Sunday, February 24, 2013
‘I Don’t Debate With Israelis!’: British Leftist Politician Storms Out of Debate After Realizing His Opponent Is From Israel
Hypocrite Galloway pictured hugging former IDF officer (that's right, Uri Geller was wounded in action as an IDF paratrooper during the Six-Day War)
At an Oxford University event, British parliamentary member George Galloway shocked attendees when he abruptly stormed out of the room after finding out that his opponent was an Israeli. After realizing the man’s nationality, the politician immediately jumped out of his seat, announced that he had been misled and told those in attendance that he doesn’t debate with citizens of the Jewish state.
“I don’t debate with Israelis. I’ve been misled. Sorry,” he said, with the audience responding in shock.
Next, he got up, grabbed his coat and headed for the door. But before walking out, he again affirmed his stance, saying, “I don’t recognize Israel and I don’t debate with Israelis.”
Galloway had already been speaking for approximately 10 minutes about his view that “Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank” when he realized that his opponent is Jewish, the Daily Mail reports.
The incident unfolded as Eylon Aslan-Levy, a third-year student, was responding to the politician’s statements from the podium. When Aslan-Levy used the word “we” to in his description of Israel, Galloway interrupted him and asked if he’s of Jewish decent.
“You said ‘we.’ Are you an Israeli?,” the politician asked. The student answered affirmatively — and that’s when the situation took its shocking turn.
While many derided his comments, Galloway shared some supporters’ tweets — messages that accused Israel of apartheid and of occupying others’ lands.
How press freedom is now a “very extreme view” in Britain
A UK video journalist tells spiked why he is fighting orders to hand over protest footage to the police
Where there is a protest in the UK, it’s a safe bet that Jason Parkinson will be there on the frontline filming it. From the G20 protests in 2009, to the recent Anonymous masked street protests, Parkinson’s carefully edited footage features in a range of publications and gives a short, sharp insight into what it’s like in the heat of demonstrations.
It seems, however, that such insights are too short and sharp for the police, who have demanded that Parkinson hand over all his footage of an English Defence League march and United Against Fascism (UAF) counter-demonstration he filmed in Bolton in 2010 to help them with an unspecified investigation they are carrying out. Parkinson, rightly, has refused, and this week appeared in court to fight a production order the Greater Manchester Police have applied for under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. ‘They claim my footage may or may not be of relevance to their investigation’, Parkinson told spiked. ‘I was not told what they were investigating.’
His reasons for refusing are both principled and pragmatic. As Parkinson explains: ‘Journalists are not evidence gatherers for the police.’ But he also recognises that, ‘if we are seen to be handing over footage to the authorities we will be viewed as just that and our safety covering such situations in the future we be jeopardised’.
Parkinson’s concerns are understandable. Should the police begin to make a habit of demanding footage from journalists at protests, any idea of journalistic independence will disappear. In spite of the intention of the journalist, the footage could be used to spot troublemakers, or even just to make a list of people who had attended. The video-journalists’ lens ceases to be neutral, and becomes instead a means through which the state can spy upon protesters. Should this become known, any trust between journalist and protesters would be lost, and hostile situations are bound to arise. Parkinson is right to fear for the future of his profession - and is equally right to fight the case.
This is not the first time the police have attempted to co-opt journalists’ material in such a way, and neither is it the first time demands have been made of Parkinson. As Parkinson explains, ‘production orders were becoming routine procedure in 2010, as opposed to being issued as the last resort, which is how they are supposed to be implemented’. It sounds like the police were beginning to use footage shot by journalists as part of a trawling exercise, rather than to investigate a particular serious crime.
As Parkinson has observed previously, this appears to have coincided with a decline in the once-prominent police ‘forward intelligence’ teams who, in the early 2000s, would zealously film everyone attending protests. Relationships between journalists and police improved. ‘It was almost as if they wanted us there’, Parkinson told Journalism.co.uk . Starting notably with the student protests at Millbank in 2010, ‘[at] every public-order incident since then, one news outlet or another has had the proverbial knock at the door’.
This reached a head in 2011, when Essex police requested footage from all journalists and broadcasters who filmed the eviction of the Dale Farm travellers’ site over a two-day period. As Parkinson told spiked: ‘It was clear from the start this was not about proving any specific incidents of criminality, it was about seizing all material for intelligence purposes against protestors.’ To Parkinson, this amounted to ‘the biggest assault on press freedom and independence we had seen for many years’. Despite the evident amount of time and energy it would take, there was, he says, ‘no choice but to fight it’.
Over an eight-month period Parkinson, with the backing of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), fought the production order despite repeated chastisement from lawmakers. The prosecuting counsel at Chelmsford Crown Court accused him of having a ‘very extreme view’ for insisting that journalists should be able to report free from state interference. To his credit, however, Parkinson stuck to his guns and won a resounding victory in the Court of Appeal in May 2012, when the production order was overturned.
For a time following that, police requests from journalists slowed, with the latest order served on Parkinson from Greater Manchester Police being the first he had heard of since he won the case. Should the police win the case, the floodgates could once again open for the police to make a wealth of demands from journalists.
In an ideal world, Parkinson says, ‘the police would respect press freedom and leave our material alone… [But] at the very least, the police need to follow and implement the law correctly and to the letter, not just use the law as they wish’.
At a time when the Leveson Inquiry looks set to bring about state regulation of journalism - legally enforced or through royal charter - attempts by the police to casually commandeer journalists’ research and footage play a dangerous role in further eroding press freedom. Through the simple act of attempting to undertake their profession, the role of the journalist becomes warped. Instead of simply attempting to report observations or facts, journalists would be forced to become ancillaries of the state. Little could do more to erode faith in journalistic integrity.
Far from being ‘extreme’ in arguing that the state should respect press freedom and leave journalists’ material alone, Parkinson is making an argument that anyone who believes in democratic society should support. Just as the state should have no influence over the content of what a journalist writes, so it should be kept well away from ordering journalists to hand over material.
British proposals to penalise the press 'are against the law and would have chilling effect on free speech'
A key plank of Lord Justice Leveson’s plans for Press regulation breaches European human rights laws, leading barristers have warned.
The joint opinion by three QCs concludes the judge’s proposal to punish newspapers that refuse to join a new Press regulator with exemplary damages would violate Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of expression.
Lord Pannick, Desmond Browne and Antony White found that the proposals would have a ‘chilling effect’ on free speech which was ‘obvious and unjustifiable’.
The breach is so ‘striking’ ministers would be unable to sign off legislation that incorporates the proposal as being compatible with human rights laws, the QCs say.
Lord Justice Leveson recommended the threat of exemplary damages as a way of providing an incentive for newspapers to voluntarily come within the remit of the new regulator.
The proposal is included in a draft Bill published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and is taken even further in controversial plans for an arbitration system that have recently been inserted into the Defamation Bill by the Labour peer Lord Puttnam.
The new opinion, which was commissioned by the newspaper industry, warns the proposals are ‘objectionable in principle due to their arbitrary extension of what is widely regarded as an anomalous feature of English law’.
It also said the proposals single out a particular category of defendant rather than a particular kind of conduct.
‘To punish the Press for what others may do without punishment is inconsistent with the special importance that domestic and Strasbourg jurisprudence attach to freedom of the Press,’ the lawyers said.
Their opinion was challenged by Hugh Tomlinson QC, chairman of the Hacked Off campaign, who said it was ‘misconceived’.
The revelation came as ministers brace themselves for a showdown with peers over the Puttnam amendment to the Defamation Bill.
The amendment introduces a Leveson-style arbitration backed by law. But, in a further controversial step, it also threatens ruinous damages against papers that fail to get prior approval for publishing contentious stories.
The eminent QC Lord Lester, architect of the Defamation Bill which is designed to reform Britain’s notorious libel laws, said the Puttnam proposals would curb the Press in a way ‘never seen in any democratic country’.
Downing Street has made it clear that the Prime Minister will not allow the Puttnam proposal to become law, even if it means the entire Defamation Bill has to be scrapped to prevent it.
Australia: Senate inquiry rejects 'offends and insults' law
A Senate inquiry has rejected the Federal Government's plans to prohibit conduct that offends or insults, saying the move could limit freedom of expression.
The inquiry has been considering a draft bill that wraps together five existing human rights and anti-discrimination laws.
The aim of the bill is to provide a clearer definition of what behaviour is considered unacceptable and how people can make complaints.
The draft includes a clause stating that unfavourable treatment of another person includes conduct that offends, insults or intimidates.
The Coalition and legal groups have raised concerns that would curtail freedom of speech.
Media organisations including the ABC, Fairfax and News Limited also argued against the clause, saying many media organisations publish or broadcast material that some members of the public will find offensive at times, ranging from satirical programming to political commentary.
Last month, former attorney-general Nicola Roxon acknowledged the concern and made the clause optional rather than mandatory.
But the Senate inquiry, which received more than 3,000 submissions, has recommended the clause be removed altogether.
The inquiry says the clause may have unintended consequences, including making it illegal to offend someone.
The Federal Government is not making any promises about agreeing to any of the recommendations.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus says there is a lot in the report for the Government to consider.
"Public views, which are going to help the Government identify whether its intention of consolidating these important laws," he said.
"But it's an extensive report. It will require close consideration and a full response will be made shortly."
But shadow attorney-general George Brandis says the draft legislation is so flawed it cannot be fixed.
"It creates a scheme in which Government would be much more intrusive, much more invasive, effectively establish itself as an arbiter for community standards in a way we don't think is the role of the state at all," he said.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.