Anti-War Movement Breaks the Silence on Palestine
Written by La Voz de los Trabajadores – US
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 01:13
Last July, the UNAC – United National Anti-War Conference – met in Albany, New York.
It was called by various sectors of the anti-war movement to launch a united public campaign to bring the troops home now. The ANSWER coalition decided not to participate, as they seem to prefer to do their own actions and campaigns.
The Conference decided to hold and endorse diverse actions culminating in bi-coastal marches on April 9th. On top of anti-war related issues, many other struggles were addressed: jobs, foreclosures, immigrants, civil rights, Islamophobia, etc.
The main debate, however, was around the issue of Israel. Palestinian activists and their supporters raised the issue of making the demand “End all U.S. aid to Israel” one of the central ones. After a long and democratic discussion, 80% voted for incorporating this demand as one of the four main slogans of the UNAC campaign.
The role of the US and the growing solidarity towards Palestine
Unconditional support for Israel has been a key policy of the U.S. government, regardless if Democrats or Republicans are in office. Annually, the U.S. gives six billion dollars to Israel in money and weapons. In addition, the U.S. prevents any resolution condemning Israel from passing in the UN Security Council. The U.S. support for Israel is critical for the Israeli government to keep their racist policies against Palestinians and Arabs in general. Unfortunately, among the majority of the social and democratic movements in U.S., there has always been a silence on Palestine.
Over the last years, some key actions of the Israeli government made the situation clear and caused an outcry all over the world. The invasion of Lebanon, the blockade and the war against Gaza, and more recently, the deadly attack against the Flotilla exposed the Israeli state as racist, aggressive and militarized. Campaigns in favor of the Palestinians emerged all over the world. The BDS campaign (for divestment from corporations that deal with Israel) flourished in many universities, U.S. included. The democratic decision of UNAC to break the silence on Palestine by a large majority of 80% is part of this new moment.
Despite the democratic decision -making process of the Conference and the strategic need for breaking the silence on Palestine, a minority sector of the organizers of UNAC, such as Jerry Gordon and USLAW, walked out as they do not have and do not want to have this clear stand on Israel. Their stance unfortunately represents an attack against a democratic decision- making process, which includes the possibility of being in the minority. On top of that, it waters down the efforts to raise the issue of the U.S. aid to Israel and weakens the anti-war movement.
Inside UNAC, the group “Socialist Organizer” (Lambertists) formed the “Unity Caucus” with other activists. Their proposal is to replace UNAC with a coalition including USLAW and others and to water down the demand against U.S Aid to Israel in order to bring “unity” back. The point is, however, that this proposal not only smashes workers’ democracy embodied in the conference decision but also, once again, keeps the silence on the U.S. Aid to Israel, alienating the Palestinians. Unfortunately “S.O.”, unlike other socialist groups, chose the wrong side. Their role as socialists should be to support workers’ democracy and to break the silence on Palestine.
It is not clear if it will be possible to turn the anger against the war into the action of hundreds of thousands in the streets. Even so, UNAC is already playing an important role. The march in Albany against Islamophobia & racism, the multi-city protests against the FBI raids, the anti-war contingent in the October 2nd march in Washington, & the teach-in at UC Berkeley are some examples. On the top of that, the Palestinians will have another stronghold to fight for justice for Palestine.
1) $$$Trillions for jobs and Education, not wars and bank bailouts!
2) Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan: Bring U.S. troops, mercenaries and war dollars home now!
3) Stop Government assaults on Unions! No to racist attacks on Muslims, immigrants and people of color! Civil liberties for all!
4) Billions for jobs not occupations! End U.S. aid to Israel – military, political and diplomatic! End the siege of Gaza! Free Palestine!
Source: La Voz de los Trabajadores nº 7, February 2011