By Taras Shevchuk
On October 7, the world was shocked by the images of the new outbreak of violent conflict in Gaza. The mainstream media’s misinformation campaign centered on showing images of the offensive by Hamas forces, who they unanimously called “terrorists,” and the attention of TV cameras and commentators focused on civilian casualties on Israeli territory. As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu promised “decisive revenge” and unleashed the unbridled fury of his military machine upon the people of Gaza. While “leaders” of the Western imperialist powers almost automatically began singing to his tune, arguing for Israel’s “right to defend itself” and its use of any means necessary to defeat the Hamas “terrorists” and destroy Gaza. Following these “leaders,” puppet governments of all stripes came out to “condemn the terrorist attack on innocent victims” and reaffirm the “right to self-defense” of Netanyahu, the serial killer of the Palestinian people. In other words, they are all defending the true terrorist-in-chief—the Zionist state.
But among this chorus of the lackeys of Western imperialism, we want to highlight the deplorable remarks of the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, whose own country is under imperialist invasion by another murderous regime: the Putin dictatorship. Zelensky compared the actions of the Palestinian armed resistance with Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, identifying the Palestinian resistance with the Russian aggressors.
We are outraged by this political and historical distortion. With these statements, Zelensky betrays the heroic struggle of his own people. As activists of the IWL-FI we belong to the revolutionary Marxist tradition which defended the Ukrainian struggle for national liberation against the great domination of the Russian tsarist empire, and then against the counter-revolutionary Stalinist regime, and now against its direct successor, the Putin dictatorship. We also stand for the complete independence of Ukraine from any colonial domination. And within this very tradition, we condemn the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people organized by the British and American imperialists during the post-war period, with the complicity of Stalin’s USSR, which led to the creation of the State of Israel, a colonial enclave and its apartheid regime which has endured for 75 years.
The systematic destruction wrought upon Ukraine by the constant Russian bombardment, causing death and increasing deprivation, is exactly that which has plagued Gaza and other Palestinian territories for 75 years. The horrors experienced in Bucha (Kyiv Oblast) and in Mariupol (Donbass port) are blatant evidence that the territories occupied by Putin’s forces have been turned into concentration camps, where the people there are experiencing the levels of torture and humiliation comparable only to the Nazi invasion. The same thing has been happening in territories under Zionist occupation, and has been intensifying in Gaza and the West Bank for years.
Thus, when he affirms the “right to self-defense” of the Zionist occupier who exterminates the oppressed Palestinian people, Zelensky betrays the heroic Ukrainian resistance against Putin’s genocidal aggression. To justify his full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the dictator Putin likewise claimed that he was “defending the Russian-speaking people” of the Donbass! As his “right to self-defense” was legitimized, the oppressor Netanyahu immediately received, in an “urgent” aid package from the US all the arms Ukraine has been requesting for over a year!
Zelensky is fully aware of his own betrayal because he knows that the Zionist state and the Netanyahu regime were complicit in Putin’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine.
“Mossad” agents like Yakov Kedmi have been invited into official Russian channels as experts to provide “detailed explanations” of the best ways to crush the resistance in the occupied territories of Southeastern Ukraine. Ukraine has not received modern weaponry or F-16 fighter jets from the US because of demands from the Zionist state, which in return received the guarantee from Putin that Russia would not supply Iran with SU-35 planes. We must not overlook the fact that Netanyahu made frequent visits to Russia while Putin was suppressing the Syrian revolution to support the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad. The Israeli prime minister traveled to Sochi in September 2019 and to Moscow in January 2020 to present Putin with Trump’s proposed “plan of the century” on Israel and Palestine, forcing the Palestinians to give up more territory in the West Bank. Examples of official collaborations between Zionism and Putin go on and on, such as the shadowy activities of the powerful lobby of Russian-heritage Israelis – more than a million of whom live as “good citizens of apartheid.”
It is important to note that for Marxist revolutionaries of the working class, the fundamental factors in determining our support for a particular struggle is not just its leadership, but also the social composition of its participants, the demands put forth, and the enemies they face. This is why we rejoice in the victory of the Afghan struggle against US imperialism and its allies despite the reactionary leadership of the Taliban, why we support the Argentine struggle against the British imperialists in the Malvinas Islands despite the ruling military junta, why we support the Palestinian struggle against Zionist oppression despite their petty-bourgeois leaders such as Fatah and Hamas, and also why we are doing our utmost to support the Ukrainian working class to defeat Russian imperialist aggression, despite a Ukrainian government which serves local oligarchs and transnational corporations.
For all these reasons, we are convinced that the Ukrainian people and the Palestinian people are brothers in their struggle for liberation, and every achievement in this shared struggle will be a victory in the struggles of all oppressed peoples around the world.
Ukrainian victory in the struggle for national liberation will be an achievement of the working class
Every day and night, in the trenches and factories, the Ukrainian working class gives its life and strength to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their nation. All the while, workers are asking themselves the question: “Why do oligarchs and rulers not send their sons to the front, but instead send them abroad or to convenient “administrative service” positions in the armed forces?” Take, for example, the scandalous case of the National Security and Defense Council Secretary Danilov, whose military-aged son is currently in Miami.
Further questions: “Who does the country we defend belong to? If we sacrifice everything in our fight for victory over Putin’s occupying forces, why should we put up with anti-worker and anti-union decrees and laws imposed on us from Kiev by oligarchs tied to foreign capitalists and the IMF?”
From the IWL-FI in Ukraine, we present these reflections, and with them, our answers: For 20 months, we have confronted an invading enemy with little weaponry and ammunition. And we have learned to use them and to prove, above all to ourselves, our right to control the fate of our country. And this right does not belong to the capitalists and bureaucrats who only obtained their money and property as a result of our exploitation.