Seumas Milne tells thousands at London rally that Palestinians have a right to kill Israelis

On Nov. 20 at ‘Comment is Free’ the Guardian’s Associate Editor, Seumas Milne, explicitly justified the murder of Israelis by Palestinian terrorists, while simultaneously arguing that, as an occupying power, Israel has no right to defend itself. 

“So Gazans are an occupied people and have the right to resist, including by armed force (though not to target civilians), while Israel is an occupying power that has an obligation to withdraw – not a right to defend territories it controls or is colonising by dint of military power.

Even if Israel had genuinely ended its occupation in 2005, Gaza’s people are Palestinians, and their territory part of the 22% of historic Palestine earmarked for a Palestinian state that depends on Israeli withdrawal from the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem. Across their land, Palestinians have the right to defend and arm themselves, whether they choose to exercise it or not.”

So, as long as terrorists who launch violent lethal assaults against Israelis, including suicide bombings and rocket attacks, can claim they weren’t specifically targeting civilians, killing Israelis is justified – a refrain which Milne repeated to an anti-Israel rally on Nov. 24 sponsored by ‘Stop The War Coalition.

(Milne’s rhetorical flourish about the Palestinians’ “right to resist” can be seen in the video at roughly 1:20.)

 

Milne’s CiF essay, as with his speech on Nov. 24, represents incitement – the moral legitimization of lethal attacks against Israelis by the most extreme antisemitic movements in the Middle East under the banner of national liberation, indeed under the guise of “liberalism”!

The malice of the Guardian Left has rarely been on clearer display. 

Slouching towards irrelevance: Is ‘Comment is Free’ eating the Guardian?

Rob Marchant, a former British Labour Party manager, wrote a very important piece, at The Centre Left Blog, on Aug. 29, about racism at ‘Comment is Free’, and, more broadly, the institution’s regression and increasing rejection of the genuinely liberal ideals it once ardently defended. 

Writes Marchant (with emphases added): 

Once upon a time, there was a left-wing newspaper. Its founder, C.P. Scott, clearly saw it as less of a paper and more of a social mission. My grandfather, a true Socialist all his life, religiously took the Guardian every day, and I would leaf through it as a teenager, mulling over its worthy appraisals of Neil Kinnock’s latest speech or Billy Bragg’s new album. Compared with other papers, it always seemed a bit more in tune with “yoof”, which I then was, and the good guys, which were Labour.

Marchant then turned to the Josh Trevino row.

Last week a controversial new columnist, Josh Treviño, joined that newspaper. As a former advisor to the Bush administration, he was not necessarily a natural choice for the paper, but outside observers might have been pleasantly surprised to see, for once, a little compensating political balance at the newspaper.

Within days, he and the newspaper had agreed to part, officially on the pretext that he had slipped a reference into an article which had broken editorial guidelines – eighteen months previously.

While this sounds like it might be a fair explanation, it becomes a little odder when you put it in context. For the record, Treviño had also been involved in a controversy over his rather insensitive tweets regarding the Palestine flotilla; but that, too, had been over a year ago, he apologised and the Guardian had defended him.

Then, a few days ago, a group of what can only be described as far-left activists wrote to the Guardianto complain about Treviño’s hiring. Five days later, he was gone. The group included Baroness Jenny Tonge, who was earlier this year ejected by the Liberal Democrats for her unacceptable views, Stop The War Coalition’s Lindsey German, and various members of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, iEngage and Middle East Monitor. Or rather, when the only MP you can get to defend your cause is Jeremy Corbyn, you know you’re operating at the margins.

The whole argument is given in detail here forand against the Guardian (in the interests of fairness I include both, but I have to say that I find that against a great deal more convincing). Whatever your view on the Treviño controversy, though, there is a rather more disturbing, and difficult-to-avoid, conclusion: that this oddball collection from the fringes of politics, who wrote the letter, clearly have some sway on the editorial and managerial decisions of a national newspaper.

Marchant then contextualized the decision to fire Trevino:

There is a great deal more: some points of interest may already be known to readers of my blog, such as the printing of a puff-piece by unpleasant Holocaust cartoonist Carlos Latuff, or CiF’s running, on Holocaust Memorial Day, of an op-ed by Sheik Raed Salah, hate-preacher and convicted fundraiser for terrorism; or finally, its later op-ed in June, by someone who does not even pretend not to be a terrorist: Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of suicide-bombers Hamas in Gaza. Nice.

Marchant adds:

Where the Guardian may think it is being edgy and controversial, it is often being, at the very least, offensive to the sensibilities of ordinary people not known for their over-sensitivity. At worst it is laid open to not unreasonable charges of racism.

Indeed. 

Read the rest of Marchant’s incisive essay, here.

Guardian gives platform to a self confessed terrorist; Uses CiF to defend killing of U.S. troops

Cross posted by Raheem Kassam atThe Commentator

Noam Chomsky and Ross Caputi

The title of this piece is a summary of events that no doubt sensationally portrays what has happened between the Guardian, Tarek Mehanna and Ross Caputi. But this scenario is worthy of serious contemplation for the security services, justice system and for all the individuals involved.

To bring you up to speed, Tarek Mehanna was recently found guilty of conspiracy to kill Americans overseas and of giving material support for terrorism.

He was sentenced to 17 years in prison. While his lawyers tried to represent him as a modern day Martin Luther King or even more spuriously, Nelson Mandela – a jury of his peers returned the verdict of ‘guilty’, acknowledging his role in criminal conduct.

It is reported that Mehanna travelled to Yemen in December 2004 to seek training at a terrorist camp, after which he planned to go to Iraq and fight against U.S soldiers. The judge in the case stated that he was “concerned about the defendant’s apparent absence of remorse” and when Mehanna was sent down, his family and friends delivered him a standing ovation.

I have my own concern about lack of remorse based on a recent Guardian Comment is Free article written by an Iraq War veteran who, as free as he walks, insists that what he did in Fallujah was ‘terrorism’ and writes openly in the Guardian, “I, too, support the right of Muslims to defend themselves against US troops, even if that means they have to kill them.”

This shocking statement from Ross Caputi is the kind of dangerous nonsense from someone tied up with the Stop The War Coalition, who recently introduced Noam Chomsky at an event and who seems to have become a Guardian poster boy since his article entitled, ‘I am sorry for the role I played in Fallujah’.

Firstly, if Caputi is indeed adamant about his role in ‘terrorism’ then one wonders why he hasn’t marched himself down to the local police station, courtroom or military tribunal demanding the ‘justice’ he so vehemently campaigns for on behalf of convicted terrorists. It seems the Iraq vet thinks he can alleviate this double standard by writing a groveling letter of apology to The Guardian, where he apologises for attacking Iraqi insurgents and al-Qaeda operatives who he claims were ‘defending their city’. In reality, these groups were attacking as many Iraqi civilians and security forces as they were coalition forces in the city and just to be clear, The Guardian is not, despite what its editors may think, a part of the justice system or somewhere Caputi should be able to alleviate his guilt publicly.

