Support free speech on Palestine – outside Methodist Church, Nicolson Square
Monday 27th March 7pm
Jackie Walker - Palestine, Free Speech & Israel’s ‘Black Ops’
If we’re banned from speaking inside, from now on we’ll speak on the pavement outside
12noon onwards in same place– publicity stall
"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." - Martin Luther King
The Palestinian people, including their Christian component asking for solidarity from their co-religionists through the Kairos Call, have been thrown under the bus yet again by some craven, canting, callous clergy. The wretched pharisees shamelessly preach morality to their flock on Sundays, and collude in crimes against humanity on Mondays – e.g. tomorrow.
Following secretive lobbying - nothing more than untruthful smears - by pro-Israel groups or individuals, the Methodist Church in Edinburgh’s Nicolson Square emailed on January 31st to cancel a booking made four days earlier for Jackie Walker to speak there on the topic of Palestine, Free Speech and Israel’s Black Ops. Despite approaches by many church-goers to reconsider, Rev Letby was adamant that the meeting would not be allowed. He showed no awareness of the irony that he was banning a meeting on free speech.
On February 25th, a week before Israel refused entry to Palestine to observers from Human Rights Watch, Edinburgh City Chambers played their part in muzzling testimonies to Israel’s crimes by cancelling a booking for Richard Falk to speak there. The topic of Palestine: the Search for a Just Peace, led by a professor of international law from Princeton University, who was UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights from 2008 to 2014, was deemed too ‘controversial’.
On Friday March 24th, two weeks after Israel approved a law to ban amplified calls to prayer from mosques, St Columba’s Church emailed SPSC late that night to cancel our booking. The room there had been booked and SPSC had alerted the church to expect malicious and untruthful approaches by pro-Israel individuals to cancel the booking. SPSC was assured this would not be a problem and final arrangements were agreed for the meeting. In the week before the cancellation, Israel shot dead three Palestinian children.
The reasons given by the two churches are revealing:
The Methodist Church was forced into a straightforward and stupid lie; they wrote that “When the booking was taken on the phone, we were advised that it would not be a campaigning event”. This nonsensical dishonesty was coupled with a refusal to meet to discuss their concerns. The Methodist Church has held many campaigning events over the years.
St Columba’s explained that the cancellation was caused by a single ‘email expressing concern about the event from a member of the Jewish Community in Edinburgh’. St Columba’s makes it clear that any criticism of Israel is suspect and will not be allowed: “even well-meaning criticism of Israel's policies can have unintended consequences, leading to an increase in anti-Semitic attacks”.
Open supporters of every Israeli massacre of Palestinians are jubilant that
- Edinburgh has seen three cancellations of meetings on Palestine in a short time
- Universities Minister Jo Johnson has written to all UK universities promoting a definition of anti-semitism that would criminalise much opposition to the crimes of the State of Israel and warning against discussions during Israeli Apartheid Week
- On March 22nd meetings were banned by Middlesex University and the University of East London to prevent audiences hearing Richard Falk discuss and answer questions on the report on Israel that the UN commissioned him to write
Resistance is possible and necessary; if we can’t defend our own freedoms to assemble and speak, we can’t stand up for the violated people of Palestine, refugees shut out by Theresa May and dying by the thousand in the Mediterranean, Muslims targeted for special measures by a government that has slaughtered thousands of Iraqis and armed and supported Israel to do the same.
These are dangerous times with President Trump and his White supremacist, anti-semitic advisers in the White House. We honour those brave people operating from a religiously-inspired ethnic who stand up for justice:
“If they come for the innocent without stepping over your body, cursed be your religion and your life,” in the words of Fr Phil Berrigan, Plowshares co-founder. (Also cursed be your atheism.) Those coming for the innocent and violated Palestinian people won’t need to step over the Methodist and Episcopalian clergy of Edinburgh.
SPSC Edinburgh Branch
26 March 2017
1. SPSC fights the barbaric system of Israeli colonisation, apartheid and dispossession and rebuffs the Zionist claim to act on behalf of all Jews. Opposing South African apartheid was never libelled as hostility to White people, the notion being absurd. One request from a supporter of White supremacy could never have closed down an anti-Apartheid meeting.
2. Every Christian church in Palestine, through the Kairos call, is asking for public support for the Palestinian people under brutal occupation.
3. Edinburgh Methodist Church boasts it is "A welcoming and inclusive Christian community in the heart of the city" – unless you want to discuss Palestine
4. Instead of the attack on free speech masquerading as a definition of anti-semitism, we can all work to fight anti-semitism as “hostility to Jews because they are Jews”.