Tag Archives: Frank Barat

War On Want event: “Palestinians live in apartheid ghettos.”

Jamal Juma, of Palestinian Stop the Wall Campaign.

Jamal Juma, of Palestinian Stop the Wall Campaign.

Last night 200 students crammed into Room G2 at SOAS where they heard a new phrase employed in order to accuse Israel; “apartheid ghettos”. “Apartheid ghettos” neatly combines the horrors of Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa. But this time, in sick role reversal, it’s Jews who are the Nazis (see photo above).

Meanwhile, Daniel Machover, a solicitor, called for “the destruction of the political system in Israel” and for “an end to the Zionist project”. All obvious code for the destruction of Israel, although he wouldn’t admit it.

This was all sponsored and organised by British charity War On Want, which, as has been well documented, is funded by Comic Relief. How War On Want can still get away with wasting hard earned Comic Relief donations on hate campaigns where the ultimate objective is the destruction of a country, Israel, is beyond me.

Contender for chief hypocrite was Jeremy Moodey, Chief Executive of Embrace, a Christian development charity (formerly known as BibleLands), who worked as a banker for Rothschilds for 15 years. Moodey described how Rothschilds “financed many of the earliest settlements in Palestine in the early 1920s and 1930s”.

I asked him if he was a hypocrite for working for such a firm, but he claimed he only saw the light after he left. Here he is, along with Jamal Juma of Stop The Wall, addressing that Rothschilds point and my concerns about the panel’s desire to destroy Israel (Christian Friends of Israel may be interested in Moodey’s initial talk here):

Daniel Machover spoke about the recent Russell Tribunal held in South Africa. The Russell Tribunal is their charade where they put Israel on trial for alleged crimes and then, surprise surprise, the “jury” finds Israel “guilty”. In the tribunal in South Africa the “jury” found Israel “guilty” of fitting the legal definition of apartheid in the so-called occupied territories and in Israel itself.

Machover said countries must be persuaded to accept legal responsibility for this “apartheid” and called for sanctions and the severing of diplomatic relations with Israel. He said that although this would not be forthcoming through the UN due to the American veto the Palestinians should sign up to the Treaty of Rome and request that the situation of “apartheid” be subject to investigation by the prosecutor.

He urged that companies that “aid and abet Israeli war crimes” must be stopped. He alleged that waste company, Veolia, had lost business because public bodies can exclude a company from contracts if they are guilty of “gross misconduct”.

However, an embarrassed Machover admitted that his own council Brent is about to award Veolia a huge contract! Veolia has conducted a lot of business in Israel.

Rafeef Ziadah, a War On Want employee, alleged that Israel boasts that the military equipment it exports is “field tested”, which means it is “tested on the bodies of Palestinians”.

Finally, it was time for Frank Barat, the comic relief. He said that he was still shaking from having drunk an extra strong coffee three hours earlier and he proudly announced the creation of the Palestine Legal Action Network.

PLAN will be working under the auspices of War On Want concentrating on activism, legal actions and media work. Barat was very excited and went as far as to say that he loves War On Want.

From Israel’s point of view one couldn’t think of a better person than Barat to project manage PLAN. It was Barat, of course, who interviewed Norman Finkelstein about the Boycott Israel movement where Finkelstein called it, inter alia, “a dishonest cult” whose victories you can count on the fingers of two hands, if that. For some reason Barat then uploaded said interview onto the internet.

Observing PLAN with Barat in charge, therefore, should provide a lot of laughter.

In the chair for this nasty event was Brenna Bhandar, a SOAS law lecturer, who blogged about Fraser v UCU. And in the front row overlooking his minions was cult leader himself, John Hilary, executive director of War On Want.

Brenna Bhandar (Chair), Daniel Machover, Jamal Juma, Fafeef Ziadah, Frank Barat.

Brenna Bhandar (Chair), Daniel Machover, Jamal Juma, Jeremy Moodey, Rafeef Ziadah, Frank Barat.

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Anti-Israel activist Antony Loewenstein: “Six Million Should Die.”

Antony Loewenstein is an Australian anti-Israel activist who describes himself as “a non-practising atheist Jew”. He has just co-written a book with Ahmed Moor called After Zionism, about the search for a one state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

Last night Loewenstein and Moor spoke at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London to promote the book.

Loewenstein told the audience of about 150 that “Zionism actually is the issue here. Although it is probably very hard to imagine in 2012 the idea of a Middle East country called Israel that’s not a Zionist state, the truth is that it was impossible equally to imagine a South African country that wasn’t wracked with apartheid.”

Both Loewenstein and Moor are big supporters of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Moor was, incidentally, born in Gaza and is now at Havard doing a Master’s in Public Policy.

Loewenstein said that getting bands and musicians not to go to Israel to perform is “a tool, not an endgame”. It was, he said, a way of telling Israel that “if you choose to behave in this way you’ll not be treated as a normal state.”

Loewenstein described the Israel Lobby in the UK as “very powerful” while Moor said he thinks that American Jews are turning away from Israel, preferring what happens in Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm to what is happening in Jerusalem. He said he thinks Israel is not an important part of their lives anymore.

It was all the usual standard anti-Israel rhetoric.

But, during the Q&A Jonathan Hoffman asked Loewenstein how many people Loewenstein thinks should die for this one-state solution, that Loewenstein wants so much, to come into existence. The idea being that Israelis are not going to vote themselves out of existence, so presumably such a state could come about only by force involving more bloodshed.

As Loewenstein wasn’t quite answering the question he was pressed further by Hoffman as to how many people Loewenstein thinks should die. First, Frank Barat, the Chairman, answered “200,000” (here is more on Barat). Then Loewenstein answered “Six million. That’s my answer. Write that down.

What sort of individual comes out with such an answer? Mocking the Holocaust seems to be becoming de rigeuer within anti-Israel activism. Here is someone calling herself Jane Green back in October last year.

Maybe “six million” was randomly plucked out of thin air by Loewenstein. That seems doubtful. Hopefully, he will be pressed further on what made him say such a cruel thing when he returns home to Sydney, Australia.

Here’s the audio:

Antony Loewenstein audio – “Six million should die.”

Here is Jonathan Hoffman’s take on last night: How many have to die to achieve ‘One State’?

BDS blunder as Frank Barat posts anti-BDS video on youtube.

I have come as close as is humanly possible to feeling sorry for someone in the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is aimed solely at Israel.

A week ago Frank Barat, who is behind the kangaroo court Russell Tribunal on Palestine, where BDS movement activists meet once a year to put Israel, and companies that do business with Israel, on trial for various “charges” and then finds them all “guilty” without hearing from the “defendants”, interviewed Norman Finkelstein, one of Israel’s biggest critics, about BDS.

Barat sat there for half an hour looking like a rabbit caught in headlights as Finkelstein tore apart every one of Barat’s flimsy arguments before, finally, hearing Finkelstein describe the BDS movement as “a cult” and “dishonest”.

Barat then shakes hands with Finkelstein and thanks him. At that point, if you were Barat, you’d have never let the interview see the light of day, but someone uploaded it to youtube. After realising the positive feedback it was receiving from the pro-Israel blogsphere, the clip was deleted but not before the guys at Huffington Post Monitor had downloaded it.

So here it is again. It has already been re-posted and discussed at places like CiFWatch, Harry’s Place and the JC (via Jonathan Hoffman). Hopefully, as many people as possible will watch it, if anything as further proof that those in the BDS movement are not very bright, and also because of the way Finkelstein lays bare the dishonesty of the movement.

Finkelstein describes the BDS movement as “a cult” because everyone in the movement just nods their heads in approval when told how successful they are, eventhough, as Finkelstein admits, he can count their successes on the fingers of his two hands, if that.

He accuses the BDS movement of only choosing those bits of “international law” that suits it. It doesn’t recognise Israel’s right to exist, which is also, he says, part of “international law”.

He also calls the BDS movement “dishonest” because of their refusal to admit that their real aim is the destruction of Israel.

However, he says, they know they can’t admit this because the wider general public would never agree to the destruction of another country, which would be the effect of six or seven million (even this figure Finkelstein views as artificially inflated) Palestinians “returning” to Israel; the latter being one of the requirements of the BDS movement. But for such dishonesty, Finkelstein says, the BDS movement doesn’t deserve to reach the mainstream.

As for Barat’s claim that the call for BDS against Israel originated from Palestinian civil society Finkelstein says the Palestinian organisations named are nothing more than one-man NGOs and that the BDS movement cannot galvanise more than a few hundred Palestinians to protest against Israel or even stop the Palestinians themselves buying produce from “the settlements”.

First is the full 30-minute unedited clip and below the 5 minute highlights:

War on Want at Russell Tribunal: “More direct action coming.”

Rafeef Ziadeh, Asa Winstanley, John Hilary, Joseph Dana, Frank Barat at Amnesty.

Rafeef Ziadeh, Asa Winstanley, John Hilary, Joseph Dana, Frank Barat at Amnesty.