Next, Caputi goes on to write about the murder of his friends in a romantic fashion – glorifying their killers, “How can I begrudge the resistance in Fallujah for killing my friends?” He classes himself as an ‘invader’ and ‘aggressor’ but makes no mention of the fact that it was al-Qaeda who fought in amongst civilians, oppressing them, using home and mosques and civilian areas as munitions stores. I’m inclined to agree with one of his opening statements where he claims he had no idea what was going on in Fallujah – it appears he still does not.

By no means am I excusing the killing of civilians and the use of depleted uranium or white phosphorus as weapons, by the way. But it is important to keep a level head on these issues and perhaps through no fault of his own and some would argue understandably, Caputi cannot. When reading his work, it is evident to anyone with even a vague sense of the importance of factual evidence and strategic realities that Caputi cannot reconcile the geopolitical and moral imperatives with the memory of the war in his own mind.

He links to the ‘Iraq Body Count’ website which in fact does little to back up his claims that U.S. troops were mainly to blame for civilian deaths. They played a major role for reasons given earlier, as well heavy-fire tactics used during the invasion years – but insurgents and post-invasion criminal violence caused the lions share of civilian deaths. The website, the very same that Tony Blair cites in his recent memoir, states, “Killings by anti-occupation forces, crime and unknown agents have shown a steady rise over the entire period”. Yet these are the forces that Caputi supports when he writes, “I’m not afraid to profess my support for Tarek Mehanna, or to advocate for his ideas”.

Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. sentenced Tarek Mehanna to 17 years in prison (less than the 25 called for by the prosecution) and while Ross Caputi’s confused and dangerous rants can be dismissed as the misguided, angry and stress-related consequences of war, it is less apparent why The Guardian should see fit to print such a piece which not only advocates terrorism and supports a convict, but is also factually flawed and fuels incitement to violence against foreign troops abroad.

Even one of the more sympathetic jurors who laments Mehanna’s long prison sentence acknowledges that he was a radical obsessed with violence, jihad and on the killing of U.S. troops. Perhaps Caputi’s defense of Mehanna would be less robust if it had been he that was targeted – or perhaps in such an extreme case, it would have driven him even further.

But ‘free speech’ is always the elephant in the room in cases like this. What is to stop The Guardian, Ross Caputi or even Tarek Mehanna from speaking their minds on such issues – even if it leaves the bitterest of tastes in our mouths?

The legal implications are complex, but in Britain, Caputi’s statements of support for Mehanna, including we assume from his words, his trip to Yemen and interest in fighting in ‘the resistance’ in Iraq is not just endorsement of terrorism but also proliferation, glorification and tantamount to incitement. His piece supports the killing of American soldiers abroad and could indeed be criminal under USC 2339A – ‘providing material support to terrorists’ and in Britain ‘inciting murder for terrorist purposes overseas’.

In Mehanna’s case under U.S. law, a 1969 Supreme Court case which the ‘Brandenburg test’ is derived from sets a precedent. For criminality of speech to be inferred, you have to be able to show that it would lead to ‘imminent lawless action’. Mehanna’s defence argued that he did not do this, but rather he was prosecuted for conspiring to kill American soldiers and supporting Al-Qaeda – far more heinous crimes.

The question now arises of what happens to Caputi, since it was he himself writing in the Guardian Comment Is Free (America) who originally wrote, “I have done everything that Tarek Mehanna has done, and there are only two possibilities as to why I am not sitting in a cell with him: first, the FBI is incompetent and hasn’t been able to smoke me out; second, the US judicial system would never dream of violating my freedom of speech because I am white and I am a veteran of the occupation of Iraq.”

Here, Caputi sets himself up as a hero – his status as a veteran of the war in Iraq he argues, precluding him from the arms of the law. Neither of the stated reasons is accurate, as Caputi did not travel to Yemen looking for terrorist training, nor did he conspire to assist al-Qaeda. To the best of our knowledge, he also never conspired to kill American soldiers overseas – unless he knows something we don’t know? However he does raise a valid point. Since he is in fact, openly inciting terrorist acts abroad, what do British and American courts intend to do about it?

Typically, going after someone like Caputi would not be worth the time and money it would the government to prosecute him, even if they could be sure of a conviction.  What makes this incident even more telling for the rational amongst us is Caputi’s own admission of being somewhat of a less than perfect soldier – not the ‘hero’ the FBI would have to think he was in order to, as he asserts, violate his freedom of speech. In fact, reading his blog it is easy to see that Caputi is indeed not the prim and proper Iraq veteran he masquerades as, nor was he privy to the kind of primary source information one might think The Guardian editors would look into:

“My unit got called into Camp Fallujah a couple of weeks before the 2nd assault. I was a buck private at the time and had recently been demoted for a number of charges from underage drinking to theft to general conduct unbecoming of a Marine. I was even moved out of my old infantry platoon because I just was not listening to anyone in charge of me, and they made me the Company Commander’s radio operator instead.”

This Chomsky-fanatic, who has only just surfaced in the mainstream, poses a serious threat to rational and evidence-based discourse about the war in Iraq, its consequences and the ongoing terrorist threat. Since he’s so adamant that he was a terrorist in Fallujah – I’m tempted to suggest that Caputi should be frog-marched to the nearest courtroom and forced to stand trial under his own admission of guilt. The reality is though, as he conveniently leaves out of his Guardian articles, he was scarcely ever around to witness what happened. “Most of the time” he admits, “I was perfectly safe with the officers, and there was no fighting within my immediate vicinity”.

Raheem Kassam is the Executive Editor of The Commentator. He tweets at @RaheemJKassam

CiF Watch Special Report: Latest Assault on Israel’s legitimacy, ‘Air Flotilla 2′, April 15th, 2012

A guest post by Hadar Sela (this report may also be viewed on scribd by clicking here)

Hot on the heels of the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ will come yet another event designed to continue the assault on Israel’s legitimacy – the April 15th ‘Air Flotilla 2′ (also known as ‘Welcome to Palestine’) or flytilla‘ as last year’s  (Hamas approved) similar event was dubbed.

Once again, the aim is to have large numbers of international “activists flying in to Ben Gurion airport on one day – in the words of the organisers – as part of the “challenge to Israel’s illegal siege of Palestine”.

“There is no way into Palestine other than through Israeli control points. Israel has turned Palestine into a giant prison, but prisoners have a right to receive visitors.

Welcome to Palestine 2012 will again challenge Israel’s policy of isolating the West Bank while the settler paramilitaries and army commit brutal crimes against a virtually defenceless Palestinian civilian population.”

The similarity of the methodology and rhetoric of this project to that of the Global March to Jerusalem is no coincidence; several of the organisers and endorsers are mutual to both campaigns.  In fact, Mazin Qumsiyeh recently put out calls for volunteers for both projects on his blog, claiming that over 1,500 Europeans have already purchased tickets for April 15th whilst the overall target number appears to be 2,500.

Endorsers of the Air Flotilla include occasional Guardian contributor and ‘Right to Enter activist Sam Bahour, Tony Benn (controversial president of the ‘Stop the War Coalition’ which was involved in the GMJ) , Noam Chomsky (a GMJ endorser), Nazareth-based former Guardian journalist  Jonathan Cook, ‘Free Gaza’ and ISM activist Hedy Epstein and PA Ambassador Manuel Hassassian (whose mission promoted the Global March to Jerusalem).

Also on board are Ronnie Kasrils (a GMJ endorser), Nurit Peled, John Pilger, Jean Ziegler, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb ( a GMJ endorser), Susan Abulhawa (a GMJ endorser), Ali Abunimah (whose ‘electronic Intifada’ is promoting the Air Flotilla), Mustafa Barghouti (a GMJ organizer), Abdelfattah Abu Srour of the Al Rowwad Culltural Centre (which supported the 2011 flytilla and the GMJ) and Desmond Tutu (also a GMJ endorser).

Mustafa Barghouti’s ‘Palestinian National Initiative was also an endorser of the Global March to Jerusalem, as was The Siraj Centre (where Mazin Qumsiyeh is a member of the board) and the Palestine Justice Network which is currently involved in the organization of the Air Flotilla. The Palestine Justice Network solicits donations through the International Solidarity Campaign-linked ‘Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People’, of which Qumsiyeh is head.

In April 2011 the Palestine Justice Network launched its ‘One State Initiative’ and as can be seen from the endorsements, many of the names also appear on the list of those supporting or organising the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign, as well as on the list of signatories of the Stuttgart Declaration.

In short, as was the case with the organisers of the Global March to Jerusalem, the Air Flotilla initiators are united by their rejection of the internationally-accepted route of negotiations aimed at leading to a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Their aim is an imposed ‘one-state solution’ which would result in the end of self-determination for the Jewish people.

A list of foreign organisations endorsing the Air Flotilla – predominantly from the United Kingdom – can be seen here. Among the individual endorsers is Maha Rahwanji of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign executive committee. The PSC was of course heavily involved in the organization of the Global March to Jerusalem. Something of Rahwanji‘s mindset can be understood from her Twitter timeline.

Unsurprisingly, the Iranian regime-linked ‘Islamic Human Rights Commission’ based in the UK is also promoting the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ project, as is Iran’s ‘Press TV’ – according to which “[t]his year, the Welcome to Palestine movement aims to overwhelm Israeli officials by its sheer number of members”.

Purveyor of anti-Semitic cartoons Carlos Latuff presented a gift to the campaign:

The ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign has no qualms about using the false – and highly charged – canard of ‘apartheid’ on its official website in order to curry support.

“Plans are underway to challenge Israeli apartheid during 2012 by having a large number of international activists land in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport.”

The campaign’s supporting Twitter account – described as an ‘awareness campaign’ – goes even further, propagating lies and descending into anti-Semitic Nazi analogies.

The end-game of the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ Air Flotilla is, however, revealed in this Tweet:

One of the people operating the ‘Airflotilla2′ Twitter account and its online campaign in general is Gaza Strip-born Ayman Qwaider who is currently resident in Spain.

Before leaving Gaza to study abroad, Qwaider worked for the ‘European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’ – a Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood project which is headed by UK-based Hamas operative  Mohammed Sawalha. Sawalha was instrumental in the organization of both the 2010 and 2011 flotillas and was also one of the organisers of the Global March to Jerusalem.

Ayman Qwaider has written for the Palestine Telegraph which is operated by Sameh Habeebwho is also spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’ and connected to the Hamas-linked Palestinian Return Centre based in London which is proscribed by Israel.  Last year Qwaider was active in the flotilla campaign on behalf of the ‘Spanish Boat to Gaza’, including giving a talk at a Spanish university.

Part of the online support campaign for the ‘Airflotilla2′ initiative includes an e-mail campaign aimed at members of Parliament.

“Palestinians resist.  The British Government, however, joins with Israel to isolate the Palestinians while they are being dispossessed.  The UK Government, for example, refused to support the recent successful Palestinian bid to join UNESCO in the teeth of bitter US and Israeli opposition. The UK Government has also signalled it will oppose the Palestinian bid for full membership of the UN.

When our governments endorse illegal Israeli occupation, concerned citizens need to take action.”

The main difference between the Airflotilla2 and the Global March to Jerusalem is that the former is designed to appeal primarily – though not exclusively - to European audiences, as reflected in its campaigning and publicity which includes websites and advertising in various European  languages.

FRANCE : contact@bienvenuepalestine.com
UK : uk@bienvenuepalestine.com
SPAIN : pazahora1@gmail.com
ITALY : benvenutinpalestina2012@gmail.com
BELGIUM : bienvenuepalestine.wallonie.be@gmail.com / et pour Bruxelles (Brussels) : welcomepalestinebelgium@yahoo.com
GREECE : greece@welcometopalestine.info
USA: palestine2012us@gmail.com
PALESTINE : jneno@ejepal.org (school project) and info@palestinejn.org

In the Netherlands, Electronic Intifada’s Adri Nieuwhof appears to be utilising her connections within the ‘human rights’/international aid community in order to publicize the project.

Several of the ‘Airflotilla2′ organisers took part in last year’s failed flytilla including Myriam de Ly and David Dupire from Belgium and Mick Napier of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Events were held in Paris , Brussels and other European cities earlier this year to promote the campaign.

The final speaker in the video – Jaques Neno of the EJE (Les Enfants, le Jeu et l’Education) is also one of the project’s organisers, along with George N Rishmawi – co-founder of International Solidarity Movement (ISM), head of the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), coordinator of the Siraj Centre and a former board member of the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between Peoples. As stated above, Airflotilla2 and GMJ organizer Mazin Qumsiyeh is connected to both the latter organisations.

Neno tells potential participants that they should expect three possible scenarios. The first is that they will get arrested.  In that case, according, to him “you have won because when Israel puts you in prison it shows how it becomes more and more fascist”.

The second scenario involves the activists being prevented from boarding their flights at the point of departure, as happened in many cases in 2011, but which Neno appears to consider unlikely this year. The third scenario is that they will reach their destination.

Obviously, provocation and bad public relations for Israel are yet again the real name of the game and several factors suggest that this latest publicity stunt aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy should not be taken lightly.

One of these factors is the date which, although originally planned to coincide with the anniversary of the death of ISM activist Vittorio Arrigoni, is also the day after the end of the Pessach holiday when Ben Gurion airport will be particularly busy with a large volume of travelers. For example, the UK airline Jet2 has added an additional flight to its usual schedule on that day which is probably aimed at returning Pessach visitors to Manchester, but is likely to be used by ‘Airflotilla2′ activists from Scotland and the north of England.

Another factor is the unverified claim by ‘Welcome to Palestine’ organisers (Palestine Justice Network) that following the 2011 flytilla during which the majority of activists were not permitted to board their flights, “[a]s a result of legal challenges, many European airlines not only fully refunded the tickets, but also agreed not to repeat the incident.”  In the event that airlines will refuse to transport the activists, demonstrations are already being planned.

The International Solidarity Movement in France is already very indignant regarding a statement put out recently by the French Foreign Ministry advising its citizens not to take part in the ‘Airflotilla2′.

The British government has similarly advised against participation in the project, but such recommendations are unlikely to make much of an impression on these activists, as can be seen by the reaction of the French organisers.

“We have no illusions about our leaders and the fact they eat in the hand of the Israeli occupation. We know how they behaved in July, and more generally how they refuse to apply international law and the principle of reciprocity, then they leave to enter France all Israelis who wish, including criminals war. They do not even defend French diplomats when they are humiliated, beaten or injured by the police or the IDF.”

“The method of intimidation will not work. Participants in the mission “Welcome to Palestine” have the right, justice and morality on their side. And they are aware of the seriousness of the situation for the Palestinians, every day more persecuted and dispossessed. They are not ashamed to go visit them. And to do head high, without lying, without going into the game of the occupant, which would wipe out Palestine and the Palestinians.

Gentlemen of the Quai d’Orsay, gentlemen of the government, history will record that you do not have much dignity.”

On the publicity front, the involvement of Ali Abunimah in this campaign means that we are likely to see a far more intense level of activity, particularly on social networks, than was the case with the Global March to Jerusalem which Abunimah and others shunned.

UPDATE, April 11th:

The full ‘Welcome to Palestine’ programme of events can be seen here. The stated aims of the project – building a school and a museum and refurbishing a kindergarten – appear to be confined to one day of activity, with the rest of the week’s visit dedicated to trips to various destinations and a seminar on the subject of “How to End the Occupation?”.

The organisation hoping to build a museum on the history of Palestinian refugees is the Al Rowwad Centre which was also involved in the organisation of the 2011 flytilla, is party to the BDS movement and was an endorser of the Global March to Jerusalem. Pictured below is one of its vehicles, bearing a logo which clearly rejects a negotiated two-state solution.

‘Trigger’ from BBC’s ‘Only Fools and Horses’ says “Don’t attack Iran” in Guardian letter

Trigger - "intellect has rapidly diminished over the years until it reached its current level of hilarious stupidity"

Roger Lloyd Pack - "intellect has rapidly diminished over the years until it reached its current level of hilarious stupidity"

Cross posted by Richard Millett

It’s a shame when one of Britain’s best-loved comedy actors joins with the forces of darkness to come to the defence of one of the world’s most reviled regimes, but such is the fate of Roger Lloyd Pack who played Trigger in BBC’s Only Fools and Horses.

Lloyd Pack is a seasoned anti-Israel activist and so it is no surprise to find his signature among the usual suspects in a letter to yesterday’s Guardian supporting Stop The War Coalition’s Don’t Attack Iran Campaign.

Ironically, the BBC website even gives the following description of Trigger:

“Although initially a (relatively speaking) sharp-minded villain Trigger’s intellect has rapidly diminished over the years until it reached its current level of hilarious stupidity.”

Who said art doesn’t sometimes mirror life?

The Guardian website even generously links the letter to the Don’t Attack Iran Campaign website. Why take out an expensive ad in a national newspaper, hire an expensive London venue or print millions of leaflets when all you need do nowadays is write a letter to The Guardian who will give you free advertising space if you’re anti-Israel.

The familiarity of these hardcore anti-Israel signatories is positive in as much as it shows how so alone they are in their support for such an oppressive ideology:

Tony Benn,
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Brian Eno
Lindsey German
George Galloway
Kate Hudson,
Jemima Khan
Ken Loach
Roger Lloyd Pack
Lowkey
Len McCluskey
John McDonnell MP
John Pilger
Michael Rosen
Jenny Tonge

You’d have thought that after her forced resignation from her party after wishing away Israel’s existence they might have left Jenny Tonge off for once but, then again, her recent statements that “Israel is not going to be there forever” and “then they will reap what they have sown” ties in nicely with Ahmadinejad’s genocidal desire to wipe Israel off the map.

Some say Ahmadinejad was mistranslated and that he merely wanted to eradicate Zionism. It’s the same weak defence that commentators like The Guardian’s Michael White and The New Statesman’s Mehdi Hasan put up for Tonge.

Let’s forget that Israel and Zionism are not mutually exclusive and gloss over Ahmadinejad’s “mistranslation” and listen to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei who, as reported by Press TV, “described Israel as a cancerous tumor that must be removed”. It doesn’t get more unambiguous than that and straight from the fool’s and horse’s mouth.

And calling it an attack on Iran is like calling Operation Cast Lead an attack on Gaza or on the Palestinians when, in actual fact, it was a legitimate attack on the terrorist group Hamas in self-defence. Attacking Iran’s nuclear sites will also be a legitimate act of self-defence unless Iran opens itself up to a full nuclear inspection in accordance with its non-proliferation treaty obligations, something that it has so far proved suspiciously unwilling to do.

And calling itself Stop The War Coalition is as equally disingenuous. Let Them Die Coalition would be far more accurate judging by their calls for non-intervention in Libya and, now, Syria.

The Guardian letter compares the build up to a possible war with Iran to that with Iraq. But Stop The War Coalition’s approach is itself reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of another evil regime.

Galloway and German say they aren’t pacifists and Galloway has said that World War Two was a just war, but how can he, and we, be so sure he would have called it that at the time.

Stop The War Coalition is, basically, an organisation that supports non-intervention against regimes that are anti-American and/or anti-Israel. They were ecstatic when pro-American/pro-Israel Mubarak fell in Egypt but have criticised NATO’s ousting of anti-American/anti-Israel Gaddafi and will no way want Assad to fall with the negative impact that would have on Iran and, ultimately, Hezbollah and Hamas.

The hypocrisy of the signatories to The Guardian letter is fully exposed when Stop The War Coalition feels comfortable standing back watching Libyans and Syrians slaughtered in their droves while defending the vile Iranian regime and staying silent about the continued oppression of Iran’s women, gays, Jews (the 25,000 strong community is limited to one MP), Bahais, Kurds and anyone wanting to live a life in Iran as free as those signatories themselves can do in the west.

CiF Watch Special Report on extremists behind ‘Global March to Jerusalem': Pt 2, Europe Chapter

A guest post by Hadar Sela

Introduction:

As we saw in part one of this report on the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ (GMJ) scheduled for March 30th 2012, the organisers are a conglomerate of people representing the ‘red-green alliance’ the world over. Radical Leftists, Muslim Brotherhood-connected Islamists and representatives of and sympathisers with the Iranian regime have once more come together with the aim of engineering an event which will result in PR disaster for Israel and advance their long-term assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

The European chapter of the GMJ also represents a text-book example of what the Reut Institute termed the ‘red-green alliance’ in 2010 and in particular indicates that the naming of London as a hub of systematic assault on Israel’s right to exist in the Reut Institute’s report is still – two years on – very relevant indeed.

GMJ – the European chapter:

The radical Leftist ‘Anti-Imperialist Camp’ is promoting support for and participation in the Global March to Jerusalem by means of the following rhetoric:

Jerusalem has been a centre of the three monotheistic world religions for more than 1,000 years. This plurality has been threatened since the creation of the state of Israel and more so with the occupation of east Jerusalem and its annexation, in violation of international law. Jerusalem’s Palestinian inhabitants are subjected to a continuous process of expulsion from the city.

