Seasonal Greetings, and some good tidings…

We wish you a peaceful and safe festive season
and a happy and prosperous 2021!

1. The UKPMHN, Social Media and Café Palestine: plans for the New Year

1a) Café Palestine will re-open on 9th January. We shall be hosting a conversation with Munther Amira, community activist, former Secretary of the Palestine Union of Social Workers and Psychologists, from Aida Camp, Bethlehem. From then on, the Café will open every four weeks. (Recording of our last Café, on home demolitions, below)

1b) Between Café openings (every four weeks beginning on 23rd Jan), there will be a different kind of meeting, for the moment called ‘the street corner’, to which everyone is welcome: an unstructured, open conversation to bring us together and keep us informed about Palestine and issues related to Palestine in the rest of the world.

1c) The UKPMHN is now active on Twitter: the address to follow is UK-Palestine Mental Health Network @UKPMHN

1d) We also have a facebook page:

2. NSPCC campaign: Are you involved with child welfare? Could you sign this letter?

A letter to the Guardian has been prepared, about the acceptance by the NSPCC of donations from JCB, whose bulldozers have been used in the demolitions of Palestinian homes. Anyone with a connection with child welfare as an individual, or as part of a group, can add their name to the list of signatories. If you would like to do so, please email Sharen Green at Sharen can send you a copy of the letter, and then as well as your name, it will need your job title, if relevant, and phone number. Your number will not be published, of course, but we understand The Guardian does checks to make sure that people genuinely want to sign letters.

(Image courtesy of Sadaka, The Ireland Palestinian Alliance  and the card designer Caomhán Ó Scolaí)

3. Signs that the tide is turning? Some positive news from the mainstream media

Over recent weeks there have been a number of publications in mainstream media outlets either coming from a Palestinian viewpoint, or challenging with a refreshing seriousness the fallacious basis for the ongoing witch hunts against solidarity activists and activism. Perhaps some have realised how dangerous this has been, not just in demobilizing the liberation movement, but in undermining domestic liberties across Europe and North America.

3a) From Channel 4 News: Activist Akram Salhab on the Palestinian experience of British colonialism, challenging the repressive use of the IHRA.

3b) From BBC News: a rare five-minute item exposing the nature of Israel’s strategy of destroying Palestinian homes (begins at 19.45, available for a few weeks).

3c) From the Guardian: David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck, University of London, writes an article on the IHRA that contradicts the Guardian’s on position, in a bid to protect student activism from Government repression.

3d) From the Guardian: In case you missed it, we are repeating the link to the critical analysis of the IHRA ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism signed by 122 Palestinian and Arab academics.

3e) A webinar discussion “Views on IHRA from Around the Globe” with Seth Anziska, Associate Professor of Jewish-Muslim Relations at University College London; Ryvka Barnard, from UK-based anti-poverty and human rights charity War on Want; and Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director of Human Rights Watch. This page contains a number of further links exploring the political use of the IHRA.

4. “Hope and Resistance – Through Palestinian Children’s Eyes”

A wonderful exhibition of art by children from Tulkarm Refugee Camp, which was due to be shown at the Liverpool Tate, but due to Covid has had to go online instead. Take a look, and you can leave a comment (which will go back to Palestine) in the briefest of questionnaires. Comments from children or younger family members especially welcome. There is too much here to summarise: go and explore…

5. More Sobering News:
“Torture, trauma and intimidation: How Israel treats Palestinian child prisoners”

Tamara Nassar reviewof human rights groups report.

6. Recording of Café Palestine 18

The recording of Cafe Palestine 18 is now available.

“Broken Homes, Broken Families: supporting families whose homes have been demolished”

The last Café Palestine of 2020 focused on the destruction of people’s homes that so epitomise the brutal nature of Israel’s control of Palestine and its people. We welcomed Remal Salah and Dima Tadros from the Palestine Councelling Centre to discuss the support they provide to families who have experienced this unimaginable assault. The meeting was chaired by Linda Ramsden, Director of ICAHD-UK.

7. Food for Thought

It is time for the one state solution to go mainstream”
by Palestinian politician Awad Abdelfattah, and Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions Jeff Halper