An anti-Israel photographer and vocal supporter of Palestinian “resistance” has been denied a visa for the UK. Hamdi Abu Rahma had been due to partake in “Palestinian Day” at the Edinburgh festival; a so-called “celebration of links between Scotland and Palestine”.
Rahma, 28, wrote in a statement that the reason given to him for the denial was that he could not prove he was able to support himself here. He wrote: “We all know the real reason for this refusal” and called the decision, “another act of injustice against the Palestinian people and our cause.”
The statement began: “After more than 3 months of organising and planning for my trip to the UK on a speaking tour of England and Scotland to participate in this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival my application for a visa has been refused.
“The major art’s festival invited me to show my photographs which represent the non-violent resistance and my talk about Palestinian life to the British audience.”
Online, he frequently describes dead terrorists as “martyrs” and has posted a picture of a burning Israeli passport. On his Tumblr page, he has captioned photos of masked men; “Resistance is not terror,” and, “When injustice becomes law resistance become duty.”
Rahma is a supporter of the aggressive “Black Lives Matter” campaign in the US, and is a so-called “anti-imperialist.” He describes himself as a “peace photographer,” but regularly post images of men wielding weapons, with captions such as “never give up” and “stone for freedom.” Another is captioned: “… they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
— Madrone (@Vetipie) August 13, 2015
On Facebook, he has shared photos of the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped last year. One post appears to mock the boys; the other was accompanied by a caption that could be interpreted as an attempt to justify their murders as tit-for-tat: “Israeli forces find bodies of three kidnapped settlers… Just to know that Israeli occupation forces killed 8 Palestinian in the west bank and 20 in Gaza most of them kids since the kidnap,” he wrote.
He also wrote on Tumbler: “Palestinian people cover their faces because they don’t want to get arrested by the Israeli government, but Israeli soldiers cover their faces because they shame from them self and their crime and they don’t want the world to see them.” Rahma’s statement regarding the visa continues: “The UK government refused to give me a visa today and the reason for refusal was that I didn’t show any bank statements or documentation to demonstrate my ability to support myself during my visit.
— Madrone (@Vetipie) August 12, 2015
“Despite sending complete evidence of the sponsorship provided to fund my trip and all contact details of my sponsors proving that all my travel and accommodation costs have been met they still refused my application.
“I have travelled extensively in order to tell the Palestinian story through my photographs but the UK is the first country that has refused me entry for a rediculous [sic] and unfounded reason.
“We all know the real reason for this refusal. The UK know very well what my trip is about! I am not going there to claim asylum or beg in the streets. I am going there to educate the British people and pose some questions.”
“There’s no question that he was covered for this trip. Everything was covered. The effect of a cumulative set of decisions are to make it hard for Palestinians to come and show their art in Britain,” he said.
Adding: “I personally think the issue of visas, especially during the Edinburgh festival needs extra attention. I would call on the Scottish Government to place attention on this important issue.”
The UK Visa Bureau has not responded to requests for comment.