by Gilad Atzmon
In the last two weeks we have learned that one of central London’s abandoned houses has been reclaimed and transformed into a “radical” centre for “discussion, action, and education around the issue of Palestine.” The Palestine Place promised to become a “squatted hub of activity from the 2nd-17th June running everything from film screenings, lectures, workshops and trainings to cultural, musical and culinary events”. But it didn’t take more than a week for the ‘radical’ place to become yet another crypto-Zionist gathering engaged primarily in gatekeeping and even expulsion of some distinguished activists and thinkers.
I have learned yesterday that Ken O’Keefe, one of our most prominent solidarity activist, a man who spent many months of his life in Gaza, a man who is married to a Palestinian woman and is father to two Palestinian kids, a man who possesses a Palestinian passport and a key to Gaza, given to him personally by Ismail Haniya – two days ago this man was rudely expelled from Palestine Place. Clearly a Palestinian Passport and a ‘key to Gaza’ were not sufficient for London’s Palestine Place’s radical committee.
As soon as Ken told me about his expulsion I spoke with two Palestinian grassroots activists, both of whom had participated in missions alongside Ken. They both repeated the same shocking line -
Palestine Place, forget about them, it is taken over by the PSC and the BDS gang.
The news about PSC and the ‘BDS gang’ being dominated by AZZ are now widely accepted amongst most commentators on Palestine but still, I was intrigued to know what happened there in this ‘radical’ Palestine Place that led to these ‘pro’ Palestinian squatters to behave like Israelis and evict KenO’Keefe.
Palestinian solidarity activist and writer Martin Iqbal was in Palestine Place when it all happened, he wrote about it yesterday.
“During an open discussion at Palestine Place in June 2012, one attendee brought up the subject of Gilad Atzmon’s alleged anti-Semitism. The gentleman proceeded to misrepresent Atzmon’s words in order to paint him as a racist who merely seeks to attack Judaism.
During this discussion the subject of holocaust denial and holocaust revisionism came up. At no point was the holocaust denied by anybody present, however this writer did make the point that we must make a distinction between ‘revisionism’ and ‘denial’. All historical events must be open to investigation and questioning; the very concept of history is based on revisionism. What legitimate reason could we possibly have for shielding any historical event from examination? We are constantly reminded that we must learn from history lest it repeat itself (reminiscent of the ‘never again’ mantra), yet we are prevented from examining these very elements of history!”
So it seems the people who run ‘Palestine Place’ are very concerned with the commemoration of the Shoa, and I wonder why didn’t they just call the house the Yad Vashem-London Branch. And we also might wonder, why are Palestinian solidarity activists so concerned with the protection of the Zionist Holocaust narrative? Don’t they know in the PSC and in the BDS that the Palestinaians are actually the last victims of Hitler?
Iqbal continues, “This particular discussion at Palestine Place continued for ten or fifteen minutes before the next scheduled discussion was due to begin. During this time, dedicated pro-Palestinian activist Ken O’Keefe came to Gilad Atzmon’s defence, drawing attention to Atzmon’s idea that Jewishness and Jewish culture must be part of our investigation of Israeli and Zionist ideology. Are Israel’s tanks, gunships and warplanes not adorned with the Jewish Star of David? Is ‘Israel’ not a self-professed Jewish State? The gentleman who had chosen to accuse Atzmon of anti-Semitism had misrepresented Atzmon’s views and launched into a baseless ad hominem attack.”
So here we are. In spite of the obvious fact that Palestinians refer to Israelis and the IDF as Yahud, in the London “radical” centre for “discussion, action, and education around the issue of Palestine, the visitors are not even allowed to make the obvious point that the Palestinian plight has something to do with the Jewish State and the Jewish nature of Israel.
Iqbal stresses that “Immediately before the next scheduled speaker, a spokesman for Palestine Place made an announcement to the following effect: some people have decided to air their views on the holocaust, we must remind you that at Palestine Place we do not tolerate anti-Semitism and we will not be discussing the holocaust any further.”
It is far from being clear why airing one’s views about history in general or the Holocaust in particular makes anyone into an anti – Semite or, more precisely a Jew hater. In fact what we see here is a desperate crypto-Zionist attempt to dominate the discourse and divert attention from the real issues. Israel is the Jewish State, its tanks are decorated with Jewish symbols, its lobbies are dominating American and British foreign affairs and it seems that its AZZ allies are desperately trying to censor the discourse of Palestinian solidarity.
I totally agree with Iqbl’s observation that “it is incredibly sad and disheartening to see that the Palestine Solidarity Movement is utterly beholden to Zionism’s biggest rhetorical weapon: false charges of anti-Semitism coupled with a religious observance of and adherence to the dogma of ‘the holocaust’.
Apparently Ken O’Keefe and Martin Iqbal returned to the Palestine Place two days ago to find out that they were not welcome in the house of ‘radical and open discussion’.
Ken was told that revisionism is not allowed in the radical pro-Palestinian premises. I guess that he was surprised to find out that revisionist historian Ilan Pappe was speaking in the house only last week. I guess that in AZZ-dominated Palestinian Place, revisiting Palestinian history is allowed but only as long as one doesn’t not touch the Jewish past. This is the current Talmudic state of institutional Palestinian solidarity discourse in the Britain.
It reminds me an old Jewish joke.
Q: How many synagogues do you need in a village with just one Jew
A: two apparently, one for the Jew to go to, and one for him to boycott.
Sadly enough, the AZZ solidarity-controlled zone has become one extended synagogue. We are held back by endless futile internal wars that lead nowhere.
A few months back we learned about leading Palestinian activists such as Nahida Izzat and Sami Ibrahem, both pushed out by the PSC. Intoxicated by its destructive powers, the PSC then kicked out distinguished British solidarity activists such as Ex PSC chairman Francis Clark-Lowes and Camden PSC secretary Gill Kafash.
I guess that the only encouraging news here is deLiberation, the new British online magazine. This magazine was formed six months ago by activists and writers who were pushed out by the PSC. Within just a few weeks it has become one of the most popular internet journals in Britain. If anyone in the solidarity movement is interested in becoming ‘mass movement’, it seems as if we in deLiberation know how to do it.