Tag Archives: icahd

A day of anti-Israel hatred and Holocaust minimization in Parliament.

Ismail Patel, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Megan Driscoll, Linda Ramsden in Parliament .

Ismail Patel, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Megan Driscoll, Linda Ramsden in Parliament .

“It was supposed to be Never Again” declared Ismail Patel but the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, he said, are “oppressed”, undergoing “ethnic cleansing” and suffering a “genocide”.

Patel, Chair of Friends of Al Aqsa, was speaking in the Grimmond Room of Britain’s Houses of Parliament last night at an event to launch his organisation’s “Jerusalem Report” which focuses on “Protecting Palestinian Citizenship Rights in East Jerusalem.”

According to Megan Driscoll, Advocacy Officer at Coalition for Jerusalem (based in Jerusalem), who spoke first, Israel’s “Jerusalem Masterplan” is to secure the Jewish majority in the city.

Driscoll said that the Palestinian population there is currently 34% and that Israel’s aim is to drive this down to 30% and probably lower.

The way Israel is doing this, she continued, is through “residency revocation” which makes Jerusalem Palestinians “stateless”.

Driscoll said Israel revokes residency if Palestinians have lived abroad for more than seven years or have taken citizenship in another country.

She said there is also a Jerusalem “centre of life” test that Palestinians must pass. This, she said, is so stringent that even Palestinians still living in Jerusalem have not been able to prove such centrality and have lost their residency rights.

Driscoll claimed that since 1967 there have been over 14,000 such “residency revocations”. She referred to this as the “Quiet Deportation” and said it was successful because instead of being “mass collective punishment” it received less attention in the media because it was executed against individuals and families.

Linda Ramsden, Director of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, said that Israel’s “policy of displacement began in 1948 when 530 Palestinian villages were demolished and 750,000 Palestinians made refugees”.

She described how most Palestinians applying for building permits are refused because they cannot prove ownership of land due to a lack of documents (does it not occur to Ramsden that maybe, just maybe, they do not own the land in question?).

Ramsden said that once a house is built without a permit a Palestinian family will suffer from stress worrying which day their home will be demolished. She said this causes a lot of “stress related illness”.

When a house is due to be demolished, she continued, hundreds of police and dogs arrive which, she said, is “very frightening”. Bulldozers are used for the demolition and pneumatic drills destroy the base of the house.

She claimed the families are fined and sent a bill for the demolition and that some Palestinians demolish their own homes to avoid these “horrendous costs”.

Meanwhile, last night’s event was hosted and chaired by the Labour MP for Bolton South-East Yasmin Qureshi. Qureshi was fresh from the House of Commons debate that afternoon on the situation in Gaza.

Qureshi is very quietly spoken but the words that come out of her mouth are pure poison where Israel is concerned. If one thinks that Ismail Patel’s application of the term “Never Again” to the Palestinians was bad enough Qureshi’s Holocaust minimization is more shocking.

Here is what she said in yesterday’s Parliamentary debate:

“What has struck me in all this is that the state of Israel was founded because of what happened to the millions and millions of Jews who suffered genocide. Their properties, homes and land—everything—were taken away, and they were deprived of rights. Of course, many millions perished. It is quite strange that some of the people who are running the state of Israel seem to be quite complacent and happy to allow the same to happen in Gaza.” (my emphasis)

This followed Labour MP Gerald Kaufman’s attack on ALL Israelis in the same debate:

“Again and again, Israel seeks to justify the vile injustices that it imposes on the people of Gaza and the west bank on the grounds of the holocaust. Last week, we commemorated the holocaust; 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza are being penalised with that as the justification…It is totally unacceptable that the Israelis should behave in such a way, but they do not care. Go to Tel Aviv, as I did not long ago, and watch them sitting complacently outside their pavement cafés. They do not give a damn about their fellow human beings perhaps half an hour away.” (my emphasis)

This is how Britain’s Parliament is sometimes so abused. While innocent Syrians are being murdered and left permanently disabled by barrel bombs dropped out of the sky by Assad’s forces certain MPs are offensive about Israel, Israelis and the Holocaust instead.

