ModernityBlog

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Open Thread on Zionism.

with 30 comments

May 2008 is the 60th birthday of the State of Israel.

For some people this time will be a celebration, for others it will be bittersweet and yet more will rant, nash their teeth and moan about the crimes of the “Zionists”.

So this is an open thread, I will turn off the moderation and people can post whatever they want.

I would ask them only two questions:

1. What proposed solution or solutions would you suggest for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

2. Do you consider that the Geneva initiative is a potential blueprint for settling the conflict? And if not, what else?

Please give me your ideas.

Update: anyone in any doubt concerning Hamas’s racist credentials, should see the interview with Azzam Tamimi, Hamas’s unofficial spokesman in Britain at HP

Written by modernityblog

21/01/2008 at 02:33

Posted in Uncategorized

30 Responses

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  1. after a bit of fiddling around the comment’s box is now open!

    modernity

    21/01/2008 at 03:07

  2. Open borders, one country for all, compensation for lost property, right to return for original inhabitants.

    Alexander Baldal

    21/01/2008 at 15:34

  3. good point, but what safe guards for any Jewish minority?

    modernity

    21/01/2008 at 17:12

  4. I have no problem with a nation for the Jews (or a nation for any religious or ethnic community for that matter), as long as that state allows for all minority groups to have the same rights under it. Israel obviously does this, and so I have no problem with Zionism, even though I don’t buy its spiritual arguments.

    Roland Dodds

    22/01/2008 at 08:58

  5. well Roland,

    you don’t often hear of people wishing to dissolve one of the most repressive ethno-religious states in the world, Saudi Arabia, do you?

    funny that?

    modernityblog

    22/01/2008 at 13:34

  6. I cannot imagine a solution to this problem until the Palestinians give up their desire to destroy Israel. Absent that, regardless of what agreements exist on paper, the present situation will likely continue for quite some time.

    Seymour Paine

    22/01/2008 at 17:33

  7. it is wrong to generalise or existentialise the Palestinians, when you get down to it then no more different than Israelis, the Welsh, the Irish or even the French

    most of them want to live a peaceful and productive life

    however, they are obstructed by nihilistic or corrupt leaders, and in themselves the Palestinians don’t have much say in what is done in their name

    and you might reflect on the fact that someone could equally change it around and say “I cannot imagine the solution to this problem until the Israelis give up their desire to destroy the Palestinians”

    and you could probably find some tendentious evidence for that, but I think the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians would eventually like to live in peace, have a fair standard of living and see an end to the bloodshed

    that, however, is in the hands of the leaders and the overall situation which has been created puts a premium on violence or military responses, even when they are completely counterproductive and worsens the situation overall

    there is a wider problem: the blame game, you could trace back the past 60+ years in the Middle East, and apportion blame on either side, and on all sides, not only Israeli or Palestinian leaders, but the Arab leaders, the wars that were provoked, and wars that could have been avoided.

    even the UN is partly responsible, but that doesn’t get us anywhere, it makes us feel smug and happy because we can blame someone else, it does not bring a solution 1 inch closer

    and lets’s not forget an example of the blame game, Northern Ireland, loyalists could go back 400 years and find crimes to blame on the nationalist community, equally the nationalist could look back some 30 years to shootings of peaceful civil rights demonstrations, and the communities became expert at throwing back and forth mutual recrimination, where did it lead us? more death, more suffering a more animosity

    and so it is with the Middle East

    modernity

    22/01/2008 at 18:35

  8. Umm, hmmm, how many Israeli suicide bombers have attacked Palestinians in the last, oh, 20 years? Who throws stones at whom? What about Kassems? The 1000s lobbed from Gaza in the last year? Gazans have shown overwhelming support for Hamas. They did vote them them, right? You can’t blame everything on their “leaders”. The various terrorist gangs aren’t all that secretive. They are all quite well known to the Palestinians. What about PA-TV shows, you know, the ones aimed at children, teaching them to kill Jews? I could go on and on and get tired before I would exhaust the list of hatred and violence directed by Palestinians toward Jews. The onus is entirely on the Palestinians. They are the aggressors. I doubt they will change; I think they would rather perish than become decent, peaceful people. It doesn’t matter what concessions, if any, Israel grants them, since they will all be voided as soon as the terror onslaught starts up.

    What kind of solution is possible? Gaza is a permanent basket case. Despite several $100 million in “AID”, it is still a basket case, as it always will be. There is no way it can be joined to the West Bank, so it will always remain isolated, until there’s a mass epidemic and death from disease (highly likely), they flee to Egypt (less likely but quite possible) or just stay where they are, in squalor and horror, probably for decades until something radically new happens (like alien invasion from space). The West Bank has a barely functioning government (basically in name only). Their goal is to wait out the Israelis. Maybe that will be the right choice. I doubt it, but you never know. They kill Jews on sight there. Would you, were you a Jew living in Israel, want much to do with them? You can’t wear a Star of David and take a walk through the West Bank and live. What kind of basis for peaceful coexistence is that? (And, if you don’t believe me, you can try it yourself, but please make sure you have good life insurance and don’t blame me for warning you).

