The stateless people in the Middle East you’ve never heard of

The following was written by Ben Cohen and first appeared at JNS.org.

Here’s the setting: a Middle Eastern state filled with skyscrapers and luxury hotels, and blessed with a booming business environment and the close friendship of the United States. Here’s the problem: a substantial segment of its population lives with the constant threat of deportation hanging over it.

Its members cannot obtain birth or marriage certificates, or identity cards, or driving licenses. They are banned from access to public health and education services. Their second-class status means they have no access to the law courts in order to pursue their well-documented claims of discrimination. And on those rare occasions that they summon the will to protest publicly—as they did in 2011, when demonstrators held signs bearing slogans like “I Have a Dream”—the security forces respond with extraordinary brutality, using such weapons as water cannons, concussion grenades, and tear gas with reckless abandon.

All this is depressing enough, but what really saddens me is that many people reading this will quickly conclude that I am talking about the Palestinians. After all, doesn’t what I’ve outlined here sound suspiciously like the “apartheid” system which Israel’s enemies insist has been imposed upon both Arab citizens of Israel and Palestinians in the West Bank?  Isn’t this further evidence of the righteousness of the campaign to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel?

The truth is that the Palestinians do not have to endure this kind of raw discrimination. The situation I’m describing is located in Kuwait, and the people in question are known as Bedoon jinsiya (also spelled “Bidoon” or “Bidun”)—around 120,000 human beings who live without nationality and with none of the rights that flow from citizenship.

Like the other Arab governments, the Kuwaitis are a harsh, unsentimental bunch. Ironically, the Palestinians know this only too well: in 1991, after a U.S.-led coalition liberated oil-rich Kuwait from Iraqi occupation, the entire Palestinian population there was accused of having collaborated with Saddam Hussein. The fact that some did and that many others did not didn’t matter. Over a six-month period, around 200,000 Palestinians were booted out of the emirate in a campaign of violence and terror. PLO leader Yasser Arafat, in a rare moment of candor, asserted that Kuwait’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians was “worse than what has been done by Israel to Palestinians in the occupied territories.”

The Bedoon have faced a similar but more gradual onslaught, albeit without the extensive media coverage which the Palestinians receive. Human rights organizations aren’t in the habit of paying attention to them: a recent article in the Arab newspaper Al Akhbar cited a Human Rights Watch report on the Bedoon from 2011, adding that such documentation is “rare.” As a result, not only do most of us not know who the Bedoon are, but it’s probably also safe to say that the vast majority of westerners have never even heard of them.

Ethnically Arab, the Bedoon are drawn from three main sources. Firstly, those who failed to apply for nationality or lacked the right documentation when Kuwait attained independence in 1961. Secondly, those who were recruited to work in the Kuwaiti security forces during the 1960s, many of whom arrived in the emirate with their families. Thirdly, the children of Kuwaiti mothers and stateless or foreign fathers.

As Human Rights Watch noted, “regional political instability” during the 1980s led to the removal of the meager benefits—which did not include the right to vote—that the Bedoon had enjoyed thus far. They became “illegal residents” and were thus completely excluded from the social services accessed by Kuwaiti citizens. Those who slander Israel’s Law of Return as racist should know that Kuwait operates one of the most restrictive nationality

Sheikh_Sabah_IV

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah. When Bedoon leader Abdullah Atallah declared that the emir was to “blame” for the plight of his people, he was promptly arrested for the “insult” and now faces a five-year prison sentence. Credit: The White House.

laws in the region, amended many times since it was first passed in order to make the requirements for citizenship more stringent. It has now gotten to the point where Kuwaiti women cannot pass on their nationality to their children, even when those children are not eligible for their father’s nationality.

Kuwait’s official position is that there is no problem of statelessness in the emirate. Half-hearted attempts by the government to address the situation of the Bedoon have come to nothing, and over the last month, many Bedoon have begun protesting again. When one Bedoon leader, Abdullah Atallah, bravely declared that Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah was to “blame” for the plight of his people, he was promptly arrested for this “insult,” and now faces a five-year prison sentence. Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti authorities have threatened that further protests will result in the deportation of those involved.

It’s high time that Kuwait be held accountable for enforcing a system that looks like, well, apartheid. But no one is doing so. I haven’t seen, for example, students at the elite Dartmouth College protesting against their university’s “American University of Kuwait” program. I’m not aware of any campuses hosting “Kuwaiti Apartheid Week” events.

There’s a whole Division of Palestinian Rights at the U.N., but that organization is silent on the Bedoon of Kuwait.

We can whine about the double standards. Or we can press our own Jewish leaders to raise cases like the Bedoon with their government interlocutors, in the name of both universal human rights and protecting Israel’s democratic reputation. It is time to go on the offensive.

(Ben Cohen is the Shillman Analyst for JNS.org. His writings on Jewish affairs and Middle Eastern politics have been published in Commentary, the New York Post, Haaretz, Jewish Ideas Daily and many other publications.)

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The BNP’s slow return to antisemitism

Cross posted by Dave Rich at the CST

Two recent statements by the British National Party and its leader Nick Griffin, have added to a growing sense that the party is returning to its antisemitic roots.

Like several far right parties in Western Europe, the BNP has spent the past few years insisting that any antisemitism or neo-Nazism was in its past. This coincided with a focus on Muslims as the primary target for the BNP’s propaganda. In 2006, Griffin even wrote a long article on the BNP website attacking “Judeo-obsessives” who see a Jewish conspiracy behind all the troubles of the world.

Coming from the author of Who Are The Mindbenders?, a conspiracy tract that simply listed Jews who worked in the media (as if that demonstrated a Jewish conspiracy to brainwash the unsuspecting masses), this was quite a u-turn.

In his infamous 2009 appearance on BBC’s Question Time, Griffin claimed to support Israel and danced around his history of Holocaust Denial. In fact Griffin has never truly changed his support for Holocaust Denial. This is telling: Holocaust Denial is a core defining belief of the neo-Nazi far right. If Griffin acknowledged the full-scale and horror of the Nazi plan to exterminate European Jewry, he would take the BNP out of the far right forever. Instead, he would rather befriend the rising stars of the Hungarian and Greek far right. Note the antisemitic image that the BNP used to illustrate the article in the preceding link, and the reference to “international Zionists” in the headline.

The BNP took another step back towards its past in its statement on the crisis in Ukraine, which deployed the old antisemitic idea that Bolshevism was a Jewish movement. This is not just a neo-Nazi idea: it comes directly from the original Nazis themselves. The BNP’s added twist was to connect this to a very modern antisemitic conspiracy about “neo-cons” in the West:

The greatest irony of all is that, while naive Ukrainian nationalists blame Russia for the murder of millions during the 1930s, the Bolsheviks were overwhelmingly not Russian at all, although the majority of their victims were.

Indeed, the radical Jewish racism and supremacism and anti-Christian hatred that in the 1930s produced the Bolshevik terror, now largely find their outlet in the extreme Zionism, anti-white fanaticism and globalism of the neo-cons.

The Ukrainian nationalists who provided the backbone of the recent revolution/coup against the elected but pro-Russian government are undoubtedly sincere, but they have been manipulated, organised, funded and armed by sinister forces in the West, which are in reality very far from being Western.

The BNP’s linkage of “Jewish racism”, “extreme Zionism”, “anti-white fanaticism” and “globalism” may seem bizarre to contemporary ears, but it makes perfect sense in the strange, conspiracy-addled world of the far right. It has long been a staple of far right belief that post-war non-white immigration to Britain (and other Western nations) is part of a Jewish plot to weaken and destroy the white race. This rarely makes it into BNP propaganda nowadays, mainly because it sounds completely bonkers to the average voter. But in recent years the BNP has lost most of its council seats and Griffin will probably lose his seat in the European Parliament in May; while the EDL’s street activism has left the BNP looking rather pedestrian (before the EDL itself imploded last year). So if the BNP is going to stop prioritising electoral politics, we can expect a return to the overt antisemitism and conspiracy theories that have been hidden away for the past few years.

What would this kind of politics look like? It would look like the statement Griffin made in the European Parliament this week, which you can watch below (or if you can’t stomach it, just read the transcript):

An unholy alliance of leftists, capitalists and Zionist supremacists has schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation with the deliberate aim of breeding us out of existence in our own homelands. As indigenous resistance to this human genetic modification industry grows, the criminal elite seeks new ways to camouflage their project. First, their immigrant pawns were temporary guest workers. Then it was a multiracial experiment. Then they were refugees. Then the answer to a shrinking population. Different excuses, different lies. And asylum is just another one, but the real aim stays the same: the biggest genocide in human history, the final solution of the Christian European problem. This crime demands a new set of Nuremberg trials and you people will be in the dock.

And for an older version of the same idea, see this 1962 poster from the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi predecessor of the BNP:

poster

 

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Rankin: The apology

Cross posted from the blog of the CST

Yesterday’s CST blog (scroll below, or see here) covered allegations by the celebs’ photographer Rankin about movie stars running scared of the power of American “Jewish zealots“.

Today’s Telegraph carries an apology from Rankin:

In an interview that was set up with The Independent about the launch of [a fashion magazine], I regret responding so glibly to off-topic questions on such a difficult and sensitive subject. Of course this is not my official position and I apologise wholeheartedly for my use of language and any offence this may have caused.

The article includes this quote from CST:

It’s allegations about Jewish power over the media that distinguishes anti-Semitism from other forms of racism.

Rankin may well not be an anti-Semite, in which case he should learn not to spread the stink of antisemitic claims about Jews running the media and Hollywood.

The Independent, which carried the offensive claims, today published this letter from CST:

Your article about Scarlett Johansson (Rankin and a new take on why Scarlett quit Oxfam) and the supposed “power of a far right pro-lsrael lobby within the US” was redolent of openly antisemitic smears about Jews running Hollywood and the media.

Worse, the article relied upon quotes by the photographer Rankin that actually made no mention of “pro-Israel”. Instead, you quoted him saying “the Jewish zealots are so powerful” and “the main problem for me in all this is that kind of extreme Judaism”.

Rankin is as “a humanitarian”, so is no antisemite, but he seems to repeats antisemitic conspiracy theory. What a fitting snapshot of antisemitism today.

All of which should help to draw a line under this, but who would bet how much time will pass before a mainstream UK media outlet carries another such article, in one form or another. (The AIPAC conference starts on 2nd March, so anybody betting beyond that date will likely be on a loser.)

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Independent: Rankin’s snapshot of antisemitism today

Cross posted from the blog of the CST

[Yesterday's] Independent carries an interview with celebrity photographer, Rankin. He inadvertently provides a brilliant snapshot of the paradox that underpins so much of today’s antisemitism.

Rankin speaks as “a humanitarian”, so presumably is no antisemite. Nevertheless, he repeats antisemitic conspiracy theory. That is the snapshot. It shows how modern (and old) antisemitism is about conspiracy theory, rather than race theory. As so often, the focus is against American Jews.

This is what it boils down to:

Jewish zealots…so powerful…kind of extreme Judaism…They will blacklist you…pro-Palestinian? F**king forget it…

Single names tend to denote Brazilian footballers, famous dead Russians, or really cool people – Rankin is the latter, a leading British photographer of fashionistas and luvvies.

Entitled “Rankin and a new take on why Scarlett quit Oxfam“, the Independent article by Jenn Selby quotes him as saying that Scarlett Johansson chose the Israeli company SodaStream over Oxfam because:

in America, the Jewish zealots are so powerful. Especially in the entertainment industry…what they could do to her career

Selby interviewed Rankin at length. In her article, she writes of his concerns, because apparently “the power of a far right pro-Israel lobby within the US makes it increasingly tough for creative artists to take the ethical high ground in favour of Palestinians“.

Actually, nowhere is Rankin actually quoted as saying “far right pro-Israel“. This appears to be Selby’s paraphrasing or interpretation of his remarks. Did the Independent notice this? Did Selby? It all shows how permeable the boundaries are. Rankin is also quoted as saying:

The main problem for me in all this is that kind of extreme Judaism.

What is this “kind of extreme Judaism“? He continues:

That extreme belief that this [ie Israel / Palestine] is their homeland and those people [ie Palestinians] are worthless to them. That’s very powerful in America. They will blacklist you. Its worse than McCarthyism. Are you pro-Palestinian? Forget it?

(The website version goes further than the print version, quoting, “You are pro-Palestinian? F**king forget it“.)

Of course, we can presume that Rankin is no antisemite. He tells us he is “fascinated from a humanitarian perspective” and is “just about human beings“. Nevertheless, here he is aping the blatant antisemitic smear about Jews running the media and Hollywood. It is all so typical of what Brendan O’Neill recently described as:

not a resurrection of old, explicitly racial fears of the Jews, but rather the mainstreaming of the [antisemitic] conspiratorial imagination

The antisemitic conspiratorial imagination is amplified by Rankin’s explanation of how this all supposedly works:

People have said to me that if you go to Palestine you will be put on a list and it doesn’t matter if you’re a humanitarian. You will be put on a list…I’m just about human beings.

Note the opener, “people have said to me…You will be put on a list“. And that is the conspiracy done.

Like all good photographers, Rankin has captured the essence of things.

Rankin names nobody. Not Steven Spielberg, not Aaron Sorkin and certainly not Woody Allen. Had he done so, perhaps the Independent’s lawyers would have stepped in on libel grounds. Instead, we can join the dots:

Jewish zealots…so powerful…kind of extreme Judaism…They will blacklist you…pro-Palestinian? F**king forget it…You will be put on a list.

Finally, it is deeply depressing to see this in the Independent. Any newspaper that regularly publishes Howard Jacobson’s stunning deconstructions and analyses of antisemitism cannot be simply dismissed as unknowing, far less as antisemitic. Similarly, its recent articles on French antisemite Dieudonne have been amongst the most impressive of any UK media outlet…and yet, it still photoshopped and published this repellent snapshot.

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False charge of ‘Palestinian Kids in Cages’ lives on in Australian documentary

The following was published at CAMERA

The false accusation that Israel maintained a longstanding practice of caging Palestinian children outdoors was repeated in several media outlets before being corrected by those outlets and repudiated by multiple sources. Yet it continues to gain new life as one Israeli media outlet steadfastly refuses to set the record straight.

The media charges began with a news article on Dec. 31 in the Jerusalem Post, Livni halts practice of placing detained Palestinian children in outdoor cages.” The story cited an NGO, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), to allege that there was a “longstanding” Israeli policy of torturing Palestinian children by caging them outdoors. The following day, a London-based newspaper, The Independent, published a similar article entitled “Israel government tortures Palestinian children by keeping them in cages, human rights group says.” Two subsequent Ha’aretzarticles also mentioned the Israeli practice allegedly targeting Palestinian children.

PCATI, the original source of the false allegations, wrongly conflated the holding of Israeli detainees in outdoor prison cells (referred to as “cages”) with general accusations of ill-treatment targeting Palestinians.  Referring to  “caging” as an example of the alleged torture of Palestinian children, the NGO linked to an earlier Hebrew-language statement from the Office of the Public Defender, which in turn was based on interviews with Israeli detainees at a prison transit facility. (There was no mention here of any Palestinians.) Those detainees reported being held temporarily in outdoor cells during severe weather as they awaited transfer to their court hearings. The Public Defender’s Office gave the report to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who contacted the Minister of Public Security and the commissioner of the Israel Prison Service.  The practice, which had been in place for several months, was immediately stopped.  From the start, this was a domestic issue related to conduct by the prison system toward Israeli detainees of whatever background that was distorted into an allegation of torture and abuse targeting Palestinian children.

After CAMERA pointed out the discrepancy between PCATI’s accusation and the statement to which it was linked, the NGO acknowledged that Palestinians were never mentioned in the Public Defender’s report and posted a clarification to that effect on its website. CAMERA also contacted The Independent and Ha’aretz, who similarly corrected their stories.

CAMERA and its affiliates gathered additional evidence from multiple sources, including statements from the Public Defender’s Office, the Justice Ministry, the Israeli Prison Authority, as well as remarks about the matter by the Minister of Public Security at a Knesset session following the release of the Public Defender’s statement, the Knesset Public Petitions Committee session that was referenced in the Jerusalem Post article and Hebrew-language reports about the matter, all of which made it undeniably clear that the short-term practice of temporarily holding detainees in outdoor holding cells, or  “cages,” was never directed at Palestinian children or Palestinian adults.

 For the past six weeks, since the Jerusalem Post article was originally published, CAMERA has appealed repeatedly to the newspaper’s journalists and editors, urging them to correct the misleading story, but to no avail.  
 
Unfortunately, the Jerusalem Post’s  inexplicable refusal to set the record straight has opened the door to the ongoing perpetration of an egregious falsehood, as evidenced by a vitriolic Australian documentary yesterday. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation documentary, “Four Corners,” promoted a narrative of brutal abuse by Israel of Palestinian children. It included the Jerusalem Post‘s story of holding children overnight in outdoor cages. At approximately 32 minutes into the broadcast, the documentary zooms in on the Post‘s print story, graphically underscoring just how much damage the uncorrected report inflicts:
jerusalempostfourcorners

 

 

Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi apologises for comparing Gaza to the Holocaust.

Cross posted by London based blogger Richard Millett

Well done, Tal Ofer! After I reported on Thursday that during Wednesday’s parliamentary debate on Gaza Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi had compared the situation of the Palestinians in Gaza to that of Jews living in Nazi Germany Labour Party activist Ofer immediately reported her remarks to Labour’s HQ and brought it to the attention of the media generally.

Qureshi had said:

“What has struck me in all this is that the state of Israel was founded because of what happened to the millions and millions of Jews who suffered genocide. Their properties, homes and land—everything—were taken away, and they were deprived of rights. Of course, many millions perished. It is quite strange that some of the people who are running the state of Israel seem to be quite complacent and happy to allow the same to happen in Gaza.”

You cannot get more offensive to the few remaining Holocaust survivors and to those who lost loved ones in Auschwitz, Belsen etc.

Gaza is no Belsen. And the suffering in Gaza is at the behest of Islamist-terror organisation Hamas which is happy to oppress its own people so that useful idiots in the West will blame Israel.

The response to Qureshi’s remarks from the Labour Party itself was an utter disgrace:

“These remarks were taken completely out of context. Yasmin Qureshi was not equating events in Gaza with the Holocaust. As an MP who has visited Auschwitz and has campaigned all her life against racism and anti-Semitism she would not do so.”

However, soon after, Qureshi must have had a pang of conscience and came out with this apology:

“The debate was about the plight of the Palestinian people and in no way did I mean to equate events in Gaza with the Holocaust. I apologise for any offence caused. I am also personally hurt if people thought I meant this. As someone who has visited the crematoria and gas chambers of Auschwitz I know the Holocaust was the most brutal act of genocide of the 20th Century and no-one should seek to underestimate its impact.”

So Qureshi is “personally hurt”? Poor her. Not as “personally hurt” as those who were in Auschwitz or Belsen etc or lost family there.

But let’s all feel sorry for Qureshi instead!

It is also pretty frustrating that Labour List’s Mark Ferguson thinks “Qureshi’s apology should draw a line under this, and rightly so. If there was no intention to cause offence or equate events in Gaza with the Holocaust I am happy to accept that.”

How can there have been “no intention”? Her words are 100% clear. There is no nuance!

And then what does Ferguson think of Gerald Kaufman MP’s words about Israelis?:

“Go to Tel Aviv, as I did not long ago, and watch them sitting complacently outside their pavement cafés. They do not give a damn about their fellow human beings perhaps half an hour away.”

The remainder of Qureshi’s speech was also disgraceful, especially the way she frames Jews solely by religion. She said, referring indirectly to Kaufman:

“I want to praise the people in Israel and the Jewish people in this country who campaign actively for the rights of Palestinians. Like my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Gorton, I am sure that they are criticised by other Jewish people perhaps for trying to betray the state of Israel”.

But the likes of Kaufman are criticised not just by “Jewish people” but people of all religions and none. It is this division of Jews into “good Jew/bad Jew” that is almost tantamount to inciting racial hatred.

Meanwhile, these Holocaust comparisons are slowly, slowly becoming the norm.

American Professor Joel Beinin told a student audience at SOAS recently that Israel is putting the Bedouin into “concentration camps” and at a recent War On Want talk at SOAS students were told that the Palestinians are living in “apartheid ghettos”.

Thanks to the rhetoric of Beinin, Qureshi, War On Want and others Israeli Jews (and, by extension, any Jew that supports Israel) are slowly becoming thought of as Nazis.

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A day of anti-Israel hatred and Holocaust trivialisation in Parliament.

Cross posted by London based blogger Richard Millett

Ismail Patel, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Megan Driscoll, Linda Ramsden in Parliament .

Ismail Patel, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Megan Driscoll, Linda Ramsden in Parliament .

“It was supposed to be Never Again” declared Ismail Patel but the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, he said, are “oppressed”, undergoing “ethnic cleansing” and suffering a “genocide”.

Patel, Chair of Friends of Al Aqsa, was speaking in the Grimmond Room of Britain’s Houses of Parliament last night at an event to launch his organisation’s “Jerusalem Report” which focuses on “Protecting Palestinian Citizenship Rights in East Jerusalem.”

According to Megan Driscoll, Advocacy Officer at Coalition for Jerusalem (based in Jerusalem), who spoke first, Israel’s “Jerusalem Masterplan” is to secure the Jewish majority in the city.

Driscoll said that the Palestinian population there is currently 34% and that Israel’s aim is to drive this down to 30% and probably lower.

The way Israel is doing this, she continued, is through “residency revocation” which makes Jerusalem Palestinians “stateless”.

Driscoll said Israel revokes residency if Palestinians have lived abroad for more than seven years or have taken citizenship in another country.

She said there is also a Jerusalem “centre of life” test that Palestinians must pass. This, she said, is so stringent that even Palestinians still living in Jerusalem have not been able to prove such centrality and have lost their residency rights.

