Last week a letter about the IHRA definition of antisemitism appeared in the Independent. It was signed by 84 BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) organisations. Incredibly, the letter does not contain the word ‘Jewish’ and the letter deals with Jews the way most modern antisemites deal with Jews: Jews are white, privileged and definitely not part of the ‘BAME’ club.
The Corbyn cult’s straw man
The argument inside the letter is simple. These groups oppose the adoption of the IHRA definition because they say it will ‘silence voices’ and prevent ‘criticism of Israel’. They suggest the IHRA prohibits public discussion of facts and then they paint Zionist groups (without using the word Zionist) as ‘UK-based fundamentalist groups aligned with the far-right in the US’. They also state these groups are ‘anti-Muslim’.
The entire letter is a divisive straw man. It is designed to turn BAME communities against British Jews. The IHRA does nothing to stop genuine and difficult discussions over Israel. What it does do is draw lines to help differentiate genuine criticism from antisemitism. For years, the Palestinian cause across the globe has fed on the ecstasy of western antisemitism, creating a symbiotic relationship where both gorge on each other. When you add to the mix Europeans who are seeking to shed their guilt by painting the Jews as Nazis, Palestinian story-tellers soon realised that whatever tale they told, there was an eager audience willing to swallow it. For decades the west has happily fed on a diet of false accusations against Israel.
So distorted is the image now, that anti-Israel activists need to continue to tell ever-expanding lies about the Jews just for their story to make any sense at all. Palestinian organisations either feed the hate or fail, which brings us to the first group of BAME organisations in the Independent:
‘Please let us tell lies about Jews’
There are NINE Palestinian organisations listed in the letter:
- The Association of the Palestinian Community in the UK
- The British Palestinian Communications Centre (BPCC)
- The British Palestinian Policy Council
- Europal Forum
- The General Union of Palestinian Students
- Olive – Palestinian Youth Group
- The Palestine Return Centre (PRC),
- The Palestinian Forum in the UK (in Britain)
- Pal Med UK
Palestinian groups that rely on Islamic anti-Jewish feeling (such as Friends of Al Aqsa) or pro-Palestinian groups that rely on western antisemitism (such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign) can do well, but Palestinian organisations that depend on internal support are barely standing. Palmed’s website has gone, the Union of Students website doesn’t work and the website of the BPCC (listed on their dormant Facebook page) is just made up. Olive, a Palestinian Youth Group that started to much fanfare in 2015/6 (I was at their opening event) have a dormant website and their Facebook page barely moves. The British Palestinian Policy Council has no footprint beyond being part of the CV of Professor Kamal Hawwash and appearing on a few letters of protest.
Some of these groups are active: I have seen antisemitism at every event of the Palestine Return Centre (PRC) I have attended. It was a PRC event that gave air to Gerald Kaufman’s ‘Jewish money‘ comment and another that led to the resignation/dismissal of Jenny Tonge. The Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB) is part of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas support infrastructure and it was a Europal Forum event that saw Jewish people singled out and removed from the guest list.
The radical Islamic influence
- The British Muslim Initiative
- Cordoba Foundation
- Muslim Association of Great Britain
There are three main organisations that have signed. The British Muslim Initiative (BMI) has been linked with the Muslim Brotherhood. The leader of the Cordoba Foundation has publicly supported Hamas and it’s methods. The UAE have even listed Cordoba a ‘terror organisation’ due to links with the terror group. And finally, in a 2015 government report The Muslim Association of Great Britain was accused of being ‘dominated‘ by the Muslim Brotherhood.
There is no need to dress this up. The Muslim Brotherhood is a radical Islamic movement that hate Jews. Violent antisemitism thrives everywhere that the Muslim Brotherhood does. Of course they signed the letter.
The lie of the ’84’ BAME organisations
When you begin to look at the BAME list more closely, it soon becomes apparent how farcical it is. For example there is an organisation called ‘Min Quan‘ listed. Described as a ‘Chinatown People Rights Group’ they were set up over fifteen years ago and have been silent for much of the last decade. To show the full absurdity of this, last month Chinatown went on strike in protest over immigration raids. There is NO MENTION of Min Quan in any of the statements or English news reports over those protests.
