Lobby Council Free Speech on Israel

Birmingham City Council Conservative councillors re putting the resolution to the Council that will severely restrict our ability to campaign for Palestinian rights and aspirations. WMPSC has written to the Council’s member responsible for Equalities about our concern. I am urging all of you to write to individual councillors also about your concern.

This resolution, if passed by the Council, would prevent Palestinian voices being heard in the city. We urge you to turn up in large numbers to impress on the Council the strength of our feelings for Palestine.

It would be good if you can contact your councillor by monday afternoon as they will be deciding group policies before Tuesday’s council meeting. Join us for a lobby on Tuesday

Copy Letter below and send it to your council – email addresses can be ob

I am writing to you as a Labour Councillor about our concern regarding how the resolution proposed by Conservative Councillors Ewan Mackey and Matt Bennett would impact social cohesion in multi-cultural Birmingham. 
 
Instead, I would support adopting the key aspect of the resolution on Anti-Semitism in line with what has been adopted by the Labour Party – see pages 11-12 of the Race and Faith Manifesto 2017.
 
You will see that the party has adopted only the formal 40 word definition, and not the accompanying guidance and examples which are included in the resolution to be put to the Council. These conflate criticism of Israel with Anti-Semitism, and need to re-considered, as they could restrict freedom of expression that is legally protected. 
 
West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign is already finding difficulty in booking venues in the city. If this resolution is adopted it would be likely to make it even more difficult for us to promote discussion on legitimate Palestinian rights and aspirations. 
I have grave issues with three particular aspects of the resolution  
    Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is  a racist endeavour. (No faith as a whole has rights of self determination. People living in a particular country jointly have the right of self determination. Muslims, Christians or Hindus do not have the right of self determination in the countries they live in. Instead all faiths have the right to practice their faiths where they live. Palestinians claim they are victims of racism in Israel. They should be able articulate their claims without being accused of Anti-Semitic) 
 
    Applying double standards by requiring of it behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation. (We are free to criticize the behaviour of all countries that violate internationally accepted standards. Not been critical of similar behaviour by another state does not make the critic an anti-Semite)
 
    Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.(If any state uses methods or laws that has historical precedence than we should be able to point it out without being accused of Anti-Semitism.)
I would ideally urge the Birmingham City Council to suspend the adoption until the various communities in Birmingham are consulted on the issue.  Failing that, removing the three objections pointed out above would answer our concerns. 
West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign as part of the National Palestine Solidarity Campaign prides itself in taking a lead against all forms of racism including Anti-Semitism.  PSC aims – Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Thanks