Tag Archives: Russell Tribunal on Palestine

BDS blunder as Frank Barat posts anti-BDS video on youtube.

I have come as close as is humanly possible to feeling sorry for someone in the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is aimed solely at Israel.

A week ago Frank Barat, who is behind the kangaroo court Russell Tribunal on Palestine, where BDS movement activists meet once a year to put Israel, and companies that do business with Israel, on trial for various “charges” and then finds them all “guilty” without hearing from the “defendants”, interviewed Norman Finkelstein, one of Israel’s biggest critics, about BDS.

Barat sat there for half an hour looking like a rabbit caught in headlights as Finkelstein tore apart every one of Barat’s flimsy arguments before, finally, hearing Finkelstein describe the BDS movement as “a cult” and “dishonest”.

Barat then shakes hands with Finkelstein and thanks him. At that point, if you were Barat, you’d have never let the interview see the light of day, but someone uploaded it to youtube. After realising the positive feedback it was receiving from the pro-Israel blogsphere, the clip was deleted but not before the guys at Huffington Post Monitor had downloaded it.

So here it is again. It has already been re-posted and discussed at places like CiFWatch, Harry’s Place and the JC (via Jonathan Hoffman). Hopefully, as many people as possible will watch it, if anything as further proof that those in the BDS movement are not very bright, and also because of the way Finkelstein lays bare the dishonesty of the movement.

Finkelstein describes the BDS movement as “a cult” because everyone in the movement just nods their heads in approval when told how successful they are, eventhough, as Finkelstein admits, he can count their successes on the fingers of his two hands, if that.

He accuses the BDS movement of only choosing those bits of “international law” that suits it. It doesn’t recognise Israel’s right to exist, which is also, he says, part of “international law”.

He also calls the BDS movement “dishonest” because of their refusal to admit that their real aim is the destruction of Israel.

However, he says, they know they can’t admit this because the wider general public would never agree to the destruction of another country, which would be the effect of six or seven million (even this figure Finkelstein views as artificially inflated) Palestinians “returning” to Israel; the latter being one of the requirements of the BDS movement. But for such dishonesty, Finkelstein says, the BDS movement doesn’t deserve to reach the mainstream.

As for Barat’s claim that the call for BDS against Israel originated from Palestinian civil society Finkelstein says the Palestinian organisations named are nothing more than one-man NGOs and that the BDS movement cannot galvanise more than a few hundred Palestinians to protest against Israel or even stop the Palestinians themselves buying produce from “the settlements”.

First is the full 30-minute unedited clip and below the 5 minute highlights:

Bar Standards Board clears Michael Mansfield QC of professional misconduct over anti-Israel speech.

Jessica Nero and Christopher Osmond lying on floor inside Ahava on November 22nd 2010 shortly after Michael Mansfield's speech at Amnesty.

Jessica Nero and Christopher Osmond lying on floor inside Ahava on November 22nd 2010 shortly after Michael Mansfield's speech at Amnesty.

Last night I went to Tooks Chambers for a Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers talk given by Antonia Mulvey, the Senior Justice Expert for the Norwegian Refugee Council based in New York, on Palestinian housing issues in East Jerusalem and the West Bank (specifically Area C).

This was not long after a complaint for professional misconduct against Michael Mansfield QC, one of the senior barristers at Tooks, had been dismissed by the Bar Standards Board.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine had held an anti-Israel hatefest at the Law Society on the weekend of 20th and 21st November 2010. RTOP is a Kangaroo Court where anti-Israel activists get together to make up international law with which to condemn Israel.

It’s a bit like playing doctors and nurses, but as lawyers.

They even have a “jury” and on 22nd November 2010 Michael Mansfield QC, as head juror, pronounced all the firms “on trial” guilty of complicity in Israel’s “breaches of international law”. This “judgement” was given at Amnesty International.

At the end of Mansfield’s “verdict” the following exchange occurred in response to a question on the legalities of civil disobedience. Mansfield was possibly encouraging the law to be broken, especially in light of what immediately took place at the Ahava shop in Covent Garden. The following transcript formed the basis of the complaint to the BSB (listen to audio at end of post):

Questioner:

“I just wanted to ask, do you think the findings have any ramifications on those engaging in civil disobedience as a means to highlight corporate complicity and promote the BDS campaign?” 

Mansfield:

“Yes, I can answer that one directly. The answer is yes.

In fact we heard from a lawyer who has been involved in two actions where there were criminal prosecutions. He represented those who had actively protested in relation to two different companies; one in Northern Ireland and one not.

