Tony Greenstein | 04 November 2023 | Post Views:

Unite’s Statement on Palestine is Weak – It Does Not Mention Genocide or Ethnic Cleansing – It Equates the Coloniser with the Colonised

After having resisted calls for an immediate ceasefire for the last 4 weeks and after 10,000 deaths in Gaza, including 4,000 children Sharon Graham capitulated and issued a statement calling for an immediate ceasefire.

Without the effort that went into gathering support for a letter calling for Graham to act and the pressure branches and activists put on her and the Executive this statement would still not have been issued.


On Sunday night I sent an initial statement with 80+ signatures to Graham and got no response. Because I was deluged with so many people asking to sign it I sent a second statement last night with 135 signatures on it.

The point we made, that there was nothing stopping Unite from issuing an immediate call for a ceasefire had at last sunk in despite the email I got from Graham’s flunkey Gail Cartmail on 27 October.

The whole episode has been a damning indictment of Graham’s leadership. Graham waited nearly a month before deciding that she could no longer stick with Starmer’s policy of waiting upon Joe Biden. However this statement is not enough.

Pro-Palestine Jews Smeared As Antisemites

Ø   We expect Unite to publicise the national demonstration on November 11th in London. 

Ø   We expect Unite to make resources available for members to attend. 

Ø   We don’t want to hear any anti-Semitic, Zionist or racist propaganda that support for human rights, international law and opposition to genocide are an affront to Jewish people.  Zionists support genocide and Unite should stand with anti-Zionist not Zionist Jews.

Ø   We expect Unite to put pressure on Unite sponsored MPs to demand that  Starmer stops playing follow my leader with Biden. That both Labour and Unite adopt an anti-imperialist policy

Ø   That instructions be given to Unite workers not to handle deliveries of arms to Israel, as Belgian dockers have done.

Ø   Genocide is against international law and since is supporting genocide in Gaza, then the Union should be demanding that he goes.

Apart from the call for an immediate ceasefire, the statement is pathetically weak. The best thing about it is the headline ‘Unite calls for an immediate ceasefire’.

Its both sidism is appalling.  It calls on ‘all parties to respect international law’. It may be a surprise to Graham but it isn’t Hamas which is bombing Gaza day and night but Israel. This is like calling on the French Resistance and the Nazis to abide by international law.  Hamas doesn’t have an air force, Israel does.

This is what Unite should be pushing for

The statement demands that ‘all hostages are released unharmed’. I would like to think that this includes the 10,000 Palestinian hostages that Israel holds, half of whom have been arrested since October 7.  Palestinian prisoners have been convicted in Colonial Military Courts that have a 99.74% conviction rate. Two Palestinian prisoners died last week from beatings.

Israel holds over a thousand Palestinians, including children, as Administrative Detainees, that is without even the formality of a trial in a military court. They are imprisoned indefinitely.

The detention of Palestinian prisoners was the main reason for the breakout from Prison Camp Gaza on October 7. It is an issue which will not go away yet Graham and Unite’s leadership have no understanding that Israel is a settler colonial state.

Here’s a clue that even Sharon Graham should understand. When Israel declared war on the Palestinians of Gaza, yes all of them, civilians included, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant declared that ‘we are fighting human animals and will act accordingly’

Yoav Gallant declaration of war

And here we see how Zionism expresses itself in the same way as the Nazis. In a speech in Poznań (Posen)  on 4 October 1943, Heinrich Himmler, who presided over the Final Solution, praised the Nazis as ‘the only people in the world who have a decent attitude toward animals’ and who ‘will also take a decent towards these human animals’ referring to the Jews. [A Holocaust Reader, Lucy Dawidowicz, p.131]

Himmler saw Jews as Human Animals, Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant sees Palestinians as Human Animals

That a senior Israeli government minister could describe the Palestinians of Gaza in this way, without any form of reprimand or uproar in Israel, about people who have been under siege for 17 years, shows the depths of racist depravity that Zionism has sunk to.

Yet not a word of acknowledgment of Palestinian suffering crossed the lips of Graham or Gail Cartmail.

Yasmin Porat Interview Israeli TV

Yasmin Porat – Electronic Intifada

Survivor: Israeli forces shot their own civilians

The statement equates Hamas and the Israeli government. To equate a resistance movement, however backward its politics, with the Apartheid Israeli government is itself an outrage. More and more evidence is coming to light that the heavy casualties on October 7 were caused by a deliberate decision of the Israeli military to invoke the Hannibal Directive.

This directive states that Israeli captives must not, at any cost fall into enemy hands and if necessary they too should be killed. Testimony from Yasmine Porat and others in Israel make it clear that when Israeli forces surrounded Kibbutz Be’eri, instead of negotiating they opened fire with heavy weapons killing everyone in the houses.

See October 7 testimonies reveal Israel’s military ‘shelling’ Israeli citizens with tanks, missiles,

Survivor Speaks: Israeli forces shot their own civilians

Israeli journalist Nir Hasson interviewed a local resident named Tuval in Kibbutz Be’eri, who was away from the kibbutz at the time of the attack but whose partner was killed. In Hasson’s October 20 Haaretz article, he reports:

This horrific photograph was used by Israel as proof of a Hamas atrocity – in fact it could only have been done by Israeli war planes

“His voice trembles when his partner, who was besieged in her home shelter at the time, comes to mind. According to him, only on Monday night and only after the commanders in the field made difficult decisions — including shelling houses with all their occupants inside in order to eliminate the terrorists along with the hostages — did the IDF complete the takeover of  the kibbutz. The price was terrible: at least 112 Be’eri people were killed. Others were kidnapped. Yesterday, 11 days after the massacre, the bodies of a mother and her son were discovered in one of the destroyed houses. It is believed that more bodies are still lying in the rubble.”

Freed Israeli captive counters Israel’s narrative

Israeli forces shot their own civilians, kibbutz survivor says

A growing number of reports indicate Israeli forces responsible for Israeli civilian and military deaths following October 7 attack

Did Israel choose to kill Hamas and the hostages indiscriminately?

Instead of an SAS style Iranian Embassy rescue the Israeli military brought up tanks and fired shells into the kibbutz houses causing them to collapse and fall on their occupants. When gullible western journalists and the BBC are shown the terrible damage that resulted, their Israeli escorts say that the damage was caused by Hamas when it should be clear that the Hamas guerillas did not have heavy weapons.

When the Erez crossing from North Gaza into Israel was captured by Hamas instead of  trying to retake it the Israeli airforce bombed it from the air killing everyone inside including many Israeli soldiers.

The same happened at other military installations that Hamas captured that day. Instead of trying to capture them or accepting that Hamas had taken prisoners which would later be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners, as has happened before, Israel bombed its own military bases killing its own soldiers.

The trigger happy Israeli airforce fired randomly at any moving car, knowing full well that those heading to Gaza probably contained captives. How many Israeli hostages were killed by Israel that day is not known.  What is known is that a considerable number of Israeli hostages have already been killed by Israel’s bombing of Gaza.

The statement says that ‘it is essential that humanitarian corridors are opened’ which conflicts with the call for an immediate ceasefire.  As long as Israel is bombing and shelling there will be no such thing as a humanitarian corridor.

The statement flogs that dead horse the two state solution which was always a smokescreen for continuing theft of Palestinian land and the colonisation of the West Bank. Those who drafted the statement clearly know nothing about the reign of terror in the West Bank.

