ICAHD in Scotland

Edinburgh Liberal Jewish CommunityNot many people here have heard of ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. That’s a pity, because although their name makes them sound like a niche campaign, in fact ICAHD is a very dynamic and effective peace group; although they take house demolitions in the Occupied Territories as their primary campaigning focus, they are active on many issues, and have succeeded—unusually for an Israeli peace group—in building something of an international network in Europe and the USA: I’m aware of this because I attended the ICAHD-UK national conference two years ago, and was very impressed by the breadth and enthusiasm of their support in the UK. The first event of our Sukkat Shalom 2013 Israel/Palestine human rights trip was an extremely informative orientation tour of East Jerusalem conducted by Jeff Halper, ICAHD’s director.

One of ICAHD’s most striking activities is the rebuilding of demolished Palestian homes—not as a social welfare action but as a symbol of solidarity and of political protest against the demolitions policy. They even organise a regular “Summer Rebuilding Camp”, in which international supporters can participate in physical solidarity with Palestinians who have lost their homes to the bulldozers. You can join them for a fortnight in July if you are feeling enthusiastic!

One of the most useful functions of ICAHD for us in the UK is the remarkable collection of factsheets and other resources—essays, maps, research reports and pamphlets—available on their website. In fact, there’s too much there to take in! So we are very fortunate that Ruth Edmonds, Advocacy Officer of ICAHD in Jerusalem is shortly to speak in both Edinburgh and Glasgow as part of a UK fundraising tour. Her topic is Palestine and Israel: Where are we and where are we headed? Here’s a report of an earlier talk that she’s given on this tour, with some audience reactions:

This is a voice we rarely hear … but need to hear.
She was amazing, wish there were more like her in Israel.
Brave, brave woman! Go hear her speak, you won’t be disappointed.
I learned something new (from Embrace ME staff member who frequently travels to Palestine). Great meeting and atmosphere!
One of the best speakers we’ve had. I learned so much. (Jewish PSC member)

Full details of Ruth’s tour can be found here. On that page, the dates and times of the Scottish events are given as:

  • Friday 27th: Glasgow, Oran Mor, Byres Rd, G12 8QX, 7pm (though this is just a 5-minute pitch at the start of a Gaza benefit)
  • Saturday 28th: Glasgow, Adelaides, G2 4HZ, 7pm
  • Sunday 1st: Edinburgh, St Andrew’s & St George’s, EH2 2PA, 6pm


In addition, for members and friends of Sukkat Shalom (if you want to be a friend, you are!), Ruth will be making an additional presentation on Saturday 28th February, at 1:30pm, at the Columcille Centre, 2 Newbattle Terrace, Edinburgh EH10 4RT.

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