Calling for free speech on Palestine
CADFA were very shocked to have our International Women’s Day room booking cancelled by Kentish Town Community Centre. They (note, not Camden Council) decided that there was a potential problem with one of our speakers – Baroness Jenny Tonge – who is a peer of the realm, already has a platform in the House of Lords! and who had been cleared by a House committee of a smear that had been made against her. At root, what had happened was pressure on Jenny and on us because we are talking about human rights in Palestine. We were appalled at the decision by Kentish Town Community Centre, mounted a petition against it and spoke to their Trustees, and remain outraged by their decision to cancel a positive, community event in response to smears whose intention was exactly that.
In the event, our event was lovely – here is a short video of some of the dabkeh dancing, by Huriyeh dabkeh troupe – Jenny Tonge’s speech was interesting and enjoyed by everyone. Musicians, cook, other contributors were all great and much appreciated by a full audience in the reconvened event, at St Pancras Church Hall.
We wrote to our local paper, attended Camden Council with a deputation, and will stand firm in calling for FREE SPEECH ON PALESTINE. We will have no dealings with hate speech of any kind, but we must (all) have the right to tell the truth and to call for decent treatment of all human beings.