My speech and my own account of what happened at the Al-Quds manifestation in Stockholm on the 20th September 2009, with pictures to illustrate what went on.
Written by Lasse Wilhelmson
It should be said that the police played a dubious role, as they did not stop those who tried to sabotage the manifestation. This ought to be a part of their duty to defend freedom of assembly.
Speech made on the Al Quds Day in Stockholm, Sergels torg (Sergel’s Plaza), Sunday September 20, 2009. Al Quds, which means Jerusalem in Arabic, is an international day of solidarity for the liberation of Jerusalem and Palestine. They are the symbols of the oppressed peoples of the world who this day gather irrespective of their religious or ethnic affiliations. Large manifestations are held around the world commemorating this day. In London, for example, Muslims and religious Jews manifest together.
Enough is enough. Now Gaza, on top of everything else. The Palestinians symbolise the ongoing struggle worldwide against USrael’s neo-colonial wars. The Zionist goal for a Jewish state in Palestine cannot be achieved without genocide. To maintain a Jewish state it is necessary to commit crimes that are defined as genocide in The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide signed by the General Assembly on December 9th, 1948. It states:
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
At least the demands a, b and c are fulfilled and just one would be enough to define genocide. Suffice it to mention here the extensive ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948, Al Nakba, the very carefully engineered so-called Plan Dalet, which was documented in detail by Ilan Pappe.
The Zionists’ colonization project has existed over two turns of century. It is a myth that there could ever be a Jewish state in Palestine without genocide of the Palestinian people. Genocide is inherent in Zionism, its innermost core. A Jewish state must have a substantial Jewish majority and this cannot be achieved without the eviction of those who lived on the land. We see the result in a racist apartheid system that discriminates between Jews and non-Jews in Israel itself, in the erection of the Wall, in the nearby Palestinian refugee camps and in ”facts on the ground”, as illustrated by the four maps and now lately in Gaza.
Enough is enough. It is more than enough.
A so-called two-state solution involves legitimising genocide in retrospect, as it does not acknowledge the evicted Palestinian refugees’ inalienable right to return, in accordance with UN resolutions.
There is only one solution. A democratic state between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan. Within such a framework, those most involved can discuss various transitional solutions and suggest a timetable for their implementation.
Some would say that this is unrealistic because of the hatred that has been created between Palestinians and Jews. But in that case, those who brought about colonisation, the theft of land and genocide can move somewhere else if they do not wish to live in peace and equality with their ‘victims’ in their own country. The French colonizers in Algeria returned home. In South Africa, the majority chose to stay.
Israel of today is an entity with precious little legitimacy, being a state in the country of Palestine, as shown in my and Snorre Lindquist’s article ‘Revoking Israel’s UN membership‘. For example, Israel is lacking a constitution and internationally recognized borders. Something that is normally required for being recognized as a state. There is little support for the statement that Israel is a creation of the UN. There is nothing to indicate that this entity will ever work in accordance with UN decisions and international human rights, or exist in peace with its neighbours. Quite the opposite.
Today Israel is the biggest threat to a world in peace and Zionism is an ideology whose main task is to justify USrael’s neo-colonial wars while referring to the ”Holocaust” and ”anti-Semitism”, as well as to homemade terrorism in the form of ”False Flag Operations”. The heroic victory of Hezbollah over the Israeli army lately in Lebanon is an example for all peoples. Together with Hamas they show the way towards the liberation of Palestine. Something which however also requires the dethronement of the Jewish Lobby organization AIPAC, as well as the Zionist power elite on Wall Street and in the U.S.’s private central bank, the Federal Reserve.
All resistance to USraeli war politics has our full support. Our support is unconditional. We don’t moralize concerning the political or religious views of our brothers and sisters. Nor over the methods they use. It’s their business to decide. Our support is founded on ethics, compassion and the principles of the equality of all peoples and their right to resist oppression and occupation.
Jerusalem and Palestine are the symbols of all oppressed peoples of the world. The Palestinians’ struggle to free Palestine is part of the same struggle as the Afghans’ struggle in Afghanistan and the Iraqi’s struggle in Iraq, and others.
Because of this we demand today that the Swedish troops should be brought home from Afghanistan, that the U.S. and their allies must leave Iraq and that Israel must be boycotted the same way as was previously done against South Africa.
Palestine, you are in our hearts. Free Palestine – All of Palestine!
My account of what happened to me in Sergels torg
When I arrived in Sergels torg (Sergel’s Plaza) there was an ongoing manifestation against the current regime of Iran. The manifestation was dominated by exile Iranians and Iranian flags carrying the symbol of the Shah, and members of the Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI) who handed out leaflets.
There were many Swedes who sold the Trotskyist newspaper Internationalen, and different autonomous, anarchist and syndicalist groups in their characteristic clothing. I recognized leading persons from Palestinagruppperna (PGS) (Solidarity Movement for Palestine) and from ISM (International Solidarity Movement) in Sweden. Both organizations had denounced the Al Quds Day manifestation and urged all friends of Palestine not to take part on the grounds that the speakers, namely Mohamed Omar and Lasse Wilhelmson, had made “statements” that they were unable to support. They did not specify what those “statements” where. There were also Jewish Zionists familiar to me who photographed the demonstrators for future identification. The groups mentioned stayed behind in order to protest against the ensuing Al Quds manifestation.
