SurrIV Statement on Gaza/Palestine
Surrealists have always seen through the West’s use of its ‘civilising mission’ as a pretext for colonial war. French Surrealists were prominent opponents of France’s actions in North Africa and elsewhere. In more recent years, there have been international Surrealist initiatives to condemn US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as statements in support of the struggles of indigenous peoples.
In recent days we have seen in the Middle East another example of the Great Myth of the civilising West, this time with Israel acting in its traditional role of imperialism’s well-trained attack dog. The Western media has been full of the usual rhetoric, pitting ‘plucky little Israel’ (with its huge arsenal of weapons) against the backward, barbaric Islamist masses of Gaza. The narrative is one of a Westernised, democratic state acting in self-defence against the anti-democratic extremists of Hamas.
The asymmetrical character of the conflict is clear for anyone with eyes to see. Despite the huge institutional bias of the BBC and other official media outlets, the internet has enabled us to follow the shocking toll in civilian casualties that the Israeli state has once again imposed on the Palestinians. These are effectively mass punishment killings, with the Israeli war machine acting as judge and executioner against ordinary Palestinian non-combatants. The flouting of ‘civilised norms’ – to the extent that such things exist – is absolutely open, and is fully endorsed by the US, the UK and Israel’s other allies. After all, how else does one deal with savages?
But there is a problem with the narrative being imposed on the conflict by Western observers, aside from the sheer scale of the carnage being inflicted on Gaza. The Hamas government is a democratically elected one, owing its popularity to a militancy long ago eschewed by the PLO and other traditional Palestinian resistance organisations. Its election was even endorsed by Western observers, who were certainly no friends to its cause. Hamas has tried repeatedly to find alternatives to violence in its dealings with Israel; predictably to no avail, given the nature of the Israeli state – its overwhelming monopoly of power and its unflinching support in the West. Hamas didn’t start this conflict, and ultimately it is in no position to end it. That task lies with the Arab masses, who have begun to mobilise so effectively on the stage of history in recent times.
Those who deflect attention away from Israeli war crimes, focusing instead on the nature of the Hamas government or the ‘Islamist’ shortcomings of the anti-colonial movement, are effectively colluding with Zionist apologists who provide the Israeli state with alibis for its genocidal actions. As Surrealists we will have no truck with this. We unequivocally give our support to the international anti-Zionist struggle in its many forms – from the cultural boycott and disinvestment campaign to the aid flotillas and the mass demonstrations that are taking place all around the world.
There can be no peace without justice, and no justice without the dismantling of the racist Israeli state.
Long live the Arab Revolution!
Long live Palestine!