UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Friends of Al Aqsa pressed to curb BDS content at Palestine Expo

Friends of Al Aqsa (FOA) are under pressure to curb their advocacy of BDS at the forthcoming Palestine Expo exhibition at Olympia , or face possible cancellation of the event, following intervention by UK Lawyers for Israel.

The German co-owners of Olympia London are now putting pressure on the exhibition centre to either cancel the event, or curb the BDS at the Palestine Expo,  due to take place on 6-7 July at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in West London.

UK Lawyers for Israel originally wrote to Olympia London to ask them to cancel the event at the end of May.  However, Olympia refused to cancel the event.  UKLFI then wrote to three of Olympia’s German co-owners, with the assistance of German lawyer Eugen Balin,  to alert them to the fact that the organisers of the forthcoming exhibition at Olympia, “Palestine Expo” are major promoters of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

Germany has recently passed Resolution 19/10191 of the Bundestag, which “condemns the arguments and methods of the BDS movement as Anti-Semitic”.  The resolution resolutely opposes any form of antisemitism and condemns the BDS campaign, and encourages states,  cities, communities, municipalities and public figures to join this position.

One of the co-owners, the Deutsche Finance Group told UKLFI’s German colleague Eugen Balin:  “We would like to assure you that as the German Finance Group, we strongly condemn anti-Semitism, boycott calls for Israel or questioning Israel’s right to exist. As an investment company we are working together with Israeli investors institutionally in real estate projects worldwide and especially as a German corporate group we are aware of our historical responsibility.”

Deutsche Finance Group said they only became aware that Olympia was hosting the Palestine Expo following UKLFI’s recent letter to them (on 25.6.2019) and through an  article about it, published in Juedische Allgemeine in Germany.

Deutsche Finance Group contacted its investments partners, including the UK based Yoo Capital about the situation.  We have been informed that Yoo Capital will be requesting, on behalf of Olympia’s Owners, that Pal Expo will curb its BDS and anti-Israel content.

It may be too late to cancel this year’s Palestine Expo at Olympia, but Deutsche Finance’s spokesman assured UKLFI that in the future, more intensive and detailed checks will be carried out on potential tenants.

Caroline Turner, a director of UK Lawyers for Israel stated: “The 2017 Palestine Expo was an exhibition of anti-Israel hatred. This year’s programme looks set to be even worse.  We hope that our efforts will exclude such hatred and that a peaceful festival of Palestinian culture can go ahead.”

Details of the owners of Olympia London are here:

Examples of anti-Israel exhibits and speakers from the Palestine Expo event:

  1. Interactive installations featuring 10 anti-Israel activities, which are described as follows –

  • BDS: Have a go at knocking down apartheid in a game of BDS bowling.

  • Education: what obstacles will you face on your journey to school? Walk towards the oversized book to find out.

  • Child prisoners: See what state a child’s bedroom is left in after Israeli troops arrest them during a night raid.

  • Water: Fill up the buckets and watch the scale tip when measuring water disparity between Israel & Palestine.

  • Checkpoints: Walk with the most vulnerable Palestinians who pass through checkpoints daily. Will you be able to answer their questions?

  • Apartheid wall: See how you interact with your family during a meal with the Apartheid wall cutting through the dinner table. A symbol of how families are separated by the wall.

  • Settlements: 3D settlements placed on the disappearing maps will show you the density and increase of Israeli settlements over time.

  • Sport in Palestine: Score some goals and have a kick about in the football area where you can learn how occupation restricts the beautiful game.

  • A&E in Gaza: Feeling unwell? Visit doctors in the Gaza hospital and see the difference in treatment Palestinians receive.

  • UN tent: Hear personal stories from three generations on the impact of the Nakba and importance of the Right to Return. Set in a 1948 UN tent.

  1. An art gallery that features “Banned items”: Look inside the back of a lorry to see what everyday items are banned from entering Gaza, due to the siege imposed by Israel.

  1. Many of the proposed talks at the conference are by extremist speakers, and are specifically anti-Israel and feature anti-Israel propaganda. The programme is here (and screenshots in Appendix A.)

The speeches include:

  1. Nation Law – Israeli Apartheid State- 6 July @ 12.00

  2. Gaza – the Great Return March – 6 July @ 14.00

  3. Cultural Boycott- 6 July @ 10.45

  4. Understanding Israeli Apartheid – 6 July @ 12.15

  5. BDS – 6 July @ 17.00

  6. Trade Under Fire – 6 July @ 17.00

  7. The Campaign to Stop Arming Israel – 7 July @ 11..00

  8. Gaza the Siege – 7 July @ 13.00

  9. Decolonising Palestine – 7 July @ 13.30

  10. Unrecognised Palestinians in Israel – 7 July @ 14.00