The British fringe group known as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) may not be large in numbers, but it is certainly big on noise. Its ‘one-stater’ members have a particular penchant for radical chic, taking part in convoys, flotillas, flytillas, and frequent demonstrations and events starring supporters and members of terrorist organisations.
The PSC’s director Sarah Colborne was a member of the executive committee which organised the Global March to Jerusalem. She was also recently in Gaza, together with PSC chair Hugh Lanning, as part of the Interpal-organised ‘Miles of Smiles‘ convoy. Interpal is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘Union of Good‘, headed by homophobic and anti-Semitic hate preacher Yusuf al Qaradawi.
Obviously, these extremists at the PSC – who both support and enable terror organisations proscribed by the British government and behave like star-struck teenage pop fans whenever their racist, homophobic, misogynistic heroes come to town – would not be the type of bedfellow the socially responsible Left liberal progressives at the Guardian would go out of their way to support.
Or would they?
The PSC has recently been running a high-profile campaign on behalf of Mahmoud Sarsak – an active member of the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (or – in less euphemistic terms – a member of a violent terror organisation) currently held in Israel under administrative detention laws because (as Adam Levick has already pointed out on these pages) numerous judges in both the District Court and the Supreme Court in Israel are convinced that he poses a real danger to the public.
“In its response, the State claimed that the Supreme Court should uphold the district court’s decision and referred the Supreme Court to current intelligence information that indicates that the appellant continued to maintain ties with the PIJM and its military activity even from within the detention facility. Moreover, the assessment of ISA’s experts is that the combination of the appellant’s high motivation and expertise in manufacturing and training others in the use of explosive weapons raises the probability that if released, Sarsak would be reintegrated into the PJIM in Gaza promptly and would endanger the security of the State.”
Of course the PSC does not inform the public about that aspect of Mahmoud Sarsak’s activities. Instead, it chooses to focus exclusively upon the fact that he is also a footballer. PSC newsletters implore their recipients to telephone the UK Foreign Secretary and contact their MPs on Sarsak’s behalf as well as to put pressure on UEFA to cancel a football tournament in Israel next year, even providing handy letter templates for the purpose.
Obviously, neither the PSC nor figures such as Eric Cantona who have signed a petition calling for Sarsak’s release care a jot about the civilians at risk should he be free to return to his PIJ terrorist activities.
And seemingly neither does the Guardian, if we are to judge by the heart-string–tugging article by Harriet Sherwood on the subject on June 6th in which Sarsak’s extra-stadium activities were flippantly dismissed in one sentence:
“Sarsak’s family deny that he is a member of any militant organization.”
Since then, the Guardian appears to have upped its participation in the Sarsak campaign by publishing a letter on the subject from former MP and Socialist Campaign Group member John Austin on June 14th. Of course Austin failed to mention the background to Sarsak’s detention too.
On June 17th, the Guardian ran another article by Hugh Muir, also featuring a half-baked version of the Sarsak story (he in fact began drinking milk several days before Muir’s article was written and his hunger strike has now ended) as well as neglecting to make any mention of Sarsak’s connections to a terrorist organization.
Muir also thought it fit to promote the latest PSC escapade entitled ‘Palestine Place‘ – a squat in London – which may appear bizarre until one appreciates the fact that he also appeared at an NUS conference in 2010 alongside Amena Saleem of the PSC, Anas Altikriti of the BMI and Luftur Rahman (mayor of Tower Hamlets), among others.
Yet again, it appears that the Guardian has elected to patronizingly ignore ‘the public’s right to know’ all the details of a story it chooses to promote – repeatedly – if those details present stumbling blocks on the route to its broader agenda.
Part of that agenda seems to involve an aspiration to become the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s ventriloquist’s dummy.