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Michael Weiss and Co., and the former Israeli general

Last week's swift getaway from Britain by Major-General Danny Rothschild has left a trail in its wake leading to key assets of the pro-Israel Lobby, Just Journalism and its partner, the Henry Jackson Society (HJS). The latter is headed by Michael Weiss, who is also a spokesperson for Just Journalism; it's all rather incestuous. Weiss also blogs in the Daily Telegraph and elsewhere, and has been trying recently to make the case that Sheikh Raed Salah is a dangerous racist who poses a material threat to British society.

Weiss boasts of his passion for human rights and the rule of law. So it seemed highly improbable that he would play any role in hosting anyone tainted, directly or indirectly, with allegations of ethnic cleansing and extrajudicial killings. However, the only people exempt from his concern for such matters are Israelis. He has regularly berated the Middle East Monitor, for supporting Hamas, then for links to the Muslim Brotherhood, and for supposed support of anti-Semites. He is silent on Israeli transgressions of international laws and conventions.


Apart from the neo-conservatives there are few who share Weiss' views. He must have had some momentary comfort, therefore, when Major-Gen. Rothschild came to town. Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) before cutting short his visit abruptly, the former Israeli military commander raised the by-now familiar, but, pathetically out of date alarm call: "I am afraid as a trend, what we are going to see is more and more involvement of the [Muslim Brotherhood] in Egypt and other places, to the degree that they will be the ones who will decide how the country will look," he stated. "And that is not a Turkey-style Islamic government; it will be much more extreme."

Whereas Rothschild appears to regard Turkey's ruling AKP as "lite" Islamists, Weiss embraces the extremist view. One year ago, he ridiculed Prime Minister David Cameron for trying to please his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayeb Erdogan. In an article headed, "What David Cameron doesn't know about Turkey" he claimed that "Turkey is sponsoring the jihadists, not guarding against them". What had been Cameron's crime to provoke Wiess' ire? During a speech delivered in Ankara he referred to Gaza as a "prison camp" and assailed Israel's murderous attack on the Freedom Flotilla flagship Mavi Marmara as "completely unacceptable".

In his usual manner of ignoring the known facts, Weiss attacked the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation; "the Turkish 'charity' that was behind the well-planned assault on Israeli commandos on board the Mavi Marmara, a ship that, it always bears repeating, carried no humanitarian aid cargo whatsoever. (Its upper-deck personnel, on the other hand, were armed and individually loaded with bundles of cash yet no forms of identification. If not jihadist by vocation, they certainly dressed the part.)"

Fast forward to Friday 1 July 2011 when the Middle East Monitor published a report about the strong condemnation by the Syrian Revolutionary Council in Daraa of "the decision by the British Authorities to arrest the freedom campaigner Raed Salah; Sheikh of al-Aqsa and the Lion of Palestine… We condemn the British-Israeli collusion in waging war on the symbols of resistance and the defenders of the legitimate rights of the Arab and Muslim peoples."

Three days after publishing that statement, MEMO received a query from John Ware of the BBC: "This statement from the Syrian Revolutionary Council appears to be of some significance… Can you advise who I might contact there re Sheikh Raed Salah?"

On 6 July a similar request was received from Michael Weiss. What a strange coincidence; could their inspiration for such requests have come from the same source? "Another press release you put out claims that someone belonging to the 'Syrian Revolutionary Council of Deraa' has petitioned for Salah's release," said Weiss. "However, according to the Local Coordination Committee in Deraa, no such entity exists. Might you do me the favour of putting me in touch with the relevant party here as well?"

Perhaps Weiss and Ware just share personal prejudices. Or should we ask whether there is any institutional link between the BBC journalist and the HJS or Just Journalism. And how did a personal message from John Ware's BBC email address to the chair of British charity Interpal in March 2010 end up in the hands of ultra-Zionist right-wing website "Harry's Place"?

Ware, like Weiss, has a well-established track record of antipathy toward Muslims especially those he deems to have a political agenda. When filming a Panorama programme about Muslim schools in 2010 Ware was very agitated when a Muslim in Leicester suggested that he might have "an agenda" of his own. In 2005, he was widely criticised for a Panorama documentary which was described at the time as a "witch-hunt" against British Muslims. The following year he was behind another documentary which claimed to prove that funds raised by the British charity Interpal have helped Hamas. A subsequent lengthy and very thorough Charity Commission investigation ensued as a direct result of Ware's programme; Interpal still operates freely and possibly even more successfully than before the accusations.

At the time, Ware referred to allegations from "intelligence sources". When confronted with the charge that those sources were the Israeli spy agency Mossad he wrote disingenuously, "I must be an odd sort of 'Mossad hireling' – having pursued in 1989 and 1994 one of Britain's biggest benefactors to Zion – Dame Shirley Porter – for political corruption."

Once a star of BBC investigative journalism, John Ware now has a credibility problem. After the Spectator published an article by Melanie Phillips (2 July 2008) headed, "Just look what came crawling out", in which the well-known Zionist claimed that Mohammad Sawalha had referred to Jews in Britain as "evil/noxious", the magazine was forced to issue an apology and pay damages to the Palestine-born activist. Ware and Reuven Paz, a former director of research at the Israeli internal security agency Shin Bet, both gave witness statements in support of Phillips' ultimately failed defence.

The more Weiss and his neo-con cohorts try to discredit the voices of Palestinian solidarity, the more they discredit themselves. Their dilemma is that when they sought to bring forward someone to lecture the rest of us on the alleged dangers of political Islam, all they could muster is a retired Israeli general who, in 1985, was appointed commander of the Israeli occupation forces in Southern Lebanon. From that year until the Israel's ignominious defeat in May 2000, thousands of Lebanese were held in Khiyam interrogation and detention facility in southern Lebanon without trial; most were brutally tortured, and some died as a result. Rothschild is hardly a man with a stainless character. So who will Just Journalism and the Henry Jackson Society wheel out next?

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