Monthly Archives: February 2015

Calls for the end of Israel as racist boycott vote at SOAS proceeds.

Last night I met the SOAS Jewish Society, all four of them.

It was at a SOAS “debate” about whether to boycott Israeli universities and academics on the basis that they are complicit with Israel’s military. Once again the Jewish state was being singled out at SOAS and the SOAS Student Union was attempting to make it look all so civilised.

The panel was a mixture of SOAS staff and students. Each panelist made a submission as to whether or not there should be an academic boycott of Israel. Contributions from the audience were then taken. About 250 people attended.

Three panelists argued for an academic boycott and three argued against. However, the latter three didn’t argue against on the basis that a boycott is obviously discriminatory and racist. Instead, they argued that it would merely be “ineffective”.

That said the latter are at a university where the societies and staff have become increasingly hostile to the Jewish state over recent years. The London Middle East Institute and the Centre for Palestine Studies (both based at SOAS) and the SOAS Palestine Society churn out sickening anti-Israel propaganda on an almost daily basis.

David Landau, a SOAS student who was one of those on the panel against a boycott, was sincerely concerned that such a boycott could spell the end of Hebrew teaching at SOAS.

Another panelist, a SOAS lecturer against the boycott, confided afterwards that she really didn’t want to be on the panel as she was concerned she would lose the all-important objectivity in the eyes of her students. She felt she had no choice though.

It seems that Dr. Elian Weizman, another SOAS lecturer, had no such concerns about being on the panel. She argued that Israel should be boycotted but, then again, she is a long-standing campaigner against Israel’s existence.

Last night she put it more academically:

“Boycott is a means to an end which will be a different reality for the people who live in Palestine…This is about the Zionist ideology that sustains the state. Israelis will not reject the system and ideology because it is the right thing to do but they must realise that there is a price for these policies.”

Contributions from the floor were mostly against Israel and at one point the auditorium went hysterical with approval when a female student announced: “Bashar Assad will go, the Zionist state will go!”

One of the four Jewish Society members then asked why, in light of the recent judgement that the Palestinian Authority and the PLO were complicit in terrorist attacks inside Israel, SOAS isn’t considering a boycott of Palestinian universities?

This question was a bit too difficult for pro-boycott panelist Amira Nassim, President of the SOAS Palestine Society, who could only respond that the PA was funded by Israel and so nothing more could be expected from them.

It was a great question though.

One pro-boycott panelist even connected their boycott campaign to the campaign to improve the conditions for SOAS’ cleaners. There was now an expectation that the cleaners will vote for a boycott. What once seemed like selfless support for the cleaners now came with a strict condition.

The vote is open all week and will close on Friday. It has been organised by the SOAS Student Union and is open to all SOAS staff and students or, as the pro-boycott leaflets politely state, “the whole SOAS community”.

The vote is totally undemocratic as well as being racist. The boycotters have learnt well from the likes of Ayatollah Khamenei and President Assad when it comes to propaganda.

First, the vote is taking place during so-called “Israeli Apartheid Week” with a fake “Apartheid Wall” and fake guns (all courtesy of War On Want) being pointed outside SOAS (see photos below).

Second, the financing of the boycott campaign is immense with thousands of paid-for leaflets and hundreds of posters and T-shirts.

Third, the SOAS Jewish Society was denied any representation on last night’s panel.

Judging by last night’s hysterical reaction in the auditorium the “Yes to boycott” campaign will win their racist vote despite there being not one contribution last night as to how a boycott might actually benefit the Palestinians.

The vote is non-binding and so the result will have to be put before SOAS management who must then decide whether to implement a racist and targeted boycott of innocent Israeli academics.

I suspect that British law will not allow that. However, if I am wrong then all bets are off for freedom of speech as well as British Jews.

Recent photos from outside SOAS (taken from SOAS Referendum on Academic Boycott Facebook page):

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As Jews are murdered why is War On Want handing out fake guns to British students?

