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JfJfP comments


2016:

06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics

2015:

23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo

2014:

15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014

2013:

29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

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14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011

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Posts

Attempts to block book on Jewish terrorism


The funeral of Lord Moyne, 1944, Britain’s man in Palestine, assassinated by future Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, then a leader of the Jewish terrorist group the Stern gang.

Israel, Zionism and the smearing of critics

By Jonathan Cook, blog
May 15, 2017

Tom Suarez has written an important history of early Zionism, State of Terror, finding in British archives a wealth of evidence damaging to the Zionist cause. The archives reveal a troubling story of a colonial settler movement prepared to ally itself with powerful anti-semites in European governments to achieve its goal of creating a Jewish state in Palestine. That included at different times dealing with the Nazis and the Italian fascists.

It is also worth remembering that British officials who aided the Zionist movement were far from immune to anti-semitism either. The Balfour Declaration, 100 old years this year, was Britain’s promise to the Zionists to help them create a “national home” at the expense of the Palestinian people. But as Edwin Montagu, the only Jew in the British cabinet at that time, realised, it was also a very good way for Britain’s antisemitic elites to rid themselves of a domestic Jewish population while also creating a colony-state in the Middle East dependent on Britain.

As Suarez’s books reveals in shocking detail, any means were seen as legitimate by the Zionists, including violence and terrorism against Palestinian civilians, the British, and even fellow Jews, in their efforts to drive out the native population. A lengthy extract from Suarez’s book, published by Mondoweiss, gives a disconcerting taste of what the Zionists were prepared to do to win themselves someone else’s homeland.

The single most deadly terror attack conducted by the Zionists in Palestine was not the blowing up of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946, as is commonly remembered. It was “the Jewish Agency’s bombing of the immigrant ship Patria in 1940, killing an estimated 267 people, of whom more than 200 were Jews fleeing the Nazis.”


Sinking of the ship Patria in sight of land, 1940. The bomb was more powerful than the Jewish Agency realised and it sank quickly killing most passengers and crew. The British allowed the Jewish survivors to remain in Palestine.

The Jewish Agency, the Zionists’ government-in-waiting in Palestine, wanted to foil British efforts to relocate to Mauritius these Jewish refugees fleeing Europe. For the Zionist leadership, it was worth killing Jews if it aided the cause of creating a Jewish state in Palestine. As Suarez concludes, the terror attack “was no aberration, but the driving principle of the Zionist project: Persecuted Jews served the political project, not the other way around.”

Similar uses of terror continued after Israel’s creation in 1948, part of false-flag operations to drive Jews out of Arab lands as a way to bolster the Jewish majority in the new state of Israel.

Suarez also reminds us that before the rise of Hitler the Zionist movement was far from popular, even among most European Jews:

most Jews and Jewish leaders dismissed Zionism as the latest anti-Semitic cult. They had fought for equality, and resented being told that they should now make a new ghetto – and worse yet, to do so on other people’s land. They resented being cast as a separate race of people, as Zionism demanded.

Even after Hitler launched the Holocaust, most Jews fleeing Europe wanted to head to the new promised land of the United States, not a territory unknown to them in a region, the Middle East, most would have associated with deserts and backwardness. But US Zionists lobbied their own officials ferociously to get the doors closed to most of these Jews, forcing them to become Zionists in Palestine.

In 1944 US Zionist leaders sabotaged President Roosevelt’s provisional success in establishing a half million new homes for European DPs [displaced persons], most of these homes in the United States and Britain. When Roosevelt’s aide Morris Ernst visited the Zionist leaders in an attempt to save the program, he was, in his words, “thrown out of parlours and accused of treason” – “treason”, because he was Jewish, and the Zionists owned Jews.

This is archival history that has been intentionally forced down the memory hole – by Zionist organisations, by Israel and by British officials – for very good reason. It risks reminding us that Israel emerged out of an unholy alliance between, on the one hand, British anti-semites and colonial officials and, on the other, Jewish ethnic supremacists who had adopted for themselves the ugly ideology of Europe’s racial nationalists.

US intelligence officials in the Middle East, points out Suarez, understood the roots of Zionist ideology. In a report in 1943, they concluded that Zionism in Palestine was “a type of nationalism which in any other country would be stigmatised as retrograde Nazism”.

The tactics of the Zionist leadership haven’t much changed even now that their state, Israel, has been achieved. Today, they don’t need to blow up hotels to get their way. Instead, its more fanatical devotees use respectable kinds of terror to silence anyone, like Suarez, who wants to remind us of this hidden history and help us understand how the past can cast a very clear light on the present.


Tom Suarez in the West Bank. Photo by Sainatee Suárez

I advise you to read this post by him [below] explaining how Zionist leaders in the UK, backed by media like the Daily Mail (a paper that has a long history of antisemitism and that expressed sympathy for the Nazis back in the 1930s), have worked on a ruthless misinformation campaign to seek to discredit Suarez and prevent him from holding public events. The catalogue of cancelled speaking engagements he documents is truly exasperating.

