Political-Islam vs. Palestine:
From Ambiguity to Clarity

The current protests call the nations to a new social contract in the relations between them, which can potentially cause fundamental changes in the policies of the governments. This new contractualism requires governments to force Israel to accept international resolutions through the application of pressure (including the implementation of international laws, economic sanctions, cutting off political relations, etc.) in order to comply with the rights and justice of the Palestinians.

This is not a utopian idea; Some Latin American governments, such as Colombia, Bolivia, Honduras, and Chile, have partially taken the lead in this direction by announcing the severance of political relations or recalling their ambassadors from Tel Aviv. Although Western governments have provided unconditional support to Israel, the spread of public protests has created a gap in their alliance to continue absolute support for Israel. In the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (due to their overwhelmingly undemocratic structure and, of course, internal colonialism in some of them, such as Iran), there has not yet been a serious determination to decolonize Palestine, but theoretical efforts and the rise of the public sphere can, in addition to changing the policy In order to achieve justice for Palestine, they should lead to democracy or at least the justification of political structures in these societies.

If Zionism is a liberal national liberation movement and if Israel is considered a democracy, then the resistance and struggle of Palestinian organizations such as Hamas are completely terrorist activities. But if we consider Zionism and Israel as a settler-colonial structure (which it is), then the struggle of the Palestinians is against a colonial project, they are an anti-colonial and liberation movement. However, a democrat or a liberal left may have their own definition of this anti-colonial struggle and find themselves on the side of national/religious fundamentalist tendencies such as Hamas. Western branches of this trend based on their colonial mindset (and in the case of Palestine, based on their antisemitism) may prioritize the fight against the common enemy before considering their fundamental differences and horizons. But where do the socialists stand?

Socialists should take advantage of this opportunity and strengthen the third front against militarism and war, and strengthen itself against the growth of national/religious conservative tendencies. The global trend during the last two decades has brought the utopian and non-worker socialism to a dead end on a global scale. This kind of utopian left, which oscillates between “liberal left” and “conservatism anti-western-colonialism”, wishing for multi-polarity and delights in the strengthening of Chinese and Russian imperialism against the US imperialism (which also they have even distorted the understanding term of imperialism by the society by using epic language and utopian demands.), cannot provide any horizon to the current protesters wishes.

We require a fresh political approach that eliminates the political ambiguity arising from conflicts among schools of thought and ideologies. This isn’t merely a matter of “theory versus movement.” The crucial inquiry is, “which movement?” Genuine history unfolds through social and class movements.

Imperialist logic

The Islamic Republic portrayed Qasem Soleimani as a great hero, but in casualty of its conciliatory approach with the United States. They say that the United States assassinated him! There is a Persian proverb that says they said and we believed! In respond, IRGC shot down a flight over Tehran and killed hundreds of people and lied to the world for 3 days, even though the missile attack on the US base in Iraq was without any casualties. Attack on a empty military base! Their accuracy in not harming the US soldiers was more than protecting the passenger plane over Tehran!

Why am I saying this? The situation of Hamas appears inconsequential to both the Islamic Republic and Hezbollah. The rhetoric employed by the leaders of the Islamic regime and their practical diplomatic maneuvers indicate that they are unwilling to support the precarious position of Hamas in “the future” political economy equations. Given Lebanon’s delicate political economy, Hezbollah is unlikely to risk the country’s remaining economic strength in a confrontation with Israel. For Hezbollah, military intervention is always a political strategy rooted in the arithmetic of gains and losses and the complex field of allies and interests. Bashar Assad’s re-entry into the Arab League is more valuable than Hamas today. The meeting of heads of Islamic/Arab countries showed the fact that none of them have a plan to decolonizing Palestine!

The Islamic regime officials including Khamenei and Hezbollah emphasis on the independent decision of Hamas for the October 7 operation does not indicate the independence of Hamas as a Palestinian force. This is more to show a non-interference of these two top powers of political Islam in the current developments, which is not true. We should not deceive ourselves. The massacre of thousands of people, which the world calls genocide, and the entry of Israeli occupying army forces into Gaza was the red line of the Islamic regime authorities for the expansion of conflicts. Also, in a situation where the regime claims that these days it is the only global activist to stop the war in Gaza and the standard bearer of Palestinian diplomacy! What has happened? Why is no one taking action?

The Islamic Republic of Iran is actively pursuing a diplomatic strategy to bolster its influence in the region. In this context, the President of Iran underscores the vital importance of Iran’s role as a transit hub within the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). ECO stands as a notable economic initiative that fosters collaboration among Central Asian nations, Iran, and Turkey. The fundamental objective of this initiative is to enhance trade and the movement of goods across these regions. By strengthening the transit corridor through Iran and Turkey, the groundwork is laid for reinforcing other transit schemes linking India and China to Europe.

