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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Brent councillors urged to oppose anti-semitism but support free speech on Israel-Palestine

Brent and Harrow PSC have written to Brent councillors about the motion on anti-Semitism to be discussed at the Council meeting on Monday 18th September.
Dear Councillor 

RE: Full Council – 18 September 2017
Motion selected by the Conservative Group ADOPTION OF INTERNATIONAL
HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE ALLIANCE DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM
Councillor Joel Davidson Brondesbury Park Ward 

We welcome the discussion on how to combat anti-Semitism in the ongoing battle against racism in all its forms. 

The International Holocaust Remember Association’s definition is as follows:
“Antisemitism 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.” 
However, the guidance issued by the IHRA uses a number of controversial examples of forms of anti-Semitism, most of which (7/11) refer to Israel. We submit that the effect of adopting the guidance would be to prevent criticism of the actions of the Israeli State and of a legitimate critique of Zionism as a political ideology. For example, the guidance states that to call Israel a racist enterprise can be anti-Semitic. This has been used to describe anyone who refers to Israel as an apartheid state as ‘anti-Semitic’ and to withdraw meeting facilities from them.  Similarly, the example of not holding Israel to a standard has been used to say calling for boycott is anti -Semitic, which in the opinion of eminent QC Hugh Tomlinson is a threat to legally protected freedom of expression. 

Mixing the issue of anti-Semitism with the policies and actions of the Israeli State, it is likely to make it harder to identify and oppose anti-Semitism, a goal to which we are all committed. DETAILS

If you wish to support the adoption of the (38 word) definition, we ask therefore, that this does not include the highly controversial guidance. In this way, opposition to anti-Semitism is made clear, without any limitation of legitimate criticism of the Israeli State or the ideology of Zionism.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Gaza in Crisis: A political choice, not a natural disaster




 Morning Star Open Letter September 1st 2017

The world knows Gaza is in crisis. No clean water, only 3-4 hours electricity a day and not enough medicine.

Nearly 2 million people live besieged in conditions the UN describes as a human dignity crisis. But this is not a natural disaster — it is a political choice to punish the Palestinian people. A decision made by Israel with the support of the governments of the US, UK and EU.

Three years ago this month, Israel ended its devastating military offensive on the Gaza strip, which killed 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children. A further 11,000 were injured, leaving many people, including around a thousand children, with life-altering disabilities. The 50-day long Operation Protective Edge, all but obliterated Gaza’s infrastructure and left it highly contaminated.

To deliberately incarcerate people in their own land, refuse them the right to travel and trade and deprive them of all but the essential means of survival is a clear breach of international law. Such behaviour is not acceptable for modern democracies.

The UN warned that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020 unless the blockade is lifted.

More aid, medicine, electricity and clean water would be a welcome relief to many, but it is hypocritical to cause the problem and then pretend to assist by partially alleviating the situation we have created. Israel controls Gaza by land, air and sea; effectively sealing it off from the world. The only solution is to eliminate the causes — to end the 50-year occupation and the 10-year siege of Gaza.

We are calling on the world to act, to abide by their obligations under international law and for the UK government to intervene to end this crisis in Gaza we have helped create. 

For this to happen it requires the removal by Israel of all obstacles to the exercise of human rights by Palestinians in Gaza; and the immediate lifting of the blockade, allowing imports and exports, not just insufficient supplies of humanitarian aid.

We, the undersigned, call for an end to the man-made crisis in Gaza and for:

- the immediate lifting of the blockade of Gaza and allowing of imports and exports;
- the UK government to abide by their obligations under international law to end the siege;
- the removal by Israel of all obstacles to the exercise of human rights by Palestinians in Gaza, including the right to travel and trade.


Ben Jamal, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Hugh Lanning, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Salman Abu Sitta
John Austin
Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC
Zaher Birawi, International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza
Baroness Tessa Blackstone
Christine Blower
Victoria Brittain
Alan Brown MP
Mick Cash, RMT
Caryl Churchill
Manuel Cortes, TSSA
Kevin Courtney, NUT
Ronnie Cowan MP
Mike Cushman
William Dalrymple
Martyn Day MP
Kareem Dennis (aka Lowkey)
Brian Eno
Jill Evans MEP
Bella Freud
Pat Gaffney, Pax Christi
Lindsey German, Stop The War
Roger Godsiff MP
Neil Gray MP
Jeremy Hardy
Philipa Harvey, NUT
Revd Canon Garth Hewitt
Kate Hudson, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Betty Hunter
Jeremy Irons
Councillor Morriam Jan
Ghada Karmi
Mohammed Kozbar, Muslim Association of Britain
Paul Laverty
Clive Lewis MP
Ken Loach
Caroline Lucas MP
Miriam Margolyes
Kika Markham
David Martin MEP
Professor Nur Masalha
Len McCluskey, Unite the Union
Professor Karma Nabulsi
Brenda O’Hara MP
Ilan Pappe
John Pilger
Dave Prentis, General Secretary, Unison
Dave Randall
Louise Regan, NUT
Asad Rehman, War on Want
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, Free Speech on Israel
Atallah Said OBE, British Palestinian Policy Council
Alexei Sayle
Mark Serwotka, PCS
Tommy Sheppard MP
Clare Short
Andy Slaughter MP
Keith Sonnet
Ahdaf Soueif
Chris Stephens MP
Keith Taylor MEP
Mark Thomas
David Thompson
Baroness Jenny Tonge
Kiri Tunks, NUT
Lord Norman Warner
Mick Whelan, ASLEF
Matt Wrack, FBU
Benjamin Zephaniah
Dr Adeeb Ziadeh, Palestinian Forum in Britain

Saturday, 13 May 2017

GE2017: Vote for Palestine - contact your candidates

 





On the 8th June British voters have the power to choose who represents them in parliament. This is our chance to convince candidates to support Palestine. We want every candidate to be aware of how much support exists for the campaign for justice and equality for the Palestinian people.

It is up to you – the voters – to contact the candidates in your area, and ensure that your future MP will be taking action for Palestine once elected. We can’t miss this chance!

Contact your local candidates now!
PSC have put together a list of questions on Palestine for each candidate to answer. Please share the responses with campaigns@palestinecampaign.org.

Keep checking back on the website under the #VotePalestine tab for the candidate responses, a social media toolkit, and the latest polls on British public attitudes to Palestine.

You can read more about the questions and their background here. Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing the answers we receive from each candidate on the PSC website to help you make an informed choice about which candidate will stand up for Palestinian human rights.
 
Let your local candidates know Palestine matters!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

New Statesman silences Palestinian voice - take action now!

Palestinian voices are being censored and silenced. We cannot let this happen.

Earlier this month PSC commissioned an article from Salah Ajarma, the co-founder and Director of the Lajee Cultural Centre in Aida Refugee camp. The New Statesman published the piece as part of a two year partnership between the PSC and the New Statesman. Two pro-Israel blogs attacked the New Statesman for publishing the piece, shortly afterwards, the New Statesman deleted it without speaking to Salah or to PSC. They have since refused to offer any explanation or justification for the removal of the article.

This is a disgraceful attack on freedom of expression, a clear case of censorship, and a deliberate attempt to silence Palestinian voices. By doing this, the New Statesman have politically censored a human rights campaigner, who is living under very harsh conditions of military occupation in a refugee camp. We cannot stand by and let this happen. We cannot be silenced.

Take action now!

It would appear the New Statesman have caved into political pressure to remove the article, and do not believe they owe Salah or PSC the courtesy even of a conversation: the editorial team won’t even take our phone calls. In an email to the PSC, the New Statesman stated that the article had been removed as a result of ‘reader complaints’, refusing any further elaboration and any editorial contact.

Salah's article describes the experiences of young Palestinian refugees in Aida camp and talks about how settlements impact his life and the lives of people in his community. New Statesman editors approved and published the article.

The New Statesman's actions are political censorship of a Palestinian human rights campaigner. We cannot stand by and let this happen.

This action does not align with the stated goals of the New Statesman to “hold our leaders to account and tell the stories that the world needs to hear”. What is happening in Palestine is a story that the world needs to hear, and the account of a Palestinian should not be censored. The lack of explanation and refusal to speak to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign or Salah goes against all good journalistic standards and common courtesy

Take action now: Write to the New Statesman.

We did not want to make this public, we attempted to resolve the problem directly with the New Statesman, giving them the benefit of the doubt and attempting to speak to editors countless times.

However, we have now been told that the editors will not speak to us and that the decision to remove the article would not be explained or reversed.

We have a duty to stand up for justice, honesty, and integrity and so we must raise our voices about this.

Please join us to demand that the New Statesman
  • Republish the article
  • Offer an apology to Salah Ajarma for removing it without good cuase
  • Make a clear public statement as to your commitment to upholding the principle of freedom of expression
Please write to the editors of the New Statesman now– and show them that we will not be silenced and will not allow Palestinians to be censored.

In solidarity,
The team at PSC
 

Monday, 27 June 2016

Support Palestine - come to our fundraising party on July 10th

FUNDRAISING GARDEN PARTY SUNDAY 10TH JULY

From 4pm to 9.30pm

https://www.facebook.com/BrentStoptheWar  http://brentpsc.blogspot.co.uk/

Supporters are invited to our fundraising party in a beautiful Willesden Garden. Ticket price includes all entertainment and a deliciously varied buffet with plenty of vegetarian options as well as meat, fish, salads and desserts.

Performers include:

MC and Socialist Magician Ian Saville www.redmagic.co.uk

From the Lyrical to the Satirical with singer-songwriter Leon Rosselson www.leonrosselson.co.uk

Soula Ensemble performing Arabic music of many kinds:

Muwashah from the Arabic-Andalusian tradition, modern songs (Fairouz, Marcel Khalife) and Palestinian songs https://m.facebook.com/SoulaEnsemble/

Drinks, raffle and stall with Palestinian goods extra

TICKETS

From:

Brent Stop the War email brentstopthewar@gmail.com or ring Sarah on 07951 084 101

Brent and Harrow Palestine Solidarity Campaign email brent2harrowpsc@outlook.com or ring Martin on 0208 908 3913

OR BUY TICKETS ON EVENTBRITE HERE


Where?

