As Israel’s Genocide in Gaza Grinds On, the Old Order Is Collapsing, But Can a New World Arise?


A student at Columbia University in New York calls for the university to divest from funds connected to Israel’s genocide in the Gaza Strip. (Photo: Alex Kent/Getty Images).

Please support my work as a reader-funded investigative journalist, commentator and activist. If you can help, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal.


Who knew, just seven months ago, that it would be Joe Biden, the Democratic President of the United States, who would be responsible for supporting a genocide, and for the most severe betrayal of the principles of international humanitarian law and the most acute increase in the suppression of free speech that any of us in the west have seen in our lifetimes?

The trigger, of course, was Biden’s response to the attacks in Israel by Hamas and other militants on October 7, 2023, when, having broken out of the “open-air prison” of the Gaza Strip, they killed 1,068 Israeli civilians (695 civilians and 373 members of the military and the police), as well as 71 foreign nationals, and abducted around 240 hostages (both Israeli and foreign nationals), taking them back to the Gaza Strip with the intention of using them for hostage exchanges with some of the many thousands of Palestinians, including women and children, who are held in Israeli prisons in shockingly brutal and fundamentally lawless conditions.

These attacks were horrendous, but they didn’t take place in a vacuum. Since 1948, when the State of Israel was created — largely by settlers who arrived from Europe in their hundreds of thousands, after the British, administering Palestine following the fall of the Ottoman Empire, promised it to them as a Jewish homeland — and its founders killed around 15,000 Palestinians, and forced 700,000 others into exile, violence and bloodshed have defined the story of this bitterly contested land.

For 76 years, the majority of this violence has been inflicted by Israel on the Palestinians, as confirmed through numerous UN resolutions that Israel has persistently ignored, most notably in relation to the status of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as Occupied Territories, after Israel seized them from Egypt and Jordan during the Six Days War in 1967, the right to return of the dispossessed Palestinians, and the iniquities of the post-1967 apartheid state established by Israel.

While the west has a long and hypocritical history of indulging Israel in its oppression of the Palestinians, based on historic guilt regarding the Holocaust, and, in a more sinister manner, as an endorsement of Israel as the last European settler colonial project, an outpost of western ‘civilization’ in a region otherwise dominated by Arabs (implicitly or explicitly regarded as inferior, or, at least, inimical to western interests), it has generally only allowed Israel’s unfettered examples of aggression to remain unchecked for relatively short amounts of time.

In response to the attacks on October 7, however, all pretence of recognizing that there are two sides to the story of Israel and Palestine was completely abandoned by the west, even though western leaders had been concerned that, since the last elections in December 2022, which returned Benjamin Netanyahu to power at the head of a coalition government, that government was the most right-wing in Israel’s history, including two disturbing far-right ministers, the violent messianic settlers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, and even though Netanyahu and his ministers began making openly genocidal statements in the immediate wake of the October 7 attacks.

As though reading from the same script, western leaders unconditionally defended Israel’s “right to defend itself”, raised Israeli flags on prominent government buildings, and flew out to Israel to show solidarity and support with men who, three months later, would be named by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s highest court, as having made statements that were so inflammatory they they contributed significantly to the Court’s assessment that what is taking place in Gaza is a “plausible genocide.”

Within weeks, the death toll in the Gaza Strip had already surpassed that of the worst of Israel’s many attacks since it isolated it in 2007 — 50 days in the summer of 2014, when over 2,300 Palestinians were killed and over 10,000 wounded, over 7,000 homes were destroyed, and another 89,000 homes were damaged.

After the October 7 attacks, however, week after week, Israel was, to be blunt, dropping more bombs than anyone had ever dropped anywhere on a comparative timescale, not only killing civilians in unprecedented numbers and destroying homes on an unprecedented scale, but also destroying everything required to sustain life, culture, education, health and history.

Still the west refused to intervene. As the US vetoed UN Security Council resolutions calling for a ceasefire, the Biden administration and the German government continued to supply Israel with the lion’s share of the weapons that were — and still are — being used to eradicate Gaza and to decimate its civilian population.

In addition, western media — who had fallen over themselves to condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, blitzing the airwaves and newspapers with relentless accounts of Russia’s unparalleled “evil” and the Ukrainians’ plucky, heroic resistance (a similar oversimplification of context and history that occurred after October 7 with Israel and the Palestinians) — embarked on such one-sided support for Israel that anyone who retained their fundamental humanity switched off, choosing to get their information instead from Al Jazeera, and from social media, especially on X and TikTok, where, for the most part, critical voices were not silenced.

Elsewhere, an unprecedented assault on freedom of speech was also taking place in the west, as governments sought to outlaw any expression of support for the Palestinians, and to declare any criticism of the actions of the State of Israel as antisemitic. For decades, well-funded Israeli organizations had been working towards this point, buying up politicians and, in major successes in recent years, ensuring that Congress passed an unconstitutional law banning calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel (the BDS movement), and spearheading a witch hunt in the UK that smeared Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Labour Party, as antisemitic, and that led, eventually, to his replacement by the pliantly pro-Zionist Keir Starmer, who, predictably, robustly defended Israel’s “right to defend itself” after the October 7 attacks.

Fortunately, unprecedented numbers of people were able to see through the miasma of misinformation and black propaganda with which they were being bombarded, and, soon after October 7, when the true nature of Israel’s genocidal intent was already apparent, took to the streets in numbers not seen since the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Globally, it is fair to say that the protests against Israel’s genocide constitute the largest protest movement in human history, as people in their tens of millions have demonstrated that they will not be bludgeoned into accepting, let alone celebrating a genocide, and that, in the west, they can recognize Islamophobia when they see it, they can recognize pro-Israel bias when they see it, and they are appalled that, in countries that claim to respect freedom of speech, and which allow significant criticism of their own governments and of other governments as a democratic right, Israel is being singled out as a unique exception, the only country in the world whose actions western citizens are not allowed to criticize.

This ‘ban’ on criticism is meant to be upheld even as Israel’s leaders openly endorse genocide, its pundits, celebrities and soldiers openly and braggingly celebrate it, and its sickening reality is live-streamed from Gaza itself by Palestinians — by journalists (even though they have been deliberately targeted and killed in unprecedented numbers), by citizen journalists, by medical staff under siege (both Palestinian surgeons and other specialists visiting from other countries), and by the handful of representatives of NGOs present on the ground.

US students rise up in peaceful but determined protest

As the genocide grinds on, with no one seemingly able to stop it, a grim milestone was reached on April 23, marking 200 days of the genocide — four times as long as Israel’s most deadly attack previously, in the summer of 2014. As Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor reported on the day, in those 200 days 42,510 Palestinians had been killed by Israel, including 15,780 children and 10,091 women, with an additional 79,240 people injured, many gravely so. Crucially, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, which includes those buried under the rubble in its totals, also estimated that 90% of those killed — 38,621 of the dead — were civilians.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor’s assessment of the death toll in the Gaza Strip after 200 days of Israel’s genocide.

However, just when it seemed that the widespread and repeated resistance of protesters around the world was failing to make a difference, events took an unexpected turn on April 18, when Minouche Shafik, the president of Columbia University, the private, Ivy League research university in New York, ordered the NYPD to arrest protesters who had gathered on the campus grounds the day before to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, and, crucially, for the university to financially divest from companies complicit in Israel’s genocide. In all, 108 students were arrested, and three, including Isra Hirsi, the daughter of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, were subsequently suspended.

Students and faculty members across US universities had been protesting against Israel’s actions since October, but had faced various forms of repression, in defiance of the First Amendment right to free speech. In November, Minouche Shafik suspended two student groups, Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine, after an unauthorized event that, according to the university authorities, “included threatening rhetoric and intimidation”, although that was certainly a distorted interpretation, driven by considerable pro-Israeli pressure within the administration.

The enemies of free speech were not only located within the university’s administration. In December, the few non-Jewish heads of the Ivy League universities were hounded out of their jobs after horribly biased hearings in Congress, where Republican lawmakers are fully committed to the criminalization of free speech in relation to the Palestinian cause, as part of a malignant and long-running campaign to suppress what they regard as unacceptable thought in the US education sector as a whole.

