As of Wednesday 1 November, Israel had killed nearly 8,800 people in Gaza in less than a month – including over 3,600 children. While UK politicians are failing to condemn Israel’s war crimes, campaign groups and the public have been taking action themselves. There have been national marches and spontaneous protests happening week-in, week-out in support of Palestine. However, this weekend’s upcoming action looks somewhat different to its predecessors.
Sits ins and national marches for Gaza
In the UK, there have been ongoing protests against Israel’s slaughter in Gaza, and occupying forces and settler violence in the Occupied Territories. For example, on Tuesday 31 October campaign groups Jews Against Genocide and Sisters Uncut rallied commuters at Liverpool Street Station in London to perform a sit in – bringing the concourse to a standstill:
Jews against Genocide stage a sit-in at Liverpool Street station 👏❤️ (London England) – Suella Braverman 🧙 classifies these people as espousing hate . She is the personification of a nasty stale joke. pic.twitter.com/UWqGDIFjio
— Akunjee 🖋 (@mohammedakunjee) October 31, 2023
However, the focal point of UK resistance to Israel has been the national marches in London, which have taken place three Saturdays in a row. Organisers claimed the march on 28 October saw around half a million people attend:
Over 500,000 people marched in the capital for Palestine today 🇵🇸
— Friends of Al Aqsa (@FriendsofAlAqsa) October 28, 2023
However, this weekend the groups are changing tactics.
On Saturday 4 November, campaign groups are asking people to focus on their local marches:
🚨Day of action for Palestine – Ceasefire NOW! – November 4
On Saturday 4 November, join an action in your local area to call for a #CeasefireNOW and build for the next National march on November 11
— PSC (@PSCupdates) October 31, 2023
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said on its website:
For the past three weeks we’ve marched through London in our hundreds of thousands to demand a ceasefire. We’re rising up in solidarity with Palestine, and we can’t stop now.
On Saturday 4 November, we will take action in towns and cities the length and breadth of Britain to demand a ceasefire NOW to end Israel’s assaults.
The list of local protests is already large, and PSC said it will hopefully have more to add. Locations include:
- Leamington Spa.
- Tunbridge Wells.
In London, there are also local actions in numerous boroughs. Then, these will be joining together with the London rally in Trafalgar Square at 2:30pm.
On Sunday 5 November, there will be further actions in Birmingham and Chester.
Politicians are fomenting a ‘climate of intolerance’
Of course, home secretary Suella Braverman has made a point of labelling the Palestine protests as being “hate marches” against Jewish people. She also claimed that:
We’ve seen now tens of thousands of people take to the streets after the massacre of Jewish people, the single largest loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust, chanting for the erasure of Israel from the map.
This is demonstrable nonsense. PSC said in a press release that:
For Home Secretary Suella Braverman to characterise those making this call for an end to the commission of war crimes, as “hateful” is grotesque, irresponsible and further evidence of her unfitness for public office…
She has falsely asserted the chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is a call for the eradication of Jewish Israelis, when it is actually a call for the dismantling of the system of apartheid that affects all Palestinians, whether in Gaza, the West Bank or Israel.
By so doing she is contributing to a climate of intolerance, a dehumanising of Palestinians, including British Palestinians, and is further threatening the right to protest in this country
Meanwhile, support from the Labour Party is slim pickings. After Israel bombed the Jabalia refugee camp, killing and injuring at least 400 civilians, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary David Lammy defended Israel’s actions. He told BBC Radio 4 Today on Wednesday 1 November:
it’s clear to me it’s wrong to bomb a refugee camp – but clearly, if there is a military objective it can be legally justifiable. It’s for Israel to explain its actions.
On X, people reacted furiously:
David Lammy just claimed it can be "legally justified" to bomb a refugee camp in Gaza.
As a researcher of humanitarianism in the Middle East, can I please note that it is not "legally justified" to bomb a refugee camp? It is, in fact, wholly illegal.pic.twitter.com/dpDHNkU3Va
— Philip Proudfoot (@PhilipProudfoot) November 1, 2023
— Jason Okundaye (@jasebyjason) November 1, 2023
So, with both the Tories and Labour unquestioningly supporting Israel, it’s vital for the rest of us to stand up for the Palestine and its people. So, get yourself to a protest on 4 November, and send a clear message to politicians that you do not consent to complicity in Israel’s war crimes – and that you stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Featured image via Friends of Al Aqsa – screengrab
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