Archive | November 11th, 2020


Its Intifada | Palestine, Gambar, Muslim

From 1987–1993, more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed, more than 120,000 were wounded, and some 600,000 were jailed. These are stories from the First Palestinian Intifada (uprising), which erupted in 1987.


Film DirectorSHAREThe Intifada message was simple. […] The message is that the Palestinian people don’t want occupation.They want to self-determination. The whole world has received this message.RAJI SOURANIPALESTINIAN CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTSSHARE QUOTE

Over the course of six days in June 1967, Israel captured an estimated 2,400 square miles of Palestinian land in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip, in addition to the Egyptian Sinai and the Syrian Golan Heights. The Zionist project expanded by unilateral annexation and territorial gains, while more than 300,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes to neighbouring countries.


Israeli settlements were established on Palestinian land as part of Israel’s broader strategy to create a Jewish majority in historical Palestine, and change the demography of the newly-occupied territories. A decade after 1967, Israel had already built 45 settlements, militarised colonies dotted across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Any Palestinian who lives under occupation knows the meaning of movement restrictions. With dozens of Israeli military checkpoints and settlements, it is difficult to go from one city to another. Ironically, according to some estimates, Palestinians paid about $800 million in taxes for two decades after 1967, twice the amount the Israeli government spent on them during the same period.I was hunted too, because I helped kill an Israeli settler entering Rafah. TAISIR BOURDAINEHFORMER PRISONERSHARE QUOTEI studied for my final school exams five times. On three of those occasions, they arrested us just before the exams. One secret service officer said it was forbidden to take my final exams or attend university. FAYEZ ARAFTINTIFADA ACTIVISTSHARE QUOTE


Though Israel completed its conquest of historical Palestine in 1967, it continued to grab more land from those Palestinians inside Israel who had remained and received (second class) citizenship. In the spring of 1976, the Palestinians living inside Israel had had enough, and hundreds of Palestinians gathered for the first public protest against the slow-motion theft of their land.


Land Day in 1976 marked a turning point in Palestinian nationalism, as more and more Palestinians decided to demonstrate inside Israel and in the OPT. The unrest lasted for months, with 48 Palestinians estimated to have been killed in the first round of protests.

In 1987, Palestinians under occupation also said ‘enough is enough’. It began with the killing of four unarmed labourers from the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza, who were run over by Israeli soldiers in what Israel called an accident, and Palestinians eyewitnesses called a deliberate act of vengeance following the deaths of six Israeli soldiers at the hands of two Arab resistance fighters. This was the beginning of the First Intifada.

Intifada in Arabic means ‘to shake off’ or ‘to wake up’, and thousands of Palestinians joined massive demonstrations to show Israel that its brutal occupation was no longer acceptable.

December 8, 1987, marked the official start of the First Intifada. For six years, street battles were fought and won with stones. According to the United Nations, over 1,000 Palestinians were killed from 1987-1993.We refused to give Israel money to build a more powerful army to oppress Palestinians.The Israeli army besieged our city for 40 days.They raided or demolished the homes of those who withheld taxGEORGE RISHMAWIUNIVERSITY OF BETHLEHEMSHARE QUOTE

PALESTINE’S MARTYRS, A MOTHER’S ACCOUNTSHARE VIDEOWe saw new types of injuries.First from tear gas and rubber bullets. Then from beatings and real bullets.HANI RUSTUMPHYSICIAN, SHIFA HOSPITAL, GAZASHARE QUOTE

The First Intifada has often been seen as a revolution of the mosques which, along with secular forces, gave the movement a direction. Islamic Jihad and the Muslim Brotherhood became important groups leading students and ordinary Palestinians, and in 1987, the creation of Hamas was announced.


Workers went on strikes, residents withdrew taxes, mothers started home-schooling their children as part of a social solidarity movement. In Beit Sahour, Palestinian residents defiantly threw away their mandatory, Israeli-issued ID cards as part of civil disobedience.


Some 80,000 Israeli soldiers were deployed to contain an uprising by more than half a million Palestinians. When everything else failed, Israel gave a free hand to its soldiers to unleash terror, often on unarmed Palestinians.