This is the goodbye present that the Israeli military left when they  raided the Al Tafawk Children’s Centre in Jenin

The charity I am a trustee of, The Brighton Trust helps fund The Al Tafawk Children’s Centre in the middle of the Jenin Refugee Camp. In 2021 Israeli soldiers, on the pretext of searching for weapons raided it. They found nothing but that didn’t stop them wrecking everything inside. They even tore up children’s books on the grounds that the children wouldn’t live long anyway. See

Israel’s Reign of Terror in Jenin

This July as part of the big offensive in Jenin, when 12 Palestinians were killed the  Al Tafawk Children’s Centre was raided again. This time Israel’s military not only wrecked the interior they severely damaged the exterior,  punching holes in the exterior walls.

Since then there have been constant raids and incursions into Jenin killing many people. Jenin is a city under occupation yet the West, which is quick to praise Ukrainian resistance supports Israel’s  occupation of the West Bank. Indeed it doesn’t even describe it as an occupation. The double standards are obvious.

This is what a teacher at the Centre wrote:

14 October

The world needs to know what is going on here. Literally we are dying each day from the inside as from the outside. It started from July in the Jenin camp. We did not have one peaceful night since then. Most of the people and children, who live in the camp, can’t sleep in their homes. Because they have been bombed and nothing has been repaired yet. The mosques are filled with a lot of children to sleep. Each night, the helicopters fly around us to bomb our homes. Our hospitals are full of injured people, mostly children. As a consequence, every child in the camp has mental health issues. When the attacks on the Gaza Strip started, the attacks on the camp became even worse. The restrictions and pressures in the west bank, especially Jenin got huge. Life got so hard, that it feels like we can’t breathe.

We can’t even go from city to city. Not only because of the restrictions, but also because we know that we would get killed by settlers or by one of the angry soldiers in the many checkpoints. The soldiers are threatening us that they will do the same to us in Jenin, as they are doing in the Gaza Strip. They actually already started doing it, but the world is too busy with their news. Showing only the Israëli side of the story. We all have only one wish today. To have just one peaceful night, without waking up with the news that a family member or an entire family got killed. Because of the restrictions we have almost no water, no food, no medications, no gas… All that is left has got more expensive. Making it almost impossible for us to buy.

Honestly, nothing here is ok. Last night our home got attacked for no reason. Just because they wanted to capture somebody from the area. They locked us up for 3 hours in the bathroom. Even my brother’s baby, who is only 15 days old,  was not allowed to get milk. These things start to feel normal here, but all the children are dying from inside. They don’t understand why this is happening.

This is too much. I wish the world would just see the reality. We are screaming, but no one hears us.

Marching and calling for a ceasefire and peace so that more innocent children don’t get killed is not really the definition of a hate march.

27 October 23
I am writing my words while we are underfire waiting our turn(s)! My voice is not just mine, it is the voice of each child, each woman and each family who are giving up.

What is happening here are more crimes, more than disaster. We don’t really know where at least we can sleep at schools or mosques or in hospitals?

I am so sorry if I am so messy in my writing!  I have a huge trauma.

Each night we lost people, children. We buried lots, but because they die after the attack the news never mentions them! Even our cemetery was bombed in Jenin camp.

Our center is in the middle of camp the only lovely place for children. It is now very dangerous to reach but the hopeless children find it the only place that can keep them safe and I can’t tell them we are really in danger!

We used to sleep understairs each night or in hospital and schools.

 2 days ago at 1:30am we felt the earth quake. All people are shouting in the streets. We didn’t understand they bombed the cemetery. In this moment I felt we all would be dying!  I knew that about 50 of our children sleep with their families in the area around the hospital but in such an emergency they have to stay all their night in the streets. While 80 jeeps were coming some of children got lost and it was so risky for us to find them, hiding inside garbage so scary …….

We slept in school this night. Things are horrible. We feel hopeless but need to shout. And this night they destroyed the main resources of water for the camp.

 There is no recognition in the statement of the Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza or the constant violence of the Israeli army. This is the context for October 7 but the ‘even handed’ statement refuses to recognise who is the oppressor and who is the oppressed.

The statement descends into absurdity when it says Unite will ‘combat the anti-muslim racism, antisemitism and racism against Palestinians and Arabs.’ Anti-Semitism affects only Jews. Today there are very few Arab Jews because Zionism destabilised their position in the Arab countries.  

This ill-thought out paragraph suggests that the statement was drafted very hurriedly. The main cause of anti-Semitism today is the actions of Zionist groups like the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and Jewish Labour Movement who repeatedly suggest that British Jews support Israeli war crimes. Israel is the main cause of anti-Semitism in this country. Those who associate British Jews with Israel’s crimes invite anti-Semitism.

What is important is not the wording of the statement but whether Graham and the bureaucracy start mobilising for the national demonstration on November 11 and whether they campaign actively for a ceasefire, putting pressure on Unite sponsored MPs.

Unite should also be calling for Keir Starmer, whose only policy on Israel is to follow what Joe Biden says, to go. Starmer describes himself as a Zionist, a racist, ‘without qualification’.  Would Labour have tolerated a leader who supported Apartheid in South Africa without qualification? Starmer and the rest of his neo-liberal friends should be shown the door. Instead Sharon Graham cosies up to them.

Tony Greenstein

Below is a statement from The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions issued on November 2, 2023.

Urgent international action is needed to end Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions calls on the international community – the UN, governments and peoples – to hold Israel accountable for its decades of genocidal colonization.

The term “genocide” was formulated by the Jewish-Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin against the backdrop of the Holocaust. It was codified as a crime under international law in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention). The definition of genocide, as set out in Article 2 of the Convention, is simple and straightforward, its first three elements clearly reflecting Israeli policies and actions towards the Palestinian people since initiating its process of systematic genocide in 1947:

Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: 

(a) Killing members of the group

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; 

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction 

in whole or in part.

By itself the ongoing destruction of Gaza and its people is a war crime, far too disproportionate to qualify as mere retaliation for the Hamas attack on Israeli civilians, far too costly in civilian life and property to justify the scale of Israel’s militarily action against Hamas. 

Genocide is often not a single event, but rather a series of deliberate events and processes over time whose ultimate intent is to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. The Indian Wars in America lasted three centuries. If we step back from the war crime that is Israel’s current assault on Gaza to the concerted effort since Israel’s establishment to erase the country of Palestine and its Arab heritage, the picture that emerges is one of genocide, cultural as well as physical. Zionism’s and later Israel’s necessarily violent project to displace the country’s Palestinian population, take its land and replace it with a Jewish one constitutes deliberate destruction of the Palestinian people in part or in whole.

Three events have prompted ICAHD’s call to for urgent international action to end Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people: the indiscriminate bombing of the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza on October 31, 2023, in which hundreds of innocent people – refugees from Israel’s campaign of expulsion in 1948 – were slaughtered in order to assassinate a single Hamas commander; the brutal attacks happening now against Palestinians in the West Bank in which Israeli settlers and soldiers are terrorizing families and emptying whole towns and villages – forced displacement, a crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention; and the statements of genocidal intent emanating from the highest Israeli government and military officials, whether towards the people of Gaza or directed at Palestinians (“the Arabs”) in general, statements that lead us to fear heightened colonization and further genocide if the international community allows Israel free reign to erase the Palestinian people politically, culturally and if need be physically. 

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) calls on the international community – the UN, governments and peoples – to hold Israel accountable for its decades of genocidal colonization. Most urgently we call for isolating and sanctioning Israel until its destruction of Gaza and its people ends, and the violent displacement of Palestinians from their lands and communities by Israeli settlers and soldiers cease.  

We call on the International Criminal Court to bring to trial for war crimes the responsible Israeli political and military leaders.

We call on the United Nations to enforce Article 3(e) of the Geneva Convention punishing for “complicity in genocide” the United States, Canada, Europe and other countries – including Arab and Muslim governments pursuing normalization with Israel.




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Tony Greenstein

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