While Kaufman voted against any intervention in Syria, Qureshi couldn’t even be bothered to turn up to that vote last August!

Last night’s event launching the “Jerusalem Report” was sold out but due to the strike on the London underground not many people could get there.

It must be galling that when so much effort has been put into producing an evening of hatred, lies and Holocaust minimization so few people are there to appreciate your efforts.

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Accused of racism at Amnesty after admitting to being Jewish.

Itay Epshtain (ICAHD), Kristyan Benedict (Amnesty) at Amnesty's London HQ last night.

Itay Epshtain (ICAHD), Kristyan Benedict (Amnesty) at Amnesty’s London HQ last night.

When you go to an anti-Israel event chances are you’re not more than a few feet from an anti-Semite. Last night after yet another anti-Israel event at Amnesty’s Human Rights Action Centre had finished I was immediately confronted by audience member Chris who politely asked if I was Jewish. I answered yes, obviously, but found that Chris wasn’t very happy with me .

I then switched on my recorder and this is how the conversation continued:

Chris: Jewish people feel connected by race or religion. Your support and the support of a lot of people in the Jewish community stems from that connection.
Me: What connection?
Chris: The one I just described about ethnicity and religion. That connection is the basis of the support that seems to come from the Jewish community, people like yourself.
Me: We also support a Palestinian state as well.
Chris: I think to people who are independent, which I am, I’m not Israeli, I’m not Palestinian, I’m not Jewish, to an independent observer it is so patent the immorality of what Israel is doing. And it is so patent that it is painful that Jewish people support this immorality on the basis of race and I think it is a kind of racism.

You can listen in to the full conversation by clicking on this link:

Chris on Jews at Amnesty’s London HQ.

Chris had just been at the talk by Itay Epshtain, co-director of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. Epshtain had given the usual anti-Israel talk, which included statistics about house demolitions, pictures of demolished houses and those maps of Israel and the West Bank.

Epshtain, who lives in Tel Aviv and who previously worked for Amnesty in Israel, wasn’t sure whether a one or two-state solution might be the best way forward and wanted all Jews and Palestinians to decide, but affirmed that boycott, divestment and sanctions was one “tool” to be used by “civil society” to put pressure on Israel.

Epshtain added that Israel might have committed both war crimes and crimes against humanity due to alleged breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

He then suggested that we, as in the audience, were paying for the “displacement and demolition” caused by Israel. We have to pay for the subsequent rehousing through our UK taxes and also via the EU (see clip at end).

Shame Epshtain didn’t tell the audience that we were also paying his salary and for his extravagant trips to London via ICAHD’s EU funding.

Epshtain described how Israel had “Judaised” the Galilee, which wasn’t supposed to be part of Israel under UN Res. 181, after 1948 and then used that as a template for “Judaising” the West Bank. And he claimed Palestinians get 20-30 litres of water per day compared to the WHO recommended amount of 100 per day while Israeli settlers, apparently, get 400 per day.

As for the illegality of the settlements Epshtain cited the totally irrelevant “advisory opinion” of the International Court of Justice as the main authoritative decision.

Surprise, Surprise Epshtain didn’t mention UN Security Council Resolution 242 and the British Mandate for Palestine which, arguably, allow the settlements to be there. He didn’t mention Hamas, Gaza or the Hamas Charter, which calls for the murder of Jews. Security for Israelis doesn’t seem a major issue for ICAHD.

During the Q&A I asked why, if things were so bad in the West Bank, Palestinian life expectancy there was higher than in most countries in the world according to the CIA World Factbook. Epshtain just muttered that he didn’t know whether the CIA World Factbook was correct.

If you’d like to meet Epshtain and, probably, Chris you can attend ICAHD’s AGM on 23rd March 2013. Can you guess where it’s taking place?

Correct. Amnesty’s Human Rights Action Centre.

Here is Jonathan Hoffman’s account:

http://www.thejc.com/blogs/jonathan-hoffman/amnesty-hosts-yet-another-anti-israel-headbanger

Clip of Epshtain from last night:

ICAHD’s Jeff Halper speaks to London churchgoers of Israeli “super Apartheid”.

Halper's slide of Salim Shawamreh after a house demolition.

Halper's slide of Salim Shawamreh after a house demolition.

Jesus is reborn in the form of Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). Halper sacrificed himself to leave sunny Israel and visit rainy London for a speaking tour. He appeared on Monday night in the ancient church of All-Hallows-on-the-Wall in the the City of London to talk about the plight of the Palestinians.

Halper, like Jesus was, is also Jewish, and, just like Jesus, has suffered incredible hardship for the sake of others. The blurb for the speaking tour described Halper as being “prepared to put his own comfort and safety at risk. He dismisses the physical hardships, manhandlings and brief sojourns in Israeli jails which he has endured, as insignificant compared to what Palestinians may suffer every day”.

Halper was supposed to have been joined by Salim Shawamreh (see photo above) who owns a house called Beit Arabiya, but Shawamreh was absent eventhough the event was meant as a fundraiser to help him rebuild his home which had, apparently, been demolished for the fifth time by Israel. On previous occasions Halper had been there to help rebuild it. Halper describes such rebuilding “as a political act of resistance until we prevail”.

Has there been a falling out between Halper and one of his main disciples? I expected to hear how Shawamreh had been detained by the Israeli authorities.  The blurb for the talk simply stated “Unfortunately Salim Shawamreh whose family owns Beit Arabiya was due to be at this event is no longer able to join us.” Halper had nothing more to add to that on the night.

In Shawamreh’s absence Halper couldn’t resist the urge to raise funds for himself. He told us that the moment he was thrown down a hill with Shawamreh he pledged to tell his story. His publicist then offered us the chance to purchase Halper’s book An Israeli in Palestine for £12.

Halper immediately told the 100 or so Christians (and one Jew) in the church how deceitful the Israelis were. Conveniently forgetting the many Israelis murdered or left disabled and disfigured by Palestinian suicide bombers Halper said that the “separation wall”, like most other Israeli policies, had nothing whatsoever to do with security and that discussing the wall in such terms made Israel sound like the victim.

It helped Israel claim “we are the good guys, they are the bad guys” as Israel tried to “reframe the conflict”. According to Halper, the wall is twice as high as the Berlin Wall was and five times as long.

Halper said Israel has demolished 27,000 Palestinian homes since 1967 and in only around 600 of those instances was security of possible concern for Israel. And he said that the “settlements” had nothing to do with security either.

Halper didn’t think there was a proper conflict, which needed two sides; Israel is too powerful due to its vast business dealings with Britain, its official treaty with America and its economy which is three times the size of Egypt’s, Palestine’s, Syria’s and Jordan’s combined, not forgetting Israel’s nuclear prowess.

Halper said most Palestinians live on £1.50 a day with no access to the Israeli job market and that Israel is driving middle class Palestinians out. He said that the Palestinians are so regulated they even need permission to plant gardens next to their homes and for growing certain flowers.

He said 300,000 Palestinians had left “the occupied territories” in the last 10 years while those remaining are confined to “bantustans”. Halper, sadly, spent the evening demeaning the experiences of blacks in apartheid South Africa, even describing Israel as being “super Apartheid”. See here:

Ever the hero, Halper went on to describe his brave actions during proposed house demolitions. Being an Israeli Jew, he said, meant it was more unlikely that he would be imprisoned. This allowed him to throw himself in front of bulldozers and to climb onto the roofs of those houses earmarked for demolition.

He mentioned Rachel Corrie who, he said, was “killed after being twice run over by a bulldozer”, and a pregnant Palestinian mother of ten who died after her house “was demolished while she was asleep inside”.

Did Halper have an answer to the problem of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Yes. He called for something like the “European Common Market” where citizens from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon “can live and work throughout the region” and that “if Palestinian refugees want to come back from Lebanon to live in the Galilee, you can do that”. Watch here:

Such a simple solution and one which Israelis are bound to go for in their droves despite the prospect of living right next door to the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists dedicated to the slaughter of Jews! I doubt even Israel’s Arab citizens would go for it.

Meanwhile, if anyone catches sight or sound of Salim Shawamreh, please let me know as I’m concerned as to his whereabouts.

Liberal Judaism and the state of “Palestein”

Richard Kuper (JFJFP), Jeff Halper (ICAHD), Rabbi Danny Rich (Liberal Judaism)

For most Jews it might seem incongruous to attack Israel from in front of the Aron Ha-Kodesh but not for Jews for Justice for Palestinians and not for some from Liberal Judaism which hosted Jeff Halper of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) at the Montagu Centre.

Halper is an American who has lived in Israel for 40 years. His talk was titled The Problems of a Peacenik in Israel: Attacking the messenger.

Before Halper spoke Rabbi Danny Rich made the following statement:

“Jews For Justice For Palestinians have booked the Montagu Centre on a number of occasions. They pay more than an economic rent. It is not our custom to censor speakers. We have come under pressure both formally and informally to cancel this meeting. It is not appropriate to cancel this meeting as JFJFP have booked our hall many times before without any problem and we do not believe that calling for a one-state solution, and I believe that Jeff does not call for that anyway, is anti-Semitic.”

So Halper does not call for a one state solution? Some of his his words:

“There’s only one government in Israel and Palestine which is an Israeli government. There’s only one army, one electrical system, one highway system and one water system. Israel has made that, now we can’t blame the Arabs for that. They accepted the two-state solution publicly in 1988. We made this a binational state and we have to accept responsibility for what we do. We made our bed and we have to lie in it, which means a one-state solution which is either binational or a democratic unitary state. I’m not advocating it. I think a one-state solution is a challenge, I think it’s just, I would like to go that way. You can’t keep advocating for a two-state solution when Israel has eliminated the two state solution.”

Extraordinarily, at the end Halper came over to me to specifically state for the record that he “supports boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel” and he agreed that he is going round British universities both calling for those and describing Israel as an apartheid state.

As for the rest of his talk Halper:

1. Quoted General Petraeus’ recent statement on Israel’s behaviour in not allowing the West to make an accommodation with the Muslim world: “Judaizing Jerusalem isn’t some local issue. Jerusalem is the epitome of the clash of civilisations. It has tremendous implications in the world.”

2. Said the population of Israel is only 70% Jewish. 30% are not Jewish including Russian immigrants and foreign workers and their families. Adding four million Palestinians has made Israel a binational reality. Jews in the diaspora must let Israel go. What Zionism did to the Jewish people was terrible. It negated diaspora Jews.

3. Told us that if diaspora Jews respect Israel they have to respect its right to evolve as a country and find its own place in the Middle East. It isn’t in Europe. After World War One Chaim Weizzman said: “We want the Land of Israel to be as Jewish as England is English.” That made sense in 1919 in England but England could evolve and go somewhere else. England has become a very different country. Bradford has a majority non-white population. You can now become British even if you are from China.

4. Said he thinks Israel intends to keep “Judea and Samaria”: “I can’t explain why we did that if we want a Jewish state. Whoever planned these settlements must be the most anti-Zionist of them all, possibly Ariel Sharon.”

5. Stated that the majority of Jews have always lived in the diaspora and that their national identity is based on the Torah and the book of Joshua (the book of conquest) which is tribal and genocidal and which is where Zionism took its Judaism from. The prophets, however, articulated human rights and liberal humanism. The values Israel talks about are unacceptable to diaspora Jews and that Jerusalem should be Jewish is a racism people would never accept in Britain.

Halper never mentioned the spectre of Islamic Fundamentalism, twisted history by saying the Jews had rejected a two-state solution in 1948 and said that Jewish children were being “brainwashed” by the likes of Birthright Israel. This brainwashing accusation is becoming a common theme against anyone who puts forward Israel’s position.

Finally, after two-hours of advocating a one-state solution, despite his ridiculous denials, Halper even gave us its name: Palestein.