Tag Archives: palestine solidarity campaign

Protesters compare “Palestine” to Auschwitz and Dachau outside Israeli Embassy.

Yes, that really does say Auschwitz, Iraq, Dachau, Palestine.

Yes, that really does say Auschwitz, Iraq, Dachau, Palestine.

Some mocked the Holocaust, others disfigured the Israeli flag, a few screamed “Allahu Akbar”, they all called for the destruction of the Jewish state.

That was the scene outside London’s Israeli Embassy yesterday afternoon as many thousands thronged to hear blood-curdling speeches calling for the end of Israel.

Kensington High Street was closed off to traffic leaving London buses stranded by the protesters who requisitioned them and covered them with anti-Israel slogans.

The protest against Israel’s latest attack on Hamas in Gaza was a toxic mix of Islamists, trade unions like Unison, charities like War On Want, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and, of course, the extreme religious Jewish sect Neturei Karta.

I knew I had outstayed my welcome when a protester grabbed me and shouted “A Zionist!”. I shook him off and made for the relative safety of the tube station.

Here’s a clip for you to savour some of yesterday’s toxicity and some photos:

Disfiguring Israel's flag. At least they didn't burn it.

Disfiguring Israel’s flag. At least they didn’t burn it.

"Cheap Jewish settlements" because Jews are tight money grabbers of course!

“Cheap Jewish settlements” because Jews are tight money grabbers of course!

War On Want's Executive Director John Hilary.

War On Want’s Executive Director John Hilary.

Agreed! Palestinians should be freed from their Hamas oppressors.

Agreed! Palestinians should be freed from their Hamas oppressors.

Is that because Israel builds bomb shelters but Hamas doesn't bother, possibly?

Is that because Israel builds bomb shelters but Hamas doesn’t bother, possibly?

Courageous guy climbs a traffic light.

Courageous guy climbs a traffic light.

They're the stars of the show at these hate events.

They’re the stars of the show at these hate events.

Will she be off to protest against Assad, Iran, ISIS and Boko Haram now?

Will she be off to protest against Assad, Iran, ISIS and Boko Haram now?

Police under pressure and looking under-numbered for once.

Police under pressure and looking under-numbered for once.

Libyan support despite things not looking too rosy in Libya either.

Libyan support despite things not looking too rosy in Libya either.

One of our buses gets occupied. Tell Boris!

One of our buses gets occupied. Tell Boris!

Remind me to invite him over for Friday night dinner soon.

Remind me to invite him over for Friday night dinner soon.

War On Want flags. WOW to be renamed War On Israel anyone?

War On Want flags. WOW to be renamed War On Israel anyone?

Not too sure what to say about this, so I think I'll leave it at that.

Not too sure what to say about this, so I think I’ll leave it at that.

Hmm, they mean Iran, Saudi, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq don't they? Oh wait...

Hmm, they mean Iran, Saudi, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq don’t they? Oh wait…

Can we have our bus back now please?

Can we have our bus back now please?

Errr, the problem is not Gaza, the problem is Hamas.

Errr, the problem is not Gaza, the problem is Hamas.

Ask them to ring back, you're at an anti-Israel protest!

Ask them to ring back, you’re at an anti-Israel protest!

War On Want No! Who can argue with that?

War On Want No! Who can argue with that?

Oh really. Now where does it say such a silly thing like that?

Oh really. Now where does it say such a silly thing like that?

"Cover up, sweety, it's getting a bit chilly". Aw.

“Cover up, sweety, it’s getting a bit chilly”. Aw.

(I dedicate this blog to the memory of my recently deceased mum whom I loved and miss and who, before she lost the ability to speak due to her terminal illness, always gave me one piece of treasured advice when she knew I was going to an anti-Israel event: “Be careful.”)

Multiple arrests of anti-Israel activists outside Israeli-owned Ecostream shop in Brighton.

