Monthly Archives: September 2012

Interfaith foundation chief embraces Jew haters (and gets invited by BBC).

Mohammed Shafiq, Chief Executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, an interfaith organisation, was invited on to BBC 5 Live on Sunday night to review Monday morning’s newspapers. A quick perusal of Shafiq’s tweets revealed that he isn’t pro-Israel.

Here was one I really noticed:

A twitter exchange between us followed where I, more or less, accused Shafiq of being unfair to Israel and Jews, to which he responded that he was only “reporting what newspapers and tv news have said”. He sent me a link from CNN to prove it and demanded an apology.

But the CNN piece makes no mention of the settlers being “Jewish”. People know settlers are Jewish so why emphasise it, especially when the person emphasising it works for an interfaith organisation like the Ramadhan Foundation?

CNN’s article only refers to “Israeli extremists”, “radical Israeli settlers” and “extremists”. Mainstream commentators would, surely, refer to President Ahmadinejad as being “Iranian”, not “a Muslim”.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu condemned the act and investigations are still continuing to find the perpetrators.

I offered no apology but, instead, looked further at his tweets and found this:

So Shafiq has retweeted a message, which crudely refers to the Torah and Mein Kampf in the same sentence, to all his followers. It originated from IsraelTheNazis whose logo has turned the Star of David into something resembling a Swastika.

One of the Ramadhan Foundation’s values is “To be ethical and truthful” and one of its objectives is to “To enhance a better understanding between Muslims and non Muslims in the West”. One of the central messages of its Chairman, Muhammad Umar, is “to promote tolerance and peaceful co-existence.”

Let’s see how its Chief Executive puts all that out into the world:

1. When extremist Israeli settlers do something horrendous Shafiq puts emphasis on their Jewishness, so connecting ALL Jews with the crime.

2. Shafiq refers to Jerusalem as “occupied”. Not just east Jerusalem but the whole of Jerusalem, therefore, not allowing Israel to claim even a part of the city that is central to the Jewish faith.

3. Shafiq forwards a message from IsraelTheNazis which seems to imply that one of the Jewish holy books is Hitler’s Mein Kampf, while the logo of IsraelTheNazis includes the Jewish symbol, the Star of David, resembling a Swastika.

Will the BBC and other media outlets continue to use Shafiq as a social commentator? Of course they will!

For the sake of clarity I did ask Shafiq why he retweeted IsraelTheNazis hoping he might say it was a mistake or, possibly, apologise. Three days on there has been no response.

Meanwhile, even today Shafiq is trying to connect all Jews with wrongdoing. His latest pronouncement is to cite “Jewish donors” who have financed a film offensive to the Muslim community. Shafiq continues: “We call on the Jewish community to condemn this film and those that have donated to it.”

 

 

Israel’s Batsheva dances on in Edinburgh despite PSC invasions.

Disruption during Batsheva's Thursday performance at Edinburgh's Playhouse Theatre.

Disruption during Batsheva’s Thursday performance at Edinburgh’s Playhouse Theatre.

What follows is a first hand account by our good friend Harvey of the racism, lies and abuse hurled at innocent theatre-goers by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign when Israel’s Batsheva dance group performed last Thursday, Friday and Saturday at The Playhouse Theatre in Edinburgh. Harvey also highlighted the frightening lack of security inside the theatre.

He took footage and photos of Thursday’s anti-Israel protests before, during and after Batsheva’s performance of Hora. By Saturday, when he had been identified as a supporter of Israel, he received this volley of abuse from PSC’s Scottish Chair Mick Napier for merely standing alone and filming Napier’s protest:

Napier screams at Harvey:

“Tell him to put his camera away. It’s intimidating. We know what they do with images. They use it to torture. They put Palestinians in their dungeons. And you. You think we’re afraid? You can’t call in your dirty little IDF to torture us as you do our friends. You’re a disgusting specimen.”

Disgusting specimen, eh? Such a pleasant chap that Napier. And it’s alright for Napier to have a go at members of the public out for a pleasant Thursday night’s entertainment; just don’t intimidate poor, defenceless Napier and his flock.

And one of Napier’s flock was this equally lovely chap:

Does anyone need reminding about the exhortations of Hezbollah’s Sheikh Nasrallah who has characterised Jews as the “grandsons of pigs and apes” and has said that if every Jew gathered in Israel it would save Hezbollah the effort of going after them worldwide. And go after them worldwide they have with terrorist attacks in Argentina in 1992 and 1994 and this year in Bulgaria.

Here is Harvey’s footage of PSC activists taunting the theatre-goers before Thursday’s performance with cries of “Your tickets are covered in Palestinian blood”:

Harvey reports that on entering The Playhouse the security, which consisted of a trestle table for checking bags, was “optional”. He walked in on the Thursday night without even showing his ticket, something which the PSC got wind of allowing them to run amok during the Saturday night performance and force some nine stoppages of the show.

On the Thursday, Harvey reports, there were three stoppages. Each time the Batsheva dancers came into a line at the front of the stage and stood like soldiers to attention while the lights went up to allow security to evict the PSC activists. And each time the audience responded with a spontaneous standing ovation to drown out the noise of the activists.

At the end of the performance the dancers received a proper standing ovation:

But on leaving the theatre the audience were once again confronted with crazed calls for the destruction of Israel:

It is incredible that after the disruptions during the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance at the Royal Albert Hall and Habima’s Merchant of Venice at The Globe there have been no prosecutions for aggravated trespass.

But this will always be the case without complaints by the likes of the Royal Albert Hall, The Globe and The Edinburgh Playhouse to the police.

There’s much more to come from Batsheva in the UK: Edinburgh, Festival Theatre (30, 31 Oct.), The Lowry, Salford Quays (2, 3 Nov.), Bradford, Alhambra Theatre (6, 7 Nov.), Brighton Dome, Concert Hall (9, 10 Nov.), Birmingham Hippodrome (13, 14 Nov.), Leicester, Curve Theatre (16 Nov.), London, Sadler’s Wells (19,20, 21 Nov.) and Plymouth, Theatre Royal (23, 24 Nov.)

Please come and support the wonderful dancers and help drown out the noise of the PSC’s professional disruptors.

More clips:

Here Napier says that if Batsheva “breaks their links with the state of Israel, then they may be welcome as normal citizens, but not as agents for the Israeli state.” Of course, that is impossible as Batsheva would not be able to operate without state funding, just like any other dance group. Yet another example of holding Jews to a higher standard:

And here is another anti-Israel activist explaining to the mob that the problem is simply with Batsheva’s state funding. Would he demand the arts in the UK go without state funding for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq? I think not:

In this footage an activist claims that some theatre-goers are destroying their Batsheva tickets. There is no proof. It’s just in his mind:

Finally, here is footage of a choir pleasantly singing for Israel’s security wall to come down. One woman even sings “inshallah”. Jewish babies having their throats slit by Hamas is obviously not a concern for some small-minded people: