To British workers’ credit, there have been record protests across the country since the outbreak of Israeli’s genocidal campaign against the civilian population of Gaza, half of whose 2.3 million densely packed population are children.
This latest wave of Israeli violence was unleashed in a frenzy of impotent but brutal rage after the Palestinian resistance launched its historic ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’ battle on Saturday 7 October. In that operation, which shattered forever the myth of the Israeli army’s invincibility, a coalition of Palestinian resistance forces – which included the secular and communist forces of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberal of Palestine (DFLP), as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad – struck back at zionist Israel from Gaza with waves of missile assaults and troops entering occupied Palestine by land, sea and air, breaching the apartheid wall, reclaiming land and defeating Israeli Defence Force (IDF) army garrison outposts.
On 8 October, Britons were assailed with mass media propaganda demanding sympathy with and support for Israel. We were told gruesome stories in gory detail of supposed ‘Hamas atrocities’. Atrocities we soon learned to be false. Stories of alleged ‘beheading of Israeli babies’ and ‘rape of Israeli women’. A music festival was attacked ‘by the Hamas terrorists’, we were told.
But almost as soon as the stories were released, we learned that they were false – although we did not hear it from the BBC, or the majority of the mainstream media. The mass of Israeli casualties were military personnel, engaged in the occupation and suppression of Palestine.
The ‘beheadings of children and rape of Israeli women’ simply never happened. Hostages were taken, but upon the release of some of them, an elderly Israeli woman shook her captor’s hand before the glare of the global press corps, thanked Hamas and resistance soldiers and, when asked why, told the world’s press how decently hostages had been treated:
“They were gentle with me. I was given shampoo, conditioner. All of my needs as a woman were looked after.”
It was, in fact, Israeli settlers and soldiers, it transpires, who opened fire from within the music festival, and upon the music festival – in part to prevent the taking of hostages in accordance with the IDF 1986 Hannibal directive (a controversial Israeli military policy, supposedly repealed, aimed at preventing the capture of Israeli soldiers by enemy forces – at any cost) – leading to a firefight that put the festival goers at risk.
To ‘party’ in a war zone, we note, can itself only be seen as an obscenity – one typical of the settler-colonial state. For the western press and the IDF, of course, it was a matter of routine to blame civilian deaths on ‘Hamas’, rather than on the true perpetrators of the violence – the Israeli stormtroopers.
Truth, they say, is the first casualty of war. In our imperialist press organs, the truth rarely gets a look-in, as our ruling class is in a perpetual state of war with the mass of the population.
All the familiar propaganda devices of the Israeli and wider imperialist media machine have been wound up to fever pitch to cover Israel’s planned and rapidly executed collective punishment of the civilian population in Gaza: the mass punishment of an entire nation.
“Our enemy is not just Hamas. It is all the civilians in Gaza,” let slip an IDF officer on CNN, in a media clip that went viral. The truth will out. And in this social media age, the monopoly state and corporate press have proved surprisingly unable to shape and control the narrative.
Downing Street was almost immediately lit up with the Israeli Flag – lest anyone was in any doubt where His Majesty’s Conservative and Unionist government, led by Mr Rishi Sunak, stands on the issue. Of course, imperialism always and everywhere stands with itself. It stands with profit. It stands with looting the middle east, and human rights be damned.
But it is increasingly clear to a widening mass of British workers that our government, the Labour party ‘opposition’, and the press are all agents of a hostile power. They do not speak for us. They do not represent British workers. And in this dawning realisation, the capitalist order is becoming ever more fragile – a development to be welcomed.
All government buildings, including the Houses of Parliament and Holyrood (the Scottish parliament building), were ordered to follow suit and wave the Israeli flag. (Government buildings in Great Britain display the Israeli flag but none being shown on main NIO office by Yahoo Finance, 14 October 2023)
The British ‘College of Arms’ made the following statement entitled ‘Attacks on Israel: Flag instructions’:
“Following the attacks on Israel, special instructions have been received that as a mark of respect, UK government buildings able to fly the Israel flag and to light up buildings or monuments, should do so from as soon as possible today 8 October 2023 until 8.00pm on Friday 13 October.” (8 October 2023)
In rapid succession, the well-drilled central and local government buildings, bodies and organisations, devolved parliaments, councils and other administrative institutions obliged. In Sheffield and Manchester, there were direct protests against the zionist flag being imposed on the populace, even as Israel committed genocide with the full and unreserved backing of our government.
