Category Archives: Israel

Why you might not want to donate to Sport Relief (especially if you’re Jewish).

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War On Want Executive Director John Hilary at anti-Israel rally in 2014.

Today is Sport Relief (brought to us by Comic Relief) with millions of people throughout the country raising money for charity. It is set to dominate the BBC TV tonight.

It is a tragic question but one has to ask how much of these funds are used properly?

Comic Relief makes grants to certain charities one of which is War On Want whom I have been writing about for many years now and, in particular, its executive director John Hilary.

John Hilary’s War On Want has been spending War On Want time and precious resources on targeting one specific country; Israel. You know, the country that also happens to be the only Jewish one.

John Hilary’s behaviour has seen War On Want used to invade Sainsbury’s with activists removing Israeli produce from the shelves, produce fake guns so anti-Israel students can parade around campuses pretending to be Israeli soldiers, and sponsor meetings where speakers have suggested, inter alia, that Israel harvests organs from dead Palestinians and that “Palestinians live in apartheid ghettos“.

All disgusting lies of course with the sole intent of demonising the Jewish state.

A recent War On Want press release again talks of “Israeli Apartheid”. The accusation that Israel practices apartheid is a disgusting lie that only minimises the seriousness of the actual practice of apartheid.

One can also buy clothes on War On Want’s website with horrific anti-Israel slogans on them (see below).

And above you can see keffiyeh wearing John Hilary at an anti-Israel rally in 2014 which even attracted one anti-Israel demonstrator wearing a shirt comparing “Palestine” to the Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz and Dachau (see below).

One might have hoped Comic Relief would have relented from funding charities which squander scarce resources on crude, vulgar and racist political activism, but in response to its letter to Comic Relief Israel Advocacy Movement received this response:

Dear Joseph,

Thank you for your email and for bringing your thoughts to our attention.

As part of our commitment to pursuing our vision of a just world free from poverty, Comic Relief provides a number of grants to organisations that work to support slum dwellers and street vendors in some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities, as part of our People Living in Urban Slums programme. This includes grants to three projects run by War on Want – two projects in South Africa and one other in Kenya. Comic Relief has never made a grant to projects in, or relating to, Palestine or Israel and is not involved with War on Want’s campaigning work in this area.

The projects we fund War on Want to carry out help slum dwellers and street vendors to secure lasting improvements in their working and living conditions, avoid exploitation and get their voices heard in local issues such as housing and access to basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity.

We closely monitor all our grants to ensure the money is spent to good effect as outlined in the grant application and are reassured that the funds we have given to War on Want have been spent on appropriate project activities. As our grant-making policies state, we do not fund campaigning work that takes a partisan political stance. Comic Relief takes particular care to respect the guidance and regulation set out by the Charity Commission of England and Wales and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator around funding political activity and we expect all charities we fund to do likewise.

So, thank you once again for bringing your thoughts to our attention, but we are satisfied that the work we are supporting War on Want to do is making a real difference to the lives of slum dwellers and street vendors in Kenya and South Africa.

Best wishes,

Mark Hoult-Allen
Head of Grants Operations
——
Comic Relief

As you can read Comic Relief admits to continuing to fund War On Want and although the funding might not relate directly to anti-Israel political activism Comic Relief’s grant allows War On Want to divert resources that should have been used to help slum-dwellers to projects that demonise Israel instead.

At a time of rising anti-Semitism in the UK it is a shame that Comic Relief/Sport Relief funding is indirectly contributing to War On Want’s continued demonisation of the Jewish state and possible further attacks on British Jews.

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At same anti-Israel rally as War on Want’s Executive Director John Hilary in 2014.

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Currently available on War On Want’s website.

 

 

Israelis accused of rape and organ harvesting at SOAS.

Last night SOAS lecturer Rafeef Ziadah hosted SOAS’ first “Israel Apartheid Week” panel event in front of 300 students and it wasn’t long before the sickening propaganda started flying.

Sahar Francis of Addameer, a prisoner support group, said that Palestinian hunger striker Islam Hamed was threatened with rape by his guards and that Israel’s prison authorities hoped he would die so the courts would implement a “forced feeding bill”.

She continued that Israel has been rumoured to harvest organs from its own car accident victims and from dead Palestinians. However, she said, she couldn’t confirm this (search Israel Advocacy Movement on Facebook to see the video of Francis).

Steven Salaita, an American author, who was once hired and immediately fired by an American university was also on the panel. He claimed last night this was because his course, in which he would humanise indigenous Americans, was too emotional for Americans to cope with.

He spent most of his 20 minutes last night viciously attacking those who support Israel. He asked what a student should do when someone expresses a visceral attachment to Israel. He answered:

“Allow a Zionist’s internal conflict to exist. Exacerbate it!”

He said that “humanising Palestinians undermines the Zionist project” and so Zionists associate Palestinians with Hitler and “have a fear of binationalism which is actual democracy” (this drew huge applause and cheers).

He continued that “Israel directs so much of its violence at children and takes more Palestinian land for water and agriculture”.

He then mused on the symbolism of Palestinians throwing stones. He said there’s a miniscule chance of harm from stones (although tell that to the family of Asher Palmer who was killed along with his one year old son when a Palestinian thrown rock smashed through their car windscreen).

He said Israelis see stone-throwing as “an act of rejection” and that “stones assume primordial importance and an existential anxiety”.

He then compared the indigenous Americans to the Palestinians and spoke about his forthcoming book on the topic. I called out at the end of the Q&A why we shouldn’t be boycotting both himself and America to which he just gave me a vacant smile.

Black Students’ Officer, Malia Bouattia, was also on the panel fresh from her appearance on Channel 4 News when Jon Snow flummoxed her when he asked her which other countries besides Israel she was boycotting.

I asked her again. She replied that when the call comes from Saudi Arabians to boycott Saudi Arabia then she will. She obviously doesn’t know what happens to protesters in Saudi Arabia.

The event was sponsored by War On Want, yet again, and I confronted WOW executive director John Hilary at the end telling him how disgusting it was that WOW uses resources that should help disabled people on anti-Semitic events instead.

The evening became more farcical when six police officers appeared led by a middle-aged woman pointing them towards me saying I have orders against me and am banned from the area for disrupting a funeral!

The police were very, very nice towards me though. They had no idea why they were called or who called them.

It would have been nice to have leaflets to give out; something I have always asked for. As students filed out I told them “Don’t believe the lies, there are two sides to every story”. Many stopped and wanted to know the other side but I and my contemporaries had no leaflets and so some 300 students went home believing Israelis rape prisoners and harvest organs from dead bodies.

“Israeli Apartheid Week” continues for the next two weeks at SOAS where there is an exhibition of photos of Palestinian rock-throwers and dead Palestinians with claims that they have been “executed” by Israel. All this is going virtually unchallenged as is the case throughout the country.

Police called to SOAS event last night but they didn't know why.

Police called to SOAS event last night but they didn’t know why.

I ask my question to Israeli Arab MK visiting London through a torrent of abuse.

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Malia Bouattia, Dr. Durgham Saif, Baroness Hussein-Ece, Dr. Yousef T. Jabareen, Ben White

There was a burning question at the back of my mind when two highly successful Israeli Arabs came to London today to tell a crowd of 100 people at the P21 Gallery how oppressive Israel is towards its Arab citizens which make up 20% of Israel’s population.

For one hour I sat listening to Israeli Arab MK Dr. Yousef T. Jabareen tell us how Israel “treats its indigenous people as second and third class citizens” and how “Israeli law is similar to the racial classification during racial apartheid in America” and how Israel is “a Jewish state for its Arab citizens but a democracy only for its Jewish citizens”.

He told us how there’s a big difference in the education, welfare and infrastructure budgets between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs. Nine to one, apparently.

I listened to Liberal Democrat Baroness Hussein-Ece OBE, who was chairing the event, complain that “a country that claims to be a democracy deprives people of freedom of speech”.

While Dr. Durgham Saif said “Israel is a fine democracy, but only for Jews” and how “Israel appropriates Palestinian land and Judaises it by transferring it to Jews” and that “We are the Indians of America”.

Then Malia Bouattia,the Black Students’ Officer of the National Union of Students, compared Israel’s apparent oppressive treatment of its Arab citizens to the UK’ “targeting of Muslims and pro-Palestine activists”. She claimed that “UK Muslims find their democratic freedoms are comprehensively stripped”.

