hotheads in the audience lost the argument for British Jewry when it could so
easily have been won.
conduct was an embarrassment. They need to learn that unless called to speak, a
dignified silence is more effective than yelling, and that in a good debate it
is the laser-precision of carefully chosen words in a structured argument that
destroys an opponent and wins the day.
Gabriel Rosen – the dishonest student who tried to link Galloway and anti-Semitism
George Galloway may have been feeling sore and embittered at the behaviour of
Dimbleby and Freeland, he easily won the argument. His clinical analysis, despite the attempts
to shout him down, triumphed over their boorish cat calls. Nothing amused me more than one lout’s ‘You’re not welcome here’ taunt. Wasn’t this what the fascists used to say to
the Jews? But then anti-Semitism and Zionism
have always been twins.
Zionist louts were playing to the audience in the hall, but the real audience
was in peoples’ sitting rooms, a fact that didn’t seem to have occurred to them
as they engaged their own petty emotions.
is George’s own take on the night.
The simpering, saintly Christine Odone & Galloway
George Galloway is critical of Jonathan Freedland’s hypocrisy, calling him a McCarthyist. That is giving him credit for a degree of acumen that he doesn’t possess. Freedland was more interested in cheap applause. If he knew anything about the Middle East situation today and Israel’s role, he would understand that Israel’s securocrats look favourably on ISIS. There have been a number of reports of their fighters being treated in Israeli hospitals. That is what the bombing of Hezbollah was about. Israel wants to see the cantonisation of Syria and who better to achieve it than ISL? The naivety over chemical weapons is barely worth commenting upon. As someone who stresses his Jewishness, Freedland more than anyone knows that the responsibility for any increase in anti-Semitism (itself a dubious proposition) should be laid at the door of those who seek to associate British Jews with Israeli war crimes, i.e. the British Jewish establishment such as the Board of Deputies. But putting their noses out of joint would be to break the habit of a lifetime and risk offending the powerful. Freedland has got where he is today by a superficial smugness not a bold critique of the powers that be – Jewish or non-Jewish.
Galloway and Tristram Hunt – New Labour public schoolboy
Dimbleby’s role barely merits comment. It is difficult to know whether he was being machievellian or just incompetent. I prefer the latter as he was clearly out of his depth.
In the wake of last
week’s BBC Question Time and subsequent events I wanted to make some
observations. They are not in order of importance indeed to an extent the
I feel very let down by
David Dimbleby. I have known him a long time, have always respected him and I
didn’t expect the serial failures of which he was clearly guilty.
Again in no order of
importance; his gratuitously insulting comment “when you turn up” was not just
fatuous (he knows well that I am in parliament every day for much of my last 27
years) but was the only jibe at any of the panelists last night. Why? To insult
just one of five panelists – me – in the highly charged atmosphere of the
Finchley studio was questionable judgement to say the least.
Mr Dimbleby told me
immediately after the show that the final question posed by the audience was
not in fact the question which had been tabled and selected. The last part of
the question which sought to put me on show trial, make the final part of the
show about me, had merely been added after the fact by the questioner. This has
subsequently been admitted by the questioner in the Jewish Chronicle.
But there there was no
point in telling me this in private with an apologetic air (he did not actually
apologise, I gave him more credit than he deserved in my initial comments after
the show) when millions of people oblivious to the trickery were about to watch
the results on the show.
Mr Dimbleby had a couple
of options when this ruse occurred:
He could have shot the
question again, the show is not live, there is time for editing (although the
only person who was edited was me with a chunk of my answer on Bradford schools
He could have made it
clear on the recording, immediately, that the question had been changed, with
obviously potentially defamatory consequences.
He did neither and with
The audience selection
supposedly scientifically calibrated was laughably biased. Ludicrous and
counter productive though that turned out to be, there was no guarantee of that
I know of several
pro-Palestinian supporters, Muslims, and Respect members who were turned down
in their attempts to join the audience. Fanatic supporters of Israel evidently
had no such difficulty.
Contrary to contrived
opinion, Finchley is not in an overwhelmingly Jewish borough. There are, to
name just one section of the Finchley community, many Muslims who live there.
Not a single visibly Muslim person made it to the audience.
Instead of punishing
those loudly shouting against me, whom he had repeatedly asked to stop
barracking me trying to stop me from speaking, Mr Dimbleby explicitly told two
of them that he would call them to speak and then cut me off in order to
facilitate it. It would never happen in parliament.
A special place in the
hall of shame must go to the Guardian’s executive editor Jonathan Freedland
selected for the role of chief prosecutor in the show trial. The Guardian, a
faux liberal newspaper which last summer accepted (that which even Rupert
Murdoch had declined) a paid full page advertisement from an Israeli
organisation while the blood was still running in the streets of Gaza seeking
to justify the slaughter and slander the Palestinians, thousands of whom had by
then been slain.
There is intense
competition for the title of Hypocrite in Chief at The Guardian but Freedland
in my view shades it.
Once the doctored
question had been posed, he lit the touch paper before smugly stepping well
back. He made a series of distorted allegations against me knowing that if I
got into rebutting them there would have been no time for the bigger picture.
Like a latter day McCarthy he patted a portfolio which he claimed contained the
basis for his allegations. Who produced this dodgy dossier must be open to
He said that I had
claimed “Israel was behind the revolution (sic) in the Ukraine” but this is
I did say on a television
programme that the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz had run a feature on at
least two Israeli army reservist officers who themselves boasted of their role
in the fighting in the Maidan coup against elected government of the Ukraine,
prior to the overthrow of the President, the burning of the Parliament and the
holding of guns to the heads of the parliamentarians to force them to validate
In that television
broadcast last year I pointed out the irony of Israel army officers lending
their military expertise to a “revolution” the cutting edge of which was
provided by (and seen by all to be) ultra right wing Ukrainian nationalists and
several thousand explicit fascists who held aloft the portrait of their
historic leader Stepan Bandera who openly collaborated with the Nazi occupation
forces and herded Ukrainian Jews into the cattle trucks bound for the death
camps. Thus a statement of mine attacking antisemitism and the Holocaust was
transformed by Freedland into a charge on my indictment for antisemitism.
He further alleged that I
had claimed that Israel had supplied chemical weapons used in the attack on
Goutha which in 2013 had propelled the US and Britain and others onto the
tarmac, their engines revving ready to be the Air Force of what has now become
I did say at the time of
the attack that one theory was that the Syrian ‘rebels’ were the ones who had
used these weapons on the basis that the Syrian regime was unlikely to
have chosen the day of the arrival of the United Nations chemical weapons
inspectors to launch a chemical weapons attack a few kilometres from where the
inspectors were just settling into their hotel. I continue to believe that this
was the case. I did say that if they did one possible source of the chemicals
could have been Israel.
As it happens this theory
was superseded by my later claim on the BBC Daily Politics with Jo Coburn that
the supply of the chemical weapons was more likely to have been provided by
other regional powers.
But there was nothing
outlandish about my first theory. The proximity of Israeli forces to the Syrian
‘rebels’ is at its closest a few hundred metres.
Israel has a
mountain of chemical biological and nuclear weaponry. Israel has used its
chemical weapons against Palestinians and UN facilities in the territory.
Israel is militarily engaged in Syria against the Assad regime and has repeatedly
bombed their positions, facilities and allies. Most recently in the Quneitra on
the Golan Heights in January of this year.
The Israeli media has
reported that wounded Islamist fighters have been treated and sent back to the
battle field from Israeli field hospitals and in Israel itself.
Finally the Israeli
security service the Mossad is more than capable of assisting the Syrian
opposition in such a way if they were minded to do so.
Moreover both of these
instances cited by Freedland were broadcast on a television station no longer
available to British TV viewers nor can they have been seen by many in Britain.
Certainly to hold these responsible for a spike in anti-Semitic incidents in
the UK is absurd. In addition to these two specific allegations Freedland
claimed that my “rhetoric” had in part produced the atmosphere for the spike.
He did not elaborate because he could not. All of my rhetoric and for more than
forty years is against Israel. None of it is against Jews. The only time I ever
mention Jews in my “rhetoric” is to single out Jews for honour and praise, to
repetitively insist that our fight is NOT against Jews. And of course to
describe as I did again on QT (though my critics were not listening) the
Holocaust as the greatest crime in human history and to call for the denial of
it to be a criminal offence in Britain as it is in several European countries.
Freedland’s own rhetoric
spoke volumes however. He referred to last summers slaughter as a “resumption
of violence” in Gaza. Firstly violence
has never ceased in Gaza for almost half a century at least if you
include military occupation, siege, calorie-counting quarantine, targeted and
un-targeted assassinations and regular full scale invasion as violence as most
Last summer was not the
‘resumption of violence’ but the cold-blooded killing and maiming of thousands
of people, most of them women and children, inside a prison camp from which
there was no means of escape.
In drawing on the CST
report coincidentally released on same the day of Question Time, Freedland
deliberately exaggerated its contents. Whilst every single incident of
antisemitic bigotry is to be utterly condemned it is simply untrue to say as he
did that 1000 attacks on Jews took place in Britain on 2014. In fact the number
of Jews attacked was 84. One of which was a serious violent attack. I know
about those as I’ve suffered one myself by a Jewish convert and Zionist fanatic
wearing an IDF shirt.
The figure of 1000
includes for example “on-line” anti-semitic slurs and no doubt, threats. That
would be a quiet year for me. I’ve received about a thousand such slurs in the
last few weeks. It is hurtful alarming and disgusting when such things happen
and the police should deal with it rigorously. But it is not the same as an
attack as most people would understand it. There is and always has been
anti-semitism in Britain as there has always been racism of other kinds. I am
its implacable enemy and have been all my life.
But if there are, as
Freedland said,around 300,000 Jews in Britain then statistically speaking the
number of attacks upon Jews even if we include attacks on their properties
bears no comparison to the numbers of hate attacks upon other minorities
including homosexuals, black people, Asians, not to mention Muslims who have
suffered many times over more such attacks than have British Jews, the main
difference being there are not many police officers standing guard outside
mosques. Recorded anti-semitic hate crimes constitute 0.5% of all recorded hate
crimes in Britain almost the same proportion as Jews to the population as a
All attacks on any
minorities or their property should surely be condemned equally. They certainly
were not on Question Time.
Finally Freedland was
right about one thing though. Every time there is as he put it “trouble” in the
Middle East there is a rise in anti-Semitism just like every time there is an
outrage by Islamist extremists there is a rise in Islamophobia.
All the more reason then
to resist and repel the false conflation, the fake synonyms that Israel equals
Jews and Muslims equal terrorism. Freedland like so many liberals wants to have
it both way.
Having painted a picture
of a Britain seething with anti-semitism he then said that Britain was “not an
anti-semitic” country. He said the fear was of a “Paris style attack” motivated
by Al Qaeda or ISIS type elements.
It is those who insist
with such vehemence that they must defend what Israel does, that it does it in
their name, and in the name of their religion who are responsible for the
blurring of the dichotomy upon which I always, without exception, insist.
I turn momentarily to the
bit-players on the panel.
Cristina Odone the
saintly figure with wandering hands who is never done telling us what a
Christian she is, her voice breaking with emotion, told us of the melancholy
sight of police officers guarding a synagogue she had just passed. It is indeed
a sad sign of the times and quite right that the police are there. She
obviously is blissfully unaware, if she wasn’t she would have mentioned it, of
the actual attacks upon mosques and other Muslim property which happens so
regularly in Britain that it scarcely makes the news (at least that might be
the reason it scarcely makes the news). In my own constituency just last year a
fascist organisation actually invaded several mosques and terrorised the
worshippers therein as well as invading the home of the then Lord Mayor of
Bradford just because he was a Muslim. An elderly Muslim man in Birmingham was
decapitated by a Muslim-hating fanatic prior to the atrocious murder of Lee
Rigby. The two events attracted very different levels of media coverage, and
sadly there were no police officers standing guard to prevent them.
But Odone is obviously
equally unaware of the plight of the Christians of Palestine. The pleas of the
hierarchy in Jerusalem have not been heard by Saint Cristina. Even the Holy
Father praying at the Apartheid Wall with the Catholic faithful passed her by.
She doesn’t know that Bethlehem is under siege, surrounded by checkpoints and
walls and that expectant mothers often give birth, and die at them. She doesn’t
know that Nazareth seethes with anger at the cruel fate of the Palestinian
people trapped there, as “Israeli Arabs”, the lowest class of “citizens” in the
Last and certainly least
is the hapless Tristram Hunt MP (who attended the same expensive public school
as Freedland, in fact I was the only person sitting at the table who hadn’t
been educated at a private school). Struggling all night as a B (lair) division
stand in for New Labour he said only two things of any note.
The first was when he
managed to slander the entire worldwide movement for Boycott Divestment and
Sanctions against Israel as a movement for boycotting “Jewish goods and shops”.
This slander was probably the result of stupidity rather than wickedness though
I’m not sure which is worse in a man who wants to be in charge of our schools
And the last was when in
his peroration he made the ritual act of obeisance and pledged himself and his
party to the eternal and undivided determination to ensure the safety and
security of the state of Israel. That wasn’t a result of stupidity. That was
the real New Labour deal.