My thoughts on the Palestinian solidarity movement, Judaism and Marxism (part 1)

20 Dec

I am in no way a zionist and have not been for quite a few years now. I do not in any way, agree with the policies of Israels government, and will continue wherever I can to protest against them, I have long thought that zionist nationalism has corrupted what it means to be Jewish (whatever that is) and wherever I hear about Israeli atrocities against Palestinians I am filled with disgust and also shame. About what is being done in the name of the Jewish community, and the failure of various leaders of the community, to speak out about it.

but recently, i’ve been coming to realise something else.

the pro palestinian movement doesn’t represent me either and neither do I want to be “represented” by them.

now this isn’t some sort of whiney bollocks. At least it is not intended to be. I decided to start this blog because there might be some things that I’m not comfortable sharing under my actual name and this might be one of them.

I recently found this blog, and sadly, some of the individuals identified on this blog as being anti-semites, I can well believe it of them. Obviously it has to be taken with a pinch of salt and it looks like they may be a zionist site but it sits all to well with my experiences in the PSC. I will say that there are a lot of good people in it and the majority of course do not share such views. However sadly some do and these tend to be quite vocal and it has been my experience that they are not challenged effectively. There were occasions where as a jewish person I felt pretty uncomfortable, for example people saying “anti zionist” stuff that pretty much was using zionism as a code for something else, saying they had all sorts of influence, had assisted the nazis, etc. Or people saying that israelis were “savages” in meetings and that sort of stuff.

I could give alot more examples, but my main thoughts are this.

I’m not a zionist, but i’m not a self hating jew either and it seems to me that in the PSC and groups like it, that is often what you have to be. I’m deeply dubious about a lot of these boycott campaigns. I dont think we should write somebody off as a cunt, because they support Israel (or rather don’t go on demos against what it does).

I am quite simply not prepared to put up with that bullshit. I think that not only does the whole idea of portraying Jews as having some kind of “special” responsibility for what Israel has done even when its well intentioned, does alot to put off working class people who may have otherwise been sympathetic, but also is an echo of an idea of collective responsibility which puts the onus on an individual to feel guilty and go around wearing a cloth over their heads for something that they are not responsible for, something which the ruling class is responsible for. Jews are no more responsible for the crimes of Israel than all Christians are responsible for the attacks on benefits and imperialist wars started in a “christian” country and posing the issue as one of how “we” must face up to “our responsibility” totally misses the point, that it is the ruling class of many countries but primarily Israel and the US, not individual jews or christians, and not even jews or christians as a whole, who are responsible for the perpetuation of the israeli/palestinian conflict

I don’t want to apologise for doing things that have existed a long time before Israel was formed. Yes the zionist movement has meant that parts of Judaism have become completely corrupted. But there is no reason why the solution to that is to constantly define yourself and the religion in opposition to it if you know what I mean.

By that I mean, things like this, which was posted on the jews for justice for palestinians website as an alternative liturgy for yom kippur. It is worth bearing in mind, that yom kippur is for sins that YOU have done not somebody else, you don’t get to feel righteous about what other people have done that’s not what it’s about. I don’t particularly believe in this stuff myself but it seems to me that making an alternative liturgy based on the sins of zionists (and not your own sins) is a deeply flawed idea because you are not examining YOURSELF and your own actions.

For the sin we have sinned against You through the desecration of Your Name

Fulfilling the commandments how to treat our fellow human beings only with regards to Jews

And for the sin which we have sinned against You through insolence –

            Saying that only Jews have rights to the Land.


For the sin we have sinned against You through drunken vision

               Not seeing Israeli Arabs as fellow citizens.

And for the sin we have sinned against You consciously or unconsciously,

Not giving equal opportunity to study, work or be full members of  society


Who is the “we” being referred to? obviously not a group of human rights activists. So what are they repenting for? Yom Kippur is not about feeling righteous about things that other people have done and you havent.

I also found this a bit troubling.

Hundreds of Jews declare in unison at #occupywallstreet: We will hold ourselves accountable for the occupation of Palestine

Firstly zionism is not the same as judaism so why should they be “holding themselves accountable” over something they have absolutely no control over? Secondly how is this going to get other Jewish people (and other people in general) interested in the palestinian cause when this sort of bollocks is spouted, the kind of bollocks that says that they personally are guilty of what israel has done?

As life long anti fascist and a marxist I reject any idea that any group is “accountable” for the actions of a state, even a state which claims to act in the name of a particular religion. In placing “responsibility” onto a group of activists it shifts the blame from where it belongs, the ruling class and capital whose interests it is to keep the conflict going and keep the israeli and palestinian working class divided

thirdly, of course, it is an utterly facile analysis of the conflict (at best) from a marxist point of view. A working class jew in the uk (or israel) is no more responsible for Israels actions than is a working class palestinian. I dont think this kind of guilt tripping helps anyone.

You can view the JFJFP’s page here, about halfway down the page.

This post is probably going to be in at least two parts so watch this space


2 Responses to “My thoughts on the Palestinian solidarity movement, Judaism and Marxism (part 1)”

  1. Mike from Walthamstow East London December 22, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    The Zionist movement was founded in reaction to antisemitism. Anti-Zionists and pro-Palestinian activists that succumb to antisemitism are part of the problem, not part of the solution

    • sometimesantisocialalwaysantifascist December 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

      Hi Mike. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t think all or even a majority do, but some definitely do and these tend to be a very vocal minority. The problem is often that the people who aren’t are unsure or feel reluctant for some reason to challenge it. i include myself in that btw, was a bit like that in the past when i was involved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: