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Submitted by AWL on Sun, 01/02/2009 - 22:30

> Logic fail.

Not at all.

> I am against Zionism, therefore unavoidably I am "anti-Zionist", and if you are really against Zionism you are too.

Come on Tom, you're being obtuse. My point is obviously that I don't want to use anti-Zionism as a prominent, self-defining LABEL; not that I think there is an abstract logical difference between the words 'being against Zionism' and 'being anti-Zionist'. Or, to put it another way, the problem is that 'anti-Zionist' has come to mean more than just 'being against Zionism'; it is a political label with all sorts of connotations, ie the ones I spelt out. In a certain sense, then, yes, we are anti-Zionists; but we refuse to use the label 'anti-Zionist'. (For the same reason that we say 'Two states' rather than just saying 'an independent Palestinian state' - no one had to say 'Algeria and France - two nations, two states'.)

Similarly, I am against Palestinian nationalism, but I don't call myself 'anti-Palestinian nationalist'. (Similarly, not identically - I don't equate the nationalism of the oppressed with the nationalism of the oppressor, but the point is that Zionism is not *simply* an oppressor nationalism.) Generally, in fact, I haven't noticed socialists defining themselves as particularly against one specific nationalism and using this as a label - even in much more clear cut cases (eg 'Anti-American nationalist').

> What if an Israeli socialist initiated a call for international solidarity under the banner of 'anti-Zionism'? Would you sign up, or give your apologies on the ground that they can be 'anti-Zionist', whereas you can't?!

You might sign up critically, depending on the content and purpose. But I would also say, comrades, this is a pretty silly basis on which to demand international solidarity. Btw, do you know any Israeli socialists who go out of their way to define themselves as being 'anti-British nationalist' (rather than opposed to nationalism in general, and of course also to British imperialism) in the way the British left harps on about 'anti-Zionism'?

I remember seeing a French socialist paper, I think linked to the SWP, which had the banner - not related to any particular article, just a general self-description - 'anti-imperialist, anti-Zionist, anti-capitalist'. Much like the slogan "Smash capitalism, smash Israel" being shouted through the SWP megaphone at 10 January Gaza demo in London. Bizarre and noxious.


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