Monthly Archives: June 2011

Baroness Jenny Tonge threatens to quit Liberal Democrats over Sheikh Salah detention.

Martin Linton and Jenny Tonge last night.

Martin Linton and Jenny Tonge last night.

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.

Sarah Colborne (PSC Chief), Martin Linton, Ben White, Diana Neslen last night.

Jeremy Corbyn MP congratulates "dissident Jew" Diana Neslen.

Jeremy Corbyn MP congratulates "dissident Jew" Diana Neslen.

Palestinian Ambassador Dr Manuel Hassassian, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Richard Burden MP, Lord Alf Dubs

Palestinian Ambassador Dr Manuel Hassassian, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Richard Burden MP, Lord Alf Dubs

Richard Burden MP, Lord Alf Dubs, Hind Khoury (Sabeel)

Richard Burden MP, Lord Alf Dubs, Hind Khoury (Sabeel)

Lubna Masarwa (Middle East Monitor), Jeremy Corbyn MP, Ben White (anti-Zionist activist)

Lubna Masarwa (Middle East Monitor), Jeremy Corbyn MP, Ben White (anti-Zionist activist)

Jenny Tonge resigning?

“dissident Jew” Diana Neslen

Palestinian Ambassador Dr. Manuel Hassassian

Jeremy Corbyn MP

Lord Alf Dubs

Ismail Patel (Friends of Al Aqsa)

Richard Burden MP

Hind Khoury (Sabeel)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jenny Tonge: “I Have A Dream.”

Jenny Tonge dreaming of Palestinian refugees marching on Israel.

Jenny Tonge dreaming of Palestinian refugees marching on Israel.

Last night in Parliament I’d had my camera on for all of 23 seconds before the Parliamentary police were called by the organisers of the event to eject me from the committee room for “unauthorised filming” (see video clip below).

I turned the camera off pretty sharply as 60 sets of hostile eyes trained on you is a pretty uncomfortable feeling. Luckily, Gerald Kaufman MP, who was chairing, asked the police officer to leave in no uncertain terms.

The altercation came when I was filming Jenny Tonge’s contribution to the meeting. I had seen other people holding up cameras and Iphones and so I didn’t think it was a problem (listen to the audio clip below from 3 minutes 35 seconds in.)

The meeting was held by the Palestine Return Centre and it was mainly a report-back by a group of Parliamentarians who had recently visited the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

Liberal Democrat Baroness Tonge started her talk by welcoming the Jewish Chronicle if it was in the room hoping for a comment from her which they could then use to try to get her sacked.

She finished the talk by describing her dream that one day all the Palestinian refugees will unite and march together to claim back their homeland. She said it would be impossible for Israel to kill all of them.

She also said that there was no questioning of the right of return of Jews from Eastern Europe who had never even been to Israel, but the Palestinians, who had the right under international law, were not allowed to live there. And anyway, she said, even if the Palestinians were allowed to exercise this right to return not all of them would actually take it up.

She also warned that there will be no Israel in the long term if they did nothing about the Palestinian question.

While Tonge seemed to be having dreams of Palestinian civilians being used as a combined weapon with which to destroy Israel and which, on her own admission, might leave many of them dead the rest of the meeting was pretty much 0n-topic.

Jeremy Corbyn MP and Gerald Kaufman MP described the dangerous electric wiring they had seen in the Palestinian refugees camps in Lebanon and the sewage running down the middle of the streets.

Live cables were also seen dangling just above head height. Many Palestinians had, apparently, died after having been electrocuted by them.

Nadim Shehadi, of Chatham House, described the Palestinians as being trapped by the self-fulfilling prophecy of Lebanese political culture that viewed the Palestinians as likely to be going home.

This meant the Palestinian refugees would always have limited employment rights and little political clout.

Shehadi also pointed out that the refugee camps had originally been destroyed by fighting between the PLO and Syrian forces in Lebanon during the 1980s and they had never been rebuilt.

But the one question I should have asked during the short Q&A is how can Lebanon let people rot like this? The Lebanese Ambassador was apparently in the room. I wonder how she would have explained it.

The big downside of the trip was when the Parliamentarians met with Osama Hamdan, the Head of Hamas Foreign Affairs (see Page 26 of this report.)

