Facebook share Share on TwitterRSS feed

Innovative Minds © 2014. All Rights Reserved. www.inminds.co.uk

[Boycott - Other News]

Protest at BBC's Israel lobby appointment and reporting blackout on hunger strikers

10 April 2013

On Sunday 7th April 2013 around 20 human rights activists protested outside the BBC, Broadcasting House in Portland Place, demanding the BBC break its silence and lift the broadcasting blackout on covering the plight of Palestinian hunger strikers. One of the hunger strikers - Samer Issawi is now on his 260th day of his hunger strike. Barely alive, a skeleton of a man weighing just 45kg he is struggling to breath on a ventilator with an average heart beat of just 24 beats per minute (a healthy persons average heart rate is over three times this). Yet despite his physical frailty Samer Issawi's spirit is unbreakable and he has recently reiterated: "I reaffirm for the thousandth time that I continue my hunger strike until either freedom and return to Jerusalem or martyrdom!"

The BBC still blocking coverage of Samer Issawi and the other Palestinian hunger strikers

The protesters also questioned the BBC's claim to impartiality with its recent appointment of James Purnell to one of the most powerful positions in the BBC - that of Head of Strategy. James Purnell was the chairman of the Israel Lobby group Labour Friends of Israel for two consecutive years. The apartheid wall, which the International Court of Justice ruled ILLEGAL built on stolen Palestinian land, is described on record by James Purnell as "a doveish move which recognizes the legitimacy of two states". He also equated left wing criticism of Israel to antisemitism. How can a person who rejects the findings of the International Court of Justice because it goes against Israel and then silences any criticism of Israel by accusations of antisemitism be given charge of BBC's policy and strategy? James Purnell's powerful position is one of the most highly paid jobs in the BBC with a salary of £295,000 per year, and yet there was no open selection process - no other candidates were considered or interviewed - it was a done deal, Israel's man gifted the position.

Biased BBC gives top strategy job to Israel lobby

The martyr Maysara Abuhamdia died in Israeli custody on 2nd April 2013. This being the first protest after his death, we showed our solidarity with him by carrying his placards. Maysara spent his entire life resisting the occupation of his land, in return in 2005 he was sentenced to 99 years in prison by the Israeli occupation forces. In prison, Israeli doctors cruelly delayed his treatment for cancer for 7 months until it was too late. They then transferred the dying patient to hospital in a windowless metal box van which has no seats - the patients are just thrown on the metal floor in the back where they stay shackled for the long journey. In hospital the doctors kept Maysara shackled to his bed where he died, photos of his dead body still show him shackled to the bed.

We also remembered Arafat Jaradat who was recently tortured to death in a G4S secured Israeli prison.

The action was part of the Palestinian Prisoners Campaign launched by Innovative Minds (inminds.com) and the Islamic Human Rights Commission (ihrc.org) on Al-Quds Day 2012. The campaign aims to raise awareness for the plight of Palestinian prisoners and build solidarity for their struggle and work towards their freedom.

Maysara Abuhamdia died in Israeli custody on 2nd April 2013

Stop the silence..


On Sunday 17th March long term Palestinian hunger striker Ayman Sharawna won his freedom after 8 months on hunger strike. On the verge of death after 261 days without food, Ayman was finally released but still not able to go home to his Hebron for another 10 years. In contravention of the Geneva Convention Israel placed conditions on Ayman's release of forcible deportation to the Gaza Strip for 10 years. Some have suggested its a hollow victory, in line with Israels policy of ethnic cleansing the West Bank of its Palestinians. Whilst this is true it does not diminish in any way Ayman's personal victory of winning his release after a record breaking hunger strike. It does however call in to question the effectiveness of the solidarity movement around the world.

Ayman gave us 8 months to highlight his illegal imprisonment by Israel following its breaking of the internationally brokered Shalit deal; 8 months without food so we could rally public opinion around his cause to force Israel to release him as it had done with Mahmoud Sarsak before him. But we failed.

One of the reasons for this failure is the reporting blackout by the corporate media on the plight of the hunger strikers and our failure to hold it to account. Until we launched our series of protests outside the BBC demanding they cover the story of the hunger strikers the BBC had completely ignored them - not one mention of Ayman Sharawna or Samer Issawi in its 21 million indexed articles spanning the 8 months of hunger strike. Its note worthy that since the protests began outside the BBC, the BBC has for the first time started to mention the hunger strikers: 4 mentions of Ayman Sharawna and Samer Issawi in February and 1 mention of Samer Issawi in March..

Ayman Sharawna is now free, but Samer Issawi has on principle rejected the deal of release with condition of forced deportation. He has said:

"Regarding the Israeli occupation’s offer to deport me to Gaza, I affirm that Gaza is undeniably part of my homeland and its people are my people. However, I will visit Gaza whenever I want or feel like it, as it is within my homeland, Palestine, which I have the right to wander whenever I like, from the very north to the very south. I strongly refuse to be deported to Gaza as this practice will just bring back bitter flashbacks from the expulsion process to which our Palestinian people were subjected during 1948 and 1967.

We are fighting for the sake of the freedom of our land and the return of our refugees in Palestine and the diaspora, not to add more deportees to them. This systematic practice by Israel that aims to empty Palestine of Palestinians and bring strangers in their place is a crime. Therefore, I refuse being deported and I will only agree to be released to Jerusalem, as I know that the Israeli occupation aims to empty Jerusalem of its people and turn Arabs into a minority group of its population. The issue of deportation is no longer a personal decision, it is rather a national principle. If every detainee agrees to be deported outside Jerusalem under pressure, Jerusalem will eventually be emptied of its people.

I would prefer dying on my hospital bed to being deported from Jerusalem. Jerusalem is my soul and my life. If I was uprooted from there, my soul would be uprooted from my body. My life is meaningless away from Jerusalem. No land on earth will be able to embrace me other than Jerusalem. Therefore, my return will be only to Jerusalem and nowhere else. I advise all Palestinians to embrace their land and villages and never succumb to the Israeli occupation’s wishes. I don’t see this issue as a personal cause that is related to Samer Issawi. It is a national issue, a conviction and a principle that every Palestinian who loves his homeland’s sacred soil should hold. Finally, I reaffirm for the thousandth time that I continue my hunger strike until either freedom and return to Jerusalem or martyrdom!"

The latest information we have is that after 260 days on hunger strike Samer's heart is very weak, he is dying. It is imperative we focus the worlds attention on his struggle so that pressure is brought on Israel to release him without conditions. This means continuing the pressure on the BBC to cover his story. With this in mind we protested once more outside the BBC..

Samer Issawi 200+ days without food (260 now), 200+ days with out a mention by the BBC

Bus stops for a leaflet!

Bus driver asks for a leaflet - good on him!


It was interesting to see the BBC are following our website and facebook page to learn when our protests are scheduled so that they can prepare for them by erecting barriers and a checkpoint some 100m from the entrance with access only for those with BBC ID cards. The barriers block a section of land which is meant to have a public right of way through it, especially needed for local residents wishing to get home. One resident actually came to complain to us that the BBC security are preventing her from going home! Needless to say all their efforts were wasted as we have to pick the busiest location for the protest to maximize our audience - and the BBC entrance, hardly used on a Sunday, hidden behind the BBC Radio Building is not it. Instead we choose the spot adjacent to the BBC building, opposite the zebra crossing serving the Langham Hotel, as the location for the protest.

Video courtesy Mr Alex Seymour

leaflets going like hot cakes!

With so many people helping with leafleting we rushed through the supply of leaflets. The response from the public was great, with Pro-Palestinian music playing in the background creating a wonderful atmosphere, many people took the time to read each one of our posters and chat to us asking for more information. It was a real indication that the corporate media aren't doing there job, people are eager to know the truth but the BBC isn't providing it. We only had one negative response, from an elderly Zionist who wasn't interested in anything we had to say but just kept chanting the usual zionist mantra of why were we picking on poor little Israel, the only democracy, what about Syria and Darfur, etc. Rather than confront him we just left him shouting, it seemed to help convince other passer-by's to our position..

People are eager to know the truth, they take the time to go to each poster in turn and read it carefully, to understand what is happening - something the BBC is failing to provide them.

Next Protest

The next protest will be in commemoration of Palestinian Prisoners Day. We will be protesting outside G4S HQ in London on Friday 19th April from 4:30pm to 6:30pm, please join us.

Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/491842574210144/

BBC security watch from a distance, from behind their barrier

Leaflet and placard designs

Maysara Abuhamdia placard

Samer Issawi 260 days - Leaflet (front)

James Purnell Israel Lobby - Leaflet (back)



Source: www.inminds.com

Related Articles

Also Of Interest

Page URL: http://inminds.com/article.php?id=10589
Support Us
If you agree with our work then please support us.

Give one time donation:

