Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy

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IMED Director Jonathan Sacerdoti on BBC News discussing the release of Gilad Shalit

The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy (IMED), is a 'think-tank and pressure group advocating liberty and democracy in the Middle East'[1].

It was formed, according to its own website, in response to 'the visceral rhetoric that dominates the discussion of the Middle East in this country [UK].'[2]

Contents

History

IMED was founded in 2009 by director Sam Westrop and others. Westrop has claimed that 500 students across the country are involved in IMED work.[3].

Activities

According to its own website, IMED 'works to promote liberal democracy in the Middle East', to 'provide a platform for the rational discussion of the Arab-Israeli conflict', 'to advocate freedom, justice and equality' and to 'bring to light the horrors of despotism, hatred and ideology in the region and to combat religious or political supremacism and hate speech'.[4]

The group has 'highlighted AQA's A-level geography textbook which compared the Israeli security barrier to the Berlin Wall' and 'exposed through Sky News, the Independent and the Guardian, how St Andrews University was being funded by the Syrian government and Exeter University by the Muslim Brotherhood'.[5]

Opposing 'extremists', garnering far-right support

In June 2012 IMED and Stand for Peace - another group founded by Sam Westrop - were among the groups involved in pressuring the Grand Connaught Rooms in London to cancel a Ramadan conference organised by the Al-Muntada Trust since they claimed it featured 'extremist' speakers. Stand for Peace director Hasan Afzal claimed victory when the conference was cancelled but he also acknowledged that far-right groups had joined the campaign[6].

The English Defence League, Casuals United[7] and British National Party all lent their support to the campaign, the latter republishing a Stand for Peace briefing approvingly[8]. It is not clear whether the venue's safety concerns which prompted it to cancel the conference on the advice of the police were connected to the scheduled speakers or in fact to the possibility of opposition from these far-right groups.

Alleged infiltration and attacks on the PSC

Director Sam Westrop has stated that there are 'people inside the Palestine Solidarity Campaign' passing information to the institute.[9]

In November 2011 Westrop produced a report entitled 'An Evening with the PSC: Examining Racism, Extremism and Homophobia within the Palestine Solidarity Campaign'.[10]

British Muslims for Israel

Westrop and Hasan Afzal co-founded British Muslims for Israel from within IMED.[11]

Defending Israel on the BBC during Operation 'Pillar of Cloud'

Jonathan Sacerdoti on BBC News on 14 November 2012 where as director of the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy he was given an unchallenged platform. Screengrab taken 15 November 2012

Jonathan Sacerdoti, director of InstMed, appeared on BBC news programmes four times in two days between 14-15 November 2012 and was described as being from the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy giving the impression that he was a neutral expert on the region. Each time he defended Israel's attacks on Gaza and each time no alternative perspective was given by the BBC.[12]

Publishing Denis MacEoin

In December 2012, a book called 'Dear Gary, why you're wrong about Israel: letter to an anti-Israel activist', by Denis MacEoin was produced with IMED listed as the publisher.[13]

A launch event for the book was held on 20 March 2013 in the House of Lords, 'by kind invitation of Baroness Deech'.[14]

Affiliations

People

Funding

The institute does not reveal its key funders but states that it receives no money from any government and relies on individual donations.[16]

Publications

Contact

  • On 17 November 2012 there was no office address listed on the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy's website.
  • Website: http://instmed.org

Resources

Notes

  1. Sam Westrop profile, LinkedIn, accessed 16 July 2012
  2. About Us, IMED, accessed 16 July 2012
  3. Only 22, but Sam leads fight against the Israel bashers, Jewish Telegraph, accessed 16 July 2012
  4. About Us, IMED, accessed 16 July 2012
  5. Only 22, but Sam leads fight against the Israel bashers, Jewish Telegraph, accessed 16 July 2012
  6. Grand Connaught Rooms Jihadist Conference Event Cancelled, Harry's Place, accessed 16 July 2012
  7. Harry's Place inspires racists thugs to threaten Muslim conference, Islamophobia Watch, accessed 16 July 2012
  8. BNP repost Stand for Peace Screenshot, accessed 16 July 2012
  9. Only 22, but Sam leads fight against the Israel bashers, Jewish Telegraph, accessed 16 July 2012
  10. An Evening with the PSC: Examining Racism, Extremism and Homophobia within the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy, accessed 16 July 2012
  11. Uncommon Courage, The Atheist Conservative, accessed 16 July 2012
  12. Who is Jonathan Sacerdoti, the BBC’s Go-To Man on Gaza?, New Left Project, 16 November 2012, accessed 17 November 2012
  13. Dear Gary, Why You're Wrong About Israel, Amazon UK, accessed 22 March 2013.
  14. Dear Gary, Why You're Wrong about Israel, Eventbrite, accessed 22 March 2013.
  15. About Us, IMED, accessed 16 July 2012
  16. Donate, IMED, accessed 16 July 2012
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