STOP THE WAR
June 5th. 2010.
Downing Street. Piccadilly. Kensington Road. Kensington Barracks. Israeli Embassy.
Alf Filer • Sarah Colborne (flotilla survivor) • Shahrar Ali • Ken Loach • Garth Hewitt • Caroline Lucas MP • Jody McIntyre • George Galloway • Glyn Secker • Kevin Ovenden (flotilla survivor) • Kate Hudson • Tony Benn • Lowkey • Ismail Patel (flotilla survivor) • Salma Yaqoob • John Rees • Baboo Zanghar • Daud Abdullah • Lindsey German • Tariq Ali • Jeremy Corbyn MP • John Rose • Yvonne Ridley • Maryam Abu Daya • Mohammed Kosbar • Ewa Jasiewicz and Alex Harrison • Lauren Booth • Martin Linton • Keith Sonnett • Afif Safieh • Sally Hunt...
I've just been accused of racism again for objecting to Israel's siege of Gaza. I wish some people would buy a dictionary.
There was no racism on display at the demonstration on saturday in London. Only justifiable outrage, sadness, and concern about the security of people of the entire region, Israelis included. The only thing the anti-zionist movement wants is justice.
Anti-Zionism is not racist, as everyone who respects language accepts. Zionism is just another squalid ultra-nationalism. Politically unidentifiable from Slobodan Milosevic' mythical prophesies of the return of an exiled people to its ancient tribal Homeland.
An increasing number of Jews now realise the monstrous folly of mangling Bronze Age cosmology to modern industrialised society. It isn't just jews like Glyn Secker who oppose Zionism. Even some of the most orthodox jewish groups reject the state of Israel on theological grounds. Notably, Neturei Karta.
Lebanon Solidarity. Parliament Square. 2006.
The international reaction to the Siege of Gaza is entirely human. And has created a battlefield which the IDF cannot control without totally alienating itself from world opinion. The murders on the Marmara represent a 'Sharpeville' moment, when world opinion decided that Gaza should be allowed its Weapons of Mass Construction. Israel cannot win this one by force. And it has no moral or intellectual arguments for stealing the cargoes of the inbound flotillas.
If it wants security it has to first reveal a humanity which deserves security. But hitherto, the political face of Nuclear Israel is the only one visible to the world. And it is not a pretty sight.
The event on Saturday in London was the most moving demonstration I remember seeing in over 30 years of witnessing such events. And represented a shift from Activist campaigning to something much more popular. Hence the lack of trouble, hence the lack of news coverage.
There was a tiny breakaway march by about 20 young people who looked really cool. But their ritual flag-burning after the day had ended was the most defused display of outrage I've ever seen. Their teeth had been drawn by the force of the emotions on display. After that much sheer humanity, they had no real alternative but to dispersed peacefully, which everyone was very relieved at. Surely, if that force can forge ploughshares from the swords of their anger, it can rouse a massive moderate international community to action.
I seem to remember hearing that there were Kurdish representatives on the march. If true, it should be made much more visible in order to try to pacify the wave of Whataboutery, which is the only thing threatening to drive the campaign off-course.
Nick Cohen is the prime Neptune of this storm. Whatabout the Kurds? he asks. How can anyone support a Turkish-backed attempt to break the siege when their actions against the Kurds are almost indistinguishable from the treatment of the Gazans by the Israelis? No doubt he also asks the same question of the Kurdish supporters now that Israel is supporting them.
Whatabout all the other injustices and inhumanities committed by members of alliances all over the world since the dawn of time? Should Churchill have refused to co-operate with Stalin or Nixon with Mao?
Is that a genuine answer to the charge of hypocrisy and short-sighted opportunism? That all governments have always been gangsters and that until we come up with something better, all alliances will continue to be compromised? Pragmatism?
Many speakers on the day, and there were a lot, argued for more pressure on elected officials and governments. Perhaps it is time that we all ignored governments for the obsolete, corrupted, compromised machines of steam age tax-gathering that they are.
This could be one of the great humanitarian alliances of history. But everyone involved must realise that they have to trim their individual ambitions and ideologies to achieve the collective goals. This means no barbaric treatment of people in the name of any ideology, religious or commercial.
Each will know what their personal incompatibilities are, women in particular, but there can be no real success unless the human feeling expressed towards Gaza rubs off on all the regimes and ideologies involved. Including Hamas and Turkey. Human Rights For Gaza cannot happen in isolation. It has to be Human Rights for All, Israelis included.
When that agenda becomes credible, the campaign for peace in the middle east will stand a chance - assuming no commercial interference.