A human rights group has been formed in order to campaign against the apartheid system enforced by the Israeli government on Palestinians.
Adam Hurst, 65, is a spokesman for Sheffield based Jews Against Israeli Apartheid and has been active in the Labour party since 1979. His interest in Palestine goes back to 1975. He worked in a Kibbutz in Israel when he was 17-years-old. 
The Sabra and Shatila massacres
Adam said: "Initially I wasn't anti-Israel or anti-Zionist. I knew I didn't want to be conscripted into the Israeli army for three years.

"I didn't have strong views one way or another. It wasn't until 1982 that I became an anti-Zionist after the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) did nothing while massacres happened in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon.
"I wasn't at all religious. However, on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), I was invited to a synagogue where the Rabbi made excuses for the IDF inaction during the massacre. 

"This went against everything I had been bought up to believe about Judaism. I am still a member of a reform synagogue in Sheffield and am a member of Jewish Voice for Labour. JVL was set up in opposition to the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel.
"The Jewish voice is not uniform. All Jews don't unconditionally support Israel and not all Jewish people are Zionists. In history, until 1945 most Jews were not Zionists. 
"I went to Palestine in 2017 with Sheffield Labour Friends of Palestine. It was a fascinating trip. Following my return I and another Jewish member of Sheffield Labour Friends of Palestine decided to set up an organisation initially called Sheffield Alternative Jewish Voices to challenge the idea that all Jews support Zionism and the belief that all Jews hold the same views.”
Adam believes promoting the view that all Jews speak with the same voice on issues related to Israel and Zionism is in itself quite antisemitic. Sheffield Alternative Jewish Voices is now called Jews Against Israeli Apartheid.
Adam said: "If you look at the state of Israel there is a lot of discrimination. For example, the issue of the Palestinian right of return.

"Since I am Jewish I have the automatic right to citizenship in Israel although I am married to a non-Jew and my children aren't Jewish. If I have grand-children they will also have automatic citizenship in Israel.
"If you're a descendent of a Palestinian refugee you don't have that right. Also, if I decided to move to Israel I could still keep my British nationality as I am entitled to dual nationality because Israel wants as many Jews as possible to live there in order to ensure the Jewish population in Israel remains a majority.

"These immigration laws treat Jews very different to Palestinians.
"Most of the land in Israel is owned by the state and is available for Jewish development. There is a marked difference in how Arab and Jewish schools are funded. The Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank controls only about 30% of the land, most of which is under Israeli military occupation. Israel also controls the water supply.”
Occupied territories today
Adam says Palestinians in the West Bank can't even move around freely.

"They are forced to travel on separate roads and live in separate areas to Jews. Undoubtedly these are features of an Apartheid state.” 
“Israel has never shown any intention of allowing the Palestinians to have full sovereignty. Israel has its own army but the PA does not. Israel controls who goes in and who goes out. In occupied East Jerusalem there are 350,000 people who don't have basic citizenship rights."
There are about 500,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank where Hamas has no power. Since the October 7 attacks 182 Palestinians have been killed by settlers and the IDF and nearly 1,000 people have been forced out of their villages.
He continued: "The Western world supports Israel unconditionally and allows it to do things other countries wouldn't dare to do. I feel this is due to Western business interests who see Israel as a European enclave in the Eastern Mediterranean."
Adam believes there should be one democratic liberal state in Palestine/Israel 'which guarantees full rights to all ethnic groups.' And also security for people who were born in the country whether Jewish or otherwise is absolutely essential. More discussion is needed about the 'Palestinian right of return.'
He said: "We have a core group of eight activists in our organisation.

"We have already held a few events and hope to increase the number of members whether we do it by working with other groups or on our own.

"Our aim is to ensure that criticism of Israel or Zionism is not conflated with antisemitism and that both Jews and non-Jews can have a calm discussion about the entire Middle East question without prejudice.
"If you look at history, when Zionism first started, orthodox Jews absolutely hated it. It was only after the horrors of the Holocaust that Zionism became popular."
Anti-Zionism is not Antisemitism 
Adam said: "Antisemitism is racism, it is disliking someone for being Jewish and ascribing certain characteristics to all Jews. For example, the myth that all Jews stick together.
"Anti Zionism however, is to question whether Jews have the right to occupy a land that has been taken off another group of people without compensating them or allowing them to return to their ancestral homeland.
"Most people in the UK feel that Jews should have their own state because of what they went through during the Holocaust. However, some have accused Israel of “war crimes” in its campaign against Hamas during which, over 4,000 Palestinian children have been killed. 
“Hospitals and mosques have been bombed along with a refugee camp.”
One state or two state solution?
Adam said: "If you get rid of Hamas you will end up with something worse.

"For a two- state solution to be viable there must be tangible steps towards achieving this with the first step being for Israel to stop allowing the development of illegal settlements in the occupied territories, dismantle current settlements in the West Bank and relocating settlers back to Israel.
"My preferred solution however, would be to set up one state - a multi ethnic state. Everyone would have the same rights and obligations including anyone born in Israel whether Jewish, Muslim or Christian or those who were brought into the country by their parents as a child.
"Most Jewish people in Israel were born there so there must be a guarantee of safety for them. It doesn't bother me if there isn't a Jewish majority in a unified state provided there is a guarantee of full equality of citizenship and national rights to all those living there. This is the view held by our organisation.”
The Situation in Gaza
Due to indiscriminate Israeli bombardment, people in Palestine are turning to groups such as Hamas. Many Palestinians see the group as a resistance force. In fact, Hamas was voted into power in the Gaza Strip in 2006.
Jews Against Israeli Apartheid “condemn” the actions of Hamas on October 7. However, Adam says that the Israeli response has been completely disproportionate and that the forced removal of Palestinians from one part  of Gaza to another is also “wholly unacceptable.”

According to most international analysts, Gaza is to all intents and purposes under Israeli occupation and as such, there can be no long-term solution to the current conflict without recognising that Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem needs to end.

'A genocidal Apartheid ideology'

Alan Deadman, 76, is the chair of Jews Against Israeli Apartheid.

He said: "I oppose Zionism because it has become a genocidal Apartheid ideology. When I was much younger I was led to believe that the indigenous Palestinians left their land of their own accord in 1948 only to learn later that they were actually forced out by the Zionist forces resulting in the Nakba. 

The Nakba is Arabic for 'catastrophe' when 750,000 Palestinians were terrorised and expelled from their land by Zionist militias.

"History that was embargoed has come to light. We hope to carry on demonstrating and having conversations with Zionists and pro-Israeli groups.” 

"We emphasise that criticism of Israel is not necessarily antisemitism. Our first event was a book launch where we hosted the author Tony Lerman. 70 people attended the event. Lerman's book is about how Israel takes any criticism on an international level as antisemitism. 

"In another event we showed a film titled 'The Big Lie' about Jeremy Corbyn and how he was destroyed by accusations of being an anti-Semite. About 100,000 people have viewed it across the country.”