Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association & others team up with clear message: Boycott Israel, Buy Palestinian!
On Saturday, Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association teamed up with other local groups including Tower Hamlets Stop the War Coalition, Hackney PSC and Haringey Justice for Palestinians on the streets of Whitechapel to ask the public to refrain from buying Israeli produce and support Palestine by buying Palestinian!
Members of THJFA and Tower Hamlets Stop the War made speeches about the military aggression in the Middle East and its consequences for the civilians who live there.
We spoke to local people about Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s ‘Taste the Indifference’ campaign and gave out postcards for people to send requesting that Sainsbury’s join the Co-operative supermarket in refusing to stock goods from illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land.
After this, some local activists took this message straight to Sainsbury’s and unfurled banners reading ‘End Israeli Apartheid’ and ‘Boycott Israel, Buy Palestinian’. You can see some of the photos of this Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions action here.
Sainsbury’s decided that they didn’t want their customers hearing this message and used eight security guards to physically prevent activists from entering their Whitechapel store, which can be seen in this video. Plain clothes police then arrived and claimed local people who were protesting about the illegal goods were trespassing and would be arrested. At this point, local people who joined the protest decided to leave and marched out of the store with their banners, chanting.
It was a really successful day and thank you to everyone who came along to the stall and/or the BDS action. We will be organising more stalls and BDS actions – keep posted on our website and Facebook page
Jenin Freedom Theatre, based in Jenin Refugee Camp, is a hub of Palestinian cultural resistance. The Freedom Theatre hopes to tour the UK next year, for the first time ever, with a brand new production ‘The Siege’, about the 2002 Israeli siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in Occupied Palestine.
They are appealing for donations to make this groundbreaking tour possible. You can find more information about the Freedom Theatre, their proposed tour, and make a donation here.
THJFA members have written to the Trinity Mirror Group regarding the editorial in The Wharf on 7th August, which attacked the decision of the Borough of Tower Hamlets to fly the Palestinian flag from the town hall in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Read the letter by clicking on the link below:
Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association Organising Meeting
On Monday 8th September, THJFA will hold an organising meeting to discuss the proposal to become an East London branch of PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign) in parallel to our twinning work, the organization of next year’s tour of the Jenin Freedom Theatre to the UK, and how to support the national campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in our local area. All welcome!
8th September. 7-9pm
Unit 5E (press the buzzer)
5 Pundersons Gardens
Bethnal Green E2 9QG
This month Zoe Lafferty, Associate Director of The Jenin Freedom Theatre and Ahmed Tobasi, a Palestinian actor with the Freedom Theatre have been touring Britain, screening shorts films, documentaries and discussing cultural resistance.
The Freedom Theatre was built in the heart of the Palestinian resistance in Jenin Refugee Camp in 2006. The aim was to create a political and artistic movement of theatre and filmmakers who could fight the Israeli Occupation through art and use cultural resistance as a tool to fight oppression.
Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association are proud to be hosting Ahmed at the iconic Wilton’s Music Hall, London on the evening of Monday 23rd June for the final event of the tour. There will be an interactive performance involving members of the audience.
Doors open: 6.30pm
Peformance starts: 7.30pm
Tickets are £5 on the door and all proceeds will go towards Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association.
Palestinian food and refreshments will be available from the wonderful Maramia Cafe from 6.30pm.
We need your assistance! A motion to officially twin Tower Hamlets with Jenin is going to full council on Wednesday 27th November. It has the support of the Mayor and cabinet but also requires the support of the ruling Labour group. Make sure your councillors are supporting the motion by amending this letter as appropriate and emailing it to the Tower Hamlets Councillors (addresses below):
I am writing to you to ask for your support for the motion to be proposed at the Council meeting on Wednesday, to twin the borough of Tower Hamlets with the Province of Jenin in Palestine.
I believe that such a twinning would be of great mutual benefit to the people in both areas. The Palestinian people of Jenin are reaching out for international relationships and support and in my view the vast majority of people in Tower Hamlets would like to enter into such a relationship. At the same time, this would be of benefit to the people here in Tower Hamlets, as they learn about the lives of the Palestinian people, and our schools, colleges and other community groups can be enriched by the connections made.
Such links can also contribute to the pursuance of social justice in this part of the world, as twinning can provide an expression of hope that one day all the people there, whether they be Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or of no faith, may live together peacefully.
As a Tower Hamlets resident, I therefore hope that you will support this motion.
[Your name and address]
Please select the relevant addresses for your area or simply write to all the councillors:
The Mayor of the City of Jenin has written to the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, as part of our campaign to get Tower Hamlets twinned with Jenin, to endorse the initiative! In August he received a delegation of councillors and community workers and activists from Tower Hamlets, as the links between our two areas grow.
You can read the letters (in English and in Arabic) here.
The council of the village of ‘Araba in Jenin Province, which was one of the places visited by the recent THJFA delegation, has written to the Council of Tower Hamlets to support the idea of twinning the two areas.
You can find their letter here (Arabic with English translation on the second page).