Under Israeli occupation, the expression of Palestinian nationalism was prohibited. The Palestinian flag was banned, the use of the word Palestine could result in harsh imprisonment, and yet many were undeterred in their struggle against the oppression of colonial occupation.Many prisoners were arrested because of collaborators. Many fighters were killed because of collaborators. Collaborators played a major role. MUAYAD ABDUL SAMADFORMER ACTIVIST AND FREED PRISONERSHARE QUOTE


Palestinian nationalism gathered strength in unity marches, as both secular forces and Islamist movements galvanized the youth with their spirited protest songs. Dozens of Palestinian artists were jailed, while new songs smuggled out from prison became the rallying calls for hundreds of protesters outside.


Israel tried to splinter the movement by recruiting collaborators or informants. During the First Intifada, 800 Palestinians were killed by resistance fighters for alleged collusion with Israel.

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Israel lobby uses discredited anti-Semitism definition to muzzle debate

Ben White The Electronic Intifada 

Israel advocates are attempting to stifle Palestine solidarity activism on US campuses. ZUMA Press/Newscom

Top administrators at the University of California are considering what action to take against speech and activities alleged to be anti-Semitic. As part of their discussions, the university may endorse a seven-year-old document, which — despite not having an official status — is often called the European Union’s “working definition” of anti-Semitism.

Although the administrators have indicated that their motive is to protect Jewish students, a careful examination of the definition indicates that the real agenda may be to stifle Palestine solidarity activism and criticism of Israel in the classroom.

In early July, a report commissioned by the University of California’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion was published (“U. of Calif. Weighs Banning ‘Hate’ Speech,” Forward, 2 August 2012).

The council has been co-directed by Richard Barton, national education chairman of the Anti-Defamation League — one of the most powerful groups in America’s pro-Israel lobby. Its report claims that Palestine solidarity activities were “undermining Jewish students’ sense of belonging” and creating a hostile environment.

The report’s recommendations include the adoption by the administration of a definition of anti-Semitism that could be used to “identify contemporary incidents” which would then “be sanctioned by University non-discrimination or anti-harassment policies.”

Specifically, the report mentions “a working definition of anti-Semitism” developed by “the European Union,” a reference to the 2005 draft working definition of anti-Semitism published by the European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia. Based in Vienna, the center has subsequently been renamed the Fundamental Rights Agency.

One of the Zionist groups to enthusiastically welcome the findings was StandWithUs, whose chief executive Roz Rothstein called the idea of a definition of anti-Semitism “one of [the report’s] most important recommendations” (“StandWithUs Welcomes UC Report On Campus Climate For Jewish Students,” 23 July 2012).

Rothstein noted the reference to “the EU’s working definition,” which she claimed “recognizes that anti-Israel extremism is a form of what is called the ‘new anti-Semitism.’”

The month after the publication of the report, at the end of August, California’s assembly passed a non-binding resolution “urging California colleges and universities to squelch nascent anti-Semitism … [and] to crack down on demonstrations against Israel” (“Calif lawmakers denounce anti-Semitism in colleges,” Associated Press, 29 August 2012).

Like the University of California report, this resolution calls on the university administration to “utilize” the EU agency’s “working definition of anti-Semitism.”

The origins of a “definition”

The story of the EU Monitoring Centre’s 2005 draft working definition of anti-Semitism, a text so enthusiastically pushed by Israel advocates in California and beyond, is not well known — but it is illuminating.

Central to the emergence of the draft working definition was Ken Stern, anti-Semitism specialist at the American Jewish Committee. According to Stern, he developed the text “along with other experts during the second half of 2004”; his version is largely identical to the one published by the EU Monitoring Centre the following year (“Proposal for a redefinition of antisemitism,” the Stephen Roth Institute, July 2005).

There are two other key figures in the backstory to the initiative. Ken Stern has credited Dina Porat, then head of the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University, for having “first articulated” the idea “for a common definition” (“The Working Definition – A Reappraisal,” Tel Aviv University, July 2011 [PDF]).

