the Need to Oppose...
the socialist perspective
Murderous Assault on the People in Gaza...
And These Crimes NOW
Alan Goodman | November 25, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper
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this writing, a brutal wave of targeted and
indiscriminate killing, destruction, and terror is being
rained down on the Palestinian people in Gaza by Israelan
operation the Israelis are calling "Pillar of
Defense." Health officials in Gaza say 46 people
have been killed and 440 people wounded so far in the
attacks. By the time you read this, that number will be
larger (there have been three reported deaths on the
Israeli side). This terror and brutalityoverwhelmingly
hitting at non-combatants in Gazais fully backed by
the United States, with Obama insisting over and over
that Israel's murderous bombardment of essentially
defenseless people in Gaza is "self defense."
assaults on Gaza are taking place under cover of darknessliterally.
Israeli missiles and bombs have, at this writing, knocked
out power in Gaza, leaving people, hospitals, homes, and
emergency responders without light. What few reports from
Gaza make it into mainstream media coverage portray a
reporter standing in pitch dark, describing sonic booms,
earth-shaking bombs, and flames erupting high into the
sky. The Israeli assault has already killed elderly
people, children, and many, many other people who could
not possibly be considered "combatants" in any
military activity originating in Gaza.
of those killed by the Israelis was the 11-month-old son
of Jihad Misharawi, a BBC journalist who lives in Gaza.
An Israeli missile hit Misharawi's home on November 14,
early in the assault, killing both his son and sister-in-law.
When the Israeli missile hit Misharawi's home, there was
no military activity observed in his residential
neighborhood. After the Israeli missile hit Misharawi's
house, his BBC editor tweeted, "if Israel can kill a
man riding on a moving motorbike (as they did last month)
how did Jihad's son get killed." This murder of the
11-month-old child and the sister-in-law of a BBC
journalist is part of a long record of Israeli (and U.S.)
killings and terror against even mainstream reporters to
keep the world from seeing what Israel is doing to the
a very partial picture is available of the situation in
Gaza. But what emerges from postings on social media is
alarming. A doctor in Gaza posted this at Facebook two
days into the attack:
Friends, Gaza is under extensive Israeli military attack,
in less than 2 hours, 14 military attacks against
different targets in different parts of Gaza Strip,
6 were killed including 2 young girls age 4 and 7, 11
were injured, the hospitals are already lacking essential
emergency medications, and citizens were called for blood
donation, we do not have power, I am using UBS, the first
stage of this operation has been accomplished, we expect
more escalation. your solidarity means a lot at this
difficult times, pass the word, this aggression, should
a clear picture of the terrible human cost of the attack
on Gaza is not available at this writing, and all
indications are that what is leaking through Israeli
blackouts and U.S. media distortion is only the surface
of the death and suffering the people there are being
subjected to as you read this.
as this issue of Revolution is posted
online and goes to press, Israel is massing troops on its
border with Gaza and there is talk of a ground invasion,
which would further escalate the death and destruction.
current assault on the people of Gaza comes four years
after Israel's "Operation Cast Lead" which
killed 1,400 people in Gaza and destroyed schools,
hospitals and housing; and after four years of a blockade
that has kept building supplies and other necessities of
life from reaching Gaza. On May 31, 2010, Israeli
military forces stormed the Mavi Marmara,
one of six ships attempting to bring concrete, toys,
workbooks, chocolate, pasta, and substantial medical
supplies to Gaza, items that Israel banned from Gaza.
Israeli commandos killed nine unarmed activists on board.
U.S. Media: Turning
Reality Upside Down
is important to highlight the utterly shameful complicity
of the U.S. mainstream media in justifying all this by
framing it as "Israel's response to terror,"
even when their own reports reveal a different picture.
revealing exchange took place on the Piers
Morgan show on CNN. Morganwho himself is
a mouthpiece for the interests of U.S. imperialism, but
may have "lost his head" for a moment after
watching a report from CNN's reporter in Gaza depicting
massive destruction and terror being rained down on
peoplemore or less blurted out: "Gaza is, to
many people, one of the key problems in the region
because of the terrible oppression, whatever the right
phrase is for it, of the Palestinian people there. It's
an awful place for people to try and live, isn't it?"
was immediately "corrected" by his guest, CNN
analyst Fareed Zakaria, who said: "First, one has to
say, Piers, as you did, the Israelis are justified in
doing something when all these rockets are being fired at
them. So there's no question that it's justified."
with that "settled," the terms of acceptable
discourse were re-set, and the discussion moved on... to
critiquing how successful (or not) Israel had been at
advancing the interests of Israel (and by extension, its
sponsor, U.S. imperialism). And in the process, utterly
upside-down terms were set as the beginning and ending
point for any "analysis" that was going to come
across the airwaves, and how viewers were being
programmed to think.
Three Basic Defining Facts
assault on Gaza is taking place in the context of a
complex and rapidly and radically shifting political
situation in the region, and in the world. There is work
to do to analyze how all this is playing out right now,
but a basic and sweeping analysis of the current world
situation, and how to act in the face of it, can be found
in Bob Avakian's talk "Why We're in the
Situation We're in Today... And What to Do About It: A
Thoroughly Rotten System and the Need for Revolution."
