Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Nick Clegg just can’t bring himself to support Israeli defensive action against Iran.

The UK’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg attended a Q&A session at Hasmonean School in north-west London last night. The event was staged by the Jewish News and chaired by ITV correspondent Tom Bradby

While Israel was under concerted rocket fire from Hamas in 2009 Clegg wrote “We must stop arming Israel”. In 2010 he acknowledged that there had not always been an equal voice for Israel within the Liberal Democrats and in 2011 he said he craved a time when the Community Service Trust, which protects Britain’s small Jewish community, wasn’t needed.

He did finally force Jenny Tonge to resign from the Lib Dems. when she said that Israel won’t be here forever, but it was also back to business as usual this year when he called Israel’s settlements “deliberate vandalism”.

Clegg doesn’t get that it’s precisely this hostility to Israel which is one of the main reasons the CST continues to be needed. Whenever he and his ilk criticize Israel’s defensive actions or the settlements in such an unbalanced manner synagogues and Jewish schools have to tighten their security and it gives encouragement to those seeking to harass Israeli-owned shops and disrupt Israeli productions visiting these shores.

Surprisingly, there were very few questions about Israel and the Middle East last night considering that Israel is still under constant fire from Hamas rockets, David Cameron is currently in the Middle East selling arms to Saudi Arabia and the so-called Arab Spring is descending into mass murder and oppression.

However, my colleague Jeremy Havardi was given the opportunity to ask the following on Iran:

“I gather you support the policy of sanctions against Iran, which is great. Will you support an Israeli strike on Iran if it was an absolute last resort in stopping its illegal nuclear weapons programme?”

Notice the words “absolute last resort”. A simple question, but Clegg spent the next 6 minutes obfuscating even when pushed twice to answer Havardi’s question by Bradby. Here is some of how Clegg didn’t answer the question:

“I would counsel against the idea that there is a simple military solution.”

“Most experts say that if you took military action you’d probably delay a nuclear programme, but you wouldn’t eliminate it.”

“What we are doing is, if it works, more effective….squeezing harder and harder with tougher sanctions, which are having a real effect…”

“To risk all the dangers of a unilateral military strike, which might not provide a permanent solution… is unwise.”

Clegg continued in the same vein even when Bradby asked whether Clegg would expect military action once Iran had loaded nuclear weapon technology into a missile and, finally, if Israel’s intelligence showed that they couldn’t sit and tolerate the situation anymore.

Yet still Clegg could not bring himself to support Israeli defensive action, even against such an existential threat as an all-out nuclear attack.

Luckily, my colleague Clive wasn’t given the opportunity to ask “What’s the capital of Israel?” Just imagine how long it would have taken Clegg to answer.

Here is Clegg’s full answer from last night:

Threatened and told I’m “one of the chosen people” at anti-Israel trade union event.

Moshe Machover about to wake someone up with talk of wet dreams.

Moshe Machover about to wake someone up with talk of wet dreams.

Last night the RMT union, which represents London Underground’s tube drivers, held a rally at SOAS under the pseudonym Palestine’s Fight for Freedom.

Speakers demonised Israel with accusations of “apartheid”, “ethnic cleansing” and being a “racist state”. There were also the usual racist boycott calls.

There was an incredible screaming rant by Steve Hedley, RMT’s London regional organiser, in which, addressing an audience member, he made remarks such as “your friends in the media”, “the attack on those innocent women and children who you starved and turned into the biggest concentration camp on the earth”, “you’re an absolute disgrace to the Jewish people” and “you’re a modern day Nazi”.

After he had sat down I asked him if he felt better, to which he replied:

“Better than you, obviously. But then again you’re one of the chosen people so you might feel better than me, huh?”

Here is the audio of Hedley’s rant, including his “chosen people” remark. He was cleared earlier this year of assault:

Hedley on “the chosen people”.

And here is some footage of the end of Hedley’s rant:

It wasn’t long after this that I felt a tug on my shirt collar and heard the words “You’ve got a right hook coming to you” menacingly whispered into my ear.

