All posts by frankgthomas

Walking to Palestine: a talk by Benjamin Ladraa

Benjamin Ladraa is a human rights activist from Sweden.  He recently walked 5,000 km from Sweden to Palestine to raise awareness about the human rights violations taking place under the military occupation of Palestine. Traversing 13 countries in 11 months, on arrival in Israel he was interrogated for 6 hours by the Israeli military, then refused entry.

Hear Benjamin talk of his experiences and the human rights situation in Palestine.

7pm, Friday 18 January 2019 at 46 The Pleasance Edinburgh EH8 9TJ.

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Al Dawayima massacre 1948: commemoration and public meeting

Edinburgh Action for Palestine are organising two events on Sunday, 28 October 2018 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of one of the most brutal massacres of the ethnic cleansing carried out to create the state of Israel.

On 29 October 1948, the villagers of Al Dawayima were the target of an attack by the Israeli army. It was particularly brutal with up to 100 peaceful villagers slaughtered. The children had their heads beaten with ’sticks’ – adults were blown up in their homes or in the local Darawish Mosque. Some, seeking refuge in caves, when ordered to leave by this ‘first wave of conquerors’ were machine gunned. There were reports of rape followed by death. Bodies were stuffed down the village well. As with Deir Yassin, some months earlier, these acts of slaughter terrified the area and stimulated the flow of refugees, the abandonment of their land, as they sought refuge.

What’s happening on 28 October?

First, at 1pm, there will be a gathering at a memorial plaque in the Meadows, just off Melville Drive.

Al Dawayima plaque

Then, at 2pm there will be a public meeting “Remembrance and Resistance: How We Can Build a Just Future” with speaker Nadia Hijab.  Details here.

Also note the Scottish Friends of Palestine will shortly have erected a memorial stone to Al Dawayima and intend to conduct a memorial event the following day – which is the exact 70th anniversary of the massacre.  SFP have provided the following information:

Al Dawayima memorial, Monday 29 October 2018 1pm at Regent Road Park, Edinburgh EH1 3DG

[Directions: Regent Road (the A1) is a continuation of Princes Street at the Waverley Station end of Princes St. From the station the road curves round to the right along the base of Calton Hill. The Park is to be found on your right. Please note that the stone will only be in place a few days before the memorial.]

Remembrance and Resistance: How We Can Build a Just Future

Edinburgh Action for Palestine have arranged a public meeting at 2pm Sunday, 28 October 2018.  The speaker will be Nadia Hijab, co-founder & board president of Al-Shabaka: the Palestinian Policy Network.  The meeting follows the commemoration at 1pm on the same day of the Al Dawayima massacre in 1948.

Nadia Hijab is co-founder and board president of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. She served as its Executive Director between 2011 and March 2018. A writer, public speaker and media commentator, Hijab’s first book, Womanpower: The Arab debate on women at workwas published by Cambridge University Press and she co-authored Citizens Apart: A Portrait of Palestinians in Israel (I. B. Tauris). She was Editor-in-Chief of the London-based Middle East magazine before serving at the United Nations in New York. She is a co-founder and former co-chair of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and now serves on its advisory board.

Talk & discussion 2 – 4 pm

History of the Nakba display can be viewed from 1pm & after the talk

Summerhall (TechCube), Summerhall Pl, Edinburgh EH9 1PL

 

 

 

 

Protest against Israeli dance company L-E-V, 9-12 August

Edinburgh Action for Palestine is calling for protests outside the Kings Theatre during the performances of Israeli dance company L-E-V, part of the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF). Thursday 9 August – Sunday 12 August, from 7pm until 8pm each evening.

We have previously outlined support and sponsorship which L-E-V performances have received from Israeli embassies and consulates around the world – https://edinburghaction4palestine.org/2018/07/12/stop-israels-cultural-whitewash-of-apartheid/

By accepting this support L-E-V is complicit in Israel’s use of culture to normalise perception of the state of Israel – a state which is in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, in violation of numerous UN resolutions and stands accused of serious human rights abuses by groups including Amnesty International.

Consequently we protest at the presence of L-E-V at the festival.

Other high profile Israeli citizens have recently chosen to distance themselves from the actions of the Israeli state. We met with the director of EIF, Fergus Linehan, and suggested that L-E-V might similarly wish to distance themselves, offering to meet the company. They have declined to respond.

In April 2018, actress Natalie Portman, a US and Israeli citizen, was awarded the Genesis Prize but refused to attend the ceremony, stating:

“I chose not to attend because I did not want to appear as endorsing Benjamin Netanyahu, who was to be giving a speech at the ceremony. ….

But the mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values.”

As reported in the Guardian newspaper on 20 April 2018 (https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/apr/20/natalie-portman-israel-genesis-prize), Portman’s representative said: “[R]ecent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel” and that “she cannot in good conscience move forward with the ceremony”.

Similarly, Daniel Barenboim, a conductor & musician who holds Israeli citizenship, recently wrote an Op-ed in the Guardian newspaper on 23 July, 2018, distancing himself from the current Israeli regime. (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/23/israel-racist-new-law-ashamed-apartheid-daniel-barenboim)

He concluded his piece by saying –

Yet nothing has really changed since 2004. Instead, we have a law that confirms the Arab population as second-class citizens. It follows that this is a very clear form of apartheid. I don’t think the Jewish people lived for 20 centuries, mostly through persecution and enduring endless cruelties, in order to become the oppressors, inflicting cruelty on others. This new law does exactly that. Therefore, I am ashamed of being an Israeli today.”

Letter to Linehan 28 June 2018

Dear Mr Linehan

Congratulations on assembling another exciting package for the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF).  I would like on behalf of Edinburgh Action for Palestine to make enquiries about the L-E-V Dance Company from Israel.

In 2005 Palestinian civil society called on “international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.” They also invited “conscientious Israelis to support this call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.”

They called for these non-violent measures to be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law.

Several criteria have been developed for identifying artistic groups and events that should be boycotted (https://bdsmovement.net/pacbi/cultural-boycott-guidelines).  At least two of these criteria are relevant to L-E-V’s participation in EIF 2018.  I quote these criteria below:

As a general overriding rule, Israeli cultural institutions, unless proven otherwise, are complicit in maintaining the Israeli occupation and denial of basic Palestinian rights, whether through their silence or actual involvement in justifying, whitewashing or otherwise deliberately diverting attention from Israel’s violations of international law and human rights.

 A cultural EVENT/ACTIVITY is boycottable if it is partially or fully sponsored by an official Israeli body or a complicit institution.

Can EIF provide any instance of L-E-V or its directors speaking out against Israel’s violations of international law?  Can EIF assert that L-E-V has no sponsorship, financial or otherwise, from any official Israeli body?

I hope that, given Israel’s history of human rights abuses against Palestinians, the EIF will have taken the trouble to get this information before booking the company for this year’s festival and that you will therefore be able readily to answer these questions.

Edinburgh Action for Palestine currently understands that L-E-V are boycottable and will continue to do so, unless you can respond otherwise.

Jan Benvie

Response to Linehan 21 July 2018

Dear Mr Linehan

Thank you for your reply to our email about the L-E-V dance company.

The issue we raised about this dance company is not about the ‘nationality, country of residence or ethnic, religious or cultural  background’ of the dancers, the issue is about sponsorship and support from a state which is in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, in violation of numerous UN resolutions and stands accused of serious human rights abuses by groups including Amnesty International.

Thank you for assuring us that the L-E-V performances in Edinburgh will not receive funding from the Israeli government, however our research shows that the company has received support and sponsorship from the Israeli government over a number of years.

A few examples include:

L-E-V has clearly been happy to accept support and sponsorship over the years from the Israeli state. We believe that under the boycott criteria to which we referred in our previous correspondence, namely that they are ‘complicit in maintaining the Israeli occupation and denial of basic Palestinian rights, … through their silence or … whitewashing or otherwise deliberately diverting attention from Israel’s violations of international law and human rights.’ L-E-V should be boycotted.

We would be happy to meet to discuss this or future Festival events.

Yours sincerely

 

Jan Benvie