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"The state formation that will follow the defeat of the Zionist programme of ethnic cleansing and mass killings is not for us to decide. The commitment to full human rights for Palestinians alongside Jews and to the dismantling of the structures of Jewish supremacy throughout Israel/Palestine is enough to guide a campaign of solidarity through the challenges we will face, including attacks from domestic supporters of Israeli apartheid."
15 January 2010
During an exhibition in the Scottish Parliament of Israel’s massacres in Gaza a year ago someone wrote in the visitor book of his fury at the crimes of the State of Israel. Faced with the evidence of Israel’s latest crimes against humanity, one individual wrote of his hope that Israel might disappear from the map. His sentence has been condemned by Jackson Carlaw MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) who condemned any call to 'wipe Israel off the face of the map' as incitment to 'genocide'. The Tory MSP went on to call on "as many Scots as possible" to participate in Holocaust Memorial Day 2010 events.
Scottish PSC welcomes the call to participate in Holocaust memorial events and we have written to Mr. Carlaw inviting him to say a few words at one of the meetings where Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer will be speaking with Professor Haidar Eid from Gaza.*
At one level these accusations might well be no more than the usual Zionist attempt to change the subject, the inevitable accusations of anti-Semitism while Israel continues killing Palestinian Arabs in the name of all the Jews of the world while stealing more Palestinian land. The accusation convinces the naive, however, by confusing the democratic desire to redraw state boundaries to remove or create states and the long European tradition of mass extermination of subject populations, in particular the Nazi mass killing of European Jews.
When Israel wrote in letters of white phosphorous on the living bodies of Palestinian children in Gaza, our politicians were silent, and their party leaders actively supported the killers. UK Tory leader Cameron, for example, joined Brown in the absurd claim that Israel tried hard to avoid civilian casualties while dropping white phosphorous on crowded refugee camps. They thus signalled to Israel that killing Palestinians is acceptable to them, whereas capturing one Israeli occupation soldier is ‘terrorism’.
Many of our politicians are woefully ignorant. Even they know, however, that states disappear from the map all the time. States are built, have a long or short life and often fracture or disappear. When this happens, some lament and others cheer, as was the case with the USSR, Pakistan, Yugoslavia, East Germany, South Yemen, Czechoslovakia, and others. Many nationalists are currently at work in Scotland, Wales, Quebec, the Basque country and elsewhere trying to break up the British, Canadian, Spanish and other states.
It is rather ironic for British politicians to defend the sanctity of existing states, especially the only one in the world with no fixed borders. All the current states in the Middle East were designed largely in London and Paris and forced upon the locals. The series of straight lines and jagged angles delineating, for example, the bizarre kingdom of Jordan is a clue to the impatience and arrogance of the European diplomats who worked on the concept.
Only a few decades ago, millions around the world successfully worked for the end of one particularly nasty little state, the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) which the US and European colonial powers had set up to thwart the Vietnamese independence struggle. The blood-soaked Republic of Vietnam (b. 26.10.55 – d. 30.05.75) was wiped off the map by the struggle of the Vietnamese and none now lament its passing.
It is clear that wishing for the end of a State is sometimes the only decent thing to do, when that State’s raison d’etre is to deny basic democratic rights and is only viable on the basis of regular massacres and forced population transfers. Massive crimes against humanity were the stock in trade of the Republic of Vietnam and this is also the case with the apartheid State of Israel. Israel, as many now understand, was established in a process that ended up with the native people in refugee camps and European colonists living in stolen homes and on land they had ethnically cleansed.
States are not people and the needs of human beings are quite distinct from those of states. State worship is an ugly phenomenon and we need to put people first, before states. The bulldozer state of Israel, ever-expanding, ever ridding itself of Palestinian Arabs to preserve its fantasy ‘ethnic purity’ is not worth defending any more than the Republic of Vietnam, for such a 'defence' will entail yet further mass killings of the population that was driven out to clear the land for the colonists (today called ‘settlers’).
Anyone who even asks whether Jews and Arabs can live together betrays a further woeful ignorance of history: for centuries Jews fled persecution in Europe to seek sanctuary in Muslim and Arab countries. Anyway, better ask Europeans if French, Germans, Poles and British can share the same polity despite centuries of repeated mutual slaughter.
History is brutal almost everywhere and many populations came to be where they are through inflicting great cruelty on native people: the Hebrew-speakers of Israel/Palestine are just one example. The ethnic cleansing of the Gaels of the North of Scotland is another example of a great historic crime, but that one and many others were completed before we were born and there is not much we can do about it, though it is essential to acknowledge it. The ethnic cleansing of Palestine, however, is not yet completed and we can make sure it does not succeed.
The state formation that will follow the defeat of the Zionist programme of ethnic cleansing and mass killings is not for us to decide. The commitment to full human rights for Palestinians alongside Jews and to the dismantling of the structures of Jewish supremacy throughout Israel/Palestine is enough to guide a campaign of solidarity through the challenges we will face, including attacks from domestic supporters of Israeli apartheid.
States come and go. State worship or even loyalty will distract us from the needs of real living people, and a commitment to universal human rights.
* Mr Carlaw urged "as many Scots as possible" to attend Holocaust Memorial Day events, but he himself was too busy to accept SPSC's invitation to join an Auschwitz survivor and a resident of Gaza to speak of the lessons of the Holocaust to many Scots.
Chair, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
15 January 2010