A rejoinder to the AWL’s detractors

November 14, 2014 at 8:57 am (AWL, islamism, Marxism, mccarthyism, Middle East, palestine, posted by JD, secularism, socialism, solidarity, students, trotskyism)

Pete Radcliff writes:

There are some particularly unpleasant sectarians in important positions on the left, in Nottingham and elsewhere, who vilely denounce my friends in the AWL (as well as me) as ‘Zionist’ or ‘pro-imperialists’ – because whilst supporting the Palestinians they advocate a 2 states solution for Israel/ Palestine – or they accuse the AWL of being ‘racists’ because they have always criticised ‘Political Islamism’.

There was a recent attempt by student union officers, under the influence of a group called the ‘Student Broad Left’ in UCL, to ‘no platform the AWL’. They basically argued that the AWL was a physical threat to Muslims because the AWL supported a motion to the NEC of the NUS written by a Kurdish student officer from Edinburgh. It is pretty bizarre stuff – to support a campaign against ISIS makes you Islamophobic and a physical threat to Muslims. Here is my friend and comrade Omar Raii‘s response: http://uclu.org/blogs/omar-raii/rejoinder-to-awls-detractors


  1. ZINR said,

    “One may of course disagree with the AWL and regard any idea of two-states as being racist per se. If that logic was accepted of course one would have to also condemn people like Nelson Mandela, Yasser Arafat and large parts of the global Palestinian solidarity campaign as racist”

    Which large parts of the global Palestine solidarity campaign support a two state solution, other than the AWL? (a genuine question – certainly none of the ones I’ve come across in Britain support two states).

    At any rate the AWL doesn’t have to make any excuses to anybody for having a sensible policy on Israel/Palestine. Let the cretins “no platform” you. Disassociate yourselves from the Idiot Left entirely. Let them wallow in their foul antisemitism and subservience to Islamic Fascism. Stick to your guns!

    • Aaron Aarons said,

      I hope the AWL shows proper appreciation for this support for its line from an unequivocal supporter of the racist, apartheid-on-steroids JSIP (Jewish State in Palestine).

  2. Barry Finger said,

    Which parts of the global Palestinian solidarity campaign support a two-state solution? The majority of Palestinian institutions and individuals that sit on BDS steering committees. From electronic intifada (which supports a one state solution:
    “any informed person would know that the vast majority of organizations represented on the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC) – the movement’s steering group and collective leadership – explicitly support a two-state solution. You can see a list of organizations that currently make up the BNC.

    Omar Barghouti makes this point in his book BDS: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights:

    While individual BDS activists and advocates may support diverse political solutions, the BDS movement as such does not adopt any specific formula and steers away from the one-state-versus-two-states debate, focusing instead on universal rights and international law, which constitute the solid foundation of the Palestinian consensus around the campaign. Incidentally, most networks, unions, and political parties in the BNC still advocate a two-state solution outside the realm of the BDS movement (pages 51-52)”

  3. ZINR said,

    Well that doesn’t really answer my question. Which pro-Palestinian organisations in the UK, in Europe or in the US support a two state solution?

    As for people on “BDS steering committes”, and Mr Barghouti in particular, I would just like to say: they are utter, utter cunts. That doesn’t add to any debate, I know: I just wanted to remind you that there are a handful on the left who aren’t spiteful, hypocritical and stupid enough to support a boycott of Israel (the PA doesn’t support the boycott either…which doesn’t bother UK pressure groups as they are pro-Hamas. The cunts).

  4. Aaron Aarons said,

    I find this “no platform” stuff coming from various left factions against other left factions somewhat amusing. Pro-imperialist Eric Lee, in an article republished on this site about a week ago, wants to “no-platform” the anti-imperialist left for refusing to cheer the U.S. and NATO intervention against ISIS, while some folks apparently want to “no-platform” the AWL. If those latter really consider the AWL, or any other left grouping, rather than the armed imperialists and Zionists themselves, “a physical threat to Muslims”, they are about are either loony or are as dishonest as the Zionists on U.S. campuses who complain that supporters of the Palestinians and opponents of the Zionist state should be banned because they make Jewish (read: “Zionist”) students uncomfortable.

  5. Jason Schulman (@PartyOfANewType) said,

    Jewish Voice for Peace in the U.S. is essentially agnostic:


  6. Aaron Aarons said,

    One can consider the two-state “solution” to be racist without thinking that everybody supporting the idea is racist, just as, i’m pretty sure, not everybody who supported the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Separate But Equal” ruling in 1898 was racist against Blacks, and some probably were Black, even though it was probably obvious to most that there would be little equality under that rule, just as it should be obvious that, in the real world, separate states for Jews and Arabs in Palestine would not be equal.

    I challenge, BTW, any supporter of a “two-state solution” to give a description of how that might be done so as NOT to privilege Jews over the Arabs. That would include dealing with the distribution of the land and resources of Palestine that would leave each Jew roughly equal to each Arab in the resources available to them. Consideration should be given to the probability that the number of Palestinian Arabs, including many in exile, who will want to live on that land will be far greater than the number of Jews who will want to do so.

  7. Jason Schulman (@PartyOfANewType) said,

    The demand for two states is usually joined (on the socialist left) by the demand that Israel be a liberal-democratic state of all its citizens. That is, Jews should not have any privilege in what is now Israel. So no one here is arguing that Palestinian Arabs inside Israel should be forced to move to a Palestinian state.

    I recommend reading this piece by longtime Palestinian solidarity activist Steve Shalom: http://logosjournal.com/2014/shalom/

    • Jim Denham said,

      The two state position on the Palestine/Israel conflict is the position traditionally adopted by communists and socialists. The “one state” position is that adapted by Arab nationalists and islamists.

      One can argue that the communists and socialists who argued for two states were wrong: but not that two states remains the leftist majority position.

      Not all advocates of “one state” are anti-Semites who advocate the destruction of Israel; but many of them are.

      Those who are not are idealists, with no grip on reality.

      The only coherent, just anti-racist and non-Islamo-fascist way forward in the Middle East is two states

  8. Aaron Aarons said,

    Your claim that the majority of socialists and communists support the “two-state solution”, i.e., the continued existence of Israel as a Jewish state, probably is true of so-called “First World”, or white, imperialist-nation, leftists. I doubt that it is true of the majority of people in Latin America who would call themselves socialists or communists, nor of non-white South Africans. I suspect the same is true in, e.g., the Philippines, but I have no more hard evidence for my opinion than you have for yours.

    But I’m still interested in seeing a description of what a two-state “solution” in Palestine would look like? Would the JS continue to occupy the 78% of mandate Palestine that they seized in the period leading up to the 1949 cease-fire? Would Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to the lands their families were driven from about 65 years ago, or does the “right to return” only exist for those whose alleged ancestors were forced out over 1900 years ago? And what about the water diverted from West Bank aquifers that is essential to much of Israeli agriculture, and comfortable Jewish life generally?

    Sure, there are a plethora of possible “two-state solutions”, but is there even one that a majority of Israeli Jews and a majority of Palestinian Arabs would both find acceptable?

    • Jim Denham said,

      And what would a “one state” solution look like, Aaron? Think about it for just one moment, eh?
      Then educate yourself, by reading this: https://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/avnery-two-states-is-the-only-solution-there-is/

      • Aaron Aarons said,

        Instead of arguing with the soft Zionist Uri Avnery myself, I’ll leave it to someone who is a lot more knowledgeable about the subject than any of us are:

        “Two States Or One State”. A debate between former
        Knesset Member Uri Avnery and Doctor Ilan Pappe
        moderator: Professor Zalman Amit

        BTW, since you refuse to say what a two-state “solution” would look like, and instead ask me what a one state solution look like, I can pose some questions that I will answer regarding the one-state solution and that you can then answer regarding the two-state “solution”, but, for now, I’ll just mention the most obvious one:

        Question: Which parts of the land presently controlled by the State of Israel (including the West Bank, Gaza and “48”) would be part of “Israel”, which would be part of Palestine, and which would be shared?

        One-state answer: The question is non-existent.

        Two-state answer: I’m waiting!

      • Jim Denham said,

        Answer: Israel has a right to exist within pre-1967 borders. Jerusalem should be shared. This is a-b-c stuff for socialists – a well-established position supported by the majority of the international left and the PLO.

        I think it was me who drew the account of that debate to your attention in the first place: Avnery, in his gentle and polite way, makes complete mincemeat of the unpleasant and politically dodgy Hamas sympathiser Pappe (as did Dave Hersh, less gently and politely, in a debate I attended in Birmingham in 2005). If you cannot deduce that from the transcription of the debate then you are probably beyond reason.

        P.S: Here’s an account of Pappe’s encounter with Hirsh at Birmingham University in 2005. Note that it’s written by someone who sympathises with Pappe: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/12/330347.html

  9. Rilke said,

    I do hope that Aaron Aarons reads Arabic or one of the mid-Semitic languages such as Ugariti or some basic Syriac and has at least memorized passages of the Qhoran to the level of a hafiz. If not then he is not showing adequate solidarity with the oppressed Muslims of the world. As a Western ‘degenerate’ he may even support ‘devilish’ and ‘Western’ anti-polio vacination programmes and may even believe that women should be permitted to read and write, Is that correct Aaron? You do speak and read Arabic don’t you? If not, then the Jihadist militants such as al Shabaab and ISIS, whom you view as merely a ‘side show’ demand your death. This was what was actually inflicted upon the poor Kenyans on their way home on the local bus these past days. If you do not read Arabic and cannot quote the Quoran as those Kenyans could not, should you not cut your own throat?

  10. Sacha Ismail said,

    The people doing the no platforming or half-hearted no platforming weren’t really under the influence of “Student Broad Left”. More identity politics.

  11. Sacha Ismail said,

    SBL are very weak and don’t exist at UCL

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