Monthly Archives: November 2017

Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railways on Ch. 5: “Jewish people are good with money”.

What makes an editor leave in a comment such as “Jewish people are good with money”? And what makes the main presenter not pick up such a comment?

This was the scenario in Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railways shown on Channel 5 on Monday night when Tarrant visited Jordan and Israel. In Jordan he travelled the route of the now defunct Hejaz Railway and visited Petra.

As he entered Israel Tarrant’s mood became inexplicably darker. This was his first visit and in response to a sign stating “Welcome to Israel” he asked “Am I welcome?”

He said there’s more money in Israel and, thus, better railways than Jordan and explained Zionism in terms of the spiritual home of Jews for thousands of years. But he described the railways as helping to bring thousands of “settlers” into Israel when referring to those Jews.

Tarrant described railways as the centre of tensions between Arabs and Jews dating back to the “second Arab revolt” (1936 to 1939). He described that revolt being due to Arab frustration at the influx of Jews.

There was no mention of the Peel Commission in 1937 that offered Arabs a state on 80% of the land and which they rejected and the Jews accepted. And no mention of the revolt leading to the closing of the doors of British Mandate Palestine to Jews in 1939 which contributed to six million Jewish deaths by the Nazis.

Tarrant merely continued that Jewish groups then attacked the trains in the 1940s due to being frustrated by the British.

In Haifa he visited a Jewish hummous restaurant the owner of which, Adam, he described as an “upstart”, although he enjoyed Adam’s hummous.

He then went to an Arab-owned hummous restaurant across the road and was discussing the idea of a hummus war with the Jews when the Arab owner said (see clip above):

“Jewish people are good with money, with politics.”

Tarrant merely replied “Arabs are good with hummus.” It was a totally free pass for an old antisemitic trope.

Despite describing Israel as “war torn”, “on an almost constant war footing” and saying, when trying to board a train with soldiers, “machine guns add to the stress of the morning commute”, Tarrant enjoyed Haifa.

On the train to Tel Aviv Tarrant analysed the 1947 UN partition map showing the areas meant for Jews and those for Arabs. He described the idea being that both countries would “coexist peacefully together” before adding “It was never going to work, was it?”

Nothing about Arab rejectionism of partition for the second time in 10 years before five Arab countries attempted to annihilate Israel at birth.

Tarrant described Tel Aviv as “fanatastic” before repeatedly referring to it as a “bubble” because “along the coastline is the Gaza Strip notorious for its desperate poverty and governed by the Hamas Palestinian group.”

So Hamas were now given a free pass. No mention of Hamas’ violence, its antisemitic 1988 Charter and the oppression by it of its own people in Gaza.

Finally to Jerusalem and to what Tarrant called “the Wailing Wall”.

Having briefly layed his hand on the Wall with a look of utter bemusement he was more intent on showing us another wall.

He took a journey on the Jerusalem Light Railway and then gratuitously gave us the haters’ narrative that some see the railway as a “typical act of Israeli aggression as it runs through illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land”. He acknowledged that others see it as a great place for people of all races and religions to get together.

Then in front of what he called the “separation wall” he said “Israel claims it prevents terror attacks”. However, Tarrant again gratuitously presented the haters’ narrative that “others see it as racial segregation against Palestinians.”

Then signing off to camera Tarrant said “I’m British and I think it was us that started the whole thing.”

No, Chris. You should have blamed the problems on Hamas violence and Arab rejectionism but you gave that and an ancient antisemitic trope a free pass.

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Students at SOAS told that Zionists paraded dead and mutilated Arab bodies through Jerusalem.

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There is currently a hate-filled anti-Israel exhibition in the library at SOAS. It has been up since October 25th and finishes on November 30th. During this time thousands of SOAS students will have been subjected to sick lies about Israel.

One exhibit is a cake filled with M16 bullets supposed to represent the time an Arab girl baked a cake for her sister in “Fawwar refugee camp near Hebron” in 1967.

The exhibition is called Memory Metamorphosis: An Exhibition of Palestine Remembered. The exhibits are based on interviews with Palestinians.

The exhibition will transfer to the Menier Gallery from 5th to 9th December when it will be sponsored by anti-Israel charity War On Want.

The introduction to the exhibition states:

“There are 6 million Palestinians living in the diaspora; most were displaced or expelled over the past 68 years by war and occupation. When a people’s history, culture and existence are being altered, erased or appropriated, holding onto their memories and creating their own historical record…is empowering and can be seen as an act of resistance.”

This 6 million figure is highly questionable and no proof is supplied. 6 million is, however, the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust so one has to ask whether the real aim here is to create a shameful Holocaust equivalence.

Another exhibit, by Father Khader N. El-Yateem, titled A Longing Heart is a picture of hearts pricked with thorns. The description contains the statement:

“Life in Palestine has a lot of unique characteristics…Unfortunately, this life has been marred by the Israeli occupation, its checkpoints and the racist separation wall, which upsets the mood of anyone coming back to visit after a long absence.”

