There is no doubt that Lt. Col. Cristal sees himself in the front line of an attack on the political positions of all UK trade unions and even solidarity with Palestine generally. On August 18 he tweeted, “I'm going into the legal battle. Those who choose to boycot will pay the price”.

Mick Napier
Edinburgh 23 September 2013

Another British trade union, this time UNISON, is under attack for adopting positions of support for Palestinian rights and responding to the Palestinian appeal for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it ends its occupation and dispossession of the Palestinian people. The Israeli Embassy in London is involved in the attack.

Lt. Col. Moty CristalIn March of this year, an employment tribunal rebuffed a claim by pro-Israeli members of the UCU (University and College Union) that the union was ‘anti-semitic’ for supporting Palestinian rights. That initiative failed dismally but the Israeli Foreign Ministry and London Embassy are again at work to smear trade union opposition to Israeli crimes as racist. In this current attack, Lt. Col. (Res) Moty Cristal, a high profile member in the Israeli Army Crisis Negotiation Unit, is suing UNISON as well as Manchester Mental Health & Social Care NHS Trust for withdrawing an invitation to him to speak, an invitation extended before UNISON members were aware of his role in Israel’s notorious army.  Lt. Col. Cristal, who supports the use of white phosphorous against densely populated Gaza, is suing for exemplary financial damages for the “injury to feelings” the withdrawal of the invitation has caused him.

There is no doubt that Lt. Col. Cristal sees himself in the front line of an attack on the political positions of all UK trade unions and even solidarity with Palestine generally. On August 18 he tweeted, “I'm going into the legal battle. Those who choose to boycot will pay the price”.

A victory for Lt. Col. Cristal and the Israeli Embassy would shore up Israel's crumbling strategy of isolating Palestinians under Israeli occupation so that the bulldozers and death squads that Cristal defends can go about their grisly business. The UK Government works to keep Palestine out of the United Nations, and sells arms to the Zionist State, while the Israeli Embassy and its supporters try to use the UK legal system to criminalise solidarity with the long-suffering Palestinian people.

The effort to conflate support for the Palestinian BDS call with anti-semitism boils down to a claim that opposition to the crimes of the Israeli state is actually driven by hatred of Jews or hostility to all Israelis. It is counter-factual, but at least it switches the topic away from Israel’s indefensible crimes, an explicit Zionist aim.

Zionists work to portray the anger directed at genocidal Israeli settlers or the murderous Israeli Army as hostility to all Jews or Israelis – as if opposition to the Mafia was anti-Italian, or bringing certain war criminals to the Hague was hostility to Serbs as a people. Or, bizarrely, that opposition to South African apartheid involved hatred of all white people.  Sometimes Zionist organisations fabricate anti-semitism for their own ends.

True to form, the Zionist counter-attack airbrushes out the institutional links of Lt. Col. Cristal, and claims that he is being boycotted merely because he is an Israeli.

Lt. Col. Cristal's comrades attack schoolgirlsLt. Col. Cristal, as it happens, is a deeply unpleasant character; in August, for example, he criticised Israeli PM Netanyahu from the right for releasing a hundred Palestinians from among the thousands held illegally in Israel’s prison system, calling the prisoner release an “evil”. He also advocates continuing the brutal siege of Gaza. His politics, however, is not an issue in this case; he is being boycotted for his status as a high ranking functionary in an army and state that commits war crimes and crimes against humanity. The BDS campaign ignores private Israeli citizens, even those with such nasty politics.

In a precedent-setting trial in Edinburgh in April 2010 Sheriff James Scott ruled that actions such as comments “clearly directed at the State of Israel, the Israeli Army...” and not targeted at “citizens of Israel” per se were protected by Article 10(1) rights to freedom of speech. It is UNISON’s right and duty to refuse to provide a platform for a spokesman for the Israeli Army which is guilty of such egregious human rights violations.

It is worth noting the effrontery of those prosecuting UNISON. Dinah Rose QC is Lt. Col. Cristal’s legal representative. Ms Rose said her client’s treatment was a form of racial discrimination which bans unequal treatment on grounds of nationality. She is quoted as saying: “He is an Israeli national and of Jewish ethnic origin. This case is very important to Professor Cristal.” Lt. Col. Cristal himself said, “I’m...deeply disappointed from a national point of view”.  A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in London told the Israeli daily Haaretz that “the embassy occasionally helps Israelis confronted with discrimination on the basis of their nationality”.

The QC ought to have carried out some minimum research into the case; she would have discovered that it is highly problematic for anyone to claim discrimination on the basis of their “Israeli nationality”. The Embassy spokeman and Lt. Col. Cristal know well that “Israeli nationality” is denied them by the law of Israel, where over 130 different nationalities are available to citizens of the State of Israel, including 'Burmese', 'Buddhist', and Russian, but not, under any circumstances, is “Israeli nationality” permitted.

Yes, you read that previous paragraph correctly! The State of Israel forbids “Israeli nationality” for any citizen. Each Israeli is forced to accept either “Jewish nationality”, which confers significant economic, social, political, and residential privileges, or one of over a hundred other “nationalities” that mark the individual citizen out as a non-Jew in a self-styled “Jewish State”. The more than one million Palestinian citizens of the State of Israel, for example, are excluded residentially from most of Israel’s land surface; huge areas are reserved for exclusively Jewish residence.

Tee shirt popular with some Israeli Army snipers
So UNISON is being attacked by an Israeli Army official who claims he is being discriminated against on the basis of his “Israeli nationality” - a status that is legally prohibited in Israel.

The attack on UNISON, however, is the second attack on a British trade union this year and is an attempt to smear all who support Palestinian rights, in unions, churches, Scottish local authorities, or campaigning groups.

An injury to one is an injury to all. Please move a resolution of support for the decision to withdraw the invitation to Lt. Col. Moty Cristal, in response to the BDS call from Palestine.

Send copies of any motion to UNISON 's International Committee This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(Please Cc. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

 

"...in May 2010 then-First Minister Alex Salmond rightly attacked the idea that Scottish Jews "should be judged or affected by the policies of Israel. The Jewish community is not liable for those policies”. It is therefore troubling that the Lord Advocate has now accepted the Zionist claim that the Israel State represents in some way Scottish Jews. Having officially endorsed this central tenet of Zionism, the Lord Advocate’s office cannot now offer justice to the victims of Zionism, the Scottish-Palestinian community, nor to political opponents of Zionism".

Today (12 Oct 16) in GlasgoSPSC 4 0 Zionistsw Sheriff Court charges that SPSC members Jim Watson and I have faced for the last 25 months, including aggravated trespass and racial aggravation arising out of BDS campaigning in Braehead Shopping Centre were deserted due to the presiding Sheriff’s illness.

That now means that four vicious legal attacks over eight years on SPSC members have failed (with two feeble efforts outstanding ). Ally Coutts in Aberdeen is still charged with saying ‘Viva Palestina’ within earshot of an Israeli Dae Sea cosmetics stall that was selling goods made from materials pillaged from occupied Palestinian land. Four members who protested inside Barclays Argyle Street, Glasgow Branch against investments in arms companies face charges of aggravated tresspass that would seem to have little chance of succeeding.

It remains to be seen whether a senior legal official, called a Procurator Fiscal in Scotland, will raise fresh "racism" charges within the next two months but the fact is that Jim and I currently have no racism charges that require to be disclosed. No charges mean bail conditions fall.

Disturbingly, FoI (freedom of information) requests from SPSC to the Procurator Fiscal offices reveal an overly-cosy relationship between legal officers in Scotland and pro-Israel lobbyists. The Israeli Embassy successfully sought a meeting with Scotland’s most senior legal official, the Lord Advocate, and legal experts of the Apartheid State to discuss “Jewish relationships in Scotland” and the “Israeli and Scottish prosecutorial systems”.

It is not clear why the Lord Advocate would meet with the diplomats of a foreign state to discuss issues affecting a Scottish community nor how Scottish legal experts could learn from experts running an openly racist legal system.

It’s one thing for Polish, Chinese or Israeli diplomats to meet Scottish officials to discuss the Polish, Chinese or Israeli communities living in Scotland but in May 2010 then-First Minister Alex Salmond rightly attacked the idea that Scottish Jews "should be judged or affected by the policies of Israel. The Jewish community is not liable for those policies”. It is therefore troubling that the Lord Advocate has now accepted the partisan Zionist claim that the Israel State represents in some way Scottish Jews. Having officially endorsed this central tenet of Zionism, the Lord Advocate’s office cannot now offer justice to the victims of Zionism, the Scottish-Palestinian community, nor to political opponents of Zionism.

At stake is our right to campaign peacefully for boycott against the genocidal State of Israel, a right the Westminster Government has openly said it will try to revoke, building of previous efforts by PM Gordon Brown. The trials of SPSC members past, ongoing and future are our contribution to the worldwide campaign for BDS and the lavishly financed worldwide campaign against BDS being waged by the Israeli Government with, possibly, support from the Lord Advocate on behalf of the Scottish Government.

For the record:

  • Between 2008 and 2010 five members of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign went through an extended legal process before Sheriff John Scott dismissed with ridicule the charge that saying the words “End the siege of Gaza! Genocide in Gaza!” was racist. Two years and a lot of effort and solver were spent to see off this absurdity.
  • In 2011 police were forced to publicly apologise to SPSC member Mick Napier for illegal arrest, assault and attempted cover up while pretending to investigate a related complaint. The illegal police assault arose when a dozen or so SPSC members bought tickets on an open-top Edinburgh city tour bus and draped a banner reading ‘End the siege of Gaza’ over the side while travelling around the city centre.
  • In 2016, fit-up charges for alleged “assault” collapsed at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court after two members of the Zionist CST (Community Security Trust) gave evidence against Mick Napier. A fierce-looking Sheriff Watson viewed some TV footage of the area during the alleged assault and quickly threw out the charges, ruling that clearly no assault had taken place. The charges had been laid three months after the 2014 day-long protest against the racist JNF (Jewish National Fund) in a remote shooting range in Ayrshire. The annual protests finally succeeded in 2014 in getting these annual fundraisers cancelled. The Zionist CSTs aim was to get a conviction for assault on some technicality; one witness was reduced to claiming there had been a “a bit more than a nudge” inflicted upon him.
    Had a guilty verdict been achieved however, the CST and their allies would have run with headlines of “Palestine solidarity activist thug attacked two Jewish men”, frequently recycled by their allies.

3 February 2016, Kilmarnock Sheriff Court

Sheriff Watson dismissed a charge of assault against Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (Scottish PSC) member Mick Napier today following the collapse of the prosecution case. 

Challenges to the prosecution proved that the case had no basis in evidence leading the sheriff to halt the trial before a defence case was presented.

The case arose from a protest against the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an Israeli parastatal organisation that is involved in Israel’s settler colonisation of Palestinian territories and in the institutionalised apartheid and racism that discriminates against Palestinians citizens of Israel.  At the protest in June 2014, the last publicly organised fundraiser by the JNF in Scotland following years of protest by Scottish PSC, a JNF event steward and member of the Community Security Trust (CST) alleged assault by Mick Napier.  CST is a UK charity whose mandate is to record anti-Semitic incidents but is also involved in providing political support to the state of Israel.  Sheriff Watson upheld a no case to answer submission after Al Jazeera video footage demonstrated that no assault took place.

Scottish PSC Chair Sofiah MacLeod condemned the Crown’s decision to pursue the charge and expressed concern that “these charges appeared three months after the protest took place, following protests against Israel’s 2014 massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, protests in which Mick Napier was prominent as a Scottish PSC member.  There appears to be a pattern emerging of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service taking action against Palestine solidarity and BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigners that amounts to harassment and an attempt to criminalise our solidarity with the Palestinian people.  We will be pursuing this matter with the Lord Advocate and Police Scotland.”

Five Scottish PSC members face a further two trials for BDS actions at Glasgow Sheriff Court.  Full details will be posted on the SPSC website. 

We need you – to join us in standing up for free speech, local democracy and to take forward the campaign for freedom and justice for Palestinians in the form of BDS.

JOIN Scottish PSC

Notes:

  1. “The JNF is not the trustee of the general public in Israel. Its loyalty is given to the Jewish people in the Diaspora and in the state of Israel... The JNF, in relation to being an owner of land, is not a public body that works for the benefit of all citizens of the state. The loyalty of the JNF is given to the Jewish people and only to them is the JNF obligated. The JNF, as the owner of the JNF land, does not have a duty to practice equality towards all citizens of the state.”
    http://www.badil.org/en/component/k2/item/429-the-jewish-national-fund-jnf.html
  2. http://www.hic-mena.org/documents/JNF%20factsheet.pdf
  3. The CST: https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ben-white/anti-semitism-watchdog-cst-abusing-mandate-defend-israel
  4. Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
    Building effective solidarity with the Palestinian people
    Scottish PSC is an extension to the Palestinian struggle for freedom against Israel's programme of ethnic cleansing and genocide in Palestine. Scottish PSC exists to channel public opposition to the Zionist settler colonial project into an effective and dynamic Scottish component of the global campaign that sends a powerful message of solidarity to the Palestinian people and a warning to Israel that its crimes must end.
    www.scottishpsc.org.uk
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    @scottishpsc
    www.facebook.com/scottishpsc

Support two SPSC members - Jim Watson and - I, on trial for 'racism' on Wednesday April 27th and Friday April 29th in Court 10 of Glasgow Sheriff Court.

SPSC Banner Stop Israeli War Crimes at Glasgow Sheriff CourtThe effort by Zionists and their allies to conflate opposition to Israeli crimes and hatred of Jews is intensifying; having long ago lost the debate over the revolting crimes of the Israeli Government, the Zionists are openly lobbying in Scotland to criminalise those who respond to the Palestinian appeal for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against the Israeli State and complicit institutions. Cameron has called for local councils to be prevented from supporting the BDS call, and Justice Secretary Michael Gove has called for BDS to be classified as a hate crime. The College of Policing in England and Wales has openly claimed in advice to all police officers that anti-Zionism, i.e. a democratic political critique of the racist nature of Zionism, is a species of hate crime. This police advice followed consultations with the discredited Zionist CST (Community Security Trust) and the Zionist Board of Deputies of British Jews, many of whose leaders work overtime to smear supporters of the Palestinian people as Jew-haters. SCoJeC, the Scottish affiliate of the Board of Deputies, has a record of wholly inventing incidents of anti-semitism and having to backtrack when caught out in such flagrant dishonesty.

2banners in oneThe last time I was charged with racism (yes, this is the second time!) the charges against five SPSC members were found to consist of saying the words "End the siege of Gaza!" and "Genocide in Gaza" in a public place.  Farcical, no doubt, but also indicative of the desperation of our opponents, for that was the entire substance of the case against five of us. After almost two years and over a score of appearances in Edinburgh Sheriff Court the charges were thrown out and the procurator Fiscal ridiculed by Sheriff John Scott.  The green light for this sinister farce, however, was given by then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown and current London Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan. Since the current charges claim that we shout[ed] racist comments', we shall have to see exactly what the Glasgow PF considers to be a 'racist comment'.

There is a great irony in being charged with 'racism' for opposing a state, Israel, that is carrying out an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinian people, and for opposing an ideology, Zionism, that is anti-semitic in its core assumptions and its actions.

(More recently, Al Jazeera TV film footage helped us defeat a malicious charge of 'assault' initiated by two CST employees during a successful protest against the racist JNF.  Video footage was also crucial in forcing an apology from the police for illegal arrest and assault during a Gaza protest in Edinburgh in 2011

The Scottish Procurator Fiscal's office is back for another try and we are asking you to support us by attending Glasgow Sheriff Court on April 27th to show solidarity and express your refusal to be cowed by the current disgusting wave of attacks on Palestine supporters as racists. We should not forget the harsh prison sentences handed out to 22 mainly Muslim young men following protests against Israel's massacre of Palestinians in Sdecember 2008 and January 2009. The young men were isolated and vulnerable.  The sentences were an attempt to terrorise other Muslims from opposing Israel's massacres.

We are organised and we WILL stand together to defeat the current attacks by Gove, Cameron and the like. "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win", said Gandhi. But only if we stand firm at stage 3.

Please let us know if you intend to attend the court on Wednesday 27th by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or texting/calling 0795 800 2591. It may be necessary to ask for a larger courtroom.

Mick Napier
West Calder
17 April 2016

Professor Jake Lynch of Sydney University is the subject of legal proceedings initiated by an Israel-based organisation using allegations of racism in an attempt to criminalise support for BDS. Professor Lynch's refusal to sponsor an Israeli academic's application for a fellowship in Sydney University was based on the Israeli academic's link to the Hebrew University which is complicit with Israel's occupation, militarism and racial oppression.

Prof. Jake LynchThe Shurat HaDin, the Israeli Law Center, filed a legal suit in the Federal Court of Australia against Professor Jake Lynch in October. BDS is, according to them "racist and discriminatory". The lawsuit focuses on Jake Lynch's refusal to sponsor an application for a fellowship in Australia by the Hebrew University academic Dan Avnon claiming a breach of the 1975 Racial Discrimination Act. Jake Lynch declined to sponsor the application because of his opposition to the fellowship agreement between the two universities given the Hebrew University's complicity in Israel's human rights abuses against the Palestinian people.

The Hebrew University is complicit in Israel's occupation, militarism and racial oppression of the Palestinian people. The university's Mount Scopus campus and dormitories are built on land confiscated from the Palestinians by the Israeli authorities on 1 September 1968, violating the Fourth Geneva Convention. The university is a militarized institution that participates in programs to train elite soldiers in the Israeli army. In 2012 the University prohibited the organization of the fifth Palestinian Cultural Festival; it also allows the police on to the campus to break up peaceful demonstrations by Palestinian students.

Solidarity with the Palestinian struggle must include mutual solidarity with all who are fighting Israel's apartheid and crimes against humanity. The situation in Australia is severe with a government who are pro-Israel at the expense of the Palestinians. This was demonstrated when, in November 2013, the Australian government abstained from voting on a United Nations general assembly resolution which called for an end to Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

Please support Jake Lynch by taking the following action.

If you are an academic please fill in your details in the letter below and send it to the email address supplied; otherwise pass it on to any other academics you know.

This call for support was made by the group Australians for BDS. They also provided the letter of support.

 

Letter of Support

We the undersigned consider academic freedom to be a fundamental value in all our educational institutions.

We understand that Professor Jake Lynch from the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, at the University of Sydney, refused to sign his name as a reference for Dan Avnon's application for a Hebrew University – University of Sydney Fellowship. In other words, Prof. Lynch refused to support an institutional relationship with an Israeli university that is deeply complicit in violations of human rights and international law.

The Hebrew University has part of its campus built on illegally confiscated Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem; it has close links with the Israel military and arms manufacturer Elbit, and is complicit in several other ways in maintaining the Israeli regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid.

Prof. Lynch refused to support Dan Avnon's application on the basis that Dan Avnon was acting as an official representative of the Hebrew University in seeking to take advantage of the official institutional relationship between the Hebrew University and the University of Sydney. Jake Lynch did not target Dan Avnon as an individual academic, nor did he reject collaboration with Avnon because of Avnon's religion, ethnicity, affiliation or origin. We do not endorse boycotting individual academics based on their ethnicity, religion, political principles or affiliation. We note also that Dan Avnon is not an applicant in the legal action against Jake Lynch.

We uphold Prof. Lynch's freedom of speech, academic freedom, and right to exercise his conscience in refusing to deal with an academic institution that violates international law. Many academics similarly refused to engage with South African universities during apartheid. A unanimous ruling in 2004 of the world's highest authority on international law, the International Court of Justice, established the illegality of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory. This illegality is confirmed by a range of acknowledged experts. The International Court of Justice ruling also established that other states are obligated not to recognise nor support Israel's breaches of international law.

We also condemn the actions of the foreign agency, Shurat HaDin, whose director admits to taking direction from the Israeli government on who to prosecute in their cases and which has deep connections with Israeli intelligence services. We condemn this law firm's attempts to silence Professor Lynch in the Australian Human Rights Commission and in the Australian Federal Court by claiming that his actions contravene the Racial Discrimination Act.

We abhor foreign political interference in the democratic right of an Australian academic to hold opinions that are critical of the State of Israel.

We consent to having our name/s published in support of Professor Jake Lynch.

Name:
Position:
Institution:
Date:

PLEASE EMAIL YOUR SUPPORT LETTER TO: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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