Hinde StreetIt’s the 19th September 2016. My attention was drawn this week to an exhibit in London at the Hinde Street Methodist Church. An exhibition that seeks to enlighten Londoners about ‘what it is like to cross a checkpoint everyday’.  It is called “You cannot pass today”. It is based on ‘checkpoint 300’, a crossing between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

Odd really. Even internal European travel can be problematic, and just a few weeks ago I stood for over an hour in a queue at an airport. Not sure what ‘experience’ Londoners are lacking. Borders can be frustrating. We all know that.

Yet Hinde Street Methodist Church decided that it wishes to divert funds from a deserving cause so yet another exhibition against Israel could go ahead.

I was busy preparing for the new academic year. Soon, I will be moving from campus to campus, talking to students, trying to understand the hate. Then Hinde Street knocked on my door. I decided to go and see what they wanted me to learn.

The event apparently is part of the “World Week for Peace in Palestine & Israel”. I found information on this from ‘The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF)’ which judging from their stated goal of ‘ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories’, is just another one sided anti-Israeli movement hiding under the umbrella of a church group.

The information packs are the usual fare. The action card instructs you how to lobby your local MP, begging them to blame Israel.  The section on additional resources lead with Mondoweiss and the Electronic Intifada.  Let’s face it, this is one sided hatred of Israel dressed up in the costume of the local priest.

Propaganda at Hinde Street

I have to be fair. This wasn’t an exhibition set up to demonise Jews (Israelis). The photos, the exhibits, the stories did stick to the theme, the apparent hardship experienced by the Arabs. It did however have the quality and feel of a school exhibit. It was small, hardly impressive and failed to hit a target.

wp_20160919_13_29_50_proThe failure on the part of the organisers to construct a worthwhile exhibition however should not let everyone off the hook. The message may have been badly delivered, but it was still carried in the hands of the Christian church.

Upon entering the Hinde Street Church there was a small temporary 2-meter-tall aisle to the left, that was supposed to resemble an entrance to a checkpoint. The construction had information leaflets you were meant to read as you imagined yourself edging through a crowded border crossing.

There were issues with the messages on display. A poem by Mahmoud Darwish suggested he wrote it in ‘occupied Palestine’. Those who constructed the exhibition may not understand the subtle battles such as these, but one hopes that this was not written whilst he was inside Israel.

Furthermore, there were several ‘eye witness’ statements that were nothing of the sort. If you go somewhere and see something, then you are an eye witness. Almost every single notice on the fence was hearsay, the 3rd party retelling of someone else’s narrative.

Cleanse yourself

And then there were religious quotes. Misplaced, out of context, almost perverse. To top of the distortion and manipulation, there was a symbolic wall with notes on the floor instructing the reader to ‘cleanse’ himself by removing a brick and helping to dismantle the wall.

Zionist FederationAs was pointed out to one of the ministers at the church, Rev Sue Keegan von Allmen, there were no references to violence, and not even a condemnation of violence anywhere in any of the messages. This is the best they could come up with? Raw Palestinian propaganda. Luckily the Zionist Federation had elbowed their way onto church grounds to counter the message.

It isn’t really surprising. The person who put together this event, Katherine Fox, the member of the church who went ‘over’ to be a ‘witness’, is simply a galactically stupid human being.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to discuss the conflict with Katherine, the hall was empty most of the time and Katherine wasn’t there. I did speak to a typical church going ‘pro-Palestinian’ who told me her name was Hilary.

Hilary has been to Bethlehem and was helpful and talkative. I got to hear how Israel is a ‘cruel’ society. How Israeli Arabs are often forced off their lands, how they are scared to travel and how they live in fear. I also got told how Israel kicked the Arabs off the hills in the West Bank so they could build their settlements there. I was given a list of sources to follow up.

I didn’t argue, but I did subtly probe. I always try to find an element in tthe discussion that will hopefully highlight the inconsistency in their own argument.

For Hilary I used ‘the wall’.  Apparently Israel wants to steal all the land, apparently Israel wishes to ‘build settlements’ everywhere. Why then ‘the wall’ I asked. Surely the creation of a wall provides a barrier for Israeli territorial ambitions. The blank look you receive in return, the vocal stumbling, all suggests someone who has swallowed the propaganda whole.

Katherine, like Hilary, no doubt went on a subsidised trip. She was taken everywhere she needed to go and saw everything she needed to see. No further thought was necessary. No reason to question why the wall was built, to consider other barriers and borders across the globe, to understand the history of the conflict. Not for Katherine. In any event, any questions she does have will be dutifully answered by Electronic Intifada.

Katherine ‘knows the truth’. So much so, she persuaded the Hinde Street Methodist church in London to spread the word to others. A vile display that portrays hearsay as eye witness accounts, ignores history, refuses to condemn violence and doesn’t seem to care why the checkpoints were introduced in the first place. Just how much did they waste on this? They have just let down everyone in London. It’s only the 19th September 2016. Already I gain a sense of what lies ahead. It is going to be a long year.

 

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26 thoughts on “Stupidity, The Hinde Street Methodist Church and Israel

  1. “They have just let down everyone in London”

    At least you’ve not had recourse to exaggeration and overstatement this time David.

    1. Oh Gabriel, you are like a little yapping puppy snapping at my heels. There is nowt wrong with the article and I have clearly been restrained in my criticism. Haven’t you got the latest edition of the Beano or something you can go off and read?

      1. That, David, is what those of us skilled in the art of recognising bullshit would call ‘evasion’.

        You can’t think of any way to justify your ridiculous suggestion that this exhibition has “let down everyone in London”, so you’re trying to bluster your way out of it with ageist putdowns and glittering generalities (“There’s nothing wrong with what I wrote”).

        Be a grown-up. If you stand by what you wrote, explain/ justify it.

        1. Oh Gabriel. In truth, ‘that’ was what most of us would regard as giving you what you deserve. My comment was sound and only someone choosing to pick through my comments in a desperate attempt to find something to shout about would pick up on it. There was no need for this church to do what they did. It is, as any schoolboy knows, at best an ‘un-nuanced and a bit silly’ exhibition. Why a CHURCH in London felt the need to poke Jews (they sounded out a synagogue first so lets not pretend they didn’t make that linkage) at the moment that antisemitism is on newspaper headlines is beyond me. Yes, they let everyone in the city down. We didn’t want or need it here.

          1. “We didn’t want or need it here.”

            You seem to have an interesting attitude toward free speech. Who is this ‘we’ who didn’t want or need the exhibition? I think you probably mean yourself. That’s fine, if you didn’t want it you were free not to go.

            And who did you poll to establish that “everyone in the city” was let down? I don’t imagine the organisers were let down. I don’t imagine non-English-speaking immigrants were let down. I don’t imagine that people who simply hadn’t heard of it happening were let down.

            I think what you really mean is, “The Jewish community was unhappy with the tone and content of the exhibition and were rather it hadn’t happened.”

  2. I suggest that if the Hinde Street parishioners and the “Palestinians” want to know what is worse than queuing at a checkpoint I suggest they try travelling on Southern Rail.

  3. The bottom line with all of this is it has nothing to do with peace. The word is abused so much nowadays, it no loner means anything. The 2nd bottom line is that while many of these exhibits claim to not being anti-Jewish, their arguments always really boil down to the fact that Israel – the Jewish state – is evil. So the checkpoints have nothing to do with security and everything to do with humiliating innocent Arabs. The shooting of terrorists has nothing to do with protecting civilians/soldiers and everything to do with merciless killing of Arabs. Sheesh even a water leakage is an attempt to starve Arabs during Ramadan. This is the basic antisemitic premise of all of these “peace” events.

  4. Is there not something simply disgusting in deliberately misinterpreting a country’s procedures to protect itself from terrorism. Only those with the lowest possible opinion of Jews would seek to describe Israel’s security measures as a deliberate act of hostility towards others. The reality is that if Palestinians had not been bombing Jews ever since Arab Palestine was invented in 1964 then checkpoints would not be necessary.

  5. There are also checkpoints at Israeli malls, the Jerusalem Central Bus Station and at train stations. The point of these is also security. Everyone has to go through them. And Jewish schools and synagogues need extra security that regular Londoners do not have to face in their daily lives.

    Perhaps someone could mention this to the presenters at the church.

    1. To be fair, speaking as someone who has been through West Bank checkpoints, and who has been into Jerusalem Central Bus Station, and someone who has been into London synagogues, there is simply no comparison.

      Checkpoints are imposed on a racial minority by a racial majority; require documents and ID; have arcane rules and opening times; and seriously impede daily life for those subjected to them.

      None of the above is true for security searches at the entrance to malls etc. (at *most* they moderately impede daily life).

      The exhibition was un-nuanced and a bit silly, we all know that. Let’s not overplay our hand.

      1. I absolutely reject that. Checkpoints are not imposed on Arab Israelis. Two brothers both born in Jaffo in 1940, today one lives in the Triangle, the other in Ramallah. What seperates them IS NOT RACE. When one comes up to the checkpoint, it could be the brother who guards the post. The war, the conflict, belief, may make such an event unlikely, but the legal possibility exists. Your description of ‘racial imposition’ then is flawed.

      2. You miss the point. Delays at borders are normal. The delay at Kennedy Airport can easily be up to two hours. Border transit times between Canada and the US in Fort Erie or Niagara Falls are available online. While one can sail across in minutes in the middle of the night, there are time when the queues are just as long. The days of arriving at a major airport and just hopping on a plane are over.

        The fact that a Jewish house of worship or a school or an Israeli mall needs a high level of security is not to be dismissed as a mere inconvenience as it reflects an ongoing threat. If the purpose of the Hinde display is to evoke sympathy one should also reflect that the actual experience is, from all reports, relatively quick – and similar to what would also find at the entrance to Jewish and Israeli institutions. By pointing this out visitors might then understand and sympathize what the proposed targets of Arab violence go through every day.

      3. You have not been through “West Bank checkpoints”. You went through checkpoints in Judea &/or Samaria.
        From 1948-1967 Transjordan seized and occupied much of Judea and Samaria, i.e. the area west of the Jordan River, and annexed it in 1950 renaming it ‘West Bank’ or ‘Cisjordan’ – a translation of the Arabic term ad-Diffah I-Garbiyyah. (‘East Bank’ or ‘Transjordan’ designated the area east of the river).

        Incidentally, at the time, the Arab League regarded the annexation as illegal and void. It was only recognised by the United Kingdom, Iraq and Pakistan

        Jordan ruled over the ‘West Bank’ from 1948 until 1967 ie 19 years and all residents were granted automatic Jordanian citizenship.

        As Israel recaptured the area 49 years ago, why would you insist upon referring to it by the false name given to it by the ‘Jordanians’ and not the correct name, Judea and Samaria?

        If someone kidnapped your child, Henry, & renamed him James, when you finally recovered him, wouldn’t you want to revert to his given name?

        1. I’m glad that your only query with my response to ‘L King’ is with the name I used for the area in question (on which we’ll have to agree to disagree), and not with its substance.

  6. Objection to the settlements rests on the unfounded claim that Israel occupies Judea and Samaria.

    Under international law, an occupier occupies the territory of a foreign sovereign nation. Since there was no sovereign nation holding Judea, Samaria, or, for that matter, the Gaza Strip, and certainly none purporting to have the name “Palestine”, there is no question that the so-called “occupation” by the State of Israel of Judea and Samaria has no foundation whatsoever in international law, nor that of Jordan between 1948 and 1967, which was not recognised by the international community.

    Moreover, the legal purchase of tracts of land, in some cases very large, in Judea and Samaria by individuals as well as organisations such as the Jewish National Fund, must be recognised in law, as the state is only legally entitled to administer public land, not privately held estates. In the case of Judea and Samaria, the claim that the State of Israel occupies land which is in private ownership is equally unfounded, as no court of law will deny the legal deeds of ownership.

    Thus the only description for the status quo is one of being disputed. Clearly there is a common interest for all people in the immediate area to solve the question of Palestinian Arab aggression towards Israel because of the disputed territories and the suggested approach of mutually acceptable land swaps and internationally recognised borders is one to which both parties initially agreed.

    In order to solve a dispute, one must come to the negotiating table and reach out to the other side. It is incumbent on the Palestinian Arab side to hold up their end of the bargain by returning to the negotiating table without preconditions to reach a mutually agreeable solution to the ongoing problem.

    International efforts such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, as well as other legal and political attempts to isolate and stigmatise the State of Israel fundamentally do not help the people living in the affected region to solve their dispute and reach an amicable agreement. They detract from the issues at hand and encourage intransigence on the part of the Palestinian Arabs, for whom this represents a disincentive to continue with negotiations and pursue other attempts to pressure the State of Israel into making unjustified concessions.

    The root of the Palestinian Arab problem is one of demographics, for the continued insistence on the part of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the only such agency for any dispossessed refugees in the world, that the descendants of the approximately 750,000 Arabs who left or were forced out from Mandatory Palestine during the 1948 war are considered to have refugee status makes a complete mockery of the term. The only way in which a semblance of redress can be reached is by declaring only the original refugees to be covered by any legal moves and ensuring that any insistence of a Palestinian “right of return” is governed by such a definition.

    There is no solution to any dispute unless the two parties are prepared to negotiate a settlement. It is vitally important that instead of condemning and isolating the State of Israel, the international community condemns and isolates the Palestinian Authority for its continued intransigence, support of terror, and refusal to return to negotiations. By extension, Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, must equally be isolated and this will include Iran in the mix, unfortunately, which lends material assistance to Hamas.

    There is no easy solution to the problem without a negotiated settlement that includes Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip. However, precious little currently separates Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, both of which seek to destroy the State of Israel and take for themselves what they have proven singularly incapable of building, such is the level of hatred for Jews and Israel they espouse. Again, this behaviour should be widely condemned and instead of pouring billions of dollars in aid without any form of accounting for expense, the gravy train should be stopped by attaching stringent conditions to the money or risk being cut off entirely.

    The end is in sight only once the irrational Jew-hatred, support for violence, intimidation, and terror, and continued intransigence end, and the Palestinian Arabs have leadership that can truly act for the benefit of the ordinary people, who work, raise families, and want a brighter future.

    1. However, as we all know, there is no end in sight, and nor will there ever be one. Arabs will never tolerate a Jewish state on Arab lands and that is the root cause of the dispute.

      Those, like the Methodists, who refuse to acknowledge the real root of this conflict are lending their support to those who wish to destroy Israel – and they appear to care little for the genocide that would be an inevitable part of the process. Be in no doubt! This is a racist conflict where Muslims do not want non-Muslims to live in ‘their lands’ because of their religious beliefs. The problem is that the Palestinian (Arab) supremacist movement has somehow co-opted the left who now find themselves in the indefensible position of supporting and taking the side of the aspirations of a rascist movement that dreams of the return of the Caliphate, against a western style democracy. You could not make it up!

  7. The exhibition was indeed amateurish and simplistic and that in fact makes it worse than the well funded St James effort .The St James Church event had PSC and other main stream Israel hate groups pulling the strings . From what I could see there was no PSC presence or funding . This was cobbled together on a shoe string and suggested it was purely the work of the church . So possibly no in depth PSC involvement . Just the Methodist church proving itself biased and dismissive of the need for security measures to be in place to prevent Palestinian homicide bombers crossing an open border in order to detonate themselves among Israel’s civilian population .
    Any email attempt to highlight these concerns is batted away with the same anodyne heartless response .
    I would like to know whether the Hinde street Babtist church felt similarly aggrieved enough to instal an exhibition depicting the devastation caused to innocent Israelis during the Second Intifada . Rhetorical question obviously as we all know the answer .
    Shame on the church elders for allowing this to take place and then lying about The reason why the wall and checkpoints are there .

  8. A few weeks ago I returned to the UK from Palestine and a disturbing visit that included travel to the Jordan Valley, Hebron, and Bethlehem among other areas in the Occupied Territories . By far the most distressing and enlightening moments came on a tour of checkpoints organised by Israeli women against the occupation. Interested members of the Jewish Community may find it informative to read their Mission statement in Hebrew.
    One leader told us quietly and seriously that she conducted such tours because she loved Israel and the world needed to know what was being done – ‘love demands honesty not cover up’ . There are many very brave people in Israel who are bitterly opposed to the actions of the Israeli Government they can see the long term damage , despite the blind support offered by our government and that of the US . These people from all walks of life , young, old, soldiers ,academics even Auschwitz survivors should expect support from outside the borders of Israel as indeed do those in our country and beyond who see the very real need for the country to be called to account. Such people are not anti Semitic although the government of Israel and a number of members of the Jewish community erroneously , and for political reasons insist on conflating the two. Too many people, Jews and non Jews alike have a fractured incomplete understanding as to how the Israeli state came about and they are equally unaware of the realities of the Israeli State as it is today. In this, our Governments past and present and our Press are complicit in presenting a distorted picture. This church should be congratulated for mounting this Exhibition like the mothers and grandmothers of Machsom Watch it acknowledges that love is ill served by denial of the truth.