The other key figure is the American Jewish Committee’s Andrew Baker who, according to Stern, had “smartly developed a working relationship” with the EU Monitoring Centre’s then director Beate Winkler. Winkler was invited to address the AJC annual meeting in Washington in May 2004, where she told delegates that “the demonization of Israel and the denial of its right to exist are clearly anti-Semitic in our view” (“Confronting Anti-Semitism, Mobilizing Governments,” AJC, 9 May 2004).

According to former Director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research and author Antony Lerman, Baker had been in contact with Winkler following controversy about a 2003 report abandoned by the EU Monitoring Centre because of problems that included the definition of anti-Semitism used (“EU Accused of Burying Report on Antisemitism Pointing to Muslim Role,” Forward, 28 November 2003).

Baker proposed to Winkler “that she move quickly to convene a meeting of [Jewish leaders, activists and researchers]” to draft a satisfactory definition of anti-Semitism (“The Farcical Attack on the UCU For Voting Against Use of the EUMC ‘Working Definition’ of Antisemitism,’”, 2 June 2011).

In Lerman’s account, “[Baker] knew that those invited to the meeting would need to be broadly sympathetic to the concept of the ‘new anti-Semitism’ and … he was able to determine who attended.”

During a conference in Israel in October 2004, informal discussions about the definition took place involving, according to Ken Stern, a number of individuals that included the UK lobby group Community Security Trust’s Michael Whine, Jeremy Jones of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, and other figures from American Jewish Committee or the Stephen Roth Institute (Stern relates what took place at the 2004 meeting in this transcript of papers from a conference at Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry).

As the text of the draft working definition moved towards a final version, Stern refers to “a very exhausting meeting” between Winkler, the Community Security Trust’s Michael Whine, and three American Jewish Committee staff — Stern himself, Baker and Deidre Berger. Whine has also given accounts of this process, referring to “final draft negotiations” involving “representatives of the American Jewish Committee and European Jewish Congress” (“Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Diplomatic Progress in Combating Anti-Semitism,” Community Security Trust [PDF]).

Subtlety of a mallet

Since its publication, the definition has been repeatedly cited by pro-Israel advocacy groups to attack Palestine solidarity activism, and used — in the words of Ken Stern himself, in the aforementioned Kantor Center’s conference program — “with the subtlety of a mallet.”

Israel lobbyists have often misrepresented the nature of the text and its contents. The Anti-Defamation League’s Richard Barton, an author of the University of California “campus climate” report, has tried to convey the impression that the draft text has an official status by calling it the EU’s definition of anti-Semitism (“Protests must not stray into anti-Semitism,” San Francisco Chronicle, 23 August 2012).

A working group on “combating Anti-Semitism” at the Israeli government’s 2009 Global Forum gathering, chaired by the Community Security Trust’s Michael Whine, described the draft definition as “the European Union’s own definition of anti-Semitism.”

The definition has been invoked in a number of cases in bids to muzzle Palestine solidarity activism and speech, particularly on campus. Israeli Apartheid Week, an annual series of awareness-raising activities in universities throughout the world, has been singled out for special attention.

In February this year, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Zionist organization based in Los Angeles, asked the French interior ministry “to cancel the ‘Israel Apartheid’ conference at the University of Paris VIII and anywhere else in France,” claiming the week was “a clear violation of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency’s working definition of anti-Semitism” (“Cancel ‘Israel Apartheid’ conference at Paris university as threat to public order and a danger to the Jewish community,” Simon Wiesenthal Center, 15 February 2012).

A conference promoting a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine situation at Harvard University in March was described in an article published by the Zionist group Committee for Accuracy and Fairness in Middle East Reporting in America as “an exercise in anti-Semitism” according to “the working definition of anti-Semitism” (“Harvard to Host Conference Promoting Israel’s Destruction,” 17 February 2012).

NGO Monitor — a Zionist group which regularly smears human rights organizations — has put it equally bluntly: “campaigns that single out Israel explicitly violate the European Union working definition of anti-Semitism” (“Protestors Rebuffed in Call For TIA-CREF Anti-Settlements Boycott,” The Jewish Week, 20 July 2011).

