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Submitted by martin on Thu, 14/02/2008 - 21:54

The "blogosphere" is, of course, all agog at this. I can't claim to have an overview of what's been written. But this caught my eye, from Ian Donovan (formerly one of the Weekly Worker's main writers, now a prominent figure in Galloway's Respect Renewal).

Donovan takes strong objection to this remark, by Andy Newman: "Yes we wish to split the Palestinian solidarity movement, because we want to exclude neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, holocaust deniers, and those who defend them".

"Does this include Hamas supporters?", asks Donovan. "Since Hamas has a explicit positive reference to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in their charter, I don’t see how you can avoid this kind of conclusion. If you want to be consistent. Unfortunately, Hamas are also the legitimate, elected leadership of the Palestinians.

"If you wish to exclude all those who are sympathetic to Hamas, or who ‘defend’ them from the Palestinian solidarity movement, you will have a ‘Palestinian solidarity movement’ that excludes many if not most Palestinians. Not only would it exclude Hamas supporters. It would also exclude the many non-Hamas Palestinians who would interpret an attempt to exclude Hamas supporters as an attack on the right of the Palestinian people to choose their own leaders and representatives.

"This is very unwise. If you want to be in a ‘Palestinian solidarity’ movement acceptable to the likes of Goodwin Sands and David T, but unacceptable to most Palestinians, then go for it. Because that is what would be the result of such a split. Or is it not Hamas supporters you object to, but simply that Jewish fringe that flirts with some of their rhetoric? If that is the case, then why the inconsistency?"

I've never seen the argument put so baldly that international activity in solidarity with the Palestinians should (in effect) let its tone be set by Hamas. But when you see the argument stated that baldly, doesn't it make a case for a different sort of Palestine solidarity activity, one that starts from internationalist and democratic principle and not from an alleged need to accommodate "neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, holocaust deniers, and those who defend them"?

Martin Thomas

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