The kidnapping in June of three Israeli settlers was used as the excuse the Israeli state needed for launching operation “Brother’s Keeper” and then operation “Protective Edge“. In the days which followed the kidnapping, Israel went to war with the Palestinian resistance, first covertly, hidden under the pretext of searching for those responsible for the deaths of the settlers, and when that pretext was blown wide open, it declared its intention to destroy the fighting capability of Hamas and the Palestinian resistance and launched a full-scale frenzied campaign of terror upon the trapped inhabitants of the Gaza strip.
In a matter of days following the kidnappings, it emerged that the Israeli state had hidden information on the whereabouts and killing of the three settlers, so as to enable the Zionist storm troopers to make a thoroughgoing assault upon the leadership of the Palestinian resistance and drive a wedge within the new Palestinian unity government. Although the aim was clearly to bring division and disunity amongst Fatah and Hamas and destroy the new unity government, to weaken the Palestinian resistance and mete out sadistic collective punishment on the peoples of occupied Palestine for their continuing resistance, the Palestinian people bravely stood up to the fascistic onslaught of Israel, withstood the blitzkrieg of the Zionist forces and have delivered a shattering blow to the international prestige and reputation of Israel – destroying once and forever the myth of a besieged Jewish population defending itself in a hostile Islamic world. As Israel bombed and obliterated one school after another, as it repeatedly targeted hospitals and UN shelters – this myth was blown apart and Israel inflicted irreparable harm upon its standing in the world. Although the Palestinians have had to pay a terrible price; their resistance has changed the course of world history – any sympathy and respectability which Israel may have been able to cling onto following the previous incursions (three within the last six years) has now been lost; condemnation of Israel rings out loudly across the world and leaders across the planet over are under pressure to condemn Israel, which already faces isolation and pariah-status amongst the progressive peoples of the world. A people who once enjoyed universal sympathy because of its sufferings at the hands of the Nazis have, thanks to the fascistic Zionist brutality and racism, managed to lose every ounce of compassion as their genocidal campaign against Palestinians reached new heights of hypocrisy and Nazi-like terror.
Israel began its assault with the abduction of 600 Palestinians, including 12 parliamentarians, in the hours which followed the kidnappings. The smoke and mirrors which the Israeli state shamefully threw up enabled it to raid 1500 homes and murder 9 Palestinians including a toddler, a 15 year old boy, a 22 year old man shot in the head in his refugee camp and a 78 year old who died of terror as Israel raided Arrub camp on June 25. In the atmosphere of hatred and murder which the Israelis and their “Defence Force” were doing their utmost to stir up, a 16 year old Palestinian child named Mohammed Abu Khiedir was abducted by settler youth, beaten over the head and burnt alive. The pathologist found smoke in his lungs, evidence he was still breathing whilst he was set on fire. His charred remains were handed back to his parents for burial whilst Israel got to work on the rest of the population of the Gaza strip.
Surveying the destruction
The Wall Street Journal produced a report from UN and PA (Palestinian Authority) estimates of the damage inflicted during the initial three-week phase of operation “Protective Edge” which began officially on July 8. It notes that Israel’s airstrikes and three-week-long ground operation in the Gaza Strip saw ” more than 10,000 houses and mosques… badly damaged or destroyed. The conflict has also taken a toll on educational facilities and other critical infrastructure, the figures show. The extent of the damage is more than double what it was during Israel’s last major ground operation in Gaza at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, the U.N. estimates….
“About 741 acres of agricultural fields were severely damaged or razed during the conflict … Agriculture is an important industry in Gaza, but its growth has been hampered by military campaigns and a buffer zone around the border where farmers can’t work. The buffer zone contains 29% of the enclave’s arable land, according to the Washington-based relief agency American Near East Refugee Aid.
“The current Gaza conflict has outpaced any other conflict in its death toll in a decade, even surpassing Israel’s battle with Lebanon in 2006 in its total number of deaths. The dead, mainly Palestinians in Gaza, are mainly civilians according to the U.N., and include large numbers of women and children.” The reported figures show that 67 Israelis were killed compared with 1,965 Palestinians of whom 458 were children; the numbers continue to rise as many dead still lie hidden in the wreckage of their schools, homes and hospitals.”
