Martin Rowson: Israel lobby uses antisemitism to silence critics of Zionist brutality

Yesterday, we commented on a cartoon by the Guardian’s Martin Rowson depicting Henry Kissinger which drew upon the visual language of antisemitism – and included the stereotypically large hooked nose, a sneering expression and oversized blood dripped hands.

We briefly noted that, in January, Rowson had defended, in a Guardian commentarythe Gerald Scarfe cartoon depicting bloody, mangled Palestinian bodies buried over with cement, laid by the bloody trowel of a sinister Israeli Prime Minister.  However, he did also acknowledged the history of “Streicher’s foul Nazi rag” which “regularly published the vilest antisemitic cartoons imaginable” – an acknowledgment would suggest that he clearly is familiar with the visual genre of Jew hatred.

How, then do we explain his caricature of Kissinger? 

Again, here is a side by side comparison of Rowson’s Kissinger with the Jew depicted in the Nazi-era book published by Julius Streicher titled ‘The Poisonous Mushroom’.mushroom

Our suspicion that, whatever the inspiration for this particular cartoon, Rowson doesn’t seem to take serious critiques (that his work draws upon antisemitic stereotypes) seriously was confirmed by an interview he gave a few months ago for a leftist magazine – with a predictably anti-Zionist bent – called ‘Red Pepper”.

The journalist at Red Pepper wrote the following: 

Though as a satirist you’d think Rowson would use the forum to launch a vigorous defense of the right to offend, the following exchange shows that he makes exceptions to this principle.  During the interview Rowson is clear that ‘freedom of speech does not absolve the cartoonist of the responsibility for judging what to draw and when‘. While no forms of authority are to be declared ‘off-limits’, the power to ridicule must be exercised judiciously. He is fond of the describing the task of the satirist as ‘afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted’.

Rowson then expands on this subject, responding to a question from the interviewer about the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten’s publication of images mocking Muhammad, by adding the following:

You have to question the motives behind this commission, and to bear in mind the context of years of anti-immigrant propaganda in Denmark. There was no real point behind publishing this stuff other than to feed this victimisation of a minority.

After questioning the judgement of the Danish cartoonists over their decision to draw a cartoon about Muhammad which offended Muslims, Rowson then interestingly pivots to another group – the Jewish community. 

‘The Israel lobby is particularly masterful in using this to silence criticism of their brutally oppressive colonialism.

..

I drew one cartoon for the Guardian which had the boot of an Israeli soldier stamping on a dove of peace after it had left Noah’s ark. Then I had a stream of abuse from a Zionist group which accused me of anti-semitism.

In fact the “Zionist group” in question may be CiF Watch – as we posted about the cartoon here and here.  

Here’s the 2010 Guardian cartoon he’s referring to, published a few days after the flotilla story had broken, which, as you can see, uses biblical imagery in depicting murderous Israeli troops killing the dove of peace, while another soldier is seen aiming his weapon at two unicorns:

screenshot110

Rowson continues:

‘[One man] said the animals in the picture were specifically referenced in the biblical text – it’s a calculated insult to the Jews. I’d already anticipated this line of attack so had deliberately thrown in a few more for good measure.

(Part of the conversation below the line of his Guardian cartoon he’s referring to was actually recounted in a CiF Watch post, here.)

Rowson continues:

So I said, perhaps you would be so kind as to point me to the biblical references to the beavers, the orang-utan, the walrus and the okapi – a species first identified at the turn of the last century. At which point he accused me of being in denial about my anti-semitism!

Finally, he complains:

‘You can’t win – [antisemitism is] the ultimate trump card. No matter how many innocent people the Israeli state kills, any criticism is automatically proof of anti-semitism. No wonder idiots like Ahmadinejad want to deny the holocaust. They are jealous. They’d love to silence their critics like that.’

In addition to the strawman he evokes, and his deftness at employing what’s known as the Livingstone Formulation, Rowson truly seems to wake up in the morning concerned that Israel is not subjected to enough criticism.  He not only draws upon often crude antisemitic stereotypes, but attempts to frame his confrontation with this miniscule and historically oppressed ethnic minority as an act of bravery.

Rowson believes that he is not just a ‘truth teller’, but part of a cadre of fearless writers and artists who are unafraid to speak truth to Jewish power. 

When Israelis can’t be blamed: Tens of thousands of dead Syrians & ‘humanitarian’ flotillas not sent

Graphic and post by Ariel Zinger. (Originally published at the blog, ‘BDS gone bad‘)

Remember the 2010 Gaza Flotilla? Who doesn’t.

Well, another “Humanitarian” flotilla is on its way to Gaza (from Sweden) while Damascus is dying .

Humanitarian flotillas make for great media stages. They are PR events destined to get people to notice the urgent pleas of the downtrodden.

Organizers of the Gaza flotillas claim that such efforts represent acts of humanitarianism, ‘non-political’ acts of kindness benefiting the Palestinian population. They are not against Israel, they claim, but simply for Arabs (in Gaza) who are in need.

However, for over a year now the Syrian people have been the Arabs most in need of aid in the Middle East, and yet the ‘humanitarians’ are nowhere to be seen.

The actual numbers (updated for August 31st, and on a steep rise since) speak for themselves - and can be seen in the Infographic I made.

(Editor’s note: Numbers listed in the graphic represent estimates, based on conflicting figures cited by various reputable sources. Estimates on number of Syrians killed are herehere here, here and here. Refugee figures are here and here. Estimates on number of children killed are here and here. Figures on Syrian detainees/prisoners are here.)

UPDATE: You can read a critique of this post, at the superb blog ‘Simply Jews’, here.

The continued exploitation of Rachel Corrie.

This coming week the verdict will be given in the civil law suit brought by the parents of ISM volunteer Rachel Corrie against the Israeli government. Already the Rachel Corrie Foundation (run by her parents and others) has scheduled a publicity event and is using the occasion to add leverage to its anti-Israel campaigning. 

“We ask our friends and allies to take the following actions as you are able:

1.  From Sunday, August 26th until Sunday, September 2nd, deliver a letter to TIAA-CREF offices, and remember Rachel  as you do. Combine this with a larger event, or designate a few people to deliver the letter.  Register your planned action here so we can post  it on our website.  Download a copy of our sample TIAA-CREF letter and we will e-mail you a poster of a Palestinian family impacted by demolitions using CAT equipment.  Our goal is to deliver letters to half of the 60 TIAA-CREF offices.  Can you help us exceed our goal?  With photos and videos from your actions we will launch a nationwide social media campaign with images that show the level of support for TIAA-CREF divestment.

2.  Print this image of Rachel.  Photograph yourself with it, and post it on our new Tumblr blogDeliver the photo to the nearest Israeli Consulate demanding accountability and an end to home demolitions. We will gather images worldwide and also send them to the U.S. Department of State.

3.  Take part in a live conference call with the Corrie family, Wednesday, August 29th, 6:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time/ 9:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. To participate in the call, RSVP to rochelle@rachelcorriefoundation.org. Host a house party or community gathering for those who want to join the call.

4.  Sign the petition in support of the campaign to pressure TIAA-CREF to divest.”

When Rachel Corrie was accidentally killed nine and a half years ago, public awareness of the nature of the organization (also known as the Palestine Solidarity Movement – PSM – in the US) which sent her and many others to endanger their lives in a war zone (and still does) was perhaps limited. The International Solidarity Movement had, after all, only been in existence for a short while at the time, having been founded in 2001 – several months after the second Intifada commenced.

In 2002 its members had made some headlines by trying to act as ‘human shields’ for terrorists holed up in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and for the Intifada’s instigator, organizer and financer Yasser Arafat in his muqata compound, but frankly, there was just too much going on at the time for much media attention to be paid to a group of foreigners deliberately placing themselves in the middle of a terror war. Hence, statements endorsing Palestinian terror by the ISM’s founders  - such as the one below – received limited attention in much of the mainstream media. 

