Who does he think he is, Jenny Tonge??

David Ward MP – Bradford East – is in trouble. His crime: the temerity to mention Palestinian suffering in a post on Holocaust Day… Who does he think he is? Jenny Tonge??*

“Holocaust Day” has parallels with the theology of November’s Remembrance Day. Free speech gets suspended… There are things you may not say… How terribly impolite to mention more died than just soldiers… Or Iraq, where British forces helped kill a million people… Or that in WW2, bombers killed 100,000 fire-bombing Dresden and were forbidden to receive medals because of the horror…

The Holocaust was a horror, in its millions… But that’s not why Britain fought… We fought because of our treaty with Poland! Only as the years progressed did we really realise the fate so many Jews had met. Now, most of us are not Jews, while still being horrified at Hitler’s horror. Most of us, these days, are very critical of the wars Britain’s leaders order us to fight.

To see Holocaust Day ONLY as the suffering of Jews, is to sentimentally identify with a nation, race or religion, which, for most of us, is not ours. Therefore it is untrue emotion. They weren’t ‘our’ victims, they were Hitler’s. British forces truly liberated them, in 1945. To celebrate that liberation surely cannot lead to supporting Israel, the state Jews founded, in its apartheid racist persecution of others…

To see Remembrance Day ONLY as a rightful commemoration of the sacrifice of British forces, is to sentimentally indentify with Britain, the armed forces, the wars we are commanded to fight…

It’s far more important what is missed out:

Because there, are the civilians, the women, the children, the elderly – all officially unremembered that day. There, are the rest of the 60 million who died in that war. There, ultimately, is peace, and criticism of the centralised power and nationalism that might prevent the next Hitler launching wars, or the next Bush or Blair from launching his.

And there, too, is a rejection of sentimentalism of the Holocaust, and a rededication to  criticising any centralisation of power, any blinkered propaganda, any demonisation of some chosen so-called enemy… and this, of course, goes for Israel’s current treatment of the Palestinians, undergoing the longest military occupation in modern history.

Martin Deane

*Jenny Tonge was a front bench Lib Dem MP, but removed because of comments around Palestinian suffering. She’s now a Lord, Baroness.

Lib Dems condemn MP’s criticism of Israel ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day:



The EU must use its position to defend Gaza


Just written to my MEPs, all of them, on Gaza…

Dear Rebecca Taylor, Linda McAvan, Timothy Kirkhope, Edward McMillan-Scott and Godfrey Bloom and Andrew Brons,

I write to you on the dreadful and continuing situation in Gaza.

Despite Israel’s defenders, the current escalation around Gaza has nothing to do with security and will increase insecurity in the region. Israel is publicly threatening to escalate the situation further even with a ground invasion. Israeli authorities are claiming to have killed 95 people. This includes 9 members of one family, including several children.

The EU should use its position in this.

The EU is the largest multi-lateral donor to the Palestinian Authorities and also Israel’s largest trading partner.

I ask you to call for an arms embargo. No-one should be selling arms in the area, not to any side, nor to linked countries. Nor should we be buying arms there, as Israel is an arms producer.

The EU-Israel Association Agreement has a Human Rights clause. I ask you to call for this to be invoked and to suspend the Agreement.

People have a right to live in peace, free from attack. Children should be able to sleep through the night free from air-raids, sonic booms or rocket attacks.

Attacking civilian populations is a crime: there should be no impunity – whoever is responsible.

Finally please call for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to resume. These cover a longer-term ceasefire, opening the Rafah crossing and helping to boost the economy of Gaza – which needs it given a 30% unemployment rate there.

Any progress has now been halted – again.

The international community must take action. It is not enough to simply secure a ceasefire.

Yours sincerely,

The Official London Olympics 2012

I could care less, but then I’d have to make some effort.

A faster 100m or ending world hunger?? Ooh, tricky one. Let’s go for a faster 100 metres. Yes, I’m sure there’d be more headlines about that.

And indeed a lot of effort is going into the Olympics – as represented by the £9 billion pounds cost to the taxpayer – minimum, at a time of cuts costing a million jobs. G4S put a lot in clearly too – until they realised they couldn’t find enough people prepared to work for not very much in the country’s most expensive location. So send in the cavalry (as we sack thousands of them too). Still, for the 1200 troops involved, it makes a nicer change than the 1 in 6 chance of being killed or wounded in Afghanistan.

Not to mention the Olympic Nazis cracking down on the slightest independent mention of the games not sanctioned by McCoke-idas, or SAM missiles on council estates. There’s an upgrade they could do without.

As Mark Steel points out: If the Palestinians do that they get screamed at for using civilians as a “human shield”, but we’re doing it to protect the 200 metres backstroke.

And all that with some 700,000 Olympic tickets unsold. Incredible! We should have cancelled it and given it to some capable, non-corrupt country.

£900,000 NHS spend on private ambulances for Olympics

I love the Olympics, but not here, Mark Steel

Circuses, but less bread, Craig Murray

Bread and Circuses, Wiki

September 11th 2011, Israeli style

Rich Wiles, from Hull,  has lived and worked in Palestine for some years.  He has published several books of his photographs and writing.

Desert Displacement and other updates – www.richwiles.com

On September 11th 2011, the Israeli Knesset approved plans for the forced displacement of 30,000 Palestinian Bedouin from al-Naqab (known as ‘the Negev desert’ in Israel). The displacement of these communities has now been ongoing for more than 60 years.

Since the beginning of 2010, one of these villages – al-Araqib, has been destroyed either in part or entirely more than 20 times. On each occasion after Israel’s heavy

machines of destruction roll out of the village the community collectively respond and begins the reconstruction. After more than 6 decades of collective resistance,

al-Naqab’s Bedouin communities are not about to give up now…

PORTFOLIOS:  http://www.richwiles.com/portfolio.html

On the PORTFOLIOS section of www.richwiles.com, the beginnings of a new photographic project – ‘Desert Displacement’, pays homage to the Palestinian Bedouin of

al-Naqab showing something of the conditions the village of al-Araqib is attempting to survive under and showing glimpses of the villagers themselves – their smiles, their anguish, their beauty and their spirit.

A new selection of images have also been added to ‘A Celebration of Us’ – the ongoing project celebrating Dabka, the traditional folkloric dance of Palestine.

Full of light, colour, movement and energy, a collection of this work is still touring Belgium nearly one year after the successful inaugural Belgian showing at the renowned  ‘Foto Museum’ (FoMu) in Antwerp

BOOKS:  http://www.richwiles.com/books.html

Copies of all my books are still available through the website in the lead up to Christmas and there is also exciting news about new books coming soon.

My 2010 book ‘Behind the Wall: Life, Love & Struggle in Palestine’ is now available at the discounted rate of £15.50 (plus £2 p+p in UK), and all other books are also discounted. To order copies, please email:  info@richwiles.com

Before the end of this year, the new Lajee Center photographic book will be published celebrating the work of four young artists that I have had the pleasure of working

with over the last few years. From children working on collaborative youth arts projects a few years ago they have now matured in young photographic artists working on

long-term solo projects. The forthcoming book will showcase a selection of work from these long-term projects reduced over the last 2 years within Lajee Center Arts & Media Unit.

For further info, please email:  info@richwiles.com

Early 2012 will also see the release of my new personal book project. Publicity is not going to press as yet, but please watch this space for details of this exciting new book that will

bring together voices from around the world – from grassroots activists and internationally renowned figures from many walks of life. Through global collaboration, a powerful voice

will emerge in the name of justice and freedom…

In friendship and solidarity,



Welcome home! John Lynes, deported by Israel

john lynes

Excellent news that John is back  safe!

I spoke to his brother earlier today and he was put on a plane late last night and arrived back about midnight. He’s  in good health and spent the night in Golders Green. He’s returning home today to St Leonard’s.

Of course, John wasn’t planning on being home so soon! John’s intention was to travel to the West Bank Palestinian area to a camp near Bethlehem – to where he was invited to by Palestinian friends. This was part of an international movement with hundreds of people travelling to visit similar areas. John has been to Hebron many times with the Christian Peacemaker Teams.

But just by informing the Israeli authorities of  his true intentions was enough to get him and others detained and deported. Routinely people have to lie just to get through to visit Palestinian friends or to work with them.

John will also be dismayed to hear, too, that just today Israel has a new law forbidding its citizens from supporting any boycott against the state. This is a further attack on civil rights there especially for those, who like John, want to see Israel make progress in relations with Palestinians.

But to John, welcome back!

Retired Hull lecturer’s arrest in Israel

John Lynes, a retired lecturer from the University of Lincoln’s School of architecture in Hull and a longterm activist on Palestinian issues, has been held  since Friday and it is unclear when his release by Israel can be expected.

It is believed he and others are being held in a detention center near Tel Aviv.

Mr Lynes, aged 83, was detained, handcuffed and shackled, by Israeli authorities as part of a group of 12 Britons arrested after landing at Ben Gurion Airport on Friday. They were taking part with hundreds of other international campaigners determined to highlight the conditions suffered by Palestinians under occupation by the Israeli military.

In a statement before his departure, John Lynes, a Quaker of 50 years, said: “I have chosen this step without bitterness or antagonism. I wish for the Israelis what I wish for my own children: a life free from fear and hatred.”

“On Friday 8th July hundreds of people from all over the world, who feel like me, will be flying into Ben Gurion airport, with written invitations to visit a Bethlehem refugee camp in the West Bank. Normally the Israeli authorities would deport us, unless we go through the tiresome ritual of persuading them that we are innocent pilgrims or tourists. This time we are going to tell the truth. And we will refuse to be deported.”

Martin Deane, of Hull and East Riding Green Party comments, “I know both John Lynes and Pippa Bartolotti. They are people of the utmost credibility and commitment. They have broken no laws and want to visit with Palestinian friends who have invited them.

“The Israeli authorities are deliberately acting in a heavy handed manner to stop this demonstration of international solidarity.”

Arrested in the same group as Ms Pippa Bartolotti, the Deputy Leader of the Wales Green Party, it is likely that John Lynes and the group will be deported over the next few days.
Martin Deane
Chair, Hull and East Riding Green Party

  • John Lynes, 83, is a retired lecturer of the University of Lincoln’s School of architecture in Hull, Quaker and a member of JFJFP, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and CPT, the Christian Peacemaker Teams, APJP, Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, Christian CND, World Development Movement and the UCU, University and College Union.

Coordin8.org.uk/app/index.php (Click on Support UK citizens’ right to visit Palestine).

John Lynes, video talk, on Palestine

CPT – Palestine, on Facebook

Green Party fringe on Palestine

Conference was full-on as usual and I’m sure many of us have highlights to share.
One fringe I attended was by the PSC.
Alex Philllips was there and spoke. She was actually on board the Mavi Marmara when it was attacked by Israeli forces on the night of May 31st.
The recent BBC Panorama programme on that attack was slammed as propaganda by the meeting. Very much the Israeli slant on the attack was given, and it included a smear on the IHH, an important Turkish charity which was involved. A note was made of a small campaign of people pledging to withhold their licence fees in disgust. It was underscored how we cannot rely on mainstream media for balance in this issue. And how it is worse still in America. Organisations such as PSC are devoted to telling the truth on the issues and finding ways of supporting Palestinians.
The meeting ranged around Israel-Palestine issues – such as the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. This was indeed an Israeli withdrawal but it also marked the closing of the doors on Gaza by Israel, making it a giant prison, and additionally, and importantly, it masked a major increase in settlers on the West Bank! This is typical of the dealings by Israeli authorities with Palestinians, and indeed the numerous so-called peace processes over years, always ending up disempowering Palestinians and further threatening the little territory that remains to them.
Also there was Pippa who will be on the Viva Palestina convoy leaving this month to bring aid to Gaza. This is the 5th such convoy and regular updates will be on its website – http://www.vivapalestina.org/vp5/intro.html
The convoy leaves London on Sept 18th and will meet up with sister convoys from Casablanca and Doha, all heading to Gaza.
Our helping to spread the word to whatever groups we belong to, will be very valuable.
You can also donate via the Viva website. I have been approached myself to help support a man from the area going. Our local Hull Stop the War group will be helping and if anyone can spare a tenner or whatever I shall pass it on.
I’m sure we wish Pippa and the whole convoy every strength and good wish in what they are doing for bringing much needed supplies to the people of Gaza.