Israeli slaughter in Gaza
The numbers above are testament to the fascistic nature of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians, and the words of Moshe Feiglin, the deputy speaker of the Knesset, are indicative and (frighteningly) typical of the type of barbarism openly espoused by the blood-thirsty Israeli politicians:
“The blood of a dialysis patient in Gaza is not redder than the blood of our IDF [Israeli army] soldiers who will, God forbid, need to enter [Gaza], …I call on the prime minister who we all support in this difficult hour, before we send the IDF into Gaza, we should simply shut down their electricity,”
As these crimes were perpetrated, Eva Bartlett, a courageous blogger, who has lived many years in Gaza, recorded that,
“Ayelet Shaked, of economics minister Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party, calls on her Facebook page for murdering the mothers of what she terms Palestinian “terrorists” (a very broad concept indeed in current Israeli thinking) so that they cannot give birth to more “little snakes”:
“They have to die and their houses should be demolished so that they cannot bear any more terrorists. They are all our enemies and their blood should be on our hands. This also applies to the mothers of the dead terrorists. …
“[The terrorists] are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”
“Mordechai Kedar, a lecturer on Arabic literature at Bar Ilan University, believes the sisters and mothers of Palestinian “terrorists” should be raped:
“A terrorist, like those who kidnapped the boys [in the West Bank on June 12] and killed them, the only thing that will deter them, is if they know that either their sister or mother will be raped if they are caught. What can we do? This is the culture that we live in.”
“Note that his university did not reprimand him. They defended his comments:
“The purpose was to define the culture of death of the terrorist organizations. Dr Kedar illustrated in his words the bitter reality of the Middle East and the inability of a modern and law-abiding country to fight the terror of suicide bombers.”
Zionism needs these sickening statements to rob the Palestinian people of their humanity and make it easier to behave in such a beastly manner. It is reminiscent of the way in which the Nazis spoke about the Slavs, communists and Jews. It is also reminiscent of the language of British colonialism in its most abhorrent and brazen form, unshackled from the niceties which the PR gurus and spin doctors nowadays apply. Indeed there is nothing new or essentially Israeli in any of the words or actions of the last weeks, no matter how sickening; Israel is a puppet state, it is an appendage of imperialism, a settler state which can only continue to exist on occupied land with a militaristic, fascistic world outlook. Its behaviour and outlook is the behaviour and outlook of all colonisers – it murders, pillages, robs and terrorises as well as any British, Belgian, French, German or US devil has done. Without such language to dehumanise the victims, the latter’s mass murder would be seen as all the more appalling by our populations at large.
President Assad speaks
On Wednesday 16 July President Assad was sworn in as President after his resounding win in the elections. He used his speech as a weapon in the hands of the oppressed people of the Middle East, and analysed in an intelligent way the ongoing western intervention in the middle east. He also, to his credit, correctly placed the Palestinian conflict at the centre of the region’s struggle, and despite what he termed various “betrayals” by some Palestinian resistance groups earlier in the conflict, President Assad was clear to draw the Syrians people’s attention to the need to refrain from bitterness and to draw clear lines of demarcation between enemies and friends. Addressing the audience at the parliament he said:
“The existence of these countries [Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain – Ed.] is the West’s most important achievement and the most significant cause for Israel’s successes and continued existence. There is no clearer evidence than their current stand regarding the Israeli aggression against Gaza. Where is the ‘alleged’ zeal and ardour that they showed towards Syria or the Syrian people? Why haven’t they supported Gaza with arms and money? Where are their jihadists; and why haven’t they sent them to defend our people in Palestine?
“In order to know the answer, we should know that what is happening today in Gaza, ladies and gentlemen, is not a separate or passing event. It is an integrated chain of events: from the occupation of Palestine, to the invasion of Iraq and trying to divide it now and the division of the Sudan all planned by Israel and the West and always executed by the states of tyranny and backwardness in our Arab world.
“Was it not Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdul Rahman al-Faisal who conceded to Britain that he does not object to giving Palestine to the ‘poor’ Jews in 1915? Did those states not incite the 1967 war, whose price we are still paying today, in order to get rid of the Abdul Nasser ‘phenomenon’? Did those states not support Iran under the Shah, only to stand against it when it decided to support the Palestinian people and turn the Israeli embassy into a Palestinian embassy after the revolution?
“Those are the countries which made the ‘King Fahad Peace Initiative’ in 1981 and threatened the Palestinians with rivers of blood if they don’t accept it. When the Palestinian factions rejected it, and in less than a year, there was the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the ejection of the PLO from Lebanon, not out of concern for Lebanon, but for Israel.
“Those same states surprised us in 2002 with their greatest concession: ‘normalization in return for peace, which was later modified to become the ‘Arab Peace Initiative’ in the Beirut summit.
“When Israel attacked Lebanon in 2006, it was those same countries that encouraged Israel and the West not to accept a cease-fire until the Lebanese resistance was destroyed, describing them as ‘adventurous.’ Because these satellite countries succeeded in their tasks, they were charged with funding chaos under the name of the ‘Arab spring,’ and with leading the Arab League after other Arab countries abandoned their roles. The Arab League itself was reduced to summoning NATO and imposing a siege on the Arab states that refused to comply.
“All of these events constitute a strongly linked chain aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause; all the money spent by those countries since their creation has been for this purpose. And here they are today playing the same role: in Gaza through Israeli terrorism, and in Syria through terrorism belonging to 83 nationalities. The methods may differ but their objective is the same.
“This leads me to another important issue. Some have expressed indifference towards Gaza, on the premise that we have our fair share of national problems; others have gloated at the Israeli aggression, as a reaction to the ingratitude and disloyalty of some Palestinians towards Syria and everything we have offered for decades. Both cases however, reflect naïve thinking; what is happening in Syria and the region as a whole is strongly linked to what is happening in Palestine. Dissociating ourselves from these events would be like watching a neighbour’s house burning and not offering to help.
“That is why those who believe that we can live in safety and distance ourselves from the Palestinian cause are illusioned. It will remain the central cause based on principles and the reality that links what is happening in Palestine with what is happening in Syria. We need to distinguish between the resistant Palestinian people and the ungrateful Palestinians, between true resistance fighters – who we should support – and the amateurs who mask themselves in the mantle of resistance to serve their interests, improve their image or strengthen their authority; otherwise, we will be – consciously or unconsciously, serving Israel’s objectives of dividing us even further and making us believe that our crisis is local and isolated.”
Outrage with Israeli fascism builds around the world
Millions of people around the world demonstrated in support of Palestine throughout July and August, and millions more begin to wake up to the all-too-clear reality of the horrific slaughter perpetrated in Gaza by the fascistic Zionist thugs of Israel. Actions are ongoing and space prevents us from recording all the struggles which are taking place the world over, and are likely to increase, as people chose to support Palestine and isolate Israeli apartheid.
An article in the Scotsman newspaper reported that in response to the decision of Glasgow City Council to fly the Palestinian flag from the city chambers a Fortune500 company pulled out of a plan to bring 600 imperialist lackeys to Glasgow [sigh]:
“The trip, organised by an American special event company ranked among the Fortune 500, was to be a reward for 600 salesmen and women and their spouses.
“However, the vice president of the firm cancelled the trip after learning of the city council’s decision to fly the Palestinian flag in a show of solidarity with Gaza civilians , according to the Daily Express.
“In a letter to Glasgow’s Lord Provost, the vice president explained his decision, saying: “We were scheduling six days in Glasgow, three for business and three for leisure time. Having read your statement endorsing Hamas and its leadership due to the number of Muslims in your city, I have decided to cancel plans for our trip. We are a Fortune 500 company, so costs were really not a serious consideration, location was. Hopefully the Muslim population that you so sincerely endorse will have the spending power of the very people you have chased away so well.”
“Councillor Archie Graham responded to the company by saying: ‘Glasgow utterly abhors and rejects any forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.’
“The vice president of the firm, which has not been named, said he would not be reversing his decision for the company’s employees not to visit Glasgow.”
A hue and a cry was also raised when George Galloway MP, bravely called for a boycott of all things Israeli in a well-reported speech which was picked up by the corporate media with the intention of demonising Galloway. Speaking in Bradford he was reported to have declared:
“We don’t want any Israeli goods. We don’t want any Israeli services. We don’t want any Israeli academics coming to the university or the college. We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford – even if any of them had thought of doing so.
“We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel … We have declared Bradford an Israel-free zone.”
Galloway’s comments have infuriated imperialist quislings in inverse proportion to the inspiration they have given all decent, fair-minded and peace-loving people across Britain. So worried are Britain’s rulers and their Zionist friends about the impact that Galloway’s remarks might have on those British workers who are angry at the crimes being committed with help from our own government and corporations, that the police have been tasked with ‘investigating’ his comments (no doubt with the aim of knocking together some spurious charge of ‘anti-semitism’ etc).
On Saturday 9 August, after the demonstration of 150,000 pro-Palestinian supporters in London, in Saklatvala Hall, Southall, speaking to comrades and friends of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), party Chairman Harpal Brar voiced his support and admiration for the stance taken by George Galloway.
Harpal declared that he hoped Southall would also associate itself with Galloway’s comments and declare itself an “Israel-free zone” – to loud applause and support from those assembled!
Concluding his remarks, Comrade Harpal said that it was up to communists and revolutionaries to raise high and promote the call of George Galloway for an all-out boycott of Israel, and that, like Galloway, we must all declare ourselves ready to be prosecuted for saying so:
“Only in such a way, with such a spirit of determination, and by refusing en masse to cooperate with Israel’s war crimes, can the Zionists be stopped!”
Occupations and protests, growth of the BDS movement
The sentiments expressed by Galloway and Brar are exactly those which are being taken up globally by many thousands of peace-loving peoples and which are borne out by the growth of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign. Rather than a weak condemnation of the scale of the atrocities, it is our job as revolutionaries to completely smash all sympathy with Zionism as a political movement and this struggle can be carried forward in the imperialist countries inside the BDS movement.
Although the three large demonstrations which mobilised many hundreds of thousands to come to London in support of Palestine during July and August are to be welcomed, the direct action taken by those who occupied the arms factory in Birmingham in early August had an impact that peaceful protests fail to attract in this age of monopoly-controlled corporate mass media; it is important that we give these brave men and women our support in their coming battle through the Courts.
Redyouth.org , the blog of young members and supporters of the CPGB-ML, reported from the demonstrations outside the Elbit Systems factory in Birmingham as protestors occupied the factory in August:
“Earlier today activists from London Palestine Action bravely occupied UAV Engines in Shenstone, owned by Elbit Systems (an Israeli company). UAV Engines produces parts for Israeli drones used in the massacre of Palestinian men, women, and children, as well as to destroy schools and hospitals in Gaza. A contingent from Red Youth is attending in solidarity with the activists and the Palestinian people, and in protest against the Zionist regime.
“The activists have chained themselves to the roof of the factory, forcing it to stop production and demanding that Britain ceases trading arms to Israel, imposes sanctions on Israel, and supports the investigation into human rights abuses in Gaza.
“Despite having to keep the operation a secret, as soon as it was announced earlier today people have been travelling from all over the country to show their support. Ordinary people who know they have the ability and the duty to make a difference are arriving from Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, and further afield to protest British involvement in the war crimes perpetrated by Israel.
“Despite an overwhelming police response, including countless vans, officers, and a helicopter, the protesters are determined not to let these crimes against humanity go unchallenged. The stony indifference of the ruling class’s lackeys have only fuelled the determination of the protesters to help the activists keep the factory shut, and their servitude to the warmongering, profiteering bosses of this country are as clear as ever….
“Protesters outside the police cordon (a “crime scene”, making it an arrestable offence to enter for anyone, except of course locals and anyone driving a nice car) kept up the spirits of the occupiers from London Palestine Action on the roof. Chants, drumming, and slogans were heard by the people on the roof, although the police would not let the protest move within sight of the factory.
“The police invoked draconian laws recently passed that make being a ‘nuisance’ an arrestable offence, delaying any decision to move the cordon closer to the factory, and maintaining a strong presence throughout the day. Strangely, when the cameras arrived, the police decided to move all of their force out of sight, perhaps to give the impression that a peaceful protest wasn’t being met with over 30 officers armed with pepper spray, batons, and stun guns.
“The protesters grew frustrated by the police’s attempts to delay and diffuse the movement, and decided to hold a silent march through the village which was met with support from the local pub and church. Many in the village were previously unaware that military hardware was being manufactured in the factory.
“The police deliberately delayed the decision of whether to let the protesters move ahead, which had been demanded early on, in order to proceed onto the roof and arrest the occupiers at approximately 7-8pm. The police did this under the cover of allowing them to use phones to conduct interviews with the BBC and PressTV. Despite being removed from the roof they got the message out to people across the world, and have educated and inspired many not only about what is really happening in the world, but shown them that they are empowered to take action and stand for what is right.
“Taking action, from informing the public and staging demonstrations to occupying means of production and denying trade and transport for imperialist wars is not only justified, but our imperative. Our ruling classes wage war in their own interest, oppress workers of all countries, and profit from our suffering. We must take control of our own labour, deny the capitalists the means of oppression, and smash the tools of imperialism.
“Either place yourself at the mercy of capital, eke out a wretched existence as of old and sink lower and lower, or adopt a new weapon-this is the alternative imperialism puts before the vast masses of the proletariat. Imperialism brings the working class to revolution.” – J.V. Stalin, Foundations of Leninism”
Fight against Elbit Systems is taken up in Australia
As the Shenstone factory protestors await their court hearing in Staffordshire, comrades on the other side of the world took up the struggle against Elbit Systems in Melbourne, Australia:
“Victoria police have arrested seven pro-Palestinian protesters who climbed upon the roof of an Israeli arms manufacturer in Melbourne.
“The protesters entered the premises of Elbit Systems at Port Melbourne about 5.30am on Friday, unfurling a banner on the roof that read “Elbit drones kill kids in Gaza #BDS”.
The protesters were heard to chant “free, free Palestine”, while protesters on the ground held a sign that read: “We don’t want your dirty wars”. A fake separation wall, to represent the Israeli-built wall …, was erected, while four D-locks were placed on the company’s gates.
“Victoria police said officers were deployed to monitor about 20 protesters in total, with the seven people on the roof arrested and then released with a court summons for trespass.
“Elbit Systems makes a variety of aerospace, land and naval systems for the military. Its Australian division is primarily focused on the Australian Defence Force (ADF) but pro-Palestinian groups say the wider company is linked to the manufacture of drones used in the Gaza conflict.
“The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) praised Elbit’s technology during its recent incursion into the Gaza strip, which has left more than 1,600 Palestinians dead. The company’s Skylark unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have been described as a “real asset” by the IDF due to their ability to gather intelligence on targets for the military.
“Sam Castro, of the Melbourne Palestine Action Group, a coalition of three groups behind the protest, said Elbit will be continually targeted by protesters.
“This draws attention to the fact the Australian government has complicity in the killing of children in Gaza by allowing a war profiteer to operate in our city,” she told Guardian Australia.
“This is a private company making money out of death machinery which is killing children in Gaza. We are linking up with protesters around the world to keep targeting Elbit because it is not welcome in our country.” (Oliver Milman, ‘Pro-Palestine activists arrested over Israeli arms protest in Melbourne’, Guardian, 15 August 2014)
Oakland again sets the example
Israeli vessel The Piraeus managed by Zim Integrated Shipping Services (an Israeli company) was successfully picketed by demonstrators in Oakland, California in August – and forced to leave the port. The Oakland port has been witness to similar protests during the Iraq war and the Occupy demonstrations of recent years. Under the slogan “Block the Boat”,
“Chants of “Free, free Palestine” rang out as Alameda County sheriff’s deputies, who clearly outnumbered protesters, watched from a distance.” (sfgate.com)
Pro-Palestine activists had arrived in large numbers on Saturday 16 August, the day before the boat attempted to dock, and by Sunday they had been successful in their immediate demand with workers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union refusing to unload. Union President Melvin MacKay explained that the workers would not work “under armed police escort – not with our experience with the police in this community”. Mr Mackay was referring to the violent clashes which erupted during the Occupy movement and the injuries to several people in 2003 when workers protested the Iraq war. In 2008 the same docks and Union came out on May Day, defied court injunctions to strike in protest against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and despite the decision of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) leadership, made under legal pressure, to withhold official sponsorship for the strike, tens of thousands of dockworkers went ahead and shut down ports in a protest against the war. For eight hours, a string of ports along the West Coast, including Los Angeles and Long Beach, were brought to a standstill, halting movement of about 10,000 containers.
In a desperate bid to beat the protesters, The Piraeus left port on Tuesday, sailed out under the Golden Gate and into the Pacific. With the protests dissipating The Piraeus did a U-turn slipping back towards Oakland for a new berth – the police in collusion with the shipping company removed the high-level presence and need for a police escort, and the ship was successfully unloaded by the time new pickets had been arranged and formed at the docks.
“Kate Rafael, a 55-year-old word processor from Oakland who has been protesting each day, said she believed the U-turn was proof that the demonstrations were having their desired effect. “It really makes them look desperate,” she said. “There are blockades going on all over the world, from Seattle to Spain. They’re not going to be able to hide much longer.”
It is the job of communists and revolutionaries here in Britain and in the other imperialist heartlands to make life as difficult as possible for the Israeli aggressor and our governments. This means supporting the campaigns for boycott, divestment and sanctions, but more than that, it means to organise a mass campaign of non-cooperation. We support the work of those who occupied the Shenstone factory, but we also believe that we must work within the labour movement in order to bring workers out on strike or in sympathy with the aims of the BDS movement. Workers need to be shown that they ultimately have the power to stop these wars of aggression – and that their demands to cease to produce armaments can be linked to demands to produce things that people actually need, medical and all manner of other hi-tech equipment and socially useful goods. We can actually force our governments to drop support for Zionism if we are prepared to ACT.
Long-time friends of Israel desert the Zionist project
As well as the many well-meaning people around the world with no connection to Israel or Palestine who took to the streets to make protest there are many others, much closer to home for the Israeli Zionists, who are beginning to turn their backs on the Zionist project. The significance of their stories cannot be underestimated. An article in the New York Times strikingly paints the picture of the now irreversible trend which will lead to the death of the Zionist project:
“In 1943, Henk Zanoli took a dangerous train trip, slipping past Nazi guards and checkpoints to smuggle a Jewish boy from Amsterdam to the Dutch village of Eemnes. There, the Zanoli family, already under suspicion for resisting the Nazi occupation, hid the boy in their home for two years. The boy would be the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust.
“Seventy-one years later, on July 20, an Israeli airstrike flattened a house in the Gaza Strip, killing six of Mr. Zanoli’s relatives by marriage. His grandniece, a Dutch diplomat, is married to a Palestinian economist, Ismail Ziadah, who lost three brothers, a sister-in-law, a nephew and his father’s first wife in the attack.
“On Thursday, Mr. Zanoli, 91, whose father died in a Nazi camp, went to the Israeli Embassy in The Hague and returned a medal he received honoring him as one of the Righteous Among the Nations – non-Jews honored by Israel for saving Jews during the Holocaust. In an anguished letter to the Israeli ambassador to the Netherlands, he described the terrible price his family had paid for opposing Nazi tyranny.
“My sister lost her husband, who was executed in the dunes of The Hague for his involvement in the resistance,” he wrote. “My brother lost his Jewish fiancée who was deported, never to return.”
“Mr. Zanoli continued, “Against this background, it is particularly shocking and tragic that today, four generations on, our family is faced with the murder of our kin in Gaza. Murder carried out by the State of Israel.”…
…”I gave back my medal because I didn’t agree with what the state of Israel is doing to my family and to the Palestinians on the whole,”
“In Gaza, Mr. Zanoli’s in-laws say his gesture is a fitting response to the losses of their family and others who have lost multiple relatives in strikes on homes. Those in-laws include Hassan al-Zeyada, a psychological trauma counselor who is an older brother of Ismail Ziadah. Their mother, Muftiyah, 70, was the oldest family member to die in the bombing…
“…In 1943, Mr. Zanoli’s father was detained by the Nazis for his work in the Dutch underground resistance movement. Soon after, according to Yad Vashem’s citation, also awarded posthumously to Mr. Zanoli’s mother, Jans, Mr. Zanoli traveled to Amsterdam to get Elchanan Pinto, 11, an Orthodox Jewish boy whose parents and siblings would all die in the death camps.
“Jans Zanoli knew very well the risks involved by then in hiding a Jewish youngster in her home, but felt the moral obligation to do so,” the citation reads. “Elchanan found a warm and loving home with them.”…
“…In his letter to the Israeli ambassador, Mr. Zanoli noted that among the bereaved were “the great-great grandchildren of my mother.”
“He relinquished the honour “with great sorrow,” he wrote, because keeping an honour from Israel’s government would be “an insult to the memory of my courageous mother” and to his Gaza family.
“He added that his family had “strongly supported the Jewish people” in their quest for “a national home,” but that he had gradually come to believe that “the Zionist project” had “a racist element in it in aspiring to build a state exclusively for Jews.”
“He referred to the displacement of Palestinians – including members of the Ziadah family – during the war over Israel’s founding as “ethnic cleansing” and said Israel “continues to suppress” and occupy Palestinian areas. Israel still occupies the West Bank; it pulled troops out of Gaza in 2005 but retains control over its seafront, airspace and most of its borders…” Christopher F. Schuetze and Anne Barnard, ‘Resisting Nazis, He Saw Need for Israel. Now He Is Its Critic’, 15 August 2014).
How do we resist?
What we really need to be calling for in all our respective countries – and especially in those with close ties to Israel like Britain and the USA – is a mass campaign of non-cooperation with Israeli war crimes .
We know that British people are sick of the crimes being committed in Palestine. They are sick of their government’s complicity. They feel powerless. It is the Palestine solidarity movement’s job to point out that they are not as powerless as they think.
Not only the media need to be held to account and those firms that profit from the war and occupation singled out and boycotted (something our own Palestine Solidarity Campaign does work at), but all parts of the war machine need to be actively stopped from functioning.
We are not only consumers but workers. Media workers should refuse to write war propaganda or to publish or broadcast it. They should be reminded that taking any part in creating such propaganda makes them war criminals too, according to what was established at Nuremberg.
Those who are making munitions for Israel need to refuse to continue with such work. Those who ship them likewise. Those who provide any goods or services to Israel and to the settlements need to withdraw their labour power from such work and explain exactly why they are doing so to the rest of the British public. Supermarket workers should refuse to put Israeli products on the shelves. Transport workers should refuse to carry them.
Collectively, as workers, we do have a lot more power over the situation than the ineffectual lobbying of MPs would lead us to believe. The role of Palestine solidarity movements everywhere should be to lead the campaign to raise that awareness and mobilise workers in every area of productive life to get behind such a campaign and bring their co-workers with them.
The whole Zionist enterprise would collapse pretty quickly if we put our money where our mouth is and used our collective power. It’s the one thing that could terrify our own ruling class into dropping its support for the Israeli project.