While Israel Slaughters Gaza, Millions of Americans Are Turning Against US Imperialism

Class-conscious workers and youth have been forced over the last three weeks to wrap their heads around the degree of “pure, unadulterated evil” perpetuated day in and day out by US imperialism. We have been glued to our newsfeeds, closely following every development in Israel’s war of aggression against the Palestinian people. The utter cynicism, hypocrisy, and two-faced nature of the bourgeois politicians and their lackey media have been on full display.

Scenes from the mass murder in Gaza

By now, the basic facts are known to everyone. For 21 days, Israel has waged an asymmetrical attack on the 2.3 million citizens of the Gaza strip. Israel—with the full support of Joe Biden and the entire United States government—is savagely and indiscriminately bombing a defenseless population. The so-called “Israel-Hamas war” is really a one-sided assault by Israel against Palestinian civilians. Not for nothing have pro-Palestine protestors given Joe Biden the new nickname, “Genocide Joe.”

At the time of writing, the death toll exceeds 7,000 people. 3,000 of these deaths were children. 32 were journalists and 57 were UN employees. Hundreds more are missing, and feared to be trapped beneath the rubble. 50% of housing units have been completely or partially destroyed, while 219 schools and 50 ambulances have been attacked. A staggering 1.4 million people have been internally displaced.

The level of misery in Gaza is difficult to even put into words. Children have been shredded and crushed to death, or burned alive. One video circulated of a Gazan man saying that he can go a bit longer without electricity or food, but what he needs right now is simply water. Doctors have had to perform emergency surgeries using only the flashlights from their smartphones.

In some cases, Gazans are to choose between staying and dying together as a family, or separating so that at least one person might live on to tell their stories. Extreme hunger, thirst, and disease are increasingly rampant, as Gazans enter their fourth week under siege and bombardment.

The massacre is far-reaching in its scope and intensity, and naturally, the bourgeois media can’t avoid reporting on it entirely. But these outlets try as much as possible to minimize and hide the full extent of the atrocities, and distance their viewers from ordinary Palestinians.

Anderson Cooper of CNN accidentally humanized the Palestinians by referring to a “huge civilian loss of life,” before correcting himself out loud, saying that it was merely a “loss of life.”

But journalists and ordinary Gazans alike have been bravely documenting the on-the-ground reality of Israeli state terrorism. The scenes of horror the Israelis and US imperialists are raining upon thousands and thousands of human beings defy description:

The largely defenseless, imprisoned population of the Gaza Strip don’t have many options when it comes to avoiding this savagery. Nonetheless, this devastation is accompanied by unimaginable heroism by ordinary Gazans. Doctors are working against all odds to keep patients alive. Journalists and untrained individuals have been bravely documenting the inferno, while youth activists have sought to provide at least some respite and joy to Palestinian children.

In response to the criminal demands by Israel to evacuate hospitals or risk being bombed—which has happened in over 20 separate instances—many doctors are defiantly ignoring these orders.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people in northern Gaza are outright refusing to evacuate, arguing that they’re no better off going south, and refusing out of principle to risk a second Nakba. “We will not repeat this displacement,” one resident, Hussein Hamad, told the Wall Street Journal. “We will stay until the crisis ends. In the face of all this, I have decided to stay and stand firm. Either life is decent or we have no need for that life.”

But the odds are entirely stacked against them, with a looming ground invasion that could mean tens of thousands more deaths over the coming weeks and months.

Biden and Blinken: cynical, bloodstained backers of ethnic cleansing

The criminal nature of Israel’s actions are plain for all to see. The UN chief, António Guterres, explicitly condemned the “clear violations of international law” in Gaza earlier this week. Even Biden can’t say with a straight face that Israel is adhering to “international law.” When asked about this point-blank, he thought it best to just walk away:

In reality, “international law” and the so-called “rules-based order” are a sham, invoked only when convenient for Western imperialism. UN departments and officials might passively acknowledge these crimes, but they are totally powerless to actually change anything. The actual rule here is simply: “whatever the US says, goes.”

This is the key thing to understand about the war crimes described and depicted above: they are being aided and abetted by the United States government. From day one, not just Biden, but all of the leading Democrats and Republicans have insisted that the US must stand firmly behind Israel and its “right to defend itself.” As we have explained previously, the sole reason for this support is that Israel is the US’s only reliable ally left in the region. “Shared democratic values” play no role whatsoever.

Indeed, Biden’s administration leaped immediately into action to defend “US interests in the region,” with a tour across the Middle East by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and a rare “wartime visit” to Tel Aviv by Biden himself. Around the same time, a confidential State Department memo advised US diplomats to avoid publicly speaking about “ceasefire,” “de-escalation,” “ending violence/bloodshed,” or “restoring calm.” In order to maintain the good graces of its ally, the US must be seen publicly as unwavering in its support for Israel—despite the considerable geopolitical risks this may incur—which we will discuss further below.

After he got back from his trip to Tel Aviv, Biden explained to the American public in a prime-time speech the reasons “we” need to defend “democratic” Israel, and why he plans to ask Congress to approve an unprecedented $14 billion “defense” package for this purpose.

But to really understand the nature of this “enlightened democratic oasis” in the Middle East, which Biden’s class insists on supporting, it is instructive to look at some recent comments made by Israeli officials.

There is, of course, the notorious Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom Biden shared a hug upon his arrival in Israel. This is the man who has overseen year after year of vicious incursions against the Palestinians, including an increasingly extensive expansion into Palestinian territory in the occupied West Bank, as well as the continued imprisonment and impoverishment of Gaza.

Then there’s Yoev Gallant, the Israeli Defense Minister, now infamous for his genocidal comments endorsing a total blockade of Gaza, shutting off food, water, electricity, and fuel for the entire population. He justified all of this on the grounds that Israel is fighting “human animals.”

Of course, none of this prevented Anthony Blinken from sharing an amicable interaction with Gallant, in which he reiterated the US’s “deep commitment to Israel’s right, indeed its obligation, to defend itself.”

And then there’s Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who made the following point regarding civilian deaths at a recent press conference: “It is an entire nation out there that is responsible. It is not true this rhetoric about civilians not being aware, not involved. It’s absolutely not true. They could have risen up. They could have fought against that evil regime which took over Gaza in a coup d’etat.” Blinken made a similar statement of solidarity with this individual last week.

These blunt statements are not one-off instances, but accurately reflect the outlook of the dominant faction in the Israeli state. As recently as Wednesday, when asked whether the total siege and blockade of Gaza was really necessary, the former senior Israeli diplomat, Dan Gillerman, responded:

I’m very puzzled by the constant concern, which the world and also Britain is showing for the Palestinian people and is actually showing for these horrible inhuman animals who have done the worst atrocities that this century has seen.

These are the types of people with whom Biden—and every US administration since Harry Truman—shares a “simply unbreakable friendship,” to use Biden’s own words.

It was also reported on Wednesday that Blinken, the ardent defender of democracy, recently asked the prime minister of Qatar to “turn down the volume” on Al Jazeera’s coverage of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, “because it is full of anti-Israel incitement.”

Thus, while they publicly extol the virtues of democracy, a free society, the free press, etc., people like Blinken and his ilk are happy to pressure equally undemocratic governments like that of Qatar to ensure that “freedom of the press” remains a fiction.

Biden himself, aware of the volcano of discontent that exists across the Middle East—and also domestically—has in passing raised the need to protect Gazan civilians and supply humanitarian aid. But millions of people across the world see right through this and understand that Biden’s hands are stained with the blood of thousands of Palestinian men, women, and children.

Democrats and Republicans unite against Palestine

Marxists have long explained that the working class has no interest in supporting either the Democrats or the Republicans. Both of these century-and-a-half-old electoral machines are key pillars of US bourgeois rule, and are in total agreement on all the fundamental questions when it comes to the continuation and maintenance of US imperialism.

This deep-seated agreement across the spectrum of bourgeois politics has been on full display in the past few weeks. Last week, a Senate resolution declaring support for Israel passed 97-0-0, with the liberal ex-socialist Bernie Sanders casting a lamentable vote in favor. This week, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a similar resolution. While the “Squad” members did not vote in favor, this meek protest was possible only because the House as a whole is in safe hands on this question, and the measure was guaranteed to pass.

