Israel must be stopped

There can be no peace in the Middle East while Israel occupies Palestine, supported by the U.S. for its own economic and geopolitical reasons. Hopefully, the world outcry over Israel’s all-out assault on Gaza will bring liberation closer.

Nov. 8, 2023, Rome, Italy — Demonstrators in front of the Pantheon show their solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza during the ongoing massacre by Israel. Similar protests have been going on around the world. PHOTO: Remo Casilli / Reuters
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Israel is on a murderous rampage in Gaza, raining horrific, continual, indiscriminate bombing and mounting an intense ground invasion. Israeli leaders claim their sole intent is to annihilate Hamas. But the slaughter and maiming of tens of thousands of Palestinians shows otherwise — namely, that the Zionist state is intent on resolving its “Palestinian Problem” through genocide.

Netanyahu’s government has made the blockade of Gaza total, trapping Palestinians in unlivable conditions underneath falling bombs. Israel has shut off water, power, and supplies of fuel and medicine while brazenly destroying hospitals.

Gaza has been a crowded open-air prison for 2.3 million people on 140 square miles. Now it is a graveyard. As of mid-November, more than 420 children are killed or injured every day. Thousands more are missing, buried in rubble. This is a tragedy not just for Palestinians, but for humanity.

Worldwide, actions to save Palestine are rapidly growing in numbers and intensity. Among the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators are anti-Zionist Jews loudly denouncing Israel’s slaughter, occupying the U.S. Capitol and rallying across the U.S. in the largest-ever Jewish mobilizations for Palestine.

The hope is that these dynamic protests can build into an international working-class movement — a force that can not only free the Occupied Territories, but also hasten the end of the underlying capitalist system that values profits above all.

Oppression and its offspring, rebellion

Zionism is an ideology that posits that the area occupied by Israel today is meant to be an exclusively Jewish homeland, never mind that Arab peoples have lived in the territory for centuries. Its proponents have tried to crush and disappear Palestinian residents since Israel’s inception in 1948.

The imperialist victors of World War II formed Israel in concert with Zionists demanding a Jewish state. They sought to establish a fortified outpost to protect their oil interests against the threat of Arab revolutions. Exhausted and impoverished Jews displaced by the Nazi Holocaust were among the first citizens.

Israel occupied the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War with neighboring countries. It later permitted home rule in Gaza, but kept rigid control of Gaza’s finances and supply of essential goods.

In 2006, Gazans elected Hamas to govern, rejecting the corrupt Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and its political party Fatah. Hamas is a militant Islamic fundamentalist movement and relief agency that grew out of the reactionary Muslim Brotherhood. Early on, Israel encouraged Hamas financially as a counter to the secular leftist forces behind the PLO. Now, the Israeli government condemns Hamas and uses it to deflect criticism of the terrorism of the Zionist state.

The surprise incursion into Israel by Hamas fighters on October 7 illuminated the plight of the Palestinian people and demonstrated once again their will to resist occupation. At the same time, its brutality toward civilians repelled some supporters of the Palestinian cause. And it exacerbated divisions between many Arab and Jewish working-class people in Israel/Palestine, who must find common cause for any solution to take hold. Netanyahu used the Hamas attack as a pretext for vicious retaliation.

An earth-shaking upheaval

Israel’s main funder and protector is the U.S., which is intent on curbing Middle East “unrest,” keeping the oil flowing, and countering its enemy Iran.

Annual U.S. military aid of $4 billion goes to Israel, primarily in grants to purchase military equipment and services from U.S. manufacturers. The U.S. maintains military bases in Israel and recently signed a multimillion-dollar contract to build facilities just 20 miles from Gaza.

Today, it is backing Israel’s onslaught with cargo military planes, U.S. Special Forces on the ground, spy drones and satellites, senior military advisers sent to Israel, and intelligence-gathering aircrafts on carriers in the Mediterranean.

Despite appearances, U.S. backing of Israel has never been unconditional. It is based on calculations about what best suits U.S. interests, period. What’s next for the Israel-U.S. relationship remains to be seen. However, it is certain that the current crisis, reverberating around the world, is leading to a shakeup of massive proportions, possibly involving wider war. There is no going back to the status quo existing before the Hamas attack.

How to end the carnage

Especially important in the international opposition to Israel’s war is the role of unions and labor organizations. This is where the pedal hits the metal, with the power of labor to shut down production and transport as well as to bring people together on a class basis despite other differences among them.

Labor actions and boycotts are already happening. In one dramatic case on November 3-6, hundreds of demonstrators at ports in both Oakland, California, and Tacoma, Washington, managed to delay the weapons-carrying warship Orlando for several hours on its way to Israel. Meanwhile, union workers are taking resolutions demanding Palestinian rights to their local chapters for discussion and adoption.

The Freedom Socialist Party believes that the movement’s goal should not be a return to pre-October 7 by way of calls for a ceasefire. Instead, demands must directly call on Israel and the U.S. to end the genocide and occupation.

  • Stop the assault on Gaza now. End the occupation now!
  • End all U.S. military and economic support to Israel.
  • U.S. troops out of the Middle East.
  • Support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
  • Full right of return and self-determination for Palestinians.
  • For one secular, socialist and democratic state with equal rights for Arabs and Jews, integrated into a federation of socialist republics of the Middle East.

Henry Noble is an anti-Zionist Jewish writer and labor activist and past National Secretary of the Freedom Socialist Party.