Tag Archives: zionism

History lecturer: “Britain should apologise for Balfour Declaration.”

James Renton and Deborah Maccoby of JfJfP at SOAS.

James Renton and Deborah Maccoby of JfJfP at SOAS.

A little known history lecturer is quickly becoming the new poster boy of the anti-Israel movement. Last night at SOAS James Renton detailed why he thinks the British government should apologise for the Balfour Declaration. He was invited to speak by Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

The thrust of Renton’s argument is that there should be such an apology because the Balfour Declaration lacked clarity on the meaning of “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, which, he said, unleashed an expectation of statehood amongst Jews that was never intended. He blames the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on this “misconceived, ill thought through policy of the British government”.

He also argued that the Declaration was based on the mistaken and anti-Semitic assumption that Jews had great power in America and Russia and that they were mainly Zionist. Therefore, such a declaration would encourage Russia and America against Germany during the Great War.

Renton thinks that there was never an intention to create a Jewish state and he quoted from a letter from David Lloyd George to the then Archbishop of Westminster, who told Lloyd George in 1919 that the Zionists in Palestine were “causing a stink and claiming that the country would soon be coming under their control”. Lloyd George replied to the Archbishop:

“If the Zionists claim domination of the Holy Land under a British protectorate then they are certainly putting their claims too high.”

Renton criticised Britain for advertising that it was a big supporter of Zionism while at the same time promoting national freedom for Arabs but without thinking either side really expected political independence in Palestine. This was because the British viewed both Jews and Arabs as “politically backward”.

You can read Renton’s thesis in Haaretz (contact me in you cannot access the link and I will send you the article).

However, his thesis is facile. For one he contradicts himself by saying both that the British thought the Jews had immense power but that they were also politically backward. Which is it?

For Renton the Balfour Declaration was mainly down to anti-Semitism. As he puts it “Balfour and Mark Sykes said nasty things about Jews” (Sykes was the government’s advisor on the Middle East at the time). And he downplays the role of Christian support for a Jewish state as well as Chaim Weizmann’s efforts in manufacturing ammunition for Britain during the Great War.

This campaign to have Britain apologise for the Balfour Declaration was dreamt up by the Palestine Return Centre. They launched a petition with the view to obtaining one million signatures in support of an apology by the time of the centenary of the Declaration in 2017. Unlike Renton, the PRC thinks the apology should be for the “tremendous injustices” the Balfour Declaration has caused to the Palestinian people.

The PRC are now using the recent decision in the Mau Mau rebellion case, where Britain has been found guilty of complicity in the torture of victims in the Mau Mau uprising against British rule in Kenya in the 1950s and 1960s, to give their campaign a boost.

Renton spotted one difficulty with the PRC’s campaign though. He noted that there will be no one alive from the era of the Balfour Declaration to attest. So he suggested to a representative of the PRC who was in the audience last night that the PRC might have more success if they asked the British government for an apology for the Arab losses during the Arab uprising of 1936-1939.

The problem with that is that the PRC’s raison d’etre is the destruction of Israel via the so-called Palestinian “right of return”. They want an apology to undermine Israel’s existence. I doubt that Arabs were killed during that Arab uprising is of great significance to the PRC in the scheme of things. Renton might not know of the PRC’s politics, but there’s a good clue in their name Palestine Return Centre as to why they might want an apology.

Anyway, the wording of the Balfour Declaration is clear. What is meant by “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” if not a state? The clue is in the words “national home”.

Renton gave us a sheet of homework asking all 10 of us in the audience some questions:

1. Did today’s talk differ from your previous understanding of this issue?
2. Has Dr Renton’s talk affected how you think about the Balfour Declaration?
3. What aspects would you challenge, and why?

Maybe you could email him at james.renton@edgehill.ac.uk with your answers. He wants to hear from you.

My appearance on 4ThoughtTV: Are Jews Still Persecuted in Britain Today?

Tonight at 7.55pm on Channel 4 I am in 4ThoughtTV’s slot on whether Jews are still persecuted in Britain today, which is the theme of the week.

