Tag Archives: war on want

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:

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.

It’s good to talk, so reconnect to BT.

There is, currently, a concerted campaign by War On Want, a British charity, to force BT to disconnect from its alliance with Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecommunications group.

According to a War On Want email “Thousands of you have already complained to BT over its complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. Thank you.”

The War On Want website is more like a War On Israel one, which is fine if that is how they wish to spend their donor’s money but, as I have documented in the past, one of the biggest donors to War On Want is BBC’s Comic Relief (see the 2009 accounts).

One of War On Want’s favourite stunts is to invade British and American supermarkets, dump all Israeli produce into trolleys and run away when the police arrive.

The WOW website states: “War on Want supports the call from Palestinian civil society to build a global movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and meets the following three demands: an end to the Occupation; the right of return for Palestinian refugees; and equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel itself.”

I agree with the last requirement but the rest of this statement is simply a call for the total destruction of Israel.

Fortunately, the man at the helm of BT can see right through WOW’s campaign.

The WOW email states that “War on Want have yet to receive a formal response from BT, but supporters who have taken our e-action have received the following response.”

On Behalf Of michael.prescott@bt.com
Sent: 15 November 2010 17:43
To: Emma Stanforth
Subject: Hang up on the Occupation

Dear Emma
Many thanks for your email to Ian Livingston, who has asked me to respond.

BT has indeed admitted Bezeq International to the BT Alliance. We do not see an issue in dealing with what is, in effect, the national telecoms company for Israel.

We are not alone in this. I gather that PalTel, the Palestine Telecommunications Company, also has dealings with Bezeq. Their website carried an announcement on March 21 2010, detailing an arrangement enabling customers who use their prepaid phone cards to have direct access to the fixed line network of Bezeq International.

BT delivers services in 170 countries worldwide. Communication can be vital in helping to resolve conflict and disagreement. In that spirit, while respecting the strong views that you express, we feel unable to pursue the course of action you suggest.

Yours sincerely,
Michael Prescott
Group Director of Communications
BT Group

So although the Palestinians don’t wish to boycott Bezeq War On Want does, which reveals WOW’s true motive.

Unsurprisingly, War on Want doesn’t like seeing their hypocrisy exposed and, for once, their agenda hitting a brick wall.

More sinisterly, in the email to supporters War On Want says “Its time to communicate to BT through a medium they understand”.

War On Want’s motto is “Fighting Global Poverty”.

It should concentrate on that instead of wasting donations on puerile anti-Israel stunts.

If not then Comic Relief and the Charity Commissioners should really be hanging up on War On Want instead.

War On Want visits BT (waronwant.org)

War On Want visits BT (waronwant.org)

War on Want’s War on Israel

Protesting in Waitrose all courtesy of War on Want

Warning; if you give to BBC’s Comic Relief, please turn away now as you may find the following disturbing.

War on Want is a registered charity that claims it’s in the front line in the struggle against global poverty and injustice. It has seven main campaigns one of which is the “humanitarian crisis in Palestine”.

But WOW’s description of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has the most biased spin possible. There is not a single mention of Palestinian acts that have left thousands of innocent Israeli civilians dead and disabled.

And I recently visited War on Want’s offices after seeing this public announcement:

War on Want’s Supermarket Action – to stop the sale of settlement goods. When? 6pm sharp! Where? Meet at War on Want’s offices for a full briefing. Then head to a nearby supermarket. 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT. Nearest tube Old Street.

When I arrived at the building I was directed up to War on Want’s fourth floor offices where another briefing was about to start for those who had missed the first.

About 30 of us heard how we were going to be divided up into four groups. Some of us were to distribute anti-Israel leaflets outside the Barbican’s Waitrose while the others would actually go in and drop the Israeli produce into trolleys and bring the full trolleys to customer services where there would then be a sit-down protest.

Under our coats we would wear the green “Free Palestine” T-shirts handed out to us in the office.

“We are not expecting any kind of aggression towards us but there is always that possibility. If the police do show up we will leave automatically. We will stand up in an orderly fashion and walk out chanting ‘Free Free Palestine’ and we will continue the demonstration outside,” we were told.

We were also introduced to a cameraman and a photographer.

But by then fingers were pointing and I was outed as a “Zionist”.

As I made to leave I was followed down the four flights of stairs by said cameraman and questioned by John Hilary, I believe, WOW’s Chief Exective:

“Who are you from? Why have you come to this place, it wasn’t an open invitation. Just tell me who you are. Who are you?” he kept on while in hot pursuit.

I immediately went to the Waitrose store and told the manager of the imminent invasion. He was grateful but eventually unable to distinguish protesters from normal shoppers.

In the youtube video* of the invasion below John Hilary gives a speech and then presents the manager of Waitrose with a letter having been told that the police had been called.

WOW receives funding from the European Commission and the Department of International Development but in the last six years it has also received £1,687,918 from Comic Relief.

It is of no public concern what private donors give directly to a charity, as many do to War on Want, but it is of great concern when publicly donated funds, that people hope are going to help sick and starving children, are going to a charity that embraces immature supermarket games.

How much of Comic Relief’s money might be helping to finance the aforementioned T-shirts, office space, cameramen and photographers?

Are such student pranks really be an allowable objective for a charity like War on Want?

And why can valuable Metropolitan Police time be wasted so unnecessarily by a charity?

We have had the bankers and the politicians, maybe it’s about time the behaviour of our charities is also questioned and investigated.

*Comments posted to youtube underneath this War On Want video include:

ShaktipatSeer: Stick it to those fascist jews!!

AetherWisp: Did that include all the food we pay a Jewish tax on?

The clip is also on the War on Want website.