Protesting this morning outside War On Want's London HQ.

Protesting this morning outside War On Want’s London HQ.

With Jews being murdered in France, Belgium and Denmark there’s an ominous feeling that British Jews are awaiting their own round. With that in mind a group of concerned British Jews from Jewish Human Rights Watch protested this morning outside the offices of War On Want in central London (see above).

War On Want is one of Britain’s most respected charities but it is, sadly, now being run by people determined to import the Israeli-Palestinian conflict onto the streets of Britain.

Quite unbelievably, after what has happened this weekend and in Belgium and Paris, War On Want’s current campaign includes handing out fake guns to students to help mark what is sickeningly termed “Israeli Apartheid Week” which begins next week on British university campuses. See the last line from WOW’s website below:

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Many British Jews are feeling insecure and accuse WOW of helping to spread propaganda and hate against the Jewish State which could well lead to the events of Paris, Belgium and Denmark being repeated in the UK. They are asking: Is War on Want helping to promote a War On Jews?

I questioned John Hilary (see below), WOW’s executive director, about this and other issues as he approached his offices. As you can see Hilary refused to answer my questions about WOW handing out guns to British students, a two-state solution, Israel’s future or the bombing of innocent Israeli civilians by Hamas.

Instead he had the nerve to accuse me of “using the current attacks on Jews in Europe for political purposes to support the Zionist dream”.

Admittedly, my interviews skills need brushing up but it is infuriating when someone refuses to answer very simple questions when there is so much at stake:

Conservative MP Angie Bray empty chairs despicable Palestine Solidarity Campaign event.

Rupa Huq (Lab.), Salim Alam, Jon Ball (LibDem), Tom Sharman (Green) last night.

Rupa Huq (Lab.), Salim Alam, Jon Ball (LibDem), Tom Sharman (Green) last night.

Angie Bray, Conservative MP for Ealing Central & Acton, refused to attend last night’s West London PSC event Palestine is Still the Issue.

The event was held at St Mary’s Church, Ealing and was hosted by Salim Alam, chair of West London PSC. The rather unpleasant Mr Alam once threatened to knock a camera I was holding out of my hands.

The remaining panelists were three challengers for Angie Bray’s Ealing Central & Acton seat at the upcoming general election this May: Rupa Huq (Labour), Jon Ball (Lib Dem.), Tom Sharman (Green).

Huq, Ball and Sharman were all anti-Israel automatons. Their party leaders would have been proud. All three were ready to confine Israelis to hell just as long as they won themselves some votes last night.

Sharman wanted Britain to stop supplying weapons to Israel and to stop buying weapons from Israel. He said “Israeli weapons are road tested on the Palestinians and so they are attractive to the British government”.

Ball started off by saying he wasn’t an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian issue but then went on to call for a boycott of “settlement” goods and for “ending the arms trade with Israel”.

He did, however, reject economic sanctions against the whole of Israel but not on the ground that such action was wrong but on the ground that it would only “fuel the collective paranoia of the Israeli government and its supporters overseas” and make them more hardline and right-wing.

Huq, meanwhile, was obsessed with Ed Miliband being Jewish. It was something she repeatedly mentioned without explaining the relevance.

Her second main obsession was that Israel is, apparently, starving the Palestinians of water (see clip below). She said “they’re basically shutting off the water supply to the Palestinians”. Lies and utter nonsense from a woman who attended Cambridge University.

During the Q&A an elderly woman quoted Albert Einstein in the 1930s about making peace with the Arab communities. She then said she was saddened that “the Jews are not smart enough to understand this”.

It would have been the decent thing for Huq, Ball and Sharman to have called her out on her anti-Semitism but maybe they were worried that might cost them votes.

Finally, Alam announced that UKIP had not been invited to speak at the event because they were the antithesis of what the PSC stood for. That’s ironic because PSC events are some of the most racist and anti-Jewish one could attend being on a par with those held by far right extremists.

