What is left anti-semitism?

July 26, 2012 at 6:17 pm (anti-semitism, AWL, conspiracy theories, history, Jim D, Middle East, Racism, SWP, truth, zionism)

In view of some recent comments on this blog (see, especially, those below the piece Why won’t the IOC mark the Munich massacre?), and the Graun‘s despicable obituary of the “left” antisemite Alexander Cockburn, I though the following article from the AWL might serve an educative purpose for those who are willing to think about the issues, and not already “absolute” anti-Zionists and anti-Israel fanatics:

What is left anti-semitism?

There are three difficulties, three confusions and obfuscations, that stand in the way of rational discussion of what we mean by “left-wing anti-semitism”.

The first is that left-wing anti-semitism knows itself by another and more self-righteous name, “anti-Zionism”. Often, your left-wing anti-semite sincerely believes that he or she is only an anti-Zionist, only a just if severe critic of Israel.

The second is that talk of left-wing anti-semitism to a left-wing anti-semite normally evokes indignant, sincere, and just denial – of something else! “No, I’m not a racist! How dare you call me a racist?”

No, indeed, apart from a nut here and there, left-wing anti-semites are not racist. But there was anti-semitism before there was 20th-century anti-Jewish racism. And there is still anti-semitism of different sorts, long after disgust with Hitler-style racism, and overt racism of any sort, became part of the mental and emotional furniture of all half-way decent people, and perhaps especially of left-wing people.

Left-wingers are people who by instinct and conviction side with the oppressed, the outcasts, those deprived of human rights, the working class, the labour movement; who naturally side against the police, the military, and the powerful capitalist states, including their “own”; who are socially tolerant; who, in contrast to the “hang ‘em, flog ‘em, build more jails” types, look to changing social conditions rather than to punishment to deal with crime — people who want to be Marxists and socialists, or try to be consistent democrats. Confused such people may be, racists they are not. We are not saying that left-wing anti-semites are racists.

The third source of confusion and obfuscation is the objection: “You say I’m an anti-semite because I denounce Israel. I’m not anti-Jewish when I denounce Israel, but anti-Zionist”. And sometimes, at this point, you get the addition: “By the way, I am myself Jewish”.

The objector continues: Israel deserves criticism. Even the harshest criticism of Sharon’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza, and of Israel’s long-term treatment of the Palestinians, is pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist, not anti-semitic. To equate criticism of Israel with anti-semitism is just crude and hysterical Zionist apologetics.

No, by “left-wing anti-semitism” we emphatically do not mean political, military, or social criticism of Israel and of the policy of Israeli governments. Certainly, not all left-wing critics of Israel or Zionism are anti-semites, even though these days all anti-semites, including the right-wing, old-fashioned, and racist anti-semites, are paid-up “anti-Zionists”.

Israel frequently deserves criticism. Israel’s policy in the Occupied Territories and its general treatment of the Palestinians deserve outright condemnation. The oppressed Palestinians need to be politically defended against Israeli governments and the Israeli military. The only halfway equitable solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, a viable, independent Palestinian state in contiguous territory, side by side with Israel, needs to be argued for and upheld against Israeli power.

Solidarity [the AWL paper] condemns Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. We defend the Palestinians and champion an independent Palestinian state side by side with Israel.

The difference here between left-wing anti-semites and honest critics of Israel — a category which includes a very large number of Israeli Jews as well as Israeli Arabs — is a straightforward one of politics, of policy.

The left-wing anti-semites do not only criticise Israel. They condemn it outright and deny its right to exist. They use legitimate criticisms, and utilise our natural sympathy with the Palestinians, not to seek redress, not as arguments against an Israeli government, an Israeli policy, or anything specifically wrong in Israel, but as arguments against the right of Israel to exist at all. Any Israel. Any Jewish state in the area. Any Israel, with any policy, even one in which all the specific causes for justly criticising present-day Israel and for supporting the Palestinians against it have been entirely eliminated.

