Statement of the Young Communist League of Israel on the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students

As proud founding members of the World Federation of Youth and Students, we see the World Festival of Youth and Students (WFYS) as an opportunity to unite movements of young people from all over the world in the spirit of internationalism and solidarity in the struggle for a future where all women and men will be free from capitalist exploitation, racist segregation, and imperialist oppression.

Young communists from Israel and Jordan during the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students

Young communists from Israel and Jordan during the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students (Photo: YCLI)

Therefore it is with grave concern that we must express our dismay at the actions taken by the Russian government affiliated organizers of the 19th WFYS in Sochi. By inviting and allowing for the participation of reactionary forces like youth from the rightwing Zionist and pro-Occupation Likud and the neo-Fascist Israel Our Home parties, these organizers have proven that they are not interested in bringing together youth to promote the WFDY’s ideals of socialism, freedom and peace for all nations. We in the Young Communist League of Israel denounce the invitation of these and other reactionary organizations, as well as the detention and sanctions taken by security forces against comrades from Lebanon and Palestine who were protesting this course of action. We view these cowardly acts and other actions taken by the Russian organizers of the WFYS, as part of an attempt to hijack the festival from WFDY and its long legacy of internationalist struggle for the liberation of the oppressed and downtrodden in order to cater to the agenda of Russia’s conservative government. We stress that even though there may be common grounds among the enemies of America’s hegemonic imperialism, we cannot build movements for international democracy and peace at the expense of the right of the Palestinian People or any other nation for self-determination and liberation from a regime of brutal military occupation and dispossession, and the right of all people in the Middle East and the world to seek prosperous development free from foreign intervention and aggression. As young Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel we stress that Netanyahu’s far-right government and the policies of imperialist wars, vicious racism and military occupation are antithetical to the interests of the people of Israel, Palestine and the whole Middle East.

Therefore we (I) condemn any normalization and cooperation with these racist Zionist parties and their allies; (II) call on all our sister organizations and members of WFDY to likewise denounce these warmongering Zionist movements and reaffirm their solidarity with the Palestinian People’s rights and liberation as the cornerstone for a just peace in Israel and Palestine; (III) reaffirm our commitment to WFDY’s principles of democracy, internationalism, self-determination and peace, and its organization as a platform to promote these ideals among young people across the world; (IV) denounce the hijacking of the 19th World Festival of Youths and Students away from WFDY by the representatives of the Russian government, and (V) express our support and pride in the actions taken by delegates from many communist and democratic youth movements who showed their solidarity with the victims of Netanyahu’s government by leaving the festival and holding a protest against the inclusion of his apologists at the WFYS.

With comradely solidarity,

Arafat Badarny, YCLI Chairman:

Omri Evron, YCLI International Coordinator: