by Jeff Mackler, published on Socialist Action, October 16, 2023
End All Aid to Zionist, Colonial, Apartheid Israel!
For a democratic secular Palestine from the river to the sea with the unconditional right of return of all dispossessed Palestinians – a society, where all people can live in peace as equals!
The history of European colonization, not to mention the colonization of America, has been justified by the racist colonizers with the proposition that its conquered or to-be-conquered victims were either subhuman, heathen idolaters, and, more recently, communists and terrorists. In the language of today’s racist Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Palestinians are “animals in human form.” Today, if the historically illegitimate Israeli colonial government has its way, the Palestinian people are slated for near annihilation. That process is already underway.
An Oct. 13 Washington Post article entitled, “Evacuation order sets off chaotic scramble as Gazans run for their lives“, reported: “The unprecedented Israeli evacuation order, delivered Friday by fliers, voice messages and on social media, has set off a desperate and chaotic scramble across this besieged territory. Israel has dropped more than 6,000 bombs on Gaza since Saturday, and they are still falling, even as hundreds of thousands of people try to move south.”
Under imperial rule, yesterday and today, resisting the “civilized” conquerors is a crime. As we write, the Zionist murderers, with US and European Union complicity, are imposing a genocidal solution to their “Palestinian problem.” What should and must be the response of the world’s people and antiwar and social justice activists everywhere?
Malcolm X’s response to his liberal and racist critics, who rejected his damning historical and modern-day critique of US systemic violence and racism, focused on the right of self-determination, that is, the right of oppressed people to control their own lives and communities or, if they so decide, to leave the US entirely! Without hesitation, Malcolm championed the national liberation struggles around the world. To defend against the armed racist lynch mob bigots and their ilk in the US, he championed the right of Blacks to armed self-defense. “Our freedom,” Malcolm declared, is to be achieved “BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!”
Malcolm’s “civilized” critics included the Democratic Party, then an open government alliance between “Northern liberals” and Southern racist, segregationist Democrats, the latter including open Klansman and White Citizen’s Council governors and senators like Eastland, Faubus, Wallace, Talmadge, Maddox, Helms, and Strom Thurmond. The then US Senator Joseph Biden, experienced at maintaining unity between the two wings of the racist Democrats, was a featured speaker at Thurmond’s 2003 memorial. Thurmond, perhaps the country’s most virulent racist bigot, was forgiven by Biden for his past transgressions, with Biden citing his more recent support for civil rights legislation.
US backs King Leopold’s genocide
At the turn of the twentieth century Belgian King Leopold II murdered 12 million Congolese people, the largest genocide ever, to conquer and enslave that resource rich Central African nation and steal its rubber and ivory. [See Adam Hochschild’s 1998 King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa.]
Civilized Christian Leopold, personal owner of the “Congo Free State,” infamous for cutting off the hands of captured escaped enslaved workers, toured the US in the name of combating “Arab slavery.” He sought the support of US abolitionists!
Simultaneously, the then US Morgan and Rockefeller corporate robber barons, today JP Morgan Chase, secured the Congo’s mineral rights, “rights” that they retain today via murderous coups (Congo President Patrice Lumumba) and/or alliances with their imposed dictators.
Mark Twain’s classic 1905 pamphlet, King Leopold’s Soliloquy, exposed Leopold’s horrors. It was banned in the US while Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn circulated freely.
The European conquest and enslavement of Africa was the first time in human history that the population of a continent dramatically declined. Six million African slaves perished at the hands of the US slavers alone and countless millions more Native American “savages”! The English, French, Portuguese, Italian, German and Spanish slavers also took their toll in countless millions. And when the African people valiantly fought back, weapons in hand, however crude, they were declared uncivilized savages.
Origins of the Israeli settler state
Today, the world is witness to the colonial Zionist Israeli state saturation bombing of Gaza; to the Israeli decree that 1.1 million Gazans must evacuate their homes in Northern Gaza within 24 hours; to the simultaneous Israeli bombing of mass car caravans of departing Palestinians; to the Zionist murderers dropping white phosphorous bombs on those fleeing the horror; to the Israeli declaration that Palestinians will be resettled in the Sinai desert, in the open, permanently, in tents, to be supposedly supplied by Israel’s allies in the US-backed Qatar monarchy and Egyptian dictatorship.
Southern Gaza may also be slated for leveling. An Israeli security official opined that when the Israeli military is through, no buildings would be left standing. Gaza in its entirety “will eventually turn into a city of tents.”
Genocide, pure and simple! No different from the genocide of Native Americans and indigenous people the world over: no different from Leopold’s Congo, and, once again, with US complicity, praise, and military support!
History of Zionist colonization
Israel did not exist before 1948, when the World War II imperialist victors, meeting at the United Nations, decreed that an Israeli state was to be carved out of historic Palestine, then a British “Mandate,” a polite imperialist word for conquered colony. The Zionist colonizers were granted 56 percent of the country. The Palestinians, being British colonial “subjects,” had no say in the matter.
Great Britain originally “acquired” Palestine following the World War I inter-imperialist conflagration and worldwide slaughter that resulted in the victors’ division of the vanquished Ottoman Empire. England and France, which in the 19th century had partaken in the colonial subjugation and division of Africa, set out to do the same in the Middle East. Pencils and pens in hand, a host of diplomats divided up the Ottoman Empire and assigned the sections outside Turkey itself to the French and British imperialists.
Previously, in 1917, the Zionist movement, at that time a tiny rightwing minority among the world’s Jewish population, pledged to be Britain’s colonial overseers in Palestine. With the 1917 Balfour Declaration they brokered an accord with the British Empire. Signed by the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour and the British Zionist leader, Baron Walter Rothschild II, the agreement read in part: “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
The latter portion of this declaration was included to portray the British Empire and its associated Zionist colonizer allies as merely living side by side with their Palestinian “neighbors.” Ninety percent of the population of Palestine at that time was Palestinian Arabs.
“The Iron Wall of Jewish bayonets”
Perhaps the leading ideological forbearer of “Revisionist Zionism” was Vladimir Jabotinsky, who authored the benchmark essay for the entire Zionist movement, “The Iron Wall.” (The earlier form of Zionism, with pacifist and socialist tones, nevertheless contemplated establishing a Jewish homeland to be carved out of some conquered nation with the approval of its imperialist conqueror. South Africa and Uganda, recommended by the Zionist leaders to the British imperialists, were among the nations that had been considered for this project.)
In 1923, Jabotinsky spelled out the Zionist credo without equivocation: “Whether through the Balfour Declaration or the [British] Mandate, external force is a necessity for establishing in the country [Palestine] conditions of rule and defense to which the local population, regardless of what it wishes, will be deprived of the possibility of impeding our colonization, administratively or physically. Force must play its role—with strength and without indulgence. In this, there are no meaningful differences between our militarists and our vegetarians. One prefers an Iron Wall of Jewish bayonets; the other an Iron Wall of English bayonets.”
Jabotinsky continued: “To the hackneyed reproach that this point of view is unethical, I answer, ‘absolutely untrue.’ This is our ethic. There is no other ethic. As long as there is the faintest spark of hope for the Arabs to impede us, they will not sell these hopes—not for any sweet words, not for any tasty morsel, because this is not a rabble but a people, a living people. And no people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions, except when there is no hope left, until we have removed every opening visible in the Iron Wall.” [For a comprehensive overview, see Socialist Action’s pamphlet, “The Hidden History of Zionism” by Ralph Schoenman.]
European Jewish immigration to Palestine increased dramatically following Hitler’s coming to power in 1933. Jewish land purchases and new Jewish settlements rapidly ensued. Palestinian resistance to British control and Zionist settlements climaxed with the massive Arab revolt of 1936-39, which Britain brutally suppressed with the help of Zionist militias.
The partition of Palestine and Zionist war
Within days of the 1948 partition of Palestine, Zionism’s terrorist armies, this time with British weapons in hand, declared war on the near defenseless Palestinian people, inside and outside of the new Zionist state, as well as on all surrounding Arab nations that rejected the UN’s imperialist partition.
Three hundred eighty-five Palestinian villages were razed to the ground, renamed, and reconstituted as Israeli towns. In the course of this 1948-49 war and expansion of Israel, 726,000 Palestinians were driven from their land, with many moving to Gaza and the West Bank (of the Jordan River) or dispersed to refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere. With the destruction of their towns and villages, “vacated” Palestinian land was decreed Israeli state property under the 1950 “Absentee Property Law.”
Until 1947, Jewish land ownership in Palestine was six percent. Since then Palestinian lands have been systematically stolen, essentially by force. By 1949 Israel occupied 78 percent of Palestine. Following the 1967 Six-Day War, the percentage was increased to 100 — that is, Israel occupied all of historic Palestine.
These so-called Occupied Territories of 1967 were and remain subject to the systematic construction of Israeli settlements, despite the vague 1995 “Oslo agreement,” wherein Gaza and the West Bank would be under the jurisdiction of a feeble Palestinian Authority, to be financed and dependent on funding from the European Union. The PA’s leaders were to be elected by Palestinians in that 22 percent of the original, but still Israeli-dominated Palestine.
But “illegal” Israeli settlements in the West Bank continued without interruption, and with the complicity of today ‘s largely discredited (by the Palestinian people), collaborationist Palestine Authority. These “settlements,” orchestrated by Zionist fanatics, with full government complicity, have been ongoing to this day with Netanyahu’s regime embarking not only on the physical obliterated of Gaza and its people, but perhaps the violent incorporation of the West Bank as well.
As we write, Israeli warplanes daily proceed with bombing every structure in Gaza’s north, including thousands of residential buildings and homes, mosques, UN schools, Red Cross offices, dozens of hospitals, ambulances, emergency evacuation vehicles, taxis, power plants and water supplies, Nothing is off limits. Gaza is to be leveled!
In the first few days 500,000 Palestinians, with no place to go, were forced to flee with the few belongings they could carry. As we go to press the number stands at one million! Israeli’s army, whose numbers were near instantly increased by 300,000 reservists called in for the slaughter, is expected to follow up, assigned by the Natanyahu cabal to rid Gaza of all Palestinians – Israel’s “final solution.” Today’s horror will be conducted via Zionist bombardments from the air, sea and land, backed to the hilt by US warship recently moved into striking position if the need arises.
Imperialists suggest a bit of “restraint”
Cordial and respectful statements issuing from top UN officials, European Union spokespersons, the Red Cross and a myriad of human rights groups, as well as Biden’s Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who met with Netanyahu personally, cautioned a bit of restraint in language and deeds. They were ignored with impunity while a parade of US officials and the corporate media blurting out in almost coordinated rants that the Hamas attack was “unprovoked” and that the Netanyahu murderers were fully justified in their current and future moves to virtually disappear the Palestinian people, one way or another.
The Zionist bloodbath proceeded in public view before the world’s people. Mass protests condemned Israel around the world. 100,000 mobilized in solidarity with Palestinians in London; millions in Tehran, Iran and multiple thousands in US cities, from New York, San Francisco to Chicago, Minneapolis, and everywhere.
Fearful officials in New York City sent thousands of cops to “maintain order” and restrict access as more than 4,000 antiwar activists and Palestinian solidarity organizations mobilized for an October 14 mass action in Times Square.
An alarmed Muslim TV News in the US headlined the following:
• Chicago Muslim Child Stabbed To Death: Killer Yelled “You Muslims Must Die
• BBC Defends Policy Of Not Using ‘Terrorists’ Label For Hamas
• UN Says One Million Gazans Displaced In A Week
• About 4,000 Palestinians Killed Including 724 Children, 1,300 Israelis
• Trudeau Expresses Concern For Humanitarian Crisis In Gaza
• Saudi Arabia Delays Normalization Efforts With Israel
Meanwhile, the US congress pledged additional $billions in “defense” for its Middle Eastern enforcer, on top of the annual $3.1 billion granted to the Zionist apartheid state … the largest recipient of US aid in the world.
Historic Zionist persecution of Palestinians
Today’s Zionist-imposed “final solution” is predicated on the Israeli government’s central proposition that its colonized, persecuted, enslaved people have no rights whatsoever; that the thousands of Palestinians currently in jail and tortured have no rights; that the daily murders aimed at violently removing Palestinians from their homes to be “re-settled” by government-armed thugs will go unpunished, if not justified.
Today, Palestinians are essentially an enslaved people, prohibited or largely restricted from travel by hundreds of roadside checkpoints, walls, separate roads and thousands of cops and soldiers everywhere, enforcing Zionist rule. Palestinians have near zero control of their waters and fishing rights. Gaza itself, perhaps the most densely populated area on earth, is justifiably referred to as the world’s largest open-air prison, its people for more than a decade subjected to near starvation and brutal unpunished murder.
A UN agency reported that 50 percent of young Palestinians in Gaza are unemployed. Four out of five children in Gaza suffer from depression and anxiety. 80 percent of the Gaza population live below the poverty level!
Zionist vs. European colonization
Here we should note that Zionist colonization differs in at least one key respect from the classical European form, in which the conquered indigenous population is subjected to near slave-like conditions aimed at providing a near-free labor force for European industry and agriculture. In contrast, the Israeli Zionist variant was and remains based on the physical exclusion of all Palestinian labor and its replacement with Jewish workers and settlers from all over the world. The latter are granted immediate citizenship based on their Jewish heritage, as opposed to Palestinians, whose rights are largely restricted regardless of how many generations their forbears lived in Palestine. Israel is by law a “Jewish state.”
In this sense, South African apartheid also differed significantly from its Israeli variant. The South African colonists, less than 10 percent of the population, maintained the fiction that South Africa was “legally” for whites only. Blacks were relegated to non-citizen status and required pass cards to work in the “new” South Africa. Others were held in artificially created and isolated Bantustans (“Black homelands” or “Black states”), geographically separate and apart from South Africa, as with Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda, and Ciskei.
No nation except the apartheid South African government recognized this “legal fiction.” No one denied that these “homelands” operated merely to provide a reserve labor supply for South Africa’s capitalist enterprises, especially its mining industries. South Africa’s colonial settlers, with their ingrained racist/colonialist mentality, deemed these poverty-stricken enclaves “independent nations.”
In Israel, Palestinian labor barely exists, with the Zionist regime’s needed labor force, not including Jews, largely consisting of immigrants from poor nations. Jabotinsky’s conception is fully operative. The Palestinian identity is to be eradicated. Palestinians are to be driven out! Israel is for Jews only! This proposition is today being implemented full throttle.
The Unconditional Right of Poor and Oppressed Nations to Self-determination
In the historic view of the socialist movement, and people of good will everywhere, poor and oppressed nations and peoples have the unconditional right to self-determination, that is, to fight for their freedom and independence against their oppressors, as they have done on every continent on earth.
That, the elected body representing Palestinians in Gaza, Hamas, with the obvious support of the mass of Palestinian people, attacked and overran several Israeli military outposts last week, drone bombed several Israeli “settlements,” captured some 150 Israeli’s and killed perhaps 1300 more in “re-settled,” that is stolen areas, is today’s justification for Zionism’s “final solution,” and, sadly, the justification of too many on the “left” for condemning Hamas’s actions. Why in heaven’s name should any serious antiwar and social justice activist condemn poor Palestinians for “invading” the very land that they were born in?!!!
What alternative do these faint-hearted Palestinian supporters propose other than a return to the barren bargaining table to once against “negotiate” a separate state, a mini Bantustan, at best, militarily surrounded, starved, bereft of even a semblance of decency. The “two-state” solution has long been buried – reduced to empty phrase mongering uttered by dishonest politicians and too many “left Zionists.”
Might we add that demanding a “peaceful solution” to the historic colonization of Palestine, via a return to diplomacy and negotiations, stands in opposition to the inviolable principle of self-determination of colonized people? Israel is a rogue, illegitimate state, carved out of historic Palestinian lands, subordinate to US imperialism in its central policies, essentially serving as the US gendarme in the region. Its agents openly bomb Iranian nuclear facilities and assassinate Iranian scientists. It facilitated in 1982 the Lebanese fascist slaughter of 3500 mostly Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. It bombed Syria at the behest of the US/NATO/Gulf monarchies.
We do not condemn Hamas for its resistance! Neither do we condemn any poor and oppressed people on earth when they demand and fight for their freedom! We are and have always been partisans of the Palestinian people and of Cuban, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Chilean, Guatemalan, Haitian, Iranian, Afghan, Libyan, Syrian and Vietnamese people as they resisted imperialist war and intervention.
Cuba’s US-backed Batista regime murdered 50,000. Somoza’s murdered 50,000 Nicaraguans; Pinochet, with US backing, slaughtered 60,000 in Chile; the US/NATO/Gulf State monarchies murdered 500,000 in Syria; 400,000 were murdered by the US-backed death squad regime in Guatemala; the US murdered four million in Vietnam and tens of thousands more in Haiti, and Libya!
The list of US-backed wars and interventions is endless. Is Israel’s racist apartheid murderous colonial history any different? Has it ever stood on the side of oppressed people fighting for their freedom anywhere?
Even the Zionist-oriented New York Times was compelled to admit last week that decades of “talk” about the “two state solution,” in truth had zero content. Buttressed by ongoing annual $billions to the Zionist war machine, among the most powerful and technological sophisticated on earth, and deployed against US enemies from Syria to Lebanon, Afghanistan, Libya and beyond, the Zionist murderers have made clear, for 75 years now, that Israel’s future, from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean Sea, is incompatible with the existence of the Palestinian people.
The original Palestinian freedom struggle led by the PLO (Palestine Liberation Movement) headed by Yasser Arafat began with the simple idea that Palestine belonged to its historic inhabitants, 90 percent of whom were Palestinian Arabs, who prior to the Zionist drive to replace them, lived at peace with all peoples of the region. In 1973 the PLO modified this view when it called for a democratic, secular Palestine where Arabs, Jews and other peoples could live at peace and collectively build a democratic society. The PLO’s only condition was that Palestinians driven from their homeland were guaranteed the right to return, if they so desired.
Israel has always rejected this simple proposal, in its place embarking on what amounts to a policy of the physical elimination of the Palestinian people. Today, the prospect of a democratic secular Palestine is bleak at best, contingent qualitative less on winning any section of the massively chauvinist Jewish population to unity with the Palestinian masses, than it is to the future struggle for a socialist Middle East, based on the regions working class masses collectively fighting their capitalist oppressors.
Socialists do not demand “negotiations” or a “ceasefire” or a “just solution” to the “Palestinian problem” – all code words or expressions premised on extending legitimacy to the Zionist state. Only the Palestinian people can legitimately participate in decisions regarding which, if any, concessions they might be forced to concede in the face of Zionist force and terror.
At the same time, we understand that Palestinians can never achieve true self-determination in the context of capitalism. We simultaneously advocate and struggle for a socialist Palestine, as we do for a united socialist confederation of the Middle East as opposed to today’s ever-shifting alliances among and between Middle Eastern dictators and monarchs in this region – all essentially subordinate to and exploited by the various world imperialist powers. The revolutionary mobilization of the vast majority is a prerequisite for this outcome. Anything less can only mean continued subjugation to the imperialist ruling rich and their appointed and supported regional allies.
These are not revolutionary abstractions. They are based on our rejection of the ongoing colonialist and neo-colonial occupations and wars that are the rule today in the Middle East and far beyond.
• For united front mass mobilizations to stop the Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people!
• End all aid to apartheid Israel!
• Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Apartheid Israel!
• For a democratic secular Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranian Sea with the unconditional right of return of all dispossessed Palestinians – a society, where all people can live in peace as equals!
• For a socialist federation of the Middle East!
• Freedom and victory to the Palestinian masses!