‘Fake outrage’: Right-wing hysteria erupts over Leila Khaled speaking engagement

February 27, 2024
woman's face
Leila Khaled speaking to Green Left. Photo: Peter Boyle

Ecosocialism 2024 conference organiser Sam Wainwright believes the far-right objections to even allowing Palestinian freedom fighter Leila Khaled to address the gathering is “fake outrage”.

“Achieving justice for the Palestinian people in accordance with international law and multiple United Nations resolutions is more than just an area of interest for Khaled — it has been her life’s work,” Wainwright told Green Left.

“There is a very direct connection between this objective and preventing catastrophic runaway global warming,” he said.

“War is always an environmental catastrophe, and this one is no exception. Israel’s aerial bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza since October is estimated to have generated 281,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide in the first 60 days.

“Within a month, Israel had dropped more than 25,000 tons of explosives. By the end of last year, 20 ships and 244 US cargo flights had delivered 10,000 tons of military equipment.”

Khaled is a member of the national committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a representative on the Palestine National Council.

Green Left and Socialist Alliance are the hosts of the annual Ecosocialism conference in Boorloo/Perth in June.

Other confirmed guests are Salim Vally, South African Professor and Director of the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation at the University of Johannesburg, and Ammar Ali Jan, a Pakistani historian and academic who is also a member of the Council of Advisors of the Progressive International.

Wainwright said he was contacted by various establishment media outlets and happily explained the facts — none of which have appeared in their articles.

“When the media underlings of the rich and powerful say they want peace in the world, let’s understand what they really mean. They want the oppressed and dispossessed to suffer or die unseen and unheard.”

Wainwright said the Palestinian people “have experienced a trauma at least as bad as the one suffered by Israeli society on October 7, every single year for more than 75 years.

“The Israeli state unleashes its violence with Western-supplied tanks, fighter jets and other high-tech weaponry on a scale that absolutely dwarfs every crime, real and imagined, that was committed by Hamas.

“Khaled enrages supporters of Israel in this country because she frames the events of October 7 within the moral and legal right of the Palestinians to resist Israeli occupation, including by force of arms.”

Khaled told GL on February 20 that the October 7 attacks were not exclusively carried out by Hamas, and that not all those who participated aimed to target Israeli civilians. She said a number of different militias and unorganised groups of armed Gazans broke through the fence.

Furthermore, even though Hamas has a different ideology and practice to her own organisation, Khaled described it as an authentic part of the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation.

Wainwright said Khaled has confirmed her availability to attend the conference by video link. “We are exploring options for her to attend in person as she would like to visit Australia … We see no reason for her not to be granted a visa to do so.”

Khaled served jail time for two hijackings, which took place more than 50 years ago. She is now an elected member of the Palestinian National Council.

As an “authentic representation of an important part of Palestinian society”, it is “important we hear her views”, Wainwright said.

“It’s worth recalling both the Good Friday Agreement, which brought together armed groups in Northern Ireland and the fact that many Western governments described the African National Congress and Nelson Mandela as ‘terrorists’.”

While Wainwright criticised the establishment media, he said Labor should also concern itself with the double standards.  

“Australians should reflect on the fact that former Prime Minister John Howard authorised the country to participate in the illegal invasion of Iraq, despite widespread objections. It led to the deaths of perhaps a million people, shattered Iraqi society and created a breeding ground for the Islamic State.

“Nonetheless, Howard still gets a platform.

“Khaled’s participation our conference will amplify a voice that points to a path for peace with justice for all those living in Palestine and Israel.

“Right now the Australian government is still contributing to the genocide in Gaza, through arms exports to Israel and its failure to support the International Court of Justice’s interim ruling.”

[Find out more about Ecosocialism 2024 and book your ticket here.]

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.