All posts by Dick Pitt

Join the opening of the Never Stop Dreaming Children’s Healing Centre in Khuza’a, Gaza Strip

       

            with a video link-up from Sheffield’s UMIX Centre,

                        2pm to 3.30, Saturday 24th November 2018                                 

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The siege of Gaza and the regular Israeli military attacks of the last decade have left a cruel mark on the children. In the attack in 2014 alone over 500 children were killed with the  300,000 children in need of psycho-social support.  As a village very close to the border, Khuza’a has again been heavily affected by the brutal and indiscriminate killings by the Israeli military.

Since the peaceful protests began along the Israeli-Gaza border on March 30, 2018, Israeli forces have killed 205 Palestinians and wounded more than 20,000 people in Gaza.  One young victim from Khuza’a was 21 one year old volunteer medic Razan Najar.  She was killed on 1 June, wearing her white paramedic’s uniform as she went to help treat the wounded.

 

Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign with Gaza based partners is developing a Healing Centre in Khuza’a to provide some much needed support for children traumatised by Israeli attacks.

Khuza’a is very close to the border with Israel and has been particularly affected by the ongoing attacks. The land for the centre in Khuza’a has been donated by a local beneficiary.  The cost of the building came from contributions from Sheffield and will cost £12,600 per year to run.

If you would like to help email the Sheffield NSD play & healing project Steering Group c/o poland.cf@gmail.com.

Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign www.sheffieldpsc.org.uk

Protest Saturday 3rd November

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On Saturday we had our monthly protest at HSBC.  The bank profits from the arms industry.  In particular it profits from the Israeli arms industry.  Israel continues to expand its control over Palestine and deepen its Apartheid rule in the West Bank.  It can only do this with Western support.

Labour NEC bends under pressure

The massive pressure by right wing Labour, Zionists, and the right wing media has paid off.  The Labour NEC has adopted the IRHA definition and its examples.  Previous blogs have explained why we in PSC do not like some of the examples given.

The right wing succeeded in framing the debate.  The key issues were about Israel.  The NEC had previously accepted the IHRA definition of anti Semitism but not adopted four clauses about Israel. 

Imagine if all the headlines over the summer had been “Labour split on the issue of Israel” “Labour NEC split on whether Israel is an Apartheid state”.  What would have followed would hopefully have been a rational debate on the policies of the Israeli Government (which evidence shows to be racist) and what is the way forward.

Instead we had an appalling string of headlines attacking Corbyn and the Labour left as an anti-Semite.

“The NEC has today adopted all of the IHRA examples of antisemitism, in addition to the IHRA definition which Labour adopted in 2016, alongside a statement which ensures this will not in any way undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of Palestinians.”

We in the PSC feared that the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism was an attempt to silence criticism of Israel.  This is shown by the reaction to the NEC addition.

‘Labour Against Anti-Semitism said the move “appears to be about protecting the freedom of racists to present vile views”.  A spokesman said: “There can be no caveats, no conditions and no compromises with racism.  “We are disappointed by the decision of Labour’s governing body, the NEC, to diminish the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism via the attachment of a ‘clarification’ that risks giving racists in the party a get out of jail card.”

Simon Johnson, the JLC’s chief executive, said in a second statement that Corbyn had “attempted shamefully to undermine the entire IHRA definition”, adding that the free speech caveat “drives a coach and horses” through that definition.’

 ‘Labour Friends of Israel director Jennifer Gerber called the NEC’s decision “appalling” and claimed the “freedom of expression” clause “totally undermines the other examples the party has supposedly just adopted”.’

‘Dame Margaret Hodge, who is herself Jewish, said: “He should have simply adopted the full international definitions with absolutely no ifs and buts… “He’s sullied it. I’m saddened that it was sullied by this attempt that there is a get-out clause – the sullying that he was reluctant to go forward.”  She had described the NEC’s decision as: “Two steps forward and one step back.”

So the right to defend Palestinians and attack Israel is ‘a step back’ according to Hodge and ‘appalling’ according to Gerber.

While the media has a frenzied attack on Corbyn the ‘Israeli government announced a further enlargement of its massive colonial project in the occupied West Bank. Plans were now advanced, it said on Wednesday, for a further 1,000 “homes” in Jewish “settlements” – still the word we must use for such acts of land theft’

Last week is was announced that ‘Trump cuts more than $200 million in U.S. aid to Palestinians’

This is part of an attempt to remove refugee status for the Palestinians.

 

The blockade of Gaza goes on.  The prevention of free movement to Palestine goes on.  The oppression goes on.

The fact is that Israel is built to privilege people of Jewish ethnicity over that of the Palestinians.  Its racist policies flow from defending and perpetuating that structure.  It steals Palestinian lands and water.  In the west Bank it has established an apartheid state.  These are unpalatable facts to the right wing Labour, the media, and to the Zionists.  The statements are not anti Semitic.  Only a minority of Jews and some right wingers, support expansionist Israel and its establishment of Apartheid.  We need to shift the debate from a flawed definition of anti Semitism, to what is happening in Palestine.

 

It’s about justice for the Palestinians

Margaret Hodge has launched an attack on Jeremy Corbyn.  Corbyn’s key crime according to her is the NEC’s decision not to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism ‘in full’.  This accusation is repeated by many other right wing and Zionist commentators.

The central problem for them is that the NEC has adopted the full definition.  It is

‘Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.’

What the NEC of the Labour Party did not do was to accept the guidelines which are pro Zionist.  Anthony Lerhman writes eloquently on the issue.  In a blog he shows that the roots of the IHRA clauses were the activities of pro-Israel lobby group.   The media seem reluctant to mention the 36 Jewish Groups that back Labour’s NEC.

Meanwhile in Palestine /Israel a number of events have occurred this week.   This was from the BBC on the 15th July.

‘Israel has carried out its biggest attack against Hamas militant targets in Gaza since the war in 2014, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says.’

On July 20th there was a headlineIsraeli soldier killed by gunmen, retaliatory airstrikes kill 4 Palestinians[vii]

Yesterday, 23rd July, a 15 year old Palestinian boy in the West Bank was killed by Israeli troops.

These events come after Israeli snipers killed about 140 unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza.

A week ago there was a demonstration against the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar.  It is a Palestinian village just outside Jerusalem.  The Israeli authorities plan an illegal settlement.  This threatens to link Jerusalem with the illegal settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim.  This is a further step in cutting Palestine in half and making a Palestinian state impossible.

On Thursday 19th July the Guardian had a headline ‘EU leads criticism after Israel passes Jewish ‘nation state’ law’This law enshrines the idea that Israel is the nation state of the Jews and ends the status of Arabic as an official language.   One Arab-Israeli politician, Ayman Odeh, denounced it as “the death of our democracy” and added “[The Knesset] has passed a law of Jewish supremacy and told us that we will always be second-class citizens.”

There are 65 other laws that entrench the oppression of the Palestinians within Israel.

Overall Israel is stealing land, oppressing the Palestinians, killing them when they dare to protest, killing them when they fight back and making a two-state solution impossible.

A very powerful lobby of right wingers, Zionists and a right-wing media want to stifle attacks on Israel under a slur of anti-Semitism.  They are doing a huge disservice to the cause of justice for the Palestinians and also obscuring real anti-Semitism.

 

Say no to trump

trumpbadge_final_editedprat-2We in PSC have specific reasons to oppose Donald Trump.  The move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem as encouragement to Israel’s land theft, the military diplomatic  and economic support  for Israel.  There is also the fear that the US is encouraging support for conflict against Iran.   Come if you can.