a state of uncertainty

Pete Jones writes on the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations

A ‘Palestinian Spring’ was declared by Mahmoud Abbas in his request to the UN to recognise full Palestinian statehood, but it looks quite different to the revolutions across the Arab world that he was alluding to. Rather than the victory of a people over the machinery of a totalitarian state, the ‘Palestinian spring’ may prove to be just the latest example of Palestinian hope for liberation being used as a political football. Whether statehood would be a ‘good thing’ for Palestine is tough to predict.

What statehood would mean for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is unclear, what advantages it would bring even less so. The theory is that it would grant Palestine more leverage in future peace negotiations; the talks would be between two recognised states, and the Palestinians would be able to both show that Israel is occupying a sovereign state and have recourse to the international criminal court. This doubtless fuels Israeli (and therefore American) opposition to the bid, but there are further complexities. Continue reading “a state of uncertainty”

from arab spring to israeli summer

Adam Ford writes on the wave of protest sweeping across Israel, where hundreds of thousands of people are standing up to high rents and low wages

In years to come, the entry of the Israeli working class into independent action may well be seen as a pivotal moment in world history. While the ‘Arab Spring‘ has seen governments toppled in Tunisia and Egypt, another key US ally now finds itself confronted by its masses – and the event raises the objective possibility of class alliances stretching across Egypt, into Israel, and even into what remains of Palestine.

Young people are demanding affordable housing

Rent protests began two weeks ago, in response to an average 27% rise in rents over the last three years – far in excess of wage rises. Protest camps have been erected throughout the country – from the salubrious Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard to cheaper but just as unaffordable areas in Jerusalem and at least twenty-five towns. Continue reading “from arab spring to israeli summer”

a communist case against boycotting israel

Adam Ford responds to a debate in our paper.

In issue 15 of The Commune, Greg Brown made his case for supporting the boycott of Israeli goods, as well as the campaign for divestment and sanctions against the Zionist state. I decided to take up the challenge and sketch a counter-argument, partly because I’d long felt ‘instinctively’ opposed to it, and wanted to work out exactly why.

After pondering the comrade’s article for a while, I realised the fundamental reason I’m not in Greg’s camp on this one. For me, an essential part of being a communist is the belief that working class unity is the only way to finally overcome the special oppressions suffered by many around the world. Women are generally more oppressed than men, for example, and dark skinned people are generally more oppressed than light skinned people, but patriarchal and racist structures are the products of material conditions – i.e. they exist because they benefit the ruling class. The character of gender oppression has changed as ruling classes has adapted to economic changes, and the same can be said of race oppression. Continue reading “a communist case against boycotting israel”

solidarity, not silence; the israel boycott debate

Here we publish one activist’s contribution to the ongoing left debate over the proposed academic boycott of Israel. We welcome further letters and articles: on this topic: email us at uncaptiveminds@gmail.com or comment online.

by Greg Brown

Following the recent assault by the IDF on the Free Gaza Flotilla carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid to Gaza, people have been reminded that the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict” has continued while our concentration drifted elsewhere.

Thus re-emerges a debate among activists as to how the “left” should respond – should we support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions? Continue reading “solidarity, not silence; the israel boycott debate”

‘they were like hyenas in the dark waiting to pounce’

The Commune spoke to Fintan Lane, an Irish solidarity activist who was part of the recent Gaza aid flotilla attacked by Israeli commandos.

What led you to join the flotilla? Have been involved in activism related to Palestine before?

I’ve been involved in leftist activism for many years and in anti-war activism, in particular, in the past decade. Palestine solidarity work has always been an element of my activism but it’s taken centre-stage since the Israeli massacre in Gaza in 2008-9. I’m a member of the National Committee of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC). Continue reading “‘they were like hyenas in the dark waiting to pounce’”

from persecuted to persecutors: the lessons of zionism

by João Bernardo

Reflecting on the recent Israeli aggression against the Mavi Marmara and the feckless impunity with which this country spreads terror in its region, I thought that most commentaries limited themselves to the obvious but fell short of the most important conclusion.

members of the Irgun terrorist group

Everyone knows that Jews were the victims of great persecution, the Nazis making anti-semitism one of their main ideological bases. From the first day of his regime Hitler persecuted Jews and during the Second World War attempted to exterminate them. It is also widely known that the  State of Israel inflicts suffering on the Palestinians, dispossessing them and subjecting them to a system of terror beyond even what the South African racists could achieve in the Apartheid era. Between these two moments: Jews as victims and Israel as aggressor, there is not a contradiction but rather a logical nexus, which this article seeks to explain.

Continue reading “from persecuted to persecutors: the lessons of zionism”