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Gaza Genocide: Silence is Complicity

13 January 2024

Text of leaflet distributed at Palestine solidarity rally in Dublin (13/01/24)

The Israeli genocide in Gaza is now three months old.  The death toll stands at over a staggering 23,000 according to the most conservative calculations.  Most of these are women and children.  Such a level of slaughter is difficult to contemplate, more difficult to contemplate for some is perhaps western silence and complicity in the genocide.  Numerous organisations and governments have remained silent when not fudging the issue.

Trade unions in Ireland have largely been ineffective on this issue, when not silent or deliberately fudging the issue of complicity and refusing to take active stand in support of Palestine, instructing their members to take positive steps in implementing a workers’ boycott.

We have gone beyond the stage of mealy mouthed or half-hearted statements.  It is a time for action.  The BDS campaign has been very useful, but individual boycotts are not enough.  Rather than just expect shoppers to boycott certain brands, there is a need for organised boycotts, like the anti-apartheid strike at Dunnes’ Stores in the 1980s, which eventually forced the Government’s hand.

Whilst the National Union of Journalists has condemned the murder of journalists, its reaction is nowhere near as energetic as its reaction over the deaths of journalists in Ukraine, which saw it form a common alliance with governments such as Poland that have a very dubious record on press freedom, or Ukraine itself.

Unions should instruct their members and back them up in refusing to handle Israeli goods of any description.  It is also high time the unions took a stand on Shannon airport.  Workers servicing US warplanes transporting weapons to Israel are open to being held as complicit under the Genocide Convention.  They should refuse to let them land, service, refuel or otherwise facilitate them.  Workers at ports should refuse to load or unload Israeli boats or Israeli goods as workers have done in ports such as Barcelona and Genoa who have refused to move war materials.

Sporting bodies should call for a complete break with Israel, given the high number of athletes who have been murdered.  No football matches should be played with Israel at any level, no Israeli athletes should be allowed take part in any event in any sport in Ireland or against Irish teams.  Medical associations should take similar action given that nearly 400 medical personnel have been murdered by Israel.

We should also call upon the Irish government to support South Africa’s case against Israel for genocide.  So far, only a handful of countries have voiced support and none of them are European.  Does the government not have a position on whether this is genocide or not?  Some demands have inexplicably fallen by the wayside.  Expelling the Israeli Ambassador is rarely mentioned now, and it should be revived along with calls for the government to recall its own Ambassador to Tel Aviv.

This brings us to a key question as to why we would do these things.  In support of what?  So far, the calls have been limited to a ceasefire, which is very weak as Israel will implement one when it sees fit, with no political concessions made to any political demands for Palestinians.  The other slogan has been, Free, Free Palestine, which is fine, but what does it mean?

To some it means the slogan From the River to the Sea, no ifs or buts.  But this is very vague and can mean a unitary state or a two-state solution.  The Oslo Accords, which were presented as a stepping stone to a two-state solution cemented the PLO’s abandonment of a single unitary secular democratic state.

Angered and horrified at Israel’s slaughter and UN inaction in the face of the genocide and murder of UN staff, Craig Mokhiber the director of the New York Office of the UN High Commission for Human Rights resigned.  In his resignation letter he condemned the genocide and stated “We must support the establishment of a single, democratic secular state in all of historic Palestine, with equal rights for Christians, Muslims, and Jews and, therefore, the dismantling of the deeply racist, settler-colonial project and an end to apartheid across the land.”

If a UN official can state this, why can’t the solidarity movement?  This was once the demand of ALL Palestinian organisations before Arafat’s surrender and the setting up of the corrupt Palestinian Authority.  It is the only demand that makes sense, the only one that includes Palestinians expelled during the first Nakba and the only one that represents a defeat for Zionism.

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