Above: The Richmond Palestine Solidarity Group takes to the streets in their leafy part of outer London. Look closely. Recognise anyone? (No? Never mind. Clue below. Read on.)
Now that our old friend the ex-vicar of Virginia Water has cut loose from a rural setting and the censorious eye of the Bishop of Guildford, it's presumably full steam ahead for the Israel-ramming vehicle he skippers, Peacemaker Mediators, moored, so to speak, at the edge of Southampton Water.
Employed by the Israel-bashing Aussie newspaper The Age (aka, from way back, "The Spencer Street Soviet"), Leunig, like Sizer himself, has often been accused of harbouring antisemitic views.
The above cartoon (first) appeared in The Age on 11 December 2012, prompting the following response (quoted inter alia) from academic Dr Dvir Abramovich ,head of of the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission [emphasis added]:
'.... Leunig's cartoon takes the noble words of anti-Nazi cleric Martin Niemoller decrying the passivity of bystanders in the face of Nazi evil and substitutes the Nazis referred to in the original poem with Israelis: "First they came for the Palestinians and I did not speak out".
Leunig obscenely equates the actions of Israel in Gaza to those of the Nazis and asserts the people who were once the objects of Hitler's extermination and their descendants are now committing genocide against the Palestinians and are thus the present world's Nazis. I wonder if Leunig paused to consider how a survivor of the Holocaust would react when they came upon his cartoon? Understandably shocked, they would ask, "How is it possible for anyone to compare the organised, industrial murder of six million Jews in gas chambers, in death camps, in ghettos and in open fields to what is happening in Gaza? Why would any person liken Israel's protection of its citizens from rockets to the genocidal and bestial liquidation of the Jews?"
.... Anyone with the vaguest knowledge of the Holocaust will know that by any measure comparing Israel to Nazi Germany is a kind of deliberate amnesia of the monstrous policies of the Nazis that minimises their genocidal extent and intent, and instead maligns Israel....
I wonder, did Leunig's "duty and conscience" compel him to sound the alarm all those years while thousands of rockets systematically fell on Israelis, attacks that Israeli author and peace activist Amos Oz called "a war crime and a crime against humanity"?
Did Leunig ever express the "unspoken grief" of Israeli families who lost loved ones to terrorism? Did he liken the actions of state genocides, brutal executions and large-scale massacres of civilians in Rwanda, Darfur, Congo, Nigeria, Syria, Myanmar, Somalia and Ethiopia to those of the Nazis? Did he call Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "excessively homicidal" for wanting to wipe Israel off the map?
Or is this epitaph reserved only for Israel? Why does Leunig absolve Palestinians of all responsibility for their situation and ignore their behaviour against Israel?
....In his cartoon, Leunig also descends into parroting another anti-Jewish screed, that of the nefarious, all-powerful Jewish lobby that is lurking behind the scenes, ready to pounce and stifle critics of Israel....
Criticism of Israeli policies is entirely acceptable and Leunig is entitled to his views. But such cartoons not only poison public debate, they close it. After all, how do you discuss the conflict with someone who compares Israelis to Nazis?....'(Read Abramovich's entire article here)
If my memory serves me correctly, Sizer has linked to that cartoon before. The fact that he's trotted it out again, not long after the launch on 6 May of Peacemaker Mediators (whose skipper is warmly commended by a nice but apparently naive clerical gentleman called Richard Bewes here) must surely be interpreted as signaling the overriding direction and thrust of Sizer's new vehicle and into what seas it intends to sail.
Directly above (in the quoted text of Abramovich's piece) is another of the ex-vicar's very recent postings, this time regarding the definition of antisemitism. It too acts as a signal. Tomlinson, by the way, was retained for his legal opinion by, to quote the senior barrister himself,
'Free Speech on Israel, Independent Jewish Voices, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to provide an Opinion on the effect of the Government’s decision to “adopt” the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (“IHRA”) non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism (“the IHRA Definition”). I am also asked to consider the meaning and effect of the IHRA Definition and its compatibility with the obligations of public authorities under the Human Rights Act 1998 (“the HRA”).'
Like Sizer, she too has posted the link to Tomlinson's article (and so, with a suggestion that he. himself, is accordingly exculpated, has the disgraceful and disgraced Lib Dem politician David Ward, not, as far as I know, connected with Peacemaker Mediators, but for whose despicable remarks regarding Jews see here and here)
With its course charted and steered by dyed-in-the-wool anti-Israel bigots, Peacemaker Mediators is flying false colours!
For most of the principal names associated with it so far see my blog here
Also preparing for an Israel-demonising occasion this northern hemisphere summer is another serial Israel-hater, the Reverend Lucy Winkett, incumbent of St James's Church, Piccadilly, notorious for its anti-Israel carol service ('Among the guests were [sic] Baroness Tonge, the Liberal Democrat peer who was sacked from the party's front bench in 2004 after saying she "understood" why Palestinians became suicide bombers and that she would consider becoming one if she were Palestinian') and its replica "Wall" (see Douglas Murray here and Palestinian terror victim Kay Wilson's open letter here and my open letter to Lucy Winkett here):
We are privileged to welcome as our speaker Professor Avi Shlaim [pictured], Emeritus Fellow of St Antony's College and Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford. [Emphasis added here and below.]
2017 marks some significant and momentous anniversaries: 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, which committed Britain to support a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine; 70 years since the ill-fated UN Partition Plan for Palestine; 50 years since the Six Day War and the start of Israel’s occupation; and ten years since the start of Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Professor Shlaim will explore this topic in his lecture titled ‘Britain and Palestine: From Balfour to Blair and Beyond’.
We hope you can join us for this event."We are told:
"Tickets are free but must be booked in advance. There will be a retiring collection for the work of Embrace. http://www.embraceme.org/events/annual-lecture-2017"No attempt at balance on Lucy Winkett's part, evidently. Just a diet of anti-Israel propaganda from a master chef at dishing it up.
I mean, where to begin on Shlaim? Here, perhaps. Or, better still, here, where the psychological origins of his hatred of Israel are apparently laid bare.
But what can we expect of Lucy Winkett, who following part of an all-women clerics' visit to "Israel/Palestine" under the auspices of Christian Aid way back in 2002 took a (premeditated?) swipe at Israel in the unhallowed pages of The Guardian and who chairs Israel-bashing NGO the Amos Trust, which, to quote NGO Monitor here,
'Supports projects in India, Nicaragua, South Africa, Palestine-Israel, Uganda and the Philippines.
Promotes a one-sided, politicized view of the conflict. Describes the “devastating impact of: the wall, settlements blocks and travel restrictions upon Palestinian life,” with no mention of terrorism or Palestinian corruption.
Uses “apartheid” rhetoric.
In December 2008, the group marketed “poignant, ironic” nativity scenes depicting the Security Barrier, claiming that “this year the wise men won’t get to the stable.” This project has been criticized for its anti-Semitic undertones. This theme is also evident in Amos Trust’s 2008 Christmas Cards, and similar cards in 2006.
A trip to “Israel/Palestine,” “The Gospel Under Occupation“, scheduled for 2009, is designed for church leaders, and will work with radical anti-Israel groups such as Sabeel and ICAHD.
Partners in “Palestine-Israel”: The Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem, Wi’am Conflict Resolution Centre in Bethlehem, Al Ahli Hospital, Gaza, and the Open House Community Reconciliation Centre in Ramle, Israel'.And as my header indicates this survey of a forthcoming summer of Israel-bashing is not complete without mention of our old mate Jeremy Moodey.
This former investment banker (Rothschilds, no less), former would-be Conservative candidate and former head honcho of Embrace the Middle East is now CEO of an outfit called Sons and Friends of the Clergy; established in 1655, it provides financial grants and other support to needy Anglican clergy, ordinands and their families.
