"...it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity..." Dickens, Tale of Two Cities
So many questions we need to discuss together. You will be welcome to join SPSC activists for a weekend of discussion in beautiful Pitlochry next weekend.

kill them all

The Tory Government and the Zionist lobby are working to criminalise solidarity with Palestine (and much more). Unfortunately, the Labour and SNP leaderships are lining up with the Tories on this.

Another huge massacre of Palestinians may be coming soon, what Israeli officials call ‘mowing the lawn’ in Gaza.

Trump’s election was greeted with joy by the Israeli Government. Fear of what is being planned by the White supremacists and others in the Trump menagerie has moved millions worldwide to demonstrate against him.

We are not defeated - Zionist institutions ADL and Reut Institute are warning that, despite lavish funding and dirty tricks, the Israeli war against BDS has failed to stop the impressive growth of the movement's impact on Israel's regime of oppression.

Israel promotes and thrives on the Islamophobia that the anti-Trump demonstrators are opposing as a deadly threat to all of us. We need to explain to those in support of victimised refugees how Israel has long created refugees and ciontinues to create refugees through ethnic cleansing in the service of a state based on Jewish ethnic supremacy.

So many questions we need to discuss together. You will be welcome to join SPSC activists for a weekend of discussion in beautiful Pitlochry next weekend.

Did Trump and Netanyahu kill any lingering belief in a two-state solution as way oput of the nightmare in Israel/Plaestine?

  •  Did Trump and Netanyahu kill any lingering belief in a two-state solution as a way out of the nightmare in Israel/Palestine?

  • What does Trump's support base among White supremacists inside his inner Cabinet as well as internationally mean for the Palestinian people and Palestine solidarity campaigning?
  • Why did ex-US President Obama give Israel a parting 2016 bonus of $38b in military aid, together with a rap on the knuckles for expanding illegal settlements?

  • Why is Israeli Jewish society increasingly supporting genocidal violence against Palestinians to such an extent that even senior Israeli generals and politicians are comparing Israel today to Germany in the 30s?

  • Why is the SNP leadership moving towards explicitly Zionist politics without any visible internal opposition, as Scottish Labour did much earlier, e.g.
         *opposing the Palestinian call for BDS
         *claiming ‘democratic’ credentials for the Apartheid State of Israel
         *officially accepting the Israeli Government claim of supposed joint interests between Scottish Jews and the State of Israel?

  • What are the realistic prospects for Palestinian liberation amidst devastating civil war and brutal dictatorships across the Middle East, thousands drowning in the Mediterranean to escape the carnage unleashed by Bush and Blair, and different air forces competing to bomb different bits of Syria?

  • Trump's sabre rattling against Iran is destabilising the whole area. Some analysts say another Israeli invasion of Lebanon may be on the cards. Hezbollah in Lebanon is on public record that it will carry the next battle into Israel. The Israeli military has threatened in that case it will devastate the whole of Lebanon, making no distinction between fighters and civilians.

  • How do we defeat the current all-party effort to criminalise much of Palestine solidarity activity while the flow of British weapons continues to Israel? What can we learn from past UK Government efforts to criminalise public criticism in order to defend the indefensible?

  • How do we navigate these stormy waters to continue to deliver effective solidarity to the Palestinian people facing incremental genocide?

We need to have clear aims and work out practical means to achieve them. Join an informed discussion of the heightened aggressiveness from Washington and Tel Aviv, and related issues,  in Pitlochry 10th to 12th March

Book your place at the SPSC Members Residential Weekend:

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Dear Friends

You may receive a communication making allegations of racism, support for murder and terrorism, Holocaust denial and heaven knows what else against the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign or other groups campaigning for Palestinian rights. The information provided below should clarify for any reader that these allegations are without any basis in fact.

What we Stand for
checkpoints sardinesSPSC works to end what Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UNHRC and others consider to be Israeli ‘war crimes’ and ‘crimes again humanity’. We are opposed to all forms of racism and envisage a solution to the crisis in Israel-Palestine based on the dismantling of the Apartheid structures enforced by the Israeli State and the securing of equal rights for all. A full statement is given at bottom.

