Have you ever wished you could speak directly to your MP about Palestine?
On Wednesday 11th May people across the UK are meeting their MPs to discuss Palestine, with the support of FOA.
This will be the first in-person lobby for Palestine since 2019 and it’s really important that we maintain the pressure on MPs to take action.
Last year, hundreds of thousands of people lobbied the government for sanctions on Israel. Let’s make it clear that we’re still committed to justice for Palestine.
Here’s three reasons why you should get involved.
1.Since May last year, Palestinians have continued to face unlawful forced expulsions from their homes and frequent violent attacks by Israel.
In May 2021, the struggles of families in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem made international headlines. #SaveSheikhJarrah is no longer trending, but the struggles of Palestinian families continue today. As of March 2022, thousands of Palestinians face unlawful forced expulsions from their ancestral homes.
Last summer also saw repeated violent attacks by Israel on Palestinians. These have also continued since. In 2021, Israel killed over 300 Palestinians, at least a fifth of whom were children.
In fact, Amnesty International has recently joined with other leading human rights organisations in confirming that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against Palestinians through unlawful forced expulsions and killings.
Let’s use the National Lobby in May to demonstrate our ongoing opposition to Israel’s forced expulsions, violent attacks and apartheid regime.
2)Your freedom to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel is currently under threat.
In recent weeks we’ve seen individuals, companies and governments boycotting, divesting from and sanctioning Russia for its invasion and occupation of Ukraine. Individuals and companies have boycotted Russian goods, and Boris Johnson has announced the ‘largest ever’ sanctions on Russia.
But the government is currently pursuing legislation which will make it illegal to do the same for Palestine. In December 2021, Conservative MP Robert Jenrick spoke of an ‘absolute ban’ on BDS, and in March 2022 Michael Gove wrongly described BDS as ‘antisemitic’.
Boycotting, divesting from and sanctioning (BDS) is a peaceful and powerful way to stand up for human rights. The BDS movement for Palestine is inspired by the movement that helped end apartheid in South Africa, and adopts an approach taken against other human rights abusers in Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Turkey and Egypt.
And BDS works. Between the 1960s and 1980s, over 100 local authorities across the UK banned South African goods from schools and offices. By 1989, 39 local councils had divested from South Africa. This significantly increased the pressure on the South African government to abolish the apartheid system.
We must protect our right to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel for its ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine. Using the briefing pack provided by FOA, you can discuss the criminalisation of BDS with your MP on Wednesday 11th May.
3)Together, we can make a difference.
Lobbying MPs is an effective and proven way to bring about change. The UK plays an important role in global politics, so by using your FOA briefing pack to discuss Palestine with your MP, they can make better-informed decisions about Palestine based on human rights and international law.
But change doesn’t happen overnight. Lobbying MPs is a process. This year, we build on the work that we did last year, and next year we will build on this again. This is how change happens. It might take some of our leaders longer than we’d like to take action for Palestine but together, we can make a difference.
The power of this National Lobby comes from every single individual who agrees to meet with their MP. Last year, hundreds of thousands of people across Britain called for sanctions on Israel. Let’s come together again on Wednesday 11th May and show that the struggle for freedom, justice and equality for Palestine continues.