As many as eight anti-Israel activists were arrested yesterday outside Israeli-owned Ecostream in Brighton, on England’s south coast. Ecostream belongs to Sodastream, which has a factory on the West Bank. Although Sodastream employs many Palestinians the anti-Israel lobby prefers to see the factory destroyed along with the livelihoods of Sodastream’s Israeli and Palestinian workforce.

Every Saturday anti-Israel activists flock to Ecostream to call for its boycott. They are always met by the stoical counter-protesting of Sussex Friends of Israel. Yesterday, however, the anti-Israel activists were swelled by the presence of Palestine Solidarity Campaign affiliated trade unionists from the NHS, NUT, GMB, NUJ and the University of Brighton.

But tempers rose and not before long the number of anti-Israel activists was depleted as protester after protester was led away to the back of a police van. A heartbreaking sight, indeed.

Then the police issued a “section 14″ meaning both sides were kept apart and liable to arrest should anyone step outside their own zone. The remaining anti-Israel activists were restricted to the other side of the busy road opposite Ecostream and could, therefore, hardly be heard or seen for the remainder of the protest. Ecostream’s supporters stayed close to the shop.

Ecostream itself is a magical store. You can buy products that allow you to make your own carbonated drinks and you can refill your own bottles there with anything from honey, to olive oil to washing up liquid. Basically, cut down on your use of bottles and help the environment. Refilling is also vastly cheaper when there is no bottle to pay for.

Those of us who journeyed from London and other parts of England were very warmly received by Sussex Friends of Israel. Thanks to Harvey for driving a car load of us from London. It was good to see friends and meet new people and I also bought some lovely Palestinian olive oil from Ecostream.

Meanwhile, here are photos and footage of the action and photos from inside the Ecostream shop itself.

The first clip shows two of the alleged arrests and the second shows two trade unionists explaining how the presence of so many different trade unions protesting against Israel should make those supporting Israel “question themselves”. Well, that’s certainly an unbeatable argument if ever there was one:

Trendy jacket by Reiss.

Trendy jacket by Reiss.

Jessica Nero (left) was arrested inside Ahava’s London shop 3 years ago

Jessica Nero (left) was arrested inside Ahava’s London shop 3 years ago

Some dashing anti-Israel trade unionists.

Some dashing anti-Israel trade unionists.

Journalists wanting to destroy Palestinian and Israeli livelihoods.

Journalists wanting to destroy Palestinian and Israeli livelihoods.

GMB and NHS members wanting to destroy Palestinian and Israeli jobs.

GMB and NHS members wanting to destroy Palestinian and Israeli jobs.

Outside Ecostream before a section 14 was imposed by police.

Outside Ecostream before a section 14 was imposed by police.

Across the road after the section 14 was imposed.

Across the road after the section 14 was imposed.

University of Brighton wanting to shut down Palestinian and Israeli jobs.

University of Brighton wanting to shut down Palestinian and Israeli jobs.

What a motley crew.

What a motley crew.

More of the motley crew.

More of the motley crew.

Coat on ground while being spoken to by the police.

Coat on ground while being spoken to by the police.

Self explanatory.

Self explanatory.

The stoical counter-protest.

The stoical counter-protest.

He makes a good point.

He makes a good point.

Who would you say she supports?

Who would you say she supports?

The shop.

The shop.

Refill your bottle of olive oil in Ecostream.

Refill your bottle of olive oil in Ecostream.

Extra yummy.

Extra yummy.

Refill your bottle of honey in Ecostream.

Refill your bottle of honey in Ecostream.

Refill your bottle of detergent in Ecostream.

Refill your bottle of detergent in Ecostream.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign holds anti-Israel hate event at P21 Gallery.

PSC at P21 Gallery, London last night.

PSC at P21 Gallery, London last night.

“Boycott, Boycott, Boycott. Boycott Israeli products and settlement products. Put pressure on Israel economically. It’s the language THEY understand,” Mahmoud Doughlas implored his audience last night.

