Palestine Solidarity Campaign – Wikipedia

Posted By on September 27, 2021

UK advocacy organization

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is an activist organisation in England and Wales that promotes solidarity with the Palestinian people. It was founded in 1982 during the build-up to the first war between Israel and Lebanon[citation needed], and was incorporated in the UK in 2004 as Palestine Solidarity Campaign Ltd.[1]

The PSC says it campaigns for peace and justice for Palestinians[non-primary sources needed], in support of international law and human rights. The PSC's stated goals include the right of return for Palestinians and Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories.[2] It has stated that it opposes both "Israels occupation and its aggression against neighbouring states".[3] The PSC has criticised Israel's practices when arresting children.[4] PSC states that it is "opposed to all forms of racism, including anti-Jewish prejudice and Islamophobia".[5] Critics, including one of the founders, have claimed that it's members regularly cross the line from legitimate criticism Israel into anti-Semitic speech.[6][7]

Whilst recognising differences between apartheid-era South Africa and Israel[non-primary sources needed], PSC promotes the boycotting of Israeli goods as a method that it believes was previously successful in achieving political change.[8] PSC chapters have run workshops on such questions as "How to deal with Zionists' arguments; what to say to those who call us anti-Semitic" and "What are settlements? What will boycotting Israeli goods achieve?"[9]

The PSC has an executive committee of 20 members, plus two members representing the PSC's Trade Union Advisory Committee, who are elected at the Annual General Meeting by its members. Its current chair is Hugh Lanning and its current director is Ben Jamal.[10] Based in London, there are four staff members while the organisation relies on volunteers to perform many tasks, such as running campaigns and managing branch offices.[5] [non-primary sources needed]

Most of PSC's directors have not been of Palestinian or Middle Eastern descent[citation needed]. One of its founders, Tony Greenstein, is also a founder of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods.[6]

The PSC has about 40 branches in England, Scotland and Wales, listed on its website.[11] The organisation's activity in Scotland is co-ordinated by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign is a separate organisation set up in late 2001 by established Irish human rights and community activists.[12]

PSC has officially supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement since 2001. A study published in The Jewish Chronicle has been reported as recognising the PSC as one of the main proponents of the BDS movement in Britain.[13]

The PSC organised disruptions of a performance by the Israel Philharmonic at the Royal Albert Hall in February 2011. BBC Radio 3, which was broadcasting the concert live, was forced to suspend the broadcast several times due to the protesters' shouting and heckling.[14]

On 28 May 2012, when Israel's Habima theatre company performed at the London Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, the PSC and other BDS groups organised a protest outside the building. On 29 May 2012, BBC Radio 4 reported that Habima was "being criticised for performing to Jewish audiences in the Occupied Territories." A PSC press release corrected the report, saying that it was criticising Habima "for performing in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank." After six months of pressure by PSC, the BBC Trust upheld the PSC's complaint.[15]

The PSC waged a two-year campaign to block an EU trade agreement, the ACAA, that recognised Israeli pharmaceutical standards as equal to those in Europe. The agreement was ultimately passed in October 2012.[16]

In November 2012, the PSC uploaded a 69-minute film to YouTube entitled The Case for Cultural & Academic Boycott of Israel, introduced by Ken Loach.[17]

PSC has supported the BDS campaign against the French company Veolia. Veolia has been criticised by the BDS movement because of its activities in Palestine and Israel. The allegations made included providing infrastructure and services to illegal settlements and racist recruitment policies.[18]

The PSC led a campaign to block the Israeli government's tourism bureau from advertising in British newspapers, its argument being that Israel was misrepresenting Palestinian territories as its own.[19]

Tony Greenstein, one of the founders of PSC, has vocally criticized antisemitism within the movement. In particular, he complained about problems of anti-semitism from Gilad Atzmon's supporters.[6]

An activist with PSC for 10 years, Gary Spedding, wrote an op-ed about PSC's problem with anti-semitism. He said that on social media conversations often crossed the line into anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, anti-Semitic tropes, and vilified Jews who identify with Zionism. He also said activists try to hide their intentions by playing semantics and replacing the word "Jew" with "Zionist". [29]

David Collier attended PSC events and compiled a 79-page dossier on the group. He found hundreds of connections between PSC and anti-semites, and found that Jew-hatred was consistently present. He said that activists regularly cross the line from legitimate criticism of Israel into anti-semitic tropes. He claims that the PSC only plays lip service to fighting racism within their ranks.[7]

Hugh Lanning, the chair of PSC was barred from entering Israel. The Israeli embassy in the UK said he was banned in part due to his connections with Hamas a group that the EU has declared a terrorist organization. The article in the Jewish News, shows a photo of Lanning standing on a stage along with Ismail Haniyeh, one of Hamas's senior political leaders.[30]

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