Tag Archives: Stand With Us

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?

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MPAC chief to me: “You’re a filthy scumbag who thinks Muslim life is less important than other people’s lives.”

Outside Downing Street yesterday.

Outside Downing Street yesterday.

I made a new best friend last night when I got into a conversation with Asghar Bukhari, the founding member of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, outside Downing Street.

He had spent a few minutes politely educating me in the ways of Israel. He thinks Israel uses the Palestinians as slaves, that they are treated like the blacks in apartheid South Africa and that Israel behaves like the Nazis.

When I explained to him that Arabs living in Israel have it better than many of their brothers and sisters in most Arab and Muslim countries he became highly irritated and went for me personally, as you can see (switch browser if viewing problems):

MPAC is a vile organisation. At the last general election it had a hit list headed “Is your MP a Zionist?” One Jewish MP on the list received a death threat.

At the previous general election MPAC helped unseat the non-Jewish Lorna Fitzsimons as an MP by claiming in leaflets “she had done nothing to help the Palestinians because she was a Jewish member of the Labour Friends of Israel”.

What is shocking is the amount of airtime that the likes of the BBC and Sky give to Bukhari. Go on to youtube and you will be amazed.

Apart from that yesterday’s pro-Israel counter-demonstration called by the ZF, British-Israel Coalition and Stand With Us was a success.

It was in response to a Palestine Solidarity Campaign orchestrated anti-Israel protest in light of the upcoming Palestinian UN statehood bid.

While calling for a Palestinian state the PSC mob also called for the destruction of Israel with their usual refrain of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free”:

Hopefully, David Cameron will have heard this so as to leave him in no doubt as to the true hopes of PSC members if a Palestinian state is ever formed.

Meanwhile, someone from Chabad turned up to blow the Shofar, which was lovely:

And there was an excellent pro-Israel turnout:

I also interviewed the Neturei Karta which I will blog about next.

Some photos:

A tenner if you can guess which side she's on.

A tenner if you can guess which side she's on.

I love Hanoar. I went on Israel tour with them and can tell you some stories.

I love Hanoar. I went on Israel tour with them and can tell you some stories.

Good luck with that.

Good luck with that.

Is this really too much to ask?

Is this really too much to ask?

Good luck with that also.

Good luck with that also.

Downing Street.

Downing Street.

The PSC mob shouting their usual sinister slogans.

The PSC mob shouting their usual sinister slogans.

Israel’s supporters out in force in Trafalgar Square.

Lord Nelson keeps a watchful eye over Israel's supporters today.

Lord Nelson keeps a watchful eye over Israel’s supporters today.

Israel’s supporters came out in Trafalgar Square today to show sympathy with Israel as rockets continue to rain down from Gaza and to wish a happy 25th birthday to Gilad Schalit who is in his sixth year in isolation in Gaza having been kidnapped by Hamas from Israeli soil when he was 19.

There were some tremendous speeches.

Hasan Afzal, of British Muslims for Israel, said he supports Israel because it is “the only country in the Middle East where Muslims have freedom and democracy”.

Joy Wolfe urged the crowd to ignore media lies about Israel and described Israel as a home for people of all religions.

She went on to call for an end to the double standards of the United Nations and some British MPs and said that Gilad Schalit probably doesn’t even know that today is his birthday and probably feels as if he has been forgotten. But she said that no one will rest until the Red Cross gets access to him and every government in the world is calling for his release.

It was an excellent afternoon arranged at very short notice by the British Israel Coalition and supported by Stand With Us.

It made a change from the previous Sunday’s terror rally at Trafalgar Square where the rhetoric called for war with Israel and signs called for Death to Israel. It’s a shame there wasn’t a similar pro-Israel rally at that time.

But with that in mind the Zionist Federation is arranging a counter-demonstration this coming Thursday from 6pm till 8pm outside the Royal Albert Hall where the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is playing at the BBC proms.

It is in response to a Palestine Solidarity Campaign anti-Israel protest. Some sort of disruption is also expected to take place inside the Hall while the orchestra is playing.

Nearest tube stations are South Kensington (District, Circle, Piccadily lines) and High Street Kensington (District and Circle lines).

It will be an opportunity to defiantly wave Israeli flags in the faces of all those whose sole desire in life is to see the Jewish state destroyed.

Clips and photos from today’s pro-Israel rally:

A sign for Lauren Booth to drool over.

A sign for Lauren Booth to drool over.

Remembering the Fogel's whose throats were slashed by a Palestinian terrorist while in their beds.

Remembering the Fogel’s whose throats were slashed by a Palestinian terrorist while in their beds.

Four simple words that could do so much for peace in the Middle East.

Four simple words that could do so much for peace in the Middle East.

And free the Palestinians from Hamas also.

And free the Palestinians from Hamas also.

Dogs support Israel too.

Dogs support Israel too.

Appreciating a pavement artist's work.

Appreciating a pavement artist’s work.

The chap in gold was seen having a cheeky cigarette five minutes later.

The chap in gold was seen having a cheeky cigarette five minutes later.

A good way to keep warm.

A good way to keep warm.

Happy birthday, Gilad.

Happy birthday, Gilad.

Palestine festival organisers call police to remove peaceful pro-Israel protest.

A small pro-Israel protest was held outside the “Celebrate Palestine” festival at SOAS today, but it wasn’t long before the organisers complained to security who called the police to have the protest removed.

While the pro-Israel protesters were outside arguing their case to remain, inside Lowkey was rapping to the students about Israel being an apartheid, supremacist, colonialist state.

Back outside the police eventually relented after realising how ridiculous it would be to remove a peaceful, static protest.

The protesters then moved on to Ahava in Covent Garden outside of which an anti-Israel mob had congregated for their usual Saturday hate-fest.

Ahava seemed to be doing alright and my friend, Ian, presented me with one of their Lavender and Chamomile Warming Pads as a belated birthday present.

When someone erected a placard with photos of the massacred Fogel family it was immediately surrounded and covered up by a Palestinian flag. Anti-Israel protesters were parroting the line from Palestinian Authority affiliated news agencies that the massacre at Itamar was committed by a Thai worker.

Well done to Stand With Us UK which produced the placards, leaflets and very eye-catching “We support a two-state solution” stickers.

Peacefully protesting outside SOAS before the police were called.

Peacefully protesting outside SOAS before the police were called.

Explaining Israel's case to a student.

Explaining Israel's case to a student.

Lowkey rages against the "Zionist state" in the JCR at SOAS.

Lowkey rages against the "Zionist state" in the JCR at SOAS.

Outside Ahava.

Outside Ahava.

Ahava besieged.

Ahava besieged.

Covering the placard of the murdered Fogel family with the Palestinian flag.

Covering the placard of the murdered Fogel family with the Palestinian flag.

Standing up for Israel and for all the oppressed in the Middle East.

Standing up for Israel and for all the oppressed in the Middle East.

Stand with Israeli (and Iranian) Goods.

Here is a nice video made by Stand With Us, which is an antidote to the racist boycotts of Israeli goods and people that parts of the left in this country have taken to.

It was made downtown Golders Green on 30th November, which was international BUYcott Israeli goods day.

The video is a bit cheesey but that will always be the case when people talk into a camera. However, cheesey is better than nothing these days.

Well done to the makers and to those speaking in the video. More please.

You can also pick up some Israeli food products in Hormuz, a nice Iranian shop in Temple Fortune.

They do good bananas and potatoes there (according to my mum).

Just don’t tell the mullahs.