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Submitted by dalcassian on Thu, 05/02/2009 - 14:10

In reply to by AWL

One one level it's a sterile argument, whether we are “Zionists” or not. I defined what I understand by it — support for a/the Jewish state. That describes me, and though Sacha is entitled to reject the label for himself, I think it describes him.

I didn't say AWL is Zionist, because I know that other comrades, like Sacha, would disagree. I said it in reply to Ian Sternberg in order to put my criticism of the Israeli war in our, and not the Kitsch-Left's, political framework. I counterpoed Zionism in general, meaning support for a Jewish state, to the “nationalism” I see in Ian Sternberg and Eric Lee.

We, AWL, are International Socialists, not any sort of nationalists; we do however, from our own point of view, champion national rights and national freedom for those who want it — here for the Palestinian and the Israeli Jewish nations.

Yet there is a point. The word “Zionist” is used in the Kitsch-Left as a near equivalent of “racist”. It encapsulates the demonisation of Israel and of Jewish people who support it. It sums up the grotesque, and originally Stalinist, misrepresentation of both the history of Zionism and of the Jews in the Twentieth Century, on which the “absolute anti-Zionists” erect their toxic nonsense. It is a tool of ideological terrorism on the “left”. The cleanest and simplest way of dealing with that is to accept it, in its proper, original, meaning, and wear it as a badge of political sanity.

The example of Eleanor Marx strikes me as a good example: when the “anti-Alien (anti-Jewish) agitation was at its most intense, at the end of the Nineteenth Century, she told the East End workers, who knew her as their supporter, that she was “a Jewess”. One of her grandfathers, Karl Marx's father, was a Jewish “convert” to Christianity, seeking the civil liberties such a “conversion” brought. She had less reason for adopting the name of the targets of the anti-alien agitation than supporters of a Jewish/Zionist state have for calling themselves “Zionists”. But, let's agree to differ on it, Sacha.

Sean Matgamna

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