Last Tuesday I attended yet another anti-Israel event at the London Middle East Institute based at SOAS. The last LMEI event I attended beautified Hizbollah. And last Tuesday I had another anti-Jewish insult hurled at me, to add to the long list, for merely asking a question during a Q&A.
The guest speaker last Tuesday was retired British Diplomat Sir Vincent Fean, a man who has served as a diplomat in Paris, Brussels, Libya, Damascus, Baghdad and amongst the Palestinians. Fean said he wanted to “speak about how peace could come about in the Holy Land” and he said that he believed in “the two state solution”.
However, after his 40 minute talk I realised that Fean did not believe in Israel’s safety or its existence at all. He wanted Israel emasculated and indefensible.
Fean demanded that the “settlements” be disbanded and called the “illegal settlement enterprise” the “single most significant threat to the two state solution”.
As proof of “illegality” he invoked the Geneva Convention claiming that Israel gives inducements for Israelis to move to the West Bank. That is hardly “transfer” but it is enough for the likes of Fean to conclude that Israel is committing a breach of international law.
Fean called for Israel to dismantle its security fence, for Israel’s forces to be withdrawn from “Palestinian soil” and for Egypt to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.
It’s bad enough that foreign correspondents covering the region rarely if ever report on the constant incitement to violence by Hamas, Fatah and Palestinian Authority officials. But, expressions of skepticism by reporters over Israeli “claims” regarding the problem of incitement represent an even more egregious example of biased reporting, as evidence attesting to this disturbing phenomenon is ubiquitous.
Such attacks, apparently spontaneous and carried out without any obvious group collaboration, are a headache for Israel’s security services, since they are almost impossible to prevent or predict in advance through good intelligence.
The resulting frustration was apparent on Wednesday as the country’s political establishment, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu downwards, pointed the finger, without presenting concrete evidence, at virtually the entire Palestinian political spectrum, including the Palestinian Authority and Hamas – accusing it of complicity through “incitement”.
Tait’s incredulousness in the face of Israeli “claims” over the role played by Palestinian incitement is quite remarkable. As Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) demonstrates, evidence abounds attesting to “ongoing violence promotion” carried out by the Palestinian Authority and Fatah. PMW recently reported that violence promotion in recent months has specifically mentioned “stabbings” and the use “knives and cleavers”.
An article by Mark Anderson in the Global Development section of The Guardian (Israel ignoring deaths of Thai workers on farms, Human Rights Watch claims, Jan. 21) included this claim.
The claim that “Israel banned Palestinians from working in the country” is not true.
Israel did place certain restrictions on Palestinian workers in the late 80s and early 90s in response to the First Intifada, and began requiring entry and exit permits which were granted in part based on individual security screenings of potential workers. However, though these restrictions resulted in a drop in the number of Palestinian workers in Israel, there was never a ban.
Today, more than 47,000 work permits are issued annually.
Yesterday, we posted about a Guardian op-ed by David Conn on Jan. 20th which accused British Jews who, in his view, express unwarranted alarm about the threat of antisemitism in the UK of being “ungrateful” to their country.
It turns out that, on the very same day, a similar charge was leveled by another British Jew, journalist Matthew Norman.
Writing in The Independent, Norman first notes the putative dearth of any fatal antisemitic attacks in the country.
Norman’s internet research was indeed flawed. In 2008, a Manchester Jew was fatally stabbed by a man who later told police that he “needed to kill a Jewish person”. CST characterized the attack as antisemitic.
The magazine, available in print, digital and online editions, describes itself thusly:
How it Works’ expert explanations, dynamic cutaways and breathtaking images provide fuel for imaginations across all ages, helping its eager audience to understand and explore the wonders of the modern world, and making complex topics into accessible entertainment. How it Works stands for clarity, authority, intelligence and knowledge, which is why the brand is successful worldwide in all its forms – print, digital and online.
The latest edition, Volume 5, is currently on sale. A friend purchased one this week at a Toronto bookstore.
It includes a two page feature about the history of Jerusalem.
The piece includes a timeline, graphics and a short article explaining the city’s historic significance.
Deborah Maccoby… yeah, I know, my American friends will question my preoccupation with such minor and generally obscure elements of British society. And I don’t think that next picture will change their opinion significantly:
Deborah Maccoby bills herself on some occasions* as “Executive, Jews for Justice for Palestinians”. Alternatively she presents herself as “a member of the Executive Committee of Just Peace UK, the Israeli-Palestinian peace group and the UK branch of ICAHD (the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions)”. At the same time she is gainfully employed “at the BBC World Service as a Production Assistant and has written book reviews for the Arabic Service”. Which is a significant point, showing a person with access to one of the heaviest propaganda juggernauts out there.
So, if after looking at the pictures, you have conjured in your mind an image of one of these slightly demented aunts that are very good in making their own preserves or jams, overcook the roast and are afraid of spiders – perish the thought. Deborah Maccoby is a very strong anti-Zionist presence on many fronts and, as a prominent member of the British “AssaJew” community, has quite a few ideas to offer on many subjects.
