Ahava counter-demo 14 August: Phone interview with The Guardian


By Jonathan Hoffman
August 16, 2010
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This record of our conversation is being made public to help ensure that any Guardian article based on our conversation is accurate.

***

I spoke to Stephen Bates (SB) of the Guardian about the counter-demo outside Ahava on Saturday. Bates was tipped off by Greenstein. I have also emailed this statement to SB.

There were members of the EDL at Saturday’s counter-demo. Bates asked about the links if any between the EDL and the ZF. I told him there are none. I told him that Greenstein’s allegation that there were EDL present at the ZF-organised Israel Solidarity demo on 2 June was pure conjecture. I told SB that we have freedom to protest in the UK and that organisers of demonstrations cannot control who is there. If he or Greenstein wants to control street protests then they need to move to Hanoi, Tehran or (best of all) Gaza.

Further, I told SB that those who associate freely with the racist supporters of Hamas and Hizbolla especially have no business criticising the organisers of the Ahava pro-Israel counter demo for demo attendees who are completely beyond their control.

SB asked me if it was a matter of concern that EDL were there on Saturday. I said it would be if it had been planned/coordinated --- but that it was entirely beyond our control. I emphasised that my record of fighting the far Right is impeccable, witness my activism against Irving and Griffin when they were invited to the Oxford Union Society in 2007. I told SB that there was some crossover between the BNP and the EDL and that the EDL sometimes intimidated Muslims and that both these are reprehensible.

Please note that I am not entering into any discussion below the line on this post

COMMENTS

telegramsam

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 12:36

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Mealy-mouthed though it is, at long last there is a sort of condemnation of the EDL/BNP. Hope that didn't hurt too much.


amber

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 13:57

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telegramsam, I take it you will now be attending the counterdemo?


zair (not verified)

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 14:13

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'This record of our conversation is being made public to help ensure that any Guardian article based on our conversation is accurate.'

Anyone not see the problem with this?


telegramsam

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 14:19

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Yes Zair it is pretty obvious.


telegramsam

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 14:25

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No Amber I will not take part in any demo where EDL/BNP Nazis jump on to the bandwagon either through luck or joint planning.


ibrows

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 14:33

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1 point

Its also interesting to note Amber's conversion to fascism in endorsing the EDL.

and Jonny rotten has finally totally lost it. Note the double standards that Jonathan continues to use, as always:

while the presence of the EDL at the same demo as Jonny 'is considered 'beyond his control' and does not, he claims, relate to any links between the EDL and ZF. Nevertheless he is quick to deploy a different logic to others who attended a demonstration that Galloway was also present at. Instead of this being 'beyond their control', those who attended are depicted as 'freely associating with the racist supporters of Hamas and Hizbullah'.

Good to know your still as fair minded as ever Jonathan, especially in light of your new EDL friends


zair (not verified)

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 15:30

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1 point

The previous post re Ahava is no longer taking posts and JH is not commenting below the line here.

Hmmm - taking some tips from 'Hanoi, Tehran or (best of all) Gaza.'?


DLeigh-Ellis

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 15:37

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Thank you for confirming to the media that there is a distinction between the ZF and the EDL, glad you decided that it was an appropriate course of action after all those angry words.

This clarification will go a long way to prevent critics of Pro-Israel organisations from having any ammunition.

Just a shame that so much time was wasted before you decided such action was necessary.


telegramsam

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 16:19

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Maybe Jonathan won't comment below the line because of instructions from his superiors after his previous comments.


raycook

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 16:48

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There is a world of difference between the EDL's quite separate 'demo' and the ZF's complete denunciation of what they stand for and George Galloway being invited to speak at rallies to which JfjfP fully supports and applauds, marches with, mingles with, does not denounce or criticise. If anyone is mealy-mouthed it is those who fail to condemn Hamas, Hizbullah and their supporters and make excuses for their actions.

Amber should also make her position on EDL clear. With them or against them? If with them, then she should review this position. Neo-Nazis or anyone remotely associated with Islamophobia, racism and bigotry are no friends of Israel or the Jewish people. They do not represent the English either.

Unlike JH I am concerned at the EDL's presence as it contaminates the ZF by perceived association and gives people who read the Guardian another excuse to knock Israel.


Inky_Flag

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 17:42

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JONATHAN "FIGHTING FOR ISRAEL".
There is a long and honourable tradition- whether we agree with it or not- of young British and Irish Jewish men and women joining the IDF in times of war and danger and fighting for Israel.

We have had the 1st. and 2nd.Intifadas, various wars in the Lebanon, the Yom Kippur war, 6-day war etc. etc.

Mr. Jonathan Hoffman,The Vice-Chairman of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland is obviously of an age to have been of military age for many of these wars yet the closest he ever came to Israel all these years seems to have been gazing in the windows of the old El Al office in Regent Street.

Funny then that Jonathan likes to describe himself as "fighting for Israel".

We have an Irish expression
"Cop yourself on, Jonathan"

This tag from JFJFP really outlines the legal case against Ahava. This is probably why nobody from Ahava showed up in court last week.

http://jfjfp.com/?p=10400

But the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland can no longer stand back and ignore this disgraceful behaviour.


Harvey

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 20:35

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This is rich bearing in mind that groups such as ISM , Palestinian Solidarity , Viva Gaza and others openly support and have complete access to Hamas which are absolutely transparent in their visceral hatred of Jews . No mention and no condemnation . Not once . However I can confirm that there was plenty of overt antisemitism from their side at the demo on Saturday.
Somewhat naively, I had attempted some sort of dialogue with one of their number ,a middle aged gentleman of Irish extraction. Quite out of nowhere and without any relevance he enquired as to whether I nothing better to do as " I looked like a successful business man" .[ I was wearing jeans and Tshirt at the time. The smirk on his face only reinforced the meaning behind his weasel words.

These groups are simply riddled with individuals who have antisemitism in their blood and who are able to express their hate under the cover of an anti Zionist demo.

Talking to other demonstrators it soon became apparent that few had any knowledge of the conflict its timelines or causal events, not even from their own propoganda perpective.No understanding , no context , no concerns regarding other major fault lines such as Chechyna ,China, Iran , Sri Lanka and the massacre of 20,000 Tamils etc.

These individuals were simply rendered inarticulate when confronted with a few facts and figures and scurried away for cover.

As for the EDL , ,I can assure you Ibrows Sam etc , they were neither invited ,encouraged or joined by anyone from our side . I can also tell you that everyone vacated the holding pen or turned their backs on the EDL,but as JH has pointed out ,it is a free country and people are entitled to stand where they want. I for one was not about to enter into any discussion with these people and ask them to leave .Maybe you would have more bottle.

One thing for sure ,ISM and others are quite happy to turn a blind eye to the fascists and antisemites in their midst .

Hypocrisy is alive well and flourishing but then we all knew it.


telegramsam

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 21:03

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Yes Jonath... I mean Harvey (not very nice to use the name of your main rival for the ZF chairmanship). Of course you turned your back on the EDL, as if... Hypocrisy is indeed alive and well among those who claim to be anti-racist yet stand with the EDL/BNP.
12 quid for shower gel. Ahava are having a larf, aren't they?


Harvey

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 22:06

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1 point

My name is Harvey Garfield . I could give you my email address but will decline for fear of being spam stalked by you .Meanwhile I believe you were intent on posting on Islam on Line ,your natural habitat , I coming just before J in your favourites. Still mistakes easily occur not unlike yourself.


Harvey

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 22:32

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Meanwhile ,and quite OT ,tonights Panorama for once put paid to all the lies and vile propaganda disseminated by the Palestinian and Turkish Islamist attack dogs and their leftist cohorts in the West .

This was a measured report which squarely laid the blame on the IHH for the events leading up to the deaths of nine Jihadists on board the Mavi Marmara.

Hopefully this will all come out in the investigations soon to be released and the world will get some inkling of the barbaric nature of Israels enemies .

An absolute must see for once from the BBC . Amazing!


amber

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 22:32

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ibrows, no it's not really that interesting, because I have done nothing of the kind, and challenge you to find a quote where I have endorsed the EDL. What I did do is ask you to provide some proof for your assertions about this organization, which you have, as usual, singularly failed to do.

So what was your point?


amber

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 22:37

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telegramsam, you are utterly disingenuous. Did you attend the counterdemo all these weeks before the EDL tagged on, without the ZF's knowledge? Did you? No, you didn't.

