Tag Archives: veolia

War On Want event: “Palestinians live in apartheid ghettos.”

Jamal Juma, of Palestinian Stop the Wall Campaign.

Jamal Juma, of Palestinian Stop the Wall Campaign.

Last night 200 students crammed into Room G2 at SOAS where they heard a new phrase employed in order to accuse Israel; “apartheid ghettos”. “Apartheid ghettos” neatly combines the horrors of Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa. But this time, in sick role reversal, it’s Jews who are the Nazis (see photo above).

Meanwhile, Daniel Machover, a solicitor, called for “the destruction of the political system in Israel” and for “an end to the Zionist project”. All obvious code for the destruction of Israel, although he wouldn’t admit it.

This was all sponsored and organised by British charity War On Want, which, as has been well documented, is funded by Comic Relief. How War On Want can still get away with wasting hard earned Comic Relief donations on hate campaigns where the ultimate objective is the destruction of a country, Israel, is beyond me.

Contender for chief hypocrite was Jeremy Moodey, Chief Executive of Embrace, a Christian development charity (formerly known as BibleLands), who worked as a banker for Rothschilds for 15 years. Moodey described how Rothschilds “financed many of the earliest settlements in Palestine in the early 1920s and 1930s”.

I asked him if he was a hypocrite for working for such a firm, but he claimed he only saw the light after he left. Here he is, along with Jamal Juma of Stop The Wall, addressing that Rothschilds point and my concerns about the panel’s desire to destroy Israel (Christian Friends of Israel may be interested in Moodey’s initial talk here):

Daniel Machover spoke about the recent Russell Tribunal held in South Africa. The Russell Tribunal is their charade where they put Israel on trial for alleged crimes and then, surprise surprise, the “jury” finds Israel “guilty”. In the tribunal in South Africa the “jury” found Israel “guilty” of fitting the legal definition of apartheid in the so-called occupied territories and in Israel itself.

Machover said countries must be persuaded to accept legal responsibility for this “apartheid” and called for sanctions and the severing of diplomatic relations with Israel. He said that although this would not be forthcoming through the UN due to the American veto the Palestinians should sign up to the Treaty of Rome and request that the situation of “apartheid” be subject to investigation by the prosecutor.

He urged that companies that “aid and abet Israeli war crimes” must be stopped. He alleged that waste company, Veolia, had lost business because public bodies can exclude a company from contracts if they are guilty of “gross misconduct”.

However, an embarrassed Machover admitted that his own council Brent is about to award Veolia a huge contract! Veolia has conducted a lot of business in Israel.

Rafeef Ziadah, a War On Want employee, alleged that Israel boasts that the military equipment it exports is “field tested”, which means it is “tested on the bodies of Palestinians”.

Finally, it was time for Frank Barat, the comic relief. He said that he was still shaking from having drunk an extra strong coffee three hours earlier and he proudly announced the creation of the Palestine Legal Action Network.

PLAN will be working under the auspices of War On Want concentrating on activism, legal actions and media work. Barat was very excited and went as far as to say that he loves War On Want.

From Israel’s point of view one couldn’t think of a better person than Barat to project manage PLAN. It was Barat, of course, who interviewed Norman Finkelstein about the Boycott Israel movement where Finkelstein called it, inter alia, “a dishonest cult” whose victories you can count on the fingers of two hands, if that. For some reason Barat then uploaded said interview onto the internet.

Observing PLAN with Barat in charge, therefore, should provide a lot of laughter.

In the chair for this nasty event was Brenna Bhandar, a SOAS law lecturer, who blogged about Fraser v UCU. And in the front row overlooking his minions was cult leader himself, John Hilary, executive director of War On Want.

Brenna Bhandar (Chair), Daniel Machover, Jamal Juma, Fafeef Ziadah, Frank Barat.

Brenna Bhandar (Chair), Daniel Machover, Jamal Juma, Jeremy Moodey, Rafeef Ziadah, Frank Barat.

