Liverpool Friends of Palestine is affiliated to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), which campaigns for justice for Palestinians.
Liverpool Friends of Palestine is affiliated to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), which campaigns for justice for Palestinians.
Welcome to the website of Liverpool Friends of Palestine.
On other pages you will find out more about what we do. You’ll also find some recommendations of books, films and so on and some links to other organisations. There’s a ‘basic history’ in the ‘Palestine’ section and there’s even a quiz to test your knowledge!
Elsewhere on the net, we have a Facebook page and you can just follow this link. You can also follow us on Twitter at @Livfop.
On this page we list some events coming up shortly, at which you are welcome to join us:
Saturday 4th, 12 noon to 1.30pm - ou regular monthly stall atthe bottom of church Street outside HSBC. Our leaflet and petition is about HSBC's role in supporting Israeli apartheid and we have other leaflets to take away. Come and help for half an hour.
Wednesday 8th, 7pm - our regular monthly meeting is at Jack Jones House (the Unite building). Agendas etc go out separately to members.
GENERAL ELECTION - QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES
In advance of last month's General Election we circulated these questions to all candidates:
1. Do you support the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, justice and equality?
2. The United Nations has described the blockade of Gaza as “collective punishment”. Under the 1949 Geneva Convention this is defined as a war crime. Do you agree that Israel should end the Blockade of Gaza? If so, what steps should a British government take to enforce this?
3. Do you agree that arms sales should be suspended to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen and to Israel for use in violation of the human rights of Palestinian civilians?
4. Do you support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions until Israel complies with international law? If no, why not?
5. Do you agree that all forms of racism, including Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian racism and anti-Jewish prejudice is unacceptable?
6. Do you agree that criticism of the state of Israel's legal framework, policies and actions is not automatically anti-Semitic?'
SOME MOVEMENT BY HSBC
The banking giant HSBC has come under a lot of pressure for the loans it makes that prop up the Israeli arms trade and finance the oppression of the Palestinians. So it was good to see that the bank has withdrawn its financial support for the Israeli arms firm Elbit (which has factories in Britain). That is however only one small step. HSBC continues to do business with over a dozen companies selling military equipment and technology used in human rights violation, including Caterpillar (whose bulldozers are used in demolition of Palestinian homes and properties) and BAE Systems (whose weapons are used in war crimes by Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other repressive regimes). The campaign to end HSBC's links with these companies continues.
GAZA'S GREAT MARCH OF RETURN
You will have seen last year's March of Return by the people of Gaza and the shooting of unarmed demonstrators by Israeli soldiers which has attracted worldwide condemnation. In Liverpool we held weekly street actions to highlight the injustice of their situation.
At last we have an MP in Liverpool who is prepared to support the Palestinians. Our street demonstration on 19 May last year heard this message from Dan Carden who is MP for Liverpool Walton: "The killing of scores of unarmed protesters and the wounding of thousands more by Israeli forces in Gaza is an outrage that demands international condemnation, an independent investigation and an international response. There is no justification for this slaughter, inflicted by one of the world’s military super-powers on one of the poorest refugee populations on earth. I’m disgusted that the UK Government chose to abstain on the UN's Human Rights Council resolution calling for an urgent independent investigation of Monday's massacre in Gaza – an act of profound cowardice that shames our country on the world stage. I can promise you this: I will continue to challenge the Government, I will never be afraid to speak out against injustice. I will challenge the Israeli government just as strongly as I would any other right wing, oppressive regime. Theresa May is desperate to align herself with Donald Trump, even if it means shaming the UK in the eyes of the world. Sadly, UK foreign policy is one of hypocrisy and cowardice: in recent weeks we’ve seen the government roll out the red carpet to the Saudi crown prince and Turkish despot, even as their hands are stained with the blood of innocent Yemenis and Kurds. The UK Government sells arms to 20 of the 30 countries on its own human rights watch list. That ends the day Labour takes office. When Jeremy Corbyn is in Number 10, we will halt all arms sales to repressive regime and put Labour values of collective action, solidarity and social justice at the heart of a new, ethical foreign policy.”
Walton Labour Party also passed this resolution: "Liverpool Walton CLP welcomes the strong statements by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry condemning the shooting dead of 60 unarmed Palestinians by the Israeli Defence Force on May 14 th and 15 th , in addition to the previous killing of 41 more unarmed people. We condemn the wounding of thousands of others during the last month. We further condemn the weak response of Her Majesty’s Government, described by one of its own backbench MPs, Nicholas Soames, as ‘limp.’ We further condemn the statement by Labour Friends of Israel that fails to place the blame for the shootings on the perpetrators, the Israeli Defence Force. This CLP supports a process which can ensure peace, justice and security for Palestinian and Israeli alike. To that end, we commit ourselves to supporting all legitimate protests against the use of disproportionate force against unarmed protestors.”
A United Nations report published 28 February 2019 can be found HERE.
BALFOUR CONFERENCE SPEECHES
In October 2017 we hosted a day conference on the Balfour declaration of 1917, attended by over 170 people. We are often asked if the speeches are available for further study and the answer is yes! All three are on youtube as follows:
The speech of David Cronin (author of the book Balfour's Shadow) is HERE.
The speech of Professor Jonathan Rosenhead is HERE.
The speech of Ben Jamal (General Secretary of PSC) is HERE.
If you want a quick view of why the Balfour declaration is important, take a look at the Basic History page on this site (under the Palestine tab). Then see what these three speakers have to say.
It feels a long time ago that the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 2334 on 23 December 2016, declaring settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem to be a 'flagrant violation under international law'. You can read the full text of the resolution HERE. But it remains a matter of record thanks to the United States abstaining rather than vetoing it.
However, it is business as usual when Israel's settler-led government passes legislation that allows for legalisation of settlements built on stolen Palestinian-owned land and starts on further settlement activity. There is plenty of international condemnation but United States silence gives a green light to further house demolitions and land-grabbing in East Jerusalem and all over the West Bank.
THE BEAUTIFUL GAME
If you need any reminding of why racism has no place in sport, watch THIS TRAILER for the documentary 'Forever Pure' on the Israeli football club Beitar Jerusalem. It is a withering critique of a club that prides itself on having no Arab players. Just to make the point, the club recently renamed itself Beitar Trump Jerusalem!
Elsewhere in the footballing world, the Israeli FA has been under pressure to exclude six of its member clubs that are based in illegal settlements. See HERE for a detailed investigation by Human Rights Watch. A ruling from FIFA (the international federation) has let them off the hook but the issue remains live.
As Israeli football clubs take part in European competition, so the protests follow them. The biggest demonstration was at Celtic Park where demonstrators held Palestine flags aloft in defiance of UEFA officialdom (and later raised over £150,000 for Palestinian charities).
MOST MORAL ARMY AND ITS SUPPORTERS
An incident between a Palestinian civilian and an Israeli soldier on 24 March 2016 left both injured. As the Palestinian man lay immobile on the ground, another soldier shot him in the head. Palestinians would say this is nothing new and indeed the other soldiers there did not bat an eyelid. But this time the shooting was filmed and the youtube clip (HERE) went viral. Cue senior Israeli politicians agreeing that this soldier must be punished to preserve the army's integrity.
The soldier, one Elor Azaria, was charged with homicide. But while he awaited trial (detained in an open prison) he became a folk hero. You can see HERE a disturbingly large and vociferous rally held in his support on 19 April 2016 in central Tel-Aviv. Cue the same Israeli politicians criticising the prosecution! The most important quotes are linked from THIS ARTICLE. After he was convicted and sentenced to (only) 18 months imprisonment, even Prime Minister Netenyahu joined the widespread calls for a pardon. His appeal was unsuccessful but the army reduced his sentence to 14 months anyway. Given time off for, er, good behaviour he was back on the streets and treated as a national hero in the middle of last May, just in time for Nakba Day. As so often, extremism is becoming the Israeli norm.
ATTACKS ON THE LABOUR PARTY
The vigorous witch-hunt against the British Labour Party shows no real sign of ending. The immediate target is Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, but the longer-term aim is to expand the definition of 'antisemitism' to include any criticism of Israeli apartheid - and to stop people talking about Palestine.
The party's Chakrabarti inquiry was more useful than Israel's supporters would have liked. It was published on 30 June 2016 and the full text is HERE. See also HERE a basic Q and A from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Some of the most thorough submissions to the inquiry appear on the website can be seen at freespeechonisrael.org.uk.
None of this stopped accusations of antisemitism being levelled at committed anti-racists. This article is long but it is worth a read as showing how desperate the supporters of Israel have become.
The formation of Jewish Voice for Labour has made it clear that not all Jewish people agree that Labour is antisemitic. The constituency parties of Liverpool Riverside and Wallasey were among the first to affiliate. You can find out more about JVL HERE.
Labour's national executive issued a draft code of practice. You can read it HERE. Predictably this was still not enough for Israel's supporters and the final version includes some 'examples' of antisemitism that will doubtless be deployed in efforts to expel Palestine supporters.
THE ISRAEL LOBBY
Labour apologists for Israeli apartheid were well and truly caught out by THIS DOCUMENTARY made by Al-Jazeera. A six-month investigation by an undercover reporter produced compelling footage of an Israeli embassy official openly discussing setting up pro-Israel groups and 'taking down' politicians up to and including a Government minister. Needless to say there were cries of outrage about the programmes but all the complaints made to Ofcom have been dismissed. In fact the programme won a CINE award in the USA.
Then it was the turn of the Conservatives. Development Secretary Priti Patel visited Israel, spent much of her holiday meeting several Israeli government officials and came back with plans to divert British aid money to help Israel's war effort against Syria (by funding hospitals in the occupied Golan heights). Whoops, the story got out and she had to resign. Was she acting alone?
Al-Jazeera have since made an expose of the Israel lobby in the USA. It was kept under wraps for some time but eventually leaked out and can be found on the website of the Electronic Intifada HERE.
PALESTINIAN CHILD PRISONERS
Israel's treatment of Palestinian children is an international disgrace. In 2012 the UK government sponsored an investigation which made over 40 recommendations. These have been almost entirely ignored and a planned follow-up trip by the same legal team in 2016 was refused entry.
On 7 February 2016 there was a long debate in Parliament's Westminster Hall, introduced by Sarah Champion MP. The record of proceedings is HERE.
On 21 July 2017 the House of Lords debated this motion: "That this House takes note of the conditions in which Palestinian children are living and the impact on their health and wellbeing". There were a number of sympathetic contributions including from Baroness Jenny Tonge. You can read the official record HERE.
For the latest (June 2019) report on the treatment of child prisoners, read THIS REPORT from Military Courtwatch.
Some of our leafleting has highlighted the Israeli plans to demolish the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran: you can read a bit more about it HERE. But the forced removal of Palestinians from their homes is also happening in the West Bank as THIS STATEMENT from the United Nations shows.
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