News: The Vice President of Transmission and Foreign Trade of Iran Electric Company (Tavanir) under the Ministry of Energy said, “Now with the connection established between our country and Turkey, it has become possible to export electricity to Europe.” He continued: “Contractual and legal negotiations are being pursued.”

The official news agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran quoted Ebrahim Raisi that “members of this organization emphasized that Iran is a cheap way to transport goods and saves time.” At the same time, the headline of the report immediately highlights the issue of Palestine!

It is essential to consider the broader geopolitical landscape. The expansion of Israel’s diplomatic ties with other Middle Eastern countries and the proposed transit route from India to Europe through the Arabian Peninsula, Israel, and Greece represent significant competition for Iran and Turkey’s transit project. These developments could have repercussions on not only regional dynamics but also the global stage. Countries like China and Russia are expected to experience adverse effects as these changes impact their long-term economic competition on a macroeconomic scale.

If US support for Israel has historically exceeded any reasonable political calculus, under Trump and Biden it acquired a coherent rationale: to place its ally at the centre of a stable Middle Eastern security framework. Yet the Israeli cabinet that came to power in 2022 – addled by eliminationist fantasies, and determined to draw the US into war with Iran – proved least able to play that role.

In the event that the invading army manages to demolish Hamas politically and militarily, the US would also have to grapple with the problem of succession. At present it hopes to corral Arab states into providing a force to govern the territory so as to relieve Israel of the burden. US officials are reporting that American, French, British and German soldiers could be dispatched to defend this hypothetical dictatorship.

In a complex situation, where the Islamic Republic professes its commitment to the Palestinian cause, it has not taken active diplomatic steps to address the ongoing issues of genocide and displacement faced by the Palestinian people.

One might speculate about the reasons behind Tehran’s authorities discussing the formation of new resistance forces in the future, envisioning a scenario where Hamas no longer exists, and only a more potent threat against Israel is presented. Khamenei stressed in his speech few days ago to the officers of the army college, “Israel will get a hard slaps in the future anyway!” The language used by the officials of the Islamic regime, coupled with logistical changes orchestrated by the United States in the region, plays a pivotal role in evaluating and anticipating future developments. Iran is not an imperialist country, but the policies of the Islamic regime are based on imperialist logic.

Hamshahri newspaper, belonging to Tehran Municipality, recently made a hypocritical decision. They replaced the “Women, Life, Freedom” slogan on their front page with an image of a Palestinian woman and a different slogan: “Woman, Gaza, Freedom”, and calling the massacre of women and children by Zionism, the heroic role of the Palestinian’s women in resistance! In this brutal narrative, women and children are heroes whose role is death!

This newspaper’s message comes at a time of profound social and political significance. It’s crucial to acknowledge that during this period, the Islamic Republic had taken stringent measures against women in Iran and milions of people who were protesting for women’s rights which hundreds have been killid by the police and regime’s milicia forces in the past year. A few days have not passed since the brutal murder of a 16-year-old girl by the same regime.

It is evident that the newspaper sought to exploit the emotional resonance and global attention that the Palestinian issue garners. But those who themselves are the bearers of pain cannot be the narrators of pain.

Tehran’s Perspective

After the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran as the first Islamic state and then the formation of Hezbollah, Hamas, and other religious conservative groups in the region, the Palestinian issue became a flag for the destruction of Israel by the forces of political Islam from a religious and ultra-reactionary angle. On the other hand, in Israel, the fascist-religious tendencies gained more power, which defined the religious content of the Palestinian issue entirely for their own benefit, the expansion of Jewish settlements, and the expansion of Israel’s absolute domination over all the occupied territories.

In the meantime, the claim of the political-Islam’s tendencies for the destruction of Israel is only ideological-identity and rhetorical-propaganda and not practical-military. As an example, a few days ago, Jafar Qanadbashi, an expert on Middle East affairs and Khamenei’s foreign affairs consultants, analyzed the current situation in Gaza and said in an interview with Iranian media that “the entry of the Israeli army is not with the aim of dominating the whole of Gaza, but the goal is simply to advance 100 meters inside the strip, imposing casualties on Hamas and defining a security belt in the Gaza buffer zone up to the walls of the occupied territories in 1948, so that the elites will have more control over the strategic assets of the resistance, and in their opinion, most of the resistance’s missile capacities, which are in the east and north of the border, will be destroyed.”

He goes on to say, “The fact is that experience in previous wars has shown that despite all the pressure, Palestine has not retreated. Especially the 51-day war, which was long and left many casualties and damages; but instead, in all cases, it was the Israelis who proposed a ceasefire. Because the tolerance of the Zionists to accept the consequences of the war is very low.”

Kayhan newspaper, under the control of Khamenei, claims in an editorial that: “The war in Gaza has a similarity with the war of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and that if Israel can occupy all of Gaza, firstly, the vulnerability of the Israelis and Americans will increase, and secondly, popular resistance groups such as Fatemiyoun, Hosseinyoun, and Zainbiyoun will be formed, and the freedom of Palestine will be achieved sooner than expected.”

Also, Hamidreza Jalaeipour, a well-known regime’s internal reformist politician in his note in the “Palestinian Information Center” belonging to the Iranian government, covering Hamas activities, writes: “The Hamas movement may have its military organization slaughtered under Netanyahu’s slaughters, but all the components of this resistance movement (until the occupation of the land of the Palestinian people is not resolved) cannot be destroyed.”

In Iran, “Reformists” and “Conservatives” are not entirely separate and disconnected blocks. The main bodies of both sides often collaborate like a coalition in many areas. In fact, the core of power in Iran is organized around the Leadership. Even though Ali Khamenei is a Conservative, he has demonstrated the flexibility of working with two Reformist presidents for eight years each.

The forces of political Islam and fascism in Israel, which is represented by Netanyahu in the current situation, are actually two sides of the same coin, and they give strength to each other and get strength from each other’s crimes. In this religious-fascist framework, the Palestinian issue has no solution. For any kind of humane and just solution to the problem of colonialism, these political tendencies must be defeated.

For Indigenous peoples of the America, outsiders are mere settlers. We know the history of how they lost their lands; similarly, for Palestinians, Israelis are viewed as settlers. This perspective is clear from the standpoint of these two communities. However, where does the rest of the world stand on this matter? Especially what is the approach of socialists? The crucial aspect here is that the former is politically scrutinized as an imperialist force, while the demand for the latter is their complete removal from the map! The significance of the first group's passport is acknowledged, but the second group's existence is deemed shameful. There's doubt whether this issue is solely tied to colonialism and imperialism!

Long term perspective

There is no more Gaza. Scorched Earth policy and entering a period of military tension that will change the face of the Middle East. This change of situation should be evaluated next to the decade-long war in Syria. Where secular revolutions were taking place, but with the entry of the West and the support of the dirtiest religious/Islamic political strokes and entering the cycle of proxy wars, they changed the face of the Middle East.

In the meantime, the European left was generally incapable of any kind of radical and revolutionary analysis, and except for supporting fascism in opposition to the right-wing colonialism of the West under the name of decolonization, it officially became the left arm of imperialism in the Middle East. They appear to be anti-imperialists, yet they fail to realize that they are inadvertently supporting a form of fascism.

The liberation of Palestine depends on freeing it from the influences of both political Islam and Zionism. The call for a ceasefire, without the resignation of Netanyahu and the disbandment of Hamas and other religious military groups, is pure charlatanism that perpetuates the vicious cycle of the crisis. Today, those who pursue their anti-imperialist aspirations under the banner of Palestine find themselves under the flag and leadership of political Islam!

Political-Islam, is an political tendency. A male phenomenon, nationalist, Islamist, anti-civilization, retrograde, anti-science and anti-left. This political orientation is not a theological belief.

The very essence of categorizing a complex reality like a society with a diminutive label such as religion, ethnicity or nationality is in itself testimony that we are not faced with a scientific attempt or truth-seeking explanation. Calling Middle-eastern countries an Islamic society or categorizing people as Arab, Persian, Kurd, Turk, Sunnite, Shiite, and so on is just manufacturing political propaganda.

The question is who is describing these societies as Islamic, within what political and historical framework are they doing so and what outcome do they seek from such a description?

For instance, it is obvious that the Islamic regime of Iran must describe Iran as an Islamic society so that it can legitimize the existence of an Islamic state there. It is also obvious that a western racist and anti-migrant must describe Middle-eastern countries as an Islamic society so that s/he can maintain that the gap between those who have come from there and the local inhabitants is unbridgeable.

It is obvious that the opportunistic journalist must use this terminology and propagate this belief because this is the preferred model and outlook of dominant political circles in contemporary western societies. Thus, edu and academic circles obey this model; public opinion is steered in this way and so on.

In a situation where Israel is condemned for 75 years of criminal actions, it is perplexing that political Islam, an conservative far-right tendency with its suppression traditions of opponents and critics, is seen as an attractive alternative for some in the Western world.

In this flawed dichotomy, contrary to the European tradition of antisemitism, a progressive and radical approach should not condemn Israel as a whole but rather the right-wing and reactionary Zionism in power. This progressive and radical approach should advocate for the liberation of Palestine, but not under the banner of political Islam and organizations such as Hamas.

The slogan, “Free Palestine” is no longer sufficient; instead, we should champion: “Free a secular Palestine.”

What you think?