Hugh Lanning, the deputy general secretary of PCS (the civil servants union in the UK) is one of the featured speakers at the ninth annual Al-Awda international convention to be held at the end of April in California.
Lanning is a well-known leader of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the UK, which has an ambivalent view of the question of whether a one-state or two-state solution is best for the Israelis and Palestinians. Some PSC leaders have claimed that the organization, despite its Hamas-inspired logo showing one state in the whole of Palestine, is actually for a two-state solution. The Al Awda logo (pictured to the right) also shows only one state, with a Palestinian flag, in place of Israel.
But there is no ambivalence regarding Al-Awda, an organization linked to pro-terrorist groups. The Anti-Defamation League in the USA has a whole section of its website devoted to Al-Awda which makes this abundantly clear.
The section on Al-Awda’s support for terrorism spans a decade and includes many examples. The organization writes:
One of the prominent themes at Al-Awda’s demonstrations has been support for terrorist groups. In addition to Hamas and Hezbollah flags and signs at public rallies, members and supporters of Al-Awda have legitimized violent resistance against Israel in articles published on pro-Palestinian Web sites and on listserve e-mail messages distributed by the group.
Other speakers at the conference include Ali Abunimah, a co-founder of the Electronic Intifada. Abunimah is the subject of a 12-page dossier prepared by the pro-Israel campaigners at StandWithUs which highlights his support for terrorism.
Al-Awda means ‘the return’ and the group is committed to the fight to allow all Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to Israel and reclaim their homes.
This an extremist view which has not been endorsed by Lanning’s union, nor by the British TUC.
Members of PCS have to ask themselves if they wish their union to be identified with such a group.