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Author launches anti-Israel book at Jewish Centre

PUBLISHED: 17:56 07 June 2007 | UPDATED: 14:33 07 September 2010

A CONTROVERSIAL Palestinian novelist, known for her criticism of Israel, has taken the brave step of launching her new book at the London Jewish Cultural Centre. Ghada Karmi is appearing for a debate about her fifth book Married to Another Man

By Katie Davies

A CONTROVERSIAL Palestinian novelist, known for her criticism of Israel, has taken the brave step of launching her new book at the London Jewish Cultural Centre.

Ghada Karmi is appearing for a debate about her fifth book Married to Another Man: Israel's Dilemma in Palestine.

The 67-year-old whose family were forced from Palestine and settled in Golders Green where she still lives, says she is not worried about the crowd at the event.

She said: "Although my audience isn't normally so Jewish I am not apprehensive. I have a view and, quite frankly, I think many of the supporters of Israel don't know the facts.

"There is so much propaganda which I know so well growing up in north London. It seems to me I have a function - I have to tell people what's going on - they need to see a real Palestinian person and realise we are all fellow human beings and have similar rights to life."

In her first book Ms Karmi wrote about her experience of living in Golders Green.

"It was quite humorous, we were living among all these German Jewish refugees. My father didn't realise when he found the house because he knew nothing about London. But we didn't get anything nasty because it was before Israel and it was that which made people angry and defensive."

And she said that in Golders Green, Palestinian goods are sold as Israeli products.

"One thing which annoys me now is on the high street there is a restaurant which says it sells Israeli food but it is Arab. It is falafel, hummus, olives and all these people flock there, but it is not Israeli.

"There is another shop selling Israeli goods but some of it is porcelain made in Palestine.

"Because Israel was a hotch potch of peoples, it had no culture and they have tried desperately to create one by stealing from around them. It is theft of land but also theft of culture. Of course this is nothing to do with Jews - Judaism is an ancient religion and has its own culture but Israel didn't."

The new book explores the effect the Israeli state has had on the Arab world generally.

And it is certainly likely to turn a few heads by calling for an Israeli academic boycott, all Palestinians to be given compensation for land they lost and for the two groups to share power in one state.

The panel on the Any Jewish Questions debate also includes Independent editor Simon Kelner, lawyer Anthony Julius, former MP Lorna Fitzsimons with Today programme presenter Edward Stourton chairing.

The event is at the LJCC on North End Road at 7.30pm on Thursday (June 14). Tickets are £15, call 020-8457 5000.

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