I arrived in Sergels torg on the “wrong” side, i.e. above the large and wide stairs towards Åhlen’s. Before I could walk around to the other side, where the speeches where to be made, a handful of young persons from ISM and possibly from the Swedish AFA (Anti Fascist Action) spotted me. They of course know who I am and what I look like. The biggest and most aggressive of them badmouthed me, violently pushed me and wrestled me down on the street. The others helped to squash the placards that I had brought with me. The placards said “Free Palestine”, “Boycott Israel”, “Shut down Israel”, “Long Live Hezbollah and Hamas”, “Warsaw and Gaza” (in a cross, in Swedish; ”Warszawa och Gaza”, with the Z as the common letter), “Zionism” (crossed over), “No to USrael’s War Politics – Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Somalia, the same occupation” and “Al Quds Jerusalem Day”.
I called for help from bystanders and especially one middle-aged Palestinian man resolutely and successfully interfered in my defense, but also a younger person. A band of boys in their lower teens discovered what was said on the placards, informed me that they where Palestinians, and that they wanted to “beat up” the hoodlums and asked me who they where. But I managed to dissuade this arguing that there were some really big guys there. They where, however, rather touching and warmed my old heart.
Shora Esmailian (Andreas Malm’s woman), who has for a long time been a leading person within ISM in Sweden and who is of Iranian family background, afterwards approached me when I was collecting the remains of my plackards. She said that “[people] such as yourself should not be allowed here” (I recognize her very well since many years and we have also previously worked together in the Boycott Israel Network, and taken part in public debates). Then she walked over to the person who had jumped on me – I know him from before, he was standing four meters away – and gave him a hug and kisses on his cheek. Shora later took part in the counterdemonstration.
I wasn’t hurt but I filed a police report on the assault and the infliction of damage, on the prompting of a police officer who overheard me telling the organizers what had happened to me. I did this because the organizers asked me what had happened to my placards as they were broken. The officer explained that this was important in principle since what had happened had political motives and can be viewed as a hate crime, which is an aggravating circumstance.
The counterdemonstrators were about 500 – somewhat more numerous than us. They had gathered in the wide stairs and on the “balcony” above the plaza, which was physically sealed off by a long line of police vehicles and by plastic ribbon fencing. They were chanting slogans against Islam and Arabs, so that it was difficult to hear our speeches. They even threw eggs and fruit at women and children, who were about half of the demonstrators.
The majority of the demonstrators where Muslim Arabs. Even so, the Al Quds manifestation was conducted as planned. Palestinian youths led the speech choirs.
I must confess that it was a rather strange experience to watch people from the organization for Palestinian solidarity in Sweden, and from the ISM and assorted leftists – who call themselves friends of the Palestinians –, together with Marxist and royalist Iranians hostile to the Islamic Republic disturbing a solemn manifestation for Palestine and booing when we chanted “Boycott Israel” and “Free Palestine”. What happened here will surely have far-reaching consequences for the anti-imperialistic work in Sweden, and especially for the solidarity work for the Palestinians.
It is only on the Al Quds Day that anti-Zionist manifestations are arranged in Sweden in support of Palestine, and so it is since several decades. On all other prior occasions the Zionist organization Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace Sweden (JIPF) has been allowed to control the main slogans which therefore never have included the most basic demand of the Palestinians evicted in Al Nakba, namely their inalienable right to return — which the UN made a condition of its decision to grant Israel membership in 1948.
PS1 I wish to express my sincere gratitude to those people who assisted me when I was attacked and I feel great happiness and honour to have been allowed to be one of the two main speakers at the Al Quds Day manifestation in Stockholm in 2009. I will never forget the tears flowing down the old Palestinian man’s face when he embraced me and thanked me for my speech. He told me how he had personally experienced al-Nakba 1948.
PS2 While writing this I notice that the chairman of the magazine FiB Kulturfront (membership organisation and cultural review published monthly) has in Svenska Dagbladet’s editorial blog (second largest daily newspaper) now joined in with those who distribute lies and distort my political views. He falsely attributes to me the opinion that Judaism, that is the Jewish religion, is an important factor of power in world politics. Everyone who has read my articles knows that even though I’m critical of Judaism, Jewish identity, Jewish mentality and Zionism are my targets and my criticism of “Jews” is never categorical, since it is mainly directed against the Jewish mafia in the power elite and the fact is that this mafia is a factor of power in world politics.
Al Quds Day is a time to show broad unity in the struggle against Zionism and boundless solidarity with Palestine and the Palestinians as a symbol for the oppressed people of the world.
