Tag Archives: ivor dembina

St James’s Church’s replica of Israel’s security wall cost….£30,000.

Take a look at the above photo. That is what £30,000 looks like. That is the cost of St James’s Church’s replica of Israel’s security wall according to St James’s churchwarden Jo Hines.

Hines said the money was all privately raised, presumably from the likes of vicious anti-Israel charity War On Want, Amos Trust, Holy Land Trust, Interpal, Jews For Justice For Palestinians, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, P21 Gallery, Tipping Point North South, Zaytoun CIC all of whom are “associated with” Bethlehem Unwrapped.

Last night it was the turn of Jewish comedians Ivor Dembina, Dave Cohen and Andy Zaltzman to go on stage for Bethlehem Unwrapped, which is pretty ironic seeing as one of their audience members was Jane Green, probably a pseudonym, who is a notorious Holocaust mocker. As she went in to the church last night I asked her what she thought of the Holocaust to which she replied “What Holocaust”.

Then, of course, there is this clip of a discussion outside St James’s Church where a supporter of Israel is called “a frigging Jew” (see from 4 mins. 15 secs.).

All pretty disturbing stuff especially in the week of Nicolas Anelka’s alleged reverse Nazi salute.

When I put it to Hines that the £30,000 could have been better spent feeding the homeless and heating the elderly she responded that that argument could also be made in relation to statues and that there are 20 or so homeless people sleeping in St James’s Church at night.

Imagine had St James’s Church’s courtyard, where the replica wall stands, been made into a structure for the 12 days where even more people could sleep, be fed and be kept warm. Churches, I thought, were in the business of looking after the poor and caring for the elderly.

After the 12 days of Christmas are over the replica wall is due to be taken down. That amounts to a cost of £2,500 a day. At least a statue usually stays up for the long term so over time its daily cost is minimal.

So what is St James’s Church’s replica wall going to achieve? St James’s Church states “All net proceeds to the ‘Future Peacemakers Appeal’, Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem.” I’d be amazed if there are any “net proceeds” when you take into account the £30,000 cost of the replica wall. Admittedly, chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s friday night £125/head “Bethlehem Feast” could make inroads into the £30,000.

For British Jews the replica wall and Bethlehem Unwrapped are a disaster. I agree with Melanie Phillips when she states that its inevitable effect will be “to incite hatred against Israel and all who support its defence”, which means even more vigilance at synagogues, Jewish schools and Jewish events.

Some will benefit though. Ottolenghi and his chef partner Sami Tamimi and Dembina, Zaltzman and Cohen will have had their faces and names plastered all over the gates of the Church which looks out onto one of the busiest roads in London. Not forgetting Justin Butcher, Geof Thompson, Dean Willars and Deborah Burton who all helped to design the replica wall (see below).

In the end the £30,000 cost of the wall could have been donated to help those that St James’s Church, Piccadilly, really claims to care for: the people of Bethlehem.

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St James’s Church, Piccadilly, installs life size replica of Israel’s security wall during 12 days of Christmas.

The life size replica wall at St James's Church, Piccadilly for Bethlehem Unwrapped.

The life size replica wall at St James’s Church, Piccadilly for Bethlehem Unwrapped.

St James’s Church, Piccadilly, in London’s West End has installed a life size 8 metre tall/30 metre long replica of Israel’s security wall in its courtyard as part of its Bethlehem Unwrapped festival. The replica wall is so vast that it obscures the Church itself.

The replica wall will be lit up at night and for the next twelve days of Christmas (until 5th January) a montage of images and slogans will be continuously projected onto it. Scenes include parts of London with a wall passing through it.

What you won’t see projected onto the replica wall are scenes of bombed out Israeli buses, hotels, pizza restaurants, bars and nightclubs that were ubiquitous in Israel before the wall.

Bethlehem Unwrapped has evening events with anti-Israel polemicists including comedians Jeremy Hardy and Ivor Dembina, musician Nigel Kennedy, columnists Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Mark Steel, Jeff Halper of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and War On Want’s in-house poet Rafeef Ziadah.

Maybe Ivor Dembina will reprise his notorious Holocaust “joke” in which he mocks the Jewish people for wanting to hog the Auschwitz limelight. According to Dembina Jews don’t really want others to know that gays, gypsies and the disabled were also murdered at Auschwitz because we like to see it as “Ourschwitz, not Yourschwitz”.