Ironically, although Republican lawmakers have been bought by Zionist lobbyists at least as thoroughly as Democrats, America’s right-wingers tend to be more conflicted than Democrats with regard to Israel, with some supporting the deranged enthusiasm of Christian Zionists, who support Israel not primarily in solidarity with the the Jewish people, but because they regard it as a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Generally hidden in the shadows of the right, meanwhile, are, ironically, the only people who can genuinely be described as antisemitic — far-right white supremacists who think that Hitler was right, who still believe in a global Jewish conspiracy, and whose conspiracy theory-linked fanaticism, though currently sidelined, may well rear its ugly head once more if the powerful Jewish lobbying groups succeed in subverting America’s First Amendment to suppress all criticism of Israel.

Minouche Shafik had missed those Congressional hearings in December, but on April 17, the day the pro-Palestinian encampment was established at Columbia, she was grilled at further hearings, and attacked for, allegedly, not having done enough to suppress antisemitism on campus, despite suspending the two pro-Palestinian groups in November, and doing nothing whatsoever to restrain the increasingly hysterical ranting of one particular faculty member, Shai Davidai, an assistant professor of business, who has very publicly called pro-Palestinian protesters Hitler Youth, and, more recently, has called them all terrorists.

If Shafik was intending to endear herself to aggressively pro-Zionist members of Congress, her plan backfired spectacularly when the violence unleashed by the NYPD ignited a protest movement across America’s universities, spreading to over 130 campuses in total.

Many of these protests were also met with unnecessary and often quite astonishingly heavy-handed police violence, including Columbia — again — on the night of April 30, when, in response to students reestablishing a protest camp and occupying a university building, Hamilton Hall, Minouche Shafik once more summoned the NYPD, who again arrested over a hundred people. By May 3, almost 2,200 students in total had been arrested at 43 universities and colleges.

A showdown between unarmed students and the police on the UCLA campus on May 2, 2024. (Photo: Etienne Laurent/AFP).

For the universities, the violent suppression of peaceful protestors — and, in several locations, respected faculty members — who are opposing a “plausible genocide” is, of course, a fundamental betrayal not only of the cherished First Amendment, but also a specific undermining of universities themselves as places supposedly devoted to intellectual inquiry, and, hence, to differing opinions that are meant to be able to be aired and challenged.

More worrying for the universities, however, are the implications of suppressing students not only for free speech, but also for calling for divestment from funds used to facilitate Israel’s genocide in Gaza, which are primary demands everywhere that the protests have been taking place.

The reason that this ought to be disturbing to university administrators — and to the academic heads who, fundamentally, are employed by them — is that the students, who, at the Ivy League universities, can pay up to $80,000 a year, are exposing how the entire sector, while apparently celebrating intellectual activity, actually consists of amoral or immoral corporate entities, whose bottom line is not education but money — from rich donors whose political positions need to be supported, and from investments in profit-generating organizations, largely without any regard to their moral or ethical positions.

Challenging this means asking hard questions about the structure of US capitalism, and, right now, the extent to which universities are serving an agenda that has nothing to do with learning; the extent, in other words, to which they are essentially fronts for war and exploitation.

While it is hugely important that the protestors must remain focused right now on two primary objectives — calling for an end to the genocide in Gaza, and calling for their universities to divest from Israel, as some of the less aggressive universities have, to their credit, recognized — I hope that they end up expanding the focus of their attention beyond their universities, to the entire economic and political system that also supports the ceaseless war and exploitation that is currently so prevalent in the Gaza Strip.

Defending freedom of speech is crucial, because otherwise, if the Israel Lobby succeeds, not only will any criticism of Israel become “anti-American”, but it is reasonable to expect that cynical politicians will use the successful quashing of First Amendment rights on Israel’s behalf to suppression criticism of their own government as “anti-American”, reviving the McCarthyism of the 1950s.

In addition, preventing a western-backed genocide that erodes any lingering belief in the principles of international humanitarian law that were established in the war of the horrors of the Second World War is also crucial, because otherwise there is no defence anywhere on earth to prevent genocidal impulses from being realized by any other regime that, like Israel, petulantly claims to have an absolutely unfettered “right to defend itself” without any constraints.

Thirdly, however, and in conclusion, what none of us must forget is that, although twisted through a uniquely horrible genocidal ideology, Israel’s murderous messianic frenzy is just one aspect of the death cult of western capitalism in the third decade of the 21st century, in which divesting from companies that support Israel’s genocide must also be matched by divestments from the entire panoply of murderous organizations that are responsible for a grave and imminent threat to all of us — the already unfolding catastrophic climate collapse caused by our addiction to fossil fuels.

What has begun on US campuses in response to Israel’s genocide in Gaza needs to spread far and wide across the country as a whole, as happened in 1968 with the protests against the Vietnam War. Then, as now, an anti-war movement recognized that war was just one of capitalism’s many evils. The difference now is that we’re running out of time. For Palestine, and for the planet as a whole, those resisting monstrous destruction in its many unforgivable forms — genocide, endless war, and environmental destruction — need to keep pushing for change on an unprecedented scale. The old order is collapsing, but we need to come together to bring a new world into being.

* * * * *

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer (of an ongoing photo-journalism project, ‘The State of London’), film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (see the ongoing photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here, or you can watch it online here, via the production company Spectacle, for £2.50).

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of the documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and, in 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to try to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody.

Since 2019, Andy has become increasingly involved in environmental activism, recognizing that climate change poses an unprecedented threat to life on earth, and that the window for change — requiring a severe reduction in the emission of all greenhouse gases, and the dismantling of our suicidal global capitalist system — is rapidly shrinking, as tipping points are reached that are occurring much quicker than even pessimistic climate scientists expected. You can read his articles about the climate crisis here.

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, The Complete Guantánamo Files, the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

29 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    In my latest article about Israel’s genocide in Gaza, I provide a re-cap on the last seven months of horror in Gaza, in which over 42,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been murdered by Israel. I also condemn the Israeli regime and the western governments providing unconditional support, but note how unparalleled numbers of people have switched off from largely uncritical mainstream media (with the brave exception of Al Jazeera), and are refusing to conform, through their engagement with what, globally, must be the largest protest movement in human history.

    I also celebrate the student protests on US campuses, deplore the violent response by many university administrators and the police, and express my hope that, not only will the protests continue, but that students’ call for their universities to divest from organizations complicit in Israel’s genocide will expand to recognize that the genocidal war machine is just part of the capitalist death cult of the third decade of the 21st century, and that what is also needed is wholesale divestment from every aspect of this sick system, which is not only erasing Gaza, but is also committed to making the prospect of life on earth untenable for all of us.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Cat Watters wrote:

    Saying it since the 70s and being gaslit ever since!

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, Cat. Yes, it’s been a long and largely dispiriting journey. By the time I reached adulthood, Reagan was erasing the opportunities for genuine change in the post-Vietnam War US into the turbo-charged capitalist world that’s been killing us ever since (with the help, of course, of Thatcher in the UK).

    Israel is the definition of that world – genocidal, indifferent to the environmental costs of war, and obsessed with the ‘gentrification’ of Gaza, after its ethnic cleansing is over, despite having made it ecocidally uninhabitable. Stupid as well the most degraded examples of humanity available – along with their supporters in the US and elsewhere in the west.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Absolutely, Natalia. My heart sank when I saw the news this morning about Israel dropping leaflets telling people in eastern Rafah to “evacuate” towards the already-destroyed Khan Younis.

    As Eman Basher, a mother of four in Gaza, stated on X:

    “People are starved and exhausted. Where the f*ck should they go? Two days ago they were eagerly following the news of a potential ceasefire and now they are checking a f*cked up Israeli evacuation map designed by a zionist sociopath to check if the place of their tent falls under the danger of targeting.

    “The irony is that I’ve been there. I have checked the map before. I have falsely trusted the map and evacuated to alleged safe zones and yet were targeted. Stop the lying, bitches! Be f*cking honest and say you are after every single Palestinian.”

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    Andy, how can no one or anything stop Israel?! It’s infuriating!!! My heart sank too. It’s unbelievable.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, more shameful than anything I’ve ever experienced in my lifetime on the part of the western world, Natalia. It’s futile wondering what some other US leader – beside the ossified warmonger Biden – would have done, but if he and Blinken refuse to do anything and allow a full unbridled assault to proceed, it’s all over for them.