SOAS Update.

Thank you very much for all the support I received in light of last Monday’s Palestine Society event at SOAS when I was manhandled and told I was a “typical Israeli”, eventhough I am a proud Brit.

I received incredible emails from all over the world with people appreciating my attempts to cover anti-Israel meetings in London and appalled by my treatment.

I received emails from those who completely disagree with my views on Israel, but were still appalled by the way I was dealt with.

And thank you for the Arabic translations too.

I never got to the bottom of why I was called a “typical Israeli”. Only that student knows what was in his mind.

I had a very constructive chat with SOAS who said they had been inundated with emails from both sides but who wanted to continue to welcome me to SOAS and they said they will be reviewing their filming policy.

Much has been made of my not applying for consent to film, but when I was thudded in the shoulder from behind and shouted at to stop filming I wasn’t asked whether I had been granted such permission by SOAS. As it happens I didn’t know there was a filming policy as it has never been mentioned at any SOAS event I have attended (and I have attended a fair few).

There was also at least one other person filming who, it seems, didn’t have the required permission either. Meanwhile, I always see students filming on their IPhones.

And, unless I nodded off temporarily, none of the required announcements in accordance with the filming policy were made at the start of last Monday’s meeting by the organisers themselves!

I believe that in a public space such as a university freedom of speech is commensurate with a right to cover that freedom of speech without fear or hindrance. No one should be disallowed from filming solely because of their political views.

I was targeted last Monday night because of my political views. No one else filming would have been roughed up like that. And I have never disrupted an event, despite what is being put about by my detractors.

Sadly, SOAS students, it seems, have received a highly defamatory and incendiary statement from the SOAS Student Union on behalf of the Palestine Society, which has potential repercussions for my personal safety at SOAS and which was sent to me by a concerned SOAS student. One of the paragraphs states of me:

“By now, we are well aware of his intentions. He first provokes, intimidates and insults (including racially) speakers, organisers or members of the audience and violates generally accepted conventions of public meetings.”

This is reminiscent of another SOAS talk I attended on 16th April about Israel’s Arab minority where I wasn’t even filming. At the talk I was verbally insulted by Gilbert Achcar, a SOAS lecturer, who, after I had asked a perfectly reasonable question during the Q&A, told the room that I was a “professional disruptor”, that had he known I was coming he would have barred me from attending and that I had left insulting remarks on his answering machine. He then told me to get out.

Of course I didn’t leave messages on his machine. I wouldn’t even dream of it.

Aggressive targeting of those supportive of Israel is not confined to university campuses. At the beginning of the year I was put through a torrid few months when Peter Scott and Salim Alam of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign tried to have me prosecuted for harassment because of some videos and photos I posted of them demonstrating against Veolia outside the Natural History Museum in December.

I was at a reasonable distance while filming their political activism but I ended up being called into Notting Hill Police Station to be questioned about my filming and what I had written on my blog. Scott and Alam seemed to have failed to tell the police that I and others are constantly filmed and photographed for their anti-Israel blog.

To my relief the police eventually decided against any further action, but had it come to court the following footage might have made interesting viewing. It shows Salim Alam outside the now defunct Ahava shop in Covent Garden getting up close and personal to the camera of Roy from Campaign4Truth who was filming legally but still, as you can see, gets his camera whacked by one of Alam’s colleagues:

Daniel Machover’s dangerous game of Lawfare against Veolia and Israel.

Zena from "Palestine", Daniel Machover, Yael Kahn listening to an activist at ULU last night.

Zena from “Palestine”, Daniel Machover, Yael Kahn listening to an activist at ULU last night.

First, the drama bit.

I was sitting quietly before the start of last night’s Excluding Complicity with Israeli War Crimes meeting at University of London Union (ULU) when I was approached by the Israeli anti-Israel activist Yael Kahn. Kahn wanted me to leave saying:

“We don’t want you. You’ve been undermining people’s meetings. You interfere with people’s freedom of speech. We don’t want you here. Goodbye to you. We don’t want you. You are here for one purpose; to interrupt and to undermine people. I’ve seen you many times. I’ve seen you in action many times. You’re not invited.”     Listen here: Yael Kahn asking me to leave.

Once I told her that I wasn’t leaving as it was a public meeting and that she should have arranged the meeting in her home she shuffled off to chair the event instead.

It’s incredible that these Israel haters are supplied with a room paid for by the British taxpayer at a British university and presume they can exclude anyone they don’t like (the advert states the meeting was “sponsored by ULU”).

The main speaker was Daniel Machover, described as “Solicitor, the UK expert on Human Rights, Israel and Veolia”. Jeremy Corbyn MP was also supposed to speak but failed to show up.

Machover presented his lengthy legal opinion on how to exclude Veolia from the public contracts given out by local authorities. Veolia deals in waste management and construction and has been building the Jerusalem Light Railway, which, Machover says, is in breach of the Geneva Convention and UN resolutions because it serves “illegal Israeli settlements”.

The main UN resolution Machover relied on was that passed by the UN Human Rights Council in April 2011 and called The grave human rights violations by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (see clip 1 below).

At that time countries on the UNHRC included Libya, Bahrain, Ukraine, Jordan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Qatar. All have brutal human rights records so for Machover to cite such a resolution proves the weakness of his case.

Machover also seems to be adopting the similar failed tactic of Michael Mansfield QC. At an event at Amnesty International in November 2010 Mansfield gave a legal opinion on the defence anti-Israel activists could employ if they entered the shops or offices of companies doing business in the “illegal Israeli settlements” and were arrested.

With such advice in mind anti-Israel activists Matthew Richardson, Gwendolen Wilkinson, Jessica Nero and Christopher Osmond entered the Ahava shop in Covent Garden and succeeded in shutting it down for a few hours while making their protest but they were subsequently landed with criminal convictions for aggravated trespass.

Happily though for Mr Mansfield his chambers picked up the business as the four defendants were represented by barristers from Tooks.

Similarly, Machover seems to be pushing local councillors to exclude Veolia from local authority business but for all his lengthy quoting of local council law to support his view he still has to overcome the same hurdle that the four convicted anti-Ahava activists failed to do; the legality of “the settlements”.

Machover said last night:

“Let me make it clear. Settlements that are built in east Jerusalem or the rest of the West Bank are illegal under international law. There is absolutely universal consensus about that. The British government says so, the American government says so…this is entirely uncontentious territory.”

Apart from the fact that the American government doesn’t “say so” how would Machover explain the decision of the judge in the Ahava case outlined above that Ahava, with its factory on the West Bank, was “trading lawfully”?

Machover’s advice could have extreme financial consequences for local councillors who incorrectly exclude Veolia from a public contract, as Machover himself acknowledged. The local councillors could leave themselves open to being personally surcharged millions of pounds for any loss to Veolia like Dame Shirley Porter was in the 1990s “homes for votes” scandal.

Councillors could be made bankrupt, but Machover couldn’t resist encouraging them anyway last night with this:

“It’s very problematic. It’s very expensive litigation that Veolia could mount. Obviously they’re a very significant company with much more resources than most local authorities. But if they’re prepared to stand up to other bodies…they should be prepared to stand up to a big bully like Veolia. I understand their fears because they don’t want to use council taxpayers’ money on a bad legal case. But, I repeat, I don’t think it is a bad case. So local authorities who have the courage of their convictions should proceed. And I genuinely think that it’s not straightforward as to whether Veolia would actually take it to court.” (see clip 2)

Yael Khan then tried soothing everyone’s nerves by claiming that there had been, apparently, no challenge by Veolia after it lost a £1bn contract in South London, although I doubt that loss had anything whatsoever to do with her and her colleagues.