Sadly, too few organisations emerge from this affair with honour. These confected smear campaigns still work because we let them. The Quakers, who have had a relatively good history of supporting pro-Palestinian activism, have let themselves down badly in twice bowing to such intimidation.

The goal of Zionist activists like Jonathan Hoffman and Zionist organisations like the Board of Deputies of British Jews is not just to silence Suarez. They want to pillory him as a warning to anyone who might think to follow in his footsteps. Similar intimidation campaigns in the UK to stop criticism of Israel have been launched against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and a raft of Labour activists who support Palestinian rights.

Will any academic, young or old, dare to unearth more of these of official documents telling the real story of Israel’s creation? Would any of them want to suffer the smears and the irreparable damage to their professional reputations after seeing what has happened to Suarez.

Similar campaigns against journalists (I have some personal experience of this!) ensure that they mostly keep their heads down too. They won’t be publicising or reviewing Suarez’s book.

When politicians, writers, thinkers, journalists and academics are all targeted if they dare to speak even a little truth about Israel or about Zionism, who is left with any prominence who can do so?

Jonathan Hoffman and smear artists like him know the answer very well. Which is why they are not about to stop using misinformation and falsehoods to blacken the name of anyone with integrity like Suarez who tries to offer some illumination.


Pro-Israel Interference in Free Speech in the UK

 

 

 

 

 

UK Edition published by Skyscraper Publications, 13 October 2016, RRP £20. Hb, 417 pages ISBN: 978-1911072034

How a Zionist campaign of distortions stopped audiences hearing Tom Suarez speak about his book State of Terror

By Tom Suarez, FSoI
May 14, 2017

Note: In late 2016, my work State of Terror : how terrorism created modern Israel was published in hardcover in the UK (Skyscraper Books) and paperback in the US (Interlink). This book was the culmination of several years’ research based primarily on British government source documents held by the National Archives (Kew), relating to Palestine during the four decades between the Balfour Declaration (1917) and the Suez Crisis (1956).

Book talks that were affected

1. SOAS (3 Nov)

My first publicised book talk was to students at SOAS. This was sabotaged by a handful of non-student outsiders, principally by well-known activists Jonathan Hoffman and, less flamboyantly, David Collier. Security was called, but Mr. Hoffman yelled “assault” when he was approached by a guard (who had done nothing), at which security declined to intervene. The student organisers were unable to control the situation and the Q&A was soon abandoned. The saboteurs had recorded the talk and uploaded out-of-context video snippets, labelling me as an anti-Semitic hate speaker.

A video of the talk that Tom managed to give in a private room Cambridge despite harassment

Five days later the British tabloid, the Daily Mail, published a ‘news story’ devoted to me and the SOAS talk; its headline referred to me as an “anti-Semitic hate speaker”. The Israeli advocacy group CAA (Campaign Against Antisemitism), in which I believe Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Collier are active, filed a formal complaint with the SOAS Administration and the Charity Commission. I twice contacted the SOAS Administration and offered to face my accusers and answer the complaints, but was told that this was not required.

When these complaints failed, Mr. Hoffman filed a Freedom of Information request in an attempt to get damning information about me or the CC’s decision. The FOI results yielded nothing new about either. Nonetheless, other media continued to identify me as a spreader of, e.g.,

“racist conspiracy theories”, whose book is “every bit as antisemitic as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion”.

The story was picked up by the music critic Norman Lebrecht, who uncritically spread the Daily Mail story in his popular blog, Slipped Disc. Had I still been a free-lance musician in New York, the Slipped Disc article could have seriously imperilled my professional life. The Amazon UK listing of the book was hit with an (obviously orchestrated) rash of 1-star ‘reviews’ claiming, for example, that it is a plagiarism of the Elders of Zion, or very poor as toilet paper.

Extracts of the Daily Mail story appeared in articles by other media, including the Evening Standard (19 Jan), the Independent (27 Jan), and Mancunion (3 Feb), the last of these implicitly linking me to a wave of pro-BDS graffiti. I wrote to these three papers asking for an opportunity to respond to the smears; none replied. An article in Jewish News (21 April) stated that I had given “an antisemitic lecture”, whereas Haaretz reporter Danna Harman (25 Apr) showed more integrity when she cited me in her report about Mark Regev’s visit to SOAS. She immediately replied to my concerns, and we subsequently met in London, though there has been no follow-up piece.

2. The House of Lords (14 Dec)

I spoke to an invited audience at the House of Lords without incident; however Mr. Hoffman (who had not been invited because of his earlier disruption) filed a formal complaint with the HoL, alleging that my talk was antisemitic because it was based on my book. Three months later, on 15 March, an ethics committee of the House of Lords dismissed his complaint (HL Paper 142). Although I was not called to testify, I responded to each of the points in the complaint as recorded in the HoL report.

