Whenever I campaign for Palestinian justice as a trade unionist I always get a small number of members asking why. Some people take the view that when we have limited resources and time at our disposal trade union reps should simply focus on the home front. Furthermore there are those members who for whatever reason take sides and side with Israel.
The struggle of the oppressed is our struggle. That struggle against capitalism takes many forms and cannot simply be straightjacketed to local issues. We live in a shrinking world thanks to modern communications and globalisation. In the past imperialism was obvious as the sun never set on the British but nowadays imperialism isn’t recognised by everyone. The USA impacts on the world like few other countries ever have and its imperialism lives strong.
Israel was born out of British imperialism and is maintained by American imperialism, including massive aid by way of arms. The suffering of the people of Palestine originates from the same system of economics and government and international relations that trade unionists are fighting every day.
The Palestinian people have suffered much as the Nakba that started on the day Israel was created continues to the present. Their suffering can be seen via the apartheid system that has developed in the boundaries of the country the ruling class calls Israel and it can be seen starkly in the Gaza Strip, blighted by siege conditions for years and now bombardment once again.
If we dare to fight oppression when we see it caused by capitalism then we must also dare to fight it when we see it caused by imperialism and backed up economically and militarily by nations advancing a neo-liberal agenda. For these reasons the struggle for justice in Palestine is our struggle. Fighting austerity and fighting injustice at home whilst standing in solidarity for the rights of those living in Gaza is not contradictory, it fits hand in glove.
The fight continues and our hearts go out to all the people suffering at the hands of Israeli aggression.