Monday, 12 September 2011

York PSC - "Genocide Now Not an Option"?

On York PSC's website is an FAQ section. Here's one question and answer (with emphasis added):
Q. Does PSC recognise the State of Israel?
A. Yes we recognize A State of Israel  with the borders that existed before the 1967 six day war. The continuous extension of those borders by war and occupation have been condemned by numerous UN Security council resolutions (beginning with number 242 in November 1967).  Individuals can comment on the right or otherwise of the land grab which created the state of Israel in the first place and its biblical justification,  but we must emphasize that PSC, like Arafat, accepts the inevitable presence of the Israelis and that pushing them all in to the Mediterranean is now not an option.
If one reads "Israelis" as "Jews living in Israel" and "pushing them all in to the Mediterranean" as a euphemism for "murder them", then York PSC is stating that genocide is "now not an option". When was it?

[UPDATE: Harry's Place reveals that Leeds PSC has the same wording in their FAQs.]

York PSC has some history with allegations of anti-Semitism. In 2004 the Chairman of York Jewish Society alleged in a letter to the local paper that:
THE actions of the York Palestine Solidarity Campaign (York PSC) today were nothing short of disgusting.
As chairman of the University of York Jewish Society I organised a walking tour of Jewish Medieval York, followed by a brief ceremony at the foot of Clifford's Tower to commemorate the 1190 massacre.
This was hijacked by York PSC (Letters, March 17) who saw fit to mix the massacre of more than 110 British Jews in 1190 with the present situation in Israel.
At the small ceremony, they tried to provoke arguments with Jewish students, rather than turn-up to remember the massacre.
Terry Gallogly, replying as Chair of York PSC, said:
These allegations have no truth behind them whatsoever. The YPSC York made no contact with its membership about the memorial service, and did not attend.
We, therefore, cannot comment on the views of those who attended as private individuals and who are unknown to us. [emphasis added] Those making these serious allegations obviously made no attempt to verify their facts before contacting the Press. 
However, the previous day Andrew Collingwood told the paper
To the best of my knowledge only one of our members was present.
Because I wasn't there, I cannot comment on any alleged events which took place at Clifford's Tower. But whatever did take place was the action of individuals and nothing to do with York PSC. 
So we have an admission that at least one member of York PSC felt it appropriate to disturb a memorial service to Jewish victims of persecution. The fact that York PSC did not arrange it doesn't mean it has "nothing to do with York PSC". At least one of their members was behaving in an allegedly disgraceful manner.

Both Andrew Collingwood and Terry Gallogly have been accused of anti-Semitism individually. Harry's Place revealed that when the Jewish Chronicle ran an online poll asking its (presumably Jewish) readers "Should Rabbis work with the EDL?" (after the so-called "surfing Rabbi" had pledged them his support), Terry Gallogly encouraged people to rig the poll to make it look like Jews supported the EDL (despite the rigging the result was heavily against).

In 2009 the York student newspaper accused Andrew Collingwood of being racist because he posted a picture of a placard on facebook. Collingwood replied that:
In response to your story of 13 February, I would like to reiterate my regret that one of the 246 pictures of York Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s public activities posted to the Facebook group has caused offence.
When I found out from the University that this image was causing offence I immediately removed this picture and made it clear that I do not support any anti-Semitic displays and would not have posted the picture if it had occurred to me that it would cause offence. To be clear, this image was not on a University website or uploaded through the University network. The image was clearly found by an individual searching for a reason to label me an anti-Semite. I regard this as the latest move in a campaign to harass me at work because of my connection to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
While it certainly seems unfair to accuse Collingwood of anti-Semitism for merely posting the picture, it is not in doubt that someone was holding this apparently anti-Semitic placard at a York PSC event and no one present thought it needed removing.

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