Jeremy Corbyn MP, PSC’s Hugh Lanning, Manuel Hassassian in Parliament last night.
Last night Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian “Ambassador” to the UK, said he believes that the Jews are the children of God because nobody is stopping them from building their “messianic dream of Eretz Israel”. He called for a “one state solution” and looked forward to the world’s Muslim population reaching two billion.
He was speaking in Parliament at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s 4 years on from Israel’s ‘Operation Cast Lead': Israel’s siege and attacks continue. Also speaking were Labour’s Shadow Justice Minister Andy Slaughter MP and Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather. Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn played host.
Addressing an audience of some 100 people Hassassian declared:
“We, the Palestinians, the most highly educated and intellectual in the Middle East, are still struggling for the basic right of self-determination. What an irony. How long are we going to suffer and be patient with Israel? You know I’m reaching the conclusion that the Jews are the children of God, the only children of God and the Promised Land is being paid by God! I have started to believe this because nobody is stopping Israel building its messianic dream of Eretz Israel to the point I believe that maybe God is on their side. Maybe God is partial on this issue.”
Then removing his “PLO and Palestinian Authority hat” he continued:
“There is no two state solution. Democracies don’t fight each other. If Israel is a democracy I would claim that the Palestinians are also a democracy. If democracies cannot fight each other then why not have one state?; one man, one vote.”
On Israel’s future he said:
“Israel will never continue to exist as a pariah state. Israel could never continue to fight wars against the Palestinians, against the Arabs and the Muslims. The United States is not going to be Israel’s strategic ally for time immemorial. And today we have 1.5 billion Muslims. In 20 years we will have 2 billion. And those 2 billion, forget about politics, from a religious perspective will not allow Israel to continue desecrating their religious rights (in Jerusalem). And then what?”
And on what could have been Hassassian said:
“What does Israel want? In 2002 the Arabs gave them the Arab Peace Initiative. Relinquishing territories occupied in 1967 would have led to normalisation of relations with Israel. If the Israelis had accepted that the flag of Israel would have been hoisted in Mecca, in Iran, in Tehran! If they had accepted. But Israel does not want peace. Israel nurtures on conflict, and the Zionist Ideology is to have the entire West Bank, the entire Palestine.”
Andy Slaughter MP accused Israel of deliberately killing whole Palestinian families and controlling the Palestinians’ calorie count. He said Israel supplied Palestinians just enough to stop them from starving and he described, what he called, Israel’s failure to supply clean water, electricity and decent homes as “collective punishment”.
Sarah Teather MP accused Israel of “wiping out five thousand homes” in one part of Gaza alone and that nothing could justify this. She said that Israel must let “basic goods” into Gaza.
PSC Chair Hugh Lanning said he noticed that during Operation Cast Lead CNN only reported on the Hamas rockets. Lanning then claimed that “while the occupation and siege continues Israel is ALWAYS the aggressor”. He also claimed that Israel had banned 180 life saving medicines from Gazan hospitals “because they might save lives”.
Jeremy Corbyn spoke about Gazans who had “never known the ability to move out of Gaza”. Ironically, he then introduced us to Rania Al-Najjar who has just completed a Masters in International Relations at London’s City University. Rania is from Gaza. She said, inter alia, that there are no economic opportunities in Gaza and that unemployment there is the highest in the world, relatively.
We then heard from two “1948 Palestinians” who live in Israel. One of them had spent three spells in Israeli prisons, his sentences ranging from one to eight years. He spoke about the remaining prisoners who had forgotten what the sky and moon look like and how they had not touched the hands of their mothers or children for many years.
Finally, Hugh Lanning announced that there will be a “controversial PSC conference” on April 13th where there will be “an open dialogue with the people of Gaza and their leaders”.
Remember during the Olympics when Britain celebrated how multicultural we are and how we accept people of all cultures and races? Well, it seems, the party is already over.
Britain’s Jews are made to feel especially uncomfortable. Today, yet again, Hezbollah supporters marched through the streets of London for the Khomeini inspired Al Quds Day. Instead of congregating in Trafalgar Square like last year, they assembled outside the American Embassy.
Hezbollah has been involved in a worldwide campaign to murder as many Jews as possible. It started in Argentina in the early 1990s when both the Israeli consulate and a Jewish community centre were bombed by Hezbollah leaving hundreds of Jews and non-Jews dead and disabled. And recently in Bulgaria Hezbollah blew up a bus full of young Israeli tourists leaving many dead and crippled.
This is all fully in line with Hassan Nasrallah’s statements that Jews are descended from pigs and apes and if the world’s Jews gathered in Israel it would save Hezbollah the effort of going after them worldwide.
Last year Hezbollah activists held up signs proclaiming “Death to Israel”, “Israel Your Days Are Numbered” and “For there to be peace Israel must be destroyed”. Today the disingenuously named Islamic Human Rights Commission, a registered charity, was allowed to repeat the exercise.
I wasn’t there for very long today. Once again I was quietly trying to film proceedings. No one recognised me until an anti-Ahava activist tipped off stewards from the Islamic Human Rights Commission who jostled me and complained to the police who, in turn, ushered me away.
After the assembled crowd was urged to chant “Zionism must go” and “From The River to the Sea Palestine Will be Free” I saw both Reverend Stephen Sizer and Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn address it.
