Tag Archives: mavi marmara

Sheikh Raed Salah: “I was on Israel’s assassination list.”

Last night at Conway Hall: Hassan Sanallah (translator), Sheikh Raed Salah, Sarah Colborne (PSC), Daud Abdullah (MEMO)

Last night at Conway Hall: Hassan Sanallah (translator), Sheikh Raed Salah, Sarah Colborne (PSC), Daud Abdullah (MEMO)

Sheikh Raed Salah made it to Conway Hall in London last night to give a talk on The Arab Spring and its effect on the conflict in Palestine. The event was sponsored by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Islamic Forum of Europe and Middle East Monitor.

Salah had been reportedly excluded by the Home Secretary. Detectives also reportedly arrived at last night’s event, but left after thinking he wasn’t there.

Salah is the leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel and is accused of having used the blood libel, which he denies. He served three and a half years in prison after having confessed to financing Hamas.

Not only was Salah there last night, he will also be speaking this Wednesday at the Grand Committe room of the Houses of Parliament alongside MPs Richard Burden, Jeremy Corbyn, Yasmin Qureshi as well as Lord Alf Dubs and the Palestinian Ambassador, Dr Manuel Hassassian. Ben White (anti-Zionist polemicist), Hind Khoury (Sabeel), Diana Neslen (Jews for Justice for Palestinians) and Ismail Patel (Friends of Al Aqsa) are also due to be speaking on Wednesday. The subject under discussion will be Building Peace and Justice in Jerusalem.

But last night Salah played to a pretty sparse audience. There were about 100 people making Conway Hall, which is owned by the South Place Ethical Society, an educational charity, about a third full.

He welcomed the Arab Spring, and particularly the Egyptian Revolution, in playing a supportive role in the Palestinian cause as well as the Nakba Day and Naksa Day clashes on the Israeli border in May and June respectively. He also called for a Million Man March towards the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on 21st August.

He said that this march will confirm that the Mosque is Palestinian despite Israel’s declared intention of demolishing it in order to build the “so called Third Temple”. He said that Israel must realise that there is a limit on its designs on the Mosque or it will be the equivalent to a declaration of war on the Islamic World.

He went on to berate Barak Obama for defining Israel as a “Jewish State” and said that “a significant number of free voices from London told us that they know the truth on the issue of Palestine, but that they are suffering under the pressure of the Israel lobby here”.

He said that the “Arab Uprisings showed him that the Palestinians have support within the wider Arab family and we don’t feel alone”.

He then went on to describe what happened on the Mavi Marmara, which he was on last May, along with Sarah Colborne of the PSC, when it was intercepted by Israel:

“The ship was attacked while we were at Morning Prayer. While I was praying bullets were fired from the sea and air, killing nine peoeple and wounding many others. The attackers had a list of names of people who should be assassinated by the Israeli forces. My name was on the list along with people from the IHH and Israeli Arab MK Hanin Zoabi. One of the Israeli soldiers killed an individual who looked just like me. We were then imprisoned and we faced charges that were enough to send us to prison for decades. We were only released when Erdogan intervened. Despite all the attacks we were asked to come back again and we will continue to participate in the flotillas until Palestinian independence is realised.”

Next stop is the Houses of Parliament this Wednesday, that is unless British detectives can catch up with him in time. Watch this space.

Sheikh Raed Salah speaking at Conway Hall, 27th June 2011

Hypocrite of the Month: Vote now.

March has been a busy time for hypocrites, so before the list grows any longer now might be an appropriate time to take stock of those who say one thing at one time but say another when the situation suits them. Please vote at end.

William Hague:

When Israeli agents, allegedly, assassinated a Hamas terrorist in Dubai William Hague, then shadow Foreign Secretary, stood shoulder to shoulder with then Foreign Secretary David Miliband in his condemnation of Israel for using faked foreign, including British, passports and was in full agreement with Miliband’s decision to expel an Israeli diplomat from the London embassy.

Last week Hague sent in that secret service mission to eastern Libya to make contact with rebel forces only to find them detained by those rebels in the confusion when the secret mission dropped in from a helicopter in the the dead of night. And the mission was found to have in their possession…….faked foreign passports.

