I only made it to the last 25 minutes of Joel Beinin’s talk at SOAS last night but, sadly, I still have enough material to write a blog about it.
Beinin’s talk, The New Internationalism, High-Risk Activism, and Popular Struggle against the Israeli Occupation in the West Bank, was chaired by Gilbert Achcar, who once publicly accused me of leaving insulting messages on his answering machine.
Meanwhile, Beinin is Professor of Middle East History at Stanford University. Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of him but Wikipedia has a surprisingly large page about him. According to the description he was “raised as a Zionist” and at one stage intended to make aliyah but having encountered some racist attitudes on a Kibbutz he returned to America instead.
Beinin has published a lot also. I only read one article of his when I got back last night but if I say that the article trashes Peter Beinart’s call for Israeli Jews living on the West Bank to be boycotted because this doesn’t go far enough you get the gist of Beinin’s politics.
In this article Beinin also denounces those who condone “indecent trivialisation of the Holocaust” when they compare levels of anti-Semitism today to those of the late 1930s. (That said, if anyone can explain the difference between boycotting Jewish-owned shops in the late 1930s and boycotting Jewish-owned shops, like Covent Garden’s Ahava and Brighton’s Ecostream, today then please let me know.)
But, hey, guess who is the real master of “indecent trivialisation of the Holocaust”? None other than Joel Beinin himself!
You see, last night, Beinin started discussing Israel’s Prawer Commission Plan to move the Negev’s Bedouin population into far better equipped towns in return for compensation. Beinin described this as “putting them into what would effectively be concentration camps.” (see here from 2 mins. 25 secs.)
Oh, really? So would that be concentration camps like Auschwitz or Treblinka, possibly?
But, of course, Beinin doesn’t indecently trivialise the Holocaust, remember.
Towards the end of the event Beinin said there was a “rightward drift of Israeli society”, “a degradation of whatever there ever was of the democratic process” and “Israel itself, besides the occupation, is heading into an abyss and it’s not clear at all what might stop that.” (see here from 30 secs.)
Abyss means an “An immeasurably deep chasm, depth, or void”. Alternatively, it means “The abode of evil spirits; hell.”
And all this because Beinin once encountered some racists on a Kibbutz?
“THE UNIVERSITY HAVE RESTRICTED THE EVENT TO MIDDLESEX STUDENTS & STAFF ONLY…PLEASE EMAIL MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY TO SEEK THEIR JUSTIFICATION FOR THIS UNPRECEDENTED RESTRICTION.”
The event was the Free Palestine Society’s The Case for Boycotting, Divesting, and Sanctions against Israel held last night. The speakers were Lauren Booth, John Rees and Asghar Bukari. The location was Middlesex University in Hendon, a highly Jewish populated suburb of London.
On her blog Booth quotes Gilad Atzmon’s anti-Semitic rhetoric extensively and tries to back him up. For example:
“No Jews do not run the world. They get others to do it for them.’”….This argument is not without example. In 2001 Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, made unguarded comments, about relations with the United States and the peace process.
“I know what America is,” he told a group of terror victims, apparently not knowing his words were being recorded. “America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in their way.”
And she directly implicates British Jews in what she sees as Israel’s “crimes” when she writes:
What must also continue, freely and without hindrance are debates into the British Jewish communities role in funding the ethnic cleansing of the West Bank and East Jerusalem via such bodies as the Jewish National Fund.
Bukhari is the founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee. MPAC was banned from university campuses in 2004 after being branded anti-Semitic by the National Union of Students and Bukhari, himself, supported and financed Holocaust denier David Irving.
Rees has, inter alia, reportedly identified with the Mahdi Army, a terror cell responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqis.
We did email Middlesex University to ask why concerned members of the public were banned, but the response bore no relation to the question. Middlesex University responded:
This is a Students’ Union supported society event which is open to students and staff at the University. As a University we have a responsibility to protect freedom of speech within the law and support the rights of our students to meet and discuss issues that matter to them. The University hosts a wide range of events, presenting many different views, and we would not seek to prevent them or influence the content unless there are very strong grounds to do so.
