The human rights group, Amnesty International is among many venerable UK-based charities first established by a Jew.
Indeed, when London lawyer, Peter Benenson (Solomon), founded AI 57 years ago, he just wanted to appeal for a worldwide amnesty for prisoners of conscience. Earlier, while at Eton College, his natural sense of justice turned him towards the rescue of fellow Jews from Nazi Europe. Then in later life, he campaigned on behalf of Israeli former nuclear technician, Mordecai Vanunu in total opposition to the rest of the AI team.
By an odd coincidence, both Benenson and Vanunu became Christian apostates. A strange link, but one that I consider significant.
I reflect on this by way of preamble to details of a quite scandalous AI-sponsored week-long festival of theatre, dance, films and talks marking the so-called ‘Palestinian experience of dispossession and loss of a homeland’.
This charade, being staged in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) from 14-20 May will include a performance by Sana Moussa. She is billed as a native of ‘the Upper Galilee of occupied Palestine’ who recently performed in Haifa at the Al Midan Theatre, in a show arranged by the Ghair Intaj group, as part of a series of events in ‘Palestine’.
Haifa, Israel’s largest northern city, is barely 45 minutes’ drive from Karmiel, western Galilee where I live. More important, Moussa lies brazenly when she describes herself as ‘Palestinian’. The young singer is Israeli, has visited Jordan and Egypt and will travel to the UK, all on an Israeli passport.
This is because she hails from Deir al-Asad, the nearest Arab village to Karmiel which I have visited and where I have enjoyed warm home hospitality. Believe me, the only thing local Israeli Arabs have ever requested of me is to help them improve their English language skills!
Meanwhile, Al-Akhbar, the English language website I accessed to research material for this piece and features Moussa, announces that it “is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com)”.
I can’t think why!
© Natalie Wood (05 May 2018)