“This is the Zionist project made flesh: systematised racial exclusion — with the aid of billions of dollars in annual
military funds from imperialist powers — has swollen into genocide since its inception.”
That Israel legislates endless racist policy is news to no one. Everything from voting to transport, from marriage to property ownership, is segregated along racial lines. In the last few months alone we have witnessed the introduction of segregated buses, the staggering revelation that Israel sterilized thousands of Ethiopian women without their knowledge, and the bombing of Gaza that killed hundreds. These acts are not aberrations. Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and the extermination of the indigenous people of Palestine have been ongoing for sixty-five years. Let me be unambiguous: Nelson Mandela famously said “We all know that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” To argue for these freedoms is to necessarily argue against the existence of the state of Israel.
The Israeli state is ideologically born of Zionism – a creed of racial separatism. Materially, it is bound to Imperialism. It is not a state which burst spontaneously into being; 750,000 Palestinians were not ethnically cleansed in 1948 by chance. Astonishingly enough, Imperialist interests in the Middle- East, and in Palestine especially, predated the formation of a Zionist state apparatus. As the world’s leading Imperialist power, Britain laid hold of Palestine after the First World War, and by 1946 the garrison of British troops occupying Palestine numbered over 100,000. Zionist militias, formed and funded by the British, were even larger, and had been armed with equal care by the western powers in whose interests they acted.
In spite of this, it had become clear by the end of the Second World War that Britain was no longer the world power par excellence. The future stalwart of Imperialism was the USA. The World Zionist Organization underwent endless lobbying in order to convey to this superpower the utility of creating a weaponized state that could carry out its interests in the most resource-rich region in the world. The USA had played a huge role in legitimizing Zionism, with its racist Quota Act which discriminated against non- Anglo immigrants, in the context of the rise in fascism in Europe. The USA now set itself up as the prime facilitator of an apartheid state for the next sixty-five years and counting.
The point about weaponization warrants emphasis. Israel, a nation of little more than seven million people, has the fourth largest military in the world, and the largest airforce. The arms funding it has received from the USA over the past 65 years is unparalleled in all of human history. Israel’s recent massacres in Gaza and Lebanon slot neatly into its history – they run from its core as a settler state and imperialist power with its own interests.
And this is the Zionist project made flesh: systematised racial exclusion — with the aid of billions of dollars in annual military funds from imperialist powers — has swollen into genocide since its inception. It is a genocide admired and encouraged by western rulers everywhere; a genocide which our Australian leaders support with the same vigour that their predecessors showed in exterminating the Indigenous people of this land. When Israel slaughtered 1500 Palestinians locked in an open-air prison during ‘Operation Cast Lead’, Julia Gillard had no more to say than “Israel has the right to defend itself.” By contrast, Palestinians who protested against being locked in Administrative Detention (indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial) by going on hunger strike were denigrated by the current PM for “engaging in a new form of terrorism.”
Counter to this is the enormous global support for the Palestinians expressed in grass-roots movements such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign, and even more powerfully, in the mass radicalisations and ongoing revolutionary movements of the last few years. From Bahrain to Tunisia, Palestinian flags have been flown everywhere among the revolutionary masses. In 2011, three million Egyptians, fresh from the overthrow of their own hated dictator, gathered in Tahrir Square to chant as one; Jerusalem, we’re coming for you.
Mass democratic movements are not friendly to apartheid states. The power of the Arab working class and impoverished masses to bring western Imperialism and its despotic agents to their knees continues to reclaim the future of the Middle-East. This is not a future with a place for occupation and ethnic cleansing. Yes, Israel will crawl, with its shamefaced defendants, into the dustbin of history. But the fight is still for Palestine.