Saturday, 1 May 2010

Democracy Declining - Israeli Deputy Ambassador attacked at Manchester University

A further example of the thuggish alliance between militant leftists and political Islam? Perhaps but certainly an instance of politically inspired thuggery that has no place in a civilised democracy. Also a spineless attitude taken by the University itself. Take note this was not a peaceful protest and there have been numerous examples of similar incidents. Full text from JC below:

By Marcus Dysch, April 29, 2010

Israel’s deputy ambassador to Britain was forced to seek refuge in a security office after protesters attempted to attack her following a university lecture.
Talya Lador-Fresher said she feared she would be physically assaulted when demonstrators climbed on the bonnet of her car and attempted to smash the windscreen.

She had been speaking to members of Manchester University’s politics society when the incident occurred on Wednesday evening. Around 40 demonstrators had gathered at the venue.
Ms Lador-Fresher had been asked back to the university after a previous arrangement to address students in February was cancelled when more than 300 protesters from the Action Palestine student society scuffled with Jewish students and police.

Speaking about Wednesday’s protest she said: “It was quite a shocking experience. I have had people stand up and shout and wave the Palestinian flag when I have spoken, but it was the first time I have been in this situation.

“When we finished I could not get out of the university building. The demonstrators saw me on the way to the car and they started running towards me.
“The security team rushed me back into the building and we were standing in the corridor for a few minutes.”

The diminutive deputy ambassador was eventually escorted through a back door to a security vehicle but the demonstrators discovered the evacuation plan and surrounded the car.
Ms Lador-Fresher said: “They were screaming and shouting. Two of them were on the bonnet trying to break the windscreen. It was very unpleasant.

“I don’t think they wanted to kill me but I genuinely believed they wanted to physically hurt me. If I had not had the police and security team I would have been beaten up.”
Security guards eventually moved her to their nearby office for her own safety. She was later picked up by her Embassy driver.

Manchester University officials had been keen to re-arrange the lecture after its initial cancellation and had offered Ms Lador-Fresher an “open invitation”.
The deputy ambassador praised the efforts of University staff and Jewish students to ensure the event took place. She said despite the experience she would be happy to return to speak at Manchester again.

But she added: “No foreign diplomat should have to go through what I went through.”
Ambassador Ron Prosor said: "What is going on at British taxpayer-funded universities is shocking. Extremism is not just running through these places of education, it is galloping. My ears are ready and waiting to hear the strongest condemnation of this behaviour both from the heads of campus and the local authorities.”

A Manchester University spokesman said: “The University is fundamentally committed to freedom of speech, exercised within the law. It follows that it should also allow peaceful and lawful protest to take place on its campus.

“We took all reasonable action to put appropriate security measures in place for this meeting, including a complete lockdown of the building, a high-level security presence, ID checks at the door and ticket-only arrangements.”


Isobel said...

An alliance between militant leftists and political Islam? Paul, that's a stretch even for you. Certainly, their behaviour was over the top. I don't believe anyone should be attacked or injured for speaking. But being angry at Isreal's treatment of Palestinians hardly makes anyone a militant, more likely just an extremely frustrated individual. And declining democracy? That's an ironic phrase when talking in the same breath about a country who has continually denied a group of people the right to self-determination.

Paul said...

So an alliance between militant Islam and radical Islam does not exist? Isobel come on militant leftists here in the UK are continually engaging in all forms of street disorder and literally stand shoulder to shoulder with Islamists when doing so, why? Because in their perverted world view they see Islam as a counter- hegemony. Such groups helped depose the Shah of Iran in 1979. Not that it did them any good, the trade Unionists and other groups were first against the wall once the Mullahs took over.

Why is declining democracy an ironic phase? Here we have a senior diplomat from a friendly pro-western democratic regime being intimidated by thugs. Those same people that say nothing when representatives of Hezbollah or Hamas visit.

How has Israel denied 'the right of self-determination'? I take it you know Israel was established under a UN Mandate in 1948? The intention being to split the land and divide it fairly between Arab and Jew (although the Arabs got vastly more)? Also a 'Palestinian' state was offered in 1948, 1973, 1993 and 2000? The Arabs cannot accept a Jewish state that is the obstacle to peace. I'm pleased to note that of course you believe no one should be attacked or injured for speaking. And yet do you know of anywhere in the Middle East apart from Israel that actually allows freedom of speech? Thanks for commenting Isobel anyway all the best.

Isobel said...

Well, thank you for replying anyway. :) I had to say my bit even though I knew your response. Think we'll ever agree??? I doubt it. Have a great day Paul.

Paul said...

I'm sure we would agree on many things actually Isobel. Gender equality, freedom of speech and democracy to name a few. I fear however that you would find it difficult to admit which country in the Middle East offers and practices all of the above. For more about Israel I would point you in the direction of Chas Newkey-Burden a journalist friend of mine and fellow blogger you'll find Chas very personable and his blog is great.

Also for a deeper examination of some of the issues involved between radical Islam and the left read Nick Cohen's 'What's left'. An outstanding book.

Not trying to change your mind of course Isobel, just pointing out a few good 'Liberal' sources. I am far less reactionary than many of the regular commentators on your own excellent blog.

Isobel said...

Oh, I know that Israel provides for it's Jewish citizens a very high quality of life. I am not surprised at all, Paul. I am also aware of the tactics of radical Islam. I am as opposed to their practices and desires to Islamicize countries as anyone with a liberal mind.

But there are many radical movements at play - some that, for political reasons - get mentioned less than others. For instance, the radical Zionists in Israel. Sure the UN mandate gave the Jews a homeland in 1948. In my opinion it was a very misguided attempt at appeasement. But since then, Israel, mostly due to the pushes of radical Zionism, has moved FAR beyond the original borders and in the process created an enormous group of displaced and resentful people.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Physics and emotions. You would not lie down and take what the Palestinians have had to take for the last 52 years. Why should they, and why should anyone fighting for their rights be quiet?

I mean, imagine if in 1940, Germany had actually managed to take England. The Greeks, didn't lie down and take German occupation and neither did many of the others. And I dare say, neither would the Brits. Neither would YOU!

Before you draw the conclusion that I am equating Israel with Nazi Germany, I will tell you I am not. Although some of their tactics are not dissimilar. I am simply attempting to show you the view from where I am standing. Right now Israel is the one holding the power and they are the ones who have the responsibility to create peace in the region. Oppressed people will always kick and scream. That's not to say, the Palestinians shouldn't work with Israel to create a their homeland. But Israel has the upper hand and should use it well instead of the way they have been.

I shall gladly look at the sites and books you have mentioned here. But in return, you must look at some I provide for you. Deal?

I highly recommend Jimmy Carter's book "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid" ( Gwynne Dyer's book "The Mess They Made: The Middle East after Iraq" (

You may also want to have a look at this play called 7 Jewish Children by Caryl Churchill.

By the way, what exactly do you mean you are "far less reactionary than many of my regular commentators"?

Thanks, Paul.

Paul said...

Well I am far less reactionary than the likes of either Abu Fares (who has blamed Israel for the Iraq invasion, an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist) or Brigand who has a deeply personal animosity against the Armed Forces. I mean look at the language he used and do you see me using similar language against Muslims in spite of the ongoing acts of daily terror?

But yes we have a deal, I hope you do look at Chas's blog it's very good particularly now he is articulating how he arrived at his views. I will read Jimmy Carter; so far I've only read critiques of it. I have unfortunately suffered that wretched play by Caryl Churchill. It can best be described as deeply antagonistic towards Israeli citizens; others with some authority call it anti-Semitic. It repeatedly shows Israelis brain-washing their children into hating Arabs and peddles the lie that Israel stole the latter's land, more on that later. Interesting to note though that is not Israel that utilises children's TV to brainwash people into hatred. You heard of Asud the Jew eating bunny? Google it if you like.

Still we have a deal, I'm not sure I understand though where you're coming from with 'Sure the UN mandate gave the Jews a homeland in 1948. In my opinion it was a very misguided attempt at appeasement.' Appeasing who? This is not clear.

Thermblog said...


Between 1948 and 1967 Gaza and the West Bank were occupied by Egypt and Jordan respectively. "The Palestinians" were not granted a state nor was there a push for one by them. It seems their objection is to Jewish governance.

Does this not suggest that the difficulties arising from Palestinian Statehood derive from this disingenuous approach?

(I must here make the point that the Palestinian people are in fact victims. Victims of the Arab League and their own leaders. I use, "The Palestinians" as a term of convenience on the understanding that a detailed discussion will apportion blame where merited and not to typify an entire people.)

As a Canadian, I wonder what your thoughts are on the occupation of this territory by outsiders. Note that there was no UN resolution involved. It was just a case of Land B Gone! Are you prepared to give up your property if it is claimed?

Young Activist said...

We could have an endless debate about what is essentially a meaningless issue, but call them what you will, Thermblog, a horrible crime was committed against the Arab inhabitants of the region prior to 1967, and the weight of that injustice exists irrespective of whatever name is ascribed to its victims.

It was the first Israeli Prime Minister, David-Ben Gurion who declared in 1937 "We must expel Arabs and take their places," a promise made good on with the expulsion of nearly a million people. Naturally, that atrocity, and the ones that followed, had no shortage of accolades.

There are many ways of rationalizing atrocities. You can take the approach of the dovish Israeli historian Benny Morris who argued that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was a good thing in the same sense that the ethnic cleansing of North America was a good thing and that "the non-completion of the transfer was a mistake." Or you can try to divert attention for the crimes you support as Morris has, saying "the peoples of Africa were oppressed by the European powers no less than the Palestinians were oppressed by us, but nevertheless I don’t see African terrorism in London, Paris or Brussels."

You can argue as Winston Churchill did and "not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place."

You can discount the significance of these crimes you support as Menachim Begin did by suggesting that the victims don't matter because they are "are beasts walking on two legs."

You can argue as Golda Meir did that your favored nation enjoys moral impunity because
"this country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy."

Or you can suggest as Ariel Sharon did that you are above being judged by others that you "may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial."

But certainly what you cannot do is deny the existence of these crimes.

Paul said...

Or you can dwell in historical revisionism.... 'This horrible crime' is a deeply subjective statement that ignores both the actual truth of what actually did happen in 1948. The Arabs left urged to do so by their own leaders intending to return at the behest of a victorious genocidal army that would expel the Jews-they lost.

Still history is rarely agreed upon and as a post-graduate history student amongst other things that is no bad thing. But I wonder how many American's or Canadians or Aussies would happily leave their homes to allow natives to return to them? Natives that are adhering to a doctrine that quite openly calls for the destruction of the nation state and the genocide or enslavement of its people.

There is no evidence at all to support the view that the Arab/Israeli struggle is a nationalist one over land. Certainly history has seen countless other nationalist struggles elsewhere (indeed I fought against one very close to home. It is however a religious one- a Jihad as defined by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. That is why it is so intractable.

Young Activist said...

The Israeli records provide ample evidence for the existence of an ethnic cleansing. As a graduate student of history, among other things, perhaps you could tell us why the Israeli records would implicate Israel in an ethnic cleansing that never happened? I'm afraid I'm the one not engaging in historical revisionism.

You claim it is a religious conflict, and certainly it does have religious overtones, but you seem to be unaware of the fact that up until the 1980's when Israel encouraged the establishment of Hamas in an attempt to undermine the PLO, it was, at least from the Palestinian side, almost exclusivley secular, with Palestinian politics being dominated by Marxist and nationalist currents. Perhaps you could elaborate on that point, because it seems to be contradicted by the historical record.

As to the point about native Americans, certainly a great crime was done to them. I wonder, would you be willing to join leftists in championing their causes, or is your interest more like that of Benny Morris and Winston Churchill, in excusing similair crimes? One does
not justify the other. However, I do not recall the enslavement and genocide of Israelis being a major
tennent of Palestinian politics anywhere but at the margins. Even Hamas, whose admitedly repugnant charter I'm sure
you will bring up to excuse Israeli atrocities has shown itself ready to accept the Arab Peace Initative. That is the true demmand of Arab and Palestinian politics, however Israel and it's apologists refuse to even recognize it's existence, much less consider it. It's very clear what the main obstacles to peace, certainly the ones that westerners can effect, are: American and Israeli rejectionism.

Now if my government gave massive diplomatic, economic, and political support to Hamas, I would be just as vocal about Hamas as I am about Israel, but it's not, and the fact is that we have a moral responsibility for the predicted outcome of our actions, not anyone else's, only a hypocrite could dwell on the crimes of others whilst ignoring, denying, or celebrating those done by his side.

Thermblog said...

Well Young Activist, the point I made is that the horribleness of the crime is in question. You did not address this.

Is your Begin quote worse than Arafat's "bring me more dead Jews," at a time when he was sending his terrorists out to kill Israeli civilians? In any case your example is bogus, like so many of them.

You refer to my "favored nation" and herein lies your problem. There was nothing in my post to suggest this. Yes I do think the Jews having their homeland is a darned good idea. I support the Kurds too but they do not have hordes of earnest Westerners trying to deny them a country.

What you need to figure out is why the Jews are your disfavored nation.

Paul said...

Thanks for posting your comments guys a good debate is brewing I can see. I'll be back tomorrow to briefly add my own comment.

Ted Leddy said...

I usually stay clear of discussions about the circumstances leading up to the foundation of the Israeli state because, well, I wasn't there. All I know is the Israelis say one thing, the Palestinians another. According to the Israelis it was a land without a people for a people without a land. Most Palestinians that left did so by choice.

On the other hand the Palestinians say there was a bustling Arab community all over Palestine until the Jews came in the 1880s and began slowly chipping away at it culminating in the mass expulsions of Arabs during the 1948 war. In my opinion the truth is probably somewhere in between. The only reality that matters is today's situation.

Personally I generally support and defend Israel where I think its appropriate. But I don't support them as if they were my local football team. I don't think that they can do no wrong. I can certainly acknowledge that there is a significant minority of powerful Israelis who want to see the biblical prophecy of a greater Israel fulfilled. I'm sure Thermblog would not deny this. It is the objective of these people to make life hell for the Palestinians so that they will leave for Jordan, or continue to resist because that is the environment in which Palestinian territory can be seized, and Jewish settlements built.

All that being said, for many Palestinians and all jihadists, the settlement issue is meaningless. Their opposition to Israel is based on a deep rooted cultural and religious hatred of everything Jewish. These people will always have a grievance with Israel until it stops existing. Young Activist should acknowledge this.

I think that people like us (people not directly connected to the conflict, assuming none of you are Muslim or Jewish) need to be objective. I am Irish and I can tell you that the Northern Irish peace process was hampered big time by Irish Americans who took more militant positions on the conflict that most Irish people did themselves. This encouraged the IRA and prolonged the conflict. It is a similar situation with the millions of left wing activists world wide who see the liberation of Palestine as some sort of holy grail. They would do a lot more for the Palestinians if they asked them some tough questions. And incidentally the same is true of the christian Zionist fanatics, mainly in the USA, who take more hard line positions than most Israelis.

I want to see a secure Israel and a viable Palestine. When either side takes action that makes this harder to achieve they should be condemned.