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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
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Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
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Death in Gaza, lies from Israel

Jihad Misharawi mourns the killing of his 11-month-old son in Gaza.

Since Wednesday Israel has carried out a massive bombing campaign against two million people trapped in the Gaza Strip writes Kim Bullimore in Socialist Alternative. At the time of writing, 33 Palestinians, including six children, are reported killed. In addition, at least 250 civilians have been wounded. According to the Israeli military, at least 800 air strikes have now been carried out in the attack – named Operation Pillar of Cloud

Throughout the invasion, Israeli officials have repeatedly promoted the lie that Hamas is the aggressor and that Israel is acting in “self defence”. For example, Australian born Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told Channel 10 News on the second day of the assault: “Our operation is primarily defensive; if Hamas wasn’t shooting these rockets into Israel we wouldn’t be doing anything today.” The facts, however, contradict Regev and Israel’s claim.

Since 2007, Gaza has remained under Israeli siege and blockade. And in the period between Operation Cast Lead (which cost some 1,400 Palestinian lives in December 2008-January 2009) and Operation Pillar of Cloud, Israel has killed more than 270 Palestinian in Gaza, including at least 28 children. According to figures from the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, during this same period no Israeli civilians were killed as a result of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza. B’Tselem notes that in addition to those Palestinians killed in Gaza, a further 43 were killed in the Occupied West Bank, where 14 Israeli settlers and 1 Israeli policeman were also killed.

The current assault on Gaza, which formally began on Wednesday, was preceded by a number of attacks by the Israeli military. On November 8, the Israelis killed a twelve year old Palestinian child who was playing soccer. In response, Palestinian resistance fighters blew up a tunnel along the Gaza–Israel frontier. The explosion resulted in one Israeli soldier being injured. On November 10, Israel fired artillery shells into the Gaza Strip, killing two Palestinian children aged sixteen and seventeen. Two more Palestinian civilians were killed and 24 others were wounded when Israel fired on a mourning tent set up for the funeral for one of the boys. On the same day, resistance fighters blew up an Israeli military jeep on the Israeli-Gaza border injuring four Israeli soldiers. Israel continued to carry out attacks against Palestinian civilians, which resulted in one death and a dozen more injured on November 11.

On 12 November, Palestinian factions agreed to a truce if Israel stopped its attack on Gaza. However, two days after the factions agreed to the truce, Israel unilaterally broke the agreement by carrying out an illegal targeted assassination against Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas’s military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades. Israel has repeatedly claimed that the assassination was a “surgical” strike. However, at least eight civilians were killed in the Israeli assassination of Jabari, including two children.

There is nothing new about Israel’s conduct. According to a study conducted by American and Israeli academics, Nancy Kanwisher, Johannes Haushofer, and Anat Biletzki, Israel has displayed a pattern of unilateral attack. Their 2009 study, which examined 25 periods of non-violence between Israel and the Palestinian resistance, revealed that Israel repeatedly initiated violence. Between 2000 and 2008, Israel “unilaterally interrupted…96 percent of the ceasefire period, and it unilaterally interrupted 100 percent of the 14 periods of non-violence lasting more than 9 days”. Writing in the Huffington Post in January 2009 at the height of Operation Cast Lead, Kanwisher noted that “it is overwhelmingly Israel, not Palestine, that kills first following a lull. Indeed, it is virtually always Israel that kills first after a lull lasting more than a week”.

In 2008, as with today, Israel broke a ceasefire period in order to justify carrying out Operation Cast Lead. Between June and November 2008, Hamas had abided by and enforced a four-month ceasefire. However, on November 4 Israel launched a military strike, saying that it was targeting tunnels along the Gaza-Israel frontier. Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the death of one Palestinian, brought an end to the ceasefire. A month later, claiming “self defence”, Israel invaded.

