Gideon Levy poster.
LONDON – Jewish community organizations in the UK have criticized Haaretz
columnist Gideon Levy for a series of book launch events across the country with
a number of notorious anti-Israel groups.
Promoting his new book The
Punishment of Gaza, Levy is speaking at three events in Scotland this week – in
Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh – with the radical fringe group Scottish
Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) and as part of an exhibition of Gaza
children’s art, “The Loss of Innocence,” also organized by the
Last year the SPSC hosted what it claimed was a Holocaust Memorial
Day commemoration with a Hamas follower who supports suicide bombings.
also fabricated a story that it had successfully persuaded a number of Scottish
companies to boycott Israeli water company Eden Springs.
“From reports I
have seen, the promoter of this exhibition appears to be more interested in
demonizing Israel than having empathy with children traumatized by war,” said
Stanley Grossman, from a group called Scottish Friends of Israel. “Concern for
Israeli children seems nonexistent. I am apprehensive that the exhibition in
Scotland is promoted by SPSC, a fringe extremist group with a reported history
of association with alleged Holocaust deniers and terrorism
The “Loss of Innocence” exhibition is a collection of
paintings and drawings by children from Gaza brought to the UK by an anti-Israel
activist who wants it to “achieve a wider awareness of Israel’s
Rod Cox, a bar owner from Chester, brought the art back from
Gaza after a visit last year.
“The pictures show attacks by the Israeli
army on civilians. While the Israelis claim they are fighting a just war they
are suppressing any evidence to the contrary. The pictures reveal evidence of
bombs that tear off arms and legs, and of the widespread use of bulldozers in
the frontline, demolishing houses to bury people alive, as well as destroying
agricultural land, so they could be evidence of War Crimes, too,” Cox says on
According to the Jewish Chronicle, Cox refers to an explosive
used by Israel, which he calls a DIME (dense inert metal explosive): “It’s a
fragmentation bomb, packed with tiny fragments that burn through flesh and will
go through a joint, so a limb will fall off.”
The Board of Deputies of
British Jews questioned Levy’s choice of partners.
“If you are judged by
the company you keep, Gideon Levy has aligned himself with some rather unsavory
fellow travelers,” said Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies.
“The SPSC has a history of extreme anti-Israel histrionics and Rod Cox’s
descriptions on this tour of the situation in Gaza stretch credibility, with
third hand accounts of weapons that target children. Mr. Levy should understand
that his enemy’s enemy may not be his friend.”
On Thursday, Levy is
speaking at an event organized jointly by the Manchester branch of the Palestine
Solidarity Campaign and the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine,
the leading UK group advocating a boycott of Israeli academia.
British Committee’s remit is to pressure the UK government and European Union
for the exclusion of Israel from the European Research Area and encourage
academics to break all professional links with Israel.
Solidarity Campaign is a leading fringe group in the boycott, divestment and
sanctions campaign against Israel.
Next Tuesday, Levy will be in
conversation with Channel Four newsreader Jon Snow at Amnesty International’s
offices in London. The event is organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
and a group called Jews for Justice for Palestinians.
At the height of
the Kassam rocket attacks on southern Israel in 2006, Snow famously referred to
the rockets as “pretty pathetic things,” in an interview with Israel’s deputy
ambassador to the UK at the time, Zvi Ravner.
Snow said: “Rockets, pretty
pathetic things, nobody gets injured, they’re homemade and you well know they
[the Palestinians] have nothing much stronger than an AK-47. They have no RPG’s,
no weapons and now you’re delivering some of the most sophisticated bombardment
that’s ever been subjected to of defenseless people. Is that an act of terror
would you say?”
The Zionist Federation of the UK accused Levy of spreading
hatred about Israel.
“It is no surprise that anti-Israel Haaretz columnist
Gideon Levy is touring the UK to spread his hatred and misinformation about
Israel,” said Joy Wolfe, ZF co-president. “The enemy within is
always the most dangerous and Levy is no exception.”
“His declared aim
to expose what he calls ‘Israel’s brutality’ makes me wonder how he can look
himself in the mirror.”
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