Lobby Watch 27 July 2021
Israel lobby group UK Lawyers For Israel (UKLFI) had complained about the segment, which aired on the channel in December.
This is the latest defeat for the pro-Israel group, after an out-of-court settlement last year for libeling a children’s charity which works in Palestine.
The presenter of the Channel 4 segment, British Palestinian activist Akram Salhab, had given a platform for his peers. Ironically, they had said that a combination of ignorance and censorship means that Palestinian voices are being silenced in the UK today.
“There is this taboo around it,” said Rama, one of the group.
“We’re a community that is silenced, and with really strong repressive measures,” said Alia, a second Palestinian.
“It’s a campaign that is directed at eliminating Palestinian voices from universities, not by any coincidence, but by design,” explained Rama.
You can watch the full segment in the video above.
But UKLFI claimed the segment was “unfair” and “seriously prejudicial” to it.
Although none of the people in the segment had even named UKLFI, the report briefly showed statements posted to the websites of War on Want and Medical Aid for Palestinians – two British charities which do work on Palestine.The statements both accurately announced that the UK’s charity regulator had dismissed complaints UKLFI had made about them.
In its complaint to Ofcom, UKLFI did not dispute the facts of either statement. Instead the group demanded Channel 4 give it a new opportunity to reiterate its dismissed complaints against the two charities.
As presenter Salhab explained in the segment, “it’s the work [War on Want] does on Palestinian rights that led to several complaints to the Charity Commission. Repeated investigations found no issues to take forward.”
In its summary of UKLFI’s submission, Ofcom said that the lobby group had complained “that it was identified by screenshots of website pages of these charities and said that it was ‘criticized for attempting to silence campaigning in support of Palestinian human rights.’”
But in its response to Ofcom, Channel 4 News said that “the report did not comment on, or seek to examine, the substance or merits of the complaints, or the motivation of UKLFI in making them.”
Ofcom ultimately ruled that UKLFI’s complaint would not be upheld.
The regulator also found that it had not been necessary for Channel 4 News to provide UKLFI with an opportunity to respond, given that the segment was not primarily about it.
The Electronic Intifada understands that the complaints process took six months.
Such “lawfare” attacks are a common strategy used by Israel and its overseas lobby groups.Both of UKLFI’s complaints against War on Want and Medical Aid for Palestinians – as referenced in the Channel 4 News screenshots – were co-authored by US lawyer Brooke Goldstein in the name of her lobby group The Lawfare Project.
Goldstein is a Zionist extremist who once claimed at a conference in New York City that “there’s no such thing as a Palestinian person.” She was objecting to the use of the word “Palestinian” by some conference participants.
Goldstein explained her “lawfare” strategy: “The goal is to make the enemy pay, and to send a message, a deterrent message, that similar actions such as those that they engage in will result in massive punishments.”
UKLFI did not respond to a request for comment emailed on Tuesday afternoon.
The group last year recanted its libelous accusation that charity Defense for Children International Palestine had provided “financial or material support” to a terrorist organization.
Commenting to The Electronic Intifada at the time, UKLFI, claimed it was an “independent” organization, but also admitted to “support” for Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs.
Another British pro-Israel lobby group, Campaign Against Antisemitism, also complained to Ofcom about the Channel 4 News segment.
But the regulator dismissed it without even a full investigation.
- Channel 4 News
- UK Lawyers For Israel
- Lawfare Project
- Brooke Goldstein
- Campaign Against Antisemitism
Permalink Frank Dallas replied on
The misuse of the law, just as the followers of Herzl misuse history, philosophy and the very religion they claim to take to seriously. Everything has to be distorted to fit the view that Israel can do no wrong, that it is innocent in every respect, that the indiscriminate terrorism it employed to bring itself into existence was "purity of arms" that everyone who utters the most anodyne criticism is a terrorist or a Jew-hater or both. This woeful misuse of every principled arena can't prevail for long before because it makes an enemy of the truth. When Brooke Goldstein speaks of "massive punishment" she reveals her mentality: that of the vicious destroyer of whatever is inconvenient to her view. That the Israeli lobby is permanently on the qui vive for the slightest suggestion of criticism is indicative of its desperation and paranoia. It can't live with debate. It can't stomach democracy. It can't tolerate dissent. Such an abnormal orientation is doomed.
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