U.S. Tax Dollars Are Soaked in Palestinian Blood
Statement by Labor Fightback Network
If Gaza was declared unlivable in 2020, how can one describe it today? The sea is filled with sewage due to water filtration systems having been decimated by repeated Israeli bombings. Hospitals and schools are barely operating for lack of clean water, electricity, infrastructure and funding. The recent Israeli attacks on Gaza have targeted the entire population of 2 million Palestinians confined to a 140 square mile land area.
The Occupied West Bank is continually being divided and annexed by Apartheid laws and an Apartheid wall, enforced by Israeli Occupation Forces with multiple checkpoints, raids, and house demolitions. It has been reduced to isolated cities, farms, and villages with the intention to eradicate the Palestinian presence and make way for more Jewish-only settlements. In East Jerusalem, Israel’s forced evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem’s Palestinian (Muslim) Quarter, further demonstrate the State of Israel’s mission to drive Palestinians from their homeland.
The Labor Fightback Network calls for an immediate halt to U.S. military support for the Israeli State. Israel’s multiple and sustained attacks on Palestinians from Al-Aqsa Mosque to Sheikh Jarrah to Gaza are a continuation of a campaign that began decades ago. The worldwide condemnations of Israel’s attacks on Palestine have finally begun to awaken the U.S. electorate and Congress. A recent request for additional military aid is the first time that an allocation of arms to Israel has even been questioned by the U.S. Congress. The aid, nevertheless, was approved.
Now, Sen. Lindsay Graham is asking for an additional $1 billion on top of an already approved $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel in 2021. It is outrageous that the U.S. Congress would continue to fund Israel and overlook Israel’s blatant disregard for international law and human rights for Palestinians on a daily basis — for decades.
A Sordid History
Ethnic cleansing of Arab villages, with the murder of civilians and mass killings, was part and parcel of the formation of the State of Israel. Between the U.N partition of Palestine in November 1947 and the formation of the State of Israel in May 1948, more than 700 Arab villages were destroyed and more than 750,000 Palestinians displaced. Many Palestinians now live in refugee camps or have been dispersed in a diaspora throughout the world, their homes, farms and factories either confiscated by the Israeli government or turned over to Israeli families.
Seizure of land and ethnic cleansing in one form or another continues to the present day. In 2014, Israel bombed Gaza for seven weeks resulting in the deaths of 2,300 people, including 600 children. The assault destroyed key infrastructure and other important aspects of civil society in Gaza. Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked posted a statement on Facebook in 2014 claiming that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy.” She also called for the destruction of Palestine, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.” Ms. Shaked’s FB post also called for the killing of Palestinian mothers, “who give birth to little snakes.” The deputy speaker of the Knesset at the time, Moshe Feiglan, called for concentration camps in Gaza.
U.S. Bankrolls Wars and Occupation
The U.S. government arms Israel with high-grade weaponry while the State of Israel intensifies its gross violations of the human rights of millions of Palestinians in Occupied Palestine and Gaza, while relegating Palestinians within the State of Israel (20% of the population) to degraded status, denying them basic rights and jailing those in the “mixed cities” who stand up for liberation, side by side with their sisters and brothers in the rest of the Occupied Territories and diaspora.
Israel serves as U.S. imperialism’s surrogate in the Middle East. U.S. weapons proliferation and other forms of aid to the Israeli State, as well as joint strategic military planning, sustain war across the region, enabling both U.S. and Israeli military campaigns in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. International agreements and U.S. so-called commitment to democracy are worthless while U.S. weapons maintain one of the oldest and most brutal military occupations of modern time. The sweat of U.S. taxpayers for the blood of Palestinian people is oppression on all sides.
The recent public outcry in support of the Palestinian people that filled the streets all over the world in numbers unseen in recent history has brought Israel to a cease-fire, for now. New alliances — with Black Lives Matter and the Sunrise Movement, among others — have been forged with the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people for liberation and self-determination. The new coalitions with labor and community formations are questioning the special U.S.-Israeli partnership.
The U.S. has vetoed 53 United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions critical of Israel since 1972. This includes resolutions condemning violence against protesters, illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, and investigations into the deaths of at least 58 Palestinians along the Israeli-Gaza-Israel border in 2018, and the 1990 killing of seven Palestinian workers by a former Israeli soldier. The U.S. encourages Israel to continue use of disproportionate force against Palestinians.
The BDS Campaign
Palestinian civil society introduced the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign (https://bdsmovement.net/) against Israel in 2005 to declare that Palestinians have the same rights as the rest of humanity. The BDS campaign asks supporters to do the following:
Boycotts: This involves withdrawing support from Israel’s Apartheid regime, complicit Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions, and from all Israeli and international companies engaged in violations of Palestinian human rights.
Divestment: This involves campaigns to urge banks, local councils, churches, pension funds and universities to withdraw investments from the State of Israel and all Israeli and international companies that sustain Israeli Apartheid.
Sanctions: This involves campaigns to pressure governments to fulfil their legal obligations to end Israeli Apartheid, and not aid or assist its maintenance, by banning business with illegal Israeli settlements, ending military trade and free-trade agreements, as well as suspending Israel’s membership in international forums such as UN bodies and FIFA.
The BDS movement has been so effective that Israel and its backers have fought back with anti-boycott legislation across the U.S. and cries of “anti-Semitism” in response to any criticism of Israel. The BDS call for these boycotts is based on Israel’s human rights violations and is intended to effect social and political change. Challenges to anti-boycott laws have been successful. Whenever these laws have been challenged in the courts, they have been struck down. The state of Israel’s cabinet-level Ministry of Strategic Affairs backs the anti-boycott laws in a clear attack on our civil liberties.
Palestine Legal asks that you look for action alerts to oppose legislation in your state.
For an overview of anti-BDS legislation around the U.S., visit www.righttoboycott.org
Labor Solidarity with Palestine
Labor is key in the resistance to Israeli Apartheid. Palestinian trade unions have always been in the forefront of the Palestinian struggle against Israel’s settler-colonialism and Apartheid.
In 2011, Palestinian trade unions issued an appeal for international trade unions to join the BDS movement, forming the Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS).
Trade unions and trade union federations around the world have endorsed BDS in solidarity with Palestine. Trade unions have organized boycott campaigns, including a boycott of Histadrut, the Israeli government-controlled “trade union” federation that supported early colonization of Palestine and continues to endorse the State of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.
Dockworkers in the United States, South Africa, Sweden and elsewhere have refused to unload Israeli ships and exports. Norwegian union Fagforbundet has led effective campaigns against the private security corporation G4S and SodaStream for their ties to Israel. A French farmers’ union mobilized thousands to stop the construction of a port in the south of France that would have been used to import Israeli fruit and vegetables. In Brazil, trade union federations played a key role in the campaign for a military embargo and helped to bring the state of Rio Grande do Sul to cancel a major collaboration deal with Israeli military company Elbit Systems.
Palestinian unions are also calling on trade unions the world over to divest from purchase of Israel Bonds. Purchase of Israel Bonds funds Apartheid Israel and its seizure and absorption of the West Bank and Gaza thus funding the apparatus that tortures, jails, kills pro-democracy demonstrators, imprisons children, and oppresses millions.
The Palestinian people have risen up time and again as one united people to demand their freedom and their right to self-determination. They have displayed tremendous courage and determination in this struggle. But to prevail against the U.S. war machine and its military outpost in the region, it will be necessary to expand the concrete and visible solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle, especially here in the United States.
– End U.S. Aid to Apartheid Israel!
– Support BDS!
– Divest from Israel Bonds!
– Free Palestine!