Richard Cravatts, current president of the pro-Israel national academic watchdog group Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, believes that it has become “more difficult” for “Jew-haters” on campus to defend themselves from the charge of anti-Semitism, citing approvingly the “significant” working definition (“ Antisemitism and the Campus Left,” Journal for the Study of Antisemitism , Vol. 3:2801 [PDF]).

No longer “working”

The reality, however, is quite different. Not only has the Israel lobby exaggerated and misrepresented the working definition, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency itself has quietly left it on a shelf.

In 2005, the year the document was published, the then-European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia indicated that there would be a review process after data-collecting organizations in EU countries had given “feedback regarding their views on its functionality.” Three years later, the Fundamental Rights Agency informed the UK government that “initial feedback and comments drew attention to several issues that impacted on the effectiveness of the definition as a data collection support tool” (“All-Party Inquiry into Anti-Semitism: Government Response, One Year On Progress Report,” United Kingdom government, 12 May 2008 [PDF]).

This writer asked Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos, head of the Fundamental Rights Agency’s Equality and Citizens’ Rights Department, for clarification.

He said that during discussions of racism and xenophobia monitors throughout the EU “it became evident that there was no interest by primary data collectors to adopt or use” the working definition. He also confirmed that the Fundamental Rights Agency “will not follow-up [the draft working definition] any further,” adding that the body “has no legal competence to develop itself any such ‘definitions.’”

This statement by the Fundamental Rights Agency confirms what those who have studied the issue carefully had already surmised. David Feldman, director of the London-based Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism, told me that “the EUMC [European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia] working definition was never, so far as I understand it, an official EUMC line.” The Fundamental Rights Agency, he pointed out, “appears to be taking a different approach and has commissioned a survey that focuses on Jews’ perceptions and experiences of anti-Semitism.”

Brian Klug, a senior research fellow at Oxford University who has followed the surrounding debate closely, concurs.

“First, the document was never endorsed by the EUMC [European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia] nor by its successor, the FRA [Fundamental Rights Agency],” he said. “Second, it is more a discussion paper than a definition. Third, as far as I know it is not ‘working’ — either in the sense of there being plans on the part of the FRA to revise it or in the sense of law enforcement agencies in Europe putting it to work.”

Interestingly, supporters of the working definition have on occasion admitted the reality.

Speaking in Washington last December, the American Jewish Committee’s Andrew Baker acknowledged that the document “still meets with some opposition, including from the EUMC’s successor organization” — before revealingly adding: “thus it bears repeating whenever possible” (Transcript: Hearing — Combatting anti-Semitism in the OSCE region: Taking stock of the situation today,” Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe, 2 December 2011).

In 2010, the Community Security Trust’s Michael Whine said that the Fundamental Rights Agency “does not even notify” partner organizations in EU countries that the definition exists, “let alone ask them to use it,” according to the Kantor Center’s conference program, referenced earlier.


Pro-Israel groups’ use of the European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia’s definition has taken place in the wider context of the Israeli government’s efforts to attack the international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Of particular note here is the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, because of the overlap between its participants and those involved in designing and pushing the working definition (and because it is run by the Israeli foreign ministry).

At the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism conference in 2007, for example, working groups addressed topics like “academic and economic boycotts: pre-emptive strategies” in Western Europe, and “means of response to hostile faculty and student bodies” under the bracket of “anti-Semitism in the academy” (“Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism to hold conference,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 8 February 2007).

At the 2009 conference, chaired by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a working group on tackling BDS was convened.

The group described BDS as “traditional bigotry,” and talked about a “five year plan” that included implementing “legislative prohibitions vs. BDS,” taking into account “different legal traditions” (see document produced at the conference) .

The real story of the European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia’s draft working definition highlights the lengths to which some will go to undermine those supporting the Palestinian struggle for their basic rights.

The current focus on the University of California is an important opportunity to resist the implementation of a “definition” that would undoubtedly have an impact on ability of students and faculty to speak about and act on behalf of Palestinian rights — and only impair the fight against genuine anti-Jewish racism.

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Hebron: Nazi soldiers Bulldoze Palestinian Land; Settlers Invade Home

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Olive trees destroyed (archive image)

In the Governorate of Hebron, in the southern West Bank, on Tuesday, separate attacks by Nazi soldiers and Nazi Jewish paramilitary settlers targeted Palestinian olive farmers and their lands — during a time of year when the olive harvest is at its height.

