Tag Archives: anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism, football and that Daily Mail article.

If you are at White Hart Lane today to see Spurs v West Ham you risk being arrested for singing “Yid Army” or “Yiddoes”, typical refrains of the Spurs faithful.

Not an ounce of malice is intended, but just because a few with fame and influence, like David Baddiel, have complained about “Yid” being used in this context the Metropolitan Police have taken a stand starting with today’s game.

I’m Jewish. I like hearing Spurs sing “Yid army”. No harm is intended. It is a bit of fun. Spurs have a lot of Jewish supporters and have a Jewish chairman, Jewish directors and once had a Jewish manager in David Pleat. Spurs fans are embracing that positively.

It is a far cry from calling someone a “dirty Yid” which is obviously racist. That prefix makes all the difference.

It is sad that the police have been taken in by Baddiel. When playing Spurs certain opposition fans chant “Spurs are on their way to Belsen” (some Leeds United fans) or hiss to imitate the sound of Zyklon B being thrown into the gas chambers by the Nazis (some Chelsea fans). That’s racism. Arrest those racist thugs, but not Spurs fans who intend no racism at all.

It’s not just Baddiel. The British public is being taken in by the likes of Owen Jones and Jonathan Freedland who are crying “anti-Semitism!” due to that Daily Mail article headlined “The Man Who Hated Britain” about Ralph Miliband, Ed Miliband’s father.

Ralph was Jewish. He was a refugee. He was a Communist thinker. Any of these three aspects have been deadly for Jews in the past, admittedly.

But, does this now mean that we cannot criticise a Jewish person with Ralph’s background, or any Jewish person?

This is Owen Jones:

“As others have pointed out, this whole episode reeks of anti-Semitism – of the rootless cosmopolitan Jew with contempt for his country, and so on.”

Even Ed Miliband who has spent the week coming to his father’s defence on radio, tv and in print, doesn’t sense any anti-Semitism in the affair, but to Jones it “reeks” of anti-Semitism? Wow!

Jonathan Freedland digs even deeper in his attempt to make the “anti-Semitic” label stick:

“This is why I…stopped at the reference in Tuesday’s editorial to “the jealous God of Deuteronomy.” That looked like another veiled pointer to both Miliband Sr’s indelible alienness – and his membership of an ancient, vengeful people.”

This is what the Mail actually wrote on that score:

“We do not maintain, like the jealous God of Deuteronomy, that the iniquity of the fathers should be visited on the sons. But when a son with prime ministerial ambitions swallows his father’s teachings, as the younger Miliband appears to have done, the case is different.”

So the Mail is using this biblical reference as an example of what generally shouldn’t happen. That’s all. Based on Freedland’s assertion we should now be careful lest we associate any biblical reference directly or indirectly with a Jewish person. How sad.

And Marc Goldberg is easily influenced by Daniel Trilling’s attack on the Mail in the New Statesman. Trilling writes “The subtext…is that there’s something foreign about Ed Miliband himself”. Goldberg empathises:

“..if even Ralph Miliband, the Marxist who left his Judaism way behind him and sired the head of the Labour Party could come under attack for not being British enough, then maybe the rest could too.”

Even Charles Moore accuses the Mail of “attacking a Jew”!

There are many other examples of this hyperbolic response to the Mail’s attack on Ralph Miliband. Commentators should attack real examples of anti-Semitism before trying to board the “it’s anti-Semitism!” bandwagon.

Alex Brummer, who is a journalist for the Mail, thinks apologies should be made by those who have suggested anti-Semitism by the Daily Mail. He’s right.

As Ed Miliband, himself, said when asked if the Daily Mail was being anti-Semitic:

“I’m always incredibly careful about throwing around the idea that the paper or somebody is anti-Semitic or racist unless there is real evidence for that.”

My appearance on 4ThoughtTV: Are Jews Still Persecuted in Britain Today?

Tonight at 7.55pm on Channel 4 I am in 4ThoughtTV’s slot on whether Jews are still persecuted in Britain today, which is the theme of the week.

There are seven contributions in all. Here is the link to mine and the other six:

http://www.4thought.tv/themes/are-jews-still-persecuted-in-britain-today/richard-millett?autoplay=true

1. I spoke about my experiences of harassment at anti-Israel events when I have merely tried to get Israel’s point of view across.

2. Stephen Sizer is an anti-Israel/anti-Zionist Christian Minister. I once went to hear him speak at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign event held in a church. He said, inter alia, that churches that side with Israel have “repudiated Jesus, have repudiated the bible and are an abomination”. On my way out of that meeting I was accosted by an audience member who let out some of the most Holocaust denying anti-Jewish vitriol I have ever heard. She told me, inter alia, that Jews died in the Holocaust from having “had their foreskins chopped off.”

In his 4Thought clip Sizer claims it’s important to be able to criticise certain Israeli policies without being accused of anti-Semitism. Let’s be clear: criticising Israel’s policies is legitimate, just like it is legitimate to criticise the policies of any country.

Sizer and his ilk are accused of anti-Semitism because they want the world’s only Jewish state to disappear. This is completely different to criticising Israel’s policies. Instead, they single out the Jewish state, the collective Jew, for destruction. So, Sizer is being highly disingenuous. If he were truthful he would have admitted he wants the Jewish state removed.

3. Another who wants the Jewish state removed is Ahron Cohen, of the extremist religious Jewish sect the Neturei Karta which believes that Jews should only go to the Holy Land once they have received a direct order from God to do so. The Neturei Karta also embraces Iran’s Holocaust denying President Ahmadinejad who repeatedly calls for the destruction of Israel. Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei has referred to Israel as “the Zionist cancerous tumour in the heart of the Islamic world”.

In his clip, Cohen blames Palestinian terrorism “on the very existence of the sectarian state known as Israel”.

4. Mike Marcus has also fallen for the myth that “The Zionist lobby uses the label of anti-Semitism to silence their critics”.

5. Jose Martin correctly blames the media for whipping up anti-Semitism due to its unfair reportage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

6. Yisrael Abeles, a Holocaust survivor, also blames the media for driving much of what has, these days, become “institutionalised anti-Semitism” as opposed to street anti-Semitism.

7. The most moving clip is by schoolgirl Eden Simones-Jones who says that she still suffers from depression and anxiety due to anti-Semitic harassment. She finishes:

“If people say there is no problem with anti-Semitism, I think they should wake-up, open their eyes and really look about what’s going out there because they’re obviously sheltered in their own little dreamland where everything’s rosy, because anti-Semitism’s everywhere. You’ve just got to know what to look for.”

Sadly, she’s right. Anti-Semitism is everywhere. In Britain today anti-Zionism, an attack on Israel as the collective Jew, is the modern updated version of anti-Semitism, the attack on Jews as individuals. “Anti-Zionism” is a label that has been adopted by many of Britain’s  academics, journalists, politicians, religious leaders and charities to hide their true feelings about Jews. This is the “institutionalised anti-Semitism” referred to by Yisrael Abeles.

London Evening Standard journalist: “I’m prejudiced against Jews.”

Twitter is a good way of seeing what our elected politicians are up to. One in particular is a voluminous anti-Israel tweeter. Labour MP Richard Burden, for it is he, is also an enthusiastic retweeter of Ben White:

and

In my opinion, for an elected politician to promote Ben White, considering White’s views, is highly offensive.

It is Ben White who, in his article for Counterpunch in 2002 Is It Possible to Understand the Rise in Anti-Semitism?, wrote:

“…I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are.”

More recently White tweeted:

and this was the picture he linked to:

Joseph W. at Harry’s Place argued:

“Ben White appears to be linking Howard Jacobson – an English Jew – and Israeli Jewish Habima actors, by aesthetics and looks. If you are aware of the history of antisemitism, you will know that a great deal of attention was given to the physical appearance of Jews, who were portrayed as people whom one could legitimately hate based on how they look.”

The Warped Mirror neatly recounts what happened.

As I was concerned that Richard Burden MP was promoting someone such as White with such contemptuous views, I tweeted Burden about it. However, it was Mira Bar-Hillel, who writes for the London Evening Standard newspaper, who responded. Here’s Bar-Hillel’s Twitter profile first:

In response to my tweet to Burden pointing out White’s view that he can “understand” why some people are anti-Semitic Bar-Hillel stated that she “can understand it too”:

When challenged as to whether she could also “understand” people who were Islamophobic she, somewhat ambiguously, responded:

“I understand hatred for anyone one who feels wronged – or unjustly treated – by. Racism I abhor.”

Good to know Bar-Hillel abhors racism. But then how would one explain the following quote apparently attributed to her in Anshel Pfeffer’s article in Haaretz in June which discussed the set exam question “Why are some people prejudiced against Jews?” (Haaretz might be behind a pay-wall for some so I have copied and pasted the full article below for context purposes):

“The Jews of today scare me and I find it almost impossible to talk to most of them, including relatives. Any criticism of the policies of Israel – including the disgraceful treatment of Holocaust survivors as well as refugees from murderous regimes – is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash. Goyim (gentiles) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims. Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes.” (Emphasis added)

So Bar Hillel abhors racism, but is “prejudiced against Jews”. Work that one out.

Meanwhile, I continued to question Richard Burden MP as to whether he found White’s view offensive. Sadly, instead of agreeing that it was he refused to give a straightforward answer:

It is very concerning that a British MP, who does denounce anti-Semitism, still goes on to promote someone like White with such views and doesn’t see anything wrong in that. Or maybe, as Burden suggested, I should just “grow up”.

