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Submitted by AWL on Fri, 11/06/2021 - 12:51

It's hard to know where to start with Tony's dismal rant. As almost every word of it is either wrong or politically obscene, a comprehensive critique would take more time than anyone with anything better to do (going to work, eating, washing one's hair) should have time for.

Some brief comments, however:

- Self-determination is either "for nations", or only for "the oppressed". Which is it? It can't be both. If it's a democratic principle it has to be applied universally.

- The Israeli Jews are clearly a nation by any operable definition of the concept (they inhabit a discrete territory, they speak a shared language, they have a shared national/cultural memory and experience, they have national consciousness). The fact they may also consider themselves to be part of a diasporic Jewish "nation" does not change that fact.

- The fact that the Holocaust was little mentioned in one particular book you cite doesn't change the fact that significant numbers of refugees from Nazism sought refuge in Israel in the 1940s, that struggles over immigration policy (against British colonial obstruction of Jewish immigration) was an element of national formation, and that the experiences of European antisemitism are what forged Zionism. You can choose to ignore it if you like. As the Lebanese-French socialist Gilbert Achcar, whose assessment on these matters I trust rather more than Tony Greenstein's puts it: "It is indisputable that eastern European Zionism emerged in reaction to an unbearable form of racist oppression that, ultimately, defined the Jews as a race and culminated in the Nazi genocide.”

- The implication that we defend Tommy Robinson, or are "covering" for the racism of Israel's settler movement, is risible and beneath contempt, and I won't comment on it further except to call attention to Tony's ludicrous method of argument - to ignore the actual issues raised in the article, raise other issues, and then claim we're supportive of or "covering for" them. I'll leave it to readers' own judgment to determine whether this is a reasonable approach to political discourse and whether Tony's claims have merit.

- There was explicit antisemitism on recent Palestine solidarity demonstrations - some from presumably marginal cranks in the crowd, but some broadcast from the platform of the rally (like Tariq Ali's comments, or the speaker at a Manchester demo who said that because leading "BBC executives" are "Jewish" - he said "Jewish", not "Zionists" - the media is biased in favour of Israel). Tony doesn't care. We do. That's the difference here.

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DR

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