Tag Archives: palestinians

Avi Shlaim goes to St James’s Church to slam Israel’s creation and anti-Semitism “allegations”.

Rt Rev Michael Langrish appealing for money for Palestinians in northern Israel's

Rt Rev Michael Langrish appealing for money for Palestinians in northern Israel’s “refugee camps”.

Historian Avi Shlaim was invited to speak on Balfour and Palestine: From Balfour to May on Tuesday night at St James’s Church in central London.

St James’s is a church hostile to Israel and no expense is spared. In 2013 St James’s dedicated its entire Christmas to demonising Israel’s security wall at a cost of £30,000.

St James’s knows how to harness extremists’ hatred for Israel and on the way out on Tuesday The Rev Lucy Winkett was beaming with pride at seeing 300 people in her church. One can only imagine the usual turnout on Sunday mornings.

Su McClellan, of Embrace the Middle East (see below), set the dire tone for the evening when she described Shlaim’s family as simply having “left Iraq for Israel for various reasons”.

Those “various reasons” might have included the Farhud massacre visited on Baghdad’s Jewish community in 1941 which was followed up with continued oppression and confiscation of property by the Iraqi government. Shlaim’s father lost everything it seems. None of this was mentioned.

Farhud and Hamas were the main words totally absent from Shlaim’s talk. He blamed the lack of peace between Israel and the Palestinians solely on Israel. He claimed “settlements only are continuing the conflict.”

Shlaim seems proud to be a part of the British establishment. Throughout the evening he repeated that he married the great-grand-daughter of David Lloyd George and said that although “his wife was proud of her great-grand-father she was ashamed of the role he played in Palestine”. Palestine, he said, had been “wiped off the map”.

Lloyd George was Britain’s PM at the time of the Balfour Declaration which promised a national home to the Jewish people “in Palestine”. Shlaim ascribed the Declaration to Lloyd George’s “anti-semitic view that the Jews were uniquely influential.”

Meanwhile, Shlaim repeated Christian metaphors to appeal to his audience. He condemned Winston Churchill as a “dog in a manger” for overly praising Jews during the 1936 Peel Commission and he criticised the “old historians who stick to Israel’s beginning as one of immaculate conception”.

Quite incredibly Shlaim then praised Ilan Pappe as his inspiration. Pappe has been described by Benny Morris as “one of the world’s sloppiest historians”. Pappe has also been caught on film agreeing propaganda may be more important than facts.

Shlaim then claimed the Balfour Declaration meant Palestine had been “twice promised”, having already been promised by the British to the leader of the Arab world, via an exchange of letters, in return for Arabs fighting the Muslim Ottomans during World War One.

Shlaim continued that the “intrusion of a foreign entity in the shape of the Zionist movement showed a total disregard (by the British) for the indigenous population”.

He concluded by praising the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC dedicates itself to the demonisation and eradication of Israel) and saying that only recognition of a Palestinian state as a UN member can “save Israel from itself”.

During the Q&A Shlaim defended the Labour Party against “alleged anti-semitism within the Labour Party” and praised Jeremy Corbyn (warning: this kicks off a bit):

Shlaim should watch the film Whitewashed: Anti Semitism in the Labour Party.

At the end Rt Rev Michael Langrish gave a fundraising appeal for the church’s Embrace the Middle East charity to raise money for the Palestinians (this despite the Palestinian Authority having paid out $1bn to Palestinian terrorists over the last four years).

Last year the appeal was for Gaza. This year it was for Palestinians in the “occupied West Bank” and….Israel.

According to Langrish “In Israel, many Palestinian girls living in the northern city of Acre, families who lost their homes in that 1948 war, live in a cramped neighbourhood that resembles a refugee camp in all but name…Many of them have been abused in various ways. They battle mental illness. They face pressure to drop out of school and marry young.”

Here he is:

If only St James’s Church gave such thought and money to those really struggling in Britain or, dare one suggest, Syria.

Physically attacked at SOAS after anti-Israel event with Roger Waters.

A scene from the film shown at SOAS.

A scene from the film shown at SOAS.

It’s with great sadness I have to write this piece. Having attended hundreds of anti-Israel events throughout London and beyond for 10 years I have never been hit. I have been threatened repeatedly but never thought someone would follow through. Last night that changed at SOAS, where I’m also an alumnus.

Last night Prof. Gilbert Achcar hosted a film narrated by Roger Waters. About 275 people were in the auditorium, few of whom were students let alone students from SOAS. It was a publicly advertised event so anyone can just walk in off the streets; a security nightmare itself in these times.

The film lasts 80 minutes and contains multiple scenes of dead and mutilated Palestinian and Lebanese men, women and children. There is also footage and stills of Israeli soldiers who are shown to be committing violent acts against Palestinians.

Interspersed with these scenes were interviews with the usual anti-Israel protagonists: Finkelstein, Chomsky, Blumenthal, Greenwald, Walt to name but a few.

Their message was that “the Israel lobby” spends millions of dollars in America to reverse the narrative that “Israel is the aggressor” into one of “Israel is under attack”. The film claims that the American public is being duped into supporting Israel.

Waters also states that the Hamas Charter was “written by a few ideologues” but had been disowned by Hamas long ago and that UNSCR 242 simply called for Israeli soldiers to withdraw from the West Bank. And let’s not even go into Water’s potted history of the build up to 1948.

After the film Waters was skyped in live and I had my hand up throughout but Achcar managed to circumvent my outstretched arm. I wanted to ask Waters how a Star of David emblazoned on a pig at one of his concerts could be considered anything other than anti-Jewish.

Then there was a Q&A to a panel consisting of John Pilger, Dina Matar and Sut Jhally. At one stage they raised the propaganda of Goebbels and the Nazis, presumably by comparison to Israel’s “Hasbarah”.

Jonathan Hoffman asked a question and he also interjected when SOAS lecturer Matar claimed outrageously that “anyone who is pro-Palestinian is instantly labelled anti-Semitic”.

When the event finished I met up with Jonathan inside the auditorium and he was being quickly surrounded by those wanting to speak to him. I jokingly castigated him for asking an “unbiased question”.

A male next to Jonathan then turned to me and asked if I was with him (Jonathan) and I said “yes” presuming he wanted to chat about the film. But he was immediately face-to-face with me and I noticed he was totally drunk. He was a white male, much taller than me and much younger, probably in his mid to late twenties.

I tried to get away but had nowhere to go as the room was very crowded. There was no security around whatsoever. He was facing me very close telling me I was going to be “fucking mugged off”. I asked him to calm down and back off or I’d call the police and that I just wanted a relaxing evening to which he responded (here’s the audio):

“I’ll give you a relaxing exit. Would you like a relaxing exit? I’ll tell you what, you’ll get a fucking pasting. You’ll get a fucking pasting.”

I dialled 999 but he had walked away so I stopped. However, he then immediately returned, tried to slam my phone out of my hand and also punched me on the side of my head.

I had never seen the attacker before at any event. All he knew about me was that I was connected to Jonathan who had, during the Q&A, tried to put forward Israel’s narrative. This attacker, who had just watched a film with multiple scenes of dead and mutilated men, women and children wanted to find someone to take it out on.

Maybe he was just a fan of Waters. All I know is these meetings are now not safe to attend.

Tariq Ali: “The end of Israel will benefit all Israelis.”

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Arthur Goodman, Lindsey German, Walter Wolfgang, John Rose, chairperson, Weyman Bennett, Tariq Ali at ULU last night.

Just when you think you have heard it all along comes Tariq Ali to lecture Israelis on how the end of the Jewish state will benefit not only Palestinians but Israelis as well.

For Ali the main problem in Europe isn’t anti-Semitism but Islamophobia. He admitted there was some anti-Semitism in the Arab world but it was only brought about by reaction to Israel and that once Israel has disappeared antisemitism will disappear.

