Tony Greenstein | 10 October 2023 | Post Views:

The Palestinian Uprising has Destroyed the Myth of Israeli Invincibility – Neither Hamas Nor Hezbollah are Terrorists –Israel Alone Deserves That Label

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Varoufakis statement on Gaza Uprising

I will be speaking this Wednesday at a meeting on the Gaza-Ghetto Uprising and the significance of the attack by the Palestinian resistance on Israel. What will be the political fall-out? What has changed? What does the reaction of the United States and the western powers signify? What are Israel’s intentions etc.

Socialists should be crystal clear. Palestinians have every right, after a siege of Gaza lasting over 17 years to resist their oppressors. Anyone who denies that is no supporter of the Palestinians.

We should also be under no doubt as to the dangers. Netanyahu has already promised, as if a Nazi General, to raze Gaza to the ground. Yoav Gallant, Israel’s Defence Minister has already called the Palestinians ‘human animals’ thus betraying the racist nature of Zionism and its treatment of the Palestinians. This is not an emotional response of the moment. In 2015 Deputy Defence Minister Eli Dahan also called Palestinians ‘animals.’

To the more faint-hearted amongst us who recoil at some of the atrocities that the Palestinian guerillas are alleged to have committed I say this. There is no war yet when human rights crimes haven’t been committed by both sides. The mass rape of German women at the end of the last war, the undoubted war crimes committed by the British when they bombed Dresden and Nuremburg did not mean that we were neutral as between the Nazis and the Allies.

It is perfectly possible to condemn rape, the alleged parading of a naked Israeli woman in Gaza City and yet support the Palestinian Uprising. Because we all know that whatever war crimes have been committed by Palestinian fighters they pale into insignificance compared to the endless Israeli atrocities. The violence of the oppressed can never be compared with the violence of the oppressor. In today’s Times of Israel I came upon this report of the killing of two Israelis:

At 8:20 a.m., terrorists entered Dvir’s home, he lunged at them with an axe, tried to protect my two kids who were with him, and was murdered in front of their eyes,” she posted. “His partner Stav also tried to protect them, but was murdered as well. The terrorist calmed down my Daria and Lavi, covered them in a blanket, took lipstick and wrote on the wall: ‘The al-Qassam [Brigades] people don’t murder children.

When has Israel ever spared Palestinian children?  Israel’s bombing of Palestinian homes is indiscriminate by definition. The death of Palestinian children does not disturb the average Israeli. So far this year 47 Palestinian children have been murdered in the West Bank yet this and the brutal military occupation didn’t figure once in the demands of Israelis in their mass demonstrations against the judicial reforms. Ex-Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called Palestinian children ‘’little snakes’.

Let us also be clear that terrorism has a very specific meaning. It is the deliberate use of violence against civilians for political purposes. It is Israel which has been responsible throughout its existence for using terrorism as its weapon of choice – be it the bombing by the Zionist Irgun of the King David Hotel in 1946 when 92 people were killed and 46 injured  to the Sabra and Chatilla massacres in the refugee camps of Beirut in 1982 when around 2,000 unarmed Palestinians were murdered by the Lebanese Phalange as Israeli troops lit up the skyline for them.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are NOT terrorist organizations and they are only deemed as such by a Tory Home Secretary Savid Javid who bowed to the pressure of the Zionist Lobby. If interpreted literally the provisions of the Terrorism Act 2000 could be used to render illegal any meeting or action supporting the uprising in Gaza.

It is quite possible that a meeting where support is given to Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s attack on Israel could be deemed to ‘encourage support for a proscribed organisation or to further its activities.’ under s.12 of the Act. Thus we see, once again, how Britain’s anti-terrorist legislation is there, not to prevent ISIS style terrorism, but to crack down on free speech that the government does not like.

In the explanation justifying the proscribing of Hamas the government said that the reason for this was that

This is an outrageous abuse of the law. In the same 2001 clash 67 Palestinian children were murdered by Israel. Is indiscriminate rocket attacks worse than Israel’s targeted attacks on civilians and its bombing of residential streets and peoples’ homes? This law is not about terrorism it is about the suppression of free speech.

Although I support the attack on Israel by Hamas and Islamic Jihad I am not a supporter of the two groups politically. They are Islamist groups whereas I believe that the liberation of the Palestinians has nothing to do with religion. It is a political struggle.

Of course the misnamed Campaign Against Antisemitism has issued a typically dishonest, lying statement headed ‘We will do whatever it takes to defend the Jewish community’. If the CAA, which was formed in the summer of 2014 on the instigation of the Israeli state, in order to try and smear solidarity action with Palestinians under attack in Gaza with anti-Semitism, was seriously concerned with anti-Semitism, then they would disband tomorrow.

