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.
“Cheap Jewish settlements” because Jews are tight money grabbers of course!
War On Want’s Executive Director John Hilary.
Agreed! Palestinians should be freed from their Hamas oppressors.
Is that because Israel builds bomb shelters but Hamas doesn’t bother, possibly?
Courageous guy climbs a traffic light.
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?
Police under pressure and looking under-numbered for once.
Libyan support despite things not looking too rosy in Libya either.
One of our buses gets occupied. Tell Boris!
Remind me to invite him over for Friday night dinner soon.
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.
Hmm, they mean Iran, Saudi, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq don’t they? Oh wait…
Can we have our bus back now please?
Errr, the problem is not Gaza, the problem is Hamas.
Ask them to ring back, you’re at an anti-Israel protest!
War On Want No! Who can argue with that?
Oh really. Now where does it say such a silly thing like that?
“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.”)
In a cunning twist to that famous Fawlty Towers scene when Basil Fawlty tries to not mention the war when serving German guests but fails, Channel 4 News journalist Jonathan Miller does his best to not mention the war and succeeds!
The war that would not pass Miller’s lips was the one of 1948 when Israel beat five Arab armies and more to establish its legal state. Whereas the putative Israelis accepted UN Resolution 181 (the Partition resolution) the Arab world rejected it hoping to inflict on Israel’s Jews a second Holocaust instead.
To add to the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust another 6,000 Jews needlessly lost their lives in that 1947-49 war.
Not that such history seems to be of much concern to Jonathan Miller.
In his five-minute piece on Gaza for Channel 4 News last night he shows Palestinians playing football. Miller describes how “teams are named after the home towns from which previous generations were cleansed 66 years ago”. In one match we are told “Jaffa are playing Ashkelon”.
So Miller reduces the 1947-49 conflict down to one malicious word: Cleansed. The Palestinians were not “cleansed”, but Jews are cast as evil-doers nevertheless.
Miller tells us that Hamas and Fatah supporters play on the same team. It’s very touching to see guys taking time out from planning another genocide of the Jewish people (see Hamas’ Charter) and inciting racial hatred against Jews (see PA/Fatah TV) to play a bit of footy. The vicious fight at the end between two players possibly betrays the existing hatred between these two factions.
Miller starts his piece to camera with the common slur that Israel is cruel to Palestinian children. We are introduced to Abdel Karim who has a brain tumour and who has suffered a relapse after his first operation. Miller explains:
“Abdul Karim’s lifesaving treatment was delayed because Israel refused permission for his mother to accompany him to Jerusalem. They had to reapply for his grandmother to go instead. The process took two months. The oncologist is sending him to Israel again. This time for radiotherapy.”
Miller doesn’t tell us that Israel suspects Abdul’s father and mother of involvement in terrorism. Miller clearly outlines this on the Channel 4 News website where he writes:
“Arafat al-Dalo is not permitted to enter Israel because he had once been shot in the leg by an Israeli high-velocity bullet. Arafat, who is a tailor by trade, insisted categorically that he was not a militant. He had got caught up in a shooting incident at a border crossing, he said.
Ghada thinks she was refused because one of her brothers had been shot dead in a clash with Israeli forces. This made him a “shahid”, a “martyr” in Palestine; in Israel, it made Ghada a suspect.”
So why was this left out of the Channel 4 News footage?
Miller finishes his piece to camera with this cynical and unsubstantiated allegation against Israel:
“Paediatricians here cite several cases in which permissions to cross into Israel have taken so long that very sick children have died waiting.”
Jews responsible for the deaths of children is a long-standing anti-Semitic slur.
Last night Miller tweeted that he isn’t anti-Semitic:
What is truly shocking is Channel 4’s increasing attacks on Israel and the Jewish people.
“After Bergen Belsen, I thought that the Jews deserved a state, but now I’m not so sure…Their precious state has been born in violence and cruelty to its neighbours, and I’m not sure I want it to prosper…”
Channel 4 also broadcastGoing for Gold in Gaza about disabled Palestinians training for the Paralympics. One Palestinian described in Arabic how he was able to rehabilitate himself at Israeli hospitals after the accident that left him disabled, but the word “Israeli” was suspiciously left out of the subtitles.