Shami Chackrabarti:

Shami is the director of human rights group Liberty and in this capacity behaves as the conscience of Britain appearing regularly on BBC’s Question Time to berate the government over such human rights laws as the length of detention without trial for suspected terrorists.

She is also a member of the council of the London School of Economics and was part of the decision making process that allowed LSE to accept a huge donation from Colonel Gadaffi. She accepts she was fooled but fooled by what? Didn’t she know the human rights situation in Libya? Howard Davies resigned as Director of LSE but there is, currently, silence from Shami.

Omar Barghouti:

Omar detests Israel and ideally wants it gone as a Jewish state. He lives in Ramallah but is studying for a Ph.D at Tel Aviv university while calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel, which includes an academic boycott. Meanwhile, he consumes Israeli products on a huge scale, taking for himself the best Israel has to offer.

The United Nations
:

Last week nine children were accidentally killed in a NATO air strike when trying to knock out Taliban positions but the UN has been silent. When Israel killed nine terrorists aboard the Mavi Marmara there was a worldwide outcry and the UN called for a full investigation.

Stop The War Coalition
:

While calling vociferously for successful revolutions against the ruling autocrats in Arab countries you will be hard pushed to find STWC support for the opposition in Iran despite the murders, arrests and sackings of opposition figures and anyone who dissents from the murderous ways of the evil Ahmadinejad/Khamenei twins. And despite the fact that Iran had been caught red-handed trying to heavily arm the Taliban in order to kill NATO troops.

Newsnight:

On Tuesday night BBC’s Newsnight gratuitously introduced the anarchist Noam Chomsky as being “Jewish” in a piece about the left-wing liberals in the West. I thought the time had passed when someone’s religion is relevant. In the following piece Jeremy Paxman went on to interview Chomsky who was then allowed to air unchallenged attacks on Israel.

Neil Warnock:

A bit of fun amidst the gloom, unless you are a QPR supporter. QPR are on the verge of promotion to the Premier League but now stand accused of failing to properly register a player when they signed him in 2009. This could lead to a big points deduction and the end of their hopes of reaching the big time.

When QPR’s current manager, Neil Warnock, was managing Sheffield United in the Premier League West Ham United had incorrectly registered Carlos Tevez. It was argued that West Ham should have had points deducted. This would have relegated them instead of Sheffield United.

There was no points deduction and Sheffield United were relegated. Warnock claimed that Sheffield United would have stayed up if the rules were adhered to. Now the boot is on the other foot can he morally argue against a points deduction for QPR if they are found guilty?

The War You Don’t See

Did you see The War You Don’t See on Tuesday night on ITV1?

This John Pilger film is the finest example of how the left has truly lost its way.

It was also an opportunity for journalists like Dan Rather and Rageh Omaar to admit that they failed to do a proper job of scrutinising events in the build up to the invasion of Iraq; proof that some journalists like to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds, depending on which way the wind is blowing.

Pilger hardly bothers with sources which, for a self-proclaimed “world-renowned journalist”, is pretty poor.

For example, he tells us that 90% of those killed in Iraq are civilians. No sources are given.

And he doesn’t mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians massacred by Sadaam.

On to Israel.

Pilger starts off by comparing the proposed Palestinian state’s 1948 borders to an extreme version of what they look like now under a “military occupation that defies international law and is backed by one of the world’s most sophisticated propaganda machines”.

No mention is made of the incessant Palestinian terrorism against Israel since Israel’s creation.

Pilger then claims that ten journalists have been killed by Israel since 1992 and many more injured. Yet again no sources are given.

He puts it to Fran Unsworth, BBC Head of Newsgathering, that the newsroom at BBC television centre is “intimidated” into not telling the truth about Israel’s “military occupation”.

Unsworth denies this but then she would wouldn’t she if she was being “intimidated”.

Greg Philo, author of More Bad News From Israel, then claims that a senior news journalist told him:

“We wait in fear of the telephone call from the Israelis.”

As ever this source is not named.

But ITV wasn’t so “in fear” that it wouldn’t show this two hour hatefest about America, Britain and Israel and BBC Radio 5 wasn’t so “in fear” that it wouldn’t allow Pilger to advertise the film on Tuesday morning and two major London cinemas aren’t so “in fear” that they refuse to currently show the film.

Pilger then moves on to the deaths on the Mavi Marmara. He didn’t like the way Mark Regev, who he describes as the “Chief Israeli propagandist”, was given prime billing in the BBC 10 O’clock News’ headlines on June 1st.

Unsworth replies that Regev is a government spokesman who is entitled to put his government’s point of view and that the BBC has a duty to report that view.

But Pilger just inanely complains that that view wouldn’t be accepted by the relatives of the nine dead on the Mavi Marmara.

Pilger then asks where is the Palestinian equivalent of Mark Regev who can speak so articulately in the headlines of the BBC News.

Unsworth agrees but explains that it isn’t her job to go out and appoint a Palestinian spokesperson equivalent to Regev, but that the BBC still allowed all views to be expressed across their range of output. Pilger disagrees that the BBC did do this.

Next Pilger criticises ITV for its coverage of the Mavi Marmara. He claims that the Israelis supplied ITV with “doctored film, even with captions, which was widely used across ITV and BBC” and that the Israeli “propaganda” of their soldiers being attacked as they landed on the boat dominated the news.

Again, Pilger offers zero evidence that the Israeli footage was “doctored”.

David Mannion, Editor-in-Chief of ITV News, disagreed that Israel’s version dominated but, incredibly, goes on to say that “the Israeli propaganda machine, as you well know, is very, very sophisticated”.

Mannion then explains that newsrooms do sometimes fall in to traps laid for them and that it is only after the event that one can look back and write a definitive history, but that the newsrooms have to report the news as it happens.

Pilger complained that the Palestinians have no time for a definitive history to be written.

Pilger then goes on to show “independent” footage of events on the Mavi Marmara, which, although consisting of images of lots of bloodied passengers, proves nothing.

But blood is what Pilger and his cohorts on the left do so well.

In The War You Don’t See you do see lots of dead children. He uses them very effectively.

All sides have dead children but America, Britain and Israel don’t use them as propaganda tools. We bury them and let them rest in peace instead of parading their tragically broken bodies.

The War You Don’t See is one man’s biased view of the world and is a rehash of old news, old footage and old lies.

But then what do you expect from someone who equates “the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity”.

Israel boycotter flies EL AL!

Aboard Irene

Aboard Irene

You probably won’t have noticed, there’s been no press, but this week a small boat with nine Jews left Cyprus to try to break the “siege of Gaza”.

Why anyone would risk their lives doing this after what happened on the Mavi Marmara is beyond me, especially after Israel recently agreed to lift restrictions on goods entering the Gaza Strip.

The Irene‘s cargo included what was termed “symbolic aid” and included toys, musical instruments, textbooks, fishing nets and prosthetic limbs.

Richard Kuper, of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said that the Jewish Boat to Gaza is a symbolic act of protest against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the siege of Gaza.

Here is all the information, and more, you need to know about the Jewish boat to Gaza.

(Jewish Boat to Gaza takes me back to Night Boat to Cairo by Madness.)

I digress.

The “Jewish boat” left Cyprus at 13.32 local time on sunday.

On tuesday the boat was boarded by the Israeli navy and taken to Ashdod port.

Again, Richard Kuper: “This boat and its fate are a symbol of the chances for peace in the region. The way it is being treated by Israeli authorities indicates that they have no real intentions of reaching peace.”

He then called on worldwide support for the boat.

By wednesday, Glyn Secker, Irene’s captain, was on his way back on EL AL flight LY315 and arrived at 13.35 at Heathrow airport.

At Heathrow the “worldwide support” that showed up to greet Mr Secker consisted of eight people from Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (JBIG).

Heathrow: Mr Secker's welcome home party (Jewish Chronicle).

Heathrow: Mr Secker's welcome home party (Jewish Chronicle).

And making him fly EL AL? Someone in the Israeli authorities has a sense of humour.

Surely, they could have saved Mr Secker some face and put him on a British Airways or an Easyjet flight.

I can imagine his clenched fists on the flight home.

But then again it may have allowed Mr Secker to reconnect with his Jewishness in a more positive way.

When the kosher meal came did he choose chicken or beef?

There is no problem with Jews not expressing any form of Jewishness or with them protesting Israeli policy.

But the average Jewish anti-Israel activist only seems to employ his or her Jewishness destructively; by tearing down Israel in toto.

There are a plethora of anti-Israel organisations that all use the prefix “Jews” or “Jewish”.

Surely, in the fight for peace and jusice one’s religion is irrelevant. We all want peace and justice whether Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist etc.

Anyway, I hope that EL AL gave Mr. Secker bonus air miles so he can fly them again soon.

El AL: Israel's favourite airline (plane-mad.com)

El AL: Israel's favourite airline (plane-mad.com)

Cameron needs to take stock about Islamic fundamentalism

Cameron (L.) meeting Erdogan (Sky News)

Cameron (L.) meeting Erdogan (Sky News)

Now we know. David Cameron is not a Zionist, although he once proclaimed that he was.

To be a Zionist is not only to believe in the right for Israel to exist as a Jewish state but also in its right to defend itself properly.

While Cameron recognises that it is right for British soldiers to fight the Afghanistan Taliban he does not seem to accord the same right to Israeli soldiers when fighting Islamist elements.

In his meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey he spoke of Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara as being “totally unacceptable” and referred to Gaza as being a prison camp.

This meeting came one day after the report from Wikileaks that details not only the brutality of the Taliban towards the innocent Afghani population but also the many civilian casualties among the Afghani population caused by NATO troops.

The Wikileaks report is the basis for the investigation of war crimes on a huge scale. But while Israel has been investigated for war crimes in Gaza and found guilty it is unlikely that NATO countries will be similarly investigated and found guilty for the many civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

The Wikileaks report also details NATO’s targeted assassinations of Taliban leaders either by drones operated from the Nevada desert or by secret “kill-or-capture squads”. But when Israel allegedly does the same there is worldwide condemnation followed by the expulsion of Israeli diplomats. The feeble excuse given being that British or Australian passports had been misused.

More depressingly Cameron called for Turkey’s accession to the EU. This would allow possibly hundreds of thousands of Islamists access to the UK.

Before he became Prime Minister Cameron promised to crack down on Muslim fundamentalism in the UK and especially at our universities. This included the banning of the Islamist group Hiz but-Tahrir.

But Turkey’s accession to the EU would make the kind of occurrence that took place in Golders Green, a predominantly Jewish suburb of North-West London, last Monday more ubiquitous.

Two youths on bikes approached a car with Jewish kippah-wearing teenagers in it. They yelled Alluah Akbar (G-d is Great) at the Jewish teenagers, who got out to remonstrate. The Jewish teenagers were then chased through Golders Green.

One of the youths, who was black, went to grab a bottle of drink from a shop and smashed it over the head of one of the Jewish teenagers. Blood poured from the wound.

Then the other youth cried “Algeria, Algeria F*ck the Jews” before both youths cycled off at speed.

The Jewish teenager was taken to hospital to have his wound and arm tended to.

This support for Turkey’s accession under Erdogan’s Islamist AK party does not accord with Cameron’s desire to crack down on Muslim fundamentalism in the UK. It would surely be better to wait till after next year’s general election in Turkey when the opposition secular party, CHP, might well take power. Even then it would be difficult to keep tabs on Turkish Islamists. EU regulations would allow Turkish citizens take up residence in the UK.

And while Cameron may still seek to crack down on Muslim fundamentalism in the UK, although there is no sign of that so far, other mainstream organisations have no such agenda.

On the BBC there was a recent televised debate about Afghanistan: Are British soldiers are dying in vain?

One of the panellists was from the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) who agreed with the motion. The potential disastrous effects of British troops withdrawing from Afganistan seemed totally irrelevant to him including the dreadful oppression of women and homosexuals that would follow.

MPAC is itself a nasty organisation. It gets heavily involved in British general election and labels MPs as “Zionists” if they are in the least supportive of Israel. In 2005 it claimed one MP was Jewish when she wasn’t and she duly lost her seat.