    Seymour Paine

    22/01/2008 at 19:57

  9. Overwhelming support for Hamas? I think it was a close vote ? maybe 3% between Fatah and Hamas, and according to recent polls support for Hamas is down.

    you wrote:

    The onus is entirely on the Palestinians. They are the aggressors.

    No, they are not always, Israeli helicopters firing missiles into cars is unwarranted aggression.

    Leading tanks into Gaza is unwarranted aggression

    for every list that you produce, you could equally produce a counter, is that really productive???

    some of what you say is true, but should Palestinians be happy being shot at by settlers in the West Bank? as has happened?

    shall we have a carnival of recrimination and counter recrimination?

    what does that achieve, exactly?

    eventually, each side needs to acknowledge the need to compromise and understand the narrative that has driven others, because without that there is just an interminable war

    another 60 years war?

    and who in their right mind wants that?

    modernityblog

    22/01/2008 at 20:55

  10. you don’t often hear of people wishing to dissolve one of the most repressive ethno-religious states in the world, Saudi Arabia, do you?

    Um, I do.

    I’ll come back to this to elaborate over the next couple of days if you want. But for now, I’m pretty much in full agreement with Class War on Israel and Palestine- http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/07/346176.html?c=on#c152643 (It’s actually a statement on the war in Lebanon, but it should give you the gist of my views).

    Waterloo Sunset

    23/01/2008 at 04:03

  11. This may I plan to celebrate big. Israel is simply a miracle. We will win in the end against the rocket attacks, when the Palestinians realize that they are losing more than their are gaining. I don’t buy the argument that sending tanks into Gaza is unwarranted aggression, come on! we took OUT every tank from Gaza and we are getting rockets in return. Israel is simply retaliating.

    Anyway, regarding the solution: I don’t know. I think that in months time we will have a big war over Gaza and hundreds of thousands Palestinians will become refugees (again) in the Sinai desert, at least temporarily. I don’t desire that, but I can live with that. My people are not the Palestinians. I think that the resolution of the problem with Gaza (by Hamas capitulation) will in turn be the framework for accords in the West Bank. Simply put, Israel would be crazy to let the West Bank become like Gaza, with uncontrolled smuggling of weapons.

    I would say that I have always supported ending the occupation and a Palestinian state, but I am not so sure now that is possible. There is no occupation anymore in Gaza and the Palestinians have two options: peace with Israel or live 200 km farther in the desert. The same options will be presented in turn in the West Bank. To talk about blueprints is useless if there isn’t willingness on the other side not only to make gestures of peace but also to police and destroy the infrastructure of terrorism.

    I can present you with the best plan: a Palestinian state and two weeks a year paid vacations in Tel Aviv for each Palestinian descendant of refugees. But if Palestinians come with Kalashnikovs and Qassams instead of sunblock lotion and towels, the plan will be worthless.

    The only thing I know is that I plan to enjoy my life in Israel to the full, and that will be my victory. And when Palestinians see me having fun some of them will start asking of their leader why they cannot have fun too, instead of lobbing rockets to the other side of the border.

    Best,
    Fabian

    PS: War will come. Afterwards we will talk again about blueprints. There have been large number of blueprints already.

    Fabian from Israel

    23/01/2008 at 11:14

  12. Waterloo Sunset wrote:

    Um, I do.

    Hmm, OK, then I would expect the next time the Middle East is discussed that the first item on the topic is the dissolution of Saudi Arabia?

    because that’s how it goes when Israel is discussed, many people barely pause for breath before calling for Israel’s destruction, dissolvement, deconstruction, etc

    now Waterloo, I haven’t heard you say that, but it strikes me that you didn’t acknowledge the bleeding obvious that you are, in this eventuality, in an incredible minority on the Left??

    modernity

    23/01/2008 at 13:20

  13. Fabian,

    I don’t agree with lumping all Palestinians together, and here is why:

    suppose that there was a Peace bloc, of concerned citizens in Gaza, and they voiced their opinion that there should be a negotiated settlement with Israel?

    what would happen to them, do you suppose?

    would they be allowed to peacefully argue their politics? or is it more likely that the leaders would be shot in the head and disposed of?

    that’s the problem

    the dominance of the military cult in Palestinian politics means that it’s very difficult ordinary Palestinians to have a voice and even if they agree with all that you say, what could they do?

    disagree and get a hamas bullet?

    the lack of civil society, the proliferation of guns and a political culture based on strong leaders is part of the problem

    and if we were to transfer those factor them to any of the country, most people would see the point

