The minutes of the group’s meeting in April are attached thanks to group member Lesley for preparing them. We are slowly getting back to normal after the pandemic and we discussed going back to a face to face meeting in May.
We held our market stall in Salisbury market yesterday after an absence of three years. We had plenty of stuff to sell but overall, the results were down on previous years. Time was when we got to the stall at 7:30 there was already a crowd of a dozen or so and it activity was pretty hectic for the first hour. Those days seem to be gone and the first hour was very quiet. Activity began to pick up towards midday and we may think of extending the timing by an hour next year.
The City Council has also changed the location and instead of being adjacent to the main market, we were placed well off to the east of the market place. Also there are two stalls placed cheek by jowl with another charity which also did not help. Times are hard of course and this month (April) was when all the cuts and energy bills came into effect. So all in all …
We had an enjoyable day and many thanks to group member Ria who took the unsold items away for another go at a car boot sale. Other items, including a quantity of hardback Booker shortlist novels, went to Oxfam who were delighted apparently. Thanks also to all group members who came and manned the stall through the day.
Photo: Salisbury Amnesty
Market stall is back today, Saturday, 9th April
After an absence of 2 years, we are back with our popular stall in the centre of Salisbury. As you would expect, we have masses of stuff including quality books, clothes, CDs, china items and so forth. We look forward to seeing you there.
If, by chance you are thinking of joining the group, please make yourself known to one of us on the stand.
We are pleased to attach the group minutes of the last meeting held via Zoom. As well as the usual reports on the death penalty, refugees and progress with the various bills in parliament, we talked about possibly asking the group Ice and Fire to return to the Studio Theatre if they are happy.
Amnesty joins Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem in declaring Israel an apartheid state
Israel works hard to present itself as a modern, pluralist state and enjoys close links with its diaspora particularly in the USA. It enjoys favourable coverage in the UK with the majority of media who are either silent about these issues or are quick to condemn criticism of the state.
We have previously reported on two other reports by respected organisations which came to the same conclusions: one by Human Rights Watch and the other from within Israel by B’Tselem. Both reports go into great detail with many examples of how the apartheid system works in Israel.
The introduction to the Amnesty report says:
There is no possible justification for a system built around the institutionalized and prolonged racist oppression of millions of people. Apartheid has no place in our world, and states which choose to make allowances for Israel will find themselves on the wrong side of history. Governments who continue to supply Israel with arms and shield it from accountability at the UN are supporting a system of apartheid, undermining the international legal order, and exacerbating the suffering of the Palestinian people. The international community must face up to the reality of Israel’s apartheid, and pursue the many avenues to justice which remain shamefully unexplored.From the Amnesty Report
The response by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs was ‘[the report was a] collection of lies, biased claims, and recycled reports from other anti-Israel organisations’.
The report (pdf) details the bases of the apartheid claim:
- massive seizures of land and Palestinian property
- unlawful killing
- restrictions on the right [of Palestinian’s] to political representation
- drastic movement restrictions
- denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians.
Palestinians are treated as an inferior racial group and systematically deprived of their rights.
It is interesting to note the difference between how the treatment of Palestinians in Israel contrasts with things like the Berlin wall. There were regular features of the wall with film of people attempting to scale it and footage of border guards shooting at those seeking to escape East Germany. Film of the Israeli wall by contrast are rare. During the apartheid regime in South Africa, there was considerable coverage of civil disturbances and many companies decided to cease trading there. There is precious little sign of that in the UK media’s coverage of Israel. Indeed, in the Telegraph – a right wing newspaper in the UK – the coverage led, not on the report itself and a summary of some of the conclusions, but with the Israeli government’s response: Israel labels Amnesty International ‘anti-Semitic’ over ‘apartheid’ report leaving minimal coverage of what Amnesty said to a few short sentences at the end of the piece. They also featured a 6 minute video interview with the President of the Zionist Federation of Australia with no balancing footage [accessed 2 February]. Labelling any criticism of Israel as ‘anti-Semitic’ is an automatic response and is unjustified with any of the three reports mentioned.
Dr Agnès Callamard the secretary general of Amnesty said in response: “Amnesty International stands very strongly against antisemitism, against any form of racism, we have repeatedly denounced antisemitic acts and antisemitism by various leaders around the world.” Source: Times of Israel.
The report makes a large number of recommendations. With three detailed reports now published it is hard for Israel to ignore and deny the accusation of apartheid.
We have come across this video of a young girl who has made several videos and this one is worth watching. Janna Jihad video – Amnesty
Group minutes for January 2022
We are pleased to attach the minutes of the group’s meeting help via Zoom thanks to group member Lesley for the work in compiling them. It’s perhaps worth mentioning that we do not produce a newsletter – partly because we were not able to secure an outlet for them in the printed form – so these minutes are much fuller than normal meeting minutes to enable a wider audience to review content.
May we wish all our supporters, readers and followers a happy Christmas and a happy New Year. We have had an increase in readership to this site this year which is very gratifying although sadly, we seldom get much in the way of interaction. Human rights are increasingly important and the local group will be focusing on the threat to the UK Human Rights Act which the government would like to see neutered in various ways. We are also concerned about the bills the government is pushing through to limit protest and to reduce the powers of the courts to hold the government to account.
We have welcomed several new members this year and it is a shame that we cannot meet in person more often because of Covid.
The group carried out its annual carol singing around a selection of streets in Salisbury on Monday. The actual carols were sung by the excellent Farrant Singers who split into two groups. Because of Covid we could not enter the host’s house for soup and cheese which in previous years has been an enjoyable end to the evening. We are grateful as ever for the support of the Farrants and the residents many of whom gave generously to Amnesty. We are also grateful to group member Chantal for providing the hospitality.