MPAC recently ran a poll asking whether Israel should be moved to America. Farcical stuff but this is who the BBC thinks reflects the views of the British Muslim community, sadly. There are other more mainstream Muslim organisations like the Quilliam Foundation who hardly get a look in such debates.

It is to be seen whether Cameron’s speech in support of Turkey marks an Obama-esque change of attitude to Israel from the previous far more favourable Blair and Brown administrations.

After mocking him pre-election Cameron has now become close friends with Nick Clegg, his deputy Prime-Minister in the Con-Lib coalition. And we know that Clegg doesn’t seem to care about Israel’s security in the slightest after he called for a ban on the sale of weapons to Israel.

Cameron needs to take stock and reflect on his pre-election promises. If he doesn’t then what took place in Golders Green could become more common.

IAJLJ Conference, SOAS, London

The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists met this week in London for a conference on Democratic and Legal Norms in an Age of Terror.

Topics under discussion were the law of universal jurisdiction, the Goldstone Report, academic freedom and boycotts of Israel, the ‘Free Gaza‘ flotilla, how should democracies cope with terror and, finally, Iran.

The timing was apt as it seems that the political battleground is gradually moving to the courts where we could now be witnessing the beginnings of the politicisation of the British judiciary.

It is well known that Israeli figures such as Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni cannot visit the UK due to the threat of arrest under the law of universal jurisdiction. All that is needed is for someone to go to a magistrate and present a flimsy case for such an arrest and the magistrate has to issue an arrest warrant.

But it has also now been made possible to enter a factory, cause £180,000 of damage and be acquitted of the charge of criminal damage on the ground of “lawful excuse” because you disagree with the aims of the company. Seven such defendants have just been allowed free. In his summing up to the jury the judge said:

“You may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered.”

The court’s decision has been fully supported by the newly elected Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas.

One can invade a British supermarket with no intention of buying anything and dump, and no doubt damage in the process, Israeli produce into trolleys and be allowed to walk out without arrest or caution.

One can also repeatedly stand outside an Israeli shop in London to harass customers and cause a profound disturbance so that the Israeli shop and neighbouring shops lose business.

It is expected that the law on universal jurisdiction will be amended so that authorisation for an arrest warrant will have to be given by the Director of Public Prosecutions or, possibly, the Attorney General but the thrust of an impressive talk given by Professor Yaffa Zilbershats (Law Faculty, Bar Ilan University) was that the law of universal jurisdiction should be reserved for “heinous crimes”, as was originally intended, committed by the likes of Adolf Eichman or President Bashir of Sudan, not the likes of Olmert, Barak and Livni.

Michael Caplan QC, of Kingsley Napley, gave a fascinating account of his representation of Augusto Pinochet. He told of how the House of Lords allowed an appeal from the High Court, so authorising Pinochet to be tried in his capacity as head of state of Chile and clearing the way for his extradition to Spain, but that the 3-2 decision had to be thrown out when Lord Hoffmann’s links to Amnesty International surfaced.

Professor Lord Paul Bew, one of the best-known commentators on Northern Ireland, spoke (listen below) about Ireland and the similarities, or lack thereof, with Israel/Palestine. He made the point that the level of hatred between Catholics and Protestants was no where near the same level as that involved in Israel/Palestine.

Importantly, he spoke of the basic framework within which the peace process took place, one of the main aspects of which was renunciation of violence. Although breaches of the framework regularly took place all sides worked towards that goal.

There is no such framework in the Middle East where Hamas is fully committed to violence and the destruction of Israel.

As to continuing brainwashing of Palestinian children he pointed out that even now in Irish schools in America the schoolchildren are having the Troubles in Northern Ireland put on a par with the Holocaust. He couldn’t say what effect this might have for the future.

Professor Gerald Steinberg (NGO Monitor and Professor of Political Science at Bar Ilan University) spoke (listen below) of the huge amounts of cash that are heading to NGOs from Arab countries and described how many of these NGOs (over a hundred) directly supplied evidence to the Goldstone Commission that eventually found Israel guilty of war crimes in the Gaza Conflict of 2009/2010.