    As for Israel’s leaders, it’s horrible imagining the vileness of their brains, the hunger they’ve had all along for not stopping until they’ve eradicated every single city and neighbourhood in the Gaza Strip.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Russell B Fuller wrote, in response to 2, above:

    Cat, since the late-’60s. Those of us protesting on campus in 1968 have waited a LONG time for these kids today to show up.
    Infinitely proud of them and just that disgusted with the way-out-of-proportion politician and police response.

    They’ve finally put all their vicious cards on the table for all to see because they don’t think we can do anything about it. Let’s hope, pray, sing, shout, and fight to prove them wrong

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, Russell. I recall numerous movements over the last 20 years – the Iraq war protests, Occupy, Black Lives Matter and its resurgence after the murder of George Floyd, as well as various environmental protests, all of which have involved significant numbers of protestors, and significant police violence, but none explicitly in the service of a foreign government committing a genocide.

    I very much hope that the students retain their momentum, and I’m delighted to see that similar encampments are springing up throughout the west. If enough students refuse to accept their enforced complicity – and especially if they recognize that the future they’re supposed to be paying for and working towards is an illusion, because of climate collapse – then this could be an extremely significant time indeed.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Ruth Gilburt wrote:

    Andy – words are failing me. The most appalling actions in our lifetimes.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, very much so, Ruth. My only hope is that, although we’re powerless to stop Israel, or even to force our own governments to stop their still almost entirely unconditional support, there are so many of us who are sickened and appalled that it’s difficult to imagine our righteous anger and aching sorrow ever fading away as though nothing happened.

    When you factor in climate collapse as well – and I see that even the tabloids have started to notice that it won’t stop raining and that our harvests are screwed – it feels like we may be close to a tipping point, when the young begin to overwhelm the old people who are mostly responsible for every sickness we’re going through, from genocide to the droughts, floods and food shortages that have already begun happening. I certainly hope so.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Hanann Abu Brase wrote:

    Thanks for sharing Andy.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    You’re welcome, Hanann. It’s the least I can do as a writer. I can’t understand anyone who has any kind of platform ignoring what’s happening in Gaza. It preys on my mind and tears at my heart all the time.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Bernard Sullivan wrote:

    I absolutely agree with you on this, Andy. Not only is the capitalist system, driven by greed, destroying Gaza and the people of Palestine, but it is ultimately destroying the prospect of a decent future for everyone’s children and grandchildren, wherever they are. It’s the beginning of the end of a civilised planet, managed for the benefit of all people, our wildlife, and our environment. And we only have ourselves to blame.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Bernie, for appreciating my analysis of the extremely precarious situation that we’re all in.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan wrote:

    Hi my dear friend, Andy

    Daily, I mourn the loss of innocents in Palestine but I retain some hope.

    In the US, Occupy 4 Gaza is still going strong no matter how many times the police are used to attack them. The courts will be filled with our children fighting for justice against a system of oppression and attempts to silent the voices of all who stand with Palestine.

    At Princeton, protestors are now on a hunger strike; In Denver, the police refuse to take action against protestors unless property is damaged – they have refused requests by the 4 colleges comprising Auraria campus (looks like DPD learned a lesson from Occupy and BLM with $millions paid out in abuse claims).

    The tide is turning against those who stand against humanity – Biden may lose an election over it as may many sitting in Congress.

    Unfortunately, the US government, loving any war, will continue to arm and fund colonizers and never face repercussions except from within. That is why we must all stand with the children of the US and take them down

    As for Israel – the people need to get better information since their information only comes from state funded sources. Until then. they will always think Palestine is theirs and they deserve to displace and murder its inhabitants. As for Netanyahu and the IDF. Once Netanyahu falls, I am certain he will be replaced with another like-kind genocidal monster.

    The world cannot ignore this any longer

    Always my love and solidarity, brother


  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Hello, my sister. So great to hear from you.

    Thanks for your thoughts on the US student actions. I love your description of the courts being “filled with our children fighting for justice”, and I take heart from your assessment of how, in some places, the police will have been chastened by significant payouts in previous abuse claims relating to Occupy and BLM.

    As for the government, Biden certainly deserves to lose, which, of course he may well do, as no one who opposes a genocide can be persuaded to vote for the person who facilitated it because he’s a “lesser evil.” There are no comparatives when it comes to supporting genocide; it’s simply evil, full stop.

    Of course, Trump is no viable alternative for any kind of functioning future, although I do find myself wondering if he could be any more insanely warmongering than Biden and the Democrats, although if he does win I think domestically he may well be an unparalleled nightmare.

    However, neither of these brain-damaged old men are really relevant anymore, are they? Beyond the aching pain we feel through being made, however reluctantly, complicit in a genocide, environmental collapse is imminent, and I suspect young people in significant numbers may be waking up to the fact that the future they’ve been sold (and, at universities, are paying for) is an illusion.

    Hopefully, enough of them will realize that all we have now is the struggle – as some of us oldies have long realized – and that if they immerse themselves in it, rather than dwelling on what they might have thought they were entitled to, we might really make a difference as we struggle to even slightly delay the dying of a habitable planet. Not much to go on perhaps, but a better plot for the future than anything that Hollywood, the CIA, the oil and gas companies or the tools in Congress can up with.

    Standing in love and solidarity to you too.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Kären Ahern wrote:

    Thank you, Andy, I have friends in Rafah days away from their travel passages being ready, I fear for their lives, all of them.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    I am so sorry to hear that, Kären. Safe in the west, our anguish is real, but it’s almost impossible for any of us to imagine the reality of living under the constant threat of death for the last seven months. A colossal failure of our collective humanity for which those responsible must never be forgiven.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Gail Baker wrote:

    Thank you Andy. Very well stated.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for the supportive words, Gail. Good to hear from you.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Russell B Fuller wrote, in response to 9, above:

    Yes, Andy, it wasn’t my intent to at all minimize the important movements you speak of, more to point out that the overwhelming involvement and leadership of students in this one—when SO many Americans seem so uninformed about what’s going on and so casual about a genocide, as if it’s in our or anyone’s interest beyond Netanyahu and Zionists—that is so reminiscent of our late-’60s protests and thus so encouraging in our evaluation of this generation of young people.

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, well said, Russell, and you’re absolutely right. The significance of students – young, energetic and radicalized by seeing the truth through social media (and Al Jazeera) – is definitely comparable to the situation on campuses in the late 60s and early 70s. If the students broaden their concerns to environmental issues – and I very much hope they do, as it’s environmental collapse, more than fascism at home or abroad, that has stolen their futures – then the revolutionary impulses of the Vietnam-era counter-culture have a very real chance of being meaningfully reborn. I certainly hope that the students are aware of the fearless direct action being taken by groups like Climate Defiance, who are targeting oil and gas company CEOs and the politicians bought by them, just as with AIPAC on behalf of Israel:

    It’s only if we stop believing in the credibility of the world as it is, recognize its distractions for what they are, and recognize that we have power that change can happen. 50-55 years ago, enough people realized this to enable them to create a challenge to the establishment, and perhaps this time around the revolutionary politics of the counter-culture won’t be hijacked, as they were in the ’70s, by the distractions of those ‘new age’ elements who put the personal (‘finding oneself’) above the political, a distraction that was so successful that it eventually became the driver of widespread societal control – that sense of ‘personal entitlement’ that has been atomizing us since the late ’80s.

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote, in response to 7, above:

    Andy, sadly I think we’ll see Trump in power again and I’m afraid he’s even crazier and more pro Israel …

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    The thing is, Natalia, I can’t actually conceive of how, practically, anyone could be more pro-Israel than Biden, but I too fear a Trump victory, of course, for a multitude of reasons, including the fact that he won’t be any better on Israel than Biden, especially with so many rabidly pro-Zionist lawmakers in his party.

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    Biden, with the use of force against the students, I’m sure, sealed his destiny, Andy. I think both parties are pro Israel and Biden and Trump are both crazy … it’s very scary … there’s no light on the horizon.

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    The only light on the horizon is the people, Natalia, and especially the young, who have no future because old rich people (mostly men) have sold it or are destroying it for profit. If they genuinely grasp this truth, in sufficient numbers, they will be fearless, because they will realize that they genuinely have nothing to lose.

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    Deborah Emin wrote:

    To be clear, Western imperialists, due to their war economies, bolstered by the US, are guilty of genocide and ecocide. They foster a two-tier system of “justice” that penalizes those that speak out against them while handing out get out of jail free cards to all who not only support but profit with them. To stay clear of this insanity means one must walk a very difficult but necessary tightrope. It is a very extreme time. We lose friends and colleagues because these risks are so high. People like Andy have never lost their moral compass and help others, like me, do the same. Thank you.

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks so much for your thoughts, Deborah, and for your supportive words, as ever, which help me immensely.

    You make a particularly important point about people losing friends and colleagues over opposing a genocide, which can be extended to the grim reality that people in all kinds of walks of life are losing their jobs if they dare to speak out, and also to family dynamics, in which, as so often over the last 20 years, as societal collapse has become more and more evident, there is a huge difference between the attitudes of the old and the young.

    Bluntly speaking, the old – by which I don’t mean those like us and countless others who are enlightened enough to see the truth, but those who are blinded by their own corruption, or through inflexibility or ossification – need to get out of the way and hand control to the young. Power, as we know, never concedes willingly, but the compromise required by the young to sustain the suicidal insanity of the status quo is too severe for them to give up. If they understand this – and can accept their power, rather than being disempowered by the realization that the future they’ve been sold is nothing but an illusion – then real change can actually happen.

    This seems very clear within the Jewish community in the US, where so many young people are in an irreconcilable culture clash with their parents and grandparents – supported, of course, by all the wonderful older anti-war Jewish people who have always been so inspiring – and I hope that these brave young people won’t be cowed into supporting, even tacitly, the unsupportable.

    However, it’s in the wider world where particularly thorny problems need to be highlighted and challenged.

    There’s an essay by Zadie Smith for the New Yorker that’s currently being massively – and rightly – criticized, because Smith fails to recognize that it’s inappropriate to play semantic games about there being two sides to a story when one side is committing a genocide against the other. I don’t know the particular context of Smith’s journey to this point, but I know she’s a feted establishment figure, and I know that that particular world is one where supporters of Israel are prominent, leading to the baleful situation that we’re all aware of, where support – or silence – is widespread precisely because it avoids conflict, or, even worse, because speaking out could lead to those brave dissenters losing their jobs or being sidelined.

    Perhaps the dinosaurs of the mainstream will simply die out. Certainly, young people, getting their information via social media, are largely abandoning it, which will eventually lead to its demise, but the impact of the polluters and the warmongers on politicians, on the mainstream media, and even on what passes for our ‘culture’, is still the biggest obstacle to necessary truths – about war, about genocide, about climate collapse – being revealed, and those of us who care need to do all we can to expose it.

Leave a Reply

Back to the top

Back to home page

Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
Email Andy Worthington

CD: Love and War

The Four Fathers on Bandcamp

The Guantánamo Files book cover

The Guantánamo Files

The Battle of the Beanfield book cover

The Battle of the Beanfield

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion book cover

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion

Outside The Law DVD cover

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo


Posts & Comments

World Wide Web Consortium



Powered by WordPress

Designed by Josh King-Farlow

Please support Andy Worthington, independent journalist:


In Touch

Follow me on Facebook

Become a fan on Facebook

Subscribe to me on YouTubeSubscribe to me on YouTube

The State of London

The State of London. 16 photos of London

Andy's Flickr photos



Tag Cloud

Abu Zubaydah Al-Qaeda Andy Worthington British prisoners Center for Constitutional Rights CIA torture prisons Close Guantanamo Donald Trump Four Fathers Guantanamo Housing crisis Hunger strikes London Military Commission NHS NHS privatisation Periodic Review Boards Photos President Obama Reprieve Shaker Aamer The Four Fathers Torture UK austerity UK protest US courts Video We Stand With Shaker WikiLeaks Yemenis in Guantanamo