Thousands of people have been celebrating Palestinian culture at the Palestine Expo event in London which is taking place this weekend.
The huge event, which includes international speakers and artists as well as a Palestinian market and food court, has been organised by the Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) and is taking place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster.
The event has been subject to sustained attack by pro Israel media in the past few weeks and the organisers say they have faced an uphill struggle to bring it about.
“Deliberate and underhand campaigns have attempted to undermine FOA and the event, using all manner of false and baseless allegations. We welcome everyone to attend Palestine Expo and judge the event for themselves. They will be welcomed by dozens of volunteers, exhilarated by the stunning visual displays, stimulated by speakers from an array of backgrounds, and treated to tantalising Palestinian cuisine,” Ismail Patel of Friends of Al Aqsa said.
“Palestine Expo is intended to be a celebration of Palestinian life, as we mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration where Palestine was promised to another people. This event is a reminder that Palestinian life and culture has survived the past 100 years, even under the most difficult and testing of circumstances.”
Just before the event the pro Israel Jewish Chronicle newspaper reported that one of the Palestine Expo speakers, the South African Shaykh Bham, had said that “Jews are fleas” in a lecture available online.
FOA says that anyone listening to the 24 minute lecture will quickly realise that this is completely false. Shaykh Bham speaks of the history of suffering faced by the Palestinians, and traces the history back to the suffering of the Jewish people by the Nazis. Shaykh Bham quotes Goebbels, to demonstrate to the audience how despicably Jewish people were treated during the Nazi era. The Goebbels quote likened Jews to fleas.
“There has clearly been a deliberate attempt to attribute a quote to Shaykh Bham which he did not make, in order to damage him and in turn, to undermine the Palestine Expo event,” FAO said.
“This is a desperate and underhanded tactic being used by the JC in what seems to be another attempt to undermine Palestine Expo. This brings their roles as journalists into clear disrepute. We hope this encourages many more people to attend the event and find out what life is really like for Palestinians on a daily basis.”