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Churchill’s Dog And Why I Will Be Rallying For Gaza

This Tuesday at midday, people of conscience will rally at Parliament in Wellington to call for an enduring ceasefire in Gaza. Please let people know.

Everything you need to know about Gaza can be encapsulated in one seldom-daylighted quote by Winston Churchil from 1937. He compared the Palestinians – who at that stage were tangata whenua of all the land “from the river to the sea” – to a dog in a manger.

"I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit ... for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”

Churchill would be proud of what the Israelis have become. A “strong race” putting an “inferior” race in its place. What’s not to like? It’s tattooed into the secret hearts of millions.

Tony Blinken or Ursula Von de Leyen (or Fond-of-Lyin’, as the wonderful Clare Daly MEP calls her) would phrase the goals of the conflict a little more coyly, but their actions, their bombs, scream exactly the same white supremacy.

The Americans mumble proportionality, veto ceasefires and hold the International Criminal Court in their pockets, as they urgently courier 2000 lb bombs and shiploads of tank shells to Israel who inflict them on defenceless mums, dads and children – nearly 70% of the nearly 20,000 slaughtered by the Israelis are women and children. And they are only getting started.

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The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported this week that the civilians killed by Israel, compared to combatants, is the highest proportionally compared to any war in over 100 years. Imagine that. Indiscriminate butchery carried out by New Zealand’s close allies. And our government and the ICC can do nothing more than mumble. When faced with incontrovertible evidence of indiscriminate slaughter, the premeditated destruction of all means of existence including shelter, water infrastructure, fuel and food, the Western World continues to send thoughts, prayers and bombs to Israel.

Imagine if every house in Auckland was flattened and the population was driven hither and thither like cattle, slaughtered as they stumbled with their children from place to place, thirsty, hungry, exhausted, desperate. When will we take pity on these souls in agony? Where is our humanity?

Churchill voiced his contempt for Aborigines. White Australia echoed his sentiments in the recent referendum. Churchill cast Native American Indians on a low rung of the civilisational ladder. White America honed its genocidal skills on them over centuries and continues to marginalise and disrespect them today. New Zealand’s incoming government wants to dial back the clock on race relations to a simpler, whiter time. It’s time we realised that all these things are related. International solidarity is in our own long-term interest.

Today, the Jewish State is rumoured to be looking at gassing people in a concentration camp - using nerve agents to clear the tunnels in Gaza. Unbelievable. Churchill has a ready quote: “I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes.” Joe Biden would never say something like that, but he would sure-as-hell allow it to happen and provide political cover. Let’s do what we can to stop them.

I think it is tremendously important that we show solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Palestine. Don’t worry if our efforts are small. Do what we can.

As Paolo Freire said:

Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.

Rally at Parliament. Midday. Tuesday 12 December.

Eugene Doyle is a community organiser who lives on Wellington’s South Coast. He received an Absolutely Positively Wellingtonian award in 2023 for community service to coastal communities, environmental action, water quality, emergency resilience and other causes.

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