British pro-Palestinians heckle ‘collaborator’ PA envoy, Labour MP urging ceasefire

Activists disrupt separate appearances in London by Husam Zomlot, David Lammy; UK chief rabbi: ‘Genocide’ accusations aimed at ‘tearing open the still gaping wound of the Holocaust’

Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom Husam Zomlot attending the Doha Forum in Qatar, in a handout image provided by the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, December 11, 2023. (Marwan Tahatah / MOFA QATAR / AFP)
Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom Husam Zomlot attending the Doha Forum in Qatar, in a handout image provided by the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, December 11, 2023. (Marwan Tahatah / MOFA QATAR / AFP)

Pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted public appearances in London over the weekend by a Labour Party lawmaker and by the Palestinian Authority ambassador to the UK, as the country’s chief rabbi accused anti-Israel activists of weaponizing the accusation of genocide against Israel to “tear open the still gaping wound of the Holocaust.”

A group of students at SOAS University of London were filmed Friday verbally harassing Palestinian ambassador Husam Zomlot who was invited to speak at an event on campus.

“You have blood on your hands! You’re a PA collaborator… Shame on you!” a student from the university’s Palestine Society was heard yelling.

The Palestine Society also posted a statement condemning Zomlot’s invitation due to the Palestinian Authority’s “collaborating with the Zionist entity” on the Oslo Accords.

Zomlot is an ambassador representing the Palestine Liberation Organization, which is largely controlled by the PA.

The incident highlighted the relative extremism of many pro-Palestinian students on campuses abroad compared to the political representatives on the ground.

On Saturday, a left-wing British politician who was making a speech calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip was similarly interrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters.

David Lammy, a member of Parliament from the opposition Labour party, was briefly rushed backstage when a woman began shouting and walked up to the microphone where he had been standing and unfurled a Palestinian flag.

“When will you condemn the genocide? How many more children need to die?” demonstrators shouted, referring to Israel’s military campaign against Palestinian terror group Hamas.

After protesters were escorted away, Lammy was heckled by others from the audience as he resumed his speech.

“We all want to see a sustainable ceasefire in Gaza,” he said. “I want change through power, not through protest.”

The Labour party, which is out of government but widely expected to return to power in an election later this year, has been divided over the war.

Its leader, Keir Starmer, was criticized by more hardline members of the party for refusing to call for a ceasefire early in the conflict and calling for humanitarian pauses instead. He has called for a sustainable ceasefire more recently.

The Free Palestine Coalition said its activists had infiltrated the foreign policy conference put on by the Fabian Society, a socialist organization, at London’s Guildhall.

“It is difficult to see how Lammy is upholding any commitment to human rights or international law as we enter into the 106th day of Israel’s unrelenting assault on Gaza,” the group said.

Israel launched its war against Hamas after the terror group’s unprecedented October 7 onslaught that killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in Israel and saw about 250 others taken hostage. Hamas-controlled Health authorities in Gaza say Israel’s offensive has killed nearly 25,000 Palestinians, though these figures can’t be verified, don’t differentiate between civilians and terror group members, and are believed to include victims of misfire Palestinian rockets. Israel says it has killed over 9,000 terrorists, plus around 1,000 killed in Israel in the aftermath of the mass invasion.

Illustrative: UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis gives a speech as he attends a Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony at Central Hall Westminster, on January 27, 2015. (AP/Chris Jackson)

Meanwhile Saturday, UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis published an opinion piece for The Telegraph, charging that the “genocide” accusations against Israel were a “moral inversion” designed to “tear open the still gaping wound of the Holocaust” and constitute a hijacking of the term to commit “the ultimate demonization of the Jewish state.”

Days ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Mirvis said the accusation — leveled by South Africa at the International Court of Justice — was “deployed not only to eradicate any notion that Israel has a responsibility to protect its citizens, but also to tear open the still gaping wound of the Holocaust, knowing that it will inflict more pain than any other accusation. It is a moral inversion, which undermines the memory of the worst crimes in human history.”

He added: “It should be obvious that if Israel’s objectives were genocidal, it could have used its military strength to level Gaza in a matter of days.

“Instead, it is placing the lives of its own soldiers at risk in its ground operations, securing humanitarian corridors and providing civilians with advance notice of its operations, even to the detriment of its military objectives.”

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