Al Quds Day in Stockholm on the 20th September 2009 was defined officially by the poster and by the advertised content of speeches to be held by two guest speakers, together with banners and placards that appeared among the demonstrators. Additionally, things were said in Arabic, which I do not understand; possibly less suitable things said in response to provocations endured from saboteurs. Of course we must be critical of this and discuss in a comradely fashion how to avoid the same thing happening next year, although it did not in any way detract from the overall direction of the demonstration. Nor should we judge too harshly, because tackling the situation that occurred correctly demanded considerable political experience of all the participants. It is easy to lose one’s cool in the heat of a situation.
There is every reason, on the other hand, to congratulate the Al Quds committee and the demonstrators on their courage in carrying out the demonstration despite violence and sabotage of freedom of expression and assembly. My thoughts go especially to women and children who were not spared from physical attacks.
I believe that Al Quds Day should avoid being a general tribute to Iran or any specific religious leader. Of course, on Al Quds Day we defend Iran’s independence against threats posed to the country as we do for Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. What we are celebrating is opposition to Zionism and this allows us to highlight Iran’s role as a NATION and its president as a HEAD of STATE, just as we – who are not Muslims – celebrate Hizbollah and Hamas, not for religious reasons but because they oppose Zionism and its Jewish state.
My understanding of Al Quds Day is that it is a broad manifestation for the liberation of Jerusalem and Palestine as they are symbols for people worldwide and their struggle against Zionism; a day when Muslims invite non-Muslims to pay tribute to global solidarity. Those who wish to honour the current regime in Iran, or one of the branches of Islam, are of course free to do so, but not on Al Quds Day – the day we demonstrate together, regardless of ethnic, national or religious persuasion.
The Political Implications of Al Quds Day in Stockholm 2009
The chairman of the magazine FiB Kulturfront (Membership organisation and cultural review published monthly) has in Svenska Dagbladet (Second largest daily newspaper) denounced me as a member of this organisation, without mention of the content of my speech or of those who sabotaged the demonstration. Palestinagruppperna (PGS) (Solidarity Movement for Palestine) and The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) have urged all friends of Palestine not to take part in the demonstration with reference to the guest speakers’ previous “statements”, saying that the organisations cannot support these, but with no specification. It is obvious that the reason for this indecisiveness to take a stand against Zionism is the fear of being subjected to accusations of “anti-Semitism”.
You cannot, at the same time, defend freedom of expression, including the right to demonstrate, and avoid being drawn into these accusation campaigns, as their very aim is to strangle freedom of expression. FiB Kulturfront has chosen not only to sacrifice its main slogan – defence of freedom of expression – but also to voluntarily subject itself to the Zionified cultural elite’s hegemony in Swedish debate. In the same way that PGS and ISM did before the demonstration by urging friends of Palestine not to attend. This voluntary submission is, in fact, as deplorable as Swedish foreign policy’s caving in to illegal neo-colonial wars. Zionism powers these wars of aggression, and is currently the most significant expression of imperialism. Anti-war efforts are weakened generally because the Zionist power elite, mainly in the US, is granted exemption and permitted to operate undisturbed.
This breakdown is due to the fact that the left has not yet come to terms with its past history concerning Zionism. As long as the anti-imperialist (un)movement, including the Palestine solidarity movement, is controlled by some ten politically experienced Marxist-Leninists from the ´68 movement, and the “peace group” Jews for an Israeli/Palestinian Peace (JIPF), all cooperation with these organisations, which in fact defend the Jewish state, weighs heavily on anti-Zionists and should therefore, for the time being, be avoided.
Al Quds Day in Stockholm has already created a division between anti-Zionists and Zionists both to the left and to the right. The discussions now being held will lead to parts of the left positioning themselves against Zionism (the worst form of racism), and parts of the right will define their position against racism and their views on immigrants and immigration policy. We will also see closer cooperation between the Zionified sections of the political right and left, where the Trotskyites will take on a leading role together with the Zionist front organisation EXPO and the Jewish “peace organisation” JIPF.
These events will make it possible to create an anti-Zionist unified front in Sweden, free from party politics or religious convictions. This is necessary because of Zionism’s hegemony in the West. The crossroads is being approached all over the Western World and is a sign that contradictions are growing between the people of the world and the Zionist power elite’s efforts to create a new world order with a Big Brother state and national states that dissolve in ever-lasting wars.
Long Live Al Quds Day in Stockholm 2009, next year we will be tenfold more.
(1) Israel and ‘The New American Century’
(2) Zionism – more than traditional colonialism and apartheid http://www.aljazeerah.info/Opinion%20editorials/2004%20opinions/Jan/26%20o/Zionism%20%20more%20than%20traditional%20colonialism%20and%20apartheid%20By%20Lasse%20Wilhelmson.htm
(3) Maps of ”facts on the ground” http://lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com/photos/maps/landloss.html
(4) Revoking Israel’s UN Membership http://www.palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=14445
(5) Will the World Change Now? http://palestinethinktank.com/2008/11/08/lasse-wilhelmson-will-the-world-change-now/
(6) ”Anti-Semitism” as a political weapon http://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Articles/Story1444.html
(7) Why is the Truth so Dangerous?
Photographs from Nationell.nu