Matthew Quest
Published in
26 min readApr 29, 2024



A rising fist embracing Palestine’s flag

The world struggles to express solidarity with the October 7th Palestinian rising, and to resist the genocidal response of Israel to Gaza. Resistance is global and at high tide, even in the heart of US empire. Yet there are conflicting tendencies within this social motion.

In response to our friend Siavash Shahabi’s “Palestine Solidarity Without Blindspots” published at The Fire Next Time that very wisely challenges the Greek Left (and Global Left) to think beyond the anti-imperialist credentials of hierarchical regimes, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, Clash! would like to add what we think are complementary propositions.

Caribbean governments such as that of Barbados’s Mia Mottley and Jamaica’s Andrew Holness, who no matter what they propose minute to minute, roll over, play dead, and jump for snacks from US empire wish to get in the act of recognizing Palestine.

In many U.S. universities (from Columbia to NYU, UTexas at Austin to MIT, Brown to Cal Poly Humboldt, Morehouse to Emory, UColorado at Denver to Arizona State U, FIU to Miami, etc.) including where many Caribbean people are mobilizing as allies of Palestine, the clash has begun.

At the same time, the confrontation with US empire, in contrast to merely Israel, is inconsistent. Israel is the frontline of American empire in the Middle East. Why isn’t the issue consistently framed this way? Below some historical and political reasons are offered.

We affirm conversations started by The Fire Next Time coming from a principled place, not pessimism, defeat, or wild-eyed support for some heinous rulers and not others, where it expects that historically oppressed people can think and act independently.

Palestine Solidarity Without Blind Spots: A Global Discussion

As we observe the tsunami for Palestine solidarity from the US, we are struck by those wishing to affirm personal connections to Gaza, the West Bank. Palestinians know grief and dread not simply in their collective memory but in their every day lives — this is only the latest phase. This is why the social motion for uncompromising pursuit for self-government is so profound.

Most toilers, struggling to pay rent or caring for families in any country, rarely have means or opportunity to travel abroad. International solidarity certainly benefits from those who are transmission belts of experience. Especially those of Palestinian heritage who teach us about their battles for survival are a contemporary spark.

What Friends Are For: Treachery is Not the Monopoly of the Zionists

Some taking direct action today are energized by affirmation they are receiving from abroad, from certain individuals or parties, or special friends closer to home. If we had true friends among Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims we would find some who would tell us treachery is not the monopoly of the Zionists.

Whatever political action we take, we must first learn, in a self-directed manner, to place values on ourselves. We must clarify principles we will not discard or allow shifty elites of any nation to undercut.

On this basis the proper fellowship will come. Among all peoples, integrity not easily found, is appreciated. We should want for the Palestinians what we want for ourselves — a popular self-directed future.

Some Palestine solidarity activists are alert that the increasing presence of celebrities and government officials, both progressive and conservative, at their demonstrations are subverting the deep content of what they intend. This has a historical and political basis.

Blind spots and Mistaken Notions

Palestine solidarity has historically expressed some blind spots and mistaken notions. With some historical suggestions, everyone decides for themselves what the relevance is to contemporary struggle.

The American and Global Left has made a few mistakes in pursuing Palestine solidarity, certainly since a few years before the Barack Obama presidency (2009–2017) beginning with the aftermath of 9/11 (2001). Those in the trenches of the current post October 7, 2023 struggle, and those who have an even longer view of this battle for survival of the Palestinians, some who go back to the Black Power era and Age of Third World National Liberation, are not just taking direct action.

Not A Charity for Those Abroad, A Reckoning for Imperial Centers

Many take part in conversations, observing many hierarchical regimes, reflecting on struggles against racism, empire, and for Palestine’s democratic future. But also in our own territories. And those fighting US empire at its heart also think how to expose rulers and democratize communities.

Anti-imperialism is not a charity for those abroad. Rather, a reckoning for those living in imperial centers. Promise of a multi-racial society, whether in imperial centers or peripheries, is not the banner of an affirmative action empire or ethnically plural police state. It is something that toilers must be sovereign and take away from minorities who wish to rule above.

Everyone’s Talking About the Zionist Lobby, More Need to Talk About the Palestine Lobby

It is impossible to talk about Palestine solidarity in the US without hearing about the Zionist lobby that influences the US and Europe. Often times, people delusional, have things backwards. The US is not controlled by Israel. Israel is the frontline of American empire in the Middle East. Why don’t more Palestine solidarity activists make this clear?

In response to the Zionist lobby that influences US and European rulers, part of historical solidarity movements created or strengthened a Palestine lobby. Is it not surprising by now, that there is little or no critique of the Palestine lobby? It would be surprising if every European nation-state doesn’t have one as the US does. Lobbies appeal to power elites; mass mobilizations should not be controlled by them.

‘Palestinian Zionism’ or Shifting and Unprincipled Alliances?

The first public scholarly critique of what has become the Palestine lobby perhaps was placed forward by Sadik J. Al-Azm in an 1988 article called ‘Palestinian Zionism’ in the journal Die Welt des Islams. Whatever the strengths and limitations of Al-Azm’s political and intellectual life, he looked back at troubling historical patterns of Palestinian politics before this time. Linda Quiquivix, a Palestine solidarity activist, brought Al-Azm’s work to my attention nine years ago when I first raised concerns about the Palestine lobby.

Al-Azm observed that just as the state of Israel was, the future Palestinian state will be founded as a result of ‘shifting and unprincipled alliances.’ Had not historical Zionists before 1948, combined self-described ‘terrorist’ acts (like killing the British colonial official Lord Moyne in 1944), with lobbying the US empire? Before 1988, Al-Azm noted Palestinian politicos ‘unceasing dealing with curious assortments of heads of state.’ The assortment was curious where the principles the politicians and ideas these regimes claimed to embody were conflicting. But also where these regimes were not consistent friends of Palestinians.

How Does the Palestine Lobby Function?

How does the Palestine lobby function to preserve empire over the Palestinians? It functions the same way BDS was created to function, to keep President Obama, and those imperial rulers lobbied, from facing crises of legitimacy.

Trying to learn from perceived strengths in how Zionist politics is organized abroad (away from Israel), solidarity activists in the name of advancing Divestment from Israel campaigns, in past years in fact destroyed them, with this emphasis on a Palestine lobby.

Research individuals and groups in each country maintaining Palestine lobbies. Look at the big picture. Remember those hob-knobbing with empire’s rulers as political leaders, heritage keepers, scholarly experts.

After 9/11 Palestine Solidarity and Divestment Was Reframed and Coopted by States and Rulers

Before and after 9/11 a particular insurgent democratic phase of Palestine solidarity saw divestment as a means of causing a crisis for imperial governments that support Israel, with special focus on the US. The goal was to democratize and fight racism in our own countries. Direct action Palestine solidarity activists now instinctively pursue this.

The point, in the past, was to expose and confront Democrats, British Labourites, the left block of capital. But critics of neoliberalism, who in fact were ‘progressive’ functionaries of their cultural apparatus, reframed how it was advocated toward ‘BDS’ (boycott, divestment, sanctions).

‘BDS’ handed the Empire the Initiative

Incidentally, boycotts are carried out by consumers not producers (that is what working people are) of wealth, power, and social relations. Sanctions, to most people, are what hierarchical government’s implement. This is how the popular democratic social motion was sabotaged in the past. Will those who specialize in this succeed again?

A response to uncompromising Palestine solidarity previously, critics of this phase of anti-imperialism (that stridently opposed all states and ruling classes) often inquired on what terms would divestment be brought to an end? On this basis one saw an indirect pro-Israel mentality, that opposed certain policies, but not the colonial settler regime. One could also see Palestine solidarity was conceived by more conservative elements as something that should not disturb the US imperial establishment.

Multi-Culturalists Object to Racism But Wish to Sustain Empire

With BDS reframed, it was increasingly used not to confront the U.S. Democrats’ and British Labour Party’s role in empire. It let their affiliated elites own the meaning of Palestine solidarity.

The left block of capital, its political party, always predominates in administration of foreign affairs regardless of who leads countries.

Virulent white supremacists don’t study closely the languages, history, and cultures of peripheral nations of color. Multi-culturalists who ‘object to racism’ but wish to sustain empire do that.

We Can’t Let the Empire Own Divestment

Divestment is to expose and confront empire. It does not function best, when the empire is made a partner with the Palestine solidarity movement.

Divestment, or a wish for boycotts or sanctions, was re-defined as a project the UN should own, that den of thieves led by the US. But specifically the State Department and British Foreign Office. A more indirect lobbying campaign toward Barack Obama meant reinforcing a perspective.

Do We Want Independence from Empire? Or does Empire Sponsor and Give Us Independence?