85% of its territory has been robbed by foreign settlers, while the Israeli state systematically destroys the livelihood of Palestinians. Every day, the Apartheid state of Israel demolishes Palestinian homes. Armed Israeli gangs, supported by the state, terrorise the old city’s inhabitants demanding, “Arabs out, Jerusalem is Jewish!” Jewish religious fanatics even attack Jewish women if they don’t abide by the rules emanating from their extremist interpretation of religion. All this is happening while the people of the Arab world are clamouring for democracy and self-determination

……..

After decades of submission to a world order dominated by NATO and Israel, the Arab masses have begun to rid themselves of their dependent and dictatorial regimes. 

………..

The sole reaction of the last settler colony in the world to the growing protest is increased brutality. The Apartheid state of Israel is hastening to create more facts on the ground, particularly in Jerusalem, before the balance of forces in the region turns completely against them. Once again, Israel’s claim to be the only democracy in the Middle East is exposed to be a racist fallacy – as only Jewish citizens are entitled to it.

As may be concluded from the type of language used above, many (though not all) of the endorsers of the European branch of the GMJ come from the radical Left

Individual endorsers:

Fatima Radjaie, Peace Movement, Karlsruhe, Germany
Thomas Zmrzly, Initiativ e.V. Duisburg, Germany
Ron Ridenour, author, Denmark
Benjamin Monnet, World Assembly Member, USA/Korea
Raymond Deane, composer and political activist, Ireland
Dekmak Haidar, coordinator Quds association in Lebanon
John Beeching, Hon. Chair Canadians for Peace and Socialism
Yvonne Ridley, Vice President of the European Muslims League, England
Dr S Sivasegaram, retired professor, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Nadine Rosa-Rosso, senior anti-imperialist activist, Bruxelles, Belgium
Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, publicist, Germany
Franz Fischer, Palestine activist and CC of the Labour Party, Switzerland

Organisations:

Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver, and the Voice of Palestine, Canada
Campaign against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq, Spanish state

Among the organisers, we find an interesting mix of radical Leftists and Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas-linked veteran activists.

European preparatory committee for the Global March to Jerusalem
Rome, January 14, 2012

Zaher Birawi, leading Palestine activist, Britain
Gretta Duisenberg, Chair Foundation “Stop the Occupation”, Board member Free Gaza Movement, Netherlands
Leo Gabriel, Journalist and Anthropologist, Member of the IC of the World Social Forum, Austria
Dr. Hafiz al Karmi, Chairman Palestinian Forum in Britain
Mohammad Kozber, British Muslim Initiative
Wilhelm Langthaler, Anti-imperialist Camp, Gaza must live coalition, Austria
Mikalis Lukianos, Ship to Gaza, Greece
Daniela di Marco, Chair of Sumud – Anti-imperialist Voluntary Association, Italy
Moreno Pasquinelli, Anti-imperialist Camp, Italy
Ismael Patel, Chairman Friends of Al Qqsa, Britain
Attia and Verena Rajab, Palestine Committee Stuttgart, Germany
Elsa Rassbach, Film maker, journalist and peace activist, Berlin, Germany
Massimo de Santi, President of the International Committee for Education for Peace, Italy

Mikalis Lukianos is, as stated, connected to Ship to Gaza, Greece’ which is part of the coalition of groups behind the organisation of the flotillas and which includes the ‘European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’ which was established by the Muslim Brotherhood’s European arm, the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe, (FIOE) in 2007 and includes Hamas operatives among its senior figures.

Greta Duisenberg is a long-time anti-Israeli activist from the Netherlands. She sits on the board of the ISM-linked ‘Free Gaza movement chaired by Huweida Arraf and is the founder of ‘Stop the Occupation’ . In 2003, during the second Intifada, her use of a Dutch diplomatic passport in order to visit Yasser Arafat in Ramallah provoked scandal , as have many more of her actions and statements.

Leo Gabriel is a member of the Austrian Social Forum who took part in the failed 2011 flotilla. A long time anti-Israel activist, Gabriel has participated in demanding that the partial embargo on the Gaza Strip (aimed at preventing the flow of weapons into that area) be lifted.  He also campaigns for the removal of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups from the European list of proscribed terror organisations. Here he is speaking in 2009 at a protest against the ‘Tel Aviv Beach’ project in Vienna.

Wilhelm (Willi) Langthaler is the other GMJ organiser in Austria and spokesman for the far Leftist  Anti-Imperialist Coordination (AIK) – mainly active in Austria and Italy – which courted controversy with its 2003 ’10 Euros for the Iraqi resistance’ campaign.   According to the Stephen Roth Institute:

The AIK (Anti-Imperialist Coordination), in particular, is involved in anti-Israel and anti-American propaganda activities and collaborates with Muslim extremists. During a “solidarity trip” to the Palestinian refugee camp Baka near Amman, leading AIK activist Wilhelm Langthaler asserted that the destruction of Zionism and the so-called state of Israel was “the only way to achieve justice” in the Middle East. He branded Israel “an apartheid regime worse than the one that existed in South Africa.” Before and during the US-led campaign in Iraq, the AIK together with other extremist left-wing and Muslim organizations organized pro-Ba`ath demonstrations against the US. In AIK publications, the murder of Israeli citizens (“occupants”) is supported.

Moreno Pasquinelli from Italy is also part of the Anti-Imperialist Coordination and a GMJ organiser. This former chef and long-time communist has, as mentioned above, been involved in supporting the Iraqi ‘resistance’ as well as Turkish extremists. In November 2011 he attended an ‘Anti-Imperialist’ conference in Bangladesh (together with Maan Bashour;  see part one of this report) and the previous month was to be found in Tehran at the regime organised ‘Fifth International Conference for Defending the Palestinian Intifada’, also attended by Khaled Masha’al and the General Secretary of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Daniela di Marco is secretary of ‘Sumud Volunteering and Resistance’ which appears to have interests in Lebanon. Sumud is also involved with the Italian branch of the ‘Freedom Flotilla movement which is also planning another ‘flytilla’ on April 15th 2012 together with ‘Welcome to Palestine’.

Massimo de Santi is a professor of nuclear physics at the University of Pisa who last year attended the Iranian regime organised ‘International Conference on Global Alliance Against Terrorism for A Just Peace’ at which Ahmadinejad stated that “The Zionist regime is the main base for exerting cruelty and terror acts of the main terrorisms around the world including South America, Africa and the Far East; and this regime is the main pillar of terrorism and the unjust system of arrogant world“. De Santi is director of the ‘International Committee of Education for Peace’ and apparently thinks that France is a “danger to world peace” and promotes the idea that Israel is the ‘real threat  in the Middle East.

Elsa Rassbach is an American film-maker living in Berlin. She is the founder of ‘American Voices Abroad Military Project'; an “initiative to support GIs who resist in Europe” and is involved with several other ‘anti-war’ groups. Her particular bête noire appears to be American military bases in Germany. Rassbach is also a member of ‘Codepink‘ and took part in the organization of the ‘Welcome to Palestine’flytilla‘ in 2011 together with Mazin Qumsiyeh (see part one of this report).

Attia & Verena Rajab are prominent members of the Palestine Committee of Stuttgart and were involved in the organization of the 2010 Stuttgart Conference that produced the ‘Stuttgart Declaration’ which rejects a negotiated two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Ismail Patel is a well-known anti-Israel activist in the United Kingdom. An optician from Leicester, he founded Friends of Al Aqsa in 1997, which he also chairs, and which is described as being “concerned with defending the human rights of Palestinians and protecting the sacred al-Aqsa Sanctuary in Jerusalem”. ‘Friends of Al Aqsa’ is one of the organisations which collaborate with the Khomenist ‘Islamic Human Rights Commission’ in organizing the annual ‘Al Quds Day events in London. It is also part of the Britain 2 Gaza campaign.

Patel is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked British Muslim Initiative (BMI) and also sits on the board of Conflicts Forum. He has been involved with Islam Expo and the Stop the War Coalition and collaborates with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. He took part in the 2010 flotilla aboard the Mavi Marmara and has also participated in the ‘Union of Good’-linked Miles of Smiles convoy to Gaza organized by Interpal – a banned organization in Israel due to its Hamas links. Here he is in Gaza, meeting Ismail Haniyeh (far right, second row).

 (Note: second from the left at the back is Mohammed Kozbar; see below.)

An occasional contributor to the Guardian, Patel has tried to draw equivalence between British citizens serving in the IDF and those seeking to join terror organisations banned by his own country.

‘Friends of Al Aqsa’ was one of the groups involved with the UK speaking tour by Raed Salah of the Northern Islamic Movement last year and Patel was one of the public figures who rushed to Salah’s defence after his arrest.

Patel has made much of his self-described status as a “survivor” of the Mavi Marmara incident, using it as a platform to spread his anti-Israel rhetoric. Here he is at a ‘Rage against Israel’ rally in London in 2010 stating that Israel’s “days are numbered”.

Hafiz al Karmi is Chairman of the ‘Palestinian Forum in Britain’ (PFB) – another one of the organisations involved in the sponsoring of a speaking tour in the UK by Raed Salah, whom he also in prison.

(More on Ahmad Nofal here)

Al Karmi is also director of the Qatari funded Mayfair Islamic Centre in London (a registered charity), a member of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Muslim Association of Britain (MAB). In addition, he belongs to ‘The Coalition of British Muslim Organisations Concerned with the Rights of the Palestinian Peoplewhich produced this letter in 2009.

In 2010 al Karmi took part in a conference on the subject of European foreign policy towards the Palestinian issue alongside Osama Hamdan of Hamas, Istanbul Declaration signatory Daoud Abdullah, Alistair Crooke of ‘Conflicts Forum, Tariq Ramadan and a member of the Lebanese Al-Jama’a Al- Islamiyah.

Members of the Palestinian Forum of Britain are old hands at organizing anti-Israel demonstrations in collaboration with other Hamas/ Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups and the Iranian-linked ‘Islamic Human Rights Commission’.

MAB: PALESTINE RALLY, London, UK
13 April 2002
Transport will be arranged from:
Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD LAUNCH BIGGEST PALESTINE RALLY IN THE UK, INSHA ALLAH

Supported by Muslim Council of Britain, UK Islamic Mission, Islamic Human Rights Commission, Stop the War Coalition, Palestinian Return Centre, Mayfair Islamic Centre, Palestinian Forum, Dawat-ul-Islam.
_________________________________________________________________________
Date: 13th April 2002
Venue: from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square: CONFIRMED

…………..

Contact Person:
Email: intifada101@hotmail.com
Mobile: 07958329879

Join the Children’s Demo to show solidarity for the children in Gaza and all over Palestine. Bring your children along; let us not be silent any more.

Date: Sunday 8th February 2009
Time: 1.30pm – 3.00pm
Place: Outside 10 Downing Street
Nearest Tube Stations: Charing Cross (Northern Line), Westminster (Jubilee Line) and Embankment (District and Circle Lines)

Organised by: Islamic Human Rights Commission and Palestinian Forum of Britain.

Supported by: Islamic Forum of Europe, Friends of Al-Aqsa, British Muslim Initiative, Muslim Association of Britain, Young Muslim Organisation UK, Palestine Internationalist, Muslimaat UK, Friends of Lebanon, FOSIS, CAMPACC, Islamic Centre of England, Innovative Minds and Palestinian Return Centre.

Join us to protest for the rights of the oppressed and innocents in Gaza. Join the Struggle for Justice.

In 2010 the Palestinian Forum in Britain organized an ‘Al Aqsa in Danger’ gala which featured among others Ennhada‘s Rachid Ghanouchi and Kamal Helbawy who joined the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood at the age of 12 and functioned as its official spokesman in the West between 1995-7, establishing both the MCB and MAB. At the gala, Helbawy reportedly stated that:

“the resistance is the active heart of the Islamic nation, that resistance is the only language that the occupation understands, which Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas’s political bureau, grasps well.” Helbawy called for action by everyone according to his capacity, “to liberate Palestine — all Palestine “.

Mohammed Kozbar (aka Kozber) is a senior member of the British Muslim Initiative (BMI) and a former director and member of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), both of which are connected to the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) – the Muslim Brotherhood’s European arm. He is also a trustee of the Finsbury Park Mosque (also known as North London Central Mosque) and a project director for IslamExpo.

In his BMI capacity, Kozbar is involved with ‘anti-war’ groups such as the Stop the War Coalition and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. In the same role, he also collaborates with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and in December 2011 was to be found calling for the “end of Israel” at a London rally. 

Here he is in 2010 at one of a series of anti-Israel rallies following the flotilla incident:

Kozbar is also a member and former director of the Lebanese Association (or League) of Britain and represented that organization (alongside Hafiz al Karmi, see above) at a memorial to Lebanese Muslim Brotherhood leader and Union of Good trustee Faisal Mawlawi. In this announcement from last year, Kozbar is also described as a member of the Lebanese Islamic Association.

Kozbar is a trustee of a registered charity named ‘Lebanese Relief’ with an offshoot – also a registered charity – named ‘UK Care for Children’, of which he is also a trustee. Also on the board of trustees of the latter charity is Jihad Qundil – a senior Interpal employee.  Interpal is proscribed by Israel and the United States due to its links to the Hamas-supporting and financing ‘Union of Good’.

Here is Kozbar  (second from the right) posing for a photograph at the Gaza Legislature with members of an Interpal mission.

Zaher Birawi (also al Birawi) is official spokesman for the ‘Global March on Jerusalem’. He is also spokesman /media officer for the Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB) headed by Hafiz al Karmi (see above). The PFB states that it maintains the principle that “Palestine with its historic borders is an Arab Islamic land”.

As can be seen in the above announcement for the Raed Salah speaking tour, the PFB is involved in fundraising for the Manchester-based ‘Human Appeal International’ (HAI) – another registered charity in England & Wales proscribed by Israel due to its links to the ‘Union of Good’ headed by Yusuf Qaradawi. Human Appeal International was also directly named (along with Interpal) in the case of a Hamas activist tried for having been involved in fundraising for suicide bombings inside Israel.  HAI is linked to the Muslim Association of Britain and partners for fundraising purposes with another registered charity entitled ‘Syria Relief’.

