Yesterday, UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) announced the “postponement” of a talk by extremist pro-settler group Regavim in London due to opposition from British, Israeli, and Palestinian activists.
Regavim, which receives funding from the Israeli government, is not only anti-Palestinian and openly racist, but also lobbies for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the West Bank and destruction of their homes and schools, in clear violation of international law. A range of voices have been raised in opposition to Regavims visit including the International Solidarity Movement, Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Stop the Demolitions, with criticism also coming from Yachad UK and New Israel Fund. In the words of Regavim General Director Meir Deutsch, the protests planned against Regavim’s London lecture “represent a whole new level of cooperation between…organizations operating in Israel and abroad with Palestinian organizations”
We strongly reject UKLFI’s claim that most of the objections to the proposed talk related to irrelevant statements by a co-founder of Regavim who has since stopped working with the group. Regavim’s racism has been clear since the beginning, and it continues to do so, spreading discriminatory and hate filled messages.
In a video Regavim released last month, Palestinians living in the West Bank are described as a “terrorist state right around the corner”, while its reports speak of “Arab settlement and its spreading tentacles throughout Israel”.
While UKLFI claims it “is not aligned with any particular political viewpoint or party in the UK or Israel”, their actions show they are anything but a neutral or objective group. In March this year, an UKLFI document describes itself as an “association of lawyers” who “invok[e] laws in support of Israel and against Israel’s enemies”, “combat” the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, and “work[s] closely with other pro-Israel organisations in the UK and around the world”. They devote most of its energy to lobbying public bodies in order to suppress activism for Palestinian rights, and target organisations promoting the Palestinian-led BDS movement, lodging complaints with regulatory bodies and sending letters threatening legal action. UKLFI seeks to frame groups advocating for Palestinian rights as extremists, but happily invites to the UK an organisation that has promoted violent racist narratives, and the violation of international law. UKLFI itself refuses to accept the illegality of Israeli settlements under international law.
While Regavim’s propaganda lecture has been postponed, it is still planned to take place at a later date, while on the ground in Palestine Regavim continues to lobby for the demolition of Palestinian communities and eviction of UNESCO from Jerusalem. We call on those committed to human rights, international law, and justice in the Middle East to continue to oppose both Regavim’s attempts to propagate its extremist views and discriminatory organizations like UKLFI that play in supporting role in Regavim’s destructive actions.
– International Solidarity Movement
– Stop the Demolitions
– Palestine Solidarity Campaign