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Come Dine For Palestine

Come Dine For Palestine

Benefit for Palestine raises £1,000

The recent ‘Come Dine For Palestine’ benefit at the Concordia Hall raised much needed funds for the British charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). Laurie Holden of the Hastings and Rye branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) reports on the event.

What better way to raise funds for a charity that provides essential health services for Palestinians than to have an evening of Palestinian food and entertainment? Such was the interest in the event that tickets for our ‘Come Dine For Palestine’ evening sold out 10 days beforehand. Chair of the local PSC branch, Katy Colley said on the evening: “We’re here to celebrate Palestinian culture, to share and enjoy the food and music from the region, from a people who have been displaced and dispossessed for 70 years and face an ongoing catastrophe. We’re here to show our solidarity.”

A hundred people enjoyed the sit down dinner with a menu that included falaffel, labaneh, houmous, muskhan, maklouba, mujadara, tabbouleh and hilbeh cake. Many of these dishes and desserts have been cooked in Palestinian homes for hundreds of years. The meal was accompanied by traditional Arabic music played live by Alaa (oud and vocals) and Jamal (percussion). We had planned to bring in a dabke dance group, but we clearly didn’t need to as many in the audience got up for an impromptu dance of their own. At one point we had a part-conga part-dabke dance around the hall led by our chef!

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Alaa (oud and vocals) and Jamal (percussion)

Katy pointed out the long standing historic injustice suffered by the Palestinians for which Britain bears a great deal of responsibility. Today the UK Government approves arm sales and lends legitimacy to a regime which is in perpetual breach of international law.

She spoke of the people of Gaza who are collectively imprisoned by the illegal 12 year blockade, and of the Israeli attacks on the Great Return demonstrators, killing more than 300 with tens of thousands maimed. “UN investigators say the intentional targeting of peaceful civilians, of medics, children, journalists and the disabled may amount to war crimes.”

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Come Dine For Palestine

Katy described the excellent work MAP carries out in the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon, providing access to essential health services and building local knowledge and skills to address local health problems. This year alone, MAP has sent six limb reconstruction surgical missions to Gaza as well as providing essential equipment to give patients the best possible outcomes. But the lack of basic resources makes treating such injuries, especially those with gunshot wounds to the legs, incredibly difficult.

Alongside our solidarity work with the Palestinians in their fight for justice goes our support for the Palestinian-led BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement. So it was fitting that Councillor Leah Levane led the audience with a rousing version of ‘The Boycott Song.’

A raffle at the end of the evening was drawn by Hastings’ Deputy Mayor, James Bacon who said he found the whole evening ‘inspiring and uplifting.’ The event raised £1,000, bringing the total that we’ve sent to MAP since the Hastings and Rye branch was formed to £7,873.

The evening was such a success that we have been inundated with requests to organise another one next year. So we look forward to a bigger and better ‘Come Dine For Palestine’ in 2020!

Posted 08:19 Saturday, Sep 28, 2019 In: Campaigns

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