Migrant and Anti-Racist Community Groups in Britain: Stop the ethnic cleansing in Palestine, and end Britain’s colonial complicity in crimes against the Palestinian people
We are writing, as Black, brown, migrant and racialised groups in Britain, united in our shared struggle for justice and freedom, to demand an immediate end to the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, unrestricted humanitarian access and an end to the British complicity making Israel’s war crimes possible. We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle against settler colonialism and ethnic cleansing, and join the many calls to uphold the rights of the Palestinian people enshrined in international law.
The scale of the assault currently being waged against the Palestinian people is reminiscent in intent and brute force of the ethnic cleansing and mass expulsion that took place during the Nakba or ‘Catastrophe’ of 1948, in which more than 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced, dispossessed and expelled from their homes. Since launching its war on Gaza – the 6th major assault on its people since the illegal blockade was imposed – Israel has, as of 10 November 2023, killed more than 10,000 Palestinians, including four thousand children, and injured more than 22,000. Many thousands remain hidden under rubble, without hope of being saved as the carpet bombing continues. Over one million Palestinians have been made homeless – the majority already refugees. Water, food, electricity and all humanitarian assistance has all been cut off, with the United Nations, the World Health Organization and other international bodies describing ‘an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe’, that is both ‘inhumane’ and tantamount to a ‘death sentence’. Meanwhile, at least 130 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed by Israeli troops and settlers since the start of the Israeli aggression on Gaza, and more than 5,000 arrested as they continue to resist apartheid and settler violence in what was already the deadliest year to date for Palestinians in the West Bank.
The unqualified support of the British government and opposition for Israel’s horrifying war crimes and crimes against humanity, which many human rights organisations are now describing as acts of genocide, are a dark legacy of British colonialism. The history of British sponsored dispossession is one we are familiar with. Many of us currently living in Britain arrived fleeing the wars, poverty and economic devastation imposed on the majority of the world’s population by British, European and US imperialism, just as our ancestors before us fled the massacres, enslavement, and famines of the British Empire.
Britain carries an outstanding and ongoing colonial debt it has yet to settle with all the peoples of the countries it once colonised, including the Palestinian people. This is all the more obvious as Britain this week dispatches warships to join US fleets, in active collaboration with Israel’s war crimes, endorsing and overseeing accelerated ethnic cleansing in Palestine.
In recent days we have witnessed an acceleration of Britain’s campaign to exclude and criminalise the participation in public life of Palestinians and those who stand in solidarity with them. Defamed and dehumanised in the media and by politicians, Palestinians have experienced increased harassment and detention by police, and expressions of their national identity, including the Palestinian flag, have been threatened with criminalisation. We recognise and identify the many attempts, small and large, to denigrate Palestinians in Britain, suppress their voice and make them invisible.
As racialised and migrant communities, we reiterate our call for an immediate ceasefire and unrestricted humanitarian access. We also pledge, to ourselves and the communities we work with, to unite in a common struggle to challenge and dismantle imperialism once and for all, as we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation.
We therefore demand:
- That the British Government calls for an immediate ceasefire and protection of medical facilities, lifting the siege and ensuring unrestricted humanitarian access to save lives in Gaza.
- That the British Government withdraws all diplomatic, military, economic and material support to Israel as it commits crimes against the Palestinian people, and that it imposes sanctions and a two-way arms embargo on Israel.
- That the British Government takes active steps to promote the rights of Palestinians to freedom, self-determination and return, as enshrined in international law.
To bring these demands about, we call on:
- Civil society to unite in a focused campaign to end the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, and to end British state support for Israeli crimes.
- Trade unions and workers to heed the call by Palestinian trade unionists to stop and hinder the trade of arms with Israel and take concrete action against arms companies and other companies involved in implementing Israel’s brutal and illegal siege.
- Black, brown and migrant-led organisations and communities in Britain to unite in a campaign for anti-colonial justice, and create shared demands for apologies, reparations and an end to British imperialism overseas, and criminalisation at home.
We confront this moment of great threat and grief together with courage, hope and the determination to act since the histories of our communities have taught us that out of great darkness can emerge a renewed commitment to freedom, to justice and to human dignity.
A is for Activism
Action Against Deportations and Detention
African Caribbean and Asian Lawyers for Justice
All African Women’s Group
Anaka Women’s Collective
Arab Film Club
bare minimum collective
Bees and Refugees
Black Members Standing Committee UCU
Black Protest Legal
Books Against Borders
Campaign Against Criminalising Communities
CARAG (Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group)
Coalition of Anti-Racist Educators (C.A.R.E.)
Congo Great Lakes Initiative
FALA: Feminist Assembly of Latin Americans
Global Women Against Deportations
Hawiyya Dance Company
Healing Justice London
India Labour Solidarity (UK)
Indian Workers Association
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI)
Journeys in Translation
Kashmiri Scholars Consultative and Action Network (KSCAN)
Kurdish People’s Democratic Assembly of Britain
Land in Our Names
Lawyers for Justice in Libya
Leeds Anti Raids Action
LGBTQ+ Cypriot Diaspora Network
MASI Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland
Migrants in Culture
Migrants Rights Network
Network of Eritrean Women – UK
No Borders in Climate Justice
No Borders MCR
No More Exclusions
One Stop Advice & Training Centre
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
People’s Tribunal on Police Killings
Pride Of Arabia
Racial Justice Network
Remember & Resist
Remember the Essex 39
Reproductive Justice Initiative
SACF – Syrian Art’s & Culture Festival
Save Latin Village
Sheffield Black Lives Matter
SOAS Detainee Support
South Asia Solidarity Group
South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG)
Southall Monitoring Group
Stand with Kashmir
Student Federation of India – UK
Sudanese Community Information Centre
Syria Solidarity Campaign
Tamil Information Centre
Terence MacSwiney Committee [London]
The Anne Matthews Trust
The Black Liberation Alliance
The Decolonial Centre
The Dyke Project
Trans/form South Asia
Tribe Named Athari
Voice for Voiceless Immigration Detainees Yorkshire (VVIDY)
Voice of Domestic Workers
West London Resistance Collective
WOC Azadi Collective
Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike
Yemeni Community Coordinating Council UK (YCCC) – representing over 20 Yemeni associations, charities and organisations
Yemeni Cultural Gathering – London
Zander Community Centre