Following on from our Pop up Café at Participate art gallery last year, SFOP held another pop up café event at the Wightman Theatre in Shrewsbury Square. Visitors and regulars to the town centre were invited in for an array of delicious Palestinian food, including fatayers, falafel, salads and a variety of biscuits and cakes, washed down by large amounts of mint tea. There was an information stall, a stall with Palestinian goods and a great atmosphere.
For the fourth year running, we held a film night in collaboration with Shrewsbury Film Society at the Hive in Shrewsbury. This year’s film was a comedy and satire of the situation in Gaza called ‘When Pigs Have Wings’. About 50 people attended on a very rainy night and there were Palestinian biscuits, literature about Palestinian issues, as well as Palestinian crafts and food for sale.
Report of our first action in Shrewsbury on Saturday, 7 March 2016
Shropshire Friends of Palestine held a successful action to alert customers of Sainsbury’s to the store’s selling of goods grown on stolen Palestinian land in their stores.
The group has written twice to the local store manager without receiving a response, so in common with a number of concerned people across the UK, who have been campaigning outside Sainsbury’s supermarkets for 2 years, we took action by handing out information leaflets and collecting signatures on a petition to send to Sainsbury’s.
Since 1967, Israel has built 37 illegal settlements in the Jordan Valley (Occupied Palestinian Territories), evicting nearly 80% of the Palestinian people who owned and farmed that land. These settlements depend for survival on Israeli export companies, such as Mehadrin and EDOM.
Sainsbury’s continues to trade with these companies, despite a 2 year long campaign telling it about this crime and asking Sainsbury’s to engage with the issue. We want Sainsbury’s to stop helping to boost the profits of companies which exploit land and water stolen by Israel.
International Law and Goods from Stolen Land:
It is illegal for any country to exploit for its own profit land which it is occupying by force as Israel is doing in the Jordan Valley. SAINSBURY’S knows this, but is still doing business with companies that benefit from Israel’s crimes.
Shropshire Friends of Palestine hosted a talk by Glyn Secker, an Executive member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP) on Tuesday, 21 April 2016.
In 2010, Glyn captained a Jewish boat which sailed to Gaza to break the seige. All on board were arrested by the Israeli Defence Force and one of the activists, an Israeli former helicopter pilot, Jonatan Shapiro, was tazered at close range by the soldiers. Fortunately, he survived. Glyn was deported from Israel in chains.
Glyn gave the audience a history of the Zionist project which challenged many of the common myths propagated by the State of Israel and its supporters. There followed an account of his seige-breaking voyage.Glyn’s firm belief is that peace will only follow when the USA (and others) stop funding the Israeli state and the EU stops giving Israel special trading status. He urged audience members to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, something to which Shropshire Friends of Palestine has already commited itself (see our ‘Take Action’ tab).
After our AGM, Sylvia Ruxton , SFOP chair, gave a talk with photos of her recent visit to Israel and Palestine. Her trip included tours of East Jerusalem, refugee camps in Bethlehem and Palestinian date growers operating with difficulty in the Jordan valley. She also spent time with olive growers harvesting their crop and was particularly impressed by the support for olive cooperatives to develop and by the passion people had for their products.
After the talk, as well as Palestinian food products, there were crafts for sale from a number of organisations supporting women and the disabled that Sylvia had visited, including Oasis in Beit Sahour, which gives work to people with learning difficulties as does Ma’an lil Hayat in Bethlehem.