Tony Greenstein | 09 March 2018 | Post Views:

 Scottish PSC calls on SUTR to withdraw its invitation to an Israel Apartheid group to join their anti-racist march in Glasgow

I am posting this in solidarity with the statement
put out by Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
At a demonstration organised in Glasgow next Saturday
March 17th amongst those invited to participate in the demonstration
is the Confederation of Friends of
Israel Scotland
.  There is
absolutely no excuse for marching alongside the supporters of Apartheid and the
invitation must be withdrawn. 
There was a
time when people on the Left like the Socialist Workers Party, whose initiative
SUTR is, were ignorant of the racist and apartheid nature of Israel. That is no
longer true.  There was a time when ‘socialist’
Zionists formed the main segment of the Zionist movement and were in government
in Israel and people were deceived as to their true record but they spoke the
language of the Left whilst engaging in ethnic cleansing.  This is no longer true either.
Support for Israel
today means support for the gaoling of 17 year old Ahed Tamimi.  It means support for house demolition,
imprisonment without trial,  the theft of
land and water, the use of torture and a Jewish state which inherently and
institutionally discriminates against Palestinians and non-Jews.  It means support at this very time for the deportation
of 40,000 Black African refugees from Israel because they are Black and not Jewish.  This is unacceptable.
invitation by SUTR to a pro-Israeli group is a consequence of the inability of
the SWP to reconcile its anti-racism domestically with support for the Palestinians
and opposition to Zionism.  The two exist
in separate and ideologically watertight compartments. They should ask
themselves why groups like the BNP 
manage to combine anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial with adulation of Israel
and Zionism. The SWP is out of date. 
Virtually no fascist groups in Britain bar the National Front now
pretend to support the Palestinians.
Zionism is supported
by the far-Right internationally.  Indeed
it is itself increasingly becoming part of that far-Right.  It is no accident that far-Right governments
throughout Europe – from Viktor Orban in Hungary to Poland to Austrian
Vice-Chancellor Heinz Christian Strache – combined anti-Semitism and fascism with
support for the Israeli state.  We have
the leaders of the alt-Right in the United States, from Steve Bannon to neo-Nazi
Richard Spencer declaring that they are White
Fascists and
racists today love the Israeli state because it is the very ethno-nationalist state
that they want to set up.  Britain First, whose two leaders – Paul Golding
and Jayda Franzen – were yesterday gaoled
for racial harassment are overtly pro-Israel and pro-Zionist.  Israel is seen by fascist and neo-Nazi groups
in Europe as the ideal anti-Muslim state. After all what is there not to like
about Israel if you are a White Supremacist?
decision, as Mick Napier says on the video, to march with this Zionist group is
an outrage.  It is utterly shameful. If
SUTR persists in this folly then the Palestine Solidarity groups will be forced
to reconsider their links with them.  In Brighton
PSC is affiliated to the group. 
The fascist Britain First group combines virulent racism with support for Zionism
What is
particularly shameful is that this march is in commemoration of the massacre of
Black people protesting against the pass system in South Africa in Sharpeville on
March 21st 1960.  Palestinians
in the Occupied Territories face a far more sophisticated and obtrusive pass
system operated by Israel with hundreds of checkpoints in the West Bank with
one entrance for Palestinians and another for Jewish settlers.  As Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the winner of the
Nobel Peace Prize stated:

have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children
by members of the Israeli security forces. Their humiliation is familiar to all
black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted
by the security forces of the apartheid government.”
Jerusalem Post 10 March 2014.

What part of
the above statement does Stand Up to Racism not understand?  Or is it only racism in Britain that they are
opposed to?
On International Women’s Day Scottish PSC received
the following message from Nelson Mandela’s daughter-in-law, Rayne Rose
Mandela, and her daughter Nodiyala, Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter, from
Eastern Cape.
Message, 8
March 2018:

Greetings to those opposing racism in Scotland and around the world. The
worldwide demonstrations on the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre should
oppose all racism that blight our planet, especially the brutal apartheid
system that still holds sway in Israel/Palestine.

International solidarity against the racist regime in South Africa played
a part in our struggle for liberation and we have a duty on this anniversary to
build another example of successful international solidarity for the
long-suffering Palestinian people.


Scottish PSC spokesperson, Mick Napier
Introduction & addition, 8th March 2018

“We say that the organisers have no mandate to violate and corrupt
this international commemoration. Scotland must not be the back door for
supporters of Israeli Apartheid to promote their racist segregation and ethnic
cleansing of the Palestinian people. Were this effort to be successful it would
shame Scotland internationally and make Mandela Place a meaningless

No place
for organised supporters of apartheid on a demonstration against apartheid and

demonstration organised for Glasgow on March 17th is one small part
of a UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
established to commemorate the massacre on 21st March 1960 of 69
peaceful demonstrators protesting against apartheid in Sharpeville, South
Africa. The UN states the commemoration is to demonstrate “solidarity with the
peoples struggling against racism and racial discrimination”.
Palestinian people suffer under an Israel apartheid system much worse than the
South African version.
organisers of the Glasgow demonstration on March 17th, which is
promoted as part of the UN day of solidarity, are determined to allow onto this
march a group called Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland set up to
defend and support Israel’s apartheid system and its frequent massacres of
We are
expected to commemorate the heroes and martyrs of the struggle against South African
apartheid by marching alongside the banners and flags of the defenders of
Israeli apartheid. Desmond Tutu and other South Africans have declared that the
horrors of South African apartheid were “a picnic” compared to what Israel is
doing to the Palestinians today.
Kasrils is a Jewish veteran of the ANC and was a Minister in the South African
Government from 2004-2008. At SPSC meetings in Scotland he developed his view
that “Any South African who goes to Palestine today and visits the West Bank
and Gaza, or Palestinians living in the State of Israel, come away shocked and,
shaking their heads saying ‘This is far worse than the apartheid we
co-author of the latest UN-commissioned report identifying Israel as an
apartheid state, Prof. Richard Falk, spoke at the 2017 SUTR demonstration on
behalf of SPSC and was warmly received. Now we are expected to welcome
defenders of the apartheid State on the 2018 demonstration.
We say
that the organisers have no mandate to violate and corrupt this international
commemoration. Scotland must not be the back door for supporters of Israeli
Apartheid to promote their racist segregation and ethnic cleansing of the
Palestinian people. Were this effort to be successful it would shame Scotland
internationally and make Mandela Place a meaningless relic.
Statement from Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign on forthcoming
anti-racism demonstration, 19 February 2018

The Confederation of Friends of Israel in Scotland (COFIS) joined the 2017
Stand Up to Racism demonstration in Glasgow and a clutch of members marched for
some distance as part of that demonstration. They carried a banner of their
racist organisation and Israeli flags, causing offence and consternation to
many of those on the march.
COFIS works closely with the Israeli Embassy to close down public
discussion of Israeli crimes and to impede organising for the Palestinian-led
BDS movement, the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the
State of Israel until the crimes against the Palestinian people are ended.
COFIS opposes the demands of the Palestinian BDS Call: for Israel to

1. end the occupation and colonisation of all Arab lands and dismantle the Wall
2. recognise the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel
to full equality
3. respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to
their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
COFIS defends and supports every Israeli war crime and crime against
humanity, including Israel’s Operation Protective Edge of summer 2014 which
slaughtered over 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza. That indiscrinate mass killing led
the Scottish Government to call for an arms embargo againt Israel.
COFIS works to smear Palestine solidarity activists as racists for
opposition to the apartheid State of Israel, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine,
the theft of Palestinian land and water resources, the systematic demolition of
Palestinian homes, mass arrests and the killing of Palestinians purely on the
basis of their nationality.
Yet some continue to defend the right of COFIS to participate in
anti-racist marches despite COFIS’ active defence of the state-enforced racism,
i.e. apartheid, under which the Palestinian people suffer.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign considers that this policy is
inherently wrong, but also that, if unopposed, it would greatly weaken the
struggle against the racism that blights Scottish society.
On any political demonstration it is never clear how many of those
positioned behind a specific banner are associated with it. Throughout the
world an Israeli flag is seen as a symbol of ethnic cleansing of the
Palestinian people and the genocidal siege of the people of Gaza. Flying such a
symbol of apartheid on a demonstration makes it impossible for most
Palestinians and Lebanese, as well as many Scots to participate, for how can
Palestinians be expected to march behind the flag of the settlements which
steal their land, the military outposts which fire on their family and friends,
the checkpoints that creatively make their lives miserable, the symbol of a
government which is openly committed to completing their disposession and
copper-fastening their inferior status throughout the whole of Palestine.
Our solidarity with the Palestinian people and our opposition to the
forces that work to violate them has to extend to the streets of Scotland. A
people who suffer ritual humiliation from a rabble of Israeli soldiery at the
checkpoints that blight their lives should not be further humiliated in
Scotland by asking them to march alongside their violators and the repugnant
symbol of their violators.
Seeing the parallels between their own oppression and that of the
Palestinian people, anti-racist movements around the world such as Black Lives
Matter in the United States have enthusiastically integrated support for the
Palestinian freedom struggle into their official aims. Anti-racists in Scotland
should do no less.
Some few are afraid of being labelled ‘anti-semtic’ if they bar an
active campaign for Israeli apartheid from an anti-racist march, but this is
itself a racist position because it implies that all Jews are complicit in the
crimes of the State of Israel. SPSC rejects any notion of collective guilt and
insists that Scottish Jews are not to be held responsible for the crimes of the
State of Israel.
In any case, anyone who becomes actively involved in the struggle for
Palestinian freedom understands that malicious and false accusations of anti-semitism
follow as night follows day, and that the only way to avoid such
politically-driven smears is to scale down support for the Palestinian struggle
against Israeli apartheid.
Israeli flags commonly fly in the ranks of fascist marches in Scotland
and elsewhere; are we to have Israeli flags flying on both sides of racist and
anti-racist mobilisations? The proposal would be very strange.
Permitting Israeli flags and an active campaign on behalf of Israeli
apartheid onto anti-racism initiatives will divide and weaken any struggle
against racism.
We call upon SUTR and its affiliates to bar any group that exists to
defend state-enforced racism in Israel/Palestine as having no place among
anti-racist campaigns.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign

19th February 2018
[email protected]

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