At least 110 Palestinian protesters have been killed and over 12,000 wounded by the Israeli military over the past six weeks. The victims have included women, children as young as 8-months old and unarmed youth.
There is no doubt what attitude the US government would take to this atrocity if the actions of Israel cut across its imperialist interests. Preventing massacres of unarmed protesters was the pretext used for American “humanitarian” intervention in Yugoslavia, Libya and Syria. Israel, as a crucial component of the US war drive against Syria and Iran, receives very different treatment.
While Israeli soldiers gunned down unarmed protesters, the US provocatively opened its new embassy in Jerusalem. The maneuver, which had wide support from Democrats and Republicans, was an endorsement of Israel’s policy of steadily dispossessing Palestinians and illegally settling their land.
No part of the US political establishment has come out and called Israel’s actions what they are: horrific crimes.
My opponent in the elections for U.S. Senator from California, incumbent Senator Dianne Feinstein, responded with insincere and tepid criticism, declaring, “While protests must remain peaceful, Israeli forces must exercise restraint in the use of live ammunition.”
Israel must use “restraint” in the use of “live ammunition” against “peaceful” protests, she says, not that the gunning down of peaceful protesters is an act of state-sanctioned murder!
Just compare that to her statement from 1999 when she criticized the Clinton administration for not deploying troops to Serbia: “The message must be this: The civilized world will never again do nothing in the face of genocide, ethnic cleansing … and violence to thousands of innocent people.”
Feinstein has played a particularly rotten role in efforts to label criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic. Her husband, Richard Blum, a billionaire war profiteer, is also a regent at the University of California, where he pushed for harsh measures against students exercising free speech. During debate over the adoption of new censorship measures against intolerance, Blum cited long conversations with Feinstein and their mutual belief that students criticizing Israel “ought to have a dismissal or a suspension from school.”
The Democrats have consistently supported the billions given yearly in military aid to Israel. In 2013, Feinstein and other Democrats unanimously voted for Senate Resolution 65 which declared “the United States has a vital national interest and commitment to ensuring Israel’s existence and security.” It then encouraged Israeli aggression against Iran, stating, “If Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapons program the US government should provide Israel with diplomatic, military and economic support.”
The official endorsement of Israel’s crimes by the US government is a clear indication of how they plan to deal with popular opposition at home. When the Trump administration’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, declared, “No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has,” American workers should hear it as a direct threat.
For decades, American capitalism has sought to offset its global economic decline through two measures: the greater exploitation of American workers and military dominance of world politics. Interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen are only a few of the reckless military adventures US imperialism has embarked on to redraw the political and economic map.
According to a study from Brown University, the US has spent $5.6 trillion since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 on war and war-related expenses. This amounts to $23,386 for every American taxpayer. Both Democrats and Republicans have supplied these vast sums, along with the trillions in bank bailouts and corporate tax cuts, through the destruction of social spending and working class living standards.
The brutal methods of the Israeli military are themselves tied up with US imperial ambitions in the region. Along with the Gulf monarchies, Israel has played a leading role in suppressing mass democratic and socialist movements throughout the Arab world and waged repeated wars with various countries that have become an impediment to the interests of US capitalism.
The Zionists who promised a national solution to the crimes of 20th century anti-Semitism preside over a country with a 22 percent poverty rate and one of the highest concentrations of billionaires in the world. The far-right orthodox settlers are cultivated by the government not just as a paramilitary force against Palestinians but to suppress social protest within Israel. The increasingly aggressive drive to war against Iran, moreover, threatens to throw all the region’s workers into a new mass slaughter.
Opposition to the crimes of the Israeli government must be connected to the mobilization of the international working class against imperialism. Already this year, masses of American workers have launched strikes against deplorable conditions and low pay. The fight by workers in the US for the right to a quality job, a livable wage, and good health care and pensions, must be connected to the struggle against the American ruling class and its policy of global plunder.
There can be no fight for socialism without a struggle against war, and there can be no fight against war without a struggle for socialism. The Socialist Equality Party is fighting to build a political leadership in the working class on the basis of a socialist program: to take political power, expropriate the banks and major corporations, and put an end to inequality and imperialist violence.
I urge all those who agree with this perspective to join and support my campaign and the campaign of Kevin Mitchell for US Congress, and to join the SEP!