Category Archives: UK

The Guardian provides a platform for Daniel Barenboim to slam Israel.

Last week Aditya Chakrabortty interviewed Israeli, or to be more accurate Israeli and Palestinian, conductor Daniel Barenboim for the Classical music section of the Guardian.

In his article headlined “Daniel Barenboim on ageing, mistakes and why Israel and Iran are twin brothers” Chakrabortty included political views which would have been more at home in an opinion piece than the Classical music section.

Barenboim conducts the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a mix of Israeli and Arab musicians, which played at the London Proms last week prompting a 5 star review by the Guardian’s Andrew Clements. The review was delightfully free of politics.

Barenboim’s interview with Chakrabortty  goes into how and why the Orchestra came together in the first place, the perfectionist that Barenboim is, how hard he works his musicians and questions whether the Orchestra is actually achieving anything positive.

Then the interview enters its gratuitous political mode. After describing the insults Barenboim received after playing Wagner, the Nazis’ favourite composer, in Israel Chakrabortty writes

“For his part, the musician has called the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank “immoral” and backed a boycott of the Israeli government.”

I fail to see any connection between playing Wagner in Israel and what happens in Gaza and the West Bank but, for the record, Gaza is certainly not occupied after Israel withdrew in 2005. The European Court of Human Rights has said so and even Hamas, which is in full control of Gaza, admits it. Hamas has even been showing off how nice Gaza actually is.

I will give Barenboim the benefit of the doubt that he may have been referring, in error, to Israel’s legal naval blockade of Gaza but even then ships can dock at Ashdod and have goods transferred overland to Gaza after security checks.

And what did Barenboim mean when he “backed a boycott of the Israeli government”? This is the government Israelis voted in. Barenboim is proposing boycotting their democratic decision.

Chakrabortty writes that Barenboim holds “both Israeli and Palestinian nationalities” so why is Barenboim not calling for a boycott of the Palestinian government with its incitement against Jews via its Prime-Minister and official television outlet?

For Israel’s enemies “a boycott of the Israeli government” actually means a boycott of anyone who receives Israeli government support, which is why so few Israeli artists have visited the UK in recent years after the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra in 2011, Israel’s national theatre company in 2012 and Israel’s youth dance company also in 2012 had their London performances viciously interrupted by anti-Israel protesters.

Does Barenboim support these disruptions?

The interview then discusses Barenboim’s attempts to take his Orchestra to Tehran. Barenboim states:

“The Iranian government still denies the Holocaust – so you can’t take them seriously. And the Israeli government spreads rumours and disinformation about Iran – because it needs to for the creation of panic. I find these theological states – and in this respect Israel and Iran are twin brothers – very, very dangerous.”

Again, what is the connection? How can Barenboim seriously equate Holocaust denial from a government that hangs gays and Israeli government politics?

Let me provide the following possible explanation.

Anyone that plays Wagner at Israel’s premier music festival in Jerusalem and, in doing so, causes so much hurt and pain to Holocaust survivors will have no qualms selling out Israel in such a way to the Guardian.

(Also published at UKMediaWatch)

Tariq Ali: “The end of Israel will benefit all Israelis.”

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Arthur Goodman, Lindsey German, Walter Wolfgang, John Rose, chairperson, Weyman Bennett, Tariq Ali at ULU last night.

Just when you think you have heard it all along comes Tariq Ali to lecture Israelis on how the end of the Jewish state will benefit not only Palestinians but Israelis as well.

For Ali the main problem in Europe isn’t anti-Semitism but Islamophobia. He admitted there was some anti-Semitism in the Arab world but it was only brought about by reaction to Israel and that once Israel has disappeared antisemitism will disappear.

Ali was speaking last night at the University of London’s Student Union in front of an audience of 300 alongside anti-Israel author John Rose, Weyman Bennett of Unite Against Fascism, Lindsey German of Stop the War Coalition, Arthur Goodman of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and “As a Jew” activist Walter Wolfgang .

The main message of the evening was that antisemitism is being used merely to attack Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and to silence all criticism of Israel (aka the Livingstone formulation). Both John Rose and Ali then went on to explicitly call for the demise of Israel.

On entering we were handed an unsigned leaflet headed “Labour Jews Assert” which stated that “Some people…are wielding ‘antisemitism’ allegations as a stick to beat the Corbyn leadership”. Luckily, Jonathan Hoffman was on hand to circulate printed copies of the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism. EUMC shows that what these people claim isn’t antisemitism actually is!

Arthur Goodman said it wasn’t surprising that people conflate Jews and Israel when the British Jewish establishment says all Jews support Israel and Netanyahu says Israel represents all Jews.

He said that Jewish groups shouldn’t be allowed to define what antisemitism is as they have a vested interest. He called for an objective definition instead before going on to outrageously claim that Israel “ethnically cleansed” the Palestinians in 1948.

Goodman said that although the same had happened to the indigenous people of America their dispossession had finished long ago so it was wrong to revive any such similarity today. And he said for most UK Jews a love of Israel is part of their identity and so they see criticism of Israel as criticism of them.

Weymann Bennett said that Left was in the forefront of fighting antisemitism and gave as an example UAF’s protests against the leader of Jobbik when he visited the UK and he said similar protests will take place when Marine Le Pen visits.

Lindsey German didn’t like the fact that Israel’s new Ambassador Mark Regev was immediately allowed on Andrew Marr’s BBC show and said that this is going to happen a lot now (I hope she’s right!).

And she said that Zionism is a political ideology criticism of which should be allowed. She also said that many Jews do not support what Israel does (she didn’t say many Muslim people also don’t support what the Palestinians do).

Walter Wolfgang told us he was speaking “As a  Jew”. He gave us his own history of Zionism; he quoted Ahad Ha’am who, he said, wanted merely a cultural as opposed to a political centre in historic Israel, he (wrongly) claimed that in 1948 the Palestinians were “driven out of their habitations” and he (wrongly) asserted that Jabotinsky wanted Israel established by force of arms.

Wolfgang wanted Israel to exist but within the (indefensible) 1948-1967 ceasefire lines and a just settlement for “Palestinian refugees”.

The villains with the biggest lies of the evening were John Rose and Tariq Ali.

Ali (wrongly) claimed it was Israeli government policy to brand everyone who criticises Israel as antisemitic (see clip 1 below).

He also said that the way the Holocaust is “taught as a unique crime is not that helpful” because there were other crimes like in the Congo and if these other crimes are not taught in schools then no one will understand what the Muslims are suffering today (clip 2). And he continued:

“If what is being done with Muslim communities today were being done to the Jews again how many would tolerate it? Very few. And these are the double standards.” (clip 2)

He said that antisemitism is used to stop any campaigning against Israel but if there was a so-called one state solution then antisemitism and criticism of Israel would disappear and that Israelis and their children and grandchildren would benefit (clip 3).

Rose said he had spoken to an Israeli archaeologist who said the “Palestinians had all become Islamic terrorists”. This, Rose claimed, was symptomatic of the levels of racism in Israeli society today (clip 4).

Rose wanted (clip 5) there to be one person-one vote for Israelis and Palestinians including the so-called Palestinian refugees (90% of whom are not refugees at all by the way). Obviously Israelis would be outvoted so Rose is basically calling for the establishment of a 57th Muslim state in place of the only Jewish one.

Rose claimed that calling for a so-called one state solution isn’t antisemitic. However, in my opinion, denying the Jewish people their only state in their historic homeland (even when it could still be alongside a Palestinian one) can only be antisemitic especially when a boycott of Israel is also called for.

The superb Jonathan Hoffman took to the microphone during the Q&A to articulate Israel’s case under immense pressure (clip 6).

Last night there was no mention of Hamas and Hezbollah and their genocidal intent to destroy Israel and every Jewish person worldwide. Neither was it mentioned that Hezbollah flags are openly on display at Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop The War Campaign protests in London and that the Holocaust is flagrantly traduced.

This tells you ALL you need to know about PSC and STWC types however “anti-racist” they try to claim they are.

Relevant clips from last night:

Clip 1

Clip 2

Clip 3

Clip 4

Clip 5

Clip 6

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.

 

 

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.

Fanatics sing on despite racist protests as Maccabi Tel Aviv crash at Chelsea.

Chelsea and Maccabi Tel Aviv line up before kick off last night.

Chelsea and Maccabi Tel Aviv line up before kick off last night.

Chelsea and Maccabi Tel Aviv supporters were greeted with the usual racist scenes before and after last night’s UEFA Champions League match at Stamford Bridge which the Israeli side lost 4-0.

Maccabi Tel Aviv were never really in it as the step up to Champions League football after 11 absent years proved beyond them.

However, their 3000 traveling supporters, the Fanatics, jumped up and down and sang throughout the game. And they had a chance to celebrate when Eden Hazard blasted his penalty over the bar when the score was still 0-0.

Before the game about 8 to 10 anti-Israel activists outside the ground welcomed refugees but not the players of the Israeli side. And after the game a more aggressive group screamed for the destruction of Israel. The protests had little impact on the fans of both sides apart from being a little irritating.

The Chelsea programme had an interview with ex-Maccabi Tel Aviv player, now Chelsea’s Technical Director, Michael Emenalo who had good things to say about the Israeli club and Tel Aviv:

“Tel Aviv exceeded my expectations in every possible way. A lot of cities claim to be fun, but Tel Aviv was definitely a fun city. From a football point of view, the atmosphere was good and it got better when Maccabi played Hapoel Tel Aviv. You really feel the fever when they play each other in the Bloomfield Stadium, which they now share.”

Tough games against Dynamo Kiev and Porto are on the horizon and the return game against Chelsea in Israel is on November 24th.

The Fanatics will be enjoying their away days but it’s hard to see Maccabi Tel Aviv qualifying for the next stage.

Eden Hazard about to blast his penalty over the bar in front of the 3000 Fanatics.

Eden Hazard about to blast his penalty over the bar in front of the 3000 Fanatics.

At least look as if you're having fun.

At least look as if you’re having fun.

Surely a breach of copyright law. Anyone want to litigate?

Surely a breach of copyright law. Anyone want to litigate?

All dressed up, nowhere to go.

All dressed up, nowhere to go.

Cold, wet and miserable...

Cold, wet and miserable…

Watching you watching me.

Watching you watching me.

Isn't hanging signs from neck reminiscent of Jews during the Holocaust?

Isn’t hanging signs from neck reminiscent of Jews during the Holocaust?

Screaming for Israel's destruction after the match.

Screaming for Israel’s destruction after the match.

Neturei Karta hurl abuse at C4T’s anti-Iran protest.

Flor, Michelle, Ambrosine, Rachel and Sharon about to deliver the letter to No. 10.

Flor, Michelle, Ambrosine, Rachel and Sharon about to deliver the letter to No. 10.

Campaign For Truth activists went to 10 Downing Street today to protest the nuclear deal recently signed by America, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China with the Iranian regime which basically grants Iran the bomb after 10 years have expired. But that’s only if the mullahs don’t cheat earlier.

Letters of support, one of which was from Colonel Richard Kemp who commanded British forces in Afghanistan, were read out.

Colonel Kemp’s letter started: “I am sorry I am unable to be with you in London to support you in this important event. I thank you and congratulate you for making the effort to come here today to protest this truly ill-judged and dangerous agreement.”

He then described the Iranian regime as a “fascist, imperialist, totalitarian, murderous dictatorship”, criticised the release of funds that will “enable the Ayatollahs to expand their imperialist violence many times over” and said the Iranian mullahs are the “most duplicitous double-dealing and deceitful regime in history”.

Then just as C4T representatives were about to deliver a letter to David Cameron the Neturei Karta extremists suddenly appeared brandishing an Iranian flag and a Palestinian one. They spent 20 minutes yelling “Israelhell” and telling Zionists that they are not Jews.

I asked them why they weren’t in synagogue for Tisha B’av but I was lectured that they didn’t need to be. Fair enough. Eventually the police moved them on for protesting without advanced permission.

Here’s a clip and a chance for you to learn some Yiddish:

Eventually Flor, Michelle, Rachel, Ambrosine and Sharon delivered the letter to Number 10 which signed off urging David Cameron “to dissent from this deal, to be the lion amongst the sheep”.

More photos from today’s protests:

C4T's Paul proudly wearing a T Shirt he bought in St Albans.

C4T’s Paul proudly wearing a T Shirt he bought in St Albans.

An NK member looking with bemusement at Paul.

