Around 5,000 people descended on Downing Street on Wednesday 18 October. They were there to remember all those Israel had killed in Gaza and the Occupied Territories in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, 10,000 others descended on the US Congress in protest at its support for Israel‘s war crimes. However, amidst all this, politicians and the media were still defending Israel – with even some supposedly left-wing journalists undermining the Palestinian people.
Mass killings by Israel – yet the media still toes the line
The mostly deadly incident so far was Israel’s attack on the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza, which killed at least 500 people. Israel has denied it’s responsible. It blamed the group Islamic Jihad, saying the blast was caused by a misfired rocket. Outlets like the BBC parroted this – with its supposed fact-checking Verify service toeing the line:
BBC Verify looks at hospital bombing & overlooks:
Israel warning they'd bomb the hospital & bombing other hospitals; asking hospital why it didn't evacuate after warnings; tweeting it bombed the hospital; releasing clearly fake audio & video 🤷♂️https://t.co/7srtW7rxQD
— Ricky (@RickyDHale) October 18, 2023
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However, as Channel 4 News journalist Alex Thomson pieced together, Israel’s so-called ‘evidence’ is littered with holes – like fake audio that doesn’t match maps:
Israel’s presentation has a Rear Admiral and the tape saying the malfunctioning missile fired from cemetery next to hospital. That doesn’t match video of the event. …
— alex thomson (@alextomo) October 18, 2023
Israel’s info graphic has the firing site 5kms SW of the hospital – it cannot be there and the next door cemetery , can it?
— alex thomson (@alextomo) October 18, 2023
This hasn’t stopped Western governments and much of the media, as well as even some supposed left-wing journalists, from either accepting Israel’s version of events, or giving credence to the idea that we ‘don’t know’ who bombed Al-Ahli:
These people tweet stuff like this for the same reason they stand over the legacy bill in the north
They would prefer to play devil's advocate in a rotten system than threaten their cushy gig by trying to effect any sort of radical change https://t.co/GssSMZGZxr
— Cian 🚩☭ (@dliodore) October 18, 2023
Why are Palestinian testimonies not enough? A Palestinian ambassador shared that the hospital was warned by the Israeli military an hour before they launched the massacre, is that not enough? Gaslighting Palestinians whilst they are ethnically cleansed is disgusting! https://t.co/F67RS1fwKk
— Aqsa ( She/Her) 🇵🇸 (@aqsa_sz) October 18, 2023
However, while people debate what seems quite clearly to be a case of Israel lying to cover up its crimes, the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) in the UK took action.
Vigils and protests for Gaza
The PSC organised a vigil outside Downing Street at 5pm on 18 October:
Heartening to see 5,000+ brave the rain today for our vigil to remember the 3500+ Palestinians killed by Israel in its assault on Gaza and call for an end to the violence pic.twitter.com/tjoN77QlSb
— PSC (@PSCupdates) October 18, 2023
Tonight in London, after our vigil and in the pouring rain, thousands are praying together in mourning for those who have been murdered in Gaza.
A powerful moment.
— Shelly Asquith (@ShellyAsquith) October 18, 2023
It came amid both prime minister Rishi Sunak and opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer maintaining their support Israel – while failing to acknowledge its war crimes. At Downing Street, people prayed for those Israel has killed – as well as those who remain:
— Friends of Al Aqsa (@FriendsofAlAqsa) October 18, 2023
It’s not just the UK government that is complicit in Israel’s genocidal intent. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has accused the UK arms industry of complicity in Israeli war crimes. For example, the UK industry provides 15% of the components for the F35 stealth combat aircraft. Israel is using these to bomb civilians in Gaza. CAAT estimates that since 2016, the contract for the components is worth £336m.
Former Canary editor and CAAT media coordinator Emily Apple said in a press release:
Through its arms sales, and particularly through the supply of components for the F35s, the UK is complicit in war crimes in Gaza. Meanwhile, BAE Systems, one of the companies involved in producing the F35s, has seen its share prices reach a record high.
Meanwhile, in the US, Jewish Voice for Peace and its allies occupied Congress – calling for their government to act:
How'd we get here?
For 75 years, the Israeli government has maintained a military occupation over Palestinians, operating an apartheid regime. pic.twitter.com/7sHjdg38QR
— Jewish Voice for Peace (@jvplive) October 18, 2023
As Al Jazeera reported, cops arrested around 500 people – while one protester told the media outlet that he was honouring his family’s history:
I see my job as carrying on their legacy as Jews who see their role as standing up for stateless and oppressed people all throughout the world… I see no better way to do that than fighting for a ceasefire and peace in Gaza today.
Western complicity in Israel’s war crimes continues
However, both in the US and the UK there seems to be little sign of the political will to stand up to Israel.
US president Joe Biden wants his government to give $100m in aid to Gaza and the Occupied Territories – to effectively clean up the mess he helped create. Of course, this is just 1% of the $10bn Biden is reported to be giving to Israel:
The brass neck of the #Biden administration: they announce a tiny aid package for #Palestine while sending $10bn in arms to #ApartheidIsrael & vetoing a UN peace resolution. The #USA is effectively killing #Palestinians & ensuring #IDF #WarCrimes continue. https://t.co/LDD9stCLsn
— Ian McNee (@IanSMcNee) October 19, 2023
As one person at the Downing Street vigil summed up:
This is not a complicated issue. Do not be scared to speak. This is genocide. It is not antisemitic to stand against genocide. Please demand that your leaders do something.
— Mujahid Muffasir (@MMuffasir) October 19, 2023
There appears to be little chance of a change of course by Western leaders. So, protests will continue – with another scheduled in London on Saturday 21 October. This begs the question, though – how many more Palestinians will Israel kill in that time, while much of the world stands idly by?
Featured image via Chris Nineham – screengrab
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