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Gaza Blockade Hangs Fire in Cairo: Where is the Anti-War Left?

"In the case of Gaza, there is no political movement in the United States to support diplomacy to prevent war in the future," Naiman writes. (Photo: Elvert Barnes)

The greatest struggle facing the anti-war movement in the United States is the struggle to get people who come to anti-war demonstrations after a war starts to engage politically to prevent the same wars in the future. In the case of U.S. policy towards Iran, we created a political movement to support diplomacy with Iran to prevent war in the future. But in the case of Gaza, there is no political movement in the United States to support diplomacy to prevent war in the future.


1. While Israel was bombing and invading Gaza, there were demonstrations across the United States against the war and against U.S. support for the war.

2. A key cause of the war was the blockade imposed on 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza by Israel and Egypt. Exports from Gaza are virtually banned. Gaza is not allowed to use its seaport. Palestinians in Gaza can't travel normally to and from Gaza. They have to get permission from the Israeli or Egyptian governments that might never come, blocking their ability to work, study, receive medical care, and see their families.

3. It is generally acknowledged by experts that if current diplomacy fails to end the blockade of Gaza, it is inevitable that there will be another outbreak of violence on the Israel-Gaza border in the future.

4. The question of the Gaza blockade is on the table right now in the talks that have been talking place between Israel and the Palestinians in Cairo. Press reports suggest that it could go either way: there might be an agreement that ends the blockade, or there might not.

5. Thus, there are two likely paths out of the current juncture: either there will be an agreement in Cairo that ends the Gaza blockade, or there will be another war in the future, much like the one that people have been protesting; and which path happens is likely to be decisively shaped by what happens in the next few days of diplomacy in Cairo, a process on which the U.S. government obviously has significant influence.

Why can't we get the people who have protested the war to engage politically to prevent the same war from happening again in the future?

What would be worse than the killing of innocents that has happened so far? Doing nothing to stop the same killing of innocents in the future, when we had the ability to do something concrete to stop it.

Exactly two Members of Congress - Keith Ellison and Barbara Lee - have publicly called for ending the blockade now through negotiations.

Tell me: if the anti-war left would engage on the issue of the Gaza blockade, we couldn't get John Conyers to speak up for ending the blockade through diplomacy? We couldn't get Hank Johnson to speak up? Charlie Rangel, John Lewis, Danny Davis, Bobby Rush, Donna Edwards, Karen Bass, Maxine Waters, Eleanor Norton? None of them would speak up, if the anti-war left would engage politically?

Danny Glover took a #StandWithKeith:



Why won't the anti-war left #StandWithKeith?

You can take action here.

Robert Naiman

Robert Naiman

Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy. Naiman has worked as a policy analyst and researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. He has masters degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Illinois and has studied and worked in the Middle East. You can contact him here.

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