And so to my final blog of 2014 and a public event I attended last month at the University of Westminster, London.
On 13th November 2014 a panel discussed Parliament Recognises Palestine: What Next?
The panel consisted of Sara Apps, Campaigns Officer for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Martin “tentacles” Linton, chair of Labour Friends of Palestine, Murad Qureshi, a Labour Party Member of the London Mayoral Assembly and, finally, a representative from the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS – UK).
The panel was chaired by Dr. Dibyesh Anand, Head of Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster.
As ever there were repeated calls from the panel for a boycott of Israeli “settlements”. When it came to the Q&A I raised my arm and asked one simple question:
“Isn’t it racist to call for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank especially when considering that 1.7 million Muslim and Christian Arabs reside fairly happily in Israel ?”
I was then referred to as “the enemy” by a man who walked out while giving me a rather unpleasant look. He also said, referring to me, “We are fighting these people”. Here’s the clip:
The head of Fatah in the UK then described how the Palestinians had welcomed the Jews from Nazi Germany and protected the Jewish community in Beirut during Lebanon’s civil war.
The most frightening aspect of his speech was not the lies but the applause. Here’s the clip:
Martin Linton then accused me of dangerously introducing “Jewish” into the discussion. But he then praised the anti-Israel group Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP).
Sarah Apps said she abhored anti-Semitism. However, her organisation’s logo dispenses with Israel altogether. So, if implicitly calling for the eradication of the Jewish state isn’t anti-Semitism then, one must ask, what is?
Anand Dibyesh said this event wasn’t at all anti-Semitic (I never claimed it was) before immediately, himself, going on to make a link between Nazism and Israel.
Finally, a student asked what she could do to help. Martin Linton responded that she should support Karen Buck, the Labour MP for Westminster North, who, he said, is very pro-Palestinian. It seems for some the needs of the Palestinians are more important than the needs of the good people of Westminster North.
On the way out I was encircled by some aggressive students who told me I was brainwashed and who asked repeatedly how much I was being paid.
So here’s to a less hypocritical and more constructive 2015 although with the May general election on the horizon many British politicians will be using the Palestinians as mere political fodder with which to try to secure their own re-election.
Thank you for all the supportive comments I have had throughout 2014. Thank you to those who have commented on my blog and those who have cross-posted me and many thanks for the support of the team at CIFWatch.
More importantly a huge “thank you” to those who continue to fight against anti-Semitism and Israel’s delegitimisation in the UK but who receive little, if any, credit in return.
A healthy and happy New Year to everyone.