Gloucestershire Palestine Day – Saturday 26th June

Organised by the good folk of the Friendship Cafe (Gloucester), in conjunction with the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition

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Protests against Israel’s massacre of peace activists

Stop The War is estimating that 20,000 people attended the demo in London at the weekend.  The demo was held to protest Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza, and also to give voice to participants’ determination that Furkan Dogan, Ibrahim Bilgen, Ali HaydarBengi, Cevdet Kiliçlar, Çetin Topçuoglu, Necdet Yildirim, Fahri Yaldiz, Cengiz Songür, Cengiz Akyüz did not die in vain.  Most of these activists were shot in the head at close range by Israeli commandos who had illegally boarded the Mavi Marmara in international waters.

Also at the weekend, a small but merry band of GPSC activists took to the streets of Cheltenham to encourage folk there to act where the UK government is seemingly unwilling to act.  The stall was very well received by passers-by, with lots of people stopping to take free literature and leaving email addresses.  And the central message – to boycott Israeli goods and institutions until such time as the State of Israel complies with international law – is, I’m pleased to report, slowly but surely permeating popular consciousness.  

GPSC Stall, Cheltenham - 5th June

GPSC will be running further stalls in Cheltenham town-centre on the following dates: 

3rd July 

7th August 

11th September 

16th October 

13th November 

11th December 

All the above are Saturdays, and meeting point for all is the Mirage Cafe @ 1:45pm.  Please do come and help if you can, even if just for a short while. 

In solidarity, 

Joe

Israeli commandos massacre peace activists

Everyone will have seen the news by now. About 36 hours ago, Israeli commandos stormed the vessels comprising the Freedom Flotilla, in international waters, and proceeded to shoot and kill at least 10 activists, maybe more, with scores of others injured. GPSC would like to extend its heartfelt sympathies to the victims’ families and also express its solidarity with all those who were aboard the flotilla, a great many of whom have been detained in Israel against their will. One such detainee is Ibrahim Musaji, a Gloucester-based activist, who – we understand – has not been injured.

The Israelis have had the chutzpah to claim that lethal force was justified because some activists violently attacked the soldiers as they boarded, as if the illegal act of boarding itself, in international waters where Israel has no jurisdiction, was inconsequential. The BBC, in its effort to churn out a continuous stream of coverage, has dutifully echoed the Israeli justifications, despite at the same acknowledging that Israel has yet to allow activists aboard the flotilla to speak to the press and present their “version of events”. It’s a familiar Israeli tactic, honed over many years, and put to good use during Operation Cast Lead – provide the BBC with privileged access to key Israeli spokespeople, as often as possible and in as short a space of time as possible, in the hope that the news agenda can be set and the falsehoods rooted before the victims of Israeli aggression finally get to give their version of events to the press. This evening, the first accounts from activists aboard the flotilla as it was stormed have appeared and – guess what – they contradict the official Israeli narrative.

So how has our coalition government fared thus far in terms of its response?

William Hague, member of the Conservative Friends of Israel and fierce defender of the rights of war criminals to travel the globe free from fear of prosecution, has stated that he “deplores the loss of life” during the Israeli assault. This might seem reasonable at first, but the wording – “loss of life” – is a clear attempt to side-step direct condemnation of Israel, and also muddies the waters by allowing the possibility of blame to be attached to the organisers and participants of the flotilla. [It’s a similar story over at the White House, where the not-so-progressive Obama “regrets the loss of life” during Israel’s raid, almost as if the protesters were not brutally gunned down, but rather involved in some mysterious and tragic accident. Worse still, the US have watered down a UN resolution by proposing that Israel investigate itself rather than be investigated by an independent UN commission, which is – quite simply – laughable.]

Nick Clegg, meanwhile, has finally piped up with a statement on the Israeli assault, but again, there is no direct condemnation of Israel. Clegg even adds the rider that “Israel has every right to defend its citizens from attack”… an argument Israel has used as cover for state terrorism and creeping ethnic cleansing for literally decades. I can also confirm that local MP Martin Horwood has yet to respond to the emails that have been sent to him by GPSC members, so I can only hope this is because he’s been furiously beavering away in his bunker trying to get Clegg to make a statement.

So where does this leave us? Well, in a sane world, Israel’s barbaric action against ordinary folk of conscience attempting to break an illegal and immoral blockade would have been met with a firm and decisive response from the UK government, i.e. the breaking of diplomatic ties and the immediate imposition of sanctions at an absolute minimum. But alas, the world is not sane, and our elected politicians have – predictably – failed to take yet another glaring opportunity to apply the pressure necessary to force Israel to comply with international law. As the excellent Robert Fisk writes in today’s Independent: “it is a fact that it is ordinary people, activists, call them what you will, who now take decisions to change events” because “our politicians are too spineless, too cowardly, to take decisions to save lives”.  In short, then: it’s up to an oragnised citizenry to lead the leaders.

**GPSC members will be out leafleting in Cheltenham this Saturday, assembling at 1:45pm in the Mirage Cafe (over the road and a bit further up from the Central Library). Please do come along and lend a hand if you have time. If you need further info, please call 07818 032021**

Addendum: A further aid ship, the Irish-registered Rachel Corrie, is currently on its way to break the blockade. Israel has said it will intercept this ship also. Turkey, meanwhile, has said it may send a warship to escort the Corrie to Gaza. Ergo, much as the Israelis would like it to, this issue isn’t going away any time soon.

13 UK Volunteers Missing after Israeli Attack on Free Gaza Flotilla

These are the names of 13 British people captured or injured in the Israeli assault which took place in the early hours of this morning aboard the Turkish Humanitarian ship “Mavi Marmara”.

MISSING VOLUNTEERS
Sarah Colbourne
Hassan Ghani
Kevin Ovenden
Alex Phillips (Lorty)
Nader Daher
Nicola Enchmarch
Alex Harrison
Ismail Patel
Sidique Hajee
Ibrahim Musaji*
Peter Viner
Mohammed Bayyat
Ashan Shamrak

Call The Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London 020 7008 1500 and provide the names as above as missing.

As far as we know our colleagues are not injured.

Urgent help is requested by everyone to alert the FCO in London, demand that a safe passage for these innocent people is immediately made. Demand that they are all treated fairly and are all provided with medical assistance. Demand that the FCO are provided with proof by the Israeli government that these people are all safe and demand their whereabouts now!

*Ibrahim Musaji is a Gloucester-based activist who has helped GPSC on several occasions with events/leafleting.  We hope and pray for his safe return.

Reproduced from BG-Link:  http://bglink.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=3909835:BlogPost:9228&xgs=1&xg_source=msg_share_post

Two early tests of the Lib Dems’ commitment to Palestine

Test 1 – Reaction to Freedom Flotilla

As the Tory-Lib Dem coalition gears up for an assault on our public services, the Israelis are gearing up for an assault on the Freedom Flotilla, a fleet of 8 boats carrying much needed humanitarian aid that is now only hours away from the Gaza coast.  Mark Regev and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been spouting their usual garbage, while Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s openly racist Deputy Prime Minister, has declared that the flotilla will be stopped “at any cost”.

But what sort of response can we expect from our recently installed “progressive coalition”?  In particular, what can we expect from the Lib Dem contingent?  Prior to the election, the Lib Dems were keen to stress to pro-Palestinian voters that they were prepared to act against Israel where the other parties were not.  Nick Clegg even wrote a piece in the Guardian strongly condemning the blockade of Gaza.  A couple of choice quotes:

And what has the British government and the international community done to lift the blockade? Next to nothing. Tough-sounding declarations are issued at regular intervals but little real pressure is applied. It is a scandal that the international community has sat on its hands in the face of this unfolding crisis.”

What will be the state of Gaza’s drinking water by next December? Of the health of its children? Of the economy? The attitude of its people towards Egypt and Israel? The risk of waiting another year is too great. Gordon Brown and the international community must urgently declare that enough is enough. The blockade must end.”

Indeed it must.  So let’s not let Nick Clegg and his party forget the above words when, as seems inevitable, the coalition allows the next bout of Israeli piracy and kidnapping to pass with barely a whimper.

Test 2 – Proposed Changes to Universal Jurisdiction

Unsurprisingly, William Hague has recently reaffirmed his view that UK laws relating to universal jurisdiction should, and indeed will, be amended to allow Israeli war criminals to travel to the UK without fear of being arrested.  Slightly more surprisingly, Hague claims that this is “well understood and agreed within the coalition government”.  I say “slightly more surprisingly” because an overwhelming majority of Liberal Democrat MPs signed Early Day Motion 502 which states “that this House believes that universal jurisdiction for human rights abuses is essential as part of the cause of bringing to justice those who commit crimes against humanity and will oppose any legislation to restrict this power of UK courts”.

Which of course begs the obvious question: how can the coalition be “agreed” if the vast majority of Lib Dems are opposed?  Could this be yet another instance of the Lib Dem leadership trading principles for power, selling the more progressive elements within the party down the river in the process? Well, we’ll soon be finding out.

Joe

Life in Dheisheh

Dheisheh refugee camp is located just south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. It was established in 1949 as a temporary refuge for thousands of Palestinians forcibly driven from their homes by zionist settlers in 1948. 62 years later and this “temporary refuge” still stands, and its Palestinian population continues to expand.  Joanne, one of the founding members of GPSC, has been taking tour groups to Palestine for years and brings us the following account from Dheisheh…

12 May 2010, Dheisheh

“It seems the Israelis want to isolate Bethlehem and make it difficult to go in and out. We stay there, and I had some problems when leaving each morning in the coach to go to Jerusalem etc. The checkpoint works very slowly, and the apathetic soldiers, male and female, take their time to check each coach, but it’s not real checking!! One day they just walk through with their guns, and another time they say to hold up passports for checking, but they don’t look into them, and one morning they want it open at the entry visa which you have to point to as they pass.

It all takes time and so on subsequent mornings we have to leave half an hour earlier to allow enough time. We had to miss some visits because of the delays, so it was difficult as they had to be fitted in on another day.

The knock on effect of that was that we had to request breakfast earlier for the rest of our time there, and as I stay in Yousef’s house, I saw him getting very tired when he had to go to the hotel every day at 5.30 or 6am to do breakfast.

Re Water….It was cut off when I arrived. We ordered a tanker, but luckily the water came on that day, so we canceled the tanker. It was running very slowly so the tanks on the roof did not fill completely when it went off again. It was still off 10 days later, and we had to go onto the reserve tank. The next day, it came on again, but only stays a few days. It’s a constant worry there. The Palestinians pay about £55 for the tanker to deliver, and few can afford it, so when we buy water, we give it to the neighbours who need it , and sometimes get 3 more around the camp. Israelis never have their water turned off, and use at least 4 times more than in the territories. They pay a quarter of the price so their water will cost the same as the Palestinians who have 1/4 of the amount.

There are nightly incursions of the army into the camps at night. They are arresting people, who ‘are wanted’, but never say what they are charged with.

Now there are problems as the Palestinian government have ordered that NO goods are to be sold in the West Bank and Gaza, from the settlements. They can buy Israeli stuff, but not settlement produce. They are checking and burning it at the checkpoints, which has upset the Israelis, and the other day they shot a 14 year old boy dead, who was near one of these points. Bear in mind, that the Israelis have built the wall on Palestinian lands and have taken a lot of farm land. This means they cannot access their land on the other side of the wall. Also, if they do pick their produce to sell in the market in Bethlehem, they have to pass checkpoints, where they are made to unload it for checking, and carry it through, and reload onto another vehicle on the other side. It makes it all very expensive for the loading and transportation costs, and because of the delays and handling, the stuff is not so fresh any more. It’s easier to just buy the Israeli stuff, though it does not taste so nice as it’s all ‘forced’ in greenhouses, and not grown on the land. The Palestinian produce is called ‘biladi’ as it is grown on the land…and it may not look so perfect, but tastes nicer….a bit like our organic!”

 

Make Palestine the issue on Thursday!

Cheltenham, as most will know, is a two-horse race between the Conservative candidate and the Liberal Democrat incumbent. Here’s a very brief summary of where each stands on Israel/Palestine…

Mark Coote

Visited Israel courtesy of the inluential lobby group Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) back in 2007. Subsequently accepted a donation of £2000 from the Lewis Trust Group, one of the key backers of CFI. In conversation with GPSC in December 2009, seemed very willing to listen, but gave very little away regarding his own position; until the end of the evening that is, when – in answer to the question of what he considered was the first step to peace – he said that “Hamas needed to lay down arms and recognise Israel”. Lest folk forget, this was post Israel’s murderous assault on Hamas-run Gaza in 2008/9, an assault described by renowned international jurist Richard Goldstone as a “deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population”.

Martin Horwood

Has consistently taken GPSC’s concerns to the relevant Foreign Office officials, and – in conversation with GPSC in January 2010 – confirmed he advocated a solution rooted in international law. Also seemed aware of the importance of both addressing and ultimately resolving the key issue, that of the refugees driven from their homes in 1948 and ever since denied the right of return, in contravention of international law. Horwood has also endorsed an official Liberal Democrat pledge on Palestine which, though it doesn’t go far enough, represents a welcome departure from the status quo positions adopted by both the Conservatives and Labour. The pledge can be found at: http://www.palestinecampaign.org/index7b-2.asp?m_id=1&l1_id=3&l2_id=51&content_ID=1268

Mark Coote responds to open letter

Received Friday 30th April.

———————————————–

Dear Mr Causon

Thank you for your open email.

When I accepted the invitation to attend a meeting of the Cheltenham branch of the Gloucestershire Palestine Solidarity Group last December I made it quite clear I had visited Israel the previous year, with other candidates, at the invitation of the Conservative Friends of Israel. The three-night visit was registered with the Electoral Commission entirely as the rules dictate.

I made it very clear at that meeting that I was open-minded about the debate over the Middle East. Indeed my reason for accepting your invitation was to acquaint myself with your arguments and broaden my exposure to the issues, as is my membership of the Conservative Middle Eastern Council. I subsequently attended the public meeting at St Matthews Church in February of the Gloucestershire Palestine Solidarity Group.

The donation to my campaign from David Lewis, whom I know and have met many times in a social context and not always through his affilitaion to the Conservative Friends of Israel, was made entirely in accordance with the rules of the Electoral Commission and was registered as such. You will have to accept my word that there is nothing sinister behind this support at all other than he and I share many similar interests and his donation is entirely unconditional.

I have made it quite clear that if elected I am prepared to visit the Middle East and Palestine as early as I can so I can be aware of both sides of this issue, something I very much hope to be able to honour.

I understand entirely that feelings run extremely high in this debate but the donation you mention has no connotations whatsoever about my support for a single side in this debate and must not be confused with my intentions to learn more about this part of the world.

There is a real danger that aspirant Members of Parliament might be persuaded not to open their eyes at all to the troubles of this region if observers jump to conclusions about perceived behaviour. That would in itself be a tragedy and would help not at all the peoples of this profoundly troubled part of the world.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Coote

An open letter to Mark Coote concerning the Lewis Trust Group donation accepted by Cheltenham Conservative constituency party

 Dear Mr. Coote,

   This is an open letter which will very shortly be published on our web site at:

https://gloucestershirepsc.wordpress.com

     In order to better understand the relationship between British political parties and the State of Israel, I recently read the pamphlet by Peter Oborne & James Jones which accompanied the Channel 4 Dispatches documentary “The Israel Lobby”. On page 15 I was interested to see that Cheltenham Conservative constituency party received a donation of £2000 from the Lewis Trust Group in the months after your visit to Israel. I also noticed that nine other Conservative constituency parties whose Prospective Parliamentary Candidates were contesting marginal seats also received donations totalling a further £21,500 from the Lewis Trust Group, a corporation which sponsors the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), who paid for the trips to Israel.

   When you attended the meeting with Gloucestershire Palestine Solidarity Campaign last December you told us about your trip to Israel but made no mention of the donation from the private, family-owned Lewis Trust Group, which has connections to the right-wing Israeli elite. It was remarkable that you made no comment on the deaths in the Gaza strip of 1400 Palestinians in Operation Cast Lead. The Goldstone report`s damning conclusions concerning Israel`s use of white phosphorous and human shields in that massacre also merited no comment. The Israeli siege that the Gaza Strip is still under, and which predated Operation Cast Lead, is an act of war in international law.

   At the moment only members of Gloucestershire Palestine Solidarity Campaign are aware of your, as yet, unqualified support for Israel. Your prospective constituents have the right to know your position on this extremely grave matter, they also have the right to know about your CFI-sponsored 4-day trip to Israel (a large amount of time to devote to one foreign policy issue), and the £2000 donation your constituency party received. Why not help to demonstrate that a new era of transparency has arrived in British politics by telling them?  Only when they are in possession of this information can voters make an informed choice at the ballot box. The members of our group (and no doubt many other people in Cheltenham), are keen to know if you would continue to accept such donations in light of Operation Cast Lead.

If you would like read my research on the Lewis Trust Group it has been published on the aforementioned web site.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Causon

Gloucestershire Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Donations received by Cheltenham & Stroud Conservative constituency parties after Mark Coote and Neil Carmichael`s trip to Israel

  The Lewis Trust Group, its donations to Conservative constituency parties, Think Tanks and Palestinian Media Watch

This research was first published on 3 April 2010 at Innovative Minds (inminds.com)

Donations to Conservative constituency parties made by the Lewis Trust Group were mentioned in a pamphlet which accompanied the Dispatches documentary, “Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby” broadcast on 16 November 2009 on Channel 4. The pamphlet mentions Conservative constituency parties who, in 2008 “received small donations to their constituencies from prominent CFI (Conservative Friends of Israel) sponsors”. Most of the donations were given by just one sponsor, the Lewis Trust Group, whose donations totalled £23,500. All of these donations were declared, as can be seen by using the drop-down menus at the “Register of donations to political parties” webpage on the Electoral Commission`s website.

The other donations from the Lewis Trust Group are listed below

Lewis Trust Group: Donations to Conservative constituency parties

03.03.08 S Basildon & E Thurrock Stephen Metcalfe £3,500

06.03.08 Brighton Kemptown Simon Kirby £2,000

11.03.08 Hove Mike Weatherley £2,000

27.03.08 Cheltenham Mark Coote £2,000

27.03.08 Stroud Neil Carmichael £2,000

30.03.08 Burton Andrew Griffiths £2,000

05.04.08 West Worcestershire Harriet Baldwin £2,000

09.04.08 Staffordshire Moorlands Karen Bradley £2,000

10.04.08 Burton Andrew Griffiths £2,000

20.04.08 Stourbridge Margot James £2,000

23.09.08 Northampton North Michael Ellis £2,000

Who are the Lewis Trust Group?

The Lewis Trust Group, owned by one of Britain’s wealthiest families, is an investment company that operates retail stores, real estate, a wealth management company, and hotels. In the UK the company owns the River Island retail chain of 200+ stores. More details are available here

The most political member of the family, it seems, is David Lewis (CBE, FCA) who has been on the board of the Jewish National Fund

The Institute for Jewish Policy Research (which describes itself as an independent think tank) describes David Lewis as “One of the founders of BIPAC” (British Israel Public Affairs Committee) in their Winter 2000 newsletter . The name invites comparison with AIPAC (before which Barack Obama felt compelled to genuflect), although in contrast, BIPAC went bankrupt in 1999.

A brief history of BIPAC is given on this webpage (though there is no reference to David Lewis):

    Lewis is currently President of UK Board of Governors of The Israel Center for Social & Economic Progress, ICSEP(www.icsep.org.il) This organisation describes itself as “an independent pro-market public policy think tank since 1984” and whose slogan is “Where there is no bread, there is no Torah”. ICSEP is run by Daniel Doron, who the website spinprofiles.org describes as a “former Israeli intelligence officer and Special Consultant to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv”

ICSEP lists five pages of praise it has received which include these quotes:

“Daniel Doron is helping me fight the historic battle that is now taking place over the future of Israel’s economy.” Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister, Israel

“Daniel [Doron] has always been a staunch advocate of free market reform. In the United States, such advocacy may not seem extraordinary, but in an Israeli society long dominated by socialist economic thinking, decades of unabashed support for free market reform makes Daniel a very rare breed.” Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister, Israel

“Your materials are riveting, to the point, and analyse correctly what has taken place… Indeed, a free economy and true democracy march hand in hand, and they shall also lead to true peace…” Shimon Peres, President, Israel

“The economic growth spurred by open markets is the engine to counter Islamist extremism. ICSEP is the beacon for the free market in the Middle East.” Mark Kenny, Rear Admiral, US Navy

Although the donations to Conservative Parliamentary candidates have been made directly from the The Lewis Trust Group, other donations to blatantly political entities like ICSEP and Palestinian Media Watch (see below) have been made in a more tax-efficient way through the LEWIS FAMILY CHARITABLE TRUST.

The Lewis Trust Group & Donations to The Israel Centre for Social & Economic Progress

The LEWIS FAMILY CHARITABLE TRUST which is almost entirely funded from the Lewis Trust Group, donates to the Israel Centre for Social & Economic Progress and thus allows tax-deductible donations from the corporate coffers to end up in a think tank whose policy prescriptions benefit corporations with interests in Israel – like the Lewis Trust Group!

Each TRUSTEES’ REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS has a section entitled “Transactions with trustees and connected persons” but nowhere is the fact that David Lewis is a “connected person” by virtue of being President of UK Board of Governors of ICSEP referred to.

The amounts donated are listed below.

£25,552 – TRUSTEES’ REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS – YEAR ENDED 31 MAY 2009

£20,017 – TRUSTEES’ REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS – YEAR ENDED 31 MAY 2008

£9568 – TRUSTEES’ REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS – YEAR ENDED 31 MAY 2007

£9,342 – TRUSTEES’ REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS – YEAR ENDED 30 APRIL 2005

£14,276 – TRUSTEES’ REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS – YEAR ENDED 30 APRIL 2004

The Lewis Trust Group & Donations to Palestinian Media Watch

To date two donations of £15,000 have been made in recent years to Palestinian Media Watch (previously at www.pmw.org.il (which now contains archived material) & now at www.palwatch.org). The most recent was mentioned in the Trustees’ Report and Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31 May 2008 under the heading “General Charitable Funding“.

Also:

LEWIS FAMILY CHARITABLE TRUST – YEAR ENDED 31 MAY 2007 – TRUSTEES’ REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENT under “Educational Funding” another £15,000 was donated to Palestinian Media Watch.

Palestinian Media Watch

There is invaluable information on Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) on the Neocon Europe website from which the following is taken:

http://www.neoconeurope.eu/Palestinian_Media_Watch

PMW (not to be confused with Palestine Media Watch (PMWATCH)) is an Israeli NGO founded by ‘counter terrorism analyst’ Itamar Marcus. The organisation’s website claims that “Palestinian Media Watch was established in 1996 to gain an understanding of Palestinian society through the monitoring of the Palestinian Arabic language media and schoolbooks. Palestinian Media Watch analyzes Palestinian Authority culture and society from numerous perspectives, including studies on summer camps, poetry, schoolbooks, religious ideology, crossword puzzles, and more.” The banner on PMW’s website, ‘A Self Portrait of Palestinian Society’ [emphasis added], appears to be a misnomer as it belies the organisation’s Israeli credentials.

Beyond the moderate rhetoric of its official remit of ‘gain[ing] an understanding’ and ‘analyz[ing]…culture and society from numerous perspectives’, PMW’s recent extra-curricular activities include alleging that Norwegian aid money is used to fund Palestinian childrens’ television programmes, the purpose of which, according to Marcus, ‘is to get hold of children while they are young and shape them in the way they [the Palestinian Authority/Fatah] want.’ Marcus continues, ‘No, it does not seem like  Jonas Gahr Støre [Norwegian Foreign Minister] knows what he helps financing’ [sic].

Criticism

While at the helm of the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (1998-2000), Marcus was criticised by Ha’aretz journalist, Akiva Eldar, (What Did You Study In School Today, Palestinian Child?, Ha’aretz, 2 January, 2001 (This excellent article is a must-read) who reported that:

“In recent years Marcus has been making a living translating and disseminating defamatory communications against Israel, extracted by his staff from Palestinian publications. Marcus, a settler, used to work for David Bar Illan, Benjamin Netanyahu’s PR chief, and served on the Joint Israeli Palestinian Anti-Incitement Committee. Marcus’s center routinely feeds the media with excerpts from “Palestinian” textbooks that call for Israel’s annihilation. He doesn’t bother to point out that the texts quoted in fact come from Egypt and Jordan.

Users of PMW materials

UK

The right-wing Tory front-group the Taxpayers’ Alliance has helped to publicise the work of PMW. The text below is taken from a PMW web page, boasting about its achievements in the UK:

Making a Difference

Media uproar in Britain over funding of PA hate education

Jan. 31, 2008

In January 2008, PMW was instrumental in bringing about a media uproar in Britain. At PMW’s initiation, and with PMW supplying the documentation and participating in the writing, the British Taxpayers’ Alliance presented a report to the British Parliament showing how British aid to the Palestinian Authority had been spent to help fund Palestinian hate education against Jews and the West, including incitement to kill Jews and British troops.
The following are all headlines from British press articles responding to the report:
Daily Express main front page headline: “Our taxes pay for lessons in terror: Britain gives £47M to finance classes on suicide bombing.

News of the World: “You pay £47M to fund terror. Aid used to promote murder of British troops.

The Daily Telegraph: “Aid to Palestine ‘funds extremism’

Daily Mail: “Taxpayers ’fund hate textbooks’

The Press Association: “UK funds ‘used for indoctrination’

Daily Express: “Stop terror cashing in

The Jewish Chronicle:Your tax money boosts terror’

PMW has since continued to supply British MPs with the latest hate education summaries from the PA media. PMW has been in close contact with the parliamentary group Conservative Friends of Israel, and a follow up in parliament is being discussed.

Canada

In response to Toronto newspaper The Globe & Mail‘s ‘See Hamas for What It Is’ of 15 February, 2006, Samah Sabawi writes that:

“the Globe & Mail’s editorial relied on Palestinian Media Watch – a well-known right-wing propaganda site run by Itamar Marcus, an Israeli settler notorious for his jaundiced views of the Palestinians. In fact, much of the wording (the translation) printed in the editorial came directly from the PMW website. Thus, the Globe has relied entirely on a scurrilous anti-Palestinian screed without referencing that source; I believe the correct word for this is plagiarism.”

(Editorial Delusions at the Globe and Mail – Hamas and the Missing Video – February 23, 2006)

 

The website of Gloucestershire Palestine Solidarity Campaign