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

No to the Pro-War Cartel Parties!

Starmer Says Nuclear Weapons Are the
"Number One Issue for an Incoming Labour Government"

Workers' Weekly Internet Edition: Article Index :

No to the Pro-War Cartel Parties!
Starmer Says Nuclear Weapons Are the "Number One Issue for an Incoming Labour Government"

80th Anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944:
The Significance of the Normandy Landing During World War Two

Workers' Movement:
Condemn Labour Using its "New Deal" to Bring Workers On Side

Gaza Solidarity Encampments:
Oxford University Authorities Agree to Meet Encampment Students

Call for CARICOM to Break Diplomatic Relations with Apartheid Israel

No to the Pro-War Cartel Parties!

Starmer Says Nuclear Weapons Are
the "Number One Issue for an Incoming Labour Government"

The issue of "security" was put forward as an election battleground in the televised leaders' "debate" between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer. But far from any recognition that security actually lies in the fight for the rights of all, Sunak and Starmer, within the confines of the format of the "debate", vied to outdo each other in claiming that their own warmongering was key.

US airbase at RAF Lakenheath

Shortly before the election was announced, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had made an incoherent speech on the issue of "security" [1]. Then on June 3, Sir Keir Starmer decided to abuse the 80th anniversary of D-Day by dedicating to it a keynote speech in Manchester that claimed, A stronger, safer, more secure Britain [2]. Like Rishi Sunak, Starmer used his speech to justify continuing Britain's active involvement in the escalation of war in Europe and refusing to condemn Britain's political, military an economic support for Israel's genocide of the Palestinians. All in the name of "security" for the British people.

At the same time, Starmer gave fair warning of an even more dangerous direction that a new Labour government intends when he angrily replied to a question that "this is a changed Labour Party and the most important thing is I voted in favour of the nuclear deterrent, ...and my commitment to the nuclear deterrent is absolute, absolute! That is why I voted for it, that is why I have changed this party and that is why it will be the number one issue for an incoming Labour government." [3]

In pursuit of offensive nuclear submarine weapons, Starmer emphasised that Labour "has announced a new triple-lock commitment to our nuclear deterrent. We'll maintain Britain's Continuous at Sea deterrent 24 hours a day, 365 days a year." He declared: "So with Labour, Britain will be fit to fight. Within the first year of a Labour government, we will carry out a new strategic defence review. And we're absolutely committed to spending 2.5% of GDP on defence as soon as possible, because we know our security isn't just vital for our safety today, it's absolutely central to our success for the future."

London demonstration, End the Genocide! Stop Arming Israel! - May 28 2024

In other words, Labour intends to continue the further militarisation of the British economy which has already been described in recent times as "war's workshop of the world" in exporting weapons to world conflicts. Such talk is not about "defence" or "security" of the British people, is not about triple locking people's livelihoods and pensions, but about the ambitions of the arms industries and their "success for the future" which will bring with it again the disastrous ambitions of the previous Blair Labour government. Remember its criminal wars abroad in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq alongside the US warmongers in which thousands of people died, or became refugees fleeing from these conflicts.

Such statements drew condemnation from former leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, now standing as an independent candidate for Islington North, who forcefully declared, "Nuclear weapons are a profound and existential threat to humanity. Instead of investing in weapons of mass destruction, we should be investing in our schools, hospitals and housing to ensure everyone can lead a happy and healthy life. That is what real security means." Andrew Feinstein, an expert on the arms industry standing as an independent candidate against Starmer in Starmer's constituency, Holborn and St Pancras, pointed out in an article on why he is standing that "the notoriously corrupt British defence sector has for decades routed money to our main political parties and to individual politicians - mostly once they have left office, for decisions taken while in office. These companies are the most heavily subsidised by the public purse, meaning that we the taxpayer are subsidising the arms being used in Gaza, the undermining of the rule of law and the corrupting of our political system." [4]

The fact that Starmer, like Sunak, reflects the same outlook of the old world values and not the values of peoples striving for peace, empowerment and the new in the modern world is one of the most revealing things about this General Election campaign. The aim of oligopolies and the executive power is the opposite of the deceptive mantra of Sunak and Starmer of "choice" and "change". The aim is not choice and or change from the cartel party system but the continuation of the reactionary aims and interests of these oligopolies and the ruling elite that are behind executive power of this cartel party system. Starmer's statement that this "is not a party-political issue, this is a national issue" shows how the cartel party system operates so that the people and even Labour Party MPs will have no say in the matter when the executive rules on such vital questions as "national" issues.