Setup monthly donation:
INMINDS Facebook Live Feed
Latest Video's
Latest News..
[all-by date]
[all-by category]
[all-by modify date]
INMINDS Twitter Feed
Boycott Israel Campaign
Featured Video's
You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video.
Why boycott Israel on Campus[1:50:05]
12 London universities discuss need for BDS on campuses. Speakers include Rafeef Ziadeh, Ilan Pappe, Karma Nabulsi & Mike Cushman
Love Letters to Gaza[31:08]
A unique theatrical event using personal messages of love, support and hope from people of all ages and all walks of life to the people of Gaza.
John Pilger[7:55]
journalist and documentary maker
Antiwar Mass Assembly 8 Oct 2011
Julian Assange[7:07]
founder of WikiLeaks
Antiwar Mass Assembly 8 Oct 2011
Lauren Booth, Sami Ramadani & Yvonne Ridley[6:28]
Reading the names of the dead
Antiwar Mass Assembly 8 Oct 2011
George Galloway[6:39]
Antiwar Mass Assembly 8 Oct 2011
Jemima Khan[8:42]
Antiwar Mass Assembly 8 Oct 2011
Why Boycott Marks & Spencer 2011?[23:29]
Demo outside M&S Oxford Street(24 Sept 2011)
Sean Clinton[4:59]
Israeli Blood Diamonds Campaign
Al Quds Day rally, Trafalgar Square (31 Aug 2011)
Lauren Booth[5:24]
Al Quds Day rally, Trafalgar Square (31 Aug 2011)
Lauren Booth - Prayer for Gaza[2:46]
Al Quds Day rally, Trafalgar Square (31 Aug 2011)
Benny Morris - Historian or Racist?[34:07]
Activists oppose visit of racist Israeli historian Benny Morris who justifies ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Is Israel applying apartheid?[2:12:56]
Speakers: Yael Kahn, Jody McIntyre and Ghada Karmi (5 May 2011)
Karen Mitchell[48:27]
Partner at Thompsons Solicitors
Life changing visit to Palestine in 2008 (21 Feb 2011)
Ramzy Baroud[1:59:32]
Editor-in-chief of the Palestine Chronicle
"My Father Was A Freedom Fighter - Gaza's Untold Story" (25 Mar 2011)
Women United in the Intifada[2:31:36]
Speakers: Lizzie Cocker, Ewa Jasiewcz, Alaa Kassim, Yvonney Ridley, Isis Amlak, Sukant Chandan, Ramzy Baroud (14 Mar 2011)
George Galloway[1:01:48]
Solidarity with the Middle-East Revolution, support the people - oppose US/UK intervention (SOAS, 11 Mar 2011)
Omar Barghouti[55:08]
BDS Movement co-founder
"Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions" book launch (7 Mar 2011)
Shir Hever[1:49:09]
Alternative Information Centre
The Political Economy of Israel's Occupation, Kings College London (17 Feb 2011)
Why academic boycott of Israel[1:29:37]
Speakers: Mohammed Abuabdou(PSCABI), Mike Cushman(BRICUP), Jodey McIntyre(activist) (8 Feb 2011)
Dashed Hopes - Gaza Blockade[1:23:08]
Mohammed-Ali Abu Najela (Oxfam), Andrea Becker (MAP), Ewa Jasiewicz (Free Gaza Movement) (1 Feb 2011)
Jordan Valley: Apartheid[1:17:12]
Sarah Cobham(Brighton Jordan Valley Solidarity), Chris Osmond (Corporate Watch) (House of Commons, 1 Feb 2011)
Dump Veolia Demo[7:00]
Protesting at settlement supporter Veolia's sponsership of exhibit at the Natural History Museum (23 Oct 2010)
Boycott Israeli Dates [1/2][9:11]
Are you financing Israels brutal occupation this Ramadan?
Boycott Israeli Dates [2/2][9:05]
Are you financing Israels brutal occupation this Ramadan?
Lee Jasper [1/2][10:13]
[4 of 8] Genocide Memorial Day 2010 Session One, 17-1-2010
Lee Jasper [2/2][9:51]
[5 of 8] Genocide Memorial Day 2010 Session One, 17-1-2010
One Oppressor One Bullet[8:11]
Imam Achmad Cassiem, veteran of the armed struggle against apartheid in South Africa, speaks at the StW rally (London, 19 Feb 2005)
Salwa Alenat [1/2][9:56]
KavLaOved (Workers Rights hotline)
[1 of 8] Israel's Occupation - Abuse of Palestinian Workers (LSE 19 Nov 2009)
Salwa Alenat [2/2][8:57]
KavLaOved (Workers Rights hotline)
[2 of 8] Israel's Occupation - Abuse of Palestinian Workers (LSE 19 Nov 2009)
For Anwar [1of2][10:01]
Carmel Agrexco Valentines Action 7 Feb 2009
For Anwar [2of2][9:56]
Carmel Agrexco Valentines Action 7 Feb 2009
[all videos (over 200)..]
Featured MP3 Podcast

"For most journalists, whether they realize it or not, are groomed to be tribunes of an ideology that regards itself as non-ideological, that presents itself as the natural center, the very fulcrum of modern life. This may very well be the most powerful and dangerous ideology we have ever known because it is open-ended. This is liberalism."
Campaigning Journalist and Film-maker
Socialism 2007 Conference, Chicago [43min / 21Mb]
[need flash]

[all podcasts..]
To subscribe
enter your email:

If you wish to comment on this page:

(all fields optional)

The opinions expressed on this site, unless otherwise stated, are those of the authors.
All logos & trademarks are the property of their respective owners and their use is covered under 'fair use' policy.
Copyright © 1998-2012 Innovative Minds www.inminds.com All Rights Reserved.
The opinions expressed on this site, unless otherwise stated, are those of the authors.
All logos & trademarks are the property of their respective owners and their use is covered under 'fair use' policy.
Copyright © 1998-2012 Innovative Minds www.inminds.com All Rights Reserved.