One hundred days of the imperialist-Zionist genocide in Gaza

Sunday marked 100 days of the imperialist-backed Israeli genocide in Gaza. In just over three months, nearly 24,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, or approximately one out of every 100 people living in Gaza. This includes a staggering 9,600 children. More than 60,000—three out of every 100 people—have been injured. This is the equivalent, in percentage terms, of 3.3 million people dead and 10 million injured in the United States.

Palestinians in the remains of Gaza City on Jan. 3, 2024. [AP Photo/Mohammed Hajjar]

The bombing campaign has left more than half of all buildings damaged or destroyed. Only 15 out of the 36 hospitals in Gaza are even partially functional. Those that remain open confront an acute shortage of medical equipment, medicine and manpower.

As of late last month, it was estimated that 1.9 million people in Gaza, or more than 85 percent, had been internally displaced, forced into a tiny region less than one-third of the total area of the Gaza Strip, which is itself only 365 square kilometers. Diseases are proliferating under conditions of intense overcrowding and lack of access to food, water, electricity and basic sanitation.

The past three months have seen one atrocity after another—from the bombing of refugee camps and hospitals, to the murder of journalists and media workers (well over 100 so far), to the mass execution of prisoners.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marked the 100-day milestone of slaughter by declaring: “No one will stop us—not The Hague [a reference to the genocide case brought before the International Court of Justice], not the axis of evil, and not anyone else.” Israel will continue “to the end—until complete victory,” he warned, which can only mean until every Palestinian in Gaza and the West Bank is killed or driven into exile.

The genocide in Gaza has sparked mass opposition throughout the world, expressed in protests of millions of people over the past three months, the largest anti-war movement since the protests against the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. It has exposed not only the criminality and fascistic character of the Israeli government, but the active support and complicity of the imperialist powers, above all the United States. For an entire generation of young people, the unequivocal support of the Biden administration for Israel’s actions is demolishing the lie that the Democratic Party is a “lesser evil.”

A globally coordinated protest on Saturday involved demonstrations in 120 cities in 45 countries. This included, most significantly, a protest of at least 500,000 in London—the largest in that city since more than 800,000 gathered on November 11—and a demonstration of more than 100,000 in Washington, D.C.

There is a marked contrast, however, between the spirit animating those attending the demonstrations and the perspective of those principally involved in organizing them. The politics of the latter is that of the impotent middle class, which leaves unsaid all the most important things that must be said, while directing opposition behind sections of the ruling elite responsible for the very crimes that are being committed.

The rally in London was co-organized by the Stop the War Coalition, which is politically led by former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. In his remarks, Corbyn, the personification of political cowardice, did not mention either the Labour Party or its leader, Sir Keir Starmer, who has fully backed the genocide. This is despite the fact that Starmer expelled Corbyn from the Parliamentary Labour Party based on fraudulent charges of antisemitism. The platform featured several Labour MPs who have opposed the Labour Party’s support of Israel. All advance the position that somehow the Labour Party can be pressured to oppose Israel’s actions.

The rally in the United States was organized by a coalition of Muslim groups along with ANSWER, which is associated with the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL).

A request sent to the organizers by the World Socialist Web Site and Socialist Equality Party to speak at the demonstration was rejected. While a number of Palestinian speakers spoke movingly about the catastrophe in Gaza, the political line was provided by a handful of Democrats who could be found to criticize Israel’s actions, along with presidential candidates Jill Stein (Green Party) and Cornel West.

Among the Democrats was Congressman Andre Carson (Indiana), who declared that he saw in the demonstration “what it means to leverage our voting bloc.” Carson is among those Democrats (along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others) who signed a letter addressed to the White House last year which, while expressing some criticism of Israel’s actions, concluded by thanking the Biden administration for what it “is doing to respond to this crisis, provide support to our ally Israel, and bring American citizens home safely.”

Carson avoided any reference in his remarks to the Biden administration or its support for the genocide, while concluding with a call for “re-electing those who represent us”—presumably himself and other Democrats.

The remarks of Stein, ostensibly running independently of the Democrats as a member of the Green Party, were entirely oriented to pressuring the political establishment, while not referring to either the Democratic Party or President Biden by name. “We have the power to say to the AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] White House and to the AIPAC Congress, that you are accountable to us, to we the people… We have the power to be instructing our elected officials what they need to do.”

The experience of the past three months, however, has demonstrated that the “elected officials” in both the Democratic and Republican parties respond to mass opposition not by being “instructed,” but by denouncing protests against genocide as antisemitic and seeking to criminalize them. The Biden administration, moreover, has responded to growing opposition by carrying out a major expansion of the war in the Middle East through the bombing of Yemen, threatening war with Iran.

Cornel West addressed the rally toward its conclusion. West specializes in a type of speaking that acts more on the nerves than on the brain, full of sound and fury that, if one gives it a moment of thought, signifies nothing. As typical in all his remarks, West shouted about “love warriors,” the need for “love in freedom and freedom in love,” “truth across the world rising again,” and other moralistic generalities.

West referred to Biden and other officials in the administration as war criminals, though again he made no reference to the Democratic Party itself, with which he has a long association. West concluded his remarks by declaring, “We are calling for more than ceasefire, we are calling for an end of the siege, an end of the occupation, and for Palestinians to live a life of dignity.” How is this to be achieved? Through what means and based on what perspective? West offered nothing, except the hope that Biden and Secretary of State Blinken would change their ways.

Excluded from the demonstration was any reference to the essential issues in the development of a movement against the genocide. Nothing was said of the history of Israel and Zionism or its role as a bulwark for imperialism in the Middle East. No one referred to the interests motivating imperialist support for the genocide, the three decades of unending war, the preparations for war against Iran, the relationship of this to the ongoing US-NATO war against Russia or the developing conflict with China. There was no reference to the working class or the growth of the class struggle throughout the world. The words “imperialism” and “capitalism,” let alone “socialism,” were not uttered.

The organizers wanted no references to any of this because it would cut across their orientation to the Democratic Party. This of course is why they refused to allow a speaker from the World Socialist Web Site to address the rally.

For masses of workers and youth, including those who have participated in the demonstrations, the urgent question is the development of a movement of the working class, on a world scale, in the US and internationally, including through mass strikes and other actions to stop the flow of weaponry to Israel.

The fight against the genocide is necessarily a fight against US-NATO imperialism, for which Israel is serving as an agent in the Middle East. The fight against imperialism is necessarily a fight against capitalism, through the conquest of power by the working class and the socialist reorganization of the world economy. This requires opposition to all capitalist states and the political parties of the ruling elite. It is only along this path that this war and all the wars that are being escalated and prepared can be stopped.

This is the essential conclusion that must be drawn from the 100 days of imperialist-Zionist genocide in Gaza.