And she seriously thinks that in this country “discussion about Palestine is all but illegitimate” which she blamed on “the Zionist and Neocon lobbies”.

Ben “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are” White was the final speaker. He referred to Israel as the “so-called Jewish state” before calling for Israel to become a “state of all it citizens, not a Jewish state”.

Then I had my arm up for another 55 minutes during the Q&A. The Baroness called everyone else in the room who wished to ask a question but ignored me. I asked if I could ask a question but she again ignored me. I then asked her why she was ignoring me and suggested she was doing it purposely to which she replied she didn’t know who I was.

So with two minutes left I rose and spoke. I just about managed to ask Dr. Yousef T. Jabareen how could he accuse Israel of oppressing its Arab citizens, of being undemocratic and of so underfunding the Israeli Arab education system when he himself was a Member of Parliament, a lecturer at the University of Haifa and Tel-Hai Academic College, had studied in Washington and was now here in London verbally attacking Israel?

I received such loud boos, hisses and abuse as I stood there that I swiftly took my seat. Needless to say I would have asked the same of Dr Durgham Saif, Professor at Al-Quds University in Abu-Dis, who also studied and lectured in Washington and who is a member of the Israeli Bar Association.

But by then I had already been shouted at by the Baroness for “disrespecting the meeting”.

In fairness to Dr Jabareen he listened to my question and answered, albeit unsatisfactorily. He simply complained that he was not allowed to visit the Al Aqsa Mosque and that many Israeli Arab leaders were banned from leaving Israel.

Meanwhile P21 itself is quickly becoming a hub of hate with constant anti-Israel lectures to the wider public. During the Q&A a young Romanian woman said she loved Jewish culture but not what Israel was doing to the Palestinians and she asked what she could do to help. Malia Bouattia said she should join the BDS movement.

One audience member did ask why we don’t hear from the other side to which Ben White, laughably, responded that Israel’s message is dominant in the media so there is no need to have any balance at events like today’s.

In 20 years time the lunatics in these audiences lapping up this extreme anti-Israel propaganda will have taken over the asylum so I just don’t understand why our supposed Jewish leadership organisations (JLC, BICOM, ZF, Board of Deputies etc.) are abdicating all responsibility where these horrendous events are concerned.

Police prevent activists smashing into Ami Ayalon talk at King’s.

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I was patiently queuing for Ami Ayalon’s joint KCL and LSE Israel Societys’ talk outside the Norfolk Building of King’s College, London tonight. I had arrived early and was near the front of the queue but soon the doors were closed as the room held only 50.

50 to 60 people were left shut outside on the street, among them 15 fuming anti-Israel activists who had planned to get in and disrupt the talk.

These activists from SOAS, KLC and LSE Palestine Societies had already handed out leaflets attacking Ami Ayalon and Israel. But with their being shut outside chaos ensued with the police being called.

Ayalon was head of Israel’s Shin Bet between 1996 and 2000 and then served as a Labour MK. He also launched a peace initiative called The People’s Voice. He’s now in the UK being whisked around by Yachad to give various talks, the gist of which seem to be Israel needs to mend its ways.

The activists’ leaflets, after falsely incriminating Ayalon and Shin Bet in war crimes, accused Ayalon of being “overtly racist” for supporting a two state solution because this implies “Israeli Jews must always be a majority…due to a fear of losing the ethnic and colonial supremacy Israel has enjoyed since 1948”.

As soon as the doors shut the frustrated anti-Israel activists pounded the doors and the windows looking into the talk. They screamed “Free Free Palestine”, “Viva Viva Palestina” and “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be free” and smashed a window.

They then climbed the windows to unfurl a banner. A fire alarm was set off and eventually police vans and police cars pulled up and 20 police constables protected the building.

Ayalon’s talk lasted an hour. Ironically, Ayalon was talking in front of a white board describing the rules for “safe spaces” at universities. But there is no “safe space” for an Israeli-Jew at British universities.

Maybe after tonight so-called peaceniks like Ayalon will realise that Israeli Jews like himself are not hated for the way he thinks they behave but simply for who they are; citizens of the Jewish state.

Clip (with smashed window) from tonight:

Photos from tonight:

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Richard Burden MP, the anti-Israel troll?

Richard Burden, a Labour Member of Parliament for a Birmingham constituency, accuses me of being a troll. He tweeted as much on 29th December (see below).

All I have been doing is pointing out to him the amount of time he dedicates to undermining Israel as opposed to helping the people in his constituency.

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Burden’s twitter profile describes him as “Labour MP & community advocate for Birmingham Northfield. Shadow Minister for aviation, shipping, strategic networks & road safety.”

As you can see there is no mention of Israel in his job description. Yet, a large proportion of his tweets are spent dedicated to attacking Israel.

Obviously, the time he spends attacking Israel on twitter is less time for him to spend on thinking about how to improve the lives of the good people of Birmingham Northfield.

Considering his salary is paid for partly by the people of Birmingham Northfield, via their taxes, surely he should dedicate his time to working for them as well as fulfilling his shadow ministry duties.

Only yesterday (30th December) Burden was attacking Israel yet again.

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AP Jerusalem correspondent Matti Friedman describes Breaking The Silence like this:

Today, like B’Tselem and others, it’s a group funded in large part by European money which serves mainly to provide international reporters with the lurid examples of Israeli malfeasance that they crave. They are not speaking to Israelis, but are rather exploiting Israelis’ uniquely talkative and transparent nature in order to defame them.

Over the next year I will publish on this page all of Richard Burden’s tweets about Israel. Then we can see who the real troll is; myself for merely pointing them out or Richard Burden MP in his constant trolling of the Jewish state.

The people of Birmingham Northfield can then decide whether Burden is more dedicated to working for them or to defaming the Jewish state.

Oh, did I mention that Burden met Hamas in 2007? As we know Hamas, in its own words, is dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state as well as to every single Jewish person whether in Israel or not (see Article 7 of the Hamas Charter).

In the meantime wishing you a happy new year and thank you for visiting here over the last year.

Israel accused of possible “genocide” by Arab Organisation for Human Rights.

Last night the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK held a meeting called “Violence and Conflict in Jerusalem: Examining the recent spike in violence towards Palestinians and the plight of Jerusalem’s historic sites” at the Holiday Inn in London’s Bloomsbury.

Despite the remarkably biased title the main reason to go was to hear Labour MP Gerald Kaufman who was due to speak. It would have been an opportunity to ask Kaufman about his recent comment that “Jewish money” is influencing British government policy and to see if he might consider making an apology at last.

Unfortunately, Kaufman couldn’t make it to the event due to ongoing parliamentary matters.

It was still an opportunity to catch up on the latest anti-Israel propaganda being disseminated by academics like Ilan Pappe, activists like Adeeb Ziadah and lawyers like Carl Buckley (who was chairing the event) and Toby Cadman who both regularly brief against Israel.

University of Exeter lecturer Ilan Pappe started proceedings off by claiming that Israel’s political party Jewish Home (Bayit Ha-Yehudi) is intent on destroying the Al Aqsa Mosque and replacing it with another Jewish temple.

He said that 20 years ago he would not have worried about this except that now Jewish Home is part of the Israeli government. Pappe also claimed that a major Israeli NGO (which he did not name) directed towards the rebuilding of a Jewish temple is funded by both the Israeli government and American Jews.

Israeli school children, including his own children, according to Pappe, are forced to visit this NGO to hear about the building of this Jewish temple in place of the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Pappe concluded by describing Israel’s “contempt for Islam”, Israel’s continued “Judaisation” of Jerusalem and he listed mosques that Israel has, since 1948, turned into, inter alia, restaurants, nightclubs, synagogues and yeshivas.

The most surreal part of the evening was when activist Adeeb Ziadah showed a video of the Neturei Karta calling for the end of Israel.

Ziadah seemed to find it highly amusing that a Jewish person was expressing sentiments better than any Muslim person could (see near end of clip below for Ziadah’s delight).

Ziadah also showed a procession of slides portraying how important the Al Aqsa Mosque is for Palestinians, how Palestinians “sacrifice themselves” for the Al Aqsa Mosque as a matter of “national dignity and religious obligation” and how the Western Wall actually belongs to Muslims (see below also).