Here is another RMT official speaking about how Israel has “deformed the area”:

Hedley had earlier more calmly refuted any accusations of anti-Semitism:

“If the Israeli people are going to tolerate the oppression of the Palestinian people, they will never be free themselves. And I’m an anti-fascist. I’ve been an anti-fascist since the early teens. I’ve got absolutely nothing against Israelis at all; nothing against Jewish people. It’s a clear line to draw because people have been throwing around labels ‘oh, you’re anti-Semitic’… and that’s not the case.”

Well, that’s all clear and good, apart from calling a Jewish person “one of the chosen people”.

More depressing than that though was to hear a SOAS lecturer, Dr Adam Hanieh, calling for a racist boycott of Israel. Let’s be clear; he was not calling for a boycott of “settlement goods”, but everything Israeli.

I don’t wish to suggest that there is anything improper about Hanieh’s classes. I have never been in one. But do his students know of his vile politics before enrolling on to Development Studies at SOAS?

If you were parting with £9,000 a year wouldn’t you want to be informed that a lecturer supports racist action? I would. Even if he or she were the best lecturer in the world I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with them.

Hanieh’s SOAS biography gives no hint of his boycott activism. Here is Hanieh speaking about a boycott of Israel last night:

And here is Hanieh talking about “ethnic cleansing” and comparing the West Bank to the bantustans in South Africa:

Meanwhile, raunchy Moshe Machover bravely injected some sex talk into the event. Apart from calling for a “one-state solution” he said:

“The wet dream of all major Zionist parties is further ethnic cleansing. And this is what is on the cards.” (At 2 mins 43 secs.)

And here is Hugh Lanning, Chair of the PSC and Deputy General of the Public and Commercial Services Union, complaining about BBC bias and refuting claims that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, despite the fact that no one makes such a claim. Calling for the destruction of Israel, which is the PSC position, is anti-Semitic though.

During the Q&A a questioner asked whether the RMT has proposed boycotts of Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia, while another asked whether the boycotts aren’t reminiscent of the Nazis boycotts of the Jews in the 1930s.

Ilan Pappe’s squirming answer was that Iran is already being sanctioned and, therefore, the RMT doesn’t have to boycott Iran and that everyone knows that the likes of Saudi Arabia are oppressive, unlike the media which presumes that Israel is democratic.

He finished off addressing the difference between the Nazi boycott and today’s boycott movement just by saying:

“How can someone who was the victim of Nazis stand in support of Israel today?”

Here’s the audio:

Pappe on Iran, Saudi Arabia and Nazi boycotts.

Pappe is a lecturer at Exeter University.

It was left to Jonathan Hoffman to propose that Israel was a smokescreen for the failure of unions like the RMT to prevent the cuts, which didn’t go down with the Chairman of the event who said that he wouldn’t be taking any lectures on RMT’s efforts to represent the working man.

But is the same union that stops many a working man from getting to work when they launch one of their regular tube strikes?

If so then the sooner Mayor Boris introduces driverless tube trains, the better.

Lush: “We aren’t anti-Semitic”.

Lush flying the Saudi flag on their site.

Lush flying the Saudi flag on their site.

Here we go again. Yet another claim that “We aren’t anti-Semitic” by someone attacking Israel in the most crudest terms.

Lush’s website is still promoting a song that claims that there are “more than six million (Palestinian) refugees”, that Palestinians were forced from their homes and history, that Gaza is a prison camp, that the wall that keeps Israelis safe from suicide bombers is an “apartheid wall”, and that blames only Israel for violence and accuses it of racial segregation.

And they have just released another statement (see end) part of which reads:

Standing for the human rights of one does not undermine calls for the human rights of others. Likewise, criticising Israeli government policies is not akin to being anti-Semitic or anti the Israeli state. We do not tolerate racism or any other form of discrimination.

So Lush might not like it that Iranian gays are hanged for wishing to express their sexuality, or that women are not allowed to drive or work in Saudi Arabia or that Syrian civilians are being massacred en masse, it’s just that singling out the Jewish state is more important.

Lush even has shops in Saudi Arabia, so they are actually contributing to a government with a totally deplorable human rights record!

The statement continues:

“We believe that the occupation exacerbates violence in the region and therefore bringing it to an end is a vital step in the peace process.”

So it’s all about “the occupation”, stupid.

