Tag Archives: Olympics

Hezbollah marches through London again on Al Quds Day.

At Al Quds Day in London today.

At Al Quds Day in London today.

Remember during the Olympics when Britain celebrated how multicultural we are and how we accept people of all cultures and races? Well, it seems, the party is already over.

Britain’s Jews are made to feel especially uncomfortable. Today, yet again, Hezbollah supporters marched through the streets of London for the Khomeini inspired Al Quds Day. Instead of congregating in Trafalgar Square like last year, they assembled outside the American Embassy.

Hezbollah has been involved in a worldwide campaign to murder as many Jews as possible. It started in Argentina in the early 1990s when both the Israeli consulate and a Jewish community centre were bombed by Hezbollah leaving hundreds of Jews and non-Jews dead and disabled. And recently in Bulgaria Hezbollah blew up a bus full of young Israeli tourists leaving many dead and crippled.

This is all fully in line with Hassan Nasrallah’s statements that Jews are descended from pigs and apes and if the world’s Jews gathered in Israel it would save Hezbollah the effort of going after them worldwide.

Last year Hezbollah activists held up signs proclaiming “Death to Israel”, “Israel Your Days Are Numbered” and “For there to be peace Israel must be destroyed”. Today the disingenuously named Islamic Human Rights Commission, a registered charity, was allowed to repeat the exercise.

And this year the march and rally were advertised on the back of some 400 London buses!

I wasn’t there for very long today. Once again I was quietly trying to film proceedings. No one recognised me until an anti-Ahava activist tipped off stewards from the Islamic Human Rights Commission who jostled me and complained to the police who, in turn, ushered me away.

After the assembled crowd was urged to chant “Zionism must go” and “From The River to the Sea Palestine Will be Free” I saw both Reverend Stephen Sizer and Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn address it.

Leaflets sponsored by INMINDS.co.uk were handed out. They read, inter alia, “The world ended Nazism and Apartheid, isn’t it time to end the suffering of the Palestinians?” and “Israeli soldiers of the Givati Brigade ordered around 100 people in to the Wa’el Samouni house at gunpoint. They then bombed the house killing 29 people. They then denied emergency crews access to the house for four days, shooting at ambulance drivers if they approached the house. In case anyone mistook the intent of the Givati in this crime, they left a message on one of the remaining walls of the house, daubed in Hebrew it read ‘The Only good Arab is a Dead Arab.'”

One has to ask why does Britain rightly ban groups like Muslims Against Crusades for causing public outrage but not Hezbollah which is actively attempting to murder Jews worldwide. Are Britain’s Jews deemed so dispensable?

I think we know the answer by now.

Clips and photos:

Al Quds Day London 2012. So much for "multi-cultural Britain".

Al Quds Day London 2012. So much for “multi-cultural Britain”.

Someone's in love with Hezbollah.

Someone’s in love with Hezbollah.

The heavies.

The heavies.

Giving me the evils.

Giving me the evils.

More evils.

More evils.

Racism descends on a sunny London.

Racism descends on a sunny London.

The Green Party?

The Green Party?

Neturei Karta at their usual pre-Shabbat hate-fest.

Neturei Karta at their usual pre-Shabbat hate-fest.

"Daddy, daddy can we go to another hate-fest today?"

“Daddy, daddy can we go to another hate-fest today?”

Neturei Karta and Hezbollah; the perfect fit?

Neturei Karta and Hezbollah; the perfect fit?

Just 1 minute, Mr Rogge!

Plaque unveiled by Mayor of London Boris Johnson in Hackney ceremony.

Plaque unveiled by Mayor of London Boris Johnson in Hackney ceremony.

On 5th September 1972 inside Munich’s Olympics Village Israeli athletes were ambushed by Palestinian terrorists. Over the course of the day 11 Israelis were murdered after botched rescue attempts by the German authorities. A German policeman also died. The Games carried on.

