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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

SPSC Statement on the hate campaign against former Sheffield student Malaka Shwaikh

The Mail Online, an offshoot of the Daily Mail,  along with a some other on-line publications and abusive emails fanned by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, are currently alleging that Malaka, presently a Ph.D. student at Exeter University, under the supervision of the Israeli born Professor Ilan Pappe, is a supporter of terrorism and is antisemitic. Why, some might wonder, but clearly not the Mail or the Campaign Against Antisemtism, would an anti-Semite choose to study under a Jewish professor?  There is clearly more to this story than what Malaka’s detractors would like people to believe.

MALAKA
Malaka

The Mail Online launched the campaign against Malaka, stating in bold letters: ‘Palestinian student, 25, tweets “I am so proud to be called a terrorist’ sparking an anti-Semitism investigation at the University of Exeter.”  The tweet, which had been hacked, was doctored. The full sentence reads:  “If terrorism means protecting and defending my land, I am so proud to be called terrorist. What an honour for the Palestinians!” Moreover, this was said in the context of Israel’s 2014 bloody onslaught on Gaza.  A reference by her to the Holocaust was similarly distorted by not reporting her tweet stating that it was a horrific crime.

But the full malevolence of distorting her tweets in order to suggest that their author is not only a terrorist sympathiser but an anti-Semite only becomes evident in the light of Malaka’s political

activism.   As well as being a proud Palestinian committed to justice for her people, she is also a principled opponent of all forms of racism. She recently helped to organise a march at Exeter University to protest against swastikas and ‘Rights for Whites’ slogans daubed on walls in halls of residence.

The attack on Malaka is part of a coordinated attempt to discredit pro-Palestinian campaigners. Malaka, herself, had been subjected to earlier smear campaigns when she was a student at Sheffield University. As Israel has become increasingly rightwing and xenophobic, feted by white supremacists and Islamophobes,  its supporters desperately seek to regain public sympathy by accusing its critics of anti-Semitism and terrorist sympathies. It will not work.  Israel’s record is there for all to see and Palestinian activists and the solidarity movement will continue to grow in numbers and in effectiveness as they have over the past three decades.

We, in Sheffield, know Malaka well from the period that she spent in the city as a student. We condemn her vilification and fully support her stand against it.

Read Malaka’s full statement, read Mondoweiss article here: https://goo.gl/1XrB4k