As it turns out Min Quan are a project of the Monitoring Group (MG). On the MG website, there is no reference of Min Quan activity in the last eight years. It does appear that Min Quan were resurrected, not to fight for human rights in Chinatown, but as a weapon to attack British Jews. The Monitoring Group of course also signed the letter. The Monitoring Group (originally Southall Monitoring Group) was founded by its Director Suresh Grover. Grover’s Facebook contains a long list of ‘likes’ for pages such as Friends of Al Aqsa, the PSC, BDS and the Rachel Corrie Foundation.
Min Quan are not the only group to ‘suddenly appear’. Kashmiris for Labour are another one. They are not mentioned in a list of BAME Labour groups. I went looking for them and found I was not the only one to be confused by their sudden appearance:
The group, if it exists, made its first public action the signing of this letter.
There are many more examples such as this. The Lebanese Association of Great Britain, was dissolved as a company in 2013. It has no footprint beyond the signature on the letter. The Muslim Workers Association has no footprint either. Nor does the ‘Oxford Syria Solidarity campaign’.
The Tunisian Association of Britain seems to be a name that Chairman Mehdi Bahi gives to his opinions. There is no visible internet activity since early 2016. The Tunisian Association like several others, seems to have been taken out of storage to attack British Jews. And when I say attack British Jews, I mean it. Mehdi runs a Facebook Group ‘Tunisians in the UK‘. A member uploaded a Jewish symbol into the group. This is how Mehdi El Behi (his Facebook profile) responded:
‘My race, my people, my blood’. This is the racism behind the Independent BAME letter.
How many times can you sign one BAME letter
The Monitoring Group are not the only one on the list that seem to have more than one signature. Take Aderonke Apata. She founded the African Rainbow Family and founded the Migrant Solidarity Manchester group. Both are on the list.
The London Race and Criminal Justice Consortium appear on the list too. ‘A consortium’, it sounds so impressive doesn’t it? Except I could only find one name attached to the online footprint – Lee Jasper (Jasper has history). I am not the first person to look at this, six years ago someone even blogged in confusion over the apparent ‘one-man’ consortium. According to his Wiki page, Lee Jasper also currently co-Chairs BARAC ( Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts). And guess what, BARAC also signed the BAME letter. The other co-Chair of BARAC is Zita Holbourne. Holbourne is also vice-Chair of the PCS National Black Members Committee, which also signed the letter.
For all the wrong reasons Malia Bouattia needs little introduction to British Jews, and her presence is also felt in the letter. Bouattia was one of the co-founders of the Black Women’s Forum (signed the letter) and unsurprisingly in an video of the recently founded ‘Muslimahs Resist’ (also signed the letter), Malia can be seen leading the way:
The ‘Eritrean Parents and Children’s Association’ seems to be a small after-school club. The equally small ‘Eritrean Elders Welfare Association (EWA)’ is next door. Both are on the list. In another coincidence, Migrants Organise, another signee, have the same company address as the EWA.
The ‘Peace in Kurdistan Campaign’ signed the letter but then so did the ‘Campaign Against Criminalising Communities’ (CAMPACC), which is a bit fortunate for Estelle Schmid as she is both.
Atallah Said seems to have gone one better. Apparently, Said founded ‘the Arab Labour Group’ (1st signature), and the British Arab Association (2nd signature) and Atallah appears to be the Chairman of the Palestine Policy Council (3rd signature). How many times can you sign one letter?
The one-man BAME show
Most of the organisations in the letter seem to be one-man bands, small centres, run for a very localised community. Such as Minaret Community Centre which is a small Somali community centre in Hammersmith. Oldham Pakistani Community Centre is another.The Chief Officer in Oldham is Mohammed Alyas. Here he is sharing Rothschild Conspiracy:
The Baraka Youth Association (Somali) has also signed. The ‘West London Moroccan Association – Widadia’ seems the same kind of outfit and the website they list on their own Facebook page doesn’t exist. The United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) also signed. It is a family fund sent up after the death of Mikey Powell in police custody. Meridian Women’s Association is a small charity in South London, whose claim to internet fame is that it signed the Independent letter. There is even an absurd listing of ‘Congo Great Lakes Intiative‘ which was dissolved as a company last year (their Facebook page has eleven likes). A signature from a group called Daikon is no less misleading.
