As Israel’s assault on the besieged Palestinian population in Gaza approaches its third week, we continue to hear about the “disproportionate number” of women and children victims. This expression begs the question: what is a proportionate number of women and children killed in a genocide

As Jadaliyya’s Maya Mikdashi asks in her op-ed titled “Can Palestinian men be victims?”, if a significant majority of the killed were adult men, would Israel’s crimes be lesser? 

A different analysis of gendered violence is necessary: one that recognizes that no “proportions” are acceptable because all deaths should be mourned, while providing the tools for a differential understanding of the manifestations of violence.

Rape calls

The feminist network INCITE! Women and Trans People of Color Against Violence has always understood that state violence is both racialized and gendered.

Zionism is a prime example of that; it is a racist ideology grounded in the privileging of one ethno-religious group over all others.

When a state views a population — its dispossessed, disenfranchised and occupied indigenous population — as a ”demographic threat,” that view is fundamentally both racist and gendered.

Racist population control relies specifically on violence against women. So it is not surprising that Mordechai Kedar, an Israeli military intelligence officer turned academic, would matter-of-factly suggest this week that “raping the wives and mothers of Palestinian combatants” would deter attacks by Hamas militants.

Similarly, Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked did not attempt to present the murder of Palestinian children and their mothers as unfortunate, disproportionate “collateral damage” — she openly called for it by asserting that Palestinian women must be killed too, because they give birth to “little snakes.”

This comment reflects an Israeli infrastructure designed to sustain high rates of miscarriages by blocking basic resources such as water and medical supplies, forcing women in labor to wait at military checkpoints on their way to a hospital, and generally creating inhumane and unlivable conditions for Palestinians.

This latest murderous attack on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has not only taken the lives of hundreds of Palestinians, but it has also increased miscarriages, pre-term labor and stillbirths.

Ethiopian-Israeli women, most of them Jewish, have also been subject to mandatory contraceptive injections without their consent.

Ending Zionism is a feminist and a reproductive justice issue.

Liberating women?

Of course, gendered violence as a tool for settler-colonialism is not a new strategy; settler-colonialism, patriarchy and official hypocrisy usually go hand in hand.

Nineteenth-century France claimed to be liberating Algerian women even as it torched entire villages and towns. The proverbial colonial white man would have us believe that he was acting on the selfless impulse to save brown women from brown men, even as the colonial power he served impoverished entire countries.

Algerian women were certainly no better off as result of French colonialism; in fact, their circumstances deteriorated significantly.

The George W. Bush administration gave itself a pat on the back for supposedly liberating women in Afghanistan from the Taliban. Yet we see throughout history, and not just inAfghanistanIranIraq, Algeria or Palestine, that wars have never liberated women and gender nonconforming people of color.

New brand of hypocrisy

Today, Israel has developed a new brand of this hypocrisy, as it claims that it is more civilized than the Palestinian people because it is supposedly a more “gay-friendly” country. This is pinkwashing, Israel’s attempt to distract from its ongoing human rights violations by pointing to its supposedly better gay rights record.

But that record, once again, is racist.

Any Jewish citizen of Israel can and must serve in the Israeli occupation forces, but these are the murderous forces engaging in the genocide of the Palestinian people.

Does it make for a more moral army if some of its killer soldiers are openly gay? Stop to think of who the purveyor of the greater violence is. Who is denying Palestinian women, children, gays, lesbians, trans people and straight men their most basic rights — freedom of movement, safety, shelter, food, a home, life? One has to acknowledge that the guilty party is “civilized” Israel, not Palestinian heteropatriarchy.

War — militarism — is a hyper-masculinist activity that glorifies and rewards all violence, including gendered violence, and a soldier trained in violence cannot put that violence aside when he or she gets home.

All of Israeli society is trained in violence. And violence is not a pair of combat boots one can leave at the door; violence becomes second nature (unless it was first nature, in which case it is further aggravated) and the entire community that engages in warfare is a more violent community — not just at the war front.

Joint struggle

This is what we are witnessing today, as we have observed it again and again every time Israel escalates its assault on the Palestinian people.

As for Palestinians, there are no battlefronts, no “war zones.” All of historic Palestine is the battlefront as mobs of Israelis take to the streets in violent rampages.

This realization has always been at the very core of INCITE’s analysis. We understand that in situations of settler-colonialism, indigenous women, trans people and gender non-conforming people bear the brunt of a nexus of racism and sexism. We are engaging in a joint struggle, from India to the Arab world to South West Asia, to Africa and the Americas, for the dignity and full sovereignty of indigenous people.

This is why INCITE! endorsed, in 2010, the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and remains committed to the grassroots struggle against state-sponsored violence against the entire Palestinian people.

Q - What caused this latest outburst of violence?

DB -  “As soon as the Palestinian Authority national unity government was announced in April, Israel set its sights on destroying it.  It did so by first pressing for the government’s isolation and, when that failed, it used the deaths of three Israelis (kidnapped in an area of the West Bank that is entirely under Israel’s control) to demonize Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  Within 18 days of the Israelis going missing, Israel arrested hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank including 11 Parliamentarians and 59 former prisoners who were released in a prisoner exchange three years ago.  These people were arrested without any proof that these individuals were in any way involved in the deaths of the three Israelis.  In addition, Israel killed 10 Palestinians, including three children in the West Bank and demolished three houses.  Israel launched air raids on the Gaza Strip, as documented by the UN, killing two, including a 10-year-old child.  This happened before a single Hamas rocket was fired from Gaza.  When Israel failed to break up the unity government diplomatically, it turned to a brutal military attack.  What is clear is that the status quo is not the answer.  Returning to the 2012 ceasefire will not work as it was easily abused by Israel.”

GB - “Israel instrumentalized the tragic deaths of three Israeli youths, abducted and killed on June 12, to attack Hamas in the West Bank and disrupt Palestinian national reconciliation - a goal it had failed to achieve diplomatically. Israel arrested more than 400, searched 2,200 homes and other sites, and killed at least nine Palestinians in the process. We now know that Israel concealed evidence the youths were killed virtually immediately after abduction, and incited Israeli public opinion to a frenzy, directly leading to the brutal immolation of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. These cynical acts led to the escalation of violence along the Gaza border.”

NH - “Israel used the June 12 kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenage settlers to launch a brutal Israeli crackdown on the West Bank and East Jerusalem that human rights organizations have condemned as collective punishment. Israel particularly targeted Hamas members despite the lack of evidence and the organization’s denial of responsibility. The real target was the national unity agreement achieved by Hamas.

“The truth is, though, that this all-out Israeli assault on Gaza would have happened sooner or later. Israelis call their approach to Gaza “mowing the grass”. That is, they must attack and weaken Hamas every two or three years, even though Hamas has proven willing and able to respect a ceasefire, including by reining in other factions. This is one of the ways Israel “manages” its occupation and colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its occupation and siege of Gaza.”

Q - Is Israel acting in self-defense?

DB - “No. Israel cannot claim self-defense owing to the fact that it initiated the assault on the Gaza Strip and continues to maintain a brutal military occupation over the Gaza Strip (and the West Bank). Rather, Israel has an obligation under international law to protect Palestinians living under its military rule.”

GB - “Self-defense may not be claimed by a state that initiates violence, as Israel did in its violent assault on Hamas in the West Bank.”

NH - “No. A member state of the United Nations that has signed international conventions pledging to respect the laws of war has no right to indiscriminately attack civilians and civilian infrastructure. The very high number of Palestinian civilian casualties – men, women, children – give the lie to Israel’s claims to self-defense, as does Hamas’ proven willingness to uphold a ceasefire.

“Moreover, Israel cannot claim self-defense against a people whose land it has been militarily occupying and colonizing for decades, part of whose population it has placed under siege. Only a ceasefire can protect Palestinians and Israelis alike, and only an end to the occupation and siege can pave the way to a permanent peace.

“Hamas should also refrain from targeting civilian infrastructure but it is not a UN-member state and has not signed conventions binding it to uphold international law.”

Q - Is Israel attacking “Hamas targets”?

DB - “No. Israel appears to be attacking civilian homes and civilian infrastructure. To date, according to UN estimates, 80 percent of those killed are civilians, including over 150 children. Israel has bombed hospitals, schools and mosques – all illegitimate targets under international law. More than 2,000 homes and entire neighborhoods have been destroyed by Israel’s attacks. This is inconsistent with international law. Civilian structures, such as homes, are only lawful targets when they are being used for military purposes. The Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Convention on the Law of War provides that, ‘in case of doubt whether an object which is normally dedicated to civilian purposes, such as a place of worship, a house or other dwelling or a school, is being used to make an effective contribution to military action, it shall be presumed not to be so used.’ While Israel has argued that Palestinian homes are command centers, Human Rights Watch has dismissed those claims.

“Attacks that do not discriminate between civilians and combatants are illegal. Using Israel’s logic, this also means that any home of any past or present Israeli soldier or police officer is a legitimate target or any civilian area where military is present (such as the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv).  Clearly, this is not acceptable.

“This is not a video game in which the Israeli army is allowed to hunt down anyone associated with Hamas, irrespective of whether they are a combatant and without regard for civilian infrastructure.”

GB - “Israel appears to be categorizing any upper-level Hamas member as a ‘combatant,’ regardless of function. For example, it deliberately targeted Gaza police chief Taysir al-Batsh, injuring him and killing 18 members of his family, while he visited his cousin’s home. Police are civilians in international law, and this, on the face of it, appears to have been a clear war crime. So, likely, are the many other attacks that have been launched against private homes, although definitive conclusions must be left to further investigation. Israel has also attacked hospitals, water treatment facilities and sewer lines, and other civilian infrastructure that has nothing to do with Hamas. In fact, despite Israel’s claims to respect the international legal requirement of distinction between military targets and civilians, its actions speak of a policy to deliberately kill civilians as a means of weakening Hamas politically.”

NH - “No. The figures of civilian dead and injured undermine this claim. Compare the 433 Palestinian civilians killed by July 22 according to UN figures, out of an overall total of over 640 Palestinians killed, to two Israeli civilians killed.”

 

Q - Why has Hamas declined to accept a ceasefire?

DB - “Hamas and other factions were not consulted on the ceasefire proposal; Egypt was.  Egypt does not represent or speak on behalf of Palestine or Palestinians; only Palestinians do. It is silly to think that any progress can be made without a major party to the agreement present at the table. Moreover, Israel has currently rejected a humanitarian cease-fire to allow much-needed supplies into the Gaza Strip and to allow Palestinians to bury their dead.”

GB - “Hamas declined to accept a ceasefire offer about which it had not been consulted and which failed to meet basic requirements of fairness. Within 24 hours, however, Hamas and other Palestinian groups offered Israel a ten-year truce that would have ended Israel’s siege against the Gaza Strip, thus guaranteeing long-term stability in the region. Israel had not responded to that offer, but appears to prefer to periodically ‘mow the lawn.’”

NH - “Hamas is willing to accept a ceasefire, but one that would be respected by Israel and that would lift the siege on Gaza. The Palestinians in Gaza, the vast majority of whom are civilians, as well as the members of Hamas or other factions, have since 2007 faced the choice between a slow death or a quick one. Either they die through ill health and disease due to lack of potable water, poor nutrition, and lack of medical care as a result of the draconian siege imposed by Israel on Gaza that has also been upheld by Egypt. Or they die quickly when Israel decides to ‘mow the lawn.’

“Until the border crossings are open for the movement of people and goods, the Gaza Palestinians will be forced to live without the most basic rights.”

Q - Does Hamas use Palestinians as human shields?

DB - “The Gaza Strip is an area that is 26 miles (40 km) long and seven miles (12 km) wide at its widest point. With nearly 1.8 million Palestinians, the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Moreover, prior to this attack, 35 percent of the Gaza Strip was off limits – by threat of death – to Palestinians with Israel maintaining a ‘no-go’ zone in these areas.  That said, while Hamas fights from within this small area, it does not use Palestinian civilians as cover. To date, international investigations have concluded that there is no evidence to substantiate these long-made Israeli claims and yet the claims continue to be accepted by many, unchallenged. Ironically, the converse has been well-established: Israel has used Palestinian civilians as human shields when carrying out its military operations.”

GB - “Hamas fights from within inhabited areas, as it must in the densely populated Gaza Strip. But few allegations that Hamas deliberately endangers civilians in order to escape attack have ever been substantiated. The claim seems designed to ‘blame the victim.’ Certainly, Palestinians themselves are perfectly clear that it is Israel that is spilling Palestinian blood.” 

NH - “Israel has declared 44% of the Gaza Strip – an area less than half the size of New York City – a military “buffer zone.” Who is using whom as a human shield?”

Q - Does the Israeli military take all possible precautions to prevent civilian casualties?

DB - “No. The ‘knock on the roof’ procedure – dropping a missile on a house in advance of its bombing – has resulted in deaths. According to Philip Luther of Amnesty International, ‘There is no way that firing a missile at a civilian home can constitute an effective “warning.” Amnesty International has documented cases of civilians killed or injured by such missiles in previous Israeli military operations on the Gaza Strip,’ he said.

“In addition, while Israel claims that it distributes leaflets, these leaflets do not tell people where they are to go to be safe.  As noted by Israeli human rights organizations, ‘Dispersal of leaflets does not grant the military permission to consider the area as if it were so-called “sterile,” assume that no civilians were left in the area and then proceed to attack civilian sites. The military must not assume that all residents have indeed left their homes.’

“Moreover, Israel claims that the Iron Dome defense system has been effective at preventing Israeli civilian deaths. Given this claim and given that the number of Israeli civilian casualties is 2 (as compared to 650 Palestinian deaths), it is clear that there are alternative means to address any rockets launched toward Israel without harming civilians in the process.”

GB - “Of course not, as several responses above indicate. Warnings to civilians to leave areas when they have no effective refuge are meaningless, and a number of Palestinians, including three boys of the Shuhaibar family, have been killed by Israel’s practice of ‘knocking on the roof’ - that is, firing what is supposed to be a warning missile before heavier ordnance is used.”

NH - “Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth. It is impossible to hit it from air, land, and sea without killing hundreds of civilians. The only way to prevent the killing and injuring of Gaza civilians is a ceasefire – and Hamas has honored past ceasefires. And the only way to achieve peace is through an agreement that ends Israel’s occupation and colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the siege of Gaza and respects other Palestinian rights long denied.”

todoelajo

Black people have seen in the condition and treatment of the Palestinians a reflection of their own and recent statements by Black writers, scholars, artists, and activists have affirmed the history of Black solidarity with Palestine. Alice WalkerRobin D.G. KelleyAngela DavisFerrari SheppardTeju Coledream hamptonMargaret KimberleyGlen FordKevin Alexander Gray, and others have all spoken to the sheer brutality meted out against the Palestinian people by the State of Israel. They have foregrounded the historical parallels between the everyday practices of violence, the modes of legal disenfranchisement, the normalization of racism, and the forms of segregation and containment through which the policies of the Israel towards the Palestinian people mirror the historic regimes of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow in the United States. And they have been at the forefront of calls for international solidarity with Palestine and for support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Israel – calls that have taken on an added urgency in light of the current Israeli offensive against Gaza.

For background on the history and politics of the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian quest for self-determination, The Public Archive recommends a number of recent texts. In The Battle for Justice in Palestine, Ali Abunimah, editor of the Electronic Intifada, places the complex local politics of the conflict into global context while describing the impact of the neoliberal turn on the practices of occupation. The collection Palestine, compiled by Funambumlisteditor Leopold Lambert as part of his fantastic publication series, offers a critical take on the cartographic, spatial, and architectural elements of settler colonialism. In Nablus: City of Civilizations [pdf] architect Naseer Rahmi‘Arafãt conjures a meticulous oral and architectural history of the city of Nablus, a cross-roads of Arab civilization that has witnessed almost complete destruction as a result of occupation. The late Edward Said’s The Question of Palestineremains an eloquent and ethical classic while in the Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge, Israeli historian Illan Pappé, author of the earlier The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, provides an  uncompromising investigation into the ideology of Zionism and its manifestation in the practices of Israeli settler colonialism.

For more on the specific question of Black solidarity with Palestine, the Black on Palestine Tumblr is a must-follow archive of videos, links, essays, and excerpts. InBlack Liberation and Palestine Solidarity, published by the excellent Atlanta-based autonomous publishing house, On Our Own Authority! Publishers, Lennie Brenner and Matthew Quest offer a clear-eyed and unflinching read of the politics and rhetorics of the Black freedom movement in its encounter with Israeli settler colonialism. The longer and broader history of the question of solidarity between the African diaspora and the Arab world is recounted in Alex Lubin’s comprehensive The Geography of Liberation: The Making of an Afro-Arab Political Imaginary. Sohail Daulatzai’s Black Star, Crescent Moon: The Muslim International and Black Freedom Beyond America examines how African Americans have seen themselves as part of what Daulatzai calls the “Muslim Third World” and shows how radial, internationalist, and anti-imperialist modes of Blackness, from an era stretching from the Cold War to the War on Terror, have found alliance with Muslim struggles for freedom.

A number of recent monographs have approached a different question of solidarity, alliance, and affiliation within the Black World: the question of solidarity through the history of sound. Shana Redmond’s Anthem: Social Movements and the sound of solidarity in the African diaspora, examines Black song and Black citizenship in the soundtrack of Black protest. Tsitsi Ella Jaji’sAfrica in Stereo: Modernism, Music, and Pan-African Solidarity reads the reverberations of African American music across the Black Atlantic through its influences in Senegal, Ghana, and South Africa. Gaye Theresa Johnson writes of solidarity and sound in The Public Archive’s new favorite city: Los Angeles. InSpace of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spatial Entitlement in Los Angeles, Johnson explores the history of racial conflict and inter-racial alliance between Blacks and Chicanos in L.A. from the 1940s to the present and the sonic and spatial strategies of solidarity. Meanwhile, a more traditional group of texts have recovered the history of Black Internationalism and pan-African struggle of the of the Interwar years: Hakim Adi’s Pan-Africanism and Communism: The Communist International, Africa and the Diapora, 1919-1939, Gerald Horne’s Black Revolutionary: William Paterson & the Globalization of the African American Freedom Struggle, and Holger Weiss, Framing a Radical African Atlantic: African American Agency, West African Intellectuals and the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers, a book whose use of Soviet archives is unprecedented.

Finally, two recent texts look at the impact of revolutions in the Caribbean on the practices of solidarity in the international theatre of the Cold War. David Scott’sOmens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, and Justice considers the history and historiography of the collapse of Grenada Revolution and its impact on the Caribbean left. In Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria, and the Struggle for Southern Africa, 1976-1991, Piero Gleijeses examines the resonances of the Cuban victories in Angola and Namibia on the struggles to dismantle apartheid in South Africa. Scott offers an account of failed revolution; Gleijeses one of success. Both offer lessons for Palestine and the Palestinian solidarity movement.

concretesorrow
They give you little bullshit amounts of money in exchange for your working – wages and so forth – and then they steal all that shit back from you in terms of the way they got this other thing set up – his whole credit gimmick society man, consumer credit, buy shit buy shit on credit, he give you a little bit of shit to cool your ass out and then steal all that shit back with shit called interest – the price of money. Motherfuckers in non-producing, non-existent industries ya know motherfuckers who deal with paper. There’s a cat who would stand up and say to you he’s “in mining”, and he sits in an office man on the hundred and ninety ninth floor in some motherfucking building on Wall Street, and he’s “in mining” and he has paper, certificates, which are embroidered and shit you know, stocks, bonds, debentures, obligations, you know, “he’s in mining”, and he’s sitting up in Wall Street and his fingernails ain’t been dirty in his motherfucking life; he went to Phillips Andover or Exeter, he went to Harvard, he went to Yale, he went to the Wharton School of Business, and “he’s in mining”?

The motherfuckers who deal with intangibles are the motherfuckers who are rewarded in this society. The more abstract and intangible your shit is, come on stocks? What is stock? Stock certificates is evidence of ownership in something that’s real. Ownership. He owns and controls and therefore receives you know the benefit from, that’s what they call profit. He’s fucking with shit in Bolivia, he’s fucking with shit in Chile, he’s Anaconda, he’s United Fruit, he’s “in mining”, he’s in what? He ain’t never in his life produced shit. Investment bankers, stock brokers, insurance man, it’s motherfuckers who don’t do nothing. We see that this whole society man exists and rests upon workers and that this whole motherfucking society controlled by this ruling clique is parasitic, vulturistic, cannibalistic and is sucking and destroying man the lives of motherfucking workers and we have to stop it because it’s evil.
redphilistine
maarnayeri:

noor3amoor:

If these font sizes don’t speak to the relative value of Palestinian life, I don’t know what does.

In addition to the font size, its also the language surrounding the deaths. Not only do we know of the two Israelis, but also their occupation (they were soldiers sent to kill) and where they were killed. Over 300 Palestinians are just referred to as deaths. Anything that was once alive could die. Animals, foliage, etc. They couldn’t even say Palestinians. Even acknowledging the identity of the colonized and allotting them basic humanity is too provocative. No location, no root of cause (because then it’d have to be understood that Israeli aggression is indeed at fault). Just 330 deaths. It all exists in a detached vacuum.But it does refer back to Hamas. No matter what happens to Palestinians, its implicitly suggested that Hamas is to blame. Everything Israel does is reactionary under the normalization of Zionist brutality. To someone who doesn’t understand the nature of Israeli settler colonialist violence, this could very well be understood as Hamas killing Palestinians. The only mention of Israel is through a victim narrative.

maarnayeri:

noor3amoor:

If these font sizes don’t speak to the relative value of Palestinian life, I don’t know what does.

In addition to the font size, its also the language surrounding the deaths.

Not only do we know of the two Israelis, but also their occupation (they were soldiers sent to kill) and where they were killed.

Over 300 Palestinians are just referred to as deaths. Anything that was once alive could die. Animals, foliage, etc. They couldn’t even say Palestinians. Even acknowledging the identity of the colonized and allotting them basic humanity is too provocative. No location, no root of cause (because then it’d have to be understood that Israeli aggression is indeed at fault). Just 330 deaths. It all exists in a detached vacuum.

But it does refer back to Hamas. No matter what happens to Palestinians, its implicitly suggested that Hamas is to blame. Everything Israel does is reactionary under the normalization of Zionist brutality. To someone who doesn’t understand the nature of Israeli settler colonialist violence, this could very well be understood as Hamas killing Palestinians. The only mention of Israel is through a victim narrative.

mehreenkasana
This rhetoric of “both sides” implies that pain and fault belong equally to Palestinians and Israelis. It erases manifold, unmistakable, qualitative and quantitative differences at play in Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip and the political-historical context in which this is taking place — most centrally, that what is occurring is part of a settler-colonial invasion.

“Both sides” rhetoric refuses to make even the easiest, most obvious judgment, to which any honest evaluation of the information points: that Israel is massacring Palestinian adults and children, 77% of whom are civilians, and subjecting them to collective punishment; that Israel evidently claims for itself a right to extra-judicially execute anyone who it says is a Hamas member, a practice too few among even Palestine’s allies have denounced; that Israel is bombarding what is essentially a giant refugee camp home to an imprisoned population of a people Israel has ethnically cleansed, occupied, subjected to apartheid, and repeatedly slaughtered; that international law does not grant Israel a “right to defend itself” against the Gaza Strip. And that international law does grant Palestinians a right to resist using armed struggle.

To employ “both sides” rhetoric completely misrepresents the situation. It is not “both sides” who take thousands of political prisoners. Both sides do not systematically torture each other. Both sides do not control each other’s freedom of movement, or access to the sea, drinking water, and education.

Greg Shupak - "A Plague on One House" via Jacobin Magazine

In addition to these distinctions, the “both sides” idea is dangerous because it is immobilizing. With its use, it becomes impossible to demand an end to colonial practices. And that is exactly the point.

(via mizoguchi)

sociolab
It is not a contingency of history that the US and Israel are so closely connected in alliance that there is ‘no daylight between them’. On the contrary, the hegemonic United States is a settler society and Israel is the only social formation of a similar type planted, in the decolonizing period of modern history, in the middle of the periphery (for want of a better term) and in a land of great religious significance at that. Therefore, much more than all the other such sites of struggle, Israel is a cornerstone of the political world-system. The struggle against Israel is therefore not only a question of the emancipation of the Palestinians, but it is a struggle against settler logic altogether, and through this, a struggle against the political manifestation of the current world order. This makes it a crucial site in the perpetuation of the imperialism of the West as well as in the ‘containment’ of global revolutionary and emancipatory struggles, and this gives it its particular significance.
There is no level playing field in the merciless class war between the cruelly exploited, brutally oppressed majority on the one hand, and the upper five per cent of our society bulging at the expense of the hundreds of millions of poor on the other. In a class-divided society there cannot be any absolute truth. The truth of the oppressed is different from the truth of the oppressor. […] In class conflicts, unlike in ordinary sport, it is impossible to have an impartial referee who cries foul whenever there is a violation of the rules by either side. For class war is no game played out between equals based on rules that apply to both sides equally. It is an unequal war between the mighty militarised state that stands in defence of the propertied classes and their “right” to exploit the majority at will, and the vast majority of the wretched of the earth—hungry, homeless, emaciated, docile, helpless masses—who, in the eyes of the ruling elites, are not much distinct from the slaves of bygone millennia. These very same exploiters through their constitution preset rules with enough provisions for violating the same. Those who imagine themselves to be impartial referees in class war and try to set the rules equally for both sides will ultimately end up as apologists for the oppressors, in spite of their good intentions and sincere attitude. Anyone who thinks that he/she is being impartial in a class-divided society is only a victim of his/her fanciful imagination.
Under the guise of establishing a "homeland" for the Jewish people, Zionist colonization of Palestine was an instrument for British exploitation of Palestine, for the creation of an imperialist outpost in the Arab world. As the resolution of the Second Congress of the Communist International pointed out, Zionism “under the pretence of creating a Jewish State in Palestine, in fact surrenders the Arab working people of Palestine, where Jewish workers form only a small minority, to exploitation by England.” The Zionist leaders were candid about their role as instruments of British imperialism. Chaim Weizmann, who later became the first president of Israel, wrote: "We have entrusted our national and Zionist destiny to the Foreign Office (of British imperialism-Ed.) and the Imperial War Cabinet, in the hope that the problem would be considered in the light of imperial interests." Later, when the U.S. became the new overlord of the imperialist camp, the Zionists became the instruments of U.S. imperialism. When the U.S. imperialists used the U. N. to give a legal mantle to the establishment of the Zionist colonial settler state, Ben Gurion wrote a letter of thanks to President Truman, "The responsibilities of leadership which were taken up by the American government under your inspiration made possible the creation of the Jewish state."

Thus, we see the establishment on Palestinian soil, through Jewish emigration and the forcible displacement of the Palestinian people, of a settler colonial regime at the instigation, through the active backing, and in the interests of imperialism. Until 1947, Palestine was a British colony. Colonial authority was in the hands of the British imperialists who also dominated the economy. In 1948, the imperialists, through the U.N. and their support to the first Israeli war of aggression (of 1948), handed over the colonial authority to the Zionists while they (Britain and later the U.S.) continued to dominate the economy. By establishing the Zionist state, the imperialists not only safeguarded their economic interests in Palestine but also created an imperialist outpost for the suppression of the national liberation movement of the Arab and other Afro-Asian masses. The imperialist interest could be best preserved by the Zionist colonization of Palestine. As the Zionists themselves asserted, "Jewish Palestine is the surest of all available bulwarks for British power in the Middle East”. The imperialists denied the heroic Palestinian people their legitimate and hard fought for demand for national independence. To this day, the Palestinian people continue to suffer under colonial domination exercised by the Zionist settler regime and its imperialist masters.
Excerpt from a statement of solidarity with Palestinians by Association of Eritrean Students in North America & Association of Eritrean Women in North America published in the 1978 book In Defence of the Eritrean Revolution
disciplesofmalcolm
I am 60 years old, and I have never in my life seen such widespread violence and cruelty. The U.S. government has more people in prison than any other country in the world, and it is now actively involved in creating prisons all over the world. Abu Gharib is only the tip of the iceberg. People all over the world are being imprisoned in secret prisons, with no formal charges being made against them. They are imprisoned under the most inhumane conditions, and detained for indeterminate periods of time, with no rights, no trials, and no justice whatsoever. In short, the leaders of this country are war criminals. All the U.S. government has to do is call them terrorists or extremists, enemy combatants or whatever and they can do anything they want to these people. I live in Cuba, and the Cuban people watch horrified, as the U.S. Army illegally occupies their land in Guantanamo and commits unspeakable acts of torture on their soil, in the name of “freedom.” The U.S. government not only destroys the lives of people around the world, many mothers have cried because many of our young people have had their lives destroyed as well. I believe that this earth was meant for tenderness and not terror. The imperialist countries not only implement terrorist policies in the Third World, their actions also provoke terrorist activities and internal disputes between people. I believe that when Western governments learn to respect the sovereignty of Third world governments, and to offer solidarity and support rather that imperialist policies and exploitation, most of the world’s problems will be close to being solved.

Assata Shakur

Taken from her book “Assata: In Her Own Words” (pages 32-33)