To LSE for this Israel-bashing session – not produced by the Palestine Society but by LSE academic staff. The star turn was Phyllis Starkey, a former Labour MP and current Vice Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians, a UK based charity claiming to work “for the health and dignity of Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees” but which in reality promotes distorted and false narratives and demonising rhetoric under the guise of medical expertise and scientific fact.
The meeting was – of course – based on a false premise – that the settlements are illegal. It was left to me in the Q+A to point out that the King Had No Clothes: No court of law has ever deemed the settlements ’illegal’. The ICJ did (2004) but it isn’t a proper Court – it’s a creature of the UN. And the terms of the Palestine Mandate, as given to the UK by the League of Nations, allow – and even encourage – settlement anywhere in historic Palestine.
Hence Starkey’s description of the settlements as a ‘warcrime’ is pure fiction. As was her assertion that ‘settlements are a permanent change’. All are subject to negotiation in a final status deal: indeed settlements in Gaza were given up in 2005. And so on: Starkey criticised the checkpoints without saying why they are needed, and claimed that Israel treats the settlements as part of Israel – no it doesn’t, hence why military law applies in Judea and Samaria to non-Israelis.
After the Richard Falk fiasco last year you’d have thought LSE academics would have been more careful about bashing Israel ………….