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Thursday, 1 October 2009

DEBATE - One State or 2 States?


DEBATE –
'Israel-Palestine and the one state solution:
principled solidarity or cul-de-sac?'


Tony Greenstein [Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods/Alliance 4 Green Socialism]

Jack Conrad [Communist Party of Great Britain]

Moshe Machover [founding member of Matzpen
- Socialist Organisation in Israel]



6.30-9.30 October 11th Lucas Arms, Pentonville Road, London

There has, over the past year, been a vigorous debate in the pages of the Weekly Worker concerning its position on the question of Israel-Palestine. A number of people have contributed to this debate including Moshe Machover and myself. Much of this debate is inaccessible because of the hacking of the WW site but the most recent articles by Jack Conrad and myself are accessible.

I hesitate to sum up the arguments of Machover and Conrad for fear of misrepresentation but I think it is safe to say that both believe that the Israeli Jews are a nation which is entitled to self-determination. Machover believes that it is futile to discuss solutions within the 'Palestinian box' whereas Conrade espouses the CPGB's solution of two democratic secular states in Palestine - Jewish and Arab.

My own view is that Israeli Jews are not a nation, or at least an oppressor nation and therefore the right of self-determination doesn't arise. Likewise I do support the goal of a democratic, secular state.
Given the size and therefore audience restrictions of the Lucas Arms, of which the Machover-CPGB-AWL debate last year was a good example, it will be best to get there early!


Tony Greenstein

18 comments:

onesime de girardin said...

It doesn't seem right to have 3 Jewish Trotskyites debating each other on Israel/Palestine. Trotsky's great grandchuldren live in the west Bank. Better to have 3 Palestinian Arab Trotskyites debate each other.

Tony Greenstein said...

There's no right or wrong. I don't define my politics by Jewishness in any case. I'm also not a Trotskyist, because I don't know what that means. I consider that in the division of the international communist movement between Stalin and Trotsky the latter was correct in rejecting the idea of socialism in one country but the term Trotskyist has been too corrupted by his followers.

Yes Trotsky's great grandchild I believe lives on the West Bank, a virulently racist settler and member of Kahane's Kach group. I'm not aware that either of the other 2 speakers also considers themselves a trotskyist so I'm not sure of what point is being made.

No one is stopping Arab Trotskyists from debating each other. Whether they choose to do so is another matter.

joe90 kane said...

Better to have 3 Palestinian Arab Trotskyites debate each other.
- Why?

Personally speaking, I don't really care what source or provenance arguments come from as long as they are valid and correct, intellectually and morally.

Although, there is something to be said when it comes to the likes of TG whose credentials are impeccable when it comes to peace, justice and equality for all - it's because of the likes of him (and a few others I could mention) that London and its south-east environs are regarded in some quarters as an epi-centre and a leading light of solidarity with Palestinians.

all the best

ps
the 'Scottish PSC Five' were up in court yesterday (01 Oct) in Edinburgh defending themselves against charges of 'racially aggravated' conduct - sorry I've no news but I just thought I'd mention it in passing.

Tony Greenstein said...

Joe

thanks. Do update us or write something on what is happening re the defendants in the trial in Scotland.

joe90 kane said...

Regarding the court appearance of the Scottish PSC Edinburgh 5, there seems to be the usual corporate news blackout in operation, but I did manage to find this -
Edinburgh 5 accused of 'aggravated racism'
UK Indymedia
01 Oct 2009

all the best TG

karine macallister said...

Your correspondents don't seem to make much sense. The fact is that Trotsky supported a territorial solution for the Jewish people. Had he lived to have seen the Holocaust, he would have supported the one state solution for the Jews in all of Palestine, to restore their homeland and to oust the perfidious British colonial masters. He didn't care much for the Arabs, terming them "backward." Of course, he was right as we can even see today. I have studied this matter and this explains why Trotsky's great grandchildren live in Judea and Samaria, the historic heartland of the Jewish people. Needless to say, Trotsky later in life regretted his defection from the Jewish people and secretly studied with a rabbi in Mexico City
to make up for his wasted life as a Bolshevik. As a matter of fact, Trotsky at heart was a Menshevik up till 1915, a democratic Marxist who eschewed the use of coercion against human beings until he was seduced by Lenin. The latter was a man of more violent temperament who would have killed a farmer at the drop of the hat for being a so-called "petit-bourgeois."

