Antisemitism Runs Riot in St Albans Methodist Church

At the invitation of a Christian supporter of Israel, I went on 1 February to the Methodist Church in Marlborough Road St Albans to hear a talk (‘Thinking Lunch’) entitled ‘Saving Israel – What next for the Palestinians?” The talk was sponsored by ICAHD (the first Israeli organisation to call for the end of the Jewish State (antisemitic according to IHRA)). The speaker was Tim Coldicott who showed slides and read out a script. The Minister, Rosemary Fletcher, introduced Coldicott and said that there would be a collection for the ‘Charity’ ICAHD UK. Of course it is not a charity – it has political objectives. (The flyer for the meeting also made this mistake).

coldicott
A clue as to the nature of the talk was inside the entrance. There was a big photo of a roadsign in Judea/Samaria forbidding non-Israeli registered vehicles from using a road. The Israel traducers of course tell you that the road is ‘for Jews only’ and is an example of ‘apartheid’. It’s a lie. The road is for all Israeli registered vehicles regardless of the driver’s religion and the reason for that is purely security. Further inside the entrance was a table with a variety of PSC literature on it. Yes PSC in a Church – the organisation that is riddled with hardcore antisemites and whose logo shows the elimination of the State of Israel.

Coldicott‘s appearance (he is a mild-mannered man in his 70s) gives no clue as to the vile antisemitic lies that he tells. Antisemitism in a Church is particularly awful – one, because of the history of Christian antisemitism, two, because vile as the talk might be (and it was gut-wrenchingly vile) one feels constrained in a religious building about responding robustly.

Coldicott set out his stall. He worked in a kibbutz in 1962 then he saw ‘The Promise’ on Channel 4 TV– a series which completely distorted history and the facts of life in Israel. It’s clear he swallowed the lies hook, line and sinker. And so he (and his wife Mayonne who was with him in the Church) decided they had to ‘do something’.

His first slide showed Yad Va’shem (the Holocaust Memorial building in Jerusalem). Given his title (Saving Israel) this was an unmistakable (and antisemitic) hint that if Israel does not make peace, there will be a 2nd Holocaust

Then we had the lies about how children are educated in Israel: They are taught about weapons and they are taught about the Holocaust “in order to keep fear alive”. They are taught that Israel is a “land without people for a people without a land” (this quote was never said by a Jew of course!). They are taught that there is no such people as Palestinians – “only Arabs, who want to throw us into the sea” (a lie of course – they are not taught this). And they are taught “that the whole world is against us” and that “the reason is antisemitism”. And “it is forbidden on the curriculum to mention the Naqba.” All defamatory lies.  And that hardly any Israeli children learn Arabic (Lie: Arabic is mandatory in Jewish primary schools). “There are only five schools where Jewish and Arab children learn together” – A lie. He was talking about Yad B’Yad schools. There is nothing to stop Arab children and Jewish children going to any school they want.

Then “Israel blew up over 400 Palestinian townships in the 1950s”. In 1947 “Jews were given 55% of the territory for only 7% of the population” (failing to mention that much of the land the UN Partition Plan gave the Jews was uninhabitable desert – of course The Maps That Lies was there on the PSC table).

Plan Dalet” was “a longstanding plan to attack Palestinian villages and terrorise the population so that they fled.” A lie. Plan Dalet (Plan D), of March 10th, 1948 (it is open and available for all to read in the IDF Archive and in various publications), was the master plan of the Haganah – the Jewish military force that became the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) – to counter the expected pan-Arab assault on the emergent Jewish state. That’s what it explicitly states and that’s what it was.

The Naqba is not recognised by Israeli Jews as equivalent to the Holocaust”. This is Holocaust Minimisation – one step above Denial. To suggest that the forced expulsion of a handful of Arabs (read Efraim Karsh) was morally equivalent to the murder of six million Jews – two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe – is obscene.

And so on with the demonising antisemitic lies … “It was not Jews who faced being pushed into the sea  … It was Arabs.” “The Arabs who stayed in Israel were regarded as enemies and subjected to military rule” .. “They experienced the Judaisation of their land and were prohibited on pain of death from returning to their villages.”

“The land is the property of the Jewish people” … “The settlements are illegal” ….”Settler violence is not punished” … “Complain about the behaviour of settlers and you’ll be arrested” … “Ethnic cleansing” … “Children are in prison for throwing stones” (yes stones kill, ask the parents of poor Adele Biton) .. .Israel “illegally uses live ammunition to control unarmed civilians”.

This is how Coldicott summed up, suggesting all Israel’s history is a lie: “The record has caught up with the story, we now know the story isn’t true”.

Then of course came the apartheid comparison – an Al Jazeera clip to support his statement that the Palestinians live in ‘Bantustans’ [does he mean Israeli Arabs or Palestinians in the Disputed Teritories?].

Coldicott continued with the lies…. “Palestinians in Israel [he means Israeli Arabs] do not have the same rights as Jewish Israelis …. “Beduin village cleared to make way for a Jewish-only town” … “Israel wants to be a State for Jews only” … “A Ghetto Wall will surround all of Israel”.

The final lie was about “the closeness of Jews and Muslims in the 1920s”. No mention of the 1929 Hebron massacres or other atrocities committed against Jews. And indeed no mention throughout of Hamas or Hezbolla terror.

Coldicott’s final slide was “What Can We Do?” You can guess his answer – “BDS and join the PSC”.

The Q+A became very heated. Rosemary Fletcher said that the Church “celebrated” (she changed that to “commemorated”) Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday and that it would be hosting a speaker from the Council of Christians and Jews. As if that made up for the vile antisemitic calumnies we had just witnessed!  And as I left the Church she assured me that one of her best friends is Jewish (!) … On the way out I was told by a man that I am “a disgrace to the Chosen People” (I had got the first question and tried to correct some of the lies before the roving mike was taken away. I was also manhandled and my belongings confiscated).

Antisemitism in a Church has a special frisson …………… One wonders how many churches Coldicott is going to spread his poison at, without anyone there to correct the lies. Already Google suggests he has spoken in Farnham, Frensham and Dorking.

Memo to the government of Israel: Ban him – and ban his wife.

Addendum

David Collier’s excellent account is here. Note in particular David’s comment about what Coldicott said about the Arab village of Sepphoris.  And about Coldicott’s use of material from Badil.

 

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Open letter: LSE twists antisemitism definition into meaninglessness

Dear Professor Black

In September I wrote about how the London Borough of Brent had adopted a version of the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism which the Councillors had twisted into meaninglessness.

Now the London School of Economics (LSE) has done much the same thing. Following the appearance of Richard Falk there last March (invited by Professor Kaldor), there was a long campaign (waged eg by alumni – me included) to ensure that never again would an antisemite be given a platform at LSE. Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush even “strongly advised Jewish students to study elsewhere”.

Now you have sent out the following letter:

2018-01-21 20:10:29

Consider what it says. Among the examples which form part of the IHRA Definition
are the following:

  • Claiming there is a world Jewish conspiracy;
  • Denying the Holocaust;
  • Calling Israel a racist state;
  • Comparing actions of Jews to those of the Nazis.

So Professor Black – According to LSE, it is not antisemitic to say there is a world Jewish conspiracy ‘unless there is additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent’; not antisemitic to deny the Holocaust ‘unless there is additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent’; not antisemitic to call Israel a racist state ‘unless there is additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent’; not antisemitic to compare the actions of Jews to Nazis ‘unless there is additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent’.

This is absurdly circular. It says that an action is antisemitic only if it’s antisemitic. And precisely how are you going to determine ‘if there is antisemitic intent‘? By a vote of all the faculty?

But it’s worse than that. It’s a kick in the teeth to the Jewish community.

I don’t care how many “Jewish staff and students at LSE” you have consulted, Professor Black. Imagine if LSE said that calling a person of colour a ‘ni**er’ is only racist if there is racist intent! Or that ripping the headscarf off the head of a Muslim woman is only Islamophobic if there is Islamophobic intent!

“We would never do that!” I hear you say, Professor Black

So why are Jews any different?

 

Director of SOAS Misleads Parliamentary Committee

After reading the transcript of Baroness Amos’ testimony to the UK Parliament’s Human Rights Committee (for its Inquiry into Freedom of Speech at Universities), I submitted the following evidence to the Committee …..

