Sheikh who quoted Goebbels reference to Jews as 'fleas' appears at Palestine Expo

Event organisers say Ebrahim Bham quoted Goebbels to compare treatment of Palestinians by Israel to that of Jews under the Nazis


Organisers of the Palestine Expo event have defended the appearance of a speaker who quoted Adolf Hitler's propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels in an earlier lecture.

Friends of Al Aqsa - the organisers of this weekend's festival in London - said Sheikh Ebrahim Bham, a South African Islamic scholar, had used the quote, which compared Jews to fleas, to illustrate how "similar" treatment is now being given to "Palestinians under Israeli occupation".

In a statement issued ahead of the two-day Expo event at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster, Ismail Patel, chair of the FOA, said: "Sheikh Bham clearly uses [the quote] to demonstrate how terrible the treatment of of the Jews under Nazi persecution was.

"He then goes on to state that similar treatment is now being experienced by Palestinians under Israeli occupation - that of being sub-human."

But speaking to the JC on Sunday Mr Patel added: "I totally accept he should not have compared the suffering of the Jews under the Nazis with the suffering of the Palestinians under the Israelis.

"It is not right to have a parity of scale - suffering is suffering."

Mr Bham was one of several controversial speakers to appear at the event.

He delivered a talk in which he attempted to show how the city of Jerusalem was central to Islamic scripture.
Later asked about an earlier sermon delivered in South Africa comparing the treatment of the Jews by the Nazis to that of the Palestinians under the Israelis, Mr Bham told the JC:"It is fair to say that people who had gone through such oppression should not be meting out oppression to others."

The Expo event, which was well attended, and faced a small but vocal demonstration from pro-Israeli organisations, was promoted by its organisers as the biggest Palestinian cultural celebration in Europe.

Others speakers included David Miller, a University of Bath Sociology lecturer, who was suspended from the Labour Party over "Zionist" social media messages.

Referring to his suspension, which he said was being reviewed, Mr Milller said: "I was suspended for quoting somebody else for using the word Zionist.

"Which is bad if you quote somebody else because it suggests you haven't thought about it.

"The problem is the quote of someone else, was someone else quoting me!"

Mr Miller, a director of the Spinwatch organisation, claimed that up to 50 UK registered charities were funding "illegal settlements in the West Bank or East Jerusalem."

He accused "liberal Zionists" who worked alongside Palestinian humanitarian organisations of also being involved in this funding.

Reverend Chris Rose, a director of the Amos Trust, spoke of the "Judification of Jerusalem", claiming the city's Christian population had declined as a result of the creation of the State of Israel.

In an address on the "Zionist lobby", Asa Winstanley, an anti-Zionist writer said "Friends of Israel" groups were far better funded that their Palestinian counterparts.

He also expressed surprise that historically the Labour Party had been a firm supporter of the Zionist movement.

The headline on this article has been updated to make it clear that the comparison of Jews to "fleas" was a quotation from a Joseph Goebbels speech.

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