Thursday, July 21, 2005

Antiwar Unity and The Debate over Palestine

Can There Be a Unified Mass
Demonstration on Sept. 24, 2005?

Regarding the Palestianian 'Right to Return'
as a 'non-negotiable' demand for the antiwar movement:

By Carl Davidson

[In response to a query on the noraqwar list.]

Craig asks, a bit disingenuously I think, who would be alienated by the Palestinian demand for `the right to return?' He asks:

'I asked once before, and never got a satisfying answer, but can someone tell me who is going to be alienated by a demand for Palestinian right of return, and why?'

I don't know how satisfying this will be, but, in principle, Craig, the demand is not hard at all to understand and even support. I do.

But think about it a bit.

It's not so hard, that is, unless you're living on land once lived on by someone else's parents or grandparents who were compelled to leave before you came to live there, if not before your family came. Now to implement the demand, you have to compel them to leave in return, don't you?

We've plenty of examples of this right here in the U.S. The Cherokee, for example, were driven out of the Smokies via the 'Trail of Tears,' and now other folks live there. I'd say Cherokee have a 'right of return' too, wouldn't you? Now take yourself down to the Gatlinburg, TN or Waynesville, NC areas and start going door-to-door and see if you can find any folks who might be `alienated' when they're told to leave so the Cherokee can exercise the `right to return.'

Again, I think justice is on the side of the Cherokee, but now how do you go about doing it in a way that enhances a longer-term peace, equity, and stability among peoples? And what does it mean for American radicals to advocate this for the Middle East, to the point of making it a splitting issue, when they don't bother to deal with it in their own back yard?

But then, maybe that's not your concern. I'm not accusing you or ANSWER of this, but some folks I've debated on this matter would just tell the Jews in Israel to get out of the Middle East and go back to Germany, Russia, Poland, Brooklyn or wherever else they or their parents came from, at the point of a gun, I suppose.

But practically, that requires a MILITARY victory over Israel, doesn't it? And that's not in the cards, or do you think it is?

But the prospect for a military victory by either side over the other there is a delusion, in my opinion. The two sides have to make a deal, a political settlement, whether it's one-state or two-state. The occupation of the Palestinians on the West Back and Gaza has to end.
Some Palestinians still alive from 1947 may be allowed to return; others or their families will be given a financial settlement. And other things will be traded off. Mind you, this is not what I'm advocating; it's what I'm predicting, for whatever it's worth.

But every Palestinian and their descendants anywhere returning to wherever they have claims? Again, my estimate is that would require crushing the Israelis militarily and scattering them far and wide. Do you think it's possible? How much blood are you willing to see spilled for it, and what will that mean in the longer run?

It's easy to support 'the right' to return. As I said, I do. But the devil is in the details, isn't it? And the Palestinians themselves have different notions about the details--some practical, some not so practical, some in between.

Do you want us to get behind one plan or another? Which one? Do we all have to get behind your choice? Do you want to counter-balance supporting the 'right of return' with supporting Israel's 'right to exist as a Jewish state.' Some folks want that. Or do we say 'to hell with the Jewish state, let's have every nationality and religion there have equal rights and no special privileges under a secular state?' I advocated that line, the position of the DPFLP, for a long time.

Unfortunately, it has very few supporters on the ground there on either side.

But wait, doesn't the slogan, 'Self-Determination for Palestine' also mean they have 'the right' to an Islamic state, like, say, the Saudi state, where Judaism and Christianity are only, at best, allowed to be practiced behind closed doors and punished if practiced in public? In principle it does, but would it solve the problems of the Palestinians? Or we could even do like the Sparts, and declare, 'Jewish and Arab workers, unite against your Jewish and Arab bosses, rise up and create a socialist state,' couldn't we? I wouldn't hold my breath too long on that one.

Here's my point. All these discussions and positions are very important, front and center, for the Jewish peace activists, Zionist or anti-Zionist, and the Palestine solidarity activists, American or otherwise, directly engaged in trying to find a solution. The debate has been going on for years, and will continue for a good while longer, I imagine.

But we have the task of mobilizing a majority of progressive and moderate Americans who oppose the Iraq war, but many Americans critical of the war, as I mentioned in the earlier post, have very conflicting ideas, or very different levels of understanding, about what to do in Israel and Palestine, don't you think?

That doesn't mean we liquidate or ignore the Palestinian question. But it also doesn't mean the anti-Iraq war movement is identical with the Palestine solidarity movement, and has all the same perspectives, positions and demands of that movement, does it?

History and imperialism has linked the Palestinian question to every other matter in the Middle East, including Iraq. But 'linked' does not mean 'merged into one and the same.' As we mobilize against the war, we have a responsibility to educate and raise everyone's understanding, in a step-by-step fashion, about all the connections there, especially Israel and Palestine. Goodness knows, the US has poured enough trillions into Israel, Egypt and elsewhere to link the issues with dollars, if nothing else.

That's why we oppose wider war and seek peaceful settlements of issues throughout the Middle East, that's why we try to have Palestinian speakers, as well as the pro-peace wing of the Jewish community, at our antiwar rallies in Chicago and publicize their causes in other ways as well. But it's also, unfortunately, easy to raise this issue in a divisive way that doesn't do anyone any good, isn't it? A few folks I know, usually not Palestinians or groups like ANSWER, but a number of people seem to get a charge out of finding ways of keeping liberal-minded but 'politically incorrect' Jews away from our actions and think that this is somehow a big victory.

Just because things are clear-cut and simple, it still doesn't make them easy. Sometimes the simple things are the hardest of all to achieve.

All out for DC Sept 24! Bring the Troops Home Now!

On anti-imperialism and Israel

In a debate over opportunism in
the antiwar movement at

By Burningman:
11 Jul 2005

Israel is "singled out" because Israel is singular. They are a nuclear-armed settler state engaging in systematic ethnic cleansing. They are paid thugs, not a nation. They are an enemy state that must be dealt with, if we are to give our allegiance to the world as a whole and not Euro-American power plays in the third world....that's the basic issue. And it has nothing to do with the intra-movement opportunism of WWP/ANSWER. I am not a member or supporter of either of these groups, nor are many of the people doing the most consistent work against empire in this country.


By Carl Davidson
11 Jul 2005
Burningman says, regarding Israel:

'They are paid thugs, not a nation.'

Really? I could agree with the 'thug' part, in the sense that Israel is an oppressor nation vis-a-vis the Palestinians and other nations in the vicinity. But not a nation? Where does this go?

True, it's a relatively young nation as nations go -- only about 60 years old -- but so are many others.

Now the Israelis, or a least a strong minority of them, want to argue that the Palestinians aren't a nation for a critical reason, i.e., they want to deny them any national rights whatsoever, except the right to choose between being slaughtered or being 'transferred' somewhere else, like we, particularly my Scots-Irish ancestors, did with the Cherokee via the 'Trail of Tears.'

So it's a bit odd that you would use the same initial claim regarding the other side, i.e., a kind of 'no state' solution, where Israelis in Israel are not a nation and thus have no national rights, i.e., except, perhaps, the same draconian 'right' to choose between being slaughtered or being scattered back to whatever lands their great grandparents came from. Something like running the historical impact of the Holocaust in reverse, I guess.

Now don't get bent out of shape here. The holocaust doesn't JUSTIFY what Israel has done or is doing to the Palestinians or any other Arabs for that matter. But it does help EXPLAIN, at least in part, one of the key reasons Israelis became historically constituted as a nation.

I've sided with the Palestinians vs. the Israelis over the years for the same reasons I sided with the Bosnians and Albanians against the Serbs, the Kurds against the Turks, Iraqis and Russians, with the Tibetans against the Han Chinese, with the Black Africans against their tormentors in the Sudan and elsewhere. And that reason is a clear one: no nation can be free as long as it oppresses another.

It's also really the only basis for a 'win-win' position as far as the majority of the ordinary people of the oppressor nations are concerned. If the Israelis want to be free and thrive as a nation, they have to get their boots off the necks of the Palestinians and make a just and equitable peace. Otherwise they will face only more hardship and bloodletting, and never truly be free even in their own homes.

Some Israelis understand this and some don't. That's why the struggle goes on until a new majority finds both a way and the strength to act in their own best interests.

But not a nation? No, that's a non-starter, just as it is for the other side. Neither people can 'liquidate' the other, despite the blood-curdling rhetoric of some zealots. The sooner it's set aside, the better.


Israel is not a nation

By the burningman
11 Jul 2005

It's not. Without a foreign sponsor, it wouldn't exist. First the Brits, then the Americans... with little helping hands from other European powers. They are no more a nation than Algeria was a department of France.

We do NOT need a majority of Israelis to be won over because that won't happen. Settlers don't get a veto on democracy. Tel Aviv is a city of settlers, so I'm not just talking about the '67 occupations that expanded on the '48 Nakba.

I thought you were a socialist, Carl. But it's funny, you seem to argue here for whatever the liberal position is on everything: Israel, patriotism, tactics, elections, etc... What is it about folks who were radical in their youth that makes it so hard for them to notice their own fundamental abdication of basic political principle?

Nations form on two models: citizenship in the democratic vision, and "blood and soil" for the fascistic vision. Guess which one Israel is?

About half of Israelis hold dual citizenship, largely with the USA and EU nations. The historic demand of the PLO has been the right of return for people who are from the land, and for a secular democratic state. You can pretend that's far-fetched because the Israelis have responded to that with ethnic cleansing and assassinations, but again -- "Israel" is the fascist state occupying Palestine.

If Palestinian Jews want to be a part of a new country without apartheid rights, then I wish them the best.

But that's not what they want. Like virtually all racists, they view they own loss of domination over another as equal to their physical destruction. That's their problem and I can promise you that virtually no one in the world outside of the USA media-bubble gives a fuck.

This is what the right of return is all about, aside from it's basis in the "rule of law" that liberals tend to be so impressed with. I guess the "rule" remains the same: Whites only, or in this case "Jews only."

