Boycott Israel?

Tories plan new curbs on local councils

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 12:19

Sacha Ismail

Johnson is likely to be the enemy of a democratic settlement in Israel-Palestine, shifting the UK further towards the Trump government’s anti-Palestinian position.

Although Johnson himself displayed little interest in the conflict as foreign secretary, his ideological lieutenant Priti Patel was forced to resign her international development post in 2017 after breaking diplomatic protocol in efforts to channel aid money towards the Israeli military. She defended herself by insisting that Johnson had been told about her activities.

The Tories’ proposals, apparently another bit of inspiration

Robert Fine and the critique of antisemitism

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 11:16

Dan Davison

Robert Fine, who died on 9 June 2018, was a socialist writer unafraid to stand up to much of the left’s received wisdom on the questions of Israel, Palestine, and antisemitism.

He opposed the “absolute anti-Zionist” standpoint that one should unreservedly object to (a) Israel’s very existence, rather than the oppressive practices of the Israeli state, and (b) any feelings of Jewish communal or national identification with Israel, even when such feelings are accompanied with harsh condemnation of the Israeli government or genuine horror at the Palestinians’ suffering.

Fine opposed the blanket

Israelophobia is Stalinist regression

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 11:04

Barry Finger

Barry Finger reviews Paul Kelemen’s book The British Left and Zionism: History of a Divorce (Manchester University Press, 2012)

This volume, which joins the herd of independent minds in churning the same old depleted groupthink, purports to challenge the claim that changes over the decades in the left’s appraisal of Zionism and the Palestinian cause stem from antisemitism.

Whose claim? Even the people Kelemen whom has a go at would most probably argue the opposite: pro-Palestinian sympathies do not stem from antisemitism. However, antisemitism often finds a greenhouse atmosphere in pro

Revisiting Uri Avnery

Published on: Wed, 08/05/2019 - 11:10

Barry Finger

More debate on the right of return here.

There is a real dispute in our camp over how socialists orient to the “right of return". It derives from comrades who view that purported right through the lens of the Israeli peace movement and those who peer through the other end of the telescope, that of the BDS anti-peace movement. Those, such as myself – and perhaps Daniel Randall, though I wouldn’t presume to speak for him – have been educated and informed on this subject by the literature of Gush Shalom, for many decades the most militant wing of the Israeli anti-occupation movement.


The return of old formulas

Published on: Wed, 08/05/2019 - 10:28

Martin Thomas

More debate on the right of return here.

There are about 13 million Palestinians across the world. They do not have a state of their own. They are disadvantaged in all the countries where they are mainly concentrated, though in different ways from country to country.

About 2.9 million live in the West Bank, mostly in over 160 patches of land where the Palestinian Authority has limited autonomous powers of administration (mostly to hand out foreign aid money and jobs), but which are hemmed in and dominated by a surrounding Israeli military presence. About 2 million are in Gaza, which is

Momentum says: read Steve Cohen’s book!

Published on: Fri, 25/01/2019 - 14:31

Daniel Randall

Momentum’s official Twitter account, followed by 120,000 people, has tweeted a link to the online text of That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Antisemitic, a 1984 book by Jewish socialist Steve Cohen analysing left antisemitism. 

Momentum’s tweet is extremely welcome. A political-educational campaign to confront left antisemitism is urgently needed within the Labour Party, and Cohen’s book is one of the best and most accessible texts on the topic. A drive by Momentum groups to organise reading groups or workshops around the text would be an excellent initiative.

Steve Cohen, who died in 2009, was a

Jews and Arabs standing together

Published on: Thu, 11/10/2018 - 22:25

Above: Activists from the Standing Together movement.

As part of an ongoing series of interviews with leftist activists in Israel/Palestine, Daniel Randall of Workers’ Liberty spoke to Hannah Pollin-Galay, an activist in Standing Together, a cross-party movement organising Jews and Arabs against occupation and in favour of social and economic equality. By profession, Pollin-Galay is a Yiddish and Holocaust researcher at Tel Aviv University.

DR: What is the shape of the movement against the “Nation State Law”? Does it offer hope for a renewed movement, uniting Israeli-Jews and Arabs, against

Uniting Jewish and Arab workers in Israel/Palestine

Published on: Wed, 19/09/2018 - 21:28

Yacov Ben Efrat and Assaf Adiv (Organisation for Democratic Action, ODA)

Yacov Ben Efrat and Assaf Adiv are leading members of the Organisation for Democratic Action (ODA-Da’am), a socialist organisation active in Israel, which produces the magazine Challenge. They are also founder members of the Workers’ Advice Centre (WAC-Ma’an), a trade union centre which organises both Jewish and Arab workers, including Palestinian workers in the occupied territories. They corresponded with Daniel Randall of Workers’ Liberty about the class struggle in Israel/Palestine. The interview was facilitated by Roni Ben Efrat of ODA. For more information on ODA, visit their Facebook

Labour and Israel-Palestine

Published on: Wed, 19/09/2018 - 12:11

Shamsuddin Effendi

Over the past decade the situation for the Palestinians has gone from bad to worse.

Continued occupation, continued settlement expansion in the West Bank, no end to the conflict, the US moving their embassy to Jerusalem (undermining the widely held view that Jerusalem should be shared as a city after a settlement between Israelis and Palestinians) and now Trump has pledged to withdraw all US funding for the UN’s refugee agency for Palestinians UNWRA, while also closing down the PLO’s offices in Washington DC.

But the election of a Labour government in Britain could be some small boost for the

How the BDS movement delegitimises Israel

Published on: Wed, 29/08/2018 - 08:51

Dan Katz

In an interesting article in the Guardian (14 August) Nathan Thrall sets out the way in which many Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists now view the Israel-Palestinian conflict and how they pose a solution.

“BDS has challenged the two-state consensus … by undermining [the] central premise: that the conflict can be resolved simply by ending Israel’s occupation of Gaza, East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank…

“… transforming the Israel-Palestine debate from a negotiation over the end of the occupation and the division of territory into an argument about the conflict’s older

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