Communities of color demand an immediate ceasefire
Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush and others are joined by the UAW and other unions in calling for a ceasefire by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib | X (formerly Twitter)

There is a lot of movement protesting the genocide against Palestinians, including over 2,000 Palestine solidarity and peace demonstrations in the U.S. over the past three months.

The struggle for peace in Palestine intersects with the 2024 national elections. The Biden administration’s continuation of U.S. foreign policy on Israel is fracturing its support among youth and people of color, which are key constituencies needed for victory over the MAGA right.

In November 2023, about 1,000 Black Christian Faith Leaders published an open letter addressed to President Biden, entitled “Black Christian Faith Leaders for Ceasefire.” Their letter said, “Our conscience and hearts compel us to call for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.”

Addressing President Biden, these Black faith leaders collectively called for “an immediate bilateral ceasefire in the Middle East for the sake of our shared humanity and our collective security. We see the deaths and hear the cries of both our Palestinian and Israeli siblings,” all of whom “deserve to live safe from harm.”

The faith leaders signing this letter include Rev. Dr. Barbara Williams Skinner of the National African American Clergy Network, Pastor Michael McBride and Pastor Traci Blackmon of the Black Church PAC, and Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the National Council of Churches of Christ, USA, and many others.

CPUSA contingent at the January 13th March on Washington for Gaza (CPUSA)

Biden’s consistent support for the Israeli state as it implements genocide against the Palestinian people, and his support for the fiction that the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, was the start of hostilities instead of the most recent wound in a 75-year genocidal onslaught, has isolated him from youth, progressives, labor, faith groups, and others.

Today’s Israeli attack on Palestine continues the 1948 Nakba, the violent displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people, along with the failed attempt to destroy their society, culture, identity, political rights, and national aspirations. The Nakba includes both the 1948 Zionist attack on the people of Palestine, as well as the ongoing persecution and displacement of Palestinians by the state of Israel throughout the Palestinian territories (the West Bank and the Gaza Strip). Israel’s disproportionate response is a slaughter of children, women, and civilian males, destruction of a whole land, and is genocide rather than self-defense.

Trade unions have joined the fight by passing resolutions demanding a ceasefire, including the United Auto Workers, the American Postal Workers Union, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), and many others. A number of teachers’ organizations across the country have also joined the fight. “It is well past time for a ceasefire agreement,” Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers stated last week.

As of January 10, Jewish Voice for Peace Action is working alongside Illinois State Rep. Lilian Jiménez and Delaware State Rep. Madinah Wilson-Anton to organize our state and local officials to keep up the pressure on Biden by raising their voices for a lasting ceasefire. Over 175 state and local elected officials from across the U.S. launched a letter to President Biden demanding that he call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. People’s organizations can help pressure their state legislators.

18 Million Rising and other Asian American organizations are also mobilizing support for the Cori Bush–sponsored legislation, H.Res. 786.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders march for Palestine in D.C.

On January 12, a diverse coalition representing African Americans, and Arab and Jewish people in the U.S. organized an Emergency Summit for Gaza. The organizers for this summit included the Rainbow Push Coalition, Arab American Institute, Churches for Middle East Peace, Faith for Black Lives, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Freedom Road, IfNotNow, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, and Jewish Voice for Peace.

At the same time, a large national mobilization was underway for a March on Washington For Gaza on January 13 at the National Mall. Led by American Muslims for Palestine and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, the action called on every person in the U.S. to oppose the ongoing genocide. Sponsored by the American Muslim Task Force for Palestine and endorsed by over 100 organizations, the march was organized to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, an end to U.S. funding for the Israeli government’s genocide, and accountability for war crimes committed against the Palestinian people with U.S. taxpayer dollars. It was a big and powerful event in which the Communist Party USA had a contingent.

Meanwhile, Rep. Cori Bush and seventeen co-sponsors continue to push forward H.Res.786 “Calling for an immediate de-escalation and cease-fire in Israel and occupied Palestine.” Building sponsorship and support for this bill is vital, in order to challenge Biden’s support for Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing in Palestine. This deserves all-out support from working people who need to see the massive funds now going toward the military budget redirected toward meeting the domestic social needs of the U.S. working class and people.

In the international sphere, South Africa, which fought off apartheid forces to move its own revolution forward, has brought charges of genocide against the state of Israel in the International Court of Justice in the Hague. This court is an arm of the United Nations, and Israel is a signatory to the Court’s charter, meaning that Israel is bound by the Court’s decisions.

As of November 6, 2023, Bolivia has severed diplomatic ties with Israel. Bahrain, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Jordan, South Africa, and Turkey have recalled their ambassadors from Israel, citing Israeli actions during the war. Demonstrations supporting peace and a ceasefire have occurred around the world.

The bourgeois equating of anti-Zionism or support for Palestinian justice as anti-Semitism is a powerful lie that needs to be addressed at every opportunity. Supporting justice for Palestinians and an immediate ceasefire in Palestine, with a negotiated peace to follow, is important not just for the Palestinians being slaughtered by the Israeli armed forces.

It is important for Israelis — including Israeli Palestinians and Communists and the Israeli working class — who all need peace and democracy to develop and flourish.

Strengthening the fight to end the genocide in Gaza and to challenge U.S. imperialist priorities in the Middle East, including in Israel and Palestine, is crucial to building the broader peace movement here in the U.S. We must demand that the military budget be cut and the money moved to meet the domestic needs of the working class now.

We must demand an end to the lies that are promulgated in support of Israel’s war on Gaza. Just as the struggle for peace in Vietnam took many years to win, so this struggle may be long. But, if the U.S. working class and people persist in organizing around peace, it is a battle that can be won.

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Eric Brooks
Eric Brooks

Eric Brooks is Co-convener of the African-American Equality Commission, CPUSA, and Chair of the Communist Party of Indiana. He is organizing for an anti-racist society that puts the needs of working families over those of the rich.