Israel is propped up and armed to the teeth in order to provide a beachhead for imperialism in the Middle East. That's why it is a pressing issue for the antiwar movement: clarity on the nature of the "war" we are opposing.

If you (and by extension the CP-types at UFPJ) want to distort what's going on to echo liberal talking points, obviously no one can stop you. But it's not going to hold anyone else back, and it will unfortunately drive MANY well-meaning people into the arms of profound opportunists like WWP. That may not be an issue in (white) Chicago, but I promise you it is here.

Which is all why Palestine is fundamental to building an anti-imperialist movement. You may think that isn't "broad," but I think you are wrong. If the problem isn't "this war," but the system that makes war a constant, how on earth can you continue demanding a head in the sand approach to it?


by another socialist
11 Jul 2005

Carl writes: “It’s also really the only basis for a 'win-win' position as far as the majority of the ordinary people of the oppressor nations are concerned. If the Israelis want to be free and thrive as a nation, they have to get their boots off the necks of the Palestinians and make a just and equitable peace. Otherwise they will face only more hardship and bloodletting, and never truly be free even in their own homes."

Whose homes, Carl?

Last I checked any Russian can claim to be a Jew and get citizenship while the people who hold title to the land are forbidden from even visiting because a bunch of American-sponsored scumbags use state terror and demonization to keep them out.

Israel won't exist in 100 years, and the pussy-headed left can look in shame at their inexplicable justifications for a racist settler state.

Israelis are "liquidating" Palestine, one olive grove at a time. One slab of concrete at a time. One assassination at a time. One media lie at a time. And you treat it like they're equal parties who can't get along?

The Palestinians have consistently demanded the right to return to their land and an end to US meddling. But if you adopt a position of basic human decency and democratic principles, all your liberal fuck friends will run for cover.

It's shameful that you have the temerity to claim solidarity while actively working to obscure the basic facts of not just Israel's nature, but the role it plays in the world.


Re: Opportunism, ANSWER and Palestine

by Carl Davidson
11 Jul 2005

So 'burningman' and 'another socialist,' your critics are right. You DO want to make the destruction of Israel as a state, and the liquidation of whatever national qualities its people has acquired, a basis of unity for the peace movement. To you, the quest for peace between settlers and their victims in that part of the world, is so much liberal pabulum, and a big waste of time.

But why stop there? The U.S. is a settler state and thus, by your lights, a sham nation too. If you can advocate the destruction of Israel as a basis of unity, why not be a 'real' radical and make the liquidation of the American nation a basis of unity too. In fact, you should even make it higher on the list of priorities, don't you think?


you got it

by the burningman
11 Jul 2005

Of course I'm for the destruction of Israel as a state. Aren't you?

And if the "qualities" that make it a state are ongoing ethnic cleansing and volkstadt nationalism, then you better believe it's going down.

The word for your politics at this point isn't even "liberal." At least liberals, on paper, believe in nationality based on citizenship, not who your grandmother was...

If you think a state of "the Jewish people" should exist on land ringed with refugee camps (themselves under occupation), then that's obviously your right. And all your Zionist "comrades" can throw up your hands, a la Sharon, that "you gave the best you could, if only those intransigent refugees would shut up."

There is exactly one other nation on earth that supports Bush's war. Guess which one and then tell me why we should respect anything about them.

And regarding the USA: I don't support the sanctity of this country's borders and reject any notion of a "homeland" here. Maybe you're going to start explaining how the Minutemen are "defending our borders," but somehow I think you'll take a pass on that one. At least you recognize the historical parallels... and I have to wonder what you think the Indians should have done while they were getting machine-gunned? Look to Oslo?

I don’t' think revolution is the basis of unity for the antiwar movement, but it is the strategic objective on radicals in this movement. Though undoubtedly, you will bitch and moan should it ever come around because Jesse Jackson cum Howard Dean isn't on board...

By the way, Carl: can you send me a link to some discussion where you aren't chastising anti-racists, but argue with Zionists? I'd be curious to see how (if?) you hit to the other side of the field.

Re: Opportunism, ANSWER and Palestine
by local

11 Jul 2005

Sorry to butt in but Burningman... what would be your vision of a one-state solution?


Basic democratic principles

by the burningman
11 Jul 2005

1) The right of return of all refugees driven from their land.

2) The dismantlement of the IDF.

3) The elimination of all ethno-religious bans on land ownership.

4) The return of all lands stolen from Palestinians.

5) The rightful naming of all towns and villages in Palestine, which would include the territories currently called "Gaza, Israel and the West Bank."

6) Reparations from the UK, USA, Germany, Israel and other sponsors of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians to pay for the handover of all lands to its rightful owners. In cases where rightful ownership cannot be established, the land should be turned over to a national trust to be held in common.

7) The elimination of all laws obstructing political democracy among Arabs.

8) The abdication of any "exclusive" claim to the land (or political rights) by any group, as is the historic demand of the PLO.

9) The punishment of known war criminals such as Arial Sharon.

10) The immediate and total handover of every Israeli settlement in the West Bank and Gaza -- starting with the military bases, watchtowers, walls and prisons.

11) The release of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners of conscience, and prisoners of war.

12) One person, one vote.

13) Immediate and unconditional nuclear disarmament.


Ultimately, all the borders in the Middle East are vestigial control mechanisms imposed by the French and English.

There should be a referendum of the region's peoples to determine their wishes viz a larger geographically-based state.

Lebanon and Israel are very similar to Ulster in the north of Ireland. All were carved out in order to include a manageable terrain for foreign conquest and/or settlement.

That's the short answer.

Laugh if you want, but do the math. Israel will fall. The French lasted 150 some years in Algeria. The first Crusaders lasted a couple centuries: but just like in the War of the Worlds, occupation is fatal to the occupier.


Re: Opportunism, ANSWER and Palestine

by Carl Davidson
11 Jul 2005

Goodness, 'burningman,' why didn't you throw in the abolition of classes worldwide, abolish all states, and set up fully automated full communism to boot?

It's hardly less practical than your list.

Just take one of your points, doing away with the IDF and its nuclear teeth.

Your suggestions of how it might be done, practically speaking, involves spilling an awful lot of blood for quite a while. But then it's not YOUR blood, so it's not so much to worry about, I suppose.

I would suggest that the only way to reduce or get rid of the IDF and its nuclear teeth is from within, i.e., that a new majority of Israelis themselves come to see that a common cause of a just and equitable peace with the Palestinians is in their own best interests for survival as a nation, whether it's a two-state or one secular state with two nationalities solution.

The same goes here. If you want to get rid of the U.S. Army, you better start working on a plan to organize American soldiers. They're the ones in the best position to do it.

No nation can be free so long as it oppresses another. That's the principal I put on the table for all concerned. But even from afar, I'm sick of the bloodshed there, and all the calls for more of it.

Yea, I'd like the Jews and Arabs in Palestine/Israel to sit down and make a deal, which a majority on both sides would probably like to do, if they weren't the prisoners of their own old ideas and the present-day fanatics on both sides.

I've learned enough over the decades to know that no pat list of formulas I could come up with is going to help much.

I do know that as long as the Israeli occupation goes on, the worse it will get, and so I make it my main business to argue for the end of their occupation, and the end of their delusion that there's a military solution against the Palestinians, among American Jews and other defenders of Israel here.

Not being a Jew myself, I'm not listened to as well in these circles as my American Jewish comrades that I work with, but we all are going against the tide on the matter and keep plugging away at it nonetheless.

Call it liberalism or whatever you like, but until someone shows me a more promising path, I'll stick to this one. I'll leave the 'more radical than thou' posturing to others.


Short answer

By the burningman
12 Jul 2005

Carl writes: "Your suggestions of how it might be done, practically speaking, involves spilling an awful lot of blood for quite a while. But then it's not YOUR blood, so it's not so much to worry about, I suppose."

Well, it seems like the blood has been spilling for quite a while. And it's not yours either.

It took a lot of blood to bring down the Third Reich. There were even some wrong things that happened along the way. Children fought. Women were raped. The armies of liberation that fought into Berlin were commanded by Joseph Stalin. He wouldn't have been my first pick, but nobody asked my opinion.

The person who asked me the question I answered didn't ask how it would happen, he just asked what my vision is.

But if we take a poll of the 300 million Arabs, and throw in the 5 million Israelis (including the 2 million or so with dual citizenships in the countries they actually come from), I suspect the results wouldn't be all that out of whack with my suggestions. They might even be a bit more "unreasonable."

Speaking about "my blood," the only family members I've lost in war were in that liberation of Europe from fascism. They were fighting on the wrong side. They aren't respected for their deaths. It was worth the price. Europe and the world are a better place for it.

My blood. My roommate was working in the Towers for the African Burial ground archives the day they got brought down. The archives of New York's Black ancestors were all destroyed.

Can you say why they were destroyed, Carl? What the basic history was that has brought us to this point? Are we not supposed to talk about why many good people around the world cheered those attacks? Is that "pre-mature anti-imperialism?"

My neighborhood was destroyed. I lived right there and can say I've seen war and smelled it. I ran for my life. It hits very close to home. I've watched thousands of people die with my naked eye and breathed the dust.

If Bush can use the attack his people brought on us, I can have the dignity of not just my experience, but the truth about why. If Abe Foxman, Dershowitz and Elie Wiesel can pimp the Nazi holocaust to shill for Israel. I can tell the truth about what will bring real peace to not just that region, but me.

Your alienation from the very tangible and immediate effect of imperialism and its blowback is caustically dull.

My blood runs red. How about yours?


Your vision for a change of heart among the Israelis is fascinating. Live in a city where Israelis are everywhere, like New York, and try to have that optimism. The best ones leave. The good ones are impotent -- because the best of a settler state is still just that. Israel is Sharon as it was Rabin as it was Begin as it was Golda fucking Meir.

Israeli opinion matters EXACTLY as much as that of the French settlers in Algeria: none. Except, that is, to the extent that they can be demoralized and rendered ineffective.

The real change has to come here: the home of those F16s and Apaches that murder the best of Palestine. Your saccharine moral fencing about "ending the occupation" is a joke. It has no effect on policy and is half-hearted and fatalistic. I've browsed Chicago and New York Indymedia enough to note that you argue for electoralism, a cynical patriotic rhetoric and reasonableness in the face of war. You argue against your left, not that fat-assed right smothering the country.

"More radical than thou posturing..."

You are one limp motherfucker. How's that for posturing? I thought they taught you how to argue back in SDS. If you could get that sigh out of your mouth, you might get something to say.

Sadly enough, what you learned over the decades was to lower your sights, flicker at the margins and "plug away."

Carl says: "Goodness, 'burningman,' why didn't you throw in the abolition of classes worldwide, abolish all states, and set up fully automated full communism to boot?"

This "automation" thing is so silly. It's like a vision of communism where everyone is fat and watches TV all day while Rosie the Robot brings another mimosa...

I imagine a far simpler set of solutions aimed a richness of experience and creation, rather than an abdication of social life via automation. That is, I hope and pray, the last I speak about cyberCommunism. God forbid we'll be debating "Parecon" next...

Re: Opportunism, ANSWER and Palestine
12 Jul 2005

We do all want Peace...Don't We?

The West Bank and Gaza was not part of Israel pre 1967.
Israel would not lose anything it had in 1948.
Until we face the fact that "there are" 4,000,000 Palestinians in the Area, Peace will not be achieved.

People with Common Sense do not want to get rid of Israel.
The People of Israel are just like any other People, most are good and but some are not.

People with Common Sense only want to free the Palestinians from Israeli Occupation and Oppression.

It is very difficult for People who are under Occupation and Oppression to sit back and just take it and do nothing....

Look at the U.S. It is not afraid to fight for Freedom, is it?

So to have Peace the Palestinian People need to be free right where they are (The place they now live).

Once the Palestinian People are Free the U.S. and the U.N. have the power to prevent further conflict, because you no longer have the excuse that the Palestinian People are under Israeli Occupation and Oppression. (Both sides are then winners)

1967 is 38 years ago.
There have been wars and things have changed throughout history.

To solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict you need to look at things the way they are TODAY....not in 1948...not in 1967.

There are "around" 5,000,00 Jews in Israel Proper.

There are "around" 1,200,00 Arabs in Israel Proper.

There are "around" 4,000,000 Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza.

There are "around" 400,000 Jews in West Bank and Gaza.

To have Peace the Road Map to Peace calls for a "Viable" Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza.

So to end the tit for tat problem that we all know about, Let us make that Viable Palestinian State now.

The Arabs who do not like living in Israel Proper can then be free to move to Palestine.

The Jews who do not like living in Palestine can then be free to move to Israel.

Forcing People to move is not the answer.
Making the settlements the problem is not the answer.
Hating the Israelis is not the answer.
Hating the Palestinians is not the answer.


by Worldwide Revolution is the solution
12 Jul 2005

Carl, if the Burningman's suggestions of how it might be done to end the occupation, practically speaking, involves spilling an awful lot of blood for quite a while, why don't you formulate an anemic and feasible ones?

Re: Opportunism, ANSWER and Palestine

by Carl Davidson

Well, 'WorldwideR,' for many years I advocated the program of the DPFLP --one democratic secular state with equal rights for all religions and nationalities, and special privileges for none, led by the working classes, with socialism as the goal, etc.

The problem is, hardly anyone on either side on the ground over there acts or even thinks in these terms, and the few that do are shrinking in numbers.

So what's the point of advocating something that's ignored while the occupation intensifies and the slaughter on innocents continues?

Wiser folks on the politics of the Mideast than me have failed to find a better path; unlike 'burningman,' I don't pretend to have a list that constitutes a realistic solution.

So, as I said, I just keep hammering away at the injustice of the occupation, and how it offers no hope for the future of the Israelis themselves, to all the supporters of Israel in this country that care to engage in discussions about the matter.


Re: Opportunism, ANSWER and Palestine
by the burningman

13 Jul 2005
"Wiser folks on the politics of the Mideast than me have failed to find a better path; unlike 'burningman,' I don't pretend to have a list that constitutes a realistic solution."

Your solution is to let Israel go because they have military power right now. To accept their ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and to lament their expansion. Following the logic, as laid out by the US State Department, it involves "tempering" the "militants on both sides" so that the Zionist status quo is unchallenged.

That is, right? The Israelis get to annex Jerusalem, menace the region with nukes, assassinate Palestinian artists and leaders (like the "wiser" ones you mention) and you can keep "arguing" with your Zionist friends about basic human decency.

Just because American imperial policy says Israel is non-negotiable doesn't make it true. That's why your lost and spend your time mocking democratic principles.