War on Want’s John Hilary spoke of more direct action against firms complicit in Israel’s “breaches of international law”. He was on a panel at Amnesty International on thursday night for the launch of a book about last year’s London session of the Russell Tribunal.

In response to a question from Eva Jaciewicz, a member of the Polish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and who last year daubed “Free Gaza and Palestine” at the Warsaw Ghetto, about the possibility of occupying the workplaces of companies doing business with Israel Hilary endorsed the targeting of security company G4S, especially in light of its security role in next year’s London Olympics.

Here’s a short audio of the discussion. Frank Barat speaks first followed by Rafeef Ziadeh and Hilary:

Audio: Barat, Ziadeh, Hilary at Amnesty on G4S.

Hilary also spoke about anti-Israel activists going into shoe shops and trying on Caterpillar boots and then staging anti-Israel protests. Staff were unable to ask them to leave while they were wearing the boots.

Here’s the relevant clip which includes a short discussion on whether Hamas was invited to the Russell Tribunal:

Frank Barat, who coordinated the London RTOP, had initially started off the evening telling us how clearly international law is on the side of the Palestinians and how little Israel can do about this.

He said the word “Apartheid” scared Israel and its supporters, especially when people like Desmond Tutu are saying what is happening on the West Bank is far worse than what happened in apartheid South Africa.

This, Barat thought, was a good way to attack RTOP’s detractors and he reiterated RTOP’s call for:

1. Israel to dismantle its system of Apartheid.
2. All states to consider putting pressure on Israel to do this including severing diplomatic relations.
3. The prosecutor of the ICC to accept jurisdiction over Palestine.
4. Global civil society to replicate the spirit of solidarity that contributed to the end of apartheid South Africa and to support BDS.

There were only 43 people in the audience at Amnesty; not a good sign of global solidarity.

Asa Winstanley, who edited the book briefly ran us through its content and Rafeef Ziadeh, a Canadian Palestinian “refugee” now living in the UK, called the “Nakba” an “ongoing process” and reiterated the BDS movement’s call for Israel to:

1. End the occupation of all Arab lands.
2. Create equality for Palestinians everywhere, including in Israel.
3. Allow Palestinian “refugees” to return to their homes in Israel.

She said she couldn’t believe that Israel could consider someone like her to be such a threat.

Joseph Dana, an American Jewish blogger with +972 Magazine and living in Ramallah, referred to the Palestinians in Bil’in, where he covers the weekly protests, as offering “Ghandian-like unarmed resistance” and he encouraged the use of Twitter and Facebook to combat the Jerusalem Post, Associated Press and Thomas Friedman, who is calling for the Palestinians to adopt non-violent resistance while, according to Dana, he is ignoring just that.

Dana predicted that there will be a “new unarmed Intifada” and he holds every Israeli responsible for Israel’s “transgressions” and spoke of the non-violent protests in Bil’in as being what “drives Israelis insane”. He said:

“Artists don’t come to Israel anymore. Israeli society wants to be considered a normal western country…The boycott pinpoints that issue of normality and says ‘no, you are not a normal society. You have to be held accountable for the transgressions that you are committing on a regular basis. Even if you are not directly committing them you are part of the society that’s doing that.'”

If that’s true then Dana, who lives in Ramallah, is indirectly accountable for the massacre of five members of the Fogel family by a Palestinian, including three month old Hadas who was decapitated while she slept.

Here’s the relevant clip:

Russell Tribunal on Palestine presents Ken Loach at Amnesty

Ewa Jasiewicz, Dr Ghada Karmi, Frank Barat, Paul Troop, Ken Loach

Ewa Jasiewicz, Dr Ghada Karmi, Frank Barat, Paul Troop, Ken Loach

Last night at Amnesty International in London, against a backdrop of a quote by Bertrand Russell (“May this tribunal prevent the crime of silence”), sat four anti-Israel activists and Paul Troop, a solicitor, presenting the raison d’etre of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

The first Russell Tribunal was convened in 1967 in Sweden and Denmark to harness public opinion against the Vietnam War, but it was largely ignored as being merely a show trial.

And so to the second Russell Tribunal, this time on Palestine. It is due to convene over three days at the Law Society in London on the 20,21 and 22 November.

Over that weekend some 20 or so companies are due to be put on trial for complicity with “Israeli war crimes”.

Israel is not on trial, the companies are.

It will already be presumed that Israel is in breach of international law and has committed crimes against humanity.

When I asked Paul Troop where such breaches of international law are judicially laid down the best he could do was direct me to the “opinion” of the International Court of Justice on the wall dividing Israel from the Palestinians.

None of the companies on trial will be represented. Letters have been sent but none have yet responded to say they will be present.

Dr. Ghada Karmi spoke of the Palestinian issue being the moral issue of our time. This polemic is freely bandied around by anti-Israel activists and makes people whince since we know that 3,000 children die every day in Africa from AIDS, malnutrition, malaria and other diseases when they shouldn’t be in this age.

Dr. Karmi cited Cast Lead and the siege of Gaza and was outraged that Israel had not even apologised over something as clearcut as the deaths on the Mavi Marmara.

She said that Israel was now too woven into the fabric of the international system and because of this was never being called to account. There is no major organisation or state that backs the Palestinians.

She felt that the Palestinian case is based on hard international law and looked to the RTOP to, hopefully, get the campuses active and harness the intellectuals.

There is “corporate complicity” with Israel but imagine, she said, if all these companies withdrew their investments from Israel.

Ewa Jasiewicz spoke next. According to the Community Security Trust Jasiewicz recently helped desecrate the walls of the Warsaw ghetto, which is now a cemetery to the 100,000 Jews who died there during the Holocaust from disease, starvation and random executions by the Nazis. Activists daubed “Free Gaza and Palestine” on a ghetto wall (below).

Warsaw Ghetto desecration

Warsaw Ghetto desecration

Jasiewicz hoped that the RTOP will “denormalise Israel’s false legitimacy” and said that “Israel is trying to delegitimise the delegitimiers. We are the delegitimiers”.

She was part of the recent flotilla to Gaza but admitted that the flotilla was not about humanitarian aid for the Palestinians but about breaking the siege of Gaza.

She told us that the occupation is everywhere, not just in Palestine, but is reproduced internationally on a daily basis and she urged activists to continue shutting down places like Ahava and Carmel Agrexco and then turning to international law to support them.

The occupation exists, she said, not because of Jews but because of capitalism. These companies are not committed to Israel but to making money.

She hoped that people will use the tools from the RTOP and apply them in their work places, homes and down the pub and that governments will eventually apply sanctions, as they did to apartheid South Africa.

Film director Ken Loach spoke of this being an incredible story about the breach of international law. “We just want the rule of law. No community can live without law but that is what we are permitting,” he said.

He called for independent politicians and criticised Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for being patrons of the Jewish National Fund which, Loach said, is about collecting money for land being bought on the basis of racial purity.

He spoke of “one image” he had of the settlers being on high ground and the Palestinians being downhill and who cannot use their land or vineyards because settler effluent flows downhill and destroys that land. “It is just a simple detail, the devil is in the detail, but how revealing,” he said.

He referred to maps since 1947 which shows, he said, how the Palestinians have been continuously pushed out. This was evidence of lack of good faith that the Palestinians will ever be allowed to live side by side with Israel.

He challenged the idea of a state based on race: “We have had enough experience to prove that race as a founding principle is intolerable”.

He then quoted David Ben Gurion’s speech on the need for a Jewish homeland when the threats to the Jews in Nazi Germany were becoming intolerable:

“He said this, and I think it is chilling, he said, ‘If it was possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England and only half of them by transporting them to Israel then I would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the lives of these children but also the history of the people of Israel.’ If that is the mentality of people who are driving Israeli policy then that is chilling because that is not about peaceful negotiation, that is about conquest. Take that in conjunction with the maps and you can see what we are up against. We can remember who supported the Nazis; the industrialists. If the industrialists will support this attack on international law then we have a big task.”

(A non-political analysis of Ben Gurion’s speech can be viewed here).

In the Q&A I asked Loach why he singled out Israel for criticism for its racial and religious make-up when most other countries around the world are the same. He repeated his comment about past experience of states basing themselves on race but he agreed that other countries are based on religion and to show his objection he had boycotted the Iranian film festival.

Someone asked whether Loach would make a film about the suffering of the Palestinians but he replied that that would have to be done by an Arab.

When asked what would Britain do if it was under attack from rockets Loach simply replied that it was not right to balance the violence of the oppressor with the violence of the oppressed.

The RTOP is an expensive charade (the jury is being flown in from all over the world), yet again not benefitting the Palestinians in the slightest.

More shameful was the presence of Ewa Jasiewicz and then acclaimed film director Ken Loach justifying Palestinian violence and unabashedly renewing old anti-Jewish tropes about Jews poisoning their neighbours and killing children.

Last night at Amnesty felt less about the delegitimisation of Israel and more about the delegitimisation of living Jews and the desecration of the memory of dead ones.