[Marxism] When Israel wages war on Palestinians, we speak out. But they are dying, right now, at the hands of an Arab regime

A.R. G amithrgupta at gmail.com
Sun Apr 12 21:57:50 MDT 2015


Some additional points to consider regarding Arab regimes:

Libya, under Qaddafi, also expelled roughly 50,000 Palestinians out of some
bizarre form of revenge against the PLO for agreeing to talks with Israel.
Kuwait ethnically cleansed thousands of Palestinians from that country
following the Iraqi invasion in 1991. The list is probably a lot longer.
These colonial regimes are worthless, depraved, ruthless, and have a long
history of throwing the Palestinians, much less anyone else, under the bus
when convenient. Some of them exemplify fake resistance (Libya, Syria, Iraq
under Saddam Hussein), others never even pretended to be for resistance
(Saudi Arabia, Kuwait).

That being said, I think there are obvious other elements to consider
regarding the so-called "selective outrage":

1) There are plenty of people who do think both the State of Israel and the
Syrian regime are unacceptable in their conduct, and not just a handful of
people on Marx Mail. The Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, a multitude of
different left and resistance organizations have taken anti-regime stances
as well as anti-Zionist stances (and no, that is not an endorsement of the
Muslim Brotherhood). So the idea that there is some sort of "selective
outrage" is itself fairly selective.

2) The Syrian regime is slaughtering people, but it is subject to different
international rules than Israel is. It does not receive billions of dollars
in direct military aid from the most powerful country in the world, nor
does its leadership have a powerful lobby in the United States, nor does
its President get to make multiple speeches before Congress, nor is it able
to carry on with the kind of trade and normalcy that Israel does. In fact
it is subject to sanctions and threatened periodically with "regime
change," even if those threats are empty. It would be completely foolish to
pretend that international outrage in general, let alone among the left, is
somehow disconnected from power. Israel is one of the most powerful
countries not just in the region, but in the world. It deserves greater
international condemnation and scrutiny when it carries out its aggression
precisely because the powers that be in Washington, London, Paris, and even
the Arab capitals consider it to be more or less acceptable.

3) It took the left, outside of the Arab world, nearly two decades to even
consider the existence of the Palestinian people's oppression, in 1967, and
a massacre of roughly 30,000 people in 1982 before supporting Palestine
became even tangentially acceptable, let alone in left-wing circles, to say
nothing of the mainstream. No such issue exists with opposition to Syrian
regime. Within days of the 2011 revolt most of the world, along with much
(though not all) of the left condemned the Syrian regime and its barbarity.
If one were to launch a "BDS movement" against Syria, they could declare
victory on day one.

If anything, the double standard, both in general and on the left, is in
favor of Israel, not Syria. That is not to deny the existence of apologists
for any regime that has even remotely poised itself as anti-imperialist
(Assad, Hussein, Qaddafi, even the DPRK depending on how deep into the
Stalinist trenches you go). But they are marginal.

Moreover, to the extent that Arab regimes have been able to get away with
oppression against the Palestinians, the most obvious of all of them is of
course, the Palestinian Authority. The Arab regimes' role in selling out
the rights of Palestinians or even going to the extreme of joining Israel
in murdering them should not be divorced or seen as separate from the
oppression that Israel has carried out. It is an example of fake,
unaccountable opposition to Israel, that often ends up behaving as the
gatekeepers of Israel and the United States against a particularly
vulnerable population that has been reduced to little more than an internal
security threat/political token when convenient. It is an extension of
Zionism, not something to be contrasted against it. So the real issue is
not that Israel is being condemned more strongly than the Syrian regime. It
is that the condemnations of Israel do not go far enough, such that
opposition to Israel constitutes such a low bar that even regimes
slaughtering Palestinians count as "anti-Zionist".

It's late, not sure if all of that made sense.



- Amith

On Sun, Apr 12, 2015 at 10:46 PM, Michael Karadjis via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> A useful addition to the topic being discussed on another thread.
>
> When Israel wages war on Palestinians, we speak out. But they are dying,
> right now, at the hands of an Arab regime
>
> The refugees of Yarmouk deserve better than silence
> Mehdi Hasan
> http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/12/
> refugees-yarmouk-israel-palestinians-arab-isis?CMP=share_btn_tw
>
> When Israel wages war on Palestinians, we speak out. But they are dying,
> right now, at the hands of an Arab regime
>
> Monday 13 April 2015 01.01 AEST Last modified on Monday 13 April 2015
> 09.04 AEST
>
> Palestinian refugees are being starved, bombed and gunned down like
> animals. “If you want to feed your children, you need to take your funeral
> shroud with you,” one told Israeli news website Ynet. “There are snipers on
> every street, you are not safe anywhere.” This isn’t happening, however, in
> southern Lebanon, or even Gaza. And these particular Palestinians aren’t
> being killed or maimed by Israeli bombs and bullets. This is Yarmouk, a
> refugee camp on the edge of Damascus, just a few miles from the palace of
> Bashar al-Assad. Since 1 April, the camp has been overrun by Islamic State
> militants, who have begun a reign of terror: detentions, shootings,
> beheadings and the rest. Hundreds of refugees are believed to have been
> killed in what Ban Ki-moon has called the “deepest circle of hell”.
>
> But this isn’t just about the depravity of Isis. The Palestinians of
> Yarmouk have been bombarded and besieged by Assad’s security forces since
> 2012. Water and electricity were cut off long ago, and of the 160,000
> Palestinian refugees who once lived in the camp only 18,000 now remain. The
> Syrian regime has, according to Amnesty International, been “committing war
> crimes by using starvation of civilians as a weapon”, forcing residents to
> “resort to eating cats and dogs”. Even as the throat-slitters took control,
> Assad’s pilots were continuing to drop barrel bombs on the refugees. “The
> sky of Yarmouk has barrel bombs instead of stars,” said Abdallah
> al-Khateeb, a political activist living inside the camp.
>
> It is difficult to disagree with the verdict of the Palestinian League for
> Human Rights that the Palestinians of Syria are “the most untold story in
> the Syrian conflict”. There are 12 official Palestinian refugee camps in
> Syria, housing more than half a million people. Ninety per cent, estimates
> the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa), are in continuous need
> of humanitarian aid. In Yarmouk, throughout 2014, residents were forced to
> live on around 400 calories of food aid a day – fewer than a fifth of the
> UN’s recommended daily amount of 2,100 calories for civilians in war zones
> – because UNRWA aid workers had only limited access to the camp. Today,
> they have zero access.“To know what it is like in Yarmouk,” one of the
> camp’s residents is quoted as saying on the UNRWA website, “turn off your
> electricity, water, heating, eat once a day, live in the dark.”
>
> Their plight should matter to us all – regardless of whether their
> persecutors happen to be Israelis, Syrians, Egyptians or, for that matter,
> fellow Palestinians (Palestinian Authority security forces, after all, have
> been shooting and beating unarmed Palestinian protesters for several years
> now).
>
> This is far from a cynical exercise in pro-Israeli whataboutery. There are
> very good reasons that Israel attracts such widespread criticism and
> condemnation in the west. Israel is our ally and claims to be a liberal
> democracy, unlike both Assad and Isis. Israel is also armed, funded and
> protected from UN censure by the US government; again, unlike both Assad
> and Isis.
>
> Those who try to use the tragedy of Yarmouk to excuse or downplay Israel’s
> 48-year occupation of Palestine should be ashamed of themselves. But what
> of the rest of us? Can we afford to stay in our deep slumber, occasionally
> awakening to lavishly condemn only Israel? Let’s be honest: how different,
> how vocal and passionate, would our reaction be if the people besieging
> Yarmouk were wearing the uniforms of the IDF?
>
> Our selective outrage is morally unsustainable. Many of us who have raised
> our voices in support of the Palestinian cause have inexcusably turned a
> blind eye to the fact that tens of thousands of Palestinians have been
> killed by fellow Arabs in recent decades: by the Jordanian military in the
> Black September conflicts of the early 1970s; by Lebanese militias in the
> civil war of the mid-1980s; by Kuwaiti vigilantes after the first Gulf war,
> in the early 1990s. Egypt, the so-called “heart of the Arab world”, has
> colluded with Israel in the latter’s eight-year blockade of Gaza.
>
> Meanwhile, the Palestinians of Yarmouk are living in catastrophic
> conditions, their lives “profoundly threatened”, in the words of the United
> Nations. So what, if anything, can be done? The usual coalition of
> neoconservative hawks and so-called liberal interventionists in the west
> want to bomb first and ask questions later, while the rest of us resort to
> a collective shrug: a mixture of indifference and despair. Few are willing
> to make the tough and unpopular case for a negotiated solution to the
> Syrian conflict or, at least, a truce and a ceasefire, a temporary
> cessation of hostilities. Yet there is an urgent need for a “pause” in the
> fighting in order to ensure “humanitarian access” to Yarmouk, says Chris
> Gunness, senior director of UNRWA, who has described the camp as a hellhole.
>
> UNRWA, he tells me, is “calling on those who can influence the parties on
> the ground to make that influence effective”, adding: “Everyone in the
> Middle East can be influenced, everyone is sponsored.” Gunness points out
> that almost 100 civilians, including 20 children, were evacuated from the
> camp on 5 April so there is no reason why more of Yarmouk’s residents can’t
> be escorted to safety.
>
> We have also failed to put our money where our collective mouth is. The
> UN’s $415m appeal for Palestinian refugees in Syria is only 20% funded, a
> situation Gunness calls “disastrous”. Isn’t it a scandal that there’s
> always spare cash for bombing campaigns yet never enough for emergency aid?
> The Palestinians of Yarmouk, like the Palestinians of Gaza during the
> summer of 2014, need our support, both political and financial.
>
> Now is the time for those of us who claim to care about the Palestinian
> people, and their struggle for dignity, justice and nationhood, to make our
> voices heard. Some 3,500 of the 18,000 Palestinians in Yarmouk are
> children. As Gunness says, his voice trembling with emotion: “We are
> potentially witnessing a slaughter of the innocents. What is the world
> going to do?”
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