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CAGE Calls out Metropolitan Police’s Bullying of Pro-Palestinian Protestors
November 24, 2023
London - The Metropolitan Police has unleashed a campaign of intimidation and bullying against members of the public expressing support for Palestine. These include the arrest of innocent people carrying placards and other legal symbols of Palestinian solidarity, the publishing of people’s faces, in some cases their home address, on social media and in doing so, they are inviting sensationalist media coverage, violence and hate against Muslim communities and pro Palestine activists. CAGE has documented a growing number of cases where police forces are employing intimidatory and bullish tactics against what are otherwise legal forms of demonstration in the name of combating ‘hate crimes’ or through weaponising public order offences. These tactics are representative of the deep seated nature of Islamophobia and racism inherent within the Metropolitan Police. Since Suella Braverman’s attempts to criminalise expressions of Palestinian solidarity in a letter to chief constables last month, CAGE has warned of the dangers this poses to the fundamental rights of expression and assembly. We have <a href="">written letters</a> to the Home Office and Police Chiefs outlining our concerns over their disproportionate crackdown on pro-Palestine protests. <h3>A spokesperson from CAGE said:</h3> “The Police is behaving increasingly erratic in its attempts to silence voices against the genocide of the Palestinian people. Behaving entirely at the behest of the Westminster elite, the Police force has become entirely politicised and compromised.” “Most egregiously, the Police are denying the right of free expression and assembly by falsely attributing ‘potential’ anti-semitic motives when there is no evidence to suggest it exists as they did with the recent Palestine car convoy. ” &nbsp; Photo by <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=unsplash">Austin Crick</a> on <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=unsplash">Unsplash</a> &nbsp;
CAGE raises alarm of state-sponsored intimidation against Palestinian Solidarity as Police considering a ban on a pro-Palestine demonstration
November 7, 2023
<span style="font-weight: 400;">London - CAGE is documenting a campaign of state-sponsored intimidation by the UK government against expressions of Palestinian solidarity that is reaching every sector of British society.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The alarm has been raised by CAGE after the Police have been reported to be <a href="">considering a ban</a> of the pro-Palestine ‘million man march’ on November 11. This would be a significantly authoritarian move, representing the latest major attack on expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">As a result of the intense activities of the pro-Israeli lobby, through a complex web of donors funding the major political parties and individual MPs, the government and the opposition have responded with support for Israel and its policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Unsurprisingly, so has its repression of Palestinian solidarity at home. We are witnessing a sustained assault on the right to free speech, assembly and association.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">CAGE is currently supporting many individuals who have been targeted due to expressions of support with Palestine. These are spread across sectors, including education, commerce, local government, charities, healthcare and others.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">We are witnessing a full spectrum political attack to ban popular pro-Palestine marches, to weaponise hate crime laws against Palestine activists, to calls for a muscular liberalism to confront this rising tide of outrage against the <a href="">ongoing genocide</a> of Palestinians, ministers exerting extreme political pressure on the police and academic institutions to censor dissenting voices and even to revoke visas for those who speak out.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The weaponisation of the state, along with all its powers and tools to marginalise the views of a large segment of British society, is an authoritarian sweep that leverages years of War on Terror laws and policies to enact an unprecedented clampdown on perfectly legal views. As more increasingly desperate measures are taken, the global resistance against Israeli apartheid and genocide is robust and growing. The number of protestors increases each time as have the voices against the bias and hypocrisy of politicians and the mainstream media.</span> <h3>Anas Mustapha, head of Public Advocacy at CAGE, said:</h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;">“In desperation, the state is mobilising all its efforts so that any dissent and support for Palestine is met with brutal force on the streets, in the workplace, in immigration decisions and even in schools and universities. Western governments are using total force to ensure that all public and private institutions fall into line.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">This is a continuation of the war on terror which brought us torture, rendition, and Guantanamo. The degradation of society continues so that the ecosystem of human rights, independent journalism and political representation is detonated. However, they are losing the narrative and their double standards have been exposed for all to see like never before. The global resistance against Israeli aparthied will succeed and at this seismic moment in history, we remind the supporters of genocide that the people will never forget.”</span> &nbsp; &nbsp; <em>cc image courtesy of <a id="yui_3_16_0_1_1699360930579_2092" class="owner-name truncate" title="Go to Alisdare Hickson’s photostream" href="" rel="author" data-track="attributionNameClick">Alisdare Hickson</a> on Flikr</em> &nbsp; &nbsp;
Seasoned Human Rights Activist Is Arrested For Satirical Placard At London Pro Palestine Demo
November 7, 2023
<span style="font-weight: 400;">London - A former senior campaigner at Amnesty International, and life-long human rights campaigner was <a href="">arrested</a> by the Metropolitan Police on Saturday 4 November at the Trafalgar Square pro Palestine rally for holding a satirical placard regarding Israel. Aisha Jung’s arrest under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 follows a broader <a href="">state sponsored intimidation campaign</a> against solidarity with Palestine. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Aisha Jung, a mother of three, had just arrived at the protest with her family when the Police were drawn to her satirical placard. The placard held by her described Israel as an “apartheid c*ntry”. She is due to appear at a London police station on 8 November, where the police will determine if she will be charged or not.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">This arrest raises serious alarms about the highly politicised policing of pro-Palestine solidarity. The police have been given clear <a href="">directions from the Home Secretary</a> to act and intervene forcefully. This is being enforced overzealously with multiple arrests taking place for chanting, holding placards and mere presence at public protests. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">CAGE <a href="">wrote</a> to the Home Secretary and Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, about their inflammatory statements undermining the freedoms of assembly and expression guaranteed under the Human Rights Act 1989. Both have not had the courage to respond and are intent on creating a climate of fear and engaging in intimidatory tactics normally used by fascist regimes. </span> <h3>Speaking to CAGE, Aisha Jung said:</h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;">“I have been an activist since I was a child, volunteering and working on many many campaigns. As a young teenager, I used to join the non-stop picket outside the South African embassy, calling for the release of Nelson Mandela, imprisoned for 27 years for his struggle against apartheid. Over the years, I have worked in animal rights and human rights, including 17 years working for Amnesty International.”</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">“The Palestinian struggle for freedom has always been close to my heart. Over the years, we have seen the devastating and illegal suppression against them only worsen, in plain sight, with the so-called "international community" effectively redundant and incapable of fulfilling its own mandate to protect Palestinian land and Palestinian rights. It breaks my heart that the Muslim world has failed too, to provide a viable counter to the now irrefutable fact of Western, racist, colonial brutality which is as intact now as it was in 1917, when the Balfour Declaration first allocated Palestinian land to others.”</span> <h3>Naila Ahmed, Head of Campaigns at CAGE said:</h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;">“We are witnessing excessive Police overreach, bolstered by a hostile political and media environment that enables the Israeli war crimes and genocide of Palestinians. As a result, British people from all walks of life have poured on to the streets every week to condemn Israel, stand in solidarity with Palestinians and demand an end to the relentless bombing of an imprisoned civilian population.”</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Aisha Jung should be celebrated for acting courageously and compassionately by protesting against the slaughter of 10,000 lives. The police are reacting to political pressure from right wing interests led by the Home Secretary. As a result, they have dropped any pretence of neutrality. We are witnessing not only the oppression of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank but also of those who have the courage to stand in solidarity with them.”</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">[END]</span>
21st Century Genocide 
November 6, 2023
<strong><em>By Abdur Rahman, legal analyst. </em></strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The UK government in response to the overwhelming fury from the British public to the genocide being committed in Gaza has declared a war on any opposition. This is the position across the two main political parties given the suspension of even their own elected members (Paul Bristow, a Tory, and Andy MacDonald from Labour) because of their muted calls for sanity. The message is clear that both political parties will not give any quarter to opposition to their support for genocide. </span> <h3>The death of international humanitarian law</h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The political class may seek short term gain in succumbing to the Israeli lobby, but the long-term impact will be profound. The UK together with the US and allies are decimating any pretence of a rules based international order. The vehement vocalising of grotesque justifications and undermining of the rule of law is also exposing the irrelevance of the United Nations. The General Assembly has voted for a ceasefire and urgent humanitarian intervention given the scale of death and destruction sustained by the civilian population in Gaza – the number of deaths is getting close to 9,000, half of them being children. The Security Council is unmoved by the dropping of more than 18,000 tons of bombs on the world’s biggest open concentration camp, it is stymied and unable to pass any resolution because of opposition by the UK and US. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">We are therefore witnessing the dismantling of international law on a scale hitherto never witnessed and this has not escaped the attention of the public opinion, particularly in the global South. Only a diehard hypocrite would dare to argue that there remains any respect for human rights by the West. The same arguments that are dismissed as regards Palestine were and are still being deployed in a brazen fashion to support Ukraine. It is an understatement to point out that this evidence ranks hypocrisy and double standards. The mass hysteria generated throughout all western countries in support of Ukraine seems to have evaporated in the case of Palestine. </span> <h3>Neo colonialism</h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The global order will never be the same after such duplicitous conduct driven by the avaricious settler colonialist project founded on racism and the dehumanisation of the Palestinian people. Historians have documented the European scramble for colonial domains around the world. The past is littered with the corpses of victims of the genocide carried out under the banner of colonialism. For centuries, colonial expansion and exploitation, driven by a thirst for resources and geo-political dominance, defined Western history. A select few European states divided the world between themselves, stealing resources, brutalising, and enslaving people. Western states considered sovereignty and self-determination were their privileges which could not be extended to other people. They brought in slavery, rape, and torture on an industrial scale. Never in the history of the world has such brutality been witnessed nor has the truth been whitewashed by a complicit elite that justified its conquest on the basis of racial superiority and its dominant civilisation. White supremacy has been an evil that has destroyed, not only the planet, but brought misery, pain, and destruction to all its inhabitants. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The two European tribal wars (arrogantly termed world wars) led to a deterioration of their control and disrupted their subjugation of other nations. As a result, European states found it convenient to erase the past and pretend that a new rules based international order had begun – this led to the formation of the United Nations and the International Courts of Justice. However, neo-colonialism did not cure the barbarity of Western powers and they continued to practise their habit of controlling, stealing from, and exploiting other nations. They weaponised the ‘rules based’ international order to further their colonial policies and attack their Communist rivals. As Britain lost its place as the most vicious power, the US took over and wreaked havoc in Latin America throughout the latter half of the twentieth century, toppling democratically elected governments and propping up dictators. The creation of client and garrison states has continued as the lynchpin of Western foreign policy. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">In the post-world war era, the United States has been the leader of the bandits with interventions across the world – starting with Latin America, Indochina and now the Muslim world. Failing to heed the defeat in Vietnam, the USA was chastened by Iraqi militias and humiliated by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Perhaps the ferocity of the violence in Palestine is a reaction to that disgrace because it laid bare the conceit of the US as the world’s superpower. </span> <h3>Israel – the rogue state</h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Israel, the jewel in the crown of barbarity, was created to illegally steal Palestinian land, displace its people, and create an apartheid state. It serves US interests to Balkanise the Muslim world and create instability to prevent the resurrection of a transnational Islamic entity. The strategic location and the region’s wealth in terms of oil and gas reserves served as a magnet. Today, natural gas reserves off the coast of Gaza have attracted the attention of British Petroleum and Chevron. The stakes for the West mean that the opportunity presents itself for a final solution – the expulsion of the Palestinian people into the Sinai desert to clear the way for the exploitation of the natural resources. The Abraham accords provide a cover for the Arab states, including Qatar which hosts the biggest US base, to deceive their own populations.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">It is for this reason that the Palestinian struggle is not only a struggle against occupation, apartheid, and colonialism but a struggle against imperialism. Moreover, when it succeeds, it will pave the way for the establishment of an Islamic entity that will eradicate borders between the Muslim nation states. The fear is that with the decline of American supremacy, the only option is the return of an Islamic regional structure founded on the values of justice and tolerance.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">In Western countries, the populations exploited by its elite into desperation see in the resistance of the Palestinians a sign of hope, not only for the occupied but also themselves. It is no wonder therefore that Western politicians have been relentless in echoing the propaganda churned out by the Israeli state. The proven false accusation of ’40 babies beheaded’ with its obvious Biblical connotations was repeated, and then retracted by the senile Joe Biden. Nevertheless, it was amplified and embellished by every media outlet in the West. </span> <h3>The resistance of the people</h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;">In desperation to control the narrative, public demonstrations have been banned or curtailed, particularly in France and Germany despite constitutional safeguards. In the UK, a truly fascist Home Secretary has pressured compliant Chief Constables to target those who express support for Palestinian rights and described protests as ‘hate marches. The echoes of George Orwell’s 1984 are there to see in her every utterance. In response to the demands for total suppression from the political class the police have sought, but failed to criminalise, the waving of the Palestinian flag and any reference to the genocide on the basis that it is intimidating and a threat to others. We live in an age where telling the truth has become frightening. The discourse in the media reflects the misinformation manufactured by the Israeli state with its army of cyber warriors deployed to spread false narratives and counter the outrage pouring out on social media. The pretence of impartiality on the part of the mainstream media, public bodies, sports federations, and global corporations has been annihilated. Every part of western society has been polluted so that the complicity for the genocide and racism runs deep. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The mainstream media can never again be viewed as a reliable source of information, and political parties will forever be seen as the puppets of unscrupulous global corporations. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">In desperation, the anti-terror lobby, sensing an opportunity, is intent on resurrecting past scurrilous attempts to re-define extremism so that any dissent is met with ferocious force on the streets, in the workplace, in immigration decisions and even in schools. The overwhelming resources of the state are being positioned in every area to smash any dissenting voices against the barbarity that is being broadcast in real time. Western governments are committed to erecting oppressive infrastructure in which all public and private institutions are aligned. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">This is a continuation of the war on terror which brought us torture, rendition, and Guantanamo. The degradation of society continues so that the ecosystem of human rights, independent journalism, democratic institutions, and political dissent is diminished.</span> <h3>The next phase</h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Nevertheless, the anger of the public has not dissipated, and the opposition continues to grow. We are in the midst of an epic battle in the West between those who seek to destroy the remnants of tolerant, equal, and fair societies and righteous people who hold on to those values. For now, we see a phenomenon in which the more egregious the attacks the more resilient the outrage. It is clear that the vast majority of the global population is resolved to support the resistance and the awakening is spreading far and fast. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Whatever the outcome, the faces of the monsters have been revealed and while the effects may not be immediate there is no doubt that the world will never forgive the war criminals and their supporters. Be in no doubt that this is a seismic moment because of the courage of the Palestinian people. Their bravery has woken the world from its delusional belief that change could be brought about incrementally rather than through revolution. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The stark choice we have is to either allow the forces of darkness to prevail or continue the fight against oppression. Mass demonstrations have their place, but every right-thinking person should at the least engage in boycotting and calling for disinvestment and sanctions against any individual or entity collaborating with the Israeli apartheid state. After that we need to build alliances and structures that will challenge and overthrow the demons that rule over us. The Palestinians have shown that we can be victorious against seemingly insurmountable odds, and that we should never give up the struggle against injustice.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">We owe it to the people of Palestine to never allow their sacrifices to have been in vain. </span> &nbsp; &nbsp; <em>Image, screengrab courtesy of <a href="">Quds News Network</a> on X</em>
CAGE welcomes Amnesty International joining the Abolish Prevent movement
November 6, 2023
