Debbie's arsenal has a lot of weapons: the music of cabaret songs (which she sings, with her own anti-war lyrics), a visit to Israel and the occupied territories, where she has worked in the olive groves, and the poetry of University of Alaska professor, Linda McCarriston (set to my music).
In the May 12 episode, however, she was arrested at a bagel throwing incident:
The Israeli minister's visit had been kept quiet right up to the last minute, and no communique was to be issued after the talks. But on the Tuesday evening, hearing that he had been invited to a reception with heads of the Jewish National Fund (JNF),the main Zionist fundraising outfit, Jewish peace activists managed to trace the Hampstead venue and turn up to demonstrate. The JNF,described in the Guardian as a "humnitarian and environmental charity", was founded to assist Jewish settlement in Palestine, and been kept going since the Israeli state was established 61 years ago, not only as a means of raising funds but because it could exclude Arab farmers and workers from its land, and eradicate trace of former villages, while the State and governments denied official discrimination. Lieberman would be less hypocritical. But Gordon Brown meanwhile is a registered patron of the JNF,which is a registered British charity.
As guests arrived at the home of JNF chairman Samuel Hayek, some demonstrators threw bagels (stale I hope) at them. Protesters denounced Lieberman as a racist, and compared him with the fascist BNP. Lieberman’s security guards delayed his arrival until the demonstration had been dispersed by police.
Demonstrators who refused to move away sat down, but police waded in and forcibly dragged them away. Debbie Fink, who had remained standing with the banner of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods was arrested, and taken away in handcuffs. Debbie, an operatic singer and music teacher was held overnight at Holborn police station, before being released on bail. I understand she may be charged with assaulting two police officers.
She was charged with assaulting one of them. On October 6th, Debbie was exonerated:
A Jewish peace activist was today found not guilty of using threatening and abusive words and behaviour and of assaulting a police officer.
Deborah Fink, a founder of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods was arrested on May 12th while protesting against the visit of Avigdor Lieberman, the right wing former nightclub bouncer, now foreign minister of Israel.
About 15 mainly Jewish protesters, between the ages of 25 and 70, had gathered outside a house in a residential street in South Hampstead where Lieberman was due to attend a garden party organised by the Jewish National Fund. Claiming that the demonstration posed a security risk, police officers demanded that the protestors move. When they refused, the police lifted and dragged protestors to a cordoned area largely out of sight of the venue.
Fink was vocal in her objections and put up a strong physical resistance when the police tried to move her, whereupon she was arrested. Fink, who is 5 foot 3, was later accused of assaulting one of the 6 foot tall officers.
However, dismissing the charges, District Judge Baker ruled that in the circumstances, the police had no power to require the protestors to move and certainly not to move them by force. The demonstrators were protesting peacefully and posed no threat to public order. They had taken advantage of Mr Lieberman’s visit to express their support for Palestinian human rights and disapproval of events in Gaza but had not sought to stop anyone from attending the garden party. In preventing Fink and her fellow protestors from exercising their fundamental right to protest, the police had not been acting in the execution of their duty.
Deborah has been singing parts of my cantata, The Skies are Weeping, to raise money to rebuild the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza. It was destroyed, along with every other Gaza hospital, in Operation Cast Lead last winter. Although materials for rebuilding of this Christian hospital have been procured, the Israelis are not letting them into Gaza.
At those fundraisers, Deborah has sung the song I set to this poem by Linda McCarriston:
God the Synecdote in His Holy Land i.m. Rachel Corrie
Around you the father gods war. This
Father. That father. The other father.
What more dangerous place could
A woman stand, upright, than on that sand, as if
She were still antiphon to that voice, the other
Mind of that power. The very idea!
Crush her back in to her mother!
Crush her. Crush her. Consensus. War.
Here is a recording of Deborah Fink singing the song.