THE size and breadth of demonstrations in support of Palestine and in opposition to the cruel onslaught by Israel against Gaza this weekend are an encouraging demonstration of the strength of solidarity among working people in Britain — even in the face of a co-ordinated campaign by the state and monopoly media.
The demonstrations organised over the weekend by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others stretched from London to Aberdeen and took in many towns and cities in between, big and small, and saw strong turnouts with a determination to send a clear message.
It cannot be ignored that this weekend’s manifestation came despite a shameful pro-Israel propaganda offensive by the British state and ruling-class politicians of every party, as well as wall-to-wall coverage in the monopoly media and the BBC.
The intention is clear: to justify and whitewash the occupation, Israeli apartheid and war crimes, and to legitimise Britain’s clear role in supporting it and the actions of imperialism across the wider Middle East.
Ignoring the root causes and responsibility for the current situation — the far-right Netanyahu government, the increasingly cruel strangling of Gaza and all occupied territories, and all the historic injustices inflicted upon the Palestinian people — the attempt was and is being made to blame Palestinians for their own collective punishment.
This completely ignores and obscures the fact that escalation was the entirely predictable response of a people to military occupation, apartheid and constant attack and humiliation.
This is entirely consistent with the manufactured media consensus on Palestine. Any Palestinian response to their relentless oppression, however small, justifies the harshest and most disproportionate retribution by Israel, using the most advanced weaponry available provided by the United States, including against civilians.
The ruling class works hard to maintain this consensus here in Britain.
As well as hypocritical moralising and attempting to decry and defame any vocal opponents of Israel, we have seen the cynical attempts to portray all and any opposition to Israel’s policies as anti-semitic. These efforts are disingenuous and trivialise real anti-semitism.
There should be no conflation of Jewish people with the Israeli state by opponents of these crimes — nor should we allow the Israeli state to opportunistically do the same.
The threats by Rishi Sunak’s Tory government to criminalise expressions of support for Palestine, as well as being another stab at drumming up support among a right-wing base, are just another manifestation of this ideological campaign. It is consistent with the broader Tory offensive against our democratic rights and civil liberties.
The idea that opposition to Israel is anti-semitic is readily debunked by the many Jewish people in Israel, Britain, and around the world who are actively opposed to Israeli apartheid and participated in the weekend’s demonstrations.
More fundamentally, this is an inspiring example of working people being able to overcome ruling-class propaganda, regardless of their race or religion.
What is key to building this solidarity that can unite people across ethnic divides and, indeed, across continents, is an understanding of the nature of imperialism and its crucial role in maintaining capitalist society.
It is only with this class understanding that we can oppose ruling-class attempts to lead people down false paths and narratives that ignore the reality of oppressor and oppressed.
The ruling-class media offensive has involved a clear attempt, in this case and in recent years, to bastardise concepts of imperialism and solidarity, and in doing so, render them useless.
We must defend our anti-imperialism and our working-class internationalism and solidarity as we build the movement to oppose Israeli aggression and war crimes, end the occupation and free Palestine.
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