It’s possible that Veolia, itself, would not have to sue. A concerned resident could possibly have locus standi to instigate proceedings to have councillors surcharged.

Finally, we heard from Zena who had just arrived from “Palestine” that morning. She told us how evil “the settlers” are and how their actions are having a detrimental effect on the health of the Palestinians. (see clip 3)

Just like other Palestinians who have come over here and made the same claim they all look very well to me. Maybe they’re just the lucky ones….

Clips and photos:

The welcoming party on the door at University of London Union last night.

The welcoming party on the door at University of London Union last night.

Clip 1 – Machover outlines his weak case against Veolia:

Clip 2 – Machover encourages councillors over Veolia despite major concerns:

Clip 3 – Palestinian Zena’s view on “settlers”:

Clip 4 – Conclusions of Zena and Machover. Zena calls for boycott:

Clip 5 – Jewish Anti-Zionist Network activist calls for boycott of Hewlett Packard:

A Canterbury activist from anti-Israel Conservative MP Julian Brazier's constituency.

A Canterbury activist from anti-Israel Conservative MP Julian Brazier’s constituency.

Final PSC protest against Veolia at Natural History Museum.

Face of hate against Israel's existence outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Face of hate against Israel's existence outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Yesterday saw the end of the Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition sponsored by Veolia at the Natural History Museum and so Saturday was the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s final protest against Veolia.

PSC activists have been protesting against Veolia’s ongoing projects in Israel eventhough Veolia is doing a great job improving transportation links there, including for the local Arab population.

The PSC is a slick, well-funded operation producing thousands of anti-Israel leaflets and signs. Its ultimate aim is the destruction of Israel. On Saturday there were about 15 anti-Israel activists.

The four pro-Israel counter-demonstrators came with a small bundle of leaflets, one sign and a couple of Israeli flags.

As people queued for the museum the PSC activists handed out their leaflets and it was sad seeing some listening with sympathy to what they were being told about both Israel and Veolia.

As an aside you sometimes overhear small snippets about the lives of these PSC activists. The woman pictured above said she’s an Arsenal season ticket holder, which explains her absence when Arsenal are at home. Another PSC activist is a Chelsea season ticket holder, which explained his absence on Saturday.

I suggested to the woman that instead of going to Arsenal she should be offering the proceeds of her highly expensive season ticket to the poor Palestinian people who she claims to care so much about, but she replied:

“Unlike you I’m a well-rounded individual.”

Without wishing to cast aspersions on Gooners the fact that when this woman is not at the Emirates Stadium she spends her time holding up horrendous placards in public with the ultimate intent of destroying the Jewish state is hardly evidence of well-roundedness.

But, as they say, each to their own.

Photos from Saturday:

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

A small pro-Israel presence outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

A small pro-Israel presence outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

A small pro-Israel presence outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

A small pro-Israel presence outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

A small pro-Israel presence outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

A small pro-Israel presence outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Outside Natural History Museum - 10 March

Anti-Israel activists in London: “Slaughter in Syria? What slaughter?”

Outside the Natural History Museum today.

Outside the Natural History Museum today.

Anti-Israel activists in London didn’t seem to have a care in the world today about Bashar Assad’s continued slaughter of his own people in the cities of Homs, Aleppo and Damascus.

Instead, they urged people queuing for the Natural History Museum to boycott an exhibition sponsored by Veolia because it does business with Israel.

They could have joined Syrian opposition activists outside the Syrian Embassy or Amnesty’s Mass Rally in Trafalgar Square for Syria, Egypt and the wider Middle East, but, instead, they handed out leaflets which falsely claimed that:

1. Veolia placed job adverts for the Jerusalem Light Railway which were racist being “deliberately designed to stop Palestinian citizens of Israel from applying”.
2. Veolia operates buses to “illegal” Israeli settlements on the West Bank and that “Palestinians are often stopped from using the buses that Veolia runs”.
3. “Veolia takes waste and rubbish from Israel and illegal Settlements and dumps this on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank.”

