WSWS reporters spoke to protesters at a demonstration of over 200 people on Saturday in Inverness, Scotland, in opposition to Israel’s war on Gaza. Protesters braved atrocious weather conditions, with Inverness on an amber weather warning with heavy storm conditions.
Sally Johnson, a former occupational therapist, said, “I'm appalled by the western media's support for Israel. It seems to be money related, and power related with no consideration for human rights and the rights of families to live in their own homes. I think this is linked to the US's global war drive and war drive in the middle east.
“I'm heartened by the response in defence of the Palestinian people in places like Glasgow and London. I feel so energised by them, to fight against not just the Palestinian conflict but conflicts all over the world. I absolutely support the WSWS's call for protesting and striking Israeli workers to link up with the Palestinian people in a struggle for socialism in the region.”
Fran Crowhurst, a teacher, said, “The Palestinians are completely silenced on the mainstream media, but I think people are seeing through this narrative.
“The brutality Palestinian people face is being brought into people's homes, especially young people, who have access to information outside of the mainstream media and have the ability to connect up with other voices around the world.
“I'm fuming with the recent comments by politicians in parliament, even though I knew this is the kind of filth they'd come out with. I'm particularly angry with [Labour Party leader] Keir Starmer. I loathe the man with a passion. The media labelled Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semite because he's an anti-Zionist and they used this campaign to expel anti-Zionists from the Labour Party. It’s an insult to the memory of Holocaust to redefine anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism. But more and more people will see through that as more people like you report and do interviews like this.
“Who are the real antisemites when there's a Nazi in charge of Italy now, a Nazi in charge of Hungary, and they're welcomed into Downing Street. Shame on the likes of [Labour Shadow Cabinet Ministers] David Lammy, Jess Philips, and Wes Streeting for prosecuting this campaign within the Labour Party and more broadly.
“I'm not surprised at all about Biden and Sunak’s embrace of Netanyahu. Some people think it only goes back to the Second World War. They've supported Zionism since the Balfour Declaration. Why did they want control of those areas? Because they wanted a watchdog in that area. The way they drew up the lines and carved it up, they wanted control of oil and important crossings in that region.
“The support for Israel, and Israel’s formation generally, is part of a broader US strategy for the Middle East, especially targeting Iran. The consequences of this conflict for places like Egypt, Syria and Lebanon could be catastrophic. It has global implications.
“I'm hoping for more trade union presence for Palestine, but I think the leaders of the likes of the University and College Union are a disgrace. I'm struggling to make contact with the Educational Institute of Scotland here. The TUC's [Trades Union Congress] position on it was appalling. A lot of the union leadership has a really appalling militaristic position and have supported NATO and the war in Ukraine too.”
Jane Frere is an artist and has done multiple pro-Palestinian works. She said, “I'm shocked that the western media can condone these war crimes, unspeakable crimes against humanity.
“I find it uncomfortable watching Biden and Sunak trying to justify war crimes. They’re going against the Geneva convention, they’re going against United Nations charters, so they are part of this. Their hands are stained with Palestinian blood. I think the US and Israel have always had a strategy to bomb Iran, so I believe this is linked to a broader US war effort in the middle east.
“I will never vote Labour! There is no difference between them and the government.”
Sammy, a GP, told reporters, “The language used by the media of an ‘unprovoked attack’ by the Palestinians is nonsense. Decades of occupation, oppression, no hope, no chance of a future, no jobs, this was not an unprovoked attack!
“Look at history, there have been multiple unprovoked attacks by Israel, including multiple Palestine children killed every year. Have you seen them saying we're bombing Hamas infrastructures? How much infrastructure do they have? Israel have wiped out half of Gaza including hospitals.
“It’s Britain's fault that Israel are there in the first place. Israel is the continuation, by the US and the UK, of their history of colonialisation and imperialism. The sectarian violence is caused by these western powers. It was put there for these forces to have a power in that region.
“Iran keeps getting brought up for their backing of Hamas. I can't tell you how much they genuinely back Hamas, but the fact is that two US warships and a British naval ship have gone there straight away, in a war that supposedly doesn't involve us at all. I think they're looking for any excuse to get involved with Iran. That may be due to Iran’s links to Russia and a further attempt to isolate the Russians.
“I think the support for Palestine in the international working class is wonderful. I'm glad you guys are focusing on the class differences and not the ethnic difference. You get lots of Jewish workers supporting the Palestinian cause and I feel there’s an attempt to present this as an Arab versus Jew conflict. There's more of a class divide in the response to this conflict. Workers who increasingly have no jobs or prospects are sympathising with the oppressed people of Palestine who live under occupation. Those who live well off don't know how these people feel.
“I one hundred percent support the call to link the striking workers around the world at the moment to a struggle against war. This should all be seen as a social struggle of working class people, for wages and against war. The more we can focus on that, in opposition to major corporations, the better.
“Palestinian people and the Israeli workers can focus on their common ground, better living conditions, better working conditions, democratic rights. The Israeli workers have been having issues with Netanyahu and these workers and the Palestinian people can unite on their common interests.”
Anna Fritsch, a paralegal, said, “The Palestinian voice has been shut out. The media is spreading the misinformation about Hamas and conflating them with the Palestinian civilians. A lot of that misinformation is coming from the Israeli government and because our government is complicit in this, that’s the information they are taking. I think because of colonialism, where the countries in the Middle East have been invaded and had mandates put over them that the US just see it as their arena.
“The protests around the world have given me hope. It’s amazing that so many people have turned out. It's appalling the way that politicians and police are smearing and arresting the protesters.
“We must speak out. People in different professions are being blacklisted for speaking against Israel. Doctors are being reported to the General Medical Council, even their tweets are being reported. There's a website called NHS Watch which is keeping an eye on doctors on Twitter/X and will report them.
“There are a few factories in Scotland that handle Israel weapons. The workers there should go on strike and not handle the weapons, and workers around the world should commit to actions like this.
“There are a lot of Israelis that aren't Zionists and I think it's important that they recognise they have a position in the struggle alongside the Palestinian people. I support the call for a unified movement against Zionism by Israeli workers and the Palestinians.”