On applause and Palestinian Soidarity


I have been reading a range of articles about the events at the PSC AGM on Saturday. I am still trying to find what, if anything, had come out of the meeting that could cause it to be described as <a href=””>“a very good day”</a> for the Palestinians.


And I came across a <a href=” http://anthonycooper.blogspot.com/2012/01/holocaust-denial-at-psc-agm.html”>post by Anthony Cooper</a>, in which he is trying to understand the reaction of the meeting to Francis Clark-Lowe’s appeal speech.


He notes that Tony Greenstein said that the room gasped when Francis mentioned the “Holocaust Myth”, that Paul Eisen referred to “modest applause” when Francis had finished speaking, and that Asa Winstanley said there were <a href=” https://twitter.com/#!/AsaWinstanley/status/160701949040279554”> loud cheers</a> when it was announced that Occupy London had taken over another bank building.


Loud cheers at a previous PSC event are, as it happens, the reason I have never joined, nor had much time for the PSC. Those cheers erupted at a rally inTrafalgar Square, anytime a speaker mentioned Rachel Corrie, who had died so tragically in Rafah earlier that year. I was listening to the speeches with two ISMers who had days before been deported fromIsrael, and who had both been eye witnesses to Rachel’s death. One of them was keen to address the crowd and I asked if this was possible. The answer was negative, although to this day I am convinced that the people cheering the usual suspects that address PSC rallies (ie Trade Unionists, clerics and politicians) would have been interested to hear from people newly returned fromgaza, who had been at the very scene being described so dramatically from the stage.


The refusal (on the grounds of limited time) I found callous, and indicative of an intransigent approach. Saturday’s AGM shenanigans suggest to me that that assessment  was pretty sound. The loud cheers at PSC events for an ISMer in 2003, and the Occupy movement in 2011 also suggest that people attending the events are looking for a much more dynamic approach than the formulaic events laid on by the PSC Exec at their events.


Occupy London is part of a movement of people who are tired of the old way of doing things, and who have come together to try and find new and dynamic ways of  expressing their dissent. By coincidence they use many of the same tools for organising that the ISM uses. They try to be as inclusive as possible, and aim to be as non hierarchical as they can be, in many ways therefore they are antithetical to the PSC.


Directly under the Cooper post on the AGM was another PSC related post from earlier this month, which I read with amazement. Entitled <a href=” http://anthonycooper.blogspot.com/2012/01/did-psc-lie-to-caroline-lucas-mp.html”> Did the PSC Lie to Caroline Lucas MP?”</a>, it contains some disturbing hints at how bad things are in the PSC. I learnt that Green Party MP Caroline Lucas had received assurances from the PSC that “the organisation does indeed recogniseIsrael’s right to exist ….and that it remains committed to a two state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict”.


I stared at my screen in disbelief. The PSC had, it seemed, adopted the Zionist narrative and was now in favour of what I can only see as a ‘bantustan solution’. Furthermore, Cooper then pointed to an article in the Morning Star which portrays PSC Chair Hugh Lanning  thus:


He stressed the need for two states based on the 1967 borders – a demand recently backed byUSPresident Barack Obama but consistently rejected byIsrael.


“At the moment there is only one state -Israel,” he said.


 “A two-state solution objectively means the creation of a free, independent Palestinian state which does not exist right now.”


I have Palestinian friends who would see this as totally unacceptable because for them it means eternal banishment to overcrowded refugee camps, from which they they have spent their entire lives waiting to go back to the homes that their families were pushed out of in 1948. And somehow, in the name of solidarity with them, this Mr. Lanning is advocating an end to their dreams.


Now I wanted to find out more about this Lanning character, and after  an amusing description of him as <a href=” http://thecommune.co.uk/2009/02/27/pcs-vote-for-moloney-but-independent-rank-and-file-action-is-the-key/”>“a fake-left rightwing bureaucrat”</a> I came across an <a href=” http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/11/israel-psc-palestinian-anti”>article</a> which seems to help explain why the PSC is so useless as a vehicle for solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine.


Here, Hugh tells us that:


“The Palestinian solidarity movement will always stick to anti-racist principles, for reasons that include but extend beyond the moral dimensions”


Furthermore he goes on to claim that:


“All of the arguments we want and need to make, can and should be made without reference to race and religion. The strongest arguments are those based on justice, human rights and international law. There is no need to stray beyond these core principles -indeed it weakens us to do so.”


Good grief!!. He wants us to tackle what South African victims of Apartheid have described as an Apartheid State, without referring to the very causes of that Apartheid, and furthermore he wants to make the arguments based on “justice, human rights and international law” yet he himself is advocating a two state solution which fits into not a single one of those categories!!!

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