Tag Archives: Israel

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:

As Jews are murdered why is War On Want handing out fake guns to British students?

Protesting this morning outside War On Want's London HQ.

Protesting this morning outside War On Want’s London HQ.

With Jews being murdered in France, Belgium and Denmark there’s an ominous feeling that British Jews are awaiting their own round. With that in mind a group of concerned British Jews from Jewish Human Rights Watch protested this morning outside the offices of War On Want in central London (see above).

War On Want is one of Britain’s most respected charities but it is, sadly, now being run by people determined to import the Israeli-Palestinian conflict onto the streets of Britain.

Quite unbelievably, after what has happened this weekend and in Belgium and Paris, War On Want’s current campaign includes handing out fake guns to students to help mark what is sickeningly termed “Israeli Apartheid Week” which begins next week on British university campuses. See the last line from WOW’s website below:

waronwant2

Many British Jews are feeling insecure and accuse WOW of helping to spread propaganda and hate against the Jewish State which could well lead to the events of Paris, Belgium and Denmark being repeated in the UK. They are asking: Is War on Want helping to promote a War On Jews?

I questioned John Hilary (see below), WOW’s executive director, about this and other issues as he approached his offices. As you can see Hilary refused to answer my questions about WOW handing out guns to British students, a two-state solution, Israel’s future or the bombing of innocent Israeli civilians by Hamas.

Instead he had the nerve to accuse me of “using the current attacks on Jews in Europe for political purposes to support the Zionist dream”.

Admittedly, my interviews skills need brushing up but it is infuriating when someone refuses to answer very simple questions when there is so much at stake:

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.

Israeli deaths glorified at LSE on Holocaust Memorial Day.

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

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

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau but last night at the London School of Economics at a joint Palestine Society and Feminist Society event Israelis were portrayed as rapists and those who killed Israelis were applauded.

In front of a banner that read “Towards Freedom and Independence the Uprising Continues” a panel of four women described the role Palestinian women should play in the “uprising”.

Rana B. Baker, a student at SOAS who also writes for the Electronic Intifada, said Leila Khaled‘s “hijacking of planes was amazing”. The only problem, Baker said, was that Khaled had now aligned herself with the Assad regime.

Baker reserved her highest admiration for Sana’a Mehaidli who she said “deserves a standing ovation”. She told how, in 1985 in south Lebanon, Mehaidli “drove a car full of explosives and blew it up near an Israeli convoy killing two Israeli soldiers and injuring between 10 and 12 more.”

Baker described Mehaidli  as “the first female to carry out a suicide bombing in south Lebanon” and said Mehaidli was “more admirable for not being well-known and for not being Palestinian”.

Baker concluded by saying that Mehaidli’s “will calls for men and women to armed struggle against a colonial regime based on violence”.

Zena Agha portrayed Israelis as rapists of Palestinian women (see footage below). She said that “in Israel the view of Palestinian women is very derogatory and that rape had become a very prevalent idea. Rape for Israelis was almost a weapon of war against Palestinian women.”

She quoted Mordechai Kedar’s controversial “rape as terror deterrent” statement which, she said, was “illuminating about Israeli democracy”. She also described a sign in an Israeli coastal town which, apparently, read “Pound Their Mothers” as having “sexual connotations”.

She urged the student audience not to adopt western narratives about Hamas, Hizbollah and ISIS etc. who, she said, are all referred to as “terrorists”. She complained that “calling Hamas ‘terrorists’ robs them of any agency and delegitimises them”.

Mezna Qato, a research fellow at Cambridge University, said that boycotting Israel “is a small but powerful tactic that allows women to be lifted up by the spirit of the Palestinian struggle”.

And the event was chaired by Aitemad Muhanna-Matar, a research fellow at the LSE’s Middle East Centre, who said that the Palestinians had no choice “but to sacrifice their bodies” and that “radical Jewish settlers are more a threat to Israel than the Palestinians”.

It was a truly sickening event the most frightening part of which was when Zena Agha proclaimed “We are the future leaders”.

I, for one, wouldn’t want to be living in this country should that ever come to pass.

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?

And I only asked why Jews can’t live next to Palestinians on the West Bank….

GUPS representative, Martin Linton, Dibyesh Anand, Sarah Apps, Murad Qureshi

GUPS representative, Martin Linton, Dibyesh Anand, Sarah Apps, Murad Qureshi

And so to my final blog of 2014 and a public event I attended last month at the University of Westminster, London.

On 13th November 2014 a panel discussed Parliament Recognises Palestine: What Next?

The panel consisted of Sara Apps, Campaigns Officer for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Martin “tentacles” Linton, chair of Labour Friends of Palestine, Murad Qureshi, a Labour Party Member of the London Mayoral Assembly and, finally, a representative from the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS – UK).

The panel was chaired by Dr. Dibyesh Anand, Head of Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster.

As ever there were repeated calls from the panel for a boycott of Israeli “settlements”. When it came to the Q&A I raised my arm and asked one simple question:

“Isn’t it racist to call for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank especially when considering that 1.7 million Muslim and Christian Arabs reside fairly happily in Israel ?”

Chaos ensued.

I was then referred to as “the enemy” by a man who walked out while giving me a rather unpleasant look. He also said, referring to me, “We are fighting these people”. Here’s the clip:

The head of Fatah in the UK then described how the Palestinians had welcomed the Jews from Nazi Germany and protected the Jewish community in Beirut during Lebanon’s civil war.

The most frightening aspect of his speech was not the lies but the applause. Here’s the clip:

Martin Linton then accused me of dangerously introducing “Jewish” into the discussion. But he then praised the anti-Israel group Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP).

Sarah Apps said she abhored anti-Semitism. However, her organisation’s logo dispenses with Israel altogether. So, if implicitly calling for the eradication of the Jewish state isn’t anti-Semitism then, one must ask, what is?

Anand Dibyesh said this event wasn’t at all anti-Semitic (I never claimed it was) before immediately, himself, going on to make a link between Nazism and Israel.

Finally, a student asked what she could do to help. Martin Linton responded that she should support Karen Buck, the Labour MP for Westminster North, who, he said, is very pro-Palestinian. It seems for some the needs of the Palestinians are more important than the needs of the good people of Westminster North.

On the way out I was encircled by some aggressive students who told me I was brainwashed and who asked repeatedly how much I was being paid.

So here’s to a less hypocritical and more constructive 2015 although with the May general election on the horizon many British politicians will be using the Palestinians as mere political fodder with which to try to secure their own re-election.

Thank you for all the supportive comments I have had throughout 2014. Thank you to those who have commented on my blog and those who have cross-posted me and many thanks for the support of the team at CIFWatch.

More importantly a huge “thank you” to those who continue to fight against anti-Semitism and Israel’s delegitimisation in the UK but who receive little, if any, credit in return.

A healthy and happy New Year to everyone.

How I confronted Palestinian “ambassador” over the Har Nof killings.

On Tuesday night in Parliament I asked Manuel Hassassian, the unofficial Palestinian ambassador to the UK, why in the speech he had just delivered in which he accused Israel of “war crimes” he made no mention of Palestinian violence, specifically the recent murders by two Palestinians of four Rabbis and a Druze policeman at a west Jerusalem synagogue.

He answered me directly but when he said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had condemned the killings I reminded him, as you can see in the clip below, that Abbas had incited the murders in the first place with his violent rhetoric including imploring Palestinians to use “all means” to stop Jews visiting the Temple Mount. Here is our confrontation:

Meanwhile, a woman had just told the room that the Palestinians were suffering a fate worse than that of Anne Frank.

What she said was bad enough but the most chilling aspect was the warm applause she received from both Hassassian and ex-Labour MP Martin Linton, now chairperson of Labour Friends of Palestine, as well as from the others present.

Here’s the clip of her mocking the memory of Anne Frank who was murdered by the Nazis at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15:

The actual event at Parliament was about that recent vote to recognise a Palestinian state at some time in the future. Although it was held under the auspices of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Third World Solidarity it was for all intents and purposes another sickening Labour Party anti-Israel event.

As well as Linton current Labour MP Khalid Mahmood spoke. Labour MP Richard Burden and Labour’s Lord Ahmed were also due to speak but were both absent.

Mahmood replied to my question on the role of Hamas in the conflict by accusing Israel of bombing the Palestinian Authority out of Gaza so leaving the road clear for a Hamas takeover.

Hamas had fought a bloody civil war against the PA but Mahmood’s response shows the serious level of misinformation gladly assumed by many British politicians. Here is Mahmood expressing his pure ignorance of events:

Finally there was Linton, now notorious for invoking anti-Jewish Nazi imagery when he once referred to “the tentacles of Israel” interfering in Britain’s political system.

At Tuesday night’s event while he mentioned that Mohammed Abu Khedair was murdered by Israelis he never mentioned that Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel were murdered by Palestinians. According to Linton the latter had been merely “kidnapped”. I interrupted to remind him of their fate as you can see here from 2 mins 40 secs:

Remarkably there were only 25 people present at the event with swathes of empty seats. Those present finally convened for a group photo, see below, and with numbers short I offered to help out with taking photos for those who wanted a memento of the sour night.

Group photo! Linton front 2nd from right, Hassassian front 3rd from right.

Group photo! Linton front 2nd from right, Hassassian front 3rd from right.