Thursday, July 20, 2006

Stop this destructive war! Workers on all sides are paying the price!

A statement by the Workers Advice Center in Israel in relation to Israel's attack on Lebanon.

Since July 12, Israel has been carrying out a disproportionate and murderous war in Lebanon . It has killed hundreds of innocent civilians, including whole families. It has destroyed much of the infrastructure in the south, creating a humanitarian disaster. Those who suffer most are the workers and the poor. At the same time, the IDF continues to pummel Gaza , here too killing innocent civilians. The goal behind all this destruction is to restore the country's power of deterrence. It needs this power so that it can continue to behave unilaterally––without concessions to the Palestinians or the Syrians.

But Israel too, in the present war, has suffered civilian casualties, both dead and wounded, among the half million or more who live in the Jewish and Arab localities of the north.
The working classes on all sides in the conflict have nothing to gain from this war, no matter what its outcome.

Concerning the Palestinian and Lebanese militias, WAC, which represents the progressive Arab and Jewish workers in Israel , sees no justification for their military actions, which they undertook without consulting their peoples, and which gave Israel a much-desired pretext for showing off its might while exploiting divisions within the Arab camp.

We are concerned about the passive way in which the international community accepts the IDF's exaggerated use of force. We call on political parties and workers' organizations, including the trade unions of the world, to demand a cease fire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces back to the international border.

Israel justifies its massive destruction by claiming that it was attacked first. But if it were truly interested in peace, it could have reached a treaty years ago with Syria , with Lebanon , and, most importantly, with the Palestinian people. All it would have needed to do would have been to withdraw from the areas it conquered in 1967 and recognize the legitimate rights of those peoples.

Without such a comprehensive Israeli withdrawal, there will be neither peace nor stability.
It is time to stop the fighting and begin negotiations on the basis of principles that will guarantee the independence and development of all the peoples in the region.



Renegade Eye said...

The working class in Israel, will pay with benefit and service cuts, for this war.

OT: July 20th is the anniversary of the Minneapolis Teamster strike, led by Trotskyists, who led thousands of workers, to open up unionism here.

Derek Wall said...

come and join us on the demo tomorrow,

There will be an emergency demonstration in London on Saturday calling for an end to Israeli attacks on Lebanon and no attacks by either Israel or UK/US on Iran or Syria. Both the national Campaigns Coordinator and the London Campaigns Officer will be present with placards and materials. Members of Green Left are also distributing leaflest on the march.

Greens are meeting at Cleopatra's Needle on the Embankment at 11.30am.

Salman Shaheen said...

I think this article has its heart in the right place, but it misses the mark with me. First, I think it (probably unwillingly) falls into the trap of placing a great emphasis on the value of working class lives to the exclusion of others. What's wrong with just calling them civillians, because that's the real issue isn't it? It doesn't matter what class the dead were born into, it's how they die that matters here. The line that should be clearly recognised is the difference between armed individuals and the innocent, not between owners of the means of production and wage labourers. The one thing that can be said for bombs is that they are truly egalitarian. They're not going to discriminate between rich and poor. Yes, the rich might find it easier to get out of the field of conflict, but as war spreads this will be an increasingly less significant factor, and it would be a mistake to ignore the very simple fact that people of all classes on both sides get killed. Regardless of class, it is a human tragedy.

The second mistake I think it makes is class reductionism. I'm a socialist, I appreciate the value of taking up class based issues, but I think they are far from universal. This article seems to be implicitly, if not explicitly, suggesting that class is the fundamental condition of being. But in this case there are two factors of collective identity which are presently far stronger than class identity: religion and nationalism. These factors create such a gulf that in the short term I simply cannot see the unifying factor of class as being able to bridge it.

Dave Riley said...

Resources on Lebanon invasion: Australia
I've incorporated photoes of yesterday's rally in Canberra with pics of Sydney's protest and am looking for more images from around Australia
But the mass media coverage of this is so bad it is hard to utilize what is being shown on television as single photographs taken by independent journalists and the brutalised population are more descriptive of the carnage.
I'm still 'broadcasting' good audio that I find and am still looking for more stuff. And there's new video being produced daily.
For those who want to review the history, NPR in the United States, produced a 7 part radio documentary on the history of the conflict in Palestine.
IMEMC's daily English audio news service hasn't been available for a few days now, no doubt because of hassles in Bethlehem where the media centre is based.

Martin Wicks said...

Not sure exactly what you mean Salman. It is, of course, difficult to pose a working class perspective in the Middle East, in a situation where the conflict is posed as one of Arabs versus Jews. But the WAC, in a small way, practically unites Jews and Arabs inside Israel.

One of the ironies of the situation in Israel is that there is a very high level of poverty amongst Jews (albeit less than the Arab population). The non-European Jews are at the bottom of the pile, save for the Arabs. But it is their support for the Zionist foundations of the Israeli state which presents an obstacle to uniting with Arab Israelis.

Abstract propaganda on unity of Jewish and Arab workers, such as that of the Militant tendency, is not likely to have any material impact. But it is likely, in my view, that the crisis of the Israeli state will sooner or later detach larger sections of the Israeli working class from the Zionist establishment.

In the region there is a desperate need to open the way to alliance of the socialist and democratic forces fighting against the dictatorial Arab regimes with those forces in Israel opposed to the Zionist state.

Salman Shaheen said...

Well I was pointing to the terminology as much as anything -'workers on all sides still paying the price.' I just find this way of talking a bit 19th century. People on all sides are paying the price, and class really shouldn't come into it on an issue like this.

My second point wasn't a criticism so much as it was scepticism. I really do hope that common ties such as class can override the deep divisions of ethnicity, religion and nationality. At the end of the day, what unites people should be much more important than what divides them - and they do have a lot in common. And there are signs of hope within the peace movement on both sides of the divide. I would therefore be supportive of such initiatives, but I'm not sure that they would be particularly successful, in the short term at least.