Leaflets sponsored by INMINDS.co.uk were handed out. They read, inter alia, “The world ended Nazism and Apartheid, isn’t it time to end the suffering of the Palestinians?” and “Israeli soldiers of the Givati Brigade ordered around 100 people in to the Wa’el Samouni house at gunpoint. They then bombed the house killing 29 people. They then denied emergency crews access to the house for four days, shooting at ambulance drivers if they approached the house. In case anyone mistook the intent of the Givati in this crime, they left a message on one of the remaining walls of the house, daubed in Hebrew it read ‘The Only good Arab is a Dead Arab.'”
One has to ask why does Britain rightly ban groups like Muslims Against Crusades for causing public outrage but not Hezbollah which is actively attempting to murder Jews worldwide. Are Britain’s Jews deemed so dispensable?
I think we know the answer by now.
Clips and photos:
Al Quds Day London 2012. So much for “multi-cultural Britain”.
Someone’s in love with Hezbollah.
Giving me the evils.
Racism descends on a sunny London.
The Green Party?
Neturei Karta at their usual pre-Shabbat hate-fest.
“Daddy, daddy can we go to another hate-fest today?”
Kaufman calls for boycott of Israel. Andy Slaughter on his left and Jeremy Corbyn (scratching).
There were more surreal ongoings at Parliament on Monday night when the Palestinian Return Centre held a seminar on the Palestinian refugees, which was attended by four Labour MPs.
I was banned from filming and photographing by the organisers eventhough there were two camera crews in the room, one from Lebanon, and about 10 other people in the audience filming or taking photos.
Then at the end of the event Jonathan Hoffman and I were met by four police officers. Jonathan was taken aside by an officer and told that during the meeting he had said that the MPs were supporting terrorism by allowing terrorist supporters into Parliament. We were then given a police escort out of Parliament.
Jonathan never said anything of the sort. He only spoke during the Q&A when called upon by Gerald Kaufman MP and then only to remind Jeremy Corbyn MP that Israel had frozen settlement building to allow negotiations to resume but that the Palestinians never took Israel up on the offer.
It was Kaufman who raised the issue of terrorism. He said that every week The Jewish Chronicle sends him a complimentary issue and that this week he noticed the headline “Hamas gets a hearing in House of Commons”.
The JC article goes on to describe how Ismail Haniyeh was the guest speaker at PRC’s annual conference in 2009.
Jokingly, Kaufman asked if anyone in the room was from Hamas at which, to loud applause, a young woman raised an arm.
The meeting had started with Kaufman acknowledging the dreadful deprivations suffered by the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. He said that the refugee camps had no electricity or clean water and that sewage ran down the middle of the streets.
But, he said, despite these conditions he was moved that the main thing on the minds of the refugees was the “right of return”. He spoke of a Palestinian woman with an asthmatic baby and no medication who only wanted to discuss the “right of return”.
Mohammed Al Hamid, Chair of PRC Board of Trustees, said that the “seven million Palestinian refugees shared their indignities with another 44 million refugees worldwide”. He said refugees wanting to return home was a basic urge and that “we should defend this cause”.
Dr Arafat Shoukri, Director of the Council for European Palestinian Relations, said the Palestinians have no political or civil rights in Lebanon and that they are banned from working in 70 professions there.
He said that the right of return would not lead to the destruction of Israel because the Palestinians having the right is different from them actually exercising it. He thinks the Palestinians should be granted the right and it is up to them whether to exercise it.
He also said Lebanon thinks it is protecting the right of return by keeping the Palestinians in such oppressive conditions.
Dr. Tariq Tahboob, of the Association of Palestinian Doctors in Europe, said that the Palestinians are a very proud people with a 93% literacy rate. He said “Moses, the great prophet of Muslims, Christians and Jews said to Pharaoh ‘let my people go'”. Tahboob then repeated “let my people go”.
Tahboob also said Israel was created on Palestine in 1948 and he called for a two state solution with east Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital and for the right of return to be kept in place.
Andrew Love MP also acknowledged the lack of employment opportunities for Palestinians in Lebanon and how Lebanon imports labour from Syria and Egypt.
Love said that when the Palestinian refugees arrived in Lebanon only the Christian Palestinians were granted Lebanese citizenship by the Phalange government. Now, he said, if a Lebanese woman has a baby with a Palestinian man she will hide his name so the baby will become Lebanese.
Quite unbelievably, despite the obvious suffering of the Palestinians in Lebanon Gerald Kaufman MP and Jeremy Corbyn MP went on to call for a boycott of Israel.
Corbyn asked “Why are we trading normally with Israel?” He said that the Palestinians in exile were desperate to return home and that the conditions of the Palestinians in Gaza was morally wrong and a danger to the rest of the world.
Andy Slaughter MP, Labour’s shadow justice minister, said that the issue of the right of return had been sidelined as there have been so many injustices and abuses and that the injustices since 1948 are not in the past but in the present.
During the Q&A I was allowed to ask the panelists whether they felt ashamed that, by contributing to this false hope of “returning” to Israel, they have helped to sentence the Palestinians to lives of hell in Lebanon. I didn’t get a constructive response.
And after that Jonathan and I had our appointment with the police.
(Here is an interesting update to the talk from Harry’s Place.)