In Manchester, protestors were arrested for flying the Palestinian flag – sending a direct message to the wider working population. Undeterred, in Sheffield, protestors stormed the town hall and forcibly removed the Israeli flag, raising in its place the Palestinian colours – to loud cheers!
Even ministry of health civil servants in Whitehall rebelled against these government instructions, refusing to fly the Israeli colours, which symbolise a “greater Israel, between the Nile and the Euphrates” – with all the attendant displacement of the native Arab populations that this apartheid creed implies (Left-wing civil servants resist Downing Street’s call to fly the Israeli flag in solidarity with the victims of last weekend’s terrorist attacks by Glen Owen, Mail Online, 15 October 2023)
Inf act, a survey suggested that 55 percent of Britons with an opinion on the matter opposed the Israeli flag being imposed on us in this way: “Four in ten UK adults (39 percent) opposed flying the Israeli flag on government buildings. One in five (19 percent) ‘strongly oppose’ the idea, while a similar number (20 percent) ‘somewhat oppose’ it.” (Brits oppose flying Israel flag on government buildings, poll finds by Xander Elliard, The National, 11 October 2023)
A distinct improvement, it must be said, over the passive acceptance of the Ukraine-washing that was imposed relatively easily on the British population in February 2022. British workers have of course been carefully conditioned with Russophobia, and remain largely ignorant of Nato’s aggressive warmongering expansionism, its proxy-fascist Ukrainian puppets, and the eight years of war waged by those fascists against Ukraine’s Donbass civilians prior to Russia’s special military operation.
BBC war propaganda in the guise of ‘objectivity and impartiality’
On 11 October, a false controversy was stirred up between differing press wings over the incredible pro-Israeli press bias. (Why BBC doesn’t call Hamas militants ‘terrorists’ by John Simpson, BBC, 11 October 2023)
The British ruling class and their BBC state propaganda mouthpiece are masters of dressing up their bias as ‘impartiality’, of so writing and wording their disinformation that the reader accepts it as ‘fact’ and as ‘impartial truth’.
That is their genius. The German Nazi propagandists never had the length of time to acquire this expertise, but Goebbels marvelled at the way the royal family, or a ruling-class accent, commanded instant respect and obedience from the British working class.
All this is carefully cultivated. Even this false controversy – should we call Palestinians terrorists or just militants (never of course ‘resistance forces’, ‘liberation fighters’ or merely the neutral and respectable ‘armed forces’!) – itself is the propaganda.
A steady one-sided stream of ‘news’ painting the victim as the aggressor; the ignoring of the fact that resistance is Palestine’s reaction to 75 years of the escalating crimes by an Israeli occupation, which was itself the first act of ‘aggression’. Where is the Israeli terrorism and the British and US terrorism in the imperialists’ narrative? It is conveniently omitted. Edited out. Passed over in silence.
Simpson wrote: “The key point is that we don’t say it in our voice. Our business is to present our audiences with the facts, and let them make up their own minds.
“As it happens, of course, many of the people who’ve attacked us for not using the word terrorist have seen our pictures, heard our audio or read our stories, and made up their minds on the basis of our reporting [hear!], so it’s not as though we’re hiding the truth in any way – far from it.
“Any reasonable person [sic] would be appalled by the kind of thing we’ve seen [we have ‘seen’ it. It is undeniable truth!]. It’s perfectly reasonable to call the incidents that have occurred ‘atrocities’, because that’s exactly what they are [but not all is seen. In fact much is fabricated and syndicated, as we have seen above. A very selective picture is constructed and ‘seen’ by hundreds of millions of BBC viewers.]
“No one can possibly defend the murder of civilians, especially children and even babies – nor attacks on innocent, peace-loving people who are attending a music festival.”
