On December 21st, pro-Israeli groups are planning to deliver Israeli foodstuffs to homeless shelters and food banks as a way to undermine support for the Palestinian appeal for BDS. The move is cynical and hypocritical.
The same people who support Israel's mass bulldozing of Palestinian homes, the mass creation of homelessness are claiming to help the homeless here in Britain. Individuals who support Israel dropping 500lb bombs on the most crowded area of Earth, the Gaza Strip, who endorse the razing of entire residential neighbourhoods in Gaza, will bring Israeli produce to homeless shelters on Sunday December 21st to show a "humanitarian face". While thousands of Palestinians are made homeless and kept homeless as a result of deliberate Israeli Government policy, pro-Israel activists will masquerade as friends of the homeless in Britain.
Food banks will also be offered donations of Israeli produce by people who support Israel's destruction of Palestinian farms, and who agree with Israel forbidding the use of many foodstuffs to the imprisoned people of Gaza. Those carrying donations of food – Israeli food only - also support capping the food intake of people in Gaza at a level that will produce widespread malnutrition but stop short of mass starvation. An Israeli Government advisor, Dov Weissglass, once 'joked' publicly that "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger." The Israelis have announced a daily per person calorific intake they will allow to Palestinians in Gaza, micro-managing Palestinian hunger in line with Dov Weissglass' announcement.
To counteract the widespread revulsion at Israeli massacres that has led millions to shun Israeli produce, the UK Zionist response is to exploit the misery of the homeless and the hungry to promote Israeli produce.
Ken Loach directed the classic BBC play Cathy Come Home about homelessness in Britain; the outcry it generated led to the setting up, one month later, in November 1966, of the homeless charity Shelter, which still helps homeless people and also campaigns to end the political scandal of mass homelessness. Ken Loach is clear that "the foundation of Israel was based on a crime against the Palestinians. Israel is still committing crimes against humanity...We should not have anything to do with projects that are supported by the State of Israel. You cannot just stand by and watch people live their lives in refugee camps forever." The cynical donors of Israeli food – tainted ethically and politically – should not be allowed to benefit from this shameless ploy.
Even a Zionist observer was sickened, "The project organisers are using the poor, placing them in intolerable political positions that have nothing to do with them and taking away their dignity and independence, all for their own political ends".
Many of us with a roof over our heads and enough to live on have taken a decision to boycott Israeli produce; being homeless or having to rely on food banks limits a person's or a family's options. SPSC understands that homeless shelters and food banks have a duty to accept the food in order to help their needy clients. We also know that the sort of people who dedicate their time to helping the victims of this Government's austerity drive are likely to be opposed to injustice abroad as well as at home.
We ask you to deny any propaganda publicity to these pro-Israeli campaigners, the supporters of homelessness and hunger for Palestinians who come bearing Israeli foodstuffs. It is part of their effort to defeat the Palestinian call for BDS and their struggle for freedom. Supporting the manufacture of homelessness and hunger in Palestine; exploiting homelessness and hunger in Britain to sanitise the perpetrators, the Israeli State.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
c/o Peace & Justice Centre
Edinburgh EH2 4BJ
Jimmy Savile came to my batmitzvah
By Jessica Elgot, November 3, 2011
He claimed to have "invented the disco", but Sir Jimmy Savile, the DJ and presenter who died last weekend, also claimed to have done his bit towards peace in the Middle East. Sir Jimmy always said he had berated the Israeli Cabinet in 1975 for being too soft after the Six Day War.
The bling-loving Leeds-born presenter of Jim'll Fix It and Top of the Pops...was a strong supporter of Israel and through fun runs, marathons and personal appearances, raised funds for many charities including WIZO, Ravenswood, and the British Friends of the Laniado Hospital in Netanya.
His ten-day visit to Israel in 1975, when he met President Ephraim Katzir and Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek, was organised by John Levy of the Friends of Israel Educational Trust.
Sir Jimmy recalled his advice to the Israelis: "I arrived at this reception. The president came to me and asked how I was enjoying my visit. I said I was very disappointed: the Israelis had won the Six Day War but they had given back all the land, including the only oil well in the region, and were now paying the Egyptians more for oil than if they had bought it from Saudi Arabia.
"I said: 'You have forgotten to be Jewish'. He said: 'Would you like to tell my cabinet that?' Next morning, I went to the Knesset; they interrupted a cabinet meeting and I told them the same as I had told him."
Mr Levy recalled: "He was a gorgeous, impish, creative character. Of course, he was an egomaniac, but he was incredibly generous. He wanted to film us walking from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, so there are these scenes trudging the Judean Hills. He had many close Jewish friends, he was a real philosemite. When we returned, I asked him to be a 'Friend' of the Trust and he insisted that I listed him as 'Special Friend'."
Full report in Jewish Chronicle 3 November 2011
by Mick Napier
Looking through some old files I saw a piece entitled For a Jewish, United Jerusalem written by one Esti Sheinberg in the June 2001 issue of the Edinburgh Star, ‘Journal of the Edinburgh Jewish Community’. Sheinberg writes that, ’The Jewish passion for Jerusalem is to rebuild and live in it. The Palestinian passion is for blood.’ Sheinberg, then teaching at Edinburgh University, also insists that, ‘…the Islam of today…because of its psychological and moral constitution…is not just capable but eager to perform acts of zealous savagery…’ This is racism, aiming to stigmatise a whole people, the Palestinians, as well as all the adherents of a religion, Islam. Such language is completely unacceptable in public discourse, especially after the BNP has made significant political advances.
The article doesn’t rise above the standard Zionist trope of superior Jewish rights to all the land that Zionists intend to take from the mainly-Muslim Palestinians. Sheinberg uses incautiously naked racism, however, to de-legitimise the obvious and compelling claims of the long-term residents: as in North America and Africa, the claims of superior rights for incoming colonists derive from their supposedly superior levels of civilisation compared to the ‘savages’ who live there. The native peoples are inevitably portrayed as inferior, often violent and irrational.
In Sheinberg’s article, rebuilding Jerusalem is a synonym for demolition of Palestinian homes. Israeli bulldozers are even now destroying Palestinian homes in Jerusalem as part of the Government’s open project of ‘Judaising’ the city. The apartheid system of Jewish supremacy can not be reconciled with universal values; it calls forth racist discourse in its defenders.
Officials of the ‘Jewish State’ cut down hundreds of thousands of olive trees in front of Palestinian farmers grief-stricken at their inability to protect the land from such barbarism. Sheinberg strives to justify this ethnic cleansing in jarring tones that would have been unremarkable in the conversation of a Rhodesian white farmer fifty years ago, or the ideological kit-bag of an official of the Indian Raj a little earlier.
This stuff has largely gone out of public fashion outside BNP circles; it has been driven underground by anti-racism legislation, but more importantly by the spread of awareness that ‘the White Man’s Burden’ was always a lie to ‘justify’ land theft and the extreme violence of the colonial project itself.
What if some bigot were to pen an article claiming that ‘The Jewish passion is for blood’? Not ‘Israeli settlers’, ‘Israeli soldiers’, ‘the Israeli Government’, or ‘ too many Israelis’, but ‘Jews’ in general. Why should Sheinberg, an Israeli who has since moved to the USA, be allowed to publish odious racist material unopposed?
Individuals committed to human rights don’t think that modern Christianity is inherently, ‘constitutionally’ driven to savagery, even when instigators of violent aggression, such very public Christians as Bush, Blair and Brown, claim divine sanction or inspiration for their murderous actions. Nor do we make the same mistake with Judaism because Israeli ethnic cleansers wave a real estate deal from Jehovah that they say trumps land title deeds issued by the Ottomans, the British Mandate or even the Israeli State itself.
There must be a line drawn here to encompass debate on the grim crisis in Israel/Palestine and the steps we can take to contribute to a resolution. Racists, all racists, should be on the outside of that line. The Edinburgh Star needs to repudiate the racist content of Sheinberg’s article and apologise to Edinburgh’s Palestinian community and Muslims for the damage it has done.
8 July 2009
24 December 2013
Denis MacShane, Tony Blair's Europe minister, has been jailed for six months for stealing £13,000 in expenses fiddles while an MP. He was expelled from the Labour party just over a year ago for the fraud. The crook, bully, and petty crook submitted false invoices over many years to supplement his already inflated salary. During the years he was stealing taxpayers money he spent much of his time working to conflate anti-Semitism, real and sometimes imagined, with criticism of the State of Israel and defence of Palestinian human rights. Some of the false expenses were for his work as chair of the all-party Parliamentary group against antisemitism.
He was born in Glasgow and educated at private schools and Oxford. He later changed his original Polish name at the request of his employer. He prematurely attacked Hugo Chavez during the failed coup attempt of 2005 and had to backtrack swiftly. Perfidious Albion had a suitable servant in MacShane who was several times caught out brazenly lying for political purposes.
Ironically, the fraudster is trying to blame the BNP, dressing himself in anti-fascist colours, ironic since he was an unstinting defender of Israeli mass murder and human rights violations. Norman Finkelstein wrote of one of his major efforts:
Whenever Israel faces a public relations debacle its apologists sound the alarm that a "new anti-Semitism" is upon us. So, predictably, just after Israel faced another image problem due to its murderous destruction of Lebanon, a British all-party parliamentary group led by notorious Israel-firster Denis MacShane MP (Labour) released yet another report alleging a resurgence of anti-Semitism (Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry Into Antisemitism, September 2006). To judge by the witnesses (David Cesarani, Lord Janner, Oona King, Emanuele Ottolenghi, Melanie Phillips) and sources (MEMRI, Holocaust Education Trust) cited in the body of the report, much time and money could have been saved had it just been contracted out to the Israel Foreign Ministry.
MacShane has fallen into well-deserved ignominy but he at one time secured the support the British Prime Miniister for his scheme to criminalise Palestine solidarity and support for the Palestinian call for boycott of Israel until it stops its crimes. I was one of five SPSC members charged with 'racism' for activities during Palestine solidarity campaigning, charges that were levelled well after the protest involved and very shortly after MacShane's glittering conference in London on Combatting Anti-Semitism, an event attended by Zionist ultras from Israel, including one who had criticised Ariel Sharon for being too moderate.
The unprecedented charges were only laid after the British Government gave official endorsement to Dennis MacShane's long-term campaign to define much opposition to Israeli apartheid as 'anti-Semitic'. The British Government endorses the EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism which makes it racist to point out Israel's apartheid structures and the racist programme of political Zionism towards Palestinians, i.e. "claiming that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavour", or "drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis."
The Rotheram fraudster's recommendations that would have effectively criminalised campaigns for boycott were taken up officially by another Minister who would later be shamed for massive expenses fraud, Hazel Blears. Her Parliamentary Secretary of State Sadiq Khan, announced in February 2009 that the British Government intended to implement MacShane's proposals:
Following on from the All Party Inquiry into Antisemitsm (2006) - chaired by the Rt Hon Denis MacShane MP...we set up a working group...to ensure that the recommendations were implemented.
Shortly after the five SPSC members were charged. The charges were ridiculed and thrown out by an intelligent Scottish Sheriff.
By their friends shall ye know them.
24 December 2013
(Updated from November 2012 piece)
Media Release: Public enquiry needed into Israeli embassy black-ops
Sunday 8th January 2017
[Image left: Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev meeting with SNP MPs at Westminster, October 2016]
Israeli government efforts to 'neutralise' and 'take down' critics have been revealed thanks to an al Jazeera undercover investigation. Shai Masot, a sernior Israeli Embassy official, is a former major in the Israeli navy and works for Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs, set up by Netanyahu to conduct a secret war against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) spokesman Mick Napier said:
"The British government joined in the outrage at possible Russian efforts to influence domestic US politics. Now, thanks to exemplary investigative journalism, a British civil servant is exposed as part of the Israeli Embassy's lavishly funded effort to 'take down' British political figures who criticise Israel. The secretly filmed video shows an Israeli intelligence effort involving British pro-Israel politicians that is both ambitious and very broad in scope, utilising dirty tricks and creating scandals in order to protect Israel."
The video released yesterday shows Masot in conversation with Maria Strizzolo, senior aide to Education Minister Robert Halfon, who claims that their conversation was “light, tongue-in-cheek and gossipy” between friends. She does not explain why a member of Labour Friends of Israel (actually an undercover reporter) attended the meeting at the luxurious Aubaine restaurant across the road from the Israeli Embassy. On behalf of the Israeli Embassy, Masot offered the undercover reporter a job to help combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in Britain.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign has evidence of similarly sinister conversations in Scotland between an official Scottish body and pro-Israel groups to 'quell unrest', encouraging police action against peaceful demonstrations during Israeli massacres in Summer 2014.
Scottish PSC chair Sofiah MacLeod:
"No doubt all political parties have been targeted by the Israeli government, last year we saw the witch-hunt in the Labour Party led by many Labour Friends of Israel activists. We also know they have initiated a campaign to influence the SNP and Scottish civil society. I spoke briefly with Shai Masot at SPSC's exhibition stand at the SNP conference."
The Al Jazeera report, due to start airing next week, will no doubt reveal more of the efforts of the Israeli government to work through various pro-Israel organisations to 'neutralise' opposition to Israeli actions against the Palestinians.
Any sting operation such as this strongly suggests a wider problem, and an Israeli Embassy intelligence effort to smear and 'take down' British political figures merits further investigation. It is worrying that the UK Government has declared the matter closed on the sole grounds that the Israeli Ambassador has apologised. Masot and other diplomats involved should be expelled and Strizzoli, who had no alternative but to resign after being caught red-handed, should be investigated for possible criminal activity
Notes to Editors:
180 West Regent Street, Glasgow, G2 4RW
101 Rose Street South Lane, Edinburgh, EH2 3JG
Available for comment/interviews:
Mick Napier, 07958 002 591
Sofiah MacLeod, 07931 200 361
*** Scottish PSC Freedom of Information documentation on pro-Israel groups and Crown Office correspondence avialable on request ****
2. Israeli embassy official filmed discussing how to 'take down' Sir Alan Duncan and other pro-Palestinian MPs
3. Israeli diplomat caught on camera plotting to 'take down' UK MPs
4. Israel’s parliamentary plot against UK politicians
5. REVEALED: Secret tapes expose Israeli influence over UK Conservative Party
6. Has the Tory government authorised Israeli ‘black-ops’ in Britain?
7. Israel to allocate NIS 100 million for BDS battle
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.