There are seven contributions in all. Here is the link to mine and the other six:

http://www.4thought.tv/themes/are-jews-still-persecuted-in-britain-today/richard-millett?autoplay=true

1. I spoke about my experiences of harassment at anti-Israel events when I have merely tried to get Israel’s point of view across.

2. Stephen Sizer is an anti-Israel/anti-Zionist Christian Minister. I once went to hear him speak at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign event held in a church. He said, inter alia, that churches that side with Israel have “repudiated Jesus, have repudiated the bible and are an abomination”. On my way out of that meeting I was accosted by an audience member who let out some of the most Holocaust denying anti-Jewish vitriol I have ever heard. She told me, inter alia, that Jews died in the Holocaust from having “had their foreskins chopped off.”

In his 4Thought clip Sizer claims it’s important to be able to criticise certain Israeli policies without being accused of anti-Semitism. Let’s be clear: criticising Israel’s policies is legitimate, just like it is legitimate to criticise the policies of any country.

Sizer and his ilk are accused of anti-Semitism because they want the world’s only Jewish state to disappear. This is completely different to criticising Israel’s policies. Instead, they single out the Jewish state, the collective Jew, for destruction. So, Sizer is being highly disingenuous. If he were truthful he would have admitted he wants the Jewish state removed.

3. Another who wants the Jewish state removed is Ahron Cohen, of the extremist religious Jewish sect the Neturei Karta which believes that Jews should only go to the Holy Land once they have received a direct order from God to do so. The Neturei Karta also embraces Iran’s Holocaust denying President Ahmadinejad who repeatedly calls for the destruction of Israel. Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei has referred to Israel as “the Zionist cancerous tumour in the heart of the Islamic world”.

In his clip, Cohen blames Palestinian terrorism “on the very existence of the sectarian state known as Israel”.

4. Mike Marcus has also fallen for the myth that “The Zionist lobby uses the label of anti-Semitism to silence their critics”.

5. Jose Martin correctly blames the media for whipping up anti-Semitism due to its unfair reportage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

6. Yisrael Abeles, a Holocaust survivor, also blames the media for driving much of what has, these days, become “institutionalised anti-Semitism” as opposed to street anti-Semitism.

7. The most moving clip is by schoolgirl Eden Simones-Jones who says that she still suffers from depression and anxiety due to anti-Semitic harassment. She finishes:

“If people say there is no problem with anti-Semitism, I think they should wake-up, open their eyes and really look about what’s going out there because they’re obviously sheltered in their own little dreamland where everything’s rosy, because anti-Semitism’s everywhere. You’ve just got to know what to look for.”

Sadly, she’s right. Anti-Semitism is everywhere. In Britain today anti-Zionism, an attack on Israel as the collective Jew, is the modern updated version of anti-Semitism, the attack on Jews as individuals. “Anti-Zionism” is a label that has been adopted by many of Britain’s  academics, journalists, politicians, religious leaders and charities to hide their true feelings about Jews. This is the “institutionalised anti-Semitism” referred to by Yisrael Abeles.

Anti-Israel activist Antony Loewenstein: “Six Million Should Die.”

Antony Loewenstein is an Australian anti-Israel activist who describes himself as “a non-practising atheist Jew”. He has just co-written a book with Ahmed Moor called After Zionism, about the search for a one state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

Last night Loewenstein and Moor spoke at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London to promote the book.

Loewenstein told the audience of about 150 that “Zionism actually is the issue here. Although it is probably very hard to imagine in 2012 the idea of a Middle East country called Israel that’s not a Zionist state, the truth is that it was impossible equally to imagine a South African country that wasn’t wracked with apartheid.”

Both Loewenstein and Moor are big supporters of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Moor was, incidentally, born in Gaza and is now at Havard doing a Master’s in Public Policy.

Loewenstein said that getting bands and musicians not to go to Israel to perform is “a tool, not an endgame”. It was, he said, a way of telling Israel that “if you choose to behave in this way you’ll not be treated as a normal state.”

Loewenstein described the Israel Lobby in the UK as “very powerful” while Moor said he thinks that American Jews are turning away from Israel, preferring what happens in Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm to what is happening in Jerusalem. He said he thinks Israel is not an important part of their lives anymore.

It was all the usual standard anti-Israel rhetoric.

But, during the Q&A Jonathan Hoffman asked Loewenstein how many people Loewenstein thinks should die for this one-state solution, that Loewenstein wants so much, to come into existence. The idea being that Israelis are not going to vote themselves out of existence, so presumably such a state could come about only by force involving more bloodshed.

As Loewenstein wasn’t quite answering the question he was pressed further by Hoffman as to how many people Loewenstein thinks should die. First, Frank Barat, the Chairman, answered “200,000” (here is more on Barat). Then Loewenstein answered “Six million. That’s my answer. Write that down.

What sort of individual comes out with such an answer? Mocking the Holocaust seems to be becoming de rigeuer within anti-Israel activism. Here is someone calling herself Jane Green back in October last year.

Maybe “six million” was randomly plucked out of thin air by Loewenstein. That seems doubtful. Hopefully, he will be pressed further on what made him say such a cruel thing when he returns home to Sydney, Australia.

Here’s the audio:

Antony Loewenstein audio – “Six million should die.”

Here is Jonathan Hoffman’s take on last night: How many have to die to achieve ‘One State’?

The cowardly Zionism of Jonathan Freedland.

In his piece Yearning for the same land in this week’s New Statesman magazine prize winning author and columnist Jonathan Freedland cites four shades of Zionism: secular, religious, left-wing and rightist.

Make that five shades: Freedland Zionism – sitting in one’s comfortable diaspora home while joining in the delegitimisation of Israel.

A May issue of the New Statesman was devoted to Who Speaks for British Jews? This week’s issue asks Israel: the future – Is the dream of a two-state solution dead? In January 2002 the New Statesman’s sickening front cover had the Star of David piercing the Union Jack with the words Kosher Conspiracy? It was an issue devoted to the undue influence of “the Zionist lobby” (see end).

Israel is unique in being the only country whose future, or lack of, is constantly under discussion. And who knew that ripping the heart out of Judaism by giving up places like the Machpelah in Hebron is considered a “dream”?  A necessity in return for an elusive peace maybe, but no dream.

Freedland puts himself among the “left-leaning Zionists”. These are “true Zionists” who think that “the 45-year long occupation is jeopardising the founding Zionist goal of a Jewish, democratic state.”

Freedland doesn’t tell us why the “occupation” is threatening Israel’s Jewish and democratic status but it sounds like the scaremongering of J Street and Yachad.

Yachad, for example, claims that if Israel doesn’t withdraw from the West Bank then by 2020 the Palestinians between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea will outnumber Jews. Minority autocratic rule by Jews over Palestinians will follow or, as Mick Davis, a British Jewish community leader put it recently, “Israel is heading towards an apartheid state”.

Those who cite this thesis never back it up with a source, but that is because it is just more anti-Israel propaganda; a ploy to force Israel to dangerously concede more land.

Yoram Ettinger shows how the numbers of Palestinians on the West Bank are regularly artificially inflated by at least one million and argues that Palestinians and Israeli Arabs can never make up more than 30% of those living between the River and the Sea. Freedland wouldn’t want facts to get in the way of a good story.

Freedland claims to support Israel’s right to exist. He just doesn’t like how Zionism was implemented or current Israeli policy. And he believes that “the security, viability and even the ethical character of the Jewish state matter more than its size.”

He contrasts this position with that of the “hawkish Zionists, heirs of the revisionist tradition of Vladimir Jabotinsky who are territorial maximalists, eager to fly the Israeli flag over all of the West Bank”.

So just how small does Freedland think Israel should have been?

The Peel Commission of 1937 offered the Arabs 80% of British Mandate Palestine and the Jews 20%. The Zionists accepted but Arab leaders rejected this leaving Europe’s Jews to their fate in the gas chambers.

Freedland states “Israel needs to look plainly at the circumstances of its birth and understand why Palestinians regard the event as a catastrophe.” But Arab leaders having rejected, this time, 45% of British Mandate Palestine in 1947 went on to commence hostilities against the Jews instead.

So who are the real “territorial maximalists” here?

In fact the seeds for Arab defeat in 1947-1949 were self-inflicted having been sown during the 1936-39 Arab uprising in British Mandate Palestine which was brutally crushed by the British leaving the Arabs bereft of leaders, fighters and weapons while Zionist militias used the time to build up their reserves.

Freedland then complains that there were no takers in Israel for a “national memorial day to mark the Arab dispossession”.

But why would Israelis commemorate an attempt by Arab leaders to kill them?

Despite all this Arab rejectionism Freedland then, incredibly, goes on to portray Jews and Arabs as drowning nations clinging to the same piece of driftwood. He thinks the Jews who were “gasping for breathe” were right to cling to it in 1948. After 1967, he claims Israel pushed the Palestinians off the shared driftwood and into the sea.

Freedland doesn’t bother analysing what the situation might have been like today had Israel not been in West Bank.  One need only look at the aftermath of Israel’s pullout from Gaza: rockets slamming into Tel Aviv, anyone?

Like in his piece This is Israel? Not the one I Love in the Jewish Chronicle last November Freedland doesn’t like to complicate the issue by mentioning Hamas or Islamic Jihad. No mention of Hamas’ call to kill Jews in its charter or of Hamas’ beliefs that Israel is an “Islamic waqf” and that peaceful solutions are invalid.

Freedland never asks, or answers, why he thinks the Palestinians, who rejected 80% of the territory in 1937 and 45% in 1947 would accept 22% now. In fact he doesn’t criticise the Palestinians once.

Luckily for Freedland he has never had to take a life or death decision. Sadly, he takes the coward’s way out and criticises those unlucky Jews forced to. He yearns for the perfect Israel and until then won’t stop his constant delegitimisation of the Jewish state.

But it gets worse. Alongside Freedland’s piece is a piece by Ali Abunimah. Abunimah calls for a one state solution and the ending of “Israelis’ demand for the supremacy of Jewish rights over those of the Palestinians”. While Geoffrey Wheatcroft, in his book review How the dream died, describes the American “pro-Israel official ‘Jewish establishment'” as “elderly, rich and right-wing”.

“Supremacy of Jewish rights”, Jews described as “rich”? The New Statesman obviously has no problem with keeping sickening anti-Semitic stereotypes alive.

Trigger from Only Fools and Horses says “Don’t attack Iran”.

Roger Lloyd Pack - "intellect has rapidly diminished over the years until it reached its current level of hilarious stupidity"

Roger Lloyd Pack - "intellect has rapidly diminished over the years until it reached its current level of hilarious stupidity"

It’s a shame when an actor from one of Britain’s best loved comedies joins with the forces of darkness to come to the defence of one of the world’s most reviled regimes, but such is the fate of Roger Lloyd Pack who played Trigger in the BBC’s Only Fools and Horses.

Lloyd Pack is a seasoned anti-Israel activist and so it is no surprise to find his signature among the usual suspects in a letter to Wednesday’s Guardian supporting Stop The War Coalition’s Don’t Attack Iran Campaign.

Ironically, the BBC website gives the following description of Trigger:

“Although initially a (relatively speaking) sharp-minded villain Trigger’s intellect has rapidly diminished over the years until it reached its current level of hilarious stupidity.”

Who said art doesn’t sometimes mirror life?

The Guardian website even generously links the letter to the Don’t Attack Iran Campaign website. Why take out an expensive ad in a national newspaper, hire an expensive London venue or print millions of leaflets when all you need do nowadays is write a letter to The Guardian who will give you free advertising space if you’re anti-Israel.

The familiarity of these hardcore anti-Israel signatories is positive in as much as it shows how so alone they are in their support for such an oppressive ideology as Iran’s:

Tony Benn,
Jeremy Corbyn MP,
Brian Eno,
Lindsey German,
George Galloway,
Kate Hudson,
Jemima Khan,
Ken Loach,
Roger Lloyd Pack,
Lowkey,
Len McCluskey,
John McDonnell MP,
John Pilger,
Michael Rosen,
Jenny Tonge.

You’d have thought that after her forced resignation from her party after wishing away Israel’s existence they might have left Jenny Tonge off for once but, then again, her recent statements that “Israel is not going to be there forever” and “then they will reap what they have sown” ties in nicely with Ahmadinejad’s genocidal desire to wipe Israel off the map.

Some say Ahmadinejad was mistranslated and that he merely wanted to eradicate Zionism.

Let’s forget that Israel and Zionism are not mutually exclusive and gloss over Ahmadinejad’s “mistranslation” and listen to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei who, as reported by Press TV, “described Israel as a cancerous tumor that must be removed”.

It doesn’t get more unambiguous than that and straight from the fool’s and horse’s mouth!

And calling it an attack on Iran is like calling Operation Cast Lead an attack on Gaza or on the Palestinians when, in actual fact, it was a legitimate attack on the terrorist group Hamas in self-defence.

Attacking Iran’s nuclear sites will also be a legitimate act of self-defence unless Iran opens itself up to a full nuclear inspection in accordance with its non-proliferation treaty obligations, something that it has so far proved suspiciously unwilling to do.

And calling itself Stop The War Coalition is as equally disingenuous. Let Them Die Coalition would be far more accurate judging by their calls for non-intervention in Libya and, now, Syria.

The Guardian letter compares the build up to a possible war with Iran to that with Iraq. But Stop The War Coalition’s approach is itself reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of another evil regime.

Galloway and German say they aren’t pacifists and Galloway has said that World War Two was a just war, but how can he, and we, be so sure he would have called it “just” at the time.

Stop The War Coalition is, basically, an organisation that supports non-intervention against regimes that are anti-American and/or anti-Israel. They were ecstatic when pro-American/pro-Israel Mubarak fell in Egypt but have criticised NATO’s ousting of anti-American/anti-Israel Gaddafi and will no way want Assad to fall with the negative impact that would have on Iran and, ultimately, Hezbollah and Hamas.

The hypocrisy of the signatories to The Guardian letter is fully exposed when Stop The War Coalition feels comfortable standing back watching Libyans and Syrians slaughtered in their droves while defending the vile Iranian regime and staying silent about the continued oppression of Iran’s women, gays, Jews (the 25,000 strong community is limited to one MP), Bahais, Kurds and anyone wanting to live a life in Iran as free as those signatories themselves can do in the west.

Shlomo Sand: “Zionism created the Palestinian People.”

There’s been much controversy over Newt Gingrich’s recent comment that the Palestinians are an invented people.

Perish the thought. The Palestinians have ruled in a county called “Palestine” for at least two millennia (a heavy dose of irony here, obviously). In contrast Zionism is a relatively new concept; the first Zionist congress having take place a mere 114 years ago.

It’s lucky that Gingrich’s outrageous comment has been dealt with in such reasonable terms by the Palestinian leadership with Saeb Erekat saying:

“Mark my words…these statements of Gingrich’s will be ammunitions and weapons of the bin Ladens and the extremists for a long, long time.”

Erekat was also referring to Gingrich’s statement that Palestinians are terrorists who “teach terrorism in their schools”. However, Palestinian children are not brainwashed to want to kill Israelis despite Palestinian Media Watch’s many clips  showing them wanting to become “martyrs”.

On the Palestinians being an invented people this is a fairly standard discussion for any nation. Why should the Palestinians be exempt?

Meanwhile, on the accusation of terrorism bin Laden would have been delighted to think, if it were true, that the Palestinians and their children are following in his esteemed footsteps.

But if it is so insulting to suggest that the Palestinians are an invented people how more insulting is it to say that they were invented by Zionism?

Who would make such an outrageous remark?

Golda Meir? She said there is no such thing as a Palestinian.

Newt Gingrich again? He said the Palestinians were invented, but at least he didn’t have the gall to suggest by Zionism.

Actually, the person who said this was Shlomo Sand, hero of the Palestinians, anti-Zionists and anti-Semites everywhere, when he spoke at SOAS earlier this year about his book The Invention of the Jewish People.

Let him tell you in his own words:

An evening with Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

David Landy, Richard Kuper and Naomi Wayne (Chair).

David Landy, Richard Kuper and Naomi Wayne (Chair).

Last Tuesday I went to SOAS for a launch of a book by David Landy called Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights – Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel. Anti-Zionist celebrities Tony Greenstein and Deborah Fink were in the audience.

Landy sees his book as “academic” even though, when it comes down to it, he is just another anti-Zionist propagandist and boycotter of Israel.

I haven’t read the book but I imagine, based on Landy’s talk, that in it he provides justification for direct action against Israel based on two lies; Israel’s “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinians in 1948 and Israel’s unequal treatment of Palestinians now.

Landy is described as “an Irish-Jewish academic, active in the Palestine solidarity movement. Formerly chair of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, he is currently based in Trinity College Dublin where he teaches contemporary social and cultural theory, and race and migration.”

In the book he critiques the “Jewish opposition to Israel” movement. For instance, he asks whether pro-Palestinian activism is really more about the activists, who tend to drown the Palestinians in victimhood, than the Palestinians.

It is a fair point because at “pro-Palestinian” meetings it is rare to actually discuss the Palestinians, except in the context of Israel’s supposed oppression of them. You learn nothing about the Palestinians themselves, although that would be interesting.

Then again the Palestinians have defined themselves, or have been defined, solely by their opposition to Israel. And jfjfp are also defined solely by their opposition to Israel. Landy explained that the use of “Jews” in the name of the organisation is sensible because Israel, he thinks wrongly, wants to speak for all the world’s Jews.

Landy started by explaining his reason for writing the book. He said that the pieces written about “Jewish opposition to Israel” were mainly “unsympathetic” and written by the likes of Anthony Julius and Geoffrey Alderman, which he described as being:

“Equivalent to the KKK giving their opinions on what the white civil rights movement in the United States was up to. It’s the same kind of level. It’s done to discredit the movement.”

Here is Landy at SOAS in his own words:

But what intrigued me more than anything were Richard Kuper’s speeches.

Kuper is a jfjfp and stalwart anti-Zionist activist. The Neturei Karta provide the main extremist religious Jewish opposition to Israel’s existence and the jfjfp provides the main extremist secular opposition to Israel’s existence. Both NK and jfjfp promote BDS.

So it would be interesting to understand how jfjfp define their Judaism. jfjfp seems to reject both Jewish religiosity and any type of Jewish peoplehood (Zionism), so what is left?

Jewish culture? But doesn’t the culture stem from the religion? Without the religion there would be no culture.

Human rights? But then all religions are concerned with that.

Kuper says he hasn’t been to synagogue since his barmitzvah. He also praised Jewdas (which has all of 5 members) for “sticking two fingers up to the institutions of the Jewish community”.

He condemns the “narrowness” and “religiosity” of the traditional Jewish community and talks of “new, younger Jews whose Judaism is much weaker, but very deeply felt, than the kind of orthodox Judaism with which I was brought up”:

How can one’s Judaism be “weaker, but very deeply felt” and what does this Judaism consist of?

Is this Judaism solely about condemnation of Israel and its existence?

Can it be that simple?

One commentator thinks that many anti-Zionist Jews have either no children or no Jewish children. They are, in effect, “the end of the Jewish line” and, therefore, their thinking is that if they cannot have a family themselves they wish to deny that family to the Jewish people as a whole.

Meanwhile, here is Landy on the strength of diaspora Jewish opposition to Israel, which, he admits, is a “minority movement”. “Minority” is an understatement to say the least:

After all this heavy philosophising and intellectualising jfjfp broke for red wine in the good old Hampstead intelligentsia tradition.

Pappe, Nebulsi, Cushman: The Circus of Israel hate sweeps back into British universities.

A "Palestinian refugee" speaking last night.

A "Palestinian refugee" speaking last night.

A new term and thousands of brand new students to brainwash and so it was to the University of London Union last night where Ilan Pappe, Karma Nebulsi and Mike Cushman spent two hours spreading poison and lies about Israel.

The event was called Why we need a boycott of Israel on our campuses. There must have been some 300 students in the hall at the beginning, although this had considerably thinned out by the end.