3. Exeter University (would have been 27 Feb)

This talk had already been arranged, and train tickets purchased, when I reminded the students of the ongoing fallout from SOAS, to be sure they would not be caught off guard should they be challenged on it. I also supplied evidence to counter the smears. There had however been a swastika incident at the University, and the media smears made them fear that my presence would exacerbate the (ludicrous) presumptions or innuendos that they were suspects. They could not risk being accused of bringing an ‘antisemitic’ speaker onto campus after the swastika incident. They cancelled the talk.

4. Manchester University (would have been 14 March)

Despite the stated intentions of the organisers that the event would proceed even if external pressure required them to change the venue off-campus, the talk was ultimately cancelled in a wave of intimidation against ‘pro-Palestinian’ events.

5. Portsmouth (27 April; forced to relocate outside of Portsmouth as a private event)

On the morning of this Portsmouth event, the organisers (PSC) were informed by the venue, the Quaker Friends Meeting House, that they had cancelled permission for the event. This seemed particularly odd in that the organisers had held many events there over the years. The Meeting House explained that they had received a phone call in which PREVENT (a UK government “anti-terrorism and anti-radicalisation” programme) informed them that due to “the nature of the speaker”, they should not allow it.

The organisers announced a new venue: the Buckland Community Centre. But a few hours later, that Centre also cancelled, citing again “the nature of the speaker”. Informally, the organisers were told that it was futile to try to book another room for this event, as word had been sent to all public and church venues in Portsmouth.

Finally, the organisers secretly secured a room in a hotel in a neighbouring town (Havant), and invited about a dozen people known to them. They could not risk announcing the venue.

Two days after the scuppered event, a Daily Mail article featured photographs of me and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (whom I have never met or had any contact with). The headline and by-lines are worth citing:

Corbyn is urged to cut links with Palestine charity [PSC] after it hosts antisemitic speaker who accuses Jews of exploiting the Holocaust

• EXCLUSIVE: Tom Suarez branded Zionism ‘fascist’ at SOAS talk in November

• Now speaks for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, of which Corbyn is patron

• Event moved venue after ‘concerned’ Tory MP contacted Portsmouth police.

(To be sure, I of course had never “accused Jews of exploiting the Holocaust”.) The article itself was more of the same smears, such as that I “rose to notoriety after an hour-long rant on Jews and Zionism…”

The organisers requested a meeting with the PREVENT representative. On 9 May, the committee and I met with him in Portsmouth for nearly two hours. He attributed the cancellation to the failure of the organisers to submit the name of the speaker to the venue, an explanation that left the contradictions and questions unanswered. Pressed as to who had contacted the government body about me, he refused to answer. (The Tory MP cited in the Daily Mail headline played some role but was not the source.

6. Cambridge (11 May; forced to relocate as a small, private event)

This talk was scheduled to take place at the Friends Meeting House in Cambridge.

On Saturday, 6 May, the Quakers received a letter from the Board of Deputies of British Jews asking them to cancel my talk. The BoD’s allegations were forwarded to me via PSC, and I supplied a defence of each point, which then went back to the Quakers. The next day, the Friends Meeting House nonetheless heeded the BoD’s claim that my talks have been tantamount to “hatred against Jews”, and that to allow me speak would be to allow speech “very offensive to the Jewish community”. The organisers moved the event to a small community centre whose location was kept confidential except to invitees

The day after the Quakers voted to honour the BoD’s request to cancel my talk (three days before the talk), the Jewish Chronicle published an article with the headline

Board halt Israel hate author talk

• Leader praises Quakers after they cancel Palestine campaign group event with State of Terror author

… and quoted the BoD as saying that cancelling my talk was “in line with Quaker values”.

Meetings that proceeded without incident

• London’s Mosaic Rooms (18 Oct; open to public, but not publicised)

• East Jerusalem (29 Nov)

• Birmingham (13 March)

• Sheffield (25 April)

Self-censorship

Self-censorship is in my view the most insidious aspect of this state of fear engendered by pro-Israel bullying, as it is done ‘by us’, not ‘them’. This not only leaves the individuals and organisations responsible for the intimidation ‘blameless’, but indeed leaves no evidence behind that there had been any censorship at all. By definition, the extent of this is impossible to quantify.

Students are particularly vulnerable. The extent to which students have wanted to invite speakers (certainly not just me) but have been afraid even to propose them may never be known, but it undoubtedly is ongoing — invisible censorship through the climate of fear.

Two examples of self-censorship that I know first-hand

1. There is a small but fabulous grass-roots human rights organisation that was interested in having me speak. I was very happy to do so. But after the smears of the SOAS saboteurs hit the press, I myself cancelled — the organisation is frequently targeted and has had its status and funding threatened, which would destroy it. I could not put them at such risk.

2. A very highly regarded medical professional read my book. He and I were in contact, and the idea was raised of our doing a joint panel discussion. In the end, he decided — correctly — that he could not jeapordise his important medical work in Palestine, as anyone entering Palestine does so only at the pleasure of Israel.

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