This map, without Israel, took pride of place behind all the speakers.
Last night the Palestine Solidarity Campaign revealed the horrors of what life would be like for British Jews under Labour. The Jew killing Hamas machine would become regulars to Downing Street.
But, first, a love letter.
At the PSC event about Gaza, held at Conway Hall (which is owned by the South Place Ethical Society), actorvist Leigh Outram read the following from Love Letters to Gaza (see clip 1 below). The boat mentioned is the Audacity of Hope:
What can a poem do?
Light a fire?
A fire to fire the boat to sea.
There was no fire at Auschwitz
To stop the poison gas until
The fire part of the western world destroyed the evil of the Nazi state,
And Israel came into being because the will was there.
It is not now the Nazi state but Israel that blocks the seas.
It is not Auschwitz that stops the ship that carries hope and messages,
But those that might have died there.
So let this poem drive the Hope that heads for Gaza. The victims are now the torturers. Freedom must be for all not just the victors
Whose victory brings forgetfulness of what they suffered once Now brought to others.
Maybe Ms Outram hasn’t visited Auschwitz and seen the gas chambers and the ovens or the pictures of naked Jewish women huddling together in front of a pit before being shot. Maybe she doesn’t know that one million Jewish children died in The Holocaust.
This is the true Holocaust industry, a term coined by Norman Finklestein, where the likes of Ms Outram get paid for minimalising the horrors of Auschwitz by comparing it to Gaza. But Outram set the theme for the evening.
The Love Letter read out by Tracy-Ann Woods (clip 2) described the Palestinians as “hated simply for being who they are” and that read out by Clare Quinn (clip 3) described Israel as “dying”. Ahmed Masoud, who has written for the BBC, compared Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto. Another activist (clip 4) said “no oppression or injustice has ever gone without falling. The apartheid regime ended, the collapse of Nazism…”
Meanwhile, Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Slaughter, the Shadow Justice Minister, sat on stage applauding and when it came to speak everyone stood in front of map of Palestine, where there was no Israel.
Of Hamas Slaughter said (clip 5):
“They recognise a Palestinian state on ’67 borders, which is to effectively recognise the state of Israel. Now I think if that is not enough for the Americans or Israelis then I think we are playing games because those concessions are considerable concessions and they are the right concessions to make.”
This from a potential Justice Minister. Except recognition of a Palestinian state is not recognition of Israel. A small swing from the Conservatives to Labour in 2015 and the Liberal Democrats could ditch the Tories. A Lib/Lab coalition would be the perfect storm for Israel and British Jews with Hamas becoming regular visitors to Number 10.
Slaughter has already met Hamas and the Labour Party offered no comment.
Corbyn (clip 6) finished off the evening calling for some potentially five million Palestinians to be allowed into Israel, effectively turning it into yet another Arab state while taking the benefits of the Israelis’ hard work builing up a successful country.
Michael Deas (clip 7), Palestinian BDS National Committee, attempted to paint Israel as being undemocratic, but he was soon followed by Kika Markham (clip 8), the widow of Corin Redgrave, who read an extract from a role she performed as Haaretz journalist Amira Hass in which Hass talks of Israel in the most despicable terms.
A country that allows Hass and Haaretz to attack it so regularly cannot be anything but democratic. There isn’t something even near the equivalent of Haaretz for the Palestinians and that speaks volumes.
This was on the wall at the PSC's Conway Hall event.
Toy models displayed in lobby at Conway Hall.
Jon McKenna, Tracy-Ann Wood, Leigh Outram, Laura Freeman watching Clare Quinn spew poison about the Jewish state.
Clip 1 – Leigh Outram (compares Auschwitz to Gaza)
Clip 2 – Tracy-Ann Woods (“Palestinians hated for who they are”)
Clip 3 – Clare Quinn (“Israel is dying”)
Clip 4 – Activist (likens Israel to the Nazis)
Clip 5 – Andy Slaughter MP (“Hamas recognises Israel”)
Clip 6 – Jeremy Corbyn MP (“Palestinian refugees” will go to Israel)
Clip 7 – Michael Deas (“Israel is not democratic”)
Clip 8 – Kika Markham (acts as Haaretz’s Amira Hass)
Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn, Richard Burden and Yasmin Qureshi owe Theresa May, the Home Secretary, a huge debt of gratitude for having had Sheikh Raed Salah detained on Tuesday night. She might just have saved their careers.
Had the homophobic preacher been allowed to speak at wednesday night’s event at the Houses of Parliament there would now be photographs circulating of them sharing a platform with him.
These photos would, no doubt, have featured in the political literature for the next general election and would probably have led to these MPs’ crushing defeats, as sharing platforms with self-confessed homophobes is not something the British public would wish to be associated with.
Instead Salah is awaiting deportation back to Israel.
Meanwhile, in his defence Middle East Monitor and Palestine Solidarity Campaign have been raising the straw man that Salah is not an anti-Semite on the basis of lack of proof.
While he is accused of claiming that Jews use the blood of children to make their bread, his blatant homophobia has not been made a huge issue of. His supporters are defending him only against claims of anti-Semitism.
What is your opinion of the legislation now being discussed in the Knesset, which would grant Muslim women rights similar to those of Jewish women in matters of personal status?
“That bill is tantamount to a war on Islam. It is an attempt to dictate different, foreign values that are neither Muslim nor Palestinian values.”
What is your opinion of homosexuality?
“It is a crime. A great crime. Such phenomena signal the start of the collapse of every society. Those who believe in Allah know that behavior of that kind brings his wrath and is liable to cause the worst things to happen. There is no solution for this, unless the individual’s faith is strengthened.”
In this statement Salah denies most of the accusations:
“It has been claimed that he repeated a ‘blood libel’ by saying, ‘among those whose blood was mixed with the sacred (Jewish) bread'; this is an absolute lie and a malicious fabrication.”
“With regard to the statement that ‘the Creator made from you [the Jews] monkeys and losers’, this is again a lie and fabrication.”
“I unequivocally condemn all forms of racism, including anti- Semitism, Islamophobia, and racism towards my own people, the Palestinians.”
There are no denials about his homophobia and thoughts on the inequality of women.
So what does Sarah Colborne think of sharing a platform with someone who thinks homosexuality “is a crime…that is liable to cause the worst things to happen”. Obviously nothing.
Colborne uses her own homosexuality as a political weapon. She recently wrote to Marc Almond complaining about “real homophobia confronted by the LGBT community inside Israel” and urged him to cancel his tour to Israel. He did cancel, although Almond said it “was not for any political reason”:
“Dear Marc Almond,
I was shocked to hear that you were scheduled to perform in Israel. Listening to your music, I always assumed that you had a clear and unstinting compassion for those who face discrimination and oppression. Your music provided the soundtrack to many lesbians and gay men growing up in a hostile society. And as a lesbian who has been actively supporting Palestinian rights for over a decade, I felt obliged to write to you personally.
Israel is attempting to ‘pinkwash’ itself as tolerant, and gay-friendly in an attempt to paint over the discrimination, racism and apartheid that Palestinians face on a daily basis. It is an attempt to cover up Israel’s flouting of international law and its violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Those who support Israel’s crimes continue to propogate the colonialist fantasies of a civilised and gay-friendly Israel, as opposed to hostile, homophobic Palestinians. This not only denies the real homophobia confronted by the LGBT community inside Israel, but also the reality of life as a lesbian or gay Palestinian living under a brutal military occupation. By propogating this fantasy, Israel is attempting to co-opt support from LGBT artists and activists in other countries for its violence towards Palestinians.
I have worked with the Palestinian community in Britain and internationally, travelled to Palestinian towns and villages, and I was on the Mavi Marmara last year when it was attacked by Israeli commandos whilst in international waters, taking aid to Gaza. Our shared experiences of homophobia and discrimination should make us even more sensitive to, and supportive of, the cause of equality, freedom and justice for Palestine.
I urge you to listen to the voices of Palestinian gay and lesbian organisations, for example Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (PQBDS). Please listen to those of us in the LGBT community in Britain, who believe that until Palestinians are free, none of us are free.
The cause of Palestine is the cause of justice and freedom. Please do not taint the love of the LGBT community for your music by playing in Israel.
Yet, here she is sitting next to him on Monday night at an event sponsored by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which she heads, and Middle East Monitor.
Conway Hall: Salah and Sarah Colborne in the middle
It just goes to show that Salah’s vile views can be overlooked where the joint goal is the vilification of Israel.
Will Qureshi, Corbyn and Burden now denounce Salah as a homophobe or do they consider homophobia to be less serious than anti-Semitism?
At the next general election the British public will be made well aware that these three Labour MPs were due to share a platform with someone who has clearly expressed homophobic views.
And what about the PSC, which sponsored the event on Monday night where Salah spoke and sponsored the event at Parliament on Wednesday where he was due to speak?
Will the PSC’s patrons stay silent about an organisation they support, but which has now sponsored a homophobic preacher?
Those patrons include Tony Benn, actress Julie Christie, Victoria Brittain, playwright Caryl Churchill (who wrote Seven Jewish Children), RMT leader Bob Crow, writer William Dalrymple, the reverend Garth Hewitt, Ghada Karmi, Bruce Kent, Lowkey, Karma Nabulsi, Ilan Pappe, Alexei Sayle and Benjamin Zephania.
On the Reverend Stephen Sizer’s blog there is also a defence of Salah. Salah is referred to as a “well-respected Palestinian leader”.
Do Salah’s views on homosexuality make him a well-respected leader?
On The Apprentice the project manager on the losing team is invariably fired for the team’s losing performance. In the case of PSC chief Sarah Colborne Alan Sugar would already be pointing his finger and saying:
Sheikh Raed Salah was gone but not forgotten last night at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign event in the House of Commons at which he was due to speak alongside four Labour politicans and one Liberal Democrat.
Many speakers stood up to denounce his detention and potential deportation.
Salah had been arrested the night before after slipping into Britain last Saturday before the Home Office had properly informed the Border Agency that he had been excluded as not being conducive to the public good.
But before last night he had already spoken at Conway Hall on Monday night, in Leicester and in the House of Lords.
Yesterday, the Daily Mail’s front page headline screamed “Secure Britain…What a Joke” and attributed the following, alleged, statements to Salah:
On homosexuality: “It is a crime. A great crime. Such phenomena signal the start of the collapse of every society.”
On Jews: “We have never allowed ourselves to knead (the dough for) the bread that breaks the fast in the holy month of Ramadan with children’s blood. Whoever wants a more thorough explanation, let him ask what used to happen to some children in Europe, whose blood was mixed in with the dough of the (Jewish) holy bread.” (After this, alleged, speech 1,000 people rioted).
Salah had served two years in prison for confessing to having financed the terrorist group Hamas.
As last night’s PSC event took place Salah was languishing in prison.
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn said that Salah’s lawyers, the PSC and Corbyn, himself, were going to challenge the decision. Corbyn also insinuated that the “orchestrated campaign by the Daily Mail” might be behind the decision not to allow Salah into the country.
The meeting itself was on Building Peace and Justice in Jerusalem. Speakers included Muslims, Christians and Jews. The intention was to portray Jerusalem as equally important to all the faiths and, therefore, having to be fairly shared with the Palestinians having east Jerusalem as their capital and the Jews having west Jerusalem as Israel’s.
At no stage was it stated that this would leave virtually every Jewish holy site under the control of the Palestinians.
While Palestinians would be able to worship on the Temple Mount, it is highly unlikely that many Israeli Jews would be allowed to pray at the Western Wall. This was certainly the case when Jordan controlled the Western Wall between 1949 and 1967. And they have the cheek to describe Israel as an “apartheid state”!
Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi spoke first. She referred to the “apartheid wall that digs deep into the West Bank”. She said Israel has “created a Jewish buffer zone around Jerusalem” and that it had appropriated huge swathes of land in order to Judaise Jerusalem.
Then Palestinian Ambassador Dr. Manuel Hassassian said that the Palestinians will “never compromise over the sovereignty of east Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the heart of the Palestinian state and the hardest nut to crack. If there is political will on the part of Israel, then everything has a solution. But we have a right wing fascist Israeli government that only wants to build settlements and confiscate land. We Palestinians don’t have a partner for peace. We made our historic compromise when we gave up 78% of Palestine in 1988.”
Considering Hassassian’s Fatah party has just joined forces with anti-Jewish terrorist group Hamas Hassassian’s hypocrisy reeks stronger than his aftershave.
Hassassian also referred to the “apartheid wall” and to Israel’s policies in Jerusalem as “ethnic cleansing”. He said that America keeps Israel immune from international law. On Salah’s arrest he said that Salah is in prison now for fighting for Palestinian rights in Jerusalem.
He finished off by saying:
“We are resilient, diligent and we will get our state in September with east Jerusalem as our capital. The UK government must be proactive and give us money and aid and say to Israel that you are the occupier and must end this occupation. We hope Palestinians and Israelis, Jews, Christians and Muslims will live in unity in Mosaic Jerusalem, where I was born. I will never quit defending the rights of Palestinians in that city.”
Ismail Patel, from Friends of Al Aqsa, said it was a “sad day today that his (Salah’s) voice should be silenced in a country known for its freedom of speech. He has more free speech in Israel than in Britain”.
He claimed that the Romans expelled the Jews but it was the Muslims who ended the Jewish dispersion in 637AD and that until 1967 Jerusalem was an open city, apart from 100 years of Crusader rule.
He said “Israel’s slogan was a land without a people for a people without a land”. But now, he said, Israel has a new slogan: “There is no meaning to Israel without Jerusalem as its capital and there is no meaning to Jerusalem without the Temple Mount on which Al Aqsa stands”.
“Israel’s Zionist ideology of occupation, oppression and expulsion wishes to create an exclusively Jewish state. It wants to be a Jewish democracy only, by denying other faiths equal rights. Never again should mankind oppress another because of the difference in their faith as was done in Germany during the Holocaust. The Palestinians have been expelled just because they are Palestinians. If we want ‘Never Again’ to come true we must motivate ourselves to keep the Palestinian presence in former Palestinian land, in a state where all faiths are equal and not a state where only Jews have the right to exist.”
Hind Khoury, of Sabeel, which is described as “an ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians”, said she wanted east Jerusalem to be the capital of a Palestinian state and west Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel.
She said that Israel is seeking to Judaise and de-Palestinise the city. She agreed with Ambassador Hassassian that the Palestinians had recognised Israel’s existence in 1988. She said that nothing justifies Israel’s exlusive claim to the West Bank and she was worried that “our churches will become Museums”.
Labour MP Richard Burden said that Palestinians must pay $26,000 for a building permit in Jerusalem and that the permits take many years to obtain from the Israelis. He said it was a case of the “creeping ethnic cleansing of a city by bureaucratic decree”.
Burden, referring to the Salah affair, said he had no truck with racism or anti-Semitism, but a person should be convicted on the basis of evidence, not innuendo:
“If the Home Secretary can produce evidence then fair enough, but the obligation is on her. If our government is as activist as this maybe it could show more activism and tell the Israeli authorities that it is about time they stopped demolishing Palestinian homes…Brave Jewish Israelis are also saying this.”
Last night BBC’s Newsnight had a piece about the Salah affair and as the credits were about to roll the presenter said that Burden had just phoned in to say that although he had been due to speak alongside Salah last night he had no input into arranging Salah’s visit. And his point is?
Labour Lord Alf Dubs had recently returned from his first ever visit to the West Bank and was “shocked” by what he saw: “Israel’s government is its own worst enemy.”
