UPDATE as of Friday morning 16 March
We need a victory of courage over fear - as Palestinians show every day
The depraved racist views of COFIS (Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland) has not been a sufficient barrier to organisers allowing them to participate in the march tomorrow in Glasgow. COFIS, working in partnership with the Israeli Embassy, share posts about "euthanising" Palestinians, and jeer at a people under illegal occupation whom they call "Fakestinians". COFIS suppports EVERY Israeli crime against the Palestinian people - massacre, mass incarceration, home demolitions, and the brutal siege of Gaza.
Their presence on the march tomorrow has nothing whatsoever to do with anti-semitism - which they equate with opposition to Israel's crimes - but is part of the Israeli Embassy's psychological war against the Palestinian people and their supporters. It is an integral part of the Israeli State's war against the Palestinian people, and against their supporters in Scotland and internationally..
That well known anti-racist Rupert Murdoch's The Times today provides a platform to COFIS to cover up their nauseating racism. COFIS has announced they will bring their members from across Scotland for the march tomorrow. The same publication that promotes uber-racist COFIS ran a Goebbels-like attack piece some months ago calling Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign "an open sewer". The Murdoch press are drawing a line.
And some people are on the wrong side. The Israeli Embassy was shown in Al Jazeera's The Lobby series putting millions into shifting domestic UK politics, not only against a Tory Minister but especially the Labour Party and wider labour movement. It is simply unacceptable that SUTR organisers to fail to acknowledge this and to attack as "obssessed with COFIS" and "dividing the movement".all those who want the Palestinian people to be acknowledged among the victims of racism. We want SUTR to oppose state-enforced racism of an increasingly genocidal type, SUTR has quietly removed the name of the Muslim Council of Scotland from their published list of supporters for the march but have refused to engage with the MCS concerns, or the pain shared by all Palestinians in Scotland and communicated eloquently to SUTR Scotland. Along with anti-racist Jews, UK Palestine Solidarity groups, they are being ignored while COFIS prepares to exploit an ANTI-racist march in Israel's war against the Palestinian people.
A letter below was signed by a huge number of South African activists in a very short time and it should be some balm on Palestinian wounds caused by Israeli State agents marching and gloating about the surrender of Scottish anti-racist organisers to their intimidation. We remember that Stephen Hawking supported BDS and refused to attend an event in Israel in solidfarity with the Palestinian people. SUTR are now allowing the active enemies of the Palestinian people, extreme racists, to march with them in Glasgow posing as ANTI-racists.
Members of Nelson Mandela's family are shocked that a march passing near Mandela Place will fly Israeli flags while Palestine is occupied. They urge that "demonstrations on the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre should oppose all racism that blight our planet, especially the brutal apartheid system that still holds sway in Israel/Palestine." They acknowledge the role international solidarity played in their own struggle for liberation from state-enforced racial segregation and urge that we accept our "duty on this anniversary to build another example of successful international solidarity for the long-suffering Palestinian people.
Yet SUTR turns a deaf ear to all these concerns and seems determined to turn the march tomorrow into a dark farce by excluding Palestinians and their supporters (for how can we betray our principles of consistent anti-racism by marching alongside those who would "euthanise" Palestinians?) in order to admit a group onto their march that they acknowledge is racist and complicit in Israel's settler colonial regime.
The message from SUTR is clear and unambiguous: 'We are afraid to stand up to the false and weaponised accusations of anti-semitism that have led to anti-Zionist Jews being hounded out of the Labour Party. We will treat a racist pro-Israel campaign group as if it were a Jewish community group.'
Here is the motion that SACC(Scotland against Criminalising Communities) moved at the Stand up to Racism Steering Committee on Saturday March 10th in Glasgow.
"That this meeting of the SUTR (Scotland) Steering Committee notes the serious concerns raised by affiliates and supporters, particularly by campaigners for Palestinian equality, justice and freedom including the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, that the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland (CoFIS) joined and raised their banner and Israeli flags at the SUTR demonstration in 2017.
The Committee understands that the aims of CoFIS, an organisation that works in partnership with the Israeli government and international pro-Israel organisations such as Christians United for Israel (led by John Hagee who is known for his antisemitic and racist outbursts), are incompatible with the principles and aims of SUTR.
The Committee notes that CoFIS was founded in order to counter the work of Palestine solidarity campaigners in Scotland, and that their tactics include intimidation by smears of racism and lobbying local authorities to use and abuse hate crime legislation in order to protect the state of Israel.
The Committee resolves to inform CoFIS that they are not welcome to join the SUTR demonstration on 17 March 2018.
The Committee resolves to write to affiliates and supporters, and those organisations that have contacted SUTR with their concerns on this matter, to confirm that this action has been taken and to invite them to build and join the 17 March 2018 demonstration in Glasgow"
The motion was moved by John Porter and Sofiah MacLeod, members of SACC. It was voted down.
Visit SACC website for updates and statements
Association of Palestinian Communities in Scotland
Dear Friends and comrades
This is to announce that APCS has sent a letter to SUTR (Stand Up To Racism Scotland) expressing our utmost disappointment in the fact that SUTR did not issue a statement disallowing COFIS (Confederation of Friends of Israel), an organisation that defends Israeli crimes against our people in Palestine, from carrying and flying their banner as well as Israeli flags on SUTR's next Saturday march against racism in Glasgow. We have also advised SUTR of the negative impact this would have, not only on Palestinians' feelings, but also on the reactions of millions of activists and hundreds of supporting organisations around the world. We also expressed in the letter how deeply hurtful it is for Palestinians everywhere that the Israeli flag symbolizing the most racist country in the modern world and the apartheid state will be flying on an anti-racism march on the streets of Scotland; a country well known for its long lasting support of our plight.
We are truly hoping that SUTR will reconsider their stance and issue a statement asking COFIS NOT to participate in the march, or at least not to carry their banner nor the Israeli flag.
A CALL FOR ACTION: Any person or organisation anywhere who read this post should write a letter to SUTR requesting same or ask nearby activist organisations to do so.
Muslim Council of Scotland
Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS) Position Statement on Stand Up To Racism March
The SUTR March against Racism has been an important event since 2016, one that MCS has been proud to take part in. This year, the theme of the March, “Stand up to Racism, Islamophobia and Anti Semitism; Refugees Welcome” is one which MCS wholeheartedly supports and has been working for since its inception.
Today more than ever, organisations like MCS need to be loud and strong voices speaking up for minorities and arguing for the diverse tapestry of Scottish Society in which we live. We also need to stand for and give a voice to oppressed people across the world.
The march forms part of the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which was established in memory of the Sharpeville massacre in Apartheid South Africa in 1960. We were therefore disappointed to see that SUTR will not stand against apologists for Israeli Apartheid and Racism, in the shape of COFIS, who plan to join the march as they did last year.
With this in mind and after listening to our members and affiliates, MCS regretfully withdraws from the Stand Up To Racism march in Glasgow on Saturday 17th. We reached this decision after much deliberation, debate and careful thought. Finally, we remain committed to building a strong and united front to fight all forms of Racism and will continue to work to do so.
Letter from Scottish Jewish anti-racists
ANTIRACISM MEANS NO ZIONIST BANNERS
Last year, marchers on the Glasgow Stand Up To Racism demo were shocked to see the Confederation of Friends of Israel taking part in the march and carrying Israeli flags, so this year a number of different groups called on the organisers to state that Zionist flags and propaganda are not acceptable on an anti-racist march. A motion was put to the organising meeting on Saturday. This was a closed meeting, but we sent the letter below to the event organisers to support the argument for a ban. Although we know that they quoted from a letter that argued against a ban, the organisers did not even inform the meeting of the existence of our letter. We want to make it absolutely clear that rejecting Zionism is not anti-Semitic, and felt that people needed to hear this from Jewish voices. Our voices will not be silenced. This is the letter (we had only got 4 signatures when we emailed it on Saturday):
To the Organisers of the Anti-Racism demo
Along with anti-racists across Scotland we are appalled that there can be any hesitation over banning Zionist organisations from a demonstration against racism. A state that prioritises an ethnic group is inherently racist. Different rules for Jews and non-Jews are built into Israel’s foundations. Like other anti-racists we cannot allow supporters of settler colonialism and an ethnically defined state to use Scotland’s anti-racism demo as cover for promoting racist views.
We understand that you have concerns that such a ban could be interpreted as anti-Semitic, but thinking in that way is to fall into the Zionist trap. It is a tacit acceptance that criticism of Zionism is equivalent to criticism of Jewishness. That is not only wrong, but also racist, and potentially very dangerous. Zionism is a political position. Not all Jews are Zionists and not all Zionists are Jews. Attributing a political position (or any other characteristic) to someone based on their ethnicity is itself racist. Zionism has proved a tragedy for the Palestinian people and for Middle-Eastern politics, and Jews, like any other people, must be free to disassociate themselves from it. We are antiracist and therefore anti-Zionist. We are also Jews.
Sarah Glynn, Alice Flebotte, Hadassah Tillotson, Catherine Lyons, Adam Wadler, Leora Wadler, Jola Litwitz, Johnny McKenzie
(We are not, of course, suggesting that anyone be checked for Zionist, or other racist, views before being allowed on the march as individuals. Or concern is over the use of the march to give acceptability to a racist position through displaying racist flags or banners or distributing racist propaganda.)
Original source here.
Letter from International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) UK
Stand up to Racism will not stand up to Israeli apartheid
We entirely agree with the statement from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the letter from Scottish Jewish anti-racists and others who condemn your decision, as organisers of the Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) march in Glasgow, to allow Zionists on an anti-racist march.
We much appreciate the Muslim Council of Scotland pulling out of the march because “SUTR will not stand against apologists for Israeli Apartheid and Racism, in the shape of the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland (COFIS), who plan to join the march as they did last year”.
It is deeply shocking that COFIS will be permitted to present itself as an anti-racist group, possibly with banners, Israeli flags and racist propaganda. Why would you allow defenders of apartheid on your march? Would you have welcomed apartheid South Africa?
We continue the Jewish tradition that struggles for justice for all. Israel has nothing to do with that tradition since it is based on apartheid, invasion and occupation. Your equating Zionism with Jewish people undermines your credibility.
Is your excuse that there is a rise in antisemitism? In fact there is a rise in Zionist organisations reporting anti-Zionism as antisemitism, even reporting anti-Zionist Jews as antisemitic. And there is a rise in false allegations of antisemitism to undermine the movement that is headed by Corbyn and McDonnell, and to undermine the Boycott Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement. In other words: false charges of antisemitism are used to undermine anti-racism and disguise Zionist racism.
It is unacceptable that you refused to read out a letter signed by Jewish anti-racists at your meeting where you decided to favour Zionists over Palestinians and other anti-racists. This raises the question of your political intentions. Anti-racism is clearly not your aim.
There are thousands and thousands of us who are part of the Palestinian-led BDS movement, one of the great anti-racist non-violent movements of our time. As we have been saying since our first public meeting in 2008: you can’t be anti-racist unless you are anti-Zionist.
Sara Callaway Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike
Massoud Shadjareh Islamic Human Rights Commission
Ben Martin Payday men’s network
Didi Rossi Queer Strike
Tahrir Abdul Samad Swift
John Tymon Football Against Apartheid
Asa Winstanley journalist
Statement by Scottish Friends of Palestine on the involvement of COFIS in the demo, saying: "The Confederation of Friends of Israel stands doubly condemned for its racist credentials." It says: "Zionism may have no theory of race, but practical Zionism and racism go hand in hand." The statement concludes: "This year’s demonstration on March 17th in Glasgow gives the opportunity for the SUTR steering committee to address racism in all of its forms."
Letter to SUTR from Brighton & Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign
I write on behalf of the Committee of Brighton & Hove PSC (BHPSC). As an organisational affiliate to Stand Up To Racism (since October 2016), BHPSC is shocked and disappointed to learn of the decision, by the organisers of Saturday’s anti-racist march in Glasgow, to allow members of the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland (COFIS), to take part in the march.
