[Marxism] The German Left and Israel

Angelus Novus fuerdenkommunismus at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 22 08:01:21 MDT 2009


> Yes, but in fact wasn't the revolutionary left's hardline anti-Zionism,
> which did indeed occasionally cross the line into antisemitism, a
> reaction to the fact that the general left intelligentsia, the trade
> unions, the SPD were all pro-Zionist. Even within the New Left, prior to
> 1967 wouldn't it be true to say that pro-Zionist sentiment was hegemonic?

Oh yes, when she was still an editor of Konkret, Ulrike Meinhof even wrote a column condemning Israel's actions in the 1967 war, but nonetheless arguing that the left was obligated to support Israel's existence.  Such a position would have been unthinkable for her a few years later.

> As for the RZ's position in the 80s being a reaction against the RAF or
> the "remnants of the SDS" - mightn't it be true that they were in fact
> reacting to their own past practice?

Sorry, clumsy phrasing on my part.  I didn't mean to imply the RZ's position was a direct response to the RAF at all.  I was simply trying to say that along with figures like Pohrt and Geisel and the KB, the RZ's interventions during the 1980s played a key role concerning these issues.

> After all, nothing the RAF ever said or did in the 1970s seems anywhere > near the same as the actions of RZ members at Entebbe, where they led a > skyjacking operation that included separating Jews from non-Jews  

Agreed, the Entebbe hijacking represents an absolute nadir in terms of the left's attitude towards anti-Semitism.  I've heard it said by some that after this incident the RZ split into an "anti-imperialist" wing and a "social revolutionary" wing.  But you are more the scholar on armed groups, I have a collection put out by ID Verlag but have barely skimmed it, too unwieldy.

> In any case, i would really like to encourage Angelus to write more
> about these developments in the 1980s, either on- or off-list.

The best scholarly book on this was published by M. Kloke, "Israel and the German Left", which has never been translated into English, but has been thoroughly cannibalized by anyone who has ever done research on this topic.

> The vacillations of sections of the left and revolutionary left regarding
> Israel and the Palestinian struggle is a fascinating and important
> story, although we perhaps interpret its meaning differently.

I think all the nonsense concerning Israel and Palestine within the left, from both sides, could have been avoided if the writings of Rosa Luxemburg on nationalism had had more weight in the post-1914 left rather than Lenin's.  But it was Lenin who led a successful revolution, and the rest is history.

But the discourse has become so debased that these days any vocal opposition to anti-Semitism or any suggestion that there might be anti-semitic sentiment within the left is enough to get one tagged as a crypto-Zionist.  I think the way the Living Marxism people have been attacked on this score is shameful.


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