Stand with Gaza, stand with Palestine. No cooperation with Israeli war crimes

The following resolution was passed at the recent CPGB-ML party congress.

Proletarian writers

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Proletarian writers

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This congress asserts its absolute abhorrence of the inhuman and barbaric onslaught that was directed by the Israeli zionist occupation forces in July and August 2014 against the 1.8 million people currently resident in the tiny Gaza strip. Whichever way our ruling class’s compliant media try to paint it, the month-long attack that deliberately and systematically targeted schools, hospitals, mosques and UN shelters, and which blasted entire residential neighbourhoods to rubble, was nothing more or less than a massacre – illegal, inhumane and utterly unjustifiable.

Congress joins with progressive humanity in mourning the deaths of the 2,168 Palestinians killed and 10,895 wounded in this barbaric assault. They are the latest in a long line of victims in the slow genocide that was started during the 1948 Nakba.

Congress notes that the vast majority of the people now living in Gaza are refugees from earlier ethnic cleansing operations by Israel, and that, with the airspace, coastline and borders brutally shut down by the zionists, they are now besieged in what has become the world’s largest open-air prison. Denied access to all the means of life (land for farming, sea for fishing, water for drinking, fuel for electricity, supplies for health care, materials for rebuilding, etc), the vast majority of the people in Gaza have been forced for seven long years to rely for their existence on the calorie-controlled food-aid rations that Israel allows into the Strip – and on what they are able to bring in through those tunnels that have survived repeated attempts by Israel and Egypt to destroy that last lifeline.

Congress further notes that the vicious onslaught against Gaza included the liberal use of such weapons as white phosphorous (a chemical weapon that causes horrendous and incurable burns), Dime (an as-yet-unregulated dense metal explosive still officially ‘in development’ by the US that essentially shreds its victims) and uranium-tipped armour-piercing bombs (ie, nuclear warheads dressed up as ‘conventional’ weapons). All three of these weapons cause horrendous damage to human beings. They lead to the poisoning and destruction of the people and buildings that are directly hit, and also to the pollution of the air and water in the surrounding area. The use of such weapons is creating long-lasting environmental damage that will be spawning cancers and birth defects for generations to come.

In the face of such overwhelming firepower and brutality, however, the people in Gaza have refused to submit. This congress salutes the incredible resilience – the sumud (steadfastness) – that the Palestinian people have shown in enduring this latest genocidal massacre. They have shown us the best of what humanity is capable of in their bravery and collective spirit of resistance and self-sacrifice.

Congress sends a red salute, too, to the family of every Palestinian martyr, and to all the forces of the armed resistance. Despite the huge disparity in firepower, the resistance has emerged victorious from the latest ground incursion by Israeli troops into the Strip. Israel may terrorise Palestinian grandmothers and children, and massacre Palestinian babies in their beds, but when boots hit the ground and Israel’s stormtroopers come face to face with the local fighters, no terror tactics are enough to stop the resistance from striking back hard and hitting the occupiers where it hurts. When Palestine loses a fighter, 10 more rise up to take his place. When Israel loses a fighter, on the other hand, the morale of the whole of Israeli society suffers a terrible blow. Such losses as the occupation army suffered during the ground assault this summer are impossible for the zionists to sustain for any period of time.

This congress reiterates its belief in the absolute right of the oppressed to fight back, and renews its support for all those in Palestine who are resisting zionism – by whatever means they choose to use. Congress reaffirms it support for those who resist by using the channels of international law and diplomacy, by building movements for BDS, by organising grass-roots movements for non-cooperation with the occupation, and by intifada (uprising) and armed resistance.

Congress refutes the bourgeois media lies about ‘Hamas terror’, which are nothing more than an attempt to undermine the popular support enjoyed by the Palestinian people and to criminalise and isolate all armed resistance to zionism. Congress notes that the legitimacy of oppressed and colonised peoples’ armed struggles in general, and of the Palestinian armed struggle in particular, has been recognised in many UN resolutions over the years.

Congress notes that British workers have two reasons to be particularly interested in the cause of Palestinian liberation. The first is the historical debt that Britain owes to the Palestinians, having been the original sponsor of Israeli zionism and the architect of the partition of Palestine. More important today, however, is the recognition that British imperialism is still intimately involved in the zionist project. British corporations supply Israel with infrastructure and armaments, with training and technology. And they do this because the British ruling class still sees Israel as its best tool for maintaining its control of the oil wealth of the entire Middle East.

Congress reasserts its belief that Israel is not a jewish but a colonial project. It is an armed base, sponsored by British and US imperialism, built and maintained in order to terrorise all the governments and peoples of the region and to keep the oil loot flowing into imperialist coffers.

Congress believes that zionism – the ideological justification for this colonisation project in Palestine – is, and could not be other than, a racist, supremacist ideology. It is not possible to take the land, homes and resources of another people, and to systematically expel and exterminate that people, without having an ideology that tells the usurpers that they are something special – naturally superior (‘God’s chosen people’) – and that those they are pushing out are not really human beings at all.

Congress notes that the truly fascistic nature of Israeli zionism has been utterly exposed by the discourse of mainstream Israeli politicians and commentators during the 2014 massacre, which had the support of a staggering 95 percent of the brainwashed Israeli population. The genocidal hysteria in Israeli society reached such a height during the massacre that there were open calls in the Knesset and elsewhere for the destruction of all the infrastructure needed to support life in Gaza, for the raping of the mothers and sisters of resistance fighters, and for the killing of mothers to prevent them producing more “little snakes”. Meanwhile, the policy of regular massacres being perpetrated against the people of Gaza in order to try to limit the strength of the resistance was routinely referred to as “mowing the grass”.

Congress further notes that Palestinian resistance and the exposure of zionist brutality has led to an increasing disconnect between Israel and the rest of the world. This disconnect has forced even supporters of zionism to start to distance themselves from their stooges. It may only have been an exercise in letting off steam, but it was nevertheless significant that MPs from all the main capitalist parties in Britain were among those who questioned the then foreign secretary William Hague about the British government’s support for the war crimes of Israel. These questions fell far short of a call for real action to stop the crimes being committed, but they did reflect a very real upsurge of anger amongst British workers that was too strong to be simply ignored.

Congress is pleased to note in this context the important role that has been played by non-imperialist media in breaking the pro-zionist information monopoly in Britain. The existence of such news networks as RT, Press TV, Telesur, etc, and the wide reach of social media, means that those who are interested can access much more reliable reporting and can share it with others very easily. The presence of these alternative sources has been significant in forcing our own corporate media to show much more of the truth about the massacre than would otherwise have been the case – since not to do so would mean losing all credibility in the eyes of their readers and viewers.

Congress also notes the excellent work done by PSC, MediaLens, News Unspun and others in exposing and drawing attention to the zionist war propaganda put out by the corporate media, and by the BBC in particular, which even sank so low as to carry a headline normalising war crimes as if they were simply a matter of policy debate. A headline asked: ‘Are hospitals and schools a legitimate target?’, and half the following article was given over to a 23-year-old zionist woman, who was given free rein to insist that such crimes were indeed perfectly legitimate ‘tactics’.

This congress believes that, contrary to the lies put out by the zionist war machine, the 2014 Gaza massacre, and the murders and kidnappings that preceded it in the occupied West Bank, had nothing whatever to do with ‘defending Israel’ and everything to do with breaking the newly-formed and much-needed Palestinian unity government. This government has been recognised internationally as the voice of the Palestinian people, and poses a serious threat to Israel’s plan to monopolise the newly-found gas wealth of Palestine, among other things. The massacre was also aimed at destroying the armed resistance movements in Gaza.

This congress greets with enthusiasm all attempts to isolate the apartheid Israeli state and sabotage its criminal war effort. These have ranged from the advances of the BDS movement and the withdrawal of ambassadors from Israel by many Latin-American progressive countries to the occupation of an Israeli arms factory in the British Midlands and the refusal of Californian dock workers to unload an Israeli ship. It is our fervent hope that such examples are but the beginning of a growing movement to sabotage and scupper the zionist war machine and force its imperialist backers to withdraw their unconditional support for Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians.

To this end, congress calls on all its members to redouble their efforts on the streets, in their workplaces, schools and colleges, and in their trade unions to call for the organisation of a truly mass movement of non-cooperation with Israeli war crimes. Not only does the media need to be held to account for the lies it tells on behalf of Israel, and those firms that profit from the war and occupation need to be singled out and boycotted, but all parts of the war machine need to be actively stopped from functioning.

Congress instructs all those who are union members to introduce motions for conference calling for the adoption of non-cooperation as a policy. 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 the backing of their unions so that they can collectively refuse to continue with such work. Those who provide any goods or services to Israel and to the settlements need to be organised en masse 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 feel empowered to refuse to put Israeli products on the shelves. Transport workers should be organised to refuse to carry anything to or from Israel.

This congress reasserts the Marxist understanding that, collectively, as workers, we have a lot more power over the situation than the ineffectual lobbying of MPs would lead us to believe. The role of progressive organisations and Palestine solidarity movements everywhere should be to raise that awareness and mobilise workers in every area of productive life so that we can get our unions behind such a campaign and bring our co-workers with us. 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.

Let the imperialists discover the truth of the slogan raised by workers all over the world: “In our thousands in our millions, we are all Palestinians.”

No cooperation with Israeli war crimes!