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Tear down the imperialist system that created Israel

The fight to bring down the apartheid state must be anti-capitalist
Issue 2883
National protest for Palestine in central London with anti-imperialist placards

Marching for Palestine in central London last Saturday (Picture: Guy Smallman)

The Israeli state and its imperialist backers have relied on two crucial arguments—and both are falling apart.

One claim is that to understand what’s happening in Gaza now, you need only to look at the events of 7 October. In this version, the Hamas assault was impossible to explain except as savage and inhuman bloodlust.

The second is that the scale of the murder in Gaza might be unfortunate, but the victims don’t have the same importance as those Israelis who were killed.

One of the great gains of the last two months of revolt is that many more people know that to understand 7 October, you need to know what came before. You need to know what happened in 1948 when Israel was born in a storm of colonial and racist violence.

The use of murder, intimidation and violence—which drove almost a million Palestinians from their homes as Israel was established 75 years ago—is not some distant memory.

That catastrophe—known as the Nakba—shapes the oppression that Palestinians face today. US and British politicians support for Israeli war crimes is nothing new.

Western powers gave vital support in 1948 and in 1967, when Israel grabbed east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

It underlines how Western imperialism saw Israel as a useful outpost in the Middle East then— just as it does now.

Ruling classes seek to erase such history because it echoes so strongly today. Israel is repeating the ethnic cleansing of 1948 backed by genocidal calls. This is what settler-colonial states do.

The mainstream media doesn’t want to make that connection. But Israel has done it so openly that it has led to vast opposition across the world.

Most of those who’ve taken to the streets know that— although the specifics of truces, ceasefires and prisoner exchanges matter—there is a deeper battle for Palestinian freedom.

The solidarity movement also challenges the second argument about the downgrading of Palestinian humanity and lives. The deaths in Gaza are not some “collateral damage”.

They are as important as anyone else’s deaths, and are outrageous and inexcusable.

As their arguments fall apart, Israel’s supporters are forced back to the claim that those who back the Palestinians are antisemites.

It is the refuge of Israel’s supporters who know they are losing.

But being against Zionism is not antisemitic. Demanding freedom “from the river to the sea” does not call for the elimination of Jews but for an end to apartheid and for a single democratic state.

It is a central part of the drive against inequality, exploitation and oppression across the world. The struggle of the Palestinians should be central for all those who want to tear down capitalism.

And those who back the Palestinians need to be part of confronting that system.

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