8 April 2010
When accused of racism by supporters of Israeli ethnic cleansing and apartheid, we should enjoy the fight, confident in the knowledge that victory will be ours in the end. Campaigns for human rights are always tested, and our common struggle against the disgusting crimes of the State of Israel will inevitably meet with state repression here at home. We must be grateful: so many of our enemies are arrogant and stupid.
The case in Edinburgh today pitted supporters of human rights against prosecutors who strove to put Israel beyond criticism. They failed and have been humiliated on this occasion but they will be back somewhere else to try again. Supporters of Israel - Gordon Brown, for example - need to suppress our democratic rights in order to defend the indefensible against a rising tide of popular anger at Israel’s crime.
We need to work to defend all those who become the victims of state repression for their opposition to Israel’s crimes.
In Bordeaux, France, Sakina Arnaud was convicted of a 'racism'-related offence for putting a 'Boycott Israel' sticker on a bottle of orange juice in a supermarket!
British Government support for Israel has taken the form of more than 20 prison sentences - some for over 2 years - handed down to those who protested Israel’s massacre of 1,400 (mostly civilians) in Gaza last year. Of the almost eighty charged, all but two are young Muslims. We, non-Muslims and Muslim campaigners for freedom for Palestine, must treat them as hostages seized from our movement, whose freedom is our collective responsibility, as we campaign for the brave, enduring and indomitable people of Palestine.
The Palestinian campaign for freedom is faced with a monstrous settler-colonial state. Solidarity campaigns face legal repression here, but is has always been so - since the struggle against the sale of African people or opposition to mass murder in Vietnam, Algeria and other places.
Solidarity with the people of Palestine in their life and death struggle against pitiless Zionism is the litmus test of our common humanity in the 21st Century. We must use every example of domestic repression aimed against us to widen the circle of those ready to take a stand, the numbers of those who understand that we not only act in solidarity with struggling Palestinians but against those at home who would reduce the freedoms we have been handed down by those, better than us, who won them in the first place.
Gandhi noticed that in any struggle for justice:
1. First they ignore you,
2. then they ridicule you,
3. then they fight you,
4. then you win."
We are at Stage 3, but Stage 3 needs to be subdivided further:
i. They attack you.
ii. You stand your ground.
iii. You grow stronger.
(Repeat the cycle a number of times.)
Only THEN will you win.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign