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    « Six minutes sixteen seconds of BBC balance | Main | When Presidents crash and burn »


    Ian Mordant

    Good news is that the Muslim Council of Britain got a kicking over some of their one-sidedness; I got up and asked Mr Banglawala why the MCB had condemned the FBI for surveillance of mosques in the US but been totally silent about the Holocaust denial conference in Teheran, to which Banglawala said that the MCB didn't usually comment on this outside Britain, but that he personally didn't think 'there was any need for the conference'. Nice eh.

    He also said that he regarded the creation of Israel the greatest mistake os the 20the century; this in a century which saw Hitler Stalin Mao, Japanese slaughter of 6 million Chinese 1937-45, etc etc. WOW!

    But Banglawahla was then clobbered by Oliver Kamm re the silence over theTeheran Conference, and a Hindu woman challenged him on the decrease of the Hindu population of Pakistan and Bangladesh from 30% each to 1% and 7% respectively. He had no answer to either of these.
    Linda Bellos also shouted at me for demanding that the Teheran conference be condemned; apparently I was guilty of some bullyboy honesty.

    So I think some good came out of the conference. Ian


    Thanks for hosting this; and thanks for the summary, Jonathan.


    "Pipes had been so negative - ... the NGOs should adopt the same definition of 'refugee' as UNHCR - someone who has personally fled rather than including the children and grandchildren of a first generation refugee too"

    For how many generations should 'refugee' status obtain? Would you prefer UNRWA's approach to the UNHCR's? UNRWA has been magnificently successful with its goals of prolonging the conflict, prolonging the misery of the original refugees' descendants, maintaining and reinforcing its own raison d'être, and bringing bloodshed and heartbreak down upon countless Israelis. To UNRWA, of course, you are a refugee if you are Palestinians and any ancestor of yours ever moved (under whatever circumstances and for whatever reason) at any point from the area within the Green Line to one of the towns or cities in the West Bank or Gaza called "refugee camps". You might think a refugee camp would look a little like a tent village, but under UNRWA's loving care they have become normal towns and cities with normal buildings and houses, solid infrastructure, and a middle class. The third and fourth generations, however, are still "refugees". My own mother fled Germany for her life and was stripped of her German citizenship. I, as far as I know, don't get to be a refugee; I have to make my own way in the world. Okay, I'm not doing so bad. But there are millions of very real refugees in the world who have no shelter, no place to stay, no food, no protection, absolutely nothing. Oh, and by the way, no one to help them either, not even from the UN. The UN is too busy, just at the moment, making sure the Palestinian middle class doesn't forget its reasons to hate Israel.

    Jonathan Hoffman

    Moishele - I agree with you - but that was not my point. My point was that (i) Pipes advocated changing the UNRWA definition as something which wd help the Palestinians - but if you believe you are a refugee no amount of semantics is going to change that (ii) I was concerned Pipes wd use the same argument to Saturday's hostile audience and would get mashed. But my fears were groundless.


    Glad you agree Jonathan. And I realise it's not your main focus in this post, of course.

    Perhaps I partly misunderstood you because you'd mentioned NGOs and not UNRWA (and also because your sentence could be understood to mean that YOU consider the UNHCR definition to be something negative).

    Certainly if UNRWA is finally receiving some attention, then that is a good thing, because UNRWA has played a huge role in perpetuating the conflict and the misery of millions of Palestinians and this is not widely known or discussed.


    "[Pipes] and his co-speaker, Douglas Murray got just as much applause as Ken and his co-speaker, Councillor Salma Yaqoob"

    "And yet more – Israel was not even mentioned in any of the four principal morning speeches on the main topic."

    I was a little let down when I got to the latter sentence. The fact that Israel wasn't again pilloried is a good thing, of course. But when I read that second sentence, I realized that Pipes and Murray were being applauded not for what they said supporting Israel, but for what they said about multiculturalism and Islamofascism.

    I know that Pipes is pro-Israel, and perhaps Murray is, too. Otherwise, judging from the summary above, there seemed to be two approaches to Israel: to say that its founding was a mistake or to say nothing at all.

    It may be that the view that Israel is a Bad Thing, at best a necessary evil that one has to accept, has taken full hold of the British public.

