UK news site actually publishes anti-Hamas cartoon

While The Times (of London) is one of the better British newspapers on issues relating to Israel, it’s surprising nonetheless that any major paper in the UK would publish the following cartoon (by Peter Brooks), as it represents an unequivocal condemnation of Hamas and calls out the Islamist group for their tactic of using human shields.  

times

Cartoon by Peter Brooks

Such open criticism of an antisemitic extremist group is, sadly, the rare exception within a UK media which, conversely, often posts graphic agitprop advancing the most toxic calumnies about the democratic Jewish State  – a sad commentary on the moral confusion which grips the opinion elite in that country.

Protesting Palestine, targeting Jews

Cross posted from The CST

CST wrote last week about the danger of anti-Israel protests in the UK involving or encouraging antisemitism, either by targeting British Jews or by featuring antisemitic language and imagery.

Since then, several more examples of antisemitic incidents and other activity in relation to anti-Israel protests have been reported to CST:

  • Demonstrators on a march through central London assaulted and verbally abused a Jewish woman who expressed her support for Israel as they walked past. Marchers surrounded her, called her a “Jew Zionist” and stole her phone. Later the same afternoon, demonstrators from the same march verbally abused another Jewish woman who was with her two young children, telling them to “Burn in hell.”
  • A pro-Israel demonstrator at a rally in central London was knocked unconscious by a group of assailants who were part of a counter-protest. While it is not believed that anything antisemitic was said, this level of violence from pro-Palestinian protestors is a worrying development.
  • A Rabbi walking in north London was verbally abused by a group of youths who shouted “Free Palestine”, “F*** the Zionists”, “F*** the Jews” and “Allah Akhbar.”
  • A brick was thrown at the window of a synagogue in Belfast.
  • “Baby murderers” was shouted at a synagogue in Liverpool.
  • A pro-Israel organisation in London received a telephoned bomb threat.
  • A visibly Jewish boy was cycling in north London when a woman wearing a black niqab threw a stone at him, hitting him on the head.

These are just a handful of over 70 antisemitic incidents reported to CST since the beginning of July. This is roughly double the number we would expect to be reported during this period under ‘normal’ circumstances. Approximately ten of these incidents have involved violence. Approximately 14 have involved the use of social media.

Roughly two-thirds of the incidents reported since 1 July have been related to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza, and the number of incidents reported to CST has escalated since the beginning of Israel’s operation in Gaza on 8 July.

Another disturbing factor is that the proportion of antisemitic incident perpetrators described to CST as being of south Asian appearance has been much higher during this period than is normally the case. Antisemitism in Muslim communities is something that others have written about before; the incidents reported to CST suggest that it is playing a significant role in the high level of antisemitic incidents currently being reported. In these circumstances, last week’s statement from the Muslim Council of Britain warning against such behaviour was most welcome.

There have also been several examples of antisemitic incitement on anti-Israel demonstrations and on social media since the conflict between Israel and Gaza began. Last week the hashtag #HitlerWasRight trended on Twitter worldwide. One protestor took this theme onto an anti-Israel demonstration in London:

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It should be noted that the antisemitic incidents recorded by CST since 1 July do not include antisemitic placards or chants on demonstrations.

Other protestors have used Nazi imagery to abuse Israel:

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Comparing Israel to Nazi Germany is antisemitic. It abuses the memory of Holocaust victims and offends contemporary Jews. It attacks Israel on the basis of its Jewishness. It should have no part in pro-Palestinian campaigning.

This flag commits the same offence, and compounds it by using a Star of David next to the phrase “Baby Killers”. The Star of David is a Jewish symbol. It is found on the Israeli flag, but it is also found on synagogues all over the UK. To use it in the manner it is displayed on this flag risks inciting hatred against British Jews.

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This incitement has also been seen on social media. This cartoon is from the Facebook page of UK Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Taji Mustafa. it evokes the antisemitic blood libel, in which Jews are accused of murdering non-Jewish children and consuming their blood in religious rituals. The Arabic on the knife reads “Arab silence”, but the person holding the knife bears a Star of David. The Stars and Stripes on the fork also suggests an antisemitic conspiracy theory regarding alleged Jewish control of America.

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CST has also received several reports of antisemitism on Twitter. These two tweets are clear examples of incitement against Jews in the Stamford Hill area of north London:

 

It has been suggested by some people that hate and abuse on social media is not as serious as other forms of hate crime and should not be included in hate crime statistics. We do not agree. Firstly, if a victim considers a tweet to be offensive or threatening enough to report it to CST, we will respect their feelings and their reaction to what they have seen. Secondly, if somebody shouts an antisemitic comment at a Jewish person in the street, it may only be heard by one person; if that same comment is put on Twitter, it can be seen by an unlimited number of people and it has a permanent record.

This pattern of antisemitic incidents in relation to the current conflict in Israel and Gaza is replicated in several countries around the world, most notably in France where Jewish shops and synagogues in Sarcelles were attacked last night. The antisemitic incidents and incitement seen in Britain over the past two weeks suggest that this danger is getting more, not less, acute. There should be zero tolerance within pro-Palestinian groups, and wider society, for anybody who targets Jews in word or deed.

London protesters compare Gaza to Auschwitz outside Israeli Embassy

Cross posted by Richard Millett

Yes, that really does say Auschwitz, Iraq, Dachau, Palestine.

Yes, that really does say Auschwitz, Iraq, Dachau, Palestine.

Some mocked the Holocaust, others disfigured the Israeli flag, a few screamed “Allahu Akbar”, they all called for the destruction of the Jewish state.

That was the scene outside London’s Israeli Embassy yesterday afternoon as many thousands thronged to hear blood-curdling speeches calling for the end of Israel.

Kensington High Street was closed off to traffic leaving London buses stranded by the protesters who requisitioned them and covered them with anti-Israel slogans.

The protest against Israel’s latest attack on Hamas in Gaza was a toxic mix of Islamists, trade unions like Unison, charities like War On Want, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and, of course, the extreme religious Jewish sect Neturei Karta.

I knew I had outstayed my welcome when a protester grabbed me and shouted “A Zionist!”. I shook him off and made for the relative safety of the tube station.

Here’s a clip for you to savour some of yesterday’s toxicity and some photos:

Disfiguring Israel's flag. At least they didn't burn it.

Disfiguring Israel’s flag. At least they didn’t burn it.

"Cheap Jewish settlements" because Jews are tight money grabbers of course!

“Cheap Jewish settlements” because Jews are tight money grabbers of course!

War On Want's Executive Director John Hilary.

War On Want’s Executive Director John Hilary.

Agreed! Palestinians should be freed from their Hamas oppressors.

Agreed! Palestinians should be freed from their Hamas oppressors.

Is that because Israel builds bomb shelters but Hamas doesn't bother, possibly?

Is that because Israel builds bomb shelters but Hamas doesn’t bother, possibly?

Courageous guy climbs a traffic light.

Courageous guy climbs a traffic light.

They're the stars of the show at these hate events.

They’re the stars of the show at these hate events.

Will she be off to protest against Assad, Iran, ISIS and Boko Haram now?

Will she be off to protest against Assad, Iran, ISIS and Boko Haram now?

Police under pressure and looking under-numbered for once.

Police under pressure and looking under-numbered for once.

Libyan support despite things not looking too rosy in Libya either.

Libyan support despite things not looking too rosy in Libya either.

One of our buses gets occupied. Tell Boris!

One of our buses gets occupied. Tell Boris!

Remind me to invite him over for Friday night dinner soon.

Remind me to invite him over for Friday night dinner soon.

War On Want flags. WOW to be renamed War On Israel anyone?

War On Want flags. WOW to be renamed War On Israel anyone?

Not too sure what to say about this, so I think I'll leave it at that.

Not too sure what to say about this, so I think I’ll leave it at that.

Hmm, they mean Iran, Saudi, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq don't they? Oh wait...

Hmm, they mean Iran, Saudi, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq don’t they? Oh wait…

Can we have our bus back now please?

Can we have our bus back now please?

Errr, the problem is not Gaza, the problem is Hamas.

Errr, the problem is not Gaza, the problem is Hamas.

Ask them to ring back, you're at an anti-Israel protest!

Ask them to ring back, you’re at an anti-Israel protest!

War On Want No! Who can argue with that?

War On Want No! Who can argue with that?

Oh really. Now where does it say such a silly thing like that?

Oh really. Now where does it say such a silly thing like that?

"Cover up, sweety, it's getting a bit chilly". Aw.

“Cover up, sweety, it’s getting a bit chilly”. Aw.

(I dedicate this blog to the memory of my recently deceased mum whom I loved and miss and who, before she lost the ability to speak due to her terminal illness, always gave me one piece of treasured advice when she knew I was going to an anti-Israel event: “Be careful.”)

Does the Independent think Israel’s response to Hamas is ‘un-Jewish’?

What would be the appropriate UK response to thousands of rockets raining down on London, fired by an extremist movement dedicated to the country’s destruction, and one which forced thousands of Brits to take cover in bomb shelters?  

Do you think it’s safe to say that the British government would give its military leaders explicit orders to stop the rocket fire? Further, considering such a hypothetical scenario, is there any question that ‘enlightened’ voices in the media would support the government while it engaged in such a basic act of self-defense?

Of course, over the past couple of days, the nation responding to such a real threat hasn’t been the UK, but Israel.

So, naturally, after two days of anti-terror operations against Hamas to stop the rocket fire terrorizing its citizens, the Independent published a cartoon not only suggesting that Israel’s response has been ‘disproportionate’, but also seeming to imply that the response is un-Jewish.

Here’s the cartoon published yesterday in the Indy by Dave Brown, a cartoonist who (as Eylon Aslan-Levy writing at Tablet on the cartoon reminded us) drew the infamous cartoon during the 2nd Intifada of Ariel Sharon devouring Palestinian babies.

cartoonPay close attention to the text at the bottom of the graphic, which evokes the following Hebrew Bible verse (from Leviticus):

fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Just as he inflicted an injury upon a person, so shall it be inflicted upon him.

The Indy cartoon’s revision of these words to “an eye for a tooth…a hand for an eye…a life for a hand…a people for a life” not only accuses Israel of responding disproportionately, and arguably (with the words ‘a life for a people’) engaging in something akin to ethnic cleansing, but that Israel has forgotten its own Jewish ethical tradition.

First, regarding Brown’s use of the Bible verse:

It should be noted that the Jewish oral tradition (as codified in the Talmud) is explicit that this verse ‘an eye for an eye’ has a far more narrow meaning than most suppose. It doesn’t literally mean that if someone pokes out another’s eye, the punishment meted out should similarly consist of poking out the attacker’s eye. It is understood as a commandment simply that justice must be proportional.

So, has the IDF military response – a campaign initiated only as a last resort after cease-fire talks failed to stop the rockets – been proportional? 

Well, first we must remember that army has been narrowly targeting the instruments of Hamas terror – bombing concealed rocket launchers, launching infrastructures, training bases, terror tunnels and other military targets.

Further, any serious observer of the conflict would have acknowledge Israel’s strenuous efforts to avoid harming Palestinian civilians – despite the complication caused by Hamas purposely placing their instruments of war in civilian areas.

The IDF has routinely been warning Gaza civilians of intending attacks in order to limit casualties. This includes dropping leaflets and sending text messages to Palestinians who may be in harm’s way, phone calls to homes (used as hubs for terror activities) that are about to be bombed, and the ‘knock on the roof’ tactic where Israel deploys a ‘scare’ bomb which uses a loud noise to influence civilians to leave the targeted area. 

Again, ask yourself, would the UK go to such measures to warn their enemies of impending attacks if they were facing a similar threat? 

Moreover, it’s remarkable that such political cartoonists have once again failed to focus their righteous outrage and creative energies towards the Islamist extremist group in Gaza.  There are of course no cartoons taking aim at Hamas’s racist ideology, or their callous disregard for human life – not just Jewish life but Palestinian life as well. Hamas after all is an Islamic movement which regards the Hebrew Bible as a sacred text, and so would similarly seem bound by its ethical commandment to engage in proportionate justice, and, most importantly, to value life, first and foremost.  

Given Hamas’s religious tradition, how then are we to explain their recent acknowledgement that they’re targeting all Israelis civilians, their new warnings that they’ll once again begin launching waves of suicide bombings “on every bus, café and street”, and their leaders’ explicit support for the use of Palestinian human shields.

Would Indy editors ever sanction an op-ed or cartoon vilifying such blatant Palestinian disregard for the sanctity of human life as ‘un-Islamic’? 

No, of course they wouldn’t – any more than they would castigate US and British leaders for behaving in an ‘un-Christian’ manner for the huge civilian toll over the years of targeting Islamist fighters in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan.

Well, at least if fairness and moral consistency represent professional values Indy editors aspire to, then perhaps they should consider avoiding such imperious, sanctimonious and hypocritical sermons to Jews as well.   

Focus below the line: Guardian readers ‘reflect’ on Israel and the Jews (June 20)

This post is part of a series which re-focuses on the problem of biased moderation at the Guardian’s blog ‘Comment is Free’ (CiF) – particularly, reader comments which are off-topic, ad hominem or antisemitic, and yet not deleted by their team of professional moderators. All of the following comments have been posted under ‘CiF’ op-eds which have nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Guardian commenter with the moniker, ‘NormBlunt‘.

10 June, 3:26pm

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11 June, 7:19pm

2

11 June, 7:12pm

3

10 June, 7:25pm

4

11 June, 11:25pm

5

Guardian commenter with the moniker, ferdous87

12 June, 2:20am

6

13 June, 7:58am

7

Guardian commenter with the moniker, ‘monkie‘.

11 June, 7:18pm

8

 

Guardian commenter with the moniker ‘Chomskyfan.

12 June, 6:51am

9

12 June, 8:44pm

10

Again, these comments have NOT been deleted by ‘CiF’ moderators.

The Guardian fetishizes the ‘culture’ of Palestinian terrorism

A May 16th Guardian article by Karma Nabulsi – an Oxford University academic and former PLO representative who previously claimed, at the Guardian, that Palestinian “schoolchildren are blown to bits [by the IDF] while playing’ – which fetishizes Palestinian violence represents a pattern at the media group, whereby contributors and editors support for the ‘right’ of Palestinians to engage in terror attacks against Israelis.

Here are just a few examples: Guardian editors published a letter in January 2011 by a philosophy professor which explicitly defended the right of Palestinians (on moral grounds) to murder Israeli civilians in terror attacks – an editorial decision which was actually defended by their readers’ editor following the uproar which ensued;  In May 2011, the Guardian published an official editorial about the ‘Arab Spring’, and praised the Palestinians for teaching the Arab world how to launch ‘successful’ intifadas; And, in November 2012, during the war in Gaza, Associate Editor Seumas Milne wrote an op-ed explicitly defending the right of Hamas to launch terror attacks against Israelis, and argued that Israel has no such moral right to defend itself.

So, while the May 16th article, titled ‘Artist of the Palestinian revolution‘, on an exhibit featuring Palestinian revolutionary films and art now showing at venues in London (under the slogan “The World is with Us“), comes as little surprise, it’s nonetheless interesting in the way it’s presented, as embodying chic, progressive artistic sensibilities.

headline

Nabulsi’s tale about the glorious nature of the Palestinian revolution begins in the early passages:

In the simplest terms, the story of the Palestinian revolution is a story of the cadres who created it, served it, and gave it both life and force. A people expelled en masse from their homeland, they managed to take matters into their own hands and transform their situation in a most ingenious manner. Initiated by a handful of young refugees, they began to “make their own history”, launching a popular struggle in the late 1960s to regain their homeland and their rights.

However, the PLO was founded in 1964, three years before Israel was ‘occupying’ any Palestinian – or, more accurately, Jordanian – territory, and the (clearly stated) goal of the “popular struggle” was not to “regain their homeland”, but to annihilate the Jewish state.

Nabulsi not only fails to note that the weapons depicted in her beloved Palestinian art were used to murder unarmed Jewish civilians, but characterizes the PLO and other Palestinians terror groups as culturally vibrant, progressive, and humanistic social welfare-based institutions:

Developing factories, institutions, hospitals, schooling and a plethora of ideologies inside an armed struggle throughout the 1970s, Palestinians also created an ebullient revolutionary culture of music, film, poetry, radio, photography, painting and plastic arts, and became the touchstone for revolutionary movements across the world.

Here’s the next terrorist-chic graphic from the exhibit used by Nabulsi:

next

Nabulsi then sums up the movement thusly:

By no means a Marxist revolution (although Marxists were a part of it), it was definitely progressive, and certainly popular. To the revolutionary movements of Africa, Latin America and Asia it was known intimately: Palestine was with the world, just as the world was with Palestine.

This was not merely an anti-colonial or national liberation movement. Comprising the disenfranchised and the dispossessed, and driven by a determination to return home, and to count on themselves alone, meant that the Palestinian cause was not national, nor leftist, but, instead, of the whole people. The culture of return and the armed struggle at the heart of the revolution brought common cause to a people whose country had been destroyed by the Nakba

Since 1964 (the year the PLO was founded), over two thousand Israelis have been murdered, and thousands more maimed, by the “culture of Palestinian armed struggle”.

Finally, we’ll leave you with the trailer from the ‘The World Is With Us” London exhibit promoted by Nabulsi:

 

TWIWU Web Trailer from Palestine Film Foundation on Vimeo.

 

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Revisiting the day when Tom Gross escorted Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger around Israel

We just came across a fascinating post by the prolific Tom Gross describing his experience in 2001 escorting Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger (and Ian Katz) around Israel and the Palestinian territories.

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What especially stands out is how much worse their coverage was during the early 2000s compared to today – which says a lot in light of the egregious institutional anti-Israel bias we’ve been exposing since our blog’s launch in 2009.

Gross begins:

LAST May, I escorted the editor of London’s Guardian newspaper, Alan Rusbridger, and his features editor, Ian Katz, round West Jerusalem and into Palestinian-controlled Bethlehem. It was Rusbridger’s first trip to Israel. His paper had been singled out by critics of press coverage of Israel – even in the context of highly selective and biased reporting across virtually the entire European media – as one of the most unfair. [Ian Katz is now editor of BBC's Newsnight.] 

Unlike many other journalists who have climbed aboard the anti-Israeli bandwagon over the last months without having ever even been to Israel, Rusbridger – to his credit – took five days off work to see the situation for himself. He is, after all, heir to the great C.P. Scott, editor of The Guardian for 57 years, who (in Rusbridger’s words) “fought tirelessly alongside Chaim Weizmann for the creation of the state of Israel.” (Indeed it was Scott who introduced Weizmann to Arthur Balfour).

A few days before our meeting, the Guardian’s chief Jerusalem correspondent, Suzanne Goldenberg, had been presented with Britain’s prestigious Edgar Wallace Trophy by Prime Minister Tony Blair in London. In a front-page announcement, The Guardian said that the London Press Club had decided to award her the prize, for her “courageous and objective journalism.”

Even though the prize is meant to cover reporting in general, and has no particular connection with the Middle East, the runner-up was another media crusader against Israel, Robert Fisk, of the Independent newspaper. Goldenberg’s news report in the Guardian on the morning the prize was announced, was titled “Mutilated Children of a Crippled Palestine,” which gives a flavor of the kind of writing which had so impressed her fellow journalists.

Guardian, May 1, 2001

Guardian, May 1, 2001

See our post (published last year) which fisked Goldenberg’s appalling 2001 report on the al-Dura incident.

Rusbridger, Katz and I crossed by car into Bethlehem. It wasn’t clear whether it was safe to go there that morning. The mutilated bodies of two 13-year-old Israeli boys had been found in a nearby cave just hours earlier, and tension was high. My car had Israeli, not Palestinian, license plates, and over the previous weeks several motorists had been shot dead for just such an offence.

The boys murdered in the cave were Yosef Ish Ran and Koby Mandell.

Two Israeli soldiers, aged about 18, were standing guard on the Israeli side of the border. When we showed our journalist identity cards and asked if we could cross, one of them said in English “But of course if you are journalists you must come in.” Then he added, with a wry smile, “You are the bodyguard of democracy, after all.” Rusbridger jotted down the soldier’s observation in his notebook.

“Is it safe to go in this morning?” I asked the soldier. “Yes, the Palestinians don’t start shooting until lunchtime these days,” he replied. Katz was worried: “You mean they have shooting here!”

We were pressed for time, so our foray into Bethlehem was a short one. But it was long enough for Rusbridger and Katz – a contemporary of mine at Oxford who told me that he hadn’t been to Israel “since his bar mitzvah” – to see with their own eyes that the Israeli soldiers were courteous and polite to Palestinians. They saw that Palestinians were allowed to cross the checkpoint by both car and foot in a matter of seconds. And they saw by contrast how the same soldiers were refusing religious Jews, who wished to go and pray at the nearby holy site of Rachel’s Tomb, entry to Bethlehem.

On our drive down one of Bethlehem’s main streets, we passed Palestinian-owned cars of a similar standard to those we had just seen being driven by Israelis in Jerusalem. Rusbridger and Katz also had a chance to observe that the local Arab shops were well stocked. And when we drove back out from Bethlehem into Israel, they could see that Palestinians were allowed to pass quickly – in about the same time it takes an average Israeli to enter a Tel Aviv shopping mall or movie theatre, as his bags are searched for explosive devices. At the same time the religious Jews we had seen before were still on the other side of the road, still pleading with the soldiers to be allowed entry to Bethlehem.

“BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL”

Two weeks later, Rusbridger wrote about his trip in a cover story for the Spectator magazine in London. The Spectator was an unexpected choice. It is owned by Conrad Black, one of the few prominent non-Jews in the West to have openly denounced media coverage of Israel. “The BBC, Independent, Guardian, Evening Standard and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are rabidly anti-Israel,” Black had written in The Spectator a few weeks earlier, “and wittingly or not, are stoking the inferno of anti-Semitism.”

