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Class Struggle Anarchist Statement on Gaza

category international | imperialism / war | opinion / analysis author Friday January 16, 2009 13:20author by W.S.A. - Workers Solidarity Allianceauthor email wsany at hotmail dot com Report this post to the editors

Workers Solidarity Alliance statement on situation in Gaza

Workers Solidarity Alliance statement on situation in Gaza

Gaza is in flames. Its population terrorized by the incessant bombing of Israeli warplanes against its public and residential districts and even its schools (3). Countless of the Gaza Strip's mostly impoverished residents are dead, many of these children, women and the elderly. Many more Palestinians have lost loved ones, have maimed, both physically and psychologically, and all are living without access to basic necessities, water, food, medical care, etc. All of this as the consequence of the largest military assault (codename: "Operation Cast Lead") waged by Israeli armed forces since 1967 War against the Gaza Strip and its approximately 1.5 million residents.

The leaders of the Israel and the Western nations, of whom the United States is the largest and most vocally supportive, erroneously claim that it is the Palestinians who are the aggressors in this conflict, this despite the fact that for more then half a century the state of Israel, and its Western-equipped military, has steadily squeezed the Palestinian population into smaller and smaller enclaves. Within these enclaves Palestinians are forced to live surrounded by fortified concrete barriers under the occupation of heavily-armed Israeli troops.

It has been stated that Israel is but responding to the rocket attacks on Israeli cities by Hamas, that these rocket attacks legitimize what amounts to the collective punishment of Gaza and the murder of Palestinian civilians on the part of the Israeli state. To which we respond that one must consider not only the foregone conclusion that the Israeli state has treated the basic humanity of the Palestinian population with a near total disregard for over 60 years, but also that within days of the initial assault by Israeli forces the death toll among the Palestinian population climbed well into the hundreds, in fact, as noted by Aljazeera news (2), approximately 350 Palestinian lives as of December 30th, 2008, a figure that has climbed significantly after more than ten days of near constant bombardment by Israeli forces against a region with a population density of over 10 thousand inhabitants per sq MI. While on the other hand, over the past 8 years the number of Israelis killed due to Hamas rocket attacks has been recorded as being 28 as of January, 4th 2009.(1)

Considering the vast discrepancy in casualties between the relatively small number of Israeli citizens killed over a period of eight years by Hamas rockets, and the huge number of Palestinians killed in less than a week, it is difficult to see how anyone could consider the latest Israeli military response as being anything even approximating a proportional response.

Yes, this is a very disproportioned struggle, with the Palestinian population of Gaza suffering the greatest misery and outrages by far. But from accounts given by the capitalist controlled media in the West, including that of the United States, one could scarcely be aware of this vast discrepancy. One might in fact be misled into supporting the notion that the Israelis are the main victims of the latest conflict when the statistical data and the history behind the conflict betray any such notion.

Through word and deed, not only the U.S. media establishment, but also U.S. statesmen have taken the stance that the lives of impoverished Palestinians is a virtual non-consideration when it comes to supporting the expansionist policies of its most valuable geopolitical ally in the region, the Israeli state. Thus the Israeli state is used as pro-western bulwark for the expansion of U.S. hegemony in the oil rich lands of the Middle East. The so-called "War on terror" serves as useful pretext for continuing support of the Israeli state and other pro-western Middle Eastern governments. Thus the United States Government will be giving an unprecedented $30 billion in military aid to Israel between the years 2008 and 2017.

Jumping aboard, right beside U.S. leaders in both media and politics, in aiding and supporting the aggression of the Israeli state has been the U.S.-based arms dealers who have consistently supplied the Israeli armed forces with some of the most modern and destructive high-tech weaponry in existence. For example, the Chicago-based Boeing corporation has recently delivered a hundreds of the most modern and deadly jet aircraft and assault helicopters, bunker busting munitions and sophisticated rocket systems to Israeli armed forces. At one point during the Israeli offensive against Gaza, shares in Boeing were reported to have climbed 1.6% within 24 hours!(4) Thus even as Gaza smolders and its civilian population lives in constant terror of aerial bombardment, U.S. arms dealers make fortunes.

Not only the United States but also the nations of Europe have supplied Israel with sophisticated armament. As the statement by the Italian Federation of Anarchist-Communists (FdCA) "The Gaza slaughter: Europe's hand is bloodied too"(5) notes, a variety of modern weaponry supplied to Israel by European arms dealers is currently being used by Israeli troops in Gaza. As with the United States, the various nations of Europe hope to influence this global imperialistic struggle in a direction favorable to their own Geopolitical interests. This in the hopes of gaining some control of the regions valuable marketable resources, namely petroleum and natural gas, both for the economic benefit of their own capitalist class and to enhance the hegemony of their own nation-state within the international sphere.

Geopolitical and economic profits aside, seemingly the only other possible reasons for such duality of opinion when it comes to a greater outrage for the lost lives of a few dozen Israelis over that of the lost lives of many hundreds of Palestinians must be attributed to either a virulent racism, nationalistic and ethnic chauvinism, or, as in the case of certain right-wing Christian fundamentalists in the U.S., religious dogmatism of a type befitting the religious traditions of the Middle Ages. These Fundamentalists, hoping that Armageddon is right around the corner, believe that the necessary prerequisite of such is the existence of a Zionist state.

For all sincere class-struggle anarchists, the death or suffering of any member of the working class, of whatever nationality or ethnicity, is a cause for great and equal concern. Unlike the politicians, the capitalists, the armed forces, and the religious hierarchy that play some role in upholding the global system of viciously competing nation-states, there is no acceptable idea of national or religious exceptionalism, chauvinism, or competition for land and other vital resources among class-struggle anarchists. We are internationalists in the fullest sense of the word. We recognize that all of humanity has the same basic biological needs and that the earth is the natural habitat which we share in common. We recognize the reality of the class war that the economic and political elite are constantly waging against the world's working masses as means to serve their own narrow aspirations. We recognize the primacy of the struggle between the ruling class and the working class of every land, that an understanding of the nature of this struggle, and its successful persecution by the world's working-class, is vital to securing the liberation, freedom, and well-being of all humanity.

One point that must be made clear is that class-struggle anarchists do not support any form of antisemitism. Instead, what we are opposed to is the displacement of one population from their homelands in order to make room for another population, a form of displacement that has long been the hallmark of Israeli settler expansion in Palestine. We oppose all forms of settler colonialism, be it that perpetrated by the Israeli state, or that perpetrated by others.

Instead of settler colonialism, instead of global system of nation-states, in which the hateful sentiments of chauvinism, racism, and religious bigotry are constantly aroused among the working-class, this in order to get them to support whatever atrocity the leaders deem vital to national interests, what we class-struggle anarchists aspire to instead is the creation of an international federation of self-managed working class organizations and autonomous communities that transcends all national borders and all walls of separation.

If you agree with this statement, we encourage you to sign on.

Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA)
wsany@hotmail.com.
http://www.workersolidarity.org.

1.Lunch Exposes pro-Zionist Media Lies over Israeli Atrocities
http://mwcnews.net/content/view/27683&Itemid=1

2. In the US, Gaza is a different war
http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/war_ ... 04690.html

3. Israel kills dozens at Gaza school
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middl ... 08851.html

4. Bristol To Gaza
http://raytheonout.wordpress.com/2008/1 ... l-to-gaza/

5. The Gaza slaughter: Europe's hand is bloodied too
http://www.anarkismo.net/article/11133

Related Link: http://www.workersolidarity.org
author by anarcentric - WSA (personal capacity)publication date Sat Jan 24, 2009 09:54Report this post to the editors

I would like to the point that although the western media has demonstrated a general attitude of bias against Palestinians in their news coverage for decades, that not all of the western media, nor all western journalists, are necessarily duplicitous in their handling of the region. The BBC, and BBC Middle Eastern editor Jeremy Bowen in particular, seem to have attempted to present an as accurate assessment of the events in Gaza over the past several weeks as is possible. This in the face of some very trying circumstances, namely, the Israeli governments refusal to allow foreign journalists into the Gaza strip during the conflict .

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7848127.stm
author by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.publication date Sat Jan 24, 2009 22:48Report this post to the editors

Generalizations are always a complicated issue... on the one hand, you need them to make political judgements (as you can't refer to every specific case in its uniqueness), but on the other hand, they can conceal real differences and exceptions to the rule. On the Western Media, it is true that not everybody was following the script of portraying Israelis as "victims" while Palestinian suffering was minimized, but the overwhelming majority did. But though we are correct to talk of a generally biased Western Media, it is important to acknowledge those few that stood up and did their job in a honest way (and people who have been doing it for decades, such as Robert Fisk or John Pilger).

Also, it is important to tell the editorial line of media from the individual journalists working on it... even the most right wing media will, every now and then, accept "critical" articles, just to "prove" their impartiality.. but those exceptions confirm the rule, and often (although they are valuable voices) they can be used only to "confirm" the "impartiality" of the editorial line.

But as we are talknig of the BBC, does anyone has any clue of what is going on with the following news?

"Pressure grows over BBC Gaza appeal"
Pressure on the BBC to screen a Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza mounted after ITV announced it would show the broadcast:

Related Link: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20090124/tuk-pressure-grows....html
author by Jinan Bastaki - Electronic Intifadapublication date Sun Feb 01, 2009 19:31Report this post to the editors

Recently, the UK-based Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which comprises many aid agencies including the British Red Cross, Islamic Relief, Oxfam and others, called on all UK news broadcasters to broadcast a public appeal for Gaza. The BBC and other broadcasters refused, stating that "Along with other broadcasters, the BBC has decided not to broadcast the DEC's public appeal to raise funds for Gaza. The BBC's decision was made because of question marks about the delivery of aid in a volatile situation, and also to avoid any risk of compromising public confidence in the BBC's impartiality in the context of an ongoing news story." It is ironic that this very statement compromises the BBC's professed impartiality.

The DEC is unique in that it brings together the UK's aid, corporate, public and broadcasting sectors in order to rally the public's compassion. As a non-political, humanitarian organization, it has "three principles" which guide its appeals: 1. The disaster must be on such a scale and of such urgency as to call for swift international humanitarian assistance. 2. The DEC agencies, or some of them, must be in a position to provide effective and swift humanitarian assistance at a scale to justify a national appeal. 3. There must be sufficient public awareness of, and sympathy for, the humanitarian situation so as to give reasonable grounds for concluding that a public appeal will be successful.

The crisis in Gaza clearly meets all three criteria, leaving one to only speculate why the BBC refused to broadcast the appeal.

Unfortunately, the BBC's claims do not hold in the least. In 2006, the BBC broadcast an appeal for Darfur and Chad, stating at the beginning that the UN had deemed it the worst humanitarian crisis and concluding that "The crisis is by no means over, the violence in Darfur showing no sign of reaching an end, many people remain uprooted and reliant on international aid." In 2008, the BBC's Congo Appeal introduction stated that "Imagine being in such fear of your life that you have no choice but to leave home, uproot your family and flee." Strange that no one thought that this would risk the BBC's impartiality. Like Darfur and Chad, Gaza is a man-made catastrophe in which civilians are bearing the brunt of the hostilities. Making their situation even more precarious, Palestinians in Gaza are living under a strangling blockade and are not allowed to leave even for medical treatment.

The difference is crystal clear. The DEC appeal would have revealed Israel's carnage in Gaza and would drive viewers to ask questions. It would have shown the demolished UN buildings, schools, and the storage facilities that contained desperately needed aid for the people of Gaza which were completely destroyed. The BBC would have to show the unrecognizable burnt bodies of women and children, as a result of weapons that are illegal to be used in civilian areas. It would demonstrate how Gaza's hospitals are operating beyond capacity. It would also have to highlight how the blockade imposed by Israel has left the people of Gaza without basic resources. All of this would be shown without the usual Israeli excuses.

The desperation of these media outlets to maintain the old story line that "both sides are to blame" and that "they are all suffering" would be exposed as false. Those committed to "balance" in a severely unbalanced situation, at the expense of the suffering of thousands, are already taking a position because they are not showing the whole picture. The whole picture is not symmetrical -- not by any standards.

A further factor comes into play. Journalist Robert Fisk was asked in a lecture he gave in 2008 in London, "is there a Zionist media lobby?" His response was, "There doesn't need to be." He explained that the minute a journalist used the word "wall" or "occupation," a barrage of emails would be sent to the journalist with criticisms as well as accusations of anti-Semitism. And given Europe's history, this is probably the worst thing one can be accused of being. The same people who criticize the use of such terminology, which are accurate and reflect words used in law, would most certainly be at the forefront of accusing the BBC of being biased should the appeal be aired. The fear is that just as the international solidarity movement grew with the growing humanitarian crisis in Darfur and the light being shed on the situation, the same would occur regarding Israel. Once these doors are open, many people would most certainly question Israeli behavior in the region and flouting of international law, and the already growing outrage would lead people to act. Or so we hope, and so they fear.

The first part of the claim further highlights the hypocrisy. It was stated that there were "question marks" in delivering the aid. Other than question the expertise of the charities under the DEC, the BBC is once again propagating dangerous double standards. In the 2008 Myanmar Cyclone appeal, the BBC's Stephen Fry said, "There are difficulties in distributing and getting aid into the country, but despite these challenges, efforts are being stepped up." He further went on to state that some of the 13 charities under the DEC already had people situated within Myanmar. Just like Myanmar, there are charities already situated within Gaza. Unlike Myanmar, this was not a natural disaster -- the crisis in Gaza was created by humans and persists because of human indifference reinforced by the BBC's decision.

As these words are being written, an Internet-wide movement to pressure the BBC to reverse its decision is growing. Only through this pressure for accountability and an end to double standards when it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict, can people in Palestine finally be humanized in mainstream Western media. All over the world, when civilians are killed, the crisis is humanitarian. When it is in Palestine, it is political. Sadly, the media is the driving power behind the cheapening of Palestinians lives, under the guise of "impartiality." However, in the words of Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."

Related Link: http://www.electronicintifada.net
 

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