But wasn’t I reading just yesterday or the day before that Shaikh Raed Salah had been barred from Britain by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, and that, nevertheless, he had slipped past the UK Border Agency?
So if he does turn up at the Houses of Parliament, he is liable to (and should) be arrested and deported forthwith.
At least some members of the Government know antisemitism when they meet it.
Islamic Movement leader in Israel arrested in London
Head of northern branch of Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Ra’ad Salah, expected to be deported from U.K.; reason for arrest unknown.
By Jack Khoury
“Zahi Nujeidat, spokesperson for the northern branch of the movement, told Haaretz Wednesday morning that Salah was arrested at the hotel where he was staying after a speaking engagement in the U.K. city of Leicester.” (Ha’aretz)
“Sheikh Salah has Israeli citizenship and is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel.
The movement, whose stated aim is to advocate Islam among Arab Israelis, offers education and social services and promotes a Palestinian nationalistic stance
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said he was the leader of a legitimate political organisation.”
I’m confused, is this “Israel” they are referring to, the one in which Sheikh Salah has full citizenship, is a leader of an Islamic Movement and a Palestinian nationalist; and who was cleared of antisemitism by an Israeli court and free to travel to the UK, the same as “apartheid Israel” in which false claims of antisemitism are said to silence all and any opposition?
And, contrary to the what his Movement states, it would appear that the Tories took the decision and can be fully explained by its recent “thinking” on what they term “extremism”.
And, for what it’s worth, as a matter of political principle I find the idea of a Tory government banning people from entering the UK extremely problematic; as problematic as Israeli right refusing entry to Chomsky and Finkelstein.
Needless to say, the knee-jerk antisemitic reaction from Salah’s group is disgusting.
However, it will be worth seeing just how many pro-Palestinian British activists follow that racist line or take the principled stand against both the Tory exclusion and its antisemitic response.
““Nujeidat said that there is no explanation for the Islamic leader’s arrest, but he believes that it is largely due to the Zionist lobby and members of the British Jewish community.
The movement’s spokesman claimed that community members pressured government officials not to allow Salah into London for a speaking tour”
Meanwhile, in the Guardian,
“The decision to arrest Salah followed a direct appeal in the Commons on Monday by the Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Mike Freer, to Theresa May demanding Salah be banned from Britain because of his “history of virulent anti-semitism”.
“On 05/31/2010 Sheikh Raed Salah was among over 700 so called “peace activists” on a humanitarian aid flotilla, organized by the Turkish IHH – Charity, to Gaza Strip. When Israeli naval commando boarded the ship he grabbed a hand gun from one of the soldiers and shot him in the belly, a provocation which led to the death of 9 activists in the violence which followed. Sheikh Raed Salah was, therefore, arrested. Eventually all the charges against Sheikh Raed Salah were all dropped because of international pressure and an Israeli decision not to press charges against any of the IHH ship ‘Mavi Marmara’ activists.”
Sarah Colborne, Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said “I am appalled that Sheikh Raed Salah was detained late last night by the police.
“Sheikh Raed Salah is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, the largest movement for Palestinians in Israel. This is a legitimate organisation which Israel has never moved to ban. Raed Saleh regularly speaks at venues across Israel where he has considerable support amongst the Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up a fifth of the population.
“Sheikh Raed has been elected as mayor of his hometown Um al-Fahm three times. He has never been convicted of anti-Semitism in Israel.
“Before coming to Britain, he faced horrific allegations of anti-Semitism, which he completely refuted. He has clarified his position of being opposed to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and racism against his own people, the Palestinians. He has asked his legal team to take legal action against those spreading these false allegations.
“The attempt to remove Sheikh Raed Salah from this country whilst he is taking legal action against those who have been defaming him is an obstruction of the course of justice.
“We have been organising a meeting on peace and justice in Jerusalem for weeks – with publicity widely available – to which Sheikh Raed Salah was one of the speakers. PSC also invited MPs to speak at the same meeting. At no stage did anyone contact us from the government or the police. Following rumours in the papers, Sheikh Raed Salah’s legal team tried to verify if it was true that a travel ban had indeed been issued, and had no confirmation nor denial from any official source. I am appalled that decisions on whether or not significant political figures can be detained in this country appear to be made on the basis of defamatory rumours, rather than facts. This shocking move by the British government will deeply damage British relations in the Middle East.”
Shaikh Salah has recently released a statement refuting the alleagations made against him
The meeting in Parliament at which Shaikh Salah was due to speak at, will still take place as scheduled tonight (Wednesday).
And, of course, Shaikh Raed Salah was arrested on 29 June: PC Plod finally recognised him and executed the arrest so that the exclusion order can be carried out.
In principle, I agree with AO’s objections to exclusion orders, amounting to curbing of free speech (his comments are on a comments thread above this one), but in practice, I think I prefer not to be the target of a physical attack by someone who gets stirred up by crazy thoughts from a crazed antisemitic Islamist and believes that I might be about to abduct a non-Jewish child just before Passover…
So, thank you Theresa May – and I never (or rarely) thought that I’d find myself praising a Conservative Home Secretary.
Sometimes their right-wing prejudices come in useful!