No Justice, No Peace


Socialist Worker 2011, 29 July 2006

Stop Israel’s war: solidarity with the resistance

George Bush has given Israel the green light to tear Lebanon asunder and to destroy the resistance forces of Hizbollah. By Tuesday, Israeli forces had killed some 400 people, the vast majority civilians, and driven up to one million Lebanese from their homes.

Israel has used cluster bombs and phosphorous bombs, deliberately attacked ambulances and reduced large parts of the Lebanese capital Beirut to rubble.

Bush and Tony Blair have backed that assault all the way. Bush’s envoy to the region told the Lebanese government there could be no ceasefire until Hizbollah was disarmed and an international force took control of southern Lebanon, with a mandate from the United Nations to use military force against Hizbollah fighters entering this “buffer zone”.

As the US went through the facade of conducting peace negotiations in the Middle East, an Israeli commentator wrote on Monday in the newspaper Yediot Ahronoth, “US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice is not coming to pressure Israel to cease the fire. On the contrary, she’s coming to check for herself that we are not missing out on this war, that we are not missing a chance to be the long arm of the US.”

Rice blocked a ceasefire allowing Israel further time to carry out its operation. And beyond Lebanon looms a wider conflict.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, talks of “taking advantage of the action Israel has taken against Hizbollah”.

He adds that, “in the case of Lebanon, we’ve got a chance to set the Syrians and the Iranians back.”

If Israel and its allies succeed in destroying Hizbollah they will set their sights on Iran. A war in Lebanon would be followed by a far greater war, just as the 2001 attack on Afghanistan was followed two years later by the invasion of Iraq.

Resistance to such imperial assaults is essential.

John Bolton argues there is a distinction between civilians killed by Israel and those killed by Hizbollah, claiming, “It would be a mistake to ascribe moral equivalence to civilians who die as the direct result of malicious terrorist acts.”

Ten times more Lebanese civilians, a third children, have died so far than Israelis.

Israel has one of the most powerful military forces on the planet. The US is rushing more missiles and jet fuel to Israel to ensure the bombing continues.

There is indeed no “equivalence” between Israel and the resistance in Lebanon. One is a terror state, in a permanent state of war, the other is the expression of those who have suffered its invasions and occupations.

The resistance Israel is meeting in Lebanon is a barrier to further wars and further destruction. It is being supported by a growing wave of solidarity across the Arab world.

It deserves our support. Join the protests and demonstrations planned across the country from Downing Street this Friday to the Labour Party conference on 23 September. Turn up the heat on Blair for his slavish support for Bush and Israel’s war of conquest.

Socialist Worker 2011, 29 July 2006

Ten reasons to oppose Zionism

The official ideology of the Israeli state, Zionism, has been a disaster for Jews and Arabs alike, which ignores the history of peaceful co-existence that was once the norm across the Middle East, writes John Rose

  1. Zionism claims that Jews have the right to return to the land where their religion, Judaism, took root, in order to create an exclusive Jewish state.

  2. The land of Palestine is a vital centre for all of the three great monotheistic religions with roots in the Middle East – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. None of them can have an exclusive claim of ownership of the land.

  3. Zionism claims that the Jews were exiled when the Roman Empire overthrew the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in AD70. In fact most Jews were already living outside the land of Palestine at the time of the Roman Empire.There was a flourishing Jewish diaspora throughout the Roman Empire and beyond.

    There was a thriving Jewish religious, commercial and crafts centre in the great Egyptian port city of Alexandria long before the Roman Empire.

    And the great Jewish religious centre in Babylon began 500 years before the Roman Empire and continued for hundreds of years after it.

    Jews living among non-Jews form the real and dynamic basis of Jewish history.

  4. Zionism claims that the only answer to anti-Semitism – hatred of the Jews – in Europe is migration to Palestine.It sees anti-Semitism as inevitable.

  5. Christian Europe persecuted Jews for both religious and economic reasons. Judaism threatened the Christian version of the bible stories. But, more importantly, Jews in medieval Europe had a distinctive economic trading role.They were not allowed to own land but as merchants and traders they serviced the closed feudal economies. Europe’s Christian rulers used and abused them.

    Jews were sometimes given privileges causing immense resentment among the peasantry.

    But this also meant that Jews provided an excellent scapegoat for those rulers whenever their own oppression of the peasantry sparked riots and wider upheavals.

  6. The Enlightenment and the18th century American and French Revolutions laid the basis for overcoming anti-Semitism.These revolutions guaranteed formal equal rights for Jews. And, indeed, though Jews had to struggle to enforce these rights, in western Europe they began to thrive.

    The creative collision between emancipated Judaism and the Enlightenment produced some of the greatest minds of 19th and early 20th century Europe – Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein.

    European culture has been enormously enriched by its Jewish contribution.

  7. Zionism’s real roots are in Eastern Europe. At the end of the 19th century, more than half of the world’s Jews lived in the crumbling empire of the Russian tsars. European modernisation challenged these feudal rulers. Revolution threatened to sweep them away and the Jews provided the scapegoat.Violent and widespread pogroms against the Jews were deliberately whipped up by the tsars.

    Jews began to migrate, mainly to western Europe and the US. But a tiny minority accepted the growing appeal of the Zionists and went to Palestine.

    These Jews formed the core of the Zionist settlements.

    Zionism was a colonial movement backed by the Western imperial powers.

  8. There is no such thing as colonial socialism. The Zionist settlers began to displace the Arab peasants who had tilled the land for centuries. The kibbutz “communes” were for Jews only.Zionism is also a project for Western imperialism.

    Britain occupied Palestine as a result of its victory in the First World War.

    The Zionist settlements became a device for securing its rule.

    As Winston Churchill, then colonial secretary, put it in 1921, “Zionism is good for the Jews and good for the British empire.”

    After the Second World War, the US became the dominant force in the region, supporting Israel.

    As US president Ronald Reagan explained in 1981, “With a combat experienced military, Israel is a force in the Middle East that is actually a benefit to us. If there were not Israel with that force, we’d have to supply it with our own.” By the end of the 20th century, the US had spent $100 billion supporting Israel.

  9. The Nazi Holocaust cannot justify the right of the Jews to their own exclusive country in Palestine.Israel’s Declaration of Independence in 1948 explicitly uses the Holocaust as justification.

    In the same year, nearly a million Palestinians were forced to flee their homes to make way for the Jewish state. In other words, the Palestinians were forced to pay the price for this European slaughter.

    The Jewish state depends upon this exclusion of the indigenous Palestinian Arab population. This is its ultimate flaw – a wrongdoing that has to be addressed in any lasting peace settlement. The Zionists use the Holocaust as ideological and moral blackmail to justify their robbery of Palestinian land. This is a serious misuse of the memory of one of the worst crimes in history.

    Zionism prevents a just settlement between Arabs and Jews. But such a settlement certainly is possible.

  10. The Zionist state structure prevents a proper peace because it privileges the Jew at the expense of the Arab. Arab-Jewish relations were far better before the arrival of the Zionist settlements and we have much to learn from this earlier history.Even the right wing scholar Bernard Lewis acknowledges what he calls an Islamic Arab Jewish “symbiosis” at the height of Islamic civilization, a flowering of relations between the two peoples and a common “Islamic-Judaeo” culture.

    And we have even forgotten just how deep was the Jewish attachment to Arab lands in the last century. In Iraq, after the Second World War, there was a mass insurrection, al-Wathbah, (The Leap), against the British puppet monarchist government.

    Many young Iraqi Jews took part, so much so that even the Zionists admitted that this was “era of brotherhood” where the idea of emigrating to Palestine looked “so remote”.

    Alas, the movement was defeated and the Zionists, the US, the British and the Iraqi government then helped to force the migration of Iraq’s ancient Jewish population.

    This is one of the lesser known tragedies of the last century.

