FW: Report: launch of IJAN Charter

From: Andrew Johnson

Date: 2008-11-03 14:48:26

 #ygrps-yiv-1010600246 DIV { MARGIN:0px;}   Email: uk@ijsn.net  Tel: 020 7209 4751 Mobile: 07816 251377: website: www.ijsn.net Report on the UK launch of the IJAN Charter 24 October 2008 A hundred people came together for a historic occasion — the public launch in the UK of the Charter of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN).  The meeting was to say how the Charter could be of use for different sectors; and to propose direct action that could be taken together. 
L to r: Tahrir Swift, Dr. Ghada Karmi, Michael Kalmanovitz, Selma James, Professor Moshé Machover, Dr. Mike Berry, Cristel Amiss, Yael Kahn Selma James (IJAN) from the Chair opened by pointing out the amazing greetings that IJAN had received from “Jews, Palestinians and many others”.  She referred to Early Day Motion 2332 welcoming IJAN, tabled in Parliament by John McDonnell MP.    Michael Kalmanovitz (IJAN) quoting the Charter said: “Our commitment is to the dismantling of Israeli apartheid, the return of Palestinian refugees, and the ending of the Israeli colonization of historic Palestine.”  The Charter was not a plan but a basis for a relationship with the Palestinian movement.   Professor Moshé Machover, co-founder of the Israeli Socialist Organisation Matzpen sent greetings from comrades in Israel, both Jewish and Palestinian who had long fought against Zionism.  He said it was very important for civil unrest to exert pressure on Israel and for a Jewish civil network to oppose the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people.                                                                                   Dr. Ghada Karmi, Palestinian doctor of medicine and author of Married to Another Man, gave complete support to Jewish colleagues who were prepared to confront the “evil” of Zionism; she said that Palestinians always hoped Jewish people would turn against it.  She told about the WHO mental health conference due to be held in Gaza to which she and other medical practitioners from all over the world had been invited – until Israel refused them all entry into Gaza at the last minute. To great applause, she said many of the doctors were going to mount a public protest there.   Yael Kahn, of Women’s Organization for Political Prisoners (WOFPP) and Islington Friends of Yibna, spoke about support and protests for women political prisoners – those who resist the Israeli occupation, including Palestinian citizens of Israel, women kidnapped from Lebanon, and Israeli refuseniks.  WOFPP began because women prisoners were moved frequently, no-one knew where they were, no-one could visit, giving a free hand to the Israeli forces to torture them.  Currently there are 16-year-olds in administrative detention – that is, there are no charges against them yet their imprisonment is indeterminate.  WOFPP organise demonstrations to release all women prisoners including minors.   Dr. Mike Berry, co-author of the acclaimed Bad News from Israel (Glasgow University Media Unit) spoke about his research into how the media discusses the conflict and how this affects beliefs.  Reporting concentrates on current violence with little reference to the history of the conflict in the region; editors claim people have ‘low attention spans’ and do not want too much bad news!  The result is that people are unaware why there is fighting and who the refugees are; there is no discussion of human rights abuses, military occupation, deprivation of water, that Palestinians are not allowed to move freely, etc.   Cristel Amiss, of Black Women’s Rape Action Project, said the Charter was a tool for all in the anti-racist movement – to help defend ourselves against false charges of anti-Semitism.  Ms Amiss compared Zionist NGOs and other NGOs which assist repressive governments, wars and occupations (Haiti, Iraq, and Darfur, and NGOs in the UK which implement brutal government immigration policy – for example, the Refugee Council which implemented Section 55 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act.   Tahrir Swift, of Solidarity for an Independent and Unified Iraq, enthusiastically welcoming the Charter said Iraqi Jews had opposed Zionism for a long time, mentioning the League for Combating Zionism, established in 1945.  The bombing of Iraqi synagogues in 1951, making Israel seem like a safe haven in comparison, was in fact orchestrated by Mossad (Israel’s notorious secret service).  Ms Swift said the ‘illegal’ war with Iraq made Israel a super-power in the region in the interests of US and Europe.  Israelis were openly involved in the conflict, even training US marines.  Now there was pressure on the Iraqi government to normalise relations with Israel.    Maggie Ronayne, National University of Ireland, Galway, raised that there was already a National Boycott Day, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions had voted for a boycott, and peace activists had smashed up Raytheon, the arms manufacturer based in Derry, suppliers of weapons to Israel during the Lebanon war.  She connected the struggle of the Palestinian people to the 800-year struggle of the Irish people against ‘savage colonialism’.  She warned against separatism and nationalism which had led to the defeat of the Irish revolution.  She highlighted women’s role in the Irish revolution, only now beginning to be recognised, and urged that it not take so long for Palestinian women’s experience and struggle to be acknowledged.   Michele Hanson, Guardian columnist, said she had no intention of returning to Israel: young Israelis were rude; she was policed everywhere by Israeli soldiers; and she very aware of the ill-treatment of Palestinians.  Ms Hanson said she would like to write more about the Palestinian struggle but was ‘censored from writing seriously’.  She pointed out that press coverage often says that Israelis are ‘killed’, while Palestinians ‘die’.   There was discussion about whether some known Zionists with a history of intimidation should be asked to leave, the meeting resolved to continue with the Q&A and there was no further disruption.  There was a suggestion to protest against Shimon Peres if he comes to London to receive an honorary knighthood.  The Chair pointed out that an anti-Zionist activist had travelled from Liverpool to attend this meeting, that also present was Ayo Omotade who’d been arrested for standing up for a man being violently deported on a British Airways plane, and Omar Deghayes who had been held in Guantamano and was asked if he wanted to speak – he said he was very impressed and gave his support.   The collective action proposed was a regular protest against the Jewish National Fund while attacking its charitable status.  Tony Greenstein was invited to give a brief history of the JNF.  It has bought up land for exclusive Jewish ownership to the point that it now owns 93% of the land in Israel.  The JNF has played a crucial role in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine – initially in the planning and now by the fact that its “forests” cover up the ruins of Palestinian villages and towns.  Last year’s JNF Bill prompted even the Israeli press to speak about “a racist Jewish state”.  The chair proposed, to great interest, an organising meeting to which people will come with their own proposals to be discussed and collectively agreed on.   And finally the chair read out messages of support for IJAN from Joel Kovel, author of Overcoming Zionism; Owen Manda, one of the South African signatories to We fought apartheid; we see no reason to celebrate it in Israel now!; and Phil Shiner, Public Interest Lawyers and Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights. Ask your MP to sign EDM 2332 tabled by John McDonnell MP.  Currently there are 22 signatures: John McDonnell, David Drew, Lynne Jones, Neil Gerrard, Katy Clark, Colin Breed Kelvin Hopkins, Bob Russell, Alan Simpson, Brian Iddon, Mark Durkan, Robert N Wareing, Angus MacNeil, Dai Davies, Frank Cook, Ann Cryer, Janet Anderson, Linda Riordan, Simon Hughes, Brian Jenkins, Elfyn Llwyd & John Hemming.   INTERNATIONAL JEWISH ANTI-ZIONIST NETWORK 22.10.2008 That this House welcomes the launch of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) and its founding Charter which gives voice to the great and growing number of Jewish people worldwide who refuse to allow the Israeli state to act in their name and who condemn Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people, including the murder of 64 children in 2008 alone, its apartheid laws, its expropriation of Palestinians’ land and resources, its militarism and nuclear weapons, and its trade in arms (the fourth largest in the world); and notes that by speaking out IJAN discredits Israel’s attempts to suppress criticism with false accusations of anti-Semitism. Change email address / Leave mailing list Hosting by YourMailingListProvider

Related articles...

Comments are closed.