Palestine: Eurovision Marred by 71 Years of Al Nakba

Palestine: Eurovision Marred by 71 Years of Al Nakba

20-05-2019:  This year, the annual Eurovision song contest coincides with the 71st anniversary of Al Nakba (The Catastrophe), when 750 000 Palestinians were expelled from their lands in 1948 to enable the violent founding of the colonial setter state which became Israel. The awarding of Eurovision to Israel took place after the Israeli entrant Netta Barzilai won the contest in 2018. Yet the suffering of Palestinians living in the occupied territories of West Bank and Gaza continues.

Just a few weeks before the Eurovision song contest took place in Tel Aviv, the Western media dishonestly claimed that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) were carrying out missile strikes on Gaza “in response” to rocket attacks from Hamas, the Islamic Palestinian resistance organisation. In fact, the IDF has relentlessly been pounding Gaza for months without response from Hamas. IDF strikes have reportedly caused the death of 20 Palestinians so far this year, many while taking part in the weekly Friday protests against the suffocating blockade of Gaza.[1] In other words, the IDF repeatedly strikes Gaza, causing fatalities – and the Palestinians continue their protests regardless. When Hamas finally relents, and fires off rounds of rockets into Israel – most of which are shot down by the “Iron Dome” Israeli defence system – the Western media hypocritically paint Palestine as the aggressor. They routinely claim that the Israeli state is only “responding” to the rocket attacks,[2] when in fact it has goaded and provoked Palestine until they can take no more.

BDS calls for a boycott of Eurovision

For some time, the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has called for a boycott of this year’s Eurovision song contest purely because it is taking place in Israel. While BDS campaigners are correct to highlight the grinding oppression of Palestinians carried out by the Israeli state, calling for a boycott of Israel with regards to Eurovision begs a few questions. For example, in which other European country should the Eurovision song contest take place? In the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands or Denmark?  Or how about Australia, now that Australia is a competitor in Eurovision? The governments of the UK, France, the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia all took part in the criminal proxy imperialist war on Syria, carrying out air strikes “against” ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria.[3] In reality, they were aiding and abetting the barbaric death squads armed and funded by the US[4] and Israel.[5]

In an instant, it is plain to see that the Israeli state is not the only European state which carries out war crimes against innocent people. Yet many BDS advocates were virtually silent during the entire imperialist war on Syria, even when Israel’s role in it became known – and after Israel’s repeated missile strikes on Syria. As recently as April this year, the IDF reportedly struck the Syrian town of Masyaf in the province of Hama, wounding 6 soldiers.[6] For all of the bluster from BDS advocates, they tend to operate as if Palestine exists in a vortex, unrelated to the Middle East and world politics. No one is louder in their condemnation of “Israel”, and yet no one is more silent than when Israel bombs anyone else apart from Palestinians, e.g. next door neighbor Syria.

With a few exceptions, another glaring incongruity BDS advocates display is their hostility to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Zionist Israeli state regards Iran as a bitter enemy, and most BDS advocates echo this position, no matter how many times they throw up their hands in horror at “Israel”. Iran is also currently being threatened, yet again, by Washington without all out nuclear war. Despite Iran’s assistance to Palestinian resistance groups, many BDS advocates are the first ones to call for “regime change”, i.e. imperialist war by another name, in Iran. They don’t appear to be aware of a contradiction.

Imperialist backing of the Zionist Israeli state

BDS advocates are also largely silent on the real source of the Zionist Israeli state’s lifeline – US imperialism. Whole rallies and demonstrations can take place organised by BDS supporters, and not once is the Pentagon or the US state named. However, without military and financial backing from the US state, the Israeli state would arguably collapse within six months. Yet BDS does not call for a boycott of the US, only “Israel”. Before Marxists can advise workers to take part in any international campaign, it must first demonstrate that it stands in opposition to the interests of US imperialism. Unfortunately, BDS does not pass this first marker. Instead, BDS attempts to work with and alongside imperialist governments, by lobbying them to apply sanctions (the “S” in BDS) on Israel.

In practice, BDS attempts to paint “Israel” as a state which is wrong in a moral sense. However, there are no morals which workers and capitalists share in common, and certainly no morals which oppressed Palestinians share with the US state department. We do not at all deny that the state of Israel came into being through a murderous expulsion and ongoing occupation of the original inhabitants. Yet this is what also occurred for the colonial settler states of Australia, New Zealand and even the United States itself. If they were consistent, BDS advocates would call for a boycott of all colonial settler states.

While we would defend BDS advocates against repression from the right, at the same time we urge them to strive for consistency in a world threatened by US imperialism. We recognise that the suffering of the Palestinians is unbearable. But to defend Palestine, working people around the world must oppose the very real threat that the economic crisis of world capitalism produces – unending imperialist wars launched by Washington and all of its allies. To definitively defend Palestine, BDS advocates must also defend Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Algeria, Sudan, Russia, China and the DPRK against the nefarious ends of the Pentagon. International socialism, through a series of workers’ revolutions in the imperialist centres, is ultimately the only guarantee against world war. Likewise, Palestinian liberation is bound up with the overthrow of capitalism in its region, which necessitates the joint efforts of Israeli and Palestinian workers. Ridding workers of capitalism and imperialist war is a single task, in Palestine no less than in Australia. BDS advocates must decide where they stand.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

E:workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

 

 

[1] https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/israel-continually-strikes-gaza-and-hamas-hasnt-fired-back/ (20-05-2019)

[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-48160098 (20-05-2019)

[3] https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161206-denmarks-decision-to-withdraw-from-airstrikes-on-syria-and-iraq/ (20-05-2019)

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/03/us-isis-syria-iraq (20-05-2019)

[5] https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-chief-acknowledges-long-claimed-weapons-supply-to-syrian-rebels/ (20-05-2019)

[6] https://www.israelhayom.com/2019/04/14/syria-says-israeli-airstrike-on-military-position-wounds-6/ (20-05-2019)

USA/Australia: Hands Off Palestine!

In May this year, the US government opened its embassy in Jerusalem. The same day, Israeli Defence Forces shot dead 58 Palestinians as they protested near the border with Gaza. Photo from http://www.reuters.com

USA/Australia: Hands Off Palestine!
19-10-2018 – As if the Australian government could not be any more craven to the masters of the US Empire, Liberal Party Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week publicly floated the idea that his government would follow the lead of the US Donald Trump administration and move its embassy from the Israeli capital Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This would also entail recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.[1] The opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem in May this year was birthed with the blood of 58 Palestinians who were shot dead by the Israeli Defence Force, who were apparently given orders of shoot to kill to prevent a protest march in Gaza from breaching the border. Around 2000 were also wounded, after being hit by live-fire bullets.[2] One wonders if the Australian government was hoping for a similar massacre to christen the opening of its embassy in Jerusalem.

The Beast lashes out after defeat in Syria

Some speculation has it that Prime Minister Morrison’s thought bubble was a desperate ploy to secure votes ahead of the coming by-election in the seat of Wentworth, vacated by dumped former PM Malcolm Turnbull. The Liberal Party’s candidate, Dave Sharma, is a former Ambassador to Israel. This may well have been part of the reason, but world geo-politics following the US Empire’s war on Syria plays the dominant hand. From 2011 onwards, the US Empire waged arguably the most atrocious proxy war in history upon the Syrian Arab Republic, in a not so subtle war of regime change. The plans of the US ruling class for regime change in Syria did not by any means begin in 2011, but go way back to at least the 1980s.[3] But this time, the US government, which has routinely overthrown states in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia over 70 years, was stopped in its tracks. Incredible heroism was shown by the Syrian Arab Army, and they were joined by the resistance fighters of the Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian armed forces. Decisive, though, was the intervention of Russia, which followed through on a request from the Syrian government. Russia’s far superior air power dealt crippling blows to ISIS, Al Qaeda and all of the mercenary death squads which had been armed, trained, funded or otherwise assisted by, at least, the governments of the US, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Canada, Denmark and Australia. Recently, the Israeli government finally admitted that it too had armed the anti-government barbarians in Syria.[4]

Donald Trump was partially elected as President on the promise that the US would no longer be involved in the regime change wars, such as those in Libya and Syria. Despite fury from the CIA Democrats, Trump has more or less wound up former President Obama’s regime change plans for Syria. But the writing was well and truly on the wall in any case – Russia effectively liberated Syria from ISIS.

