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).

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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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