July 17, 2008

Israel plays the card card

You know how Israel and its supporters are always playing some card or other. You know, for the establishment of Israel itself by way of an ethnic cleansing campaign there's the holocaust card, for any criticism of Israel, there's the antisemitism card, for the killing of children there's the blood libel card, for boycott, divestment and sanctions there's the nazi boycott of Jewish shops card and so on. Well, now they're playing the card card. How so? Well, according to the Guardian, an Israeli agent saw a card he didn't like and had it removed from the shop because it contained this picture on one side:

And this poem by Michael Rosen on the other:

JOLLY ROGER - Disappearing Palestine


A family arrived and said they had papers
to prove that his house was theirs,
-No, no said the man, my people have always lived here
My father, grandfather -and look in the garden,
my great grandfather planted that.
-No, no said the family, look at the documents.
There was a stack of them
-Where do I start? said the man,
-No need to read the beginning they said,
Turn to the page marked 'Promised Land'.
-Are they legal? he said, who wrote them?
-God, they said, God wrote them, look,
here come His tanks.

Michael Rosen.

Or maybe the text and pic were on the same side. We might find out soon as you'll see from the Guardian's Hugh Muir today:
Hardly seems a perilous sort of life to run a greetings card shop, so pity the poor folk at Scribblers, "London's favourite card shops", as they seek to extricate themselves from a row over poetry and disputed territory in the Middle East. They might blame the officials who added to the stock a postcard bearing a poem by Michael Rosen, and a series of quotations, about the displacement of Palestinians. Or the official from the Israeli embassy in London who saw it and called the shop's head office complaining that it was inaccurate, offensive and too political to be sold alongside funny cartoons of George Bush. The card has been withdrawn from sale there, which satisfies the embassy official and takes the pressure off Scribblers, but now Rosen is annoyed at the manner of the official's intervention. So is John Hall, who produced the product and is threatening to reprint it bearing the slogan: "The card they tried to ban".
It's true about Michael Rosen's annoyance here. He's going to run the whole business by his MP and ask if agents of foreign powers can simply make demands of private citizens in the UK like that. Bearing in mind Israel was simply allowed to kidnap Mordechai Vanunu without so much as a murmur, I don't see the government complaining to Israel over a boycott of Jewish poets, woops, I mean pressuring a shop to remove criticism of Israel from its shelves. But it's a long time since I linked to Hansard (transcript of parliamentary discussions in the UK), so a treat in store if the MP asks the PM "what the....?"

Meanwhile, complaining scribblers can scribble to Scribblers at enquiries@scribbler.co.uk or info@scribbler.co.uk or, for "Complaints, feedback, suggestions", talk@scribbler.co.uk .

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