NGOs

The “Jewish community” comes under attack at Amnesty International event


Cross posted by London-based blogger Richard Millett

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The UN’s Hamed Qawasmeh (right) next to the chairperson at Amnesty in London on Monday.

It didn’t take too long for yet another anti-Israel event at Amnesty International to spill over into criticism of Jews. It was Monday night and Hamed Qawasmeh had finished speaking on the subject of Human Rights in Hebron and Area C of the West Bank.  

Qawasmeh is a long time employee of the United Nations and his current remit is to “document human rights violations in the southern West Bank” (apparently human rights violations don’t extend as far as the recent cold-blooded murders of two Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, one in Hebron itself. Neither murder was mentioned during the event).

Qawasmeh described how Israel uses its control of Area C to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians. It does this, he said, by refusing to grant building permits, by demolishing Palestinian homes, by evictions and by building military zones and nature reserves so as to confiscate more land. Then there are the roadblocks, checkpoints and “separation wall”.

He claimed the Israeli government refuses to allow Israeli electricity companies to build electricity pylons for Palestinian homes near Jewish settlements.

Quite magnanimously, Qawasmeh did say that he had no problem with Israel wanting to protect its own people by building the wall, but that the wall should stick to the “1967 border” and not snake into the West Bank.

During the Q&A I stated that “settlements” are not illegal and that the so-called “1967 border” was not a border but merely an armistice line. I also said that when visiting Hebron twice I had seen many palatial Palestinian-owned houses en route.

I had intended to go on to ask how there could be any peace while Palestinian Authority television shows Palestinian children saying they want to become “martyrs” and with the Hamas calling for the murder of Jews via their Charter.  But by then the audience was getting restless and vocal and the chairperson was telling me I had taken up enough time. I tried to persist with my question but it got lost in a noise of insults. Meanwhile, a woman from the audience approached me and held my arm while asking me to leave the room with her.

I slumped back into my chair and stayed silent as the discussion moved onto how Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian children on their way to school and how Israel rounds up large numbers of Palestinian “kids” and tortures them under interrogation.

I felt I had to challenge such allegations, upon which Abe Hayeem rose to his feet (you can read all about Hayeem here). Hayeem pointed at me and said:

“He must be removed. He disrupts every meeting. He signifies the sort of people that are in Hebron. And I suggest that your (Qawasmeh’s) presentation should be made to the Jewish community here. The total injustice and criminality of what has happened here doesn’t penetrate him…”

This seemed to be a totally unprovoked attack on “the Jewish community”. But instead of being criticised for such an outburst Qawasmeh assured Hayeem that he gives his presentation to Israelis and also to “Jews who come from the States”.

On leaving the room I was confronted by a young woman who told me that her grandmother, who was a Holocaust survivor, would be ashamed of my behaviour. Someone else told me that she had no problem with Hamas. I was also twice told that my manner was too aggressive and that I was “not helping my own cause”.

Overlooking these shenanigans was Amnesty’s campaigns manager Kristyan Benedict. Benedict once tweeted “Louise Ellman, Robert Halfon and Luciana Berger walk into a bar…each orders a round of B52s … #Gaza”. The three MPs happen to be Jewish. He also once threatened to beat me up after another Amnesty event, again after I had questioned what I had heard.

According to the Jewish Chronicle Benedict was forced to apologise for his tweet and Amnesty said that he would “focus his energy on managing AIUK’s crisis work, particularly the human rights crisis in Syria”. But on Tuesday night he wasn’t focusing on Syria. He was at this disgusting anti-Israel event, albeit not chairing it for once.

Old habits obviously die hard.

53 replies »

  1. How saying a presentation needs to made to the Jewish community constitutes an attack on the Jewsih community?

    Nevertheless, the presenter has a very significant story to tell about the ethnic cleansing of Palestine under occupation. All communities need to hear about.

    It is heartening to hear even those from Jewish origins were critical of your behaviour.

  2. Richard, it’s about time someone reminded the fatheads who now run A.I. that their erstwhile noble organisation was founded by a Jew – Peter James Henry Solomon, the son of Harold Solomon and Flora Benenson. He later took his mother’s maiden name. It is they who are degrading and damaging their charity and its causes by their constant spew of half-truths, distortions and downright lies. Why the hell they don’t just join up with the PSC and be done with it, I don’t know! At least then, we’d all know where we stood

    • it’s about time someone reminded the fatheads who now run A.I. that their erstwhile noble organisation was founded by a Jew – Peter James Henry Solomon, the son of Harold Solomon and Flora Benenson. He later took his mother’s maiden name.

      Why is Peter Benenson being Jewish relevant here? Ditto all that other information??

      Why the hell they don’t just join up with the PSC and be done with it, I don’t know!

      http://www.amnesty.org.uk/
      Current homepage focuses on: Syria, Sudan, France, Iran and Lithuania.

      Amnesty is about far more than I/P – not that you seem to care.

  3. Atheist, why should such a presentation be made to the Jewish community? Why is it significant that they are Jewish?

  4. RIchard the answer is obvious. Israel claims to be Jewish. It claims it is doing all for the Jewish homeland. Why should the Jews not hear the truth of what is being done in their name? Perhaps, Richard you do not understand that letting people know what is done in their name is not the same as accusing them. There is great support for the Palestinians within the Jewish communities internationally. I understand it was also expressed at the meeting.

    • I think Richard has forgotten more about the Palestinians than you’re ever going to know. That seems like it would only amount to him forgetting 3 pages of text from a single book on the subject, but baby steps, yes?

    • Atheist:

      “Why should the Jews not hear the truth of what is being done in their name?”

      Good point, but what about all the good things Israel is doing which is somewhat well under reported as opposing to the bad bits.
      Truth shouldn’t take sides right?

    • Actually, the only thing obvious about you and your responses is that you haven’t the foggiest clue about Israel, Jews, or Zionists. At best, you are misguided; at worst, you are a hate mongering tool like Jasshole. Either way, there are too many of you in this debate so that the realities on the ground are trivialized by your titillation. The last thing you deserve is peace in the Middle East.

      • ” Jasshole. ”

        How many Nobels in Literature do your people have ?. I guess you are out to prove that not everyone is a boring genius.

        • I don’t know what’s funnier: Jasshole claiming some moral high ground, or Jasshole claiming that he cares about the Arts.

          Well, in terms of your latter concern, Philip Roth made a career and established his legacy with Portnoy and the Zuckerman trilogy. Whether the King of Norway gives a crap about that or not doesn’t bother me one bit.

          And that’s just one difference between you and me. Another is that you are a shameless tool of shit and that I happen to notice that.

          Do you want me to go for #3?

          • ” you are a shameless tool of shit ”

            The references to bottoms and toileting issues are recurring themes with you and I guess maybe there was some trauma in your early years that you can maybe tell me about . I am a good listener .

            This site is the best way that the Guardian can be forced to face the hypocrisy of its support for British wars and its condemnation of Israel’s . I often disagree with Adam but acknowledge that the Guardian does change its articles when he gets it right .

            I wonder if he appreciates supporters who lower the tone with such regularity ( if you pardon the pun )

            • Nobody lowers the tone of Middle East debate more than the likes of Jasshole, a provocative ass living through false history while promoting the belief that Zionism equates racism, bless his sad, confused, hate filled and blackened heart.

            • I’ve been thinking, Jasshole, the Internet is such a great, classy place, minus the porn, trivialization of death, and rampant calls to commit violence, y’know? I mean, all of this high-brow debate on your end (which constitutes a raised eyebrow as you peddle your regular smut) just means so gosh darn much.

              Ever think that you’re completely incapable of making a different in the world? Ever think that your efforts are hopelessly futile as you try to construct another viable argument regarding tohse Joos? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

              That’s why you’re the Message Board Champ. I mean, Chimp.

              All hail the Chimp.

              • “the Internet is such a great, classy place, minus the porn, ”

                I for one believe you, I really do. Im sure you don’t think about it even when you are discussing the differences between attacking Jews and criticising Israel on CIFWatch I know you did there but that will have been a one off I guess.

                • Actually, Jasshole, I just like to go off on people like you. That’s my contribution to the so-called debate. Calling out the hate mongers and reminding them they are dumber than rocks. In your case, since you’re here all the time, repeating the same lies while insisting that you are objective and sane, I have ample opportunity to swipe at you. Indeed, you are the low hanging fruit, especially when your gloves come off and the best you can do is insult American Jews for being uncouth with 4-letter words and Interweb Slang. This is your life, Jasshole. It’s a waste of time, and it’s going nowhere fast.

                  Tick-tock, Jasshole.

                • ” the best you can do is insult American Jews for being uncouth with 4-letter words ”

                  Well if they are Americans can they handle words of more than 4 letters?

                • ” Chimp, hate , moron… And those are just off the top of my head. ”

                  I am sorry for what ever I did or said that upset you. You are clearly such a dynamic foe that I yield. I have no intellectual response and it is a one sided battle. Funny cause at first I thought you were a complete berk. Imagine my embarrassment when I realised I was battling a towering literary figure.

  5. Excuse me but Israel is Jewish. Put in context this means it is a majority Jewish state. It is doing nothing in my name. I am a British citizen. I pay my taxes solely to Britain believe it or not. My commitment is to Britain. I don’t vote in Israel. I have no influence vis-a-vis Israel. You sound like an old fashioned anti-Semite who is accusing British Jews of dual loyalty.

    That said I agree that there is great support (actually more like sympathy) for the Palestinians. The sympathy for them is because people like you support them and that they are led by people like Abbas and Hamas, who don’t want a Palestinian state but the whole of Israel. Thus, the Palestinians will never get their own state because of these warmongers.

  6. What Palestinians? There has never been an ethnically unique people called Palestinians. They were invented in 1967. The concept of a country called Palestine seemed totally alien to Arabs, too! This is what Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, a Syrian Arab leader to the British Peel Commission in 1937, said.
    “There is no such country as Palestine. ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. ‘Palestine’ is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it”.

    This ‘Palestinian’ claim shtik is just an excuse to vilify the Jews and murder every one of them.

  7. Atheist
    You inadvertently use the phrase ‘ those from Jewish origins ‘ which is surprisingly apt because their only connection is to use such origins as a means to deflect accusations of antisemitism from the PSC .

  8. Richard you have a right of return to Israel – Palestinians do not – so you need to know the price others have to pay for your right. Besides Israel administers an area that is majority Palestinian not Jewish. If you put all those under Israel’s administration, including those in the occupied areas Palestinians will be a majority.

    • I have the right to live in many other countries, besides Israel. The Palestinians have the right to choose to return to a future Palestinian state once their leaders have given up their desire to destroy Israel. That state could be amazing. But Palestinian leaders choose to let their people suffer instead. Instead of blaming the British Jewish community, like you and the likes of Hayeem prefer to do, the Palestinians should first try voting in people who prefer war to peace.

    • so you need to know the price others have to pay for [richard’s] right

      What on earth is that supposed to mean?

    • “Besides Israel administers an are that is majority Palestinian not Jewish.” O.K. we can see how your mind works.

  9. “Qawasmeh described how Israel uses its control of Area C to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians… by building … nature reserves…”.

    Excuse my Cherry picking but if there is some mutual ground for both people is the need to protect and safe guard nature.

    Had Qawasmeh been in charge many protected spieces that only live in that region and are safe guarded in Israel would have been long gone as he obviously doesn’t see the need to protect nature in such a densly populated area.

  10. Palestine is an artificial entity whose sole aim is to deligitimize and ultimately destroy the state of Israel. Anyone who thinks that another state is viable in Palestine, besides Israel and Jordan, is naive or dishonest.

    Israel is a Jewish state which claims to represent Jews in the Diaspora also.
    No Jew can remain indifferent to Israel just as no Israel can remain indifferent to the fate of Jews in the world. Antisemites know this very well.

      • Why do you ask useless questions when you don’t have any ammunition?
        Richard or Itzik can answer for themselves. Pretz can only ask empty questions.

        • Seeking clarification from people who make statements is not “empty” or meaningless.
          In any case maybe Richard understood what “Atheist” was on about.
          Pretz didn’t and asked the person to clarify which is how it works in a blog.

          Now how did my name got into this?
          Pretz asked ziondreaming a question and not me.

        • Ammunition?
          Richard or Itzik?
          Empty questions?

          It was a valid and genuine query.
          What on earth are you on about? And who are you anyway – a banned former troll?

  11. Irene Kahn, past director of Amnesia International and committed anti-Israel activist, awarded herself (or was awarded) a parting sum of close to a million pounds.

    She was interviewed on the World Service by a guy (I forget his name) who was appalled at the obscene amount and pointed out that Amnesty relied on small donations from ordinary people to do its work.

    So it seems Amnesty has a bit in its piggy bank. Perhaps they should use it to do some genuine work rather than trashing Israel and bowing to the god of PeeCee.

    • So it seems Amnesty has a bit in its piggy bank. Perhaps they should use it to do some genuine work rather than trashing Israel and bowing to the god of PeeCee.

      You mean for example the human rights abuses that take place daily in the Arab-Islamic world…..The ones that must be equipped with stealth technology as they rarely if ever seem to appear on amnesty international’s radar

  12. Richard you are very kind you will allow them to return to some future Palestinian state when they start behaving to your expectations stop demanding what is rightfully their the right to return to their homes – and you do not tell us where this future Palestinian state is going to be.

    • And here comes Atheist to tell us of “homes,” never just houses, but “homes.” One more BS artist. Their is no right to return to those houses. Lost in a border dispute.
      Their so-called national border for the proposed so-called Palestinian state (for Arabs opposed to living under any type of Jewish sovereignty) got pushed back as a result of the Arabs disrespect for any border for Israel and their military onslaught to wipe out the newly proclaimed, but already de facto, Jewish State.
      As for any future Palestinian state, their leadership will need to negotiate and compromise in good faith. Such good faith is so far not forthcoming. Only then will the “refugees” be able to resettle in a country called Palestine. However, so far the Palestinian leadership objects to allowing the famous Palestinian People return to a famous state of Palestine. Kind of funny, no?

  13. Richard welcome to the club of the people who knows that anti-Zionism is just the newest form of antisemitism masquerading as some kind of progressive anti-nationalistic ideology and hiding behind the so called Palestinian rights. Amnesty International already became one of the main source of Jew-hate in particular and Western style democracy in general.