'Hands Off Venezuela!' campaign launched in Israel

A successful meeting was held on December 12 at the home of the Venezuelan ambassador to Israel, where the HOV campaign was set up. The purpose of the meeting was also to promote a new book by Yossi Schwartz, In Defence of the Revolution in Cuba and Venezuela.

On December 12, the first meeting in defence of the revolution in Venezuela and the left-wing regime of Hugo Chavez took place in Israel. The meeting was organised by the Israeli supporters of the “Hands Off Venezuela” (HOV) campaign and the Venezuelan ambassador in Israel. The meeting was organised to promote the new book published by the Israeli In Defense of Marxism circle, In Defence of the Revolution in Cuba and Venezuela by Yossi Schwartz.

The International Marxist Tendency, which the In Defense of Marxism circle is a part of, was instrumental in launching HOV in December 2002. This followed the April coup organised by anti-Chavez reactionaries, and HOV was set up to organise solidarity activity with Hugo Chavez's left-wing government, to tell the truth about what was really happening in Venezuela and to campaign against intervention on the part of the counter-revolution supported by the USA and other imperialist forces. Since then, the organization has grown worldwide, and has made some impressive achievements, such as pro-Venezuela protests, and unanimous motions in support of the revolution in different trade-unions (for example, in Britain, the Basque country, Ontario in Canada). The meeting was part of an effort to create an HOV group in Israel as well.

When we arrived at the ambassador's home, there were already several people there, including HOV supporter Asher Frohlich, the ambassador himself, and In Defense of Marxism members Yossi Schwartz and myself. In all, there were between 30 to 35 people present, and it was obvious that everyone was interested in the revolution, not out of any intellectual interest, but because everyone understood that a successful revolution in Venezuela would completely change the life of all humans, not only there, but all over the world.

The first speech was in English and was given by comrade Frohlich. Frohlich explained that due to the development of capitalism, we no longer live in a world in which what happens in one country does not affect another country. In today's world, he explained that what happens in Venezuela, although far away geographically, still affects Israel. He explained the importance of Chavez's election and that the entire world, including Israel, can learn from what's taking place in Venezuela, which will undoubtedly affect all our lives in the coming period.

After a short speech in Spanish by the ambassador, Yossi Schwartz, a member of In Defense of Marxism and a supporter of HOV, gave a speech. Schwartz explained why, from a historical point of view, the revolutionary process is taking place in Venezuela, and explained why this process is seen as a threat by imperialist governments everywhere. He explained that Venezuela is an example to the masses of all countries of a situation where the masses have risen up off their knees and have begun to take control of events in their country and they are using this to improve their lives. "We must all think of Venezuela as our homeland", he said.

After him I gave a speech. After greeting everyone and thanking all those present for coming, I read out a motion that the British comrades of HOV had managed to get passed at the TUC congress earlier this year, and I explained that in our opinion, now that many Israelis are finally waking up politically, it is time to set up an HOV group in Israel, that can carry out similar solidarity activity.

What stood out at this meeting was its internationalism. Four languages were spoken at the meeting, Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, and English, and despite the difficulties in understanding one another – it took two translators in order for everyone to understand what everyone was saying – everyone got along and were aware of their common class interests, which take precedent over all national barriers. True internationalists understand that there is a problem regarding language and that communicating with people from different nationalities can be problematic, but they endeavour to overcome all these problems and to co-operate with their brothers and sisters from all over the world.

Most people stayed on for at least another hour and discussed all sorts of matters. You could feel the excitement in the air, and not one of us had any doubt that we were doing something right, something essential, something that can change the lives of many for the better. We invite all those who support the goals of the revolutionary process in Venezuela to join HOV and to help us with the important task of getting support for this process from the Israeli labour movement.

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