It has nothing at all to do with Hamas’ desire to kill Jews as stated in their Charter (Article 7), or that Hamas believes Israel is an “Islamic waqf” (Article 11), or that Hamas has no plans for any “peaceful solutions and international conferences” (Article 13), or that every Muslim’s duty is one of Jihad to fight the “Jews’ usurpation of Palestine” (Article 15).

The Charter also claims that Jews proclaimed “Mohammad is dead” and that “Israel, Judaism, Jews, challenge Islam and the Muslim people”.

Despite all this Lush claim they are just criticising “the occupation” and Israel’s alleged breaches of international law.

And when the leader of the EDL, Tommy Robinson, said last week that what happened recently in Norway could happen in the UK, he was accused of making threats and condoning violence.

Well, by stating “the occupation exacerbates violence” hasn’t Lush now done a similar thing?

Robinson argues that increased Muslim immigration will bring more violence to our streets from those opposed to it, but Lush are allowed to get away with “understanding” why the Palestinians are so violent against Israelis.

I have tried speaking to Lush for the last week and a half, but they refuse to return calls.

In exhasperation I called Norman Black, the head of marketing at Brent Cross, who said that there was nothing Brent Cross could do about Lush’s campaign. He said it was a Lush issue, not a Brent Cross issue.

He also said that Brent Cross would not allow any sort of peaceful protest against Lush as “this would mean introducing politics into Brent Cross”, nevermind that Lush introduced the politics. This also explains Lush’s “bold” statement, reported in the Jewish Chronicle, that “we would not ask Brent Cross to move people on if they came to protest”.

They know that Brent Cross security will do it for them!

When I spoke to Lush last week I suggested they could be more objective and instead promote the the Parents Circle – Families Forum, an organisation where bereaved Israeli and Palestinian relatives meet and also speak in schools and universities about their tragic experiences due to the conflict. These are people who really have suffered. But Lush refuses to take anything on board, except the anti-Israel propaganda they are constantly fed by War on Want.

Another of Lush’s “ethical campaigns” was to help free Binyam Mohamed from Guantanamo Bay. But what about Gilad Schalit, kidnapped by Hamas nearly five years ago and kept in solitary confinement in Gaza with no access to doctors or his family?

So, singling out the Jewish state only for criticism while staying silent about Muslim countries executing gays and slaughtering their own people, as in Syria, is not, according to Lush, anti-Semitic.

Sticking up for Binyam Mohamed, while staying silent about Gilad Schalit is ok. They will get around to Gilad eventually, I’m sure.

When I spoke to Norman Black he said he totally understood our position but that he also admired Lush’s single-mindedness of purpose.

More pertinently, he said he was relieved that the section of society that was outraged by Lush’s campaign was not one that was prone to anything more than peaceful protest.

So, there you have it in a nutshell: British Jews are a benign lot, whereas some members of certain other minority groups might not be so forgiving.

Some organisations get this which is why they single out Israel, while allowing other countries to get away with, quite literally, murder. They might also have done the maths. There are approximately 1.5 billion Muslims in the world and only about 14 million Jews. It could be great for business to be so anti-Israel these days.

Lush says there is no anti-Semitism at play, but that should be left up to people to decide for themselves.

Full Lush press release:

Lush supports the OneWorld Freedom for Palestine campaign because we believe in human rights and equality for all. Freedom for Palestine is a multi-cultural, multi-faith song that expresses the concerns some musicians across the UK and global community have about the denial of basic rights of the Palestinian people. The song calls for the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestine – which the United Nations has recognised as breaking human rights law.

Organisations such as the International Red Cross, Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have expressed concerns about human rights abuses and a resulting humanitarian crisis caused by the occupation. Areas of concern include poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, limited access to clean water and farmland and restricted access to healthcare and medicines.

Standing for the human rights of one does not undermine calls for the human rights of others. Likewise, criticising Israeli government policies is not akin to being anti-Semitic or anti the Israeli state. We do not tolerate racism or any other form of discrimination.

We believe that the occupation exacerbates violence in the region and therefore bringing it to an end is a vital step in the peace process. Calling for an end to the occupation is simply calling for adherence to international law in the hope that this will bring about security and peace for all in the region. The Israeli and Palestinian people must find a solution that respects human rights for both sides and adheres to international human rights law; it’s our job as part of the international community to do what we can to ensure this happens.

Kind regards,

Vicky Jansson
Customer Care Manager
Lush Ltd.