The root problem, say the left-wing anti-semites, is that Israel exists. The root “crime of Zionism” is that it advocated and brought into existence “the Zionist state of Israel”.

Bitterly, and often justly, criticising specific Israeli policies, actions, and governments, seemingly championing the Palestinians, your left-wing anti-semites seek no specific redress in Israel or from Israel, demanding only that Israel should cease to exist or be put out of existence.

They often oppose measures to alleviate the condition of the Palestinians short of the destruction of Israel. Thus the petitions and chants on demonstrations: “Two states solution, no solution!”

A neat illustration of this was provided three years ago when, at a meeting of the council of the SWP-dominated Socialist Alliance, a supporter of this newspaper proposed the slogan “Israel out of the Occupied Territories”. It was voted down, and much vaguer ones, “Free Palestine”, “Victory to the intifada”, voted in.

Why? “Free Palestine” can be understood in different ways, depending on your definition of “Palestine”. Therefore it can accommodate those who, without having studied the complexities or the history of the Jewish-Arab conflict, instinctively side with the oppressed and outmatched Palestinians, and for whom “Free Palestine” means simply that Israel should get out of the Occupied Territories. And it can also accommodate those, like the proponents of the slogan, the political Islamists of the Muslim Association of Britain/ Muslim Brotherhood and others, who define “Palestine” as pre-Israel, pre-1948 Palestine, and by “Free Palestine” mean the destruction and abolition of Israel, and the elimination in one way or another of the Jewish population of Israel, or most of them.

The political differences spelled out here are easily understood. But why is the drive and the commitment to destroy Israel anti-semitism, and not just anti-Zionism?

Because the attitude to the Jewish nation in Israel is unique, different from the left’s attitude to all other nations; and because of the ramifications for attitudes to Jews outside Israel. Apart from a few religious Jews who think the establishment of Israel was a revolt against God, and some Jews who share the views of the leftists whom we are discussing here, those Jews outside Israel instinctively identify with and support Israel, however critically. For the left-wing anti-semite they are therefore “Zionists”, and proper and natural targets of the drive to “smash Zionism”.

The attitude of the “anti-Zionist” left to Israel brings with it a comprehensive hostility to most Jews everywhere – those who identify with Israel and who defend its right to exist. They are not just people with mistaken ideas. They are “Zionists”.

In colleges, for example, where the anti-Zionist left exists side by side with Jewish students, this attitude often means a special antagonism to the “Zionist” Jews. They are identified with Israel. They, especially, are pressured either to denounce Israel, to agree that it is “racist” and “imperialist” and that its existence is a crime against the Arabs — or else be held directly and personally responsible for everything Israel does, has done, or is said to have done.

In such places, where the left “interfaces” with Jews, the logic of the unique attitude to Israel takes on a nasty persecuting quality. In the past, in the mid 1980s for example, that has taken the form of attempting to ban Jewish student societies. Non-Jews who defend Israel’s right to exist are not classified in the same category.

But is the attitude of the “absolute anti-Zionists” to Israel really unique? There are seeming similarities with left attitudes to one or two other states — Protestant Northern Ireland, apartheid South Africa, or pre-1980 white-ruled Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) — but the attitude to Israel is unique, because the reality of Israel cannot properly be identified with Northern Ireland, apartheid South Africa, or white Rhodesia.

In apartheid South Africa and white Rhodesia a minority lorded it over the big majority of the population, exploiting them. Israel is a predominantly Jewish state consisting of all classes. The Jewish nation does not subsist, and never has subsisted, on the exploitation of Arab labour, or depended in any essential way on such exploitation.

The general left hostility to the Northern Ireland Protestants — who are not exploiters of Catholic labour, and who are the compact majority, if not of the Six Counties, then of the north-east half of the Six Counties — is the closest to the attitude to Israel.

But it is not widely believed on the left that the Northern Ireland Protestant-Unionists simply have no right to be there. The right of the Jews to “be there” is denied in those sections of the left that we are discussing. The organisation of Jewish migration to Palestine — that was the root “crime” of Zionism, of which the “crime” of establishing Israel was only a further development. The “solution” is not only to undo and abolish Israel, but to reverse Jewish “migration” — which now includes people born there, to parents born there — and to roll the film of Middle-Eastern history backwards.

The prerequisite for left-wing anti-semitism is the catastrophic decline in the culture of the left over the last decades, a decline which allows people who want to be socialists to chant “Sharon is Hitler, Israel is Nazi” and similar nonsense without checking on the words. The specific framework within which what we have been describing exists, and without which it probably couldn’t exist in these “left-wing” forms, is the poisonous and systematic misrepresentation and falsification of the history of the Jewish-Arab conflict and of the Jewish people in the 20th century. We can only touch on that here.

In real history, Jews fled to Palestine, where a small Zionist colony and a small pre-Zionist Jewish community already existed, from persecution in Europe in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. In the 1930s and 40s they fled for their lives from Nazism, which killed two out of every three Jews alive in Europe in 1939, in a world in which no non-persecuting state would let them, or enough of them, in.

They fled to the existing Jewish national minority in Palestine (a long-established minority which, though small, was for example the majority in Jerusalem in 1900).

While Hitler was organising mass slaughter, Britain shut out Jews from Palestine, interning those who tried to enter. Overloaded, unseaworthy boats carrying illegal cargoes of Jews sank in the Mediterranean trying to get to Palestine (for example, the Struma, in which over 700 people died).

Israel was set up by those Jews on licence from the UN, which stipulated two states in Palestine, one Jewish and one Arab. When the state of Israel was declared in May 1948, the surrounded Arab states invaded. States like Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt were then British-dominated, and some of the armies were staffed by British officers.

The Israelis defended themselves and won. In the war three quarters of a million Palestinian Arabs were driven out or fled; in the same period and afterwards, about 600,000 Jews were expelled from or fled Arab countries.

In the Arab invasion of 1948, the Arab-Palestinian state was eliminated. Most of its territory went to Jordan, and fell under Israeli control in the war of 1967. That was a tremendous tragedy that will only be redressed when an independent Palestinian state takes its place alongside Israel.

This complex and tragic history is presented by the “absolute anti-Zionist” left as a conspiracy of Zionism, conceived of as a demonic force outside history. It is not rare to find “left anti-Zionists” arguing that this Jewish-Zionist conspiracy was so all-powerful that it was able even to manipulate Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust in which six million Jews died (see the play by the veteran Trotskyist Jim Allen, Perdition, of which Ken Loach planned a performance at a London theatre in 1987).

The core idea, the root of modern left-wing anti-semitism, is that Israel, in one way or another, is an illegitimate state; and that therefore, in one way or another, it should be done away with. If its citizens will not be the first in history to voluntarily dismantle their nation-state and make themselves a minority in a state run by those whom they have had to fight for national existence; if they will not agree to voluntarily dismantle Israel and create a “secular democratic Arab state”, in which Israeli Jews can have religious but not national rights – then they must be overwhelmed and compelled to submit or flee by the Arab states, now or when they are strong enough.

Usually beginning with the benign-seeming proposal to sink Israel into a broader Arab-majority entity in which “everyone could live in peace”, the chain of logic rooted in the idea that Israel should not have come into existence, that it is an illegitimate state, leads directly — since Israel will not agree to abolish itself — to support for compulsion, conquest, and all that goes with it. Israel must be conquered.

Even the work of a writer like Hal Draper can feed into this poisoned stream. While Draper made valid and just criticisms of Israel, he accepted that it had a right to exist and a right to defend itself. He denounced those who wanted to destroy it. But he made his criticisms in the tone and manner of a prophet denouncing sin and iniquity. He too thought that Israel was an illegitimate state, that it should never have come into existence and should go out of existence as soon as possible.

By agreement, and only by agreement, he believed; but the subtleties got lost. There is nothing to stop someone swayed by Draper’s denunciations of Israel, and accepting his idea that Israel is an illegitimate state, then impatiently insisting: if not by agreement, then by conquest.

And so an increasingly-disoriented SWP-UK could look to a Saddam Hussein to “free Palestine”, that is, conquer Israel.

The point here is that states and nations are the products of history. There is no such thing as an illegitimate nation or a “bad people” which does not deserve the rights conceded to other peoples.

bebel.jpg (42832 Byte)

Above: August Bebel

The German socialist leader August Bebel, confronted by raucous denunciation of “the Jews” ludicrously depicting them as the epitome and embodiment of capitalism said of anti-semitism that it was “the socialism of the fools”.

The anti-semitic left today, which depicts Israel as the hyper-imperialist power — either controlling US policy, or acting as its chief instrument, the story varies — is in the grip of an “anti-imperialism of the fools”. And that in practice leads to a comprehensive hostility to Jews not far from what Bebel called the socialism of fools.

One of the great tragedies of today is that many young people, whose initial instincts to oppose Bush and Blair in Iraq and to support the Palestinians are healthy, are being poisoned with “left-wing” anti-semitism through the “anti-war movement”.

“Left-wing anti-semitism” is, in short, a comprehensive hostility to most Jews alive, branding them as “Zionists” and seeing that description as akin to “racist” or “imperialist”. It excepts only those Jews who agree that Israel is racist imperialism in its most concentrated essence, and oppose its continued existence.

The general antidote to this anti-imperialism of fools is the propagation of rational democratic and socialist politics. Such politics focus on a political solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. They measure and criticise Israel — and the Arab states — according to their stand in relation to that just solution — the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

There is an immediate “antidote” to left-wing anti-semitism too, and it is a very important task for Marxist socialists like those who publish Solidarity [ie: the AWL]: relentless exposure and criticism of their politics and antics — without fear of isolation, ridicule, or the venomous hostility of the vocal and self-righteous left-wing anti-semites.

27 Comments

  1. Arthur Seaton said,

    Correct, and well put.

  2. Robin Carmody said,

    Brilliant piece. The best analysis of the situation, from my own political perspective (i.e. *not* a Harry’s Place one whatever SteveH et al may think), I’ve yet seen.

  3. Babz Badasbab Rahman said,

    Mostly a good piece but your still using the legally incorrect term, Israel has a ‘right to exist’. That’s pure propaganda and very vague. You may think Israel has a right to exist pre-1967 borders and with right of return or compensation, Netenyahu’s Israel would include the West Bank with no right of return or compensation. And also your piece doesn’t say anything about the Arab/Jewish population in the UN partitioned Israel which the Arabs rejected but the Jews accepted and so ‘unilaterally’ declared independence. It’s an important point. Not that it gave the Arabs a right to wage war (which was an outrageous act of violence and possibly illegal under international law though I can’t confirm that).

    • Jimmy Glesga said,

      Historically people exist because they fought for it. I do not know why those on the left put so much energy into attacking Israel considering all the conquests in human history. I can only assume it is predudice. I occasionally mention to my leftist friends! Croatia. Silence follows.

      • Babz Badasbab Rahman said,

        I wasn’t talking about a people. I was talking using the term ‘right to exist’. There is no such term used anywhere. It doesn’t exist in international law but the US and Israel threw another spanner into the peace process by demanding the Palestinians recognise Israel’s right to exist (but not the other way around mind you). It’s really dodgy legal territory.

        http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0202/p09s02-coop.html

  4. Ben said,

    The Struma was torpedoed by a Soviet submarine in the Black Sea. To this day it is not known whether this was done at the instigation of the British, or of the Germans, or was a pure Soviet initiative. What is certain is that Britain’s (and America’s) Jewish policy was a perfect counterpoint to Germany’s. The Anglo-Saxon allies did all they could to prevent Jews from obtaining refuge outside the territories controlled by Germany. They thereby helped the Germans wipe out many who would have been saved had there been a will to help them.

  5. Red Deathy said,

    The attitude of the “anti-Zionist” left to Israel brings with it a comprehensive hostility to most Jews everywhere – those who identify with Israel and who defend its right to exist. They are not just people with mistaken ideas. They are “Zionists”.

    This doesn’t seem to substantiate the claim that left Anti-Zionism is anti-semitism. From a logical angle, not all Zionists are Jews, and not all Jews are Zionists.

    For example, the majority of workers, judging by their expressed votes at elections, support capitalism (or rather, it’s continued existence). Is it then anti-worker to be anti-capitalist?

    (And for the record, before the hard of thinking plough in, I’m not an Anti-Zionist, except as being anti-Nationalist and anti-State and for the no state solution, I just think there’s a weakness in the argument above. Much of what it says is just, but that core logic doesn’t seem to stack up. In fact, the weakness could be that it “They are not just people with mistaken ideas. They are “Anti- Semites””).

  6. Red Deathy said,

    “There is nothing to stop someone swayed by Draper’s denunciations of Israel, and accepting his idea that Israel is an illegitimate state, then impatiently insisting: if not by agreement, then by conquest.” (italics were lost on the quoting above).

    This is, of course, a slippery slope argument. Slippery slope arguments are dangerous. once you accept one, you’re on a very slippery slope, and suddenly there will be slippery slopes everywhere.

    The fact that people do often slip needs to be looked at, and the specific cause of that is the point that needs to be found.

  7. ballpointpen said,

    “Left-wingers are people who by instinct and conviction side with the oppressed”

    Well, taking one thing with another, I think we’ll be the judge of that. They certainly like oppressed people – that’s why they create so many of them.

    What they don’t like is achievement, or ability, or people who don’t want to take it but try to improve their lot. That’s why they’ll always hate Israel.

  8. Sarah AB said,

    Red Deathy – certainly take your point. I find though that I really notice when someone (for example) a) supports boycotts of some kind but is clearly sincerely concerned about antisemitism b) supports a one state solution but understands the anxieties of those who don’t c) Has a great deal to say about Israel’s wrongs in relation the Palestinians but genuinely considers the wider context which includes problems on the Palestinian side and wrongs done to Palestinians by other Arab states – and remembers that context unprompted,

    These people definitely exist but they seem comparatively few and far between. I’m not saying that anti-zionists who don’t show the kind of sensitivity I mention (which means I usually respect them even if I don’t agree with them) are all antisemites, but they are certainly symptoms of a kind of myopic zeal when it comes to Israel in which antisemitism plays a part at some level.

  9. Jim Denham said,

    Babz: the “right to exist” (for a nation) may not be a concept recognised in international (bourgeois) law, but it’s essential politically. There can be no possibility of peace in Israel/Palestine without a mutual recognition of each other’s right to exist as a nation. That applies especially to Israel, which must recognise the Palestiniians’ right to their own nation state.

    Supporters of two states by definition recognise the right of Palestinians to a state. The same cannot be said of the “greater Israel” Zionist right; nor can it be said (with regard to Israel’s right to exist) of the minority of Palestians (and their supporters) who equivocate on two states or oppose it outright.

    • Babz Badasbab Rahman said,

      So on one hand you accuse the sections of the left of anti-semitism and focusing too much on Israel while on the other hand you want Israel to receive special treatment? It’s not essential politically at all. Lasting peace is entirely possible if UNSC 242 is implemented….since 1967 and accepted by all of the important parties except Israel with the backing of the US. The concept of the right to exist came about in the 1970’s and it was only by the US/Israel side. The Palestinians and the surrounding Arab nations haven’t for example demanded Israel recognise Palestine’s right to exist and if they did it would put Israel in a really difficult position since historically Palestine includes all of Israel. Is that fair on Israel? Of course not and I bet your glad the USSR disintegrated.

      No peace process from Northern Ireland to the former Yugoslavia required any country to recognise another countries right to exist and they are no more or less important then the Israel/Pal issue. It’s actually quite a pathetic demand and one can only assume it’s used to stall a peace process. And whatever you may think of International Law, it must be worked within and if need to be changed but not broken consistently usually by those who tend to be powerful and in most cases used against the weak.

      Bottom line is Israel can achieve full peace and security without forcing the dubious right to exist into the agenda. Heck even fundamentalist Saudi Arabia put forward the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 and Iran did the same in 2003. The Palestinian papers revealed the extent to which the corrupt PA were desperate for statehood.

      http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0202/p09s02-coop.html

      http://theconversation.edu.au/israel-has-no-right-to-exist-and-neither-does-any-other-state-1668

  10. Jim Denham said,

    “on the other hand you want Israel to receive special treatment? ”

    Eh, no. Just the same treatment as any other nation state.

    The two state “solution” (it’s not actually a “solution”: just the only way forward) requires both sides to recognise the national rights of the other. Is that too much to ask?

    In reality, all nations recognise each others’ right to exist: not to do so would be to fundamentally undermine any sort of peaceful modus vivendi in the world.

  11. Andrew Coates said,

    There’s a lot of truth in this and as JIm says, Counterpunch is a good example of how far this has gone since it was written.

    . But the decline of this apsect of left culture is aprt of a more general fluidity of political lines (perhaps there are parallels in the pre-Great War Cercle Produhon). The kind of mix I cite here (which first appeared on the Italian far-right some eyars back) indicates the scale of the problem:

    http://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2012/07/27/anti-imperialist-fascists-in-france/

    • Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

      Have you read Ze’ev Sternhell’s Neither Right Nor Left? – covers The Cercle Proudhon and similar groups very well.

      His Founding Myths of Israel is also a fascinating if not 100% convincing account of the peculiarities of early Labour Zionism.

  12. Richard said,

    Babz Badasbab Rahman “Heck even fundamentalist Saudi Arabia put forward the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 and Iran did the same in 2003. The Palestinian papers revealed the extent to which the corrupt PA were desperate for statehood.”

    Arafat had already refused Barak’s 2 states offer only a few years before. Arafat also praised suicide bombings against Israeli civilians and gave the green light to them. So that was the situation when Saudi Arabia eventually moved to a 2 states plan. Reality of the situation on the ground was more important than any plan on paper. And unless i’m mistaken, the Saudi plan was for the right of return for Palestinains to Israel and not just to a Palestinian state.

    • Babz Badasbab Rahman said,

      Do you know why Arafat refused it the first round of negotiations? Because what Israel was offering were ‘Bantustans’ which understandably the Palestinians would find hard to accept. And you do know it was Barak that called off the Taba Summit which came after the failed Camp David 2000 Summit?

      As for negative Arafat quotes, I can play that game too with Israeli leaders.

  13. Richard said,

    Also the Palestinian Papers were far later than 2002 and Arafat had been dead for several years.

    As for introducing Iran into your argument – you’re having a laugh, surely ?

    • Babz Badasbab Rahman said,

      And so what?

      As for Iran. Look I know Iran is the bogeyman at the moment but it’s true. It was known as the 2003 Grand Bargain but the US rejected it.

  14. Richard said,

    “And so what ? ”

    It shows why the Saudi Plan wasn’t viable at the time as it didn’t relate to what was happening at the time on the ground – i.e. a campaign of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, endorsed by Arafat and the rejection of a 2 states solution offered by Barak.

    With regard to your claim that Iran had offered a similar peace offer, that’s complete rubbish. Can you show me the Iranian plan for a 2 states settlement please. It doesn’t exist. But if you can show me any statements from the Iranian government offering a 2 states settlement then please do.

    • Babz Badasbab Rahman said,

      The Saudi plan went beyond UNSC 242 which had been unanimously adopted in 1967. And Arafat didn’t reject 2 states. He rejected the Bantustans on offer. Have you seen a map of what Barak was offering?

      That’s what was on offer.

      Click on the above link. UNSC 242 was based on 1967 borders with minor and mutual adjustments.

      As for the Second Intifada, agree the terrorist attacks against Israel were unacceptable AS WERE THE STATE TERRORIST ATTACKS AGAINST THE PALESTINIANS.

      Back to Iran, Iran doesn’t have a plan for 0, 1 or 2 states. That’s down to the Palestinians and Israelis. They’ll go with whatever the Palestinians accept which was a general acceptance of UNSC 242 . You have to remember when the ‘Grand Bargain’ proposal was put forward Iran had a reformist President in place (Khatami) and the US had started it’s occupation of Iraq, the Mullahs probably thought they were next and were less of a regional geo-political force then they are now.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/17/AR2006061700727.html

  15. Jim Denham said,

    Btw, Babz: it occurs to me that we may be talking/arguing at cross-purposes on the matter of Israel’s “right to exist.” My point (in line with the article above) is that socialists and, indeed, all those who genuinely seek peace and reconciliation in Israel/Palestine should advocate this and that so-called “anti-Zionists” who do not recognise Israel’s right to exist are in fact antisemites. That is *not* the same thing as saying that such recognition must be a precondition for peace talks, or even for reaching some kind of ‘modus vivendi’ that might eventually lead to real peace.

  16. Clive said,

    ‘Right to exist’, surely, is just the phrase which tends to be used in this context. ‘Right to self-determination’ is better. So the idea is that the Hebrew-speaking people of Israel have the right to a state if they want it (which they do), and nobody has the right to take it away from them. In the same way as nobody has the right to take away anyone else’s state against their will.

    I have to say, regarding the article itself, I’m inclined to feel much confusion is brought into this discussion by suggesting a kind of anti-semitism which is not racist. For sure many anti-Zionists are in fact anti-semites; many others (more maybe) use arguments (and sometimes language) which draws on anti-semitic ‘tropes’, which is anti-semitic in logic and what have you, while they – the people putting the argument – are not ‘racists’ in the crude sense. They don’t actually hate Jews, or whatever. But surely, the anti-semitism which colours their arguments, even if it’s not conscious or overt, is still racist.

    People don’t like to be told they’re racists. But for me the whole issue here as that people who are certainly not racists otherwise can casually call upon arguments, assumptions (suggestions of conspiracies and so on) which are racist. They should be made to think about it.

  17. Richard said,

    Babz, Arafat refused to make any counter offer to Barak’s plan, he insisted on the right of return which was a refusal to accept a 2 states settlement. Araft couldn’t even bring himself to negotiate on a 2 states basis. And then he want on, shortly afterwards to describe suicide bombers as martyrs.

    The Saudi 2002 Plan was for the right of return as well, so again hardly acceptable to any Israeli government.

    My own thoughtt is that Israel should offer a settlement based on The Green Line. I don’t think the majority of Palestinians will accept it but i think Israel should test the water.

    BTW – you link to an organisation which endorses Kairos which again is for a one state solution.

    In case you don’t realise, the right of return for Palestinians to not just the West Bank and Gaza but also to Israel is not compatible with a 2 states settlement.

    The reason Iran never announced support for a 2 states settlement is that Iran has never accepted the right of Israel to exist.

  18. Richard said,

    Also, please bear in mind that the Saudi Plan was overshadowed by the Passover suicide bombing which killed 30 Israeli Jews and injured 140.

  19. Richard said,

    So Babz, do you support a 2 states settlement as a final settlement ? Do you accept that there cannot be a Palestinian right of return to Israel ?

    Or do you see a 2 state settlement as part of a process towards as one state solution. In other words a one state solution in stages ?

    • Babz Badasbab Rahman said,

      I support whatever the Israelis and Palestinians accept but generally speaking I support the international consensus (UNSC 242) which is basically two states. A one democratic and secular state may have been possible once upon a time say after the end of World War One or Two but you can forget about it now so not really worth discussing. The Israelis would never accept it especially since the birth rate amongst Palestinians is higher.

      As for right of return, my personal view is the Palestinians need to compromise on this. It’s very difficult for them since they are the ones dispossessed all the while Israel has the ‘Law of Return’ which smacks of double standards but I can’t see the peace process moving forward otherwise. Israel should of course fully compensate all losses. And all settlements in the occupied territories must go unless part of land swap deals.

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