15 January 2019

Gary Spedding or an appeal to the goddess of fairness

The gentleman in the picture is Gary Spedding*, mentioned in the headline. He was recently kicked out (BBC report) from Ben Gurion airport, back to wherever he has started his flight to Tel Aviv from. His report on Facebook** is placed at the end of the post here, for full disclosure. I would like to stress only one sentence from this report, the cry of an anguished innocent soul:
I invite Israeli authorities to respect legitimate democratic activities and process and permit me to continue with my journey.
Says BBC about the poor soul, being treated so unfairly:
A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in London said: "Mr Spedding's entry into Israel was denied due to his involvement in organising a violent protest in Queens University, Belfast, in which an Israeli representative was attacked, and others were forced to take shelter to prevent being hurt.
And here is the story, from 2011. Some choice quotes:
An Israeli law lecturer had to be rescued by security officers when a seminar was abandoned after being disrupted by pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

Solon Solomon, a former legal adviser to the Knesset Foreign Affairs committee, had been invited to speak to law school students at Queen's University in Belfast.

When the security team eventually moved him out of the university building, protesters attacked the car he was travelling in, punching the vehicle and attempting to smash its windows.

The protest was organised by Gary Spedding, president of the university's Palestine Solidarity Society. Mr Spedding works for the Holy Land Trust charity, which seeks to empower Palestinians in the West Bank.
You know, after reading the above, I can't get rid of a feeling that Gary Spedding wouldn't know legitimate democratic activities if the said activities bit him on his backside. And that Gary Spedding is a choice example of a hypocrite.

But it is neither here nor there. The important thing that he is back home and safe...

(*) Here is how he bills himself in Times of Israel, where he, apparently, is welcome to keep a blog:
Gary Spedding is a cross-party advocate and lobbyist on the Israel-Palestine conflict in the UK, Irish and European Parliaments and an applied peace and conflict researcher. He is a member of the UK’s Labour Party.
However, not being an expert on Gary Spedding, I shall let other people add to the above short blurb.
Here is a brief one.
And here is a longer one, in three parts!

(**) Here it goes:
Five years on, I have just been detained upon arrival at Israel’s Ben Gurion international airport. I have once again been refused entry. I will try to provide updates as I attempt to carry forward with my visit to Israel-Palestine.

I’ve spent the last five years banned from Israel. After having followed all stipulations required of me (including not attempting re-entry during the period of my ban). The main reason for my visit is to meet and catch up with Israeli and Palestinian friends and colleagues.

I do not believe that my political views and positions constitute a legitimate reason to deny my entry to Israel. I do not have a criminal record in any country, I do not post a security threat. It would be understandable if I held extreme views or dangerous tendencies - but I do not.

I wholeheartedly believe in peace, justice and equality for Israelis, Palestinians, Arabs and Jews in this land. It is my hope that this will be recognised and that I’ll be permitted to enter the same as any other UK passport holder without prejudice.

I invite Israeli authorities to respect legitimate democratic activities and process and permit me to continue with my journey.

Press release to follow if I still have access to my phone.