The Palestine Solidarity Campaign AGM 26-1-20191
27/01/2019 by socialistfight
Report by Gerry Downing
Approximately 250 in attendance. Most of the AGM was routine apart from some questioning of the finance report – how come with an increase of 31% in membership income receipts from members declined from £84,142 in 2017 to £80, 775 in 2018? Answer: If you joined in August only that portion of your membership from August to January would be counted. Satisfied?
Four contested events: two motions and the elections for the Secretary and for the eight lay members of the Executive.
The first controversial motion was that from Exeter PSC on the Nation State law. The Executive wanted to remove that part of the first paragraph which said, “which in relation to Palestinians in Israel or Occupied Palestine Territories can be described at best as apartheid … and at worst as attempted (slow motion Exeter addendum) genocide … These are both crimes under international law.”
So, the Zionist lobby attacked the PSC Executive viciously, expecting a robust response, but the Executive cleverly fooled them by running away.
Exeter accepted the addendum of the Executive but not the deletion. A heated discussion took place, Socialist Fight’s two delegates strongly defending the Exeter designation of the actions of Israel as genocide. We pointed out that South African apartheid was different to the intent and actions of Israel. The South African racists wanted to exploit the labour of the oppressed black population, Israel wanted to get rid of the Palestinians. The Naqba had ethnically cleansed up to 800,000 Palestinians in 1948, the Nation State Law showed its intent to legally designate the remaining Palestinian who were citizens of Israel as second class and the constant bombing of Gaza was another strong indication of their intent. Supporters of Exeter’s motion defeated the Executive amendment with no count of the votes necessary and so their designation of Israel’s actions as ‘slow motion genocide’ stands.
The desire to conciliate Zionist reaction was even clearer in the other controversial motion, Motion 3, proposed by Tony Greenstein. This defended Jenny Tonge against the action of the Executive in forcing her resignation because, in response to the Zionist use the murder of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pennsylvania on 27 October she tweeted: “Absolutely appalling and a criminal act, but does it ever occur to Bibi and the present Israeli government that its actions against Palestinians may be reigniting anti-Semitism? I suppose someone will say that it is anti-Semitic to say so.”
They did, beginning with the right wing Tory bigots, Conservative Friends of Israel Lords Pickles and Polak. The motion pointed out that “nothing that Jenny Tonge said was antisemitic” and that Israeli Minister Naftali stated that “the hand that fire missiles is the same hand that shoots worshippers”.
The debate was heated, with all defenders of the Executive’s appalling treatment of Jenny essentially arguing that we had to bow to the Zionist onslaught, and she said the wrong thing at the wrong time. Basically, you could no longer speak the truth about Israel during a vicious Zionist campaign of lies and slanders against the left. So, the Zionist lobby attacked the PSC Executive viciously, expecting a robust response, but the Executive cleverly fooled them by running away. The motion was lost by 89 votes to 129 with 22 abstentions because it was basically a vote of no confidence in the Executive and they would have been forced into a humiliating climb down and the new Chair, Kamel Hawwash, who took the main responsibility for the conduct of the affair, would have to resign. But 89 thought he should and 22 were not sure about him at all.
Tony Greenstein stood for the Secretary’s position against Ben Soffa but lost by 67 votes to 103, a creditable performance. Socialist Fight putout a leaflet critically defending him (he did motivate our expulsion from Labour Against the Witchhunt). In his blog and in the leaflet he put out at the conference he attacked the PSC Executive because their: “Self-congratulation, timidity and caution bordering on obsequiousness is not the stuff of a solidarity campaign! He goes through their list of failures, failure to defend Jeremy Corbyn and the left anti-Zionists in Labour against the bogus charges of left anti-semitism. “Israel is NOT a democratic state – that should be our message” so why did the PSC Executive have “a PSC meeting in the House of Commons with Emily Thornberry, Shadow Foreign Secretary addressing the meeting. This is the same Emily Thornberry who is quoted as stating that:
‘People who believe Israel does not have the right to exist should be drummed out of the Labour Party.’
Far from challenging Thornberry to disavow her support for Labour Friends of Israel PSC uncritically gives her a platform. In an interview with The Standard she boasted that “I joined Labour Friends of Israel when I became an MP in 2005. I support the Palestinians’ right to have a state and I support the state of Israel.’
The meeting was addressed by His Excellency Husam Zomlot, Palestinian Ambassador to the UK. Tony’s flyer correctly states that “the Palestinian Authority is a Quisling authority”:
“The PA openly collaborates with Israeli security forces, something which Mahmoud Abbas has described as ‘sacred’. The PA is an enemy of the Palestinian people, yet PSC has never uttered even one word of criticism. On the contrary it maintains close relations with the Palestinian ‘Embassy’ in London.”
The National reported that Mr Zomlot told Sky News on Tuesday (2 October 2018) that,
“Mr Zomlot said the UK should take on the role of lead mediator between the Palestinians and the Israelis for the benefit of both the US and Britain. Best friends are there to fill the vacuum, if the vacuum is going to be dangerous for your old friend which is America, fill it. This is a moment of leadership.”
Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is the President of the Palestine Authority recognised by the ‘International Community’ i.e. the USA and its global stooges, including in this instance, the EU, Russia and China. He abolished elections when his term of office expired 15 January 2009. He is a member of the Fatah party and was elected Chairman in 2009. On December 16, 2009 he was voted into office indefinitely by the PLO Central Council. Why hold elections you would certainly lose to Hamas when you have the backing of Israel and the USA and the acquiescence of the entire imperialist world?
Lastly, we were entertained by a dance troupe trio from the Palestine Hawiya Dance Company just after the break, who put on a really excellent show for us all.
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