On Saturday 19th June 2010, the Annual General Meeting of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) elected Freda Hughes as its new Chairperson. Ms Hughes, a teacher from Dublin, takes over the role from Dr David Landy, who remains on the National Committee as National Organiser and Vice-Chair.
Ms Hughes is a long time Palestinian Solidarity activist in Ireland with both the IPSC and the Free Gaza Movement. She has been on the IPSC National Committee since 2008. Since then she has been the National Events Coordinator and has been an official Spokesperson for the campaign. Ms. Hughes is a teacher and educational researcher, who is currently studying for a Masters' in Interculturalism in education. In 2008 she travelled to Palestine for the first time.
Speaking after her election, Ms Hughes said: “The IPSC remains committed to an all-inclusive holistic approach to Palestinian solidarity work in this country. The people of Palestine remain steadfast in their opposition to Zionism, as do we. We should not accept the false logic that Palestinians are merely victims incapable of determining their own future. Israel’s so-called partial lifting of the blockade of Gaza is an attempt to reinforce this stereotype, but the IPSC – just like the people of Palestine – will not rest until the siege of Gaza is lifted in its entirety. We demand an autonomous sea port for Gaza so that it can have unfettered access to the international community; the people of Gaza must be able to export goods and rebuild on their own terms.”
Following the AGM there was a public meeting which saw representative from the Irish, Scottish and English Palestine Solidarity Campaigns make a unified call for an intensification of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
Kamel Hawwash, Vice-Chair of the English PSC said: “We need to increase the cost of the occupation for Israel, and the international BDS campaign is the best way that we can support the Palestinian struggle.”
Mick Napier, Chairperson of the Scottish PSC said: “I am convinced that the attack on the Flotilla is the tipping point for BDS. The general public, wherever I go, seem to be convinced that Israel is now beyond the pale. People I never would have expected are now boycotting Israeli products, while in the aftermath of the Flotilla, Israel’s vocal defenders seem to have gone mute. It is an astonishing turn of events and to be wholeheartedly welcomed. I believe Palestine will be free in our lifetime and that BDS is the sharp edge of the solidarity movement that will help bring it about”
Concluding the meeting, Freda Hughes of the IPSC said: “We will continue to campaign for an end to Israeli Apartheid and the occupation of Palestine, which are symptoms of Zionism’s colonial ideology. We must build on the momentum that was generated in the aftermath of the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, and the IPSC will be to the forefront of the BDS campaign.”