SOAS lies

Bare faced lies, distortion and propaganda at the SOAS centenary talk

SOAS liesLast night 9/3/2017, I had an invite to two very different events. The first, an event at UCL hosted by the UCL Israel Society, with Mohammed Zoabi. The second, part of the SOAS centenary lecture series, with a talk by ‘renowned human rights lawyer’ Raja Shehadeh.

As it was, I chose to see both, an upside to the new trend of live streaming. This a tale of two people. One looking beyond the hate, the other losing himself to it. I am left asking why SOAS chose to place such a moment of recognition on pure anti-Israel slander? Academia is now blind to truth, deaf to reason and actively assisting in spreading propaganda instead of academic research or messages of hope.

Zoabi at UCL

Mohammed Zoabi is a confident young man. Very easy with the audience, and spent most of his time interacting and taking questions. Even with the reflection and confusion that being an Arab inside Israel must bring, he handles these different identities well.

Nor is Zoabi an ‘Israeli apologist’ of any sort. He is clearly moderate, open to criticism and ideologically firmly grounded. It is wrong to suggest Zoabi is a Palestinian Blumenthal or Pappe. Zoabi is no self-hater, he is someone who reaches out to both sides.

What Zoabi clearly carries is recognition that Israel is his state, that much of what is being pushed around by the anti-Israel activists is based on lies and distortion. He recognises both the freedom he experiences and the difficulties that conflict introduces to civil society. Like me, he identifies BDS as problematic and based on false narrative.

Those present clearly enjoyed the event.

Shehadeh at SOAS

Then there was Raja Shehadeh. To understand Raja, you only need to listen to the first 3 minutes of his talk.  He begins by outlining how his father was involved in an attempt to make peace with Israel in 1967. A peace proposal set on the lines of the 1947 partition. A deal supported by ‘50’ Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

He speaks of its rejection as if Israel flatly refusing to return to the November 1947 position because 50 Palestinians asked nicely was extreme or irrational. As if the Arabs had proposed something valid and Israel, the aggressor had refused. Remember, this is not about a return to the 1949 armistice position, but the lines of the November 1947 partition plan, the Arabs had all flatly rejected (that led to the conflict in the first place).

And then to press home how Israel doesn’t want peace, Raja said this:

“As time passed, most of the PLO supporters of the plan were assassinated by Israel, amongst whom were my father (Aziz Shehadeh), Issam Sartawi, Said Hammami, Naem Hader (sp?), Azadin Chalak (sp)? Now 50 years later it is what the PLO and most of the countries of the world are calling for. How much suffering would we all have been spared, had gone through then.”

You can see that excerpt here:


Except none of that is true. His father, was killed with a knife by unknown assailants in 1985. Issam Sartawi was assassinated in 1983, in an attack claimed by the ‘Abu Nidal’ Organization. Said Hammami was assassinated in 1978, also by ‘Abu Nidal’. The last two names may have met similar fate, but I was unable to identify them.

So all murdered, but not by Israel. They were killed by other Arabs for not being extreme enough. The truth is, that like everywhere around Israel, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and, Libya, political opponents have a short shelf life. Being moderate and placing yourself against radical terror organisations, tends to impact on your ability to stay alive. How on earth can Raja stand on a platform at a London university event and calmly blame Israel for Arab clan wars, Arab extremism, the lack of democracy and their inability to live with those that think differently?

A picture inside a deceptive frame

Even the end of that quote delivered by Shehadeh at SOAS is badly misleading. As Raja had referenced a plan to return to the 1947 lines, he has absolutely no right to claim most countries are pushing for it. There is not a single democratic nation anywhere on this planet that supports Israel accepting a return to the partition lines. Not one.

The apparent idea of this SOAS speech was to misdirect, to lie. Providing an image of moderate Palestinians murdered by an Israel that wanted to avoid a generous peace deal the whole world supports. An outright and outrageous lie from beginning to end.

Once the frame had been set in place, Shehadeh continued to set the scenery. The security wall between Israelis and Palestinians, was compared to the Berlin wall that fell in 1989. Then the political situation between Israelis and Palestinians, compared to Apartheid. Why, Shehadeh asks, were the Israelis not ‘inspired’ by the ending of these comparable global situations?

These distortions are sickening. The Berlin wall was built to keep people in, not protect citizens of a democracy from terrorists. And given Zoabi’s talk at UCL, we can safely say the comparison with Apartheid South Africa is part of deliberate propaganda created with intent to deceive. Why was this given a stage at SOAS?

Once the groundwork was completed, Shehadeh began with the usual historical distortion over the 1948/9 events. There is no reflection, no internal responsibility. SOAS had given Shehadeh a stage and he was going to make the most of it. A brutal and bloody civil war that followed the Arab rejection of the partition plan, was turned into Jews turning up and kicking out Arabs. In Shehadeh’s version there are no Arab troops entering British Palestine in early 1948, no heavy Jewish casualties.

SOAS gives a stage to propaganda

He ludicrously goes on to suggest the Palestinians ‘have no voice’. Never in the history of the world, has one tiny struggle had so much attention, nor has a single voice been amplified above all others, so clearly. Never has a voice been spread so widely without any attention paid to the historicity of the narrative it is spreading.  The Palestinians were given a propaganda stage at SOAS during a centenary lecture. They have just celebrated ‘Apartheid week’. No voice? Tell them to stop lying and people might start paying attention.

In quiet, pleasant tones, he piles false accusation on top of vile slander. Israel’s occupation is ‘lucrative’, as if an innovative, entrepreneurial nation wouldn’t view an open Middle East as opportunity. He speaks of the ‘master race’, of ‘BBC bias’ (they gave both sides a chance to talk – that apparently is bias), suggested Israel ‘needs conflict to survive’, that Israel is ‘betting on the collapse of international law’ and suggested the only reason Israel is not tearing itself apart is because of the occupation. This accusation as Palestinians are little more than warring sects at present and the entire Middle East burns.

Then the human interest stories begin. The usual strategy of Palestinian propaganda. It isn’t enough just to tell people false information, you need to make them want to take action. Unsubstantiated stories, in the rabbit hole of discussion over Israel’s behaviour in the West Bank.

Shehadeh finishes by pushing BDS. He says “that is why BDS, Boycott Divestment, Sanctions strategy is a source of hope”.  This a university event, ‘coincidentally’ falling during the Apartheid Week schedule. It had lies, it had ‘Apartheid’, it had ‘BDS’. A talk so bias, so full of lies, so vile, it could have been arranged by the Palestinian Society. Baroness Valerie Amos should be ashamed of herself.

It is disgraceful this was on the schedule. Shehadeh should not have been at SOAS speaking that night. He should have been at UCL to listen to Mohammed Zoabi. If he had opened his eyes and ears, he would even have learnt something.


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44 thoughts on “Bare faced lies, distortion and propaganda at the SOAS centenary talk

  1. Well done David.
    Indeed all these people he mentioned were murdered by fellow Palestinians for being willing to conduct a dialogue with Israelis. Hamami was killed at his London desk and Sartawi during a conference in Portugal in which Israelis participated. The same applied to the others, including his father who was considered moderate.

  2. Shehadeh: “What I find most unpalatable is the extent of the meanness and utter Kafkaesque absurdity that is so often displayed by Israel. The Israeli authorities refuse to allow children from Gaza to come for cancer treatment accompanied by their mother or any other relative, unless they are over 55 years of age.”

    What a POS. And how disgraceful that Achcar and Amos see this as a fitting way of commemorating SOAS’s centenary.

    SOAS: The School of Organised AntiSemitism

  3. It seems that I missed a fascinating event littered with piles of propaganda. Well, we were away hence my inability to attend.

    Propaganda was the innovation of the Italian Fascists. It has obviously worked so well in the past that given the right speaker, the BS can be very convincing coming from the right speaker. However, we must not be dis-heartened. When propaganda is employed, it means that the protagonists have run out of truth end integrity.

  4. Shehadeh’s Lie: “A 32 year old lived with his ailing mother in a West Bank refugee camp woke up as soldiers burst into the house. They shot him 11 times, claiming he threatened them with a knife and locked his mother Fawziya in the bedroom.”

    Truth: According to the IDF – which was conducting an arrest raid – Muhammad a-Salahi rushed at the soldiers with a knife in hand and did not heed calls to stop. A-Salahi had served time in Israeli jail. Explosive devices were thrown at the troops and they were shot at during the raid.

  5. Shehadeh: “Consider the song Jerusalem of Gold, written by the Israeli national poet, Nomi Shemer. It describes East Jerusalem in 1967 as ‘an empty place without residents. The water wells ran dry. The market square is empty’ In her eyes the Arabs were merely transparent figures.”

    It’s a lie. Here are the words: “We have returned to the cisterns, to the market and to the market-place” – Nothing about ‘an empty place without residents’

    1. The first version of Naomi Shemer’s “Jerusalem of Gold” does indeed speak of an empty market square, etc. It was composed just before the Six Day War, and it refers to the Old City of Jerusalem, then empty of Jews (due to ethnic cleansing by the Arab Legion in 1948). Shemer rewrote that verse after the war, with the words that you quote replacing the “empty place” lyrics, and other joyfully triumphant phrases inserted. The return she speaks of is the return of the Jews to the Old City.

    2. So yo say “It’s a lie” but then misquote the poem; his reading is accurate. Don’t you feel any obligation to apologise? Otherwise, it does make you look like the liar.

  6. Shehadeh: “Israel needs the conflict for its very existence.”


    “The sad fact is that Israel does not want peace.”


    “Before Zionism, Arabs and Jews lived together in peace.”

    Not true. There was frequent Arab aggression. For example in 1929 – 19 years before the creation of Israel – some 67 Jews were murdered in Hebron by Arabs, incited to violence by false rumours that Jews were planning to seize control of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

    1. I think you need to read some history. There were Jewish and Arab communities living side by side in Palestine for many generations before the influx from Europe and the Zionist programme to build a spate community (including “Hebrew Labour”). They co-existed largely in peace. Jerusalem is but one example.

      You really need to educate yourself a little better before sounding off.

      1. Oh yes the notorious cross dresser David Singer. yyyyyyyyaaaaawwwwwnnnnn

        And it looks like you were a bit premature Harv. Whats the expression the kids use online……

        Oh yeah….

        1. So cross dressers are notorious.Judeophobic and now transgenphobic
          You really are a piece

  7. Fantastic to see Jonathan Hoffman making an utter tit of himself once more. He is an asset to the anti-Zionist cause every time he opens his big fat mouth. He yelled at Shehadeh that it was a “a lie” that Israel does not permit escorts under the age of 55 to accompany residents of Gaza who need to attend hospitals in Jerusalem, so children have to go without their mothers. Far from being a lie, it’s a simple fact.

    He really is an utter berk.

    1. John – Personal insults are unnecessary and unwelcome here. If it is a simple fact that mothers under the age of 55 are unable to travel with their children for cancer treatment, can you provide me with the source of the information please? (I am aware of the Haaretz article in DEC 2015, but this says they can apply for security clearance).

    2. You see John. With a little digging I found the WHO monthly statistics for ‘Health Access for Referral Patients from the Gaza Strip’. It doesn’t say there is no access under 55 at all, and the more I reflect on the original story, the more it seems weak. Suggesting those under 55 need a security check, suggests those over 55 don’t. It also implies that prior to the ruling, those under 55 didn’t neither a check either, which is absurd.

      The WHO report (which considering how it receives its data, can hardly be considered as anything but unfavourable to Israel) states:

      65% of patients’ companions are denied/ delayed permits: The approval rate for permit applications of patient companions was 35%; about 9.7% of the companions were denied permits and the remaining 55.3%
      were still pending at the time of the patients’ hospital dates.

      It isn’t pretty, but it suggests that anyone saying Israel has placed a blanket ban on all those companions under 55 is lying. This from page 5 of the November report, confirms that there is no blanket ban

      “In November, 2,990 applications for relatives accompanying patients (including parents of children) were submitted to the Israeli authorities.
      Only one first-degree relative is permitted to accompany a Gaza patient and permits are conditional on security clearance for all persons under the age of 55 years.
      Approval rates for patients’ companions have declined steadily from 2012 to October 2016; in November an improvement was seen although still more permits were denied or delayed than approved: 42.7% were approved,6.8% were denied and 50.5% were delayed and pending”.

