We Stand with all Those Fighting for Peace

Palestinian flag and blue sky

Spark & Co. unequivocally condemns the attempted genocide of the people of Gaza by the State of Israel. We call for the UK government and the rest of the international community to demand a cease fire now, before it’s too late.

As an organisation the very fabric that makes us who we are comprises of anti-racist and anti-oppression values. We stand with all those who experience marginalisation. That means supporting, uplifting and empowering all individuals and communities who do not have access to equal opportunities in this world.

Our approach to anti-racism and anti-oppression demands that we call for a #FreePalestine. It demands that we fight for one of the most vulnerable communities in the world - the people of Gaza.

Over the past week, we have witnessed unspeakable violence against civilians based in Palestine and Israel. Both communities are hurting. We’ve seen people come out to condemn and condone violence in the same breath. We’ve seen people subjected to islamophobia and antisemitism, and we’ve seen people weaponise their identities and engage in propaganda to elicit an emotional response. 

We’ve also seen terms like nuance, settler colonialism, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, genocide, and apartheid gain prominence. Sometimes, these terms have been used incorrectly. Misinformation has spread across the internet, and the mainstream media alongside governments, have stoked division and fear among communities. 

However, none of this is as complicated as it’s sometimes made to seem, and nuance does not equate to neutrality. Now is not the time to remain silent, and as the theme of the past few years has been, silence is complicity and can be inherently violent.

For 75 years, Palestinians have lived under apartheid, having endured exclusions, displacement and a brutal military occupation. For 75 years, they have had no agency or autonomy in their own land, and the UK and US are responsible for what we’re witnessing today. As anti-racists, we must always look towards the root of the issue, and the buck does not fall on just the State of Israel but on the UK and the US, who paved the way for the violence Palestinians have been subjected to since the Balfour Declaration was written. 

We should all call for an immediate cease-fire and a two-party state solution. Anything else will not end the constant violence civilians in Palestine and the State of Israel are subjected to. The catastrophe is worsening by the hour, and we demand that the UK government ends its military and political support for Israel’s war crimes.

Although there is no justification for the violence brought on by Hamas, there is an understanding of it for many communities. We can understand it when we put our feet in the same shoes as the Palestinians. Palestinians have lived under the constant threat of violence and have been ripped from their homes, brutalised, and imprisoned, whilst the international community has largely turned their backs on them. 

The State of Israel has repeatedly been accused of international war crimes involving genocide and ethnic cleansing. They have built 100 illegal settlements on the West Bank and done this with the support of companies like Lockheed Martin, one of the world's biggest weapons manufacturers, who have reported their biggest profit growth in the company's history since the collapse of peace in the region.

Again, we do not justify the actions of Hamas, and the conflict has gone beyond Hamas. The State of Israel has condemned the people of Gaza to certain death by closing borders and shutting off electricity, fuel and water. 50% of the population in Gaza are under 18. This signals that the people of Gaza do not have the opportunity to reach adulthood as a result of the violence that they are being subjected to by the State of Israel. 

Hamas does not represent all Palestinians. Just as the State of Israel does not represent all Jewish people or Israelis. Anti-Palestinian Zionism does not represent the views of all Jewish people, and criticism of the State of Israel and Zionism should not be conflated with antisemitism. 

At Spark & Co., we have adopted the definition laid out in the Jerusalem Declaration of Antisemitism, signed by 350 Jewish scholars, activists, and lawyers. This definition was written in direct opposition to the International Remembrance of Holocaust Alliance (IHRA), which condemns any criticism of the State of Israel and its government as antisemitic. What the IHRA’s definition does is silence all Jewish people who speak out against the State of Israel and does not adequately protect Jewish people with opposing views. 

Practising anti-racism and anti-oppression means opposing apartheid and ethnic cleansing, being brave in times of conflict, and always speaking out for the most vulnerable in society. Right now, the most vulnerable are the people of Gaza and Palestinians, who are threatened to be completely wiped out by the Israel Defence Force (IDF).

The State of Israel is the tenth biggest weapons manufacturer in the world. Palestinian people are just civilians. Nothing can justify The State of Israel’s actions on the Palestinian people. They are not on an equal footing; this is not a conflict of equal power. The State of Israel is backed by the two biggest economic powers in the world against Palestinian civilians. 

History will judge us on how each and every one of us responds in this moment. If you are against colonialism, imperialism, and racism, then you should be standing against the violent oppression of Palestinians. If you believe that you would have fought alongside freedom fighters in South Africa and India and the Civil Rights movement in America, as well as protesting the colonisation of countries and continents alike, including Africa, Australia, America, Brazil, Canada and New Zealand, now is the time to raise your fist in solidarity with Palestinians, who are facing settler-colonial violence in real-time. 

Solidarity is a verb and demands that we take action, it demands that we speak up, amplify Palestinian voices, protest, and put our money where our mouths are by donating and doing everything in our power to call for a political and peaceful solution. 

Never again, means never again for anyone and everyone. 

Our hearts go out to all the civilians currently subjected to a violent war they never agreed to be part of. 

With love, rage and solidarity,

Spark & Co.

Further reading:

A History of Resistance: Palestine
How the UK Government Uses Communities to Scapegoat Responsibility