(Remarks to Al Nakba -Solidarity with Palestine May 16 online rally, by Barry Weisleder)
On May 18, 2019 the first Pan-Canadian Day of Action for Palestinian rights took place. In Toronto, close to 500 people rallied and marched to demand justice for the Palestinian people.
Today, under the pandemic, our cause is more urgent. COVID-19 is a dagger pointed at the heart of Gaza; a dagger wielded by Israel which has imposed a 14-year blockade on two million Gazans. The obstruction of medicine and health equipment by Israel poses the threat of a severe humanitarian catastrophe. Canada should break the siege of Gaza by sending aid now.
We know that, at least since 2017, public opinion in Canada backs sanctions against the Zionist state. Still the authorities, at all levels, try to vilify, even to outlaw Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, to ban the Al Quds march, and stop anti-Zionist free speech. This is a sign of panic by Zionists and their friends in big business. It is a sign of weakness.
The Palestinian people are in the forefront of resistance to world imperialism. They did not choose this role. It was thrust upon them. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed in the early 20th century, the Western powers carved up the Middle East, just as they did Africa and Asia earlier.
Winston Churchill, Britain’s war minister in 1919-1921, authorized dropping poisonous mustard gas on the population of Iraq. In the face of rebellion by the Arab masses, the imperial masters sponsored a military fortress in the region. They exploited the survivors of the Nazi Holocaust for their greedy goals. But the fact remains: Israel is a colonial settler state. It is an outpost of imperialism in the Arab East. Shamefully, the USSR under Joseph Stalin voted at the U.N. for the partition that unleashed the Nakba.
The Zionist state was founded on a big lie: that Palestine was a land without people for a people without land. But the Palestinian people are here today to refute that lie.
I speak for Socialist Action as its federal secretary. SA is part of the world Trotskyist movement. Our movement opposed the creation of the Zionist state 72 years ago. We oppose the so-called two state solution – which is just a cover for racism and ethnic cleansing. The truth is there is no solution to the Jewish Question under capitalism. The only solution is world socialist revolution. World capitalism perpetuates racism, war, disease and climate catastrophe that threaten civilization. The best hope for humanity is self-empowerment of workers and oppressed peoples, the revolutionary road forward. The precondition for that is firm and undying support for national liberation struggles, which only the working class and poor farmers can lead to victory. That means no reliance on bourgeois parties, or on the capitalist state, or on imperialist military alliances like NATO. This is a cornerstone of Leon Trotsky’s strategy, which is summed up in two words: Permanent Revolution.
Oppressed nations the world over, from Kurdistan to Ireland to the Philippines, have long eaten the bitter fruit of betrayal after their aspirations to national liberation have been subordinated to the preservation of capitalist rule.
Party leaders and the corporate media conceal the shift in public opinion against the Occupation. The truth is: we represent the majority! It’s time to target Canadian corporations that profit from the misery of the Palestinian people. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh should join unions and social justice organizations in this movement, or he should step aside.
There are many states guilty of atrocious crimes. But Israel is a linchpin of global imperialist rule. Richard Nixon, a strident anti-Semite, put it best when he called Israel “America’s biggest aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.” Freedom for Palestine means freedom for humanity.
For that reason, we will not stop demanding: Break the Siege of Gaza! No to Annexation of the West Bank! End the Occupation! Tear Down the Apartheid wall! For the right of all refugees to return home. For a Democratic and Secular Palestine for all its residents: Muslims, Jews, Christians, and atheists! Disarm the nuclear powers, starting with the USA and its Israeli client state. From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!