Category Archives: Israel/Palestine

A generalised boycott did not win liberation in South Africa – it won’t in Israel

Soweto Uprising

Soweto Uprising

Generalised boycotts are often cited as effective weapons to give solidarity and fight oppression.

Quite often the boycott movement against South Africa is cited as proof of that. But let’s look at the interpretation and use of the boycott weapon by the Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM).

At times prior to the early 80s I was involved in that movement. However this article will primarily focus on the work that a number of us did in solidarity with the black trade union movement that arose after 1979. Work that led us to be in a sharp argument with both the AAM and the ANC and their demand for a total boycott.

The boycott of South Africa that AAM called for from 1962 was multi-faceted. It followed the banning of the ANC, the ANC advocacy of a guerrilla struggle and forsaking the possibility of using any institution legally possible within the apartheid regime against itself.

Boycotts were called against South African companies profiting from the super-exploitation of black workers who, under apartheid, were denied equal rights and whose main political organisation, the ANC, had been banned. The only recognised unions, replicated wider society’s inequalities to its black members.

Throughout the rest of South African society, there was both segregation and huge inequalities. Black workers in the cities had to live in ‘townships’, segregated slums in the suburbs. The townships were brutally repressed by the South African police. On a number of occasions there were massacres when those townships erupted in protest against such things as the restrictions on their free movement using the ‘pass laws’, triggering the massacre at Sharpville in 1960, or in protest at inequalities in education as the student protests led to the massacre at Soweto in 1976.

Apartheid as a formal policy was adopted in 1948, later in its squalid history it attempted to accelerate the promotion of bantustans which it would argue were the ‘homelands’ of the black workers in the townships. In this way it hoped to undermine the claims of black people for equal citizenship within South Africa. They would all become migrants from another ‘country’  which they may never have even seen – migrants in their own land.

The boycott that the Anti-Apartheid movement developed was more than a consumer and business boycott. It stretched to sporting events, relationships with musicians and any relationship with any civil organisation.

The boycott in sport essentially took off when the South Africa cricketing authority declared that it would not let Basil D’Oliviera play in the England team in South Africa as he was by their description ‘coloured’ – he had emigrated to Britain from South Africa. British activists campaigned for the MCC (the body that selects the England team) to refuse to remove D’Oliviera from the team – a demand that was initially refused. Very soon, the demand was raised that all sport organisations outside of South Africa should never play in a society where sport was segregated at every level.

The demonstrations in 1969 against the Springbok (South Africa’s rugby team) tour was the starting point for Anti-Apartheid as any sort of mass movement. Peter Hain then in the Young Liberals was prominent. The demonstrations were pretty viciously policed – I watched a friend get his teeth knocked out at one.

Another focus of the boycott campaign was Barclays Bank – which had extensive operations in South Africa. Students were prominent in opposing apartheid. Generally, but particularly back in the 60s, 70s and 80s, people chose their banks once and didn’t move from it all their lives. So that particular boycott had some effect and concerned the owners of Barclays.

But elsewhere, whilst giving activists something to do, was ineffective. Whilst some of the boycott actions were generally popular and effective in showing the nature of South African society and organising against it, some proved pretty disastrous.

The boycott of artistic performances in South Africa made some sense. Entertainers and artists were encouraged not to play at the leisure complex, Sun City, a huge whites-only resort. A song was written and played by Little Stevie, a member of Bruce Springsteen’s band, and others “we ain’t going to play Sun City”. No-one could deny that such a boycott of the perks of the privileged white minority was justified nor that the performers should be condemned for their involvement in such clearly racially segregated events.

Anti-apartheid however embarrassed itself with at least a couple of these. The folk singer, Paul Simon had developed a musical relationship with the black South African choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo. He was criticised by the UK anti-apartheid movement for this. Jerry Dammers, formerly of the Specials, and writer of the song “Free Nelson Mandela” was prominent in these criticisms. However, emigre black South African musicians Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba – who were both well-renowned for not only their musicianship but also their opposition to South Africa and their support at the time for the ANC  – supported Paul Simon. They did a UK tour along Paul Simon and Ladysmith.

But from a socialist point of view the stupidity of the Anti-Apartheid Movements policy of blanket boycott was shown in their treatment of the black trade union movement in South Africa that rapidly developed after 1979. That movement was initially, and for most of its history prior to the overthrow of apartheid, opposed by both the ANC and the UK AAM – who argued that trade unions set up within apartheid South Africa could only be collaborators.

The black trade unions were initially illegal and always faced legal attacks. But when they were successful in organising in the factories and the townships, they forced the bosses and the state to give them legal recognition.

There was a famous strike that one of those unions, MAWU, organised that impacted on the UK- the strike of workers at the Sarmcol factory, part of the British company BTR that also owned an array of other subsidiaries in the UK. The strike had been on for a year when the union decided to send representatives of them in 1986 to the UK to ask for support and solidarity. So important was the issue of solidarity considered to be by MAWU that they sent their General Secretary over, Moses Mayekiso.