<span style="font-weight: 400;">London - CAGE welcomes Amnesty International’s calls to abolish PREVENT in its <a href="">recent report</a>. Amnesty’s call echoes that of the broader <a href="">Abolish Prevent</a> movement that has campaigned relentlessly against this toxic policy since the inception of the strategy. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The report reveals the disturbing truth about PREVENT. It highlights how this insidious strategy infringes on fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, thought, conscience, and religion. Non-violent political beliefs and expressions have led to referrals, undermining the very principles of freedom and democracy that the UK claims to uphold.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The report makes a number of valuable recommendations including highlighting the dangers of broad definitions of terrorism and calling for a focus on the deeper root causes of cycles of violence, positions that CAGE has also campaigned for many years.. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">While CAGE welcomes Amnesty International’s call for the abolition of the PREVENT duty under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, we encourage Amnesty to go further and call for the annulment of the broader PREVENT Strategy in its entirety. </span> <h3>Anas Mustapha, Head of Public Advocacy at CAGE, said:</h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;">“Amnesty’s call for the abolition of PREVENT is very welcome. It comes as the strategy is facing a crisis following the botched and partisan “independent review” by William Shawcross. Over the years, the abolish Prevent movement has been subject to repeated smears, CAGE especially earning the ire of the Home Office and the Government due to its principled opposition. This report should encourage others to demand the scrapping of PREVENT duty and the broader strategy.”</span> &nbsp;
Palestine: How To Tackle The Question Of Condemnation
October 31, 2023
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Pro-Palestinian activists and Palestinians alike are constantly being pressured to condemn and apologise in order to prove their humanity and worthiness. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Questions of condemnation and apology portray a false narrative that Palestinians are instigators of violence and terrorism, while Israel is a hapless victim of the latter. Such a narrative disregards the reality and history of Palestine, and the 75 years of occupation and oppression they endure. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">These talking points provide guidance on how to tackle the question of condemnation and how to navigate the war of narratives taking place:</span> &nbsp; <h3><span style="font-weight: 400;">1. Understanding background and context: </span></h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Before rushing to condemn Hamas or Palestinian resistance, there should be an understanding of the history, background and context of the current attack on Gaza. As most recently acknowledged by the UN Secretary General, the actions carried out by Hamas on 7 October did not take place in a vacuum. Palestinians have been occupied and oppressed for over 100 years by both the UK and Israel. Their land has been stolen and their people have been killed. As well as being militarily occupied with more than 12,000 Palestinian children having been detained by Israeli forces since 2000, the Gaza Strip has suffered a brutal and suffocating siege and blockade for over 16 years. Israel and the international community ignored repeated warnings on the untenable status quo and that there would be a response to its decades old genocidal policies towards the Palestinians. </span> <h3><span style="font-weight: 400;">2. The right to resist &amp; self-determination:</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span></h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Under international law (ICCPR) and as an occupied people, Palestinians have the right to resist an occupying force and to self-determination. Israel and its allies in the West have equated this right of resistance with terrorism and antisemitism in an effort to silence Palestinian solidarity and delegitimise criticisms towards Israel. With the exception of inviting or expressing support for proscribed organisations, it is not against the law to express solidarity with Palestine and Palestinian resistance. As citizens we have the right to freedom of expression and assembly. The international community is quick to label Palestinian acts of resistance as terrorism but ‘support Israel’s right to self-defence’ when it indiscriminately kills Palestinians.</span> <h3><span style="font-weight: 400;">3. Seek the truth: </span></h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;">There is a lot of misinformation being published uncritically by the mainstream media on the latest assault of Gaza. Much of this emanates from Israeli government, military and intelligence sources. We must ensure we amplify the voices of Palestinians in Gaza and experts who are able to debunk these false narratives. Primarily we cannot allow ourselves to become vessels carrying false news inadvertently. As such it is important to wait for all the facts to emerge before passing judgement. Stress the importance of maintaining independence in analysis and not being swayed solely by government or media narratives.</span> <h3><span style="font-weight: 400;">4. Reject the ‘condemnation’ question. </span></h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The question of condemnation should be challenged and rejected in its entirety. Its premise is built on the same rationale of the ‘you are either with us or against us’ speech given by George Bush in his invasion of Afghanistan. It is designed to delegitimise the Palestinian people and their right to resistance and self-determination. It also seeks to create a collective guilt among Muslim communities, forcing them to self-censor in expressing solidarity for Palestine. The question forms a part of the false narrative being pushed through by mainstream media that solidarity with Palestine is support for terrorism and anti-semitism. It disregards the context of over 100 years of occupation, oppression and murder. To counter this question, we must ask if the West and international community will condemn Israel for the countless war crimes it has committed in its illegal occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people and their land. We must frame their unconditional support for Israel as an active act of supporting the genocide of the Palestinians.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span> <h3><span style="font-weight: 400;">5. Our Language Should be Unapologetically pro-Palestinian:</span></h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;">As a community, we need to present an united front in support of Palestine, in language as well as in action. The language we use in expressing solidarity with Palestine should be unapologetic, direct and clear. We should avoid playing into the false equivalence arguments of ‘both sides’ that erases the lived reality of Palestinians and the history of systematic persecution and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. </span> <h3><span style="font-weight: 400;">6. Be aware of wider agendas:</span></h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The UK government and Police are increasingly intervening with a hardline approach against expressions of Palestinian solidarity. This agenda seeks to securitise and criminalise expressions of Palestinian solidarity, creating an atmosphere of fear and self-censorship. We must resist this authoritarian assault on our rights to freedom of expression and assembly and continue in our support for Palestine. </span> &nbsp; <strong>Relevant links: </strong> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">I Refuse to Condemn: Resisting racism in times of national security</span></a></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">Know Your Rights: How to confidently express solidarity with Palestine</span></a></li> <li aria-level="1"> <p class="fusion-responsive-typography-calculated" data-fontsize="35" data-lineheight="45.15px"><a href="">Know Your Rights: Palestine activism in school</a></p> </li> </ul>
