Read Adam Levick’s latest article at The Jewish Chronicle

Here are the first few paragraphs of Adam Levick’s latest article at The Jewish Chronicle:

On Monday night, Israel formally accepted the Egyptian proposed ceasefire calling for an end to “all hostilities” between Hamas and Israel from the following morning.

Though the IDF halted its military operations, Hamas rejected calls to stop attacks and fired dozens of rockets at Israeli cities during the declared truce. After six hours of continued attacks, Israel announced it would resume its military operation and began attacking Hamas targets.

Despite this straightforward series of events, some media outlets found a way to obscure Hamas’s culpability, with the Guardian leading the pack. Even when the paper acknowledged that Hamas was still firing rockets, they somehow concluded that the “ceasefire was holding” and later managed to blame Israel’s eventual retaliation for causing it to collapse.

After the paper was criticised on Twitter, Guardian deputy editor Phoebe Greenwood defended the coverage, arguing in one Tweet that since Hamas never agreed to the ceasefire, their rocket attacks did not represent a violation of its terms.

Read the rest of the article here.

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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Guardian caves to anti-Israel bigots, revises SodaStream article to please Ben White

Yesterday, CiF Watch prompted a correction to a false claim by Guardian Middle East editor Ian Black that the SodaStream main office was located in Ma’ale Adumim, when in fact that industrial park in greater Ma’ale Adumim (known as Mishor Adumim) is simply the location of one of their 20 factories. Their headquarters, as we noted, is in Lod, near Ben Gurion Airport.  (CiF Watch prompted a previous correction to the same error, by another Guardian contributor, in Oct.)

However, upon reviewing the language of the correction we prompted on the Guardian’s Correction page, we noticed an additional editor’s note relating to another SodaStream related story:

correction

According to (occasional) ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Ben White, per his following post at Electronic Intifada, he was the activist who prompted the revision:

Responding to my correspondence, The Guardian’s Readers’ Editor has amended an article written last week by Matthew Kalman.

Kalman’s article reported on the controversy over Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson ditching her role as humanitarian ambassador for the charity Oxfam, which objected to her endorsement deal with SodaStream, an Israeli company with a factory in a settlement in the occupied West Bank.

The piece, “Oxfam under pressure to cut ties with Scarlett Johansson over SodaStream ad,” now appears with the following appended text:

“In a sub-heading and in the body of the text campaigners seeking to pressure Oxfam to sever ties with Scarlett Johansson were described as “anti-Israel.” To clarify: the campaigners are opposed to settlements”

Remarkably, the Guardian Readers’ Editor upheld the objections to Kalman’s original characterization of the anti-SodaStream activists as “anti-Israel”, and bought the argument that they are only opposed to ‘the settlements’.  

To give you a sense of how extraordinarily misleading such a benign characterization is, here’s a brief summary of the ideological background of some of the more prominent BDS activists and groups involved in the anti-SodaStream campaign:

Ben White: White, who evidently prompted the Guardian correction and is one of the most vocal activists campaigning against SodaStream, opposes the existence of a Jewish State within any borders, and is even on record expressing sympathy towards anti-Semites:

Ali Abunimah: Abunimah is the co-founder of Electronic Intifada, has expressed sympathy towards Hamas, rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State within any borders, has likened Zionism with Nazism and has explicitly called for the start of a 3rd deadly Palestinian intifada.

Here are additional anti-SodaStream campaigners – that is, those who would prefer that 500 Palestinians workers get laid-off, rather than there be any Jewish presence at all across the green line:

Palestinian BDS National Committee, a radical movement which opposes all forms of normalization between Palestinians and Israelis, and supports the unlimited ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants, a tactic designed to erase Israel’s Jewish identity.  

Palestine Solidarity Campaign: a marginal, radical movement based in the UK, which supports the cultural, academic and economic boycott against Israel, and opposes the existence of a Jewish State within any borders. Further, PSC members have taken  part in convoysflotillasflytillas, and various demonstrations and events organized by supporters and members of terrorist organisations. 

Code Pink: A radical left group whichworks with the pro-Hamas Free Gaza Movement, and signed the so-called Cairo Declaration to End Israeli Apartheid, a document which opposes Zionism and calls for the unlimited right of return for millions of Palestinian ‘refugees’. (See this clip of Hamas welcoming a Code Pink delegation to Gaza in 2009)

To recap: Most of the activists aligned against SodaStream have either expressed sympathy or outright support for Islamist terror groups, support the boycott and complete isolation of Israel, oppose any cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, and reject the very right of Israel to exist as a Jewish State. 

Only in the mind of Guardian editors would such hateful views – some which are indistinguishable from the ideologies of violent extremist groups – not qualify as “anti-Israel”.

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Palestinian Amb to the UK: “I’ve started to believe that the Jews are the only children of God”

The following is a first person account by London-based blogger, Richard Millett

169

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hugh Lanning, Manuel Hassassian in Parliament last night.

Last night Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian “Ambassador” to the UK, said he believes that the Jews are the children of God because nobody is stopping them from building their “messianic dream of Eretz Israel”. He called for a “one state solution” and looked forward to the world’s Muslim population reaching two billion.

He was speaking in Parliament at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign4 years on from Israel’s ‘Operation Cast Lead’: Israel’s siege and attacks continue. Also speaking were Labour’s Shadow Justice Minister Andy Slaughter MP and Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather. Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn played host.

Addressing an audience of some 100 people Hassassian declared:

“We, the Palestinians, the most highly educated and intellectual in the Middle East, are still struggling for the basic right of self-determination. What an irony. How long are we going to suffer and be patient with Israel? You know I’m reaching the conclusion that the Jews are the children of God, the only children of God and the Promised Land is being paid by God! I have started to believe this because nobody is stopping Israel building its messianic dream of Eretz Israel to the point I believe that maybe God is on their side. Maybe God is partial on this issue.”

Then removing his “PLO and Palestinian Authority hat” he continued:

“There is no two state solution. Democracies don’t fight each other. If Israel is a democracy I would claim that the Palestinians are also a democracy. If democracies cannot fight each other then why not have one state?; one man, one vote.”

On Israel’s future he said:

“Israel will never continue to exist as a pariah state. Israel could never continue to fight wars against the Palestinians, against the Arabs and the Muslims. The United States is not going to be Israel’s strategic ally for time immemorial. And today we have 1.5 billion Muslims. In 20 years we will have 2 billion. And those 2 billion, forget about politics, from a religious perspective will not allow Israel to continue desecrating their religious rights (in Jerusalem). And then what?”

And on what could have been Hassassian said:

“What does Israel want? In 2002 the Arabs gave them the Arab Peace Initiative. Relinquishing territories occupied in 1967 would have led to normalisation of relations with Israel. If the Israelis had accepted that the flag of Israel would have been hoisted in Mecca, in Iran, in Tehran! If they had accepted. But Israel does not want peace. Israel nurtures on conflict, and the Zionist Ideology is to have the entire West Bank, the entire Palestine.”

Andy Slaughter MP accused Israel of deliberately killing whole Palestinian families and controlling the Palestinians’ calorie count. He said Israel supplied Palestinians just enough to stop them from starving and he described, what he called, Israel’s failure to supply clean water, electricity and decent homes as “collective punishment”.

Sarah Teather MP accused Israel of “wiping out five thousand homes” in one part of Gaza alone and that nothing could justify this.  She said that Israel must let “basic goods” into Gaza.

PSC Chair Hugh Lanning said he noticed that during Operation Cast Lead CNN only reported on the Hamas rockets. Lanning then claimed that “while the occupation and siege continues Israel is ALWAYS the aggressor”.  He also claimed that Israel had banned 180 life saving medicines from Gazan hospitals “because they might save lives”.

Jeremy Corbyn spoke about Gazans who had “never known the ability to move out of Gaza”. Ironically, he then introduced us to Rania Al-Najjar who has just completed a Masters in International Relations at London’s City University. Rania is from Gaza. She said, inter alia, that there are no economic opportunities in Gaza and that unemployment there is the highest in the world, relatively.

We then heard from two “1948 Palestinians” who live in Israel. One of them had spent three spells in Israeli prisons, his sentences ranging from one to eight years. He spoke about the remaining prisoners who had forgotten what the sky and moon look like and how they had not touched the hands of their mothers or children for many years.

Finally, Hugh Lanning announced that there will be a “controversial PSC conference” on April 13th where there will be “an open dialogue with the people of Gaza and their leaders”.

In other words, an open dialogue with Hamas.

Richard Millett’s latest Dispatch: Battle of Brent Street

Cross posted by our friend, Richard Millett

Posing for daddy

Last night 50 Palestine Solidarity Campaign protesters marched through Brent Street in Hendon, an area of London where many British Jews and Israelis live, before congregating outside a hotel where Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman was due to speak.

The protesters spent the evening calling for Israel’s destruction, while being met with chants aimed back at them of “Fascist scum, off our streets” by the 100 or so pro-Israel supporters who had come out on a lovely summer’s evening to see what all the fuss was about.

Hendon rarely witnesses such excitement but had a fascist group wanted to march through an area of London while calling for the destruction of a country from where another minority group living in England originates there’s a good chance they wouldn’t have been allowed to.

Some PSC protesters couldn’t resist bringing their very young children along for an indoctrination session. One father tried to get his young son and daughter to pose in front of the “Jews are in exile” sign paraded by the Neturei Karta (see photo above). Such an evening’s entertainment is cheaper than taking them to the cinema, I guess.

Finally, the PSC protesters were given a police escort back to Hendon Central station as you can see in this clip where one protester, the kid in the black top, is articulating himself in the aggressive manner one has come to expect. If anyone can lip read please let me know what he is saying (richardblog@live.co.uk). I know it isn’t pretty.

Also, at about 2 minutes in another PSC protester gives a salute. Does anyone know its origins? Thanks.

Here are some more photos:

Who’s going to shoot first, me or him?

Not a pretty sight. At least tuck your shirt in!

Am Ysrael Chai

Yup, it’s all the Jews fault as usual, obviously.

Daddy lines up his children for that mantlepiece shot.

Oh dear, son looking pretty disinterested.

yeah man

More Am Y’srael

And more

I didn’t realise these were taking place in Israel in 2013, so thanks!

You mean free the Palestinians from their Hamas thugs.

What is it about Israel being a Jewish state that brings him here?

Saying evening prayers in front of those that despise you. Beautiful.

Richard Millett SOAS Update

The following is cross posted by our good friend Richard Millett

Thank you very much for all the support I received in light of last Monday’s Palestine Society event at SOAS when I was manhandled and told I was a “typical Israeli”, even though I am a proud Brit.

I received incredible emails from all over the world with people appreciating my attempts to cover anti-Israel meetings in London and appalled by my treatment.

I received emails from those who completely disagree with my views on Israel, but were still appalled by the way I was dealt with.

I never got to the bottom of why I was called a “typical Israeli”. Only that student knows what was in his mind.

I had a very constructive chat with SOAS who said they had been inundated with emails from both sides but who wanted to continue to welcome me to SOAS and they said they will be reviewing their filming policy.

Much has been made of my not applying for consent to film, but when I was thudded in the shoulder from behind and shouted at to stop filming I wasn’t asked whether I had been granted such permission by SOAS. As it happens I didn’t know there was a filming policy as it has never been mentioned at any SOAS event I have attended (and I have attended a fair few).

There was also at least one other person filming who, it seems, didn’t have the required permission either. Meanwhile, I always see students filming on their IPhones.

And, unless I nodded off temporarily, none of the required announcements in accordance with the filming policy were made at the start of last Monday’s meeting by the organisers themselves!

I believe that in a public space such as a university freedom of speech is commensurate with a right to cover that freedom of speech without fear or hindrance. No one should be disallowed from filming solely because of their political views.

