SPSC Residential weekend of political discussion – ideas for effective campaigning in four sessions:

  • Israeli embassy criminalisation effort against BDS and strategies to combat it
  • Fit for the fight!
  • The SNP on Palestine & the wider political landscape in Scotland
  • Palestine solidarity in the context of the wider Middle East

trumpThese are tumultuous times - a carnival of reaction emanating from Washington, with Israel cheering and London walking grimly hand-in-hand. President Trump’s high-speed viciousness has developed a wide resistance from millions, fuelled largely by hatred of his racism and White supremacism. What are the challenges and opportunities for Palestine solidarity movements when Israeli Government and society embrace Trump enthusiastically?

Israel continues with its ethnic cleansing to establish an Arab-free zone based on Jewish supremacy within its expanding borders. Across the wider Middle East we see brutal civil wars in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. Egypt is restive under a harsh military dictatorship with the thinnest civilian veneer, and absolutist Gulf monarchies armed and supported by the US and UK. What does this mean for the project of delivering effective solidarity to the Palestinian people?

Here in Britain, when Obama followed up his parting $38billion aid package to Israel with criticism of Israel’s settlement expansion, Theresa May sided foursquare with Israel. In Scotland we see the governing Party, the SNP, moving to occupy political positions on Palestine that are virtually indistinguishable from the official positions of the Conservative Government in London.

Working to criminalise the BDS campaign, mainly by smear campaigns falsely alleging anti-semitism against supporters of Palestinian rights, the Tories Government aligns with the USA, Canada and France, while the governments of Sweden, the Netherlands and Ireland defend the right to BDS as a legitimate democratic strategy to drive change. Scottish legal authorities have been to the fore in launching charges against SPSC members on trumped-up charges of racism, assault, or aggravated trespass. How do we develop a pro-active strategy to see off these attempts to criminalise and delegitimise BDS, rather than reacting separately to each attack.

Any campaign group needs to evolve in response to the changing conditions. Dealing with external threats, internal conflicts, successes and setbacks, rising to new opportunities and challenges - all groups benefit from periodically taking stock and reassessing aims and methods. Where is SPSC today, how did we get here and how do we move forward?

So many questions – so few opportunities to discuss them in an informed and tolerant atmosphere, tolerant of all anti-racist views.

Join us in Pitlochry on March 10-12

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Israel and Settler Society by Lorenzo Veracini

The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is not unique -- whatever the news media may suggest. Lorenzo Veracini argues that the conflict is best understood in terms of colonialism. Like many other societies, Israel is a settler society. Looking in detail at the evolution of other colonial regimes -- apartheid South Africa, French Algeria and Australia -- Veracini presents a thoughtful interpretation of the dynamics of colonialism, offering a clear framework within which to understand the middle east crisis.

BDSmovement