CAGE Challenges Met Police Commissioner And Chair Of National Police Chiefs On Disproportionate Policing Amidst Crackdown On Pro-Palestine Protesters
October 20, 2023
<p dir="ltr">London - As tensions rise over recent police crackdowns on pro-Palestine protesters, CAGE has penned a detailed letter to Sir Mark Rowley, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, and Chief Constable Gavin Stephens, Chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council, questioning the police’s disproportionate approach, highlighting their inaction in ensuring the safety of Arab and Muslim communities and inaction in the face of British citizens openly travelling to Israel to partake in war crimes.</p> <p dir="ltr">The letter, addressed to Chief Constables across England and Wales, raises crucial questions about the connection between Home Secretary instructions and discriminatory policing, challenging the police to prioritise non-discriminatory practices over compliance with political directives.</p> <p dir="ltr">CAGE further spotlights the concerning situation in Gaza, emphasizing the need for accountability regarding war crimes. CAGE calls for the security risks posed by individuals returning from serving with the Israeli Occupation Forces to be rigorously assessed and demands an end to the discriminatory application of anti-terror legislation.</p> <p dir="ltr">The letter raises four critical questions:</p> <ol> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: decimal;" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Can the police provide reassurance that thier force will prioritise non-discriminatory policing over compliance with the Home Secretary's directives?</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: decimal;" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">What measures are in place to monitor and assess the risks posed by individuals traveling to and from conflict zones, particularly Israel, pursuant to <a href="">Schedule 7</a> of the Terrorism Act 2000?</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: decimal;" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">How is the safety and security of Arabs and Muslims in Britain being safeguarded in light of the risks highlighted in the letter?</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: decimal;" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">What concrete steps will be taken to investigate British citizens who may have participated in war crimes or crimes against humanity, particularly in the context of Israel and Gaza?</p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">Amidst growing concerns about police independence and the principle of "policing by consent," CAGE's message is clear: Immediate action is needed to address these pressing concerns, ensuring the safety and well-being of vulnerable communities. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council are urged to respond to these urgent concerns within the next seven days.</p> <p dir="ltr"></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Copy of the letter sent to Sir Mark Rowley, Metropolitan Police Commissioner.</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">[pdf-embedder url="" title="201023 - CAGE Letter to Met Police Re Palestine Protests.docx"]</p> <p dir="ltr"></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Copy of the letter sent to Chief Constable Gavin Stephens, Chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council.</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">[pdf-embedder url="" title="201023 - CAGE Letter to NPCC Re Palestine Protests.docx"]</p> <p dir="ltr"></p> <p dir="ltr"></p> <p dir="ltr"></p> <p dir="ltr"></p> <p dir="ltr"></p> <p dir="ltr"></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Photo courtesy of @theeastlondonphotographer on Unsplash.</em></p>
Supporting students to stand by their convictions on Palestine
October 19, 2023
<strong>Academic advisor Maryam describes the journey her 6th form students took when their charitable efforts for Palestine were stalled and suppressed by their school.</strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">When Israeli aggression against Palestinians in Gaza hit the headlines in May 2021, sixth form students at my secondary school were moved to act. As their academic advisor, my students spoke to me about what they could do to help the people of Gaza with their basic needs. It was Ramadan, the scenes of the Masjid Al Aqsa being stormed and the consequent aerial bombing of Gaza were flooding in. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Savvy with access to social and alternative media sources, these teenage students had a keen awareness of what was happening on the global stage and felt compelled to do something.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">It was time, they decided, to come together and raise funds for the humanitarian disaster in Gaza. As the sixth formers organised themselves and came up with fundraising strategies, an excited energy grew for what they could achieve. They assumed- of course- the school would support their efforts. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">As a school, we already had a track record of being vocal about political events and raising awareness of humanitarian disasters. In the recent past, the BLM movement was championed by the school, with everyone encouraged to learn and make noise around racial inequality in the world. In the wake of the Delta variant of Covid-19 hitting India, students were similarly encouraged to fundraise towards alleviating the healthcare emergency here. The school encouraged students’ efforts and supported them with all the resources they could offer.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Then there was Palestine. And nothing was mentioned. There was no assembly to help students make sense of the scenes they were witnessing. There was no talk in the classroom on the history of the conflict. There was no fundraising encouragement to avert a humanitarian disaster. Instead, there was an awkward and stony silence</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. A silence only rocked by students themselves who took the initiative and decided they wanted to help the civilians of Gaza with basic food, safe water and medical needs.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">And so, a series of long and drawn-out events began, where </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">I witnessed my students learn uncomfortable lessons about what it means to advocate for Palestine within public institutions, even (or especially) within educational ones.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">As a member of staff and a Palestinian, I immediately understood there was a line I had to toe.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> While encouraging the students to fulfil their ambitions, I was conscious of remaining within ‘professional boundaries’ of a mainstream state school that had been deafening in their silence of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The sixth formers organised a successful non uniform day where everyone donated money to the cause and came in wearing one of the colours of the Palestinian flag. The students researched several reputable charities and presented this to the school. They repeatedly stressed that funds raised would go </span><b>only</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to humanitarian causes and there was no political edge to the organisations selected. A total of £1000 was raised, and </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">as the students proudly counted in the money, they did not realise this was only to be the start of their efforts for Palestine.