The first attack took place Tuesday morning, as Nazi forces bulldozed Palestinian farmland south of Hebron, in the villages of ad-Dhahiriya and Idhna.

The Palestinians whose land was destroyed were all members of the al-Jabareen family. Israeli forces carried out the destruction despite the fact that the Palestinian owners hold legal title deeds to their land.

In addition to bulldozing the farmland, the Nazi troops also destroyed a water irrigation system in the al-Layya area in the north of Idhna village.

According to the Wafa News Agency, the Director of Public Relations in Idhna municipality, Abdel-Rahman Tamizi, said forces bulldozed the same area and destroyed the water network more than ten times, claiming that the water network must be destroyed in revenge for Palestinian residents allegedly damaging the water network that feeds nearby Nazi Jewish settlements.

Also in Hebron, Nazi Jewish paramilitary settlers invaded a Palestinian home in the Old City of Hebron and began occupying it to take it over for colonization.

The Youth Against Settlements group published videos documenting the settlers’ storming of a house in the Old City, located in the area of ​​the old vegetable market in Hebron, where Palestinian citizens are prevented from accessing it, due to the occupation closure policy.

He also published a video explaining the settlers’ theft of the olive harvest in the Tel Rumeida area, and that the land belongs to the Al-Bakri family, which extracted a final decision from the Nazi Supreme Court to evacuate the house from the Nazi Jewish settlers.

Dr. Ahmed Amr, coordinator of the Youth Against Settlements Association, told reporters that they have been told by the Nazi settlers in Hebron that the colonizers will try to use the remaining two months in the administration of US President Donald Trump to steal Palestinian lands and homes and escalate attacks on Palestinian citizens and their property.

In addition, Amr told reporters that the Nazi army facilitates the theft of land and property by Nazi Jewish colonial settlers, and prevents Palestinian residents from defending themselves and their property from the Nazi Jewish settler invasion.

Amr said that it is up to the Palestinian leadership and international supporters to develop a plan that will ensure the protection of Palestinians and their property.

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Jerusalem: Nazi army Demolishes A Palestinian Residential Building

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Nazi soldiers demolished, Wednesday, an under-construction Palestinian residential building, owned by a former political prisoner in the at-Tour town, in occupied Jerusalem, before abducting the owner and his son.

The Nazi soldiers, accompanied by bulldozers, invaded the town, before surrounding the entire area and completely isolating it.

Local sources said the Nazi soldiers then demolished the under-construction building, before abducting the owner, a former political prisoner identified as Ahmad Abu al-Hawa, along with his son, and moved them to an interrogation facility.

The army claims the 350 square/meter building was being constructed without a permit from the City Council, in Nazi occupied Jerusalem.

It is worth mentioning that, in the year 2016, the soldiers demolished a residential building, which consisted of four apartments, owned by Abu al-Hawa, under the pretext of being constructed without a permit.

Ahmad Abu al-Hawa is a former political prisoner, who was imprisoned by Israel for ten years.

While the Nazi regime continues to build and expand its illegal Nazi colonies in the occupied territories, in direct violation of International Law, it continues to deny construction permits to the Palestinians in Jerusalem and other large areas of the West Bank.

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Soldiers Abduct Seven Palestinians In The West Bank

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Nazi soldiers abducted, on Thursday at dawn, seven Palestinians from their homes in several parts of the Nazi occupied West Bank.

Several Nazi army jeeps invaded the Qalandia refugee camp, north of occupied Jerusalem, searched many homes, and abducted two Palestinians, identified as Ahmad Mteir and Anas Khatib.

In Tulkarem, in northern West Bank, the Nazi soldiers abducted Mohammad Samer Jaber, 21, from his home in Nur Shams refugee camp.

In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers abducted Mo’taz Zeebar, from his home in Kobar town.

The soldiers also abducted one Palestinian, identified as Majed Salem Abu Zahra, from Yatta town, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

In Bethlehem, south of Nazi occupied Jerusalem, the Nazi soldiers abducted two Palestinians, identified as Emad Ali Hreimi, 19, from the Saff Street, and Jibril Khalil Kawazba, 25, from the al-Fawaghra neighborhood, in the center of the city.

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Bethlehem: Nazi army Demolishes Palestinian Home, Structures

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Nazi soldiers demolished, Thursday, a Palestinian home, a wall, and sheds in the al-Walaja village, northwest of Bethlehem city, south of occupied Jerusalem in the West Bank.

Media sources said several army jeeps, and a bulldozer, invaded the Ein Jweiza area, northeast of the village, before demolishing a home and a retaining wall, owned by Mohammad Abu al-Haija.

They added that Nazi soldiers also demolished several sheds owned by members of the Abu at-Teen family.

The army claims the demolished structures were built without a permit from the “Civil Administration Office,” the administrative branch of the Nazi illegal occupation of the West Bank.

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Body Of Missing Nazi Soldier Found Near Jerusalem

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Nazi army said that it located, near Jerusalem, the corpse of one of its soldiers, who went missing Tuesday, and added that it was investigating the circumstances of his death.

The Nazi army said the corpse was located near Hizma military roadblock, northeast of Nazi occupied Jerusalem, and added that the military and the police are cooperating in investigating his death.

It identified the soldier as corporal Sagi Ben-David, and said he went missing Tuesday.

According to Zionist Ynet News, the soldier was serving at Anatot military base, near Jerusalem, and that he apparently turned his phone off when he left the base.

It added that his death “does not appear to be a nationalistic act,” in other words, the army does not believe the incident is related to the conflict.

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Soldiers Assault Elderly Palestinian Man Near Hebron

By:Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Nazi soldiers assaulted, Thursday, an elderly Palestinian man while picking his olive trees in Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Local nonviolent activist, Mohammad Awad, said several soldiers invaded an orchard, owned by Mohammad Abdul-Hamid Sleibi, 77, and started pushing him out of his land.

He added that the Palestinian insisted on remaining in his orchard and to pick his olive trees, before the soldiers started clubbing and kicking him, causing various cuts and bruises, and forced him out of his land.

It is worth mentioning that the invaded orchard is near the illegal Bat Ayin colonialist outpost, which was installed on stolen Palestinian lands.

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Child, Former Minister Among Palestinians Detained By Nazi Army

According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), Nazi soldiers, on Wednesday, detained former Jerusalem Affairs Minister, Khaled Abu Arafeh, 59, when he responded to a summons by the Israeli Intelligence.

Jerusalem Affairs Minister, Khaled Abu Arafeh

Four additional Fatah officials in Jerusalem had their homes invaded by Nazi police, and summoned to appear for interrogation, they are; Nasser Qous, Shadi Mtour, Ahed al-Rishq, and Raed Hegazy.

Also in occupied East Jerusalem, Nazi police detained the minor, Othman Jalajal, 17, in the vicinity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and took him to a detention centre, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

In the al-‘Isawiya district, Nazi police stopped and searched the vehicle of Anwar Obeid, who was subsequently taken into custody.

In northern Jerusalem, four under cover officers, driving a civilian vehicle, stopped on Qalandia street and abducted a young man named Ahmed al-Lawzi.

Meanwhile, the PPS added that Alaa Abd al-Karimal al-Baitawi, a former prisoner from Jenin was detained by Nazi Gastapo.

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Bully-boy minister’s Christmas message to UK universities

Bully-boy minister’s Christmas message to UK universities: Adopt anti-Semitism definition that’s “too vague to be useful”, or I’ll axe your funding!

Israel pimp Gavin Williamson
By Stuart Littlewood

Gavin Williamson is Education Secretary in the screwball government of Boris Johnson. And he has just threatened universities that they could have their funding cut if they don’t adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism before Christmas.

Williamson wrote to vice-chancellors last week saying he was “frankly disappointed” that there were still “too many disturbing incidents of anti-Semitism on campus and a lack of willingness by too many universities to confront this”, and that the number of universities adopting the definition “remains shamefully low”.

“These providers are letting down all their staff and students, and, shamefully, their Jewish students in particular,” he said.

