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Leonard Cohen: DON'T VISIT ISRAEL!

category dublin | miscellaneous | press release author Monday July 13, 2009 10:31author by Raymond Deane - IPSC Report this post to the editors

Palestinian civil society has called for a comprehensive campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the Israeli state, including a cultural boycott. Leonard Cohen must be persuaded not to break this boycott.

Leonard Cohen is performing at the O2 Arena in Dublin on the 19th, 20th, 22nd and 23d of this month.

This is part of Cohen's world tour which was originally scheduled to end with a performance in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 24th September; plans to supplement this with a performance in Ramallah in the occupied Palestinian West Bank two days later may now have been abandoned.

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) is not calling for a boycott of the Dublin concerts. But we will be standing outside the venue each evening singing chants, distributing leaflets and Palestinian flags, and encouraging concert-goers to send Cohen the message: DON'T VISIT ISRAEL!

This message has been heard at every concert in this tour, from New York City to Berlin. Last May at Radio City Music Hall a loud and colourful demonstration was held by ADALAH New York, a coalition of organisations including the National Council of Arab-Americans, and Jews Against the Occupation; on 2nd July Cohen's concert at O2 World Berlin was picketed by EJJP (European Jews for a Just Peace), an unprecedented event in Germany. Jews have been noticeably prominent in this worldwide campaign to dissuade the singer from visiting Israel.
In the UK, BRICUP (British Committee for the Universities of Palestine) published an open letter signed by 4 Jewish academics who wrote: "You will perform for a public that by a very large majority had no qualms about its military forces' onslaught on Gaza... You will perform in a state whose propaganda services will extract every ounce of mileage from your presence... And you are telling the Palestinians ...that their suffering doesn't matter."
In Israel, 115 Jewish and Palestinian public figures signed an open letter stating their "hope that our appeal to you to cancel your planned performance in Israel will not fall on deaf ears."
In Ramallah, PACBI, the Palestinian Association for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, wrote: "We consider your performance in Israel a form of complicity in its grave violations of international law and trampling on human rights principles." Concerning the proposed Ramallah concert, PACBI added: "Such attempts at 'balance' not only immorally equate the oppressor with the oppressed, taking a neutral position on the oppression; they also are an insult to the Palestinian people, as they assume that we are naive enough to accept such token shows of 'solidarity' that are solely intended to cover up grave acts of collusion in whitewashing Israel's crimes."
All of these statements and messages are based on the July 2005 call by almost 200 Palestinian civil society organisations "for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights."

In an interview with the Guardian last Friday, Cohen said: "Large numbers of people are dodging bombs, having their nails pulled out in dungeons, facing starvation, disease. So I think we've really got to be circumspect about how seriously we take our own anxieties today."

If Cohen sings in Tel Aviv, whether or not he "balances" it with a Ramallah concert, he will be within a stone's throw of people who are suffering precisely such horrors because of the Israeli occupation. The IPSC calls on Leonard Cohen not to visit Israel. We are calling on Cohen fans to influence their hero not to break the growing boycott campaign against Israeli apartheid. We are calling on lovers of justice and peace to come to the O2 Arena from 6.30PM onwards on the evenings of Cohen's concerts and participate in peaceful and good-humoured demonstrations to convey this message:


Related Link:
author by lulupublication date Mon Jul 13, 2009 15:23Report this post to the editors

It's possible that Leonard Cohen may have relatives or friends in Israel, & could use his visit to promote peace & human rights. Although I deplore some of the actions of the Israeli Government, that wouldn't stop me seeing family there, some of them seeking justice for all the people of the area.

author by Palestinian supporterpublication date Mon Jul 13, 2009 15:33Report this post to the editors

I totally disagree with any attempt to stop an individual going to Israel, whether they are a musician, activist or tourist. Israel is an extrodinarily diverse country. Any attempt at peace in the Middle Eatsern region is dependent upon Israeli citizens saying NO to State Terror. Thus, we should be encouraging Leonard Cohen to speak to his audience about the atrocities in both Gaza and the West Bank, not discouraging him from playing in the country.

It is extremely important to distingush between 'people' and 'state'. It is the Israeli state that is creating aparthed not its people. Alienating the minority of Israeli people who are not zionist and totally opposed to what is being done in their name will achieve nothing.

author by Another Palestinian supporterpublication date Mon Jul 13, 2009 21:25Report this post to the editors

This is not rocket science - Israel is an apartheid terrorist state that killed over 300 children and injured and maimed hundreds more children in January. Over 150 men, women and children are still waiting for prosthetic limbs to be allowed into Gaza to replace those torn off by the Israeli bombardment. Many victims are burned, blinded and crippled for life. Israel used flechette nail bombs and white phosphorous against defenceless civilians who had no where to run and no where to take shelter from the bombs raining down day and night for 22 days. Ireland and the EU took no action to defend the defenceless civilians and not a single shipment of aid has been sent by the EU to the port of Gaza.

These are not ordinary people who can do this to innocent children. Israel is a sick society, bourn of injustice and can only be sustained through continued injustice and daily acts of barbarism in the West Bank and Gaza.

The arguments that it is better to go and talk to the Israelis and convince them of the need to respect human rights are the same tired old arguments that were trotted out during the campaign to isolate apartheid South Africa – it didn’t work then and it certainly will not work in the case of Israel.

Someone of Leonard Cohen’s maturity and knowledge of the situation is all too well aware of Israel’s record of gross human rights abuse. The fact that he is prepared to go there will stain his reputation for ever and is the reason why I wont be going to his concert this year or ever again.

author by Suzannepublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 00:35Report this post to the editors

According to the UN General Assembly's International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid - It defined the crime of apartheid as "inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them."

Under this definition the US is an apartheid state. So too is Russia, China, Peru, Brazil and so on and on and on. The world from North to South and East to West has no shortage of states that oppress other nationalities and races. There is also no shortage of governments who are slaughtering people from another race or nationality. The US is responsible for the deaths of one million Iraqis. The Chinese government are slaughtering the Uighers and can anyone tell me what the difference is between how Palestinians are treated by the Israeli government and how Tibetans are treated by the Chinese government?

Why are you not campaigning for a boycott of China or the USA or Russia, or Brazil, just look at how they are treating the indigenous peoples. When you actually look at what is happening all over the world the Israeli government is no worse than dozens of other reactionary states. But there are plenty of governments worse than the Israelis. The US war crimes (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Columbia, Chile etc) and the historic racial oppression of African Americans and Latinos makes the Israelis look like boy scouts.

Should Leornard Cohen refuse to do gigs in the US or China?

Apartheid was not overthrown by the boycott which only had limited impact because all major governments broke the embargo as did the multinationals. Apartheid in South Africa was overthrown by the struggles of the black working class, a mass revolutionary movement. Israel will not be defeated by a boycott which most people will never support. Supporters of the boycott need to realise that most people do not support the actions of the IDF in Gaza and the West Bank but then most people do not support the destruction of Israel, most people have sympathy for the Israelis because of the Holocaust and because they believe that Israel is being threatened by Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah. Libya and Arab states such as Syria.
The Israelis will be defeated by revolutionary struggle not by liberal westerners refusing to buy aubergines and your boycott calls will strengthen the Israeli state who will use it as part of their jingoistic propaganda to frighten the Israeli people into supporting the government.

author by Feyadeenpublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 16:49Report this post to the editors

"Apartheid was not overthrown by the boycott which only had limited impact because all major governments broke the embargo as did the multinationals. Apartheid in South Africa was overthrown by the struggles of the black working class, a mass revolutionary movement. Israel will not be defeated by a boycott which most people will never support. Supporters of the boycott need to realise that most people do not support the actions of the IDF in Gaza and the West Bank but then most people do not support the destruction of Israel, most people have sympathy for the Israelis because of the Holocaust and because they believe that Israel is being threatened by Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah. Libya and Arab states such as Syria. The Israelis will be defeated by revolutionary struggle not by liberal westerners refusing to buy aubergines and your boycott calls will strengthen the Israeli state who will use it as part of their jingoistic propaganda to frighten the Israeli people into supporting the government."

Don't try and rewrite history to give a pseudo-radical gloss to your anti-boycott argument - the organisations of the black working class in South Africa were the ones calling for a boycott of South African goods, and they have said time and again how much they valued the support they received from campaigning groups outside South Africa - it wouldn't have been enough in the absence of a struggle on the ground in South Africa, but it was a valuable complement to that struggle.

The rest of your comment is irrelevant, nobody is being asked to "support the destruction of Israel", how do you know that "most people" have sympathy with the Israelis? Is it your own belief that Israel is being threatened by lightly armed non-state groups like Hamas and Hezbullah or by vastly weaker states like Syria and Libya, or are you just attributing it to other people - in any case, the belief is ludicrous, neither Hamas nor Hezbullah nor the Syrian and Libyan regimes pose the slightest threat to the survival of Israel.

Even worse is your attempt to sound tough and militant by contrasting "revolutionary struggle" with "liberal westerners refusing to buy aubergines". Do you think anyone in the Palestinian solidarity movement believes that the occupation can be ended in the absence of a major struggle by the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, which would have to be revolutionary by definition, even if it was non-violent? But a boycott of Israel can add to the pressure to end the occupation - of course, the real impact will begin to be felt if we can pressure governments to downgrade economic ties, stop selling arms to Israel etc. Individuals boycotting Israeli goods would be a first step towards this long-term goal, helping to create a groundswell of public opinion and de-legitimising the apartheid state in Israel. It's ridiculous to claim that the calls for a boycott will help the Israeli government - in fact it has them worried and they're lobbying hard against it.

author by Suzannepublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 18:13Report this post to the editors

Feyadeen I am not re-writing history. Having lived through that historic period and been active in the anti-apartheid movement I know a thing or two about it and I will restate that the boycott of South Africa did not overthrow the apartheid regime. Some of those who now support a boycott of Israel (Naomi Klein is one) are trying to re-write history because they argue that it was the boycott that defeated the South African apartheid regime. This is revisionism of the worst kind. For some it is a conscious way of trying to undermine the idea of revolutionary struggle.

The Black South African working class supported the boycott knowing that it was only going to play a secondary role to the real struggle. South Africa was very different to the current situation in the Occupied Territories. The White South Africans had no role to play in the struggle against the apartheid regime and capitalism (with some notable exceptions). That is not the case in Israel/Palestine. The Palestinian working class and the Israeli working class are central to this struggle. It will be impossible for the Palestinian people to achieve real independence on the basis of capitalism. The Israeli capitalist class and US Imperialism will never willing allow the existance of a genuinely independent democratic Palestinian state. Freedom and independence for the Palestinians can only be achieved by the overthrow of capitalism in the region, it can only be achieved through a struggle for socialism.

As long as a majority of the Israeli working class and middle class support the likes of Likud and the other Zionist parties then Israel will never be defeated. The Israeli ruling class can only be defeated when the majority of the Israeli people turn against it and join the struggle for socialism.

The Israeli working class have never called for a boycott of Israel. This is a fundamentally important point. Israeli capitalism can only be defeated and overthrown if the Israeli working class are won to the struggle against it. The Zionists have created a society based on fear and the threat of Arab intervention and war. It is a society based on the existance of continual war. The state consistently bombards the people with propaganda to justify the militarism of the government and the ruling class. Suicide bombings do not only kill innocent Israelis, they are also a godsend for the Zionists because it is evidence for their propaganda. So too is the boycott call. The Zionists use the call for a boycott of Israel to further the myth that the Israelis are isolated, that it is proof of the anti-semitism of the opponents of the regime. The boycott call is fuel for the jingosim of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party. The boycott call will be used to strengthen support for Likud, Kadima, Yisrael Beiteim amongst the Israeli working class and the other right-wing parties that are waging war against the Palestinians.

When there was a boycott of South African goods I knew a lot of people who supported the boycott and who didn't buy South African goods - but probably it was still the case that a majority of people didn't actively engage in the boycott - not only that incredibly some Irish people continued to go on holidays to South Africa.

I do not know anyone who actively boycotts Israeli products. I do not believe that amongst the majority of working class people in Ireland that they are even conscious of the existence of the boycott campaign.

You can correctly argue that it is early days in the boycott campaign and that overtime more and more can be won to the cause. But I genuinely believe that some of the people who are involved in the boycott campaign underestimate the support that exists for Israel in Ireland, Britain, the US and most Northern European countries.

That support does not goes so far as to support or condone the IDF war on Gaza, but there is a lot of sympathy for the Israelis for example because of the suicide bombings. And there is an inherent support for the Israelis in some societies because of the holocaust. In Britain a majority would be sympathetic to the Israelis (not the state but the people). You can’t just ignore this it is actually a very important part of this debate.

author by Feyadeenpublication date Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:52Report this post to the editors

So your argument seems to boil down to this - the Palestinians must subordinate themselves to the Israeli working class, they must not raise any demands that would antagonise Israeli workers, they must wait until Israeli workers revolt against their own leaders before they can be liberated. This is effectively an argument for total passivity on the part of the Palestinians, anything they could do to oppose the occupation could be seen as likely to antagonise Israeli workers and drive them into the arms of the Zionist leadership. Even during the first intifada, when the Palestinian resistance was overwhelmingly non-violent and led by left-wing forces, there was no sign of Israeli workers revolting against Zionism and joining forces with the Palestinians.

Nobody has ever argued that a boycott campaign would be anything other than a secondary part of the struggle for Palestinian liberation, just as it was a secondary part of the anti-apartheid struggle - but there's a big difference between "secondary" and "worthless" or "counter-productive". You are absolutely trying to rewrite history if you claim that the boycott of South Africa was pointless and had no value - the organisations of the black working class in SA called for the boycott then and their leaders have never missed an opportunity to thank solidarity groups for their support. Palestinian civil society groups are making a similar call today, and it should be answered.

The Israeli socialists Moshe Machover and Akiva Orr addressed a very similar argument to yours over forty years ago: I think their conclusions are still very relevant.

"Although class conflicts do exist in Israeli society, they are constrained by the fact that the society as a whole is subsidized from the outside. This privileged status is related to Israel’s role in the region, and as long as this role continues there is little prospect of the internal social conflicts acquiring a revolutionary character. On the other hand, a revolutionary breakthrough in the Arab world would change this situation. By releasing the activity of the masses throughout the Arab world it could change the balance of power; this would make Israel’s traditional politico-military role obsolete, and would thus reduce its usefulness for imperialism. At first Israel would probably be used in an attempt to crush such a revolutionary breakthrough in the Arab world; yet once this attempt had failed, Israel’s politico-military role vis-à-vis the Arab world would be finished. Once this role and its associated privileges had been ended, the Zionist regime, depending as it does on these privileges, would be open to mass challenge from within Israel itself.

"This does not mean that there is nothing for revolutionaries inside Israel to do, except sit and wait for the emergence of objective external conditions on which they have no influence. It only means that they must base their activity on a strategy that acknowledges the unique features of Israeli society, rather than one that reproduces the generalizations of the analysis of classic capitalism. The main task for revolutionaries who accept this assessment is to direct their work toward those strata of the Israeli population who are immediately affected by the political results of Zionism and who have to pay for it. These strata include Israeli youth, who are called on to wage "an eternal war imposed by destiny," and the Palestinian Arabs who live under Israeli rule.16 These strata share an anti-Zionist tendency which makes them potential allies in the revolutionary struggle inside Israel and the revolutionary struggle throughout the Middle East. Anyone who follows closely the revolutionary struggles within the Arab world becomes aware of the dialectical relationship between the struggle against Zionism within Israel and the struggle for social revolution within the Arab world. Such a strategy does not imply that activity within the Israeli working class should be neglected; it only implies that this activity too must be subordinated to the general strategy of the struggle against Zionism."

Machover was interviewed by an Irish radical publication a few months ago, and he endorsed the call for a boycott of Israeli goods as a legitimate tactic.

author by Suzannepublication date Wed Jul 15, 2009 19:47Report this post to the editors

"You are absolutely trying to rewrite history if you claim that the boycott of South Africa was pointless and had no value -" I never said that.

"So your argument seems to boil down to this - the Palestinians must subordinate themselves to the Israeli working class, they must not raise any demands that would antagonise Israeli workers, they must wait until Israeli workers revolt against their own leaders before they can be liberated. This is effectively an argument for total passivity on the part of the Palestinians, anything they could do to oppose the occupation could be seen as likely to antagonise Israeli workers and drive them into the arms of the Zionist leadership." I never said that either.

