Tag Archives: Jonathan Rosenhead

Jackie Walker brings her “lynching” to SOAS.

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Jackie Walker is a political activist who thinks she has been lynched by supporters of Israel who don’t like Jeremy Corbyn. To use “lynching” is a pretty strong metaphor. It means to “kill (someone) for an alleged offence without a legal trial, especially by hanging.” This is obviously what she thinks has happened to her. Some exaggeration.

When I walked into SOAS last night for her performance of The Lynching there was a black doll in front of us with a noose around its neck.

The first half of the show is about her tragic life. She was the product of an affair between her mother and Jack Cohen, a Jewish jeweller, who met each other during their fight for black rights in America. She held up a photo of two black men hanging by their necks.

She came to the UK, via Jamaica, with her mother and suffered racism in the UK. Her mother died prematurely from an asthma attack when she was 11 and she was taken into care which she left at 18. She became a teacher. In 1991 she joined the Labour Party and was eventually elected vice-chair of Momentum, the hard-left Corbyn supporting group within Labour. She was then sacked as vice-chair of Momentum and suspended from Labour over allegations of anti-Semitism against her.

The show then turns into her own trial of the accusations against her where she plays both prosecution and defence. The accusations are: 1. She accused Jews of financing the slave trade 2. She said there’s no such thing as anti-Semitism. 3. She belittled the Holocaust.

She defended herself against each. On 1. she claimed that instead of writing on Facebook that “And many Jews, my ancestors too, were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade” she should have written “amongst the chief financiers” and that missing out just one word does not make her an anti-Semite.

On 2. she claimed that she was merely asking for a definition of anti-Semitism she could work with. On 3. she claimed that she merely wanted all who had suffered similar, like the millions killed in the slave trade, to be remembered.

She didn’t explain why she raised Jews as being “financiers of the slave trade” at all considering all religions and nationalities were.

But why were these accusations made against her? She says it was merely because Jeremy Corbyn had been elected and that “he was a supporter of the Palestinians.” His enemies were the “establishment and people on the side of Israel”. And then to huge applause (there were about 200 hard-left activists in the room) she said “Get rid of right wing Labour MPs!”

She said the accusations were an “attack on a movement for change and that Jackie Walker was not a Jew hater but innocent…I don’t seek the destruction of Israel but to save Israel from its descent into racism and far-right nationalism…We must be free to fight for a Palestinian homeland without being accused of anti-Semitism…I refuse to go to the back of the bus because the media or anyone else says I should.”

Then Walker was joined for a Q&A by three other anti-Israel activists: film director Ken Loach, author and journalist Victoria Brittain, and academic Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead.

The Q&A session basically turned into a full attack on the Jewish Chronicle and those writing for it who Walker called “proto-fascists”, The Jewish Labour Movement (Walker thinks the JLM should not give training sessions on anti-Semitism), the Israel Advocacy Movement who Walker accused of digging into her Facebook, the Labour Party compliance unit who Walker thinks is leaking everything to the Jewish Chronicle, the Campaign Against Antisemitism and the Community Security Trust who Walker said “churn out biased surveys all the time”, the so-called “weaponisation of antisemitism” (see above), the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Working Definition of AntiSemitism which is being increasingly adopted by governments and councils, and, of course Israel.

These hard-left activists want the IHRA defintion changed because they only recognise the neo-Nazi type anti-Semitism as seen at Charlottsville. That means they, in their opinion, can never be considered anti-Semitic.

They don’t like the IHRA classifying “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” as anti-Semitism. That’s because they want the end of the only Jewish majority state.

Rosenhead said “it was a shame racism had reared its head in Israel of all places…and it was a shame Jews in this country are supporting a racist state” and that it was “convenient for the British government to plant them (Jews) there (in the Middle East)”.

It was then time for audience members to claim victimhood. Dave Watson said he was an opponent of Stella Creasey MP and that he’d tweeted “anti-Israel things, not anti-Semitic and I supported Naz Shah (presumably when Shah said Israel should be relocated to America). He said he “criticised Zionism and supporters of Israel but not Jews.” (It seems he also, inter alia, compared Mossad to Nazis).

Graham Bash, Walker’s partner, said he’s Jewish and has only come across anti-Semitism once in 49 years in the Labour Party.

A Hungarian lady said “Anti-Semitism is misused which is an insult to those who died in the Holocaust.”

Once Loach had declared “No arms trade with Israel, no trade with Israel” I took to the microphone:

I said that most people in the room, including the four panelists, just wanted the end of Israel. I challenged the four panelists to admit that they wanted the end of the only Jewish majority state. I said that calling for the end of the only Jewish majority state, while not calling for the end of any other state, was anti-Semitic. I told them that they obviously wouldn’t admit to being anti-Semitic and that another way of, therefore, expressing anti-Semitism was to call for the destruction of the Jewish state. I also said they didn’t care about the Palestinians.

In response to this challenge I received idiotic responses.

Loach said he was merely here to help Walker get justice. Walker said she was a “socialist and internationalist” and Rosenhead said he didn’t want the destruction of Israel but a country with five million Jews and five million Palestinians (note to Rosenhead: that is the destruction of the only Jewish majority state.)

In conclusion, Walker’s play possibly gives an insight into her animus towards Israel. She was rejected by her father who was a wealthy Jewish man. Ever since then she’s felt the victim but now she has spotted the opportunity to take revenge. It will get her nowhere but continue to eat her and her supporters up as Israel continues to thrive.

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Habima’s Merchant of Venice rocks London’s Globe Theatre

I really enjoyed last night’s performance of Habima’s The Merchant of Venice at The Globe on the south bank of the River Thames on a beautiful summer evening in London.

The cast received a prolonged standing ovation at the end (see above). The Globe was the perfect setting with its open roof allowing you to peer into the ever darkening sky as the constant movement of small planes readied you for the inevitable interruptions.

My main concerns were whether I would follow a play in Hebrew and whether the interruptions would ruin the experience, but two small screens kept us nicely updated in English and The Globe’s security knew when to act and when not to.

Security removed protesters swiftly so limiting the disruption but they allowed a very weird protest, where six protesters stood silently on the first balcony for virtually the entire first half with their lips taped up, to proceed.

First protest during last night's show.

First protest during last night’s show.

Second protest during last night's show.

Second protest during last night’s show.

The performance itself brought to the fore the comedy of The Merchant of Venice with a humourous gondola impression each time the action transferred to Venice, reminiscent of a sideways Moonwalk.

Seeing Shylock dispossessed of everything when Antonio’s defence lawyer finds a loophole in his contract with Shylock and watching Shylock forced to convert to Christianity to escape going to prison himself was maybe a Shakespearian premonition of the treatment in store for the Jews of Europe and Arab countries in the centuries to come.

In all there were some 20 protesters and I recognised two of them straight off.

Peter Scott recently tried to have me arrested and charged with harassment for doing nothing more than photographing him for my blog holding a Palestinian flag at an anti-Israel protest. Last night he donned a smart Panama hat. When I noticed him during the interval I pointed him out to security who, again, did nothing.

I went out to get a drink but when I came back two friends said that a man wearing a Panama had just been removed by security after he had approached them to discuss the disturbances. As they were talking to him they noticed he was wearing an electronic recording device on his lapel. Here is Scott during the interval:

I saw the following protester going into The Globe last night and when I called his name he looked round. I then called security but he made haste away from me until he was eventually caught by security and, out of breathe and shaking, gave a butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-my-mouth look.

I felt traumatised that I might have unjustly accused an innocent person and ruined his evening, but just before the interval he did unfurl a banner and was removed by security:

The protester about to be removed by Globe security last night.

The protester about to be removed by Globe security last night.

Meanwhile, the foyer was packed with police dealing with the protesters. In the top left corner here you can spot ubiquitous anti-Zionist activist Tony Greenstein:

Outside The Globe the Zionist Federation and Stand With Us had arranged a pro-Israel protest. There was also a pen for Palestine Solidarity Campaign activists. One PSC man had donned a mask with a big nose, but swore it wasn’t an anti-Semitic gesture.

I asked some of the PSC  lot whether they saw the recent production of Richard II by the Palestinian theatre company also at The Globe. They said they didn’t as it was a matinee and they had work commitments. They must have conveniently failed to spot the Saturday performance at 7.30pm then; proof, if ever it was needed, that PSC activists don’t give a damn about the Palestinians.

Habima is expecting another packed house tonight and many thanks should be paid to The Globe, its security and the police for allowing the show to go on despite the efforts of those with ignorant views.

Meanwhile, the London Evening Standard described last night’s performance by Habima as “a tricky evening triumphantly negotiated” and The Times said it was “an evening to remember for reasons of art as well as politics”.

Photos from outside The Globe last night:

This is not an anti-Semitic gesture by a PSC comrade, apparently.

This is not an anti-Semitic gesture by a PSC comrade, apparently.

Having fun outside The Globe.

Having fun outside The Globe.

Sweet.

Sweet.

Precisely.

Precisely.

IPO disruptor Jonathan Rosenhead: “Israel National Theatre at The Globe is next target.”

Professor Jonathan Rosenhead: Next target is Habima at the Globe in May.

Professor Jonathan Rosenhead: Next target is Habima at the Globe in May.

LSE Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, Chair of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), who helped to disrupt the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 1st September 2011, has said that the performance by the National Theatre of Israel (or Habima) of The Merchant of Venice at the Globe Theatre on 28th and 29th May will be the next target for anti-Israel activists.

He said that they had purchased 45 tickets (see from 4 mins. 7 secs. in following clip) for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s disrupted concert and he boasted about the BBC taking the concert off air.

He was speaking on Friday at King’s College London about the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. KCL is one of the organisations conducting research with Ahava through an EU-funded project called Nanoretox and activists are, once again, claiming, without any substantiation, that Ahava is based on an illegal settlement.

Last April four activists were found guilty of aggravated trespass for their efforts in disrupting business at the Ahava store in Covent Garden. District Judge Ian Baker found that Ahava was “trading lawfully” and gave Gwendolen Wilkinson, Matthew Richardson, Jessica Nero and Christoper Osmond 18 month conditional discharges and ordered them to pay £250 costs each.

When questioned further Rosenhead admitted to being one of the disruptors of the IPO and he welcomed any prosecution that might follow seeing it as an opportunity to publicise their cause.

But he threatened that Habima will be next:

“They have made themselves a target, and they will be one. Various things are afoot to try and make sure, to pressure The Globe in the first instance, because if The Globe withdraws the invitation then that’s no problem.”(see clip from 6 mins 25 secs.):

I had initially gone to KCL to hear Omar Barghouti speak. Barghouti is a member of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) and holds degrees from Columbia University and…..Tel Aviv University.

He compares himself to Nelson Mandela who, he says, studied in an apartheid South Africa university, when he was asked how can can claim to be part of a boycott movement while having studied in the country, Israel, he is supposed to be boycotting!

The parallel with Mandela fails on every level, but specifically because Barghouti is neither Israeli nor Palestinian having been born in Qatar and having grown up in Egypt, whereas Mandela is South African!

I was hoping to show footage of Barghouti making the usual racist comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany and apartheid South Afica (the man really knows how to demean peoples’ past sufferings), but, once again, I was stopped from filming under threat of being removed by security.

I should have a right to film a public meeting, especially where there is racist rhetoric and where others are filming. Barghouti ordered that I stop filming as did the Chair of the event, Maha Rezeq. But both have no connections to KCL! Rezeq called my filming “unethical” on the basis that the footage will be available online.

But their’s will be edited, cleaned up footage. Barghouti compared the boycott of Israel to the boycott of Nazi Germany and compared Israeli Arabs who don’t boycott Israel (for example, those who might stay in Israeli hotels or use Israeli airlines) as being equivalent to Kapos. He called El Al a racist airline:

“The most important aspect that Palestinian citizens of Israel are involved in in terms of the BDS campaign is not to allow themselves or their institutions to be used as figleaves. Quite often Israel uses some Uncle Toms and (Aunt) Jemimas, whatever you want to call them, which exist in every society. I mean in every society you have people who wish to profit from self-interest rather than principle. It’s not a Palestinian phenomenon, it’s an international phenomenon. Some Jewish victims during the Holocaust were serving the Nazi victimisers. So in every sociey you get a small minority that betrays their own”.

In the clip below Rosenhead said he withdrew his consent for me to film him. I only stopped filming when Mehdi Beyati, a student at KCL, got up to call security. Beyati’s behaviour would be expected in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Gaza, but isn’t becoming in a British University:

Here Beyati reads and analyses KCL’s response to the call to stop KCL collaborating with Ahava: