A war crime in progress

A funeral for one of the victims of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza (Jordi Bernabeu Farrús)

A funeral for one of the victims of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza (Jordi Bernabeu Farrús)

Jason Farbman reports on the latest developments in Israel’s war on Gaza, July 14, 2014.

ISRAEL’S RELENTLESS pounding of a trapped civilian population in Gaza entered a frightening new phase as its bombing campaign continued into its seventh day. On July 13, the Israeli military dropped leaflets warning the residents of northern Gaza that whoever stayed behind risked being caught in an intensifying barrage of air strikes, prompting a panicked exodus of tens of thousands from the area.

At least 160 Palestinians have now been killed and more than 1,000 injured in attacks that have targeted mosques and hospitals. NBC reporter Ayman Mohyeldin tweeted: “1,100 strikes on #Gaza over 4 days. If you do the math that is: 1 strike every 5 minutes every day non-stop. 550 #Hamas rockets into #Israel.” No Israeli deaths and only a handful of injuries have been reported. [Read more...]

The Case for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions

Print[Israel’s current barbarous assault on Gaza has prompted an urgent call from Palestinian civil society to intensify the campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions. The bombardment of Gaza shows the brutality of Israel’s occupation. This week rallies in solidarity with Palestine are planned in Auckland and Wellington and we urge all readers to attend and build these protests. Here we republish an article from the March 2014 issue of our magazine by Kevin Hodder, making the case for BDS.]

The recent picket outside the performance of the Israeli Batsheva Dance Company was New Zealand’s latest blow in a campaign that has been quietly waged between the defenders of apartheid and those fighting for justice for Palestine. A crowd of pro-Zionists faced off a group of 30 or so campaigners from around the country associated with Aotearoa BDS Network, including members of the ISO, calling for a boycott of representatives of the Israeli state.

 

What is BDS?

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction campaign is a multipronged campaign, called for by the Palestinian Civil Society in 2005. This involves a range of activities design to pressure Israel into meeting its obligations under international law: the boycotting of Israeli consumer products, especially those produced in the occupied Palestinian territories, and of cultural, sporting and academic figures or groups representing the state of Israel, especially those whose work has been used to promote Israeli state policy; the call for local companies and organisations to remove investments from companies which benefit from the continued violation of Palestinian land and rights, especially those working in the occupied territories; and finally state and inter-governmental (e.g. United Nations) level sanctions against the state of Israel while they continue to violate international law.
[Read more...]

The terror state lashes out

Mourners march in a funeral procession for a Palestinian killed in Israel's air strikes

Mourners march in a funeral procession for a Palestinian killed in Israel’s air strikes

Jason Farbman reports on Israel’s escalating violence (from June 8), with the threat of worse to come–and the furious response of Palestinians fed up with being terrorized.

A SUSTAINED wave of violence by Israel in recent days has brought tensions to a boil throughout the West Bank, Gaza and Israel itself.

In the early morning hours of July 8, Israel launched a barrage of missile strikes against more than 50 targets in Gaza, which it claimed were designed to punish Hamas. Preliminary reports said 12 Palestinians were injured and four civilian homes destroyed by the bombs.

Meanwhile, Palestinians throughout Israel were rising up against heavily armed Israeli forces. In town after town, Palestinian crowds are clashing with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli police in the wake of the grisly murder by six Jewish extremists of Mohammad Abu Khdeir and the savage beating of Tarek Abu Khdeir–the first boy’s cousin–by Israeli police.

According to a report by the prisoners’ rights organization Addameer:

Tarek is one of 11 Palestinians who were beaten and arrested in Shofat last night following the brutal murder of 16-year old child Mohammad Abu Khdeir, who was found beaten and burned on the ruins of the Palestinian destroyed village Deir Yassin hours after he was kidnapped in a retribution act. The Israeli government has instated a gag order regarding the circumstances of Mohammad’s kidnapping and murder.

The July 8 missile strikes on Gaza–dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” by the IDF–could be just the beginning of Israel’s state-sanctioned terror. [Read more...]

Women and the Early Years of Japanese Communism

The_1st_Labor_Day_in_JapanShomi Yoon gave this talk as part of Marxism 2014 in Melbourne. Marxism 2015 will take place from April 2 – 5.

“What sort of woman are you? Demonstrating when you should be at home looking after your children?” This was the question Sadayo Nakasone faced by the arresting officer for participating in the first contingent of women to march on the second May Day held in Japan in 1921.

Nakasone, fired back, “What sort of man are you! A proletarian who works for the capitalists! Take a look at yourself!”

Nakasone, along with 20 other socialists, made history on this day as the first contingent of women to mark May Day in Japan. They were all arrested after marching under the banner of Sekirankai or Red Wave – an organisation that was established with the specific aim or participating in May Day but with the wider aim of overthrowing capitalism for genuine women’s liberation.

Women have always been involved in the communist and socialist movements from the earliest of days. The second May Day in 1921 is a continuation of this history but also symptomatic of the wider social and political struggles that were happening domestically and internationally that pushed these women into mobilizing onto the streets. The class was on the move, revolutionary ferment was in the air, and Red Wave women wanted to be part of this historical shift. [Read more...]

Modi: Behind the Mask

ImageSajeev Kumar, a Socialist Review reader, offers his thoughts on the recent elections in India:

Saffron is the colour of hindutva, but for quite some time, it is also the colour of death or shivering fear for the religious minorities of India. For some of them, it is the colour that made their life colourless, it is the colour that brings back chilling memories of those days they ran for life, leaving behind everything and everyone they thought precious till that moment, it is the colour that made them refugees in their own land.

 

The streets were full of blood. People with Trishuls and swords ran amok like blood-thirsty devils, looking for Muslims or non-Hindus. Within 72 hours there were more than 2000 corpse on the streets, including children and pregnant women. No one was spared, and nothing but religion was considered. Nobody was there to hear their heart-breaking screams. Nobody was there to save them, because, all these were well planned and arranged.  [Read more...]

A triumph for the right in India

Snehal Shingavi analyzes the dynamics involved in India’s national elections.

WITH A substantial victory in India’s national elections, the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People’s Party) and its crown prince, Narendra Modi, are set to form a national government without the need for any coalition partners.

Winning a total of 282 seats in the Lok Sabha (the lower house of India’s parliament), the BJP soundly defeated the former ruling Indian National Congress. The BJP’s victory sent shock waves throughout the country, as this is the first time in India’s history that a single opposition party, without the help of coalition partners, has displaced the Congress Party.

But Modi’s win–and in proportions that will be characterized as a “saffron wave,” if not a “tsunami”–was foretold from the beginning. With his open ties to the Hindu right, Modi was nonetheless promoted by almost all of the major media outlets in India, and India’s large corporate interests swung squarely behind the BJP. The BJP raised almost a billion dollars for its campaign coffers and outspent all of the other political parties combined in this election. The Economic and Political Weekly suggested that Modi’s victory be called the “biggest corporate heist in history.” [Read more...]

Anzac Day: Against the Carnival of Reaction

mobiliseagainstthewarOn Anzac Day 1967, at the height of New Zealand involvement in the ‘American War’ in Vietnam, with New Zealand troops taking part in the suppression of the Vietnamese struggle for national liberation, members of the Progressive Youth Movement in Christchurch tried to lay a wreath following the dawn service in memory of those killed by imperialism in Vietnam. They were arrested and charged with disorderly behaviour. Feminists a decade later faced down a media-driven public outcry when they laid wreaths to the victims of sexual violence during war.

Lest we forget? It’s more like lest we remember. Anzac Day serves as a carnival of nationalist reaction, a day of public ritual aimed at promoting forgetting: forgetting the real legacy of New Zealand imperialism and militarism in favour of a sentimental nationalism, an anti-political celebration of national unity. [Read more...]

Boycott Batsheva at NZ Festival

dontdance-webversionThis year’s NZ Festival includes four performances by the Israeli Batsheva dance company.

Batsheva is an integral part of Israel’s Brand Israel public relations campaign. The dance company receives funding from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), which has described Batsheva as ‘the best known global ambassador of Israeli culture’.

Artists who receive funding from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs are required to sign a contract committing to ‘promote the policy interests of the State of Israel via culture and art, including contributing to creating a positive image for Israel.’

In the past Batsheva faced protests outside their performances across the USA and in the UK. Palestine solidarity activists target the company specifically because of their role in using art and culture to whitewash over Israel’s human rights violations. [Read more...]

Tokyo Elections and the Future of the Anti-Nuclear Movement

NoNukes2011What to make of the Tokyo gubernatorial election results? How can we organize a campaign to stop reactivating nuclear power plants that connects the whole country? How effective is the “single-issue” focus?

 

On 9 February, amidst the biggest snowfall in 45 years Tokyo held its gubernatorial election. Only 46.14% of eligible voters turned out, the third lowest turnout on record. The winner was former Health and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe who won with 2, 112,979 votes, with the backing of the ruling Liberal Democratic (LDP) and the New Komeito parties.

 

Kenji Utsunomiya, an attorney and former President of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, came second. Utsunomiya came second the last time he ran for governor, in 2012, winning some 970 000 votes. The 2012 gubernatorial election was held on the same day as the general election due to the then Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s abrupt resignation. Despite the 16% drop in voter turnout – 140,000 fewer votes were cast than in the 2012 election – this time round Utsunomiya still managed to win 982,594 votes and exceed his 2012 efforts. Former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, backed by former Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro, ran on a single-issue platform of eliminating nuclear power. He came a close third receiving 956,063 votes. [Read more...]

Okinawa and the US Empire

OkinawaProtestFollowing a brutal and horrific battle between Japanese and US forces which claimed the lives of approximately one third of Okinawa’s population, Okinawa has been forced to house American militarism up until this day. Approximately 20 percent of the Okinawan mainland is used to house US military bases. Military crimes are commonplace and many of them are of a grave and violent nature. Between 2009 and 2011 alone, 188 crimes resulting in injury or death were reported as being committed by military personnel whilst on duty. This number does not take into account other grave criminal action committed by military forces or crimes that for one reason or another go unreported, nor does it take into account crimes committed by officers who are not on duty. These crimes committed by military personnel whilst on duty involve gang rape, murder, assault and burglaries. Considering the Okinawa mainland is a dense island of small proportions with a population the size of one quarter of New Zealand’s, it is clear that any single criminal act will have a disastrous effect on the Okinawan community as a whole. The fact that so many crimes are committed by military personnel in such a small amount of time is telling of the adverse effect that military presence in Okinawa has on the human rights of the Okinawan people. [Read more...]

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