In this article, Interventionistische Linke Berlin takes a position on the attacks by Hamas on October 7, 2023 and the subsequent bombardments in Gaza.
We honor the people murdered, injured and kidnapped on October 7, 2023 by Hamas and its allied groups such as Islamic Jihad and the PFLP. The massacres hit complete Jewish families, Jewish Israelis on their way to work and at a festival, young children, people who stood protectively in front of their kibbutzim or families, activists who worked for years for peace and against the occupation, Arab-Israeli medics, Nepalese exchange students and migrant workers from Thailand. The attackers murdered, maimed, tortured and raped. About 200 people are still being held hostage. It was an antisemitic attack whose stated goal was to eradicate Jewish life as such. There is no justification for these acts. They are diametrically opposed to what we want and what we are fighting for. Whoever justifies this as part of the legitimate resistance against an undoubtedly existing Israeli policy of oppression and occupation can not be a partner for us in the struggle for a free and united society.
We honor the people killed by Israeli air and artillery attacks and their impacts in Gaza since 07 October 2023. Here, entire Palestinian families have been wiped out and, among others, refugees, people who came to the aid of those buried under rubble, aid workers, journalists, doctors, ambulance drivers and people seeking protection in UN institutions and schools have been killed. Those who use bombs and rockets from the air or from artillery shells to fire on such a densely populated area as Gaza are explicitly targeting these people, striking all those living there indiscriminately. For all the understandable desire to fight Hamas and its direct allies, there can be no justification for these crimes either, just as there can be no legitimacy for sealing off an entire population and depriving them temporarily or entirely of water, food, and electricity. The rhetoric of the Israeli government towards the population in Gaza is inhumane, similar to the ignorance towards the suffering in Gaza in parts of the German debates, even among some leftists. This, too, is diametrically opposed to what we want and what we are fighting for.
Neither the attack and massacres by Hamas and its allies, nor the closure of Gaza and the military assaults there, occur outside the context of a decades-long conflict. This context includes the ongoing siege of Gaza, the systematic discrimination against Palestinians and the occupation in violation of international law, as well as the constant threat to Jewish life from rockets, knife attacks and other assaults. However, this context does not justify any of the crimes in Israel and Gaza described above. One cannot justify the other, and vice versa. And for us it is equally clear: no distinctions should be made in the value of human lives. Those who celebrate the Hamas attack make a distinction. Those who find it legitimate to collectively punish two million people and shrug off thousands of deaths from air strikes in Gaza are discriminating. Those who cannot muster empathy for the suffering of other people are discriminating. It must be our task to oppose these justifications and this lack of empathy and to ensure that one event does not eclipse the other, that victims of these crimes are forgotten or that distinctions are made in the value of human lives.
We have seen the terrible images. Our thoughts, our sympathy and our solidarity are with the families and friends of the murdered and kidnapped. They are for those who are held hostage by Hamas and its allies, for the countless injured, for those who barely have access to medical care, food and water, for those who have had to flee their homes or are unable to do so, and for those who seek shelter from rocket attacks in bunkers or are exposed to them without any protection.
Nothing legitimizes the increased threats and attacks against Jews in Germany in the aftermath of the events - often while at the same time having to deal with grief or concern for friends and family members. Jewish life in Germany has been threatened, marginalized and despised before. It is also up to us as an organization to stand up to antisemitic threats and attacks and show solidarity here. The German government is staging a fight against antisemitism, which above all points the finger at others, instead of consistently fighting against it in its own ranks, as in the case of the Bavarian politician Hubert Aiwanger, for example. As the 2019 attack in Halle has shown, it also fails to provide protection for Jewish life.
Nothing legitimizes that all solidarity demonstrations of Palestinians living here are banned and Muslim people are put under general suspicion. A public expression of mourning for the victims in Gaza as well as a political criticism of the attacks of the Israeli military and the currently massively increasing attacks of settlers on Palestinians is legitimate and must be possible. We have to take a clear position against antisemitic statements and attacks within these demonstrations, as well as oppose any racist instrumentalization of the events. Neither Palestinians are to be equated with Hamas, nor Jews with the state of Israel.
As a radical left in the land of the perpetrators of the Shoah, there is much that we can do wrong now. That is why too often in the past we have done nothing. But now it is explicitly right to express our grief for the victims in Israel and Palestine. We want to oppose dehumanization and the devaluation of human life, no matter who it comes from and in what form it comes. We are encouraged by examples of Jewish-Arab solidarity in Israel despite the extremely tense situation right now. We stand with those who do not want to give up the struggle and hope for a better life in peace, equality and self-determination for all in Israel/Palestine - as unrealistic as this may seem at the moment.
Interventionist Left Berlin, October 2023