Finally, lawyer Toby Cadman cited a list of war crimes Israel could be accused of by the International Criminal Court. He kept mentioning “genocide” which prompted my question during the Q&A as to how there can be “genocide” when the Palestinian population, we are repeatedly told, continues to grow apace with Gaza being, according to some, “the most densely populated place on earth”.

His response was that “genocide” can still occur even if a population is increasing.

Jonathan Hoffman then asked why the panel had overlooked Mahmoud Abbas’ incitement that “Jews should not be allowed to defile the Al Aqsa Mosque with their filthy feet”.

Ilan Pappe claimed that he had not heard Abbas say this and that he wasn’t sure if this amounted to incitement anyway.

However, Pappe thought that “the occupation” was enough on its own for young Palestinians to “take fate into their own hands” and become violent (hear both Jonathan’s question and Pappe’s response here).

The audience at the event was surprisingly small with only about 20 people present and it felt supportive to have quite a few pro-Israel activists there as well.

In fact we made up about a quarter of the audience so the Arab Organisation for Human Rights should really thank us for swelling their numbers for them.

Slides shown by Adeeb Ziadah:

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Author Tom Sperlinger: “Poem about ‘Zionist SS’ is not anti-Semitic.”

Tome Sperlinger reading from his Romeo and Juliet in Palestine on Thursday.

Tome Sperlinger reading from his Romeo and Juliet in Palestine on Thursday.

Tom Sperlinger is the author of a new book Romeo and Juliet in Palestine: Teaching Under Occupation. He launched the book last Thursday at Blackwell’s bookshop in the Institute of Education.

Sperlinger is Reader in English and Community Engagement at the University of Bristol and this is his first book. He has also been a regular contributor to the Guardian on education issues and his new book was reviewed in that very newspaper.

In 2013 Sperlinger taught English literature at the Abu Dis campus of Al Quds University for a term. The book is an account of his time there and the affinity he built up with Palestinian students while teaching them works like Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet.

Zero Books, his publisher which also published Gilad Atzmon’s anti-Semitic book The Wandering Who?, are selling it as an academic memoir with important questions like: “What does it mean to read under occupation? What might such encounters reveal about the nature of pedagogy and the role of university?”

However, from what I read of the book at the event it is just another anti-Israel diatribe which will now go into bookshops and libraries and onto student reading lists.

Before going into Sperlinger’s account of his time at Abu Dis the book opens with the usual biased account of Israel’s creation. Anti-Israel author Ilan Pappe is heavily quoted and Sperlinger mentions Ali Abunimah and Jeff Halper, both anti-Israel propagandists, for their writings on the so-called one state solution.

Sperlinger goes on to describe an Israeli soldier kicking a Palestinian child as the child is going to visit his father’s grave (P. 108). He also describes how he helped in the translation of the play Seven Jewish Children when it is staged by Palestinian students at Abu Dis (P. 65).

Seven Jewish Children is a very short anti-Semitic play which portrays Jews as slowly metamorphosing from being victims of the Holocaust into baby-killers.

When I put this to him Sperlinger didn’t agree Seven Jewish Children is anti-Semitic. He also didn’t agree that a poem by Tom Paulin is anti-Semitic.

Paulin has given an endorsement of Romeo and Juliet in Palestine for its front cover. I questioned Sperlinger about the poem and whether he might consider having Paulin’s endorsement removed in light of it. Sperlinger said he didn’t find Paulin’s poem anti-Semitic.

Here’s Paulin’s poem with its preceding quote as printed in the Guardian in 2001:

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CAMERA pointed out at the time: “While he (Paulin) condemns Zionists as Nazi murderers, his usage of the term “dumb goys” echoes Hitler’s similar use of it in Mein Kampf.”

The CAMERA article states that the quote chosen by Paulin to precede his poem is also anti-Semitic.

Considering Sperlinger is a Reader in Community Engagement it would have been reassuring for the Jewish community to think that he at least had a problem with “Zionist SS”, “dumb goys”, “Zionists…nosing after blood” and Seven Jewish Children.

Sadly, it seems, this isn’t the case.

Blackwell's selling Sperlinger's book with Tom Paulin's endorsement on front cover.

Blackwell’s selling Sperlinger’s book with Tom Paulin’s endorsement on front cover.

Blackwell's know their audience.

Blackwell’s know their audience.