We have examined these lies above. But what mention in the BBC of the plight of 2.3 million Gazans, living without fuel, water, electricity or food, who live in conditions – even between escalations – of miserable starvation on the rations permitted by the occupation, and who could not dream of attending a music festival on their own stolen land as they are considered an inferior race by the occupiers? Silence!
Simpson’s article would be absurdly funny, were it not itself the highest form of crime – war propaganda, invested with moral authority and mainlined to the whole world. It is precisely such people who should face their own Nuremberg tribunal.
BBC racism and bias: its own employees accuse the BBC of ‘incitement, dehumanisation and war propaganda’
The extent of BBC complicity in Israeli war crimes was highlighted by the news that the BBC’s own correspondent, based in Beirut, had complained that he had “the gravest possible concerns” about BBC output and that “the BBC values Israeli lives more highly than Palestinians”.
In an email to Tim Davie, BBC director general, which was widely shared with BBC News International staff, he wrote: “Words like ‘massacre’, ‘slaughter’ and ‘atrocities’ are being used prominently in reference to actions by Hamas, but hardly, if at all, in reference to actions by Israel.
“Does this not raise the question of the possible complicity of the BBC in incitement, dehumanisation and war propaganda?” (BBC staff ‘crying at work’ over Israel-Gaza coverage by Alex Farber, The Times, 25 October 2023)
Yes. It does. Because, quite blatantly, war propaganda is what it is spewing forth from the BBC on all its many channels 24/7. And this, as we have seen, is no accident.
BBC Broadcasting House demonstration
On 14 October 2023, an emergency demonstration of tens of thousands was called outside BBC Broadcasting House, in Portland Place, London, singling out this location precisely because of the biased war propaganda emanating from the alleged bastion of ‘impartiality and objectivity’. Already, the media were cranking into gear to denounce the waving of Palestinian flags as being ‘antisemitic’ – a by now familiar refrain from the years of attacks on former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn, of course, was weak in the face of such attacks, and backed down when he should have stood firm, sacrificing his allies, his support of Palestine, and ultimately his leadership of the Labour party (See our pamphlet, The Rise and Fall of Project Corbyn).
But his supporters and the wider working class have no time any longer for the fake charge. Like the boy who cried “Wolf!”, Labour and Tory leaders find the cry ‘antisemite!’ no longer attracts any attention, and the capitalists are left dangerously exposed.
The Telegraph went to print at 8.00pm the same evening as the vibrant BBC protest, which its editors had no doubt hoped would be small enough to be derided – or simply ignored:
“Tens of thousands of people attended pro-Palestinian protests marred by antisemitic chanting on Saturday, as Rishi Sunak insisted he would not tolerate hate against jews, saying: ‘Not in our country. Not in this century.’
“Some 30,000 people attended a march through central London, which featured chants including ‘From the river, to the sea, Palestine must be free’.”
“Suella Braverman, the home secretary, has warned this chant could be understood ‘as an expression of a violent desire to see Israel erased from the world’.” (London protesters chant anti-Israel slogan condemned by Suella Braverman by Edward Malnick, Sunday Telegraph, 15 October 2023)
Is opposition to Israel (and Israeli genocide) antisemitism?
Former Tory leader William Hague put forth his opinion for the Times in an article entitled ‘Fractured democracies embolden their enemies’. As Hague always speaks for the most rabid Atlanticist Anglo-American Nato imperialists, it is worth recounting his core points, which have also been repeated endlessly by lesser servants:
“There have always been two arguments in favour of the existence of the state of Israel.
“One is that, after centuries of persecution culminating in the holocaust, there should be a national homeland for jewish people. The [entirely fabricated] barbaric atrocities of Hamas and the antisemitic [pro-Palestinian] chants in many parts of the world in the past ten days have underscored the need for that.” (16 October 2023)
This is a false and, in fact, an antisemitic argument. It is the reasoning of the ultranationalists. Jews outside Israel are not a nation, but a religious group. Moreover, they are not ‘aliens’, but citizens of their respective countries – to where, incidentally, even now, most Israelis may safely return courtesy of their dual citizenships.
