THE pastor of Zion Baptist Church has expressed his disappointment after vandals daubed anti-semitic graffiti on the church wall.
An insult aimed at Israeli Jews as well as the words ‘Free Gaza’ were painted in metre high letters on the outside wall of the Milkstone Road church.
The word Israel was partially written onto the side of the church itself, while the rear of the building was daubed with slogans, and a graffiti ‘tag’ thought to be that of a local gang.
Pastor Dennis Rigg discovered the graffiti on Friday morning after being alerted by the Observer, who were contacted by a concerned resident.
The graffiti was painted over within hours and later removed by the council’s environmental management service.
Mr Rigg says he believes the church’s name made it a target for those upset by the current situation in the Middle East. He said: “We were disappointed that the people who have committed this offence have no consideration for other people’s property. It shows a poor mental attitude and is just another act of contempt and lack of respect.”
The incident has been condemned by several high-profile figures in the Muslim community.
Mohammed Shafiq, the chief executive of the Rochdale-based Ramadhan Foundation, said: “I am appalled at the attack. Islam totally forbids this sort of evil and we offer our support to our Christian friends.”
Ghulam Rasul Shahzad says he intends to raise the issue at the next meeting of the Ruet-i-Hilal committee, an association of all Rochdale Mosques.
Mr Shazad said: “At this critical time when feelings are very high, we should maintain unity among our communities whatever the circumstances or situation in Gaza is.”
Mr Rigg added: “I was pleased Councillor Angela Coric arranged to have the graffiti covered over and removed so quickly, as the last thing we want is retaliation for this.”
The attack has ignited calls for CCTV to be installed in the area.
There is a lot of huffing and puffing – and increasing frustration – that they are unable to shift the SOAS administration or Colin Shindler. This has manifested itself in a plethora of highly aggressive and vituperous emails from some academics and union members at SOAS sent to Colin and other people involved.
A number of members of staff at SOAS have been very positive about the Department of Israel Studies’ firm stand and insistence that the lecture series to commemorate 100 years of the city of Tel Aviv should go ahead.
The UCU, led by Graham Dyer, has attempted one calumny after another in order to provoke a response and to escalate the situation.
The SOAS Israel Society held a very successful and civilised meeting on Tuesday at which Colin Shindler and Emanuele Ottolenghi spoke to a packed audience.
Graham Dyer’s comment about the Gaza tragedy as a ‘holocaust’ appears publicly in this Jerusalem Post piece. In addition, he has compared Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto in other emails – implied in this piece but not stated.
As an academic he should be asked to explain this by colleagues.
This is the first time that there is a serious campaign for the rhetoric of an “academic boycott of Israel” to be put into practice.
The UCU branch at SOAS is:
Naomi Klein is deluded if she thinks that a boycott of Israel will be useful: on the contrary it will harm the chances of peace. The white South African Government yielded on apartheid for many reasons, but would not have done so, with or without the boycott, if it had thought that the African National Congress would have used accession to power to kill the white South African community: they had a partner for peace. Hamas not only initiate killing Israelis, but are killing Palestinians as well. Given that Hamas refuse to negotiate, accept a two state solution and will continue to threaten Israel’s existence by force, a boycott of Israel would push Israel in the opposite direction to what Naomi Klein hopes. A serious boycott will damage economically not only the Jewish population, but also over two million Arab Israelis and West Bank Palestinians. But it will make the Israeli Government more intransigent and will unify the Jewish population against compromise in the face of an implacable enemy.
I am as outraged at the killing of civilians as everyone else and if it were not just indulgent gesture politics of the worst kind, I would be calling for a boycott of Hamas and those supplying it with arms and finance. A much more realistic movement towards a two state solution is One-Voice, groups of ordinary Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Guardian readers should look at their web site http://www.onevoicemovement.org/ and offer support.
On Indymedia this was touted as “smashing the Israeli war machine”. As usual in the case of Israel – and even if you were sufficiently vicious to believe that smashing property owned by people who support Israel is an acceptable form of protest – no evidence for the association between Starbucks and the “Israeli war machine is given. Oh, you know, “it has been reported”…
“The head of Starbucks, Howard Shultz is an active Zionist and has been recognized by the government of Israel as key for promoting the alliance between the United States and Israel. It has been reported that a percentage of Starbucks profits go directly to the Israeli government.
Boycott, shut-down, graffiti, disrupt – whatever – Gaza needs our solidarity”
The reports are tripe. With solidarity like this who needs enemies?