatened and told I’m “one of the chosen people” at anti-Israel trade union event.

Moshe Machover about to wake someone up with talk of wet dreams.

Moshe Machover about to wake someone up with talk of wet dreams.

Last night the RMT union, which represents London Underground’s tube drivers, held a rally at SOAS under the pseudonym Palestine’s Fight for Freedom.

Speakers demonised Israel with accusations of “apartheid”, “ethnic cleansing” and being a “racist state”. There were also the usual racist boycott calls.

There was an incredible screaming rant by Steve Hedley, RMT’s London regional organiser, in which, addressing an audience member, he made remarks such as “your friends in the media”, “the attack on those innocent women and children who you starved and turned into the biggest concentration camp on the earth”, “you’re an absolute disgrace to the Jewish people” and “you’re a modern day Nazi”.

After he had sat down I asked him if he felt better, to which he replied:

“Better than you, obviously. But then again you’re one of the chosen people so you might feel better than me, huh?”

Here is the audio of Hedley’s rant, including his “chosen people” remark. He was cleared earlier this year of assault:

Hedley on “the chosen people”.

And here is some footage of the end of Hedley’s rant:

It wasn’t long after this that I felt a tug on my shirt collar and heard the words “You’ve got a right hook coming to you” menacingly whispered into my ear.

Here is another RMT official speaking about how Israel has “deformed the area”:

Hedley had earlier more calmly refuted any accusations of anti-Semitism:

“If the Israeli people are going to tolerate the oppression of the Palestinian people, they will never be free themselves. And I’m an anti-fascist. I’ve been an anti-fascist since the early teens. I’ve got absolutely nothing against Israelis at all; nothing against Jewish people. It’s a clear line to draw because people have been throwing around labels ‘oh, you’re anti-Semitic’… and that’s not the case.”

Well, that’s all clear and good, apart from calling a Jewish person “one of the chosen people”.

More depressing than that though was to hear a SOAS lecturer, Dr Adam Hanieh, calling for a racist boycott of Israel. Let’s be clear; he was not calling for a boycott of “settlement goods”, but everything Israeli.

I don’t wish to suggest that there is anything improper about Hanieh’s classes. I have never been in one. But do his students know of his vile politics before enrolling on to Development Studies at SOAS?

If you were parting with £9,000 a year wouldn’t you want to be informed that a lecturer supports racist action? I would. Even if he or she were the best lecturer in the world I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with them.

Hanieh’s SOAS biography gives no hint of his boycott activism. Here is Hanieh speaking about a boycott of Israel last night:

And here is Hanieh talking about “ethnic cleansing” and comparing the West Bank to the bantustans in South Africa:

Meanwhile, raunchy Moshe Machover bravely injected some sex talk into the event. Apart from calling for a “one-state solution” he said:

“The wet dream of all major Zionist parties is further ethnic cleansing. And this is what is on the cards.” (At 2 mins 43 secs.)

And here is Hugh Lanning, Chair of the PSC and Deputy General of the Public and Commercial Services Union, complaining about BBC bias and refuting claims that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, despite the fact that no one makes such a claim. Calling for the destruction of Israel, which is the PSC position, is anti-Semitic though.

During the Q&A a questioner asked whether the RMT has proposed boycotts of Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia, while another asked whether the boycotts aren’t reminiscent of the Nazis boycotts of the Jews in the 1930s.

Ilan Pappe’s squirming answer was that Iran is already being sanctioned and, therefore, the RMT doesn’t have to boycott Iran and that everyone knows that the likes of Saudi Arabia are oppressive, unlike the media which presumes that Israel is democratic.

He finished off addressing the difference between the Nazi boycott and today’s boycott movement just by saying:

“How can someone who was the victim of Nazis stand in support of Israel today?”

Here’s the audio:

Pappe on Iran, Saudi Arabia and Nazi boycotts.

Pappe is a lecturer at Exeter University.

It was left to Jonathan Hoffman to propose that Israel was a smokescreen for the failure of unions like the RMT to prevent the cuts, which didn’t go down with the Chairman of the event who said that he wouldn’t be taking any lectures on RMT’s efforts to represent the working man.

But is the same union that stops many a working man from getting to work when they launch one of their regular tube strikes?

If so then the sooner Mayor Boris introduces driverless tube trains, the better.