Many believe Palestine independence will come NOT from radical democratic autonomy from imperial states and peripheral rulers but eventual ‘independence’ would be sponsored by them.

This is a good moment to stop. Look around. And see how those behave, who in the name of anti-colonialism, wish to be recognized by the world system. We are working to overturn the terms of order but too many seek recognition from it.

Everybody’s Talking ‘Decolonize’ But Few Talk About Historical Collaboration In Its Name

Contradictions within all historical anti-colonial movements, certainly during the Black Power era, and Age of Third World national liberation, remind ‘independence’ came through periods of collaboration or transitional government, with who was otherwise thought to be, ‘the enemy.’ Anybody notice certain Palestine solidarity activists collaborating with the enemy? We don’t mean insurgent Jewish people of good will, we mean those seeking equal opportunity to enter the rules of the imperial hierarchy.

Many in this period have seen despicable and content-less commitment to ‘self-determination’ in defense of regimes that claim anti-imperialism in some way but in fact pursue their own propertied wealth and conquering of minorities. This includes Russia, China, Venezuela, and of course Iran. Those claiming opposition to US empire in fact are caught red-handed collaborating with them in various political and economic ways. But even where they maintain a purported ‘independence’ they reveal the same oppressive values.

Learning from Palestine, Learning from Haiti

Co-signing (some call this abstaining, like Russia and China) the US/UN invasion of Haiti is one example. Playing the same game, others ‘abstained’ (this time the US said ‘No’), others said ‘Yes’ in terms of recognition of a Palestinian state by the empire is another example.

No to recognition by empire? Yes to recognition by empire? We must stop imposing thought crimes on ourselves.

Are we fighting to have the empire recognize the aspiring Palestinian rulers or Palestinian toilers? Who is being insulted and kept waiting?

Far more than we realize the Haitian and Palestinian struggles are one. After long waiting, many expressing sycophancy, Haitian rulers have been approved by the empire under the veil of representing the poor and powerless. Are we now pursuing disobedience so the empire can bless the Palestinian rulers and ignore everyday Palestinians like it does Haitians, while making the multitudes a ‘humanitarian’ cause and subjects of brutal assault?

As Mumia Abu-Jamal recently suggested, to pursue cease fire in war is one thing. Ceasing American empire, which is permanent war, is something else. Israel is the frontline of US empire. Its policies, as distinct from these governments, are no mistake.

Decline of Palestine Solidarity among Black Nationalists & Pan Africanists

Among most Black Nationalists and Pan Africanists, whether in North America, Africa or the Caribbean, there has been particular decline in the quality of solidarity. Once for the abolition of Israel, now most believe both Israel’s and Palestine’s self-determination should be recognized. This is consistent with former revolutionaries now open partnership with some imperial and peripheral rulers. One can only hope to get slavery reparations through collaboration with, not opposition to, the empire of capital.

And even where ‘progressives’ and ‘radicals’ maintain their own groups, the fact is they live with one foot inside the left block of capital and its preferred party. They are not ‘underground’ though some like to delude themselves. Sometimes they call this ‘diplomacy’ with the ‘enemy.’ What does this mean for Palestine?

Unless autonomy is an identity the historically oppressed inherit that can be sold for professional development and capital accumulation, insurgent rebels have a problem to expose and confront.

Palestinian nationalists of various kinds, whether Christian or Islamic, capitalist or socialist in some way, for at least the last two decades, have defined self-determination as recognition by the American and British imperialists (and the UN), not autonomy from them. It may be a problem that goes back much farther than that.

Palestinians Need to Rupture with Hierarchical Sponsors: It’s been Done Before

In the past of their struggle, Palestinians had moments of collaboration (but also asserting independence from) their Middle East or African sponsors (whether Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Algeria, Iran, etc). But the first press conference of Hamas exposed what the basic orientation has been in this period. Separate from whether they receive support from Iran, whom did they also wish support?

Gaza’s official leaders’ justification for their anti-colonial military offensive against Israel (which separate from Hamas’s specific politics, the battle for survival is easily defensible as an expression of Palestinian anti-colonialism as a whole), is that for about two decades they lobbied the UN, Britain, and the US and accomplished nothing. And when did Barrack Obama appear as a candidate for president? Those who can count and have an attention span may go very far.

That is what Hamas said. Nobody accused them of lying. Who is taking this seriously? This means the apparently ‘militant’ Hamas, in the final analysis, is not much different in orientation than Fatah/Palestine Authority in the West Bank.

After Gaza has been leveled, Hamas proposed a united front with Fatah/Palestine Authority, to disarm, and peace with Israel for five years as sponsored by the US imperialists, who debate when to permit the Palestinians to have a cup of water while sending more armaments to Israel. But there are many Palestinian political actors in between both.

Palestine solidarity activists taking disobedient action now — are you watching what’s going on? Is this the cease-fire many are working for? Is Israel the frontline of US empire or not? How many rely on the US empire, as if it is a neutral arbiter in the world, telling Israel what to do?

Why not then pose a crisis for US empire? Lobbyists don’t work that way. They have tea and cookies with the imperialists to discuss their policies.

Hamas has publicly appealed, not after Israel’s most recent wave of mass murder but before, to their long and constant dialogue with the US, the dastardly imperial enemies of their own people. But many Palestine solidarity activists are not sure about the character of the US in world politics.

We must also never forget that Israel invented and initially funded Hamas. As with US original funding of Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban, this is among a pattern of ‘mistakes’ by the imperialists and colonizers. Our point is, if it is a pattern, they are not mistakes. US empire does not only prop up Islamists but more secular Palestinian politics, not simply the Palestinian Authority that otherwise critiques US policy.

Whether in Greece, Britain, the US, the Caribbean, or elsewhere where Palestine solidarity is mobilized, we must understand ‘anti-imperialism’ or many who claim to speak for it across the globe, are with the left block of capital. They have close relationships with the rulers they claim to oppose.

Those who believe in direct democracy and workers self-management and federation from below need to grasp what is at stake: the very content of the future of Palestine’s freedom.

Palestine solidarity is an arena to fight for basic principles. Either anti-imperialism means we wish to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic or there must be a revolution within the revolution.

We must recognize that self-determination does not mean autonomy. It is the false banner of states and ruling classes who want recognition and partnership with the empire of capital. This should concern more of us.

Out of these contradictions others have festered. Palestine solidarity is strongest when it first discredits liberal/labor Zionism, and then allows the more overt drooling racial Zionists to come out of the woodwork and express themselves like the unpolished savages they are. Instead, Palestine solidarity is falling down the pitfalls ‘progressives’ place in front of them.

Are Jews ‘White’ or An Oppressed People? How Many Oppressed People Can Be Sponsored by American Empire?

Palestine solidarity thrives when Jewish people are compelled to ask are they ‘white’ or ‘an oppressed people?’ Palestine solidarity thrives when it doesn’t share US empire’s legitimacy with the Zionists but underlines what historically oppressed people identifies with the American police state that systemically kills Black people?

This is not to use guilt/privilege politics against Jewish people. For such are always unethical when wielded by anybody. Rather we ask these questions as part of opening the door to discussing the further contradictions found among all self-righteous pretenders and condescending saviors. For there are many ‘Hitlers,’ ‘Holocaust Industries,’ and ‘Zionist lobbies.’

In this phase of Palestine solidarity, the liberal Zionists have been let back in the door of legitimacy with Israel itself. And it has made Palestine solidarity weaker. But it is difficult to say, if, the goal of Palestine solidarity, is to appeal to the US empire to ‘free Palestine?’

Apply Political Principles Equally to the Entire World

Liberalism, which relies on no race, ethnic, or gender distinctions, means one believes the system is basically good but needs certain reforms. What do liberal Zionists believe? Can genocide, capitalism, and empire be reformed? They are not the only hypocritical liberals in the world who have an identity of the historically oppressed.

Despite debates among Zionists, the liberal/labour Zionists function in Palestine solidarity to cover up the crimes of Netanyahu’s Likud Party or coalition by re-inscribing a legitimacy to Israel, as a multicultural plural society that is just as much an anti-racist society.

Now this doesn’t mean liberal Zionists, whatever their twisted intentions, don’t genuinely object to Netanyahu’s Likud; just as the British Labour party is against Tories, and the U.S. Democrats don’t like Republicans. But almost all share hierarchies that most protesters cannot remain independent.

Now there are insurgent fighting anti-racist people of good will in Israel as in every society. This is not a credit to their state and rulers but to themselves. We cannot determine where we are born or where our parents raise us. Our ancestors struggles are not out own, for modes of production and rule change to reinforce oppression after resistance. While we cannot determine our race or heritage, we can decide for ourselves the terms it ties us (or not) to the authoritarians and self-aggrandizers in our own communities. Again, these are principles all can live by.

Palestine solidarity is in the turning point between the old world and the new. Those with the image, likeness, and heritage of the oppressed best sustain oppression in the post-civil rights, post-colonial world. Virulent racism and fascism has its last rallies. But it is not the preferred mode of rule of US empire. What is preferred is those with the identity of historically oppressed people manage servile lives.

It is true of Israel and its defenders. It is true of Black prime ministers, presidents, mayors, and police chiefs in the African world. It is true in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s claim to be a defender of the colonized while they brutalize Muslims and ethnic minorities domestically. This means Palestine solidarity activists must learn to run through these red lights or Palestinians will be subordinated and exploited as well and it will be called ‘freedom’ by those who share their heritage.

Jewish Voice for Peace or a Jewish Voice for a Piece of Palestine?

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which claims to have discarded its past liberal Zionism which was its banner in 1996 only to officially discard Zionism in 2019, by working for a ‘cease fire’ in reality is carrying forward the old contradictions from their past and forerunners. Severe human rights violations as carried out by Israel and the U.S. did not begin in 2019 or October of this year.

It is true that people can evolve and learn. But by making no transparent statement on their actual stance on and relationship to Israel, they have not learned anything more than how to bewilder better. Going back to the Vietnam War era, some anti-war activists (even those who are disobedient to some extent) can mystify that they are in coalition with imperial governments whose ‘policies’ are no mistake. What is going on in Israel and the U.S. is not ‘against our better judgment.’ We don’t share an identity with the imperial rulers as citizens and subjects. Neither do radical democratic movements have ‘executive directors.’

JVP defines ‘peace’ and ‘ceasefire,’ even their opposition to genocide, as the reconstruction of Israel’s right to exist. They support Palestine’s right to exist, so a multi-racial plural provisional government need not be proposed.

And before we inquire if the Zionist state of Israel has a right to exist, let’s not be COINTELSLOW and impose thought crimes on ourselves. We need to be inquiring if the US, its state and ruling class, has a right to exist. Any state that is a police state, an imperial state, who has more armaments than any other state, military bases all over the world, who defines national security as the whole world — how could such a regime be defended? The number one defense of the US’s legitimacy is its multi-cultural facade, the plurality of the bureaucracy that conquers.

Oppose COINTELSLOW: The US Cannot Conquer the World More Fairly

Despite those taking direct action for Palestine solidarity being smeared as un-American by white supremacist Zionists, few are un-American. Most want the US empire to conquer the world more fairly.

JVP continues to draw the line, that we can criticize policies of Israel but we can’t advocate the abolition of Israel, without leaning toward anti-Jewish bigotry. But they in fact are a voice for a piece of Palestine. Not a self-directed federation without states and rulers. Their opposition to ‘settler violence’ is defined as not the state of Israel itself, but the expansion of its borders after Palestine’s sovereignty has been defeated.

JVP is a degenerate American Exceptionalist outfit, and obviously another formation full of communists for the Democrats or British Labour Party, and activists for hierarchical government.

We should despise them not because they are Jewish but because of their politics. We should be for no ‘voices for peace’ that do not oppose the US government, all its parties and politicians, at the center of empire. And if you are lobbying it, you don’t oppose its institutions. Merely certain policies.

The Question of All Questions

Critiques that inquire, ‘why do Palestine solidarity activists wish to abolish Israel as the only human rights abuser in the world?’ should be taken more seriously. It has no ethical basis (because of the agenda of such critics is not ethical). But basis truths must be addressed.

For years, but especially the phase of Palestine solidarity before and in the aftermath of 9/11, many publicly and repeatedly opposed all states and ruling classes. The working class or popular democratic movement should have no ties to any form of elite representative government. Democracy means majority rule; we must oppose the minorities who rule above society. This doesn’t mean majorities are always right. A majority might support a lynch mob, empire, or the police state; but they have to be debated and fought at the grassroots. Not by embedding ourselves within Murder Incorporated.

Remember the anti-fascist vote for Biden? Remember genocidal Joe the white supremacist in response to Israel/Palestine? Now these unprincipled people, functioning within the ranks of the solidarity movement, wish to herd sheep from above, want to return us to the anti-fascist vote?

This can only be sustained by children playing in a sandbox or communists for capitalism and activists for the imperial government. These ‘progressives’ are comedians of the political world and on the side of permanent slaughter. Solidarity activists must take seriously contradictions within our midst.

Before BDS, Palestine solidarity was much more ethical. So it had to be subverted.

Before invention and cooptation of BDS, divestment was more ethical. When Zionists, neither left nor right, argued ‘well why only the abolition of Israel, why not the state of Sudan, Iran, Libya?’ — people were stunned when genuine radical democratic minded activists agreed with them quite openly. Now we knew supporters of Israel were naming nation-states who had denounced Israel; we knew they were mimics of US foreign policy.

But we pushed our chips to the center of the table, and said, to those who claimed they wished civil dialogue, why not abolish the state of Britain, and the US? One might add why not the Greek or Caribbean regimes? Aren’t their perennial human rights abuses clear? It is part of the global radical democratic tradition to think this way.

It is important not to have ‘Jews on the Brain’ while we are accomplices of narrow nationalist elites or our preferred rulers. But unprincipled Zionists rely on this. They try to position Palestine solidarity between ‘terrorism,’ ‘Antisemitism’, and ‘unAmericanism.’ Those in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles should reply that the only ‘Black friends’ the Zionist Jews have is the Black led police state and those who work for American empire. Now what kind of friends does Palestine solidarity really want?

This must be part of a larger discussion that links Palestine solidarity not to the Democrats and Labourites but the insurgent direct action movement against police and fascists. Now this flummoxes these functionaries of empire talking ‘progressive’ and ‘peace.’ As a whole the Jewish Voice for Peace types were not then, and still are not now, activists for abolition of police states everywhere or direct action confrontations with fascism.

Uptick in Liberal Zionist Civil Disobedience in Direct Proportion to the Need to Legitimate Israel

Just as that imperialist Tory war-dog Winston Churchill, that anti-Jewish supporter of Israel, said during World War II, ‘we will fight on the beaches,’ the liberal Zionists in recent memory have blocked and done sit-ins on highways. Surely, it was not to express genuine Palestine solidarity or reject American empire.

But the uptick in their civil disobedience is in direct proportion not to their desire to express solidarity with Palestine, but solidarity with Israel and U.S. support for it. And so they continue to object to Israel’s and the U.S.’s policies. And perhaps there is an apparently disobedient Greek Left or Caribbean Left that objects to certain policies of hierarchical government but not others. We see those who wear the mask, not the mask of anarchy but the mask of ‘progressive’ lobbyists.

Bad Things Can Be Turned Into Good Things

When such Liberal Zionism festers in Palestine solidarity movements, good things and bad things happen to Arab and Muslim communities who also wish to express solidarity. Unfortunately many middle class aspiring students wish to be included in America or Britain, feel they are making friends with Jews in a multi-cultural plural society.

Their support of Palestine, in fact is a support of their state and ruling class (or their preferred faction of it), and so ‘peace’ to many is not Jews and Arabs/Muslims living side by side, but their nation-states (their aspiring rulers) living side by side. Remember the Palestine lobby?

But this contradiction awakens others more fiery and committed. Those who are more sincere anti-colonials, autonomous toilers, and independent socialists in Arab and Muslim communities, not those that see themselves as rulers in waiting of their nations or communities, also need allies.

Having proper allies can strengthen popular democratic discussion about the relation of shuras to caliphates among Islamic politics — a rich global tradition (not simply in Iran), it rarely finds a public in the US or Britain. A conversation that must be reinforced in Gaza, but also among Muslim communities of Chicago, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, and the Caribbean.

Taking Part in Stirring Debate Inside Arab and Muslim Communities

Historical anti-imperialist struggles have never expressed solidarity with whole nations or communities. They express solidarity to specific parties and politics of their choice who are happy for their assistance. This means in fact opposing other forces on the ground with whom we disagree. This was so in historical Ghana, Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica, Ireland, Iran, Algeria, Vietnam, and India. It is equally valid and necessary in Palestine.

It is not false to stir debate as one basis of solidarity with Arab and Muslim immigrant communities and citizens of imperial centers abroad or other peripheral nations as in the Caribbean — the conflicting tendencies in each nation and community already exist. Surely, certain bourgeois nationalists (even some Marxists) might respond who are these ‘outsiders’ to try and define the struggle?

We can easily say who are these supposed authentic Arabs, Muslims or Palestinian nationalists to collaborate with Zionists or American empire? Why would you wish recognition from racists and imperialists? How undemocratic is their sense of future power? And with some dedication Palestine solidarity can know renewal and redefinition.

