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Submitted by martin on Tue, 16/09/2008 - 16:18

Jason... you wrote "there is good reason, from an Israeli point of view, to refuse to stand by and let people who have said that they want to destroy Israel acquire the weapons with which they just might try to do that."

"This repeats imperialist lies..."

What is the "lie" there? That Iran's leaders have said that they want to destroy Israel? No. That they might acquire nuclear weapons, and if they acquire them "just might try" to destroy Israel? No.

As it happens, neither the Sun article nor the Times article which you cite say that "Iran is part of an axis of evil" or "that we are all about to be nuked". But in any case, what is your argument here? Because right-wing bourgeois papers say that the Iranian regime is bad, therefore we must "talk down" its evils?

Remember where that sort of logic led with the USSR: the right-wing press says it's bad, so leftists must say it's not so bad after all...

I'm sure you do criticise Iran's regime. (As, after the 1960s, even CPers criticised the USSR). But fundamentally you side with it and its alleged right to have nuclear weapons. The way you put it is that you would be for the Iranian working class "controlling the war effort", but you subscribe to the common "war effort". Actually such war would be as much the direct opposite of a chance for the Iranian working class to contend for power as the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-8 was.

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John Palmer: the only meeting between Ahmadinejad and orthodox Jews I can find reports of is the attendance of (a branch of) the Neturei Karta sect (alongside neo-Nazis, etc.) at Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial conference in December 2006.

Neturei Karta want to see Israel destroyed and most if not all of the Jews living there driven out. They consider it an offence against god that human beings established a Jewish state rather than waiting for god to do it.

They don't deny the Holocaust, but think it was divine will, so protest against it, or attempts to stop it being repeated, are wrong. A Neturei Karta leader told the Tehran conference: "The Zionists, with their secular pompous approach behave in complete opposition to this philosophy and dare to say 'Never Again'.

"They have the audacity to think that they can prevent the Almighty from repeating a Holocaust. This is heresy."

So it makes sense that Neturei Karta should embrace Ahmadinejad.

What doesn't make sense is that John Palmer considers the meeting between this sect and Ahmadinejad as a step towards conciliation between Jews and Arabs in the Palestine and their merging into a common state.

Even in the European Union, even over sixty years after the end of World War 2 and fifty years after the foundation of the EU, we are not near the merging of French people and Germans into a single nationality. Nor even of the merging of British and French, who have not been at war with each other for nearly 200 years, into a single nationality.

The closer and friendlier the relations between future Israeli Jewish and Palestinian Arab states, the better. The ampler the rights for national minorities in both states, the better. The better that settlement, the greater the openings for working-class unity.

But working-class unity, and the voluntary merger of nationalities into a common state, will not happen without prior recognition of both nations' rights to self-determination.

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