Professor Anne F Bayefsky (Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute and eyeontheun) spoke about the members of the United Nations Human Rights Council. It was the Council that conducted the Goldstone process. She described an experience of speaking at an open microphone at the United Nations, when the UN adopted the Goldstone Report on November 25th, having found herself shocked by the hate speech. She was taken out and had her badge removed for four months on the ground that the Palestinian ambassador found what she had said to be “offensive”.

The Council consists of 47 nations and she pointed out that many of the members have some of the world’s worst human rights records: Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Angola, Cuba, China and Russia. Less than half of the Council members are fully free democracies according to Freedom House rankings.

Retired Judge Hadassa Ben-Itto
spoke of her experience of dealing with publishers of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which is still on sale all over the world. The Protocols, a Tsarist forgery, portrays a Jewish conspiracy to control the world and forms part of the Hamas Charter. She suggested that companies that publish such defamatory and inciteful material should be sued.

Dr. Anthony Julius, one of Britain’s top lawyers and a prolific author, spoke about how boycotts of Israel are anti-Semitic. He said that all countries have enemies but the problem for Israel is to uncover those who are purely motivated by Jew hatred.

He described how the boycott has been identified historically with anti-Semitic sentiment and how it is increasingly becoming difficult to talk about anti-Semitism in this country because it is said against those that do that they are simply trying to silence and smear the opposition. Even the debate amongst Jews, he said, has now changed to whether we should just concentrate on talking up the positive aspects of Israel.

Professor Irwin Cotler, the former Minister of Justice of Canada, spoke about the threat of a nuclear Iran and also the crime of incitement to genocide by President Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime in general. He suggested that although Iran is not party to the International Criminal Court a reference should be made to the United Nations for Ahmadinejad to be referred to the court as was the case with President Bashir of Sudan. His 160-page analysis of Iran is out on 8th July 2010.

Interestingly, Dr Robbie Sabel of the Hebrew University quoted Palestinian civilian casualty figures for Operation Cast Lead as being somewhere between 250-300 (source; Israel) and 760 (source; B’Tselem) as opposed to the oft quoted figure of 1440. The latter figure includes Hamas fighters.

Professor Avi Bell gave a detailed legal critique of the Goldstone Report in light of his soon-to-be-published paper on the matter and his view of the Mavi Marmara deaths set against the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea.

With regard to the latter a relevant section of the manual is:

67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:

(a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;

The Israeli Ambassador to Britain, H.E. Ron Prosor (listen below), and the Israeli Ambassador to France and Monaco, H.E. Daniel Shek, also spoke.

There was a description of the situation in France where boycotts against another nation are treated as incitement to racial hatred and are imprisonable offences (listen below).

Delegates flew in from Israel and from as far a field as Australia and Argentina for the conference.

Recordings of some of the talks (left click to play):

Professor Lord Paul Brew -

DW_D0074

The Israeli Ambassador to Britain, H.E. Ron Prosor
-

DW_D0058

The position in France
-

DW_D0071

Professor Gerald Steinberg -

DW_D0056

“From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free”

Once again calls for the destruction of Israel rang out through Covent Garden in London yesterday as protesters chanted “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free” (see above) and “Free, Free Palestine” (see below).

While up to 2000 Uzbeks have been murdered by the wicked Kyrgyzstan government and today is the one year anniversary of the murder of Neda Soltan by the vile Iranian regime, the protesters still came to protest outside Ahava.

And while some countries still call for an international inquiry into the Mavi Marmara tragedy the United Nations has merely called on the Kyrgyz government to hold an internal enquiry.

Meanwhile, Britain’s own Saville enquiry reported a mere 38 years after Bloody Sunday and found individual soldiers responsible for the killings.

The British army as a whole was able to breathe a sigh of relief that it was not found to be collectively responsible, thus enabling David Cameron to make a somewhat easier apology than if the latter had been the case.

That said with the enquiry finding that Martin McGuinness was allegedly armed with a sub-machinegun the soldiers might well have been understandably petrified, which itself may have contributed to the massacre of innocents.

Britain has also held several internal enquiries into the Iraq war so I am bemused as to why Israel is treated so differently.

The United Nations has already shamed itself by producing the Goldstone Report into Operation Cast Lead and it should not be allowed to shame itself again.

Israel has investigated itself objectively in the past. Examples are the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres and the 2006 Lebanon War and has to be allowed to investigate the Mavi Marmara tragedy.

Back to Ahava and the protesters yesterday handed around a cartoon of two girls shopping in Ahava who wished to look like Kristin Davis (Charlotte from Sex in the City) who is an Ahava representative. Luckily we see two heroes burst in just in time to educate them about Israel’s “brutal, illegal occupation”. Persuasive stuff.

An owner of a nearby retail shop was arguing with an anti-Israel protester but getting nowhere. His business is being badly affected by the noisy anti-Israel demonstrations.

The sooner the protests are stopped the better. The destruction of peoples’ livelihoods is well beyond the limits of freedom of speech.

Saturday in London; No place for a Zionist

London, today, was not a place for a good Zionist boy, or girl for that matter, to be out and about in.

The usual anti-Israel protest outside Ahava was to be followed by a march of 50,000 from Downing Street to the Israeli Embassy (only around 2,000 turned up, although the organisers will claim 50,000).

As for the anti-Israel throng outside Ahava, the protesters were there for an hour and some scuffles broke out as the protesters insisted on standing near the entrance and harassing shoppers repeatedly with cries of “shame on you” as they came out with Ahava products. One woman was separated from her husband as they each tried to escape the insults thrown at them

Ahava’s manager was also harassed with cries of “shame” when she came out of the shop to try to have the protesters moved away from the shop front (I won’t upload footage of these incidents out of respect for the manager and the shoppers concerned).

The protesters’ songs alternated between “Israeli mud, Palestinian blood” and “From the River to the see, Palestine will be free”, which exposes the lie that they are only interested in the so-called “illegal” settlements.

Their real aim is for the Jewish state to disappear.

They had to cut short this protest after an hour to head to Downing Street for the main event.

The pro-Israel activists would have followed but there was genuine concern about raising the Israeli flag there, some would call it suicide, especially as we now know that some so-called “peace activists” carry knives and fire bombs with them, judging by the weapons haul on the Mavi Marmara.

But what has Britain come to when people cannot go for a simple shop without being harassed and abused or where people are now scared to carry out the perfectly legal and democratic act of raising another country’s flag in the public sphere?

UNSCR 242 implies the settlements are legal. Next!

More from wednesday night’s pro-Israel demo.

British Jews mobilise for Israel

British Jews descended on Kensington, London for an hour on wednesday night to voice their support for Israel over its worldwide condemnation after the deaths on the Mavi Marmara last sunday.

300 pro-Israel supporters draped in Israeli flags met near the cordoned off Israeli Embassy and waved signs which read “Peace activists don’t use weapons” and “End Hamas Rockets = End Blockade”.

They sang Hatikva and Am Israel Chai and cheered as cars sounded their horns in support.

The demonstration was organised by the Zionist Federation.

One black cabbie had “Am YIsrael Chai” stuck to his window as he drove by (see below).

The boys from Chabad were there doing brisk business in laying tefillin on people (see below).

There was a huge police presence to divide the pro-Israeli supporters from the 40 or so anti-Israel supporters, which included Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (JBIG) and the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network (IJAN). But the anti-Zionists of the Neturei Karta had obviously taken the night off to go to the flicks.

There were rumours that the English Defence League might turn up to support Israel, but there was neither a skinhead nor a beer-belly in sight.

At the end the hundreds of pro-Israel supporters were escorted to the station under heavy police-guard, which isn’t surprising as they were assailed with cries of “Nazis” (see video), “Racist scum” and “Long Live Hamas”, as they passed in front of the anti-Israel supporters.

They hit back quickly with “We support peace, you support terror”.

Pro-Israel demo. video/pics:

Anti-Israel demo. video/pics:

Turkey to blame for loss of life on Mavi Marmara

Turkey's PM, Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Guilty of Manslaughter? (asianews.it)

Turkey didn’t pull the triggers that led directly to the deaths of nine pro-Palestinian activists on the Mavi Marmara, Israeli soldiers did. But Turkey recklessly started a process that ended it tragedy. In legal terms, this would be manslaughter.

When I awoke on monday morning I couldn’t believe the news: How could Israel kill activists like this? It seemed inexplicable.