For example, I once attended another event chaired by Alam also in a church. Afterwards I recorded one of that event’s attendees mocking the way Jews died in the Holocaust. The sickening statement released afterwards by the West London PSC said that she had been “harangued”.

And one of the guest speakers that night was the Reverend Stephen Sizer who recently posted a link to his Facebook suggesting Israel was behind 9/11.

So while Huq, Sharman and Ball all lowered themselves by contributing to yet another sickening PSC hatefest Angie Bray’s refusal to attend was the only dignified response.

Investigations and media coverage in aftermath of LSE Palsoc/Femsoc event.

Aitemad Muhanna-Matar, Zena Agha, Rana B. Baker,  Mezna Qato at LSE last week.

Aitemad Muhanna-Matar, Zena Agha, Rana B. Baker, Mezna Qato at LSE last week.

Last Tuesday, 27th January (Holocaust Memorial Day), at a joint Palestine Society and Feminist Society event at the London School of Economics Zena Agha accused Israelis of utilising the idea of rape as a “weapon of war” against Palestinian women, and Rana B. Baker glorified Sana’a Mehaidli who blew herself up in Lebanon in 1985 killing two Israeli soldiers.

I wrote about the event here and LSE’s online newspaper has been covering all the fallout in detail.

LSE’s Israel Society immediately lodged a complaint against the LSE Student Union over Baker’s remarks (Why not over Agha’s remarks also?) and the Feminist Society immediately apologised:

“Having reviewed the statements, regarding applauding an attack against Israeli soldiers, made by a speaker at our event we apologise unequivocally on behalf of the Feminist Society. We give platforms to oppressed peoples, including those under violent occupations, but that does not mean that their views always reflect our own. The Feminist Society is truly regretful that we have caused offence.”

Shamefully, the same cannot be said of the Palestine Society which stated:

“Although the LSESU Palestine Society does not necessarily share the views held by the speaker, we maintain that she is entitled to them and is free to express her analysis on the issue, whatever that may be.”

Incredibly, the chairperson of last week’s event Aitemad Muhanna-Matar, a research fellow at the LSE’s Middle East Centre, then took the issue to new depths with her equating of Israelis and Nazis. She said to the online newspaper:

“These resistance military actions were done in the western history by the IRA, during the American and French revolutions. At a lesser extent, Jews resisted against the Nazist (sic) kidnappers, but faced certain death, the same as Palestinians who committed violence against the Israelis certainly face certain death.”

LSE’s Jewish Society lodged a formal complaint over that remark. Samiha Begum, LSE Student Union Black and Minority Ethnics Students Officer, defended Muhanna-Matar by explaining “She doesn’t compare the regimes she compares the resistance.”

Meanwhile, Zena Agha wrote on her own blog that I had accused her of “urging the audience to see ISIS in a different light – an accusation made all the more hurtful given that my cousin was killed by ISIS activities in Baghdad six months ago and my family is still in mourning.”

I am sorry for Zena’s loss. However, Zena did say just that. She told the audience not to adopt the Western narrative about ISIS.

I will keep you updated on the results of the investigations.

But let’s be clear. Imagine how our universities would look if whenever there was an event one side falsely accused the other of weaponising rape and then went on to glorify those who kill.

And more to the point not only did two Israeli soldiers lose their lives in Mehaidli’s suicide bombing but Mehaidli lost hers also at the tender age of 16.

Three families are still in mourning for the needless loss of loved ones. That is, in effect, what Baker glorified last week.

On a brighter note as a result of my blog about the event Baker’s sickening glorification was reported in Saturday’s Times. On Page 13 the headline read: Suicide Bomber was praised by LSE speaker

The Times reported that Baker “called for applause for Sana’a Mehaidli” and that she said her attack was “worthy of a standing ovation”. The Times also reported that LSE’s Jewish Society and the Israel Society lodged complaints prompting investigations by LSE’s governance, legal and policy division.