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Courting with Apartheid

Pro-Israel legal lobbyists succeed in stopping BDS argument on Veolia being put to Hackney Council.

Feel like you deserve a say on what yer council tax is spent on? Well not in Hackney you don't. Hackney resident Caroline Day was prevented from speaking to Hackney Council about French service company, and Israeli apartheid profiteers, Veolia. She was unaware she was being gagged 'til she turned up at the Town Hall this Wednesday– the decision to silence her having apparently been taken in secret by councillors.

Caroline had been scheduled to speak out about the company during a procurement process in which Veolia was tendering for council contracts. The company has been the subject of several Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaigns, that have seen it looked over for multi-million pound public sector contracts for waste disposal, because of its involvement in the Jerusalem Light Rail project which is linking Israeli settlements in the West Bank and carving up Palestinian territory.

According to her version of events on Occupy News Network “I was sat ready to give my speech inside the Council chamber, at this very late stage, an unprecedented cross-party procedural motion was tabled by Conservative Cllr. Linda Kelly of Haifa Twinning and seconded by Labour Mayor Jules Pipe. Mayor Pipe gave a speech, which I have since heard is aberrant in the case of seconders of procedural motions, claiming that my deputation should not be heard at council.”

SchNEWS decided a bit of digging was in order.What we turned up was the determination of a particularly vicious Zionist group of lawyers who've got pro-Palestine campaigners in their sights...

The council denied that it had been swayed by outside meddling, and that the secret motion required to block the speech was passed because “Elected members felt that to receive the deputation could give the incorrect appearance that they were open to lobbying”. Until the truth came out in a Jewish Chronicle blog: it turns out that the sudden change of heart was “thanks to the great work” of lobbying group UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI). Doh! They also previously lobbied Hackney Council to prevent Beit Sourik Hackney Friendship Association, a group twinning Palestinian and UK youngsters, from using council premises.

But hold on a minute, who are these bastards? UKLFI are a single-issue legal pressure group whose aims are to justify Israeli actions through their own creative interpretations of international law (example: they claim settlements are 'lawful'), and apparently, to push for criminal charges against a whole host of Palestine solidarity activists and groups through equally creative interpretations of UK law.

Since their inception in 2011, they've been busy. UKLFI have been instrumental for pushing for criminal charges to be made against BDS campaigners, including the activists who disrupted an Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra concert in London in September last year. Their plans were stymied when the supposedley aggrieived party, the Royal Albert Hall, refused to play along with their propaganda bullshit by pressing charges.

They also filed a report with SOCA (the Serious and Organised Crime Agency) to stop the Co-operative bank from providing facilities to Viva Palestina, the group which has sent aid convoys by boat to Gaza. They argued that giving them a bank account meant channelling funds to Hamas for terrorist purposes.

Oh, and they've been lobbying for the re-activation of the EDO Decommissioners case at the Court of Appeal. For those SchNEWS readers whose memory stretches back that far - the case involved a group of activists who entered and destroyed materials in EDOs Brighton factory whilst the company continued to sell Israel arms during Operation Cast Lead They were all found not guilty (in a rare victory for militant direct action) on the basis of acting to prevent war crimes.

Whether the recent attempts to charge pro-Palestine campaigners for 'racially aggravated' crimes is part of UKLFI dark sorcery, we don't know for sure – but if not, they're bound to jump on it like some sort of deluded fascists' trampoline.

Stories about similar subjects...

Israeli forces have begun a massive terror campaign against the Gaza Strip

A 13 year old Palestinian was killed in Gaza after being hit by an Israeli helicopter in the never-ending onslaught.

Palestinian Bedouins face systematic ethnic cleansing from the Israeli state in the Naqab/Negev and the Jordan Valley

Four ISM international volunteers under house arrest in Israel after being arrested and beaten by the army.

Activists picket newly opened Israel-linked SodaStream shop in Brighton.

No justice for ISM activist Rachel Corrie, killed by the Israeli Defence force in Gaza 2003

Two Israeli protesters set themselves on fire, incensed at lack of aid from the state.

Rooftop protesting against the “illegal and immoral activities” of the world's biggest security in both the UK and Palestine/Israel.

Twitter: @SchNEWS