Two weeks ago, we shared some big news - we are taking the government to court to protect our right to boycott. Legal fees are expensive, but you can’t put a price on justice. That’s why we started thePSC Fighting Fund, to make sure we could pay for the best legal defence possible and help us challenge other attempts to close down campaigning.
We asked for help with setting up the Fighting Fund and our supporters have responded magnificently – you’ve donated over £20k towards the target of £100k. We’re getting there, but there’s a long way to go till we hit our target.
The court case isn’t the only thing we’re doing to protect our right to protest and boycott for Palestine. Read more about our actions and the new tool for campaigners to use below.
A victory for free speech on Palestine
In a hugely significant development for free speech on Palestine, eminent human rights lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC has issued a legal opinion that finds major faults with the government’s new antisemitism definition’s guidance.
In partnership with Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Independent Jewish Voices and Free Speech on Israel, we launched his legal opinion in the House of Lords this week.
The opinion criticises the guidance that accompanies the definition which conflates criticism of Israel with antisemitism. The guidance cannot be used lawfully to ban events critical of Israel – including in universities. This includes events describing Israel as a state enacting policies of apartheid or practising settler-colonialism.
Tomlinson states: “the starting point should be that events which seek to protest against the actions of the state of Israel or the treatment of Palestinians are lawful expressions of political opinion. There is no justification in law for treating such events any differently from any other political protests.”
But we’re not stopping there. We are sending this opinion to every public body in the UK – including universities - to ensure that they realise that it is illegal to cancel an event on the grounds that it criticises Israel. You can use this legal opinion too - get in touch with the team for more details.
We know that attacks on our movement are part and parcel of Israel’s attempt to stifle criticism. You can read here a moving account of the experiences of Malaka, a young female Palestinian activist from Gaza living in the UK. She has been repeatedly targeted and yet refuses to have her voice silenced.
The reality is that these attempts to silence us are recognition of the strength of our campaign. We will continue to resist and raise our voices for Palestine – but we need your help to do so.
Yesterday, on Palestinian Land Day, the Israeli government announced it will build the first new settlement in the West Bank for 20 years. Of course, Israel has been expanding illegally within the existing settlement blocks for decades. Israel has also passed laws to retroactively legalise the theft of private Palestinian land. But in light of UN Resolution 2334, this is a huge statement about Israel’s continuing willingness to violate international law and ignore the will of the international community.
We need intense pressure on the UK government to respond. Over the next week, we are going to be consulting with our partner organisations and friends in Parliament to establish the best way to respond to this new development. We’ll be in touch next week with further details.
Our best defence for Palestine is to continue our campaigning and raising our voices together. Thank you for donating whatever you can. Your time, contribution and solidarity make a real difference.