Doughlas wasn’t pressed on what he meant by “they”, but the language certainly seemed to contain a racist undercurrent.

Doughlas was speaking, via Skype from Nablus, at a PSC event hosted by P21 Gallery. The event was Education under Occupation – stories from West Bank and Gaza students.

Doughlas, an electrical engineering student at Birzeit University, was speaking from Nablus because, he said, Britain had refused him an entry visa.

He began by telling the audience that when he was in 7th grade Israeli soldiers entered his school “randomly injuring people” and throwing teargas into the classrooms. He couldn’t breathe for 15 minutes and ended up in hospital.

He claimed that one of his friends had been imprisoned for 18 months for writing graffiti on a settlement wall and, if I heard correctly, he said Palestinians have even “been arrested for dreaming about doing something”.

Meanwhile, Jehan al Farra, an alumnus of the Islamic University in Gaza, definitely was in London. She had been in the UK since September studying for a Masters in Computer Studies.

Her main preoccupation last night was describing the problems of studying in Gaza, especially getting to and from academic institutions there due to fuel shortages.

During the Q&A an audience member pointed out that she is highly articulate and very confident, which is a tribute to her teachers and the syllabus. This was a difficult point for her to address without admitting that, just maybe, the situation isn’t as bad as her and her colleagues were attempting to portray.

But she did address another point when an audience member claimed that “Israel had worked hard to destroy Palestinian heritage”. Al Farra said that Israel had even “occupied Palestinian culture”. An example she gave was the Israeli keffiya.

Maybe al Farra should read this interesting statement on the Israeli keffiyeh:

“Jews indigenous to the Middle East, such as my family is, have worn some variation of the “kefyah” (cap/kippah) and keffiyah (head/neck scarves) for thousands of years.”

Here is al Farra last night describing how Palestinians sometimes get killed in accidents when using electricity generators:

Last night the PSC was sporting its brand new logo (see top photo – top left of screen). However, on the PSC website and their leaflets the logo is still the map of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, which is far more honest about their intentions for Israel:

psclogo

And PSC’s Ameena Saleem, who was chairing last night’s event, wasted no opportunity to call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. This, as we know, is merely code for calling for the Jewish state’s destruction.

P21 Gallery, itself, has a fairly large space at 21 Chalton Street. It supported St James’s Church’s Bethlehemfest over the Christmas period when St James’s Church ran a number of anti-Israel events while also erecting a copy of Israel’s security wall outside its premises in central London.

St James’s Church called for the real wall, which saves lives, to be dismantled. An astonishing £30,000 was spent building the copy wall.

Meanwhile, the charitable objectives of P21 Gallery (registered number 1153141) are:

“TO WORK IN COLLABORATION WITH BRITISH AND INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, ORGANISATIONS, ARTISTS, CURATORS AND DESIGNERS TO PROMOTE, DOCUMENT AND FACILITATE PUBLIC ACCESS TO ARAB ART AND CULTURE IN BRITAIN BY ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING AN ART GALLERY AND CULTURAL CENTRE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PUBLIC.”

But the website of P21 Gallery states:

“The P21 Gallery is a London-based non-profit organisation promoting contemporary Middle Eastern and Arab art and culture with distinct focus on Palestine.”

Judging by last night’s event I think that the charitable objectives could possibly be more clearly defined as: Facilitating the destruction of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian state.

But then that wouldn’t have sounded too charitable to the Charity Commissioners.

From the Warsaw Ghetto to John Lewis for Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Ewa Jaciewicz.

PSC's Salim Alam handing out anti-Israel leaflets inside John Lewis.

PSC’s Salim Alam handing out anti-Israel leaflets inside John Lewis.

Ewa Jaciewicz is an activist. That’s what she does. She was last seen hanging around inside a chimney in Nottingham for which she was “rigorously trained”. She writes about her activism in great detail for The Guardian.

On Saturday she helped orchestrate an anti-Israel protest inside John Lewis on London’s Oxford Street. About 50 anti-Israel activists followed her in and unfurled banners accusing Israel of apartheid and urging shoppers not to shop in John Lewis because it sells products made by Sodastream, an Israeli company with a factory on the West Bank that produces items enabling consumers to live greener lives.

Jaciewicz, a campaigner against climate change, should be sympathetic to Sodastream except her desire to see the Jewish state disappear obviously trumps all the good that Israeli companies do for the world.

Now, that’s hypocrisy for you.

Meanwhile, you can buy Sodastream products online from John Lewis here.

One of the signs unfurled by the activists read: “John Lewis…ethical policy? You profit from war and apartheid. Stop selling stolen goods.”

There is nothing illegal about Sodastream, and international law fully supports Israel’s presence in the West Bank. Anyone would have a very hard time disproving this.

But what Jaciewicz, a member of the Polish Campaign of Solidarity with Palestine, never wrote about for The Guardian was her trip a few years ago to the Warsaw Ghetto.

Now, what would a reasonable human being do if they visited a site where some 400,000 Jewish people (or people of any religion for that matter) lost their lives? Say a prayer, lay a flower, place a simple stone in remembrance?

Jaciewicz helped daub the words “Free Gaza and Palestine” on one of the nearby walls. What did any of those 400,000 innocent lost souls ever do to her?

Jaciewicz on the left near Warsaw Ghetto.

Jaciewicz on the left near Warsaw Ghetto.

One of Jaciewicz’s accomplices inside John Lewis was Salim Alam, one of the head honchos at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Alam once chaired a Palestine Solidarity Campaign meeting which was so horrific that afterwards one of the audience members let rip with a long Holocaust denial rant.

So these are just two of the characters that dominate the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s activism against Israel.

If only the shoppers at John Lewis who heard the accusations of apartheid against Israel and the calls for Israel’s destruction knew these back stories then they might understand what this sort of activism against Israel is truly about.

After about 45 minutes the police turned up and the activists removed themselves from John Lewis after being warned by the police that they could otherwise be arrested for aggravated trespass.

And as thousands continue to be gassed and murdered in Syria by Assad where are the protests against that and where are Jaciewicz’s articles on Syria?

More photos/footage from Saturday:

Jaciewicz appears in this clip: blond and in a black top and on her phone.

anti-Israel activists inside John Lewis.

anti-Israel activists inside John Lewis.

Thanks to Harvey for his footage and photos above and for the others that braved the onslaught on Saturday of this continuous vile campaign against the Jewish state.

Palestinian Ambassador to the UK: “I’ve started to believe that the Jews are the only children of God”

Jeremy Corbyn MP, PSC's Hugh Lanning, Manuel Hassassian in Parliament last night.

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”.

In other words, an open dialogue with Hamas.

Honking bus driver reprimanded for anti-Israel protest.

I was reading through my copy of this week’s Jewish Chronicle when I saw a piece by Jennifer Lipman.

It was about the driver of Bus No 38 who had repeatedly honked his horn as he drove passed Palestine Solidarity Campaign protesters outside Batsheva’s performance of Decca Dance on its first night at Sadler’s Wells. The protesters cheered in response.

I caught the honking on film, but thought nothing more of it.

I was more interested in hoping that the anti-Israel protesters who disrupted each of Batsheva’s three performances might be prosecuted for aggravated trespass.

Obviously that didn’t happen. Neither did it happen when the protesters disrupted Habima at The Globe nor when they disrupted the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.

But someone did complain about the honking bus driver.

Jennifer reports that a spokesman for Arriva, responding to the complaint, said:

“That sort of behaviour is totally inappropriate whilst on duty and I can confirm that the driver has been identified and interviewed by his manager. He was advised on all aspects of your complaint and his performance will be closely monitored to make sure that there are no further incidents of this nature. I am sorry that a member of our staff should have acted in this manner.”

