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.