The Grenfell Silent Walk marches under Grenfell graffiti for Gaza (Picture: Guy Smallman)

A new layer of determined activists is at the centre of the explosion of solidarity with Palestine. And some of them gathered on Thursday evening for a 120-strong meeting called by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).

PSC, one of the organisers of the national demonstrations, has expanded widely. Before 7 October its email list had 75,000 names. It now has 230,000. PSC presently has 76 branches across Britain. There are now people interested in setting up 20 more.

Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, told the meeting, “The question is what can be done. We have a genocide, a televised genocide going on. This is a danger to Palestinians but also to the whole of humanity.

“It becomes a new normal. And international law is a joke. People in the Global South know this, international law means absolutely nothing.”

He said “people power” was needed to overcome the failures of democracy and the lack of action by politicians.

He went on to describe how a five-year global boycott campaign had pushed footwear firm Puma to not renew its contract with the Israel Football Association in 2024.

Ben Jamal, PSC director, said, “The urgent task now is to press for a complete ceasefire. When that’s called then we need sustained action to address the root cause of what’s happening—Israeli apartheid.”

The audience was a mix of experienced PSC members, there to welcome and organise people, and those new to the PSC.    

Hafsa, a teaching assistant from east London who recently joined PSC, told Socialist Worker, “I knew about the Palestine issue before 7 October. But the last two months have been a crash-course of education for me.

“I wake up to Al Jazeera news each morning and I go to bed reading Ilan Pappe or Leila Farsakh or Electronic Intifada.

“I’ve never read like this. I read because I want to understand and have all the arguments. I’m a Muslim woman with a hijab and a keffiyeh. I get into a lot of arguments on the bus, but let me buy one of the Socialist Worker Palestine badges so I get into even more rows. We must not be afraid.”

Sue, a hospitality worker, said, “The only thing that stops me being really depressed by the news each day is that I am active. The big marches are so energising. But I keep asking what’s next, how can we stop the killing? Children are being killed. We can’t do nothing.”

After the event, some of those present at the event stood on the pavement outside, energetically debating what they thought about it. All of them said it was positive and would make them more active in the PSC.

But one also said, “There’s something missing in the movement as it is. I want to know how we can stop the Israelis now. We say it is a genocide, but then I’m worried the movement will go on a lull for Christmas.  

“Maybe that’s inevitable, maybe there’s nothing we can do. But it feels wrong. We have to stay active and angry.” Others nodded as he spoke.

The strongest escalation would be widespread workers’ action to paralyse Britain until the government breaks from support from Israel. Combined with mass demos and more disruptive action, it could make the Tories’ crisis even worse. Their death spiral could become terminal.

That’s hard to achieve. If there were a movement of 25,000 socialist revolutionaries, rooted in workplaces and local areas, they could detonate more action themselves. They could act as a bridge to hundreds of thousands more through their paper, their website, their slogans on demos, their leaflets and their social media.

Creating bigger revolutionary organisation is not a diversion from the movement, it’s central to making it more effective.

Join your local day of action for Palestine this Saturday, 16 December. Go to Stop The War for details. 

RSA walkout wins apology

Pro-Palestine protesters demonstrated outside the Royal Society of Arts in London on Thursday at an event attended by the Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely. Hours earlier she confirmed to an interviewer that Israel would never accept a two-state solution.

RSA workers walked out in protest and held a picket. The RSA later apologised over the event, saying an “external client” had booked it without providing full details. Campaigners are calling for RSA bosses to donate the fee they received to Palestinian charities.

 Jewish demonstrations sweep the US

Jewish protesters demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza held demonstrations in eight US cities on Thursday, blocking rush hour traffic in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

The Jewish Voice for Peace campaign group said about 90 protesters blocked the overpass to New York Avenue in Washington, DC.

Police arrested more than 30 protesters in Philadelphia when 200 people blocked the I-76 highway holding signs reading, “Let Gaza Live” and “Not in our name”.

Hundreds of protests blocked a busy intersection in Boston, stopping vehicles travelling on 15 traffic lanes.

“On the 8th night of Hanukkah, 8 cities, 8 bridges,” Jewish Voice for Peace wrote of the protests on social media. “We are here, gathering across the country in massive, growing numbers, to say no more,” the group said.

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