At the time of writing, tens of thousands have already taken to the streets of cities and towns across Ireland against the Israeli State’s massacre of civilians in Gaza. The fact that such numbers have mobilised at relatively short notice is a testament to a mood of incandescent outrage among ordinary people against these criminal actions.
A similar mood has arisen internationally. Significantly, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, have taken to the streets of cities in the Middle East and North Africa. This will be a source of concern for US imperialism and the corrupt, capitalist Arab regimes, many of whom, more recently Saudi Arabia, have sought to engage in normalisation agreements with the Israeli State.
In London alone 100,000 marched within days of the Israeli army’s onslaught. This is despite the attempts by the Tory government to demonise and potentially criminalise the burgeoning solidarity movement with Palestine.
Fresh from her incendiary speech attacking refugees, UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman came out and said that flying the Palestinian flag “may not be legitimate”, indicating a clear intent to ban it. The Tories are themselves attempting to introduce a bill banning public bodies, including democratically elected councils, from advocating a boycott of Israeli goods and services.
Similar draconian measures have been introduced in other parts of Europe. Solidarity protests have been baton-charged in Rome and banned in Paris and Berlin. Governments, like those of Macron in France and Olaf Scholz in Germany, hoped they could use Hamas’s brutal and horrific attack on 7 October, which resulted in the killings of innocent Israeli Jews, Palestinian Bedouins and Thai farm workers, to bolster support for the Israeli State.
The Israeli flag was displayed on prominent public buildings and monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and Brandenburg Gate. Grotesquely, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, rushed to meet Netanyahu and give his government the green light for its murderous assault on Gaza.
Over the last decade, support for Israel has been flagging in Western capitalist countries, as seen in the mass mobilisations during Israel’s perennial assaults on Gaza, notably in 2014 and 2021. A notable example of this shift has been in the United States, where a recent poll found that a majority of voters for the Democrats were more likely to sympathise with Palestinians than with the Israeli State. Significantly, this shift in attitudes has taken place in what is a traditional bastion of support for Israel in the US, namely American Jews, particularly those of a younger generation.
This mood of solidarity for imperialist and capitalist governments clearly contradicts their backing of the Israeli State, which stems from their desire to dominate the Middle East and its resources. While the Irish government may seek to distance itself from this effusive support, its record on this issue is shameful. It has consistently traded arms with Israel and blocked the Occupied Territories Bill banning goods from the Occupied West Bank and Occupied East Jerusalem.
Solidarity with Gaza
Working-class, poor and oppressed people need to mobilise in our millions in solidarity with Palestine. Trade unions should organise and back workers who refuse to handle goods and weaponry used by the Israeli State in its oppression of Palestinians. A global solidarity movement should actively support a mass struggle of Palestinians resisting siege and occupation, including their right to armed resistance. It should also build links with Jews and Palestinians, opposing this murderous attack within Israel itself.
Ultimately, the oppression of Palestine shows that we live in a world dominated by an inhumane system of capitalist and imperialist barbarity. We need a socialist struggle to end this system and all its oppression.