Friday, 17 September 2010

Trade unions step up support for Palestinians

Excellent news from this week's TUC conference. Via national PSC:

Britain's unions have thrown their weight behind a campaign of disinvestment and boycott from companies which are profiting from Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.

Trade unions voted unanimously today at the TUC's annual conference for a motion put forward by the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA), seconded by the GMB, and supported by UNSION, PCS (the Public and Commercial Services Union) and the FBU (Fire Brigades' Union).

The motion called for the General Council to work closely with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to actively encourage affiliates, employers and pension funds to disinvest from, and boycott the goods of, companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and construction of the Apartheid Wall.

It condemned Israel's blockade of the Palestinian territories, in particular Gaza, and the Israeli military's deadly assault on aid ships carrying humanitarian supplies to Gaza in May. It also called for an immediate end to the siege on Gaza, and a full independent inquiry into the attack on the Turkish aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, which killed nine activists.

A separate General Council statement requires the TUC, which represents 6.5 million workers across the UK, to have a concrete programme for action in place by next month

Hugh Lanning, Chair of PSC, said: ‘This motion builds on that passed at last year's conference to campaign for a boycott of goods from the illegal West Bank settlements. It is a massive step forward in the movement for justice for the Palestinian people, and reflects growing public anger at Israel's aggression towards the Palestinians and those, such as the humanitarians on the Gaza aid flotilla, who try to help them.'

Mr Lanning added: ‘Trade unions were pivotal in helping to end Apartheid in South Africa and bring freedom to that country's people. Today's vote shows that Britain's unions are prepared to stand up again in support of an oppressed people - this time the Palestinians - and help them to win their freedom. This is an historic moment for the union movement in the UK, and one that it can be proud of.'

Friday, 27 August 2010

Raise funds for the convoy to Gaza

This comes via the national PSC newsletter:

'In just a few weeks, a Viva Palestina aid convoy, supported by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, will leave London and travel through Europe, Turkey, Syria and Egypt to reach Gaza.

We broke Israel's brutal and illegal blockade of Gaza in January and, with your help, we can break it again.

The Palestinians in Gaza need everything from baby milk formula, to feed desperately malnourished babies, to cement, to rebuild homes, schools and hospitals reduced to rubble during Operation Cast Lead. They also need the world's attention to remain focused on them and the inhuman siege that Israel has kept them under for the last four years - sending convoys to break the blockade is an effective way of doing this and showing Gaza's plight to the world.

You can help break the siege on Gaza

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign needs to raise £10,000 towards the cost of buying a PSC-sponsored vehicle and filling it with aid, as well as covering the cost of driving it to Gaza. Please help us reach our target.

Donate today by sending a cheque, made payable to PSC, to PSC, BOX BM PSA, London, WC1N 3XX or by calling 020 7700 6192 to donate by card.

Please write ‘For Gaza aid convoy' on the back of your cheque, and let us know you're donating to the PSC aid vehicle when you call.

Thank you for working towards ending Gaza's siege.'

Friday, 13 August 2010

The boycott spreads

From Omar Barghouti at The Guardian website: Besieging Israel's siege

Despite Israel's siege of Gaza, and the escalating displacement in the Negev and East Jerusalem, Palestinians have some reason to celebrate. In Washington a food co-op has passed a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli products, confirming that the boycott movement – five years old last month – has finally crossed the Atlantic.

Support for the move came from prominent figures including Nobel peace laureates Desmond Tutu and Máiread Maguire, and Richard Falk, the UN's special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories.

The movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel was launched in 2005, a year after the international court of justice had found Israel's wall and colonies built on occupied Palestinian territory illegal. Over 170 Palestinian political parties, unions, mass movements and NGOs endorsed the movement, which is led by the BNC, a coalition of civil society organisations.

Rooted in a century of Palestinian civil resistance, and inspired by the anti-apartheid struggle, the campaign crowned earlier, partial boycotts to present a comprehensive approach to realising Palestinian self-determination: unifying Palestinians inside historic Palestine and in exile in the face of accelerating fragmentation.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Video: local protestors in national demo for Gaza

This short video was put together by David Draper, who travelled on the Newcastle coach to June's national demonstration in response to Israel's deadly assault on the Gaza aid flotilla.

The contingent of supporters from Tyne and Wear was jointly organised by PSC with the local Stop the War group.

See HERE for David's photos of the demo.

We also protested locally, with over 100 people turning out at extremely short notice at Grey's Monument - see HERE for a report.

Show solidarity with Gaza convoy

Great (and cheap!) new offering from Philosophy Football, in the run up to September's hugely important Gaza convoy. Tyneside PSC is ordering some, and we'll have them available on stalls and at meetings soon.

'In the 1970s and 1980s Soweto became a global watchword not simply for the murderous brutality of the racist Apartheid regime but also the heroic resistance of the South African people. Solidarity with Soweto became a huge, popular international movement which helped isolate Apartheid.

Today Gaza requires that same wave of support. As part of Philosophy Football's contribution towards this we have produced a delightfully simple T-shirt design on a non-profit making basis.

We are actively supporting and raising funds for the September 2010 aid convoys to Gaza organised by Viva Palestina but we cannot all join the convoys by land and air. Yet we can all wear 'GAZA' on our chest and help spread the message of solidarity. T-shirt in sizes S-XXL, plus womens' skinny-rib fit.

Special campaign low-price JUST £9.99. Available from HERE.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Welcome to Tyne and Wear PSC

Welcome to the new blog of Tyne and Wear PSC. We are a local group of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

We meet on the 2nd Monday of every month, at 7pm. Meetings are held at Muslim Welfare House, 6 North Terrace, Spital Tongues in Newcastle. These are open to all who broadly share our objectives, members and non-members alike.

If you live in Tyne and Wear and want to help, in whatever way, with promoting the Palestinian cause, please come along to our next meeting:

Monday 13 September, 7pm, Muslim Welfare House in Newcastle

Image: protest at Grey's Monument, Newcastle, when 120 people gathered to protest at Israel's assualt on the Gaza Flotilla.