The Palestinian Forum in Britain is also part of the coalition of organisations including Ismail Patel’s ‘Friends of Al Aqsa’, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Stop the War Coalition and  the BMI which came together to form the flotilla supporting and enabling ‘Britain 2 Gaza’ forum. The PFB also collaborates with many of the same organisations and additional ones on other anti-Israel projects.

In addition, Birawi is a trustee of the registered charity ‘Education Aid for Palestinians’ – also part of the ‘Union of Good’ – and acted as head of programming for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Al Hiwar TV established by Azam Tamimi. He has also acted as spokesman for George Galloway’s ‘Viva Palestina’ convoys.

Birawi is most well-known, however, for his activities as a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked ‘Palestinian Return Centre’ (PRC) in London – an organization also banned in Israel due to its Hamas affiliations.  Prominent PRC figures are connected to Hamas and to the Muslim Brotherhood established ‘European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’ (ECESG -which shares PRC office space), Interpal, MEMO and the MCB.

Here is Birawi sitting on Ismail Haniyeh’s right at a function in Gaza. Readers will also recognize Kevin Ovenden (to Birawi’s right; see part one of this report), Hamas Shura council member Mahmoud al Zahar and – on the far right – one of the Mavi Marmara participants.

Below we see Birawi (second from the left) at a classic red-green alliance event in Downing Street last September together with Sarah Colborne of the PSC, Mohammed Sawalha (see part one of this report), Lindsey German of the StWC, trade unionist Hugh Lanning, MP Andy Slaughter, former MP Martin Linton and member of the House of Lords and PSC & ECESG patron Jenny Tonge.

Conclusion:

The Global March on Jerusalem should be seen not only in the context of the broad alliance of anti-Israel activists of differing stripes brought together in order to get the project off the ground. It must also be assessed in terms of the interests of those providing considerable financial resources for its promotion and execution.

As pointed out on the ALAH blogspot , the campaign is obviously well-funded, allowing for publicity in several languages and frequent meetings of the organisers worldwide, including one for the European chapter scheduled for February 21st in London.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

The financial and ideological backers of the GMJ are –each for their own reasons – currently in need of a high-profile event with substantial media coverage in order to compensate for their failures on other fronts.

With Hizbollah having been unable to produce anything of major significance in the past four or five years and its ally in Damascus under ever-increasing pressure, and with Hamas feeling the financial pinch as a result of sanctions on Iran and ideological differences with the Tehran regime over Syria, a major and well-publicised distraction is at this time of vital importance to all.

Unfortunately, as we saw in the case of the 2010 flotilla, such a need for a high-profile event is likely to result in tragedy.

The deliberate exploitation of the subject of the Al Aqsa Mosque – unparalleled in its sensitivity in the Muslim world – by the organisers of the GMJ makes this unnecessary provocation even more potentially volatile.

Cartoon on 'Global March to Jerusalem' site

It is to be hoped that governments worldwide will recognize this counter-productive assault on a fellow UN member state for what it is. Hopefully they will also realize that the ability or will of surrounding countries to prevent their being used as a launching pad for the GMJ provocation is severely diminished and that they must therefore step up to the line and take action to prevent their citizens becoming involved in this foolhardy and potentially dangerous publicity stunt engineered by hardline terrorist sympathisers, the terrorist organisations themselves and their financial backers.

Guardian readers skew conversation about UK, U.S. & Iran in a decidedly Semitic direction

As David T of Harry’s Place observed about Guardian Associate Editor Seumas Milne.

Milne’s greatest contribution to the Guardian Comment Pages has been to turn it into a soapbox for the RESPECT and Stop the War Coalition (StWC) projects: a Red-Green-Brown alliance between Stalinists, Trotskyites, and Islamists associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Milne evidently regarded his appointment to Comment Editor as an opportunity to promote the obnoxious politics of this alignment.

So, it didn’t come as a surprise to see Andrew Murray, of StWC, publish an essay at ‘Comment is Free’, “An attack on Iran must be stopped“, opposing a UK or U.S. attack on Iran to prevent the Islamist regime from attaining nuclear weapons.

What was a bit surprising however, was that Murray, whose essay warns of the threat posed by “Anglo-American aggression addicts” who are “gearing up for yet another crack at winning a senseless war in the Middle East,” didn’t once, in a nearly 700 word essay, mention the word “Israel”.  Rather, Murray argued against a war with Iran in the context of what he sees as the folly of the West’s broader war on terror, and U.S./UK military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Of course, the mere omission of the words “Jews”, “Israel”, “Zionism” or “Lobby” didn’t prevent ‘Comment is Free’ readers to not so gently move the narrative away from military decisions made by UK and U.S. political leaders, and pivot to a more desired target.

Powerful Jewish lobbies in U.S. and UK are pushing Obama to war against Iran (29 Recommends)

 Jewish lobby used the Holocaust as an excuse to give Israel the bomb, and developed anti-Islamic ideology to justify aggression against the Arab world. (11 Recommends)

Further, after reading many of the 286 comments in the thread, and noticing a characteristic fixation, I decided to have some fun with the web site Wordle.

The beauty of Wordle is that it allows you to quantify the degree to which comments beneath the line, in any given CiF essay, slant in one particular direction.

Wordle was fed every word from each of the reader comments posted after Murray’s piece and, excluding commonly used words like “the” (and the word “Iran”, because, well, that was  what the topic the essay was supposed to address!), churned out the following graphic of the most used words – represented in a size proportional to the frequency of their usage:

 

Note the enhanced size of Israel (a word used 220 times by CiF commenters), in contrast to words “U.S.” and “UK”.  

In fact the words “Jew” “Jews”, or “Jewish” were used more times (42) than the words “U.S.” or “United States” (33).

And, finally, and quite ironically given the following CiF commenter’s malign obsession with the Jewish state, note the moniker above the gigantic “S” in the over-sized word “Israel”. Yup, Berchmans!

The post-colonial world according to CiF contribtor Pankaj Mishra

It is rather surprising that Pankaj Mishra has not yet been allocated a permanent desk at Guardian HQ; he does, after all, seem to be capable of ticking all the right boxes. On June 6th he returned to CiF with yet another article full of erroneous comparisons between countries which begin with the letter ‘I’ – namely Israel and India. One wonders how he managed to miss out Ireland, Italy or Indonesia in his mish-mash of mistaken analogies and comparisons of the dissimilar.

Perhaps the problem is that he does not get invited to literary festivals in those latter countries; events which apparently afford instant expert status and render so many authors  of fiction and travelogues miraculously capable of pronouncing moral verdicts upon subjects of history, international relations and politics.  Or maybe his comrades at the Stop the War Coalition and CAABU just haven’t had time to issue the memo on acceptable progressive stances regarding those nations, although one can be pretty confident that they must have Iran and Iraq covered.