Had someone made a joke about, for example, Srebrenica they would rightly be excluded but Dembina, host of the Hampstead Comedy Club, is one of the star turns at Bethlehem Unwrapped.

Or maybe poet Rafeef Ziadah will reprise her praising of Islamic Jihad chief Khader Adnan. Adnan, you may recall, is keen to incite Palestinians to become suicide bombers and blow up innocent Israeli children.

Unbelievably, into this political hatefest have stepped the supposedly “non-political” chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. They will be hosting the “Bethlehem Feast” at the church on Friday January 3rd.

Last night’s unveiling of the replica wall was introduced by St James’s Church Rector Lucy Winkett.

Rector Winkett said the reason behind the replica wall was that when 20 of them visited Israel and the Palestinian territories in October “one of the lasting memories of our time there was this wall” (see clip).

It is a shame Rector Winkett didn’t also visit the graves of Israeli children murdered by Palestinian suicide bombers or Israelis left disabled by them.

The microphone was then handed to Jeff Halper of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions who left those who made it to the church despite the dreadful weather conditions in no doubt as to what the next twelves days of Bethlehem Unwrapped had in store. Halper has previously expressed his wish to boycott Israel out of existence.

Last night Halper described Israel’s security wall as a “very deadly barrier that people cannot pass” and said “this wall is not built for security…it doesn’t protect Israelis in any way”. He continued “the wall defines the borders of the Israeli bantustan that is being created for Palestinians in an apartheid state…it defines those cantons in which Palestinians will be confined” (see clip below).

I understand that there are due to be a couple of last minute voices putting Israel’s case at the panel debate with Halper “Both sides of the Barrier: Separation or Security?” on January 4th but it is a drop in the ocean when compared to what is taking place over the entirety of the festival.

During the festival members of the public are being invited write on the wall. The address of St James’s Church is 197 Piccadilly. It’s very close to Piccadilly Circus tube station. Feel free to head away from the sales for a few minutes to balance out the hate and the lies. But take a good pen with you.

This replica wall has possibly cost thousands of pounds. There have been designers, architects, curators, materials, scaffolding and a team of builders. With mouths to feed and people freezing to death in this country alone it is shameful that St James’s Church, Piccadilly, has squandered so much on what is nothing more than an anti-Israel propaganda exercise.

Other Photos from last night:

St James's Rector Lucy Winkett and replica wall curator Justin Butcher singing "oh Little Town of Bethlehem" last night.

St James’s Rector Lucy Winkett and replica wall curator Justin Butcher singing “oh Little Town of Bethlehem” last night.

Justin Butcher with the replica wall's architect and its designer last night.

Justin Butcher with the replica wall’s architect and its designer last night.

Some of the projections on to replica wall until January 5th 2014:

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“Anti-Israel” Lush opens in Brent Cross.

Lush has opened in Brent Cross, north-west London, but its website is viciously anti-Israel.

Lush’s website says, inter alia, that “the catastrophe facing the Palestinian people is one of the defining global justice issues of our time” and “life for most Palestinians living under the illegal Israeli occupation is at least as bad as that endured by black South Africans in the bad old days of apartheid”.

It gets worse:

“Israel’s siege of Gaza has condemned its 1.5 million inhabitants to levels of poverty more commonly associated with sub-Saharan Africa – a humanitarian disaster with no end in sight.”

Lush’s website is promoting the song Freedom For Palestine in its “Our ethical campaigns” section (a link to the song has suddenly reappeared having been originally removed).

For most of those appearing in the video “Freedom for Palestine” means campaigning for a racist boycott of Israel hoping that Israel will eventually disappear to be replaced by a Palestinian state in toto.

Ironically, some of those in the video have regularly appeared outside Ahava in Covent Garden, another natural cosmetics shop (a competitor to Lush you could say). Due to these noisy and, at times, violent protests Ahava has now been forced to close at the end of September.

The song itself talks of, inter alia, “more than six million (Palestinian) refugees”. This is a convenient number that alludes to the six million Jews gassed in the Holocaust. It is nothing less than an attempt to equate the Palestinian situation with the plight of those six million Jews.

The song also speaks of “racial segregation”.

Yes, there is segregation, but if there wasn’t then Palestinian suicide bombers would be getting into Israeli restaurants and onto Israeli buses on a regular basis in order to blow themselves up and kill as many innocent people as possible.

Is that what Lush supports in its promotion of this crude song?

Potential Lush shoppers should at least be made aware of Lush’s politics.

I spoke to someone at Lush’s HQ this morning (Tel: 01202667830) and I put this all to her and she said she “understood where I was coming from” and would put it to her Campaigns Department. I told her that someone had already spoken to this department which was pretty unsympathetic. I will be waiting for the return of the MD, Sofie, next Monday.

Please phone Lush and make it known to them that their campaign is not “ethical” and tell your friends what Lush stands for in its support for people that wish to see the ending of Israel’s existence and a song that denigrates the Holocaust.

On Monday pro-Israel activists protested
outside the London Jewish Cultural Centre in Golders Green that the LJCC was allowing anti-Zionist activist and International Solidarity Movement volunteer Ivor Dembina to perform his comedy act.

People going in on the night said they did not know about Dembina’s political activism and said they would not have bought a ticket had they known. One man who had not bought a ticket refused to go in to see him.

But, now the spotlight moves to Lush with the hope that those who support Israel’s existence and a peaceful two-state solution will be aware that Lush seeks to defame Israel in such cruel terms as those outlined above.

Anti-Zionist activist to perform at Jewish Comedy Festival.

Sometimes Jewish people never miss an opportunity to shoot themselves in the foot.

I refuse to go to the London Jewish Film Festival anymore having once paid good money to see Defamation, a film that, basically, portrays Israel as forcing Israeli teenagers to visit Auschwitz and using the visit to brainwash them into thinking that the whole world hates them because they are Jewish.

The same applies to London Jewish Book Week. Among the long list of Israel bashers invited to speak once was The Independent’s Johann Hari who has claimed that “untreated sewage was being pumped from illegal Israeli settlements on to Palestinian land, contaminating their reservoirs”.

Not only had he seen it with his own eyes, but Friends of the Earth had documented it, you understand.

Mick Davis, head of UJIA, addressed the possibility of Israel becoming an apartheid state and Breaking the Silence were given repeated platforms at Limmud to tell of the supposed evils of Israeli soldiers.

Now the London Jewish Cultural Centre has an advert out for their forthcoming Comedy Festival that reads:

“Enjoy a week of Jewish comedians previewing their outrageous, hilarious and irreverent acts at Ivy House for the next stop – this year’s Edinburgh festival.”

One of the comedians, Ivor Dembina, is doing a sketch harmlessly called “Jewish Comedy” on Monday July 18th.

But while Dembina is actually quite funny his other job is his one man show This Is Not A Subject For Comedy, which is about “Israel, Palestine and the Jews” and which he has been performing for some 8 years.

In it he tells, inter alia, about his confrontation with Israeli soldiers and thinks that Jews somewhat downplay the deaths of homosexuals and Communists at Auschwitz because “this is Ourschwitz, not Yourschwitz”.

Dembina has volunteered for the International Solidarity Movement and in an interview last year is quoted as saying that “the specter of anti-Semitism is raised by Zionists” and is “a manipulation of a tragedy to Zionism’s own advantage”.

He is also quoted as saying of Zionists:

“I think they’ve learned to their cost that it just makes people more determined to speak out publicly and that hate campaigns can be counter-productive. I think they’re starting to try and engage in discussion and going for the whole positive PR angle, like this email campaign about sending medical aid to Haiti. Or they’re going to use Iran as an excuse. They keep coming up with these reasons that the Jewish community has to support Israel and one by one they get exposed as nonsense…You’re left with a rump of very angry people who are used to getting their own way. Things have to be handled very carefully in the months and years ahead”. He also, apparently, compares Israel to apartheid South Africa.

Considering the audience at the LJCC is likely to be entirely pro-Israel and “Zionist”, I would expect they would like to know that Dembina considers them “angry people” and that he would like to see the end of Israel as a Jewish state. Then they can decide whether or not they would like to go in to see him perform.

At least with other anti-Zionists like Ken Loach one is usually fully informed of their politics. I would never go to see Looking for Eric, for instance, as much as I would probably enjoy it.

But, I suspect that Dembina won’t be playing his full anti-Zionist set at the LJCC and, therefore, many in the audience who are paying good money to see him won’t know of his politics.

Maybe, it would be helpful if someone stood outside the gates of the LJCC next Monday to hand out a list of Dembina’s quotes as people are going in to see him (any volunteers?).

I’m sure he wouldn’t expect anything less from a bunch of angry Zionists.

Ivor Dembina (guardian.co.uk)

Ivor Dembina (guardian.co.uk)