The making of a pro-Palestine Activist

How can supporters of the Palestinians get our message across at a time when access to the media and the political arena is becoming increasingly blocked? Since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party of Britain (the major opposition party), there has been a concerted, well organised campaign by Zionists, the right and the right wing of the Labour party, with the support of the mainstream media, to undermine Corbyn’s policy.

Thousands have been expelled and suspended from the Party using false allegations of anti-Semitism, including high profile politicians such as Ken Livingstone (the ex-mayor of London) and myself, until recently the vice chair of Momentum (the Corbyn supporting grassroots movement). For Jewish anti-Zionists, anti-racists and socialists such as myself and Moshé Machover (a well-known Israeli dissident) this modern day witch-hunt has been even more extraordinary.

As a response, I and my co-author Norman Thomas developed a one woman show, »The Lynching«, to engage with the personal as the political, to engage those people who turn away from the complexity of the debate and to access the emotions of the audience with what too often becomes a too theoretical narrative.

Using minimal props and a variety of voices, I take the audience from New York to the Caribbean, and finally to the UK to tell the story of my Jamaican mother and Russian Jewish father’s involvement in the American Civil Rights Movement, an engagement that made them targets for Senator McCarthy’s witch-hunt. History repeats itself – that becomes clear when we see the effects of the current version against anti-Zionist Jews in Britain.

The show has been received to wide acclaim, including by the British film director Ken Loach, and is now touring across the UK and further afield.

Jackie Walker
arrived from Jamaica in 1959, aged five, and was taken into Local Authority care in 1965. After gaining her first degree in English and Education at Goldsmiths College, London University, Jackie taught in schools, before becoming an Adviser Teacher in Equal Opportunities and Development Studies. In 1997 Jackie began a PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) researching the construction of Black British Caribbean identity in British literature and lectured in Higher Education and Further Education. In 2009, Jackie’s first book »Pilgrim State«, published by Hodder Headline, won the Association for Social Policy award for »Best Publication of 2009« for its innovative use of narrative and documentation. Jackie has been a political activist all her life, working with the Anti-Apartheid Movement, the Commission for Racial Equality and other anti-racist initiatives. More recently she has become a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Jewish Voice for Labour, the Palestine Support Committee and Free Speech on Israel.