Because there is nothing more likely to increase anti-Semitism in Britain and attacks on Jews than those who do their best to associate British Jews with Israeli war crimes.  Even the Zionist Community Security Trust admitted this in its 2014 Anti-Semitic Incidents Report.

The single biggest contributing factor to the record number of antisemitic incidents recorded in 2014 was antisemitic reactions in the UK to the conflict in Israel and Gaza that began on 8 July 2014 and ended on 26 August 2014. CST recorded the highest-ever monthly total of 314 antisemitic incidents in July, and the third-highest ever monthly total of 228 incidents in August.

The CAA, which is no more than an extension of the Israeli state and which is directly funded by the Israeli para-state organization the Jewish National Fund does its best to equate Hamas attacks on Israel with the safety of British Jews.

In its statement the CAA accused Hamas and Islamic Jihad of supporting the ‘genocide of Jews.’ If anyone supports genocide it is people like Israel’s Police Minister Itamar Ben Gvir who had a poster of Baruch Goldstein on his living room wall. Goldstein entered the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and opened fire with an assault rifle killing 29 worshippers and injuring nearly a hundred. It is those in Israel who march to the chant of ‘Death to the Arabs’ who are the genociders but of these people the CAA has nothing to say.

When the CAA say

Those who glorify terrorism and delight in the massacre of Jews, and those who use the events still unfolding as cover for antisemitic acts should be under no misapprehension: we will pursue justice against you.

Note how the CAA conflates ‘terrorism’ i.e. support for Palestinian organisations with murder of Jews, which is the prerogative of the friends of the CAA – fascist groups like Britain First and people like Tommy Robinson – both of whom they keep company with.

Nonetheless we should treat seriously their legal threats. The reason is that Britain’s racist Home Secretary Suella Braverman combines her racism against refugees, with her talk of hurricanes, with putting political pressure on the police to arrest those who support the Palestinians.

Tory MP threatens use of Anti-Terrorism Act to suppress free speech

And just to make it clear to Braverman and her racist friends in the CAA, I support totally the right of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and others to launch attacks on Israel in response to the years of suffering and murder that they have experienced at the hands of the Israeli state and furthermore there is nothing you will ever be able to do about it.

Tony Greenstein

LLA statement on Israel/Palestine: Oppression inevitably feeds resistance

The situation in the Middle East is more volatile than it has been for many decades. We want to discuss what’s going on – and if there is a solution. Join us on Wednesday October 11 at 7pm for an open discussion forum jointly sponsored by the LLA and the Republican Labour Education Forum, which will be introduced by Tony Greenstein. More details below, where you can also find the LLA’s statement on the issue.

Hamas’ attack on Israel was certainly not ‘unprovoked’. The systematic and racist oppression of the Palestinians by the colonialist state of Israel has massively worsened with the introduction of the blockade 15 years ago and, more recently, with the state-sponsored extension of illegal settlements and pogroms on Palestinian land. These actions have created the horrific conditions which have led to this dramatic act of resistance. The aim of the Israeli state is simple: to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian population. It does not exploit the Palestinian people, as the apartheid regime in South Africa did – it simply wants to get rid of them. As a major ally of US-led imperialism in the otherwise unstable Middle East, Israel is supported politically, financially and militarily in this campaign by most ‘Western’ governments and receives more than 3 billion dollars a year from the US alone (over 150 billion since its foundation).

This attack however will be a long-awaited opportunity for the Israeli government to distract from its own problems, rally the divided population behind it, move to the right politically and expand its programme of ethnic cleansing. The US government on the other hand might well use this attack as a precursor to heat up its conflict with Iran.

The results for the Palestinian population remain the same: Further Israeli repression, particularly in the Gaza strip, is inevitable. Israel has no interest in getting rid of Hamas, otherwise it would have to govern Gaza directly, at great cost politically and financially. But they will want to destroy as much of Gaza as possible, in front of the TV cameras, before declaring ‘revenge’ has been served.

The attack has naturally been described as “anti-Semitic” – that is, after all, what the smear campaign in the Labour movement was all about, to prepare for a moment like this. Getting rid of Jeremy Corbyn was just a convenient side effect and it remains true that the failure of the official Left to stand up to the witch-hunt has helped to prepare the current ground. Any opposition to the programme of brutal ethnic cleansing and the coming expansion of military and financial support for the Israeli government is likely to be branded ‘racist’ and anti-Jewish.

All the more important that socialists continue to fight:

  • for an end to the occupation of Palestine
  • against the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism
  • against any political, financial or military support for Israel
  • against war on Iran
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Tony Greenstein

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