In her oral evidence to the Committee Baroness Amos said that she does not feel that reports about SOAS being antisemitic are fair. They are perfectly fair. SOAS is institutionally antisemitic. See my blogs here here and here.

Hardly surprising that a handful of ‘events about Palestine’ have been ‘disrupted’. They were antisemitic.  For example, the Centennial SOAS Lecture given by Rajeh Shehadi.  He demonised Israel continually for an hour. He unremittingly distorted the facts.  He blamed Israel for murders which were KNOWN to have been committed by Arabs. He unceasingly suggested parallels of Israel with Apartheid. He said Israel kills people ‘they don’t like’. He lied that Israel insists that children with cancer in Gaza have to be accompanied by someone over 55 before they can leave for treatment.  The Lecture reeked of antisemitism.  Calling Israel an Apartheid State is antisemitic (claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour).

Baroness Amos mentioned the visit by Israel Ambassador Mark Regev (April 2017) in support of her claim that SOAS is NOT antisemitic. What she failed to say was (i) this was the first visit by an Israel Ambassador for 12 years and (ii) that no SOAS academic (including her) was willing to chair the meeting (a Chair had to be recruited from another London University). What she also failed to say was that she was perfectly willing to chair the Shehadi meeting and at the end she sang his praises despite (?because of?) his stream of invective against Israel, which included antisemitism.

So bad are things at SOAS – and so cowed are the few Jewish students – that even the Israel Society has been taken over by anti-Zionists. Its title is now a misnomer – it should be called the anti-Israel Society.

Repeated complaints to SOAS have got nowhere. Jonathan Arkush, the President of the Board of Deputies, said that his meeting with Baroness Amos in 2017 was “the least satisfactory meeting I have held in eight years with something like 30 vice-chancellors”.

‘Free speech’ must be subject to the normal constraints regarding for example incitement to hatred.  In view of the fact that they allow a University to be institutionally antisemitic with apparent impunity, the constraints urgently need revisiting.

 

Extracts from Baroness Amos’ testimony
soas jan 18 1soas jan 18 2soas jan 18 3soas jan 18 4

 

Medieval Antisemitism in Grosvenor Square

In the previous blog on this site I reported on how Glyn Secker (Secretary of Jewish Voice for Labour) and Mike Cushman (Chair, Free Speech on Israel) fomented antisemitism at a Muslim rally in London on Saturday (6 January 2018; meeting hosted by Sultan Bahu Centre, Alum Rock, Birmingham).

fsoi dec 17 3.JPG

Some of the speeches at that rally were in Urdu. One can be heard in this video (captured by Campaign4Truth). The speaker (the name is indistinct, it’s ‘Professor Ekramul ….’ possibly  ‘Haque’) is introduced at 8:38, he begins speaking at 9:15 and it runs to 10:59.

Here is a rough translation of what he said (thanks to Shadman Zaman for translating):

“Judaism was supposed to be the religion to claim justice in the world. But they didn’t do that. But they incited violence and unrest. In places where there was only peace, they only created violence. They have forgotten their own history.  Now they do not even realise what kind of torture they are doing to the Palestinians. They are raping Palestinian women. They are killing Palestinian children in front of their mothers. And now they’re doing the biggest injustice. Jerusalem which is the right of Palestinians.  Baytul Muqaddas (‘Holy place’, the phrase for the Temple Mount) which is the right of Palestinians, now they are taking it over.  They must realise that now the Muslim world is very anxious.  Once the Muslim world becomes united, the Jews will have no place to go.  So the Jews had better realise their mistakes.”

Lies and open Jew hatred in front of the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London.  Inciting hatred on the part of the approximately 300 Muslims listening (they had travelled from the West Midlands and the North for the rally).  With many children present.

demo jan18 children

Children at the rally

How can this medieval antisemitism be allowed on the streets of London?

JVL’s Secretary Stokes Up Antisemitism

Glyn Secker is Secretary of Jewish Voice for Labour, a tiny group of outlier Jews. They are Labour members who demonise Israel and believe that most allegations of antisemitism regarding other Labour members are fabrications designed to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. Secker has called Israel a “terror state”. He has said “It has become a pariah country internationally. Israel doesn’t know how to make peace, it only knows how to make wars.” He wrote a gushing review of ‘State of Terror’ (‘this seminal work’ ….’Violence to the Palestinians, modelled on the antisemitic pogroms in eastern Europe’), a book which David Collier and I have shown (in a 22,000 word deconstruction) to be a deeply antisemitic fraud.

david-collier.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/170904_V10_FINAL_Analysis-of-State-of-Terror-by-Thomas-Suarez.pdf

Yesterday (6 January 2018) Glyn Secker spoke at a rally in Grosvenor Square. It was a rally of members of mosques from West Midlands and the North to protest about the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Around 500 were there, including several children.  A video of some of the speeches including Secker’s is here (video from Campaign 4Truth).  A dangerous myth regularly spread by Middle East extremists is that Israel is about to attack the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Of course it is a lie – the Temple Mount and access to the Mosques has been more open and secure since 1967 than it ever was under Jordanian occupation (except it’s hardly open for Jews …). Despicably, Secker fuels these lies. Listen at -56:04: “Trump’s announcement gave the green light to the total annexation of Jerusalem, the expulsion of all Palestinians and is a direct threat to Al Aqsa itself.”

As if that was not bad enough, at -53.43 we see Secker describe Ahed Tamimi – charged with assaulting an IDF soldier – as a “Joan of Arc”!  And incredibly at -52.17 he says that the Board of Deputies of British Jewshost the neofascist  EDL on demonstrations”. A vile defamatory lie. Uttered to 500 mosque members and their children.

Secker’s speech is a graphic illustration of how the leadership of Jewish Voice for Labour denigrates the vast majority of Jews – either by stoking up antisemitism or by saying that Jews are lying when they detect antisemitism.

There’s no difference.

Addendum – More comments in speeches yesterday:

Mike Cushman (Chair, Free Speech on Israel): “America wants to make the whole of Palestine into an Israeli Zionist-led State”

 

Daud Abdullah (Palestine Return Centre):  “There are some people who make business through blackmail and deception and they got rich and they became billionaires and they want to conduct international politics on the basis of blackmail and deception”

And the ‘maps that lie’ were prominent on the lectern yesterday ………..


demo jan18

Jewish News shills for McCluskey

Stephen Oryszczuk is the Foreign Editor of ‘Jewish News’.  Last month he wrote a juvenile Jewish News blog defaming me. He distorted my name slightly, presumably not wishing to be responsible for a libel suit against his employer. Nevertheless his boss quickly deleted the blog after several people complained (I didn’t).  I suspected from the content of the smear that he is a Corbynite. Sure enough, in this week’s Jewish News (the front page headline in fact) there is a long interview by Oryszczuk of Len McCluskey, General Secretary of the trade union Unite, the UK’s biggest trade union with 1.4 million members. The interview is a thinly–disguised puff piece for Labour and Corbyn.  It’s astonishing that the editor of Jewish News, Richard Ferrer, didn’t spike what amounts to a party political broadcast to the Jewish community.

Thousands of Labour members (well over 4000 in the past year) have been reported to the Party’s Compliance Unit in the past year. Ken Livingstone – who twisted history to claim grotesquely that “Hitler supported Zionism” – has not been expelled from the Party. Yet shortly after the Labour Conference, McCluskey alleged that complaints about antisemitism in Labour are “mood music that was created by people who were trying to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.  I’ve never been at a meeting where there was any antisemitic language or any attacks on the Jewish nation; they would have had short shrift at any meeting that I was at.”

It’s even doubtful that McCluskey knows what the word ’antisemitism’ means. The Union which he heads has failed to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism – the most common definition, which even the Labour Party has accepted.

Yet what does McCluskey say about the IHRA definition in the Jewish News interview? Only that “It has nuances in it”.  Oryszczuk does not even tell us that Unite has vetoed the definition.  McCluskey even voices the hackneyed old lie that Israel supporters “deliberately try to link criticism of that government with antisemitism.

And McCluskey endorses the organisation ‘Jewish Voice for Labour’. JVL are a bunch of Soviet-style antisemites hiding behind a transparent veneer of antizionism. JVL is led by a tiny group of outlier Jews, some of who are under investigation by Labour. They are Labour members who demonise Israel and believe that most allegations of antisemitism regarding other Labour members are fabrications designed to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.  For example their Secretary is Glyn Secker. He has called Israel a “terror state”. He has said “It has become a pariah country internationally. Israel doesn’t know how to make peace, it only knows how to make wars.” Recently he wrote a gushing review of ‘State of Terror’ (‘this seminal work’ ….’Violence to the Palestinians, modelled on the antisemitic pogroms in eastern Europe’), a book which David Collier and I have shown (in a 23,000 word deconstruction) to be a deeply antisemitic fraud. But you won’t learn any of this from Oryszczuk’s piece of sycophancy. Neither will you learn that McCluskey affiliated Unite with JVL without even consulting the Executive of that Union.

And what about Corbyn? Could he do more to disassociate from antisemitism – like accepting the invitation to the dinner to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration? Like personally endorsing the IHRA Definition?  Pretty simple things you would have thought. Apparently not. Says McCluskey, in response to being asked if Corbyn could have done more:  “I don’t think so. I genuinely don’t. He’s been fighting racism and discrimination all his life. The idea that Jeremy Corbyn would tolerate any discrimination, even for a second, it’s just not in the man at all.

And Oryszczuk fails to ask McCluskey about the Israel views of Andrew Murray, Unite’s BDS-supporting Chief of Staff. All we get is a brief reference to Murray’s support for Galloway to be allowed to rejoin Labour.

Fortunately the rampant antisemitism in Labour has prompted a backlash. See Labour Against Antisemitism and JVL Watch on Twitter and on Facebook (and here). You’d have hoped the Jewish Press would be supporting them. It seems not!

 

 

No to Antisemitism Denial in Parliament!

The meeting I previewed at the start of this week saw around 25 supporters of Israel witnessing Soviet-style antisemitism in Committee Room 12 in Parliament on Tuesday, fomented by a tiny group of Corbyn-supporting outlier Jews (‘Free Speech on Israel’ (FSOI)) who seek to deny that hate speech involving Israel is antisemitic.

As David Collier writes, ‘the use of a handful of Jews to attack the vast majority of Jews is nothing new. After the 1917 revolution, the Soviets did it expertly using the Yevsektsiya.’

There was even a Лидер комиссариата (Commissariat Leader) checking registrations at the door (one of the most vicious antisemites in the UK who has been warned by the police against taking photos of Jews, which he then posts on Twitter with defamatory and false annotations). So he has all the names of the brave 25 ………… Delightful.

The meeting was hosted by Tommy Sheppard, an SNP MP. He has form – here, here and here.

Sheppard began the meeting with an unctious and sickening pretence that he cares about antisemitism, complete with virtue-signalling Holocaust reference: “It’s something that I have resisted for years and I want to continue to resist … But there are some voices in the political spectrum that would suggest that to criticise the State of Israel is de facto antisemitic”. This myth – that mere criticism of Israel is antisemitic – was repeated a further three times. It is utter rubbish, a lie propagated by antisemites. The IHRA definition of antisemitism says ‘criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

Sheppard continued thus: “I’ve become aware of a small but significant section of Israeli opinion that doesn’t support the Netanyahu government … It seems to me that those voices within Israeli society and indeed within the Jewish diaspora never seem to get a proper hearing, certainly not in this place”. No shit, Sherlock … Night after night there are anti-Israel meetings in Parliament, day after day the As-A-Jews pump out their bile about Israel in blogs, the Guardian, on Twitter, on the BBC, in the Labour Party and on LBC. Only last week Sheppard himself hosted a meeting in Parliament where Israel was traduced and from which many Israel-supporting Jews with tickets were excluded.

The Chair of the meeting was Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, who thinks antisemitism is a joke. A highly appropriate Chair for a meeting whose aim was ‘Antisemitism Denial’ (which is only slightly above Holocaust Denial on the moral scale). She repeated the myth: “We find it incredibly difficult – as Jews who have a different view of the Israel-Palestine situation to the mainstream – to have any sort of platform on which we can express our opinion”. What nonsense. She spoke twice at the Labour Conference for example and FSOI held a fringe meeting there (where Miko Peled said that Holocaust Denial was an appropriate subject for Labour members to discuss).  And more virtue-signalling faux concern about antisemitism: “Jews are endangered when the term antisemitism is misused for pro-Israel political purposes”. As David Collier writes: ‘And what did Wimborne-Idrissi and her friends at ‘Free Speech on Israel’  do when these reports were released – how did they react to real, classic antisemitism? They attacked me for it, and ran articles that belittled the reports. In effect, ‘Free Speech on Israel’, came out in the defence of Holocaust Deniers, and believers in global Jewish conspiracy theory. The very idea that Wimborne-Idrissi, Free Speech on Israel, or Jewish Voice for Labour have any intention of fighting antisemitism is a cruel and vindictive joke.  These people provide cover for hard-core Jew hatred. Provide cover for those sharing material from groups like the Klu Klux Klan. And these people are given the legitimacy of a committee room in Parliament?

She also referred to an Opinion – by Hugh Tomlinson QC – hostile to the IHRA Definition. This was cited in the FSOI handout at the meeting. The handout says that the Opinion was obtained by ‘a number of UK NGOs’ – without naming them. So I will: FSOI itself; PSC; Independent Jewish Voices; Jews for Justice for Palestinians. He Who Pays the Piper … Also mentioned in the handout was an article by ‘Sir Stephen Sedley, a Jewish former appeal court judge’. Why is his religion relevant?  I fisked the Sedley article here.

The first speaker was Avi Shlaim. Formerly known as Abe, he has a massive chip on his shoulder about the way his (Mizrachi) family was treated in Israel, despite the fact that it provided them with a haven from persecution in Iraq. Now he has retired from his academic job, he no longer has any inhibitions regarding full-on Israel hate. In the Q+A he even said:

“I don’t pretend to be neutral and objective” and he criticised recent insistence by universities (LSE, Cambridge) that chairs of meetings should be neutral!

Some nuggets from Shlaim’s talk:

“Israeli propaganda deliberately conflates anti-Zionism and antisemitism. This is unacceptable moral blackmail and an attack on free speech”

‘The evidence for antisemitism in the Labour Party is exceedingly flimsy. No-one has charged Jeremy Corbyn for antisemitism. He has a consistent record of opposing every racism. This crisis was manufactured by right-wing members of the Labour Party, by disgruntled Blairites and by their friends outside the Party, with the aim of undermining Jeremy Corbyn, because he’s the only leader of a British political party who has always defended Palestinian rights.’

Comment: Corbyn supports the Right of Return for all Palestinian refugees. If granted, this would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish State. To desire this is antisemitic. Ergo …

‘Only a sick mind can associate that article [Moshe Machover’s] with antisemitism’

Comment: Machover quoted uncritically a 1935 article by Reinhard Heydrich who went on to be #2 at the SS:

National socialism has no intention of attacking the Jewish people in any way. On the contrary, the recognition of Jewry as a racial community based on blood, and not as a religious one, leads the German government to guarantee the racial separateness of this community without any limitations. The government finds itself in complete agreement with the great spiritual movement within Jewry itself, so-called Zionism, with its recognition of the solidarity of Jewry throughout the world and the rejection of all assimilationist ideas. On this basis, Germany undertakes measures that will surely play a significant role in the future in the handling of the Jewish problem around the world.

Speaking about those who supposedly try to suppress criticism of Israel, Shlaim said “what they overlook is that many of the British critics of Israel are Jewish themselves”.

Comment: Why is their religion relevant?

“It is not antisemitic to advocate a One State Solution”

Comment: Yes it is

“The real problem in British politics is the influence and power of the Israel Lobby. There is illegitimate Israeli interference in the democratic process.”

Comment: Shlaim based this slanderous allegation on a vacuous Al Jazeera documentary which I fisked here. After Shlaim’s speech, Wimborne-Idrissi was (hilariously) at pains to tell us that he meant the ‘Israel Lobby’, not the ‘Jewish Lobby’! Guess that’s one bit of antisemitism she feels unable to deny ….

“The use of antisemitism as a weapon to silence the critics of Israel is not just discreditable, it’s also dangerous”

The second speaker was an actress and author who gave a meaningless and facile talk along the lines of ‘I’m proud to be a Jew because we allow dissent and this doesn’t make me an antisemite.” She even praised My Name Is Rachel Corrie …..

