John Moore from the Workers Party spoke at a Gaza protest in Dunedin last Saturday.
About 100 protesters were present, with representatives from the Alliance, International Socialists, Workers Party and the local Muslim community. The following speech was given by John at the rally:
This protest and many others that are being held throughout the world serve two purposes. We are here to express our condemnation of the Israeli state’s attacks on Gaza and to express our solidarity with the Palestinian people.
This protest should not just be about calling for peace. There is a side to choose in this conflict. We should welcome the defeat of Israeli forces that are currently at war with Hamas and the Palestinian people.
Overall we need to start thinking about what tactics we use to oppose Israeli state aggression. Who is the enemy in this conflict, who should we be campaigning against, and what forms of solidarity should we give? Seeing this conflict through the prism of the Palestinian/Jewish divide offers no hope for a resolution. Painting all Jews as the enemy and all Arabs as the victims is both counterproductive and pointless.
A small but growing number of Jewish Israelis and larger numbers of Arabs in Israel have recently taken to the streets to show their opposition to the attacks on Gaza. This small but significant example offers hope for joint Jewish/Palestinian action. Seeing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in ethnic terms leads to misguided tactics.
Campaigns against Israeli Jews, whether in Kebab shops or at Western universities, will only be counterproductive and distracts us from who is the real enemy. The enemy is the Israeli state, not Israeli Jews. All working class people in the Middle East are oppressed by despotic regimes, from Saudi Arabia, through to Iran and including the Zionist Israeli state. All Middle East workers have an interest in a fight for the destruction of these states.