The Antiwar Movement Must Include Palestine
By Bina Ahmad
December 4, 2004
I know this is a march and rally for ending the war and occupation in Iraq.
So I’m here to demand that the Anti War and Anti Occupation movement must include Palestine. If in the Anti War and Anti Occupation movement we condemn US imperialism bringing war to oil rich countries and robbing them of their resources, we condemn the racist agenda that accompanies such actions, and condemn the war this also wages against Islam and people of color, how can we only condemn the war on Iraq and not the 56 year, ongoing war and occupation of Palestine? We must lend unconditional support to ALL those living under occupation, which includes not only supporting occupied people’s in both Iraq and Palestine but also supporting their right to resist. Those of us not living under overt military occupation cannot dictate the terms of resistance, we can only support the resistance. And we can counter US media by saying that Resistance is not terrorism. Why is Palestine marginalized and silenced in the anti war movement? And when we do see support for Palestine, what kind of support is it really? Is it meaningful? What kind of Anti War movement is it to allow Zionism, which is a colonialist and racist ideology, and not a religion? Why does the anti war movement not more clearly reject Zionism? What kind of support is it for human rights if we say that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East when it is only for Jewish people? What kind of support is it for occupied peoples everywhere when we don’t recognize who is the occupier and who is the occupied in Palestine? Who commits war crimes and genocide? When we don’t remember and condemn genocide in Sabra and Shatila, Jenin, Rafah, Gaza, and Nablus. Most importantly, what kind of Anti War movement are we building if we exclude Palestine from our discourse?
I have been privileged enough to be able to recently spend 3 months in Palestine, living in the West Bank (a thing millions of Palestinians cannot even do, yet I as a US citizen and any other Jewish person in the world may do). I saw how Israeli settlements slowly occupy Palestinian land, inflict violence upon Palestinian civilians, and eventually annex Palestinian land after either killing or pushing out the remaining Palestinians. I saw how the Annexation or Apartheid Wall deliberately annexes Palestinian water aquifers and fertile land into what is now called Israel, or what we in the movement know as pre 1948 Palestine. Worst of all, I saw how the entire structure of occupation and Apartheid is only allowed to continue its brutal agenda through the billions of US tax dollars that uphold Zionist racism. So the answer to my question of why we as the Anti War movement do not include Palestine when we speak out against occupation, war and US imperialism cannot be that Palestine is not associated with the US, for we know that the US gives more aid to Israel than it gives to any other country, and is the largest donor to Israel than any other country in the world.
As a member of an immigrant, Muslim family, a person of color, human rights activist, and a person also living in exile from her own country, I demand that when the anti war movement recognizes and condemns occupation and genocide in Iraq, that the movement also recognize and condemn the occupation and genocide in Palestine. I demand that we not attempt to appease our enemies by claiming Israel is a democracy, by claiming that Zionism is not racism, and allowing Israeli Apartheid, genocide and racism to continue. We all have a duty to defend Palestine and Palestinians, especially US citizens who fund Israel’s military assault upon a civilian, occupied population.
Free Iraq and Free Palestine!