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What is going on in the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign?

(This is a guest post by Igor)

Mick Napier is Chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) and its most prominent spokesman. He leads an organisation that is often more radical than the UK-wide PSC, to which SPSC is affiliated. SPSC, for instance, repeatedly challenges the charitable status of British Jewish charities that raise money for projects in Israel. In January 2006, Napier marked Holocaust Memorial Week by staging a performance of Perdition, the play that alleges Zionist collusion with the Nazi Holocaust. Napier invited Gilad Atzmon to speak to SPSC, although he later distanced himself from Atzmon and his buddy Israel Shamir.

Even knowing all of this, Mick Napier’s take on the murder of eight Jewish students at the Merkaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem last week bears some reading. His determination to cast the yeshiva as a legitimate target, and the shooting as an act of self defence, is unmistakable. He repeatedly ascribes any and every crime of Israeli settlers to graduates of Merkaz HaRav, even when the sources he cites do no such thing.

The yeshiva was not, for Napier, simply a religious school of which there are many in Jerusalem, and elsewhere in the Jewish world. It was

A training centre for illegal occupation, murder and “Arabs to the Gas Chambers”.

The Palestinian gunman who carried out the attack did not, for Napier, murder eight religious students at prayer, all but one of whom were teenagers from the age of 15 upwards:

Alaa Abu Dheim killed eight students who were being trained to oppress and dispossess him, his family, his entire people. He was himself killed by an armed student.

It is true that Merkaz HaRav played an important role in the religious Zionist world, and that religious Zionism played an important role in the settlers’ movement after 1967. But Napier’s article goes beyond any considered analysis of that dynamic.

The syllabus at the yeshiva, according Napier, includes “contempt for all Gentiles, not only Arabs”; poisoning wells; and stealing the organs of non-Jews. Not the usual Talmud and Torah; or perhaps, for Napier, this is exactly what Talmud and Torah entails. For Palestine, he tells us, is in the grip of “Jewish supremacism”.

A clue to Napier’s thinking can be found in his references. Many are from one book, Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky’s Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, a book much loved by a certain type of anti-Zionist but valued by nobody else.

Napier also uses as a source an article he wrote that is on a website called The Truth Seeker. The Truth Seeker website includes sections on, amongst other things, Bilderberg, Freemasonry, Hidden and Revisionist History, The New World Order and The Rothschilds. These are all clearly listed on its homepage. It includes articles that deny the Holocaust and others that quote from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Napier’s article is credited to Israel Shamir’s yahoo group, which suggests that Napier does not write directly for The Truth Seeker website; but he clearly has no shame in linking to it.

Another source Napier gives is from the Radio Islam website. Radio Islam is one of the leading Holocaust Denial websites anywhere on the internet. It hosts the full text of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Its English-language homepage displays the prominent slogan, “USA’s Rulers: They Are All Jews!” Its founder, Ahmed Rami, has a past conviction for antisemitic incitement. You can tell the character of Radio Islam, and Rami, by looking at his photo album, described as “Photos of friends of Radio Islam”. It includes photographs of Rami with the Holocaust Deniers Roger Garaudy, Robert Faurisson, Mark Weber; with the spiritual leader of Hezbollah, Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah; and with Generalmajor Otto-Ernst Remer, the man who crushed the July 20 plot against Hitler in 1944. This is a website Mick Napier goes to for his source material about the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Last month, John Wight, also a spokesman for SPSC, cited the Holocaust Denial website the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust during an argument on the Engage blog. He claimed it was an honest mistake based on poor Google technique, but did not manage to explain precisely how Google had misdirected him to that website, nor why he then thought it suitable to cite as a reference. His arguments included references to “international Jewry” and to Israel as a “hydra-headed monster”, language to which even other anti-Zionists objected.

First John Wight, now Mick Napier. Just what is going on in SPSC?

Napier’s article includes the disclaimer that

This article represents his personal view, not necessarily those of the Campaign.

“Not necessarily”? I would be interested to know if there are any members of SPSC who are unhappy with what their spokesmen are saying and writing about Israel, Palestine, and Zionism; and, more to the point, Jews and Judaism.