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Middle East

Bolivia's president calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel

August 7, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Bolivia's leader Evo Morales is among a list of recognised names including former Honduras president Mel Zelaya and Nobel peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel calling for support to the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.

Morales has officially signed on as a supporter of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

In an open letter released on August 6, Morales heads a long list of signatories from Latin America and elsewhere condemning "apartheid and genocide" against Palestinians, and calls on Israel to respect United Nations resolutions. Among those listed as signatories include former president of Honduras Mel Zelaya, Nobel peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, Cuban musician Silvio Rodríguez and teleSUR president Patricia Villegas (see full letter below).

Israel the aggressor, not Gazans; Condemn Israel’s violence, not Palestinian resistance

Young opponents of Israel's war of terror protest, in Sydney, August 2, 2014. Photo by Susan Price.

By Tony Iltis

August 2, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- “This is not a war. It is genocide”, reads a popular slogan on homemade signs at protests against Israel’s current attack on the Gaza Strip. 

The body count is enough to illustrate the one-sidedness of the violence. For the first nine days of their assault, Israeli forces pounded the besieged territory from the land, sea and air, but did not send forces in. About 250 people were killed in these nine days. Only one was Israeli.

Israeli ground operations that started on July 17 increased the casualty rate for both Palestinians and Israelis. By August 1, 1592 Palestinians and 66 Israelis had been killed, the New York Times said. That is 24 Palestinians killed for every Israeli.

Dramatically larger than the disparity between the two sides in overall numbers killed is the disparity in the number of civilians killed.

On the Israeli side, only three of the fatalities were civilians — 95% of Israelis killed by Palestinians were combatants. 

Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem published figures on July 31 that showed that between July 8 and July 30 less than 14% of the Palestinians killed by Israelis were combatants. 

Three Palestinian combatants have been killed for every Israeli combatant while 473 Palestinian civilians have been killed for every Israeli civilian.

People's power appeal: Help Gaza recover

August 5, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On the recommendation of Shamikh Badra from the Palestinian People's Party in Gaza, the Socialist Alliance in Australia is launching a special appeal for funds to help the Palestinian people recover from Israel's latest genocidal war. All funds collected will be divided between the following two non-governmental organisations:

Inma’a Association
http://inmaa-nazareth.org
https://www.facebook.com/inmaa10

In particular, the funds collected will be for Inma'a Association's project of helping the Palestinian children and their families injured by the 2014 war on Gaza and those affected by cancer receiving treatments in East Jerusalem and Israeli hospitals.

Is there an 'anti-imperialist camp'? A debate (part 2)

August 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This is the next installment of the debate between Felipe Stuart and Michael Karadjis on the question of the concept of an anti-imperialist "camp" and related positions, strategies and tactics. The first part can be read at "Is there an 'anti-imperialist camp'? A debate (part 1)". Below, Stuart responds to Karadjis' previous contribution, followed by a final reply by Karadjis. Further discussion will continue in the comments section at the end of this post.

By Felipe Stuart

Michael Karadjis, thanks for your response to my last article.

I suspect that your distinction between class-based politics and anti-imperialist-based politics is rooted in a failure on your part to understand that imperialism itself is all about class and class struggle. I hope I am wrong, but let’s discuss that.

'Do unto apartheid Israel what you did to apartheid South Africa': trade unions protest attack on Gaza

Resolution on Palestine adopted by Unite Union (Aotearoa/New Zealand), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

July 18, 2014 -- Over 170 Palestinian political parties, unions and other organisations including the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions issued a call in July 2005 for a global campaign of boycotts and divestment against Israel similar to those imposed against South African Apartheid.

Unite Union will work to

1. Demand the Israeli Government immediately withdraw from the occupied territories and abide by UN resolution 242 which requires Israel to withdraw to 1967 borders.

2. Support the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel until it meets its obligation to recognise the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

亚太左翼团体联署声明 停止以色列在加沙的战争罪行!

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3954.]

2014年7月14日

过去一个星期来,以色列军队对加沙地带的攻击升级。以色列战机不断瞄准轰炸民房、平民聚居的地区及公共设施。以色列战机在无任何预警下摧毁多间仍有居民在里面的房屋,杀害并伤及很多巴勒斯坦平民。

以色列政府利用三名以色列少年被杀害的事件,煽动针对巴勒斯坦人及加沙哈马斯政府的种族主义憎恨情绪。这是在没有提出任何证据证明凶手的情况下作出 的举动,挑起了肆意暴力对待巴勒斯坦人的运动,并导致一名巴勒斯坦少年被酷刑折磨及活活烧死。现在以色列当局还对加沙的平民展开更加肆意妄为的复仇行动。 集体惩罚是违反国际人道法的行为。

以色列军队进行的残酷军事攻击,跟“自卫”没有关系,反而是向加沙进行着种族灭绝的侵略,并进一步血腥镇压一直以来遭犹太复国主义政权否决民族自决权的巴勒斯坦人。

联署本声明的团体主张:

(Updated July 26) Asia-Pacific socialists: 'Stop Israel's war crimes in Gaza!'

To add your group's name to the list of signatories please email PSM International Bureau.

Joint statement by Asia-Pacific left organisations

July 14, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance, posted at Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the past week, Israeli military forces have escalated their offensive on the Gaza Strip. Israeli warplanes have increasingly targeted houses, civilian-populated areas and civilian facilities in the Gaza strip. Israeli warplanes have destroyed a number of houses while their residents were inside, without any prior warnings, killing and wounding many Palestinian civilians.

The Israeli government has cynically exploited the killing of three Israeli youth and used this to whip up a racist hysteria against Palestinians and the Hamas government in Gaza. It has done this without producing any evidence about who was responsible for those killings. A campaign of indiscriminate violence against Palestinians has been incited and one Palestinian boy has been tortured and burnt to death. Now even more indiscriminate retribution has been inflicted on the civilian residents of Gaza. Collective punishment is a violation of international humanitarian law.

Palestine: Urgent call from Gaza civil society: act now against Israel's apartheid!

Palestinians mourn victims of Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, July 12 (Mohammed Asad / APA images).

July 12, 2014 -- Electronic Intifada editorial -- We Palestinians trapped inside the bloodied and besieged Gaza Strip call on conscientious people all over the world to act, protest and intensify the boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel until it ends this murderous attack on our people and is held to account.

With the world turning their backs on us once again, for the last four days we in Gaza have been left to face massacre after massacre. As you read these words, over 120 Palestinians are dead now, including 25 children. Over 1,000 have been injured including countless horrifying injuries that will limit lives forever –- more than two thirds of the injured are women and children.

We know for a fact that many more will not make it through the next day. Which of us will be next, as we lie awake from the sound of the carnage in our beds tonight? Will we be the next photo left in an unrecognizable state from Israel’s state-of-the-art flesh-tearing, limb-stripping machinery of destruction?

BDS Movement: 'Israel must be held accountable for its collective punishment of Palestinians'

July 3, 2014 -- BDS Movement -- Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists are urging governments and international civil society to take action to hold Israel to account for its continued collective punishment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza following the disappearance and killing of three Israeli settlers.

Zaid Shuaibi, a spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the civil society coalition that leads and supports the BDS movement, said:

Israel’s on-going actions are designed to terrorise Palestinians and constitute collective punishment. Military violence, collective punishment and the deliberate targeting of civilians are endemic to Israel’s of decades old system of occupation, colonisation and apartheid.

Israel is able to act with utter impunity because of the military, economic and political support it receives from governments around the world. We call on international governments to impose a two-way arms embargo immediately and to suspend bilateral agreements until Israel fully complies with international law.

Behind Iraq's crisis: New US war is no answer

By Tony Iltis

June 21, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- US President Barack Obama announced the deployment of 300 special forces troops to Iraq on June 19. It followed a week of denials that the US would respond militarily to the rapid advance toward Baghdad of anti-government forces led by the Sunni fundamentalist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Obama’s announcement contradicted his previous statements as well as itself. On the one hand, he insisted the role of the special forces would be limited to “advising” forces of the US-installed Iraqi government, saying: “We always have to guard against mission creep. So let me repeat what I've said in the past: American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again.

“We do not have the ability to simply solve this problem by sending in tens of thousands of troops and committing the kinds of blood and treasure that has already been expended in Iraq.”

But he also said: “We will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action, if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it.”

Australian education minister Christopher Pyne told Channel Nine on June 20: “The United States obviously has to lead any kind of response in Iraq as they are the world power, if you like. If they ask us for assistance, we’ll weigh that up at the time and decide what we can or can’t do. The situation in Iraq is obviously very, very serious.”

Iraq and Syria: The struggle against the 'multi-sided' counterrevolution

June 27, 2014, BBC map of the gains made by ISIS.

By Michael Karadjis

June 25, 2014 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- As a coalition of Sunni-based forces, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), took the major northern Iraqi city of Mosul and then most of the Sunni heartland in the north and west of Iraq, regional and western capitals went into crisis mode: the entire post-US occupation stabilisation had collapsed in a heap.

The Gulf and Islamism in Syria: myths and misconceptions

ISIS fighters.

By Michael Karadjis

June 3, 2014 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Over the last year, the sectarian (mainly Sunni versus Alawite) element of the Syrian conflict has markedly grown, within an uprising that began as a multi-sectarian popular democratic uprising against Syria’s tyrannical regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The hold of Sunni sectarianism is by no means universal among the insurgent Syrian masses and their myriad of civil and armed resistance organisations; on the contrary, despite persistent myths, the revolution still contains a powerful secular wing (both within the civil uprising and the Free Syrian Army), and even the largest parts of the clearly political-Islamist wings are not specifically sectarian; and many are markedly moderate Islamists. However, there is no denying that a dangerous level of Sunni sectarianism has grown, especially among the more extreme ‘jihadist’ fringe affiliated to al-Qaida, and that this is an entirely negative and reactionary development.

Socialist Alliance: No more military intervention in Iraq!

Statement by Socialist Alliance (Australia)

June 19, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The US, Australia and other partners-in-crime in the war on Iraq must not be allowed to use the latest developments in that country to increase their military intervention in the region. The Socialist Alliance adds its voice to others in Australia rejecting Prime Minister Tony Abbott's all-the-way-with-the-USA commitment made to US President Barack Obama over Iraq.

The 2003 invasion of Iraq was a monstrous war crime. Millions of people have died or been displaced as a consequence of that invasion and the subsequent occupation. The leaders of governments that ordered that invasion and occupation – chief among them former US President George W. Bush, former British PM Tony Blair and former Australian PM John Howard – need to be brought to account as war criminals.

The invasion of Iraq did not bring democracy but simply replaced one brutal regime with another more pliant to Western imperial interests. The invaders cared nothing for the people of Iraq and region and acted to advance the selfish interests of the powerful corporations they serve.

Egypt: Take action now against mass death sentences

By Egypt Solidarity

March 25, 2014 -- Egypt Solidarity -- A court in the Upper Egyptian province of Minya has sentenced 529 defendants to death in a trial which has been condemned as “grotesque” by Amnesty International.

Take action now – sign our statement using the form at http://egyptsolidarityinitiative.org/2014/03/25/take-action-on-egypt-death-sentences/ . Signatures will be published and delivered to the Egyptian embassy by April 28, the likely date for an appeal against the sentences.

We condemn the death sentences issued by a court in Minya province in Egypt on March 24, 2014, against 529 defendants who were found guilty of the murder of a police officer during the storming of Matay police station in August 2013.

The use of the death sentence against such a large number of defendants underscores that the current regime is not interested in finding out the truth about the events which led to this prosecution but rather in imposing collective punishment on its opponents.

The sentences were issued without hearing any arguments from the defence in a trial which lasted only 45 minutes according to defence lawyers.

Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism

By Rupen Savoulian

March 24, 2014 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- In 2005, Palestinian human rights groups and civil rights organisations launched a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel. This campaign has multiple aims, one of them being to pressure the Israeli government to comply with United Nations resolutions and ensure that its policies conform with international law and the Universal principles of human rights.

Specifically, the BDS campaign intends to achieve the full recognition of Palestinians as equal citizens within the state of Israel, to achieve the right of return of Palestinian refugees displaced by Israel since 1948, as demanded by Article 11 of the United Nations general assembly resolution 194, to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Arab land, cease the building of settlements and dismantle the ongoing Israeli West Bank barrier (also known as the Apartheid Wall).

Understanding the Arab rebellions: Adam Hanieh's 'Lineages of revolt'

Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East
By Adam Hanieh
Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2013

[For more articles by or about Adam Hanieh, click HERE.]

Review by Chris Slee

March 15, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The year 2011 saw uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa. They were portrayed in the Western media as rebellions against dictatorial regimes and for democracy. But that is only part of the story. Political discontent was combined with economic discontent, as reflected in the widespread slogan, “bread, freedom and social justice”.

Syria: Assad regime responsible for rise in religious sectarianism

Alawite supporters of the Assad regime.

Read more on Syria.

By Michael Karadjis

February 17, 2014 -- - Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Much of the criticism of the Syrian resistance to the Bashar al-Assad regime is based on the fact that Sunni sectarianism has become an important element within it, in particular sectarianism against the Alawites, the sect to which Assad belongs. This criticism is justified, especially with reference to the extreme jihadist elements, but is also greatly exaggerated and generalised to unjustly cover all the resistance, which is also anti-sectarian in large part.

Egypt: 'Al-Sisi’s rule is clearly a period of counter-revolutionary offensive', say Revolutionary Socialists

Click HERE for more on Egypt.

By the Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt) political bureau

January 26, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Greetings to the comrades and colleagues among the revolutionaries who came out onto the streets yesterday. Their presence and their bravery in facing the security forces in the midst of the mobilisation for Al-Sisi was of the utmost importance.

It is natural that there will be feelings of frustration because we were not able to enter Tahrir Square, and that the regime’s supporters were able to take control.

However, our goal was not to occupy the square, but to develop a third alternative on the political scene, an alternative which can gather around it the tens of thousands who did not take part in the referendum [on the constitution] and rejected this farce, terrifying the counter-revolution. Our presence in the streets yesterday marks the beginning of such a task. Imagine if the day had passed with celebrations which were only challenged by Islamist demonstrations against the military. Then, certainly the sense of frustration would be stronger. Today, in spite of the darkness and oppression, we are charting a new course, and there are many who are anticipating that this will be a battle where we need to take a deep breath.

Kurds in Syria: ‘We don't want to draw new borders’, says Democratic Union Party

Salih Muslim, president of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party, interviewed by Thomas Schmidinger

January 29, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Salih Muslim (pictured above) shares the presidency of the Democratic Union Party (Partiya Yekitîya Demokrat, PYD) with Asya Abdullah. The PYD is a sister party of the Kurdistan Workers Party PKK and shares the same ideological background as its leader Abdullah Öcalan. The party is the ruling force in the Kurdish areas of Syria and took over three enclaves with Kurdish majorities in 2012.

In an interview with Austria-based political scientist Thomas Schmidinger, Salih Muslim tells about the present and future project of Kurdish self-rule in Syria.

First I want to give my deepest condolences on the death of your son Sherwan, who was recently killed at the age of 17 while fighting against jihadist groups.

Thank you. If we are fighting for freedom we have to pay a price. This was my price I had to pay.

Egypt: Mass protests grow as military drags country back to dictatorship

Click HERE for more on Egypt.

By Roger Annis

January 11, 2014 -- Truthout, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the permission and at the suggestion of the author -- The military-dominated regime that seized power in Egypt in July 2013 has escalated its attacks on freedom and democracy in the country. A series of pronouncements were issued in late December, including the banning of the country's largest political movement, the Muslim Brotherhood. By all evidence, Egypt's economic and military elite are taking the country back to the darkest days of the rule of former dictator Hosni Mubarak or even farther into the abyss.

The regime's new measures have been accompanied by regressive court decisions and assaults on protesting citizens by police and soldiers backed by plainclothes thugs. A harrowing prospect threatens the country -- that of a violent war by the regime and its backers against the population, similar to the bloody war that was waged by Algeria's government and military against the people of that country during the 1990s and 2000s.

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