In June 1967 Israel invaded the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan and Syria, gaining control of the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and further fortifying its dominance over the Middle East. With one fell swoop Israel’s territory tripled and approximately 1 million Arabs were placed under its direct control in the newly captured territories. Palestinians had no power over the territories they lived in and were subject to rigorous military rule by Israel.
Within days of the invasion Workers World and its youth group Youth Against War & Fascism called a demonstration in support of the Palestinian people. This was before the development of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and other Palestinian revolutionary groups that grew out of the movement against the 1967 invasion. This set in stone the role that the youth of Workers World would take in speaking out against the Israeli occupation of Palestine during a period when it was an untouched struggle in this country. Even though there was a mass movement against the war in Vietnam, the issue of Palestine in resistance to the Israeli occupation remained a forbidden topic among many on the left in the U.S.
Because of 40 years of resistance from the Palestinian people, the fight for justice has finally come to the forefront of the youth and student movement in the U.S. and abroad, becoming the focus of anti-imperialist struggle. More and more people are beginning to understand that it is the billions of dollars in U.S. and military equipment that prop up the state of Israel itself.
The BDS movement
In July 2005 over 170 Palestinian groups from trade unions to women’s groups to refugee organizations called for the international community to boycott, divest and sanction Israel until it complies with international law. While this was not necessarily a revolutionary program, this caught the imagination of youth all over the world and became a vehicle for struggle. This was inspired by the boycott movement against apartheid in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. Since then youth and student groups all over the U.S. and the world have taken on the call and struggled to not only raise awareness through BDS but put a damper on the Israeli economy.