Briefing

PI Briefing | No. 5 | Saying the quiet part out

Israel plans ethnic cleansing and the US collectively punishes Palestinians.
In the Progressive International's 5th Briefing of 2024, we bring news of Israel and its US American and British backers’ response to the historic genocide plausibility ruling at the International Criminal Court. If you would like to receive our Briefing in your inbox, you can sign up using the form at the bottom of this page.
In the Progressive International's 5th Briefing of 2024, we bring news of Israel and its US American and British backers’ response to the historic genocide plausibility ruling at the International Criminal Court. If you would like to receive our Briefing in your inbox, you can sign up using the form at the bottom of this page.

Palestinians have known for nearly a century what the Israeli state wants to do with them: deny them their rights, expel them from their land and treat them as a security concern, not a people. The Israeli state has enjoyed the full backing of Western elites, who helped construct two myths: that Palestinian resistance is “terrorism”, and that Israeli occupation is “democracy”.

Israel’s leaders helped their Western backers by shrouding their crimes in a formal language that avoided saying the quiet part out loud. If you looked at what Israel was doing, you could see that annexation was the goal and apartheid and ethnic cleansing the method. But the rhetorical denials prevailed. Israel insisted that it was not doing what it was plainly doing. And in the West, the whispers of the coloniser ring louder than the anguished cries of the colonised.

The current genocidal campaign against Palestinians in Gaza has stripped Western elites of the excuse that Israel does not say the quiet part out loud. Israel’s highest officials — the President, Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Finance Minister, National Security Minister, etc. — have been speaking with clear, open, unashamed genocidal intent. The colonizer’s whispers have become screams.

Last Friday, Judge Joan Donoghue, reading the International Court of Justice’s interim ruling in her capacity as Court President, quoted some of these genocidal words. Surely her voice, coming from the mouth of a former US State Department official, would be heard by both the handful of Western states backing Israel and by Israel itself? Surely they would alter their actions to mask their guilt and complicity?

But no. Rather, the opposite.

On Sunday, just two days after the ICJ’s ruling, 12 Israeli government ministers participated in a conference for the settlement of Gaza. Or, in other words, a conference explicitly aimed at the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Gaza. Delegates discussed forcing Palestinians to permanently leave the strip and replace them with Israeli settlers. Government ministers gave speeches and danced with their fellow fascist attendees. They are saying the quiet part out loud.

The day before, just one day after the ICJ’s ruling, in which the world heard of the dire humanitarian disaster in Gaza, with practically all of the population displaced and reliant on aid to avoid starvation and death, the US, Germany and the UK pulled funding from UNRWA, the UN agency that provides that aid to the Palestinians.

Israel and the US engaged in a classic — and effective — communications strategy of changing the subject when the current news is bad for you. The world’s highest court asserting Palestinian peoplehood and the plausibility of Israel committing genocide against it was not the news cycle the US and Israel wanted to be stuck in.

And so, the US endorsed Israel’s longstanding canard against UNWRA, expressed by its ambassador to the UN during this conflict, that the UN agency is effectively a Hamas front. This preposterous position is Israel’s longstanding line: everything it doesn’t like and everything it bombs is “Khamas”.

But the US, the UK, Germany and other countries that have participated in the strategy of attacking UNRWA to “move the story along” are not just carrying water for Israel. They are actively participating in the collective punishment of the people of Gaza. The US and the UK have moved from complicity with Israel’s genocidal campaign to outright guilt.

The ICJ may have spoken for the world when it asserted the plausibility of Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians. But speaking truth to power alone cannot dismantle the Israeli war machine and US imperial policy in West Asia. There are no shortcuts to decolonisation.

Indeed, that the ICJ hearing even took place is evidence that the material balance of forces is shifting. New pathways are emerging for the oppressed to take on their oppressors and invert the narratives of “terrorism” and “democracy”: In seeking to assert their substantive equality against those who seek to erase them, the resistance pursues a distinctly democratic ideal against the unrelenting terror of the coloniser.

That’s why millions of people around the world are working in active solidarity with the Palestinian people: to meet power with power. Together, we are throwing sand in the wheels of Israel’s genocidal war machine, blockading banks that fund genocide, organising against tech companies that facilitate genocide, interrupting trade routes that fuel genocide, marching in our millions against genocide and uniting the vast majority of nations on earth to assert their opposition to genocide and imperialism.

Onwards, onwards until victory.

Latest from the Movement

The PI heads to Pakistan

On 8 February 2024, Pakistan holds its general election — the first since Prime Minister Imran Khan was removed from power in 2022 and long after the constitutionally-mandated deadline for holding an election after the dissolution of the National Assembly.

There is widespread concern that this election may be among the most restrictive in Pakistan’s recent memory. The former Imran Khan Prime Minister is now in jail. Candidates have been barred from running as part of his party, and are now running as independents. Electoral authorities have worked to prevent opposition candidates from contesting altogether, including by rejecting or delaying nomination papers.

On the invitation of progressive forces in the country, the Progressive International has dispatched a delegation to Pakistan to accompany the electoral process; to strengthen ties with movements and unions in Pakistan; and to unite, organise, and mobilise progressive forces around the world to stand in solidarity with them in the struggle for the future of their country.

Honduras celebrates two years of social progress

On Saturday 27 January, the PI joined Xiomara Castro – the first female President of Honduras - to mark the second year of her Presidency. In an event held in the capital city, Tegucigalpa, thousands took to the streets to celebrate as the President gave a speech outlining the achievements of her mandate so far.

In her speech Castro made an impassioned call for greater regional integration, "Latin America and the Caribbean must join forces and formulate a common agenda", calling on the region to "take its role as a force for change in history". Honduras will have the opportunity to build on this agenda as it takes on the presidency of CELAC [the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States] later this year.

Argentina’s courts strike down Milei’s labour decree

On Tuesday, Argentina’s courts through out the entire labour chapter of capitalist fundamentalist President Javier Milei’s mega-decree, which sought to strip Argentina’s workers of their fundamental rights. On Wednesday, the Congress began debating the decree, which contains an enormous 664 articles.

The court’s ruling that Milei’s decree is unconstitutional follows an historic mobilisation last week of Argentina’s workers and trade unions, who walked out on general strike against the decree. The International Monetary Fund has responded favourably to Milei’s assault on living standards that has already sent inflation skyrocketing, praising his “bold” policies and releasing nearly $5 billion in loans.

Art: The Camp Number 1, by Alaa Albaba, whose work focuses on the daily life in Palestinian refugee camps. He draws attention to the contradictions between the fixed nature of the refugee camps‘ structure, with their modern ever-changing urban surroundings. Albaba explores different sociopolitical issues focusing on his relationship with the refugee camp and how it managed to preserve its political identity and form throughout the years.

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Date
02.02.2024
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