A little bit inaccurate again

Submitted by martin on 3 December, 2003 - 10:55

As the original AWL speaker supposed to have said that I am "a little bit Zionist" (the report is 'a little bit inaccurate'), I feel I have to respond to Bruce Robinson's letter (Solidarity, 9 October).
Bruce contends that when John O'Mahony writes that he considers the baseline content of the common use of "Zionism" is support for the right of Israel to exist, and in that sense he is a "Zionist", then John is trying to refute the AWL's "universalist" opposition to Israeli nationalism (as to all other nationalism). But if anyone really wants to defend Israeli nationalism, then why not defend it under that description (which doesn't sound so bad) rather than the horror-producing name "Zionism"?
The actual point at issue has to be something else, hasn't it?
It is that the image of Israel on the cover of the SWP's pamphlet on it - a huge mad dog dragging along otherwise-not-so-bad Uncle Sam - has become widespread on the left. A conclusion follows: if you want to fight US imperialism, you can denounce its distant and mighty rulers, but you can also usefully strike against a more vulnerable target, closer to hand - "the Zionists", meaning any Jew with a reflex identification with Israel, even if they dissent from Sharon's policies.
Martin Thomas, Islington

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