      I think the person on that stage during the centenary speech was telling porkies.

      1. See the “Physicians For Human Rights” letter to Major General Yoav Mordechai Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (“escorts are limited in age to people over 55”) -escorts, David, not patients and the Israel reply that the restriction had been applied and was justified on “security considerations”. All those mothers with cancer afflicted children must be a terrible security threat.

        We all know people have died trying to reach hospital held sometimes for many hours at checkpoints. What I find odd is that as a human being you find it impossible to just say this is wrong and shouldn’t happen.

        You’re so busy trying to make your political and propaganda points that along the way you lose your sense of human decency.

        1. John

          You are creating a vicious straw man. At no point have I suggested that there is not a real issue with companions or indeed those seeking medical attention. That is not the issue, nor will I be drawn into an argument over the validity of Israel’s security concerns.

          The claim was a simple one. That those under 55 *cannot* get through, *are not allowed* and therefore a blanket ban exists.

          If he had said he deplored Israel’s selective process, that it placed urgent medical needs alongside a slow paced bureaucratic process and the result was that many mothers could not accompany their children. I probably would not have said a word (opinions are allowed to differ). However he did not do this.

          You are arguing that ‘human decency’ should force us into accept every falsehood, every demonisation, just because it suits our political arguments. I reject it and will not be drawn into an argument built on false logic. His statement is beyond deceptive, it seems to be an outright lie. Can’t you both *accept that* and maintain your political position? Or is your political position such, that truth is no longer a relevant part of it?


      And here is a video of 6 year old Aya with leukaemia, being treated in Israel. She is with her mother, Ibitsam Abbad Al-Aall. Who looks to me to be well under 55 years old. What do you think, John? If she is over 55 she has aged remarkably well, right John?

      Yes Shehadeh was lying.

      Yes I did call him out for the lie.

      Yes I was the only one who did.

      Yes I would do it again, no question — even it means being called an “utter tit” and “utter berk” by Israel haters like you.

      1. You think I say you’re a berk because I hate Israel. There is a much simpler explanation: I say it because you behave like a complete idiot. The judgement is one of your embarrassing, loutish behaviour, you’re “look at me, look at me, I like to shout” narcissistic personality disorder, the fact that time after time you prove incapable of controlling yourself and behaving in a civilised manner as you desperately seek attention. I can only imagine your mother didn’t love you enough. No politics there, mate, just a judgement on one individual’s behaviour and mental disorder.

        1. Difference between you and me John:

          You sat there on Thursday prepared to believe the lies.

          I didn’t. – but only when he finished speaking did I remonstrate.

          It’s not about Israel.

          It’s about truth and lies.

        2. Hypocrite
          BDS have constantly used loutish behaviour to shit down Israeli cultural events , academics , etc . Witness third rate diva and narcissist Deborah Fink bastardising Ode to Joy in the disruption of the IPO at the Summer Proms 2011 . Or Greenstein running amok at Habima . JH is a paragon of virtue compared to those louts

        1. nobody is arguing that some mothers are not permitted to exit. This is a straw man you are fighting. The question is does a process exist, where mothers can apply and receive permission to exit Gaza and to accompany their children when they receive treatment. It seems such a process is in effect and does exist. Regardless of the fairness (which is not being argued), or the validity of the security restriction (which is not being argued), the battle being fought is over the existence of a blanket ban. The statement made by Shehadeh is either true or false based on what he said, and it seems as if he wasn’t telling the truth.

          1. “Nobody is arguing that some mothers are not permitted to exit”. Physicians For Human Rights, Doctors Without Borders and Medical Aid for Palestinians have all stated that escorts under 55 are not permitted as a matter of course and have applications for clearance refused. There may be exceptions but that does not make what Shehadeh said a lie, it makes Hoffman either wrong (if he didn’t know the facts) or a lair (if he did).

            Which is it?

            1. Now you are just spinning. Given the situation between Hamas run Gaza and Israel, nobody would suggest Israel shouldn’t ‘vet’ those that seek to enter Israel. Again, given the urgency of medical assistance and the slower train of providing security clearance, it is obvious that the situation would lead to some awful situations that deny parental companionship to children needing medical assistance. More so if they were clear issues with the activities of one of the parents. I have no problem admitting that my heart bleeds for what I believe are some truly genuine humanitarian issues. We can both agree the situation is a vile one, even if we would never agree about the cause.

              Shehadeh did not mention the security clearance, nor did he suggest exceptions. His statement would be taken by those listening to be exactly as stated. That Israel has banned anyone under 55 from accompanying children in need of medical assistance. I am unsure why you are even trying to suggest there is truth in that statement. If there is no integrity to the way you discuss, there is little point in continuing because it isn’t truth you are looking for.

    1. “Gaza Cancer Patients Denied Medical Treatment
      An increase in security blocks placed on those attempting to exit Gaza has direct consequences on patients trying to receive treatment.” Ha’aretz 7 Jan 2017

      In December 2015, PHRI received a large number of requests from patient escorts who had had their application to travel outside the Gaza Strip denied. Our inquiry indicated that the Israeli authorities had taken new measures making it harder to grant permits to escorts under the age of 55; patients were required to replace younger escorts with escorts aged over 55, and escorts under the age of 55 were called in for ISA interrogations on a larger scale. This toughening of the policy was mainly detrimental to children, who usually go out for medical treatment accompanied by their parents—most of them younger than 55; with their parents disqualified as escorts, they now missed medical treatments or were forced to part with their parents for the duration of the treatment.


    ‘The lecture (which I attended) was an absolute disgrace. A solid hour of lies and vilification of Israel, with no Q and A. It was not part of Israel Apartheid Week – it was organised by the University. But it was every bit as distorted and mendacious as any of the three IAW events I have attended (blogging three of them). ‘

    ‘Memo to Baroness Amos: No, it’s not just ‘different opinions’ (as you said to me on Thursday evening). SOAS at 100 has few Jewish students. Unless things change – and they must – SOAS will be Jew-free many years before the bicentennial.’

    1. “SOAS will be Jew-free many years before the bicentennial”

      I’m sure you’ll still be hanging around there looking to find people you imagine hate you because of your religion rather than because you’re a buffoon and offensive with it.

      If Israel is so great, why are you hanging around in London like a bad smell?

  9. Interesting. Here is a bit of research for you David. I know research is your strong point. There are about 280,000 Jews in the country. How many are of University going age ? Of those how many are currently studying at University ? If you divided those into the number of universities how does 100 at SOAS look to you ?

      1. Well Jonathan is saying that 100 Jewish students at one college of one university is ” a few” and a sign that SOAS is well on the way to being Jew free. Was wondering how this stacked up.

        1. Ah sorry misunderstood. He means at 100 years old. Ignore me, my cat does..

          Except despite my misunderstanding there is the question of how many is a few. Jonathan ?

  10. Information on patients+escorts from Gaza sent to me by COGAT (The Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories)

    2013: 22,380
    2014: 26,419
    2015: 31,787
    2016: 30,768

    (Note that in 2016 the new tighter security requirement was introduced because of the numbers of terrorists using the compassionate route to gain access to Israel.

    2016: 5,544 Gaza residents under the age of 55 entered Israel as escorts to patients.
    2016: 11,667 Gaza residents of all ages entered Israel as escorts to patients.

    Just this Saturday a 4-year-old child was suffering from kidney failure and was brought to Israel with her 23-year-old mother as an escort.

  11. But if you won’t accept the word of Doctors Beyond Borders, Physicians for Human Rights, Medical Aid for Palestinians, reports in Ha’aretz etc , why should we accept as “evidence” those imposing the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. It’s like citing a Nazi as evidence no one starved in Belsen.

  12. Bit of as theme with you I’ve noticed – everyone else believes lies, everyone else is brainwashed. But not you John Boy, because you’re clearly clever than everyone else, indeed a superior human being, one of the chosen ones.

    The only problem is the few times I’ve heard you speak a coherent sentence (rather than shouting at people for which I would agree you show a special skill) you’ve not sounded terribly bright.

    I recall you quoting the Geneva Convention – not only did you cite the wrong article, you couldn’t even get the part you meant to refer to correct.

    Do you think it might be possible that some of those “brainwashed” people at places like UCL and SOAS might actually know more about the history and politics of Israel/Palestine than you do?

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