On Saturday 27 January Bristol will host three pro-Palestine events. One is part of a national day of action, another will feature a tour of supermarkets complicit in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza – and finally people will gather for a vigil. It comes just as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that South Africa does have a genocide case against Israel – and that their is sufficient evidence of genocide that it imposed immediate provisional measures on it; albeit these appeared to be just telling Israel to ‘follow the law’.
Israel: the genocide continues – and the ICJ recognises this.
Israel has killed more than 25,000 people in Gaza, a further 8,000 are missing presumed crushed under the rubble, over 62,000 are injured, and a quarter of the population are facing extreme hunger. Added to this, it is reported that Israeli snipers have taken up positions on rooftops killing civilians as they flee.
UN secretary general António Guterres has denounced Israel for the “heartbreaking” deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. He has said the resolution to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies in “the acceptance of the right of the Palestinians to statehood” – but Israel totally rejects this.
Now, the ICJ has ruled that Israel must:
- Take all measures within its power to prevent genocide – including killing and injuring Palestinians in Gaza.
- Stop any incitement to genocide – including from members of the public.
- Take immediate and effective measures to allow humanitarian assistance to enter Gaza.
- Prevent the destruction of evidence relating to genocide.
However, the ICJ did not order a ceasefire – and what South Africa asked for has not entirely been delivered. Essentially, the court has partially done its job – but not gone far enough at all.
So, in the UK people are continuing to show solidarity with the Palestinian people – with 27 January looking set to be no exception, especially in Bristol.
Barclays: propping up genocide
Firstly, members of Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign will be protesting from 10am until 12pm outside Barclays Bank in the Podium in Broadmead. As the Canary reported, this is part of a nationwide day of action again the bank.
According to a recent report by War on Want, the bank holds £1,300,688,880 in shares of companies whose weapons, components, and military technology have been used in unlawful violence against Palestinians. This includes investments in BAE Systems, Boeing and Elbit Systems,
Moreover, it provides over £3bn in loans and underwriting to nine companies whose weapons, components, and military technology have been used in Israel’s armed violence against Palestinians.
A spokesperson for Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign said:
People will be shocked to hear that Barclays Bank owns over a billion pounds of shares in arms companies supplying Israel. In addition, Barclays provides a further four billion pounds in loans and other financial services to arms companies including Elbit, Raytheon, and Caterpillar.
It’s shocking that Barclays bank executives are making profits from arms companies supplying Israel with the weapons it uses to maim and kill people in Gaza. If People want to help please google #BoycottBarclays to find out how they can switch their bank account away from Barclays.
A boycott tour as the ICJ rules
Next, members of Bristol Palestine Alliance (BPA) will gather at 10.30am outside Sainsbury’s near Cabot Circus in Broadmead. They will then hold a ‘boycott tour’ of Sainsbury’s and Tesco stores near Union Street, then pass a further two Tesco stores on Wine Street and Clare Street, then visit Sainsbury’s on Broad Quay on the Centre, then finish at Tesco on College Green. The tour is expected to take about two hours.
BPA was formed in response to the horrific events happening in Gaza. Acting as an umbrella group, it brings members from organisations and groups and communities in Bristol together to respond collectively to organise marches and other events to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine. It is based on the network of solidarity that has been successfully built in this city over many years.
A ‘long and radical history’
A spokesperson for the group said:
Bristol people are horrified at what is happening in Palestine. They have marched, repeatedly, in their thousands to show their opposition. But no-one in power is listening. So people want to know what else they can do? Boycotting Israeli products in our local shops is the next logical step.
All seven supermarkets in central Bristol have Israeli products on their shelves right now. These include avocados, figs, and even certain brands of hummus. In addition there are big name brands that trade with or support Israel that people can choose to avoid.
The idea of a boycott campaign has a long and radical history. The word BOYCOTT originates from the 19th century Irish land struggles against English colonialism. It was also used in Bristol to avoid sugar produced on slave-labour plantations. And is well known for the vital role it played in opposition to Apartheid in South African.
People can find out more by googling BDS which stands for Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions. And there’s even apps called Watermelon and No-Thanks people can download onto their smart-phones to scan bar-codes to check products while they shop.
When the boycott tour finishes supporters will gather at 1pm on College Green outside City Hall for a vigil.
Genocide: never again
A BPA spokesperson said:
This is a multi-faith/community vigil. Our message is GENOCIDE – NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE.
We invite people of all faiths and backgrounds to join us for a peaceful vigil in remembrance of lives lost in history and lives being lost as we speak.
We call on our leaders to use their voices to join us in calling for an immediate ceasefire to end the genocide happening in Gaza right now.
If people want to find out more about Palestine then visit the Palestine Museum & Cultural Centre on Broad Street. It was created by volunteers and opened just over ten years ago by the Palestine Ambassador and the Lord Mayor of Bristol.
It was the first permanent Palestine exhibition of its kind in the western world! It’s open every weekend and it’s free. It builds awareness of Palestine issues through meetings, films, and cultural events.
Featured image via BPA