JfJfP Executive statement on the arrest and sentencing arising out of the 10 January 2009 demonstration
See our previous posting Heavy sentences for Gaza protesters send a worrying message
Like tens of thousands of others, irrespective of their religion, ethnicity, nationality or politics, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP) participated in the national demonstrations against Israel’s invasion of Gaza in December 2008 – January 2009. Like these tens of thousands, we were protesting against the savagery and stupidity of a military adventure that saw 1400 people slaughtered in 22 days. We also protested against the extensive destruction of property – destruction that has been shown by subsequent parliamentary visits to have far more to do with reducing the life of Palestinians to rubble than it had to do with the security of Israelis.
Sentences handed out recently to participants in the demonstration on 10 January 2010 are so severe as to cast doubt on the principle of equal treatment before the law. Just as seriously – perhaps more so – JfJfP is profoundly concerned that the police and prosecutors have targeted one group of participants for arrest and trial. The vast majority of defendants have been Muslims, despite the wide variety of backgrounds of demonstrators. Some penalties handed out to first time offenders have contravened sentencing guidelines. While we do not defend any criminal activity that occurred, prosecution and sentencing based on racist targeting of one section of the population is insupportable. It does not solve a law and order problem, it creates one.
See the article by Harmit Athwal Gaza Protesters Defence Campaign launched published by the Institute of Race Relations and the link to a petition there.