Free speech is a prime casualty of war

December 5, 2023
Free speech is a prime casualty of war


The Communist Party USA unequivocally condemns the Israeli and U.S. governments’ continual efforts to silence critics of the U.S.-funded Israeli genocidal war in Gaza. We stand in solidarity with all those who raise their voice to bring an end to the horrific and ongoing crimes being committed against the Palestinian people.

Earlier this month, the Israeli government arrested Muhammad Barakeh, Haneen Zoabi, Yossef Tatour, and Mahmoud Mawasi, all important leaders of the Palestinian community within Israel. Their supposed crime was advocating for a ceasefire and an end to the bloodshed in Gaza.

The ironically named Ethics Committee of the Israeli Knesset (Israel’s parliament) has also suspended members Ofer Cassif and Aida Touma-Sliman. Both lawmakers are leading members of the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Hadash) Coalition, as well as the Israeli Communist Party. Comrades Cassif and Touma-Sliman dared to criticize the actions of the Israeli military and government.

This thoroughly undemocratic act in the supposedly only democratic country in the Middle East echoes similar undemocratic actions taken by the U.S. Congress to censure Congressperson Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in the U.S. Congress, for defending the human rights of the Palestinian people.

Pro-Palestinian voices face even more censorship in universities around the United States that are banning Jewish Voice for Peace, Students for Justice in Palestine, and related organizations.

Ruling class forces are attacking freedom of speech because they are frightened by a real majority in the country who see through the lies used to defend apartheid and genocide. These popular democratic forces are calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and massive humanitarian aid. Many are also opposed to the U.S.’ policy of supplying weapons to Israel and are ultimately fighting to end the occupation and for Palestinians’ right to a homeland. This movement presents a major challenge to the interests of U.S. imperialism in the broader region.

We call on all progressive, democratic, and peace-loving people to protest against the continuing attempts by the U.S. ruling class — and the extreme right government it is propping up in Tel Aviv — to silence their critics. We renew our call for the United States to immediately end its support for the genocidal war being waged by the Netanyahu government against the people of Gaza and demand an end to the apartheid rule suffocating all Palestinians.

All who can should join protests to demand the protection of the democratic freedoms and human rights of the Palestinian people and the critics of the war machine in Israel and the U.S. We urge everyone to message their members of Congress to co-sponsor H. Res. 786 calling for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in occupied Palestine.

Image: Young woman with closed eyes and taped lips by Canadian Civil Liberties Association


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