Other Parliamentarians on the trip besides Kaufman and Corbyn were Alexandra Thein (a German MEP), Derek Vaughan (a Welsh Labour MEP), Frank Engel (a Luxembourg MEP), Michael Connarty (a Labour MP) and Robert Goebbels (another Luxembourg MEP). Tonge was not on the trip.

Meanwhile, my own dream is to get through one of these blasted meetings without being forced to turn off my camera.

Jenny’s Dream. (Jenny’s Dream starts at 11 mins 45 secs.)

Gerald Kaufman MP who at least stood up for democracy.

Gerald Kaufman MP who at least stood up for democracy.

Benny Morris fends off allegations of “racism” at LSE.

Benny Morris taking a question at LSE.

Benny Morris taking a question at LSE.

Israeli revisionist historian Benny Morris gave a talk at the London School of Economics on Tuesday night and was labeled a “racist”, “theologian” and a “social darwinist” by some anti-Zionists in the audience and others protesting his presence outside.

His talk was called Reconsidering the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

The “theologian” accusation (see second video clip below) is absurd on two counts.

First, as Morris suggested, if anyone has a problem with his thesis all they need do is look at the footnotes in his book 1948 and then go and check the documents referred to and if they disagree with his interpration of the documents then they can challenge him.

Second, Morris questions the narrative, that many  Zionists hold dear, that the Palestinians simply left during the 1948 war on the orders of the surrounding Arab countries with a view to returning once the Jews had been defeated.

He cited incidences of transfer of Palestinians and massacres of Palestinians by Jewish/Israeli militias during the 1948 war, although, he said, whether any of this happened as a matter of “policy” is another matter; no governmental documentation was ever discovered that indicated such orders, and it is likely that such decisions were made independently by generals on the ground during individual battles (incidentally, it was the British that introduced the idea of transfer in the 1937 Peel Commission report)

He said that during the 1948 war 800/900 Palestinians were massacred by Jewish/Israeli militias, while 200/300 Jews were massacred by Arab militias; the disparity was because Jewish/Israeli militias conquered some 400 Palestinian towns and villages, whereas the Arabs conquered only a dozen Jewish settlements.

He said that as wars go 1948 was not, in the scheme of things, as bloody as many try to make it out to be when considering that, for example, 8,000-9,000 Muslim men and boys were killed at Srebrenica in the space of just two days during the Bosnian war.

He also said that the 1948 war created two refugee problems; a Palestinian one and a Jewish one. 700,000 Palestinians were displaced as were some 600,000 to 700,00 Jews who were intimidated and harassed and forced to leave their Arab countries; for example, in 1956 Jews were literally expelled from Egypt.

The difference is that the expelled Jews were aborbed into other countries, while the Palestinians were not. 700, 000 Jews and 150,000 Palestinians remained in Israel in 1949 and even today, after Israel has absorbed 3,000,000 Jewish immigrants, the ratio of Jews to Arabs remains the same in Israel, indicating the high birthrates of Arabs living in Israel.

On the war itself Morris said it was fought in two phases; the civil war from 29th November 1947, when the UN partitioned British Mandate Palestine, until 14th May 1948, when Israel declared independence. The first shots of the civil war were fired by Palestinian guerillas who ambushed a bus and killed seven Jews near Tel Aviv.

The second phase was from 14th May 1948, when Israel declared independence and the surrounding Arab armies invaded, until the ceasefire in 1949. Israel won the war possibly due to their purchase of airplanes after they declared independence. Until that time the Jews had no planes. The Israelis still had far fewer planes than the combined Arab armies, but were able to fly far more missions and had better trained pilots.

Morris also suggested that, in additon to the 1948 war being one about territory, it was regarded by the Arab side as a Holy Jihad. Many Imams declared a pan-Muslim Jihad and called for the mobilisation of Muslims to fight the Jewish state.

This was hotly disputed by some in the audience who asked for proof. Morris said he wasn’t an expert, as it would involve going through every Arab newspaper between 1947 and 1949, but this is his view based on what he has read and it is an issue that only occupies four pages in his book.

But, and this seemed to be the crux of the matter, all of the Arab archives remain closed. If they were opened it would shed light on this issue.

One woman in the audience claimed that, if anything, it was the Zionists who were waging a Holy Jihad due to their nature of wanting a Jewish state. Another woman suggested that proof that the Jews were fighting a holy war was their desire to reclaim Jerusalem.