The leaflet concludes by asking you to tell the Natural History Museum that you disagree with Veolia being the sponsor of the Exhibition and to “ask the museum to drop Veolia”.

Well, luckily, the Natural History Museum hasn’t capitulated to the lies and the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is set to run until 11th March 2012. Judging by the long queues it’s a must-see.

Although there were some 20 anti-Israel activists there were about 10 pro-Israel counter-demonstrators to give some balance to the proceedings, including Phillip who brilliantly drove down from Wales to add his support.

Things did almost kick-off as one anti-Israel activist spent the two hours intent on making his presence known, including this incident when he accosted Jonathan Hoffman until being ushered away by museum security:

The final counter-demos. against the Israel-haters outside the Natural History Museum are due to take place on Feb. 25th and March 10th, if you can make it. Until then please tweet your approval of the exhibition @NHM_London

In the meantime, if you are an anti-Israel activist this is for you. It’s a clip (thanks Daniel Marks) of one of Bashar Assad’s tanks looking for more innocent Syrian civilians to slaughter. Just in case you hadn’t heard:



And more photos from today outside the Natural History Museum:

Why so ashamed?

Why so ashamed?

Handing out lies to museum goers.

Handing out lies to museum goers.

Sadly, reading the lies.

Sadly, reading the lies.

Phillip from Wales, placard in hand, shows his support for Israel.

Phillip from Wales, placard in hand, shows his support for Israel.

Two Israel-haters show their love for each other.

Two Israel-haters show their love for each other.

Still ashamed.

Still ashamed.

Mulled wine and Israel-hate down at the Natural History Museum.

Yasser Arafat would have been proud.

Yasser Arafat would have been proud.

With Ahava having closed down those who devote their lives to Israel’s destruction needed somewhere else to vent their hate. Their slime led from Ahava to the Natural History Museum where Veolia is sponsoring an exhibition.

Veolia is helping to build a modern transport network in Jerusalem, which is helping both Israelis and Palestinians to move more easily around the city, but instead the anti-Israel activists fed the usual lies to museum-goers about Veolia being in breach of international law.

As ever they were led by Salim Alam, who is present at virtually every anti-Israel happening in London these days (in contrast to PSC chief Sarah Colborne who is rarely seen).

Here he is trying to force me to stop filming yesterday’s protest:

It was almost a replay of last Christmas when he threatened to knock the camera out of my hand and which earned him a trip to the nearby police station:

He doesn’t like being filmed, but is quick to film. And here’s someone else who doesn’t like being filmed for some reason:

Did I miss a change in the law to the effect that no one can film political protests now? Have the Taliban taken over?

The anti-Israel activists lined up outside the entrance to the museum to hand out anti-Israel leaflets before cracking open the mulled wine and singing defaced Christmas carols which accused Israel of, inter alia, apartheid, settler violence and stealing land and water:

This one is about Ahava:

More photos from yesterday:

Salim Alam displays anti-Veolia literature (pro-Israel leaflet in background).

Salim Alam displays anti-Veolia literature (pro-Israel leaflet in background).

Handing out anti-Israel leaflets at museum door.

Handing out anti-Israel leaflets at museum door.

Drinking mulled wine which they refused to share with us. "Bah, humbug!"

Drinking mulled wine which they refused to share with us. "Bah, humbug!"

The mulled wine begins to take its toll.

The mulled wine begins to take its toll.

Showing commitment to the cause: $55 in Vietnam.

Showing commitment to the cause: $55 in Vietnam.

Nice keffiyeh, shame about the hat.

Nice keffiyeh, shame about the hat.

Tuning up for the carols.

Tuning up for the carols.

The singing begins. Don't call us, we'll call you.

The singing begins. Don't call us, we'll call you.

