From the beginning of the Israeli government’s genocidal war against Gaza following the October 7 armed action by Hamas against the concentration camp conditions imposed by the Zionist regime, the fake-left faction of the Democratic Party known as the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has gone out of its way to support Israel’s claim to be responding to a war crime carried out by a terrorist organization motivated by antisemitism.
This fraudulent narrative has served as the pretext for genocide against the 2.3 million inhabitants of a blockaded enclave the size of the city of Detroit, which has already claimed more than 12,000 lives, including many thousands of children, destroyed hospitals, schools and apartment blocks, and deprived the defenseless Palestinian population of food, water, fuel and electricity.
The “Final Solution” to the Palestinian question being implemented by the fascistic regime of Benjamin Netanyahu is transparently aimed at “ethnically cleansing” Gaza, killing as many of its inhabitants as possible and driving the rest into Egypt’s Sinai Desert, so that the land can be populated by Israelis in pursuit of a “Greater Israel.”
Contrary to the claims by Washington and Tel Aviv that the current war on Gaza is a defensive response to Hamas’ October 7 raid, directed against the group’s leaders and infrastructure and not ordinary Gazans, it is well known that plans for ethnic cleansing and displacement of the population were drawn up by Israeli officials many years ago.
Israel’s longstanding plans for ethnic cleansing and genocide
A 2016 article published by the Center for Constitutional Rights under the title, “The Genocide of the Palestinian People: An International Law and Human Rights Perspective,” includes the following:
In August 2014, Moshe Feiglin, then-deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset and member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party, called for the destruction of Palestinian life in Gaza and offered a detailed plan for shipping Palestinians living in Gaza across the world. Specifically, he envisioned a scenario where the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would find areas on the Sinai border to establish “tent encampments... until relevant emigration destinations are determined.” He further suggested that the IDF would then “exterminate nests of resistance, in the event that any should remain.”
He subsequently wrote in an op-ed, “After the IDF completes the ‘softening’ of the targets with its fire-power, the IDF will conquer the entire Gaza, using all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations.”
He continued, “Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever. Liberation of parts of our land forever is the only thing that justifies endangering our soldiers in battle to capture land. Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel. The coastal train line will be extended, as soon as possible, to reach the entire length of Gaza.”
The October 7 raid by Hamas has been seized upon to implement this pre-existing plan for conquering Lebensraum over the corpses of the Palestinians.
The claim of Hamas aggression and terror has also served as political cover for a wall of propaganda and lies by the capitalist media in the US and around the world and the virtual blackout of reports on mass demonstrations on every inhabited continent against anti-Palestinian genocide and demands by workers and youth of every race, religion and nationality that it stop.
Further, it has provided the pretext for efforts by governments and universities in the US, the NATO countries and imperialist allies such as Australia to criminalize support for the Palestinians and witch-hunt students and workers who demonstrate their opposition to the Zionist-imperialist slaughter, using the vile slander of “antisemitism.”
The US and its allies have been taken aback by the massive and international character of the anti-war movement that has erupted in response to the Gaza genocide. So too have their agents in the pseudo-left fraternity such as the DSA, who speak for sections of the upper-middle class. Their belated calls for a cease fire, in part in response to internal dissension over their complicity in a historic crime against the working class and oppressed of the world, do not alter their reactionary role.
The record of the DSA and its most prominent officials within the Democratic Party since Hamas’ October 7 breakout from the “open air prison” of Gaza and its armed attack and seizure of hostages in southern Israel could not be more clear.
On October 7, the DSA’s official website nominally called for solidarity with the Palestinians. At the same time, it implicitly condemned Hamas for violence against Israeli civilians and equated its armed resistance with Israel’s 75-year history of violence, terror and dispossession against Palestinian civilians. The DSA wrote:
We unequivocally condemn the killing of all civilians. It is imperative for international human rights law to be respected.
This, however, was deemed insufficient by the Democratic administrations of Joe Biden in Washington, Kathy Hochul in Albany and Eric Adams in New York City, and the military-intelligence machine they represent. A pro-Palestinian protest denouncing Israel’s declaration of all-out war on Gaza, which had been endorsed by the New York City chapter of the DSA, was held Sunday October 8 in Times Square. It immediately came under ferocious attack from all factions of the political system and corporate media, which declared it an illegitimate endorsement of terrorism and antisemitism.
Ocasio-Cortez condemns protest against Israeli genocide as “antisemitic”
The next day, DSA spokesperson and Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denounced the protest and called for further protests against Israel’s carpet-bombing of Gazan civilians to be “shut down.”
“It should not be so hard to shut down hatred and antisemitism where we see it,” she said, repeating the lie that support for Palestine equates to racism and antisemitism. “The bigotry and callousness expressed in Times Square on Sunday were unacceptable and harmful in this devastating moment,” Ocasio-Cortez continued.
The same day she issued a press release, posted on her official congressional website, which stated:
I condemn Hamas’ attack in the strongest possible terms. No child and family should ever endure this kind of violence and fear, and this violence will not solve the ongoing oppression and occupation in the region.
She made no mention of Israel’s bombing of homes, apartment complexes, offices, hospitals, mosques and churches, and its blockage of deliveries of food, fuel, medicine, electrical power and water to the impoverished and densely populated enclave.
Ocasio-Cortez was not alone. Congressman Jamaal Bowman, who as a DSA member voted in 2021 for a bill arming Israel, issued a statement saying he was “shocked and disgusted by the rally held here in NY this weekend celebrating death.” He depicted the anti-war protesters as Nazis who were “showing swastikas.”
New York assemblymember Zohran Mamdani, a DSA member, also denounced the anti-war rally, saying, “My support for Palestinian liberation should never be confused for a celebration of the loss of civilian life. I condemn the killing of civilians and rhetoric at a rally [on Sunday] seeking to make light of such deaths.”
Such examples of craven adaptation to the mass terror and murder carried out by the founders of the Zionist state leading up to and ever since its establishment 75 years ago, with the full complicity and support of US imperialism, and its latest and most naked chapter in the genocide against Gaza, were deemed insufficient by the war criminals in Tel Aviv and Washington, their corporate media mouthpieces and both imperialist political parties in the US.
On October 12, the Detroit News reported that Michigan Republican Rep. Jack Bergman and other House Republicans had filed a motion of censure against DSA member Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian member of Congress, for opposing military aid to Israel and refusing to condemn the October 7 Hamas attack. Lansing-based Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA operative, one of a growing group of “CIA Democrats,” joined in the attack on Tlaib.
The next day, October 13, the Democratic Party-aligned Detroit Free Press reported that Tlaib had denounced the Hamas incursion as a “war crime” in a statement to the newspaper on October 11. “They were war crimes,” she told the newspaper. “It’s a war crime just like the collective punishment of Palestinians right now is a war crime.”
Tlaib’s attempt at appeasement did her no good. Rather, it encouraged the witch-hunters. The House voted on November 7 to censure Tlaib, with 22 Democrats providing the Republicans the margin needed to punish an elected congressperson for her political views, establishing a precedent for dictatorship.
Also on October 13, Jacobin magazine, which is closely linked to the DSA, posted an article by Ben Burgis headlined, “The Media is Smearing the Democratic Socialists of America on Palestine.” It turns out, according to the article, that the media is smearing the DSA by failing to report the public apology by its New York chapter of its endorsement of the October 8 Times Square rally and the multiple statements by prominent DSA Democrats denouncing the Hamas attack as a war crime.
Three days later, on October 16, Ocasio-Cortez, interviewed by CNN’s Abby Phillip on national TV, announced that she would now be prepared to vote for US military funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. In December of 2021, she had voted “present” on the issue—too cowardly and opportunist to vote “no”—for which she had come under attack by Democrats and Republicans alike. But now that the Iron Dome was enabling Israel to carry out saturation bombing of Gaza with little fear of effective retaliation, Ocasio-Cortez had evidently become convinced of its necessity.
Israel’s bombing of the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City on October 18, which killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians, if anything prompted even more condemnations of Hamas and moralizing denunciations of “violence” from the precincts of the DSA.
On October 25, as Israel was stepping up its bombing of Gaza, north and south, and the Biden administration was threatening war against Iran, every voting Democratic member of the House of Representatives cast a ballot for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to become the new Speaker. All of the members of the so-called “Squad,” including Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, Greg Casar, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley, voted for Jeffries.
Eight days later, on November 1, following Israel’s bombing of the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza, Jeffries told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “I know Israel is taking every effort to continue to conduct this necessary war following the international rules of warfare.”
As for Ocasio-Cortez, she stepped up her defense of the Biden administration’s full collaboration in the genocide, promoting its cynical calls for a “humanitarian pause” in the mass murder as a positive step. The New York DSAer is an early endorser of Biden’s reelection.
On October 26, she approvingly retweeted a joint statement by Democratic Representatives from New York Jerrold Nadler and Dan Goldman. The statement condemned Hamas “war crimes and its heinous, inhuman attacks on civilians,” affirmed Israel’s “absolute right” to conduct its war on Gaza and sought to blame Hamas for blocking aid to the besieged enclave. It claimed, without providing evidence, that the Hamas government was “siphoning off aid” for its “terrorist aims,” and demanded that Hamas “release fuel and electricity used for its terrorism to the hospitals in Gaza to insure that injured civilians receive medical care.”
What can one say? In its vileness and depravity, this statement, endorsed by Ocasio-Cortez, is comparable to blaming Jewish resisters for the suffering of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto!
DSA Democrats sign “ceasefire” letter commending Biden and Blinken
The full support of the Democratic Party and Biden for Israel’s mass murder of Palestinian men, women and children in its campaign of ethnic cleansing—a war crime that has shocked and outraged tens of millions around the world—and the denunciations of protests in defense of the Palestinians by Ocasio-Cortez and other DSA officeholders have driven the DSA into a massive internal crisis. With anti-war protests continuing to spread across the US and around the world, and the Biden administration demanding billions more in military aid, while refusing to call for any limits to Israel’s genocidal actions (“no red lines”), the DSA has adopted the call for a ceasefire (rejected by Bernie Sanders). This an attempt at political damage control internally and an effort to prop up the illusion that war and oppression can be ended through pressure from below on the Democratic Party.
On November 15, 24 “progressive” House Democrats, including DSA members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush and Greg Casar, sent a joint letter to the “Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.” and the “Honorable (Secretary of State) Antony Blinken” urging them to call for a “robust bilateral ceasefire” in Gaza.
In its second sentence, the letter pointedly “reaffirms our unequivocal condemnation of the Hamas attacks on Israel that took place on October 7th.” The next sentence, in notably weaker language, states the signatories’ “dire concerns with the ongoing Israeli response.”
After citing some indices of the horrific death and destruction inflicted by Israel on the defenseless population of Gaza, the letter actually “commends” Biden and Blinken for seeking “a major expansion of humanitarian supplies arriving into Gaza.” It expresses concerns that the carnage in Gaza may have negative “national security implications” and risk “undermining the United States’ own credibility in the region.”
After praising Biden’s “wise words” of advice to Israel after the October 7 Hamas attack, the letter says: “We thank the President for calling for a humanitarian pause…”
This sniveling and cynical missive, it should be noted, was sent in the midst of the Israel Defense Forces’ ground invasion of Gaza, its occupation of Al-Shifa Hospital and the expansion of its ground attack to the south of the enclave. It was sent one day after the bipartisan Washington D.C. march in support of Israel and its genocidal war, at which leading Democrats, such as House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, shared a platform with fascistic Republicans such as House Speaker Mike Johnson and the evangelical antisemite John Hagee. The most popular chant at the event was “No ceasefire!”
The letter coincided with Wednesday’s violent attack by Capitol Police on peaceful anti-war protesters, mostly Jewish, outside the D.C. headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. It was followed on Thursday by the Biden administration Department of Education’s announcement of federal investigations into alleged antisemitic incidents targeting five colleges where students protested against US-Israeli genocide in Gaza.
There is no reference in the letter signed by the DSA Democrats to the anti-democratic crackdown on speech and political expression in support of the Palestinians at campuses around the country. There is no demand to stop supplying Israel with the bombs, shells, planes and intelligence being used to murder Gazans, or for the US to withdraw its aircraft carrier task forces sent to the region to menace Iran.
The basic political thrust of the letter, in line with the pro-imperialist politics of the DSA, is to channel social opposition and anti-war sentiment behind the Democratic Party, the graveyard of social opposition for more than a century, and prevent the mass movement against war from turning to the expanding movement of workers in the US and internationally against capitalist exploitation and inequality. The task, as the ICFI and the WSWS have tirelessly explained, is to unite the working class and youth in opposition to all of the parties and governments of the capitalist class—to remove and replace the government, not to pressure it.
The material and political potential for realizing this perspective is clear to see in the global character of the mass opposition to the genocide in Gaza—despite the torrent of lies and propaganda from every imperialist government, corporate media outlet and university administration—amid the growth of an international strike movement of workers against wage cuts, inflation, speedup and inequality.
The DSA even now remains part of the blood-soaked Democratic Party, which is presently leading the proxy war against Russia in Ukraine while providing the arms, the political support and the lying propaganda essential to the Zionist regime’s genocidal war on the Palestinians. At the same time, the DSA’s imperialist party of choice is preparing to open up new fronts in Washington’s drive to overcome its mortal crisis by means of world war—against Iran and China.
And the DSA continues to support the reelection of the doddering war criminal Biden. It has thoroughly exposed itself as an accessory to genocide and an enemy of the working class and oppressed of the world.
- Socialist internationalism and the struggle against Zionism and imperialism
- Down with Netanyahu’s government! Stop the imperialist-backed Zionist onslaught against Gaza!
- Ocasio-Cortez says pro-Palestinian demonstrations should be “shut down” as opposition to Israeli war crimes grows
- Democratic Socialists of America is a “key player” in Israel’s assault on Gaza
- Jamaal Bowman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the DSA’s long record of military support for Israel
- Who is responsible for the violence in Israel and Gaza?