Here‘s what happened:
The Israeli army have killed 15 Palestinians and wounded a staggering 1,400 more after Israeli forces opened fire on protestors marching near the Israel-Gaza border [on March 30].
Following the shocking killings, the Palestinian authority have declared [March 31] a day of mourning.
The incidents occurred as Israeli forces opened fire with live ammunition and tear gas against reportedly unarmed protestors who were marching as part of a major demonstration marking the 42nd anniversary of Land Day.
Land Day marks the incident in 1976 where the Israeli army killed 6 unarmed Palestinian civilians who were protesting against the Israeli government forcibly taking over huge swathes of Palestinian land.
Channel 4 News provides this coverage:
Thank you Channel 4 for reporting, in detail, what the BBC dare not. Palestine's Bloody Sunday. pic.twitter.com/GwPDGY5gVb
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) March 31, 2018
The current estimate of the death toll is 17, at the time of writing – including children. The Israeli representative’s claim of violence from the Palestinians is… challenging, as nobody involved in the protest was (as I understand it) armed in any way.
See for yourself:
— RosmeWarda_Palestine (@RosmeWarda) March 30, 2018
Here’s what the Board of Deputies of British Jews had to say about it:
Alarming developments at Gaza border as Hamas once again using its civilians – inc children – as pawns. We call for calm & a return to negotiating table, resulting in a secure, Jewish & democratic Israel alongside a viable & vibrant Palestinian state. https://t.co/GKeuMTw5Pj
— Board of Deputies of British Jews (@BoardofDeputies) March 30, 2018
This appears to be victim-blaming of the very worst kind. Look at the evidence:
The Palestinian people are nobody's "pawns". The Hamas leadership is actually responding to popular pressure to organise this march — not the other way around.
The Palestinian refugees' return is an inalienable right and there's nothing you can do to stop it. 🗝 🇵🇸 https://t.co/FNYsvr6Rqf
— Asa Winstanley (@AsaWinstanley) March 30, 2018
So – victim-blaming by the Board of Deputies – right, Mehdi?
I stand with @BoardofDeputies against anti-Semitism and bigotry.
I sadly can’t stand with them on Israel. This is an appalling tweet, blaming the victims. As Israeli human rights groups have noted, unarmed demonstrators are being shot & killed by the IDF:https://t.co/KmXSYDnGYL https://t.co/zJKmX1WQiD
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) March 30, 2018
Right. But there’s no reason to be surprised. Victim-blaming is what the Board of Deputies does.
Look at the recent controversy over Mear One’s mural – which the artist claimed was anti-banker but which opponents of Jeremy Corbyn claimed was anti-Semite (not all Jews agree – see this article, for example) – because he had written a Facebook post asking why it was being taken down, on the understanding that the issue was about free speech, not anti-Semitism.
Somebody dug up Mr Corbyn’s post and used it to attack him for something that was not his fault. He didn’t create the mural. He wasn’t aware of its significance when he wrote his post. And he withdrew even tacit support for it when he realised what was going on. But he was attacked for it nonetheless.
And the Board of Deputies leapt to join that attack – in the opinion of This Writer, for political purposes. Remember, Jonathan Arkush has been vocal in supporting the Conservatives and the DUP recently – he’s no Labour supporter.
All these strands of argument came together when a social media commentator was labelled an anti-Semite for criticising Israel for committing the murders that took place on Friday, by someone who added, as further justification, “You support Corbyn.”
Before the death toll had risen to 15, pro-Jeremy Corbyn disability activist, Nadeem Ahmed had initially tweeted about the incident, saying:
“Israel just killed 10 young Palestinian protesters. The Israeli Government have committed many war crimes and mass murder of innocent Palestinians. When will our world leaders speak out and put an end to this horrific crime.“
However, Ahmed’s criticism of the Israeli government – who have beenaccused of committing numerous counts of war crimes by the United Nationsduring the withering aerial bombardment of Gaza in 2014 – was labelled as anti-Semitic by another social media user.
Tax Attorney, and prominent Israel-supporter Chaim Gordon, quote tweeted Ahmed branding him a ‘Corbyn supporting anti-semite’ for his statement denouncing Israeli’s extra-judicial killing of 15 Palestinian protestors earlier today.
Ahmed replied, asking Gordon “How is criticising Israeli gov ant Semitism“, with Gordon responding alleging that ‘these protesters are being sent by Hamas. You know that.‘ and ‘also, you support Corbyn.’
The Evolve Politics article from which the above is quoted (no doubt Evolve is now on the Board of Deputies’ sh*t-list and will soon be facing anti-Semitism accusations of its own, if it hasn’t already) goes on to point out that “many Twitter users were quick to defend Ahmed’s stances, with one telling Gordon “You do the campaign against bigotry no favours labelling someone anti-semitic simply for supporting Jeremy Corbyn.“, whilst another said “Your hollow cries of antisemitism belittle those who have actually suffered and died at the hands of antisemites. Shame on you Chaim.“”
And public opinion seems to be with the victims, not the blamers, for a change:
Israel has predictably begun killing unarmed demonstrators in the Great March of Return#GreatReturnMarch#FreePalestine @georgegalloway @RT_com @raymonddelauney @Joo_Gaza @GaryLineker @jeremycorbyn pic.twitter.com/hSysb0pvW9
— Mohammed Khan (@sarah_nowha1234) March 30, 2018
10 Palestinians killed and 1,000 injured for protesting. Shooting at civilians that are protesting isn’t democratic, it’s repulsive and illegal. The Israeli army have constantly fired at Palestinian protestors.
— aleesha (@a_leesha1) March 30, 2018
Appalling scenes from #Gaza
My understanding was that this was a peaceful protest. People were targeted by snipers and 12 people have so far died? An appalling response from the IDF and the current Government of Israel. Please let people peacefully march in peace?
— Jo Phillips (@joglasg) March 30, 2018
"Tonight, as #Jews across the world gather at the #Passover #Seder to remember our own story as a people questing for a #homeland, we honor and recognize the yearning for a homeland [of the people of #Palestine] propelling today’s #LandDay protests." #Gaza https://t.co/be3bb35ITS
— Richard Woolley (@beingrichard) March 30, 2018
Israeli soldiers have been shooting at Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza since this morning. At least 10 Palestinians have been killed, including a minor, at least 1,000 wounded. Shooting at unarmed demonstrators is illegal & any command allowing such action is manifestly illegal pic.twitter.com/luRcFuAOCZ
— B'Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) March 30, 2018
Grim to be having Passover which celebrates the liberation of an oppressed people in the Middle East, and then read this: https://t.co/CJDisv533y
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) March 30, 2018
At a time when Jewish people have been celebrating Passover, and freedom from oppression, it would be a welcome move for the Board of Deputies to admit it was wrong to side with Israel on this matter.
In fairness the organisation did support British Muslims when Leave.EU attacked them with a racist tweet last week…
Completely unacceptable from @LeaveEUOfficial – please delete and apologise now. Some of the best allies we have in the struggle against antisemitism are Muslims, @SadiqKhan, @TellMamaUK and more. This is not the way to challenge antisemitism. https://t.co/TQHlpLOq40
— Board of Deputies of British Jews (@BoardofDeputies) March 29, 2018
… so there is hope.
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