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Submitted by Daniel_Randall on Sun, 10/08/2008 - 20:30

Dan -

I wrote:

"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)."

Despite what I thought was a reasonably comprehensive attempt to explain my position behind the politics of the "right of return" demand and what I actually advocate in terms of winning justice for the Palestinian refugees, you are capable only of responding with:

"you think the right of return for the millions of Palestinians in camps is a fantasy."

I'll reiterate myself once more and then pack this whole debate in, because it's becoming a waste of time.

I do not believe that winning a situation whereby Palestinian refugees and their descendants are able to resettle in Israel (or an independent Palestine) is "a fantasy". However, I believe the politics of those who hegemonise the demand for "the right of return", which they use to mean not what I have just outlined but the collective resettlement of millions of Palestinians and the displacement of millions of Israelis, are reactionary - hence my unwillingness to use the demand. If you think I'm wrong you have to prove either that a) the demand has some other meaning (in the real world, not just in your head) or that b) the idea that cynically attempting to use millions of Palestinians as a demographic tool to displace Israeli-Jews is a good one.

You're obviously a more rational individual than your comrade Bill so please attempt to deal with the politics rather than just repeating your mantra about what you've convinced yourself I believe.

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