    Palestinian society is dysfunctional, so to suppose that they could respond even IF the majority wanted, is unreasonable and illogical

    the problem is the entrenched militants and the culture of violence

    thus, my arguments and those of history are that anything that emboldens armed militants or plays into their hands is foolish

    and I think that the Israeli military often do that, the consequence is a perpetuation of the armed mentality

    Palestinians and Israelis are destined to live next to each other, neither is going to vanish, so they’d better get used to each other’s company, for better or worse, in sickness and in health!

    modernity

    23/01/2008 at 13:36

  14. All these discussions are off the topic, but I think they actually show why the topic is intractable. In fact, Modernity, your last comment (just above) demonstrates why peace with the Palestinians is currently impossible. Even if some (most? I doubt it, but for the sake of argument…) wanted peace (and does that mean the same for both parties?), the Palestinian “governments” do not want it and have never wanted it. And, since they have the money and, more importantly, the bullets, they get their way.

    In any event, I believe that most Palestinians do not want peace on terms that are acceptable to Israel (you could say the reverse is true as well), so that’s that. It’s been this way for quite a while and will continue this way for a long time, again, absent some overwhelming event, like alien invasion, asteroid impact, second coming of Christ, etc.

    In other words, the present situation will continue, more or less, indefinitely.

    Seymour Paine

    23/01/2008 at 14:03

  15. Hmm, OK, then I would expect the next time the Middle East is discussed that the first item on the topic is the dissolution of Saudi Arabia?

    because that’s how it goes when Israel is discussed, many people barely pause for breath before calling for Israel’s destruction, dissolvement, deconstruction, etc

    Yes and no. Generally, I just state clearly that I’m for the destruction of all states. Going through each one individually strikes me as somewhat redundant. I only get specific in the way you suggest in one of two situations. If a single country is being discussed in detail (like it is here) or if it’s a reaction to current events.

    now Waterloo, I haven’t heard you say that, but it strikes me that you didn’t acknowledge the bleeding obvious that you are, in this eventuality, in an incredible minority on the Left??

    Depends what you mean by the Left. I’d say my view:

    States offer no solution for either the Palestinian or Israeli people.
    The Palestinian and Israeli ruling classes are the main enemy of their own people.
    Attacks on civilians should be condemned, period. (And it often goes unstated that the main Israeli victims of suicide bombings are overwhemingly working class).
    Hamas are reactionary right wing fucks and deserve no political support.
    We should support class struggles in both Palestine and Israel. (I have no time for the idea that the Israeli working class is somehow irredemable, which is what you see from some quarters).
    That the choice for both Israelis and Palestinians is very stark. As Luxemburg put it “socialism or barbarism”.

    Is the mainstream of my particular tradition (anarchism and the ultraleft communists).

    This discussion may be of interest- http://libcom.org/forums/news/israel-prepares-response-hamas-attack

    While there are a couple of Hamas supporting tossers on there, they certainly aren’t given the easy ride they might get elsewhere.

    I’d also recommend you read Political Entropy in the Jewish Diaspora for a detailed look at the issue from a Jewish anarchist. It rejects some of the dichotomys of both sides of this debate.

    I can email you a copy if you’re interested. (I have permission to put it online, but my technical skills aren’t up to it).

    Waterloo Sunset

    23/01/2008 at 14:23

  16. Seymour Paine wrote:

    why peace with the Palestinians is currently impossible.

    difficult, but not impossible nor unforeseeable, that’s why the Geneva initiative is so useful, because it does line up forward thinking Israelis and their Palestinian counterparts, to draw up something which might allow a cessation of violence

    but again, you existentialise Palestinians, in a way that you wouldn’t group together Israelis

    that is both inaccurate and counter-productive, as opinion polls show that the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians would like to live in peace, if it could be arranged

    and that’s why history is so important, we were often told that the conflict in Northern Ireland was intractable, that the Irish were stubborn, stupid and violent, equally that the British were imperialistic who wanted to remain in Ireland for an eternity, or that the Loyalists, led by religious fundamentalists, would never seek compromise and only knew the one word “NO”!

    all of that has been proven untrue, and I don’t see why the lessons of Northern Ireland or other conflicts don’t apply to the Middle East?

    modernityblog

    23/01/2008 at 14:36

  17. Yes and no. Generally, I just state clearly that I’m for the destruction of all states. Going through each one individually strikes me as somewhat redundant.

    I’m sure that some people sincerely believe that, but they can’t see why that would be a problem to certain groups of people?

    Suppose hypothetically, that the Kurds managed in the next 20 years to establish the State and manage their own affairs as most of them want to, (now you don’t have to agree their aim, but they sincerely wish a state, and they are entitled to their view).

    But then suppose soon after the establishment of the Kurdish state (which flourishes and provides haven for Kurdish refugees, who have lived as second-class citizens in many countries), suppose that Turkish nationalists talk about “dissolving” Kurdistan or Iranian nationalists start talking of “final solution” to the the question of the Kurds?

    how would you reasonably expect the Kurds to react?

    To think that people finally accept them, for what they want to be? Or that Turkish or Iranian nationalists wish to wipe them out?

    What would be a reasonable assumption? Please put yourself in the position of the Kurds and tell me what is a realistic answer?

    WS wrote: Depends what you mean by the Left.

    Please, if you mean that Class War and co are the ONLY real Left, then so say, directly

    You know as well as I do that the vast majority of the far Left want the dissolvement of only ONE State in the world: Israel

    And frankly I have to question the motives.

    Surely, you see that as not unreasonable?

    Please do email that book/pamphlet I am always interested in reading.

    modernityblog

    23/01/2008 at 14:49

  18. i don’t think the Palestinians and Israelis define peace in the same way. Would Israelis like to live, submerged in a Palestinian-majority state or next to a Palestinian state with 3x or 4x the current population, with no Israeli control over the borders? Without the separation barrier, and with a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem (also not a possibility)? And what about Gaza? Does everyone just write it off? It’s a basket case, full of arms and terror groups. How does that become a viable state? What about the constant barrage of missiles coming into Israel? Should the Israelis simply pretend that doesn’t happen? What about when Hezbollah strikes in coordination with Hamas? Gaza and the West Bank can never be connected physically, Gaza will always be isolated and desperately poor. Who is going to get rid of the terror gangs there?

    You bring up Northern Ireland all the time, but imagine if Northern Ireland was physically inside England and run by a well funded terror gang, lobbing missiles at, say, Liverpool daily?

    With so many hostile entities dedicated, almost defined, by the destruction of Israel, these amusing little talks in Geneva are just so much gas.

    Seymour Paine

    23/01/2008 at 15:17

  19. But then suppose soon after the establishment of the Kurdish state (which flourishes and provides haven for Kurdish refugees, who have lived as second-class citizens in many countries), suppose that Turkish nationalists talk about “dissolving” Kurdistan or Iranian nationalists start talking of “final solution” to the the question of the Kurds?

    I can’t help thinking we’re talking at cross purposes here. Where have you got the idea I’d support that kind of nationalism from? (And to be absolutely clear, I certainly don’t believe that an anarchist society can be imposed on a people from outside. That’s contradictory and I think it’s obviously so).

    Please, if you mean that Class War and co are the ONLY real Left, then so say, directly

    No, my view is more nuanced then that. I think you see the left as a monothlic block, rather then what it actually is- an umbrella group for various traditions.

    And I’m more interested in talking mainly about my own tradition for two reasons. Firstly, I know a lot more about it, frankly. You’ve got to remember that I spend the vast bulk of my political time either working within the anarchist mileau or on local community activism. Secondly, I don’t actually feel the obligation to defend or argue political positions or ideologies that I don’t hold. Anymore then I think that the fact you support the state of Israel means it would be fair to expect you to justify the views of Kahane.

    You know as well as I do that the vast majority of the far Left want the dissolvement of only ONE State in the world: Israel

    That’s not true, I don’t think. You might have a legitimate case to argue if looking at why Israel is discussed more (but that’s also true of a lot of the blogosphere who do support Israel). But my understanding is that the orthodox Marxist-Leninist position is that all states should be overthrown and replaced with a “worker’s state”. Again, I’m an odd person for you to be arguing this with though, because it’s my view that the very concept of a “worker’s state” is an oxymoron.

    Waterloo Sunset

    23/01/2008 at 15:48

  20. Seymour Paine wrote:

    You bring up Northern Ireland all the time,

    to answer your last question first,

    Northern Ireland was ALWAYS thought to be an intractable problem, and yet now it isn’t

    so will we look at history (and I suggest scanning the newspapers from 10-15 years ago) we see that even the most intractable problems can have a partial resolution, so nowadays Loyalist terror gangs are not roaming through Catholic areas randomly picking off people

    and various Irish republican groups are not placing bombs in wastepaper bins or attacking shoe shops

    so I think that’s an improvement, and I don’t see how that couldn’t happen in the Middle East

    you are right to point out there are many problems, and had, hypothetically speaking, England been pelted by bombs or rockets from Scotland then they would not have shown ANY restraint, whereas the Israelis whilst periodically brutal and unnecessarily violent do not do what other countries might do in this situation

    returning to the Middle East, I think that the Geneva initiative provides some formal blueprint, which is better than nothing, which is better than wringing our hands and saying “it all impossible, can’t be done, let’s have a perpetual war”

    I don’t think that benefits ordinary Palestinians or ordinary Israelis, so I would prefer a political process rather than rockets fired at schools, pizza parlours blown up or retaliatory strikes at cars in Gaza which kill innocent women and children

    but you know all of that

    modernityblog

    23/01/2008 at 15:55

  21. WS wrote:

    Where have you got the idea I’d support that kind of nationalism from?

