[Marxism] Is Israel an apartheid state?

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Tue Aug 24 10:20:31 MDT 2010

Manuel quoted me:

Fred said: " I want stress that I would have no trouble accepting the
"apartheid" label (as a popular synonym for "racist regime") if I was
convinced that comrades really grasped that the Palestinians have a right to
fight not just for a single-state Palestine solution, but for whatever they
are strong enough to take in their native land."

Manuel agrees with me, seemingly, and then complains:

However, I always find it perplexing (read peeved) to hear self-professed
revolutionists worrying whether popularizing a well-known sentiment
("apartheid Israel") will somehow lead the Palestinian fighters and their
allies to make a wrong turn because they seek to build popular support for
their struggle on a world stage in terms comprehensible especially to the
oppressed nationalities and nations never mind the privileged workers and
students of imperialist countries. 

Fred responds:
Where did I suggest that the "apartheid Israel" slogan would lead
Palestinian fighters astray? Nowhere, although I admit that Palestinian
fighters are not unique in the world in being incapable of making mistakes.

No, my concern is with the international solidarity movement, where there
are strong tendencies in many radical groups to see their pet "one-state
solutions" as the only way forward, and partial steps as Bantustans,
sell-outs, or hopeless "concentration camps," with all these conclusions
seen as flowing from the apartheid analysis. While Edmundsen claims to
reject this kind of thinking, his comments about Gaza show that he
nonetheless buys into it.

I believe this is true not only in regard to Hamas but even the weak and
disorganized PLO leadership in the West Bank, where the mass fight against
the settlements is a fight to retrieve bits and pieces of territory for a
potential Palestinian state, which the Israeli ruling class continues to
block despite the alleged advantage of the "Bantustans" that would
supposedly surely result. Israel has a ruling class, by the way, and it is
not just all Jews, to put it mildly.
The fact is that single state solutions (including the "democratic secular
state," logical and inevitable as they MAY prove to be as ultimate
solutions, do not have a mass base today among either the Palestinians (most
of whom think they are utopian at best) or the colonial-settler population. 

The fight has to begin from where the Palestinians are, from their real
situation and consciousness their real level of unity, the strength or
weakness of their alliances, and the strength of the enemy which is far from
evaporating as yet.

Many non-Palestinian radicals assume that Hamas rejects a two-state
solution, favoring a united Islamic Israel, free of all Jews. But this
"militant" position is yesterday's paper. Hamas clearly favors a two-state
agreement. Of course, they do not believe this should involve only Gaza but
also the West Bank, where they attempt, whether in the best way or not is
beside the point in this context, to find some common ground with the PLO
that wants to fight.

It may be true, as Manuel speculates, that only the most implacable foes of
Israel gain popular support in Palestine, but for them this is expressed in
struggle, not in programmatic positions. There is no sign at all that the
majority of the Palestinian population insists on a one state solution or
nothing. All signs are to the contrary. Those who fight get support and
sympathy. Those who seem to cave in GENERALLY (not absolutely and
unanimously) are viewed with contempt.

Edmundson suggests that Gaza cannot be independent in any sense because the
Palestinians and Gazan are not strong enough to prevent Israeli violations
of their borders and so forth. But this would apply as well to independent
to "independent" North Vietnam or "independent" North Korea or even (future
tense quite possibly) "independent Iran" which were not strong enough to
prevent their territory from being invaded and attacked by the imperialist
powers. Since Cuba could be blockaded militarily and is still b

That's why I brought forward Arafat's 1975 (at the UN) perspective of
establishing a state on any territory that can be liberated from Israel,
which still seems sound to me.  And counterposing such rhetorical "final
solutions" to the partial struggles that go on and must go on today to
assert Palestinian sovereignty wherever it can be asserted seems to me like
complete sectarian nonsense.
Fred Feldman

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