The CAA – working hard to prove the Palestinians right

JVL Introduction

Recently Channel 4 ran a wonderful eight-and-a-half-minute clip on what it was like to grow up as a Palestinian in Britain.

Of course the Campaign Against Antisemitism, blinkered and monomaniacal in its hunt for antisemitism, could leave no stone unturned and duly manufactured a “complaint” about the programme.

As Leah Levane explains below, the film was simply not about antisemitism but about anti-Palestinian racism.

The CAA’s complaint shows its real aim: to delegitimise, demonise and employ double standards against anyone who dares to raise –  in no matter what form – the realities of Palestinian history and Palestinian life.


Leah Levane writes:

In recent days, the Campaign Against Antisemitism has made it very clear that they are only interested and, indeed, can only appreciate, one perspective and expect the rest of us to do the same.  They are so blinkered, so totally lacking the most minimal degree of human empathy, that they are left believing that theirs is the only possible way of looking at the world and anything else can and should be labelled “antisemitic

On December 15th, they posted this article about their  Complaint re Channel 4 News, which opens as follows: “Campaign Against Antisemitism is submitting a complaint to Ofcom regarding a segment on Channel 4 News that aired last night that was devoted to criticism of the International Definition of Antisemitism.” (my emphasis) ”.

Anyone who has seen or now watches the excellent Channel 4 piece that we posted on our website, will know that it was not “devoted to criticism of the IHRA (non) working definition of antisemitism” but was, actually, devoted, for once, to Palestinian voices describing their own and their family’s experience of the Nakhba.

The segment last 8 minutes and 36 seconds. Jewish people are mentioned only once, when quoting the Balfour Declaration (at 3’07”). The amount of time “devoted to the IHRA definition” is 24 seconds. Just in case you thought that was a misprint – no, just 24 seconds.  These 24 seconds include the time taken by Jewish Israeli Professor Avi Shlaim to comment on its impact before he goes back to one of the main points of the piece, British colonialism and its responsibility for what has happened and continues to happen to Palestinian people.

Other issues mentioned: US policy, Human Rights and International Law, people’s lack of knowledge of Palestinians’ history and culture and that an indicator to look out for under the “Prevent” programme is “vocal support for Palestine”.  Discusseed at greater length was how, eg just saying Palestine (in the title of a cook book) or that “I’m Palestinian”, leads to concerns (at best) about being political and, therefore, controversial and so to be avoided if at all possible.

JVL, along with many others with more balanced perspectives, was delighted and heartily congratulate Channel 4 for commissioning this short piece.  It was followed by a short interview with Daniel Barenboim who has worked to bring Palestinians and Israelis together through music and who made clear that there were faults on both sides but he also emphasised that it is the Israelis that have and exercise the power over Palestinians and that this cannot continue if there is to be peace.

It is long past time to stop equating the Palestinian struggles for justice or the description of their own experiences with antisemitism.  Palestinian voices have not, for example, been included to provide “balance” in the reporting of the “Labour antisemitism crisis” and have been expected to accept that this is how Jews feel (well some Jews).  We now have the absurd situation where Constituency Labour Parties are being told not to discuss issues that “may make Jewish members feel uncomfortable”, issues that we have explored elsewhere and that are extremely dangerous for political discourse, free speech and democracy – about which the CAA, of course, has nothing to say.  But on the rare occasions when an authentic Palestinian voice is aired, uncensored, the CAA is screaming “bias” “lack of balance” and demanding apologies. In fact, by making this complaint, they are inadvertently proving the point made by the young Palestinians in the short film that their voices are being eliminated “by design”

We trust that Channel 4 and John Snow are being bombarded with congratulatory messages: Contact us | Channel 4

Comments (10)

  • Doug says:

    Go back to Channel 4 and ask them to address the issue of vexatious claims of anti semitism
    As for those for whom vexatious claims of AS are their political weapon of choice, can we settle on a name for them, something that blows them out of the water

  • Roshan Pedder says:

    Yes, please, as Leah suggests we all need to bombard Ch4 with congratulations and encouragement. As I posted earlier (15th Dec) —
    I phoned the very next day – lines open from 10 to 5, to compliment them and demand more of the same. The phone number is :
    0345 076 0191

  • DJ says:

    Well said Leah Levane. The CAA is a hateful organisation of anti Palestinian racists which specialises in smearing critics of Israel.

  • Allan Howard says:

    The Campaign Against Antisemitism so-called is a black propaganda outfit. Full stop!

    And in true black propagandist fashion they begin their ‘report’ (on their website) by saying that the segment ‘was devoted to criticism of the International Definition of Antisemitism’, and then towards the end they ‘build’ on their initial falsehood by saying the following:

    ‘A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “It is extraordinary that Channel 4 News could have devoted an entire segment to discussing defining antisemitism without including a single representative of the mainstream Jewish community.’

    And to finish they throw in the usual requisite ‘outrage’ – ie faux outrage – with the following from the so-called spokesperson:

    “We are submitting a complaint to Ofcom in respect of this outrageous segment, which serves only to confirm to the Jewish community that Channel 4 News is incapable of covering sensitive issues with due impartiality.”

    Yep, just one falsehood on top of another, and then another falsehood on top of THAT! And who is it that they are mainly duping and deceiving (as they do all the time of course!)? Yes, fellow Jews.

    And I assume the following line was ALSO a falsehood – ie an additional falsehood:

    ‘Speakers during the segment repeatedly stated that the Definition “silenced” debate about Israel….’!

  • Dr Rodney Watts says:

    So glad, Leah, that you have succinctly stated the above about the CAA. I have therefore found time to contact Channel 4 to commend the programme and mention among other matters the complaints lodged with the Charities Commission. I therefore wonder if there has been any response to JVL’s complaint?

  • George Wilmers says:

    The grossly misnamed CAA is a totalitarian organisation whose primary purpose is defame and vilify those who support the cause of justice for the Palestinian people, and thereby to terrorise them into silence.

    The fact that such a body has the official status of a charity bears witness yet again to the progressive moral degradation of the quasi-legal institutions which once regulated British civil society. Such institutions traditionally functioned according to the legal norms of the implicit social contract inherent in liberal democracy, but they have now become mere playthings, impotent cyphers of a rampant capitalist mafia intoxicated by its own power.

  • Tim says:

    Indeed, DJ. It’s ironic that one of CAA’s chief public figures, Rachel Riley, is the maths eye-candy on Channel 4’s Countdown.

    Why C4 allow her to carry on venting her toxic spleen under her own name on Twitter can only be guessed at…

  • Oona Ellis says:

    Bravo John Snow and Channel 4 for exposing the truth. You did not let yourself intimidate by bullies. It was a fair program which told us the way it is. I have been watching the news on Channel4 when I realised that it is the fairer news channel. Thanks.

  • rc says:

    Agreed with all the above. I append my own submission to Channel 4 – what journalists love is not so much praise as a good story to pursue. Stupidly, I forget to mention CAA’s charitable status – ie we are paying these scoundrels with tax exemptions; and I forgot to mention Rachel Riley – the one who boasts of ‘not looking like a Jew’. Other comrades need not be so forgetful. I checked Barnet Momentum/Electronic Intifada – the nauseating and incriminating video is still listed as of 23-12-2020. “go thou and do likewise!” (!). submission follows:
    An excellent piece of work – keep it up. You may receive complaints from the so-called CAA. You will find a video they posted on Jan 10 worth pursuing. It reveals their ulterior motives; they withdrew it from YouTube, but it is available at Barnet Momentum/Electronic Intifada. Happy hunting!

  • Alan Stanton says:

    A few days ago I tweeted the link (with a positive comment) to the Channel 4 Akram Salhab video. Usually a few dozen people read my tweets, but that one got over 300 views.

    For me a strength of the Channel 4 video is how it speaks for itself. Agree or disagree with the opinions and experience described, the participants give their views in a reasonable and fair minded way. Clear helpful signals; far less noise.

    Maybe that’s one of the aspects which frightens the so-called Campaign Against Antisemitism? I’m a newbie when it comes to CAA but if they are truly “black propaganda” shouldn’t they show some subtlety?

    Otherwise isn’t it a turn-off for many people who don’t want shouty arguments and lies. But are more interested in being informed, especially when participants speak from their own experience, evidence and learning.

    Anyway, about the Akram Salhab video, I imagine that many people who follow JVL also have their own networks however limited. So one useful option is following the JVL example and passing on clickable links to a small number of talks, videos, articles, podcasts etc which meet the signal to noise test.

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