Letter to UK Foreign Secretary

Dear Dominic Raab

A group of 18 MPs and Upper House Members have written to you about Issa Amro, a well-known Palestinian activist who has been charged with crimes by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

On 6 January Amro was convicted in an Israeli Military Court on six out of eighteen charges related to activities between 2010-2016. After criticizing the Palestinian Authority on social media, he was also charged in 2017 in a Palestinian court with disturbing “public order” under Palestine’s Cyber Crime Law of 2017 as well as “insulting the higher authorities”.

These 18 MPs and Peers claim Amro is a ‘principled human rights defender who should not be put on trial and convicted for his peaceful community organising.’

They are lying.  Amro is far from ‘peaceful’. He was first put on trial in 2016 on 18 charges dating back to 2010, including incitement, assaulting an Israeli and participating in a march without a permit.

There are clear indications that Amro’s group Youth Against Settlements (YAS) supports terrorism. He is close to extreme anti-Israel groups and to the Tamimi family, notorious for virulent Jew-hatred and ardent support for terrorism.

In July 2014, he posted a tweet demanding “Stop drinking our children’s blood in Qaza , Israel occupation is killing our people’s lives.” (In this and several other tweets, the links to Facebook posts do not work, either because the posts are not public or have been deleted). A few days earlier, his group Youth Against Settlements (YAS) had posted a cartoon on its Facebook page depicting Israeli prime minister Netanyahu with a gun and crushing a bleeding Palestinian child to death, while a camera man films Netanyahu’s bandaged finger. Some four weeks later, Amro accused Israel of a “genocide operation in Gaza.”

As part of their programme We Are British Jews the BBC took a group of British Jews to meet Issa Amro in Hebron.  One of the group, Damon Lenszner, can be seen here (3m 26 seconds) reporting what Amro said to the group: “When the time comes, we would expel all Jews from Hebron – from the West Bank – and those that stayed would be arrested and tried for war crimes” (the BBC edited this out).

Clearly Issa Amro is not a ‘peaceful community organiser’

The letter which the 18 MPs and Lords signed was drafted by CAABU, an anti-Israel organisation. With the exception of the Bishop of Southwark they all signed CAABU’s  letter last May opposing extension of Israeli sovereignty in Judea/Samaria (‘annexation’) as a step in the Trump Administration’s Peace Plan. One might assume that CAABU has a list of people who have given it carte blanche to sign any letter. How many of the 18 were even AWARE of this letter?

As the table below shows, thirteen of the eighteen have a record which includes anti-Israel or antisemitic activity, some including a failure to speak out about genuine human rights abuses is countries such as Iran and Pakistan, or about the atrocities suffered by the Kurds.

Nine failed to sign Ann McDonagh MP’s letter to the Chinese Ambassador expressing outrage about China’s treatment of the Uighur Muslims.

So beyond the usual courtesy response, CAABU’s letter needs no action.

As ever

Record includes anti-Israel or antisemitism?Signed Uighur Letter?
Rushanara Ali LabourY
Tracy Brabin LabourN
Crispin Blunt ConservativeN
Alan Brown SNPY
Alistair Carmichael LDY
Sarah Champion LabourY
Joanna Cherry SNPY
Brendan O’Hara SNPY
Tommy Sheppard SNPY
Andy Slaughter LabourN
Baroness Blackstone LabourY
Lord Judd LabourY
Baroness Northover LDN
Lord Purvis LDN
Baroness Sheehan LDN
Bishop of SouthwarkN
Lord Warner CrossbenchN
Baroness Warsi ConsN

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