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Defend free speech in Tower Hamlets!

CAMPAIGNERS WILL BE lobbying Tower Hamlets Council on Wednesday, 15th January to press the case for free speech in the Borough on issues affecting Palestine and the Palestinian people.

Councillors will be asked to act on a petition being presented to the Council by the Tower Hamlets Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) – which is asking everyone who wants to see the right to campaign for freedom and justice or Palestine to come out and join them.

The need to present the petition arises after a charity bike ride was not allowed to hold an end-of-ride rally in a Council-owned park – in a strange split between the promises of politicians and the actions of Council officers.
Shortly before the bike ride, the Council had agreed to support a definition of anti-semitism promoted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Councillors decided not to qualify the definition with any kind of pledge that local residents could campaign in favour of justice for Palestine – because, politicians said, it was clear that the definition did not prevent this, so there was no need to make the safeguard explicit.
Officers later rejected a request from the PSC to hold the rally in a Tower Hamlets park, citing practical difficulties with holding such an event. However, a complaint from PSC led to emails between officers being disclosed – which revealed that officers had in fact rejected the application for fear that it might contravene the anti-semitism policy. It is not clear whether politicians were consulted about the officers’ decision or whether any officers have been disciplined for lying to the public.

The petition does not ask Tower Hamlets Council to rescind or dilute its opposition to anti-semitism. It asks Councillors just to add clarification that local residents may criticise actions taken against the Palestinian people by the Israeli state – without discrimination or opposition from the Council.

Stand with Palestine!
Lobby Tower Hamlets Council
January 15th 6-7 pm
Mulberry Place, E14 1SA

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