Tuesday 31 May 2016

LATEST UPDATE Palestinian school student winner of 'Speak Out' competition silenced

From Middle East Monitor.  I uploaded this video over the weekend but it suddenly disappeared  from the originating website.  This article explains what had happened:

 Leanne Mohamad, a 15-year-old student at Wanstead High School in London, won a regional final of the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge with her speech ‘Birds not Bombs’, in which she describes the historical and contemporary reality for Palestinians under Israeli settler colonialism.

The Jack Petchey-sponsored competition is run by Speakers Trust, and bills itself as the world’s biggest youth speaking event.

Responding to complaints by anti-Palestinian blogger Edgar Davidson, Speakers Trust CEO Julie Holness said that they took his “concerns very seriously”, and confirmed that Mohamad would not be sent through to the next stage of the contest, and “will not be speaking at the Grand Final.”

The decision to expel Mohamad, made by a Speakers Trust and Jack Petchey Foundation judging panel, was based on her breaching two rules: that “the speech must have a positive and uplifting message”, and that “a speaker should never inflame or offend the audience or insult others.”

Holness offered to forward Davidson’s email to Mohamad’s school, and said the blogger was “welcome to use [my home office number] at any time.”

Responding to the news, Mohamad tweeted: “Why is it called a “Speak Out Challenge” when I am then silenced?” While Speakers Trust has removed the speech from their website and YouTube Channel, it has been re-uploaded here.

Davidson last year praised English Defence League-founder Tommy Robinson as “simply a British patriot.” His blog’s ‘Key Readings’ includes an article that states “Palestinians are a fake creation.”


 1 Jun 2016 — After accusing 15 year old Leanne of spreading propaganda and giving grist to the racist mill attacking her, the Foundation changed their story in a statement that blames the VICTIM of the abuse for that abuse, instead of tackling the perpetrators; and stated in an effort “to protect her“ that they removed her. Therefore, instead of standing up to the bullying and abuse from the same Zionists whose manipulations and complaints led to her expulsion from the competition; they censored the victim of the abuse instead of simply turning off the racist notifications on the site they censored the victim of those notifications.

By expelling her from the competition they sided with the racist bullies and abusers.. They also over-ruled their own judges and mentors, the teachers and trainers, all of whom encouraged, edited, rehearsed and supported this young girl as she honed her speech WITHOUT ONE complaint or question mark over content.

How is this meant to empower and embolden bright thoughtful young people? What message does this give? Will this encourage others to Speak Up or Speak Out?

This statement has raised more questions than it has answered.This brave young woman has suffered abuse and name calling from the powerful far right Zionist lobby accusing her, a young Palestinian Semite of Anti Semitism and trying to silence her voice.

It is wonderful to see the support of so many humanitarians rallying to her cause to be heard, we are grateful for the supportive words from many, including the prominent Jewish human rights activist Norman Finkelstein….

”I find this episode appalling. What's going on across the pond? Have the Brits lost all their marbles? If a Jewish girl memorialized her family who perished in the Nazi holocaust, would she be disqualified on the ground that her presentation wasn't uplifting or might have offended a Teutonic nationalist? My goodness, not even a diminutive Winston Churchill would have passed muster with these judges. I once appeared on UK's Hard Talk to debate the Israel-Palestine topic. The presenter wouldn't let me speak. One viewer called the program "Hard to Talk." Maybe this competition should be rechristened, Speak Out--At Your Peril!“

Is the voice of a fifteen year old girl that dangerous?


Anonymous said...

Davidson's blog http://edgar1981.blogspot.co.uk/ shows him to be an extremist my-Israel-right-or-wrong fruit cake. His definition of an anti-Semite seems to be anyone who isn't an extremist my-Israel-right-or-wrong fruit cake like him.
More worrying is that the panel are pretending that they disqualified her on a kind of Martyn Lewis 'let's-have-more happy-news' basis. Maybe they just want her to stick to what sensible 15 year old girls really ought to be concerning themselves with: posting pictures of kittens on Facebook.

Mike Hine

Anonymous said...

As I said in my 'why I signed the petition' bit on the change website, the clampdown on Leanne's speech adds weight to the argument that Zionists are extremely hard on those who use or advocate nonviolent resistance because it suits them to portray all their opponents as violent.

Alan Wheatley