by Danny Haiphong
“Israel's political and economic foundation rests on the terror of white supremacy,” a concept quite familiar to Americans. “We need to build campaigns that link Zionist imperialism with struggles everywhere against capitalism and racism.”
The US Left’s Obligation to Palestine is to Build an Internationalist Movement
by Danny Haiphong
“It is crucial that today's freedom fighters develop a new internationalist current in the US in solidarity with Palestine.”
In the late 1960's, the Black Panther Party took a strong position against Israel's colonization of Palestine. In a 1970 press conference, Black Panther Chairman Huey Newton stated that "Israel was created by Western imperialism and maintained by Western firepower. The Jewish People have the right to exist as long as they solely exist to [bring] down the reactionary Israeli expansionist government." This defense of Palestinian self-determination proved unpopular and led much of the white left to divest from the Black Panther Party. Israel's recent campaign of terror in Palestine, in alleged response to the deaths of three missing settlers in the West Bank, has once again propelled the character of the Zionist colonial project into mainstream political discourse. However, in this period, the Panther spirit of internationalism is no longer a defining feature of left forces in the US. It is crucial that today's freedom fighters develop a new internationalist current in the US in solidarity with Palestine and all oppressed people fighting for sovereignty and economic independence from the State of Israel, and by extension, US empire.
Israel's political and economic foundation rests on the terror of white supremacy. Zionism's thirst for investment and land was spearheaded by the slogan "A land without people for a people without land." The founders of Zionism used this sloganeering to justify the extermination of Palestinians by painting the indigenous peoples as non-existent. During the formation of the Zionist state (1947-1950), or "Nakba" to Palestinians, Zionist forces expelled 750,000 to 1 million Palestinians from their land and committed 33 massacres. In the village of Deir Yassin, 100 mostly women and children were murdered by Irgun or Lehi (Stern Gang) Zionist paramilitaries. To this day, the Zionist colonial project bases itself on the Anglo-racist ideology that deems Palestinians and all peoples in the region inferior to the settler race of Zionist Jews. The corporate media coverage of the "missing" Zionist settlers found dead in the West Bank must be placed in this context.
In typical fashion, the corporate media in the US, Israel, and allied nations have used the "missing" teenager scenario to set the conditions for further Zionist military action in Palestine. The Israeli government, despite lacking any evidence of Hamas or Palestinian involvement in the Israeli teenage deaths, began raiding homes and conducting extrajudicial murders within hours after the settler’s bodies were found. Israeli fascists kidnapped and burned alive a 17-year old Palestinian in the West Bank, an atrocity that mirrored the USA's white lynch mob terror during the "Jim Crow" era. His cousin, a Palestinian American, was brutally beaten by IDF forces days later.
“The Zionist colonial project bases itself on the Anglo-racist ideology that deems Palestinians and all peoples in the region inferior to the settler race of Zionist Jews.”
Despite the negative press garnered from the aftermath of the "missing settler" incident, the Israeli government announced "Operation Protective Edge", a military invasion that has resulted in hundreds of bombs being dropped over Gaza. Over 100 Palestinians have been killed including eight children. In the broader context of Zionist colonialism, recent events fit perfectly into Israel's development model. Israel has murdered a Palestinian child every three days for the past 13 years. Israeli atrocities are protected by the Zionist, racist ideology that creates a worldview where the life of the settler is valued over the life of the colonized Palestinian nation.
Too often, paternalistic liberals who sympathize with the plight of Palestine parrot the misleading line that Israeli policy is motivated by hatred toward the Islamic faith. Such a narrative erases the imperialist character of the Zionist state. Zionist imperialism is best exemplified in Oded Yinon's essay entitled "A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties" presented at the World Zionist forum in 1982. The eighties was a period that saw Israel move toward even greater collaboration with the US imperialist military and economy. The essay argued that future collaboration with the US-Western alliance should be conducted and united under the banner of Zionist expansion. The Yinon plan is the framework for achieving Zionism's founder Theodor Herzl's dream of Israel's expansion "from the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates" through a policy of savage imperialism.
Israel's ruling party labels itself the only "democracy" in the Middle East, but the Yinon plan completely contradicts this absurd label. The Yinon plan specifically states that Israel's expansion beyond Palestine rests on the creation of a divided Middle East (and Northern Africa) along "sectarian" lines. US-NATO's and Saudi Arabia's MENA (Middle East North Africa) plans, although differing from Israel's in slight form, all seek to destabilize nation states by way of Islamist terrorism, the foot soldiers for "sectarian" war. Israel has collaborated with its imperialist counterparts in the US-NATO-GCC alliance to actualize the objectives of the Yinon plan. Israel supports, both indirectly and directly, the Western-backed Jihad network doing imperialism's dirty work in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan and much of Northern Africa. Zionism's issue is not with Islam, but with independent economic and political development in the Middle East and North Africa.
“Israel has murdered a Palestinian child every three days for the past 13 years.”
The power the Zionist state has over US imperialist policy is glaringly blatant in the case of Syria. Weeks prior to the Obama Administration's discussion of possible military intervention against Syria in the summer of 2013, Israel conducted airstrikes on Syrian territory in hopes of sparking a response from the Syrian Arab Army. The Obama Administration's decision to temporarily avoid military intervention infuriated the Israeli ruling party. Ever since, Israel has continued its airstrikes over Syria while feverishly lobbying Washington to reconsider the "military option" for Syria. Washington's donation of 3.1 billion dollars in military aid annually to Israeli defense forces make it a certainty that Israel's imperial objectives will dangerously align with US imperialism for years to come.
The alignment of US imperialism and Zionism require the US left to go further than raising its voice when Israel decides to bombard Gaza with airstrikes and raids. The offensive Zionist Israel is currently conducting in Gaza is part and parcel of a nearly six decade colonial project. Further, Israel cannot be seen as a puppet of US imperialism nor an entity outside of it. The huge monetary and political influence the Zionist state has over US global imperialist affairs needs to be placed at the forefront of a radical left movement in the US imperial center. Palestinian self-determination must be placed in a broader program of internationalist solidarity.
In Boston, the USW 8571 school bus drivers are fighting against austerity and for union recognition from Veolia. Veolia is a multinational corporation at the front-lines of privatization of public education and transportation in the New England area. Veolia has a notorious reputation of investing in Israeli apartheid. The BDS movement forced Veolia to divest its segregated bus-lines from the occupied territories in 2013. The Bus Drivers have exposed Veolia's collaboration with Israel's colonial policy in their fight to save the union and reinstate their radical leaders who were fired for political activity. If the left in the US wants to truly commit itself to Palestinian self-determination and people's liberation from imperialism, we need to build campaigns that link Zionist imperialism with struggles everywhere against capitalism and racism. Zionism has done everything in its power to isolate Palestine, our politics should not do the same.
Danny Haiphong is an activist and case manager in the Greater Boston area. You can contact Danny at: [email protected]