Anshel Pfeffer’s Haaretz article in full:

Anti-Semitism in 100 words or less
In rhyme, in sorrow and in a single word, readers took my challenge. Which one gets the bottle of wine?

By Anshel Pfeffer | Jun.22, 2012 | 2:42 AM | 2

Nine years ago, I found myself hanging out with a group of Pakistani journalists I met at a seminar abroad. At the time, we were all hearing about secret and not-so-secret dealings between Israel and Pakistan, and one of them showed me his passport. On the bottom of every page was written, “For travel to every nation in the world except Israel.” “It’s just politics” he explained to me. “There is no anti-Semitism in Pakistan; there are no Jews.”

Technically, that may be true, as the small Jewish communities of Karachi and Peshawar dispersed decades ago. But it is interesting that he felt the need to create a distinction between a hatred of Israel and the shunning of Jews.

There is anti-Jewish rhetoric in the local media in Pakistan. Many would argue that in a nation without a history of local anti-Semitism, this is actually a manifestation of anti-Western sentiments, along with the country’s intense hostility with neighboring India, which is increasingly becoming a strategic ally of Israel. It doesn’t seem as though Pakistan has a homegrown tradition of Jew-hatred.

On Wednesday, a British woman of Pakistani origin, Shasta Khan, was charged in a Manchester court for planning, along with her husband Mohammed Sajid, what could have been the worst anti-Semitic attack on British soil in living memory. Born and raised in the Manchester region, she would have seen and recognized Jews from the large Orthodox community in the city. The couple is alleged to have scouted out targets in the Prestwich neighborhood, where thousands of Jews live and work.

A different duo of young British-Pakistanis, Asif Mohammed Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif, became radicalized after traveling to study in Damascus, where they were recruited by Hamas and carried out a suicide attack at a Tel-Aviv pub, killing three people, in 2003. In contrast, Khan and Sajid are accused of embarking on their Jihad after surfing radical websites. They allegedly learned how to build homemade bombs from Al-Qaida’s Inspire magazine, and instead of travelling to the Middle East to strike at the Zionist enemy, they decided to avenge the Palestinians by murdering fellow Britons, members of a neighboring religious community.

But that is how anti-Semitism has evolved: Defying reason and ideology, overcoming geographic and social divides, it adapts to new environments and conditions. Anti-Semitism is the most flexible and versatile of hatreds. That is my main conclusion from the many answers I received over the last two weeks, following the question I posed to readers: “Why are some people prejudiced against Jews?” But that was not the only conclusion.

A brief reminder: I decided to open up the column to readers following the hysterical reactions of some politicians and community leaders in Britain when this question was posed to high school students in a national exam. Financial blogger Henry Blodget was inundated with angry responses when he asked the same question with sincerity and seriousness. I had hoped that this column’s readers would prove both more intelligent and display a greater sense of equipoise than those who expressed outrage over the exam question. The reader responses exceeded my expectations.

There were a handful of responses such as the commenter who wrote, “Anti-Semitism should be condemned not explained – full stop.” But most readers who answered believe, like I do, that no subject should be beyond discussion, even if some of the responses do not make for easy reading. Of course, there were a few nasties, such as the writer who tried to convince me that the world doesn’t have anything against Jews in particular, but rather just against Israelis. After all, he wrote,”the Internet has shown the world what kind of people you are.”

Others were also critical but from a place of sorrow. Mira Bar-Hillel wrote that “The Jews of today scare me and I find it almost impossible to talk to most of them, including relatives. Any criticism of the policies of Israel – including the disgraceful treatment of Holocaust survivors as well as refugees from murderous regimes – is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash. Goyim (gentiles ) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims. Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes.”

Honorable mentions

I know that some would label Mira with the despicable title of “self-hating Jew,” and while I don’t necessarily agree with all she writes, I think she expresses genuine concerns and should be heard. Mira’s answer is one of my two honorable mentions.

The other honorable mention goes to Richard Asbeck, who managed in verse to convey the uneasy feeling of many Jews and non-Jews at the separateness, perhaps aloofness, that Jews have conveyed over the millennia.

“How could I by virtue of reciprocity,

blessed by the honor of having been treated as a friend,

remembering the humanity of a shared meal,

remembering the hachnasat orchim (hospitality ), how could I, in the attempt of responding in kind, avoid the self-allegation of impurity and ‘unchosenness’ clearly marked by the catered dinner on a stranger’s plate, or worse: the foil-wrapped carton board plate?”