Some of the terrorists died during the final rescue attempt at a military airbase but the others, held in German custody, gained their freedom after a plane was subsequently hijacked and a demand for their release was agreed to.

Mossad methodically went about locating and killing each terrorist, except one.

Common decency has it that those trusted into your care are remembered when tragedy occurs. British football grounds regularly resonate to a minute silence when one of the footballing community is lost.

But not where the International Olympics Committee is concerned and where Israeli blood was spilled under its auspices. Heaven forbid they should offend certain other competing nations.

At no stage has this tragedy been properly remembered since 1972; never a minute silence at any Games in the 40 years since. The only plaques to the murdered athletes are in Munich and Israel.

Ankie Spitzer, wife of Andre, the murdered fencing coach, asked the IOC for a minute silence during the opening ceremony of the London Olympics to mark the 40th anniversary of the attack but Jacques Rogge said the atmosphere of the opening ceremony made such a silence inappropriate. The IOC will, instead, go to the military airbase where the final botched rescue bid took place. Neatly out of sight and mind of those the IOC don’t wish to offend.

Anticipating this outcome the co-chairs of the Britain and Israel Olympic Plaque Committee Martin Sugarman (Chair Hackney-Haifa Twinning Association) and councillor Linda Kelly (past speaker of Hackney) raised funds for a dignified and moving ceremony yesterday morning at the Arthaus in Hackney.

Linda said she was amazed that with all the hours during the Olympics the IOC could not spare one minute for the memory of the murdered athletes.

The Conservative Party was represented by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Communities Minister Eric Picles MP, Matthew Offord MP and Councillor Brian Coleman.

Eric Pickles MP, Minister for Communities and Local Government.

Eric Pickles MP, Minister for Communities and Local Government.

Labour was solely represented by Andrew Dismore, GLA member for Barnet and Camden. The Miliband brothers were invited but one was busy and the other didn’t reply. No mainstream Liberal Democrat politicians bothered to come.

Maureen Lipman, who constantly fights Israel’s corner against the many hypocrites in the acting world, came.

Sebastian Coe, London Olympics organiser, was invited. Linda Kelly read out his reply which amounted to nothing more than “Sorry. Mad busy at moment”. Shame he couldn’t have used one of his ubiquitous VIP Olympics lanes to transport him to Hackney for even the 20 minutes or so that Boris Johnson managed to appear.

Meanwhile, the Simon Marks Primary School Choir beautifully sang Jerusalem of Gold, the Hatikvah, God Save The Queen and Oseh Shalom Bimromav, which preceeded Kaddish (Prayer for the deceased) for the athletes.

The superb Simon Marks Jewish Primary School Choir.

The superb Simon Marks Jewish Primary School Choir.

War veterans were there to present wreaths in front of the plaque, which was unveiled by Boris Johnson, and to perform the Last Post and Reveille either side of the minute silence for the athletes.

Jewish war veterans present a wreath.

Jewish war veterans present a wreath.

Yosi Romano, named after his uncle who was mercilessly gunned down in Munich, spoke movingly as did Ben Helfgott, a Holocaust survivor and British Olympian, who knew the murdered Israeli athletes so well.

Yosi Romano named after his uncle who was murdered in 1972.

Yosi Romano named after his uncle who was murdered in 1972.

Holocaust survivor and ex British Olympian Ben Helfgott.

Holocaust survivor and ex British Olympian Ben Helfgott.

Efraim Zinger, the President of the Israeli Olympics Committee, noted that this is the third time London has hosted the Olympics; in 1908 Israel didn’t exist, in 1948 they were fighting for their lives and, so, they didn’t want to miss out on London 2012.

Boris Johnson spoke of the “numb disbelief” in which the world watched events unfold in Munich in 1972. He was eight at the time.

Boris Johnson unveiling the plaque yesterday.

Boris Johnson unveiling the plaque yesterday.

The permanent plaque is available to be visited at the Arthaus in Hackney. Meanwhile, a big thank you to Martin and Linda, an anonymous donor, the Reuben Foundation, the Muriel and Gershon Coren Charitable Foundation and to Hackney and East London Synagogue for their hospitality
Videos:

Should Israel be in the Asian qualifying section for the World Cup Finals?

Israel at the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico.

Israel at the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico.

Last Saturday night the draw took place for the qualifying rounds of the 2014 World Cup finals and the Jewish Chronicle has published my piece about Israel being disadvantaged by playing in the European qualifying section, as opposed to the Asian qualifying section.

They put my piece up against an excellent one by Simon Griver, an Israel-based sports correspondent, and are conducting a poll: Should Israel be in the Asian World Cup group?

At the moment the “Yeas” have it 59% to 41%.

Thanks to CifWatch for the idea for my piece.

Champagne all round if my argument has continued to win out by next week.

Should Israel be in the European qualifying section for the World Cup finals?

No (me):

We know that most Middle Eastern countries refuse to play Israel, but this is contrary to Fifa’s “Say No to Racism” campaign and Article 3 of the Fifa statute, which states that discrimination on account of “ethnic origin, gender, language, religion, politics or any other reason” is punishable by suspension or expulsion.

Those countries that object to playing against Israel should really be expelled from Fifa. But Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Qatar are set to begin their 2014 qualifiers.

Israel’s only appearance in the finals was in Mexico in 1970, when they competed in the Asia qualifying section. Which begs the question: how much better would Israel do if they were playing these far weaker Asian nations?

Israel is ranked 32 in the world. Of the 20 countries in the Asian qualifying section only two, Australia (23) and Korea Republic (28), are ranked above Israel. Had Israel been in the Asia qualifying section, they would have been seeded and, one imagines, would easily have overcome the likes of Iran (54), Saudi Arabia (92), Syria (104), Qatar (90) and Thailand (119). Thailand are there by dint of just beating Palestine (166) in the earlier elimination rounds.

But with Portugal (7) and Russia (18) in Israel’s European group, qualifying is going to be very difficult.

And what about next year’s Olympics? The Charter of the International Olympic Committee states that discrimination “on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise” is incompatible with the Olympic Movement.

But Iran will not compete against Israeli athletes. At the recent swimming world championships in Shanghai, an Iranian swimmer, Mohammad Alirezaei, withdrew from a breaststroke heat in which Israel’s Gal Nevo was swimming. He did the same at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Most likely the shame of losing to Israel is the primary motivation.

Yes (Simon Griver):

Israel’s chances of reaching the World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014 look slim after being drawn in Group F alongside Portugal and Russia.

Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg are also in the group. One UK bookmaker makes Israel 20-1 outsiders to top the group and automatically qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1970, and 4-1 to finish second and thus take part in the play-offs, probably against one of Europe’s powerhouses.

It would be much easier for Israel to reach Brazil if Yossi Benayoun and co were playing in the Asia Confederation, which expelled Israel in 1973. Yet even in the unlikely event that Middle East peace materialises, Israelis would reject rejoining Asia out of hand.

Israel joined Uefa in 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which had routinely vetoed Israel’s candidacy. Some sporting associations such as basketball had even joined their European federations before the Soviet demise.

The odds of reaching the World Cup finals may have lengthened but European competition has its compensations. Israel also takes part in the Euro football championships as well as a wide range of other national competitions, and will host the Euro 2013 Under-21 championships.

More significantly, Israel’s club sides get to play in the highly lucrative Champions League and Europa League. Israeli fans can reminisce about Hapoel Tel Aviv dumping Chelsea out of the Uefa Cup, or Maccabi Haifa hammering Manchester United 3-0 in the Champions League.

In football, hope springs eternal and upsets are likely. Avram Grant’s Israel was only beaten on goal difference to a World Cup 2006 play-off place. Besides, Israelis think of themselves as being in Europe rather than Asia, and competitive visits by the likes of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo help nurture the geographical illusion.