UN Chief Says ‘Rules of War’ Being Disregarded From Ukraine to Gaza

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Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres speaks at the opening of the 55th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on February 26, 2024. (Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

“Today’s warmongers cannot erase the clear lesson of the past,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “Protecting human rights protects us all.”

The head of the United Nations said Monday that countries and groups involved in wars around the world are “turning a blind eye to international law” and imperiling the lives of millions of innocent people, including many children.

“The rule of law, and the rules of war, are being undermined,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in remarks to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Guterres pointed specifically to conflicts raging in Ukraine, Gaza, and Sudan and lamented that the U.N. Security Council has frequently been “deadlocked” in the face of mass atrocities, “unable to act on the most significant peace and security issues of our time.”

“The council’s lack of unity on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and on Israel’s military operations in Gaza following the horrific terror attacks by Hamas on 7 October, has severely—perhaps fatally—undermined its authority,” said Guterres, who delivered his address less than a week after the U.S. used its veto power for the third time since October 7 to tank a Gaza cease-fire resolution at the U.N. Security Council.

“Flouting international law only feeds insecurity and results in more bloodshed.”

Guterres’ speech marked the start of the Human Rights Council’s first high-level session of 2024. The U.N. chief said at the session that the world “urgently” needs a “new commitment to all human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political, and social—as they apply to peace and security, backed by serious efforts at implementation and accountability.”

Toward that end, Guterres announced the launch of a “systemwide United Nations Agenda for Protection” under which U.N. bodies “will act as one to prevent human rights violations, and to identify and respond to them when they take place.”

“Flouting international law only feeds insecurity and results in more bloodshed,” Guterres warned. “Human rights conventions and humanitarian law are based on cold, hard reality: They recognize that terrorizing civilians and depriving them of food, water, and healthcare is a recipe for endless anger, alienation, extremism, and conflict.”

“Today’s warmongers cannot erase the clear lesson of the past,” he added. “Protecting human rights protects us all.”

Guterres’ address came after Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said in separate analyses published Monday that Israel is blatantly disregarding an interim ruling handed down last month by the U.N.’s highest legal body, the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Israeli forces have killed more than 3,400 people in Gaza since the ICJ’s January 26 ruling, and nearly 30,000 total since their assault on the Palestinian enclave began following a deadly Hamas-led attack on October 7.

“Not only has Israel created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, but it is also displaying a callous indifference to the fate of Gaza’s population by creating conditions which the ICJ has said places them at imminent risk of genocide,” Heba Morayef, Amnesty’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

“Time and time again,” Morayef added, “Israel has failed to take the bare minimum steps humanitarians have desperately pleaded for that are clearly within its power to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”

In his remarks Monday, Guterres warned that an Israeli ground assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah “would not only be terrifying for more than a million Palestinian civilians sheltering there; it would put the final nail in the coffin of our aid programs.”

“International humanitarian law remains under attack. Tens of thousands of civilians, including women and children, have been killed in Gaza,” said Guterres. “I repeat my call for a humanitarian cease-fire and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.”

Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

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Continue ReadingUN Chief Says ‘Rules of War’ Being Disregarded From Ukraine to Gaza

Green Party on Lee Anderson’s Islamaphobic remarks

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Green Party Co-leader Adrian Ramsay October 2023.
Green Party Co-leader Adrian Ramsay October 2023.

As Lee Anderson doubles down on his controversial comments made over the weekend, when he claimed “Islamists” had got “control” over London and that the mayor, Sadiq Khan had “given our capital city away to his mates”, Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay, said:  

“Sunak needs to recall his pledge to act with integrity and challenge the divisive and dangerous rhetoric being used by some of his MPs.”

“We need our leaders to work for unity rather than creating division. For some time, senior Conservative Muslims have been raising concerns about the extent of Islamophobia in their party and criticizing the failure of the leadership to tackle it. Sunak needs to make clear that there is no place for such views in his party, and to instigate an immediate review of Islamophobia.” 

Continue ReadingGreen Party on Lee Anderson’s Islamaphobic remarks

I went to CPAC as an anthropologist to understand Trump’s base − they believe, more than ever, he is a savior

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A person signs a bus wrapped with an image of former President Donald Trump during the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 22, 2024.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Alexander Hinton, Rutgers University – Newark

What is happening in the hearts of former President Donald Trump’s supporters?

As an anthropologist who studies peace and conflict, I went to the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, to find out. I wanted to better understand the Make America Great Again faithful – and their die-hard support for Trump.

The event began on Feb. 21, 2024, in National Harbor, Maryland, with Steve Bannon’s routine, untrue banter about how President Joe Biden stole the 2020 election, and it peaked with an angry speech from Trump three days later. In between, I sat among the MAGA masses listening to speaker after speaker express outrage about American decline – and their hope for Trump’s reelection.

Everywhere I turned, people wore MAGA regalia – hats, pins, logos and patches, many with Trump’s likeness. I spent breaks in the exhibition hall, which featured a Jan. 6 insurrection-themed pinball machine featuring “Stop the Steal,” “Political Prisoners” and “Babbitt Murder” rally modes and a bus emblazoned with Trump’s face. Admirers scribbled messages on the bus such as, “We have your back” and “You are anointed and appointed by God to be the President.”

Those on the left who dismiss the CPAC as a gathering of MAGA crazies and racists who support a wannabe dictator do not understand that, from this far-right perspective, there are compelling and even urgent reasons to support Trump. Indeed, they believe, as conservative politician Tulsi Gabbard stated in her CPAC speech on Feb. 22, that the left’s claims about Trump’s authoritarianism are “laughable.” This is because CPAC attendees falsely perceive President Joe Biden as the one who is attacking democracy.

Here are my top three takeaways from CPAC about Trump supporters’ current priorities and thinking.

People wear red lanyards, shirts that say 'Trump' or 'USA' and hold their hands in front of them and bow their heads.
People pray during the opening ceremony of the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 22, 2024.
Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press

1. There’s a Reagan dinner – but CPAC is Trump’s party

Former President Ronald Reagan runs in CPAC’s DNA. Reagan spoke at the inaugural CPAC in 1974 and went on to speak there a dozen more times.

In 2019, the conservative advocacy group the American Political Union, which hosts CPAC, published a book of Reagan’s speeches with commentary by conservative luminaries. In the preface, Matt Schlapp, the head of the American Political Union, says he often asks himself, “What would Reagan do?”

CPAC’s pomp gala, held Friday, is still called the “Ronald Reagan Dinner.” But Reagan is otherwise hardly mentioned at the conference.

Reagan’s ideas of American exceptionalism have been supplanted by Trump’s populist story of apocalyptic decline. Reagan’s folksy tone, relative moderation and clear quips are long gone, replaced by fury, grievance and mean-spirited barbs.

2. There’s a method to the madness

Many commentators and critics, including groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, view CPAC as a frightening or bizarre gathering of white nationalists who have a nativist agenda.

In 2021, commentators said the CPAC stage was shaped like a famous Nazi design called the Othala Rune, which is a hate symbol. Schlapp denied this claim and said that CPAC supports the Jewish community, but various commentators took note of the uncanny resemblance.

This year, CPAC refused to give press credentials to various media outlets, including The Washington Post, despite the organization’s emphasis on free speech.

Some speakers, including Trump, have been known to regularly voice support for white nationalism and right-wing extremism, including speakers who promote the false idea that there is a plot to replace the white population. I discuss this idea in my 2021 book, “It Can Happen Here: White Power and the Rising Threat of Genocide in the US.”

Indeed, the U.S.-Mexico border was a constant topic at this year’s CPAC, which included controversial anti-immigrant speakers such as the head of Spain’s far-right Vox party and a representative of Hungary, whose leader stated at the 2022 CPAC that Europeans should not become “mixed-race.” Hungary will also host a CPAC meeting in April 2024.

Many of the sessions have alarming titles like, “Burning Down the House,” “Does Government Even Matter” and “Going Full Hungarian.” There are right-wing, populist speakers like Bannon and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Overall, the program is informed by a conservative logic that largely boils down to God, family, tradition, law and order, defense and freedom.

Of these, God looms largest. As a result, CPAC’s hardcore conservative Christian orientation is anti-abortion rights, homophobic and oriented toward traditional family structure and what it considers morality.

Schlapp co-wrote a book in 2022 that warns of the dangers of “evil forces” – what he considers to be progressives, the radical left and American Marxists. Schlapp’s book title even dubs these forces “the desecrators.” Such inflammatory language is frequently used at CPAC, including by Trump during his Saturday speech.

A white man with white hair and a dark suit stands on a stage with a woman in a black long sleeve dress. They stand in front of a large screen that is shades of red and blue and says 'CPAC' in white.
Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, left, and his wife, Mercedes Schlapp, speak during CPAC on Feb. 22, 2024.
Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press

3. Trump believers think he is their savior

CPAC’s love of Trump is shocking to many on the left. But at CPAC, Trump is viewed as America’s savior.

According to his base, Trump delivered on abortion by appointing Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade. They believe that, despite evidence of mixed results, Trump had wide successes at securing the border and creating jobs. For example, during Trump’s time as president, the U.S. economy lost nearly 3 million jobs, and apprehensions of undocumented migrants at the border rose.

Trump’s CPAC speech, like his campaign speeches, harped on such supposed achievements – as well as Biden’s alleged “destruction” of the country.

Conservatives roll their eyes at liberal fears of Trump the despot. Like all of us, they acknowledge, Trump has flaws. They say that some of his comments about women and minorities are cringeworthy, but not evidence of an underlying misogyny and hatefulness, as many critics contend.

Ultimately, CPAC conservatives believe Trump is their best bet to defeat the radical-left “desecrators” who seek to thwart him at every turn – including, as they constantly complained at CPAC, social media bans, “fake news” takedowns, rigged voting, bogus lawsuits, unfair justice, and lies about what they call the Jan. 6, 2021, “protest”.

Despite these hurdles, Trump battles on toward the Republican nomination for presidential candidate – the hero who CPAC conservatives view as the last and best hope to save the USA.The Conversation

Alexander Hinton, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology; Director, Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, Rutgers University – Newark

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Continue ReadingI went to CPAC as an anthropologist to understand Trump’s base − they believe, more than ever, he is a savior

Furious SNP hit back as Speaker denies emergency Gaza ceasefire debate

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Stephen Flynn has hit back at the Speaker for refusing to allow the party an emergency debate (Image: PA)

THE SNP have accused the Westminster system of “failing the people of Gaza” after the Speaker denied the party an emergency debate on calls for an immediate ceasefire.

Lindsay Hoyle rejected the party’s application for a fresh debate on the issue on Monday afternoon, despite explicitly offering one after his decision to allow a Labour amendment during the SNP’s opposition day debate meant there was no formal vote held on the SNP’s motion.

The SNP tabled a new motion for an emergency debate so the UK Parliament could vote for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel and push the UK Government to take “concrete steps” to help make a ceasefire happen.

Following Hoyle’s decision, a furious Flynn said: “Yet again, Westminster is failing the people of Gaza by blocking a vote on the urgent action the UK Government must take to help make an immediate ceasefire happen.

Read the SNP’s full emergency debate motion below:

That this House officially reaffirms its position, as of 21st February 2024, to support an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel; further reaffirms its horror at the October 7th 2023 terrorist attacks by Hamas and the subsequent collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza; demands the release of all hostages taken by Hamas; condemns any military assault on the 1.5 million refugees sheltering in Rafah; further demands the Government immediately halts all transfers of military equipment and technology, including components, to Israel, and to suspend the issuing of new licences; calls on the international community to ensure the rapid and unimpeded humanitarian relief is provided in Gaza; further calls for an end to settlement expansion and violence; urges Israel to comply with the International Court of Justice’s provisional measures; and urges all international partners to work together to establish a diplomatic process to deliver the peace of a two-state solution; recognises that statehood is the inalienable right of the Palestinian people and not in the gift of any neighbour; instructs the Government to vote for an immediate ceasefire, or wording with that effect, during the next relevant motion brought before the United Nations Security Council.


Zionist Keir Starmer supports Israel's Gaza genocide.
Zionist Keir Starmer supports Israel’s Gaza genocide.
Continue ReadingFurious SNP hit back as Speaker denies emergency Gaza ceasefire debate

One Month Later, Israel Has ‘Simply Ignored’ ICJ Ruling and Continued to Starve Gazans

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Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Palestinian children hold out their empty containers to be filled with food in Rafah, Gaza on February 25, 2024. (Photo by Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty Images)

A new report by Human Rights Watch accuses the Israeli government of defying the International Court of Justice’s order to ensure the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

In the month since the International Court of Justice handed down its interim ruling in the genocide case brought by South Africa, the Israeli government has continued to impede the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip in violation of the court’s order, Human Rights Watch said Monday.

The ICJ’s January 26 ruling, which is legally binding, requires Israel to do everything in its power to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza and ensure that basic assistance flows to the enclave’s population.

But according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), “the daily average number of trucks entering Gaza with food, aid, and medicine dropped by more than a third in the weeks following the ICJ ruling: 93 trucks between January 27 and February 21, 2024, compared to 147 trucks between January 1 and 26, and only 57 between February 9 and 21.”

HRW’s analysis comes on the day the Israeli government is set to deliver its own 30-day assessment of compliance with the ICJ decision, which stated that Israel is plausibly committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. The Times of Israel reported late Sunday that the government report “is being drafted by the Justice Ministry and the Foreign Ministry but will not be released to the press or general public, and both ministries have been extremely tight-lipped about the information in the document.”

Observers don’t expect the government’s self-assessment to reflect the catastrophic reality on the ground in Gaza, where most people are starving and at growing risk of infectious disease due to the scarcity of clean water and adequate shelter. Israel has been accused of firing on aid convoys and targeting crowds of civilians gathering to receive food and other assistance.

In desperation, some Gazans have resorted to eating grass and animal feed and drinking contaminated water. A majority of Gaza’s population is currently crowded into the city of Rafah, which Israel plans to invade whether or not there’s a cease-fire deal with Hamas.

“The Israeli government is starving Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians, putting them in even more peril than before the World Court’s binding order,” Omar Shakir, HRW’s Israel and Palestine director, said in a statement Monday. “The Israeli government has simply ignored the court’s ruling, and in some ways even intensified its repression, including further blocking lifesaving aid.”

“Failure to ensure Israel’s compliance puts the lives of millions of Palestinians at risk.”

HRW’s analysis notes that in addition to blocking food aid and medicine shipments, Israeli authorities have also obstructed the delivery of fuel, the lack of which has forced many of Gaza’s hospitals to shut down.

“Between February 1 and 15, Israeli authorities only facilitated 2 of 21 planned missions to deliver fuel to the north of the Wadi Gaza area in central Gaza and none of the 16 planned fuel delivery or assessment missions to water and wastewater pumping stations in the north,” the group said. “Fewer than 20% of planned missions to deliver fuel and undertake assessments north of Wadi Gaza have been facilitated between January 1 and February 15, as compared with 86% of missions planned between October and December.”

Israel’s mass killing of Gazans has also not stopped in the wake of the ICJ order, HRW said Monday. Pointing to figures from Gaza’s health ministry, the group noted that Israeli forces killed more than 3,400 people in the Palestinian enclave between the day of the ICJ ruling and February 23.

“Israel’s blatant disregard for the World Court’s order poses a direct challenge to the rules-based international order,” Shakir said. “Failure to ensure Israel’s compliance puts the lives of millions of Palestinians at risk and threatens to undermine the institutions charged with ensuring respect for international law and the system that ensures civilian protection worldwide.”

The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor similarly concluded in a report released over the weekend that Israel is in “flagrant violation” of the ICJ’s order.

The group implored the international community “to uphold its legal and moral duties to the people of the Gaza Strip, and to ensure that the ICJ ruling is carried out to prevent the crime of genocide in the Gaza Strip.”

Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

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Continue ReadingOne Month Later, Israel Has ‘Simply Ignored’ ICJ Ruling and Continued to Starve Gazans

‘If This Isn’t Genocide, I Don’t Know What Is,’ Says Lula of Israeli Attack on Gaza

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Original article by JON QUEALLY republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva delivers a speech during the launching ceremony of a Petrobras cultural investment project at the Modern Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on February 23, 2024.  (Photo by Pablo Porciuncula/AFP via Getty Images)

“What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinian people is not war,” said the President of Brazil. “It’s not soldiers who are dying, but women and children who are dying inside the hospitals.”

Just days after Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was announced to be ‘person non grata’ by the Israeli government for critical comments he made about its conduct in Gaza, the leftist leader known as Lula remained outspoken over the weekend as he condemned the military onslaught that has claimed nearly 30,000 lives, mostly innocent civilians, in just over four months.

“What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinian people is not war, it is genocide,” Lula thundered in remarks Friday during an event in Rio de Janiero. “They are killing women and children. There are thousands of children dead and thousands missing. It’s not soldiers who are dying, but women and children who are dying inside the hospitals.”

He continued: “If this isn’t genocide, I don’t know what is.”

In his remarks, Lula condemned the failure of the UN Security Council to intervene in a meaningful way to stop the carnage in Gaza. On Feb. 19, the United States once again used its veto power to reject a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire.

The UNSC “represents nothing,” he said. “It does not take any decisions, it does nothing for peace,” he added, while decrying the amount of “hypocrisy in the world today” when it comes to political leadership.

