E-mail exchange with Beverley Saunders and Ariella Finder

From beverley.saunders@ntlworld.com Tue Oct 22 21:27:11 2002
To: <S.A.BLACKWELL@bham.ac.uk>


According to sources material on your web-site links are deeply offensive and include gross factual inaccuracies. Particularly unacceptable are visual glorifications of suicide bombers.

Links to Israel's "ethnic cleansing", "racist policies" including 'Apartheid' and inaccurate parallels with Nazi Germany are utterly obnoxious. This anti-Israel, anti-Jewish propaganda demonises Israel with unsubstantiated, emotive and biased literature.

Director of Public Affairs, Fiona Macaulay has commented: "Over the past year, Jewish students have felt increasingly threatened by anti-Israel and antisemitic propaganda on campus which has directly resulted in an increase in campus antisemitism.

As an academic, you have a responsibility to tell the truth and it is a terrible thing that you have seen fit to become a mouthpiece for recognised anti-Israel groups. This sort of association serves only to bring the good name of the university into disrepute, and is completely contrary to the government agenda of interfaith tolerance and understanding.

We would appreciate it if you would examine your conscience and remove this link as a matter of urgency.

Lastly if it helps to underline my comments please note there is always a story behind a story e.g. Why have the Israelis entered the West Bank? To root out terrorists, in response to homicide attacks etc. If it is not always clear where Sharon 'is coming from' there is always a reason for his actions. It is just unfortunate that Palestinian propaganda is more effective than Israeli.

Please respond.

Beverley Saunders

(message from SAB 23rd October)

Dear Ms. Saunders,

Please tell me which site I am linking to that contains "visual glorifications of suicide bombers".

I do not support suicide bombings and have no wish to glorify such actions.

As for the terms "ethnic cleansing", "apartheid" etc. I think these are pretty accurate descriptions of current Israeli Government policy.

I do not necessarily agree with the content of all the sites I link to. But unless they are actually racist or discriminatory in some way, or support terrorist action, I stand by my decision to provide links to them.

As for "parallels with Nazi Germany", I do not personally use such language. But I know of many people who do, including a number of Jewish people (see some of the messages of support posted on my website). I think they have a right to their point of view and while such language is strong and controversial, I do not think that it is racist.

With best wishes,

Sue Blackwell

e-mail from Ariella Finder to SAB

From othersideofthecoin@hotmail.com Sun Oct 27 21:42:15 2002
To: S.A.BLACKWELL@bham.ac.uk
Subject: Fwd: Good Israel speech

Dear Ms Blackwell,

In view of your totally unfounded assertions regarding Israel, particularly with regard to "racist policies" "ethnic cleansing" and "apartheid" I forward herewith a copy of a speech made by Prof. Zvi Gitelman. Perhaps reading the facts contained therein, which are verifiable, may help you to have a less biased and more realistic view of the current situation with regard to Israel and the 50 million Arabs, in 22 states, surrounding it and totally opposed to its existence. I would also like to remark that the only ethnic cleansing advocated for the region apart from the total removal of Israel, is the removal of the Jews from the area known as the West Bank and Gaza (not their integration into whatever state will come into being- but their total removal) leaving the area "Jew Free" as is Jordan, which already comprises 66% of the original British Mandate for Palestine.

Yours sincerely, Ariella Finder

>The Mission Statement of the Second National Student Conference on the
>Palestine Solidarity Movement calls for "an end to the Israeli system of
>Apartheid and discrimination against the indigenous Palestinian
>population." The State of Israel, the only Jewish state in the world, is
>nonetheless a multi-national, multi-religious and multi-racial state and is
>the only democratic polity in the entire Middle East. Yet, it is accused of
>"Apartheid" and "discrimination."
>Such accusations are not leveled against those Jeffersonian democracies
>such as Saudi Arabia, which permits no Christian or Jewish religious
>services on its soil, restricts the rights and movements of women, and
>allows no citizenship by naturalization. Not against Syria, the fiefdom of
>the al-Asads who slaughtered 10,000 people they did not like in the city of
>Homs; where the ubiquitous secret police make any political conversation
>highly dangerous; and where Jews were segregated and persecuted until most
>were allowed to leave a few years ago. Not against Iraq whose Kurdish and
>Shi'ite populations have been gassed and poisoned (not by the American
>military) by Sadaam Hussein. Nor against Egypt where Coptic Christians and
>"infidel" foreigners have been murdered by Islamists, where academics have
>been jailed for daring to question aspects of the regime. Not against
>Jordan which killed more Palestinians in a single month (September 1970)
>than Israel has between 1948 and the present. It's not even worth
>mentioning Qaddafi's Libya, or the Sudan. Not a single Arab state is a
>democracy and most systematically discriminate against whatever racial,
>religious and ethnic minorities are still there.

[rest of speech snipped ]

(reply from SAB sent 6th November 2002:)

Dear Ms. Finder,

Firstly, sorry for the delay in replying: I have been out of the office for a week.

Secondly, forgive me, I get a lot of e-mails, but I don't recall having communicated with you before, at least not at your "othersideofthecoin" address. In fact you seem to be replying to a message I sent to Beverley Saunders on 23rd October. Do you have two names or am I perhaps corresponding not with an individual but with a list?

Thirdly, regarding your comments, I agree with much that is contained in Prof. Gitelman's speech, which may surprise you. I certainly hold no brief for the governments of countries like Saudi Arabia. It is interesting, isn't it, that most of the Al-Qaeda bombers on 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia, and yet it is Iraq that the US government wants to target in its "war on terrorism"?

As for which countries are democratic, I'm sure you'll agree with me that democracy is a relative term. There are countries which I would regard as more democratic than my own, for instance, since we don't yet have Proportional Representation in the UK. The system of 5th century-BC Athens is often held up as a model of democracy, and I'm sure that in its time it was relatively progressive and there are things we can all learn from it. However, this model democracy did not extend to women or in fact anyone who was not a free Athenian male, and the whole system was built on slavery.

In the same way, there may be aspects of the Israeli political system that are relatively democratic compared to other countries. Nonetheless a system that is built on the systematic oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people does not deserve to be called a democracy from a 21st century perspective, any more than classical Athens does.

Do feel free to copy this message to all the lists you are posting to, and give them all my warmest regards.

Yours sincerely,

Sue Blackwell
Department of English,
The University of Birmingham,

Phone: +44 - 0121-414-3219
Fax: +44 - 0121-414-5668

e-mail: S.A.Blackwell@bham.ac.uk

Sue's Home Page: http://web.bham.ac.uk/sue_blackwell

(reply to further message, sent 6th November 2002)

> Dear Ms Blackwell,

>One of our correspondents, Beverley Saunders, has asked
> us to point out to you which links from your politics page lead to "visual
> glorification of suicide bombers"

Dear Ms. Finder,

This gets more and more intriguing. Please tell me who "we" are (my doctoral thesis is on interesting political uses of pronouns).

> As this is your web site one would have expected that you
> would be aware of where the links lead but apparently this
> is not the case.

Don't be silly, I have 200 web pages, most of them with links to other sites. I check the main page that is linked to but I can't check every link from every link from every link ....

> On your home page(politics) you have a link under
> Miscellaneous, to Arab Gateway, which is www.al-bab.com from there one can
> access www.[URL (1)]¹, which in turn offers under the heading of Palestine,
> 'large collection of pictures from the Palestinian intefada"
> www.[URL (2)]² The slogan of this site is"All
> Palestine is ours" and "Our Aqsa not their Temple" This site is typical of
> the sites promoting hatred and extolling suicide bombers.

Please tell me which link on al-bab.com I have to click on to reach www.[URL (1)¹]. I can't see it. I also tried to access www.[URL (1)¹] directly, but my browser couldn't find it. I did find the "www.[URL (2)²]" site and have no intention of linking to things of this kind, but as far as I can see I am not. I do hope you're not wasting my time.

> Many of the other links from your site, some direct and others through
>secondary links contain gross distortions of the truth, incitement to
> hatred and there are many outright lies on many of the sites.

I'm afraid I can't guarantee the truth of material on all the sites I link to. But then I wouldn't imagine that the Times or the Guardian would guarantee any such thing either. I only promise to remove links to sites which can be demonstrated to promote terrorism, racism or discrimination of any kind.

> Yours sincerely Ariella Finder,
> (Part of the Zionist Lobby - all one of me)

er, all one what exactly?

Best wishes to all,

Sue Blackwell

As of 20th February 2003, no reply has been received to my last e-mail above.


  1. I have deleted the URL of this site because since sending this message I have learnt that it is a mis-spelling of a site which does exist and which might indeed be said to "glorify suicide bombers".
  2. I have deleted the URL of this site because this is another site which shows portraits of "martyrs" who could be suicide bombers.
Despite the fact that I have never linked my site to either of these, and the fact that I was not even aware of either of these URLs until this Zionist organisation sent them to me, I do not want to give these addresses here as I do not wish to encourage anyone to visit these sites. SAB

This site is owned and maintained by Sue Blackwell.
Its contents are in no way endorsed by the University of Birmingham.
It was last updated on 20th February 2003.