Nationalism is no way forward

Many supporters of Palestine, and some left parties, ply the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in their efforts to end the suffering of Palestinians. Yet PM Morrison’s actions this week should serve as a warning sign as to how misguided are nonetheless well intentioned BDS supporters. The “Sanctions” part of BDS calls on national governments to apply sanctions on Israel until some of the just demands of the Palestinians are met. Working people should not be attempting to win over the same governments that have recently committed the outrageous provocation of shifting embassies to Jerusalem, to the cause of Palestinian liberation. These governments are part and parcel of states which are class enemies of working people, and oppressed nationalities such as Palestine. They cannot be won over because they are an integral cog of capitalist imperialism. Any attempt to win them over feeds the already vast illusions that no matter what “mistakes” these governments make, at the end of the day they are “our” representatives. Little could be further from the truth.

The governments that the BDS movement wills to apply sanctions on Israel are the very same ones which uphold the Zionist Israeli state. This contradiction comes about because often the nationalism of the oppressed nation can only really be recognised by the powerful (imperialist) nations. BDS is ultimately one wing of Palestinian nationalism. Others include the nationalism of the almost universally rejected Palestinian Authority, which functions as little more than a Zionist/US deputy policing Palestinians. Another is the Islamist nationalism of Hamas, which treacherously backed the overthrow of neighbouring Syria by sectarian cutthroats armed by the West, as well as the Israeli government.

Any nationalism trapped within the framework of capitalism will not be able to solve its first tasks. Palestine can only be freed alongside the millions strong Israeli working class – the overwhelming majority of whom do not at all back the Zionist policies of predatory aggression towards the Palestinians. What is required is to unite Palestinian and Israeli workers through the struggle for a bi-national Arab/Hebrew workers state. In other words, the just cause of the national rights of the Palestinians can only be finally won through a victorious socialist revolution.

Even before such a revolution is won, working people internationally who defend Palestine can only be effective in doing so by consistently and stridently opposing all facets of imperialism – not by seeking to work with it, as per the BDS campaign. This means opposing all wars being waged or being threatened by the Zionist Israeli state’s guarantor – the US. War against Syria, Iran, Russia, China, the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Venezuela – all of these must be opposed with equal vigour – if one is to be genuine about the liberation of Palestine. Key to this outlook is the forging of Marxist vanguard parties, which seek to light the way from the horrors of war to the beacon of socialism.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  BOX  66    NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-16/australia-could-move-embassy-to-jerusalem/10379602 (17-10-18)

[2] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/jerusalem-us-embassy-opens-live-updates-israel-gaza-strip-protests-trump-kushner-latest-a8350501.html (17-10-18)

[3] https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/the-us-empire-has-been-trying-to-regime-change-syria-since-long-before-2011-40d4e6648d54 (17-08-18)

[4] https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201809051067754662-Israel-Guns-Anti-Government-Extremists-Syria/ (17-08-18)

Free Ahed Tamimi! For Palestinian Liberation!

Free Ahed Tamimi! For Palestinian Liberation!

Cartoon depicting Ahed Tamimi over an Israeli Defence Force soldier. Image from http://www.islam21c.com

09-03-2018 – The video footage went viral. A young 16 year old Palestinian woman, Ahed Tamimi, slapping an Israeli soldier as they were invading her family home. The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) was yet again attempting to terrorise all Palestinians into submitting to the gross injustice of the Israeli state occupation. Ahed Tamimi and her family live in the village of Nabi Salih in the occupied West Bank. Some reports claim that the slapping incident took place just an hour after Ahed learned that her cousin, Mohammed Tamimi, had been shot in the head by the IDF.[1] Her cousin is just one of the many teenagers who take part in regular protests against the Israeli occupation forces, who frequently invade and threaten any Palestinian who resists, and many who do not. Shootings, being thrown in arbitrary detention to be faced by a military (not civilian) court, checkpoints, physical and verbal harassment and much worse are a daily experience for Palestinians under occupation. These collective crimes, and much worse, against the Palestinian people have continued almost without a pause since 1948, when the state of Israel was established on the forcible expulsion of the Arabic people of the region.

Needless to say, no damage was caused to the slapped soldier, save perhaps some pride. The real impact that Ahed’s actions had were that, despite the massive imbalance of power, the occupying Israeli armed forces were shown to be humiliated by an unarmed young Palestinian woman. The power of world public opinion turned sharply against the Zionist Israeli state yet again. The result was that the Israeli state charged Ahed herself, on ridiculous grounds such as “assault” (of a heavily armed soldier) and now faces arbitrary detention like many other Palestinian children and young people. One estimate has it that 375 Palestinians between the ages of 12 and 17 were under Israeli military detention in 2016, often for the charge of stone throwing.[2]  That children risk their lives daily in an attempt to somehow ward off the fourth strongest military in the world is testimony to incredible bravery the Palestinians constantly display.

US wars of regime change

Ahed Tamimi’s brave actions followed soon after US President Donald Trump’s announcement last December that Jerusalem will be recognised as the capital of Israel – or at least by his administration. This has actually been US government policy for decades, including under the previous Obama administration, but President Trump has only been the first to state it openly. As reactionary as Donald Trump’s actions are towards Palestine, he has been an inconsistent applicant of usual US designs. Trump campaigned on withdrawing the US from the war of regime change on Syria before becoming President. After being elected, he backflipped on this as much as on any issue. Nevertheless, Trump’s lack of total support for regime change in Syria dovetailed with the heroic defence of the Syrian Arab Army, backed by the military power of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. The result was that US imperialism and their allies suffered an ignominious defeat in Syria, even if the war is still smouldering.

Given that the Zionist Israeli state was one of the principal allies of the US in sustaining its catastrophic war on Syria, one would assume that Palestinians themselves and their international supporters would be the strongest opponents of the violent overthrow of a direct neighbour of Palestine by Saudi Arabian armed ISIS and Al Qaeda barbarians. Wouldn’t these perpetrators of unspeakable atrocities – some of whom were injured and then treated for free in Israeli hospitals[3] – turn their guns, or their beheading swords, against Palestine after Syria? Wouldn’t the Western Palestinian solidarity movement – if they truly opposed the Israeli state – vehemently protest Israeli air strikes in support of ISIS, and repeated Israeli air strikes on Syria?[4] Unfortunately, if one assumed this, one would be wrong.

With some important exceptions, much of the Western Palestinian solidarity movement was either silent, or actually gave material and political support to the US/Israeli war of regime change on Syria. Tragically, Palestinians themselves were divided on the “war next door”. In effect, Hamas treacherously backed its arch enemy Israel against Syria, while on the other hand some Palestinian militias fought heroically alongside the anti-imperialist coalition (Russia, Iran, Hezbollah) defending Syria. These Palestinian militias, which include the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, Liwa Al-Quds and Quwat Al-Jalil[5], fought against imperialist war – the right side of history. In the process, they exposed the shaky politics of large parts of the Western Palestinian solidarity movement.

BDS ?

The direct lesson is that the defence of Palestine is impossible without strident opposition to imperialism. It is imperialism, led by the US, but assisted by Britain, France, Australia and others, which sustains the Zionist Israeli state. Without the financial, military and political backing of US imperialism, Israel would not be a shadow of itself, and a secure Palestine would be closer to reality. Which brings us to the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement. With notable exceptions, international advocates of BDS and backers of the imperialist war on Syria largely coincided. There are important reasons for this.

BDS is an attempt to garner world opinion against “Israel”, in order to thereby free “Palestine”. Marxists however, recognise no nation as a unified whole, but an assemblage of classes. The BDS movement implicitly has a classless analysis of both Israel and Palestine, and this is then extended onto the world stage. The BDS movement therefore seeks any ally of any class who can be convinced to take any action against Israel. Though they welcome working class support, in effect who they really try to win to their cause are capitalist corporations (“divestment”) and capitalist governments (“sanctions”). BDS advocates are thus literally, and in practice, appealing to imperialism itself – as if imperialism can and should be your ally in a political campaign. Even the “boycott” part is aimed at workers as consumers, not as workers. It assumes that the whole set up of capitalism – and ultimately imperialism – is the natural order of things, and the most we can do is to choose not to shop for certain consumer goods. It was also in the natural order of things for imperialism to wage war against Syria, which many BDS advocates did not oppose, or openly supported. And so the circle closes.

BDS is in practice a moral position, rather than a political one. BDS effectively claims that Israel is uniquely immoral, that its continued occupation of Palestine contains so many crimes that it has no parallel on the planet. Anyone who questions this likewise brings their own morality into question. Yet there are no moral absolutes for those with a basic class struggle perspective. The morality of a worker who toils endlessly for enough to live on cannot be compared to the morality of billionaire financiers who bleed society white in order to purchase another seaside mansion. To be sure, the crimes of the Israeli state against the Palestinians are heinous and abhorrent, and are ongoing. But the nature and scale of these crimes, as repulsive as they are, scarcely reach, let alone exceed, the crimes of its benefactor – the US Empire. The historical colonialist records of Britain, France, Belgium, Spain and indeed Australia – contain abominations at least equal, and sometimes worse – than those committed by the Zionist Israeli state.

Diverse but unequal

There is no denying the manifest crimes against humanity deployed daily by this Zionist state – the detention and likely incarceration of Ahed Tamimi is yet another one. The point, however, is that these are crimes of the capitalist state of Israel, not Israel itself. Israeli, Jew and Zionist are three different entities. Only 75.5% of Israelis are Jewish, and 1% of these are Ethiopian Jews. The religious views and practices of the Israeli Jews cannot at all be lumped together either. Only 7% of Jews are Ultra-Orthodox, while 15% are Orthodox, 32% are ‘traditional’ – but the largest majority of Israeli Jews identify as secular.[6] Arabs make up 20.2% of the overall population of 8.45 million, and another 4.3% comprises minority groups such as non-Arab Christians and Circassians.[7] That is, around 25% of the population of Israel are not Jewish at all, let alone Zionists.

Given these brief statistics, one can already start to see the problems with a boycott of the whole of Israel. But it goes much further. Israel is one of the most unequal countries on Earth. Roughly 20% of Israelis live below the poverty line, with the poverty line declared as less than 50% of the median disposable income. Of the 34 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development) countries – the world club of rich countries – Israel is close to the one which sustains the most inequality.[8] Ironically, Israel runs a close second to the US in terms of inequality. Its gross average annual earnings of full time employees sits below the US at just $28, 817, compared to a $40, 060 average for the rest of the OECD.[9]

Housing affordability – a major issue in Australia where young people are basically priced out of the market – is similarly a huge issue in Israel. In 2011, there were massive “Occupy” style protests in Israel specifically targeting the high cost of housing. In fact the scale of these protests dwarfed the Western Occupy protests at that time. One report stated that in Israel between 2007 and 2015, house prices increased by 114%, and rents by 49%, making housing almost unattainable for young people.[10] There is now the phenomenon of young Israelis leaving the country due to the high cost of housing!

Situational irony

We could go on, but just a glance at figures such as these show that there is huge scope for the workers movement to attempt to reach out to Israeli working class to ally with them against capitalism in their backyard, and abroad. Yet the BDS movement could very well set up a scenario of situational irony. That is, the BDS movement could have the opposite effect of what was intended. Rather than the BDS movement somehow turning Israelis against their own state, a boycott and sanctions effort often tends to drive the inhabitants of that state further behind it, in the manner of bunkering down against a siege. For example, when Iraq under Saddam Hussein was sanctioned by the West before its invasion, Iraqis rallied behind Hussein despite whatever crimes he committed previously against Iraqis. In a similar way, Syrians who were ambivalent towards, or even opposed, President Bashar Al-Assad before the US/Israeli led war against their country, soon rallied behind their leader when it became apparent he was leading an anti-imperialist defence of their secular state. BDS, despite its aims, arguably creates more Zionists rather than undermines them.

Most BDS advocates see themselves as left-wing and pro-worker, and BDS is backed by some socialist parties. These groups recognise instantly that inside a workplace, if anyone sides with the boss against the workers, it is an act of utter class betrayal, to be resolutely condemned. Yet they struggle to apply this correct principal outside the workplace, nor internationally. For example, BDS advocates try to unite the world against Israel. But “uniting the world” in practice means working with the political – and corporate – leaderships of the world states who are inveigled to boycott Israel. A worker in one factory who advocated joint efforts with employers of other factories against his own would be laughed out of any Union meeting.  Yet BDS advocates don’t see the contradiction in calling on the very imperialist states and corporations they usually campaign against – to join with them against the “evil” Israel.

