Posted: 23 Apr 2010 05:54 PM PDT

Doron Isaacs, a Jewish South African, tells Al-Jazeera English in response to Richard Goldstone being barred from attending his grandson’s Bar-Mitzvah:

There is a belief amongst right-wing Zionist organisations that defaming and humiliating Jewish critics of Israeli policy will set an example that would intimidate others into silence.

Posted: 23 Apr 2010 05:47 PM PD

The Daily Show has a few things to say to a Muslim group that threatened the creators of South Park with death if they displayed the prophet Mohammed:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
South Park Death Threats
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Posted: 23 Apr 2010 05:08 PM PDT

Israel, what have you created?

One source told the International Crisis Group that ‘in a few years, religious soldiers will make up the majority of brigade commanders in all areas — from F-16 fighter jets to submarines.’

When corporate media falls asleep, human rights groups can fill the breach

Posted: 23 Apr 2010 05:05 PM PDT

It’s easy to forget that human rights groups often provide far more investigatory muscle than most mainstream news services. Over to you, Global Witness:

The Dutch Supreme Court has overturned a 2008 ruling by the Court of Appeal which cleared businessman Guus Kouwenhoven of charges of involvement in illegal arms deals and war crimes during the civil war in Liberia between 2000 and 2003. The Court of Appeal will now have to re-examine the case and bring a new judgment.
Global Witness, which first documented the involvement of Kouwenhoven in illegal logging and arms trafficking in its 2001 report, Taylor Made, welcomed the court’s decision.
The 2008 ruling by the Court of Appeal had overturned an 8 year prison sentence for arms trafficking handed down by the Court of First Instance in 2006. Global Witness testified on both occasions, after securing a groundbreaking right to keep their sources confidential. Evidence from Global Witness investigations and reports was used by the Dutch prosecutors.
Kouwenhoven was head of the Oriental Timber Corporation (OTC) during the regime of President Charles Taylor, who waged a brutal war against the people of Liberia and Sierra Leone, funded largely through the sale of diamonds and illegal logging.
OTC, also known also as ‘Old Taylor’s Children’ or ‘Only Taylor Chops’, was the most notorious logging company in the country and dominated the Liberian timber industry with 1.6 million hectares of concessions.
UN experts and eyewitnesses interviewed by Global Witness reported that it was active in organising weapons shipments, and that its own security personnel blurred with Taylor’s armed forces and took part in military activities for the Liberian government.  OTC money facilitated arms purchases.
In April 2003, President Taylor’s spokesperson, Vaani Paasewe, confirmed this in a media interview: “It is true that, as Global Witness has said in its report, revenues from Liberia’s logging industry had been used to import weapons recently despite the UN arms embargo…”
A 2000 UN Expert Panel Report on Sierra Leone referred to Kouwenhoven as a “…member of President [Charles] Taylor’s inner circle” and “responsible for the logistical aspects of many of the arms deals [with the RUF].” In 2001 the UN Expert Panel Report on Liberia referred to him as “…one of the most influential businessmen in Liberia”.
Kouwenhoven was placed on UN travel ban list in 2001 and in July 2003 sanctions on timber were put in place, on the grounds that timber was being traded by rebel and government forces in exchange for arms.
Patrick Alley, Director of Global Witness, said: “Charles Taylor’s regime depended on revenues from the timber industry. OTC’s operations in Liberia were illegal and under Kouwenhoven they paid large sums both directly to a known arms dealer and into Charles Taylor’s personal bank account, thereby supporting his brutal regime. The war in Liberia cost over 250,000 lives. No one who played a role in perpetuating this conflict should go unpunished.”

What the world wants is rampaging Zionist forces fighting evil

Posted: 23 Apr 2010 05:00 PM PDT

Must we continue to suffer this kind of Zionist chauvinism year in year out?

