Thursday, January 14, 2010

"Yes, but...": Zionist-tool lefties dream up all manner of reasons NOT to boycott Israeli apple of their Jewish-grifter braintrust's eye

Why left-wing students should not support boycotts of Israel
(Worker's Liberty) --

...Since Israel's brutal invasion of Gaza in January 2009, calls for international boycotts of various aspects of Israeli society – whether academic, cultural, sporting, economic or simply thoroughgoing, root-and-branch boycotts “of Israel” – have gained prominence. Many trade unions have adopted some form of pro-boycott position, and the tactic is also being debated in the student movement. At present, unfortunately, the dominant voices opposing it are supporters of the Israeli government and those who believe that student unions should have nothing to do with big political issues.

Workers’ Liberty condemned and opposed Israel's invasion of Gaza, and we condemn and oppose its occupation of the Palestinian territories. We believe solidarity with the Palestinians should be the left’s starting point on the question of Israel/Palestine. But we believe that the proposal to boycott Israel is reactionary, counter-productive and will hinder efforts to build an effective movement of solidarity with the Palestinians.

In this briefing, we set out our arguments against the boycott, and for a different kind of solidarity with the Palestinians and the Israeli left...

The Israelis are not a narrow caste, and Israeli is not an apartheid state, but a nation - one that denies rights to and oppresses the Palestinians, but a nation nonetheless. Iraq, Iran and Turkey are not “apartheid states” because they oppress the Kurds, and Russia is not an “apartheid state” because of its occupation of Chechnya.

Israel's social structure is decisively different to that of apartheid South Africa. It is a national entity, not simply a narrow settler-caste. Within Israel, there are Israeli-Jewish-Hebrew speaking capitalists, workers, intermediate layers. The great majority of the working class is ethnically 'Jewish', and for the reasons explained above, their view matters. They do not have the right to support the denial of rights to the Palestinians, but they do have the right to want to keep their own national rights. That is why in Palestine, unlike in South Africa, the best immediate settlement from a working-class point of view is two states (with equal rights for everyone in both states, of course).

We can see why the Palestinian trade unions and others support a boycott. In the desperate situation they face, this is understandable. But we do not agree. The existence of two nations, with two working classes, makes things more complicated.

In terms of the Arab citizens of Israel, they face discrimination in many areas of life. We oppose and condemn this. But the situation more resembles the racism and discrimination historically faced by black and ethnic minority people in the UK or US than it does apartheid South Africa. Israeli Arabs have formally equal rights, they can vote, there are Arab members of the Knesset. There are Arab members of the Israeli national sports teams which some want to boycott. None of this is to suggest that their situation is anything other than one of a very severely discriminated-against minority facing intense racism, but apartheid is simply not an accurate description.

Some of the military-administrative techniques of oppression adopted by Israel in its war against the Palestinians resemble those used by the South African regime. But the social and political realities of Israel-Palestine and South Africa are fundamentally dissimilar. Recognising that in no way lessens our hostility to the oppression of the Palestinians; in fact it grounds it in reality.

Is Israel “the” problem? Should we support any measure that hits Israel?

Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians is a big part of the problem; the major problem, in fact, and the one we should focus on. But it is not the only problem. A big part of what is wrong with the way some left-wingers talk about Israel-Palestine is their totally one-sided and un-nuanced condemnation of Israel.

What, for instance, about the fact that most of Israel’s neighbours do not and have never recognised its right to exist – and have tried to crush it in three wars (1947, 1967, 1973)? What about the fact that many Arab states have also mistreated the Palestinians (particularly Jordan, which has carried out terrible massacres)? Israel’s imperialism, its chauvinism, its nationalism (Zionism) have to be understood within a network of interlocking, antagonistic and mutually reinforcing imperialisms, chauvinisms and nationalisms. Again, this is not to excuse Israel’s crimes, but to understand their context – and therefore understand how to fight them. To refuse to do this means distorting reality, and therefore, in effect, giving up on changing it.

We repeat: the urge to do something to stop oppression is good. That does not mean that doing anything, no matter how harmful and counterproductive, is a good idea...MORE...LINK

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