    1. Sandy, you are an intelligent guy and yet you fail to identify the elephant in your living room. Nobody has suggested that the current situation is perfect or sustainable. Nor is anyone declaring that there is not hardship suffered by the Arabs in the 67 lands. These are straw men. Just as it is a straw man argument to suggest that people equate criticism of Israel with antisemitism. It’s a comfortable position to hold of course, because it legitimises *all criticism of Israel*. Arresting a black man is not racist. He may be a criminal. And it is comfortable to suggest that it is perfectly legitimate to arrest criminals, even if they are black. But if you have a police force solely arresting black people, placing their actions alone under the microscope and following them around waiting for them to make mistakes, I think you’d agree you would call that police force racist.

      But onto the elephant. You went to the lands taken by Israel in 1967. You did so because it is safe to do so. You did not go to Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Southern Turkey or any of the myriad of places that true human rights abuses occur, because it is not safe to do so. You have limited options if you wish to be a safe humanitarian, Israel is clearly top of the list for that one. So let’s be fair, let’s admit that as far as Israel is concerned it isn’t actually one of the worst abusers at all. It’s like a safari of a human rights case study. You can get to view it all close up, without putting yourself in danger. It would be wrong however to suggest you are actually in a jungle and not a safari, don’t you think?

      Then of course you were hand held. I keep pointing this out to intelligent people such as yourself who don’t seem to get it. Go to Ramallah, go see the situation there. You are being taken on a tour by people who have an agenda who wish you to see things and wish you to understand the message they wish to get across. Have you been to Ramallah? Not as a hand held sightseer, but as a real tourist? Try it. Go see the truth for yourself, it is out there. Do you really need to have someone pointing all this out.

      Just think. Let’s say I organised tours to the UK. I chose to take them to areas of deep unemployment. Where gangs ruled the streets, where people did not go out at night. Where frictions between the police and citizens were so tense, we could see harassment on a daily basis. This sub culture exists and is perhaps worth bringing to the attention of some, but is it the real face of community life in the UK? What if my tours were funded, what if the UK had enemies who were willing to fund all this, to create an industry that would bring 1000’s of people here and focus only on the plight in these fringe areas. What if the UK was in conflict with someone. What if there was actually a conflict taking place? If you place anything under the microscope, it gets to the point that this is all you see. Why do you think you were taken to where you were?

      Given your comments about the way Israel was founded it is clear you have swallowed a false narrative whole. How do you know that what you have read is an accurate description of events? Even the best computers get it all wrong when the programs that are installed contain viruses and other such malware. If your knowledge of the situation is so strong that you are willing to actively participate in seeking the destruction of a liberal democracy, would you be willing to put it to a public challenge which might highlight there are flaws in what you believe and huge holes in the narrative you are pushing?

      Like I said, you are an intelligent guy. It’s a shame you don’t analyse just what type of industry you are helping to perpetuate. It certainly isn’t one that we help anybody, Jew, Muslim or Christian, find the way out of the darkness. There is a conflict taking place. You choose to walk with those that seek to destroy Israel and in doing so perpetuate the conflict. You may feel comfortable because some of them wear the NGO jackets of humanitarian causes, but it doesn’t make it any less harmful. The Arabs in the West Bank should be thankful that Israel is the enemy. If it wasn’t, nobody would be paying any attention. If nobody was paying attention, this would all have finished in 1949. Yours my friend is a heavy guilt, it is the guilt of a naive fool who should have known better.

  9. I was there on Tuesday. I explained to a lady how before the barrier terrorists murdered thousand of Israelis.

    She responded “Murdered? That’s an emotive word. They weren’t murdered. They died”

    You could not make it up …

    1. Jonathan: that lady’s sickening response to you demonstrates the deeply held hatred and ignorance that British people have for Israel and the Jews. In her eyes a Jew can NEVER be a victim, thus, a Jew can never be murdered. They must have ‘done something’ to have caused that death. This New Antisemitism explains why the BBC refuses to call a Palestinian terrorist ‘terrorist.’ It also explains why the New York Times headline today claims ‘a terrorist entered the Israeli Embassy.’

      You challenged an antisemite in a church. I never thought I would write those words about Britain.

      1. Yes. Thank you. And yesterday the Church called the police on trumped up allegations — that we were ‘harassing’ people. What a waste of police time.

        The truth is that they hate the fact that we (and there have been some great non-Jewish activists there too, as well as Jews) are partypoopers. We are raining on their anti-Israel parade. We are spoiling their Israel hatefest with the truth.

        We are not weak Dhimmis anymore. We have Israel.

        F*ck with us and you will get it right back.

        Am Yisroel Chai

        1. Keep up the good work, Jonathan. There is NOTHING that scares the living daylights out of the anti-semite more than when Jews ‘fight’ back.

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