Driscoll claimed that since 1967 there have been over 14,000 such “residency revocations”. She referred to this as the “Quiet Deportation” and said it was successful because instead of being “mass collective punishment” it received less attention in the media because it was executed against individuals and families.

Linda Ramsden, Director of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, said that Israel’s “policy of displacement began in 1948 when 530 Palestinian villages were demolished and 750,000 Palestinians made refugees”.

She described how most Palestinians applying for building permits are refused because they cannot prove ownership of land due to a lack of documents (does it not occur to Ramsden that maybe, just maybe, they do not own the land in question?).

Ramsden said that once a house is built without a permit a Palestinian family will suffer from stress worrying which day their home will be demolished. She said this causes a lot of “stress related illness”.

When a house is due to be demolished, she continued, hundreds of police and dogs arrive which, she said, is “very frightening”. Bulldozers are used for the demolition and pneumatic drills destroy the base of the house.

She claimed the families are fined and sent a bill for the demolition and that some Palestinians demolish their own homes to avoid these “horrendous costs”.

Meanwhile, last night’s event was hosted and chaired by the Labour MP for Bolton South-East Yasmin Qureshi. Qureshi was fresh from the House of Commons debate that afternoon on the situation in Gaza.

Qureshi is very quietly spoken but the words that come out of her mouth are pure poison where Israel is concerned. If one thinks that Ismail Patel’s application of the term “Never Again” to the Palestinians was bad enough, Qureshi’s Holocaust minimization is more shocking.

Here is what she said in yesterday’s Parliamentary debate:

“What has struck me in all this is that the state of Israel was founded because of what happened to the millions and millions of Jews who suffered genocide. Their properties, homes and land—everything—were taken away, and they were deprived of rights. Of course, many millions perished. It is quite strange that some of the people who are running the state of Israel seem to be quite complacent and happy to allow the same to happen in Gaza.” (my emphasis)

This followed Labour MP Gerald Kaufman’s attack on ALL Israelis in the same debate:

“Again and again, Israel seeks to justify the vile injustices that it imposes on the people of Gaza and the west bank on the grounds of the holocaust. Last week, we commemorated the holocaust; 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza are being penalised with that as the justification…It is totally unacceptable that the Israelis should behave in such a way, but they do not care. Go to Tel Aviv, as I did not long ago, and watch them sitting complacently outside their pavement cafés. They do not give a damn about their fellow human beings perhaps half an hour away.” (my emphasis)

This is how Britain’s Parliament is sometimes so abused. While innocent Syrians are being murdered and left permanently disabled by barrel bombs dropped out of the sky by Assad’s forces certain MPs are offensive about Israel, Israelis and the Holocaust instead.

While Kaufman voted against any intervention in Syria, Qureshi couldn’t even be bothered to turn up to that vote last August!

Last night’s event launching the “Jerusalem Report” was sold out but due to the strike on the London underground not many people could get there.

It must be galling that when so much effort has been put into producing an evening of hatred, lies and Holocaust minimization so few people are there to appreciate your efforts.

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The political exploitation of Rachel Corrie continues.

Cross posted by London-based blogger, Richard Millett

When Craig Corrie approached a group of pro-Israel activists outside the Hackney Empire before the start of a memorial concert for Rachel Corrie everyone was worried he would be angry. It was 1st November 2005, more than two years after Rachel Corrie, his daughter, was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza. She was 23.

The activists were holding up photos of Israeli Rachels murdered by Palestinian terrorists. Rachel Thaler was 16 when she died. She was also a British citizen. The others were Rachel Levy, 17, Rachel Levi, 19, Rachel Charhi, 36, Rachel Gavish, 50, Rachel Ben Abu, 16, Rachel Kol, 53, and Rachel Shabo, 40.

As Tom Gross wrote in 2005 “Even though Thaler was a British citizen, born in London, where her grandparents still live, her death has never been mentioned in a British newspaper.”

But Mr Corrie was not angry. Instead, he was very polite and after he had looked over the photos of the Rachels he said that they were all in his thoughts.

Sadly, his and his wife’s Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice now engages in the childish, ignorant politics of the average anti-Israel activist. The foundation calls for a boycott of Israel and for “the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes”, which would inevitably mean Israel’s destruction.

When I searched the foundation for mentions of the Israeli Rachels it returned “No posts found”.

Yesterday, I was at SOAS in London for the Not Afraid To Look exhibition, which is based on the photos and quotes of Tom Hurndall, aged 22 when he died from his injuries after being shot by an Israeli soldier in Gaza, and Rachel Corrie.

1512663_661409183923105_1219820915_n

Both were “trained by” the International Solidarity Movement. ISM, the exhibition states, “provided support through non-violent action against arbitrary house demolitions and land theft by the occupying Israeli forces”.

Nowhere, was it mentioned that Israel imprisoned the soldier that shot Tom or that a thorough investigation acquitted the bulldozer driver of intentionally killing Rachel.

In a sideroom at SOAS I also attended a four-way Skype session that linked up activists in London, Gaza, Edinburgh and Olympia in Washington state, USA where the Corries are based. Tom’s mother, Jocelyn, was in the room in London.

Sadly, Rachel and Tom’s memories were commemorated by racist, childish songs sung from Edinburgh calling for Israel to be boycotted.

Here are some of the lines:

Don’t buy dates, don’t buy jaffa fruits, don’t buy Israeli wines, there’s a boycott going on.

Just read the labels, no looking back, if made in Israel, it stays on the rack.

Tell all your neighbours, don’t be shy, read all the labels before you shop, Israel’s apartheid’s got to stop.

Afterwards, Cindy Corrie praised those lyrics. Haider Eid, in Gaza, told the four-way Skype audience that Israel’s Operation Cast Lead “happened in response to harmless rockets from Gaza”. Meanwhile, the main guest, Jeremy Corbyn MP, failed to show up.

I can understand that the families of Tom and Rachel want justice but when you read the quotes of their children below, especially Tom’s, one has to question just what they were doing in such a dangerous predicament, especially considering that Tom arrived in Gaza AFTER Rachel had been killed.

The two families will, no doubt, continue their quest against Israel but their children should not have been in Gaza and complicity in their tragic deaths lies not just with Israel but with Yasser Arafat, who launched the bloody Second Intifada, themselves as parents for not dissuading their children from going to a war zone and with the ISM who took them there.

Quotes from Not Afraid To Look:

“It is strange to know that each night people are shot and killed for breaking military curfew. And in the darkness on the north-west side there is an Israeli settlement a few hundred metres away with a military sniper in between. Any one of us four could be being watched through a sniper’s sights at this moment. The certainty is that they are watching and it is on the decision of any one Israeli soldier or settler that my life depends. I know that I’d probably never know what hit me, but it’s part of the job to be as visible as possible.” Tom Hurndall 6/4/03

“Two ‘young’ brothers shot at by snipers in the tower. Mustafa hit in leg, Rushdie in throat while in the bathroom (through a misted glass window). Ironically, his best hope of survival is if his family pays $4,000 and apply to take him to Israel for treatment.” Tom Hurndall 11/4/03

“Our job is to keep water pumping machinery on-line during the curfew because Palestinian technicians would be shot at if they came out to do it. We stand a better chance.” Tom Hurndall 6/4/03

“It seems that all over Palestine the strategy is the same…They shoot at water tanks on the top of houses for fun. They destroy wells, give all the water supply to settlements and place the off-switch in settlers’ hands to use as a weapon. Everything is deliberately designed to lower the standards of life for Palestinians so that they just get up and leave.” Tom Hurndall 7/4/2003

“I think it is maybe official now that Rafah is the poorest place in the world.” Rachel Corrie 27/2/03

“Rachel (Corrie) was killed in Rafah a few weeks ago. It seems so unfair. Not just on the surface but looking at the images. I wonder how few or how many heard of it on the news and just counted it as another death, just another number…” Tom Hurndall 3/4/03

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A typical Guardian distortion about Ariel Sharon and Sabra/Shatila massacre

Cross posted from The Commentator with the expressed permission of their publisher, Robin Shepherd

There is obviously nothing funny about the 1982 massacre in Lebanon of hundreds of mainly Muslim Palestinians at the hands of an Arab Christian militia at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

But, since practically the entire world has blamed the incident on Israel and one Ariel Sharon, it is hard not to chuckle at the way he once characterised the situation following his removal as defence minister, not for carrying out the massacre of course, but for not doing enough to prevent a massacre carried out by others.

