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Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Witchhunt of Gerald Kaufman - Crucified for Supporting the Palestinians

Anti-Semitic?  No – His only crime was supporting Palestinian Human Rights

My only encounter with Gerald Kaufman was when we exchanged sharp words twenty years ago, after I had told the then Labour Friends of Israel organiser, Valerie Cocks, the wife of the Chief Whip, Michael Cocks where to go.

Pilloried for his support of the Palestinians
However I have forgiven Gerald and indeed come to admire and respect him despite the fact that he is still a Zionist, of sorts.  He boasts of his friendship with every Labour Zionist Prime Minister whilst forgetting that it was Labour Zionism which presided over the original expulsion of the Palestinian refugees.  He undoubtedly wouldn’t accept my argument that there is nothing that Likud has done that the Israeli Labour Party hasn’t done before it.

Nonetheless Gerald Kaufman has been a consistent supporter of Palestinian human rights for the past decade and more and a few ill-chosen words, which contained a kernel of truth, have led to him being viciously attacked for ‘anti-Semitism’ in the Zionist press.
Sir Gerald Kaufman is one of the last members of Harold Wilson's kitchen cabinet
I want to say here and now that Gerald Kaufman is no anti-Semites, unlike many of his detractors.  I have no hesitation in defending him.  He is a magnificent defender of human rights, unlike his detractors.
Gerald Kaufman on a trip to Israel as part of a parliamentary delegation
This all began when Kaufman spoke to the Palestine Return Centre.  He apparently said that ‘"There is now a big group of Conservative members of Parliament who are pro-Israel whatever government does and they are not interested in what Israel, in what the Israeli government does."

According to The Independent he went on to claim that 

"They're not interested in the fact that Palestinians are living a repressed life, and are liable to be shot at any time. In the last few days alone the Israelis have murdered 52 Palestinians and nobody pays attention and this government doesn't care."
The so-called Campaign Against anti-Semitism is partially sighted.  Only Palestinians qualify.
The Zionist ‘Campaign Against Anti-Semitism’, whose only concern is to link ‘anti-Semitism’ with support for the Palestinians, claimed that ‘The speech delivered by Sir Gerald Kaufman, as reported by David Collier, is antisemitic and the Labour Party must investigate immediately.’  And as if to impress us with their credentials, we are informed that the ‘Campaign Against Antisemitism is in contact with the Opposition Chief Whip.’

The so-called CAS [a political propaganda group that has just become a 'charity'] sprang up during Operation Protective Edge last year, when over 2,200 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli blitzkrieg on Gaza, including over 550 children.  The CAS’s sole concern was to deflect support for the Palestinians by making claims of ‘anti-Semitism’ against opponents of Israel.  Not once, ever, have they expressed the slightest concern about the Palestinian victims of Israel’s attacks. 

This is not surprising since those involved in CAS are devoted Zionists and supporters of Israel, right or wrong.  People like Simon Cobbs of the far-Right Sussex Friends of Israel which last year invited Mordechai Kedar, an Israeli ‘academic’ and former officer to speak.  Kedar has advocated raping Palestinian women in the fight against ‘terrorism’.  Picket Meeting Of Israeli Professor Kedar Who Advocates Rape As A Deterrent - The Zionist Federation and Sussex Friends of Israel Invite an Advocate of Rape to Speak 

The CAS used what it termed ‘The globally-recognised EUMC definition of antisemitism’  to prove that Kaufman was anti-Semitic.  The only problem is that the EUMC definition of anti-Semitism is globally derecognised.   The European Union Monitoring Committee definition was only ever a ‘working definition’ and it is now no longer even that.  The EUMC’s successor body, the Fundamental Rights Agency has erased it from its website. Blanca Tapia of the FRA was quoted, in The Times of Israel as saying that it had never viewed the document as a valid definition. Agency officials said the document had been pulled offline “together with other non-official documents.” EU drops its ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism  
The racist Palestinian Media Watch group
This is but one example of the fundamental dishonesty of the so-called ‘Campaign Against Anti-Semitism’  The Zionist hatred of Sir Gerald Kaufman is because of his withering criticism of Israel’s barbarities.  If you want an example of this go to the blog post I did Sir Gerald Kaufman, veteran British Parliamentarian and Zionist compares Israelis in Gaza to the Nazis  when he made one of the finest parliamentary speeches I have heard. 
The Campaign Against anti-Semitism uses the racist anti-Palestinian group Palestinian Media Watch for its evidence 

Sir Gerald went on to say that:

“It’s Jewish money, Jewish donations to the Conservative Party – as in the general election in May – support from the Jewish Chronicle, all of those things, bias the Conservatives.”  

In essence this is true.  The people who are giving the money to the CFI are Jewish and they don’t care one little bit about the evil that results from their donation.  These donors of murder money are the people who should be condemned, not someone who criticises them using language which identifies them by religion rather than their politics. 

The term ‘Jewish money’ is a short-hand.  Of course it would be better to say ‘Zionist money’ or ‘Zionist donors’ but to say, in the context of donations to the CFI that the money is ‘Jewish money’ is not anti-Semitic.  Zionist propaganda organisations and Israeli government hasbara spend all their waking time claiming that to be Jewish is to be a Zionist (except for a few Jewish 'traitors' or to use the Nazi term, ‘self-haters’).

The Independent also says that Kaufman also claimed that "more than half" of the stabbings that have recently happened in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the rest of Israel were fabricated, in comments that were recorded by blogger David Collier.  No doubt this too was proof positive of his ‘anti-Semitism’.

Unfortunately under pressure, Jeremy Corbyn criticised Sir Gerald Kaufman, for making “completely unacceptable” remarks about the Jewish community.’  

What Corbyn should have done is to make it clear that though the words could have been chosen more wisely the sentiments were sound enough.  Those rich Jewish scoundrels who donate thousands to CFI in order to support the oppression of the Palestinian people are no less guilty of war crimes than those who pull the trigger.  Gerald Kaufman's ‘racism’ pales into insignifiance against the crimes of these powerful supporters of genocide.  It is nothing less than utter hypocrisy.  
No less than 590 search items revealed in a search of the Jewish Chronicle archives
Hypocrisy – The Term ‘Jewish money’ is used by the Jewish Chronicle 590 times!

But my dear reader.  This campaign, which was launched by the Jewish Chronicle is utter and total tripe even on its own terms.  Here is the strange thing.  I had a brainwave.  How many times has the term ‘Jewish money’ appeared in the Jewish Chronicle, the self-declared Zionist mouthpiece of the Jewish community?  Well I did a quick search on its archive and came up with the result.  No less than 590 mentions!  Now some of these are articles on the anti-Semitic use of the term ‘Jewish money’ but many of them are nothing of the kind.  ‘Jewish money’ is simply an accepted term when used by 'JC' correspondents but it becomes anti-Semitic when used by someone who is a supporter of human rights.

Jewish Chronicle Uses of the Term ‘Jewish Money’

Another example of Alderman's anti-Semitism!
In a column by Jewish Chronicle columnist Geoffrey Alderman, Obama’s false  Iran Alternative (14.8.15) Alderman speaks of ‘the fact that Jewish money, albeit American-Jewish money – is being used to this end has led the president to adopt an unfortunate and worrying rhetoric.  Israel and its supporters are warmongers and American-Jewish money is being used to drag America into war.’  In other words ‘Jewish money’ is being used to campaign against the US-Iran agreement.’
Alderman - a Zionist hypocrite calls for Gerald Kaufman's banning for doing the same as he does!
And despite the fact that Alderman used the phrase ‘Jewish money’ twice within the same article he had the effrontery to use his column of 20th November A man who deserves banning to call for Gerald Kaufmann’s excommunication from the Jewish community.  
Alderman:  opposing anti-Semitism is 'political correctness'
This is even more surprising since Alderman had previously excused very explicit anti-Semitic remarks, such as the comments of David Whelan, former owner of Wigan Athletic football club who stated that ‘there is nothing like a Jew who sees money slipping through his fingers’ and when challenged by the Guardian responded that ‘I think they [Jews] are very shrewd people…. I think Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else.  I don’t think that’s offensive at all.’ 

What was Alderman’s take on this?  Presumably he called for the expulsion of Wigan Athletic from the football league or Whelan being stripped of all association with it?  Possibly he called for his prosecution?  I'm afraid not.  Alderman, in another example of Zionist hypocrisy, called talk of anti-Semitism 'political correctness' no less - PC being the last refuge of the bigot.

It was ‘a sad and miserable tale of political correctness taken to new depths of absurdity.’  This football fuss is a bit rich 5.12.14.  Despite ‘shrewd’ being used in the sense of canny or mean, i.e. a stereotypical comment about Jews and money, Alderman’s comment was ‘who reading this column could take umbrage at that?’  And as for Jews chasing money, Alderman was most circumspect:  ‘as far as I’m aware no serious research has been done on this subject.  But it’s certainly true that the Jewish view of money differs considerably from that of Christianity.’  

No doubt when someone next claims that Jewish noses are distinctive and longer than non-Jewish noses, or make some other anti-Semitic comment, Alderman will pipe up that no one has yet measured or quantified the length of the noses!

Alderman considers himself a virtuous man and so we should rest with the old adage that hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.  But Alderman is not alone in his hypocrisy:
In an article (JC 9.11.12.) by Simon Rocker ‘BBC’s Washington reporter rapped over ‘Jewish lobby’ remark’ we learn that Katy Kay commented on the Presidential contenders that ‘no one running for President wants to alienate the power and money of the Jewish lobby.’  Quite.  And the BBC was quite happy defending Ms Kay.
Aaronovitch is quite happy with the phrase 'Jewish money'
In an article by the ultra-sanctimonious David Aaronovitch, ‘The Rumours and the Rampage’ Aaro was quite happy to talk of a ‘Mr Bacile, the Zionist Israeli who had made a $5 million film with Jewish money had gradually turned into Mr Nakoula, the indicted fraudster…’ 

And in an article ‘How I Avoided Becoming a Madoff Victim’ by Paul Berger (11.12.09) we learn that ‘The Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art used to refuse Jewish money.  Now if you walk into the Met every second gallery or pavilion has a Jewish name on it.’

And in yet another article on the appropriately named Bernie Madoff, Too good to be true?  6.3.09. we learn that ‘A large amount of  “Jewish” money has simply disappeared.’

In a short article on a Hamodia reader, 29.8.08.  we learn that in a letter to the paper, a TY of London expresses his or her dismay at ‘Jewish money being used for this purpose’ [hunting down elderly Nazi war criminals] and in yet another article ‘I know I am, I’m sure I am, I’m Turkey till I die’ Simon Round explains that ‘The Swiss nicked a lot of Jewish money, whereas the Turks didn’t do anything particularly bad in the war…’  13.6.08.

If that was not enough we also learn in an article ‘Diamond dealers shine as property slumps for this year’s Rich Listers’ that ‘Nonetheless, Rich List compiler Philip Beresford saw it as ‘a very good year for Jewish money, both new and old.’  No doubt it was.  After all diamonds are more than just a girl’s best friend.

I won’t bore you with any more examples, you can search the Jewish Chronicle archives yourself if you are a subscriber (no they don’t’ do public interest.  It costs £5 to download each pdf file!,  But I’ve screen printed them for free for your benefit! 

As everyone who is Jewish knows, the term ‘Jewish money’ is as common as muck.  It is used continually within the Jewish community and to pretend that its use is anti-Semitic is just plain, vanilla hypocrisy that only Zionists are capable of.  Operating in a high visibility arena Gerald Kaufman’s only crime was to lay himself open to the criticism and vitriol of the professional ‘anti-Semite’  merchants.  Never was Jesus’ comment about discerning the mote in one’s brother’s eye before the beam in one’s own eye more relevant.  Yet it is the Zionist movement that is truly and disgustingly anti-Semitic. 

If Gerald Kaufmann had talked of ‘fumigating Jewish  vermin’ then there is no doubt that this would be deeply anti-Semitic.  Yet Israel’s first Justice Minister Pinhas Rosenbluth described Palestine as ‘an institute for the fumigation of Jewish vermin’. [Joachim Doron, p.169 Classic Zionism and modern anti-Semitism: parallels and influences’ (1883-1914), Studies in Zionism 8, Autumn 1983]. 

Chaim Weizmann, Israel’s first President and President of the Zionist Organisation, went one better, describing German Jewish refugees as ‘the germ-carriers of a new outbreak of anti-Semitism.’ [Edwin Black, Ha’avara – The Transfer Agreement, p.259, citing Palestine Post 5.7.33].  

Jacob Klatzkin, the editor of the Zionist Organisation paper Die Welt,  held that Jews were:
'a people disfigured in both body and soul - in a word, of a horror… some sort of outlandish creature… in any case, not a pure national type.... some sort of oddity among the peoples going by the name of Jew.'  [Arthur Herzberg, The Zionist Idea, p. 322/323, Temple, Atheneum, New York 1981].

It would be churlish to continue.  Zionism held that Diaspora Jews had developed unhealthy asocial characteristics and only ‘normalisation’ on Jewish national soil would remedy this.  They held that the anti-Semites were in fact correct.  As the founder of Political Zionism, Theodor Herzl wrote :
In Paris..., I achieved a freer attitude towards anti-Semitism, which I now began to understand historically and to pardon. Above all, recognise the emptiness and futility of trying to 'combat' anti-Semitism. Diaries (p.8)
Zionism held that there was something rotten and horrible about Jews outside Palestine/Israel.  In Klatzkin’s words the Jews were ‘a people disfigured in both body and soul’ because they were not ‘a pure national type’.  Only a 'return' to Palestine could remedy this.  This attitude persists today but groups like the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism [CAS] deliberately ignore Zionist anti-Semitism and pretend that they are horrified by the ‘anti-Semitism’ of fighters for Palestinian human rights like Gerald Kaufman.  It is noticeable that they have little or nothing to say about the anti-Semitism of the English Defence League and the British National Party, because these groups are also supporters of Zionism.

When I did a search on the site for BNP nothing came up at all.  When I searched for British National Party there was one result - Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semites.  Nothing about the BNP though.

When I searched for English Defence League again there were no results.  When I searched for EDL there were about 12 results, nearly all of them concerned with Jeremy Corbyn, none of them to do with the fascist group!  There were a few posts about Hezbollah flags but nothing about British anti-Semites.  This is the real test of CAS's sincerity.

Kaufman’s words were nothing out of the ordinary and more to the point he was pursuing a human rights agenda, unlike those who criticise him in order to justify and whitewash the most atrocious war crimes.

So an end to this hypocrisy.  I for one have no hesitation in defending Sir Gerald Kaufman.  He is a splendid example of the Jewish tradition of anti-racism.

And it should also be noted that the Jewish Chronicle under the editorship of cold-war warrior and Henry Jackson Society member, Stephen Pollard, launched the campaign against Sir Gerald Kaufman.  Pollard it was who defended arch-anti-Semite, Michal Kaminski, Euro-MP for Poland’s Law & Justice Party and Chairman of the European Conservatives & Reform Group which the Tories belong to.  

Kaminski, who is a vehement Zionist (like many anti-Semites) fought tooth and nail against an apology being given in Poland and a memorial being erected in Jedwabne in memory of the Jews (estimates range from 300 to 900) who were herded into a barn and burnt alive in 1941 by anti-Semitic Poles.  Pollard’s description of Kaminski was that ‘ "Far from being an anti-Semite, Mr Kaminski is about as pro-Israeli an MEP as exists."  Which is half true.  Kaminski is as pro-Israeli as it gets.  But he is also anti-Semitic.  Just as the BNP and EDL are both anti-Semitic and pro-Zionist. 

In a Guardian Comment Is Free piece (9.10.09.) Pollard went even further:  ‘Poland's Kaminski is not an antisemite: he's a friend to Jews’.    Indeed Kaminski is ‘one of the greatest friends to the Jews in a town [Brussels] where antisemitism and a visceral loathing of Israel are rife. 

Pollard isn’t stupid and he knows very well that anti-Semitism and support for Zionism go hand in hand.  If he isn’t aware of this then he could do worse than consult back copies of his own paper!  One of Israel’s finest novelists A B Yehoshua, in a lecture to the Union of Jewish Students observed that
"Anti-Zionism is not the product of the non-Jews. On the contrary, the Gentiles have always encouraged Zionism, hoping that it would help to rid them of the Jews in their midst. Even today, in a perverse way, a real anti-Semite must be a Zionist" [Jewish Chronicle 22.1.82.] 

See Jedwabne – The Polish Village Where Up to 900 Jews Were Burnt Alive by Fellow Poles – Michal Kaminski the Polish Zionist & anti-Semite that Jewish Chronicle Editor Stephen Pollard Just Loves

Tony Greenstein 

Friday, 27 November 2015

My Facebook Account Was Suspended – It is Now Reinstated –

Enjoy it while you can!!
The old London Evening News
Earlier this week when I tried to log into my facebook account I found it had been suspended.  Why?  Don’t ask me.  A list of reasons were given as to why it might have been suspended but there was nothing definitive.  One of the reasons was that I might be impersonating myself!  So I had to send off a scan of my passport.
I hope the Israeli state wasn’t behind this as FB’s Mark Zuckenberg is apparently a Zionist.  And Israel loves to steal passports and details therein in order to make false passports in order to then carry out assassination operations.

Some people might recall the day of 19th January 2010 when Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh  was assassinated in Dubai by Israeli agents.
Well my Facebook account is back but no doubt will still be susceptible to a false or malicious complaint from Zionists/fascists or other malconents!
Enjoy while you can!!

Tony Greenstein 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Egyptian Police State & the War Against Democracy

It is one of the strange ironies of life that the leaders of the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ feel so more comfortable with a strong dictator than the more anarchic situation in Lebanon.  When Hosni Mubarak was in danger of falling victim to the Spring Revolution in Egypt,  Shimon Peres, Israel’s President and Netanyahu, had kittens. 

As Ha’aretz of 24.11.11. reported ‘Netanyahu:Arab Spring Pushing Mideast Backward, Not Forward Netanyahu ‘blasted Israeli and world politicians who support the Arab Spring revolutions and accused the Arab world of "moving not forward, but backward.’    Even the Americans paid lip-service to the Egyptian revolution whilst doing their best to subvert it.  Netanyahu wasn’t even prepared to do that. 
The Ha’aretz report continued that ‘Netanyahu said. His forecast that the Arab Spring would turn into an "Islamic, anti-Western, anti-liberal, anti-Israeli and anti-democratic wave" turned out to be true, he said.’
working class faces repression
Democracy in the Arab world always means Islam and naturally it is anti-Western and therefore not something to be encouraged.  Unlike Netanyahu and his Cabinet of enlightened progressives, an Arab revolution would also be ‘anti-liberal’. 
The kind of state the United States loves - Egypt receives the largest US aid after Israel - all military of course
Who knows they might organise a beast parade, like that ultra-tolerant Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich whose party is in coalition with Netanyahu.  It was meant to be a parody of gays.
Indeed as is his wont, ‘Netanyahu also slammed Western leaders, and especially U.S. President Barak Obama, who had pushed Mubarak to resign from power. At the time this was happening Netanyahu said in closed talks that the American administration and many European leaders don't understand reality.’

Israel and Netanyahu will of course be pleased with the General Sisi, the Egyptian President, who runs an even more repressive regime than did Hosni Mubarak.
Repression in the Middle East will never attract Israeli criticism unless the regime concerned is hostile to Zionism or Israeli policy in any way.

Below is an article from the Egyptian Institute for Human Rights calling for the repeal of a law that effectively bans all demonstrations. 

President Must Repeal Unfair Protest Law and Immediately Release Thousands of Innocents

The undersigned organizations the prosecution and detention of tens of thousands of people for exercising their right to peaceful protest and assembly or for simply being in the area of such protests, in the wake of the adoption on November 24, 2013 of the law regulating public assemblies, processions, and peaceful demonstrations in public places, known as the protest law. The law was issued by Presidential Decree 107/2013 despite the widespread objections of rights groups, numerous political and public-interest forces, and six ministers, as well as a warning from the previous UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay that the law could lead to serious violations of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.
The undersigned organizations reiterate their demand for the repeal of the law and the immediate release of all persons detained or convicted under it. If the law remains in force when the incoming parliament is convened, we urge parliamentarians not to approve it, to annul all consequent prosecutions and sentences, and suspend enforcement of the law until a new law can be issued that complies with the provisions of the constitution, adheres to international standards, and responds to the recommendations of the National Council on Human Rights and rights groups, while putting the law up for social debate.
Interim President Adli Mansour issued the law in November 2013 over the objections of six ministers, among them the deputy prime minister for economic affairs and the foreign minister, who detailed the grounds of their objection on October 9. Confirming the fears of civil forces, the law has been used to criminalize all forms of peaceful assembly, including public demonstrations and meetings, and has legitimized the use of excessive force to disperse peaceful assemblies.
This law was the first of a raft of legislation that contravened the spirit and letter of the 2014 constitution. Current President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi has issued numerous such laws, including the law on terrorist entities, the counterterrorism law, and amendments to Article 78 of the Penal Code on foreign funding,. The Cairo Administrative Court agreed in June 2014 to refer a case challenging the constitutionality of the protest law to the Supreme Constitutional Court.

While the government justified the adoption of the protest law by pointing to the need to confront demonstrations by a particular political faction and restore stability to the Egyptian street, the situation in Egypt is now less stable than ever. Violent extremism is finding new supporters by the day, and prisons have become recruiting grounds for violent groups.

Joining a peaceful demonstration carries numerous risks, from the arbitrary killing to arrest and sentencing of up to five years in prison in some cases, or prolonged pretrial detention.

In contrast, with the exception of the killing of Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, security forces are not held accountable or prosecuted for the use of lethal force to disperse demonstrations; the few cases that were subject to investigation or trial ended with their acquittal. At the same time, the Supreme Constitutional Court has failed to take up constitutional appeals to decrees issued by the minister of interior that justify the murder of peaceful demonstrators.

The performance and practices of security forces in Egypt has not changed. The same violations and crimes are committed with every peaceful assembly and demonstration. On January 24, 2015, human rights defender Shaimaa al-Sabbagh was shot and killed by security forces as they dispersed a peaceful protest march calling for bread, freedom, and social justice and carrying flowers to commemorate the martyrs of the January revolution. The next day, security forces used lethal force against demonstrators in various locations in Cairo and Alexandria, leaving dozens of protestors and ordinary citizens dead or injured.

Under the law hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested for failing to obtain demonstration permits from the competent security bodies. The law requires organizers of assemblies to meet several unreasonable, impractical conditions while giving the Ministry of Interior the right to object to any “notice” of an impending demonstration on vague grounds, such as information that it may threaten security or peace. In practice, this means that individuals’ exercise of the right of peaceful assembly is subject to a system of prior permit, which contravenes Articles 73 of the constitution and Article 10 of the constitutional declaration of July 8, 2013, in force when the protest law was issued.
Despite sentencing hundreds to prison for demonstrating, the Egyptian judiciary has not seriously examined the repeated police allegations that typically accompany arrests for demonstrating without a permit, including assembly, blocking public roads, and assaulting security personnel, accepting such allegations as fact even in the absence of credible evidence. In contrast, it has taken no action on complaints by defendants in demonstration cases alleging that they and their families have faced grave physical assaults by security personnel, despite legal documentation of these assaults, even voluntary witnesses are sometimes treated as suspects and referred to investigation and trial.
Most recently, security forces arrested 13 demonstrators on November 19 for participating in demonstrations to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the Mohammed Mahmoud events. The prosecution charged the demonstrators with demonstrating without giving notice, assembly, and blocking roads. Although a judge with the Qasr al-Nil court ordered the defendants released on bail, the Public Prosecution contested the order. The Qasr al-Nil Appellate Misdemeanor Court, convened in chambers on November 23, subsequently ruled for the prosecution, after which the defendants were remanded for 15 days.

The confiscation of the right of expression and peaceful assembly through liberty-depriving penalties was and remains part of a systematic plan to shut down the public sphere. The incoming parliament must be aware of the consequences of enforcing unconstitutional laws and violating fundamental rights and liberties and how these laws have a negative effect on Egypt’s stability.
The undersigned organizations therefore call on the following:
  1. The president must repeal the protest law or use his constitutional powers of pardon to immediately pardon persons convicted for exercising their right to peaceful assemble and demonstration.
  2. The parliament must not approve the protest law. It should hold debates on the rules necessary to guarantee the right of peaceful assembly as is consistent with the constitution and international standards while involving human rights organizations in these debates.
Signatory organizations
  1. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  2. Alhaqanya Center for Law and Legal profession
  3. Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies
  4. Appropriate Communications Techniques for Development
  5. Arab Network for Human Rights Information
  6. Arab Penal Reform Organization
  7. Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
  8. Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance
  9. Egyptian Commission for rights and freedoms
  10. El-Nadeem Centre for the rehabilitation of victims of violence and torture
  11. Masryoon Against Religious Discrimination
  12. National group for human rights and law
  13. The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights
  14. The Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies
  15. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
  16. The New Woman Foundation

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The ‘Ethical Bank’ Stabs Palestinians in the Back as it closes Palestinian solidarity accounts

Boycott the Co-operative Bank and Withdraw Your Accounts

The Bank for Ethical Racists
The Ethically Zionist Bank
Last month, without any warning, the Co-operative Bank junked its ‘ethical banking policy and closed the accounts of 21 Palestinian related accounts including national Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the International Solidarity Movement and other campaigns listed below.

We should not be surprised by this decision.  Ever since its 2013 financial crisis, when it was rescued by American hedge funds and the Co-op Bank’s Chairman Paul Flowers resigned in a comedy of drug taking and other misdemeanours, the Co-op’s attachment to an ‘ethical’ banking policy has been more a matter of words than actions. 
Bunny Rabbits 'r' fine - Palestinians aren't
Now when the excuse of ‘anti-terrorism’ is being used to justify mass surveillance of the population and the eradication of basic civil liberties, as per the Government’s Prevent and anti-Extremist policies, as political and anti-capitalist activities are reclassified as ‘Extremist’, we should not  be surprised that Palestinian solidarity organisations are being targeted.  The Co-operative Bank’s decision that holding Palestine related accounts offends its ‘risk appetite’ is particularly scandalous and cowardly, but there is little that one can expect from the Co-operative brand today.
We agree - actions speak louder than words - and the actions of the Co-op in barring Palestinian accounts say all that needs to be said
This is not the first time this has happened.  Many years ago Alliance & Leicester played  a similar trick and PSC was forced to transfer its bank account to the Co-operative Bank.  Now, once gain, support for  Palestine is being made a question of ‘terrorism’ buying into the Zionist narrative that support for those who are victims of ethnic cleansing, mass murder and racism are ‘terrorists’ unlike the terrorist state that expels, murders and disposseses them.  This is imperialist democracy and the Co‑operative Bank is playing its part in the McCarthyist atmosphere of today.
The Rev. Flowers - The drug dealing, porn addict who  was the Co-op Bank's Chairman
We should not forget either that the same tricks were tried with the African National Congress, which the State department and Margaret Thatcher used to classify as ‘terrorists’ in the days of Apartheid.  States, unless they come into conflict with NATO and the USA are never deemed terrorist regimes, no matter how many people they murder or torture.  This is the hypocrisy of free market capitalism and this is where co-operatives which operate in a market economy end up.
The Co-op Bank Opposes Torture - Except if Israel is doing it
Our message?  Withdraw your accounts and  boycott the Co-op Bank until it backs down.

Today the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has launched a legal case against the Co-operative Bank on the grounds of discrimination.
The Politically and Financially Bankrupt Bank
Last month, PSC’s account was closed by the Co-operative Bank which cited “the Bank’s risk appetite” for the closure and has refused to elaborate further.
That's true - the Hedge Fund owned Co-op Bank isn't the usual bank
Another 20[i] organisations working for Palestine – including a number of PSC branches – have also had their accounts closed or denied.

PSC and its legal team believe the decision is discriminatory and contravenes the Equality Act 2010. 
PSC has today initiated legal proceedings against the Bank.

ITN solicitors, acting on behalf of PSC, state the Co-operative Bank’s “failure to provide any reasons for the closure of PSC’s account, which has been compounded by your failure to provide appropriate disclosure, leads to the conclusion that the decision to close the account is based on:
  1. Our client’s cogent belief in Palestinian rights, including the right to self-determination and the right of return, and to oppose Israel’s occupation and violations of international law.
  2. The nationality or religion of the Palestinian people.”
Therefore the decision to close PSC’s account is “contrary to sections 13 and 29 of the [Equality] Act [2010]”.

ITN solicitors said: “Our clients have been refused banking services, without any reason or an opportunity to provide representations. Our clients have therefore sought a full explanation from the Co-operative. It appears that the decision was taken because of PSC’s support for Palestine. A decision based on active support of Palestinian causes – or on the nationality or religion of the Palestinian people – would be discriminatory. It is in the wider public interest to ensure that banks are held to account for their decision making processes; a bank cannot be above the law by virtue of its status.”

Sarah Colborne, PSC’s Director said “Many people and organisations choose to Bank with the Co-operative because it markets itself as an ethical bank. But in deciding to close down the accounts of those working for or in Palestine it is clear the Co-op Bank has turned its back on its ethical principles.

“The Co-operative Bank is very good at professing its ethical principles. It has a glossy 27 page document which proclaims it believes in ‘acting with honesty and transparency… treating customers fairly, [and] promoting human rights and equality’. It is very hard to see any evidence of these principles today. Instead it has closed the accounts of those working for human rights and equality for Palestine, offering no honest or transparent explanation – only the banking jargon of ‘risk appetite’.

Sarah continued “PSC and our members are angry and disappointed at the Co-operative Bank which has turned its back on the ethical principles which drew so many of us to open accounts there in the first place. And today we will be writing to our members telling them of the Co-operative Bank’s decision and asking those who Bank with the Co-operative Bank to move their accounts.

“It is quite clear that the Co-operative Bank no longer cares about human rights – the Palestinians suffer incursions on their human rights day in, day out at the hands of an occupying force that continues to violate international law. In the UK we have a great tradition of solidarity organisations coming together to stand against human rights violations throughout the world – this is something that the Co-operative Bank should support and not punish.

“But in taking this decision it appears that the Co-operative Bank has chosen to discriminate against those who are working for the freedom and human rights of those in Palestine.”

[i] List of local groups who have had their accounts closed or denied:
  1. Abergavenny PSC branch
  2. Abu Bakr Rauf Memorial Scholarship Fund
  3. Boycott Israel Network
  4. Bristol PSC branch
  5. Cambridge PSC branch
  6. Computers for Palestine
  7. Discover Palestine
  8. International Women’s Peace Service Palestine
  9. Liverpool Friends of Bil’in
  10. Norwich PSC branch
  11. Northern Palestine Solidarity Network
  12. Nottingham PSC branch
  13. Oxford PSC branch
  14. Plymouth PSC branch
  15. Saddleworth Women’s Scholarship Fund
  16. Sheffield PSC branch
  17. Sheffield Palestine Women’s Scholarship Fund
  18. West Midlands PSC branch
  19. York PSC branch
  20. Yorkshire Palestine Cultural exchange