Henry Maitles - event cancelled by cowardsYesterday I went to Glasgow and back in a day. It was rather a tiring adventure, but that is not how the day was originally planned. At 19:00, at the University of Strathclyde, I was meant to engage Professor Henry Maitles in a debate. By the time I was contacted to stand for the motion (that Israel is not an Apartheid state), Henry Maitles had already agreed to stand against it.

Before I even left for Glasgow, I already knew that Henry Maitles had backed out. Following this I heard that ‘Scottish Friends of Palestine’ didn’t want to name a replacement.  I was however told that an opponent would be found. For two days, several local anti-Israel academics were contacted and none of those wanted to, or were able, to fill the space. In the end, about five hours before the event, and on a train approaching Glasgow, I offered to stand in front of a potentially hostile audience without the procedural cover of an official debate. The impartial organisers did not want to seem biased, and the event was cancelled at the last minute (a decision that I consider a bad error of judgement). I received this notification twenty minutes after my arrival in Glasgow. Ninety minutes later I was on a train back home again.

The cowardly Henry Maitles

I have little reason to believe Henry Maitles is not a coward. Henry Maitles is also one of those Jewish people, who much like the Bundists of 1930’s Poland, look around and believe the world is rosier than it actually is. His arguments are so typical of the current crop of anti-Zionist Jews. This from an article in 2016 on antisemitism:

There were huge and fierce discussions for 50 years before the Second World War about whether Zionism was a solution to antisemitism or a capitulation; to the BUND – the Revolutionary Jewish Labour League in Lithuania, Poland and Russia – it seemed to be giving in to the racists rather than confronting them.

A position that is both accurate and absurd at the same time. Accurate as a historical statement and absurd as a legitimate position today. It is certainly one of those things that cannot be said in front of an educated audience, because it will be met with instant derision. And this gets to the heart of the problem. These arguments are not meant for an audience that contains critical thought, they are there to preach to the converted and /or fool the ignorant. The few Bundists of Lithuania, Poland and Russia, who survived the Holocaust were extremely lucky. If they eventually did run, it may well have been to the shores of British Palestine, where their grandchildren or great-grandchildren may now be serving in the Israeli defence forces.

Maitles takes a comfortable position with little risk. It allows him to be the ‘nice guy’. Yet, if worst comes to worst, you can bet your bottom dollar Maitles would be arriving at Ben Gurion airport with a sense of entitlement, along with Wimborne-Idrissi, Mike Cushman, and even the currently foaming-at-the-mouth Tony Greenstein. One would hope such a day never arrives, but in the meantime, Maitles spreads his naive vision, and misplaced ideological stance, around at will.

Henry Maitles as colonial pirate

Another beauty from the same article:

I think it entirely legitimate to argue for a democratic secular state in the area, composing the lands of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, as opposed to the current Israeli state. To think this is race hate is ridiculous.

It may not be race hate Henry, but it sure looks like a Colonial / Imperialist position to me. A person of privilege in the West, pushing modern progressive ideals of his own liking, onto people far away, who have no interest at all in what he proposes. Wrapped up in modern leftist terminology, the first sentence is the colonialist under-pinning of the entire BDS movement. It denies EVERYONE involved their rights. Neither the Palestinian, nor the Israeli get to experience self-determination and neither get to wave their own flag. It does what Sykes-Picot did in 1916, it draws lines on a map, and expects all those caught inside to conform to the norms of a modern western ideological fashion. Look around at Iraq and Syria and see how well that worked out. How regressive and utterly pathetic. There is not a single serious party on either side of the great divide who is interested. The Palestinians want to wave their flag, the Israelis theirs, and the truly liberating solution therefore is a drawing of lines between them. An answer to a border dispute.

The Henry Maitles excuse

A couple of days before the event, Maitles officially pulled out. I received a message from the organisers that stated:

‘Maitles is not happy to go ahead with the debate against you. He is not happy that it would be a fair debate (editors note – well that part is true) and is worried that your arguments will not be based on objective fact

At the time I received this, I was preparing, and buried deep into a fictional tale titled ‘Israeli Apartheid – a beginner’s guide’ that was penned by a rather odd, British Christian propagandist from the UK, so perhaps I should thank Maitles for providing the temporary distraction. The statement itself is outrageous on many levels. He wanted to do the debate, and suddenly he is not happy because it is me? Hundreds of academics subscribe to this blog precisely because it is highly factual in content and I am a stickler for diligent research. There is little I have not read, nor failed to made notes from, on either side of the argument. I am currently writing my own book on the conflict and on top of all this, I have years of first-hand experience that grants me abilities to help separate the fiction, from the fact when I hear people describe their opinions of the conflict.

Henry Maitles is a coward. Henry Maitles is also just one of a few Jews, who think it is their place to argue the case for Palestinians, in place of the Palestinians. Here is a fact – far more people who identify as Palestinian live in the United Kingdom, than there are politically active anti-Zionist Jews here. A fact that is difficult to believe considering the current state of affairs. Every time an anti-Zionist Jew takes the stage, a Palestinian is being denied a voice. Palestinians don’t have to live in the UK to speak here, just as Miko Peled and Max Blumenthal don’t live here. Palestinians are continually and persistently denied a platform by people who think they know better, can speak better, and argue better, than the Palestinians themselves. There are words for that.

The Henry Maitles privilege

When Ben White, or Miko Peled take a position on the stand, they are merely promoting their own careers:

Ben White book promotion

Which is part of a tour promoting Ben White’s new book.

Miko Peled's new book

Which is part of a tour promoting Miko Peled’s new book.

Ilan Pappe has one new book a year. These from 2016 and 2017:

Ilan Pappe

 

If you look at almost every panel discussing the Israeli /Arab conflict that is organised by an anti-Israel society, there will be three or four participants. The first will be the ‘big name’, the person who eats the budget for the entire event. A ‘Max Blumenthal’ or ‘Miko Peled ‘. Sitting next to them will be a local academic, possibly, and preferably, Jewish. The third member will be white, British and an activist, who has spent several days, weeks or months being hand-held by an NGO in the West Bank. If the audience is lucky, there will be a Palestinian. Someone who needs to be thankful he has been given a voice at all. He is only there to perform, as evidence of the existence of a victim, not to talk politics, and he is ‘permitted’ to discuss his life experiences, which will be either from Hebron, or Gaza.

The chosen few

There are a handful of Palestinian activists who do contribute on the circuit. They are normally members of the BDS central committee, or academics, and are well-versed in promoting the colonial political position of BDS. A movement that does not represent the wishes or interests of Palestinians at all. How many Palestinians want a secular, Jewish dominated, hybrid state where their own flag is not waved? The only intent of BDS is to take away Jewish rights, it is not concerned with the real Palestinian aspirations at all.

When I went to a two-day conference at the university of Sussex, the most common complaint I heard from Palestinians in the audience, was about how they are not representing themselves. It is a complaint I hear everywhere.

The central problem is that Palestinians do not want what these ‘supremacist progressives’ need to pretend they want.  The voice presented is the false one, structured for a western audience. Democratic, secular, diverse and universalist. Not a product of the Middle East at all, but a carefully constructed propaganda campaign designed to convince people to boycott Israel to make the world a better place. If you ‘allow’ Palestinians to take the stand, then the actual nature of the conflict becomes apparent and the propaganda would fail. ‘White man knows better’ and unless Palestinians are one of the few who pass the test, they cannot speak. Even if they pass the test they speak for free because the budget has all gone on ‘the White man’s’ hotel room.

The Apartheid smear

So it seems absurd that these supremacists are the ones pushing the smear that Israel is an Apartheid state. And it is nothing but a smear. To judge, to understand, and certainly if you intend to punish, then the crucial element of any situation is not just what is happening, but also how it started, and whether in all fairness, the side with the upper-hand has a choice. This isn’t a set of rules created for the Israeli-Arab conflict, but a basic pillar upon which our entire rule of law is built.

Those pushing the Apartheid smear have no interest in telling the truth about how the conflict started, because it destroys their own fairytale completely. As soon as you engage with the real history, you realise that the violence began long before Israel existed, and the notion of a ‘Jewish defence’, was created in response to Arab attacks. When you read books that seek to deconstruct Israel or Zionism, this element of the history is either entirely ignored, or totally down-played. A crucial piece of evidence is deliberately not presented.

Take Ben White’s (a rather odd, British Christian propagandist from the UK) Apartheid book. Which like all fictions of it’s type seek to move speedily through the creation of the conflict to get to the bits they seek to distort. Ben White entirely ignores the violence of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Of 1947/8 he says this:

‘far from being outnumbered, a British military intelligence assessment in 1947 had estimated that an embryonic Jewish state would defeat the Palestinian Arabs even if they were secretly helped by neighbouring Arab states’.

It is true that such an assessment existed. It is also true it was from July 1947, months before the conflict began. The assessment only talks of secret assistance from one or two Arab states (a point White distorted). It didn’t know 1000’s of foreign fighters would enter the arena. Like other assessments of the time it also contains the opinions and bias of the author. There were assessments that disagreed with the one White has used, but this isn’t the point. Ben White used Benny Morris for the source. Page 33 of ‘Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem’. This was on page 35:

The war between Israel and the Arab states was protracted and bloody (about 4,000 of the Yishuv’s 6,000 dead were killed after 14 May) and the Yishuv’s leaders recognised that they faced a mortal threat.

The entire concept of a ‘mortal threat’ is whitewashed. White needs to present the issue as overwhelming power against innocent victim, so he only provides some information. White is being deliberately selective in order to present a case that isn’t rooted in historicity.

If only the Italians had declared war on Israel

The entire Apartheid smear is built on sand in this fashion. One of the often cited resources for ‘proof’ of Israeli Apartheid, is the list of ‘discriminatory laws’ provided by an organisation called ‘Adalah‘. I went through the list in preparation for the debate. The oldest active law that is listed is from 1939. It is a British Law hastily created in September of 1939, to prohibit people trading with the enemy. It is still part of UK Law. The funniest element of the listing is the reason given as to why this law is recognised as an Israeli ‘discriminatory’ law:

This British mandatory-era law is still in use. It places a total ban on all forms of trade with “enemy nationals.” The law authorizes the Interior Minister to declare states as “enemy states.” Thus far, all “enemy states’ are Arab and/or Muslim states. As a result, the law restricts relations, including cultural and linguistic relations between the Arab Palestinians in Israel and the wider Arab and Muslim nations.

Which holds Israel responsible for the identity of the nations that declared war on it. Had Italy also invaded in 1948 and declared war on Israel, this law would not be seen as discriminatory. Yes, the list is really that absurd. Israel’s flag – discriminatory law, the Israeli official seal – discriminatory law, the use of the Hebrew calendar – discriminatory law. It is a list of anything and everything that could INDIRECTLY be taken by a minority group as discriminatory. How many crosses are there in the Union Jack? Given the very real issues minorities face in every nation, it would be possible to create a list for the UK far larger than the 63 laws Adalah currently have listed.

Stop them spreading the lies

I am not going to use this forum today as an outlet for the many arguments I had prepared for yesterday’s debate. There are 1000’s of valid and powerful ways of showing why the Apartheid smear is totally false. Those days will come. This piece is mainly to report on the cowardly actions of those that attack Israel. It is shameful that Henry Maitles ran away, and disgraceful that the ‘Friends of Palestine’ were too cowardly to put someone in his place. Israel is not an Apartheid State and if these lies are spread on campus, then they must face challenge. If they are unwilling to face a challenge, they shouldn’t be spread on campus.

The organisers of the debate (who did everything in their power to make the debate happen), eventually decided not to allow me to stand alone. I think this was a mistake. If the Apartheid smear is spread in dark corners, then a light should be shone on it. The fact these people were too scared to appear is news in itself, and those who were to attend should know why they did not hear a debate and be presented with whatever arguments were going to be put forward by those who were willing to debate. An open and robust discussion would have taken place because of the inevitable hostile questions that would have been raised by the audience. To cancel allows the opposition to ‘win’ simply by being cowards. Their arguments have still not been challenged.

Yesterday, after I arrived home, I received this message:

I am extremely gutted that your event in Glasgow was cancelled. I was hoping to be able to talk to you. As a supporter of Israel but also a sensible two-state solution, …. I was looking for some inspiration. I hope that you can get back to me so we can discuss this.’

These people are being let down. Maitles and his motley crew may not care, but I do. Because this argument isn’t about the 4-7% of Jews who may not like Israel. Nor is it about a few privileged white folk who have an issue with Jews. It is about millions of people caught in a very real and very tragic conflict, who need support in finding a solution that will only come from the people directly involved. They don’t want or need people to read the latest hate-filled rant by someone building a career on the misery of others, they just need people to start telling the truth. The cowardice of Henry Maitles certainly didn’t help anyone either.

 

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38 thoughts on “The cowardly Professor Henry Maitles and the activists who ran away

  1. Counter Chant this…

    From the River to the Sea,
    Pal-e-STINE Will Never Be!

  2. Considering that the good Prof was going to be taking the fashionable side of the debate – and that you would be the one coming in for the yahs, the boos and the hisses – I can only assume that he was afraid your arguments would be better than his. But for those in the audience whose minds were closed to reasoned debate – and these types are invariably the noisiest and most abusive – this would have made no difference. The Prof must be a nervous soul indeed.

  3. Maybe I’m a cynic but I’d put money on there never being any intention to debate with David . This was a malign childish trick to waste his time and money in making the journey to Scotland . Pathetic and indicative of their mindset

  4. I think your discussion on the 63 Adallah ‘laws’ is wonderful.
    I sometimes wonder why they haven’t complained about the use of blue in Israels colours, as the opposing colour is green.

    As far as white ‘lefty liberal neo-fascist’ brigade dominating the anti-Israel debate scene, I often wonder if the whole anti-Israel show was designed in the late 1940-50s’ as a method of trying to continue what they felt their uncle Adolf had not successfully completed.

    Why has this conflict been prioritised above and beyond its size and geopolitical importance.
    Its effects on world politics has been enormous, but the physical effects of the conflict pale into insignificance when measured against the India/Pakistan seperation war, the Cold war, the inter-tribal warfare that has dogged the Middle East and North Africa for decades, wars in sub-Saharan Africa and many more.

    I am still puzzled as to why the Arab/Israeli war has assumed such importance without the spectre of western anti-Jew hate raising its evil facade.

  5. I think calling Israel an apartheid state is rather lazy and counter productive. It is much better to stick to primitive facts.

    Such as…..

    Israel is a state with levels of racial discrimination way way above anything that would be tolerated in liberal democracies ( not that I am a fan of liberal ” democracies” ) and which has a province highly reminiscent of apartheid South Africa.

    1. Typical cowardly remark from an anti Zionist.
      Make a slander against the Jewish state by calling it “apartheid” without any evidence to back it up.
      Your shrill pontification isn’t evidence, much less proof.

    2. Racism does exist in Israel.
      Racism exists in every country on our wonderful little planet

      When discussing racism in Israel it is necessary to look at the neighbour hood as well as comparing it to liberal democracies in the west.
      Israel has neighbours that are dedicated to its destruction, therefore every time a Jew in Israel sees an Arab that Jews first thought is ‘am I safe’.
      To have to view your neighbours as potential threats to you, and your families, very right to life and safety does help to colour your outlook.
      Referencing and comparing Israel to liberal democracies is a compliment, but the neighbourhood issue has to have a bearing on the situation.

      That Israel has managed to maintain democracy at all in the neighbourhood, is an incredible achievment which is possibly unmatched in the annals of human history. If you have any examples which disprove what I have said, I would be glad to hear of them.

      Stephen please let me know about
      1) why you claim Israel is a basket case
      2) why Israel is the most dependant nation in the world

      1. We know why, Richard: because he is a thick ignorant inadequate loser. Such creatures always have to find an object of hate in order to make themselves feel less bad about their inadequacies. More particularly, such creatures often cannot compute the concept of Jews who stand up for themselves and are successful at it.

