A trainee rabbi who fled Israel in 2017 and is claiming asylum in the UK was harassed and intimidated outside a Manchester tribunal centre yesterday. The 21-year-old - who can't be named due to an anonymity order - was entering the centre with his lawyer Fahad Ansari, when a pro-Israel protester attempted to start filming him.
The man shouted "We know who he is now", "I'm live streaming and everyone's commenting". The Jewish antizionist was left physically shaking according to his lawyer Ansari.
The man shouted "I'm an Israeli citizen" and claimed to be called Moshe Goldberg. However he was later named by sources as Charlie Veitch, a Brazilian documentary film producer. He shouted "How dare you call Israel an apartheid state!" and proceeded to argue with pro-Palestinian campaigners who were at court to support the man’s asylum claim.
Veitch was arrested in 2011 for conspiracy to cause a public nuisance after planning a protest to disrupt the royal wedding. His YouTube channel has 169K followers and he has been described as a conspiracy theorist. He is also known to have links to the far-right and was once pictured with James Goddard, supposed leader of the hard-right UK 'Yellow Vest' protesters.
The Jewish antizionist claimed asylum in the UK after he received a conscription letter requiring him to serve in the Israeli military. He belongs to a Jewish sect that opposes Zionism on religious grounds, and believes the Jewish people should not return to the holy land en masse until the coming of the messiah.
His lawyer had argued due to his beliefs and refusal to serve in the Israeli military he risks persecution from the Israeli authorities, who he claims have previously beaten and abused him after he was arrested at an anti-conscription protest when he was just 17.
The man's asylum application was rejected last year on the grounds he could have avoided military service on mental grounds. However, his lawyer now argues that if he was made to serve in the Israeli army he would be at risk of being complicit in the crime of apartheid. (The 2002 Rome statute and the international convention on the suppression and punishment of the crime of apartheid.)
His witness statement to the court will say: “The Zionists have engaged in theft and mass killing to create their Zionist state. They have rebelled against God in the gravest way. I am afraid of being forcibly conscripted into the military which would go against everything that I stand for … the State of Israel practices apartheid and is routinely involved in war crimes against the Palestinian people. I cannot serve in such an immoral army that carries out such atrocities on a daily basis.”
The tribunal was due to hear evidence that Israel practices apartheid. However the case was adjourned because no Yiddish translator had been provided. "This is the first case of its kind" said Ansari, "And we have a strong case".
"This case is more than a young man seeking a safe haven. Or setting a precedent for anti-Zionist Israeli Jews and Palestinian asylum seekers" said one campaigner who didn't want to be named. "In a British court the state of Israel is on trial for its crimes against the Palestinian people. And the facade that Israel is a liberal democracy is cracking daily. It feels like we might be turning the corner". The case goes on... But will the state of Israel be found guilty or not guilty for the crime of racism?