Deja vu(was:Re: [Marxism] Zionism - or Jewish chauvinism?)

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at
Thu Aug 10 08:27:58 MDT 2006

Marvin Gandall wrote:

> Einde O'Callaghan:
> > I should haved been clearer. I meant that there is no future for
> > wishy-washy left liberal soft Zionism. Political development is pushing
> > them to take sides. Unfortunately the majority seems at the moment to be
> > moving into a hard Zionist "Israel right or wrong at any price" position
> -
> > or at least it seems so from where I am.
> ===========================
> Yes, but, as you note, political developments force change, and already a
> part of this constituency is beginning to reverse itself - not surprising
> when a war goes badly and exposes a failed policy.
> This was posted earlier today on the LBO list:
> Meretz, Peace Now to join anti-war protest

Michel Warschawski described the attitude of the so-called Israeli left already more than five years ago. Not much has changed since than:

"Did the Israeli left disappear?
Michel Warschawski 

The silence of the Israeli peace camp during the last month has been widely reported in the international media, as well as the return of many of its main spokespersons to the bosom of National Unity and uncritical support to the criminal acts of the Israeli army and the Labour government. 

The Palestinians too have been aware of this trend, and many political activists and intellectuals have expressed their disappointment and even anger. Yesterday’s friends have become again enemies, offering their peace medals to try to legitimise the propaganda machine of war criminals.

The Palestinians have the right to be angered by the behaviour of these hypocrites and to denounce their total lack of moral backbone. They even have the duty to re-evaluate their co-operation with the so-call Israeli peace camp, and to put new and more drastic conditions for its eventual renewal.

Together with the anger expressed by the Palestinians, one can also identify a huge disappointment, as if such a behaviour on behalf of the great majority of the Israeli peace camp was not predictable. 
While Peace Now and Meretz supported the closure under the false argument that closure=separation=peace all the real peace organisations denounced it as a huge violation of Human Rights as well as a violation of the Oslo agreement. To these peace organisations, one should add the systematic campaigns of B’tselem, Physicians for Human Rights, the Public Committee Against Tortures and several other Israeli Human Rights organisations for the defence of the individual and collective rights of the Palestinians. (...)
Solidarity and unconditional defence of what is right, is what has motivated the real Israeli peace forces, the moral as well as political rejection of any form of oppression and occupation has been their struggle for decades. For them peace is the complete end of occupation, not peace parties financed by the USAID or the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, while the closure is dismantling the Palestinian society and the liberation fighters are still behind bars. This is why they were on the streets from the very first day of the Israeli offensive.

While we were continuing our struggle against occupation, the rest of the Israeli peace camp, however, was busy in normalisation. Prisoners, settlements, house demolitions and closure didn’t bother it. The basic motivation of the great majority of the Israeli peace activists has never been either solidarity with the Arabs or values like the right of people to resist foreign aggression, but keeping the interests of Israel, the way they understand it: not to be involved in a war with no chance to win, keeping a good international image and good relations with the US, keeping the Jewish and democratic nature of Israel etc.

Only when these objectives are in danger, will the mainstream Israeli peace movement mobilise itself. Otherwise, it will rather prefer to keep on-line with the national consensus, and support the policy of the government. This is why, at the beginning of a crisis, one will never see an immediate mobilisation of the mainstream Israeli peace camp: neither in 1982, nor in 1987, nor after the massacre on Haram el Sharif in 1990. A Palestinian activist from Kafr Kar’a, Jamal Zahalka, once called this reaction "the First Day Syndrome": the first reaction is a reaction of support to the official policy; only later, when the price to be paid for such policy is becoming more and more clear, starts a process of disconnection and dissidence.

During the last weeks, we have been witnessing the same pattern, and we can predict that the continuation of the crisis, international pressures, more casualties on the Israeli side, will gradually push more and more Israelis to return to a more critical stand.
Peace is not a party, but the end of a struggle, a long and difficult struggle for liberation and freedom. In this struggle the Palestinian people do have allies in Israel, not too many, but dedicated, and motivated by moral integrity and the drive for justice. They don’t look for peace celebrations and awards, and they don’t ask anything in exchange for what they are doing. They only want to be able to look in the eyes of their children and grand children without shame, and to be able to tell them: injustice was committed in our name, and we did our best to stop it.

News from Within, vol. XVI, number 8, November 2000"

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