Barry Weisleder, 67, is a secondary school teacher, union organizer, writer, editor, and a member of the New Democratic Party for since 1969. He has been a delegate to almost every Federal and Ontario NDP convention since 1971, and frequently a delegate to Ontario NDP provincial council. For 20 years, Barry was President of the Toronto Substitute Teachers, was elected three times to the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union Executive. He is Chairperson of the NDP Socialist Caucus and the federal secretary of the Socialist Action.
Here is Barry Weisleder’s speech at the online event marking 72nd anniversary of the Nakba (The Catastrophe) organized by Palestine House, Socialist Action Canada, Independent Jewish Voices Canada and Courage:
It’s a great pleasure to join together, to come together all of us, in saying loud and clear: Break the siege of Gaza. No annexation of the West Bank. Free free Palestine. O May 18th, 2019 the first pan-Canadian Day of Action for Palestinian rights took place. In Toronto close to five 500 people rallied and marched to demand justice for the Palestinian people. Today under the pandemic. Our cause is more urgent. COVID-19 is a dagger pointed at the heart of Gaza. It is a dagger wielded by Israel which is imposed a 14 year blockade of nearly two million Gazans. The obstruction of medicine and health equipment by Israel poses the threat of a severe humanitarian catastrophe. Canada should break the siege of Gaza by sending aid right now. We know that at least since 2017 public opinion in Canada back sanctions against the Zionist state. Still the authorities at all levels try to vilify, even to outlaw, boycott, divestment, sanctions. The banned the Al-Quds March to stop anti-Zionist free speech. This is a sign of panic by the Zionists and their friends in big business and the state. It is a sign of weakness. The Palestinian people are in the forefront of resistance to world imperialism. They did not choose this role. It was thrusted upon them when the Ottoman Empire collapsed in the early twentieth century. The Western powers carved up the Middle East as they did Africa and Asia earlier. Winston Churchill Britain’s war minister in 1919 to 1921 authorized dropping poisonous mustard gas on the population of Iraq. In the face of rebellion by the Arab masses across the region the imperial masters sponsored a military fortress there in the heart of the Middle East. They exploited the survivors of the Nazi Holocaust for their greedy goals. But the fact remains. Israel is a colonial settler state. Is an outpost of imperialism in the Arab East. Shamefully the USSR under Joseph Stalin voted at the U. N. for the partition that unleashed the Nakba. This Zionist state was founded on a big lie that Palestine was a land without people for a people without land. But the Palestinian people are here today to refute that lie. I speak for Socialist Action as its federal secretary. Social Action is part of the world Trotskyist movement. Our movement opposed the creation of the Zionist state 72 years ago. We oppose the so-called two state solution which is just a cover for racism and ethnic cleansing. The truth is there is no solution to the Jewish question under capitalism. The only solution this world socialist revolution. World capitalism perpetuates racism, war, disease and climate catastrophe that threatens the very existence of civilization. The best hope for humanity is self empowerment of workers and oppressed peoples, the revolutionary road forward. The precondition for that is firm and undying support for national liberation struggles which only the working class and poor farmers can lead all the way to victory. That means no reliance on bourgeois parties or on the capitalist state or on imperialist military alliances like NATO. This is a cornerstone of Leon Trotsky’s strategy which is summed up in into words: permanent revolution. Oppressed nations the world over from Kurdistan to Ireland to the Philippines have long eaten the bitter fruit of betrayal after their aspirations to national liberation have been subordinated to preservation of capitalist rule. Party leaders and corporate media concealed the shift in public opinion against the occupation. The truth is my friends we represent the majority. It’s time to target Canadian corporations that profit from the misery of the Palestinian people. And NDP leader Jagmeet Singh should join unions and social justice organizations in this movement or should step aside. There are many states guilty of atrocious crimes. That’s true. But Israel is a linchpin of global imperialist rule. Richard Nixon, a strident antisemite, put it best when he called Israel and I quote: America’s biggest aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. Freedom for Palestine means freedom for humanity. For that reason we will not stop demanding: Break the siege of Gaza. No to annexation of the West Bank. End the occupation. Tear down the apartheid wall for the right of all refugees to return home, for a democratic and secular Palestine for all of its residents Muslims, Jews, Christians and atheists. Disarm the nuclear powers starting with the USA and its Israeli client state. From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea Palestine will be free.. From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea Palestine will be free.