November 12, 2023 | by Jeff Mackler
“To this account of anti-oppression uprisings in the history of the USA and Palestine, one must add the following from the sordid history of the Canadian state: the Patriotes Rebellion in 1837-1839 in Lower Canada (Quebec) led by Louis-Joseph Papineau, a bitter civil war mercilessly suppressed by imported British troops, plus the Red River Rebellion in 1869-70, and the North-West Rebellion in 1885, both headed by Metis leader Louis Riel, for which Riel was hanged by the colonial-settler state ruled by Conservative Prime Minister John A. MacDonald. For people who are Occupied, Resistance is justified.” – Barry Weisleder
Tragically, too many antiwar activists and people of good will have felt compelled to include in their solidarity statements with the beleaguered Palestinian masses, a condemnation of the Hamas’s October 7 breaching the walls of its Gaza concentration camp and attacking its Zionist oppressors’ military facilities, settler communities and civilian populations. The world’s most oppressed, beleaguered, starved, and persecuted people are being held to account for fighting back. Should any part of our movement join in vilifying Gaza’s freedom fighters?
John Brown and Abraham Lincoln
Did history record anti-slavery fighter John Brown’s 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry, including Brown’s taking some 60 hostages, as among the heroic and first acts of rebellion against America’s slave system or did it record Brown as a terrorist. And Brown’s 1856 retaliatory raid on a pro-slavery settlement at Pottawatomie Creek, in which five slavers were dragged out of their cabins by Brown’s forces and hacked to death during what became know as the “Pottawatomie Massacre?” Black slaves praised and joined Brown’s rebellion. The slavocracy and Robert E. Lee condemned him!
And what of Lincoln’s civil war against the secessionist southern slavocracy? Were not “innocent” civilians killed?
12,000, if not 14,000 Palestinians have been slaughtered to date by the Israeli apartheid, colonial settler state of Israel. Half of the victims are women and children. The world has witnessed the most vicious and intensive terror bombing of any people in the modern era. Unprecedented millions everywhere have mobilized to oppose the Zionist state’s genocide. The full power of the Israel “Defense” Forces (IDF), among the most powerful in the world, is being hurled against an oppressed people with no army of its own. Per capita the Zionist state’s military ranks second in the world.
The Zionist apartheid state reports 39 of its soldier’s dead to date versus 14,000 Palestinians!
In sharp contrast and in sync with the nation’s “paper of record,” The New York Times, most of the corporate media spew out lies and twisted accounts, twice, thrice, if not four or five times daily, justifying the Zionist state’s genocide by reference to October 7, when the most oppressed fought back.
Hamas and Palestinian liberation
In response, I pose below some critical and perhaps angry rhetorical questions, responses and facts aimed at hopefully refocusing the attention of Hamas’s critics and highlighting the just liberation cause of the Palestinian people.
I begin with the simple question, Would we condemn the Jewish violence employed as some of the six million victims fought their way out of the Nazis concentration camps at Arbeitsdorf, Auschwitz. Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau, Flossenbürg. Gross-Rosen, Herzogenbusch, Hinzert, Kaiserwald, Kauen, Kraków-Płaszów, Majdanek, Mauthausen–Gusen, Mittelbau-Dora, Natzweiler-Struthof , Neuengamme, Niederhagen, Ravensbrück, Sachsenhausen, Stutthof, Vaivara, and Warsaw?
And if they killed some German guards, destroyed some German military installations and even killed some “innocent” German civilians partying on the outskirts of the concentration camps, would we condemn or criticize them? Would we ignore the Zionist settler state’s tens of thousands of murders in Gaza during the past intifadas since 1967 or the millions of dispossessed, murdered, imprisoned, tortured and daily dehumanized Palestinians since the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe)?
Black slave revolts and Black Lives Matter
In the same vein, would we condemn the “violent” escaped US Black slaves for killing their slave-masters on the way to freedom and those hundreds of documented violent slave rebellions that undoubtedly killed “innocent” whites?
And the handful of “violent” Black Lives Matter protestors who threw some rocks at local stores, not to mention at police stations, as they mobilized in the millions to denounce institutionalized police murder and the US government’s “systemic racism?”
For me, I prefer to focus my anger not on the militant sometimes aggressive anti-racist street protesters, but on racist government’s atrocities and on the BLM movement’s misleaders who turned their attention and a promising mass movement to electing the former racist bigot turned liberal, Joseph Biden – the same Biden who is complicit with and co-perpetrator of today’s Zionist genocide.
I add here, parenthetically, that supporters of the chant, “No Ceasefire! No Votes for Biden!” are gravely mistaken. Can one simultaneously accuse Biden of complicity with genocide today and urge a vote for him tomorrow?
When the oppressed revolt
Would we condemn Geronimo and his Native American warriors who killed some settler pioneers and their accompanying armies, who stole their lands and consciously practiced genocide? Native Americans were deemed “savages.” Palestinians are deemed “animals” by today’s Zionist butchers. The US designates them “terrorists.” I deem them, and all oppressed people fighting back, freedom fighters.
The Vietnamese were called “communists” for daring to invade the land they were born in! Four million, 99 percent civilians, were slaughtered in that US genocide.
I decline to praise “ceasefire peacemakers” like the US-backed Egyptian coup President Abdel Fattah el Sisi, who in the past murdered Egypt’s pro-Palestinian elected President Mohamed Morsi along with 10,000 members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Today, el Sisi is complicit with Netanyahu in barring Palestinians from fleeing Israeli’s endless genocidal bombardment. He joins in the Zionist refusal to allow food, water and medicine into Israeli’s Gaza concentration camp.
And I decline to praise the US-backed Bahraini dictatorship and all the other US-backed Middle Eastern dictatorships for their token temporary withdrawing of their ambassadors to Israel today while slaughtering their people during yesterday’s “Arab Spring” protests for democracy. There is little doubt that their decision to temporarily bend to the millions of Muslims who mobilize everywhere for the Palestinian cause will be met with mass repression tomorrow should their oppressed people also turn their attention to their own corrupt regimes tomorrow.
Similarly, the Saudi monarchy today “protests” Israeli “excesses.” This is the same monarchy whose ten-year US/NATO/Gulf State alliance financed jihadist killers who murdered 500,000 Syrians along with Syria’s Iranian and Hezbollah allies. The same Saudi monarchy commits genocide, with US backing, against the Yemeni people. The same monarchy hosted the infamous 2016 Riyadh conference presided over by the US Secretary of State John Kerry to partition Syria in accord with US instructions, provided that US oil corporations were assured their booty.
Tragically, with few exceptions, all of today’s Middle East monarchies prefer an accommodation with the Israel murderers rather than active solidarity with the besieged Palestinians, their symbolic gestures notwithstanding.
Condemning the victim
Forgive my recollection of a bitter New Yorker Magazine cartoon decades ago depicting a Roman Empire Black slave buried up to his neck in preparation for his Coliseum lion combat. When the buried slave used his teeth to bite the lion’s tail that had accidentally swirled into the slave’s open mouth, momentarily stunning the ferocious beast, The New Yorker’s final cartoon comic box portrayed the Coliseum crowd shouting, “Fight Fair Nigger!”
Those who condemn Hamas “terrorism” today and indeed condemn all the scattered armed forces of resistance to Zionist colonialism – including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Islamic Jihad, Popular Resistance Committees, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, as well as the fighting units of Fatah — along with Hamas’s Qassam Brigades, – are gravely mistaken. Those who do so are no friends of Palestinian freedom. They essentially condemn Palestinians for fighting for the land that they and their ancestors were born in!
Nelson Mandela’s armed wing
The world’s people properly condemned the US-backed South African apartheid government but never the African National Congress and its armed wing, uMkhonto we Sizwe, (The Spear of the Nation). Founded by Nelson Mandel in 1961 in the wake of the government’s Sharpeville massacre, Mandela, imprisoned at Robben Island for 27 years and condemned as a terrorist by the US and apartheid South Africa stated:
“This conclusion [to form The Spear of the Nation] was not easily arrived at. It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle, and to form uMkhonto we Sizwe. We did so not because we desired such a course, but solely because the government had left us with no other choice. In the Manifesto of uMkhonto published on 16 December 1961, we said: ‘The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices – submit or fight. That time has now come to South Africa. We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means in our power in defense of our people, our future, and our freedom.’”
Mandela and the ANC remained on the official US terrorist list a decade after the end of apartheid! The CIA and other top US leaders, who backed South Africa to the hilt and profited fabulously in exploiting its natural and labor resources, could not bear to see their old ally disgraced before the world and Mandela raised to the status of national and international hero.
Today’s ongoing Zionist genocidal slaughter of innocent Palestinian Gaza concentration camp victims –– the decimation of nearly half of Gaza’s housing, the near total obliteration of Gaza’s hospitals, 59 mosques destroyed, the month long denial of food, electricity, water, and medical supplies, the conscious bombardment of all of Gaza’s 2.3 million people with 1,000 and 2,000 pound bombs – among the most deadly in any nation’s arsenal – its slaughter of 88 United Nations workers and scores of the world’s journalists is “justified” in the name of the colonial state’s right to defend itself, the same “right” today supported by the US and, historically claimed by every colonial nation in the world!
The colonial oppressor is always deaf to the truth of its horrors. The United Nations General Assembly has approved some 77 resolutions condemning Israel’s apartheid persecution of Palestinians; the US has rejected voting for a single resolution.
Kind Leopold’s genocide
Some 120 years ago the US defended the same “right” of the oppressor to murder and maim its “subjects” when Belgian King Leopold II murdered 12 million slaves in his personally-owned Congo Free State. Leopold’s army was instructed to cut off the hands of all those who resisted! He secured the Congo’s ivory and rubber and was among the world’s richest monarchs. Simultaneously, the US Morgan and Rockefeller robber barons secured the Congo’s vast mineral rights, which they retain to this day!
Biden’s record and complicity in genocide
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, on White House orders, recently counseled the Middle East’s dictators to refrain from condemning the Zionist slaughter. A State Department memo cautioned US diplomats to refrain from urging a ceasefire.
Biden’s backed legislation last week approved sending $14 billion to “replenish” Israel’s spent weapons arsenal.
But Biden has cautioned a bit of restraint, suggesting for example that Israel use less powerful, but “more effective” bombs. He cautioned the Israel’s to avoid some of the “excessive reactions” or “mistakes” committed by the US following the 911 World Trade Center bombings.
Biden had previously recalled his public apology for the US “mistake” in pursuing the 2003 Iraq War that slaughtered some two million Iraqis and established Iraq as a virtual US colony, with the US-appointed diplomat Paul Bremer as its chief executive officer. Iraq’s oil contracts with Russia, Great Britain and others were voided and replaced with contracts with the US oil behemoths. But Biden and others did apologize. There were no Saddam Hussein “weapons of mass destruction” after all. The US was mistaken!
Biden, after ten years of US slaughter in Afghanistan, a nation that had zero role in 911, admitted another US “mistake” and ordered a US withdrawal. But not before destroying large parts of the infrastructure of that desperately poor nation, not to mention two million Afghan dead at the hands of the US war machine.
President William Clinton, who, following a UN report documenting the US and CIA role in training and arming for 36 years Guatemala’s death squad government that murdered 400,000 indigenous Mayan people, also apologized. Clinton explained, “It is important that I state clearly that support for military forces and intelligence units which engaged in violence and widespread repression was wrong, and the United States must not repeat that mistake.”
In the years ahead US presidents may well apologize for US support to death the squad governments of Indonesia [500,000 “communists” slaughtered in the US backed 1965 Suharto coup]; El Salvador [50,000 murdered via the US-trained Atlácatl Battalion of the Salvadoran Army and other death squad units]; Chile/US backed the Augusto Pinochet’s 1973 coup removing the elected President Salvador Allende – [60,000 slaughtered]; Nicaragua/Somoza [50,000 murdered]; and 50,000 more dead, according to a UN report documenting Venezuelans starved by the US blockade/embargo/sanctions.
US-instigated/backed Ukraine coup
Inadvertent truth-teller, European Union Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Ashton, revealed a more recent US imperialist atrocity. Her taped remarks informed Estonian Foreign Minister Unmas Paet that it was the rooftop snipers of the fascist Svoboda Party and the fascist Right Sector that opened fire on the Feb. 20, 2014 Kiev Maiden Square protestors, killing 100. The fascist-led fighters proceeded to storm Ukraine’s parliament, ban participation of the government’s majority parties and establish a US-backed coup government replete with a host of open fascists taking top posts at every level.
The US and world’s corporate media’s backed the coup and blamed Ukraine President Viktor Yanokovych’s police for the rooftop murders.
Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Victoria Nuland, whose taped remarks to US Ukraine Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, “Fuck the EU” [European Union] revealed that the US chose “Yats,” or Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, to be Ukraine’s Prime Minister as opposed to the EU choice. Joseph Biden, then US Ukraine representative, Nuland assured Pyatt, would give the US’s “Atta Boy” approval. The truth, from the horse’s mouth, is always important! Biden’s son Hunter was appointed to the board of Ukraine’s largest oil corporation at a monthly salary of $50,000.
Similarly, but on a qualitatively larger scale, the US’s obliteration of the Baltic Sea Nord Stream pipeline, a multi-trillion dollar gambit, aimed at substituting expensive US fracked liquefied national gas for Russia’s gas, at one third the price, to Western Europe. Yet another US oil war!
The movement’s way forward
Today’s mass protests against the US-backed Zionist genocide have awakened the conscience of humanity. Tens and hundreds of thousands and indeed millions in nations around the world have taken to the streets in solidarity with the beleaguered Palestinian masses. They have exposed the longstanding lie that Zionist apartheid, colonial, racist Israel exists as a democratic nation. We join with them and all humanity in demanding.
- Stop the Zionist genocide!
- Stay in the streets!
- United front mass mobilizations in solidarity with the Palestinian people!
- End all aid to apartheid Israel!
- Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions!
- Abolish the Zionist colonial state! For a democratic secular Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea with the unconditional right of return of all dispossessed Palestinians – a socialist society, where all people can live in peace as equals!
- For a socialist federation of the Middle East!
- Freedom and victory to the Palestinian masses!
Jeff Mackler is the National Secretary of Socialist Action. He was Socialist Action’s 2016 and 2020 candidate for the US presidency. He is the director of the Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal/Northern California; a National Steering Committee member, Assangedefense.org and an Administrative Committee/co-founder, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC).