I cannot imagine how stressful it must be for you right now to find yourself drawn into conflict.
I love the idea of the Speakers’ Trust and believe in the right to free speech. However, in terms of lies and misrepresentation, I’m not a fan of defamatory language intended to spread hatred against any individual, group or other such entity existing in this world within which we are so fortunate to live. Therefore, I want to suggest a couple of changes to the statement issued by Speakers’ Trust and the Jack Petchey Foundation.
I am naturally relieved to hear that Leanne Muhammed will not be going forward in the Speak Out Competition. However, my concern is that I’m unsure if you realise that allowing Leanne to retain the title of “winner" positions anyone in opposition of her diatribe as “perpetrator" and Leanne as "victim”. I am alarmed at your statement clearly indicating that the only reason she is not being put forward is due to “abuse”. Such statement denies any responsibility on your part clearly laying the blame for failing to be selected at the door of those who have expressed their objections.
"As a Regional Final winner the speech was posted online. Following vile and hateful comments posted online during this Bank Holiday weekend Speakers Trust removed the video of Leanne’s speech. We will not tolerate trolling of young people. As a small charity without the capacity to moderate comments 24 hours a day it was considered essential to protect Leanne by temporarily suspending the regional video until we were able to consult fully with her school and family.”
May I respectfully point out that this paragraph is missing the context, i.e., that Leanne’s speech contained harmful antisemitic tropes and blood libels. Please see the European working definition here: https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/sites/default/files/press_release_document_antisemitism.pdf
As you are aware a "social media war" ensued where jews and non-jews expressed their deep hurt at the distortion of the behaviour of the Jewish State. Bloggers had discovered Leanne’s twitter feed containing propaganda and other associations she has made via social media tools. Voicing their discoveries and objections utilising social media, they were themselves subject to a torrent of antisemitic abuse. Therefore, in order for the Speakers’ Trust and Jack Petchey Foundation to take responsibility and “stop the war” created, I want to invite you to rethink this statement and reword along the lines of:
“As a Regional Final winner the speech was posted online. Following objections to the content of Leanne’s speech we temporarily suspended the regional video until we were able to consult fully with her school and family and investigated the concerns of those who had objected so strongly [feeling hurt, frightened and angry] to the content."
I wonder if I can help you think through what Leanne is really saying? The subtle nuances contained in Leanne’s video can be tricky for individuals to spot. The “subliminal message” passively received by viewers is antisemitic, i.e., that a bunch of thieves, oppressors [land-grabbers] and baby-killing jews are responsible for her claim of “refugee” status.
With regard to such status alongside Leanne’s “identity achievement”, i.e., as a “British Palestinian”, I wonder if it may help to give you an illustration of how strange these words are to the rational mind. Let me explain. On my father’s side I am a third generation person of European jewish descent. I identify as British. In the last century my father’s father was forced to flee persecution in Russia just part of the longest hatred forcing the human movement of jewish people across the world for no other reason than being a jew. Although jews in many parts of the world are still subject to extreme prejudice, we now have the safe space of the Jewish State. What I want you to do is to imagine if I called myself a “British Russian”, or a “Ukrainian Russian”? Or a “ Third Generation Soviet Union refugee"? Can you imagine how credible I would sound if I made a speech ending with “free Kiev” [from the Soviet aggressors]?
The British public are being brainwashed by the Palestinian narrative. May I respectfully refer you to the research of David Collier. I provide a link to a piece by David that also draws attention to the investigations and explanations of the narrative by Edgar Davidson and Brian John Thomas. Due to incidents such as affording Leanne Muhammed a stage to promote antisemitism, I concur with their view that the future of British Jewry in the UK is hard to imagine. I respectfully refer you to David Collier’s article to help deepen your understanding of the reasons behind why we share such a view. http://david-collier.com/?p=2058
In terms of the words:"Both the Jack Petchey Foundation and Speakers Trust which runs the Challenge have a primary duty of care to the young people we work with and we cannot accept any form of abuse against them." I agree and echo such sentiment. However, perpetuating the cycle of abuse is emotive language. The complex forces at play contain a multitude of variables and prove difficult for most individuals to grasp. Meaning and the cause of the upset is lost. Society is “triangulated” into conflict. We see individuals drawn into choosing a side based on rhetoric. A current example, amplified by media reporting, is the abuse directed at supporters of Depp and Heard. However, to my mind if you had understood the destructive intention of Leanne’s speech and how instead of achieving her own identity, she has been groomed, exploited and radicalised into becoming a weapon of war, perhaps you may not have given her the opportunity to enter the competition in the first place. Therefore, I invite you to reconsider and remove this inflammatory sentence delivering the meaning that there are people [those opposed to Leanne’s speech] who do not want to live in peace:
"We are determined that all of our young speakers, irrespective of background, race or religion, should be able to speak out in a safe and supportive environment. In our society people have the right to hold and express different views or perspectives. It is important that young people can express these, challenge and question in an appropriate manner and learn to live with each other in peace."
For clarity, Leanne’s speech works directly against the notion of peace. Leanne’s indoctrinators have simply abused the good intentions of your competition to offer a safe supportive environment. Allowing this 15 year old girl to keep her title means that society will hold her up as a martyr. As such, the mechanism under which antisemitism thrives clicks into place thereby rendering the road to peace increasingly invisible.
My final point is that after having been subject to Leanne’s misrepresentation of Israel, a country that has always striven for peace, I was horrified to hear Leanne state: “Islam is perfect. I am not”. This is an extremist view and the reason why individuals like Leanne are so susceptible to radicalisation. When a religion is set up as “perfect” there is no ability to question, no personal power, no growth or development from reform available. Therefore I invite you to think about this final point. As a British citizen who doesn’t follow Islam where am I positioned? Where are you? I feel uncomfortable enough. Do you?
In light of the above, I call for you to remove Leanne’s status as Regional Final winner.
Below is the response video by Brian John Thomas (which includes the original video of Leanne Mohamad's speech):