Israeli Terror Machine Supercharged by Trump’s Jerusalem Statement
Oppose the U.S. and Australian Regimes that Support the Subjugation of Palestinian People
9 December 2017 – Israeli Air Force jets pounded Gaza overnight. They killed two Palestinian people and injured dozens of others. Several children were among those hurt. Hours earlier, Israeli troops shot dead two other people as they unleashed live fire ammunition on Palestinian protesters. The Israeli terror machine has been supercharged by Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Trump’s statement openly legitimized Israel’s seizure of East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank (and Gaza) in 1967. Within America, Trump has been busy inciting a wave of violent fascist and redneck attacks against Muslims, blacks, Asians, Native Americans, gays, Jews and Hispanics. That’s what his racist, ultra-right wing rants against Muslims, Mexicans and other oppressed minorities have served to do. Now this capitalist billionaire has charged up the Israeli terror machine to churn out yet more savage crimes against the oppressed Palestinian people.
Palestinian people have responded with typically brave resistance. There have also been large protests across the Arab world as well as in Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan. Meanwhile, opponents of racist oppression have joined Palestinian and other Arab migrants in protests in Western cities too.
Fake Criticism of Trump’s Decision by Enemies of Palestinian Liberation
U.S.-allied governments in Australia, Britain, France and elsewhere have, rather cynically, made some criticisms of Trump’s decision. But what the ruling class of Australia and co. really only object to is that Trump has so openly shown the Western imperial powers’ contempt for Palestinian people. Successive Australian governments – whether Liberal or ALP – have joined their Washington senior partner in steadfastly supporting Israel no matter how ghastly that regime’s crimes. They have proven their true stance on the Jerusalem issue by giving Israel the nod and the wink to implant hundreds of thousands of right-wing “settlers” in East Jerusalem and to divide up the West Bank with heavily fortified highways that Palestinians are not allowed to use. Six weeks ago, prime minister Turnbull went to Israel to sign an agreement for still greater Australia-Israel defence co-operation. Today, all that he and other Western rulers have to worry about in Trump’s statement is that by being so brazen he will stir up Palestinian resistance, reduce Western influence in the region and trigger rebellions against Western-subordinated Arab governments.
Similarly, most capitalist governments in Arab countries have criticized Trump’s decision only in order to avoid ending up being targets of the anger of “their own” people. However, much of the masses of those countries can see right through this. They know that these governments have no intention of taking any real action in solidarity with Palestinian people. These governments are firmly tied to the imperialist bullies who they depend on not only for access to markets and technology but in order to help protect them from their own restive masses. The main, U.S.-backed Arab power, Saudi Arabia has been secretly co-operating on intelligence matters with Israel for years. Last month its aggressive, young leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman dropped a bombshell. Acting for the Trump regime, he secretly sought to pressure Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas to accept an insulting “deal” which would see Palestinians get a “state” with only limited sovereignty, which would be geographically divided by the Israeli settlements in the West Bank – nearly all of which would remain – and where there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/03/world/middleeast/palestinian-saudi-peace-plan.html).
Yet, the PA leadership itself is under the grip of the Western imperialist powers. When Abbas met Trump in May, long after Trump had declared support to Israeli PM Netanyahu’s moves to further subjugate Palestinians, Abbas gushed to Trump that: “I believe we are capable under your leadership, courageous stewardship, and wisdom … to be true partners to bring about a historic peace treaty”! Today, Abbas is doing his best to hold back Palestinian resistance and restrict protest to formal statements of condemnation. However, the overwhelming calls from the Palestinian masses for a new Intifada may be too much for PA leaders to resist.
Cutting off Supply to the Israeli Killing Machine and Jamming It Up from Within
The bitter reality is that despite the courage of their resistance, the Palestinian people are heavily outgunned. They face an Israeli military that has been armed to the hilt by its imperialist backers. And they have been repeatedly stabbed in the back by the Arab capitalist governments that claim to support them. The force that can potentially decisively tip the balance in favour of the Palestinian people is the international workers movement – including the working class movements in the Arab countries. As a force that stands against its own exploitation, the working class naturally has an interest in supporting all those – like the Palestinian people – who are downtrodden by the same capitalist world order that oppresses them. The working class around the world must demand: No moving of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem! No theft of Jerusalem by the Zionist occupiers! All Israeli troops and settlers out of all of the West Bank and Gaza! Working class protest action must ramp up to industrial action targeting the imperialist ruling classes in the U.S., Britain, Australia and elsewhere that are fueling the Israeli terrorist machine.
The working class within Israel itself could act to undermine the fanatical Zionist agenda. Although the Zionist ruling class claims to stand for all Jewish people, it like every other capitalist class exploits its own workers. To be sure, the massive subsidies that the U.S. and other Western governments have provided to Israel have allowed the Israeli working class to obtain a significantly higher standard of living than their neighbors. This is of course a conservatizing force and makes it harder to win significant sections of the Israeli working class to take the side of the Palestinian resistance. Yet the Jewish masses in Israel still suffer most of the hardships of capitalism. Israel has one of the highest levels of inequality. Even excluding the subjugated Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories, Israel has more than 1.7 million people officially living in poverty (see: http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/More-than-1-in-5-Israelis-live-in-poverty-highest-in-developed-world-475444). Three in every ten Israeli children live in poverty as do nearly half of all Ultra-Orthodox Jews – almost the same rate of poverty as Palestinian Arabs living in Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Meanwhile, dark-skinned Jewish people suffer terrible racism. Resentment at all these forms of oppression can potentially be harnessed to break a section of the Jewish working class from loyalty to the Zionist capitalist order.
There is another reason why Israeli working class people’s interests lie with junking their current allegiance to the racist order. The Zionist rulers’ selling card has always been that they would provide security to the Jewish people. Israel was sold as a sanctuary where Jewish people would be free from ever again having to suffer the daily discrimination that they had endured in Western Europe, the pogroms that they faced in Tsarist Russia and the genocide meted out to their people by the Nazis. Yet the history of Israel has proven that building a state based on driving another people out of their land with Nazi-like terror – no matter how much religious quackery it is justified by – does not bring security at all. Instead the racial-supremacist Zionist project has brought great hostility towards the Jewish people of Israel from their neighbors.
The rise of the fascist-supported Trump has highlighted an additional aspect of this question. Trump is a fervent supporter of Israel but his hard right-wing agenda has simultaneously emboldened anti-Semitic, fascist forces within America and around the world. This was evident in the far right rallies in Charlottesville four months ago, which Trump legitimized. There, Nazi and KKK filth not only marched with slogans against blacks, Muslims and other people of color but also had anti-Semitic slogans like, “Jews will not replace us” and “Jews are Satan’s children.” In Australia too, decaying capitalism is spawning the growth of violent far-right outfits. A few of these fascist groups like the Party For Freedom are actually avowedly pro-Israel. Mind you, some of these fascists are pro-Israel only because they want to “purify” White Australia of Jews by having them go off to Israel – in the same way that Hitler’s Nazis collaborated with some Zionist leaders. Most Australian fascist groups, however, basing themselves on the vile tradition of Nazism, are openly and fanatically anti-Semitic. And although their main targets have been Muslims, Aboriginal people and Chinese people and other Asians, Jewish people and synagogues have been among the secondary targets of their violence. The American imperialist-dominated order that props up Israel, far from keeping the Jewish people secure, is actually creating the conditions for far-right terror attacks on Jewish people.
The fact that a small number of Israeli citizens have bravely refused to serve in the military as a matter of conscience shows that some Israelis can see past the false promises of Zionism and the extreme racial supremacist propaganda that they are fed. When the Middle East region is radicalized by a revolutionary working class upsurge, it will be possible to break a section of the Jewish working class from Zionism and unite them with the brave Palestinian masses in a movement that can smash the genocidal, Israeli capitalist order from within. Together, they will establish a multi-ethnic workers state that will necessarily be secular and anti-racist and which will provide all Palestinian refugees the right of return to the pre-1948 lands that they resided on. A socialist Palestine will finally both free the Palestinian people from barbaric Zionist oppression and provide the Jewish people with the real security that they have longed for.
International Balance of Forces Shapes the Fate of Palestine
Trump’s kick in the guts of the Palestinian people has been made possible by prior aggressive imperialist intervention in the Middle East. The savage U.S., British and Australian war against the much hated ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria has given these imperialist powers a renewed military presence in the region, greater political influence and the allegiance of key local military forces. Further south, with the backing of these Western powers, the Saudi military – and its allies in the UAE, Egyptian and Sudanese regimes – have unleashed a brutal war against Houthi rebels in Yemen. This intervention has enhanced the power of the U.S.-Saudi-Israeli axis in the region. Meanwhile, Trump’s directing of this Axis towards war with Iran has drawn the two most reactionary local powers in the region – Saudi Arabia and Israel – closer together.
This Axis, alongside Britain, France, Australia, Turkey and Qatar have been waging a years-long war – via FSA and openly religious fundamentalist “Rebel” proxies – to impose regime change on Syria. As well as causing the death of hundreds of thousands of Syrian people, this proxy war has greatly weakened Syria. That has, in turn, hurt the Palestinian resistance. For, although the capitalist Syrian government’s support to the Palestinian cause has been inconsistent and limited, they did provide sanctuary and bases for key Palestinian resistance groups. Today, through the heroism of the Syrian masses and soldiers – and with the support of their external allies – the original crop of imperialist proxies have been close to defeated in Syria. Yet the U.S., Australian and other allied imperialists now have a new proxy force in the form of the Kurdish YPG. Allied with the PKK in Turkey, the YPG had been waging a just struggle for the national rights of the oppressed Kurdish people of Syria. However, they have now subordinated themselves to the most powerful force for social oppression in the world – the Western imperialists. They are set to be used as a force or bargaining chip to increase imperialist influence in Syria – and, thus, in the whole region. It is an urgent task for all genuine supporters of Palestinian liberation to oppose all the Middle East interventions that boost the power of the Western imperialist and Israeli enemies of Palestinian liberation! Let’s fight for: All U.S./Australian/British/French forces to get out of all of the Middle East! Defend Syria against all the imperialist-allied “Rebels” – from the FSA to the religious fundamentalists to the YPG! Saudi, UAE, Egyptian and Sudanese forces get out of Yemen! U.S./Australia, Israel and Saudi Arabia: Hands Off Iran!
Although driven by its own capitalist agenda, Russia’s military might in Syria has been crucial to holding back the imperialist regime change drive there. Today, president Putin is using the increased stature this has brought Russia and the loss of U.S. prestige following Trump’s Jerusalem announcement to engage in energetic diplomatic interventions. Given the horror that the American-dominated order has brought to the people of the Middle East it is tempting to think that any other power trying to nudge them aside can hardly be any worse. However, it would be very naive for supporters of Palestinian liberation to put their faith in yet another capitalist power. The fact that Putin has called Netanyahu one of his favorite world leaders and is rapidly improving ties with crucial Israel ally, Saudi Arabia, should be reason enough to make us wary (http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/strange-love-affair-putin-and-netanyahu-1736252238).
In addition to the brave resistance of Palestinian activists and the Syrian people, there are, however, other genuine forces that are opposing – or can potentially oppose – the imperialist world order that has brought such suffering to the Palestinian people. Most crucial is the working class within the imperialist centers like the U.S. and Australia, whose interests lie with opposing the rulers that oversee their exploitation. Then there are the people of North Korea. Today, they are defending their socialistic system and desperately trying to avoid meeting the same fate as the people of Iraq and Libya by defiantly building a nuclear deterrence in the face of U.S. and Australian war threats. All opponents of this brutal imperialist world order must stand by the people of North Korea.
Similarly, we must defend the rise of socialistic China that is challenging the capitalist-imperialist dominated world order. To be sure, the compromising Chinese leadership pursues a selfish foreign policy of “non-interference” in the affairs of other countries. It also accommodates a degree of capitalism within China. Nevertheless, the workers state created by China’s 1949 anti-capitalist revolution remains in place and the backbone of China’s economy remains the public sector of socialistic state-owned enterprises. This has laid the basis for China’s stunning economic development and poverty alleviation successes. This strengthening of socialistic China is already providing a support point for ex-colonial countries to start to lift themselves up from under Western neocolonial subjugation. Meanwhile, regardless of the intentions of China’s leaders, the emergence of a large, successful socialistic society provides inspiration to rebel to those masses of the world still suffering under the capitalist order. The imperialist powers know this all too well. That is why, from sending menacing naval forces to the South China Sea, to threatening China’s socialistic neighbour and ally North Korea to backing pro-capitalist, “dissidents” within China, the imperialists are doing everything in their power to undermine socialistic rule in China. The Turnbull government’s scare-mongering about “Chinese interference” in Australian politics is meant to justify to the population this anti-China, anti-communist drive. So, too, the right wing’s successful Cold War style witch-hunt of, now former, ALP Senator Sam Dastyari for merely stating the patently obvious fact that the South China Sea is China’s internal matter (for more on this issue see: https://www.facebook.com/TrotskyistPlatform/posts/1515409871846563 ). However, if these efforts to destroy socialistic rule in China are beaten back, if capitalist forces within China are decisively defeated and if China more proudly advocates on the world stage its socialist course then the U.S.-dominated world order would really be threatened. And that can only be good news for the Palestinian people and all the downtrodden of the planet.
Unfortunately, many of the Australian left wing groups that state solidarity with the Palestinian cause (including the Socialist Alternative, Solidarity and Socialist Alliance groups), simultaneously join the imperialist crusade against China by supporting the various Western-backed “pro-democracy activists” seeking to overthrow socialistic rule there. Similarly bowing to imperialist propaganda campaigns, these groups also support the pro-imperialist “Rebels” in Syria. A small number of leftists, of which we in Trotskyist Platform are amongst, did have the fortitude to oppose the imperialist drive to impose regime change on Syria. However, many of those involved in the Hands Off Syria groups then became badly disoriented and lapsed into becoming apologists for Trump or worse.
Mobilise Working Class Opposition to the U.S. and Australian Capitalist Regimes That Support Israel
The Trump regime and the U.S. ruling class it serves is more rabidly supporting its deputy sheriffs in the Middle East – primarily, Israel and Saudi Arabia – because it needs them to be more aggressive. It needs more from its regional enforcers because the more that the capitalist economic system is mired in crisis, the more that it must make up for it by more ruthlessly plundering the resource-rich Middle East and seizing control of markets and sources of labour to exploit everywhere.
Similarly, Australian governments – whether Liberal or ALP or ALP/Greens – have always, ultimately, supported Israel’s subjugation of Palestinian people because that conforms to the interests of the Australian capitalist class whom these governments all serve. It is a mistake to think that you can lobby the Australian government to change its position on Palestine by appealing to it to take a more independent policy from the U.S.A. For the Australian government supports U.S. power only because that is what is in the interests of Australia’s capitalist rulers. In particular, the Australian rulers need U.S. power to guarantee Australian imperialist plunder of South Pacific countries from PNG to East Timor to Fiji; and to have the back of Australian corporations participating in the neo-colonial exploitation of workers in Indonesia, the Philippines and beyond. These imperialist looters of the South Pacific, genocidal oppressors of Aboriginal people and brutal imprisoners of refugees can never be friends of the Palestinian people – or any other oppressed people!
However, while supporting the subjugation of Palestinian people is in the interests of Australia’s rich capitalist class, opposing U.S. and Israeli tyranny against the Palestinian people is very much in the interests of the working class and all oppressed of this country. For one, it is in the interests of movements fighting for the downtrodden to stand by others facing oppression. Moreover, it is in our interests to weaken the ruling class that attacks our trade unions, consigns us to perpetual job insecurity, drives up our rents by selling off public housing, punishes us when we get retrenched from work, murders Aboriginal people in state custody and vilifies Muslim, Chinese and other non-white ethnic communities. So, while we cannot appeal to the Australian rulers to change their position on the Palestine issue we can through powerful action force it to back off from its support for Israel. To do this we must build actions that are strong enough to harm the interests of the Australian ruling class – in particular its economic interests. That means workers industrial action against the Australian capitalist rulers. Let’s build up towards such action! Let’s shake the imperialist branches that are holding up the Zionist’s nest!