And the position is very important and it stems again, not only from the advisory opinion, but it is there in the advisory opinion. Because what the advisory opinion is saying to governments and everyone; we all have an obligation to bring the wall and the settlements to an end, which means that those who wish to, as it were, actively protest in relation to that here, in this country or in Northern Ireland, wish to protest about that, are entitled if and when, they are not always prosecuted, if the prosecuting authority decides that they are, for criminal damage or whatever it happens to be, they are going to prosecute the individuals who entered offices or whatever it is, then the individuals who are prosecuted have a, a defence, sometimes called “necessity”, in which they are saying “there is a greater good”.

Yes, there is damage, but the damage was done as of “necessity” to prevent a greater evil being caused. So, actually…if people, come and tell us that is exactly what is being (unclear), and jurors, that’s the interesting thing, courts in the United Kingdom, juries, ordinary people in the United Kingdom, the democratic aspect of our system, are saying “we find you not guilty because of the greater good”.

So it’s extremely important that it’s a two-pronged thing: One is proactive, in other words actually going to companies and corporations, the other is reactive, if we get accused then we have a perfectly legitimate defence.

And may I just add a foot-note on this. I know time is restricted, what we are equally horrified to note is that the Israeli government is currently considering making protests and objections along these lines a criminal offence. So therefore this is, as I see it, a totally appropriate situation in as much as you are not going to be easily allowed to stick up against it.

Can I just add as a footnote – there is a protest, a perfectly lawful legitimate nonviolent protest, going on in London now, today, in relation to a company, Ahava, that you may have heard of, that produces goods that are mislabelled for a start off, but in any event are exploiting natural resources in Israel/Palestine and it is essentially complicit, we will be dealing with it in the full report, complicit in the illegality that people have already talked about. I don’t know exactly where it is happening in London, but it is happening now.”

A Woman:

“Monmouth Street, Covent Garden.”

Mansfield:

“Thank you very much….Dead Sea Products, yes….How are we doing on time….fine, any more questions?” 

So, at the very least, Mansfield seems to admit to knowledge of events at Ahava where Jessica Nero and Christopher Osmond entered the store either during or soon after his speech and were eventually arrested. On 21st April 2011 both Nero and Osmond were convicted of aggravated trespass, given 18 month conditional discharges and ordered to pay £250 costs each.

And guess who represented Nero and Osmond at their trial? James Mehigan, a barrister at Tooks!

The BSB dismissed the complaint for professional misconduct against Mansfield in a letter from Natalya Browning, an assessment officer, on the following grounds (Browning’s response is edited for brevity):

1. Mr Mansfield QC incited the crime of aggravated trespass:

The BSB does not have the power to consider allegations of criminal conduct. If you consider that Mr Mansfield QC is guilty of a criminal offence, you should refer the matter to the police in the first instance. I would also point out that Mr Mansfield’s comments were made in his personal capacity and not in connection with the provision of a legal service.

2. Mr Mansfield QC profited from inciting a crime, by representing two defendants who had committed the crime, possibly with the use of public money in the form of legal aid:

Mr Mansfield QC would not have been paid a share of the fees earned by Mr Mehigan. I can see no evidence on the information before me to suggest that Mr Mansfield QC profited from Mr Mehigan’s representation of the defendants and, as explained above, we cannot consider whether or not Mr Mansfield has incited or encouraged a crime.

Sadly, the police should have been informed within six months of Mansfield’s speech, incitement being a summary-only offence.

I will leave you to draw your own conclusions, but please be careful if leaving a comment below the line. I don’t want to be sued.

As for last night’s Haldane Society talk, Antonia Mulvey spent an hour propagandising about alleged illegal evictions of Palestinian “women and children” and the route of Israel’s Security Wall. The case studies she mentioned are still being challenged through the Israeli court system.

She claimed that a Palestinian family had been fined for nuisance for sitting outside their old home having been recently evicted from it and that Palestinians must pay for the demolition of their homes and for removal of the rubble, which they can’t afford along with the huge fines for not having a valid building permit.

Sat among the audience, some of whom were calling for boycotts of Israel and for Israel to adhere to Jewish values as set out in the Torah (ex-Labour MP Martin Linton even accused Israel of “ethnic engineering” the Palestinians in east Jerusalem), I mentioned that many of the case studies given by Mulvey were no different to property disputes common in Britain.

I also pointed out that the backdrop of Palestinian terrorists constantly attempting to murder Israelis might mean that Palestinians were inconvenienced by the route of the security wall. I asked whether she preferred the inconvenience or more Israelis, like three-month old Hadas Fogel who was decapitated in her bed by a Palestinian, being murdered.

For her answer she relied on the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice 2004 on the legal consequences of the construction of the wall. Mulvey said that the opinion (which, being only an “advisory opinion”, is not binding) criticised the building of the wall inside the green line.

So one might infer that Mulvey has no qualms about the beheading of Hadas Fogel; it being preferable for the security wall to be moved to the green line so exposing even more Israelis to Hadas Fogel and her family’s tragic fate.

Audio of Mansfield at Amnesty (22nd Nov. 2010)

(Thanks to Sharon and Leslie for their cooperation)

War on Want at Russell Tribunal: “More direct action coming.”

Rafeef Ziadeh, Asa Winstanley, John Hilary, Joseph Dana, Frank Barat at Amnesty.

Rafeef Ziadeh, Asa Winstanley, John Hilary, Joseph Dana, Frank Barat at Amnesty.

War on Want’s John Hilary spoke of more direct action against firms complicit in Israel’s “breaches of international law”. He was on a panel at Amnesty International on thursday night for the launch of a book about last year’s London session of the Russell Tribunal.

In response to a question from Eva Jaciewicz, a member of the Polish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and who last year daubed “Free Gaza and Palestine” at the Warsaw Ghetto, about the possibility of occupying the workplaces of companies doing business with Israel Hilary endorsed the targeting of security company G4S, especially in light of its security role in next year’s London Olympics.

Here’s a short audio of the discussion. Frank Barat speaks first followed by Rafeef Ziadeh and Hilary:

Audio: Barat, Ziadeh, Hilary at Amnesty on G4S.

Hilary also spoke about anti-Israel activists going into shoe shops and trying on Caterpillar boots and then staging anti-Israel protests. Staff were unable to ask them to leave while they were wearing the boots.

Here’s the relevant clip which includes a short discussion on whether Hamas was invited to the Russell Tribunal:

Frank Barat, who coordinated the London RTOP, had initially started off the evening telling us how clearly international law is on the side of the Palestinians and how little Israel can do about this.

He said the word “Apartheid” scared Israel and its supporters, especially when people like Desmond Tutu are saying what is happening on the West Bank is far worse than what happened in apartheid South Africa.

This, Barat thought, was a good way to attack RTOP’s detractors and he reiterated RTOP’s call for:

1. Israel to dismantle its system of Apartheid.
2. All states to consider putting pressure on Israel to do this including severing diplomatic relations.
3. The prosecutor of the ICC to accept jurisdiction over Palestine.
4. Global civil society to replicate the spirit of solidarity that contributed to the end of apartheid South Africa and to support BDS.

There were only 43 people in the audience at Amnesty; not a good sign of global solidarity.

Asa Winstanley, who edited the book briefly ran us through its content and Rafeef Ziadeh, a Canadian Palestinian “refugee” now living in the UK, called the “Nakba” an “ongoing process” and reiterated the BDS movement’s call for Israel to:

1. End the occupation of all Arab lands.
2. Create equality for Palestinians everywhere, including in Israel.
3. Allow Palestinian “refugees” to return to their homes in Israel.

She said she couldn’t believe that Israel could consider someone like her to be such a threat.

Joseph Dana, an American Jewish blogger with +972 Magazine and living in Ramallah, referred to the Palestinians in Bil’in, where he covers the weekly protests, as offering “Ghandian-like unarmed resistance” and he encouraged the use of Twitter and Facebook to combat the Jerusalem Post, Associated Press and Thomas Friedman, who is calling for the Palestinians to adopt non-violent resistance while, according to Dana, he is ignoring just that.

Dana predicted that there will be a “new unarmed Intifada” and he holds every Israeli responsible for Israel’s “transgressions” and spoke of the non-violent protests in Bil’in as being what “drives Israelis insane”. He said:

“Artists don’t come to Israel anymore. Israeli society wants to be considered a normal western country…The boycott pinpoints that issue of normality and says ‘no, you are not a normal society. You have to be held accountable for the transgressions that you are committing on a regular basis. Even if you are not directly committing them you are part of the society that’s doing that.'”

If that’s true then Dana, who lives in Ramallah, is indirectly accountable for the massacre of five members of the Fogel family by a Palestinian, including three month old Hadas who was decapitated while she slept.

Here’s the relevant clip:

Ahava shut down again; two arrested.

anti-Israel activists inside Ahava today shutting it down

anti-Israel activists inside Ahava today shutting it down

I wasn’t intending to go to Ahava today. I went down to hear the judgment of the second Russell Tribunal on Palestine at Amnesty International in London.

As Michael Mansfield QC led the other “jury” members in to the room the whole audience rose in silence as if this was some properly constituted legal court instead of the embarrassing sham kangaroo spectacle that it was.

Mr Mansfield read out the judgment and told us that no witnesses of the companies on trial had been present over the two days of the tribunal.

Then the “jury” took questions. I asked whether Israel’s security had come into the “jury’s” deliberations at all. Mr Mansfield told me they had but that one must balance the security of Israeli civilians with human rights as a whole and he quoted the opinion of International Court of Justice which said that Israel’s “separation wall” was disproportionate to its needs.

Mr Mansfield QC (5th from left) reading out the "judgement" today.

Mr Mansfield QC (5th from left) reading out the "judgement" today.

Mr Mansfield, in his summing up, concluded that one tactic that should be pursued was of popular action and that if defendants find themselves in court after entering offices or wherever then they could use the defence of “necessity” and argue that they were doing it for the greater good.

As a footnote he told us there is one such non-violent protest taking place at Ahava “now, today” and that Ahava is complicit in illegality.

So I quickly went down to Ahava and found the entrance cordoned off with police tape and a police car on the pavement outside the shop. There was a heavy police presence coming and going from the door of the shop as police took statements from shoppers who were in the shop when it was stormed by two anti-Israel activists.

The activists had locked themselves down on the floor and after being freed were eventually led away to a police van (see footage below).

There were already protesters outside Ahava when I arrived but soon many more made their way from the Russell Tribunal press conference at Amnesty and started taunting Ahava and handing out leaflets to passers-by.

Sadly, the Law Society now has its signature all over this kind of behaviour by hosting the Russell Tribunal in the first place.

As I understand it the Law Society asked for its name to be taken off the literature advertising the tribunal but the first line of today’s “judgment”, as read out by Mr Mansfield, reads:

“The RTP London Session took place at the Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL on 20-21 November 2010.”

This “judgment” will now be taken all around the world and used in unsuspecting legal systems everywhere and judges will see “The Law Society” quoted and presume this tribunal has some sort of legal standing.

The Law Society and the law have now well and truly crossed over into politics.

The great Lord Denning will be spinning in his grave.

Audio:
Michael Mansfield QC at RTOP

Clips:

an activist on the floor of Ahava today

an activist on the floor of Ahava today

Police bringing out some of the activists' belongings today

Police bringing out some of the activists' belongings today

Outside Ahava's boarded-up windows

Outside Ahava's boarded-up windows

Outside Ahava today while the shop is shut

Outside Ahava today while the shop is shut

Watch the Russell Tribunal on Palestine farce live.

If you want to watch the Russell Tribunal on Palestine farce being held this weekend then please click on this link:

<a href="http://www.ustream.tv/flash/live/1/6302209?v3=1“>

See and listen for yourself to the ignorance of Israel’s enemies beamed live from the Law Society in London (although don’t forget that this weekend is also the Ahava BUYcott where you can get 10% of Ahava products at the store at 39, Monmouth Street, Covent Garden).

Transmission starts at 10am on both Saturday and Sunday. Here’s the schedule for both days:

Programme

Day One: Saturday 20th November

113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL

09:15 Doors Open
10:00 Pr. Pierre Galand (Belgium) will open the London session in the name of the International Organising Committee of the RToP.

Introduction to the Second Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine by Ambassador of France Stéphane Hessel (France) and Michael Mansfield QC (U.K.).
10:15 I. The Legal Framework Relevant to Corporate Conduct

Legal experts, Richard Hermer QC (UK), Yasmine Gado (U.S.A.) and Dr. William Bourdon (France) will set out the tribunal’s legal framework. Each expert will discuss the details of U.K., U.S.A.and French law respectively, their relevance to the application of international law as well as their relevance to this session’s focus upon corporate complicity.
11:30 Coffee Break
11:50 II. Implications of Corporate Activities In and Around Settlements (Part 1)

Dr. Dalit Baum (Israel) and Hugh Lanning (UK) will provide an overview of the issues relating to business practices in relation to settlements and the settlement industry.