One of such subjects is a solution for antisemitism, which Ms Maccoby hinted about as early as 2009. In this letter that starts with predictable “Sir: I am a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and have participated in every one of the national demonstrations against Israel’s brutal onslaught against Gaza”, she offers the magic recipe in the last sentence:
Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP) members were quite possibly among those who inspired Howard Jacobson’s award-winning novel, The Finkler Question, as they resemble UK Jews he refers to as “Ashamed Jews,” Jews who are proud to be ashamed of their Israel-supporting fellow Jews.
Maccoby, in her Guardian letter, not only asserts that Jews need to learn from their Muslim counterparts’ putative condemnations of jihadist violence “and say loud and clear in response to Israeli atrocities ‘not in my name‘”, but suggests that Jews’ failure to distance themselves from Israeli “atrocities” renders them culpable for subsequent antisemitic violence:
Trafalgar Square in London was unusually quiet and reflective on Sunday as thousands flocked to stand in sympathy with Paris and those left bereaved this week by an Islamist terror gang there.
Thousands came and held up pens, pencils, crayons, signs and their own hand drawn cartoons. They sang Le Marseillaise and applauded.
As darkness fell they lay down their pens on the floor and lit candles, the National Gallery was lit up in red, white and blue and Trafalgar Square’s famous fountains alternated between those same colours.
Some chose to hold up the offending Charlie Hebdo cartoons, but I have not published those photos. I have however published photos of those brave, brave women who I saw holding up signs stating Je Suis Juif. I hope they stay safe.
I also hope that the likes of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign that pour out hatred and lies to naive minds about Israel will now cease their vile activities.
Many of the anti-Israel events I have attended, and written up on this blog, are either full of support for Hamas and Hezbollah who state publicly their desire to murder Jews or they contain outright anti-Semitic language.
If something similar to Paris happens in London we will know who to blame.
(See two important updates at the end of this post)
Earlier this month, the publishing house HarperCollins was the object of much negative publicity when it was revealed that they omitted Israel from maps in atlases sold to schools in the Middle East.
A spokesman for the HarperCollins subsidiary that specializes in maps told the British Christian newspaper, The Tablet, that including Israel would have been “unacceptable” to their customers in the Gulf and the amended map incorporated “local preferences.” However, following the embarrassing row that ensued, HarperCollins expressed regret for the omission, and assured concerned parties that the product had been removed from sale, and all the remaining stock pulped.
More recently, The Economist (in a Jan. 10thstory in their print edition about shifting economic power and political influence in the Gulf) published this “amended” map of the region.
Beaumont’s report begins with these opening paragraphs, which lead to a passage blaming Israel for the breakdown:
This was a year that tested – largely to destruction – the notion you can have stability and quiet in the absence of a Middle East peace process. Instead, 2014 in Israel and the Palestinian territories was marked by a return to conflict in Gaza, which claimed over 2,200 lives, by increasing violence and tension on both sides, continued Israeli settlement building, and the introduction of a worrying religious aspect to the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
The fulcrum around which all this turned was the breakdown of renewed US-brokered attempts to move towards a final settlement of the conflict, which collapsed in April amid mutual recriminations after Israel reneged on an agreement to release a third batch of long-term Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
However, as Peter Beaumont acknowledged in a Guardianreport published on April 29th, the circumstances surrounding Israel’s reluctance to release the final prisoners were much more complicated, and can’t reasonably be framed as an Israeli failure to abide by its commitments.
Last week, we posted about an article at The Independent reporting on a recent Delta flight from New York to Tel Aviv which was delayed after some ultra-Orthodox Jewish passengers refused to sit next to women. The story, by Jon Stone, included the following passages:
Of course, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, not (as the passage suggests) Tel Aviv.
(As we noted previously, other UK media outlets, including the Guardian and Times of London, have made that same mistake over the years.)
On Dec. 6th the Guardian published a profile of Leila Sansour, the Bethlehem born, British director of the documentary Open Bethlehem.
The article, by Nick McGrath, included some background on the Christian holy city, as well as a paragraph describing the director’s return home.
Leila first returned to Bethlehem in 2002 to direct her debut feature film, Jeremy Hardy Versus the Israeli Army, which was set against the backdrop of the Israeli siege of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity in 2002. By the time she returned in 2004, 180km of concrete wall, eight-metres high, built by the Israelis to “protect” increasing numbers of Jewish settlers from Palestinian attacks, now dominated the landscape and Leila’s cousin Carol was the only family member still in the city.
First, note the bizarre use of quotes around the word “protect“.
“A former member of the Palestinian national football team remains on hunger strike over his imprisonment by Israel without charge…
“Mahmoud Sarsak, 25, has refused food for 80 days, since 19 March. He began his hunger strike after his “administrative detention” order was renewed for the sixth time.”
“He was arrested in July 2009 while on his way from his home in Gaza to a national contest in the West Bank.”
“Sarsak’s family deny that he is a member of any militant organisation.”
However, as we noted at the time, the Guardian failed to inform readers that Sarsak – when he wasn’t playing football – was allegedly an active member of the military wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and that the Israeli Supreme Court had upheld his detention out of concerns he would rejoin the terror organization if released.
We don’t know much about UK-based journalist Jon Stone, other than the fact he used to work for BuzzFeed and now contributes to publications such as the Independent, where he published astory on Dec. 30th.
The article, about a recent Delta flight from New York to Tel Aviv which was slightly delayed after a few ultra-Orthodox Jewish passengers refused to sit next to women, included the following passages: