Wednesday, 4 March 2009

BBC staff organise gig for Gaza - 12 March

Media Workers Against the War

In this mailing:
1. MWAW supporters meeting on Saturday
2. GIG 4 GAZA March 12
3. The Trainer - a play about terror

1. MWAW supporters meeting on Saturday March 7

There will be a meeting for all Media Workers Against the War supporters to discuss priorities and campaigning:

Agenda items include: Gaza rally, website redesign, Afghanistan, Islamophobia...

Saturday March 7, 11am – 1pm

Lucas Arms
Gray's Inn Road
London WC1X 8QZ
(opposite NUJ headquarters)

All welcome!

More info: tel 07799 771 165


BBC staff who were refused permission by their management to fund-raise in the BBC bar are holding this event in collaboration with Kings College students

Featuring Low-Key, Jeremy Hardy, Chris T-T, Nizar Al Issa, Sandy Walsh, Somaye and others

Thursday March 12 7pm

Tutu's bar, King's College, Surrey Street, WC2R 2NS

Tickets £8/£6 from

More details: 07981 125 918

3. The Trainer - a play

By David Wilson and Anne Aylor

The Trainer is a rehearsed reading of a play with two strands: one concerning the composer Keith Burstein who sued the Evening Standard after being accused of "glorifying" terror in his opera, "Manifest Destiny"; the other concerns Leila, the young Palestinian gym-trainer of the judges in Burstein's Court of Appeal.

This is a surreal comedy about the "terror" laws that have descended into farce. It also demands that its audience re-define what is "terror".

with Tim Pigott-Smith, Corin Redgrave, Paul Herzberg, Joanna Watt,
Shahanara Begum and Anna Gilbert and others

Adviser, Keith Burstein
Director: Ben Henson

Friday 6 March, 7.30 pm @ Oxford House, Derbyshire Street
Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG
(nearest tube: Bethnal Green)

Tickets £5 online here:

Proceeds from the reading to Stop the War Coalition and the fund for the re-building of the Gaza Music School

Credit card: ring 020 7278 6694
Cheques: send to Stop the War Coalition 27 Britannia Street London WC1X 9JP marked 'trainer' and enclose SAE for your tickets. Further information call: 07951 579 064

Now workers occupy - this time for jobs

This is slightly off message but worthy of comment.

Workers at the Prisme factory in Dundee, Scotland, have occupied their factory after being sacked with a day's notice.

The students occupying universities for Gaza have caught the imagination of workers. The example of the Waterford Glass workers occupation in Ireland is also likely to have been an influence.

Send messages of support to or text 07882804212

Egypt blocks entry of 12 UK doctors into Gaza

Why does Mubarak insist on heaping shame on his country with actions like this?

From the International Middle East Media Center
Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip reported that twelve British doctors of Arab and Pakistani descent, members of the Pakistani Islamic Medical Association (PIMA), have been stuck at the Rafah border terminal since Sunday.

The delegates left Manchester Airport in the UK last Saturday carrying medical equipment essential for saving the lives of wounded and sick residents in Gaza.

On December 26 of last year, PIMA sent several physicians to observe the devastating effects of Israel’s war on Gaza, and vowed to send more delegates to treat the wounded.

Dr. Awni Mer’ey, head of the International Medical Aid in the UK, said that while conferences and summits are being held, and vows to rebuild Gaza are made, relief teams are being barred from entering Gaza.

Mer’ey demanded that the Egyptian Authorities facilitate entry of these delegates in order to relieve the suffering of sick and the wounded Palestinians

Galloway must distance convoy from Mubarak's torturers

The convoy received a rapturous welcome in Libya

[UPDATE 12noon GMT 4 March - Farid Arada reports that the convoy is now at the Egyptian border and will likely cross tomorrow - more at Viva Palestina site]

The Guardian this morning has caught up with the story on George Galloway's misguided dealings with the dictator-regime in Egypt. In fact the story was broken by Egyptian socialist blogger Hossam el-Hamalawy on his 3arabawy site, with Gaza Solidarity the first to break it in the UK. You can see the story here:
Why is George Galloway loving up to dictator Mubarak?

Unfortunately the position of the convoy in Egypt has now been damaged but it's not too late for George to make amends.

The reaction to the arrests in the UK of convoy volunteers was initially equally disturbing when a spokesman denied they had any 'personal knowledge' of the individuals detained only to later call for an inquiry after they were all released.

The Guardian quotes Sabah el-Mokhtar, a British lawyer, repeating the 'we don't get involved in local politics' mantra, but, as we pointed out yesterday, by meeting with Mubarak's discredited NDP party and not just negotiating with the criminal regime but allowing the convoy to be co-opted by it, the mission risks becoming a vehicle for the dictatorship.

Having said all that, why is it that the Guardian has ignored the convoy up until this point and the first serious report they provide is negative. They just love to hate George Galloway because he stands up to western hypocrisy. But George, you have to be consistent and stand up to the Egyptian tyrant as well and dare them to stop the convoy crossing into Gaza at Rafah. That would win you back the support of the growing Egyptian opposition and workers' movements.

Labour runs scared on Worcester's Gaza City twinning move

We reported on the twinning vote by councillors in Worcester on 26 February, before the national press belatedly started jumping up and down about the issue, and congratulated the city on the move - although it hasn't been signed off yet by Worcester's Twinning Association.

Well now it looks like the Labour Party in Worcester is getting cold feet. What is it with these politicians? They do something really good and then have to bottle it.

The leader of the Labour group on the council is banning the councillors from discussing the 'twinning controversy'.

Gaza Solidarity will be investigating the issue further and hoping to find a councillor willing to break this ludicrous ban on promoting their own fine work.

Jack Blanchard on the local paper also reports that the party is to hold its AGM next Monday at 7.30pm - the exact same time as the Twinning Association meeting to discuss/endorse the Gaza move.

Come on Labour, stick to your guns, if that's the right expression to use as the media seem to think the good people of Worcester are going to start shipping arms to the resistance if the twinning goes ahead.

From the Berrow's Worcester Journal
WORCESTER’S Labour Party has gagged its councillors from publicly discussing their own proposal to twin the city with Gaza, a leaked memo reveals.

Clinton bemoans Israel's ethnic cleansing but does nothing to stop it

So Clinton on her visit to occupied Palestine says the planned demolition of a further 55 homes (they've already demolished 88) Palestinian homes in Jerusalem, more accurately described as ethnic cleansing, is of 'deep concern'. Sure it is, but will the US do anything about it? Of course not.

She claims the US is committed to a two-state solution. In fact she is more committed to being two-faced - sweet words to the Israelis and the next day the same for Abbas and his misnamed Palestinian Authority that has no authority - than she is to justice for the Palestinian people. The New York Times said Clinton told Abbas today that she had 'pressed' the Israelis on the issue of the opening of the Gaza border, but we have no way of knowing whether that is actually true.

From the BBC
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem are of "deep concern".
For the latest news on the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank and the ethnic cleansing of Jersusalem g0 to
Palestinians on the West Bank are fighting back with the 'fifth international Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) – occurring in over 40 cities in Palestine and worldwide – will be held across the West Bank from 2-8 March 2009. Campuses and refugee camps in nine Palestinian districts will be participating in the global event'. more

Why is Starcom booking ads for Qatar Airways on the anti-Palestinian Sky News channel?

As promised in an earlier posting Gaza Solidarity got in touch with both Qatar Airways and Starcom, its media buyer/planner in the UK, with regards the ad spend of the airline on the Sky News channel.

Gaza Solidarity recently reported that Qatar Airways named the latest addition to its fleet of aircraft 'Gaza' in an act of humanitarian solidarity. This obviously doesn't sit very well with the infamous decision of the pro-Israel Murdoch-owned Sky TV and its right-wing 'news' channel not to broadcast the DEC appeal for Gaza.

We sent the following question to the airline:
I would like to ask the CEO, Mr Al Baker, about Qatar Airways's advertising, through its sponsorship of the weather segment, on Sky News. The airline recently brought into service a Boeing 777 which it named 'Gaza' in solidarity with the suffering people there. Given this, why is the airline advertising on a station that refuses to show a humanitarian appeal for Gaza?
We sent the following questions to Starcom:
I left a message on your voicemail this lunchtime regarding media buying for Qatar Airways in the UK. I don't know if you are aware but Qatar Airways recently brought into service a Boeing 777 and named it 'Gaza' - an act of humanitarian solidarity with the people there following the recent war conducted by Israel. I have sent the following question to Mr Al Baker the ceo at Qatar Airways:

"I would like to ask the CEO, Mr Al Baker, about Qatar Airways's advertising, through its sponsorship of the weather segment, on Sky News. The airline recently brought into service a Boeing 777 which it named 'Gaza' in solidarity with the suffering people there. Given this, why is the airline advertising on a station that refuses to show a humanitarian appeal for Gaza?"

I appreciate Starcom can not speak for its clients and you would not wish to damage your relationship with Qatar Airways, but have you had any requests to end advertising on Sky? If not, do you think advertising with Sky TV could be problematic in the future, given the pressure the airline is coming under at home to withdraw from commercial arrangements with Sky because of its refusal to air the Disasters Emergency Appeal for Gaza? Thanking you in advance for your time.

We await the responses with baited breath and will let you know what they have to say as soon as we get it.

Swiss Jews launch appeal for Israel to uphold human rights

A confrontation between an Israeli soldier and Palestinian women after the soldier knocked an elderly woman to the ground. (Picture: Kai Wiedenhöfer)

The Israeli state has succeeded in undermining its support among Jewish people around the world with its criminal inhumanity in Gaza - which continues with the refusal to lift its siege, preventing the bare necessities of life reaching the population and the industrial materials required for reconstruction.

Dismayed at the impact of occupation, a group of Jewish activists has launched a global appeal calling on Israel to uphold and respect human rights

Beginning with 23 signatures from Jews in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Israel, the organisers of the petition hope to reach as many of the world's 13 million Jews as possible...

..."Because the occupation is destroying the lives of the occupied and the souls of the occupiers," says Weil-Goldstein, who came to Bern on Monday with fellow signatories Shelley Berlowitz and Philippe Lévy to launch the appeal. more

Cornell University zionists charged with vandalising Gaza black flag display

We reported on how a display to commemorate the dead of Gaza was vandalised by zionists on the 25 February and we are glad to see that the university authorities are now clamping down on the undemocratic and uncaring zealotry of the pro-Israel crowd. They've lost the argument so they resort to these methods instead.

Similar tactics were used at the University of Rochester after the sit-in for Gaza that took place there. See our report here.

The Cornell Daily Sun
Two students have been charged by the Cornell Police for their involvement in vandalizing a display on the Arts Quad meant to inform passersby about the recent violence in the Gaza Strip. The students were charged on Feb. 20 for allegedly destroying parts of the display on Feb. 9. The students’ actions violated the Campus Code of Conduct’s regulations regarding disorderly conduct and criminal mischief, according to the University. more