Report from our September meeting

27 Sep

Garry Ettle, AIUK’s Country Coordinator for Israel and the Occupied Territories, gave us an online talk – ‘End Israeli Apartheid’. Amnesty has recently published a detailed report on this topic, Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians, and is promoting this as one of its current campaigns.

‘Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, successive governments have created and maintained a system of laws, policies, and practices designed to oppress and dominate Palestinians. This system plays out in different ways across the different areas where Israel exercises control over Palestinians’ rights. However, the intent is always the same: to privilege Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinians.’

There are four ways the Israeli authorities enact this system: by fragmentation, dispossession, segregation and deprivation. Garry gave many examples of how this plays out and ran some troubling illustrative video clips of Palestinian repression.

 The aim of AI’s campaign is to increase general awareness, stimulate recognition and foster action.  There needs to be far greater public awareness to put pressure on not only Israel but our own government. There is an online petition you can sign here.

Some of our members are still away and couldn’t report, but we heard reports on the Death Penalty and an update on the human rights situation in India. The crackdown on Amnesty in India continues. The case of the BK15 has been our particular concern; we continued to send  cards, prepared by one of our members,  to some of the BK group.

An update on dual national British/Egyptian Alaa Abdelfattah, long a prisoner of conscience, gave a worrying picture.  Prominent since the events of the Arab Spring in 2011, he has been on hunger strike for months; he has told his mother he expects to die in prison.  Amnesty is currently encouraging members to write to their MPs on his behalf.

Media of the month – the 2017 The Viceroy’s House, available on Netflix, was recommended; it tells the story of the last days of the British Raj, the Mountbattens and partition.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 11 October at 7.30pm in the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton.  All are welcome!

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