Tag Archives: Respect Party

Galloway gone! Ward ousted! Liberal Democrats demolished! Labour decimated! SNP in.

The country knew by 10pm on Thursday night that there had been a political bloodbath.

Contrary to all the opinion polls putting Labour and the Conservatives level the Exit Poll published at 10pm told a different story; the Conservatives had won a crushing general election victory. Labour had lost many seats and the Liberal Democrats had virtually disappeared.

An Exit Poll is pretty trustworthy and within minutes of its announcement the British Pound was surging on the financial bourses. The United Kingdom had voted for stability.

All that was left to be decided was the scale of Cameron’s victory (the Conservatives finally ended up with 331 MPs, Labour 232, the Liberal Democrats just 8) and which MPs had lost their seats. Famous names were about to disappear from the political scene.

The Liberal Democrats won 56 seats in 2010 but were heavily punished due to Nick Clegg’s pre-2010 election promise that he would abolish tuition fees for university students. He reneged once he was in coalition with the Conservatives.

For those supportive of Israel the demise of the Lib Dems is sweet. If the Israeli army was called on to defend Israelis from Hamas’ rockets Nick Clegg would call for an arms embargo on Israel.

And one has to question how Clegg can lay claim to any morals after not sacking David Ward who suggested that Jews had not learned the lessons of the Holocaust.

After minimal admonition from his party leader Ward was free to continue as a Liberal Democrat. Pleased to report that Ward has now been swept away politically by the good people of Bradford East.

And the good people of Bradford West swept away the Respect Party’s  George Galloway. Maybe they felt that Galloway was far more concerned with Tehran West than Bradford West.

It would be nice to think that Bradfordians also felt uncomfortable with his venomous anti-Zionist rhetoric (he declared Bradford an Israel-free zone) and were concerned for Bradford’s small Jewish population.

It was also goodbye to Simon Hughes and Bob Russell, two more anti-Israel Liberal Democrats swept away in the political tsunami.

Meanwhile, Labour lost 24 seats from last time! Much of Labour’s Parliamentary party is still anti-Israel and Labour’s main anti-Israel firebrands survived, including the likes of Gerald Kaufman, Andy Slaughter and Richard Burden who has met with Hamas. Labour also added Rupa Huq to their anti-Israel numbers.

For five years Labour has been isolationist on the foreign policy front. It voted not to assist the Syrian people being slaughtered by Assad.

There was, however, one country on which Labour was not isolationist: Israel. Precious parliamentary time was wasted by Labour MPs these last five years smearing Israel as evil and debating, and voting for, a future Palestinian state.

But despite the election results there is no room for complacency for British Jews. The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) have virtually swept away Labour in Scotland. They grew from six to an astonishing 56 MPs!

The SNP like to paint themselves as supportive of multiculturalism but there is, again, one country they are not too accepting of: Israel.

These are SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s words to the ‘Ending Scottish Arms Trade with Israel’ conference only yesterday:

“As you may be aware, during the recent conflict in Gaza the Scottish Government wrote to the UK Government urging an embargo on arms sales to Israel. The Scottish Government is a firm friend of Palestine and we will continue to press this issue after the election.”

An SNP council also once voted to ban Israeli books in its libraries.

No doubt the SNP will soon be joining forces with Labour, what’s left of the Liberal Democrats and Caroline Lucas of the Green Party to attack Israel.

In the meantime the average hard-working grassroots pro-Israel activist can enjoy some well-earned schadenfreude at the demise of Galloway and Ward.

Muslim Brotherhood’s Dr Kamal El-Helbawy defines who is a Jew, and who isn’t.

Dr Kamal El-Helbawy, Andrew Murray, Seumas Milne at the SOAS Respect meeting.

Dr Kamal El-Helbawy, Andrew Murray, Seumas Milne at the SOAS Respect meeting.

When I went to SOAS on Sunday for the Respect Party’s public meeting Where now for Egypt and the Middle East?, chaired by The Guardian’s Seumas Milne, I didn’t expect a sermon on who is, and who is not, a Jew.

Dr Kamal El-Helbawy, Chair of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and former speaker for the Muslim Brotherhood in the West, was updating us on the political situation in Egypt as he saw it. He welcomed the fact that 75% of the new Egyptian parliament was now Islamic, but said that he hoped for increased Coptic Christian participation and the promotion of women.

The Muslim Brotherhood isn’t especially keen on Jews. For example, Hamas, the Brotherhood’s subsidiary in Gaza, remembers us in their Charter by calling for us to be killed.

However, Dr Kamal El-Helbawy seemed to be concentrating on Egypt’s pressing internal issues. Could this be a new Egypt; a Light Unto the Arab nations, I thought? Fifteen minutes into his speech and Dr Kamal El-Helbawy still hadn’t mentioned Israel and the Palestinians.

Finally, Dr Kamal El-Helbawy, a self-proclaimed scholar of comparative religion, introduced the subject as follows (see clip 1 below):

“I have Jewish friends who are really Jewish. They stay with me, they eat with me, they sleep with us at home. Who are real friends. Like Neturei Karta people. Like Dovid Weiss and hundreds of others, who are real Jews. And we respect them and we love them. We are brothers in humanity if not in religion. But unfortunately the ones we have in Israel, the Zionists, are not Jews. I am happy with what usually my dear brother George Galloway says ‘atheist Jews’. Even I say they are Zionists. They have nothing, nothing at all related to Jewish religion. Moses did not order people to kill each other and the Christ did not ask people to kill each other or colonise each other or destroy each other or stop, for example, Iran doing good research in atomic energy.”

During the Q&A I said I thought it disrespectful of him to tell us who is, and who isn’t, Jewish and that just because one might disagree with someone’s political view shouldn’t make anyone less of a Muslim, Jew or Christian for it. To applause he responded (see clip 2 below):

“I have 100% right to define. I am a scholar of comparative religion as well. And I understand, and I have many friends who are Jews, and I don’t believe that the Nobel Laureate Peres is a Jew at all, is a Jew. Who is a Jew is the one who follows Moses, peace be upon Him. Who’s a Christian is the one who follows Jesus Christ, peace upon Him. Who is a Muslim is the one who follows Muhammad the Prophet, peace be upon Him. So it is not difficult to define who is a Jew and can measure who is a Jew, who is not. If you kill you are not a Jew, because Moses did not ask you to kill people. If you ousted them from their lands and houses and destroy them you are not a Jew.”

Meanwhile, Gorgeous George described (see clip 3) the Balfour Declaration as “142 words that have produced nearly a hundred years of misery and disaster in the Middle East” before continuing:

“Mark Sykes hated Jews. He was a vicious, foul anti-Semite, but he loved Israel and he loved the idea of Israel. Like so many he saw Zionism as a means of ensuring that he would never have to look at Jewish people on the streets of London. He talked openly about ‘we’ll be able to clean the East End of London if we can create Israel and, by one means or another, encourage or otherwise, the Jews of the East End of London to go and live in Palestine’. He hated Arabs also who he described as venal and lazy.”

Amid all this fascination with Jews Galloway, Kate Hudson, General Secretary of CND, and Andrew Murray, founder of the Stop The War Coalition, rejected all types of outside intervention in the affairs of Syria instead calling for the revolution to be allowed to take place from the ground upwards on the basis that there had never been an example of outside intervention working effectively in the Middle East and that such intervention always took place out of pure self-interest.

Clip 1: Dr Kamal El-Helbawy discusses Israel and the Palestinians

Clip 2: Dr Kamal El-Helbawy responds to criticism of his definition of Jews

Clip3: George Galloway on Mark Sykes and more

Ahava: My 5 favourite moments.

Ahava’s last day of trading in London’s Covent Garden is tomorrow (Tuesday).

It has suffered two years of racist, abusive and, at times, violent protests while Camden Council and our politicians looked away.

Not once did a politician of any rank stand up for Ahava’s right to trade or come to join the pro-Ahava counter-protest.

It is shameful that a shop that was trading 100% lawfully was forced to shut like this. It’s a stain on Britain’s democratic credentials.

Ahava’s all female staff were repeatedly bullied, not knowing whether they would arrive at work to find the locks glued, the shop front daubed in red paint or whether anti-Israel activists would invade the shop with heavy concrete blocks to lock themselves onto so making their removal from the shop virtually impossible.

After each invasion Ahava was forced to close for up to three hours, harming business and the ability of the staff to earn commission.

Israel’s flag was continuously denigrated outside Ahava by the anti-Israel activists. The most popular ways were cutting out the Star of David or replacing it with the word “apartheid”.

Three trials in all took place involving eight defendants. The first trial involving four anti-Israel activists collapsed when Ahava failed to show up, which was a great shame especially in light of the second, combined trial, involving another four activists which led to four convictions for aggravated trespass.

The defendants received conditional discharges of 18 months which means that should Gwendolen Wilkinson, Matthew Richardson, Jessica Nero or Christopher Osmond transgress again within that time then they could well end up detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Court costs of £250 were awarded against each defendant with one defendant pleading poverty to the extent that he claimed he had to wade through supermarket bins for food. The hard life of anti-Israel activists these days and I thought they were mainly well-soaked Champagne Socialists!

Incidentally, the Judge declared that Ahava was “trading lawfully”.

The good news is that Ahava will reopen somewhere else and along the way many good friends have been made and an unofficial group of intelligent, hardworking, passionate activists with a variety of skills has bonded which bodes well for the future in fighting the rising tide of Israel-hate/anti-Semitism in Britain.

So, here are Ahava’s best bits. Please vote for your favourite clip at the end.

Whichever clip wins it might be worth awarding a special gift to the pro or anti-Israel activists involved; maybe a spa day at the new Ahava shop when it opens.

(If you have problems viewing try to switch to another internet browser)

1. ARE YOU FROM MOSSAD?

Introducing Seymour Alexander, the chief photographer of the anti-Israel movement. He slinks around silently with his camera, but occasionally pops up to ask: “Are you from the Mossad?”

2. THE PRE-CHRISTMAS ARREST

This was hilarious. They were trying to harm Ahava’s pre-Christmas trade and this activist thought I was just taking photos, not filming. So when he threatened to knock my camera out of my hand the police arrested him on the basis of this footage and took him to the police station to interview him while I went off to see Oliver in the West End. I understand he was later released without charge, but still must have had a bit of a shock.

3. THE SINGING ISRAELI TOURISTS

This was brilliant. A group of Israeli tourists accidently stumbled upon the anti-Israel protest outside Ahava and for twenty minutes passionately belted out a medley of Israeli songs drowning out the chants of the stunned anti-Israel activists.

4. MARTYRMAN

This guy is determined to be arrested for the cause and enjoys nothing more than being dramatically dragged away by the police. At a recent “Nakba Day” protest he was photographed being hauled away in a similar fashion (see photo).

and

Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it's Martyrman

Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it's Martyrman

5. SWORDSWOMAN

The Respect Party’s Carol Swords enjoys nothing more than telling a Jew to go back to Russia (which she did outside Ahava recently) and she is currently awaiting trial for allegedly assaulting a pro-Israel activist. Read more about her here.

In this clip you will see her demanding that I don’t take her photo. It’s a bit surprising as she isn’t usually that camera-shy, especially when it comes to photos with the Jew-killers of Hamas (see photo).

Good luck at your trial, Carol!

Swords with Hamas' Ismail Haniya and Mahmoud Zahar (hurryupharry.org)

Swords with Hamas' Ismail Haniya and Mahmoud Zahar (hurryupharry.org)

Swords having a laugh with Hamas (hurryupharry.org)

Swords having a laugh with Hamas (hurryupharry.org)

Now vote for your favourite clip: