February 01, 2015

Esther Rantzen, antisemitism and the threat of Maureen Lipman

To Flying Rodent's Twitter account again for this little gem:
Now as far as it goes that seems to be correct.  There were a lot of articles following Lipman's interview on LBC radio including at least two papers that should have known better: The Independent and The Guardian.

But I remembered whilst waiting in a hospital for a passenger I read the Daily Mail in the reception and I was pleasantly surprised to see Esther Rantzen taking her friend, Maureen Lipman, to task over her, well, nuttiness.  Have a look at the headline:

As Maureen Lipman threatens to quit the UK because of anti-semitism, her friend ESTHER RANTZEN says... Sorry, Maureen, but you are being unfair - and ungrateful
Now googling "daily mail" "esther rantzen" "maureen lipman" yields 2,960 results.  I think it is only the Daily Mail that criticises Lipman but then it's the only paper that takes the idea of Maureen Lipman leaving the UK as a threat!

January 29, 2015

Does my But look big in this?

I've only just seen Flying Rodent's post on the great But controversy.  Titled But-head.  Clever.  It's a denunciation of the many articles post-Charlie Hebdo which:
screech, wave [their] arms around and call down the vengeance of Heaven upon people who say that cartoonists deserve to be shot, while containing absolutely no examples
But it mostly uses Howard Jacobson's recent Independent article titled, Try ‘and’ instead of ‘but’ and you’ll find that America and Israel are not to blame for all the world’s atrocities as a foil.
Check out the post itself and see Organic Cheeseboard in the comments.  Both OC and FR conclude that Jacobon was being wilfully dishonest in at least two of his claims. Here's OC quoting both Jacobson and the Chomsky article that was the supposed source of Jacobson's criticism of the "But Brigade":
Jacobson says:

how about, “Gunning down the staff of Charlie Hebdo was an atrocity, ‘but’ Israel kills journalists in Gaza.” Would anyone say that? Unless I dreamt it, Noam Chomsky just has.

He hasn't, though. What he's said is that when the USA and its allies intentionally kill journalists simply because they are journalists, they go as far as parading it as a PR triumph, and nobody makes nearly as much fuss as they did over the Charlie Hebdo massacre where journalists were murdered for the crime of being journalists. Chomsky is really clear, in fact:

The more we can blame some crimes on enemies, the greater the outrage; the greater our responsibility for crimes -- and hence the more we can do to end them -- the less the concern, tending to oblivion or even denial.
Now what's particularly impressive about OC's comment is that the quote from Chomsky forms the bulk of a letter Chomsky wrote to The Independent  drawing attention to Jacobson's misrepresentation of what Chomsky had originally written.  Chomsky's letter was published after OC's comment:

I read with much interest Howard Jacobson’s denunciation of the “But Brigade” (24 January) and my culpability in this crime. But (apologies for using the correct word) I’m afraid that he was very careful to miss the point, completely.

There was no “but” in the article of mine that elicited his fury. Rather, the article provided a series of illustrations of a highly significant general principle that was stated quite explicitly: “The more we can blame some crimes on enemies, the greater the outrage; the greater our responsibility for crimes – and hence the more we can do to end them – the less the concern, tending to oblivion or even denial.”

I can easily comprehend why Mr Jacobson would insist that the demonstration of the principle must be suppressed, but (apologies again) I see no reason to accede to his demand.

Noam Chomsky
Massachusetts Institute  of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts
But really the reason  for this post is that I noticed Chomsky's bracketed apologies for his use of the word "but" which reminded me of my own bracketed comments following my use of the word "but" in my previous post.  I don't always agree with Noam Chomsky but (oh never mind).

January 28, 2015

CH wasn't racist? Does anyone still say so?

Here's a quirky article I just found via Twitter. It's an op-ed on the Ricochet website by a chap called Leigh Phillips who says that assertions that Charlie Hebdo is or was racist were simply wrong or as the article's title has it, "Lost in translation...." by "the unilingual left" that is.

Now I didn't much get into je suis Charlie stuff here or on Twitter though I didn't like what I saw as hypocritical outpourings for free speech by various politicos and journos who seemed to be writing a script and insisting we all read from it.  It was a bit like that Life of Brian bit where Brian tells the adoring crowd that they are all individuals and they all, in unison, agree with him.

Anyway, I don't intend to get into whether or not Charlie Hebdo is racist or has carried racist cartoons but (sheesh, I was also uncomfortable with the war on the word "but") I did notice this Leigh Phillips chap hedging a tad on the output of the late Christopher Hitchens - the CH in my title, geddit!?  See this:
For all of Hitchens’ support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, I couldn’t at any point suggest he was a racist.
I've posted this before but I was actually at a London Review of Books meeting on the "war on terror" where panelists included Tariq Ali and Christopher Hitchens and in response to a questioner the latter seemed to berate him more for being from "the Subcontinent" than for what he actually said.
Q[uestioner]. Tariq Ali was the only one I think who mentioned that the United States is the sole global power that we have now and what we are seeing is the dawn of a new imperialism. So why is it that we are so – we, meaning the global community – why are we so content at letting America have its say regardless of what the rest of the world thinks of it. It has committed a whole host of crimes on a vast scale in international law. It is suspending civil rights as far as the al-Qaida prisoners are concerned. It is actually riding roughshod over all norms of international law and why – where is Russia, where is Japan, where are all these countries? 
........
C[hristopher] H[itchens]. ....I will not reject the challenge from the comrade, who I would say was from the Subcontinent. I would ask him this. He wanted to know why a country that – I think I have you right, sir – was indifferent to the norms of international law, was not more opposed by Russia and China, was that how you had it? Where was Russia, you said, where is China, why do they lie down under this lawlessness? I think your question answers itself: I think you had a real nerve asking it actually, or shall I say Chechnya or Cambodia or North Korea or Tibet or Kurdistan? It wouldn’t make any difference to you – would it? – any more than if I asked you how many people are currently flooding to the borders and ports of your country to immigrate to it – or to Russia or to China. Ask yourself that. One of the greatest problems that the United States has at the present moment is that everyone wants to come and live there: they’re wondering now how generous they can be. We should all have such problems; you will never have a problem like that, and nor will your ideology
Now Mr Phillips may not have been aware of that particular outburst but I'm sure Hitchens's enthusiasm for the war on terror sometimes verged on the genocidal.

I said the article was quirky and that Hitchens bit was just one of many quirks. But (it's that word again) it is worth a read and the comments are worth more than a skim too.

UPDATE: I'm indebted to Gert in the comments for drawing my attention to this blog post by Richard Seymour at Leninology which I think is safe to call a take-down of the Leigh Phillips piece.

January 27, 2015

Holocaust Memorial Day: Never Again for Anyone


ijan_logo_regions

January 27: Holocaust Remembrance

 

Never Again for Anyone:

On the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz,
we honor Hajo Meyer’s life and his commitment
to the liberation of all people suffering dehumanization.

images 2On the occasion of this International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the day that marks the liberation of Auschwitz, we remember Dr. Hayo Meyer, proud member of IJAN and long time anti-Zionist activist who passed away at the age of 90 on August 22, 2014. The day after he died, a letter from Jewish Survivors of the Nazi genocide and their descendants was published as an ad in the NY Times. The ad reflected Hajo’s words “never again for anyone”: decrying Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza and Elie Wiesel’s attempt to use the genocide of Jewish people to justify the attacks on Gaza. Dr. Meyer was the first to sign on.
 
Hajo was unwavering in his conviction and passion that Never Again meant Never Again for Anyone and in his outrage that his experience in Auschwitz was misused by Israel and Zionism to justify the colonization and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Dr. Meyer was born in 1924 in Bielefeld, Germany. When he was barred from attending school there after November 1938, he fled to the Netherlands, alone. In 1944, after a year in the underground, he was caught and subsequently survived 10 months at Auschwitz. 
During the last decade of his life, Dr. Meyer dedicated himself to countering the Zionist manipulation of the Nazi genocide to justify the colonization of Palestine. He played a leading role on the Never Again for Anyone tour of Europe in 2010, and of the United States and Canada in 2011.

By trade, he was the Director of the Phillips (electronics) Physics Laboratory (NatLab). After his retirement he became a builder of custom new violins and violas. He also played and performed the violin. In the last decade of his life, he traveled the world with his wife and companion, Chris Tillanus, to bring the message of Never Again for Anyone.

While we will miss Hajo, his message continues and grows stronger in the world as he is joined by survivors of the Nazi genocide, the descendants of its victims and survivors, and all people committed to justice.

This short video includes some of Hajo's powerful words:https://vimeo.com/117251606.

 
unnamed

I'll always remember how fear shook the wealthy

Some of the commentary on the Syriza election victory in Greece reminds me of that line from Leon Rosselson's Song of the Old Communist:


Give it a play and see what you think.

Oh yeah, it's not just the wealthy who might be feeling a tad anxious.  According to the Jerusalem Post Zionists aren't exactly thrilled either.

January 23, 2015

Surreal sycophancy from Blair on Abdullah

Oh just look at this from Tony Blair's website:
I am very sad indeed to hear of the passing of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

"I am very sad indeed to hear of the passing of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
“I knew him well and admired him greatly. Despite the turmoil of events in the region around him, he remained a stable and sound ally, was a patient and skilful moderniser of his country leading it step by step into the future. He was a staunch advocate of inter faith relations. He founded KAUST, the science and technology university where women and men are educated equally. And today there are more women in higher education than men. He allowed thousands to be educated abroad people who have experience of the world and will play a big part in the future of the country. He appointed women Ministers. He invested in renewable energy. And of course he launched the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 which has stood the test of time as a potential basis for a solution to the Israeli Palestine issue. 
“He was loved by his people and will be deeply missed."
I knew him well and admired him greatly. Despite the turmoil of events in the region around him, he remained a stable and sound ally, was a patient and skilful moderniser of his country leading it step by step into the future. He was a staunch advocate of inter faith relations. He founded KAUST, the science and technology university where women and men are educated equally. And today there are more women in higher education than men. He allowed thousands to be educated abroad people who have experience of the world and will play a big part in the future of the country. He appointed women Ministers. He invested in renewable energy. And of course he launched the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 which has stood the test of time as a potential basis for a solution to the Israeli Palestine issue.

He was loved by his people and will be deeply missed.

Comment?  Yuk!

January 20, 2015

Pew on Views on Jews, Muslims and Roma

I'm indebted to my friend Georgina for drawing my attention to this section of the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project from May 2014:
Many people in the seven European Union nations surveyed express negative views about minority groups in their country. In particular, negative attitudes toward Roma (sometimes also known as Gypsies) are common, while many also give Muslims unfavorable ratings. Negative attitudes toward Jews are less pervasive, although substantial minorities express an unfavorable opinion about Jews as well, especially in Greece where nearly half the public hold this view. Negative sentiments about all three groups are consistently more common among people on the ideological right.
Of course that was nearly 8 months ago and much has happened since then like the attack on Gaza by Israel and the attack on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish shop by islamists.  And of course it doesn't survey Jewish opinions of Muslims or vice versa.  On that latter point, I wonder what some Muslims make of Theresa May's recent speech against anti-Jewish racism delivered round about the same time as her ministerial colleague, Eric Pickles was sending a patronising missive to mosques throughout the UK. And on that latter take a look at Michael Rosen's compare and contrast piece.


January 19, 2015

When Abba Eban opposed the use of antisemitism to promote Jewish settlement in Palestine

Here's an interesting piece from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency archive, Jan 1960.  Abba Eban opposed the idea of using antisemitism to encourage Jews to settle in occupied Palestine unlike, for example, Bibi Netanyahu:
Abba Eban, former Israel Ambassador to the United States, expressed disagreement at the first world conference of the Association of Youth Pioneers with a resolution which contended it was a “false idea” that Jews could integrate into the general life of countries outside Israel.

Mr. Eban, now a Minister Without Portfolio, told the delegates that anti-Semitism should not be a slogan for the encouragement of immigration to Israel. He said the crisis confronting Jews outside of Israel was spiritual and not economic or social, and warned that there would be no security for Israel and the entire Jewish people if, for example, the safety of American Jewry were in danger.

It is in the spiritual field that Israel’s call to Jews should come, he said, stressing that emphasis should be put on the positive side of building Israel in appeals to Jews to settle in Israel.

He also seemed to hint at support for the Jewish lobby thesis of American support for Israel but I can't be sure of that.

January 18, 2015

Spot the difference at The Guardian

The Guardian ran an article by Peter Beaumont on Friday with the headline, Why are French Jews returning to Israel in such numbers?  Someone emailed me about it wondering why The Guardian was promoting the idea that Jews settling in Palestine amounted to "returning".

I read the article and found that whilst Peter Beaumont referred to Jewish "immigration" he didn't once use the word "return" or "returning" so I tweeted this query to him:
Unfortunately I didn't do a screengrab but here is a screengrab of The Guardian's tweet of the article:


And here's the embed though, on past performance it might not last:

Anyway, now look at the headline of the article itself:

Why are French Jews heading to Israel in such numbers?

Now scroll down the article and look for where they say they amended it.  Don't spend too long on it because you won't find it.  I thought it was standard practice at The Guardian to announce their amendments.

Anyway, I wonder what led to their correcting the headline.  In fact I asked Peter Beaumont:


I'm guessing he won't answer but he does seem to be one of the good guys at the graun, in fact, he's well worth a follow on twitter.

January 13, 2015

What kind of low-life politicises suffering?

The Liberal Democrat MP, David Ward did a couple of tweets referencing the shameless appearance of Bibi Netanyahu at the Paris march after the attack on Charlie Hebdo.  Here they are:

Fairly standard stuff.  Many of us were disgusted at the sheer hypocrisy of this mass killer of civilians attending a march supposedly for the victims of a murderous attack on civilians. I think I might have tweeted about it.  Let me see.


Ah yes, I did.  Twice actually:
But of course it wasn't just Bibi's attendance at the march that caused such disgust.  He took the opportunity to call on France's Jews to join him as colonial settlers in occupied Palestine.  This had even some zionists running for cover. 

I searched in vain for the Jewish Chronicle's report on Bibi's disgrace but what I did find was condemnation of David Ward's tweets.
Tweet sents from Mr Ward’s account read: “Netanyahu in Paris march – makes me feel sick. Je suis Palestinian”.
In a letter to deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, ambassador Daniel Taub wrote: “Mr Ward’s statement is a disgraceful attempt to politicise suffering.
“It also exhibits a callous disregard for the Jews of France, many of whom look to Israel as they are increasingly targeted merely because of their religion.
Does Zionising suffering not count as politicising?

January 04, 2015

Dr Ronnie Fraser of FUCU fame

Whilst looking for stuff about the FUCU costs case I noticed that in spite of being derided by three judges for a colossal logic fail, Ronnie Fraser was awarded just recently a Phd.
Here's one report in the Jewish Chronicle:
The director of the Academic Friends of Israel, Ronnie Fraser, can at last breathe a sigh of relief.

After his failed legal action against the University College Union over its anti-Israel policy, the union launched a claim to recover around £500,000 in costs from him and his lawyers Mishcon de Reya.

Nearly two years after the original case, the parties have agreed a confidential out-of -court settlement and the UCU has withdrawn its application.

In fact, on the day of the scheduled costs hearing, he was able to do something far more pleasant than watch lawyers slugging it out again.

He was able to attend his own degree ceremony — Dr Fraser, as he has now become, has just been awarded his PhD by Royal Holloway, University of London, for a thesis on the links between British and Israeli trade unions.
Royal Holloway?  I think prominent zionist, David Cesarani, lectures there so I googled, royal holloway david cesarani ronnie fraser and what came first?  Ronnie Fraser's personal profile page at Royal Holloway.  He's listed as Postgraduate research student supervised by David Cesarani.  Small world huh?

His doctorate seems to have taken him about nine years to achieve but then he has been busy on other things.  And what was his thesis titled? The TUC and the Histadrut, 1945-1982: a problematic relationship.

It might make an interesting read but I find it more interesting the way prominent zionists have taken care of Dr Ronnie these past few years.

Wiping Israel off the map?

I just read on the Jewish Chronicle website that Harper Collins left Israel off of the map in an atlas it sells in the Middle East.
The American-based publishing giant said it regretted leaving the country out of atlases it sells to English-speaking schools in the Middle East.

In a statement reported in the Israeli media, it said: “HarperCollins regrets the omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas. This product has now been removed from sale in all territories and all remaining stock will be pulped. HarperCollins sincerely apologises for this omission and for any offence caused”.
They're making it seem like an accident or oversight or something.  Let's have a look at this map:



Well well, the West Bank and Gaza but no Israel.  And no Palestine either.

But see more of the JC report:
Earlier in the week Collins Bartholomew, a subsidiary of HarperCollins, told the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet, that including Israel in its “Collins Primary Geography Atlas For The Middle East” would have been “unacceptable” to customers in the Gulf states.

Leaving Israel off the maps incorporated “local preferences,” it said.

But if the omission of Israel was to incorporate "local preferences" why no Palestine? And if they do include Israel where will the boundaries go?

I tend to the view that Israel's existence is only temporary anyway.  Maybe Harper Collins should simply wait until Israel disappears and then publish its atlas in the Middle East.

December 30, 2014

FUCU costs settled out of court

Now here's a thing.  It appears that UCU has settled its costs dispute with Ronnie Fraser's lawyers, Mishcon de Reya, out of court.

The last I had read of this case was on the Israel advocacy site, Engage, where David Hirsh said that
The hearing for costs will take place next Wednesday, the first day of Channukah.  Nobody is expecting a miracle.
The first day of Channukah was 17 December 2014 but I didn't see anything about the hearing then or since until I did a bit of googling just now.  I found just one source for the out of court settlement of the costs issue and that was the Jewish Chronicle dated, 24 December, or Christmas Eve or even the last day of Channukah.  Maybe Hirsh was confused, I don't know.  Anyway, here's the JC:
A union which won an employment tribunal brought by a Jewish academic who claimed he had been harassed has agreed an out-of-court settlement in its own claim for costs.

The University College Union said it had agreed a deal with Ronnie Fraser’s lawyers Mishcon de Reya after long-running legal argument.

Mr Fraser, director of Academic Friends of Israel, lost his tribunal last year after claiming the union’s anti-Israel stance amounted to harassment.

The battle for legal costs had subsequently gone on for more than a year, with the UCU trying to recover around £600,000.

In a statement issued on Tuesday night, the union and the law firm said: “The costs application by the University and College Union against Mishcon de Reya has been settled on confidential terms to the satisfaction of the parties.

“The University and College Union has, as a result, withdrawn its application against Mr Fraser.”

Mr Fraser and his wife thanked supporters for their backing over the past three and a half years since the case began.
 I'm a bit confused here.  See this bit:
The costs application by the University and College Union against Mishcon de Reya has been settled on confidential terms to the satisfaction of the parties.
 Followed by this bit:
The University and College Union has, as a result, withdrawn its application against Mr Fraser.
 I think the original judgement hinted that Fraser was really a front for other more powerful players and if Marcus Dysch's JC report is accurate then maybe Mishcon de Reya has admitted as much.

December 08, 2014

FUCU costs hearing update: We don't need no re-Ron

Oi gevalt!  What's that they say about the wheels of justice?  It turns out the hearing today regarding the FUCU case costs hearing, wasn't the costs hearing itself.  It was the application of Ronnie Fraser to appeal against an earlier ruling that the case could be heard in 2 days.  The Fraser side wanted every piece of "evidence" re-examined to show how valid the case was.  The original case took 20 days.  And, Israel advocate, David Hirsh, says it's the UCU trying to punish Ronnie Fraser.

Anyway, the people hearing the appeal today would not grant leave to appeal or put another way, we don't need no re-Ron. H/T Gil Scott Heron

Needless to say, Dr Hirsh is not a happy bunny:
NB this was a hearing to gain leave to appeal this previous decision to allow a summary hearing of costs, it was not the appeal itself.

The Appeal Judge did not give leave to appeal.   He refused to overrule the lower Judge’s determination that a fair hearing for costs can be carried out in two days.

In a verbal judgment, he seemed explicitly to close ranks with the lower Employment Tribunal Judges.  He went out of his way gratuitously to praise the Snelson Judgment, saying that it was “very well written”.  He quoted, apparently approvingly, the most trenchant and absurd paragraphs of the Snelson judgment, the ones which led to the recusal.  He praised the chair of the new tribunal Judge Wade’s decision that a fair hearing for costs can be carried out in one day of reading and one day of argument, with no new evidence, no witnesses, relying mainly on the Snelson judgment which itself went far beyond its remit in the determination of facts and offered opinion about the bad faith, underhand intentions and wastefulness of the whole action.

The hearing for costs will take place next Wednesday, the first day of Channukah.  Nobody is expecting a miracle.
So I presume the appeal won't happen now so it's full steam ahead to the costs hearing itself.

FUCU case to be revisited by Tribunal today

I just saw the following tweet from the Israel advocacy site, Engage:
Following the link to the article on the site itself I find that:
UCU is in court again today looking to make Ronnie Fraser pay hundreds of thousands of pounds for daring to challenge its antisemitism.

The original tribunal, led by Judge Snelson, found that nothing that ever happened in the UCU was antisemitic and that Fraser was raising the issue of antisemitism in bad faith in order to get an underhand advantage in the Israel/Palestine debate.

The Tribunal didn't actually say that "nothing that ever happened in the UCU was antisemitic" or even "that Fraser was raising the issue of antisemitism in bad faith in order to get an underhand advantage in the Israel/Palestine debate" though, to be sure, there were hints of that throughout the judgement (pdf).

Take a look at the report on the original judgement at the Times Higher Education site:
Mr Fraser, the child of refugees who fled Nazi Germany, is viewed as a “sincere witness”, but the tribunal notes his “political experience” and are not impressed by his claim that the tone of several debates at the UCU’s annual congress “violated his dignity”, thereby constituting harassment......

Scorn is also invoked for Mr Julius’s decision to pursue certain points, with complaints variously dismissed as “palpably groundless”, “obviously hopeless” and “devoid of any merit”.
 It doesn't quite tally with the claim made by Engage's Dr David Hirsh.

Anyway, let's remind ourselves of where we're at with this costs claim.  UCU entered a claim for costs on the grounds that Ronnie Fraser's action was frivolous and vexatious.  Fraser's people argued that the original tribunal members had already indicated where they stood on the question of costs and the original tribunal recused (absented) themselves as their judgement, whilst not taking a position on liability for costs could have been understood that way by others.

So here we have another tribunal to rule on whether UCU or Ronnie Fraser should pick up the tab for what was for the zionist movement a disastrously ill-advised action.

ZFUK invites rape advocate to address meeting in the UK

I just got this email from Tony Greenstein:
The Zionist Federation & Sussex Friends of Israel Have Invited Professor Mordechai Kedar to Speak at Ralli House, Brighton at 7.00 p.m. Monday 8th December 2014" http://www.sussexjewishrepresentativecouncil.org/an-evening-with-mordechai-kedar/

THERE WILL BE A PICKET FROM 6 pm ORGANISED BY PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN

Mordechai Kedar is a Professor at Tel Aviv’s Bar Ilan orthodox religious university.  The statement by Kedar that the mothers or sisters of ‘terrorists’ should be raped breaks new ground, even for the religious Orthodox.  Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper reported on 22nd July 2014 that 'Professor' Kedar called for the sisters or mothers of 'terrorists' to be raped as a deterrent.  Leaving aside the fact that 2,000 Gazan civilians, including over 500 children, were murdered by Israeli  bombing during the summer.  The idea that someone’s sister or mother should be raped as a deterrent or punishment is so abhorrent that it defies comprehension.

But this has not stopped the Zionist Federation  locally and nationally inviting Kedar as a speaker to meetings, including one at Ralli House, Hove tomorrow at 7 pm.  http://www.zionist.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/An-Evening-with-Mordechai-Kedar-ZF-copy.jpg   Palestine Solidarity Campaign is picketting this meeting from 6 pm onwards and invites you to join us in a picket against this misogynist and racist.  Kedar’s views on immigration are also no different from that of the EDL/BNP.  He was quoted in Israel’s widest circulation newspaper, Yediot Aharanot as saying that Islam is taking over Europe. News - Expert: Islam taking over, Europe soon to be unrecognizable

This Nazi style pronouncement is just one of the barbarous and misogynist announcements of the settler and religious right in Israel today.  It follows the pouring of petrol inside the mouth of a boy aged 16 because 3 settler teens were kidnapped and killed, as if one in any way justified the other.  It comes as a reign of terror is being instituted by settlers, with the support of the Israeli army, across the West Bank. Israeli Arabs are also now being killed regularly by the Police on demonstrations, whereas Jewish demonstrators are never met with live bullets.

At uch short notice it will be interesting to see how many Palestine Solidarity supporters join the picket.

November 24, 2014

London Palestine Film Festival 2014

The London Palestine Film Festival 2014 opens on Friday November 28.  Here's brief history of the festival from the sites, "about" page:
The first London Palestine Film Festival was held at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in Spring 1999. In response to public interest, the organisers decided in 2004 to establish the Palestine Film Foundation (PFF) as a body dedicated to the coordination of the festival and to the archiving of audiovisual materials related to Palestine.

The PFF is a nonprofit initiative which seeks to develop an audience for and to encourage the development of a Palestinian cinema and cinema related to Palestine. It is managed by a network of academics, curators, filmmakers, and volunteers from Palestine, the UK and elsewhere.

In addition to the annual festival, the PFF coordinates film and video related tours, special screenings and film linked seminars throughout the year and across the UK. These activities allow the PFF to introduce innovative and important works of documentary and fiction to new audiences and to provide a forum for visiting artists to engage UK audiences with work that is otherwise seldom screened.

From 2012, the PFF began developing a new web portal designed to increase access to its expansive archive of film and video related resources. Funding is currently being sought for this new online platform for research, exhibition, and distribution, with the site expected to launch in summer 2013.

The PFF relies on charitable donations, partnerships, and funding to deliver its projects. Please consider making a secure donation to the PFF using the button at the left of this page.
And details of the current year's festival are here.

November 22, 2014

The World is my Country - Leon Rosselson in Covent Garden

From  
The Poetry Cafe
22 Betterton Street
Covent Garden
London
WC2H PBP
0207 420 9888
 
Fourth Friday takes place at the Poetry Cafe from 8pm to 10:30pm -ish on the fourth Friday of almost every month.

There is a bar, food and disabled access.

The nearest tube station is Covent Garden.
Admission £7 (£5 concessions).
 

Next fourth friday, 28th November, we consider pacifism in WW1: singer songwriter Leon Rosselson ; poets Jenny Lewis, Alan Brownjohn, Anna Robinson; singers Krysia Mansfied, Dan Kennedy

November 28thThe World is my Country. One key aspect of the First World War receiving little or no attention in this year’s commemorations is the history of the people and organisations that opposed it. We offer new insights on World War One and its objectors with poems and songs commissioned by Peace News and introduced by PN’s Emily Johns.  In addition, there’ll be great anti-war songs and more from acclaimed singer songwriter Leon Rosselson.       Jenny Lewis will be reading from her collection, Taking Mesopotamia, published this year by Carcanet and inspired by her search for her lost father—who led his troops  across the desert by starlight in the ill-fated Mesopotamian campaign of World War One and died in the Second World War when Jenny was a few months old. Jenny Lewis (below) trained as a painter at the Ruskin School of Art before reading English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. She has published three collections of poetry as well as two pamphlets with the Iraqi poet Adnan Al-Sayegh.  She teaches poetry at Oxford University. ‘Taking Mesopotamia in one slim volume mines a rich seam from the Epic of Gilgamesh via Welsh mining communities and the First World War to the most recent Iraq wars.’  (Poetry Society)


Items from the floor, especially on themes of peace and war, welcomed.

November 08, 2014

Opposing Zionism from the West Bank to the South Bank

Press report from the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network:

No Israeli Funding of the Arts
Southbank, London, 5 November 2014.  A lively and colourful 50 person-strong protest outside the BFI (British Film Institute) condemned the BFI for hosting an Israeli-sponsored film festival only weeks after Israel committed mass-murder, killing 2100 people, including over 500 children during its 51-day assault of Gaza.



Called by a new initiative, No Israeli Funding of the Arts (NIFA) [1], protestors from all walks of life, including Muslim, Jewish and Israeli, chanted and spoke out against the UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF) because it had insisted on accepting Israeli funding – in the midst of Israel’s war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of murder, extermination and persecution and incitement to genocide [2] – even when offered alternative funding.
Protestors spoke out against the presence of Secretary of State for Culture, Sajid Javid, at this opening gala of the UKJFF – he had slandered opponents of Israeli funding of the film festival by implying they were guilty of antisemitism.  The tiny Zionist counter-protest used the same slur.
Protests against the film festival at the Tricycle last year called for it to reject Israeli funding, and this summer the Tricycle made its courageous decision to reject the tainted funding. Last night’s protest publicised that over 500 artists and theatre practitioners had publicly defended the Tricycle from the false accusation of antisemitism when it had offered to replace Israeli funding so that the film festival could take place there.
Public protest had already closed down an Israeli-funded theatre company at the Edinburgh Fringe.  Besides the Tricycle, the Bristol Encounters Film Festival and artists from Sao Paulo Art Biennial had all rejected Israeli Embassy funding in this last period.
There will be further protests against the Israeli-funded film festival.


[1] See No Israeli Funding of the Arts letter to all the cinemas hosting the UKJFF here.
[2] Russell Tribunal on Palestine

November 06, 2014

DEMAND “NO” TO ISRAELI SPONSORED FILM FESTIVAL

From the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
 
Protest the Israeli-funded UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF) taking place between 6-23 November in cinemas in Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester and Nottingham.


NO ISRAELI FUNDING OF THE ARTS
DEMAND “NO” TO ISRAELI SPONSORED FILM FESTIVAL


Protest @ BFI Southbank
Thursday, 6 November 6.45-8pm
Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XT
Tubes: Waterloo (South Bank exit), Embankment and Charing Cross
bring your banners, placards, megaphones & chants!


The Israeli Embassy is a sponsor of the UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF).  Only a few weeks ago the Israeli state again slaughtered the people of Gaza: over 2100 killed, over 500 were children.
Palestinians look up at the remains of an Italian apartment block that was destroyed by an Israeli air strike overnight in Gaza City on August 26, 2014. An Israeli air raid in Gaza killed two Palestinians as Israel pursued its campaign to stop rocket fire by Hamas militants from the enclave, medics said.
Destroyed flats, Gaza City
We welcomed that the Tricycle took a stand against the festival’s funding by the Israeli Embassy during Israel’s 51-day assault on Gaza.  Over 500 artists and theatre practitioners publicly defended the Tricycle.
Disgracefully, the BFI Southbank is helping to re-brand Israel – it’s hosting the opening gala night of the festival.  Secretary of State for Culture, Sajid Javid – who slandered the Tricycle by implying antisemitism – said he would attend.  The Israeli ambassador is also expected.
Israel’s apologists attacked the Tricycle to try to distract the public from Gaza while children were killed in their homes as they slept, with their parents as they fled, in UN shelters where they were told they would be safe, in hospitals, in mosques, while playing football: by bloodied tanks, F16s, drones, bunker busters, sea-to-land missiles, remote-controlled machine guns . . .
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (Sept 2014) found that Israel committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of murder, extermination and persecution and incitement to genocide.
Join our BDS protest against collaboration with mass-murderers




Public protest closed down an Israeli-funded theatre company at the Edinburgh Fringe.  The Tricycle, the Bristol Encounters Film Festival, artists from Sao Paulo Art Biennial all rejected Israeli Embassy funding.
See our No Israeli Funding of the Arts (NIFA) letter to all the cinemas here.
Contact your the cinemas by phone, email, website, leaflet or street protest, and let them know what you think of them hosting an Israeli-funded event. Call or write to the local press or call-in radio. (All cinema contact details are here.)