WALLED OFF by Hugh Lanning
This speech was delivered at a march and rally held on 13 May to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Nakba—the ‘catastrophe’ in 1948 when over 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes, had their houses destroyed and land stolen. Britain had occupied Palestine since 1918 and walked away as the Nakba took place.
The openly declared racists and fascists in the new Netanyahu government in Israel have given us an opportunity. They are making transparent what has always been Israel’s strategy.
The Nakba was not an accident, it was the plan, which Israel is seeking to follow through to its goal—the elimination of Palestine. Taking away its land, driving off its people. It is the settler colonial solution.
Israel’s problem is that the Palestinians have not gone, are not going anywhere. It is their land.
If we are to challenge Israel’s control of the commanding heights of British politics we need to be—not just angry—but to get organised and get even.
When I was allowed to go to Palestine, the Palestinians were always very polite. Nice of you to visit, but what are you doing in your country, in your world back home?
I do not speak on behalf of the Labour Party and they, certainly, don’t speak for me on this issue.
Labour & Palestine seeks to organise rank & file Labour Party members in support of Palestine.
Three times Party conference has passed progressive resolutions on Palestine, in 2018, 2019 and 2021.
Three times the Party leadership has ignored, renounced, or denied the policy.
This is not new. I have been a party member for 50 years now and with one honourable exception there has never been a leader on the Palestinian side.
Our problem today is not the people who are here at this demonstration—it is those who are not! Where are the leaders of this great movement of ours? Too many have been chilled and silenced for too long. Last week at a Nakba event I heard representatives from all the major parties commiserate about the Nakba.
We are not angry enough. British political parties need to take ownership of Britain’s culpability.
We—the British—enabled it to happen.
We need to be the angry generation that reverses that wrong and helps to free Palestine. That means action, not just words. It means sanctions for breaches of international law, it means no arms trade, it means divestment from complicit firms, it means boycott of goods and services that support and profit from the occupation.
Let’s get angry.
Free, free Palestine.
Labour & Palestine
You can find out more and sign up to receive emails from Labour & Palestine via its website: https://labourandpalestine.org.uk/
Hugh’s Graduation Show, called ‘Visit Palestine’, takes place from the 10th-21st June at UCA Canterbury. Follow the signs:
Hugh Lanning lived in Whitstable for about 10 years and was Labour candidate for the Canterbury constituency in the 2015 election. Before retiring in 2013 he was deputy general secretary of the Public & Commercial Services union (PCS). He chaired the Palestine Solidarity Campaign for 10 years, and in 2017 was, famously, the first British national to be refused entry to Israel under the Knesset’s Amendment No 28 to the Entry Into Israel Law, which allowed boycott, divestment & sanctions (BDS) supporters to be banned.
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