10 August 2009

5 Scottish PSC Activists Charged with 'Racially Aggravated Trespass Conduct'

One of the consequences of the Establishment trying to redefine support for the Palestinians and opposition to anti-Zionism as 'anti-Semitism' is that it now lays open political activists to prosecution for 'racism'. We have the irony of those who defend racism and apartheid charging the opponents of both with 'racism'. It is an example of Doublethink. Good is bad, anti-racism is racism. The trial is extremely important because it is an attempt to criminalise anti-Zionism and Palestine solidarity. Below is the press release put out by Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Tony Greenstein

Appeal for support by activists on trial for 'racism'!

An arrest warrant was issued at Friday's court hearing against Sofiah MacLeod, Scottish PSC Secretary currently in Palestine witnessing Israel's racist dispossesion of Palestinians. Sofiah will bring her recent experiences of Israeli state-driven racism when she goes on trial accused of 'racism'. Three of the other four accused will similarly produce evidence from first-hand experience of Israel's programme of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

On trial for ‘racially aggravated conduct’ are five Scots who responded to the Palestinian appeal for boycott of Israel. We protested a visit by the Israeli state-sponsored Jerusalem Quartet to the 2008 Edinburgh International Festival. Next appearance in Edinburgh Sherriff Court is on Thursday October 1st, when our lawyers will argue to dismiss the case against us .

The Scottish legal authorities will attempt to prove that shouting 'End the siege of Gaza', and 'Boycott Israel' equals 'racism'. We five will argue that boycott of Israel is a duty while that State violates every canon of international law.

This is a political show-trial, encouraged by the stated positions of the British Government, and is aimed at intimidating Palestine supporters. We shall certainly not be intimdated: last year we saw off some Zionist rascals from SCoJeC (Scottish Council of Jewish Communities) who were unwise enough to claim in print that Scottish PSC is anti-Semitic. They then had to pulp 6,000 copies of a book, Scotland's Jews, in open admission that the claim was without foundation and libellous.

We will show in our defence/attack that

* we are bound to oppose grave Israeli crimes and British Government complicity in those crimes, including political, diplomatic, economic and military support for Israeli Governments
* the nearest domestic political equivalent in Britain to the factions in the Israeli Government is the neo-Nazi British National Party (BNP)
* Israel is an apartheid state as defined in international law
* the Palestinian-inspired BDS campaign is a duty for consistent supporters of human rights, i.e. those who repudiate a racist attitude that Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghans and others have a lesser entitlement that others
* the Jerusalem Quartet are indeed, as we claim, institutionally linked to the Israeli Army and its State, and thus to be boycotted by human rights supporters

Expert witnesses - Palestinians, Israelis and others - will show that the growing support for the Palestinian BDS appeal is justified by

* the history of ethnic cleansing carried out by the Zionist movement and its State from 1948 to the present
* the conscious determination of the Israeli State to continue with further criminal acts of ethnic cleansing
* the failure of the British Government to honour its international legal obligations to opppose Israeli apartheid, specifically the illegal Wall and settlement building

Witnesses who have agreed to give expert evidence or personal testimonies for the defence include:

* Leila Khaled, Palestinian refugee and resistance fighter, Member of Palestinian National Council
* Dr. Ghada Karmi, Palestinian writer and academic
* Omar Barghouti PACBI (Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott)
* Dr. Hisham Genayem, Palestinian refugee and surgeon
* Dr. Moshe Machover, Israeli academic and anti-Zionist political activist
* Dr. Michael Kearney, University of York (t.b.c)
* Dr. Keith Hammond, University of Glasgow
* Yael Kahn, Israeli human rights activist
* Marion Woolfson, Hon. President of Scottish PSC
* Liz Elkind, ex-President of the STUC, moved successful report and recommendation for BDS at STUC 2009 Perth Conference
* Tony Greenstein, (JBIG) Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods
* Rt. Hon. Peter Hain MP, veteran anti-apartheid campaigner in the 70's, Chair of Stop All Racist Tours (awaiting reply)
* Members of the public who witnessed the protest during the performance
* BBC sound technicians who recorded the entire event (awaiting reply)

We are asking supporters to

* send letters of support to campaign@scottishpsc.org.uk
* invite one of the accused to speak and explain the background and aims of the campaign to your trade union, political party branch, mosque, church or campaign group
* turn up outside, and inside, the Court on October 1st and later sessions
* make a donation to the campaign (Judge Horseburgh criticised the Legal Aid board severely for refusal to provide legal aid to one of the accused.)
* boycott everything Israeli, except those Israelis supporting Palestinian human and national rights
* join the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign to help us build this campaign

Scottish Palestine campaigners fight charges of “racial motivation"
Tuesday, 14 April 2009 17:27

Five Palestine supporters arrested last year for disrupting a concert by an Israeli group are due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Friday.

The campaigners, all members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), stood up during the Aug 29th Edinburgh Festival performance of the Jerusalem Quartet and made statements including “End the Siege of Gaza—Boycott Israel!”

The campaigners were originally charged with Breach of the Peace, and had been due to be tried on March 9th. However, at an Intermediate Diet one week before the trial, the Procurator Fiscal made a motion to desert that case and bring forward new charges that their Israeli boycott protest was “racially motivated”.

Sofia MacLeod, SPSC Secretary, and one of the five accused said,
“Given the absurd nature of a charge clearly designed to criminalise the growing campaign to boycott Apartheid Israel until it respects Palestinian human rights, rather than oppose the new charges, we welcomed the opportunity to highlight that to boycott Israel is the opposite of racist.”
Late last year, the UN General Assembly President, Miguel d’escoto Brockmann, was condemned by pro-Israel groups when he described Israel as “apartheid” and recommended that the UN follow “the lead of a new generation of civil society, who are calling for a similar non-violent campaign [to that used against Apartheid South Africa] of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel to end its violations.”

Campaign chair and fellow accused, Mick Napier, said, “The International Court of Justice advised in 2004 that signatories to the Geneva Conventions (including the UK) have an obligation to act to ensure that Israel dismantles its illegal settlements and the Apartheid separation wall that steals yet more Palestinian land.
“With the complete failure by the UK and other governments to fulfill those obligations, Israel feels able to break international law with impunity. The devastating result is what we saw in Gaza earlier this year with a death toll in excess of 1300, including 300 children. If our government won’t act to uphold international law, the responsibility falls on ordinary citizens through our power of protest and boycott.”
Local Jewish writer and journalist, and honorary president of the SPSC, Marion Woolfson, described the latest charges against her fellow campaigners as “ridiculous”.
“It would have been absurd to label Peter Hain and Desmond Tutu etc as racist for pushing the successful boycott of Apartheid South Africa; clearly they were anti-racist. Those who use boycott to pressure Israel are similarly anti-racist.”
Before the concert, Woolfson had called on Edinburgh Festival organisers to rescind the invitation to the Israeli musicians. In a letter to the Queen’s Hall venue, she wrote, “I simply cannot understand why you should have invited the representatives of a country that practices ethnic cleansing and a form of apartheid which even those who have lived in South Africa have said is worse than anything thought up by the former rulers of their country.”

However, Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor condemned the action of the Scottish pro-Palestine group, telling the Jewish Chronicle “We must not give in to the attempts to sabotage the marketing of Israeli art and culture in Britain.”

1 comment:

  1. Here's an article from the Jewish Chronicle posted onto the JustPeaceUK messegeboard by one of its indefatigueable members -
    JC on the SPSC court case
    14 Aug 2009


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