In an interview from Gaza, Palestinian academic Dr. Mosheer Amer told me on 15 November that “What we see here represents a pattern too familiar for those observe the situation here: the Israeli army first starts attacking resistance fighters which in turn provokes Palestinian response.” Amer, who lives in Khan Younis with his family, also noted that the current assault on Gaza was closely tied to domestic politics in Israel:

“This particular…escalation coincides with the coming Israeli elections and of course the present right wing Israeli government wants to score elections points with the Israeli electorate by showing that it is strong and tough with the Palestinians.”

When asked about the situation on the ground in Gaza, Dr Amer said: “Things are tense, people are huddled in their homes and following the news, the ground operation has not begun yet, but Israeli drones and fighter jets haven’t left Gaza’s skies, [and there is] frequent bombardments everywhere in Gaza.” He also noted that people were also stockpiling whatever food they could access, as well as petrol for use in electricity generators. Despite the current devastation being rained on Gaza by Israel, Amer remains defiant:

“The Palestinian people will never back down and raise white flags because they are fighting for their freedom and dignity…the Palestinian people look to their brothers and sisters in humanity for support to continue and stand hand in hand in the struggle for freedom, dignity and human rights which Israel deprived them”.


Kim is a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and is a volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service – the only all women international peace team working on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She writes regularly on the Palestine-Israel conflict and has a blog at



Comment from Gary
Time November 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Can you shed light of the relationship between Islamic fundamentalism and socialism, for this is something that I am not clear about and your responses to previous blogs hasn’t made this clear either.

From my understanding, Hamas outlaws all forms of collective bargaining of workers, and the right to form trade unions is prohibited. This is also so in Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has previously stated their opposition to western style trade unions.

I ask this in light of the socialist support for what I see as repressive regimes. As you said to me in another post, in South Africa (and European nations), freedoms were founded by unions like Solidarity and the rise of mass worker movements.

But in some parts of the Middle-East, freedoms cannot be ‘won’ if the rights of working people to collective bargaining and union membership is banned, and union leaders jailed or worse.

Why do socilaists then support repressive regimes? If, for example, Hamas achieve their aims, will that be a victory for the socialist cause and one you would support?

Also, from do a bit of reading, it seems that Hamas and the Iranian regime (their supporter) are violently opposed to communism, socialism and unionism.

What would be the position of the Socialist Alliance if Hamas take control and refuse the rights of workers? Will you support a similar style BDS or demonstrations, or is it that having acheived victory, that is the endgame and we move on?

I am genuinely surprised that socialists take the side of repressive regimes who deny the very values that socialism is founded on.

It’s the same for the Tibetan people – a race I hear very few socialists campaign for and I wonder if this is because China is not to be disresepcted? The same for B’hai people and Hazaras – I see very few socialist articles on Taliban/Arab oppression and genocide of these two peoples?

Comment from John
Time November 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I stand with the Palestinian people, not Hamas. They are fighting back against ethnic cleansing. Just as the revolution against Mubarak has opened up the possibility, however remote, of working class rule in Egypt, so too does the resistance to Israeli terrorism and genocide contribute to that. But I am too am confused by your support for the oppressors. Indeed the Israeli cabinet is made up of parties some of whom are as anti-woman as you claim Hamas to be. Tell me about your support for Shas? Or maybe you support Yisrael Beiteinu? Or maybe Habayit Hayehudi? But you get the idea – to equate support for opposition to genocide for support with Hamas is as stupid as me suggesting you support Shas, or Avigdor Lieberman or whatever reactionary force in Israeli politics I can suggest. I find Chris Harman’s View in the Prophet and the Proletariat defensible.

Comment from John
Time November 18, 2012 at 6:13 pm

I think too you need to see the situation in the context of imperialism – the merger of the interests of state based big capital spreading out and political systems of that geographic entity. . I had no love for the Vietnamese ‘communists’. In fact they killed the leaders of the political current closest to mine. But i supported them in their struggle against the stranglehold that US imperialism had on half the world or wanted to have. The world’s biggest terrorist didn’t venture out for over ten years after its defeat in Vietnam.

Comment from John
Time November 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Finally it is a question my comrades in the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt have grappled with. When they organised against Mubarak they were joined by the Muslim Brotherhood against their common enemy. An article on this site reprinted one of their pieces – Sometimes with the Islamists, never with the State. They urged a vote for the MB presidential candidate because the other candidate was the representative of the Army, the counter-revolution. Now they are part of the Left fighting the MB government.

Here is an excerpt.

The polarisation within the Islamist movement will only increase with every betrayal and compromise the Islamist leadership brokers with SCAF, with every confrontation with the state, with the growth of a revolutionary left that could provide an alternative for the disillusioned youth, and more importantly with the escalation of the strike wave.

But in all cases, we must be vigilant enough to remain organisationally independent, move under our own banners, with our own literature, and never compromise.

Here is the link.

Comment from John
Time November 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Here is one of the articles I have put up on China, Tibet and class struggle.

Here is one on Tiananmen Square.

Socialist Worker UK and US both have articles on them. Charlie Hore in the UK for example is good. The hope in my view for Tibet is the rising up of the Chinese working class and Charlie has written on the ‘disturbances’ in China recently.

Nigel Harris’s ‘Mandate of Heaven’ gives a good theoretical and historical background to and explanation of the rise of the CCP dictatorship.

As to Iran, Phil Marshall’s Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Iran is a good read and argues the working class in Iran had the possibility of seizing power and liberating the oppressed, including the Baha’i, from both the Shah and the Islamists. The workers’ councils set up were embryonic soviets and a party of the left with appropriate policies could have recognised this and built up from it. The Tudeh Party and the 2 leftist guerrilla groups were Stalinist or nationalists without any faith in the masses and did not do so.

Here is a recent one from Socialist Alternative: ‘Iran’s uprising of the hungry’ by a poltical refugee from there.

The Green revolution was a movement against the theocracy in 2009 and we supported that.

The analysis flows from the theories of state capitalism and deflected permanent revolution and explains why we think there is no ‘socialist’ country in the world.

As to the question of the Taliban, I suggest you read about Malalai Joya on this site or others. This brave Afghan fighter who opposed both the Taliban and the US invaders spoke at our conference this year in Melbourne. There are I think videos of her moving speeches. It is the first time in a long time I have cried during a political talk.

I am sorry you are ignorant on these matters and make ignorant comments about socialists, but I do not have infinite patience or time to inform you of my version of the truth. You might have to do a little research before you make ridiculous comments like ‘I wonder if this is because China is not to be disrespected?’

And finally I think these questions are a really just a furphy designed to denigrate those who oppose Zionist genocide.

Comment from Gary
Time November 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm

“And finally I think these questions are a really just a furphy designed to denigrate those who oppose Zionist genocide.”

John, reading this and reflecting on your response makes me realise why you have so few followers.

I thought you wrote so people could engage and respond and debate ideas and political thought. But when someone asks you to expand on an issue, you reply with a slanderous and vile accusation!

It seems to me you are just another middle-class academic sprouting second rate text book slogans from the safety of a climate warming comfort zone. You use pop-up buzz words like ‘genocide’ and ‘imperialism’ without even understanding their meaning and context. We were talking about socialisms support for regimes who ban women and a free press and you respond with language I hear in the school yard!

Honestly John, your response is rather sad and embarrassing. It demeans you and you display no great intellectual rigour or acumen regarding world affairs. It is likely you have no direct engagement in conflicts other than the odd march of a few bedraggled conscripts in Canberra.

I will no longer bother trying to create a discourse or discuss philosophical approaches to world issues, for your response is laughably silly, throwing trite little mantras about as a substitute for logical dialogue.

If this is what Canberra socialists hold up as a contribution to national and world affairs then all I can say is it’s no wonder you’re too scared to stand at local elections. I doubt you’d garner more than 500 votes.
I’ll leave you to your age-old conspiracies, libels, your abuse, your narcissism and self-righteousness.


Comment from John
Time November 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Thanks Greg. I thought you were Gary. Make up your mind. I do understand what Genocide is. We have been witnessing it since 1948 in Palestine and in Australia since 1788. I am sorry you find the fact I rebut your nonsense upsetting. Can’t help bad luck I guess. I am not here to spoonfeed you. The rest of your tosh is not worth replying to. Apologists for Zionism in whatever guise aren’t welcome here.

Comment from John
Time November 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I don’t have age old conspiracy theories. Where? Give me one example. That is the usual Zionist response to deflect attention away from the reality of their crimes. Slander without substance.

But you are right about one thing. If I stood for election I’d get a poor vote. That is because the climate in Australia at the moment is so right wing, and the level of class struggle so low that the ideas of the left remain just that, ideas of the left. The tide will turn when workers begin to take action against the inevitable austerity on its way, as we can see from the general strikes in parts of Europe, the ongoing revolutions in Egypt. Ignore them and play silly parliamentary games. I’ll just continue to build a revolutionary organization in Australia which when the tide turns will hopefully be big enough to take advantage of it.

As Lenin said “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” I want to build an organisation that can position itself for the ‘decades in weeks’ phenomenon.

Stick with the NTEU Greg and lead us to yet more defeats.

Comment from John
Time November 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Here is an article for your edification on imperialism.

And one on genocide.

Comment from Jolly
Time November 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Peace and stability is what most people want. Religion is often used to exploit human sentiments for personal gains of the exploiters. I’d prefer to be under a benevolent dictator than fundamental religious zealots of any faith. We condemn China’s communist leaders yet China is far better off under this firm, and guided progress than let to run wild under the guise of ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’. India’s corruption is paralysing the nation. It’s democracy (the largest democracy in the world) is it’s handicap. Progress is painfully slow if not stalled because of the constant debate over anything and everything. Freedom? Democracy? Religion, especially, Islam, tends to remove free thought and regard thinking and questioning minds as ‘infidels’ worthy of death. Brrrrr! Frankly, Egypt was better off under Mubarak. Iraq was better off under S Hussain. To-day the Middle East is in turmoil (post dictators). Sadly, women and children are worse off. I am no fan of Israel, but any country has the right to defend itself from constant rocket attacks, no matter how unsophisticated the missiles are. Hamas will never settle for peace and coexistence with a non-Islamic state simply because Hamas will cease to be relevant. Greed for power and relevance at all cost is what Hamas stands for.

Comment from John
Time November 19, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Since the Zionist state continues it policies of genocide, the surprising thing is how moderate Hamas are. The other stuff about being better off under Mubarak is exactly what the Zionists say because the Arab Spring and democracy in the region threaten their apartheid state of Israel and ultimately US dominance.

Comment from John
Time November 19, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Having won the last election, Hamas represents the interests of the majority of Palestinians for peace and justice. Only after long debate did it decide to enter the political arena, and knowing full well Zionism would attack and sometimes kill them, I fail to see how they have greed for relevance and power. They are more relevant to the Palestinian people than the puppet PA.

Comment from Rigby Taylor
Time November 20, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Politics and philosophies aside, the fact remains that Israel is deliberately creating situations to give them an excuse to exterminate Palestinians and reclaim Gaza. When that is complete they will do the same with each of their neighbours until their religious prophesies are proved correct and they control the world.
What they are doing is in perfect harmony with human nature, and is being repeated all over the planet from Burma and Cambodia to Mexico and the USA. In Australia and everywhere in Africa. India and China are persecuting millions… it is the human way and periods of relative peace are aberrations, not the norm. Why should we expect human groups to behave differently from the other animals that evolved alongside us? We’ll probably become the shortest living dominant species so far on the planet, but that doesn’t matter, life will go on as always in one form or another and to imagine Utopia is as stupid as imagining there’s a benevolent, omnipotent god who cares about us.
What humans do to each other is horrible, but unless everyone refuses to join in the mess, there’s no hope for change.
I admire your sentiments though.