“Let us reiterate, we accept that Palestinians have a right to resist with arms, as they are an occupied people upon whom force and violence is being used. The Geneva Conventions accept that armed resistance is legitimate for an occupied people, and there is no doubt that this right cannot be denied.

The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics – both nonviolent and violent. But most importantly it must develop a strategy involving both aspects. No other successful nonviolent movement was able to achieve what it did without a concurrent violent movement..” 

Over the years, however, the ISM’s name has kept cropping up in connection with various security-related issues, as part of the ‘Free Gaza’ campaign which organizes the flotillas aimed at breaching the naval blockade on Gaza and as one of the organisers of the recent ‘flytillas’ and the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ . Hence both its methods and its goals have become more visible.

The ISM’s aim – as expressed below by its co-founder and leader Adam Shapiro – is to transform the Arab-Israeli conflict into a battle against Israel by the rest of the world. 

“What we’ve been doing over the last ten years with the Internatio­nal Solidarity Movement, Free Gaza, and all the other outgrowth organizati­ons and movements and groups is to …work with Palestinia­n society to ramp up the resistance­. This is all part of a Palestinia­n movement for Palestine.­.. This is truly an internatio­nal movement … It’s only Palestine, this cause that has been going on for over 60 years, that generates this kind of activism, this kind of resistance­… Free Gaza is but one tactic of a larger strategy, to transform this conflict from one between Israel and the Palestinia­ns, or Israel and the Arab world…to one between the rest of the world and Israel…”

Some of the ISM’s volunteers are undoubtedly naïve young people who arrive in the Middle East with little understanding either of the conflict itself or the manner in which they are cynically exploited by the organisation’s extremist leaders. The ISM, however, is rarely – if ever – held to account by the families (or countries) of those injured or killed as a result of its having encouraged and facilitated their unnecessary entry into a conflict zone and their collaboration – knowingly or not – with proscribed terrorist organisations, even despite statements from ISM leaders such as this one concerning Rachel Corrie’s death:

“It’s possible they [the protesters] were not as disciplined as we would have liked,” Thom Saffold, a founder and organizer of the International Solidarity Movement, said in a telephone interview from the group’s base in Ann Arbor, Mich. “But we’re like a peace army. Generals send young men and women off to operations, and some die.”

One can, of course, comprehend the perhaps subconscious defence mechanism which lies behind the need of some parents to make sense of their child’s unnecessary tragic death or injury by believing that it was for ‘a cause’ and the urge to blame parties other than the organization which put their loved one in such a position so as not to ‘betray’ their child’s ideals.  

But the inevitable and predictable utilization of the upcoming court verdict in order to leverage the continuing publicity and propaganda campaign in aid of a fringe cult, which collaborates with terrorist organisations to try to undermine a sovereign country and prevent a peaceful solution to a long and painful conflict, is somewhat more difficult to accept. It is, in fact, just as disturbing as the other, original, cynical exploitation of a young woman nearly a decade ago. 

Rachel Corrie’s parents being presented with a framed portrait of their
daughter by Yasser Arafat, at Arafat’s compound in Ramallah, Sept. 2003

Associated Press: Cindy and Craig Corrie, right, parents of late American peace activist Rachel Corrie display the Bethlehem 2000 medal awarded by the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at his office in the West Bank town of Ramallah Thursday Sept. 25, 2003.

Guardian publishes letter criticising its own Josh Trevino appointment.

On August 19th the Guardian published a letter criticising its own appointment of Joshua Trevino to its US politics team. The sight of a veritable ‘who’s who’ of anti-Israel campaigners chastising the Guardian (presumably with a straight face) for employing someone they term as holding “extremist views” and “one-sided political views” is really a sight to behold, so here is the entire missive, followed by its list of signatories. 

“We are writing to express our shock and dismay at the addition to the Guardian’s US commentary team of a man who has openly called for the killing of people on humanitarian missions to Palestine, people who have included the Pulitzer-prize-winning author Alice Walker.

The extreme views of your new freelance contributor Joshua Treviño, whose columns will appear on your Guardian US website from tomorrow, are no secret. In 2011, he used Twitter to urge the Israeli army to murder unarmed US citizens who were preparing to sail from Greece on a flotilla to Gaza. Treviño tweeted: “Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla – well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me.” He also backed a tweet which called for the sinking of the flotilla, which would have endangered the lives of all on board, and likened this peaceful mission to a “Nazi convoy”.

In what way does publishing a man who clearly has no regard for the rule of law, and who advocates the killing of his fellow citizens by a foreign army, enhance the Guardian‘s reputation as a serious newspaper? The extremist views of people like Treviño, who have no hesitation in wishing death upon those who disagree with them, can be found on countless sensationalist, racist and hate-speech websites. They have no place in a reputable publication.

Moreover, Treviño is hardly without vested interests. He served on the board of the pro-Israel group Act for Israel, and was listed on its website as being “a staunch digital advocate of Israel”. This former speechwriter for George W Bush will no doubt be bringing his one-sided political views to the Guardian and using it as a platform for his propaganda. It is a sad day for responsible and impartial journalism when the opinions of such a man are sought as an “important perspective” (the words of Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief of the Guardian US) by a supposedly progressive publication.” 

Sarah Colborne Director, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Roger Lloyd Pack Actor
Kika Markham Actor
Bruce Kent Vice-president, CND
Lindsey German Stop the War
Daud Abdullah Middle East Monitor
Zahir Birawi Palestinian Forum of Britain
Diana Neslen Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Chris Rose Amos Trust
Shenaz Bunglawala iEngage
Baroness Jenny Tonge
Jeremy Corbyn MP
John Austin
Professor Nur Masalha Soas*
Professor Ilan Pappe Exeter University* 
Dr Ghada Karmi Exeter University* 
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead LSE* 
Professor Kamel Hawwash University of Birmingham*
Professor Haim Bresheeth University of East London* 
Professor Antoine Zahlan (retd) American University of Beirut* 
Professor Steven Rose Open University* 
Professor Hilary Rose LSE* 
Dr Les Levidow Open University*
Canon Garth Hewitt St George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem
Ahdaf Soueif Author and journalist
Victoria Brittain Author and journalist
Abe Hayeem Chair, Architects and Planners for Justice, Palestine
(*all writing in a personal capacity)

So, as we see, Sarah Colborne – who was aboard the Mavi Marmara when members of its “humanitarian mission” were shouting “Khaybar khaybar al Yahud” – and later attempting to disembowel Israeli soldiers – considers herself fit to criticize others for perceived ‘extremism’. 

Zahir Birawi – (aka Zaher Birawi) of the PFB, ‘Viva Palestina’ and PRC, a known Hamas operative in the UK, trustee of a charity connected to the Union of Good which is headed by the homophobic and anti-Semitic Yusuf Qaradawi and recent spokesman for the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ has things to say about “hate speech websites” even after having recently published this dangerous incitement: 

“On 9th of August, we fear a possible showdown with disastrous consequences, where the fanatical Zionists will invade the Haram Sharif and even attempt to destroy the two Masjids. Thus acting now is really a matter of grave urgency for the world.”

Les Levidow puts his name to a letter criticizing someone for supposedly having no respect for the “rule of law” after having taken part in last year’s failed ‘flytilla’ and spoken at the 2008 IHRC-organised, Hizballah terrorism-glorifying, ‘Al Quds Day’ event where he said:

“When we say ‘end the occupation’ we should make clear the occupation IS the Israeli state itself, not simply its control of the West Bank and Gaza. Israel’s existence as a Zionist state poses a continuous threat to peace and democracy in the Middle East. Israeli colonisation has destroyed any basis for an independent Palestinian state. There are basically two possible futures – either Israel forces more and more Palestinians to leave or else Israel is de-zionised, de-colonised so that there are equal rights for all.”

Daud Abdullah, who in 2009 signed the Istanbul Declaration which effectively calls for terror attacks against his own country, has the gall to lecture others on what is or is not appropriate for a “reputable publication”. 

One could, of course, go on and on exposing the hypocrisy of these letter-signing paragons of ‘morality’. There is no need to do so because, like the writers and bloggers who have already raised their shrill objections to Trevino’s Guardian gig, it is all too obvious that this is no more than yet another means to further their anti-Israel agenda. 

Has the Guardian backtracked on Josh Trevino?

The Guardian’s August 15th announcement of Joshua Trevino’s joining its US politics team provoked a rather tedious, if predictable, rash of faux outrage (considering that Trevino has been writing for the paper since February 2011) from several of the internet’s prime anti-Israel campaigners. 

One of the first out of the blocks was every ‘one-stater’ racist’s favourite; Ali Abunimah – who took to the pages of the non-democratic, human-rights-abusing Qatari regime’s pet media outlet Al Jazeera, as well as his own electronic Intifada site, to protest Trevino’s new post. 

Not far behind was MJ Rosenberg, with other eccentrics such as Tony Greenstein, Richard Silverstein and ‘Jews for Justice for Palestinians’ (JfJfP) quickly jumping on the band-wagon. 

The main gripe of all of the above is the now famous flotilla-related Tweet by Trevino in June 2011 – one hundred and six characters which, according to Abunimah & co. represent “incitement to murder”.

Whilst one may certainly be able accommodate the notion (given his track record) that Richard Silverstein would believe that the IDF devises policy based on unsolicited advice from Twitter pundits, clearly anyone aspiring to be perceived as a serious commentator on the Middle East would not be making much of the issue if he did not have a much bigger axe to grind. 

Of course none of the above holier than thou ‘anti-racists’ ever put finger to keyboard when the Guardian provided column space for Azzam Tamimi – a man who really does support the indiscriminate murder of civilians by suicide bombing. Neither have any of the above seen fit to object to the fact that the Guardian has repeatedly published articles by senior members of Hamas – who, whilst their social media skills may be lacking, actually do engage in mass murder. 

The only reasonable conclusion, therefore, is that the objection of Abunimah and friends to Trevino’s appointment at the Guardian is in fact a product of their anti-Zionism – which of course so often goes hand in hand with selective anti-racism and curious definitions of ‘free speech’ – and their in-built knee-jerk antipathy to anyone perceived as ‘pro-Israel’.  

So what has been the Guardian’s reaction to this minor squall in a tea-cup cooked up by known (and in some cases, professional) anti-Israel campaigners? Well, if Ali Abunimah is to be believed, it seems that they may have succumbed to pressures from those who wish it to remain an unchallenged, homogenous, echo-chamber of anti-Zionism. 

According to an August 18th post by Abunimah, the Guardian has now downgraded Trevino from member of their editorial team to member of its commentary team.   

“If you look at the Guardian’s 15 August press release as it appears now it begins:

Today the Guardian announced the addition of Josh Treviño to its commentary team in the United States. Formerly of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Treviño will be the newest commentator for the Guardian’s growing US politics team through his column On Politics & Persuasion which launches on Monday 20 August.

But that is not what it said on 15 August, when I quoted it. Here is how it began then (emphasis added):

Today the Guardian announced the addition of Josh Treviño to their editorial team. Formerly of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Treviño will be the newest Correspondent for the Guardian’s growing US politics team through his column “On Politics & Persuasion” which launches on Monday, August 20.

Note the disappearance of the terms “editorial team” and “correspondent.” The Guardian also changed the headline from “The Guardian adds Josh Treviño to growing editorial team” to “The Guardian adds Josh Treviño to growing US team.” “

If correct, Abunimah’s claim has interesting implications. Trevino was appointed, according to Matt Seaton, to write about US domestic politics – not the Middle East. His opinions on Israel should, therefore, have nothing to do with his ability to do the job to which he was hired.

Despite that, it now seems that the Guardian may be susceptible to pressures from what it apparently perceives as being opinion-shapers among a large enough portion of its readership to matter. In other words, the Guardian apparently considers it prudent to appease some punters of particular ideological bent – even at the expense of diversity of opinion and expertise on its pages. 

The test of that theory, of course, would be to see what happened if four or five bloggers wrote articles protesting the Guardian’s also recent addition of author and anti-Zionist blogger Glenn Greenwald to its stable of writers. 

My money would be on a response resembling a collective yawn from Guardian HQ – perhaps accompanied by some anodyne statement about ‘representation of a diversity of views’  – just as protestations regarding the repeated provision of a platform for terrorists and their supporters have been greeted in the past. 

The bottom line of the as yet still cloudy ‘affair Trevino’ certainly seems to going in the direction of confirming that as far as the Guardian is concerned, whilst all opinions are equal, some opinions are more equal than others. 

 

 

Harriet Sherwood is taken for a ride in Acco.

Although the south of Israel was still under rocket attack on June 24th, Harriet Sherwood decided to take a trip north to Acco. 

The headline of her subsequent article declares that “Israel’s historic city of Acre faces tourist and settler tensions” with the strap line further claiming that “Mixed Arab-Jewish ‘sleeping beauty’ city awakes to gentrification and influx of nationalist-religious Jews”. 

Sherwood’s basic claim in this article is that rich Jews are buying up property in the old city of Acco in a process of ‘gentrification’ and driving out the poor Arab population. 

“According to Arab activists in Acre, this is part of a grand plan, driven by the city’s Jewish mayor, to gentrify and rebrand the old city – and persuade, induce or coerce Arabs to leave.” 

Of course if Harriet Sherwood wanted to trace the beginnings of economic troubles in Acco, she would have to start back in Ottoman times when the builder of the Hejaz railway, Sultan Abdul Hamid II, decided that its branch line would terminate in the small fishing village of Haifa rather than in Acco.  She would then have to progress to the decision by the British Mandate to overlook the ancient silted-up Acco port in favour of the construction of a new deep-water port at nearby Haifa in 1932, the subsequent construction of oil refineries there and the opening of the oil pipeline stretching from Iraq to Haifa in 1934. She might also take into account the evacuation of the Jews of Acco by the British authorities following the riots of 1929. 

For many years Acco has been one of the worst affected towns in Israel from the point of view of unemployment and a low average wage. Among the reasons for this has been the closure or relocation of some factories and the increased mechanization of others. Acco’s traditional fishing industry has been hit by the falling of numbers of fish in the eastern Mediterranean in general.  Its traditional markets lost their prominence in the area as shopping centres became fashionable and its tourism industry was hampered by the fact that most visitors only came for day trips, preferring to use hotels in nearby Haifa due to Acco’s lack of night-life. 

In 2006 the Israeli government declared Acco a ‘national goal’ and by 2009, 36 new factories had been opened in the city, along with a new shopping centre.  There has been serious investment in many conservation and restoration projects in the old city and in updating the infrastructure of the city as a whole. At last it seems as though Acco is moving beyond its run-down state and the opening of hotels such as the one featured in Harriet Sherwood’s article is one important way to boost the economic potential of the city – and in particular that of its ancient quarter, where some 40% of the 6,000 residents receive social security allowances.  

The importance of tourism to Acco’s economy is obviously not lost on residents of its old city. Whilst on a tour of the city’s market after the completion of part one of its restoration the Chair of the Committee of Traders in Old Acco, Mr Anaan Hajazi, said:

“We thank the mayor of Acco Shimon Lankry and we all hope that this project will help to develop tourism and improve the situation of traders in the old city.”

So how does Harriet Sherwood manage to turn a story of the physical and economic regeneration of a depressed city (something which takes place the world over) into a tall tale of quasi ethnic cleansing? 

The clue is in some of her interviewees (and possibly also hosts?) who are using this story to advance a political agenda. 

Let us begin with Ahmed Odeh who, as Sherwood states, is a member of Acco’s city council. Odeh – the owner of a bakery in the town – is also chair of the communist anti-Zionist Hadash party in Acco, which he represents on the council. He is one of three Arab members of the city council, one of whom is deputy mayor and another head of the Waqf. In other words, despite his frequent protestations in various media outlets, Mr Odeh and his fellow Arab councilors, along with the mayoral assistant Samir Batah, have been active partners in the changes being made in the city. 

Here is Mr Odeh (far right) in December 2008 demonstrating against Operation Cast Lead. The sign the councilor is holding says “Stop the massacre immediately” but apparently does not refer to rocket fire at his fellow Israeli citizens. More recently, Ahmed Odeh came out publicly in support of the speech made by Mahmoud Abbas at the UN in 2011 as part of the Palestinian Authority’s plan for a universal declaration of statehood. 

The second of Harriet Sherwood’s interviewees is “local activist” Sami Hawari. Hawari is a media consultant, holding an MA from Haifa University. He also sits on the UNESCO committee for the preservation of Arab heritage sites in Israel. 

Hawari is also General Director of the NGO Al Yater which claims to engage in “educational activities and advocacy efforts to promote the rights of the Arab population of Akko” and is supported by the New Israel Fund among others. In April 2012, the Haifa District Court rejected a petition brought by Al Yater and others on the subject of housing in Acco because it was not established that there had been discrimination.  Obviously not content with the court’s decision, Hawari and Ahmed Odeh took their campaign to the media 

In 2006 Al Yater was criticized for organizing the screening of the controversial film ‘Paradise Now’ – which is about suicide bombers – in Acco. In 2008, at the time of the clashes between Jews and Arabs in Acco, Sami Hawari gave an interview to Al Jazeera in which he suggested that the events in Acco were reminiscent of Kristallnacht and expressed fear of “another massacre of Palestinians, this time in Acre”. 

Finally, we come to Sherwood’s third interviewee Jafar Farah, founder and director of the Arab human rights organization Mossawa in Haifa, which is also funded by the New Israel Fund the Abraham Fund and Oxfam UK among others. 

In October 2000, as the second Intifada erupted, Farah gave an interview to ABC News in which he supported the call by then MK Azmi Bishara for UN troops to be sent to Israel, also distorting both history and the events at the time. 

“And I have to remind that the U.N. decision in ’47 was for two countries for two peoples, the Jewish people and the Palestinian people, in the homeland of the Palestinians.”

“Also if they [Palestinians] use stones and any way of expressing themselves, it’s not war. War is when both sides use guns and war machines. Palestinians are using mainly, especially in Israel, stones.”

“I didn’t hear Arafat, the chairman of the P.L.O. or the Palestinian Authority, talking about destroying Israel. It’s mainly rumors that get out from Israeli right-wing groups. They want to prove that there is no partner for peace in the Middle East.”

“I know that Arafat doesn’t think about destroying Israel. I know it personally.”

In June 2010 Jafar Farah thought it necessary to visit ‘activists’ from the Mavi Marmara in a Haifa hospital. During the second Lebanon war in 2006, Farah took the opportunity to blame the deaths of Arab Israelis not upon the rockets fired from Lebanon by Hizballah, but upon supposed Israeli discrimination which, according to him, meant that Arab Israelis had neither shelters nor sirens. (Note – since 1991 it has been mandatory in Israel to build a safe room in every new home constructed.) However, Farah opposes attempts to recruit Arab youths to National Service programs. 

So in a nutshell, Acco provides fertile ground for all manner of people and organisations to advance their own agendas. We have the anti-Zionist communist who deals in local politics, the NGO which uses charges of discrimination in order to delegitimize Israel at every turn and the media maestro who appears to have recruited Harriet Sherwood (knowingly or not) as part of his latest campaign.

The interesting thing about it all is that whilst all these activists warn of racism and anti-Arab discrimination in Acco’s newer neighbourhoods, even invoking the spectre of ‘settlers‘ coming to town and the ‘Judaisation‘ of the city, not one of them – or Harriet Sherwood herself –  seems to find anything amiss with the concurrent campaign objecting to  Jews buying property in Acco’s old city.

When all-Jewish neighbourhoods are presented as racist and discriminatory, but all-Arab neighbourhoods are just romantic and quaint, the writer obviously has either a serious problem with double standards or a political agenda. Or both. 

European conference organised by ‘Palestinian Return Centre’ launches new initiative.

Last weekend the tenth ‘Palestinians in Europe’ conference – this year sponsored by Tunisian interim president Monsef Marzouki – was held in Copenhagen. The event was co-organised by the Palestinian Forum in Denmark and the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) of London which is a permanent organiser of the annual event. 

The conference’s president was Majed al Zeer of the PRC and also of the Hamas-linked European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) which was set up by the Muslim Brotherhood’s European arm in 2007 and takes part in organizing the various flotillas, including the fatal one of 2010. 

The Palestinian Return Centre is a Hamas-supporting organization which promotes the ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees and is banned in Israel due to its links with a terrorist organisation. Besides its General Director al Zeer, others of its staff are well-known for their anti-Israel activities. 

PRC spokesman and chair of trustees Zaher al Birawi recently acted as spokesman for the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’. He has also functioned as spokesman for George Galloway’s ‘Viva Palestina’ convoys, is an official of the Palestinian Forum in Britain and trustee of a UK charity named ‘Education Aid for Palestinians’ which is a member of the Hamas-supporting Union of Good

The PRC’s operational director, Arafat Madi Shoukri, is also connected to the ECESG as well as director of the Brussels-based European parliament lobbying group called the Council for European Palestinian Relations. Ghassan Faour – a trustee of the PRC – is also linked to the UK charity ‘Interpal’ which is a member of the ‘Union of Good’. Another PRC trustee Majdi Akeel – a known Hamas activist and also connected to ‘Interpal’– was mentioned in the Holy Land Foundation trial in the US. The PRC’s senior researcher and editor, Daoud Abdallah, is also the director of MEMO and well-known as a signatory of the Istanbul Declaration

Speakers at the recent conference included former British MP and Minister Clare Short (also a patron of ICHAD UK and an activist with the ECESG, as well as a member of the advisory board of Res Publica) and leader of the Palestinian party ‘al Mubadara’ (aka Palestinian National Initiative) Mustafa Barghouti who was recently involved in the organization of both the Global March to Jerusalem‘ and the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ flytilla.

According to a ‘Union of Good’-linked website: 

“The Conference called on the Arab countries and the countries sponsoring Palestinian refugees to improve these refugees’ conditions reminding the Europeans of their historical responsibility for the Palestinian problem, and stressing on the steadfastness and great sacrifices of the Palestinians people to defend their land.

The conference’s organizers also launched an initiative in which many European Communities will take part entitled “the wall and settlements’ removal” and aiming at pressuring “Israel”.

Meanwhile, a number of participants in the conference agreed unanimously on the key issues that must be supported, most importantly opposing the Judaization of AlQuds, the Palestinian prisoners’ issue and the internal situation stating that these issues can be solved only after a Palestinian reconciliation.”

The conference launched a new PR initiative on the subject of Palestinian prisoners, claiming that:

“Thousands of Palestinian and Arab prisoners are deprived of their basic freedom and incarcerated in Israeli prisons, lacking the basic standards required in any jail. They have endured many unjust practises (sic) inflicted by the Israeli government which is violating its own commitment to International law and Charters of Human Rights. These violations are committed with total impunity and International accountability.”

Given some of the recent media coverage on the subject of the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike, we may well assume that the campaign is already in full swing. 


The Guardian, the Boycotters’ press release, the Co-op and the Hamas link.

Why it should have taken two writers – both Observer ‘chief reporter’ Tracy McVeigh and Guardian Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood – to put together what is in fact no more than a re-hash of a ‘Boycott Israel Network’ press release is anyone’s guess. But it apparently did, and the result is this so-called article from April 29th on the subject of the Co-operative Group’s decision to boycott not only Israeli firms located over the green line, but also those with any connections to other businesses in those areas. 

The section from the BIN press release which McVeigh and Sherwood neglected to include provides background information on how this decision on the part of the Co-op came about. 

“The announcement by the Co-op came just before their Regional AGMs, due to take place over the next two weeks, and where motions on this issue have been submitted for discussion.  For months Co-op members have been highlighting their concerns about trade with complicit companies through co-ordinated letter-writing and discussions with local offices.”

For those unfamiliar with the Co-op’s structure and the manner in which that lends itself to easy manipulation by pressure groups, here is a brief primer. Anyone over the age of 16 can become a member of the Co-op for £1. Most of those who join do so for the offers, discounts and end of year dividends, but it is also possible for them to set up local members’ groups and the Co-op actually assigns funding to enable their meetings. 

The nature and purpose of each local group depends very much upon the members. Some might choose to go in for tasting the supermarket’s new range of wines at their meetings. Others may decide to recruit more new members at a local gala or engage in some kind of charity work. Still others may decide to liaise between the Co-op and the local community on a transition town-style green agenda – for example persuading their local Co-op to abandon the use of plastic bags or recycle food waste as compost. 

The local groups send representatives to regional meetings, which in turn send representation to national level meetings. Thus, anyone committed enough to put in the time and effort can promote a specific agenda and influence the Co-op’s operations at both local and national level. 

And that is precisely how this latest (and the previous, less far-reaching) boycott decision came about. Around 2008 the Co-op was identified by anti-Israel campaigners – in particular members of the PSC – as a ‘soft’ target. They became members, set up local groups and began pushing their agenda up the ladder. That task was not particularly difficult; the vast majority of Co-op members do not attend meetings and even those who do are often quite relieved to find that someone else is willing to spend time going to regional AGMs. 

The project was made even easier by the fact that, unable to compete with Britain’s big supermarket chains on price or quality, the Co-op markets itself as the progressive ‘ethical’ alternative. 

Sherwood and McVeigh quote one Hilary Smith in their article, describing her as “Co-op member and Boycott Israel Network (BIN) agricultural trade campaign co-ordinator”. The Boycott Israel Network of course involves itself in far more than just supermarket boycotts. 

Smith is also a member of Sheffield PSC and Sheffield BDS and active in the ‘Coordin8‘ lobbying network (her regional organizer is recent failed ‘flytilla’ participant and would-be fixer of online polls Terry Gallogly of York PSC). In 2009 she was to be found addressing students occupying Sheffield University on behalf of Sheffield PSC and is apparently not averse to the libeling of Israel as an ‘apartheid’ state. 

In February of this year Smith took part in an ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ event at Sheffield University which also featured a speaker from Who Profits, (a Coalition of Women for Peace offshoot) who was described in the promotional material as coming “from Haifa in the occupied territories”. That negation of Israel’s existence is of course an underlying principle of the BDS movement

In addition to her above activities, Hilary Smith is also a volunteer international coordinator’ for the ‘Free Gaza’ movement . Here she is reporting on a ‘Free Gaza’ speaking tour of the UK. Here she is acting as official contact and spokesperson for UK Free Gaza in 2009. Here she is posting information about the 2010 flotilla on the UK Trade Union movement’sLabournetsite and here complaining to the BBC about its coverage of the Mavi Marmara incident and its portrayal of the ‘Free Gaza’ movement. Ahead of the 2008 flotilla organized by ‘Free Gaza’, Smith chaired a press conference held in London.

The participants in one of the 2008 jaunts organized by ‘Free Gaza’ did reach their destination and were received (and presented with medals) by leaders of Hamas, – the terrorist organization designated by the UK government which ‘Free Gaza’ enables and supports

Activists in the ‘Free Gaza’ movement are very aware of the legal implications of their actions, as this briefing document – seized aboard a ‘Free Gaza’ ship – indicates.

Legal briefing given by Free Gaza to passengers on the ship Challenger

For the source of the above document and more information on the ‘Free Gaza’ movement, its ties to Hamas and other designated terror-connected organizations such as the IHH and its roots in the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), see here

The management of the Co-operative Group may not be aware that it has in fact been manipulated into this latest boycott move by subscribers to a political campaign which works towards the rather less than ethical ultimate aim of wiping a sovereign country off the map and often collaborates with designated terror organisations in order to do so.  

On the other hand, the Co-op might simply not care. After all, this is the same organization which (rather hilariously, given its advertising spiel on ethical banking) provides banking services  to George Galloway’s Viva Palestina – which is at this very moment  on yet another Hamas-supporting road-trip and travelling via Syria, where the incumbent dictator (for whom Galloway has such admiration is still slaughtering civilians in their thousands. 

This new boycott move by the Co-operative Group should actually be seen as very useful on a number of fronts.

It exposes the way in which it is laughably easy for very small numbers of energetic activists to dictate the agendas of large organizations in the UK. We have seen it happen in British churches, universities and trade unions – now it is the turn of the co-operative movement.

It also points a spotlight on the discrepancies between the ‘ethical’ image the Co-op likes to project for PR purposes and its actual practice. Let’s face it; the £350,000 worth of trade affected by this boycott is negligible (barely the price of a modest Tel Aviv apartment), but the move does highlight once again how the Co-op is apparently willing to overlook the terror-sympathetic  connections (and real aims) of clients and campaigning members in order to curry favor with a perceived  ‘progressive’ client base. 

The move also serves to highlight the manner in which UK-based anti-Israel campaigners have in the last decade or so managed to bring their message into the mainstream at local levels. Using letters to local newspapers, occasional PSC or ‘Friends of Palestine’ stalls and demonstrations, co-opting the support of churches and various specific interest groups, they have ensured that although the vast majority of the population understands little or nothing about the Arab-Israeli conflict, many are nonetheless convinced that they are capable of making ethical judgments about it. 

Of course most British citizens will find this move by the Co-op somewhat less than ethical, if not downright abhorrent. The good news is that due to the company’s structure, they can do something about it by using exactly the same methods as employed by BDS activists in order to reverse the agenda. 

‘Airflotilla 2′ & “normal, average Europeans”

Earlier in the week the organisers of the ‘Airflotilla 2′ (‘Welcome to Palestine’) campaign held a press conference in Bethlehem. Among the speakers the organisers chose to address journalists was the mayor of Bethlehem, Victor Batarseh who urged Israel to allow the flytilla activists in.

“These people are coming to talk about peace, they are not coming to wage war against Israel,” he said. “They are coming to visit the Palestinian people who are under occupation and to talk to them and to help them because these people are isolated.”

 “We are asking our neighbors the Israeli government to make it easy for these people to enter the Palestinian National Authority, so that we can have this message of peace starting from this holy city of Bethlehem.”

He called on Europe and the United States to support the protest. People who speak out about Israel’s policies are called “anti-Semitic,” he said, but urged the US and Europe not to fear this label.

Whilst he can certainly talk the talk, Mayor Batarseh’s ‘message of peace’ should be seen in light of the fact that he recently took part in the ‘Christ at the Checkpoint conference held in his town, during which he told the audience that the Palestinians were being crucified by Israeli security measures, Bethlehem was a giant prison and that Jesus Christ, embodied by the Palestinian people, was imprisoned in the city by the security barrier.

Batarseh is known to be allied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – a terrorist organization proscribed by Canada, the EU and the US. In January this year Batarseh attended a memorial service for PFLP founder George Habash held in Beit Sahour.  Terror attacks perpetrated by the PFLP include:

  • On July 22, 1968, the PFLP hijacked its first plane, an El Al flight from Rome to Tel Aviv.
  • In September 1970, the PFLP hijacked three passenger planes and took them to airfields in Jordan, where the PLO was then based; after the planes were emptied, the hijackers blew them up. In response, King Hussein of Jordan decided that Palestinian radicals had gone too far and drove the PLO out of his kingdom.
  • In 1972, PFLP and Japanese Red Army gunmen murdered two dozen passengers at Israel’s international airport in Lod.
  • In 1976, breaking a PLO agreement to end terrorism outside Israeli-held territory, PFLP members joined with West German radical leftists from the Baader-Meinhof Gang to hijack an Air France flight bound for Tel Aviv and landed the plane in Entebbe, Uganda. In a now-famous raid, Israeli commandos freed the hostages. [Despite the overall success of the raid, three hostages were killed in the firefight and one was killed by Ugandan Army officers in a nearby hospital.]

Also speaking at the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ press conference was project organizer Mazin Qumsiyeh who said of the campaign’s participants:

“These are not hooligans. The people who are coming are normal, average Europeans who want to learn and visit people under occupation,”

Hooliganism is defined as ‘rowdy, violent or destructive behaviour’ or alternatively; ‘willful, wanton and malicious destruction of the property of others’. Some might say that the attempts of Mazin Qumsiyeh and his Palestine Justice Network to eliminate the Israeli state amount to little less.

Certainly, Mazin Qumsiyeh and Mustafa Barghouti –  an endorser of the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ – do not qualify as being best placed to define hooliganism in light of their equally suspect definition of the recent March 30th ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ events  (which they also co-organised) as ‘non-violent resistance’ and Barghouti’s active participation in the Qalandiya riots.

Neither, of course, is Qumsiyeh’s definition of the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ participants as “normal, average Europeans” at all accurate. Average Europeans do not – unlike the members of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign or London BDS  (both of which are involved in ‘Welcome to Palestine’)  – align themselves with the oppressive human-rights abusing, terror financing and supporting  Iranian regime by promoting and participating in ‘Al Quds Day marches.

Normal Europeans do not march under the flags of terrorist organisations such as Hizbollah and Hamas who indiscriminately murder civilians. Average Europeans do not disrupt cultural events and call for boycotts of a democratic country as a means of bringing about its dismantling. And ordinary Europeans certainly do not try to deliberately get themselves deported from other countries by knowingly engineering provocations.

As for Qumsiyeh’s claim that the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ participants wanting to “learn” about the conflict – that of course is highly dubious. Seasoned activists such as these are precisely what they are because of the fact that they have no desire to have their well-entrenched opinions challenged by facts and knowledge.

But let’s say they did. A viewing of this video made by Mustafa Barghouti shows exactly what participants in the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ will be ‘learning’ on their trip – should they actually arrive.

Is there really any difference between Jenny Tonge and Salma Yaqoob?

A couple of months ago Jenny Tonge caused a firestorm after she publicly stated during an anti-Israel diatribe “Israel is not going to be there forever in its present performance”.  Rejecting an ultimatum from Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, to apologize for her remarks Tonge was forced to resign from the Liberal Democrats and give up the party whip.

Commenting on Tonge’s remarks, Robert Halfon, MP opined

“Baroness Tonge has an appalling record of strong anti-Israel rhetoric. Too often, these remarks carry an offensive anti-Semitic tone. The Liberal Democrat whip should be withdrawn immediately, and she should withdraw her remarks.”

Enter Salma Yaqoob, hailed by the Guardian as “the most prominent Muslim woman in British public life”.

Yaqoob, leader of the Respect Party and former Birmingham city councilor, is known for her Islamist leanings having called the 7/7 London bombings “reprisal attacks”. According to Harry’s Place:

[H]er connections with Islamist extremism go back far further than her association with RESPECT. She was part of the campaign team which supported the family of Abu Hamza, who were caught while taking part in jihadist training in Yemen. Most disgracefully, she wrote an article in Inayat Bunglawala’s “Trends” magazine, which imagined Britain becoming an Islamic Republic, from which Salman Rushdie was depicted fleeing for his life.

Salma Yaqoob (right) endorsing Ben "I can understand why some are antisemitic" White's book Israel Apartheid for Beginners

It should come as no surprise then that Yaqoob holds a special place in her heart for Israel. She attended a protest together with Richard Burden, MP, in which the Israeli flag was burnt. On her personal blog, she lovingly refers to the IHH terrorists on board the Mavi Marmara as martyrs, campaigned for the release of Sheikh Raed Salah, endorsed the closure of the Israeli embassy in London, and supported the pro-Hamas Viva Palestina convoy while on Twitter she participated in the campaign to release Palestinian Islamic Jihad spokesperson, Khader Adnan.

In the spirit of Norman Finkelstein, in an article published in the Guardian (but where else!) she accused “Zionists [of abusing] the memory of the Holocaust to bolster support for today’s Israeli state.” And as can be seen from this article she is a staunch supporter of the BDS movement and the antisemitic Israel apartheid trope.

Which is all by way of introduction to this video filmed in 2010 that places everything neatly in context.

Around the 1 minute mark you can hear Yaqoob saying the following:

“[J]ust as South Africa now is liberated. Just as the bankrupt apartheid regime was exposed, was exposed to a world of the solidarity of world citizens [sic] was dismantled, so too the days of this racist apartheid regime are numbered.” [emphasis added]

Calling into question the existence of and willing the end of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people is abhorrent, offensive and yes antisemitic.

So I ask the question: is there really any difference between what Jenny Tonge  and Salma Yaqoob said?

Perhaps Yaqoob should ponder this next time she openly threatens CiF Watch on twitter for expressing our First Amendment rights of free speech.

Update 1

On Twitter, Yaqoob is claiming that she referred to the fact that 7/7 bomber claimed it as a reprisal attack and that she condemned the bombings unreservedly.

Update 2

On Twitter, Yaqoob claims that the Trends article was a satirical parody. She’s strangely silent about the substance of the post – namely the similarity of her statement to that of Jenny Tonge!

Update 3

More hate speech from Salma Yaqoob, this time on Twitter:

Salma Yaqoob Hate Speech Tweet

Update 4

Yaqoob is resolute about standing behind her comments a la Jenny Tonge as evidenced by this retweet:

 

Update 5

This retweet from Salma Yaqoob is priceless:

Update 6

Note how Salma Yaqoob accuses us of trolling and smearing in the following two tweets:

And then she retweets this:

Lies, Damn Lies, and Guardian-approved (Ben) White Lies

Ben White

It would be reassuring to be able to write that the latest Ben White screed on ‘Comment is Free’ is the result of misunderstanding, ignorance or shoddy research.

Equally, comfort could perhaps be found were it possible to assign the fact that such crude anti-Israel propaganda passed the inspecting eyes of a Guardian editor to ‘hasn’t got a clue about a far-away place’.

Neither of these statements is, however, true.

Ben White is a prolific and energetic campaigner against Israel’s existence, as CiF Watch readers have known for a long time. The Guardian knows that too and hence the publication of this article amounts to nothing more than collaboration with White’s ugly campaign of incitement.

Let’s have a look at some of White’s recycled claims. He begins by stating that:

“The presence of a few Palestinian members in the Knesset (MKs) is often touted as a sign of Israel’s robust democracy. Yet elected representatives of the Palestinian community inside Israel face growing harassment by the state, by fellow MKs and the media.”

Actually, of the 120 members of the current (18th) Knesset, no fewer than fourteen are of Arab ethnicity. Eleven of them are not mentioned in White’s article, indicating that the vast majority do not, as he terms it, “face harassment”.

The Likud party includes in its Knesset members Ayoub Kara, a former deputy speaker of the house who also sat in the 15th and 16th Knessets. Kadima has Majalli Wahabi, also a former deputy speaker and acting President who was once a member of the Likud and has served in the two previous parliaments. Ta’al has Dr. Ahmed Tibi – now serving his fourth term. Labour includes Raleb Majadele – the first Arab Muslim Minister who is currently in his third term as a Knesset member. Yisrael Beiteinu includes Hamad Amar and the United Arab list has Ibrahim Sarsur, Masud Ghnaim and Taleb el Sana who is currently in the Knesset for the sixth time. Hadash is represented by Afu Agbaria, Hana Sweid and Mohamed Barakeh – also a former deputy speaker now in his fourth term of office. Balad has Said Nafa, Jamal Zahalka – on his third term – and Haneen Zouabi.

All of these representatives took an oath of office upon entering the Knesset. That oath states:

“I pledge myself to bear allegiance to the State of Israel and faithfully to discharge my mandate in the Knesset”.

Indeed, like most citizens of democracies the world over, Israelis expect their lawmakers – regardless of ethnicity – first and foremost to uphold the country’s constitution and its laws. If they do not, then democracy is a sham. In the cases of the three Knesset members named by White, there have been alleged breaches of laws made in the parliament in which they sit.

Mohammed Barakeh of the communist party Hadash faces charges of assault. The fact that the incidents took place at demonstrations would presumably not excuse the alleged slapping of a policeman or choking of a soldier in any democratic country in which assault is a criminal act. Mr. Barakeh, incidentally, is a graduate of Tel Aviv University; hardly a mark of the downtrodden and persecuted.  

Said Naffaa of Balad was indicted on suspicion of breaking the law which prohibits visiting an enemy state without the advance permission of the Ministry of the Interior. That law too of course applies to all Israeli citizens, regardless of religion or ethnicity. In addition he is suspected of having met with members of two terrorist organisations.

Haneen Zoabi – also a member of the anti-Zionist party Balad and a graduate of both Haifa University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem – is most infamous for her co-operation with the IHH (banned in Israel due to its connections to the Union of Good and Hamas) during the 2010  incident and her involvement in assaults on Israel’s legitimacy such as the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.  

White’s concluding paragraph states that:

“Thus, as Palestinian citizens work for an end to decades of ethno-religious discrimination, a clear message is being sent through the targeting of their political leadership. The threat that is deemed intolerable by the state is devastatingly simple: the demand for equality.”

There are indeed citizens of all ethnicities and religions in Israel working hard to close the gaps and improve the situation of its minorities. Some of them can be found in the Knesset.  They are the majority of diligent Arab MKs – ignored by Ben White – who loyally serve their communities within the framework of the law and, whilst upholding their voluntarily given oath of allegiance to the state, work for equal rights and opportunities for all.  

As a distant relative of Haneen Zoabi complained last year:

“She and her party colleagues never deal with what matters to us,” 

“They are always dealing with the rights of the Palestinians, but what does that have to do with us? We need infrastructure, education, and our salaries to arrive on time. They don’t do anything, while the Likud is actually trying to help us.” 

Rather than indicating persecution of Arab members of the Knesset, the three MKs championed by White serve to highlight the fact that all citizens of Israel are equal in the eyes of the law.  In a true democracy, equality includes both rights and obligations – which cannot suddenly be shelved when it comes to prosecution for breaking the law.

But of course Ben White does not actually want people such as Zoabi, Naffaa and Barakeh to be bound by full equality with their counterparts of other ethnicities. He believes that those who actively work towards the dissolution of the State of Israel and sometimes co-operate with some of its most violent enemies should not simply get their day in court like anyone else, but should be permitted to carry on unhindered.

And if Israeli society balks at the transgressions of those using its very democracy to try to bring about its demise, White will play the ethno-religious card and scuttle to the pages of the Guardian or the New Statesman shouting ‘persecution!’ That very same tactic has long been used successfully by Islamists in White’s native country in order to deflect criticism of a whole host of problems within British society.

Fortunately, Israeli society is not yet cowed by so-called ‘progressives’ and ‘liberals’ who are prepared to sacrifice their collective values on the rotting altar of misguided political correctness.

IDF makes contact with crew of flotilla near Gaza, who admit they “have no cargo”!

H/T Margie

As if we needed anymore proof that the latest Free Gaza Flotilla was nothing but a publicity stunt, the IDF just released the following video:  At the 49 second mark, the crew of the flotilla announce clearly, “we have no cargo”.

Palestinians turn their backs on latest flotilla stunt (Media outnumber protesters in Ramallah by 8 to 1)

A guest post by AKUS

Very few people in the world are aware that there is another “flotilla” of two ships that are trying to embarrass Israel by getting themselves intercepted by the Israeli Navy before they reach Gaza.

So it was quite fascinating to stumble across some Tweets from Linah Alsaafin, a blogger at Electronic Intifada who composes her tweets from the luxurious suburbs of what she refers to as “A Bantustan called Ramallah”. Of course, if she were in a Bantustan she would be living in a rondavel with no plumbing, but her Bantustan has all mod cons it appears, including Internet access and bottled water.

One of the great benefits of Twitter is the way it reveals the hasty thoughts that that a tweeter blurts out when in a more measured effort they might conceal some of their inner thoughts. Most recently, it seems Linah has been having a few problems with her Bantustani internet and had to make do with her smart phone. She expresses the horror of her life in a terse tweet:

(khara =shitty – zift – well, you don’t have to be a New York Jew let alone a West Bank Arab to know the meaning of that word, so representative of oppression in Ramallah).

Now, Linah wants the world to know that she is not interested in merely turning the Bantustan in which she lives into Palestine – she wants it all. A real peacenik:

Linah sees herself on the forefront of those opposing the blockade of Gaza, and sent out a call for the masses to appear in Gaza to cheer the comrades on:

Best friend Ben White added his two cents worth, hoping for blood in the water:

Sadly, disappointment awaited Linah. Perhaps some of the West Bank Arabs are not overly concerned about what goes on in Gaza – after all, they are two largely unrelated groups of people, and, in many cases, deadly enemies. But the good news is that the media were out in force helping to swell the very thin ranks. In fact – can six people even be called a rank? Or only if there are eight times as many photographers as protesters?

Before she could consider the effect her revelations might have on world opinion – if no one reads a tweet, did it really ever leave the smart phone? – she comes out with this hasty series of tweets. In another world, these tweets would have meant the Gulag for her for undermining solidarity and the objective reality that even six people is a huge demonstration when photographed from the correct angle!

Let down by the masses who were supposed to show the UN exactly what the citizens of Ramallah think of the blockade, Linah lets us know how disappointed she is:

Yes, it’s sad when so many people recognize Western publicity hounds for what they are, and decide they do not need “help” like this.

Meanwhile, at sea, the hysteria is mounting – the dream of dying gloriously in a “massacre” is alive and well:

(Anyone who remembers Bill Maher’s brilliant skits about Crazy Ahmed will love that moniker!).

So tune in tomorrow to see if Linah’s cries to the world have had the desired effect, and millions march in Ramallah. You can spot her in the crowd easily – she’s the one wearing the traditional Bantustan dress and Armani sunglasses of the oppressed, clutching a water bottle to demonstrate how scarce water is in the Bantustan:

Radical Terrorist Chic on the high seas yet again

Apparently unmoved by the plight of victims of the recent earthquake in eastern Turkey or the quotidian slaughter of civilians in Syria, the semi-professional activists of ‘Free Gaza’ are back with another mini-flotilla, apparently set to reach Israeli waters by late Thursday or early Friday (the boats can be tracked here).

This particular publicity stunt is comprised of a mere two vessels, both of which participated in the failed flotilla of summer 2011. One is the Irish boat the MV Saoirse and the other the Canadian boat named ‘Tahrir’. According to their own publicity, the boats carry a total of 27 passengers from nine countries – a significant number of which appear to be journalists. Aboard the Canadian boat are a grand total of six activists along with five journalists representing DemocracyNow, Al Jazeera, the Iranian government’s Press TV and an Egyptian media outlet.

Of course there is no reason to suspect that during the long hours spent at sea the committed Canadian ‘human rights activists’ will be quizzing the Iranian reporter about the lack of rights for women and homosexuals in his own country or that they will address the fact that, far from being a victim of ‘Israeli apartheid’, their Israeli Arab fellow passenger Majed Kiyal is a student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The Irish boat appears to have seven passengers aboard, including former rugby player Trevor Hogan, Libyan/Irish citizen Hussein Hamed, the University of Limerick’s Zoe Lawlor, Belfast Friends of Palestine representative John Mallon, Waterford council member Pat Fitzgerald and Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy.

The boats’ cargoes apparently consist of letters of support to the people of Gaza from concerned Westerners as well as an alleged $30,000 worth of medicines. Apparently demonstrations are planned in Gaza and Ramallah on Thursday afternoon to demand UN protection for the flotilla, despite the fact that the UN commissioned Palmer Report deemed the partial embargo on Gaza perfectly legal.  

Here at CiF Watch we have covered extensively in the past the subject of the connections between the various ‘Free Gaza’ flotilla stunts and their extreme Islamist organisers. The facts behind these repeated operations are freely available for anyone to find, and yet the jaded scenario of Western ‘human rights activists’ engaging in PR stunts on behalf of a non-democratic, racist, repressive theocratic regime continues to be promoted by the supposedly ‘liberal’ Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood, who is apparently determined to avoid all serious investigative reporting at any cost. 

The Monday Morning Guardian Israel Hate Page

The Guardian Israel hate page this morning – as my dear friend MargieinTelAviv affectionately calls it - features a veritable choice of Israel-bashing articles to sink one’s teeth into.

 

First, there’s an article by Peter Preston, former Guardian editor, which contains a breathtaking insight into the malice with which he views Israel.   

As for Egypt itself, transition seems a puny word. Goodbye to Mubarak, and decades of autocracy; hello to dawning democracy, to millions on the streets, to outbursts of mass anger that, these past few days, can see Israel’s embassy while soldiers struggle for control. Maybe democracy and violent protest aren’t obvious bedfellows, but this time there is a connection – because now the crowd can come out spontaneously to make its feelings clear.[emphasis added]

Lets unpack this last sentence for a second. Preston seems to be drawing together two somewhat disparate themes: democracy and violence; the suggestion being that the freedoms associated with democracy have allowed the “Egyptian street” to express their true feelings toward Israel. However, the idea of democracy is not about unleashing the inner animal so that anarchy reins - but allowing freedom of expression to flourish within the confines of the rule of law. What Preston does through a rhetorical play on words is contextualize and justify violence against Israelis in the name of democracy.  

If that’s not enough, Preston then goes on to upbraid Israel for its stubborn refusal to commit suicide by refusing to recognize the Palestinian unilateral declaration of statehood expected to take place at the UN later this month.  

Israel ought to be voting to recognise a Palestinian state too this week, coming to terms with change before change engulfs it. But is there any sign of such awareness in the bunkers of entrenched obliviousness? An Arab spring? Fear, rather, an Israeli winter.

The theme of unilateral declaration of statehood is then picked up by the perfidious Gerald Kaufman. Under the heading “Israel’s Choices” in the letters page, Israel is presented with one choice.

President Abbas is to be congratulated on persisting in applying for Palestinian statehood at the UN (Report, 9 September), despite all the pressure and blackmail trying to force him not to. The quartet has never done anything meaningful to give the Palestinians their independence. If the US uses its veto at the security council, this will prove the smug windbag Obama to be the puppet of Aipac. The hypocrisy of those countries which vote against or abstain at the general assembly will similarly be exposed. This brave Palestinian move will change the entire environment of the Middle East and tell the Israelis that they must negotiate meaningfully if they wish to be one of the states in a two-state solution.
Gerald Kaufman MP
Lab, Manchester Gorton

[Note how for good measure Kaufman breezily employs the rhetoric more commonly associated with Jewish conspiracy theorists Walt and Mearsheimer by stating that US support of Israel in the United Nations is the work of the US puppet master, AIPAC.]

Not to be outdone by Preston and Kaufman, Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood adds her own two cents by posting an article suggesting that there is widespread approval for the support of a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state in Europe.

The majority of people in the UK, France and Germany want their governments to vote in favour of recognising a Palestinian state if a resolution is brought before the United Nations in the next few weeks, according to an opinion poll.

The basis for such a claim, we learn, is a poll conducted by YouGov on behalf of Avaaz.

The poll was conducted by YouGov on behalf of Avaaz, a global campaigning organisation that is conducting an online petition in support of a Palestinian state. It is planning to deliver more than 913,000 signatories backing what it describes as “this new opportunity for freedom” to the European parliament.

We do not know what questions were asked in this poll – all we are told is, by way of footnote, that the poll was conducted online with 2,552 respondents in the UK, 1,017 respondents in Germany and 1,011 in France. However if the track record of Avaaz polling is anything to go by, the results are not to be trusted.    

And Avaaz has an even more checkered background as Daniel Greenfield observes,

Avaaz [is] a left-wing organization conducting a pressure campaign for Palestinian statehood. Avaaz’s video lays the blame for the violence on Israel, compares Israel’s Foreign Minister to Ahmadinejad and presents the unilateral Hamas-Fatah state as a way to bring peace to the region. Viewers are not told that few things are more certain to bring violence than unilateral actions by a fanatical terrorist group whose covenant celebrates the genocide of the Jewish people.

Like its video, Avaaz is not what it seems. Unlike most organizations, Avaaz does not list its staff openly; instead it claims to practice “servant leadership” with staffers letting members decide what to do. Only when the tax returns for Avaaz are examined, does a clearer picture emerge of who is really in charge.

Avaaz’s tax returns mention only one paid employee, its president, Ricken Patel, who pulls down a six figure salary—not bad for a ‘servant’. Patel was also a co-founder of Res Publica, the organization that co-founded Avaaz.

The Chairman of the Board, Eli Pariser, is the president of MoveOn.org which also co-founded Avaaz, and  along with Avaaz’s Secretary, Tom Pravda, is also on the advisory board of Res Publica. Patel and Pariser serve on the advisory board of J-Street, a Soros organization founded to undermine Jewish support for Israel.

What’s the difference between Res Publica and Avaaz? Avaaz looks like an international activist group, which is convenient when you want to appear to be a global movement, instead of a disguised branch of the same old American left-wing organizations.

Res Publica gets the majority of its funding from the Open Society Institute, which makes Avaaz another disguised George Soros project, just like J Street. The Economic Times hails Ricken Patel as “The Man Who Gives You Your Voice”, but it’s not “your” voice, it’s Soros’ voice.

And if the anti-Israel agitrop of Harriet Sherwood were not enough, there’s a Guardian editorial to top things off reveling in Israel’s regional isolation.

If post-revolutionary Egypt and an economically resurgent Turkey make common cause against their former common ally – and there is every indication that they will – Israel‘s isolation in the region will be profound.

In other words, just another day at the “world’s leading liberal voice”.