Pro-Israel politicians and groups lavishly funded by the Israeli Embassy are working to close down public discussion of these crimes. Accusations are thrown around that critics of Israel are ‘anti-Semitic’ but these accusations are regularly dismissed when the accusations are tested in court.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Israeli Physicians for Human Rights, the UNHRC and many other human rights bodies have repeatedly condemned Israel’s ‘war crimes’ and ‘crimes again humanity’. The State of Israel denies Palestinians many rights specified in international law; it uses massacres, torture, mass imprisonment, collective punishment, house demolitions, denial of water, denial of basic services, and more.

Support for Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
1. Aberdeen City Council
decisively rejected a December 2016 move by pro-Israel councillors to smear the efforts of SPSC in the city and all opposition to the crimes of the State of Israel as anti-Semitic, i.e. ‘anti-Semitism masked as anti-Israel sentiment’.

2. Recognition of SPSC’s work for Palestinian human rights is long standing: a 2011 motion to the Scottish Parliament signed by over 40 MSPs “supports the efforts of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign to raise awareness of the rights of the Palestinian people”. The same motion also “calls on the UK Government to stop arms sales to Israel”, a position also shared by the current Scottish Government.

3. Earlier that year 68 Westminster MPs signed the motion in the name of Jeremy Corbyn and Gerald Kaufman, who was Jewish, welcoming “the Stop the Jewish National Fund (JNF) Campaign launched on 30 March 2011 by the Palestinian Boycott National Committee, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others to inform the public about the JNF[‘s] ongoing illegal expropriation of Palestinian land, concealing of destroyed Palestinian villages beneath parks and forests, and prevention of refugees from returning to their homes”.

4. SPSC has received a letter of support from ex-Chief Inspector Gavin Buist:

I was the Chief Inspector in Edinburgh City centre who commanded most of the policing operations around the unofficial rallies and marches organised by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign… You and your colleagues have my unequivocal support.

5. The issue of Palestinian freedom is one of rights; Jewish voices in support of Scottish PSC include:

  • "I support SPSC and strongly urge support for its tireless work for Palestine and against Israel's apartheid policies and oppressive actions against Palestinians and their homes and communities."
    Liz Elkind, Scottish Jews for a Just Peace
  • " I was deeply moved by the patience and open-mindedness of the SPSC activists who remain true to their rejection of racism of all kinds, and who have become a role-model for activists around the world on how to oppose apartheid without falling into the temptation of making hateful remarks or making unfair generalizations."
    Shir Hever, Israeli author
  • "For all of us committed to solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and liberation, the commitment and effectiveness of the Scottish PSC is an example and inspiration."
    Sara Kershnar, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
  • "I've done a good bit of traveling in the US, UK, Canada and Ireland in the struggle to bring justice to Palestine. And of all the meritorious solidarity groups I've met and worked with, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign stands out…This is one group for which the name of solidarity expresses a living presence and not just a slogan. SPSC truly deserves the support of all people of good will."
    Joel Kovel, author of Overcoming Zionism, Enemy of Nature, and many other titles.
  • "Over the years, I have been following the dedicated work of SPSC with admiration. I strongly support SPSC."
    Moshé Machover, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, King’s College, author of Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and Resolution

6. For the record
Following a January 2013 effort to get an SPSC meeting banned in Fife, one prominent Edinburgh church responded to an enquiry from the venue concerned (who rebuffed the censorship attempt):

This group has had bookings with us for some years and we have not had any reason for concern for their conduct while on our premises nor any complaints from the public. This group’s occasional use of our premises has now gone on for so long that no-one can now recall how they came to use our building but as a church we have always had a concern for the situation in Israel/Palestine and indeed for many other areas of conflict. Clearly SPSC is a campaigning group whose views would be very unattractive with people whose sympathies lie with Israel. We would not see that as a reason to prevent them having the use of a space to set out their views in a reasonable fashion and within the law.

“Disregard for pluralism, tolerance, freedom of expression”
1. An attempt was made in Edinburgh Sheriff Court in 2008 to charge five SPSC members with ‘racism’ for activities in support of the Palestinian call for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against institutions complicit in Israel’s crimes. Sheriff John Scott ridiculed and threw out all charges, noting of the human rights protest that “the procurator fiscal's attempts to squeeze malice and ill will were rather strained".

2. When the University and College Union was accused of anti-Semitism for supporting Palestinian rights, an employment tribunal “dismissed in their totality” all claims advanced by a Zionist activist that the union was anti-Semitic and rebuked the complainant for misusing the legal process, branding the action “an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means” which showed a “worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression”.

3. Facing allegations of anti-Semitism from pro-Israel sources, then-Assistant Secretary of the STUC (Scottish Trade Union Congress) responded:

We must never underestimate the Zionist lobby. And we must be prepared to stand up to their accusations of anti-Semitism. I have seen the apartheid wall, the checkpoints, and the displacement of people from their homes and their land. This is ethnic cleansing. It is not the STUC, and those that support BDS, that are the racists.

4. When the Church of Scotland opposed the use of the Christian Bible to dispossess the Palestinian or any other people, Scottish Zionists insisted they have a Divine authority to dispossess Palestinians and shrilly condemned what it called the Church of Scotland’s “inquisition-era polemic against Jews and Judaism…breath-taking…arrogant”.

Fabricating evidence
In 2008 four Zionist writers published a book which contained the wholly invented and defamatory claim that SPSC ‘demonised Jews’.  Following legal action and intervention by then-Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, all 6,000 copies of the book were pulped - a clear admission that the allegations of racism were entirely unfounded. 

 

Follow-up?
If you would like to meet to discuss any of the issues raised in this briefing, or ask any questions, an SPSC representative will be available.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0795 800 2591

 

What SPSC Stands for
The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign started in autumn 2000 in response to the Palestinian second uprising against Israeli occupation (intifada). The SPSC has branches and groups of supporters in several Scottish cities and universities, as well as individual members across Scotland. We are all volunteers, independent of all political formations, and wholly dependent on donations to finance our activities. We are unaligned with any Palestinian factions and support the right of the Palestinian people as a whole to self-determination.

  • A complete withdrawal of all Israeli military and paramilitary forces from the areas occupied by Israel in 1967
  • The right of all Palestinian refugees ethnically cleansed from their homes and their descendants to return to their homes or the areas from which they were driven, in line with UN Resolution 194.
  • An end to the Zionist project of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
  • Self-determination for Palestinians.
  • Equal rights for Palestinians living in Israel.
  • An end to all British arms sales to Israel.

Talk & discussion introduced by
Mick Napier
(SPSC National Committee)


Israel is often usefully co
Killmpared with the colonial-settler project in South Africa but comparison with the Scottish/British settler colonisation of the North of Ireland can be instructive. The Irish experience of Captain Charles Boycott, for example, of being isolated and ostracised in 19th Century Ireland has given pro-Palestine campaigners and many others a powerful weapon to fight oppression.

Britain's leaders during WWI saw clearly that the settler-colonising project by Zionist Jews in Palestine was in British imperial interest. Sir Ronald Storrs, the first British military governor of Jerusalem, explained that the Zionist “enterprise was one that blessed him that gave as well as him that took, by forming for England ‘a little loyal Jewish Ulster’ in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”. The Jewish colony in Palestine would counter what Storrs termed the “present aborigines” and protect the Suez Canal and communications with India, the jewel of the world’s superpower at that time, the British Empire.

The British template forgas the arabs the colonisation of Palestine after 1918 was the settlement of Ulster centuries earlier in Britain’s oldest colony. The colonial power granted privileges to colonists who naturally incurred the hatred of the local people by their seizure of resources and racist arrogance towards the natives; as with settler-colonialism in Ulster so the same dynamic was set in motion with the settler-colonial project in Palestine. From the 1920s onwards, the British mobilised Jewish settlers in Palestine to crush mass Arab resistance just as they periodically mobilised Irish loyalists in violent opposition to Irish nationalism.

Both settlement projects:

  • successfully set up sectarian states for over half a century- "a Protestant State for a Protestant people"/a "Jewish State"
  • violently dispossessed the native people of the best land
  • saw the Old Testament as authority for a Chosen People to violate the rights of the native people
  • relied on the incoming settlers being protected and privileged by Britain
  • experienced settler revolts against the imperial protectors
  • forced mass emigration on the native people
  • set up state-enforced systems of discrimination and privilege alongside democratic forms, e.g. universal suffrage
  • used state-armed militias to maintain sectarian privileges
    Ultimately, the settler-colonial project in the North of Ireland failed, while
    the Zionist colonisation of Palestine is still proceeding.

    The talks will compare
    these two settlement projects, the better to learn how to deliver solidarity to the Palestinian people.
    Edinburgh:  Thurs
    day 14th January  7.00pm   Tollcross Community Centre
    Glasgow:     Monday 1
    8th January    7.30pm   Quaker Meeting House

18th February 2016

SPSC has for many years developed a tradition of active grass roots campaigning to win support for the Palestinian call for BDS against Israel. Our approach has drawn harsh criticism from Zionists and their supporters, praise from allies and, most importantly, has delivered a string of successes that has placed this small country firmly in the ranks of those delivering effective solidarity with the injured and violated people of Palestine.

This statement is a response to queries regarding the departure of SPSC members in Edinburgh.  This episode has highlighted areas where we need to amend our processes and procedures, particularly with regard to education and communications.  Notwithstanding these changes currently underway, we believe that essentially the disagreements are to do with a difference in political and campaigning approach.  This statement reiterates SPSC policy and campaigning record on the matters in question.

SPSC is a volunteer based, BDS-focussed campaigning organisation.  SPSC is not, has never been, and has no ambitions to become, an umbrella formation for everyone who is angry at Israel’s ethnic cleansing and British Government complicity. We are a campaigning organisation committed to building effective solidarity mainly by BDS.

In line with BDS principles, SPSC will not engage in dialogue, negotiations or hold joint events with Israeli state officials and their representatives in Scotland.

SPSC stands on our BDS record.  SPSC has worked hard since 2001, even before the Palestinian civil society call for BDS in 2005, to organise boycott campaigns that have successfully challenged visits to Edinburgh by Israeli State-sponsored and promoted cultural, sporting and political ambassadors.

This has led to Israeli Embassy sponsorship money for cultural events being returned following widespread protests in 2006, 2009, and 2014 – strong protests against the Jerusalem Quartet and Batsheva dance troupe that has seen both avoid any return to Edinburgh. Protests at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe saw the two State-funded Israeli troupes ejected from the Fringe while two other Israeli troupes not connected to the Israeli State performed unimpeded.  The message that our campaigns target the Israeli state and not Israeli performers per se has got through very clearly to Israeli artists.

Boycott since Captain Boycott has been a powerful weapon, a non-violent weapon but a weapon, to pressure the opposition to abandon an action that is profitable and take steps they would rather not. Non-violent BDS action forces even very powerful states and corporations to change their behaviour, usually very unwillingly. Others who support the Palestinian people advocate lobbying and persuasion rather than boycott and that is their right. SPSC, however, and the rising world-wide BDS campaign are committed to BDS as a central strategy to contribute to Palestinian freedom.

SPSC is committed to open discussion of varying views on how to deliver effective solidarity and encourages critical evaluation of all proposals and analyses.  We encourage all SPSC members to engage with each other on an ongoing basis and to utilise the democratic structures of the organisation to amend or develop SPSC policy.

Israel has allocated 100 million shekels to combat the BDS movement and billionaires like Sheldon Adelson have added many millions of dollars. With Zionists well financed and increasingly organised, we  need careful and critical evaluation of our work. That includes unequivocal support for the Palestinian opposition to normalisation and intensified pressure on our elected representatives to move from words to active support of the Palestinian people facing genocide.

On the basis of our record and our approach to solidarity campaigning, we ask you join SPSC to take that project forward in 2016 and beyond.

Edinburgh Branch Committee
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign

 

Together Against Prevent

We are a signatory to the 'Together Against Prevent' statement that says:

  • We recognise and condemn the damage that Prevent’s “spot the potential terrorist” approach has made primarily in stigmatising and criminalising entire Muslim communities, but also to a growing number of political activists and campaigners labelled with ill-defined terms like “non-violent extremist” or “domestic extremist”.
  • We view Prevent as a policy that is based on insufficient evidence to support the flawed assumption that 'extremist' ideology opposed to subjective 'British values' is the single most important cause of terrorism. We therefore support closer collaboration between different campaigning, religious and community organisations to call on the government to end its Prevent strategy.
  • We support and encourage more political debate in schools, colleges and universities and reject attempts to close down and censor dissenting voices. We welcome open discussion with all young people about potentially radical ideas and call on all educational institutions to vigorously defend the right to free academic inquiry on issues considered 'controversial'.
  • We pledge to take no Prevent funds and support non-cooperation, wherever possible, with local Prevent programmes.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission has produced a comprehensive page of Prevent Strategy Campaign resources and the following links are also helpful:

CAMPCC 'Prevent Duty Guidance' response

Palestine Solidarity Campaign ‘Prevent Duty Guidance’ response

Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) - The Prevent Duty: a guide for branches and members July 2015

View list of supporters: http://togetheragainstprevent.org/supporters/

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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.

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