However hostile the activists might have been towards Israel they should all be alive today. As David Grossman writes, their opinions “do not deserve the death penalty”.

As more footage was released we saw Israel’s botched operation in full flow.

One by one soldiers descended from a helicopter totally exposed and vulnerable to what was below. The Israeli navy had just asked the Mavi Marmara to direct itself to Israel’s Ashdod port to inspect the cargo. Such warning allowed the ship’s activists to fully prepare.

We’ve all seen the beatings and stabbings that took place, reminiscent of the Ramallah lynchings when two Israeli soldiers lost their way and were beaten to death with a Palestinian participant proudly showing-off his blood drenched hands.

Israel had a right to inspect the cargo, even in international waters, and when the boat refused Israel took the fateful decision to land soldiers on it. In hindsight it was the wrong decision. Anything would have been better than what than took place, even allowing the boat to reach Gaza.

But once the decision was taken to seize the boat for inspection of its cargo the Israeli soldiers were attacked and they defended themselves. They were beaten with metal bars, stabbed and shot at. Seven were injured, two critically.

The Israeli government’s naivety was in not knowing what it was up against. The seven ship flotilla painted itself as a mercy mission. But time and time again we have seen how violent many self-styled human rights activists actually are.

In January last year during Operation Cast Lead activists rampaged through London causing physical destruction and violently attacking and injuring the police. So what does Israel do? It drops soldiers one-by-one to a potential lynching by similar people.

It was a recipe for a tragedy. However many good-intentioned people were on board the seven ship flotilla it cannot obscure the fact that many thugs were also on board; thugs that have no care whatsoever for human life on either side. For them the cause is all.

But the real criminal in all this is Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan.

Last time round when a Viva Palestina convoy tried to enter Gaza via Egypt an Egyptian border guard was killed by a Palestinian sniper. This loss of life did not justify a repeat performance but this is what Erdogan authorised to depart from his country’s shores yet again.

Now more deaths but this time at the hands of Israeli soldiers, not Palestinians, hence the worldwide condemnation.

Erdogan’s intentions have been suspect for a while. He met with Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, in 2006, claimed Israel deliberately kills children in Gaza and has called on his people to learn to make money like Jews do. Erdogan also supports Hezbollah.

In 2008 Erdogan met Sudanese President al-Bashir with full honours. Bashir has since been indicted on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur where the UN alleges that 300,000 people have been killed by Bashir’s regime.

A recent series on Turkey’s state-controlled television depicted Israeli soldiers kidnapping children, shooting babies and old men and lining up groups of Palestinians to execute them.

There is little press freedom in Turkey. Jewish groups have reported hundreds of anti-Semitic articles in the Turkish press recently. There are 23,000 Jewish Turks among a population of more than 70 million Muslims.

With this kind of government-sponsored rhetoric it is easy to see how the population can be so easily whipped up into an anti-Israel, even anti-Jewish, frenzy.

The spirit of openess in Turkey, which was created as a modern, secular democracy in 1923 by Kemal Ataturk, is now on the wane.

Turkey is quickly becoming an Islamist state just like Iran after 1979, but in a less violent, more incremental way.

Turkey has long mirrored Iran in its oppression of its Kurdish population. There are 20-25 million Kurds in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Calls for a unified Kurdistan have fallen on deaf ears.

12 million of these Kurds live in southeast Turkey and a 15 year civil war left 35,000 people dead.

A recent Turkish parliamentary vote (507 for, 19 against) endorsed a Turkish invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurdish autonomous enclave, after cross-border raids into Turkey have left soldiers and civilians dead.

Turkey’s Kurdish problem virtually mirrors Israel’s Palestinian one.

But for Turkey there is still no Kurdish people and it is forbidden to teach in Kurdish in Turkey.

If Turkey continues on the path taken by Iran it will be a tragedy for all its people.

There is one hope; Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who now heads the main secular opposition party, CHP, which was founded by Kemal Ataturk, himself.

Kilicdaroglu could rid Turkey of being governed by Erdogan’s corrupt Islamist AKP party, which has been in power since 2002, in next year’s elections.

The election of Turkey’s “Ghandi” could be a positive move for many, including Israelis and Palestinians.