Although I allowed up to 100 words, some readers made do with just one or two words: Envy; jealousy; religion; Zionism; ignorance; Jesus Christ. All are indeed reasons why people are prejudiced against Jews, and there are of course many more, often conflicting, and never justified reasons. And that is why I said that anti-Semitism is the most flexible of hatreds and why I chose Mark Gardner’s entry as the winner. My only hesitation is that the writer is a professional in the field, who serves as director of communications of the Community Security Trust (CST ), of British Jewry. My choice of Mark as winner is not an endorsement of the CST; indeed I criticized the organization in a column on an unrelated matter two months ago. But unlike others who monitor anti-Semitism, I think that his entry proves he can address the issue in a balanced manner. So he gets the (kosher ) bottle of wine.

Here is his answer to why some people are prejudiced against Jews. “If prejudice is hating someone more than is necessary, then you must consider the anti-Semites’ charge sheet. So, let us be brief: Allied with the Devil to kill the son of God; lost God’s covenant; fought God’s last prophet; visible rejecters of God; kill children and drink their blood; conspiratorial; money hoarding; greedy; corrupting; mean-spirited; physically grotesque; contemptible; ferocious; ingratiating yet always alien and never authentic; devious, evil, corrupting geniuses; unchanging and unassimilable; racially distinct, self-superior hypocrites; financiers of war; harbingers of revolution; pornographers; hucksters and fraudsters; whiners and liars; imperialists and colonizers; thieves, racists, war-mongering destroyers. More briefly: scapegoat.”

Yorkshire teen’s anti-Jewish Twitter rant.

@Mariiam_Ay 's Twitter profile.

@Mariiam_Ay ‘s Twitter profile.

It all started fairly innocuously last night when I noticed this tweet by the above mentioned @Mariiam_Ay :

Her advice to @ThisisPalestine was that his/her tweets should be:

Realising that she had got the wrong end of the stick because @ThisisPalestine is actually a parody account that mocks certain people who support the Palestinian cause I jokingly responded:

Big, big mistake as I found myself on the receiving end of this from her:

When I then suggested to her that she was racist and that she should be ashamed she replied with:

and

When I then looked further down her tweets I noticed it got worse. Brace yourselves:

and

and

and

and

and

and

and

Twitter has now suspended her account. She will be back but the deeper concern is where she gets her hatred from. One clue is the #FreePalestine mantra in her profile (top) which is used repeatedly at Palestine Solidarity Campaign anti-Israel rallies and events which can turn to Jew hate like when someone calling herself Jane Green denied the Holocaust after a PSC event she had just attended.

Then there are some of our politicians who are trying to create an increasingly sectarian culture in Britain. Our general, local and Mayoral elections are increasingly setting Muslim against Jew using horrendous anti-Israel and, in some cases, anti-Jewish rhetoric.

Then some of our newspapers spread horrendous lies about Israel as do some trade unions, but I suspect that the hatred carried by @Mariiam_Ay comes from her family. Even recently we saw a young child brought to the stage of a PSC rally in London to shout “Free Palestine”.

More worringly for Jewish students is that this teenager might be going to university soon. I suspect it’s also a worrying sign for British Jews generally.

(Ben) White Wash at Amnesty.

Ben White showing off his well-trolled quotes at Amnesty last night.

Ben White showing off his well-trolled quotes at Amnesty last night.

Ben White was last night handed the opportunity by Amnesty’s UK branch to call for the destruction of Israel. Not necessarily in the way Hamas would wish to achieve it, but White wants Israel changed from a Jewish state into another Muslim Arab state. This is what White thinks is “justice”.

Lest we forget, White once wrote “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are.”

For that and other statements of his there was a small protest outside Amnesty last night. Once sign read “Amnesty is great, except on Israel”, which is probably about right. Amnesty will stand up against other human rights’ abuses except when they are against Israel. They raised their voice in anger when Gaddafi was cruelly tortured before being executed, but when Israeli soldiers are kidnapped or Israeli children are bombarded by Hamas rockets from Gaza Amnesty falls silent.

Amnesty’s opposition to Israel’s existence is now, sadly, almost policy. Virtually no month passes without there being an anti-Israel event and never will there be a pro-Israel voice on the platform. One of Amnesty’s roles is to try to bury Israel.

White was promoting his new book Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy and it will be instructive to jump straight to the end of last night’s talk.

After calling for “A future based on a genuine co-existence of equals, rather than ethno-religious supremacy and segregation”, with its obvious anti-Semitic connotation of Jewish supremacy, White said (see clip):

“Instead of asking ‘can we return?’ or ‘when will we return?’ Palestinian refugees can ask ‘what kind of return do we want to create for ourselves?’ I think that’s a kind of beautiful phrasing actually that speaks to the liberation of the imagination that has to take place as we move towards securing a peace with justice”:

I can’t see Israelis ever voting for their state being changed into a Muslim Arab state, so what White is basically promoting is more war and bloodshed.

White’s talk, probably like his book, was a long list of out-of-context and out-of-date quotes.

He started with an apparent quote by Balfour in 1919 – “in Palestine we do not propose to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country” – and ended with one by Moshe Dayan’s father, MK Shmuel Dayan, from 1950 – “Maybe (not allowing the refugees back) is not right and not moral, but if we become just and moral, I do not know where we will end up”.

White must spend many nights trolling through the internet and old books looking for quotes that support his pursuit of Israel, but it is obviously a money-making exercise judging by the queue of people waiting for him to sign their copy of his 90-page book.

In between quotes he criticised Israel for what he calls the “Judaisation” of the Galilee and the Negev and for Israel not allowing “Palestinian citizens of Israel”, as he calls them, to live in Israel with their spouses who come from the West Bank and Gaza. The serious security implications for Israel if it allowed the latter are obvious, but Israel’s security isn’t high up on the list of White’s priorities.

During the Q&A he praised the protests during the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert at the Royal Albert Hall saying that the protests:

“Were targetting a body, the IPO, that receives funding from the Israeli state and also does concerts and stuff for Israeli soldiers.”

He raised the accusation of anti-Semitism aimed at him and said:

“The irony of the accusation of anti-Semitism against me in this context is that it is precisely opposition to all racism that informs my personal opposition to Israeli apartheid”.

And when someone asked him about Hamas and its policies White simply said that the evening wasn’t about Hamas but he hoped that the questioner would “support efforts to end the discriminatory practices against the Palestinians”.

It seems that Hamas is not much of an issue for White or Amnesty, whereas the Jewish state’s existence is.

More clips and photos from last night:

Ben White on “Jewish and Democratic?”

Ben White on “Judaisation” -

I bought this last night as no one else was buying.

I bought this last night as no one else was buying.

Sheikh Raed Salah: “I was on Israel’s assassination list.”

Last night at Conway Hall: Hassan Sanallah (translator), Sheikh Raed Salah, Sarah Colborne (PSC), Daud Abdullah (MEMO)

Last night at Conway Hall: Hassan Sanallah (translator), Sheikh Raed Salah, Sarah Colborne (PSC), Daud Abdullah (MEMO)

Sheikh Raed Salah made it to Conway Hall in London last night to give a talk on The Arab Spring and its effect on the conflict in Palestine. The event was sponsored by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Islamic Forum of Europe and Middle East Monitor.

Salah had been reportedly excluded by the Home Secretary. Detectives also reportedly arrived at last night’s event, but left after thinking he wasn’t there.

Salah is the leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel and is accused of having used the blood libel, which he denies. He served three and a half years in prison after having confessed to financing Hamas.

Not only was Salah there last night, he will also be speaking this Wednesday at the Grand Committe room of the Houses of Parliament alongside MPs Richard Burden, Jeremy Corbyn, Yasmin Qureshi as well as Lord Alf Dubs and the Palestinian Ambassador, Dr Manuel Hassassian. Ben White (anti-Zionist polemicist), Hind Khoury (Sabeel), Diana Neslen (Jews for Justice for Palestinians) and Ismail Patel (Friends of Al Aqsa) are also due to be speaking on Wednesday. The subject under discussion will be Building Peace and Justice in Jerusalem.

But last night Salah played to a pretty sparse audience. There were about 100 people making Conway Hall, which is owned by the South Place Ethical Society, an educational charity, about a third full.

He welcomed the Arab Spring, and particularly the Egyptian Revolution, in playing a supportive role in the Palestinian cause as well as the Nakba Day and Naksa Day clashes on the Israeli border in May and June respectively. He also called for a Million Man March towards the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on 21st August.

He said that this march will confirm that the Mosque is Palestinian despite Israel’s declared intention of demolishing it in order to build the “so called Third Temple”. He said that Israel must realise that there is a limit on its designs on the Mosque or it will be the equivalent to a declaration of war on the Islamic World.

He went on to berate Barak Obama for defining Israel as a “Jewish State” and said that “a significant number of free voices from London told us that they know the truth on the issue of Palestine, but that they are suffering under the pressure of the Israel lobby here”.

He said that the “Arab Uprisings showed him that the Palestinians have support within the wider Arab family and we don’t feel alone”.

He then went on to describe what happened on the Mavi Marmara, which he was on last May, along with Sarah Colborne of the PSC, when it was intercepted by Israel:

“The ship was attacked while we were at Morning Prayer. While I was praying bullets were fired from the sea and air, killing nine peoeple and wounding many others. The attackers had a list of names of people who should be assassinated by the Israeli forces. My name was on the list along with people from the IHH and Israeli Arab MK Hanin Zoabi. One of the Israeli soldiers killed an individual who looked just like me. We were then imprisoned and we faced charges that were enough to send us to prison for decades. We were only released when Erdogan intervened. Despite all the attacks we were asked to come back again and we will continue to participate in the flotillas until Palestinian independence is realised.”

Next stop is the Houses of Parliament this Wednesday, that is unless British detectives can catch up with him in time. Watch this space.

Sheikh Raed Salah speaking at Conway Hall, 27th June 2011

The inimitable Mr McColl.

Councillor Jonathan McColl

Councillor Jonathan McColl

My main reason for blogging is to expose the hypocrisy amongst so many of our elected politicians and the so-called intellectuals in this country.

The talks I attend are so vociferously anti-Israel and, initially, I was curious to find out why.

Was it all really because the speakers at these talks felt such an injustice had been done to the Palestinians, when looking back the Palestinians have wasted so many opportunities to create a thriving country?

Then I started to notice interesting slips by some of the speakers.

One such slip was when academic Ghada Karmi spoke at SOAS and called for “the end of the Jewish state in our region”, only to be reprimanded by the Naturei Karta’s Yisroel Dovid Weiss for referring to “Jewish state”, as opposed to “Zionist state”. Karmi duly apologised and went on to say that she had nothing against Jews or Judaism.

Then there was Lord Andrew Phillips of Sudbury who said that “Many Jews may be deeply prejudiced” at a Middle East Monitor event.

On each occasion, apart from Weiss, both audiences remained unmoved. Now imagine the uproar had a member of the BNP called for the end of the Muslim state of Pakistan or had that BNP person claimed that “Many Muslims may be deeply prejudiced”. You get the gist.

Add to these slips another one, this time by Councillor Jonathan McColl, the West Dunbartonshire councillor and main proponent of a total boycott of Israel by his council (see my original piece Not so Bonnie Scotland).

On his “Israeli Goods Boycott” blog page McColl states of the boycott:

“This is not an anti-Semitic act. I don’t care whether you are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Agnostic or any other such label you might want to give someone.”

Fair enough.

But, he continues:

“To quote a Jewish woman from Glasgow who telephoned me on this issue, ‘We are brought up in a culture of ‘poor wee us’, automatically thinking that the world is against us and perhaps we should take stock of that before we draw conclusions about other people’s motivations.’”

So Mr McColl doesn’t like using labels for people, except to label them if they are “Jewish”.

Add to this Councillor Jim Bollan’s exculpation of a self-confessed perpetrator of the massacre of five members of the Fogel family when Bollan said in a recent email exchange:

“Have you any idea what may have motivated this man to commit this crime? Could it have been because he may have seen Palestinian children slaughtered by the IDF?”

and you start to sense a heartlessness in Scottish politics, a heartlessness that was already there when the Scottish government released the Lockerbie Bomber in August 2009.

Are councillors McColl and Bollan really who the voters of West Dunbartonshire Council want to represent them? Can there really be any justification whatsoever for the slashing of baby Hadas Fogel’s throat?

The Scots are generally lovely people but some of the people they are now voting for are not.

Bollan is a member of the Scottish Socialist Party, while McColl is a member of the Scottish Nationalist Party. The Scottish Nationalists are now, sadly, the ruling government in Scotland.

Bollan and McColl are councillors for Leven ward in West Dunbartonshire Council. Maybe there’s something nasty in the Leven air.

Meanwhile, you can discuss their boycott of Israel, and other issues, with them at:

Councillor Jim Bollan – James.Bollan@west-dunbarton.gov.uk or write to 4 Endrick Way, Alexandria, G83 0UR or telephone 01389 756397 and 07803 668766 or

Councillor Jonathan McColl- jonathan.mccoll@west-dunbarton.gov.uk or write to c/o Council Offices, Garshake Road, Dumbarton or telephone 01389 737511 or 07939 002886

Alex Salmond is SNP leader and Scotland’s First Minister. Write to:
Office of the First Minister, St. Andrew’s House, Regent Road, Edinburgh, EH1 3DG or FirstMinister@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Anti-Semitic protests finally force Ahava to close in Covent Garden.

Bloodied but unbowed: Ahava after a recent attack.

Bloodied but unbowed: Ahava after a recent attack.

What a shame that Ahava’s landlords have finally succumbed to pressure from Ahava’s neighbours not to extend Ahava’s lease due to the regular noisy protests in the vicinity of Ahava.

And for anyone in doubt as to the true nature of the anti-Ahava protests one only has to glance at the website that promotes them to find rhetoric and images that equate the plight of the Palestinians with the plight of the Jews under the Nazis.

If anyone really think that these protests are simply about Israel’s so-called occupation and Ahava’s production plant being located on the “West Bank”, then they are seriously deluded.

For example, the said website reads:

“John played a very appropriate tune on his saxophone, sung in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 and later made famous by Paul Robeson, a voice for the oppressed, who can be heard singing the song here. Images of Nazi Germany in the video are similar to what Palestinians are experiencing today under Israeli occupation. Here’s a link to a comparison of some very graphic images of Nazi Germany and Palestine and I’m certain that you’ll find the similarities striking.”

And the protests call for a boycott of Israel, not just Ahava (see end photo).

The reason that the lease was not extended has nothing to do with the landlord disagreeing with Israeli policy, but all to do with the noisy anti-Ahava protests, which some of Ahava’s neighbours ran to the landlord, like squealing little schoolboys, to complain about.

According to the Jewish Chronicle, Colin George of The Loft, which is next door to Ahava, commented:

“I’m pleased Ahava is leaving. It’s brought the street down. I’ve complained to the landlords, as has everyone here. Everyone would like them to leave. I wish they had left two years ago.”

That last comment does not ring at all true. The anti-Ahava protests have been taking place for around about 15 or 16 months at the most and relations between the shops were very friendly before the protests started.

Now, instead of condemning the anti-Israel protests for causing the nuisance, quite incredibly, Mr George has condemned Ahava!

I stand by my comment in the JC:

“Maybe the neighbours could have had a more positive role and spoken to the protesters, rather than take it out on Ahava. It’s sad that this country will allow a lawfully trading shop to be chased out because of the politics of people who disagree with Israel’s basic existence.”

One might disagree with the legality of the “settlements”, but that is just conjecture, opinion and a matter of interpretation. There is no law anywhere that states the “settlements” are illegal.

We could debate their legality and morality until the cows come home (and have a very interesting discussion over it).

Therefore, the protests outside Ahava really come down to one thing; the existence of the Jewish state.

If I am wrong and the protests are simply about Ahava and so-called Israeli oppression of the Palestinians then virtually every shop in London should have a regular protest outside it for breaching some form of morality or law. Sweat shops in China, anyone?

And if the anti-Ahava protests are simply anti-Ahava then surely they have achieved their purpose. They have managed to shut down Ahava and so will not need to take place anymore.

My bet is that the protests will continue. They are more about defaming the Jewish state than anything else, and that says all you need to know about the nature of the beast we are dealing with here; anti-Semitism.

And in this specific instance I am not playing, what some call, “the anti-Semitism card”.

Are these protests really about Ahava?

Are these protests really about Ahava?

Pro-Israel activist brutally attacked at “Celebrate Palestine” festival.

(Updated on Monday morning)

As many will be aware by now a pro-Israel activist was brutally attacked at the “Celebrate Palestine” festival at SOAS today.

Allegedly, the activist was told by a festival-goer that the Jews were cowards for walking so meekly into the gas chambers, that it was a shame the Nazis didn’t finish the job and that it is a shame it can’t happen to the Jews now living in Israel. The activist was then, allegedly, bitten on his cheek by another festival-goer.

The attack drew blood from the pro-Israel activist’s cheek and there was blood around the alleged assailant’s mouth.

Film will eventually be released of the attack as well as of the aftermath. Arrests were made and the pro-Israel activist went to University College Hospital to be treated.

One would like to say that the “Celebrate Palestine” festival lived up to its name, but, as stated in my previous blog, one of the introductory speakers was more concerned with viciously tearing down Israel and Zionism, instead of celebrating Palestine.

This is some of what Lowkey had to say to the students at SOAS (the actual audio is at the end):

“If we understand Palestine, first we have to understand Zionism. And what is Zionism? Zionism was never about self-determination. This is a myth and this is a lie. Zionism is about colonialism, Zionism is about supremacy.

When we talk about the struggle of the Palestinian people, we are talking about the struggle of indigenous people, of native people. This is about indigenous people resisting a foreign occupying presence.

When we look at the aboriginal people of Australia, over 500 nations were genocided (sic) to create one. We look at Christopher Columbus, we look at Captain Cook, they have a brother in Theodore Herzl, a brother in supremacy.

Why are we allowing this settler ethnic cleansing entity to continue to wreak havoc on the world? As much as that may pain some of us to admit, this is the case.

We are not talking about a normal country when we talk about the state of Israel, we are talking about a state which has invaded and occupied every single one of its neighbours from Syria to Lebanon to Egypt. Why is this ok? Why is this something we are allowing to happen, that this government is fully supporting? From the Balfour Declaration to now, why is it supporting this colonial conquest?

All the European states are in full agreement that the settlements that currently house over half a million illegal Israeli settlers on Palestinian land, all of them are in agreement that the settlements are illegal. But why is there this continued collaboration of the EU with Elbit Systems, with the weapons manufacturer of unarmed drones that wreaked havoc on the Gaza Strip?