The audio of this talk is available at revcom.us, and again, this
provides an essential foundation for contextualizing the
conflicts and upheaval in today's world.
in order to have any sense of how Israel and the
oppression of the Palestinian people fits into the big
picture, it is necessary to ground one's understanding in
three basic, objective facts that define the nature and
role of Israel in the world today:
was, and is, built literally on the blood, bones,
land, and homes of the Palestinian people, stolen
through terrorist ethnic cleansing that
constitutes a great legal and moral crime.As
such, the state of Israel is illegitimate, and no
justicefor anyonecan be found within
the paradigm of the Zionist state.
terrorist attacks by Zionist settlers were
concentrated in the "Nakba" (catastrophe):
systematic, planned killing, destruction of
Palestinian villages, and rape of Palestinian
women in 1948 that marked the birth of the state
of Israel. This has been documented, even by
defenders of Zionism (even as pro-Zionist
historians have sought to justify these acts).
Nearly the entire population of Gaza was driven
out of, or is descended from, people driven from
their homes in what is now Israel.
is a product of, and plays a special role in,
enforcing the global system of capitalism-imperialism.
From its conception and inception, Israel has
never been mainly an expression of the
aspirations of Jewish people (although there has
been and is a Zionist movement among Jewish
people). Instead, it is fundamentally a creation
of first British imperialism (one of whose
representatives said that a Zionist state would
be "'a little loyal Jewish Ulster' in a sea
of potentially hostile Arabism."*) Soon after its birth, Israel
became a key enforcer of the interests of U.S.
imperialism in containing Arab nationalism and
contending with other imperialist powers (especially
the Soviet Union after capitalism was restored
there). Israel's service to U.S. imperialism
ranged from providing key military assistance to
Apartheid South Africa to playing a key role in
overseeing the genocidal massacre of 200,000
indigenous Guatemalan peasants in the 1980s. And
today, Israel continues to plays an indispensable
role for the U.S. empire.
moral foundation on which Israel's crimes are
justifiedinvoking the Holocaustis
utterly immoral. To quote from
the special issue of Revolution"Bastion
of Enlightenment... or Enforcer for Imperialism:
The Case of ISRAEL."
(Revolution #213, October 10, 2010):
us state in no uncertain terms that the Holocaust
was clearly one of the great crimes of modern
history. But on a very basic moral level: how
does a crime against one people (the Jews)
committed by the government of another (the
Germans)no matter how horrific that crimejustify
the dispossession, exile, constant humiliation
and oppression, and denial of self-determination
to a third (the Palestinians)? It does not and it
approach this question another way, the slogan 'Never
Again' can be taken in two ways. One way is that
'never again shall it be allowed that crimes
against humanity can go on and people will be
able to plead ignorance or impotence as an excuse
for doing nothing to stop those crimes'; the
other way is to say that 'never again will my
people be fucked over, and anything that is done
to justify preventing that is allowable.' There
is a world of difference between those two moral
Israel, built on a foundation of ethnic cleansing,
enforcing imperialist exploitation and oppression, and
justified with profound immorality, is upheld by the
"international community," the great powers of
the world, especially the U.S., as a "bastion of
enlightenment" in the Middle East.
a Basic Question of Right and Wrong, and a Need to Act
(elected) government of Gazaa section of Palestine
not directly occupied by Israelis Hamas, which is
an Islamic fundamentalist movement aligned in various (and
shifting) ways with other Islamic fundamentalist forces.
And Israel's attack on Gaza is taking place in the
context of a whole set of global conflicts, including the
clash between "the West" and Islamic
Avakian speaks to that conflict this way:
we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and
McWorld/McCrusade on the other hand, are historically
outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up
against historically outmoded ruling strata of the
imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforceeach
other, even while opposing each other. If you side with
either of these "outmodeds," you end up
this is a very important formulation and is crucial to
understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the
world in this period, at the same time we do have to be
clear about which of these "historically outmodeds"
has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat
to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling
strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S.
the world today there is a great and urgent need for not
only mass resistance to both these "outmodeds"
and above all the imperialist "outmoded" but
for qualitative advances and breakthroughs for the real
and fundamental alternatives to both these outmodeds:
revolution led by a genuinely communist vanguard aiming
for the final goal of a communist world, free of every
kind of outmoded, exploitative and oppressive relation
and corresponding ideas. (See "On the Strategy for
by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA for a full
presentation of what is needed for there to be a
revolution, and how the work of revolutionaries, along
with developments in the world, can make that possible.
The statement on strategy is in BAsics and
is a basic question of right and wrong here: Israel's
attack on the people of Gaza is essentially a mass
slaughter of civilians in the service of reactionary aims,
to enforce and impose an exploitive and oppressive world
order. Nobody with a basic sense of justice should be
silently complicit in that! And while there have been
important protests around the world, and some in the U.S.,
there is not anywhere near enough visible political
outrage in this country.
back to the challenge to break out of the parameters of
the "two outmodeds," the lack of visible
opposition in the U.S. to these attacks would feed the
whole deadly paradigm where the two alternatives people
think are possible are these "two outmodeds."
on the positive side, the more people around the world do see
a force in the U.S. that is cohering around a whole other
way things could be, and is, opposing the crimes of
"our" government, and the more that resistance
is framed in the context of a movement for revolution,
this can be a really important part of a whole ensemble
of work to put revolution on the map here, and around the