From Socialist Voice, July 2010

Israeli apartheid and solidarity with Palestine

The Israeli occupation of Palestine has been justly compared to apartheid; Bishop Tutu ays it is even worse. The unconditional support of the United States and the European Union has enabled the Israeli state to commit crime after crime, in defiance of international law.
     The massacre of defenceless people in Gaza in December 2008, using illegal weapons such as white phosphorus, provoked worldwide anger and revulsion.
     In spite of international condemnation, as expressed in the Goldstone Report, Israel continues to blockade Gaza, depriving its people of the basic necessities of life, allowing in less than the minimum needed to maintain health, and preventing the reconstruction of the homes, hospitals, schools and mosques it destroyed.
     The international revulsion against these continuing crimes against humanity is at last beginning to overcome the Zionist propaganda that dominates the American and European media, and solidarity with the people of Palestine is becoming effective, as it did against apartheid in South Africa. The Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement’s campaign, in its time, certainly contributed to the ending of apartheid in South Africa. It succeeded in bringing the lives of the people of a faraway country into the consciousness of the Irish people; eventually the Irish Government was the first in the West to impose sanctions on South Africa.
     The flotilla of ships bringing aid to the people of Gaza was a heroic example of solidarity. It alarmed the Israeli state so much that it decided to deter all future such expeditions by murdering some of the participants. That the Irish ship Rachel Corrie kept to its course after these murders showed tremendous courage and tenacity on the part of its passengers and crew.
     Solidarity with Palestine necessarily prompts campaigning for a boycott of Israeli goods, divestment from the Israeli economy, and sanctions against Israel (BDS).
     We need to end CRH’s shameful participation in the building of the apartheid wall, contracts given to Veolia while it runs a tram line servicing the illegal settlements in the West Bank, and the Irish army’s purchase of Israeli weapons.
     The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign has a tremendous record, of which it can be proud. As shown in the recent publication produced in collaboration with the Phoenix in May, it has won the support of members of all the political parties represented in the Dáil and of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. It was able to react to the massacre on the Turkish ship by calling a rally and march the following day, in which the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Emer Costello, participated.
     Again the following Saturday, with some of the Irish participants in the flotilla and with the backing of the ICTU, it organised another rally.
     It should be obvious that anyone who wants to show solidarity with the people of Palestine should work with the IPSC, which is already the broad, all-party organisation that is needed. For someone to come along to the IPSC rally on the Monday night, on behalf of the SWP or Irish Anti-War Movement, with their own slogan, Smash the Zionist state—designed to sound more radical than those of the IPSC, such as Boycott Israeli goods—is not exactly helping the campaign.
     Which are we asking Irish people to do? Either this is an attempt to hitch-hike on the IPSC to boost their own organisation, or it is designed to do damage by sowing disunity.
     The same groups went on to hold a march to the Israeli embassy on the Thursday night, knowing that this would take from the IPSC’s planned rally on the Saturday. Do they know what they are doing, or not?

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