Bar Standards Board clears Michael Mansfield QC of professional misconduct over anti-Israel speech.

Jessica Nero and Christopher Osmond lying on floor inside Ahava on November 22nd 2010 shortly after Michael Mansfield's speech at Amnesty.

Jessica Nero and Christopher Osmond lying on floor inside Ahava on November 22nd 2010 shortly after Michael Mansfield's speech at Amnesty.

Last night I went to Tooks Chambers for a Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers talk given by Antonia Mulvey, the Senior Justice Expert for the Norwegian Refugee Council based in New York, on Palestinian housing issues in East Jerusalem and the West Bank (specifically Area C).

This was not long after a complaint for professional misconduct against Michael Mansfield QC, one of the senior barristers at Tooks, had been dismissed by the Bar Standards Board.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine had held an anti-Israel hatefest at the Law Society on the weekend of 20th and 21st November 2010. RTOP is a Kangaroo Court where anti-Israel activists get together to make up international law with which to condemn Israel.

It’s a bit like playing doctors and nurses, but as lawyers.

They even have a “jury” and on 22nd November 2010 Michael Mansfield QC, as head juror, pronounced all the firms “on trial” guilty of complicity in Israel’s “breaches of international law”. This “judgement” was given at Amnesty International.

At the end of Mansfield’s “verdict” the following exchange occurred in response to a question on the legalities of civil disobedience. Mansfield was possibly encouraging the law to be broken, especially in light of what immediately took place at the Ahava shop in Covent Garden. The following transcript formed the basis of the complaint to the BSB (listen to audio at end of post):

Questioner:

“I just wanted to ask, do you think the findings have any ramifications on those engaging in civil disobedience as a means to highlight corporate complicity and promote the BDS campaign?” 

Mansfield:

“Yes, I can answer that one directly. The answer is yes.

In fact we heard from a lawyer who has been involved in two actions where there were criminal prosecutions. He represented those who had actively protested in relation to two different companies; one in Northern Ireland and one not.

And the position is very important and it stems again, not only from the advisory opinion, but it is there in the advisory opinion. Because what the advisory opinion is saying to governments and everyone; we all have an obligation to bring the wall and the settlements to an end, which means that those who wish to, as it were, actively protest in relation to that here, in this country or in Northern Ireland, wish to protest about that, are entitled if and when, they are not always prosecuted, if the prosecuting authority decides that they are, for criminal damage or whatever it happens to be, they are going to prosecute the individuals who entered offices or whatever it is, then the individuals who are prosecuted have a, a defence, sometimes called “necessity”, in which they are saying “there is a greater good”.

Yes, there is damage, but the damage was done as of “necessity” to prevent a greater evil being caused. So, actually…if people, come and tell us that is exactly what is being (unclear), and jurors, that’s the interesting thing, courts in the United Kingdom, juries, ordinary people in the United Kingdom, the democratic aspect of our system, are saying “we find you not guilty because of the greater good”.

So it’s extremely important that it’s a two-pronged thing: One is proactive, in other words actually going to companies and corporations, the other is reactive, if we get accused then we have a perfectly legitimate defence.

And may I just add a foot-note on this. I know time is restricted, what we are equally horrified to note is that the Israeli government is currently considering making protests and objections along these lines a criminal offence. So therefore this is, as I see it, a totally appropriate situation in as much as you are not going to be easily allowed to stick up against it.

Can I just add as a footnote – there is a protest, a perfectly lawful legitimate nonviolent protest, going on in London now, today, in relation to a company, Ahava, that you may have heard of, that produces goods that are mislabelled for a start off, but in any event are exploiting natural resources in Israel/Palestine and it is essentially complicit, we will be dealing with it in the full report, complicit in the illegality that people have already talked about. I don’t know exactly where it is happening in London, but it is happening now.”

A Woman:

“Monmouth Street, Covent Garden.”

Mansfield:

“Thank you very much….Dead Sea Products, yes….How are we doing on time….fine, any more questions?” 

So, at the very least, Mansfield seems to admit to knowledge of events at Ahava where Jessica Nero and Christopher Osmond entered the store either during or soon after his speech and were eventually arrested. On 21st April 2011 both Nero and Osmond were convicted of aggravated trespass, given 18 month conditional discharges and ordered to pay £250 costs each.

And guess who represented Nero and Osmond at their trial? James Mehigan, a barrister at Tooks!

The BSB dismissed the complaint for professional misconduct against Mansfield in a letter from Natalya Browning, an assessment officer, on the following grounds (Browning’s response is edited for brevity):

1. Mr Mansfield QC incited the crime of aggravated trespass:

The BSB does not have the power to consider allegations of criminal conduct. If you consider that Mr Mansfield QC is guilty of a criminal offence, you should refer the matter to the police in the first instance. I would also point out that Mr Mansfield’s comments were made in his personal capacity and not in connection with the provision of a legal service.

2. Mr Mansfield QC profited from inciting a crime, by representing two defendants who had committed the crime, possibly with the use of public money in the form of legal aid:

Mr Mansfield QC would not have been paid a share of the fees earned by Mr Mehigan. I can see no evidence on the information before me to suggest that Mr Mansfield QC profited from Mr Mehigan’s representation of the defendants and, as explained above, we cannot consider whether or not Mr Mansfield has incited or encouraged a crime.

Sadly, the police should have been informed within six months of Mansfield’s speech, incitement being a summary-only offence.

I will leave you to draw your own conclusions, but please be careful if leaving a comment below the line. I don’t want to be sued.

As for last night’s Haldane Society talk, Antonia Mulvey spent an hour propagandising about alleged illegal evictions of Palestinian “women and children” and the route of Israel’s Security Wall. The case studies she mentioned are still being challenged through the Israeli court system.

She claimed that a Palestinian family had been fined for nuisance for sitting outside their old home having been recently evicted from it and that Palestinians must pay for the demolition of their homes and for removal of the rubble, which they can’t afford along with the huge fines for not having a valid building permit.

Sat among the audience, some of whom were calling for boycotts of Israel and for Israel to adhere to Jewish values as set out in the Torah (ex-Labour MP Martin Linton even accused Israel of “ethnic engineering” the Palestinians in east Jerusalem), I mentioned that many of the case studies given by Mulvey were no different to property disputes common in Britain.

I also pointed out that the backdrop of Palestinian terrorists constantly attempting to murder Israelis might mean that Palestinians were inconvenienced by the route of the security wall. I asked whether she preferred the inconvenience or more Israelis, like three-month old Hadas Fogel who was decapitated in her bed by a Palestinian, being murdered.

For her answer she relied on the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice 2004 on the legal consequences of the construction of the wall. Mulvey said that the opinion (which, being only an “advisory opinion”, is not binding) criticised the building of the wall inside the green line.

So one might infer that Mulvey has no qualms about the beheading of Hadas Fogel; it being preferable for the security wall to be moved to the green line so exposing even more Israelis to Hadas Fogel and her family’s tragic fate.

Audio of Mansfield at Amnesty (22nd Nov. 2010)

(Thanks to Sharon and Leslie for their cooperation)

21 responses to “Bar Standards Board clears Michael Mansfield QC of professional misconduct over anti-Israel speech.

  1. Well Richard – at last the cat is out of the bag and aware of being watched!

    With regard to these so called experts on International Law, it seems to me that what is going on in Israel regarding evictions is no different to evictions in any other country. Those who persistently don’t pay rent are liable to eviction right here in the UK as all the lawyers who belong to the prestigious Haldane Society know. The same applies in the democracy of Israel where the law is also clear about non payment of rent. Likewise in the UK “travelers” who settle illegally on land are evicted. In Israel the same applies to Bedouin (who are also travelers) from settling on land illegally. Dale Farm is private property as is JNF land.

    Why the discrimination? Could it be possibly be a little bit of Jew hatred? Could these advocates for anti racist and equality laws be guilty of breaching their own advocacy? I’d say so!
    .

  2. I met Mansfield at a function several years ago.

    At the time I really admired him for some noble causes he had championed in the courts. However, his vanity and arrogance stunned the entire room. Total poser and utterly deluded. Or, in other words, a typical Israel-hater.

    • Driving home from an excellent yoga class one Sunday, I tuned in midway to Desert Iskand Discs. I Heard this very arrogant voice talking righteously about the virtues of his liberal family. The subsequent disc was a recording of his son’s “band” bashing out an amateurish noise. He explained how proud he was of his son etc etc!! I thought to myself that my granddaughter pelts out a voluminous song or two almost all the time and mused that maybe we could all bend the publics’ ear with our offsprings growing up self expression, but when other rather more talented achievers choose Beethoven or the Beatles, one wonders at the total arrogance of such a person. When I heard his name at the end of the programme I decided to look up his claim to fame. All I can say is that it is worth checking the website for a good insight into some of his high profile cases – then you may understand the background and the skewered driving force.

    • BTW – not so much an Israel hater as it is impossible to hate a country – but rather the typical attitude of a deeply embedded Jew hater. I know the flavour of these people – I grew up with them. There is something totally illogical about a person who can hate so deeply an entire people to the extent that a concocted history of a non existent people governed by a genocidal charter, is more attractive than the nation state of the hated Jews governed by the very bedrock of the same democracy and freedom they pretend to espouse. These Jew haters have a contorted personal problem of trying to explain away how, as so called liberals, they can at the same time hate an entire race of people to the extent that they support an organisation with a charter that calls for the total extinction of that people.

      • There is something totally illogical about a person who can hate so deeply an entire people to the extent that a concocted history of a non existent people governed by a genocidal charter, is more attractive than the nation state of the hated Jews governed by the very bedrock of the same democracy and freedom they pretend to espouse.

        The phrase you are looking for is “there is something totally pathological”. In addition to his huge vanity and arrogance, I would say he is deeply stupid, pathologically so, along with most of the so-called “liberal establishment”. They are too stupid to realise that they are destroying their own civilisation. Their Jew-hatred is but one part of it.

  3. I’m no lawyer, but the subjectivity of what constitutes “greater good” as a defence seems to be a recipe for anarchy on the one hand and mob rule on the other. It also cuts both ways.

  4. I stood across from the BDS protesters today at the NHM and wondered how people can hate so much. Looking at them they are all skewered in some way; there is a look about them that is self destructive; and I found myself beginning to feel sorry that they have such anger and hatred in their souls that they do not even flinch at indoctrinating naive youngsters to believe their clap trap. Their latest tack is that when they find one of their younger more fragile members talking to any of us they usher them on denying these youngsters their right to free speech and engagement. This is reminiscent of the KGB, Hitler youth and Pol Pot regime or cults like Manson. Only we live in the UK which when I last checked is still a democracy. It is such a shame that these vulnerable youngsters are taken out of society a such a young age and taught until they are brain a replacement theory so that they will never learn to know and appreciate the western culture most of them were born into. I heard from one of them today that the insignia of Yale University, that archive of all charters over 4000 years back, is a Jewish conspiracy insignia and that the US supports Israel to the tune of 4 billion a day!! Imagine they don’t even have a notion of how much that sum is let alone understand the difference between aid and loan guarantees!!

  5. As I have said many times, Sharon: these people are mentally disturbed.

  6. And I’ve said many times that they’re not. To the best of my knowledge hatred of Israel and even anti-Semitism are not recognized as mental illnesses or disturbances, and if they were, we’d have to give every Jew-hater a “get out of jail – I’m sick” card, which I see no reason to do.

    I’m not sure that Sharon is quite right in saying that you can’t hate a country, but she’s100% correct that that it is not Israel that these people hate, but Israelis and more specifically Israeli Jews. That having been said, paradoxically most of this hatred is vented against Jews who do not live in Israel as they are nearby, to paraphrase Stephen Still, “If you can’t be with the one you hate – hate the one you’re with.”

    Jew hatred is almost as ancient as the existence of our people, though it reemerges in each generation taking different forms. There have been times when we were hatred for refusing to accept other religions and cultures and others when we were despised for having done so. We were hated for being both Capitalists and Communists until the National Socialists built a philosophy by which they could hate us for both simultaneously.

    After the Holocaust when Hitler was almost universally acknowledged as the personification of all evil the Jew haters were forced to keep a low profile initially, finally reemerging as “ant-Zionists”.

    As many Germans, half a century previously, had argued that they mean the Jews no harm, they just wanted them out of Germany, so our critics have nothing against us as long as we are out of the Middle East. Most Arab countries have either expelled or persecuted their Jewish populations into extinction or forbid Jews to live there in the first place – it’s not anti-Semitism. They just want us out and gone “back to Poland”.

    Try to explain any of this and you’ll be told that you’re “playing the anti-Semitism card”. There will rarely be a rational attempt to refute what you have said. A simple declaration that you’re “playing the Anti-Semitism card” is enough It’s as if the very fact that a viewpoint is labeled anti-Semitic, proves that it is not. It’s a brand new logical fallacy!

    All this does not mean that all anti-Semites are mentally disturbed, though many may well be just that. Everyone is responsible for his words and actions and to a great extent for their consequences too. In the words of the Lord:

    “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

    • as to the low profile Jew-Haters kept after WW2 – in Germany they self-identified or at least self-suspicionalised pretty quickly by informing us youngsters that “but Hitler built the Autobahns” or “under the Führer that wouldn’t have happened” or by interjecting at any mention of the times robot-like that “with all that I had nothing to do” and then of course the by now known around the world “I knew nothing”. I as yet have to meet one in real life, just one, who’d say instead: I saw this and this how on earth could I avoid to start thinking …

      And the strangest thing is that in private life those who knew didn’t speak up.

  7. Daniel you are so right. It is illogical but not pathological. I cannot bring myself to exonerate anybody for carry an innate hatred like this on the basis they can simply get a doctor’s report and go home to continue as before. However, Daniel, from this viewpoint in the UK it is clear that the hatred is for the Jews “over there” in your neck of the woods as well as the corporate Jews of the US and the communists in Europe, but never the ones en face. So what it seems is that it is not only illogical, but also cowardly, as the Jew haters are not able to completely generate their hatred openly, although even this is becoming more overt than in the quieter period after the horrors of WW11 became apparent when guilt set in, as there were some Jews still living to evocate that guilt. Had all Jews been exterminated of course they would have been dancing through hoops eating those sweets the Arabs like to distribute and then of course there would have been a short circuit to that international caliphate that awaits the liberal Jew haters who support the genocide advocated through Jihad.

  8. They wont be happy until the Arabs can anihilate the Jews like the Arabs anihilated the Kurds and Black Christians of Sudan.
    The racists are the Palestinians.

    http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=433
    PA denying Israel’s right to exist.

    http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=786
    PA promoting virulent antisemitism in their schools, mosques, and popular media; and deny the Holocaust suddenly have discovered the dangers of incitement!
    Case Study: Portraying Jews as “Apes and Pigs”

    http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=339
    See the sickening hatred the PA teach their kids in their schools and camps.

  9. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4165965,00.html
    Yitzhak Benhorin, 12.23.11

    UNESCO says won’t fund Palestinian magazine praising Hitler
    After children’s magazine publishes article on girl’s dream in which Hitler tells her ‘Jews spread destruction all over the world,’ cultural agency’s director tells Abbas membership means ‘sharing values of tolerance, respect for others’

    These are the Islamo Nazis Michael Mansfield supports.

  10. In 2003, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction shot and killed a Palestinian named George Khoury as he was jogging in Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood.

    Arafat, in a clear racist gesture, stated that this was a case of mistaken identity – because their victim turned out to be an Arab instead of a Jew.

    • I never met George Khoury, but he was one of my wife’s favorite pupils. He was an outstanding student and sportsman and was extremely popular. His father was Arafat’s lawyer who already knew similar tragedy after losing his father to a booby-trapped refrigerator years earlier.

      Roxana was very fond of George and was asked to eulogize him at the annual remembrance ceremony in her school a few years ago. For years the school had avoided telling students what had happened claiming he had been a “victim of the conflict” and a tree planted in his name stated simply that he had “died”.

      Roxana did not mince words and said that he had not been a victim of the conflict, but had been murdered by those who are the enemies of peace. After she finished George’s mother hugged her in thanks.

