A look at the opposition inside Israel

-Mike Kay

The carnage rained down on Gaza has had a profound effect on the activism of Arabs within Israel. Around 1.5 million Arabs remain living within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. They constitute about 20% of the population, but are treated as second-class citizens. The past few weeks have seen large anti-war demos by Palestinians and some Jews. Not surprisingly, these acts of defiance have been met with clamp-downs by the Israeli state. As Karl Marx put it, “a nation that enslaves another forges its own chains.”

At least 100,000 in people demonstrated in the northern Arab town of Sakhnin and in Tel Aviv against the assault on Gaza on 3 January. According to organisers, Sakhnin was the largest protest held by the Palestinians in Israel in many years. During the first two weeks of “Operation Cast Lead”, 471 protesters were arrested in Israel, including 149 minors. Almost all of those detained were Arabs.saknin

The Tel Aviv protest took place in the face of opposition from far-right Zionists and the police. Among other things, the police demanded that the organisers undertake to prevent the hoisting of Palestinian flags. The organisers petitioned the High Court of Justice, which decided that the Palestinian flag is legal and ordered the police to protect the demonstration from rioters. However, according to Israeli peace group Gush Shalom, the police disappeared towards the end of the march, allowing the far right to attack and disperse the protesters, preventing a planned rally from going ahead.

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Workers Party activist speaks at Dunedin Gaza protest

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.

500 march in solidarity with Gaza in Christchurch


Yesterday around 500 people marched in central Christchurch protesting the Israeli invasion of Gaza which in the past few weeks has claimed the lives of over 1 200 Palestinians (but only 13 Israelis).

Chanting “Occupation is a Crime – Free Free Palestine” the protesters through the main tourist precinct Worcester Boulevard and past the yuppie sports bars on Oxford Terrrace to Cathedral Square in a colourful and energetic display of solidarity with the people of Gaza.


Workers Party members marched behind a banner with the slogan “Resistance is not Terrorism” and also carried placards calling for victory to the Palestinian intfidada,  an end to Israeli apartheid and the creation in its place of a single secular state in Palestine.


The protest was organised by the group “Justice for Palestine”, which brings together a diverse coalition of groups and individuals including Muslims, Quakers, anarchists and revolutionary socialists.

A meeting to discuss plans for future action is being held on Tuesday, January 20 at 6.30pm in the WEA building (59 Gloucester St).

“Close down Rakon, open up Gaza”

Around 200 people protested outside the Rakon factory in Mt Wellington, Auckland today.


Rakon produces crystal oscillators for targeted bombs used by the Israeli air force in their attacks on Gaza. The Rakon parts are supplied to the US which provides the bombs directly to the Israeli military.

As police tried to push the crowd off the Rakon carpark demonstrators pelted the building with red paint bombs shouting “Rakon: blood, blood, blood on your hands”.  A fair bit of red splatter ended up all over the police.


Police seized a demonstrator on the top of the building who had painted Rakon kills.

The demonstration finished with the crowd giving three cheers to the painter-protester.

Rakon was clearly rattled by the demonstration – which got coverage in all the main media – and within a matter of hours they had painted over the paint bombs. But the word “kills” could still be seen through the whitewash.


Nationwide actions against invasion of Gaza


Assemble Outside Sylvia Park Carpark Entrance 1, Mt Wellington Highway

Rakon Industries in Mt Wellington will be targeted in a protest this Saturday against the massacre of Palestinian civilians.

Rakon provides crystal oscillators for targeted bombs used by the Israeli air force in their attacks on Gaza. The Rakon parts are supplied to the US which provides the bombs directly to the Israeli military.


Protest march against the Israeli bombing and invasion of Gaza. Saturday the 17th of January. 12pm. Meet at the Canterbury Museum on Rolleston Avenue. This has been organised by Justice for Palestine Christchurch and is a protest march against the Israeli bombing and invasion of Gaza. We will be marching in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their right for self determination. We will march from the museum to Cathedral Square where there will be speakers.

Please come and express your protest at the latest actions of the Israeli Government.

From more information contact: palestinesolidarity@katipo.net.nz or garage.collective@gmail.com or phone Dan 377 6290. If you would like to help organise this march then you are welcome to come to the next Justice for Palestine meeting which is this coming Tuesday night (the 13th) 6.30pm at the Quaker House ( 72 Creswell Avenue, off New Brighton Road). We will also be making banners for the Saturday march. Thanks, Dan. If you want further colour or black and white posters to distribute then contact: garage.collective@gmail.com 


Peace and Justice for the Palestinian people of Gaza: The Dunedin Coalition against War is organising a Rally in the Octagon at 12 midday this Saturday, 17 January. Speakers will include members of churches, the International Socialist Organisation and the Muslim community.

There will be a Die-In, in which as many people as possible are asked to take part, to represent the 1000 Palestinians killed in the conflict. Please bring a piece of ‘bloody’ clothing or rags if possible. This will be followed by a Prayer Vigil. There will be an opportunity to make a donation to the Christian World Service Appeal for Gaza, and to sign a letter to the Prime Minister John Key and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully.


Stop the Massacre in Gaza! End the Occupation! Tuesday 20 January 2009 12:00 Midday. Meet Cuba Mall (near Bucket Fountain) March to Parliament. Make or bring a Key* (*The key is a symbol of Palestinian Dispossession from their homes and land. This dispossession continues in Gaza as Israel commits another massacre.)

Wellington Palestine Group, P.O.Box 642, Wellington, wpgnz@clear.net.nz 



Two fundraising film evenings: Wednesday Jan 21st, Opotiki Theatre, Church St. Thursday Jan 22nd, REAP House, Pyne St Whakatane. Times the same for both evenings: 6.00 pm – Occupation 101 – The current and historic root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; 7.30 pm sandwich and refreshment break; 7.45 pm – The Iron Wall (45 mins) Israeli settlements and ‘the Wall’ inside the ocupied territory of the West Bank. Whakatane/Opotiki Peace Group contact Lynne 07 315 4646

Middle East politics

For indepth background analysis of the conflicts in the Middle East check out back issues from our MidEast Solidarity and Liberation journals:

MidEast Solidarity Spring 2001 mideast17

No to West’s war of terror

The West’s mass murder in Iraq

Israel’s war on the Palestinians

From Zionism to socialism

One year of the new intifada

Fear of fundamentalism

How the West made Bin Laden

Labour wages war on workers and poor

The problem is capitalism

Towards an anti-imperialist movement

MidEast Solidarity Autumn 2002 mideast22

Black Hawk Down actor speaks out

United Nations – friend or foe?

Peace is not good enough – against the invasion of Afghanistan

Palestine – solidarity urgently needed

Behind the wars on the Palestinians

Deir Yassin massacre

Who is in Palestine?

Liberation Spring 2002 liberation11

Liberating ideas and the movement we need to oppose the war on Iraq

Depleted uranium – another weapon of Western terror

How the West strangles the Middle East

One year on in Afghanistan

Represssion and resistance in Turkish jails

What’s behind the Israeli invasion of Gaza?

– Tim Bowron


Israel and most of the Western media would have us believe that the recent bloody assault on Gaza is a regrettable but unfortunate necessity forced upon the Israelis by the breaking of the June 2008 ceasefire by Hamas. This is a lie.

Between June 16 and November 4 when the Israeli army broke the ceasefire by carrying out an armed raid killing 6 Palestinians in Gaza, no Hamas rockets were fired into Israel. However, during this time Israel maintained a complete sea and air blockade of Gaza, restricting the movement of people as well as of goods and vital humanitarian supplies.

Israel has maintained this blockade since January 2006, when Hamas won power in the Palestinian Legislative Elections. Israel regards Hamas as a “terrorist organisation” because unlike the PLO it has not accepted the apartheid solution of partitoning Palestine into a homogenous Jewish state (Israel) and a small collection of impoverished Palestinian Bantustans in the West Bank and Gaza. The PLO’s acceptance of Israeli apartheid and the Oslo “Peace Process” is the main reason why it lost power in the 2006 elections.

In 1948 when the United Nations in concert with the Western imperialist powers created the state of Israel they gave it 55% of the land in Palestine, despite the fact that Jewish people only comprised one third of the total population. Today the Palestinians are left with only 22% of the land (and much of this is also taken up with illegal Israeli settlements). Over half the Palestinian population (4.2 million) are refugees.

Israel must keep fighting to ensure that it maintains its character as a homogenous Jewish state (the dream of the Zionists) – it knows that if the millions of Palestinian refugees were to exercise their right of return to the homes from which they were forced in 1948 and 1967 then the Jews would be a minority within their own country, so it must do all it can to “disappear” them from history.

The Zionists insist that Jews and Arabs cannot coexist within the same state. Yet this ignores the fact that until the arrival of the Zionist movement in the early 20th century Jews and Arabs had lived together peacefully in Palestine for centuries.

The only solution to the current conflict is the creation of a single democratic, secular and unified state in Palestine with equal rights for all peoples and religions. Until this is realised there will be no peace and no justice.

Christchurch protest THIS SATURDAY against the killing in Gaza


– Israel out of Gaza!
– End the blockade!

PROTEST THIS SATURDAY 17th JANUARY 12PM – assembling outside the Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue followed by a march to Cathedral Square.

Organised by Justice for Palestine, supported by the Workers Party.

Come along and join us in solidarity with the people of occupied Palestine – look out for the big red WP banner!

1,000 rally in solidarity with Gaza in Auckland

Around 1000 people demonstrated against the invasion of Gaza in Auckland today.


The crowd chanted loudly all the way down Queen Street in one of the most spirited demonstrations in years. They rallied outside the US consulate and hurled a sea of shoes.


The people then marched back up Queen Street calling for a boycott of Israel, an end to the occupation and denouncing Israel and the United States.

Background to the Israeli invasion of Gaza


Click here to read an article from the August 2007 issue of The Spark giving some background to the current conflict in Gaza.