israel (apartheid state) Stooges Freak Out over Baroness Jenny Tonge’s Remarks – Again

They plot to get her removed from the House of Lords

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“Absolutely appalling and a criminal act, but does it ever occur to Bibi and the present Israeli government that its actions against Palestinians may be reigniting anti-Semitism? I suppose someone will say that it is anti-Semitic to say so?”

What’s wrong with that?

Everything, according to the ‘usual suspects’ among the Inquisitors that makes up the Israel lobby.

Lord Pickles, in the House of Lords on 29 October responding to a Private Notice Question, said: “My Lords, will the Minister join me, along with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in condemning the words of the noble Baroness, Lady Tonge, in suggesting that the murders in Pittsburgh were caused by the actions of the Israeli Government? That suggestion will clearly cause great pain in Pittsburgh, and falls foul of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.”

Jenny Tonge, a tireless champion of Palestinians’ rights, has fought long and hard in the struggle for their freedom. So what came as a surprise (for some) was the knife in the back from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), who issued this statement on 30 October: “In the aftermath of the massacre of 11 Jewish worshipers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Baroness Tonge posted a comment on Facebook that suggested Israel’s policies and its treatment of the Palestinians could be contributing to a rise in anti-Semitism generally. Baroness Tonge subsequently removed the post.

“PSC regards the original post to be deeply troubling. Whilst the post acknowledged that the killings were appalling and a criminal act, it risked being read as implying that anti-Semitism can only be understood in the context of a response to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Such a view risks justifying or minimising antisemitism.”

The PSC told Jewish News it had “contacted Jenny Tonge to express our deep concerns at her post and is in the process of considering any further steps.”

Jewish News also reported that Conservative Friends of Israel Parliamentary Chairman Lord Pickles and Conservative Friends of Israel Honorary President Lord Polak had condemned her “callous inflammatory” remarks. They said the post “is in clear violation of the IHRA definition of Anti-Semitism adopted by the UK Government. For a Member of the House of Lords to publish such hateful thoughts brings Parliament into disrepute.”

Never mind that Jenny’s remark was accurate. The Israeli regime strains every sinew to ensure its behaviour is so appalling as to invite detestation and loathing, not because they are Jews but because they are the ‘amoral thugs’ that the late Jewish MP Sir Gerald Kaufman once called them.

Remember the warning from one of their own, former Israeli Director of Military Intelligence Yehoshafat Harkabi, who wrote: “Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.”

Bibi and his adoring supporters, not Jenny Tonge, need to think about that. It remains to be seen what motivated the atrocity at Pittsburgh. But whatever the IHRA definition says, the European Convention on Human Rights  and our Human Rights Act provide for freedom of expression which applies not only to information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that “offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population”. Unless, of course, they call for violence, hatred or intolerance, which is not the case here.

Nothing to apologise for

Of course the Zionists, even within her own party, have been gunning for Jenny for a very long time. A doctor by training and profession, she is used to being stabbed in the back by scaredy-cat leaders. In 2012 she was sacked after suggesting that Israel would not last for ever. She rejected an ultimatum from party leader Nick Clegg to apologise and said she stood by her remarks.

The row blew up when Jenny allegedly told a meeting at Middlesex University: “Beware Israel. Israel is not going to be there for ever in its present form… Israel will lose support and then they will reap what they have sown.”   She said America would one day get sick of funding what she called America’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East. “One day, the American people are going to say to the Israel lobby in the USA: Enough is enough.”

Israel’s admirers were soon queuing up to spit their venom. The Board of Deputies of British Jews condemned Tonge’s remarks as “sinister and abhorrent”. Chief executive Jon Benjamin said: “There is no place for someone like Jenny Tonge in mainstream political parties in this country.”

The then chief rabbi, Lord Sacks, said: “I am appalled at Baroness Tonge’s remarks. They are dangerous, inflammatory and unacceptable… Views such as those expressed by Baroness Tonge have no place in civil public discourse.”

The Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel applauded Clegg’s “decisive action” and hoped the sacking would “draw a line under the continual smearing of Lib Dem party policy on Israel and the Middle East”. And according to The Guardian an unnamed Lib Dem spokesman said: “Jenny Tonge does not speak for the party on Israel and Palestine. Her presence and comments at this event were extremely ill-advised and ill-judged… The Liberal Democrats are wholehearted supporters of a peaceful two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine issue.”

Clegg, who was also Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government at the time, said: “These remarks were wrong and offensive and do not reflect the values of the Liberal Democrats. I asked Baroness Tonge to withdraw her remarks and apologise for the offence she has caused. She has refused to do so and will now be leaving the party. The Liberal Democrats have a proud record of campaigning for the rights of Palestinians, and that will continue, but we are crystal clear in our support for a two-state solution.”

And a fat lot of good adopting that position has done. Even in 2012 it was obvious the two-state solution was stone dead.

However John McHugo, chair of the LibDem Friends of Palestine, said: “Jenny’s motivation in speaking up for the rights of the oppressed is anger at injustice when others, who have the duty to speak out, pass by silently on the other side of the street.”

In 2004 she said about Palestinian suicide bombers: “If I had to live in that situation – and I say that advisedly – I might just consider becoming one myself.” Everyone went mad. A senior Conservative said her comments would “sicken those across the world who have lost loved ones to suicide bombers”. The ignoramus didn’t mention the thousands of Palestinian families who had lost loved ones, their homes and their livelihoods – everything – to Israeli terrorists and occupation forces.

Charles Kennedy, the then LibDem party leader, dismissed Jenny as children’s spokesperson, saying: “Her recent remarks… are completely unacceptable. They are not compatible with Liberal Democrat party policies and principles. There can be no justification, under any circumstances, for taking innocent lives through terrorism.”

But Kennedy too couldn’t bring himself to mention the casualties inflicted by Israel’s acts of terror and frequent high-tech military strikes on an occupied and defenceless civilian population.

Then, in 2006, Jenny told a fringe meeting at her party’s conference: “The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the western world, its financial grips. I think they have probably got a certain grip on our party.” As if to prove her point the LibDem Friends of Israel immediately issued a press release saying: “In the coming days and weeks we will work closely with colleagues inside the Party to ensure every avenue is explored towards removing Baroness Tonge from the Liberal Democrat benches in the House of Lords.”

The party’s leader at the time, Menzies Campbell, dissociated himself from her “offensive remarks” and “their clear anti-Semitic connotations”. Offensive? The pro-Israel lobby’s infiltration of Parliament and public life was there for all to see. That’s what was offensive. And the threat to national security was blazingly obvious. For example, our most important security bodies – the Intelligence & Security Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee and Defence Committee – were all headed by senior Friends of Israel. How could that be in our national interest?

Clegg and Co would do well to re-read the Preamble to their own party’s Constitution, a very fine document indeed especially where it says: “We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience… We reject all prejudice and discrimination… Our responsibility for justice and liberty cannot be confined by national boundaries; we are committed to fight poverty, oppression, hunger, ignorance, disease and aggression wherever they occur and to promote the free movement of ideas, people, goods and services.”

Those principles are as good as any for guiding a person through political life. But where are they reflected in our political elite’s dealings with the scandalous injustice in the Holy Land?

And just how principled was Clegg’s sacking of one of the country’s most committed campaigners for human rights, Jenny Tonge?

Jenny’s goodbye to the Liberal Democrat party and its sanctimonious hypocrites was a long time coming. She’s well rid of them.

PSC too timid to put down a marker for upholding international law?

And what of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign? I had suspicions in 2007 that the PSC was infiltrated at headquarters level when they refused to review or give any space at all to my book “Radio Free Palestine” (Foreword by Jeff Halper) even after I’d sent them two complimentary copies which they claimed had gone astray. They refused again when the book was published on the web for all to read. How’s that for “Solidarity”? Although I have every admiration for the hardworking campaigners in PSC’s local branches the leadership has done nothing to inspire or give me confidence. Of course, it is to be expected that such a high-profile campaign group would be targeted.

At its Annual General Meeting in 2016 the PSC even threw out a proposal to seek Israel’s expulsion from the United Nations. Chairman Hugh Lanning was reported to have started proceedings on a positive note saying: “Let us recommit to Palestine to make sure that we make a difference in the coming year.”

But a motion put for the PSC’s Executive Committee to “request the Government of the United Kingdom, enforced by a petition and lobbying, to submit a motion to the Security Council recommending that the General Assembly expel Israel from the UN in compliance with the UN Charter, Article 6” failed — 76 for, 116 against. A statement by its main sponsor, Blake Alcott, said that an identical motion to the AGM a year previously was likewise opposed by the PSC leadership who felt “the time is not yet right”. He said: “Pro-Palestinians must wonder how much worse Israel’s crimes must be before the international community takes disciplinary action.”

There is ample reason to call for Israel’s expulsion from the UN. That racist endeavour clearly isn’t the ‘peace-loving state’ required by the UN Charter’s Article 4. Nor has it fulfilled the four conditions to its acceptance as a member back in May 1949. As the record shows, Israel has wilfully breached conditions of membership for decades. Many have argued it automatically disqualifies itself by failing to fulfill membership requirements in the first place. Furthermore it continues to show contempt for numerous UN resolution despite frequent reminders.

When considering what sort of response civil society should make, suspension sounds ‘softer’ than expulsion as membership can be speedily restored if and when Israel satisfies the other member states that it now conforms. And in the circumstances suspension would surely be more difficult to veto. But under the rules expulsion is also an option. This is what the relevant part of the UN Charter says:

(Article 5) A Member of the United Nations against which preventive or enforcement action has been taken by the Security Council may be suspended from the exercise of the rights and privileges of membership by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. The exercise of these rights and privileges may be restored by the Security Council.

(Article 6) A Member of the United Nations which has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the Organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

It might be argued that the passing of numerous UN Security Council resolutions amounts to ‘preventive action’ (although still awaiting enforcement). But Article 6, which stipulates expulsion, is more clear-cut. Israel has certainly violated every norm, every rule of decency, every principle of humanity. And it continues to do so without showing a shred of remorse.

Of course Mr Alcott’s motion, if passed, would have been brushed aside by the British Government which is pledged by successive prime ministers to protect and reward Israel right or wrong. But that is not the point. The aim of the motion was to put down a marker and provide a focus around which other campaign groups across the world could mobilise, bringing similar pressure to bear on their own governments and creating an irresistible swell of global opinion to ensure international law is eventually upheld.

The PSC failed that simple test. So how will it ever “make a difference” on behalf of the long-suffering Palestinians?

This week Jenny wrote on her Facebook page: “PSC are very worried about the furore surrounding my remarks following Pittsburgh and I have resigned to save them embarrassment!!! Sad day.”

She was a patron and had been a member for 10 years. I’d say she’s well shot of them and the LibDems, both.

*( Baroness Jenny Tonge, Stop the War Coalition Rally outside the Iraq Inquiry, London, Blair inside. Image credit: Chris Beckett/ flickr)

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After 70 Years of Abuse, A Definition of Anti-Palestinian Racism

BY Stuart Littlewood
Source

photo_2018-10-08_13-18-04_6aafa.jpgIs this where the fight-back begins?

What is the matter with the Palestine solidarity movement? Since 1948 (and before that, even) the Palestinians have been viciously abused and dispossessed while the perpetrators and their supporters, including unprincipled politicians of the Western Powers, have continually played the anti-Semitism card.

Lately, bemused spectators were bored witless by the long and ludicrous propaganda campaign to vilify Jeremy Corbyn, bully the Labour Party into making the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism a cornerstone of their code of conduct and stifle discussion of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. The expected riposte never came.

Jewish Voice For Labour, of all people, have now stepped in and struck back with a useful looking definition of Anti-Palestinian Racism which they decribe as “hatred towards or prejudice against Palestinians as Palestinians”. In a document faintly mocking the pronouncements on anti-Semitism they suggest that manifestations of anti-Palestinian racism might include the denial of Palestinian rights to a state of Palestine as recognised by over 130 member countries of the United Nations and blaming Palestinians themselves for their plight under brutal military occupation and lock-down. Here’s how they put it:

Contemporary examples of anti-Palestinian racism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

1. Denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination and nationhood, or actively conspiring to prevent the exercise of this right.

2. Denial that Israel is in breach of international law in its continued occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

3. Denial that Israel is an apartheid state according to the definition of the International Convention on Apartheid.

4. Denial of the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba and of their right, and the right of their descendants, to return to their homeland.

5. Denial that Palestinians have lived in what is now the land of Israel for hundreds of years and have their own distinctive national identity and culture.

6. Denial that the laws and policies which discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel (such as the recently passed Nation State Law) are inherently racist.

7. Denial that there is widespread discrimination against Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories in matters of employment, housing, justice, education, water supply, etc, etc.

8. Tolerating the killing or harming of Palestinians by violent settlers in the name of an extremist view of religion.

9. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Palestinians — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth of a Palestinian conspiracy to wipe Israel off the map.

10. Justifying the collective punishment of Palestinians (prohibited under the Geneva Convention) in response to the acts of individuals or groups.

11. Accusing the Palestinians as a people, of encouraging the Holocaust.

I am not sure how Palestinians, as genuine Semites living there for thousands of years, will react to No.5 which claims their homeland is “now the land of Israel”. Despite being illegally occupied by an apartheid entity most of whose members have no ancestral links to the ancient “land of Israel” it is still Palestine.

For decades activists have been telling the Israel lobby to look in the mirror and address their own racial hatred towards the Palestinians. You must truly hate people to deny them their freedom and even their right to return to their homes and livelihoods. Why has it taken so long for such a simple and obvious weapon to be produced? Doesn’t it make you wonder about the true agenda of those in charge of Palestine solidarity? And why is it left to a group of Jews (bless ’em) to do it?

The question now is how best to deliver this somewhat delayed riposte. It might have been most effective while the iron was hot, at the height of the anti-Semitism witch-hunt and media onslaught. Many activists wanted Corbyn to turn on his tormentors and tell them to mend their own vile attitude towards Palestinian Arabs before daring to smear others with accusations of anti-Semitism.

On the other hand it will benefit from careful honing, cool planning and the massing of pro-Palestinian support to make the hit really count.

For reasons we know only too well our politicians won’t adopt it as eagerly as they embraced the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism. But it is at least a starting point in the fight-back especially if deployed by a coalition of genuine pro-Palestine groups and the BDS movement as the centrepiece of a new, high-octane strategy.

Lies, damned lies….

Meanwhile I hope all those who allowed themselves to be suckered by the Israel lobby will hang their heads in shame when they read this report by the Media Reform Coalition: Labour, Antisemitism and the News – A disinformation paradigm. The Executive summary says that an analysis of over 250 articles and news segments from the largest UK news providers (online and television) showed:

• 29 examples of false statements or claims, several of them made by anchors or correspondents themselves, six of them surfacing on BBC television news programmes, and eight on TheGuardian.com

• A further 66 clear instances of misleading or distorted coverage including misquotations, reliance on single source accounts, omission of essential facts or right of reply, and repeated assumptions made by broadcasters without evidence or qualification. In total, a quarter of the sample contained at least one documented inaccuracy or distortion.

• Overwhelming source imbalance, especially on television news where voices critical of Labour’s code of conduct were regularly given an unchallenged and exclusive platform, outnumbering those defending Labour by nearly 4 to 1.

In all, there were 95 clear-cut examples of misleading or inaccurate reporting on mainstream television and online news platforms, with a quarter of the total sample containing at least one such example. On TV two thirds of the news segments contained at least one reporting error or substantive distortion.

The report points to “a persistent subversion of conventional news values”. Furthermore, coverage of Labour’s revised code of conduct during the summer of 2018 often omitted critical discussion of the ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism promoted by the IHRA and wrongly described it as universally adopted. “We established through background case research that although the IHRA is an international body with representatives from 31 countries, only six of those countries have, to date, formally adopted the definition themselves.

• In spite of a call for local authorities to adopt the definition by the UK’s central government in early 2017, less than a third of councils have responded and several of those have chosen not to include any of the controversial examples contained within the working definition.

• Several high-profile bodies have rejected or distanced themselves from the working definition, including the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (a successor to the body that drafted the original wording on which the definition is based) and academic institutions including the London School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies.

• Mainstream academic and legal opinion has been overwhelmingly critical of the IHRA definition, including formal opinions produced by three senior UK barristers and one former appeals court judge. Virtually none of this essential context found its way into news reports of the controversy. Instead, the Labour Party was routinely portrayed by both sources and correspondents as beyond the pale of conventional thinking on the IHRA definition.”

Which all goes to show that Britain’s mainstream media has a hill to climb to get back its self-respect.

Miko Peled: The State of Israel Will Crumble and We Will See A Free Democratic Palestine from the River to the Sea Sooner than Most People Think

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Miko Peled, an Israeli general’s son and himself a former Israeli soldier, is nowadays a noted peace activist and a tireless worker for justice in the Holy Land. He is considered to be one of the clearest voices calling for support of BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) against the Zionist regime and for the creation of a single democracy with equal rights on all of historic Palestine.

He will be at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool on 23-26 September. I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview him beforehand. In a week that marks the 70th anniversary of the assassination of Folke Bernadotte and the 36th anniversary of the genocidal massacre at Sabra and Shatila refugee camp, atrocities committed in pursuit of Zionist ambition, what Miko says may give those who take dictation from the Israel lobby cause to reflect.

Stuart Littlewood:  Miko, you were raised in a Zionist family on a Zionist diet. What happened to cause you to break out from there?

Miko Peled:  As the title of my memoir The General’s Son suggests, I was born to a father who was a general in the IDF and then, as the sub-title points out, I embarked on a “Journey of an Israeli in Palestine”. The journey defined for me, and through me will hopefully define for the reader, what is “Israel” and what is “Palestine”. It is a journey from the sphere of the privileged oppressor and occupier (Israel) to that of the oppressed (Palestine) and the people who are native to Palestine. I discovered that it is, in fact, the same country, that Israel is Palestine occupied. But without the journey, I would not have figured that out. This for me was the key. It allowed me to see the injustice, the deprivation, the lack of water and rights and so on. The further I allowed, and continue to allow myself to venture into this journey the more I was able to see what Zionism really is, what Israel is, and who I am within that.

Many months ago you warned that Israel was going to “pull all the stops, they are going to smear, they are going to try anything they can to stop Corbyn”, and the reason anti-Semitism is used is that they have no other argument. This has come true with Jeremy Corbyn under vicious, sustained attack even from former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks. How should Corbyn deal with it and what counter-measures would you suggest he takes?

Jeremy Corbyn made it clear during last year’s Labour conference that he will not allow the anti-Semitic accusations to interfere with his work as leader of the Labour Party and as a man dedicated to creating a just society in the UK and a just world. In that speech, he said something that no Western leader would dare to say: “We must end the oppression of the Palestinian people.” He has been right on the money the whole time and his support is growing. I believe he is doing the right thing. I expect he will continue to do so.

And what do you make of Sacks’ outburst?

Not surprising that a racist who supports Israel would come out like this – he represents no one.

The Labour Party’s ruling body, the NEC, has adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism lock, stock, and barrel despite warnings from legal experts and a recommendation to include caveats by the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee. This decision is seen as caving in to outside pressure and obviously impacts on free speech which is enshrined in British law and guaranteed by international convention. How will it affect Labour’s credibility?

Accepting the IHRA definition was a mistake and I am sure they will live to feel the sting of shame this has placed on those who voted to adopt it. There are at least two notices out already by the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, which makes up at least 25% to 30% of UK Jews, that they reject the notion that JC is anti-Semitic, they reject Zionism and they reject the IHRA definition.

Turning to the Occupation, you have said that Israel achieved its aim to make the conquest of the West Bank irreversible 25 years ago. Why do you think the Western Powers still cling to the idea of a Two State Solution?  How do you expect the situation to play out?

The US, and particularly the current administration, accepts that Israel has swallowed all of Mandatory Palestine and there is no room for non-Jews in that country. They make no claims otherwise. The Europeans are in a different situation. The politicians in Europe want to appease Israel and accept it as it is. Their constituents, however, demand justice for the Palestinians so, as an act of cowardly compromise, the EU countries in true post-colonial fashion treat the Palestinian Authority as though it was a Palestinian state. That is why, I believe, the Europeans are going ahead and “recognizing” the so-called State of Palestine, even though there is no such state. They do it in order to appease their constituents without actually doing anything to further the cause of justice in Palestine. These recognitions have helped not one Palestinian, they have not freed a single prisoner from an Israeli prison, they have not saved a single child from bombings in Gaza, they have not alleviated the suffering and deprivation of Palestinians in the Naqab desert or in the refugee camps. It is an empty, cowardly gesture.

What the Europeans ought to do is adopt BDS. They should recognize that Palestine is occupied, that Palestinians are living under an apartheid regime in their own land, they are victims of ethnic cleansing and genocide and that this must stop, and the Zionist occupation must end completely and without conditions.

I believe the State of Israel will crumble and that we will see a free democratic Palestine from the River to the Sea sooner than most people think. The current reality is unsustainable, two million people in Gaza are not going away, Israel has just announced – again – that two million of its non-Jewish citizens are not welcome to be part of that state, and BDS is hard at work.

The IDF calls itself the most moral army in the world. You served in the IDF. How credible is its claim?

It is a lie. There is no such thing as a moral army and the IDF has been engaged in ethnic cleansing, genocide and enforcing an apartheid regime for seven decades. In fact the IDF is one of the best equipped, best trained, best financed and best fed terrorist forces in the world. Even though they have generals and nice uniforms and the most advanced weapons, they are no more than armed gangs of thugs and its main purpose is to terrorize and kill Palestinians. Its officers and soldiers execute with enthusiasm the policies of brutality and ruthlessness which are cruelly inflicted on Palestinians’ everyday life.

Breaking the Silence is an organization of IDF veterans committed to exposing the truth about a foreign military trying to control an oppressed civilian population under illegal occupation. They say their aim is to eventually end the occupation. How do you rate their chances of success?

They and other NGOs like them could make a huge difference. Unfortunately, they do not go far enough, they do not call on young Israelis to refuse to serve in the IDF, and they do not reject Zionism. Without these two elements, I feel their work is superficial and will make little difference.
Israelis often accuse the Palestinian education system of turning out future terrorists. How does Israel’s education compare?

The Palestinian education system goes through a thorough vetting process so all claims of it teaching hate are baseless. Israel, however, does a fine job in teaching Palestinians that they are occupied and oppressed and have no choice but to resist. They do it using the military, the secret police, the apartheid bureaucracy, the countless permits and prohibitions and restrictions on their lives.

The Israeli courts teach Palestinians that there is no justice for them under the Israeli system and that they are counted as nothing. I have not met Palestinians who express hate, but if some do it is because of the education that Israel is providing, not because of any Palestinian textbook.

Israelis go through a thorough racist education that is well documented in a book by my sister, Prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, titled Palestine in Israeli Textbooks.

Christian communities in the Holy Land have been dwindling fast. The Israelis claim the Muslims are pushing them out but Christians say it’s the cruelty of the occupation that has caused so many to leave. What is your take on this? Are the Israelis trying to drive a wedge between Christians and Muslims? Is there a religious war going on to drive the Christians out?

Christians used to make up 12% of the population in Palestine, now they are barely 2%. There is no one to blame for this other than Israel. Israel destroyed Palestinian Christian communities and churches just like they destroyed Muslims. To Israel Arabs are Arabs and they have no place in the Land of Israel. I strongly recommend the late Bob Simon’s excellent report on CBS 60 Minutes from 2012 titled Christians in the Holy Land. At the end, he confronts the former Ambassador of Israel to Washington DC who wanted the show canceled.

Would you call yourself a religious person these days? 

I never was.

You know Gaza. How do you rate Hamas on their potential to govern?  And could honest brokers work with them towards peace?

I have no way to rate Hamas one way or another. I did speak to people who worked in Gaza for many years, both Palestinians and foreigners, and their assessment was that as far as governing goes, and taking into consideration the severe conditions under which they live, they are to be commended.

Some people say that the Israeli public is largely unaware of the horrors of the occupation and shielded from the truth. If true, is it beginning to change?

Israelis are fully aware of the atrocities and they approve. Israelis vote, and they vote in high numbers and for seven decades they keep voting for people who send them and their children to commit these atrocities. The atrocities are committed not by foreign mercenaries but by Israeli boys and girls who for the most part serve proudly. The only thing that changed is the discourse. In the past, there was a facade of a civilized discourse within Israel, and today that no longer exists. Saying that Israel must kill more and more Palestinians is a perfectly acceptably statement today. In the past, people were somewhat embarrassed to admit they thought that way.

Israel has carried out a succession of armed assaults in international waters on humanitarian aid boats taking urgent medical and other non-military supplies to the beleaguered people of Gaza. Crew and passengers are routinely beaten up and thrown in jail, and some killed. Should the organizers now give up, or re-double their efforts using different tactics?

The Gaza flotillas are certainly commendable but if the goal is to reach the shores of Gaza they are doomed to fail. Their value is only in the fact that they are an expression of solidarity and one has to wonder if the time and effort and risk and expense justify the result. Israel will make sure no one gets through and the world pays them little attention. In my opinion, the flotillas are not the best form of action. No single issue in the ongoing tragedy in Palestine can be resolved on its own. Not the siege on Gaza, not the political prisoners, not the water issue and not the racist laws, etc. Only a focused and well-coordinated strategy to delegitimize and bring down the Zionist regime can bring justice to Palestine. BDS has the best potential for that but it is not being utilized enough and too much time is wasted on arguing its merits.

Certainly one of the weaknesses on the part of those who care to see justice in Palestine is that anyone with an idea just “goes for it.” There is little co-ordination and hardly any strategy to the very crucial question of how to free Palestine. Israel has succeeded in creating a sense of helplessness on this side and in legitimizing itself and Zionism in general, and that is a serious challenge.

This week was the 70th anniversary of the murder of Swedish diplomat Count Folke Bernadotte by a Zionist hit-squad while serving as UN Security Council mediator in the Arab–Israeli conflict. Everyone is keeping strangely quiet about this, even the Swedes.

This was one in a series of many political assassinations perpetrated by Zionist terrorist gangs in which no-one was held accountable. The first was in 1924 when they assassinated Yaakov Dehan. Then in 1933, they assassinated Chaim Arlozorov. The 1946 massacre at the King David Hotel was of course politically motivated and caused close to one hundred deaths, most of them innocent people who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Then in September 1948 the assassination in Jerusalem of UN intermediary and member of the Swedish royal family, Folke Bernadotte, who apparently came with plans to end the violence in Palestine, plans that the Zionist establishment did not find acceptable. Bernadotte is buried in a humble family grave in Stockholm, there are no memorial services planned that I know of or any mention of this anniversary by any official Swedish organization. My grandfather was Israel’s first ambassador to Sweden. This was shortly after the assassination and he did a fine job making sure that the Swedish government would keep the issue quiet.

There were many, many more assassinations and massacres – the attack on the USS Liberty comes to mind as well as the part played by the brutality of the Zionist apparatus that sees killing as a legitimate tool for accomplishing its political goals. Little is known or recalled about these brutal killings. Countless Palestinian leaders, writers, poets, etc., were assassinated by Israel.

A lot of hope is pinned on BDS by Palestine solidarity. How effective is BDS and how best can civil society turn up the pressure?

BDS is a very effective but slow process. It won’t work through magic or Divine intervention. People need to embrace it fully, work hard, demand the expulsion of all Israeli diplomats and total isolation of Israel. There is too much tolerance for those who promote Zionism and promote Israel and the Israeli army and that needs to change. Elected officials need to be forced to accept BDS entirely. The Palestine solidarity groups need to move from solidarity to full resistance, and BDS is the perfect form of resistance available.

Are there any other key issues that you’re confronting right now?

Moving from solidarity to resistance is, in my opinion, key at this point. Using the tools we have, like BDS is crucial. The passing of the Israeli Nation-State Law is an opportunity to unite the Palestinian citizens of Israel back with the rest of the Palestinians. We should all strive to bring total unity between the refugees, the West Bank, Gaza and 1948, and demand complete equal rights and the replacing of the Zionist regime that has been terrorizing Palestine for seven decades with a free and democratic Palestine. This opportunity will hopefully be seized.

Finally, Miko, how are your two books doing – ‘The General’s Son’ and ‘Injustice: The Story of The Holy Land Foundation Five’? It seems to me that the latter, which tells how the justice system in the US has been undermined to benefit pro-Israel interests, ought to be a must-read here in the UK where the same thing is happening in our political and parliamentary institutions and could spread to the courts.

Well, they are doing fine, though neither one is a best seller yet, and as we are on the less popular side of the issue it is a tough sell. TGS is out in the second edition so that is good, and I would certainly like to see it and Injustice in the hands of more people. Sadly though, not enough people realize how the occupation in Palestine is affecting the lives people in the West because of the work of Zionist watchdog groups like the Board of Deputies in the UK, and AIPAC and the ADL in the US.

In this case alone, five innocent men are serving long sentences in federal prison in the US only because they are Palestinians.

Many thanks, Miko, I appreciate your taking the time to share your views.

 

Chief among the many positive ideas I get from this encounter with Miko is the need for activists to shift up a gear and accelerate from solidarity to full-on resistance. This will mean wider involvement, better coordination, revised targeting, and a sharper strategy. In effect a BDS Mk2, supercharged and on high octane fuel. Secondly, we ought to treat Zionism and those who promote or support it with far less tolerance. As Miko said on another occasion, “If opposing Israel is anti-Semitism then what do you call supporting a state that has been engaged in brutal ethnic cleansing for seven decades?”

As for Jeremy Corbyn – if he reads this – yes, he’d better come down hard on hatemongers including the real foaming-at-the-mouth anti-Semites, but he must also purge the Labour Party of its equally contemptible ‘Zionist Tendency’. And that goes for all our political parties.

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“Close Friend” Britain Doesn’t Object to Israel’s Vicious Piracy, nor Does the EU

Reports are coming in that Israel plans to sell off the four mercy boats it violently hijacked on the high seas a few weeks ago. The peaceful, unarmed vessels were sailing with desperately needed medical supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip which has been illegally blockade by Israel for 12 years.

The crews and passengers of these mercy boats were arrested by the Israeli military, beaten up, thrown in jail and had their money and personal belongings stolen while in custody. Among the passengers on the al-Awda, was British citizen Dr Swee Ang, a consultant at the famous Bart’s Hospital, who susteained two cracked ribs.

The boats were intended as a gift to the people of Gaza, probably the fishermen, but Israeli intelligence officials claimed they would end up in the hands of Hamas. So the Israeli Central Court has decided sell the boats – stolen property – and hand the proceeds to Israeli families illegally squatting on Palestinian land.

When diplomacy worked

Back in 2008 two humanitarian vessels actually got through to Gaza. In an article at the time, entitled ‘Keeping the Sea-Lane to Gaza Open’, I wrote…

The success of the ‘Free Gaza’ boats in breaking the siege, and their safe arrival and departure, was due to the intervention and good offices of the British Foreign Office…
Before the peace activists set sail, the British government was asked about “action to ensure the freedom boats’ safe and uninterrupted passage to Gaza considering these are international waters and Palestinian territorial waters”. Any attempt to stop the boats would surely infringe the right to freedom of movement to and from Gaza, and seriously breach the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Israel is a party.  The minister in charge of Middle East affairs Kim Howells… has now revealed that “FCO officials spoke to Israeli officials in advance of the trip and Israel allowed the boats peacefully into Gaza.”

Nearly three years later, as Gaza Freedom Flotilla II prepared to sail, the Zionist conspiracy was determined not to let the boats reach their destination because safe arrival would drive a coach and horses through Israel’s control-freakery. Earlier that year the Mavi Marmara had been assaulted with lethal force in international waters, without a care for how many they killed.

This prompted the following statement by flotilla organizers to the UN Human Rights Council:

“We are determined to sail to Gaza. Our cause is just and our means are transparent. To underline the fact that we do not present an imminent threat to Israel nor do we aim to contribute to a war effort against Israel, thus eliminating any claim by Israel to self-defense, we invite the HRC or any other UN or international agency to come on board and inspect our vessels at their point of departure, on the high seas, or on their arrival in the Gaza port. We will – and must – continue to sail until the illegal siege of Gaza is ended and Palestinians have the same human and national rights those of us sailing enjoy.”
– Steering Committee of the International Coalition for Gaza Freedom Flotilla II

One of the organizers in London told me that when the British boat’s final passenger list was confirmed, the Foreign Office in London would be contacted with details and asked to “act to ensure the safe passage of their citizens”.

In the end Flotilla II didn’t sail.

Caving in to Israel’s criminal intent

Israel is clearly acting illegally by interfering with the peaceful voyages. A UN fact-finding mission, investigating the assault on the Mavi Marmara, declared that “no case can be made for the legality of the interception and the Mission therefore finds that the interception was illegal…. and to constitute collective punishment of the people living in the Gaza Strip and thus to be illegal and contrary to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention”. It could not even be justified even under Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations [the right of self-defence].

The Centre for Constitutional Rights also concluded that the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip was illegal under international law and amounted to collective punishment. “The flotilla did not seek to travel to Israel, let alone ‘attack’ Israel. Furthermore, the flotilla did not constitute an act which required an ‘urgent’ response, such that Israel had to launch a middle-of-the-night armed boarding… Israel could also have diplomatically engaged Turkey, arranged for a third party to verify there were no weapons onboard and then peacefully guided the vessel to Gaza.”

Craig Murray, an internationally recognized authority on these matters, was Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and responsible for giving political and legal clearance to Royal Navy boarding operations in the Persian Gulf following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. He said that Israel had tried to justify previous fatal attacks on neutral civilian vessels on the High Seas in terms of enforcing an embargo under the legal cover given by the San Remo Manual of International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea. “San Remo only applies to blockade in times of armed conflict. Israel is not currently engaged in an armed conflict, and presumably does not wish to be. San Remo does not confer any right to impose a permanent blockade outwith times of armed conflict, and in fact specifically excludes as illegal a general blockade on an entire population.”

At the same time Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) emphasized “the need to ensure sustained and regular flow of goods and people through the Gaza crossings” and called for “the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment”.

But when MEP Kyriacos Triantaphyllides put a question to the EU Commission this was the reply:

Question:
One year after the military action by Israel against a convoy carrying humanitarian aid supplies to Gaza, during which at least ten civilians were killed, another humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza is now being organised, the principal cargo being supplies of stationery for school pupils. Is the EU and in particular the Commission aware of the new mission that is being organised and what is its position on this matter? Given the participation of EU Member State nationals and the presence of MEPs, will the EU take any measures to ensure that the personal safety of its nationals is not endangered?

Answer:
After the organisation of a flotilla heading to Gaza in May 2010, the Quartet, of which the EU is a member, stated that all those wishing to deliver goods to Gaza should do so through established channels, so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via land crossings into Gaza. It also stated that there was no need for unnecessary confrontations and that all parties should act responsibly in meeting the needs of the people of Gaza….
The Commission stands by this line. A flotilla is not the appropriate response to the humanitarian situation in Gaza. At the same time, Israel must abide by international law when dealing with a possible flotilla. The EU continues to request the lifting of the blockade on Gaza, including the naval blockade.
EU Member States have the responsibility to protect their citizens abroad via their consular services. This responsibility covers assistance for their citizens who might participate in a possible flotilla….

It could have been scripted in Tel Aviv and not by anyone with Christian principles. The “established channel” for delivering goods to Gaza is of course the time-honoured route by sea, which is protected by maritime and international law and therefore entirely appropriate. There’s nothing “provocative” about unarmed vessels with humanitarian cargoes using it. The organizers had offered their cargoes for inspection and verification by a trusted third party to allay Israel’s fears about weapon supplies. They should not have to dirty their hands dealing with a belligerent regime that’s cruelly waging a starvation war on women and children. Anyone suggesting they must do so seeks to legitimize the blockade, which we all know to be illegal and a crime against humanity.

And where is the UN when their maritime Convention is trashed?

Fast-forward to 2018. Her Majesty’s Government has now abandoned all pretense of upholding the Law of the Seas or even pursuing its 2008 policy of intervening to obtain advance clearance from the Israeli authorities. The Foreign Office appears to have joined the Zionist conspiracy to legitimise the Gaza blockade and support Israel’s control-freakery.

Lord Ahmad for the Government, answering a written question in the House of Lords, said: “Embassy officials discussed the travelling flotilla with the Israeli authorities on 6 June. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Gaza including the waters off Gaza.”

The waters off Gaza are international waters where neutral civilian vessels are entitled to free passage under the UN Conventional on the Law of the Seas. Why shouldn’t unarmed aid boats be able sail there unmolested? Is the Law of the Seas now dead? Is Britain no longer committed to keeping the sea lanes open to innocent shipping? And why is the UN not upholdings its own Convention?

In particular, what happened to the diplomacy of 2008? If our embassy was discussing the aid flotilla with Israel nearly 2 months before the 2018 hijacking, what were they talking about? Why didn’t they arrange advance clearance as before? Or were they, by any chance, colluding to thwart this mercy mission? Wouldn’t put it past them.

And in reply to a recent petition demanding a debate on Israel’s undue influence on British politics the Foreign Office says:

“The UK is a close friend of Israel and we enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship. This is built on decades of cooperation between our two countries across a range of fields such as education, hi-tech research, business, arts and culture. Trade between our countries is at record levels, and Israel is an important strategic partner for the UK. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not agree with the allegation of improper influence stated in the petition.”
“In 2017 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was made aware of comments made by a member of staff at the Israeli Embassy in 2017 [referring to the Shai Mosat affair] who was being secretly filmed. Following the publication of this video, the Israeli Ambassador apologised and was clear the comments made by this member of staff do not reflect the views of the Embassy or Government of Israel. The UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed.”

Mosat was a senior political adviser to the Israeli ambassador. The ambassador is Mark Regev, Israel’s former propaganda chief and a notorious liar.

And in reply to a question from myself, Alister Burt, minister for the Middle East, says the FO advises against all travel to Gaza. “Delivery of aid should be co-ordinated with the UN and Israeli and Egyptian Governments. We expect Israel to show restraint and fully respect international law. If wrongdoing has taken place we expect those responsible to be held to account…. We remain deeply concerned about restrictions on movement and access in Gaza, and the impact that this is having on the humanitarian situation. We have frequent discussions with the Israeli Government about the need to ease restrictions on Gaza. We call on Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt to work together to ensure a durable solution for Gaza.”

Burt goes on to say that he recently visited Gaza and the UK Government has announced a new £38 million pogramme for economic development in Gaza and the West Bank and £38.5 million for UNRWA to help refugees plus £2 million for clean water and sanitation in Gaza.

I had made a point of saying I did not wish to receive the usual pro-forma Foreign Office response, but that is what I got.

“Expects Israel to show restraint and fully respect international law”? When did that ever happen?

“Expects those responsible to be held to account”? But who’s to do it when Israel is such a “close friend”?

We’ll tweak the whiskers of the Russian Bear and slap sanctions on Iran for no good reason. But we fall over backwards to reward Israel for its never-ending evil.

Isn’t it time Government ministers stopped embarrassing us, and themselves, by telling everyone that “we” are “close friends” with a racist endeavour run by a thuggish regime that is contemptuous of international law and the norms of decent behaviour? There’s a name for people who admire that sort of thing.

And by throwing even more British taxpayers’ money at the situation instead of taking punitive action (such as suspending the EU-Israel Association Agreement) we simply legitimize the blockade on Gaza and normalise the decades-long occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But that’s the whole idea, is it not Mr Burt? Or is Britain really so weak and so lacking in leverage that we cannot do a small favour for the beleaguered women and children of Gaza whose constant misery is largely due to our arrogance and stupidity?

By Stuart Littlewood
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Crucifying Corbyn: Former Chief Rabbi Joins in The anti-Semitism smear-mongering gets more bizarre each day

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(Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks speaks at TED2017. Image credit: Bret Hartman/ TED Conference/ Flickr)
By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | August 30, 2018

The nasty slur campaign against Jeremy Corbyn has just plumbed new depths with a hark-back to 1968 and the “Rivers of Blood” speech by Enoch Powell. It seems to have been prompted by a remark Corbyn made in 2013 that British Zionists had two problems: “One is they don’t want to study history and, secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony.”

In anti-Semitism terms that’s a flogging offence, even when it might be true. The former Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, immediately took umbrage saying that Corbyn’s criticism of British Zionists was the most offensive statement made by a senior politician since Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech. Sacks told the New Statesman : “It was divisive, hateful and, like Powell’s speech, it undermines the existence of an entire group of British citizens by depicting them as essentially alien.”

He said Corbyn had implied “Jews are not fully British” and that he was “using the language of classic pre-war European anti-Semitism”, adding that Corbyn was an anti-Semite who “defiles our politics and demeans the country we love”. He had “given support to racists, terrorists and dealers of hate who want to kill Jews and remove Israel from the map”.

Sacks’ words could equally be taken to mean those who align themselves with Israeli hate and the wish to kill Palestinians and wipe Palestine from the map – which they have already done quite literally. And if Corbyn defiles our politics so does the Israel lobby. But the irony must have escaped him.

Just how righteous is the moralising Lord Sacks? In a House of Lords debate in 2014 on the Middle East in general and the question of formal recognition of Palestine by the UK in particular, the former Chief Rabbi got up and made a speech that was more like a pro-Israel rant. After a long winded spiel about the history of Israel and Jerusalem – from the Jewish angle of course – he went on to demonise Hamas and Hezbollah in the manner recommended by Israel’s ‘hasbara’ handbook and all the more absurd when Israel’s hands are so unclean. Everyone knows that Hamas has agreed to a long-term truce with Israel provided it ends the illegal occupation, gets back behind its 1967 borders and accepts the refugees’ right of return – all as per UN resolutions and subject to a Palestinian referendum. And Hezbollah, as Sacks knows perfectly well, was formed to resist the Israeli occupation of Lebanon after the 1982 war.

Israel, said Sacks, is the place where his people were born almost 4,000 years ago. As an ardent promoter of the Jewish religion, the Jewish state and the idea that God gave Jews exclusive title to Jerusalem, he seemed oblivious to the irony of his speech especially where he said: “When ancient theologies are used for modern political ends, they speak a very dangerous language indeed. So, for example, Hamas and Hezbollah, both self-defined as religious movements, refuse to recognise the legitimacy of the state of Israel within any boundaries whatever and seek only its complete destruction.”

Where does he get his information? Israel won’t define its boundaries, leaving them fluid for endless expansion, and does a first-class job of de-legitimising itself by its defiance of international law and utter contempt for norms of human decency and obligations under UN Charter and other agreements.

Zionists distort the scriptures to claim Jerusalem is theirs by Divine right, it was already 2000 years old and an established, fortified city when King David captured it. The Jews lost Jerusalem to the Babylonians, recaptured it, then lost it again to the Roman Empire in 63BC. When they rebelled Hadrian threw them out in 135. Until the present illegal occupation the Jews had only controlled Jerusalem for some 500 years, small beer compared to the 1,277 years it was subsequently ruled by Muslims and the 2000 years, or thereabouts, it originally belonged to the Canaanites.

Jerusalem was also a Christian city. The 4th century saw the building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Persians came and went. Then, after the Islamic conquest in 690, two major shrines were constructed over the ruins of the earlier temples — the Dome of the Rock from which Muhammed is said to have ascended to Heaven, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Crusaders re-took Jerusalem in 1099 and The Temple Mount became the headquarters of the Knights Templar. In 1187 Saladin ended the Crusader Kingdom and restored the city to Islam while allowing Jews and Christians to remain if they wished.

As the saying goes, “None has claim. All have claim!”

Nowhere in his speech did Lord Sacks address the main question of British recognition of Palestinian statehood. Nowhere did he recommend the jackboot of oppression be immediately lifted and the Palestinians granted their human rights and their freedom. That would surely have been the Christian position and, I imagine [?], the true Jewish one.

It is what the Rabbi failed to say on this important occasion that makes me wonder whether he’s an instrument of God or just another preacher of Israeli ‘hasbara’. I read somewhere that Lord Sacks is of Polish/Lithuanian extraction. Most Palestinians can demonstrate ancestral ties to the ancient Holy Land. Can he?

“Jeremy Corbyn moved the rock and the antisemites crawled out”

Corbyn is also in trouble over a remark he made in 2010 at a meeting of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign suggesting that MPs who took part in a parliamentary debate on the Middle East had their comments prepared for them by the Israeli ambassador. I’d say that was fair comment although the scriptwriters were more likely to have been Mark Regev’s propaganda team in Tel Aviv. Regev, a propaganda expert from the dark side, is now Israel’s ambassador in London. Oh, the irony (again).

And a few days ago we heard that Jews are preparing to quit Britain because they fear Jeremy Corbyn taking power, according to the former chairman of the Conservative Party Lord Feldman. So says The Times.

Feldman wrote an open letter to Mr. Corbyn telling him that Jewish people were making contingency plans to emigrate because Labour had become a hotbed of anti-Jewish feeling. “Many Jewish people in the United Kingdom are seriously contemplating their future here in the event of you becoming prime minister. Quietly, discreetly and extremely reluctantly, they are making contingency plans.”

One of these is Mark Lewis, a prominent solicitor and a former director of lawfare firm UK Lawyers for Israel, who is emigrating to Israel with his partner, Mandy Blumenthal. It is believed she is the National Director of Likud-Herut UK, an affiliate of the Zionist Federation and whose website is full of preposterous ideas such as: “We believe that terms like ‘illegal occupation’ should never go unchallenged….” and “Such criticism as we may have [of Israel] should never be expressed publicly….”

Lewis, who describes himself as an ‘unapologetic Zionist’, said: “Jeremy Corbyn moved the rock and the antisemites crawled out from underneath.” And he told the Evening Standard: “I don’t feel welcome in this country anymore.” So he’s off to that hotbed of racism and apartheid, Israel.

Being unwelcome is not a happy feeling. I know this from my trips to Israel, what with their rudeness, threatening behavior, intrusive searches, hostile questioning and unforgivably vile treatment of our Palestinian friends. It’s not as if we want to be in Israel – we are forced to divert there on account of Israel’s illegal military occupation. And when we eventually reach Palestine we have to put up with the presence of arrogant Israeli gunslingers strutting the streets, setting up hundreds of roadblocks, using obstructive tactics with brutish behavior, creating endless queues and interfering with Palestinian life at every level.

And if we try traveling to Palestine direct, like the humanitarian aid boats Al-Awda, and Freedom last month, we get violently and unlawfully assaulted on the high seas, beaten up, thrown in a stinking Israeli jail and have our belongings and money stolen by the Israeli military desperate to maintain their illegal blockade of Gaza.

So, if Messrs Feldman, Lewis and Blumenthal feel more comfortable with those criminals they’d better join them.

In answer to the babble put out by Zio-propagandists, church leaders in the Holy Land issued their 2006 Jerusalem Declaration saying:

“We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.

“We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine… We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation.”

This still stands. And as the Declaration also points out, “discriminative actions [by the Occupation] are turning Palestine into impoverished ghettos surrounded by exclusive Israeli settlements. The establishment of the illegal settlements and the construction of the Separation Wall on confiscated Palestinian land undermines the viability of a Palestinian state as well as peace and security in the entire region”.

That comes from genuine churchmen working in the front line against armed Zio-thugs whose vicious day-to-day persecution of the Christian and Muslim communities in the Holy Land makes a nonsense of accusations of anti-semitism in the UK.

I think we can deduce from all this that Zionism is a menace. Nothing has changed for the better; it has got steadily worse.

‘We want our Jerusalem back, and our state’

In 2010 Fr Manuel Musallam, a gritty Catholic priest with long experience of Israel’s cruel and illegal occupation, told members of the Irish Government: “Christianity in the region has been destroyed not by Muslims but by Israel. Israel destroyed the church of Palestine and the church of Jerusalem beginning in 1948. It, not Muslims, has sent Christians in the region into a diaspora…  We have spoken to Israel for more than 18 years and the result has been zero. We have signed agreements here and there at various times and then when there is a change in the Government of Israel we have to start again from the beginning. We ask for our life and to be given back our Jerusalem, to be given our state and for enough water to drink…  I have not seen Jerusalem since 1990.”

Archbishop Theodosius Hanna (Greek Orthodox Church) told them: “Palestine is the place from where Christianity comes…. Everything that has happened to the Palestinians between 1948 and today has happened to all Palestinians, including Christian Palestinians.

“What we are after is freedom and dignity just as freedom and dignity have been bestowed on so many nations in the world. We want that too. When we speak about peace, we also speak about justice because it is impossible to have peace without justice. Peace is part of justice. Unfortunately, in the Holy Land there is no such thing as justice.”

Corbyn should remind his tormentors of all this and take no lectures from those who support Zionism and adore the racist state it spawned.

It is Jeremy Corbyn’s misfortune to be surrounded by witless blabbermouths whose unbridled remarks are a gift to israel (apartheid state) lobby propagandists.

Israel wreaks terror on another harmless mercy ship

Al-Awda, Norwegian flagged mercy boat hijacked by Israel on the high seas en route to Gaza.

How ironic. It is Jeremy Corbyn’s misfortune to be surrounded by witless blabbermouths whose unbridled remarks are a gift to Israel lobby propagandists.

And while mainstream media in the UK were, as usual, whipping up an anti-Semitism ruckus orchestrated against the Labour Party leader, Israel was busy committing yet another outrage on the high seas against a humanitarian aid vessel peacefully carrying urgently-needed medical supplies for the desperate citizens of blockaded Gaza.

SOSjustfuture4Palestine issued a statement saying: “The Israeli Occupation Forces violently attacked our Norwegian flagged boat Al Awda (‘The Return’) as she was in international waters…. Armed, masked soldiers boarded Al Awda without permission. They assaulted several unarmed participants by hitting them and using tasers.”

Reuters (Oslo) reported that the Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry demanded the Israeli authorities clarify the circumstances around the seizure of the vessel and the legal basis for the intervention. Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Zaher Birawi, has said he’s holding Israel fully responsible for the safety of the activists, and stressed that Israel will be prosecuted for the “crime of kidnapping” the Freedom Flotilla ship and its activists, who did not impose a threat to Israel’s security.

British media and Government are playing deaf, blind and dumb to the enormity of the situation despite the fact that aboard the Al Awda were unarmed activists from 16 nations, including 69 year-old British surgeon Dr Swee Ang who has helped medical teams in Gaza on many occasions. And it’s the duty of governments to protect their citizens wherever they may be, especially when they are attacked in international waters.

Early reports said there was blood on the decks and Dr Swee was hit and tasered by Israel’s military thugs. She is now back in the UK after 2 days in Girvon prison but many others are still locked up. Dr Swee has just sent this message: “I was deported from Israeli prison this morning and arrived back at London.

“The Israeli Army have stolen my two mobile phones, my camera and most of my clothes and belongings so it is not possible to communicate by phone until I get a new one. But email is still working and I have just arrived home. I have made an audio of the events of 29 July onwards and how our unarmed boat with US$ 15,000 of gauze, wound dressings and antibiotics was abducted from International Waters while on our way to Gaza and taken by force to Ashdod in Israel by the Israeli Army where all 22 participants were subjected to multiple strip searches and then put in Givon prison. There are still participants in prison as I send this to you.”

Meanwhile the British Government doesn’t seem in the least bothered by Israel’s breach of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Of course, both Israel and the UK have ‘form’ and we’ve been here many times before. Nine years ago (July 2009) I found myself writing this:

Britain’s foreign secretary David Miliband – or rather, someone on his behalf – has written to me about the government’s response to Israel’s hijacking of the mercy ship Spirit of Humanity on the high seas and the outrageous treatment of six peace-loving British citizens (including the skipper), en route to Gaza not Israel, who had their gear stolen or damaged and were thrown into Israeli jails. The letter contains the usual meaningless expressions like ‘deplore’ and ‘press’ and ‘raise the issue’, which are the familiar hallmark of Foreign Office mentality.

  • Miliband’s spokesman says: “The Israeli Navy took control of the Spirit of Humanity on 30 June, diverting it to Ashdod port in Israel. All those on board, including six British nationals, were handed over to Israeli immigration officials. British consular officials had good access to the British detainees and established that they were treated well. The Israeli authorities deported the detainees on 6 July.”

Treated well? That’s not what the peaceful seafarers say. They were assaulted, put in fear of their lives and deprived of their liberty for fully a week – a long time in a stinking Israeli jail.

  • Miliband’s spokesman: “The Foreign Secretary said in the House of Commons on 30 June that it was ‘vital that all states respect international law, including the law of the sea. It is also important to say that we deplore the interference by the Israeli navy in the activities of Gazan fishermen.”

Such fine words. Where is the action to back them up?

  • Miliband’s spokesman: “When the Foreign Secretary spoke to the Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, on 1 July he raised the issue with him and asked for clarification about whether or not the Spirit of Humanity had been intercepted in international waters. We will continue to press the Israeli authorities for clarification.”

It’s well over a week and Lieberman hasn’t clarified anything. Was the Israeli ambassador in London summoned and given a dressing down? Has London demanded compensation for the Britishers’ losses and damage? Has the boat and its cargo been returned? Have arrangements been made for the aid to be delivered? Our Zionist-leaning government apparently takes pleasure in Britain’s repeated humiliation. Not long ago the British consul-general in Tel Aviv (a woman) was strip-searched by Israeli security perverts.

  • Miliband’s spokesman: “We regularly remind the Israeli government of its obligations under international law on a variety of issues, including with respect to humanitarian access to Gaza as well as Israel’s control of Gazan waters and the effect this has on Gaza’s fishing industry.”

Ever get the feeling they’ve switched off their collective hearing aid? What is the point of obligations if they never have to be met?

  • Miliband’s spokesman: “As I said on the phone, our Travel Advice makes clear that we advise against all travel to Gaza, including its offshore waters; that it is reckless to travel to Gaza at this time…. The UK has been unequivocal in its calls for Israel to lessen restrictions at the Gaza crossings, allowing the legitimate flow of humanitarian aid, trade and reconstruction goods and the movement of people. This is essential not only for the people of Gaza, but also for the wider stability of the region.”

“Unequivocal”? “Essential”? More splendid but empty words. The needs of the crushed and devastated and half-starved people of Gaza have been urgent for 3 years, ever since Britain ganged up with the Zionist axis to bring Gaza to its knees.

  • Miliband’s spokesman: “Recent events in Gaza are a tragic reminder of the importance of progress on the peace process.”

No kidding……. They are also a tragic reminder of the West’s perverse failure in its duty to enforce compliance with international law, human rights and UN resolutions.

  • Miliband’s spokesman: “The UK, with the support of our international allies, will continue to pursue vigorously a comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution, involving a secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state.”

But never vigorously enough. The world is still waiting….

That was 9 years ago. Why does London perpetuate the blockade of Gaza by colluding in Israel’s unlawful conduct? Where are the consequences and penalties for breaching international law and all codes of human decency?

Part of the problem is the Interim Agreement signed in 1995 that allowed the Israelis to weave a tangled web of security zoning in Gaza’s coastal waters leaving Israel in charge and dictating what happens off-shore and who comes and goes. It’s the sort of agreement no Palestinian would have signed unless under extreme duress.

Being ‘interim’ these restrictions were not expected to last beyond 1999. But they were still in force in 2009 and they are still in force in 2018. Why?

Gaza blockade illegal, illegal, illegal

“Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law… the flotilla acted recklessly in attempting to breach the naval blockade.” That was the conclusion of the UN’s Palmer inquiry under its then Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

It is completely at odds with what other experts have said. The UN itself had already accepted that Israel’s blockade is illegal. One of its own fact-finding missions declared that it constituted collective punishment of the people living in the Gaza Strip and thus was illegal and contrary to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The action by Israel’s military in intercepting the aid ship Mavi Marmara on the high seas in 2010, an assault in which 10 crew and activists were killed, was “clearly unlawful” and couldn’t be justified even under Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations [the right of self-defence]. “No case can be made for the legality of the interception and the Mission therefore finds that the interception was illegal”.

The Centre for Constitutional Rights also concluded that the Israeli blockade is illegal. “Due both to the legal nature of Israel’s relationship to Gaza – that of occupier – and the impact of the blockade on the civilian population, amounting to ‘collective punishment’, the blockade cannot be reconciled with the principles of international law, including international humanitarian law… The flotilla did not seek to travel to Israel, let alone ‘attack’ Israel… Israel could have diplomatically engaged Turkey, arranged for a third party to verify there were no weapons onboard and then peacefully guided the vessel to Gaza.”

Craig Murray also knows a thing or two about such matters, having headed the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He was responsible for giving political and legal clearance to Royal Navy boarding operations in the Persian Gulf following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, to enforce the UN authorised blockade against Iraqi weapons shipments. He commented: “Right of free passage is guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas… Israel has declared a blockade on Gaza and justified previous fatal attacks on neutral civilian vessels on the High Seas in terms of enforcing that embargo, under the legal cover given by the San Remo Manual of International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea.”

But, he explains, San Remo only applies to blockade in times of armed conflict. “Israel is not currently engaged in an armed conflict… San Remo does not confer any right to impose a permanent blockade outwith times of armed conflict, and in fact specifically excludes as illegal a general blockade on an entire population.”

Furthermore, Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) emphasizes “the need to ensure sustained and regular flow of goods and people through the Gaza crossings” and calls for “the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment”. Israel has imposed a land blockade for decades and still has a hand in keeping Gaza’s land crossing with Egypt closed. The 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access between the Palestinian Authority and Israel is also ignored. So the only sensible channel for “unimpeded provision and distribution” is by sea.

The Palmer inquiry was about as warped as it could get. The Terms of Reference said it was “required to obtain its information from the two nations primarily involved in its inquiry, Turkey and Israel, and other affected States…. The information for the Panel’s work came primarily through its interactions with the Points of Contact designated by Israel and Turkey.”

The 4-man panel included a representative each from the governments of Turkey and Israel, and was headed by Sir Geoffrey Palmer (Chair) and Alvaro Uribe, 58th president of Colombia. Palmer was the 33rd prime minister of New Zealand if that’s any consolation. Note the absence of anyone to represent the views of the party targeted by the blockade. Ban Ki-Moon didn’t think it necessary to invite someone from (horror of horrors) the government of Gaza.

Consequently the inquiry’s findings included this gem:

“It would be illegal if its imposition [i.e. the blockade] was intended to starve or to collectively punish the civilian population. However, there is no material before the Panel that would permit a finding confirming the allegations that Israel had either of those intentions or that the naval blockade was imposed in retaliation for the take-over of Hamas in Gaza or otherwise. On the contrary, it is evident that Israel had a military objective. The stated primary objective of the naval blockade was for security. It was to prevent weapons, ammunition, military supplies and people from entering Gaza and to stop Hamas operatives sailing away from Gaza with vessels filled with explosives… The earliest maritime interception operations to prevent weapons smuggling to Gaza predated the 2007 take-over of Hamas in Gaza. The actual naval blockade was imposed more than one year after that event. These factors alone indicate it was not imposed to punish its citizens for the election of Hamas.”

Palmer’s report oozes bias and makes sickening reading. For example it refers to “the takeover of Gaza” by Hamas when Hamas, as everyone else knows, was democratically elected in 2006. And Israeli gunboats were already shelling Gaza and shooting up Gazan fishing boats when I was there in 2007.

Then this warning from Palmer…

“Once a blockade has been lawfully established, it needs to be understood that the blockading power can attack any vessel breaching the blockade if after prior warning the vessel intentionally and clearly refuses to stop or intentionally and clearly resists visit, search or capture. There is no right within those rules to breach a lawful blockade as a right of protest. Breaching a blockade is therefore a serious step involving the risk of death or injury.

“Given that risk, it is in the interests of the international community to actively discourage attempts to breach a lawfully imposed blockade.”

So a green light to the rogue state to violently assault any humanitarian vessel approaching Gaza’s waters. What does this whitewash mean for the Palestinians’ bid for statehood? Must the newly fledged state begin its young life with a land and sea blockade in place because Palmer and Uribe say it’s all legal and above-board and Israel’s security comes first? Let us not forget that the West Bank and East Jerusalem are under blockade too.

As for Israel’s constant claim that the primary purpose of the blockade is security, a Wikileaks cable from 2008 reads: “As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to [U.S. embassy economic officers] on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.” Israel wanted it “functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis”.

And according to documents released under a Freedom of Information petition by Gisha, an Israeli law centre, Israel operated “a policy of deliberate reduction” of basic goods in the Gaza Strip. Gisha’s director accused Israel of “paralyzing normal life in Gaza”. The documents confirmed that the siege was not for security reasons but aimed at keeping Gazans at near-starvation level. Since around half the population are growing children this act of collective punishment has meant that hundreds of thousands are undernourished.

And the civilised world stands idly by.

Stuart Littlewood

Zionist Inquisition in full cry, Their quarry: anti-racist Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Zionist Inquisition in full cry

Their quarry: anti-racist Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn; their weapons: anti-semitism smears; their purpose: to oust Corbyn and replace him with a compliant pro-Israel stooge

By Stuart Littlewood | Dissident Voice | July 30, 2018

The row over anti-Semitism has erupted yet again in the UK Labour Party, as predicted a few months ago by Miko Peled, the Israeli general’s son, who warned that:

… they are going to pull all the stops, they are going to smear, they are going to try anything they can to stop Corbyn…. the reason anti-Semitism is used is because they [the Israelis] have no argument….

So Israel’s pimps at Westminster, never happy unless they’re telling everyone what to think and say, are frantically insisting that the Labour Party adopts the discredited International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism in its unedited entirety and incorporates it into the party’s code of conduct.  Many party members believe they have blown up the matter out of all proportion simply to settle their long-standing score – as Peled says – with the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a genuine anti-racist, champion of Palestinian rights and critic of Israel.

This is what the IHRA definiition says:

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

It includes these eleven “contemporary examples of anti-semitism”:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Jewish community leaders are furious that Labour’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee, disagrees with 4 of these examples and refuses to include them in the party’s new code of conduct. The NEC, of course, is mindful that the code must be enforceable across half-a-million members with differing opinions, many of whom are tired of the constant whining. An emergency motion orchestrated by the Jewish lobby, forcing the NEC to take on board the whole IHRA package with all its examples and humiliating Corbyn in the process, was supposed to be considered yesterday but is now postponed till September.

The NEC explains its omissions by saying accusations of dual nationality are wrong rather than anti-semitic. It strikes out altogether the idea that calling the state of Israel “a racist endeavour” is anti-semitic, no doubt for the simple reason that it is racist. Israelis have for decades practised apartheid, casting their non-Jew population as second-class citizens, and now it’s enshrined in their new nationality laws, in black and white.  What’s more, Israel’s illegal occupation has denied Palestinians their right to self-determination for the last 70 years. The NEC also chooses not to forbid the use of symbols and images associated with classic anti-semitism and comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis unless there’s evidence of anti-semitic intent.

Sounds reasonable, you might think. But 68 rabbis have accused the Labour leadership of acting “in the most insulting and arrogant way” by leaving out or modifying those controversial bits. In a letter to The Guardian they say it’s not the Labour Party’s place to re-write it.

The arrogance is theirs, I think. Here’s why. The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee recommended adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism subject to the inclusion of two caveats:

(1) It is not antisemitic to criticise the Government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent.

(2) It is not antisemitic to hold the Israeli Government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli Government’s policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent.

The Government agreed but dropped the caveats saying they weren’t necessary. Subsequently the IHRA definition has run into big trouble, being condemned by leading law experts as “too vague to be useful” and because conduct contrary to the IHRA definition is not necessarily illegal. They warn that public bodies are under no obligation to adopt or use it and, if they do, they must interpret it in a way that’s consistent with their statutory obligations and with the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is deeply flawed

Crucially, freedom of expression applies not only to information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that “offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population” – unless they encourage violence, hatred or intolerance. Calling Israel an apartheid state or advocating BDS against Israel cannot properly be characterized as anti-Semitic. Furthermore, any public authority seeking to apply the IHRA definition to prohibit or punish such activities “would be acting unlawfully”.

The right of free expression, as Labour’s Zio- Inquisitors ought to know, is now part of UK domestic law by virtue of the Human Rights Act. Furthermore the 1986 Education Act established an individual right of free expression in all higher education institutions. Then there’s Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which bestows on everyone “the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. As always, such rights are subject to limitations required by law and respect for the rights of others.

So the IHRA definition is a minefield. It’s not something a sane organisation would incorporate into its Code of Conduct – certainly not as it stands. It contravenes human rights and freedom of expression. But when did the Israel lobby ever care about other people’s rights?

The whole fuss borders on the farcical when you ask what anti-Semitism means. Who are the Semites anyway? Everyone avoids this question like the plague. Why? It’s embarrassing. DNA research shows that most of those living today who claim to be Jews are not descended from the ancient Israelites at all and the Palestinians have more Israelite blood. So they are the real Semites. Research by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, published by the Oxford University Press in 2012 on behalf of the Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution, found that the Khazarian Hypothesis is scientifically correct, meaning that most Jews are Khazars. The Khazarians converted to Talmudic Judaism in the 8th Century and were never in ancient Israel.

Probably no more than 2% of Jews in Israel are actually Israelites. So even if you believe the propaganda myth that God gave the land to the Israelites, He certainly didn’t give it to Netanyahu, Lieberman and the other East European thugs who rule the apartheid state.

As former Israeli Director of Military Intelligence, Yehoshafat Harkabi wrote: “It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.”

Well, that tragic irony has come to pass. As has been suggested before, so-called anti-Semitism is a matter best resolved by the Jewish ‘family’ itself. There’s no reason to bother Corbyn or the Labour Party with it

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