October 16, 2011

3 tales of the lobby in the UK

The first story concerns the arrest of Palestinian political activist, Raed Salah, using evidence apparently fabricated by a self-styled Jewish security organisation in the UK, the Community Security Trust. If you follow the link to Asa Winstanley's Electronic Intifada report you will see the evidence of fabrication and if you check out this Guardian article you will see that the Home Secretary appears to have based her decision to excluse Raed Salah, not on anything he had done but on who wanted him excluded in the first place.

I would have missed the second story were it not for the correspondence with the Islington Tribune following an outrageous decision by Haringey Council to prevent schools attending a Palestinian literature festival following lobbying by the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Here's how the story first broke:
A ROW has erupted between Islington North Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and a senior Town Hall official over advice warning primary schools against taking part in a Palestinian literature festival.
Former children’s laureate Michael Rosen is among those taking part in the event, organised by Haringey Justice for Palestine group, which runs from September 29 to October 2.
Mr Rosen is also angry about the advice that schools should not become involved. He said: “It’s very disappointing and a rather strange way to behave by Islington Council. Instead of entering into a conversation with the organisers they have simply taken the word of someone and then taken this somewhat draconian step to advise people not to take part.”
The advice came from the Labour-controlled council’s corporate director of children’s services, Eleanor Schooling, who warned that the “political” nature of the event might contravene the 1996 Education Act.
Two schools, including Duncombe Primary in Upper Holloway, were due to take part in the Tottenham Palestinian Literature Festival. Both have since reluctantly withdrawn from the event.
However, it appears that Ms Schooling had been advised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who had expressed concerns.
By the time letters protesting the Council's decision were being published in the IT the same paper was reporting that the UK Education Minister and "proud Zionist", Michael Gove, had lobbied against schools participating in the event.

Here is the letter that had me taking notice of the whole issue. It is from Yael Kahn:

IT was rather misleading for the Board of Deputies of British Jews to claim it represents all British Jews.
I and other Jews living in Islington would have nothing to do with this partisan, sectarian and Israeli-apologist body. 
Having left Israel because of the apartheid against Palestinians, it is important for me to work with those objecting to racism of all forms.
One such group is the No to Veolia Action Group and if you are appalled by the Israeli illegal settlements then you can join us at 7.30pm on Monday, October 24, at the Regent pub in Liverpool Road.
Good letter! A report, a complaint and a call to action.

And story number three involves the lobbyist and the recent ministerial resignation. Here's former UK diplomat Craig Murray in yesterday's Daily Mail wondering if Liam Fox's "best man" was a willing lobbyist for Israel or just a useful idiot.

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