    Jonathan Hoffman

    Joanne, I really think that in a conference which was about the 'clash of civilisations' that it was very positive that Israel was not mentioned - because if it had been, it would inevitably have been in a bad light by its opponents, given that the central theme was not one which encompassed Israel. There were positive references to Israel - eg by Kamm - I just have not put everything in, it was long enough anyway! Regards Jonathan


    Surely the point about Israel in the context of a discussion (this does not sound like a "conference" in any meaningful sense) of "the War of Civilisations" is that Israel and the Jews are patently not one of the big eight noted by Huntingdon. We (and I mean we) are a small people with but one country in which we are a majority.

    The fact that so many find so much to say obsessively about us and our problems (again, not least in this context) is telling, not about us or those problesm, not even about the Israeli Palestinian dispute, but about them and their priorities.


    I was there and think your account is largely spot on. However I'm sure that Pipes mentioned Israel at some length, saying that a solution in Israel/Palestine would only come after victory by one side or the other and that he wanted Isreal to "win" by making everyone recognise its right to exist.

    Yaqoob was disgraceful, describing the 7th July bombings as "reprisals". Livingstone's choice of her as a partner was revealing.

    Douglas Murray was excellent, ad hominem attacks can misfire, but he gave both Yaqoob and Inayat Bunglawala a good peppering.


    As Johnathan says, this is a summary of a 2 hour debate. I have a guest post at Harry's Place which is complementary (and complimentary!) to Johnathan's. The references to Israel came in the q & A. Ken said the creation of Israel was a mistake, but now it was here he supported a two state solution. A Palestinian woman went on about the negotiations being between unequal parties, unjust solutions for the Palestinians etc. I asked her what about the 600th Jews thrown out of Arab countries. Her response was "oh, that was a state of war."


    Thanks everyone - Mark I agree with you - thanks Ami. Has anyone seen any coverage of the Conference in a newspaper? Or have they raised the white flag to the bloggers?


    'Her response was "oh, that was a state of war." '

    Presumably with those same largely non- or anti-Zionist Arab Jews whom the anti-Zionist Arab Muslims concerned regarded as de facto fellow Jewish nationals with Israeli Jews.

    Fine. But enough of saying Jews cannot comprise a national group. The fact the most Arab Jews had to leave Araby shows they were regarded as a separate, non-Arab national group.


    OK, Jonathan. Point well taken.

    Denise Ward

    Basicaly , we are talking about governments----when it comes right down to the wire .
    Governments determine our way of life; like it or not .
    There are really only two types of government : the democratic and the totalitarian . A democratic governmental system gives a voice to the people. The people can decide how they want to live thier lives. The totalitarian is a dictatorship in truth, and it's citizens are controlled by governmental figures and thier laws etc.
    Islamic government is theocratic , or ruled by religion. This does not work in the people's favor because it's law, the Shari'a law ,is inhumane by all modern standards .
    If we live the life imposed on humankind by the Shar'ia law , we lose the most valuable element of our lives---our freedom ; our human rights .
    Considering all this, how important is it to do whatever we need to do to secure our freedom ? Is our freedom worth fighting for ?
    Of course it is. But , before we do that, we have to understand all these things , and have the will, courage , and awareness to position ourselves to fight for our free way of life. I don't believe America , and most of the other countries of the free world , have any perspective on all these things. Europe and the West MUST wake up ; get some guts , and RESIST being imposed upon by a radical, religious, barbaric force. Do so or die.

    Jonathan Hoffman

    Daniel Pipes has posted a fascinating piece on his Blog about the Conference. Why has no MSM (= mainstream media) reported the Clash Conference? Is it cockup or conspiracy? I incline towards the former ... but then again, there were so many journalists and TV cameras there. Is this really self-censorship? If so what does that say about our media? The message would be profoundly deperessing.

    Jonathan Hoffman

    Here is the Pipes Blog

    Fabian from Israel

    I find that Israel is one of the best things ever created. And anyone who talks about "a mistake" can sod off, as you say. I would use a much stronger word.

    I am disheartened about how the "right to exist" of Israel has become a topic of discussion.

    I think that Australia was a mistake. England too (have you ever seen Israel as a ruthless global empire? Because England sure was).

    Oh, God, just give me the chance to slap in the face anyone who comes with "Israel was a mistake".

    harvey garfield

    azI attended the afternoon workshop on segregation in the community.
    Dr Bari head of the MCB was one of the panellists.I informed him that as a child living in London in the late 60s I regularly attended synagogue with my family.In those days there was no need for security and people were able to congregate outside after the service was over and socialise.Yes I am sure there would of been the odd antisemitic insult but as for the possibility of a major terrorist attack,simply unthinkable.Not now .Every synagogue community hall Jewish school is now subject to stringent security measures which for the purpose of this blog i will not enter into detail.There is a very real clear and present danger to our community and it does not emnate from the Hindus Sikhs Catholics Janes etc etc.Nor does it emnate from law abiding Muslims.
    There is however a sizeable minority of what i will describe as Islamo fascists who make very clear there visceral hatred for Jewish people -witness the Dispatches programme in which Jews are depicted as the descendants of pigs and monkees.Much the same as Hitlers depiction of Jews as vermin .

    Ron Thompson

    Thank you for this review of the Pipes/Livingston conference.
    A couple of thoughts - could it be said that the more religious a person is, the more that person fails to develop (or loses) a civilized view of the MEANS vs ENDS problem of life. Or is this just a problem of the militantly religious?
    Second - is it more logical to view Islam as a sort of ANTI-civilization than as just a different civilization? One of the reasons I suggest this is because, having studied the life and views of Mohammed, it seems to me that bin Laden and Zawahiri
    sound just like him. Thus I disagree, although with all good feeling, with Dan Pipes when he says that "moderate" Islam is the solution. For it appears to me that while there are large numbers of good human beings who are Muslims, they are, if so, bad Muslims. In other words, there's no such thing as "moderate" Islam.
    Thanks again for your comments. Ron Thompson,
    outside Wash, DC, USA

    harvey garfield

    Part 2

    cut off in my prime-went on to ask Dr Bari whether he thought it acceptable that mosques were being used to disseminate antisemitism homophobia and mysogeny.i stated that i felt deeply bitter towards main stream bodies such as the MCB for failing to put their house in order.In fact I believe groups such as the MCB uphold these teachings but are required as part of a policy of deception and disinformation to present the official mainstream face of Islam.
    Unfortunateley my question was one of agroup of 4 and Dr Bari was able to avoid giving an answer.Nevertheless the question i believe was quite a revelation to some Muslims as they sought to find me during the tea break in order to apologise for the deeds of their coreligionists.
    On a seperate note ,Iwas delighted to travel back with Dr Pipes in the same taxiafter the meeting Saturday night.Both agreed it was a victory for the good guys on the day.

    Battal Agha

    The Palestinian refugees have been used (and they still are) as a pawn in the hands of their Arab brethern. When the Indian Sub-continent was parted between India and Pakistan, there was an exchange of population by the millions. I do not see any claim such as "the right of return" of a refugee agency taking care of these people. The Palestinians have their counterparts, i.e. the Arab Jews who also had to leave their countries and were absorbed by Israel. So why continue with this sad issue on and on???


    Informative comments but I just have a couple of quibbles about the term arab-jews. I cringe everytime I see it in print. I heard that term for the first time when I lived in Israel decades ago. And since then I have made it my mission to set things straight! Especially on English blogs where it is used the most.
    1. AS a fomer native of North Africa, I have never used this term to describe myself & neither has anyone from my former jewish community. It is even considered an insult in some quarters. It is like calling Ashkenazim Khazars.
    Yes, I know that in Israel some intellectuals have used that term but it is mostly for political reasons. And some Iraqi Jews also describe themselves as such. But in Morocco, we have never called ourselves ARAB. North African communities were comprised of Berber/native Jews and Sephardic Jews. There are many ethnic groups in Arab countries, and guess what, not everyone is an arab, including jews.
    2.Please do not use us -us being sephardic jews from arab/islamic countries -as a political tool vis a vis Palestinian Refugees. There is no parallel. Jewish people from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia left for post colonial and economic reasons. The more fortunate Jews went to Canada , France, the US, etc. Nobody expelled us, and I am saying that a zionist.
    3.I can't belive I have to say this but each country in the Mid East/North Africa had its own distinctive Jewish community with its own cultural practices, languages, and history. We are not a monolithic bloc. Algerian Jews have nothing in common with Yemenites but more in common with Moroccan & Tunisian. I have no clue what Persian Jews are like for instance. Get my point?
    4. I know you don't mean it but you have rendered us invisible while we are the majority in Israel and some European countries. We consider ourselves proud jews, direct descendants of the first Israelites, and not some mongrel ethnic group whose voice can be appropriated to score some cheap points.
    OK, enough ranting for one day. Thanks for the soapbox.

