[Marxism] Boycott Israel?

Lenin's Tomb leninstombblog at googlemail.com
Thu Aug 9 06:58:58 MDT 2007

On 8/9/07, Jscotlive at aol.com <Jscotlive at aol.com> wrote:
> Chris Harman's piece in Socialist Review (building solidarity with
> Palestine, July/August issue) gives succour to Israeli apologists
> and  supporters
> everywhere, and in effect aids their attempt to  weaken a growing
> international
> movement to isolate Israel and provide  meaningful and active solidarity
> with the
> long  suffering Palestinians, who continue to endure and resist the  most
> prolonged, barbaric and savage occupation in modern history.
>    Not only does he suggest that a boycott is not the way  forward, he
> provides no alternative, which suggests a complete abandonment of  the
> Palestinians
> and their struggle at a time when it has reached probably the  most
> critical
> stage in its entire history.

I'll defend Chris Harman's piece here.  I actually think a boycott is
probably a good idea, and SR has written supportively of such moves by the
Palestinians.  However, what Harman is saying here is absolutely correct  If
this tactic is to be used, it isn't a panacea, and it should not be allowed
to divide activists between two-staters (most people) and one-staters (a
committed few).  This is the caveat that Harman is raising: he isn't saying
at all, anywhere, that a boycott isn't itself the way forward.  He's saying
it can be, but be wary of how it can be used.  He also resists some of the
moralistic language that this debate is couched in (quite naturally since
Israel's supporters accuse us of racism and have been waging a largely
successful media war to demonise its opponents as such).  He says that the
boycott did not in itself end apartheid, and that's quite right.  He says
that the Zionist lobby hopes to maximise confusion and use this tactic to
split Palestine's supporters, and that's also quite right.  He does not say
that the motion should never have been passed, or that one should never
consider a boycott: he warns against walking into a massive elephant trap.

The thrust of the article is that a boycott is a tactic, and not a
principle.  That shouldn't be a matter of controversy.

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