[from Peter Gregson, initiator of One Democratic Palestine]
Dear Ben Jamal, Director Palestine Solidarity Campaign,
After you excluded me from membership of the PSC four years ago, the last thing you said of my many protestations was that I should better spend my time helping the Palestinian cause.
I have done so, but discovered only last week that you have been doing precisely the opposite. For you have chosen to tell your PSC members to boycott the Muslim & Jew Tour- because I have been refused admittance to your PSC membership because of concerns about comments you said I “made on a blog which were antisemitic”. You declared these comments antisemitic because they alluded to Zionist power.
And now you tell people to boycott a UK-wide tour that is aimed at debunking Israel’s claim to be the Jewish State. You prevent PSC supporters hearing the words of Palestinian author and broadcaster Dr Azzam Tamimi and international spokesman of the Neturei Karta- Jews Against Zionism Rabbi Dovid Weiss because, I believe, they call for the end of Israel. It is a call which I believe PSC does not want people to hear.
One might struggle to fathom why you have told people to boycott two incredibly important speakers touring the UK in support of Palestine. You must know that the Friends of Israel have done everything possible to cancel this tour- from asking the Home Secretary to exclude Rabbi Weiss, the Jew on the tour, from entering the UK from the USA, from harassing our venues, telling them that Rabbi Weiss is a dangerous extremist because he says “Zionism and Israel is the root cause of all the bloodshed and animosity between Jews and Muslims including Arabs”…. “The only way to stop this bloodshed is to remove this sickness, this tumour, the thing that is causing bloodshed”.
It appears that you are so determined to prevent this message coming from a Rabbi to British citizens that you are doing all in your power to prevent them hearing it.
Why, therefore are you now, apparently, working to prevent British people hearing criticisms of Israel? I have long suspected the PSC as having more sympathy for Zionists in the UK than for Palestinians in Palestine – you have Ben Soffa as Secretary, Head of Digital under Sir Keir Starmer, following instructions to delete pro-Palestine Labour Conference motions from YouTube; you refused to defend your patron Jeremy Corbyn in the face of Zionist attacks claiming he was antisemitic; your organisation has done little to prevent the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism which has eviscerated Palestine supporters from Labour and the unions (apart from critiquing it on a completely new and generally unpromoted website (https://noihradefinition.co.uk/news/ ) – so desperate were you not to upset Zionists in the UK.
Your venal and unhelpful directive telling PSC members to stay away from our tour suggests that you are actually not interested in Palestinian solidarity. The Palestinians voted for Hamas, yet the PSC does not take a position either in support or against a one state or two state solution. You sit on the fence on the matter that time and again Palestinians have told you they want – the majority want their country back and to see the end of Israel, yet by your stance you appear to accept the validity of the Israeli state.
And you refuse to support Palestine Action- real activists that seek to prevent Israel making its arms in the UK. Your tepid campaigns against Puma and Barclays do nothing to address the real problem of Zionist power in the UK. It rather feels your actions are a ruse to control Palestinian protest and extract membership fees from gullible human rights supporters to keep your PSC afloat and yourself on a salary.
Your concept of solidarity with Palestinians is, I believe, deeply flawed. Time and again, PSC shows little solidarity with what the Palestinians want. Your call to boycott the Muslim & Jew Tour is pathetic and action you should be ashamed of.
Pete Gregson (Chair)
One Democratic Palestine
Notes: Pete was excluded from PSC membership in May 2019 because, Ben Jamal told him, that he “failed to exhibit support for PSC’s core values, including opposition to all forms of racism”. Pete was surprised at this complaint, coming as it did from a Palestinian working as Director of the PSC. The words that Ben Jamal disapproved of so strongly were from an article written by Pete on a Change.org petition in Oct 2018 “Does the IHRA Help Jews?”
“There is anti-Semitism in the UK because, I think, the Jews have so much leverage here. And they clearly do – as the most outspoken ones, those in support of Israel – the Zionists- have shown- as they have exerted considerable leverage on the UK’s political parties- the police, the schools and universities, the local authorities – to adopt the IHRA – and has it made the Jews safer?
“Not at All. But it does indicate the Jews in the UK (that with 370,000 or 0.5% of the population) generally wield significant influence.
“My statement “The Holocaust gives Jews so much leverage that they could call for the beatification of Margaret Thatcher and the country would probably jump to their desire”, clearly refers to the UK. And I think it’s true that they have far more influence in the UK because of the Holocaust”.
Pete cannot see that observing the exploitation of Holocaust guilt can be construed as antisemitic- all Jews were equally discriminated against by the UK in that we did little to help them before and during the Holocaust, though Churchill and Parliament knew exactly what Hitler was doing. Pete believes that all Jews have leverage because of the UK’s Holocaust guilt, but that only the Zionists exploit that leverage, in using it to justify Israel’s existence.
To be sent to Ben Jamal c/o email@example.com