UK Jews slam ‘Haaretz’ columnist for book tour

Gideon Levy has aligned himself with anti-Israel groups.

Gideon Levy poster (photo credit: Courtesy)
Gideon Levy poster
(photo credit: Courtesy)
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 group.
Last year the SPSC hosted what it claimed was a Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration with a Hamas follower who supports suicide bombings.
It 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 supporters.”
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 crimes.”
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 his blog.
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.
The 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.
The Palestine 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 columnistGideon Levy is touring the UK to spread his hatred and misinformation aboutIsrael,” said Joy Wolfe, ZF co-president. “The enemy within isalways 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.”