Tag Archives: Anarchists Against the Wall

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.

Sizer, the Rivercourt Methodist Church and Holocaust denial.

Daud Abdullah being listened to by Arthur Goodman, the West London PSC Chairman, Linda Ramsden, Stephen Sizer.

Daud Abdullah being listened to by Arthur Goodman, the West London PSC Chairman, Linda Ramsden, Stephen Sizer

I feel somewhat rejuvinated after a moving and uplifting Yom Kippur sat in synagogue listening to inspirational sermons and prayers and it was good to see many friendly faces (note to self: must go to shul more).

So it is with sadness that I now have to write about yet another sick anti-Israel public meeting in London that took place last Thursday at the Rivercourt Methodist Church, King Street, Hammersmith.

The event was called Jerusalem Under Threat and was held by the West London Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Due to speak were Reverend Stephen Sizer, Arthur Goodman (Jews for Justice for Palestinians), Linda Ramsden (Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions) and Daud Abdullah (Middle East Monitor). Ghada Karmi couldn’t make it but instead we were subjected to a talk by an Anarchist Against the Wall (see clip at end).

After a long journey there I made straight for the toilets. One congregant told me that I should stay in there. Then as I sat down for the talk I was approached by a policeman who warned me not disrupt the meeting.

“Moi?” I asked, innocently.

Up first was Daud Abdullah who spoke about how UN Resolution 181 called for the internationalisation of Jerusalem, while disregarding the fact that 181 doesn’t apply now having been rejected by the Arabs in 1947. He also spoke of Israel digging up 14th Century Muslim cemeteries and burying the remains in “mass graves” to make way for the Museum of Tolerance.

Arthur Goodman gave us a lecture on international law regarding Jerusalem and spoke of a supposed “Masterplan” for Jerusalem which entailed Jews eventually making up 70% of Jerusalem’s population and the Arabs the remaining 30%.

Stephen Sizer was proficient at marketing his book Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon?, there being a leaflet on every seat. He was quick to tell us that Christians have lived in Jerusalem for 2000 years and in peace with their Christian and Jewish neighbours and that only recently have tensions grown. He said that since 1948 there has been a massive reduction of Christians in the West Bank and Israel. Not surprisingly he blamed Israel for this and referred to “the apartheid wall” as “segregation based on race”.

He quoted passages from the bible that he believes supports a “one state solution”, which was all lapped up in silence by his hypocritical audience who would have yelled derision at someone had that person quoted the many biblical passages that support the Jewish people’s right to Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan.

He said that church leaders refuse to speak out about Israel’s crimes because of “guilt for the Holocaust and fear of anti-Semitism” and that churches which side with “the occupation” and Zionism have “repudiated Jesus, have repudiated the bible and are an abomination” (see clip below).

At the end of the event Jonathan Hoffman persuaded me to stand outside the church with him to hand out pro-Israel leaflets to the congregants as they left the church. It was a futile gesture and all it did was encourage someone who called herself “Jane Green” to tell us that there weren’t any gas chambers in the Holocaust, that the Jews had instead died having had their foreskins chopped off, that only a couple of hundred thousand Jews died in the Holocaust, that the Jews are using the Holocaust to commit genocide against the Palestinians and that all the Jews in Israel are total Nazis, as you can hear here:

PSC campaigner “Jane Green” outside Rivercourt Methodist Church.

With that we trudged off home hungry, cold and dispirited that a British church can hold an event that seemed to engender such disrespect for 6,000,000 souls who died in the most dire of circumstances.

More clips/photos:

This Anarchist Against the Wall had no answers when challenged mid-flow by Jonathan Hoffman:

The West London PSC Chair says what he thinks about Israel:

Arthur Goodman readying himself to speak.

Arthur Goodman readying himself to speak.