Tag Archives: gaza

“Pro-Israel” Labour MP Wes Streeting hosts Friends of Palestine event, afterwards attacks me on Twitter.

Labour MP Wes Streeting with anti-Zionist map depicting 1948, UN plan 1947, 1949-1967, 2005.

Labour MP Streeting with map depicting Palestinian land in 1947, UN plan 1947, 1949-1967, 2005.

It’s de rigueur at Labour chaired anti-Israel events in Parliament for those making Israel’s case to be branded “disrupters” and threatened with removal. In April Labour MP Mark Hendrick had myself and others removed by armed police after I, literally, asked a question.

Labour MP for Ilford North Wes Streeting threatened to have me removed on Tuesday night from his Gaza on the brink? event in Parliament. My crime: passionately asking why the panel spent their time totally blaming Israel for the plight of Gazans while giving Hamas a free pass.

Admittedly, I had also congratulated the three NGO representatives on Streeting’s panel for all making a great living out a desperate situation. Streeting immediately slammed me for questioning their motives.

But the “Palestine Industry”, so to speak, is the great untold story. Aimee Shalan of Medical Aid for Palestinians, Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch and Helen Thompson of Care International all came to Parliament and spoke about the same subject. They even repeated exactly the same phrase to describe Gaza’s situation: “De-development”.

They complained how little money Gaza is receiving which, in addition to Israel’s “occupation” of Gaza, is causing this “de-development”. Shakir, Thompson and Shalan are just three of thousands receiving salaries for the same work; money that could be spent on Gazans.

Not that pledged money gets to those Palestinians in need anyway. Hamas siphons off money to build terror tunnels into Israel and the Palestinian Authority financially rewards families of Palestinian terrorists.

Shalan described how critically ill Gazan babies have relatively little medical care from nurses compared to those in the UK, how 10% of Gazan children have stunted growth and how depleted medical supplies are.

Thompson described how the elecricity crisis affects livelihoods and demanded more money from DFID for Gaza.

Shakir claimed “Israel has kept Gaza permanently closed”, that Israel has “total control of Gaza” and, of course, that Gaza is an “open air prison”. The only mention of Hamas in all three talks was when Shakir mentioned its “arbitrary arrests”.

Shakir said “because of the closure responsibility falls fully on Israel” and then demanded the UK government call on Israel to stop the ban on freedom of movement from Gaza.

SNP MP Dr Philippa Whitford also spoke. She questioned why Gaza isn’t in the news and asked if the international community was too busy for Gaza. She said Israel’s ban on “dual use materials” meant Gazans scavenged for steel rods which they straightened out for use in buildings which could lead to such buildings collapsing.

Whitford said the drinking water is undrinkable, that Gaza City stinks of sewage and that there’s no radiotherapy in Gaza and only 45% of Gazans are allowed into Israel for radiotherapy (a statistic vigorously challenged by Jonathan Hoffman).

She said Israeli soldiers patrolling borders saps their potential as they are “bored out of their minds”. She claimed it isn’t a positive experience for Israel and Israelis and then said Israel should build HS2 as it builds “settlements” so quickly.

She finished off by showing the anti-Zionist map beloved of anti-Semites where Israel has taken virtually everything from the Palestinians (see above).

Whitford’s was also a Hamas-free talk and with no mention of the lengths Israel’s COGAT goes to supplying Gaza’s vital needs.

After Jonathan and I had spoken during the Q&A someone called Gary stood and complained about us “invading space and trying to disrupt the meeting.”

As described above Streeting then slammed me for questioning motives and demanded we all just concentrate on the humanitarian situation in Gaza. But when I questioned how on earth the anti-Zionist map was about the humanitarian situation Streeting threatened to have me removed.

Meanwhile, in response to my question about Hamas Shalan simply implied I was uncaring about the plight of Gazans.

Most of the remaining questions weren’t about the humanitarian situation at all. They were about the “one state solution”, the Balfour Declaration and how Israel is cracking down on NGOs like Breaking The Silence. Of course Israel isn’t doing that. Israel merely wants declarations of sources. The equivalent of Breaking the Silence, which seeks the indictment of Israeli soldiers, would never be allowed in the UK.

Streeting then finished his event with the sweeping “I’m worried about democracy in Israel.”

When he got home Streeting tweeted that I “sat there heckling and shouting” and called myself and Jonathan “rude yobs”. However, we were respectful and did absolutely nothing wrong.

Streeting is considered “pro-Israel” by many in the British Jewish community. But on this evidence, and considering the letter he signed slamming Israel “the occupying power in Gaza” and accusing Israel of “collective punishment”,  I have grave doubts about this.

(Read about Jonathan Hoffman challenging SNP MP Whitford’s 45% statistic)

Shakir (Human Rights Watch), Thompson (Care International), Streeting, Shalan (Medical Aid for Palestinians).

Shakir (Human Rights Watch), Thompson (Care International), Streeting, Shalan (MAP).

The Israeli flag flew high inside My Name Is Rachel Corrie.

Official handout and the

Official handout and the “Accompanying Notes”

The 31 performance run of Josh Roche directed My Name Is Rachel Corrie finally comes to an end on Thursday night. With the Young Vic Theatre rejecting all suggestions of balance including a small exhibition of the 19 Israeli Rachels murdered by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups and a pro-Israel voice on the after show panel discussions some activists produced “Accompanying Notes” to be handed out to theatre goers outside the Young Vic.

The “Accompanying Notes”, which look similar to the official handout (see above), explain what really happened to Rachel in 2003 when she tragically died in Gaza while naively standing in front of a bulldozer when Israel was fighting Hamas:

“The investigation and court judgement showed the driver could not see her and that her death was an unfortunate accident to someone who had trespassed in a clearly marked closed military area. Rachel Corrie was not protecting a ‘home’ but a shed shielding one of the terror tunnels used to smuggle weapons and explosives. Her death was a tragic accident.”

Rachel was, in fact, protecting tunnels Hamas were using to smuggle in weapons that were causing mass murder on the streets of Israel. That crucial part of the narrative, plus that her death was an accident, were absent from the play.

The “Accompanying Notes” also explain that the play contains “unsubstantiated, context-free allegations about supposed Israeli brutality. For example, the IDF is alleged to have stopped the International Solidarity Movement retrieving a corpse, is accused of destroying wells and being engaged in a ‘constant attempt to remove Palestinians from their home.'”

They also explain how Rachel, an ISM member, misinterprets the Fourth Geneva Convention.

We had tickets for the Saturday night production. The theatre holds 70 and when we entered the actress playing Rachel (Erin Doherty) was lying on the floor listening to music with the main prop on stage being a part of Israel’s security wall painted a light red, obviously denoting blood. The stage floor was also painted red.

The show was, basically, an hour and a half of emotional blackmail as Doherty played out edited scenes from the young Rachel’s diaries. The audience occasionally laughed at her naivety and attempts to change the world.

It was dull. The hour and a half passed slowly.

Nearing the end Rachel describes how the Israeli army, apparently, destroyed wells in Gaza, shot at children and how Rachel failed to retrieve a dead Gazan while being shot at by the IDF. Rachel also offers Gazans money for their hospitality but they wouldn’t take any preferring for Rachel to go back to America to tell their story.

At the end Doherty gives a very short, uncorroborated account of how Rachel died. It’s by “eyewitness Tom Dale” who described the Israeli bulldozer driver seeing Rachel before killing her. But, as stated above, this is not the case.

Israeli courts have sent Israeli soldiers to prison when evidence supports such a conviction so there’s no reason they wouldn’t have done the same in this case. Tom Hurndall’s killer, in similar circumstances, and IDF soldier Azaria were sent to prison.

As Doherty took her two ovations Jonathan Hoffman, from the middle of the audience, stood and unfurled the Israeli flag in front of her. It was a small act of defiance against a nasty play and staging that only adds poison to the world.

(For more analysis of the court case read here)

Guardian highlights film in which Palestinians play Anne Frank.

Henry Barnes, site editor of theguardian.com/film, recently wrote about Anne Frank: Then and Now “starring Palestinian girls reading from the German-born Jew’s diary” which, quoting Deadline.com, Barnes described as a “clandestine cultural breakthrough” because it was secretly shown in Iran.

According to Barnes it “was filmed during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict. The film is split between an educational documentary about Frank’s time hiding from the Nazis in occupied Holland and excerpts from the diary acted by two Israelis and eight Palestinian girls, one of whom performs in front of the rubble from an Israeli airstrike.”

The main aim of Croatian director Jakov Sedlar seems to be to “help spread information about the events of the Holocaust in Iran” and Arab countries.

This is a noble aim but why use Palestinian actors in Gaza? Why not just show, for example, Son of Saul which is the most explicit portrayal of the Holocaust imaginable.

Anyone viewing Anne Frank: Then and Now without any knowledge of the Holocaust will be left with the strong impression that the Palestinians are going through the same as the Jews did under the Nazis. The title of the film strongly implies that also.

My experience is that for anti-Israel activists one of their main planks of activism is comparing the Palestinians to the Jews in Nazi Germany and invoking Anne Frank. This tactic is, sadly, ubiquitous.

One of the worst examples was at an event attended by now Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn MP and the then Labour shadow justice minister Andy Slaughter MP where Love Letters to Gaza were read out on stage by actors. Here is a verse from one poem and here’s my clip of it:

“It is not now the Nazi state but Israel that blocks the seas.
It is not Auschwitz that stops the ship that carries hope and messages,
But those that might have died there.”

Then there is Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children that portrays the Jewish people slowly metamorphosing from victims under the Nazis into oppressors of the Palestinians. The play was staged by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign at the Polish Centre in London.

And here is my clip of an activist in parliament saying that Palestinian children are suffering worse than Anne Frank did.

This is par for the course of anti-Israel activism and I have witnessed many more examples of which this film seems to be, sadly, another.

I would like to be proved wrong about Anne Frank: Then and Now. I have not seen it in full. We have been provided with just one clip which the Guardian imbeds into Barnes’ piece. No other British newspaper seems to be highlighting this film, although the Israeli media is writing about its having been shown secretly in Iran.

But, for me, the biggest alarm bells about the film’s veracity are in Deadline.com which Barnes links to:

deadline guardian then and now

So David Robb of Deadline.com writes that as a Gazan actor speaks her lines “two men in gas masks run behind her”.

Maybe Robb, or Barnes for that matter, could explain to us the following: how could the cast and crew carry on filming if there was a need for gas masks to be worn by others in their immediate vicinity?

(also published at UKMediaWatch)

Possible diversion of charitable funds to Hamas but Guardian writer slams Israel.

guardian halabi

(Also published at UKMediaWatch)

If something bad happens to Jews or the Jewish state there are some, inexplicably, in British media or politics who cannot pass up the opportunity to use it against the former.

Ex-Liberal Democrat MP felt that the Jews hadn’t learned from the Holocaust. When an Egyptian judoka lost to his Israeli opponent in Rio and promptly refused to shake his hand The Economist used the opportunity to attack Israel as being an “apartheid” state.

Now, after the arrest of World Vision’s Gaza director Mohammad Halabi on allegations of diverting tens of millions of dollars to Hamas Dr Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, secretary general and CEO of CIVICAS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, uses the arrest as an opportunity to attack Israel’s new transparency law.

This new law obligates NGOs that receive more than 50% of their funding from foreign governments or organisations to report where the funding derives from. It doesn’t restrict their activities at all.

In an age of calls for more transparency this can hardly be classed as controversial especially when there are NGOs whose main objective for operating within the Jewish state is merely to destroy it.

But for Sriskandarajah it seems it is controversial. He sees the recent arrests of Halabi and Waheed al Borsh, a UN worker accused of diverting aid resources to help building a jetty for Hamas, as part “of systematic efforts by Israeli authorities to intimidate and undermine civil society”.

As you can see the link Sriskandarajah provides as evidence of such “systematic efforts” is to an article for Al Jazeera by arch anti-Zionist activist Ben White who once wrote “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are”.

One would think that Sriskandarajah would welcome the investigation into and possible long-term incarceration of anyone convicted of such a heinous crime as diverting funds away from mentally ill and physically disabled patients in Gaza to help the Hamas terror organisation build tunnels into Israel from which to murder innocent Jewish Israelis.

Instead, Sriskandarajah merely sees it as “yet another example of states cracking down on civic space.”

World Vision is one of the DEC charities. DEC advertised widely in the UK for aid for Gazans after Israel’s 2014 war with Hamas. Therefore, the British public has possibly been inadvertently duped out of their hard-earned money in to supporting a terror group instead.

However, The Guardian’s headline to Sriskandarajah’s article “Human rights activists are being portrayed as terrorists and foreign puppets” and using a photo of activists claiming Halabi is “a man of humanity” (see above) suggests total innocence on Halabi’s part.

It is, however, very noble of Sriskandarajah to state that “Israeli government has the right to hold to account any individual or organisation found guilty of corruption.” Halabi and al Borsh will have a chance to state their cases and employ lawyers to defend themselves against the allegations.

We await the outcome of these important criminal investigations, and any more that might arise, with interest and so should Sriskandarajah.

A Nice destruction of the Jewish state.

Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC (credit: Gresham College)

Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC (credit: Gresham College)

On Wednesday I went to the legal heart of London to hear a talk given by Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC. The talk Gaza-Israel: The Legal Military View was at Gresham College.

It was due to start at 6pm but I arrived at 5.50pm and by then every seat was taken including those in the overflow room. Latecomers were turned away with a copy of the talk, all 22 pages, Professor Nice  was about to deliver.

On the tube home I read the Professor’s fantasyland; let’s call it Niceland.

In Niceland everyone is nice, except all Israelis (P.17):

“Widespread discrimination against the Arabs in Israel is revealed by Rabbis, Israeli politicians and pro-Zionist activists. Such unsanctioned/uncontrolled racism and religious intolerance creates an environment that can encourage sectarian violence as well as inspire ‘morale’ of IDF soldiers during military campaigns such as Protective Edge.”

Nice quotes Major General Giora Eiland who, apparently, compared the Palestinians who voted for Hamas to the Germans who voted for Hitler and then Nice continues:

“…these extreme views are widely shared by the defence establishment and by the Israeli public at large”.

But in Niceland Hamas are nice. In Niceland Hamas doesn’t really wish to put Palestinian civilians in danger or use them as human shields. It’s just that they have no choice because Gaza is so small (Page 13):

“…in Gaza, the whole area is a battle zone. In these circumstances, where this is so little tactical depth, the mixing of civilians and fighters means that it is almost impossible for Hamas not to appear to use civilians as a shield.”

Meanwhile, Google’s satellite map shows vast empty spaces in Gaza where Hamas could have taken on the IDF. That’s if Hamas were brave enough.

And in Niceland history can be whatever you want it to be (P. 3):

“Israel as a state was thus imposed on and within Palestine in 1948…an as yet unfinished state project because the territorial ambitions of Israel were not satisfied. Thereafter, claiming to fight for the security of their people and preservation of their land, Israel fought their Arab neighbours, expanding Israel’s borders.”

And in Niceland those fantastical disappearing maps of Palestine used by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign are accurate (P. 5).

And in Niceland Israel never handed back the Sinai and made peace with Jordan (P.6):

“The 1967 war encouraged a revival of the “Greater Israel”, envisaged by the founder of Zionism, Theodore Herzl, as extending “from the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates””. 

In Niceland (P.7) Israeli government policy is “the accelerated Judaization of East Jerusalem“.

In Niceland (P.8) 83% of Gaza’s casualties during Operation Cast Lead were civilians. (B’Tselem puts that figure nearer to 55% while the IDF claims 60% were terrorists)

In Niceland (P.9)  “The Israeli authorities knew that the teenagers were killed soon after their abduction but they did not announce the death (sic) until eighteen days later.” So in Niceland there was no possibility last year that those three abducted Israeli teenagers may have been still alive after those shots, which were only heard down a mobile phone, were fired.

In Niceland (P.10) when Israel searched for those Israeli teenagers and “350 Palestinians were arrested…Reluctantly rising up to the challenge, Hamas responded with rockets.”

In Niceland (P.13) “there is no credible tactical, territorial military threat to Israel from Gaza”.

In Niceland (P.12) Sderot is merely a “settlement” which “shows that the Government encourages its people to live under the threat of rockets”.

In Niceland (P.12) “the population density of Gaza City is rated as the fifth highest in the world“. In Wikipedia Gaza City doesn’t even appear in the top 38.

At a war crimes trial in Niceland (P.19) Hamas could defend itself by arguing it fired inaccurate rockets because Gaza is “an imprisoned state/entity…there is other way to defend and advance its citizens’ interest”.

And, finally, in Niceland there’s no Jewish state at all (P.20):

“Should all the walls…be dismantled and the entire land of Palestine administered by outsiders until a single state of equal citizens can exist on the basis that there may yet be scope for true democracy of those peoples in a land they all claim to call home?”

Here is the talk for you to peruse in your own time.

You can complain to the provost of Gresham that such anti-Israel propaganda has no place at Gresham College. His name is Sir Richard Evans rje36@cam.ac.uk

Or you can go straight to the author himself geoffreynice@hotmail.com and enquiries@gresham.ac.uk

Alternatively you can politely protest such discourse when Professor Nice gives his next lecture which is on November 4th at Gresham College and which will be discussing the Mavi Marmara: Does The Citizen Have The Right To Protest On The High Seas?

It is at 6pm but to be sure of getting a seat you need to be in the queue by 5pm!

Forced to turn off my camera at Jenny Tonge/David Ward event in Parliament while Al Jazeera films.

Last night I went to Parliament for an event staged by the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK. The event Gaza: Life in an occupied and besieged strip was obviously only concerned with the human rights of one group of Arabs.

It was chaired by the Liberal Democrat David Ward MP and the main attraction was Baroness Jenny Tonge who once said “Israel won’t be here forever”.

Tonge complained that “the Palestinians had been denied democracy because the wrong side (Hamas) won” and that Israel defies international law by denying the right of return to anyone who is not a Jew.

Her main complaint was about “the Israel lobby” which, she said, “has its claws in this country” and she claimed nothing was being done about Israel out of fear of being called anti-Semitic.

She called for a total boycott of Israel, said that Jews had led the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and finished off with:

“Let us show Israel; we love you very much but not in these circumstances”.

Here is the clip:

We were then addressed by “International Law Specialist” Toby Cadman. Cadman claimed he was not a political activist but went on to accuse Israel of “collective punishment and unlawful occupation” and having a “classic system of apartheid”.

He said that there was “No situation quite like Palestine” and he also blamed the “Powerful lobby movement” for ensuring injustices weren’t addressed.

Then came the Q&A. An audience member rose and said “Disease in Gaza is like in the concentration camps under the Nazis”.

Then directly behind me someone wanted to know more about “the Israel lobby” so he could boycott them too! He wanted the panel to expand on who exactly they were.

I felt compelled to turn my camera back on at this point.

During her talk Tonge had pointed me out to everyone. She described me as a “great blogger and contributor to the Jewish Chronicle”. And Sara Apps, of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, had already been over to me twice; to ask if I was registered for the event and then to see if my camera was turned off.

So, while Tonge was describing “the Israel lobby” as being both BICOM and the various political Friends of Israel groupings Mohammed Jamil, the organiser of the event, was bearing down on me.

He ordered me to switch my camera off and, which you don’t see, tried to snatch it.

Meanwhile, the cameras of Al Jazeera, who were there covering the event, continued to roll. Here’s the clip and I’m glad to say my little camera has survived yet another battering:

The viciousness of Sir Vincent Fean, a retired British diplomat.

Last Tuesday I attended yet another anti-Israel event at the London Middle East Institute based at SOAS. The last LMEI event I attended beautified Hizbollah. And last Tuesday I had another anti-Jewish insult hurled at me, to add to the long list, for merely asking a question during a Q&A.

The guest speaker last Tuesday was retired British Diplomat Sir Vincent Fean, a man who has served as a diplomat in Paris, Brussels, Libya, Damascus, Baghdad and amongst the Palestinians.

Fean said he wanted to “speak about how peace could come about in the Holy Land” and he said that he believed in “the two state solution”.

However, after his 40 minute talk I realised that Fean did not believe in Israel’s safety or its existence at all. He wanted Israel emasculated and indefensible.

Fean demanded that the “settlements” be disbanded and called the “illegal settlement enterprise” the “single most significant threat to the two state solution”.

As proof of “illegality” he invoked the Geneva Convention claiming that Israel gives inducements for Israelis to move to the West Bank. That is hardly “transfer” but it is enough for the likes of Fean to conclude that Israel is committing a breach of international law.

Fean called for Israel to dismantle its security wall, for Israel’s forces to be withdrawn from “Palestinian soil” and for Egypt to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

After all that he had the gall to say that Israel has the right to defend itself. He said Israel could rely for its security on the UN, USA, NATO, Egypt and Jordan and that Israel “will not find them wanting”. If Fean thinks the UN, let alone Egypt and Jordan, will defend Israel then he’s delusional.

Fean made only a passing reference to Palestinian “incitement to violence” so during the Q&A I  asked why he hadn’t mentioned Hamas’ firing of thousands of rockets into Israel and their Charter that calls for the murder of Jews everywhere which included those four Jewish men recently murdered at a kosher shop in Paris.

That was met by an audible collective moan from the LMEI audience after which a white British middle-aged man turned around and asked me “Are you a fifth columnist or something?”

Meanwhile, Fean only answered that he “was not here to recognise Hamas”.

But Fean left the most vicious part of his rhetoric for the finale.

Fean has been very-well fed on Arab hospitality and very well remunerated by the British taxpayer. However, when he addressed the upcoming British general election he told the LMEI audience to confront their MPs about recognition of “Palestine” as a state and “tell them that your vote depends on it”.

So for Fean struggling British taxpayers who have paid his salary and now fund his pension are of no consequence. He’s more concerned about events thousands of miles away from home.

Fean has been knighted, which is an indictment of the British honours system.

Why the “Sir”? He has been a diplomat in Paris and Brussels where Jews are now regular targets for the bullets and knives of Islamist terrorists. And in Libya, Baghdad and Damascus he has left behind bloodshed on a monumental scale.

And he now thinks people should trust his views on how to bring about an Israeli-Palestinian peace?