Finally, there was the time that Jon Snow, Channel 4’s main news presenter, lunged at me when I questioned him about his persistent use of the term “the Jewish lobby”.
Feel free to complain to OFCOM about Miller’s piece if you don’t want Miller to get away with it. Write to email@example.com but you must mention the date and time of the programme: Channel 4 News at 7pm on 18th February.
And here is that famous “Don’t mention the War” scene from Fawlty Towers. Instead of Basil Fawlty, think Jonathan Miller.
Well done, Tal Ofer! After I reported on Thursday that during Wednesday’s parliamentary debate on Gaza Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi had compared the situation of the Palestinians in Gaza to that of Jews living in Nazi Germany Labour Party activist Ofer immediately reported her remarks to Labour’s HQ and brought it to the attention of the media generally.
Qureshi had said:
“What has struck me in all this is that the state of Israel was founded because of what happened to the millions and millions of Jews who suffered genocide. Their properties, homes and land—everything—were taken away, and they were deprived of rights. Of course, many millions perished. It is quite strange that some of the people who are running the state of Israel seem to be quite complacent and happy to allow the same to happen in Gaza.”
You cannot get more offensive to the few remaining Holocaust survivors and to those who lost loved ones in Auschwitz, Belsen etc.
Gaza is no Belsen. And the suffering in Gaza is at the behest of Islamist-terror organisation Hamas which is happy to oppress its own people so that useful idiots in the West will blame Israel.
The response to Qureshi’s remarks from the Labour Party itself was an utter disgrace:
“These remarks were taken completely out of context. Yasmin Qureshi was not equating events in Gaza with the Holocaust. As an MP who has visited Auschwitz and has campaigned all her life against racism and anti-Semitism she would not do so.”
However, soon after, Qureshi must have had a pang of conscience and came out with this apology:
“The debate was about the plight of the Palestinian people and in no way did I mean to equate events in Gaza with the Holocaust. I apologise for any offence caused. I am also personally hurt if people thought I meant this. As someone who has visited the crematoria and gas chambers of Auschwitz I know the Holocaust was the most brutal act of genocide of the 20th Century and no-one should seek to underestimate its impact.”
So Qureshi is “personally hurt”? Poor her. Not as “personally hurt” as those who were in Auschwitz or Belsen etc or lost family there.
But let’s all feel sorry for Qureshi instead!
It is also pretty frustrating that Labour List’s Mark Ferguson thinks “Qureshi’s apology should draw a line under this, and rightly so. If there was no intention to cause offence or equate events in Gaza with the Holocaust I am happy to accept that.”
How can there have been “no intention”? Her words are 100% clear. There is no nuance!
And then what does Ferguson think of Gerald Kaufman MP’s words about Israelis?:
“Go to Tel Aviv, as I did not long ago, and watch them sitting complacently outside their pavement cafés. They do not give a damn about their fellow human beings perhaps half an hour away.”
The remainder of Qureshi’s speech was also disgraceful, especially the way she frames Jews solely by religion. She said, referring indirectly to Kaufman:
“I want to praise the people in Israel and the Jewish people in this country who campaign actively for the rights of Palestinians. Like my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Gorton, I am sure that they are criticised by other Jewish people perhaps for trying to betray the state of Israel”.
But the likes of Kaufman are criticised not just by “Jewish people” but people of all religions and none. It is this division of Jews into “good Jew/bad Jew” that is almost tantamount to inciting racial hatred.
Meanwhile, these Holocaust comparisons are slowly, slowly becoming the norm.
American Professor Joel Beinin told a student audience at SOAS recently that Israel is putting the Bedouin into “concentration camps” and at a recent War On Want talk at SOAS students were told that the Palestinians are living in “apartheid ghettos”.
Thanks to the rhetoric of Beinin, Qureshi, War On Want and others Israeli Jews (and, by extension, any Jew that supports Israel) are slowly becoming thought of as Nazis.
Ismail Patel, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Megan Driscoll, Linda Ramsden in Parliament .
“It was supposed to be Never Again” declared Ismail Patel but the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, he said, are “oppressed”, undergoing “ethnic cleansing” and suffering a “genocide”.
Patel, Chair of Friends of Al Aqsa, was speaking in the Grimmond Room of Britain’s Houses of Parliament last night at an event to launch his organisation’s “Jerusalem Report” which focuses on “Protecting Palestinian Citizenship Rights in East Jerusalem.”
According to Megan Driscoll, Advocacy Officer at Coalition for Jerusalem (based in Jerusalem), who spoke first, Israel’s “Jerusalem Masterplan” is to secure the Jewish majority in the city.
Driscoll said that the Palestinian population there is currently 34% and that Israel’s aim is to drive this down to 30% and probably lower.
The way Israel is doing this, she continued, is through “residency revocation” which makes Jerusalem Palestinians “stateless”.
Driscoll said Israel revokes residency if Palestinians have lived abroad for more than seven years or have taken citizenship in another country.
She said there is also a Jerusalem “centre of life” test that Palestinians must pass. This, she said, is so stringent that even Palestinians still living in Jerusalem have not been able to prove such centrality and have lost their residency rights.
Driscoll claimed that since 1967 there have been over 14,000 such “residency revocations”. She referred to this as the “Quiet Deportation” and said it was successful because instead of being “mass collective punishment” it received less attention in the media because it was executed against individuals and families.
Linda Ramsden, Director of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, said that Israel’s “policy of displacement began in 1948 when 530 Palestinian villages were demolished and 750,000 Palestinians made refugees”.
She described how most Palestinians applying for building permits are refused because they cannot prove ownership of land due to a lack of documents (does it not occur to Ramsden that maybe, just maybe, they do not own the land in question?).
Ramsden said that once a house is built without a permit a Palestinian family will suffer from stress worrying which day their home will be demolished. She said this causes a lot of “stress related illness”.
When a house is due to be demolished, she continued, hundreds of police and dogs arrive which, she said, is “very frightening”. Bulldozers are used for the demolition and pneumatic drills destroy the base of the house.
She claimed the families are fined and sent a bill for the demolition and that some Palestinians demolish their own homes to avoid these “horrendous costs”.
Meanwhile, last night’s event was hosted and chaired by the Labour MP for Bolton South-East Yasmin Qureshi. Qureshi was fresh from the House of Commons debate that afternoon on the situation in Gaza.
Qureshi is very quietly spoken but the words that come out of her mouth are pure poison where Israel is concerned. If one thinks that Ismail Patel’s application of the term “Never Again” to the Palestinians was bad enough Qureshi’s Holocaust minimization is more shocking.
“What has struck me in all this is that the state of Israel was founded because of what happened to the millions and millions of Jews who suffered genocide. Their properties, homes and land—everything—were taken away, and they were deprived of rights. Of course, many millions perished. It is quite strange that some of the people who are running the state of Israel seem to be quite complacent and happy to allow the same to happen in Gaza.” (my emphasis)
This followed Labour MP Gerald Kaufman’s attack on ALL Israelis in the same debate:
“Again and again, Israel seeks to justify the vile injustices that it imposes on the people of Gaza and the west bank on the grounds of the holocaust. Last week, we commemorated the holocaust; 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza are being penalised with that as the justification…It is totally unacceptable that the Israelis should behave in such a way, but they do not care. Go to Tel Aviv, as I did not long ago, and watch them sitting complacently outside their pavement cafés. They do not give a damn about their fellow human beings perhaps half an hour away.” (my emphasis)
This is how Britain’s Parliament is sometimes so abused. While innocent Syrians are being murdered and left permanently disabled by barrel bombs dropped out of the sky by Assad’s forces certain MPs are offensive about Israel, Israelis and the Holocaust instead.
While Kaufman voted against any intervention in Syria, Qureshi couldn’t even be bothered to turn up to that vote last August!
Last night’s event launching the “Jerusalem Report” was sold out but due to the strike on the London underground not many people could get there.
It must be galling that when so much effort has been put into producing an evening of hatred, lies and Holocaust minimization so few people are there to appreciate your efforts.
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)