Over the past 20 years, we’ve evolved from films like Schindler’s List to movies like Defiance and Inglourious Basterds. Jewish characterizations have morphed from victims to strong, rugged combatants in the face of threats from Nazis – now they face evil head on with brawny bravura.
Arguably too, many Americans’ reference point for Jewish identification is Israel. And today it stands as a source of strength – economically, militarily and, according to Gallup, Americans’ support of Israel ranks 63 percent – higher than after 1967 and just one point below its high after the Gulf War.
Still, one can’t miss the skewed news reports and factually misleading editorials blaming Israel for the ills that plague the region.
President Barack Obama’s misdirected pressure on Israel, especially given Iran’s nuclear ambitions that each day come closer to actuality, is of utmost concern. Iran presents an existential threat to Israel through either itself or one of its terrorist proxies and destabilizes the entire region.
BUT WHAT if, in this postmodern world, where the line between fiction and fact splice together seamlessly (Director Quentin Tarantino literally has the film Inglourious Basterds burn Hitler and his cronies to death), the story of Eichmann’s capture and a true wish-fulfillment fantasy made real were to be revived?
Put yourself in the director’s chair and wonder, if you will, what if the Mossad captured Osama bin Laden. Imagine what that would do. Who in this country could claim to be anti-Zionist then? In one fell swoop, it would be an end-run around placating the Obama administration, by directly appealing to the American people and a world constituency demonstrating a vigilant determination to seek justice.

A boy, a wall and a donkey by Hany Abu-Assad

Posted: 23 Apr 2010 04:54 PM PDT

Stark images from the Gaza Strip

Posted: 23 Apr 2010 06:56 AM PDT

So much of the Western press refuses to publish the most gruesome images of our wars (must protect the kiddies, of course) but it’s encouraging that some are not shying away from our complicity:

Photojournalist Khalil Hamra of the Associated Press is the winner of this year’s Robert Capa Gold Medal Award from the Overseas Press Club for his powerful photographs, “War In Gaza.”
“Hamra’s pictures of the Israeli military incursion into Gaza showed exceptional courage and enterprise by a committed local photographer during a sustained and highly dangerous conflict,” OPC judges said of their selection.
“This is a big honor,” Hamra told News Photographer magazine when he arrived in New York City this week. “When I got an eMail from the AP office in New York saying that I had won the Capa, I had to ask them three or four times, ‘Is this a joke?’ I could not imagine that I would win this, it was a very big surprise. The first thing I did was to call every one of my colleagues and tell them. They could not believe it either.”
The Robert Capa Gold Medal Award is given by the OPC in recognition of the “best published photographic reporting from abroad, requiring exceptional courage and enterprise.” It honors the legacy of the great war photographer Robert Capa of Magnum Photos.
The award will be presented to Hamra tonight at the OPC’s annual dinner in New York City, emceed by Kimberly Dozier, the AP’s new intelligence reporter and a veteran correspondent who was injured in Iraq four years ago.
“His images are close up, powerful and direct, and taken at considerable risk due to the nature of the conflict which had combatants mingling amongst the civilian population,” OPC’s judges said. “Hamra’s personal circumstances are equally compelling: he covered the conflict in spite of concerns about the welfare of his wife, then pregnant with twins.” [Two healthy boys were born later.]
Born in Kuwait in 1979 to Palestinian parents, the photojournalist grew up in Qatar, Egypt, and Palestine. He’s a 2001 journalism graduate of the Islamic University in Gaza and in 2002 he began freelancing for AP. His work was included in a group exhibit “The Intifada” at Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan in 2004.
In New York for the OPC awards dinner, Hamra reflected upon his Gaza images. “These people are my people,” he told News Photographer magazine. “When I was photographing the girl screaming over the bodies of her relatives in front of a house, that was very shocking.
I was thinking at the time of my mother, of my family, of my wife. I was always thinking, ‘I don’t know these people, but what if I am shooting and I see one of my family? Someone I know?’ Too many of these pictures I shot through heavy tears.”
He says that in the nine years he’s been shooting pictures in the Gaza for the AP, he’s been “shooting bloody pictures of incidents for much of that time, but this was different. It was a continuous catastrophe for 22 days, non-stop bleeding. It was very, very hard. In the beginning of my career if I had to go to a hospital morgue and shoot a picture of a baby, I couldn’t manage. But this war changed everything.”
Hamra said that covering a war is a very different experience when it’s being fought on your own soil, and not in some far-away foreign land.
“When you’re covering a war in some place where you don’t live, across the world, it’s something you’ve chosen, you picked it, you decided to go. But when the war comes to you, it is completely different. When it is in the place where you live, you have to do it. I covered the Gaza from one side, from the inside, so that every single shot is in some way about my people, the victims, and that affects me a lot.
To be honest, it was like we were stuck … no one could come from the outside to help us. From my place I did my side, and outside the others did their side. We worked hard, but at the same time we were looking for help and support from people outside.”
“Wars should never be forgotten,” Hamra said. “When you are in the middle of a war as a journalist, or a photographer, or a soldier, it affects you. When you are in the middle of the blood and the victims and you might be one of them, that also is not easy. Wars are the same everywhere but the difference is if you are a citizen or one of the locals and you face war in your own country. I am just thankful that I could do something, something with my cameras.”
The photojournalist’s boss at the Associated Press shared in the OPC judges’ praise for Hamra. “I’m delighted that Khalil won the Robert Capa Gold Medal,” AP’s director of photography Santiago Lyon said this week from Paris.
“His work demonstrates yet again that local photographers are becoming increasingly valuable to international news organizations and in the case of this story, essential. Foreign journalists were largely blocked from entering Gaza to cover the key phases of the conflict.” Hamra is based in Rafah and generally covers the southern Gaza Strip.

Jews who love God and a nice serving of bacon

Posted: 23 Apr 2010 06:42 AM PDT

This line in an Atlantic article caught my eye and made me laugh:

There have been articles—click here and here for examples—in the Jewish press about Jewish-owned restaurants and businesses embracing the pork trend, and the more specific bacon trend, which may have reached its crescendo with the bacon-wrapped matzoh balls recently featured on Top Chef.

While American Jews romance Israel, their dream is dying

Posted: 23 Apr 2010 06:31 AM PDT

Another day, another American politician who wants to sleep with Israel like she’s a fine (amoral) lady:

New York Senator Chuck Schumer harshly criticized the Obama Administration’s attempts to exert pressure on Israel today, making him the highest-ranking Democrat to object to Obama’s policies in such blunt terms.
Schumer, along with a majority of members of the House and Senate, signed on to letters politely suggesting the U.S. keep its disagreements with Israel private, a tacit objection to the administration’s very public rebuke of the Jewish State over construction in Jerusalem last month.
But Schumer dramatically sharpened his tone on the politically conservative Jewish Nachum Segal Show today, calling the White House stance to date “counter-productive” and describing his own threat to “blast” the Administration had the State Department not backed down from its “terrible” tough talk toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Schumer, a hawkish ally of Israel since his days as a Brooklyn Congressman, described “a battle going on inside the administration” over Middle East policy.
“This has to stop,” he said of the administration’s policy of publicly pressuring Israel to end construction in Jerusalem.
“I told the President, I told Rahm Emanuel and others in the administration that I thought the policy they took to try to bring about negotiations is counter-productive, because when you give the Palestinians hope that the United States will do its negotiating for them, they are not going to sit down and talk,” Schumer told Segal.
“Palestinians don’t really believe in a state of Israel. They, unlike a majority of Israelis, who have come to the conclusion that they can live with a two-state solution to be determined by the parties, the majority of Palestinians are still very reluctant, and they need to be pushed to get there.
“If the U.S. says certain things and takes certain stands the Palestinians say, ‘Why should we negotiate?’” Schumer said.
Schumer described the recent confrontation over construction in Jerusalem as a “kerfuffle.”
“Israel apologized and when Biden left, and Biden is the best friend of Israel in the administration [and] everything was fine,” Schumer said. “But then what happened is the next day Hillary Clinton called up Netanyahu and talked very tough to him, and worse they made it public through this spokesperson, a guy named Crowley. And Crowley said something I have never heard before, which is, the relationship of Israel and the United States depends on the pace of the negotiations.”
Schumer was referring to State Department spokesman PJ Crowley’s description of Clinton’s conversation with Netanyahu, in which he said that Clinton “made clear that the Israeli government needed to demonstrate not just through words but through specific actions that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process.”
“That is terrible,” Schumer said today. “That is the dagger because the relationship is much deeper than the disagreements on negotiations, and most Americans—Democrat, Republican, Jew, non-Jew–would feel that. So I called up Rahm Emanuel and I called up the White House and I said, ‘If you don’t retract that statement you are going to hear me publicly blast you on this,’” Schumer said.
Schumer said the White House had backed off that statement, but that now “many of us are pushing back, some of the Jewish members will be meeting with the President next week or the week after, and we are saying that this has to stop.”
“You have to show Israel that it’s not going to be forced to do things it doesn’t want to do and can’t do. At the same time you have to show the Palestinians that they are not going to get their way by just sitting back and not giving in, and not recognizing that there is a state of Israel,” Schumer said.
“And right now there is a battle going on inside the administration, one side agrees with us, one side doesn’t, and we’re pushing hard to make sure the right side wins and if not we’ll have to take it to the next step.”

Of course, now the media is left reporting these pathetic stories:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is amenable to an interim agreement in the West Bank that would include the establishment of a Palestinian state within temporary borders.
Netanyahu considers such an interim step a possible way to unfreeze the stalled political process that was created because of the Palestinian leadership’s refusal to resume talks on a final settlement. However, the prime minister insists on delaying discussion on the final status of Jerusalem to the end of the process, and refuses to agree to a freeze on Jewish construction in East Jerusalem.

While Hamas is being slammed in some circles as too moderate and accommodating towards Israel (not that they’ve received anything in return), I’m encouraged by this letter to Elie Wiesel about the real Jerusalem away from the idealistic nonsense pedelled in much of the West:

Dear Mr. Wiesel,
We write to you from Jerusalem to convey our frustration, even outrage, at your recently published letter on Jerusalem. We are Jewish Jerusalemites – residents by choice of a battered city, a city used and abused, ransacked time and again first by foreign conquerors and now by its own politicians. We cannot recognize our city in the sentimental abstraction you call by its name.
Our Jerusalem is concrete, its hills covered with limestone houses and pine trees; its streets lined with synagogues, mosques and churches. Your Jerusalem is an ideal, an object of prayers and a bearer of the collective memory of a people whose members actually bear many individual memories.
Our Jerusalem is populated with people, young and old, women and men, who wish their city to be a symbol of dignity – not of hubris, inequality and discrimination. You speak of the celestial Jerusalem; we live in the earthly one.
For more than a generation now the earthly city we call home has been crumbling under the weight of its own idealization. Your letter troubles us, not simply because it is replete with factual errors and false representations, but because it upholds an attachment to some other-worldly city which purports to supersede the interests of those who live in the this-worldly one.
For every Jew, you say, a visit to Jerusalem is a homecoming, yet it is our commitment that makes your homecoming possible. We prefer the hardship of realizing citizenship in this city to the convenience of merely yearning for it.
Indeed, your claim that Jerusalem is above politics is doubly outrageous. First, because contemporary Jerusalem was created by a political decision and politics alone keeps it formally unified. The tortuous municipal boundaries of today’s Jerusalem were drawn by Israeli generals and politicians shortly after the 1967 war.
Feigning to unify an ancient city, they created an unwieldy behemoth, encircling dozens of Palestinian villages which were never part of Jerusalem. Stretching from the outskirts of Ramallah in the north to the edge of Bethlehem in the south, the Jerusalem the Israeli government foolishly concocted is larger than Paris.
Its historical core, the nexus of memories and religious significance often called “the Holy Basin”, comprises a mere one percent of its area. Now they call this artificial fabrication ‘Jerusalem’ in order to obviate any approaching chance for peace.
Second, your attempt to keep Jerusalem above politics means divesting us of a future. For being above politics is being devoid of the power to shape the reality of one’s life. As true Jerusalemites, we cannot stand by and watch our beloved city, parts of which are utterly neglected, being used as a springboard for crafty politicians and sentimental populists who claim Jerusalem is above politics and negotiation. All the while, they franticly “Judaize” Eastern Jerusalem in order to transform its geopolitics beyond recognition.
We invite you to our city to view with your own eyes the catastrophic effects of the frenzy of construction. You will witness that, contrary to some media reports, Arabs are not allowed to build their homes anywhere in Jerusalem. You discover see the gross inequality in allocation of municipal resources and services between east and west.
We will take you to Sheikh Jarrah, where Palestinian families are being evicted from their homes to make room for a new Jewish neighborhood, and to Silwan, where dozens of houses face demolition because of the Jerusalem Municipality’s refusal to issue building permits to Palestinians.
We, the people of Jerusalem, can no longer be sacrificed for the fantasies of those who love our city from afar. This-worldly Jerusalem must be shared by the people of the two nations residing in it. Only a shared city will live up to the prophet’s vision: “Zion shall be redeemed with justice”. As we chant weekly in our vigils in Sheikh Jarrah: “Nothing can be holy in an occupied city!” Respectfully,
Just Jerusalem (Sheikh Jarrah) Activists
1. Ada Bilu 2. Alon Harel 3. Amiel Vardi 4. Amit Lavi 5. Amit Miller 6. Amos Goldberg 7. Ariela Brin 8. Assaf Sharon 9. Avichay Sharon 10. Avishai Margalit 11. Avital Abudi 12. Avital Sharon 13. Avner Inbar 14. Avrum Burg 15. Barbara Spectre 16. Bernard Avishai 17. Daniella Gordon 18. Dani Schrire 19. Daniel Argo 20. Danny Felsteiner 21. Daphna Stroumsa 22. David Shulman 23. Diana Steigler 24. Dolev Rahat 25. Dorit Gat 26. Dorit Argo 27. Edna Ulman-Margalit 28. Eitan Buchvall 29. Eli Sharon 30. Freddie Rokem 31. Galit Hasan-Rokem 32. Gideon Freudenthal 33. Gil Gutglick 34. Guga Kogan 35. Guy Feldman 36. Hagit Benbaji 37. Hagit Keysar 38. Haya Ofek 39. Hillel Ben Sasson 40. Ishay Rosen-Zvi 41. Itamar Shappira 42. Jonathan Yaari 43. Judy Labensohn 44. Judy Labensohn 45. Julia Alfandari 46. Levi Spectre 47. Liran Razinsky 48. Maya Wind 49. Mical Raz 50. Michael Ritov 51. Miriam Farhi-Rodrig 52. Mirit Barashi 53. Mirit Barashi 54. Moshe Halbertal 55. Naama Baumgarten-Sharon 56. Naama Hochstein 57. Nadav Sharon 58. Neria Biala 59. Nili Sharon 60. Noa Lamm-Shalem 61. Oded Erez 62. Oded Na’aman 63. Ofer Neiman 64. Omri Metzer 65. Paul Mendes-Flohr 66. Peter Lehahn 67. Phil Spectre 68. Ra’anan Alexandrowicz 69. Ram Rahat 70. Ray Schrire 71. Reuven Kaminer 72. Roee Metzer 73. Ronen Mandelkern 74. Roni Hammerman 75. Sahar Vardi 76. Sara Benninga 77. Sharon Casper 78. Shir Aloni Yaari 79. Shir Sternberg 80. Shlomi Segall 81. Silan Dallal 82. Silvia Piterman 83. Tal Shapira 84. Tamar Lehahn 85. Tamar Rappaport 86. Uri Bitan 87. Yafa Tarlowski 88. Yaron Gal 89. Yaron Wolf 90. Yehuda Agus 91. Yonatan Haimovich 92. Yoram Gordon 93. Yotam Wolfe 94. Yuval Drier Shilo 95. Zehava Galon 96. Zeev Sternhell 97. Zvi Benninga 98. Zvi Mazeh 99. Zvi Schuldiner

Posted: 23 Apr 2010 06:16 AM PDT

Here’s how corporate and Zionist smearing works. British Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg is surging in the polls and this makes the old hacks, who can only imagine a two-party reality, nervous. Besides, anybody that dares challenge Israel and the US is clearly beyond the pale. For the record, Clegg is hardly some radical (for example, he backs the current war in Afghanistan.)

So, here’s London’s Telegraph:

With Thursday night’s foreign policy debate looming, it’s important to take a look at Nick Clegg’s willingness to vilify Israel, and his inclination towards bashing the Israelis over the head. I’ve written about Clegg’s distinctly anti-American views and his complete disregard for the NATO alliance, but his policies towards Israel deserve attention as well.
Israel is a close ally of both Great Britain and the United States, the only full democracy in the Middle East along with Iraq, and is under constant fire from Iranian and Syrian-backed terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hizbollah. Its very existence is threatened by the rise of a nuclear-armed Iran, which has malevolently warned of another Holocaust.
Yet, the leader of the Liberal Democrats still thinks it’s necessary to demonise Israel, one of our only friends in the region. He’s doing everything but directly call Gaza an Israeli-administered concentration camp.
In his statements, Clegg has drawn a dangerous and false parallel between the Israelis and Islamist terrorist groups. For example he wrote a piece for The Guardian in January 2009 entitled “We Must Stop Arming Israel” condemning Israel’s response to Hamas attacks, and in effect calling for the EU to isolate and even sanction Israel:
Brown must stop sitting on his hands. He must condemn unambiguously Israel’s tactics, just as he has rightly condemned Hamas’s rocket attacks. Then he must lead the EU into using its economic and diplomatic leverage in the region to broker peace.
The EU is by far Israel’s biggest export market, and by far the biggest donor to the Palestinians. It must immediately suspend the proposed new cooperation agreement with Israel until things change in Gaza, and apply tough conditions on any long-term assistance to the Palestinian community.
In December 2009, Clegg was the lead signatory to an Observer letter by a group of MPs which made sensational claims about Israel “imprisoning” millions of Palestinians:
One year on from Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government continues to imprison 1.5 million Palestinians and prevent the rebuilding of its shattered infrastructure. Israel’s blockade of Gaza, described by the UN fact-finding mission as “collective punishment”, stops reconstruction materials and humanitarian aid from reaching those who so desperately require it… The confinement and punishment of an entire population is no way to bring about peace for all the people of the Middle East.
Also in December 2009, Nick Clegg penned another piece for The Guardian entitled “Lift the Gaza Blockade: The Suffering is Shocking”, which in parts reads like an anti-Israeli propaganda document drawn up by the Palestinian Authority:
The legacy of Operation Cast Lead is a living nightmare for one and a half million Palestinians squeezed into one of the most overcrowded and wretched stretches of land on the planet. How is the peace process served by sickness, mortality rates, mental trauma and malnutrition increasing in Gaza? Is it not in Israel’s enlightened self-interest to relieve the humanitarian suffering? … No peaceful coexistence of any kind is possible as long as this act of collective confinement continues.
While Nick Clegg has made it a personal mission to publicly whip the Israelis for defending their own country, he has remained remarkably silent in the media about Iranian backing for terrorist groups, Tehran’s calls to wipe Israel off the map, and the massive levels of hatred directed at Israel from within the United Nations, not least the UN’s Human Rights Council.
I don’t recall any op-eds by Clegg warning against Iran’s nuclear ambitions, or calling for an end to the persecution of Israel by Islamist states. Nor has he written pieces in support of the democracy protestors in Iran, many of whom have been brutally beaten, raped, and in some cases murdered by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime.
As a former EU bureaucrat, Clegg brings with him to Westminster the sneering condescension towards Israel which is so pervasive in Brussels and Strasbourg. It is a destructive approach that undermines a close British ally while encouraging Israel’s enemies.
There is an important distinction between a free, democratic society like Israel, acting in self-defence, and brutal terrorist organisations such as Hamas and Hizbollah. Clegg’s drawing of moral equivalence between the two sides is both sickening and offensive.

And the Jewish Chronicle:

A controversial Iraqi-British billionaire who funds one of the UK’s most strongly anti-Zionist websites organised a banquet in honour of Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, and a fundraiser for Susan Kramer, the party’s candidate in the high-profile seat of Richmond Park.
Nadhmi Auchi, 73, was convicted of fraud in the giant French Elf-Aquitaine oil company trial in 2003 and given a suspended sentence, although he is seeking to appeal the verdict.
The Lib Dems told the JC that the connection between the party and the billionaire was limited to the two events and that Mr Auchi was not a donor to the party.
Mr Clegg spoke at a dinner hosted by Mr Auchi’s Anglo-Arab Organisation, set up to promote understanding between Britain and the Arab world last November. The Lib Dems confirmed that the AAO also organised a £60-a-head dinner for Ms Kramer, which raised around £5,000.
Mr Auchi’s Middle East Online site promotes material by well-known anti-Zionists such as musician-activist Gilad Atzmon and Jeff Gates, who runs the anti-Israel “Criminal State” blog.
Mr Auchi also helped fund the first of George Galloway’s “Viva Palestina” convoys taking aid to Gaza.
The former Lib Dem leader Lord Steel is a longstanding director of Mr Auchi’s Luxembourg-registered company General Mediterranean Holdings. Other politicians who have worked with Mr Auchi include Lord Lamont and former minister Keith Vaz.
At the weekend, the Mail on Sunday revealed that Lord Steel approached Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb to reassure him about Mr Auchi after Mr Lamb asked a series of questions about the billionaire in Parliament.
Mr Auchi is fiercely protective of his reputation and has used libel lawyers Carter-Ruck to force several newspapers and blogs to remove references to his activities. Despite Lord Steel’s approaches, Mr Lamb raised this issue in a Commons debate on libel in December 2008: “It is alleged that Mr Auchi and his lawyers, Carter Ruck, have been making strenuous efforts to close down public debate.”

See: www.antonyloewenstein.com

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