But the baleful legacy of his time at Embrace the Middle East, formerly BibleLands (see my post here) endures, as seen in the involvement of that body with the Shlaim event, and he's cock-a-hoop over the forthcoming (25-28 August) Greenbelt festival.
"Great to see Embrace the Middle East and Amos Trust team up with the Greenbelt Festival to focus on Palestine this year," he tells his Facebook faithful. "Wonderful line-up!"
the "Ideas"section on the festival's website. Below are a few of the people listed in that section, in the order given online.
I have linked only to those who appear to have form on Israel and will be in all likelihood focusing on Israel at Greenbelt. (The list includes activists in Guardianista-type causes, some calculated to have the average guest at an average vicar's average tea party calling for a tot of brandy, but not all will be focusing on "Israel/Palestine". These I have omitted.)
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi Baroness Warsi is an obvious darling of the organisers, for her criticism of Israel and especially her recent demand that Britons who serve in the IDF be prosecuted. Here's part of a report co-written by none other than Israel-hater Peter Oborne (q.v.) of whom Moodey writes so warmly in the above post:
'Sayeeda Warsi, who resigned her cabinet post over the UK government’s failure to condemn Israel’s assault on Gaza, has called for British volunteers for the Israeli army to be treated as foreign fighters and prosecuted on their return to the UK.
The former foreign office minister, who now holds the title of baroness in the House of Lords, seeks to close a loophole she says is designed to protect Israel. It distinguishes between Britons who fight for state armies like Israel and Pakistan, and those who fight for non-state groups like Kurdish and militant organisations.
In an interview with the Middle East Eye, Warsi said: “One of the questions I asked the Foreign Office was that we have a distinction between state actors and non-state actors.
“If you go out there and fight for any group, you will be subject to prosecution when you get back. If you go out and fight for Assad, I presume, under our law, that is okay. That can't be right.”
“The only reason we allow the loophole to exist is because of the IDF [Israel Defence Forces], because we are not brave enough to say if you hold British citizenship, you make a choice. You fight for our state only. That has to go out strong.”
Warsi, the UK's first female Muslim cabinet minister, said that while public debate focused exclusively on demanding loyalty from British Muslims, the same rule should apply to all.
Peter Oborne Yes, he has form. Plenty of it. To quote Honest Reporting:“You have to belong to something and belonging to Britain for Muslims is a thing we talk about a lot,” she said. “We don't talk about it in relation to other communities. We accept that other communities hold multiple identities. Let's just shut down this loophole. If you don't fight for Britain, you do not fight."....'
'Back in 2009, Oborne presented an episode of the Channel 4 investigative program Dispatches. The broadcast examined “one of the most powerful and influential political lobbies in Britain, which is working in support of the interests of the State of Israel”, directly attacking and smearing HonestReporting in the process.
Oborne and his cameraman even burst into HonestReporting’s Jerusalem office, with the camera rolling, looking for evidence of HonestReporting’s involvement in a shadowy “Israel lobby” operating in UK politics and media. Needless to say, Oborne’s conspiracy theories did not lead anywhere.
Oborne, however, continues his fixation with pro-Israel “lobby” organizations. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he goes after the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) group, affiliated with the UK’s ruling Conservative Party.
In it, he refers to briefing packs on the Iran deal given to Conservative MPs at a CFI luncheon as “propaganda.” Throughout his piece, Oborne portrays the efforts of legitimate organizations advocating for Israel as being of a malign and sinister nature...'And to quote Tom Gross:
Whereas there is a pro-Israel lobby with some influence in the U.S. (though not the kind of influence ascribed to it by anti-Semites), contrary to what Channel 4 and others think, there is no effective pro-Israel lobby in Britain.
The complete lack of any effective pro-Israel lobby in Britain (as opposed to well organized anti-Israel groups) goes a long way to explaining why some of the coverage of Israel in the British media is among the worst in the world, and sometimes rivals the Iranian and Egyptian media for its sheer nastiness.
It also explains why Britain failed to back Israel last week at the U.N. General Assembly vote on the Goldstone report into Israeli war crimes, while other democracies – including the U.S., Italy, Germany, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine, Macedonia and the Czech Republic – did vote with Israel."See also here
Natalie Bennett This Australian-born leader (2012-16) of the Green Party of England and Wales is like the rest of the Greens mob a BDS supporter. The Jewish Chronicle reported in 2015:
'....The Green Party manifesto [has] called for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which is worth more than £1 billion a year.
Ms Bennett, who has never been to Israel or the West Bank, said: “That agreement should be contingent on respecting human rights and international law. Until Israel is in compliance with international law, I don’t think we should have that trade deal.
“I believe we should stop arms sale to Israel. I believe that we should be using diplomatic pressure to push Israel to respect international law and UN resolutions.
“I believe we should also stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia.”
The Green Party has come under fire after Twickenham candidate Tanya Williams called Israel “a racist and apartheid state” on Tuesday and deputy leader Sharer Ali was filmed at an anti-Israel rally saying: “Just because you observe the niceties of Holocaust Memorial Day it does not mean you have learned the lessons of history.”
Ms Bennett said she would not make comparisons between the Holocaust and humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but added: “When I am talking about the situation between Palestine and Israel, I focus on the behaviour of the Israeli government.
“Britain’s place in the world should be as a champion of human rights and democracy.”...'Teresa Forcades i Vila Predictably, this radical Benedictine nun from Catalonia (how the BBC appears to love her!) has anti-Israel activism in her repertoire:
"...Teresa Forcades was deported from Israel on Saturday January 23, 2016 as she tried to enter the country. The reason for her trip was a two week teaching commitment she had at the Faculty of Teology at the Dormition Abby in East Jerusalem about the Holy Trinity. Montserrat Viñas, the emerita abbess of the Sant Benet de Montserrat monestery, Forcades travel companion, was allowed to enter Israel after being interogated. Forcades was sent back to Spain after her registration and interogation, but not before passing the night of Friday January 22 at the Tel Aviv airport detention facility.
In a statement given to the press, close contacts of Teresa's said that she was not given an explanation neither by immigration officers nor by security personnal as to the reasons she was not allowed to enter Israel, but informed that her presence there was considered 'dangerous'...."Read the rest here
Robert Cohen A former BBC employee, he'a a trustee of the Amos Trust and runs the blog Micah's Paradigm Shift. The blog is dearly beloved of Sizer, Moodey and their ilk, and given its content it's not difficult to fathom why.
To quote the man himself:
"Robert Cohen lives in North Yorkshire in Britain and began writing on Israel-Palestine in 2011. His work has been regulary published at Mondoweiss, Tikkun Daily and Jews for Justice for Palestinians. Writing from the Edge broadens Robert’s remit to wider issues of Jewish interest from a British perspective. Expect some radically dissseting [sic] views on Isreal [sic!], commentary on Jewish-Christian interfaith issues and life as the Jewish husband of a Church of England vicar."Better fix those misspellings, Robert. And being published by the extremist antisemitic site Mondoweiss is nothing to boast about outside antisemitic circles.
Salma Yaqoob This political activist of Pakistani parentage is a former leader of the Respect Party, founded by George Galloway, and represented the party on Birmingham City Council, where her failure to stand to honour Britain's most decorated war veteran was widely criticised. She heads the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition. Her rabble-rousing cries against Israel following the Mavi Marmara affair are no doubt sufficient to endear her to the Greenbelt crowd ("We are here to say this .... the days of this racist apartheid Israeli regime are numbered ... We want sanctions on Israel" which she characterised as "a terrorist state ... a rogue state").
Sahar Vardia She is a young radical Israeli who refuses to serve in the IDF. It is of course significant that Greenbelt is evidently not interested in the viewpoints of mainstream Israelis, but only in those of dissident extremists, making no attempt at balance.
For more on Greenbelt see here