by Paul Eisen
Monday, January 23rd, 2012
I wrote to you in November expressing my concerns about the direction PSC is taking under your leadership. I pointed out that the latest (at the time) victims of your witch-hunt were Francis Clark-Lowes and Gill Kaffash – surely two of the most dedicated and committed solidarity activists to be found. I also pointed out that those who were urging you to purge PSC of these activists were on the one hand, open and honestly Zionist outlets such as Harry’s Place and the Jewish Chronicle but on the other hand, seemingly pro-Palestinian individuals such as Tony Greenstein, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi and groups such as Jews against Zionism etc.
But why, when I refer to the solidarity instincts of these people, do I say (and italicise) ‘seemingly’? After all, these people have been involved in Palestinian solidarity for many years and have been relentless in their opposition to Israel and to Zionism.
Well, it seems to me that one can be ferociously anti-Israel and anti-Zionist without necessarily being wholeheartedly pro-Palestinian. Jewish anti-Zionists hate Jewish Zionist for many reasons other than concern for the Palestinians.
Both these groups of Jews emerged from the deep quandary so many Jews faced when they left the ghetto – both the real one and the religious one in their heads. The question they asked themselves was “Who do I worship now that I’ve rejected God?” For Zionists it was themselves, that is, the Jewish People and for Marxists well, despite all the worthy Revolutionary Messianism it was in the end…. much the same.
Tony Greenstein comes from a long line of Marxist Jews. You remember them, those wonderful people who brought you the Cheka, the Holodomor and the Gulag – just read Jewish historian Yuri Sklezine. From their ranks came such luminaries as Sverdlov, Kaganovich and Ilya Ehrenburg. And yes, they do want to end the Jewish state and yes, they do want Palestine to be for Palestinians – just like they want America to be for the Americans (as long as they run it) Britain to be for the British (so long as they run it) and PSC to be for Palestinian supporters (you know what I’m going to say). And, as for the integrity of their opposition to Zionism, remember Lenin? He called them ”Zionists with sea-sickness’.
Ask them what kind of Palestine they envisage? How do they answer? Do they answer as I and perhaps you might, that it is for Palestinians and only Palestinians to decide? Or, perhaps they don’t need to ask the question because they already know what kind of state Palestinians want – exactly the same kind of state they want i.e. a secular, democraticPalestine – truly a state for all its citizens.
A secular, democratic Palestine? on every street corner there will be a Commissar who just happens to be Jewish and who just happens to know exactly how you should think, what you may believe and how you must live your life. And, if you don’t agree with him, he will have tried and tested methods of helping you along. Just like in PSC.
Well, we all love democracy and we all want to be free to worship where and how we want. But I tell you Sarah, while it’s true that in that secular, democratic utopia that these Jews-for-this and Jews-for-that so love, every person will be equal before the law, every person will have one vote and every person will be free to worship as they choose but …..on every street corner there will be a Commissar who just happens to be Jewish and who just happens to know exactly how you should think, what you may believe and how you must live your life. And, if you don’t agree with him, he will have tried and tested methods of helping you along. Just like in PSC.
As far as Marxism is concerned I like all the sharing and brotherhood of man stuff though I don’t much like the set-piece sloganising, the think-what-I-tell-you-and-do-as-your-told stuff. But there might be important differences between Marxist ideology and Jewish Marxist ideology. Horrible though it is to contemplate, and despite your ever increasingly desperate protestations to the contrary, there are legitimate notions of Jewish identity and, though of course incredibly complex and nuanced and with many exceptions and qualifications, every self-identifying secular Jewish identity (including my own) does, by definition, involve to some degree, attitudes and tendencies which, if overly empowered and unchecked, can lead to what happened in Gaza in 2008 and also what happened at Conway Hall last Saturday.
But Sarah, hold on a sec. A little birdie has told me that you and your close circle in PSC have some important and heartfelt political connections of your own? Is that true? Have I been wasting my time…again?