Nicolas Anelka and Dieudonne: the quenelle is an antisemitic salute

Cross posted by Dave Rich from the blog of The CST

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

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

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

 ob_43b6f7b494bb77257061d86e28388882_quenellemerah2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Guardian whitewashes antisemitism of Nicolas Anelka pal, Dieudonné

A major controversy erupted on Saturday at Upton Park in London after French Muslim footballer Nicolas Anelka used a gesture widely considered to be antisemitic and often described as “the Nazi salute in reverse”. After his first goal in the 3-3 draw at West Ham, “he celebrated with his right arm extended towards the ground, palm opened and the other one bent across his chest touching his right upper arm.”

anelka-600x357

Nicolas Anelka

Anelka is now under investigation by the Football Association for the gesture – which was almost certainly inspired by the gesture promoted by antisemitic French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala – and was swiftly condemned by the French Sports Minister as a “shocking, disgusting” display of antisemitism. 

dieudonne

Dieudonné M’bala M’bala (Left)

Dieudonne M’bala M’bala is a notorious racist “comedian” who, per Hope Not Hate, “has moved towards the antisemitic fringe of French politics”. The site notes that Dieudonne has become “increasingly marginal culturally and increasingly shrill in his antisemitism, denying the Holocaust, blaming Jews for the slave trade and more generally for the oppression of the Black and Arab peoples.” Dieudonne also traveled to Iran to meet with President Mohammed Ahmadinejad, and subsequently hailed Iran as “a place where anti-Zionists can meet and communicate and develop”.  

Additionally, Dieudonne had befriended the late far-right extremist Jean-Marie Le Pen, and also once invited Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson onstage at a performance, and asked the audience to applaud.

In reviewing UK newspaper coverage of the row, the Guardian naturally stands out in downplaying the episode and, more specifically, whitewashing Dieudonne’s antisemitism.

Guardian/Observer, Dec. 28: West Bromwich Albion’s Nicolas Anelka could face ban after arm gesture:

Relevant passage:

Dieudonné is a controversial figure in France, having been accused of insulting the memory of Holocaust victims. The quenelle is Dieudonné’s signature gesture, although he insists it is an anti-establishment gesture and not against Jewish people

Interestingly, other British papers were much clearer on Dieudonne’s antisemitic history, with some characterizing him as an “antisemitic comedian” or “antisemitic activist” without qualification:

The Independent, Dec.28: Nicolas Anelka gesture: Striker’s two goals overshadowed by controversial celebration after alleged anti-Semitic gesture

Here’s the relevant passage: 

His celebration was a mirror image of the gesture made popular by French, anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala…

The Telegraph, Dec. 29Nicolas Anelka’s ‘quenelle’ gesture in support of ‘racist’ friend Dieudonné causes outrage in France

Relevant passage:

In the last few years, Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, his full name, has become an anti-Semitic activist and campaigner…

Mail Online, Dec. 28: Anelka’s ‘Nazi’ salute storm: Striker could face lengthy FA ban for offensive goal celebration along with sanctions in France

Relevant passage: 

Dieudonne has been convicted six times in France for alleged anti-Semitic remarks. He was fined £6,000 in 2008 for describing Holocaust remembrance as ‘memorial pornography’.

Sunday Times, Dec. 29: FA acts over Anelka’s ‘race-hate’ gesture (pay wall)

Relevant passages: 

Dieudonne has been prosecuted for making antisemitic comments

Dieudonne has been convicted six times in France for alleged anti-Semitic remarks. He was fined £6,000 in 2008 for describing Holocaust remembrance as memorial pornography.

The Guardian stands alone in whitewashing the “comedian’s” clear record of anti-Jewish rhetoric – another antisemitic sin of omission at the “liberal” broadsheet which has, by now, achieved a well-earned reputation for such curious moral blind spots.

Guess which British journalist re-tweeted Gilad Atzmon?

Say you’re a British Jew and work professionally as a journalist.

And, though you are highly critical of both Israel and many Jews, you still fancy yourself a progressive and anti-racist.  Indeed, you are buoyed by the fact that a mainstream “enlightened” British newspaper continues to publish your commentaries about Israel.

Again, supposing that you were such a “progressive”, ‘independent’ Jewish voice, what would your response be to an article written by Gilad Atzmon, an extremist who has advanced the following arguments?

  • Jews stifle debate about the scope of the Holocaust.
  • The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a prophetic document which accurately characterizes (and predicts) Jewish behavior.

You would completely distance yourself from the views of such an extreme racist, wouldn’t you?  Further, you would emphatically denounce his views at every opportunity, right?

Well, there is one British Jew (who contributes to the London Evening Standard and the Independent) claiming the mantle of anti-racism who, when encountering the commentary of Mr. Atzmon decided to tacitly endorse it.

retweet

If you’re entertaining the notion that Bar-Hillel’s re-tweet of Atzmon did not in fact ‘imply endorsement’, consider that Atzmon’s post (The Milibands, The BBC and The Proloteriat, Oct. 13) included passages which are quite consistent with Bar-Hillel’s own complaints about the stifling of debate about Israel.

Atzmon’s post, which Bar-Hillel re-tweeted, included the following:

Now, is this a legitimate concern or, is socialism, like Jewishness, beyond any criticism or scrutiny?

Of course this is a rhetorical question. Apparently in Britain 2013, any attempt to question the intellectual foundations, history and meaning behind Marxism and socialist thinking is reduced simply to ‘antisemitism’. So, it looks like Marxism and cosmopolitanism, like Jewishness and Israeli racism, have been merged into one vague entity removed from our public discourse, let alone criticism.  

Now, here’s Bar-Hillel in an interview published in Haaretz:

Any criticism of the policies of Israel…is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash

Also of note, this was not a one-off between Atzmon and Bar-Hillel, as you can see in this ‘enlightened’ exchange in September:

tweet convo

One of the most common deceits advanced by many Jewish critics of Israel is that, though they may demonize Israel and even reduce its Jewish citizens to grotesque caricatures, they are nonetheless passionately opposed to “real” antisemitism.

Though there are some Jewish critics of Israel who can credibly claim to walk such a moral tightrope, Bar-Hillel’s decision to engage (and legitimize) a vile neo-Nazi style anti-Semite like Gilad Atzmon demonstrates that she can no longer fancy herself a principled anti-Zionist and a principled anti-racist.  

Her tolerance towards one of the most repugnant promoters of Jew hatred should, at the very least, disqualify her from contributing to any publication which takes its moral reputation seriously

More evidence the Guardian got it wrong on Rouhani’s “Holocaust” remarks

rouhaniOn Oct. 1 we posted about a classic Guardian whitewash in a report about a CNN interview with the new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani.  We noted that the Guardian’s characterization of Rouhani’s response to Christiane Amanpour’s question about the Holocaust was at best completely misleading, if not flat-out wrong.  

We argued that even if you were to believe the extremely suspect CNN translation of the Sept. 25 interview (the content of which was contradicted by other sources) the Guardian, in a report titled ‘Iranian president Hassan Rouhani recognises ‘reprehensible’ Holocaust‘ (and accompanying video), failed to provide their readers with important context.  This includes their failure to explain how Rouhani’s reply, which questioned the “scope” of Nazi crimes, was clearly consistent with Holocaust revisionism, and didn’t represent, as the paper reported, a clean break with the explicit Holocaust denials of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Additionally, more evidence has now emerged on the inaccuracy of the CNN translation, supporting claims made by the Wall St. Journal and Al Monitor that Rouhani never in fact used the term ‘Holocaust’.  First, here’s the Guardian quote in their Sept. 25 story, culled from the CNN translation, of Rouhani’s answer to Amanpour on the question of the Holocaust:

I’ve said before that I am not a historian, and when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust, it is the historians that should reflect,” 

However, the Wall St. Journal’s Persian commentator noted that Rouhani never uses the word “Holocaust”, but merely spoke euphemistically of “historical events.” Now, here’s a specific translation of the line in question from Arash Karami at Al Monitor’s Iran Pulse‘:

Rouhani: I have said before that I am not a historian and when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of historical events, historians should explain and discuss it.

On Oct. 5, CAMERA noted the following:

We already know that Sohrab Ahmari, the Wall Street Journal, Arash Karami, Ali Alfoneh, two journalists who spoke with the New York Times blog The Lede, and Fars News Agency all concur that Rouhani did not use the word “Holocaust” in his interview with CNN and Christiane Amanpour. We already know, in other words, that CNN mistranslated him. And CNN also already knows.

Now, just to make matters more clear, Rouhani’s own translator has weighed in. “No, he did not use the word ‘Holocaust,’” Banafsheh Keynoush told NBC’s Robert Windrem.

Here’s the relevant video clip of the interview with Keynoush:

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The Guardian’s reliance on an evidently faulty translation is more than simply an innocent error, but is part of a larger pattern – which we’ve commented on previously – of engaging in selective reporting and omissions in order to advance the desired narrative of a new “moderate” Iranian president. 

Evidence which makes a mockery of this narrative abound, and include Rouhani’s involvement in several deadly Iranian sponsored terrorist attacks against Jewish and American targets abroad, as well as his role in crushing pro-democracy movements at home.

These latest faux Holocaust comments represents just one example of what will no doubt be a continuous drumbeat of pro-Rouhani propaganda by Guardian commentators and reporters.

Guardian engages in Rouhani Revisionism in report on “Holocaust” remarks

Suppose you were taking a college class on the history of the 20th century and during one lecture the topic of the Holocaust was introduced. Then, in the middle of a class discussion, one student explained to the lecturer that, in his view, though some crimes were committed against Jews (and other groups) by the Nazis, the scope of the killings is still unclear and needs further research by historians and scholars.  Suppose that this student further opined that such crimes committed by the Nazis (whatever the scope) shouldn’t be exploited by Jews today to justify sixty years of usurping the land of another group and committing murderous crimes against them.

What kind of reaction would you expect from the lecturer and the students upon hearing such views?  The chances seem high that the student would be condemned for lending credibility to Holocaust revisionism and evoking the Holocaust in the context of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians – remarks which would arguably fall within the EU Working Definition of Antisemitism.  As the Wall St. Journal noted recently, responding to reports of comments made by Iran’s new president in an interview with CNN that included questions about the Holocaust:

Pretending that the facts of the Holocaust are a matter of serious historical dispute is a classic rhetorical evasion. Holocaust deniers commonly acknowledge that Jews were killed by the Nazis while insisting that the number of Jewish victims was relatively small and that there was no systematic effort to wipe them out.

Whilst CNN’s translation of Hassan Rouhani’s much publicized remarks during his interview with Christiane Amanpour on Sept. 24 has been challenged by the Wall St. Journal and Al Monitor - both of which insisted that, contrary to the CNN translation which relied on an Iranian government interpreter, Rouhani never used the word “Holocaust” – opting instead for the more euphemistic term “historical events” -  here are the relevant remarks by Iran’s president based on CNN’s Sept. 25 transcript:

I have said before that I am not a historian personally and that when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust as such, it is the historians that should reflect on it.

But in general, I can tell you that any crime or – that happens in history against humanity, including the crime that the Nazis committed towards the Jews, as well as non-Jewish people, is reprehensible and condemnable, as far as we are concerned.

And just as even such crimes are – if they are to happen today against any creed or belief system or human being as such, we shall again condemn it.

So what the Nazis did is condemnable. The dimensions of whatever it is, the historians have to understand what it is. I am not a historian myself, but we – it must be clear here, is that when there is an atrocity, a crime that happens, it should not become a cover to work against the interests or – or justify the crimes against another nation or another group of people.

So if the Nazis, however criminal they were, we condemn them, whatever criminality they committed against the Jews, we condemn, because genocide, the taking of the human life, is condemnable and it makes no difference whether that life is a Jewish life, a Christian or a Muslim or what.

For us, it’s the same. It’s the taking of a human life and an innocent human life is (INAUDIBLE) in Islam. It’s actually something that we condemn and our religion also rejects.

But this does not mean that, on the other hand, you can say, well, the Nazis committed crimes against, you know, a certain group, now, therefore, they must usurp the land of another group and occupy it. This, too, is an act that should be condemned, in our view.

So there should be an even-handed discussion of this.

Here is the Sept. 25 Guardian report on Rouhani’s remarks:

Capture

The Guardian celebration of Rouhani’s faux ‘acknowledgement’ relied entirely on quotes from the CNN transcript, and characteristically hasn’t been updated or revised to note to their readers the major dispute over the translation which came to light the day after their Sept. 25 story.  Interestingly, however, their story, written by , did include one observation by an Iranian-born Israeli named Meir Javedanfar which helps to explain how the remarks have been contextualized by media outlets friendly to the Iranian regime.

Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian politics lecturer at Interdisciplinary Centre (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel, interpreted Rouhani’s remarks as the limit he could go within the political and cultural constraints placed upon him.

Rouhani pushed the envelope as far as it could go, Javedanfar said, without infuriating the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other conservatives back home.

And, that’s really the point:  Holocaust deniers and revisionists typically understand that their animosity towards Jews and Israel can be seen more as more credible, and less morally suspect, if the historical understanding of the Nazi Holocaust – which serves to evoke sympathy for Jews – can be undermined.  Frankly acknowledging the systematic, and historically exceptional, attempt to exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe would necessarily draw unwanted focus on the extreme antisemitism permeating Iranian life which has inspired their leadership to call for the annihilation of the Jewish state, and would provide credibility to those insisting that a nuclear armed Iran represents an existential threat to six million Jews, and must therefore be resisted at all costs.

‘Counter-revolutionary’ rhetoric which serves to evoke sympathy for the Jewish state, no matter how obliquely, would indeed, as Javedanfar argued, “infuriate” the supreme leader, and so any pronouncements by Rouhani which touch upon the politically inconvenient topic of the Holocaust must invariably include questions about the “scope” of the Nazi crimes, and further be contextualized with the Jewish state’s ‘comparable’ “crimes” against the Palestinians. 

Rouhani’s political dilemma in allowing Iran to achieve its nuclear ambitions with minimum Western resistance is to steer a careful course which avoids offending Khamenei while simultaneously staying in the good graces of the sympathetic Western liberal media. 

The Guardian’s fawning coverage of the “moderate”, “dovish” Iranian president thus far indicates that he has passed the latter challenge with flying colors.

Rouhani casts “moderate” degree of doubt on whether the Holocaust happened

Yesterday, we posted about a report, by the Guardian’s Washington Bureau Chief Dan Roberts, on a recent NBC interview with Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani.  Roberts, in typical Guardian fashion, managed to only include those quotes from the interview which made Rouhani sound moderate, and completely avoided any mention of his anti-Israel vitriol – which NBC highlighted in their report on the interview – and his answer to a question about his predecessor’s Holocaust denial.

Here’s the video clip of the brief exchange on the Holocaust between Rouhani and NBC’s Ann Curry.

The journalist’s omission isn’t an isolated mistake but, rather, part of a broader pattern at the Guardian (which we’ve posted about previously) of running interference for the Iranian leadership, and attempting to impute moderation to a regime which is among the world’s leaders in exporting terrorism, and has repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction.

Would a genuine political “moderate” ever deny or in any manner cast doubt upon the Nazis’ extermination of six million Jews?

Glenn Greenwald airbrushes the bigotry and extremism of Noam Chomsky

Glenn Greenwald’s latest post includes a spirited defense of Noam Chomsky, one of his intellectual inspirations, titled ‘How Noam Chomsky is discussed‘,  March 23.

Greenwald has previously cited the wit and wisdom of the extremist MIT professor, and now is evidently devoting significant space in his new book to explaining how Chomsky’s “exclusion” from mainstream political debate represents a good example of how “media systems” restrict “alternative” views.

Greenwald argues, thusly: 

Nobody has been subjected to…vapid discrediting techniques more than Noam Chomsky. The book on which I’m currently working explores how establishment media systems restrict the range of acceptable debate in US political discourse, and I’m using Chomsky’s treatment by (and ultimate exclusion from) establishment US media outlets as a window for understanding how that works. As a result, I’ve read a huge quantity of media discussions about Chomsky over the past year. And what is so striking is that virtually every mainstream discussion of him at some point inevitably recites the same set of personality and stylistic attacks designed to malign his advocacy without having to do the work of engaging the substance of his claims.

Greenwald further complains that Chomsky has been smeared with horrible slurs, such as the claim that he is an antisemitic (self-hating) Jew, “due to defending some 35 years ago the right to free speech of a French professor who was later convicted  [in a French court] of Holocaust denial”.

However, the French “professor” Chomsky defended, Robert Faurissonwasn’t merely a Holocaust denier, but also “a proponent of Nazi-style bigotry and apologist for Hitler’s regime who had also written for neo-Nazi publications and spoken at neo-Nazi meetings”.

Additionally, as Paul Bogdanor observed:

The petition [which Chomsky signed] dignified Faurisson’s writings by (a) affirming his scholarly credentials (“a respected professor” of “document criticism”); (b) describing his lies as “extensive historical research”; (c) placing the term “Holocaust” in derisory quotation marks; and (d) portraying his lies as “findings.”

Chomsky not only defended Faurisson but offered the following views about those who engage in Holocaust denial:

I see no antisemitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the holocaust.

As Bogdanor argued, denying the existence of gas chambers and the Holocaust “was the brainchild of antisemites and neo-Nazi activists” and “a propaganda tactic of antisemitic and neo-Nazi individuals and movements all over the world.”

Additionally, arguing that the Holocaust is a myth is necessarily antisemitic, as it suggests an elaborate global Jewish conspiracy which, over the course of nearly seven decades since the end of WWII, popularized a grand historic “fiction”: that Nazis systematically murdered six million Jews. 

Further, this wasn’t a one-off for Chomsky. Here are other quotes from the esteemed radical professor on Jews, Zionism and Israel. 

On American Jews:

“Jews in the US are the most privileged and influential part of the population… privileged people want to make sure they have total control, not just 98% control. That’s why antisemitism is becoming an issue.”

On Zionism:

“Hitler’s conceptions have struck a responsive chord in current Zionist commentary.”

On Judaism:

“In the Jewish community, the Orthodox rabbinate imposes its interpretation of religious law… Were similar principles to apply to Jews elsewhere, we would not hesitate to condemn this revival of the Nuremberg laws.”

In addition to his hostility towards Jews, Chomsky has argued that the U.S. is “the world’s greatest terrorist state, has praised the Vietcongdefended the Khmer Rouge, and expressed support for Hezbollah - all of which Greenwald would no doubt characterize as “personality and stylistic” quirks which in no way detract from the righteousness of his “progressive” advocacy.

The power of the mythical ‘Israel lobby’ on Michael Cohen’s political imagination

‘Comment is Free’ analyst Michael Cohen seems to be cut out of the same ideological cloth as Glenn Greenwald, imputing enormous power to the ‘Israel lobby’ – an evidently quite dangerous network of Americans who are more concerned about the interests of a foreign country than those of the United States.

The lobby’s use of smears and intimidation to coerce the US Congress into towing the pro-Israel line explains, for Cohen and his fellow political travelers at the Guardian, the difficulties Chuck Hagel has experienced during confirmation hearings in the Senate over his nomination to be Defense Secretary. 

Cohen, who’s been contributing to CiF since December, 2012, has already penned two pieces at CiF on the Hagel nomination, and the alleged hold the pro-Israel lobby has exerted on the process.  And, in his most recent post, Chuck Hagel’s confirmation and the orthodoxy of US debate on Israel‘, Feb. 14, Cohen positively cites the sage analysis of Stephen Walt, who noted that the Hagel row proved ‘the lobby’s iron grip on Congress – an influence which grossly distorts the debate over important foreign policy debates.

Cohen writes the following:

“Part of what is going on here is obviously politics. As Harvard Professor Stephen Walt has repeatedly argued, this is demonstrative of the extraordinary power that the Israel lobby holds over Congress and official Washington.”

Walt, in the Feb. 1 post linked to by Cohen, crows that the Hagel debate proves the wisdom of what he wrote – in a book on the ‘Israel Lobby’ –  when he warned “that AIPAC…has an almost unchallenged hold on Congress“.

So, is it true that Hagel’s troubles during the confirmation hearings prove AIPAC’s suffocating control over congress?

Interestingly, Cohen, in the very next line of his CiF essay, does a 180.

“But in the case of Hagel, the strongest pro-Israel lobby, Aipac, has been silent on the nomination.”

So, Cohen, over the course of two consecutive sentences in the same passage, approvingly cites Walt’s argument on AIPAC’s power over the Hagel process, and then makes an admission which completely contradicts Walt’s thesis.

How can an organization which has been “silent on the [Hagel] nomination” concurrently be exercising an “unchallenged hold” on the process?

Since it is uncertain, based on the passage, whether Cohen thoroughly read the short blog post which he cited, my guess is that he’s likely also unaware that Walt has defended John Mearsheimer, the co-author of his book on the Israel lobby, from charges of endorsing antisemitism.

Of course, the “smears” against Mearsheimer are based largely on his endorsement of a quite well-known Nazi sympathizer and Holocaust denier:

atzmon

Perhaps critics of the ‘Israel lobby’ would cause pro-Israel Jews a bit less “anguish” if they would not impute such a farcical degree of power to Americans who support the Jewish state and, at the very least, studiously avoid associating with those so clearly compromised by such deep-seated Judeophobic antipathies.  

What the Guardian won’t report: Israel’s thriving, liberal democracy

Our friends at CAMERA wrote the following, in a post titled ‘Where’s the coverage? Israel the Only Free Country in the Middle East, Jan. 23, the day after yet another free and fair Israeli election.

Maybe they were too busy bemoaning the state of Israel’s democracy to do any actual reporting, but the mainstream news media [as well as the Guardian] completely ignored a report by Freedom House, an independent watchdog group dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world, that rated Israel as the only free country in the Middle East.

As we noted in a post on Jan. 22, predictions by Guardian journalists, analysts and commentators that Israel’s democracy was in decline – and that the Jewish state was lurching towards an extreme right political abyss – were proven wildly inaccurate.

CAMERA continues:

In the 2013 edition of its annual report, “Freedom in the World,” the organization wrote: “Israel remains the region’s only Free country. In recent years, controversies have surrounded proposed laws that threatened freedom of expression and the rights of civil society organizations. In most cases, however, these measures have either been quashed by the government or parliament, or struck down by the Supreme Court.”

In other words, Israel’s democracy works. By contrast, both Gaza, under Hamas, and the West Bank, under the Palestinian Authority were rated “Not Free,” as was Jordan. Lebanon and Egypt ranked as merely “Partly Free.”

To look at a map of world freedom, click on this link. You’ll have to enlarge it quite a bit to see the sliver of green freedom that is Israel in the sea of yellow (“partly free”) and purple (“not free”) that is the Middle East and North Africa.

Here’s a snapshot of the Freedom House political freedom map, with a red arrow pointing to the sliver of democracy in the Middle East.

freedom

CAMERA adds:

Given the hyper-focus on Israel by the press, one might expect news outlets to at least mention this positive evaluation of the Jewish State. However, although Israeli and Jewish outlets reported the Freedom House study, CAMERA could not locate any mainstream news media that covered it. More embarrassing still, even Egypt’s Daily News wrote: “Egypt is now one of six countries in the Middle East that is classified by Freedom House as “partly free”. Eleven are classed as “not free”, while Israel is the region’s only “free” country.

A newspaper in a country that has only recently been upgraded to “partly free” covered Israel’s “free” ranking but news outlets in “free” countries did not.

One has to ask, why the hesitancy to report something positive about Israel’s democracy? 

While there are many factors which explain why the Guardian ignores evidence of Israel’s clear democratic advantages in the region, one of the most central is the ideological orientation of the Guardian Left which typically reduces complicated political phenomena down to a binary David vs. Goliath paradigm.

Such framing nurtures coverage of the region which routinely characterizes Israeli leaders, even in the context of fair and free democratic elections, as extremely “right-wing”, while avoiding such pejorative depictions of even the most reactionary Palestinian leaders.  

Indeed, as Simon Plosker observed, such a political orientation inspired the Guardian to describe Mahmoud Abbas, in one editorial, as the “most moderate Palestinian leader”.  Abbas is similarly framed as a “moderate” by Guardian journalists and CiF commentators despite the fact that the Palestinian President is currently serving the 8th year of a 4 year term, has engaged in Holocaust denial, and leads a government which promotes martyrdom and antisemitic incitement, and severely oppresses women, gays, religious minorities, critical Palestinian journalists and political opponents.  

Further, it simply strains credulity to imagine that a new independent Palestinian Arab state in the West Bank would be truly democratic, any more liberal, or nominally respect the human rights of its citizens. 

However, as long as Israeli politics are myopically viewed through the ideologically skewed filter of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, even the most intuitive evidence regarding the extreme right political center of gravity within Palestinian society on one hand, and the Jewish state’s liberal, democratic advantages on the other, will continue to be downplayed or ignored.

‘Comment is Free’ editors finally suspend user privileges of white supremacist

On Jan. 16 we posted about a Guardian reader whose commenting privileges were not suspended despite the fact that he made racist remarks, including the promotion of Holocaust denial, beneath a Guardian story about Holocaust education in the UK.  We additionally noted how peculiar it was that his user profile remained at ‘Comment is Free’ despite the fact that it contained a link to a white supremacist site called ‘British Resistance‘.

We identified the right-wing extremist – who uses the online moniker of ‘CorshmCrusader’ – as Mark Kennedy, a Nazi sympathizer who is actually the deputy editor of ‘British Resistance’, and asked CiF Watch readers to consider contacting ‘Comment is Free’ editors to inquire why he hadn’t been banned.

Today we finally learned that ‘CorshmCrusader’s profile has indeed been removed by ‘Comment is Free’ editors.

Here’s what you see when try to open the user’s link:

profile not available

Many thanks to those of you who responded to our request, emailed CiF editors and helped us get this extremist removed from the Guardian.

 

CiF Watch reader emails the Guardian asking why white supremacist isn’t banned

On Jan. 16 we posted about a Guardian reader whose commenting privileges were not suspended by the editors, despite the fact that he promoted Holocaust denial in the comment section under a Guardian story (on Jan. 14) about Holocaust education in the UK, and the fact that his user profile contained a link to a white supremacist site called British Resistance.

br

As we revealed, not only was the commenter, who uses the moniker ‘CorshmCrusader‘, a fan of ‘British Resistance’, but actually serves as the site’s deputy editor - a Nazi sympathizer named Mark Kennedy.

We asked our readers to consider emailing the Guardian’s ‘Comment Editor’ asking for an explanation regarding why someone who clearly violates ‘Comment is Free’ “community standards” has not been banned.

Today we were contacted by a fan of our blog, a Holocaust educator and author named Dan Hennessy, copying us on the email he sent to the Guardian.

Here it is, with Mr. Hennessy’s permission:

To the editors:

As a Holocaust educator, it is disturbing that you treat the individual using the moniker “CorshmCrusader,” who is known to be a white supremacist, as you would any other “contributor” to your periodical; and yet, you [ban others] who obviously disagree with you. Who is allowed freedom of speech in your domain? Everyone? Or just those who toe the line with regard to your ideological bias?

I just taught 1984 by George Orwell in an upper division secondary English class. Your decisions in this regard seem quite in line with Ministry of Truth standards.

~ Daniel Hennessy

Again, here’s the email for the Guardian editor if you also want to inquire about the status of CorshmCrusader.

comment.editors@guardian.co.uk

Guardian readers, and Holocausts real and imagined

A guest post by AKUS

The Guardian’s attempt to provide a thoughtful and appropriate article about a praiseworthy attempt by UK footballers to provide schools with a serious and sensitive Holocaust educational film documenting what they learned from a trip to Auschwitz (‘England’s football stars feature in Holocaust educational video film for schools, Jan. 14), was quickly hijacked, as we noted earlier, by Holocaust deniers.

The first comment on the thread was a plea that the footballers’ efforts (and, presumably, reader comments) not be hijacked to demand “equal time” for other atrocities:

1

Despite SantaMoniker’s plea anticipating what was to follow, in addition to the subsequent Holocaust denial comments CiF Watch captured which were eventually deleted, for one person simply denying the Holocaust wasn’t not enough. He demanded (comment now deleted) that the educational authorities invent a new one to provide some balance to the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis.

Yes – if English children are to learn about the Holocaust that actually happened, at least one reader, whose comment garnered recommendations, demanded that they learn about the non-existent Palestinian Holocaust.

2For this commenter, and those recommending his comment, as part of the campaign against Israel it is necessary to create a myth about a Palestinian history to reinforce the lethal narrative that the Jews, “who should know better”, have killed millions of Palestinians.

Visiting the thread now, about 12:40 pm UK time, the moderators have removed most of the presumably inappropriate comments. But the striking lack of empathy remains at least in this one, the last at the time this is written, which has been there for over an hour:

 3

Apparently for some people it will remain a mystery why “the jews will bang on forever about their persecution, because they are under the impression no one as suffered like they have”.  For some it is too difficult to comprehend that this mass murder was so horrific that the special term “Holocaust” had to be created to refer to it and in which modern technology was used to eliminate an entire people by killing as many as 6 million of them – and why the annoying survivors keep “banging on about it”.

It is also worth noting that while holocaust-denying comments remained on the thread for hours, beneath Rachel Shabi’s tendentious and morally pretentious commentary alleging Islamophobia by the “the power-brokers of Hollywood”, comments which didn’t abide by the Guardian Left script were quickly deleted.

The appearance of both articles on the same day, and the totally different level of comment moderation, demonstrates the bias of Guardian editors and those they employ to moderate the threads. 

Not banned by the Guardian: White nationalist crusader against the ‘Holohoax’

On Jan. 14, the Guardian published at report by Peter Walker titled ‘England’s football stars feature in Holocaust educational video film for schools, about Premier League footballers teaming up with the FA to produce a film for UK schools in which players discuss the impact of their recent tour of Auschwitz – part of a broader program by the Holocaust Educational Trust.

The report includes a short film explaining the context of the Holocaust before detailing the events and their impact on Europe’s Jews.

Though the report didn’t elicit too many reader comments, it did attract the attention of a few Holocaust “skeptics”. 

More people need to see “passed” [sic] the Holocaust propaganda.

two

Truth teller

holocaust comment 2

“Holohoax” Crusader

one

Though this comment by ‘CorshmCrusader’ was eventually deleted by moderators (along with the two others) it remained at the Guardian for roughly four hours, and garnered 118 expressions of support from fellow readers.

More interestingly, the user profile of CorshmCrusdader is still up and his user privileges do not seem to have been suspended – which is interesting in light of CiF editors’ decision to ban other users who evidently ran afoul of the Guardian’s “community standards”.

Here’s the profile:

profile

This profile evidently wasn’t flagged by editors despite the URL listed, which takes you to the site of a white nationalist group so extreme they have accused the BNP of being soft on Jews:

resist

The CiF commenter appears to be the Deputy Editor of the extremist site, who goes by the name of Mark Kennedy.

deputy

He even has his own graphic on the sidebar:

crusader

The graphic links to his YouTube Channel, where you can enjoy the following videos:

videosTo those still not convinced, a post on the site of ‘British Resistance’ on Jan. 15, by the site’s Editor (who posts using the moniker ‘Green Arrow’), bitterly complained about the deletion of the same comment by CorshmCrusader shown above, and clearly revealed the author’s identity.

“In an article written by a piece of human excrement with a fetish for people who wear Lycra, known as Peter Walker, The Guardian today published a story and a video on how the Jews, through the Holocaust Memorial Trust were intending to brainwash young British children by sending every single English secondary school a DVD containing a seven and half minute video about the Holohoax and other “teaching” materials.

“…our Deputy Editor, the Corsham Crusader, was onto the comments section quicker than a terrier on a rat and left a rather good post revealing the truth about the Holohoax and advising people who did not believe what he said, to simply go and do their own research.”

Consider sending a respectful email to Guardian editors requesting that the white supremacist using the moniker CorshmCrusader be banned.

comment.editors@guardian.co.uk

Jean Ziegler is a progressive who opposes injustice. How do I know? The Guardian told me.

According to the Guardian’s Thomas Blaser, ‘We let them starve‘, Oct. 5, Jean Ziegler, a Swiss author and politician, and former UN Special Rapporteur for Food, is a “prolific writer” who has boldly “taken on the cause of the developing world…and against injustice.”

The Guardian author helpfully adds the following to assist readers in understanding Ziegler’s politics:

“His combative and at times polemical style has earned him much admiration, but also vilification…particularly from Switzerland‘s liberal-conservatives, closely related to big business, and of course the major Swiss banks, for denouncing their hiding away of stolen funds such as those of former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, [and those from] Jewish people who perished in the holocaust.

He is also a vocal critic of global capitalism’s effects on the developing world, especially Africa.

So, Ziegler, as framed by the Guardian, seems like a decent enough fellow, and a genuine humanitarian.

  • He’s opposed to ‘big business’ and greedy bankers. 
  • He’s against injustice and exploitation.
  • He’s an advocate for the poor and downtrodden.
  • He fights those who continue to exploit Holocaust victims.

Well, unfortunately, the Guardian left out quite a bit of information on the European ‘human rights activist’. 

Jean Ziegler actually has a record of cozying up to dictators who violate human rights, and has shamefully abused and exploited Holocaust memory.

He has praised Robert Mugabe, once claiming that the Zimbabwean dictator has “history and morality with him.” 

In 1986, Ziegler was an adviser to Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, found guilty of genocide in 2006, and helped draft his one-party constitution.

Ziegler has also defended Fidel Castro, and once expressed “total support for the Cuban Revolution”.

Ziegler co-founded, co-managed, and eventually won the Muammar Qaddafi International Prize for Human Rights.

The prize, established in 1989, has been awarded to such tireless anti-racists as Fidel Castro, notorious antisemite Louis Farrakhan, former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Bin Muhammad —who claimed that Jews control the world – and the late French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy.

In 1996, Ziegler wrote a letter of support for Garaudy, who was convicted in a French court for denying Hitler’s genocide, defending his Holocaust-denying tract for its “rigor” and the author’s “unwavering honesty.”

Here’s an informative video by UN Watch, on Ziegler’s extremism, from 2008.

The certainly don’t make ‘progressives’ like they used to.

Islamic Human Rights Commission & Al Quds Day: Tip of the UK’s Iranian support network iceberg

Introduction:

In 1979 the Iranian regime, newly under the control of Ayatollah Khomeini, initiated the annual marking of ‘Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day’ on the third Friday of the month of Ramadan as a means of expressing the support of Iran and the Arab-Muslim world for the Palestinian ’cause’ and the ‘liberation’ of Jerusalem. The original declaration includes these words: 

“Israel, the enemy of mankind, the enemy of humanity, which is creating disturbances every day and is attacking our brothers…, must realise that its masters are no longer accepted in the world and must retreat. They must give up their ambitious designs, their hands must be severed from all the Islamic countries and their agents in these countries must step down.

Quds Day is the day for announcing such things, for announcing such things to the satans who want to push the Islamic nations aside and bring the superpowers into the arena.

Quds Day is the day to dash their hopes and warn them that those days are gone.”

Since then, these events – which are inevitably a stage for anti-Israel and anti-Western incitement – have taken place annually in many locations all over the world, including the United Kingdom, where they are organised primarily by the Islamic Human Rights Commission. This year’s event will take place on August 17th in central London. 

Speakers at last year’s London rally (August 21st, 2011) included Lauren Booth and a representative of Hizb ut Tahrir Britain, Abdul Wahid, both of whom called for surrounding countries to launch an all-out war on Israel. Participants carried signs advocating the destruction of the State of Israel and many expressed support for the proscribed Iranian-backed terror organisation Hizballah. An additional speaker also made racist statements regarding President Obama. 

Al Quds Day, London, 21st August 2011

The organization of an event which promotes – year after year – racism, incitement to racial hatred, support for terror organizations and incitement to violence should, in theory at least, be at odds with the Islamic Human Rights Commission’s status both as a registered charity in England and Wales and a body with special consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It should, in theory, have disqualified the IHRC from being considered a worthy partner for the British Police Force’s anti-terror units and the British Parliament.  

However – to date – it has not. 

Background:

Founded in 1997, the mission statement of the Islamic Human Rights Commission on its Charity Commission web page claims that its aim is “To promote human rights and equality and diversity (in particular good race relations) throughout the world for the benefit of the public.”  The style and content of the IHRC’s annual ‘Al Quds Day’ events, along with much of its additional campaigning,  suggest that “good race relations” are in fact far from being its true aim. 

The Charity Commission’s guidelines on charities and terrorism include clauses which would appear to be at odds with many of the activities of the IHRC and its officials. 

“If an organisation is proscribed, it is illegal for it to operate in the UK. It is a criminal offence for a person to belong to or invite support for a proscribed organization. It is also a criminal offence to arrange a meeting in support of a proscribed organization or to wear clothing or to carry articles in public which arouse reasonable suspicion that an individual is a member or supporter of the proscribed organisation.”