And a Transport For London spokesman said:

“We expect drivers to promote a positive image of London Buses and to act professionally at all times. Clearly, a London bus driver should not be participating in a protest while performing their duties.”

Here is the honking bus driver in action on the night:

And here is anti-Israel activist Deborah Fink just after she had been ejected for disrupting Batsheva’s first night performance:

My appearance on 4ThoughtTV: Are Jews Still Persecuted in Britain Today?

Tonight at 7.55pm on Channel 4 I am in 4ThoughtTV’s slot on whether Jews are still persecuted in Britain today, which is the theme of the week.

There are seven contributions in all. Here is the link to mine and the other six:

http://www.4thought.tv/themes/are-jews-still-persecuted-in-britain-today/richard-millett?autoplay=true

1. I spoke about my experiences of harassment at anti-Israel events when I have merely tried to get Israel’s point of view across.

2. Stephen Sizer is an anti-Israel/anti-Zionist Christian Minister. I once went to hear him speak at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign event held in a church. He said, inter alia, that churches that side with Israel have “repudiated Jesus, have repudiated the bible and are an abomination”. On my way out of that meeting I was accosted by an audience member who let out some of the most Holocaust denying anti-Jewish vitriol I have ever heard. She told me, inter alia, that Jews died in the Holocaust from having “had their foreskins chopped off.”

In his 4Thought clip Sizer claims it’s important to be able to criticise certain Israeli policies without being accused of anti-Semitism. Let’s be clear: criticising Israel’s policies is legitimate, just like it is legitimate to criticise the policies of any country.

Sizer and his ilk are accused of anti-Semitism because they want the world’s only Jewish state to disappear. This is completely different to criticising Israel’s policies. Instead, they single out the Jewish state, the collective Jew, for destruction. So, Sizer is being highly disingenuous. If he were truthful he would have admitted he wants the Jewish state removed.

3. Another who wants the Jewish state removed is Ahron Cohen, of the extremist religious Jewish sect the Neturei Karta which believes that Jews should only go to the Holy Land once they have received a direct order from God to do so. The Neturei Karta also embraces Iran’s Holocaust denying President Ahmadinejad who repeatedly calls for the destruction of Israel. Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei has referred to Israel as “the Zionist cancerous tumour in the heart of the Islamic world”.

In his clip, Cohen blames Palestinian terrorism “on the very existence of the sectarian state known as Israel”.

4. Mike Marcus has also fallen for the myth that “The Zionist lobby uses the label of anti-Semitism to silence their critics”.

5. Jose Martin correctly blames the media for whipping up anti-Semitism due to its unfair reportage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

6. Yisrael Abeles, a Holocaust survivor, also blames the media for driving much of what has, these days, become “institutionalised anti-Semitism” as opposed to street anti-Semitism.

7. The most moving clip is by schoolgirl Eden Simones-Jones who says that she still suffers from depression and anxiety due to anti-Semitic harassment. She finishes:

“If people say there is no problem with anti-Semitism, I think they should wake-up, open their eyes and really look about what’s going out there because they’re obviously sheltered in their own little dreamland where everything’s rosy, because anti-Semitism’s everywhere. You’ve just got to know what to look for.”

Sadly, she’s right. Anti-Semitism is everywhere. In Britain today anti-Zionism, an attack on Israel as the collective Jew, is the modern updated version of anti-Semitism, the attack on Jews as individuals. “Anti-Zionism” is a label that has been adopted by many of Britain’s  academics, journalists, politicians, religious leaders and charities to hide their true feelings about Jews. This is the “institutionalised anti-Semitism” referred to by Yisrael Abeles.

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

Israel’s Batsheva dances on in Edinburgh despite PSC invasions.

Disruption during Batsheva's Thursday performance at Edinburgh's Playhouse Theatre.