    I didn’t say you did, but I assumed that you could engage with hypothetical situations and at least try to get into the minds of other peoples’ thinking, even if it was NOT clearly your own.

    You wrote:

    That’s not true, I don’t think.

    Fair enough, that’s your view, tell you what, go and interview a selection of SWPers, Leninists, SP, WRPers, etc and so “do you think that Israel should be dissolved?” and my bet is that most of them will say yes.

    Or yes, with some former qualifier.

    I could provide reams of web links on the topic too, but would that be necessary to prove the point?

    That was my point about Saudi Arabia, if when people are discussing the Middle East they often only attack one country, Israel, then surely it is bleeding obvious to question their motives?

    Or should we assume that they are immune to the false consciousness of anti-Jewish racism??

    Concerning political traditions, I accept that most intelligent anarchists argue against the existence of a state, ANY state, but then I wonder how many of THESE anarchists have been stateless? and all the problems that it brings to the individual concerned?

    It’s all well and good arguing against States, when those arguing are enjoying the privileges, benefits and protection of States, it is detached from reality and suggesting that to the Palestinians or the Israelis that they should become stateless is hardly an answer, is it?

    Btw, thanks for the link to that forum, very interesting stuff, can you spot the odd one out there?

    modernityblog

    23/01/2008 at 16:14

  22. returning to the Middle East, I think that the Geneva initiative provides some formal blueprint, which is better than nothing, which is better than wringing our hands and saying “it all impossible, can’t be done, let’s have a perpetual war”

    A formal blueprint is fine, but the bad guys, Hamas (and Hezbollah, since they contribute to the generally awful situation), and other terror gangs in Gaza and the West Bank, aren’t part of that process. They have made their goals clear: the total elimination of Israel. What do say to that? What is there to negotiate about with a group which wants you dead? Where you and I completely differ is the degree to which the PA (and other so-called peaceful Palestinians) actually believe genuine peace with Israel is possible in a world where they do not get all their demands (i.e., perhaps no East Jerusalem capital, no return of “refugees,” etc.) I am quite convinced none of them really subscribe to a peaceful existence with Israel. That they all thirst for Israel’s (and Jews’) elimination but hide that fact from time to time (and not always).

    That is why I place the entire burden on the Palestinians. As I see it, they are the aggressors (in the present day) and hence they are the problem. You can argue about Israel’s response or anything else, but it doesn’t matter to me. I do not care how harsh Israel’s response is (and believe it should be harsh; do you think England would pussy around with Scotland if missiles landed daily from there? If the Scottish population applauded those missiles and thereby showed themselves existential enemies of England, do you think England would be worrying about Amnesty or Human Rights Watch’s opinions or would they take all necessary measure to eliminate the threat, as they did against Germany? Wasn’t our bombing of Germany during WWII collective punishment? In fact, it was explicitly collective punishment and designed to do just that and it worked then.

    Seymour Paine

    23/01/2008 at 16:55

  23. Mod, If I may say to you the same I said to Red Deathy, you talk as if history ended yesterday in Northern Ireland. I wish you the very best there, but I don’t really think that proves anything about the Middle East.

    The fact is that most Palestinians are VERY traditional. Their society is VERY repressed. One friend of mine worked with a married couple of Palestinians in a butcher shop in Israel. He could not talk to the wife, because the husband would get mad. That type of society just don’t develop trendy websites like Ireland. A relative of mine here who really likes Palestinians, and has always worked with them told me the other day that West Bank Palestinians asked him once never to hire Gazans because as they said “they are crazy. You will have problems”.

    Add to that a religious and secular leadership that have massacre and jihad in the tip of the tongue every day. Everybody in Gaza is armed. You think that they cannot do anything against Hamas? You are wrong, if the neighborhood gets organized, they can do a lot. I don’t see any kind of economic future for Gaza short of being a Mediterranean port for Jordanian and Middle Eastern exports in the event that peace totally comes to the region and a railroad is built. But on the other hand, there are too many people there to live from being a port city. And it has one of the highest natality rates in the world. Simply put, Gaza can only survive if there is constant emigration of workers towards other areas in the Arab world and beyond. Forget about Gaza development, it is a pipe dream. The place don’t have water and who is going to build a fucking hotel in a place where fanatics chop heads of alcohol-drinkers and Christians?

    Forget it. Gaza needs to be left to drain. And it will happen naturally, when Israel loses patience and there is a war there. You can count that of the million Palestinians who get out, a big portion will never want to come back again.

    Fabian from Israel

    23/01/2008 at 17:06

  24. I didn’t say you did, but I assumed that you could engage with hypothetical situations and at least try to get into the minds of other peoples’ thinking, even if it was NOT clearly your own.

    That’s fair enough, but I’m still not sure on how you’re relating it to what we’re debating, can you clarify?

    Fair enough, that’s your view, tell you what, go and interview a selection of SWPers, Leninists, SP, WRPers, etc and so “do you think that Israel should be dissolved?” and my bet is that most of them will say yes.

    Or yes, with some former qualifier.

    I could provide reams of web links on the topic too, but would that be necessary to prove the point?

    You’ve missed my point I think- I suspect that if you asked that question of them about any country they’d say yes, with the aforementioned qualifier. (Actually, I do know you’re wrong on the SP there- I do remember that their position is “two sociaist states” not “one state”. Do you accept that does prove my point about you seeing the left as a monolithic block as opposed to actually examining the policies of the individual groups you’re interested in?

    That was my point about Saudi Arabia, if when people are discussing the Middle East they often only attack one country, Israel, then surely it is bleeding obvious to question their motives?

    On the other hand, how often have you posted a defense of East Timor? Or Tibet? Or against Turkish oppression of the Kurds? This one works both ways I think.

    Or should we assume that they are immune to the false consciousness of anti-Jewish racism??

    Absolutely not. We shouldn’t assume that of anyone or any group. Antisemitism is a insidious hatred, which can seep into political discourse unawares and be none the less virulent for that. I don’t think that’s confined to the far left though. The attacks on both Howard and Mandleson were playing with antisemitic stereotyping, yet I don’t remember the ‘decent left’ having much to say. To turn your question back on you. Is it reasonable to question the motives of those people who’s main interest in fighting antisemitism seems to arise when they’re talking about those they’re already politically opposed to, yet you never see them talking about fighting antisemitism among the political traditions they support?

    To give you a kind of example of the kind of committment I’m calling for, I’d refer you to this pamphlet on antisemitism and the direct action/anti globalisation movement- http://www.pinteleyid.com/past/

    Concerning political traditions, I accept that most intelligent anarchists argue against the existence of a state, ANY state, but then I wonder how many of THESE anarchists have been stateless? and all the problems that it brings to the individual concerned?

    You’re arguing that people who’ve achieved anarchism don’t fight for anarchism? That strikes me as pretty circular to be honest. And it’s an argument against any fight for social change.

    And there’s an interesting argument here. From my understanding, one of the main moral arguments for the existence of Israel is that the Jewish people deserve a state of their own. If you’re going to accept that states are a good thing, I think that’s logical- why should Jews not have a state if other peoples do? However, if you take that argument, then you could also argue that Jewish anarchists (and historically there have been a sizeable number, some very prominent) are stateless as a people, although obviously not as individuals living within states. So that could be precisely what you’re looking for here.

    It’s all well and good arguing against States, when those arguing are enjoying the privileges, benefits and protection of States, it is detached from reality and suggesting that to the Palestinians or the Israelis that they should become stateless is hardly an answer, is it?

    Possibly. But I think you’d be hard pressed to argue that the statist solution has solved the problem either. (You’re also ignoring the existence of a sizeable Israeli anarchist movement with that argument).

    Btw, thanks for the link to that forum, very interesting stuff, can you spot the odd one out there?

    There’s two possible interpretations of that statement, so I’ll answer both. If you mean that guy doesn’t exactly fit in over there, yeah, that’s the case. Praising Che on an anarchist forum is not a great way to endear yourself to people. If you’re seriously suggesting that Libcom singles out Israel for special attention, you need to look at the tags page rather then a newswire thread on events in Israel and Palestine- http://libcom.org/tags While it doesn’t cover every country, it’s pretty extensive.

    Waterloo Sunset

    23/01/2008 at 17:07

  25. I haven’t a clue what point Waterloo is arguing about. Is it that no states should exist anywhere? That Israel shouldn’t exist? That anarchists need their own state?

    Seymour Paine

    23/01/2008 at 18:08

  26. Just finished parusing the Hamas charter. Nothing much will change as long as an outfit like that remains in power.

    A permenant peace deal presupposes a minimum of common sense on both sides, but from what can tell that sense exists on one side only.

    Palestinians need to confront their leadership and demand that a different, less miltaristic approach be tried. But were someone to suggest just that, how long would they live?

    John P.

    23/01/2008 at 18:16

  27. WS,

    working backwards on your points

    I am not, (I repeat NOT) suggesting that libcom singles out any particular country, one because I haven’t read sufficiently of it to make that statement and two it doesn’t seem improbable, as I would reasonably expect anarchists to have contempt for all States.

    I was pleasantly surprised by the variations in arguments on a forum one point was there was one individual that stood out in his antithesis to Israel, and I was wondering if you could spot him? and why?

    I know it’s a bit of a trick question but I was curious, having spent ages looking at neo-Nazi filth and their assorted allies. You can normally see the template that they work from and how they marshal their arguments and I’m betting that there is one individual in that Forum follows the Far Right’s attitudes towards Jews.

    WS wrote:

    you’d be hard pressed to argue that the statist solution has solved the problem either.

    you’ll notice that I said it was a partial solution, but I would just prefer if people didn’t spend their time killing each other or invoking other people to kill others, as a partial solution is better than incessant war, in my book

    WS wrote:

    you could also argue that Jewish anarchists … are stateless as a people, although obviously not as individuals living within states.

    you’re probably right, and if any Jewish anarchist chose to REMAIN stateless then I’d say that they are holding to their principles.

    My point is that it is somewhat hypocritical, for Western anarchists to suggest to dispossessed people (including the Palestinians and the Kurds) that they should either adopt or continuously this existence, when the selfsame Western anarchists don’t do it themselves?

    I am merely arguing for consistency. I personally wouldn’t wish to be stateless, and so I can see why other people wouldn’t either.

    Of course, if people deliberately choose to make themselves stateless because of their principles then I can acknowledge it, but let’s be honest how many people do that? 1 in a billion?

    incidentally, I think that a world not riven by petty nationalist propaganda and free from geographical limitations would be a good idea, but I don’t think that it is a valid solution to the Middle East, at the moment.

    Is anarchism (aside from Israel) big in the Middle East? I somehow doubt it, could that be a bit of an impediment to implementing a borderless Middle East? Hmm?

    Concerning the SP attitude, you’re probably right as I said my memory isn’t terribly good but let’s have a look at their website, I will bet that of all of the states in the Middle East one gets mentioned more than any other? Let’s see, ahh

    Only the struggles of the Israeli working class and Palestinian masses to overthrow capitalism – the fundamental cause of conflict, national oppression and poverty – and the dictatorial and corrupt elites in the Middle East offers a way out.

    The establishment of a socialist Israel alongside a socialist Palestine leading to a socialist confederation of the Middle East is the only way the seemingly permanent cycle of war and bloodshed can be broken and become a thing of the past.

    Vintage boilerplate analysis, so the Palestinian and Israeli working classes are somehow meant to overthrow capitalism, the ruling elites and those neighbouring states, and do ALL of that in the middle of a conflict between themselves?

    Does that seem likely? has it EVER occurred before, Hmmm, WW1 springs to mind, nope that didn’t work.

    And that’s the problem, until you interrupt the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis, they ain’t going to focus their minds on anything else, let alone the glorious Socialist Federation of the Middle East

    On the SP campaign is here “That’s why the so-called ‘two state solution’ is unachievable within the framework of capitalism.” http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/nidal/nidal2.html

    WS wrote:

    This one works both ways I think.

    er, no.

    Because there aren’t organised groups calling for the liquidation of Tibetans or East Timorese, that’s why it’s different, as you point out yourself, “Antisemitism is a insidious hatred, which can seep into political discourse unawares and be none the less virulent for that. I don’t think that’s confined to the far left though.”

    But there have been groups organising and calling for the liquidation of Jews over time, that is why it’s different with them from any other group, except I suppose the Roma. I think, for example, that if you were to question some rightwing Americans loons and they only wanted to destroy say Saudi Arabia, then you could speculate, justifiably, on their motivation as well.

    I think it’s the concentration on one particular state and given the historical connotations there are sensitivities that we need to appreciate

    Antisemitism certainly isn’t confined to the far left, but I am disappointed to find ANY manifestations of anti-Jewish racism on the Left.

    There has been a noticeable transfer of narrative, bit by bit, from the Far Right, even that Libcom had a smattering of it. On the Left it is less noticeable amongst the sea of “anti-Zionism”, but you can find it if you look, granted, the spelling is better and the argumentation less crude, but it’s still there in small amounts.

    If you want I can give you a few examples?

    and I returned to my point.

    If someone who believed in the benefit of states (as a lot of Leninists or Stalinists do), argues for the dissolution of only ONE state in the world, and that state is not China, is not even Saudi Arabia, but always Israel, then I have to wonder why? surely that is obvious?

    modernity

    23/01/2008 at 18:36

  28. having read thru the thread http://libcom.org/forums/news/israel-prepares-response-hamas-attack?page=4

    I found much less anti Jewish invective than I would expect on other forums, however, there was profound ignorance of historical topics, such as British attitudes towards the creation of Israel, and how the USSR responded in the post-war period.

    still, small mercies?

    modernityblog

    23/01/2008 at 20:03

  29. back to antifascist Trainspotting:

    the individual concerned from the Libcom forums that is clearly on the Far right and in all probability a virulent anti-Jewish racist is the individual with the handle “Black Flag”

    http://libcom.org/forums/news/israel-prepares-response-hamas-attack

    it becomes obvious because in the discussion he harps on about specific themes:

    1. wild accusations of the Israelis murderous mentality

    2. “The fact is it’s always the zionists fault and always has been.”

    3. “I thought this was a libertarian communist forum.” followed by feeble sarcasm and nasty accusation, “But apparently zionism is completley blameless for oppressing everyone on their borders and participating in the holacaust.”

    4.Then the obligatory defensive comment along the lines of “are you calling me an antisemite?”, “I certainly didn’t mouth anyone off and I’m certainly not in the least sectarian or anti-semitc like some people here are saying”

    etc

    fairly obvious, and I’m sure that if you checked this individuals other posts on related topic you would see recurring themes: control of power, Jewish control of the media, complicity with the Holocaust, Jews as Nazis, USS liberty, etc

    All the sort of things that you see on neo-Nazi and white power message boards, a repetitive stream of anti-Jewish racism, no substantive discussion of the issues unless they can lob in some malicious comment against Jews. Often such people will use the codeword “Zionist” when they mean Jew and vice versa.

    In truth you’ll probably find worse anti-Jewish racism on the Guardian’s Comment is Free.

    Evidently at Libcom you have people discussing topics that they have read nothing of, hardly ever discuss and make an extrapolation from some singular piece of information that they have, but certainly not as vitriol as you might expect. Then again I am disappointed to find any anti-Jewish racism on the Left, and I include anarchists.

    I am just a bit surprised that people can’t spot it.

    modernity

    24/01/2008 at 13:17

  30. Waterloo Sunset writes:

    “Yes and no. Generally, I just state clearly that I’m for the destruction of all states.”

    You may not realize it now—I’m not sure how old you are—but holding a political position as utopian as this will condemn you to political impotency and irrelevance. But maybe that’s your point. If you are going to engage in the world of politics you need to be able to see things the way they are in reality, not as you wish them to be in your fantasies. In short, you subscribe to what Lee Harris has termed a “fantasy ideology”:

    http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/3459646.html

    My first encounter with this particular kind of fantasy occurred when I was in college in the late sixties. A friend of mine and I got into a heated argument. Although we were both opposed to the Vietnam War, we discovered that we differed considerably on what counted as permissible forms of anti-war protest. To me the point of such protest was simple — to turn people against the war. Hence anything that was counterproductive to this purpose was politically irresponsible and should be severely censured. My friend thought otherwise; in fact, he was planning to join what by all accounts was to be a massively disruptive demonstration in Washington, and which in fact became one.

    My friend did not disagree with me as to the likely counterproductive effects of such a demonstration. Instead, he argued that this simply did not matter. His answer was that even if it was counterproductive, even if it turned people against war protesters, indeed even if it made them more likely to support the continuation of the war, he would still participate in the demonstration and he would do so for one simple reason — because it was, in his words, good for his soul.

    What I saw as a political act was not, for my friend, any such thing. It was not aimed at altering the minds of other people or persuading them to act differently. Its whole point was what it did for him.

    And what it did for him was to provide him with a fantasy — a fantasy, namely, of taking part in the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed against their oppressors. By participating in a violent anti-war demonstration, he was in no sense aiming at coercing conformity with his view — for that would still have been a political objective.

    Instead, he took his part in order to confirm his ideological fantasy of marching on the right side of history, of feeling himself among the elect few who stood with the angels of historical inevitability. Thus, when he lay down in front of hapless commuters on the bridges over the Potomac, he had no interest in changing the minds of these commuters, no concern over whether they became angry at the protesters or not.

    They were there merely as props, as so many supernumeraries in his private psychodrama. The protest for him was not politics, but theater; and the significance of his role lay not in the political ends his actions might achieve, but rather in their symbolic value as ritual. In short, he was acting out a fantasy.

    For want of a better term, call the phenomenon in question a fantasy ideology — by which I mean, political and ideological symbols and tropes used not for political purposes, but entirely for the benefit of furthering a specific personal or collective fantasy. It is, to be frank, something like “Dungeons and Dragons” carried out not with the trappings of medieval romances — old castles and maidens in distress — but entirely in terms of ideological symbols and emblems. The difference between them is that one is an innocent pastime while the other has proven to be one of the most terrible scourges to afflict the human race.
    =====================================
    I’ve found that most people in the U.S. anarchist movement subscribe to various forms of fantasy ideologies. For them, politics is about validating their own personal political beliefs (like being “anti-state”) rather than accomplishing anything political. Let’s be honest, how many of these black-hooded youths actually thinks “the state” is going to collapse anytime soon? But it’s a convenient position to to take but it doesn’t require you to do anything beyond protest.

    Anarchism was–key word being was–a thriving political movement in the mid to late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries because it had a strong foundation in working-class communities. Today it is mostly a fad for middle-class college students, like socialism in general. This, not government repression, explains the movement’s weakness.

    Side note: I was in Paris across the street from the anarchist bookstore near Republique and I saw an anti-war poster with a tank that read “Communism or Barbarism!” only someone had changed it to read “Communism is Barbarism!” I had to take it home with me…

    newcentrist

    17/02/2008 at 18:48


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