Original article by JON QUEALLY republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Continue Reading‘If This Isn’t Genocide, I Don’t Know What Is,’ Says Lula of Israeli Attack on Gaza

Morning Star: Cynical attacks on the peace movement are fuelling brazen racism

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People take part in a Palestine Solidarity Campaign rally outside the Houses of Parliament, London, as MPs debate calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, February 21, 2024

Braverman is continuing her bid to ban peace marches even though the demand for a Gaza ceasefire commands majority support in Britain and indeed right across the world, where Britain and the US stood shamefully isolated this month as the only countries not to support a ceasefire resolution at the UN security council.

Lee Anderson, in the guise of moderating Braverman’s claim (“I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country”) actually took it a step further (“they’ve got control of [Sadiq] Khan… He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.”)

Leftwingers will be incredulous at the implication that peace demonstrators are Khan’s “mates” — the London mayor is no socialist and enthusiastically joined in the character assassination of Jeremy Corbyn when he led Labour.

But Anderson’s subtext is clear: Palestinians are Muslims (not all are, of course, but nuance is not Anderson’s strong point), people marching for justice for Palestinians must therefore be controlled by Muslims, the big marches in London haven’t been banned, and this must be because its mayor is a Muslim.

This is incendiary stuff. So rattled are British authorities that they have repeatedly misrepresented Palestine solidarity demos: the attempt to ban the huge Armistice Day demo rested on a baseless assertion it posed a threat to the Cenotaph (which the fascist thugs riled up by Braverman’s propaganda actually did).


Continue ReadingMorning Star: Cynical attacks on the peace movement are fuelling brazen racism

Tories’ ‘toxic racism and Islamophobia’ risks fuelling more hate on the streets

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Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference, 2024 CPAC, at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, February 22, 2024

CAMPAIGNERS have called on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to withdraw the whip from Suella Braverman and Liz Truss, warning that their propagation of “toxic racism and Islamophobia” could fuel far-right hatred on the streets.

The demands came after the Tory whip was removed from Lee Anderson after he made Islamophobic comments to GB News about London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Mr Sunak removed the whip, but only after Mr Anderson failed to apologise for his comments.

Mr Anderson’s comments were soon followed by an article in the Daily Telegraph by former home secretary Suella Braverman.

She wrote: “The Islamists, the extremists and the anti-semites are in charge.”

Across the Atlantic, former Prime Minister Liz Truss attempted to drum up new support by attending the far-right Conservative Political Action Conference.

While a guest on War Room, the podcast of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, she said that “a radical Islamic party” could win the Rochdale by-election.


Continue ReadingTories’ ‘toxic racism and Islamophobia’ risks fuelling more hate on the streets

A proud history of solidarity

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BROTHERS IN ARMS: Fidel Castro welcomes Yasser Arafat on his visit to Cuba in November 1974 Photo: Liborio Noval/Granma.cu

Cuba has stood unswervingly by Palestine since 1947 guided by its own rejection of imperialist lawlessness, writes BERNARD REGAN

On January 12 2024 Cuba announced its intention to support the request of the Republic of South Africa to initiate proceedings against Israel in the International Court of Justice.  

South Africa’s charge is that Israel is guilty of committing genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza. 

Cuba has a long record of supporting the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. This record even pre-dates the 1959 Revolution.  

In November 1947 Dr Ernesto Dihigo speaking on behalf of Cuba at the United Nations said that Cuba denounced the violation of international law by the United Kingdom. “The Balfour Declaration, in our opinion,” he said, “ is completely without legal value, since the British government offered in it something that it had no right to dispose of, because it was not its own.”

The Cuban revolutionaries saw Palestine as part of the fight against colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism.  

On June 18 1959, just a six months after the birth of the Revolution, Che Guevara and Raul Castro visited Al Burajj Refugee camp in Gaza, then under the control of the Egyptian government of Gamal Nasser.  

Che and Raul were touring countries at the forefront of the struggle against imperialism, talking to leaders and discussing how unity could be built across the continents.

Che reaffirmed Cuba’s support for Palestine at the UN general assembly on December 11 1964, making an excoriating critique of the role of US imperialism and extending solidarity, among others, to the “Arabs of Palestine.” He attacked the role of US imperialism in blocking the rights of peoples to self-determination and for interfering in the internal and sovereign affairs of countries across the continents.


Continue ReadingA proud history of solidarity