The final speaker was Neve Gordon (and see here), an Israeli Professor based there but currently on secondment at SOAS. On the evidence of this vile tirade, they deserve each other. It is shocking that he has a position teaching young people. Gordon separated so-called ‘new’ antisemitism (that which involves Israel or Israelis) from ‘traditional’ antisemitism. There is really no difference. Prejudice is prejudice! Here’s the world according to Gordon ….

[On Israel] “Its ethnocratic character, its Islamophobia, its unapologetically harsh policies towards black migrants from Africa”

Comment: Utter nonsense. All Israeli citizens – Ashkenazi Jews, Mizrachi Jews, Muslims, Christians, all others  – are equal under the law. Like all advanced nations Israel has a problem with illegal immigration. To suggest that this is dealt with in a racist way is pure antisemitism (‘racist endeavour’).

“The act of decolonisation is perceived as antisemitic … The ‘new’ antisemitism has as its ultimate objective to deflect attention away from the daily dispossession of Palestinians”

‘You can be Zionist and antisemitic with intellectual consistency, all you need to do is look at the US Administration to see it’

[On the IHRA Definition] ‘Any reproach directed at Israel is antisemitic’

‘Zionism’s project of settling the so-called Greater Land of Israel’

“The ultimate objective of ‘new antisemitism’ is to deflect attention away from the daily dispossession of Palestinians”

“The Israeli government needs the ‘new’ antisemitism to justify its actions and to protect it from international and domestic condemnation.  Antisemitism is accordingly weaponised, not only to stifle speech but also to deflect policies of liberation.”

“The person who deploys the charge of new antisemitism is using the charge of antisemitism to defend racist policies”

The meeting became disorderly in the Q+A, as the pro-Israel attendees lost patience and began to protest – particularly because Wimborne-Idrissi was careful not to call on those whom she knows (like me) (the reason of course why Shlaim opposes neutral Chairs!). But Greenstein and Rosenhead were called on (of course). Three signs were held up in a silent protest, emphasising what outliers the Jews in FSOI are:

we are the 99% of Jews

Gordon responded to the signs – absurdly – by saying “the Jewish prophets were never in the majority”. Like there were Opinion Polls and Democracy 5,000 years ago! Later we got this hoary old lie from him, straight out of the antisemites’ playbook:

“Any criticism of the Israeli government is now deemed a form of antisemitism”

Conclusion: ‘Free speech’ does not mean that anyone is entitled to the privilege of a meeting room in Parliament!

No MP would want to host David Irving in a Parliamentary Committee Room to advocate Holocaust Denial.  So why does Tommy Sheppard think it’s OK to host a meeting advocating Antisemitism Denial? Would he host a meeting where gays are told they are making false claims of homophobia? And where those false claims are said to simply make the problem worse?

Of course he wouldn’t. So why are Jews fair game?

Several MPs contacted the Speaker before the meeting to say that it was not an appropriate event to be hosted in Parliament. John Bercow – If you read this, please believe that you can no longer rely on the good sense of MPs as regards what are suitable topics for Committee Room meetings. You have to set up a system of permissioning.  You owe it to the Jewish Community and you owe it to the taxpayer who funds Parliament.

‘Free Speech On Israel’ – Yes. But not free of charge (in a Parliamentary Committee Room) to lie about Israel and deny antisemitism. The organisers of this and the many similar meetings need to be told to rent a meeting room away from Parliament. If they don’t want to pay, there’s always Speakers’ Corner….

POSTSCRIPT

Board of Deputies expresses disappointment over SNP MP’s ‘Free Speech on Israel’ event in Parliament

6 December 2017

Board of Deputies Chief Executive Gillian Merron has expressed her concerns about a ‘Free Speech on Israel’ event which took place in Parliament last night hosted by SNP MP Tommy Sheppard.

In a letter to Ian Blackford MP, the SNP’s Westminster Group Leader, Gillian wrote: “We are concerned that an SNP MP is allowing this group to be given a privileged public platform when the group’s entire raison d’être is to downplay and minimise antisemitism.

She added: “We were pleased when the SNP adopted the IHRA Definition of antisemitism. Seeing an SNP MP hosting this event undermines this good work.

“You will understand that when a representative of a mainstream political party hosts a group like this in the Houses of Parliament it raises questions about intention and ability to combat antisemitism.”