#uNDC16 Conference reiterated its clear support for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in support of a call from the Palestinian people for an end to repression and the right to self determination.
It will campaign for the repeal of laws like that planned by the Tory government which aim to silence support for Palestinian rights.
Speaking in support, Kate Ramsden from Aberdeenshire branch highlighted the effect of the situation on Palestinians and spoke movingly of a conversation she had recently had with a young woman from Palestine.
“Her description of day to day life as a Palestinian showed graphically the levels of insecurity and uncertainly that ordinary Palestinians live with day in and day out.
“Will they get permission to go and work on their fields? Will they get shot at even when they have permission to be there? Will their house be destroyed by the state today or tomorrow? Will permission be given to rebuild?
“Will their children come home safely from school or will they be shot, like so many others at checkpoints or arrested and held in detention centres with other children as young as 12?”
Kate likened the everyday situation of ordinary Palestinians to being trapped in an abusive relationship, “when you never know what to expect and are completely dependent on their mood today or the crazy whims that take a hold of them.”
“This is state terrorism – nothing more and nothing less.”
Kate slammed the intervention of this Tory government to introduce rules which will undermine this campaign as truly despicable, but reminded delegates of the enormous power that we can exert on unjust regimes.
“So here we are again, back to where we were when we fought apartheid in South Africa.
“The Tory government did nothing to bring down apartheid: that was down to us, the trade unionists and the ordinary people saying that we would not support an apartheid regime.
“That is why BDS is so important and why I am so proud that our union supports BDS. Israel is running scared of BDS and that tells us it’s making a difference.
“Let’s make sure that all our members are fully engaged with this campaign.”
“Condemning the occupation, oppression and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people by Israel; condemning the detention and killing of Palestinian children by Israel in a clear breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is not anti Semitic. Let’s not be scared off,” said Kate.
She ended by pointing again to what can be achieved, “Trade unionists and the ordinary people have already brought down an apartheid regime, and we can do it again.
“The power of ordinary people brought to bear to end oppression and apartheid for Palestinians.”
Sharron McCall also spoke in the debate pointing out that many Israeli people, like herself, also condemn oppression against Palestinians by the Israeli state and need to be involved in the campaigning work.
By Marie Quigley