Obviously absent is the narrative that Israel had to build the wall to stop Hamas blowing up Israeli teenagers outside nightclubs like the Dolphinarium where 21 Israeli younsters were murdered.

On Thurdsay night I went to a discussion at SOAS about this exhibition chaired by SOAS lecturer Rafeef Ziadah. On her panel were two of the artists; Jacqueline Reem Salloum and Suhel Nafar. Also on the panel was Hazem Jamjoum from New York University.

Jamjoun explained that someone they tried to interview for the exhibition had lived in Deir Yassin. Jamjoun told the audience what apparently happened there:

“There was a retributory attack on Deir Yassin. The bodies of the people who were killed and mutilated were then paraded around the Zionist neighbourhoods of western Jerusalem. It was a very intentional psychological warfare of getting stories of murder, rape and killing pregnant women to go far because it would scare and was extremely effective.”

A new book describes there being nothing of the sort having happened at Deir Yassin.

Jacqueline Reem Salloum told us how upset she was seeing Israelis cooking falafel which she described as being “our food”. She needs reminding that Jews have been living in Israel for over 2,000 years so it has been Israeli food also. She also told us that her cake exhibit was made of decommissioned bullets bought off the internet. So not even Israeli bullets, which kind of defeats her point.

She said they’d eventually expand the exhibition to include interviewees from Syria, Iraq and Yemen. I doubt that will come to fruition. Why would they want to dilute their anti-Israel propaganda?

Meanwhile it’s unsurprising War On Want are involved, again wasting resources that should be going to those in need on sick political agitprop instead. And the Menier Gallery is complicit in this by its hosting.

Banksy-inspired film that demonises Jews is shown at SOAS.

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Jews are about to be demonised in the soon to be released From Balfour To Banksy, a new documentary film by Martin Buckley. In it Jews are portrayed as Nazis, thieves and thinking they’re the superior race.

Buckley is ex-BBC and now senior lecturer in journalism at Southampton Solent University. In From Balfour To Banksy, which was shown at SOAS on Monday night, he interviews Palestinians living next to Israel’s security wall. His cameraman/editor is Alexander Wilks, a 23-year-old graduate just out of film school. The producer is Miranda Pinch, a Christian-believing Jewish woman.

Soon into the film we hear a Palestinian describe Gaza as a “child concentration camp”. This evokes the image of Jews as Nazis.

We are also sold the lie that “Jewish-only highways feed the settlements”. Then, after more accusations that Israel is an “apartheid state”, Buckley says:

“It’s surely amazing that Israel, built by the survivors of Hitler’s Holocaust, could be accused of the notorious human rights violation that scars South Africa. But for over a decade critics outside and inside Israel, Jews as well as Arabs, have been accusing Israel’s right-wing governments of practising apartheid. Shocking as the accusation of apartheid is it has serious formal backing.”

In Jerusalem Buckley then finds a Jewish-Israeli family who invite him over for dinner. One of the family members tells Buckley that Israeli children are taught in school: “We are the chosen ones, everyone else is beneath us.” This false accusation is an antisemitic trope.

The scene moves to Tel Aviv where we are told “Palestinians have lived for hundreds of years”, eventhough Tel Aviv was founded in 1909. Buckley interviews Palestinian students at Tel Aviv University.  The claim is made that TAU is built over a Palestinian village.

A student tells him that when Palestinians had left their houses in Tel Aviv Jews simply chose which ones they wanted to live in. She said they “found gold and money” in these houses. It was also claimed that Palestinians are not allowed to tend their graves there.

There were some disturbing scenes of Israeli soldiers hitting Palestinians. The scenes were possibly culled from the websites of Breaking The Silence and B’Tselem. We are not told what, if any, criminal action was taken against the soldiers.

These scenes end with Israeli soldier Elor Azaria shooting dead a Palestinian terrorist in Hebron. It merely looks as if Azaria has shot dead an innocent Palestinian. There is no explanation, no context and no information about Azaria’s manslaughter conviction and jail sentence.

In another scene Buckley stands in front of a building and claims that on its balcony a Palestinian child was shot dead. We don’t get to see who the child was or learn his or her name, just that the child was “taken out” by an Israeli soldier.

Buckley then stays at Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem. It’s situated next to the security wall. The hotel contains, inter alia, a statue of Lord Balfour and cheesy souvenirs from England like Lady Diana bric-a-brac. Buckley thinks this symbolises “the little Englandism of Brexit”.

The film ends claiming Israel “sells weapons to dictatorships and rogue regimes”.

Throughout the film there is no criticism whatsoever of Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups or interviews with Israeli victims of their bombings which would put the security wall in context.

During the Q&A I asked Buckley whether he found the reference to Gaza being a “child concentration camp” offensive. He merely answered that what was offensive was Palestinians living behind a wall.

He also said that many Palestinian views didn’t make it into the film for fear of offending. I’m not sure what could be more offensive than considering Gaza a “child concentration camp”.

With about 10 minutes left of the Q&A things got heated. Eventually some Israeli flags came out and Am Israel Chai was sung. I’m happy to report myself and others then had some decent discussions with other audience members.

Meanwhile, Wilks would do himself a favour by splitting from Buckley and Pinch while the film is still a rough cut. Its vile antisemitic rhetoric shouldn’t see the light of day again.

Anti-Israel meeting at SOAS stopped by peaceful pro-Israel protest.

Mike Cushman speaking at University London Union in 2012.

Mike Cushman speaking at University London Union in 2012.

Whenever I ask a question at SOAS it’s usually accompanied by abuse coming my way. For example, after asking a perfectly reasonable question in 2012 SOAS lecturer Gilbert Achcar accused me of being a “professional disruptor” and then falsely accused me of leaving insulting messages on his phone.

On Tuesday night at SOAS it was completely different and uplifting.

The members of the panel were Tony Lerman and ex-teacher Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi. Chairing was academic Mike Cushman who has more than a touch of Larry David about him in both look and mannerism. The subject of the evening was a new book they had contributed to called On Antisemitism.

The room of 50 sat relatively quiet listening to Lerman explain how “non-violent activism” like boycott, divestment and sanctions againt Israel (BDS) are under attack in America. And he quoted Judith Butler who claims that accusations of antisemitism, like those against BDS and anti-Zionists, “are meant to cause pain.”

Lerman went on to claim that “supremacist Zionism” attacks Israel’s internal critics like B’tselem and Breaking The Silence and he attacked the “notorious definition of antisemitism” adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance which he felt was “an attack on pro-Palestinian activism”.

Wimborne-Idrissi read out her favourite parts of the book one of which was about how American Jews have now placed themselves within the “tent of whiteness” due to their identifying with a “white supremacist Israel dominated by white Ashkenazi Jews”.

Cushman allowed me to ask a question and so I put it to Lerman how it could be that BDS, which calls for the right of return of some five million so-called Palestinian refugees, can be considered anything other than violently antisemitic when such a return would result in the demographic demise of the only Jewish state.

To my pleasant astonishment I received a large round of applause from the back of the room; a first after 10 years of blogging these events. I was embarrassed, but nicely so.

Lerman answered that he had never met a Palestinian who wanted to actually return to Israel, only that that they should have their rights recognised.

The evening then quickly disintegrated soon after a young South Korean man stood up to ask about the comparison between Israel and North Korea. Even Cushman told him to sit down.

Lerman again complained about the “demonisation” of BDS after which someone called out “What about the way you demonise Israel?”. Jonathan Hoffman then accused Wimborne-Idrissi of making light of antisemitism live on LBC Radio.

More interruptions followed before five Israeli flags were produced and accompanied by a beautiful rendition of Am Israel Chai.

Cushman, now channeling his inner Larry David, stood up, slammed the table and demanded silence. But silence there came none. So he called the police.

Once SOAS security appeared at the door the pro-Israel group left peacefully.

The meeting resumed but the attendance was now thoroughly depleted. And in a surprising show of contrition Wimborne-Idrissi attempted to answer Jonathan Hoffman’s accusation. She admitted her LBC interview “wasn’t my finest hour”.

As for that peaceful interruption of Israeli singing and flag waving I find it highly ironic than when I sit silently and wait patiently to be called to ask a reasonable question I am labeled a “disruptor” anyway. Those attending these vile events to put forward Israel’s case are criticised whatever we do, however well we behave. Such smears won’t stop us attending though.

(For more reflection on Tuesday evening’s events read Jonathan Hoffman)

Palestine Solidarity Campaign smears the Holocaust on anti-Balfour Declaration protest in London.

 

“Zionist Media Covers Up Palestinian Holocaust”

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign cannot kick its smearing-the-Holocaust habit. A banner proclaiming the media is, basically, Jewish-controlled and that Jews are, basically, Nazis (see above) was proudly paraded on the PSC’s anti-Balfour Declaration march through London today. There was no objection to it from any PSC stewards.

Added to that a woman wearing a Palestinian flag kept repeating there were “concentration camps” in Palestinian villages (part 1 below) and repeatedly accused a Jewish man holding a British flag of being “the anti-Christ” (part 2 below):

Smearing the Holocaust is a common theme now at PSC events and anti-Israel events generally.

As the some 3,000 PSC activists proceeded down Oxford Street a group of about 30 pro-Israel campaigners stepped into the road in front of the march and put a stop to it for about 30 minutes before the police finally moved everyone on allowing the protest to end up in Parliament Square where it was addressed by Jeremy Corbyn MP and Diane Abbott MP (via a live link), Ken Loach, Andy Slaughter MP, Salma Yaqoob and Dave Randall, amongst others.

The pro-Israel group were also called “Zionist pigs” by PSC activists but here they are in their full glory:

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More peaceful disruptions to these anti-Semitic marches through London will undoubtedly rightly follow.

Here are some other photos from the PSC march. As you can see the slogans incorporate Holocaust smearing, the Star of David, the blood libel, child killing, supporting violence against Israelis and also willing Israel’s destruction and are, of course, the slogans the above-named British politicians and celebrities will have stood in front of while addressing the PSC supporters in Parliament Square.

That’s quite a chilling prospect for Britain’s 280,000 Jews:

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