Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Viva Palestina Report Back

Salma Yaqoob was joined at the University of Birmingham yesterday by Viva Palestina Student Officer Fiona Edwards at a Gaza report back and meeting to discuss the plight of the Palestinian people and the struggle for peace in the Middle East.

Chaired by Adam O’Connell (Acting President of the University of Birmingham Friends of Palestine Society); Fiona shared her insight from a recent convoy trip to Gaza and explained how the tunnels were being used to transport food and essential appliances despite the threat of Israeli bombs looming, while Salma discussed the nature of apartheid rule in Israel and how action in cities in the UK was having a direct impact on international opinion.


Salma Yaqoob: Part 1 | Part 2

Fiona Edwards: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Midlands: Gaza events this week

EVENT: Public Meeting: Aid Gaza! Boycott Israel
SPEAKERS: Respect Councillor Mohammed Ishtiaq, Ray Gaston
VENUE: St Andrews Methodist Church, Pump Street [off High Street], Worcester
DATE: Tuesday 27th January 2009 | TIME: 7.30pm
CONTACT: 07966866837

INFO: Jointly organised by Worcestershire Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Worcester Stop the War Coalition, Worcester Palestine Group.
Facebook event page:


EVENT: Building Real and Lasting Links with Palestine
VENUE: Birmingham City Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1
DATE: Wednesday 28th January | TIME: 7.00pm

INFO: The Birmingham-Ramallah Twinning Initiative is hosting a practical public meeting on how to build grass root links with Palestine. Find out how you can help.
Facebook event page:


GAZA EVENT: Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign
Keeping up the pressure for Gaza and Palestine…
VENUE: Muslim Student Institute, Moseley Road, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, United Kingdom
DATE: 29th January 2009 | TIME: 7.00pm
CONTACT: 07812172885

INFO: Continuing the pressure on the Israeli state for the massacre in Gaza and the daily war crimes committed in Palestine, the next step is a meeting to establish a stronger and broader Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign.
Convened by Stop the War Coalition, Salma Yaqoob, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Muslim Association of Britain.
Facebook event page:

Gallery: Save Gaza & Boycott Israel meeting – 18.01.09

Images from the 500-strong Gaza meeting, which took place at the Bordesley ‘Amaanah’ Centre in Birmingham on Sunday 18h January, 2009.

More images at the Birmingham Respect facebook group here.

Images: Mark Anthony France

Event: ‘Save Gaza & Boycott Israel’, Birmingham – 18.01.09

Salma Yaqoob addresses the crowds at the Gaza meeting in Birmingham

Salma Yaqoob addresses the crowds at the Gaza meeting in Birmingham

Report by Mark Anthony France
RESPECT National Committee

On Sunday 18th January 2009, following the 5,000-strong Demonstration through the streets of Birmingham the day before, over 500 people packed into the Bordesley Centre Camp Hill for the ‘Justice for Palestine’ meeting organised by Birmingham RESPECT.

As the size of the audience grew so did the atmosphere of excitement. This felt like a confirmation that RESPECT was a real force to be reckoned with in Birmingham politics. The audience was reflective of the local community and included a much higher number of young people and in particular young women than Respect Public meetings held in 2008

Aisharr Mahmood and Mariam Khan speak about Gaza

Aisharr Mahmood and Mariam Khan speak about Gaza

Mark Holland, who has been active in the Birmingham Labour movement for three decades, chaired the meeting and first to speak were two young women who have played a key role in mobilising solidarity with the people of Gaza over the past 3 weeks. Miriam Khan and Aisharr Mahmood spoke of the success of their work in using Facebook groups as a method of connecting with and organising young people and they received cheers from the audience. Miram and Aisha talked of how children and young people all over the planet have been affected by the images of slaughter caused by Israeli weapons.

Former US marine and Guantanamo Bay guard Chris Arendt speaks on Palestine

Former US marine and Guantanamo Bay guard Chris Arendt speaks on Palestine

Then Mark Holland introduced Chris Arendt a 24-year-old former Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp Guard who has been working with Moazzam Begg in a recent Caged Prisoners speaking tour. Chris talked about how impressed he is by the size and enthusiasm of the Palestinian Solidarity movement here in Birmingham he said “I am more used to speaking to small groups of concerned Christians and Liberals”.