Moreover, by ghettoising jews in an apartheid and racist settler state, a tool of the very forces responsible for the holocaust perpetrated against them in Europe, and actively involved in perpetrating another holocaust against their Arab Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian, Iranian etc neighbours, they are quite clearly not being ‘made safe’ in such a ‘national’ homeland but set on a course of self-destruction.
It was just this position of zionism, that jews are ‘alien’ to Europe and don’t in truth belong here, that chimed with racist European colonial ideology – including but not limited to British colonialism and German Nazism – and led to the signing of the Balfour declaration in 1917 and then to the transfer agreement between the German fascists and the German Zionist Organisation in the 1930s.
It was this reasoning that led Hungarian zionists (in conjunction with the World Zionist Organisation and its settler leadership in Palestine) to actively collaborate with the fascist SS in the latter part of WW2, facilitating the ‘orderly’ extermination of 800,000 Hungarian jews in return for the sparing of a few thousands to colonise Palestine.
Is Israel the ‘only democracy’ in the middle east?
Hague continues: “The second [argument for supporting Israel] is that Israel is the ‘only true democracy in the middle east: an island of freedom in a lake of autocrats and dictators’ [our emphasis!]. Lebanon holds elections, but only to test the strength of armed camps and ethnic groups in a barely functioning state. Egypt’s flirtation with free elections ended with the return of the usual one-man rule. Tunisia, a bright hope in recent years, has been sliding back to autocracy. The Gulf states have powerful economic visions but democracy does not feature in them. For decades, Israel has been the beacon of freedom and the rule of law.”
What a farce. The autocratic regimes of the middle east (Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, etc) have been carefully cultivated by the Anglo-American imperialists, and all their excesses are tolerated while the wealth of the region continues to flow into imperialist coffers – the banks, armaments and oil monopolies, construction companies and engineering firms, the stock markets of the City of London and Wall Street.
Syria holds regular elections. Hague, of course, when in government plotted with the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the zionists and the Saudis to overthrow that democratic system and install its own puppets. Such is his and the British imperialists’ deep regard for ‘democracy’! Why did the Anglo-American imperialists strive to destabilise Syria? For the same reason they support Israel – and, as former US president Donald Trump pointed out, for the incurably dull-witted: “We have the oil!”
What democracy for the ‘human animals’?
And the most obvious point: there is no democracy for the Arab population, either inside the borders of Israel or in the ghettos, the ‘open air prisons’ of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – where Israel is currently engaged in its most brutal round of ethnic cleansing, killing thousands of children, more than 5,000 at the last count – the descendants of their previously ethnically cleansed victims, we must note – by bombing civilian housing and laying siege to the entire population, slowly strangling 2.3 million human beings.
Half the population – more than one million people – have been ordered by Israel to move to the south of Gaza, to ‘avoid the bombings’, which are allegedly aimed at the “total destruction of Hamas” (a term used interchangeably with Palestinians, be it said in passing). This is itself a war crime, passed over in silence.
Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour opposition leader being groomed as Britain’s next prime minister, when asked if Israel is committing war crimes said: “I think it’s wrong for politicians to stand on platforms and sit in television studios and judge what is and isn’t a war crime.”
Although he has shown no such reticence in hurling false accusations at Russia. He, of course, is acting as a spokesman of the principal war criminals, the Anglo-American imperialists.
To drive the point home, Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallan on 9 October proclaimed openly in a live press conference televised around the world: “We are fighting human animals and we act accordingly.” The minister went on to call for further oppression of all people in Gaza by denying them basic human needs.
“We are imposing a complete siege on Gaza,” Gallant said. “There will be no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything will be closed.” (Israeli defence minister announces siege on Gaza to fight ‘human animals’ by Sanjana Karanth, Huffington Post, 9 October 2023)
Israel’s end game
This is all being done in an attempt to push the remaining Gazan population into Egypt. This campaign, from the fascistic Israeli government’s perspective, is itself merely a staging post in the relentless policy of colonial expansionism and war. Moreover, this ethnic cleansing has been openly promoted by our imperialist leaders as being the best ‘humanitarian solution’ to the problem – while paying hypocritical lip service to the obviously now defunct ‘two-state solution’.
