Why does the SWP oppose "Israel out of the occupied territories"?
At the Socialist Alliance executive on 13 April, you and other SWP members voted against the slogan "Israel out of the occupied territories".
It was not, you explained, that you wanted the Israeli army to stay in the West Bank and Gaza; but the slogan was the wrong "priority".
Sure enough, it never appears in Socialist Worker headlines, though occasionally there have been formulas in the small print which suggest it.
Whatever socialists' different views about longer-term programmes for the Middle East, Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories is the obvious, simple, immediate-action demand for anyone concerned to end massacres like the one in Jenin. It is the demand of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. It is the demand of Israel's anti-war movement.
In arguments over Israel and Palestine around the country, SWP comrades have reproached Solidarity and Workers' Liberty with being preoccupied with ultimate programmes rather than immediate solidarity with the Palestinians. The truth is rather the other way round.
It is we who have made the immediate-action solidarity slogan - "Israel out of the occupied territories" - our frontline message; you who have chosen to reject it.
Whatever you think about wider programmes, "Israel out" is realisable - not tomorrow, but after no more than shift in the political balance within the two peoples, helped by international solidarity, not an enormous qualitative shift in the whole region.
You want to raise more far-reaching demands? Fine. So do we. We advocate a socialist federation in the Middle East, with the right to self-determination of every nationality within it. You advocate a (single) "democratic secular state of Palestine" (merging Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs into a single state).
The difference, however, is that we do not dissolve our immediate solidarity into long-term programme, and you do.
The "democratic secular Palestine" slogan sounds benign, but its core is the advocacy of a single state in Palestine whether people like it or not. It means forcing the Israeli Jews under Arab rule. It means pogrom, not democracy.
Now "destroy Israel" is also obviously no sort of realistic immediate slogan. So what do you do? You are not candid and staightforward about it. You choose ambiguous formulas like "Victory to the intifada" and "Free Palestine" which can run smoothly past both labour movement activists who would be horrified at the idea of destroying Israel, and Islamic fundamentalists like those whom you chimed in with on the 13 April demonstration in London.
You opt for agitation which serves not the positive aim of helping the Palestinians, but only the negative aim of building up steam for the destruction of Israel in a remote (and, I'm glad to say, improbable) future.
You reject the immediate, practical solidarity slogans in favour of general agitation to express (as Socialist Worker's editorial put it) "anger at Israel, imperialism and oppression." You react to the Palestinian struggle not by asking how best to help the Palestinians, but by using their struggle as grist for the mill of your "hate Israel" agitation. You'd rather not campaign for Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories than allow any implication to pass that there should remain an Israel that can withdraw.
Or is there another explanation?