Tag Archives: Mike Cushman

Palestine Solidarity Campaign presents the case for a cultural and academic boycott of Israel.

View from the back last night.

View from the back last night.

The once hero of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign Norman Finkelstein recently declared the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against Israel “a cult” and its activists dishonest about their real motive which is the destruction of Israel, not solidarity with the Palestinians.

Last night PSC cultists came to the University of London Union with the platform being given to Rafeef “the poet” Ziadah, Ben “I can understand why some people are anti-Semitic” White, Mike “I’m only Jewish because my mother is” Cushman and, finally, Ronnie “I’m a privileged Jew” Barkan.

Their aim was to brainwash, I mean persuade students to boycott Israel.

In the Chair for the evening was Salim Alam. The last time Alam chaired a PSC event I was accosted afterwards by an audience member who claimed, inter alia, that Jews only died in the Holocaust because “they had their foreskins chopped off.”

Ziadah started by claiming that “Israel has oppressed the Palestinians for decades” and has “denied them their fundamental rights of freedom, equality and self-determination” and that eventhough there were “drawers of UN resolutions saying Israel is wrong”, still nothing has happened.

She took offence that the Dome of the Rock, a Palestinian icon, appeared in Israeli travel brochures and that hummus and falafel had been appropriated by Israelis for their national dish.

She presented the case for a cultural boycott of Israel and started by saying that “Israel sees culture as political and as Hasbara”, and that “all Israeli cultural institutions are complicit unless proved otherwise. All Israeli institutions must be boycotted.”

Mind you, this type of rhetoric is actually an improvement for Ziadah. When she spoke earlier this year at UCL she praised Islamic Jihad terrorist Khader Adnan. In 2007 Adnan made his thoughts known as to what he thought should happen to innocent Israeli men, women and children. Addressing his followers he asked:

“Who among you is the next suicide bomber? Who among you will carry the next explosive belt? Who among you will fire the next bullets? Who among you will have his body parts blown all over?”

Last night Ziadah painstakingly detailed the PACBI guidelines for boycotting Israel, including any event that promotes “balance” between Israelis and Palestinians, even if it should “encourage dialogue”. Although, seeing as Ziadah said that all Israeli institutions are complicit , unless proved otherwise, the guidelines do seem rather surplus to requirements.

But here was her deal for Israeli artists: Should they announce that they agree to the BDS requirements of ending the occupation, ending discrimination of Arabs in Israel and allowing the return of some five million so-called Palestinian refugees to Israel then such Israeli artists won’t be boycotted.

Basically, she approves of any Israeli that wants to destroy their own country:

Meanwhile, Mike Cushman, of Bricup, gave exactly the same talk that he gave at the corresponding ULU event last year. He demanded an academic boycott of Israel and once again told the audience that he’s Jewish because his mother is and that “If you thought Jewish Zionists were scary, these Christian Zionists are far, far worse.” The only blessing is that this time he didn’t grab the microphone like last year to repeatedly scream into it “Free, Free Palestine”:

During the Q&A a student asked how to defend the accusation that the call for BDS was comparable to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews. Cushman said their was a huge difference between peaceful protest and Stormtroopers standing outside a shop.

Next up was the Israeli Ronnie Barkan who heads up Boycott From Within. Yes, that’s right, such an, apparently, “oppressive state” as Israel actually allows such an organisation to operate in Israel.

Barkan described himself as a “privileged Jew” and viewed Israel as an “ethnic supremacist state”, which had ethnically cleansed and ethnically segregated the Palestinians. In fact segregation, according to Barkan, was so complete that Arabs are unlikely to be spotted in Tel Aviv. He said you wouldn’t find an Arab living there as they are confined to Jaffa. I’m sure my Israeli friends will tell me this is far from the truth.

Ben White also demanded an academic boycott of Israel. He said that “Israeli institutions are in bed with state organisations of oppression”. He condemned Tel Aviv University, Bar Ilan University, Ben Gurion University and even Haifa University for its National Security Studies Centre which has “trained hundreds of senior offices in the IDF that then go onto commit war crimes”.

There were some good pro-Israel questions asked during the Q&A, but it would have been good to have seen audience members leafleted with balancing literature on their way out of the venue (ZF, BICOM, CFI etc. where are you at times likes this?).