In his speech, Starmer also boasted that in February at the Munich Security conference he "met with world leaders from the US, Europe and the Middle East and I met the Secretary General of NATO." He continued, "And I pledged to each of them that with a Labour government, the UK" would be "a leader on the world stage once more. [5]" This is a sure indication once again, if one were needed, that Keir Starmer has been welcomed into the club as a champion for the US and NATO interests just as Blair was in the 1997 Labour government.

The conclusion can be drawn that another attempted coup is about to take place in which the ruling elite hope to rob the people of Britain of real change that upholds the interests of the working class and people at home and abroad. However, this time Starmer has already signalled his vision for a Britain that only benefits the rich and diverts huge resources away from social programmes and towards war industries. Starmer's vision, like Blair's, is one of the dangerous escalation of war in the world. The peoples of Europe, who have suffered through two world wars, do not want war, or to have their countries turned into bases for Anglo-American warmongers and NATO. The world's people alongside the youth are demanding an end to this warmongering and are pursuing the demand for an immediate ceasefire to Israeli genocide in Palestine and an end to NATO's proxy war in Ukraine with Russia.

Let us go all out to elect candidates who have an anti-war stance, taking steps towards a government which cannot be free to pursue its pro-war nature in Parliament unopposed. At the same time, the fight is on to establish an Anti-War Government, that is a government with modern democratic arrangements. This is the perspective and vision that inspires the working class, the youth and all the democratic forces. We call on these forces to persist in speaking in their own name, build discussion groups and establish other collective forms in which the participants empower themselves.

1. A Government in Shameful Disarray with No Way Forward - Workers' Weekly,May 18 2024
2. Keir Starmer - A stronger, safer, more secure Britain speech - Labour Party, June 3 2024
3. Sir Keir Starmer says he's prepared to use nuclear weapons to defend UK - Faye Brown, Sky News, June 3 (quote is from video recording)
4. Andrew Feinstein: Why I am Standing Against Keir Starmer
5. Munich Security Conference 2024 - A Manifestation of Morbid Preoccupation with Defeat for the Old World Order - Workers Weekly, March 30th 2024

Article Index

80th Anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944

The Significance of the Normandy Landing During World War Two

D-Day Normandy landing, France.

Much has been made of the crass act of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in leaving the commemorations of D-Day early. King Charles, in a speech at the British war memorial in France, said, "Our obligation to remember them, what they stood for, and what they achieved for us all, can never diminish." But how should the D-Day landings be characterised? In paying deepest respects to all the men and women who contributed to the defeat of the Nazi-fascists and Japanese militarists in World War II, it is necessary to underline that their cause for peace, democracy and freedom is not the same as the cause for which the US imperialists and big powers wage wars today. The fight for Anti-War Governments is the urgent order of today in the battle to ensure peace, freedom and justice. Below we reprint extracts from an article by Hilary LeBlanc, which appears on the website of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada, to emphasise this point.

D-Day - Leslie Arthur Wilcox

On June 6, 1944, during World War II, an invasion force comprised of US, British and Canadian troops landed on the coast of Normandy, France. This date known to history as D-Day, refers to the long-awaited invasion of northwest Europe to open a Second Front against the Nazi forces of Adolf Hitler who had occupied France and most of Europe and had been waging a savage war against the Soviet Union. To that time, the Soviet Union had borne the brunt of the fight against Hitler. From 1941 to 1945, the Soviet peoples fought more than 75 per cent of the German and Axis forces and suffered the loss during the war, all-told, of more than 20 million people.

The landing at Normandy is said to be the largest amphibious invasion in history. The allies were able to establish a beachhead as part of Operation Overlord. The First United States Army attacked on the beaches, code-named "Utah" and "Omaha". The Second British Army assaulted the beaches, code-named "Gold", "Juno" and "Sword" with the Canadians responsible for Juno in the centre of the British front. The venture was formidable because the Germans had turned the coastline into a continuous fortress with guns, pillboxes, wire, mines and other obstacles.

Nearly 150,000 Allied troops landed or parachuted into the invasion area on D-Day, including 14,000 Canadians at Juno Beach. The Royal Canadian Navy contributed 110 ships and 10,000 sailors and the Royal Canadian Air Force contributed 15 fighter and fighter-bomber squadrons to the assault. Total Allied casualties on D-Day reached more than 10,000, including 1,074 Canadians, of whom 359 were killed. Eleven more months of fighting followed the Normandy landing until in May 1945, the Red Army marched into Berlin and the Germans capitulated. Today May 9 is celebrated as Victory in Europe Day to honour all those who gave their lives to defeat the Nazi-fascists.

Historica Canada points out:

Our banner is the banner of Victory

"For years, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had pressured the British and Americans to open another front in the war, by invading occupied France in the west. In the summer of 1943, the Allies agreed they were ready to launch the invasion the following year. American General Dwight Eisenhower was appointed supreme commander of an amphibious invasion of unprecedented size and scope, code-named Operation Overlord.

"The Allies needed a French harbour from which to supply and sustain a successful invasion force. However, the disastrous 1942 raid on the French port of Dieppe, in which 3,369 Canadians were killed, wounded or captured, had convinced military planners that a seaborne assault against a well-defended port was folly.

"In fact, much of the French side of the English Channel had been turned into what was called the 'Atlantic Wall' - mile after mile of concrete bunkers, machine gun nests, and other fortifications built by the Germans, overlooking beaches and tidal estuaries strewn with layers of barbed wire, anti-tank ditches, mines and other obstacles designed to obstruct an invading army."

The Normandy campaign finally ended on August 21, 1944. Now the pursuit of the enemy into the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany could begin.

Today it is commonplace to hear the Anglo-American and European imperialists dismiss the feats of the Soviet peoples in defeating Hitler, while claiming that it was the historic landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944, which broke Hitler's back. This makes it possible to claim that the United States played the decisive role in saving the world from Hitlerism and describing current US wars of aggression and occupation as wars of liberation. All US military interventions since the landing at Normandy are said to oppose dictatorships and tyrannies similar to Hitler's, thus faithfully following in the tradition of the landing at Normandy.

This is not the case. The Red Army broke Hitler's back in Stalingrad and then chased his Nazi forces all the way back to Berlin where they were finally forced to surrender. This does not take away from the fact that the Second Front kept many Nazi troops engaged and away from the eastern front. German casualties (killed and wounded) in the Normandy campaign were estimated at more than 200,000, while the Allies suffered 209,000 casualties among the more than two million soldiers who landed in France following the D-Day landing. Among the Allied casualties were more than 18,700 Canadians, including more than 5,000 soldiers killed. Had the Anglo-American powers joined the anti-fascist front called for and established by the Soviet Union under Stalin, losses caused by the Hitlerite occupation of Europe and invasion of the Soviet Union would not have been so grave. Instead they were driven by an aim to make sure they, not the Soviets, would control the outcome of the war.

Article Index

Workers' Movement

Condemn Labour Using its "New Deal" to Bring Workers On Side

June 2022, London - Enough is Enough! rally

The Labour Party recently published the latest version of its "New Deal for Working People", which is to feature prominently in its election campaign.

Angela Rayner originally launched the New Deal at the Labour Conference in 2021. As originally introduced, the New Deal was ostensibly a set of measures that would, it was claimed, end the practice of "fire and rehire", ban zero-hours contracts and ensure regular hours for all, strengthen trade union rights, and introduce sectorial Fair Pay Agreements, amongst other changes. The legislation to enact the New Deal was to be created within 100 days of a Labour election victory [1].

In its initial form, it was drawn up in agreement with the unions affiliated to the Labour Party. The context is an extended period of sustained industrial action and campaigning under the heading of "Enough is Enough!" in the face of the rising cost of living, particularly food and energy prices, further deterioration of social programmes and the increasingly brazen imposition of worsening employment terms along with the casualisation of work.

