Commons voice for 'blood libel' man

By Robyn Rosen, June 16, 2011

An Islamic leader who has invoked the antisemitic blood libel is to share a platform with MPs in the House of Commons.

Raed Salah, a leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, is speaking at a June 29 event, Building Peace and Justice in Jerusalem, hosted in Parliament by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

During a protest in East Jerusalem in 2007, Mr Salah was reportedly arrested for incitement after he said: "We have never allowed ourselves to knead [the dough for] the bread that breaks the fast in the holy month of Ramadan with children's blood.

"Whoever wants a more thorough explanation, let him ask what used to happen to some children in Europe, whose blood was mixed in with the dough of the [Jewish] holy bread."

He has also allegedly called Jews "butchers of pregnant women and babies… the Creator meant for you to be monkeys and losers." According to MEMRI, in 2009 he said Zionism was identical to Nazism.

‘If the comments are true, I have been caught’

The parliamentary event is being chaired by Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and speakers include Ben White, author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide, chairman of Friends of Al Aqsa, and Lord Dubs, a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism and Kindertransport survivor.

This week, Queen Mary's University banned Salah from speaking at an event organised by Middle East Monitor, due to be held later this month. A university spokeswoman said: "In light of the fact this guy has been arrested and charged with racism and incitement to violence, we didn't want that happening on our campus."

Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism have written to the Speaker of the House to demand an investigation. John Mann MP said: "I'm outraged and will not sit idly by when those same speakers that inflamed tensions on campuses are glad-handed in the House of Commons."

Lord Dubs said he had not heard of Salah before and wanted to look into the accuracy of the alleged comments before making a decision on whether he would share the platform.

"I was asked to speak at a meeting about Jerusalem, not knowing who was on the platform," he said. "That may be naïve but I thought it would be above board. If the comments are true, I have been caught. I will not share a platform with an antisemite."

Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, said: "In inviting an individual who reportedly repeated blood libel claims, it seems the PSC, and the MPs sharing a platform with him, regard these views as acceptable. "

Last updated: 1:16pm, June 16 2011