All posts by Dick Pitt

Benefit Meal


About 80 people were at this very enjoyable meal.  Jews, Christians, and Muslims and others enjoyed the dancing of Shahd Abu Salama and the fantastic music.  In these dark times it is inspirational that people can come together in solidarity to raise money for children’s charities in Gaza.  We have just sent moneys to Gaza so our coffers are bare.

Shahd Abu Salama  was a young girl when she was first here in 2005 so it was delightful to see how she has grown into a such strong confidant singer and speaker.  More pictures are here


The New Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Calendar


One of our members, Caroline Poland walked from Land’s End to John o Groats to raise money and spread awareness of the oppression of Palestinians.  Some forty people joined her for parts of the walk.  In this country people struggled to get access to our beautiful countryside.  In Palestine movement is severely restricted by the Israeli Army.  The calendar shows the contrast.

Watch out for it at vigils and meetings.


Town Hall Vigil


About thirty people joined our Saturday Vigil on 29th October.  We were pointing out how Palestinian farmers were being oppressed by Israel.  There is land theft, water theft, olive trees uprooted and much else in the Israeli imposed Apartheid state.

There was very little hostility in spite of a wave of right wing propaganda falsely claiming that we are anti Semitic.   We oppose the Government of Israel and its supporters for the imposition of an Apartheid state.   These words are not just terms of abuse they are the simple honest assessment of facts on the ground.

Home Affairs Report on Anti-Semitism

The Home Affairs Committee has just produced a report into Anti-Semitism There is a huge amount of confusion about the subject.  This report does not help.  National PSC has given a reply here.

I want to take up just one point.

Under conclusions and recommendations (page 50) there is this sentence  ‘The word Zionist or worse Zio as a term of abuse however has no place in civilised society.’ 

The practice of  Zionism as implemented by successive Israeli Governments includes the following

1.       Ethnic cleansing of about 700,000 Palestinians in 1948. 

2.       Systematic land theft in Jerusalem and the West Bank since 1967.

3.       Theft of water from Palestinian lands.

4.       A systematic illegal house building program for Israelis on stolen land.

5.       The blockade of Gaza, the destruction of its economy and periodic devastating attacks.

6.       A systematic system of barriers in the West Bank that make travel for Palestinians very difficult.

7.       The establishment of an Apartheid regime in the area that Israel controls.

Let me expand on the last one.  There are roads that Palestinians are not allowed to drive on.  There are areas that Palestinians are not allowed to live.  There is a separate system of law for Palestinians.

 Three fourteen year olds who came to dance in Sheffield have been arrested.  We think it is for throwing stones.  They will be charged in a military court.  In the unlikely event that an Israeli was charged for the same act, (s)he would be tried in a civilian court.

 There is a set of clauses from the UN that define what is Apartheid.   The clauses of freedom of movement alone shows Israel is imposing an Apartheid state. 

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 [of Palestinian lands]….”

 “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,” Alon Liel Ex Israeli Ambassador to South Africa

We in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign oppose all racism.  The claim of the Israeli Government that it represents all Jews, and that it acts in the interests of all Jews is manifestly untrue, deeply offensive and breeds anti-Semitism.  Jews are not responsible for Apartheid Israel.  Probably the most important figure in the establishment of Israel was the Anti-Semitic Balfour.  He introduced the Aliens Act of 1905 to prevent Jewish refugees from coming to Britain.

I regard the practice of Zionism in creating Israeli Apartheid deeply offensive.  How do I use the word in a non abusive way?

The Tory Party supported South African Apartheid till very late.

It would be very nice if it did not wait as long to oppose Israeli Apartheid.




The Big Ride


Over 200 cyclists  took part in the Big Ride to Shenstone.   There it joined with other protesters on Monday 8th August, including a good contingent from Sheffield PSC.  The wholly owned Israeli Elbit  factory there makes engines for drones.  Drones helped the attack on Gaza in 2014.   This attack killed about 1,500 civilians including 500 children.  The oppression continues today.

While our PSC bank accounts which help educate young women and  fund children’s projects have been closed the daily business of making weapons for the Israeli military goes ahead as normal.  Time to end it.

More pictures are here.

There is also a lovely video of the Sheffield leg of the ride and protest.  It is made by Angela Martin from Sheffield.   Please have a look at it and share with friends.  It is here.

The Big Ride


We are cycling to raise awareness of the UK’s complicity in arming Israel.  Groups of cyclists from London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Sheffield will converge on Shenstone.  The Elbit factory  there is a wholly owned Israeli arms manufacturer.  It makes parts for drones.  Two years ago drones helped kill 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza.  Most were civilians, over five hundred were children.

Send us on our way at Sheffield Town Hall 10.30 Saturday 6th August.

Or cycle with us for a hundred yards or a hundred miles.

Or you can drive to Shenstone on Monday the 8th August to join the protest.

More information here.