The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), which we have exposed for failing to act against anti-Jewish bigots in its midst, marked the Gregorian date of Israel’s Independence Day with a Zoom event in which guest speakers extolled terrorism, accused Israel of racism and denied Labour antisemitism. Speakers included notorious Jew-baiters Ken Loach and Roger Waters.
The Zoom rally was held to mourn the establishment of Israel, which the group calls “Naqba”, Arabic for “catastrophe”, in reference to the several hundred thousand Arabs who were dispossessed after their leaders declared war on the nascent Jewish state.
Among the speakers in the two-hour event was Ken Loach, who has a long history of inflammatory comments on the subject of antisemitism and anti-Jewish racism in the Labour Party, has refused to denounce Holocaust denial and was recently removed from a sympathetic charity’s judging panel after pressure from Campaign Against Antisemitism and others.
At the event, Mr Loach made three points. The first was about the events of 1948, when Israel was established, during which he appallingly declared that Arabs were “killed with impunity”, and that there were “rape, massacres, poisoning of water supplies [and] ethnic cleansing”. His second point was that, in making these atrocious claims, “we must not be intimidated” by the “abuse, vilification, accusations of racism, accusations of antisemitism. It’s the campaign that has brought down the leader of the Labour Party,” he said, echoing his past statements denying Labour antisemitism. He added, alluding to another familiar trope, that “we know the mass media will collude in the fake campaign.” His third point was the importance of political activism, including in unions, politics, universities and churches. He also called for support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the tactics of which an overwhelming majority of British Jews find intimidating.
Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd musician and an active supporter of the intimidatory BDS movement, gave a performance in which he sang the lyrics: “we’ll take back the land, from the Jordan River to the sea,” seeming to declare an aspiration to see Israel destroyed and the self-determination of the Jewish people extinguished.
Another of the speakers was Allan Kolski Horwitz, a South African poet and activist. He recited a poem that paid tribute to Ghassan Kanafani, a terrorist and spokesman for the violent Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Mr Horwitz lamented that Mr Kanafani had been killed by Israeli security services, but failed to mention that his terrorist group had been involved in the murder and injury of over a hundred innocent people at Lod Airport (now Ben Gurion Airport) just a few months earlier. The PFLP, which opposed the existence of Israel entirely, has also targeted Jewish schoolchildren and was responsible for other massacres of civilians. In his poem, Mr Horwitz praised the “trucks loaded with defiance and bomb belts, trucks loaded with young militants” which “cross over [the border] and explode!”
The ubiquitous and outspoken activist Ghada Karmi, who recently came under fire for an article that made a series of antisemitic statements, called for the return of all Arab refugees to Israel with the purpose of destroying the Jewish state so that “the whole nightmare ends”.
Stephanie Fox of the highly controversial and fringe American organisation, Jewish Voice for Peace, introduced herself with the unintentionally comic opening of “as a Jewish person”, before making her defamatory claim that “Jewish Zionist militias” drove Arabs “into the sea”, and compared Israel’s founding to slavery and settler colonialism in the United States. Accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing”, she said: “I invite my fellow Jews on the Zoom call tonight: refuse complicity with the Naqba.”
According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, examples of antisemitism include “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour)”; “using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis”; and “holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel.”