What you should do is address what I have actually said. And you should do something which you have not done so far. Put forward a concrete proposal for how the Palestinian people will achieve independence and freedom! Forget about the boycott it is secondary and in the context of the struggle of the Palestinians it is irrelevant. Let us hear how you think Palestinian liberation can be achieved and don't start quoting what Israeli Stalinists said in the past.

author by Suzannepublication date Wed Jul 15, 2009 20:19Report this post to the editors

Fedayeen I followed the link to that article - the SWP! Don't bother replying to my points I already know what the SWP's position is - Smash Israel etc etc etc.

author by Suzannepublication date Wed Jul 15, 2009 20:30Report this post to the editors

You should read a more recent article by Moshe Machover called Is it Apartheid? You can read it at

Here is an extract note well the last sentence!

10 November 2004

In recent months there is a growing tendency among opponents of Israeli oppression and defenders of Palestinian rights to refer to Israeli policy towards the Palestinians as "apartheid".

The "separation wall" that Israel is constructing on Palestinian lands is often denounced as the "apartheid wall". An International conference on Palestine scheduled for 5 December 2004 at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London is entitled by its organizers as "Resisting Israeli Apartheid: Strategies and Principles".

I would like to warn against an unthinking use of this misleading analogy between Israeli policy and that of the defunct apartheid regime in South Africa. It is theoretically false and politically harmful.

author by iosaf = o as ifpublication date Wed Jul 15, 2009 22:13Report this post to the editors

Just to comment on the last commentators enthusiasm :

Amongst my circles which count on both jews and muslims, of a pretty wide range of non-believers of either traditional religion (such as sephardic or ashkenazi - sunni, shi'ite or druze) whose identity in our city of Barcelona, the capital of the Mediterranean Union, has sometimes more to do with ethnicity and skin colour or surnames (like Mr Leonard Cohen but not like our glorious taoiseach and first minister of Eire, deputy Brian Cowen) the Israeli state and occupied territories have been described as apartheid for well over a decade.

In fact I could point to many articles as well as books, even the writing of the late Edward Said a christian arab and palestinian, in which the word apartheid was not only used but explained and justified systematically. On the jewish or zionist state side alone the realities of apartheid became glaringly obvious during the 1980's when the word refusnik entered the 1982 supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary as an official English word to describe those of the former Soviet Union who wanted to (& in many cases later did) go to Israel.

But without a doubt the apartheid nature of the Israeli state was obvious to all when the Falasha or Ethiopian jews were being airlifted out of famine to the backdrop of pop music anthems and global awareness concerts sung and promoted by Bob Geldof, Michael Jackson and a younger Bono without bags under his eyes. What had begun as a discreet influx and rescue operation was then cancelled because of.............. skin colour.

& so I hope to show you how the apartheid structure begins much before we even consider the status in such a paradigm of palestinians of muslim, christian or the other arabs (migrant workers mostly) caught up in the day to day realities of the Israeli economy, social system, educational system, health system, judicial system & then its administration of water, electricity, gas & of course to make it simple - the Israeli occupation................

Alas, people always try to make it too simple looking for their solutions.

1 de facto apartheid state, 2 states of equal stature Israeli and PA, 3 statehoods of de facto existence (gaza - west bank and israel), 4 states of historical implication (gaza - west bank - israel - jordan) 5 states - (gaza - west bank - israel - jordon - lebanon) 6 states - (gaza - west bank - israel - jordan - lebanon - hizbollah south lebanon) 7 states - let's include Egypt and not allow her annexe Gaza........

The solution is not in statehoods no more than it is in skin colour or religion. I applaud the last commentator for reminding us of a word which I sincerely and passionately believe is a starting point. So much so, that I and as I have written many of friends with clear and keen interest in finding a solution use.


how do you correct apartheids when they not only operate on ethnicity and skin colour but also religious and transnational basis?

oh that's a toughie.

author by Raymondpublication date Wed Jul 15, 2009 23:21Report this post to the editors

When someone claiming to be a "Palestinian supporter" writes a comment advising against mobilising in defence of Palestinian rights, then alarm bells of suspicion should ring.

The question "Is it apartheid?" isn't the same as "is it South African apartheid?" The UN Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1973) defined that crime using a number of criteria, including "legislative measures... calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participating in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country...[including] the right to leave and to return to their country, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence..." The question is whether this applies to Israel, not whether Israel is "identical" to apartheid South Africa (although there are flagrant similarities, including the close alliance between their regimes).

Further, this applies to "legislative measures" - it's not just a question of saying, "oh well, there's discrimination in America and China too, why don't you campaign against apartheid in those countries?" The Israeli legal system, like that of apartheid SA, is constructed so as to discriminate - the discrimination isn't something outside the system.

The "what about China? what about Zimbabwe?" argument is a hollow one: follow it to its conclusion, and you'd never take a principled position on anything on earth. The fact is that OUR GOVERNMENT, as part of the EU, is implicated in Israel's crimes. The fact is that THE VICTIMS, i.e. the Palestinians themselves, are calling for a cultural boycott of Israel. Such a boycott can be effective there - it couldn't possibly be in the USA, which would just shrug it off.

Cohen pretends to be a humanist, to care about human suffering. Let him prove it! As for the stuff about "he probably has family there" (why should he?) or whatever, well, let him go and say Howdy to them - but let him not offer himself to a ghastly, EU-backed colonial regime as an instrument of propaganda.

I'm writing as a (former?) fan, by the way!

author by Fedayeenpublication date Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:18Report this post to the editors

You obviously don't want to hear alternative points of view, Suzanne - the link I posted above was to an article from 1969 by Moshe Machover which the ISO-US (a US socialist organisation not linked to the SWP in Ireland or Britain) republished in their journal a couple of years ago, because they, like me, think it was an excellent, concise analysis of Israeli society which has stood the test of time - you would rather dismiss it as the work of "Israeli Stalinists" rather than try to refute its arguments, obviously because you lack the means to do so. And you tried changing the subject when it was pointed out to you that Machover, who would dearly like to see a socialist revolution in Israel/Palestine, favours the boycott.

You absolutely have been claiming that the boycott campaign against South African apartheid was of no value whatsoever - if you had merely claimed that it played a secondary role in the overthrow of apartheid, your points would be meaningless, nobody has ever claimed otherwise, and nobody has ever claimed otherwise in the context of the Palestinian struggle - all of us who support the boycott have repeated again and again that it can only play a secondary role and the most important thing is the struggle in the occupied territories by the Palestinian people themselves. We have argued that while secondary, the boycott campaign can still be very important in applying external pressure to Israel, just as in the case of South Africa.

For all your pretentious talk of "revolutionary struggle" and your attempt to paint people who disagree with you as limp-wristed liberals agonising over their choice of fruit, you are about as radical as Tony Blair. Your arguments have a strong echo of the main theme of the pro-Israeli lobby - "why single out Israel?" You tell us we can't organise a boycott campaign because Netanyahu, Barak and co would use it to rally support from Israeli workers by telling them that the outside world is against Israel: by that logic, we shouldn't organise any protests either, every time people in Dublin, London or Rome protest against Israeli war crimes, there is a shrieking response from the Israeli political class and media, denouncing the protesters as hate-filled anti-semites.

You are effectively arguing for people who support the Palestinian cause to do nothing whatsoever. If you want to do nothing and sit around waiting for the chimeric fantasy of a socialist revolution led by Israeli workers while the occupation remains in place, by all means do nothing - just get out of the way and stop hassling those of us who would rather do something.

author by Marianne.publication date Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:41Report this post to the editors

" As for the stuff about "he probably has family there" (why should he?)."

There is a VERY good chance that he has family there:

"The product of an Orthodox Jewish upbringing in Montreal, Cohen has repeatedly told interviewers about the psychic scars he obtained when he attended synagogue during his youth, as relatives towered over him while a rabbi castigated him as a “sinner.”

author by Suzannepublication date Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:48Report this post to the editors

I will not take a lecture from a middle class member of the SWP about this issue. Even the Pseudonym you have chosen Fedayeen, was the name of Saddam Hussein's personal guard!
Your organisation are opportunists. Your attitude towards the Israeli working class is that they are all reactionaries and can never be won to the cause of socialism. You stand for a one state solution and bluntly this means you stand for full scale war in the Middle East which is what it would take to destroy Israel. Your attititudes to the Israeli working class are exactly the same as what you once said about Northern irish Protestants and before you start to deny it I can provide written proof from the Socialist Worker to back up these claims. Now your position on the North is totally different, you have gone from being cheerleaders for the Provos to being a left republican cover for the trade union bureaucrats and their propping up of the Assembly. It is the antithesis of Marxism for the likes of the SWP to claim, which they clearly do, that millions of Israeli workers are reactionary and can never be won to socialism.
Does that mean that don't support Israel workers when they go on strike, or when they participate in anti-war protests or when they refuse to serve in the military. Opportunism - to shout empty slogans from afar about smashing Israel and the Palestinian cause when in Ireland you are moving to the right, and proposing to do deals with Labour and Sinn Fein! In Britain you did rotten deals with right wing Muslims purely for electoral reasons.
I won't accept a lecture from people who are politically corrupt and rotten, and unlike the SWP the ideas that I represent are trying to build a revolutionary alternative in Palestine, in Israel and in Ireland.

author by Fedayeenpublication date Thu Jul 16, 2009 13:45Report this post to the editors

Can you please take your fantasies elsewhere?

