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Why demonstrate

Why protests are a good idea
Trump has recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Gone is the façade of even handedness. This year is the fifty-year anniversary of the 1967 war. The pattern of Israeli land theft and expansion and lack of action by world leaders to prevent it is clear to all who would look. Trump’s action is different. He is rewarding Israel’s land thefts and its creation of a new Apartheid in occupied Palestine. There is not even the fig leaf of impartiality. So we protested.
We do not expect Trump to learn of the protests across the world and finally find a moral compass. We do not expect Theresa May to retract her statement that Israel “is a beacon of tolerance” and overthrow decades of UK Governments accepting Israeli racism and oppression of Palestinians (although that would be nice). No, demonstrations serve a different purpose.
In the runup to the demonstration we mobilised. Put adverts on social media and in the press (where possible). Our supporters will have spoken about it to a network of relatives, friends, neighbours and workmates.
On the day of the demonstration we gave out hundreds of leaflets explaining why Israel is creating Palestinian ghettoes in their own homeland and what we need to do about it.
It reinforced the idea that Israel is an Apartheid state and that we have a largish number of people prepared to put time and effort seeking justice for Palestinians and a great many more who could not come to the protest at such short notice but stand with us. All these people who were there on Saturday, or who wished they were there will, be encouraged to talk to their friends, neighbours and workmates about the issue.
Of those hundreds, perhaps someone will have a birthday and rather than asking for presents ask for donations to our children’s projects. Perhaps a few people at one of the hospitals will get together to twin with a hospital in Gaza. Perhaps a few people will get together to help with fund raising for our wellbeing (trauma) centre in Gaza. Perhaps a few people will start organising to oppose Trump’s visit in February. Perhaps a few more people will join our monthly protest actions outside shops and banks that profit from Israeli Apartheid. The idea that we should boycott Israeli products will grow. Investors and fund managers will find it easier to argue for disinvesting in Israel. The political argument that sanctions need to be applied to Israel for its illegal practices will also grow.
There is a huge amount that needs doing. Every bit that we do will convince others. The facts are clear Israel is a settler colonial state. It is takes Palestinian land because it is powerful enough to do so. It will continue stealing Palestinian water because, supported by the Western powers, it is powerful enough to do so It will continue on its path until it meets resistance. We believe that the best form of resistance is boycott, disinvestment and sanctions. If each of us does a little, we can build a movement that puts pressure on Israel and forces our leaders to act or be replaced.
Today very few people will publicly defend South African Apartheid. Not even the Tories who for decades supported the white minority regime. An international movement was built that helped end Apartheid in South Africa.
We are building a movement that can help end Israeli Apartheid. Every little bit of solidarity that each of us can weave into our everyday lives helps bring forward the day when we have justice for the Palestinians.

Jerusalem: not yours to give away

Support and solidarity for Palestine from all sections of Sheffield communtities
Support and solidarity for Palestine from all sections of Sheffield communtities

A great rally  on the City Hall Steps on Saturday yesterday, 9th December.

Over 100 people there – including many different faces and many students. The banner – which read ‘Trump: Jerusalem is not yours to give away‘ made a great focus and made it really clear to all why we were there.

Amongst those holding the banner were a man from Syria, a man from Algeria, a young Yemeni woman, a British Jew, a Palestinian, two students – Sheffield’s humanity in action.

There were some excellent speeches from students, from a representative from  Labour Friends of Palestine Pearn,who has just returned from her first visit to Palestine, and a beautiful song by a Yemeni teenager were highlights .

So the clear thing here is, just like Palestine itself was not Britain to give away, so Jerusalem is not Trump’s to dispose of.

Protest -Trump rewards land theft

protestsatOn Saturday we held a protest against Trump’s support for Israeli land theft.   It was a good turnout given the very short notice.   We need ordinary people to weave opposition to  Israeli Apartheid into their everyday lives.  We organise meals, protests and meetings.  Join us and find out how you can help.

The Healing Project Khuza

The HealingprojectOn Wednesday 18th October about 100 people came to the Appeal Launch of the Healing Centre Project Khuza at Sheffield Town Hall.  Thanks to The Lord Mayor Anne Murphy, Angela Martin for the film Small Park big Run, the Socialist choir,  and for the groups that raised the huge amount of money, especially Yemeni women, who have made this launch possible.

Balfour centenary season dates – debating its legacy and significance

Sheffield PSC are putting on a number of events around Balfour this year as will other organisations, offering a range of perspectives. Please see below for details.

Balfour’s Shadow, Wednesday 20th September

David Cronin is a contributing editor with The Electronic Intifada, a website focused on Palestine.

His new book is Balfour’s Shadow: A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel is out now and he is engaged in a tour to speak about how Britain has gone from giving declaratory backing to the Zionist movement to becoming actively complicit in Israel’s crimes.

Please come and join this discussion to open out the Balfour season in Sheffield.

Location: Quaker Meeting House, St.James. Sheffield
Time: 7.30pm

Longing and Belonging and Balfour, Saturday September 23rd


Chai for All, the Bristol based jazz-tinged klezmer and Middle Eastern music ensemble will be bringing their new work, Longing, Belonging & Balfour to Sheffield on the Saturday 23rd September for a 7:30 pm performance at the Sheffield Library Theatre, Tudor Square. This is new musical perspective on the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the letter which can be said to have set in train the facts on the ground in today’s occupied Palestine

Chai for All will be joined by virtuoso clarinetist and kaval (Bulgarian flute) player Katie Stevens, renowned storyteller Michael Loader, British-Israeli platinum record producer Mark Smulian and the voice of Palestinian poet Alissar Amali – melding klezmer Arabic and other idioms together in music composed and arranged by German-born Knud Stuwe.

There will be a post-show panel discussion to explore the various perspectives on the Balfour Declaration and give an opportunity for audience members to share their personal stories evoked by the performance.

Full booking details for the show are available on Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/longing-belonging-and-balfour- tickets-36222883620

A non-Zionist Jewish Perspective on Balfour

In the first of a series of events to understand the impact (and certainly not celebrate) the Balfour declaration, Sheffield PSC are partnering with Kairos Sheffield, to welcome Robert Cohen who offers an anti-Zionist  but religious Jewish perspective. Mr Cohen is an engaging and provocative speaker and blogger and well worth coming to see.

He will be speaking at the Quaker Meeting House on October 23rd from 7.30pm. Full details here

Benefit dinner

benefit dinner