Monthly Archives: February 2013

How many Comic Relief Mosquito Nets pay for War on Want’s Rafeef Ziadah?

War On Want unveil their "Stop Arming Israel" campaign next to PSC last night.

War On Want unveil their “Stop Arming Israel” campaign next to PSC last night.

On annual Red Nose Day the BBC broadcasts an evening of entertainment interspersed with heart-breaking scenes from Africa and British hospitals and hospices all in the hope of encouraging people to donate to Comic Relief.

Red Nose Day is on March 15th but one has to wonder how much money Comic Relief wastes. It is an ongoing tragedy which I witnessed at first hand last night when War On Want appeared at the Israeli Apartheid Week event Voices from Palestine: Resisting Racism and Apartheid held at the University of London Union (ULU).

By April 2010, when I first wrote about War On Want’s anti-Israel activism, Comic Relief had already given War On Want approximately £1.7m. War On Want’s accounts now show that in 2011 Comic Relief gave War On Want yet another £303,391. I await the figures for 2012 and 2013.

From War On Want’s 2011 accounts:

wow

And here is War On Want’s “mock occupation of a London Waitrose” where activists singled out Israeli produce for boycotting.

So War On Want demands sanctions against Israel until Israel “complies with international law.” However, one of the demands of the BDS campaign is the return of so-called “Palestinian refugees” to Israel which, according to Haidar Eid, who spoke last night, amounts to some “seven million Palestinians”. This is thanks to the ridiculous UN definition of “Palestinian refugee”, which includes ALL the descendants of those Palestinians who, for various reasons, left Israel in 1947-1948.

A similar definition applied to myself would make me a Polish refugee (now where’s that key to my grandfather’s old home in Lodz?)

Obviously if such a “return” took place then Israel would cease to exist as it would quickly become another Muslim Arab state. Therefore, Israel can only comply with “international law”, as interpreted by War On Want, if it destroys itself. This is where Comic Relief’s money is going!

At last night’s event War On Want was represented by two employees; Natalie Idle (Activism and Outreach Officer) and Rafeef Ziadah.

Ziadah, a Canadian “Palestinian refugee” and War On Want’s Senior Campaigns Officer (Militarism and Security), is a long-time anti-Israel activist. Here she is at an Israel Apartheid Week event last year, before she worked for War On Want, sickeningly praising Islamic Jihad terrorist Khader Adnan. Five years earlier Adnan had been filmed urging others to become suicide bombers in order to murder innocent Israelis.

At last night’s event Ziadah called for a boycott of Tesco and Sainsbury’s due to their trade with Israel. She also unveiled War On Want’s new campaign for Britain to instigate a two-way arms ban against Israel; both selling arms to Israel and buying arms from Israel, which, she claimed, are “tested on Palestinian bodies and then used in Afghanistan.”

War On Want's Rafeef Ziadah, left, having fun with Jarar and Kopty at ULU last night.

War On Want’s Rafeef Ziadah, left, having fun with Jarar and Kopty at ULU last night.

I would like to have filmed Ziadah’s statements but we were told there was no filming or photography allowed by “unauthorised persons”. I was, therefore, limited to voice recording until early into the speeches when I felt a sudden nudge in my back from a Free Palestine T-Shirt wearing activist who suggested that I switch off my recorder or be removed.

Meanwhile, Haidar Eid, Associate Professor of Cultural Studies at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza, repeatedly referred to Gaza as the “largest concentration camp on earth”.

Abir Kopty, a Palestinian activist from Nazareth who has a Masters in Political Communication from City University, London, called for a “blacklist of settlers and soldiers” who should have their passports stamped “Denied Entry” to stop them traveling.

Yafa Jarrar, another Canadian “Palestinian refugee”, gave a long, dull account of her BDS activities at Carleton University in Ottowa of which she seemed very proud.

Ziadah finished by holding up “a rock from Haifa” which, she said, was as close to home as she could get as “a Palestinian refugee”. She said she hoped that herself, Eid, Kopty and Jarrar will all one day meet on Haifa’s beach without being oppressed by the “racist state of Israel”.

So why has Comic Relief funded War On Want’s sickening racist activism to the tune of some £2m (and counting) while millions of children have died from the likes of malaria? At least one million people die each year from malaria in Africa of which 70% are children under 5. Ziadah’s War On Want salary could easily help supply thousands more insecticide-treated mosquito nets which would save lives! Plus she also seems to work at SOAS anyway.

The British people need to know that their precious donations to Comic Relief are being wasted on the racist ideologies of activists in War On Want who organise invasions of British supermarkets, call for Tesco and Sainsbury’s to be boycotted and who work for the only Jewish state to simply disappear.

Shlomo Sand at SOAS: Israel is “a shitty nation” and “the most racist society in the world”.

Shlomo Sand in full flow at SOAS last night.

Shlomo Sand in full flow at SOAS last night.

Last night Tel Aviv University history professor Shlomo Sand referred to Israel as a “shitty nation” (clip 1). He called Israel “the most racist society in the world” and said that he has been fighting “Jewish racism all my life” (both clip 2). And he declared that anti-Semitism doesn’t exist in the western world today (clip 3).

He was speaking in London at the SOAS launch of his new book The Invention of The Land of Israel. The much discredited thesis of his previous book The Invention of The Jewish People is that there was no expulsion of the Jews from the Holy Land; diaspora Jews, therefore, must have all descended from converts and so have no right to return to Israel.

The already much discredited thesis of The Invention of The Land of Israel is, simply, that the land of Israel holds no religious significance for Jews either.

First, he claimed, there is no mention of “Israel” in the bible; it is only mentioned in the Talmud. This is not true (see note 1). Second, he claimed that political Zionism grew out of Christianity, not Judaism, and he solely credits Lord Shaftesbury and the evangelical Christian movement in London for the idea that Jews should return to the Holy Land.

But Sand, conveniently, regards great religious figures like Rabbi Alkalia and Rabbi Kalischer, who in the early nineteenth century wrote voraciously about the pressing need for Jews to return to Zion, as only minority influences.

Sand claimed that the Balfour Declaration came about due to three main reasons:

1. The ideological background of many leaders who wanted Redemption via a Jewish return to the Holy Land.
2. The colonialist interests of Britain in the Middle East.
3. Anti-Semitism – Balfour didn’t want suffering Jews from the East coming to Britain.

Sand said Jews preferred to move to America but after 1924, when America stopped eastern European immigration altogether, no country would accept Jews who then had no choice but to go to the Holy Land against their will.

Sand, again, conveniently ignores the examples of the Jewish pioneers in the Hibbat Zion and BILU movements who volunteered to move to the harsh conditions of the Holy Land during the 1880s to try to make a life there.

Sand views Israelis as a nation even if a “shitty one”. But, for Sand, they aren’t a Jewish nation because he doesn’t recognise such a concept exists. Sand views being Jewish as a purely religious concept and said that Hamas in Gaza are much more likely to be descended from the ancient people who once inhabited the Holy Land than he is.

Sand says he desires a two-state solution with equal rights for Arabs living in Israel and for Jews living in a future Palestine. Presumably, it would be an Israel where diaspora Jews would have limited, if any, rights to move to.

And on anti-Semitism Sand said:

“The century of anti-Semitism between 1850 and 1950 is finished. Pro-Zionists don’t understand history. I don’t think that political public anti-Semitism exists today in the western world. You cannot find members of Parliament in Britain or the United States who are openly anti-Semitic. You cannot find journalists who are anti-Semitic. You cannot find films that are anti-Semitic.”

This is what many in the audience wanted to hear. It was their official certificate that they are not Jew haters even though they focus solely on opposing the Jewish state while ignoring atrocities by both sides in Syria, by Hamas in Gaza and by the Saudi Arabian monarchy and the Iranian government which both brutally oppress their own people. To name but a few.

Once again, Sand conveniently ignores or is unaware of the example of Liberal Democrat David Ward who recently accused “the Jews” of inflicting something akin to a Holocaust on the Palestinians.

Sand is the master of cherry-picking anything that backs up his argument while ignoring anything inconvenient that might detract from it.

His recent books are not based on proper fact, record or history. They are simply driven by a hatred for the Jewish state.

