At the beginning of December, last year, it emerged that the Palestinian Mission’s website was publishing the writings of Gilad Atzmon: a racist and a promoter of Holocaust denial who is active in Palestinian solidarity politics.
The Palestinian Mission creditably took action to remove Atzmon’s material from their website.
However, as The JC reported, their response was somewhat confused:
Board [of Deputies] senior vice-president Jonathan Arkush said: “The Board strongly protested about the links to Atzmon and communicated its disgust to the FCO. The removal of the links within days makes it absolutely plain that after the objections of the Board and FCO reached it, the PA was embarrassed by the link to Atzmon, who is after all a deeply controversial and distasteful individual.
“The PA has moved to distance themselves from him, but it reflects discredit on the PA that it should ever have thought fit to put up links to Atzmon in the first place.”
The mission had previously said it was “not convinced” the articles were a “problem”, but swiftly changed its position when Mr Hassassian was told that a staff member had uploaded the links without his knowledge.
A mission spokeswoman confirmed the removal and said: “Mr Hassassian did not know the articles had been added. When the person who did it told him he said remove it.”
She said Mr Hassassian had been informed of the complaints and did not want the mission to be linked to Mr Atzmon.
Oh but now, even more confusion! This prominent notice has appeared on the Palestinian Mission’s website:
Over the last few weeks, several media outlets claimed that, the Palestinian Mission to the UK succumbed to pressure by the Jewish lobby and other organizations to remove an article posted on the Mission’s website. In this regard, the Palestinian Mission affirms that it was and will not be subject to any external pressure to post or remove articles on the website. The Mission constantly reviews and updates the website by removing articles that are obsolete. The Palestinian Mission would like to reiterate that views expressed in articles posted on the website are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the Mission’s views or policies.
I’m none the wiser.
Were the articles a problem or not? Were they removed because they were “obsolete”? Did Mr Hassassian want the mission to be linked to Atzmon, or was he embarrassed by him? Did the views expressed in Atzmon’s articles reflect the Mission’s views or policies or not?
Still, at least one thing is clear. Manuel Hassassian ain’t the bitch of the “Jewish Lobby”.