Richard Burden MP’s Support for Raed Salah

Raed Salah incites riots by lyingly claiming that the State of Israel is plotting to demolish the Al Aqsa mosque and build the Third Temple over it. He repeated this lie to thousands of viewers in the United Kingdom when interviewed by Press TV, on the first night of his visit to the United Kingdom.

Salah is presently facing charges arising from a speech in which he claimed that Jews ate the blood of non-Jewish children, baked in matzohs:

We have never allowed ourselves, and listen well, we have never allowed ourselves to knead the bread for the breaking of the fast during the blessed month of Ramadan with the blood of the children. And if someone wants a wider explanation, you should ask what used to happen to some of the children of Europe, whose blood would be mixed in the dough of the holy bread. God all mighty, is this religion? Is this what God wants? God will confront you for what you are doing…”

Salah also published an article in the October 5, 2001 issue of the weekly Sawt al-Haq w’al-Huriyya (Voice of Justice and Freedom), which claims that Jews were forewarned of 9/11, and left their Muslim co-workers to die:

A suitable way was found to warn the 4,000 Jews who work every day at the Twin Towers to be absent from their work on September 11, 2001, and this is really what happened! Were 4,000 Jewish clerks absent [from their jobs] by chance, or was there another reason? At the same time, no such warning reached the 2,000 Muslims who worked every day in the Twin Towers, and therefore there were hundreds of Muslim victims.

A scan of that article now appears on the Daily Telegraph website.

In addition, Salah told Haaretz that homosexuality was not simply sinful, but “a great crime”. His Islamic Movement published a condemnation of the “Satanic” US Marines who killed the “Martyr”, “Sheikh” Osama Bin Laden. He himself has been convicted of funding the genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisation, Hamas.

When Raed Salah was first banned from the United Kingdom, his hosts and cheerleaders, the Middle East Monitor published a press release claiming that Raed Salah had “refuted” “all allegations made against him”. That was not true. He had merely denied them.

The press release continued:

A specific allegation was made with regard to ‘blood libel’ in Harry’s Place and apparently adopted by other sources. Sheikh Raed was questioned with regard to that statement by the Israeli authorities and he refuted their claim. Hence no charges were brought against him in this regard. Because of the sinister nature of these libellous claims, Sheikh Raed has contacted his legal team to take appropriate measures against those in Britain who have sought to defame him.

This was also not true. MEMO had to publish a humiliating correction:

Memo would like to make a correction to this press release. While the release states “Hence no charges were brought against him in this regard” we would now like to clarify that while charges were brought against him, he was never convicted due to lack of evidence. We do not feel that this alters the substance of the release which remains the same, namely that Sheikh Raed refutes all charges made against him.

That is still not true. The charges against Salah are pending.

Piece by piece, every point that has been made, and denied, by Raed Salah has been proven to have substance. Salah is a racist, a homophobe, and inciter of riots, and a mourner of Osama Bin Laden. Those who stand with him and defend him are defending racism, homophobia and extremist sectarian politics.

So, the spotlight should be turned on those who support Raed Salah.

Let’s start with Richard Burden MP. Here is what he has to say for himself:

I have no truck for anti-Semitism and I made it clear that I would not be willing to share a platform with such a person if these allegations were true.

The organisers of the meeting put these allegations to Raed Salah. He denied the statements that had been attributed to him and asked lawyers to begin legal action against those spreading the allegations. I am not aware of any evidence being produced to back up the allegations.

There always was evidence to back up the allegations. Now there is more. And there will be even more as this story develops.

Richard Burden MP turned up to the meeting which Raed Salah was to have addressed. This is what he said:

Let me put absolutely on the record what Jeremy [Corbyn] said.  Neither I nor anyone else on this panel has any truck with antisemitism, any truck with racism, whatsoever.  But I will say this: if I am going to see anybody convicted of those sorts of allegations, I want to see them convicted on the basis of evidence.  I don’t want to see them condemned and guilt assumed on the basis of innuendo, allegation, or association.  [audience applauds loudly]

Now Richard Burden MP has that evidence. Now is the time for Richard Burden MP to make it clear that he accepts that this evidence is correct, and that he was mislead by Middle East Monitor and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign into supporting a racist.

Will Richard Burden MP admit his error?

It doesn’t look like it, yet. Instead, he is engaging in “whataboutery” on a grand Parliamentary scale.

This is what Richard Burden MP is up to. He is attempting to draw a parallel between the right wing evangelical preacher, John Hagee, and Raed Salah:

Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby has been urged to cancel a planned rally led by a controversial American pastor.

Richard Burden (Lab Northfield) has written to Coun Whitby asking him to confirm whether the rally will be allowed to go ahead, and asking whether he believes it is ethical to receive payment for the event.

He spoke out after US Pastor John Hagee booked Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, which is run indirectly by the council, to hold a rally and seminars on August 19 and 20. Tickets are for sale at £10 each.

Pastor Hagee hss said in the past that the Holocaust was part of God’s plan to force Jews to return to Israel and claimed Hurricane Katrina was divine punishment for a planned gay pride rally.

Symphony Hall is run by a charity called Performances Birmingham Limited, which is controlled by Birmingham City Council. The board of directors includes Coun Whitby, as well as Labour group leader Sir Albert Bore.

Mr Burden said: “There is a difference between accepting Pastor Hagee’s right to speak and actively helping him to perpetrate his views by providing premises.”

In addition, he has tabled the following Parliamentary Questions to the Home Secretary:

What communications she has had with a) Representatives of any foreign Government b) groups or organisations in the UK about the fortcoming visit of Pastor John Hagee?

What communications she has had with a) Representatives of any foreign Government b) groups or organisations in the UK about the fortcoming visit of Pastor John Hagee?

What investigations she has undertaken into the preachings of Pastor John Hagee on a) Islam and people of the Muslim faith b) his theories about the reasons for Hurrican Katrina c) his theories on whether there was a divine plan for the Holocaust d) in support of the policies of the State of Israel, and if she will make a statement?

What efforts she has made to ensure consistency between her decisions regarding the amittance of a) Raed Salah b) Pastor John Hagee for speaking engagements around the UK?

What assessment she has made about whether the admittance to the UK of Pastor John Hagee is conducive to the public good and if she will make a statement?

What allegations of a) anti semitism and b) other unnacceptable prounouncements/actions against Raed Salah has she concluded are a) proven b) not proven but based on sufficient evidence to warrant exclusion from the UK c) not based on such evidence, and what investigations she undertook to reach these conclusions?

If she will list the reasons for her determination that Raed Salah should be excluded or deoported from the UK on the grounds that his presnce is not conducive to the public good?

If she will list the criteria she uses for decideing whether foreign national should be excluded or deported from the UK on the grounds that his/her presence is not conducive to the public good?

Now, I would be quite happy if John Hagee were banned from the United Kingdom: primarily for his homophobia rather than the theological statements which he has made about Jews. I’d certainly support a picket of his event by Gay activists.

It is worth making the following distinctions between Hagee and Salah, which may go some way to answering Richard Burden MP’s questions. First of all, Hagee’s statements about Jews and the Holocaust, although wildly offensive, are characteristic of attempts by people who believe in God to rationalise acts of unspeakable evil. They are as vicious as Rabbi Ovidia Yosef’s claim that the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust were reincarnated souls of sinners which needed to be punished. Secondly, Hagee clarified and expressed regret for causing pain. Thirdly, Hagee hasn’t been convicted of funding a genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisation.

I wish Richard Burden MP success in his campaign against John Hagee. Indeed, were John Hagee excluded from the United Kingdom on the basis of his nasty rhetoric, the bar would be set so low that the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Middle East Monitor would never get an “honoured guest” into this country again.

But isn’t there something pretty sickening about an MP, tactically invoking his supposed opposition to antisemitism and homophobia by a Christian preacher, in order to justify his support for antisemitic and homophobic Raed Salah: a convicted Hamas fundraiser with whom he was, and is, happy to share a platform.

Time to apologise and admit your mistake, Richard Burden.