Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The Gaza Kiddies' Roadshow - turning Britons against Israel, one whistlestop at a time

You won't see the picture shown here in an exhibition of children's art that opened at Manchester Cathedral over the weekend.  This picture, which we might entitle "Red Alert", is by a little Israeli girl; it depicts her frightening experiences in her home town of Sderot, the target of escalated Qassam rocket attacks by Hamas following Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.  And you won't find any attempts to explain Israel's rationale  for "Operation Cast Lead" either.  For the exhibition, which has the backing of UNESCO and of official Gazan agencies, is unashamedly one-sided.  Called "Loss of Innocence", it shows only the artwork of children from Gaza, portraying (or purporting to portray) scenes of distress and barbarity from - you've guessed it! - during Cast Lead, and is in many ways the Hamas Propaganda Ministry's dream.

It consists of about 50 pictures, brought back from Gaza last year by Rod Cox, a Cheshire property developer who went there with the Viva Palestina convoy in which George Galloway also participated.  Due to help Cox to launch the exhibition at the cathedral - I missed that event myself - was Mona Baker, the Egyptian-born Manchester professor who caused widespread outrage in 2002 when, in accordance with her belief that Israeli academic institutions must be boycotted, she removed two Israel-based scholars  from the editorial boards of two journals she edits.

Cox has been prominently involved with an initiative called Chester and Palestine Exchanges, and in 2007 the members of a teenage Palestinian soccer team he was due to bring to the UK for a series of matches in the north-west had their visas cancelled owing to fears they would defect (despite the earlier blessing of the Foreign Office's "Engaging with Islam" scheme).  In 2008, in consequence of a letter he had written to The Independent newspaper, he was accused of antisemitism by the Community Security Trust's Mark Gardner.

On his blog there are many of the pictures in the exhibition.  There are also some revealing statements.  On the Armenian massacres: "Up to now it [Israel] has supported Turkey's cover up of the Pogrom, because it wants the Holocaust of Jews to be unique.  That way Jews are uniquely privileged to do things others are not."  On the slain Mavi Marmara activists:  "I believe that they have not died in vain ... for I believe that this marks the beginning of the end - albeit a long slow end - for Israel.  Too often have they killed from a wanton lust to kill, to exterminate those inferior and in their way, but, really, the future belongs to those dead."  And this: "How is it that Israel can commit such vile acts of murder ... when they have stolen the land in the first place and have killed everyone who gets in their way to keep this stolen land.  None of Israel or the land it occupies has any legitimacy .... It is truly a pariah state, and the only state except the USA to threaten another with Nuclear attack."

The exhibition, as Cox explained when it was first amassed, is "designed for children - but for adults as well"
That's why there are simple captions for children, at their approximate eye level, and, higher up, captions aimed at adults.  All these captions present a very biased view of the conflict, unabashedly demonising Israel, justifying "resistance", and depicting Hamas terrorists as freedom fighters; there's even a drawing of an apparent would-be suicide bomber.

This is not the first time the exhibition has been to Manchester.  Since its inception last year it's been to many localities up and down the UK, remaining in each for about a week.  It arrived in Manchester this time from Bangor Cathedral in Wales, and soon it's on its way to Scotland, and then it makes its way to eastern England.  It's been shown in many schools, including primary schools - for it seems to be deliberately  targetting the youngest and most impressionable of children.

Clearly, it's making enemies for Israel of Britons young and old - one whistlestop at a time.


  1. Why the hell are the cathedrals hosting this? What the hell are they playing at?
    I despair, I really do....literally...

  2. My sentiments exactly, Stuart.

  3. Joy Wolfe StandWithUs UK27 July 2010 at 17:43

    Thank you Daphne We are doing all we can to highlight the utter inappropriateness of this being hosted in cathedrals and a Methodist church in marple sponsored by the Quakers who seem to have adopted the Palestine Sollidarity Campaign Cause, hosting them in their centres around the UK
    I am hoping to persuade the cathedral and the church to exhibit the set of laminated paintings I have done by the children of Sderot, and also to prepare some appropriate leaflets

  4. Nice to have your input, Joyce. The Quakers strike me as at best naive and at worst fellow travellers - I wouldn't be surprised if the PSC people - disguised as peaceniks - haven't infiltrated them (or at least influenced them very heavily).
    Another worrying aspect of this is that the PSC and CAABU have prepared a "Teachers Pack on Palestine" called "Exploring Palestine through Citizenship" (I expect you know about it). It encourages children to role play the part of Palestinians, to discuss the "Right of Return", etc.
    It is dangerous stuff.

  5. Joy, my apologies for calling you Joyce.

  6. Excellent post, Daphers, so sorry I couldn't make it to the Cathedral but I was too busy shopping at the new Gaza mall and taking a swim in the Olympic pool.

    A peace-lover

  7. Thanks, Peace-lover.
    For anyone who doesn't understand Peace-lover's reference to the new Gaza Mall - which rather belies the assumption that Gaza is a starving "prison camp" (David Cameron being just the latest in a long line to use that ill-informed expression) - go to Ray Cook's blog ...

  8. You should do a post regarding Cameron's Turkey speech attacking Israel and also about Oliver Stone's anti-Jewish remarks.

  9. Thanks for the suggestions!
    I don't think I could do better than the folks over at CiF Watch on the subject of the despicable Oliver Stone ...
    Melanie Phillips has, as I expected, a wonderful blog on the subject of the appalling David Cameron, and I expect the blogosphere to teem with denunciations of him ...

  10. Thank you very much for your blog Daphne. What a breath of fresh air. I 'found' you today and will be following from now on.I am a Jewish ex-pat 'downunder'

    This item was posted on today's edition of
    "CiF Watch"

  11. Shirl, I'm flattered and encouraged by your comment. Thanks so much. I'm an Aussie living at present in the Mother Country, but try to follow events back home in the land of Vegemite ...

  12. Excellent article. I have translated it into French:

  13. Alors, merci beaucoup!
    I already know your very interesting blog, having discovered it some time ago, and I thoroughly recommend to everybody.

  14. The Quakers hosting this biased exhibition? How terribly disappointing. Naive in the extreme.

  15. Indeed it is, Melissa.
    The Quakers seem to have been duped by Israel's enemies for quite a while. When I was researching my latest post, on the BBC, I noticed that one of CAABU's big early conferences had taken place at the Quakers' London HQ.

  16. These pictures are not made by children. As someone very familiar with art of all kinds, I can safely say, children do not make images like this, they are too contrived and sophisticated, even for palarabs!

    1. I don't suspect that, Juniper, but they probably had suggestions from their teachers re what to draw.

    2. I've just seen this, as you probably have: