Open Letter from the Islamic Human Rights Commission to Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Open Letter from the Islamic Human Rights Commission to Palestine Solidarity Campaign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

Palestinian solidarity needs to accommodate
all campaigners who stand for justice – 

Unity and uniformity are two separate
things

[see below for Open Letter]
At a demonstration organised by Palestine Solidarity
Campaign and a number of other organisations on October 20th,
outside the Israeli Embassy, two long-standing Palestine solidarity activists
were arrested by the Police on ‘terrorist’ charges for having flown the flag of
Hezbollah.
Police in the process of harassing and arresting Inminds supporters
In a previous post I raised the question of
whether or not PSC, by its repeated exhortations from the platform, actually
encouraged the Police to intervene in a Palestine demonstration and arrest
those who were flying  the flag. Did the leadership of Palestine SolidarityCampaign Aid the Police in Harrasment of Palestine Activists? 
The Hezbollah flag
The Islamic Human Rights Commission has now
issued an Open Letter to Palestine Solidarity Campaign and I am posting it
below.  There are a number of questions
that need asking, not least the fact that despite expressing its concerns over
the arrests, there has to date been no efforts to support those arrested by PSC
or to publicise their case.  If we are not
to see two long-standing activists gaoled for up to 5 years for flyng the flag
of the only organisation, Hezbollah, which defeated Israel and forced it to
withdraw from Lebanon in 2000 and then repulsed an Israeli invasion in 2006, it
is necessary that activists support those who have been arrested on what are
nakedly political charges.  
One of those arrested
The Zionists
are delighted at the arrests.  This fits into their agenda of criminalising supporters of the Palestinians.  We only need to look over the English Channel at France, to see how BDS has effectively been outlawed.  We should be implacable in opposing such developments here.  That means we must make sure that the Inminds comrades get the best legal help, regardless of cost.
Palestine solidarity demonstration
We should ensure that the Zionists laugh on the other side of their face and stand up to the attempts of the political police to dictate what is and is not unacceptable. 
Inminds campaign for prisoners outside Labour Party conference
See
the article below.  Brighton Palestine Solidarity Campaign is
submitting a motion to PSC’s AGM in January and we hope that other branches and
members will support it.
Tony Greenstein

Police confirm two arrests for flying Hezbollah flags

Jewish News, October 21, 2015

The yellow Hezbollah flag was flown during the demonstration in Whitehall

The Jewish community this week praised the weekend
arrest of two pro-Palestinian protesters for flying a Hezbollah flag in central
London, as police finally confirmed that to do so was illegal.
There had been confusion earlier this month when
the Metropolitan Police said flying the flags of groups such as Hezbollah was
not against the law because they were also political parties.
In response to concerns raised by Hendon MP
Matthew Offord, Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallen penned a written reply
on 6 October, saying: “As the flag represents both Hezbollah’s political party
and the proscribed terrorist group, displaying it in these circumstances alone
does not constitute an offence under Terrorism Legislation.”

A protester draped in a Hezbollah flag

But on Wednesday the force finally confirmed that
while the two men were initially arrested on suspicion of breach of the peace,
they were later “further arrested for offenses under Section 13 of the
Terrorism Act 2000”.

Inminds stall campaigning against G4S being employed by  the Labour Party – victory was achieved today at Labour Party Executive meeting

This makes it illegal for someone to “display an
article, such as a flag, in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse
reasonable suspicion that they are a member or supporter of a proscribed
organisation”.
Each case “depends on its own particular facts” but those found
guilty can be imprisoned for up to six months.

A police spokesman said: “We recognise that
activity and behavior like this can cause concerns within communities, and we
are committed to disrupting and dealing with any groups or individuals who aim
to cause harm or spread fear and hatred, no matter what their ideological or
political motive.



“While holding extreme views is not in itself
unlawful, those who seek to create division within our communities and whose
protests cross over into unlawful intimidation, violence and public disorder
will be dealt with robustly.

CST director of communications Mark Gardner said:
We and our communal partners have long argued that the flying of Hezbollah
flags should contravene anti-terror legislation, so we very much welcome this
apparent development.” 



Speaking to Jewish News at Emunah’s annual dinner
on Tuesday night, Home Secretary Theresa May acknowledged the arrests in
central London this weekend and sought to allay concerns, saying: “I have made
it very clear to the police that they should take action when they see these
kind of things.”

Offord wrote to both May and the Met highlighting
community concerns about anti-Israel protesters waving the green flag of Hamas
and the yellow flag of Hezbollah at rallies, including during Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s UK visit last month. Hamas and Hezbollah have
armed wings proscribed as terrorist groups in the UK, but political wings which
are not.

On Wednesday, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
said it actively discourages protesters from flying Hamas or Hezbollah flags.
We ask that those present respect the Palestinian national flag, and use only
this flag,”
a spokeswoman said.

Simon Johnson, chief executive of the Jewish
Leadership Council, had earlier registered “grave concerns at the apparent
impunity”
of the flag-wavers, adding: “Whilst we welcome the news of arrests.”


A Board of Deputies spokesperson said: “It’s good
they were arrested. We deplore the waving of flags indicating support for
banned terrorist groups.”



Meanwhile Arieh Miller, director of the Zionist
Federation, addressed concerns that some protesters were changing the
appearance of flags slightly to get round the law, saying: “The assault rifle
on the Hezbollah flag doesn’t suddenly become a moderate, peaceful assault
rifle just because it’s representing a different section of the organisation.”


 

 

 

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