Pro-Palestinian demonstrators protest in London in June 2018. .
(photo credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS)
Ever wanted to play a game of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Bowling, where you can “bowl down [the] occupation” in Israel? How about a chance to eat dinner with your family, except there’s an “apartheid wall” separating between you? Or what about a chance to learn about “Israel Apartheid” and the importance of cultural boycott?
These are just some of events held at the "Palestine Expo" at Olympia London in the UK on Saturday and Sunday, organized by the Friends of Al-Aqsa.
There will also be talks and panel discussions on numerous subjects including the Nation-State Law, the Great Return Marches taking place in Gaza and “decolonizing Palestine.”
The exhibition will also have culture and heritage stalls, food and activities for children including a mosaic art stall to create a “beautiful images of Palestine using colorful mosaic pieces” and a theater event on the storytelling of “the popular Prophets in Palestine.”
However, UK Lawyers for Israel has been fighting until the last minute to have the event shuttered because of its anti-Israel and BDS bias, however it admitted that “it may be too late to cancel” this years "Palestine Expo."
In a statement, the organization said that FOA were “under pressure to curb their advocacy of BDS and hate speech.”
The organization explained that it had written to the Olympia London at the end of May asking them to cancel the event.
However the request was turned down. Despite this, there has been continuous back and forth with UKLFI writing letters to “three of Olympia’s German co-owners...to alert them...that the organizers of the forthcoming exhibition at Olympia are major promoters of BDS against Israel.”
The point was highlighted following a recent resolution passed by the German Bundestag condemning “the arguments and methods of the BDS movement as antisemitic”
“This resolution opposes any form of antisemitism and condemns the BDS campaign, and encourages states, cities, communities, municipalities and public figures to join this position” the lawyers explained, adding that a co-owners of the Olympia London - the Deutsche Finance Group - told UKLFI’s German counterpart Eugen Balin that they “strongly condemn antisemitism, boycott calls for Israel or questioning Israel’s right to exist.”
The investment company made it clear that they are working together with Israeli investors institutionally in real estate projects worldwide “and especially as a German corporate group we are aware of our historical responsibility.”
The Deutsche Finance Group also said that it had contacted its investments partners to ensure that the exhibition does not promote BDS.
They added that they have been informed that their UK investment partner Yoo Capital “will be requesting, on behalf of Olympia’s Owners, that Pal Expo will curb its BDS and anti-Israel content.”
Speakers at the event include Hadash-Ta`al MK Yousef Jabareen, scholar Ilan Pappe, journalist Gideon Levy and Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela, who is also an MP for South Africa’s ruling party the African National Congress.
In response to UKLFI’s efforts, Mandela slammed the group for its “intimidation tactics.”
“We express our outrage and disgust at the intimidation tactics of the UK Lawyers for Israel.” he said in a statement published by Middle East Monitor. “We say to them and all who seek to deny our basic human rights such as freedom of expression – hands off BDS, hands off [the] Palestine Expo.”
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