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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 June 2010

Marches show opposition to Israeli state terror

THE BRUTAL murder by Israeli commandos of nine civilian aid volunteers aboard a ship attempting to bring humanitarian relief to besieged Palestinians in the Gaza strip was met with furious opposition internationally.

Sean Figg

This anger against Israeli state terror was displayed on Saturday 5 June at demonstrations across the world, following hot on the heels of spontaneous demonstrations that erupted on the day of the killings. People, youth in particular, marched through Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Berlin, London and other cities.

 Demonstration against the murder by Israeli commandos of civilian aid volunteers on aboard a ship attempting to bring aid to Gaza , photo Senan

Demonstration against the murder by Israeli commandos of civilian aid volunteers on aboard a ship attempting to bring aid to Gaza , photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)

On the 10,000-strong demonstration in central London many people, including whole families, made the effort to travel to London to protest. There were families from Bolton, Manchester and other towns who felt it was important enough to put up with the hassle of taking children and pushchairs on public transport. Many of the young protesters on the day said that they were attending their first ever demonstration.

Socialist message

Demonstration against the murder by Israeli commandos of civilian aid volunteers on aboard a ship attempting to bring aid to Gaza , photo Jules Mattsson

Demonstration against the murder by Israeli commandos of civilian aid volunteers on aboard a ship attempting to bring aid to Gaza , photo Jules Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

The Socialist Party gave out thousands of leaflets calling for mass action to end the siege of Gaza and calling for the unity of workers and young people across the world - including the Israeli working class - against the state terror of the imperialist Israeli government. This got an excellent response.

We explained how this isn't an abstract demand but an essential task in forging movements to challenge the rotten capitalist regimes in the Middle East and western imperialism. The Socialist Party's sister section in Israel - Tnua't Maavak Sozialisti (Socialist Struggle Movement) - was carrying the same message on the demonstrations in Israel, as were our counterparts throughout the world.

The idea of ordinary people uniting to oppose war and terrorism struck a note. Hundreds of people flocked to our stalls to sign petitions to that effect. People were interested in what a socialist solution would mean in the Middle East and more than 200 copies of The Socialist were sold.

Demonstration against the murder by Israeli commandos of civilian aid volunteers on aboard a ship attempting to bring aid to Gaza, photo Alison Hill

Demonstration against the murder by Israeli commandos of civilian aid volunteers on aboard a ship attempting to bring aid to Gaza, photo Alison Hill   (Click to enlarge)

When the demo set off from Downing Street on its way to the Israeli Embassy, more than three miles away, the mood of marchers was angry but determined. Socialist Party youth members organised a loud and energetic contingent. The brutal actions of the Israeli state have again brought people out on to the streets and drawn a new layer of young people into political activity.


Tel Aviv demo: 'End the occupation'

MEMBERS OF Tnua't Maavak Sozialisti (Socialist Struggle Movement, the Socialist Party's counterpart in Israel) participated in a 10,000 strong demo in Tel Aviv on 5 June against the attack on the Gaza flotilla, and for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Jews marched with Palestinians through the central streets of the city.

Some Palestinians from Hadash (a political bloc which includes the Communist Party) left their contingent for a period and shouted slogans with us in Hebrew and Arabic using our megaphone.

There was also a smaller right wing counter-protest with their usual bark of insults as there is a reactionary patriotic wave and a lot of false propaganda being disseminated in the country.

At one stage a blue-smoke grenade exploded at the final rally. A well known 85-year old peace activist, Uri Avnery (founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement), was physically attacked by right-wingers and taken away by the police.

Tnua't Maavak Sozialisti members also participated in a demo in the West Bank but got covered in tear gas which unfortunately dispersed the entire demo early on. Nonetheless, a number of people expressed an interest in joining Maavak.

Tnua't Maavak Sozialisti reporters

Joe Higgins challenges the US ambassador on Israel

AT A meeting of the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade, Joe Higgins, Socialist Party (Ireland) MEP, challenged the US ambassador to the EU over free trade, neoliberalism, Israel and the ongoing support of the US for governments engaged in human rights abuses.

Joe also challenged the ambassador on the US government's attitude to the recent massacre of peace activists by the Israeli Defence Force on board ships carrying humanitarian aid to Palestine, see video below.

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