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Submitted by Daniel_Randall on Sat, 09/08/2008 - 18:20

Bill -

We do not support the Israeli 'law of return' and I have said many times in direct debates with you on this very website that we do not. We also do not, however, make the abolition of immigration controls a precondition for supporting the right of Israeli Jews to self-determination, just as we do not think that (for example) the Palestinian people will only have a right to self-determination once they have smashed the racist and reactionary forces within their society.

We do not believe that the US (or Israel) should arbitrarily impose a Palestinian state from above; we hope that an independent Palestine will emerge as the result of united struggle between Israeli and Palestinian workers. However, any development that gives any amount of breathing space for the organisation of labour in Palestine (as any created-from-above Palestinian state probably would) should be exploited, just as the opportunity presented by the smashing of the Ba'athist state (which we rightly opposed) was exploited by Iraqi workers to organise unions that did not previously exist.

We do not support the presence of occupying troops in Iraq; some of our members believe that, while we are for their withdrawal, focusing all our demands on it is reckless given the current balance of class forces. Perhaps you are incapable of understanding the difference between these two ideas.

Dan -

You can't gut a sentence like that and still pretend to credible political debate. The "quote" from me on the "right of return" (which you hacked apart and then used to tacitly claim that I, and the AWL, think it's a good thing that there are lots of Palestinians in refugee camps and that they should be forcibly kept there) actually reads thus;

"To justify his repeated lie that the AWL supports immigration controls in Israel, he pulled out a piece of ours explaining why we think the demand for the collective resettlement of millions of people (which is what the demand for "the right of return" amounts to in the heads of the people who politically hegemonise it) is a reactionary fantasy."

If you think I'm wrong here then deal with the substantial politics instead of lying about what I actually think. Presumably you're capable of understanding the difference between a political idea (in this case that those Palestinians expelled in 1948 and their descendants should have freedom of movement and settlement, which the AWL supports) and the political character given to a particular set of words or slogans by the forces which politically hegemonise them (in this case, the use of the "right of return" demand not as an expression of opposition to immigration controls but as a veiled advocacy of collective resettlement of Palestinians and the displacement of the Israelis - be they first, second or third-generation - who inhabit the land/houses from which they or their anscestors were displaced).

PR members posting on this website have kicked up plenty of fuss about the sectarian and dishonest tactics employed by the rest of the left (including the AWL) in debate. Perhaps you should set your own house in order before you carry on preaching to us about how to conduct ourselves in argument.

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