By JEFF MACKLER
Five hundred and sixteen children are among the over 2200 Gaza Palestinians murdered by the racist, Zionist, apartheid settler state of Israel. An estimated 75-80 percent of the Palestinians slaughtered were civilians.
Some 1.8 million Palestinians “live” in perhaps the world’s largest prison, Gaza, virtually unable to enter or leave, starved and bereft of clean water, electricity, and basic medical care. Their residences—15,000 to date—have been obliterated, bombed to smithereens by Israeli jets, artillery, and mortars.
These horrors have been justified in grotesque and racist terms. An Aug. 22 Hollywood Reporter ad, signed by a score of Jewish executives, featured a 1950s statement from former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir (1969-73) about “the Arabs.” The ad, however, leaves out Meir’s words “the Arabs,” who were expelled en masse from their homelands and are today’s Palestinian Gazans and their descendants. Meir’s “haunting words” (the Hollywood executives’ choice of language to indicate their agreement) were paraphrased in the ad as follows: “We can forgive [the Arabs] for killing our children. We cannot forgive them from forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with [the Arabs] when they love their children more than they hate us.”
“Us” and “them!” These terms are used to describe one of the most powerful military states on earth, versus a virtually defenseless people. “Their children!”—516 Palestinian children murdered, versus one Israeli child! “They hate us” more than they “love their children!”—a demented statement by the leader of a racist state. Does this not reflect a colonial mindset akin to that of the Belgian King Leopold, who in the 19th century murdered 12 million Congolese, in the world’s most monstrous case of genocide? Leopold, Hitler’s predecessor in atrocities, also did not concern himself with the annihilation of innocent peoples, instructing his soldiers to cut off the hands of the “rebels” of his day.
Need we remind today’s Zionist colonizers that in 1943, walled-in, starved, and persecuted Warsaw Ghetto Jews courageously fought back with primitive weapons against the Nazi butchers’ army, then the strongest in the world? Did Warsaw’s Jews provoke the Nazi retaliation that bombed and burned the Ghetto—and a year later, most of the rest of Warsaw—to the ground, killing Jewish children and all others? Hitler called them terrorists and proceeded to try to annihilate an entire people. The world called Warsaw’s resisting Jews freedom fighters.
Today’s Israeli Zionist murderers are the descendants of what was, until after the Holocaust, a conservative minority current in Jewish history and politics—a current whose mentor, Vladimir Jabotinsky, thought that Jewish freedom could be obtainable through the agency of British imperialism. Said Jabotinsky in his 1923 Zionist exposition, “The Iron Wall”: “Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonized. That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of ‘Palestine’ into the ‘Land of Israel.’”
And again: “Except for those who were born blind, they realized long ago that it is utterly impossible to obtain the voluntary consent of the Palestine Arabs for converting ‘Palestine’ from an Arab country into a country with a Jewish majority. …
“We cannot offer any adequate compensation to the Palestinian Arabs in return for Palestine. And therefore, there is no likelihood of any voluntary agreement being reached. … Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population—behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.
“That is our Arab policy; not what we should be, but what it actually is, whether we admit it or not. What need, otherwise, of the Balfour Declaration? Or of the [British] Mandate? Their value to us is that outside Power has undertaken to create in the country such conditions of administration and security that if the native population should desire to hinder our work, they will find it impossible. ”
In Europe of the early 20th century, the majority of politically active Jews opposed the Zionists and instead worked to bring about fundamental social change in their own countries. Revolutionaries of Jewish origin constituted a large portion of the central leadership of Lenin and Trotsky’s Bolshevik Party, which in 1917 not only led the first socialist revolution in world history but virtually instantly abolished all Tsarist laws that persecuted Jews.
That revolution ushered in a society with the greatest diversity and fidelity to human freedom, dignity and liberation ever. It’s central leader, Lenin, partly Jewish himself by virtue of his grandfather, railed against the Great White Russian chauvinism that prevailed to a significant extent in his times. He similarly condemned the ingrained anti-Semitism and persecution of Jews under the Tsar.
Recently, 40 survivors of the Nazi genocide and 287 descendants of survivors and victims, published a half-page ad in The New York Times condemning Israel’s Gaza massacre. The Aug. 23 ad denounced a previous ad published in the British Guardian and in two mainline Israeli papersthat featured a statement by Israeli’s misbegotten Nobel “Peace” Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who, like the present Zionist colonial warrior and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, charges Palestinians with “child sacrifice.” Wiesel called on President Obama to condemn Hamas’ “use of children as human shields.”
“In my own lifetime,” Weisel wrote, “I have seen Jewish children thrown into the fire. And now I have seen Muslim children used as human shields, in both cases, by worshippers of death cults indistinguishable from that of the Molochites.” (This was an ancient cult, referred to in the Old Testament and said to have sacrificed children to their god.)
Weisel continued: “What we are suffering through today is not a battle of Jew versus Arab or Israeli versus Palestinian. Rather, it is a battle between those who celebrate life and those who champion death. It is a battle of civilization versus barbarism.”
The Holocaust survivors of the Nazi genocide and their descendants responded in The Times with a truth that is today echoed around the world as Zionism’s atrocities and the Zionist state itself stand exposed and illegitimate as never before. They wrote, “As Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide, we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine. We further condemn the United States for providing Israel with the funding to carry out the attack, and Western states more generally for using their diplomatic muscle to protect Israel from condemnation. Genocide begins with the silence of the world.
“We are alarmed by the extreme, racist dehumanization of Palestinians in Israeli society, which has reached a fever-pitch. In Israel, politicians and pundits in The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post have called openly for genocide of Palestinians, and right-wing Israelis are adopting Neo-Nazi insignia.
“Furthermore, we are disgusted and outraged by Elie Wiesel’s abuse of our history in these pages to justify the unjustifiable: Israel’s wholesale effort to destroy Gaza and the murder of more than 2,000 Palestinians, including many hundreds of children. Nothing can justify bombing UN shelters, homes, hospitals and universities. Nothing can justify depriving people of electricity and water.”
The liberal Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, writes, “This article [“Holocaust survivors condemn Israel for ‘Gaza Massacre,’ call for boycott”] has been recommended on Facebook more than 50,000 times and tweeted more than 10,000 times.”
Raphael Cohen, a signatory of the letter and a member of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network [IJAN], which published the ad, commented: “We wanted to make it clear that he [Weisel] does not speak for all survivors of the Nazi genocide and that he doesn’t speak for all Jews. And we wanted to make clear that there is a huge number of survivors who are outraged by what Israel is doing in the Gaza Strip.”
IJAN’s website reports unprecedented coverage of the ad and solidarity statements reported in major media around the world.
Similarly, an Aug. 14 statement by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, published by Ha’aretz, calls for a global boycott of Israel. Tutu stated: “The past weeks have witnessed unprecedented action by members of civil society across the world against the injustice of Israel’s disproportionately brutal response to the firing of missiles from Palestine.
“If you add together all the people who gathered over the past weekend to demand justice in Israel and Palestine—in Cape Town, Washington, D.C., New York, New Delhi, London, Dublin and Sydney, and all the other cities—this was arguably the largest active outcry by citizens around a single cause ever in the history of the world.”
Tutu was not exaggerating. Opinion polls around the world register majority condemnation in the scores of countries surveyed. Virtually every European nation—including France, England, Spain, Germany and Italy—registered condemnation of Israel’s bombing. The figures in polls ranged from 60 to 72 percent! While the Zionist regime attributes this to rising anti-Semitism, few doubt that the real cause is the Israeli slaughter of innocent and defenseless people by a nation whose military strength ranks among the top in the world.
Bishop Tutu continued, “A quarter of a century ago, I participated in some well-attended demonstrations against apartheid. I never imagined we’d see demonstrations of that size again, but last Saturday’s turnout in Cape Town was as big, if not bigger. Participants included young and old, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, blacks, whites, reds and greens … as one would expect from a vibrant, tolerant, multicultural nation.
“I asked the crowd to chant with me: ‘We are opposed to the injustice of the illegal occupation of Palestine. We are opposed to the indiscriminate killing in Gaza. We are opposed to the indignity meted out to Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks. We are opposed to violence perpetrated by all parties. But we are not opposed to Jews.’”
Tutu reported that “more than 1.6 million people across the world have signed onto this movement by joining an Avaaz campaign calling on corporations profiting from the Israeli occupation and/or implicated in the abuse and repression of Palestinians to pull out. The campaign specifically targets Dutch pension fund ABP; Barclays Bank; security systems supplier G4S; French transport company Veolia; computer company Hewlett-Packard; and bulldozer supplier Caterpillar.”
Tutu noted that, “Last month, 17 EU governments urged their citizens to avoid doing business in or investing in illegal Israeli settlements. … We have also recently witnessed the withdrawal by Dutch pension fund PGGM of tens of millions of euros from Israeli banks; the divestment from G4S by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and the U.S. Presbyterian Church divested an estimated $21 million from HP, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar. It is a movement that is gathering pace.”
Younger Americans are far likelier than older ones to say that Israel is more responsible than Hamas for the fighting in Gaza. A recent Gallup poll found that a majority of those under 30 thought that Israel’s actions in Gaza were unjustified. The same poll indicated that among people of all ages, around 42 percent thought that Israel was justified in its attack on Gaza, and about 39 percent thought that Israel was unjustified.
In the U.S., unprecedented protests have been organized across the country. In San Francisco, 6000 mobilized to protest Israeli atrocities, and rallies of a similar size or larger were held in New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
The San Francisco protest included people who represented Gazan family members that were murdered by the Zionist bombardment. “End all aid to Zionist Israel,” read one prominent banner, which significantly added, “Abolish Zionist Israel!” This is perhaps the clearest expression of a growing phenomenon in the U.S.—the recognition that the state of Israel is illegitimate. The longstanding distinction between broad U.S. popular opposition to all colonialism and imperialist occupation except the Zionist variety, is beginning to crumble.
The idea that the solution to the “Palestinian problem” would be the establishment of a tiny, economically unviable, isolated, and physically discontiguous Palestinian state on a tiny fraction of the original Palestine is seen as akin to the South African system of apartheid that the racist white government, backed to the hilt by U.S. arms, insisted on before 1992.
The courageous Palestinian people’s standing up to the Israeli military behemoth and enduring horrific punishment for doing so, has won the hearts and minds of the world’s people. The Zionist murderers have won the “war” but lost much more. The door is open wider than ever to the fight for a democratic secular Palestine based on historic Palestine as it existed before the imperialist 1948 partition. This prospect, however distant given the present relationship of forces, can only be achieved when the Palestinian masses bring forth revolutionary and socialist leadership prepared to unite all the Palestinian people and build alliances with the oppressed working masses across the Middle East.
In this regard, the Arab Spring demonstrated in bold relief that the oppressed working masses are more than willing to fight for their freedom and liberation. What is painfully and tragically lacking is a deeply rooted mass revolutionary socialist leadership—the prerequisite to bringing forth a democratic and secular Palestine, where Jews, Palestinian Arabs, and all others can live in peace and harmony. Unless this new state is socialist in its very foundations—abolishing capitalist-created oppression, racism, exploitation and war—it cannot resolve the present “Palestinian problem.”
U.S. police and Gaza
Strong similarities stand out between the methods of the ever more militarized and racist police forces across the United States and those of the Israeli military forces in Palestine. Both forces are the outgrowth of a society that dehumanizes oppressed people and blames them for resisting the degradation attendant to a crisis-ridden and degenerating capitalism.
Three hundred and ninety unarmed Blacks, mostly youth, were murdered by U.S. police or “security guards” over the past year or so—one every 28 hours! Many of the victims were caught in routine “stop and frisk” operations and in other police detentions, which are based on profiling procedures that are reminiscent of those used at Israeli checkpoints against the Palestinians.
Some 7.2 million Americans—a majority Black (40 percent), Latino, and Native people—“live” under the jurisdiction of the U.S. prison-industrial complex. Eighty percent have been incarcerated for non-violent “crimes.” Many U.S. prisoners are warehoused in increasingly privatized facilities to serve the labor needs of private corporations at 50 cents an hour. In Georgia and Texas, their pay is zero. Some are charged for the cost of their incarceration!
The spectacle of the Ferguson, Mo., police force being armed with the heavy weapons of war was a major contributor to the outrage that swept the country. Throughout the United States, in prisons and cities where the oppressed are housed, the soldiers and guards wear police uniforms, National Guard uniforms, and now U.S. Army-issued combat uniforms, replete with armor. They drive land-mine-resistant armored personnel carriers, generally priced at $470,000 per vehicle, and topped with supersized state-of-the-art machine guns. In Gaza, Israeli soldiers use the same U.S. weaponry, which, as in Ferguson, Mo., they get for free as hand-me-downs from the Iraq War.
U.S. police forces are issued these weapons of mass destruction to the tune of $4.3 billion in recent years—weapons that had been used to kill 1.5 million Iraqis over the past two decades. Similarly, the U.S. issues $4.1 billion annually to Israel to kill Palestinians. Another $1 billion was sent since the latest slaughter began—in order to “replenish” the rockets, mortars and bullets “used up” on Palestinians.
The fightback and mass protests in Ferguson, as in Gaza, were met with unprecedented solidarity actions in U.S. cities and in many nations around the world. Notwithstanding the terrible losses, when the oppressed raise their voices and take to the streets with righteous indignation, the long road to freedom is shortened.
Photo: Tony Savino / Socialist Action