  6. Good to see you moving away from allegorical animals and pretend comics Bellers and onto summat you know summat about, namely laziness and counter productivity. Take your own advice son and if you really care about Arabs get off your arse and do something about it. Spending your life writing bollox on social media isn’t helping a single one of them so dust off your activist trousers, get over here and put in a shift where it matters. Me and my lot did it and we’re colonizing, oppressing and Zio-apartheiding every weekday afternoon from around three. I bet you could teach little Ahed and her family a thing or two about punishment beatings and the discreet way to do a knee-capping and we’ve got loads of grannies and young mums here to target. Your dance card would be full for months. On the other hand I suppose there’s an outside chance that you couldn’t give a toss about Arabs or very much else outside your own personal grudges and the keyboard may be the best place for you. But as you often tell me I “haven’t got a fuckin’ clue what’s going on”.

    1. Oh I am not a big fan of my own advice grandad. And when I put together a total of nine months making mud bricks under a blazing sun to help rebuild Bedouin structures that the IOF had demolished the typical shift was around ten hours. That you imagine I would waste precious conscience lying to you is merely a testament to your narcissism

      I doubt you have never put any kind of shift. If that is the case those more grumpy than me might be tempted to suggest that you shut the fuck up.

      1. “IOF” on its own tells everyone exactly what you are and what your agenda is, psychotic loon.

  7. David, what is the relevance of your repeated allusions to Ben White’s religion?

    1. There are no ‘repeated allusions to anything. I barely mention White in my writing, because I consider him an irrelevance. White is someone who has made his career from spreading propaganda, and as this is widely known, he is restricted for the most part to alternative media sources. Having read much of his material when I first started my research, it became quickly apparent that White is not a truth-sayer with a different opinion to me, but someone who twists material to present a better case for his cause. An outright propagandist. Similar to Winstanley but more intelligent, and not as psychologically twisted as Greenstein.

      The mention of his Christian background (once as an identifier, and with it repeated to make sure people knew it was White I had referenced earlier) is because I personally believe his specific active Christian background played a part in the role he chose for himself, his original ISM activism and the way he views the conflict. In other words, I think it is relevant to his activity, and was part of the message I wanted to deliver. I didn’t mention his love of Sci-Fi, because it wasn’t relevant. I could have mentioned that Christianity in the towns now identified with ‘Palestinian society’ has been dying out for centuries. Various periods of direct Muslim – Christian persecution have taken a heavy toll. I could have added that the largest ‘Palestinian’ (I place Palestinian in quotes here because as an identifier it didn’t exist at the time) community outside of the Middle East is in Chile, where large numbers of Christians ran from Ottoman persecution in the 1800’s. That ‘Nakba’ even predates modern Zionism. This process of destroying Christian identity has continued, and the proportionate figure of Christians in the relevant Arab communities (outside of Israeli control – inside Israel, all is well and healthy) has never been lower. I chose not to mention all that because it wasn’t relevant to the story I wanted to tell – which is that Ben White has made a career from Palestinian suffering whilst fighting for what he himself thinks would be best for them. Given I am sure Palestinians could do a much better job at contextualising and articulating their own position far more honestly, I felt this should be highlighted.

      1. There has not BEEN a ‘Palestinian’ society for centuries, David. It was invented in the 1960s.

        1. You are being overly pedantic. I explicitly state that the Palestinian identifier didn’t exist. I made a small edit for further clarification. You are being harsh by suggesting the 1960’s, because it is far more complex than that, but it isn’t an argument for today – I’m saving that one for the book. If I ever get round to finishing the damn thing.

          1. I don’t believe I am. One of the weapons in the genocidal war against Israel relies on this invented entity (“these people are Palestinians and have been a nation since the year dot, ergo it stands to reason that their homeland is the ancient country of Palestine, ergo it stands to reason that it’s nothing to do with the Jews who are foreign interlopers / European colonialists / Khazars who should F.O. back to Khazarland / Poland / Brooklyn, etc”).
            It’s a mistake to yield anything to genocidal Jew-haters, and this is one of the fundamental and deadly mistakes of Israeli PR: yielding this ground and buying this total canard.

            1. I never do Leah, and I am intimately acquainted with the way the Palestinian identity developed, and when it developed.

        1. On the contrary, David was succinct but sparing in his statement . He could have mentioned White’s “ I’m not antisemitic but can understand those who might be “ comment but chose not to. Others might not be quite so generous.

      2. David, Ben White’s Christianity might well be of relevance to a broader discussion about the origins of his political activism, but it is not in any way material to your critique of his use of historical sources. It is disingenuous for you to claim otherwise. I dare say had White referred to you as a ‘rather odd Jewish propagandist’, you would have taken grave exception to such a characterisation.

        Incidentally, I understand that, prior to leaving Glasgow last Thursday, you spoke briefly to Nigel Goodrich, the Convener of The Confederation of Friends of Israel in Scotland (CoFiS). What is your view of Gary Spedding’s allegation that, following the publication of correspondence in The Herald newspaper in Glasgow, in which Spedding criticised the Shalom Festival on political grounds, Goodrich sought to discredit him by sharing on his Facebook page a link to a virulenty antisemtic text, entitled “Gary Spedding: Sabbos Goy or Israeli Agent?”, written by Gilad Atzmon?

        Link to Spedding’s tweet with embedded screenshot of Goodrich’s Facebook page:

        https://twitter.com/GarySpedding/status/770199268665819136

        1. Of course it is material. I had this same discussion with someone who suggested David Irving’s racism wasn’t material to his analysis of the Holocaust (IMPORTANT NOTE – THERE IS NO ATTEMPT TO DRAW A PARALLEL BETWEEN BEN WHITE AND DAVID IRVING – I AM SIMPLY DRAWING ATTENTION TO THE SILLY IDEA THAT AN INHERENT SKEW IS SOMEHOW NOT MATERIAL WHEN DISCUSSING HOW ARCHIVES ARE GRABBED AT TO CREATE A NARRATIVE – THE REALLY CRAZY THING IS I NEED TO POINT OUT THAT I AM NOT DRAWING PARALLELS BECAUSE EVERYONE ATTEMPTS TO TWIST EVERYTHING I SAY SO WHEN I MAKE A COMMENT I HAVE TO DOUBLE UP AND CLARIFY EVERYTHING).

          As for Spedding and Goodrich. I have no idea what you are talking about, and to be frank, little interest. If you have a point to make with Nigel, I suggest taking it up with him.

  8. Good for you Bellers. As you once reminded me you almost did a whole gap year. All that social angsting must have been quite exhausting your poor dear. For us it’s a full time job though. All those third gen Arab refugees won’t colonially oppress themselves. Stick with the keyboard crusade though. I think it’s really helping.

    1. It was pretty exhausting Ian I must admit. My right hip has hurt ever since.

      Ian did you serve ?

      As for your full time job………

      He knew all the words and he sang all the notes but he never quite learned the song. Apologies to Mike Heron

    2. Ian let me share with you a little secret. It’s not Armageddon. We come and we go and in between the better of us do the best we can. And if a keyboard make a little contribution, why not ?

      I wish you joy of your eternal Israel and your eternal capital. But when in 5000 million years time the sun leaves its main sequence, where will Jerusalem be then ? Somewhere on an obscure planet orbiting an obscure star in Andromeda ?

      And you will be squealing oh but on planet earth we were once a stone aged people that heard voices in our heads that we took to be God telling us that everything in the universe was ours.

      Oh I am tempted to just tell you to fuck off, but you are much too valuable a source of entertainment for that. I would not cut off my nose to spite my face.

      1. Many Jews are not religious. Many Zionists are not religious, whether Jews or not. But Bellend will always be a pathetic, ignorant, hate-driven, bile-dripping, laughable, contemptible little pile of pondscum.

  9. Thanks for sharing Bellers. I’d like to say it means a lot to me……

    It is good to see that amidst all of the bollox that you and I spout here you’ve finally agreed with me that it’s all pointless. I agree with you that in time some species or other will look back on humanity and note how we killed all the animals and burnt all the trees and mostly slaughtered ourselves. Everything else will be detail but the odd one may note that the tribe of Jews were never very popular over the 8000 years or so; rival tribes burning them in towers, gassing them in showers and finally saying really mean things about them on computers. In the case of the latter I have no doubt that the name of Stephen Bellamy will feature as a very tiny but hugely significant footnote. Keep up the good work lad. All you have is now.

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