Next up was the radical Anglican cleric Ray

Church minister Ray Gaston supports Gaza

Church minister Ray Gaston supports Gaza

Gaston who congratulated the audience for their hard work over the past three weeks in building the Boycott Israeli Goods campaign across the city. Ray explained how he was inspired to join RESPECT, he said “I was inspired by this woman [pointing to Salma Yaqoob] to join and to proudly stand as a candidate for RESPECT”. Ray went on to talk about the dangers of ‘Demo fatigue’ and noted that there was another national mobilisation called for London next weekend. Ray questioned whether now might be a better time to ‘think globally and act locally… to deepen the effectiveness of our campaign where we live’. Ray talked of the mobilisation tomorrow in nearby Lichfield against the factory that was manufacturing engines for the Israeli Drone aircraft used against the people of Gaza.

Ray was followed by Councillor Mohammed Ishtiaq who talked about the successes of RESPECT leading the way on Solidarity with Palestine in the Council Chamber using the clear moral arguments to bring New Labour, Lib Dem and Tory Councillors on Board with the Boycott Israel campaign. Cllr Ishtiaq talked about how many of these forces have now back tracked he said “Lip Service is no good….we need action in practice”, to growing applause Cllr Ishtiaq stressed that “the Boycott should start in our own homes”

At this point in the meeting George Galloway arrived and to rapturous applause joined Mohammed Ishtiaq on stage.

Kevin Ovenden [George Galloway’s Political Assistant and RESPECT National Committee Member] also joined the platform and after bringing greetings from the RESPECT activists of London’s East End spoke in some depth on the origins of the Zionism and its connection to the imperialist system that developed in 19th century Europe. When Kevin talked of the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 15th Century and described how they were given refuge by the Islamic peoples of the Levant and Mahgreb he reiterated that the “slurs against us that we are Anti Semetic…anti Jewish have no foundation…and have never had foundation… to stand up to the Israeli State is not to be Anti-Jewish”.

Salma Yaqoob on Gaza

Salma Yaqoob on Gaza

When Councillor Salma Yaqoob took the microphone it was to prolonged and warm applause. She said “I haven’t come here to inspire….. I have come here to be inspired by you!” and the applause started again. At some points in Salma’s heartfelt speech individuals in the audience began to cry at other points there was smiles and laughter. She talked of the energy she gained from the mass mobilisations of ordinary working class Brummies. She explained why she put so much effort into attempting to construct the broadest political coalition to give practical support to the Palestinian people. Salma said she “didn’t regret arguing till midnight with councillors from other political parties to finally win agreement on the Boycott Israel Campaign”.

Salma began to say how proud she was of the role of the RESPECT Councillors and members in piling on the moral pressure. At this point the meeting exploded in spontaneous chanting of ‘FREE, FREE PALESTINE! FREE, FREE PALESTINE!’ Evoking the spirit of 3 weeks of mass action…Others began to chant “SALMA IS OUR MP!”

There was a standing ovation for Salma before George Galloway RESPECT MP for Bethnal Green and Bow took the microphone.

George Galloway encouraged support for the Gaza Aid convoy

George Galloway encouraged support for the Gaza Aid convoy

George spoke of the double standards and hypocrisy of the media focusing on the failure of the media to describe Hamas as ‘the Democratically Elected Government of Gaza’ and spoke of his disgust at the news earlier in the day that Brown is sending the British Navy ‘not to bring aid to Gaza but to tighten the siege’ to ‘prevent Hamas from getting weapons’… George said ‘What is wrong with the Palestinians having weapons to defend themselves from Israeli state aggression?’… ‘The Palestinian people need arms to defend themselves’. Towards the end of his speech George talk of the plans to establish a Convoy…. A Convoy of Aid to travel from Scotland through all the major population centres of the UK across to the continent …. through France, Spain across to Morocco and through all of North Africa to Egypt.
George said … ‘…and when we get to Rafah, if the Egyptian government will not let us through we will smash our way through!” Our aid to Gaza will get through!

After a second standing ovation the meeting began to disperse. Hundreds of people had signed contact sheets to become more involved with RESPECT’s work, Hundreds of pounds were collected for RESPECT and over 100 copies of ‘the RESPECT Paper were sold.

The end of this meeting marked the consolidation of the mass base in the working class that RESPECT activists in Birmingham have been building over the past year. This mass base has been tested through 3 weeks of intensive internationalist struggle, fighting for Justice for the Palestinians.
Birmingham RESPECT is in a powerful position to turn this mass base into a electoral breakthrough with the election of Salma Yaqoob as the MP for Hall Green in the next General Election.

Images: Mark Anthony France

Gallery: Gaza rally, march & demonstration, Birmingham – 17.01.09

Images from the 5000-strong Gaza rally, march and demonstration, which took place in Victoria Square, Birmingham, on Saturday 17th January, 2009.

More images at the Birmingham Respect facebook group here.

Images: Adam Yosef

Gallery: ‘Stop Gaza Massacre’ National Demonstration 02.01.09

Images from the first national demonstration against the Israeli massacre in Gaza. The demonstration and rally took place on Saturday 3rd January, 2009 and attracted 100,000 demonstrators.

More images at the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition facebook group here.

Public Meeting: ‘Boycott Israel’ tonight – Council House, 6pm

'Boycott Israel' meeting at the Birmingham Council House

'Boycott Israel' meeting at the Birmingham Council House

Public Meeting: Boycott Israel

Friday 23rd January 20096pm

Venue: Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1AA

Speakers: Salma Yaqoob, Andrew Murray and others.

Organised by: Stop the War Coalition

Birmingham: Public Gaza Vigil tomorrow (Friday) 5pm – BSTWC Meeting Monday

gaza_black_ribbon1FRIDAY 2nd JANUARY 2009

Birmingham Public Gaza Vigil – All Welcome

Location: Outside Waterstones, Bullring Birmingham

Vigil: Please bring black flags, Palestinian flags and candles
Time: 5pm-6pm (Speakers from 5.30pm)

Speakers : Hanna Khamis, Free Gaza, M. Hassassian (or his deputy), Clare Short MP, Cllr Salma Yaqoob, John Hemming MP, Nicola Jones, Lynne Jones, Mohammed Balousha, JJFP, IAW

Organisers and stewards: Meet at 4pm Friday at BHS store (New Street); be at venue by 4.30pm.

Supported by West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign, MPSC, BRTI, MP and Stop the War Coalition.



Event: Birmingham Stop the War Coalition Emergency Public Meeting: Stop the Bombing of Gaza – Justice for the Palestinians

Venue: Committee Rooms 3 & 4, Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham | Time: 6.30pm (tbc)

Speakers: Salma Yaqoob, Cllr Ayoub Khan (Lib Dem), Cllr Tahir Ali (Lab), John Rose (Jewish anti-Zionist author) and others from the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and the Birmingham Ramallah Twinning Committee.

National Gaza Massacre Demonstration: London – Saturday 3rd January 2009

Four-year-old Lama Hamdan killed by an Israeli missile on 29 December.

Four-year-old Lama Hamdan killed by an Israeli missle

“Israel is committing a shocking series of atrocities by using modern weaponry against a defenceless population – attacking a population that has been enduring a severe blockade for many months.”

The UN Human Rights Council



Hands Off Gaza: Stop the Bombing: Free Palestine

Saturday 3rd January 2009
Assemble 12:30pm | Embankment, London, WC2

Nearest tube Embankment.  View map >>
Called by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, CND and many other organisations.

Speakers include Salma Yaqoob, Jeremy Corbyn, George Galloway, Tony Benn and more…

Download the national demonstration leaflet >>

Local protests around the country >>

Coaches leave 8.30am  – Carrs Lane Church, Carrs Lane, (opposite Moore St station).

Tickets: £8 (Unemployed/students), £12 (Employed)

For tickets, call Nick on 07828013091 or Naeem Malik on 07721427690

10 MAB Coaches, Departing from Birmingham Central Mosque (Highgate, B12), 8.30am
Tickets: £5 each
Contacts: 07870948503 | 0776691344

National coaches here >>

Protests in Scotland here (facebook group) >>


Join the demonstration – message from Tony Benn

Tony Benn

Tony Benn

“The Israeli Government, armed and supported by President Bush, with its savage attack on the people of Gaza now represents the greatest threat to security in the Middle East and the world peace movement is mobilizing on a massive scale to defeat this aggression.
I appeal to everyone who can possibly do so to attend the many demonstrations that are being held here so that the British government is left in no doubt as to the strength of opposition there is to this war. ”


More:  Stop the War Coalition >>

Cllr Salma Yaqoob and Richard Burden MP join city protests against Israeli aggression

Anti-Israel aggression protest at the Bullring, Birmingham

Over 700 demonstrators attended an anti-Israel aggression protest at the Bullring, Birmingham

Respect Party councillor Salma Yaqoob joined Labour MP Richard Burden and hundreds of protesters in central Birmingham last night in protest at the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip.

Up to 700 placard-waving supporters called for a halt to the violence at the protest, during which an Israeli flag was burnt in front of hundreds of Christmas shoppers.

They chanted “free Palestine” and waved the state’s flag as well as holding aloft a bloodied doll to represent the deaths of children killed during three days of air strikes by Israeli jets.

Among the protesters was a relative of five young girls killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza.

Read more here. Gallery here.

Images: Birmingham Post & Mail