There is a listing for an organisation called ‘Grenfell Speaks’, which seems to be one man with a website( Faisal Metalsi). Migrant Media seems to be one man with a camera (Ken Fero). The Meena Centre in Birmingham is run by Elizabeth Clegg and it doesn’t seem to go far beyond her. The Leeds Unity Centre Facebook page is dormant. The Network of Eritrean Women is a small company based in Holloway. It’s Facebook page barely moves The page is operated by Khedijah Ali Mohammed-Nur. This post about Jews harvesting organs is one of her shares:
More one-man bands
‘Indian Matters UK’ are another group with no apparent footprint outside of this letter. There is a blog site ‘India Matters UK’, so maybe it is some spelling error, but that blog-site has had no activity since January either. According to a report I found, India Matters was only founded in mid-2017 and this signature suggests it may be down to one person, Radha D’Souza from the University of Westminster. On the subject of universities, ‘Deport, Deprive and Extradite Project’ seems to be a two-man project from the University of York.
The organisation called ‘Nijjor Manush’ started their Facebook page five days before the letter was published. The group was co-founded by Tasnima Uddin. Tasmini tried to introduce a BDS motion at City University last year. Another listed group, ‘Momentum Black Caucus’, has fifty-nine Twitter followers and forty-two likes on Facebook. It has hosted one event, to which apparently, nobody went. Kingsley Abrams is the General Secretary and perhaps the only member.
South People’s Project (SOPPRO) is a charity that spent £645 in 2016/7. According to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the man in the know is Norbert Mbu Mputu. Here he is spreading conspiracy theories over the Bataclan:
Racial Justice Network is a small charity based in Leeds. They have 1144 Twitter followers. They spent £3700 in 2016/7. Peninah Wangari-Jones is the RJN Co-ordinator. Here she is on stage with Malia Bouattia (left image) and Zrinka Bralo (right image). Malia we know, Zrinka is from another Migrant focused group, ‘Migrants Organise’, who also signed the letter:
The ‘Arab Refugee Support Group’ has one video from 2015 and no other footprint outside of this letter. The organisation that signed as ‘Community Integration Project’, London is an untraceable nonsense that could be anything. The group ‘Movement for Justice‘ is run by a white Troskyist called Tony Gard and is a front for the Revolutionary Internationalist League. The London Latinx is another group that seem to be little more than a few friends and a goldfish. Then there is Rethink Rebuild Society, which is the ‘voice of the Syrian community in Manchester’. You would think they had better things to do. Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation (ZHRO) signed the letter. It was co-founded by John Burke and seems little more than a gathering of a few Zimbabwe ex-pats. The Sante Refugee Project are on the list. Their most recent annual operational costs were £4,700. It was founded by Ruth Appleton, who seems to be the lists first JVL supporting anti-Zionist Jew.
It is hardly a surprise to see Black Lives Matter listed. Nor to see the signature of any group associated with Malia Bouattia. Another organisation, ‘Decolonising our minds’, seems to be a student group from SOAS. You’d expect SOAS to be represented too.
Then there are those I instantly recognise. Like the Iraqi Women’s Organisation, Tadhamun. I first came across this group because Zainab Khan was with antisemite Gilad Atzmon at an event at the Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC). I am convinced she is the one that persuaded the venue to run the event despite the obvious opposition. No wonder she is opposed to the IHRA. In my original research into Zainab, beyond her friendship with Tony Gratrex (Palestine Live) I found over 35 (thirty-five) shares of a Jew hating website called ‘Globalresearch.ca’.
Facilitate Global is also on the list. This is no more than an ‘organisation’ of two anti-Israel activists, Clive Hambidge and Soraya Boyd. Soraya has been an active member of the antisemitic Facebook group Palestine Live since it first started in August 2013. She used to be big on antisemitic conspiracy. Here is a 9/11 post of hers from 2011:
Voices for Creative Non Violence UK isn’t a large group either. An Afghan focused group, it was apparently started in 2011/2 by Susan Clarkson, Mary Dobbing, Maya Evans and Beth Tichborne. Dobbing is an anti-Israel activist (she is also part of Drone Wars) and the group has aligned with London Palestine Action for boycott activities.
