Category Archives: Campaign

Press release: council refuses to vote on petition

Yesterday we presented the petition signed by at least 7500 people both online and on paper, but the council at the behest of leaders and advice of senior officers, hid behind procedural barriers to avoid having to face the strength of support on this issue and delegated the issue to the Strategy and Resources Committee.

Below is the press release issued by Sheffield  Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid as a result of this cowardly approach.

Here are questions being sent by the Coalition to the Strategy and Resources Committee.

PRESS RELEASE: Sheffield City Council sells itself short

Sheffield City Council was presented with a petition this afternoon calling on them to stand in unity and solidarity with Palestinians currently faced with a genocidal assault in Gaza following years of living under occupation by Israel which Amnesty International, among several international organisations, has designated an apartheid state.

“Supporting the International Court of Justice ruling on genocide, accepting Amnesty’s designation of Israel as practising apartheid, and issuing a statement of unity and solidarity with Palestinians is the next crucial moral step which recognises the reality of life in Palestine and the legally incontrovertible explanations for it.  That would be a major step.” Annie O’Gara summing up in support of the petition.

The petition was signed by over 7,500 people, collected in less than two weeks; it represents the overwhelming view of Sheffield citizens

Offered this opportunity, the Council neglected their duty to set a moral climate, hiding behind narrow legalistic “advice” which they couldn’t adequately explain. But even this advice would have allowed them to make a decision in “exceptional” circumstances. What more “exceptional circumstances” do they need than genocide in Gaza?

As Jonny Feldman said in presenting the petition “For these reasons the council must step up and not be silent. Do not betray your humanity, your basic decency by looking the other way or by kow-towing to external pressures and then pretending that what is happening is justifiable”.

That is precisely what the leadership of the Council then did. Every speech from the floor of the Council gave moving and powerful support to the petition and in favour of accepting it.  As Councillor Peter Price said, in his last meeting after 53 years as a Councillor, said: “if this was Russia we’d be screaming the room down…. I don’t accept that we don’t have influence. Our history is built on this Council taking leads, whether it’s on apartheid or Vietnam, always took a stance and made a statement. It doesn’t change the world but it helped to change minds”.

But the leaders, the Lord Mayor, and senior officers of the Council called an adjournment and then instructed all Councillors, except the Greens, to kick the discussion into the long grass by referring it to the Strategy and Resources Committee that next meets in June! How many more Palestinians have to die before they can decide that this is genocide?

“At the end of their joint statement on Ukraine, the 3 party leaders said the Town Hall would be lit in Ukrainian colours and promised Sheffield will do all it can to “be a light in the darkness.” How dark does life for Palestinians have to get before you do the same for Palestine? You can do it today” said Annie O’Gara speaking to the Council today.

Sheffield University failing students from Gaza

For the last 10 years the University of Sheffield has offered an annual taught postgraduate scholarship to a student from Gaza. Since 2013, the University has offered tuition, accommodation and a small maintenance grant.

Despite this legacy, the University has not made any public statements about the welfare and wellbeing of any current or past Gazan students.

As a result of this, on the 7th February 2024, a group of 27 Students Union sabbatical officers – who are elected to represent students – published an open letter to the University’s senior leadership sharing their profound concern and dismay due to the absence of a public statement or evident action to support Palestinians who have graduated from, or are studying at the University.

The University of Sheffield has not replied to this request despite the continuing Israeli attacks on every university in Gaza, and the killing of over 80 professors and academics.

The University must support its students and alumni, and respond to the open letter.

Call for Alumni to send a letter

If you are or have been part of the University of Sheffield, please email their alumni department using our template letter.

Despite providing an annual scholarship to a student from Gaza since 2013, the University had been silent – it has not responded to the open letter sent in Feb ‘24 by over 25 former and current Student Union Sabbatical Officers, who requested confirmation of the support available for Palestinian students and alumni.

Insist that the University make: a public statement on its support for Gazan students and alumni!

More information about attacks on the right to education in Gaza

Sign petition to end complicity with Israeli Apartheid!

Do you live, work or study in Sheffield? If so, please read, sign and circulate this petition today – we must reach our target of 5,000 signatures in a fortnight!

The people of Gaza have been under barbaric genocidal attacks for weeks. Over 30,000 people have been killed – 11,000 of them are children. Yet still there is no ceasefire.

In the West Bank, Palestinians continue to to be forcibly removed from their homes and face daily threats from settlers and the military. Over 7,000 Palestinians are detained in Israeli jails, without charge or trial.

It’s time for Sheffield City Council to show leadership once more. We call on Sheffield City Council to declare our city an Israeli Apartheid-free zone and to issue a statement of solidarity with Palestinian people.

Don’t bank on Barclays!!

Barclays is bankrolling Israel’s genocidal assault on Palestinians through its financial ties with arms companies that sell weapons to Israel.

We’re calling on all concerned people to boycott all Barclays services until the bank ends its complicity in Israel’s attacks on Palestinians.

IN SHEFFIELD, we are camping outside Barclays for 24 hours to draw attention to their complicity with genocide and to continue our demand for an Israeli Apartheid Free Zone in this great city.

Let’s not forget Sheffield’s great tradition of solidarity – from the anti slavery sugar boycott in the 1850s, solidarity with Chilean refugees in the 1970s and South African anti apartheid campaign in the 1980s when Barclays were boycotted before and paid the price!!

The council MUST act now!

For 8 days two Palestinian women camped outside the Town Hall supported by many hundred of Sheffield people – who came to visit or stay with them throughout the day and night. They had three clear demands.

Lean (right) and Sahar (left) with Tyneside supporter Annabelle during the camp

The one demand in our grasp at a local level was that the council declare Sheffield an Israeli Apartheid Free zone and take action to ensure none of its operations can have ties with Israel. Please read this to find out what this means and what you can do.

On February 7th hundreds of people will take action for Gaza in their workplace while the council meets in full for the first time this year. In the wake of the ICJ ruling, surely it is time for the council to act:

Apartheid Free Zone now in Sheffield!

(Press release 30th January 2024)

Excellent boycott action Saturday Feb 3rd

Over 100 people took part in a vibrant boycott action in Sheffield today: prepared with songs and good voice over 50 walked through Waitrose singing various boycott songs, including the new Cokebusters!

The crowd then moved on to Aldi – their staff did not seem to mind too much; Waitrose meanwhile had blocked all the isles and called the police – who remained at a respectful distance and enjoyed the concert.

Actions this Friday 2nd & Saturday 3rd Feb

On Friday, a vigil for Palestine with HealthCare workers for Palestine. On Saturday a boycott action. Details in images below

Boycott actions are a way of engaging people directly, talking to them about how their own purchasing choices can make an impact and hep bring them to account for their actions. Please joins us this Saturday.