Keir Starmer, Labour’s great hope for government – and still pathetically supported, incidentally, by the Trotskyite and revisionist ‘revolutionaries’ of the British left – speaking at Chatham House on 1 November, declared himself against a ceasefire. In other words, the genocide must continue, to achieve this end!
If this apartheid settler-colonial state is really “a democratic island of freedom” – well, we know what your ideals of freedom amount to, Mr Hague. And remind us to oblige you by putting you and your ilk firmly in the clutches of such a hostile and inhuman regime when workers come to power.
USA gears up to protect Israel and prosecute a regional war
On 15 October, the USA “deployed two aircraft carriers – and their supporting ships – to the eastern Mediterranean.
“The ships are meant as a deterrent … [against the Arab people who wish to stop Israel’s ethnic cleansing and destroy the brutal settler state once and for all] and bring a significant amount of power to a region that already hosts a number of US military ships, planes and troops …
“The Gerald R Ford carrier … commissioned in 2017, is the United States’ newest aircraft carrier and the world’s largest, with more than 5,000 sailors aboard. It includes a nuclear reactor, can hold more than 75 military aircraft, including fighter aircraft like the F-18 Super Hornet jets and the E-2 Hawkeye, which can act as an early warning system.
“It has an arsenal of missiles, like the Evolved Sea Sparrow missile, which is a medium-range, surface-to-air missile used to counter drones and aircraft. The rolling air frame missile on the Ford is used to target anti-ship missiles along with the Mk-15 Phalanx Close-In weapon aystem, which is used to fire armour-piercing bullets. The Ford also includes sophisticated radars that can help control air traffic and navigation.
“The supporting ships include the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser Normandy, Arleigh-Burke-class guided missile destroyers Thomas Hudner, Ramage, Carney, and Roosevelt. They include surface-to-air, surface-to-surface, and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
“The Pentagon directed the Dwight Eisenhower carrier strike group to move to the eastern Mediterranean … The nuclear-powered carrier, commissioned in 1977, first carried out operations during Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.
“The carrier has 5,000 sailors and can carry up to nine squadrons of aircraft, like fighter jets, helicopters and those capable of carrying out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. Much like the Ford, the Ike carrier will be accompanied by other ships like the guided-missile cruiser Philippine Sea, guided-missile destroyers Gravely and the Mason.” (US aircraft carriers – What they bring to the middle east, Reuters, 16 October 2023)
With all this firepower, the USA could halt the genocide in an instant. But be under no illusions, that is not their purpose. Quite the reverse.
Israel bombs the Al-Ahli Baptist hospital in south Gaza, killing 500 women and children
On 17 October, Israel bombed the Al-Ahli Baptist hospital, headquartered in Al-Zaytoon neighbourhood, south of Gaza city. Al-Ahli is one of the largest and also oldest hospitals in Gaza, having been founded in 1882, and it serves more than 45,000 patients each year, principally poor, working-class Palestinian families.
Israel had already warned various hospitals, including Al-Ahli, that they must evacuate, and that hospitals would be bombed, despite the fact that thousands of Palestinian civilians, displaced by Israel’s slaughter, were sheltering there. (What is Al-Ahli hospital that Israel has just bombed in Gaza?, Palestine Chronicle, 17 October 2023)
This is not unusual. Israel routinely bombs ambulances, medical personnel, clinics and hospitals. Indeed, the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a statement pointing out that there had actually been over 51 attacks on healthcare facilities in Gaza since the start of the conflict on 7 October.
British medical journal the Lancet later joined in condemnation of the attack and of Israel’s criminal targeting of medical personnel and facilities, noting: “Since 7 October 2023, Israeli military bombing of the Gaza Strip (or Gaza) has resulted in 73 healthcare workers being killed, with 57 healthcare facilities attacked as of 24 October 2023.
“Of these healthcare workers, 16 were killed while on duty. Some of the prominent healthcare workers who were killed include Omar Ferwana, former dean of the Islamic University of Gaza School of Medicine, and Medhat Sedim, one of the very few board-certified plastic and burn surgeons in Gaza. Other healthcare workers killed include nurses, paramedics and others, many of whom were killed with their families while asleep at home.” (Urgent call for protecting healthcare workers in Palestine by Osaid Alser and Muath Alser, 31 October 2023)
IDF propagandists perhaps thought it would be business as usual when they initially claimed that the strike was justified by the alleged presence of “Hamas terrorists” (Palestinians) inside the building. Senior Israeli politicians had in fact tweeted news of and claimed ‘credit’ for the attack before it had taken place.