Fayez Al Taneeb (Palestine) and Wael Natheef (Palestine) will speak about the direct impact this is having on Palestinians as workers and residents in and around settlements.
13:30 Lunch
14:45 II. Implications of Corporate Activities In and Around Settlements (Part 2)

Adri Nieuwhof (Netherlands), will speak as the lead expert on public contracts regulations and the French multinational, Veolia, and its business practices in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Ghaleb Mashni (Palestine) will offer an account of the impact this has had on Palestinians.

John Dorman (Ireland) will round off the session with an account of the relationships between Cement Roadstone Holdings and the construction of the wall.
15:50 III. Trade and Labelling of Settlement Goods

A Representative from Al Haq (Palestine) will offer an overview of the legal issues relating to the trade and labelling of settlement goods.
16:10 Coffee Break
16:30 Christophe Perrin (France) will follow with an account of the business practices of agricultural producers, Carmel Agrexco.

Nancy Kricorian and Rae Abileah (U.S.A.) will discuss the cosmetics company Ahava and its production of spa products.

Phon Van Den Biesen (Netherlands) will discuss issues relating to labelling of products from Israeli settlements and the day will be closed by Genevieve Coudrais (France), who will speak about Soda Stream.
18:00 End of Day One

Day Two: Sunday 21st November 2010

113 Chancery Lane, London. WC2A 1PL
10:00 Doors Open

Pr. Pierre Galand (Belgium)will open the second day in the name of the International Organising Committee of the RToP.
10:30 IV. Financial Services Sector

Merav Amir (Israel) Will offer an overview of both Israeli and international finance companies and their connection to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Mario Franssen (Belgium) will speak on the Dexia group.

Saskia Muller (Netherlands) will speak on the PFZW Pension Fund.
11:40 Coffee Break
12:00 V. The Security Industry and the War Industry

An overview of the security industry and the nature of corporate involvement will be set out by John Hilary (U.K.).

Maria LaHood (U.S.A.) will provide information on Caterpillar and the use of its equipment in Israeli military practices.

Josh Ruebner (U.S.A.) will follow with additional information and evidence relating to Caterpillar’s business practices.

Merav Amir and or Dr. Dalit Baum (Israel) will follow with an account of British private security firm G4S .
13:30 Lunch
14:45 V. The Security Industry and the War Industry

Shir Hever (Israel) and Jamal Juma’a (Palestine) will speak about Elbit Systems and their role in security practices by the Israeli state.

Paul Troop (U.K.), will discuss recent court cases against UK based arms manufacturing companies EDO ITT and Raytheon.

The final speaker, Ben Hayes (U.K.) will give details relating to EU subsidies to the security industry.
16:10 Break
16:30 Speaking time for corporations**

Wrap up questions

The Tribunal may want to ‘recall’ experts from the session itself or other international legal experts to ask for clarification on legal issues in light of what will have been heard throughout the two days.

Closing

Round up and overview of the two days, what has taken place and the way forward.
17:30 End of Day Two
19:00 The jury withdraws for deliberations

Day Three, Monday 22nd November 2010
10:30 Press Conference

The Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre will host a press conference setting out conclusions from the second session of the RToP.

**All corporations whose business practices will been interrogated during the session have been contacted by registered post and invited to attend the session.

Russell Tribunal on Palestine presents Ken Loach at Amnesty

Ewa Jasiewicz, Dr Ghada Karmi, Frank Barat, Paul Troop, Ken Loach

Ewa Jasiewicz, Dr Ghada Karmi, Frank Barat, Paul Troop, Ken Loach

Last night at Amnesty International in London, against a backdrop of a quote by Bertrand Russell (“May this tribunal prevent the crime of silence”), sat four anti-Israel activists and Paul Troop, a solicitor, presenting the raison d’etre of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

The first Russell Tribunal was convened in 1967 in Sweden and Denmark to harness public opinion against the Vietnam War, but it was largely ignored as being merely a show trial.

And so to the second Russell Tribunal, this time on Palestine. It is due to convene over three days at the Law Society in London on the 20,21 and 22 November.

Over that weekend some 20 or so companies are due to be put on trial for complicity with “Israeli war crimes”.

Israel is not on trial, the companies are.

It will already be presumed that Israel is in breach of international law and has committed crimes against humanity.

When I asked Paul Troop where such breaches of international law are judicially laid down the best he could do was direct me to the “opinion” of the International Court of Justice on the wall dividing Israel from the Palestinians.

None of the companies on trial will be represented. Letters have been sent but none have yet responded to say they will be present.