So the EDL presence is just an excuse - and a hollow one. Lay your cards on the table - are you against the boycotters and PSC activists who shout at Ahava?


amber

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 22:37

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telegramsam, you are utterly disingenuous. Did you attend the counterdemo all these weeks before the EDL tagged on, without the ZF's knowledge? Did you? No, you didn't.

So the EDL presence is just an excuse - and a hollow one. Lay your cards on the table - are you against the boycotters and PSC activists who shout at Ahava?


amber

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 22:43

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Inky flag, what have you done for Israel then? Apart from bash her defenders?


Jonathan Hoffman

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 05:55

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/aug/17/stephen-bates-diary-eric-...

"A vehement spat in which no love is lost rumbles on following the appearance of the Islamophobic English Defence League alongside members of the Zionist Foundation supporting the state of Israel at recent demonstrations. Tony Greenstein, an activist supporter of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, accuses Jonathan Hoffman, co-chair of the ZF, of having strange bedfellows in the EDL, some of whom enjoy making Sieg Heil salutes and have links to the BNP. The two groups were apparently present at a demo supporting Israel following the Gaza flotilla imbroglio, and turned up again last Saturday outside the Ahava beauty store in Covent Garden, to counter a demo by those opposed to trade with Israel. Hoffman is outraged at the slur on his impeccable record of opposing the BNP, but he does admit the EDL do turn up to ZF protests. "There is no link between us," he says. "We live in a free country, we can't control who demonstrates on the streets. People on the left think nothing of demonstrating with people who support Hamas and other terrorist groups. Greenstein is just mischief-making." But he has asked the police if they can provide a separate pen for EDL supporters in future."


telegramsam

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 07:07

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Why should we believe anything reported in that "anti-israel, anti-Semitic rag" the Guardian? The words petard and hoisted come to mind.


telegramsam

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 08:03

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1 point

To paraphrase captain Renault in Casablanca, Jonathan was "shocked, shocked to find that there is collusion with EDL/BNP at the Ahava demo."


amber

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 09:06

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telegramsam, you contribute nothing of substance on these blogs, save an irrational and obsessive hatred of Jonathan. One wonders what motivates you - were you bullied at school?

I take it from your silence that you didn't attend the Ahava counterdemo all these weeks, long before we were discussing any EDL presence (which has been shown to have nothing to do with the ZF). So your sudden display of indignation has nothing to do with the EDl, and everything to do with preferring the Jew haters of the boycott movement to those who would fight it.

Hollow and empty vitriol.


telegramsam

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 09:20

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Amber in case you hadn't noticed EDL/BNP has been at the ZF demo every time. And I won't stand with Nazis no matter how noble the cause. My conscience won't allow it and those in my family who fought moseley's fascists on cable street and were in the 43s after they demobbed would turn in their graves if I stood with these scum.
As for your codswallop psychology...


mattpryor

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 11:01

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I would say to telegramsam and anyone else that is suffering anxieties about the EDL, you are not responsible for other peoples' opinions - only your own.

People that try to paint you a certain colour because of other peoples' opinions do so to further their own agenda.

Distasteful as I find the EDL, describing them as scum and Nazis is most unhelpful. They are after all right about Israel, although I am suspicious of their motives.


amber

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 11:15

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Could someone less hysterical and obsessive confirm telegramsam's contention that the EDl and BNP have both attended every counterdemo over the past months?


amber

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 11:17

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telegramsam, could you lay your cards on the table? Are you supportive of the boycott movement, and those who attack Ahava?


telegramsam

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 11:34

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Amber, I spent 12 quid on ahava shower gel. I usually get it from people passing through ben gurion airport where it is much cheaper. I don't usually shop at Monmouth street because they are rip off merchants. Maybe Jonathan can get us a discount.
So, no I am not supportive of the boycott movement. It's much more nuanced than that. While I won't usually buy west bank food produce (grown on occupied land), I will buy golan wines and dead sea stuff.


telegramsam

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 11:36

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Matt, like Moseley and his blackshirts and the NF before them, EDL/BNP are Nazi scum and should be treated as such.


Jonathan Hoffman

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 13:54

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@Amber

EDL has only been at the past two Ahava demos.

There were at least eight before that where they were not present.


Jonathan Hoffman

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 13:55

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BNP has never been there


telegramsam

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 14:02

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If the EDL are there Jonathan - who promised not to enter into any discussion below the line -- then so are the BNP. They are one and the same Nazi scum. And it is also disingenuous to suggest that they were there for only two demos when they wre there for them all but only recently made themselves more visible.


Jonathan Hoffman

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 15:46

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" when they wre there for them all "

Lie. I have been at every one.

I do not discuss but I do identify lies.


raycook

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 15:56

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I had the rather distateful ezperience of going to an EDL website and looking at what they have to say.

The video I saw was a vile foul-mouthed racist attack on President Obama as well as being Islamophobic.

They organise themselves into paramilitary divisions.
Their 'love' of Israel is only relative to their hatred of Muslims.

Don't be fooled.


telegramsam

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 15:58

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Why should we take your word for it? It's not as if you don't have an agenda, is it?


amie

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 15:58

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I can confirm that Harvey is not Jonathan Hoffman. I know what Hoffman looks like and I was standing next to the man who had the exchange with the Irish man and heard what happened, and it was not Hoffman. Harvey, if you want to know more about this nasty, albeit simple, piece of work, the Irish man, read my accounts of him here:

http://hurryupharry.org/2010/08/05/european-voices-for-israel/

http://hurryupharry.org/2010/07/12/the-un-charter-and-the-genocide-conve...


telegramsam

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 16:10

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Yes Ray, they refer to the president as Barack Hussein -- a lot of racists and friends of the EDL/BNP do that. I suggest you look at the cameron's chutzpah thread to see who last used that epithet here.


mattpryor

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 16:15

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Thanks Amie, I was at the FOII meeting as well and heard the elderly Irish (gentle?)man ranting at Charlie Woolf. I also heard him heckling various speakers throughout.

A man with very strong opinions and some sort of historical grudge.


amber

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 16:19

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telegramsam, I have looked at Jonathan's reply, and looked at other sources as well, including Richard Millett. It is apparent that the BNP has never been there (if you want to equate the EDL and BNP in your mind fine, but is is somewhat dishonest to pretend that the BNp has been there in an official capacity). But what really puts paid to your claim, is that the EDl has never been there until very recently, and several counterdemos took place. In other words, you are either misinformed, or lying.

It seems to me that you are argumentative simply for the sake of it, and have some irrational chip on your shoulder about Jonathan Hoffman and/or the ZF - al of which has nothing to do with the counterdemo. In addition, your posts are tinged with a certain hysteria (Nazis here, there - everywhere except with the anti-Israel bunch).


telegramsam

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 16:26

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Amber, I think you'll find that I compared Hamas and hizbollah to the EDL/BNP. As for Jonathan and Richard, I am sorry but they have an agenda, so I wouldn't quote them if I wre you. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the ZF. Unfortunately this venerable 110-year-old organisation is being let down and tarnished by its current leadership which hopefully will be shown the door come the next elections.


Inky_Flag

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 16:55

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"This record of our conversation is being made public to help ensure that any Guardian article based on our conversation is accurate".

Hi Jonathan,

Thank you for the above. Would you now also be so kind to publish your communications with the EDL prior to their issuing their statement about Ahava.

I know that you did have such communications and I would just like to see you admit it. Of course, there is really no shame in any of the above sa you claim that the EDL are "kosher".

Inky.


Inky_Flag

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 17:08

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Harvey,Not having been there - and having no intention of doing so- I can only say that it is news to me to describe someone smirking as being "Anti-Semitic".

My question, which Mr. Jonathan Hoffman, Vice-Chair of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland,has refused to answer is this

"Why did you never answer the call to the Israeli Colours- you had plenty of oportunity but you always remained safe in London"

And Harvey, I can find plenty of photos of you, Jonathan and Richard Millett online hob-nobbing with the EDL last Saturday.

It is all there for posterity-I am posting some as I speak to various decent members of the Zionist Federation and to the Chief Rabbi.


Inky_Flag

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 17:25

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Hi Again, Harvey,

Probably the best picture is on Tony Greenstein's Blog showing dear General Jonathan Hoffman with the lovely lady from the EDL and a certain gentleman (no names, no pack drill, wink,wink, HARVEY) on her other side with a smirk on his face and with his arms on his hips. The background is filled in by gentlemen from the EDL in camouflage.

This is the one I am sending to everyone.........it is sooooooo sexy.


Anonymous

Wed, 08/18/2010 - 12:53

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