When I contacted Sam Spindlow, of Corporate Communications at Middlesex University and who was responsible for disseminating the statement, even he agreed that the statement did not explain why the public was banned, but said he could go no further than that.
The reality is that at a similar event at Middlesex University last year Ken O’Keefe compared Jews to Nazis, and Jenny Tonge said that “Israel won’t be here forever” for which she was chucked out of the Liberal Democrats.
Middlesex University’s new policy seems to be to allow hate speech to go virtually unopposed. Concerned members of the public are to be banned from anti-Israel events, although whether this policy is legal is open to question with Middlesex University being a taxpayer funded institution.
A few defiant members of Middlesex University’s Jewish Society did attend last night. One walked out in disgust at what was being said about Israel. She said that a pro-Israel question was asked during the Q&A but was dismissed by Lauren Booth as being “too Zionist a question to take seriously.” Another member of the Jewish Society handed out pro-Israel leaflets afterwards.
Jonathan Hoffman and I weren’t allowed in so we waited outside till the end and engaged in discussion with the students as they exited the room. We didn’t get very far though. We were told we were “child killers” and as I left a student shouted at me “Go back to Golders Green*.”
That kind of vile racism has now become the norm at anti-Israel events, but Middlesex University dangerously continues to look away.
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)
Here is the transcript and much clearer audio of a remarkable exchange between myself, Jonathan Hoffman and someone calling herself Jane Green outside Rivercourt Methodist Church on Thursday 6th October after a Palestine Solidarity Campaign event. I also include the PSC’s response. (Warning: Extreme language)
Hoffman: You’re a Holocaust denier. Me: You said there were no showers. Green: Fuck off, fuck off. Hoffman: Did you say there were no showers, did you say there were no gas chambers? Me: How did the Jews die, how did the Jews die in the Holocaust? Hoffman: How did the Jews die in the Holocaust, Madam? Green: They had their foreskins chopped off. Hoffman: And were there any gas chambers, Madam? Green: I don’t know, I wasn’t there, darling. Hoffman: What about the historical evidence? Me: You said there were showers beforehand. Green: They had showers there, too. Me: And how did the Jews die in the Holocaust? Green: I have no idea, I wasn’t there. Me and Hoffman: How many Jews died in the Holocaust? Me: How many Jews died in the Holocaust? Green: I think a few hundred thousand did. Me and Hoffman: But not six million? Green: I didn’t count them, no. Me: And do you care? Hoffman: Was there a Holocaust? Green: I have Jews in my family, and I’ve fucked enough Jews to tell you about circumsized. Hoffman: Did the Holocaust exist? Me: What’s your name, Madam? Green: Course the Holocaust existed, I’ve seen the fucking photos. My name, Jane Green. Nice Jewish name. Me and Hoffman: How many Jews died in the Holocaust, Jane Green? Green: Six million and one. Me: You said a hundred thousand before. Green: Six million and one if it makes you happy. Hoffman: Were there any gas chambers in the Holocaust? Green: I don’t know, I wasn’t there. Hoffman: But before you said there weren’t any, so say that again. Green: I didn’t say that. Hoffman: Say there were no gas chambers. Green: Stop harassing me. Hoffman: Say there were no gas chambers in the Holocaust again. Green: I’ve no idea, I wasn’t there. Me: Do you deny the Holocaust? Hoffman: Do you deny the Holocaust, Madam? Unknown woman: Course I don’t deny the Holocaust. Green: Nobody does. No one of any intelligence denies the Holocaust. Unknown woman: I do not deny the Holocaust. Green: But you’re using it to fucking kill the Palestinians. You are using it. Hoffman: Sorry, nobody is using it. Green: You are using it to commit genocide against another people, yes you are. Hoffman: You know that calling it a Holocaust (against the Palestinians) is anti-Semitic? Green: I don’t call it a Holocaust, the Jews call it a Holocaust. It’s meaningless to me. The Jews call it a Holocaust. A Holocaust is a general term for a conflagration. Look in your dictionary. Hoffman: Do you know comparing Israel’s policy to Nazi policy is anti-Semitic? Do you know that, Jane? Green: No. Hoffman: You don’t know that? Green: I see them as Nazis. I see the Jews in Israel as total Nazis. Hoffman: You know that’s an anti-Semitic remark, Jane? Green: I don’t give a fuck. Hoffman: Jane Green, right? Green: Jane Green. Hoffman: Jane Green. Green: Nice Jewish name.