Morris refuted both claims (see video clips below) by answering that most Israeli Jews in 1948 were either atheist or agnostic and that ben Gurion had decided against the mention of “God” in Israel’s Declaration of Independence as he thought it would alienate many Jews; in 1948 Israel was totally dominated by socialist thinking.

As for Jerusalem he said that the Jews simply saw it as an issue of reclaiming their old capital city, as opposed to a religious requirement.

He did say, though, that he believed that Jerusalem should become internationalised, as was originally foreseen by the UN. He is also against the settlements.

Morris was also asked to explain his comments in 2004, when he was quoted in Haaretz as saying that the Palestinians should be fenced in or have a cage built for them. He answered that at the time Palestinian suicide bombers were getting into Israel on a daily basis and his comments were aimed at the suicide bombers; if they couldn’t be stopped from entering Israel, then they should be fenced in or caged. He said that the questioner was taking his comments completely out of context.

On leaving the talk we were met with the same old faces of the small group of anti-Israel activists. They hadn’t been in the talk but had “Morris is a racist” stickers on their foreheads and were giving out leaflets headed “Is Benny Morris a Serious Historian or a Plain Old Racist?”

Video clips and photos:
The clips below are worth watching if you have time because Morris is very entertaining and sometimes the audience just won’t let him answer.

Protester with sticker cleverly stuck to her forehead.

Protester with sticker cleverly stuck to her forehead.

Can someone please explain this to me!!!

Can someone please explain this to me!!!

Lush and Coldplay clean up their acts on “Freedom for Palestine”.

Imagine logging on to your favourite site for handmade cosmetics and finding, instead of the solid shampoo bar you were looking for, an advert for a song that simply demonises Israel.

This is what happened to Andrew Landeryou when he recently visited http://www.lush.co.uk and found a prominently displayed advert for Freedom for Palestine.

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.

(Special thanks to Shirlee and to Edgar Davidson)

Flotilla to Scotland, anyone?

Is a pandemic of anti-Semitism about to sweep Scotland? Probably not, but things aren’t good up there (in more ways than one).

First West Dunbartonshire council votes for a full boycott of Israel and, not to be outdone, Dundee Council is due to consider the same.

Liberal Democrat group leader Fraser Macpherson is asking councillors to condemn the Israeli government for its “illegal occupation of east Jerusalem and the West Bank and illegal blockade of Gaza.” The motion was due to be discussed on Monday night, but has been postponed until mid-June.

The motion also likens the treatment of the Palestinians to that of non-whites in South Africa under apartheid.

The motion reads:

“Dundee City Council, proud of its historic links with the people of Palestine and the past support it has given to the oppressed inhabitants of the region, condemns the government of Israel for its continuing illegal occupation of east Jerusalem and the West Bank and the illegal blockade of Gaza. The council recognises that apartheid was not acceptable in South Africa and it is not acceptable in Palestine. The council furthermore notes the government of Israel’s continuing disregard of successive UN resolutions and its continuing failure to comply with the requirements of the Geneva Convention in regard to its treatment of Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories.”

Apparently, a petition with 2500 signatures calling for a boycott of Israeli goods had been submitted by Macpherson’s constituents and a request made that the Palestinian flag be flown from the City Chambers.

Referring to West Dunbartonshire he said:

“It has emerged that another council in Scotland — West Dunbartonshire — is operating such a boycott and officers will be making informal contact with that authority to find out more about it. I would be supportive of a boycott as long as it was found to be legally possible.”

Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics has just revealed that the adult life expectancy rate in Glasgow is on a par with the Palestinian territories and Albania. When conditions are so bad at home there is no better way to divert attention than by falsely accusing Israel of apartheid.

Maybe the Palestine Solidarity Campaign could arrange a humanitarian aid flotilla for Scotland, although, hopefully, any medication won’t be out of date like that the “humanitarian aid flotilla” wanted to deliver to their Palestinian bothers and sisters in Gaza last May!

No one is naive to think that this sudden upsurge in boycott talk is limited to Scotland.

Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester Bob Russell and three Lib Dem colleagues have just returned from a trip to the West Bank at the invitation of the Council for Arab-British Understanding and Russell now wants the EU and UN “to force Israel to comply with UN resolutions”.

