Last night I went to the House of Commons where about 200 people packed into Committee Room 14 for the presentation of a report by Spinwatch, co-written by Tom Mills (University of Strathclyde doctoral student), Tom Griffin (Spinwatch contributor) and Dr. David Miller (Professor of Sociology at University of Strathclyde), called The Cold War on British Muslims: An examination of Policy Exchange and The Centre for Social Cohesion. You can read it here.
The event was sponsored by Middle East Monitor and The Cordoba Foundation.
Spinwatch presents itself as an “organisation which monitors the role of lobbying, public relations and spin in contemporary society”.
The evening started out as a critique of the disproportionate influence on Conservative Party policy by the think-tanks Policy Exchange and the Centre for Social Cohesion, but by the end the inescapable innuendo was that rich Jewish businessmen mainly concerned with Israel were funding them and, thereby, influencing governmental foreign policy.
The general theses of Spinwatch‘s 64-page report are:
1. PE and CSC have successfully widened the definition of Islamism in Britain to include potentially all Muslims and, therefore, Muslims engaged in any type of political activity are potentially under surveillance by MI5. This undermines civil liberties and is a distraction from effective counter-terrorism policies. It is similar to the Cold War counter-subversion surveillance of Communists in Britain.
2. PE and CSC declare that Islam itself is a threat to Western culture. They have mixed concerns about Jihad-inspired terrorism with more complex issues like “immigration to Europe from predominantly Muslim countries” (P.17).
3. CSC condoned the rise of far-right groups like the EDL because of their counter-jihad leanings and CSC is even ideologically aligned with them. The report questions “how the CSC could produce a meaningful critique of the EDL, without a serious reflection of its own role in the British debate about Islam” (P.31).
Last night David Miller was critical of CSC’s disproportionate influence on the government’s new Prevent strategy, which, inter alia, asks university lecturers to keep an eye out for radicalised students. Miller mentioned many of the publications in which Spinwatch has been featured including The Times, The Observer, The Guardian and last night’s Evening Standard.
So what’s all the fuss about?
These are competing think-tanks, with some making their case more strongly. Ironically, there was a two-page spread in yesterday’s Evening Standard criticising Prevent.
A clue to the fuss comes in the introduction to the report where it states that the report:
“describes…the networks of money and power in which they are embedded.” (P.9)
And parts 3 and 5 of the report are dedicated to an investigation of the donors of CSC and PE respectively. It seems to be an A to Z of rich Jewish businessmen. For example:
“Thatcherite businessman” Stanley Kalms, owner of Currys, Dixons, The Link and PC World made grants to “a number of conservative and Zionist organisations like the Anglo-Israel Association…and the Centre for Social Justice”. (P.33)
“Multi-millionaire property investor” David Lewis funds the “Israel-Diaspora Trust an organisation founded by the late Rabbi Sydney Brichto, a passionate supporter of Israel and scourge of its critics inside and outside the UK Jewish community”. (P.33)
Bernard Lewis Family Charitable Trust which is “controlled by the hugely wealthy Lewis family best known as the owners of the River Island clothing stores.” (P.34)
Phillips and Rubens Charitable trust which contributes to the UJIA. (P.34)
Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust which has also funded the Israel-Diaspora Trust and the Anglo-Israel Association. (P.50)
There are many more examples in the report.
So after the presentation it was no surprise that during the Q&A someone in the audience declared:
“If they want to take out the terrorists they should take out Israel because there was no problem before Israel”. (listen below)
Jonathan Hoffman asked who funds the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Middle East Monitor, especially as the PSC has such close links with the Trades Union Congress, but Miller just replied that none of these organisations are as powerful as the Conservative Party.
And to leave us in no doubt as to the real agenda of the evening the final speaker was Anas Altikriti, the President of the Cordoba Foundation, who told us that:
“The crux of the problem is what is going on in the Middle East and what is going on in Israel. That’s the common thread….The issue is Israel.” (listen below)
This event was similar to one in Parliament last year when ex-MP Martin Linton spoke of “the long tentacles of Israel in this country who are funding election campaigns” and Gerald Kaufman MP said that “Just as Lord Ashcroft owns one part of the Conservative Party, right-wing Jewish millionaires own the other part”.
Miller’s claim that the Conservative Party is more powerful than the Trades Union Congress is laughable. Yes, it might be at the moment, but the trade unions virtually voted in Ed Miliband as leader of the Labour Party, so he could well be the next Prime Minister. So the PSC could soon be close to influencing government policy!
But then again the Spinwatch report seems obsessed with where Jewish finance and power lies. Don’t hold your breathe for a report by them on PSC and MEMO funding.
And all this in Parliament, once again giving anti-Semitic innuendo a sort of credibility.