The Commoner stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people in the face of Israel’s genocidal act of vengeance, following the Al Qassam Brigade’s (military wing of Hamas) perpetration of a slaughter against over 1,000 Israeli civilians on October 7.
We lament the loss of human life in this conflict, especially the over 8,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza in the past three weeks (most of whom were women and children). While we have no truck with Hamas, we place ultimate responsibility to bring an end to violence on Israel and the states across the globe that support or ignore its crimes: above all, the US, UK, and European Union. It is our contention that financial and political support from these nations enables Israel to act with impunity; it is thus in the power of these countries, particularly the US, to end the conflict if they so choose. In addition, we include the Arab states that have both normalised with Israel in the recent and distant past, and that have stood idly by while posturing as resisting Israel, all while Palestinians suffer ever-worsening oppression. In reality, Israeli citizens are put at risk by their own government, and by widespread antisemitic attitudes.
Condemnation of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or other Palestinian resistance groups must be contextualised within the near hundred-year history of ethnic cleansing, dispossession, and military occupation Palestinians have suffered since the Nakba. The Nakba, or 'catastrophe,' accompanied the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 and entailed seven hundred thousand Palestinians fleeing in sheer terror from their homes, many never to return. This is not to collapse the distinction between targeting the Israeli military versus civilians, but we believe that ending the occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is the only way to end the violence in Israel and Palestine.
We also stand in solidarity with those across the globe who suffer from Islamophobic attacks — above all, in Gaza and the West Bank. Palestine is diverse and contains people of many backgrounds, whether religious, political, or cultural. Israel’s current assault, the most brutal and intense of the four wars waged between Hamas and Israel since 2007, has involved the widespread destruction not only of mosques but also of apartment buildings, homes, churches, schools, bakeries, refugee camps, and other key infrastructure. Attacks on Muslims in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Western diaspora alike reflect the ongoing prevalence of Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism in mainstream discourses and statecraft. It is also crucial to remember that as all eyes are on Gaza, the settler incursions and airstrikes in the West Bank continue. We must protest and take action in solidarity against this behaviour.
Likewise, we condemn any and all antisemitism. One of the most prevalent manifestations is the perspective that seeks to conflate all Jewish people with the Israeli State, a point of view which conflicts with the historical record among Jewish trade unionists, philosophers, anarchists, and even the official positions of multiple Jewish denominations. Our opposition to antisemitism includes the mass attacks on, and kidnapping of, Israeli civilians, and the targeting of synagogues and Jewish schools in the diaspora. Indeed, we call for all Israeli hostages and Palestinian political prisoners to be released. Our view is that Israel’s power comes from its position as a key strategic ally for western State and corporate interests, not from a vague and indescribable Jewish or ‘globalist’ conspiracy.
To be clear, our statement does not intend to elide the disparity of a nuclear state power in conflict with a displaced stateless people. Talk of 'both sides' erases a clear and pervasive asymmetry that has persisted since the occupation came into full force in 1967.
Moreover, this statement does not intend to make pronouncements on what we believe the political solution is to this crisis. We believe it would be inappropriate to begin describing the merits of a one, two, or no state solution at this time and in respect to our own positions as authors.
Instead, we ask that our readership do these things:
- Show solidarity for the Palestinian people in all the places you can.
- Share news and stories from Palestinians.
- Attend political marches, rallies, or other such events to show support.
- Challenge your family, friends, coworkers, and colleagues to resist Islamophobia, antisemitism, and political dehumanisation of Palestinians or Israelis.
- Pressure your trade unions and political organisations to take actions in support of Palestine.
Lastly, we can recommend the following interviews with, links about, and posts by anarchists from Palestine, Israel, and the Middle East:
- Mohammed Bamyeh, “Anarchist, Liberal, and Authoritarian Enlightenments: Notes from the Arab Spring,” Anarchist Library, July 30, 2011
- 161 Crew, “We Can’t Afford To Remain Silent – Interview With An Israeli Anarchist,” October 19, 2023
- Uri Gordon, “A lot of despair right now: Interview with an Israeli anarchist,” Freedom News, October 22, 2023
- ABC News (with Palestinian anarchist Budour Hassan), “Amnesty researcher reacts to the Israeli response in Gaza,” October 13, 2023
- Budour Hassan, ‘The Missing Bond of Solidarity,’ Anarchist Library, September 17, 2017