26 Nov 2016. Norwich. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) had organised a ‘fundraising dinner’ with Jacqueline Walker as the guest speaker.
Walker was suspended from the Labour party in May over ‘alleged anti-Semitic comments’, then reinstated. She was then suspended again for further comments she made over security in Jewish schools and criticism over remembrance of The Holocaust. Even the hard left movement Momentum removed Walker from her position declaring her comments to be ‘ill-informed, ill-judged and offensive’.
Jackie Walker is someone who seems to like baiting the Jewish community. Jackie Walker is someone whose words are too extreme even for Momentum. Jackie Walker is seen as fundraising material for the PSC. That in itself says everything.
The fundraising dinner was set to be hosted in Chapel Field Methodist Church. There were complaints over a church hosting someone clearly viewed as hostile by the vast majority of Jews. The church apologised and at some point on Friday, notified Norwich PSC that they would not be allowed to proceed with the event.
I had a ticket and was unsure whether or not it was still going ahead. The event website had stopped selling tickets. At about noon yesterday, Jackie posted on her Facebook page she was ‘on her way to Norwich’. The organisers placed a ‘we have a new venue’ post on Facebook too. It was on. Upon arrival at the Church I was directed to the new venue, the ‘Friends Meeting House’, the Quakers building in Norwich.
Food before words
There were about 100 people present. Quite a turnout. This wasn’t however the power of the Norwich PSC, but rather a union of several groups. The church, Stop the War, the PSC, a local Muslim group called ‘The Neesa Project‘ and the Quakers. As I learned through the evening, in Norwich, a handful of activists mesh all these groups together.
On the table with me were about 10 people. Not one a PSC activist. During the introductory speech, I needed to ‘translate’ the words ‘BDS’ to those around me because nobody knew what they were. I was not amidst the already converted. These were local ‘humanitarians’ that were ‘ripe’ for PSC picking. The PSC hosts gave a brief introduction. It is worth watching this short speech as it highlights part of the complex argument over community pressure placed on venues to cancel events already scheduled:
This was clearly framed as a case of the application of Jewish /Zionist power. The ‘faith’ comment towards the end of the clip was also troubling, creating the ‘Jew bad’, ‘Muslim good’ equation. 100 people last night had the venue of their dinner changed. Were the people in the room, many of whom had only turned up for food, introduced to the paradigm of Jewish power because of the action of the Board of Deputies?
It is not a criticism. The discussion is a complex one. However people who believe cancellation is a straightforward victory are downplaying some of the inevitable side effects. This issue of ‘power’ was the theme for much of the evening.
Dinner first, speakers later. I dined. One note on the food. The PSC continually push the notion they are an inclusive group. That the Jews form an integral part of their movement. There was meat served so I asked the question, the meat was Halal. Doesn’t this beg the question, why was a kosher option not available? The PSC proudly display their ‘Jewish speakers’, they applaud their Jewish guests, yet only cater for the Muslim dietary laws. No room for equality in the PSC kitchen.
After a tasty Middle Eastern meal, we moved into the meeting room for the speakers. There was a short speech on Balfour and then Nick O’Brien was called up. Nick was introduced as the Norwich ‘Stop the War Coalition’ Chair. He also teaches at Dereham Neatherd High School. Nick got up to bring poetry to the evening, and the first presented to us was ‘I Come From There’ by Mahmoud Darwish. Then Nick told us he is a teacher. What followed is well worth watching:
The NUT resource material is available online. This is the resource page specifically mentioned. The NUT resource pack was highly criticised for being ‘one-sided’ and was temporarily pulled when pictures emerged of a child involved holding ‘a gun’. The NUT were accused of pushing ‘pro-Palestinian extremist agenda’. The film ‘My Name is Saleh’ is clearly a cleverly made propaganda video. It is designed to emotionally engage our young children.
However, this teacher is an anti-Israel activist proudly bringing evidence of the minds he has helped to shape. Is there anyone who actually believes the PSC should be in charge of our children’s education? Is there anyone who thinks these 13 year old children have been given a balanced education on the conflict? Was there a video shown to these children to explain just how much harm is sometimes done to the Jewish population as these Arabs just walk by ‘minding their own business’.
This is evidence of propaganda propagating propaganda. How the false narrative spreads unchecked. The tale of the Jewish Nazis who oppress the boy who just wants peace. Proudly disseminated in UK schools. From the entire evening, this was the event that shook me the most. The true meaning still churning me up inside. I still feel disturbed when watching it again, so I leave it to others to decipher fully. Eventually the poetry section ended and it was Jackie’s turn to speak.
Jackie Walker and the invisible Zionist monster
Jackie Walker is lost. Having listened to her speaking of why events have unfolded around her the way they have, she acts like someone who is unable to engage in introspection. Without the ability to search inwardly for any explanation, the only logical reasons for her current position must be external. Hounded, rejected and spurned, the more Jackie feels persecuted, the larger and more powerful the enemy becomes. These wrong turns in the logical process can have serious consequences. Informal fallacies that are built in the mind, can take us to some truly dark places. Jackie Walker is evidence of this.
Unable to see her rejection as simply the reaction of normal people to unacceptable comments, ‘Zionists’ are public enemy number one. This is how she describes them:
This turns Jewish people like me, into part of a secretly deployed ‘Black – Ops’ force. My opposition to Jackie cannot be because I find her position intolerable, insulting, wrong. But rather because I have been activated through the power and money of the Israeli government. I am ‘Hasbara’, doing the will of the Israeli secret service. This entire global conspiracy works only if you adhere to the image of Jewish power and the sneaky, underhand, divisive, characteristics of classic antisemitic stereotypes.
The rest of her talk was nonsensical. She accused the President of the BOD of ‘welcoming’ Donald Trump, accused the Israel Advocacy Movement of ‘Hacking’ public accounts to ‘bring people down’, distorted the reasons she ran into trouble over her comments, and got entirely lost in the argument over anti-Zionism and antisemitism. These non orthodox anti-Zionists who claim to be Jewish, hang to the argument on an ever weakening cliff. At a certain point universalist principles turn being Jewish simply into a matter of errant faith.
To me, because we are a people, a nation, secular Jews exist as Jews. This situation distinct from other ‘religions’. My right to self determination as a Jew is a cardinal principle. When the anti-Zionist Jews produce a leaflet suggesting my belief in Zionism is nothing more than a political position, they attack my Jewish identity. If they do not believe in Jews as a people, this is their right, but if Jews are not a people, and if these anti-Zionists are not religious either, then just what Jewish identity are they holding onto? Is it self-maintained simply so they can attack other Jews?
One final video of note. At the end, someone from the Quakers got up to speak. A short video worth watching:
This short clip pushes several awful tricks into just a few seconds of footage. First she speaks of German heroes who stood up against the Nazis by saving Jews. She draws the equation by next mentioning Israeli ‘refuseniks’ who are I suppose, in refusing to put on the IDF uniform, comparable to the ‘righteous gentiles‘. Rounding off the vulgar exercise she mentions Palestinians, who need to display a similar steel of character just to hold themselves back from engaging in violence against those new Nazis. The moral equaivelance engaged here is truly sickening. As if we were not sure of the sentiments, a direct comparison between Apartheid South Africa and Israel is then made. Evening over.
The entire event was simply a hatefest. One that required Jackie Walker’s expertise to drive home. One has to ask if this is now what the PSC needs to advertise. Are there no depths this group will not sink to?
It was going to be a long drive home, but I had a lot to run over in my mind.
Follow, like, donate
Please if you can, consider making a donation. Mine is an independent action and research is expensive and time consuming. Even producing just one of these piece does take days, sometimes weeks, and whilst I do what I can, there are serious constraints that impact on what is possible. Your assistance can and does make a difference. Every contribution is greatly appreciated.