Fellow travelling with Stop the War

Hezbollah salute
Some Hezbollah paramilitaries making that internationally recognised sign of peace and goodwill. The town in the background is Metula, in the north of Israel.

Another sign – as if it were really needed – of the collective madness of the inaccurately named national Stop the War Coalition and the lunatic tendencies overtaking many of its supporters on what was once known as “the left”.

Now it looks like the Bristol Stop the War Coalition have joined the Al-Looney Brigade too as they’ve only gone and invited Ibrahim Mousawi to speak at the Council House at an event they’re calling “World Against War” – Uncensored Voices From The Middle East.

Bristol Stop the War bill Mousawi as the editor of Al Intiqada, “a journal linked to Lebanon’s Hezbollah”. This is not the whole story however. Far from being a simple Lebanese journalist visiting the UK to provide us with some objective information, in Arabic versions (pdf) of Stop the War’s publicity he is being more accurately described as the “spokesperson for Hezbollah”.

Hezbollah are of course the Lebanese Islamist paramilitary organisation which just last week was again declaring an open war on “Zionists”. They are also a bunch of unapologetic anti-semites and notorious holocaust deniers who regularly flag up their genocidal ambitions with ever more deranged calls for the violent destruction of the State of Israel.

Meanwhile their leader Hassan Nasrullah’s efforts to “stop the war” include public statements like “If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel it will save us the trouble of going after them on a world wide basis.”

The sort of comment, in fact, that many dispassionate observers might perceive as a recipe for endless war rather than a means of stopping it. But hell, what would they know?

Hezbollah are also obsessively keen on Samir Kuntar. If you don’t know who he is, Harold Evans at Comment is Free explains while also managing to recreate some of that feverish emotional intensity that underpins so much of the violence in the Middle East. An intensity that is constantly and cynically manipulated by the propagandists of violence – such as Mousawi and his supporters – on both sides of the conflict. Evans is also worth reading as he provides a brief masterclass on the simplicity of good journalism.

Mousawi is appearing at the Council House next Friday 29 February 2008 at 7.30pm. Wouldn’t it be great if at least one city in the UK could organise the kind of welcome a murderous, hate-filled scumbag like Mousawi really deserves?

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22 Responses to Fellow travelling with Stop the War

  1. bluebaldee says:

    Would Bristol City Council allow the Council House to be used by David Irving or other right-wing holocaust deniers?

    No, I think not.

    So why are they allowing this proponent of genocide, holocaust-denying, anti-semitic piece of shit to spout his vile drivel in the place that our taxes pay to maintain?

  2. badnewswade says:

    Because they’re a bunch of morons who actually belive in a simplistic, goodguys vs badguys world – so if the Americans and Israel are the Bad Guys, then Hezbollocks and the other Nazis are Good Guys.

    (I’m surprised that more of them aren’t religious, actually, what with their love of logical contradictions and their ability to ignore evil.)

    Indymedia in particular have been obsessing on the subject of Israel / Palestine for years now, at the expense of things that we can actually do something about, i.e. Iraq.

    They seem to have a thing about conflating the I/P conflict with Iraq, even though I/P is incredibly complicated and involves atrocities on both sides, stretching back around seventy years.

    Screw ’em.

  3. Bristol Dirt Bag says:

    Unfortunately, I have to once again say “nothing surprises me anymore”.

    It seems rather ironic that many on the left see the Israel / Palestine conflict in such simplistic terms, nowadays putting themselves firmly in the pro Palestinian camp… if they bothered to look at the history of conflict in the middle east (history has never been a strongpoint of most trendy lefties) they might find a few things that shocked them…





  4. Mike Hope says:

    Bluebaldie is right except for one thing: the Islamic loonies are every bit as right wing as the likes of Irving.

    This is a Right v Right argument and both sides are wrong.

  5. You make a very strong point in this post BB. This lefty, at least, generally agrees with you on this issue – I would hope there are others!

  6. Pingback: Exclusive: Bristol Stop the War asks “Who is affraid of Hezbollah’s voice?” « Bristol Respect Coalition

  7. badnewswade says:

    Posted this to their site after other, snarkier comments of mine were deleted- let’s see if they have the guts to print it:

    “Sorry, is this a blog or a Vanity publishing outfit?

