Once more on Zionism and antisemitism (1)

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The heart of John Rose’s argument (“Antisemitism and anti-Zionism today”, January SR) seems to me to be twofold: firstly, his emphasis on the need for dialogue between Israeli Jews and Palestinians as a precondition for resolution of the conflict. But secondly, it also raises the issue of the nature of Jewish cultural identity in a post-Zionist state of Palestine.

Although it seems impossible that rational dialogue can take place in the short term while Israeli settlers continue to usurp Palestinian land with official blessing, and egged on by Trump, no long-term solution will be achieved without it.

The problem here is the future international context and internal situation necessary to create its framework. The Zionist state cannot be overthrown from within by the oppressed and excluded Palestinian masses: unlike the black, South African working class, whom the white minority super-exploited, the majority of the Palestinians were expelled in 1948.

We need to re-assert our Marxist analysis of the Middle East: as Rob Ferguson and Mark Krantz remind us (Feedback, February SR), Palestine will only be liberated as part of the revolutionary transformation of the Middle East. However, there is an additional precondition for the overthrow of Zionism: the eventual support of what Matzpen (the Israeli Socialist Organisation) called the Hebrew working class as opposed to “Israeli Jews”.

Moreover, their participation in the project can only succeed if it is part of a socialist and internationalist, not a liberal, nationalist movement. But Trump’s antisemitism and apparent rejection of the two-state solution means that John is right to highlight symptoms of the decline of Israel’s self-confidence.

Sabby Sagall
London