He said:

“I recognise what happened to the Jewish people of Europe in the Thirties and Forties was a crime against humanity. But I do not consider it fair the people of Palestine should pay the price of Europe’s sins by being forced out of their homeland by Israel.”

Judging by that last sentence Russell seems to be calling for the destruction of the Jewish state through the return of the so-called Palestinian refugees to Israel, 95% of which have never lived there.

The Liberal Democrats reneged on virtually every pre-election promise and in coalition are ineffective in this Conservative-led government. Again, what better way to divert attention and to raise one’s own profile than by callously hitting out at Israel.

You can discuss these issues with Councillor Macpherson and Bob Russell MP at:

Fraser Macpherson
2a Argyle Street, Dundee, DD4 7AL
Home Tel: 459378
Business Tel: 434985
Email: fraser.macpherson@dundeecity.gov.uk

and Bob Russell:
info@bobrussell.org.uk

The inimitable Mr McColl.

Councillor Jonathan McColl

Councillor Jonathan McColl

My main reason for blogging is to expose the hypocrisy amongst so many of our elected politicians and the so-called intellectuals in this country.

The talks I attend are so vociferously anti-Israel and, initially, I was curious to find out why.

Was it all really because the speakers at these talks felt such an injustice had been done to the Palestinians, when looking back the Palestinians have wasted so many opportunities to create a thriving country?

Then I started to notice interesting slips by some of the speakers.

One such slip was when academic Ghada Karmi spoke at SOAS and called for “the end of the Jewish state in our region”, only to be reprimanded by the Naturei Karta’s Yisroel Dovid Weiss for referring to “Jewish state”, as opposed to “Zionist state”. Karmi duly apologised and went on to say that she had nothing against Jews or Judaism.

Then there was Lord Andrew Phillips of Sudbury who said that “Many Jews may be deeply prejudiced” at a Middle East Monitor event.

On each occasion, apart from Weiss, both audiences remained unmoved. Now imagine the uproar had a member of the BNP called for the end of the Muslim state of Pakistan or had that BNP person claimed that “Many Muslims may be deeply prejudiced”. You get the gist.

Add to these slips another one, this time by Councillor Jonathan McColl, the West Dunbartonshire councillor and main proponent of a total boycott of Israel by his council (see my original piece Not so Bonnie Scotland).

On his “Israeli Goods Boycott” blog page McColl states of the boycott:

“This is not an anti-Semitic act. I don’t care whether you are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Agnostic or any other such label you might want to give someone.”

Fair enough.

But, he continues:

“To quote a Jewish woman from Glasgow who telephoned me on this issue, ‘We are brought up in a culture of ‘poor wee us’, automatically thinking that the world is against us and perhaps we should take stock of that before we draw conclusions about other people’s motivations.’”

So Mr McColl doesn’t like using labels for people, except to label them if they are “Jewish”.

Add to this Councillor Jim Bollan’s exculpation of a self-confessed perpetrator of the massacre of five members of the Fogel family when Bollan said in a recent email exchange:

“Have you any idea what may have motivated this man to commit this crime? Could it have been because he may have seen Palestinian children slaughtered by the IDF?”

and you start to sense a heartlessness in Scottish politics, a heartlessness that was already there when the Scottish government released the Lockerbie Bomber in August 2009.

Are councillors McColl and Bollan really who the voters of West Dunbartonshire Council want to represent them? Can there really be any justification whatsoever for the slashing of baby Hadas Fogel’s throat?

The Scots are generally lovely people but some of the people they are now voting for are not.

Bollan is a member of the Scottish Socialist Party, while McColl is a member of the Scottish Nationalist Party. The Scottish Nationalists are now, sadly, the ruling government in Scotland.

Bollan and McColl are councillors for Leven ward in West Dunbartonshire Council. Maybe there’s something nasty in the Leven air.

Meanwhile, you can discuss their boycott of Israel, and other issues, with them at:

Councillor Jim Bollan – James.Bollan@west-dunbarton.gov.uk or write to 4 Endrick Way, Alexandria, G83 0UR or telephone 01389 756397 and 07803 668766 or

Councillor Jonathan McColl- jonathan.mccoll@west-dunbarton.gov.uk or write to c/o Council Offices, Garshake Road, Dumbarton or telephone 01389 737511 or 07939 002886

Alex Salmond is SNP leader and Scotland’s First Minister. Write to:
Office of the First Minister, St. Andrew’s House, Regent Road, Edinburgh, EH1 3DG or FirstMinister@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Not so Bonnie Scotland.

Ah, Scotland, the land of the brave and of fried Mars Bars, Haggis, the Edinburgh Festival, Chivas Regal and passionate football teams.

It is now, also, the land that imposes anti-Jewish boycotts.

In 2009, West Dunbartonshire Council passed the following motion while Israel was defending its citizens from an onslaught of rocket attacks by Hamas from Gaza:

‘This Council deplores the loss of life in Palestine which now numbers well over 1,000. This Council also recognises the disproportionate force used by the IDF in Palestine and agrees to boycott all Israeli goods as a consequence. Officers should immediately cease the purchase of any goods we currently source, which were made or grown in Israel. Officers should also ensure we procure no new goods or produce from Israel until this boycott is formally lifted by WDC.’

Now, for example, books that are printed in Israel will not be taken by West Dunbartonshire libraries. Does this apply to books by Israeli Christians and Muslims, nearly 20% of Israel’s population, or does it only apply to books by Israeli Jews?

Funnily enough the boycott is not restrospective, which would then have entailed the council having to remove their computers; much of the hardware and software having been produced in Israel. But such is the hypocrisy of the modern-day Israel boycotter.

It is all so reminiscent of the hypocrisy of the likes of Mustafa Barghouti who proposes a worldwide boycott of Israel despite studying at an Israeli university.

Whatever the “loss of life” in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead (estimates vary considerably and many were Hamas terrorists) Israel was doing no different than what NATO forces are currently doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan; that is killing Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists with the inevitable and tragic loss of civilians caught in the middle.

Jim Bollan, who proposed the original motion, said this in a recent exchange of emails:

“Hamas was elected and are freedom fighters alongside the Palestinians fighting an illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel.”

Would such “freedom fighters” include those Palestinians who showed off their blood-caked hands after they had just lynched two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah in 2000, or the two Palestinians that recently hacked to death the Fogel family, including a three month old baby, while they slept, or the Palestinians that shot dead a group of Israelis last August, including a pregnant woman, near Hebron or the many Palestinians queueing up to walk into Israeli restaurants to blow them sky high while families eat pizza?

The Ramallah lynching of two Israeli soldiers.

The Ramallah lynching of two Israeli soldiers.

Hadas Fogel whose throat was slit by a Palestinian "freedom fighter".

Hadas Fogel whose throat was slit by a Palestinian "freedom fighter".

Bollan should know that many thousands of innocent Israelis have been either murdered or left disabled by Palestinians over the years, but maybe he doesn’t wish to know. Either way you would never hear of a boycott of Palestinian produce or books.

And Bollan is now complaining that he is receiving contradictory emails with some claiming Israel was defending itself after an onslaught of 6,000 Hamas rockets while another claimed it was 8,000 and another said it was 26,000.

“Who to believe?,” Bollan cheekily asks.

Well, according to B’Tselem, Israel received 8031 attacks from Gaza between 2005 and 2008. Up to the end of Operation Cast Lead 19 Israeli civilians were killed by such attacks but the intent was for thousands to be killed. It is only because Israel builds shelters for its civilians, in contrast to Hamas which prefers making Qassam rockets, that many more weren’t killed.

So, incredibly, in 2011 we are back to boycotting just the Jews, albeit Israeli ones; proof that as a society we have not progressed, we just think we have.

I will now be carrying out my own boycott of Scotland. It will be fun. I will be studying the labels on all products I buy for the word “Scotland”. I won’t visit Scotland and I will encourage all those I know not to also.

Many Americans are already boycotting Scotland after the safe release of al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie Bomber, back to Libya.

And I will be happy in the knowledge that my boycott of Scotland will probably hurt me far less than if I boycotted Israel, when comparing what Israel has already given to the world in its short 63 years to what Scotland has.

In the meantime here are some email addresses that can be used to help escalate a boycott of Scotland until this iniquitous boycott is lifted:

James.Bollan@west-dunbarton.gov.uk
malcolm.roughhead@visitscotland.com
letters@theherald.co.uk
letters@sundayherald.com
letters@eveningtimes.co.uk
m.gardham@dailyrecord.co.uk

And for more relevant information please read here and here.