‘I am Palestinian and I am human’ — and Leanne Mohamad, 15, is disqualified from UK speaking competition

Middle East
on 57 Comments

Last week, a video of a 15-year-old student at Wanstead high-school in London named Leanne Mohamad went viral.

Leanne, a Palestinian, was taking part in the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge, where she won a regional final with her speech “Birds not Bombs”. The Jack Petchey-sponsored competition is an English competition run by Speakers Trust, and bills itself as the world’s biggest youth speaking event.

The speech concerned the violent reality of being Palestinian, and towards the end Leanne makes a chilling reference to her baby cousin of 1 year, who died a few weeks ago in Gaza due to a heart condition which required more medical attention than what was possible to offer in the besieged enclave.

But then an anti-Palestinian blogger named Edgar Davidson wrote to the Speakers Trust and claimed that Leanne’s three-minute speech consisted of “solid lies and blood libels”… “claiming that every day since 1948 (when the State of Israel was established) the ‘defenceless’ Palestinians have been slaughtered, with 30,000 children murdered”. His blog referring to the letter is titled “There is no future for British Jewry”.

Davidson was paraphrasing (and misquoting) on Leanne’s presentation in general, but he did take the “30,000 children murdered” on as a claim he would attack more directly in his next paragraph. But the argument he was countering was a strawman – Leanne did not say “murdered” but killed. Davidson thus went on to attack the strawman, writing: “For the record there are no verified instances of Palestinian children being ‘murdered’ by Israel, although many dozens have died as a result of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups launching unprovoked rocket attacks against Israeli civilians”. In order to bolster his claims by reliable sources such as Amnesty International, Davidson writes: “In fact, Amnesty International (an organisation that has traditionally been hostile to Israel) reported just this week that most of the child casualties of the 2014 conflict (that was started by Hamas) were actually killed by Hamas rockets falling short of their ‘target’”. But the Amnesty report that Davidson refers to was merely reporting one incident, where “a rocket salvo that killed 11 Gazan children and hit a hospital on a Muslim religious holiday was the work of Palestinian militants hitting their own people”. This does not even remotely account for “most” of the over 500 child deaths, as Davidson suggests.

Nonetheless, Davidson’s fictitious and disingenuous letter seems to have made a serious impression upon the Speakers Trust CEO Julie Holness, who took his concerns “very seriously”. Whilst she noted that the student speakers “are encouraged to speak out on something they feel passionately about and of course they bring with them their history and culture and beliefs”, she nonetheless noted that “there are, however, two fundamental rules that are made explicit during the training:

“- the speech must have a positive and uplifting message – in fact this is one of the core terms of the agreement with the Jack Petchey Foundation.

“- a speaker should never inflame or offend the audience or insult others and this, by definition, means that propaganda is ruled out absolutely from the outset.”

After responding to Davidson saying that his concerns were “exactly our concerns”, Holness ends with “if you wish to discuss this further you have my home office number below, which you are welcome to use at any time”.

So, Leanne’s message, which was emphatically opposed to racism and discrimination, calling for freedom (despite the tragic loss of her baby cousin) was apparently not “positive and uplifting” according to the trust. Furthermore, it seemed to have “inflamed and offended” the audience – which nonetheless seemed enthusiastic to the extreme in response to Leanne’s speech, as can be heard in the video. If it did not do any of that, it seems to have been deemed mere “propaganda”.

On the basis of these ‘findings’, and in “very serious” consideration of Davidson’s offense, the trust decided to override the school decision to send her on in the competition, effectively disqualifying her and taking her speech video down from their site as Davidson repeatedly asked them to. The Trust justified their overriding of Leanne’s regional victory by saying that “a speech that does not observe these ground rules may very rarely get through on passion and delivery”, thus supposedly fixing the unfortunate aberration.

But was Leanne exaggerating? I tried to find facts about child killings from 1948 – to be honest, it was a difficult task and I couldn’t directly corroborate Leanne’s figure of 30,000 children. I contacted UNICEF about it but was not able to get hard figures as of yet. Nonetheless, statistics from 2000 do exist. And the Palestinian death total is around 9,000, with child deaths constituting about 20%. But Leanne refers also to other kinds of deaths – indirect ones – due to the conditions Palestinians are under. She did not say they children were “murdered”, but rather killed – and refers to her baby cousin as an example of an indirect death due to the occupation. If we consider the general conditions in Gaza for example, it could be useful to note that a 2012 report jointly issued by aid organizations Save the Children and Britain’s Medical Aid for Palestinians found that “ten percent of children under 5 have stunted growth due to prolonged exposure to malnutrition. Anemia, caused by an iron-deficiency, affects 58.6 percent of schoolchildren, 68.1 percent of children nine to 12 months old and 36.8 percent of pregnant mothers…. Incidents of water sanitation-related illnesses such as typhoid fever and diarrhea have increased sharply with cases doubling in children under the age of 3, which will carry with it long-term health implications…Gaza’s medical facilities are underfunded, outdated and lack essential supplies. Travel restrictions make it difficult for Gazans to seek medical treatment elsewhere”.

We could discuss the figures and the statistics. But this does not at all seem to be the concern of Davidson or the Speakers Trust. Their concerns seem to be more McCarthyite “associations”. It seems that if Leanne was allowed to speak, the Trust would be accused of supporting “anti-Semitic propaganda”. It does not matter that Davidson has trumped up fictitious and malicious charges against the girl. It does not matter that Davidson is a man who praises the English Defence League-founder Tommy Robinson as “heroic”. The Speakers Trust still take his concerns “very seriously”.

But Leanne – she’s done a terrible thing. She’s referred to the Nakba. In response to the disqualification, Leanne tweeted (29th May) “Why is it called a “Speak Out Challenge” when I am then silenced?”

Indeed, why.

A petition has just gone out demanding a reinstatement of Leanne in the competition.

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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57 Responses

  1. Pixel
    May 31, 2016, 11:50 am

    Thanks for this, Jonathan.

  2. John O
    May 31, 2016, 12:09 pm

    Thanks. Petition signed.

  3. Sycamores
    May 31, 2016, 12:18 pm

    it would seem like Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge can’t make up their mind why they censored Leanne Mohamad

    a/ Julie Holness says Leanne Mohamad violated two fundamental rules

    “-the speech must have a positive and uplifting message – in fact this is one of the core terms of the agreement with the Jack Petchey Foundation.

    “- a speaker should never inflame or offend the audience or insult others and this, by definition, means that propaganda is ruled out absolutely from the outset.”

    b/ then on Thalwen’s rants and stuffs

    UPDATE: The Speakers Trust has released a statement contradicting the statements made by CEO Julie Holness in her letter. They claim she was not disqualified, but that only 15 out of 29 go on to the final. However, the statement does not address Julie Holness’ awful statements nor does it condemn them. Until they do so, their decision to not pick her for the final remains suspect and their site still has scrubbed all references to Mohamad’s win.

    https://thalwenrantsandstuffs.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/leanne-mohamad-censored-for-hoping-for-freedom/

    so what is it ? Leanne Mohamad broke the rules or did not quailifed?

    it’s becoming apparent that Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge have seriously mess up here and are trying to cover their tracks.

    ps: the link that Thalwen provided for the The Speakers Trust statement can no longer be found on their site. no surprises there.

    • Sycamores
      May 31, 2016, 3:32 pm

      excellent news

      update from Thawlen blog

      The Speakers Trust has released a statement where they imply that Leanne Mohamad’s speech was not removed because of pressure from trolls but to protect her safety and because they cannot keep up moderating comments as a small charity. They affirm that she is still a regional winner and was never disqualified. They have also indicated that the videos of Leanne Mohamad will be restored.

      https://thalwenrantsandstuffs.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/update-leanne-mohamad-the-trolls/

      excerpt from the Speaker Trust statement

      On 19th May Leanne Mohamad from Wanstead High School was chosen from among 19 finalists as the 2015/6 Redbridge Regional Final winner. She was chosen by an independent panel of judges.

      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.

      http://www.speakerstrust.org/joint-statement-on-leanne-mohamad-and-competition/

      • bryan
        June 1, 2016, 5:57 am

        “vile and hateful… trolling” of a 15-year-old girl. Well done you defenders of Zion.

        As for the absurd claim that she was disqualified for issuing propaganda, surely this is intrinsic to the art of public speaking or debating? Let us take a comprehensive definition of the term from an American scholar: “Propaganda is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and direct media channels.”

        (1) Certainly this was a persuasive attempt to influence the emotions, attitudes, and opinions” of a specific audience, as any successful act of public speaking must inevitably be.
        (2) I did not read this as an attempt to influence the “actions” of the audience, but as a plea for empathy and open-mindedness.
        (3) Yes, it was one-sided, though not necessarily false in any respect, but I defy any speaker, let alone a schoolgirl, to address any significant matter in a few minutes whilst giving a fully rounded analysis of all issues.
        (4) But key elements that are missing are “systematic”, for “ideological” purposes, delivered by “mass direct media channels”. No this was an impassioned personal plea, made on a one-off platform to a specific private audience.
        Had this been propaganda the expert panel would not have awarded her victory in the regional qualifier.

        Thanks for again highlighting the crimes and distortions of Zionist propaganda.

    • Thalwen
      May 31, 2016, 6:46 pm

      They issued an updated statement with a new link. I’ve updated both articles. Doesn’t say anything new in my opinion, just more words and slightly more eloquent. As of this writing, they have not restored her videos. Quite predictable, but disappointing nonetheless.

      • Sycamores
        June 1, 2016, 2:18 pm

        Hi Thalwen,

        Leanne Mohamad video has been reinstated on Speak Out Challenge site

        Following temporary suspension to safeguard a minor, we are now able to reinstate the video of our Redbridge Regional Final champion Leanne Mohamad, with authorisation from her family. Please see here for further information.

        Leanne Mohamad of Wanstead High School was crowned the winner at the 2015-16 “Speak Out” Challenge! Redbridge Regional Final with a speech entitled ‘Birds Not Bombs’ – Congratulations!

        http://www.speakoutchallenge.com/leanne-mohamad-winner-jack-petcheys-speak-challenge-redbridge-regional-final-2015-16-2/?utm_campaign=leanne-mohamad-winner-jack-petcheys-speak-out-challenge-redbridge-regional-final-2015-16&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitter

      • oldgeezer
        June 1, 2016, 2:54 pm

        @Sycamores

        A beautiful speech. No wonder the zionists attacked her. They can’t stand the truth invading their invented fabric of lies.

      • Thalwen
        June 1, 2016, 6:11 pm

        Thanks Sycamore :) Was wonderful to see that. Even more wonderful that this speech has been heard all over the world.
        Apparently Davidson lied and then falsified the letter that was sent back to him. While I still have questions, it shows the pathetic lack of integrity that anti-Palestinians have. http://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/london-teen-faces-barrage-of-online-abuse-after-prize-winning-speech-on-palestine#full

      • Annie Robbins
        June 1, 2016, 7:18 pm

        wow, what an amazing link thalwen

        On May 27, Ms Holness said, one of the bloggers had emailed her, posing as a well-known academic from the Jewish community. “He even gave a home address and appeared to copy in his wife,” she said. “I thought, ‘This is serious, the Jewish community are livid’, and I dropped everything and answered him very seriously.”

        Her reply was then forwarded to the Jewish Chronicle, but some words had been changed, she says.

        “He added the words that Leanne ‘had breached competition rules’, but that didn’t happen. There are no competition rules that anyone can breach, just the basic rules of public speaking.”

        In fact the email writer was a blogger who posts as Edgar Davidson at edgar1981.blogspot.co.uk under the title “Confronting antisemitism and Israel hatred”.

        In his email to the Speakers Trust, Mr Davidson claimed to be “a long-term supporter of the Jack Petchey Foundation”, the charitable organisation that funds the Speak Out Challenge. “What I was not aware of,” he added, “was that the charity was now in the business of supporting vicious blood libels against the State of Israel … You must surely be aware that supporting hateful and vicious political propaganda puts the Jack Petchey Foundation in breach of its Charity Commission obligations.”

        On his blog, Mr Davidson claimed that the judging panel of the Speakers Trust had “decided unanimously against sending Leanne Mohamad through” to the final of the competition because “they had the same concerns to those I raised”.

        Not true, says the trust.

        and then they link here: http://www.jackpetcheyfoundation.org.uk/news/statement-on-leanne-mohamad-and-the-jack-petchey-speak-out-challenge

        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 are able to consult fully with her school and family.

        In terms of progression in the competition – all 37 talented Regional Final champions were entered into the Semi-Final on Saturday 21st May. Only 15 of these can reach the Grand Final stage. A panel of judges selected the top 15 speeches without any external influence or input and prior to any of the issues that emerged this weekend. The general “rules” of effective public speaking in the Challenge are guidelines to help speakers to create a speech that will connect with a large and diverse audience and every speech was judged on its own merits. All the young people who were selected were notified in the week after 21st May. Leanne Mohamad was not selected. She does however remain the Redbridge Regional Winner for 2016.

        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.

        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.

      • just
        June 1, 2016, 7:42 pm

        Thanks for the information Sycamores, Thalwen, and Annie.

        Shame that Holness felt on receipt of the email that “‘This is serious, the Jewish community are livid’, and I dropped everything and answered him very seriously.”” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/recent-comments/#sthash.Owi7xIoH.dpuf

        How does one person constitute a “community”? Would the same panic have happened with any other rep of a “community” in any similar situation?

        As for Davidson~ no surprise, really. Vile, but no surprise. Would love for them to sue the pants off him, though ;)

  4. bintbiba
    May 31, 2016, 12:20 pm

    Heartfelt thanks for your voice , Jonathan !

    The Youtube of Leanne’s speech had been removed and as I checked a while ago , it has been reinstated .
    Someone must have been remonstrating in no uncertain terms !

    …and petition signed and passed on… …

  5. just
    May 31, 2016, 1:10 pm

    Many thanks for this piece. The more exposure that Leanne’s wonderful and winning speech gets is marvelous~ her voice is so very important and true. The terrible aftermath that is this travesty also needs wide exposure and distribution!

    “After responding to Davidson saying that his concerns were “exactly our concerns”, Holness ends with “if you wish to discuss this further you have my home office number below, which you are welcome to use at any time”.”

    Wonder who else Ms. Julie Holiness was so solicitous and simpatico with…….

  6. lonely rico
    May 31, 2016, 1:14 pm

    The speech by Leanne Mohamad –

    “… what madness is it that [a] dog is more protected by animal rights than a child in Palestine is by human rights … Palestine is my country, my land, my home. Their pain is my pain, and their freedom is my freedom …
    I leave you with the most inspirational quote of Nelson Mandela –
    ‘Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.’
    Let’s all say together
    Free Palestine

    A beautiful and moving speech.

  7. Sycamores
    May 31, 2016, 1:29 pm

    Edgar Davidson the man who praises the EDL founder Tommy Robinson as “heroic” is a sick little puppy just look at his “art work” https://web.archive.org/web/20160329091012/http://edgar1981.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/edgar-artwork.html

    this is who the Speaker Trust listens to???

    • Bumblebye
      May 31, 2016, 7:14 pm

      Ugly “art”. Sheer racism.

      meanwhile, Jewish Press author biog:

      Edgar Davidson started blogging in 2005, to protest the blatant anti-Israel bias that permeates every aspect of British society. He always seeks new ways to highlight the hypocrisy of the anti-Israel narrative (he also runs the purely satirical blog Free Palestine Now). Edgar now spends much of his time in Israel, where he has an apartment.

      Goshdarn, I forgot to record the link. Who needs it.

  8. amigo
    May 31, 2016, 1:44 pm

    Petition signed and they need a further 2000 sigs to get to the goal of 5000.Hopefully 5000 pro free speech sigs will help to put the edgar Davidson of this world back in their box and out of sight.

  9. MHughes976
    May 31, 2016, 2:31 pm

    I’ve signed and I hope it works. It will be interesting to see if Sadiq Khan joins in the public discussion – Ms. Mohamad is a Londoner.

  10. barmalei
    May 31, 2016, 2:32 pm

    Actually, what Davidson wrote makes a lot more sense. I feel for Leanne but her emotions are just that, emotions. If we start making policy changes based on emotions, nothing will ever be agreed on. To me this is really what should be called the “Palestinian problem” – the inability of Palestinians – after decades of failures – to grow up and start acting with less emotion and with more rationality (and honesty to themselves).
    As for your commentary, its weakness becomes particularly glaring when you need to start engaging in philological analysis of what “murdered” versus “killed” means. Then, the girl said 30,000, not 9,000, and this is a falsehood that as a rational individual you should condemn and not condone the same way as you are prone to condemn a falsehood coming out of the mouth of Netaniyahu. Then, as a rational commentator, please do not forget to provide some context of the subject discussed, something that the girl – who is overly emotional – clearly cannot do. And the context is that Palestinian kids die because Hamas is using population of Gaza as human shields (ISIS is doing the same thing this very minute – please go condemn it on another forum). Lastly, if you want to talk about an opportunity cost, then look around – at Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon – four Arab countries not endowed with any major natural resources like oil and gas – and compare the average longevity, quality of medical services provided, education and a few other other things that go into UN’s human development index to those enjoyed by Palestinians and you will see that up until the start of Israeli blockade Gaza was definitely not the worse of them. The reason for it is simple: proximity to Israel. Israel is economically advanced and Gazans were rubbing off these ‘riches’ for a long time. Now imagine where would Gaza be if it were not for Hamas and its delusional like. If Hamas cared about Palestinians as humans – and not as tools and pawns to achieve the goal of destroying Israel – it is fair to conjecture that the level of life in Gaza would be even closer to the one enjoyed by people in Israel. This is what girls like Leanne should be taught to understand, if the goal is to make Palestinians happy.

    • just
      May 31, 2016, 3:11 pm

      You’re new here, aren’t you?

      LOLOLOLOLOL!

      • Annie Robbins
        May 31, 2016, 4:20 pm

        i thought this was funny: “when you need to start engaging in philological analysis of what “murdered” versus “killed” means” — because barmal could care less if he’s misquoted!

        and this: and this is a falsehood that as a rational individual you should condemn and not condone the same way as you are prone to condemn a falsehood coming out of the mouth of Netaniyahu.

        what falsehood? just because statistics of how many children have died since ’48 as a result of israel’s ethnic cleansing and brutal oppression are not readily available, doesn’t mean the figure (30k) is false. either way, it’s a moot point. as moot as arguing over 6 mil, 5 mil or 4.5 etc — if you catch my drift.

        the point stands.

    • eljay
      May 31, 2016, 3:21 pm

      || barmalei: … Israel is economically advanced … Now imagine where would Gaza be if … ||

      …instead of Israel, Gaza were enjoying decades of “unshakeable” political, financial, economic and military support from Western nations even as it engaged in oppression, land and resources theft, occupation, colonialism, torture and murder.

      Yeah, it would be economically advanced, and Zio-supremacists like you would be acting even more emotionally and irrationally than you have been for the past ~70 years. :-(

    • Mooser
      May 31, 2016, 4:04 pm

      “– the inability of Palestinians – after decades of failures – to grow up – “

      Maybe it’s the water. I hear Palestine has a big problem with female adolescent lead poisoning. Sometimes the fatal accumulations can be as much as an ounce.

      • Thalwen
        May 31, 2016, 6:58 pm

        Or perhaps the lack of protein and a diverse diet causing malnutrition among children in Gaza. Even fish is hard to come by due to the constant assaults by the Israeli army on fishing vessels.

    • amigo
      May 31, 2016, 4:07 pm

      barmalei—fresh out of the womb of hasbarismus. Still shivering and squealing and drooling .Here we go again –having to clean up another pile of steaming hot putrid zionist hasbara.

      barmalei – don,t they warn you about MW or do they just throw you to the wolves and leave you with no weapons to defend yourself.How cruel , but hey , that,s zionism for you.

    • Walker
      May 31, 2016, 4:31 pm

      barmalei, it’s easy to be pretend to be the rational one when your power is incomparably greater than your opponent’s.

      The relationship between Israel and Palestinians reminds me of my relationship with my little brother when I was nine and he was six. At times I would tease him to the point where he would just lose it and attack me. Of course, I weighed twice as much as him so his attempts to hurt me never came to much. But I felt quite superior about my greater rationality.

      In terms of power and control, Israel is not twice the size but 100 times the size of the Palestinians. Casualty figures reflect this. I well recall the news coverage of the 1996 Israeli assault on Lebanon. In Lebanon, ambulances burning, hundreds of thousands fleeing in terror. In Israel, repeated sympathetic interviews with inhabitants of Kiryat Shmona about how difficult it was to sit in shelters all day long.

      I took the trouble to actually check the UN Human Development Index and found that Lebanon is distinctly ahead of Palestine in the index.

      I also thought the presentation was emotional and one-sided. Yes, it does make a difference how a number like 30,000 Palestinian children killed is derived. At the same time, your voice addressing Leanne Mohamed is similar to mine addressing my little brother. And most of what you posted is just hasbara.

    • lonely rico
      May 31, 2016, 8:07 pm

      > barmalei

      I feel for Leanne but her emotions are just that, emotions …

      Gee, that sure is nice, your feelings/empathy for Leanne …
      But
      If we start making policy changes based on emotions … nothing will ever be agreed on

      How about policy changes based on international and humanitarian law ?
      How about Israel respects (multiple) resolutions of the UN,
      and, why not –
      a policy based on
      BASIC HUMAN DECENCY ?

      That’s what I took away from this beautiful young Palestinian’s speech.

      Your zionist nightmare seems to be founded on a different vision of the world – another way of dealing with young Palestinian women,
      (boys and men)

      http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=771608

      steal, humiliate, murder, maim, destroy.

    • zaid
      May 31, 2016, 11:22 pm

      Barmalei

      “And the context is that Palestinian kids die because Hamas is using population of Gaza as human shields (ISIS is doing the same thing this very minute – please go condemn it on another forum)”

      You cannot make a rational argument based on a factually incorrect assumption.

      The Human shield is myth and an excuse that Israel keeps repeating and it wasn’t confirmed by any neutral third party, actually the Investigations showed the opposite.

      “. If Hamas cared about Palestinians as humans – and not as tools and pawns to achieve the goal of destroying Israel”

      Then, as a rational commentator, please do not forget to provide some context of the subject discussed, something that you – who is overly emotional – clearly cannot do. And the context is that Hamas was formed to end a 7 decade occupation and to return 7 million refugees that were expelled from their homes in 1948 by a nation foreign to this region.

      “you will see that up until the start of Israeli blockade Gaza was definitely not the worse of them”

      Provide evidence for this statement.

      “Now imagine where would Gaza be if it were not for Hamas and its delusional like”

      No need to imagine, just look at the economical development of Muslims, christian and druze in Israel and the huge gap in wealth between them and Jews, not to mention the higher unemployment , lack of infrastructure and investment in their communities and low contribution to the country’s GDP.

      “(ISIS is doing the same thing this very minute – please go condemn it on another forum).”

      Mentioning ISIS which came into being 7 decades after Israel ethnically cleansed the Palestinians and stole their homeland and which have nothing to do with Palestine is an “Appeal to emotions” fallacy which shows how deprived you are to of any rational argument.

      You are being too emotional and driven by a tribal mentality my friend.

    • echinococcus
      June 1, 2016, 12:14 am

      “if the goal is to make Palestinians happy.”

      No one cares if they are happy. The goal is to give them back their sovereignty over their entire territory. Meaning all of Palestine, and return the likes of you where they came from. Judging from the goal you chose, I suppose in your case that is Disney World…

    • Marnie
      June 1, 2016, 12:43 am

      The banality of evil strikes again. Welcome to MW, BM.

      Thanks for the link to the petition!

    • bryan
      June 1, 2016, 6:06 am

      They are barely human, but surprise, surprise they have emotions. OK – we’ll eventually put an end to that. What we need are more cold, hard, concrete facts …. on the ground. Heartless brute.

    • CigarGod
      June 1, 2016, 9:30 am

      Ha!
      1. The good news is Hasbara U. is using out-dated textbooks.
      2. No, Palestinians struggling to be free are not a “problem. ” Zionists working to keep them enslaved, are.
      What we have here is a Zionist Problem.

    • Misterioso
      June 1, 2016, 9:56 am

      barmalei

      Meet Janna Jihad, 10 years old. She has been reporting from Palestine for two to three years now, sharing with the world the message of “the Palestinian children”.

      A major shift is taking place. The world is waking up and comprehending the horrors Israel has inflicted against Palestine’s native inhabitants, including children, for over 68 years.

      One example:

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/20/us-palestinian-israel-children-idUSBRE95J0UJ20130620
      Reuters, 6/20/2013
      “Palestinian children tortured, used as shields by Israel”
      by Stephanie Nebehay

      Excerpts:
      “A UN human rights body accused Israeli forces…of mistreating Palestinian children, including by torturing those in custody and using others as human shields.

      “Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, captured by Israel in the 1967 war, are routinely denied registration of their birth and access to health care, decent schools and clean water, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child said.

      ” ‘Palestinian children arrested by (Israeli) military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture, are interrogated in Hebrew, a language they did not understand, and sign confessions in Hebrew in order to be released…’ ”

      “Kirsten Sandberg, a Norwegian expert who chairs the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, said the report was based on facts, not the political opinions of its members. ‘We look at what violations of children’s rights are going on within Israeli jurisdiction,…’

      ” ‘Hundreds of Palestinian children have been killed and thousands injured over the reporting period as a result of (Israeli) military operations, especially in Gaza…”

      “It voiced deep concern at the ‘continuous use of Palestinian children as human shields…’ ”

      BTW, “…last year [‘Edgar] Davidson praised English Defence League-founder Tommy Robinson as ‘simply a British patriot.’ His blog’s ‘Key Readings’ include an article that states ‘Palestinians are a fake creation.’ ”

      https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160530-british-palestinian-schoolgirl-expelled-from-public-speaking-competition/#.V0x0jGZ1CE0.facebook

    • Talkback
      June 1, 2016, 11:12 am

      barmalei: “And the context is that Palestinian kids die because Hamas is using population of Gaza as human shields …”

      A forensic analysis will show you that the cause of death is Israeli (or USA) ammunition. But what is your claim? That Israel kills Palestinian children, even if it assumes that they are being used as human shields?

      “Now imagine where would Gaza be if it were not for Hamas and its delusional like.”

      Hamas doesn’t bomb Gaza, Israel does. Imagine where not even Gaza, but the whole of Paletine would be if it were not for Zionism and its colonials like.

      “If Hamas cared about Palestinians as humans – and not as tools and pawns to achieve the goal of destroying Israel …”

      How much did and does Israel care about Palestinans as humans when it destroyed and still destroys Palestine since 1948?

    • oldgeezer
      June 1, 2016, 11:59 am

      @barmalei

      Rational people do not hold, or treat, 15 year old children the same as they do adults.

      I loved the brian of london video. You want to talk about a recruiting video for isis! The arrogance, ego, supremacist racism he displays alongside the dismissive attitude to Palestinian death and oppression is astounding. He’s rather sickening to listen to but I did manage it.

    • oldgeezer
      June 1, 2016, 7:39 pm

      @barmelei

      You are edgar1981 and I claim my five pounds.

      • just
        June 1, 2016, 7:50 pm

        roflmao. I swear I had the same thought!

    • Rashers2
      June 2, 2016, 9:43 am

      “…..it is fair to conjecture that the level of life in Gaza would be EVEN CLOSER [my emphasis] to the one enjoyed by people in Israel. This is what girls like Leanne should be taught to understand, if the goal is to make Palestinians happy.” You are one delusional, condescending, little Zio-apologist, aren’t you?

  11. Egbert
    May 31, 2016, 2:38 pm

    The Jack Petchey Foundation should be congratulated for capitulating to Davidson. If they hadn’t, there would have been no fuss and the girl’s speech would have passed unnoticed.

    Once again, the Foundation has done a great job in promoting this girl’s work.

    As for Davidson’s claim that there is no evidence of Palestinian children being murdered, the case of the girl killed by an IDF officer who then proceded to fire at her until his magazine was empty surely fits the bill.

  12. MHughes976
    May 31, 2016, 5:59 pm

    If we look at the attempted rebuttal of Leanne we begin with emotion. There is plenty of it, but so there should be: dispassionate reaction is not necessarily the best way to truth and she is reporting a family tragedy. As for the word killing, she is talking of deaths for which she holds Israel responsible, beginning with the recent death of her baby cousin. She isn’t alleging that an Israeli gun or bomb is the cause every time, or that particular time – nor does she mean that no Palestinijsn child would have died anyway. She means, were more complex language were used, that Israeli policies have over the decades resulted in excess deaths on that scale. Excess deaths are a difficult statistical concept – if you attribute them to one continuing event, like the Nakba, how do you know what would have happened otherwise? She is making assumptions, but so are her critics – the question cannot be addressed unless some assumptions are made. The rationality of assumptions is a difficult matter, but do Zionists really think that their grand enterprise could have been achieved without being balanced by grand suffering and that people, including children, would not have had to die?
    Anti-Semitism of course gets mentioned, but if you can see any trace of racial prejudice in the content or tone of Leanne’s speech I think you are a bit prejudiced yourself.

  13. Blake
    May 31, 2016, 10:30 pm

    Oh boy the sociopathic bully cries wolf again. Palestinians just cannot catch a break.

  14. Qualtrough
    May 31, 2016, 11:06 pm

    Four things:

    1. Welcome barmalei, and please continue posting here. Our other regulars are getting a bit stale and we need to hear some new jokes (Mooser excepted!).

    2. As others have noted, I would probably not have noticed or watched her speech if it wasn’t for this incident. See: Streisand Effect

    3. This incident can serve as a perfect case study of the utter baselessness of so many charges of anti-semetic speech, blood libel, etc. Watching the video and then reading the comments of those who helped get it pulled shows how absolutely ludicrous those charges are. It would be instructive to force them to watch it in public and then point out just what parts of her speech they think justify those charges.

    4. The good news is that the more this happens the wiser the public at large gets to this kind of crap. We are coming ever quicker to the day when being called an anti-semite stings about as much as being called a dunderhead. That will be too bad because there are people who hate Jews qua Jews, and they will benefit from this debasing of the word.

    • Mooser
      June 1, 2016, 2:55 pm

      “and we need to hear some new jokes (Mooser excepted!)”

      Thanks for the exception. Believe me, I know how badly I need it.

  15. John O
    June 1, 2016, 3:54 am

    4,546 signatures to the petition as of 08:50 UK time Weds morning.

  16. MHughes976
    June 1, 2016, 5:44 am

    I’m not sure about your 4th point, Q. Genuine anti-S is still a very bad thing, like other forms of racism, and so accusations will not easily fail to sting. Accusations do indeed come very cheap indeed but as all internet trolls know cheap abuse is not always ineffectual. Naz Shah MP has just had her career damaged, perhaps ruined, for doing absolutely nothing wrong but attracting a volley of the usual cheapo accusations. Ken Livingstone didn’t help.

  17. Jonathan Ofir
    June 1, 2016, 9:00 am

    Barmalei, you write “Then, the girl said 30,000, not 9,000, and this is a falsehood that as a rational individual you should condemn and not condone the same way as you are prone to condemn a falsehood coming out of the mouth of Netaniyahu”.
    I don’t have time to comment other aspects of your response at this point, but Annie Robbins did answer with a few aspects I wish to further here.

    First of all, Leanne’s reference is to children killed since 1948. My reference, in admittance that it is a moot point and that statistics on this have been hard to find, is about deaths ONLY SINCE 2000. If you would want to equate the two linearly, you would have to multiply the figure I gave by about 4.5. In any case, I referred to her reference being also more general, in regards to killings – as she alludes to indirect deaths, which are not included in my cited statistics.

    Now Annie Robbins wisely refers to another case, indirectly – the Holocaust. If someone were holding a speech on that – would it make the marked qualitative difference if they related to Raul Hilberg’s 5.1 million Jewish killed estimation, or the more popularly referred 6 million?

    And since we are speaking of the Holocaust, I would like to use this as a reality check in regards to “killed” and “murdered”. So if someone holding a speech on the Holocaust would say that 6 million Jews were “murdered” – that would go down pretty normal, wouldn’t it. If they would say “killed” – that would be considered even more conservative. Would anyone chide the speaker for regarding those people Jews who happened to die not from a bullet to the head or any direct execution as such, but rather from conditions of life inflicted upon them in ghettos and concentration camps – that they died from disease, or malnutrition etc. – regarding them as “killed”, or indeed even “murdered”?

    • Atlantaiconoclast
      June 1, 2016, 10:44 am

      The standard for estimates about the number of Jews killed or murdered in the Holocaust is VERY different than the standard set for estimates about any other group. Why is the Holocaust the one historical event immune from open and uncensored examination?

      • Mooser
        June 1, 2016, 9:23 pm

        “The standard for estimates about the number of Jews killed or murdered in the Holocaust… uncensored examination.”

        Gee, why do you say that? Are you expecting some refinement or big change in the numbers? Or will new, up-til-now hidden, information about the Final Solution change history’s entire concept of and narrative of the Holocaust?

    • lysias
      June 1, 2016, 11:55 am

      Hilberg’s 5.1 million figure is of excess deaths, and so includes deaths from malnutrition and disease. His method was to extrapolate from prewar figures what the postwar number of Jews should have been without the Holocaust, and compare the actual postwar figures.

      He was quite right to include all the excess deaths, since they were caused by Nazi policies.

      • Mooser
        June 1, 2016, 9:09 pm

        “He was quite right to include all the excess deaths, since they were caused by Nazi policies.”

        And even with that, Hilberg ended up 900,000 short?

    • Talkback
      June 1, 2016, 11:59 am

      Davidson has the same intention and plays the same pathetic games like Holocaust deniers. The only difference is that they are not trying to silence anyone. They probably would if Germany was still an occupier.

      • MHughes976
        June 1, 2016, 12:26 pm

        To me it seems a fair and natural use of words to describe as murderous policies which place lives at severe risk and are not acts of legitimate law enforcement or just war. Even if some or many of those put at risk manage to survive those who fail to survive can reasonably be called murdered.

  18. Misterioso
    June 1, 2016, 3:39 pm
  19. John O
    June 2, 2016, 1:31 pm

    Update from the petition organisers:

    “2 JUN 2016 — We’re delighted to say that Leanne’s powerful speech has been added back to the Speak Out Challenge website, see:
    http://www.speakoutchallenge.com/leanne-mohamad-winner-jack-petcheys-speak-challenge-redbridge-regional-final-2015-16-2/

    We received over 7,000 signatures pledging their support. In addition to having the video made visible once more on the Speak Out website, Leanne’s video has been seen by over 55,000 people and been featured on news websites across the world.”

    https://www.change.org/p/jack-petchey-foundation-uncensor-british-palestinian-award-winning-schoolgirl/u/16799333?tk=lBoNEi8nuJ5m9fATLQOQaChSGJWbY8oShC31jCsUv_4&utm_source=petition_update&utm_medium=email

    55,000 views – another own goal for those trying to suppress free speech.

    • MHughes976
      June 6, 2016, 4:53 pm

      But as far as I can see the whole business did not get out of the local, Jewish and Muslim press into the national news organisations.

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