Stand by George Galloway’s call for a boycott of I$raHell – let’s make our entire country an “Israel-free zone”!

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Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), party Chairman Harpal Brar

As millions of people around the world demonstrated in support of Palestine last Saturday, and as millions more began to wake up to the all-too-clear reality of the horrific slaughter being perpetrated in Gaza by the fascistic zionists thugs of Israel, George Galloway MP quite correctly called for a boycott of all things Israeli.

In a well-reported speech, picked up by the corporate media with the intention of painting Galloway in a black light, he was reported to have declared:

“We don’t want any Israeli goods. We don’t want any Israeli services. We don’t want any Israeli academics coming to the university or the college. We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford – even if any of them had thought of doing so.

“We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel … We have declared Bradford an Israel-free zone.”

Galloway’s comments have infuriated imperialist quislings in inverse proportion to the inspiration they have given all decent, fair-minded and peace-loving people across Britain. So worried are Britain’s rulers and their zionist friends about the impact that Comrade Galloway’s remarks might have on those British workers who are angry at the crimes being committed with help from our own government and corporations, that the police have been tasked with ‘investigating’ his comments (no doubt with the aim of knocking together some spurious charge of ‘anti-semitism’ etc).

Meanwhile, pressure is being put on the organisers of an event that Galloway is scheduled to speak at in the occupied north of Ireland to cancel his appearance.

On Saturday 9 August, in Saklatvala Hall, Southall, speaking to comrades and friends of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), party Chairman Harpal Brar voiced his support and admiration for the stance taken by George Galloway.

Harpal declared that he hoped Southall would also associate itself with Galloway’s comments and declare itself an Israel-free zone – to loud applause and support from those assembled!

Concluding his remarks, Comrade Harpal said that it was up to communists and revolutionaries to raise high and promote the call of George Galloway for an all-out boycott of Israel, and that, like Comrade Galloway, we must all declare ourselves ready to be prosecuted for saying so.

Only in such a way, with such a spirit of determination, and by refusing en masse to cooperate with Israel’s war crimes, can the Zionists be stopped!

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Britain Dies of Shame

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GazaStopMassacre-(C)PeterMulligan-Flickr

As Her Majesty’s Government plays the useful idiot to I$raHell’s crazed ambition

by Stuart Littlewood

Today in London crowds are gathering to vent their anger in a mass demonstration and march to Parliament to “stop the massacre in Gaza” and call for an arms embargo against Israel. This follows last weekend’s huge protest outside the Israeli embassy and campaigns against the BBC’s pro-Israel bias in reporting the assault on Gaza.

There is growing resentment among British people at being endlessly shamed by their government’s complicity in the mega-injustices and non-stop crimes inflicted on the native people of the Holy Land, exemplified by Whitehall’s attempts to whitewash Israel’s latest genocidal offensive.

And on this the 19th day of Israel’s blitzkrieg comes news of a brief  humanitarian “pause”, after which the killing spree will continue while Israel attempts to eradicate Gaza’s tunnels. At this point in the orchestrated tragedy the Palestinian death-toll is approaching 900, three-quarters civilians including around 200 children, and more than 5,000 wounded.

These figures are gruesome enough, but Dr David Morrison reminds me that since September 2005 when Israel pulled out its squatters and withdrew its military from Gaza (but not from Gaza’s airspace and coastal waters) only 24 people have been killed in Israel by rocket and mortar fire coming from Gaza. Of those, 13 died during Israel’s three major military offensives against Gaza (including the present one). In the same period, nearly 4,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli military action. http://david-morrison.org.uk/palestine/gaza-nobody-needed-to-die.htm

The unending tragedy is one that Britain created nearly 100 years ago with Balfour’s crackpot Declaration. Balfour, a Zionist convert, wrote: “In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country.” He dismissed “the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now occupy that land” in favour of Zionism’s needs and hopes, which were “of far profounder import”.

At the time Lord Sydenham warned: “The harm done by dumping down an alien population upon an Arab country may never be remedied. What we have done, by concessions not to the Jewish people but to a Zionist extreme section, is to start a running sore in the East, and no-one can tell how far that sore will extend.” Well, the harm is massive and still waiting for a remedy. The running sore shows no sign of healing. The trouble will not end until Britain (with help from the international community) takes some very necessary steps. The problem is the British Government’s acute and persistent lack of integrity and foolish pledges of support to the aggressor.

Why is Hamas banished to outer darkness?

In the last few days I have seen two ministerial statements saying that Hamas, democratically elected to power in the 2006, is a proscribed terrorist organisation, proscribed being a posh word for something condemned as so bad as to be banished to outer darkness.

Earlier this month Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow and Tel Aviv but not necessarily in that order, said in the House of Commons: “Hamas is Hamas is Hamas: it is a terrorist organisation whether it is part of the so-called unity Government [of Palestine] or not.” He wanted the British Government to “give Israel every possible assistance to take out the Hamas terrorist network so that that country can be sure that her children will be secure in the future”.

Hugh Robertson, Minister of State at the Foreign Offce, replied: “Nobody should be under any illusions about this at all: Hamas is a terrorist organisation and remains a terrorist organisation, and one that is proscribed by the British Government. The key thing about the technocratic [Palestinian] Government was that they signed up to the Quartet principles and renounced violence and no member of Hamas is a member of that Government.”

Earlier he had this to say: “If anybody in that Government were an active member of Hamas, which remains a terrorist organisation, that would absolutely be the end of this Government’s dealing with them and would be a very serious matter indeed. That is not the case at the moment; they are fully signed up to the Quartet principles.” http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm140701/debtext/140701-0001.htm#14070145000407

A few days later Baroness Jenny Tonge, in the House of Lords, asked the Government what action it planned to take to open diplomatic relations with Hamas in order to assess the viability of a long-term truce such as Hamas offered in 2006.

Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, replied: “Our policy towards Hamas is clear – we have no contact with Hamas, which is a proscribed terrorist organisation. Hamas must renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept previously signed agreements. Hamas must make a credible movement towards these conditions, which remain the benchmark against which their intentions are judged, before we consider a change in our stance.http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201415/ldhansrd/text/140724w0001.htm#14072446000261

Warsi is a Muslim and should know better. How can anyone sensibly recognise Israel when it won’t agree its borders? Has she ever put it to the Israelis that they too must renounce violence, recognise Palestine and accept previously signed agreements — the benchmark against which their intentions will be judged?

And given all this stuff about Hamas being proscribed, what are we to make of a Home Office document dated 20 June 2014 in which, of the 60 international terrorist organisations proscribed by the UK government under the Terrorism Act 2000, only Hamas’s military wing – the Izz al-Din al-Qassem brigades – is listed, not Hamas’s political wing? https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/324603/20140627-List_of_Proscribed_organisations_WEBSITE_final.pdf

Why, then, aren’t we talking to Hamas’s political leaders?

How do organisations qualify for the Terror List anyway? Well, in the UK they have to pass a test and the Home Secretary decides. In the US, under Section 3 of Executive Order 13224 “Blocking Property and prohibiting Transactions with Persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support Terrorism”, the term “terrorism” means an activity that…

(i) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and

(ii) appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking.

This US order and its definition of terrorism, signed in 2001 by George W Bush, is used to outlaw and crush any organisation, individual or country the US doesn’t like. Funny how it fits the Israeli regime — those “amoral thugs”, as one British MP called them — like a glove. And they have been allowed to practise their terrorism on the Palestinians (and occasionally on the Lebanese and Syrians) without interference for the last 66 years.

The long drawn-out siege and blockade of Gaza, and the numerous military assaults on its people and their legitimate government, are only the latest crimes in a catalogue of torment and terror inflicted on all the Palestinian territories Israel occupies. They are clearly attempts to “intimidate and coerce”, while the mass destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure, the withholding of humanitarian aid, the assassinations, the abductions, the bulldozing of Palestinian homes, and the many violent and dangerous acts including indiscriminate bombing and shelling (and the use of cluster bombs in Lebanon), make Israel’s place on the Terror List a sure thing – or should do.

They talk of addressing “underlying causes” but can they agree what they are?

With Agent Hague gone from the Foreign Secretary post, we are beginning to see what his successor, Philip Hammond, is made of. He started by praising Egypt’s fake ceasefire initiative when Hamas hadn’t even been consulted on the terms and instead of coming through proper diplomatic channels it was release to the media as soon as Israel agreed it. Given the Egyptian regime’s hostility towards Hamas it is hardly an honest broker. Unsurprisingly it contained none of the guarantees that would sustain a ceasefire, such as a permanent end to the 8-year siege (promised but not implemented in the 2012 ceasefire) or the release of prisoners who had been freed then re-arrested by Israel. So what was in it for the illegally occupied Palestinians? Nevertheless Hammond thought it was jolly good and welcomed Israel’s acceptance of this piece of nonsense which hadn’t been shown to the other side.

His other statements have to be seen to be believed. They are on the FCO website. Following the UN Human Rights Council’s decision to launch an inquiry into potential violations of human rights by Israel in its operations in the Gaza Strip, a move Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called a “travesty”, Hammond said the UNHRC resolution would not help achieve a lasting ceasefire. “It is fundamentally unbalanced and will complicate the process by introducing unnecessary new mechanisms… The UK could not support this resolution… We will continue to urge Israel to exercise restraint… blah, blah… while recognising its right to defend itself against these attacks.”

And after meeting Israeli  and Palestinian leaders (though not Hamas), Hammond said: “With President Abbas… I reiterated the UK’s strong support for his leadership and thanked him for his own efforts to achieve a ceasefire. I stressed that, once a ceasefire is secured, there is an urgent need for a long term plan for Gaza.

“With Prime Minister Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Lieberman, I expressed my deep concern at Hamas’s rocket attacks and reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself. I urged that Israeli forces do everything they can to avoid civilian casualties, and stressed the need for a rapid conclusion to their ground operation in Gaza.”

Hammond doesn’t explain how Israelis can claim a right of self-defence against their victims – the people they are brutally occupying and blockading — or how Her Majesty’s Government can possibly “reaffirm” such a crass invention.

He said that for a ceasefire to be durable there must be rapid movement to address “the underlying causes” and find “a wider political solution”.  So, Mr Hammond, what “wider political solution” do you have in mind? And, by the way, do you have any idea what those “underlying causes” are? Do you think you could ever get Israel to acknowledge what they are?

Here are some clues from two very knowledgable sources. In 2010 Archbishop Theodosius Hanna (Orthodox Church of Jerusalem), on a visit to Ireland, told politicians: “The problem in Palestine has nothing to do with religion – it is not a religious issue. It is not a conflict of Christians, Muslims and Jewish people. It is a conflict between those who are the holders of a rightful cause and those who took away that right by military might.”

Fr Manuel Mussallam (formerly of the Catholic church in Gaza), who accompanied the archbishop, told the Irish what things were really like under military occupation. “We have spoken to Israel for more than 18 years and the result has been zero. We have signed agreements here and there at various times and then when there is a change in the government of Israel we have to start again from the beginning. We ask for our life and to be given back our Jerusalem, to be given our state and for enough water to drink. We want to be given more opportunity to reach Jerusalem. I have not seen Jerusalem since 1990.

“We want to see an end to this occupation, and please do not ask us to protect those who are occupying our territory.”

Nearly 4 years on, and what has changed? Can we rely on Hammond to make a difference? Here’s another clue. In a Jerusalem Post report the director of Conservative Friends of Israel remarked that, in his previous job as Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond “presided over a period when the UK-Israel defense relationship has never been better.”

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Poll: 51% of U.K. voters think I$raHell used excessive force in Gaza

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Poll results also show that 41 percent say their opinion of I$raHell has dropped during Operation Protective Edge.

A Gaza war protest in London, July 26, 2014.
A Gaza war protest in London, July 26, 2014. Photo by Reuters

A poll published Tuesday in the Guardian newspaper and conducted by Guardian/ICM also found that the British public is more opposed to Israel than it is to the Palestinians.

The paper said that the poll results “lend support to the arguments” made by senior Foreign Office minister Lady Warsi, who resigned from the government last week. Warsi criticized Prime Minister David Cameron for what she called his “morally indefensible” failure to describe the Israeli action as disproportionate.

According to the poll 19 percent of respondents thought Israel had acted proportionately in retaliating to Hamas rocket fire with air and artillery strikes while 29 percent of those polled did not know.

The conflict has hardened opinions against Israel, the poll found, though it also reflected unease about the actions of Hamas.

A fifth of those questioned – 21% – said their opinion of the Palestinians had worsened, while just 9% said their opinion had improved. A clear majority of 60 percent said their opinion of the Palestinians had not changed while 9 percent did not know.

By comparison, 41 percent of respondents said their opinion of Israel had worsened during the conflict, 48 percent said their opinion of Israel had remained the same, only 2 percent said their opinion had improved and 8 percent said they did not know.

ICM Research, a member of the British Polling Council, interviewed a random sample of 1,002 adults aged 18+ on 8-10 August 2014. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results were weighted to the profile of all adults.

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Boycott Zionist Good’s

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Tesco shelves banning Israeli products

By JERRY LEWIS
UK grocer ends sale of dates for financial reasons; company says origins of other products requested too but can’t give examples.

Shopping

Shopping Photo: Marc Israel Sellem
Tesco, the UK’s largest food retailer, has strongly rejected claims that the Gaza crisis is forcing it to stop selling Israeli produce and products, saying that in the case of Israeli dates packaged under its own label it had decided to stop selling them in September “for commercial reasons.”According to the grocery chain, the dates are grown in Israel but packaged in the West Bank.“It is clearly marked as “West Bank (Israeli settlement produce)” so customers are fully aware of what they are buying,” a spokesman told The Jerusalem Post. “As part of our regular review of our range, we will not be selling this product for much longer.”The spokesman said that in line with the recent request from the British government on “origin of food” labeling, the dates have to be marked and sold as such, and as Tesco customers have been asking for such information, the company has to supply it.Nevertheless, he emphasized that the decision had nothing to do with Gaza and that any report to the contrary was “erroneous.”

“Like all major UK retailers we sell some products that are sourced from Israel,” he said.

“We do this in line with the government position on trade with Israel, and we mark all products clearly with the country of origin so customers can make informed choices about what to buy.”

The spokesman said Tesco had “no plans to change our sourcing arrangements, which are in line with other retailers and in accordance with the Government’s position.”

Explaining the background to its decision, Tesco confirmed it had received questions from customers about products from Israel or the West Bank.

“To make sure we answered their questions with the most accurate and up to date information, we contacted suppliers to double-check our own information, particularly for branded products,” the chain said.

As to whether just the suppliers of kosher products had been approached or whether the company had sought similar information from other suppliers, the spokesman told the Postthat while it had not asked all its suppliers, many had been requested to indicate the country of origin of their products.

He declined to name any examples of those approached.

2013’s figures for the Tesco chain of 2,500 stores showed a £3.3 billion profit.

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UK PMs/ Activists DEMAND ARMS-EMBARGO on Nazi Regime

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Anti-Jewish hatred is rising – we must see it for what it is

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Confronting and defeating all forms of antisemitism involves being able to defend its meaning from abuse

'Golden Dawn' far right party in parliament, Athens, Greece - 04 Jun 2014
‘In May, 16% of Athens’s voters opted for the Golden Dawn candidate for mayor. According to a recent study, 69% of Greeks had antisemitic views.’ Photograph: Losmi Chobi//Sipa/Rex

Antisemitism is a menace. Hatred of the Jewish people has persisted in European societies for two millennia, manifesting itself in blood libel, persecution, expulsions, pogroms and massacres. At various points in history it has been vigorously promoted by elites and absorbed by large swaths of the population. Living among us today remain survivors of the Holocaust, the only attempt to exterminate an entire people by industrialised, systematic means. This unparalleled atrocity certainly mobilised opinion against antisemitism, stripping it of the respectable status it had long enjoyed in many European countries, but that does not mean it vanished. Because it was allowed to course through the veins of European society for so long, even the utter horror of the Shoah was never going to fully expunge it. Far from being in retreat, the evidence suggests that anti-Jewish hatred is actually increasing again.

I write this because antisemitism needs to be treated very seriously indeed. Attempts to belittle it are dangerous, allowing the tumour to spread unchecked. But Israel’s assault on Gaza has highlighted another danger too. It has often been debated whether the charge of antisemitism is concocted against anyone who supports Palestinian justice or criticises the actions of the Israeli state. The principal objection is that such a tactic represents an attempt to silence critics of Israel’s occupation. Yet there are rather more dangerous potential consequences: not least that the meaning of antisemitism is lost, making it all the more difficult to identify and eliminate hatred against Jewish people at a time when it is rising.

The vast majority of pro-Palestinian sentiment is driven by a sense of solidarity with an oppressed people subjected to occupation, siege and a brutal military onslaught. The response of many supporters of Israel’s attack has been instructive. In a world where there is so much injustice and bloodshed, they say, why not march against the sectarian murderers of Islamic State (Isis) or Boko Haram? This is known as “whataboutery”: an attempt to deflect from one injustice by referring to the suffering of others. Some defenders of Israel’s governments believe the supposed special attention received by the conflict is itself evidence of antisemitism. But Israel’s atrocities attract this attention because the state is armed to the teeth and backed by western governments, rendering them directly complicit; IS and Boko Haram, on the other hand, are (quite rightly) opposed by our rulers. Demonstrations and protests are generally a means of exercising influence over supposedly democratically accountable governments.

That does not mean that the monstrosity of antisemitism has been absent in the backlash against Israel’s actions. Last month a synagogue and Jewish-owned businesses were attacked in the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles. I have encountered sentiments that conflate the Jewish people and the Israeli government – though this is echoed by some staunch Zionists, and is no less antisemitic in implication. Threats and assaults have been directed at Jewish people in several European countries.

One sinister piece of pedantry that keeps cropping up is the claim that the term “antisemitism” is itself false, because Arabs are Semites too. Never mind that the term antisemitism has been popularly understood to mean hatred against Jews since the late 19th century – here is an attempt to make it impossible to identify this hatred by engaging in disingenuous wordplay.

One retort repeatedly offered is that Israel is itself the source of antisemitism; that its brutality towards the Palestinian people encourages hatred against the Jewish people. This is a nonsense, like rationalising anti-Muslim prejudice as the inevitable consequence of Islamist fundamentalist terror; responsibility for prejudice lies with the prejudiced. Most of us are quite capable of opposing brutality without turning into bigots. Racism needs to be eliminated, not excused.

To defeat all forms of antisemitism – including those that masquerade as solidarity with oppressed Palestinians – we need to be able to identify them. That becomes impossible when the very meaning of the word is abused and lost. Take Douglas Murray, a writer with a particular obsession with Islam. “Thousands of anti-Semites have today succeeded in bringing central London to an almost total standstill” was his reprehensible description of a Palestine solidarity demonstration last month. This is not simply an unforgivable libel against peace protestors – Jews among them – who simply object to their government’s complicity in the massacre of children. It makes it much harder to identify genuine antisemitism. The same goes for the Daily Telegraph’s Brendan O’Neill, who recently suggested the left was becoming antisemitic. Bizarrely, his evidence included the left’s stance against the disproportionate influence of the Murdoch empire: ironic, given that the non-Jewish Rupert Murdoch once drew on a classic antisemitic trope when he tweeted: “Why is Jewish owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?”

Yet there really is plenty of antisemitism that must be confronted. Take Greece, where the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn has thrived amid economic trauma. Back in May, 16% of Athenian voters opted for the Golden Dawn candidate for the city’s mayor.According to a recent study, 69% of Greeks had antisemitic views; in Poland – despite suffering some of the Nazis’ worst horrors – it was 48%, Spain 53%. In Hungary the antisemitic party Jobbik won a fifth of the vote in April’s parliamentary elections. Like most of Europe’s far right, France’s Front National focuses its bile against Muslims, but the party’s roots are deep in antisemitism; and a few months ago it topped the country’s European parliamentary elections. Hatred against Jews is a clear and present danger.

Antisemitic themes are depressingly constant: of Jews being aliens, lacking loyalty to their countries, acting as parasites, wielding disproportionate influence. Sometimes this hatred is overt, other times more subtle and pernicious. It needs the broadest possible coalition to defeat. Because it is so embedded– dating back as it does to Roman times – it requires special determination to challenge. That does not mean antisemitism is somehow biologically hardwired into the European mindset: it can and will be eliminated. But that means defending its meaning from abuse. It is not simply about defending supporters of the Palestinian cause from smear and slander, but preventing the seriousness of antisemitism being devalued, making it harder to confront wherever it emerges. This is no small matter. The future security of Europe’s Jews depends on it.

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UK activists shut down Nazi arms factory

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Police look on as protesters occupy the roof of an Elbit owned factory in Birmingham. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

Police look on as protesters occupy the roof of an Elbit owned factory in Birmingham. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

For nearly a month, Israel has bombarded Gaza from land, sea and air. More than 1800 Palestinians have lost their lives and war crimes have been committed. To our collective shame, the UK government has not only failed to take action to pressure Israel to stop its massacre, but has refused to take steps to end the material support it provides to Israel’s brutal regime of apartheid and colonialism. When governments support crimes against humanity, grassroots movements must take direct action.

A group of activists from the London Palestine Action network have today (5/8/14) chained the doors shut of an Israeli weapons factory based near Birmingham in the UK and are now occupying the roof. As part of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) and in response to calls for action from Palestinian movements, we are demanding the permanent closure of the factory and an end to all forms of military trade and cooperation with Israel.

Protester hangs "Elbit Arms, Israel Kills" at shutdown Elbit factory in Birmingham. The factory produces drone engines which are exported to Israel and used over Gaza. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

Protester hangs “Elbit Arms, Israel Kills” at shutdown Elbit factory in Birmingham. The factory produces drone engines which are exported to Israel and used over Gaza. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

The factory that we are occupying produces engines for drones and is owned by Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company and the world’s largest drones producer. Drone engines manufactured at this factory have been exported to Israel in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and Elbit Systems drones are being used in Israel’s ongoing massacre. Any claims that components manufactured at this factory are not being used in Israel’s current attack on Gaza are not credible.

Drones are a key part of Israel’s military arsenal. By allowing this factory to export drone components and other arms to Israel, the UK government is providing direct support and approval to Israel’s massacres.

Protesters call for an arms embargo and for the UK to stop arming Israel. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

Protesters call for an arms embargo and for the UK to stop arming Israel. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

The factory is also a key part of the Watchkeeper program under which Elbit Systems is leading the manufacture of a new generation of drones for the UK military. The Watchkeeper drone is based on the Hermes 450, documented as being used to kill Palestinian civilians

Activists occupying roof of UAV Engines, wholly owned subsidiary of Elbit. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

Activists occupying roof of UAV Engines, wholly owned subsidiary of Elbit. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

during the 2008-09 attack on Gaza. Elbit Systems markets its drones as ‘field tested’ – by which it means that their drones have been proven to be effective at killing Palestinians. The UK government is importing technology that has been developed during the course of Israeli massacres.

UK prime minister David Cameron and the UK government have Palestinian blood on their hands. In order to end their deep complicity with Israel’s system of occupation, colonialism and apartheid against Palestinians, they must take steps to impose a full military embargo on Israel and close the Elbit Systems factory immediately.

It is more important than ever that the solidarity we build with the Palestinian struggle is effective and impactful. Israel does not act alone but is supported by governments and corporations across the world that have names and addresses. It is time for the international solidarity movement to escalate its direct actions against those that support and profit from Israeli apartheid to take action that can lead to a genuine isolation of Israel.

Join the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement! Stop arming Israel!

 

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Britain’s National Union of Students condemns I$raHell, calls for boycott

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The governing body of the union representing seven million students in the UK has voted to tighten the boycott noose around the criminal state of I$raHell.

Members of the NUS National Executive Council shortly after they voted to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israeli oppression of the Palestinians

Members of the NUS National Executive Council shortly after they voted to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israeli oppression of the Palestinians

On 4 August the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nation Union of Students(NUS) passed a motion in solidarity with Palestine, and for an arms embargo against Israel, the Electronic Intifada reported.

The NEC motion condemned Israel’s criminal assault on and blockade of the Gaza Strip.

It also called on union members to boycott “corporations complicit in financing and aiding Israel’s military, including G4S andHewlett Packard.”

The NUS already has a policy supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), but the new motion resolves to “provide information and resources to support student unions and student organizations campaigning for boycott and divestment of companies identified as supporting Israel materially, economically, militarily, and/or as helping maintain the illegal Israeli settlements.”

Here is a copy of the full resolution:

Motion and amendment: condemn the collective punishment and killing in Gaza

To be discussed and voted on at the NUS NEC on Monday 4 August 2014.

NEC Believes:

1.As of writing around 170 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli bombings of the Gaza strip as part of its Operation “Protective Edge,” the vast majority are civilians, and Israel has warned of more attacks to come.

2.Many of the Palestinians deaths have come from Israel’s deliberate bombing of their homes, which has been condemned as illegal by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. On Saturday 13 of July 21 people were killed when Israel bombed the home of a Palestinian police chief. Others targeted have included special needs care homes, parks and charities.

3.These latest attacks are in the context of the populations of the Gaza Strip being subject to a blockade described by the Director of UNRWA Operations as a “Medieval siege” and as a “prison camp” by Prime Minister David Cameron.

4.Israel’s blockade has been described as “collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law” by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

5.Due to long-standing effects of the blockade and the recent assault, medical and electricity supplies have run critically low in Gaza, further worsening the humanitarian crisis.

6.Israel has vowed to ignore international pressure and to continue escalating, while the Palestinian government has called on the international community to take “serious measures” to end Israel’s violations.

7.A series of mass demonstrations has taken place across the UK against Israeli attacks, including over 10,000 in London.

NEC Resolves:

1.To condemn Israel’s attacks on Gaza and to support calls for an immediate ceasefire.

2.To condemn the blockade of Gaza and support campaigns for it to be lifted in accordance with international law.

3.To continue to support existing NUS policy on companies like Veolia or Eden Springs which have been identified as being complicit in human rights abuses in Israel/Palestine.

Add amendment:

1.Within two weeks of launching Operation “Protective Edge,” the Israeli army has killed over 630 Palestinians, injured over 3800 and displaced over 118,000 with over 80 percent of deaths being civilians.

2.The Israeli army stands accused of using illegal weapons including white phosphorus bombs and DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosive) weapons on one of the most densely-populated regions of the world, and with targets consisting mainly of civilians.

3.This disregard for human rights and international law stands consistent with Israel’s conduct during previous assaults on Gaza, including 2008/09’s “Cast Lead” and 2012’s “Pillar of Defense.”

4.That extensive funding and military aid to Israel from Western countries helps perpetuate Israel’s abuses relieves the financial pressure of warfare; the UK government also facilitates heavy arms trading and co-operation with Israel, marking their complicity in this and previous massacres.

5.That with leading Israeli politicians calling for effective genocide, ethnic cleansing of, and war crimes against Palestinians, appealing to their political establishment on a purely moral basis would be naïve.

6.That with the British government unwilling to even condemn Israel for this assault, it is now incumbent upon the public and civil institutions to exert economic and political pressure to convince Israel to abide by international law.

7.That since the launch of the assault other countries have taken substantive action, such as Chile having suspended trade talks with Israel.

8.There is precedent for economic leverage against Israeli crimes, with a further 12 EU countries recently following the UK’s earlier move in issuing explicit warnings to investors against doing business with Israeli settlements due to their contravention of international law.

9.NUS has previously affirmed active opposition to companies complicit in human rights abuses in Israel/Palestine as negatively impacting on chances for a sustainable and just settlement.

10.NUS Black Students’ Campaign, NUS London and NUS Scotland have voted to support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against companies and products supporting Israeli aggression and occupation.

Add Resolves:

1.To call on the British government to condemn Israel’s current assault on Gaza, cease aid and funding to Israel, impose an arms embargo against Israel, and to demand a ceasefire brokered between legitimate Israeli and Palestinian representatives.

2.To issue a call to our membership to boycott companies and corporations complicit in financing and aiding Israel’s military, including G4S and Hewlett Packard.

3.To provide information and resources to support student unions and student organizations campaigning for boycott and divestment of companies identified as supporting Israel materially, economically, militarily, and/or as helping maintain the illegal Israeli settlements.

4.To conduct an internal audit of NUS services, products and departments to ensure they do not, as far as is practical, employ or work with companies identified as facilitating Israel’s military capacity, human rights abuses or illegal settlement activity, and actively work to cut ties with those that do.

Posted in Campaigns, Palestine Affairs, UK, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Zionist BBC agrees to air Gaza charity appeal after getting I$raHell permission

NOVANEWS
Submitted by Amena Saleem

Even Israel now admits there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The BBC announced Thursday morning that it would broadcast an emergency charity appeal for Gaza on Friday — but only after it was reassured that it won’t face censure from the Israeli government for doing so.

This is in stark contrast to 2009, when another Israeli massacre in Gaza was drawing to an end. Then, the BBC, along with Sky, refused to air an appeal from the same body – the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) — even though other major television networks, including Channel 4, did so.

The BBC’s then director general, Mark Thompson, said at the time that broadcasting the DEC appeal would breach impartiality guidelines, as funds were being raised for Gaza but not Israel.

He wrote in his BBC blog that the corporation, if it aired the appeal, could be accused of “taking a political stance on an ongoing story.”

So what has changed this time? Why is the BBC no longer afraid of airing the DEC appeal on its radio and television networks?

Regev instrumental

The reason appears to be that the allegedly independent broadcaster has been influenced by recent Israeli announcements that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and therefore feels it can safely broadcast a humanitarian aid appeal.

Speaking on the BBC’s flagship radio news program, Today, this morning, the BBC’s media and arts correspondent David Sillito admitted as much.

“Israel has said there is a humanitarian crisis … so it feels as though the issue of impartiality has come to an end,” he told presenter Sarah Montague. “There is no issue of compromising impartiality.”

Montague then asked the obvious question: “So, it’s because of Israel’s admission that it’s a humanitarian crisis?”

Sillito replied: “It seems to have been a key part of it. [Israeli government spokesperson] Nazi Mark Regev, making a statement on Friday, talking about a humanitarian window, a humanitarian crisis, seems to have been instrumental.”

It’s a disturbing admission by the BBC that it feels it has been given permission by Israel to run the appeal — the same appeal it was too afraid to run five years ago because no such implicit permission had been given.

Loyalties called into question

The publicly funded corporation’s dependence on what Israel says and how this dependence influences its decision making process is of serious concern.

In 2009, an astounding 40,000 members of the licence fee-paying public complained to the BBC about its refusal to air the DEC appeal. The then Labor government also felt the wrong decision had been made, as did many BBC journalists.

However, a fear of not being “fair” to Israel (which was at the time in the process of slaughtering 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza) seems to have been the clinching factor for senior BBC management, raising questions about where loyalties at the top lie.

And even now, as it prepares to broadcast the appeal tomorrow on Radio 4 and BBC One, the BBC is thought to be preparing its own version of the appeal rather than taking the version offered by DEC.

It will be interesting to see if, even in a charity appeal, the BBC will strive, in its version, to show a “balance” between the effects of heavy duty Israeli bombing and shelling in Gaza and the results of Palestinian rocket fire into Israel.

The “balance,” of course, will be entirely false, as nothing caused by Palestinian rocket fire can compare to what Israel has wrought in Gaza, but it will be aimed at keeping the Israeli government happy.

Sillito’s further comments on this morning’s Today program reveal how desperately the BBC aims for that false balance in its reporting on Gaza, rather than simply showing the situation as it is.

Explaining why the BBC didn’t run the DEC appeal in 2009, he said that “making an appeal, talking in plain facts about a humanitarian crisis, it would look as though they [the BBC and Sky] were taking sides in what was an ongoing news story.”

Sorry state of affairs

It’s extraordinary that a news organisation can think that “talking in plain facts,” (in other words, telling the unvarnished truth about Israel’s carnage in Gaza) is somehow taking the Palestinian “side.” It’s not; giving “plain facts” is just straightforward journalism, devoid of the tortured fear apparent in the BBC’s reporting of the occupation.

This week, Israel is on a PR drive, now that its daily slaughter of Palestinians has abated. It is trying to present itself in humanitarian terms, professing concern for the crisis situation in Gaza.

In its daily media briefing yesterday, the British Israel Communications and Research Centre included a story headlined Israel shifts focus onto humanitarian aid effort.”

The article quotes the Israeli army’s chief of staff Benny Gantz saying: “Now we must help rehabilitate Gaza … we will help, not out of any strategic considerations, but from humanitarian ones.”

The offensive irony of this PR strategy should be jumped on and pulled to pieces by serious journalists at the BBC.

Instead, we have Sillito on Today meekly saying that the BBC can run a charity appeal because “Now it’s felt that there is no doubt or debate about this … Israel has said there is a humanitarian crisis.”

The compliance implicit in this statement is appalling.

Why isn’t the BBC challenging Israeli spokespeople over their alleged concerns, confronting them with the “plain facts” that Israel created the crisis, not just with its out-of-control onslaught of the last four weeks, but with its medieval blockade and ongoing occupation? Why aren’t BBC journalists asking the Israeli government why it’s not bearing the cost of reconstruction in Gaza, instead of submissively accepting its tacit permission to broadcast a charity appeal?

And if Israel hadn’t “said so,” would the UN or DEC statements of a humanitarian crisis been enough to dispel the BBC’s doubts about the existence of a human tragedy in Gaza? Highly unlikely.

It is the Israeli viewpoint that appears to be elevated above all others at the BBC.

The DEC appeals for Gaza in 2009 and now in 2014 have helped to expose the sorry state of affairs at the BBC when it comes to Israel. The fear of Israeli censure if BBC journalists report the “plain facts” has been laid bare for all to see, as has the craven need for Israeli approval in its broadcasts about Gaza and the occupation. At the BBC, it seems, if Israel doesn’t “say so,” then neither will our public broadcaster.

David Sillito’s interview on Today can be heard on the BBC website (time code 01:12 onwards) until 13 August.

Posted in Gaza, Palestine Affairs, UK0 Comments

UK activists shut down I$raHell arms factory

NOVANEWS
Police look on as protesters occupy the roof of an Elbit owned factory in Birmingham. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

Police look on as protesters occupy the roof of an Elbit owned factory in Birmingham. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

For nearly a month, Israel has bombarded Gaza from land, sea and air. More than 1800 Palestinians have lost their lives and war crimes have been committed. To our collective shame, the UK government has not only failed to take action to pressure Israel to stop its massacre, but has refused to take steps to end the material support it provides to Israel’s brutal regime of apartheid and colonialism. When governments support crimes against humanity, grassroots movements must take direct action.

A group of activists from the London Palestine Action network have today (5/8/14) chained the doors shut of an Israeli weapons factory based near Birmingham in the UK and are now occupying the roof. As part of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) and in response to calls for action from Palestinian movements, we are demanding the permanent closure of the factory and an end to all forms of military trade and cooperation with Israel.

Protester hangs "Elbit Arms, Israel Kills" at shutdown Elbit factory in Birmingham. The factory produces drone engines which are exported to Israel and used over Gaza. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

Protester hangs “Elbit Arms, Israel Kills” at shutdown Elbit factory in Birmingham. The factory produces drone engines which are exported to Israel and used over Gaza. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

The factory that we are occupying produces engines for drones and is owned by Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company and the world’s largest drones producer. Drone engines manufactured at this factory have been exported to Israel in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and Elbit Systems drones are being used in Israel’s ongoing massacre. Any claims that components manufactured at this factory are not being used in Israel’s current attack on Gaza are not credible.

Drones are a key part of Israel’s military arsenal. By allowing this factory to export drone components and other arms to Israel, the UK government is providing direct support and approval to Israel’s massacres.

Protesters call for an arms embargo and for the UK to stop arming Israel. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

Protesters call for an arms embargo and for the UK to stop arming Israel. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

The factory is also a key part of the Watchkeeper program under which Elbit Systems is leading the manufacture of a new generation of drones for the UK military. The Watchkeeper drone is based on the Hermes 450, documented as being used to kill Palestinian civilians

Activists occupying roof of UAV Engines, wholly owned subsidiary of Elbit. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

Activists occupying roof of UAV Engines, wholly owned subsidiary of Elbit. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

during the 2008-09 attack on Gaza. Elbit Systems markets its drones as ‘field tested’ – by which it means that their drones have been proven to be effective at killing Palestinians. The UK government is importing technology that has been developed during the course of Israeli massacres.

UK prime minister David Cameron and the UK government have Palestinian blood on their hands. In order to end their deep complicity with Israel’s system of occupation, colonialism and apartheid against Palestinians, they must take steps to impose a full military embargo on Israel and close the Elbit Systems factory immediately.

It is more important than ever that the solidarity we build with the Palestinian struggle is effective and impactful. Israel does not act alone but is supported by governments and corporations across the world that have names and addresses. It is time for the international solidarity movement to escalate its direct actions against those that support and profit from Israeli apartheid to take action that can lead to a genuine isolation of Israel.

Join the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement! Stop arming Israel!

 

Posted in Gaza, Palestine Affairs, UK, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

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