As your constituent, I am writing to you to express my horror and revulsion at the shooting to death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and the shocking and violent attack on mourners at her funeral by Israeli forces. This cannot be accepted and Israel must be held to account.
This is certainly not the first time a journalist has been targeted and Palestinians are subjected to multiple daily human rights violations, brutality, repeated detention including minors, confiscation and destruction of homes and land and restriction on the right to worship at Al- Aqsa mosque. Christians are not left untouched either.
So, I ask you to call for a ban on UK political groups calling themselves “Friends of Israel” whether left or right. How is it possible to remain friends with such an abusive regime?
I have campaigned long and hard to support the rights of Palestinians and as you are already aware, the rights of haemophiliacs given contaminated blood including my late husband and brother in law now deceased.
Recently I emailed Dame Diana Johnson MP (Labour Friends Of Israel) who is also Chair of the APPG for Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood raising my concerns regarding the medical apartheid treatment of Palestinian haemophiliacs, some also infected with deadly viruses. I had previously interviewed Jad K Jadallah Tawill, Founder and Board Director of the Palestinian Bleeding Disorders Community in the West Bank and Gaza Strip who painted a grim picture of the daily struggles of Palestinian haemophiliacs. I am including the following quote from Jad in a recent article from the Palestine Chronicle, March 12th, 2021 as follows:-
Right to Health is a Right to Palestinian Hemophiliacs Too
Palestinian bleeding disorder patients and their families are a marginalized segment of the local community as well as the Middle East in general. They suffer extremely from the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian land as well as the geographical separation and movement restriction between the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, and the outside world. These patients and their families are deprived of their human, medical, and social rights in addition to the violations they face from the Israeli military government rule.
I also drew attention to my concerns over the misuse of Israeli Pegasus spyware which is being sold around the world and used on NGOs, lawyers, journalists, politicians and campaigners and to recent legal cases launched including one in the UK by Bindmans.
Bindmans launches legal action in the United Kingdom on misuse of Pegasus spyware (19th April 2022)
To my horror, Dame Diana Johnson then e-mailed back saying she would not indulge in “nakedly anti-semitic conspiracy theories”. The above are stated fact NOT anti-semitic conspiracy theories. I am certainly not antisemitic. I have been invited to talk at Holocaust Memorial events, one event was attended by my former MP Jim Cousins, I have read many books on the holocaust, visited Auschwitz and other holocaust memorials across Europe and travelled with Jewish American friends across Asia.
I also note that despite sending Johnson my ESRC Michael Young awarded dissertation on Contaminated Blood at least 3 times, also sent 3 times by a campaign colleague Colette Wintle, she has failed to respond or act on the content which led to the withdrawal of the government’s only definitive report on Contaminated Blood. I question whether my public support for Palestinians has influenced her decision to ignore my findings? The report was the DOH Self-Sufficiency in Blood Products in England and Wales A Chronology from 1973 to 1991, which was withdrawn as a “whitewash” and as you know we finally now have the Infected Blood Inquiry to investigate how haemophiliacs came to be infected with HIV and hepatitis viruses chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff.
Given the long standing human rights violations by Israel which are growing by the day and the dreadful shooting of Shireen, I feel this cannot go without accountability and disbanding the Friends of Israel groups is one way of expressing strong disapproval from the UK. I am also deeply concerned at Keir Starmer’s seemingly unquestioning support for an apartheid state which to many left wing supporters means Labour has now become a party that no longer deserves our vote.
I am also increasingly disturbed by the false claims of “antisemitism” being labelled at anyone expressing support for Palestinians and Jews are among the worst affected. I abhor antisemitism and note legal cases are now being won against these fake claims which are only distracting away from genuine cases.
So in respect of the memory of Shireen and other journalists witnessed to have been killed by Israeli forces, respect to Jad K Jadallah Tawill and the many Palestinians denied their basic rights, respect to human rights activists now being spied upon and with respect to those falsely accused of antisemitism for supporting Palestinian rights, please call for a ban on political groups calling themselves, “Friends of Israel” an apartheid state. I refused to tolerate apartheid in South Africa and I won’t tolerate apartheid targeted at Palestinians.
I note also that the right of ordinary campaigners to express themselves is also under threat these days in the UK with growing restrictions on freedom of speech and the right to protest and now attempts to ban Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) a peaceful and legitimate way to oppose apartheid Israel and occupation. It is not BDS we need to worry about but the negative influence of Israel on British politics left and right.
Evidence of Israel being an increasing aggressive and out of control apartheid state is backed by numerous reports from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN, B’Tslem and respected educational institutions such as the Harvard Crimson Editorial Board.
I look forward to your prompt response.
(Full address supplied)
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She was a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”