Rather than a cross-class, imperialist friendly movement for Palestinian liberation, what is needed is a pro-working class, anti-imperialist movement. Rather than uniting with class enemies who claim to stand for Palestine (the Labor Party, corporations, capitalist governments, imperialist powers), what is required is to unite all those who recognise that class enemies cannot be allies in any way, despite whatever “progressive” language they may throw up from time to time. Palestinian liberation is bound up with the overthrow of the rule of capital in Israel, Palestine and the Middle East. This means uniting the Israeli, Palestinian and Middle Eastern working class in a struggle for socialism in their region. Palestinian liberation can scarcely come about in any other way. A pre-requisite for this task is the forging of Marxist vanguard parties throughout the Middle East and internationally, including on these shores.

FREE AHED TAMIMI!  FOR PALESTINIAN LIBERATION!

 

WORKERS   LEAGUE

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

http://www.redfireonline.com

[1] https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-behind-ahed-tamimi-s-slap-her-cousin-s-head-shattered-by-idf-bullet-1.5729500 (06-03-2018)

[2] https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/01/internet-famous-in-the-west-bank/549557/ (06-03-2018)

[3] http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Report-Israel-treating-al-Qaida-fighters-wounded-in-Syria-civil-war-393862 (06-03-2018)

[4] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43019682 (06-03-2018)

[5] http://www.meforum.org/5775/quwat-al-jalil-a-pro-assad-palestinian-syrian (06-03-2018)

[6] http://cija.ca/resource/israel-the-basics/demographics-of-israel/ (07-03-2018)

[7] ibid.

[8] https://www.haaretz.com/income-inequality-in-israel-among-highest-in-oecd-1.5364971 (07-03-2018)

[9] http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Poverty-inequality-mar-strong-Israeli-economy-OECD-report-finds-443386 (07-03-2018)

[10] https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2017-02-14/soaring-housing-costs-approach-crisis-levels-in-israel-analysts-warn (07-03-2018)

Israel/USA: Hands off Palestine and Syria!

Israel/USA: Hands Off Palestine and Syria!

10-12-2017 – The nightmare scenario has come true. Last Wednesday, US President Donald Trump fulfilled one of his campaign promises to recognise Jerusalem as the political capital of Israel, and to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv. Outrage in response shot around the world, and there was even opposition from within Trump’s own cabinet. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary James Mattis reportedly opposed the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem, mainly out of concern for the safety of US diplomatic staff.[1] It would be a mistake, however, to view this move as some new outrage that Trump alone was determined to push. In June this year, the US Senate voted 90 to zero passing a resolution affirming that Jerusalem remains the “undivided” capital of Israel.[2] There was not one vote against from the Democrats or Republicans, although there were ten abstentions.

The response from Palestinians has been swift and decisive. Demonstrations have hit the streets, after the ultimate outrage from the Trump administration, on top of 69 years of Israeli military occupation, funded, armed and backed by the US Empire. Reportedly there have already been three Palestinians killed in by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), and 750 injured. The IDF has apparently bombed several sites throughout Gaza, and has targeted towns such as East Jabaliya and Khan Yunis.[3] Huge demonstrations in solidarity with Palestine have taken place in European cities such as Paris. Most notably, tens of thousands of Yemenis, even under the terrible conditions of a Saudi-led war against them, have taken to the streets of Sanaa in solidarity with Palestine.

Selective “gates of Hell”

Many in the East and West have commented that Trump’s attempt to move the US embassy to Jerusalem will open the “gates of Hell”. For much of the Palestinian solidarity movement in the West, however, they are quite selective as far as these scenarios play out. For the last six years, the “gates of Hell” have been a reality in neighbouring Syria, but most Western supporters of Palestine have been as quiet as a church mouse on that issue. This is despite the fact that if the US government, in concert with the Zionist Israeli state, had been able to overthrow and destroy the Syrian Arab Republic through its ISIS proxies, Palestine’s “gates of Hell” would have been opened years ago. It is doubtful that Palestine could survive in the Middle East without Syria and its allies Iran and Hezbollah – which, along with Russia, played a key role in defeating the US/UK and Israeli backed genocidal mercenaries they sent into Syria.

