The world is increasingly turning it’s back on the Israeli state. The latest round of attacks on the people of Gaza has been barbaric, with thousands dead and injured and almost half of the population displaced.
Israel hoped counter-revolution in Egypt would leave Hamas isolated and easy to destroy. But the IDF have faced stiff resistance and responded with further collective punishment—creating a humanitarian disaster by bombing water and electricity plants as well as hospitals, and shelling multiple UN schools that were supposed to be safe havens.
But mobilizations throughout the world are turning the tide against Israel.
In the West Bank, protest have been huge. For the Israelis, who were worried about the possibility of a unity government between Fatah and Hamas things couldn’t get worse. In Nablus tens of thousands chanted, “We are not Fatah or Hamas, We are one people.” Despite an anti-protest law, Egyptians organized an aid convoy that revealed the complicity of the Egyptian regime with Israel’s siege on Gaza.
In the UK, 100,000 marched against the assault. UK cabinet minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has quit the government in protest over the Conservative government’s support of the killing. In a recent poll, 68 per cent of UK residents opposed Israel’s actions.
Countries across Latin America have cut ties to Israel. Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Chile and El Salvador have all withdrawn their ambassadors.
Recent polling in the US has found a majority of people under 30 now oppose Israeli actions. The group Jewish Voices for Peace say that they have been overwhelmed with the response. Their membership list has spiked by 50,000 people and they are having trouble keeping up with the number of people wanting to set up new chapters throughout the country.
There have been demonstrations across Canada, and more cities than ever have confirmed participation in the pan-Canadian days of Action August 9 and 10.
US and Canadian complicity
But there are still major players who continue to support Israel. While the US has condemned the attacks on schools, it has also, sent another $225 million to support the Iron dome defence system and is sending more bullets, rockets and artillery to the IDF.
The government of Canada is shamefully supportive of Israel. Even as the US and UN were calling for investigations into possible war crimes, Stephen Harper was insisting that Israel has the right to kill civilians to “defend itself.” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird claimed that “Hamas will be solely to blame for any further loss of life,” comments that Human Rights Watch blasted as a “green light for more unlawful Israeli attacks that kill civilians.”
The opposition parties have all lined up with Harper. Members of the Liberal Party joined a Conservative led delegation to Israel and organized a rally in favour of the assault. There have been some NDP MP’s who have called for an end to the operation but the party leadership has been spineless in it’s position and continues to avoid any condemnation of the attacks—leading longstanding NDP members to write open letters and even occupy the office of foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar.
Western governments use Israel as a regional watchdog to keep the Middle East under the thumb of imperialism. The mobilizations and the shifts in public opinion strike at the very heart of the entire Western imperial architecture. US imperial strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski criticized Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu saying, “I think he is making a very serious mistake. I think he is isolating Israel. He’s endangering its longer-range future.”
Resistance and solidarity
We need to keep the pressure on. These unprecedented demonstrations are having a huge impact. It will take much more to end our government’s support for Israel but by shifting opinion we are altering the terms of debate on this issue. This is creating more space for campaigns such as the call for BDS and is exposing the hypocrisy of our political leaders.
But the veil is falling and more people than ever are marching against this war. What we are seeing is an incredible disconnect between regular people, appalled by the massacre, and political leaders who are unwilling to oppose against the killing.
The heroic resistance of the Palestinian people and the mass solidarity movements around the world can, together, seriously weaken the imperial powers and bring us one step closer to a world without war.
All out for the Pan-Canadian days of action on August 9 and 10! For more information visit http://canadianpeace.org/gaza-solidarity/
If you like this article, join the discussion “End the attack on Gaza, stop Harper’s complicity,” Tuesday August 12, 6pm at OISE room 8201 (252 Bloor St West, Toronto)