Tag Archives: ISIS

Investigations and media coverage in aftermath of LSE Palsoc/Femsoc event.

Aitemad Muhanna-Matar, Zena Agha, Rana B. Baker,  Mezna Qato at LSE last week.

Aitemad Muhanna-Matar, Zena Agha, Rana B. Baker, Mezna Qato at LSE last week.

Last Tuesday, 27th January (Holocaust Memorial Day), at a joint Palestine Society and Feminist Society event at the London School of Economics Zena Agha accused Israelis of utilising the idea of rape as a “weapon of war” against Palestinian women, and Rana B. Baker glorified Sana’a Mehaidli who blew herself up in Lebanon in 1985 killing two Israeli soldiers.

I wrote about the event here and LSE’s online newspaper has been covering all the fallout in detail.

LSE’s Israel Society immediately lodged a complaint against the LSE Student Union over Baker’s remarks (Why not over Agha’s remarks also?) and the Feminist Society immediately apologised:

“Having reviewed the statements, regarding applauding an attack against Israeli soldiers, made by a speaker at our event we apologise unequivocally on behalf of the Feminist Society. We give platforms to oppressed peoples, including those under violent occupations, but that does not mean that their views always reflect our own. The Feminist Society is truly regretful that we have caused offence.”

Shamefully, the same cannot be said of the Palestine Society which stated:

“Although the LSESU Palestine Society does not necessarily share the views held by the speaker, we maintain that she is entitled to them and is free to express her analysis on the issue, whatever that may be.”

Incredibly, the chairperson of last week’s event Aitemad Muhanna-Matar, a research fellow at the LSE’s Middle East Centre, then took the issue to new depths with her equating of Israelis and Nazis. She said to the online newspaper:

“These resistance military actions were done in the western history by the IRA, during the American and French revolutions. At a lesser extent, Jews resisted against the Nazist (sic) kidnappers, but faced certain death, the same as Palestinians who committed violence against the Israelis certainly face certain death.”

LSE’s Jewish Society lodged a formal complaint over that remark. Samiha Begum, LSE Student Union Black and Minority Ethnics Students Officer, defended Muhanna-Matar by explaining “She doesn’t compare the regimes she compares the resistance.”

Meanwhile, Zena Agha wrote on her own blog that I had accused her of “urging the audience to see ISIS in a different light – an accusation made all the more hurtful given that my cousin was killed by ISIS activities in Baghdad six months ago and my family is still in mourning.”

I am sorry for Zena’s loss. However, Zena did say just that. She told the audience not to adopt the Western narrative about ISIS.

I will keep you updated on the results of the investigations.

But let’s be clear. Imagine how our universities would look if whenever there was an event one side falsely accused the other of weaponising rape and then went on to glorify those who kill.

And more to the point not only did two Israeli soldiers lose their lives in Mehaidli’s suicide bombing but Mehaidli lost hers also at the tender age of 16.

Three families are still in mourning for the needless loss of loved ones. That is, in effect, what Baker glorified last week.

On a brighter note as a result of my blog about the event Baker’s sickening glorification was reported in Saturday’s Times. On Page 13 the headline read: Suicide Bomber was praised by LSE speaker

The Times reported that Baker “called for applause for Sana’a Mehaidli” and that she said her attack was “worthy of a standing ovation”. The Times also reported that LSE’s Jewish Society and the Israel Society lodged complaints prompting investigations by LSE’s governance, legal and policy division.

Now Amnesty International’s Kristyan Benedict compares Israel to Islamic State.

Amnesty International’s crisis response manager for Syria Kristyan Benedict just can’t help himself. In 2012 after Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defence against Hamas Benedict tweeted:

“Louise Ellman, Robert Halfon and Luciana Berger walk into a bar…each orders a round of B52s … #Gaza”.

Ellman, Halfon and Berger all happen to be Jewish.

Amnesty’s subsequent disciplinary investigation found that tweet “ill-advised and had the potential to be offensive and inflammatory but was not racist or antisemitic”. Benedict was merely made to apologise.

A year earlier Amnesty made Benedict apologise for physically threatening me after I questioned Benedict’s guest presenter Abu Dheer who produced to an Amnesty audience the following very possibly fake photo of a young Palestinian boy with a Star of David allegedly carved into his arm by an Israeli soldier using broken glass.

amnestyboy

Benedict called me a “war crimes denier” for questioning the photo and then threatened me physically.

As you can see, the Star of David is too perfect to have been made by broken glass on a screaming boy’s arm and the plaster doesn’t cover the supposed wound properly.

Now Benedict has compared Israel to Islamic State, also known as ISIL (Islamic State in the Levant), with this tweet:

kristben

#JSIL means “Jewish State in the Levant”, a sickening comparison to the murderous ISIL.

Obviously, not on any level can Israel be compared to Islamic State but in the prevailing febrile anti-Israel atmosphere Israel is now regularly being compared so alongside the usual comparisons to Nazism and apartheid South Afria.

So this latest tweet by Benedict, sadly, comes as no surprise. Maybe Amnesty will carry out yet another investigation and make him apologise a third time. Who knows.

But Amnesty does itself a disservice by continuing to employ Benedict. When considering his “JSIL” tweet, his B52 “joke” and his theatening behaviour in response to the questioning of that fake photo why would anyone seeking objectivity take seriously any report that Amnesty produces on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

(For your information here is a debunking of that latest Amnesty report accusing Israel of war crimes during this summer’s Operation Protective Edge)

 

Guardian writer George Monbiot: “Time for an air war against Israel.”

Cross-posted at CiFWatch.

In a deeply ironic article The Guardian’s George Monbiot asks why, in light of NATO’s current air war against Islamic State, the west doesn’t “bomb the Muslim world – all of it” and possibly “flatten the entire Middle East and West Asia” his thesis being that with there being so many human rights abusers in the region why concentrate solely on Islamic State/ISIS.

No article like this for The Guardian would be complete unless it contained a totally unjustified attack on Israel. Soon into his piece Monbiot writes:

“In Gaza this year, 2,100 Palestinians were massacred: including people taking shelter in schools and hospitals. Surely these atrocities demand an air war against Israel?”

Monbiot adopts the usual hard-left line of Israel having committed a “massacre” in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. He is doing the work of Hamas’ propaganda arm for them. Civilians were the main victims of Operation Protective Edge, as they are in any war. Civilians are already being killed by NATO in Syria.

But a significant proportion of those 2,100 dead in Gaza are likely to have been the Hamas fighters who had fired rockets at Israeli citizens from nearby to those schools and hospitals, who had dug attack-tunnels under Israel and who came out of those tunnels with the aim of killing as many Israelis as possible.

Monbiot goes on to suggest air attacks against Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Shia militias in Iraq due to the horrendous treatment of many citizens in those countries by their governments.

By citing Israel alongside such oppressive oppressive regimes Monbiot puts Israel on a par with with some of the worst human rights abusers when in fact Israel is not only the most liberal country in the region but on a par with the west when it comes to, inter alia, freedom of speech, freedom to practice religion and freedom to express one’s sexuality.

But Monbiot’s biggest crime in this article is to underplay what is happening to religious minorities at the hands of Islamic State.

Monbiot cites individual cases of human rights abuses by the corrupt dictatorships in Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia but is this really on the same level as lining up hundreds of innocent civilians and shooting them in the head before pushing their lifeless bodies into a river or shooting them dead in mass pits, burying them alive or crucifying them like Islamic State terrorists have done to Christians, Yazidis, Shia Muslims and others?

No reasonable person could approve of what has been happening on a daily basis in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iraq. But the regimes that head these countries are not Islamic State.

Neither is the west ignorant of these countries and has been attempting “political solutions” that Monbiot calls for in the penultimate paragraph of his piece. A change of leadership was recently forced through in Iraq and short-lived democracy movements sprung up in Iran, Bahrain and Syria. Although the latter were brutally oppressed they are waiting to rise again. Courageous women continue to attempt to demonstrate for more freedoms in Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Islamic State is far worse than these corrupt dictatorships. Roger Boyes in the London Times (behind paywall) sums up the war against Islamic State:

“The mission would be easier if we were pitted against a corrupt dictatorship since no amount of brainwashing can stop conscript soldiers making the calculation: is it worth dying to defend this man’s palaces? Splitting Isis is infinitely more complex.”

There are no calculations for Islamic State’s brainwashed terrorists to make. Defending, propagating and dying for their extreme interpretation of Islam is their only objective. All obstacles are liquidated.

Monbiot fails to fully grasp this.

His piece does justice neither to Israel, expected from him, nor to those suffering under the brutality of Islamic State, unexpected from him.