Re: Opportunism, ANSWER and Palestine

by Carl Davidson
13 Jul 2005

Put your specs on and read again, burningman.

I'm opposing the Israeli occupation and ethnic cleansing of any sort.

But I'm suggesting that the goal best worth seeking is one where Jews and Arabs in Israeli/Palestine make a deal, an just and equitable solution that allows them all to live there.

I think the view that either side can militarily vanquish the other is a bloody delusion in the interest of no one. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what the last 60 years have shown.


by the burningman
13 Jul 2005

I read fine.

You are not arguing against the occupation. Your argument is that the antiwar movement should NOT deal with the obvious, unarguable reasons that we are in a permanent war with the world. You lament the manifestations of the problem, but argue that saying what that problem is should not be done.. Because Zionists (CP/CoC/Tikkun goofs/Liberal Dems) don't agree.

You are accepting Israel as an expression of Jewish nationhood on someone else's land and de facto arguing that Arabs should put up with it until a "change of heart" on the part of the ethnic cleansers and fascists who comprise the Israeli population. Great plan, your lip service aside.

Are there other places in the world you accept racial politics and "volkstadt" nationalism as legitimate? Is America a "Christian" country? Is Germany for Germans? Should Jews and Muslims have democratic rights in Europe, or is that too "controversial" and "more radical than thou?"

Can you write a poem for the poor French settlers who were driven out? For the Sudetan Germans? For the misunderstood Boers who just want their white African homeland? No, just for the Zionists who, unfortunately, have weight inside very particular (and influential) sections of the left.

It's kind of disgusting. If you think I'm being harsh, you should imagine what those who won't even engage your equivocations think.

Following your logic, thousands of years of private property and the defeat of most liberation movements mean we should just give up, make our piece and scramble for the crumbs. But I guess you are following your cyberLogic.

Carl, your suggestion to end occupation is anemic but not feasible


Re: Opportunism, ANSWER and Palestine
by Carl Davidson

BM: 'You are not arguing against the occupation.'

Yes I am. I'm arguing that the Israelis get out of the West Bank and Gaza. But you're arguing that they get out of the Middle East and cease to exist. That's the difference between us.

BM: 'Your argument is that the antiwar movement should NOT deal with the obvious, unarguable reasons that we are in a permanent war with the world.'

Not so. We deal with them all the time, just not with your rhetoric.. 'No more wars and No wider war. End all colonial occupations' are fine slogans by me.

BM: 'You lament the manifestations of the problem..."

Yes, don't you?

BM: 'But argue that saying what that problem is should not be done...'

No, just that we should not make those who don't agree with it says it. Those who agreed with it can speak as loud and often as they want.

BM: '...because Zionists (CP/CoC/Tikkun goofs/Liberal Dems) don't agree.'

If you think these all folks are all Zionists, you're goofier than I thought.

BM: 'You are accepting Israel as an expression of Jewish nationhood on someone else's land.'

It's not a matter of me, or you, 'accepting' it. Israel is a fact. You can work to change it or evolve it into something else over time, but it's not going to go away, whether you 'accept' it or not.

BM: 'and de facto arguing that Arabs should put up with it'

Almost every Arab government, including the PA, now accepts Israel's ongoing existence, even as they oppose what its doing. I'm not arguing for them to put up with it, you're arguing that they shouldn't.

BM: 'until a "change of heart" on the part of the ethnic cleansers and fascists who comprise the Israeli population.'

If you want to claim every Israeli is a fascist and ethnic cleanser, as you do here, then I suppose it wouldn't make much sense. But we didn't even claim that about our own 'white' folks in the South, did we? Or about everyone who lives anywhere in the US today, do we? You think this makes you sound radical for some reason, rather than just phrase mongering. Of course we want to change the views, even the hearts, of Jews in the Middle East caught up in anti-Arab chauvinism, don't you? Or would you just 'accept' it as the reason they should be purged from the earth? I call that capitulation to chauvinism, albeit with a 'left' cover.

BM: 'Great plan, your lip service aside. Are there other places in the world you accept racial politics and "volkstadt" nationalism as legitimate?'

Most nations in the world do define themselves this way, as a part of the nation because of your ancestry. I didn't set it up that way. It's the U.S. that's different, where you become an American by passing a test and agreeing to a Constitution regardless of ancestry. But then, the U.S. is on you hit list of settler state to be destroyed, right?

BM: 'Is America a "Christian" country?'

Of course not. Just go to any swearing in of new citizens.

BM: 'Is Germany for Germans?'

They defined Germans as someone whose grandfather was a German for a long time, and only recently made a few changes, but not enough.

BM: 'Should Jews and Muslims have democratic rights in Europe, or is that too "controversial" and "more radical than thou?"'

Of course they should. Everyone in the world should have democratic rights. Do you think Israelis in the Mideast should?

BM: 'Can you write a poem for the poor French settlers who were driven out? For the Sudetan Germans? For the misunderstood Boers who just want their white African homeland?'

I'll leave poetry to others, BM, but even Mandela and the ANC came to terms with the Boers without liquidating them as a people.