    Earlier in the century, no less than one third of Iraq’s top 100 musicians had been Jewish. There are here sparks of hope from a little understood common Arabic Jewish past, sparks, which, nevertheless, can help throw light on a very different future.

John Rose is author of The Myths of Zionism. This can be bought at Bookmarks, the socialist bookshop. Go to www.bookmarks.uk.com

Socialist Worker 2011, 29 July 2006

George Galloway: Hizbollah is right to fight Zionist terror

by George Galloway, Respect MP

There was a deep historical significance to taking to the streets in solidarity with the people of Lebanon and Palestine last Saturday, 22 July.

For that day was the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the King David Hotel by the Irgun Zionist gang in Palestine as part of their campaign to create the state of Israel.

The attack killed 92 people, most of them civilians, some 17 of whom were Jewish. It was organised by Irgun leader Menachem Begin who went on to be twice prime minister of Israel.

His second period of office saw Israel’s “limited” 1982 invasion of southern Lebanon. It quickly became an assault on the whole country and claimed many thousands of lives.

So when you hear commentators say the roots of the current conflict go back to the seizure of two Israeli soldiers a few weeks ago, the roots go back a lot further – they go back over decades.

They go back before the invasion of 1982, which Hizbollah was formed to resist, and even before 1948 when Israel was founded and 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes.

The aggression did not begin in 2006. It began in 1917 when an anti-Semitic British foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, gave in the name of one people, to the Zionist leaders who claimed to represent a second people, the land belonging to a third people – the land of Palestine.

There was a commemoration of the King David Hotel bombing last week. Those lionised at it were not the victims, but the perpetrators.

Alongside surviving members of the Irgun, Binyamin Netanyahu, former Israeli prime minister and darling of CNN and the BBC, attended the event.

He told journalists, “It’s very important to make the distinction between terror groups and freedom fighters, and between terror action and legitimate military action.”

He’s exactly right. That’s why I have no hesitation in saying that Hizbollah is not and has never been a terrorist organisation. It is the legitimate national resistance movement of Lebanon.

What the US cannot forgive is the fact that Hizbollah succeeded in driving Israel out of Lebanon in 2000 after an 18 year occupation, liberating all but the Shebaa Farms area.

This gave it a prestige across the confessional and sectarian divides in Lebanon and across the Middle East. Central to the strategy of Israel, the US and Britain is an attempt to recreate and explode those sectarian divisions as part of this latest phase of the “war on terror”.

It seems like only yesterday we were being told that the US and Britain had liberated the long-suffering Shia Muslims of Iraq from Sunni domination. Opposition to the occupation was supposedly just the work of Sunni die-hards and “rejectionists”.

The occupiers have fomented sectarian division in an effort to stave off a national resistance front. Now, the same imperial powers and their local puppets are fostering a reverse sectarianism across the Middle East as they try to leave Lebanon and Hizbollah isolated in the face of Israel’s onslaught.

We are told that yesterday’s suffering Shia of southern Iraq are now part of a sinister crescent of would-be Shia ascendancy stretching from Iran through Iraq and Syria into Lebanon.

The puppet presidents and corrupt kings who rule the Middle East from one end to the other almost without exception are spinning the same yarn. It is all they have to say as the standing of Hizbollah among the mass of Arabs – Shia or Sunni, Muslim or Christian – soars.

Just as all George Bush and Tony Blair have to say over the slaughter of Lebanese children is that Israel has a right to defend itself and all’s fair in the war against terrorists.

That makes it doubly important that the anti-war movement raises its voice clearly. To be for peace means to be for the justice without which there can be no peace. To be for justice means to take sides against injustice. The invasion of Lebanon by Israel, for that’s what it is, is a monstrous injustice.

I side with the resistance to that injustice. Hizbollah is leading that resistance. I do not hesitate to say, and Blair and his law officers may take note, that I glorify that resistance.

I glorify the Hizbollah national resistance movement, and I glorify the leader of Hizbollah, Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.


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