Cushman seemed particularly charged up. So much so that at the end of the two hours he siezed the microphone to hysterically shout “Free Palestine”:

But the saddest aspect of last night was the presence on the panel of a Palestinian refugee. The footage you are about to see is shocking in the extreme. If you don’t wish to see images of a scared, emaciated, poverty-stricken woman fleeing for her life please look away now. This woman shames those cowardly Syrian civilians fleeing across the border into Turkey in order to escape being machine-gunned down by Assad’s army. But brave Rafeef Ziadeh repeatedly told us that she will eventually return to Haifa. This footage is bound to turn even the staunchest Zionist anti-Israel:

Mike Cushman lectured us on the difference between an Israeli, a Zionist and a Jew. He said he was “a Jew because my mother was a Jew. I didn’t have a choice in the matter”.

For Cushman being Jewish is just about eating smoked salmon bagels.

He said if you think that a “Jewish Israeli Zionist is scarey” wait till you meet a Christian Zionist:

“They want to gather the Jews together so they can be wiped out. They don’t want to tell the Jews that.”:

Karma Nebulsi cannot get through a sentence without mentioning “the right of return”. She is so obsessed with this one aspect of the conflict one can almost imagine her in Starbucks ordering “a tall latte with an extra shot and a right of return to go”.

Finally, we had the “ethnic cleansing” maestro himself, Ilan Pappe. He said that it is important to know who benefits from “the occupation” and he called for the “racist, apartheid public in Israel to be replaced by a free state for all; those that live there and those who used to live there”.

I have a good idea who benefits from “the occupation”: Pappe doesn’t do badly for a start. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign does beautifully thank you very much. And walking in last night on every seat there was a glossy brochure produced by War on Want with the words Boycott Divestment Sanctions in red, white and green on the front cover. Amongst the chapter headings were Crisis in Palestine, Gaza: the world’s largest prison, Apartheid Walls, and Water Wars.

The Palestinian refugee industry is undoubtedly a billion pound industry out of which academics and charities have enriched themselves.

Here is Pappe on the Gilad Shalit deal saying how much more it benefits Israel as it allows the Israelis to feel that they have reclaimed a sense of morality:

When I had a chance with the microphone I explained how the BDS campaign is simply racist for targeting one country alone. Then I asked each panelist if they would ever accept Israeli medicine if they fell ill.

Cushman called it “a non-question” and said: “Would I take medicines? Of course I would. It’s not saying that knowledge doesn’t exist. It’s saying how do we use our academic resources to support or not support the continued occupation of the Palestinian people. It’s really quite simple.”

Rafeef Ziadeh could only reply: “I hope I don’t get sick anytime soon but if I keep hearing this question I might”.

Nebulsi refused to even to address the question. Pappe refused to answer it instead taking the opportunity to claim that Palestinans would be forced to spy for Israel in return for cancer treatment:

My question and the answers last night on accepting Israeli medication.

Meanwhile, Ziadeh refused to accept that BDS was racist saying they were against all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. Apparently, stating that one isn’t racist is enough evidence in itself these days.

At least on the way out two female students, one wearing a “Free Palestine” badge, told me they had left the event early as they didn’t like the vicious rhetoric about Israel.

More photos:

Pappe last night.

Pappe last night.

Mock Palestinian prisoners outside ULU last night.

Mock Palestinian prisoners outside ULU last night.

An interview with the Neturei Karta.

The Neturei Karta are the poster boys of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). They loyally show up to all PSC events whether during the week or on Shabbat.

In January I saw one of them, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, at an anti-Israel conference at SOAS on a Shabbat morning carrying a briefcase. The Neturei Karta make up the laws of Judaism to suit themselves.

I realise that many Jews also now make up the laws of Judaism to suit themselves, but the latter don’t claim a higher moral authority like the Neturei Karta do.

Neturei Karta means Guardians of the City, but if they refuse to be guardians of Shabbat, the holiest day for Jews, how can they be trusted to be guardians of Judaism in any way.

That said, it is fascinating to think that hundreds of years ago all ultra-religious Jews used to think like the Neturei Karta still think concerning returning to Israel to live; that there should no forcing of such a return, which should only happen at the behest of the Messiah.

Political Zionism took root in the 1890s and the way the ultra-religious approached it was to support it from a pragmatic point of view only in light of the continuing persecution of Jews, but they refused to see in it any kind of Messianism.

