Ooops ! – Andrew Murray and Bill Mair – one accused of lying, another caught spreading lies!!!

MURRAY WANTS A FREE-PALESTINE… PERHAPS HE SHOULD DEMONSTRATE AGAINST HAMAS AND FATAH, RATHER THAN ISRAEL. MAIR OUGHT TO BE IN ‘STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS’ OR WORKING FOR AN ADVERTISING AGENCY

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Widely described as a ‘dad’ of two in the press reports and blog-posts at the time – as if anyone would actually care about his parental responsibilities – and also as a ‘community campaigner’, Andrew Murray, Chair of the Friends of Palestine group in the SNP (Scottish National Party), was recently barred from entering Israel. He had been part of an advance party for a delegation of Scottish MPs due to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories, but was detained for more than 24 hours and placed in a cell.

Andrew Murray - activist for Palestine.
Andrew Murray – activist for Palestine.

The Israeli Interior Ministry said that Murray had lied about his reason for travelling to Israel by saying that he was a tourist. The fact was that, after border control checks were carried out, he was found to have come to the region for a conference. He had lied to border control.

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What Murray hadn’t realised, clearly, was that security personnel worth their salt – anywhere – are trained to react to non-verbal reactions. When you evade answering questions put to you by security, or tell open lies, or not tell the whole truth, you are setting yourself up for further questioning. When you enter Israel and are not open with the security services and border control personnel there, you are likely to be interrogated until they can determine what it is you are hiding and if you are a threat to the security of other tourists, and Israelis.

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Murray himself claimed that he did not lie in response to any of the questions asked – in other words he had been evasive and possibly obtuse (Just saying… tho’ none of us were there… only Murray and his questioners). He said that he had been detained and barred entry to Israel and thus to Palestine because it was quite obvious that he ‘was a Palestinian activist’. He believed that he ‘was targeted because of his campaigning for Palestinian rights’ and that ‘Israeli officials had a file on him’. Goodness… Murray certainly can’t be fooled!! Very smart indeed.

Had he simply told the truth rather than hiding his planned attendance at the ‘conference’ (anti-Israel hate-fest somewhere in the West Bank presumably), he would have been able to enter without any special attention. People visit Ramallah – capital of Palestine – and Bethlehem and Nablus all the time. Instead, Murray managed to sacrifice his trip to Palestine in exchange for lots of news exposure at home. Perhaps this had been his intention all along. As it stands though, Murray will be unable to travel to West Bank through Israel for 10-years.

Perhaps he can go to Gaza instead… via Egypt… well… probably not actually. Egypt has sealed its border with Gaza!!!… You’ll not read about that much in the press however.

Corner of image_Images from Palestine

Then there is Bill Mair, Solidarity candidate for the constituency of Mid-Scotland and Fife in the forthcoming 2016 Scottish Parliament elections.

 

Bill Mair - candidate for 'Solidarity' in 2016 Scottish elections - can be viewed on party websites and party social media.
Bill Mair – candidate for ‘Solidarity’ in 2016 Scottish elections – can be viewed on party websites and party social media.

Mair spreads lies and helps peddle propaganda… the sort of propaganda and narrative that Goebbels would have been proud of. In another life Mair might have found a career in ‘strategic communications’.

Shared to social media by Bill Mair... a false 'Image from Palestine'.
Shared to social media by Bill Mair… a false ‘Image from Palestine’.

He creates and pushes a narrative in the streets and through social media that instructs on how we should view Israel and its policies. He likes to turn Israel into the ‘Dick Dastardly’ or ‘Snidely Whiplash’… the arch-villain and foil to the ever-innocent ‘damsel-in-distress’, Palestine. He demonises Israel through spreading propaganda. Once we have a ‘Dick Dastardly’ stuck in the mind of the frenzied student demonstrating against Israeli dancers at the local theatre, or against other Israeli performances, you can then say whatever you want about him, and then disparage anyone who dares to question the narrative, offer a different narrative and analysis, or question the extreme depiction. This is what Mair helps to do when spreading lies.

Image claimed to be of Palestine... the chimney stacks, the roofing, in fact everything, point to a European city.
Image claimed to be of Palestine… the chimney stacks, the roofing, in fact everything, point(s) to a European city.

