Don’t argue, don’t engage, just ignore


by Stuart Littlewood


The Royal Northern College of Music is a case in point.

This institution was recently bullied by the Zionist lobby group North West Friends of Israel (NWFoI) into cancelling a concert by famous jazz saxophonist Gilad Atzmon.

Atzmon is a Jew who was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military. He is the author of ‘The Wandering Who’ and an avid blogger. He is also a fierce critic of the Jewish state’s “supremacist tribal ideology” that drives the Zionists’ expansionist greed.

And – quelle surprise! – the individual leading NWFoI’s assault on people’s harmless art entertainment is reported to have a shady past. Shady, as in struck off from practising as a lawyer. And as in being fined and banned by the Football Association for “foul and abusive behaviour”. He’s identified only as ‘Anthony’ on the NWFoI website.

The NWFoI released a statement explaining that their campaign against Atzmon performing at the RNCM was “a protest against his virulent anti-Semitism”. They accused him of defining himself as “a self-hating Jew” and condemning Jewishness as “a supremacist, racist tendency”.

They said he forfeited all claims to performing as an artist, insisting that his published work and blogs were condemned as anti-Semitic by Jews, Zionists and anti-Zionists alike. “It is not acceptable to the Manchester Jewish Community to allow Gilad Atzmon a platform at the RNCM to facilitate the perpetration of his vile brand of Jew-hating politics and petitioned RNCM accordingly. His platform was denied him as an anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist propagandist, not as a jazz musician of dubious acclaim.”

Ah, let’s pause a minute to allow the full flavour of NWFoI vitriol to sink in and jangle our finer senses….

What was Gilad ‘s reaction to this scurrilous attack on him? According to the Manchester Evening News he said: “It seems that the venue felt ‘unable to guarantee my safety’. Given that I’m now a pretty big boy, this would be somewhat amusing except that the terrible implication is that Zionist’s violence has now made it to Britain.

“They (NWFoI) gestsuged that my concerts were ‘fostering anti Semitism’ which is obviously a complete lie; in fact not once has anyone logged a complaint about my concerts or my talks…. Yes, my book is indeed critical of Jewish identity politics and exposes the exact same Jewish political lobbying which the North West Friend Of Israel yesterday exercised in Manchester.”

And just how respectable is the NWFoI? Its mission statement reads: “We work to counter lies and bias in the media about Israel and to show UK businesses and politicians that as the only pluralistic democracy in the Middle East, boycotting Israel is morally wrong and would harm not just the chance for peace but the lives of its millions of Arab citizens.” Of course, they don’t mention the barrage of lies put about by the Israeli propaganda machine. They leave out the non-stop attempts to re-write the Holy Land narrative and cast the Israelis as victims in order to justify their foul crimes against the Palestinians, and the fact that Palestine, Lebanon and Syria cannot live in peace with Israel nextdoor.

Nor do they mention the regime’s incessant vilification of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, who steadfastly oppose the Zionists’ crazed scheme to expand their ill-gotten gains and create a Greater Israel at everyone else’s expense.

NWFoI was formed, they say, in response to the targeting of an Israeli cosmetics shop in Manchester by pro-Palestine activists claiming the shop profited from the illegal occupation of Palestine by selling products containing minerals removed from the Palestinian territories. The photo shows a protest banner used by pro-Israel activists counter-demonstrating near the shop (source:!palestine-protesters-picket-kedem-cosmet/c1p5x ). Its message,

We can forgive Palestinians for killing our children.

We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children

is a sickening distortion. Yes, sickening, because it forgets who is cruelly occupying whom. And sickening because, according to respected Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, which keeps score on such things, 87 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians since the year 2000 while Israel has slaughtered 1,393 Palestinian children (and maimed unknown hundreds more). That’s a kill rate of 16 to 1. The Israelis are far and away the more proficient at waging war on kids, wouldn’t you say?


Embracing and endorsing the hell of occupation

This leads one to wonder why apparently sensible people take any notice of whiners like the many FoI groups who continually meddle in academic, cultural, church and political party affairs in order to ‘purify’ our thoughts and push the Zionist agenda. Declaring themselves a Friend of Israel aligns them with possibly the most despised brand name on the planet. It signifies that they embrace and endorse the whole hellish Zionist enterprise including the terror and ethnic cleansing on which the state of Israel was built. It suggests they turn a blind eye to the dispossession and expulsion of native Palestinians at gunpoint and the discriminatory laws against those who remain; and they accept the jackboot thuggery that abducts civilians, including children, and imprisons and tortures them without trial.

They appear to approve the theft and annexation of Palestinian land and water resources, the imposition of hundreds of military checkpoints, severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods, and maximum interference with Palestinian life at every level. They seem indifferent to the strangulation of the West Bank’s economy and the vicious blockade on Gaza. They sound like they applaud the denial of Palestinians’ right to self-determination and return to their homes.

Anyone who defends these outrages deserves scant consideration. They are in effect supporting the religious war that humiliates Muslims and Christians and prevents them visiting their holy places. And they give the nod to a situation in which hard-pressed British taxpayers are having to subsidise Israel’s never-ending illegal occupation of the Holy Land.

If, after last year’s bloodbath by the Israeli military in Gaza (the latest in a long series), those good folk are still Israel’s special Friend and still acting as apologist for the Zionist regime’s crimes, they’ll most likely be quite comfortable with the next onslaught to blow to smithereens hundreds more children, maim thousands, and again trash vital infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, power plants and clean water supplies. Last year’s devastation cost at least $6bn and will take 20 years to rebuild…. And by the way where is the money for that coming from?

All things considered, do I really want FoIs around me? No thanks. And what is a nice College of Music doing even listening to people like that?

This is where a little basic BDS comes in handy. FoIs often shriek “anti-semitism!” at the very mention of BDS, but here is how respected Palestinian lawmaker, Dr Hanan Ashrawi, defines it: “BDS is… a legal, moral and inclusive movement struggling against the discriminatory policies of a country that defines itself in religiously exclusive terms, and that seeks to deny Palestinians the most basic rights simply because we are not Jewish.” Essentially you avoid purchasing Israeli goods or services and decline normal contact with individuals and organisations that are connected with or support the racist creed that squeezes the life out of the Holy Land and causes such huge offence to freedom-loving people.

A particularly aggressive body devoted to shutting down free speech whenever Israel’s conduct is questioned is the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which claims to be the voice of British Jewry. Their top officials recently visited the Vice Chancellor of the University of Southampton and senior university staff to pressure them to cancel an upcoming conference ‘International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism’ scheduled for 17-19 April. The BoD complained that the conference lacked balance and focused on “delegitimising the State of Israel”, and that the vast majority of speakers were known anti-Israel activists. BoD President Vivian Wineman said: “It is formulated in extremist terms, has attracted toxic speakers and is likely to result in an increase in antisemitism and tension on campus.”

The organisers – the Southampton Law School – beg to differ. The conference, they say, will be the first of its kind and a ground-breaking event on the road towards justice and peace in historic Palestine. “It is unique because it concerns the legitimacy in International Law of the Jewish state of Israel. Rather than focusing on Israeli actions in the 1967 Occupied Territories, the conference will focus on exploring themes of Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism; all of which are posed by Israel’s very nature.”

You can imagine why the Zionist ‘bother-boys’ are nervous.

“The conference aims to explore the relatedness of the suffering and injustice in Palestine to the foundation and protection of a state of such nature and asks what role International Law should play in the situation…. The key speakers and various panels will diagnose the legal position with regard to the nature of Israel thus enabling a much needed platform for scholarly debate and disagreement.”

Well, that’s sure to send Israel’s stooges ballistic. But should the university really allow itself to be put off by the rantings of flag-wavers for the rogue state that’s under examination?

Israel itself just loves to boycott damaging investigations, uncomfortable debate and anything else that might reveal inconvenient truths. It is currently boycotting the UN Human Rights Council’s probe into the Israeli military’s 50-day assault on Gaza last year by refusing investigators access to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel continues to call for the inquiry to be shelved saying it is biased against the Jewish state – a now familiar refrain. In that last bombardment Israel’s military killed more than 2,200 people, mostly Palestinian civilians including 513 children.

Earlier, Israel cut all ties with the Human Right Council after it began probing how the expansion of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories violated human rights.

In a desperate attempt to blunt the success of the global BDS campaign, the BoD have launched a document entitled ‘A Better Way than Boycotts’. Right from the start it tries to re-frame the argument, claiming that “some voices have proposed imposing boycotts, divestment and/or sanctions (BDS) against Israel as a means of pressuring its government into making concessions”. Wrong. The aim of BDS is to persuade Israel – peacefully – to behave itself, and to keep the pressure on until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law. It has nothing to do with “concessions”.

The mere mention of international law and Zionist eyes glaze over… They just don’t get it.


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