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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Balfour 100 years on - video commentaries

Monday's Brent and Harrow PSC/Brent Stop the War meeting on '100 Years on from Balfour - What now for Palestine and Israel?' was well attended and provoked a lively discussion. The meeting, attended by people from several political parties and none, voted to send a message of solidarity to Moshe Machover, recently expelled from the Labour Party.

For those who missed the meeting we post a video below of one of the speakers, Bernard Regan, speaking at a similar meeting on Balfour.  Bernard is the author of  The Balfour Declaration : Empire, the Mandate and Resistance in Palestine

Beneath this we post a film on Balfour  made by Independent Jewish Voices.







--> 100 Years After Balfour is a new talking heads film made by Independent Jewish Voices. The film spells out the troubling legacy of the Balfour Declaration, challenging the notion that this year’s centenary is cause for celebration, given the grave consequences of the document for Palestinians above all.

The film goes on to explain how the decisions of the British government in 1917 are linked to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, its fifty year occupation of the West Bank since 1967, and today’s political gridlock. 100 Years After Balfour features seven experts and activists: Professor Avi Shlaim, Professor Jacqueline Rose, Rabbi Howard Cooper, Professor Brian Klug, Antony Lerman, Barnaby Raine and Miri Weingarten.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Jewish Socialists’ Group statement in support of Dr Moshe Machover

Statement on the Jewish Socialists' Group website:

Dr Moshe Machover – a lifelong Israeli socialist, anti-racist and anti-imperialist, who has lived in Britain since 1968 – has been expelled from the Labour Party.


Dr Moshe Machover – a lifelong Israeli socialist, anti-racist and anti-imperialist, who has lived in Britain since 1968 – has been expelled from the Labour Party accused of writing “an apparently antisemitic article” and accused of “involvement and support for” two organisations, the Labour Party Marxists and the Communist Party of Great Britain.

The accusation regarding the “antisemitic” article references the controversial, flawed definition of antisemitism, which the JSG and many others on the left have challenged: http://www.jewishsocialist.org.uk/news/item/fight-antisemitism-and-defend-free-speech

Moshe Machover has been a friend of the Jewish Socialists’ Group for more than 30 years. He has spoken at JSG meetings, written for Jewish Socialist magazine, and participated in campaigns for social justice with us. We know him as an outstanding and sophisticated thinker and analyst, a fighter for human rights and social justice, and a consistent opponent of all reactionary ideologies and actions.

The JSG is not affiliated to the Labour Party but we have strongly criticised the right wing-led campaign to smear left wing activists as antisemites http://www.jewishsocialist.org.uk/news/item/statement-on-labours-problem-with-antisemitism-from-the-jewish-socialists-g

The Labour Party has a duty to take action against genuine examples of antisemitism and other forms of racism and bigotry. In line with the Chakrabarti Inquiry, however, we:

• favour education rather than heavy-handed disciplinary measures
• expect transparent, fair and just process with regard to complaints against members
• support Shami Chakrabarti’s desire to encourage respectful free speech within the Party.

The JSG chooses to support individuals suspended or expelled from the party on a case by case basis. In this case we fully support Moshe Machover and call for his expulsion to be rescinded and for his immediate reinstatement as a member of the Labour Party.

The JSG recognises the article by Moshe Machover, that has been cited, as a critique of the political ideology of Zionism, not of Jews. Indeed the article exposes antisemitic ideas.

The JSG rejects any McCarthyite-style attempt to expel members for alleged “involvement and support for” other left groups on the basis of writing articles and attending and participating in meetings. It is common practice for Labour members of all levels to speak and participate in events of other groups, and have articles published, representing their individual viewpoints, in a range of publications.

Solidarity with Moshe Machover!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

100 years on from Balfour: What now for Palestine and Israel?

100 years on from Balfour: What now for Palestine and Israel?
Joint Brent Stop the War/Brent Palestine Solidarity Campaign Public Meeting

                                       Monday, October 9th  7.30pm



Inline image



Bernard Regan  (author of The Balfour Declaration: Empire, Mandate and Resistance in Palestine’& Executive member of Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
Sahbi Benzid  (Hertfordshire NUT Membership Secretary and a recent visitor to Palestine)

A hundred years after its signing, Bernard Regan recasts the history of the Balfour Declaration as one of the major events in the story of the Middle East, which have polarised the region and the entire world. How can we help bring peace and justice to Palestine?
Israel is the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes children in military courts – between 500 and 700 each year.

Sahbi Benzid will report back on his recent visit, during which he visited several schools in Palestine and saw first-hand the effects of Israeli policies.


Brent Mencap:  https://brentmencap.org.uk/about-us/how-to-find-us

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!