Category Archives: Sheffield activists’ blogs

All blogs written by Sheffield PSC activists

Self Demolition

Suppose you were told, say by the council, that your house was going to be demolished for no reason except that it contravened a new planning act. How would you respond?
Now suppose that the council told you that you must demolish your own house. What would it take for you to do it?

Well the villagers in Al Araqib, in the Negev desert, were told precisely that. They refused and the state demolished their village.

They have lived there under Ottoman and British and Israeli laws. They have documentation showing land ownership. Their graveyard is over a hundred years old, yet the Israeli courts have ruled that they are squatters and their dwellings are illegal.

It is surely a crime that their village was destroyed to make way for a Jewish National Fund forest and a new all Jewish settlement.

Even worse an Israeli court ruled that because they did not destroy their own homes they must pay a fine.

“The residents of Al-Araqib, which has been demolished over 100 times since 2010, must pay 262,000 shekels (over $72,000) for the demolition costs and an additional 100,000 shekels for the expenses of the state’s lawyer.”

A report from the Negev Coexistence Forum came out dated July 2010. It contains the following :

‘Self-demolitions’ are carried out by the owners of the structures themselves, after a demolition order has been issued. The Southern Administration defines ‘self-demolitions’ as a direct result of “dialogue and investigations conducted by the Yoav [special police force].” This definition is puzzling, since investigations and file initiations are not related in any way to dialogue. On the contrary, the presence of police forces and the fear of criminal sanctions that can be imposed on the owners of the structures creates great trauma for the Bedouin residents. The desire to avoid this trauma, the possibility of saving personal equipment and construction materials in a controlled demolition, and threats from authorities demanding reparation for demolition costs from the owners, are just some of the reasons why people decide to demolish themselves.

What sort of Government evicts you from your home and forces you to demolish it?

Israel and the police

Long Bailey sacked, Roger Walters sent an apology over the idea that Israeli police taught US police how to abuse and humiliate Blacks.

Firstly how is that idea supporting an ‘anti Semitic trope’.

Let us start with classic anti Semitism. They claim “Jews are responsible for all the evils of the world. They killed Jesus. They created and control Capitalism. They control the media. They created Communism and are key personnel in all the radical organisations.”

People who assert that anti Semitism has evolved into anti Israel attitudes claim that all that has happened is that evils of the world are caused by Israel as opposed to Jews.

The British colonies were using slaves, and slaughtering native Americans before the USA was born in 1783. The USA was born racist to the core. Israel was born in 1948. The notion that Israel taught US policemen how to be racist, how to humiliate blacks is clearly a nonsense.

It is tied to another idea that Israel (by its alleged control of money, and by its alleged control of the media) controls the USA. Israel has a population of about 8 million people. The USA has a population of about 300 million.

Let us look at a bit of history. In the start of the 19th century, the dominant power in the world was France. Napoleon was the first leader in 1000 years to propose a Jewish State. In the mid century the British Empire was the dominant power. Within the Empire evangelical Christians like Shaftsbury (his stepmother was married to Palmerston) were agitating for a Jewish state in Palestine. In WW1 Balfour and the British cabinet saw the immediate needs of winning the war, undermining the Bolsheviks, evangelical ideas and getting support from USA all combined in favour of a Jewish state.

Churchill wrote “Of course, Palestine is far too small to accommodate more than a fraction of the Jewish race, nor do the majority of national Jews wish to go there. But if, as may well happen, there should be created in our own lifetime by the banks of the Jordan a Jewish State under the protection of the British Crown, which might comprise three or four millions of Jews, an event would have occurred in the history of the world which would, from every point of view, be beneficial, and would be especially in harmony with the truest interests of the British Empire.”

The USA replaced Britain. The point is that the driving and controlling force is the United States. Nine out of ten Zionists are Christians. There is a huge lobby in support of Israel – it is the Christian right. Nixon was notoriously anti Semitic, but US geo political interests and internal pressure led him to support Israel.

So once we have a proper perspective on power balance between Israel and the USA we get a better idea of the truth. The occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank has meant that Israeli military style police has developed skills in controlling a significant angry minority. For example, Israel makes 60% of the world’s drones. Its technology is reported to have been used to aid the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. There is an impressive document on this issue from Jewish Voices for Peace. It is important to note that other police forces do want that expertise.

Portraying Israel as the source of all repression is not helpful.

A cool look at Israel’s racist policing strategy, should be enough to end the use of Israel to train other police forces.

See this for the PSC response

There are links between UK police and Israeli police.

Why are Sheffield MP’s silent

When I first moved to Sheffield, it had a proud boast. It was the Socialist republic of South Yorkshire.

Today, the MPs are still mostly Labour, but the politics on at least one issue are a disgrace.

It is official British Policy under Labour, Liberal Tory Coalition and the recent Tory Governments that Israel occupies East Jerusalem and the West Bank illegally. The policy of slow ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from East Jerusalem is hence both racist and illegal. So the Jewish National Fund’s attempt to use an Israeli Court to evict the Sumarin family from their home should unite pretty much all MPs in opposition.

There is an Early Day Motion 529 for MPs to sign. It states

That this House strongly condemns the ongoing attempts of the Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) to evict the Sumarin family from their home in East Jerusalem; recognises this within a broader context of the Israeli government’s efforts to demographically alter the population of Jerusalem, and the controversial use of Israel’s Absentee Property Law to dispossess Palestinians of their land; notes the Sumarin family have lived at their property, with deeds of ownership, for over fifty years; reiterates that ethnic cleansing is one of the most serious crimes, and that the UK is committed to upholding international law; urgently requests the Government to intervene on behalf of the Sumarin family, and calls on the Charity Commission to review the charitable status of JNF UK.

We can appeal to anti racism, basic international law, humanitarianism, solidarity, basic human compassion to get Sheffield MPs to sign. Ian Blackford, a front bench spokesman for the Scottish National Party has signed it as has 43 [PS 54 Sat 20th] others yet no Sheffield MP has signed.

Perhaps they have discussed it and will sign as a block, for bigger impact. The court case that is coming up is on 30th June. They need to sign quickly or it will be too late.

You can ask them to sign here.

PS Sat 24th June Sheffield Labour MPs have turned out to be not so silent !

Louise Haigh, Paul Blomfield, Clive Betts, Gill Furniss, and Olivia Blake have written to the Secretary of State Dominic FCA Raab to ask him to make representations to object to the eviction of the Sumarin family.

Black Lives Matter Palestinian lives Matter

Derek Chauvin was the Minneapolis policeman who killed George Floyd on 25th May. Donald Trump stated that the policeman snapped. But he didn’t, the videos show a casual sense of entitlement from a white policeman using extreme force on a non resisting black man. Alarmed passers by were telling Chauvin that what he was doing was dangerous. The policeman’s experience of 18 years on the force and 18 complaints was that he was doing nothing wrong and there would be no serious consequences.

Five days later, half a world away another group of policemen confronted Iyad Halak. Iyad was autistic and on his way to a special school in East Jerusalem. For over 50 years Israeli police have exercised unquestioned power over the local population. They have presided over the steady displacing of Palestinians by ethnic Jews. Iyad’s carer told the police in Hebrew and in Arabic that he was autistic. They yelled at him, he panicked and ran, so they shot him. When he was wounded on the floor they killed him. Netanyahu said sorry and the world looked away.

On Saturday there was a massive demonstration in Sheffield under the banner of Black Lives Matter. Ours was part of a worldwide wave of protest that is challenging ingrained assumptions of the powerful. Slave owners should be reviled rather than holding pride of place in our public squares. Chauvin is being charged with murder and the other three policemen with aiding and abetting murder.

I believe that the movement that is bringing justice to the killers of George Floyd by challenging racism can help bring justice for the Palestinians.

For fifty years Israel has been taking Palestinian land and water. Its military have killed with impunity. Against the bckground of Israel threatening more land confiscation – and this time on a massive scale – Palestinian family, in East Jerusalem, is due to be evicted from its home in two weeks time. The Sumarin family lived continuously in the family home from before Israel overran East Jerusalem in 1967. The only justification for it is that they are Palestinians.  It is part of a land grab by the Jewish National Fund and a settler organisation. The Israeli Government is planning to annex the Jordan valley, taking yet more land. It sees no problem in this.

Britain has supported Israel since the Balfour declaration in 1917. Its official position is that the Israeli settlements are illegal under International Law. Its practice is to give diplomatic, military and economic aid to Israel. Pressure from below will be needed to turn nominal opposition to Israeli land thefts to real opposition.

Early Day Motion 529 opposes the eviction of the Sumarin family. So far it has 60 MPs. supporting it.

You can ask your MP to sign here.

You can see a film explaining the issues here.

The Jewish National How is it for the public good?

The Jewish National Fund – is it really for the public good?

A report last month shows that a British Charity, the JNF, has behaved in an improper way. The Charity Commission has a record of going to extraordinary lengths to keep the JNF UK a listed charity. Its response to the latest scandal will need to be seen in the light of its previous rulings.

Last year a Palestinian family complained that the JNF had built the British Park on their land. The Charity Commission ruled that the family had no standing to complain.

Statements likeThe JNF is not the trustee of the general public in Israel. Its loyalty is     given to the Jewish people in the Diaspora and in the state of Israel…     The JNF, in relation to being an owner of land, is not a public body that works for the benefit of all citizens of the state. The loyalty of the JNF is given to the Jewish people and only to them is the JNF obligated. The JNF, as the owner of the JNF land, does not have a duty to practice equality towards all citizens of the state.” by the JNF in Israel were not regarded as evidence of racism by the Charity Commission.

Rabbis for Human rights state

“Unfortunately, over the last two decades KKL-JNF has also been amassing     property seized from Palestinians in East Jerusalem, evicting families, and     turning the property over to a settler organization with the express goal of     Judaizing Palestinian neighborhoods.”

This evidence of complicity in ethnic cleanisng is also ignored by the Charity Commission.

The 2014 JNF annual report stated it gave £114,000 to the “Gaza War Effort”. A war that killed 1462 Palestinian civilians. The Charity Commission either closed its eyes or deemed it for the public good.

The latest scandal involves a will by a very frail old man. The Funding Regulator investigated the writing of a will by the KKL a subsidiary of the JNF UK.

The wife, through her solicitors, claimed that the will was invalid on the “grounds of the testator’s lack of capacity, want of knowledge, approval and undue influence.”

She also complained that the “charity failed to manage a conflict of interests, to keep proper records and to maintain proper oversight of the activities of their subsidiary”.

The 2016 will left the wife £500,000 with the bulk of the nearly £20 million going in trust to the JNF.

“Witness B stated that the testator was not a practising Jew and they had never “showed any interest in Judaism or Jewish charities”.

The Fundraising regulator ruled:

“given the closeness of the two organisations, and the fact that KKL clearly work to promote and fundraise for JNF. This is a clear breach of Section 18.3.3(b) of the code.”

We in Stop the JNF want

honest reporting by the media

The JNF to be stripped of its Charitable status

In the event that the Charity Commission continues its dereliction of its statutory duty, we urge everyone to join the stop the JNF Campaign.

BBC bias in reporting anti Semitism in Labour

The way that the media blindly repeats any accusation against Labour of anti Semitism is well exposed by Jewish Voices for Labour.

I did the above cartoon as an attempt to highlight the lack of objectivity of the BBC. Unfortunately very few people would understand it as it stands, so I wrote a long explanation.

The media have had a field day attacking the Labour Party for anti Semitism. 

It is clear that there are anti-Semitic people in the Labour Party.   They should be expelled, suspended or re-educated.

However the savagery, depth, and widespread nature of the attacks seem to me to have all the hallmarks of an orchestrated campaign.

Four facts are relevant.

  1. An Aljazeera undercover operation showed that the Israeli Embassy actively intervenes in British politics.  It shows an Israeli  embassy official wanting ‘to take’ down British politicians including a minister.   Israel is unhappy that a strong supporter of Palestinian rights, Jeremy Corbyn, would be elected as leader of the Labour Party.
  2. There was an opinion poll carried out by Institute for Jewish Policy Research.  It stated

‘levels of antisemitism in Great Britain are among the lowest in the world’.  

‘Levels of antisemitism among those on the left-wing of the political spectrum, including the far-left, are indistinguishable from those found in the general population’.

‘Yet, all parts of those on the left of the political spectrum – including the ‘slightly left-of-centre,’ the ‘fairly left-wing’ and the ‘very left-wing’ – exhibit higher levels of anti-Israelism than average.’

‘Although the prevalence of antisemitism on the far right is considerably higher than on the left and in the political centre’

https://www.jpr.org.uk/documents/JPR.2017.Antisemitism_in_contemporary_Great_Britain.pdf

  • There were two opinion polls measuring anti-Semitism, before Corbyn’s election to the leadership of the Labour Party and after.  The opinion poll showed

“YouGov polls show anti-Semitism in Labour has actually REDUCED DRAMATICALLY since Jeremy Corbyn became leader …The answers given for YouGov’s first statement show that not only are anti-Semitic views amongst Conservative voters significantly higher than Labour voters in general, the rate of decline for anti-Semitic views amongst Labour voters is more than double the rate of Conservative voters – falling 8% in two years for Labour voters compared to a 3% decline in anti-Semitic views among Tory voters.’

  • During the elections for the Labour Party leaders in 2010 between the Milliband brothers, the fact that both are Jewish was simply not an issue.

I believe that there was a campaign by the Israeli embassy, right wing Labour and the media to deliberately confuse anti-Semitism with anti Zionism.

Sadly a joke that requires a page of A4 to explain it is not much of a joke so it joined the reject pile.

Sheffield has adopted a definition of Anti-Semitism that curbs legitimate criticism of Israel and prevents some basic solidarity with the Palestinians.

We in the Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign are anti-racist.  National PSC is anti-racist.  It is a condition of membership and we have expelled racists in general and anti-Semites in particular.  

So why do we object to the council adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism?  The actual definition is fine[i].  The problem is that examples of anti-Semitism include believing that Israel is a racist state.[ii]  Sadly there is plenty of evidence that it is.

In 1948 the embryonic state of Israel ethnically cleansed 750,000 Palestinians.  This is what a spokesman for the Jewish National Fund stated:  “Between ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both peoples together in this country. We shall not achieve our goal if the Arabs are in this small country. There is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to neighbouring countries – all of them. Not one village, not one tribe should be left.[iii]

Israel from its foundation adopted two policies 1.  Expel Palestinians and prevent them from returning to their homes which was in defiance of United Nations Resolution 194[iv] 2.  Give the right to emigrate to Israel to all Jews whether they have any desire to,  or have any reasonable links to Palestine-Israel.  This is clearly racist discrimination.

It continues to this day.  Last year Israel passed the Nation State law.  “Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it…”.[v]  There are nearly two million Palestinians in the state of Israel.  They have been relegated to second class citizens.

Adalah demonstrated that there are 65 laws in Israel that discriminate against Palestinians…”These laws limit the rights of Palestinians in all areas of life, from citizenship rights to the right to political participation, land and housing rights, education rights, cultural and language rights, religious rights and…during detention”[vi].

Israel continues to illegally annex Palestinian land.  Israel has illegally settled 600,000 Israelis in Palestinian lands[vii].  “Israel’s Settlements Have No Legal Validity, Constitute Flagrant Violation of International Law, Security Council Reaffirms”.[viii]  Netanyahu plans to annex the Jordan valley- a move condemned by the European Union[ix].

Worse, Israel is creating an Apartheid state in the West Bank.  There are separate laws for Palestinian children and Israeli children[x].  There are separate rules for water consumption in the West Bank[xi] [xii]  There are roads that Palestinians are not allowed to travel on[xiii].

An Israeli ambassador commented “In the situation that exists today, until a Palestinian state is created, we are actually one state. This joint state — in the hope that the status quo is temporary — is an apartheid state.”[xiv]  Desmond Tutu said “I am especially urging the Assembly to adopt the overture naming Israel as an apartheid state through its domestic policies and maintenance of the occupation, and the overture calling for divestment of certain companies that contribute to the occupation of the Palestinian people,”.  Five years ago, John Kerry, US spokesman, said that ‘Israel risks becoming an apartheid state if peace talks fail.’  That was five years ago, and talks did fail.[xv]

Two final points must be made.  Jews are not responsible for the policies of Israel.  The attitudes of Israel are the responsibility of the Government of Israel and the uncritical military, diplomatic and economic support of Western leaders like Donald Trump.

The final point is that the Labour council has tied solidarity for the Palestinians with the slur of anti-Semitism.  There are a number of Palestinian solidarity activities that have been curtailed because councils and other bodies have adopted this flawed definition of anti-Semitism.  The Big ride for Palestine has raised £130,000 pounds for children charities within Palestine. [xvi]   The final rally in London was due to finish up in Tower Hamlets.  The council cancelled the venue because the council had adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and they feared that they would be accused of anti-Semitism.  In the Sheffield debate, Council Leader Julie Dore stated article 10 of the Human Rights Act allows freedom of expression[xvii] and that this trumps whatever the council choses to adopt.  It makes no sense adopting a definition that is immediately trumped by a human rights act.  However, we know from experience that councils and other bodies will assume that basic solidarity with the Palestinians is somehow anti-Semitic and feel free to cancel venues and speakers. Pease read the letters overleaf and write to the council. 

Sheffield Town Hall

Dear Julie Dore

I have noted the adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism by the Sheffield City Council.

I have read some evidence that Israel is a racist state.

I conclude that the examples associated with the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism will have the effect of curtailing legitimate criticisms of Israel. 

I feel it will also curtail legitimate acts of solidarity with the Palestinians.

I ask the council to reconsider the adoption of the clauses associated with the IHRA definition of anti Semitism.

Yours

Name                                                                                    Address

Sheffield Town Hall

Dear Julie Dore

I have read the statement by Palestine solidarity Campaign.

I have read some evidence that Israel does appear to be racist and the IHRA definition does appear to be flawed.  Is there any statement in the PSC document that you would like to disagree with or question?

Many Thanks

Name                                                                                    Address  


[i] Anti-Semitism 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.”

[ii][ii] https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/node/196

[iii] http://www.csun.edu/~csunupj/israel.htm

[iv] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_Resolution_194

[v] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-politics-law-idUSKBN1K901V

[vi] https://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/7771

[vii] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-38888649

[viii] https://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sc12657.doc.htm

[ix] https://www.timesofisrael.com/eu-condemns-netanyahu-plan-to-annex-jordan-valley/

[x] JURIST Guest Columnist Rifat Kassis, President of Defence for Children International (DCI), argues that Palestinian children detained by the Israeli military often face abuse, mistreatment and torture in violation of international law and human rights

[xi] But it’s also a day to remember, and fight for, 2.1 million Palestinians who suffer something different – an artificial water scarcity deliberately created and sustained by Israel’s military occupation, and the private Israeli water company Mekorot. https://theecologist.org/2014/mar/22/water-apartheid-palestine-crime-against-humanity

[xii] http://www.alhaq.org/monitoring-documentation/15167.html

[xiii] https://www.btselem.org/freedom_of_movement/checkpoints_and_forbidden_roads

[xiv] https://www.timesofisrael.com/joint-israel-west-bank-reality-is-an-apartheid-state/

[xv] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/28/israel-apartheid-state-peace-talks-john-kerry.  He did later regret using those words. 

[xvi] https://www.thebigride4palestine.com/

[xvii] https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/human-rights-act/article-10-freedom-expression

Message From Louise Haigh

Message from Louise, 27/9/19
I’m so sorry that I can’t be with you this evening; due to turbulent events in
Westminster I have to be down in London but as ever I send solidarity to the
campaign and to all that you are trying to achieve.
Many things struck me on my visit to Palestine last year but one thing that will never
leave me is my experience in the military courts in Ofer.
Guided by Military Court Watch, our group attended sessions of the Israeli Military
Court where we met with families of defendants, many of them children, and saw
close up many of the well-documented ways in which the system abuses the rights
of juveniles and others.
We saw first-hand children being tried without an interpreter, not understanding what
was going on around them, we saw the sheer numbers of children being processed
through the courts, we met with families who had to travel for many hours, leaving
their livelihoods on hold to wait for the trial of their children only to be told the trial
wouldn’t take place that day and over and over again we saw children passed
sentences of six months for throwing stones.
Several people told us that child and other defendants would “confess” to offences
they had not committed and for which no evidence was often provided, knowing that
the system works against them and to seek to challenge invariably leads to a longer
time in prison.
But the one thing that will never leave me and which still brings tears to my eyes
even when writing to this message to you now is the moment when a 13 year old boy
was sentenced to prison for throwing stones, his parents had travelled from Hebron
at the back of the room only six or so feet behind him. Upon sentencing the young
boy asked if he could shake his father’s hand before he was sent to prison, he’d
already been on remand for several weeks and hadn’t seen him, but he was simply
told no and dragged out of the courtroom. This was under the eye of international
observers.
That simple action demonstrated to me the cruelty and inhumanity of the system
they have created to collectively punish the Palestinians, to wear them down and to
complete the occupation. We know that the Israeli Government breaches
international human rights law and the laws of war and we know that every day they
are pushing at the boundaries still further in their attempts to annex the Jordan
Valley.
Anything that we can do to offer solidarity and to challenge the actions of the Israeli
Government will help expose and hold to account the casual cruelty at the heart of
the child detention system and the illegal occupation of Palestine.
Thank you again for coming out to support this important cause, I’m sorry I can’t be
with you but I look forward to standing by your side in this crucial fight for human
rights.

Gaza journalists seek a voice

By Musheir El Farra and Dick Pitt

When the Israelis stop mass killings in Gaza, the media turns its unblinking eyes away.  Life goes on in, what David Cameron called, a huge prison.  Why do we not hear about life in Gaza? What is their daily life like?  What are the day to day discussions?  What are the shortages? How is people’s mental health? What are the political discussions?

On Friday 14th June, a group of  local journalists from Sheffield were in a video discussion with journalists from Gaza. 

The Gaza journalists had got together and approached Palestine Solidarity Campaign Chairman Musheir El Farra about how they can contact British journalists to talk to them about their work in blockaded Gaza.  Over a period of two hours we got to hear bits of the story that they want the world to know.

The journalists pointed out that they were non-combatants.  They were there to report the facts.  The demonstrations, ‘The right of Return’ was not an invasion, not organised by any faction.  They were the march of a people who wished to return home from forced exile.  

The Journalists’ tools are cameras not guns.  They need to write and become witnesses for a voiceless people.  They need to be able to show their photographs in exhibitions and tell their stories free from harassment arrest, wounding or killing.  Journalists wear very distinctive, easily identifiable gear.  Yet 200 journalists had been injured by various projectiles, tear gas canisters, and bullets since the start of the protests, March 2018.  The journalists were clear that they felt Israel has targeted Journalists.  It was also pointed out that Israel is holding 40 journalists in prisons. 

A representative present from Human Rights organisation explained the frustration of getting no results to their hundreds of complaints to the Israeli authorities regarding attacks on Palestinian journalists. 

There is also repression by the Hamas authorities.  One journalist described how she obtained a story on corruption in the obtaining exit permits for medical treatment.  The result was that she was arrested, and four separate charges were filed against her, including one of impersonation (she had worn a face veil to avoid recognition).   The case against her collapsed.  Reports of demonstrations against Hamas were repressed. 

One Palestinian journalist described how he built up a following of 35,000 people and 5000 friends.  His website was cyber attacked by the Israelis leaving him to restart the hard grind of building it up again from nothing.  In total, 100 Facebook accounts for journalists in the Gaza Strip were cyber attacked by Israel in an identical way.

Some of the journalists present explained how they received threatening phone calls and text messages from unknown numbers to try to intimidate them to stop covering attacks by the Israeli army against civilians.

They pointed out that they needed to get to journalist conferences to share knowledge and experiences.  To do their work properly that have to have freedom of movement.  

They needed to challenge the bias of programs like the BBC A day in Gaza.  At present they are not able to.

Everyone agreed that further such conference calls would be very useful.  

One journalist explained the frustration of being in his thirties and being unemployed as a result of the Israeli blockade.  However, this doesn’t stop journalists from rushing to places were Israeli attacks are happening. 

The Palestinian journalists present; asked the British journalists to work on a plan to create a mechanism by which they, the British journalists,  become their voice among the British people. The British journalists promised to do their best to try to pass the message to as many journalists as possible within the NUJ.

 It was agreed that this meeting was the start of cooperation between journalists in Palestine and Britain.   Campaigning work should start to organise a tour in Britain to repeat similar meeting format with audience from the media and the public.  

It was also agreed that Sheffield PSC and the South Yorkshire branch of NUJ will try their best to help with supporting small projects like short videos made by the Palestinian journalists to counter bias Western media reporting such as the BBC programme “A day in Gaza “ and others.

BDS and Justice for the Palestinians

I signed up for Future Learn.   They run a huge collection of on-line courses on a vast section of subjects from different Universities.  I thoroughly recommend them. 

I believe that people learn from people they disagree with.  (On the grounds that it if two people agree, there will not be much learning going on.)

I signed up to an on-line course on Anti-Semitism at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Centre.  I believe that the holocaust was an incredibly evil act.  The process by which an advanced first world country can be organised for the industrial slaughter of six million Jews should never be forgotten and never be repeated.  (The process is, I believe, at the start of being repeated today, with a new target, Muslims.)

However, the course is irredeemably Zionist.  That is, the course ceased to be educational and flipped over to propaganda.  I only want to talk about one example. 

Here is a video on Boycott Sanctions and Disinvestment, BDS.  The description promises us –  What is the BDS movement, what are its goals and what characterizes its activity?

We are given bland material about Boycotts and South Africa, and that choosing a Spanish orange rather than an Israeli one is not anti-Semitic.  We are told that the aims of BDS are deliberately kept vague, in order to bring in a wide variety of people.  This is not true. Then we are told that behind the nonviolent campaign of BDS is a global invitation to mass violence.  No individual, or organisation is quoted as supporting any violence let alone mass violence.

The key questions are “who called for BDS?” and “What are their demands?”  The presenters both have PhDs.  It took me about 5 seconds to look up BDS on Google and find the answers.  So why would academics with honed research skills not look it up?  I cannot believe that they do not know.  That is when they moved from objective academics to pro-Israel propagandists.  So what do they want to hide?

  1. The BDS movement was launched by 170 Palestinian unions, political parties, refugee networks, women’s organisations, professional associations, popular resistance committees and other Palestinian civil society bodies in 2005.
  2. There are three demands

A             Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall

B             Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality

C             Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194

The demand comes from a people who have lived under Israeli oppression for 71 years.   Palestinians do not like the occupation, the Apartheid Laws, the kidnappings, the daily humiliations let alone water and land thefts.

These academic spokespeople for the oppressor refuse to even accept that the oppressed have made demands.  They refuse to discuss those demands.

It is much easier for them to attack people who answer the call for solidarity with the smear of anti-Semitism than discuss why Palestinians are oppressed and how we can end it.  It is clear to me that we need to build BDS till Israel starts to listen. <