But when the world learned that the missile attack – quickly identified as a US-supplied Jdam missile, only possessed by Israel’s airforce – had hit the huge hospital in Gaza city, killing at least 500 people, mainly women and children, the force of the international condemnation led Israel to change its story – repeatedly and unconvincingly.
First they blamed Hamas itself, and then Islamic Jihad – perhaps thinking that the name itself would garner more support from a European population pumped with islamophobia for the last 30 years. (What is Israel’s narrative on the Gaza hospital explosion?, Al Jazeera, 18 October 2023)
In rapid succession, US president Joe Biden, British prime minister Rishi Sunak, European Union president Ursula von der Leyen, German chancellor Olaf Scholz and other western leaders all flocked to Israel to show ‘solidarity’ with Benjamin Netanyahu’s genocidal government and campaign.
Notably, none of these western dignitaries were hosted by regional Arab governments – not even by those usually to be relied upon to act as puppets and proxies of the imperialists, with whom they merely sought ‘talks’ aimed at shoring up and protecting their zionist army.
All the visitors claimed to be appalled at the “loss of life” in Gaza and in the “hospital explosion”, but none blamed Israel. Indeed, they blamed the Palestinians themselves, and supported the ongoing atrocities as being justified in order to “destroy Hamas”.
US president Joe Biden
President Biden, in his usual rambling and incoherent style – he apparently could not even recall the names of the alleged perpetrators he wished to finger – said:
“The point is, is that I was deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion of the hospital in Gaza yesterday, and based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you, but there’s a lot of people out there not sure, so we’ve got a lot – we’ve got to overcome a lot of things.” (Biden backs Israel’s stance on deadly blast at Gaza hospital by Julian Borger and Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian, 18 October 2023)
Rishi Sunak, British Conservative prime minister
Rishi Sunak was unequivocal in his support, saying: “We absolutely support Israel’s right to defend itself in line with international law [!], to go after Hamas.
“Now I know that you are taking every precaution to avoid harming civilians [!], in direct contrast to the terrorists of Hamas, which seek to put civilians in harm’s way.
“Can I also say that we have seen scenes over the past day that have shocked all of us, particularly at the hospital, and we mourn the loss of every innocent life [!], civilians of every faith and every nationality who have been killed.
“The last thing for me to close on is this: you describe this as Israel’s darkest hour, well then it’s for me to say that I am proud to stand here with you in Israel’s darkest hour as your friend. We will stand in solidarity, we will stand with your people. We want you to win!” (Sunak tells Israel: ‘We want you to win’ by James Heale, The Spectator, 19 October 2023)
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen
The European Commission president stated: “This is the most heinous assault against jews since the holocaust. We thought this could never happen again, yet it did. In the face of this unspeakable tragedy, there is only one possible response: Europe stands with Israel [genocide].
“And Israel has a right to defend itself [!]. In fact, it has the duty to defend its people. And we must call by their name the atrocities committed by Hamas. This is terrorism. This is an act of war. Nothing can justify what Hamas did. This is the time to stand in solidarity with Israel and its people. And this is why I am here.
“Let me also be very clear that Hamas alone is responsible for what is happening [Is the same person writing all the speeches of western leaders? Certainly, von der Leyen and Keir Starmer seem to have the same script!]. Hamas’s acts have nothing to do with the legitimate aspiration of the Palestinian people. On the contrary, the horror that Hamas has unleashed is only bringing more suffering upon innocent Palestinians.
“They are threatened, too. Hamas’s despicable actions are the hallmark of terrorists. And I know that how Israel responds will show that it is a democracy.” (Statement by President von der Leyen with Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, European Commission, 14 October 2023)
Yes: bombing civilians, hospitals, women, children (killing more than 9,000), the mass transfer of a million civilians, cutting off fuel, water, food and medicine to 2.3 million people, and genocidal ethnic cleansing – this is western democracy in its most pure form.
Censorship and psychological operations
Von der Leyen continued: “Finally, jewish communities across the world are also deeply affected, including in Europe. Antisemitic incidents are again on the rise. And this is unacceptable. We are deeply concerned by the spread of online hate speech and fake news, which are proliferating at worrying speed and are even difficult to keep track of.
“We are already in contact with social media platforms to remind them of their obligations. There is no place and zero tolerance for hate in Europe, both online and offline, against anyone.”
“Following the terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas against Israel, we have indications that your platform is being used to disseminate illegal content and disinformation in the EU. Let me remind you that the Digital Services Act sets very precise obligations regarding content moderation.” (EU warns Elon Musk over ‘disinformation’ on X about Hamas attack by Lisa O’Carroll, The Guardian, 10 October 2023)
Russia can strike US carriers – ‘this is not a threat …’
On 18 October, President Vladimir Putin told reporters in Beijing after talks with Chinese president Xi Jinping that he had ordered MiG-31 aircraft armed with Kinzhal missiles that “have a range of more than 1,000km at a speed of Mach 9” to conduct permanent missions over neutral waters in the Black Sea. “This is not a threat, but we will exercise visual control – control with weapons – over what is happening in the Mediterranean Sea.” (Putin sends jets with hypersonic missiles to patrol Black Sea, Bloomberg, 18 October 2023)
The ongoing zionist-imperialist horrors, the bombing of civilian and especially medical infrastructure, the escalation towards regional war, with the USA sending a flotilla of its aircraft carriers to the eastern Mediterranean to protect and sponsor Israel’s ongoing genocide, triggered global revulsion and a further wave of protest and action.
Marble Arch to Downing Street demonstration
On Saturday 21 October, an enormous wave of support for the Palestinian people brought 350,000 British workers to London’s streets, marching from Marble Arch to Downing Street. As throngs of protesters from all sections of British society – by no means limited to the many with an Arab, Asian or muslim background, but reflecting the fact that London and Britain have drawn workers from across the world – formed a human wall extending along the entire length of the march, to the chagrin of our ruling elite.
The Territorial Support Group (TSG) of the Metropolitan police, together with further units of riot squad thugs of the City police – often ex-military personnel, under direct financial and operational control of the financiers in the City of London, the real ruling class of Britain, let it be noted – were mobilised in huge numbers for this demonstration, with row after row of packed vehicles lining side streets along the course of the march, from Hyde Park to Whitehall.
But the sheer mass of demonstrators made it impossible for the police to escalate and engage in violence – a tactic they so often use to discredit the protestors in the eyes of the broader British news-viewing public.
As the dust settled on a record upswing in workers’ anger and protest in support of Palestine, against all the pressure of our united press and politicians, the Times weighed in:
“Suella Braverman will ask the head of the Metropolitan Police to explain his force’s response after protesters who chanted ‘jihad’ during a pro-Palestinian rally [interestingly not the 350,000 strong demonstration outside Downing Street] in London were not arrested.”
“The home secretary says that there can be ‘no place for incitement to hatred or violence’ on Britain’s streets and that the police ‘must crack down on anyone breaking the law’.” (Gaza protests: No 10 defies Met chief’s call for new police powers by Steven Swinford, David Woode, James Beal and Matt Dathan, 23 October 2023)
Clearly, the government claims a monopoly on the right to incitement to hatred and violence – whether by supporting Israel’s genocide without condition or by introducing racist immigration laws (“Stop the boats!”), or attacking British workers’ wages and social services, enforcing their poverty.
The Times article and the outpouring from Braverman are more proof that she and her government wanted to criminalise the huge 350,000 strong Palestine demonstration – but that the police in operational control on the day were afraid to do so in view of its strength.
Moreover, this ‘violent hatred’ approach (to those demonstrating for a ceasefire, and for the end of Israel’s genocide against Palestinians) is clearly intended to be a smokescreen for the real question of our government’s undemocratic and unpopular stance in supporting the ongoing genocide. Attack, feels Braverman, is the best form of defence.
The elephant in the room is that the Palestinian people have the right to self-defence under international law, while Israel’s genocide is flagrant and obviously illegal. If the police were to take action within a legal framework, it should be against the Labour and Tory politicians – Suella Braverman, Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak included – who spew their hatred and bile, their defence and cover for Israeli genocide onto the airwaves continuously.
This is war propaganda, an international crime under the fourth Geneva convention. But, of course, the British state does not stand above society – it is an instrument in the hands of the ruling billionaire class, just as surely as are our government and the main political parties – Tory, Labour or Liberal.
In passing, we note that even if one takes the meaning of ‘Jihad’ as holy war, or just struggle – which one man is alleged to have said, though where and when is not clear – then this simply means that the Palestinian people have the right to struggle for national liberation and self-determination. Which remains true in any language and according to countless United Nations resolutions.
This is, in reality, a psychological operation being fought against the British people to use apparently ‘alien’ language (and a totally spurious ‘islamist’ or ‘wahhabist’ label) to condemn the Palestinian people’s resistance and their supporters in Britain. The (Palestinian) victims are once again being labelled as the aggressors (or as ‘Hamas terrorists’).
Braverman once again (“Stop the boats!”) is blatantly playing the racist and islamophobic card in a vain attempt to allow her criminal government to continue its policy of supporting, aiding and abetting genocide.
Meanwhile, the wider regional conflict in the middle east intensifies, with the Yemeni national government officially declaring war on Israel in solidarity with Palestine, and increasing clashes on the northern Lebanese border with Hezbollah. (Analysis: Houthis declare war on Israel, but their real target is elsewhere by Zoran Kusovac, Al Jazeera, 2 November 2023)
Israel bombed Syrian airports in Damascus at the opening of the conflict, and the drawing in of Syria or Iran may well wipe away imperialist control of the middle east, of which Israel remains an integral component.
Half a million march for Palestine: Embankment to Parliament Square demonstration
On Saturday 28 October, an incredible human torrent of 500,000 men, women and children assembled on Victoria Embankment. The demonstration marched over Westminster Bridge and, having doubled back over Waterloo Bridge, went past Downing Street and on to Parliament Square in the largest protest seen since the 2003 anti-Iraq war demonstration. Again, our government and pressmen and the impotent police watched in horror as their message and threats not only went unheeded but were totally defied.
Small scuffles initiated by the Territorial Support Group thugs in uniform resulted in the arrest of one young man who has been rapidly and vindictively sentenced to six months in prison, the police being touted once more as the victims. Let it be clearly noted that the Met and City police are in this way standing with Israeli genocide on the orders of a corrupt, cynical and hypocritical government of imperialism.
Successful rallies and marches, many of several thousands, have been staged up and down the country: in Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Birmingham, Bristol, and even Canterbury. There is scarcely a town or city where events and meetings in support of Palestine have not been held.
On the evening of Tuesday 31 October, hundreds of protestors upped their activity by holding a sit-in in London’s Liverpool Street station, and Action for Palestine have increased their programme of direct action against British companies and factories manufacturing arms used to commit atrocities against the Palestinian population.
A racist undercurrent in our press has tried to brush this off as a ‘foreign’ affair – the work of muslims and Arabs, not of ‘decent, law-abiding’ (most do not quite say ‘white’) British citizens. But this is a foul slander against progressive British workers, who have long held the cause of Palestine to be our own. Support for Palestine amongst British workers, disgusted at Israel’s war crimes, has never been so vocal and so all-embracing.
Moves are now being made by the British establishment to ban the ongoing actions of working-class support for Palestine.
“A pro-Palestinian demonstration through Whitehall on Armistice Day would not be ‘appropriate’, security minister Tom Tugendhat said on Friday. The former soldier said he had written on Thursday night to the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Westminster council and Met police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley about the proposed protest.” (Pro-Palestinian march in London on Armistice Day ‘risks Cenotaph being desecrated’, says PM amid ban row by Nicholas Cecil and Noah Vickers, Evening Standard, 3 November 2023)
As Israel continues its crimes, in conjunction with the Nato powers and our own government, British workers are set to continue their legitimate right to political protest against imperialism. We will be with them.