Caledonian Hotel, Edinburgh: to be known as Israeli-owned is 'incredibly damaging to our client'"Our only defence against such wealthy and powerful opponents is that we are telling the truth: Anthony Julius is a racist because he suppports the racist Jewish State of Israel which systematically discriminates against its Arab citizens, denying them the same rights as Jewish citizens, and carries out a reign of terror against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, privileging Jewish settlers over them to an extreme degree."

As part of continuing international actions against the apartheid wall, on Sat 10 November Scottish PSC protested outside the Caledonian Hotel after reports confirmed the sale of the hotel to an Israeli consortium operating as the Caledonian Operating Company. Despite bizarre harrassment from officials of Edinburgh City Council's Environmental Protection Department, and even an attack on Saturday, December 29th by Israeli settlers, weekly protests continue outside this city-centre Israeli hotel.

Scottish PSC has since received a letter from Mischon de Reya Solicitors. Scottish PSC's reply: The Caledonian Hotel denies Israeli ownership – Another Israeli lie?

One week later (23.11.07) and still no response from Mishcon de Reya for the Caledonian Hotel. We stress: if this hotel is not Israeli-owned or controlled, we have no further interest in it. Silence from them, however, would seem to suport our conclusion that the unchallenged public reporting of the matter is basically accurate.

Nor any response from Zionist fanatic, Anthony Julius. Here again, silence would seem to suggest that our designation of him as a 'racist' is incontestable. From Litigious Julius, such silence is uncharacteristic, and deafening from the man whose company website says is one of their "key contacts for defamation and reputation management...a highly regarded litigation lawyer [who] has acted for many high profile clients. Anthony is the former head of the Firm's litigation department." The same website says elsewhere that, "We tenaciously defend the reputations and rights of our clients and, where possible, seek financially favourable settlements."

Why the silence, then? You be the judge.

Our only defence against such wealthy and powerful opponents is that we are telling the truth: Anthony Julius is a racist because he suppports the racist Jewish State of Israel which systematically discriminates against its Arab citizens, denying them the same rights as Jewish citizens, and carries out a reign of terror against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, privileging Jewish settlers over them to an extreme degree.

Historical Note on Lord Mischcon, founder of Mishcon de Reya. He often visited Jordan as “a trusted emissary...between the two states..., returning each evening to his Israeli home. King Hussein and Shimon Peres, then the Foreign Minister of Israel, used Mishcon’s country house in England a number of times for private meetings.”

The College of Policing, a body which sets standards for police in England and Wales, is being urged to revise its guidance on hate crime, which equates anti-Zionism with “a new antisemitism.” The manual, ‘Hate Crime Operational Guidance’, was published in May 2014, but its definition of antisemitism was recently quoted by Eric Pickles MP on a government website.

Ben White
Middle East Monitor
April 12, 2016

college of policing logoIn a section on the “historical background” of antisemitism, the guidance states that “the ongoing political conflict between Israel and Palestine has led to a new antisemitism, sometimes also referred to as anti-Zionism.”

The concept of a ‘new antisemitism’ is a highly controversial one, and contested by experts who see it as politicised and unhelpful.

In a crucial section on the “definition of antisemitism”, meanwhile, the College of Policing’s guidance heavily relies on a discredited, and abandoned, document.

In 2005, a working draft definition of antisemitism was circulated by the European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), now the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).

The text, drafted with the help of pro-Israel groups, mixes obvious antisemitism (“holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel”), with legitimate political debate (“claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour”).

Contrary to the claims made by a number of Israel advocacy groups, between 2010 and 2013, FRA officials made clear on a number of occasions that the document had never been viewed “as a valid definition” – it was, quite simply, not fit for purpose.

The College of Policing, however, simply refers to “the EUMC working definition”, neglecting to mention that it was only ever a draft, and was subsequently ditched by EUMC’s successor.

Richard Kuper, spokesperson for Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said he was “distressed” to find that the College’s guidance “was guilty of severe misrepresentation about the provenance of and authority of a so-called EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism”.

Contrary to what the publication claims, this was never an official document, was not drawn up by the EUMC, and was never adopted by the EUMC. Its successor body the FRA reported that the document was not fit for purpose and withdrew it from its website.

Kuper has now written to the College of Police asking them to revise the publication, and in the meantime, to ensure that those using the publication are made aware of the issues.

According to a College spokesperson, the guidance was prepared by members of the National Policing Hate Crime Group. The section on antisemitism, the spokesperson said, was “considered by the Community Security Trust and the Board of Deputies amongst others.”

The College of Policing operates “in the public interest” as “an authoritative voice in policing”, with “a mandate to set standards in professional development, including codes of practice and regulations, to ensure consistency across the 43 forces in England and Wales.”

Original article in the Middle East Monitor !2 April 2016

SPSC Residential weekend of political discussion – ideas for effective campaigning in four sessions:

  • Israeli embassy criminalisation effort against BDS and strategies to combat it
  • Fit for the fight!
  • The SNP on Palestine & the wider political landscape in Scotland
  • Palestine solidarity in the context of the wider Middle East

trumpThese are tumultuous times - a carnival of reaction emanating from Washington, with Israel cheering and London walking grimly hand-in-hand. President Trump’s high-speed viciousness has developed a wide resistance from millions, fuelled largely by hatred of his racism and White supremacism. What are the challenges and opportunities for Palestine solidarity movements when Israeli Government and society embrace Trump enthusiastically?

Israel continues with its ethnic cleansing to establish an Arab-free zone based on Jewish supremacy within its expanding borders. Across the wider Middle East we see brutal civil wars in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. Egypt is restive under a harsh military dictatorship with the thinnest civilian veneer, and absolutist Gulf monarchies armed and supported by the US and UK. What does this mean for the project of delivering effective solidarity to the Palestinian people?

Here in Britain, when Obama followed up his parting $38billion aid package to Israel with criticism of Israel’s settlement expansion, Theresa May sided foursquare with Israel. In Scotland we see the governing Party, the SNP, moving to occupy political positions on Palestine that are virtually indistinguishable from the official positions of the Conservative Government in London.

Working to criminalise the BDS campaign, mainly by smear campaigns falsely alleging anti-semitism against supporters of Palestinian rights, the Tories Government aligns with the USA, Canada and France, while the governments of Sweden, the Netherlands and Ireland defend the right to BDS as a legitimate democratic strategy to drive change. Scottish legal authorities have been to the fore in launching charges against SPSC members on trumped-up charges of racism, assault, or aggravated trespass. How do we develop a pro-active strategy to see off these attempts to criminalise and delegitimise BDS, rather than reacting separately to each attack.

Any campaign group needs to evolve in response to the changing conditions. Dealing with external threats, internal conflicts, successes and setbacks, rising to new opportunities and challenges - all groups benefit from periodically taking stock and reassessing aims and methods. Where is SPSC today, how did we get here and how do we move forward?

So many questions – so few opportunities to discuss them in an informed and tolerant atmosphere, tolerant of all anti-racist views.

Join us in Pitlochry on March 10-12

In a carefully chosen legal ruling that supporters of Israeli ethnic cleansing and massacre need to reflect on before bleating about the anger they arouse for their political positions, the tribunal judges rebuked pro-Israel activist Ronnie Fraser that “He chooses to engage in the politics of the union in support of Israel and in opposition to activists to the Palestinian cause. When a rugby player takes the field he must accept his fair share of minor injuries. Similarly, a political activist accepts the risk of being offended or hurt on occasions by things said or done by his opponents (who themselves take on a corresponding risk).”


Mick Napier
23 November 2015

The article “Scottish university staff accused of anti-Jewish discrimination” in The Herald violates basic canons of journalism: it presents allegations without any checks; repeats baseless claims already tested in law and rejected; publicises vague innuendo from a politically-driven Zionist organisation with a dangerous agenda of implicating all Scottish Jews in the war crimes of the State of Israel. We see again the conflation of justified hostility to Israeli State behaviour with hostility to Scottish Jews.

The target this time is Scottish academics. “Scottish university staff accused of anti-Jewish discrimination” is the headline under a photograph of students holding a placard saying “End the siege of Gaza” and “Freedom for Palestine” strongly suggesting a link between the two.

Journalists need to clatuff2heck their sources. If the writer had made the effort to check the bona fides of SCoJeC (Scottish Council of Jewish Communities) he would have uncovered their history of making unfounded allegations of anti-semitism. In 2008, to take one example, SCoJeC furtively inserted material into a Scottish Government-supported publication, Scotland’s Jews, immediately prior to printing and after the content had been checked by Scottish Government lawyers and a supportive preface had then been added by First Minister Alex Salmond. The material inserted after agreement with the Scottish Government alleged that SPSC “demonised Jews”; the books had to be recalled and pulped after SPSC brought the matter to the attention of the First Minister, who was not well pleased at the dishonesty involved and the prospect of his being dragged into the defamation trial we planned.

Before publishing SCoJeC’s claims, a journalist should have checked the reliability of their source by asking to speak directly to some of the individuals referred to in the report and even question others to evaluate its accuracy. The journalist could have contacted the helpful staff at the First Minister’s office and discussed SCoJeC’s shocking role in the doctoring of the manuscript and the subsequent pulping of every copy of Scotland’s Jews.

SCoJeC alleges such intense “discrimination” in Scotland against “Jewish students” that some feel forced to deny or conceal their Jewishness. If this were the case, it would be a scandal, but anti-racist campaigners would urge students suffering discrimination to speak out publicly to enable them to seek and win support to oppose the culprits and the crime. By the alleged victims remaining anonymous, the alleged abuse cannot be dealt with and doubt must remain that SCoJeC, given its record of sleekit falsification, is resorting to the standard Zionist strategy of raising or inventing incidents of anti-semitism to divert attention away from Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, the decades-long reign of terror against an entire people, and serial crimes against humanity that are supported by political Zionists.

SCoJeC sees compulsory university classes on Friday evening and Saturday as evidence of anti-semitism. It’s a while since I’ve been a student at university but I don’t remember any Saturday or Friday evening classes, but if that is now a problem it can surely be discussed and hopefully resolved. (I’m sure religious Jews could find many secular allies in opposing such late-Friday and weekend classes!)

The unnamed student(s) allegedly reporting discrimination to SCoJeC may well be the same American Jewish woman studying for a Masters at a university in Edinburgh whom Nigel Goodrich of Friends of Israel claims to have met. On a Christian fundamentalist TV broadcast on 24 July this year, Goodrich reported (12:35 in) the woman telling him “that her professor said to her that he had failed two of her essays because she is Jewish and supports the State of Israel”.

latuffGoodrich’ claim is unlikely to be true, since even a nasty bigot professor of the type that he claims is loose in an un-named university in Edinburgh would be unlikely to advertise his flouting of all academic norms. The claimed anti-semitism, however, would undoubtedly be a crime and should have been reported to Police Scotland (as well as the relevant academic board and other university authorities). Has the alleged crime been reported to Police Scotland? Some of us have become de-sensitised to these incessant attacks on supporters of Palestinian rights as anti-semitic but we didn’t expect The Herald to promote the smear campaign.

SCoJeC claims it has evidence that university staff “criticised student work on Israel because they did not agree with the point of view being expressed”, but this is part of the job description, as long as evaluation is based on suitable criteria of course.

The article reports that four “Jewish academics in Scotland quit the UCU lecturers' union over its stance on the definition of anti-Semitism”, but omits to mention the scathing verdict of the judges at an employment tribunal in March 2013 who rejected in detail and at length the claim that the UCU was in any way anti-semitic. In a legal precedent that others might ponder before giving too much credibility to SCoJeC’s conflation of anti-Israeli campaigning with anti-semitism, trial judges “dismissed in their totality” all the Zionist claims of anti-semitic harassment by the complainant, calling the case “an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means” that showed a “worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression”.

In the carefully chosen language of the ruling, which supporters of Israeli ethnic cleansing and massacre need to reflect on before bleating about the anger they arouse for their political positions, the tribunal judges rebuked pro-Israel activist Ronnie Fraser on the grounds that “He chooses to engage in the politics of the union in support of Israel and in opposition to activists to the Palestinian cause. When a rugby player takes the field he must accept his fair share of minor injuries. Similarly, a political activist accepts the risk of being offended or hurt on occasions by things said or done by his opponents (who themselves take on a corresponding risk).”

The arguments of Ronnie Fraser and his Zionist allies in advancing similar conflationary arguments to SCoJeC were scorned as “palpably groundless…obviously hopeless…devoid of any merit…a sorry saga”. The judges recorded their conclusion that “Our analysis to date has despatched almost the entire case as manifestly unmeritorious”.  Ouch!

The UCU trial utilised the precedent of the April 2010 trial of five SPSC members on “racially aggravated” charges that ended in sinister farce when the Edinburgh Procurator Fiscal claimed that saying the words “End the siege of Gaza!” or “Genocide in Gaza!” as an offence since it constituted “racism”. All charges were dismissed and ridiculed by Sheriff John Scott.

That same month, however, Labour MSP Ken McIntosh dishonestly claimed that Scottish PSC “target Jewish people living here in Scotland because of their blinkered hostility to Israel”. McIntosh claimed he had seen an “anti-Semitic leaflet calling for a boycott of kosher food” but when challenged by constituents, he said he was unable to find the criminal material. A senior police officer said “Police enquiries established that no offence had been committed”.

We need to end this discredited political campaign against supporters of Palestinian freedom that works to link them to anti-semitism. We need to take racism seriously, neither exaggerating nor inventing; at a time when Scottish Muslims are being physically attacked and their houses of worship torched, we note the existence of real anti-semitism, i.e. hostility to Jews as a group. This piece deals with the serial efforts of politically-driven Scottish Zionists to deliberately and dishonestly smear Palestine supporters as anti-semitic. It has to stop.

Mick Napier
West Calder
23 November 2015
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The UK Govt's Prevent Programme and Palestine Solidarity Sep 27, 2017 - 19:00 PM - Sep 27, 2017 - 20:30 PM 59 Lauriston Place EH3 9ES (5 minutes walk from Tollcross)

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Israel and Settler Society by Lorenzo Veracini

The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is not unique -- whatever the news media may suggest. Lorenzo Veracini argues that the conflict is best understood in terms of colonialism. Like many other societies, Israel is a settler society. Looking in detail at the evolution of other colonial regimes -- apartheid South Africa, French Algeria and Australia -- Veracini presents a thoughtful interpretation of the dynamics of colonialism, offering a clear framework within which to understand the middle east crisis.

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