Tag Archives: Jerusalem Light Railway

Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railways on Ch. 5: “Jewish people are good with money”.

What makes an editor leave in a comment such as “Jewish people are good with money”? And what makes the main presenter not pick up such a comment?

This was the scenario in Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railways shown on Channel 5 on Monday night when Tarrant visited Jordan and Israel. In Jordan he travelled the route of the now defunct Hejaz Railway and visited Petra.

As he entered Israel Tarrant’s mood became inexplicably darker. This was his first visit and in response to a sign stating “Welcome to Israel” he asked “Am I welcome?”

He said there’s more money in Israel and, thus, better railways than Jordan and explained Zionism in terms of the spiritual home of Jews for thousands of years. But he described the railways as helping to bring thousands of “settlers” into Israel when referring to those Jews.

Tarrant described railways as the centre of tensions between Arabs and Jews dating back to the “second Arab revolt” (1936 to 1939). He described that revolt being due to Arab frustration at the influx of Jews.

There was no mention of the Peel Commission in 1937 that offered Arabs a state on 80% of the land and which they rejected and the Jews accepted. And no mention of the revolt leading to the closing of the doors of British Mandate Palestine to Jews in 1939 which contributed to six million Jewish deaths by the Nazis.

Tarrant merely continued that Jewish groups then attacked the trains in the 1940s due to being frustrated by the British.

In Haifa he visited a Jewish hummous restaurant the owner of which, Adam, he described as an “upstart”, although he enjoyed Adam’s hummous.

He then went to an Arab-owned hummous restaurant across the road and was discussing the idea of a hummus war with the Jews when the Arab owner said (see clip above):

“Jewish people are good with money, with politics.”

Tarrant merely replied “Arabs are good with hummus.” It was a totally free pass for an old antisemitic trope.

Despite describing Israel as “war torn”, “on an almost constant war footing” and saying, when trying to board a train with soldiers, “machine guns add to the stress of the morning commute”, Tarrant enjoyed Haifa.

On the train to Tel Aviv Tarrant analysed the 1947 UN partition map showing the areas meant for Jews and those for Arabs. He described the idea being that both countries would “coexist peacefully together” before adding “It was never going to work, was it?”

Nothing about Arab rejectionism of partition for the second time in 10 years before five Arab countries attempted to annihilate Israel at birth.

Tarrant described Tel Aviv as “fanatastic” before repeatedly referring to it as a “bubble” because “along the coastline is the Gaza Strip notorious for its desperate poverty and governed by the Hamas Palestinian group.”

So Hamas were now given a free pass. No mention of Hamas’ violence, its antisemitic 1988 Charter and the oppression by it of its own people in Gaza.

Finally to Jerusalem and to what Tarrant called “the Wailing Wall”.

Having briefly layed his hand on the Wall with a look of utter bemusement he was more intent on showing us another wall.

He took a journey on the Jerusalem Light Railway and then gratuitously gave us the haters’ narrative that some see the railway as a “typical act of Israeli aggression as it runs through illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land”. He acknowledged that others see it as a great place for people of all races and religions to get together.

Then in front of what he called the “separation wall” he said “Israel claims it prevents terror attacks”. However, Tarrant again gratuitously presented the haters’ narrative that “others see it as racial segregation against Palestinians.”

Then signing off to camera Tarrant said “I’m British and I think it was us that started the whole thing.”

No, Chris. You should have blamed the problems on Hamas violence and Arab rejectionism but you gave that and an ancient antisemitic trope a free pass.

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Daniel Machover’s dangerous game of Lawfare against Veolia and Israel.

Zena from "Palestine", Daniel Machover, Yael Kahn listening to an activist at ULU last night.

Zena from “Palestine”, Daniel Machover, Yael Kahn listening to an activist at ULU last night.

First, the drama bit.

I was sitting quietly before the start of last night’s Excluding Complicity with Israeli War Crimes meeting at University of London Union (ULU) when I was approached by the Israeli anti-Israel activist Yael Kahn. Kahn wanted me to leave saying:

“We don’t want you. You’ve been undermining people’s meetings. You interfere with people’s freedom of speech. We don’t want you here. Goodbye to you. We don’t want you. You are here for one purpose; to interrupt and to undermine people. I’ve seen you many times. I’ve seen you in action many times. You’re not invited.”     Listen here: Yael Kahn asking me to leave.

Once I told her that I wasn’t leaving as it was a public meeting and that she should have arranged the meeting in her home she shuffled off to chair the event instead.

It’s incredible that these Israel haters are supplied with a room paid for by the British taxpayer at a British university and presume they can exclude anyone they don’t like (the advert states the meeting was “sponsored by ULU”).

The main speaker was Daniel Machover, described as “Solicitor, the UK expert on Human Rights, Israel and Veolia”. Jeremy Corbyn MP was also supposed to speak but failed to show up.

Machover presented his lengthy legal opinion on how to exclude Veolia from the public contracts given out by local authorities. Veolia deals in waste management and construction and has been building the Jerusalem Light Railway, which, Machover says, is in breach of the Geneva Convention and UN resolutions because it serves “illegal Israeli settlements”.

The main UN resolution Machover relied on was that passed by the UN Human Rights Council in April 2011 and called The grave human rights violations by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (see clip 1 below).

At that time countries on the UNHRC included Libya, Bahrain, Ukraine, Jordan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Qatar. All have brutal human rights records so for Machover to cite such a resolution proves the weakness of his case.

Machover also seems to be adopting the similar failed tactic of Michael Mansfield QC. At an event at Amnesty International in November 2010 Mansfield gave a legal opinion on the defence anti-Israel activists could employ if they entered the shops or offices of companies doing business in the “illegal Israeli settlements” and were arrested.

With such advice in mind anti-Israel activists Matthew Richardson, Gwendolen Wilkinson, Jessica Nero and Christopher Osmond entered the Ahava shop in Covent Garden and succeeded in shutting it down for a few hours while making their protest but they were subsequently landed with criminal convictions for aggravated trespass.

Happily though for Mr Mansfield his chambers picked up the business as the four defendants were represented by barristers from Tooks.

Similarly, Machover seems to be pushing local councillors to exclude Veolia from local authority business but for all his lengthy quoting of local council law to support his view he still has to overcome the same hurdle that the four convicted anti-Ahava activists failed to do; the legality of “the settlements”.

Machover said last night:

“Let me make it clear. Settlements that are built in east Jerusalem or the rest of the West Bank are illegal under international law. There is absolutely universal consensus about that. The British government says so, the American government says so…this is entirely uncontentious territory.”

Apart from the fact that the American government doesn’t “say so” how would Machover explain the decision of the judge in the Ahava case outlined above that Ahava, with its factory on the West Bank, was “trading lawfully”?

Machover’s advice could have extreme financial consequences for local councillors who incorrectly exclude Veolia from a public contract, as Machover himself acknowledged. The local councillors could leave themselves open to being personally surcharged millions of pounds for any loss to Veolia like Dame Shirley Porter was in the 1990s “homes for votes” scandal.

Councillors could be made bankrupt, but Machover couldn’t resist encouraging them anyway last night with this:

“It’s very problematic. It’s very expensive litigation that Veolia could mount. Obviously they’re a very significant company with much more resources than most local authorities. But if they’re prepared to stand up to other bodies…they should be prepared to stand up to a big bully like Veolia. I understand their fears because they don’t want to use council taxpayers’ money on a bad legal case. But, I repeat, I don’t think it is a bad case. So local authorities who have the courage of their convictions should proceed. And I genuinely think that it’s not straightforward as to whether Veolia would actually take it to court.” (see clip 2)

Yael Khan then tried soothing everyone’s nerves by claiming that there had been, apparently, no challenge by Veolia after it lost a £1bn contract in South London, although I doubt that loss had anything whatsoever to do with her and her colleagues.

It’s possible that Veolia, itself, would not have to sue. A concerned resident could possibly have locus standi to instigate proceedings to have councillors surcharged.

Finally, we heard from Zena who had just arrived from “Palestine” that morning. She told us how evil “the settlers” are and how their actions are having a detrimental effect on the health of the Palestinians. (see clip 3)

Just like other Palestinians who have come over here and made the same claim they all look very well to me. Maybe they’re just the lucky ones….

Clips and photos:

The welcoming party on the door at University of London Union last night.

The welcoming party on the door at University of London Union last night.

Clip 1 – Machover outlines his weak case against Veolia:

Clip 2 – Machover encourages councillors over Veolia despite major concerns:

Clip 3 – Palestinian Zena’s view on “settlers”:

Clip 4 – Conclusions of Zena and Machover. Zena calls for boycott:

Clip 5 – Jewish Anti-Zionist Network activist calls for boycott of Hewlett Packard:

A Canterbury activist from anti-Israel Conservative MP Julian Brazier's constituency.

A Canterbury activist from anti-Israel Conservative MP Julian Brazier’s constituency.

Anti-Israel activists in London: “Slaughter in Syria? What slaughter?”

Outside the Natural History Museum today.

Outside the Natural History Museum today.

Anti-Israel activists in London didn’t seem to have a care in the world today about Bashar Assad’s continued slaughter of his own people in the cities of Homs, Aleppo and Damascus.

Instead, they urged people queuing for the Natural History Museum to boycott an exhibition sponsored by Veolia because it does business with Israel.

They could have joined Syrian opposition activists outside the Syrian Embassy or Amnesty’s Mass Rally in Trafalgar Square for Syria, Egypt and the wider Middle East, but, instead, they handed out leaflets which falsely claimed that:

1. Veolia placed job adverts for the Jerusalem Light Railway which were racist being “deliberately designed to stop Palestinian citizens of Israel from applying”.
2. Veolia operates buses to “illegal” Israeli settlements on the West Bank and that “Palestinians are often stopped from using the buses that Veolia runs”.
3. “Veolia takes waste and rubbish from Israel and illegal Settlements and dumps this on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank.”

The leaflet concludes by asking you to tell the Natural History Museum that you disagree with Veolia being the sponsor of the Exhibition and to “ask the museum to drop Veolia”.

Well, luckily, the Natural History Museum hasn’t capitulated to the lies and the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is set to run until 11th March 2012. Judging by the long queues it’s a must-see.

Although there were some 20 anti-Israel activists there were about 10 pro-Israel counter-demonstrators to give some balance to the proceedings, including Phillip who brilliantly drove down from Wales to add his support.

Things did almost kick-off as one anti-Israel activist spent the two hours intent on making his presence known, including this incident when he accosted Jonathan Hoffman until being ushered away by museum security:

The final counter-demos. against the Israel-haters outside the Natural History Museum are due to take place on Feb. 25th and March 10th, if you can make it. Until then please tweet your approval of the exhibition @NHM_London

In the meantime, if you are an anti-Israel activist this is for you. It’s a clip (thanks Daniel Marks) of one of Bashar Assad’s tanks looking for more innocent Syrian civilians to slaughter. Just in case you hadn’t heard:



And more photos from today outside the Natural History Museum:

Why so ashamed?

Why so ashamed?

Handing out lies to museum goers.

Handing out lies to museum goers.

Sadly, reading the lies.

Sadly, reading the lies.

Phillip from Wales, placard in hand, shows his support for Israel.

Phillip from Wales, placard in hand, shows his support for Israel.

Two Israel-haters show their love for each other.

Two Israel-haters show their love for each other.

Still ashamed.

Still ashamed.