Long-term Brightonian human rights activist, Simon Levin, passed away on Friday 24th June, at the age of thirty-six. He spent much of his life fighting against injustice . Attending pickets during the miners’ strike when he was a young boy, Simon was then an active supporter of the Irish struggle against imperialism and, during the last decade, involved in action for Palestine and against the Iraq war.
Simon was from a Jewish background; his great grandparents were murdered at Auschwitz. This was one of the reasons that he joined the Palestinian struggle against Israeli apartheid. In 2004 Simon travelled to Palestine and spent months as an international volunteer in Balata refugee camp. During Israeli army incursions Simon provided an international presence designed to make people in the camp safer and support Palestinian resistance. In 2008 he led a delegation to the Jordan Valley and worked with Palestinians to establish Fasayil School, despite Israeli military orders that building was prohibited.
Involved in the Smash EDO campaign from the beginning, he was part of the first blockade of EDO in 2004 and fought against EDO’s planned injunction against protesters. Simon played a leading role in the decommissioning of the EDO factory in 2009 – and was with the others found not guilty of conspiracy to cause criminal damage on the basis that he had acted to prevent war crimes. His own experiences in Palestine were used as evidence. On hearing the verdict he said, “Considering that the whole point of this is that we have broken no law, hopefully it will set a precedent for the people of this country to realise that in a liberal democracy we are the checks and balances.”
Despite personal battles, Simon never gave up on the struggle for justice and the well-being of those lucky enough to count him as a friend.
One such friend said, “Simon was not only a dedicated activist in the name of liberty, against oppression in all its forms, but a sublimely passionate human being, whose eccentricities, eloquence and wild imagination will never be forgotten.”