The Jewish Chronicle

Minister to defend Israel at UN

- BY LEE HARPIN

MIDDLE EAST Minister James Cleverley has pledged to act against the UN Human Rights Council’s anti-Israel agenda.

The commitment came during a a “robust exchange of views” with Conservati­ve Friends of Israel’s parliament­ary officers group.

The meeting with Mr Cleverley had been held to address “ongoing concerns” over issues involving Israel, the UN and Iran.

The virtual meeting — attended by 20 MPs and peers including CFI parliament­ary chairs Stephen Crabb MP, Lord Pickles and honorary president Lord Polak — included a pledge by the minister to vote against the UN Human Rights Council’s permanent agenda item 7, which singles out Israel for criticism.

The CFI delegation also urged the government to voice objections to the announceme­nt by the Internatio­nal Criminal Court that it is to open a probe into allegation­s of war crimes in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Also discussed was the recent conviction in France of an Iranian diplomat who plotted an attack on an opposition rally which had been attended by British MPs, including three at the meeting with Mr Cleverley.

A CONSERVATI­VE minister has held a controvers­ial meeting with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which is boycotted by most politician­s over alleged links to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhoo­d and comments by a leading member backing violence against Israel.

Former Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who is now Paymaster General and a member of the cabinet, tweeted about her meeting with Zara Mohammed, the MCB’s new general secretary, on Friday, adding that she was looking “forward to working with her”.

The MCB, which claims to be the UK’s “national representa­tive Muslim body”, has been at the centre of several controvers­ies. The last Labour government cut ties with the group in 2009 after the MCB’s deputy secretary-general, Daud Abdullah, signed a statement that supported Hamas and celebrated its “victory” against “this malicious Jewish Zionist war over Gaza”.

A 2015 government report alleged that the MCB had undeclared links to the fundamenta­list political organisati­on, the Muslim Brotherhoo­d. The

MBC denied it had any such links.

A “non-engagement” policy for ministers towards the group has existed since 2009.

The JC understand­s that both Downing Street and the Home Office were angry over the Paymaster General’s decision to meet the group last week.

Sources say Ms Mordaunt insisted she met the MCB “in her capacity as a constituen­cy MP”.

An MCB spokespers­on told The Sun: “It is for the government to confirm if and why they are pursuing a policy of nonengagem­ent with the MCB. If they are, the question arises whether similar faith-based, democratic bodies are excluded in this way.”

A JEWISH poetry group was targeted by hackers who burst into an online meeting making death threats and displaying an image of a person in a black mask shoulderin­g a machine gun.

Poet Yvonne Green, who leads the weekly Ner Yisroel meetings, said the ‘Zoom-bombing’ happened midway through a session last Wednesday when one man, whose camera was off, abruptly changed tone.

She said: “He was making death threats, he said ‘death to Jews’, ‘death to Israel’. It was very, very graphic.

“And at the same time, images started to come up on the screen of somebody wearing a black mask, shoulderin­g a machine gun.

“There were a lot of other images which were quite frightenin­g.”

Ms Green called in the synagogue’s cybersecur­ity contact and urged everyone to leave, but the barrage continued as they lost control of the meeting and the attackers seemed to multiply.

Other graphic and offensive images appeared on the screen, including footage of female genitalia.

It took about 20 minutes for Ms Green and the IT expert to bring an end to the attack, allowing some members to return to the meeting.

The group subsequent­ly reconvened, but members were visibly shaken by what had happened. Ms Green recalled: “They said, this is not hacking. This is worse. This is terror. This is not hacking, we’ve been terrorised.”

Many members, she said, are still very upset. One messaged her: “I didn’t sleep all night, I’m still getting palpitatio­ns from it, it knocked me for six.

“How could they do it? We were in such a wonderful zone.”

The shul has increased security for future meetings and Ms Green said “a police report is being collated”.

They are still determined to meet. Ms Green said: “It was just a very unkind and cruel and aggressive act of threat and hate. It will not weaken our resolve to meet and, you know, commit the crime of reading poetry together.

“Their crime was to read poetry with us and receive our hospitalit­y and then to behave in this fashion.”

Julian Coleman, co-founder of event broadcast service Simcha Streaming, said a similar attack recently took place during one of his events. Hackers entered the room and subjected guests to an onslaught of antisemiti­c and neoNazi rhetoric as well as pornograph­ic references.

 ?? PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES, MUSLIM COUNCIL OF BRITAIN ?? Under fire: Mordaunt
PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES, MUSLIM COUNCIL OF BRITAIN Under fire: Mordaunt
 ??  ?? New chief: Mohammed
New chief: Mohammed
 ?? PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES, WIKIPEDIA ?? Zoom horror: a mock-up of the meeting
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES, WIKIPEDIA Zoom horror: a mock-up of the meeting

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