Tag Archives: Richard Burden MP

How I confronted Palestinian “ambassador” over the Har Nof killings.

On Tuesday night in Parliament I asked Manuel Hassassian, the unofficial Palestinian ambassador to the UK, why in the speech he had just delivered in which he accused Israel of “war crimes” he made no mention of Palestinian violence, specifically the recent murders by two Palestinians of four Rabbis and a Druze policeman at a west Jerusalem synagogue.

He answered me directly but when he said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had condemned the killings I reminded him, as you can see in the clip below, that Abbas had incited the murders in the first place with his violent rhetoric including imploring Palestinians to use “all means” to stop Jews visiting the Temple Mount. Here is our confrontation:

Meanwhile, a woman had just told the room that the Palestinians were suffering a fate worse than that of Anne Frank.

What she said was bad enough but the most chilling aspect was the warm applause she received from both Hassassian and ex-Labour MP Martin Linton, now chairperson of Labour Friends of Palestine, as well as from the others present.

Here’s the clip of her mocking the memory of Anne Frank who was murdered by the Nazis at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15:

The actual event at Parliament was about that recent vote to recognise a Palestinian state at some time in the future. Although it was held under the auspices of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Third World Solidarity it was for all intents and purposes another sickening Labour Party anti-Israel event.

As well as Linton current Labour MP Khalid Mahmood spoke. Labour MP Richard Burden and Labour’s Lord Ahmed were also due to speak but were both absent.

Mahmood replied to my question on the role of Hamas in the conflict by accusing Israel of bombing the Palestinian Authority out of Gaza so leaving the road clear for a Hamas takeover.

Hamas had fought a bloody civil war against the PA but Mahmood’s response shows the serious level of misinformation gladly assumed by many British politicians. Here is Mahmood expressing his pure ignorance of events:

Finally there was Linton, now notorious for invoking anti-Jewish Nazi imagery when he once referred to “the tentacles of Israel” interfering in Britain’s political system.

At Tuesday night’s event while he mentioned that Mohammed Abu Khedair was murdered by Israelis he never mentioned that Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel were murdered by Palestinians. According to Linton the latter had been merely “kidnapped”. I interrupted to remind him of their fate as you can see here from 2 mins 40 secs:

Remarkably there were only 25 people present at the event with swathes of empty seats. Those present finally convened for a group photo, see below, and with numbers short I offered to help out with taking photos for those who wanted a memento of the sour night.

Group photo! Linton front 2nd from right, Hassassian front 3rd from right.

Group photo! Linton front 2nd from right, Hassassian front 3rd from right.

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Another two fingers go up to British Jews.

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Today’s Sunday Times cartoon doesn’t work on any level, but you can see how it came about.

Over the last month certain British commentators have been writhing around in pure ecstasy at the prospect of the Israeli electorate moving to the right. Some of the commentary has made me wince with even Jewish commentators hinting that Israel has shifted to the far right; the connotation being that Israel has finally become a fully fledged fascist state, the antithesis of what would have been expected after the horrors of Nazi Germany.

But, sadly for them, Israel actually shifted to the left in the recent general election. All those columns that certain journalists wanted to write about “the fascist State of Israel” will never see the light of day now. The time they spent concocting the most vile aspersions to cast on Israel has been wasted. Guardian and Independent newspaper columnists have had to, on the whole, hold their fire since the election. Labour politicians like Richard Burden MP have been forced to hold off tweeting the most nastiest denunciations of Israel.

But for some reason The Sunday Times, of all papers, couldn’t hold off publishing Gerald Scarfe’s vile slur of a blood libel with its depiction of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a callous murderer of innocents, including Palestinian children.

And then there’s the context. Not only is it Holocaust Memorial Day today but it is also just two days after The Commentator broke the news that Liberal Democrat MP David Ward had specifically attacked “the Jews” on his website by writing:

“Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.”

And by juxtaposing the Holocaust with the West Bank and Gaza Ward is actually mocking what happened to the Jews in the death camps, whatever sympathy for them he tries to evince in his statement. The West Bank and Gaza are no Auschwitz, Mr Ward, even though many a Jew hater has tried to equate them.

Ward is not fit to be an MP, but what is more disturbing is the groundswell of support he seems to have had and his comments have flushed out just how nasty his supporters are. For example, under the clip of Ward’s appearance on Sky you can read:

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“Israel is worse than Hitler” and “Is Hitler the new Moses?” These are your supporters, Mr Ward.

I also got tweeted this from Mash’al Hanif in response to one of my tweets about the Sunday Times cartoon:

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Well, yes, Mash’al, it does hurt, but it hurts mainly because I always thought the UK was a comfortable place for Jewish people to live. I still do, but that nonsensical Sunday Times cartoon has rocked that certainty ever so slightly.

But I am also grateful that although I deeply feel Jewish I, however, feel no religious obligation to dress as a more religious Jew and, therefore, exposing myself to the horrors of what the Sunday Times cartoon might compel a person with a violent bent towards Israel and/or Jewish people to carry out. Another Toulouse comes to mind.

And, I’m sorry, Mash’al, but it wasn’t me who targeted the Prophet Muhammad. And nor would I. And for that matter it wasn’t Jewish people either, although Mash’al’s comment goes to show how the initial rumour that the maker of that horrendous film depicting Muhammad in such an unseemly manner was Jewish has now achieved permanence.

After the last week one can see why the Jewish people have traditionally moved around so much, forever trying to evade the animus that certain parts of society have always held for us.

(Thanks to The Commentator which also broke the news of the cartoon and thanks to Chas Newkey-Burden who has written so meaningfully about David Ward MP and those like him who think that its the Jews who should be held up to higher scrutiny after having lost six million people in the Holocaust.)

Dear Mr Burden, please don’t wish us a “Happy Chanukah”.

Last night I was enjoying the warm glow of first night Chanukah, having lit the candles and having gone to a public lighting (see my clip above), when later in the evening I read a tweet from Richard Burden MP, Labour MP for Northfield, which simply stated “Happy #Hanukkah everybody”.

Mr Burden is no friend of Israel so why is he wishing Jews a “Happy Hanukkah”, I thought. Many of Burden’s tweets (or retweets) are aimed at demonising the Jewish state.

He has recently been demanding, via Twitter, that Israel release all Palestinian “child prisoners” and when I asked him who he classed as a “child” he answered anyone “under 18”.

Now, as you can imagine, even a Palestinian aged 16 or 17 is capable of inflicting severe casualties on Israel’s civilian population.

So can a “child” like Izzedine Abu Sneineh who was arrested when 15 and convicted of “weapons training; attempted murder” and possession of “weapons/ammo/explosives” (as you can see from Elder of Ziyon’s link the New York Times wrongly reported that Sneineh was arrested for throwing stones and hanging Palestinian flags).

Abu Sneineh was freed in the second tranche of Palestinian prisoners as agreed in the Gilad Shalit exchange deal.

When I asked Burden what he thought of Sneineh’s release and whether Britain should also release ALL of its prisoners who were under 18 he simply referred me to his previous answers to my questions.

These answers, via Twitter, were:
“1. Prisoners being released anyway under #Shalit swap. Issue here is should they include detainees aged under 18? I say yes”
“2. UNICEF say any state holding under 18s should only do so in accordance with UN Convention. I agree”
“3. I’ve seen conditions in which #Israel’s child prisoners held. Read evidence hear yourself @DCI_Palestine”

I looked at DCI_Palestine, an “NGO devoted to defending the rights of children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 1992” (www.dci-pal.org) and read a description of the arrest of 16 year old Rasheed J by the IDF. It was, allegedly, a brutal arrest in which Rashid J spent many days in isolation and was told that:

‘You Arabs like to fuck camels and donkeys and go to brothels to fuck whores. You have no honour because your mother’s a whore.’

This would be unforgiveable if it were true but it is uncorroborated and I just don’t believe it based on many similar lies.

The other main accusation in the piece about Rasheed J’s arrest is that Palestinian prisoners, like Rasheed J, are kept in custody in Israel “in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits transfer out of occupied territory”.

But who, with any properly constituted legal authority, has declared it “occupied territory” for the purposes of Article 76? No one. This is because there is no Palestine and so Palestine cannot be “occupied”. Article 76 is, therefore, totally irrelevant.

Furthermore, Burden likes to retweet a horrendous story about Israel, whether it’s true or not.

On 16th December he retweeted The Guardian’s story that Israel had hastened the death of the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK’s wife by forcing her back to Jerusalem to renew her residency rights while she was undergoing treatment for cancer, despite denials by Israeli officials that this was the case.

The allegation levelled at Israel was that she became “infected by a virus on her plane journey back to London in May and died three months later”; basically, Israel was now responsible for her sad demise.

In fact, as cifwatch states, the reason for her visit to Israel was to “seek a second opinion on her condition from doctors at Hadassah Hospital”.

So does anyone really believe that Burden sincerely wishes Jewish people a “Happy Hanukkah” when the rest of the time he makes every effort to demonise the Jewish state with its five and a quarter million Jews, some of our family and friends included, while calling for the release of Palestinians like Abu Sneineh who planned their murder?