These are the type of questions we have to be prepared to ask, informing strategies of solidarity movements, which also have known its blood and wearisome struggles, so they are not betrayed again.

Many ‘progressive’ functionaries of the empire, many pseudo-imperial scholars of the Middle East, say ‘well you don’t really want divestment to work.’ We can respond to these formally trained scholars, making modest noises like a clock that most turn off and sleep through intermittently, that ‘they really don’t want to cause a crisis for American empire.’

If there is a real crisis for US empire, as recent global direct action suggests, the cause of Palestine is further advanced. Unless Palestine independence is actually sponsored by American empire? Solidarity activists need to discuss deep into the night, in their tent-city occupations and mass marches, so they can guard themselves against betrayal. Perhaps, now one sees why certain Congressmen, parliamentarians, and celebrities are floating around acts of disobedience? Who does the Palestine lobby appeal?

Workers Sanctions NOT US Government or UN Sanctions

For Palestine solidarity to work, for divestment to work, there must be an emphasis on workers sanctions not UN or hierarchical government sanctions. There must be sabotage of trade that sustains the Zionist state. But why not also the sabotage of Greek, British, Iranian, the U.S. or Caribbean states in the name of Palestine solidarity? Trade is never a one way thing. Electrical workers, water and sewage workers, airport and seaport workers, truck drivers need to find their power and creativity.

Self-direction without asking permission or approval from ‘authentic representatives,’ will thrive. Unless it hesitates if confused that ‘solidarity’ is controlled by patriotic anti-colonial nationalists of the empire? Far more than we realize there are people who side with the empire as they claim to be fighting it. But the initiative can be taken back.

BDS must be implemented at the expense of all states and rulers, Israel, the U.S., and wait for it… even the aspiring rulers of Palestine, almost all who openly collaborate with Israel and the US.

Surely we have friends (or will soon) in Gaza and the West Bank who know their aspiring rulers better than anyone and would be happy to hear it. But some will be surprised. This is a result that they believe Palestinians are Gods humanizing agents or a redeemer people.

Palestinians, African Americans, Jews, South Africans, Iranians, Chinese, Cubans — there are no ‘progressive’ peoples. And those who push this fraud wish to sell it to the empire for professional development, capital accumulation, and when they can get it, a peripheral state. Further, those who insist on what they believe is real equality want to replace Israel as the frontline of American empire. Any observer of the aspiring Haitian and Caribbean rulers can see it every day.

Anti-imperialist movements are not simply undermined by diplomatic relations between the US, Britain, and both rulers of Israel and Palestine. Even in the worst of times, there are always back-channel relations with empire. Fake activists for managers of servile lives advertise clashing nationalisms. They continue to share global capital, trade, industry, and finance (disagreeing among themselves as to what policies among capitalists are ‘fair’).

South Africa’s Criticism of Israel (like Iran’s) is Opportunism of Police States who Repress Toilers

Attachment of solidarity movements to the UN must end. Solidarity must delink from it. Just as all colonial and post-colonial freedom movements to assert genuine independence.

South Africa’s criticism of Israel in global courts and forums, is not unlike Iran’s criticism of Israel. It permits dopes in the name of fighting empire to rally around abusive rulers and erase evidence of police state repression in both places. Then ‘progressive’ activists from the Caribbean to Africa say, ‘well this is a model for our hierarchical government’s foreign policy.’ Only the very stupid and employed fake activist functionaries for the government think so.

Post-Apartheid South Africa is marked by Black led government that shoots down Black miners and peasant-farmers. Post-Islamic revolution Iran has shot down Kurds, Afghanis, Turks, Baloochi, Arabs, and women for not wearing hijabs properly. Why rally around shining governments of the damned?

If we don’t want Palestine’s future to be shanty towns of degraded toilers, where the Right of Return is denied (but of course restricted and falsified), then we must stop cheering activists who advise imperial powers.

Politics rooted in direct democracy and workers’ self-management must mobilize toilers around perspectives that bring the new society closer in Israel and Palestine, in Greece, Britain, the Caribbean, and the United States. We need to take responsibility for economic planning, judicial affairs, foreign relations — everything ‘progressives’, in their eugenics mentality, suggest toilers are culturally unfit to pursue.

Surprise! In Every Freedom Movement There Are Eugenics Advocates

In every freedom movement, not just Palestine solidarity, there are eugenics advocates. Speakers at rallies say they love ‘the people.’ If we raise the idea that ordinary people can directly govern in the new society we are bringing closer, they would respond: ‘directly govern?’ ‘what new society?’ Be mindful as we go marching. Some around us believe ordinary Palestinians are culturally unfit to directly govern their future.

Mobilizing for Palestine should cause a crisis for all exploitative regimes with a primary focus on their ‘progressive’ defenders first. When they begin to be exposed and fall down, it is when independent politics rise.

Is it not peculiar that we have a Palestine freedom movement with no independent politics? We have self-sacrificing, uncompromising disobedience and direct action. But where are the independent politics that embody liberating futures?

Palestine Solidarity Must Take Pride in Smashing Fascists Off Our Streets

By linking direct action resistance to fascism with Palestine solidarity, we drive white supremacists and those Zionists inventing ‘anti-Jewish bigotry’ away. This undercuts Zionist, left or right, claims that to wish for the abolition of Israel is especially anti-Jewish. Further, wishing for abolition of the US regime is not anti-American but democratic (majority rule). Is this something the Palestine lobby cannot say?

If your political future was dependent on an imperial regime would you distinguish yourself constantly in criticizing all their exploitative and brutal policies, domestic and foreign?

The Zionist lobby in the US, like to advise the public (really the empire) on what it is to fight racism. Is the Palestine lobby also getting into the act?

The Zionists label Palestine solidarity activists as terrorists, Antifa activists also as terrorists. And even people like NYC Mayor Eric Adams says well look at these ‘outside agitators’ disrupting our cities. If it wasn’t for ‘outside agitators’ no member of the Black and former colonized political class would have a job policing and keeping us down. It is a lesson for world politics. It is a lesson for democratic futures everywhere.

Strengthening the connection between Palestinian and Black Liberation must separate the grassroots from their aspiring rulers. Let somebody say ‘No, we worked hard to establish our own post-civil rights, post-colonial peripheral capitalism and police states. The right to police our own people — that is the essence of our sovereignty and freedom!’

Solidarity like past twinning insurgent risings against police, whether whites or people of color, is what we want. We don’t want Black or Palestinian allies who brag on their right to rule their own police states.

Zionism is Not Synonymous with Jewish Identity and Heritage

It is Zionism that suggests Jewish identity and heritage must be subordinate to the state and ruling class of Israel. When we think about it this nationalist outlook is sustained under most nation-states. Are disobedient Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians being told who they must subordinate themselves?

The fight against racism and empire, including Palestine solidarity, can be renewed if we delink struggle from agendas of all aspiring rulers. Divestment is for causing elites a crisis; it is not a subordinate partnership where we go begging, and we sit by the door of aristocrats like their servant waiting for them to divest. Combined with direct action, the call to divest (whether granted or not by institutions) exposes and confronts official society.

Palestine solidarity, like solidarity to defeat Apartheid South Africa before, cannot be successful while befriending its emerging state and rulers who live by ‘shifting and unprincipled alliances.’ For this is to make us lobbyists of the empire for a false revolution. Palestine solidarity must learn three lessons from the struggle against Apartheid South Africa.

1. Palestine solidarity should be able to keep BDS independent of imperial governments and the UN and other multilateral international law associations. When everyday people take direct action to sabotage trade but also subvert workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods carrying out business as usual, the states and rulers will come along (but always pursuing their own interests, trying to coopt the struggle). We cannot rely on the empire to recognize Palestine’s independence.

2. Palestine solidarity should be able to organize a multi-racial or multi-ethnic provisional government in exile or it will not be able to break the claims of the liberal Zionists and US imperialists undermining Palestine solidarity. Palestinians must show, in contrast to those who collaborate with the Zionists and US imperialists, that they actually have a future with grassroots Jewish friends based on principles never to be discarded. Not at cheap cultural events, or confused rallies, but making projections for how the new society will be governed together based on anti-racist and democratic principles far ahead of the fraud world of multiculturalism at the center of US empire.

3. The principles we must place on ourselves are the content of a future self-directed socialist society, direct democracy and workers self-management. We must oppose the ceaseless ‘dealings with curious assortments of heads of state.’ We must reject the hierarchical Third World nationalism of yesterday’s elitist pretenders who want recognition, and sponsorship by the empire of capital, by any means necessary. We can renew Palestine solidarity for what it has always been at its best. An opportunity to teach the world about its own self-government.



Matthew Quest
Editor for

independent scholar of Africana Studies, World History, and political philosophy