“I’m the only minister of defence in the world — the only one — who left his post and went back to work on a tractor, on his farm, as a result of what Christians did to Muslims. The only one.”

It’s so true, and so piercing because it cuts down to size the flat-out liars who have always blamed him for something he just didn’t do. It can even get as absurd as this nasty little lie slipped into today’s editorial in the Guardian, without question the most bigoted British newspaper when it comes to matters Israeli.

“In 1982, serving as defence minister, he allowed Christian Phalangists into the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Shatila, where they massacred more than 700 men, women and children. An Israeli government inquiry concluded that Mr Sharon bore personal responsibility for the incident,” the paper, which is the house journal of the BBC said.

The only way to make sense of this garbage is to conclude that Sharon must have ordered the Phalangists to do it — which obviously he didn’t — or that he was clairvoyant — which obviously he wasn’t; and knew in advance exactly what was going to happen.

The lie is doubled up with reference to the Israeli government report which simply says he was responsible for not doing enough to stop the incident, not that he actually bore responsibility for what took place. That’s why he and several others were held to have had a measure of indirectresponsibility, but not to have been responsible for the incident itself.

In other words, the truth is the exact opposite of what the Guardian says it is. And they know it.

The Guardian also knows that less than 1 percent of readers will drill down to get to the truth; and in spreading outright lies, a 99 percent success rate is good enough for them. It’s all done of course to discredit, by association, Israel as a whole, because mud sticks.

Oh, you don’t think mud sticks?

Let’s finish with a question or two. Everyone who has heard of Sabra and Shatila has heard of Ariel Sharon in relation to it. But how many people do you think know the names of the Phalangist leaders who actually commanded, led and carried out the massacre?

Do you know their names? Worth a thought isn’t it…?

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With Ariel Sharon’s Death, Expect the Usual Falsehoods

The following report was written by Alex Safian and published at CAMERA

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died [yesterday] at a hospital in Israel at the age of 85, eight years after a debilitating stroke left him in a near coma. When Sharon, considered by many military experts to have been one of the leading generals of the twentieth century, suffered the stroke in 2006, Op-Ed writers and reporters published numerous retrospective pieces trying to sum-up his career.

Some, by Saree Makdisi and the late Christopher Hitchens, for example, were nothing but anti-Sharon screeds, while others, though somewhat more responsible, repeated many of the same discredited allegations that have long been used by polemicists to unfairly malign the Israeli leader.

Already CNN has posted stories distorting Sharon’s and Israel’s history. For example Ariel Sharon: Hero or butcher? Five things to know claims that:

Sharon long insisted that a controversial visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s most holy sites, in 2000 was not a provocation.

But it is considered among many to be one of the flashpoints that sparked the Second Intifada, a Palestinian uprising that followed a failed round of peace talks with Israelis. During the visit, Sharon walked through the mosque’s compound. Within hours, protests over his visit turned violent.

The mosque and its compound sits on Temple Mount, a holy site for Jews, that is known to Muslims as Haram al Sharif, “The Noble Sanctuary.”

Of course, and contrary to CNN, the Temple Mount is not just a “holy site for Jews,” it is the holiest site for Jews, equivalent to what Mecca and Medina are for Muslims. Indeed, its holiness is exactly why the Muslim conquerors of Jerusalem built their mosque there, on the site of the Jews’ ancient temples. And contrary to the impression left by CNN, Sharon never entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock. Furthermore, as detailed below, Arafat had promised US leaders before Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount that he would prevent any violence, then, in the words of Dennis Ross, he “didn’t lift a finger.” And, of course, the “failed round of peace talks” resulted from Arafat’s walk out following Israeli PM Barak’s acceptance of the Clinton Parameters.

Read the rest of the report, here.

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A wall is not equivalent to a suicide bomber: Denis MacEoin responds to Bethlehem Unwrapped

The following essay was written by Denis MacEeoin and originally posted at Gatestone Institute.

There has been an enormous uproar over the decision by the Church of St. James at Piccadilly to erect a mock version of a wall that is part of Israel’s security barrier around the West Bank. The barrier is seen in black-and-white, politically biased terms, something that has become commonplace among politically motivated Christians in the UK, for whom there is only one narrative in the Middle East, namely the Palestinian narrative.

The attack on Israel that it represents is high-minded, inarticulate, and without compassion for the Jewish people. It is also without compassion for those Christians who live in the West Bank and are attacked, persecuted, and expelled by their Muslim neighbours: an outrage St. James’s and its clerics fail to address.

Visitors to the festival inscribe their messages on the replica wall at St. James Church, London.

Visitors to the festival inscribe their messages on the replica wall at St. James Church, London.

The Christians who berate Israel in this fashion have two biases. First, they seem to be in favor of a style of Christianity that takes Christ’s vocation for the poor — a value that has led to so much good throughout history — and blends it with political strategies that may sound well-intended, but that often harbor dark and corrosive side-effects.

It has for some time seemed natural to many Christians to follow a political path that disparages the norms of stable society by taking decent liberal values to extremes: a hatred for colonialism that has led to a wider hatred of the West and its values, a love for the Third World that results in turning a blind eye to things such as honor killings and executions for apostasy, and a concerted hatred for Israel that slips all too easily into anti-Semitism in a bizarre reflection of the far right.

What it adds up to is a striving for political correctness above all other values.

Where well-intentioned yet dangerous strategies lead, some Christians (and others) follow all too eagerly. Thus, Israel is condemned as an oppressive “colonialist” state, as an “apartheid” state, even as a “Nazi state,” and actions that are in fact defensive are interpreted as hate-driven persecution of an innocent, harmless people who have done nothing to deserve the predicament in which they find themselves.

The second bias is more disturbing. The man behind the St. James Wall is none other than Stephen Sizer, an Anglican clergyman who has become obsessed with the wrongs of Israel. The church-based group he founded, Sabeel (Arabic for “path”), pursues his doctrine of supercessionism.

Supersessionism, which has an ignoble history in the Christian churches, is the doctrine that God has finished with the Jews, that the Covenant he made with them has been superseded through a new Covenant with Christ. Whatever its value as a theological concept, when supercessionism is allied with the sort of “far-left” political thought we have looked at above, it creates a particularly unpleasant form of anti-Semitism. If the Jews have been abandoned by God, it goes, they have no rights on this earth. Above all, their claim to the Holy Land is spurious and must be resisted. Curiously, what the Christians who oppose Jewish rights in Israel are actually doing is to endorse the Muslim belief that all the land belongs to them — by right of conquest. But Muslim persecution of Christians, Jews, Baha’is and others across the Middle East, is all right.

The Wall expresses this supercessionist philosophy very well. It is no good to argue with the anti-Israel crowd that the barrier saves lives, that it has already saved hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lives. If the Palestinians are hurting, they will say, and are being prevented from launching terror attacks that will kill innocent Israeli men, women, and children, then every last inch of the barrier must be torn down, for nothing should stand in the way of the Palestinian freedom to kill and maim, least of all Jews.

Just over a year ago, after a Christian conference on Israel and the Palestinians, I wrote a long report that showed the prejudice that ran right through the proceedings. One speaker made an impression on me. She belonged to EAPPI, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme for Palestine and Israel, which takes visitors to the West Bank and gives them a pro-Palestinian story. This woman spoke for half-an-hour on the checkpoints manned by Israeli troops in the West Bank. Having lived some of the time in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, I know a bit about checkpoints. The EAPPI speaker complained that these checkpoints should be torn down, like the Wall. No-one challenged her by pointing out the number of times when Palestinian terrorists tried to go through checkpoints with weapons and suicide belts. What did this woman want? More dead Jews? Because that is what any dismantling of checkpoints would lead to.

There is a constant problem for those of us who provide information in support of Israel, and it strikes me as the reflection of a deep moral emptiness: How often do we point out that there are countries all round the world that carry out human rights abuses on a grand scale, and that Israel, by comparison, is a model democracy that is only forced to take action to defend the country and to save Israeli lives. No one ever seems to understand what that is about. The answer is usually along the lines of, “Just because other countries are worse doesn’t mean we shouldn’t protest about Israel.” (They might add, “and that empowers us to ignore what goes on in Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, China or any of those other countries we aren’t interested in.”)

St. James’s officials hold radical perspectives on many issues, using a range of liberation theologies to bolster their position. Much of this is commendable, such as the value they place on black people, women, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. But it seems at times that the motive for such support may be less Christian charity and more a need to be politically correct in their politics.

One of Israel’s great achievements is the way it has become the only country in the Middle East (and beyond) where gay men and women are safe from attacks, imprisonment, torture or execution. We often refer to this as a sign that Israel is a democratic, tolerant society, like anywhere in Europe or North America. It is a justifiable cause for pride in a country surrounded by states that condemn all homosexuals as criminals. But put this to anyone who takes a pro-Palestinian line and they might tell you this is just “pinkwashing,” which is to say that Israel pretends to be tolerant in order to whitewash its crimes towards the Palestinians, that their concern for minorities is not genuine.

In other words, whatever Israel does, it cannot win. It can never be granted the benefit of the doubt. It must always be wrong, whatever its actions: To defend itself against terror attacks is aggression against innocent people. To build a wall and fence that save lives has nothing to do with self-defense, but is designed as part of a creeping occupation of Palestinian territory. Whatever the Biblical record, Christians acquiesce in the Palestinian claim that there were never Jews in the Middle East, that they are all European immigrants who arrived holding machine guns, that there was never a Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount (not even the one Jesus visited), that Palestinians — who did not exist by that name until the establishment of the British Mandate of Palestine in 1920 and who arrived in the Levant in 637 with the Arab invasions after Muhammad — have lived on the land for 9000 years.

Again, I am moved to suggest that Christians who believe such nonsense are motivated, not by the Bible text or by Biblical archaeology, but by a need to see the Palestinian people as dispossessed, vulnerable denizens of a land they have tilled and pastured on for millennia, and to see the Jews in every possible light of infamy, stealing with bloodied hands the treasures of Israel’s true and ancient inhabitants; the builders of barriers, not bridges; Christ killers; and the inhabitants of the world’s most criminal state — perhaps the world’s only truly criminal state.

In Europe, anti-Semitism reaches new heights every year. Most Jews have fled from Norway, others are leaving Sweden, Denmark, France and the UK in growing numbers. In Ukraine, Romania, Hungary and elsewhere, “far-right” parties have become major players in politics. The “far right” is typically racist, anti-gay, anti-feminist, and anti-Semitic, often modelling itself explicitly on the Nazis or Mussolini’s fascists. When did St. James or Stephen Sizer last hold an event to protest this deep evil, this resurgence of fascism and Jew-hatred in the lifetime of the last survivors of the Holocaust?

The Jewish experience in Europe is starting to approach the level of anti-Semitism found there before the rise to power of the Nazi party in Germany. Isn’t that something to preach about from the pulpit? But Christians of many varieties do not speak out about this resurgence of one of the greatest evils to befall mankind. They prefer to tell obvious lies — Christians are safe in Muslim countries, but endangered in Israel; Israel is an “apartheid state”; Bethlehem has been “surrounded” by the security barrier; Israelis deliberately kill Palestinian children; life would be better if suicide bombers could gain free access to Israel) — and to let radical “far-left” politics define who and what they are as Christians.

During the Second World War, nineteen thousand of Christians risked (and gave) their lives to provide safety and security to Jews threatened with death by Hitler’s merciless machine of destruction. Such noble individuals have been known as the “Righteous among the Nations” and have been honored by Israel as such. Martin Gilbert has written a book about them, The Righteous. But many of today’s Christians show no understanding of the morality that inspired their predecessors. Today, Jews are the victims of persecution once again, and in Israel they face the threat of a second Holocaust. Yet so-called Christians have allied themselves with the sworn enemies of the Jews. They want to pull down a barrier that has a track record in saving Jewish lives, and if they should ever succeed, anti-Semitic killers will start to work their way into the places where they plan to bring death and disability to who works or plays or eats or drinks or dances or sings or studies or worships or teaches or heals or writes poetry or serves with the army or writes books of great erudition, or walks or runs or flies. Terrorists I can understand. But Christians who actively help them?

Christians have many vocations, and St. James Church illustrates this in bold and incisive ways. But one vocation seems to have been lost: the vocation to tell the truth, to use Christian morality as a measure for all other judgements. The clergy and congregants of St. James have open and tolerant hearts, yet not, it seems, for Jews or Israelis. They have trapped themselves within a single, immoral narrative that exalts and venerates Palestinians above other suffering people elsewhere, and that fails to distinguish between Palestinians who suffer from the conflict and those whose hate for Jews drives a cycle of violence that hurts both Israelis and their own people. They lack a moral compass by which to choose between right and wrong. A wall, however oppressive, is not equivalent to a bomb aboard a crowded bus.

The West Bank barrier is only one of over 30 walls and fences round the world. Most of those are also anti-terror fences. Some are electrified and have killed many people — over 4000 in one instance, the barrier between Ceuta and Morocco. The long North Korean barrier is policed by two million soldiers. Yet St. James does not build mock-ups of any of these walls, nor does it preach about the deaths they cause. The clergy at St. James just concentrate on part of a security barrier that has saved lives. Shame on them for their blatant hypocrisy coupled with the assumption of moral superiority. Shame on them for their adroit negotiation of meaning, portraying themselves as champions of human rights while they show a streak of anti-Semitism in their routine assignment of evil only to the Jewish state.

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Nicolas Anelka and Dieudonne: the quenelle is an antisemitic salute

Cross posted by Dave Rich from the blog of The CST

The quenelle salute given by West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka when he scored in their Premier League match on Saturday is an antisemitic gesture, and he should be punished accordingly by the FA.

In the Luis Suarez and John Terry cases the FA established the ‘zero tolerance’ principle, that a player’s intention does not excuse the use of racist language. The same principle must be applied in this case. Anelka says that he is not racist or antisemitic and that he did not intend his quenelle to have an antisemitic meaning, but this is beside the point:  just as the FA accepted that Luis Suarez is not a racist person while banning him for eight matches after he used racially abusive language towards Patrice Evra.

That the quenelle is antisemitic is beyond dispute. In France it has become part of a social media craze in which people find ever-more offensive places to insult Jews by doing a quenelle: this blogpost shows photographs of people performing quenelles at Auschwitz, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, at the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, outside synagogues and Jewish shops and at dozens of other Jewish sites. There is even a photograph of someone doing a quenelle outside the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, where Mohammed Merah murdered three children and a teacher in March 2012:

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If the people in these photographs did a Nazi salute at any of these sites they would risk instant arrest and prosecution. The quenelle is a way of getting around the law, while still getting the same thrill of breaking the taboo against antisemitism.

The quenelle was invented by French comic Dieudonné Mbala Mbala. Anelka has excused his quenelle by saying that it was “just a special dedication to my comedian friend Dieudonné”; but this is no excuse, it just confirms the offence. Dieudonné has numerous convictions for antisemitism in France. One of these was for a sketch in which he gave a heroism award to French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson. The ‘comedy’ was that the award was presented by a man in a concentration camp uniform, complete with a yellow star.

Dieudonné claims that the quenelle is anti-establishment and anti-Zionist, not antisemitic. This is true, but also misleading – because Dieudonné believes that the establishment is run by “Zionists”. He told Iran’s Press TV:

The Zionist lobby … have taken France as hostage and we are in the hands of ignorant people, who know how to structure themselves into a mafia-like organisation and… have now taken over a country.

This is not the anti-Zionism of people who think that the Palestinians get a raw deal from Israel: it is the anti-Zionism of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, of a conspiracy theory that believes “the Jews pull all the strings”, as French extremism expert Jean-Yves Camus put it. (There is more background about Dieudonné’s political journey here).

It is also a political worldview that has led Dieudonné into a friendship with leaders of the far right Front National (FN). In 2006, Dieudonné attended the FN’s annual festival, and in 2008 veteran FN leader Jean Marie Le Pen became godfather to one of Dieudonné’s children.

Here is Le Pen (centre) with the FN’s Bruno Gollnisch (left) and friends, doing a quenelle:

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The quenelle was unknown in Britain before this weekend, but it has been at the centre of a public storm in France due to the viral spread of people doing it at Jewish sites and posting the photos on social media. Government ministers are talking of banning Dieudonné’s public appearances because they believe that he incites hatred of Jews and poses a threat to public order. Dieudonné denies this, but when Nicolas Anelka did his quenelle during a match that was broadcast live on French TV, he inserted himself into a race row in his home country – on the side of the alleged racist.

This does not mean that Anelka intended to make an antisemitic statement, or even that he understood the meaning of what he did: but now that the quenelle has entered British football, the FA need to set a clear precedent by acting swiftly and unequivocally to punish those who do it.

Christmas priorities at St James’s Church: Israel security wall stunt cost £30,000!

Cross posted by London-based blogger Richard Millett

Take a look at the above photo. That is what £30,000 looks like. That is the cost of St James’s Church’s replica of Israel’s security wall according to St James’s churchwarden Jo Hines.

Hines said the money was all privately raised, presumably from the likes of vicious anti-Israel charity War On Want, Amos Trust, Holy Land Trust, Interpal, Jews For Justice For Palestinians, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, P21 Gallery, Tipping Point North South, Zaytoun CIC all of whom are “associated with” Bethlehem Unwrapped.

Last night it was the turn of Jewish comedians Ivor Dembina, Dave Cohen and Andy Zaltzman to go on stage for Bethlehem Unwrapped, which is pretty ironic seeing as one of their audience members was Jane Green, probably a pseudonym, who is a notorious Holocaust mocker. As she went in to the church last night I asked her what she thought of the Holocaust to which she replied “What Holocaust”.

Then, of course, there is this clip of a discussion outside St James’s Church where a supporter of Israel is called “a frigging Jew” (see from 4 mins. 15 secs.).

All pretty disturbing stuff especially in the week of Nicolas Anelka’s alleged reverse Nazi salute.

When I put it to Hines that the £30,000 could have been better spent feeding the homeless and heating the elderly she responded that that argument could also be made in relation to statues and that there are 20 or so homeless people sleeping in St James’s Church at night.

Imagine had St James’s Church’s courtyard, where the replica wall stands, been made into a structure for the 12 days where even more people could sleep, be fed and be kept warm. Churches, I thought, were in the business of looking after the poor and caring for the elderly.

After the 12 days of Christmas are over the replica wall is due to be taken down. That amounts to a cost of £2,500 a day. At least a statue usually stays up for the long-term so over time its daily cost is minimal.

So what is St James’s Church’s replica wall going to achieve? St James’s Church states “All net proceeds to the ‘Future Peacemakers Appeal’, Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem.” I’d be amazed if there are any “net proceeds” when you take into account the £30,000 cost of the replica wall. Admittedly, chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s friday night £125/head “Bethlehem Feast” could make inroads into the £30,000.

For British Jews the replica wall and Bethlehem Unwrapped are a disaster. I agree with Melanie Phillips when she states that its inevitable effect will be “to incite hatred against Israel and all who support its defence”, which means even more vigilance at synagogues, Jewish schools and Jewish events.

Some will benefit though. Ottolenghi and his chef partner Sami Tamimi and Dembina, Zaltzman and Cohen will have had their faces and names plastered all over the gates of the Church which looks out onto one of the busiest roads in London. Not forgetting Justin Butcher, Geof Thompson, Dean Willars and Deborah Burton who all helped to design the replica wall (see below).

In the end the £30,000 cost of the wall could have been donated to help those that St James’s Church, Piccadilly, really claims to care for: the people of Bethlehem.

‘Tis the season for anti-Israel propaganda at St James’s Church, Piccadilly.

Cross posted by London based blogger Richard Millett

St James’s Church, Piccadilly, in London’s West End has installed a life size 8 metre tall/30 metre long replica of Israel’s security wall in its courtyard as part of its Bethlehem Unwrapped festival. The replica wall is so vast that it obscures the Church itself.

The life size replica wall at St James’s Church, Piccadilly for Bethlehem Unwrapped

The life size replica wall at St James’s Church, Piccadilly for Bethlehem Unwrapped

The replica wall will be lit up at night and for the next twelve days of Christmas (until 5th January) a montage of images and slogans will be continuously projected onto it. Scenes include parts of London with a wall passing through it.

What you won’t see projected onto the replica wall are scenes of bombed out Israeli buses, hotels, pizza restaurants, bars and nightclubs that were ubiquitous in Israel before the wall.

Bethlehem Unwrapped has evening events with anti-Israel polemicists including comedians Jeremy Hardy and Ivor Dembina, musician Nigel Kennedy, columnists Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Mark Steel, Jeff Halper of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and War On Want’s in-house poet Rafeef Ziadah.

Maybe Ivor Dembina will reprise his notorious Holocaust “joke” in which he mocks the Jewish people for wanting to hog the Auschwitz limelight. According to Dembina Jews don’t really want others to know that gays, gypsies and the disabled were also murdered at Auschwitz because we like to see it as “Ourschwitz, not Yourschwitz”.

Had someone made a joke about, for example, Srebrenica they would rightly be excluded but Dembina, host of the Hampstead Comedy Club, is one of the star turns at Bethlehem Unwrapped.

Or maybe poet Rafeef Ziadah will reprise her praising of Islamic Jihad chief Khader Adnan. Adnan, you may recall, is keen to incite Palestinians to become suicide bombers and blow up innocent Israeli children.

Unbelievably, into this political hatefest have stepped the supposedly “non-political” chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. They will be hosting the “Bethlehem Feast” at the church on Friday January 3rd.

Last night’s unveiling of the replica wall was introduced by St James’s Church Rector Lucy Winkett.

Rector Winkett said the reason behind the replica wall was that when 20 of them visited Israel and the Palestinian territories in October “one of the lasting memories of our time there was this wall” (see clip).

It is a shame Rector Winkett didn’t also visit the graves of Israeli children murdered by Palestinian suicide bombers or Israelis left disabled by them.

The microphone was then handed to Jeff Halper of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions who left those who made it to the church despite the dreadful weather conditions in no doubt as to what the next twelves days of Bethlehem Unwrapped had in store. Halper has previously expressed his wish to boycott Israel out of existence.

Last night Halper described Israel’s security wall as a “very deadly barrier that people cannot pass” and said “this wall is not built for security…it doesn’t protect Israelis in any way”. He continued “the wall defines the borders of the Israeli bantustan that is being created for Palestinians in an apartheid state…it defines those cantons in which Palestinians will be confined” (see clip below).

I understand that there are due to be a couple of last-minute voices putting Israel’s case at the panel debate with Halper “Both sides of the Barrier: Separation or Security?” on January 4th but it is a drop in the ocean when compared to what is taking place over the entirety of the festival.

During the festival members of the public are being invited write on the wall. The address of St James’s Church is 197 Piccadilly. It’s very close to Piccadilly Circus tube station. Feel free to head away from the sales for a few minutes to balance out the hate and the lies. But take a good pen with you.

This replica wall has possibly cost thousands of pounds. There have been designers, architects, curators, materials, scaffolding and a team of builders. With mouths to feed and people freezing to death in this country alone it is shameful that St James’s Church, Piccadilly, has squandered so much on what is nothing more than an anti-Israel propaganda exercise.

Other Photos from last night:

St James's Rector Julie Winkett and replica wall curator Justin Butcher singing "oh Little Town of Bethlehem" last night.

St James’s Rector Lucy Winkett and replica wall curator Justin Butcher singing “oh Little Town of Bethlehem” last night.

Justin Butcher with the replica wall's architect and its designer last night.

Justin Butcher with the replica wall’s architect and its designer last night.

Some of the projections on to replica wall until January 5th 2014:

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Sir Iain Chalmers evokes Nazi analogy at Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Cross posted by London-based blogger Richard Millett

Since 2009 The Lancet medical journal has been working with Medical Aid For Palestinians and other researchers as part of the Lancet-Palestinian Health Alliance (LPHA).

Sir Iain Chalmers discussing "Zionist control in so many different domains".

Sir Iain Chalmers discussing “Zionist control in so many different domains”.

LPHA researchers mainly consist of Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza and the Palestinian diaspora, which includes Palestinians living in the twelve Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. They are also non-Palestinian medical practitioners like Dr Richard Horton, The Lancet’s editor, and Professor Mads Gilbert. This research has been amalgamated into publications for the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The 2013 publication was launched last night by The Lancet and MAP at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. The 2013 publication focuses on “the direct and indirect health effects of the Israeli occupation and conflict”.

Dr Richard Horton, The Lancet’s editor, outlined the benefits of LPHA saying “science can bring an often internationally excluded people into the mainstream of global political dialogue”, “Palestinian science can anatomise the pathology of occupation”, “science can confer a dignity and a humanity for a people who are otherwise living in a situation of invisibility” and:

“By linking this kind of health research with human rights one can identify important and fresh perspectives. One example is the report about the denial of passage to Palestinian women during labour across the territory which fully fulfills the criteria of a crime against humanity.”

Professor Rita Giacaman discussed “words as ideology”. She explained:

“Israel uses ‘collateral damage’ for killing innocent bystanders including children. It screams ‘self-defence’ hiding the root cause which is Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and injustice to Palestinians. While Palestinians living in Israel call themselves ‘Palestinians living inside the Green Line’, Israel insists on calling them ‘Arab’ trying to deny them their identity”.

Then to the lectern came the main instigator of LPHA, Sir Iain Chalmers. Chalmers has been an almost permanent fixture in Gaza since 1970. He met his wife there and they even went to Gaza to celebrate their recent 70th birthdays.

Chalmers started by reading out a statement on the front cover of a 2009 edition of The Lancet. It mentioned “Palestinian”. He said:

“What really pleases me is that the word ‘Palestinian’ is in there. And it’s one way in which the Zionists have failed. They have not stopped the use of the word ‘Palestine’ or ‘Palestinian’. They have control in so many different domains. This is one that they cannot suppress.”

One of Chalmers’ slides then showed this cartoon by Carlos Latuff, who has drawn many cartoons with anti-Semitic themes which include comparing Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to The Holocaust:

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During the Q&A I criticised Chalmers for his statement about “Zionist control” before asking whether LPHA reports mentioned the role of Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA in prolonging poor health conditions for the Palestinians. My remarks only led to this eye-opening exchange with Chalmers:

Chalmers: “Let me ask you a question. I was asked to write a commentary for The Lancet after the Cast Lead attack. I ended it by saying a self-defined Jewish state now controls the lives of almost as many non-Jews as it does of Jews. What will that Jewish state do with the six million, it is an interesting figure, the six million non-Jews whose lives it controls? You answer that question.”

Me: “Why is six million an interesting figure?”

Chalmers: “Well, actually it is the same number of Jews that were killed by the Nazis.”

Me: “Whats your point?”

Chalmers: Six million is a lot of people. How will the Jewish state deal with the non-Jews whose lives it controls?

I think we know the nasty tactic behind Chalmers’ reference to “six million”. And his nasty rhetoric extends as far as endorsing “the end of a Jewish state”. Here he is in his own words during an interview in 2010:

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Dr Richard Horton concluded by relating to us his visit to the Israeli Medical Association:

“When we started this I went to visit the Israeli Medical Association to talk to them about what we were doing and to see if I could build a bridge between the LPHA and the official voice of Israeli physicians and I sat down with the with the director or chairman, whatever the title is I cannot recall now, and the person who chaired their ethics (division). And in that discussion one of them called Palestinians ‘animals’. And I realised that there was no way that I was going to find an alliance to try to bring them in because there was a fundamental discontinuity of their understanding of what we were trying to do.”

I wonder if others in that meeting recall those words being used.

Afterwards I pressed Dr Horton into answering my question about whether LPHA reports mention the effect Hamas has on the health of Palestinians. His reply was along the lines of “That is a good question but this is an evolving work in progress”.

So, no mention of the effect of Hamas’ oppression of women, gays and dissidents on the mental health and physical well-being of Gazans in five years of LPHA publications?

But, then, would you criticise Hamas if you lived in, or regularly visited, Gaza?

I think Sir Iain Chalmers’ “that would be very good” response when asked about “the end of a Jewish state” during that 2010 interview possibly answers everything one needs to truly know about the politics of LPHA.

Professor Rita Giacaman, Lancet editor Dr Richard Horton, MAP's  Head of Advocacy Aimee Shalan at Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Professor Rita Giacaman, Lancet editor Dr Richard Horton, MAP’s Head of Advocacy Aimee Shalan at Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health