Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Letter to the CEO of Speakers’ Trust about the anti-Israel speech controversy

Following on from the recent articles here, herehere. and here, a friend has sent this excellent letter to Julie Holness (CEO of Speakers' Trust):

Dear Julie

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:

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.

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.

Best wishes

Below is the response video by Brian John Thomas (which includes the original video of Leanne Mohamad's speech):


Anonymous said...

When you say " a friend" was that your friend Tommy Sheridan from the Enlish Defence league and former acivist in the anti-semitic Brtish national Party

Anonymous said...

Ps Nothing anti-semitic about what Leanne said.

She said Israelis had bombed her family and killed her relatives. You shoul listen to her truth if you expect the Palestinians to listen to yours.

Kendo Dodd said...

Hi, Please may I add a few points?

The speech was well-delivered: unfortunately it was a pack of lies.

While the audience's response was highly frustrating, perhaps we need not be quite so despondent. Here are a few reasons why :-

1. Many British people are still very polite and tend to applaud anything, especially where children are involved: remember seeing your child in a Chanukah or Nativity play? You would cheer to the rooftops.

2. She appeared to be on home turf, or had lots of friends and supporters there, so the audience was obviously proud and going to raucously support one of their own, regardless of what she said.

3. Although what she said was galling, the audience response appeared to be, at least in part, due to some well-crafted, well practiced, non-verbal speechcraft.

4. She gave a ridiculously high figure for the number of dead Palestinian children. However, we cannot expect the overwhelming majority of disinterested people sitting in peaceful, comfortable Britain to know she is telling such appalling lies. If they hear something bad about children, most people will simply believe it and sympathise - and we Brits just love the underdog.


There is something else, which hasn't been picked up, which may backfire on millions of immigrants and even be quite dangerous.

If this third or 4th generation 'immigrant', is going to publicly self-define as a Palestinian, could this not provide a perfect excuse for racist (or right wing) politicians to similarly label the millions of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi Britons as... Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi who should return to their homeland?

As you rightly say, if she is a refugee so am I, along with 100s of 1000s of Jews.
My grandfather, fortunately, had the foresight to leave Eastern Europe before the Second World War. As a refugee, my father, then three years old, had to travel thousands of miles to freedom in London, then got a boat many thousands of miles to Southern Africa.

I'm the child of a refugee. I was born and grew up in lower middle class Liverpool over 50 years ago. Am I a refugee? Should I be entitled to a share of UNRWA's £billions. It would be fraudulent, spurious and exploitative of well-meaning charity to claim such a thing, surely?

If she is a refugee, so are the many children of Ugandan Asians, and Turkish and Greek Cypriots, who have settled and integrated and are living comfortably in Britain.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that you lied to the Speakers Trust by pretending to be someone otherthan you are?

And as for those complaining that children of refugees have no right to depict themselves as refugees. you've obviously never attended a Passover ceremony.

Anonymous said...

Opponents of Leanne keep saying "it was a pack of lies"

You're not in hasbaraland anymore. You have to be specific. What do you think were inaccuracies and why? list the points

Also shouts of "Blood libel" don't wash with those who know what the bloodlibel consisted of.

Anonymous said...

PS what would be an acceptable number of dead Palestinian Children?

Anonymous said...

Did you lie Edgar? becuae that's what Jonathan Gornall is now alleging.

Perhaps you should share with your loyal fans the lengths you go to, to give the story they desire.

Daphne Anson said...

What a wonderful, well-reasoned letter. The apologists for young Leanne's speech - I'm talking about those who are not incorrigible antisemites, of whom we have seen plenty with their despicable comments in recent days - should realise that what is objectionable and unconscionable about the speech is that it (albeit probably unwittingly on her part) smears Israel with toxic falsehoods, as so devastatingly demonstrated by Brian on his video of refutation. Surely no fair-minded person can believe that toxic falsehoods should be allowed to stand.

Anonymous said...

Can you tell us what they are Daphne? ( I don't want any nonsense about "blood libel"because Israeli forces have killed many Palestinians and pointing thi out is not a " blood libel@)

Anonymous said...

Oh Daphne Do you share Edgar's belief that sports relief and save the children are anti-Semitic organisations? Do you consider Tommy Sheridan an ally?

Anonymous said...

david, pretty ballsy of you to write the trust impersonating a "a well-known academic from the Jewish community" and then fabricate a response from the trust incorporating lies your wrote yourself. how do you expect people with integrity to take you seriously after doing something so shameful?

Anonymous said...

"Edgar" is a big fan of Tommy Robinson Former BNP member & now Pegida Fan

Just the kind of person a Jewish activist should be associating with

Anonymous said...

Hi there Edgar,
After reading your blog, I acknowledge the fact that some of your posts contain very well-reasoned points and accuracies about a growing problem of anti-semitism in Britain. However, regarding the conflict in the Middle East, a few of your points do come across as slightly biased (I have noticed how you pass off Palestinian deaths as those of terrorists). I was wondering if you could provide us with a balanced view based on pure fact (i.e. statistics) regarding deaths and injuries of Israeli citizens compared with Palestinian citizens?
Best wishes

Daphne Anson said...

This is in response to the Anonymous who asked me the nature of the falsehoods. They have been very ably given by Brian of London in his counter-video: watch it with an open mind and you will learn.

Daphne Anson said...

In response to the query relating to Tommy Sheridan. Having googled this gentleman, a Scottish politician who has hitherto escaped my purview, my answer is "What a strange question".

Anonymous said...

Not at all "Edgar" has praised him & donated to his hardship funds.?

Anonymous said...

Not Sheridan Robinson

wkovacs said...

daphne, why bother

brian's vid has been viewed and attacked by all these guys.

they dont want facts...they want feels and jew hate...oh wait, "zionist" hate

and dont forget, islam is perfect

Donisthorpe Bootboy said...

Tommy Sheridan.. he of sex club fame or Tommy Robinson (Stephen Yaxley ) the political prisoner. Make your mind up kn*b ed'.

Greg Bacon said...

Edgar, you and your ilk's days are numbered. People all over the world are waking up to the genocidal treatment of Palestinians that Israel loves to butcher.

In fact, the Israeli blood sacrifice crowd is thirsting for another invasion of Gaza, where residents are dying from lack of clean drinking water, since Israel bombs their water treatment plants whenever they launch one of their operations.

Gazans have been put on a diet long enough, it's time for them to be free, but I imagine all those shekels you get to spout propaganda makes you blind to the reality of the horrors Israel enacts upon Palestinians on a daily basis.

P.S. Maybe you could start an Israeli knife fund drive, to get money from suckers here in the USA so the IDF and Shin Bet can buy some more of those throw-away knives they plant on murdered Palestinians.

Anonymous said...

Tommy Robinson the extreme rightwing former BNP member and jailbird. Political Prisoner-don't think fans of Likud very good at judging who is & who isn't.

Anonymous said...

oh Grow up! the video didnt mention the word Jew! Attacking ISRAEL is not anti-semitism despite what the Israel want you to believe..

That's in stark contrast with ISRAELI MPS openly advocating for genocide and NUCLEAR WEAPONS as a possible solution.. and you guys dont say anything... Hypocrites..

The fact is those "terrorists" attacking JEWS/Israel are like those "same" terrorist that were attacking Germany before/during WW2 when those "terrorists" were being killed by the Nazis.. how quickly you forget your past!! .. Hypocrites

The fact is, no matter if it was the promised land or not, you guys FORCED Palestinians off their land and continue to do so by building ILLEGAL Settlements in Gaza in direct violation of UN..

The fact is JEWS also attack ZIONIST, and you cant label them as anti-semite....

the fact is, you are not HUMAN.. to go back to your "promised land" is your desire, despite whatever anyone else goes through!!

Anonymous said...

Blood sacrifice? You are an antisemite. No really you are

Anonymous said...

Just to avoid ambiguity for those who are challenged by the word antisemitism, you are a Jew hater

Anonymous said...

"Blood sacrifice" crowd. The crowd (like Edgar & friends) repeatedly attempt to deflect criticism of Israeli Defence Forces killing of civilian non combatants in Gaza by claiming it is a repeat of the allegation of the anti Semitic " blood sacrifice"

The "blood sacrifice" allegation was not based on the real killing of actual hildren in military actio but lies about the killing of fictitious children

The commentator may hate quotation marks. No evidence they hate Jews.

Donisthorpe Boot Boy said...

500,000 dead in Syria, nobody gives a f*ck, they only attack the most civilised army in the world the IDF. And they say they are not Jew haters. There's the difference.

Anonymous said...

The implying that Israeli Jews relish in the murder of Palestinians is an outright libel. Speak to Israelis and they just want to live and for their kids to have a normal life and not have to risk their lives in the army. It is the warped view of many anti Israel activists based on outright lies and half truths that leads to this Jew hatred where Israel is almost demonic in its actions and intent. Blood sacrifice was not an accidental term used by the previous poster

Anonymous said...


The world does indeed care about Syria. Assad and ISIS are attacked constantly in the verbal sense. We house their refugees. We have our military over their helping. We ship aid to the civilians. The world calls for action but hasn't reached agreement on what that should be.

The fact that you are seemingly unaware of this is is either ignorance on your part of merely an indication of a lack of sincerity on your part.

Donithorpe Boot Boy. said...

You are Gerald Kaufman and I claim my £5. Now f*ck off.

wkovacs said...

im sorry anon. 500k dead in syria shows the world doesnt care

Anonymous said...

Maybe you don't relish it. But IDF -Israeli public opinion many Israrli politicians and many posters on here seem to consider the deaths of non Jews as acceptable collateral damage

Anonymous said...

When you say non-Jew I assume you mean Palestinian. I assume you are not saying that Jews don't care about the lives of non-Jews in general - an accusation pushed in antisemitic circles. Anyway…

I assume you are referring to the shooting of Palestinians trying to stab Israelis and the war in Gaza last year. I’m not going to try tell you what lengths the Israeli army went to in last year’s war to avoid civilian casualties when fighting in civilian areas as I assume you’ve heard it all before and it goes in one ear and out the other. With the recent stabbings, yes generally Israelis have decided their life is more important than someone trying to stab them and there are those who believe if someone tries to kill you then there is no problem killing them, but you will not find them roaming around looking for Palestinians to randomly kill for no reason. Bottom line, stop trying to demonise Israel and Israelis as somehow uniquely evil and demonic. That is hatred.

wkovacs said...

and it seems that arab/muslim and jew hater's opinion is that the israelis should just stand there and be slaughtered
been there, done that....NEVER AGAIN...not even when asked to by a 15 year old jihadist

Anonymous said...

The Holocaust never happened, all those Jews were just abducted

wkovacs said...

oh look, this is what jonathan calls journalism

wkovacs said...

i wish i could edit comments

jonathan, next time you write a statement of fact, such as "Leanne also received abusive messages on her own Twitter account, which was subsequently blocked", you should really do a search to see if that fact is correct.
i dare anyone to find a single abusive comment directed at leanne
oh, and her account is not blocked, you are blocked from seeing it.
seems whoever is directing her, preblocked a number of accounts

Anonymous said...

You don't think calling someone "an ISIs supporter" is abusive?

Anonymous said...

you kill hundreds of Noncombatants . You don't grant Palestinians civil rights in the occupied territories. You seem to treat the killing of non Jews very lightly. " mowing the lawn" I think the IDF called it last time

wkovacs said...

to anon

never called her an isis supporter. said her speech sounded like an isis recruitment video...

noncombatants die in war. its sad, but it happens. do you have any proof that israel targets non combatants

2nd point. read the oslo accord.

im not in the military, but as far as i know from those who have been, no one takes killing anyone lightly. but once again, you have made it clear you do not believe that jews or israelis have the right to defend themselves

the "mowing the lawn" comment has never been confirmed and allegedly had to do with why israel has to go into gaza to deal with hamas

but thanks for trying to paint jews as blood thirsty demons and proving our point

now prove that a single thing leanne said is fact, because none of you seem capable of doing that

Daphne Anson said...

Geoff, it's ironic that our intrepid journalist friend works for a newspaper based in the UAE, which has one of the worst human rights records in the world, which (needless to say) subjugates women, which viscerally hates Israel, and which has no freedom of the press. No supporter of the Zionist Entity could expect a fair write-up in such a newspaper - the powers that be would simply not allow it!

Anonymous said...

"Instead, Israel is acting in accordance with a “mowing the grass” strategy" Jerusalem Post

Thomas Blisworth said...

Dear Sir,

By invasively scrutinising a young girl's social media activity in an attempt to deprive her of an opportunity to advance in this competition, by misrepresenting your identity in your letter to the Speakers Trust in order to achieve maximal impact, and by disingenuously modifying the words of the reply in your web-log post, you have demonstrated a profound lack of integrity and civility. The intensity of the response you have received, and the widespread notice of your actions, I hope, will afford some opportunity for you to reflect on your conduct and emerge a better man for the sake of it. Virtue is a thing greater than love of one's own race or creed, and we should strive to cultivate virtue above all else.

Yours sincerely,

Anonymous said...

You do use the words Jihadist, Isis recruting video very lightly and get very upset if any criticsims are made of Likudite ISrael

In other words you like to dish it out but you don't like to take it whether its criticsm, slurs or missiles.

Anonymous said...

And the IDF now seem to have a bad habit of killing people, then moving a knife nearby.

Or shooting people dead when they are overpowered and not a threat.

Anonymous said...

"what lengths the Israeli army went to in last year’s war to avoid civilian casualties when fighting in civilian areas"

such great lengths that them managed to kill many hundreds of children.

Ie "not very great lengths at all" I suppose you could have dropped one of the hundeed nuclear weapons the IDf has at their disposal. But not doing so doesn't make you appear particuarly magnaninmous

fairbrit said...

THANK YOU again, Edgar, for a wonderfully articulate piece - balanced, nuanced and fair. I can see no way in which you could improve upon this as you offer such clarity. I particularly love the analogy: "Free Kiev!"

I am stunned by the postings above from 'Anonymous' who seems to have completely misinterpreted your words and also misunderstood the hatred and indoctrination behind Leanne's speech. This isn't just about a speech, though. It is how disinformation is disseminated against the Jewish state and this in turn wreaks havoc on the Jewish diaspora and on the possibility of peace in Israel.

wkovacs said...

mass shooting today by two terrorists in tel aviv
leanne the peace maker has blood on her jihadist hands

wkovacs said...

to anon at 12:18

any numbers you are referring to have come from hamas
hamas recruits children as young a 14 and makes sure that none of their combatants wears a uniform, in order to be counted among civilians killed

unless you have proof that israel targeted civilians, your entire argument is moot

anon 12:15
no evidence for planting weapons. no need. for most of those killed actually stabbed a civilian

we call a spade, a spade

and when one acts as an apologist for terrorists, one is a jihadist


here is some news for you. if you use your true identity on social media, or even if you dont, there is no guarantee of privacy. one did not have to scrutinize leanne's internet footprint all that hard to find her sympathies with those who murder jews.
according to the speaker's trust, leanne did not go forward because she didnt make the cut to 15. had nothing to do with the content of her speech
the rest of you accusations are unsubstantiated. im still waiting for jonathan or any other news source to provide the email exchanges between edgar and the speakers trust that prove him wrong

daphne: remember, the arab and muslim nations need israel and the jew. for who else can they use to take their own people's minds off the fact that they all reside in failed nations

Anonymous said...

You are a lying scumbag.

Anonymous said...

you clearly have sympathy for those who murder Palestinians and steal their land