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Comment on Daily Express ‘reporting’ of the pro-Palestine/counter-SUTR protest, and CoFIS/GFI presence, at George Square

https://www.scottishdailyexpress.co.uk/news/scottish-news/cowardly-young-communists-who-confronted-29499368

A predictably pathetic attempt by CoFIS/GFI, aided by what, lamentably, passes for Daily Express ‘journalism’, to portray an entirely peaceful, non-threatening protest as some kind of menacing, anarchic, intimidation of their group, requiring police protection. It’s not even clear that the Express ‘reporter’ behind this ‘story’ was actually present, as it relies, seemingly, on the sole ‘evidence’ and facile claims of Mr Stein. Of course, as organisations precisely founded to whitewash and normalise the mass crimes committed by Israel’s murderous regime, it’s no surprise that CoFIS/GFI should resort to such spurious distortions. Likewise for a gutter ‘newspaper’ that cannot even bring itself to observe an event and report the most basic information. As many participants and others will testify, every single group partaking in this protest complied with police arrangements, stood their agreed ground, and expressed their right to free speech and peaceful assembly. Many in attendance will also verify that CoFIS/GFI members themselves could be seen ‘patrolling’ up and down the static protest line in a provocative manner. Consider also the hyperbolic language used by Stein, and adopted without question by the Express: “Cowardly young Communists”; “vitriolic and venomous”; “these thugs and hooligans”; “anger and rage”; “absurd demands”; “misguided and disillusioned radicals”. Stein was given further generous space by the Express to claim that his organisation’s only purpose at the event was to oppose racism. The SUTR organiser was also allowed room to condemn the counter-demo as ‘left undermining’ of its ‘anti-racist message’. Perhaps the Express could have found even a token line for some counter-views. If so, they would have been told about, and could even have risked linking to, the latest historic Amnesty report/campaign explicitly declaring Israel an apartheid state. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2022/02/israels-system-of-apartheid/
Is that not validation or reason enough to be protesting against Israel, its lobby organisations, and a supposed anti-racism group giving them approving cover? Might the Express have probed SUTR on why it claims to ‘hold no policy on the Middle East’? Might even dutiful Express readers have noticed the glaring contradiction of SUTR denouncing ALL racism, while accommodating CoFIS/GFI, bodies that openly castigate Amnesty’s own defining of Israel as a racist apartheid state? If SUTR was a truly fit-for-purpose anti-racist body, it would not just be refusing to facilitate CoFIS/GFI on its marches, it would be out there openly denouncing them, in line with Amnesty’s declaration on Israel, and positioning of the wide Palestinian solidarity movement. The brazenly loaded and distorted ‘coverage’ of this event by the Express tells us all we need to know about the reactionary nature of such media, and the political interests it serves. Again, it’s no surprise to see groups like CoFIS/GFI so closely bonded with it. One also wonders whether SUTR will ever show true anti-racist integrity, in refusing to collaborate with these shameful organisations and their tawdry media friends. All very unlikely. Yet none of this will ever dissuade us from continuing to call them out, as consistently requested by Palestinians themselves, bravely resisting Israel’s daily occupation, siege imprisonment and racist oppressions.

GPHRC was formed in 2003 after visiting the West Bank. Viewing the conditions and speaking with people in Aida and other refugee camps, we were shocked to witness the poverty and injustice inflicted upon Palestinian people by the Israeli Occupation Forces.

We resolved to fund a young girl from Aida Camp whose dream was to become a nurse, but due to the Occupation believed it could only remain so. Four  years later, she proudly graduated, the first of GPHRC’s sponsored students.

At another refugee camp Balata , we heard about the sense of isolation people felt from the wider world, particularly as the IOF sealed-off the entry points to their camp while conducting military operations. They asked if we could supply digital cameras to photograph, film and record Israeli operations, placing them on the internet for all the world to see. It was their resilient way of fighting back with words and pictures, while teaching their children that there are many inventive and powerful ways of resisting the Occupation.

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Our 3 aims of the Campaign are:-

  1. To highlight what the Israeli Occupation Forces are doing to the Palestinian people.
  2. To fundraise for the Palestinian people
  3. To actually get people over to the Refugee Camps and live and work with the people in them

Our Campaign now funds 8 students in various Refugee Camps throughout the West Bank.  We pay all their costs through University.

We also fund 7 children’s groups in several Refugee Camps.  At present because there is no money going back to Palestine we are funding the costs of rent, electricity etc.

Also lately we have been funding people who need operations and cannot afford them.

ONE HUNDRED PER CENT of all monies collected with our Campaign goes back to the above.  No money comes out for any reason whatsoever.

We also visit Palestine 3 or 4 times a year visiting the people we fund and also working for the Peace Movement in Palestine.

We know  every person we fund personally and can vouch for all monies going over to the Refugee Camps

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