Wednesday, July 25, 2007

For the Third Camp – Yes to Palestinian Liberation! No To Anti-Semitism!

For the Third Camp – Yes to Palestinian Liberation! No To Anti-Semitism! | Workers' Liberty
Manifesto by Steve Cohen. Against the "kitsch left".

2 comments:

The Contentious Centrist said...

I can't quite understand from the author what he means by "Palestinian liberation". Looks to me like the formula covers Palestinians and Diaspora Jews. Where are the Israeli Jews in this "solution"? Is he behind the two-state solution or is he willing to sacrifice Israel as a Jewish state to Palestinian liberation and thus bring about an end to antisemitism towards British Jews?

Palestinians need to have a state of their own. Israel needs to be left alone to have a normal existence as any other country in the world. From my observations (which are greatly impacted by what I read from the boycotters), the Kitch Left (an apt appellation) does not seem interested at all in Palestinian independence and statehood. It seems much more intent on demonizing Israel as the greatest evil on the face of this globe. Why am I saying this? Because none of them gives a nanosecond of reflection to Israel's precarious situation, to Israel's peace overtures over the years, to Israel's need to keep its own citizens safe from being shredded to pieces. People who do not care for universal human rights cannot want peace and justice. They are after something else, and Israel as pariah will be their first prize.

BTW, I have seen nothing written by Zionist Jews that would relegate them to "beyond the pale". What is "beyond the pale" is the ultimate aim of the boycotters which is the destruction of Israel, even if they try to conceal it like some coy virgin covers her bouncing breasts (an exercise in futility is what I mean). I fail to understand this automatic need to create an artificial "evenhandedness".

bob said...

1. On what is "Palestinian liberation". Cohen writes: "Of course what is meant by "Palestinian liberation" (one state, two states etc) is a matter of legitimate political debate – to be [led] by the Palestinians themselves."

This could be read in a slightly ominous way - if it is just for Palestinians to decide what Palestinian liberation is, then they'd probably opt for one state - a Palestinian state. Palestinian liberation needs to procede in the context, as you say, of the reality of already-existing Jewish Israel. I personally believe in one state - a binational state with right of return for all Jews and Palestinians - but that is probably a utopian fantasy at this stage in history, and advocacy for one state can very easily become advocacy for the elimination of Israel.

2. "Beyond the pale". You are right to pick up on this. The passage it comes from sets up a moral equivalence between Hizbollah and the Jewish communal leadership. Of course, the Jewish communal leadership does take an overly defensive view of Israel, which needs to be challenged. But "beyond the pale" for me would be support of Kahane's Greater Israel fascism, rather than support of the existnce of the state of Israel - and no communal leaders take that line.

Good points!

Nonetheless, I think Cohen's heart is in the right place.