Only the Jews can’t have a state
It was somewhat odd going through the websites included in the list. The majority of organisations are not human rights groups at all, but sectarian focused and driven by individual/s who for religious or ethnic reasons want to see Israel wiped off the map. The standard approach was either ‘Pakistan rules – down with Israel’, or Islam rules – down with the Jews’.
Groups aligned with this type of ’empowerment’ littered the list. The group ‘Ikram United Kingdom and Eire’ is set up ‘in line with the way of life and Islamic teachings’. The Iraqi Transnational Collective were formed (UK) in 2016. It seems to be a small group of ex-Iraqi nationals in the UK. No surprise they signed. ‘Dar Assalam – Iraqi Association in Britain’ seems to be another. The same can be said for a group called Jawaab who seek to ‘build the power of young Muslims’.
I lost count of the number of social media shares by individuals concerned celebrating Pakistani Independence day. Pakistan? Over two million people are currently enslaved in Pakistan and over five-thousand women each year are killed in domestic violence there. Why is the human rights focus of these people only on Israel? Because this isn’t about human rights, it is about Muslims being allowed to attack Israel and Jews.
An attack on British Jews
The entire list is ridiculous. There are Palestinian groups who want to be able to lie about Jews, sectarian groups who have imported their hate and Muslim organisations who don’t like Jews. It is little more than a divisive attack . The list also clearly includes many defunct or barely-existent groups. One (‘Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland’) is not even in the UK. There are a few more not yet mentioned:
Media Diversified (writers of colour) are listed. It is hardly surprising. Here is the the Founder Samantha Asumadu with Malia Bouattia:
There is also this article by Asumadu in Ceasfire, which speaks of the ‘inherently racist nature of political Zionism‘.
There are others who have dragged their organisations into a sectarian battle. Like the listing for the ‘Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, the United Private Hire Drivers Branch’. It seems to have come from Yaseen Aslam, who founded the group. What has this drivers group got to do with definitions of antisemitism? It seems as if Yaseen, who has no problem supporting Pakistan has a problem with the existence of a Jewish state. Another part of the IWU also signed, the ‘Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, the University of London Branch’. The current branch chair is Anibal Yepez. Here he is pushing Rothschild conspiracy:
Kurds and LGBT
It is surprising to see any Kurdish or LGBT organisation mentioned here, however small they may be. It shows how twisted and divisive the atmosphere has become. There were four Kurdish organisations represented in the letter. The Kurdish Student Union are listed, but their Facebook page hasn’t been updated in over a year. They do have a Twitter account. There is no visible recent public activity aside from the letter and it is astonishing that a group fighting for independence in a truly dark neighborhood has little better to do than attack Israel or British Jews. The Kurdish Assembly in the UK also signed the letter. It has done nothing else. Roj Kurdish Women’s Assembly have a minor Facebook presence and little signs of a footprint beyond this. The last group are the Women’s Alliance for Kurdistan, Iraq and Syria and it is yet another group with almost no visible activity.
Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants signed the letter. Not much to say beyond the obvious. LGBT support for anti-Jewish or anti-Israel activity is a sign of how dangerous intersectionality is. It is simply beyond all reason.
Some groups should not be on the list at all. ‘Communities Inc, Nottingham’ seem to be a small group. Funded by the Government, the Lottery and blue-chips like PWC. The Migrant Rights Network (MRN) receive funding from Ernst and Young. Fizza Qereshi is the director of MRN. Her FB activity is full of interactions with those such as Ben White. She is a member of numerous anti-Israel groups including those calling for boycott and one called ‘I want to punch Regev very hard‘. (edit: I have been informed Qereshi is on maternity leave and Rita Chadha is the interim Director).
The Indian Workers Association are also listed. They shouldn’t be. I have contacted them to ask them why they signed.
North West Peoples’ Voice are also listed. I am not sure who they are. The only one I could find was an NHS group. I seriously hope it was not them. Right2Work UK are another organisation that should not be on there and should be asked to explain, if it is them, why exactly they signed. A PDF of their activities and funders is available online.
I have no doubt I have missed some of the connections. Putting the organisations and their founders into a blog like this allows others to highlight what has been missed. What is certain is that most of the real groups involved in this list are charities that have aligned with a disturbing and underhand attack that seeks to protect racists and alienate British Jews. Shouldn’t those that fund them know about that?
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