International  •  Politics & Economics

Why we defend ‘from the river to the sea’

13 November 2023

Andy MacDonald, Labour MP for Middlesbrough, has been suspended for using the phrase ‘from the river to the sea’. The infamous war criminal Lord Peter Mandelson said MPs who use the phrase ‘would be interpreted as calling into question the existence of Israel and the right of Israelis to continue to live in their country.’

What MacDonald actually said was, ‘We say to the UK, American and Israeli governments: Enough! Enough of the bombardment! Enough of the siege! Enough of the occupation! We won’t rest until we have justice. Until all people, Israelis & Palestinians, between the river & the sea can live in peaceful liberty.’

The slogan ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’, adopted in 1964 by the entire movement, expresses the legitimate aspiration of the Palestinian people to resist colonisation and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the racist Zionist state.

Those who denounce it as antisemitic are engaging in an outrageous slander designed to silence the victims of oppression and those who stand in solidarity with them. We will not be silenced!

The slogan #CeasefireNow has been understandably taken up across the movement. Millions want the bombing to stop, and they want those who claim to represent them to join that call.

A ceasefire would provide immediate relief for Gazans. But it would not change the status quo. It would not end the siege; it would not end the settler violence in the West Bank. We should demand an end to the Zionist war, occupation, settlements, and blockade.

But while socialists oppose the Islamists’ futile and reactionary terrorism against civilians, we have no right to call on the Palestinians to cease their resistance.

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