Category Archives: anti-Semitism

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.

Israeli deaths glorified at LSE on Holocaust Memorial Day.

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

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

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau but last night at the London School of Economics at a joint Palestine Society and Feminist Society event Israelis were portrayed as rapists and those who killed Israelis were applauded.

In front of a banner that read “Towards Freedom and Independence the Uprising Continues” a panel of four women described the role Palestinian women should play in the “uprising”.

Rana B. Baker, a student at SOAS who also writes for the Electronic Intifada, said Leila Khaled‘s “hijacking of planes was amazing”. The only problem, Baker said, was that Khaled had now aligned herself with the Assad regime.

Baker reserved her highest admiration for Sana’a Mehaidli who she said “deserves a standing ovation”. She told how, in 1985 in south Lebanon, Mehaidli “drove a car full of explosives and blew it up near an Israeli convoy killing two Israeli soldiers and injuring between 10 and 12 more.”

Baker described Mehaidli  as “the first female to carry out a suicide bombing in south Lebanon” and said Mehaidli was “more admirable for not being well-known and for not being Palestinian”.

Baker concluded by saying that Mehaidli’s “will calls for men and women to armed struggle against a colonial regime based on violence”.

Zena Agha portrayed Israelis as rapists of Palestinian women (see footage below). She said that “in Israel the view of Palestinian women is very derogatory and that rape had become a very prevalent idea. Rape for Israelis was almost a weapon of war against Palestinian women.”

She quoted Mordechai Kedar’s controversial “rape as terror deterrent” statement which, she said, was “illuminating about Israeli democracy”. She also described a sign in an Israeli coastal town which, apparently, read “Pound Their Mothers” as having “sexual connotations”.

She urged the student audience not to adopt western narratives about Hamas, Hizbollah and ISIS etc. who, she said, are all referred to as “terrorists”. She complained that “calling Hamas ‘terrorists’ robs them of any agency and delegitimises them”.

Mezna Qato, a research fellow at Cambridge University, said that boycotting Israel “is a small but powerful tactic that allows women to be lifted up by the spirit of the Palestinian struggle”.

And the event was chaired by Aitemad Muhanna-Matar, a research fellow at the LSE’s Middle East Centre, who said that the Palestinians had no choice “but to sacrifice their bodies” and that “radical Jewish settlers are more a threat to Israel than the Palestinians”.

It was a truly sickening event the most frightening part of which was when Zena Agha proclaimed “We are the future leaders”.

I, for one, wouldn’t want to be living in this country should that ever come to pass.

And I only asked why Jews can’t live next to Palestinians on the West Bank….

GUPS representative, Martin Linton, Dibyesh Anand, Sarah Apps, Murad Qureshi

GUPS representative, Martin Linton, Dibyesh Anand, Sarah Apps, Murad Qureshi

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 ?”

Chaos ensued.

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.

The Poetry of Hizbullah.

To say that my question “Is this book pro-Hezbullah?” wasn’t well received on Tuesday night at SOAS is an understatement.

I was at the book launch of The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication written by Lina Khatib, Dina Matar and Atef Alshaer.

After I had asked my question Dina Matar said “I knew you were going to ask that” and Lina Khatib waved the book at me and said “Why don’t you read it?”

The book explains how Hizbullah has been successful in staying relevant since its 1982 inception by adapting itself to changing situations and communicating these adaptations through various means such as poetry and social media.

Hizbullah are poets? Who knew.

One can imagine: “To kill a Jew, or not to kill a Jew. That is the question.”

So, according to the authors, Hizbullah’s 1980s narrative was one of “victimisation” to attract Lebanon’s marginalised Shia Muslims.

During the 1990s it was one of “resistance” against Israel and connection with “Palestine”.

From 2000 onwards it was focused on “defence” after Israel had left south Lebanon with Hizbullah disseminating the narrative that the Lebanese army is not strong enough to defend Lebanon from Israel.

Now Hizbullah is back to a “victimisation” theme after being implicated in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and also due to its fighting alongside Bashar Assad in Syria.

Dina Matar said that although Hasan Nasrallah has lost some credibility because of Syria he is still popular, and people in the Arab world listen out for his speeches.

She said there’s a sense that Nasrallah is “just like us, he’s approachable, he speaks the language of the people, he’s funny, he jokes and he’s humble in appearance”.

If this is true then it is a sad indictment on the Arab world that with Hasan Nasrallah complicit in the deaths of over 200,000 innocent Syrians he is still thought so highly of.

I wasn’t trying to be controversial when I asked whether this is a pro-Hizbullah book. I was concerned by this comment by Lina Khatib at the beginning of her presentation on the book to the large student audience:

“Books on Hizbullah seek to frame Hizbullah as a terrorist movement. This is primordial. We have evidence to the contrary. But this is the dominant discourse in America.”

Khatib lives in America. One might forgive Americans for thinking such a thing with the murder of 241 of their fellow citizens by Hizbullah in Beirut in 1983.

And what about the 200,000 dead in Syria and Hizbullah’s attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aeries in 1992 (29 dead) and on the AMIA builing in Buenos Aeries in 1994 (85 dead), the Burghas Airport bombing in Bulgaria in 2012 (6 dead) and Hasan Nasrallah, true to his word of going after Jews worldwide, is now targeting Jews in Peru.

This book is worth reading (if you can stomach the 30 page chapter on Hizbullah poetry) but only with a view to finding out how a modern day Nazi group, totally funded by Iran, portraying itself as a positive force continues to hold a beautiful country like Lebanon to ransom while bringing death and destruction both to Lebanon’s citizens and to Syria all with the final objective of destroying Israel and the Jewish people that live there.

Professor Joel Beinin: “Palestinians are the victims of the victims of the Holocaust.”

Joel Beinin and John Chalcraft in discussion last Tuesday at LSE.

Joel Beinin and John Chalcraft in discussion last Tuesday at LSE.

It must be November because because Joel Beinin, Professor of Middle East History at Stanford University, was in town. Last November Beinin was telling a SOAS audience that “Israel is heading into the abyss” and that Israel is putting Bedouin “into what would effectively be concentration camps”.

At LSE last Tuesday when asked during the Q&A after his talk “Why has the world stood by while Israel built the wall when we boycotted South Africa in the 80s?” Beinin replied, inter alia, that:

“The state of Israel is in some measure a response to western guilt for having sat on their hands during the murder of six million Jews. Now the Palestinians had nothing to do with that but, as Edward Said said, they are ‘the victims of the victims’.”

Beinin’s talk was called High Risk Activism and the Popular Struggle Against the Israeli Occupation in the West Bank and was chaired by well-known Israel boycotter Dr John Chalcraft under the auspices of LSE’s Middle East Centre.

The talk was mainly in support of Anarchists Against the Wall founded by Jonathan Pollak. It is a group of “anarchist Jews” who travel to Palestinian villages on the West Bank to join Palestinians protesting against Israel’s security wall in what they like to call “non-violent action”.

Sometimes these Israelis get hurt in confrontations with IDF soldiers as when Gil Na’amati was apparently shot and injured.

Unsurprisingly Beinin made no mention of why Israel built the wall. His talk  was like a parallel universe in which suicide bombings had never happened, in which Hamas did not exist and where the International Solidarity Movement was a force for good in the world.

When I raised this during the Q&A Beinin responded: “Had there not been that extremely harsh repression (by Israel) of the second Intifada there likely wouldn’t have been any suicide bombings”.

LSE’s student audience lapped up all this nonsense with one of them thanking Beinin for giving a “very balanced talk”. The lecture theatre was full with 200 students.

Meanwhile, the previous Tuesday I was at SOAS to hear William Mathew from the University of East Anglia give a talk under the auspices of the London Middle East Institute on British Policy and Arab Displacement in Palestine, 1915-23: Contingency, Imperialism, and Double-dealing.

Mathew described a state of affairs leading up to the Balfour Declaration of powerless Arab delegates up against powerful and racist British diplomats and Zionist Jews in London.

Despite the very strong current of anti-Semitism running through Britain’s political establishment Mathew said that Britain trusted European Jews more than the Arabs, who they “treated with contempt”, to defend Britain’s colonial interests in Suez and the trading routes to India.

According to Mathew Chaim Weizmann described Arabs who came to London to lobby British diplomats as a “body of potential blackmailers and trash”. And Mathew went into detail about how, in his view, Britain had reneged on its promises in the McMahon-Hussein correspondence of 1915-16.

During this Q&A I asked how, if Arab delegates were so powerless, did they manage to persuade world powers to carve trans-Jordan out of three-quarters of British Mandated Palestine? Mathew’s ridiculous response was “I don’t know”.

So there you have it. Two talks given at two outwardly respectable organisations: The Middle East Centre at LSE and the London Middle East Institute at SOAS. Both speakers gave two completely different reasons for the rise of Israel: For Beinin it was the Holocaust, for Mathew it was all down to the powerlessness of Arabs pitted against powerfully racist Brits and Zionist Jews.

And the theatre of hate continues apace. On Tuesday SOAS’ LMEI talk is about the “charismatic” Hassan Nasrallah. I kid you not.