PSC at P21 Gallery, London last night.
“Boycott, Boycott, Boycott. Boycott Israeli products and settlement products. Put pressure on Israel economically. It’s the language THEY understand,” Mahmoud Doughlas implored his audience last night.
Doughlas wasn’t pressed on what he meant by “they”, but the language certainly seemed to contain a racist undercurrent.
Doughlas was speaking, via Skype from Nablus, at a PSC event hosted by P21 Gallery. The event was Education under Occupation – stories from West Bank and Gaza students.
Doughlas, an electrical engineering student at Birzeit University, was speaking from Nablus because, he said, Britain had refused him an entry visa.
He began by telling the audience that when he was in 7th grade Israeli soldiers entered his school “randomly injuring people” and throwing teargas into the classrooms. He couldn’t breathe for 15 minutes and ended up in hospital.
He claimed that one of his friends had been imprisoned for 18 months for writing graffiti on a settlement wall and, if I heard correctly, he said Palestinians have even “been arrested for dreaming about doing something”.
Meanwhile, Jehan al Farra, an alumnus of the Islamic University in Gaza, definitely was in London. She had been in the UK since September studying for a Masters in Computer Studies.
Her main preoccupation last night was describing the problems of studying in Gaza, especially getting to and from academic institutions there due to fuel shortages.
During the Q&A an audience member pointed out that she is highly articulate and very confident, which is a tribute to her teachers and the syllabus. This was a difficult point for her to address without admitting that, just maybe, the situation isn’t as bad as her and her colleagues were attempting to portray.
But she did address another point when an audience member claimed that “Israel had worked hard to destroy Palestinian heritage”. Al Farra said that Israel had even “occupied Palestinian culture”. An example she gave was the Israeli keffiya.
Maybe al Farra should read this interesting statement on the Israeli keffiyeh:
“Jews indigenous to the Middle East, such as my family is, have worn some variation of the “kefyah” (cap/kippah) and keffiyah (head/neck scarves) for thousands of years.”
Here is al Farra last night describing how Palestinians sometimes get killed in accidents when using electricity generators:
Last night the PSC was sporting its brand new logo (see top photo – top left of screen). However, on the PSC website and their leaflets the logo is still the map of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, which is far more honest about their intentions for Israel:
And PSC’s Ameena Saleem, who was chairing last night’s event, wasted no opportunity to call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. This, as we know, is merely code for calling for the Jewish state’s destruction.
P21 Gallery, itself, has a fairly large space at 21 Chalton Street. It supported St James’s Church’s Bethlehemfest over the Christmas period when St James’s Church ran a number of anti-Israel events while also erecting a copy of Israel’s security wall outside its premises in central London.
St James’s Church called for the real wall, which saves lives, to be dismantled. An astonishing £30,000 was spent building the copy wall.
Meanwhile, the charitable objectives of P21 Gallery (registered number 1153141) are:
“TO WORK IN COLLABORATION WITH BRITISH AND INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, ORGANISATIONS, ARTISTS, CURATORS AND DESIGNERS TO PROMOTE, DOCUMENT AND FACILITATE PUBLIC ACCESS TO ARAB ART AND CULTURE IN BRITAIN BY ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING AN ART GALLERY AND CULTURAL CENTRE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PUBLIC.”
But the website of P21 Gallery states:
“The P21 Gallery is a London-based non-profit organisation promoting contemporary Middle Eastern and Arab art and culture with distinct focus on Palestine.”
Judging by last night’s event I think that the charitable objectives could possibly be more clearly defined as: Facilitating the destruction of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian state.
But then that wouldn’t have sounded too charitable to the Charity Commissioners.