Gaza crisis – public meeting success for local Palestine campaigners
Last Wednesday evening saw Harmony Hall in Walthamstow full to capacity as people crowded in to hear a range of excellent speakers on the vital subject of how we can best support the people of Gaza, The joint meeting was organised by the Waltham Forest Palestine Solidarity Committee together with the Stop the War Coalition.
After the terrible slaughter of civilians, including hundreds of children, the attention of the media has moved on but the speakers were determined that the people of Gaza and Palestine in general would not be forgotten. Yousef Al-Helou, a journalist from Gaza who has lost many members of his own family received a standing ovation after he spoke movingly about the recent Israeli invasion, and paid tribute to the courage of the people. All speakers were united in calling for an end to the blockade of Gaza, and the need to put international pressure on Israel to recognise the human rights of the Palestinian people, and that lasting peace can only come through justice.
Salim Alam (from Palestine Solidarity) called on people to support a focused campaign of boycotting Israeli products and to pressure the British government to stop selling arms to Israel. The panel included two Jewish anti-Zionist campaigners (Rob Ferguson and Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi) who stressed that it is not anti-Semitic to oppose the Zionism of the Israeli state, and that it was “Kosher” to boycott Israel. They also pointed to the diminishing support in the US by younger Jews for Israel. Finally, Irfan Akhtar from the Waltham Forest Council of Mosques stressed the need for the local community in Waltham Forest to get more involved in the campaign for justice and human rights.