Israel

The geopolitics of the Syrian uprising/insurgency

[Click HERE for more analysis of the situation in Syria.]

By Michael Karadjis

August 13, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The continuing mass uprising against Syria’s Bashar Assad dictatorship on the one hand, and the growing intervention by the reactionary Gulf monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, along with Turkey, on the side of the growing armed insurgency on the other, has led to a situation where many on the left are sharply divided over who to “support”.

Some claim the Saudi-led covert intervention requires support for Assad’s bloody regime as a lesser evil “secular” alternative to what they believe is an inevitable “jihadi” regime, given the rise of a vicious Sunni sectarian aspect to the civil war and the Saudi-led backing of such forces. Also, given the largely verbal (until recently) support given to the Gulf states’ intervention by the US and other imperialist states, support for Assad against this allegedly “imperialist-backed” assault on Syria is necessary to prevent the destruction of the Syrian state, which they allege imperialism desires due to Assad’s alleged anti-imperialist credentials (which even most of these writers, however, admit is very tenuous at best).

Palestinian People's Party's Shamikh Badra: 'Palestinians must unite to tackle occupation'

Shamikh Badra, youth leader of the Palestine People's Party, speaking at a forum in Perth during his Australian tour. Badra is touring Australia thanks to socialist youth group Resistance. Filmed by Zeb Parkes for Green Left TV.

Shamikh Badra interviewed by Patrick Harrison

August 12, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Shamikh Badra is the youth and students coordinator for the Palestinian People Party (PPP) in the Palestinian Gaza Strip. The PPP is a left-wing, secular party that is part of the Palestinian liberation movement. Badra is on a tour of Australia sponsored by the socialist youth organisation Resistance and the Socialist Alliance.

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Since the Egyptian revolution that overthrew Mubarak, there has been a lot of hope for changes in Egypt's policy towards Israel — in particular the possibility that the Egyptian government might open its borders with Gaza and alleviate Israel's near-total siege on the territory. How has the relationship between Gaza and Egypt changed?

Now the borders between Gaza and Egypt are closed completely. The situation, which was so bad before, is even more difficult and complex.

Israel’s environmental colonialism and eco-apartheid

The construction of Israel’s mammoth apartheid wall has separated Palestinian farmers from their fields and destroyed Palestinians' legally owned fertile agricultural land.

By Ben Lorber

July 12, 2012 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Since the idea of Zionism first gripped the minds of a few intellectuals and the limbs of many agrarian pioneers in the early 20th century, the state of Israel has presented its settlement of the land of Palestine, and its uprooting of the Palestinian people, as a rejuvenation of the earth. By “greenwashing” the occupation, Israel hides its apartheid behind an environmentalist mirage, and distracts public attention not only from its brutal oppression of the Palestinian people, but from its large-scale degradation of the earth upon which these tragedies unfold.

Determined to “make the desert bloom”, an international organisation -- the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet LeYisrael (JNF-KKL, or JNF) planted forests, recreational parks and nature reserves to cover over the ruins of Palestinian villages, as refugees were scattered far from, or worse, a few hilltops away from, the land upon which they and their ancestors had based their lives and livelihoods.

Tony Cliff: biography of a devoted and enthusiastic socialist

Tony Cliff: A Marxist for His Time
by Ian Birchall
London: Bookmarks, 2011, 664 pp.

Review by Barry Healy

July 12, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Tony Cliff was one of the most significant English-speaking Marxist activists of the late 20th century. When he died in 2000, after half a century of unceasing activism, his monument was Britain’s Socialist Workers Party, which, having evolved from the earlier Socialist Review and International Socialism groups, is the largest far-left organisation in that country.

As depicted in Ian Birchall’s biography of Cliff, through the words of a large number of interviewees, not all of whom agreed with him, he refused to tolerate any hint of hero worship or personal cultism. Never a drinker, never a smoker and dying with no wealth to his name, his lived a life of energetic movement and party building combined with literary effort.

Sri Lanka: Crimes against humanity with the West’s complicity

By Ron Ridenour

May 25, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The US-UK axis is quite adroit at launching aggressive wars against governments and peoples who do not buckle under. Today’s method of domination is often linked with media propaganda about doing the right thing for “human rights”.

In the case of its ally Sri Lanka, it did not need to send troops to win the war against the Tamils’ struggle for liberation. The Western powers have provided Sri Lankan governments and military with weaponry, war intelligence and training to win the long war against Tamil nationhood. But, after the mutual victory, the axis has also criticised the current government for having committed excesses.

While China and Russia also militarily and economically assisted Sri Lankan governments in avoiding federalism for the two peoples: majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils, they did so without the hyperbole of “protecting human rights”. Unfortunately, Cuba and its associates in the eight Latin American ALBA countries (Bolivarian Alliance of the peoples of the Americas) got caught up in the geopolitical game by supporting Sinhalese chauvinism politically but without funds and weapons.

‘Closing the doors of learning’ to the Israeli state opens the doors of freedom

By Patrick Bond and Muhammed Desai

May 24, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- One of South Africa’s largest tertiary institutions, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in Durban, is a site of multiple controversy but a near-disaster on May 21 deserves more reflection because it points us in a positive direction: away from allying with the Israeli state and its apartheid policies during a time of heightened racism. A representative of Israel had been invited to speak but was then disinvited, after the university was called on by staff and students to respect the “academic boycott” of Israel.

From South Africa, the African continent and everywhere else, it is a critical time to step up pressure against the rogue regime in Tel Aviv. Israel’s hard-right leader, Benyamin Netanyahu, is in a dangerous career phase, preparing to bomb Iran; illegitimately holding thousands of Palestinian prisoners in worsening conditions; expanding settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank; terrorising Gaza; and tightening his militaristic hold over the region.

Message from SYRIZA to Chicago anti-NATO protests + photos, videos: massive, conscious, determined

Demonstrators defy Chicago police during anti-NATO protest march in Chicago, May 19, 2012.

By Antonis Davanellos and Sotiris Martalis, members of the coordinating secretariat of SYRIZA

May 20, 2012

Dear comrades, dear brothers and sisters of the anti-war movement

We salute your mobilisations against the NATO Summit [in Chicago] and we send you our solidarity from Greece.

We don’t need to say much about the reasons to raise our voices against NATO. Millions of people are familiar with its record or crimes over the last years in the Balkans, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya to name just a few.

And if we look further back, NATO has provided nothing but wars, dictatorships and terror around the globe, from the day it was founded, and during all the years of its existence.

Uganda: How the West brought Idi Amin to power

Some of the victims of the Idi Amin regime recovered by local farmers in the fertile fields of the Luwero Triangle region north of the Ugandan capital of Kampala in 1987.

Introduction by Tony Iltis

March 22, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The reception in Uganda to the KONY 2012 viral video has been unanimously negative. From journalists, academics and bloggers to local NGO workers and local people at a public screening in the northern town of Lira, Ugandans have reacted angrily to their country’s politics and problems being simplified into a childish narrative to serve foreign propaganda needs.

Many Ugandan commentators noted that this is not the first time Uganda has suffered this treatment from Western filmmakers, citing the highly successful, award-winning 2007 British film, The Last King of Scotland, as another example. This film is centres on Idi Amin Dada, who ruled Uganda from 1971 to 1979 in a violent reign of terror that cost 100,000 lives.

Syria and the Palestinians: 'Almost no other Arab state has as much Palestinian blood on its hands'

Hamas’s prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, greets supporters after Friday Prayer, where he spoke out against President Bashar al-Assad.

By Michael Karadjis

March 7, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The declaration by Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of Hamas, that his movement was backing the popular uprising in Syria against the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad was widely reported, as was the significance of his statement to worshipers at Cairo's Al Azhar mosque. Hamas, while ruling the Gaza Strip, had its exile leadership based in Syria; now Haniyeh was perhaps betting on a new strategic relationship with post-Mubarak Egypt. Haniyeh saluted “the heroic Syrian people, who are striving for freedom, democracy and reform”.

No war, no sanctions, no intervention in Iran!

Statement by the Stop the War Coalition (Sydney, Australia)

February 14, 2012 -- The Stop the War Coalition opposes the use of sanctions or military action against Iran by the United States or Israel. These are clear violations of international law.

We oppose all nuclear proliferation.

We oppose Australian support for intervention against Iran.

Despite the lies of the United States and Israel, Iran does not possess a nuclear weapons’ capacity.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which regularly monitors Iran’s nuclear installations, has found no evidence that Iran is preparing to construct any nuclear weapons. However Iran, as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has the legal right to develop nuclear facilities for peaceful purposes.

Even the US has admitted that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon. US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said in January that Iran was not trying to create a nuclear weapon.

Syria needs solidarity not Western intervention!

Statement by the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

February 9, 2012 -- Socialist Alliance supports, and expresses its full solidarity with, the Syrian people’s democratic uprising against the tyrant Bashar al-Assad.

We also condemn the interference by Western imperialist powers and the threats of military intervention. Further, we call on the Australian government to extract itself from the US alliance and its involvement in aggressive multinational military operations.

The death toll in Syria is now more than 6000. We condemn the Syrian government’s military repression of protests and Assad’s refusal to yield to the wishes of the Syrian people to step down. We also condemn the four decades of repressive rule by Assad and his father Hefaz al-Assad.

Western policy in the resource-rich and strategically important Middle East remains devoted to maintaining Western global dominance. The West’s very selective opposition to tyranny in the Middle East — opposing some, while propping up the most tyrannical regimes in region — is transparently motivated by how compliant a tyranny is to imperialism’s interests.

Adam Hanieh: 'The Arab revolutions are not over'

Adam Hanieh addresses a meeting in London.

Adam Hanieh interviewed by Farooq Sulehria

February 3, 2012 -- Viewpoint -- Saudi Arabia, along with other Gulf states, have been key protagonists in the counter-revolutionary wave unleashed against the Arab uprisings. Indeed, 2011 has clearly demonstrated that imperialism in the region is articulated with – and largely works through – the Gulf Arab states. "Overall, it is important for the left to support the ongoing struggles in the revolutions as the contradictions of the new regimes continue to sharpen", says Adam Hanieh.

Adam Hanieh is a lecturer in development studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is author of Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States (Palgrave-Macmillan 2011) and a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Historical Materialism.

Farooq Sulehria: The outcome of elections in Tunisia and Egypt went in favour of Islamist parties, even though the revolutions in these countries had a secular character. Islamists are also an integral part, if not the dominant force, in the revolutions in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain. Is the Arab Spring in fact a victory for the Islamist movements?

The Australian Greens and Palestine: confronting the 'inconvenient truths' of the party's right of return policy

In 1948, more than 800,000 Palestinian men, women and children were forced to flee their homes.

[After a year of debate, and under pressure from right-wing forces, the NSW Greens decided on December 4 to retreat from supporting the global pro-Palestine boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign. Below, Tony Harris discusses the background to the policy.]

By Tony Harris

November 25, 2011 -- This article first appeared at Watermelon, and is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- In March last year, 35 prominent Jewish Australians signed a petition renouncing their automatic right of return to Israel, labelling such a right a “racist privilege” while Palestinians, ethnically cleansed from Israel in 1948, are denied their rights of return under international law.

Europe: Old racist poison in new bottles

Marine Le Pen, daughter of the racist founder of the National Front in France, Jean Marie Le Pen (right).

By Rupen Savoulian

November 14, 2011 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- With Europe engulfed in an economic crisis that threatens to bring down the eurozone, and possibly shrink the European Union itself, it is noteworthy to see that some people are doing well out of this crisis – very well in fact. The capitalist system is lurching from crisis to crisis, and while the political left and socialist parties have experienced some growth from the widespread disaffection with the imploding capitalist system, it is the extreme right that is also benefiting from the generalised economic malaise.

COSATU leader on South African and Israeli apartheid

Address by Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, District Six Museum, Cape Town. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine's Cape Town hearings concluded that Israel is guilty of apartheid crimes. Its panel of jurists ruled that Israel's actions against the Palestinians breach the prohibition of apartheid under international law. Click here for more details of the tribunal's findings.

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Black South African workers -- especially a mineworker like myself -- who bore the brunt of South African racial capitalism, and understood the purposes and mechanisms of apartheid, know that when we talk about the conditions faced by our Palestinian comrades we are talking about apartheid . -- Zwelinzima Vavi

Palestine: The environmental impact of Israel's military occupation


Samah Sabawi addresses the Climate Change, Social Change conference, October 1, 2011. Film produced by Jill Hickson and John Reynolds.

[The following talk and PowerPoint slides were presented to the World at a Crossroads: Climate Change, Social Change conference in Melbourne on October 1, 2011. Samah Sabawi is the public advocate for Australians for Palestine. For more material from the conference, click HERE.]

By Samah Sabawi

Posted October 30, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Thank you for asking me to take part in this conference and to add the voice of my people and their struggle for justice to your voices. There is great strength in solidarity and quite often, once we’ve peeled the external layers of what makes our individual causes unique, we quickly find that we are all in the same boat and that our fight for justice, equality and respect for the land shares many common threads.

Palestine: Adam Hanieh on why trade unions should support BDS


Video by SWPTvUK.

Adam Hanieh from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) development studies department was one of the speakers at a forum, "Palestine's fight for freedom", held in London on October 24, 2011.The meeting was initiated by the National Union of Rail Maritime & Transport (RMT) London Transport Region and supported by the SOAS branch of Unison and the University and College Union.

Other speakers included: Hugh Lanning, chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PCS); Moshe Machover, Israeli socialist; Anne Alexander, MENA Solidarity Network; and Ilan Pappe, author The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine; SOAS Unison. For more videos of the speakers at the forum, go to SWPTvUk.

BDS campaign declares: 'Occupy Wall Street not Palestine!'

[For more on the BDS campaign click HERE. For more on Occupy Wall Street, click HERE.]

 If a people one day wills to live                     fate must answer its call
And the night must fade                               and the chain must break

– Abou-Al-kacem El-Chebbi (Tunisia)

We are part of the world’s 99% yearning for freedom, justice and equal rights!

Democracy Now! debate: Does UN statehood bid advance or undermine Palestinian struggle?

September 23, 2011 -- Democracy Now! -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to officially submit a statehood request to the United Nations in defiance of U.S. and Israeli threats... While supporters have hailed the bid as a step forward in the struggle to end the Israeli occupation and bring peace to the Middle East, critics call it a ploy by the Palestinian Authority to cling to power while undermining the rights of Palestinian refugees. We host a debate with two leading Palestinian analysts: Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the website The Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse, and Mouin Rabbani of the Institute for Palestine Studies and the webzine Jadaliyya. See also http://links.org.au/node/2453.

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JUAN GONZALEZ: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to officially submit a statehood request to the United Nations Security Council later today. The United States has vowed to veto the move.

Palestine: Ilan Pappe -- At the UN, the funeral of the two-state solution

By Ilan Pappe

September 12, 2011 -- Electronic Intifada -- We are all going to be invited to the funeral of the two-state solution if and when the UN General Assembly announces the acceptance of Palestine as a member state.

The support of the vast majority of the organisation’s members would complete a cycle that began in 1967 and which granted the ill-advised two-state solution the backing of every powerful and less powerful actor on the international and regional stages.

Even inside Israel, the support engulfed eventually the right as well as the left and centre of Zionist politics. And yet despite the previous and future support, everybody inside and outside Palestine seems to concede that the occupation will continue and that even in the best of all scenarios, there will be a greater and racist Israel next to a fragmented and useless bantustan.

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