Al-Arab in UK (AUK) held a seminar on the legal rights and obligations of those who support the Palestinian cause in Britain. The seminar featured two legal experts, Adnan Sabbah and Dania Akram, who discussed various topics related to British law and the Palestinian issue.
You don’t have to condemn Hamas, even if it is banned in Britain
Adnan Sabbah, a British lawyer of Palestinian origin, said that British law does not require citizens to condemn Hamas, even if it is classified as a terrorist group in Britain. He said that the law only prohibits engaging in or glorifying the activities of the banned group and that what is allowed or forbidden in British law is not very different from what is allowed or forbidden in everyday life.
You have the right to protest
Dania Akram, a legal adviser at the International Center for Justice for Palestine (ICJP), said that British law guarantees the right to protest and express one’s opinion, as long as it does not violate the law or harm others.
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She said that this was evident in the massive demonstrations that took place across the UK in support of the Palestinian cause and calling for a ceasefire. She also advised the protesters to avoid any conflicts with the police and to follow their instructions when asked to disperse or move to another location.
Most of the protesters who were arrested have been released
Akram also announced that the British police have released more than 90 per cent of the protesters who were arrested since the beginning of the demonstrations, due to the lack of evidence of their violation of the law. She said that this shows the peacefulness of the protesters and the integrity of the judiciary.
Sabbah also spoke about the dialogue with the police, saying that the protesters can refuse to answer the police’s questions about their personal views or their stance on any party, without being rude or disrespectful. He said that the police cannot use what the protesters say as evidence against them unless they are conducting an official investigation.
No law condemns the phrase “from the river to the sea”
In response to a question from the moderator about the phrase “from the river to the sea”, Sabbah said that there is no law that condemns this phrase and that it is a matter of political debate, not a legal one. He also confirmed the legality of raising the Palestinian flag in Britain, as the Arab Platform in Britain had previously explained.
Anti-Semitism is not the same as anti-Zionism
Akram also addressed the issue of anti-Semitism, explaining that this term refers to hatred or discrimination against Jews as a religious or ethnic group, not as a political one. She said that the protesters have distinguished between Judaism and Zionism and that many Jews have participated in the demonstrations in solidarity with Palestine.
The demonstrations in solidarity with Palestine continue in Britain
The seminar concluded by highlighting the increasing number of demonstrations in solidarity with Palestine in Britain, which have become a weekly routine every Saturday, in parallel with the demonstrations around the world to pressure the governments to stop the Israeli aggression and lift the siege on Gaza.
The seminar was the third in a series of seminars organized by the Arab Platform in Britain in the last week of every month, to raise the level of legal and cultural awareness among the Arab community in Britain.