Tag Archives: Richard Falk

Beware the monster being created by the anti-Israel Lobby.

There are worrying developments in this country’s anti-Israel lobby. Maybe it is the continuing strength of Israel both militarily and economically while the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement is having limited, if any, success.

But while Israel and many Israelis continue to prosper, even more so in light of the upcoming change in the law of universal jurisdiction which will make it harder to arrest an Israeli official on allegations of war crimes, Diaspora Jews are still a target.

One might disagree with Israeli policies but what we think is irrelevant. We do not live there and so do not suffer the same threats as Israeli Jews.

Similarly, one would not expect Israeli Jews to advise UK Jews. Only those that live in a country can truly judge the appropriate action to take.

And Hasbarah is easy anyway. We all understand the history of the conflict. We know that Jews have a right to a sovereign state in the Middle East and that the Palestinians have a right to one also. The job may be big but that is no bar to trying to explain Israel’s position to office colleagues, friends and television audiences.

The main problem comes when you are attacked for what you are, a Jew, not what you think. Instead of being able to respond constructively the only response you are left with, apart from being left open-mouthed, is denial.

MP Gerald Kaufman claimed this year that rich Jews controlled the Conservative Party. Martin Linton, Chair of Labour Friends of Palestine, said that Israel’s “tentacles” were controlling our political system. Both accusations could be straight out of the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

And, on seventh night of Chanukah the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) staged Seven Jewish Children at the Polish Centre in Hammersmith. The choice of venue for this outrageous play seems particularly cruel when considering the plight of Jews in Poland during the Holocaust. The production is full of horrendous accusations about Jews.

I saw it at the Royal Court last year and felt uneasy amidst an applauding London audience. The show lasts 10 minutes and uses seven short acts to portray how the Jews have turned from being killed during the Holocaust into the killers themselves during Operation Cast Lead.

According to the play Jews are biblically driven, think of Palestinians as “filth” and “animals”, justify the killing of Palestinian babies to their own children and enjoy swimming in nice pools while the Palestinians become dehydrated.

There may be some Jews who think like this, Baruch Goldstein was an example, but to imply that all Jews do is racist. However, the play is available for anyone to put on for free, including in schools.

On the fifth night of Chanukah, Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of a London-based Arabic newspaper, gave a talk at LSE and allegedly pointed at Jewish students and accused them of bombing Gaza. In 2007 Atwan stated that he would “dance with delight” if Israel was hit by Iranian missiles. Imagine someone pointing at Muslim students while shouting they are all suicide bombers. That person would be accused of inciting religious hatred.

My suspicion, which may be wrong, is that the PSC came to the Polish centre via Ewa Jasiewicz, a Polish anti-Israel activist. During the summer Jasiewicz visited the Warsaw Ghetto and helped to daub “Free Gaza and Palestine” on the walls of one of the Ghetto houses in, what could be considered, a crude attempt to equate the Palestinians with the Jews under the Nazis. The Ghetto is now considered a grave to the 100,000 Jews that perished there.

More recently, the PSC and Middle East Monitor invited Richard Falk, the United Nations Human Rights Council’s representative to the Palestinian territories, to London to give a talk on Israel’s assault on human rights.

Yet, it was the same Falk who, in 2008, said that Israel’s treatment of Gaza was a “Holocaust in the making”.

Criticising Israeli policy is one thing but comparing the Palestinians with the fate of the Jews during the Holocaust and accusing today’s Jews of condoning the killing of babies while justifying it to their own children is another.

This will only lead to dangerous repercussions elsewhere. During the summer I had to intervene after seeing a Jewish teenager violently attacked by a Muslim teenager. Britain’s anti-Israel lobby should beware the monster it is helping to create.

(This piece appears in the latest edition of The Jewish News)

MEMO, MCB and Richard Falk eviscerate Israel.

Daud Abdullah (right) presents Falk with his award depicting the end of the Jewish state.