Pay close attention to Rusbridger’s words:

Rusbridger began his Spectator article as follows: “In the last, dying days of apartheid I visited South Africa… A couple of weeks ago I made my first trip to another much-written about country, Israel. As with my earlier journey I found a lot that was shocking, but this time I was genuinely surprised. Nothing had prepared me for finding quite so many echoes of the worst days of South Africa in modern Israel.”

The Apartheid lie would later be advanced by Guardian reporters and commentators, including their former Jerusalem correspondents Chris McGreal and Harriet Sherwood.

He went on to give some examples – taken out of context – of shooting incidents, and of Palestinian poverty he had witnessed in what he called the “large prison” of Gaza. He wrote of the “endless humiliating queues waiting to pass through Israeli army checkpoints.” There was no mention of our very different experience crossing into the “occupied West Bank.”

Not content with drawing analogies with South Africa, Rusbridger also made a comparison with Northern Ireland, implying that the situation is worse in Israel because Israelis don’t know what’s going on. He wrote – mistakenly – that “The difference in Israel is that almost no Jewish-Israeli journalists ever report firsthand on life and death on the West Bank or Gaza today… The exceptions – I think there are three – are brave and, by and large, despised by Jewish Israelis.”

He seemed to have forgotten our conversation about the workings of Israeli democracy, in which I had pointed out that every Israeli newspaper – without exception – has regular and comprehensive reporting about life in Gaza, some of it highly critical of Israel; that both national Israeli TV channels have correspondents in Gaza; that senior advisors to Yasser Arafat, and even spokespersons for Hamas, are regularly interviewed on Israeli television and radio; and that Israeli Arabs play a significant role in the Israeli media. Indeed, as I had told Rusbridger, probably the single most influential journalist in Israel, Rafik Halaby, the Director of News at Israel’s state-run Channel One TV, is an Arab.

In his article Rusbridger also made no reference to the many progressive elements of Israeli Jewish society which we had discussed in some detail. I had asked him why, if Israel is “an affront to civilization” – the headline given to a comment piece written by a former British Defense Secretary in The Guardian’s sister paper, the Observer, a few days before Rusbridger’s visit – the Jewish state should, for example, have some of the most liberal laws in the world for homosexuals, far more liberal than those in the US and Britain.

affront

Observer headline, May 13, 2001

As for his claim that “nothing had prepared me for finding quite so many echoes of the worst days of South Africa in modern Israel”, it made me wonder, for a moment, how carefully he reads his own paper, given that comparisons between present day Israel and South Africa in the apartheid era have become part of the Guardian’s stock in trade.

Take, for example, Goldenberg’s report of Saturday June 3, 2000. It was headlined, “Palestinians feel the heat as police enforce beach apartheid: With peace looming, Israel is keen to establish areas for Jews only”, and the article itself began: “In these early days of a sweltering summer, the long palm-dotted beaches of Tel Aviv are a natural escape. But if you are a Palestinian, a family day out can mean a night in jail. As Israeli Jews lolled on the sand yesterday, the Tel Aviv police were out in force in a zealous enforcement of beach apartheid… [an] operation to create Jewish-only beaches. Palestinians were arrested near the dolphinarium before they could even set foot on the sand…”

Guardian, June 3, 2000

Guardian, June 3, 2000

As someone who lives in Tel Aviv, and goes to the beach most days, I have never seen anything of the kind. Jews and Arabs mix freely on the beach, and did so when the article was written in June 2000, as any resident of Tel Aviv will confirm. This includes the area around the dolphinarium, site of a deadly Palestinian suicide bomb at a beachfront teenage disco exactly a year after Goldenberg wrote her piece.

About the same time that Rusbridger published his Spectator article, he wrote a massive editorial in The Guardian, running to well over 2,000 words, entitled “Between Heaven and Hell.”

Guardian, May 21, 2000

Guardian, May 21, 2000

A pull quote was reproduced in large type in a box on The Guardian’s front page. It read:

We are forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about how the dream of a sanctuary for the Jewish people in the very land in which their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped has come to be poisoned. The establishment of this sanctuary has been bought at a very high cost in human rights and human lives. It must be apparent that the international community cannot support this cost indefinitely.”

You can read the rest of Gross’s post, here.  

You can continue to read about the Guardian’s hostility towards the Jewish state on these pages.

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Israel haters arrested outside Sodastream-owned shop in Brighton.

Cross posted by London-based blogger Richard Millett

As many as eight anti-Israel activists were arrested yesterday outside Israeli-owned Ecostream in Brighton, on England’s south coast. Ecostream belongs to Sodastream, which has a factory on the West Bank. Although Sodastream employs many Palestinians the anti-Israel lobby prefers to see the factory shut down, thus imperiling the livelihoods of Sodastream’s Israeli and Palestinian workforce.

Every Saturday anti-Israel activists flock to Ecostream to call for its boycott. They are always met by the stoical counter-protesting of Sussex Friends of Israel. Yesterday, however, the anti-Israel activists were swelled by the presence of Palestine Solidarity Campaign affiliated trade unionists from the NHS, NUT, GMB, NUJ and the University of Brighton.

But tempers rose and not before long the number of anti-Israel activists was depleted as protester after protester was led away to the back of a police van. A heartbreaking sight, indeed.

Then the police issued a “section 14″ meaning both sides were kept apart and liable to arrest should anyone step outside their own zone. The remaining anti-Israel activists were restricted to the other side of the busy road opposite Ecostream and could, therefore, hardly be heard or seen for the remainder of the protest. Ecostream’s supporters stayed close to the shop.

Ecostream itself is a magical store. You can buy products that allow you to make your own carbonated drinks and you can refill your own bottles there with anything from honey, to olive oil to washing up liquid. Basically, cut down on your use of bottles and help the environment. Refilling is also vastly cheaper when there is no bottle to pay for.

Those of us who journeyed from London and other parts of England were very warmly received by Sussex Friends of Israel. Thanks to Harvey for driving a car load of us from London. It was good to see friends and meet new people and I also bought some lovely Palestinian olive oil from Ecostream.

Meanwhile, here are photos and footage of the action and photos from inside the Ecostream shop itself.

The first clip shows two of the alleged arrests and the second shows two trade unionists explaining how the presence of so many different trade unions protesting against Israel should make those supporting Israel “question themselves”. Well, that’s certainly an unbeatable argument if ever there was one:

Trendy jacket by Reiss.

Trendy jacket by Reiss.

Jessica Nero (left) was arrested inside Ahava’s London shop 3 years ago

Jessica Nero (left) was arrested inside Ahava’s London shop 3 years ago

Some dashing anti-Israel trade unionists.

Some dashing anti-Israel trade unionists.

Journalists wanting to destroy Palestinian and Israeli livelihoods.

Journalists wanting to destroy Palestinian and Israeli livelihoods.

GMB and NHS members wanting to destroy Palestinian and Israeli jobs.

GMB and NHS members wanting to destroy Palestinian and Israeli jobs.

Outside Ecostream before a section 14 was imposed by police.

Outside Ecostream before a section 14 was imposed by police.

Across the road after the section 14 was imposed.

Across the road after the section 14 was imposed.

University of Brighton wanting to shut down Palestinian and Israeli jobs.

University of Brighton wanting to shut down Palestinian and Israeli jobs.

What a motley crew.

What a motley crew.

More of the motley crew.

More of the motley crew.

Coat on ground while being spoken to by the police.

Coat on ground while being spoken to by the police.

Self explanatory.

Self explanatory.

The stoical counter-protest.

The stoical counter-protest.

He makes a good point.

He makes a good point.

Who would you say she supports?

Who would you say she supports?

The shop.

The shop.

Refill your bottle of olive oil in Ecostream.

Refill your bottle of olive oil in Ecostream.

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Latest target of anti-Zionist witch-hunt in the UK: Israeli psychotherapists.

Cross posted by London-based blogger Richard Millett

Martin Kemp, Teresa Bailey, Jeff Halper, David Harrold at the Guild of Psychotherapists, Nelson Square, London on Wednesday night.

Martin Kemp, Teresa Bailey, Jeff Halper, David Harrold at the Guild of Psychotherapists, Nelson Square, London on Wednesday night.

On Wednesday night I found myself sitting among 60 or so psychotherapists and mental health workers at the Guild of Psychotherapists in London for the launch meeting of the UK-Palestine Mental Health Network.

The four panelists were David Harrold and Mohamed Altawil, both of the Palestine Trauma Centre UK, psychotherapist Martin Kemp and ubiquitous Israel-hater Jeff Halper of Israeli Committee against House Demolitions. Chairing the evening was psychotherapist Teresa Bailey.

The evening was supposed to be about helping the Palestinians but, as ever, it quickly dissolved into an evening of unmitigated attacks on Israel and Zionism, and calls for a boycott of the Jewish state. Contributions from panelists were very short so as to encourage comments from the audience.

First to speak was Altawil who discussed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder suffered by Palestinian children. He said the biggest trauma was when Palestinian children lost their houses and he accused Israel of “working to kill Palestinians from the inside”.

Harrold said Palestinians were in an “abusive relationship” shown by Israeli politicians talking about “putting Palestinians on a diet” and how they “must be made to feel a defeated people”. He said the Palestinians had been “reduced to a level of thinking only about the problem of survival, nothing else”.

Harrold continued “if you are sane you are going to resist” and he then listed certain ways of resisting which included “rockets and martyrs’ funerals”. He said he did not endorse such methods. He didn’t say he denounced them either.

Halper, who wishes to boycott Israel out of existence, called for the mobilisation of “civil society”.

Kemp criticised David Cameron for “declaring himself rock solid in his support of Israel”. Kemp described politicians who speak up in support of Israel as “hypocritical” and he invoked Ghada Karmi, Ronnie Kasrils, Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, Angela Davis and Judith Butler to support his notion that Israel has an “apartheid system”.

Kemp finished by saying that “the west’s embrace of Zionism is having a detrimental effect on our own political culture”.

For more on Kemp’s ideological hatred towards Israel read his article To Resist Is To Exist in Therapy Today in which he seems to compare Israel to Nazi Germany when he invokes Emanuel Berman who said:

‘The lessons from Germany… and from Chile… point… to the need for analysts in all countries to confront openly major issues in their country’s history… Israeli society, and more specifically the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which it is engulfed, is a case in point…’

From the floor Derek Summerfield, a senior lecturer and another seemingly vicious anti-Israel polemicist said “boycott is the only tool” and David, a young social worker in London who didn’t give his surname, suggested they should “hit Israelis economically”.

Andrew Samuels, a founding member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, a psychotherapist, political consultant and professor of Analytical Psychology at the University of Essex, seems to be a master of the dark arts of which his ideological mentor Carl Jung would not have approved.

Samuels suggested the Jewish community would respond to a political move couched in terms of “mental health and therapy”.

He was “excited about setting up a line of influence that ends up in governmental circles” and the “prestigious meeting rooms in Parliament” which would be provided.

He said “histrionics, the worst case scenario, emotional blackmail and all that kind of thing” should be used.

He complained that “the psychotherapy world is two-thirds pro-Israel”. But, he said, “we have to have the fight…the question is how best to make a lot of noise because noise really does matter. Losing debates and resolutions doesn’t matter viewed in the context of historical time. You have to lose a lot before you have the remotest possibility of winning anything.”

Margaret McCallin, an elderly English lady and a retired psychotherapist, said that “the mental health of the Palestinians must be seen in the context of violation of human rights and the ongoing violence from which these people see no end”.

She said that despite the way the Palestinians live in Gaza “they don’t get up and start slaughtering the Israelis on the border or any of the others”. How delightfully generous of her.

Finally, Teresa Bailey took a vote to gauge support for the UK-Palestine Mental Health Network and quoted Martin Luther King’s “what is remembered are not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”.

There were many other vicious comments about Israel from the floor, yet not one mention of Palestinian terror group Hamas and its real oppression of Palestinian women, gays and dissidents.

So expect a racist boycott of Israeli psychotherapists and mental health workers along the lines of the RIBA boycott of Israeli architects anytime soon.

Wednesday night at Guild of Psychotherapists.

Wednesday night at Guild of Psychotherapists.

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Palestine Solidarity Campaign holds anti-Israel hate event at P21 Gallery.

Cross posted by London-based blogger Richard Millett

PSC at P21 Gallery, London last night.

PSC at P21 Gallery, London last night.

“Boycott, Boycott, Boycott. Boycott Israeli products and settlement products. Put pressure on Israel economically. It’s the language THEY understand,” Mahmoud Doughlas implored his audience last night.

Doughlas wasn’t pressed on what he meant by “they”, but the language certainly seemed to contain a racist undercurrent.

Doughlas was speaking, via Skype from Nablus, at a PSC event hosted by P21 Gallery. The event was Education under Occupation – stories from West Bank and Gaza students.

Doughlas, an electrical engineering student at Birzeit University, was speaking from Nablus because, he said, Britain had refused him an entry visa.

He began by telling the audience that when he was in 7th grade Israeli soldiers entered his school “randomly injuring people” and throwing teargas into the classrooms. He couldn’t breathe for 15 minutes and ended up in hospital.

He claimed that one of his friends had been imprisoned for 18 months for writing graffiti on a settlement wall and, if I heard correctly, he said Palestinians have even “been arrested for dreaming about doing something”.

Meanwhile, Jehan al Farra, an alumnus of the Islamic University in Gaza, definitely was in London. She had been in the UK since September studying for a Masters in Computer Studies.

Her main preoccupation last night was describing the problems of studying in Gaza, especially getting to and from academic institutions there due to fuel shortages.

During the Q&A an audience member pointed out that she is highly articulate and very confident, which is a tribute to her teachers and the syllabus. This was a difficult point for her to address without admitting that, just maybe, the situation isn’t as bad as her and her colleagues were attempting to portray.

But she did address another point when an audience member claimed that “Israel had worked hard to destroy Palestinian heritage”. Al Farra said that Israel had even “occupied Palestinian culture”. An example she gave was the Israeli keffiyeh.

Maybe al Farra should read this interesting statement on the Israeli keffiyeh:

“Jews indigenous to the Middle East, such as my family is, have worn some variation of the “kefyah” (cap/kippah) and keffiyeh (head/neck scarves) for thousands of years.”

Here is al Farra last night describing how Palestinians sometimes get killed in accidents when using electricity generators:

 

Last night the PSC was sporting its brand new logo (see top photo – top left of screen). However, on the PSC website and their leaflets the logo is still the map of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, which is far more honest about their intentions for Israel:

psclogo

And PSC’s Ameena Saleem, who was chairing last night’s event, wasted no opportunity to call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. This, as we know, is merely code for calling for the Jewish state’s destruction.

P21 Gallery, itself, has a fairly large space at 21 Chalton Street. It supported St James’s Church’s Bethlehemfest over the Christmas period when St James’s Church ran a number of anti-Israel events while also erecting a copy of Israel’s security wall outside its premises in central London.

St James’s Church called for the real wall, which saves lives, to be dismantled. An astonishing £30,000 was spent building the copy wall.

Meanwhile, the charitable objectives of P21 Gallery (registered number 1153141) are:

“TO WORK IN COLLABORATION WITH BRITISH AND INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, ORGANISATIONS, ARTISTS, CURATORS AND DESIGNERS TO PROMOTE, DOCUMENT AND FACILITATE PUBLIC ACCESS TO ARAB ART AND CULTURE IN BRITAIN BY ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING AN ART GALLERY AND CULTURAL CENTRE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PUBLIC.”

But the website of P21 Gallery states:

“The P21 Gallery is a London-based non-profit organisation promoting contemporary Middle Eastern and Arab art and culture with distinct focus on Palestine.”

Judging by last night’s event I think that the charitable objectives could possibly be more clearly defined as: Facilitating the destruction of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian state.

But then that wouldn’t have sounded too charitable to the Charity Commissioners.

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Why is former Guardian journo David Hearst afraid of a few Zionist activists?

I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are. There are, in fact, a number of reasons. One is the state of Israel, its ideology of racial supremacy and its subsequent crimes committed against the Palestinians. It is because Zionists have always sought to equate their colonial project with Judaism that some misguidedly respond to what they see on their televisions with attacks on Jews or Jewish property….Secondly, and related to the first point, is the widespread bias and subservience to the Israeli cause in the Western media.Ben White (‘Comment is Free’ contributor, and anti-Israel activist)

In late June we cross posted a piece by the CST on a forum held at the Front Line Club in London which was titled “Critiquing the media’s approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict”.  The forum included British Islamist, Ibrahim Hewitt, ex-BBC Middle East correspondent Tim Llewellyn, and former Guardian chief foreign leader writer David Hearst.  

Sure enough, the event did not disappoint, with participants continually attempting to explain the dangerous influence of the Israel lobby (which was alternately referred to as the Jewish lobby) on media coverage of the Middle East.

Additionally, a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the British anti-Zionist Left was offered by Hearst, which you can hear in full if you forward to the 24 minute mark of this video.   Here’s part of what Hearst said:

In my short time as lead writer [at the Guardian] I felt that pressure very, very personally, both within and outside the organization.

If you just Google my name you’ll see…there’s a whole organization which is there to monitor everything I write from a point of view of antisemitism. I mean, the whole thing is disgusting….but it’s pressure. It really is pressure.

Of course, the idea that a well-paid journalist for a global media group felt “pressure” from a blog which combats antisemitism – and employs such ‘chilling’ tactics as publishing sharply worded posts, amplifying that message on Twitter and Facebook, and sending respectful complaints to their readers’ editor – is risible enough.

However, a recent exchange between Hearst and blogger Richard Millett would suggest that Hearst really does fear the subterfuge of CiF Watch Zionists.

The Tweet from Millett links to his blog post - cross posted at CiF Watch – about his experience on Friday at Amnesty International’s London HQ for the launch of Ben White’s (long-awaited!) updated Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide. The event was chaired by Hearst and, as you’ll see from the video clip in his post, Millett was denied the chance to ask a question due to his ‘affiliation’.

Hearst’s exact words, when Millett asked why he was denied the right to speak, were as follows:

“I know exactly what you’re up to. And who you are. And who you write for.”

In response to Hearst’s bizarre reply, Millett wrote:

So, what was I up to? Who am I? Who do I write for? Well, since starting this blog in 2009 I have mainly written for myself. I have occasionally written for the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish News, the Jewish Chronicle and CiF Watch, but I never realised writing could get me boycotted.

Here’s Millett’s subsequent Tweet, which tagged White and Hearst, and linked to his post:

Here’s Hearst’s reply, two days later:

Whilst Hearst was referring to a charge by Ben White – in a post published at the pro-Hamas site, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) – that the Israel Embassy in London tried to nix the Amnesty event, it’s unclear how – even assuming this is true – Millett was connected to this.  And, what did he mean by “folk”?  Is he referring to Israelis? Zionists? The pro-Israel ‘lobby’? 

Millett – who, by the way, is British and not Israeli – tried to get a clarification from Hearst, but, so far, to no avail:

It’s almost as if, in the mind of Hearst, the Israel Embassy, the ‘Israel lobby’, CiF Watch and Richard Millett are all part of one centrally organized international Zionist “pressure” group.

However, let us humbly suggest that, just perhaps, Hearst should be a bit less concerned with the blog posts and Tweets of a few Zionist activists, and bit more concerned with the fact that he chaired an event with an anti-Israel extremist who has expressed sympathy towards Jew-haters.

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Boycotted at Ben White Amnesty event as David Hearst announces “I know who you write for”.

Cross posted by London-based blogger Richard Millett

White and Hearst in discussion at Amnesty last night.

White and Hearst in discussion at Amnesty last night.

Last night (Shabbat) I was at Amnesty International’s London HQ for the launch of Ben White’s updated Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide. The event was chaired by David Hearst, former chief foreign leader writer of The Guardian.

After White’s talk he had a Q&A with Hearst after which members of the audience were allowed to ask White questions. Well, most of them anyway.

I had my arm raised for half hour while Hearst took questions from those sitting around me, before taking questions from the other side of the room. While my arm was still raised Hearst called an end to questions.

Feeling rather frustrated I asked whether I could put a question to White. Hearst declined my request and replied:

“I know exactly what you’re up to. And who you are. And who you write for.”

Sinister or what! Here’s the exchange:

 

So, what was I up to? Who am I? Who do I write for? Well, since starting this blog in 2009 I have mainly written for myself. I have occasionally written for the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish News, the Jewish Chronicle and CiF Watch, but I never realised writing could get me boycotted.

But here’s the point; I have never had any dealings with Hearst. So, how did he know who I was?

He was obviously primed but why? I have never been disallowed from asking a question at Amnesty before, although I was once threatened at an Amnesty event by Amnesty Campaign Manager Krystian Benedict, who has since been moved to work on Syria and who was present last night.

My question to White was going to be simply this: Seeing that White relies heavily on statements by Israeli politicians to paint Israel as racist (see slides below) I wanted to know whether the same could also be said of White particularly after he once stated that (British Jewish author) Howard Jacobson’s face was “another reason to support a boycott of Habima”, the Israeli theatre company.

I’m sure White would have batted that away quite easily, wouldn’t he? He reads my blog (he mentions it), so he should feel free to leave an answer below.

White started his talk addressing the Israeli Embassy’s apparent attempt to stop last night’s event taking place and went on to dedicate the evening to “all those people, including the Palestinians, who have sacrificed so much for liberation”.

Here’s the clip:

 

He then proceeded to talk about Israel’s continued “Judaisation”, particularly in the Negev and Galilee, and Israel’s “brutality”, “racism” and “apartheid” (including towards Israel’s own Ethiopian and Mizrahi Jews).

White loves nothing more than portraying Israel and Israelis as child killers. Apparently, Israeli soldiers hide near schools so they can kill Palestinian children (see slides below).

White finished off by telling his love struck audience that “Israel is afraid”.

Meanwhile, if last night is anything to go by I’m sure that Middle East Eye, David Hearst’s new website, will be a beacon of democracy and one of many and varied views…..

Slides used by Ben White last night:

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

Cross posted by London based blogger Richard Millett

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

Qureshi had said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But let’s all feel sorry for Qureshi instead!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cross posted by London based blogger Richard Millett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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