Another year, another Cairo Conference

Back in 2002, shortly before the invasion of Iraq, George Galloway told the First Cairo Conference– an annual gathering of the “anti-imperialist” Left and the Islamist Right:

“We are at the 11th hour and there will soon be no more time for gatherings and conferences like these. Action speaks louder than words.”

Well, here we are, four Cairo Conferences later, and– strangely enough– there is still time for conferences like these.

According to Socialist Worker, such luminaries of the international resistance as John Rees and Alex Callinicos were joined by the likes of Dr. Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy leader of Hamas, and Rima Fakhry, the only female member of Hezbollah’s political council.

Last year Abu Marzouk responded to the mass murder of nine at a felafel restaurant in a working-class area of Tel Aviv by saying “the Israeli side must feel what the Palestinian feels.”

I suppose that includes the survivors of this family:

A witness, Israel Yaakov, said the blast killed a woman who had been standing near her husband and children, who were lightly wounded.

“The father was traumatised, he went into shock. He ran to the children to gather them up and the children were screaming, ‘Mom! Mom!’ and she wasn’t answering, she was dead already … it’s a shocking scene.”

When last we met Ms. Fakhry, she was explaining how Israel went to war last summer to limit the spread of Islam, to abolish its symbols and to curtail its sacred places “for the sake of Masonry and Christian-Zionism.”

And if such rhetoric makes the SWP uncomfortable (which I doubt), there’s always an Islamist around to treat them to some stale but reassuring radical rhetoric:

Dr Ali Fayyad, Hizbollah’s international secretary, stressed the need to fight sectarian divisions inside resistance movements across the Middle East.

He told Socialist Worker, “US attempts to dominate the Middle East are part of its attempt to dominate the rest of the world.”

“This new phase of neoliberalism is a phase of militarised globalisation and wars. It would be a mistake to restrict ourselves to an ‘Islamic front’ to confront this external challenge, because at this moment if we package it that way it will take the nature of a religious conflict.

“This is not a religious conflict.That’s why it’s so important to link with the anti-capitalist movement and use our strength and our solidarity to confront and hopefully defeat US plans in the region.”

One can just imagine the smiles of relief on the SWPers’ faces. How could anybody accuse someone who talks like this of being an antisemite or a fascist?