Friday, 2 July 2010

JSG AGM June 6, 2010

MAY DAY, 2010, Clerkenwell Green.

This JSG conference condemns the Israeli government for its continuing siege of Gaza, brutal occupation and aggressive promotion of settlement in the West Bank, and pursuance of what amounts to erhnic cleansing in Jerusalem and elsewhere. We see no evidence that this government is interested in peace, except in the sense that it wishes to have its way, and accept nothing less than abject surrender from the Palestinians.
We call on the British government, the European Union and the United States to stop assisting and privileging Israel while it continues with its policies, and to insist on a genuine "peace process".

We call on established Jewish leaders and organisations to cease giving uncritical support to Israel, and aligning behind its actions. We welcome and encourage the growth of open Jewish dissent and urge that it be given organised and democratic voice.

The JSG re-affirms its support for those within Israel who are striving for peace, equality and social justice. We welcome the growth of grass-roots, popular initiatives in Palestinian society, waging civil resistance against occupation and the annexation wall, and assisting the social, educational and cultural development of their people. Besides overcoming the crisis and divisions of Palestinian leadership, with new democratic forms, this movement has gained Israeli and international allies and support. We consider that such unity in action offers the key to defeating national oppression, and the prospect of a better future for both peoples in Israel-Palestine.

We therefore view with concern the way both official and unofficial forces in Israel, some with foreign support (e.g. from right-wing US Christians) are exacerbating racism and provocations against the Palestinians, and bringing the repressive methods and "security" obsession of the occupation to bear on dissenters and critics within the Jewish State.

As part of the growing dissent and independent thought among Diaspora Jews, we declare our solidarity with Israeli Left and peace groups against such attacks; and we also warn that we will not allow anyone to silence critical voices, censor news and culture, or regiment communities here.

This conference therefore pledges the JSG to:
1 - Strengthen and expand links with Palestinian and Israeli groups fighting oppression, and working for freedom, equality and justice, whether in political, social or cultural fields. Help to make their activities better known, and spread support for their initiatives. 2. - Raise our voices through letters in the media etc, to show Jewish support for peace with justice, and counteract the work of the Zionist lobby and assumption by politicians and media that it speaks for all Jews. 3) Work with JfJfP, Palestine Solidarity and European Jews for Just Peace, to campaign and lobby in Britain and Europe in support of Palestinian rights and freedom, and for a just peace. 4) Liaise with friends holding similiar aims in Israel and the United States particularly, on countering the Right, and asserting our rights and freedoms against repression and censorship from whichever direction they come. 5) Resist attempts by racists, antisemites, Islamophobes and fascists to use the Middle East conflict to divide and pillory communities here and elsewhere. Show by our unity against these enemies that, on the contrary, peoples can live in harmony and peace.
The day before this JSG conference, the JSG had joined a march through London, from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy, protesting Israel's action against the Gaza freedom flotilla. Although resolutions had been submitted for conference before the attack took place, we have provision for emergency resolutions. As it happened we used it to endorse this statement which was issued by European Jews for Just Peace (EJJP) as soon as news came of the assault on the Gaza flotilla:

Israel chooses to take on the role of rogue state

The Israeli army stopped the Free Gaza boats last night and boarded the ships. During this action, nine activists were killed. The Israeli action took place on international sea.
The Free Gaza ships were on their way to Gaza with food and materials for the people of Gaza. On board were hundreds of activists from all over the world.

Free Gaza is a humanitarian and peaceful action for the people of Gaza, who are suffering from the Israeli blockade and deprived of most elementary goods and products for already more than a year now. The Israeli attack on the Free Gaza ships shows that the Israeli regime is detached from every sense of decency and humanity and shows total disrespect for international law. We strongly condemn the Israeli attack and call upon everyone, both as individuals and as organizations, to show your disgust of this attack, towards the Israeli authorities and your own government and authorities.

Make clear that this is not the Israel our countries and the EU should have normal relations with.


Resolution on Tory links with far right in Europe

Conference notes

• the decision by the Conservative party in 2009 to leave the centre-right European People's Party grouping in the European Parliament to form a new group, the European Conservatives and Reformists group, led by Michal Kaminski of the ultra-right Polish Law and Justice Party, which also includes Latvian representatives of a party that took part in a commemoration for fallen Waffen-SS soldiers in Riga in March 2010;

• that Kaminski's is on record for making antisemitic and homophobic statements and praising Pinochet's fascist regime that oppressed the Chilean people and murdered thousands of political opponents;

• that many of the MEPs from Kaminski's party appear regularly on the ultra-conservative, "Pro-life", Catholic radio station Radio Maryja, which the Vatican has rebuked for its antisemitism;

• that Kaminski specifically campaigned against an apology for the Jedwabne pogrom, which was committed by antisemitic Poles in Eastern Poland in 1 941 without involvement of the Nazis. Kaminski said any apology should be conditional on "someone from the Jewish side" apologising "for what the Jews did during the Soviet occupation between 1939 and 1941. For the mass collaboration of the Jewish people with the Soviet occupier, for fighting Polish partisans in this area. And eventually, for murdering Poles";

Conference further notes
• the storm of protest across the political spectrum and across much of the Jewish community that greeted the decision by the Conservative party to invite Kaminski as a guest of honour at last Tory conference;

Conference believes:

• that pro-Israel agendas and antisemitic agendas are not incompatible

• that far from indicating friendship for the Jewish people, the identification with Israel by far right politicians is an identification with anti-Muslim and ethnic-nationalist agendas;

• that the fight against antisemitism, racism and homophobia is indivisible, and the Jewish community should be seeking allies among those who oppose these attitudes rather than those who promote them.

Conference condemns the editor of the Jewish Chronicle – a paper that proclaims itself “the organ of Anglo-Jewry” – for his outspoken defence of Kaminski.

Conference condemns the links and collaboration between the Tory Party and far-right European allies who stand accused of racism and homophobia;

Conference calls on the JSG to expose such links now and in the future