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19 August 2008

Israel and The British Left: The Great Betrayal Revisited

An article from earlier this year continues to provoke discussion, but it should not poison other de

By Martin Bright

It is difficult to know what to do about people visiting this site who hide behind their anonymity to make obsessive and personal comments. We do not have a policy on these so-called “trolls”. Perhaps we should. Much of this comment would never have seen the light of day in the pre-internet age because there is only a certain amount of space on the letters page. Magazines and newspapers do their readers the courtesy of making a selection of the best letters to save them from the green-ink merchants.

I have long believed that we insult our readers by allowing a free-for-all on the web. But it is extremely time-consuming to constantly moderate the trolls.

However, the New Statesman Investigates section is too important for this. I have decided it does decent readers of the website no favours for us to get involved in discussions about articles published several weeks ago.

I have therefore taken the unusual step of removing comments by “redharry” about The Great Betrayal article I wrote from Israel, which was published on 15 May 2008. The 168 comments the original article received discussed the issue in great detail. The article is still available for anyone to read.

There is no real obligation to engage with people who refuse to write under their real identity, but I do not want to stifle debate.

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So here, once more, is “redharry” on his favourite subject:

Bright’s trip to Israel was bankrolled by BICOM founder and backer Poju Zabludowicz.

‘Poju Zabludowicz, whom the Sunday Times reveals has donated £70,000 to the Conservative party over the past three years, is also one of the financial supporters of the Conservative Friends of Israel, which has also given money to the party. He is chairman of the Britain-Israel Communications and Research group, BICOM, which works directly with the Israeli embassy.’

[See New Statesman article Kosher Conspiracy.]

Today, the family fortune is managed by Shlomo’s son Poju, who has kept a finger in the arms pie through the munitions manufacturer Pocal.

Poju Zabludowicz got his money from the family firm Soltam

Soltam is an Israeli company which operates both on the military market and the civilian market. Its military expertise is artillery systems, cannons and ammunition. It is a subsidiary of the Israeli defense firm Elbit.

Military products:

* Tank guns

o Merkava smoothbore 120 mm main gun

* Artillery – towed gun and self-propelled gunshowitzers

o M-68 towed 155 mm howitzer.

o M-71 towed 155 mm howitzer.

o Rascal self-propelled 155 mm howitzer

o Slammer (Sholef) – Merkava-based self-propelled 155 mm howitzer.

* Mortars

o Merkava 60 mm internal mortar.

o Cardom 120 mm self-propelled mortar.

o Dragon EFSS (Cardom, version for the USMC).

o M-65 120 mm mortar.

o M-66 160 mm mortar.

* Ammunition

o Mortar shells (60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm, 160 mm)

o Artillery shells (155 mm , 175 mm)

Civilian products:

* Cooking pots

I suppose Bright will claim that his trip was paid for with the proceeds of the sale of cooking pots.

Please feel free to carry on the discussion here, but please keep to the point when discussing the New Statesman investigations.