In the U.K., the taxpayer-funded Arts Council has been supporting a left-wing publisher, 87 Press, that just days after the Hamas atrocities was praising the “Palestinian people and their struggle for liberation.” More on this misuse of taxpayers’ money can be found here: “Poetry house that gets £100k grant backed Palestinian ‘liberation’ in wake of Hamas terror,” by Felix Pope, The JC, November 17, 2023:
A left-wing poetry publisher that receives £100,000 a year in taxpayers’ cash put out a statement backing “Palestinian people and their struggle for liberation” just 11 days after Hamas terrorists murdered 1,200 men, women and children.
The Arts Council-funded 87 Press, whose output includes essays on anti-colonial art, poems and lectures on Marxism, added in their October 18 statement that “conditional liberation is not liberation”.
The Arts Council is now investigating whether the organisation is in breach of its funding agreement.
The JC can also reveal that the publisher’s director, Azad Ashim Sharma, reposted a claim made on October 10 – three days after the Hamas atrocities – that Israelis could not be considered civilians.
Writing on X/Twitter, he also asked: “Has anyone got any good piece debunking the myth about beheadings/rapes etc that the British rags have been circulating?”
Sharma wants to “debunk” the stories of Hamas atrocities, and is asking members of the twitterverse to let him know about any evidence they may possess to disprove that “myth about beheadings/rapes etc.” By the end of November, it appears that he has failed to come up with any such evidence.
On October 12, Sharma wrote: “No one on the side of Palestine and Palestinian people is saying innocent people should be killed or celebrating death – quite the opposite.
Completely false. As the glad tidings of the October 7 massacre spread throughout Gaza and the West Bank, Palestinians engaged in a veritable riot of celebration. Candies and pastries were handed out. Women ululated their joy, while men continually Allahu-akbared. Everyone had a wonderful time.
“We want an end to killing – but the buck for that lies with the […] militarised apartheid state where the majority of adult ‘civilians’ have been conscripted into an army (the Israeli occupation forces) which DAILY commits human rights and international law violations.”
As to Sharma’s apartheid claim, we can only repeat for the 78th time: In Israel, Arabs sit on the Supreme Court, serve in the Knesset, go abroad as ambassadors. The chairman of Israel’s largest bank, Bank Leumi, is an Arab. Jews and Arabs work in the same factories and offices, play on the same sports teams and in the same orchestras, act in the same films, are treated in the same hospitals by both Jewish and Arab medical personnel, attend the same classes in the same universities. Jews and Arabs own restaurants and start high-tech businesses together. The only difference in their treatment is that Jews must, while Arabs may, serve in the military.
Nor is Israel a “militarized” state. The IDF does not run the country. No general, loaded down with medals, broadcasts his diktats. There have been no military parades in Israel since 1973, no serried ranks of eyes-right high-steppers or even goose-steppers, along with an endless series of rockets, tanks, and artillery (as in Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Turkey, Egypt). The civilians of Israel, through their elected representatives, run the country. In the Jewish state, at times of maximum peril, as now, the citizen-soldiers — both men and women — rush to defend it, just as they are doing now, in far greater numbers than are in the regular army.
The October 7 attack, he added, had been a “small episode of Palestinian resistance”.
Sharma continued: “It’s quite clear who has not got the backbone to hold this burden of remaining principled and objective. The objective truth [sic] here is condemning Palestinian resistance is absolutely vile in the context of what we are seeing here.”
Sharma calls the October 7 atrocities — the beheading of babies, the burning alive of children, the torture, rape, and murder of young girls, the gouging out of eyes, slitting off of breasts, cutting off of genitalia, the murder of parents in front of their children, and of children in front of their parents — the “Palestinian resistance” that it is “absolutely vile to condemn.”
In other words, according to Azad Ashim Sharma, the director of the 87 Press, the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7 were not atrocities at all, but a justified “resistance,” given the oppression experienced by the Palestinians at the hands of the “occupation forces.” Those “occupation forces,” remember, pulled entirely out of Gaza in 2005.
The writer retweeted a claim made that “settlers are not ‘innocent civilians’ they chose to live there and are just as guilty as the violent acts on Palestinians as the government [sic].”
The half-million Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria, and to whom the scare word “settlers” has been affixed as a pejorative by the army of Israel-haters, are on land that according to the League of Nations’ Mandate for Palestine (1922) was intended to be part of a future Jewish state. The only reason it wasn’t in 1948 is because the Arab Legion managed to hold, and seize, Judea and Samaria. By its victory in the Six-Day War, Israel came into possession of the West Bank (a/k/a Judea and Samaria), and was able to enforce its preexisting right to the West Bank.
And what “violent acts on Palestinians” do those “settlers” perpetrate? A very small number — a few-hundred — of these “settlers” have in response to Palestinian murders of Israeli civilians gone on rampages themselves. Those rampages consist of uprooting olive trees, vandalizing cars, sometimes damaging Arab houses. These are crimes of property; only rarely do those “settlers” attack the Palestinians themselves. In 2022, a total of 2 Palestinians were killed by settlers. In 2023, there have been a total of eight, almost all of them occurring after October 7. And the circumstances of the Palestinian deaths are not always clear; in some cases it is during a confrontation where the Palestinians have attacked first with rocks, and the settlers then responded with gunfire. Israel does not, as the Palestinians charge, ignore settler violence; it arrests settlers, both for property crimes and crimes of violence, and if they are found guilty, they are punished.
The post shared by Sharma also included a screenshot of a New York Times article about Israelis in Sderot gathering to watch airstrikes on Gaza with the caption: “This is y’all ‘innocent civilians’?”
Apparently any Israeli who looks up at the sky at the IDF airstrikes taking place miles away can no longer be considered a “civilian.” This rule applies only to Israelis. On the other hand, Palestinians in Gaza who look at the rockets launched by Hamas hurtling toward Israel, they remain “innocent civilians.”
The statement published by the 87 Press last month featured claims that Israel was ethnically cleansing Gaza.
What “ethnic cleansing” is that? How many people in Gaza have been pushed out of the Strip by Israel? None. Tens of thousands of young people in Gaza, tired of the oppressive rule of Hamas, whose leaders have stolen so much of the donor aid intended for the Gazan people, have in recent years sought employment opportunities, and better lives, in the rich Arab states of the Gulf, in Europe, and in America, but Israel has had nothing to do those choices.
Settler Colonialism and Racial Capitalism are necropolitical systems that continue to dehumanise the majority of the world’s population,” it read. “What we are witnessing in Palestine brings these facts of history into focus without the luxury of equivocation.”…
Those who make this idiotic, and suddenly fashionable, charge against Israel of “settler colonialism” would have you believe that Israel is an outpost, a colony, of some more powerful distant state, that has sent its own people to settle in that colony. Something, in other words, akin to Algeria, as a colony of France, or Kenya, as a colony of Great Britain. But tiny Israel is not a colony of any other state; it is simply the homeland, reborn and reconstituted, of the Jewish people, who have been living in that very land, uninterruptedly, since 2500 B.C.
Sharma has the gall to describe his 87 Press as a “literary publisher.” It is nothing of the kind. It is, instead, a political, or rather a propaganda, outfit, opposed to the “anticolonial” West and, of course, to the “colonial settler apartheid” state of Israel. It might as well be the publishing arm of Hamas.
Should the British taxpayer be supporting a propaganda outlet for those who would destroy the Jewish state? Should it be furthering the ability of 87 Press to spread its praise of the “resistance” that erupted on October 7? Should it be subsidizing the salary of Azad Ashim Sharma, the publisher of 87 Press, who is determined to spread the claim that the colonial-settler apartheid state of Israel also commits “genocide”?