Witnesses, survivors, perpetrators

Christians and Israel

“Outspoken and memorable”

Image of Bashir Gemayel from a 1982 interview

Bashir Gemayel

In February 2017, Rebecca Ruth Gould, a lecturer at Bristol University was condemned for ‘one of the worst cases of holocaust denial’ by a former Conservative MP, Eric Pickles.

When he left the Commons for the Lords, Theresa May appointed Lord Pickles as her ‘UK Government Special Envoy on post-Holocaust issues’. His opinions on Holocaust issues therefore matter.

Speaking of Rebecca Gould, Pickles said: ‘to describe the murder of six million Jewish people like this frankly beggars belief. I am all for debate and freedom of speech but this passes into a new dimension.’ The author should ‘consider her position’.

“One of the worst cases of holocaust denial”

Was a British university really fostering Holocaust denial? And what was the source of Eric Pickles’ remarkable authority on antisemitism? From these first questions grew something much larger : this exploration of the extraordinary relationship between Zionism and Christianity. This centuries-long history takes in the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the 1982 massacre of Palestinians in Beirut, the modern British Conservative Party, and the close ties between Trump’s USA and Netanyahu’s Israel.

Two events in 2018 made this investigation timely: Trump’s provocative decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the long-delayed release of a secret appendix to Israel’s official inquiry into the Beirut massacre of 1982. So this article provides one of the first detailed reports of how in 1982 the highest leaders of Israel and Lebanon – Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon and Bashir Gemayel – conspired to perpetrate a massacre of Palestinians.

This story, which begins with a Bristol University academic accused of antisemitism, ends with a former Bristol University student, today a Welsh MP, who heads the UK’s most influential pro-Zionist lobby.

Christians and Israel was published in  Planet Extra on 17 December 2018

POSTSCRIPT 13 February 2019

Christians and Israel investigates some remarkable consequences of Christian dedication to Israel.  My study was sparked by the attack on literature scholar Rebecca Gould, by the UK’s Christian ‘Holocaust Envoy’, Eric Pickles. Following my publication, Professor Gould wrote –

I’m so grateful to you for shedding light on these difficult topics relating to the history and politics of antisemitism, and for your courage in speaking out against Israel’s human rights violations, as well as the weaponisation of antisemitism. Your journalistic eye for detail enables you to unearth many forgotten and suppressed details of Jewish history and to bring to light the complicity of European powers in evading responsibility for their crimes against humanity.

Eric Pickles has recently called for the “Universal adoption of  the IHRA definition of Antisemitism”. I have still not heard from him following my articles which show the real purpose of the IHRA code – to defend Israel’s indefensible aggression against Palestine.

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“rigorous, moving and original”   “a brilliant article”

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1 Comment

  1. Caroline Juler

    Terrific piece, holding the shameful dishonesty of British politics to account which is what real journalism should do.

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