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MEND’s full response to Spurious allegations against Abdullah Saif

MEND’s full response to Spurious allegations against Abdullah Saif

Categories: Latest News

Monday December 18 2023

Hi Will,

In the context of the speech made during the noted event at Mahmud Sabir Masjid, it is crucial to emphasise that advocating for the right of Palestinians to defend themselves should not be misconstrued as endorsing or promoting terrorism. The distinction lies in supporting the fundamental right of self-defence within the framework of international humanitarian law, as explicitly mentioned in my speech.

I will now reply to the statements you noted in turn:

Gaza as a concentration camp/extermination camp – Many experts acknowledge that Gaza is a concentration camp, not least the late Baruch Kimmerling, Israeli scholar and a professor of sociology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, wrote in 2003 in his book “Politicide”, that the Gaza Strip “has become the largest concentration camp ever to exist.”  Professor Norman Finkelstein, an acknowledged world authority on Palestine has also repeatedly described Gaza as a concentration camp.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines the term concentration camp as: “A camp where persons are confined, usually without hearings and typically under harsh conditions, often as a result of their membership in a group which the government has identified as dangerous or undesirable.” – this definition of concentration camp aptly describes Gaza.

My addition, that Gaza is now an Extermination camp, reflects the sentiments of many that are witnessing before their very eyes the tens of thousands that have been killed and wounded by Israeli aggression and their genocidal attack on the civilians of Gaza. In my opinion, it describes accurately the well documented, on-the-record, stated intent of many senior Israeli politicians and military leaders (some are stated below).

I do not agree with the IHRA position that it can be antisemitic to draw “comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis”. Many Israeli and international civil society organisations have stated the IHRA definition is being used to shield Israel from criticism, including Israel’s largest human rights organisation B’TSelem.  https://www.theguardian.com/news/2023/apr/24/un-ihra-antisemitism-definition-israel-criticism

I also subscribe to this view and prefer to use the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism produced by over 350 scholars of antisemitism, Holocaust studies and Jewish studies. https://jerusalemdeclaration.org/  This is highly critical of the IHRA definition and recognises evidence-based criticism of Israel as legitimate, including its treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza and West Bank. I urge you to read this definition and apply this in your reporting of Palestine-Israel matters.

There can be no monopoly on language, and the term concentration camp existed before the atrocious policy of the Nazi’s, but in the opinion of many, it adequately describes Israel’s policy in Gaza.

I look forward to the day Israel is brought before the international criminal court and any controversy around what many consider concentration camps/exterminations camps can be tried before law. As for the court of public opinion, I believe that question is pretty much settled.

That Palestinians have a right under international law to resist occupation – this is a factual statement. The UNGA resolution 37/43 reaffirmed “the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle”. This same resolution, at section 21 also “strongly condemns the expansionist activities of Israel in the Middle East and the continual bombing of Palestinian civilians, which constitute a serious obstacle to the realization of the self-determination and independence of the Palestinian people;”

“Israel is trying to flush out Hamas by destroying everything, anything that moves, anything that houses a soul, anything that tries to walk” – this describes/reflects the well documented position and statements of senior Israeli officials from the government and Army. Consider the following statement:

  • “We will eliminate everything” – Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
  • An Israeli army spokesman stating that “our focus is on (creating) damage, not on precision.”
  • Moshe Feiglin, a former prominent Likud Knesset member, added: “There is one and only (one) solution, which is to completely destroy Gaza before invading it. I mean destruction like what happened in Dresden and Hiroshima, without nuclear weapons.”
  • Likud MK Amit Halevi stated: “There should be two goals for this victory: One, there is no more Muslim land in the land of Israel… After we make it the land of Israel, Gaza should be left as a monument, like Sodom.”
  • Netanyahu’s reference to Amalek – indicating his intent towards the Palestinians to carry out an old testament style retribution meted out on the Amalekites i.e. to not leave a breathing soul, whether human or animal – young or old – as part of their attacks.
  • And the list goes on….

Israel IS an apartheid state. Israel fits this definition because Palestinians in the West Bank and Israeli settlers living on stolen Palestinian land live under two different legal systems. Palestinians are under Israeli military law, while Israeli settlers maintain their own civilian courts. In 2021, Human Rights Watch accused Israel of the crime of apartheid. Amnesty International and a UN expert followed with this charge in 2022. A host of Israeli rights groups, such as B’Tselem had previously made the same accusation. Even a former head of Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, recently admitted that Israel “is an apartheid state.” Therefore, there is nothing controversial about this claim.

Zionism is supremacist ideology – Zionism advocates for the establishment and maintenance of a Jewish state in historical Palestine, and inherently involves the displacement of non-Jewish communities and the adoption of exclusivist, discriminatory policies towards non-Jewish communities, such as the Arab. These actions, amongst many others, align with a supremacist ideology.

In respect of the retweets, please note that retweet are not endorsements. In respect of the Chris Williamsons tweet, a former member of parliament and longstanding advocate of Palestinian rights, it was shared as I found the tweet to be an interesting sentiment. Nothing more. On the comment on militants, it is important to consider what a ‘militant’ is. This is simply someone who is using violence in support of a political cause. It is plainly obvious that currently the overwhelming violence is coming from the Israeli settlers in the West Bank, which has been criticised by Lord Cameron, Foreign Secretary, and the Israeli army who have carpet bombed Gaza on a scale never seen before in modern warfare. I urge you to look at the pictures of the destruction in Gaza and then ask yourself who the current militants are. There is no such destruction in Israel.

As for the second video, again, it was retweeted as it was a perspective that included information that I had not come across before, notably about Israeli army involvement in attacking its own civilians. Indeed, the fact that the Israeli hostages were caught in the crossfire between Israeli forces and Hamas is now well-documented. However, I take on board that some may construe it as glamourising the attack and will take down my retweet.

For the avoidance of doubt, should you publish anything that is untrue and/or defamatory, or selectively quote me to misconstrue the entirety of my detailed and considered response, I / MEND shall be contacting our solicitors and pursuing proceedings against you.




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