Notes:

1. For a superb taking down of Sand’s new book see here via Elder of Ziyon.

2. For  a superb analysis of Sand speaking at The Frontline Club the previous night see here via Jonathan Hoffman.

Clips from last night (not good sound quality):

Clip 1 – Sand declares Israel a “shitty nation”:

Clip 2 – Sand declares Israel “the most racist society in the world” and says he has been fighting “Jewish racism all my life”:

Clip 3 – Sand claims there is no anti-Semitism in the west today:

Middlesex University bans concerned public from Free Palestine Society hate speech event.

middlesexuni

The Facebook page above reads:

“THE UNIVERSITY HAVE RESTRICTED THE EVENT TO MIDDLESEX STUDENTS & STAFF ONLY…PLEASE EMAIL MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY TO SEEK THEIR JUSTIFICATION FOR THIS UNPRECEDENTED RESTRICTION.”

The event was the Free Palestine Society’s The Case for Boycotting, Divesting, and Sanctions against Israel held last night. The speakers were Lauren Booth, John Rees and Asghar Bukari. The location was Middlesex University in Hendon, a highly Jewish populated suburb of London.

On her blog Booth quotes Gilad Atzmon’s anti-Semitic rhetoric extensively and tries to back him up. For example:

“No Jews do not run the world. They get others to do it for them.'”….This argument is not without example. In 2001 Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, made unguarded comments, about relations with the United States and the peace process.
“I know what America is,” he told a group of terror victims, apparently not knowing his words were being recorded. “America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in their way.”

And she directly implicates British Jews in what she sees as Israel’s “crimes” when she writes:

What must also continue, freely and without hindrance are debates into the British Jewish communities role in funding the ethnic cleansing of the West Bank and East Jerusalem via such bodies as the Jewish National Fund.

Bukhari is the founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee. MPAC was banned from university campuses in 2004 after being branded anti-Semitic by the National Union of Students and Bukhari, himself, supported and financed Holocaust denier David Irving.

MPAC recently tweeted that Zionism equals Nazism.

Rees has, inter alia, reportedly identified with the Mahdi Army, a terror cell responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqis.

We did email Middlesex University to ask why concerned members of the public were banned, but the response bore no relation to the question. Middlesex University responded:

This is a Students’ Union supported society event which is open to students and staff at the University. As a University we have a responsibility to protect freedom of speech within the law and support the rights of our students to meet and discuss issues that matter to them. The University hosts a wide range of events, presenting many different views, and we would not seek to prevent them or influence the content unless there are very strong grounds to do so.

When I contacted Sam Spindlow, of Corporate Communications at Middlesex University and who was responsible for disseminating the statement, even he agreed that the statement did not explain why the public was banned, but said he could go no further than that.

The reality is that at a similar event at Middlesex University last year Ken O’Keefe compared Jews to Nazis, and Jenny Tonge said that “Israel won’t be here forever” for which she was chucked out of the Liberal Democrats.

Middlesex University’s new policy seems to be to allow hate speech to go virtually unopposed. Concerned members of the public are to be banned from anti-Israel events, although whether this policy is legal is open to question with Middlesex University being a taxpayer funded institution.

A few defiant members of Middlesex University’s Jewish Society did attend last night. One walked out in disgust at what was being said about Israel. She said that a pro-Israel question was asked during the Q&A but was dismissed by Lauren Booth as being “too Zionist a question to take seriously.” Another member of the Jewish Society handed out pro-Israel leaflets afterwards.

Jonathan Hoffman and I weren’t allowed in so we waited outside till the end and engaged in discussion with the students as they exited the room. We didn’t get very far though. We were told we were “child killers” and as I left a student shouted at me “Go back to Golders Green*.”

That kind of vile racism has now become the norm at anti-Israel events, but Middlesex University dangerously continues to look away.

*Golders Green is another highly Jewish populated suburb of London.
** Thanks to Stand For Peace for its research on Booth, Bukhari and Rees.
*** UPDATE: What happened behind Middlesex University’s closed doors by Jonathan Hoffman.

Jonathan Hoffman and security outside last night's Free Palestine Society event at Middlesex University.

Jonathan Hoffman and security outside last night’s Free Palestine Society event at Middlesex University.