by Robert Laurie
LAST THURSDAY Camden Trades Council and Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association held a well attended public meeting on “Racism, Apartheid and Palestine Today” at Transport House. The meeting brought together activists from the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa and the ongoing struggle for against Zionist occupation of Palestine.
The first speaker was Bahir Laaptoe a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggles in his native Cape Town and a refugee from South Africa who fled to Britain when he was caught with notes taken at his Marxist study group. While life for the majority black population was grim under apartheid they never had the South African Air Force bombing them as the Israeli Air Force regularly bombs Palestinians. He concluded by noting that the struggle in Palestine was a great inspiration to the struggle in South Africa: the Palestinian hijacker Leila Khalid was much honoured in South Africa by mothers who named their new born daughters after her.
Sami Joseph, a Christian Palestinian spoke next, opening by describing how, in 1948 his family were unable to return to their house when the Zionists invaded their village while they were away visiting a convent. He pointed out that Muslims never mistreated Jews and that before the Balfour Declaration Jews were actively welcomed in Palestine.
The meeting concluded with a recent visitor to Abu Dis graphically describing how the wall affects the Palestinian population. Several deaths of pregnant Palestinian women were caused by Israeli soldiers preventing them getting to hospital.
CADFA is one of many local groups active in promoting links between British towns and Palestine. Abu Dis is a suburb of East Jerusalem presently dissected by the huge wall erected on Palestinian land in order to drive Palestinians from their land to make room for expanding Zionist settlements.
It has organised a number of visits and supports a much needed clinic in Abu Dis. A visit for trade unionists is scheduled for later this month. The traffic has not been all one way: many people from Abu Dis have enjoyed visits to London.
For further details contact CADFA, PO Box 34265, London NW5 2WD email: firstname.lastname@example.org