It was Rabbi Avraham Kook, born in Lithuania and who was Chief Rabbi of Jaffa from 1904-1914, who started to infuse events with Messianism.

However, it was only after the establishment of Israel and the winning of both the Six Day War (1967), which reunited Jerusalem, and the Yom Kippur War (1973) when religious Zionism finally took off. Many of the ultra-religious saw these events as Messianically inspired.

This, in turn, gave rise to the settlement movement of Gush Emunim, led by Kook’s son Rabbi Yehuda Kook. The national-religious movement was born.

Tiny sects like the Neturei Karta and the Satmar stayed outside this tent.

At last Thursday’s PSC anti-Israel Downing Street protest I spoke to the Neturei Karta who, after refusing to speak to a “Zionist”, agreed that they also want a Jewish state, but only when the Messiah comes (switch browser if viewing problems):

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign and their ilk on the far-left either don’t realise this or turn a blind eye to it as what they really want is to lap up the the Neturei Karta’s so-called anti-Zionism.

But, the PSC and their supporters are in for a rude awakening when the Messiah does finally descend from the heavens as they won’t see the Neturei Karta for dust as they will all be heading off to the Jewish state, probably on El Al, at the Messiah’s behest.

Not that most of the Neturei Karta aren’t in Israel anyway. Their presence and synagogues in Mea Shearim are ubiquitous (see below). No one bats an eyelid there where they are viewed as cranks who oppose Israel’s existence while receiving government funding. Meanwhile, in the UK they are closely embraced by the cranks on the far-left and in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

A few years ago I stopped an ultra-religious guy in Jerusalem to ask for directions and by-the-by I asked him what he thought of the ultra-religious anti-Zionists, like the Neturei Karta, in Israel.

He answered that every Jew living in Israel is a Zionist, he just hasn’t realised it yet.

Avraham Kook, himself, couldn’t have given a better answer if he were alive today.

The Neturei Karta living in Mea Shearim, Jerusalem.

The Neturei Karta at prayer in Mea Shearim.

The Neturei Karta at prayer in Mea Shearim.

Lauren Booth: “Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt must liberate Jerusalem”.

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

“It is time, Brothers and Sisters, for Al Quds to be liberated. For Islam and people of the world who wish to pray there to the one God. And we say here today to you Israel, we see your crimes and we loathe your crimes. And to us your nation does not exist, because it is a criminal injustice against humanity. We want to see Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt go to the borders and stop this now. Liberate Al Quds! March to Al Quds!”

These were the words spoken by Lauren Booth (Tony Blair’s half-sister-in-law) at the Al Quds Day terror rally organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission in London’s Trafalgar Square yesterday. She had just pledged her support for Hamas. See clip:

And here are the words of another speaker:

“You can’t take an army, which is a nation’s army, a terrorist nation’s army, and defeat it with sincere small fighters. It needs some of those states around to release their armies to burn that land and then that region will see peace like it had in the past. Because the only time that land has seen peace between Muslim, Christian and Jew living side by side was when sincere Islamic rulers ruled with justice.”

Here’s the clip:

Al Quds Day was creatively subtitled “End the Siege, End the Occupation, End the Israeli Apartheid”, but for brevity they might just have subtitled it “End Israel”.

Placards, see below, were held up which read:

Israel Your Days are Numbered
Death to Israel
Down down Israel
For World Peace Israel Must Be Destroyed
The World Stopped Nazism, The World Must Stop Zionism
We Are All Hizbollah

Yellow Hezbollah flags were everywhere with the flag’s usual gun emblem, which is especially menacing considering that the head of Hizbollah has said that Jews are descended from pigs and apes and that if all the Jews in the world gathered in Israel it would save Hizbollah the trouble of going after them elsewhere.

I felt that the rhetoric and placards were nothing short of incitement to racial hatred and violence, not just against Israel and its citizens, but against the many Israeli tourists and residents in the UK as well as British Jews, and non-Jews, who wish to express support for Israel.

Had similar threats been made against Britain the police would have acted. They can still act as they were recording footage.

But there is no point filming and doing nothing. When will we start to see arrests for incitement?

More photos from yesterday:

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011

Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011