Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 54 Number 13, June 8, 2024 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE


Call for CARICOM to Break Diplomatic Relations with Apartheid Israel

By A T Freeman

Guyana action against the Zionist entity

The inhuman savagery of Israel's genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza has shocked the conscience of millions of people around the world, including in the Caribbean. From a policy of deliberate starvation and blocking access to water to bombing hospitals and ambulances, even going so far as killing thousands of children, Israel's crimes have had no limits.

As a result, millions have come to understand the true nature of the state of Israel. This has been particularly so in the Caribbean, where for many years, there has been widespread confusion and misunderstanding that the current state of Israel is somehow connected to Biblical Israel.

Much of this confusion is the result of the deliberate campaign of disinformation that has been spread by the Zionist movement and its supporters, some of whom occupy prominent positions within Christian churches across the region. First, it is necessary to understand that the Zionist movement is a political movement that emerged in 19th century Europe in response to the centuries long practice in that continent of persecuting followers of the Jewish religion. This tendency towards persecuting people on the basis of their religion is not unique to Europe but it was certainly very strong there. However, it is also important to note that in other regions of the world, including Ethiopia, North Africa, the Middle East, India and Iran for example, followers of Judaism were not subjected to the type of persecution that was common in Europe.

At the core of the Zionist ideology are a number of false claims and racist and anti-Semitic concepts. The Zionists declared that Jews were "a people", meaning an ethnic group and not a religious community. Obviously, this claim is false since Iranian, Ethiopian and Eastern European Jews have nothing in common from an ethnic point of view and are only united by their common belief in the religion of Judaism. To get around this reality, the Zionists' implicit claim was that it was the European Jews who were "a people". On this basis, they created a racist hierarchy with the European Jews at the top holding the power to judge who was and was not a "genuine Jew". The experience of discrimination and abuse of the Ethiopian Jews in Israel, including the forced sterilisation of Ethiopian women, is a product of this intrinsically racist character of Zionist ideology.

Another area in which the Zionists attempt to create confusion is by blurring the distinction between religion and secularism. Many of the founders of the Zionist movement, like Theodore Herzl, were self-declared non-believers, so-called "secular Jews". This concept makes as much sense as a "secular Christian" or a "secular Muslim". Clearly if someone no longer subscribes to a particular religion, then that person is no longer a member of that religious community. The concept of a "secular Jew" is like the concept of a teetotalling alcoholic. At the time the Zionist movement was taking shape, many rabbis and others who recognised what the Zionists were doing, immediately denounced them for cynically using the religion of Judaism to advance their own political agenda.

Nevertheless, the Zionists declared themselves to be the representatives of "all Jews" and declared that all the crimes they carried out were being done on behalf of and were the responsibility of "all Jews". This is the anti-Semitic nature of Zionism since it tries to pass off the crimes of a political movement onto the followers of a particular religion. Hence it declares the state of Israel to be a Jewish state - which it is not - rather than a Zionist state, which it is. Today, in the face of the terrible crimes of the Zionists, many Jews are openly declaring that those committing these crimes are not acting in their name.

Armed with its racist and anti-Semitic outlook, the Zionist movement convened its inaugural conference in Basel, Switzerland in 1897. This was a mere 13 years after the infamous Berlin Conference, where Europe's main colonial powers met to divide up Africa and carve out their colonies on that continent. The Zionists positioned themselves within this project of European colonial conquest and aimed to convince the then superpower, Britain, to hand over someone else's land on which the Zionists could create their own state. In this commitment to European settler colonialism, the Zionist movement demonstrated its unity with all the enslaving and racist ideologies - from so-called civilising missions, and alleged White Man's Burden theories to Nazism and fascism - that Europe has employed over the last 500 years to conquer the whole world.

It is clear from all of this, that there is nothing democratic about the state of Israel, which is a creation of the Zionist movement and its racist, anti-Semitic and colonialist ideology. It is therefore not surprising that Israel was a strategic partner of apartheid South Africa, another European settler colonial project, and that it supplied that regime with nuclear weapons to secure itself against the struggle of the African people for their freedom. It is also not surprising that Israel operates an apartheid regime which targets the Palestinian people and treats them as subhuman. This has been the practice of every European settler colonial project with regard to the indigenous people. The fact that today Israel is carrying out what has been described as the first televised genocide is further evidence of its nature since genocide has been a consistent practice of European settler colonialism.

Today, according to its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel, through its embassy to the United Nations in New York, maintains diplomatic relations with all the countries in the Caribbean region except Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. It also has an ambassador appointed to CARICOM and to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). In this context, there has been a pattern of so-called security cooperation between Israel and various governments across the region in which Israel trains regional police forces in the repressive tactics it has developed for use against the Palestinian people.

However, in the face of the savagery of Israel's attack on Gaza, Belize suspended its diplomatic relations with Israel in November 2023. In April and May 2024, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago officially recognised the state of Palestine, while The Bahamas announced their intention to do so. This means that all the formally independent member states of CARICOM have either recognised the state of Palestine or announced their intention to do so. This diplomatic initiative mirrors the recent considerations of the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice. This, however, is far from enough. In their millions, ordinary people across the world, including here in our region, have taken to the streets to condemn Israel's crimes and the unflinching support for these crimes by those countries that style themselves as so-called defenders of democracy and human rights. It is worth noting that those same governments also supported apartheid South Africa and are no w attacking Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua in our region.

Given the racist and genocidal nature of the state of Israel, it is time to isolate and boycott it in the same way that apartheid South Africa was treated. CARICOM must break diplomatic relations with apartheid Israel.

(Caribbean Organisation for Peoples Empowerment, June 5, 2024)

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