BM: 'No, just for the Zionists who, unfortunately, have weight inside very particular (and influential) sections of the left.'

Most Jews on the left I know can't stand Sharon or the occupation, and work to get the Israeli boot off the neck of the Palestinians. Perhaps it's your notion that all Israelis, and a good chunk of Jews generally, are all fascist ethnic cleansers that gives you this weird picture of the world as well as a weird view of the left.

BM: 'It's kind of disgusting. If you think I'm being harsh...'

Yes, you are.

BM: 'you should imagine what those who won't even engage your equivocations think.'

You know, it's interesting. I find Palestinians I talk to are much more reasonable about these matters than their non-Arab American cheerleaders, who are ready to spout of all sorts of blood-curdling rhetoric that doesn't cost them a dime. Same goes with talking with Jews in the U.S. The divisions are more hardened than in Israel itself. I've found that if you want to get a wide range of views of the crisis there, some even pro-Palestinian, you do much better reading al-Jazeera and the Israeli papers than the American press, even that of the American left.

This is getting tiresome, BM. Let's just say our differences are that you want to liquidate Israel militarily, and I don't think that's in the cards, and I think a political solution is required.

Unless you think that grossly unfair, let's leave it at that and let other folks get involved in this thread if they want.


by the burningman
13 Jul 2005

You don't think anything is "in the cards." That's your problem.

Arguing against Zionism is essentially no different than arguing against Apartheid. Whites have the "right" to be Africans, and to live amongst southern Africans as much as anyone has a right to live anywhere. Boers don't have the right to a white republic anymore than Jews have the right to a Jewish state.

I do not claim that every Israeli is a fascist. I contend that Zionism is the particularly Jewish form of fascism, and that the state of Israel is an intrinsic part of imperialist designs on the region as a whole.

Zionism holds that an exclusive Jewish state OUGHT to be established on the land of Palestinians. There are brave individual exceptions, but again -- most of them leave.

Israel is a military garrison, perhaps the most militarized society on earth. All adult men, save a few religious fanatics, are serving members of the military. They all do occupation duty. They join political parties that ALL have the tenet that the state is EXCLUSIVELY JEWISH -- including Meretz. This is an abdication of fundamental democratic principles, to say nothing of deeper socialist commitments.

All the American groups I listed uphold the right of Israelis to an exclusive Jewish claim to Palestine, with a rump-state for the Arab refugees in Gaza and about half of the West Bank. They all hold that the original inhabitants can rot in Bantustan-like concentration camps ringed with Israeli towers and snipers. They all forgo the right of return, supposedly guaranteed by international law.

Or did I miss something? Isn't this what the "two-state 'solution'" is?

The Oslo accords hold that Israel gets to keep what it stole, and that a compliant American-oriented regime can establish a tin-pot patronage dictatorship over the common people in Gaza and half of the West Bank.

It's disgusting. Its Palestinian opponents were systematically murdered.

What right do European Jews have to settle and steal the land of another people? What right do you have repeating the US State Department plan as legitimate? What right does America have to subsidize this state for it And then to tell me I'm willing to sacrifice the blood of others for my own ideological edification?

And when it comes to goofy, dude. I don't know what to say. How long has it been since you've traveled in the Middle East, or much beyond the borders of the USA?

We are hated because of this by hundreds of millions of people. Demanding that we accept what is essentially the imperial position on the problem imperialism created isn't "goofy." But it's something.

I just re-read your piece again: I said nothing about "liquidating" anyone. Fuck you and your apologetics. Israelis have assassinated the entire political leadership of the Palestinians over the last four years and you have the fucking nerve to talk about their "democratic rights."

They came, stole, murdered. They've been funded to do it by imperialism. That state must fall. South Africa no longer has a "white" government. Palestine will cast off its "Jewish" occupiers... and if Jews want to live like brothers to the people whose land they settled, then I wish them luck. Unfortunately, there century of murder won't lightly be forgotten.


The Last Word

By Carl Davidson

True, you didn't use the exact phrase 'liquidate the Israelis.' You just said they're not a nation, have no national or democratic rights worth respecting, won't exist in 100 years -- and sooner would be preferable -- and used the killing and driving out of the Crusaders as an example of what should be done to them if they don't scatter back to where they came from. Plus any solution that involved any people or place in the area called Israel or any town there with a Hebrew name was an anti-democratic sellout.

I rest my case.


steve said...

Carl seems to have the only reasonable position on this issue. The very tone if not the intent of "Burningman" is both racist and anti-semitic without any doubt. It is more than clear that he bears a deep seated prejudice and burning hatred for Jews as Jews. He does so by advocating their wholesale destruction by violence, denying their peoplehood and nationhood in a way that he would NEVER do in any other case regardless of how deplorable the crimes of the group in question, and doubtless sees Jews as less a people and more a cabal or cancerous entity than anything else. His dehumanizing tone reveals a deep, fanatical inculcation for anti-semitism by fundamentalist Christianity which plagues ALL vestiges of US society. As a Jew who lived in Israel for over three years I became quite aware of the plight of the Palestinians and the unviability of Israeli society in general! The only REAL solution is non-violent. Burningman's solution is one that would bring massive death to hundreds of thousands of people and certainly NO democracy could emerge from it! This is the problem that most activists have with groups like ANSWER and others who tote the pointless violent destruction of Israel line. De-Zionization is essential for Israel to become a state of all its citizens based on a one person one vote, full equality basis. The Jewish community is gaining adherents to this view as the war takes more and more lives. It must be remembered that Zionism was and is a Christian movement which was alien to Jewish politics and culture until the 11th hour when all escape routes from Europe were blocked save for Palestine. Mustafa Bourghouthi is a Palestinian progressive who wants a secular democratic and socialist state of Jews and Arabs in a unified Israel/Palestine and whose political development was always shaped by an uncompromising bi-nationalism which eschewed all hate. I say support him and the objectors of conscience in the IDF and we have the start of a great political alliance for positive change in the Middle East.

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Anonymous said...

Supposing Carl lets this stay up...

It is basely dishonst to make the claim that I promote or believe in the physical destruction of Jewish people because Zionism must fall.

That's a cheap shot, and gross at face value when it is, in fact, Palestinians who are being surrounded by concrete and barbed wire fences, whose leaders are murdered and jailed and whose "democratic rights" are obviously null and void in a world dominated by imperialism, and a region under the thumb of Zionism.

And, on a historical footnote, when Saladin marched into Jerusalem, liberating it from the Crusasers -- there was not mass bloodletting. This was in marked contrasted to the slaughter the Christians brought. Read up a little before you go all Bernard Lewis on us.

I guess Carl is no more interested in historical accuracy than political principle.

The basic contention is whether European Jews have the "right" to conquer Palestine, expel its indigenous inhabitants and illegally prevent their return to the lands they come from.

Carl believes that a "Jews only" state is okay. I don't.

I very much believe that Jewish people have every right to citizenship in a secular Palestine.

That is the difference. If Carl can't understand it, it's because the cost to his position in the gooey left is too much to pay.

And if he thinks for ONE SECOND that the PA represents the Palestinians, he is more than confused. He is a dupe.

It is the sell-out of revisionists like Davidson that has led so many younger Palestinians and Arabs to embrace militant forms of Islam. The masses there go with those who fight the settler state -- not those who prevaricate and loot Western bribe funds for their own edification.

Carl Davidson said...

Anyone who wants can read your stuff and make up their own minds about your perspective on the future of Jewish people living in Israel, Burningman.

Here's the Url to your site, if the quotes in my log aren't adequate:

There is no 'right to conquer' for any nation, BM, that's an oxymorom. But as I recall, a good number of Jews came to the Mideast more as refugees than as conquerors. You might make an analogy with the dumping of the Scots-Irish prisoners and bondservants in the New World. They came under conditions of injustice, but there's no way to run the clock of history in reverse.

That's why I argue that the most probable and least bloody way to peace in the mideast is for Palestinians and Israeli Jews to come to terms with each other, not to persist in the illusion that either side can vanquish the other.

That's not a prospect that you find valuable, I understand.

But I don't think you've come up with anything better.

And it doesn't do much good to carry on about a secular state, which I would find preferable, when a majority on either side is not interested in secular states, uninational or binational, at least in the forseeable future.

I'm curious about one thing, though. If the PA is not the representative of the Palestinians, as you assert, what organization or body is?

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Anonymous said...

What is burningman's obsession with the "European" part of "European Jew"? How are continents relevant? Do Asians and Middle Easterners have an inherent right to the land that others do not? Hmm, that doesn't sound very socialist to me. That sounds a lot like land ownership based on ethnicity and ancestry, doesn't it?

But if you insist on making this a matter of origin in Europe or the Middle East - don't the Jews as a people historically originate in the Middle East? They are European only because their ancestors were driven out of their homeland in Judea by the original Euro-facist empire, The Romans.
But if that history is too ancient for you to consider relevant, then perhaps you and Carl would both do well to consider the fact that a large segement of the Israeli Jewish population, if not a majority, is of direct Middle Eastern origin. Neither they nor their ancestors have anything to do with Europe. They came from Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Morocco, Egypt, and Tunisia. Roughly 900,000 of them were driven out of the Arab and Muslim lands where their ancestors lived centuries before the arrival of the Arabs. The anti-Jewish riots and mass public executions that unfolded in places like Iraq following Israel's founding are forgotten. Somehow, these refugees never enter into the equation when we talk of those who were driven from their homes. European Zionists created Israel, but for many Israeli families Europe is as foreign as it is to any Arab. How can neither of you even mention that fact in passing?

As for historic imperialism, the Arab and Turkish Muslims once and for centuries ruled over the greatest imperial empire in the world until the rise of Europe. The Turks ruled over all of eastern Europe and were as imperialist as any European nation until their defeat in World War 1. The struggle between European and Islamic imperialism has not been a one-sided affair by any stretch of the imagination.

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