Indy publishes letter (whose signatures include Desmond Tutu) with lie about ‘maimed’ Palestinian ‘footballers’

Here are the signatories to a letter published at The Independent on April 30, titled ‘Leave Jerusalem off Euro 2020 host city list‘:

John Austin, Victoria Brittain, Rodney Bickerstaffe, Breyten Breytenbach, Caryl Churchill, William Dalrymple, The Rev Garth Hewitt, Dr Ghada Karmi, Bruce Kent, Paul Laverty, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Miriam Margolyes, Mairead Maguire, Kika Markham, Professor Nur Masalha, Karma Nabulsi, Professor Steven Rose, Professor Hilary Rose, Salman Abu Sitta, Ahdaf Souief, Baroness Jenny TongeArchbishop Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker and Roger Waters

The letter (whose signatures include Tutu and several Guardian contributors) opens with the following:

During the next five months Uefa will select 13 host cities for its Euro 2020 football competition. We appeal to Uefa to exclude Jerusalem from this list of hosts.

Here’s one of the reasons these serial Israel haters provide for opposing Jerusalem’s possible hosting of the UEFA football competition:

In February this year, Amnesty International published a report entitled Trigger Happy which documents the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli occupation forces. The report describes this treatment as “unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal”.

You can see NGO Monitor’s take on the Amnesty ‘trigger happy’ report here.

The letter continues:

Just one example of this was seen earlier this year when Israeli soldiers shot repeatedly at the legs and feet of two talented teenage Palestinian footballers at a checkpoint, maiming them for life.

However, the charges about the alleged attack on the ‘talented teenage Palestinian footballers’, which was first published in the Arab media and then by Dave Zirin at The Nation, were proven to be a lie in a superb fisking at Elder of Ziyon.

First, the two Palestinians were not ‘targeted’ because they were “football players”, but because they were allegedly seen throwing bombs.

The incident, which occurred in late January near Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem, reportedly began when a group of Palestinians (including the two “footballers”) threw bombs at Israeli security forces. The security forces evidently only opened fire when  the group attempted to run away and tried again to toss explosives at them. 

Additionally, both of the Palestinian ‘victims’,  Joher Naser and Adam Johar, are evidently supporters of the terror group, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Here’s a photo of Joher Naser from his own Facebook page:

Joher

Here’s a photo from the Facebook page of the other ‘footballer’, Adam Johar, who evidently didn’t get the memo from Mahmoud Abbas:

adam

Additionally, though Arab media sites (and The Nation) claimed that the two suspects were shot repeatedly in their feet, there are quite a few photos online documenting their injuries in detail but none which show a foot injury.  (By the way, the ‘footballers’ were initially treated at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.)

football knees

Joher Naser (left) and Adam Johar (right)

football walk 3

Joher Naser (left) and Adam Johar (right)

Do these footballers-cum-terror supporters seem “maimed for life” to you?

Perhaps editors at the Indy should be more careful before legitimizing wild, libelous anti-Israel allegations which have little if any relationship to reality. 

(See more on this story in a post published by my colleague Tamar Sternthal

 

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Guardian provides PR for failing BDS campaign against EU football championship in Israel

The 2013 European Under-21 Football Championship (UEFA U-21) – hosted by Israel from June 5th through the 18th – represents the 19th staging of the event.  National football teams from all over Europe will compete, with England, Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, the Netherlands and Norway, alongside Israel, all vying for the title of champion.

Anti-Israel boycott campaigners (branded as “Red Card Israeli Racism”) are campaigning for the tournament not to be held in Israel as part of a sporting boycott of the Jewish state. And, though their BDS efforts will certainly fail, the Guardian has begun providing these anti-Israel campaigners with the publicity they desire. 

Indeed, the latest two Guardian reports on their site’s Israel page are a letter calling on the UEF (Union of European Football) to reverse their decision to choose Israel as a venue (Uefa insensitivity to Palestinians plight’, May 27), and a story, in the sports section, reporting on the publication of the very same letter the Guardian had just published (‘Uefa accused of ignoring anti-Palestinian bias‘, David Feeny, May 28).

uefa

Here’s the text of the May 27 Guardian letter:

On Friday, delegates from European football associations gathered in a London hotel for Uefa‘s annual congress (Report, 24 May). They agreed new, strict guidelines to deal with racism, suggesting a commendable determination to combat discrimination in the sport.

We find it shocking that this same organisation shows total insensitivity to the blatant and entrenched discrimination inflicted on Palestinian sportsmen and women by Israel.

Despite direct appeals from representatives of the sport in Palestine and from anti-racist human rights campaigners across Europe, Uefa is rewarding Israel’s cruel and lawless behaviour by granting it the honour of hosting the European Under-21 finals next month.

Uefa should not allow Israel to use a prestigious football occasion to whitewash its racist denial of Palestinian rights and its illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

We urge Uefa to follow the brave example of world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking who, on advice from Palestinian colleagues, declined to take part in an international conference in Israel. We call on Uefa, even at this late stage, to reverse the choice of Israel as a venue.

Here are the signatories to the BDS call in the Guardian. As you’ll note by reading our brief bios, the group is dominated by ‘Patrons’ from the fringe group, Palestine Solidarity Campaign:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu:  Former civil rights leader in South Africa with an apparent blind spot when it comes to Jews.  Tutu, for instance, has evoked classic antisemitic stereotypes and tropes about Jewish “arrogance”, “power” and money.

Frédéric Kanouté: A footballer who, we revealed in early December, had falsely claimed that several other footballers had called on European football’s governing body to cancel Israel’s hosting of the Under-21 Finals.

John Austin MP: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and Former Labour MP for Woolwich.

Rodney Bickerstaffe: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron.

Bob Crow: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron.

Victoria Brittain: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and former Guardian associate foreign editor, who once chaired an event at the pro-Hamas group, MEMO.

Jeremy Corbyn MP: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and an obsessively anti-Israel campaigner who had participated in a meeting organized by the openly pro-Hamas group MEMO, and has actually opined quite explicitly in defense of both Hamas and Hezbollah.

Caryl Churchill: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and author of the antisemitic play Seven Jewish Children’.

Rev Garth Hewitt: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron, and singer/songwriter.

Dr Ghada Karmi: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron, one-state promoter and ‘Comment is Free’ contributor.

Bruce Kent: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron.

Ken Loach: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron, and a film-maker who has participated in countless anti-Israel campaigns, and has even participated in the kangaroo court known as the Russell Tribunal on Palestine where he accused the Jewish state of adopting a policy of ‘racial purity’.

Michael Mansfield QC: A British lawyer and Palestine Solidarity Campaign supporter, who has endorsed the Muslim Brotherhood-led ‘Free Gaza’ campaign – and also has participated in the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

Kika Markham: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron, Actor, and supporter of Viva Palestina

Luisa Morgantini: Former vice-president, European parliament. 

Prof Hilary Rose, Prof Steven Rose: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patrons, and among the founding members of British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP). Their obsessive criticism of Jews, and of the Jewish state, inspired Anthony Julius to observe that they seem “proud to be ashamed to be Jews”. 

Alexei Sayle: Author and comedian, Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and Marxist.

Jenny Tonge: Most notable for her remarks that she might have been a suicide bomber had she been born a Palestinian, as well as her claim that “the pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the Western World, its financial grips [and] a certain grip on [the Labor] party”. Tonge also is infamous for calling on Israel to “investigate” the IDF in light of charges they were stealing organs in Haiti. 

Dr Antoine ZahlanPalestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and Arab academic.

Geoffrey Lee: Affiliated with the group leading efforts to boycott Israeli football, ‘Red Card Israeli Racism‘ 

Tomas Perez: According to the Guardian, he’s affiliated with the group Football Beyond Borders

John McHugo: Chair of Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine, board member of CAABU, the Council for Arab-British Understanding. He has also contributed essays for the website of the pro-Hamas group MEMO.

Roger Lloyd Pack: Actor best known for his role as ‘Trigger’ in the BBC series ‘Only Fools and Horses’

Whilst this campaign, like so many other abysmal attempts to isolate Israel by the anti-Zionist left, will certainly fail, it’s important to contextualize BDS in all of its manifestations as the political derivative of various Arab (and Soviet) led boycotts which have been used for many decades as weapons in the war against Israel.  In its modern incarnation BDS represents the main component of the “Durban strategy” – adopted by the NGO Forum of the UN’s Durban Conference (2001) – adopted by pro-Palestinian groups to completely isolate Israel by promoting economic, academic, cultural and even (as in this case) sporting boycotts of Israel.

As NGO monitor summed up the BDS movement:

  • Boycotts are the antithesis of dialogue, cooperation, and developing peaceful ties between Israelis and Palestinians.
  • Ali Abunimah, major BDS speaker and head of “Electronic Intifada,” labels Palestinian leaders who negotiate with Israel “collaborators.”
  • BDS activists promote “one-state” solutions, meaning the elimination of Israel as the historic homeland of the Jewish nation. (A political goal which is codified as antisemitic by the EU.)

Further, this particular boycott movement – targeting Israel by attempting to politicize European football – has garnered almost no traction beyond marginal figures and a few extreme anti-Israel movements.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said after Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell asked why the government was supporting the tournament: “I do not believe that sporting fixtures should be an obstacle to political progress of any form”. Responding to the president of the Palestinian Football Association, FIFA President Platini said that UEFA did not believe in “punishing people and isolating them”.

Additionally, it is worth noting that the Israeli U21 squad comes from a range of backgrounds, and includes Jewish Israelis, Arab Israelis and foreign football players.

We’ll leave you with a video featuring two outstanding Israeli players – Captain Eyal Golasa, a Netanya native who plays for Maccabi Haifa, and Moanes Dabur, an Arab-Israeli player for Maccabi Tel Aviv – talking about the Israeli national under-21 team and showing off their skills.

William Sutcliffe’s Guardian-approved anti-Israel propaganda for teens

Alison Flood’s March 31 Guardian/Observer report on a new novel by William Sutcliffe about the Israeli ‘occupation’ includes a quote by the self-described Jewish atheist which encapsulates how the most facile understandings of both the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the broader political realities of our day often pass for serious commentary.

‘…the story of our era is the divide between the haves and the have-nots, and it seemed the wall in the West Bank was very specific to that situation, but also symbolic of other things happening elsewhere”.

As befits such platitudinous prose, Sutcliffe’s new work is targeted towards a less mature audience.

teens

Flood’s review and interview begins thusly:

Pitched as a fable, his crossover novel is set in a city split in two by a vast wall. On one side live the privileged, the occupiers – and our hero Joshua. On the other live the desperate, the occupied, and when Joshua, hunting for his lost football, discovers a tunnel that leads under the wall, he sets in action a series of dreadful consequences. Without making it explicit, it soon becomes clear that this is the West Bank, that Joshua, 13, is Jewish, and that Leila, the girl who saves his life on the other side of the wall, is Palestinian.

The cover art chosen to illustrate the story of “privileged” Jews and “desperate” Palestinians is thoroughly consistent such an obtuse paradigm: An olive tree encircled with barbed wire, juxtaposed with a title evoking the morality tale Sutcliffe is demanding the young reader to imagine.

wall

What finally pushed the writer to commence the project?  Flood explains:

“…he heard about PalFest, Palestine’s annual travelling festival of literature, and decided he needed to travel to the region. He’d been to Israel before, but after experiencing PalFest, “everything I thought I knew about Israel was shattered.”

As CiF Watch has noted (here and here), Palfest (the Palestine Festival of Literature) is the (partially UK-funded) anti-Israel advocacy vehicle which has included a significant proportion of participating writers (and ‘recommended authors) who have been featured in the Guardian or ‘Comment is Free’ – including Ali Abunimah, Ben White, and Ghada Karmi.

Sutcliffe’s commentary on the ‘revelatory’ benefits of his Palfest journey continues:  

 He’d been to Israel before, but after experiencing PalFest, “everything I thought I knew about Israel was shattered. Seeing a military occupation up close, seeing a small number of people with guns telling a large number without guns what to do… it was so much more brutal than I thought it could be.”

It’s unclear where precisely Sutcliffe ventured in the West Bank, but it’s curious that in his apparently serious overall examination and research of the region he somehow failed to learn of the ubiquity of Palestinians ‘with guns‘, explosives and other weaponry – ‘activists’ who are of course waiting for the opportunity to deploy such lethal instruments of terror against Israeli civilians without guns.

Archive: Weaponry Uncovered in Palestinian's Home

Weaponry Uncovered by the IDF in a Palestinian’s Home, 2012

To critics who may question Sutcliffe’s expertise on such a subject, his answer is as follows:

“it’s reportage – which is why I went out of my way with the two research trips”.

Yet, Sutcliffe’s reporting cum ‘activist tourism’ left him unable to grasp the most elementary story about the fence which divides Palestine and Israel, the muse which inspired his Middle East tale: That there once was a time when the borders dividing the two peoples were porous, when a genuine peace seemed, to some, to be within reach – an ideal which was shattered by an onslaught of snipers, bombings and suicide belts.  

The security fence about which he writes was born of shrapnel, savagely fired, coursing through organs and limbs, tearing apart bodies, and shattering lives.   

Flood then adds the following:

[Sutcliffe] is also playing on another familiar children’s literary motif – that of the portal from the mundane to a world of fantasy. “What’s happening in this book is a kid living in a complete fantasy, who discovers a portal to reality. I’m taking the cliché and turning it upside down,” he says. “I’ve been with the settlers… and I think they are living in a world of complete fantasy.”

However, as one ‘Comment is Free’ critic recently and quite keenly observed about such lazy depictions:   

‘Whilst Palestinians have names, faces and form – their injured children…blazoned across headlines – Israelis are faceless, without history or family. They are not cute or charming or tragic. They are not gifted musicians or parlour comedians.  Israelis are just, coldly and callously, ‘Israelis’, unnamed, numbered and otherwise ignored, unless they are ‘settlers’ or soldiers, when they are as if motherless, amorphous.

In his evocation of Israeli caricatures, unrecognizable as they are crude, it is  Sutcliffe who conjures the most risible and fantastical tale.

Guardian publishes historical fiction about Israel in ‘Letters’ section

Commenting on the UN’s egregious bias against the Jewish state, Abba Eban (who served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN and foreign minister, among other posts) once quipped: “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.”

To this I’d add: If the resolution was introduced today it would likely receive sympathetic coverage in the Guardian.

The latest anti-Israeli communique at the Guardian demonstrates that historical truth plays little if any role in Guardian editors’ decisions regarding which letters to publish.

The following letter, titled ‘UK’s responsibility to the Palestinians“, was published on November 1st and was signed by such sage anti-Zionists, and confirmed one-staters, as Ghada KarmiTim Llewellyn, Karl Sabbagh, John Rose, Kamel Hawwash, Naomi Foyle, Mona Baker, Mike Marquesee and Seni Seneviratne.

This thrifty polemic (196 words in three passages) may represent the greatest degree of anti-Israeli malice, and historical fiction, per word in quite a long time at the Guardian.

Here’s the first passage:

“Today is the 95th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, when the then foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, signed a fateful letter to Lord Rothschild announcing that the British government “view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people”. Britain thus gave the zionist movement carte blanche to transform the overwhelmingly Arab state of Palestine into a Jewish one.”

It may be tedious, but certainly necessary, to point out that there was not in the years preceding the birth of Israel – nor at any other time in history – an independent “Arab state of Palestine”.   There have only been Jewish states in the territory known as “Palestine” – two between 1020 and 586 BCE, and, of course, the modern state of Israel.

(Even after 586 BCE, the Jews enjoyed periods of sovereignty afterward, until most were driven from their homeland in 135 C.E.)

Even after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and the beginning of the exile, Jewish life in Israel continued. Indeed, there has been a continuous, uninterrupted, Jewish presence in the Land of Israel for over 3,000 years.

Further, Palestinian Arab nationalism did not become a significant political movement until after the 1967 Six-Day War.

To argue that “Arab Palestine” was transformed into a Jewish state is a lie.

Here’s the second passage:

“To further this aim, from 1920 onwards, Britain encouraged the mass immigration into Palestine of hundreds of thousands of European Jews, expressly against the wishes of the majority population. As Palestine descended into chaos, the British washed their hands of their responsibility for the mess they had caused and stood by while hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were terrorised into fleeing their homeland, as Palestine was transformed into Israel.”

