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Iranian-Tied UK Human Rights Group Holds Webinar On the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Campaign (BDS) Against Israel

December 16th, 2020 10:27

The Islam­ic Human Rights Com­mis­sion (IHRC) has announced on its web­site it will be hold­ing a webi­nar in ear­ly Novem­ber 2020 on the BDS: Chal­lenges, Suc­cess and The Way For­ward. The announce­ment referred to the Boy­cott, Divest­ment, and Sanc­tions (BDS) Cam­paign against Israel, said to pres­sure Israel to com­ply with inter­na­tion­al law and end inter­na­tion­al sup­port for Israel’s regime — described in terms of set­tler colo­nial­ism and apartheid. Accord­ing to the announce­ment:

Decem­ber 10, 2020 That regime was clear­ly iden­ti­fied as the basic cause of the Israel-Pales­tine con­flict and like­wise com­plic­i­ty with the regime as a sys­temic obsta­cle to Pales­tin­ian rights…The BDS cam­paign has a cru­cial role to deter such com­plic­i­ty, in both its mate­r­i­al and ide­o­log­i­cal forms, as well as to strength­en pub­lic under­stand­ing of the Israeli regime as insti­tu­tion­al­ly racist…There are oppor­tu­ni­ties to do so in sev­er­al sec­tors, e.g. the arms trade, sports, acad­e­mia, cul­ture, etc.

The webi­nar is expect­ed to host 3 speakers:

  • Les Lev­i­d­ow – A Senior Research Fel­low at the British Open Uni­ver­si­ty, who moved to Lon­don from the US in the 1970s. in 2001 he helped set up The Cam­paign Against Crim­i­nal­is­ing Com­mu­ni­ties (CAMPACC), a UK group that brings togeth­er human rights activists, lawyers, jour­nal­ists, and com­mu­ni­ties “which find them­selves tar­get­ed by so-called ‘anti-ter­ror­ism’ leg­is­la­tion.” Lev­i­d­ow pre­vi­ous­ly took part in oth­er IHRC events. In 2018 he spoke in a sem­i­nar on ‘The Future of Jerusalem’ on ‘Jerusalem, BDS, the demo­niza­tion of Pales­tin­ian activism and more’; in 2015, he spoke at a con­fer­ence on ‘Islam­o­pho­bia.’ Back in 1990, he wrote an arti­cle on what he called the ‘Israeli Eco­log­i­cal Impe­ri­al­ism.’ The arti­cle was pub­lished in a mag­a­zine con­nect­ed to mem­bers of the far-left, anti-Zion­ist Israeli group Matzpen.
  • Mick Napi­er – Chair­man of the Scot­tish Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­i­ty Cam­paign (SPSC). On his Twit­ter account, he states he is a “Life­long social­ist, anti-racist. Despise Tories. Only Scot cer­ti­fied free of racism by two Scot­tish courts”. In 2017 he was con­vict­ed of aggra­vat­ed tres­pass and of fail­ing to fol­low police orders to leave a store in Glas­gow which sells Israeli cosmetics.
  • Zwe­liv­elile Man­dela – a mem­ber of par­lia­ment in South Africa and the grand­son of Nel­son Man­dela. In July 2020, he pub­lished an arti­cle on Al-Jazeera, claim­ing Israel’s lob­by­ists – both in South Africa and around the world – have res­ur­rect­ed his grand­fa­ther as a lib­er­al paci­fist who benev­o­lent­ly made peace with his ene­mies, adding that reduc­ing his char­ac­ter to ‘peace-mak­er’ and rec­on­cil­er was a delib­er­ate dis­tor­tion of his legacy.

The Islam­ic Human Rights Com­mis­sion (IHRC) is a UK based NGO found­ed in 1997 and has had Spe­cial Con­sul­ta­tive Sta­tus with the Eco­nom­ic and Social Coun­cil (ECOSOC) of the Unit­ed Nations since 2007. The IHRC web­site says it works with dif­fer­ent orga­ni­za­tions from Mus­lim and non-Mus­lim back­grounds “to cam­paign for jus­tice for all peo­ples regard­less of their racial, con­fes­sion­al, or polit­i­cal back­ground.” The IHRC is con­sid­ered sup­port­ive of the Iran­ian regime, and for many years has been cen­tral to orga­niz­ing the events of the annu­al Inter­na­tion­al Quds Day, ini­ti­at­ed by the Iran­ian rev­o­lu­tion­ary regime. The IHRC’s chair­man is Mas­soud Shad­jareh, who is close to the anti-Israel web­site inminds.com and served as a direc­tor in the now inac­tive Mus­lim Chan­nel; his wife Arzu Mer­ali is a co-founder, writer, and researcher at the IHRC. Anoth­er Mus­lim Chan­nel direc­tor Shab­bir Has­s­analy, a schol­ar and web devel­op­er, is said by the UK Times to have been “one of a num­ber of indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions in the UK…whose views and activ­i­ties are close­ly aligned to the reli­gious ide­ol­o­gy of the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment.” He devel­oped appli­ca­tions for oth­er pro-Iran­ian orga­ni­za­tions such as the Iran­ian TV chan­nel Press TV and Ahlul­Bayt Islam­ic Mis­sion (AIM). In Octo­ber 2019, the Times report­ed that since 2013, the IHRC has also been receiv­ing dona­tions through the UK tax­pay­er-fund­ed Gift Aid scheme for char­i­ta­ble organizations.

Pre­vi­ous report­ing by the Glob­al Infor­ma­tion Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) on the IHRC has included:

  • An Octo­ber 2020 report on a book launch in Tehran, which was pub­lished by the IHRC, and ana­lyzes the work of three lead­ing Amer­i­can think-tanks, accus­ing them of help­ing to frame U.S. poli­cies against the Islam­ic world and Islam­ic resis­tance [muqawamah] movements.
  • An Octo­ber 2020 report on a webi­nar the IHRC held on the ‘One state solu­tion’ for the Palestine/Israeli con­flict with British and Israeli speakers.