Been checking out the website to see what the ICC position is on the latest Israeli attack on Gaza and what if anything that activists should do to show opposition to the attack. For instance today Saturday there are demomstrartion by various leftist organisations with their never ending petitions should Marxists/left communists become involved in this activity?
Agree a response is needed. We will try to coordinate something internationally, but some discussion is needed. Any comments here useful. It looks like the Israeli's are pushing this - there has been speculation that Netanyahu is trying to look tough for the elections. But I think Hamas has also stepped up attacks, under pressure from more radical groups.
Main response has to be to denounce both sets of gangsters and to show how the war drive runs exactly counter to the needs of the social movements we have seen on both sides in the last year.
If the thing escalates there will be leftist demos and internationalists should be there to try and defend class positions in whatever way they can, but they have to separate themselves from mobilisations on a nationalist terrain.
I can't help but thinking that the timing of these events is suspiciously close to the conclusion of the US elections. We know Netanyahu and Obama are not on good terms and we know Netanyahu really wants to attack Iran, but so far just can't ge the go ahead from the US. The role of Egypt seems important given that Hamas was in some ways an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood. Will Egypt show the same level of restraint in this conflict now that Mubarak is history and the MB is nominally in power?
It's very hard in these situations to produce a measured and useful response - I've drafted and re-drafted and scrapped and started again with this reply, and it's still not right, partly because it falls again and again into two errors.
The first is the error of providing one side with an alibi. Support for the people of Palestine is not support for the policies of Hamas, and we have to be careful not to give aid to the latter when expressing our solidarity with the former. We have to be clear that neither side offers anything to the working class.
The second error is equating the two sides. While it's true that both are equally reactionary, the Israeli armed forces have a far greater technical capacity for bloodshed and destruction than Hamas do. They have more soldiers, they have more weapons, those weapons are deadlier, they have more resources for waging war. While it is depolorable that 3 Israelis have been killed in the latest round of violence, the number of Palestinians killed is much higher - reportedly 70 so far, 34 Hamas militants and 36 civilians, including children. Is it 12 times as deplorable as the killing of 3 Israelis? Probably not. Is it the same? Not that either.
How can we respond without been perceived as either supporting Hamas's war aims on the one hand, or minimising Israel's crimes on the other?
There are people in Israel opposed to the violence. I think there's been more reporting of protests along the lines of 'I'm Jewish and I oppose Israeli terror' than I remember from previous periods of heightened violence. As Israel is the main instigator of this cycle, it is the voices in Israel opposed to the violence that need most support, I think. It is potentially an Israeli cease-fire that will save the most lives. Obviously a ceasefire brought about by the class struggle in Israel is a long way off, but it is still necessary to work towards that ever happening.
There have even been voices in Gaza raised against Hamas, which must be even harder one would think. It is to these people, those who oppose their own governments, on either side, that we have to offer political support, because this is the kernel of a proletarian reaction - the recognition that neither side offers anything to the working class and the best interests of the class are served by unity across borders rather than giving in to nationalism. To the rest of the population, there really doesn't seem much we can do but offer ultimately impotent solidarity. We can't actually do anything that will change the situation.
Slotherjabber, I am not attacking you, but might there be hint of pacifism in what appears to be a call for a "cease fire" in you post? I thought the internationalist position was "turn the imeprialist war into a civil war"? But people get killed in a civil war, don't they? I appreciate what you say about this being a very difficult issue, so I don't want to come off as glib about it all, or suggest this can all be dispensed with by a slogan. I think your post does raise serious issues about how we should relate to war.
That one side in this war between bourgeois thugs has better weapons than the other, is no reason for somehow feeling a bit sympathetic for the lesser armed side. After all, this is bourgeois gang warfare. Both sides are disgusting, both cruel and relentless in pursuit of their own bourgeois objectives whatever exactly these may be, and both care nothing at all for any slaughtering of innocents that takes place - although of course we're always sorry about this aren't we, you can take that for granted, specially about the children; but what can we do, after all it's the other side's fault isn't it? Our own honorable intentions are always wholly commendable blah blah blah and lies and hypocrisy come easy to us both. It's all horribly predictable; it's all happened before; the lies and hypocrisy flow like milk and honey, and the populations of both countries must be unbelievably sick of the whole never-ending mess.
Can anybody do anything? Can anybody help? Probably not. The mess in Israel/Palestine is just an exaggerated example of the tragedy taking over the whole world, as the planet's various bourgeoisie's finally lose it; finally embrace total lunacy in their idiotic struggles to defend their piece of the disappearing profits, and their stupid bit of homeland, country, fatherland, or whatever ridiculous name they give to the section of soil on the map they claim so jealously as "theirs".
sloth jabber thinks we can't do anything. But we can! We can point out relentlessly the desperate warring efforts of the bourgeoisie in the face of their collapsing system; point out that as the system fails globally, so the deperation of the bourgeoisie attains epic proportions of violence and terror on a world level and that no one is likely to escape their destructive hate in the end. UNLESS. UNLESS of course we the victims of the hate, we the exploited, can come to see this cataclysm for what it is - the death throes of capitalism - and grasp that we can put a stop to it now, by organising ourselves against the system and its rulers, and by imposing our own international solution to the crisis, the dictatorship of the proletariat. This alone can bring bourgeois chaos and lunacy to an end.
JK - pacifism, no; I did think about using the term 'cessation of hostilities' but settled for 'cease-fire'. Not as in a 'Ceasfire Line' but as in a forced disruption of Israel's (particularly) ability to continue to wage war. 'Turn the imperialist war into a civil war'? I wish. 'Disrupt the war effort'? More likely, in my estimation, though still a very long way off.
Fred - of course you're right that we can, and must, condemn the bougeoisie on both sides, and three times in my post I made the point that neither side has anything to offer the working class. But condemnation doesn't stop bombs. Watching the news this morning, it's being reported that the death-toll in Gaza has now reached 90; 20 more people have died since I posted not quite 12 hours ago. We, as revolutionaries in the rest of the world, cannot do anything about that. It is the working class in Israel and Palestine who might be able to do something. All we can do from thousands of miles away is offer them our support.
We have to be clear that neither side offers anything to the working class...While it's true that both are equally reactionary, the Israeli armed forces have a far greater technical capacity for bloodshed and destruction than Hamas do. They have more soldiers, they have more weapons, those weapons are deadlier, they have more resources for waging war. While it is depolorable that 3 Israelis have been killed in the latest round of violence, the number of Palestinians killed is much higher...
There are people in Israel opposed to the violence. I think there's been more reporting of protests along the lines of 'I'm Jewish and I oppose Israeli terror' than I remember from previous periods of heightened violence.
Israel has launched over 1200 strikes as I write this, Hamas around 300. There is something that must be said for the US media bias perpetuating the idea "if Hamas stopped firing rockets, Israel would have no reason to attack."
Or to quote fucking Obama, "There's not a country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders," Mr. Obama said. "We are fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself from missiles landing on peoples' homes."
So, speculation is emerging that what is really going on here is that Israel is testing the response from Hamas should it attack Iran. They want to see how well this new "iron dome" thing would work and determine what Hamas' actual capacity is to inflict damage in Israel. They are also using this opportunity to disrupt Hamas' command structure.
I don't have a lot of sympathy for the "Israel is worse" argument. All states are imperialist killing machines. Some may be beter at it than others, but if their interests require it they would all aspire to have the technical killing capacity Israel does. Screw them all......
Ok, Hamas has killed 3 Israelis. Two men, and one women. That's not an "imperialist killing machine", that's like... gang war in East LA.
Israel has already killed 23 children and counting. I have sympathy for the Israel is worse arguement. Not nationalism, self-determination blah blah blah...Because you're right, it's all imperialist bullshit. And they probably are testing whatever for whatever... imperialist armies always do this. Even Hamas' missles are going farther then ever. But supposedly whatever bombs Israel is using contains some type of incendiary or chemical element that is burning both the civilians and militants who are in the path. You have to be against the brutality of that, and you have to say it in an article. With sources of course.
Hamas will love you p_p for thinking Israel is worse.
Is it not dangerous to begin making selections among bourgeois gangs/cliques/thugs/governments etc. as to who is "worse", and using the number and quality of their armaments, or the number of deaths caused, as the measuring stick? As jk says: the bourgeoisie everywhere aspire to and envy the amazingly smart and technically admirable killing machine the Israelis have - courtesy of the US presumably? You could argue that Hamas is "worse" for hiding it's tin pot rocketry in among it's civilian population. You could even argue that Hamas must be really incredibly stupid, even by bourgeois standards, in that for every squib they let off Israel returns four bigger, better, and more cleverly aimed bombs and kills more civilians in a much nastier way through horrific burns. You could argue that this is all Hamas fault, and that they ask for it for fighting with the big boys.
But fortunately for Hamas they see their population as dispensable - as do the bourgeoisie everywhere when you get down to it - so the losses won't worry them. And Israel is only trying out it's new toy - what's it called...oh yes "the iron dome"; sounds like a new computer game - so they're learning on the job. In fact, if it wasn't for all the killing, maiming, destruction and hate, this whole thing is like a kids' game, and the bourgeoisie are total maniacs and losers. Why don't we get rid of them?
But is Hamas playing for time here, and hoping some of the regions' bigger players will get involved, or that the whole middle East will somehow explode further in their favor, if this is possible?
I should probably clarify my comments above. I don't have much sympathy for the "Israel is worse argument," but I can have sympathy for those who feel that way. The violence and destruction has, in fact, tended to be rather uneven in that region over the last several decades, so its understandable that there is a lot of outrage against Israel and its modern technically sophisticated killing machine (Courtesy of the U.S.)
But, I still think that the internationalist position requires us to point out the inherently murderous nature of all states and pseudo-states regardless of their actual technical capacity at any given moment in time. Like I said, Israel may be a particularly efficient killing machine in that region, but given other circumstances, it is possible to see the balance of forces being reversed.
I just heard some other analysts talking about it, who claimed that the Israel is preparing for war with Iran thesis is wrong and that it is Hamas that is actually testing out Morisi in Egypt to see how far he would go in getting their back in any conflict with Israel.
On the meme of, "Israel can't tolerate rockets falling on its people." That is interesting, because obviously Hamas has had this capability for some time and Israel has "tolerated it." The question is, why are these hostilities breaking out now?
I think that the main point of responsibility for internationalists is to denounce all sides in the war. Alf makes this point above and puts it against the position of support for elements of the social movements on both the Arab and Israeli sides. Denouncing both sides doesn't mean that the use of overwhelming firepower of the Israeli's can't be denounced, nor the abject state of terror and poverty that the vast majority of the Gaza Strip are kept in by Israel (and the US and EU) - with the complicity of Hamas. And Hamas is not behind in terrorising and policing its "own" people - witness the summary shooting of 6 suspected "traitors" on the streets of Gaza yesterday with one body dragged around the area by motorcycle.
As for Obama's statement that there's "not a country in world that would tolerate missiles raining down on it from outside", this is rich in hypocrisy given that under his direction drone attacks killing many innocents have vastly increased in numbers and breadth recently.
Why the attack on Gaza now is an interesting question. Just days before they blew his car up Israel was negotiating with the Hamas military leader, Ahmed Jabari, who clearly thought that he was safe travelling around, so I would think that the reasons for the fighting is more than simply rockets into Israel. The leadership of the latter will be very aware of the recent distancing that has taken place between Hamas and Tehran (and the strengthening of relations between Hamas and Qatar). But, nevertheless, it could be that the authorities wanted to test their missile defences. And such fighting does play into the hands of the present Israeli leadership.