Website policy


We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.
_____________________

BSST

BSST is the leading charity focusing on small-scale grass roots cross community, anti poverty and humanitarian projects in Israel/Palestine
____________________

JfJfP comments


2016:

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

2015:

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

2014:

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

2013:

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

_____________________

Posts

Self-seeking leadership has devastated Palestinians


Who Owns the Palestine Solidarity Movement?

By Ramzy Baroud, Palestine Chronicle
11.04.12

A few years ago, after I spoke at a conference in South Africa, Ronnie Kasrils, then the country’s Minister for Intelligence Services, leaned towards me and said, “I agree with everything you said, but in order for the boycott of Israel to become adopted by world governments, the call has to be initiated by those who represent the Palestinian people in Palestine, not outside groups.”

I was not actually purporting to represent any group, inside or outside Palestine. A few days later I received more counsel from a leading South African official. “A representative from Mahmoud Abbas’s office was here few days ago,” he said. “He seemed to have different priorities from yours. He asked me to ensure that the South African government continues to isolate Hamas, not Israel.”

Kasrils, a legendary member of the African National Congress (ANC), was, of course, right. It was the decisive call of academic boycott made by the ANC in the 1960s which started a process that eventually succeeded in isolating the apartheid regime and speeding up its demise.

Alas, those who are recognised as the representatives of the Palestinians stand on the wrong side of history. Their political fate is now intrinsically linked to that of the very Israeli occupation that continues to torment Palestinians. Ensuring dominion over an occupied nation has proved to be more urgent to them than isolating Israel for its crimes.

The leadership vacuum goes back even prior to the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993. Since then millions of Palestinians have been left alone to fend against Israel’s violent occupation. In fact, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has itself become a liability in the mission of obtaining freedom for Palestinians.

In the Occupied Territories, Hamas grew in its political significance as a viable alternative to the PNA’s failings. This led to further US-Israeli punishment of Palestinians. It also challenged the traditional gatekeepers of Palestinian rights, culminating in a destructive conflict which continues to this day.

Palestinian communities in the diaspora are also struggling with the new reality. When Iraq-based Palestinian refugees became an easy target for militias after the US occupation of Iraq in 2003, hardly anyone spoke on their behalf. The Palestinian leadership had obviously more pressing matters than tending to hurting refugees — some of whom were hauled away from their dismal refugee camps at the Jordan and Syrian borders to start new lives in South America.

The political vacuum created by the self-seeking ‘leadership’ has indeed devastated Palestinians, both politically and intellectually. The physical fragmentation of the Palestinian collective has never been more urgent an issue than it is today. Previously there had been a cohesive narrative and a shared sense of political identify.

In its heyday, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) had succeeded in galvanising a degree of political and cultural unity. Although camaraderie among Palestinians will still survive despite all the hurdles, there is now an undoubted feeling of loss.

One of the strongest retorts to the PNA’s tragic failures was the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Its unquestionable success is a testament to the growing global consensus that Israeli practices are unacceptable. The BDS opened up a channel where solidarity with Palestinians could be translated into action.

Not a political organisation per se, the BDS is rather a manifestation of numerous collectives in uncountable cities and towns around the world. The decentralisation of the BDS is one of its greatest assets and also challenges. On the one hand, it cannot be easily thwarted. On the other hand, the efforts of a movement of this scope cannot be summoned into action through a single call by one or a small group of individuals. Its unity is not based on any political treatise or ideological framework. In a way, it is a parliament for world solidarity based on universally recognised principles of justice, peace and human rights.

The BDS cannot be controlled, nor, in my opinion, should it be. It is not a political platform as such, but a reservoir of multitudes of energies. It is obliged to no one but the growing community of justice activists who work to convey the harsh reality in Palestine, along with the message of the Palestinians.

Its success is embedded in the model itself: democratic, yet decentralised, global, yet responsive to local reality. Most importantly, it operates as a basis of solidarity, not a hub for political dictation — for that right and responsibility is completely reserved for the Palestinian people. It is their land, their struggle, and their future on the line.

Unfortunately, it is easy to overlook such facts. The sense of dejection caused by disunity, and the action of the quisling Palestinian ‘leadership’ might inspire some to overstep their boundaries. They speak on behalf of Palestinians and the ‘solidarity movement’ as a whole and liberally theorise in a way that could actually divide the movement.

In a recent interview with Haaretz, long-time pro-Palestinian rights author and intellectual, Norman Finkelstein claimed he had decided to “switch … hats from a critic of Israel to a diplomat who wants to resolve the conflict”.

Intellectuals may switch hats as they find suitable, but they should not do so at the expense of a global movement whose messages need to be guarded. The solidarity movement cannot afford to be used as a vehicle for individuals’ intellectual realisations. It belongs to no one, though is inspired by the suffering and heroism of the Palestinians people.

In the case of Palestine, a movement of this nature is even more indispensable than it would have been in South Africa in the 1960s, due to the political and moral bankruptcy of the PNA. And it should remain united around the principles of humanity and human rights set clearly by the Palestinian people themselves.

Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

Print Friendly

Comments are closed.