This Palestinian solidarity movement is now moving into gear, pretending as if the US/Israeli proxy war did not happen. In the case of Israel, it was a direct war on Syria. The IDF military has repeatedly bombed Syria during the last six years, of which the Western Palestinian solidarity movement, especially in Australia, said not one word. Even Al Jazeera, the news outlet which played an abysmal role during the US/Israeli war for regime change on Syria, sometimes reports on the Israeli attacks on Syria.[4] In September, October and November of this year, the Israeli military has struck targets within Syria. It aims to take out Hezbollah and especially Iranian military activity. Iran was specifically invited by the Syrian government, as was Russia, to assist in the defence against the US armed mercenaries, which went under many names – Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, ISIS and others. Needless to say, the Zionist Israeli state has no legal authority to decide who the Syrian government can invite into Syria – but then it attempts to bomb them anyway. This is a war crime – but the Western Palestinian solidarity movement only moves when Israel bombs Palestine, but not Syria.

To be sure, some Palestinian solidarity activists are well aware of the role of the Israeli state in the war on Syria. It was not as if it was hidden. This role extended to Israel not only regularly bombing Syria – but expressly working with the major barbarian terrorist groups. The reports of the Israeli state treating wounded Al Qaeda fighters at no cost in their hospitals are legion. But it goes much further – there is evidence that the Israeli state provided logistical and financial aid to all Al Qaeda allied mercenaries who then committed unspeakable war crimes against innocent Syrians.[5] Pioneering whistle-blower Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, posted an interview with former Mossad (Israeli secret service) chief Efraim Halevy, and reported that the Israeli government was “quite openly backing Al Qaeda in Syria.”[6]

Australian rulers join imperialist slaughter

Canberra, as usual, backed the Israeli/US war on Syria, even sending troops and jet fighters to Iraq and Syria. Again large parts of the Palestinian solidarity movement on these shores was silent, either out of confusion or out of deference to those left parties, which had not only abandoned their earlier vocal support for Julian Assange and Wikileaks,[7] but had swung behind arguably the dirtiest imperialist war of regime change in world history. These Australian left parties were even silent when the Australian government admitted bombing Syria on September 16, 2016,[8] killing Syrian soldiers. These actions, or inactions, earned them the ignominious nickname of “the imperial left”. These parties – and unfortunately large parts of the Palestinian solidarity movement – ignored the fact that while the treacherous Hamas leadership openly backed Israeli/US orchestrated regime change in Syria, several other Palestinian armed groups joined the operations to defend Syria. The most notable was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), but there were other Palestinian militias who fought with the Syrian pro-government forces. This includes Liwa Al-Quds, Jaysh al-Tahrir al-Falastini, and Quwat al-Jalil.[9] As far as we are being told, Australian troops are still in Iraq and Syria, and the Australian government has not issued any statement against the Trump Administration’s outrageous provocations on Jerusalem. Working people here can help undermine the Australian government’s subordination to Israeli/US designs by demanding: Australian Troops: Out of the Middle East!

Israel/US/ISIS defeated in Syria

It does not seem a coincidence that the latest US imperialist provocation on Jerusalem comes at almost exactly the same moment that the final defeat of Israeli/US proxies ISIS has been announced. On December 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi declared final victory over ISIS, after three years of operations.[10] Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Hmeimim near Latakia in Syria, effectively announcing that the task to retain Syria as a unitary sovereign state was complete. He also warned that should the terrorists (ISIS) again raise their heads, they will again face further strikes, such that they “haven’t seen so far”.[11] In short, Israel and the US, along with Saudi Arabia, France, the United Kingdom, Australia and others (Turkey initially, but it switched sides) suffered a humiliating defeat in Syria. Imperialism in Syria was defeated by the heroic Syrian defence, with the assistance of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. While some US troops and other terrorists remain in Syria, overall its defeat in Syria is a victory for the workers of the world, and arguably the first defeat of US imperialism since the Vietnam War.

Indignant, the US Empire has lashed out in many directions, including against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or “North Korea”), threatening the Asian region and the entire world with nuclear war. Even despite the very real possibility of total annihilation, the DPRK’s heroic defiance of the US has matched that of its ally Syria. The DPRK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement condemning the Trump Administration’s declarations on Jerusalem, and pledged support and solidarity with “the Palestinians and other Arab peoples in their just cause to regain their legitimate rights”.[12] The imperial left, which is hostile to the DPRK as well as towards Syria, again misreads anti-imperialist direction.

Which way to Palestinian liberation?

While we can support the actions of the governments of Syria, Iran, Russia and also Hezbollah in defeating US imperialism in Syria, thereby protecting Palestine, we also recognise that only one form of anti-imperialism has a chance of forever removing the mortal danger. That is the anti-imperialism of a combined working class movement to overthrow capitalism in the Middle East, which is underpinned by US led imperialism. This requires the building of genuine Marxist vanguard parties in the Middle East, and internationally, as well as on Australian shores. As far away as this perspective currently seems, there is little other option. In fact, the current impasse highlights the express limits of all the political variants of the Palestinian liberation movement which have thus far been attempted.

The recent actions of the Trump Administration on Jerusalem show how the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement misfires. While BDS appeals to imperialist governments (sanctions) to bring the Israeli state to heel, it is plain to see that it is imperialism which maintains the Zionist Israeli state, and that therefore imperialist governments (whether US/AUST/UK/FRA etc.) cannot be allies in the struggle for Palestinian liberation. Nor can, or should, the profit-gouging corporations (divestment) be allies, which act as an arm of the imperialist states. And asking workers with a trifling amount of disposable income (boycott) due to capitalist recession to buy their way to geo-political strength is like wishing for magic.

The traitorous actions of Hamas in effectively siding with Israel and the US against Syria directly exposes them and highlights how Islamist leadership ultimately is neither anti-imperialist nor anti-capitalist. Nor is the dead end of Palestinian nationalism, whether in the form of the hopelessly corrupted Mahmoud Abbas, the former PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organisation) negotiator Saeb Erekat, or much of the Western Palestinian solidarity movement, largely headed by parts of the imperial left. The reason is that all of these political forces, through various means, act and aim for a capitalist Palestine, which they call a “free” or “independent” Palestine. But even if this was possible, this would not address the poverty, unemployment and economic malaise which blight both Palestine and Israel. Both the “two-state” and the “one-state” options do not propose to change the existing mode of production, leaving Palestinian solidarity activists, in an act of cognitive dissonance, to campaign for capitalism in the Middle East.

The fact is that capitalism in the Middle East cannot be overthrown without the joint efforts of both Arab and Hebrew workers in Palestine and Israel. This can only be carried out through a joint struggle for socialist revolution, culminating in a bi-national Arab-Hebrew workers state (i.e. NOT a capitalist state). Palestinian workers cannot deal with their sell-out bourgeoisie without the aid of the millions strong Israeli proletariat, and the Israeli working class cannot rid itself of the deeply ingrained Zionist ideology without linking with Palestinian workers in the same struggle. Here in Australia, workers can aid this struggle by working directly to undermine the pro-Zionist ruling class, not least by demanding the ripping up of the Australia-US (war) alliance. ISRAEL/USA/AUST: HANDS OFF PALESTINE AND SYRIA!
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National flags of Palestine and Syria. Some Palestinian militia groups fought with Syria against Israeli/US backed regime change.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

E:workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

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[1] http://thehill.com/policy/defense/363616-mattis-tillerson-warned-trump-of-security-concerns-in-israel-embassy-move (10-12-17)

[2] https://www.timesofisrael.com/senate-unanimously-passes-bill-marking-50-years-since-jerusalem-reunification/ (10-12-17)

[3] http://www.theleadersnews.com/israel-bombs-gaza-750-palestinians-injured-3-dead/ (11-12-17)

[4] http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/10/israel-attacking-syria-171023081211645.html (11-12-17)

[5] https://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/israeli-support-al-qaeda-allied-forces-syria (13-12-17)

[6] https://twitter.com/julianassange/status/857891820801581060?lang=en (13-12-17)

[7] https://redfireonline.com/2017/12/03/free-julian-assange-no-to-the-new-mccarthyism/ (13-12-17)

[8] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-18/australian-jets-involved-in-botched-air-strike-on-syrian-army/7855610 (13-12-17)

[9] http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/quwat-al-jalil-a-pro-assad-palestinian-syrian-militia/ (13-12-17)

[10] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-islamicstate/iraq-declares-final-victory-over-islamic-state-idUSKBN1E30B9 (13-12-17)

[11] http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/16872/putin-declares-victory-during-sudden-syria-visit-assembles-grand-regional-strategy (13-12-17)

[12] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/north-korea-condemns-dotard-trump-over-jerusalem/articleshow/61997477.cms (13-12-17)