Singing songs and carrying signs, mostly say, “Hooray for our side”

If a Stop the Gaza Invasion protest is filled with speakers saying we must stand with Palestinians even if this means decades more of struggle and conflict, then by definition it is not an antiwar rally.

Antiwar means figuring out how to end the violence, not calling for more by saying our side must prevail.

As I’ve said before, the violence did end in Northern Ireland. And it can end in the Middle East too.


  • Posts around the Gaza slaughter on this blog are becoming almost obscene. And this one is another gross example of the type.

    I don’t mind opinions, but half cocked pontification is the very worse form of blogging.

    So it’s not an “anti-war” rally? Does that mean that the many thousands who have come out internationally should have staid at home? And those who organised these protests have done something reprehensible?

    Yes, there is the chance that decades more of struggle may be at stake — but the poster here wants the Palestinians to lie down, admit defeat and accept their lot — and do that on Israel’s and the US’s terms..

    Have you any idea what the situation has been like for the Palestinians these past 60 long bitter years? This ignorant blogger wants us to believe that there is nothing much at stake in this conflict and “peace’ can be negotiated in the same way as one would chose a t-shirt.

    All that is apparently needed is a desire to shop.

    As for the Northern Ireland analogy….! Who says peace has come to the Six Counties? What has happened is that the guerrilla war is over but the political situation has remained very much the same as the recent marching season indicated.

    That was a ‘peace’ bought at the price of a defeat complicated by the massive mistake of the guerrilla campaign.

    In the same sense we could have prevailed upon the Vietnamese to accept peace in any year over almost three decades of war for the sake of “peace” . But whose “peace” would that have been? Lyndon Johnston’s? Nixon’s?

    And in East Timor why didn’t we all insist that Fretilin accept the Indonesian annexation and get down to an accommodation with the regime in 1973 rather than spend so many lives (all their fault of course!) trying to win a crippled independence?

    War is always the continuation of politics by another means and in war or any form of conflict there are winners and losers. And most times when there are defeats the issues don’t magically disappear because there’s a living reality that people have to deal with in their daily lives.

    Lecturing the Palestinians on what they should be doing so that the ethical universe can be bought into peaceful symmetry has nothing to do with bitter reality. War isn’t a ‘bad’ habit of which people need to be cured.

    The US Civil War was slaughter with substance and with reason. That didn’t make the slaughter — so much of it so terribly wasteful — any less historically significant. There is logic in history, and a terrible logic in war and similar conflicts. There may indeed be other means to do this but we are still stuck with a situation not of our own preference and making.

    In the case of Palestine the core issue is the geoplolitical relevance of the Middle East as a key hub of transit and energy production. The Palestinian “issue’ is a product of the relevance the ME has to the imperialist powers. In that sense the whole Zionist card is a tool to wards that end, as is the invasion of Iraq.

    While those issues are in play, there are always going to be victims as both the Iraqis and the Palestinians are so bitterly aware. IF Israel is defeated — and I don’t mean militarily as that’s hardly a possibility — then the whole Middle East strategy of containment and cooption begins to fall apart –as it is doing during this slaughter now.

    Israel is paying a massive political price for its murdering spree. Israel’s brutal arrogance is undermining the whole ‘war on terror’ ideology. Caught under the guns are these people — a few thousand really, as not many Palestinians live in Gaza or the West Bank — who will not accept the theft of the homeland nor the brutality of their oppressor. And the means that Israel deploys to contain them is now under close international scrutiny when what Israel wanted was to slaughter and terrorise the Palestinians into submission.

    It won’t happen because the Palestinians have nothing to lose. That is the actual case. And while that situation remains there are but two options: genocide or beginning of the end of the Zionist project.

    At stake is whether the US will shift ground as Israel is totally dependent on US patronage. But while the US remains committed to the Zionist project the slaughter will continue without seeming impunity.

    I want the Palestinaisn to win as that is the only path to peace in the Middle East.

    Paraphrasing what the Irish say:” A country unfree will never be at peace.”

    • > As for the Northern Ireland analogy….! Who says peace has come to the Six Counties?

      All those in the middle who are relieved the zealots on all sides are no longer trying to kill each other, and them in the process?

      > I want the Palestinaisn to win as that is the only path to peace in the Middle East.

      No. It’s not. Everyone sitting down at a table and agreeing on terms they can all live with is an approach that has proven most productive for centuries now.

  • Bob writes:”Everyone sitting down at a table and agreeing on terms they can all live with is an approach that has proven most productive for centuries now.”

    Me:But on what terms? My argument is that the only peace that lasts in Ireland or Palestine is a just peace.

    And the conflict in Northern Ireland is a continuation of the 300 year history of Irish subjugation and war –just as the Palestinian conflict is a product of the Zionist colonisation of Palestine.

    It is not because of simply being Catholic or Protestant; just as in Palestine it isn’t between Jews and Moslems. That is often the vehicle of division but it isn’t the core politics in play.

    You live in San Francisco now because the Native Americans were defeated. That “peace’ was bought with the price of their annihilation , disenfranchisement and subjugation. Just as California is US territory because the Spanish were physically driven across the Rio Grande.

    And you want to lecture the Palestinians on the peace they should accept when your government is the key partner in this slaughter!

    So there is such a thing as a just peace and no just peace exists for Palestine while the core issues remain unaddressed.

    Now if you think a people have no right to rise up against their oppressors — then say so. (And disown the American War of Independence.)If you think that a people have no right to rise up against their oppressors if they kill others in the process, then say so. (And disown the Vietnamese struggle for independence.)If you think a people have no right to rise up against their oppressors if they chose Hamas as their leaders, then say it loud and clear…

    But don’t talk about abstractions totally devoid of any consideration of a just resolution.

  • UJ


    I believe the point of the post was to point out that denouncing Israel and calling for Palestinian victory is NOT the same thing as a desire for peace. Peace is not “winning” it’s just peace. He was chastising the duplicity of the Antiwar movement in the West who can denounce the US war in Iraq and in the same breath call for Palestinian armed struggle. Either someone is dedicated to the eradication of violence or they are fighting for a Palestinian victory, but you can’t do both.

    No one said the Palestinians couldn’t protest or had to accept Israeli domination, that’s just being ridiculous.

  • DJ

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again now: equating the actions of leaders with the desires of their constituency is a crude and inaccurate generalization. The fact that Hamas and the Israeli government are at war has little to do with the desires of their respective populations.

    Left to their own devices, it is unlikely either Hamas or the Israeli government will agree to a just peace. A just peace requires the respective leaders to become accountable to their contituents– that’s something that can be assisted from outside if such assistance is accepted, but ultimately falls to the Palestinians and Israelis themselves. And sure, the diaspora has influence, but they don’t live there.

    After 15 years working in a peace initiative, I agree with Bob: peace requires more than waving placards. Someone will need to come up with a plan that includes: (1) understanding why the conflict continues, which is never as simple as it appears or as the combatants would have us believe, (2) identifying goals to be attained in order to halt the confict, and (3) creating strategies to attain those goals. Anything else is just hot air, something we already have plenty of.

  • UJ

    Take however you like…

    “They say, how can one that claims to support peace support the resistance? … I say here today: How can anyone that supports peace not support the resistance?”

    – Bashar Al-Assad, Arab League meeting, Doha, Qatar 1/16/09

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