Separate events bring together Palestinian BDS organizations to join various solidarity groups.
Some contradict the BDS agenda. Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network working for Palestinian prisoners is an advocate for BDS against Israel. Now it also opposes the US sanctions. Samidoun joins a rally in New York on March 14, protesting sanctions. "Sanctions Kill! Sanctions are War! End Sanctions Now!" Samidoun urges to end sanctions because sanctions are imposed against countries that resist American agendas. Samidoun explains that sanctions "are a weapon of Economic War”, which results in shortages of necessities, hyperinflation, famines, disease, and poverty. “In every country, the poorest and the weakest – infants, children, the chronically ill and the elderly – suffer the worst impact of sanctions."
Samidoun, of course, doesn’t mind if sanctions target Israel.
Samidoun also promotes the "anti-imperialist alliance," which "recognizes imperialism as a global economic system." Samidoun calls to oppose "US imperialism to assert its global hegemony in the interest of monopoly capital." In other words, Samidoun is not just working for Palestinian prisoners but is an anti-Imperialist action group.
To recall, IAM reported in February that the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) announced that Palestinians stand in solidarity with Canada's Wet’suwet’en nation, opposing the TransCanada Coastal Gaslink pipeline which "aims to steal Wet’suwet’en land, use resource extraction to solidify control over Indigenous territories, destroy the environment and violate Indigenous laws." According to the BNC, the BDS movement has a similar struggle against imperialism.
At the University of Toronto, last week, Palestinian groups joined the anti-pipeline protestors and representatives from Israeli Apartheid Week unfurled a large banner in support.
On the same issue of protest against Canada, another demonstration in London was joined by Palestinian BDS activists outside the High Commission of Canada. The purpose of the protest was to "draw connections between British imperialism and the genocide of Indigenous peoples all over the world" and to "focus on stopping the colonial flow of capital." Protestors were chanting against "The violent legacy of British colonialism and settler colonial occupation of Indigenous peoples around the world." A representative of Young London Palestine Solidarity Campaign read out a statement from the Palestinian National Committee of the BDS movement in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation.
Another BDS intent is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, with Palestinian activists trying to prevent pro-Israel groups from participating an anti-racism march. The celebration of International Day Against Race Discrimination will be taking place on March 21. Pro-Israel groups, among them Glasgow Friends of Israel, announced intention to join the march. Palestinian activists wrote a statement in protest, because Glasgow Friends of Israel are part of the "Israel lobby network" and work in cooperation with the Israeli Embassy and Israeli government officials, "they are unwelcome because of their advocacy for state enforced racism and apartheid". Such pro-Israel ”Organizations that actively support Israel while it continues the murder and racist oppression of Palestinian people are as out of place on an anti-racism march today as organizations supporting apartheid South Africa would have been on an anti-racism march." The Palestinian activists have joined the group Scotland Against Criminalizing Communities (SACC) which campaigns against Britain's anti-terrorism laws, which are "built on a dangerously broad definition of 'terrorism.' They are unjust and racist." According to SACC, "Terrorism in the UK can only be prevented by ending the UK's involvement in aggressive wars and its support for oppressive regimes.” SACC also organizes an annual Islamophobia Conference every year. The following groups protested against Glasgow Friends of Israel: Muslim Women's Association of Edinburgh; Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign; Islamic Human Rights Commission; Edinburgh Action 4 Palestine; Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign; and ISM Scotland.
Clearly, attempting to disinvite pro-Israel groups to join the anti-racism march is, in itself, a racist endeavor.
But these events also show that Palestinian activists belong to a wide anti-West alliance that is being formed. An indication to what lies ahead.
Students block Toronto streets in solidarity with anti-pipeline movement
On Wednesday afternoon, Toronto students walked out of their classrooms and took to the streets to express solidarity with anti-pipeline protestors and blockaders across Canada.
The protestors have blocked St. George Street at the corner of Wilcox, chanting “How do you spell racist? RCMP!” and “We want our land back!”
HAPPENING NOW: Ontario students are blocking traffic and chanting about giving Canadian land back after walking out of their classrooms
Joining the anti-pipeline protestors were representatives from Israeli Apartheid Week, who unfurled a large banner in support of their cause.
