Tag Archives: jews for justice for palestinians

An evening with Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

David Landy, Richard Kuper and Naomi Wayne (Chair).

David Landy, Richard Kuper and Naomi Wayne (Chair).

Last Tuesday I went to SOAS for a launch of a book by David Landy called Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights – Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel. Anti-Zionist celebrities Tony Greenstein and Deborah Fink were in the audience.

Landy sees his book as “academic” even though, when it comes down to it, he is just another anti-Zionist propagandist and boycotter of Israel.

I haven’t read the book but I imagine, based on Landy’s talk, that in it he provides justification for direct action against Israel based on two lies; Israel’s “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinians in 1948 and Israel’s unequal treatment of Palestinians now.

Landy is described as “an Irish-Jewish academic, active in the Palestine solidarity movement. Formerly chair of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, he is currently based in Trinity College Dublin where he teaches contemporary social and cultural theory, and race and migration.”

In the book he critiques the “Jewish opposition to Israel” movement. For instance, he asks whether pro-Palestinian activism is really more about the activists, who tend to drown the Palestinians in victimhood, than the Palestinians.

It is a fair point because at “pro-Palestinian” meetings it is rare to actually discuss the Palestinians, except in the context of Israel’s supposed oppression of them. You learn nothing about the Palestinians themselves, although that would be interesting.

Then again the Palestinians have defined themselves, or have been defined, solely by their opposition to Israel. And jfjfp are also defined solely by their opposition to Israel. Landy explained that the use of “Jews” in the name of the organisation is sensible because Israel, he thinks wrongly, wants to speak for all the world’s Jews.

Landy started by explaining his reason for writing the book. He said that the pieces written about “Jewish opposition to Israel” were mainly “unsympathetic” and written by the likes of Anthony Julius and Geoffrey Alderman, which he described as being:

“Equivalent to the KKK giving their opinions on what the white civil rights movement in the United States was up to. It’s the same kind of level. It’s done to discredit the movement.”

Here is Landy at SOAS in his own words:

But what intrigued me more than anything were Richard Kuper’s speeches.

Kuper is a jfjfp and stalwart anti-Zionist activist. The Neturei Karta provide the main extremist religious Jewish opposition to Israel’s existence and the jfjfp provides the main extremist secular opposition to Israel’s existence. Both NK and jfjfp promote BDS.

So it would be interesting to understand how jfjfp define their Judaism. jfjfp seems to reject both Jewish religiosity and any type of Jewish peoplehood (Zionism), so what is left?

Jewish culture? But doesn’t the culture stem from the religion? Without the religion there would be no culture.

Human rights? But then all religions are concerned with that.

Kuper says he hasn’t been to synagogue since his barmitzvah. He also praised Jewdas (which has all of 5 members) for “sticking two fingers up to the institutions of the Jewish community”.

He condemns the “narrowness” and “religiosity” of the traditional Jewish community and talks of “new, younger Jews whose Judaism is much weaker, but very deeply felt, than the kind of orthodox Judaism with which I was brought up”:

How can one’s Judaism be “weaker, but very deeply felt” and what does this Judaism consist of?

Is this Judaism solely about condemnation of Israel and its existence?

Can it be that simple?

One commentator thinks that many anti-Zionist Jews have either no children or no Jewish children. They are, in effect, “the end of the Jewish line” and, therefore, their thinking is that if they cannot have a family themselves they wish to deny that family to the Jewish people as a whole.

Meanwhile, here is Landy on the strength of diaspora Jewish opposition to Israel, which, he admits, is a “minority movement”. “Minority” is an understatement to say the least:

After all this heavy philosophising and intellectualising jfjfp broke for red wine in the good old Hampstead intelligentsia tradition.

Sizer, the Rivercourt Methodist Church and Holocaust denial.

Daud Abdullah being listened to by Arthur Goodman, the West London PSC Chairman, Linda Ramsden, Stephen Sizer.

Daud Abdullah being listened to by Arthur Goodman, the West London PSC Chairman, Linda Ramsden, Stephen Sizer

I feel somewhat rejuvinated after a moving and uplifting Yom Kippur sat in synagogue listening to inspirational sermons and prayers and it was good to see many friendly faces (note to self: must go to shul more).

So it is with sadness that I now have to write about yet another sick anti-Israel public meeting in London that took place last Thursday at the Rivercourt Methodist Church, King Street, Hammersmith.

The event was called Jerusalem Under Threat and was held by the West London Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Due to speak were Reverend Stephen Sizer, Arthur Goodman (Jews for Justice for Palestinians), Linda Ramsden (Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions) and Daud Abdullah (Middle East Monitor). Ghada Karmi couldn’t make it but instead we were subjected to a talk by an Anarchist Against the Wall (see clip at end).

After a long journey there I made straight for the toilets. One congregant told me that I should stay in there. Then as I sat down for the talk I was approached by a policeman who warned me not disrupt the meeting.

“Moi?” I asked, innocently.

Up first was Daud Abdullah who spoke about how UN Resolution 181 called for the internationalisation of Jerusalem, while disregarding the fact that 181 doesn’t apply now having been rejected by the Arabs in 1947. He also spoke of Israel digging up 14th Century Muslim cemeteries and burying the remains in “mass graves” to make way for the Museum of Tolerance.

Arthur Goodman gave us a lecture on international law regarding Jerusalem and spoke of a supposed “Masterplan” for Jerusalem which entailed Jews eventually making up 70% of Jerusalem’s population and the Arabs the remaining 30%.

Stephen Sizer was proficient at marketing his book Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon?, there being a leaflet on every seat. He was quick to tell us that Christians have lived in Jerusalem for 2000 years and in peace with their Christian and Jewish neighbours and that only recently have tensions grown. He said that since 1948 there has been a massive reduction of Christians in the West Bank and Israel. Not surprisingly he blamed Israel for this and referred to “the apartheid wall” as “segregation based on race”.

He quoted passages from the bible that he believes supports a “one state solution”, which was all lapped up in silence by his hypocritical audience who would have yelled derision at someone had that person quoted the many biblical passages that support the Jewish people’s right to Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan.

He said that church leaders refuse to speak out about Israel’s crimes because of “guilt for the Holocaust and fear of anti-Semitism” and that churches which side with “the occupation” and Zionism have “repudiated Jesus, have repudiated the bible and are an abomination” (see clip below).

At the end of the event Jonathan Hoffman persuaded me to stand outside the church with him to hand out pro-Israel leaflets to the congregants as they left the church. It was a futile gesture and all it did was encourage someone who called herself “Jane Green” to tell us that there weren’t any gas chambers in the Holocaust, that the Jews had instead died having had their foreskins chopped off, that only a couple of hundred thousand Jews died in the Holocaust, that the Jews are using the Holocaust to commit genocide against the Palestinians and that all the Jews in Israel are total Nazis, as you can hear here:

PSC campaigner “Jane Green” outside Rivercourt Methodist Church.

With that we trudged off home hungry, cold and dispirited that a British church can hold an event that seemed to engender such disrespect for 6,000,000 souls who died in the most dire of circumstances.

More clips/photos:

This Anarchist Against the Wall had no answers when challenged mid-flow by Jonathan Hoffman:

The West London PSC Chair says what he thinks about Israel:

Arthur Goodman readying himself to speak.

Arthur Goodman readying himself to speak.

Anat Matar: “Settlers can get away with rape.”

The new book by Matar and Baker. A must read if you have more money than sense.

The new book by Matar and Baker. A must read if you have more money than sense.

Last night Jews For Justice for Palestinians hosted Dr Anat Matar and Abeer Baker at the Indian YMCA to publicise their new book Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel.

For Matar, a senior lecturer in the Philosophy Department at Tel Aviv University, it was a warm anti-Israel welcome back to London.

In February 2010 she spoke at SOAS where she called for an economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. However, saving her own skin, she said she didn’t want Israelis boycotted if they were “refusniks and great anti-Zionists”.

Abeer Baker, who describes herself as a Palestinian citizen of Israel, is a human rights lawyer and runs the Prisoners’ Rights Clinic at Haifa University’s Law Faculty. She received her Law degree from Haifa Uni. in 2001 and between 2001 – 2006 she worked for Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.

Matar started by saying that since 1967 a minimum of 650,000 Palestinians have been in Israeli prisons at some stage or other and for varying lengths of time, which equates to every fourth Palestinian.

She said the estimate could even be as high as a million!

Israeli prisoners, she said, are treated as normal criminals while all Palestinians are immediately classed as “security prisoners”, whatever their offence, and that the chances of parole for a “security prisoner” are much lower than that for a Jewish terrorist.

She concluded that this Palestinian mass imprisonment, which has excluded a quarter of the population from Palestinian society, has changed the way Palestinian political life is built and amounts to racial discrimination.

She mentioned that many Palestinians are captured at the regular non-violent Friday protests at the “apartheid wall”. Many are held, some are indicted and some serve long prison terms with no parole in contrast to ultra right-wing settlers.

Baker told us that Israeli prisons are similar to “the occupation”; they are not for punishment, but to exclude Palestinians from daily public life and to weaken their political struggle.

Assassination, she said, was the harshest way to do that and then comes the Israeli prison system.

Putting Palestinians behind bars was the equivalent of the “apartheid wall” and that Palestinian families spend all their time worrying about their imprisoned relation instead of engaging in the struggle against the occupation.

She also said it was a breach of the Geneva Convention for Israel to move Palestinians from the occupied territories into Israel to imprison them.

Next she recited the torture meted out by Shabak, which included, sleep deprivation, physical torture (including beating) and shackling to chairs. Palestinians were not allowed access to a lawyer for three months, the prison cells are narrow, have special lighting and the walls are too tough to lean on.

All this, she said, was intended to make Palestinian prisoners more likely to confess.

She also spoke of Palestinians never properly getting their lives back after their release as they find it hard to get a work permit and they have their movements restricted.

She claimed that the only way a Palestinian prisoner would be allowed to use a phone is if he or she renounced all allegiances to their hostile organisation. But, because they are put in the same cell as people from their own organisation it was impossible for them to do that. However, Yigal Amir is allowed to call his wife.

During the Q&A I asked how practical it was for Israel to imprison a Palestinian anywhere else but Israel and how practical it was to give a Palestinian prisoner parole, it being unlikely they would return to prison if recalled.

I suggested that racism was not at play if there was such different treatment, but that conditions on the ground may be determining factors. For example, the settlers were supportive of Israel, while the Palestinians were not.

Matar said the settlers were not supporters of Israel from they way they set fire to mosques and Baker asked me to imagine a settler and a Palestinian raping a woman: “Would you say you should pardon the settler?” she asked.

I said there was no way a settler would be pardoned for raping a woman, but Matar interrupted with:

“The settler wouldn’t even get accused of rape.”

We almost got through the evening without the obligatory Holocaust analogy. But earlier on we had been told about Palestinians having to pay for their own food in prison, so that even in prison Israel is making money out of them.

Someone then said that it reminded him of Jews sent to Auschwitz by the Nazis being forced to buy their own train tickets.

Still, these two women earn a living from Israel’s academic institutions, while being allowed to write a book and travel the world describing how evil Israel is. Not bad for such such an oppressive state.

The irony was, as ever, lost on the audience.

(For the record Matar and Baker said that they did not agree with the way Gilad Shalit is treated)

Jews go to Church.

Clare Short helping to rebuild a demolished Palestinian house in east Jerusalem in summer 2010 (clareshort.co.uk)

Clare Short helping to rebuild a demolished Palestinian house in east Jerusalem in summer 2010 (clareshort.co.uk)

Monday night was AsaJews night out in London.

AsaJews tend to define their Judaism by their total opposition to Israel and preface their criticisms with “As a Jew….”

Last night former Labour MP Clare Short hosted Yahav Zohar, an Israeli Jew, and Julia Alfandari, a German Jew, in St Botolph’s Church , Bishopsgate.

The event was put on jointly by Greenbelt, Amos Trust and ICHAD (Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions).

A small audience of 30, decimated by the tube strike, was packed with members of jfjfp (Jews For Justice For Palestinians), including Glyn Secker, who captained the recent Jewish Boat to Gaza.

Yohav, who gives tours around Jerusalem, and Julia, who is studying at SOAS, belong to Young Jewish Voices for Peace.

Julia believes Israel is a fascist state “sometimes worse than apartheid South Africa, sometimes better than apartheid South Africa”.

She said that just like there shouldn’t be any Muslim states Israel shouldn’t be a Jewish one and she welcomed the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

She told us how the German Jewish community is quite conservative, that people are scared to speak out against Israel and that she is famous in Germany for her anti-Israel activism.

Yohav said that he never quite fitted in as a teenager and was always looking to rebel.

He feels there can be a two state solution because Israelis and Palestinians are very nationalistic. However, he hopes that the two states will eventually become one.

He also welcomed the growing BDS movement which, he hopes, will pressurise Israel to leave the West Bank and Mick Davis’ comments in the Jewish Chronicle which, he feels, will encourage diaspora Jews to speak out more against Israel.

Clare Short told us about her time spent during the summer helping to rebuild Palestinian homes. I cannot recall her helping to rebuild Israeli hotels or restaurants blown up by Hamas suicide bombers.

But for just £2000 Amost Trust will take you to Palestine next April so you too can help rebuild a Palestinian home.

On numerous occasions Short referred to Israel as an apartheid state. After the meeting I tried to explain to her the difference between Israel, which has to take severe security precautions, and apartheid South Africa.

But she kept quoting Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Jimmy Carter, who all “said the same thing about Israeli apartheid”.

I explained Hamas’ expressed intention in their Charter to killing Jews.

But while Short can give you verbatim accounts of controversial comments by Israelis like Avigdor Lieberman she is conveniently ignorant about the wording of the Hamas Charter.

She thinks we should speak to Hamas like we spoke to the IRA and the South African apartheid government and hoped for a two state solution although “time is running out”.

Meanwhile, other AsaJews were speaking at Queen Mary College, London.

They were Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, a school-teacher, and Mike Cushman, of JBig (Jews For Boycotting Israeli Goods).

Naomi can regularly be found in supermarkets imploring shoppers not to buy Israeli products.

The most sinister aspect about this talk though was the letter sent by Queen Mary Palestine Society to Queen Mary Jewish Society:

Dear Members of the Jewish Society,

The Queen Mary Palestine Solidarity Society would like to invite you to an event we are holding on this coming monday. If you could send out this invite to your members that would be great, details of the event are below. Hopefully we will see some of you soon.

QM PSS EVENT 29/11/2010

Why Jews and all others should boycott Israel – two Jews speak out

Monday 29th November • 5pm – 7pm • David Sizer LT, FB ground floor
David Sizer LT, Francis Bancroft Building, Ground floor

The Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel is gaining more and more support across the world and even within Israel!

SPEAKERS

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG) ~ Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi is a school teacher,former Reuters journalist and secretary of J-BIG.

Mike Cushman, British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) ~ active BRICUP committee member and a founding member of J-BIG. He has spoken and written extensively in support of Palestinian rights.

Naomi and Mike will discuss why support for BDS is important for Jews as well as all others. They will describe the history of Israel’s actions that makes this call both moral and essential. They will talk about how attempts to describe BDS as anti-Semitic are not only false but also put all Jews, supporters and opponents of Israel’s actions at risk. They will describe the different aspects of BDS activity including the academic, cultural and consumer boycotts and the need for institutional divestment.

FB link – http ://www . facebook . com/?search _terms=QMUL&page=1&sk=messages& tid=1053439673870#!/event . php?e id=172058469490391

Best Wishes,

Grace Buchanan-Kilbey
QMPSS

Sadly, JSocs can probably expect to receive more of these unappreciated emails.

Yahav Zohar (greenbelt.org.uk)

Yahav Zohar (greenbelt.org.uk)

Julia Alfandari (greenbelt.org.uk)

Julia Alfandari (greenbelt.org.uk)

Israel boycotter flies EL AL!

Aboard Irene

Aboard Irene

You probably won’t have noticed, there’s been no press, but this week a small boat with nine Jews left Cyprus to try to break the “siege of Gaza”.

Why anyone would risk their lives doing this after what happened on the Mavi Marmara is beyond me, especially after Israel recently agreed to lift restrictions on goods entering the Gaza Strip.

The Irene‘s cargo included what was termed “symbolic aid” and included toys, musical instruments, textbooks, fishing nets and prosthetic limbs.

Richard Kuper, of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said that the Jewish Boat to Gaza is a symbolic act of protest against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the siege of Gaza.

Here is all the information, and more, you need to know about the Jewish boat to Gaza.

(Jewish Boat to Gaza takes me back to Night Boat to Cairo by Madness.)

I digress.

The “Jewish boat” left Cyprus at 13.32 local time on sunday.

On tuesday the boat was boarded by the Israeli navy and taken to Ashdod port.

Again, Richard Kuper: “This boat and its fate are a symbol of the chances for peace in the region. The way it is being treated by Israeli authorities indicates that they have no real intentions of reaching peace.”

He then called on worldwide support for the boat.

By wednesday, Glyn Secker, Irene’s captain, was on his way back on EL AL flight LY315 and arrived at 13.35 at Heathrow airport.

At Heathrow the “worldwide support” that showed up to greet Mr Secker consisted of eight people from Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (JBIG).

Heathrow: Mr Secker's welcome home party (Jewish Chronicle).

Heathrow: Mr Secker's welcome home party (Jewish Chronicle).

And making him fly EL AL? Someone in the Israeli authorities has a sense of humour.

Surely, they could have saved Mr Secker some face and put him on a British Airways or an Easyjet flight.

I can imagine his clenched fists on the flight home.

But then again it may have allowed Mr Secker to reconnect with his Jewishness in a more positive way.

When the kosher meal came did he choose chicken or beef?

There is no problem with Jews not expressing any form of Jewishness or with them protesting Israeli policy.

But the average Jewish anti-Israel activist only seems to employ his or her Jewishness destructively; by tearing down Israel in toto.

There are a plethora of anti-Israel organisations that all use the prefix “Jews” or “Jewish”.

Surely, in the fight for peace and jusice one’s religion is irrelevant. We all want peace and justice whether Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist etc.

Anyway, I hope that EL AL gave Mr. Secker bonus air miles so he can fly them again soon.

El AL: Israel's favourite airline (plane-mad.com)

El AL: Israel's favourite airline (plane-mad.com)

Gideon Levy packs them in at Amnesty

Snow/Levy

Snow/Levy

I went to hear Gideon Levy talk at Amnesty in London last night. He’s in the UK to promote his book The Punishment of Gaza and last night he was in conversation with John Snow (Snow presents Channel 4′s Seven O’clock news and seems fond of chairing anti-Israel events).

It was nice to be actually let in unlike my last attempt. This event was co-presented by Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Jews for Justice for Palestinians, the latter organisation being more open to dialogue than some might give credit.

I hope being barred from a public debate on Israel/Palestine because people don’t like what I write won’t become de rigeur, but you never know.

Back to Levy. From what I had read about this tour I was expecting the devil incarnate to walk into the packed auditorium breathing fire from its nostrils. It didn’t happen.

Maybe in my old age I am becoming desensitised to the ubiquitous unsubstantiated accusations of racism and apartheid that are made, like they were last night, against Israel that they don’t anger me anymore.

Maybe I was softened up by Levy’s claim that he is an Israeli patriot: “All I do is care about Israel. I’ve used my journalistic career for a better Israel, not against Israel. I love Gaza but have not been alowed to go there since December 2006. I asked Ehud Barak why Israeli journalists are not allowed in Gaza and he said he didn’t know they weren’t allowed in.”

Levy saw Operation Cast Lead (OCL) not as a war but as a brutal operation against a civilian population.

He thinks OCL was the turning point of world public opinion which is now “less tolerant of Israeli violence and aggression. Look at the flotilla. We now do what we want wherever we want, for example in international waters, with force as the first option. The Israeli general in charge of the flotilla operation has said that next time we will use snipers.”

(Levy obviously hadn’t seen the BBC’s Death in the Med in which Jane Corbin concluded that that the Mavi Marmara’s bid to break the naval blockade wasn’t really about bringing aid to Gaza but it was a political move designed by the Islamist organisation IHH and others to put pressure on Israel and the international community. Corbin had just reported that two thirds of the medicines being transported to the people of Gaza by the flotilla were out of date and useless.)

He paid tribute to the fact that Israel was always the first on the scene to help in international crises like in Mexico, Turkey and Haiti.

“There have been worse occupations in history but not where the occupier felt so good about itself. We are the first occupiers in the world to say that we are the victim and Israelis believe the IDF is the most moral army in the world, ” he said.

He asked: “How can an occupation by a democratic society last for 42 years? How do Israelis live with it?”

He answered: “We were trained to think we are very moral but that Palestinians were not human beings like us. Dehumanisation is the only tool which enables us to maintain the occupation and feel good about ourselves. It is wall-to-wall now. Even the peaceniks don’t feel the Palestinians are human beings”.

He told us how two Israeli dogs being killed during OCL garnered more media coverage than the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians. The dogs’ funerals and interviews with the owners were all over the front pages while Palestinian deaths were only mentioned on pages 15 and 16: “In Israel two Israeli dogs are worth more than hundreds of Palestinians,” he concluded.

(Had Levy picked up a British newspaper recently or logged on to the internet he would see that while people are dying in Pakistan from the terrible floods we are obsessed by a woman who dumped a cat in a bin.)

Levy said that a crowd of the size at Amnesty to hear him would never turn out in Tel Aviv and that Haaretz, the newspaper he writes for, is an island with a small readership.

He spoke of the ever growing file labelled “Subscription cancellations due to Gideon Levy”: “I get full freedom to write for Haaretz but Haaretz is losing influence,” he said.

He recalled the 400,000 Israelis who protested after the 1982 Sabra and Shatilla massacres which, he said, were not even carried out by the Israelis but thought that that size protest would not occur now. He has been described as a “self-hating Jew” and “an enemy of Israel”.

(When Shlomo Sand came to the UK to promote his anti-Zionist polemic, The Invention of the Jewish People, he said it was top of the best-seller list in Israel.

As for Haaretz itself it is read nationally and internationally. It is published in English and Hebrew and is distributed along with the International Herald Tribune and has a daily circulation of 72,000 (100,000 at weekends). The Jerusalem Post’s circulation is 15,000 (40,000 at weekends).)

On the question of boycotting Israel Levy said that although he cannot call for a boycott himself, because he is Israeli, it is a legitimate weapon especially as Israeli uses it against Gaza, Hamas and Iran.

He was asked whether boycotts are racist because they target Jewish Israelis, even those opposed to the settlements. He failed to address this question properly but he did say that boycotters should read the label first and boycott only if a product is from the West Bank.

(Obviously, Levy fails to understand the racism inherent in the boycott Israel movement because first, boycotters don’t look at the label in such a discriminating manner. As long as the label says “Israel”, they will boycott (One member of the audience claimed that the only reason they boycott is because the Palestinians themselves are calling for it). And, second, the boycott includes Israeli academics.)

Levy’s main complaint is that he feels so alone in Israel. He feels the drama is all going on in Israel’s backyard and yet there is no one covering it. He said there is no censorship in Israel, only self-censorship by journalists.

(But even if this were the case there are plenty of foreign journalists in Gaza, including from the BBC. But I can fully understand why Israeli journalists would be so banned; they would be an easy target for kidnapping by Hamas.)

Despite all the above Levy is not actually an anti-Zionist.

He called for the return of Palestinians to a Palestinian state and a limited return of some 500,000 to Israel including an admission of liability from Israel for what happened in 1948 and compensation for the non-returning refugees.

“What happened in 1948 is an historic injustice but it happens in wars. Israel is a fait accomplit so let’s move to a new chapter. The Jews had a right to settle in Palestine but the Palestinian rejection of the partition plan should not have led to the expulsion of 650,000 from their villages,” he said.

Levy claims that no one in Israel cares about the Palestinians and he cites Tel Aviv as the best example of this. But then again he would hear the same complaints from the residents of Sderot who also think that the rest of Israel doesn’t care about the bombs that are regularly fired at them from Gaza.

I had a couple of nice chats afterwards and one with someone in charge of the Northern Section of the TUC who said that a full TUC boycott of Israel is coming.

I asked whether the TUC had ever considered a boycott of Britain or America due to NATO forces occupying Afghanistan.

He said it was impossible to boycott Britain but there is every possibility of a boycott of America being passed. I’d like to see them try!

Keep an eye on the TUC Conference, 13th-16th September.

Banned from Parliament

I’d like to be writing a report of a meeting I attended in Parliament last night but unfortunately I was banned from entering.

The title of the talk was:

The “Jewish character” of the State of Israel, its meaning and significance, political discrimination, and the condition of Arabs in Israel.

It wasn’t a case of “not on the list you’re not coming in” but of “don’t like your views you’re not coming in”.

I had had emailed Samira of MEMO (Middle East Monitor) last Friday (23 July) to ask if I could come to last night’s meeting. I received no response so I went along to Committee Room 14 last night.

While I was queuing I was approached by Tom Eisner, of MEMO and Jews for Justice for Palestinians, who recognised me although we had never met before.

He asked if I was here to disrupt the meeting. I said I wasn’t and I had never done so in the past. He then asked for a guarantee of maybe £200, forfeited if I got ejected for disruption. I think he was joking but he did say I could go in. I asked if he could have a word with the registration-table as I had not received any response to my email.

But by then other fingers were pointing and suddenly three police officers were bearing down on me. One officer grasped my upper arm and forcibly led me away. My details were taken and I was escorted out of Parliament.

Jeremy Corbyn MP, who was hosting the meeting, passed me by and I asked if I could go to the meeting but he ignored me. I didn’t see Tom Eisner again for dust.

Later on Jonathan Hoffman was similarly banned. One of the meeting’s attendees said to him: “As a Muslim I wouldn’t be allowed into a Zionist meeting”.

Well I have been to a few pro-Israel meetings in my time, I admit, and in the audience there have been people of all races and religions. I have never seen anyone thrown out or banned unless on the odd occurrence they had made such a disturbance that it was impossible for the meeting to continue.

I don’t know the rules of Parliament but I am surprised that an MP can treat it as her or her own personal fiefdom. Parliament is for all surely. If one wants to hold a private meeting then hold it in a house, not the House. Jeremy Corbyn MP does not own Parliament.

In past meetings at Parliament I have reported awful statements made about both Jews and Israelis. In future such statements can go unreported as all anti-Israel Parliamentary meetings will be by guest list only.

A friend of mine who did manage to gain entry (will he also now be stopped from entering next time?) spoke up in the meeting and at the end was surrounded and intimidated. This was witnessed by the police and recorded.

If I had seen someone being questioned by three police officers like I was I would have enquired what was happening and requested that that person be allowed in to the meeting.

Shamefully, last night in their haste to get into yet another anti-Israel Parliamentary meeting no one spoke up for that basic democratic right.