Tony Greenstein said...

Karine Macallister's comments are the usual Zionist nonsense:

i. Trotsky never supported Zionism, quite the contrary. What he aired was the right, under socialism, for Jewish people to form their own separate country but not as colonists.

ii. The Holocaust would have confirmed Trotsky in his view of Zionism as utterly futile and incapable of saving the Jews of Europe and, as my latest post on Haavarah and Abbas shows, willing to use the plight of German Jews in order to build the Zionist state.

iii. The Zionists were of course allies of the perfidious British. Their colonisation project could only take place under the protection of British bayonets. Of course once they were strong enough they, like Ian Smith in Rhodesia in 1964, rebelled against the colonial sponsor in order that they could best deal with the natives.

Karine demonstrates her racism when she speaks of the 'backward' Arabs. Trotsky did not generalise about particular people but spoke of the society in which they lived. He was not a biological determinist, nor was he a Menshevik when it counted, i.e. 1917, despite having previous differences with Lenin he was Lenin's preferred choice as his successor.

iv. As for his 'secret study' with a Mexican rabbi, I suggest that this is about as historically accurate as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion!!

elizabeth block said...

Karine MacAllister has a better understanding of history than you do. Trotsky considered the Jews a nation. He supported their having a territory in Birobidzhan, a part of the Soviet Socialist empire. He supported them being colonists to develop its economy and to displace the Mongol-Tatars living there. It simply will not do to cover up the historical facts,sir.

Tony Greenstein said...

Clearly Elizabeth neither you nor Karine have any understanding of history. Trotsky never said that he considered the Jews a nation. That is a Zionist notion, an absurd notion on a par with the idea of an Aryan race. Show me a quotation to this effect?

What he did say was that with the advent of socialism then Jews too would have their place under the sun and a place to live by themselves if they wish. I think he was wrong but he never said the Jews were a nation. That is a bit of Zionist mythology, of which you are of course good.

Sue Goldstein said...

The writer of this blog is spouting nonsense. Trotsky considered the Jews a nationality and targeted them to colonize the Jewish autonomous republic of Birobijan in eastern USSR. This won the approval of Lenin and Stalin. This is incontovertible. Anyone who denies this is an out and out revisionist and a nation-denier.

Of greater impact was Karl Marx. He was a reporter for the Herald Tribune who sent him to the Land of Israel under Turkish occupation to report on the Palestinian Arab atrocities against the Jews living there from time immemorial. In 1854 Marx reported that the "Jewish race" was immiserated by the backward Arabs and called on the Brtish and Prussian Empires to intervene.

Tony Greenstein said...

No Trotsky and co. didn't consider the Jews a nationality. What socialists, including Trotsky and also the anti-Zionist Bund argued, was that the Jews of Eastern Europe, not all Jews, the Jews of the Pale of Settlement, constituted a national minority. I agree.

They occupied a continguous territory, with other people such as the Poles, Ukranians etc., they spoke their own language (Yiddish) and arguably had their own semi-closed economy. But what did they have in common with Argentinian or Arab Jews? Nothing.

Those who argue that Jews worldwide are a nation, when they meet none of the criteria for nationhood are really arguing, and the early Zionists did argue this, that they are a race, a biological race. And this is the basis of Zionist anti-semitism.

As for what Marx wrote as a correspondent of the New York Tribune I know nothing and I suspect 'Sue Goldstein' knows nothng either. Let's have some actual quotes and dates, since I am sceptical about Marx calling for imperialist intervention in the Middle East. Or indeed anywhere. Since the Jews in 1854 in Palestine were what was called the Old Yishuv, i.e. anti-Zionist, what we have quoted here is doubtful.

>>The writer of this blog is spouting nonsense. Trotsky considered the Jews a nationality and targeted them to colonize the Jewish autonomous republic of Birobijan in eastern USSR. This won the approval of Lenin and Stalin. This is incontovertible. Anyone who denies this is an out and out revisionist and a nation-denier.

Of greater impact was Karl Marx. He was a reporter for the Herald Tribune who sent him to the Land of Israel under Turkish occupation to report on the Palestinian Arab atrocities against the Jews living there from time immemorial. In 1854 Marx reported that the "Jewish race" was immiserated by the backward Arabs and called on the Brtish and Prussian Empires to intervene.

boomy said...

You are right that you know nothing. Both Engels and Marx considered the Jews a race. You are not allowed to distort their views. As for Trotsky, Sue Goldstein and E. Block are right. You should begin to study the history of Birobidzhan and you will learn that it was reserved by the Bolsheviks - including Trotsky -as a national territory for the Jews to be exclusively colonized by them. How anyone in this day and age can mouth anti-historical statements like you (plus a surfeit of ad hominems ) is beyond me. Go back to school and study history.

Tony Greenstein said...

So why can't you cite and article or quote proving this fact?

"Both Engels and Marx considered the Jews a race."

Birobidzhan was reserved for Jews in the Soviet Union or Russia who wanted to live there. Very few did, suggesting the Jews weren't a nation, even in the areas of Russia where they were concentrated.

And despite Boomy's myopia, Birobidzhan was not reserved as a national territory for all Jews wherever they lived - because only Zionist race fanatics suggested that ALL Jews throughout the world were a nation i.e. race. but for Soviet Jews. A crucial difference our Zionists try not to acknowledge.

'You should begin to study the history of Birobidzhan and you will learn that it was reserved by the Bolsheviks - including Trotsky -as a national territory for the Jews to be exclusively colonized by them.'

I don't need to be taught history by Zionist ignoramuses. They should be lecturing their new found ally, Nick Griffin.

wyatt said...

Dear Mr. Greenstein,

Could you kindly post on this blog a transcript or report on the October 11 debate in which you participated. It might help clarify why you deny that both the Arabs and the Jews are nations despite writings of the classical Marxist leaders of yore. Even Chairman Mao and Ho Chi Minh recognized the Jews of Israel and the Arabs as nations.
Thank you.

Tony Greenstein said...

I am not aware there is a transcript of the debate. It was filmed and will appear on the web at some point, I'm not sure when.

The fact that Chairman Mao, someone who was rather a specialist in the denial of national rights to minorities and indeed the suppression of whole nations (Tibet) and Ho Chi Minh apparently recognised Israeli Jews as a nation doesn't make that so.

elizabeth block said...

Comrade, you are wasting your time toiling in the Greenstein School of Falsification. Your claim that the Jews are not a nation is equivalent to Nation Denial, an anti-Semitic crime under EU legislation.

As I mentioned previously, your mentor Leib Trotsky considered the Jews a nation. Your narrow sectarianism and intense self hatred is in flagrant contradiction to the Master's views.

Trotsky wrote in 1937 in "Thermidor and Anti-Semitism" that "a world socialist federation
would create an independent Jewish republic as well as other national regions." In his l934 letter to the Trotskyist Opposition in Paris he wrote: "A workers government is duty-bound to create for the Jews, as for any nation, the very best circumstances for cultural development. This means a separate territory for self-administration and development. In the sphere of the national question, there must be no restraint; on the contrary, there must be all-round material assistance for the cultural needs of all nationalities and ethnic groups."

Your continuing refusal and denial to accept Trotsky's words cast you in the category of Marx's pedantic barbarians.

Tony Greenstein said...

I thought I'd let the Blockhead's comment through for its pomposity if nothing else.

'nation denial' (uh?) is an anti-semitic crime? Methinks this is a thought crime!

Trotsky isn't my master Mr Giradin/Edgbaston etc.

Trotsky was, of course speaking about a future World Federation of Socialism, a utopian dream, when all would be sweetness and light. Unfortunately he wasn't around to see it and neither will any of us.

Trotsky's only knowledge of Jews was from the old Pale of Settlement where Jews did form a national minority of sorts. That is the context in which his comments in Thermidor must be understood. Not in some robotic style 'Stalinist School of Falsification'.

At no time did Trotsky put pen to paper and argue that the Jews constituted a nation. He was, after all, a bitter opponent of Zionism and even of the Bund's cultural autonomy, so he was hardly likely to be a Jewish nationalist, not least as he himself said he knew nothing about Jews.


Your pendantic barbarian!

Peregrine said...

Re Elizabeth Block, she is on point and you are not. As far as I can tell, nobody says Trotsky was a Zionist. Your respondents are telling you with substantiated evidence that his revolutionary ideology made space for recognizing the Jewish nation within a specific territory i.e. Birobidzhan.

Your comments are flippant, disoriented and Un-Marxist. No wonder the revolutionary left in Britain is going the way of the dodo.