uploaded : Wednesday 22nd Nov 2006 at 01:59
by : Carol Gould
EDITOR'S NOTE on 24 November 2006:
This incendiary essay by Asghar Bukhari has now appeared on the MPACUK official website and is worth reading:
November 22, 2006
by Carol Gould
The internet is full of questionable websites and maniacs who find a way to get a space on this medium; the most perilous aspect of this ‘wild west’ of journalism is the danger it poses to young minds.
I had just finished a new article about the British Muslim Public Affairs Council’s diatribe against the Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, when the news broke in London that the head of the same Muslim Public Affairs Council UK, Asghar Bukhari, had been outed by the ‘Observer’ as a supporter of jailed Holocaust Denier David Irving.
reports that Bukhari sent a small donation to Irving and urged other Muslims to contribute to his fighting fund, heading his email with the John Locke quote: ‘'All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good people to stand idle.’ In the Observer report Bukhari refers to the American Congressman Paul Findley, who 'has suffered like you in trying to expose certain falsehoods perpetrated by the Jews'.
When asked about his actions, also reported in The Daily Telegraph, Bukhari said he was being smeared for being nothing more than anti-Zionist. On the MPACUK website he has even set up a page with an audio interview, and on the organisation’s pages reiterates the idea that he is being smeared by Zionists. It is amusing to think that the Left-leaning Guardian/Observer would be driven by a Zionist agenda.
In the British elections of 2005, MPAC is reported to have conducted a vigorous campaign to root out pro-Israel Labour candidates. Non-Jewish Lorna Fitzsimons MP, an articulate Labour advocate for Israel, lost her seat to the Liberal Democrats -- whose MP Jenny Tonge is no friend of Israel -- by 400 votes; in a visceral campaign of vilification the African-American MP Oona King, who is Jewish, was swept away in heavily Muslim Bethnal Green by George Galloway.
On the site today,
a blogger who calls him/herself ‘Peace’ offers this: ‘May Allah bless you all in your fight against the evils of Zionism.’ Another blogger contributes: ‘..Not forgetting, of course, what those who survived the Jewish holocaust are now doing to the Palestinians. I would not deny that what Hitler did in Germany, Russia and surrounding countries to both Jews and non Jews alike was a disgrace but I am sick of hearing the Zionists milking it to death. Millions of other, perhaps more innocent, people have died since 1945 but no one thinks to remember them on any day of any year. ..Zionists and their supporters (eg) America have killed more innocent people than Hitler ever did..’
Oh, really? Who killed twenty million Russians in the Second World War?
Melanie Phillips comments today:
‘. MPACUK has always hidden behind the British hatred of Israel, and the widespread delusion that this is separate from hatred of the Jews, to gain media acceptance of its virulent Judeophobiain a country which is largely blind to the second Jewish Holocaust that is becoming a larger threat by the day.’
Throughout this past year I have been following with a combination of dread and utter disbelief the hate-filled daily columns of MPACUK, which is regarded as a major source of information and discussion for and by Muslims in Great Britain. On CBS News with Katie Couric a few weeks ago, London correspondent Mark Phillips interviewed MPAC head Asghar Bukhari as leader of a ‘moderate Muslim’ organisation. Recently Bukhari appeared in an emotional one-hour Channel Four report on the crisis of exclusion of women from British mosques. His visceral anger and aggressive behaviour were so intimidating that one lost all sympathy for the women he was trying to defend.
That CBS News would regard MPAC as moderate in beyond comic; they routinely use the ‘Jude’ yellow star’ in articles critical of ‘Zionazis,’ as they call Israelis or those who support the Jewish State. Their bloggers can get mightily carried away in their loathing of ‘Zionists,’ which seems to be a catchword for Jews or for anyone who shows the slightest sympathy for Jewish aspirations. At its worst the MPAC blog included a message on June 19 of this year trashing British journalist Melanie Phillips as one of the badly groomed of the Zionist race, adding that ‘Hitler got rid of them the right way.’ Thankfully this message disappeared off the MPAC blog later that day, but they have no shortage of thoughtless and hurtful messages about Jews from bloggers who I suspect have never been inside a synagogue or enjoyed the always-generous hospitality of a Jewish home.
Now, MPAC has taken to attacking the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain’s Orthodox Jewish community, Sir Jonathan Sacks, in an article on their site dated 4 November 2006, accompanied by images from the Beit Hanoun incident.
(The word ‘incident’ is used here because 47 rockets have been launched into Israel in the past week and when thirty elderly people, mostly Holocaust survivors, are killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber in Israel on the holy night of the first Passover Seder, the world takes note and moves on. So does the Jewish world, without hysteria. The condemnation of Israel last week by the United Nations is out of proportion to an unfortunate incident for which Israel has apologised. When has Hamas ever apologised for killing innocent civilians inside Israel?)
MPAC launches into an incoherent diatribe suggesting that Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is a heartless Zionist who supports ‘these barbaric men who killed in the name of Israel.’ There is the obligatory reference to Holocaust Memorial Day, which MPAC and the Muslim Council of Britain have been trying to eliminate and reconstitute as ‘Genocide Day.’
What is so absurd about MPAC’s attack on Sacks is that they seem to think he is the harsh, uncaring Jew who, as they put it, ‘heard similar stories which the Nazis did, Sir?’ and they add, ‘what future would you have if this was your mother Sir Jonathan Sacks.’
As it happens, a week before this MPAC page appeared, Rabbi Sacks had, as reported on the front page of the 27 October ’Jewish Chronicle,’ given a stunning interview in Australia’s ’Jewish News’ reiterating a comment he had made in 2002 that things were happening in Israel that had made him ‘uncomfortable as a Jew.’ He was quoted as noting that a public debate on Israel’s ethical standing was needed, rather than blind support.
Rabbi Sacks went on to say that he spends more time when in Israel with academics than with rabbis, and that the fibre of Israeli society needs to be mended with considerable reflection in all areas of life, be they employment practices, the environment or the whole concept of the Jewish State being a ’light to the nations.’ Though not prepared to comment on the rape case against President Katsav, the Chief Rabbi said Israel needs ‘a sense of Jewish ethics permeating the great institutions of society..’
If MPAC had done its homework it would have known that the thoughtful and reflective British Chief Rabbi was the last person to attack in the wake of Beit Hanoun. If the young Muslims who run MPACUK would reach out and meet with Jews and Zionists in Britain instead of ranting in often inaccurate and hurtful pages of vitriol, they would discover a range of intelligent debate. To give an idea of how the Muslim Public Affairs Council regards free speech and democratic values, last year they set up a block against some bloggers’ emails.
I tried to communicate with MPACUK to express my concern over their threatening rhetoric and to correct their misconceptions about Jews and Zionism only to receive an anonymous email saying I was of ‘Islamophobic calibre’ and suggesting that I would not be interested in websites evincing serious threats because ‘they are against Muslims.’ The email was signed ‘Kind regards, MPACUK.’ What a way to promote ‘Public Affairs!’ Since then I have been blocked from joining their discussion boards.
Happily this week, as Britain stopped to reflect on Remembrance Day, someone named Roger Taylor actually got past their block to write:
‘Well I always knew there was an anti zionist and anti UK/USA site somewhere but never have I read such hatred as on this site. You really are such bitter people but you know, there are no closed doors in this country. If you want to leave then it is open. So why do you stay here in the West you despise so much? We remember those who fought for freedom of speech and against fascism this weekend. Then I read some of the blood curdling comments on this site. If you resent all those lost freedom fighters then GO, the door is open for you...We will only have harmony in this country and the world when this hatred is removed. From what I have read on this site where there seems to be no compromise, we are a long way off harmony..’
His entry spurred the accusations that he is a member of the British National Party but his sentiments are likely reflected by a large number of people.
One MPAC blogger, Nadeem, writes:
‘… what do you expect of people who think they are ``gods chosen people``,, by the grace and will of allah, these zionist pedophiles will soon know what they have done and the consequences of their actions. As mentioned in a certain verse of the quran,,the evil doers in this world will be standing before allah on the day of judgment, with massive steel rods stuck down their spines,..inshallah..’
It should also be noted here that the Palestinian-American journalist Sam Bahour, whose work has been quoted in MPAC’s pages, reports this week that he has been visiting his friend Osama Silwadi, a distinguished Arab photographer. Dr Bahour has been travelling back and forth from his home in Ramallah to Tel Aviv, where Silwadi is being given long-term care by Israeli doctors because of grave wounds he received when Palestinians shot into the air during a funeral he was covering. If Israel is the ‘vile apartheid’ nation MPAC’s bloggers describe, how is it that Sam can come and go, and that the Israeli taxpayer, through its NHS, is happy to treat wounded Palestinians? Where have the billions for hospitals, schools and cultural enterprises gone that were donated by the EU and Arab League to
the Palestinian people this past decade?
On this page
about ‘Zionazis,’ MPAC’s one articulate blogger, Shazy, reminds his fellow Muslim readers about the brutal Hebron massacre of Jews in 1929 in the synagogue and of the heroics of Arabs in the town who hid Jews from the marauding killers. The response is a message that he may have made it all up. Again, the lack of knowledge of Jewish and world history makes the MPAC site a frightening conglomeration of incitement and perpetual anger.
The worry is that sites like MPACUK, filled with venom against a remarkable people, their fellow Semites -- Diaspora Jews and Israelis --about whose heritage its young staff obviously know precious little, will eventually influence young Muslims to acts of violence. Jews, Israelis and Muslims share a love of family life and of annual fasts and religious observances, circumcise their sons and have strict dietary laws. Does MPAC, constantly condemning 'Zionists,' know that this year thousands of Jewish worshippers -- the 'Zionist paedophiles' of their irresponsible blog -- donated to the Arab victims of the Lebanon war inside Israel and in Lebanon, through the Progressive synagogues’ High Holiday Appeal?
If their distorted views on Rabbi Jonathan Sacks are a benchmark of their knowledge of the world and comprehension of the facts on which they report, MPACUK is in serious need of self-analysis, self-regulation and reflection.
That their senior officer is linked in reports by The Observer and Telegraph with support for the heinous David Irving, but then uses this report to accuse the Zionist Libby of smearing MPACUK suggests that a segment of Muslim Britain is going down a road of hate from which, one fears, it may never find deliverance.