Tag Archives: Richard Burden

London Evening Standard journalist: “I’m prejudiced against Jews.”

Twitter is a good way of seeing what our elected politicians are up to. One in particular is a voluminous anti-Israel tweeter. Labour MP Richard Burden, for it is he, is also an enthusiastic retweeter of Ben White:


In my opinion, for an elected politician to promote Ben White, considering White’s views, is highly offensive.

It is Ben White who, in his article for Counterpunch in 2002 Is It Possible to Understand the Rise in Anti-Semitism?, wrote:

“…I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are.”

More recently White tweeted:

and this was the picture he linked to:

Joseph W. at Harry’s Place argued:

“Ben White appears to be linking Howard Jacobson – an English Jew – and Israeli Jewish Habima actors, by aesthetics and looks. If you are aware of the history of antisemitism, you will know that a great deal of attention was given to the physical appearance of Jews, who were portrayed as people whom one could legitimately hate based on how they look.”

The Warped Mirror neatly recounts what happened.

As I was concerned that Richard Burden MP was promoting someone such as White with such contemptuous views, I tweeted Burden about it. However, it was Mira Bar-Hillel, who writes for the London Evening Standard newspaper, who responded. Here’s Bar-Hillel’s Twitter profile first:

In response to my tweet to Burden pointing out White’s view that he can “understand” why some people are anti-Semitic Bar-Hillel stated that she “can understand it too”:

When challenged as to whether she could also “understand” people who were Islamophobic she, somewhat ambiguously, responded:

“I understand hatred for anyone one who feels wronged – or unjustly treated – by. Racism I abhor.”

Good to know Bar-Hillel abhors racism. But then how would one explain the following quote apparently attributed to her in Anshel Pfeffer’s article in Haaretz in June which discussed the set exam question “Why are some people prejudiced against Jews?” (Haaretz might be behind a pay-wall for some so I have copied and pasted the full article below for context purposes):

“The Jews of today scare me and I find it almost impossible to talk to most of them, including relatives. Any criticism of the policies of Israel – including the disgraceful treatment of Holocaust survivors as well as refugees from murderous regimes – is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash. Goyim (gentiles) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims. Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes.” (Emphasis added)

So Bar Hillel abhors racism, but is “prejudiced against Jews”. Work that one out.

Meanwhile, I continued to question Richard Burden MP as to whether he found White’s view offensive. Sadly, instead of agreeing that it was he refused to give a straightforward answer:

It is very concerning that a British MP, who does denounce anti-Semitism, still goes on to promote someone like White with such views and doesn’t see anything wrong in that. Or maybe, as Burden suggested, I should just “grow up”.

Anshel Pfeffer’s Haaretz article in full:

Anti-Semitism in 100 words or less
In rhyme, in sorrow and in a single word, readers took my challenge. Which one gets the bottle of wine?

By Anshel Pfeffer | Jun.22, 2012 | 2:42 AM | 2

Nine years ago, I found myself hanging out with a group of Pakistani journalists I met at a seminar abroad. At the time, we were all hearing about secret and not-so-secret dealings between Israel and Pakistan, and one of them showed me his passport. On the bottom of every page was written, “For travel to every nation in the world except Israel.” “It’s just politics” he explained to me. “There is no anti-Semitism in Pakistan; there are no Jews.”

Technically, that may be true, as the small Jewish communities of Karachi and Peshawar dispersed decades ago. But it is interesting that he felt the need to create a distinction between a hatred of Israel and the shunning of Jews.

There is anti-Jewish rhetoric in the local media in Pakistan. Many would argue that in a nation without a history of local anti-Semitism, this is actually a manifestation of anti-Western sentiments, along with the country’s intense hostility with neighboring India, which is increasingly becoming a strategic ally of Israel. It doesn’t seem as though Pakistan has a homegrown tradition of Jew-hatred.

On Wednesday, a British woman of Pakistani origin, Shasta Khan, was charged in a Manchester court for planning, along with her husband Mohammed Sajid, what could have been the worst anti-Semitic attack on British soil in living memory. Born and raised in the Manchester region, she would have seen and recognized Jews from the large Orthodox community in the city. The couple is alleged to have scouted out targets in the Prestwich neighborhood, where thousands of Jews live and work.

A different duo of young British-Pakistanis, Asif Mohammed Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif, became radicalized after traveling to study in Damascus, where they were recruited by Hamas and carried out a suicide attack at a Tel-Aviv pub, killing three people, in 2003. In contrast, Khan and Sajid are accused of embarking on their Jihad after surfing radical websites. They allegedly learned how to build homemade bombs from Al-Qaida’s Inspire magazine, and instead of travelling to the Middle East to strike at the Zionist enemy, they decided to avenge the Palestinians by murdering fellow Britons, members of a neighboring religious community.

But that is how anti-Semitism has evolved: Defying reason and ideology, overcoming geographic and social divides, it adapts to new environments and conditions. Anti-Semitism is the most flexible and versatile of hatreds. That is my main conclusion from the many answers I received over the last two weeks, following the question I posed to readers: “Why are some people prejudiced against Jews?” But that was not the only conclusion.

A brief reminder: I decided to open up the column to readers following the hysterical reactions of some politicians and community leaders in Britain when this question was posed to high school students in a national exam. Financial blogger Henry Blodget was inundated with angry responses when he asked the same question with sincerity and seriousness. I had hoped that this column’s readers would prove both more intelligent and display a greater sense of equipoise than those who expressed outrage over the exam question. The reader responses exceeded my expectations.

There were a handful of responses such as the commenter who wrote, “Anti-Semitism should be condemned not explained – full stop.” But most readers who answered believe, like I do, that no subject should be beyond discussion, even if some of the responses do not make for easy reading. Of course, there were a few nasties, such as the writer who tried to convince me that the world doesn’t have anything against Jews in particular, but rather just against Israelis. After all, he wrote,”the Internet has shown the world what kind of people you are.”

Others were also critical but from a place of sorrow. Mira Bar-Hillel wrote that “The Jews of today scare me and I find it almost impossible to talk to most of them, including relatives. Any criticism of the policies of Israel – including the disgraceful treatment of Holocaust survivors as well as refugees from murderous regimes – is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash. Goyim (gentiles ) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims. Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes.”

Honorable mentions

I know that some would label Mira with the despicable title of “self-hating Jew,” and while I don’t necessarily agree with all she writes, I think she expresses genuine concerns and should be heard. Mira’s answer is one of my two honorable mentions.

The other honorable mention goes to Richard Asbeck, who managed in verse to convey the uneasy feeling of many Jews and non-Jews at the separateness, perhaps aloofness, that Jews have conveyed over the millennia.

“How could I by virtue of reciprocity,

blessed by the honor of having been treated as a friend,

remembering the humanity of a shared meal,

remembering the hachnasat orchim (hospitality ), how could I, in the attempt of responding in kind, avoid the self-allegation of impurity and ‘unchosenness’ clearly marked by the catered dinner on a stranger’s plate, or worse: the foil-wrapped carton board plate?”

Although I allowed up to 100 words, some readers made do with just one or two words: Envy; jealousy; religion; Zionism; ignorance; Jesus Christ. All are indeed reasons why people are prejudiced against Jews, and there are of course many more, often conflicting, and never justified reasons. And that is why I said that anti-Semitism is the most flexible of hatreds and why I chose Mark Gardner’s entry as the winner. My only hesitation is that the writer is a professional in the field, who serves as director of communications of the Community Security Trust (CST ), of British Jewry. My choice of Mark as winner is not an endorsement of the CST; indeed I criticized the organization in a column on an unrelated matter two months ago. But unlike others who monitor anti-Semitism, I think that his entry proves he can address the issue in a balanced manner. So he gets the (kosher ) bottle of wine.

Here is his answer to why some people are prejudiced against Jews. “If prejudice is hating someone more than is necessary, then you must consider the anti-Semites’ charge sheet. So, let us be brief: Allied with the Devil to kill the son of God; lost God’s covenant; fought God’s last prophet; visible rejecters of God; kill children and drink their blood; conspiratorial; money hoarding; greedy; corrupting; mean-spirited; physically grotesque; contemptible; ferocious; ingratiating yet always alien and never authentic; devious, evil, corrupting geniuses; unchanging and unassimilable; racially distinct, self-superior hypocrites; financiers of war; harbingers of revolution; pornographers; hucksters and fraudsters; whiners and liars; imperialists and colonizers; thieves, racists, war-mongering destroyers. More briefly: scapegoat.”

Toulouse: It wasn’t supposed to end like this.

Mohamed Merah was supposed to have been shot dead at the scene of the crime last Monday in Toulouse when he killed three Jewish children and a Rabbi. If that had happened then the media and our political classes could have written it all off as the act of an extremist who probably hated French Muslim soldiers and Jews.

Monday evening’s BBC Newsnight was reporting that the gunman had a facial tattoo, as did, conveniently, one of three local French paratroopers recently dismissed for giving Nazi salutes. Then the programme heard from Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis (see interview below).

Goldschmidt, himself, seemed to be under no illusions that this was the work of someone influenced by the hostile political climate in France over the way French Muslims slaughter their meat, the Minaret issue in Switzerland and the attempt to ban Halal and Kosher meat in Holland. This, Goldschmidt said, “creates an atmosphere of intolerance”.

But Merah went on living just long enough to give the real reasons for his actions outside a Jewish school, and it is the only thing out of all this that we can be grateful for. Merah said he acted to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children killed by Israel. For that he went to Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse to specifically seek out Jews to murder.

But do the Toulouse killings really surprise those who attend anti-Israel events in the UK where the hatred of anyone who supports Israel is palpable?

No other country brings out such hatred and this can only be because of one thing: Israel is Jewish, successful and strong.

Parts of the British media, political class and British public seem so frighteningly bent on indoctrinating others against Israel and, just like those who indoctrinated Merah, their emotive weapon of choice against Israel is dead or “tortured” Palestinian children.

Many small acts of this type of indoctrination take place every day in the UK alone.

Here are just three examples:

A few hours after Monday’s killings Richard Burden MP was already retweeting an unsubstantiated report called Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted: Children held in military detention detailing the percentage of Palestinian children allegedly strip searched, threatened and humiliated etc. while in Israeli custody.

War Horse author Michael Morpurgo used the high profile Richard Dimbleby lecture of 2011 to describe Israel as shooting Palestinian children “like a video game”.

An anti-Israel activist (see photo above) used to flaunt his carefully preserved photograph of dead Palestinian children to passers-by outside the Ahava shop in Covent Garden.

There are so many more examples of these indoctrinating acts and imagine them multiplied thousands of times across Europe; each declaring loudly that Israel targets children.

Each act on its own is non-actionable in terms of incitement but together the lies contribute to a culture of hatred of Israel and Jews making it easier to explain the actions by Merah outside a Jewish school in Toulouse.

Those, whether in the UK or across Europe, who have used this form of indocrination have, in their own small way, the blood of Miriam Monsonego, Jonathan Sandler and his two young sons, Gabriel and Arieh, on their hands.

When you add to this the relentless pursuit of Israel by some British churches, the allowing of the annual Israeli Apartheid Week at our universities where Jews are compared to Nazis and the demonisation of Israel and Jews by some of our MPs it is a wonder that what happened outside a Jewish school in Toulouse hasn’t happened here yet.

Newsnight interview with Pinchas Goldschmidt on Monday 19th March 2012:

Sarah Colborne. You’re fired.

Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn, Richard Burden and Yasmin Qureshi owe Theresa May, the Home Secretary, a huge debt of gratitude for having had Sheikh Raed Salah detained on Tuesday night. She might just have saved their careers.

Had the homophobic preacher been allowed to speak at wednesday night’s event at the Houses of Parliament there would now be photographs circulating of them sharing a platform with him.

These photos would, no doubt, have featured in the political literature for the next general election and would probably have led to these MPs’ crushing defeats, as sharing platforms with self-confessed homophobes is not something the British public would wish to be associated with.

Instead Salah is awaiting deportation back to Israel.

Meanwhile, in his defence Middle East Monitor and Palestine Solidarity Campaign have been raising the straw man that Salah is not an anti-Semite on the basis of lack of proof.

While he is accused of claiming that Jews use the blood of children to make their bread, his blatant homophobia has not been made a huge issue of. His supporters are defending him only against claims of anti-Semitism.

Qureshi and Burden issued similar statements along these lines.

But Just Journalism has now uncovered a 2003 interview with Haaretz where Salah gave these answers:

What is your opinion of the legislation now being discussed in the Knesset, which would grant Muslim women rights similar to those of Jewish women in matters of personal status?

“That bill is tantamount to a war on Islam. It is an attempt to dictate different, foreign values that are neither Muslim nor Palestinian values.”

What is your opinion of homosexuality?

“It is a crime. A great crime. Such phenomena signal the start of the collapse of every society. Those who believe in Allah know that behavior of that kind brings his wrath and is liable to cause the worst things to happen. There is no solution for this, unless the individual’s faith is strengthened.”

In this statement Salah denies most of the accusations:

“It has been claimed that he repeated a ‘blood libel’ by saying, ‘among those whose blood was mixed with the sacred (Jewish) bread’; this is an absolute lie and a malicious fabrication.”

“With regard to the statement that ‘the Creator made from you [the Jews] monkeys and losers’, this is again a lie and fabrication.”

“I unequivocally condemn all forms of racism, including anti- Semitism, Islamophobia, and racism towards my own people, the Palestinians.”

There are no denials about his homophobia and thoughts on the inequality of women.

So what does Sarah Colborne think of sharing a platform with someone who thinks homosexuality “is a crime…that is liable to cause the worst things to happen”. Obviously nothing.

Colborne uses her own homosexuality as a political weapon. She recently wrote to Marc Almond complaining about “real homophobia confronted by the LGBT community inside Israel” and urged him to cancel his tour to Israel. He did cancel, although Almond said it “was not for any political reason”:

“Dear Marc Almond,
I was shocked to hear that you were scheduled to perform in Israel. Listening to your music, I always assumed that you had a clear and unstinting compassion for those who face discrimination and oppression. Your music provided the soundtrack to many lesbians and gay men growing up in a hostile society. And as a lesbian who has been actively supporting Palestinian rights for over a decade, I felt obliged to write to you personally.

Israel is attempting to ‘pinkwash’ itself as tolerant, and gay-friendly in an attempt to paint over the discrimination, racism and apartheid that Palestinians face on a daily basis. It is an attempt to cover up Israel’s flouting of international law and its violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Those who support Israel’s crimes continue to propogate the colonialist fantasies of a civilised and gay-friendly Israel, as opposed to hostile, homophobic Palestinians. This not only denies the real homophobia confronted by the LGBT community inside Israel, but also the reality of life as a lesbian or gay Palestinian living under a brutal military occupation. By propogating this fantasy, Israel is attempting to co-opt support from LGBT artists and activists in other countries for its violence towards Palestinians.

I have worked with the Palestinian community in Britain and internationally, travelled to Palestinian towns and villages, and I was on the Mavi Marmara last year when it was attacked by Israeli commandos whilst in international waters, taking aid to Gaza. Our shared experiences of homophobia and discrimination should make us even more sensitive to, and supportive of, the cause of equality, freedom and justice for Palestine.

I urge you to listen to the voices of Palestinian gay and lesbian organisations, for example Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (PQBDS). Please listen to those of us in the LGBT community in Britain, who believe that until Palestinians are free, none of us are free.

The cause of Palestine is the cause of justice and freedom. Please do not taint the love of the LGBT community for your music by playing in Israel.

Sarah Colborne”

Yet, here she is sitting next to him on Monday night at an event sponsored by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which she heads, and Middle East Monitor.

Conway Hall: Salah and Sarah Colborne in the middle

Conway Hall: Salah and Sarah Colborne in the middle

It just goes to show that Salah’s vile views can be overlooked where the joint goal is the vilification of Israel.

Will Qureshi, Corbyn and Burden now denounce Salah as a homophobe or do they consider homophobia to be less serious than anti-Semitism?

At the next general election the British public will be made well aware that these three Labour MPs were due to share a platform with someone who has clearly expressed homophobic views.

And what about the PSC, which sponsored the event on Monday night where Salah spoke and sponsored the event at Parliament on Wednesday where he was due to speak?

Will the PSC’s patrons stay silent about an organisation they support, but which has now sponsored a homophobic preacher?

Those patrons include Tony Benn, actress Julie Christie, Victoria Brittain, playwright Caryl Churchill (who wrote Seven Jewish Children), RMT leader Bob Crow, writer William Dalrymple, the reverend Garth Hewitt, Ghada Karmi, Bruce Kent, Lowkey, Karma Nabulsi, Ilan Pappe, Alexei Sayle and Benjamin Zephania.

On the Reverend Stephen Sizer’s blog there is also a defence of Salah. Salah is referred to as a “well-respected Palestinian leader”.

Do Salah’s views on homosexuality make him a well-respected leader?

On The Apprentice the project manager on the losing team is invariably fired for the team’s losing performance. In the case of PSC chief Sarah Colborne Alan Sugar would already be pointing his finger and saying:

“Sarah. You’re fired.”

Baroness Jenny Tonge threatens to quit Liberal Democrats over Sheikh Salah detention.

Martin Linton and Jenny Tonge last night.

Martin Linton and Jenny Tonge last night.

Sheikh Raed Salah was gone but not forgotten last night at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign event in the House of Commons at which he was due to speak alongside four Labour politicans and one Liberal Democrat.

Many speakers stood up to denounce his detention and potential deportation.

Salah had been arrested the night before after slipping into Britain last Saturday before the Home Office had properly informed the Border Agency that he had been excluded as not being conducive to the public good.

But before last night he had already spoken at Conway Hall on Monday night, in Leicester and in the House of Lords.

Yesterday, the Daily Mail’s front page headline screamed “Secure Britain…What a Joke” and attributed the following, alleged, statements to Salah:

On homosexuality: “It is a crime. A great crime. Such phenomena signal the start of the collapse of every society.”

On Jews: “We have never allowed ourselves to knead (the dough for) the bread that breaks the fast in the holy month of Ramadan with children’s blood. Whoever wants a more thorough explanation, let him ask what used to happen to some children in Europe, whose blood was mixed in with the dough of the (Jewish) holy bread.” (After this, alleged, speech 1,000 people rioted).

Salah had served two years in prison for confessing to having financed the terrorist group Hamas.

As last night’s PSC event took place Salah was languishing in prison.

Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn said that Salah’s lawyers, the PSC and Corbyn, himself, were going to challenge the decision. Corbyn also insinuated that the “orchestrated campaign by the Daily Mail” might be behind the decision not to allow Salah into the country.

The meeting itself was on Building Peace and Justice in Jerusalem. Speakers included Muslims, Christians and Jews. The intention was to portray Jerusalem as equally important to all the faiths and, therefore, having to be fairly shared with the Palestinians having east Jerusalem as their capital and the Jews having west Jerusalem as Israel’s.

At no stage was it stated that this would leave virtually every Jewish holy site under the control of the Palestinians.

While Palestinians would be able to worship on the Temple Mount, it is highly unlikely that many Israeli Jews would be allowed to pray at the Western Wall. This was certainly the case when Jordan controlled the Western Wall between 1949 and 1967. And they have the cheek to describe Israel as an “apartheid state”!

Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi spoke first. She referred to the “apartheid wall that digs deep into the West Bank”. She said Israel has “created a Jewish buffer zone around Jerusalem” and that it had appropriated huge swathes of land in order to Judaise Jerusalem.

Then Palestinian Ambassador Dr. Manuel Hassassian said that the Palestinians will “never compromise over the sovereignty of east Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the heart of the Palestinian state and the hardest nut to crack. If there is political will on the part of Israel, then everything has a solution. But we have a right wing fascist Israeli government that only wants to build settlements and confiscate land. We Palestinians don’t have a partner for peace. We made our historic compromise when we gave up 78% of Palestine in 1988.”

Considering Hassassian’s Fatah party has just joined forces with anti-Jewish terrorist group Hamas Hassassian’s hypocrisy reeks stronger than his aftershave.

Hassassian also referred to the “apartheid wall” and to Israel’s policies in Jerusalem as “ethnic cleansing”. He said that America keeps Israel immune from international law. On Salah’s arrest he said that Salah is in prison now for fighting for Palestinian rights in Jerusalem.

He finished off by saying:

“We are resilient, diligent and we will get our state in September with east Jerusalem as our capital. The UK government must be proactive and give us money and aid and say to Israel that you are the occupier and must end this occupation. We hope Palestinians and Israelis, Jews, Christians and Muslims will live in unity in Mosaic Jerusalem, where I was born. I will never quit defending the rights of Palestinians in that city.”

Ismail Patel, from Friends of Al Aqsa, said it was a “sad day today that his (Salah’s) voice  should be silenced in a country known for its freedom of speech. He has more free speech in Israel than in Britain”.