PSC comes to North-West London to try to “dump Veolia”.

Salim Alam, Michael Deas, Chair, Simon Natas last night.

Salim Alam, Michael Deas, Chair, Simon Natas last night.

It was good to catch up with some old faces when I turned up for Brent PSC’s “Dump Veolia” meeting at Willesden library last night.

I was sat behind my old friend Abe Hayeem, of Architects for Palestinians, who I once sat down next to at an event when that was the only vacant chair left in the room and he promptly got up as if I was carrying the plague.

Last night he again showed his love when he noticed I was filming and asked that I be told to desist from such democratic behaviour, but luckily, the fairly nice Chair agreed that no harm was being done and allowed me to continue filming, although not before someone else from the audience shouted for me to have my camera confiscated. Here’s the clip:

I missed Michael Deas, Europe Coordinator of the
BDS National Committee, talk but I heard Simon Natas, a London solicitor, give his pick’n’mix interpretation of internation law (see clip below) in which he concluded that “the occupation is seen as being illegal under just about every tenet of international law” before going on to cite the UN Charter, UN Security Council resolutions “ordering Israel to vacate the OPT” and the 2004 ICJ ruling as evidence.

This, he suggested, would affect Veolia, especially as it is building the Jerusalem Light Railway which, he argued, will be transferring people into the “illegal territories”.

That might be Natas’ opinion, but it can also be argued that “the occupation” is not illegal. The ICJ ruling is non-binding, there are no binding Security Council resolutions that call for Israel to vacate any territory unilaterally and as the UN Charter technically incorporates the Balfour Declaration via the League of Nations’ incorporation of the British Mandate it can, therefore, be argued that Jews can live on the West Bank.

There was also this April’s ruling by a judge in the Ahava trial, where four anti-Israel activists were found guilty of aggravated trespass, that Ahava was “trading lawfully” at the time it was invaded by those activists.

I’d go with the objective judgement of District Judge Ian Baker every time over the judgement of the ever so slightly biased Simon Natas in this matter with his membership of Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

As ever Hamas and its “let’s kill all the Jews” Charter were not mentioned once throughout his speech, so presumably Hamas is not in breach of international law and so should just be allowed to continue on their killing spree if Israel is ever forced by Natas’ version of international law to take down the Security Wall.

Next up was Salim Alam who I have written about on various occasions but without knowing his name, so it was good to, finally, hear him introduced last night. He spends large portions of his spare time hanging around outside supermarkets that stock Israeli produce. That’s when he is not speaking at meetings against Israel.

Alam got himself arrested outside Ahava last December when he threatened to knock my camera out of my hand while I was actually filming him. He was released without charge.

Last night Alam spoke (see clip below) about how the London boroughs of Ealing, Harrow, Brent, Richmond, Hillingdon and Hounslow have formed the West London Waste Authority which is inviting tenders from companies to dispose of their residual waste, which is waste left over after recycling. It is business worth £485m, but a letter has gone to the Authority signed by 576 people against Veolia being the successful bidder

From what I could guage there have already been some successes against Veolia and Eden Springs. Last night they claimed to have had Eden Springs water stopped from being used in certain offices and universities in the UK and Veolia also seems not to have won contracts with certain councils, although whether the latter was due to pressure on those councils after anti-Israel campaigns is unclear.

There was also mention of Israel’s diamond industry. While admitting that Israel only cuts and polishes diamonds, but doesn’t mine them, making it difficult for Israel to be caught by the Kimberley Process Natas argued that a case could be made against Lev Leviev who, according to Natas, invests the proceeds of his diamond polishing company in the settlements.

It was mentioned that the strategy of shaming celebrities who are caught wearing Lev Leviev diamonds should continue.

It’s funny how people speak of the “Zionist lobby”, because there are many lessons that could be learnt from the well-financed and strongly motivated anti-Zionist lobby.

Clip of Natas:

Clip of Alam:

Last night’s posters: