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MP receives death threats for Israel support (JERUSALEM POST) By JONNY PAUL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT 03/28/12)Source: http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=263731 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
A British MP says he fears for his life after receiving death threats for defending Israel in an exchange with a constituent.

The Conservative MP for Henley, John Howell, has been offered police protection for meetings with voters after an email exchange with the constituent was posted online.

He has also been forced to remove the details of his district offices from his website.

Constituents who want to meet him must now call a constituent hotline.

Pro-Palestinian activist Harry Fear, from Watlington in Oxfordshire, sent Howell an email on March 10 asking what he was doing “to see that Israel halts the military actions that are taking place in defiance of international law and basic human decency.”

A photograph of a building exploding accompanied the email with a caption stating: “Only a few hours ago, Israel felt it necessary to inflict this destruction and death on the [Gaza] Strip.”

Responding to the email, Howell said: “And what is your position, Harry, on the 100 rockets which have landed in Israel over the weekend?” Fear posted the question, together with the MP’s reply, on his blog and Facebook page. He included the MP’s contact details and instructed people write to Howell “civilly, expressing discontent with his conduct.”

The Conservative MP said he received around 30 emails; some were “worrying.”

“There are a huge number of emails from pro-Palestinian and Arab fanatics, some from the UK and some clearly not, some equally threatening,” Howell said.

One email said: “You will suffer the consequences of this corruption and callousness.”

There was also a series of emails from some calling himself “Jihad Alshamie,” who told him: “It is people like you who deserve to die.”

“The last thing I want to appear as is a drama queen, but you have to take seriously a threat when it says, ‘I would like to see you dead,’” Howell said.

“It is not just a question of me, it is my family and my staff. All it takes is one person out there who is weird enough, with a distorted view of life, to make an attempt to carry this out.”

In 2010, Labor MP Stephen Timms was stabbed at a constituency meeting by Roshonara Choudhry, who was said to have been inspired by radical websites, for his support of the Iraq war. She was found guilty of attempted murder and jailed for life.

Last year, members of the Muslims Against Crusades group made death threats against Conservative MP Mike Freer for his support of Israel, when he visited constituents at a north London mosque.

“I have been helped by the House authorities in Parliament, who are assessing the level of risk, and also by Thames Valley Police, who have provided extremely good security advice. If I feel at all unsafe there can be a policeman with me at a surgery [district office],” Howell said.

Howell said that Fear was not responsible for the threats but questioned the way Fear interpreted his response. He said he only wanted to address the lack of balance in Fear’s email.

“My stated position on the Middle East is that in order to have peace we need a secure and universally recognized Israel alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state,” Howell said.

Continuing to pursue the issue, Fear said that the MP’s response was “deeply disturbing” and “latently abusive,” as Howell “did not extend me the professional practice (or even human courtesy) of writing a proper and serious reply.”

Fear has sent a complaint to Parliament and the Conservative Party. He has also sent the correspondence to The Guardian and The Independent.

The Zionist Federation of the UK has called for people to write letters expressing support for Howell. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 03/28/12)


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