Tag Archives: Palestine Return Centre

Labour MP Mark Hendrick calls in armed police to evict Israel blogger during Palestine Return Centre event in Parliament.

Prof. Wendy Pullan, Kamel Hawwash, Mark Hendrick MP, Prof. Penny Green.

At the Houses of Parliament last night the Palestine Return Centre (PRC) held an event called The Question of Jerusalem. It was hosted and chaired by Mark Hendrick, Labour MP for Preston.

Prof. Wendy Pullan, Senior Lecturer in the History and Philosophy of Architecture at the University of Cambridge, went first and described Jerusalem as “a badly damaged city” the blame for which she lumped on Israel due to “50 years of conflict and occupation”.

She explained that Israel’s urban planning had led to Israelis and Palestinians vilifying each other and she compared Israel’s security barrier to the Berlin Wall.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Kamel Hawwash then told of how he had recently been refused entry to Israel and treated badly at Tel Aviv airport while his wife and child were let through. He was put on a plane back to the UK. He said “Israel was an expert at inciting hatred and was not a country that wanted peace.”

Finally, Prof. Penny Green, Professor of Law and Globalisation at Queen Mary University of London, described how one of her friends who works at Hebrew University was attacked and “called a filthy Arab which is very common”.

She described the “segregation wall” and road network in the Palestinian territories as “apartheid” and said that the wall “is not about security”. She also condemned the checkpoints where Palestinians queue before they can enter Israel to work saying they are where “humans are treated worse than cattle”.

She compared the barrier to the Berlin Wall as well.

During the Q&A I got to ask a question. It isn’t easy asking a question surrounded by people trying to heckle you and drown you out but mine was aimed at Prof. Green.

I asked whether she had any sympathy with Israelis left bereaved and disabled by suicide bombers who got into Israel before the wall, which she condemned, had been built?

Hendrick immediately intervened on her behalf saying that this was a meeting about Palestine, not Israel. When I pressed that she should be allowed to answer he went outside to call armed police as you can see from these photos:

Mark Hendrick points me out to armed police.

Armed police looking for me.

Armed police getting a better sight.

Hendrick pinpoints me to police.

Meanwhile, the one person who did respond to my question was Hawwash who said “If Israel had been created in Uganda does anyone believe the Palestinians would have cause for political groups to go and kill Jews?”

I was then politely asked to leave the room by police and then asked to give my personal details. At one stage I was surrounded by seven heavily armed police. Then my friends Jonathan, Sharon and Mandy were all similarly led out.

One neutral elderly lady who had been in the room came out to complain to PRC representative Sameh Habeeb about how badly we had been treated.

What a total waste of police resources and time by this MP especially considering that literally outside the front door of the building two months ago a terrorist drove into and killed four tourists before then stabbing an unarmed policemen to death.

But Mark Hendrick, Labour MP for Preston, doesn’t have to campaign. He will undoubtedly be re-elected on June 8th as he has a 12,000 majority. So while all other MPs are currently back in their constituences working hard to keep their jobs Hendrick is in London helping the Palestine Return Centre pursue its ultimate goal; the annihilation of Israel.

That’s Labour politics under Jeremy Corbyn for you.

History lecturer: “Britain should apologise for Balfour Declaration.”

James Renton and Deborah Maccoby of JfJfP at SOAS.

James Renton and Deborah Maccoby of JfJfP at SOAS.

A little known history lecturer is quickly becoming the new poster boy of the anti-Israel movement. Last night at SOAS James Renton detailed why he thinks the British government should apologise for the Balfour Declaration. He was invited to speak by Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

The thrust of Renton’s argument is that there should be such an apology because the Balfour Declaration lacked clarity on the meaning of “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, which, he said, unleashed an expectation of statehood amongst Jews that was never intended. He blames the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on this “misconceived, ill thought through policy of the British government”.

He also argued that the Declaration was based on the mistaken and anti-Semitic assumption that Jews had great power in America and Russia and that they were mainly Zionist. Therefore, such a declaration would encourage Russia and America against Germany during the Great War.

Renton thinks that there was never an intention to create a Jewish state and he quoted from a letter from David Lloyd George to the then Archbishop of Westminster, who told Lloyd George in 1919 that the Zionists in Palestine were “causing a stink and claiming that the country would soon be coming under their control”. Lloyd George replied to the Archbishop:

“If the Zionists claim domination of the Holy Land under a British protectorate then they are certainly putting their claims too high.”

Renton criticised Britain for advertising that it was a big supporter of Zionism while at the same time promoting national freedom for Arabs but without thinking either side really expected political independence in Palestine. This was because the British viewed both Jews and Arabs as “politically backward”.

You can read Renton’s thesis in Haaretz (contact me in you cannot access the link and I will send you the article).

However, his thesis is facile. For one he contradicts himself by saying both that the British thought the Jews had immense power but that they were also politically backward. Which is it?

For Renton the Balfour Declaration was mainly down to anti-Semitism. As he puts it “Balfour and Mark Sykes said nasty things about Jews” (Sykes was the government’s advisor on the Middle East at the time). And he downplays the role of Christian support for a Jewish state as well as Chaim Weizmann’s efforts in manufacturing ammunition for Britain during the Great War.

This campaign to have Britain apologise for the Balfour Declaration was dreamt up by the Palestine Return Centre. They launched a petition with the view to obtaining one million signatures in support of an apology by the time of the centenary of the Declaration in 2017. Unlike Renton, the PRC thinks the apology should be for the “tremendous injustices” the Balfour Declaration has caused to the Palestinian people.

The PRC are now using the recent decision in the Mau Mau rebellion case, where Britain has been found guilty of complicity in the torture of victims in the Mau Mau uprising against British rule in Kenya in the 1950s and 1960s, to give their campaign a boost.

Renton spotted one difficulty with the PRC’s campaign though. He noted that there will be no one alive from the era of the Balfour Declaration to attest. So he suggested to a representative of the PRC who was in the audience last night that the PRC might have more success if they asked the British government for an apology for the Arab losses during the Arab uprising of 1936-1939.

The problem with that is that the PRC’s raison d’etre is the destruction of Israel via the so-called Palestinian “right of return”. They want an apology to undermine Israel’s existence. I doubt that Arabs were killed during that Arab uprising is of great significance to the PRC in the scheme of things. Renton might not know of the PRC’s politics, but there’s a good clue in their name Palestine Return Centre as to why they might want an apology.

Anyway, the wording of the Balfour Declaration is clear. What is meant by “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” if not a state? The clue is in the words “national home”.

Renton gave us a sheet of homework asking all 10 of us in the audience some questions:

1. Did today’s talk differ from your previous understanding of this issue?
2. Has Dr Renton’s talk affected how you think about the Balfour Declaration?
3. What aspects would you challenge, and why?

Maybe you could email him at james.renton@edgehill.ac.uk with your answers. He wants to hear from you.

Jenny Tonge rants about the Holocaust and idolises Ismail Haniyeh.

Mads Gilbert and Jenny Tonge last night in Parliament.

Mads Gilbert and Jenny Tonge last night in Parliament.

Last night yet another hate-meeting took place in Parliament with the Palestine Return Centre holding an event “to commemorate the memory of Palestinian victims over the past six decades especially the last war in Gaza”. (Here is what the PRC is all about. It makes unpleasant reading for Jews).

Jenny Tonge was there ranting about how the Palestinians weren’t responsible for the Holocaust and asking “how can the Israelis treat the Palestinians the way they do after what happened in the Holocaust”.

She criticised the power of the “Israel lobby” and held up a magazine with Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh on the front cover and proceeded to idolise him.

She told us about a Palestinian fishing-boat which was boarded by the Israeli navy off Gaza. She said the Palestinian fishermen had their hands bound behind their backs and were forced to swim to the Israeli boat.

And she spoke about why she thinks she comes in for such heavy criticism and put this down to the fact that she stands up for the Palestinians and criticises Israel. The latter, she thinks, is viewed as being anti-Semitic.

When challenged by Jonathan Hoffman to give an example of when criticism of Israel has been called anti-Semitic she said she could give “many examples”, but failed to come through with even one. Here’s the action:

We also heard from Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian anesthesiologist, who gave us the names of Palestinian children who had been killed or who had horrendous injuries. He spent most of last night trying to flog his book about it all called Eyes on Gaza. Available from all good retailers.

We heard from Manal Timraz. Manal lost 15 members of her family during Operation Cast Lead, 11 of which were aged between twelve and two, and has lost another four since. After asking us to stand for a minute’s silence she emotionally outlined how the only way forward is a one-state-solution.

She lives in England next to a Jewish woman who “didn’t steal my land and I didn’t steal her’s”.

Gilbert had called for an academic boycott of Israel and during the Q&A I asked him how he could propose such an obviously racist policy and whether he used any Israeli products himself.

He said that the accusation that he was “a racist” was “absolutely preposterous” (I didn’t call him “a racist”) and said that he used computers without Intel chips. He then accused me of “smiling and laughing arrogantly” while Manal was speaking. I was smiling, but only at Manal’s suggestion that Jonathan go to the West Bank with her to drink tea “like a Palestinian”.

Gilbert further rejected accusations of anti-Semitism, eventhough none were made, with:

“If you want to look for anti-Semitism don’t look among us because we are profoundly anti-racist”.

He’s even friends with a Canadian Jew!

But how can anyone seriously claim to be “profoundly anti-racist” while hero-worshipping a self-confessed Jew hater (see Hamas Charter) like Ismail Haniyeh?

Here is the Q&A footage. First you hear PRC’s Sameh Habeeb, then Manal Timraz, then Mads Gilbert (from 4 mins. 15 secs.) and, finally, Jenny Tonge again, who, sadly, wasn’t impressed with me or Jonathan:

Additional photo:

British Palestinian Manal Timraz speaking last night.

British Palestinian Manal Timraz speaking last night.

Jenny Tonge: “I Have A Dream.”

Jenny Tonge dreaming of Palestinian refugees marching on Israel.

Jenny Tonge dreaming of Palestinian refugees marching on Israel.

Last night in Parliament I’d had my camera on for all of 23 seconds before the Parliamentary police were called by the organisers of the event to eject me from the committee room for “unauthorised filming” (see video clip below).

I turned the camera off pretty sharply as 60 sets of hostile eyes trained on you is a pretty uncomfortable feeling. Luckily, Gerald Kaufman MP, who was chairing, asked the police officer to leave in no uncertain terms.

The altercation came when I was filming Jenny Tonge’s contribution to the meeting. I had seen other people holding up cameras and Iphones and so I didn’t think it was a problem (listen to the audio clip below from 3 minutes 35 seconds in.)

The meeting was held by the Palestine Return Centre and it was mainly a report-back by a group of Parliamentarians who had recently visited the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

Liberal Democrat Baroness Tonge started her talk by welcoming the Jewish Chronicle if it was in the room hoping for a comment from her which they could then use to try to get her sacked.

She finished the talk by describing her dream that one day all the Palestinian refugees will unite and march together to claim back their homeland. She said it would be impossible for Israel to kill all of them.

She also said that there was no questioning of the right of return of Jews from Eastern Europe who had never even been to Israel, but the Palestinians, who had the right under international law, were not allowed to live there. And anyway, she said, even if the Palestinians were allowed to exercise this right to return not all of them would actually take it up.

She also warned that there will be no Israel in the long term if they did nothing about the Palestinian question.

While Tonge seemed to be having dreams of Palestinian civilians being used as a combined weapon with which to destroy Israel and which, on her own admission, might leave many of them dead the rest of the meeting was pretty much 0n-topic.

Jeremy Corbyn MP and Gerald Kaufman MP described the dangerous electric wiring they had seen in the Palestinian refugees camps in Lebanon and the sewage running down the middle of the streets.

Live cables were also seen dangling just above head height. Many Palestinians had, apparently, died after having been electrocuted by them.

Nadim Shehadi, of Chatham House, described the Palestinians as being trapped by the self-fulfilling prophecy of Lebanese political culture that viewed the Palestinians as likely to be going home.

This meant the Palestinian refugees would always have limited employment rights and little political clout.

Shehadi also pointed out that the refugee camps had originally been destroyed by fighting between the PLO and Syrian forces in Lebanon during the 1980s and they had never been rebuilt.

But the one question I should have asked during the short Q&A is how can Lebanon let people rot like this? The Lebanese Ambassador was apparently in the room. I wonder how she would have explained it.

The big downside of the trip was when the Parliamentarians met with Osama Hamdan, the Head of Hamas Foreign Affairs (see Page 26 of this report.)

Other Parliamentarians on the trip besides Kaufman and Corbyn were Alexandra Thein (a German MEP), Derek Vaughan (a Welsh Labour MEP), Frank Engel (a Luxembourg MEP), Michael Connarty (a Labour MP) and Robert Goebbels (another Luxembourg MEP). Tonge was not on the trip.

Meanwhile, my own dream is to get through one of these blasted meetings without being forced to turn off my camera.

Jenny’s Dream. (Jenny’s Dream starts at 11 mins 45 secs.)

Gerald Kaufman MP who at least stood up for democracy.

Gerald Kaufman MP who at least stood up for democracy.