In allowing representatives of an Israel advocacy group to take part (with banners and/or Israeli flags) the organisers of the Scotland march have undermined the fundamental principle upon which the march was planned – ie opposition to racism in all its forms. Moreover, they have failed to recognise that COFIS is not a group representing Jewish people, but instead an advocacy group (composed in part of evangelical Christians) for the racist and apartheid Israeli regime. COFIS has cynically manipulated the situation to normalise the image of Israel in Scotland.
The issue is not fundamentally one of support for the cause of Palestinian rights, or one of race hatred against Jewish people. It is about the racist nature of the Israeli regime, and the message that is conveyed to genuine campaigners against racism, and to genuine victims of racism, by allowing the visual symbols of that regime to be displayed in an allegedly anti-racist march.
We have written to Stand Up To Racism Scotland to urge them to reconsider their decision.
As affiliates to SUTR, and active supporters of the local SUTR group, we seek an assurance from SUTR that pro-Israel groups will not be allowed to take part in any overt way (and to carry pro-Israel banners and/or Israeli flags) in the London march on Saturday March 17th. We also seek a public statement from SUTR, distancing itself from the decision in Scotland. Of course individual members of pro-Israel groups wishing to take part in a personal capacity cannot be excluded, but pro-Israel banners and/or Israeli flags have no place in the anti-racist movement.
Secretary, Brighton & Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Letter to SUTR from Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign
To: Stand Up To Racism
I write of behalf of Sheffield PSC to express our dismay that you should think it appropriate for COFIS to participate in an anti-racist demonstration.
COFIS exists to promote the Israeli state. Its member will be participating in the demonstration not as Jews but as Zionists, a political movement that is committed to the ethnic dominance of Israeli Jews in the Occupied Territories and in Israel. In pursuit of this objective Israel is conducting military occupation, ethnic cleansing and has enacted over 50 laws that discriminate against the Palestinian citizens of Israel (see Adalah https://www.adalah.org/
From York Branch of Palestine Solidarity Campaign
We write of behalf of York PSC to express our objection to the fact that the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland (COFIS) is to participate in the anti-racist march planned in Glasgow this weekend.
COFIS exists to promote the Israeli state and will be participating in the demonstration as Zionists - a political movement committed to the ethnic dominance of Israeli Jews over the indigenous people of the land that, until 1948, belonged to the Palestinian people.
Israel is in a brutal military occupation of Palestinian territories, where it has been pursuing policies of ethnic cleansing. It has also enacted over 50 laws that discriminate against the Palestinian citizens of Israel. In allowing COFIS to participate in your anti-racist demonstration, you are providing support for an apartheid state and therefore seriously damaging the credibility of the antiracist movement. We therefore call on you to exclude COFIS from your forthcoming march in Glasgow.
York Palestine Solidarity Campaign
"We, the undersigned, represent tens of thousands of South African women. We were shocked by news that some plan to fly Israeli flags at a demonstration against racism in Glasgow, one of the first cities in the world to recognise Mandela and our struggles against apartheid.
The worldwide demonstrations against racism on and around March 21st were the UN General Assembly response to the massacre of 69 South Africans at Sharpeville in 1960, slaughtered for struggling for their human rights against an Apartheid state, i.e. a state enforcing racial separation and racial supremacy.
On this date - and every day of the year - we dedicate ourselves to the struggle against all racism. There must be a special place in this struggle for solidarity with the Palestinian people living and struggling under state-enforced racism, a system of apartheid even worse than that which was defeated by the people of South Africa.
As we struggled for our freedom we asked for and benefited from international solidarity. During the darkest of days of our oppression, actions from Dublin and Glasgow to New Zealand helped to tilt the balance in favour of the freedom struggle, to weaken the resolve of our heavily-armed Apartheid regime, to hasten its end.
To quote Nelson Mandela, "We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.' The South African apartheid regime was finally defeated but it is not the end of the struggle. Will the demonstration on March 21st in Glasgow pass Nelson Mandela Place in your city? It will be appropriate to fly Palestinian flags there on that day, a worldwide symbol of opposition to the Apartheid regime still dominating all of Israel/Palestine.
South African National Muslim Women's Forum - 6 provinces
Ayesha Hathurani *(SANMWF)
*(Angels of Light)
*(Angels of Light)
Sr. Suraiya Nawab
*( Islamic Careline)
*Ladysmith Womens Forum
Hasina Moosa Bhamjee
*Zaharatul ummah women's forum of Witbank
*Bariq Al Amal
*Dundee Women's Forum
*Newcastle Muslim Women's Forum*
Fathima Cassim Ally
Bibi Ayesha Kaloo
Bibi fatima Jeeva
*Staff of Eyedeal Optical Verulam
*An Naasiraat Middelburg Muslim Women'sForum
Zaheera varachia Rawat
Rehana Shah Bulbulia
Sister4Sister Reaching out
*Crosby Ladies Forum
*Potchefstroom Muslim Women's Forum
*Greenside Muslim Women's Group
Kaashifa and Sa'uda Ismail
*Colours of Hope
Faheema Ismail Ravat
*Lenasia Eing SANMWF
H4U Support Group Fatima Talia
Bela bela Muslim women's forum
Fatima Randeree..Northcliff lds group
Juwairiya Manga Jauharaatul Ummah
Fehmida Bapoo (crosby womens. forum)
Aisha Seedat wadee
Shanaaz Shaikjee..An Naasiraat
*(Marqaz Fehz Li Ta'allam)
*Service to Humanity
Ladies Enrichment Forum
*Al Ihsaan Ladies organization Port Elizabeth (Shurah Committee)
*All the nursing staff at Baragwanth hospital casualty
Yasiera Mohamed Suliman
*Caring Sisters Network
*Stanger Khidmat Organization
Anisa A Loonat
*The Two Lights Foundation TTLF
Stand Up To Racism Scotland Event (Glasgow) 17th March 2018 Communist Party Britain (Scottish Committee) Statement.
The Scottish Committee of the Communist Party of Britain have agreed after lengthy and careful discussion not to participate in this year's annual Stand Up To Racism Scotland Event due to the involvement of the Glasgow Friends of Israel (GFI) who are affiliated to the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland (COFIS).
COFIS/GFI proclaim to be 'Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestinian & ProPeace' and aim to 'bring together Jews, Christians, Muslims and others together in pursuit of peace'. Unfortunately, the reality is somewhat different.
For example, it is reported that COFIS/GFI hold positions which are incompatible with current CP policy including: • Refusal to condemn Israel's past war crimes • Do not support BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions) • Do not recognise UN International Law Resolutions such as: • Occupation of Palestine, Palestinian Right of Return, Illegal building of walls and illegality of West Bank settlements.
COFIS/GFI are also believed to be closely linked with other Zionist organisations and are part of a national network of '...Friends of Israel' across the UK believed to be funded by the current Israeli Government through advocacy groups in the USA.
We believe that COFIS/GFI presence at the Stand Up To Racism Scotland Event will help legitimise a group which claims to be anti-racist & pro-peace when it clearly is not. We also believe that by marching alongside COFIS/GFI on UN Anti-Racism Day sends out the wrong signal in the continuous battle against racism in all it's forms and aids this group in achieving the legitimacy it seeks within the anti-racist/anti-fascist movement.
It should be noted that the involvement of COFIS/GFI is no reflection upon the organisers and we realise the difficult position they have been placed in by this cynical and deliberate ploy to sow division and confusion on a day which should be used as a mobilising tool to stem the growing tide of racism and fascism currently growing across Europe and other parts of the world. Therefore, we regretfully withdraw our support for the 2018 SUTR Glasgow event and stand in solidarity with Palestine and her people.
J-BIG agrees with the many groups opposing SUTR Scotland's decision that your marches can include a pro-Israel group carrying Israeli flags. Such statements have come fromSPSC, APCS and SACC, as well as many groups outside Scotland. The Israeli flag represents a racist apartheid colonial-settler regime. Its display would cause great damage, e.g. by helping racist anti-Palestinian groups to portray themselves as anti-racist, by discrediting the anti-racist movement and by creating difficulties for many other groups to participate. Understandably, the Muslim Council of Scotland has withdrawn from your forthcoming Glasgow march. This problem was created by your wrong decision.