Two Nations Two States

Israel-Palestine: Two Nations, Two States

Submitted by martin on 22 August, 2010 - 12:17

Third edition 2016

Israel out of the Occupied Territories!

For a Palestinian state with the same rights as Israel!

For Arab-Jewish workers' unity on a basis of consistent democracy! For a socialist Israel and a socialist Palestine in a socialist federation of the Middle East!

Third edition 2016. (1st edition was 2001, 2nd edition 2002). Cover price £3.50. With UK postage, £4.70; with international postage, £8.55. See button below to buy online or get cheap bulk rates.

1 copy plus UK postage £4.70 GBP2 copies plus UK postage £8.54 GBP3 copies plus UK postage £12.04 GBP10 copies (UK postage free) £32.00 GBP20 copies (UK postage free) £60.00 GBP1 copy plus international postage £8.55 GBP

Two Nations, Two States. Socialists and Israel-Palestine

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Two States, or "Secular Democratic State"? There is no "democratic" way to wipe out Israel!

Submitted by AWL on 13 June, 2007 - 12:39

A Letter to an Advocate of "Secular Democratic State"

By Sean Matgamna

Dear Andrew

It seems to me that the terms of the only just solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are clear and unmistakeable.

Unless you think the interests of one side should be entirely sacrificed to the other - that is, unless you are either an Arab or an Israeli chauvinist - there is only one acceptable solution.

Each nation should have self-determination in the territory where it is the majority. I understand that to mean, essentially, the 1967 border.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 17/12/2005 - 09:23

Caro Compagno Sean,

scusa se ti scrivo in italiano, ma il mio inglese è pessimo. Sono un vecchio militante trotskista che da qualche anno non ha più una appartenenza politica e che sta da tempo riconsiderando molte delle vecchie certezze di un tempo.
Condivido pienamente il contenuto della tua lettera, che rappresenta per me la posizione più corretta sulla questione arabo-israeliana.
Seguo da anni (da quando sono connesso a internet) le iniziative dell'AWL che considero una delle voci più interessanti della sinistra di classe e non solo in Gran Bretagna.
In particolare ho molto apprezzato i lavori tuoi e dei tuoi compagni su Tony Cliff e il SWP.

Fraterni saluti

Giorgio Amico
Savona (Italia)

Se la cosa ti interessa, puoi trovare parecchi miei testi su siti internet.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 20/12/2005 - 14:24

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Molte grazie per i tuoi commenti. Sarebbe molto interessante per me sapere che cosa pensi adesso della situazione politica in Italia. Quali sono le possibilità per la sinistra dopo la decisione di Rifondazione di fare un'alleanza con Prodi?
Io sono una compagna di Workers' Liberty e sto per trasferirmi a Roma per sei mesi dopo Capodanno, dove spero di seguire un po' la sinistra italiana.
Cath Fletcher

And for English readers a slightly more polished translation of Giorgio's message:
'Apologies for writing in Italian, but my English is dreadful. I am an old Trotskyist militant, who for some years now has not belonged to an organisation, and who for some time has been reconsidering many of the old political certainties.
I fully agree with the content of your letter, which represents for me the most correct position on the Arab-Israeli question.
I have been following for years (since I have had internet access) the initiatives of the AWL, which I consider one of the most interesting voices of the working-class left, and not only in Great Britain.
In particular I greatly appreciated your work and that of your comrades on Tony Cliff and the SWP.
Fraternal greetings
Giorgio Amico
p.s. If you are interested, you can find a number of my publications on internet sites.

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Boycott? A Jew-hunt won't help the Palestinians

Submitted by AWL on 6 February, 2007 - 2:29 Author: Sean Matgamna

From the Workers' Liberty pamphlet Two Nations, Two States

The boycotting of nations and states is a crude, undifferentiating and normally ineffectual weapon.

Typically, it has more to do with the taking of a political and moral stand by the boycotter than with effective political action. That said, boycotts are, nonetheless, sometimes useful.

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Chronology of a conflict

Submitted by AWL on 24 February, 2004 - 2:43

1881: Wave of pogroms in the Tsarist Empire, followed by a series of laws discriminating against Jews.
1894-5: Start of Dreyfus affair: a Jewish officer in the French army is falsely convicted of treason.

1897: First congress of the Zionist movement.

1903-6: New wave of pogroms in the Tsarist Empire. Start of systematic efforts to build up Zionist settlements in Palestine (then ruled by the Ottoman Empire) on the basis of "Jewish labour only".

1905: Aliens Act bans Jews fleeing Tsarist pogroms from settling in Britain.

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The Stalinist roots of left "anti-Zionism" 2

Submitted by AWL on 24 February, 2004 - 2:36

Part 1 of this article

Thus, the rise of Zionism and of Israel had nothing to do with reflex responses to Nazi or more general anti-semitic persecution. It was a gratuitous act of evil.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 29/12/2004 - 00:56

"None of this, of course was anti-semitism. It was simply 'anti-Zionism.'"

You must be joking.

Submitted by Janine on Wed, 29/12/2004 - 14:37

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Joking? Yes - or being ironic, anyway.

This article is an expose of the Stalinist roots of "left anti-semitism". The final sentence - "None of this, of course was anti-semitism. It was simply 'anti-Zionism.'" - is what Stalinism and its modern-day apologists would argue. The authors of this article/pamphlet, and the Alliance for Workers' Liberty, would say the opposite - this plainly WAS anti-semitism.

It's a shame that wasn't clear to you on reading it.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 20/01/2005 - 14:17

Those who deny it do so for political reasons, a denial of the reality that Israel was always there and only the form of nationalism changed. Israel was recognized as the refuge against Christian and Islamic antisemitism and as such was a progressive project. There was no Arab nationalism in what is now Israel at the time Israel was reconstructed as a national entity to save the Jews. Criticizing Israel for liberating the Jews is not only anti-left it is the antithesis of progressive philosophy.

Hank Roth
See articles on socialist-Zionism at

Submitted by DB on Mon, 28/11/2011 - 00:21

Well, at least Workers Liberty is one of the few organisations on the revolutionary Left which considers anti-Semitism an important issue at all -- that's definitely to be commended in the current climate, in which other groups (namely the SWP) seem to be utterly fixated on anti-Muslim racism alone, and turn a blind eye to other forms of racism and prejudice which are just as poisonous and divisive. However, I do think it is about time a serious debate took place about how exactly the AWL defines "anti-Semitism", because all too often the term seems to be thrown around quite cynically, particularly when employed to denounce rival left groups. In that respect I think the re-naming of this article is quite sensible in light of Workers Liberty's reputation in the wider socialist movement.

Last week we had an article about RMT activist Steve Hedley -- most of which I happened to agree with -- in which it was stated that some of his comments at a meeting on Palestine "were line with some [anti-Semitic] myths and are therefore anti-Semitic".…

We've also had columnist Eric Lee argue that to even raise the issue of a "ritualistic" murder taking place in the occupied territories of Israel can be seen as anti-Semitic because its circumstances appear to echo anti-Semitic myths about Jewish bloodlust and ritualistic murder.…

This, for me, employs a wholly insufficient definition of anti-Semitism, one that is so wide-ranging and all-encompassing that it could be applicable to anything -- just like the SWP's definition of Islamophobia. Don't get me wrong: it is right that we be vigilant. But it does not follow that just because a statement overlaps with anti-Semitic myths it must necessarily be anti-Semitic, just as it doesn't follow that some of the AWL's criticisms of Islamic fundamentalists are "Islamophobic" if they happen to coincide with the kind of "medieval" stereotypes about Muslims promoted by the EDL. One of Hedley's comments to a Jewish pro-Israeli activist in the aforementioned meeting is a case in point: "your friends in the media" could be anti-Semitic, but is not necessarily so; it could either refer to the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about Jews controlling the media, or to the power and influence of the formidable Israeli PR machine constructed by the Israeli ruling class. The context is crucial. I would argue that the entire concept of "objective anti-Semitism" is problematic precisely because it seeks to remove all context.

the other DB

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A mirror for anti-Zionists

Submitted by AWL on 24 February, 2004 - 2:33 Author: Sean Matgamna

Walking from Westminster to Trafalgar Square one afternoon in May or June 2002, I came upon a small picket-demonstration - a dozen people perhaps - waving Palestinian flags and placards on the pavement across the road from the entrance to the Prime Minister's residence in Downing Street.

I saw from a distance, and wondered at it, that half the demonstrators were dressed in the black hats and clothes and the beards that identified them as some sort of especially religious Jews.

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What is Islamic fundamentalism?

Submitted by AWL on 24 February, 2004 - 2:31

The term "Islamic fundamentalism" first became common during the Iranian revolution of 1978-79. The Western-backed Shah (who had been put in power by the CIA) was overthrown by an enormous popular revolt, one element in which, led by the Ayatollah Khomeini, expressed itself through the largest traditional religion in the country, Shi'a Islam.
In fact, political movements inspired by Islam, calling for a return to "Islamic values", go back much further. In Egypt they go back to the 1930s at least, with the formation of the Moslem Brotherhood.

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Trotsky and the Jewish Question

Submitted by AWL on 24 February, 2004 - 2:30

Revised version of an article published as "Marxism and the Jewish Question" in Two Nations, Two States" (2002, new edition 2016)

Trotsky and the Jewish question

"The socialist revolution is the only realistic solution of the Jewish question. If the Jewish workers and peasants asked for an independent state, good - but they didn't get it under Great Britain. But if they want it, the proletariat will give it. We are not in favour, but only the victorious working class can give it to them."
Leon Trotsky, 15 June 1940

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Unravelling the issues part 2

Submitted by AWL on 24 February, 2004 - 2:27

The "right of return"

Condemnation of the Israeli law under which Jews throughout the world have the right to come and claim citizenship in Israel is an article of faith among most anti-Zionists. It is outrageous, they say, that people with no direct connection with Palestine should have the right to come to Israel while the Palestinian Arabs do not.

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