report by Barry Weisleder
Palestinian residents, refugees, and their allies rallied to mark Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day in Toronto on April 15, 2023. The Ramadan holiday gathering in front of the Ontario Superior Court on University Avenue, across from the U.S. Consulate, attracted hundreds. Undaunted by a large police presence, and advance hostile commercial media coverage, many waved Palestinian flags and carried huge banners that called for an end to the Zionist Occupation, now in its 75 year.
Members of Socialist Action distributed scores of leaflets featuring the statement below, and sold End the Occupation – Free Palestine buttons. Kiri Vadivelu, the Municipal Socialist Alliance candidate for mayor in the current Toronto by-election, circulated amongst the crowds and chatted with many event participants. The socialist tenant organizer was the only “politician” in attendance. After a long series of speakers, organizers led a demonstration in the direction of Dundas Square, instead of the Ontario Legislature. The Toronto rally and demonstration were part of a global day of action for Palestine self-determination.
From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!
Today, the eyes of the world are on Palestine. Why? Due to brutal repression exemplified by the Zionist pogrom in Hawara, and the violent assault by the IDF on worshipers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. And long term, because of the vast reserves of oil in the region. The corporate energy giants want to control the resources of the world. They try to crush any nation that stands in their way. We witnessed that behaviour when Washington tried to overthrow the elected government of Venezuela, and when it moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, projecting that the Zionist Occupation will be permanent. To that we emphatically say NO. Free, free Palestine! Imperialist Hands Off Venezuela!
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, the Western powers carved up the Middle East, just as they did Africa and Asia earlier. In the face of rebellion by the Arab masses, they 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. Zionism began as an extreme bourgeois nationalist minority movement. It ran counter to the strong socialist and internationalist traditions of Jews in the Diaspora. Theodore Herzl, a non-religious Jew, and founder of Zionism, gained sponsors in France, Britain, even Czarist Russia. Later, Canada, the USA and Christian Zionists joined the project. The Stalinist-ruled USSR voted at the United Nations in 1948 for the partition of Palestine that led to the establishment of Israel. 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.
Socialist Action, as part of the world Trotskyist movement, opposed the creation of the Zionist state 75 years ago. We oppose the so-called two state solution – which is just a cruel cover story for permanent racism and ethnic cleansing. The truth is: freedom for Palestine is impossible if it is occupied and divided. And as for the Jewish Question, there is no solution under capitalism. The only solution is world socialist revolution. The precondition for that is support for national liberation struggles, which only the working class and poor farmers can lead all the way to victory.
Socialist Action is proud to have initiated, through the Canadian BDS Coalition, the cross-country Day of Action for Palestinian rights in 2019.
Over the past decade public opinion across the Canadian state has shifted. A big majority, 66 per cent, support sanctions against Israel. The majority recognize Israel is guilty of systematic oppression and war crimes. Among voters for four out of the five major parties in Parliament, 75 to 94 per cent favour sanctions. But party leaders and the big media conceal this fact. So, now is the time to proclaim the truth. Opponents of Israeli Occupation represent the new majority! And we will not be denied.
We say: End the Occupation! Down with the Zionist Apartheid state! For the right of all refugees to return to their homes. Lift the Siege of Gaza! 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. Abolish NATO. From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!
For more information, visit: www.socialistaction.ca