Tag Archives: The Law Society

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

Anti-Israel hatefest season kicks off.

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

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

Seems our pubs are more democratic than Parliament.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I kept it simple and asked:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All this before Israel Apartheid Week in the new year!

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

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