Refusing to be Enemies — the meeting

The meeting on Tuesday was a great success. The first speaker was Lynn Leach, who was both amusing and moving on her experiences as a participant in the 2012 flytilla. Her strongest impression was that the Israeli authorities felt very threatened by the activists (who were entirely peaceful, and mostly not young). Their strongest fear seems to have been that their short hunger strikes might turn into something newsworthy—an ironic contrast to their current preparedness to gamble with the lives of 1200+ Palestinian hunger-striking prisoners. Lynn’s best story was of the police-cell toothpaste which they disdained to use for any purpose other than for writing slogans. When they had to clean these off, they were surprised to find how effective the toothpaste was as a paint-stripper!

Maxine was the main speaker, however. She covered a lot of ground: the relentless erosion of the Palestinians’ land and the long history of non-violence as a means of resistance. She talked about many of the personalities, both Israeli and Palestinian, who are prominent in the movement, and she analysed particular struggles, especially Bil’in and the struggle against the wall, and their perspectives for the future, along with consideration of non-violent strategies—like BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions)—available to us in Britain.

The library in the Quaker Meeting House (many thanks to them!) was full to overflowing with an audience of about 30 people. We sold ten copies of Maxine’s book Refusing to be Enemies, and got some very positive feedback. Here’s an example, which seems like a good summary of the evening:

Many thanks for organizing such a splendid meeting. Both speakers were terrific.

Many thanks are due to the Scottish Palestinian Forum for their assistance, both organisationally and financially, in making it happen.