Disruption during Batsheva’s Thursday performance at Edinburgh’s Playhouse Theatre.

What follows is a first hand account by our good friend Harvey of the racism, lies and abuse hurled at innocent theatre-goers by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign when Israel’s Batsheva dance group performed last Thursday, Friday and Saturday at The Playhouse Theatre in Edinburgh. Harvey also highlighted the frightening lack of security inside the theatre.

He took footage and photos of Thursday’s anti-Israel protests before, during and after Batsheva’s performance of Hora. By Saturday, when he had been identified as a supporter of Israel, he received this volley of abuse from PSC’s Scottish Chair Mick Napier for merely standing alone and filming Napier’s protest:

Napier screams at Harvey:

“Tell him to put his camera away. It’s intimidating. We know what they do with images. They use it to torture. They put Palestinians in their dungeons. And you. You think we’re afraid? You can’t call in your dirty little IDF to torture us as you do our friends. You’re a disgusting specimen.”

Disgusting specimen, eh? Such a pleasant chap that Napier. And it’s alright for Napier to have a go at members of the public out for a pleasant Thursday night’s entertainment; just don’t intimidate poor, defenceless Napier and his flock.

And one of Napier’s flock was this equally lovely chap:

Does anyone need reminding about the exhortations of Hezbollah’s Sheikh Nasrallah who has characterised Jews as the “grandsons of pigs and apes” and has said that if every Jew gathered in Israel it would save Hezbollah the effort of going after them worldwide. And go after them worldwide they have with terrorist attacks in Argentina in 1992 and 1994 and this year in Bulgaria.

Here is Harvey’s footage of PSC activists taunting the theatre-goers before Thursday’s performance with cries of “Your tickets are covered in Palestinian blood”:

Harvey reports that on entering The Playhouse the security, which consisted of a trestle table for checking bags, was “optional”. He walked in on the Thursday night without even showing his ticket, something which the PSC got wind of allowing them to run amok during the Saturday night performance and force some nine stoppages of the show.

On the Thursday, Harvey reports, there were three stoppages. Each time the Batsheva dancers came into a line at the front of the stage and stood like soldiers to attention while the lights went up to allow security to evict the PSC activists. And each time the audience responded with a spontaneous standing ovation to drown out the noise of the activists.

At the end of the performance the dancers received a proper standing ovation:

But on leaving the theatre the audience were once again confronted with crazed calls for the destruction of Israel:

It is incredible that after the disruptions during the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance at the Royal Albert Hall and Habima’s Merchant of Venice at The Globe there have been no prosecutions for aggravated trespass.

But this will always be the case without complaints by the likes of the Royal Albert Hall, The Globe and The Edinburgh Playhouse to the police.

There’s much more to come from Batsheva in the UK: Edinburgh, Festival Theatre (30, 31 Oct.), The Lowry, Salford Quays (2, 3 Nov.), Bradford, Alhambra Theatre (6, 7 Nov.), Brighton Dome, Concert Hall (9, 10 Nov.), Birmingham Hippodrome (13, 14 Nov.), Leicester, Curve Theatre (16 Nov.), London, Sadler’s Wells (19,20, 21 Nov.) and Plymouth, Theatre Royal (23, 24 Nov.)

Please come and support the wonderful dancers and help drown out the noise of the PSC’s professional disruptors.

More clips:

Here Napier says that if Batsheva “breaks their links with the state of Israel, then they may be welcome as normal citizens, but not as agents for the Israeli state.” Of course, that is impossible as Batsheva would not be able to operate without state funding, just like any other dance group. Yet another example of holding Jews to a higher standard:

And here is another anti-Israel activist explaining to the mob that the problem is simply with Batsheva’s state funding. Would he demand the arts in the UK go without state funding for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq? I think not:

In this footage an activist claims that some theatre-goers are destroying their Batsheva tickets. There is no proof. It’s just in his mind:

Finally, here is footage of a choir pleasantly singing for Israel’s security wall to come down. One woman even sings “inshallah”. Jewish babies having their throats slit by Hamas is obviously not a concern for some small-minded people:

Habima’s Merchant of Venice rocks London’s Globe Theatre

I really enjoyed last night’s performance of Habima’s The Merchant of Venice at The Globe on the south bank of the River Thames on a beautiful summer evening in London.

The cast received a prolonged standing ovation at the end (see above). The Globe was the perfect setting with its open roof allowing you to peer into the ever darkening sky as the constant movement of small planes readied you for the inevitable interruptions.

My main concerns were whether I would follow a play in Hebrew and whether the interruptions would ruin the experience, but two small screens kept us nicely updated in English and The Globe’s security knew when to act and when not to.

Security removed protesters swiftly so limiting the disruption but they allowed a very weird protest, where six protesters stood silently on the first balcony for virtually the entire first half with their lips taped up, to proceed.

First protest during last night's show.

First protest during last night’s show.

Second protest during last night's show.

Second protest during last night’s show.

The performance itself brought to the fore the comedy of The Merchant of Venice with a humourous gondola impression each time the action transferred to Venice, reminiscent of a sideways Moonwalk.

Seeing Shylock dispossessed of everything when Antonio’s defence lawyer finds a loophole in his contract with Shylock and watching Shylock forced to convert to Christianity to escape going to prison himself was maybe a Shakespearian premonition of the treatment in store for the Jews of Europe and Arab countries in the centuries to come.

In all there were some 20 protesters and I recognised two of them straight off.

Peter Scott recently tried to have me arrested and charged with harassment for doing nothing more than photographing him for my blog holding a Palestinian flag at an anti-Israel protest. Last night he donned a smart Panama hat. When I noticed him during the interval I pointed him out to security who, again, did nothing.

I went out to get a drink but when I came back two friends said that a man wearing a Panama had just been removed by security after he had approached them to discuss the disturbances. As they were talking to him they noticed he was wearing an electronic recording device on his lapel. Here is Scott during the interval:

I saw the following protester going into The Globe last night and when I called his name he looked round. I then called security but he made haste away from me until he was eventually caught by security and, out of breathe and shaking, gave a butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-my-mouth look.

I felt traumatised that I might have unjustly accused an innocent person and ruined his evening, but just before the interval he did unfurl a banner and was removed by security:

The protester about to be removed by Globe security last night.

The protester about to be removed by Globe security last night.

Meanwhile, the foyer was packed with police dealing with the protesters. In the top left corner here you can spot ubiquitous anti-Zionist activist Tony Greenstein:

Outside The Globe the Zionist Federation and Stand With Us had arranged a pro-Israel protest. There was also a pen for Palestine Solidarity Campaign activists. One PSC man had donned a mask with a big nose, but swore it wasn’t an anti-Semitic gesture.

I asked some of the PSC  lot whether they saw the recent production of Richard II by the Palestinian theatre company also at The Globe. They said they didn’t as it was a matinee and they had work commitments. They must have conveniently failed to spot the Saturday performance at 7.30pm then; proof, if ever it was needed, that PSC activists don’t give a damn about the Palestinians.

Habima is expecting another packed house tonight and many thanks should be paid to The Globe, its security and the police for allowing the show to go on despite the efforts of those with ignorant views.

Meanwhile, the London Evening Standard described last night’s performance by Habima as “a tricky evening triumphantly negotiated” and The Times said it was “an evening to remember for reasons of art as well as politics”.

Photos from outside The Globe last night:

This is not an anti-Semitic gesture by a PSC comrade, apparently.

This is not an anti-Semitic gesture by a PSC comrade, apparently.

Having fun outside The Globe.

Having fun outside The Globe.

Sweet.

Sweet.

Precisely.

Precisely.