Actually, not only is a lie to argue that Britain encouraged the mass immigration of Jews, but, bowing to Arab pressure, they consistently placed enormous restrictions (especially beginning in mid 1930s) on Jews who wished to emigrate to the land of Israel (historic Palestine).  The British gave in further to Arab demands by announcing (in the 1939 White Paper) that Jewish immigration would be limited to a total of 75,000 over the next five-year period.

These restrictions continued even during the the Holocaust.

The gates of Israel remained closed during WWII, stranding hundreds of thousands of Jews in Europe, many of whom became victims of Hitler’s Holocaust. After the war, the British, again fearful of angering Arab leaders, even refused to allow the survivors of the Shoah to find sanctuary in Palestine.

Here’s the final passage from the Guardian letter:

“We call for the British government to acknowledge publicly the responsibility of previous British administrations from 1917 to 1948 for the catastrophe that befell the Palestinians, when over three-quarters were expelled deliberately and systematically by the Zionist army. Most of them remain refugees today without redress. The truth about their expulsions is still not officially established, since Israel officially denies any responsibility for it.”

Actually, those Palestinians who fled during the War of Independence did so as the result of an Arab war of annihilation against the nascent Jewish state. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of Palestinian refugees from 1948 - roughly 600,000 people – did not flee as the result of Israeli military actions.

As Mitchell Bard wrote:

“The Palestinians left their homes in 1947-48 for a variety of reasons. Thousands of wealthy Arabs left in anticipation of a war, thousands more responded to Arab leaders’ calls to get out-of-the-way of the advancing armies, a handful were expelled, but most simply fled to avoid being caught in the cross fire of a battle.”

As far as “responsibility” for the Palestinians’ plight, had the Arabs accepted the 1947 UN resolution, there wouldn’t have been a single Palestinian refugee and Palestine would be 64 years old.

Further, had Arab states welcomed their Palestinian brothers with open arms in the years following 1948, and granted them full citizenship rights – as Jews expelled from Arab countries were granted full citizenship rights when they arrived in mass between 1947 and 1967 – instead of cynically keeping them segregated in refugee camps for political reasons, there wouldn’t be a Palestinian refugee crisis. 

The historical fictions contained in this recent Guardian letter about Israel are of such a magnitude that (to paraphrase Israeli historian Benny Morris’s review of the book, ‘The Israel Lobby’) if the letter was an actual person, we would have to say that he did not have a single honest bone in his body.

Look East, Ghada Karmi, not west, for your ‘One-State Solution’

A guest post by AKUS

For years British academic and self-styled Palestinian (and ‘Comment is Free’ contributor) Ghada Karmi has been a staunch supporter of the idea of a “unitary” Palestinian state of Gaza, Israel and the West Bank.  That is, she supports a Palestinian state comprising all the territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.

Notably, she does not include what is today known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. “Trans-Jordan” was also originally part of the British Palestinian Mandate until Churchill ceded it to the Hashemites as the counter weight to the Jewish Homeland pledged by Lord Balfour that would exist between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.

Karmi’s position represents a full version of the  “the one state solution”, including the supposed Palestinian “Right of Return”, and restoration of “stolen land” to ensure what she believes is the appropriate balance of demographic, economic and therefore political power  in this “unitary state”. There would be an Arab majority evidently agreeing to allow a Jewish minority to exist on whatever small area of land they are not forcibly “returned” to those claiming to be descendants of pre-1948 owners.   

She apparently believes – in the face of all evidence to the contrary – that this would be a secular democracy and Jews could live safely among the democratic and enlightened Arab majority.

For good measure, she believes it is the ‘racist Israeli public’ that prevents such an obvious and beneficial solution to the conflict.

In July 2002 she wrote the following, in an article titled ‘Bi-nationalism and the right of return‘, which accurately sums up her views:

“In the context of a unitary state solution, the bi-national state proposal is obviously less unacceptable, since it can be designed to mimic closely a two-state solution tipped in favor of the stronger side. But from a Palestinian viewpoint, for bi-nationalism to be equitable and not just a re-hash of the present formula of Israeli hegemony, it must provide for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to the state and for restitution of the land and resources which were stolen from them. The Jewish law of return must be cancelled and the bi-national state should be configured along non-Zionist lines, since it was the exclusivist and discriminatory nature of Zionism, which created the original problem. The prominent Israeli sociologist, Sami Smoocha, who conducted several surveys of Jewish society since the 1970s, has observed that the Jewish public in Israel was ‘both racist and rigid’ and it was this which was the cause of the persisting Jewish-Arab conflict.”

On September 20th, 2012, in a ‘Comment is Free’ piece, Palestinians need a one-state solution, she castigated the Palestinian Authority and its attempt to get UN backing for a Palestinian State (perhaps including Gaza with the West Bank, or perhaps not) that wouldn’t include the incorporation of Israel’s population and territory. Once again she took pains to point out the huge advantage, in her eyes, of a single cis-Jordanian state with a large Arab population:

“This situation demands a new Palestinian strategy, a Plan B that converts the Palestinian struggle for two states into one for equal rights within what is now a unitary state ruled by Israel.  …..

The first step in this plan requires a dismantlement of the PA as currently constituted, or at least a change of direction for the Palestinian leadership. The PA’s role as a buffer between the occupier and the occupied should end, along with the illusion of a spurious Palestinian autonomy it has fostered….

… The PA should lead the campaign to prepare Palestinians for the abandonment of the two-state idea and the struggle for equal rights instead. … At one stroke, Plan B shreds these fig leaves, and removes the chimera of a Palestinian state that has diverted attention from the reality on the ground.

The 2.5 million potential new Arab citizens of Israel would be able to challenge its much-vaunted democracy, and upend the old order in the Palestinians’ favour. Will they have the courage to grasp the challenge?”

Now, there are several weaknesses in Karmi’s theories that should surely have put an end to the belief in a cis-Jordan “one state solution”:

1. Karmi continues to believe, against all evidence to the contrary, in a “Plan B” that assumes that Israelis will agree or can be persuaded by “a struggle for equal rights” (mainly by the Palestinians and, presumably, various tiny pro-Palestinian groups in Israel, plus the fly-in rent-a-protest Westerners such as ISM) to create a single state which will have some 4 million Arab citizens at its inception, out of a population of approximately 10 million.

Given the birthrate of Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank this is a crudely disguised demographic time bomb with a delayed “Right of Return” explosion to be set off when an Arab majority is achieved.  

Israelis will never agree to this. The idea is simply a non-starter, no matter how many articles she writes about it.

 2. Karmi refers to the “chimera” of a Palestinian state consisting of the West Bank (including everything that was “east” of the Green Line) and Gaza – but for all the wrong reasons.  She believes that Arafat’s acceptance of “Palestine” as the West Bank and Gaza (the “chimera” she refers to) has diverted attention from the possibility of creating a Palestinian state consisting of the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.

In reality, when the world’s powers acquiesced to Arafat’s creation of the Palestinian people as those living in Gaza and the West Bank, and to the Arab states’ Khartoum “3 no’s”, they prevented a settlement between Israel and Jordan soon after the 6 Day War.  That agreement would have created a Palestinian state that would have included most of the West Bank and all of Jordan, under the leadership of King Hussein. Gaza would have either remained as it is today, or eventually been returned into the reluctant hands of the Egyptians.

 3.  Karmi, like other presumably left-leaning observers of the conflict, has an enormous blind spot that allows her to consistently ignore the fact that Jordan is the only Palestinian state that exists and it is run as an anachronistic monarchy ruling over a majority Palestinian population.

Created over tea in Jerusalem by Winston Churchill and handed to the Hashemites in 1923, it has a population estimated variously as between 60% – 70% Palestinian. During the 1948 war, King Abdullah of Jordan seized and occupied the West Bank, which remained under Jordanian control until 1967. The West Bank and Jordan functioned quite well as a single economic and political entity during that period. With the exception of Jordanian sniper fire targeting Jews in “West” Jerusalem, Israel and Jordan preserved a fairly peaceful status quo during that period.

King Hussein eventually washed his hands of the West Bank in 1988, or, more precisely, its Arab occupants, realizing that it would be more trouble than it was worth to incorporate them into Jordan. The addition of the West Bank Palestinian population would further have imperiled his rule. But that has not really changed the facts on the ground – that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is, in fact, a predominantly Palestinian state.

I would maintain that what really drives Palestinians and their supporters to the idea of a “one state solution” is not the desire to achieve a workable and practical Palestinian state. It is really a desire for revenge – a desire to forcibly take back from Israel and Israelis what was lost during several wars and developed by Israelis over the last 100-plus years.

Karmi and those supporting her ideas are driven by a true chimera – a dream of returning to an idyllic period (which never actually existed) when Palestinians supposedly lived, not mainly as feudal serfs working the lands of absentee landlords, but having a sort of noble, gracious village life or one of great intellectual achievement in a few of the tiny towns in what was in fact the dusty and wretchedly poor corner of the Ottoman Empire known as Southern Syria, while enjoying the confiscated wealth of the Israelis they would dispossess.

If Karmi really wants to create a viable Palestinian state she should develop a more positive vision – one which doesn’t take away Israelis’ land, prosperity, economy, industries, and agriculture through a forced incorporation of the West Bank, Gaza and Israel into a “unitary state”.

She should look east across the Jordan River. There she would see one of the few countries in the world still ruled by a monarchy of sorts.  Sixty to seventy percent of the population is ruled over non-democratically by a branch of the Saudi Hashemite dynasty whose position is supported by loyal Bedouin forces in the Jordanian military.

If Karmi is as left-leaning as she claims to be, surely this anachronistic situation should be swept away with a democratic federation of most of the West Bank and Trans Jordan?

Ironically, a Guardian contributor, Samer Libde, asked the question, ‘Is Jordan heading for chaos?‘, in a Comment piece a few days after Karmi’s latest article.

The problems of dynastic rule in Jordan in a modern interconnected world have been obvious for some time. It was interesting to read Libde’s analysis of the tensions arising from the attempt to perpetuate a non-democratic, monarchical trans-Jordanian state that has a Palestinian majority controlled by the trans-Jordanian Hashemites – a situation that seems not to bother Ghada Karmi and many others like her:

“As the impact of the Arab spring continues to be felt across many parts of the Middle East, the Jordanian regimes unwillingness to heed calls for meaningful political reform, greater press freedoms and democratisation is antagonising political and civil society activists alike.

….

The royal court has a difficult balancing act to perform. First, the protesters are divided. Transjordanians, who have been traditionally loyal to the Hashemite regime, are opposed to political reform that challenges their inherited privileged status and position, and are resisting calls to increase the representation of Palestinian-Jordanians in parliament.

While the king will have to respond to the demands of the IAF and the Palestinian-Jordanians, he will also have to remain sensitive to the needs of the Transjordanians. This will not be an easy task.

….

Unfortunately, it does not appear as if Jordan’s king has the vision or the courage to follow this path – but failure to learn the lessons of the Arab spring may mean that the Jordanian people will make that decision for him.”

If the largely Palestinian population does make that decision, I would propose that they approach Israel with a plan to create a Jordanian (or Palestinian) federation of the West Bank and Jordan. After nearly 50 years of frustration dealing with the West bank, Israel is likely in any event to finally fence in the bits of the West Bank it wants to keep, and, as with Gaza, simply withdraw from the rest. This would leave 95% of the West Bank in a non-viable limbo, something as likely to be as dangerous for Jordan as it is for Israel, as we have seen with the rising conflict between the Gazans and Egyptians.

It is not difficult to see the Jordanian option as a workable solution to the chaotic situation that would otherwise arise on the West Bank. Karmi and those like her should be looking east at what was, in fact given to them by Great Britain, not peering vengefully westwards Israel, the country they cannot have. They should be working on a proposal for a Palestinian state that includes most of today’s West Bank and Jordan, not the chimera, to borrow her word, of a “unitary [cis-Jordan] solution”

The Guardian offers another CiF columnist the opportunity to fantasize about Israel’s destruction

Ghada Karmi

UK pro-Palestinian activist, and academic, Ghada Karmi has never hidden her rejection of Israel’s right to exist.  

Nor has she been reluctant to advocate what’s called a “one state solution” – the radical reconstitution of the world’s only Jewish state into a majority Muslim state in which Jews would be a minority dependent on the ‘benevolence’ of the non-Jewish majority.

Karmi also believes Israel’s supporters in the U.S. exert a dangerous influence on the American political system.

Karmi, for instance, once referred to pro-Israeli advocates, for instance, as “intellectual terrorists“.

She also wrote the following at CiF about such pro-Israeli activists in the U.S:

“…People [in the U.S.] are hardened or resigned to having their freedom of expression limited by the pro-Israel lobby.”

Also, she wrote:

[Due to pressure from the Jewish lobby] Presidents…will…do anything to support Israel.

In this YouTube clip, she address a crowd on the question of why the U.S. supports Israel, and says:

“The U.S. is not free.  It is constrained by the power of the [Jewish] lobby.”

Not surprisingly, she also has co-operated with the International Solidarity Movement – the group which harbored suicide bombers in Israel.

Yet, in the Guardian’s jaundiced view of what constitutes left-wing and right-wing thought, Karmi is evidently a left-leaning progressive in good standing, and her latest essay represents her 16th entry at ‘Comment is Free’ since 2002.

Her latest post, Sept. 20, represents more of the same, and is titled, ‘Palestinians need a one-state solution‘.

As it often the case with Israel haters, truth is always subservient to the greater narrative, and Karmi’s following claim is a perfect illustration.

“The colonisation process continues unabated, and to date Israel has resisted every call for a settlement based on a two-state solution.” [emphasis added]

The fiction of Israeli intransigence, in contrast to peace-loving Palestinians, represents such an extreme inversion of reality that the following must be noted:

  • In 1967, after defending itself against another war of annihilation, the Israelis voted unanimously to return the vast majority of territories it had captured in exchange for peace. The Arab response was unequivocal: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it”.

Further, Karmi, in her CiF piece, mocks Mahmoud Abbas’ intention to seek statehood (unilaterally or otherwise), and argues for “a reassessment of Palestinian political strategy”, one which “think[s] beyond the two-state solution.”

Karmi writes:

“This situation demands a new Palestinian strategy, a Plan B that converts the Palestinian struggle for two states into one.”

The demand, of course, for the Jewish state’s dissolution – by Karmi, Ben White, Ali Abunimah, Omar Barghouti, Antony Lerman, Moussa Abu Marzouk, or other commentators whose anti-Zionist fantasies are given legitimacy on the pages of the Guardian – will never, ever be accepted by Israelis.

This is not 1937.  The Peel Commission has adjourned.

The end of one-state dreams died when the nascent Jewish state miraculously emerged victorious after the Arabs launched a war of destruction in 1948.

Israeli Jews will never, ever entertain the politically regressive suggestion that they return to the status of a subjugated (or, at best, tolerated) minority, dependent on the benevolence of a historically hostile majority.  

Any attempt to ‘impose’ such a solution will be met by fierce, uncompromising Jewish resistance.

While most Israelis are willing, in the event of a serious peace proposal by the Palestinians, to be extremely flexible, and make painful territorial compromises, our freedom and national sovereignty – which Jews suffered and sacrificed unimaginably over the ages to finally achieve – is simply not negotiable. 

Brainwashing children to hate Israel: The Palestine Solidarity Campaign way

Cross posted by our friend Richard Millett

A Global March to Jerusalem activist yesterday.

At the PSC’s “Global March to Jerusalem” outside the Israeli Embassy yesterday from 5pm to 7pm a three-year-old girl listened to two hours of hate-filled chanting and sermons before being called to the platform by her mother.

The microphone was thrust under her nose so she could do her own version of “Free Free Palestine”. Who needs preachers of hate when children are so indoctrinated with hate from birth in some British homes (see clip):

The little girl had heard repeated calls for Israel’s destruction and some things said about Jews in Arabic, which I didn’t understand.

She heard (‘Comment is Free’ contributorGhada Karmi, who teaches Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter University, declare “Israel is finished”, “it does not to deserve to continue as a state”, “Jerusalem does not belong to Jews”, “we respect all religions but we do not allow one group to take over this wonderful city” and “we muct act against Israel’s interests” (see clip):

It was Karmi, of course, who recently sat silently by as Ken O’Keefe compared Jews to Nazis. Karmi doesn’t seem to trust Jews to look after Jerusalem, but when the Jordanians controlled Jerusalem from 1949 to 1967 Jews were forbidden to visit it and its Jewish cemeteries were desecrated. Now people of all faiths can freely worship there, as long as your intentions are benign.

