These are the 9 candidates for election as Ordinary Members of the Executive Committee.
There are 8 places to be filled and voting for these posts will take place at the AGM on April 24th.
Iyas Al Qasem
A Palestinian from Nablus, I chair the active and collaborative Richmond and Kingston branch. I founded Hope and Play charity supporting thousands of traumatised Palestinian children and sit on an anti-racism NGO with UN consultative
status. In the EC, I chaired the planning group for this AGM, with the intent to make it our most inclusive, most broadly represented, and designed to closely align the work of our branch network, the PSC office and the EC so we can create a bigger impact. Professionally, I’ve built and led organisations from 2 people to 500, always effectively punching above our weight.
I have contributed hard work to the EC and to PSC over the last few years, including much volunteering. We set up East London branch in 2020 to widen our range of activity, and I remain its chair, a key activist and a supporter of the Big Ride.
Justice for Palestine is at the heart of my politics and I am keen to push forward the Apartheid Israel narrative, and to build further alliances with those who share our aim of defending and enlarging the spaces in which Palestinians and their supporters can speak about their persecution by Israel.
PSC has grown a lot in recent years, with more members, branches, affiliates, staff, and bigger campaigns. I’m proud to have contributed, as an EC member, to achieving that. I have particular experience and strengths in ‘back office’ governance issues, crucial to PSC continuing to grow into the mass solidarity movement demanding justice for the Palestinians that can win. I’m also a longstanding activist, member Lambeth and Wandsworth branch, active in BDS campaigns and building support in UNISON and LGBT+ communities. I was the co-claimant in PSC’s successful legal challenge over the rules on the Local Government Pension Scheme.
Since marching against the 2008-9 attacks on Gaza as a school student, I’ve been involved in Palestine solidarity campaigning, looking to PSC as the leading organisation here in Britain. At university, as chair of PalSoc for two years, I worked closely with Cambridge PSC, organising protests, talks and BDS campaigns together. Now I work for UCU in communications and political strategy. I believe that this experience can be an asset to the PSC EC, helping to build on its crucial work at this vital moment both for the solidarity movement, and in Palestine.
Over the last 10 years I have been active with the pro-Palestine student movement, organising events, helping to build BDS strategy, connecting Palsocs, and mobilising young activists. Arriving in Britain from Gaza in 2013, I saw firsthand PSC’s
important and long-established work in supporting Palestine, and was keen to be involved. I have been a member of the PSC Youth and Student Committee since its launch in 2018. I am also a member of the PSC West London branch and was last year elected to be on the EC. I hope to take forward this work in the coming year.
PSC Executive Committee Member. Campaigner on Palestine for more than 40 years. Author of book ‘The Balfour Declaration’. Regular speaker for PSC in schools, universities, PSC groups, Labour Party branches and trade unions. We must continue to focus on the rights of all Palestinians – West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, inside ‘48 Palestine, Refugee camps in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the diaspora. PSC must keep relentless pressure on British government and firms to end complicity in oppression of Palestinians. We must oppose vigorously Tory government moves, repeated within the Labour Party to attempt to silence those defending Palestinian rights.
Growing up, my Grandma – who was imprisoned for demonstrating against colonial rule in India – always told me that “we must do everything we can for the Palestinians, for their fight against colonialism is the same as ours.” When I was 16, she took me on PSC’s 2014 March for Gaza. Ever since, I have been heavily involved in campaigning for a Free Palestine – as a committed member of Oxford’s PSC branch, as a student organiser, and now as an NEU activist. I’ve organised local protests and Nakba day vigils, and worked with the successful campaign to twin Oxford with Ramallah.
I am Julia Simpkins, born in London, currently living in Bolton. A teacher all my life, recently retired. Still active in the National Education Unions International section, I’m vice chair of the Organising Forum. I first visited Palestine in 2017 on a delegation and have since set up a project bringing groups of children from Daar Al Fanoon centre to Bolton alternate years. Having been involved in organising the PSC AGM, realising I can attend meetings without traveling to London, I would enjoy being more involved with PSC nationally. As I am retired I have time and enthusiasm to spare.
As Chair of Newcastle PSC since 2009, I have been centrally involved in organising many demonstrations, conferences, fundraisers, campaigns and public meetings for Palestine in north-east England. I also have a long track record of organising in Stop the War Coalition and the anti-racist movement and am international solidarity officer in my National Education Union branch. I want to help PSC become the mass antiapartheid movement we need. Top priorities include a sustained and strategic focus on BDS campaigns, popularising the apartheid narrative and building alliances, especially with trade unions.