After the experience of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, we need to move on from the idea that opposing our own government’s wars means supporting “the other side”.

Lindsey German

Last Friday’s demonstrations in solidarity with Palestine sound amazing. The pictures of thousands of people in London, even on top of a bus, were inspiring and it was a tribute to the organisers and to the strength of pro-Palestine feeling.

Stop the War has played its part in developing this strength of solidarity. It is often forgotten that our two million strong anti-Iraq war demo also had the slogan ‘Freedom for Palestine’.

On Saturday 19 July, there’s a demonstration which we need to make as large and vibrant as possible.

This isn’t of course just about Israel’s action, but about the complicity of the major imperial powers in maintaining, funding and arming Israel.

Step forward, envoy for peace in the Middle East, Tony Blair. What a great job he’s doing. Backing Israel that is, and the Saudis. Keen on intervention everywhere, except when it comes to defending the Palestinians.

So our protests are also about the role of our own government, and its allies.

Which brings me to another part of the world. People in eastern Ukraine are being bombed, killed, forced to become refugees, at the hands of the pro-EU Kiev government, which has been given a green light to carry on with this by among others David Cameron, following the EU leaders’ Brussels love-in two weeks ago.

None of this receives much coverage in the media, nor does it from much of the left in Britain. There are too many people who believe that it’s all terrible and there’s nothing we can do, or that any support for those in the east will make us ‘pro Russian’. The same could have been said about the Kosovo war in 1999, when Russia backed the Serbs.

Most of us managed to take a good line then. I feel the degeneration is in part to do with a downplaying of the role of US imperialism, but it doesn’t help an understanding that our own government has to be the central target.

And after the whole experience of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, can’t we move on from the idea that opposing our own government’s wars doesn’t mean supporting the other side?

Gaza demonstration that blocked the Israeli Embassy in London on 11 July 2014.

Source: Stop the War Coalition

13 Jul 2014 by Lindsey German

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