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JfJfP comments


06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011




Heavy sentences for Gaza protesters send a worrying message


On 13 March the Guardian carried a very disturbing account by Simon Hattenstone and Matthew Taylor entitled Sent to jail for throwing a single bottle. This points out that most of the 78 protesters charged with public order offences arising out of the demonstrations against the war on Gaza in January 2009, have been young men in their late teens or 20s, many were students – and nearly all  Muslim. Some 22 protesters have already received prison terms of up to two and a half years for public order offences, and more cases are due to come before the courts in the coming months…

Ghazal Tipu in also comments on the sentences in an article in Open Democracy, 3 March, reproduced below.

Heavy sentences for Gaza protesters send a worrying message
Ghazal Tipu, 3 March 2010

In January 2009, a London protest against the Israeli war on Gaza became aggressive and violent, and ended with protestors being “kettled” by police, a technique of penning protesters in that would soon reach national attention with the G20 protests and the tragic death of Ian Tomlinson. 78 men have recently been sentenced following incidents on that day, and all but two of them were young Muslims.15 have been convicted for sentences up to two-and-half years The arrests themselves were carried out in unnecessary dawn raids, where police smashed down doors and handcuffed family members.

While I believe in reprimanding violent acts, these charges and convictions are completely disproportionate in themselves and do not allow for mitigation. It sends the message out to British Muslims that British laws apply to them differently and more severely.
I attended that Gaza demonstration on a very cold winter’s day. I arrived late afternoon to see swarms of riot police all decked in riot gear storming onto the scene, as though we were on a battle scene. From the protestors’ end, I saw the smashed windows of Starbucks and the throwing of the bottles – which I would describe as pretty juvenile stuff. I arrived, however, too late to discern whether some of the violence was in response to inappropriate tactics from police. I was assured by some of the protestors that it was.

Before I knew it, I was contained in. We stood like this shivering for about one hour, after which six or seven people were permitted to leave at a time. I was made to stand in front of a camera and asked to give my details. I simply refused, said I did nothing wrong, and that it was my human right to protest. I was then patted down and my bag searched. My personal details were recorded.

It was a chilling experience to say the least.

I remember thinking that this sort of police behaviour might deter people from demonstrating, which was completely unhealthy for democracy. It would make protesting a dirty word, and something no longer virtuous to do in the face of injustice. So now imagine my serious concern when I hear about the sentences of 15 young men, each being given a sentence, utterly out of proportion to the seriousness of the crime, of between eight months and two a half years.

It’s hard not to agree with Seamus Milne that what we are witnessing is the deliberate harsh treatment of Muslim protesters by our police and judicial establishment in order to send out a warning to other Muslims thinking of engaging in political activity, the justification being the tiny minority of Muslims that engage in indiscriminate violence against fellow citizens to protest Britain’s wars. This is combined with a more general approach by law enforcement which confuses legitimate political activity, such as protesting, with terrorism by handing police sweeping anti-terror powers to harass and intimidate those attending demos.

If people have committed criminal damage they shouldn’t get off scot-free, but these draconian sentences ignore the fact that people were angry, hurt and provoked. They over-reacted in the heat of the moment to what was, undoubtedly, a grotesque injustice committed by Isreal against the people of Gaza. (I will never forget hearing about the death toll rising every day, until it reached beyond 1000, and feeling physically sick.) Many of those sentenced were also clearly very young and naive. It was not cold-blooded violence on their part.

The judge in the case said he intended to send out a message to deter others. No doubt the message many will hear is that Muslims are to be punished more severely than others when they step out of line. Smash a Starbucks window and the state will come down on you like a tonne of bricks; smash a poor and desperate people with bombs and bullets and government barely murmurs.

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