    Here’s what people on Bristol Indymedia had to say:

    You should be ashamed of yourselves bringing this representative of neo-Nazi fascists to our town, as if a professional propagandist for a faction in a completely different war in a completely different country has anything to say except lies, lies and more lies.

    If you think you speak for me you are sorely mistaken.

    The government would really like to paint everyone who is against the Iraq war as a pro-Hezbollah, anti-semitic racist and supporter of terrorism, and you have done a bang up job of perpetuating this libel.

    You do not speak for the majority of those who are against this war and you never will.

    If you really want to help stop the war, then disband.”

  8. thebristolblogger says:

    Good to see the group promoting “uncensored voices from the Middle East” on Friday is happy to censor voices from Bristol today.

  9. badnewswade says:

    Well, they’ve crossed the line now. Aligning themselves with fascists means that they will forever be known as scum. At least if I have anything to do with it.

    The worst thing about this is the way that it makes everything the neocons and pro-war loons said about the Left come true – that Lefties are anti semitic and are on the side of the terrorists. This alone leads me to wonder just who is paying for the SWP to make it look like people who are anti-war are terrorism fans.

    My only regret is that I can’t be there on the 29th. Might pop in after the gig I’m going to though.

  10. badnewswade says:

    Is anyone definitely going to be there tomorrow?

    The concert I’m going to starts at 7.45 pm, so it’s going to be tight, BUT I might have a flyer to hand out and I can maybe print it out if people are going – do you think this is a bad idea?

  11. Samir Kuntar
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    Samir Kuntar
    Samir Kuntar

    Samir Kuntar (Arabic: سمير القنطار‎, also transcribed Sameer, Kantar, Quntar, Qantar) (born July 20, 1962 in Aabey, Lebanon), is a Lebanese Druze who belonged to the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), a pro-Palestinian organization led by Abu Abbas. The PLF is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, Canada and the European Union.[1][2][3] He participated in an attack on Israeli family in 1979 and has been held since in Israeli jails under a four-times-life sentence since his admitted conviction in 1979 on charges of murder and terrorism, for the killing of four Israelis, a twenty eight year-old man, his four year-old daughter, and two Israeli policemen.

    * 1 Attack into Israel from Southern Lebanon
    * 2 Shootout and capture by Israel
    * 3 Details of the Attack
    * 4 Support for Samir Kuntar
    * 5 Proposed exchange for Ron Arad
    * 6 The Lebanon Plan
    * 7 Hezbollah abducts Israeli soldiers
    * 8 See also
    * 9 References
    * 10 External links

    [edit] Attack into Israel from Southern Lebanon

    On April 22, 1979, Samir Kuntar led a group of four who entered Israel from Lebanon by boat. The group members were Abdel Majeed Asslan born in 1955, Mhanna Salim Al-Muayed born in 1960 and Ahmed AlAbras born in 1949. They belonged to the Palestine Liberation Front under the leadership of Abu Abbas. The group departed from the seashore of Tyre in South Lebanon using a 55 horse-powered motorized rubber boat with an 88 km/h speed. The goal of the operation was to attack Nahariya, 10 km away from the Lebanese border and 8 km north of the city of Akko. The group called their operation the Nasser Operation.

    Around midnight they arrived at the coastal town of Nahariya. The four killed a policeman who came across them. The group then entered a high building, 61 Jabotinski Street, where they parted into two groups. One group broke into the apartment of the Haran family before police reinforcements had arrived. The militants took twenty-eight-year old Danny Haran hostage along with his four-year-old daughter, Einat. The mother, Smadar Haran, was able to hide in a crawl space above the bedroom with her two-year-old daughter Yael, and a neighbour.

    According to Smadar, “I will never forget the joy and the hatred in [Kuntar’s group’s] voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades. I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. “This is just like what happened to my mother,” I thought.”[1]

    [edit] Shootout and capture by Israel

    After taking the hostages, Kuntar’s group took Danny and Einat down to the beach, where a shootout with Israeli policemen and soldiers erupted. Samir Kuntar shot the father, Danny, at close range in front of his daughter in the back and drowned him in the sea to ensure he was dead. Next, he smashed the four year old girl’s head, Einat, on beach rocks and crushed her skull with the butt of his rifle.

    Back in the crawl space, 2-year-old Yael Haran was accidentally suffocated to death by her mother’s attempts to quiet her whimpering from revealing their hideout, so that they would not be found by Kuntar’s group.

    A policeman and two of Samir Kuntar’s unit were also killed in the shootout on the beach; Kuntar and the fourth participant were captured. The latter, Ahmed AlAbrass, was freed by Israel in the Ahmed Jibril prisoner exchange deal of May 1985 (1,150 Arab political prisoners were exchanged for three Israeli prisoners-of-war held in Lebanon), but Kuntar was not included in the deal.

    Several months later, the PLF seized the Achille Lauro, an Italian cruise ship, demanding that Israel release Kuntar, along with other Palestinian prisoners. The hijackers killed a wheelchair-bound American Jewish passenger, Leon Klinghoffer.

    [edit] Details of the Attack

    According to Smadar Haran, her last memories of Danny and Einat, that day, were when they were being led away at gun point by Kuntar. She could hear from her closet space Danny telling Einat, “Don’t be scared, my baby, it will be alright” and Einat replied to him in her little voice, “Dad, where is Mommy? I want Mommy.” Smadar’s last memory of her 2-year-old daughter, Yael, was when her little daughter was taken to the apartment hiding space. Right before Yael had her mouth covered by her mother, she asked her mother “Where is my little pacifier.” There was no time to search for the pacifier. Minutes later Smadar covered Yael’s mouth to keep her from revealing the hiding space. Smadar soon felt her daughter’s tiny tongue licks and lip sucking on the palm of her hand. She didn’t know what to make of it at first but hours later was told by doctors and paramedics that the reason Yael was licking her palm while she covered her mouth was because she was gasping for air.

    According to a 1979 Israeli Maariv (Hebrew: מַעֲרִיב‎) Newpaper which described details of this attack: After drowning Danny in the sea in front of little Einat (all this taking place as Ahmed Al-Brass, Mhanna Salim Al-Muayed, and Abdel Majeed Asslan stood and served as look outs and backup cover for Kuntar), Kuntar, then turned his attention towards the frightened little 4-year old. He took his rifle and then swung it across the little toddler’s head, knocking her to the ground. As little Einat was knocked to the ground, she was screaming and crying hysterically “mommy daddy help me,” while thrashing her little legs around in the sand. But unfortunately Einat was alone, and no one was there to save her. Kuntar then dragged the little toddler a couple of feet to the closest rock he could find, this was while she was begging him not to hurt her. Kuntar, then laid her head down on a rock, with the intention of crushing it with the butt of his rifle. Einat, instinctively covered her head with her little arms, Kuntar struggled with the little toddler until he finally managed to clear her arms out of the way so that he could aim for her head. Once her arms were out of the way, Kuntar proceeded on beating her on the head over and over with the butt of his rifle, and repeatedly stomping on her little body as hard as he could as well, until blood rushed out of her ears and mouth, and her little cries faded away as she was knocked into unconsciousness. Then, to ensure she was dead, Kuntar continued on beating her over the head, as hard as he could, several more times until her skull was crushed and she was dead.[4]

    [edit] Support for Samir Kuntar

    Although Kuntar has admitted his complicity many times and expressed pride about the killings, he has many supporters in Lebanon who maintain that he is innocent. Other supporters, alternately, claim that the Harans (including the four year-old girl) were legitimate targets and consider Kuntar to be a political prisoner.

    [edit] Proposed exchange for Ron Arad

    In 2003 Israel agreed to release around 400 prisoners in exchange for businessman Elchanan Tenenbaum and the bodies of three soldiers held by Hezbollah since 2000. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah refused to accept the deal unless it included Samir Kuntar. “Hezbollah’s conditions have become clear and defined, and we are sticking to them in all circumstances”, Nasrallah declared in his statement.[5][6]

    Israel then agreed to release Samir Kuntar on condition that Hezbollah provided “solid evidence” as to the fate of Ron Arad, an air force navigator missing in Lebanon since 1986.[7][8]

    Inspired by the prisoner swap Hamas vowed, a few days later, that they would also abduct Israeli soldiers to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners. Hassan Nasrallah simultaneously told his supporters that Hezbollah would continue to kidnap Israelis until “not a single prisoner” remained inside Israeli jails.[9]

    Since Hezbollah never provided any solid information about Arad, Israel continues to hold Kuntar.

    [edit] The Lebanon Plan

    In 2006 Samir Kuntar became part of a more elaborate peace plan promoted by Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and UN envoy Terje Rød-Larsen.[10] It included six steps:

    1. The UN marks the boundary between Lebanon and Syria.
    2. Syria publicly declares that the Shebaa farms are Lebanese territory.
    3. The Lebanese Army takes up positions on its southern border with Israel.
    4. Israel withdraws from Shebaa Farms and hands them over to Lebanon. The Israeli Air Force stops flying over Lebanese territory.
    5. Siniora formally announces the end of Israeli occupation, and all militias, including Hezbollah, are disarmed.
    6. Everything possible is done to investigate the fate of Ron Arad. Israel frees Samir Kuntar and all other Lebanese prisoners. Hezbollah leaves the border area.

    [edit] Hezbollah abducts Israeli soldiers

    Main article: Zar’it-Shtula incident

    On July 12, 2006 Hezbollah attacked an Israeli border patrol and captured two soldiers, sparking the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War. They were meant to be released in exchange for Samir Kuntar.[citation needed] In subsequent interviews on Al-Manar TV station Dr Mohamad Jawad Khalifeh, the Lebanese Minster of Health, congratulated Hezbollah for “its great actions” and said that “Lebanon has the right to regain its prisoners and liberate them”. Ali Ammar, a Hezbollah member of the Lebanese Parliament, stated his opinion that “particularly at this basic stage in the history of the homeland and the nation, this government should have expressed solidarity with its people and let Samir Quntar feel that he is a Lebanese par excellence.”[11]

  12. bristolgraffiti says:


    Dood, there’s a reason they invented the hyperlink you know. It’s so you don’t have to copy and paste unreadable amounts of text…

  13. badnewswade says:

    Well, I came, I saw, and went away again. Obviously I was the only one who protested this horrific example of doublethink in action, but not for long I hope. I have a clear concience now, that my years of opposing war have not put me in the same camp as warmongering racists. I honestly think I did the right thing. Remember- freedom is the freedom to tell the truth, and the truth is that the SWP are a bunch of opportunists who would invite Hitler himself to their meetings if they thought it would get them support.

    Amusingly for the free speechers, there was another example of the respect the SWP-Hezbollah-Start The War* coalition has for free speech in that one of the first things that happened was a pissed off person, probably a poor shell shocked Palestinian refugee, trying to beat me up and calling me a cunt. Hilarious. What are you afraid of, Start The War*?

    So. Let’s see what STW believe – that the only way to oppose war is to give a platform to the side you support. The way to get our troops home is to actively support terrorists. And hit anyone who disagrees.

    Gee, thanks. What’s not to like?

    Please, please can someone do something, say something before they discredit the cause of peace forever? An independant anti-war movement would be so good.

    I have to go now, I am a little the worse for wear and I daren’t go home as that’s where the razorblades are.

    * I can’t call them Stop The War when they invite warmongers to speak at their events, can I?

  14. matewan says:

    badnewswade // February 29, 2008 at 10:56 pm wrote:

    What are you afraid of, Start The War*?

    * I can’t call them Stop The War when they invite warmongers to speak at their events, can I?

    Quite. However, I do believe that ‘Stoke The War’ expresses their second-rate, follow-my-leader, cheerleading-clerical-fascists, my-enemy’s-enemy-is-my-friend type of opportunism rather better than ‘Start The War’. I can’t imagine this lot starting or finishing anything much.

    It’s not the SWP who disgust me. Anyone who has had to endure any time in their company should know what to expect. It’s the ghastly conformity of the bleeding heart liberals who tag along behind them that’s really frightening. Stepford wives.

  15. redzone says:

    after reading the replies from the lefty loonies on indymedia, it’s no surprise they have very little support or credibility.

  16. Chris Hutt says:

    Badnewswade, well done for having the guts to make a lone protest. I don’t think I could ever do what you did and I doubt whether many others could either. If doing it meant tapping into your feelings of anger then that’s fine. If only more of us had your courage.

  17. badnewswade says:

    Aw, thanks!

    I just had to do it – my concience demanded it. What really got to me was the hijacking of the anti-war movement – because now the government is free to bomb who it likes, knowing full well that anyone who disagrees can be easily painted as a terrorist fan.

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