Defiance is vital instrument against repression

Palestine Update 491

Defiance is vital instrument against repression
 Fascist governments have the tendency to weaponise even peaceful protest. In other words, governments seem to believe that an obedient and hushed community which does not speak up is convenient for governance. It allows them to do as they please – oppress, invent coercive laws, interpret laws just as they please, and, in general, render citizens powerless and subjugated.

Indeed more people, than what an ideal situation demands, should take on their governance systems and hold them accountable. Stuart Littlewood, a writer-journalist recently describes how a citizens group in the UK cowed down to pro-Israel propagandists and closed down their exhibition. It was only when the Palestine Solidarity Campaign publicly challenged the university’s decision to put down the exhibition that the -powers – that -be pulled back. Power bows to moral pressure especially when it is pursued with numbers and resilience on the side of justice. 

The other form of defiance is to refuse to cow down to threats and intimidation. As for example, when settlers claim land without any kind of evidence of the claim of land ownership. When a police officer demanded a payment as bail to move out of his own space, and threatened him with dire punishment, the Palestinian simply refused to be intimidated. Bullies try their luck and to resist is not only a right, but the right thing to do. To succumb would be to make a right, wrong.

The risks of resistance are hard to take but they must be taken. You cannot hand victory to evil without a fight. John Stuart Mill, an English philosopher, political economist, in an 1867 address at the University of St. Andrews stated: “Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad people need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good people should look on and do nothing.”

Please review the following three articles with these thoughts in mind.

Ranjan Solomon

 Art show criticizing the Israeli regime’s crimes against Palestinians is shut down, but re-opens by popular demand (and common sense)
By Stuart Littlewood

 In an appalling display of cowardice Manchester University caved in to pressure from pro-Israel propagandists and closed an exhibition called “Cloud Studies” at the Whitworth Gallery (which is part of the university). The art show by the research agency Forensic Architecture formed part of the Manchester International Festival and brought together nine investigations into how states and corporations weaponise the air we breathe to suppress civilian protest and maintain and defend border regimes.

The featured studies took place in Chile, Indonesia, Louisiana, England, Beirut and Palestine. Their work in Palestine looked into human rights abuse, military action, including the use of white phosphorus, and environmental destruction through the use of herbicide by the Israeli regime. These revelations made Forensic Architecture a target for censorship by UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) and other pro-Israel groups.

This statement of support for Palestine was written and signed by the artists and displayed at the exhibition: “For more on the remarkable visual impact of the “Cloud Studies” see, for example, [this] and [this]” A battery of complaints, headed by UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) and accusing the exhibition of hatred and anti-Semitism, led the university to instruct the Whitworth to remove the statement, thus silencing the artists’ criticism and censoring information about the Israeli military’s criminal behaviour towards Palestinian civilians. The UKLFI’s accusations, as usual, conflated criticism of misconduct by Israeli institutions with anti-Semitism. The University of Manchester meanwhile seemed to have forgotten that as an academic institution it is supposed to be a space for open expression and debate on complex issues and must protect the universal right to free speech and exchange of ideas.

 The Palestine Solidarity Campaign immediately declared that the university’s decision to act as censor was a disservice to anti-racist campaigners, and any suggestion that accurately describing the oppression of Palestinians displays anti-Jewish prejudice demeans the fight against actual anti-Semitism. The university should have known that the pro-Israel groups lobbying them had their own deeply racist ties. “This includes UK Lawyers for Israel, who have platformed at their events the far right Israeli organisation Regavim. It also includes North-West Friends of Israel, who sent members to attend the March of Flags in Jerusalem, where far right Israelis march through the Palestinian quarters of occupied East Jerusalem chanting ‘Death to Arabs’.”
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Report settler violence? You may soon be under investigation
Palestinians and activists in the West Bank who file complaints of settler violence are finding themselves the targets of police interrogations.

 “The police officer said: ‘You were on land that belongs to the settlers,’” Sami recalled. “‘That’s not true. The truth is that the settler raided my family’s land and provoked us,’ I replied. ‘You are a liar,’ the police officer answered.” “I was shocked,” continued Sami. “I felt oppressed because I was sure that whatever I would say would not be taken seriously.” At this point, he decided to remain silent for the rest of the interrogation. Eventually, the investigator asked Sami to call a family member to bail him out. “I am not paying anything,” Sami remembers replying, surprised by his own determination. “‘He [the settler] raided our land and started to provoke us. Then you detain me, interrogate me, and now you ask me to pay money to be free. No, I will not.”

 Nearly 30 Human Rights defenders arrested by Palestinian Authority in crackdown on peaceful protests
*Protestors held in dire conditions with no COVID protections as detention extended*
“28 Palestinians were arrested during peaceful protests by the Palestinian Authority this weekend, as part of an apparent crackdown on human rights defenders. Many of those arrested on Saturday and Sunday are still detained, and some have been charged for questionable offences including instigating sectarian strife and slandering higher authorities. The family of Ubai Alaboudi, who has chosen to remain silent under questioning, today made a statement confirming that his detention was extended. The lawyer for Fadi Quran, whose detention was also extended this morning, has confirmed that he was arrested Sunday while walking to his car. He was physically assaulted while being detained and is being held beneath the Ramallah Court Complex. His lawyer describes the condition of his holding cell as dire. He is being forced to sleep on the floor, in an over-populated cell, with an exposed toilet, a smell of sewage, and mould on the walls, in a clear breach of Covid public health regulations. Fadi Quran, speaking via his lawyer from the courthouse has said: “One of the main questions in my interrogation last night was about why I was handing out Palestinian flags. It’s really unbelievable that as a Palestinian I am being interrogated for holding a Palestinian flag. Making it illegal to hold a Palestinian flag is a tactic that has been used by the Israelis since 1948.  “I remain strong and steadfast in the struggle for liberation. We will continue to do what it takes until every Palestinian lives in dignity and freedom.”