Daud Abdullah (right) presents Falk with his award depicting the end of the Jewish state.

Richard Falk pulled no punches about the existence of “the Zionist project”, as he referred to Israel, when he addressed a Middle East Monitor audience at the University of London’s Senate House last night.

Falk is the UNHCR’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories and was here to speak about The Israeli Assault on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories although, last night, “Occupied Palestinian Territories” included Israel itself.

Falk denies he is biased despite having compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews.

The pro-Palestinian lobby has adopted the view that too many governments and organisations are still behind Israel so now it is up to the ordinary citizen to take a stand.

Michael Mansfield QC told us that when he goes on the BBC he is “not allowed to say certain things about Israel”. On the Today programme he wanted to “put the flotilla episode in the overall context of the ongoing illegal occupation and settlements but was told to move on”.

Mansfield said it was “time to stop mincing our words” and to speak about “ethnic cleansing, Israeli apartheid and murder”.

As for Falk, he sees the current peace process as a “deceptive effort to impose an inadequate solution” on Israel and the Palestinians and it was now time “to invoke the legacy of the anti-Apartheid campaign.

He said that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the last remnant of the colonial era and that the Palestinians have suffered oppression and ethnic dispossession from their historic place of residence making it impossible to ever implement proper justice.

He, therefore, saw only two possible outcomes:

1. “A unified democratic secular state that respects the rights of all people within its borders,” or
2. “An intensification of the exisiting apartheid situation.”

He said that the two state solution “presupposes the capacity to reverse the injustices over the years, which will only lead to civil war in Israel.”

He spoke of the cumulative effect of settlement building in breach of Article 49(6) of the Geneva Convention, the Judaisation and ethnic cleansing of east Jerusalem which makes the Palestinians feel insecure and the subjugating of the indigenous Palestinian population to separate roads and unequal access to water as being a form of apartheid.

Furthermore, as apartheid is now a crime against humanity then it follows that the occupation is “a continuing crime against humanity”.

He also spoke of Operation Cast Lead as inflicting on Gaza Israel’s high technology war machine against a defenceless population where only 13 Israelis died “mostly to friendly fire” against 1400 Palestinians who were “mostly civilians”.

He equated OCL to collective torture on a par with Abu Ghraib: “Torture horrifies us due to the vulnerability of the victims and the impossibility of retaliatory capability,” he said.

During the Q&A someone challenged Mansfield’s thesis on the illegality of the security wall (Mansfield had earlier read out paragraph 159 of the International Court of Justice’s opinion on the wall).

Falk countered that the wall was built in occupied Palestinian territory and, anyway, had “no security role”, “did nothing to stem penetration” and “was just an inconvenience to the Palestinians who have had their land divided”.

He said that if the Berlin Wall had been built one foot inside the west there would have been World War Three and that Israel has just taken land on the pretext of security.

During the talk someone shouted “This is nothing but anti-Semitic lies” before walking out and leaving Falk a bit open-mouthed.

If anyone was in any doubt about Falk’s, MEMO’s and the Muslim Council of Britain’s true thoughts on the peace process Daud Abdullah, Deputy Secretary General of the MCB, then presented Falk with an award: an inscribed miniature of a unified Israel, West Bank and Gaza.

Finally, in case the audience hadn’t heard enough hate and lies there were booklets on offer on a range of topics:

Isn’t it time for America to re-evaluate its “special relationship” with Israel?
The Cultural Genocide of Palestine.
Europe’s role in strengthening and protecting Universal Justice.
The Judaization of Jerusalem.
Israel’s Domestic Ticking Time Bomb.
Universal Jurisdiction Against Israeli Officials.
Palestinians in Israel’s ‘democracy’: The Judaization of the Galilee.

Israel’s discrimination against its Arab citizens.
and, finally,
Israeli Racism in theory and practice.

Falk's award: Bye bye Israel.

Falk's award: Bye bye Israel.

