– there is no climate justice without human rights
This article by the following personalities, climate activist Greta Thunberg, and fellow members of Fridays For Future Sweden, Alde Nilsson, Jamie Mater, and Raquel Frescia (The Guardian 5 December 2023) outlines their view that climate activism is about human rights. Thia means they must speak out against the atrocity being committed by Israel against the people of Gaza. There is also insist that antisemitism and islamophobia because discrimination is itself an attack on human rights.
More than 15,000 people, of whom at least 6,000 were children. That’s how many people Israel has reportedly killed in the Gaza Strip in a matter of weeks – and those numbers are still rising. Israel has bombed basic societal infrastructure and civilian targets such as hospitals, schools, shelters and refugee camps. Israel has imposed a siege, preventing food, medicine, water, and fuel from reaching the 2.3 million Palestinians trapped in the occupied Gaza Strip, leading Oxfam to accuse Israel of employing “starvation as a weapon of war”.
Photo from AFP: A wounded five-year-old Palestinian child is rushed to hospital after an Israeli air strike on Gaza City, on 5 August 2022. The girl later died from her wounds.
Dozens of United Nations experts have described the situation as “a genocide in the making”, hundreds of international scholars have warned of an unfolding genocide and prominent Israeli genocide expert Raz Segal has called it “a textbook case of genocide”. But most of the world, particularly the so-called global north, is looking the other way.
Despite these horrors, some have chosen to focus the public debate on attempts to delegitimise statements about Gaza made by young people in the climate justice movement. Contrary to what many have claimed, Fridays for Future has not “been radicalised” or “become political”. We have always been political because we have always been a movement for justice. Standing in solidarity with Palestinians and all affected civilians has never been in question for us.
Advocating for climate justice fundamentally comes from a place of caring about people and their human rights. That means speaking up when people suffer, are forced to flee their homes, or are killed – regardless of the cause.
It is the same reason why we have always held strikes in solidarity with marginalised groups – including those in Sápmi, Kurdistan, Ukraine and many other places – and their struggles for justice against imperialism and oppression. Our solidarity with Palestine is no different, and we refuse to let the public focus shift away from the horrifying human suffering that Palestinians are currently facing.
Photo by Mohammed Dahman/AP: Filling mass grave with the dead from brought from the Shifa hospital in Gaza
Due to the amount of misdirected attention on us, as well as the number of misinterpretations of our position, we would like to once again clarify our stance. All Fridays for Future groups are autonomous, and this article represents the views of nobody but FFF Sweden.
The horrific murders of Israeli civilians by Hamas cannot in any way legitimise Israel’s ongoing war crimes. Genocide is not self-defence, nor is it in any way a proportionate response. It also cannot be ignored that this comes within the broader context of Palestinians having lived under suffocating oppression for decades, in what Amnesty nternational has defined as an apartheid regime. While all of this alone would be reason enough to comment on the situation, as a Swedish movement, we also have a responsibility to speak up due to Swedish military cooperation with Israeli arms companies, which makes Sweden complicit in Israel’s occupation and mass killing.
We are now seeing a sharp increase in antisemitic and Islamophobic statements, actions and hate crimes in Sweden and the world. The leader of the largest member of Sweden’s rightwing governing bloc is speaking of demolishing mosques, and the Israeli flag was burned in front of a synagogue in Malmö.
This is unacceptable. We unreservedly condemn all forms of discrimination, including antisemitism and Islamophobia. Everyone speaking out on this crisis has a responsibility to distinguish between Hamas, Muslims, and Palestinians, and between the state of Israel, Jewish people, and Israelis.
We grieve the lives lost over the past several weeks and are appalled by the fact that those numbers have been allowed to continue to rise. The death rate in the Gaza Strip is at a historic high, with thousands of children killed in just a few weeks.
This amount of suffering is incomprehensible and cannot be allowed to continue. When UN experts call upon the world to act to prevent a genocide, as fellow humans, we have a responsibility to speak out.
Demanding an end to this inexcusable violence is a question of basic humanity, and we call on everyone who can to do so. Silence is complicity. You cannot be neutral in an unfolding genocide.