I was targeted last Monday night because of my political views. No one else filming would have been roughed up like that. And I have never disrupted an event, despite what is being put about by my detractors.

Sadly, SOAS students, it seems, have received a highly defamatory and incendiary statement from the SOAS Student Union on behalf of the Palestine Society, which has potential repercussions for my personal safety at SOAS and which was sent to me by a concerned SOAS student. One of the paragraphs states of me:

“By now, we are well aware of his intentions. He first provokes, intimidates and insults (including racially) speakers, organisers or members of the audience and violates generally accepted conventions of public meetings.”

This is reminiscent of another SOAS talk I attended on 16th April about Israel’s Arab minority where I wasn’t even filming. At the talk I was verbally insulted by Gilbert Achcar, a SOAS lecturer, who, after I had asked a perfectly reasonable question during the Q&A, told the room that I was a “professional disruptor”, that had he known I was coming he would have barred me from attending and that I had left insulting remarks on his answering machine. He then told me to get out.

Of course I didn’t leave messages on his machine. I wouldn’t even dream of it.

Aggressive targeting of those supportive of Israel is not confined to university campuses. At the beginning of the year I was put through a torrid few months when Peter Scott and Salim Alam of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign tried to have me prosecuted for harassment because of some videos and photos I posted of them demonstrating against Veolia outside the Natural History Museum in December.

I was at a reasonable distance while filming their political activism but I ended up being called into Notting Hill Police Station to be questioned about my filming and what I had written on my blog. Scott and Alam seemed to have failed to tell the police that I and others are constantly filmed and photographed for their anti-Israel blog.

To my relief the police eventually decided against any further action, but had it come to court the following footage might have made interesting viewing. It shows Salim Alam outside the now defunct Ahava shop in Covent Garden getting up close and personal to the camera of Roy from Campaign4Truth who was filming legally but still, as you can see, gets his camera whacked by one of Alam’s colleagues:

In every generation: UK Global March to Jerusalem marchers seek Palestine Jew-free ‘from river to the sea’

The following essay was written by Sharon Klaff , a founding member of pro-Israel activist group Campaign4Truth. (A shortened version of this appeared in The JC)

The Global March on Jerusalem demonstration took place last Friday evening opposite the Israeli Embassy in London. About 15-20 Israelsupporters turned up, the usual stalwarts who put themselves on the line to face a barrage of abuse from the bully boys of the PSC.  It is hardly something Jewish organisations across the world would not have in their diaries, so it was a surprise to hear that the Zionist Federation had an urgent engagement in Hungary – and goodness knows what happened to all the other pundits who put themselves about.

So there we were, without a megaphone and a few of our Christian friends who had at least brought some flags, placards and banners. One little girl on her way home from school asked her mother to stop by to share with us her hurt at the vile bigotry shooting over from across the barriers, as though they were on the front line launching rockets into Sderot or Be’ersheva. She was sobbing as she bore witness to this hatred, whilst the child of a PSC supporter  was thrust onto their podium, chanting venomous slogans over a huge megaphone, the woman beside her, presumably her mother, looking very pleased at this act of child abuse.

They arrived in their hundreds with their usual attire, wearing their tourist scarves from Jerusalem, hoisting flags showing all of Israel asPalestine – Arab Palestine, a land free of Jews according to the new Hamas-Fatah alliance  leader Mahmoud Abbas. Tribal chants “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” cut through any pretence of peaceful desires. They vaunted their latest slogan accusing Israel of making Jerusalem Jewish, using the Nazi term Judaising, as though the Jews have no connection to the City of David, as though their mosque is not built atop the Jewish Temple, as though they were the historical heirs to Jerusalem (a notion they only cottoned on to after the Arab uprising in 1987), as though their Western supporters never did RE at school learning about Jerusalem as the capital city of the Jews.

This annual assault takes place each year around Pesach, time of year when we recount at the Seder table how the Jewish nation crossed the desert out of slavery to freedom; when we read how in each generation our enemies will return in an attempt to destroy us; when we learn to ask questions. For two thousand years we prayed as strangers in foreign lands to meet “Next Year in Jerusalem”, our capital city denied us by our enemies.  In her song “Jerusalem of Gold”  (1967) Naomi Shemer celebrates every Jewish person’s yearning for Jerusalem and its return to the Jewish people as its capital city. Now they demand it as their own, stealing our history for themselves.

The enemy of this generation had amassed across the barrier, hurling abuse, calling for our demise, using the heil Hitler salute, conversely accusing us of being Nazis, an insult they know digs deep into the consciousness of all Jews.  In each generation those who will our demise operate in a different way, use different weapons, arrive in a different guise; yet they are the same. We need to continue to ask questions, to listen and to bear witness so that never again means exactly that – NEVER AGAIN.

As it was Shabbat we decided to light Shabbat candles and say some prayers. It was a poignant moment, the symbol of light over dark, eternal love over hatred – two women with two small candles; light and hope for a future standing proud against the anger and hatred.

‘Seven Jewish Children’ in Bolton (or Octagone to the PSC?)

This is a guest post by Jonathan Hoffman

“Seven Jewish Children” is the antisemitic play that was written by PSC Patron Caryl Churchill after Operation Cast Lead.

CiF Watch readers will not be surprised that “Seven Jewish Children” was thoroughly embraced by The Guardian.

Michael Billington of The Guardian wrote the following defamatory sentence “But Churchill also shows us how Jewish children are bred to believe in the “otherness” of Palestinians and how, for generations to come, they stand to reap the bitter harvest of the military assault on Hamas.” Notice the eugenic redolence of that word “bred”.

On last Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening it was performed at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton in the UK. On Saturday afternoon there was to be a debate on it and ‘All My Sons’, the main play being featured by the Octagon Theatre. The event was to be a cosy Israel-hate session with speakers from the PSC, JFJFP and the local MP who is secretary to the All Parliamentary Britain-Palestine Group, with the line up as follows:

Linda Clair – Chair of Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Of Jewish origin. Recently visited the West Bank.

Dr Brian Iddon – Labour MP for Bolton SE and secretary to the All Parliamentary Britain-Palestine Group. Has visited Palestine several times. He is also a patron of the Octagon Theatre.

Asad Khan – Consultant Physician in Bury. Visited the West Bank in 2007. Member of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel and the British Medical Committee on Palestine.

Richard Kuper – Chair and Publications officer of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, an organisation of more than 1,300 Jews in Britain.

Norma Turner – Manchester health care worker. Visited Gaza post Jan 2009 and recently visited the West Bank.

But thanks to someone on the theatre mailing list, I was alerted to the event in good time and insisted that the ‘antidote’ play ‘Seven Other Children’ was shown as well and that I and others be called on to speak at the debate. This was accepted – the theatre has close links with Bolton University and receives public money.

The Artistic Director of the Octagon, David Thacker, told me that “Seven Jewish Children” was being performed at the request of the PSC. If you look at a cached copy of the Octagon website you will find the same explanation:

When premiered the play caused uproar. It was the Bolton Palestine Solidarity Campaign who approached the organization to produce Seven Jewish Children. The Octagon Theatre would like to thank Bolton Palestine Solidarity Campaign for their ongoing support.

Yet when we debated on BBC Radio Manchester on Monday night (starts 41:20) and in the theatre on Saturday, Thacker insisted the play was his free choice to perform. Go figure. If the BNP asked him to perform a play called “Whiter than White” would he oblige and claim it was his own idea?

And how come in 1994 he had such concerns about “Merchant of Venice” but now seems to have none about “Seven Jewish Children”?

With increasing racist assaults and Nazi activity throughout Europe, we have an obligation. There is a real responsibility to not only avoid any possibility of fuelling that racism but moreover to confront and reveal the source of that racist upsurge.

Go figure……

Addendum

Engage has also been following this story. See the comments by Morten and IsraeliNurse who were both also there. IsraeliNurse suggests that a more appropriate Arthur Miller play for the discussion would have been The Crucible