Venezuelan Embassy criticised for Intifada celebration

By Jennifer Lipman, November 5, 2010
Dr Azzam Tamimi, who said Israel 'must come to an end', is to speak

Dr Azzam Tamimi, who said Israel 'must come to an end', is to speak

Anti-extremism campaigners have called for police to intervene in an event organised by the Venezuelan Embassy in London marking the 10th anniversary of the start of the second intifada.

The event, to be staged on Saturday at Bolivar Hall in central London, has been titled “The Outbreak of the Intifada: Turning Back the Empire.”

It is described as part of “a series of events which commemorates 10 years since the eruption of the defining struggle of our generation.

“It is also a salute to that struggle…against the Zionist-apartheid state.”

On online information about the event the Embassy describe the intifada as “at the forefront of the world struggle against white supremacist neo-colonialism and settler-colonialism.”

The event is set to include an exhibition of photographs from Gaza and a statement of support from Venezuelan Ambassador Samuel Moncada.

Former Respect MP and pro-Palestinian campaigner George Galloway and Palestinian academic Dr Azzam Tamimi, who said Israel "must come to an end," are due to speak.

The chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, an organisation sympathetic to Hizbollah and the Iranian government, is also scheduled to talk.

Douglas Murray, director of the Centre for Social Cohesion think tank, called for the police to stop the event from going ahead and arrest those taking part.

He told The JC: “The 2006 Terrorism Act brought in by the Blair government amongst other things toughened up the legislation on the glorification of terrorism.

“I can’t think of something more likely to glorify terrorism and terrorists than this. It’s celebrating a terrorist campaign.”

Pointing out that the legislation would prevent an event celebrating the July 7 London bombs, he added: “The law has to be applied.

“The intifada was a campaign of terror against civilian targets. The British police should not stand by while people celebrate the murder of Israelis.”

A spokesman for the UK based pro-democracy group The Friends of Venezuela, told The Jerusalem Post that the Ambassador would not be speaking on behalf of the Venezuelan people

“Neither his views nor his feting notorious terrorists and apologists of terrorism in Venezuela's diplomatic venues are representative of the majority of Venezuelans.

He added: “None of the relationships that Chavez has made with rogues - such as Ahmadinejad - have been sanctioned by the Venezuelan people.”

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of The Board of Deputies of British Jews, said “Sadly once again the Venezuelan government through its embassy in London is siding with those who promote discord and intolerance much like their president and his friendship with the president of Iran.”

On the invitation, the organisers added that anyone disrupting the proceedings would be ejected.

“There will be friendly but firm security at the event.”

Last updated: 1:48pm, November 5 2010