In the Gaza demonstrations, rational, nuanced, coherent politics has been eclipsed in an eruption of Arab and Islamic chauvinism that is only in part to be accounted for by the horror at Israel's onslaught on Gaza and a possibly healthy gut identification with the Palestinians and their organisations.
Young people, previously non-political - including young people of Muslim background - drawn to demonstrations because they want to do something about Gaza find the political space occupied already by Arab and Islamic chauvinists. The biggest forces on the "left" are on this question indistinguishable from Arab and Islamic clerical-fascism. They glory in identifying with it, in repeating its slogans. They educate young people in a malignant view of modern Jewish history and of 20th century Middle East history.
The young people are offered political "answers" that appear to be the necessary expression of their outrage at Israel in Gaza. They are drawn into reactionary politics, into support for the forcible destruction and abolition of the Jewish national state, and, logically and inexorably, into identification, in varying degrees, with those fighting Israel like Hamas.
The inevitable political ignorance and confusion of people newly interested in politics becomes a means by way of which they are drawn behind political and social reaction, and into support for political-Islamist militancy, including terrorism against Israeli civilians. They come to express their new-found anti-imperialism in support for the reactionary anti-imperialism of those whose prime objection is to modern bourgeois-democratic society, and into support for regional imperialisms like Iran and Saddam's Iraq.
What the recent demonstrations show yet again is the need for a rank and file committee for Two States, able to fight for rational politics, championing the rights of the Palestinians, including their right to an independent state, but not letting itself be contaminated by politics that are at root anti-Israel or even anti-semitic. (It is a matter here not of racist anti-semitism, but of comprehensive hostility to most Jews alive as "Zionists", and commitment to the destruction of the Jewish state by Arab and Islamic forces).
AWL does what we can in education and propaganda, but we are far too small to offer a sufficiently visible standard of opposition to the dominant Arab and Islamic chauvinists of the kitsch left.
Many besides ourselves will have been alarmed at the political character of the Gaza demonstrations. It is time to create a coalition of those committed to "Two States", peace, and workers' unity across the borders.