Report: Gaza emergency meeting Wightman Road Mosque


by Merilyn Moos

Over 100 people of every age and background gathered to condemn Israel’s massacre of people in Gaza. In addition to the speakers, and despite considerable technical difficulties, ironically mostly at our end, there was a moving, intermittent conversation via Skype with Hazem in Gaza.

I shall focus on the main themes only. Abdul Ali, the President of the London Islamic Cultural society, condemned Israel for war crimes and accused Israel of ethnic cleansing. He reminded us that being a Muslim was not equivalent to support for the Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia, which were, instead, part of the problem.

Miriam Weingartem, from Jews for Justice for Palestinians, emphasised that being Jewish should not mean support for Israel. Judith Orr, from the Stop the War committee, stressed how important the opposition in Britain was, because it is the UK, as part of the West, which sees Israel as its outpost, and, in Cameron-speak, has an unbreakable belief in Israel. Taking on the increasing Islamaphobia, now main-stream, which equates Muslims with terrorists, is part of the same struggle. Now HSBC even shuts the account of the mosque at Finsbury Park as being beyond its appetite for risk. The people inflicting terror are the West. There are 380 UK export licenses to Israel and £8 million worth of exports. The US has just released $1billion worth of weapons in Israel, because Israel was starting to run short.

Hugh Lamming, the chair of the Palestine Solidarity campaign, reminded us that Gaza is the equivalent of the distance from Epsom to Epping. There is nowhere to flee, when Israel instructs the people to leave. The refugees from the 1948 creation of Israel, when 249 Palestinian villages were erased, were herded into Gaza. Now they live in an occupation. Without the siege, there would be no tunnels. Without the occupation, there would be no missiles.

Catherine West, the prospective Labour MP for Wood Green, emphasised the importance of contributions to Medical Aid for Palestine.

The media and politicians put everything back to front. Why is the West imposing sanctions on Russia, and not on Israel?

In a remarkable, though erratic, link with an exhausted-looking Hazem, Hazem said that the Israeli attack on civilians was robbing them of any sense of a future. Israel is slaughtering the population one by one, though for them, it is just ‘cutting the grass’. These war criminals have never been made accountable for their past crimes, but they should be brought before the Hague. Our job in Britain is to let as many people as possible know what is happening.

The meeting, both the speakers and in discussion, returned again and again to what we should be demanding and what we can do. So, here were some of the ideas:

  • condemn the massacres,
  • accuse Israel of war crimes of the highest order and demand Israeli war-criminals are brought before the Hague,
  • demand the British Government stop all sales to Israel,
  • organise to boycott all Israeli goods, including by Haringey council,
  • demand Haringey stop employing Veolia (which has been contracted by Israel to build roads in the occupied territories
  • write to your MP, including linking who you will vote for with their position on Israel, (already 70,000+ letters received in 2 weeks),
  • consider putting up a pro-Palestinian candidate in the coming election,
  • write to Ed Miliband to complain at his recent attendance at the Labour Friends of Israel, along with Balls and Cooper,
  • fight all forms of Islamaphobia,
  • raise issues and organise in your community, workplace and trade-unions but be aware it can take time and be hard-work.


March: 9th August, 1.30, from Ducketts Common, Haringey
Lobby: 3rd September, 6.30. Lobby David Lammy, MP, at Salami Restaurant, Salisbury Road