Speaking at the protest was Professor Uahikea Maile from the Centre of Indigenous Politics at the U of Toronto. Professor Maile led a chant of “Reconciliation is dead.”
He went on to claim that reconciliation promoted “indigenous elimination,” “dispossession” and “genocide.”
HAPPENING NOW: University of Toronto Professor Uahikea Maile leads protesting students in a chant of "reconciliation is dead!"
Despite the protests, the Wet’suwet’en Tribal Council and the majority of hereditary chiefs support the pipeline project. The protests and blockades throughout Canada that have been going on since February 6, 2020 began as a response to the raid of an anti-pipeline camp in northern British Columbia that was set up to oppose the building of the Coastal GasLink pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory. Recently, the Trudeau government announced they had a new deal with the Wet’suwet’en chiefs, but the illegal actions continue.
London Wet’suwet’en solidarity protest condemns colonial violence
News, Mar 3rd
An energetic crowd of more than one hundred gathered in front of the High Commission of Canada in London to oppose the ongoing genocide of Indigenous peoples in Canada, and specifically the recent violent police attack on Wet’suwet’en land-defenders in British Columbia. Similar demonstration simultaneously occurred in Edinburgh, following actions in France and Berlin last week.
As organizer Connor explains, “the UK and Europe are watching and condemning Canada’s colonial violence towards the Wet’suwet’en people, who have never surrendered title to their land“.
The Wet’suwet’en people are facing aggressive attacks from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), after an injunction was granted by the BC Supreme Court to Coastal GasLink (CGL) for a fracked gas pipeline earlier this year, culminating in a violent raid on 6 February and the arrest of 30 land defenders. Hundreds of solidarity actions have occurred in support of Wet’suwet’en sovereignty, many of which focus on stopping the colonial flow of capital by blockading rails and ports, including a 3-week rail blockade by the Tyendinaga Mohawks. There have also been blockades by the Mi’gmaq, Gitxsan and Haudenosaunee nations. As participant Zoe summarizes, “police violence has escalated, and on 24 February, the RCMP violently arrested 14 land defenders of the Gitxsan nation, including 3 hereditary chiefs. The Tyendinaga blockade was also forcibly disbanded that morning, with 10 arrested. In the context of rising police attacks on peaceful solidarity actions, it is now more pressing than ever for us to keep international pressure on and tell the RCMP, CGL and the Canadian state to back off Wet’suwet’en sovereign territory”
The theme of international solidarity ran deep during Sunday’s London event, the seventh event in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en thus far in the UK. A speaker from Papua Militant International emphasized “we need to remember the importance of global movements to defend those imprisoned and heavily policed”. A representative of Young London Palestine Solidarity Campaign also read out a statement from the Palestinian National Committee of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en, and a group of Fillippino migrants demonstrated their solidarity with a cultural dance performance at the centre of the rally. Speakers from Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century (rs21) and the UK Youth Climate Coalition drew links between resource extraction and colonial violence, the latter affirming “this will be a long fight – it requires a global movement behind the Wet’suwet’en – against those investing in these projects and against the whole colonial system that underpins the whole of climate breakdown.”
The crowd in London included members of co-hosting organisations rs21, Wretched of the Earth, the International Solidarity Group, Jewdas and Reclaim The Power, and chants of “1234 Stop this Colonial War” and “Wet’suwet’en forever, Never surrender” filled the steps of Canada House. The streets of central London were soon echoing with these chants as the march wound its way to the statue of Colonial invader James Cook. After an unprecedented march straight through Hourse Guards Parade onto Whitehall, the march ended outside the Ministry of Defence and Downing Street to further draw connections between British imperialism and the genocide of Indigenous peoples all over the world.
The protestors stated:
“We gathered to call on the government of Canada to immediately accede to the conditions that the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs demand: that the RCMP immediately vacate and cease patrols on Wet’suwet’en territory; that CGL cease all operations on Wet’suwet’en territory while nation-to-nation talks are ongoing; and that Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meet with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs on Wet’suwet’en territory. We also call on those funding the CGL project—JPMorgan Chase, KKR, Barclays and HSBC—to terminate their investments. We call on those in the UK to speak out in support of the Wet’suwet’en and take a stand against the violent legacy of British colonialism and settler colonial occupation of Indigenous peoples around the world.
Colonial borders won’t divide our movement – Canada, we are watching.”
27 February, NYC: An Anti-Imperialist Study – What Are Sanctions?
Thursday, 27 February
Project Reach NYC
39 Eldridge St Fl 4
As a convener of the Sanctions Kill campaign, the International League of Peoples’ NStruggle invites you to a study on sanctions as a build up to the International Days of Action Against Sanctions and Economic War on March 13 – 15, 2020
DATE – Thursday, February 27
TIME – 6:30 PM
LOCATION – 39 Eldridge Street 4th Floor, New York NY
As an anti-imperialist alliance, the ILPS recognizes imperialism as a global economic system. Within this framework, we must study and understand sanctions as a weapon of US imperialism to assert its global hegemony in the interest of monopoly capital.
14 March, NYC: Rally to End US Imposed Sanctions and Economic War
Saturday, 14 March
40 Wall Street
Stop Wall Street’s War on the World!
Part of the International Days of Action against Sanctions and Economic War
Learn more at Sanctionskill.org
Sanctions are War!
End Sanctions Now!
Sanctions are imposed by the United States and its junior partners against countries that resist their agendas. They are a weapon of Economic War, resulting in chronic shortages of basic necessities, economic dislocation, chaotic hyperinflation, artificial famines, disease, and poverty. In every country, the poorest and the weakest – infants, children, the chronically ill and the elderly – suffer the worst impact of sanctions.
US imposed sanctions, violate international law and are a tool of regime change. They impact a third of humanity in 39 countries. They are a crime against humanity used, like military intervention, to topple popular governments and movements. They provide economic and military support to pro-US right-wing forces.
The US economic dominance and its +800 military bases worldwide demands all other countries participate in acts of economic strangulation. They must end all normal trade relations, otherwise they risk having Wall Street’s guns pointed at them. The banks and financial institutions that are responsible for the devastation of our communities at home drive the plunder of countries abroad.
Many organizations have been fighting Sanctions and Economic War for some time. NOW is an opportunity to combine efforts to raise consciousness on this crucial issue.
This broad campaign will include protests and demonstrations, lobbying, petition drives and all forms of educational efforts.
As an initial step for this campaign we encourage mobilizations and educational efforts to be organized for the International Days of Action against US imposed Sanctions and Economic War on March 13-15.
Statement on the Glasgow march to mark Anti-Racism Day
03 March 2020 - SACC
As organisations opposed to all forms of racism, we regret that we are unable to support the march organised in Glasgow by Stand Up to Racism to mark the UN's International Day Against Racial Discrimination ("Anti-Racism Day").
We are dismayed that Stand Up to Racism Scotland will once again be allowing organisations, whose purpose is to actively promote and defend Israeli apartheid and racism, to participate in the march. We believe that their presence is incompatible with Stand Up to Racism’s intention of celebrating International Day Against Race Discrimination - a day proclaimed by the UN to commemorate the 1960 massacre in Sharpeville, South Africa, of 69 people who were protesting the apartheid regime there.
Glasgow Friends of Israel, as a component of the umbrella group COFIS (Confederation of Friends of Israel, Scotland), say they intend to join the march, as they have for the previous three years . These organisations are part of the Israel lobby network in the UK that work in cooperation with the Israeli embassy and Israeli government officials. SUTR Scotland has refused to recognise COFIS as such and has rejected all requests that it should tell these groups that they are unwelcome because of their advocacy for state enforced racism and apartheid.
Our objection is not to individuals joining the march, which we agree should be open to all committed to fighting racism, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion or politics, but rather to the participation of organisations which exist for the purposes of defending the racism of Israel.
Glasgow Friends of Israel and COFIS work to undermine solidarity with Palestine and, especially, to counter the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel . The BDS campaign was launched in 2005 when Palestine civil society organisations called for broad boycott initiatives “inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid and in the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression.”
Organisations that actively support Israel while it continues the murder and racist oppression of Palestinian people are as out of place on an anti-racism march today as organisations supporting apartheid South Africa would have been on an anti-racism march in the 1970s.
We, as organisations opposed to all forms of racism, endorse the finding by Richard Falk, former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Palestine, that Israel is an apartheid state .
Racism marked Israel's creation through ethnic cleansing – the Palestinian Nakba - and has been maintained through nationality and residency laws, through its treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories and through its protection and support for illegal settlements. Israel's Nation State law, passed by the Knesset in July 2018, only reinforced Israel's structural racism, saying: “The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”
In February 2019 Israel announced that it rejected the report by a UN inquiry that found reasonable grounds to believe Israel had acted unlawfully in killing participants in the peaceful “Great March of Return” protests held in Gaza over the last year. In December 2019 Israel rejected the International Criminal Court's right to investigate allegations of Israeli war crimes. Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Dannon described the move by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda as "diplomatic terror" and Israeli transport minister Bezalel Smotrich claimed: "Everyone knows that the ICC is a political, antisemitic institution."
Israel’s apartheid regime responds to Palestinian peaceful demonstrators by killing and maiming. The South African apartheid regime responded in the same way to peaceful protestors in Sharpeville on 21 March 1960. That was the event that led the UN, in 1966, to declare 21 March as International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The presence on the Glasgow march of organisations that defend Israeli apartheid mocks the victims of both South African and Israeli apartheid.
SUTR Scotland's response to COFIS and GFI has been particularly objectionable, but is said by SUTR Scotland to be in line with SUTR UK policy. It reflects an increasing tendency by SUTR to distort its position on racism to accommodate the Israel lobby and its allies. In ignoring Israeli state racism and reducing itself to a campaign to "Stand Up To Some Racism", SUTR risks dividing the anti-racism movement.
COFIS and GFI have increasingly used their participation in SUTR marches and meetings to attempt to present themselves as part of the anti-racism movement, while at the same time cheering the abuse of hate crime legislation against defenders of Palestinian rights. SUTR has joined GFI in treating defenders of Palestinian rights with contempt. This has already seriously damaged our collective efforts in Scotland to tackle the growing threat from racism and the far-right. If this and related developments around the UK continue unchallenged, they risk doing irreparable harm to the struggle against racism, including state-enforced and institutional racism, and the far-right.
COFIS's racist and manipulative strategies are widely recognised for what they are in Scotland's Palestinian diaspora, in its Muslim community and by campaigners for Palestinian rights. SUTR Scotland is ignoring the views of sections of Scottish society that are on the frontline of the struggle against racism. In doing so, it is failing to challenge the institutional Islamophobia that runs through our society and makes it hard for these communities to speak out effectively. This is especially the case when silence or normalisation with the state of Israel becomes a condition for cooperation and recognition of Muslim community voices.
Islamophobia is the dominant form of racism in Britain and across most of Europe. Muslims are not the only people threatened by its growth. Far-right organisations that have built themselves up by simultaneously exploiting and fuelling Islamophobia are increasingly becoming a threat to all of us. The threat to Jews is particularly immediate and acute because anti-semitism is integral to far-right ideology. Far-right organisations that have grown strong by promoting Islamophobia are now becoming more open about this while targeting left and progressive organisations. At the same time, Israel continues to consolidate its racism, promote the thuggish characteristic of the far-right everywhere, seek out friends from the global far-right, and showcase the apartheid regime against the Palestinian people as a standard to be emulated elsewhere.
We must resist this global trend and not allow Israel to be exempted from the struggle against racism. We cannot ask anti-racists to march along with organisations that are dedicated to suppressing a key element of the anti-racist movement.
We endorse the call by Palestinian civil society groups for anti-racist groups in Europe to coordinate Israeli Apartheid Week events with International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination activities on March 21 . And we call on anti-racists to unite and work to build an inclusive political culture that truly stands against all forms of racism.
We remain optimistic about the movement we are part of. It is much wider, more diverse and longer-established than SUTR. We commend the valuable work being done by committed anti-racists around the country and we hope they will reject the shallow and divisive strategy that SUTR is following.
Statement supported by Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC), Muslim Women's Association of Edinburgh (MWAE), Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), Edinburgh Action 4 Palestine, Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign and ISM Scotland.
If your organisation would like to add its support, please contact SACC.
Photo © Never Before Campaign, some rights reserved
1. The UN’s International Day Against Race Discrimination is held every year on 21 March. It marks the beginning of the UN’s annual Week of Solidarity with the Peoples Struggling against Racism and Racial Discrimination. Nowhere on earth is the theme of "Peoples Struggling against Racism and Racial Discrimination" exemplified more sharply than in Palestine.
The first of the annual Glasgow "Stand Up To Racism" demonstrations was held on Saturday 22 march 2014. The march was organised by Unite Against Fascism and supported by a wide range of organisations, including SACC. It was one of a constellation of events held across Europe to more or less coincide with the UN's International Day Against Racial Discrimination (21 March), following a proposal from the Greek anti-fascist organisation KEERFA in response rising violence of Golden Dawn and the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas (Killah P) on 13 September 2013. The UK Stand Up to Racism organisation was subsequently set up. The 2015 Glasgow march was organised in its name, supported by Unite Against Fascism, SACC and a wide range of other organisations. The first Stand Up To Racism Scotland conference was held in Glasgow on 17 September 2016. This marked the launch of Stand Up To Racism Scotland and led to the creation of a Stand Up To Racism Scotland committee
2. COFIS has joined or attempted to join each of the last three annual anti-racism marches organised in Glasgow by SUTR. SUTR Scotland has repeatedly rejected requests that it should tell Friends of Israel groups that they are not welcome on the march. COFIS and its affiliate, Glasgow Friends of Israel, say they intend to join the march this year (2020).
3. COFIS and GFI were set up in 2015. They are sometimes incorrectly characterised in the media as Jewish groups. They are not. GFI Chairman Sammy Stein says that GFI is made up of people of "all faiths and none". This would also be an apt description of COFIS. A high proportion of people involved in these groups are non-Jewish, many of them Christian Zionist. For more background about COFIS and GFI, see Who are Friends of Israel and Scottish pro-Israel group distances itself from former convener over racist Facebook page.
4."Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid" by Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley, 2017. The report was commissioned and published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. It recommended:
"United Nations bodies, national Governments and civil society actors,including religious organizations, should formally endorse the principal finding of this report that the treatment by Israel of the Palestinians is consistent with the crime of apartheid."
Shortly after publication, UN Secretary-General António Guterres ordered the report to be removed from the UN website. The report can be downloaded from http://www.sacc.org.uk/sites/default/files/un_apartheid_report_15_march_english_final_.pdf
5. See https://www.bdsmovement.net/news/call-coordinate-israeli-apartheid-week-with-international-day-eliminate-racism
revolutionary socialism in the 21st century
An activist from Young London Palestine Solidarity Campaign spoke at a rally in London on 1 March 2020 in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en land defenders resisting the Coastal GasLink fracking pipeline. Full text here: https://bdsmovement.net/news/palestinians-stand-solidarity-wetsuweten-nation-and-land-defenders
From the occupied Palestinian territory, we stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation and land defenders at the Unist’ot’en Camp and Gidimt’en who continue to resist Canada’s colonial incursions of their unceded territories. The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society that leads the global BDS movement, sends a message of support to your struggle. We call on the Palestine solidarity movement in Turtle Island and elsewhere to stand with the Wet’suwet’en nation. As Palestinians, we have firsthand experience with a colonial power, Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid, that systemically works to dispossess, divide and strip us of our lands and resources. We know too well, from our own experience, that the TransCanada Coastal Gaslink pipeline aims to steal Wet’suwet’en land, use resource extraction to solidify control over Indigenous territories, destroy the environment and violate Indigenous laws. We also know that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) attacks, sanctioned by the Trudeau government, against the Hereditary Wet’suwet’en leadership, matriarchs and land defenders, are used to violate Indigenous sovereignty. The RCMP is employing tactics and equipment similar to Israel’s government, including Caterpillar bulldozers, to seize indigenous lands. We are deeply grateful for the Wet’suwet’en people for their indomitable spirit, and their tireless defence of the land and water resources. We stand firmly with you in your struggle for your land and ancestral rights. Palestinians owe the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island a great debt for teaching us how to resist settler colonialism generation after generation through your powerful resistance, grace and indomitable spirit. The BNC is committed to building stronger ties of solidarity between our peoples and movements, and we will work with our partners in Turtle Island to make this a reality. From Palestine to Wet’suwet’en, we stand united with you in the struggle against settler colonialism, racism, corporate criminality and your inalienable rights for justice and self-determination. We would be honoured to welcome you in Palestine, when the time is right.