My old Kentucky home lies equidistant between Stockport and Manchester. The League of Gentlemen was filmed in the next town down the road, which may give you some idea of the character of the place. To add to the Roysten Vasey image the main road into town currently closes at 7pm, giving the place a creepy cut-off feeling. Yet it’s a nice little town, a place where you can spend the day walking the canal paths, hit Talisman Books in the Bridge and then drink all night in one of the free house pubs, a decent little suburban town where they all support the team.
Recently our local paper (I say ‘local’ but of course all news in Greater Manchester is covered from a single office in Deansgate) reported on an exhibition of artwork by Palestinian children that was disrupted by pro-Israeli protestors, no doubt under the instruction of my old pal Nathan Rothschild. Here’s the story:
‘Loss of Innocence’, which was officially unveiled at Marple Methodist Church, Church Lane, on Monday, has 50 pictures created by youngsters in Gaza.
Its creator, Rod Cox, claims the emotive drawings and associated captions tell the truth about suffering in the war-torn Middle East region and allow children to ‘release their trauma’.
Mr Cox wrote the captions which he says summarises what the people of Gaza said to him while he visited.
One reads: ‘The people were told by the Israelis, by phone and radio, to stay indoors and people were shot if they ventured out’.
Protesters – 30 to 40 of whom attended the opening – criticised Mr Cox.
Joy Wolfe, co-president of the Manchester Zionist Central Council, said: ‘There is no balance or context, it is the demonisation of Israel.’
I haven’t seen this exhibition and never will so I’m not sure it was worth a demo. But I can’t help thinking that had the PSC or Stop the War protested an exhibition of paintings by Israeli kids displaying the effects on their daily life of suicide bomb attacks and Qassam rockets thundering into Sderot neighbourhoods then the protestors would have been praised to the skies and beyond. For that matter, I think that such an exhibition by Israeli kids would have trouble finding a church to host it.
Checking out the comments to the article, I’m struck by the ability of anti-Zionist rhetoric to combine hand-flinging piety with gutter racism:
Joy Wolfe, wants to see picture of Israeli soldiers pointing guns at children of Gaza, and then say the same.
I get pissed of with the same garbage that Jewish people go on about the holocaust, as if the world owes them something. I’d refuse to allow my child to be taught anything about the holocaust, not because I don’t believe, but because I don’t give a hoot.
Zionists need to recognise the damage done to Israel’s international standing by its treatment of the people of Gaza. The Zionist lobby is very effective in the media – but the truth will out.
I repeat to those Zionist protestors who disrupted the art exhibition opening at Marple: hang your heads in shame. You are the people who fail to bring balance and context to the situation. You shame the memory of those who died in the European concentration camps by endorsing Israel’s war crimes against todays innocent Palestinian children.
Are they ignorant of all this….or don’t they care? They more than anyone should be insightful about injustice and genocide and abuse, they and their forebears have suffered the horrors of the Holocaust. Sadly, having been involved in the Holocaust centre and studied various genocides around the world, I know that suffering doesn’t necessarily give people insight, rather, the abused victim becomes the abuser.
There’s also some thoughts from the organiser, Rob Cox:
It is disappointing that the Stockport Express has seen fit to withdraw the article, with pictures, about this exhibition, that I discussed with your reporter, in favour of a ‘news’ article about the activities of a small group of highly motivated extremists – some of whom said they were Israeli, so plainly have a vested interest – who are dedicated to suppress news of Palestine’s oppression. Please note that they do not invite me to put the Palestinian perspective at meetings to discuss Israel!
In the meeting one Israeli, whose brother was a soldier, said that only Israel could say what was good for Gaza, and this not five minutes after I had described a brilliant cartoon which shows a snake with the Star of David on its head, coiled tightly round Gaza, being asked by a bird from the EU – “how is Gaza today” – while Gaza frantically tries to get the bird to listen to what it has to say, with no result.
These extremists, in this way, confess that they are denying Palestine a voice, drowning it out with their imaginary slights and accusations.
They do not represent all or even main stream Jewish opinion, and some are Christians who do not accept the central teaching of Jesus – that God’s chosen people are the whole human race. Christians in Palestine have collectively signed the Kairos Declaration, following the example in South Africa, and have said that the “military Occupation of Gaza is a sin against God and Humanity”and “non-violent resistance is a right and duty of all Palestinians” Available on the web, the site also contains statements by Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu. It is called “We hear the cry of our Children”
The disappointment is that the Stockport Express have allowed these extremist Zionists to take the cries of the Children of Gaza out of the news, and replace them with an article about the petty concerns of theimselves. There will never be peace in Palestine, until reporters cease to pander to those extremists who can shout the loudest, and start reporting hard facts. Shame on you, Stockport Express. Rod Cox, Exhibition Founder.
Thing is, this stuff is no longer a far right thing, or a far left thing, or an Islamist thing. It is mainstream and carries no cost.