UK: Judge Takes Delegitimisation of Israel to New Depths


This is a guest post by Jonathan Hoffman 

Q: Suppose there are seven people in England who break into a factory and cause £180,000 ($275,000) of damage. They admit their crime of criminal damage. What would be their sentence?

A: It depends. Usually they would be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison. But if the factory is making goods that help Israel to defend its citizens, the seven walk free.

Melanie Phillips’ new (critically-acclaimed) book is calledThe World Turned Upside-Down”. As if to prove her point, seven self-confessed criminals walked free this week from a Court in Hove, England – and the local MP praised the decision! The seven broke into the EDO MBM armaments factory in January 2009 at the time of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The factory was exporting military equipment to Israel. After being effectively directed to acquit them by the Judge, George Bathurst-Norman, the Jury duly obliged, accepting their defence that although they had committed a crime, they were doing so in order to prevent the greater offence of Israeli “war crimes”. In his summing-up, Bathurst-Norman made no bones about his ill-informed political prejudices, saying (according to The Guardian) “You may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered in that time.”

The local MP (Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion) weighed in to support the defendants: ‘The judge highlighted the testimony by Lucas that “all democratic paths had been exhausted” before the activists embarked on their action.’

Yesterday the ridiculous Lucas said she was “absolutely delighted” that the activists had been cleared. She is well on the way to assuming the mantle of resident “Westminster Loony” from George Galloway who was defeated in May’s election. Because  Lucas has history - as some of you will know. She blamed Israel for the Mumbai massacre. and she and her Green Party want an antisemitic boycott of Israeli goods

And it turns out that Bathurst-Norman also has history. As Yisroel Medad points out, he was born in Yaffo.

Could this be a case of “Judge with a grudge”?

And why was Bathchair-Nobrain “brought out of retirement” to try this case?

And what was the role of Brighton Palestine Solidarity Campaign and resident Trotskyite anti-Zionist Tony Greenstein? (of whom Oliver Kamm said “he’s a fantastic ignoramus”).

The decision takes delegitimisation of Israel in the UK to new levels. Not only can you freely trash Israeli goods in a supermarket, practice antisemitism at a British University and get an arrest warrant for an Israeli visiting the UK, you can now break into a factory making exports to Israel and lay waste to the production machinery.

Many people disagree profoundly with Caroline Lucas’ racist demonisation of Israel. Presumably they now have carte-blanche to smash up her house and her property.

Truly this is “A World Turned Upside Down” ……..

Others who have blogged on this appalling miscarriage of justice include Melanie herself, Robin Shepherd and Richard Millett.

PS Please complain about this Judge

POSTSCRIPT According to this week’s JC, the Judge in his summing-up said of one of the defendants (Christopher Osmond):

The jury may feel his efforts investigating the company merit the George Cross.

79 comments on “UK: Judge Takes Delegitimisation of Israel to New Depths

  1. Nachman
    Bathurst-Norman will most certainly have known of the previous case re. EDO MBM. The owner of the factory sought an injunction in 2005 (and an interim injunction was in fact granted):

    There is before the Court an application by the Second Claimant (“Mr. Jones”), on his own behalf and on behalf of those whom he seeks to represent, seeking an interim injunction, restraining the named Defendants and others whom he seeks to bind, under The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (“the Act”), pending trial or further order. At trial, it is the intention of Mr. Jones to claim permanent injunctive relief under the Act.

    There are also before the Court applications by the 3rd, 4th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th and 15th Defendants to strike out the Claimants’ claim, under CPR 3.4 (2)(a) and (b), on the grounds that there are no reasonable grounds for bringing the claim and/or that the claim is an abuse of process and is likely to obstruct the just disposal of these proceedings. Whether or not strictly warranted, I shall treat the 6th Defendant (“Mr. Osmond”) as joining in the strike out application and I shall do the same for a Mr. Ceri Gibbons, of whom more later.

    The rival applications substantially overlap. In a nutshell, the applications concern the drawing of a line between legitimate protest and the infringement of the rights of others. The context is that of “anti-war” protests, more specifically directed at the alleged illegality of the war in Iraq and, to some extent, the Israeli/Palestinian question. In the event, the streets and neighbourhoods of Brighton have come to serve as the stage for these protests.

    See here: http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2005/837.html&query=EDO+and+MBM&method=boolean

  2. Can the British people on this forum not take this with their local MP?

    This must reach parlament.
    The green leader must explain Lucas comments with respect to this case and its possible results on the rule of law in this island.

    This is especialy serious in light of the current fragile climate and the Lib Dems idiotic rehtorics about possible riots as a rsult of needed cuts.

    It is almost as if they wish it.
    Just like those “solidarity movements want violance to errupt to push their agendas rather than what is best for the general public in I/P.

  3. The problem behind this case is huge.

    Let’s say that the group in question destroyed only parts of the VER-2 bomb rack (Zero Retention Force Arming Unit) which were bound for Israel (afain a big question mark since Israel is not the only country using F-16s).

    How can you asume that you saved lives?

    How can you even asume that by doing that the parts you destroyed were going to be used (the conflict was nearing its end at that point).

    But the biggest question is the idiotic assumtion that had Israeli smart bombs not been allowed to be used they would seace fire.

    No!
    They would choose what ever means they have (other less accurate fire power).

    So in effect these idiots actualy risk killing more people (on either side).

    So there we have it.
    They did not try to save lives or not for a greater good (unlest you care for more dead people on both sides).

    The case is not only wrong, and been heard in a biased court, it is also opening doors to very serious implicatios.

  4. Perhaps there are some committed monarchists here who might be able to explain how British society works, but it appears from a cursory internet search that Bathurst Norman is quite well-connected to the aristocracy:

    his wife’s father’s godmother was Queen Mary of Teck!

    Perhaps this explains his ardent pursuit of Jewish interests.

  5. btw, the Daily Mail on 20 June 2006 quotes the old boy as warning that politicians should stop criticising soft sentences by judges. His remarks are ironic, since he himself has in this case clearly espoused politics over the law:

    Judge Bathurst-Norman warned: “The trouble is, if you go on for political reasons undermining the public’s faith in the judiciary, sooner or later you are heading for anarchy and… in due course for the equivalent of a police state.”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-391620/Judge-warns-police-state-amid-calls-sentencing-reform.html#ixzz0snmSSS1P

  6. Itsik, you can’t make that assumption.

    No, there are many questions shopping for answers and I believe that the Lord Chancellor should be made to answer them.

    This case was a put-up job from start to finish. I have lost faith in the impartiality of the law to keep ordinary people safe. I want an explanation!

  7. AKUS

    Britain increasingly resembles Germany the early 1930′s before Hitler seized power

    Come on, AKUS. That’s just nonsense.

  8. To add to Itsik’s advice above, I would suggest that people in the UK write to their MP via the following web page:

    http://www.writetothem.com/

    This page writes to you after a while, asking whether your MP has replied, rather than merely acknowledged your email. If the MP hasn’t, then they chase him/her up

  9. Nachman,

    They sited Israel and not the UK because of the parts which the factory make are being used on F-16.
    The UK does not use F-16 jets.

    But you have a point that this case can be used for every other such attack.

    This is the begining of anarchy.

  10. Of course, Bathurst Norman might more properly be termed an asebe – one who commits the crime of asebeia:

    an outrage committed against something sacred such as the theft of a dedicatory gift, mutilating the statues of the gods, polluting a temple, or in this case traducing British law.

  11. The only people making a mockery of the legal system are the people here.

    It seems whenever you don’t agree with a verdict then you attack the judge, where have we seen this before?

    I fear the only verdict and sentence the likes of JH would be happy with is the hung, drawn & quartered variety.

  12. Pingback: It’s not a crime if it’s against Israel « Public Secrets

  13. Smash EDO

    Press Release

    2 July 2010 (12:am)

    Hove Crown Court, Brighton UK Smash EDO

    Press Release

    Press Contact: Andrew Beckett or Simon Marsh

    The jury in the trial of seven activists who decommissioned a
    Brighton arms factory to prevent Israel war crimes in Gaza in January
    2009, have now found all seven activists not guilty of Conspiracy to
    Cause Criminal Damage by unanimous verdict in Hove Crown Court.

    The seven entered the factory on 16th Jan 2009, causing nearly
    £200,000 of damage and shutting down production. They offered no
    defence other than the prevention of imminent war crimes.

    Simon Levin, Tom Woodhead, Ornella Saibene, Bob Nicholls, Harvey
    Tadman were all acquitted on Wednesday.

    The final two Elijah Smith and and Chris Osmond were acquitted this
    morning.

    Chris Osmond said “This action was taken was taken because of EDO
    MBMs illegal supply of weapons to the Israeli military. We brough the
    suffering of ordinary Palestinians into a British courtroom and
    confronted with the evidence they took the brave decision to find that
    our actions were justified”

    All have now been found not guilty by unanimous verdict.

    A press conference will take place at:

    1:pm at

    Mary Magdalene Community Centre 55 Upper North Street Brighton

    Messages of support have already arrived from Caroline Lucas, MP for
    Brighton Pavilion, and Noam Chomsky.

    Caroline Lucas said:

    ‘I am absolutely delighted that the jury has recognised that the
    actions of the decommissioners were a legitimate response to the
    atrocities being committed in Gaza. I do not advocate non violent
    direct action lightly; however in this situation it is clear that the
    decommissioners had exhausted all democratic avenues and, crucially,
    that their actions were driven by the responsibility to prevent
    further suffering in Gaza.’

    Noam Chomsky said

    ‘I would like to express my respect and admiration for those who are
    undertaking non-violent resistance to oppose British participation in
    Israel’s cruel crimes in Gaza.’

  14. moistly, even a numbskull like you must be aware that it is totally beyond the remit of any judge to introduce his own personal biases into his summing up. And if you had the wit to google some of his other decisions, you would know how biased he is. My point is that the jury should not have been exposed to his biases.

    And you are a numbskull, so you need to have it explained to you that, because a judge is perceived to be powerful and, even in the case of this aged loon, to have knowledge, the jury may find it difficult to ignore directions, even when they are blatantly biased.

    Now, supposing these were Muslim terrorists on trial. Would you be hear bending our ears with your drivel? Somehow I think not.

    Tarquil, you have just proved to me that

  15. (continued) Noam Chomsky has finally slipped his moorings too (as if I had any doubt before…)

  16. Surely the managing director etc of the factory must be livid enough to consider some sort of protest too?
    Jonathan, you’d better wear body armour next time you go to a certain street in Covent Garden …

  17. Margie

    The law is broken here with impunity all the time. The Human Rights Act gives the rights to perpetrators more than to their victims. If one who commits a crime belongs to any group that can claim to be disadvantaged their misdeeds just don’t come to court.

  18. We use to say oylem goylem when looking at the past, unfortunately it is more appropriate today.

    When the judges and legal system bend over backwards to legalize the illegal, it spells the beginning of the end of a democratic society.

    It is sad to see this country become a caricature of itself.

  19. Ariadne: ”the law is broken here with impunity all the time.” you say and I should have remembered that Welsh supermarket where a pair of bored pensioners destroyed produce because of where it came from and ranted at a video-camera about Israel and its iniquities.

    Perhaps they need to be in the court of this judge, “The trouble is, if you go on for political reasons undermining the public’s faith in the judiciary, sooner or later you are heading for anarchy and… in due course for the equivalent of a police state.”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-391620/Judge-warns-police-state-amid-calls-sentencing-reform.html#ixzz0syOsw8xb
    Or perhaps not Since this was the same George B. Norman who acted as judge in the case under discussion.

  20. Well you sow what you reap. It’s a shame, for a long time I defended Israel, but no more. From war crimes to piracy, this is a country that appears daily more and more like south africa did duing the worst days of apartheid, driven by hatred and racism. And how have we got here? Because too many in Israel and on sites like this have deliberately conflated opposition to the political racially based ideology of zionism with that of anti-semitism. The tragedy of this is that all Israeli citizens, including those many who oppose the current right-wing government, will now suffer as the world grow increasingly angry at the crimes perpetuated in the name of Jews. So some activists sbaotage military equipment in the UK? Good on them I say, and good on the British legal system for setting the greater good above the letter of the law, not that posters on this board will understand why this has happened, any more than they understand that what Israel does through operations like ‘cast lead’ makes its long term future ever more doubtful. Where is the Israeli F W De Klerk? Where are the Israeli politicians and leaders with vision and courage? Unless they are found soon then the isolation, the boycotts and the anger will continue to grow across the world – not a sign of anti-semitism but a sign of basic humanity…

  21. When the “the greater good” is condoning acts aimed at preventing Jews from defending themselves the reasonable person can quite easily see where we are headed.

  22. Hey Jim

    Good on them I say, and good on the British legal system for setting the greater good above the letter of the law…

    Yes I remember well this sentence from my studies of Marxist history…
    This is a quote from your great teacher Yosif Stalin. He spoke naturally not only about the British system. This greater good above the letter of the law caused the death of about twenty million human beings.

  23. OK Jim, riddle me this:

    Supposing a mosque which advocated jihad and taught the children who attended its madrassa that Jews, Christians, Rastafarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Zoroastrians and everyone who wasn’t Muslim did not deserve to live.

    Supposing it gave time and space to the likes of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, and licence for them to mess with these young children’s heads at Sunday school;

    Supposing it sold hate-filled DVDs and CDs at its shop;

    Supposing one night when no-one was there a group broke in, smashed the place up and set fire to all those books, DVDs and CDs and did thousands of pounds worth of damage;

    Supposing that this group argued that it had done this “for the greater good” since this mosque was instrumental in brainwashing the suicide terrorists of tomorrow:

    Would you post here in favour of them going scot free, too, or would you want them banged up?

    Take your time, Jim. Take your time

  24. On the matter of “human rights”: Hook aka Abu Hamza may not be extradited to USA to face terrorism charges. The judge in the extradition hearing needs more time to consider whether his human rights have been infringed.

    I heard this man on Radio 4 a few years ago saying that it is permissible to kill non-Muslims – but not of course in this country where it is illegal.

    In his only Usenet posting that I know of he denied charges of paedophilia and styled himself a judge of the shariah court.

    It isn’t exactly on topic but it certainly shows how awry law in this country is.

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