Boycott the Co-Op

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The UK’s Co-Operative movement has a policy of not sourcing goods from certain countries for its food shops. The boycott is expressed thus:

‘where there is a broad international consensus that the status of a designated region or state is illegal …… there are currently only two examples of such illegal areas: the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Occupied Territories and the Moroccan settlements in Western Sahara.

On this basis, we do not source any produce or own-brand products from the Israeli settlements.

In April 2012, our Board determined that, going forward, we will additionally no longer engage with any supplier of produce known to be sourcing from the Israeli settlements.’

The Co-Op responds to questions about its settlement boycott thus. It gives the misleading impression that it trades widely with Israel:

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Point One: ‘….a broad international consensus that the status of a designated region or state is illegal’. No proper Court has EVER said that Israel’s presence in Judea/Samaria is illegal. The UN General Assembly may have passed Resolutions which state this but Israel’s discriminatory treatment in UN bodies is well known.  Israel is perfectly entitled to a presence in Judea/Samaria. It won the area when it won a defensive war in 1967. It offered the land back (and Gaza) in exchange for peace (at Khartoum) but the offer was rebuffed (the ‘Three Noes’ in the Khartoum Resolution). The San Remo Conference (1920) drew up rules for the British Mandate. Article 6 charged Britain with the duty to facilitate Jewish immigration and close settlement by Jews in the territory which then included Transjordan. It has never been revoked so remains valid today. Israel has four times offered to return land to the Palestinians. Each time it has been rebuffed. The Palestinian leadership continues to refuse to recognise Israel.

Point Two: Contrary to the Co-Op’s statement above, there is hardly any produce from Israel in Co-Op shops. I carried out a check on a Co-Op shop (Mays Lane, Barnet) on 25 June 2018. There was produce from Egypt, Zimbabwe, Peru, Morocco, Kenya, Jordan, China, Chile and the Dominican Republic.

The Co-Op claims to source avocados from Israel. The avocados in the shop were from the Dominican Republic.  The Co-Op claims to source figs and pomegranates from Israel. There were no figs or pomegranates in the shop.  There was just one product from Israel (baby potatoes)………
co op boycott potatoes

Point Three: By its secondary boycott (of suppliers who source from the settlements), the Co-Op is boycotting the vast majority of Israeli produce from within the Green Line, since the major wholesalers in Israel all buy from the settlements.

Point Four: The Co-Op cites the Moroccan settlements in Western Sahara but there is no secondary boycott of Moroccan distributors – like there is in the case of Israel. In the Co-Op Mays Lane I found parsley and blueberries from Morocco.

Point Five: If the Co-Op wants to promote ‘ethical shopping’ its policy is absurd – and discriminatory against Israel. For a nation that has faced existential threats every day for 70 years, Israel’s human rights record is superb. I found mangetout from Zimbabwe in the Co-Op. Under Mugabe Zimbabwe had an appalling human rights record. Fact is, the Co-Op’s ethical policy is clearly written to target Israel – and only Israel.

Please show your support for Justice by boycotting the Co-Op. You can join the picket of the new Co-Op in Hampstead Garden Suburb organised by ‘Campaign for Truth’. (Watch the Rod Liddle video in last Sunday’s Sunday Times).

And by signing this petition from ‘We Believe In Israel’.

 

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Why we DON’T need Jewish Voice for Labour – 27 Lies in Croydon, one every 3.33 minutes

Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) is an organisation that lends legitimacy to Israel-based antisemitism by giving it a ‘kosher seal of approval’. JVL is led by a handful of vocal Jews from the far-left fringe, who have been accused of using their Jewish identity to render antisemitism acceptable. Its membership includes a large number of non-Jews, many of whom have been accused of antisemitism.

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Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, JVL’s Media Officer, on Friday morning responded thus (above) on LBC when confronted with the fact that Gordon Nardell – Labour’s new in-house counsel on disciplinary matters – thinks the allegations about antisemitism are ‘anti-Labour nonsense’ and supported Livingstone and Walker.

You get the picture …………………………

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On Thursday evening Croydon Trade Union Council invited Jonathan Rosenhead (JR – JVL Information Officer) and Pamela Blakelock (PB – a JVL Committee member) to speak on the subject ‘Why we need the Jewish Voice for Labour’. Note the use of the word ‘the’ – as if the Jewish Labour Movement did not exist….

