Free Palestine demo (16 July 2014)


From the Palestine Solidarity Campaign:
All out on Saturday!
We have seen an incredible response to Israel’s assault on Gaza. We will be protesting outside the BBC HQ in London tonight and handing in a letter containing 45,000 signatures. The letter calls on the BBC to reflect the reality of Gaza’s occupation and siege in its reporting. Signatories include Noam Chomsky, John Pilger and Ken Loach. Protests have taken place outside BBC studios around the country in the last few days.
54,800 people have emailed their MP to tell them they must take action to end Israel’s war crimes.
And an unprecedented alliance of organisations has come together to take this message to both the British government and Israel’s representatives. Organisations working with Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the demonstration include Friends of Al Aqsa, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, Palestinian Forum of Britain, Muslim Association of Britain, Israeli Coalition Against House Demolitions-UK, War on Want, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and unions Unite, Unison, PCS, RMT, TSSA, ASLEF, and the NUT. More organisations are continuing to add their support.

Experiencing Israel and Palestine

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Taking Soundings recently worked with Together for Peace, Leeds Met University’s festival of politics, Leeds Met University’s International Volunteering office, and Dr Sarah Perrigo (Bradford University Peace Studies) on a rather different kind of political event.  Rather than locking into conflict over the Israel-Palestine issue, a panel of people who visited Israel and Palestine over the summer simply spoke about their experiences.

The Together for Peace speakers were from a Jewish-Muslim conversation group that has been meeting in Leeds for two years or more.  The Leeds Met speakers were part of a trip for young people organised in conjunction with the UK Friends of Abraham’s Path. Dr Perrigo had visited with Labour Friends of Palestine, but had added a week visiting friends in Israel.

T4P group member Jacoov, from Brooklyn, who’d migrated for many years to Israel and was now settled in Leeds, told a joke which captured the spirit of the event:

Mr Cohen died. Mrs Cohen sent the death notice to her newspaper: “Mr Cohen has died”.

The newspaper rang her back and said that she was entitled to seven words, so please would she supply another three. Mrs Cohen said she’d think about what to say and call back.

She called back.  “Mr Cohen has died. Volvo for sale”.

Jacoov said that when he tells the joke to his Muslim friends they say, that’s funny, we have the same joke but ours ends with “Nissan for sale”.

About 50 people crowded into the room, including two groups of young people from Oldham and Leeds who were part of a British Council Active Citizens programme. Some of them are going to Israel and Palestine in the near future. While they heard all that was said about the Israeli state’s persecution of the Palestinians, they too are going in the spirit of this event – to engage in dialogue and and respectful discussion.

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