Tag Archives: Kristyan Benedict

Employee of alleged PFLP terrorist is panellist at Amnesty International.

Rachel Strouma, Rina Rosenberg, Neil Sammonds, Nada Kiswanson van Hoydonk at Amnesty. on Wednesday night.

Rachel Strouma, Rina Rosenberg, Neil Sammonds, Nada Kiswanson van Hoydonk at Amnesty on Wednesday night.

So what is the logical response when you are Amnesty International’s crisis manager for Syria and there has been a recent chemical attack on his own civilians by President Assad at Khan Sheikhoun followed by 100 Syrian civilians killed by a suicide bomber as residents of the villages of Fuaa and Kafrya were being taken to safety?

Well, if you are Kristyan Benedict you arrange a meeting at Amnesty about human rights in Israel!

Benedict, Amnesty’s crisis manager for Syria, is notorious for comparing Israel to Islamic state, making a sick joke at the expense of three Jewish MPs on twitter and for threatening me when I questioned, at one of his events, an obviously doctored photo of a Palestinian boy with a Star of David allegedly carved into his arm by an Israeli soldier.

On Wednesday 19th April at Amnesty in London he assembled a panel of four human rights activists:

Rachel Strouma – Public Committee Against Torture in Israel.
Rina Rosenberg – Adalah, which is based in Israel.
Neil Sammonds – Medical Aid for Palestinians.
Nada Kiswanson van Hoydonk – Al Haq, which is based in Ramallah.

The event was called In Pursuit of Accountability – Israeli and Palestinian NGOs working together for human rights.

Rosenberg spent her 15 minutes citing the hundreds of complaints made against the Israeli army by Adalah and other NGOs and the Israeli army’s lack of response. For example, 500 complaints were made againt the army after the 2014 war relating to 360 different incidents. The apparent result was just one indictment for looting.

Then Strouma spent hers detailing examples of maltreatment and torture of Palestinian prisoners and the lack of trust that Palestinians have in the Israeli judicial system. She concentrated mainly on the apparent three days spent by Palestinian prisoners in vans as they are transported to court from prisons and back.

She claimed that one Palestinian admitted to a crime he didn’t commit rather than spend three days in a van.

van Hoydonk works for Al Haq. The General Director of Al Haq, which is based in Ramallah, is Shawan Jabarin who was and allegedly still is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian which is responsible for hijackings and assassinations within Israel and around the world.

van Hoydonk spent her 15 minutes updating us on the International Criminal Court’s preliminary investigation into war crimes during the 2014 war.

During the Q&A I asked van Hoydonk whether considering her boss was, and possibly still is, a member of the PFLP, a proscribed terrorist group responsible for the murder of many innocent civilians, she really considers her own organisation, Al Haq, a human rights organisation?

Sadly, she refused to answer as you can see below (from 1 minute 25 seconds). Neil Sammonds stepped in on her behalf to explain that this was an event to address the problems in the Israeli justice system but there will be other fora to explore Palestinian issues:

The issue of the 1000 Palestinian prisoner hunger strikers was also brought up during the Q&A. Rosenberg referred to them as “political prisoners”. So while Adalah is trying to bring prosecutions against Israel soldiers it cannot even admit to Palestinian terrorists being anything more than “political prisoners”.

After the event the audience and panel members were invited to drinks and nibbles by Amnesty which is ironic considering the issues of hunger strikes, torture, murder and intentional destruction that had just been discussed and alleged.

It takes all sorts.

Now Amnesty International’s Kristyan Benedict compares Israel to Islamic State.

Amnesty International’s crisis response manager for Syria Kristyan Benedict just can’t help himself. In 2012 after Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defence against Hamas Benedict tweeted:

“Louise Ellman, Robert Halfon and Luciana Berger walk into a bar…each orders a round of B52s … #Gaza”.

Ellman, Halfon and Berger all happen to be Jewish.

Amnesty’s subsequent disciplinary investigation found that tweet “ill-advised and had the potential to be offensive and inflammatory but was not racist or antisemitic”. Benedict was merely made to apologise.

A year earlier Amnesty made Benedict apologise for physically threatening me after I questioned Benedict’s guest presenter Abu Dheer who produced to an Amnesty audience the following very possibly fake photo of a young Palestinian boy with a Star of David allegedly carved into his arm by an Israeli soldier using broken glass.

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Benedict called me a “war crimes denier” for questioning the photo and then threatened me physically.

As you can see, the Star of David is too perfect to have been made by broken glass on a screaming boy’s arm and the plaster doesn’t cover the supposed wound properly.

Now Benedict has compared Israel to Islamic State, also known as ISIL (Islamic State in the Levant), with this tweet:

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#JSIL means “Jewish State in the Levant”, a sickening comparison to the murderous ISIL.

Obviously, not on any level can Israel be compared to Islamic State but in the prevailing febrile anti-Israel atmosphere Israel is now regularly being compared so alongside the usual comparisons to Nazism and apartheid South Afria.

So this latest tweet by Benedict, sadly, comes as no surprise. Maybe Amnesty will carry out yet another investigation and make him apologise a third time. Who knows.

But Amnesty does itself a disservice by continuing to employ Benedict. When considering his “JSIL” tweet, his B52 “joke” and his theatening behaviour in response to the questioning of that fake photo why would anyone seeking objectivity take seriously any report that Amnesty produces on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

(For your information here is a debunking of that latest Amnesty report accusing Israel of war crimes during this summer’s Operation Protective Edge)

 

Boycotted at Ben White Amnesty event as David Hearst announces “I know who you write for”.

White and Hearst in discussion at Amnesty last night.

White and Hearst in discussion at Amnesty last night.

Last night (shabbat) I was at Amnesty International’s London HQ for the launch of Ben White’s updated Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide. The event was chaired by David Hearst, former chief foreign leader writer of The Guardian.

After White’s talk he had a Q&A with Hearst after which members of the audience were allowed to ask White questions. Well, most of them anyway.

I had my arm raised for half hour while Hearst took questions from those sitting around me, before taking questions from the other side of the room. While my arm was still raised Hearst called an end to questions.

Feeling rather frustrated I asked whether I could put a question to White. Hearst declined my request and replied:

“I know exactly what you’re up to. And who you are. And who you write for.”

Sinister or what! Here’s the exchange:

So, what was I up to? Who am I? Who do I write for? Well, since starting this blog in 2009 I have mainly written for myself. I have occasionally written for the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish News, the Jewish Chronicle and CifWatch, but I never realised writing could get me boycotted.

But here’s the point; I have never had any dealings with Hearst. So, how did he know who I was?

He was obviously primed but why? I have never been disallowed from asking a question at Amnesty before, although I was once threatened at an Amnesty event by Amnesty Campaign Manager Krystian Benedict, who has since been moved to work on Syria and who was present last night.

My question to White was going to be simply this: Seeing that White relies heavily on statements by Israeli politicians to paint Israel as racist (see slides below) I wanted to know whether the same could also be said of White particularly after he once stated that (British Jewish author) Howard Jacobson’s face was “another reason to support a boycott of Habima”, the Israeli theatre company.

I’m sure White would have batted that away quite easily, wouldn’t he? He reads my blog (he mentions it), so he should feel free to leave an answer below.

White started his talk addressing the Israeli Embassy’s apparent attempt to stop last night’s event taking place and went on to dedicate the evening to “all those people, including the Palestinians, who have sacrificed so much for liberation”.

Here’s the clip:

He then proceeded to talk about Israel’s continued “Judaisation”, particularly in the Negev and Galilee, and Israel’s “brutality”, “racism” and “apartheid” (including towards Israel’s own Ethiopian and Mizrahi Jews).

White loves nothing more than portraying Israel and Israelis as child killers. Apparently, Israeli soldiers hide near schools so they can kill Palestinian children (see slides below).

White finished off by telling his love struck audience that “Israel is afraid”.

Meanwhile, if last night is anything to go by I’m sure that Middle East Eye, David Hearst’s new website, will be a beacon of democracy and one of many and varied views…..

Slides used by Ben White last night:

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Amnesty International now censoring free speech and bloggers.

An example of the lies about Israel that Amnesty tells.

An example of the lies about Israel that Amnesty tells.

I was hoping to write about the Amnesty event Demolitions & Discrimination against Palestinian Citizens of Israel: The case of Al-Araqib but when I turned up last night I found I was on a banned list of six people because of someone’s comment on this blog.

Underneath my coverage of Amnesty’s event on 23rd May about Israel’s so-called control of the media Roberta Moore commented:

My two cents:

This conference should have been cancelled.
There are ways to force people to cancel such conferences. Threaten to bring the EDL. It works. For those that do not work, we infiltrate and disrupt. (Like I did with the One Society many cultures).

Our passive protests are NOT working guys! We need to change tactics. I know and I have just the thing to disrupt such conferences and ensure everyone gets out of the room 😉
No one gets hurt.

We must use a new approach.”

In hindsight I should have moderated this comment due to the threatening insinuation. I usually try to moderate comments like this, but some I don’t moderate because someone may have already criticised the commenter. In this case someone did just that by stating immediately:

“I agree that more active protests are desirable. But not from the EDL.

My hope was for more criticism of the EDL and its approach. But I do not believe that if the EDL was going to disrupt a future Amnesty event they would discuss it openly on my blog.

I think that most bloggers will accept it is quite a task moderating a blog and keeping an eye on every comment.

The last thing I would wish to do is to encourage any kind of disruption to an event.

But if you listen to the audio of my exchange with Tom Fyans, Amnesty’s Head of Campaigns, who was on the door to greet me, he was convinced that Roberta Moore and three of her associates, myself and Jonathan Hoffman were coming to disrupt the meeting.

Tom Fyans – Amnesty Head of Campaigns

Well, I have never disrupted an event before. And Roberta Moore and her three associates did not turn up last night.

As I made clear to Fyans I despise the EDL but he was trying to connect me and Jonathan to them on the basis that two or three of their members turned up to protest outside that same Amnesty event on 23rd May.

But how can I stop people turning up to protest?

I hope my being banned had nothing at all to do with my coverage of recent threatening behaviour and anti-Semitic ongoings at Amnesty including:

1. Middle East Monitor contributor Khalid Amayreh referring to Jews as “kike” on my blog Amnesty and Middle East Monitor’s Israel hatefest love-in while that event on 23rd May was presented by Middle East Monitor.

2. A lie that an Israeli soldier used a broken piece of glass to carve a Star of David into a Palestinian teenager’s forearm (the Star of David is too perfect and the plaster in the wrong place to cover the supposed wound). After that event Kristyan Benedict, also of Amnesty, physically threatened me. Amnesty never told me what happened to Benedict. Fyans refused to comment on it last night also.

Benedict is still working at Amnesty, while I cannot cover his ability to use Amnesty’s respected reputation to continuously attack Israel in a host of very unsavoury ways.

Meanwhile, the decision to ban me went straight to the top of Amnesty, it being rubber-stamped by Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK.

Amnesty Event: “Israeli soldier used broken glass to cut Magen David into Palestinian boy’s forearm”.

Would an IDF soldier really do this?

Would an IDF soldier really do this?

Last night I went to Amnesty International for an event called Deliberate Discrimination Deliberate Deprivation: The Denial of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories chaired by Kristyan Benedict, Amnesty’s Campaign Manager.

There were five speakers who each gave a ten minute cameo talk on how Israel had stolen Palestinian land, had destroyed and stolen Palestinian water resources, had destroyed Palestinian health care, had destroyed the Palestinian education system and had destroyed Palestinian cultural and political life.

Each speaker used slides of photos (mainly old ones), statistics and maps to illustrate their points. We were told about the deaths of Palestinian children, one from an asthma attack at a checkpoint. Dr Asad Khan spoke of how Palestinians are arrested in their hospital beds and taken away by Israeli soldiers who are “accompanied by Israeli doctors”.

I took photos of many of the hundred or so slides. Some of them are below, but one photo really disturbed me.

It was taken in 2003 and shows a Palestinian boy with a Magen David cut into his forearm (see above). The caption reads:

“The soldier, checking student’s ability to bear pain, took a piece of glass and broke it and taking Qasem’s arm, cut into it a Star of David (April 30th 2003)”

After the event I wanted to discuss the provenance of this photo with Ala Abu Dheer. He shook my hand and invited me to visit Palestinian towns with him to show me how the Palestinians were living and promised to email me details of the case of the Palestinian boy.

He asked me what I would do about it and I told him I would try to get Israel to investigate. However, I said that if an Israeli had done this surely we would have seen the photo by now. I asked him what he would do about Hamas’ crimes.

Then events took a surreal turn. An Amnesty official went to get Kristyan Benedict who proceeded to tell Mr Abu Dheer that there was no point in talking to me as I was a war crimes denier. On the way out Kristyan proceeded to tell me, inter alia, that he would “smack me in my little bald head”. As you can hear he also suggested that I put it on my blog, so here it is:

Kristyan Benedict – Amnesty Campaign Manager.

I usually get on well with Kristyan, so I really don’t know what came over him. During the Q&A earlier in the evening, after I had asked a question, he told the audience that he and I go back a long way and that we usually have a man-to-man discussion after an event. I didn’t realise it would be this man-to-man though!

At least I wasn’t bitten by anyone, but these events are proving more and more intimidating to attend if you want to put Israel’s side of the equation.

Anyway, here are some of the other slides, and a photo of Cara Flowers holding up bottles of water to illustrate how little water Palestinians, allegedly, drink/use compared to Israelis. She said the ratio is four to one in favour of Israelis:

Cara Flowers holding up two bottles of water.

Cara Flowers holding up two bottles of water.

(Notice the calf sitting there)

(Notice the calf sitting there)

(L-R) Cara Flowers, Dr Asad Khan, Dr Victoria Mason, Kristyan Benedict, Stephen Royle, Ala Abu Dheer

(L-R) Cara Flowers, Dr Asad Khan, Dr Victoria Mason, Kristyan Benedict, Stephen Royle, Ala Abu Dheer