He claimed that the Romans expelled the Jews but it was the Muslims who ended the Jewish dispersion in 637AD and that until 1967 Jerusalem was an open city, apart from 100 years of Crusader rule.

He said “Israel’s slogan was a land without a people for a people without a land”. But now, he said, Israel has a new slogan: “There is no meaning to Israel without Jerusalem as its capital and there is no meaning to Jerusalem without the Temple Mount on which Al Aqsa stands”.

“Israel’s Zionist ideology of occupation, oppression and expulsion wishes to create an exclusively Jewish state. It wants to be a Jewish democracy only, by denying other faiths equal rights. Never again should mankind oppress another because of the difference in their faith as was done in Germany during the Holocaust. The Palestinians have been expelled just because they are Palestinians. If we want ‘Never Again’ to come true we must motivate ourselves to keep the Palestinian presence in former Palestinian land, in a state where all faiths are equal and not a state where only Jews have the right to exist.”

Hind Khoury, of Sabeel, which is described as “an ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians”, said she wanted east Jerusalem to be the capital of a Palestinian state and west Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel.

She said that Israel is seeking to Judaise and de-Palestinise the city. She agreed with Ambassador Hassassian that the Palestinians had recognised Israel’s existence in 1988. She said that nothing justifies Israel’s exlusive claim to the West Bank and she was worried that “our churches will become Museums”.

Labour MP Richard Burden said that Palestinians must pay $26,000 for a building permit in Jerusalem and that the permits take many years to obtain from the Israelis. He said it was a case of the “creeping ethnic cleansing of a city by bureaucratic decree”.

Burden, referring to the Salah affair, said he had no truck with racism or anti-Semitism, but a person should be convicted on the basis of evidence, not innuendo:

“If the Home Secretary can produce evidence then fair enough, but the obligation is on her. If our government is as activist as this maybe it could show more activism and tell the Israeli authorities that it is about time they stopped demolishing Palestinian homes…Brave Jewish Israelis are also saying this.”

Last night BBC’s Newsnight had a piece about the Salah affair and as the credits were about to roll the presenter said that Burden had just phoned in to say that although he had been due to speak alongside Salah last night he had no input into arranging Salah’s visit. And his point is?

Labour Lord Alf Dubs had recently returned from his first ever visit to the West Bank and was “shocked” by what he saw: “Israel’s government is its own worst enemy.”

He called for a peaceful two state solution with Jerusalem as a shared capital, but this, he said, would be impossible with Israel’s “deliberate” settlement policy. He also described his visit to an Israeli military court:

“The security was so tight we had to leave our business cards on entering. In the dock were two Palestinian kids aged 14 and 15. Their handcuffs had been removed, but their legs were still shackled. The fifteen year old was in tears, which was very disturbing to see.”

Diana Neslen, of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said she is a “dissident Jew”. She spoke of the “obscene wall that snakes around” Jerusalem. She said that until 1967 another wall divided the city, but although Jews could not visit the Western Wall then, they were “otherwise free and without restriction”.

She said that Israel had destroyed the houses that faced the Western Wall when it captured the Old City in 1967, but “gaining territory was no substitute for losing one’s soul”.

She also said that now many Palestinian cannot pray on the Temple Mount and that “this shows how unfit Israel is to be the guardian of the Holy sites…Israelis do not see the non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine worthy of human decency”.

She described how on June 1st “white shirted young people” marched through east Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah district screaming “Death to Arabs”, “Burn the Arabs” and “Burn the Arab villages”:

“It was like Mosley marching through the East End protected by the police, but Mosley was prevented from marching. Those who like to excavate anti-Semitism never condemn these outrageous scenes. Shameful silence breeds violence”.

She said some “brave Israeli and Jewish dissidents” did make a stand. One was Lucas Kerner who, she said, was wearing both a “Jewish skullcap and a Palestinian keffiya”, but he was attacked by police.

Liberal Democrat Baroness Jenny Tonge brought down the curtain. Her whole talk was about the Salah affair. She berated “the power of the Israel lobby here as well as in the USA”. She said she is “deeply ashamed of the Liberal Democrat part of our government”. She said that if you met Salah you would know that what has been said about him is not true.

She said that the proposed change in the law on universal jurisdiction was a case of “the Israel lobby at work. They lobbied on that and are getting their way and I suspect they lobbied on this. I am deeply ashamed and I am considering my future in my party.” (see poll below)

Jenny, you’ll be doing everyone a favour if you resign, mostly the Liberal Democrat party.

Meanwhile, Reverend Stephen Sizer was there last night as the official photographer. He is back from his recent trip to Malaysia where he said on TV:

“The far right in Britain is forming an alliance with Zionists because their common enemy are the Muslims.”

And so ended another evening where the Palestine Solidarity Campaign sunk to new lows. For my part even if Salah did not say what he is accused of saying about Jews and homosexuals the fact that he has been convicted of financing Hamas is enough to exclude him from Britain. (UPDATE: Sheikh Salah is a homophobe. Read Haaretz interview with him)

Would we let in to Britain someone who has financed Al Qaeda?

Meanwhile, in the queue for last night’s event someone was telling me that the Zionists controlled the world financial system and that Israel controlled British foreign policy and was responsible for 9/11. But, he assured me, he was not anti-Semitic.

Photos/audio from last night:

Sarah Colborne (PSC Chief), Martin Linton, Ben White, Diana Neslen last night.

Sarah Colborne (PSC Chief), Martin Linton, Ben White, Diana Neslen last night.

Jeremy Corbyn MP congratulates "dissident Jew" Diana Neslen.

Jeremy Corbyn MP congratulates "dissident Jew" Diana Neslen.

Palestinian Ambassador Dr Manuel Hassassian, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Richard Burden MP, Lord Alf Dubs

Palestinian Ambassador Dr Manuel Hassassian, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Richard Burden MP, Lord Alf Dubs

Richard Burden MP, Lord Alf Dubs, Hind Khoury (Sabeel)

Richard Burden MP, Lord Alf Dubs, Hind Khoury (Sabeel)

Lubna Masarwa (Middle East Monitor), Jeremy Corbyn MP, Ben White (anti-Zionist activist)

Lubna Masarwa (Middle East Monitor), Jeremy Corbyn MP, Ben White (anti-Zionist activist)

Jenny Tonge resigning?

“dissident Jew” Diana Neslen

Palestinian Ambassador Dr. Manuel Hassassian

Jeremy Corbyn MP

Lord Alf Dubs

Ismail Patel (Friends of Al Aqsa)

Richard Burden MP

Hind Khoury (Sabeel)

Britain to spend £5m on “Arab human development programme”.

William Hague - "We say again that the blockade of Gaza is unsustainable and unacceptable." (Conservatives.com)

William Hague - "We say again that the blockade of Gaza is unsustainable and unacceptable." (Conservatives.com)

Foreign Secretary William Hague answered Parliamentary questions on the Middle East peace process yesterday.

Ben Gummer MP asked:

“I hope he (Hague) shares the excitement of many people in this country at seeing people stand up to one-party rule in Tunisia and Egypt. Will he explain what steps the Government are taking to encourage the spread of democracy—not just in the middle east, but in north Africa?”

Hague replied: “The spending I have announced in a written statement today includes £5 million for an Arab human development programme, which is intended to assist civil society and democratic development in the Arab world, so this will become part of the important issue my hon. Friend raises.”

With cuts across the public sector in this country, petrol prices up to 130p a litre and rising, university students being asked to pay up to £9000 a year and food prices rising is it really necessary to provide such money, especially when considering Arab oil wealth and multi billion pound Western subsidies.

Who is the money going to, how will it be used and what effect, if any, will it have? I thought this government was committed to cutting waste not adding to it.

Hague also seems to be under the misconception that there is a connection between democracy in the Middle East and a peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I would respectfully submit to Mr Hague that Middle East authoritarianism is down to countries like ours propping certain regimes up for our own interests. Don’t blame this one solely on Israel, please.

Hague also thinks that “the blockade of Gaza is unsustainable and unacceptable”. That’s very easy for him to say when thousands of kassam rockets aren’t pointing at his family.

He also stated that “we regard settlements as illegal”. Although, as ever, he didn’t explain how they are illegal.

Gerald Kaufman was on the war path again saying that the “situation of destitution, dereliction and malnutrition in Gaza is still appalling because of the blockade.” Has anyone seen evidence of said “malnutrition”?

And Richard Burden MP was convinced that “the Palestine papers have proved pretty conclusively that it is not the Palestinians who have not been prepared to compromise.”

Just another normal day in Parliament then.