Apart from the woman next to me accusing me of being a “Zionist spy” and claiming that I “want to exterminate all Palestinians”, it really wasn’t as bad as some of the PSC events I have been to. Although, that’s not really saying much.


Pappe, Nebulsi, Cushman: The Circus of Israel hate sweeps back into British universities.

A "Palestinian refugee" speaking last night.

A "Palestinian refugee" speaking last night.

A new term and thousands of brand new students to brainwash and so it was to the University of London Union last night where Ilan Pappe, Karma Nebulsi and Mike Cushman spent two hours spreading poison and lies about Israel.

The event was called Why we need a boycott of Israel on our campuses. There must have been some 300 students in the hall at the beginning, although this had considerably thinned out by the end.

Cushman seemed particularly charged up. So much so that at the end of the two hours he siezed the microphone to hysterically shout “Free Palestine”:

But the saddest aspect of last night was the presence on the panel of a Palestinian refugee. The footage you are about to see is shocking in the extreme. If you don’t wish to see images of a scared, emaciated, poverty-stricken woman fleeing for her life please look away now. This woman shames those cowardly Syrian civilians fleeing across the border into Turkey in order to escape being machine-gunned down by Assad’s army. But brave Rafeef Ziadeh repeatedly told us that she will eventually return to Haifa. This footage is bound to turn even the staunchest Zionist anti-Israel:

Mike Cushman lectured us on the difference between an Israeli, a Zionist and a Jew. He said he was “a Jew because my mother was a Jew. I didn’t have a choice in the matter”.

For Cushman being Jewish is just about eating smoked salmon bagels.

He said if you think that a “Jewish Israeli Zionist is scarey” wait till you meet a Christian Zionist:

“They want to gather the Jews together so they can be wiped out. They don’t want to tell the Jews that.”:

Karma Nebulsi cannot get through a sentence without mentioning “the right of return”. She is so obsessed with this one aspect of the conflict one can almost imagine her in Starbucks ordering “a tall latte with an extra shot and a right of return to go”.

Finally, we had the “ethnic cleansing” maestro himself, Ilan Pappe. He said that it is important to know who benefits from “the occupation” and he called for the “racist, apartheid public in Israel to be replaced by a free state for all; those that live there and those who used to live there”.

I have a good idea who benefits from “the occupation”: Pappe doesn’t do badly for a start. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign does beautifully thank you very much. And walking in last night on every seat there was a glossy brochure produced by War on Want with the words Boycott Divestment Sanctions in red, white and green on the front cover. Amongst the chapter headings were Crisis in Palestine, Gaza: the world’s largest prison, Apartheid Walls, and Water Wars.

The Palestinian refugee industry is undoubtedly a billion pound industry out of which academics and charities have enriched themselves.

Here is Pappe on the Gilad Shalit deal saying how much more it benefits Israel as it allows the Israelis to feel that they have reclaimed a sense of morality:

When I had a chance with the microphone I explained how the BDS campaign is simply racist for targeting one country alone. Then I asked each panelist if they would ever accept Israeli medicine if they fell ill.

Cushman called it “a non-question” and said: “Would I take medicines? Of course I would. It’s not saying that knowledge doesn’t exist. It’s saying how do we use our academic resources to support or not support the continued occupation of the Palestinian people. It’s really quite simple.”

Rafeef Ziadeh could only reply: “I hope I don’t get sick anytime soon but if I keep hearing this question I might”.

Nebulsi refused to even to address the question. Pappe refused to answer it instead taking the opportunity to claim that Palestinans would be forced to spy for Israel in return for cancer treatment:

My question and the answers last night on accepting Israeli medication.

Meanwhile, Ziadeh refused to accept that BDS was racist saying they were against all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. Apparently, stating that one isn’t racist is enough evidence in itself these days.

At least on the way out two female students, one wearing a “Free Palestine” badge, told me they had left the event early as they didn’t like the vicious rhetoric about Israel.

More photos:

Pappe last night.

Pappe last night.

Mock Palestinian prisoners outside ULU last night.

Mock Palestinian prisoners outside ULU last night.

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!


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

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)