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Friday, 9 March 2018

Stand Up To Racism – End Your Collaboration with Apartheid Israel



 Scottish PSC calls on SUTR to withdraw its invitation to an Israel Apartheid group to join their anti-racist march in Glasgow



I am posting this in solidarity with the statement put out by Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
At a demonstration organised in Glasgow next Saturday March 17th amongst those invited to participate in the demonstration is the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland.  There is absolutely no excuse for marching alongside the supporters of Apartheid and the invitation must be withdrawn. 

There was a time when people on the Left like the Socialist Workers Party, whose initiative SUTR is, were ignorant of the racist and apartheid nature of Israel. That is no longer true.  There was a time when ‘socialist’ Zionists formed the main segment of the Zionist movement and were in government in Israel and people were deceived as to their true record but they spoke the language of the Left whilst engaging in ethnic cleansing.  This is no longer true either.

Support for Israel today means support for the gaoling of 17 year old Ahed Tamimi.  It means support for house demolition, imprisonment without trial,  the theft of land and water, the use of torture and a Jewish state which inherently and institutionally discriminates against Palestinians and non-Jews.  It means support at this very time for the deportation of 40,000 Black African refugees from Israel because they are Black and not Jewish.  This is unacceptable.

This invitation by SUTR to a pro-Israeli group is a consequence of the inability of the SWP to reconcile its anti-racism domestically with support for the Palestinians and opposition to Zionism.  The two exist in separate and ideologically watertight compartments. They should ask themselves why groups like the BNP  manage to combine anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial with adulation of Israel and Zionism. The SWP is out of date.  Virtually no fascist groups in Britain bar the National Front now pretend to support the Palestinians.
Zionism is supported by the far-Right internationally.  Indeed it is itself increasingly becoming part of that far-Right.  It is no accident that far-Right governments throughout Europe – from Viktor Orban in Hungary to Poland to Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz Christian Strache – combined anti-Semitism and fascism with support for the Israeli state.  We have the leaders of the alt-Right in the United States, from Steve Bannon to neo-Nazi Richard Spencer declaring that they are White Zionists.
Fascists and racists today love the Israeli state because it is the very ethno-nationalist state that they want to set up.  Britain First, whose two leaders – Paul Golding and Jayda Franzen – were yesterday gaoled for racial harassment are overtly pro-Israel and pro-Zionist.  Israel is seen by fascist and neo-Nazi groups in Europe as the ideal anti-Muslim state. After all what is there not to like about Israel if you are a White Supremacist?

This decision, as Mick Napier says on the video, to march with this Zionist group is an outrage.  It is utterly shameful. If SUTR persists in this folly then the Palestine Solidarity groups will be forced to reconsider their links with them.  In Brighton PSC is affiliated to the group. 
The fascist Britain First group combines virulent racism with support for Zionism
What is particularly shameful is that this march is in commemoration of the massacre of Black people protesting against the pass system in South Africa in Sharpeville on March 21st 1960.  Palestinians in the Occupied Territories face a far more sophisticated and obtrusive pass system operated by Israel with hundreds of checkpoints in the West Bank with one entrance for Palestinians and another for Jewish settlers.  As Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize stated:
"I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces. Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government."  Jerusalem Post 10 March 2014.
What part of the above statement does Stand Up to Racism not understand?  Or is it only racism in Britain that they are opposed to?

Tony Greenstein


On International Women's Day Scottish PSC received the following message from Nelson Mandela's daughter-in-law, Rayne Rose Mandela, and her daughter Nodiyala, Nelson Mandela's granddaughter, from Eastern Cape.

Message, 8 March 2018:

Greetings to those opposing racism in Scotland and around the world. The worldwide 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.

International solidarity against the racist regime in South Africa played a part in our struggle for liberation and we have a duty on this anniversary to build another example of successful international solidarity for the long-suffering Palestinian people.

Amandla!

Scottish PSC spokesperson, Mick Napier
Introduction & addition, 8th March 2018
"We say that the organisers have no mandate to violate and corrupt this international commemoration. Scotland must not be the back door for supporters of Israeli Apartheid to promote their racist segregation and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Were this effort to be successful it would shame Scotland internationally and make Mandela Place a meaningless relic."
No place for organised supporters of apartheid on a demonstration against apartheid and racism

The demonstration organised for Glasgow on March 17th is one small part of a UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination established to commemorate the massacre on 21st March 1960 of 69 peaceful demonstrators protesting against apartheid in Sharpeville, South Africa. The UN states the commemoration is to demonstrate “solidarity with the peoples struggling against racism and racial discrimination”.

The Palestinian people suffer under an Israel apartheid system much worse than the South African version.

Some organisers of the Glasgow demonstration on March 17th, which is promoted as part of the UN day of solidarity, are determined to allow onto this march a group called Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland set up to defend and support Israel’s apartheid system and its frequent massacres of Palestinians.

We are expected to commemorate the heroes and martyrs of the struggle against South African apartheid by marching alongside the banners and flags of the defenders of Israeli apartheid. Desmond Tutu and other South Africans have declared that the horrors of South African apartheid were “a picnic” compared to what Israel is doing to the Palestinians today.
Ronnie Kasrils is a Jewish veteran of the ANC and was a Minister in the South African Government from 2004-2008. At SPSC meetings in Scotland he developed his view that “Any South African who goes to Palestine today and visits the West Bank and Gaza, or Palestinians living in the State of Israel, come away shocked and, shaking their heads saying ‘This is far worse than the apartheid we knew’."

(Jewish) co-author of the latest UN-commissioned report identifying Israel as an apartheid state, Prof. Richard Falk, spoke at the 2017 SUTR demonstration on behalf of SPSC and was warmly received. Now we are expected to welcome defenders of the apartheid State on the 2018 demonstration.

We say that the organisers have no mandate to violate and corrupt this international commemoration. Scotland must not be the back door for supporters of Israeli Apartheid to promote their racist segregation and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Were this effort to be successful it would shame Scotland internationally and make Mandela Place a meaningless relic.

Statement from Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign on forthcoming anti-racism demonstration, 19 February 2018
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The Confederation of Friends of Israel in Scotland (COFIS) joined the 2017 Stand Up to Racism demonstration in Glasgow and a clutch of members marched for some distance as part of that demonstration. They carried a banner of their racist organisation and Israeli flags, causing offence and consternation to many of those on the march.

COFIS works closely with the Israeli Embassy to close down public discussion of Israeli crimes and to impede organising for the Palestinian-led BDS movement, the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel until the crimes against the Palestinian people are ended.
COFIS opposes the demands of the Palestinian BDS Call: for Israel to

1. end the occupation and colonisation of all Arab lands and dismantle the Wall
2. recognise the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality
3. respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

COFIS defends and supports every Israeli war crime and crime against humanity, including Israel's Operation Protective Edge of summer 2014 which slaughtered over 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza. That indiscrinate mass killing led the Scottish Government to call for an arms embargo againt Israel.

COFIS works to smear Palestine solidarity activists as racists for opposition to the apartheid State of Israel, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the theft of Palestinian land and water resources, the systematic demolition of Palestinian homes, mass arrests and the killing of Palestinians purely on the basis of their nationality.

Yet some continue to defend the right of COFIS to participate in anti-racist marches despite COFIS' active defence of the state-enforced racism, i.e. apartheid, under which the Palestinian people suffer.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign considers that this policy is inherently wrong, but also that, if unopposed, it would greatly weaken the struggle against the racism that blights Scottish society.
On any political demonstration it is never clear how many of those positioned behind a specific banner are associated with it. Throughout the world an Israeli flag is seen as a symbol of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and the genocidal siege of the people of Gaza. Flying such a symbol of apartheid on a demonstration makes it impossible for most Palestinians and Lebanese, as well as many Scots to participate, for how can Palestinians be expected to march behind the flag of the settlements which steal their land, the military outposts which fire on their family and friends, the checkpoints that creatively make their lives miserable, the symbol of a government which is openly committed to completing their disposession and copper-fastening their inferior status throughout the whole of Palestine.

Our solidarity with the Palestinian people and our opposition to the forces that work to violate them has to extend to the streets of Scotland. A people who suffer ritual humiliation from a rabble of Israeli soldiery at the checkpoints that blight their lives should not be further humiliated in Scotland by asking them to march alongside their violators and the repugnant symbol of their violators.
Seeing the parallels between their own oppression and that of the Palestinian people, anti-racist movements around the world such as Black Lives Matter in the United States have enthusiastically integrated support for the Palestinian freedom struggle into their official aims. Anti-racists in Scotland should do no less.

Some few are afraid of being labelled 'anti-semtic' if they bar an active campaign for Israeli apartheid from an anti-racist march, but this is itself a racist position because it implies that all Jews are complicit in the crimes of the State of Israel. SPSC rejects any notion of collective guilt and insists that Scottish Jews are not to be held responsible for the crimes of the State of Israel.
In any case, anyone who becomes actively involved in the struggle for Palestinian freedom understands that malicious and false accusations of anti-semitism follow as night follows day, and that the only way to avoid such politically-driven smears is to scale down support for the Palestinian struggle against Israeli apartheid.

Israeli flags commonly fly in the ranks of fascist marches in Scotland and elsewhere; are we to have Israeli flags flying on both sides of racist and anti-racist mobilisations? The proposal would be very strange.

Permitting Israeli flags and an active campaign on behalf of Israeli apartheid onto anti-racism initiatives will divide and weaken any struggle against racism.

We call upon SUTR and its affiliates to bar any group that exists to defend state-enforced racism in Israel/Palestine as having no place among anti-racist campaigns.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign

19th February 2018
campaigns@scottishpsc.org.uk

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