A few weeks ago on social media, in October 2015, Mair shared an image which claimed to be from among a collection of ‘Images from Palestine’. The image showed part of a very battered city which clearly had suffered sustained shelling and perhaps bombing over a very long time. In the bottom left-hand corner there was a title, ‘Images from Palestine’. Making way along the battered cobbled street was lone figure. There was no other sign of life. It was a shatter zone. Sharing the image was a quote attributed to Don Freeman which read, ‘If people destroyed my home, killed my family, and bombed my country, I would become a terrorist too’.

The same city view as that appearing as an 'Image from Palestine'.
The same city view as that appearing as an ‘Image from Palestine’.

To the trained eye, and to anyone who has spent more time in the Middle East than a stop-over at Amman, Dubai or Abu Dhabi airports, everything about the image was wrong in its claim to be an ‘image from Palestine’ or image from any other city or town beyond the shores of the eastern Mediterranean. The cobbled street was wrong, the lamp-posts and chimney stacks were wrong, the roofing was wrong, the window structures were wrong… indeed, everything about the image spoke ‘central Europe’ not Middle East… everything about the photograph spoke of World War Two… maybe Berlin… more likely Warsaw.

Street in modern Warsaw which may be compared to the false 'image from Palestine'.
Street in modern Warsaw which may be compared to the false ‘image from Palestine’.

Indeed the same image had been used some years before to publicise the film The Pianist, 2002 (Roman Polanski), based on the autobiographical memoirs of Polish-Jewish composer, Władysław Szpilman.

Mair was challenged about sharing or spreading the image on his pages, and he asked in response where he had posted it, but remembered and wrote, ‘I think the idea is to compare bombed WW2 cities to Gaza’.

But of course we all know what Mair’s idea was… the spreading of lies. And there we have it, as far as Bill Mair, Solidarity candidate for Mid-Scotland & Fife is concerned, it is perfectly acceptable to spread on social media an example of ‘Images from Palestine’ when it isn’t an image from Palestine. It is acceptable to support your cause with a false claim. It is perfectly acceptable as far as Mair is concerned to then use a false image for propaganda purposes. It is perfectly acceptable for Mair to tell a story that goes like this:

‘Here is a picture of a bombed city from Europe during World War 2… Palestinian communities have also suffered bomb damage… They might look like this… In fact so that you think it is a Palestinian town or city, we have placed a label on the WW2 image saying that it is… when it isn’t…!!!’.

Bill Mair - candidate in 2016 Scottish elections... Solidarity.
Bill Mair – candidate in 2016 Scottish elections… Solidarity.

Let’s hope that Bill Mair languishes in the political wilderness, along with his party. Let’s not give his party our 2nd vote in 2016. Also, as far as Andrew Murray is concerned, let’s hope the SNP learns fast and starts to project a more grown-up and balanced ‘foreign policy’. By all means support the people of Palestine, but do it by demonstrating against the fascist leaderships of Fatah and Hamas.

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Eat against fascism… Buy Israeli products, boycott Palestinian produce!!

It is nearly March and on university campuses across the land it is time for the annual Israel-hate fest, otherwise known as Israel Apartheid Week (IAW). On the central campus in Edinburgh, the rather cheap looking posters proclaiming this event, and slapped across lampposts and bins (best place for them, bins), have in many cases been part-ripped or scratched over. In Aberdeen, the local web-based ‘Aberdeen Voice’ has carried a media clip profiling the event – the title of the tawdry piece being ‘Roadmap to Apartheid’. In Edinburgh, IAW has coincided with the appearance in the city of the play, ‘My name is Rachel Corrie’.

The preamble to the clip that appears on the ‘Aberdeen Voice’ states that ‘Palestinians feel that they are living in an apartheid system today’. Well… correct me if I am wrong… but ‘feeling’ that something is the case, doesn’t MAKE it the case.

As ever the content, on dissection, offers the usual mix of crude propaganda, hypocrisy and cynical manipulation. It offers clips showing  – in quite large part – conditions in the former Apartheid South Africa and provides erratically chosen clips of life in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, and with Goebbels-like editing, the viewer is supposed to make comparisons between former South Africa and life in these territories today. The idea being that you get so upset about Israel that you stop buying its produce and using its services, and want to boycott it. If you get upset about Hamas and Fatah instead  – the fascist organisations that ACTUALLY  control the daily lives of Palestinians and which have denied the people elections for over 7-years  – then you’d be seriously off-message and Israel Apartheid Week would have failed.

To counter the malicious hate-fest, and the at times crude anti-semitic nature of IAW, perhaps it is time there was an Arab Apartheid Week as well. It wouldn’t be hard to find a focus. Try Lebanon for example. In Lebanon, Palestinians have the special legal status of ‘foreign’. This status denies them access to health care, social services, property ownership and education. Indeed many jobs are closed to Palestinians: in public service for example, and in government institutions such as schools and hospitals. On a daily basis, Israel provides access to Palestinians for its emergency services and services offered by public hospitals… Not so in Lebanon where Palestinians are denied access to medical treatment or surgery. In Lebanon, Palestinians have to rely on the health and educational services offered by the UN/UNRWA.

Then there is Kuwait. This little country, rescued by an international military force a few years ago, has 300,000 bedouin residents who are denied citizenship and the right to vote. And there are Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and the United Arab Emirates too… there, thousands of children are born every year and they are denied citizenship simply because their parents are not citizens. In large part, these parents are immigrants from South Asia with no rights whatsoever, but they keep their ‘host’ countries running.

My own answer to IAW is to boycott Palestinian produce. For me, olives, olive-oil and other produce from ‘Zaytoun’ is out. I am going to eat against fascism and buy Israeli produce where possible.

Rachel Corrie: willing tool of Goebbels-like propaganda machinery

A Scotland-wide theatre tour of the play ‘My name is Rachel Corrie’ is underway in these early weeks of 2013. It will play from Tobermory to Glasgow, to Ullapool to Skye, to Greenock to Musselburgh and Edinburgh, and to Dundee and Dunfermline, and many places between all of these. It is a one-woman play composed from Rachel Corrie’s own journals, letters and emails. The play creates a portrait of the 23-year old American  from  Olympia, Washington, who was supporting what has often been described as ‘non-violent resistance to Israel’s military occupation’. Corrie was killed during operations carried out by an Israeli military bulldozer in the Gaza Strip on 16 March 2003.

However, it is important to remember what Rachel Corrie was actually all about – she was certainly no saint, and as a 23-year old adult she herself knew indeed what she was all about.

Corrie was an activist associated with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a body which has harboured known terrorists and which has openly advocated violence against Israel and the destruction of that country. On the day of her death she was not demonstrating for peace or trying to shield innocent civilians – as one might expect of a peace activist – instead she had entered an area where Israeli forces were carrying out a military operation. Her death occurred while Israeli forces using a bulldozer were removing shrubbery along the security road near the border between Israel and Egypt at Rafah to uncover explosive devices, and destroying tunnels used by Palestinian terrorists to illegally smuggle weapons from Egypt to Gaza. Corrie died while interfering with a military operation to legally demolish an empty house used to conceal one of these tunnels.

Much of the ‘sainthood’ and myth surrounding Corrie – a useful tool of the Palestinian propaganda machinery in Gaza – centres round a photograph wired by the Associated Press (AP) giving the impression that Corrie was standing in front of the bulldozer and shouting at the driver with a megaphone, trying to prevent the driver from tearing down the building concealing the tunnels. This photograph, which was taken by a member of ISM (Corrie’s organization), was not shot at the time of her death however, but hours earlier. Indeed the bulldozer involved in her accidental death was a different one from the one she had been photographed in front of earlier.  The photographer admitted that at the time of her death, Corrie was actually seated.

An investigation into her death concluded that Corrie (whether standing or seated) could not have been seen by the driver of the bulldozer because she was behind debris which concealed the driver’s view.

The accidental death received worldwide publicity in large part because it was the first such incident where a foreign protestor was killed, and because the protester was female, and often described as innocent. Corrie and her family would have been aware that the US State Department had warned Americans not to travel to Gaza, and Israel made clear that civilians who entered areas where troops were engaged in counter-terror operations were putting themselves at risk unnecessarily. The Israeli  army had told Corrie and other demonstrators from the ISM to move out of the way.

The organisation which Corrie supported – the ISM – claimed to be a humanitarian organisation dedicated to the principles of non-violent resistance, but it had demonstrated no interest in peace for Israelis. The ISM has acted as an apologist for terrorism, and has, at times, actively abetted militants. ISM is a pro-Palestinian organisation, set up by Palestinians, funded by Palestinians, and opposed to the two-state solution envisioned by the parties truly interested in peace.