[Marxism] How to answer these questions?

dwalters at marxists.org dwalters at marxists.org
Mon Jul 31 10:02:36 MDT 2006

"Hezbollah is not only opposed to the policies of  the state of
Israel -- it seems also to be virulently anti-semitic."

Anti-Semitism is a red-herring. I agree with Louis that most of  Hezbollah's
statements are anti-Zionist. And, some of it is anti-Semitic. This is the kind
of stuff you did not find in PLO statements, for example, in the 1960s and
1970s, because it prided itself on it's secularism. Nowadays one hears,
verbally, in English, "Kill the Jews". Of course we have Zionism to thank for
amalgamating "Judaism and Zionism". So, there are probably people in the
Middle-East who hate me because of the Zionists. Well done, a perfect reason to
destroy Zionism as an ideology on the one hand and as a political state that
seeks to maintain colonial-settler control over Palestine.

But anti-Semitism is a red-herring. It is the effect of Zionism, not the cause
of anti-Zionism. For anti-Semitism to be the motive force of Hezbollah or Hamas
or any of the Palestinian organizations or individuals, that is, for it to *mean
something* you'd have to show that if it were the French or British occupying 
Palestine that opposition to this occupation would be that much less. That the
hatred would be modified. That the militant response would be transposed into
something more acceptable to Western liberalism. But we know that it wouldn't
be. It would be the same. If you were living in the 1920s in Syria, you might
ask what they tought of the Turks...probably the same as they think of "Jews."

I've seen enough of the "virulent" anti-Semitism of those Palestinian textbooks
to know that in fact that Palestinian society has amalgamated much of Zionism
and Judaism and that a political and religious culture of anti-Jewish bigotry
has sprung up. Palestinian voices are now starting to "accept the victomology
of Zionism" on it's *own basis* and have sought then to challenge the
historical reality of the Holocaust by adopting the neo-Nazi Holocaust
Revisionism. This is a very serious problem. But it is totally *secondary* to
the cause of this rise in anti-Jewish sentiment. If it exists, as it surely
does, then the reader has to ask "Why?". But it cannot simply be part of the
tit-for-tat discourse that Zionism throws up in "See
they hate the Jews
". The
anti-Semitism of the Arab world is not the ideological anti-Semitism of
Fascism. If one doesn't understand the difference, there is little use in
trying to deal with it.

So, we have to ask, partly in response to the Zionists, about Arab
anti-Semitism: "true in some cases, but WHY do they hate Jews?". The answer, of
course, is that they fight against the occupier and THIS is the only question at
the end of the day.

David Walters

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