The Manchester Cathedral Exhibition came to my town too - it's every bit as bad as described & is supported by politicians


By Yvetta
August 2, 2010
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I note with interest the Manchester Jewish community's indignation about the exhibition of Gaza drawings held at the cathedral there. I read about the Manchester exhibition on Daphne Anson's blog (reproduced on the fantastic CiF Watch site) and saw there excerpts from the exhibition organiser's blog, which would seem to confirm an earlier assertion by a CST official that the organiser, Cox, is antisemitic. I live in a small town in Wales. Quite regularly members of the local Peace Network – perhaps a baker’s dozen of ‘em – gather in the main street and "sing for peace"; basically, they also double as the local Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and so “Free Palestine” and “End the Siege on Gaza” placards always accompany their performances. I tackled them once, during Cast Lead, and was told by a very angry chap with a petition that Israel should never have been created. Now I just give them a wide berth – as do most passers-by.
About a fortnight ago, from Monday to Saturday, under the auspices of the local PSC, the exhibition that's caused such a row in Manchester came to town. Determined that as many people as possible should see it, the County Council lent it prominent premises near the town centre. There was an assortment of leaflets on hand demonising Israel and I noticed that one of the captions to the exhibit implied that Jesus was a Palestinian rather than a Jew. I saw a former mayor of the town taking in chairs for the talk by Cox (that came towards the end of the exhibit's stay in town) which he delivered twice. I went along to the first one. A press photographer was snapping the exhibits. Our local Lib Dem MP, Mark Williams, was on hand to express his staunch support for “Palestine Solidarity” and his delight at the exhibition – “a brilliant case for ending injustice in Palestine” - and pledged: “Anything I can do to raise these issues in Parliament, I will do my utmost”. The local Plaid Cymru member in the Welsh Assembly, Elin Jones, spoke similarly, noting that, although international issues are not normally raised in that chamber, an exception was made for Palestine. (Well, how about that!!!) With the enthusiastic help of those two politicians, a plan is afoot to twin schools in Gaza with schools in Wales.
The exhibition itself is aimed especially at children. Cox takes the drawings to schools (incidentally, the PSC/CAABU have issued a “teacher’s pack” aimed at bringing discussion of the plight of Palestinians into the classroom through discussion and role-play.) About 30 people were present at the talk – a curious mixture, it seemed, of old Daily Herald types and more bourgeois Guardianistas. As we gathered round, Cox talked us through the drawings, which depicted scenes of trauma, and often featuring Israeli soldiers, tanks, drones, and other weaponry. One drawing showed scattered limbs and severed heads – the result, we were told, of Israel using DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosive), a micro-shrapnel anti-personnel weapon which is most lethal against children, since the bigger and stouter you are the more likely your survival. (At this point one activist present interjected with the assertion that Israel is wiping out the next generation in order to grab the land; heads nodded and there were murmurs of agreement.)
Cox spoke of “resistance fighters”, never of “terrorists”, and when we’d all resumed our seats I asked him politely what outcome he would like to see. Perhaps sensing a trap by one of those “Zionist bastards” (to use a phrase on his website), he demurred. (Probably the fact I'd been taking notes made him suspicious of me, because I can't think of anything else which would have; I'd been the soul of discretion.) “One State?” I prodded. “Or Two?” He still demurred. “I’ve heard the phrase ‘Palestine must be Free from the River to the Sea’”, I persisted, asking whether that was the view of the group. The speaker, his affability vanished in a flash, told me I was impertinent. A nuggety old guy in the front row fixed me with a wild-eyed stare and shouted at me to “Shut up!” “Some of us want one state, some want two!” cried somebody else. Turning round in her seat to eyeball me, the head of the local PSC – who according to one of her frequent anti-Israel letters to the local press would appear to be halachically Jewish - made an emotional denunciation of the Balfour Declaration and declared that injustice towards “Palestine” had been ignored for 100 years. A posh-voiced man told me that before any political solution could be worked out Israel would have to stop all its “human rights abuses” and obey the UN and the Geneva Convention.
It was then that I pointed out that in defiance of the Geneva Convention Hamas has held Gilad Shalit for four years with no Red Cross visits. “Who’s Gilad Shalit?” somebody demanded. I explained, reminding them what an eternity four years is when you are his age. “Why do you use the word ‘kidnapped’?” asked the speaker irritably. Again, I explained. There were rumbles of laughter among my fellow-audience members. “He’s a soldier!” scoffed the PSC head. “A PoW!” added the speaker, grinning. “A POW who has been treated like no POW under the Geneva Convention” I continued, pointing out that the Free Gaza Movement had reportedly refused to deliver a letter and package from his family. The audience broke out into peals of prolonged mirth. At that point I swept up my belongings and regained the fresh air, with Cox snarling at me that they'd been more tolerant with me that "the Zionists" would be with them.
This exhibition is pure vitriol - I'm glad the Manchester community has raised a stink about it.

COMMENTS

Jonathan Hoffman

Tue, 08/03/2010 - 10:09

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Well done Yvetta

What concerns me most of all is the number of these meetings where there is no-one like you to bear witness and to ask the awkward questions. And the number of schools where PSC and CAABU are going in where there are no Jewish parents (or non-Jewish supportive parents) to kick up a fuss.


Yvetta

Tue, 08/03/2010 - 13:03

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Me too, Jonathan.
I just cringe at the demonising that must be taking place, of which we are unaware.


amber

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 19:06

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Yvetta, I admire your bravery! Well done!

Of course there will be the antisemitic nutters - but I am very concerned about "teachers' packs". Is this legal? Is there a body to which we can appeal? Brainwashing children from such a partisan organization is simply disgusting.


Yvetta

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 19:25

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I admired my calmness (LOL) because I thought I'd be really angry, but I managed to stay calm when Cox was talking us through the drawings by smoothing the head of the pretty cat on a lead that someone had brought to the meeting (she and owner are apparently a legend around town and have a Facebook fan page but I hadn't seen them before, probably because they're nore nocturnal than I am)!.
Anyway, I overheard Cox plotting with Williams to get a foothold in Welsh schools, and the twinning scheme was mentioned openly by Williams before he dashed off to a constituency "surgery".
The teachers' pack has evidently been around for some time, judging from what's online about it.
It's really outrageous.


Jonathan Hoffman

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 20:33

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"Teachers packs" are perfectly legal

I have been trying to help fund a rival organisation, contact me


Yvetta

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 13:59

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Just found Rod Cox on an Italian Free Gaza site:
Rod Cox: The Israelis showed me why I should care for the Palestinians. I worked on a kibbutz near Nazareth and the experience opened my eyes. The occupied West Bank and Gaza are in a much worse state than they were in 1972. Both places could be prosperous if given the opportunity and the Israeli Occupation was over. I founded CAPE, the Charter and Palestine Exchange to help develop trade and exchange ideas with people. My hope is that Gaza will soon have a trade route of its own, and I would like to be a part of that project


amber

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 18:29

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Jonathan, can the ZF or Board of Deputies produce rival packs -i.e ones which tell the truth?

Is there no givernment body overseeing what gets taught in our classrooms - and what constitutes acceptable material? Surely Michael Gove would lend a sympathetic ear against such brainwashing.

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