Last night I went to a Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) meeting at Euston on the crisis in the Territories. The PSC organised a strong platform, with Tony Benn, Karma Nabulsi, Lindsey German and Tariq Ali amongst others. Plenty of strong feeling, but the big hall in the Friends’ Meeting House was only half full–maybe a couple of hundred people. Karma Nabulsi had a strong quote from one of her contacts in the OT:
“The silence of the West hurts more than the bullets of the Israelis”
Allowing for a degree of overstatement, it’s still an arresting thought. I’ll say something more about this “silence” in my post about today’s news. The most interesting and controversial speech was from Tariq Ali, who was kept to the end as a rousing finish. The PSC obviously need him more than he needs them, as his speech was far from the party line. He was very emphatic that you couldn’t understand what is happening without understanding the Palestinian election, which he interpreted for our benefit: it’s because they realised that Oslo would never have given them a viable state (and also, to be fair to Tariq, because they were fed up with Fatah corruption). He didn’t say what would represent viability, though he allowed that a retreat to the 1967 borders would be “a first step” to towards a viable Palestinian state. His views on the future for the region were summed up in this wonderfully dogmatic line:
“Abandoning fantasy politics means a one-state solution”
Most of the speakers made complimentary (and often, I thought, condescending) reference to JfJfP (which is organising a vigil on Monday night to protest at the EU’s position).
The PSC is organising a national demonstration in London on May 20th against the blockade.