Tracy-Ann Oberman’s shield: False allegations of “antisemitism” and defensive claims of support for Palestinian rights
How British celebrity actress libelled supporter of Palestinian rights and the role of a children’s charity in attempting to launder her image.
The actress and celebrity Tracy Ann Oberman has spent many years on British television screens. She featured in the soap opera Eastenders and in a recent BBC series Ridley Road, which whitewashed the extremist Zionist connections of a British “anti-fascist” group in the 1960s. Recently, she has taken to the road performing the controversial role of Shylock in the Shakespeare play Merchant of Venice. Some have claimed that the Shylock character perpetuates Judeophobic stereotypes, though Oberman, has made something of a name for herself by accusing others of “antisemitism”.
Oberman has implied that almost everyone from Amnesty International to Equity, the union for actors and general creatives are motivated by antisemitism. The crime of her targets has almost always been connected to their support for the Palestinian cause. Here she is referring to herself as a ‘defacto leader’ of Jews in the entertainment business, smearing the actors’ union Equity as racist for supporting a demonstration for Palestinian rights.
Accuser is accused
But in a twist of fate, Oberman has recently become the accused. On April 4, 2021, she falsely claimed that academic and Palestinian rights activist, Dr. Phillip Proudfoot, had a “Jew block list” on Twitter. This was of course completely false. Dr. Proudfoot had in fact only used a Twitter Block Chain, a common device used to deter trolls. Just over a year later, Oberman was forced to pay substantial damages and published an apology to Dr. Proudfoot. In her statement, she admitted that her claim was “wrong” and that Proudfoot had used “a tool to mass block an account I followed that was involved in targeted trolling, which also blocks followers”. Oberman also noted that she “made a mistake and appreciates that my comments were hurtful”. Among the accounts blocked by Proudfoot was the vicious far-right Zionist troll account @GnasherJew, which also made the false claims.
In a statement, Proudfoot said: “it is harmful to allow the fear of false accusations to prevent us from speaking out against apartheid in Israel. Speaking out against injustice is also a fundamental political right. We must defend our rights, defend Palestinians, and never allow defamation to scare away solidarity.”
However, the incident has exposed connections between Oberman and organisations with extensive links with Israeli intelligence, the military, or the Zionist regime. She has regularly advocated for the anti-BDS, behavioural change organisation Solutions Not Sides which targets Muslim children in British schools. She has urged her Twitter followers to follow @itmakesSNS the Twitter handle of Solutions Not Sides, arguing against BDS as “full of grim obsessives who use it as figleaves [for] Jew hate”. Both organisations have strong links with Israeli Intelligence and the military. Solutions Not Sides is a project of its parent group OneVoice. Together they have shared funders with the “Friends of the IDF” and illegal settler colonies in the West Bank. Perhaps worse than that, the organisation has had at least three employees simultaneously working for the Israeli government and at least 28 former Israeli occupation forces or intelligence services members working within it.
Children of Peace as a shield
In addition, Oberman attempted to use her role with the charity Children of Peace as a shield to deflect criticism, writing “I am proud of my Israel - Palestinian advocacy with @ChildrenofPeace wonderful work done to build actual bridges in conflict.” This came in response to a claim by Children of Peace that “We are proud that @TracyAnnO is a Friend of Children of Peace. She is a courageous and principled opponent of antisemitism and bigotry.”
What could be more innocent? An organisation set up to encourage young Israeli and Palestinian people to understand each other better. It operates directly in Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison, so one might think it was a critic of the Zionist entity? But if one looks a little more closely a strong Zionist bias is visible in its activities.
Children of Peace on Zionist terms
Children of Peace ‘simply refuses to take sides’ on Palestine, a clear euphemism for siding with the oppressor: The occupying power. It says it is ‘non-partisan’ dedicated to ‘building trust, friendship, and reconciliation’. ‘We believe in working for peace. That’s why we don’t take sides.’ Among the trustees is Sarah Annes Brown, a former regular contributor to the Islamophobic attack blog ‘Harry’s Place’.
The charity receives pro-bono legal advice from the law firm Taylor Wessing: which also participates on its Advisory Board. Taylor Wessing advertises a strong ‘Israel group’ on its website. Its co-lead is Nathan Krapivensky who is also a volunteer for the Australian Zionist group the United Israel Appeal.
Amongst its affiliates, the Children of Peace lists:
- The Abraham Fund Initiatives (also known as the Abraham Initiatives), an Israeli government-funded lobby entity. As Alan McLeod at Mintpress has noted: “The Abraham Initiatives is directly funded by the Israeli government, the European Union, and by CIA–front group USAID. It is also sponsored by the State Department through the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). Government cables released by WikiLeaks famously revealed that MEPI was the vehicle through which the U.S. secretly sent money to Jihadist groups in Syria with the goal of overthrowing the Assad administration. Underscoring the point that the Abraham Initiatives is intimately tied to the Israeli government and its nation-building project is the fact that many of its directors come straight from that milieu. The co-executive director of the Abraham Initiatives, for instance, is a former spokesperson of the Israeli Ministry of Immigration and a director at The Jerusalem Foundation, a company that builds illegal settlements on Palestinian land, including in Sheikh Jarrah.”
- OneVoice and its subsidiary Solutions not Sides which, as we noted above, engage in grooming school children to be pro-"Israel".
Children of Peace also recruits ‘friends’ amongst which are many Zionists, who do not struggle to take ‘sides’ on Palestine, including:
Rolene Marks, a participant in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Young Jewish Diplomats Leadership course, and a former representative to the World Zionist Congress. She is also the co-founder of the South Africa-Israel Policy Forum, an "Israel" lobby group.
Dumisani Washington who joined in March this year is described by Children of Peace as ‘one of the greatest advocates for Israel’. He is a leading member of Christians United for "Israel".
Two other ‘friends’ who were also notable participants in the anti-Semitism witch hunt are comedians David Baddiel and Matt Lucas. Both, also share the achievement of having ‘blacked up’ to belittle black people in their comedy and failed properly to apologise or make amends. Both are also former members of Zionist youth groups. Shockingly, the former Palestinian Ambassador to the UK (Manuel Hassassian) is also listed as a ‘friend’ of Children of Peace as is Khaled al-Osaily, the former Mayor of Hebron and the Minister for National Economy in the Palestinian Authority.
UAE lobby connections
Perhaps most concerning is the apparent role of covert lobby groups for the United Arab Emirates in the operation. The UAE is a lobby cheerleader in alliance with the Zionist entity and with Saudi Arabia in a post-"Arab-spring" emergent “tripartite alliance”. It is reported to be influential in the US as well as the UK.
One sign of the UAE influence amongst the partners of the charity is the impressive-sounding Global Imams Council which was welcomed as a partner in 2021. Based in Najaf, Iraq, this group has recently shown signs of penetration by the lobby of the United Arab Emirates. For example the ‘election’ of the so-called ‘Imam of Peace’ Mohammed Tawhidi in early 2022. Tawhidi was also named by Children of Peace as a ‘friend’ of the charity in March 2022. Tawhidi is well known to be an asset of the foreign policy establishment of the Emiratis and the ‘go-to’ Imam for elements of the international far-right such as Daniel Pipes of the Islamophobic Middle East Forum or the Islamophobe Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (who styles himself Tommy Robinson), on whose Youtube Channel Tawhidi has appeared.
Other UAE assets which have offered solidarity to Tracy-Ann Oberman, include Muslims Against Anti-Semitism, a group dedicated to pushing the Zionist talking point that Muslims have a special propensity for “antisemitism”. Following Oberman’s libel defeat MAAS claimed that it was her that was subjected to abuse, as opposed to the person she had libelled. One of the leaders of MAAS, Fiyaz Mughal, is also a “friend” of Children of Peace.
Children of Peace is a sophisticated subversion strategy involving a variety of lobby groups based in Iraq, occupied Palestine, the United Arab Emirates, and the UK. Supporting it is a clear sign that its supporters are not advocates of Palestinian rights.