An NK member looking with bemusement at Paul.

Ok, so these are the true Jews. Just so you know...

Ok, so these are the true Jews. Just so you know…

Other protesters look with curiosity at C4T's protest.

Other protesters look with curiosity at C4T’s protest.

Waving their beloved Iranian flag. The mullahs would be proud!

Waving their beloved Iranian flag. The mullahs would be proud!

C4T merchandise decorating Whitehall.

C4T merchandise decorating Whitehall.

At least hold the Palestinian flag the right way up!

At least hold the Palestinian flag the right way up!

Sharon reads out supportive letter from Colonel Kemp.

Sharon reads out supportive letter from Colonel Kemp.

Neturei Karta finally being moved on for not following procedure.

Neturei Karta finally being moved on for not following procedure.

Corbyn slams Israel at JW3; Admits he met Hamas.

Liz Kendall gives her closing appeal to become Labour leader as Corbyn and Jonathan Freedland (chairing) listen

Liz Kendall gives her closing appeal to become Labour leader as Corbyn and Jonathan Freedland (chairing) listen

Jeremy Corbyn laid into Israel at the Labour Leadership hustings at JW3 on Monday night and admitted he met Hamas but said “you have to have talks with everybody to bring about a long term settlement”.

In that case when will he meet Islamic State?

Corbyn claimed Israel had “put Gaza under siege” and that there were “serious issues concerning the bombardment of Gaza, the failure to reconstruct Gaza, the level of poverty and unemployment that exists in Gaza and there are also questions of children held in Israeli prisons. And there are also questions of the number of African refugees that are not being allowed into Israel and that are being deported from Israel.”

Children in Israeli prisons? For anti-Israel activists a “child” is anyone under 18 and these “children” may have thrown stones at a car with intent to murder its occupants, so they are not necessarily as angelic as Corbyn seems to imply.

Corbyn said he supported an arms boycott of Israel and a boycott of settlement products but said he did not support an academic boycott or an economic boycott of “Israel proper”.

On the issue of calling Hezbollah and Hamas “friends” at a House of Commons event Corbyn claimed he was just being “inclusive” but said that didn’t mean he agreed with the “social attitudes, social policies or legal views of those organisations” and claimed he has made that clear to them when he has met them.

He was also asked whether he would withdraw his support for the Stop The War Coalition due to its sponsorship of the Al Quds Day annual demonstration through London where Hezbollah flags are waved and which is a festival of hatred. Corbyn replied that it is “not designed to be a festival of hatred”.

But placards that have appeared at Al Quds Day demonstrations include: “Israel is a disease, We are the cure“, “Listen Israel, Leave!!!”, “For world peace Israel must be destroyed“, “Israel your days are numbered”, “Death to Israel”, “The world stopped Nazism…the world must stop Zionism”.

For an organisation of which he is the Chair he is pretty ignorant of the hatred it helps to incite on the streets of London.

Corbyn also stated that the Balfour Declaration was “imposed by some of the Jewish members of the cabinet” at the time but has since backtracked to claim that he meant to say “opposed”. It is worrying that a potential leader can get something so wrong from what he meant to say.

As for Liz Kendall, Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper who are the other Labour leadership contenders they all condemned Corbyn’s use of “friends” to describe Hamas and Hezbollah. Cooper said that language is very important when discussing terrorists. Burnham said he would have sanctioned Corbyn for such language.

Meanwhile, Burnham said that he had voted in favour of the “Palestine” recognition resolution last year only because the vote had been whipped by Labour but that the first country he would visit on becoming leader would be Israel.

Kendall said that the vote was not whipped and that she had abstained because passing resolutions either at the House of Commons or the UN wasn’t the right way to achieve peace and a two state solution which should come about only via negotiations. She said she was a friend of Israel.

Finally, there was a lot applause for Corbyn but that can be explained by the many anti-Israel activists I recognised in the audience including ex-Labour MP Martin Linton.

Clips from Monday’s JW3 event:

Jeremy Corbyn attempts to explain away his description of Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends”:

Corbyn says Jewish cabinet members “imposed” Balfour Declaration:

Corbyn slams Israel and its holding of “children” in prison:

Opening remarks of each contender. Liz Kendall explains why she abstained on “Palestine” recognition resolution: