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HomeNewsKaren Harradine: Cutting DFID’s funding will help curb anti-Semitism

Karen Harradine: Cutting DFID’s funding will help curb anti-Semitism


Every year, just before spring, British universities take part in an international scam. Students are exposed to a lie so heinous it can only be described as destructive propaganda. Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) is organised by various Islamist and Palestinian student societies. This malignant off-shoot of the Boycott, Disinvest, Sanction (BDS) movement exposes thousands of students to Jew hatred and advocates the dismantling of Israel. The co-founder is of BDS is Omar Barghouti, a Qatari who studied at Tel Aviv university while advocating for an academic boycott of the Jewish state. Under the auspices of the Cambridge Palestine Forum, he also recently endorsed BDS on the 23 February at Cambridge University.  Barghouti is a perfect example of the stench of hypocrisy that wafts through IAW.

Apartheid is a powerfully negative word. I grew up in apartheid South Africa where racism was legalised and millions of lives were ruined by state-sanctioned systematic hatred. But Israel is a democracy, with human rights for all its citizens enshrined in law, and bears no resemblance to apartheid. All Israelis, no matter what race or religion they are, can take part in all aspects of society. Unlike apartheid South Africa there are no separate hospitals, schools and benches in this multicultural nation.

There was never a Palestinian state. The Romans named Judea Palestine to disconnect Jews from their homeland and humiliate them. Anti-Semites have been trying to do the same for two thousand years.

During the 1967 Six Day War Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, encouraged by the USSR, attacked Israel. They were beaten back by an army of Holocaust survivors, indigenous Israelis and Mizrahi refugees from Arab lands.

The Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria – which became known as the West Bank – were captured by Israel in this war of self-defence. Israel gave back the Sinai to Egypt. Hamas, not Israel, now runs Gaza. Both territories have become a hotbed of terrorist attacks against Israel and Egypt. The Golan Heights are of strategic military importance for Israel, particularly since the advent of Isis.

The West Bank was never fully annexed. Instead Israel created a military administration – a tricky situation which has led to the exaggerated accusation that the settlements there are an obstacle to the peace process. Prior to 1967 the West Bank was part of Jordan. It was never part of a fabled Palestinian state. I would be surprised if any of the participants in IAW know this or that only 1.7 per cent of the West Bank is taken up by settlements.

The issue of the settlements cropped up again at the Camp David Peace Summit in 2000 during which the Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, Yassir Arafat, the Egyptian born terrorist leader of the PLO, and Bill Clinton attempted to negotiate the impossible.  Barak offered four swathes of territory to create a Palestinian state. Arafat rejected this and a few months later launched the second intifada against Israel. Peace accords, pacts and land swaps are hampered by the ultimate aim of Islamic fundamentalism – the destruction of Israel.

I doubt that any student or activist taking part in IAW cares about this, despite decrying the settlements and ‘the occupation’. Most of the IAW events are organised by various campus Palestinian Societies. No facts or historical truth are ever allowed at these gatherings. IAW will be particularly vicious this year, as 2017 marks the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.

IAW will be kicking off with a symposium at Kings College London on the 28 February. Speakers include Farid Esack, an Islamist who calls the Palestinian terrorist Leila Kahled his comrade, and Aja Monet, a self-styled Black Lives Matter (BLM) activist. BLM is funded by our old friend George Soros.

Soros is not the only one who likes to finance anti-Israel activities. British campuses are awash with money from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Some of it undoubtedly finds its way into student Islamist societies, which propagate lies against Israel and hatred against Jews.

The UCLU Islamic Society, under the aegis of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, and as part of IAW, is hosting the Palestine Conference on the 4 March. It is easy to trace the trail of money from Islamic states to anti-Israel activities on our campuses.

Their list of speakers reads like a who’s who of Israel haters, such as Miko Peled, a self-hating Jew, who likes to promote his poisonous narrative at insidious events like these. SOAS academic, Nur Masalha, whose publications include The Zionist Bible, in which he advocates the destruction of Israel, will also be speaking. And no anti-Israel event is complete now without Malia Bouattia,  whose anti-Semitic ethos needs no introduction.  Another participant is Shamiul Joarder who belongs to the Friends of Al-Aqsa, an Islamist group which supports Raed Salah, the Islamist blood libel cleric described by Jeremy Corbyn as an ‘honoured citizen’.

Perpetrators of this apartheid libel are also funded, both directly and indirectly, by anti-Israel NGOs like B’Tselem and Islamic Relief International, the EU, Christian Aid groups and Dfid. Perhaps the money set aside for Dfid could instead be used to finance our universities so that they wouldn’t feel so obliged to take Islamist funding.

The rabid Western Jew haters and Islamic fundamentalists who partake in IAW are far too  immersed in their anti-Semitism to reason with. The naïve students exposed to IAW are of particular concern as they have been brought up on a steady diet of the BBC and The Guardian. They desperately want to fit in and join trendy causes which turn them into useful idiots.  I worry about Jewish students who are caught up in the worst anti-Semitic behaviour on campuses since the 1930s.

Demonstrations, exposure and education can counteract some of the damage done by the plethora of myths, lies and half-truths which infuse IAW. Banning IAW would only give impetus to martyr complexes and Zionist conspiracy theories. Instead let us starve them of their funding.  Cut financing to the EU, UN, Dfid and all anti-Israel charities. Lawyers should prosecute those who incite murder of Jews. Christians should pressurise Quakers, Catholics, Methodists and other brethren to stop funding anti-Israel programmes and charities. Those who chant for Israel’s demise must know that without their homeland, every Jew’s life is in peril.

(Image: DFID)

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Karen Harradine
Karen Harradine
Karen is an anthropologist and freelance journalist. She writes on anti-Semitism, Israel and spirituality. She is @KarenH777on Twitter.

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