• Jo Bird

Peace for Palestine

Updated: Jun 12, 2021

"Thank you to all the organisers for this protest for Peace for Palestine today. We are cross-community, we are cross-party and we are all campaigning for justice together.

As well as being elected as Labour Councillor for Bromborough, I also am Jewish.

My Jewish great grandparents fled European fascism for safety in England. Some of my family perished in the Holocaust. Some of my Jewish family live in Israel and Palestine. Some of my friends also - brave teenagers like Antalya who refuse to serve in the Israeli army of occupation.

After the Holocaust, many Jewish refugees were turned away from countries like the UK. The new state of Israel made laws so that Jewish people like me could make aliyah, could have the right to return. Most Jewish people do not live in Israel. It’s NOT IN OUR NAME that the Israeli government kills Palestinian children like Tala, Rula and Yara.

The current state of Israel does not allow the human right of return for Palestinian refugees, simply to return home. Nor their children, like my friend Fadl. State violence, oppression and racist laws continue at Israel’s borders and continue between the river and the sea. So what do we mean when we say ‘Palestine shall be free’? We mean free from oppression, free from apartheid, free from occupation and war.

What can we do in this country where we live? The very least is we can do is to Do No Harm. We can stop making the situation worse than we have already. We can stop trading arms with only one side. In fact, we shouldn’t be trading arms with any side.

We demand that our government and pension funds, as Councillor Cleary said, stop profiting from death and destruction, stop selling instruments of the arms trade and stop trading with oppressive regimes.

Sisters, brothers, cousins, friends and comrades. We have so much in common. We even share our greetings. In Arabic, it’s salam alaykum. In Hebrew, it’s shalom alaichim. Peace be upon you.

I’d like to end with a song. Sing along if you’d like to or clap if you wish. It goes, shalom alaichim, hevenu shalom alaichim, hevenu shalom alaichim, hevenu shalom shalom shalom alaichim. Hevenu shalom alaichim, hevenu shalom alaichim, hevenu shalom alaichim, hevenu shalom shalom shalom alaichim.

Thank you Wirral!”

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