Defend Israel’s right to exist! Call for cease-fire is support for Hamas

By Seth Galinsky
November 13, 2023
Protesters in New York City’s Washington Square Park Oct. 17 hold posters displaying pictures of hostages seized by Hamas in bloody pogrom 10 days earlier. Protest demanded their release.
Christopher Leon JohnsonProtesters in New York City’s Washington Square Park Oct. 17 hold posters displaying pictures of hostages seized by Hamas in bloody pogrom 10 days earlier. Protest demanded their release.

The Israel Defense Forces are advancing on the ground in northern Gaza with the aim of eliminating Hamas, the Tehran-backed terror outfit that tore through southern Israel Oct. 7, killing some 1,400 Jews and maiming thousands more. Middle-class radicals and other supporters of Hamas and its reactionary, anti-working-class course are being joined by Democratic Party leaders and liberal media like the New York Times in pressing for an immediate cease-fire.

But a cease-fire would allow Hamas’ leadership to survive, only to prepare endless new rounds of murderous anti-Jewish pogroms, while continuing to keep its boot on the neck of the people of Gaza. Hamas uses the disaster facing Palestinians under its rule to evoke sympathy abroad.

Its death squads still hold some 245 hostages that Hamas intends to use as bargaining pawns.

Hamas’ goal, which it had been planning for years together with its backers in Tehran and Hezbollah in Lebanon, was to kill, torture and take hostage as many Jews as possible. It carried out the largest slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust. This highlights the necessity for working people to understand the special danger of Jew-hatred in the imperialist epoch and to fight it whenever it raises its head.

This poses the need to relearn the lessons of the rise of Hitler’s Nazi power in the 1930s — the betrayals of Moscow and Stalinist parties in Germany and elsewhere that made it possible and the decision of Washington and other democratic imperialist regimes to shut their borders to Jews. These were the historical developments that led to the Holocaust and made the establishment of the state of Israel inevitable.

Liberal media like the Times have dropped most coverage of Hamas’ bloody pogrom and the hostages. They now cover their front pages with photos of destruction and suffering of people in Gaza. There is real suffering, but it is the result of the actions of Hamas, which has controlled Gaza with an iron hand for nearly two decades.

Hamas has attempted to prevent people in northern Gaza from fleeing when the Israeli government urged them to seek refuge in the southern part of the territory. The Times echoes Hamas in saying Israel’s moves to crush the Hamas organization is “collective punishment” of Palestinians, which it claims is as bad or worse than the Hamas massacre itself.

The simple fact is it is Hamas — whose stated purpose is to kill Jews and destroy Israel — not the capitalist government of Israel, that is responsible for the desperate situation in Gaza. Unlike Hamas, Israeli forces target military assets, not civilians.

If Gaza is a “prison,” then Hamas is the warden. Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005. Hamas has been in control since early 2006 when it narrowly won elections and then militarily smashed its rival, Fatah, leaving 600 Gazans dead. Hamas tortures its political opponents, busts labor unions, imprisons and beats gays and suppresses women’s rights.

Hamas — which like its enablers in Tehran cares not one iota for the lives of Palestinians — has spent tens of millions of dollars a year, much of it sent to Gaza for civilian aid, to instead build tunnels, ammunition dumps and command posts, most deliberately placed underneath apartment buildings, schools, mosques and hospitals.

Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari told the press Oct. 27 that Hamas’ main command center today is underneath Shifa Hospital, the largest in Gaza.

Some Hamas supporters say that anyone who lives in Israel is a “legitimate target.” In New York, Hamas supporters put up a poster, designed to look similar to posters Jews are putting up across the city of hostages held by the Islamist outfit, showing the face of an 8-year-old Israeli. But instead of the word “kidnapped” they called the child an “occupier”!

Others try to claim that reports of Hamas torture and murder are “fake news” or grossly exaggerated.

To counter the lies, the Israeli government has released videos filmed by the Hamas gunmen themselves along with photos Israelis took afterward of the destruction and death wrought in the pogrom.

Pro-Hamas antisemitism on campus

The Hamas slaughter has exposed the thuggish antisemitism that is increasingly widespread among “woke” middle-class leftists around the world, including many in the Democratic Party. This is especially true on university campuses.

At Cooper Union, a private college in New York City, a group of student demonstrators carrying signs that said “Zionism Hands Off Our Universities” and chanting “Free Palestine” saw some Jewish students in the campus library and began angrily banging on the glass walls. Library staff, fearing the worst, locked the doors to keep them from getting in.

At New York University defenders of Israel’s right to exist as a refuge for Jews organized protests to answer the pro-Hamas chorus.

“Shame on all those people who speak in the name of their supposed values of human rights and clamor for a cease-fire, but don’t have a single word to say for the Israeli hostages and the humanity of Israeli civilians,” NYU researcher Mijal Bitton told an Oct. 27 rally. “Shame on all those who say ‘believe women,’ but whose feminism ends the second the rape victims are Jewish Israelis.”

Most workers have a different reaction than the apologists for Hamas. When two construction workers, neither of them Jews, were in Forest Hills, Queens, the New York Post reported Oct. 28, they saw a man ripping down some of the posters demanding the release of Hamas’ hostages. They got out of their truck and confronted him in an exchange caught on video. One construction worker named Paulie told him to stop, but the man insisted “there is no proof that Hamas is holding hostages.”

“This is a free country,” Paulie replied. “You can waive your Palestine flag and say death to the Jews and America or whatever you want, but we can put up f–king signs.”

For workers power, a socialist world

It should be no surprise Jew-hatred is once again raising its ugly head. It always does when the crisis of capitalism deepens. Just as boss attacks against workers are on the rise today, acts of intimidation and physical violence against Jews are also increasing, accelerated by Hamas’ slaughter in Israel.

Homes of Jews in Berlin have been defaced, a Jewish man was punched in the face on a London bus and threats have been made against Jews in France. In San Francisco Jewish-owned Smitten Ice Cream closed after pro-Hamas thugs vandalized the store with graffiti and smashed the windows.

All capitalist regimes worldwide are looking for new allies and ways to defend their own economic and military interests and to prepare for new wars to come.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who in the past had cordial relations with the Israeli regime, has denounced Israel and come out in favor of Hamas, claiming it “is not a terrorist organization, it is a liberation group.” Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted a Hamas delegation in Moscow Oct. 26.

While Washington has publicly supported Israel’s right to defend itself, the Joseph Biden administration is stepping up efforts to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to exercise “restraint.”

Róger Calero, Socialist Workers Party candidate for New York City Council, said the fight against Jew-hatred is crucial to building a movement that can defend the independent class interests of working people. “We cannot rely on Washington or any ‘democratic’ imperialist power to protect the Jews, or the interests of working people anywhere,” Calero said. “It’s in the interest of working people everywhere to defend the existence of Israel as a refuge for Jews and to stand up to Jew-hatred. We must fight for the working class to take political power out of the hands of the capitalist rulers and build a new world.”