      George was no Quisling and, though he was studying at Hebrew University was certainly no Zionist. However, he was a human being, a wonderful one by all accounts, and deserved more than to have his life cut short by the bullets of a coward.

  11. ‘The Palestinians history is terror, terror, and more terror against dozens of nationalities.
    They deserve nothing but the world’s scorn.
    The great irony is that the Security Fence is not really an effective solution to Palestinian barbarism and attacks on Israeli civilians at all. What exactly does Netanyahu think the PLO will do once it is behind the fence, take up quilting?

    The only way to suppress the carnage, is to erect security cages and not a security wall. Security cages would be rings of fences and walls around the large Palestinian cities. These would fence the Palestinians in, rather than fencing the Jews out. When the world bellyaches, Israel should simply respond: Look, people who behave like animals must be treated like animals and put behind cages until they learn to behave like humans.

    The fence appears to be working in keeping the arab animals away from their “prey”! Therefore I can see why Michael Mansfield is against completing the barrier. It just makes Jew-killing too hard and most his radical allies will simply not stand for that!
    If the Palestinians ever abandon Islamofascism and nazi-like atrocities, then Israel may no longer need any fence.

    • Dan,

      I think that you might want to reconsider your wording as it appears that you are calling all Palestinians or Arabs animals, which I’m sure was not your intent. Without getting into the question as to whether we are talking here about races, what you have written could, in layman’s terms, be understood to be racism.

      Sometimes characters appear on this and similar blogs voicing very extreme views, well outside the Israel consensus, and it later transpires that they were the inventions of our enemies seeking to discredit the State of Israel, distance our supporters and provide ammunition to be used against us. I have no idea if you are one of such cyber-creation, if you are not, I urge you to consider carefully who you are helping with such comments.

      Regarding your actual suggestion of a cage, rather than a wall, it’s so silly that I don’t know where to begin, but why not start by trying to construct a cage around, say, Bournemouth, so you can get some kind of idea of the logistics involved? Remember that there are plenty of tools that cut through bars, so you’ll have to develop some kind of impregnable, uncuttable material. You might want to consider using green Kryptonite, which I believe has just such properties especially against Superboy!

      • thanks galore Daniel for that text

        As glorious as your superboy offering is I have ever since Shalit’s release encountered lots of comments that to me read just like what I read about computer games i.e. indulging in to me off-putting ways on what to do to “them”. When I tried to protest I was shouted down as an enemy of free speech.

        So you can imagine how much I appreciate yours proving that my gut reaction was right though my argument failed to hit home.

  12. 38 of worst 50 countries persecuting Christians are Muslim
    Here are the countries ranked as the 50 worst in persecuting Christians during 2011:

    North Korea
    Afghanistan
    Saudi Arabia
    Somalia
    Iran
    Maldives
    Uzbekistan
    Yemen
    Iraq
    Pakistan
    Eritrea
    Laos
    Northern Nigeria
    Mauritania
    Egypt
    Sudan
    Bhutan
    Turkmenistan
    Vietnam
    Chechnya
    China
    Qatar
    Algeria
    Comoros
    Azerbaijan
    Libya
    Oman
    Brunei
    Morocco
    Kuwait
    Turkey
    India
    Burma (Myanmar)
    Tajikistan
    Tunisia
    Syria
    United Arab Emirates
    Ethiopia
    Djibouti
    Jordan
    Cuba
    Belarus
    Indonesia
    Palestinian Territories
    Kazakhstan
    Bahrain
    Colombia
    Kyrgyzstan
    Bangladesh
    Malaysia

    Nine of the top ten, and 38 of all 50, are Muslim countries.

    Given this list, UN Watch points out the irony that the Organization of the Islamic Conference sponsored a UN resolution entitled “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief

  13. I didn’t say every single antisemite is mentally ill. I said that certain individuals, who don’t even have the excuse of ignorance as so many brainwashed illiterates in the Third World, are disturbed. A well-educated, rich Western lawyer who obsesses about Jews all day long, organises witch hunts against them and spews blood libels against them, doesn’t have that excuse. Such obsession is a sign of mental disorder.