The “Global March to Jerusalem” turned out to be nothing more than a couple of hundred indoctrinated Israel haters taunting an empty Israeli Embassy building.

On its news feed Iran’s Press TV mocked the paltry turnout of pro-Israel activists and PSC head-honcho Sarah Colborne announced, to cheers, that those activists had left early.

Note to Press TV and Sarah Colborne: Friday night is Shabbat, the holiest and most precious time for Jews. They are with their families. That is why only 20 came and why those that came left early.

Here are Colborne et al aiming their chants towards an empty Israeli embassy building as Shabbat is about to come in. Even Colborne looks embarrassed:

As I walked back to the tube I chatted to some of the protesters.

I asked two teenage girls what they were doing to stand up for their oppressed sisters in Saudi Arabia who are not allowed to show their faces like these girls were doing. They answered that the Saudis treated women with more respect than women over here get. I asked a teenage boy whether he supported suicide bombings inside Israel. He said it was a response to having your land stolen.

With such sentiments you can start to understand where Toulouse Jew murderer Mohamed Merah came from.

More photos from yesterday:

The 2 middle maps are correct but the other 2 are laughable.

How to become an anti-Zionist martyr on the pages of the Guardian: Jenny Tonge edition

The way to become an anti-Zionist martyr is simple.

First, lend support for the end of the “Zionist project”, support terror against Israel or engage in implicit or explicit antisemitism.

Then, you suffer a mild rebuke, face social opprobrium, are asked to apologize, or pay some professional cost for expressing, legitimizing or condoning Judeophobia.

You then flagrantly misrepresent your views, and claim you were merely being critical of Israel.

The final step is easy, and requires no effort on your part: Just wait for the Guardian to publish reports, commentaries, or letters characterizing you as a victim of Israeli or Zionist power/control/villainy.

Baroness Jenny Tonge attended an event at Middlesex University in February where she expressed her belief that the end of the Jewish state would come and be a just outcome (as the Jewish state would merely be reaping what they have sown).  She also sat there in silence as an antisemitic extremist, Ken O’Keefe, compared Jews to Nazis and opined that 9/11 was an Israeli/Mossad conspiracy.   

She then resigned from her role within the Liberal Democrats after refusing to apologize.

First, it was longtime Guardian journalist Michael White who offered an apologia for Tonge

More recently, the Baroness was even more passionately defended on the Guardian’s Letters page, “LettersIsrael, Clegg and Tonge’s loss of Lib Dem Whip“, March 6.

Among the letters was one by former CiF commentator Tony Greenstein – an anti-Zionist who has legitimized comparisons between Nazism and Zionism – and one by former Liberal Democratic parliamentary candidate Edward Hooper, both of which complained that Tonge was forced to resign merely for stating the obvious about Israel’s future.

There was also a letter by Ghada Karmi, CiF contributor, endorser of the Global March to Jerusalem, and Palestine Solidarity Campaign patron who has called for “the end of a Jewish state in our region”. 

Here’s a passage from her Guardian letter:

No one could have objected [to Tonge’s remarks], except the hysterical supporters of Israel who came to attack her, and the Lib Dem leaders too craven to stand up to them. [emphasis added]

There was also a letter by Tim Llewellyn, the former BBC Middle East correspondent who has advanced the idea, not least in the Guardian, that the BBC is tainted by pro-Israel bias. He is also an advocate for Hamas and Hizbollah, believes that Zionism is a “calamity”, and has occasionally written obituaries for terrorists in the Guardian.

Here’s the winning passage from his Guardian letter:

What is more sinister than the reactions of Israel’s representatives and placemen to Jenny Tonge is that, in this third intervention against her over her candid remarks in recent years, the leaders of the Lib Dems, encouraged by senior figures in the two other main political parties, have disempowered a British parliamentarian under pressure from the backers of a foreign state – Israel

The candid remarks of Tonge which Llewellyn is referring to include her comments sympathetic to Palestinian suicide bombing, her call for Israel to “investigate” the IDF in light of charges they were stealing organs in Haiti, and this especially odious comment:

The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the western world, its financial grips. I think they’ve probably got a grip on our party

Read Llewellyn’s language again – arguing that the Liberal Democratic party was coerced to intervene and “disempower” Tonge due to “pressure from the backers of a foreign state” – which closely mirror Tonge’s very own sentiments on the dangerous power the pro-Israel lobby wields.

As I noted in my recent piece about Chris McGreal, narratives regarding the injurious influence of the Israel/Zionist lobby on US foreign policy is something approaching conventional wisdom at the Guardian, so it’s not surprising that they would publish letters in support of Tonge which parrot such a classic antisemitic canard. 

It’s a troubling commentary that someone like Tonge, who has advanced tropes which are indistinguishable from the poisonous Judeophobic narratives on the far-right, inspires sympathy from those purportedly on the left side of the political spectrum. 

CiF Watch Special Report: Extremists & terror supporters organizing ‘Global March to Jerusalem’

A guest post by Hadar Sela, an Anglo-Israeli freelance writer

Introduction:

As spring approaches, so the annual season for publicity stunts aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy begins once more. This year several high-profile events are planned and, building on the success of last year’s thwarting of the Freedom Flotilla 2′ by means of pre-emptive dissemination of information, this report (and those which will follow) aims to provide essential background about the aims and allegiances of the organisers  which will be useful to those engaged in combatting the assault on Israel’s legitimacy, particularly in the media and social networks.  

‘Global March to Jerusalem':

The first large-scale event planned this year is a ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ scheduled for March 30th 2012 – Land Day. The concept behind it is to have a million people marching on Israel’s borders from all the surrounding countries – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The aims, according to the project’s official website, are as follows:

“The march will demand freedom for Jerusalem and its people and to put an end to the Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and Judaisation policies affecting the people, land and sanctity of Jerusalem.”

“The march will confirm that the policies and practices of the racist Zionist state of Israel against Jerusalem and its people are a crime not only against Palestinians but against all humanity.”

“The march will unite the efforts of Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Jews, and all citizens of conscience in the world to put an end to Israel’s disregard for international law through the continuing occupation of Jerusalem and the rest of Palestinian land.

We aim to make this march a turning point in the nature of the confrontation, with the occupation having to face millions of protesters and demonstrators demanding Freedom for Palestine and its capitol (sic) Jerusalem.”

Obviously Israel, like any other sovereign country, cannot permit mass infiltration of its borders, especially by people who identify with terrorist organisations and enemy nations dedicated to its destruction. The results are therefore likely to be grave and perhaps similar to the consequences of attempted infiltrations of Israel’s northern borders in June 2011. The march’s organisers are undoubtedly very much aware of those facts.

They will also be aware that the current turmoil and uncertainty throughout the Middle East means that the ability of the Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian or Lebanese governments to intervene in order to prevent such a dangerous scenario is now considerably reduced. Some idea of the mindset of the event’s organisers can be gleaned from statements made in the following e-mail exchange between two of them regarding a previous identical project. (All errors in the original text)

As I have written out in the report, the liberation of Jerusalem, of Palestine are at the core of all that we have done & will do. The point is that how do we build a movement that compells the governments of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon & Syria to let us in (which is easy) & then let us march across the borders into Palestine, challenging the Israeli army (which is difficult). Thus the idea is to keep the idea simple – We are going to pray at the Wailing Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre & the Masjid-i-Aqsa & the Qubattus Sakhra. We will not apply for visas or permissions from the Israeli’s obviously not, for reasons known to us all. But imagine a situation where we have more than a million people streaming in from four borders & israel fails to stop the human tide. Once we have broken this mental barrier, then its all over. next time we will have 5 million who will be marching in & it will ony grow from there. This is exactly the nightmare situation for Israel. How do you handle a million ordinary non-violent people who want to go back Home? – how do you handle a million non-violent people who just wish to pray in their Masjid in Jerusalem, which is under our Occupation? Thius will undermine the Israeli state, like no other strategy & then it will all begin to unravel & the Zionist edifice which is unraveeling as we speak, will soon fall. It’s a matter of time now, as we well know.

Revealingly, the following statement appears in the FAQ section of the website of the American chapter of the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ-NA):

Q: Why is there a separate GMJ-NA organization? 

A: Because of the laws governing citizens of the U.S. and Canada, legal advisers in these countries have determined that it is better for them to operate separately and not to participate in the decision-making of the international movement, but rather as an autonomous coalition. This is because some of the groups in the international coalition are subject to legal reprisals in these countries, and there is some risk that any joint decision-making might place citizens of those countries in legal jeopardy. The risk may be small, but this is an extra measure of safety for those concerned.

In other words, the leaders of GMJ-NA are very much aware of the march’s links to proscribed terrorist groups, and yet its endorsers include a rather predictable list of organisations and US and other nationals, including a UN employee and a former British MP.

Ann Wright, former United States Army colonel

Clayborne Carson, Professor & Director, Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University

David Hartsough, Co-founder of Nonviolent Peaceforce

Edward Peck, Retired US Ambassador and career US Diplomat

George Galloway, British Member of Parliament   

Dr. Ghada Karmi, Co-Director, Centre for Palestine Studies, University of Exeter

Dr. Hatem Bazian, Senior Lecturer in Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Izzet Sahin, International Affairs Secretary, IHH

Joe Meadors, Veteran and Survivor of the 1967 Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty

Lauren Booth, English broadcaster, journalist and pro-Palestinian activist

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, American rabbi in the Jewish Renewal movement

Mairead Maguire, , Nobel Peace Laureate

Marcy Winograd, Los Angeles teacher, peace activist and former candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives

Medea Benjiman, Anti-war organizer and activist

Mustafa Barghouti, Palestinian democracy activist and former presidential candidate

Richard Falk, Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University

Roger Leisner, Radio Free Maine

Ronnie Kasrils, South African ANC leader and cabinet minister

Samuel F. Hart, U.S. Ambassador, ret.

Susan Abulhawa, Palestinian-American author and Founder of Playgrounds for Palestine

Tariq Ali, British Pakistani military historian, novelist, journalist, filmmaker, public intellectual, political campaigner, activist, and commentator

GMJ International Advisory Committee:

Some of the GMJ endorsers also sit on its ‘International Advisory Committee’.

INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR THE GMJ
Maan Bashour (Lebanon), Dr. Ribhi Halloum (Jordan), Prof Paul Larudee (USA), George Galloway (UK), Khaled Soufiyani (Morocco), M K Sawalha (UK), Saud Abu Mahfouz (Jordan), Prof. Mohsen Saleh (Lebanon), Mazin Qumsiyeh (Palestine), Dr. Ghada Karmi (UK), Sheikhul Islam (Iran), Huseiyn Oruc (Turkey), Huwaida Arraf (Palestine-USA), Abdul Ghaffar Aziz (Pakistan), Sandeep Pandey (India),

Maan Bashour is the General Co-ordinator for the Muslim Brotherhood centre in Beirut, head of the preparatory committee for the ‘right of return forum’ and General Coordinator of the National Initiative Committee to Break the Blockade of Gaza (NICBBG). 

Maan Bashour

Dr Ribhi Halloum joined the PLO in 1966 and was its regional underground organizer in the UAE until 1971. He was a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council and the PNC until resigning in 1993 over opposition to the Oslo Accords. He heads the Jordanian preparatory committee for the march and according to an interview he gave in December 2011 prior to the recent  GMJ conference in that country, “[t]he protest aims to move the right of return possessed by Palestinian refugees from theory to practice”

Paul Larudee is one of the founders of the ‘Free Gaza’ and ‘Free Palestine’ movements as well as the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) with which he was active during the second Intifada. He took part in the 2008 and 2010 flotillas, was deported from Israel in 2006 for trying to enter the country under a false identity and allegedly volunteered as a ‘human shield’ for Hizballah during the second Lebanon war. He was also one of the organisers of last year’s ‘flytilla’. Here he is meeting Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza in 2008 (from whom he also received an award the following year) – second from the left on the front row. 

George Galloway is of course a well-known figure on the anti-Israel activism scene, his activities ranging from ‘Viva Palestina’ in its various incarnations, to working with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War Coalition and being employed by the Iranian regime’s  Press TV. Galloway believes that “Hizbollah is not and has never been a terrorist organization” and that Israel is responsible for the assassination of Rafik Hariri. Here he is handing over cash to the Hamas Economy Minister at the culmination of one of his ‘Viva Palestina’ convoys. 

Galloway also promoted the Global March to Jerusalem on Press TV prior to the latter being closed down by the UK authorities.

Khaled Soufiyani is a former chair of the Arab National Congress and co-ordinator of the Moroccan organization the ‘National Action Group (sometimes ‘Task Force’) for Solidarity with Palestine and Iraq’. In 2010 he called on a Moroccan Jewish advisor to the king to leave the country as a result of the former’s suggestion that the Holocaust should be part of the curriculum in Moroccan universities. He is strongly opposed to any normalization of relations between Israel and Morocco, and in particular to the establishment of the Amazigh-Israel Friendship Association, and has made several attempts to use ‘lawfare’ against Israelis visiting the country. 

Khaled Soufiyani

Mohammed Kassem Sawalha is also a well-known figure on the British anti-Israel circuit and a former Hamas commander who, since his arrival in the UK in the 1990s, has been instrumental in the founding of a series of organisations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood including the Muslim Association of Britain and the British Muslim Initiative. Sawalha is involved in the organization of the various flotillas and convoys to Gaza through a variety of roles in organisations and charities linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and in collaboration with the Turkish IHH. Here he is at an IHH press conference last year (front row, far right):

Saud Abu Mahfouz is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party in Jordan, the Islamic Action Front. He was a participant in the 2010 flotilla, along with several other Muslim Brotherhood members from Jordan, the former leader of which is on record as having stated:

“We in the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan see Palestine as part of the Islamic and Arab land that must not be relinquished – on the contrary, defending it is a national and jurisprudential obligation… We see Hamas movement in Palestine as standing at the head of the project of the Arab and Islamic liberation for which the Muslim Brotherhood calls… The Muslim Brotherhood supports Hamas and every Arab resistance movement in the region that works for liberation.” (memri.org report 4265)

Mohsen Saleh is a professor at the Lebanese University in Beirut who takes a consistently pro-Iranian line, opposes the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (accusing it of being a US-engineered attempt to destabilize Lebanon and weaken the ‘resistance’ against Israel) and defends Bashar Assad’s actions against the uprising in Syria.  

Mazin Qumsiyeh is a well-known Palestinian political activist. He heads the ISM-linked ‘Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People’ (which was involved in the organization of the 2011 ‘flytilla’), is a co-ordinator for the ‘Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements’ in Beit Sahour and was a co-founder of Al Awda (the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition) in the US. Qumseiyeh spoke at the 2010 Stuttgart conference which produced the Stuttgart Declaration – a call for opposition to a negotiated two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Ghada Karmi of Exeter University in the UK is also a signatory of the Stuttgart Declaration. A member of the Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) and a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Karmi has called for “the end of a Jewish state in our region”.

Sheikhul Islam is an ambiguous title in that it can be given to any high-ranking Shiite religious leader, but obviously the man concerned holds some prominence within the Iranian regime. The listing may possibly refer to Hossein Sheikh-ul-Islam; Senior Advisor to the Parliament Speaker for International Affairs of Iran.  

Huseyin Oruc is a member of the board of trustees of the ‘Union of Good’ linked Turkish organization Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), its deputy chairman and heads its public relations department. He was a participant in the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla and was involved in the planning of the failed 2011 flotilla.

Huseyin Oruc

Huweida Arraf is of course the American-born co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who also chairs the ‘Free Gaza’ movement which is behind the organization of the flotillas. She has taken part in several flotillas herself, including that of 2010.

Arraf is perhaps best remembered for her provision of support to Yasser Arafat in Ramallah during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 when the Israeli army sought to put an end to the campaign of suicide bombings in Israel orchestrated by Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, and for her part in the ISM’s collaboration with the terrorists who took over the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem the same year.  One of the more recent publicity stunts in which Arraf took part was the so-called Freedom Ride in November 2011 when she, together with Mazin Qumsiyeh and four others, attempted to enter Jerusalem without permits.

Abdul Ghaffar Aziz is a member of – and spokesman for – Jamaat e Islami – the Pakistani Islamist movement which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and was founded by Abul Ala Maududi.

Sandeep Pandey heads the National Alliance (sometimes ‘Association’) of People’s Movements in India. He was one of the organisers of the Asia to Gaza Caravan, in which he took part and reported on extensively. The convoy included a variety of Islamist and human rights organisations and received considerable en-route support from Iran, including an official reception with Ahmedinijad.  Pandey is currently involved in promotion and organisation of the Asian chapter of the GMJ, describing it as an attempt to “counter the Judaisation of Jerusalem”.

GMJ International Executive Committee:

The ‘International Executive Committee’ for the Global March on Jerusalem also includes both familiar and lesser-known figures.

INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE FOR THE GMJ
Feroze Mithiborwala (India), Nabil Hallak (Lebanon), Bashir Zmaili (Jordan), Izzet Sahin (Turkey), Zaher Birawi, Kevin Ovenden (UK), Ali Mallah (Canada), George Rishmawi (Palestine), Salim Ghafouri (Iran), Shaheen Kattiparambil (India), Ramy Zurayk (Lebanon), Mustapa Mansour (Malaysia), Roohulla Rezvi (Iran), Gauhar Iqbal (India), Irman Abdurahman (Indonesia)

Feroze Mithiborwala was a co-organiser of the 2010 Asia to Gaza Convoy and is a member of Awami Bharat – an Indian political group which describes itself as being involved in an “international struggle against imperialism, Zionism, and Brahmanism”. He is also a member of the Muslim Intellectual Forum of India and the South Asian Solidarity Initiative and is the ‘Free Gaza’ national coordinator in India. Unsurprisingly for someone who relies upon ‘Israel Shamir‘ for information, Mithiborwala seems to be rather fond of conspiracy theories: the Moscow subway terror attacks were, according to him, deliberately timed to deflect attention from the BDS movement and Osama Bin Laden died in 2001. He is also of the opinion that:

..the Arab Revolution presents new possibilities & the epic 94-year-old struggle of the Palestinian people, a proud & ancient nation, which has inspired the world for generations, will finally see a new awakening & with it, a new hope, a new Intifada, the Third Intifada!!

It is only the resistance on the ground, within Palestine, across the Palestine diaspora, across the Arab nations & then across the entire world, will we finally witness the rebirth of a nation.

Feroze Mithiborwala presenting Khalid Masha'al with a gift in Damascus whilst en route with the Asian convoy in 2010


Mithiborwala meeting Mahmoud al Zahar in Gaza, 2010


Mithiborwala and other GMJ organisers at a conference of the Asian People’s Solidarity for Palestine in Karachi, 2-3 February 2012. Representatives from Palestinian organisations were also present.  

Nabil Hallak is an Irish-Lebanese citizen who took part in the 2010 flotilla and acted or acts as co-ordinator for the National Committee to Break the Siege on Gaza. Here he is being welcomed upon his return to Lebanon after his deportation from Israel in the wake of the flotilla. 

Nabil Hallak (top left, being carried)

Izzet Sahin is an employee of the IHH. He was deported from Israel in May 2010 after having been found working for that organization which has been banned in Israel since 2008 due to its ties to the Union of Good which channels funding to Hamas.

Izzet Sahin

Zaher Birawi is a well-known Hamas operative resident in the UK. He is connected to the Palestinian Return Centre which is banned by Israel, ‘Viva Palestina’, the Palestinian Forum of Britain and the ‘Union of Good’-linked charity ‘Education Aid for Palestinians’. Birawi’s connections will be further expanded upon in part two of this report.  Here he is (far left) in Gaza along with Kevin Ovenden and Mohammed Sawalha receiving an award from Ahmad Bahar of Hamas.

Kevin Ovenden (pictured above, second from the left) was Parliamentary aide to the former British MP George Galloway. He is a former trustee of Galloway’s ‘Viva Palestina’ and very active in the organization and leadership of its various projects. He was aboard the Mavi Marmara in 2010 and has received repeated recognition for his services to Hamas. Here he is in Syria, addressing a welcoming party for one of the Viva Palestina convoys whilst standing under the flags of the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party.

Ali Mallah is Vice-President of the Canadian Arab Federation which supports the removal of Hamas and Hizballah from the list of proscribed terrorist organisations and an academic boycott of Israel. He is also a leader of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and a member of the ‘Gaza Freedom March Liaison Committee’.

George Rishmawi could be either of two well-known Palestinian activists – cousins – both of whom have connections to the ISM and – like Mazin Qumseiyeh above – the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement (PCR).

Salim Ghafouri from Iran acted as spokesman for the Asia to Gaza convoy. According to him, the “war with the Zionists” is not only an “Islamic-Zionist war,” but the showdown between the “truth,” represented by “the freedom-loving people of the world,” and the “lie,” represented by Israel and its supporters. Ghafouri also appears to be involved in advancing Iranian interests in Kashmir and has represented the ‘Iranian House of Latin America’ on visits to Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Shaheen Kattiparambil was another Indian participant in the Asia to Gaza Convoy, and together with Pandey and Mithiborwala, issued this statement on behalf of of the Indian chapter of GMJ following its meeting on January 23rd 2012. All three, along with the Student Islamic Organisation of India of which Kattiparambil is a member, are endorsers of the statement by the ‘India Lifeline to Gaza’ according to which:

The Palestinian people must have the freedom to exercise their right to self-determination including their right to establish on all the territories that Israel has occupied, an independent sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital. The structure of Zionist apartheid, based on ethno-religious discrimination that Israel has established, must be dismantled and it must grant equal rights to all its citizens, including the “Right of Return” to the Palestinians refugees.

Rami Zurayk is a Lebanese agronomist at the American University of Beirut who has taken part in ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ and is currently promoting this year’s events on Twitter, where his profile picture is of terrorist Leila Khaled, and on his blog.

Roohulla Rezvi from Iran is cited by Feroze Mithiborwala as having been instrumental (along with Salim Ghafouri) in securing Iranian support for the 2010 Asia to Gaza convoy.

Gauhar Iqbal is a functionary of the ‘Human Welfare Trust’ which is included in the social service wing of the Indian Jamat al Islami. He also took part in the Asai to Gaza Convoy and is pictured here first from the left.

Irman Abdurahman is also a graduate of the Asia to Gaza Convoy and is a member of the board of executives of the Indonesian Society for Palestine Freedom (aka the Voice of Palestine) which states on its website that “[n]ative inhabitants of historical Palestine are people that are expelled and dispossessed from their lands and houses by force. Since 100 years to date the ultra-nationalist Zionist movement with support of some colonial powers has been doing this brutal ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.” The Indonesian chapter of GMJ has a Facebook group featuring a book by Gilad Atzmon, a speech by Khamenei at the ‘Islamic Awakening and Youth’ conference and this graphic:

Part two of this report will focus on the European chapter of the Global March to Jerusalem.

Guardian publishes letters arguing Shalit’s release (in exchange for 1027 terrorists) is unfair to Hamas

The Guardian published letters on the Shalit deal, “Letters: Perspectives on the Middle East prisoner swap“, Oct. 14.

The first one, from CiF’s Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian “academic” whose repeatedly called for an end to the Jewish state, equates Shalit with Palestinian terrorists being held in Israeli jails and, evidently will not consider justice to be served until the other 8,500 Palestinian terrorists are released.

Once again, it is Israel‘s perspective which has primacy in our media (Captured Israeli to be swapped for 1,000 Palestinians, 12 October). Apparently one Israeli prisoner, complete with photograph, personal history and anxious family, is worth a thousand nameless, faceless Palestinians without identities, histories, or grieving families. Where is the coverage of these and the 8,500 other Palestinian prisoners, including 35 women and 337 children, currently rotting in Israeli jails, some of them for over 20 years? Hundreds have been on hunger strike since 27 September against their inhuman treatment at Israel’s hands without international reaction. Palestinians draw from this the lesson that they are still regarded as lesser beings than Israelis. Unless that perception changes, there will be no progress towards a solution.
Dr Ghada Karmi
London

This was written by Professor Colin Lacey, Institute of Education, University of Sussex.  Lacey clearly suggests here that the abduction, and five-year captivity, of Shalit was morally justified as a means to free thousands of Palestinian terrorists. 

