Anti-imperialism and the liberation of Palestine

Israel’s massacre of Palestinians in Gaza in May and its intensified ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem continue to reverberate across the region.

The unified Palestinian response to Israel’s assaults – including the military resistance from Gaza, protests in the occupied West Bank and within Israel, and a general strike – gave renewed hope to Palestinians that Israel’s regime of occupation, apartheid and settler-colonialism can successfully be resisted.

Despite the Gaza ceasefire, Israel’s ethnic cleansing has not let up in Jerusalem, while the US and EU-backed Palestinian Authority acts as Israel’s puppet.

Yet Western liberals and “progressive” US politicians – among them many who rhetorically support Palestinian rights – are often uncomfortable with or outright opposed to Palestinian armed resistance, or even nonviolent boycotts.

Others say they support Palestinian rights, yet still also support US imperialism, regime-change efforts and sanctions against peoples and countries in the region.

Those in US crosshairs are typically the only countries or organizations that actually provide support for the Palestinian resistance.

So can Palestine be liberated while the US remains the imperial hegemon, backing despotic client regimes and waging invasions, bombings and proxy wars against any state that resists its domination?

Did May’s Israeli attack on Gaza mark a turning point in how the world sees Israel and the Palestinian struggle?

And do people in the region support resistance – despite US efforts to sow sectarianism as a tactic to divide its opponents and turn people in the region against each other?

These were some of the topics journalist Rania Khalek and I covered Wednesday in a wide-ranging discussion on her show Dispatches on BreakThrough News.

We also talked about Israel’s “new” government and whether it makes any difference for Palestinians.

Watch the video above!




I am continually grateful for Ali's speaking about imperialism (this must include capitalism, the source of imperialism though he doesn't often mention it). I love this quote from the interview - "You can't have liberation in one country." It echoes for me Trotsky's "You can't have socialism in one country" in his call for international revolution to counter Stalin's policy of "socialism in one country." Ali is great when he says "I refuse to be grateful for crumbs."


My day starts with Salat and I pray for Palestine as I have prayed for Palestine these past nine years. Nothing seems to have changed for the better in this time. However, I will not stop praying simply because Israel continues to be evil. Allah knows.


As progressives rebelled against Democratic party orthodoxy in 2000 and worked hard to undermine Al Gore in an effort to elect Nader, against all odds, I made it my business to confront every one of them I could find with the probability and as it turned out, the FACT that they made the difference in 4 states, any one of which could have saved us from GWB and co and a million+ Iraqis from US. Eventually most progressives saw the light and the electoral war is where it is and should be; a life and death struggle for just a shot at a future for the human race.
I see the role many progressives are playing now, with tacit support of Hamas and explicit condemnation of the PA, as having similar rationale and possibly a similar affect on the struggle for a Palestinian state, leaving aside the One State – Two State debate.
Nader was right on the issues (largely). He not only had a right to criticize the Dem Party, he had an obligation to his supporters and by extension, humanity itself to do so. If he didn’t, who would and when if ever? His campaign was destined to go down in flames but it was vitally important that it get the attention of the broader public, at all costs.
Mercifully I won’t go on (you’re welcome) with parallels between that and Ali’s positions on the squad and Hamas and the holy rockets, it’s enough.
Ali must continue to point out hypocrisies and double standards, whenever and wherever but there are alliances and principles more fundamental than the fun and games of pointing out hanging snots, which must be seen to for their immediate critical importance in the non-academic struggle for real progress.


Ali can probably only help Omar by criticizing her for categorizing Hamas as ‘terrorist’, that’s not a problem. But his and others condemnation of Abu Mazen, without addressing his political and administrative challenges, in all fairness, reminds me of what so-called progressives did to AL Gore in 2000. And this time there isn’t even a Nader as a hope and a prayer. There’s a band of Islamic fundamentalists and their holy rockets.
Ali rightly points out that ‘terrorist’ has become a political pejorative but it still pertains to people who indiscriminately launch missiles into civilian populations, at least in most people’s minds. Maybe Ali can change that, I don’t know but it seems to me there are enough things to change without having to justify indiscriminate killing in a hopeless military fantasy aimed aimlessly at affecting world opinion.


John Costello, your whole argument falls apart when you describe Hamas as "a band of Islamic fundamentalists and their holy rockets-who indiscriminately launch missiles into civilian populations."
You can't compare this to the terror of the Israeli state with its periodic provoked high tech massacres and wholesale destruction and targeted killings of civilians in Gaza, the actions of a fundamentalist Zionist regime. Abu Mazen has been in power long enough to reveal his whole lack of support of the Palestinian people he is supposed to defend, while still providing security to the Israeli state. His tactics echo the worst of Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, this time targeted at the activists within his own community, with torture, suppression and brutality. This is not an Al Gore-Nader situation. Abbas' efforts to prevent unity with Hamas, the actually elected government by the Palestinians is an obstacle to the ending of the colonial settler regime, and his weakening of the resistance to that regime that is so vital, a resistance that is the right of an oppressed and subjugated people.


Thank you Abe for taking the time but I’m not sure whether you’re implying I’m a hypocrite or Abbas is but I’ll stand with him any day, even against your barbs.
I think you’re saying my argument falls apart primarily because violence by Hamas is justified whereas violence from Hamas’ tormentor, Israel isn’t. That seems a reasonable position in the abstract but concretely, if Hamas’ violence is guaranteed to be totally ineffective militarily but is totally guaranteed to get Hamas’ subjects (Gazans) massacred, then the position doesn’t seem so reasonable anymore.
Put it this way; if military action is undertaken, there is an expectation of some chance of progress in the fight. If it is undertaken without any reasonable expectation of progress, it isn’t really a military action. Now it may be the action is taken with the expectation of winning politically somehow but that renders the military action non-reciprocal and an overtly violent act, without a direct provocation to self-defense and so it becomes something very close to what the world categorizes as an ‘act of aggression’ or even ‘terrorism’.


On the issue of PA injustices; let me just say again that it’s the unjust, immoral and illegal theft and occupation of Palestine that lies at the bottom of the cycle of violence and injustice and it’s really a matter of how to deal with that that concerns me. Yours and others here point an accusatory finger at Abbas, which should be reserved for his oppressor, Israel. It is a violent and desperate world they force him to lead in and to expect him to do so without getting his hands dirty is to expect exactly what his oppressor wants you to expect and to condemn him for it while expecting the world to accept “a band of Islamic fundamentalists” as leaders of a new state, side by side with their uncle’s and cousin’s 21st century success story.
Furthermore, it depends on who you listen to, as to where you see injustice. Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director for Human Rights Watch says, “After five years of Hamas rule in Gaza, its criminal justice system reeks of injustice, routinely violates detainees’ rights, and grants impunity to abusive security services,”. Again, I don’t blame them and I listen to everyone.


I was very heartened this past weekend to hear that Hamas called for non-violent, direct action, in response to further blatant provocative acts in Jerusalem. It was a wise response to a new Prime minister, who must be de-cloaked before a world that knows so very little about him, before that is, he is given an excuse to use his newly won messianic powers.


Okay, you're right, Abe just doesn't get the point. I thought it polite to return the favor of a response that's all.