The mass opposition to Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza continues to grow in Australia as part of a wave of global protests among workers and youth.
Over the weekend demonstrations were held across the country, with thousands turning out in all the major cities. Participants condemned the political and media establishment, led by the Labor government, which continues to give complete support to the Israeli regime’s crimes.
Thousands turned out for protests in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Darwin and Hobart, with hundreds attending vigils in Canberra and Brisbane. The largest demonstrations were in Sydney, where more than 15,000 people marched and Melbourne, where around 25,000 participated.
The Socialist Equality Party is holding a public meeting to discuss how to take forward the fight to stop the genocide, above all through the mobilisation of the working class.
The meeting will be on Sunday, November 5 at 4 p.m. (AEDT) in Community Room 1, Bryan Brown Theatre, 80 Rickard Rd, Bankstown, New South Wales (NSW). For those unable to attend in person, the event will also be livestreamed via Zoom. Reserve your seat now!
The WSWS spoke to Sarah at the Sydney rally. She said: “The atrocities carried out in Gaza are falling on deaf ears. We’re seeing on social media, dead bodies, babies. Where is the humanity?”
Sarah drew a connection between what is happening in Gaza and the Holocaust. “History is repeating itself. All the signs are there, and all the propaganda is there. After the fact it is going to be reflected on and taught in schools just like the Holocaust. It’s 2023 and we just can’t believe it’s happening.
“It was organised from the beginning, to be honest, from the early 1900s to rehouse the Jewish people and to give them their own country.”
Sarah said this Zionist agenda has been “gaining ground… It’s all about land and [Western governments] getting the resources they want, the oil in the Middle East.”
Sarah continued: “What is happening at the moment is in clear sight.” She was shocked by the “mockery” in the media and recalled Zionists on social media making “mocking videos of women crying and their babies.”
What the Zionists were pushing was that the killing was “all fake and lies… But why would they have to disconnect the internet? Why would they have to disconnect the power and electricity? Why would I have to do all those things to stop voices coming out? I think they’re seeing a momentum with ordinary people around the world and the impact we’re having. They’re trying to silence us. But we won’t be silenced. This is humanity.”
Sarah explained: “It’s not the Israeli people. A lot of the Jews are against Zionism. So, it’s not about religion, it’s just about oppression.”
Adam, a worker in Sydney, said: “I’m here to support the rally. This has gone on for too long. Every day we are seeing the killing of innocent people, women and children. We can't control everything, but we can control what we do and come here and show our opposition.
“What is happening is just sad. Last week at the United Nations, you see these countries either voting against or abstaining on a resolution for a ceasefire. How can they do this? Australia was among those that abstained. It’s ridiculous. It’s not the people, it’s the governments that are corrupt.
'That’s why it’s so important to come out and show the country, this is not just protests of a minority, of Muslims, its Christians, our brothers and sisters who are against this in Judaism as well, it’s everyone. It’s not a religious or racial issue.
“I was surprised by Labor’s position supporting Israel. I voted for this government and its disappointing to see how this has played out. We can’t trust the governments, even the ones you vote for and you think are aligned with your values.”
Reza, originally from Iran, stated: “This is a huge failure. Governments are completely ignoring 75 years of occupation and the 16-year siege of Gaza. They are publicly supporting killing people in the name of ‘self-defence.’
“I grew up in a time of war. I hate war. I don’t think anybody, civilian or not, should be killed. There is no point to it. But unfortunately, what is clear is that the United Nations has failed. It was supposed to be set up after World War II to prevent this sort of thing, but it can’t enforce a ceasefire or stop the genocide.
“Unfortunately, it just does what the western countries, especially the United States, wants. They are using ‘human rights’ as a tool to advance their own interests, they are trying to control the narrative and they are using misinformation. The Australian government is completely aligned with this. The least we can do is come here and show that they are not doing it in our name.”
In Melbourne, Matthew, a hospitality worker, said: “I’m here supporting the people of Palestine and hoping for a complete halt on all military activity, starting immediately. I’m absolutely disgusted with the government. I think the ALP [Labor Party] should change their name to the ‘We do whatever Uncle Sam tells us party of Australia.’”
He added: “I don’t think there should be a two-state solution, I think it should be one state. I think they should just have their religion and allow other people to have their religion. It’s none of my business what the next-door neighbour’s religion is. I don’t have to kill babies about it. I think different nations on one planet is getting a bit old and tired and we should just be one.”
Alice, a law student, said: “I am disgusted with the level of violence and dehumanisation that the Palestinian people are suffering, and the scale of their suffering. The Australian government’s support for Israel shows the level of corruption, and I think it’s a stain on humanity. I think that their actions in supporting the genocidal actions of the Israeli government are just despicable and disgusting.”
Asked about the WSWS international editorial board statement’s call for preparation of a political general strike internationally, Alice replied: “I agree with that. I think that if you have this overarching powerful system that is self-perpetuating, and props itself up, there’s this internal mechanism that is constantly trying to create more profit at the expense of humanity and the earth. That’s just a cycle that can’t end from within that system—you need a new system.”
In Brisbane, Katya said she came to the vigil, “because, first and foremost I am a human being. I also have many friends and family who have connections to Palestine, or who live in Palestine. What is happening is an absolute atrocity.”
Asked whom she blamed for the genocide being committed against the people of Gaza, Katya replied: “Fundamentally it stems from the profit that some countries like the UK, America and allies like Australia make. I blame America for using the displacement of the Jewish people to give them the land and then allow them to ethnically cleanse the region.”
Katya said she was not shocked by the Albanese government lining up so unconditionally behind the Zionist mass murder. “I am not shocked, but I do find it shocking how hypocritical it is, given that we just had a referendum, and the government that campaigned in favour of the Yes vote is now backing this.”
Katya agreed that the government’s claim about the Voice helping indigenous people was false. “Exactly, that’s the issue. You can’t be a hypocrite and claim to be fighting for indigenous people when you support the killing of indigenous people in Gaza.”