So let’s celebrate the release of an “icon”. But what about the nameless Palestinians? Are they mere statistics or just a mob? Netanyahu understands the “pain of Israeli families who have lost loved ones to violence”. One hundred Palestinians lost their lives when Israel launched an attack after Gilad Shalit‘s capture. Perhaps they were not loved? William Hague reckons Shalit’s captivity was “utterly unjustified”. How else would 1,000 Palestinians have obtained their freedom? When are Palestinians going to get some recognition as people, every bit as important as Israelis?
Professor Colin Lacey
Brighton

But, the most insidious letter by far goes to John Curtis, from Suffolk.  Curtis, from my brief research, seems to identify with the UK’s Socialist Worker’s Party, (here and here) – a ‘revolutionary Marxist/Leninist inspired socialist party.  Curtis’ letter, published by the Guardian, suggests that Hamas should consider abducting more Israelis in order to secure the release of the remaining Palestinian terrorists. 

With up to 10,000 Palestinians still in Israeli jails, does that mean Hamas has to kidnap a further 10 members of the IDF to secure their release? Justice for the Palestinians is as far away as ever.
John Curtis
Saxmundham, Suffolk

Here’s a partial list of the 1027 Palestinian prisoners being released in the deal for Shalit.

  • Abdel Hadi Ghanem,  an Islamic Jihad terrorist responsible for the 1989 terror attack on Egged bus 405, in which 16 Israelis were killed.
  • Fahad Schludi, a terror operative who took part in the 1993 abduction and murder of IDF soldier Yaron Chen.
  • Bassam Abu Sneina and Riyad Asila, who are serving a life sentence for the 1998 murder of yeshiva student Haim Kerman.
  • Nael al-Barghouthi, the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1978, for murdering an Israeli security officer.
  • Yehiya As-Sinwar, who was one of the founders of Hamas’ security forces in Gaza and was involved in the abduction and murder of IDF soldier Nachshon Wachsman. He is also the brother of one of the terrorists involved in Gilad Shalit’s kidnapping.
  • Jihad Yarmur, who was convicted of Nachshon Wachsman’s murder.
  • Ahmed Najar, former head of the Silwad terror cell, which killed 3 Israelis in six shooting attacks during the al-Aqsa Intifada.
  • Mohammed Hamada, who was convicted of planning a rocket attack on Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem.
  • Ruhi Musteha, a senior operative with Hamas’ military wing.
  • Husam Badran, the former head of Hamas’ military wing in the West Bank, who orchestrated the deadly terror attacks at the Tel Aviv Dolphinarium in 2001, at the Park Hotel in Netanya in 2002 (which killed 30) and at the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in 2001 (which killed 15).
  • Muhammad Duglas, who was implicated in the Sbarro attack, and is serving 15 consecutive life sentences for the murder of 19 Israelis. 

So, even the partial list of Palestinian terrorists being released to gain the release of Gilad Shalit are responsible for the murder of 86 Israelis – a fact which doesn’t in the least concern the three contributors provided a platform by the Guardian.

Antisemites, terror supporters, & Holocaust deniers: aka, just another Palestinian Solidarity event

Richard Millett’s recent post, Sizer, the Rivercourt Methodist Church and Holocaust Denial” should be read in its entirety to see how depraved discourse by anti-Israel activists in the UK has become, but here are a few highlights from the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign event that Millett attended.  

The event was held by the West London Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Due to speak were Reverend Stephen Sizer, Arthur Goodman (Jews for Justice for Palestinians), Linda Ramsden (Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions) and Daud Abdullah (of Middle East Monitor, and CiF contributor). Ghada Karmi (a one-state solution proponent and CiF contributor) couldn’t make it, so was replaced by a “member” of Anarchists Against the Wall.

Director of the pro-Hamas Middle East Monitor, and occasional CiF contributor,Daud Abdullah

Rev. Stephen Sizer, who has a habit of associating with Holocaust Deniers, notorious antisemites, and Islamists who support terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, said that church leaders refuse to speak out about Israel’s crimes because of “guilt for the Holocaust and fear of anti-Semitism”.  Sizer further added that churches which side with “the occupation” and Zionism have “repudiated Jesus, have repudiated the bible and are an abomination”

Millett also writes:

At the end of the event Jonathan Hoffman persuaded me to stand outside the church with him to hand out pro-Israel leaflets to the congregants as they left the church. It was a futile gesture and all it did was encourage someone who called herself “Jane Green” to tell us that there weren’t any gas chambers in the Holocaust, that the Jews had instead died having had their foreskins chopped off, that only a couple of hundred thousand Jews died in the Holocaust, that the Jews are using the Holocaust to commit genocide against the Palestinians and that all the Jews in Israel are total Nazis, as you can hear here:

This is the hatred that the anti-Israel movement engenders: a coalition which includes Christian inspired antisemitism, Sizer, Islamists who support terror attacks against Israeli civilians, Abdullah, and a PSC groupie who denies the Holocaust and thinks Israeli Jews are Nazis.  

That two of the scheduled speakers at this hate fest have been given a platform by the Guardian comes as no surprise.  

To turn an axiom coined by liberal Jewish pundit Peter Beinart around, it is simply undeniable that the pro-Palestinian camp increasingly demands that adherents to their cause leave any semblance of liberalism at the door. 

CiF contributor Ghada Karmi promotes Greater Palestine.

On Friday, whilst all eyes were on events taking place at the UN building in front of that horrible green marble wall (talk about crimes against interior decorating), the Guardian published an article at ‘Comment is Free’ by one of its favourite anti-Zionists (and peace process rejectionists) – Ghada Karmi.

Veteran CiF readers will, by now, be familiar with her uncompromising stance.

Indeed, this is far from the first time that Karmi – the Palestine Solidarity Campaign patron, CAABU board member, signatory of the Stuttgart Declaration (which calls for an end to the Jewish state) and Exeter University lecturer – has pushed for ‘Greater Palestine’ on the Guardian’s pages.

And, she will apparently be encouraged to continue to do so no matter how much suffering and bloodshed her historical revisionism is likely to bring about.

Karmi’s article berates Mahmoud Abbas for going ahead with his statehood bid at the UN on the grounds that it represents an unacceptable compromise.  Her position is, in fact, no different to that of Hamas and the other Palestinian factions which reject a negotiated two-state solution.

“But the UN drama now unfolding is no more than a dangerous sideshow detracting from the real issue. The statehood debate has hijacked the historical facts and created a new reality: that the Israeli-Palestinian problem is about the 1967 Israeli occupation, and dividing historic Palestine into two states is the solution. This is the reality the international community has been encouraged to accept. In fact the conflict dates from the 1948 expulsion of the majority of Palestine’s inhabitants to accommodate Israel’s creation, as today’s 6.5 million Palestinian refugees can attest. Redressing that terrible injustice is the only durable solution. While Palestinian statehood in a fifth of the original homeland might seem attractive given the power imbalance between both sides and Israel’s obduracy in peace negotiations, this was the worst historical moment to push for such a paltry aim which Palestinians may live to regret.”

This article does not represent a mere expression of an outlandish opinion in an op-ed: the frequency with which the Guardian publishes the opinions of Karmi and others with the same agenda implies that these are opinions which find sympathy among its higher echelons.

Of course the comparable ideology on the other side is not – even in the name of ‘balance’ – granted exposure on ‘Comment is Free’. In fact one only has to read the Guardian editorial which was published a couple of hours later to see what the Guardian considers ‘rejectionist’.

“If Mr Netanyahu or any future leader were ever to cross a line, it would not be by repeating that everything is on the table when plainly it is not. It would be by turning to Israel and saying that peace would involve giving up what he still refers to as Judea and Samaria, words which in a two-state context are rejectionist.”

So, even referring to a geographical area by its original name is, according to Guardianspeak, ‘rejectionist’, (users of terms such as Cymru and Nah-Eileanan Siar may care to take note of that) but apparently demanding the dissolution of an entire country is not.

The concept of ‘Greater Israel’ (as promoted by a handful of Israeli extremists who will never find their way onto the pages of ‘Comment is Free’) and the concept of ‘Greater Palestine’ (as promoted by Ghada Karmi, Sam Bahour and assorted Hamas op-ed writers who do appear there quite regularly) are both archaic, irrelevant and extremely unhelpful ideologies which do nothing to advance a much-needed solution to the current conflict. Both are uncompromising in their essence and neither should have a place among liberal voices truly seeking the wellbeing of all the peoples involved.

By publishing polemics such as this, by Ghada Karmi, the Guardian shows itself to be way outside mainstream liberal opinion and firmly in the camp of the extremists and the real rejectionists of a negotiated peace process.