Stop the War Madness! – 1/9/2012

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are  rushing towards a new war in our region – a military offensive against Iran. They persist in this, in spite of a very widespread opposition to their policies in the political arena, in major parts of the media, in public opinion, and even in a large part of the past and present holders of senior positions in the various branches of the military establishment.

It should be noted, however, that some of the above mentioned dissidents are not consistent and absolute opponents of all warlike moves, but are only opposed to starting hostilities at this specific present time or under the specific present circumstances.

Embarking on a new war might cause heavy damage, also to Israel itself. An Israeli military attack on Iran might set off a conflagration throughout the region, and bring about unprecedented disastrous results – whose impact might be felt also far beyond the region.  Therefore, such a war should be ruled out categorically and resolutely, as a matter of principle.

The issue of nuclear weapons in the region should be resolved through dialogue, on the basis of nuclear demilitarization of all countries in the region. This must include Israel, which over many years persists in refusing to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Obsessive preoccupation with "The Iranian Threat" helps the Government of Israel to divert attention from the ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and from the crimes committed in the framework of that occupation. Likewise, diverting attention to Iran helps the government in imposing harsh economic measures on the Israeli public. These include sharp increases in prices of the most basic food products as well as of electricity, gas and water. Simultaneously, there are continuing attacks on social services and a significant increase in housing prices, in complete contradiction to the government's specific promises in this regard just a few months ago.

Against the background of the continuing threats of war, there is also an increasing violation of democratic rights, by reactionary legislation and the increased use of security forces in order to silence political and social protests. Likewise, there is a continuing offensive against the Arab population in Israel and its political leadership.

Despite all this, the protests do not cease. So far, dozens of demonstrations and vigils have taken place (even though some of them were not very massive). Some are directed against the threat of a new war, while others also take up protest against the government's overall policy.

Last year, social protests reached a peak unprecedented in this country's history.  Hundreds of thousands took to the streets, demanding Social Justice and a change in the government's socio-economic policy. Despite quite a few weaknesses of these protest actions – in particular, their organizers' failure to point out the root causes of government economic policies being so damaging to the general public – the social protest was of great importance, and its results are sure to affect future struggles in Israel for many years to come.

Clearly, at present it is difficult to wage  the protests at anything like the scale of last year. However, we are convinced that social protests are bound to  expand once again when the clouds of war disperse and when economic measures become ever harsher. We believe that it is impossible to separate political issues from socio-economic ones. First and foremost, a fundamental change of priorities in Israel must include diverting the huge sums now invested in the army and settlements. Much of them should be directed instead to increasing the budgets of health, education and welfare.

We call for an end to the recently accelerated privatization drive, and for the imposition of additional taxes on capital gains and corporate profits. In general, taxation on the upper income brackets must be increased – rather than the main burden being placed on the workers and the poorer segments of the population, as the government is doing at present.

We call for the maximum of cooperation among all opponents of government policies. At the moment, that means first and foremost cooperation in the struggle to avert the threat of a disastrous new war. This should be followed by a struggle for a more fundamental change of policy, a peace based on withdrawal from the Occupied Territories and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel within the June '67 borders.

Against imperialist intervention

We oppose any warlike Imperialist intervention in the region, and reject Western calls for military intervention in Syria or other Middle Eastern countries. Such interventions, in our region and other parts of the world,  have already caused mass casualties among civilian populations and the destruction of vital infrastructure. Also, in the countries where such intervention had taken place, there followed more serious violations of the population's Human Rights and socio-economic rights.

We condemn any killing and harm to unarmed civilians caused by the Syrian authorities, at different stages of the conflict in that country. At the same time we denouncing the killing and injuring of civilians by various rebel groups, and the harm to ethnic minorities which are placed in a real existential danger. We denounce the double standard policy of the Western powers and most of the Western media, which ignore the killing of civilians and other violations of Human Rights in such countries as Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and others. That is, clearly, because the dictatorial rulers in these countries are loyal servants to the interests of American and European Imperialism.

We condemn the thwarting of efforts, made by the UN with the active support of Russia, to start a dialogue between government and opposition in Syria. It was the U.S. and its allies who encouraged the armed opposition in Syria to oppose any agreement with the government. As such, these countries bear much of the responsibility for the continuing bloodshed in Syria.