MP Candidate Gordon Gregory: Israel has ‘no reason to stop occupying’

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A few days ago, I wrote to my MP Louise Haigh and Tory candidate Gordon Gregory, my potential MP representative in the constituency of Sheffield, Heeley, urging them to #VotePalestine and make sure Justice for Palestine is on their agenda.

“I am a Palestinian researcher and educator, born and bred in Jabalia Refugee Camp in northern the Gaza Strip which has turned uninhabitable according to the UN, due to an uninterrupted Israeli cycle of violence against the Palestinians that manifist more extremely in besieged Gaza,” I wrote introducing myself. “After years of feeling alienated by British establishment, for once I see hope with the policies that the latest labour manifesto supported, most importantly the UN-recognised right of return for Palestinian refugees and arms embargo on Israel. Justice for Palestine is an extremely important issue for not only me and my family who remain in Gaza at the receiving end of Israeli violence and British complicity, but many people in our constituency,” I emphasised before I asked them to participate in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s online survey.

The response of Gordon Gregory, the Tory candidate for Heeley, came as a shock, stating in one way or another that he wouldn’t represent me, but represent Israel’s systems of colonial occupation and apartheid. Using classic Zionist justifications for its collective punishment of a stateless people, systematically dehumanised and stripped of their basic rights, Gregory blatantly argued that Israel has “no reason to stop occupying.”

Here was his email to me:

Dear Shahd,
Thank you for your email,
I empathise with the suffering of the people in Palestine, I know people in my church who volunteer there, but I so not see and easy solution.  A two state solution is impossible when Hamas has a stated aim of the destruction of Israel, and whilst the leaders refuse to accept the existence Israel and continue to attack Israel, what is Israel to do?
If the violence from Palestine stopped then the Israel would have no reason to attack.  But whilst attacks are continuing and the existence of Israel is not accepted, they have no reason to stop occupying.
It is a difficult situation and horrible for the people involved,

Below is my response to Gregory’s email, which should also be in his inbox. I’m publishing it in fear of my words going unnoticed, following his outrageous response which basically declares that I’d penalised from his representation before government if he gets elected!

Dear Gordon,

Thanks for your response. However, although you started by a empathetic statement, the rest is really disappointing and contradictory. You exhibited a classical tactic of blaming the victim and normalising the unacceptable actions of an occupying power against a stateless population who are dispossessed, demeaned, dehumanised and incarcerated since 1948 Israel’s establishment on our ethnic cleansing, facilitated by the British. Your argument feeds into the normalisation of our unprecedented oppression, rationalised by Israel’s right to massacre and dispossess the Palestinians in the name of self-defence. This logic rather supports Israel’s right to oppression.

International law recognises the fundamental rights to self-determination, freedom and independence for the occupied, as well as the right to resist occupation, even through armed struggle if necessary. This applies to the Palestinians who are undergoing the longest standing colonial occupation of our modern history. Even if Palestinians were to “stop the violence” as you suggested and submitted to their enslavement and dehumanisation, Israel will never stop its uninterrupted violence which was devoted to break the Palestinians’ will for freedom and depress their aspirations for self-determination since its pre-state era, and Israel showed consistently and systematically ever since how it is willing to invest everything in its mighty power to do so.  It doesn’t take a genius to see who the underdog is, and that such an oppressive system, like South Africa Apartheid, is not sustainable.

How would you justify the illegal military occupation, constant harassment of Palestinians at military checkpoints and the Israeli consistent campaigns of house-demolitions and arbitrary detention? The brutal siege on Gaza, the systematic indiscriminate acts of “mowing the loan” in Israeli parlance as well as the brutal repression of Gaza’s Great March of Return peaceful protests? The ever expanding settlement project and the associated theft of land and ethnic cleansing campaigns (a flagrant violation of International Law and the 4th article of Geneva Conventions)? The systematic racist denial of Palestinian refugees to return to their dispossessed homes according to UN resolution 194 of 1949? Your response unfortunately jumped over too many details to conclude that Palestinians deserve Israeli occupation’s brutality for not passively taking it, which is a typical imperial and short-sighted analysis.

We’re on the verge of witnessing a humanitarian explosion in the besieged Gaza Strip, caused by 7 decades of colonial oppression and acts of collective punishments which is banned under International Law, and you loosely use Hamas’ Zionist card, Israel’s necessary bogyman, to justify Israeli crimes? I expect my MP representative to be more responsible than that. To your knowledge, Hamas was only founded in the late 1980s. Before that, Israel has always needed to demonise the Palestinian natives and manufacture justifications for its illegal and criminal practices dedicated to maintain its apartheid and settler-colonial structures at the expense of our erasure. If you ever humble yourself enough to put yourself in the place of a Palestinian child, punished from their cradle for their identity, you would realise that resistance to oppression is not only a natural response but also a duty.

Living under military occupation is something you will never understand as you were never at the receiving end of this uninterrupted aggression. In fact, Britain was historically the perpetrator of such colonial occupations. The aggression we endure now is Britain’s responsibility which started with 1917 Balfour Declaration which ignored Palestine’s indigenous population and continues to do so in other means whether by welcoming war criminals for official visits or continuing to license arms sales for Israel so they ‘battle-test’ them on us. It would only be logical that you correct what your country committed against us since 1917 but I understand how entrenched imperial and colonial thinking is, and it takes active unlearning and searching within one’s soul to be liberated from such attitudes.

As a refugee and a survivor of many Israeli systematic campaigns of mass murder and destruction, I don’t expect you to understand the colonised perspective but I appeal to your conscience to do the right thing when it comes to Palestine given its urgency! Stop Arming Israel. We want to live in a world where all lives matter and justice and equality prevails.



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Amazing how easily politicians ignore facts, eh?

Mr. Gregory’s Zionist “logic” in brief: Those women chained in the basement need to lie back and enjoy the ride. They have only themselves to blame if they lash out and, in response, are beaten.

Zionists are truly hateful and immoral people.

Shahd, you’ve written passionately and eloquently… it’s painful to read. I wonder about the impact on Gordon. Will he say, I hear your pain? Will he ask you to respond to the concerns he expressed? Will he agree you have the right to use violence to prevail upon the injustice, to right the wrong? If so will he agree it is prudent or constructive to exercise that right under current circumstances? Gordon has a superficial… Read more »

Mr. Gregory speaks for majority opinion in the UK, I think. Those who think like that also think that their opinions are common sense. Corbyn is being ground into the dust (it seems) because of he once – he has been very reticent in recent years – thought and spoke rather differently. This process reflects how most people think of the matter and of how powerful the accusation of anti-Semitism is. The ascription of good… Read more »

Attention, Gordon Gregory: Your inexcusable and gross ignorance of the causes and nature of the conflict between “Israel” and the native Palestinians is beyond words. Here’s just one example of the horrors Palestinians face under the brutal boot of Zionists: “The Systematic Torture of Palestinians in Israeli Detention” by Yara Hawari, Informed Comment, Dec. 5/19 EXCERPT: The recent case of Samer Arbeed highlighted once again the systematic use of torture against Palestinian detainees in… Read more »