I am not a member of the Socialist Workers Party - you seem to be basing your assumption that I am on two things: a) I support the boycott campaign (this is the position of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and of SIPTU - are they all SWP members too?) b) I provided a link to an article by Moshe Machover which was reprinted in the "International Socialist Journal", a journal published by the ISO-US (for the sake of trainspotters, the ISO-US once was linked to the SWP in Britain and Ireland, but no longer is - in any case, this is irrelevant, since the article in question was written by two Israeli socialists before there even WAS an SWP).

Are you so fecking obsessed with your hatred of the SWP that you have to spend your time sniffing out imaginary members of the SWP on the Internet so you can compose another rant about whatever they used to say about the North of Ireland 20 years ago? This is pure Monty Python stuff.

Anyway, your bizarre obsession with the Socialist Workers Party is no concern of mine - SWP members might want to disagree with what you say, but I've no brief for them. It's your glaring ignorance of the Palestinian struggle that worries me - I don't normally post links to Wikipedia, but it seems you really need a basic introduction to the history of the word "Fedayeen" - your claim that it belongs to Saddam Hussein's regime is really worthy of the pro-Israel lobby:

The article is actually quite good and informative - it will tell you that among those considered "Fedayeen" were the members of left-wing groups like the PFLP and DFLP.

Since you appear to be so proud of the group you are a member of, why don't you tell us all what group it is, and tell us all the wonderful things it has apparently been doing in Israel/Palestine. I'll put my own cards on the table - I consider myself a socialist, although I'm not a Trotskyist of any flavour (I'm guessing you are - the strange obsession with denouncing other Trotskyist groups is a dead giveaway). The people I admire and identify with in Israel/Palestine are the Palestinian left groups and the Israeli anti-Zionist Left (people like Michel Warschawski and Illan Pappe). I note that the authentic voices against occupation in Israeli society are not so keen to denounce the boycott campaign as you are:

And I note that the pro-Israel lobby is worried about the BDS campaign and its possible impact:

I also found this to be a useful defence of the boycott campaign against a "left-wing" attack:

Now, if you're going to post another comment telling me that I am really a member of the SWP and you KNOW this for a fact, don't bother.

Why don't you tell us what group you support, and what they've been doing in Israel / Palestine. And why don't you tell us what forms of resistance to the occupation, and what forms of external pressure, could possibly be acceptable in your view, since virtually anything could be said to "play into the hands" of the Israeli elites - should we not be campaigning for the EU not to upgrade its economic relations with Israel? Should we not be campaigning for a freeze on arms sales to Israel? Were the Greek activists who delayed the shipment of arms to Israel to be used against the people of Gaza wrong (they were responding to a call from the left-wing PFLP for solidarity)?

author by Marianne.publication date Thu Jul 16, 2009 13:48Report this post to the editors

"Even the Pseudonym you have chosen Fedayeen, was the name of Saddam Hussein's personal guard!"


Fedayeen (Arabic: فدائيون‎, fidā'ī, plural fidā'iyūn: meaning, "freedom fighter(s)"[1] or "self-sacrificer(s)"[2]Armenian: Ֆէտայի) is a term used to describe several distinct, militant groups and individuals in Armenia, Iran and the Arab world at different times in history.
It is sometimes used colloquially to refer to suicide squads, especially those who are not bombers."

Suzanne, by Leonard Cohen:

"Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers"

So long, Marianne.

author by Greg T - IPSC (personal capacity)publication date Thu Jul 16, 2009 17:24Report this post to the editors

SA academic study finds that Israel is practicing apartheid and colonialism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories;
-from the The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRC)

author by pat cpublication date Thu Jul 16, 2009 18:45Report this post to the editors

Heres a report by Michael Galvin on life in the Aida refugee camp. Full text at link.

Life Under Israeli Apartheid: From Settlements To Refugee Camps

A visit to the Aida refugee camp outside Bethlehem.The most striking aspect of Aida is the massive 8-meter wall that extends along an abandoned zone around the community on three sides, riddled with the rubble of demolished houses all along its watchtower-surveiled path.

author by Raymondpublication date Thu Jul 16, 2009 19:35Report this post to the editors

Fedayeen is an Arabic word meaning "freedom fighters", or "self-sacrificers", a definition that predated by aeons the concept of "suicide-bombers" (invented, I believe, by Tamils). Here's Wikipedia: "Fedayeen are a group of people known to be volunteers, not connected to an organized government or military, in the Arab and Muslim world. They are usually deployed for a cause where the government has been viewed as failure or non-existent. They are associated with the role of resistance against occupation or tyranny. The name "fedayeen" is used to refer to armed struggle against any form of enslavement basing their actions on resistance."

But all this is irrelevant, and I find it a bit much that so much space is taken up by a squabble by two people which has nothing to do with Leonard Cohen's trip to Israel.

author by Fedayeenpublication date Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:20Report this post to the editors

I'll not take any blame for bringing "irrelevancies" into this thread, Raymond - I'm defending the general principle of the boycott campaign against attack, which is obviously directly relevant to the question of Leonard Cohen's visit to Israel - if the boycott is a bad idea in general, then it must be a bad idea when applied to Cohen's concert. The anti-boycott poster on this thread started going off on a bizarre tangent about the Socialist Workers Party which is certainly irrelevant and pointless, but that's entirely their fault. To bring it back to the original article - Cohen shouldn't be playing in Israel and this is an excellent action by solidarity activists in Ireland.

author by Frank Adam - private citizenpublication date Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:55Report this post to the editors

I grew up in the great decolonisation decade of the fifties and swotted enough history to know that occupation or not it is always possible to create a shadow government - eg Michael Collins, George Washington - or Ben Gurion for that matter and negotiate a succession either after military defeat or since Irish independence after making enough waves to make it not worth the candle for the occupier to stay - or as in the Indian and African cases after the wreckage of the World War II and US emergence as top dog it became impossible to stay because voters and international policy wanted other priorities in a welfare state at home and Cold War abroad.

In these circumstances and examples it looks mighty odd that the PLO /PA and the rest of the Arab World have been so tormented with themselves that they have not been able to make a deal with Israel to let it be - and settle themselves better in their own Arab skins. Irish independence like US independence before it, did not stop UK - Irish trade nor migration.

For two decades there was an open goal for an Arab State in Palestine in the Districts of Gaza, Hebron and Nablus. Why the failure to establish it pre-67? After '67 there was an open economic goal for over two decades for jobs in Israel for Arabs from the same Districts of Gaza, Hebron and Nablus - so it is not impossible to set up an Arab Palestine Republic - so why the failure? Failure to do a practical deal? Why the fatuous ideological override about 1949 borders? and before that 1947 border proposals? and refugee return to 1947 when as Israel showed by absorbing its own refugees - mostly from the Arab World - they had enhanced their lives and collectivity in new build?

Your correspondents are barking up the wrong tree grumbling about Israel in a manner to give grist to their own ideologies about "left grouplets" as the French put it so contemptuously. If you were really interested in the future of the Arabs of Palestine you would be criticising the incompetences of the Arab PA "leadership" in mis-running their show and their failure to get a pragmatic deal with Israel so as to shelve the old and pointless strife and get on with BUILDING a working prosperous Palestine state.

author by Raymondpublication date Sat Jul 18, 2009 23:54Report this post to the editors

Frank Adam writes of the Palestinians "and the rest of the Arab world" (as if they could all be lumped together) that "they have not been able to make a deal with Israel to let it be" [sic] because "they have been so tormented with themselves."

Gosh, this is truly enlightening. So it has nothing at all to do with Israel's mighty army, its ruthless policies of territorial expansion, ethnic cleansing and colonial dispossession - all along it was just those pesky Ay-rabs and their "self-torment" and their ineptitude at "making deals"...

Once again this kind of waffle is designed with one purpose and one purpose only: to exculpate Zionism and its backers and to place the blame on the victims.

And, of course, to distract once again from the issue: Leonard Cohen should not sing in Israel!

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