• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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Jewish Chronicle Publicises Weird Press Release

From the UK Jewish Chronicle:

A campaign group has launched a boycott with a difference this week – calling on British shoppers to stop buying goods produced in the West Bank and Gaza.

Boycott of Palestinian Goods and Services (BPGS) is also asking traders to stop importing olive oil, figs, dates, soap and flowers from Palestinian sources.

Campaign director Muhsir Mutawakil, who claims in a press release that he converted to Judaism in 1994, said Hamas’s control of Gaza had resulted in “religious and gender apartheid” for 120,000 Palestinian Christians and more than two million women.

Rafah-born Mr Mutawakil, who claims he has held “successful” talks with British firms, said: “There is a growing realisation that fostering business dealings and exchanges in the travel, professional, educational and medical sectors with these apartheid-based regimes is counter-productive. Commitments made for 2009 are being renegotiated or dropped.”…

Muhsir Mutawakil has no other internet presence apart from this one report, and a translation into Hebrew here. The “Boycott of Palestinian Goods and Services” is similarly obscure. What we have is one self-proclaimed “campaign director” who has apparently sent a fax or email to the JC with the words “Press Release” at the top, and the paper has decided to turn it into a story. Mutawakil isn’t the first to get easy publicity in the JC this way.

So who is he? There is one clue to his identity: I was recently forwarded an email from a certain “Batsheva Waley-Mutawakil”, who has a particular animus against pro-Palestinian Jews. “Waley-Mutawakil” also leaves comments on articles and blogs, in which “she” complains that these Jews “defame” Israel and should not be allowed to publicise their views. Here’s an extract from the email:

I am a British Jewess married to a Palestinian Arab convert to Judaism. We have 6 children. I am 36 years old. I have a doctorate in international law and am currently a consultant to Her Majesty’s Government.

…your obsession with finding fault with my beloved homeland Israel causes me sadness. Your unwillingness to become obsessed with your own country’s rape and occupation of Iraq in tandem with the USA raises suspicions in my mind. Scottish regiments of the Highland Fusiliers and Black Watch in Basra, Iraq have been raping young Shi’ite Arab women, torturing their male relatives, uprooting olive trees and demolishing homes and mosques. The Royal Family is implicated in this barbaric occupation which constitutes a war crime under international law.

…You are not permitted to savage Israel, the democratic mini-state in the Middle East surrounded by 21 huge apartheid-based Arab nations, simply to cater to your ‘friends’ who are consumed with Judeophobia…

We’ve seen this rhetoric before, including the accusations of rape against British troops serving in the Middle East. Mutawakil is obviously the same person as the “Rev Charles Edgbaston”, whom I blogged on here. Edgbaston, it may be recalled, claims to run a self-proclaimed “ecclesiastical court” in Canada, and he sends letters to pro-Palestinian Jewish activists threatening them with a campaign of harrassment unless they send him money (the person who forwarded me the email above also received an Edgbaston letter). Edgbaston also uses a variety of aliases, and he has left sock-puppet comments on my blog.

5 Responses

  1. The stories about British soldiers raping Iraqi women are true and documented. I can’t for the life of me figure out why you would want to cover up this war crime.

  2. What a surprise! Another obscure person from IP 72.1.195.4, same as Edgbaston’s other aliases.

    By the way, I am not “covering up” claims of rape in Iraq. I’m merely noting the common claim made by Edgbaston and Mutawakil.

  3. Fail to fathom your headline. Palestinian regime in Gaza is subject to British government boycott. Iran is subject to UN boycott. Please rewrite your heading to read: “Richard Bartholomew Posts Weird Blog Headline .”

  4. How about a compromise: “Jewish Chronicle Hoaxed by Cowardly Anonymous Whackjob who Sends Threatening Emails” ?

    (Other readers: “clyde” is the same person again)

  5. It seems you are going bonkers. Would you terribly mind informing the rest of your plebeian blog readers what you are frothing about?

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