These resolutions were clearly intended to pave the way for the upcoming proposal to send $14 billion to Israel. Even before that happens, the Pentagon is preparing more support, including the deployment of more troops to the Middle East. The Pentagon has already sent its entire “Iron Dome” stockpile to Israel. In addition to making the day of the IDF, this should also please the “socialist” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who recently reiterated she is in favor of more funding for Israel’s Iron Dome.

Speaking on the pro-Israel atmosphere which entirely dominates the federal government, a former Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security official said recently: “This is an environment that has been cultivated by Democratic and Republican administrations alike. If you work in the federal government and question anything Israel does you are sidelined and silenced.”

None of this is new, of course. This all follows the annual $3 billion which the US has provided for decades. In fact, according to a US News analysis, the United States has given Israel “more than $260 billion in combined military and economic aid since World War II, plus about $10 billion more in contributions for missile defense systems like the Iron Dome.” Israel has been the #1 beneficiary of US military aid throughout the entire postwar period. It is these billions of dollars which are now being used to grind the civilians of Gaza into the ground.

In the past, we have argued many times that socialists have no business whatsoever engaging in political collaboration with the Democratic Party. Some declared this approach to be “sectarian” or inopportune. But it is times like these that remind us all what the Democratic Party stands for, and the radicalizing youth rightly want nothing to do with this party of finance capital and war.

Ruling class anxiety

As the crisis continues to drag on, the imperialists are nervous on several fronts. For one, there is a legitimate worry this could all spiral into a wider military conflict. Even more concerning is the fact that the continuous crimes of America’s top Middle East ally risks reawakening the masses across the region.

This is why, along with his repeated statements of full support, Biden tried to warn Israel of the potential consequences of taking things too far, saying in his final speech: “If you have an opportunity to alleviate the pain [of civilians in Gaza], you should do it. Period. If you don’t, you’re going to lose credibility worldwide.”

This concern had an immediate impact behind the scenes. It emerged that Yoev Gallant apparently felt forced to concede on allowing aid into Gaza and accepting hostages, since “the Americans insisted” that Israel is not in a position to do otherwise:

Meanwhile, Barack Obama offered a similar warning. Speaking very guardedly, he noted in a recent Medium post that:

The Israeli government’s decision to cut off food, water and electricity to a captive civilian population threatens not only to worsen a growing humanitarian crisis; it could further harden Palestinian attitudes for generations, erode global support for Israel, play into the hands of Israel’s enemies, and undermine long term efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region.

“Peace and stability” are of course, a euphemism for the stability of US economic and political interests in the region. But behind these high-sounding phrases, what Obama and Biden ultimately mean by “loss of credibility” and “erosion of global support for Israel” is that the brazenly evil conduct of Israel could spark an almighty backlash from the masses in the Middle East and beyond, further eroding the stability of US imperialism.

It is for these reasons that American officials who are in talks with Israel reportedly “went crazy” when they learned that Israel has no clear end goal in mind.

This also explains the recent negotiations to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. But the absolutely pitiful amount of aid being allowed in is “wholly insufficient” given the massive scope of the crisis. It is purely a question of public-relations management for Western imperialism. As Phillipe Lazzarini, a top UN official, aptly explained:

Over the last week, I followed closely the focus about the number of trucks entering Gaza. Many of us saw in these trucks a glimmer of hope. This is, however, becoming a distraction. These show trucks are nothing more than crumbs that would not make a difference for the two million people [of Gaza].

The youth stand with Palestine

We have long anticipated that events, events, events would continue to shake political consciousness across the world, and Biden’s utter callousness and disregard for human life is not going unnoticed. Millions of people, including the US, are learning a lot and learning quickly about the nature of US bourgeois “democracy.” Already, mass pro-Palestine demonstrations have erupted in cities worldwide. And as time goes on, even broader layers will come to question and oppose the role of the US in this bloody affair.

Dramatic changes in consciousness are developing, especially among young people. / Image: Philadelphia Socialist Revolution

To be sure, overall support for Israel among the American population has risen, and from a fairly high starting point. Given the steady diet of lies and propaganda they are fed, it is understandable that most Americans hold confused and conflicting views about the conflict.

But beneath that surface appearance, dramatic changes in consciousness are developing—above all among the youngest layers of society.

Polls show that 57% of Americans support sending humanitarian aid to Gaza—more than the 48% who support sending weapons to Israel. 28% say they sympathize with the Palestinian people “a lot,” and 24% say that Biden has shown “too much support for Israel.”

Biden’s approval rating among Democratic voters has already dropped 11 percentage points this month, from 86% to 75%. This is undoubtedly attributable mostly to young people. As a 28-year-old pro-Palestine protestor, a former Biden campaign volunteer told to The New York Times: “I feel very betrayed by Biden. I definitely will not be voting for him again.” Another interviewee, an organizer with the Palestinian Youth Movement, noted: “President Biden has shown to people that there’s virtually no difference between Republicans and Democrats on the question of the mass atrocities being leveled against Gaza.

Despite the pro-Israel media campaign, a sizeable layer of people understand that the US and Israeli governments are to blame for all of this. A Reuters/Ipsos poll published on October 16 found that 9% of Americans believe that “the Israeli government is most responsible for the war,” while 3% attribute this responsibility to “the US government.” This means that a combined 12% of the American adult population—over 30 million people—place the blame where it belongs, despite the lack of any mass political force making a firm case for this position!

In a country where decades of pro-Israel sentiment, from “both sides” of the narrow political spectrum, frame the debate, the significance of this should not be underestimated. This same poll also found that 2% of the population thinks “the US should support the Palestinians”—5.2 million Americans who are pushing back sharply against the enormous tide of pro-Israel propaganda.

Meanwhile, Axios reports on the “clear generational divide when it comes to how American voters perceive the war in Israel, according to a slew of new polling data.” The Israel-Hamas war “is not an issue split by party, but by age and by media consumption,” says Mark Penn, CEO of Stagwell and chairman of The Harris Poll.

They found that “less than half (48%) of Gen Z and millennials believe the U.S. should publicly voice support of Israel compared with 63% of Gen Xers, 83% of baby boomers and 86% of members of the Silent Generation, according to a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.”

Even within the State Department, divisions and discontent are brewing. One staffer told The Huffington Post: “The pride I felt serving in President Biden’s administration has given way to deep shame.” And senior State Department official, Josh Paul, publicly resigned over this question, explaining that he “couldn’t shift anything.”

Perhaps most astonishing are the findings of a recently published Harvard-Harris poll. The interesting thing about this survey is that it separated out 18–24 year olds, rather than the more common 18–34 or 18–39 age brackets. As a scandalized right-winger writing for Newsweek correctly put it: “young Americans are coming to vastly different conclusions about the situation than… well, anyone else.”

We will include some of the findings at length:

In the United States, the foremost imperialist power and backer of Israel since the 1940s, 48% of 18–24 year olds side more with Hamas than with Israel, when given a choice between those two options. This is compared to just 5% of those 65 and up, and 29% of 25–34 year olds. Across all age brackets, 16% of Americans overall—some 41.3 million adults—side with Hamas more than Israel.

Returning to the 18–24 bracket: 51% say that the October 7 Hamas attack “can be justified, given the grievances of Palestinians.” Only 30% think that the US should back Israel—29% think Hamas should be backed, and another 41% think the US should not be involved at all.

Additionally, 45% think that the hospital bombing last week was caused by an Israeli airstrike, compared to just 13% in the 65 and up age group. 44% of the youth believe that the land occupied by Israel “is the homeland of the Palestinian people.” And 26% of this youngest age bracket want “Israel to be ended and given to Hamas and the Palestinians.”

This, despite the fact that the pollster framed the questions in terms of support for “Hamas” rather than for “Palestine.” These results are absolutely unprecedented and speak to the profound radicalization of the youth which has percolated in recent years. 

We have no doubt whatsoever that there is huge overlap between these pro-Palestine youth and the 20% of 18–34 year olds who said earlier this year that “communism is the ideal economic system.”

The historic task facing this generation of young workers is to get organized into a cohesive political force that can lead the working class to overthrow US capitalism and end imperialism once and for all. And as we watch the horror raining down on Gaza right now, we are reminded that there has never been a more worthy cause.

Are you a communist?
Then apply to join your party!