“Any links between a charity and terrorism are totally unacceptable and corrosive of public confidence in charities. Trustees must be vigilant to ensure that a charity’s premises, assets, staff, volunteers and other resources cannot be used for activities that may, or appear to, support proscribed organisations.”

Whilst UK law proscribes only the ‘military wing’ of Hizballah, there is no separate flag for its political wing, meaning that the abundance of Hizballah flags at Al Quds Day rallies can certainly be viewed as ‘reasonable suspicion’ of support for a proscribed terrorist organisation, particularly when viewed in the context of other material present and the speeches made at those rallies. 

Hizballah military parade, Al Quds Day 2002, Nabatiyeh, Lebanon.

The repeated organisation of rallies at which Hizballah flags are carried and worn (including by IHRC officials and employees) along with placards stating “We are all Hizballah” and the collaboration with known members and sympathisers of Hamas, leaves little room for doubt as to the IHRC’s active support for those proscribed organisations. 

Massoud Shadjareh, chair of the IHRC, wearing a Hizballah scarf – Al Quds Day rally London, 2002.

Al Quds Day Rally, London, August 21st 2011

Al Quds Day Rally, London, August 21st 2011

The Charity Commission of England and Wales has to date not seen fit to take action either on these annual blatant displays of support for terrorism or on the subject of the IHRC’s incitement to violence and racial hatred. Neither, it seems, has the Charity Commission paid much attention to the nature of the less public activities and connections of some of the IHRC’s founders, officials and functionaries and the question of whether such people are appropriate as part of a government-recognised and approved body – again despite its own recommendations

“..even indirect or informal links with a terrorist organisation pose unacceptable risks to the property of a charity and its proper and effective administration. Even if the link or association did not amount to a criminal offence, it is difficult to see how a charity could adequately manage the risks to the charity and find a way in which the trustees could properly discharge their charity law duties and responsibilities.” 

Activities and Personalities:

In June 2005 the IHRC organised a conference entitled “Towards a New Liberation Theology: Reflections on Palestine” at SOAS in London, in collaboration with the Tehran-based NEDA Institute for Scientific Political Research & Studies. The director of NEDA, Jawad Sharbaf, made something of a name for himself in December 2005 by writing to Holocaust denier Roger Faurisson to express his commiserations at the UN decision to designate International Holocaust Memorial Day (the correspondence can be viewed on Faurisson’s site here).  

Among the speakers at that IHRC/NEDA organised conference (in 2009 the addresses were later published as a book by the IHRC, with Sharbaf as editor) was Hizballah member Rima Fakhry, who was interviewed by the Guardian during her visit to London. 

Mrs Fakhry said her group believes in the destruction of Israel and expulsion of tens of thousands of Jews: “This is a hope, a long-term strategy.”

“Israelis don’t have a right to stay in Palestine, the state of Israel is an illegal state.”

“One day the Palestinians will destroy Israel and return to their land.”

Other speakers included one of the IHRC’s founders – Saied Reza Ameli – and two members of its advisory board – Muhammad Al Asi and Achmad Cassiem. 

Achmad Cassiem:

Achmad Cassiem is head of the South African Islamist group ‘Qibla (which was categorised as a terrorist organisation by the US State Department) and its offshoot PAGAD, as well as head of the Islamic Unity Convention. According to the South African government, members of Qibla have trained in Libya and Pakistan and some have fought with Hizbollah in Lebanon. The group seeks to establish an Iranian-style Islamic regime in South Africa and Cassiem has visited Iran. 

Cassiem frequently compares and links Israel to the former apartheid regime in South Africa and not only rejects the two-state solution to the conflict, but openly advocates violence as a means of dismantling Israel.   

“… Armed struggle is of course essential because in the Quran armed resistance, armed struggle is ordained by Allah – the first time armed struggle is made permissible for Muslims is in Surah Hajj -surah 22 ayat 39, Allah says ‘permission is given to you to fight because you have been wronged’ – that principle essentially means that the only people in the world who have the sole justification for resorting to armed struggle, to violence, to force are the oppressed people – nobody else has that right or justification.

But more importantly it is immoral, irrational, it is obscene for an oppressor to tell the oppressed how they should respond to oppression, so if there are two principles that we should teach all oppressed people then it is those two principles”

*****

“A major principle has evolved through centuries of armed, struggle against oppressors worldwide; that it is irrational, illogical, and obscene for the oppressors to tell the oppressed how they should respond to their own oppression. We endorsed that principle here in South Africa, and we endorse it on behalf of the Palestinian people. This means that the Zionist Regime, its lackeys and supporters cannot, may not and should not be allowed to propose any solutions. This would specifically exclude the idea of a two-state solution: that is, a Zionist State and a Palestinian State existing side by side on the land of the Palestinian people. Tova Herzl [israeli ambassador] frequently mentions that the Zionist State is only the size of the Kruger National Park; our position is that even if the Zionist State is the size of a postage stamp it has no right to exist.

Occupied Palestine must be decolonized, deracialized and restored to the Palestinian people as a single sovereign state. In plain English, the Zionist State must be dismantled.”

At an ‘anti-war’ rally in Trafalgar Square in London on September 19th 2005, Cassiem urged the crowd to adopt the slogan “one oppressor – one bullet”. (Note the introduction by Anas Al Tikriti of the Muslim Association of Britain and the Cordoba Foundation, with IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh standing close by, draped in what appears to be a Hizballah flag). 

Muhammad Al Asi:

Another advisor to the IHRC is Muhammad Al Asi of the US –co- founder of the Institute for Contemporary Islamic Thought and formerly of the Islamic Centre of Washington – who is frequently to be found on the lecture circuit and is closely linked to the Iranian regime

As well as being known for his belief that 9/11 was planned by the American Administration, and his Holocaust denial, Al Asi frequently dabbles in nakedly anti-Semitic tropes such as in this quote from 2001:  

“We have a psychosis in the Jewish community that is unable to co-exist equally and brotherly with other human beings. You can take a Jew out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the Jew. And, this has been demonstrated time and time again in Occupied Palestine. And, now they have American diplomats and politicians and decision makers and strategists in their pocket because they have the money.”

This quote from 2002 appears – like many others – to suggest that Al Asi is less than committed to finding peaceful solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict: 

“If the only thing the Israelis and their mentors, and their sponsors and their superiors in Washington DC are going to understand is the use of force, than that’s the language we’re going to communicate with, we’re going to use force. And whatever was taken by force can only be retrieved by force.”

At a 2007 event held in London by the IHRC to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Al Asi – speaking on the subject of Islamophobia – said: (all errors in the original)

“I think any attempt at speaking about islamophobia by omitting the zionist factor is almost useless. In other words if I was to become very simplistic and we were all to assume that there is no zionist israeli occupation of Palestine of the Holy Land I don’t think we would be here today, honestly! I don’t think islamophobia would have been an issue. The world would still have its problems, we would probably still have our disagreements and agreements, the ebb and flow of them as they have been through out history, we’ve always have had these types of issues. But the chronic stage we have reached in today’s world I think can be traced directly and bluntly to the zionist usurpation and occupation of the Holy Land.”

Saied Reza Ameli:

IHRC founder Saied Reza Ameli is also a former director of the Institute of Islamic Studies and co-founder of the Islamic Centre of England (ICEL) which was established in 1996 by Ayatollah Mohsen Araki – Khamenei’s representative in Britain at the time – and acts as a ‘support organisation’ to the IHRC in the organization of the annual Al Quds Day events. The ICEL also organizes conferences and events promoting the Iranian regime and its ideology.

Between 2006 and 2009 Ameli was an Honorary Research Fellow at Birmingham University in the UK. 

Ameli often lends a supposedly ‘academic’ view to the anti-Israel campaign. He presented a paper on the subject of ‘The United States’ Virtual Colonialism’ at the 2011 ‘International Conference of Global Alliance against Terrorism’ organized by the Iranian regime. The conference’s closing statement included predictable anti-Israel messages: 

“We condemn the state terrorism against the oppressed Palestinian nation, and other nations by the Israeli regime and its allies.”

Ameli has written for the ‘Palestine Internationalist’ (which formerly included the IHRC’s director of research Arzu Merali on its editorial team) and appears frequently at IHRC-organised conferences such as the one mentioned above.  

‘Prisoners of Faith’:

The IHRC also engages in campaigning for so-called prisoners of faith. One of its ongoing campaigns involves Omar Abdel Rahman – currently serving a life sentence in the United States due to involvement in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing plot. 

In its early days, the IHRC campaigned on behalf of ‘prisoner of faith’ Ibrahim al Zakzaky – head of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN); an Iranian backed and financed Shi’ite Islamist group modelled on Hizballah which has been implicated in various acts of violence.  Zakzaky is virulently anti-Western and anti-Semitic and the IMN website contains much in the way of anti-Semitic material and conspiracy theories. Sheikh Zakzaky considers Jews to be “the lowest of creatures on earth” and the “children of monkeys of pigs (sic)”. Here he is on the subject of 9/11: 

“And how are we sure that the September 11 was not also the work of CIA and FBI? They dodge the question each time you ask them. They said that before the September 11 a lot of terrorists removed their money from the banks and sold their stocks, but they didn’t give us the list of those terrorists.  We know that they’re the people who did it, they were living within America and they withdraw their money from banks, and they sold their stocks. And we also know that nobody denies the fact that in the World Trade Center, it is known that about 5000 Jews worked in the center.  On that faithful Tuesday 11th September, not a single Jew was there.  Was it by accident?  Not a single Jew was killed or have you heard them mention any Jew being a victim of the September 11 tragedy.  Not a single Jew died! And you know it was not a busy Tuesday and the job of the Jews is bold.  Was it a coincidence that, that fateful Tuesday all of them failed to go to work?” 

Zakzaky is a member of the International Assembly of Ahlul Bayt – the Iranian organisation which promotes Shi’ite Islam and Khomeinist ideology around the globe. According to this document, Zakzaky is also an advisor to the Islamic Human Rights Commission. 

Sheikh Ibrahim Al Zakai (far right) at an IHRC-organised seminar in London in October 2010 together with (R to L) Saied Reza Ameli (co-founder IHRC, Tehran University), Massoud Shadjareh (co-founder and chair IHRC), Mohideen Abdul Kader.

Massoud Shadjareh:

Were one to look for proof of the fact that the IHRC is just one of several Iranian support groups at work in the UK rather than an actual ‘human rights’ organization as it claims to be (and upon the basis of which it was allotted both Charity Commission recognition and UN consultative status), one need look no further than the IHRC’s co-founder and chair Massoud Shadjareh – seen here at the 2010 Al Quds Day event – who, when asked about the very real human rights abuses in Iran, can only reply “I don’t know what you’re talking about”. 

In contrast, Shadjareh is an active campaigner for Aafia Siddiqui, (sentenced to 86 years of imprisonment in 2010) who he claims is being “oppressed by non-Muslims”. 

The Islamic Human Rights Commission under Shadjareh’s leadership is – as mentioned above – just one of several pro-Iranian organisations operating in the UK. Like all of them, it takes a virulently anti-Western and anti-Israeli stance, of which the annual Al Quds Day march is but one small part. Like many others, it is also involved in attempts to boycott Israeli goods, anti-Israel campaigning, propaganda and delegitimisation.

The IHRC also played a part in the infamous ‘Durban I’ conference in 2001, to which it sent a team of 13 representatives  and where it presented a paper entitled Apartheid in the Holy Land, written by IHRC  researcher at the time Nafeez Ahmed. It continued to play a role in follow-up events in 2009

Conclusion:

The above represents just a small taste of the activities of the IHRC and the personalities involved with that organization: the annual Al Quds Day march is just the tip of a very large iceberg. The difference between the IHRC and other elements of the Iranian support network in the UK is that it has Charity Commission approved status, has been courted by the British government and holds consultative status at the UN.  

The continuation (or not) of that current state of affairs rests ultimately in the hands of the British government which can, if it so wishes, act to alter the current status quo in which the term ‘human rights’ is being used and abused by a group of sympathisers with and activists for one of the most repressive, abusive, discriminatory, terror-enabling regimes plaguing the modern world – with the UK government’s rubber stamp. 

The British Prime Minister David Cameron recently stated that his country will do “everything it can” to help track down the perpetrators of the murders of Israeli holiday-makers in Bulgaria. If he is serious about combatting terror both at home and abroad, then he will no longer be able to tolerate the situation in which, on the one hand, his government passes legislation and invests resources to prevent terrorism but yet at the same time permits supporters of the world’s worst terror-nurturing regime to glorify and promote Iran’s terror proxies on London’s streets.