demo26july

MARCH AND RALLY IN CENTRAL LONDON.

SATURDAY 19TH JULY

ASSEMBLE 12 NOON AT DOWNING STREET
THEN MARCH TO ISRAELI EMBASSY

BRING OUT THE BANNER!

On Saturday 24th May we used our new banner depicting Disappearing Palestine for the first time.

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This banner is smaller than other ones we have used, but, as a consequence, is much easier to handle in driving or gusty winds and quicker to dry out in the rain. This banner is our own so we no longer have to keep track of where respective banners are and this one has our own information on it and The image of the ‘Map’ always brings discussion.

On this outing we met a Palestinian mother with her two young children, who, like all Palestinians, took photos, and mum also wanted to take photos of her children standing by the banner and flag.
Some of us also met an Israeli doctor, who, whilst supporting his country, at least had an understanding as to why we were acting in support of the people of Palestine.

For some reason this brought an Israeli family to mind who we’d met on the weekend after the passing away of Nelson Mandela. We didn’t write about them at the time because there was too much to say about Mandela and other encounters that day. There was a father, mother and teenage son and the father was speaking vociferously to one of our friends. I said something and the wife laughed and replied that her husband always liked to ‘wind people up’. It turned out that they were in England so that the seventeen-year-old son could avoid military service. I asked when he would be able to return to Israel and his mum said, “When he’s forty.” Or was that in forty years time?!? (Either way, I remember reading about a young woman who left Israel for Canada at the age of seventeen and returned several years later for a friends wedding: she was arrested at the airport and then incarcerated). The mother, son and myself spent quite some time talking together in an amicable way while the father continued to talk to our friend. In fact, the son even informed me that the idea of bringing back national service had been mooted in the British parliament, something I definitely hadn’t known about. How much this family supported Israel I’m not sure but compulsory military service was one policy they most definitely did not support!

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Some of us also met a man on Saturday who said that he didn’t need a postcard as he already supported us, but we pointed out that he could write to John Lewis to explain to them why they should not be stocking goods from a factory which has been set up in contravention of international law. He told us that his partner was even more vocal in her support, and so it was because when she came out of the shop she launched into all the reasons why she supported Palestine.

In contrast to some Saturdays, this one was fairly uneventful unless you were an Gooners Fan for some reason they were very happy

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Many football ball fans stopped to talk to our pal from Football Against Apartheid

One thing I did notice was that Freddie, our beautiful labrador friend and mascot, actually helped in the dissemination of information because people who came to stroke and talk to him always left with postcards after having signed our petition to John Lewis.

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Report back from PSC & LondonBDSgroup  organized demo against John Lewis  selling SodaStream, which is produced in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank. The protest took place in Oxford Street, London. Many shoppers and passers by agreed that there is no such a thing as a bubbly occupation and several very aggressive Zionists (surprise, surprise) had lessons in history

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and human rights from the members of (IJAN)  International Jewish Anti-Zionist network as well as activists representing Action 4 Palestine , Global Womans Strike  The Zionists just cannot bear not to have it their own way. The truth never gets in the way of their fantasy about the only democracy in the world, Israel, fighting Arab terrorism. The demo was filmed by the Israeli Channel 10. It would be interesting to see their version of the event

Click here  more pictures 

Birds Eye View

Two people came up to this writer asking if we had a petition to sign, now that’s a result.

Oxford Street provides the biggest audience in London many stop to talk.

Two women from the USA said how horrifed they were after visiting Israel.

“I’m telling all my friends” “I knew it was bad but not this bad”, said another whose daughter was deported at Ben Gurian airport after she protested because the man she was with was refused entry because he was of Afgan descent .” Both volunteers with an educational charity CADFA.

“Fantastic – people should see what’s going on.” Said another ( after seeing the postcard with the maps showing the near disappearance of Palestinian “territory”.

Someone promised to write to John Lewis.Two women from the West Bank now resident here gave us their blessing and then one from Ramallah.

A Danish woman said Israel “Was horiffic” and we advised her how to join a  BDS group in Denmark.

Some John Lewis workers were sympathetic.

And then there are the Israelis.

This writer must confess disappointment that on this occasion none of them ranted at him since this always provides a fascinating glimpse into the Israeli psyche. What is it about the Israelis?

It reminds me of the words in another context of the great trinidadian calypsonian Mighty Sparrow who sang

“Jamaica man aint bad – is the ting he carryin’.”

What is the ting the Israeli is carrying?

Part of it is the genuine inability to conceive that if you do cruel things to your captives others are able to see and judge your actions and will be repulsed by them.

But always the hurt felt implication-

How can you judge us like that, have we not suffered more than anyone?

Don’t you realise they all want to kill us?

The same tone was adopted by an Israeli TV crew who came to film us. Of course they had an agenda but we are accustomed to having the agenda pursued in a more subtle manner
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One of us was subjected to a 20 minute diatribe on camera. Two years ago they were more objective.We invited the crew for a coffee but they declined.

The rain held off. A gust of wind blew my Palestinian flag off its pole and I saw it flying towards Oxford Circus like a bird, higher than the red double decker buses. Off in pursuit I found it draped at the base of a stone bench a hundred yards away.

Rada and JC

JOIN US NEXT ACTION SATURDAY 24h MAY 12pm – 2pm

Freddie: Our Fabulous, Furry Friend
It has been decided, that Freddie the yellow labrador, our fabulous furry friend, is to become our official mascot; and who in their right mind could disagree with that?
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On Saturday, it was as if Freddie already knew this as he arrived at our fortnightly gathering outside John Lewis on Oxford Street sporting a beautiful Palestinian scarf around his neck.  Didn’t he look wonderful?  Passersby couldn’t resist stopping to stroke this dapper dog as he calmly sat surrounded by his friends, and as if to celebrate the event, his owner, looking rather dapper himself, had brought along his saxophone to uplift us all.
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The music suited the sunny but breezy afternoon perfectly, and at least fifteen of us had gathered to tell the public what we thought of shops stocking illegal goods from illegal colonies.  Some human rights campaigners worked doubly hard as they handed out postcards informing the public about John Lewis selling SodaStream and leaflets informing them about the  Football Against Apartheid Campaign to kick Israel out of FIFA.
Israel has become infamous for its treatment of Palestinian sportspeople, having killed young men playing football, incarcerated national footballers indefinitely without charge and deliberately shooting young footballers in the legs and feet, not to mention those killed in intermittent massacres.  However, although football appears to be Israel’s main focus, only recently, an Olympian marathon runner from Gaza was not given leave to join the Bethlehem marathon in the occupied West Bank.  Although security is the reason given for instances like the latter, there is no rhyme or reason to such claims.  The man simply wanted to run the marathon and since he would, had he been permitted to take part, have undergone several bag and body searches, one can’t help but conclude that the main motive is to keep Palestinian sportspeople out of the public eye.  After all, national sportspeople represent a nation.
People were attracted by the ‘Gooners Against Apartheid
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 and ‘Man UTD Fans Against Apartheid’ banners,
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wondering what it was all about and I saw one passerby wearing an Arsenal hat who stopped, asked and took a leaflet, along with the SodaStream postcard.  Another man, from Wales, said that he was ‘between the devil and the deep blue sea’ as Wales was in the same group as Israel: he said that he didn’t want to go to Tel Aviv, but he wanted to support his team.
At the very beginning of the action a young woman from France had asked if she could take photos of us.  Recognising her French accent we introduced her to one of our friends from France who some of us hadn’t seen since Our London BDS Group visit to The Veolia AGM held in Paris.

 

 

 

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where we had the delightful opportunity to meet some activist from BDS France,
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He happened to be here on holiday.  Being committed to justice, dignity and equal rights for the Palestinian people, he had, naturally, come along to say ‘Bounjour’ and join our Action.  This meant that when the young woman posted her photos, she could point out that someone from France was also taking part in the action.
It is always the case, every time we’re on Oxford Street, that people take photos.  And, as always it seems, we met some Palestinians.
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Four Palestinian girls, standing in a row, stopped to talk to us and thanked us for what we were doing.  I’m not sure where they were born (possibly England), but one thing is certain, they were fully aware of where their grandparents were born and called themselves Palestinian.  It makes you think about how many people don’t realise that a lot of Palestinians settled in the UK as well as everywhere else in the world when their world was torn apart and destroyed, and it makes you wonder how many of them have heard negative things said about their compatriots, without the speakers realising who they’re talking to.  Thank goodness views are changing as they begin to learn about the realities that have been kept from them.  Keep turning tide, keep turning, and we’ll do our best to continue to make that happen with the help of all our friends world wide, and, of course, Freddie.
Join us Next Action Saturday 10th May 12pm – 2 pm
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