Ali was speaking last night at the University of London’s Student Union in front of an audience of 300 alongside anti-Israel author John Rose, Weyman Bennett of Unite Against Fascism, Lindsey German of Stop the War Coalition, Arthur Goodman of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and “As a Jew” activist Walter Wolfgang .

The main message of the evening was that antisemitism is being used merely to attack Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and to silence all criticism of Israel (aka the Livingstone formulation). Both John Rose and Ali then went on to explicitly call for the demise of Israel.

On entering we were handed an unsigned leaflet headed “Labour Jews Assert” which stated that “Some people…are wielding ‘antisemitism’ allegations as a stick to beat the Corbyn leadership”. Luckily, Jonathan Hoffman was on hand to circulate printed copies of the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism. EUMC shows that what these people claim isn’t antisemitism actually is!

Arthur Goodman said it wasn’t surprising that people conflate Jews and Israel when the British Jewish establishment says all Jews support Israel and Netanyahu says Israel represents all Jews.

He said that Jewish groups shouldn’t be allowed to define what antisemitism is as they have a vested interest. He called for an objective definition instead before going on to outrageously claim that Israel “ethnically cleansed” the Palestinians in 1948.

Goodman said that although the same had happened to the indigenous people of America their dispossession had finished long ago so it was wrong to revive any such similarity today. And he said for most UK Jews a love of Israel is part of their identity and so they see criticism of Israel as criticism of them.

Weymann Bennett said that Left was in the forefront of fighting antisemitism and gave as an example UAF’s protests against the leader of Jobbik when he visited the UK and he said similar protests will take place when Marine Le Pen visits.

Lindsey German didn’t like the fact that Israel’s new Ambassador Mark Regev was immediately allowed on Andrew Marr’s BBC show and said that this is going to happen a lot now (I hope she’s right!).

And she said that Zionism is a political ideology criticism of which should be allowed. She also said that many Jews do not support what Israel does (she didn’t say many Muslim people also don’t support what the Palestinians do).

Walter Wolfgang told us he was speaking “As a  Jew”. He gave us his own history of Zionism; he quoted Ahad Ha’am who, he said, wanted merely a cultural as opposed to a political centre in historic Israel, he (wrongly) claimed that in 1948 the Palestinians were “driven out of their habitations” and he (wrongly) asserted that Jabotinsky wanted Israel established by force of arms.

Wolfgang wanted Israel to exist but within the (indefensible) 1948-1967 ceasefire lines and a just settlement for “Palestinian refugees”.

The villains with the biggest lies of the evening were John Rose and Tariq Ali.

Ali (wrongly) claimed it was Israeli government policy to brand everyone who criticises Israel as antisemitic (see clip 1 below).

He also said that the way the Holocaust is “taught as a unique crime is not that helpful” because there were other crimes like in the Congo and if these other crimes are not taught in schools then no one will understand what the Muslims are suffering today (clip 2). And he continued:

“If what is being done with Muslim communities today were being done to the Jews again how many would tolerate it? Very few. And these are the double standards.” (clip 2)

He said that antisemitism is used to stop any campaigning against Israel but if there was a so-called one state solution then antisemitism and criticism of Israel would disappear and that Israelis and their children and grandchildren would benefit (clip 3).

Rose said he had spoken to an Israeli archaeologist who said the “Palestinians had all become Islamic terrorists”. This, Rose claimed, was symptomatic of the levels of racism in Israeli society today (clip 4).

Rose wanted (clip 5) there to be one person-one vote for Israelis and Palestinians including the so-called Palestinian refugees (90% of whom are not refugees at all by the way). Obviously Israelis would be outvoted so Rose is basically calling for the establishment of a 57th Muslim state in place of the only Jewish one.

Rose claimed that calling for a so-called one state solution isn’t antisemitic. However, in my opinion, denying the Jewish people their only state in their historic homeland (even when it could still be alongside a Palestinian one) can only be antisemitic especially when a boycott of Israel is also called for.

The superb Jonathan Hoffman took to the microphone during the Q&A to articulate Israel’s case under immense pressure (clip 6).

Last night there was no mention of Hamas and Hezbollah and their genocidal intent to destroy Israel and every Jewish person worldwide. Neither was it mentioned that Hezbollah flags are openly on display at Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop The War Campaign protests in London and that the Holocaust is flagrantly traduced.

This tells you ALL you need to know about PSC and STWC types however “anti-racist” they try to claim they are.

Relevant clips from last night:

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Forced to turn off my camera at Jenny Tonge/David Ward event in Parliament while Al Jazeera films.

Last night I went to Parliament for an event staged by the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK. The event Gaza: Life in an occupied and besieged strip was obviously only concerned with the human rights of one group of Arabs.

It was chaired by the Liberal Democrat David Ward MP and the main attraction was Baroness Jenny Tonge who once said “Israel won’t be here forever”.

Tonge complained that “the Palestinians had been denied democracy because the wrong side (Hamas) won” and that Israel defies international law by denying the right of return to anyone who is not a Jew.

Her main complaint was about “the Israel lobby” which, she said, “has its claws in this country” and she claimed nothing was being done about Israel out of fear of being called anti-Semitic.

She called for a total boycott of Israel, said that Jews had led the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and finished off with:

“Let us show Israel; we love you very much but not in these circumstances”.

Here is the clip:

We were then addressed by “International Law Specialist” Toby Cadman. Cadman claimed he was not a political activist but went on to accuse Israel of “collective punishment and unlawful occupation” and having a “classic system of apartheid”.

He said that there was “No situation quite like Palestine” and he also blamed the “Powerful lobby movement” for ensuring injustices weren’t addressed.

Then came the Q&A. An audience member rose and said “Disease in Gaza is like in the concentration camps under the Nazis”.

Then directly behind me someone wanted to know more about “the Israel lobby” so he could boycott them too! He wanted the panel to expand on who exactly they were.

I felt compelled to turn my camera back on at this point.

During her talk Tonge had pointed me out to everyone. She described me as a “great blogger and contributor to the Jewish Chronicle”. And Sara Apps, of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, had already been over to me twice; to ask if I was registered for the event and then to see if my camera was turned off.

So, while Tonge was describing “the Israel lobby” as being both BICOM and the various political Friends of Israel groupings Mohammed Jamil, the organiser of the event, was bearing down on me.

He ordered me to switch my camera off and, which you don’t see, tried to snatch it.

Meanwhile, the cameras of Al Jazeera, who were there covering the event, continued to roll. Here’s the clip and I’m glad to say my little camera has survived yet another battering:

Israeli deaths glorified at LSE on Holocaust Memorial Day.

Aitemad Muhanna-Matar, Zena Agha, Rana B. Baker,  Mezna Qato at LSE last night.

Aitemad Muhanna-Matar, Zena Agha, Rana B. Baker, Mezna Qato at LSE last night.

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau but last night at the London School of Economics at a joint Palestine Society and Feminist Society event Israelis were portrayed as rapists and those who killed Israelis were applauded.

In front of a banner that read “Towards Freedom and Independence the Uprising Continues” a panel of four women described the role Palestinian women should play in the “uprising”.

Rana B. Baker, a student at SOAS who also writes for the Electronic Intifada, said Leila Khaled‘s “hijacking of planes was amazing”. The only problem, Baker said, was that Khaled had now aligned herself with the Assad regime.

Baker reserved her highest admiration for Sana’a Mehaidli who she said “deserves a standing ovation”. She told how, in 1985 in south Lebanon, Mehaidli “drove a car full of explosives and blew it up near an Israeli convoy killing two Israeli soldiers and injuring between 10 and 12 more.”

Baker described Mehaidli  as “the first female to carry out a suicide bombing in south Lebanon” and said Mehaidli was “more admirable for not being well-known and for not being Palestinian”.

Baker concluded by saying that Mehaidli’s “will calls for men and women to armed struggle against a colonial regime based on violence”.

Zena Agha portrayed Israelis as rapists of Palestinian women (see footage below). She said that “in Israel the view of Palestinian women is very derogatory and that rape had become a very prevalent idea. Rape for Israelis was almost a weapon of war against Palestinian women.”

She quoted Mordechai Kedar’s controversial “rape as terror deterrent” statement which, she said, was “illuminating about Israeli democracy”. She also described a sign in an Israeli coastal town which, apparently, read “Pound Their Mothers” as having “sexual connotations”.

She urged the student audience not to adopt western narratives about Hamas, Hizbollah and ISIS etc. who, she said, are all referred to as “terrorists”. She complained that “calling Hamas ‘terrorists’ robs them of any agency and delegitimises them”.

Mezna Qato, a research fellow at Cambridge University, said that boycotting Israel “is a small but powerful tactic that allows women to be lifted up by the spirit of the Palestinian struggle”.

And the event was chaired by Aitemad Muhanna-Matar, a research fellow at the LSE’s Middle East Centre, who said that the Palestinians had no choice “but to sacrifice their bodies” and that “radical Jewish settlers are more a threat to Israel than the Palestinians”.

It was a truly sickening event the most frightening part of which was when Zena Agha proclaimed “We are the future leaders”.

I, for one, wouldn’t want to be living in this country should that ever come to pass.

The viciousness of Sir Vincent Fean, a retired British diplomat.

Last Tuesday I attended yet another anti-Israel event at the London Middle East Institute based at SOAS. The last LMEI event I attended beautified Hizbollah. And last Tuesday I had another anti-Jewish insult hurled at me, to add to the long list, for merely asking a question during a Q&A.

The guest speaker last Tuesday was retired British Diplomat Sir Vincent Fean, a man who has served as a diplomat in Paris, Brussels, Libya, Damascus, Baghdad and amongst the Palestinians.

Fean said he wanted to “speak about how peace could come about in the Holy Land” and he said that he believed in “the two state solution”.

However, after his 40 minute talk I realised that Fean did not believe in Israel’s safety or its existence at all. He wanted Israel emasculated and indefensible.

Fean demanded that the “settlements” be disbanded and called the “illegal settlement enterprise” the “single most significant threat to the two state solution”.

As proof of “illegality” he invoked the Geneva Convention claiming that Israel gives inducements for Israelis to move to the West Bank. That is hardly “transfer” but it is enough for the likes of Fean to conclude that Israel is committing a breach of international law.

Fean called for Israel to dismantle its security wall, for Israel’s forces to be withdrawn from “Palestinian soil” and for Egypt to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

After all that he had the gall to say that Israel has the right to defend itself. He said Israel could rely for its security on the UN, USA, NATO, Egypt and Jordan and that Israel “will not find them wanting”. If Fean thinks the UN, let alone Egypt and Jordan, will defend Israel then he’s delusional.

Fean made only a passing reference to Palestinian “incitement to violence” so during the Q&A I  asked why he hadn’t mentioned Hamas’ firing of thousands of rockets into Israel and their Charter that calls for the murder of Jews everywhere which included those four Jewish men recently murdered at a kosher shop in Paris.

That was met by an audible collective moan from the LMEI audience after which a white British middle-aged man turned around and asked me “Are you a fifth columnist or something?”

Meanwhile, Fean only answered that he “was not here to recognise Hamas”.

But Fean left the most vicious part of his rhetoric for the finale.

Fean has been very-well fed on Arab hospitality and very well remunerated by the British taxpayer. However, when he addressed the upcoming British general election he told the LMEI audience to confront their MPs about recognition of “Palestine” as a state and “tell them that your vote depends on it”.

So for Fean struggling British taxpayers who have paid his salary and now fund his pension are of no consequence. He’s more concerned about events thousands of miles away from home.

Fean has been knighted, which is an indictment of the British honours system.

Why the “Sir”? He has been a diplomat in Paris and Brussels where Jews are now regular targets for the bullets and knives of Islamist terrorists. And in Libya, Baghdad and Damascus he has left behind bloodshed on a monumental scale.

And he now thinks people should trust his views on how to bring about an Israeli-Palestinian peace?

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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