A beautiful garden in Willesden Green - Address will be disclosed on payment, London, NW2
Contact Martin on mafran@globalnet.co.uk if you would like to help organise the event, provide some home cooked food or help on the day.

More from Brent and Harrow PSC  www.brentpsc.blogspot.co.uk

Monday, 30 May 2016

Latest news from Brent and Harrow PSC

HP DAY OF ACTION

Join us in Central London on Saturday June 4th 11am-2pm

All PSC Branches around the country are taking action on Saturday 4th June, as part of a co-ordinated Day of Action across the UK, with a common message and a common approach. The key focus is to raise public awareness of the Occupation and HP’s role.
  • HP is now a key target for the Boycott National Committee (BNC) and is part of PSC’s overall plan.
  • The objective of the Day of Action is to highlight HP’s deep participation in Israel’s brutal Occupation and its apartheid system and to encourage more and more people to sign the pledge not to buy HP products.
WHERE? See your B&H PSC email for details of Central London venue

The leafleting will take place between 11am and 2pm.

If you can take part please contact: mafran@globalnet.co.uk

Background
  • HP is the second largest investor in Israeli Information Technology (IT). Its technology and equipment facilitate both the illegal Israeli occupation and apartheid, especially through the development of its biometric system used for population and territorial control and surveillance of Palestinians both inside Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territory.
  • The Checkpoints – HP's Basel system is installed at the Israeli military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank. This deprive Palestinians of freedom of movement in violation of international law. When the Presbyterian Church wrote to the company about this, it replied saying that this: ‘reduc(es) friction between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers at barrier checkpoints while expediting the passage process’.
  • The Israeli Military – HP provided the IT infrastructure for the Israeli Navy, thereby helping to enforce the blockade of Gaza, and supplies the computer systems for the Ministry of Defence.
  • The settlements - HP employs settlers in Beithar Illit and provides services and technologies to two of the largest in the occupied West Bank (Modi'in Illit and Ariel).
  • Biometric ID cards - occupied territories - HP facilitates Israeli control of the Palestinian population of the occupied West Bank with its biometric identification of Palestinian civilians. The ID numbers for these Green cards that bear the PNA insignia are assigned by Israel, which controls the Palestinian population registry.
  • Biometric ID cards – citizens of Israel - HP facilitates Israeli apartheid with the development of its biometric system that differentiates between Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel, among other ethnicities and religions. In other words, "this system takes to a new level of technology the stratification of citizenship rights."
  • Certainly in 2012, the HP Labs based at Technion University (Haifa) was its largest centre for research and development. (Technion itself is considered highly complicit in the Occupation and the Siege and attacks on Gaza being a base for research and development for a wide range of military equipment, with close links to Rafael Advanced Defence Systems and Elbit Systems. (working mainly on surveillance and attack drones.
DATES CAMPAIGN LEAFLETING OF LOCAL MOSQUES - FRIDAYS
We are again leafleting mosques during Ramadan with postcards to persuade people not to buy Israeli dates. Leafleting takes place from 1pm on Fridays. If you would like to take part please contact Martin Francis on mafran@globalnet.co.uk The first leafelting is this Friday, June 3rd at Brent Central Mosque, Station Road, Willesden Green.

THE CURRENT DEBATE ABOUT ANTI-SEMITISM AND THE LABOUR PARTY - JUNE 13th
Julia Bard of the Jewish Socialists Group will lead a discussion on this at the next Brent Stop the War Meeting on Monday June 13th, 7.30pm Brent Trades Hall, 375 High Road, Willesden, NW10 2JR (Dollis Hill tube)

FUNDRAISING GARDEN PARTY SUNDAY 10TH JULY
Fundraising party in a beautiful Willesden Garden. Ticket price includes all entertainment and a deliciously varied buffet with plenty of vegetarian options as well as meat, fish, salads and desserts.
Performers include:
MC and Socialist Magician Ian Saville www.redmagic.co.uk
From the Lyrical to the Satirical with singer-songwriter Leon Rosselson www.leonrosselson.co.uk
Soula Ensemble performing Arabic music of many kinds:
Muwashah from the Arabic-Andalusian tradition, modern songs (Fairouz, Marcel Khalife) and Palestinian songs https://m.facebook.com/SoulaEnsemble/
Drinks, raffle and stall with Palestinian goods extra
Brent Stop the War email brentstopthewar@gmail.com or ring Sarah on 07951 084 101
Brent and Harrow Palestine Solidarity Campaign email brent2harrowpsc@outlook.com or ring Martin on 020 83913
When
Sunday, 10 July 2016 from 16:00 to 21:30 (BST) - Add to Calendar
Where
A beautiful garden in Willesden Green - Address will be disclosed on payment, London, NW2