Palestine Solidarity Campaign – spinning mass murder

“The more I hear about the Norway terrorist attack, the more I can’t help noticing 1) that Norway declared it would vote for Palestinian rights in September 2) the Oslo accords are the current basis for Palestinian statehood 3) Norwegians heavily backed the Flotilla. This is Juliano. This is Vittorio. This is Rachel Corrie. This is Tom Hurndall. This is the Norwegian people. Israeli State-promoted terrorism.”

You’re probably supposing that’s a quote from a satirical piece on conspiracy theorists. Tragically not. Ellie Merton, Chair of Waltham Forest Palestine Solidarity Campaign, is completely serious.

Of herself Ellie Merton says,

“On and off for the last 20 years I’ve been muddled up in Palestinian civil rights and justice”.

Today’s muddle entails pondering ways to pin the blame on Israel for Anders Breivik’s terror attack.

Yesterday Brevick murdered 92 people with a machine gun on the Norwegian island youth camp of Utøya and a fertiliser bomb in government buildings.

Just like any other scapegoat, all misfortunes can be attributed to Israel if you only give the matter enough thought. (Or Jews, if you’re former Green spokesperson David Icke). 92 people killed by a terrorist from the extreme right, and all Ellie Merton seems to want to do is spin.

This hatred of Israel which overwhelms all reason is characteristic of Palestine Solidarity Campaign activism, which is why Greens should have nothing to do with this organisation. The question is, when will Green and patron of Waltham Forest Palestine Solidarity Campaign Jean Lambert MEP take some responsibility?

Remember the nutty days of David Icke and Tony Gosling? Surely we don’t want to go back there again.

Surely we should be concentrating on the extent and significance of Breivik’s connections with far right extremist groups across Europe including the English Defence League, and the circumstances in which extremism tips over into violence.

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19 thoughts on “Palestine Solidarity Campaign – spinning mass murder

  1. Robert Davis

    Yes, Ellie Merton is being very stupid. But the idea that her response to the terrible events in Norway is characteristic of PSC activism is also ridiculous. There are many people like me who broadly support PSC and have a long history of combating anti-Semitism and the neo-nazis. We do not rush to blame Israel for every terrorist crime – but we don’t whitewash its crimes against the Palestinian people, either. Some of us even read websites like this because we can read different points of view and take them seriously, without qquestioning motives or foaming at the mouth. You do not strengthen your case by gross exaggeration, any more than Ellie Merton does with her nonsensical conspiracy stuff.

    Reply
    1. Mira Vogel Post author

      Robert, you may or may not have a long history of combating anti-Semitism, but I am afraid you are not making your presence felt in the PSC. The PSC has a long history of minimising antisemitism or, in many cases, advancing it. I am not exaggerating, as I attempted to show with the link I included in my post, and nor have you demonstrated that I am. You merely assert that I am.

      Reply
      1. Mira Vogel Post author

        Where are the examples of the PSC discussing the conflict in a balanced way, or defending Jews against mystified, antisemitic views of the conflict?

        Reply
        1. Chris

          Mira, if you want to take the views of one of the thousands of PSC members as reflective of the view of the organisation, I can’t see why the same can’t be done for the Green Party or any other mass grouping.

          Your list of ‘evidence’ is flaky to say the least. The item of Die Linke doesn’t make any reference to the British organisation PSC, just uses the words ‘Palestine’ ‘solidarity’ and ‘campaign’ to refer to some (presumably German) initiative. If that is the high standard of research you intend the base this debate on, you’ll not make much progress.

          Reply
          1. Mira Vogel Post author

            Yes, I think you are correct to point out that the Die Linke reference does not relate directly to the PSC. I am about to edit the piece and am glad you pointed it out.

            Now, what about the other items in that list?

            And to repeat my question where are the examples of the PSC discussing the conflict in a balanced way, or defending Jews against mystified, antisemitic views of the conflict?

  2. Chris

    OK, having accepted that at least one of your claims was without foundation, let’s take just the first item on the remaining list:

    The motions that failed to pass ncluded a whole definition of the origins and political character of Zionism. As a broad campaign with people of different perspectives, PSC need not limit itself to having one view on this.

    Would you have welcomed it had the motions passed? They claim “a real anti Semite must be a Zionist” and to “conduct a campaign against the Zionist institutions in Britain”. If that had passed, would you not have claimed PSC were going to campaign against British Jewish institutions which are Zionist in nature but not focussed on Israel (i.e. most mainstream Jewish organisations). You can’t have it both ways.

    Also, the organisation ‘Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign’ is a totally separate group not controlled by the PSC. One is not responsible for the actions of the other.

    Reply
    1. Mira Vogel Post author

      “If that had passed, would you not have claimed PSC were going to campaign against British Jewish institutions which are Zionist in nature”

      Yes, which would be accurate. But the point is, the PSC voted down a motion trying to address antisemitism of Eisen and Atzmon and replaced it with nothing – even though the PSC is badly compromised by antisemitism. Many (I think maybe even most) Jewish anti-Zionists acknowledge that “western antisemitism is increasingly infecting anti-zionist movements in the Arab and Muslim world. Left unchallenged it will grow and become hegemonic within this discourse over the next generation.”

      “‘Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign’ is a totally separate group not controlled by the PSC”

      My list was far from exhaustive. I put it together in 5 minutes but I could make a far longer and more damning study of the PSC, SPCP and the International Solidarity Movement.

      So, to repeat my question for a third time: where are the examples of any of these solidarity campaigns discussing the conflict in a balanced way, or defending Jews against mystified, antisemitic views of the conflict?

      Reply
      1. Chris

        So your position is that:
        PSC is bad because it failed to pass that motion
        AND
        PSC would have been bad if it did pass that motion.

        PSC has had no links to Eisen or Atzmon and published a statement to that effect (as noted on the Engage post). Do you think this situation comes about by accident?

        There are many ways to combat anti-Semitism. The major national campaign group starving such people of the oxygen of publicity is one such way. Doing so in a way that stops short of rewarding a few marginal nutters with more attention than they deserve also prevents them from attracting support by becoming martyrs.

        To answer your question, no campaign group (be the issue the closing of a local hospital or a call for less red tape) sets out to present a ‘balanced’ view. PSC is a movement of people with views on where the balance of in/justice faced by Palestine & Israel falls. It would be fake to claim to have a neutral point of view for the sake of theoretical ‘balance’. Does that make the situation black and white – that nothing good could ever come from Israel and nothing stupid ever be done by the Palestinians? Of course not.

        If you fail to see why PSC doesn’t run ‘balanced’ campaigns like “Israel stop bombing Gaza: Celebrate your genuinely excellent progress in draught-resistant agriculture instead”, I think you miss the point of political campaigning generally.

        The whole thrust of PSC’s campaigns – talking about equality between people, respect for international norms and human rights law is a way of challenging those who would cast the conflict as religious in nature or due to the innate character of the Jewish people, a global conspiracy or any such garbage. Those suggesting the latter are argued against, re-educated, sidelined or shown the door.

        Reply
        1. Mira Vogel Post author

          “So your position is that:
          PSC is bad because it failed to pass that motion
          AND
          PSC would have been bad if it did pass that motion.”

          Yes. One was slightly less counterproductive and confidence-eroding than the other.

          Reply
  3. Deborah Fink

    This is just another excuse to smear PSC and the Green Party. I do not agree with Ellie’s comments but she was writing in a personal capacity on her private facebook and her comments were captured by Harry’s Place – surely you must know that, Mira! Her comments have nothing to do with her and my, local PSC or the national one. Why would they? And what does it have to do with Jean Lambert who obviously signed up to the principles rather than what members say in a personal capacity?

    You claim to support Palestinian rights yet you routinely smear PSC. You are a member of the Green Party but you routinely smear it. You claim to not have time to help the party but you find plenty of time to harm it.

    Reply
    1. Mira Vogel Post author

      What members and leaders of organisations say openly in a personal capacity can be of public interest, Deborah. Ellie Gould cannot possibly be thought a suitable advocate for Palestinians now that she has revealed this weakness for unfounded conspiracy beliefs so obviously rooted in prejudice.

      “you routinely smear PSC”
      I haven’t. I told the truth about the PSC and asked a reasonable question about WFPC’s patron. But I think what you are trying to do is accurately called smearing.

      Reply
  4. modernityblog

    Chris,

    OK, let’s say, if you had been there, would you have backed those motions on antisemitism?

    And if not, why not?

    Reply
  5. Mira Vogel Post author

    I keep coming back to the question, with whom among the Palestinians does the PSC make solidarity? This is not solidarity with Palestinians – it is clearly solidarity against – against Israelis. This is why the PSC currently campaign for a cleric with misogynist, homophobic, antisemitic views (I’ll take a leaf out of your book and not name him). It has led the campaign to totally isolate Israel – the boycott campaign with its eliminationist set of demands – and further isolated the left. So “talking about equality between people, respect for international norms and human rights law” doesn’t seem a good characterisation of the PSC to me. There’s plenty more examples – I’d only need time to find them.

    I read an article in Ha’aretz this evening which I can’t find now, which pronounced the Palestinian left critical to the health of the Israeli left, and at the same time pronounced it non-existent. There is an argument ongoing among this residual left about support for the Syrian regime and the Islamists against Israel. The PSC seems hardly concerned with such questions. Solidarity against Israel is what principally concerns the PSC. It often seems that the Palestinians only have a bit part in the loudest sections of British so-called Palestine solidarity campaigning.

    More on the matter of balance to come, hopefully.

    Reply
    1. Mitnaged

      Mira, I agree with you. It seems to me that most if not all of the PSC bluff and bluster appears to be aimed against Israel rather than at improving the lot of the Palestinian people who they argue suffer at Israeli hands. (I would argue that Palestinians suffer almost as much at the hands of organisations like PSC, because its actiivities are geared to maintaining rather than reducing conflict). It should be evident that any organisation which is united by animosity or hatred rather than by more positive ideology is bound not to succeed because by its very nature it is emotion-driven rather than reality-driven.

      Of most concern to me is the over-identification of such people with the objects of their helping. One wonders what would happen if, for example, Hamas and Fatah leaders suddenly came to their senses and realised that a lasting peace WITH Israel was more preferable than never-ending war. What would the PSC and its hangers-on and fellow travellers do then?

      Reply
  6. Steve

    “This is just another excuse to smear PSC and the Green Party.”

    Nah, you do that all by yourself. People such as yourself are losing the Green Party a lot of support. Both you and Merton are clearly anti-semitic and obsessed with Israel. Her comments on her facebook page about Israel being responsible for the events in Norway should see her thrown out of the Green Party as there should be no place for hateful irrational views like that in mainstream politics, or anywhere for that matter. I’m neither Jewish nor a zionist so don’t come up with those insults if you reply.

    Reply
    1. Mira Vogel Post author

      Steve, just to clarify – I am not sure that Ellie Merton is a Green Party member. The WFPSC’s patron – who is a senior Green Party member – did not make the comments implicating Israel, which I discuss in my post, nor any similar comment. However, my view is that patrons must take some responsibility for the character of their organisations.

      Deborah Fink is a Green Party member. These sentiments of hers are in the public domain:

      ‘Israel is the anti-Christ

      I heard someone say this on the march today. I think it’s rather more catchy than my Satanic jibe, so I might adopt it. I’m still waiting to be prosecuted under the race relations act for being, ‘anti-semitic’…”
      Just Peace UK, 9 Jan 2009, 3:33 pm

      “… honestly! Anyone would think I’ve used obscene language! What happened to free speech? You’ve risen to the bait (which wasn’t meant for you! I’m hoping to get arrested for hate crime as it would make an interesting court case…)”
      Just Peace UK, 30 Aug 2009, 5:33 pm

      Reply
      1. Mitnaged

        A question: is it possible to be Jewish and antisemitic?

        Because if it isn’t, then Ms Fink would appear to be the exception to that rule.

        “Israel is the anti-Christ” eh? Doesn’t go much for hyperbole does she?

        Reply
  7. Pingback: Is this really what Greens want to affiliate to? « Greens Engage

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