For international solidarity — a statement on the Middle East by student and youth activists
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We note with alarm the ramping up of Israel’s threats of military action against Iran, including Benjamin Netanyahu’s ‘presentation’ at the UN on 27 September.
We stand in solidarity with students, workers and the oppressed in Iran, while simultaneously opposing an attack by Israel or the US. Such an attack, while very likely failing to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, could lead to a war in which many would die and suffer. A wave of nationalism and religious-sectarian polarisation could be unleashed across the region. We also oppose economic sanctions on Iran, the brunt of which is being born by the Iranian working class and poor and which are causing major suffering.
Our opposition to war and sanctions does not mean we are indifferent to Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. The Iranian regime is theocratic and violently anti-semitic. It could decide to attack Israel and face the consequences, for its own ideological reasons. We are opposed to all nuclear weapons, including Israel’s and Britain’s, but alarmed by the prospect of Iran acquiring them.
We stand in solidarity with the fight for democracy, women’s rights and workers’ rights across the Middle East and North Africa – from Iran to the ongoing protests for democracy in Bahrain to popular resistance to the Syrian regime, specifically anti-sectarian, democratic and working-class forces. This does not in any way imply support for or trust in the US and its allies, who are not fundamentally concerned with democracy or human rights — as their complicity in repression from Bahrain to Egypt to Palestine demonstrates.
We are also against general economic sanctions on Syria, which by most accounts are hurting the Syrian people more than the Assad regime, which can still get weapons from Russia. We call for an end to Russian and Iranian intervention in support of the Syrian government.
At the same time as standing with students, workers and the oppressed against the regimes in Syria and Iran, we recognise the importance of the Palestinian struggle for the present battles in the Middle East. We stand with the Palestinians, with workers and the oppressed in Israel, and with international solidarity-activists against the Israeli regime, the Occupation and racist discrimination.
Initial signatories include (all pc): Michael Chessum, NUS National Executive Council, James McAsh, President, Edinburgh University Student Association – Daniel Cooper, University of London Union Vice President – Luke Neal, Newcastle University SU Community Officer, Newcastle Free Education Network – Peter Campbell, NUSU Mature and Part-time Students’ Officer, NFEN – Hamish Yewdall, Northumbria University, NFEW Innes McLeod, President, Edinburgh University Socialist Society – Tom Harris, Royal Holloway SU Academic Affairs Officer – Jade Baker, Goldsmiths University – Sarah Weston, NCAFC National Committee – Ed Maltby, for Workers’ Liberty Students – Esther Townsend, University of East London, NCAFC Women’s Committee – Omar Raii, University College London – Bob Sutton, University of East London NCAFC National Committee – Claire Lister, Birmingham Defend Education and NCAFC National Committee – Edd Bauer, former VP Education, Birmingham Guild of Students – Matt Franklin, Birmingham University People & Planet committee – Rosie Huzzard, Open College Network (Bradford College) – Alice Marshall, Hull University,