Liverpool stands with Palestine, a 5,000-strong demonstration on 15 May ended with a rally in Derby Square
Welcome to the website of Liverpool Friends of Palestine.
On other pages you will find out more about the issues. 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.
The worldwide pandemic of the coronavirus has not in any way halted the oppression of the Palestinians. It does however place severe restrictions on our solidarity actions in this country. The urgency of the situation nonetheless remains the same.
Saturday 11th – we join others in a march and rally against the coming Electronic Arms Fair (see next entry below). There are two assembly points: at 11.30am at the Princes Park Gates (entrance from Princes Road roundabout), from where a march goes to the Catholic Cathedral Hope Street plaza for 12.30pm.
Saturday 18th, 12 noon – our monthly stall will be at the bottom of Church Street with leaflets and petition. Come and help out for half an hour.
STOPPING THE ARMS FAIR
Liverpool’s central conference centre is set to host an electronic arms fair from 11 October. Arms firms from around the world will display their wares and try to sell more of them. Many of these firms have little or no commitment to human rights and the event gives credibility to repressive regimes that use their weapons. The Israeli firm Elbit will be one of the exhibitors, no doubt passing off their weaponry as ‘battle tested’ (ie used against Palestinians).
We have called on Liverpool council to stop this event, so far without success. A joint campaign with other organisations has already held a well-attended march through the city centre and more events are planned including a big demonstration on Saturday 11 September.
Over 5,000 have signed a petitioin against the arms fair that can be found HERE. You can contact the ongoing campaign through this site.
ICE CREAM WARS
On 19 July the American ice cream firm Ben and Jerry’s announced that from the end of next year they will not sell their ice cream in the ‘occupied Palestinian Territories’, meaning that they will no longer cool the brows of racist settlers in the West Bank.
Their statement reads: We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners. We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region. We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year.Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT, we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement. We will share an update on this as soon as we’re ready.
The reaction of Israeli public figures has been pretty much a meltdown. The Israeli Presiden denounced the move as a form of terrorism, while some American politicians are trying to get action taken under American anti-sanctions laws. In short, those who have spent years saying that boycotts don’t work are proving that they do work by… calling for a boycott!
HELP PALESTINIANS FIGHT THE VIRUS
The impact of the COVID-19 virus is that much greater when medical services are thin on the ground or when your community is under siege and/or occupation. The authorities on the West Bank and in Gaza are making a much better job than Britain in containing the virus and keeping down the numbers affected. But materials are still in crucially short supply. We would encourage you to spare a donation to one of these two charitable agencies:
- Medical Aid for Palestinians have special programmes in Gaza, the West Bank and in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Their appeal is on the front page of their website which is here: www.map.org.uk. Their special briefing (23 July) on COVID19 and the systematic neglect of East Jerusalem can be watched online HERE.
- The Middle East Childrens Alliance supports projects for Palestinian children and rerugees from Syria. Their special appeal for medical supplies for Gaza is on the front page of their website which is here: www.mecaforpeace.org
A series of short films on the impact of COVID-19 on Palestine is being produced by Mondoweiss and can be seen HERE.
As in Britain, the coronavirus and the responses have shown up the faultlines in Palestinian society and in particular the effects of Israeli occupation. The Israeli government has claimed to pioneer nationwide vaccination and has sent supplies to other countries, but has failed to include Palestinians on the West Bank in disregard of its responsibilities as an occupying power. See HERE for a briefing from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Palestine.
ISRAEL – AN APARTHEID STATE
The Israeli human rights organisation Btselem produced on 12 January a report that sets out clearly how Israel is properly described as an apartheid state. Read their report HERE. Evidence pointing in the same direction has been gathered by the international organisation Human Rights Watch whose report, entitled A Threshold Crossed, can be found HERE.
The Balfour Project have in July put up a Palestinian art exhibition online, that includes maps of Palestine. You can view it HERE.
AMERICAN PLANS FOR PALESTINE – WILL THEY CHANGE?
Will the election of Joe Biden as US President make much difference? Both Biden and VP Kamala Harris are known supporters of Israel. The reaction of the White House to Israel’s latest offensives against the Palestinians suggests little has changed, but THIS ARTICLE argues that pressure within the Democratic Party is having some effect.
PALESTINIANS IN ISRAELI POLITICS
After four General Elections in two years, Israel’s Parliament is still effectively deadlocked. Each government has shown itself more racist than the last and the new regime is no exception. Netanyahu and his Likud party remain the largest grouping but their coalition with racist settler parties has fallen just short of a majority. An equally-racist coalition headed by Bennett and Lapid has taken power… BUT this has only been possible with the support of the 4 seats of the United Arab List (which is Islamist and socially conservative and separate from the ‘Arab Joint List’). We shall see how long this arrangement lasts!
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. You can sign an online petition linked at the foot of this page.
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. Even the signing (in 2012) of two players from Chechnya (who were Muslims) led to widespread protests. Just to make the point, the club renamed itself Beitar Trump Jerusalem! More recently, the club has been partially bought by a sheikh in Abu Dhabi and the racist fans have made their disapproval clear.
It is therefore hardly surprising that FC Barcelona, having unwisely scheduled a friendly game against this club, insisted that the game be played outside Jerusalem: the Palestine FA had pointed out that the Beitar stadium is actually built on the rujins of a Palestinian village Al-Mahla that was ethnically cleansed in 1948. Beitar refused so the game is off.
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 demonstrations have been at Celtic Park where supporters regularly display Palestine flags.. A more recent appeal to Scotland supporters, made on the eve of an international fixture, is HERE.
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 in 2016 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 were dismissed. In fact the programme won a CINE award in the USA.
Then it was the turn of the Conservatives. The then Development Secretary Priti Patel visited Israel, spent much of her 2017 ‘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? She is now Home Secretary.
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.
PETITIONS YOU CAN SIGN
Close the Israeli arms factory in Oldham
A call to close the Elbit arms factory and to convert it to peaceful use is HERE.
Oppose Israeli annexation of the West Bank
A statement for members of Labour to sign is HERE.
Children in Military Custody
Call for an end to the mistreatment of Palestinian minors in Israeli military detention – a petition is HERE.
Stop an eviction in East Jerusalem
Call on your MP to sign Early Day Motion 529: You can make the request from HERE. See the page on Early Day Motions elsewhere on this site.
Recognise the state of Palestine
Call for the British Government to recognise the state of Palestine – the petition is HERE.
End the siege of Gaza
A petition to end the 13-year Israeli blockade of Gaza in the light of the coronavirus crisis is HERE.
Stop Arming Israel
Call on the HSBC bank to stop funding the arms trade with Israel: a standard email is HERE.
Give Puma the Boot
Ask selected football clubs to break sponsorship ties with Puma as Puma sponsor Israel’s national football association. A standard email is HERE.
Keep Palestine on the map
Googlemap simply does not mention Palestine at all. The petition to include is HERE. The petition now has over a million signatures.