Palestinian Expo 2017: The UK Government and The Lobby
By Gilad Atzmon
Over the last decade, Palestinian solidarity has been hijacked by many Jewish organisations - JVP, IJAN, J-BIG – and also by other insipid left-leaning groups that in practice, have reduced Palestinian solidarity into a paradigm that is lame, meaningless and leads absolutely nowhere. This loose collective of tribal and Identitarian merchants has managed to reduce the magisterial Palestinian call for Right of Return into a squalid and self-serving Jewish internal debate about the ‘Right to BDS.’ The discourse of the oppressed is now defined by the sensitivities of the oppressor.
Palestine Expo 2017 , scheduled to take place on the weekend of July 8-9 at the QE2 centre, could have been an attempt to re-instate the meaning of Palestine: its culture, its politics and its call for liberation. It could have reinvigorated resistance and, most importantly, put the Right of Return at its heart. It could even have attempted to redefine and solidify the Palestinian conditions for peace in the region.
But it didn’t aspire to do any of those things. Featuring Jewish anti-Zionist voices, and endorsed by various Jewish organisations, it instead attempts to give voice to the most politically-correct and Jewish-friendly vision of solidarity available. And guess what, it didn’t work. Instead of welcoming this Zio-friendly approach, British Jews, utilising all their lobbies and employing every trick in the Hasbara playbook, have act institutionally and aggressively to cancel the event
Yesterday, we learned from the Jewish Chronicle that the British Government in the person Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, has threatened to cancel the Palestinian cultural festival in central London next month over the organisers Friends of Al-Aqsa’s (FOA) ‘support of Hamas’. In a letter sent to FOA on June 14, Mr Javid said he was considering calling it off, citing: "concerns that your organisation and those connected with it have expressed public support for a proscribed organisation, namely Hamas, and that you have supported events at which Hamas and Hezbollah – also proscribed – have been praised”.
I guess that the recent election results haven’t taught the Tories the necessary lesson, that people are sick and tired of these manufactured ‘terror’ concerns, especially when they know that it is actually the British government that has been launching, one after the other, immoral and criminal Zio-con wars.
According to the notoriously Zionist Jewish Chronicle, Ismail Patel, founder of Friends of Al-Aqsa, “is closely linked to several Islamic organisations and has openly expressed support for Hamas in the past, calling the group "no terrorist organisation." Needless to say, Patel is spot on. Hamas is a democratically-elected body which, against all odds, manages with some success and without being their fault, the biggest open-air prison known to humankind, and whose militancy should be understood only in the context of its resistance to Israeli blockade, oppression and occupation. Anyway, as far as I can see, the conference is not voicing any particular support for Hamas.
The JC then goes on to list further crimes of the FOA. It has “actively promoted boycotts of Israel and has hosted antisemitic musician Gilad Atzmon and Holocaust denier Paul Eisen on its website.” Well, as far as supporting boycotts is concerned, surely boycotting Israel is an entirely peaceful act, so if the British Government is really so fearful of terror, boycotting Israel may well be the way forward.
As for yours truly, I have nothing to do with this event and naming me as an ‘antisemite’ means very little unless one of these Jewish institutions that does this on a daily basis stands up and defines exactly what it is that I am not allowed to say. What exactly is the ‘crime’ of which I am accused? As things stand, I have never been questioned about any of my views or statements by a single law enforcement authority around the world. If the JC really believes I am guilty of any ‘hate crime’, then it really ought, once and for all, say what it is. The JC also doesn’t much like Paul Eisen, one of the very few authentic humanists around and who is repeatedly labelled a ‘Holocaust denier’ just because he insists that the Holocaust be treated as an historical narrative rather than as a religion. Is this really a crime in the UK?
By now, British Jewish institutions should surely have grasped that these old, recycled anti-Semitic/Holocaust denier labels have lost their power. After all, they tried it with Corbyn and as we know, if anything, it only contributed to his popularity and near victory in the last election.
In a letter replying to the Secretary of State, Mr Patel correctly states that the government is interfering unlawfully in this event and added that ministers had "failed to provide any satisfactory reason as to why they have chosen to cancel an event which seeks only to celebrate Palestinian culture and heritage."
I would have liked to think that the Tories, now accused of BBQ-ing hundreds of working Brits and Muslims in Grenfell Tower, would have learned their lesson and behaved sensibly for a change. And here is the good news, they certainly did! As I was about to post this article I learned from the Jewish press that despite the Jewish lobby relentless pressure Palestine Expo 2017 is going ahead. A spokesman for Mr Javid said: “We have worked with the QEII Centre to carry out checks following concerns raised about the Palestine Expo 2017. Following these checks, we have agreed the event can take place as planned.” Seemingly calls to Boycott Israel and posting Gilad Atzmon and Paul Eisen articles is still a kosher adventure in the eyes of British law.
I guess that the British government may have learned its lesson after all. With a bit of luck, it may even subscribe to Athens against all odds and turn its back to Jerusalem…