Dr. Ghada Karmi spoke of the Palestinian issue being the moral issue of our time. This polemic is freely bandied around by anti-Israel activists and makes people whince since we know that 3,000 children die every day in Africa from AIDS, malnutrition, malaria and other diseases when they shouldn’t be in this age.

Dr. Karmi cited Cast Lead and the siege of Gaza and was outraged that Israel had not even apologised over something as clearcut as the deaths on the Mavi Marmara.

She said that Israel was now too woven into the fabric of the international system and because of this was never being called to account. There is no major organisation or state that backs the Palestinians.

She felt that the Palestinian case is based on hard international law and looked to the RTOP to, hopefully, get the campuses active and harness the intellectuals.

There is “corporate complicity” with Israel but imagine, she said, if all these companies withdrew their investments from Israel.

Ewa Jasiewicz spoke next. According to the Community Security Trust Jasiewicz recently helped desecrate the walls of the Warsaw ghetto, which is now a cemetery to the 100,000 Jews who died there during the Holocaust from disease, starvation and random executions by the Nazis. Activists daubed “Free Gaza and Palestine” on a ghetto wall (below).

Warsaw Ghetto desecration

Warsaw Ghetto desecration

Jasiewicz hoped that the RTOP will “denormalise Israel’s false legitimacy” and said that “Israel is trying to delegitimise the delegitimiers. We are the delegitimiers”.

She was part of the recent flotilla to Gaza but admitted that the flotilla was not about humanitarian aid for the Palestinians but about breaking the siege of Gaza.

She told us that the occupation is everywhere, not just in Palestine, but is reproduced internationally on a daily basis and she urged activists to continue shutting down places like Ahava and Carmel Agrexco and then turning to international law to support them.

The occupation exists, she said, not because of Jews but because of capitalism. These companies are not committed to Israel but to making money.

She hoped that people will use the tools from the RTOP and apply them in their work places, homes and down the pub and that governments will eventually apply sanctions, as they did to apartheid South Africa.

Film director Ken Loach spoke of this being an incredible story about the breach of international law. “We just want the rule of law. No community can live without law but that is what we are permitting,” he said.

He called for independent politicians and criticised Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for being patrons of the Jewish National Fund which, Loach said, is about collecting money for land being bought on the basis of racial purity.

He spoke of “one image” he had of the settlers being on high ground and the Palestinians being downhill and who cannot use their land or vineyards because settler effluent flows downhill and destroys that land. “It is just a simple detail, the devil is in the detail, but how revealing,” he said.

He referred to maps since 1947 which shows, he said, how the Palestinians have been continuously pushed out. This was evidence of lack of good faith that the Palestinians will ever be allowed to live side by side with Israel.

He challenged the idea of a state based on race: “We have had enough experience to prove that race as a founding principle is intolerable”.

He then quoted David Ben Gurion’s speech on the need for a Jewish homeland when the threats to the Jews in Nazi Germany were becoming intolerable:

“He said this, and I think it is chilling, he said, ‘If it was possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England and only half of them by transporting them to Israel then I would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the lives of these children but also the history of the people of Israel.’ If that is the mentality of people who are driving Israeli policy then that is chilling because that is not about peaceful negotiation, that is about conquest. Take that in conjunction with the maps and you can see what we are up against. We can remember who supported the Nazis; the industrialists. If the industrialists will support this attack on international law then we have a big task.”

(A non-political analysis of Ben Gurion’s speech can be viewed here).

In the Q&A I asked Loach why he singled out Israel for criticism for its racial and religious make-up when most other countries around the world are the same. He repeated his comment about past experience of states basing themselves on race but he agreed that other countries are based on religion and to show his objection he had boycotted the Iranian film festival.

Someone asked whether Loach would make a film about the suffering of the Palestinians but he replied that that would have to be done by an Arab.

When asked what would Britain do if it was under attack from rockets Loach simply replied that it was not right to balance the violence of the oppressor with the violence of the oppressed.

The RTOP is an expensive charade (the jury is being flown in from all over the world), yet again not benefitting the Palestinians in the slightest.

More shameful was the presence of Ewa Jasiewicz and then acclaimed film director Ken Loach justifying Palestinian violence and unabashedly renewing old anti-Jewish tropes about Jews poisoning their neighbours and killing children.

Last night at Amnesty felt less about the delegitimisation of Israel and more about the delegitimisation of living Jews and the desecration of the memory of dead ones.