Actions 25th and 26th May

We will gathering for Palestine, outside the Light Cinema on the Moor in Sheffield Town Centre on Saturday 25th May at midday

Sunday we will be taking part in a support rally for a Palestine Action member on remand for highlighting the criminal nature of the Israeli regime.

Please joins us on both if you can

Nakba Day Action

Wednesday 15th May: Nakba Day. We will be outside the Town hall from 10.30 am until approx 2.30 pm with a display of Nakba photographs. NB the rally will now start at 1.45 pm as the Council meeting is not starting until 2.30 pm. Palestinians, Lena and Sahar will be speaking plus Sheffield Councillors.

Sheffield Remembers The Nakba in 2024

An inspiring march and rally on Saturday May 11th as Sheffield remembers the Nakba and stands with Palestinians as the attacks on Rafah intensify.


Below is a great summary of the Nakba and its meaning today, taken from a speech by long time activist for justice in Palestine, Paul Kelemen, at our rally in Sheffield on Saturday May 2024.

This year’s Nakba Day has a special meaning, a special significance:

  • Palestinians are again subjected to ethnic cleansing and mass murder; 
  • We are again seeing unarmed Palestinians fleeing on foot and on carts, in the face of savage bombardments, just as they as they were forced to do from Dec 1947 to the first few months of 1949.

Then, as now, the Palestinian resistance had to fight without much support from the neighbouring states.  In Zionist mythology it is said that the Zionist militias had to withstand 5 Arab armies.  

The truth is that the neighbouring Arab states led by Western stooges made largely token gestures at fighting to placate their own public. The King of Jordan, the only leader with a serious military clout had an army run by British officers. He made a deal with the  Zionists to carve up Palestine, which is what the British wanted. 

After the 1948, it became the standard defence for Israel to claim that it had to be established because Jewish people could find safety only by having their own state.

It is true, that the during the rise of fascism the so called liberal democracies did not want to open their doors to large numbers of persecuted Jewish people.  But people who seek refuge don’t become colonisers merely by taking refuge in another country – instead they settle down amongst the people living in that place.  

It was the Zionist movement which turned the Jewish people who went to Palestine into colonisers, by recruiting them into a project which involved Jewish immigrants being given land taken from the Palestinians and being given jobs and resources that were denied to the Palestinians.  

The same colonisation process is now being implemented in the West Bank and it is also the goal that Israel is pursuing in Gaza.  By reducing Gaza to rubble, by making it unliveable, Israel is hoping to push out its population.  

The Naqba has never ended.

Although there are haunting parallels between Israel’s current genocide and the 1948 massacres and expulsion, there is also a very important difference.  

In 1948, there were no public protests at the expulsion of 750,00 Palestinians.  

In Western countries, it barely registered on public consciousness.  In the UK, no political party or organisation spoke out for the Palestinians.  To give but one example. Prior to 1948, Labour party conferences had passed 11 resolutions in support of the Zionist movement. They mostly repeated the Zionist argument that Jewish settlement would also benefit the Palestinians. 

In the autumn of 1949, as the traumatised Palestinian refugees were sheltering in refugee camps some under tents but most under trees, with little to eat or drink, the Labour Party had its annual conference.  About the destruction of Palestine, not a single word was uttered at the conference.  

It is not an exaggeration to say that for about 20 years after Israel’s establishment in 1948, in Western countries, the Palestinians were forgotten.  Their ethnic cleansing was covered up by thick layers of mythology about Israel finding a barely populated land. 

In this respect there is a fundamental difference between the lack of an international response to the Nakba, and the popular mobilisation on the side of the Palestinians against Israel’s current genocidal war.  Completely unexpectedly to Israel and its allies, this has opened up a second front in the Palestinian struggle. 

Some of the most significant anti-colonial struggles in the past century, as in Kenya, in Algeria and in Vietnam were won because the moral authority of the coloniser collapsed. And it collapsed in the imperial centres as well as globally because of the resistance of the colonised but also because of the international protest movements which that resistance provoked.  

A sure sign of this happening now, is that the likes of Biden, Sunak and Starmer are now desperately trying to recover the moral high ground, by feigning concern over Israel’s attack on Rafah.  

But even as they make great play of their concern, they continue to supply Israel with weapons, to demonise the Palestinian resistance and to accuse us, who refuse to turn a blind eye to genocide, of being motivated by racism.

 The truth is that it is their racism that has been exposed. They incite hatred against migrants and pretend to shed tears over Ukrainians to expand NATO to Russia’s border, but they believe that massacring Palestinians is something we should quietly accept.

In contrast to the total moral bankruptcy of Western leaders, the people of Gaza have kept their unity.  In the midst of the grief, the stress and the shortages, they might have turned against each other. They have not.  

In military terms, the Palestinians cannot match the most advanced US, German and British weaponry supplied to the IDF, but they do not have to win on the battlefield.  

They and the international solidarity movement can and are winning the political battle.  

There is a long struggle ahead but after 76 years the political tide has turned. The task for us, is to make British complicity with Israel into a mainstream political issue and to build a powerful Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. 

That is the least we owe to Palestinians in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Israel, in exile here among us and around the world

 who have continued fighting for their people’s liberation 

They have demonstrated that the Westen imperial order can be defied and discredited and that there are people everywhere willing to join the fight to defeat racism and colonialism. 

Remembering the Nakba in Sheffield, 2024

Nakba Day is the 15th May; it is the day Palestinian people remember the expulsion of over 750000 from their homes, and when over 500 villages were destroyed by Israeli forces. So powerful is this memory in Palestinian culture, keys are used as symbol to remind them of their right to return and many families have the key to the properties they were expelled from.

We are having a march on 11th May to stand in solidarity with Palestinians , a balloon launch on 14th and 15th May , weather permitting, to highlight the complicity of the UK government in the current genocide and a rally on 15th May at the Town Hall from 11 am.

On 18th May we urge everyone to join the demo in London.

We are also leafleting the Eurovision broadcast at the Light in the evening of the 11th May. How can Israel be included now we can see the culmination of ethno-supremecy?

Students’ mass encampment for Palestine

Students at the University of Sheffield have today (1 May 2024) begun a mass encampment in solidarity with the Palestinian people and in protest against allegations of their university’s complicity in Israeli apartheid and the ongoing bombardment of Gaza. The day started with planned walk-outs of lectures and teaching activities, followed by a demonstration. As the demonstration neared its end, students could be seen setting up tents and gazebos outside university buildings. Combined with solidarity encampments created by students at the Universities of Warwick and Edinburgh last week, this marks the spread of the tactics of the American student movement (as seen at Columbia and at least 30 other US institutions) to the UK. Multiple other coordinated encampments are expected imminently.

The protests are led by the Sheffield Campus Coalition for Palestine (SCCP), a coalition of staff, students, and alumni from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University. They are backed by staff members,  local trades unionists, and community groups such as Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and Jews Against Israeli Apartheid. The latter have issued a statement of support, saying they welcome the walk out and  ‘call on all students and staff to do so and resolve to hold their University to account for its complicity with the genocide perpetrated by Israel in Palestine’.

Student demonstrators point to the role played by the university’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in manufacturing the F-35 combat aircraft used by the Israeli military. The AMRC boasts that its ‘novel, fully automated manufacturing process’ has been used to provide ‘critical fuselage panels’ for more than 500 F-35 Lightning II aircraft, saving arms manufacturer BAE Systems £15 million in costs in the process. A Dutch court recently ordered the country’s government to immediately suspend all exports of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel, due to concerns that they were being used to violate international law.

A student spokesperson for SCCP said: ‘The university can house decolonial lecturers in their theatres whilst simultaneously profiting off settler-colonial projects. But now the fig leaf has fallen, revealing the University of Sheffield not as an academic institution, but rather as a brazen hub for weapons manufacturers. Most egregiously, the University has been found to have helped streamline and produce the very instruments of warfare Israel used in its ruthless and indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza. It is for that reason that we students have come to charge the university with complicity in the genocide of the Palestinians in Gaza. Our demand is clear: divest now.’

The university’s involvement in F-35 production is part of a pattern of close ties with the arms industry. In 2022, a freedom of information request (FOI) revealed that the University of Sheffield took at least £72 million in investment from the arms trade over the preceding decade. This level of investment is exceptionally high in the context of British higher education. Last year openDemocracy reported that Sheffield University received more defence funding than any other institution, taking over £42m, while Oxford and Cambridge took £17m and £10m respectively.

University of Sheffield Lecturer, Dr Lisa Stampnitzky, said ‘I am proud to see our students taking a stand and joining this worldwide movement against the ongoing genocide in Gaza.   Our university needs to confirm its commitment to be an ethical institution and divest itself of ties to the development of weapons used to perpetrate atrocities.’

Students have expressed concerns about the influence exerted by these companies on the university’s research agenda and teaching. The protesters draw attention to the AMRC’s membership scheme, which allows private companies to mould research priorities, and to the role played by Industrial Advisory Boards (IABs) in some university departments.[1] Both feature representation from arms companies.


[1] See https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/aerospace/about/industry/partners#AerospaceIndustrialAdvisoryBoard; https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/eee/about/working-industry.

SCCP Demands: 

Divest (سحب العلاقات): We call on the University of Sheffield to divest from weapons manufacturing. The University should not be aiding in supplying instruments of warfare to a genocidal state.

Boycott (مقاطعة): We demand that the institution sever all ties to Israeli universities. Israeli academic institutions have long served as pillars of Israel’s system of oppression against Palestinians, with many universities utterly entangled in the violent machinery of Palestinian dispossession, occupation, incarceration, surveillance, siege and most recently genocide.  

Accountability (مساءلة): We hold the University of Sheffield accountable for their complicity in the genocide of the Palestinian people. The campus community demands that the University agree to a meeting with students and staff.

Solidarity – but with who?

On 6th March the Sheffield Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid presented a petition signed by over 7500 Sheffield citizens at a full council meeting. They refused to debate the issue – even though 7500 was well above the threshold number required of 5000 – passing it to the Strategy and Resources committee, as we have reported previously. Instead they committed to issuing ‘a cross-party statement of solidarity’

This statement was issued on 25th March. It is completely inadequate. It does not even mention Palestine in the title so who it is in solidarity with is perplexing and the word Palestinian does not get a mention in the document itself.

This is in complete disregard to the swell of opinion in Sheffield in support of Palestine and in complete contrast to the statement of support for Ukraine.

The council and your councillor is letting us down. We urge you to vote in the local elections on May 5th for the candidate that most sympathetic with Palestine.

You can read the council statement here . You can read the full Coalition response here.

Here are some questions you can put to your candidate

  • Do you accept Amnesty International’s designation of Israel as a state practising Apartheid across historic Palestine?  YES / NO
  • Do you agree with the International Court of Justice that credible evidence exists that Israel is committing the crime of Genocide in Gaza? YES / NO
  • Do you support the International Court of Justice’s inquiry into the legal consequences of the 57 year long Israeli Occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan? YES /NO
  • Do you support the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement? YES/NO