The solidarity work for Palestine in Britain faces challenges linked to the presence of Boris Johnson, "the enthusiastic Zionist" as he describes himself, at the head of the government, accompanied by the extremist, Priti Patel, the Minister of Interior, who was expelled from a previous government after holding meetings with official figures in the occupying State without the knowledge of Theresa May, the Prime Minister at the time. The most notable four challenges that the Government has sought to legalise, or succeeded in making it a reality are:
1. Action to equate the criticism of Zionism with anti-Semitism
The British right-wing government that is heavily involved in supporting the occupation, seeks to equate anti-Semitism and Judaism as a religion, with the criticism of the Zionists and the Zionist movement, the colonial political movement that the United Nations previously classified it as a racist movement in 1967. The distinction between criticism of Zionism and anti-Semitism is among the views that should not be waived by the Palestinians. The cause gained international momentum and Western popular support, as it succeeded in establishing this, and reminded the whole world how Jews, despite being a minority, lived peacefully inside Palestine. While, at the same time, they were persecuted in Germany and other European countries. Also, how the problem began with the British Mandate in Palestine that allowed Zionist gangs to enter. These gangs seek to evict landowners and bring immigrants among them, behaving with a discriminatory racist policy that is not hidden from any human rights organization.
The Palestinian is concerned with rejecting hate crimes against Judaism as a religion, just as he rejects crimes based on the rejection of others, because of his religion, color, gender, or similar. However, at the same time, he resists Zionism and the occupying state that arose with that name. He will be steadfast about this belief until his last breath.
Britain, under the Conservative government, is seriously seeking to abolish this distinction and to prosecute those who criticise "Israel" as anti-Semitic. It has practically started to do so by linking financial support to universities with adopting this policy. It is also expected that there will be other steps on the way.
The interested people in Britain observed how Priti Patel rejected the asylum request of a Jewish religious student who opposed Zionism, despite the acceptance of his account by the Ministry of the Interior.
2. Seeking to pass a law to strip citizenship without prior notice
The British government is also seeking to remove citizenship without prior notice, unprecedented in modern British history, which was characterised by the separation of the three powers and supporting human rights issues within Britain to a large extent. The Bill included the following meaning: (the Government shall have the right not to give notice before withdrawing British citizenship if it was not "reasonable" to do so; or if it was not in the interest of the "national security," diplomatic relations, or for other reasons of "public interest"). This is a broad formulation that would make them free to threaten people with this law as they wish.
3. Stigmatising resistance with terrorism
The latest measure to ban Hamas, which is not officially present in Britain, is a measure, as described by observers, based on the growing fear of the rising voice of solidarity with Palestine in Britain, especially after the expulsion of the occupation's ambassador from a university, and the formation of a legal body before that to prosecute war criminal leaders of the occupation army. Therefore, it wants to stop this tide.
4. Limiting charitable work for Palestine and restricting it
Under the pretext of the foregoing, anyone who works to help orphans in Palestine is accused of supporting terrorism, as what happened in the United States, while institutions friendly towards Israel are active in collecting donations. A few days ago, one of them succeeded in collecting £750,000 (GBP) from 1,350 donors only within Britain, under the slogan of supporting Israel and its friends. This discrimination, even in terms of suffering and deserving assistance, exposes the Johnson and Patel government and their colleagues, showing their traits, and makes it more difficult to provide relief to those affected due to the policy of starvation and siege imposed by the occupation in Gaza, as well as its repressive measures in the West Bank, along with the policy of systematic displacement, and the exorbitant taxes in Jerusalem.
In general, the battle with the occupation and its supporters in Britain and elsewhere is continuous. These measures of Johnson's government occurred mainly because of its knowledge, which is established by statistical studies, of the decline of the occupation narrative versus the Palestinian narrative.
This is an important step on the way to change the equation on the ground, defeating the occupation, and returning the refugees to their land. "You see it far and we see it forthcoming"
This article first appeared in Arabic in Arabi21 on 1 December 2021
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.