Venezuelan embassy in UK to commemorate intifada

Several groups condemn event as glorifying terrorism.

Intifada 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Intifada 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
LONDON – The Venezuelan Embassy in London has been accused of glorifying terrorism ahead of its commemoration on Saturday of the 10th anniversary of the outbreak of the second intifada.
The intifada was “at the forefront of the world struggle against white supremacist neo-colonialism and settler-colonialism,” according to the embassy.
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The legation's website describes the event, titled “Ten years since the second intifada: making the empire turn back,” as an exploration of the reason for the eruption of the intifada and “its ramifications for the Palestinian revolution and national liberation struggle.”
It also says that the intifada “has been a catalyst, and formed part of the process of an emerging multi-polar world and the growing strength and confidence of the South.”
The event will “explore the intifada's relationship with movements of resistance against Anglo-American aggression, invasion and occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas and conflicts in the 'war on terror'.”
A message will be delivered on behalf of the Venezuelan Ambassador Samuel Moncada at the event. Other speakers include former MP and veteran anti-Israel activist George Galloway; the former plane hijacker Leila Khaled, who will address the event by video, and Massoud Shadjareh, chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, organisers of London Al-Quds Day - an annual event in support of the resistance movements against Israel.
The IHRC is a Hezbollah and Islamic Republic supporting organization associated with the UK branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir. At an anti-Israel rally in Hyde Park during the Second Lebanon War, Shadjareh wore a Hezbollah flag.
Journalist Sukant Chandan will chair the event. He heads the George Habash Memorial Committee, where the founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian is described as “a man who contributed more than most to the revolutionary struggles of a liberated Palestine and a free and united Arab nation.”
The London-based think tank the Centre for Social Cohesion has called for the British police to intervene and accused the embassy of glorifying terrorism.
“This is disgraceful event; its intention is to glorify the murder of civilians and an act of glorification of terror,” CSC director Douglas Murray said. “According to the 2006 Terrorism Act, the glorification of terrorism is an illegal act in the UK. Therefore the police should attend the event and arrest anyone who contravenes the law.
“The second intifada was a campaign of murder of Israeli civilians. The murder of civilians by terrorists is something the British government and police should consider with the upmost seriousness, whether it is terrorism directed against Israelis, British people or anyone else.
“If this were a meeting celebrating 7/7 [terrorist attacks on London] they would be arrested. They are celebrating bus bombs in Israel, so Galloway and company should also be arrested. There is no difference between celebrating the murder of people on buses in Tel Aviv or on tube trains in London,” Murray said.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews condemned the event.
“Sadly, once again the Venezuelan government, through its embassy in London, is siding with those who promote discord and intolerance, much like their president and his friendship with the president of Iran,” the Board¹s chief executive Jon Benjamin said. “Fidel Castro’s recent comments [against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust and supporting Israel’s right to exist] show that he can see the reality beyond the dogma, but the Venezuelan regime doesn't seem to have achieved that level of political maturity.”
The Friends of Venezuela, a pro-democracy group of Venezuelan expats in the UK, condemned the event and decision by the ambassador to give the credence to it.
“Ambassador Moncada does not speak on behalf of the Venezuelan people. Neither his views, nor his feting notorious terrorists and apologists of terrorism in Venezuela's diplomatic venues, are representative of the majority of Venezuelans,” the group's spokesman Alek Boyd told The Jerusalem Post.
“As demonstrated in the last elections, when the forces aligned to President Chavez got a minority of the votes, most of us feel profoundly ashamed of what the head of the executive and his minions are doing. Equally important to note is that none of the relationships that Chavez has made with rogues - such as Ahmadinejad - have been sanctioned by the Venezuelan people through Congress.
“For that reason, we can only profusely apologise and say that this event does not represent the vast majority of Venezuelans,” Boyd added.
“We were disgusted to hear that the Venezuelan embassy finds it appropriate to celebrate terrorism and the death of innocent Israelis. We think it is not just mad but completely ‘Caracus’,” an Israeli official told the Post.
The Venezuelan Embassy has refused to comment.