    Jonathan Hoffman

    About the Conference - does anyone have an audio recording of it? Daniel Pipes has been inundated with requests but it seems City Hall is being slow to publish the audio/video/ transcript - I wonder why.


    I agree with most of what Rachel wrote - and it is true that Moroccan and Tunisian Jews were not expelled, although it's hard to argue that Algerian Jews were not, if only as Frenchmen. But Iraqi, Egyptian, Syrian, Libyan and Yemeni Jews were expelled. They deserve justice as dispossessed refugees and inevitably their case will, and probably should, be compared with that of the Palestinians.
    It is an oversimplification to claim that Moroccan and Tunisian Jews left for economic and post-colonial reasons - 44 died in rioting in 1948 and life was made very uncomfortable for them as JEWS after these countries became independent.

    Lynne T

    Re: the flight of Morocco's Jewish population, it should be noted that about a century prior to 1948, a visiting Italian Jew wrote an account of the requirement that Morocco's Jews not only pay the jizya, but also had to kneel and accept being struck in the face having rendered payment.

    I cannot recall who cited this account in attempting to debunk the notion of Muslim tolerance of "the Other" -- Andrew Bostom, Daniel Pipes or Bat Ye'or, but the point has to be made and keep being made that Jews in Muslim countries were only barely tolerated long before the formation of a Jewish state was of any concern to the Arab Muslim world.

    Lynne T

    Oh, God, just give me the chance to slap in the face anyone who comes with "Israel was a mistake".

    Posted by: Fabian from Israel | January 23, 2007 at 01:49 PM

    Yes, the Israel bashers are a pathetic lot who all not only choose to ignore the sorry treatment of Jews in Muslim countries long before the calls came for a Jewish state, but also that by the UN's measure, up until Intifada II, Arabs living in the PA enjoyed a significantly better standard of living than their Arab and Muslim brethren in oil producing nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran. They also don't want to know about the poll I read about yesterday conducted of Israel's Arab citizens, a majority of whom preferred being citizens of Israel and acknowledged that they are unable to be publicly candid about their sentiments for obvious reasons.

    May the bigots who think Jews belong anywhere in the world except Israel, find themselves suffering from some dread disease, the cure for which was developed by the world's leading medical research institute, and have to "on principle" refuse the treatment.

    anthony waldman

    Strange how the 100,000 Jewish refugees from Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1948 have been forgotten.

    Jonatha  Hoffman

    Latest news: I got thru to the right person at City Hall. Within 2 days there will be an announcement on the website as to if there willl be a trascript published. My bet is 'yes' (i) they have been inundated with requests I think (ii) if push comes to shove the Freedom of Information Act can be used to force publication (I think).

    Lynne T


    or Jordan's deliberate destruction of Jewish relics in '48, which were used to build pathways and latrines.

    And, of course, the Jews driven from Hebron in the 1920s whereas we hear endlessly about Deir Yassin.

    Maybe it's because the Jews focussed on developing the strip of land they were allowed by UN concensus instead of obsessing over a "humiliation".

    Jonathan  Hoffman

    At lasst a newspaper has reported on the Conference. Here is today's repoort in the Jewish Chronicle.

    ‘Civilisations’ debate evades Israel clash
    By Leon Symons
    Despite gloomy anticipation from some members of London’s Jewish community, last Saturday’s “Clash of Civilisations” conference, hosted by Mayor Ken Livingstone, provided some surprises and some balance — much of which emanated from the opening debate between the mayor and the American academic, Daniel Pipes.

    More than 2,000 people attended the conference at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster.

    The mayor had already earned the ire of the Zionist Federation by holding the conference, which featured one session on antisemitism and another on democratic solutions for the Middle East, on Shabbat, thus excluding observant Jews. He was forgiven after adding an evening session, the panel for which featured journalist and JC columnist Jonathan Freedland.

    Observers at the opening debate who have spoken to the JC agreed that Mr Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum think-tank, more than held his own with one of the most slick and accomplished politicians in Britain. Both had a seconder: the writer Douglas Murray with Prof Pipes, and Birmingham Councillor Salma Yaqoob — a member of George Galloway’s Respect Party — with Mr Livingstone.

    “The applause at the end showed what the audience thought,” said Jonathan Hoffman from North London. “Daniel Pipes and Douglas Murray gained equal applause to Mr Livingstone and Salma Yaqoob. I thought Daniel Pipes set out his case very well.

    “It was noticeable that the debate did not degenerate into a slanging match, which could have happened very easily. But perhaps that was because there was initially little mention of Israel.”

    Mr Livingstone opened the debate and praised London’s multiculturalism. He spoke about his meetings with the controversial Muslim cleric Sheikh Qaradawi, while quoting the Chief Rabbi’s reference to a “tsunami of antisemitism”, which, the mayor said, was declining in London.

    In the evening session, Adrian Cohen, chair of the London Jewish Forum, was heckled as he argued that antisemitism was in fact still very much in evidence in the capital.

    Prof Pipes began with Samuel Huntington’s original 1993 Clash of Civilisations essay on foreign affairs, in which he warned that clashes between civilisations had become the greatest threat to world peace. Prof Pipes spoke of a clash not between civilisations, but of civilisations against barbarians.

    “Can a world civilisation exist?” asked Prof Pipes. “No, as Huntington defined it” — but a world civilisation was possible if understood as a coalition against “barbarism”. He then defined “ideological barbarians” — fascists, Communists and now Islamists. The great question, he said, was how to oppose the “barbarians”.

    The mayor, he said, proposed multiculturalism. But he — Pipes — wanted victory over “barbarians”.

    He asked why some elements of the traditional left (in which he included Mr Livingstone) were so supportive of Islamism when it contradicted so much of their world view. His answer: that they shared the same enemies.

    In the question-and-answer session following the debate, Mr Livingstone said that while he believed that Israel should not have been created because land was “stolen” from Arabs, now that it existed he accepted it. He added that the US had supported the creation of Israel because it “was scared that if it did not, it would be deemed antisemitic”.


    When Ken Livingston,says to have created Israel was a mistake,I think he is either ignorant or plane stupid.He must read the history of the Jewish people in Arabian Peninsular where the Jews were living long before Islam cult came to being.Israel/Jews deserve all the support from the civilized West.There sure is a war between Civilization and Barbarism,make no mistake about it.

    Jonathan  Hoffman


    It's not great quality, it's an amateur video but at least it's there ......... the conference that all mainstream media (apart from the JC - ironically given the timing) has failed to report...


    We have the videos up now, and transcripts are underway.

    One of the biggest stories here is (also) how that big of an event got completely panned by the media; no big surprise -- but how about some Brits call their 'news services' on that fact?

    We have the video now. We could apologize for the quality of the video and audio, but we did the best we could. (Sorry for the delay? -- we worked as fast as we could.) We're just amateurs here. Pipes is featured in clips #3 and #4, and judging by crowd reaction, Murray in clip #6 made his points eloquently. Now that, to me, is debating.

    Here are the links:

    transcripts coming onto the 910 group blog, as we get them done. (If you can help, join us.)



    Great post, very interesting, an historic debate indeed. Let's hope there are many more.

    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe says
    admire dhimmidiots

    hug a terrorist today
    for they all just want peace

    Tony Sharp

    ...Here he quoted Max Hastings who apparently said that there was no point in studying any culture except that of Europe . The Chief Rabbi had spoken about a “tsunami of anti-Semitism in Europe” but here in London it had declined. Ken’s peroration followed.

    It is a shame the facts he asserted do not add up. Anti Semitic attacks in the UK are at an all time high and over half of them are in London.

    Livingstone's double standards are appalling.


    The site gives an excellent information on cartoons, stories .. find similar pages on visit to


    The people on the boat got what they dersveed, if you attack someone with a metal pipe and take away their gun then you can expect to get your a** handed to you.

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