If, by any chance, you’ve been wondering what sort of people will be taking part in next Sunday’s ‘Air Flotilla 2‘, then here’s an opportunity to meet three of the delegation from Greater Manchester. All three are connected to the Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
This is also an opportunity to record the number of typical anti-Israel campaigner buzz words such as ‘ghettoised’, ‘ethnic cleansing’, ‘apartheid wall’ or ‘total siege’, along with the number of downright lies such as ‘Israel steals Palestinian water and sells it back to them’ or ‘no access to health-care’ which can be squeezed into just under 12 minutes.
Norma Turner is an advocate of the ‘right of return‘ , a campaigner for ‘Stop the JNF‘ and a promoter of BDS, having apparently attended the 2009 ‘Gaza Freedom March’ meeting which produced the Cairo Declaration. She is on record as agreeing with Ken O’Keefe’s claim that Israel was behind the murder of Vittorio Arrigoni and was one of the Manchester PSC members who showed up to bat for Caryl Churchill’s anti-Semitic play ‘7 Jewish Children’ at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton in 2009.
Despite the claims by the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ organisers and participants that Palestinians cannot receive visitors, Turner appears to have travelled to Palestinian-controlled areas on at least three separate occasions, including a visit to Gaza as a member of a ‘Viva Palestina’ convoy.
The Manchester PSC organized a ‘Naqba Day’ demonstration outside the BBC building on Oxford Road last year.
“The group members said that that there was no particular reason why they held the rally outside the BBC, but they felt that the BBC did not present the Palestinian side of the debate as often as the Israeli side.
Criticisms of Nakba Day claim that it is marked by Palestinians to celebrate their alleged wishes for the dismantling of the Israeli state and the Jewish population.
Linda Clare, chair of the MPSC, claimed that this was not true at all.
She said: “What we want to see the end of is the Zionist state – you can’t be democratic and then say the country is for one group of people only.”
Norma Turner, 60, who is also a member, said: “We are not calling for the destruction of the Israeli people. People should live together and there should be peace and justice.”
The same BBC studios were also targeted by the Manchester PSC – and Norma Turner – in 2010 following the Mavi Marmara incident.
“Police were forced to secure the entrance to the BBC building on Oxford Road as anti-Israeli protesters tried to storm their way inside. Several arrests were made and windows were smashed. One protester attached a Palestinian flag to a BBC flagpole on the reception area’s roof during the demonstration. He was later led away by police. Oxford Road was closed and police dogs were brought in to control huge crowds. Protesters surged forward and attempted to smash through glass doors leading into the building. They were kept back by lines of police officers inside.
Palestinian support groups marched through the streets carrying placards and banners reading ‘Stop the massacre’ and ‘Free Gaza’. Norma Turner, from the Manchester Palestine Solidarity Committee, said: “This was an act of piracy. They went in to kill people and they know they can get away with it. “It’s time Israel was brought to book.”
Sandy Broadhurst from Stockport is a former member of the Labour party who quit due to being “enraged by the Iraq war”.
“It’s left quite a big hole in my life,” she says. “I go to [George Galloway's] Respect Coalition meetings now, but I’m not a member. I’m not sure they even have members. And I belong to groups such as Palestinian Solidarity, the anti-fascist people, stuff like that. But it’s not really filling the gap. “
Pia Feig put her name to the ‘who’s who’ list of anti-Zionist British Jews who wrote to the Guardian in 2008 protesting Israel’s 60th anniversary. She is, of course, a member of ‘Jews for Justice for Palestinians’.
Commiserations to anyone who happens to be scheduled to fly from Manchester to Tel Aviv on Jet2 flight LS907 at 10 a.m. next Sunday morning.