Tag Archives: Sheikh Raed Salah

Yachad’s Ben White love-in.

What to do about Yachad?

This UK based organisation that calls itself “pro-Israel, pro-peace” had an inauspicious start in the UK.

On October 31st last year at a panel event at UCL Yachad’s Hannah Weisfeld endorsed two of Israel’s main demonisers; Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din and the vicious anti-Israel website +972 Magazine.

And at SOAS on January 30th this year on a panel to discuss Is BDS working? Weisfeld hinted that she just might endorse a boycott of part of Israel’s Jewish community when she said of the “settlements”:

“I think we would be having a very different conversation in this room if the BDS movement was about a targeted boycott. I am not saying that I would necessarily support it, but I think the entire debate would be different, because I think the position would be a position that does not put people on the defensive because it recognises the legitimacy of the other side to exist and I think that the level of criminality that exists inside the Green Line, over the Green Line is not distinguished…is exactly the reason BDS will not succeed in ending the occupation.”

The legality of the “settlements” is a valid argument to have in my book but not to condemn outright a boycott of Jews is unforgivable and in my book “I am not saying that I would necessarily support it” is tantamount to saying “I might support a boycott of Jews living on the West Bank”.

Seeing that Yachad calls itself “pro-Israel” and that Israel needs all the friends it can get in a time of increasing anti-Semitism not so cleverly disguised as anti-Zionism Yachad should have been given time to prove its credentials.

We’ve tried, we’ve listened but Yachad has done Israel no favours at all so far.

Yachad is pro-Israel to the extent that, unlike the Palestine Solidarity Campaign for example, it believes the Jewish state should exist. Incidentally, I have heard it put that the reason that some mainstream Jewish organisations embrace Yachad is that they see Yachad as a buffer to stopping young British Jews joining the PSC.

Some endorsement!

One of Yachad’s main arguments is that if Israel does not vacate the West Bank Israel will inevitably lose its Jewish and democratic status as the West Bank’s alleged 2.5 million Palestinians will, when added to Israel’s own Arab population, eventually outnumber Israel’s Jews.

Such a calculation has been deconstructed in this study by Bar-Ilan University which puts the number of Palestinians on the West Bank at 1.41 million.

I wanted to compare Yachad’s claim to the BIU study so I sent an email to Yachad on March 27th asking for their source. I received no response.

I did receive an invite to Yachad’s upcoming events at The Jewish Museum (June 10th), the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Community Centre, Leeds (June 14th), Finchley Reform Synagogue (June 17th), Hampstead Synagogue (June 18th) and the London Jewish Cultural Centre (June 19th) on the proviso that we “start a conversation within UK Jewry about these issues which are at the heart of the ongoing conflict”.

First, Yachad wants these issues to be discussed amongst “UK Jewry”. What about the views of the UK’s Muslim and Christian etc. friends of Israel? Yachad may as well hang a “Only Jews welcome here” sign outside their events. And, yet, Yachad has the nerve to compare Israel to an apartheid state.

Second, is it not the height of arrogance for Yachad to presume that the democratic wishes of Israel’s electorate can be so easily overridden by “a conversation within UK Jewry”?

Supporters of Yachad could do no better than make aliyah and win hearts and minds in Israel in order to change government policy. Jews in the UK have no vote and little, if any, influence on Israeli government policy. Yachad should be having the “conversation” in Israel where it might actually count.

Supporting Yesh Din and +972 Magazine is one thing and scaremongering over the demographics of the region is another but Yachad can’t get much lower than reaching out to one of Israel’s main enemies and demonisers; Ben White.

It did just that on Twitter when on April 27th, in the name of “diversity”, it asked White to comment on their new blog and, in particular, a piece by David Landau which makes the scaremongering argument over the demographics of the region I have outlined above:

The piece, by the way, attracted just four comments.

As Yachad is all for “diversity” it is a surprise they didn’t reach out to far-right fascists because the difference between their views and some of the views of Ben White is minimal.

Like those on the extreme far-right White is a hardcore anti-Israel polemicist who wants the Jewish state destroyed. And in his book Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide White cites an essay by Roger Garaudy who was fined the equivalent of $20,000 by a French court for questioning the Holocaust.

On June 29th last year White was due to share a platform with homophobic preacher Sheikh Raed Salah at a panel discussion until Salah could not appear due to having been arrested after entering this country despite being on a banned list.

Salah eventually won his deportation case despite, inter alia, believing that homosexuality is a “great crime” which signals “the start of the collapse of every society” and laughing at the memory of taunting a Jewish teacher with a Swastika.

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

And White tweeted this comment in light of Habima’s upcoming recent performance at The Globe:

Here is that “massive picture of Howard Jacobson’s face”:



As Joseph W writes over at Harry’s Place
:

“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.”

Incidentally, for anyone looking to defend White on the basis that he might have been talking about the expression on Jacobson’s face here’s Joseph W again pointing out that White didn’t mention Jacobson’s expression, simply his face.

So, if you are going to any of those Yachad events keep in mind the sickening company Yachad keeps; all in the cause of “diversity”!

Why is a liberal blog continuing to publish a defender of a homophobic hate preacher?

Sheikh Raed Salah (2nd from Left), who Ben White defended, at PSC/MEMO event the day before his arrest.

Sheikh Raed Salah (2nd from Left), who Ben White defended, at PSC/MEMO event the day before his arrest.

Sunny Hundal runs respected left-wing blog Liberal Conspiracy and regularly appears as a commentator on Sky News and the BBC. But last week I was appalled when he published yet another piece by Ben White, the author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide.

White’s piece attacked Louise Mensch MP for speaking at a London student conference run by Israel advocacy organisation Stand With Us, who he accuses “of promoting extreme positions and working with disturbing allies”.

Sunday’s conference kicked off with a talk by the Israeli ambassador and was followed by a presentation by Andrew White of Beyond Images. In the afternoon there was advocacy training and Louise Mensch MP closed the conference with a passionate talk.

She basically reiterated her Daily Telegraph articleA family slaughtered in Israel – doesn’t the BBC care?” about the five members of the Fogel family who were murdered in their beds by a Palestinian terrorist earlier this year. She said that she only found out about the massacre on twitter when she followed a link to Mark Steyn’s pieceDead Jews is no news” .

She said that there had been no mention of the attack on BBC TV news and that it was only mentioned briefly on BBC radio, while on the BBC website the attack was given a cursory description.

The BBC responded to her query as to why by explaining that the Japanese earthquake and Libya campaign had dominated the news that day. But, as Mensch pointed out, the BBC has many radio channels and a dedicated 24 hour rolling news channel.

She reckoned that if an Israeli settler slit the throat of a four year old Palestinian boy leaving him to slowly die and then decapitated a three month old baby Palestinian girl in her bed it would have been fully covered.

She said that after apathetic responses to her enquiries the BBC had finally admitted its mistake in not covering the attack more fully.

Her conference talk wasn’t to everyone’s liking. She described the settlements as a “road-block to peace”, but then she implored the students to always remember “the others” who were also suffering in conflicts:

“Keep thinking of your Muslim brothers and sisters who are also victims of suicide bombers, like today in Afghanistan,” she said.

Meanwhile, White’s own attempts to smear Stand With Us as “extreme” are risible.

He cites the UK Chair of Stand With Us’ assertion that the “settlements” might not be illegal.

However, the question of the legality of settlements was recently put to the test in a British court when four anti-Israel activists were tried for “aggravated trespass”. They entered the Ahava shop in Covent Garen and caused it to shut down for some hours. Their main defence was that Ahava’s factory at Mitzpe Shalem on the West Bank is illegal and so they were stopping the Ahava shop from selling illegal products. But, the judge found that Ahava shop was “trading lawfully” and all four defendants were convicted.

White spuriously claims that Stand With Us’ donors “have been accused of anti-Muslim propaganda” and that some Stand With Us activists had intimidated “Palestine solidarity activists”.

Meanwhile, what of Ben White himself?

On June 29th this year White was slated to share a panel at the Houses of Parliament with homophobic hate preacher Sheikh Raed Salah who lives in Israel and who came to Britain intent on preaching that Israel is planning on destroying the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem so it can rebuild the Third Temple.

Two days earlier Salah had preached this at a joint Palestine Solidarity Campaign/Middle East Monitor event at Conway Hall in London. Salah has also previously said of homosexuality that:

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

But Salah did not make it to Parliament for the panel discussion having been arrested the night before. He was on the Home Secretary’s exclusion list as “not being conducive to the public good” but had still managed to pass through customs and into Britain.

Ben White (right) waiting to speak at Sheikh Raed Salah panel discussion on 29th June.

Ben White (right) waiting to speak at Sheikh Raed Salah panel discussion on 29th June.

When it came to White’s turn to talk he first defended Salah against his detention:

“It is shameful that because of the actions of the British government another Palestinian will spend the night in prison.”

Here is White in his own words:

Audio: Ben White defending Salah.

Harry’s Place also writes of Salah’s total disparagement of Jews when Salah:

1. Claimed the Jews baked the blood of children into their holy bread.
2. Claimed 4,000 Jews skipped work at the World Trade Centre on 9/11.
3. Laughed at the memory of taunting a Jewish teacher of his with a Swastika.
4. Wrote a poem referring to Jews as “monkeys and losers” and being “the bacteria of all times”.
5. Funded Hamas.

And here is the recent decision of the tribunal that dealt with these points and which then decided, pending an appeal, to deport Salah. It states, inter alia,:

“We are satisfied that the Appellant has engaged in the unacceptable behaviour of fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK. We are satisfied that the Appellant’s words and actions tend to be inflammatory, divisive, insulting, and likely to foment tension and radicalism.”

Maybe after all this White has retracted his defence of Salah, but I haven’t heard anything.

But even if he has so retracted his defence White’s own record on anti-Semitism isn’t too impressive either.

He has written of himself, in an article for Counterpunch in 2002, that he isn’t anti-Semitic, but he can understand why some people are. Would Hundal publish on his Liberal Conspiracy blog someone who claimed not to be Islamophobic but who can also understand why some people are?

White also writes that while comparisons between Israel and the Nazis are unwise they are not anti-Semitic (although under the EUMC working definition of anti-Semitism such comparisons actually are anti-Semitic). But then White goes onto implicitly compare Israel to the Nazis anyway when he writes:

“Comparisons between the Israeli government and the Nazis is unwise and unsound, since the Israelis have not (at the time of going to press) exterminated in a systematic fashion an enormous percentage of the Palestinians. Cold-blooded killings, beatings, house demolitions, vandalism, occupation, military assaults, and two historical pushes at ethnic cleansing–yes. Full fledged genocide–no”

What does “at the time of going to press” imply?

While on his own blog White states the Palestinians have “had to endure massacres, death-marches, and ethnic cleansing”, all of which took place in the Holocaust. (See Cifwatch for commentary on the deputy-editor of The Guardian’s Comment is Free’s ridiculous defence of White on this point. David Shariatmadari claims that there can be no such comparison without an explicit reference to, for example, Auschwitz.)

And according to Seismic-shock, in the bibliography of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide White cites an essay by convicted Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy.

White has also defended President Ahamadinejad against accusations that he called for Israel to be wiped off the map and against accusations of Holocaust denial.

With the above in mind White felt forced to write an article for Liberal Conspiracy defending himself against accusations of anti-Semitism. Maybe he should have made himself clearer in the first instance.

When I tweeted Hundal about why White was writing for Liberal Conspiracy he replied:

“I’ll only say this once – I don’t really care what either of you say about what I should publish on libcon.”

and

“why don’t you carry on witch-hunting Jews who don’t toe your line and leave the rest of us in the real world, yeah?”

So I ask again, why is a defender of a homophobic preacher of hate writing for a liberal blog?

Jody McIntyre’s dream of setting London alight comes true at last.

Jody McIntyre in One World's anti-Israel Freedom For Palestine video promoted by Lush.

Jody McIntyre in One World's anti-Israel Freedom For Palestine video promoted by Lush.

In January I blogged about Jody McIntyre’s speech at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign event where he said:

“I say this at a time when people across the Arab world are setting alight to themselves in protest against their governments. We must take inspiration from them this year when we set the streets of London alight.”

As you will see in the video clip below these sentiments were applauded by Palestine Solidarity Campaign chief Sarah Colborne, PSC chairman Hugh Lanning and the rapper Lowkey.

Since then McIntyre has been feted by the left-wing media.

He was profiled in The Observer newspaper, invited to blog at The Independent newspaper and has appeared on countless news programmes. In yesterday’s Huffington Post, when asked by Dina Rickman “Do you think Footlocker is the right target?” he replied:

“On a personal level I think Brixton police station would be a better target than footlocker….I find it very difficult to condemn the looting myself. I feel sympathy when small cornershops and people’s homes are damaged but I don’t feel any sympathy for JD sports or M&S”

His high media profile has gained him a following of over 10,000 people on Twitter. Not bad for someone who cut his teeth on political activism outside Ahava in Covent Garden where he advocated for a boycott of Israel.

However, yesterday he was finally sacked by The Independent for tweeting the following:

“Be inspired by the scenes in #tottenham, and rise up in your own neighbourhood. 100 people in every area = the way we can beat the feds.”

His Independent blog page now reads:

“Following his recent tweets and statements on the London riots, The Independent will no longer be taking blogs from Jody McIntyre”.

With London still smoking and livelihoods ruined after a night of rioting and scenes of people jumping from burning buildings you would think he would lay low for a bit but, unrepentant, he tweeted in the early hours of today:

“I would suggest young people hit the streets tomorrow with three central demands.”

One of those demands is for the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to resign “with immediate effect”.

Not only was McIntyre applauded by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, but he and Lowkey appear in One World’s Freedom for Palestine video, which is being promoted by Lush in the “Ethical Campaigns” section of their website.

Straight after McIntyre’s call for London to be lit up at the PSC event he goes onto say that “Palestine has been occupied since 1948”, which just goes to show the thinking behind the Freedom for Palestine song. It is not about ending “the occupation”, but ending Israel’s existence.

So, “ethical” Lush has shops in Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to work or drive, and it is promoting a video in which both McIntyre and Lowkey appear.

Quite incredibly McIntyre has just tweeted the following after taking some criticism:

“I have never supported looting local businesses + starting fires. Not in London, and not anywhere. Nice to have a scapegoat though?”

I also have three demands:

1. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign that applauded McIntyre’s sentiments and which recently hosted Sheikh Raed Salah, who has said that homosexuality is a crime, be shut down with immediate effect.

2. Lush stops promoting the vile Freedom for Palestine song and video.

3. We hear no more from McIntyre until he apologises for his comment calling for London to burn and for not condemning the looting.

Video:

Here’s McIntyre at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign event in January calling for the streets of London to be set alight. Sarah Colborne is sat next to him, Hugh Lanning is next and, finally, Lowkey. Watch for them applauding.

Sheikh Raed Salah at a recent Palestine Solidarity Campaign event.

Sheikh Raed Salah at a recent Palestine Solidarity Campaign event.

Lowkey in One World's Freedom for Palestine video promoted by Lush.

Lowkey in One World's Freedom for Palestine video promoted by Lush.

 

Thanks to cifwatch’s Adam Levick for the help.

The Siege of Ahava Continues.

The Siege of Ahava.

The Siege of Ahava.

Considering that Ahava is due to close at the end of September, due to the relentless bullying by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, there was no let up in the verbal attacks on Israel as about 15 activists harangued shoppers going in and out of the shop in London’s Covent Garden today.

Even PSC Chief Sarah Colborne made a rare appearance to rally her devoted followers. Maybe next time she will bring along her new best friend Sheikh Raed Salah, who has just been let out of prison on bail after having been arrested for entering Britain despite being on an exclusion list.

As soon as I arrived I, myself, was mindlessly haranged as you can see in these next two clips.

The first clip shows a PSC activist standing in front of me literaly flashing away (warning: flash photography) and in the next clip I am surrounded by three people filming me while the police are called because I was, apparently, the one doing the intimidating! (warning: flash photography also)

But (it gets better) in this next clip PSC activists are complaining to the police that I am filming them without authority. The clip is comedic. Off camera I was told I was a “Murdoch journalist”.

In the next clip we hear the old familiar song “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free” for those who think that this is just about “the settlements”.

Even the literature handed out by the activists, which is printed by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, reads “Don’t buy Ahava products, Israeli or Settlement Goods”.

Proof, if any were needed, that this is a racist boycott of a country, not a political one about “settlements”.

The next clip shows PSC Chief Sarah Colborne singing her little heart out and the final clip shows how loud and intimidating the anti-Israel activists are when outside Ahava.

There were three people (myself, Jonathan Hoffman and Martin) making the case for Israel but soon there will, hopefully, be news of where and when Ahava is due to re-open. Maybe all is not yet lost for Ahava.

Photos:

Martin making the case for Israel today.

Martin making the case for Israel today.

Some pro-Israel resistance.

Some pro-Israel resistance.

PSC activist reporting yours truly to the police for "intimidation".

PSC activist reporting yours truly to the police for "intimidation".

PSC chief Colborne (in green) rallies her troops.

PSC chief Colborne (in green) rallies her troops.

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)

Sheikh Raed Salah: “I was on Israel’s assassination list.”

Last night at Conway Hall: Hassan Sanallah (translator), Sheikh Raed Salah, Sarah Colborne (PSC), Daud Abdullah (MEMO)

Last night at Conway Hall: Hassan Sanallah (translator), Sheikh Raed Salah, Sarah Colborne (PSC), Daud Abdullah (MEMO)

Sheikh Raed Salah made it to Conway Hall in London last night to give a talk on The Arab Spring and its effect on the conflict in Palestine. The event was sponsored by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Islamic Forum of Europe and Middle East Monitor.

Salah had been reportedly excluded by the Home Secretary. Detectives also reportedly arrived at last night’s event, but left after thinking he wasn’t there.

Salah is the leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel and is accused of having used the blood libel, which he denies. He served three and a half years in prison after having confessed to financing Hamas.

Not only was Salah there last night, he will also be speaking this Wednesday at the Grand Committe room of the Houses of Parliament alongside MPs Richard Burden, Jeremy Corbyn, Yasmin Qureshi as well as Lord Alf Dubs and the Palestinian Ambassador, Dr Manuel Hassassian. Ben White (anti-Zionist polemicist), Hind Khoury (Sabeel), Diana Neslen (Jews for Justice for Palestinians) and Ismail Patel (Friends of Al Aqsa) are also due to be speaking on Wednesday. The subject under discussion will be Building Peace and Justice in Jerusalem.

But last night Salah played to a pretty sparse audience. There were about 100 people making Conway Hall, which is owned by the South Place Ethical Society, an educational charity, about a third full.

He welcomed the Arab Spring, and particularly the Egyptian Revolution, in playing a supportive role in the Palestinian cause as well as the Nakba Day and Naksa Day clashes on the Israeli border in May and June respectively. He also called for a Million Man March towards the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on 21st August.

He said that this march will confirm that the Mosque is Palestinian despite Israel’s declared intention of demolishing it in order to build the “so called Third Temple”. He said that Israel must realise that there is a limit on its designs on the Mosque or it will be the equivalent to a declaration of war on the Islamic World.

He went on to berate Barak Obama for defining Israel as a “Jewish State” and said that “a significant number of free voices from London told us that they know the truth on the issue of Palestine, but that they are suffering under the pressure of the Israel lobby here”.

He said that the “Arab Uprisings showed him that the Palestinians have support within the wider Arab family and we don’t feel alone”.

He then went on to describe what happened on the Mavi Marmara, which he was on last May, along with Sarah Colborne of the PSC, when it was intercepted by Israel:

“The ship was attacked while we were at Morning Prayer. While I was praying bullets were fired from the sea and air, killing nine peoeple and wounding many others. The attackers had a list of names of people who should be assassinated by the Israeli forces. My name was on the list along with people from the IHH and Israeli Arab MK Hanin Zoabi. One of the Israeli soldiers killed an individual who looked just like me. We were then imprisoned and we faced charges that were enough to send us to prison for decades. We were only released when Erdogan intervened. Despite all the attacks we were asked to come back again and we will continue to participate in the flotillas until Palestinian independence is realised.”

Next stop is the Houses of Parliament this Wednesday, that is unless British detectives can catch up with him in time. Watch this space.

Sheikh Raed Salah speaking at Conway Hall, 27th June 2011