Growing global solidarity movement to support Palestinians

By Tom O’Donnell

The horrific bombardment and invasion of Gaza have sparked a growing global solidarity movement with the beleaguered Palestinian struggle. The scale of the movement internationally can become a new factor in the situation. At the very least it is likely to increase the political price paid by Israel and its imperialist backers for their continued efforts to destroy all Palestinian resistance.

The enormous protests in London and Glasgow on 19 July were part of a movement which saw major protests across Europe including Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain. In the Muslim world, there were a series of mobilisations in Morocco and in Turkey. A large proportion of the population turned out in support of Palestine in Mauritius. In South Africa there were enormous protests in every major city. In Ireland, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions organised a march calling for an immediate ceasefire, and the Dáil stood in solidarity with the Palestinians at the request of Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.

In the Latin America, where the left is in power it is the governments who led, with President Maduro of Venezuela launching the SOS Palestina campaign and the Ecuadorean government has recalled its ambassador to Israel.

In France, the Socialist government issued an order banning all pro-Palestinian demonstrations after a recent demo had been violently attacked by pro-Israeli and far right thugs. The spurious reason given was to protect synagogues, where none had been attacked on the previous march. The reality is that the French ruling class is desperate to avoid an oppressed largely Muslim population, mainly descendants of the former subjects in the colonies, from becoming a factor in French politics and from influencing the socialist and communist currents. But the ban has backfired hugely, with a large illegal protest being mobilised in Marseilles despite the presence of riot cops.

This is a crucial point. US imperialism has unleashed its most reactionary allies in the Middle East after suffering the set-back of being unable to oust Assad in Syria. Israel has no clear war aims beyond the impossible wish to eliminate all resistance to its rule, this time focused on Hamas, its entire organisation and its fighting capacity. The result is the barbaric tactics of indiscriminate bombardment, terrorising the entire population and the attempt to make Gaza uninhabitable.

Inevitably, these scenes of state terrorism, however much they are censored by a pliant media, are producing a radicalisation. This is bringing many different strands together in a mass movement that is becoming global. This is a new factor in the situation. It means that Israel’s escalating barbarism is producing a growing response.

Internationally, it leaves Israel and its US puppet-master more exposed, along with cheerleaders such as Britain and France. Egypt, where the Sisi government was installed by counter-revolution, will also become more precarious. Muslim leaders such as Erdogan who are more keen on deposing Assad than opposing Israel will come under greater pressure. The pressures of imperialism, that are already driving Syria, the Iraqi and Iranian governments closer to Russia, will build. And in the Western countries, a war-weary population is becoming increasingly disenchanted with war-mongering, with a minority becoming aware of the devastation caused by imperialism and its allies.

In Western politics the new phase is reflected in a growing leftwards radicalisation of a minority of the population. It requires increased activity in countries like Britain, with the key aims of building more support for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Stop the War Coalition.