Junior Doctors and teachers and many others have been in prolonged action around their claims, asserting themselves over wages and conditions during and after the pandemic, and are demanding their rights. They are seeking the repeal of laws that have strengthened the police powers of the state against their ability to organise in self-defence, such as the Minimum Service Levels Act aimed at undermining strike action.

It is in that context that these unions drew up this New Deal with the Labour Party. Unlike the agreements with unions in the heyday of social democracy, this deal arose not in conditions of relative equilibrium, with the big unions accommodated in the arrangements of governance, but has instead arisen as a result of the profound disequilibrium that exists in the social relation between employer and worker. It is also in conditions of the current and decaying cartel party system, with Labour on its part attempting to win votes from working people to ensure a large victory in the electoral coup they are attempting to mount.

The reality then is that all along, and particularly in the recent period leading to the coming election, the deal has been a battle with a Labour Party that seeking to use it to manipulate the electorate and ensure the deal contains no real substance.

On May 8, union leaders met with Labour leader Keir Starmer to discuss a new draft of the New Deal that Unite general secretary Sharon Graham rejected as "unrecognisable" [2]. After nearly a week, while reports claimed that Starmer had been forced to back down on proposals to water down the deal, it is clear that serious points of contention remain [3].

The latest version, now made public [4], though it says "we will introduce legislation in Parliament within 100 days of entering government", it does not actually commit to anything. It does not state what of the legislation it will introduce in that period, and it is at pains to explain that this will really amount to starting the parliamentary process.

In particular, it explains: "Labour is pro-worker and pro-business, and we will work in partnership with trade unions and business to deliver our New Deal. That is why we are committed to following a proper parliamentary process for our legislative proposals, with a full and comprehensive consultation on the implementation of the New Deal. We will invite businesses, trade unions, and civil society to input on how we can best put our plans into practice."

In conditions where civil society barely operates, this is an invitation to business to call the shots, as all power is on its side. The New Deal is merely a set of policy objectives, debated at length with the unions, announced to great fanfare, but in substance is little more than a starting-point to consultation with business. Indeed, all the cartel parties are making various vacuous promises that have no intention of being kept, and in this sense the New Deal is no different.

As Michael Doyle explains, writing in Conter, "Even the section on strengthening collective bargaining is focused on the needs of business. Starmer's commitment to strengthening collective bargaining is about reducing strike action and disruptions to business. There is nothing about increasing wages and achieving better terms and conditions. Labour's position on the industrial action of the past few years is one of supporting keeping pay increases below inflation - an example being the sacking of a Labour shadow minister who expressed support for the RMT's demand for above inflation pay rises in 2022." [5]

In its current form then, the latest and essentially final draft is the result of the machinations of Starmer and his circles to try to bring the workers and their organisations on side, to secure their electoral support and to divert them from fighting for their own interests.

Workers should therefore harbour no illusions about the Labour Party or get distracted by the presence of a "New Deal". While the fact that the deal exists indicates something about the effect of the workers' continued actions at this time, as an end in itself it will simply maintain the system of exploitation. In the current conditions it would favour only the rich, if workers' independent aims are allowed to be buried beneath it.

The workers instead need to have their independent programme, and organise to stop of paying the rich and increasing investments in social programmes, which is the only basis of the alternative. The issue is not to "make work pay," as Labour describes the aim of its deal, but to change the direction of the economy. This can only be achieved by the workers working out solutions which favour them, not relying on any other force.

The call still is: All out to elect anti-war candidates and challenge the cartel party system! The New Deal cannot be allowed to divert this into a voting for a Labour landslide. Vote for anti-war and independent candidates wherever possible, while strengthening the fight for empowerment. A deal is not a new arrangement. The need is for fundamental democratic renewal of the political system, expressed in an Anti-War Government, which is the burning need of the day.

1. "Labour's new deal for working people"
2. Andrew Murray, "Unions to meet Starmer over workers' rights fears", Morning Star, May 8, 2024
3. David Maddox, "Unions stop Keir Starmer watering down workers' rights package", The Independent, May 14, 2024
4. "Labour's plan to make work pay: Delivering a new deal for working people", May 24, 2024
5. "The workers' movement and the coming Labour government", June 5, 2024

Article Index

Gaza Solidarity Encampments

Oxford University Authorities Agree to Meet Encampment Students

Since early May, students have set up encampments at universities across Britain and Ireland, following the lead of students at Columbia University in New York City, who began their Gaza Solidarity Encampment on April 17.

Oxford Action for Palestine, made up mainly of students, set up an encampment outside Oxford University's Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museums on May 6 to demand an overhaul of investment policy, including that university-wide assets be disclosed and all arms companies and the university divest from companies complicit in Israeli genocide, apartheid, and occupation. The campaign also calls for boycotting institutional relations, and rebuilding and reinvesting in higher education in Gaza.

Following the university's refusal to speak to the students, they have organised further actions, such as a "die-in" outside the Sheldonian theatre during graduation ceremonies, to highlight the systematic destruction of universities in Gaza, and the establishment of a second encampment outside the iconic Radcliffe Camera library building. "There can be no business as usual while enabling a genocide," say the students.

Workers' Weekly visited the encampment at Oxford University on May 15, the anniversary of Al Nakba.

When you visit the encampment, what immediately strikes you is just how well-organised it is. They have a welcome tent, constantly attended by two or three people, packed with information. And it really is warmly welcoming. This camp is not set up to exclude. They are ready to explain why they are there, what they aim to achieve, what is happening that day. For visiting journalists, there is a media tent. There is a medical tent too, while the food served from the kitchen area is organised through community links. There is even a library. Aside from these, there is a sea of tents where dozens of students have been living for days and now weeks, and a flooring has been laid over the main walkways through the camp. Next to the food area is the all-important open space for socialising and culture, gatherings, discussions, meetings, and teach-ins.

While warm, the atmosphere is serious and determined. "Disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest!" they declare. These are the youth and students taking control of their future, at one with the youth of the world. They deal with every move by the authorities daily, publishing detailed responses and their stand, and publicising their events, on their social media feeds. They have their own thinking and motion and speak in their own name.

These students are part of the New that is struggling to come into being. Their inclusive, diverse spirit, and the ways they are finding to act collectively, represent the seeds of the modern democratic personality that is required so that all can directly decide the crucial matters such as questions of war and peace at this time. This spirit is, at essence, entirely opposed to the antidemocratic personality embodied by the factions of the cartel party system jostling for position as they organise a coup d'etat in the coming general election, mobilising the people as voting cattle around their entirely pro-war agenda.

And the students have been attacked, both in words and physically. On Thursday, May 23, after continued silence from the university authorities, the encampment organised a sit-in protest at the university administration offices to demand that the university meet with them. Vice Chancellor Irene Tracey instead chose to evacuate the building and declare it under lockdown, calling in the police who made sixteen arrests.

According to reports by the Oxford Student, police entered Somerville College and launched a drone from their grounds, until being told "to leave with immediate effect".

Oxford UCU condemned the VC "in the strongest possible terms for bringing in police to violently arrest her own students, engaged in peaceful protest against genocide".

The university authorities accused the protesters of "violent and criminal action". Such talk, painting those opposing the genocidal acts in Palestine as antisemitic, extremist, and violent, is to turn truth on its head. This disinformation has opened the way for sinister forces to move in. On a number of occasions, the camp has been subjected to aggression, including being attacked more than once by individuals armed with knives.

In one such incident, "a small group of individuals aggressively approached our encampment and hurled vulgar antisemitic slurs at our Jewish community member who tried to de-escalate the altercation".

At the same time, the overwhelming response from thousands of students, hundreds of faculty and staff, dozens of college common rooms, several student organisations, the Oxford UCU, and a coalition of Jewish faculty, is of support for the encampment including issuing open letters and statements.

And now, after exactly one month, Oxford Action for Palestine reported on June 6 that the Vice Chancellor and other senior members of the University Administration have finally agreed to meet with students from the encampment. Irene Tracey expressed the desire to work with the students on matters relating to the demands, the students report, and are currently arranging a date and time for discussion.

Workers' Weekly congratulates the Oxford students. Simply to force such a meeting at this time is a success, as is the camp itself and all it has achieved over the past month.

Article Index


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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