Whatever the explanation, Mishra is obviously intent upon perpetuating some of the more popular myths which plague the far-Left’s thinking about Israel; probably indicating that he actually believes them himself.  There’s the ‘Arab Spring’ myth so beloved of Guardian editors of late: Mishra has already decided that recent events in Tunisia and Egypt are “miraculous” and signal an end to tyranny. More cautious observers are actually waiting for the results of soon to be held elections before pronouncing that tyranny is in remission there. After all, there are many types of tyranny and contrary to popular belief in some circles they do not have to be Western-linked by definition.

Another myth which Mishra is keen to promote is that of ‘non-violent’ Palestinian protest. Obviously, he needs to do this because the crux of his argument is based on the premise that non-violent strategy affords moral authority. His heroes are the “unarmed mass movements” of poor victims and it would therefore rot the very foundations of his argument were he to admit that Palestinian political movements are not quite the Gandhi-style figures he would have us believe.

“For years now the West Bank village of Bil’in has campaigned against the Israeli government’s appropriation of its lands. Israel responded by jailing its leader, Abdallah Abu Rahmah, often called the Palestinian Gandhi, for 15 months – “solely”, according to Amnesty International “for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and assembly”.”

That claim, of course, is only remotely credible if one can imagine Gandhi and his followers throwing stones at British soldiers week after week and injuring several hundred in the process. But Mishra apparently does not consider rocks and stones to be weapons: those throwing them with the intention of injuring or even killing other human beings remain “unarmed” in his view. His disingenuity continues with the claim that unarmed Palestinians marched to Israel’s borders rather than across them:

“Encouraged by Egyptians and Tunisians, masses of unarmed Palestinians marched last month to the borders of Israel to mark the dispossession of 750,000 Palestinians in Mandate Palestine. Israeli soldiers met them with live gunfire, killing more than a dozen and wounding scores of others.”

Had the marches (how benign a term that is) ended at Israel’s borders, no-one would have been hurt, but of course that was not the case – no matter how much spin Mishra cares to put on it. His disingenuity does not stop there however, at least as far as Israel is concerned:

“[M]any liberal commentators try to condone their passivity by deploring the absence of non-violent protests in Kashmir and Palestine (never mind the fact that the first intifadas in both places in the late 1980s turned violent only after being savagely suppressed).”

As someone who, in December 1987, on the first day of the first Intifada, found herself confronted by a rock-throwing masked mob on a road near Beit Sahour, I can assure Mishra that at least part of his above sentence is a severe distortion of the truth.  With regard to Kashmir,  I am not qualified to say, but the following photograph,  taken by a member of my family in 2009 in Kashmir, suggests to me that perhaps there is a little more to the situation than Pankaj Mishra would have us believe.

Another of Mishra’s myths is the attempt to equate in the minds of his readers between colonial India and the Jewish state. Of course no honest commentator would try to insinuate that colonial rule by a nation thousands of miles away and with no cultural or historic ties to India was the same as the return of the Jewish nation to its former homeland, but that’s exactly what Mishra does.

“But Palestinians may rise up against their colonial overlords well before this expected rejection.” (my emphasis)

He tries to strengthen his argument by making dishonest references to Israeli actions and policy:

“[A]s Binyamin Netanyahu devises ever greater hurdles to self-determination for his Arab subjects.”

“Hindu nationalists feel an elective affinity with Israel for its apparently uncompromising attitude to Muslim minorities.”

Mishra is surely very much aware that Israel’s Prime Minister does not have “subjects” as Queen Victoria did in India, but he employs the term anyway in a feeble attempt to shore up his ridiculous comparison. He also probably knows full well – or at least should do, having visited there more than once, that the citizens of the Palestinian Authority vote in elections entirely unconnected to Israel and that their desire for self-determination has been sabotaged repeatedly in the past by their very own leaders’ choice of violence and intransigence over negotiation. He should also be aware that the so-called “uncompromising attitude” of Israel towards its Muslim minorities has afforded them the best human rights of any Muslims in the Middle East – including those in Muslim countries.

Finally, and perhaps most dangerously, Mishra engages in the old Guardian habit of terrorism whitewashing and denial.

“India and Israel, both products of botched imperial partitions, were the Bush government’s two most avid international boosters of the catastrophic “war on terror”, fluently deploying the ideological templates of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – democracy versus terrorism, liberalism versus fundamentalism – to justify their own occupations.”

“Aggressively jingoistic media helped hardliners in both countries to demonise their political adversaries as terrorists or terrorist sympathisers. “

“Certainly, as the corpses of the Palestinian and Kashmiri Hamza al-Khatibs pile up, there will be the usual flurry of intellectual rationalisations – the bogey of Islamic terror will again be invoked.”

Such a refusal to recognise Palestinian terrorism for what it is – a racist and criminal ideology which encourages its followers to blow up school-children on buses, murder babies in their sleep and shoot pregnant women simply because they belong to the ‘wrong’ religion and ethnicity – would suggest that Mishra, as is evident in the sub-texts to his article, has very effectively imbibed some of the basic tenets of extreme Leftist ideology which run as undercurrents in the bulk of Guardian commentary on the Middle East.

One of those tenets – also prevalent in some British faith groups such as the Quakers and Methodists – is that perceived poverty and powerlessness somehow automatically affords moral authority and superiority. Another is that people of colour must somehow always be right and their actions justifiable. Both are the result of the kind of inverted snobbery very prevalent in some contemporary Western societies which probably finds its roots in post-colonial guilt and unfortunately distorts the ability to analyse situations effectively and accurately, as Mishra’s article shows only too well.

But is there more to Mishra’s reluctance to square up to terrorism than meets the eye? Does the fact that he complains in other articles about being stopped at airports – situations he appears to have convinced himself have more to do with discriminatory perceptions of his appearance that the Afghani and Pakistani stamps in his passport – suggest that he somehow equates today’s unfortunately all too necessary vigilance with a form of racism?

This 2007 interview would indeed suggest that despite (or maybe because of) his own rather privileged status at the heart of British establishment he chooses not to differentiate between essential security measures and racism.  I suppose that’s one way of cultivating ‘progressive’ credibility.

“But there has been a return of racism in the guise of “antiterrorism.” People who look like myself are immediately suspect. I’ve become extremely self-conscious about going into crowded public places. I’m constantly being stopped and asked to produce my identity. At airports, it’s gotten to the point that you start to have the sense that everyone at the airport is looking at you wondering if you are the guy who’s going to blow up the plane. It’s deeply unpleasant, and it’s now a disturbingly commonplace experience.”

Well I have a surprise for Pankaj Mishra; my partner’s North African origins mean that he frequently gets stopped at airports too – particularly if he hasn’t shaved for a couple of days – and my daughter has had some rather unnerving experiences with the British Transport Police based purely on her Middle Eastern looks and tendency to carry a rucksack.  And yet for Mishra their ethnicity means that both are ‘white’ enough to be classified as Israeli “colonial overlords”; incapable of being powerless enough to be right and automatically undeserving of any far-Leftists’ sympathies.

Of course neither he nor the average Guardian editor would be capable of seeing the bigotry in that, or just how ridiculously trite and simplistic it proves their accepted narratives to be.