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">When the money was sent through to the Finance department for processing, students sent emails asking to be kept informed of next steps. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">What followed next was a long, drawn out and painful process.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> The students chased the Finance department for when the money would be sent to charity. No response. They contacted the Head of Sixth Form asking for the status of the funds. No response. They contacted other senior staff. No response. Eventually, replies were bounced from one department to another. Emails were either not responded to at all, or students received vague and confusing responses uncharacteristically late. Time was ticking and the school year was drawing to a close. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">During this time, students approached me numerous times to keep me aware of the situation. They told me how frustrated they felt at the school’s unwillingness to send these funds to the agreed charity in a timely fashion</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “The school thinks we’ll forget”, “They’re doing this on purpose”, “If it was for any other cause, they would have already sent the money and done an assembly to thank us all like they did for Covid in India.” </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Asking for advice, I made sure to tell the students that they must remain persistent and patient. If they really wanted to achieve the outcome they wanted, they had to keep chasing up and know that I would support them in any capacity I could. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Seeing young people stirred to act and then deliberately stalled by their educators was painful to witness, and it was even worse to know Palestine was the reason for this special treatment.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">It was during this time, I thought to reach out to Cage, an organisation whose work I have been following on social media for some time. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">At a time where I began to feel deflated myself, the case worker gave me the confidence I needed to not give up on the cause,</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">or the students.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> My point of contact within Cage, Hana, reassured me they had extensive experience of similar situations and that with the right pressure applied in the appropriate way, we would meet success. Using a letter template they provided, I formalised the request for clarity of the funds and took this to the senior management committee. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now the boundaries of the personal and professional risked being blurred. However, that internal conflict was something I had come to sadly accept as an advocate of the Palestinian cause in professional settings.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the Sixth Formers had the backing of the school community their efforts were regularly brushed off by senior leadership. Conversations around which organisation to donate the money further complicated what should have been a simple process. Overwhelmingly the students were simply ignored and despite senior staff meeting 1-2 times a week, the issue was not raised or resolved in any reasonable time frame.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The students would openly question the motivation behind the school stalling their efforts, stressing “This fundraiser wasn’t anything to do with politics- it’s for people who have lost their homes, and for clothing and food- where is the politics in this?” </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">What they were sadly learning is that a humanitarian intervention had now become politicised simply because the people being helped were Palestinian.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">My line manager who I previously enjoyed a good relationship with seemed to become colder and more distant with me while this situation played out. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">She withdrew the once comfortable and cordial relationship I enjoyed with her once I was seen as an advocate of the student’s cause. Things got frosty</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. I began to overhear the frustrated conversations of students who would say “This is so annoying, the school use us when they want us for leadership and when we want to do something from our own initiative, they don’t take us seriously. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Why are they saying this is political? How is it political? Why are they even mentioning politics? And if they’re so scared of politics, why did they make a big deal about BLM?”</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">As they confided in me about how they felt, I made sure to speak in a diplomatic but encouraging way. I told this this was all an important experience for them. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">What’s important is that they don’t give up. If they believe in what they are doing, they should fight for it</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. If they feel like the school were waiting for them to run out of patience, they should double down and pursue the outcome with even more zeal. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Soon enough, school broke up for summer. Upon returning in September, the money still wasn’t released. I asked the students if they had heard anything, but they were now tired and hugely frustrated by the situation. Personally, the thought of taking people’s money and not using it in the way they wanted was heavy on me. The money given was a sacred trust (</span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">amanah</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">).</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">With support from Hana, I managed to help guide the students to keep the pressure on the school. A month into the new academic year, the money was finally released in October 2021. Far from jubilation, the children were more relieved the money was finally going to reach Gaza, but also disheartened it took this much time and effort to ensure the school would do this. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">As a member of staff, I often ask myself: should I have been so involved? Ethically I believe yes. Professionally I felt like I couldn’t openly state my views without repercussions.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> This definitely left me feeling disempowered and discriminated again. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">It made me question why I was afraid to stand up for something that I know is right.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Why do I feel cautious about openly standing up for the Palestinian cause when nobody was scared to stand up for BLM? </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Why am I having to come into work, contain myself and pretend? During the intense weeks of bloodshed- now live-streamed onto our devices- it was difficult for me to go into school and not feel like I’m “allowed” to talk about it openly. The separation between the personal and professional were getting blurred. It hurt. Why am I having to compartmentalise myself this way? Why do I have to censor myself? Why do I feel so discouraged from speaking out? The internal questions tormented me.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The students truly had nobody else who would give them the moral support they desperately needed. They were not only grateful for my help, but so deeply disappointed and surprised at how openly the school was ignoring their repeated attempts to communicate.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">When the children’s morale began to dwindle, I told them that the only people who can change this situation is them. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nothing will shift until they realise their own agency and power in this situation.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> “You have the right and power to be heard,” I told them, “So stand up and speak for what you believe.” My relationship with the students strengthened greatly during this time, and given how defeated they felt, I feel sure they would have given up on chasing the funds had they not had a member of staff to back them up.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">There were times I felt silenced, like I couldn’t be myself</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. During these moments, Hana at Cage helped inspire confidence in me. She guided me to the best way to respond to the situation and reassured me that this was a case worth fighting and nobody should accept being treated this way. This undoubtedly gave me the extra boost and encouragement I needed to go forward.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">I used this motivating energy to instil courage into the students too. We spoke about the importance of pursuing your principles and to see it through to the end. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">They felt validated that they have the right to stand up for anybody or any cause they wished to.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> I know there is professionalism to consider when in work environments, but </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">we are also human beings with a conscience, and we need to do the right thing</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. For the students, they will grow navigating a complex political environment when it comes to speaking up for Palestine, so this was probably a valuable learning experience for them as they grow into young adults. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Looking back, I feel more confident than ever that in life- and all our personal and professional affairs- our ethics and morals must come first. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nothing will change in the long run if we limit ourselves by believing we don’t have ‘permission’ to speak out.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">We must ask ourselves, what are we really fearing? Who are we fearing? Why? We don’t need to surrender our power or be intimidated by it, instead we should exercise it and channel it towards the best outcome.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> No matter how insignificant or limited you feel, there are always options out there. With a sound intention, you will find the courage and avenues to stand up for justice and truth- no matter the obstacles in your path.</span> &nbsp; &nbsp; <em>CC Image courtesy of <a href="">matthrkac</a> on Flickr</em>
CAGE to report Suella Braverman to EHRC for breaching Equality Act regarding Palestine solidarity
October 13, 2023
<p dir="ltr">London - CAGE will formally report The Home Secretary to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) for breach of the Equality Act and undermining freedom of expression and assembly as protected by the Human Rights Act 1998 and international treaties. In a written response to the <a href="">Home Secretary’s letter</a> to Chief Constables in England and Wales regarding Palestine solidarity, CAGE said that the guidance offered by the Home Secretary amounts to a directive that undermines the long standing convention of the operational independence of police forces from the central government.</p> <p dir="ltr">Police forces have already begun to act on this directive, with Greater Manchester Police Force arresting three pro-Palestine protesters in recent days in addition to separate reports that CAGE has received.</p> <p dir="ltr">CAGE calls on all to continue their support for Palestinian’s and their right to resist in the face of Israeli war crimes and occupation</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>The letter in full can be read here:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"></p> <p dir="ltr"></p> <p dir="ltr">Dear Ms S Braverman,</p> <p dir="ltr">We write further to your letter of <a href="">10 October 2023</a> issued to all Chief Constables in England and Wales and copied to Police and Crime Commissioners.</p> <p dir="ltr">We are shocked by the contents of the letter which undermines the long-standing convention that police forces maintain operational independence from both the central government and Police and Crime Commissioners. You would be wise to study the history of policing in England and Wales since 1829 and ponder the fact that every minister, bar you, has understood and adhered to this principle.</p> <p dir="ltr">As we set out below, we contend that your actions amount to an instruction to every police force to implement a policy which is discriminatory on grounds of race and religion. It is one thing to engage in inflammatory rhetoric to cultivate and encourage the worst prejudices that exist in our society, as is your disposition, but quite another to shamelessly give unlawful instructions.</p> <p dir="ltr">We draw your attention to section 111 of the Equality Act 2010 which states in clear terms that it is unlawful for a person to instruct, cause or induce someone to discriminate against, harass or victimise another person, or to attempt to do so.</p> <p dir="ltr">In accordance with that section, you clearly have a relationship with the recipients of the instruction that you have given because of the significant role your department plays in the funding, setting of priorities and controlling senior appointments. However, this power cannot be abused or used to give unlawful instructions.</p> <p dir="ltr">You have attempted to disguise your clear intentions by the deceitful use of ‘encourage’. As you say in your own letter, ‘Context is crucial’. You know full well that your letter is not merely encouragement but amounts to a directive as to how every police officer should deal with the various scenarios, examples of which you give, such as:</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” should be understood as an expression of a violent desire to see Israel erased from the world, and whether its use in certain contexts may amount to a racially aggravated section 5 public order offence.</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>“the waving of a Palestinian flag”</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>“aggressively chant or wave pro-Palestinian symbols”</em></p> <p dir="ltr">You are giving specific directions and judging such acts to amount to glorifying terrorism.</p> <p dir="ltr">There is voluminous research produced by your department which highlights the deeply entrenched structural discrimination faced by the Muslim community. Despite this, it is startling and insightful that you do not make even a passing reference to the hatred that is stirred up against British Muslims.</p> <p dir="ltr">The empirical evidence from statistics produced by your own department shows that at a time of heightened community tensions by far the highest proportion of victims of racial violence are non-white and Muslims. In view of your open hostility to this community, you clearly see them as not victims but likely to be ‘Islamists and other racists’ that you blatantly reference. There can be no doubt that the vast proportion of those who are likely to be arrested for waving a Palestinian flag or attending a solidarity demonstration will be non-white and Muslim. In those circumstances, your instructions are clearly influenced, if not, plainly based on racial and/or religious criteria.</p> <p dir="ltr">Moreover, your letter must be read in light of the xenophobic and hostile statements that you have made in relation to immigration issues, which have caused international outrage from not only non-governmental organisations, but senior politicians and UN officials.</p> <p dir="ltr">In order to illustrate that our assertions above are not illusory or ‘raising false grievances’, you will be aware that three protesters were arrested in Manchester in the last few days for waving the Palestinian flag establishing a clear causal link between your orders and compliance by the Greater Manchester Police Force. We have also received further reports of similar arrests in other parts of the country. It is clear therefore that your discriminatory instructions are being implemented, leading to increased fear amongst the Muslim community. Every non-white and/or Muslim person has a greater chance of now being arrested for merely wearing a Palestinian logo or being at a demonstration.</p> <p dir="ltr">Your actions have not only disgraced the office of Home Secretary but also discredited the reputation of impartiality and objectivity of the police. In addition, your directive undermines the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and assembly protected by the Human Rights Act 1998 and other international treaties.</p> <p dir="ltr">We put you on notice that we are reporting you to The Equality and Human Rights Commission to launch an investigation into your conduct with a view to enforcing section 111 of the Equality Act 2010 using its statutory powers. We will also support individual civil claims from those impacted by your actions.</p> <p dir="ltr">You may well go down in history as the first Home Secretary to have given a discriminatory directive to police forces in England and Wales. However, you should be under no illusion that you will not in any way stop the right of every individual exercising their fundamental freedom to protest and voice their dissent against the war crimes that are being committed in Gaza and the Occupied Territories.</p> <p dir="ltr">Your tenure as Home Secretary will eventually come to an end, but we will remain steadfast in protecting the rights and freedoms of all irrespective of their race or religion.</p> <p dir="ltr"></p> <p dir="ltr">Yours Sincerely,</p> <p dir="ltr">Muhammad Rabbani</p> <p dir="ltr">Managing Director, CAGE</p> <p dir="ltr"></p>
Israeli attacks on Gaza are not war crimes, White House insists
October 11, 2023
<h3><em><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Breaking News</strong> - <a href="">This</a> 'The Times' article has been re-written by Rupert Murdoch’s golden doodle puppy following consultation with him.</span></em></h3> <span style="font-weight: 400;"> A government which once praised a Saudi dictator who ordered the murder and dismemberment in its embassy of a dissident journalist as doing a “spectacular job” has justified the attack on Gaza by Israel as “self-defence”.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The statement by the White House refused to use the term ‘war crimes’ to describe the violence and did not express sympathy for the victims of the attacks.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">A source from within the activist community called the statement by the White House despicable and accused the group of being “apologists for atrocities”.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The White House issued its statement as part of what it said was a joint statement by the leaders of 5 Western nations, all of whom took part in the failed invasion of Afghanistan.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">CAGE, a Muslim advocacy group, said that “every signatory of this statement has brought shame on to themselves and their countries”.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The White House’s statement said: “Our countries will support Israel in its efforts to defend itself and its people against such atrocities. We further emphasize that this is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">“Over the coming days, we will remain united and coordinated, together as allies, and as common friends of Israel, to ensure Israel is able to defend itself, and to ultimately set the conditions for a peaceful and integrated Middle East region. “</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The statement featured a list of high-profile Western leaders figures that the White House said supported its message.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Muhammad Rabbani, the international director at CAGE, said: “This is a disgraceful and shocking attempt to justify the most heinous terrorism. Hundreds of young people, women and children, have been massacred in their own homes, in addition to the thousands of civilians including children who are already being held hostage in Israeli prisons.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">“I hope the police and other authorities take a close look at what offences may have been committed.”</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2019, the White House described Mohammed bin Salmam, also known as “Mr Bonesaw”, who ordered the murder and dismemberment of a dissident journalist in the Saudi embassy in Turkey, as doing “a spectacular job” and as “a friend”. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">A Cage spokesman said: “When more than 700 people, including women and children, are butchered by terrorists because of where they live, this is no time for moral equivalence. Once again, we see the usual suspects lining up to act as apologists for atrocities carried out under the false flag of freedom — it’s despicable and should be remembered.”</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">A White Hall spokesman said that its statement sought “to express a fundamental right that is subscribed to by all racist and fascist groups in this country”.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">It added: “Only a nefarious interpretation could deem this to amount to stirring up hatred but those in support of Russia to be lawful. It is ludicrous and the height of mendacity to suggest otherwise and those who do must be regarded as enablers of terrorism.” </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;"> <em>* This article is a parody of the<a href=""> following piece</a> by The Times.</em></span>
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