As the U.S. administration and other Western governments give carte blanche support to Israel’s mass atrocities in Gaza, they fail to convince millions of ordinary people across the world, and have accordingly lost the international public opinion.
Millions of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched across the world over nearly two months, calling for a halt to Israel’s atrocities in Gaza.
The marches reflected growing disquiet about the mounting civilian casualty toll and suffering from the Israeli war on Gaza. Protesters across the world, including the U.S., U.K. and France, expressed disillusionment with their governments for providing limitless support to Israel amid its intensified bombardments of hospitals and residential areas in the Gaza strip, killing thousands of children, women, and elderly people.
Western governments have endorsed and supported Israel’s war of annihilation in Gaza. Like the invasion of Iraq twenty years before, millions have taken to the streets to protest against Israel’s genocide in Gaza.
Last week, a group of 50 people drove onto the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge during the morning rush hour and stopped their cars, throwing their car keys into the bay and blocking traffic for hours. “Fifteen protesters covered themselves in shrouds and laid down in front of vehicles to represent dead bodies in Gaza,” the New York Times reported.
Meanwhile, in Washington State on 7 November, hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators rallied at the Port of Tacoma to block a military supply vessel they believe was carrying weapons from the United States to Israel.
“We want a ceasefire now. We want people to stop getting murdered now. We want a real examination and action on US foreign policy and US funding to Israel,” said Wassim Hage, community outreach coordinator with the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, an organiser of the Tacoma rally.
Other groups have blocked ports to prevent weapons shipments being loaded onto ships for Israel, in California, Belgium, Australia, and at a BAE arms factory in Kent, UK. This kind of direct action protest to block weapons shipments is spreading.
As Western political elites give carte blanche support to Israel’s total war on the Gaza Strip’s 2.2 million Palestinians, global protests, including direct actions and sit-ins at major rail terminals from New York to London, are sweeping European and American cities.
For the millions around the world protesting against the war, it is the clearest possible case of a militaristic power waging total war on a besieged and essentially defenceless people, endorsed by so-called democratic politicians, against everything they claim to stand for.
In the face of this mass opposition to genocide, western journalists and opinion formers seek to frame the war as Israel against Hamas, as introduced by Jonathan Freedland in his weekly column in Saturday’s Guardian.
Likewise, before any broadcast discussion, TV host Piers Morgan always demands from every guest that they condemn Hamas. He never asks pro-Israel guests to condemn Israel for its terrorism. Jeremy Corbyn was the latest. He did not accept Morgan’s framing, but was shouted down.
A journalist working at a flagship UK newspaper said to me this week how unbalanced it was that all columnists writing about Gaza were pro-Israel or Jewish, while none were Palestinian or Arab. They added that no matter how much the media presented the Israeli view, people in the UK knew that what we were seeing – the mass killing of civilians and children – was fundamentally wrong.
Meanwhile, anyone watching without blinkers can see that Israel is enacting a Nakba against all of Gaza, using the excuse that every school, hospital and refugee camp is a Hamas nerve center. Even the BBC has demolished each of Israel’s almost comical claims at al-Shifa hospital, which it has occupied and destroyed in front of the world, as premature babies and hundreds of seriously injured are left helpless and then expelled.
Unlike Iraq, Western publics can access the horrors of the war directly through their phones on social media, where journalists and activists can share video, images, and stories without the mediation of corporate media. We all see the horror.
Never has the Anglo-American political class been so out of touch with millions of ordinary people’s instinctive revulsion at mass atrocities against civilians, mostly women and children, already suffering under siege and occupation.
While the 2003 anti-war protests in the UK were organised mainly through the Stop the War coalition, with a significant labour movement presence, today’s protests are youthful, diverse and decentralised, with a significant Muslim, Jewish and global majority presence. This is a genuine grassroots mass movement. The unsung and often greying activists of the Palestinian solidarity movement have joined forces with a spontaneous upsurge in cities and on campuses across the UK.
Suella Braverman, the UK’s recently sacked home secretary, responded to this popular movement by inciting far-right mobs to attack peaceful protesters through the Times newspaper. The Tory press has backed her campaign, as they have all major racist movements since Oswald Mosley.
In fact, there is a sense that the movement against Israel’s war in Gaza could potentially destabilise the Western political elite’s pro-Zionist, racist and pro-war positioning that has remained largely unchanged despite the disasters of Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.
More than half a century ago, the US war in Vietnam intensified a global movement against war and imperialism, and spurred an upsurge in radicalism across the Western world.
As his approval rating plummeted and his control of Congress fell apart due to sustained opposition to the war, President Lyndon B Johnson said to his wife in 1967: “I can’t get out, I can’t finish it with what I have got. So what the hell do I do?” A year later, he quit.
Amnesty International has documented unlawful Israeli attacks, including indiscriminate attacks, which caused mass civilian casualties and must be investigated as war crimes.
The rights organization spoke to survivors and eyewitnesses, analysed satellite imagery, and verified photos and videos to investigate air bombardments carried out by Israeli forces between 7 and 12 October, which caused horrific destruction, and in some cases wiped out entire families.
In many these cases checkedby Amnesty, Israeli attacks violated international humanitarian law, including by failing to take feasible precautions to spare civilians, or by carrying out indiscriminate attacks that failed to distinguish between civilians and military objectives, or by carrying out attacks that may have been directed against civilian objects.