I am entering the event in the Guinness Book of Records in the category “Most lies in a 1.5 hour meeting”. Here’s the evidence (about 30 were there):

PB joined Labour after Corbyn was elected leader in 2015.  She spoke first. Here are her lies:

1. ‘The State of Israel has been used as the bastion of both US and British interests. I joined the Jewish Voice for Labour to be able to work against the false propaganda of the Israeli government and promote international rights, including those of the Palestinians.

2. ‘As soon as Jeremy was in the running for Leader, another campaign began by the Jewish Board of Deputies and JLM, who accused those who supported the rights of the Palestinians of potential antisemitism. Because the Israeli government have a policy to say that all Jews are part of the Jewish nation and therefore criticism of Israel should be seen as criticism of Jews as a whole and therefore antisemitic.’

LIE: The IHRA Definition of Antisemitism specifically says ‘… criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic’.

3. ‘We have just witnessed … repeated mowing down of Palestinian protesters in Gaza by the IDF using dum-dum bullets’

LIE: The IDF does not use dum-dum bullets!

4. ‘So … We’ve seen the coming together of the right wing of the Labour Party and the pro-Israel Lobby, connected with the Israeli Embassy, the BoD, the JLC and the JLM. The JLM is affiliated to the WZO … They believe that Israel is at the centre of Jewish identity. I believe that their aim is to destroy support for the Palestinians to have a state thereby increasing the drive to another ME War. This was exposed by an Al Jazeera documentary.

Several LIES HERE …. Here was the ‘al Jazeera documentary’ ……..

5. ‘So this whole campaign has been running since Jeremy was elected and they aim to rename antizionism as antisemitism….. I believe that the World Zionist Organisation’s aim is to destroy support for the Palestinians to have a state and thereby increasingly to drive to another Middle East War .….

Three LIES here……………

4. ‘So this campaign to label those who support the Palestinians as antisemitic has resulted in high profile antiracist comrades being falsely abused of antisemitism.’

5. ‘There is racism from the government of Israel … looking down on Black Jews – not thinking black Jews are really Jews .. the Netanyahu government is very racist against the Palestinians.’

6. ‘Jews have been led into a terrible tragic trap through the establishment of Israel … Israel was supposed to be a safe place, it’s the most militarised state … expelled 750,000 Palestinians, hatred of the surrounding Arab states .. Have become oppressors in their own turn …’

Four LIES here ……..

7. ‘Livingstone wouldn’t have been resigned or been disciplined if there hadn’t been this whole false accusation atmosphere coming along’

8. ‘The remarks Livingstone said about the history of Zionism are true.’ (Reminder: ‘Hitler supported Zionism’ was what he said).

9. In response to a question, she said that all the 750,000 Arab refugees in 1948 were expelled by Israel. She recommended this book which she had on the desk ….

Over to JR. Interestingly he has thrown in the white towel on his claim that the IHRA only adopted the bland and meaningless first 39 words of the Definition and not the examples. But he is still insisting that Labour only adopted the first 39 words (they did adopt it but then changed their mind).

10. ‘I celebrated all Israel’s military victories … In 1967 I waited for them to make their peace with the Palestinians which of course never happened. They extended their demands.

LIE – Israel offered back all the land it won in exchange for recognition and peace (Khartoum Agreement). It was rebuffed.

11. ‘Antisemitism was not found in the Arab world until the creation of Israel.

Utter nonsense

12. ‘Antisemitism is much less in the Labour Party than elsewhere ‘

13. ‘Many Jewish people are unnecessarily scared. They think Labour is a nest of antisemites. It’s the result of unbalanced propaganda. There are two intersecting stories: Preventing the election of JC and preventing attacks on Israel.

Four LIES here.

14. ‘The word ‘Zionist’ would possibly be banned …’ (referring to what the Board of Deputies supposedly wants!”)

Red Ted Knight was in the audience. He said he’s never experienced any antisemitism in Labour. ‘It’s the Establishment that is attacking Corbyn.’

The piece de resistance was when Rosenhead accused me of having called him a kapo …………….

I said in no uncertain terms that this was a lie.

But later I thought: What do we expect from JVL? And from someone who blames Jews for the Holocaust?

 

Postscript:  Until now I had not seen Rosenhead’s defence for blaming Jews for the Holocaust. He blames ‘Zionist leaders’ for the failure to take up the Dominican Republic’s  ‘offer’ during the Evian Conference to take 100,000 Jews from Europe. This is a lie. The truth is here.  In support of his lie, Rosenhead adduces a 1938 quote from Ben Gurion (If I knew that it was possible to save all the[Jewish] children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, for before us lies not only the numbers of these children but the historical reckoning of the people of Israel).

In our deconstruction of Suarez’s book, we unpack the wilful misinterpretation of this quote (page 9). Most importantly in December 1938 Ben Gurion did not know about the impending Holocaust that was to come. He did not know that Jewish children who could not escape from Occupied Europe would lose their lives. Ben Gurion used the word ‘save’, but to interpret this as the saving of life is entirely wrong.

 

 

Bibi Masterclass: Wrong to allow Hezbolla flag at Sunday’s Al Quds

I was lucky enough to be present at Prime Minister Netanyahu’s meeting at Policy Exchange in London on Thursday (7 June). He was interviewed by William Shawcross. You can see the video and a transcript here.

On July 17 2019 Bibi will become the longest serving Israel PM ever, beating David Ben Gurion’s 12½ years or so. And he spoke with the authority, dignity and self-assurance of a leader on top of his job and at the peak of his career.  The slides he used were a perfect complement to his presentation.

The purpose of Bibi’s trip to Europe was to gather support from Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May against concessions to Iran and against Iran’s involvement in Syria.  Shawcross began by asking him if France, Germany and the UK were now accepting the end of the JCPOA? Bibi responded by saying what he DIDN’T say to the three Ms (Macron/Merkel/May).

He didn’t tell them that the JCPOA was finished – he didn’t need to because of the relative weights of the US and the Iranian economy. Faced (as they are) with the choice between doing business with Iranian counterparts or those from the US, no sensible government would choose Iran. (In his new book about Bibi, Anshel Pfeffer reportedly  makes comparisons with Donald Trump. But while Trump’s economics is flaky (witness his introduction of protection for US steel!), Bibi’s is strong: he studied at MIT and Harvard and then worked for the Boston Consulting Group).

Shawcross asked him how he had managed to bring Russia round to tacitly allowing Israel to rebuff threats from Iran-backed forces in Syria. His brilliant response: ‘Is there a Baker Street here? That’s the dog that didn’t bark’ (a Sherlock Holmes reference).

He was asked the expected questions about Gaza and responded as expected, with this slide entitled ‘Hams Terror Activities Against Israel’ (apologies for the poor quality of the photos. I have requested the slides – meantime if anyone has better ones, please tell me).

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He moved onto Iran.

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It became clear that the main purpose of his trip was to enlist European help in stopping Iran from expanding its influence in the Middle East, for example in Syria.

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On March 11, 2017, Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Ali Ja’fari said of the worldwide Islamic regime: “The history of Iran is replete with agreement on the Rule of the Jurisprudent which has [already] crossed Iran’s borders, and the united Islamic nation is being formed… We are on the path that leads to the rule of Islam worldwide.”

Here Bibi slipped in a clever soundbite: “It’s a mad idea but mad ideas before they’ve failed have claimed the lives of millions. We know that and so Iran doesn’t believe in a master race, Iran believes in a master faith.”

Bibi had a good comment on the status of Jerusalem. Those who argue that East Jerusalem should be the Palestinian capital often cite UN Resolution 181 on Partition. It proposed that Jerusalem should be an international city.  It also proposed (Bibi pointed out) that Bethlehem should be in the international zone but no-one seriously thinks that if there is a Palestinian State, Bethlehem would not be in it.

The first questioner was Lord Michael Howard a former Conservative leader.  He asked why Israel couldn’t use rubber bullets for those attempting to breach the border – or why the IDF couldn’t shoot them in the legs? He must have been asleep when Bibi was talking. Alternatively there is an issue with his hearing or his hearing aids. Because Bibi had already answered that question: “….water cannon doesn’t work, and tear gas doesn’t work” (from 17:20 on the video and transcript). (There’s not enough water and the prevaling wind is into the sea).  Of course the Guardian headlined Howard’s question – and pointed out that he is Jewish – without (of course) mentioning that Bibi had already covered these points.

The third question (from me) was about UK policy towards Hezbolla. Just three days before the annual Israel Hatefest in London (the Al Quds Day march) – when Hezbolla flags are legally on display – did Bibi see any sense in the distinction the UK government makes between the ‘political wing’ of Hezbolla  and its ‘military’ wing?

A lesser politician might have ducked the question, out of deference to their host. But the second longest-serving Prime Minister of Israel doesn’t do deference, when it comes to the UK Foreign Office appeasing terrorists who wish genocide on Jews. He answered fairly, squarely and superbly: “I think this is wrong. They’re both seeking the destruction of not only of Israel but of Jews and it’s like saying well the SS is bad but the Nazi political wing is okay”. Watch it here. Now Bibi became animated: “The support of Hezbollah and Hamas by people who claim that they have progressive values, I mean these are horrible people. It’s the worst theocratic gangsters in the world. They believe in nothing that we believe …  This is pure and simple antisemitism that they are aligning with these horrible forces. That may be the wrong people, that execute people, their own people at gunpoint. That espouse this medieval barbarism against the forces of modernity and pluralism, I think there’s something deeply wrong with this. And who’s at fault here? It’s not Israel.”

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He went on to talk about Israel’s successful diplomacy which has resulted in improved relations with many countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia – countries which are hungry for Israel’s expertise in counter-terror and in technology.

And – he said – this is paying dividends in public attitudes to Israel in those countries.

In his subsequent BBC Newsnight interview too, Bibi showed us just how much of a class act he is. Diplomatic – he didn’t have a bad word to say about Obama – knowledgeable, supremely articulate and an all-round great communicator. Evan Davis has a hectoring interview style but Bibi remained cool as a cucumber and forensically analytical.

Bottom line: In a world where so many leaders prove themselves here-today-gone-tomorrow pygmies, Israel and the Jewish people are blessed with a giant.

 

 

MCB and Labour: What kind of fools do they take us for?

Corbyn and McDonnell have called for an investigation of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, following the MCB.  On The The Andrew Marr Show on BBC on Sunday, Sajid Javid rejected the call.

The MCB is aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood . It supports a boycott of Israel but no other country. It has not accepted the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism. The Home Secretary is right not to do business with the unrepresentative MCB – like (indeed) the previous Labour government.

There have been a tiny number of incidents in the Conservative Party but compared with antisemitism in Labour, they are a drop in the ocean. There have been tens of thousands of antisemitic incidents in Labour reported (since January 2016). Over 1000 people have been reported and there is a backlog of 1000 more to be reported. Six Councillors have been quietly reinstated.

The Conservatives claim ‘We take all such incidents seriously, which is why we have suspended all those who have behaved inappropriately and launched immediate investigations.’ The evidence bears this out.

The MCB and Labour have complained about this Conservative Councillor who supposedly ‘backed the detention of all Muslims’.  Nonsense. She was simply commenting that sometimes in the interest of security it is necessary to detain extremists. Lord Carlile (among others) has said the same thing. If TPIMs were used more widely, lives could be saved. Darren Osborne showed many signs of instability. If he had been detained under a TPIM, Makram Ali would not be dead.

Shamefully JCORE and UJS have supported the MCB’s call.

The irony is that neither the MCB nor Corbyn or McDonnell have mentioned Sir Alan Duncan.

Let’s recall some of the nastiness of Duncan………… (whose recent career includes being ‘special envoy’ for Oman and Yemen and running a consultancy advising clients with interests in the Middle East).

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 in October 2014, following the debate in Parliament on Palestinian statehood, he said “all know that the United States is in hock to a very powerful financial lobby which dominates its politics.” In his RUSI speech after the vote, he said that “no endorser of Israeli settlements should be considered fit to stand for election, remain a member of a mainstream political party, or sit in a Parliament.

And

But our politics has rules…funding should not come from another country or from citizens of another country, or be unduly in hock to another country. This rule seems to apply to every country except when it comes from Israel. Jewish voters in the UK should be welcomed as supporters of, and donors to, their favoured political party.”

“…the support of any British Jew for any political party can hinge on whatever they want”

“…We need British Jews for the Conservative, Labour, or other UK parties; not the Israeli lobby for any party. The time has come to make sure above any doubt that the funding of any party in the UK is clearly decoupled from the influence of the Israeli state.”

Comments which earned him a sharp rebuke from the CST who said that they ‘resonated with the Jews / money / hidden power / alien purpose motifs of old antisemitic conspiracy theory: only now directed at Israel or pro-Israelis, rather than Jews’.

Why have neither the MCB nor Corbyn nor McDonnell mentioned these thoroughly shameful comments?

Perhaps because they agree?

It is pellucidly clear that this attack on the Conservatives is simply a sordid attempt to divert attention away from the plague of antisemitism in Labour.  Racism should never become a political football.

Apart from the committed, it fools no-one.

Postscript: Ed Husain says it far more eloquently ………… ‘Lifting from the Soviet Union’s playbook of diversionary tactics, Corbyn has now accused the Conservatives of “Islamophobia”. ‘