He insists that adopting the IHRA definition “is morally the right thing to do” – and he underlines morally! “You should have no doubt: this government has zero tolerance towards anti-Semitism. If I have not seen the overwhelming majority of institutions adopting the definition by Christmas then I will act.”

Williamson is asking officials to consider directing the Office for Students (OfS) to impose a new regulatory condition of registration or suspend funding for universities at which anti-Semitic incidents occur and which haven’t signed up to the definition. According to Williamson, 

While many universities have rightly been quick over the summer to demonstrate their readiness to take action against other forms of racism, it is frankly disturbing that so many are dragging their feet on the matter of anti-Semitism.

The repugnant belief that anti-Semitism is somehow a less serious, or more acceptable, form of racism has taken insidious hold in some parts of British society, and I am quite clear that universities must play their part in rooting out this attitude and demonstrating that anti-Semitism is abhorrent.

The OfS said it will explore with the Department for Education what practical steps should be taken to ensure the IHRA definition’s wider adoption. But Universities UK were more cautious: “We recommend universities do all they can to tackle anti-Semitism, including considering the IHRA definition, whilst also recognising their duty to promote freedom of speech within the law.” And that last bit is what Williamson ought to have considered before stupidly going off the deep end.

Individual right of free expression in all higher education institutions

Williamson’s first problem is his ignorance. He’s completely at odds with the opinion of top legal experts who were asked for their views by Free Speech on Israel, Independent Jewish Voices, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. In a nutshell, those in public life cannot behave in a manner inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression that applies not only to information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the state or anyone else.

There is a further obligation to allow all concerned in public debate “to express their opinions and ideas without fear, even if these opinions and ideas are contrary to those defended by the official authorities or by a large part of public opinion, or even if those opinions and ideas are irritating or offensive to the public”.

Read Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Mr Williamson, which says that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including “freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers”.

Also, check Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says the same sort of thing, subject of course to the usual limitations required by law and respect for the rights of others.

The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee recommended that before accepting the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism, two caveats should be included:

  • It is not anti-Semitic to criticise the government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent.
  • It is not anti-Semitic to hold the Israeli government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli government’s policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent.

The government, in its eagerness to appease the Zionist lobby, dropped the caveats, saying they weren’t necessary.

Eminent human rights lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC also criticised the definition. Firstly, it wasn’t a legally binding so didn’t have the force of a statutory one. And it couldn’t be considered a legal definition of anti-Semitism as it lacked clarity. Therefore, any conduct contrary to the IHRA definition couldn’t necessarily be ruled illegal.

Secondly, the language was far too vague to be useful as a tool. In Tomlinson’s view, the government’s decision to adopt the IHRA definition was simply a freestanding statement of policy, a mere suggestion. No public body is under an obligation to adopt or use it, or, given the unsatisfactory nature of the definition, should be criticised for refusing.

He warned that if a public authority did decide to adopt the definition then it must interpret it in a way that’s consistent with its statutory obligations. In particular, it cannot behave in a manner inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

A further obligation put on public authorities is “to create a favourable environment for participation in public debates for all concerned, allowing them to express their opinions and ideas without fear, even if they are contrary to those defended by the authorities or by a large part of public opinion”.

So, in Tomlinson’s opinion the IHRA definition doesn’t mean that calling Israel an apartheid state that practises settler colonialism, or advocating boycott, divestment or sanctions (BDS) against Israel, can properly be characterised as anti-Semitic. Furthermore, a public authority seeking to apply the IHRA definition to prohibit or punish such activities “would be acting unlawfully”.

Government’s “naive stance”

Retired Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Stephen Sedley also offered advice criticising the IHRA working definition for lack of legal force. “At the same time, it is not neutral: it may well influence policy both domestically and internationally.”

He added that the right of free expression, now part of our domestic law by virtue of the Human Rights Act, “places both negative and positive obligations on the state which may be put at risk if the IHRA definition is unthinkingly followed”. Moreover the 1986 Education Act established an individual right of free expression in all higher education institutions “which cannot be cut back by governmental policies”.

Sedley was of the view that the IHRA definition is open to manipulation and “what is needed now is a principled retreat on the part of government from a stance which it has naively adopted in disregard of the sane advice given to it by the Home Affairs Select Committee”.

Williamson’s second problem is his prejudice. He’s a fanatical Israel worshipper and far from neutral in the hype surrounding anti-Semitism in the UK. In January 2018, when he was defence secretary, he addressed an audience of over 250 Conservative Friends of Israel and supporters, including 50 parliamentarians, telling them that “Britain will always be Israel’s friend” and praising Israel as a “beacon of light and hope, in a region where there is so much hatred and hurt”. He added: “We shouldn’t underestimate how difficult it is to keep that light bright and burning”.

Recalling his visit to Israel as a teenager, he said: “What I found was a liberal, free, exciting country that was so at ease with itself, a country that absorbed and welcomed so many people. That made an enormous impression upon me.”

Williamson condemned the “completely unreasonable… sheer simple hatred” channelled towards Israel and asked: “If we are not there to stand up for a country, whose views and ideals are so close, or are simply our own, what are we as a nation? What are we in politics, if we cannot accept and celebrate the wonderful blooming of democracy that is Israel?”

Achingly funny. And highlighting the UK’s role in the creation of Israel, he said: “Britain and Israel have an amazing relationship. We would like to think that we were very much at the birth of the nation, and very much helped it in terms of its delivery and coming into the world.”

He said that Britain and Israel have “a strong and firm relationship of working together. It’s a relationship of partners… It’s a partnership of equals. A partnership of friends.”

So hopelessly brainwashed.

Then, in April 2018 at a similar meeting to celebrate the Zionist regime’s 70th anniversary, Williamson waxed lyrical describing Israel as a “light unto the nations” and adding that not only do Israel and Britain face shared security threats, “our relationship is underpinned by a shared sense of values: justice, compassion, tolerance”. He emphasised that Israel is a “liberal, free and exciting country” and that the UK-Israel relationship is the “cornerstone of so much of what we do in the Middle East”.

Breaching the Ministerial Code?

But Gavin Williamson is not the only UK government minister to threaten our universities in this crude manner. A year ago Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick vowed to take action against universities and “parts of local government” who, he said, had become “corrupted” by anti-Semitism. He directed his attack on the universities who receive public money but “choose not to accept our IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and use it when considering matters such as disciplinary procedures”.

Writing in the Sunday Express, he added: “I will use my position as Secretary of State to write to all universities and local authorities to insist that they adopt the IHRA definition at the earliest opportunity.

“I expect them to confirm to me when they do so. Failure to act in this regard is unacceptable and I will be picking up the phone to vice chancellors and local government leaders to press for action, if none is forthcoming.”

According to Wikipedia, Jenrick’s wife was born in Israel and their children are brought up in the Jewish faith. He told the Board of Deputies of British Jews he would not tolerate local authority approved BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaigns against those profiteering from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. “Local authorities should not be wasting time and taxpayer’s money by dabbling in foreign policy or pursuing anti-Israel political obsessions, but instead focusing on delivering first class local public services.” The same could be said of his colleague Williamson’s pro-Israel obsession – and his own – when they should be getting on with governing Britain, but of course they are exempt from their own rules.

Both Jenrick and Williamson appear to fall foul of the Ministerial Code. The first two paragraphs are enough to banish them to outer darkness, one would have thought.

1.1 Ministers of the Crown are expected to maintain high standards of behaviour and to behave in a way that upholds the highest standards of propriety.

1.2 Ministers should be professional in all their dealings and treat all those with whom they come into contact with consideration and respect. Working relationships… should be proper and appropriate. Harassing, bullying or other inappropriate or discriminating behaviour wherever it takes place is not consistent with the    Ministerial Code and will not be tolerated.

Elsewhere the code decrees that “ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or appears to arise, between their public duties and their private interests” and they are expected to observe the Seven Principles of Public Life. The Principle of Integrity states that holders of public office “must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence their work”.

That suggests to me they ought to be slung out on their ear and never allowed near the levers of power again. But nobody in government is principled enough or has the balls to do it.

What do you think?

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UKComments Off on Bully-boy minister’s Christmas message to UK universities

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