Statement Following Public Meeting In Hammersmith On 6 October 2011
We unequivocally condemn the views recorded by Richard Millett of a person on the public pavement in Hammersmith on 6 October 2011. Even though the recording suggests that the person appeared to have been harangued by the interviewers, the sentiments expressed have no place in the campaign for Palestinian rights and justice. Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has a very clear policy opposing all forms of racism, including Islamophobia and anti-Jewish prejudice. Moreover, PSC has issued a further statement opposing attempts to deny or minimise the Holocaust.
It is important to remember that the recorded remarks were made outside,and not inside, a meeting organised by West London PSC which was widely advertised and open to all members of the public. The meeting itself drew upon a panel of speakers of different faiths – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – who all focused on the necessity for Jerusalem to be a city for all its residents, irrespective of faith or ethnicity.
West London Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Eventhough PSC condemns Green’s “views” and “sentiments” it actually defends her by suggesting that she might have said what she did because she was being “harangued”. In any event she wasn’t harangued at all but took great pleasure in taunting us about the Holocaust, as you can clearly hear.
PSC also makes a weak attempt to distance itself from Green by emphasising that her remarks took place outside the meeting and that the meeting was focused on Jerusalem.
Green actually took inspiration from the meeting, at least for her accusation that Jews are using the Holocaust to kill the Palestinians. Not long before this exchange she had heard the Reverend Stephen Sizer in the meeting give “guilt for the Holocaust” in response to a question asking why more church leaders do not speak out about Israel’s allegedly inhuman treatment of the Palestinians:
Stephen Sizer in Q&A at Rivercourt Methodist Church, King Street, Hammersmith: 6 Oct 2011 (www.richardmillett.wordpress.com)
Jane Green is not a one-off. Remarks similar to hers are whispered at the many anti-Israel events up and down the country. You just don’t get an opportunity to record them, so they are easily denied.
Daud Abdullah being listened to by Arthur Goodman, the West London PSC Chairman, Linda Ramsden, Stephen Sizer
I feel somewhat rejuvinated after a moving and uplifting Yom Kippur sat in synagogue listening to inspirational sermons and prayers and it was good to see many friendly faces (note to self: must go to shul more).
So it is with sadness that I now have to write about yet another sick anti-Israel public meeting in London that took place last Thursday at the Rivercourt Methodist Church, King Street, Hammersmith.
The event was called Jerusalem Under Threat and was held by the West London Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Due to speak were Reverend Stephen Sizer, Arthur Goodman (Jews for Justice for Palestinians), Linda Ramsden (Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions) and Daud Abdullah (Middle East Monitor). Ghada Karmi couldn’t make it but instead we were subjected to a talk by an Anarchist Against the Wall (see clip at end).
After a long journey there I made straight for the toilets. One congregant told me that I should stay in there. Then as I sat down for the talk I was approached by a policeman who warned me not disrupt the meeting.
“Moi?” I asked, innocently.
Up first was Daud Abdullah who spoke about how UN Resolution 181 called for the internationalisation of Jerusalem, while disregarding the fact that 181 doesn’t apply now having been rejected by the Arabs in 1947. He also spoke of Israel digging up 14th Century Muslim cemeteries and burying the remains in “mass graves” to make way for the Museum of Tolerance.
Arthur Goodman gave us a lecture on international law regarding Jerusalem and spoke of a supposed “Masterplan” for Jerusalem which entailed Jews eventually making up 70% of Jerusalem’s population and the Arabs the remaining 30%.
Stephen Sizer was proficient at marketing his book Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon?, there being a leaflet on every seat. He was quick to tell us that Christians have lived in Jerusalem for 2000 years and in peace with their Christian and Jewish neighbours and that only recently have tensions grown. He said that since 1948 there has been a massive reduction of Christians in the West Bank and Israel. Not surprisingly he blamed Israel for this and referred to “the apartheid wall” as “segregation based on race”.
He quoted passages from the bible that he believes supports a “one state solution”, which was all lapped up in silence by his hypocritical audience who would have yelled derision at someone had that person quoted the many biblical passages that support the Jewish people’s right to Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan.
He said that church leaders refuse to speak out about Israel’s crimes because of “guilt for the Holocaust and fear of anti-Semitism” and that churches which side with “the occupation” and Zionism have “repudiated Jesus, have repudiated the bible and are an abomination” (see clip below).
Stephen Sizer in Q&A at Rivercourt Methodist Church, King Street, Hammersmith: 6 Oct 2011 (www.richardmillett.wordpress.com)
At the end of the event Jonathan Hoffman persuaded me to stand outside the church with him to hand out pro-Israel leaflets to the congregants as they left the church. It was a futile gesture and all it did was encourage someone who called herself “Jane Green” to tell us that there weren’t any gas chambers in the Holocaust, that the Jews had instead died having had their foreskins chopped off, that only a couple of hundred thousand Jews died in the Holocaust, that the Jews are using the Holocaust to commit genocide against the Palestinians and that all the Jews in Israel are total Nazis, as you can hear here:
With that we trudged off home hungry, cold and dispirited that a British church can hold an event that seemed to engender such disrespect for 6,000,000 souls who died in the most dire of circumstances.
This Anarchist Against the Wall had no answers when challenged mid-flow by Jonathan Hoffman:
An Anarchist Against the Wall at Rivercourt Methodist Church, King Street, Hammersmith: 6 Oct 2011 (www.richardmillett.wordpress.com)
The West London PSC Chair says what he thinks about Israel:
West London PSC Chair concluding at Rivercourt Methodist Church, King Street, Hammersmith: 6 Oct 2011 (www.richardmillett.wordpress.com)
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)
Freedom for Palestine by One World is due for release soon and accompanying the song is a video of happy-clappy-smiley people who cheerfully libel and demonise Israel.
The lyrics are:
So many years of catastrophe, more than six million refugees,
it could be you and your family,
Forced from your home and your history.
We are the people, and this is our time, Stand up, sing out, for Palestine No matter your faith or community, this is a crime against humanity, Gaza turned into a prison camp, apartheid wall divides the West Bank.
We’ll break down the wall, Freedom for Palestine Demand Justice for all, Freedom For Palestine Enough illegal occupation, violence and racial segregation, all religious communities unite.
Freedom is a human right, We are the people, and this is our time, Stand up, sing out, for Palestine, We’ll break down the wall, Freedom for Palestine Demand Justice for all, Freedom For Palestine.
(Some incoherent rapping)
We are the people, and this is our time, Stand up, sing out, for Palestine, We’ll break down the wall, Freedom for Palestine Demand Justice for all, Freedom For Palestine(repeat X5) We are the people, this is our time, unite together, for justice in Palestine.
This is not a political song criticising Israeli policy, but a song demonising Israel and Israelis and encouraging Israel’s destruction.
Anyone who knows the anti-Israel lobby will know that when they speak of “Freedom for Palestine” they are really talking about Palestine replacing Israel.
Meanwhile, the mention of “six million (palestinian) refugees” seems to be a sick comparison to the six million Jewish dead in The Holocaust. It is sheer depravity to compare the lives of the Palestinians to those of Jews shoved into Nazi gas chambers.
Also, in the video (below) we see a cartoon of an Israeli soldier knocking to the floor a Palestinian woman while she is holding her baby. The use of cartoon imagery points to a total absence of footage of this actual occurrence.
Even the “deeply religious” Neturei Karta make an appearance in the video.
Such “Freedom For Palestine” would entail bloodshed on a massive scale as no Jew would willingly give up their country to thousands of so-called “refugees” who have never lived there and a country which, in its short 63 years, has been so successful and contributed so much to the world in the fields of, inter alia, science and technology.
The only Jewish state would become yet another Muslim state.
In the same 63 years surrounding Arab countries have languished in economic despair, trying to use Israel as a diversion tactic. And when that hasn’t worked, they have massacred their own people as a last resort; Syria being a prime example. 20,000 Syrians were murdered by President Assad in Hama in 1982 and since March another 1,300 Syrians have been murdered by his son, Bashar.
The lyrics referring to “religious segregation” and “apartheid” are pure pernicious propaganda as is the line “We’ll break down the wall”.
This wall has stopped many Hamas suicide bombers from getting into Israeli cafes and discos and onto Israeli buses. Israel needs to make no apologies for this. But the people in the video obviously don’t care about Israeli civilians being murdered and maimed en masse.
The good news is that Coldplay and Lush have now removed adverts for the song from their sites (although Vicky Jansson at Lush still thinks their campaign to demonise Israel is live). It is a shame that itunes and HMV are selling a song that merely intends to spread hatred of the Jewish state and the Israeli people.
Hopefully, the single will die a slow death and the writers, musicians and performers associated with the song will become tarnished goods; a fate they will have definitely deserved.
The character of Len in The Promise (Guardian.co.uk)
Many British Jews woke up this morning feeling a little less welcome living in the UK. The overall feeling of watching the four episodes of The Promise is one of inciting racial hatred.
And it says a lot about the current UK environment that anti-Jewish propaganda is now so freely available on British tv and not just British university campuses.
Peter Kosminsky spent seven years writing The Promise but consulted avowedly anti-Israel groups like Breaking the Silence, Combatants for Peace and ISM and also British soldiers who had come under fire from Jewish military groups.
“The most striking thing I’m left with is a question: how did we get from there to here? Like most British soldiers we interviewed, arriving in Palestine from the war in Europe, Len Matthews felt only sympathy for the Jewish plight. Having seen the ovens of Bergen-Belsen, his heart tells him that Jews deserve a place of safety, almost at any price. In 1945, that view was shared by most of the world. In the era inhabited by Erin, his granddaughter, just 60 years later, Israel is isolated, loathed and feared in equal measure by its neighbours, finding little sympathy outside America for its uncompromising view of how to defend its borders and secure its future. How did Israel squander the compassion of the world within a lifetime?” (See a response to this here).
There was no attempt at balance or context. Jews and Israelis were portrayed as evil and the Arabs were portrayed as the good guys.
And these are the words that Len, the main British Mandate character in The Promise, writes in his diary as he departs British Mandate Palestine:
“We’ve left the Arabs in the shit. But what about the Jews and their bloody state for which they fought so hard? Three years ago I would have said give them whatever they want, they deserve it after all they have been through. Now I’m not so sure. This precious state of theirs has been born in violence and in cruelty to its neighbours. I’m not sure how it can thrive.”
Channel Four also recently showed War Child, a documentary on the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead in which “the Jews” were portrayed as going on a killing spree against Palestinian children.
And a few years ago it allowed mass murderer of his own people and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to broadcast a Chistmas speech. Then there is the anti-Israel Jon Snow who seems to split his career between reading Channel 4′s nightly news and chairing anti-Israel events.
Last night we finally found out what “the promise” of the title was all about. In 1948 Len, the British soldier, had promised, but failed, to return the key of the house owned by an Arab family he had befriended and who he ordered to flee to avoid being massacred by the oncoming Jews. 62 years later this promise was fulfilled by his grand-daughter, Erin. When she told him in his hospital bed back in the UK that she had finally returned the key he just lightly squeezed her hand before passing away without speaking.
To arrive at that point we witnessed some six hours of unmitigated demonisation of Jews; both those in British Mandate Palestine and those living in Israel today.
We watched as Erin gradually turned into a hardcore anti-Semite due to her experiences in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. She was an epileptic who suffered three seizures during the series. But the only time she fitted was when she was with Jews, never with Arabs.
The first time was in an Israeli nightclub when she collapsed on to the floor shaking uncontrollably and instead of anyone coming to help the Israelis just laughed at her.
The second time was when she was being reprimanded by the wealthy Jewish family she was staying with in Israel for bringing an Arab back to the house.
The third time was when she was confronted by three aggressive Israeli soldiers while she was trying to comfort a sick Palestinian woman who had been removed from her house just before it was about to be blown up because her family helped to shield a suicide bomber.
Meanwhile, Jews during the British Mandate Palestine era were all portrayed as brutal cold-blooded murderers with Kosminsky concentrating solely on the Irgun.
British soldiers and Arabs were constantly seen being shot by Jews, while we only see one Jew killed. Len shot a Jew dead while defending his beloved adopted Arab family.
No one would be able to comprehend from this series that almost 6,000 Jews died fighting the Arabs between 1947 and 1949, equivalent to 1% of the Jewish population of British Mandate Palestine at the time.
Nor was there any context to the Irgun’s actions. British government policy had become so anti-Jewish that the Jews were fighting for their lives.
In 1939 the British had reversed their own 1917 promise to the Jews to create a Jewish homeland. Instead only 75,000 Jews were now to be allowed to immigrate in to British Mandate Palestine over the next five years, after which the immigration numbers would be up to the Arab majority to decide. By 1949 British Mandate Palestine would effectively become another Arab state.
The Irgun put off any fighting until this five year period had expired. When there was no change in this British policy they starting fighting, which consisted of attacking buildings, not people (It was the Stern Gang, a small group of extremist Jews, who had no compunction about attacking civilians, soldiers and diplomatic figures).
The Irgun attacked the King David Hotel, as shown in The Promise, but not before, according to Menachem Begin, phoning through ignored warnings to evacuate.
In The Promise we were also shown Jews massacring unarmed Arabs in the village of Deir Yassin.
Begin claims that a warning was given to the inhabitants of Deir Yassin, so throwing away the element of surprise. He claims heavy fighting ensued and the Irgun suffered casualties of four dead and forty wounded, not as portrayed in The Promise.
Benny Morris claims that Arab radio broadcasts inflated what took place at Deir Yassin, and it was this that helped instigate the flight of the Arabs from all around the country.
But in The Promise the Arabs flee as a direct response to this “massacre” and fear of what the Jews might do to them. Again, there is no mention that up to 400,000 Palestinians did not flee.
The Promise also failed to mention La Saison when the Haganah (the main Jewish military force in British Mandate Palestine) caught members of the Irgun and handed them over to the British.
Instead, we were treated to one scene where British soldiers were shot through their heads as they sat in a military jeep outside a restaurant while rich Jewish diners just carried on eating, drinking and laughing.
Of course Kosminsky tried to promote what he thought was the Jewish/Israeli narrative.
The Promise occasionally flashed back to real scenes from The Holocaust, but there was no explanation of the Jews’ historic connection to Israel. The implication was that the Jews had stolen a country belonging to another people.
Second, Kosminsky showed two suicide bombings. The first one was just after an Israeli left-wing character had explained how the Security Wall has Arabs on both sides of it; some inside Israel proper and some inside the West Bank. The implication of the suicide bomb taking place straight after this was that the Security Wall was ineffective to stop suicide bombings and was merely a political tool used to grab more Palestinian land.
And after the second suicide bombing Erin, quite incredibly, befriends the family of the suicide bomber and even tried to stop their home being blown up by the IDF. This despite Erin not knowing the extent of the knowledge that the Palestinian family had about the intentions of their terrorist daughter.
Kosminsky also had Jewish children in the West Bank attacking Arab families with rocks while the IDF looked on and the IDF using a child as a human shield. We also saw a bulldozer almost run down Erin, recalling the death of Rachel Corrie in the same way. This is all straight out of an ISM handbook.
The Promise had everything for the Jew hater and Israel hater, but what you won’t see is a series about the Arab uprising in British Mandate Palestine between 1936-1939, which was brutally put down by the British and in which some 5,000 Arabs, 300 Jews and 260 Britons were killed and during which the Peel Commission offered the Arabs 80% of British Mandate Palestine, which the greedy Arab leadership duly rejected.
It was this that sowed the seeds for what followed and for the Arab defeat in 1948, but, as ever, why let facts get in the way of demonising Jews and Israel.
There are worrying developments in this country’s anti-Israel lobby. Maybe it is the continuing strength of Israel both militarily and economically while the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement is having limited, if any, success.
But while Israel and many Israelis continue to prosper, even more so in light of the upcoming change in the law of universal jurisdiction which will make it harder to arrest an Israeli official on allegations of war crimes, Diaspora Jews are still a target.
One might disagree with Israeli policies but what we think is irrelevant. We do not live there and so do not suffer the same threats as Israeli Jews.
Similarly, one would not expect Israeli Jews to advise UK Jews. Only those that live in a country can truly judge the appropriate action to take.
And Hasbarah is easy anyway. We all understand the history of the conflict. We know that Jews have a right to a sovereign state in the Middle East and that the Palestinians have a right to one also. The job may be big but that is no bar to trying to explain Israel’s position to office colleagues, friends and television audiences.
The main problem comes when you are attacked for what you are, a Jew, not what you think. Instead of being able to respond constructively the only response you are left with, apart from being left open-mouthed, is denial.
MP Gerald Kaufman claimed this year that rich Jews controlled the Conservative Party. Martin Linton, Chair of Labour Friends of Palestine, said that Israel’s “tentacles” were controlling our political system. Both accusations could be straight out of the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
And, on seventh night of Chanukah the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) staged Seven Jewish Children at the Polish Centre in Hammersmith. The choice of venue for this outrageous play seems particularly cruel when considering the plight of Jews in Poland during the Holocaust. The production is full of horrendous accusations about Jews.
I saw it at the Royal Court last year and felt uneasy amidst an applauding London audience. The show lasts 10 minutes and uses seven short acts to portray how the Jews have turned from being killed during the Holocaust into the killers themselves during Operation Cast Lead.
According to the play Jews are biblically driven, think of Palestinians as “filth” and “animals”, justify the killing of Palestinian babies to their own children and enjoy swimming in nice pools while the Palestinians become dehydrated.
There may be some Jews who think like this, Baruch Goldstein was an example, but to imply that all Jews do is racist. However, the play is available for anyone to put on for free, including in schools.
On the fifth night of Chanukah, Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of a London-based Arabic newspaper, gave a talk at LSE and allegedly pointed at Jewish students and accused them of bombing Gaza. In 2007 Atwan stated that he would “dance with delight” if Israel was hit by Iranian missiles. Imagine someone pointing at Muslim students while shouting they are all suicide bombers. That person would be accused of inciting religious hatred.
My suspicion, which may be wrong, is that the PSC came to the Polish centre via Ewa Jasiewicz, a Polish anti-Israel activist. During the summer Jasiewicz visited the Warsaw Ghetto and helped to daub “Free Gaza and Palestine” on the walls of one of the Ghetto houses in, what could be considered, a crude attempt to equate the Palestinians with the Jews under the Nazis. The Ghetto is now considered a grave to the 100,000 Jews that perished there.
More recently, the PSC and Middle East Monitor invited Richard Falk, the United Nations Human Rights Council’s representative to the Palestinian territories, to London to give a talk on Israel’s assault on human rights.
Yet, it was the same Falk who, in 2008, said that Israel’s treatment of Gaza was a “Holocaust in the making”.
Criticising Israeli policy is one thing but comparing the Palestinians with the fate of the Jews during the Holocaust and accusing today’s Jews of condoning the killing of babies while justifying it to their own children is another.
This will only lead to dangerous repercussions elsewhere. During the summer I had to intervene after seeing a Jewish teenager violently attacked by a Muslim teenager. Britain’s anti-Israel lobby should beware the monster it is helping to create.
(This piece appears in the latest edition of The Jewish News)