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Extraordinary Meeting Set for Gaza Discussion by SoA

by | Apr 4, 2024 | News

Society of Authors to Debate Gaza Statement

The UK’s Society of Authors (SoA) is embroiled in an internal row over whether to issue a statement on Gaza.  An Extraordinary General meeting has been called for 2 May to discuss a proposal from 66 members which reads: ‘The SoA condemns indiscriminate targeting of civilians and cultural infrastructure including churches, mosques, hospitals, schools, libraries and universities.  The SoA calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and for Israel to uphold its obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.’

The statement continues: ‘Writers at risk of harassment and obstruction while evacuating Gaza is of serious concern. This includes the case of Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha, a recipient of the American Book Award, who was arrested, imprisoned and beaten when crossing a checkpoint at the Rafah border, after receiving clearance for safe passage.

‘The SoA believes that the relative inertia of UK publishing at a time when Palestinian authors and publishing workers continue to suffer is not acceptable.  The SoA is also deeply concerned about the unprecedented levels of censorship and retribution that authors and publishing workers in the UK are facing in response to their solidarity with the Palestinian people.’

The SoA Management Committee responds: ‘We do not deny any members the right to their individual views. As individuals, we are all devastated by the loss of life, destruction and continuing conflict in Israel/Gaza. We all hope that a solution can be found very soon, and that peace can be brokered in the region. We appreciate the level of concern. anger, frustration and helplessness felt by our members in the face of such events.

‘While we mourn the shocking and tragic deaths of journalists, poets, and other media workers, these issues are more appropriately a matter for organisations such as the NUJ and PEN with a view to their wider roles. We would urge concerned members who have not done so already, to add their voices to support the campaigning of these organisations.’

 

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