Everyone knows the settlements are illegal. This state is expanding. It is an expanding state in the middle of the Middle East. It is an expansionist state. It is a state involved in expansion.

What is the price of this expansion? The price is the seven million Palestinian refugees worldwide. That is the price of this experiment, this racist experiment.”

Lowkey at SOAS

(Lowkey begins at 2mins 50secs. Before that is Karma Nabulsi finishing her talk).

Omar Barghouti: The non-Israel-boycotting Israel boycotter.

A foul stench of hypocrisy hung in the air last night as Omar Barghouti spoke about his new book BDS: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions. The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights at the London Review Bookshop.

Barghouti unashamedly studies in Tel Aviv. He consumes Israeli goods en masse and says he would take Israeli live-saving medicine should he ever require it.

“I have no choice. I don’t know what you think about Arabs but we are not suicidal,” was his answer to my question on that last point. He was being slightly disingenuous as my question was not about Arabs, but him specifically.

That said, there are more than just a few Arabs who are suicidal and who think nothing of taking the lives of the innocent with them in the act, but when have you heard any condemnation of this from the so-called protectors of human rights within the BDS movement?

I couldn’t understand why, out of choice, Barghouti studies in a country that he so despises. He also studied in America, the one country he blames for its rock solid support of Israel. But he argued that he has the right to be in Israel because he is a refugee and has the right to return there. He was born in Qatar and spent his first eleven years in Egypt.

On the question of consuming Israeli goods, once again, he argued he has no choice as he lives in Israel.

He claimed that he couldn’t find anyone to debate him about the ethics of a boycott “so we are debating with ourselves”. But, he said, he had set out all the questions and answers about boycotting Israel in his book.

But it was only recently that Prof. Daniel Hochhauser destroyed Dr. John Chalcraft’s arguments on this exact same topic at the London (or is that Libyan?) School of Economics.

There are many more people who can also demolish Barghouti’s arguments and show up the BDS movement for the purely anti-Semitic movement that it is.

There I go playing the anti-Semitism card, which is exactly what Barghouti told the audience that Israel’s supporters do, but he implored them to be brave and to continue making the case for boycotts despite such allegations.

But if a movement does not propose a boycott of America, Britain, China, Russia and Turkey etc. for the occupations that they are all embroiled in then I really don’t know how a movement can consider itself to be anything other than anti-Semitic. Perhaps Barghouti addresses this point in his book.

So Barghouti consumes Israeli products but travels the world encouraging audiences to boycott those same products, and more, until the BDS movement achieves its three main objectives:

1. Ending the occupation and dismantling the wall.
2. Giving the Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel complete equality.
3. Respecting the rights of the Palestinians to return under UN Res. 194.

Like Chalcraft he claimed that the boycott only targets institutions, not individuals although, as Hochhauser, pointed out individuals belong to institutions and so people are, in effect, being targeted individually.

He described settlement products as “contraband”, which should be seized on entry to the UK, and claimed that the BDS movement had achieved “success beyond our dreams”.

The call, he said, was issued in July 2005 but the movement has so far achieved more than the anti-apartheid movement did in 20 years and now included a boycott by the Trades Union Congress that covers some seven million workers and a cultural boycott by the likes of Meg Ryan, Roger Waters and The Pixies etc.

Even if his claims were true, surely the boycott movement would be even more successful if he was also boycotting Israel.

Barghouti would, no doubt, argue that he is effecting change from within Israel. He is part of “Boycott From Within”, but claimed repression is on the rise against Israeli citizens who support BDS, although, apparently, the Foreign Ministry recognises that Israel “will lose its last veneer of democracy in the West” should this continues.

He cited Ilan Baruch who resigned from foreign service claiming that Israel needs to study “the South African experience”. Baruch had, however, recently been turned down for the post of ambassador to Egypt.

Barghouti claimed that mainstream Israeli officials, and even Mossad, now think Israel is “a pariah”.

The main problem for BDS is that, as Barghouti stated, Israel’s economy is “triple A rated” and so the movement must go for strategic victories like those against Veolia, which is responsible for building transport links in Israel. He claimed Veolia had been trying to sell its share in the Jerusalem light railway project, but that there were no buyers.

But he did reveal doubts over the so-called Palestinian right of return. He questioned “whether it is feasible or not”, despite this being one of the three main objectives of the BDS movement!

In summary, Barghouti is taking the very best that Israel has to offer and is allowed to publicly air his criticisms while, hypocritically, denouncing Israel as being undemocratic and an apartheid state.

Israel feeds him, educates him, houses him, clothes him and looks after him medically, all while he attempts to destroy it from within.

(I wasn’t allowed to take photos, although other audience members were, but here’s the audio: Omar Barghouti talk and Q&A (Chaired by Victoria Brittain).)

For some great “Israel Apartheid Week” posters see elderofziyon