DSP on Palestine

Philip Ferguson plf13 at SPAMit.canterbury.ac.nz
Tue Nov 21 13:48:01 MST 2000

My friend Jose replies to my friend Gary (and presumably, in part at least,
to my earlier post, which Gary supported):

>First, we should demand that all Third World Countries be immediately thrown
>out from the UN, and other international organizations, as their presence
>there only breeds illusions.
>Second, the Palestinians are getting what they deserve.
>First, they refused to smash the Zionist entity and establish a democratic
>secular Palestine, even though they have known for more than 30 years this
>is what they must do because we told them so.
>Second, they have failed to produce revolutions in other Arab countries such
>as Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Jordan, although we have very patiently
>explained to them that this is necessary.
>Third, they have chosen leaders we don't like, and especially Yasir Arafat,
>who even smiles when he gets his picture taken at diplomatic functions.
>Without even consulting with us. For shame!

I'm not quite sure about Jose's numbering system here, but anyway my answer
to each of these would be to say 'No'.

No-one has suggested that all the Third World countries leave the UN, let
alone that they be thrown out.  What has been suggested, however, is that
the UN is essentially a tool of imperialism.  I would be surprised if Jose
disputed this.  UN interventions are interventions which impose imperialist
solutions and represent imperialist interests, however they are dressed up
and whatever the token make-up of various intervention forces.

Secondly, Jose it really is out of order for you to say that anyone has
suggested "the Palestinians are getting what they deserve."  What the
Palestinians deserve is their freedom, not being gunned down by Israeli
forces.  They also do not deserve to be sold down the river by the Arafat

Thirdly, you seem incapable of distinguishing between the Palestinian
masses and the Arafat cabal.  For instance, this paragraph of yours is
truly bizarre:

>First, they refused to smash the Zionist entity and establish a democratic
>secular Palestine, even though they have known for more than 30 years this
>is what they must do because we told them so.

The Palestinians did not refuse to smash the Zionist entity.  They are
still trying to achieve this!  Moreover, it was not the Western left which
told the Palestinians to establish a democratic, secular Palestine, as you
so ridiculously suggest.  It was the other way around - it was the
Palestinians who adopted this goal all of their own volition and who then
appealed for support from the left elsewhere.

The fact that *a section* of the Palestinians, namely a section of the
leadership represented above all by Arafat, has abandoned this goal does
not invalidate the goal.

Your comment that the Palestinians 'have chosen leaders' whom people such
as Gary and I (and presumably Lou, who thought the DSP position 'abysmal')
don't like is also daft.  Go and read Said's account of how people like
Arafat are 'chosen', and how representative they are.  Check out, for
Edward Said, "The End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After", New York,
Pantheon, 2000, especially chapters 6 and 7 ('Elections, Institutions,
Democracy', and 'Post-Election Realities').

The problem with Arafat is not that he doesn't consult with Gary, me, Lou,
or you; it is that he has accepted two Bantustans, with himself as
overlord, in the place of the goals of his own movement.  And that he has,
by various means, made it very difficult for the Palestinian masses to
continue struggling.

Lastly, may I say how happy I am that you were not around in 1921 when a
section of the leadership of the Irish national liberation struggle also
settled for a neo-colonial solution, with themselves in charge of the
neo-colony.  Judging by your position on Palestine and Arafat, you probably
would have regarded that as some kind of step forward and attacked anyone
outside Ireland who denounced Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith for being

The Irish parallel is also a striking one because when the Adams cabal
decided to take the neo-colonial path in the early-mid 90s, they used the
Arafat road as a justification for this.  I still recall a Sinn Fein
delegate from staunch South Armagh getting up at an ard fheis (national
conference) and saying, in relation to the trajectory of the Adams cabal
towards a bogus 'peace process', "It may be Yas-sir in the Middle East, but
it's No-Sir in South Armagh."

We should be supporting the Palestinians who are continuing to resist.  Not
going along, as Jose demands, with the cabal which is selling them out.


More information about the Marxism mailing list