He called for a peaceful two state solution with Jerusalem as a shared capital, but this, he said, would be impossible with Israel’s “deliberate” settlement policy. He also described his visit to an Israeli military court:
“The security was so tight we had to leave our business cards on entering. In the dock were two Palestinian kids aged 14 and 15. Their handcuffs had been removed, but their legs were still shackled. The fifteen year old was in tears, which was very disturbing to see.”
Diana Neslen, of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said she is a “dissident Jew”. She spoke of the “obscene wall that snakes around” Jerusalem. She said that until 1967 another wall divided the city, but although Jews could not visit the Western Wall then, they were “otherwise free and without restriction”.
She said that Israel had destroyed the houses that faced the Western Wall when it captured the Old City in 1967, but “gaining territory was no substitute for losing one’s soul”.
She also said that now many Palestinian cannot pray on the Temple Mount and that “this shows how unfit Israel is to be the guardian of the Holy sites…Israelis do not see the non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine worthy of human decency”.
She described how on June 1st “white shirted young people” marched through east Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah district screaming “Death to Arabs”, “Burn the Arabs” and “Burn the Arab villages”:
“It was like Mosley marching through the East End protected by the police, but Mosley was prevented from marching. Those who like to excavate anti-Semitism never condemn these outrageous scenes. Shameful silence breeds violence”.
She said some “brave Israeli and Jewish dissidents” did make a stand. One was Lucas Kerner who, she said, was wearing both a “Jewish skullcap and a Palestinian keffiya”, but he was attacked by police.
Liberal Democrat Baroness Jenny Tonge brought down the curtain. Her whole talk was about the Salah affair. She berated “the power of the Israel lobby here as well as in the USA”. She said she is “deeply ashamed of the Liberal Democrat part of our government”. She said that if you met Salah you would know that what has been said about him is not true.
She said that the proposed change in the law on universal jurisdiction was a case of “the Israel lobby at work. They lobbied on that and are getting their way and I suspect they lobbied on this. I am deeply ashamed and I am considering my future in my party.” (see poll below)
Jenny, you’ll be doing everyone a favour if you resign, mostly the Liberal Democrat party.
Meanwhile, Reverend Stephen Sizer was there last night as the official photographer. He is back from his recent trip to Malaysia where he said on TV:
“The far right in Britain is forming an alliance with Zionists because their common enemy are the Muslims.”
And so ended another evening where the Palestine Solidarity Campaign sunk to new lows. For my part even if Salah did not say what he is accused of saying about Jews and homosexuals the fact that he has been convicted of financing Hamas is enough to exclude him from Britain. (UPDATE: Sheikh Salah is a homophobe. Read Haaretz interview with him)
Would we let in to Britain someone who has financed Al Qaeda?
Meanwhile, in the queue for last night’s event someone was telling me that the Zionists controlled the world financial system and that Israel controlled British foreign policy and was responsible for 9/11. But, he assured me, he was not anti-Semitic.
Photos/audio from last night:
Sarah Colborne (PSC Chief), Martin Linton, Ben White, Diana Neslen last night.
Jeremy Corbyn MP congratulates "dissident Jew" Diana Neslen.
Palestinian Ambassador Dr Manuel Hassassian, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Richard Burden MP, Lord Alf Dubs
Richard Burden MP, Lord Alf Dubs, Hind Khoury (Sabeel)
Lubna Masarwa (Middle East Monitor), Jeremy Corbyn MP, Ben White (anti-Zionist activist)
Jenny Tonge dreaming of Palestinian refugees marching on Israel.
Last night in Parliament I’d had my camera on for all of 23 seconds before the Parliamentary police were called by the organisers of the event to eject me from the committee room for “unauthorised filming” (see video clip below).
I turned the camera off pretty sharply as 60 sets of hostile eyes trained on you is a pretty uncomfortable feeling. Luckily, Gerald Kaufman MP, who was chairing, asked the police officer to leave in no uncertain terms.
The altercation came when I was filming Jenny Tonge’s contribution to the meeting. I had seen other people holding up cameras and Iphones and so I didn’t think it was a problem (listen to the audio clip below from 3 minutes 35 seconds in.)
Police come to get me last night.
The meeting was held by the Palestine Return Centre and it was mainly a report-back by a group of Parliamentarians who had recently visited the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
Liberal Democrat Baroness Tonge started her talk by welcoming the Jewish Chronicle if it was in the room hoping for a comment from her which they could then use to try to get her sacked.
She finished the talk by describing her dream that one day all the Palestinian refugees will unite and march together to claim back their homeland. She said it would be impossible for Israel to kill all of them.
She also said that there was no questioning of the right of return of Jews from Eastern Europe who had never even been to Israel, but the Palestinians, who had the right under international law, were not allowed to live there. And anyway, she said, even if the Palestinians were allowed to exercise this right to return not all of them would actually take it up.
She also warned that there will be no Israel in the long term if they did nothing about the Palestinian question.
While Tonge seemed to be having dreams of Palestinian civilians being used as a combined weapon with which to destroy Israel and which, on her own admission, might leave many of them dead the rest of the meeting was pretty much 0n-topic.
Jeremy Corbyn MP and Gerald Kaufman MP described the dangerous electric wiring they had seen in the Palestinian refugees camps in Lebanon and the sewage running down the middle of the streets.
Live cables were also seen dangling just above head height. Many Palestinians had, apparently, died after having been electrocuted by them.
Nadim Shehadi, of Chatham House, described the Palestinians as being trapped by the self-fulfilling prophecy of Lebanese political culture that viewed the Palestinians as likely to be going home.
This meant the Palestinian refugees would always have limited employment rights and little political clout.
Shehadi also pointed out that the refugee camps had originally been destroyed by fighting between the PLO and Syrian forces in Lebanon during the 1980s and they had never been rebuilt.
But the one question I should have asked during the short Q&A is how can Lebanon let people rot like this? The Lebanese Ambassador was apparently in the room. I wonder how she would have explained it.
The big downside of the trip was when the Parliamentarians met with Osama Hamdan, the Head of Hamas Foreign Affairs (see Page 26 of this report.)
Other Parliamentarians on the trip besides Kaufman and Corbyn were Alexandra Thein (a German MEP), Derek Vaughan (a Welsh Labour MEP), Frank Engel (a Luxembourg MEP), Michael Connarty (a Labour MP) and Robert Goebbels (another Luxembourg MEP). Tonge was not on the trip.
Meanwhile, my own dream is to get through one of these blasted meetings without being forced to turn off my camera.
I’d like to be writing a report of a meeting I attended in Parliament last night but unfortunately I was banned from entering.
The title of the talk was:
The “Jewish character” of the State of Israel, its meaning and significance, political discrimination, and the condition of Arabs in Israel.
It wasn’t a case of “not on the list you’re not coming in” but of “don’t like your views you’re not coming in”.
I had had emailed Samira of MEMO (Middle East Monitor) last Friday (23 July) to ask if I could come to last night’s meeting. I received no response so I went along to Committee Room 14 last night.
While I was queuing I was approached by Tom Eisner, of MEMO and Jews for Justice for Palestinians, who recognised me although we had never met before.
He asked if I was here to disrupt the meeting. I said I wasn’t and I had never done so in the past. He then asked for a guarantee of maybe £200, forfeited if I got ejected for disruption. I think he was joking but he did say I could go in. I asked if he could have a word with the registration-table as I had not received any response to my email.
But by then other fingers were pointing and suddenly three police officers were bearing down on me. One officer grasped my upper arm and forcibly led me away. My details were taken and I was escorted out of Parliament.
Jeremy Corbyn MP, who was hosting the meeting, passed me by and I asked if I could go to the meeting but he ignored me. I didn’t see Tom Eisner again for dust.
Later on Jonathan Hoffman was similarly banned. One of the meeting’s attendees said to him: “As a Muslim I wouldn’t be allowed into a Zionist meeting”.
Well I have been to a few pro-Israel meetings in my time, I admit, and in the audience there have been people of all races and religions. I have never seen anyone thrown out or banned unless on the odd occurrence they had made such a disturbance that it was impossible for the meeting to continue.
I don’t know the rules of Parliament but I am surprised that an MP can treat it as her or her own personal fiefdom. Parliament is for all surely. If one wants to hold a private meeting then hold it in a house, not the House. Jeremy Corbyn MP does not own Parliament.
In past meetings at Parliament I have reported awful statements made about both Jews and Israelis. In future such statements can go unreported as all anti-Israel Parliamentary meetings will be by guest list only.
A friend of mine who did manage to gain entry (will he also now be stopped from entering next time?) spoke up in the meeting and at the end was surrounded and intimidated. This was witnessed by the police and recorded.
If I had seen someone being questioned by three police officers like I was I would have enquired what was happening and requested that that person be allowed in to the meeting.
Shamefully, last night in their haste to get into yet another anti-Israel Parliamentary meeting no one spoke up for that basic democratic right.
Thirty anti-Israel protesters congregated outside Ahava in Covent Garden for two hours on Sunday handing out leaflets and singing anti-Israel slogans. There was, as ever, a small counter-demonstration.
The incessant chants of “Israeli mud, Palestinian blood” disturb adjacent shop-owners and residents who might now ask Ahava’s landlords not to renew Ahava’s lease.
Obviously this is unfair. The protests, that take place every two weeks now, have nothing to do with Ahava. It is a perfectly legitimate business that provides a valid service to a strong customer base.
But as with all of these protests, it isn’t really about settlement produce.
An organisation called “Boycott Israeli Goods” gives away the true nature of the protests and when you start speaking to the protesters the settlements are the last thing they mention.
They talk of the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Arabs from Israel in 1948, the seige of Gaza and the supposedly awful treatment of Palestinian Israelis.
As for the latter I am sure that there is much more than Israel can do to alleviate poor conditions for many of the 1.2 million Palestinian Israelis that live inside Israel.
But many of them do very well economically and enjoy all social freedoms. Such freedoms they could only dream of if they lived under other Arab governments, including a Palestinian one. Recently, Islamic extremists destroyed a United Nations summer camp for children in Gaza.
As for “ethnic cleansing” I am still trying to get my head around the arithmetic of how 600,000 Jews could possibly ethnically cleanse 750,000 Palestinians while fighting both them and the invading armies of Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon.
And as for the siege, the protesters forget that it is enforced by Egypt also. Most Israelis are unhappy with such a “siege” but know the tragic consequences of allowing Hamas to appropriate imported materials meant for the people of Gaza. This would allow Hamas to quickly replenish its deadly stock of Kassam rockets.
Even the leaflets the protesters hand out make no pretence that this is only about settlement produce.
The leaflets state: “This call for a ban on illegal settlement produce is part of a campaign to boycott all Israeli goods until Israel abides by international law and respects human rights.”
So now, it seems, anyone can find a political issue they are passionate about and harrass a legitimate business connected with that issue just to make a point. If Ahava closes, which now seems quite possible, people will lose their jobs and livelihoods.
Ahava’s manager came out towards the end of the protest to speak to the protesters and to explain this point but, as polite as they were, they just explained back to her that she is “an innocent bystander in all this” and that “there’s a far bigger cause at stake”.
Would these self-styled “peace activists” stand outside a Palestinian owned business protesting Hamas’ atrocities against not just innocent Israeli civilians but Palestinian opposition activists? “Of course,” they claim, “we don’t support Hamas but the Palestinians have a right to elect who they wish.”
But electing a government doesn’t mean that government has the right to fire thousands of Kassam rockets into Israel and summarily execute its own people.
The PSC’s patrons are: Jenny Tonge, Tony Benn, Victoria Brittain, Julie Christie, Caryl Churchill, Jeremy Corbyn, Bob Crow, William Dalrymple, Reverend Garth Hewitt, Dr Ghada Karmi, Bruce Kent, Karma Nabulsi, Illan Pappe and Benjamin Zephaniah.
However much these people disagree with Israel’s policies, and even its very existence, surely the likes of Socialists Tony Benn and Bob Crow must be able to see the injustice of bullying a legitimate business in order to close it down with the consequent loss of jobs. Maybe just not when it comes to Israeli workers.
Section 11 of the Human Rights Act emphasises the right to peaceful assembly but what takes place outside Ahava is not peaceful. Shoppers quickly pass Ahava and the adjacent shops and restaurants to avoid the terrible noise. Takings of all businesses in the vicinity are down.
And who would wish to walk into a shop like Ahava that is flanked by four police officers and a security guard there to stop the inevitable invasion that would take place if they were absent (as happened on the first occasion these protesters turned up outside Ahava)?
Sadly, Britain is a society that protects the human rights of suspected al-Qaida terrorists more than those of employers and employees wishing to earn a living here.
At the meet we were informed that there were 119 arrests at the protests that took place in London last January against Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against Hamas.
“Almost all were Muslim,” we were told. 22 had already been jailed with many more to follow. Sentences ranged from eight months to two and a half years.
“The majority were 16 to 19 years old, many were just 15 and 16 and one was as young as 12.”
Most of the meet was spent accusing the police of making political arrests and the judiciary of handing out political sentences both in order to discourage Muslims from taking to the streets to protest in the future. Allegations of Islamaphobia were rife throughout the meet.
Jeremy Corbyn closed the meeting with the following eccentric demands:
1. The 22 in prison should be immediately released.
2. No one standing trial should go to prison.
3. All complaints against the police should be investigated.
4. There should be an independent review of the police operation.
5. There should be a broader campaign against the criminalisation of the Muslim community.
I am as much against Islamaphobia as anyone but whoever remembers seeing the violence perpetrated by thugs at the London demonstration will not be surprised in the slightest by the prison sentences, even for first time offenders.
But Joanne Gilmore, the chief researcher, suggested that these were “relatively minor disturbances”.
Well if you call knocking a policeman unconscious and smashing up Starbucks “relatively minor” one can start to understand why certain people don’t take seriously the thousands of Kassam rockets that have pounded Israeli towns over the years and which caused Israel to go into Gaza to stop them.
And when the Stop the War Coalition repeatedly refers to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine as attacks on Muslims then what do they expect when thousands of British Muslims come out on to the streets of London to violently protest.
The lies feeds the anger that creates the violence that causes the arrests and the imprisonment.
Make your own mind up about who is responsible for the violence:
But the meet started off in farcical circumstances.
George Galloway stood up to give his cynical view on how the police behaved during the protests. He blamed their heavy-handedness on the election of Boris Johnson as Mayor of London and a visit by George Bush to 10, Downing Street.
Galloway told of how he was assaulted in the underpass at Knightsbridge and how the law is being used to discourage Muslims:
“If you were Osama Bin Laden you would be rubbing your hands with glee. He would view our democracy as a sham. The police are achieving the opposite of that they intend.”
At that point two Iranians who were sat close by could not stay silent any longer and started remonstrating George’s support for the Ahmadinejad regime.
Guess who walked in to save the day for George but the……police!
There was George condemning the police but seconds later obsequiously pointing out to two police officers the source of the interruption and having the two protestors (who were merely shouting) removed.
George then said he hoped the police will treat the two protestors better then he himself was treated by the police before, in the same breathe, accusing the protesters of being Iranian Monarchists, an allegation which would see them sentenced to death in Iran, the fate of 21-year old Amir-Reza Arefi last month.
See the protest below (I do not endorse the title of the video in the slightest) and note how on 2 minutes 8 seconds George’s hand enters, screen left (black sleeve), to obsequiously point out to the police the protesters he wanted removed by the same police force that only seconds earlier he had been condemning.
As George, himself, repeatedly says: “You couldn’t make it up!”