Anti-Israel hatefest season kicks off.

Last wednesday I went to hear two pro-Hamas supporters give a talk to a group of revolutionary communists at a London pub. The subject of the talk was “Ten years of Intifada – What Future for Palestine?”.

I cleared it with the pub manager beforehand so I wasn’t barred as happened to me when I tried to attend a Middle East Monitor meeting at the House of Commons in July.

Seems our pubs are more democratic than Parliament.

When I entered the room the front table was adorned with a “Victory to the Intifada” banner and the banner next to me read “Boycott Marks and Spencer”.

The chairperson opened the meeting by telling us how M&S was closely entwined with the growing of the Zionist project and how past M&S directors had made many racist statements.

The two speakers, Ghassan Abu-Sitta, a Palestinian surgeon, and Manal Masalha, a Palestinian activist and PhD student, spent the next hour basically telling us how Fatah/PLO had sold out to the racist imperialists and Zionists.

Fatah had, apparently, now conspired in the Zionist project via the Oslo peace accords and will eventually either agree future landswaps with Israel so that Israeli Palestinians will be transferred to a new Palestinian state or there will be an outright ethnic cleansing of Israeli Palestinians.

What was needed was a national liberation movement and although Hamas was far from perfect (Abu-Sitta acknowledged that Hamas demolishes Palestinian houses which don’t have permits) it was the only organisation capable of doing what was necessary to free the Palestinian people.

We were told that during the Oslo peace process the Palestinians were offered only 42% of the West Bank and 60% of Gaza and that Israeli Palestinians live in Israel under laws reminiscent of the Nazis

During the Q&A a Sri Lankan man asked whether Hamas should be either more democratic in its behaviour or step aside. He compared Hamas to the Tamil Tigers who, he felt, had caused chaos in Sri Lanka and that Sri Lanka was now benefitting from their demise.

Abu-Sitta disagreed and told us just how democratic Hamas is and how it had gone along with the Oslo Accords until Fatah had finally sold out the Palestinian cause.

I didn’t want to complicate issues by mentioning Hamas suicide bombers walking into Israeli restaurants to blow up families who were at lunch.

I kept it simple and asked:

“If the Palestinians were offered 100% of the West Bank and Gaza for a Palestinian state and the Israeli Palestinians living in Israel could stay put, wasn’t peace better achieved that way than continuing the Palestinian struggle?”

Abu-Sitta said that is impossible as Zionism is incompatible with peace.

Some of the audience then praised the smashEDO protesters in Brighton and the protesters that constantly harass Ahava but United Against Fascism came in for criticism for their statement on their website that “‘UAF does not have a position on the question of Israel and Palestine’ when it should have”!

Ok, so this meeting was above a pub and there were only 20 people there but the statements made are not too disimilar from those made at the many anti-Israel events that take place throughout the year.

This meeting kicked off the post summer anti-Israel hatefest season with conferences galore already arranged where anti-Israel activists can devote disproportionate amounts of their time to giving a good, hard kicking to the Jewish state.

Next up this tuesday is a Palestine Campaign event at the House of Commons entitled Ending the siege on Gaza – Eyewitness reports from the Viva Palestina convoy, Parliamentary delegations, and Westminster University Architects.

Then on 20th and 21st November there is a disgraceful two day conference at the Law Society, of all places, entitled International corporate complicity in Israel’s Violations of International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, and War Crimes.

Hilariously, the conference is taking the form of a jury trial. I wonder whether Israel will be acquitted or not. Answers on a postcard please.

And on December 1st Middle East Monitor is presenting Professor Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestinian Human Rights, who is going to speak on The Israeli assault on human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

All this before Israel Apartheid Week in the new year!

There really are few places like the UK it when it comes to the amount of opportunities to express one’s hatred for the Jewish state.

These organisations would, no doubt, offer an invitation to President Ahmadinejad if our authorities would only allow him to come to these shores.