'Netanyahu's government is pressuring media institutions'

© Suhaib Salem
The Palestinians cannot even inform the public of the atrocities being committed against them, says Massoud Shadjareh, Chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission in the UK

Israeli Prime-minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded the removal of posters placed by a pro-Palestinian group on the London underground. Campaigners were trying to draw attention to what they say are the violation of Palestinian human rights. They also claim there's a lack of coverage of the issue in the British media.

Transport authorities removed the posters, describing it as an act of vandalism, shortly after the Israeli Embassy in London complained about them.

RT: The posters claim the UK media is biased. What are the grounds for the accusation? 

Massoud Shadjareh: BBC coming in for criticism is obvious because in some ways it is more biased than others and it has got international coverage. Whenever you see the news in Britain regarding Palestine and Israeli conflict, you see that it is promoted as when Israelis are dying, they are being ‘murdered’, and if Palestinians are being killed it is just that, they are being ‘killed.’ There is a difference between ‘killed’ and ‘murdered.’ And there are many, many other aspects. 

The reality is that it gives the impression that this conflict is both-sided, while the reality is that the conflict is out of an illegal occupation, which once the illegal occupation is ended we could see the end of the conflict; never, ever is this conflict being presented for what it is. And that is partly because of the pressure that Israeli embassies and Israeli government puts on these media institutions.   

RT: What are the issues the campaigners are trying to highlight? And why did they choose London, is there some kind of significance? 

MS: London is one of the international centers. Therefore, it is quite appropriate for London to be chosen. But the reality is that anytime Jews or Gentiles criticize the war crimes committed by the Israeli state, the apartheid of the Israeli state, and this sort of racist abuse of Palestinians by the Israeli state, they are being accused either being anti-Semite, or they are having a negative impact on the peace. 

What peace is there in the Middle East in the conflict between Israeli and Palestinians? Palestinians have got no hope of any sort of peace when we see that Netanyahu and his extreme government doesn’t want to get involved at any level and continuing to commit war crimes and then demanding that this process to be removed. So we cannot even go and inform the general public of these atrocities being committed, of these illegal acts against international law and indeed war crimes are being committed on a daily basis. 

RT: Do you think Israel is overreacting here? After all it’s just a few posters in a foreign country.   

MS: I think not only Israel is overreacting. I think that the British authorities are giving into this sort of bullying by the Israelis. The reality is we should have some protection of the freedom of speech and expression in this country [UK]. I don’t know why suddenly all those principals are abandoned when we get pressured by Netanyahu. It is being reported that Netanyahu has told his Foreign Secretary to demand for these things to be removed. Why should they demand anything? The British government does not demand Israelis not to use the weapons that they have given them in committing war crimes. This is outrageous that sort of pressures are being put on Britain, and I think in some ways it’s outrageous that the British government is abandoning all our values, including the freedom of speech and sort of giving in to the bullies.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.