Far outnumbering the Jewish community, and accordingly wielding a much greater number of votes at election time, Muslims in Britain also have a growing political influence that inevitably threatens to have a deleterious impact upon UK government policy towards Israel.
We glimpse this growing political clout in the publication of a new report, to be launched at the House of Commons this evening by a Lib Dem MP, Sir Bob Russell, who, as glimpsed here, has a history of denigrating Israel.
To quote from the website of its sponsors, the report in question (entitled "Giving Peace A Chance")
"looks at how BICOM [the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre]has worked within the Zionist community in the UK to support Israel's interests. The report looks at how the organisation has worked to ferment support for Israel within British political and media circles, from providing briefings to taking delegations to the region. The report explores how serious the pro-Israel lobby is about seeking peace in the region, particularly in the post-Oslo context."The report was funded by Middle East Monitor (MEMO), whose director, Caribbean-born Dr Daud Abdullah, is a longtime senior researcher at the Palestinian Return Centre in London and editor of its journal. From 2003-6 he was assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain.
He is quoted as calling the research that led to the current report as "ground-breaking" and adding (ironically in view of the vigorous lobbying done by the above-named organisations):
"A study into the work of the British Israel lobby has been a long time coming. This report exposes the influence the lobby has in certain political and media circles, explaining why support for Israel quite often comes at the expense of the Palestinian cause."One of the report's four authors is David Miller, Professor of Sociology at the University of Bath. A leftist, who writes for The Guardian's "Comment is Free" section, Professor Miller is co-founder of Spinwatch, which undertook the research for the report, has carried out research for, among others, the Scottish Islamic Foundation, and includes "Islamophobia" as one of his fields of academic supervision. Of the current report he is quoted as saying:
"This will be an opportunity to hear the results of the first in-depth research project on one of the most important pro-Israel lobby groups in the UK.
The Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) presents itself as a supporter of a two state solution in Israel/Palestine and of the peace process in the Middle East. Our findings suggest, on the contrary, that it supports the rejectionism of an Israeli state which refuses to give peace a chance."Another imminent anti-Israel fest at Westminster is afoot. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign trumpets:
"The lobby of Parliament for Palestine is a great event, and it wouldn’t be complete without the inspiring evening rally. We’ve some fantastic Parliamentarians lined up: Richard Burden MP, Katy Clark MP, Sir Bob Russell MP, Andy Slaughter MP, Lisa Nandy MP, David Ward MP and Baroness Jenny Tonge so far. They will be joined by the Palestine Ambassador (invited), Palestinian politician, Sami Abou Shahadeh, and leading trade unionists."