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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

For HoLiners who would like to sign and support this Petition.

It asks the Council to support the call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and

to divest its pension fund from companies complicit in the illegal occupation of Palestine and the ongoing military onslaught in Gaza. Thanks. 


Note: this Petition is for people who live, work or study in Haringey.

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Thanks Alan. A very interesting conversation regarding the current situation and on the rapid changes taking place and into the future. 

Thanks to internet access there are countless interesting conversations. 'Avenues for learning' is how I think of this it.  An online free library of talks, discussions and documentary film is available. And if people have enough of the  'Official Versions', then hunt around for other voices.

Quite often a highly intelligent, well informed, independent-minded  commentator may do the work for us by seeking out interviewees to question and learn from.

Here's one example.  I watched lawyer and commentator Briahna Joy Gray challenging Norman Finkelstein.

As you probably know, the latest appalling news from the Gaza strip has enlarged the scope of conversations about the killings there. With perhaps some surprising voices. Not least the "Lord" David Cameron on BBC Radio 4 at lunchtime today 8th March.

Yesterday another voice you may not have come across.

With respect, Re Johnson, a local authority has no business in "moral positions". Its remit is prescribed in legislation from which foreign policy, including Middle Eastern affairs, is absent. Nor can it dictate pension fund  investment policy. That is the province of the pension fund's trustees, not the Council. 

This petition, regardless of its accuracy in wording, is more likely to kindle or fuel division in our famously tolerant and multicultural borough than it is to have any effect on those conducting or assisting in the misery of that particular conflict. Unless the former is its true purpose, in which case it is utterly reprehensible and should be "called out", those responsible for promoting this petition should reflect carefully on the wisdom of inflaming local tension before doing so further. 

I was a staff side member of a local authority pensions committee which oversaw fund performance and investment.  Part of the job of the committee was to direct and agree fund investment decisions under advisement and it is completely within their gift what they do or do not invest in provided that the decision is in accordance with law and regulation and provides the best return for the fund.

It looks like we agree, then. It's all in the proviso you recite: "provided that the decision is in accordance with law and regulation and provides the best return for the fund" . A trustee who preferred a political or "gesture" investment decision over one according with all 3 terms of the proviso could be in breach of trust, and personally liable in the event of a material difference in returns. 

If the disinvestment has no impact on the performance of the fund I can’t see what would prevent it.  Many pension funds disinvested from tobacco and petroleum for example.

I've been reading more and reflecting more about this petition. I've now signed it.
What changed my mind?

● The discussion about the Pension Fund need not prevent anyone signing. My thanks to Michael Anderson for his helpful clarification.
● However my main reason for shifting opinion was an article by Kenny MacAskill in 'The Scotsman' on George Galloway's thumping by-election victory.  I'm no Galloway fan!!!  But I think MacAskill is accurate when he writes about Galloway's critique of Rishi Sunak as:
"... happy to tolerate racism and Islamophobia in his own party yet branding peaceful demonstrators and a fed-up electorate as extremists." 
MacAskill sees Galloway's victory as:  "more than just a vote to stop the horror in Gaza  https://www.scotsman.com/topic/gaza
"It was also a vote by a disaffected electorate against mainstream parties ignoring the plight of so many. Folk are fed up with politicians who appear in it for themselves, not the benefit of others."

I watched the Prime Minister on TV. But I missed Galloway's insights: that one of Sunak's last hopes for the General Election appears to be in stoking-up ethnic fear and division.

● Outside or inside the gates, the evils and horrors of Gaza did not begin on 7th October. They continue now with the complicity of our Government and by Sunak and Starmer.

Our own security interests align with those of Israel. I suspect many people haven't stopped to think what might happen if Hammas is not destroyed. We don't want thier survival to be seen as a victory and a reward for their attempted genocide against Jewish people which will simply embolden the islamists already here among us.

It shouldn't be necessary but still I will remind people that opposition to violent Islamists, their ideology and particularly the incompatability of their ways with our democratic, equal and inclusive society is not a critique of mainstream Islam or Muslim people.

Gordon Farcas
I'd like to challenge several assertions/assumptions you make. But to do so in a way which not only leaves open the possibility of further dialogue but helps building bridges.

I hope there are many people in Israel/Palestine  who share your - and my - wish and our commitment to live in a "democratic, equal and inclusive society".

The current Two State Solution for our group of offshore European islands has lasted for just over a century. With modifications including regional parliaments. The increasing calls for Scotts statehood. may change that in the future. But with goodwill and mutual respect a range of varied arrangements are possible. We only have to look at, for example, Spain, Belgium, and  Switzerland.
About the goal of "equal and inclusive"  don't you share my regret that seems further away each year? Consider the work of, for example, Professor Danny Dorling. His latest book suggests the UK is a "Shattered Nation". Here's a link.

Of course, however bad it gets, we don't have the explicit apartheid of the Israel/Palestine West Bank.

Also perhaps before we assume our country is proudly "inclusive"  I'd suggest watching  and listening very carefully to the forthright and well informed Sayeeda Warsi. She offers a timely warning about where both leading Tories - and their Starmer-led supporting chorus  - want to take us.

P.S. about the longer term Security Guarantee aspects raised by Gordon Farcas; and - I assume - of interest to many others. This EU view was published last November. It appears ever more urgent as the days pass.

An excerpt.
"To move forward, we must aim for a solution based on justice and equal rights for both peoples. This means, first and foremost, the need for security in the whole region and in Europe, which faces the immediate repercussions of instability. As neighbours, we must join forces with partners regionally and across the world to reach a viable, lasting political settlement for the benefit of Israelis, Palestinians and the region. This is also in our own best interests.".

Hello Alan.

In any emergency, the priority is the removal of the threat. While Hammas exists it remains a threat to Israel, Jewish people worldwide, innocent Gazans and even us here in England and the rest of the UK. 

There is a time to seek to understand motivations (and sometimes a time to appease) but there is also a time to draw the line and say no more. Hammas drew that line itself on October 7th last year.

If Hammas surrendered unconditionally and returned the hostages I suspect that would lay the groundwork for some robust talks with Tehran and Hezbollah and then an exploration of options for a lasting peace in the region.

In the meantime, I support Israel's efforts to minimise civilian casualties and hope that Hammas realise too that it is in their own interests to do the same.



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