Prior to him coming over, Moses had taken a lead role in establishing elements of direct autonomy in the black township Alexandra on the outskirts of Johannesburg. In the mid 80s, there were ongoing revolts in most of the black townships, particularly around Jo’burg. Alexandra, where Mayekiso was a leading figure, was effectively a no-go area for the apartheid police after they killed dozens after a funeral that developed into a protest in February 1986 – instead the residents, largely organised through their unions policed the township, had their own peoples courts etc.

On Moses’ return to South Africa, although this was not known when he was here, he was arrested on a treason charge for his role in the revolt in Alexandra and faced the death penalty.

Moses was no collaborator with apartheid!

However when he came over here, the Anti-Apartheid Movement advised trade unions not to meet or greet him, Moses was in fact stopped by the UK Immigration authorities from getting into the country.

However there was a network of trade unionists of which I was a part, that believed that direct links and solidarity were essential between the new black trade union movement in South Africa and elsewhere.

We argued that worker-organised and targeted boycotts of companies in South Africa could be effective in fighting the super-exploitation of black workers in South Africa. It was a few of us, in that network of trade unionists, who had planned Moses first stop in the UK in Nottingham. We had planned for Moses to talk to workers in Raleigh, part of BTR, as well as trade unionists and anti-racists at a meeting being sponsored by Nottingham Trades Union Council. It fell to myself and Steve Battlemuch,  on the Trades Council Executive at the time, to ring up MPs to get them to speak up on Mayekiso’s behalf. At those times if a number of MPs were prepared to vouch for the authenticity of a visitor to the UK , Immigration Officers had to back down and let them in.

One might have expected that the resources of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, which had very widespread support in British trade unions, might want to be leading such actions in support of black workers and their leaders. But AAM continued to not co-operate with Mayekiso, the Sarmcol strikers, MAWU and their union federation of the time FOSATU for another 2 years. Eventually FOSATU renamed itself, replacing the first letter F that stood for Federation and replaced it with a C, for Congress.

This renaming was done after coalescing with a number of other smaller unions. This concession on FOSATU’s side, nominally becoming a part of the ‘Congress’ movement was the face-saver that allowed the African National Congress to reverse its policy and lift any boycotting of the new black trade union movement.

In reality the ANC to retain any credibility had to recognise not only the huge battles that had been conducted by miners and other trade unionists but also the massive blow, those struggles had given to apartheid. Some of us, myself included, would argue that those struggles were in fact the killer blow.

But many people have the mistaken belief that it was a generalised boycott of all South African bodies, be they social, cultural, sporting or even working class movements, that brought down the apartheid regime in South Africa. It wasn’t.

It was mass action by black workers in the townships and the factories organised by unions like MAWU as mentioned above in Alexandra township. As always it is the democratic indigenous mass struggles of people, using working class methods of struggle whenever they can, that is the best weapon against oppression.

Even with the consumer boycott, it was workplace organisation that proved most effective, even when small, as with the refusal of retail workers to handle South Africa goods in the Dunne supermarkets in Ireland.

Sporting and cultural boycotts meaningfully targeted on the bodies that were clearly acquiescent in the racism of the South African regime had their part to play in maintaining the movement of opposition to apartheid. But boycotts that were only motivated by the argument – that if you hate apartheid South Africa you had to boycott everything South African – were crude, often unproductive and as they were with the new black trade union movement positively harmful.

The same hold with moves to boycott everything Israeli.

The situation in Israel is, of  course, different from what it was in South Africa with different boycotts having different value. In Israel there is considerable racist exploitation of migrant workers as elsewhere in the world. But the Israeli economy does not survive on the organised super-exploitation of Palestinian workers as the South African economy did with black workers. The racism of Israeli society is shown primarily in its exclusion and expulsion of Palestinians rather than their capitalist super-exploitation.

In South Africa whites went into the engineering factories and mines either as bosses or very privileged workers, whilst black workers went in those same workplaces as oppressed workers without civil rights and, for most of apartheid’s history, without the right to be in an independent trade union.

No doubt, there is similar racial stratification in workplaces in parts of Israel (and in the UK). But such racist stratification was the very basis of the apartheid regime in South Africa. It is not the basis of the Israeli regime.

The Israeli identity is therefore very different from the white South African identity. All through its history there have been powerful oppositions within Israel to the state-sponsored racism to Palestinians, at various times working class and socialist-inspired at other times liberal bourgeois.

But you would look in vain for anything similar in white South African history. There were no mass demonstrations in South Africa similar to the demonstration of 400,000 in Tel Aviv in 1982 protesting against the Lebanon war, no mass strikes like that in 2012 against Israeli austerity

Any boycott movement in solidarity with the Palestinians would need to recognise the political and class differentiation in Israel – focus on the expansionist activities, on the military machine, develop relationships with Israeli opponents of occupation and use the working class movement in the UK and elsewhere wherever possible.

But a generalised boycott against all Israeli organisations or produce, especially one that might be perceived as anti-Jewish rather than anti-Israeli, would aid the argument of the Israeli right wing government – that the solidarity movement in support of Palestinians shares Hamas’s hostility to all Jews as a people.


Incidentally the struggle for the liberation of black workers is not over in South Africa as we can see not only from the massacre of over 40 striking miners in Marikana but also the terrible housing and low pay. It is not a coincidence that it is the same South African trade union, MAWU now called NUMSA, with a new generation of activists, who lead the revolt against the ANC’s governments failure to deliver housing, jobs or social justice for black workers. They have been prominent in condemning the corruption of the ANC and for its role in the massacre of striking miners at Marikana one year ago and are planning to help create a new workers party. Their website is well worth a look

Are Hamas preparing a new wave of suicide bombings in response to Gaza atrocities?

There was a report yesterday from Gershon Baskin that Hamas were ready to send 3,000 suicide bombers into Israel and they had said goodbye to their families.
His report was predictably picked up by some of the right-wing Israeli press to justify the present onslaught on Gaza. Although this was clearly not Baskin’s intent with this report. He had been earlier involved as an intermediary during negotiations with Hamas and then exposed the Israeli government for sabotaging those negotiations by assassinating the senior Hamas official he was negotiating with!
So what do we make of this report? Baskin obviously hoped it would pressurise the Israeli government to back off from their assault on Gaza. He has frequently spoken against it as well as the occupation generally. Although he is someone who, given Hamas’s unwillingness to negotiate, is trying to get a reasonable peace treaty between Arab states and Israel – which I believe Netanyahu will never accept. But is his report true, likely or even possible?
It would be a terrifying prospect if it were true or possible. Not only because of the human carnage and suffering that would be caused. But also because a string of successful suicide bombings across Israel would provide the Israeli govt with an excuse for the assault on Gaza. It could even cause a wider war, with even greater ferocity, on Palestinians.
Is it possible? Well Hamas’s rocket stocks are undoubtedly getting depleted and the possibility of using the tunnels for military purposes are diminishing. But with the slaughter going on in Gaza, there are undoubtedly thousands of young Gazans further traumatised by the carnage and wanting to avenge the deaths of their family. One would hope that they would understand that Hamas has given the Israeli govt the pretext for its invasion, bombardment and blockade – that Hamas’s racism towards Israelis should be dispensed with and an alternative route pursued. One could hope – but how likely is that in Gaza where the possibilities of debate and discussion are so reduced by war.
So, yes I believe it would be possible. But it is the logic of Israel’s war on Gaza as well as Hamas’s war on Israel.
That is why we have to oppose both wars – and unilaterally on each side we should call for the end of offensive action.
If Israel can be made to stop, at least there would be some time to allow Gazans to persuade and pull back anyone mobilised by Hamas for a new wave of suicide bombings.
Is it likely to happen? In reality the vast majority of those bombers would not get through given the extent of Israeli security nowadays. But even the posture and any declaration of a revival of the suicide bombing strategy by Hamas would give the Israeli govt the excuse for even greater persecution of Palestinian and Israeli Arabs.
Nothing can be gained for long term peace and justice, on either side, by this bloody war on Gazan civilians nor even the posturing, never mind the reality, of a further war by Hamas on Israeli civilians.

A Multilateral ceasefire in Gaza is not enough. We need to call for a unilateral cessations of hostilities

I had to spend a long time explaining in a Facebook comment yesterday how I thought a ceasefire between the Israeli government would hold and whether it should be supported by the Israeli and Palestinian socialist and workers movement and beyond them peace movements amongst those peoples.

Tel Aviv anti-war protest 26th July - Photo from Elizabeth Tsurkov Facebook

Tel Aviv anti-war protest 26th July – Photo from Elizaeth Tsurkov Facebook

There are understandable doubts and uncertainties about the trustworthiness of offers for ceasefires emanating from either Hamas or the Israeli government.

Israelis fear that Hamas still wants to eliminate Israel and that they could, at any time, attempt to do that through military action on Israeli civilians. Palestinians have huge doubts that the Israeli government, particularly this one, will call ceasefires for any other reason other than to occasionally and temporarily placate international pressure. Meanwhile they maintain a desire to intimidate Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza territories with the eventual intention of expanding Israel and driving further Palestinians from their homes.

I believe the people on both sides are right to have their suspicions but nevertheless socialists and peace activists should call for a ceasefire on both sides to be made unilaterally and indefinitely. In other words we should campaign for an unconditional unilateral cessation of all military hostilities.

Ban Ki-Moon, Kerry, Ed Miliband have all called for a ceasefire. But is unclear whether that is that a just yet another weak call on both sides to negotiate a ceasefire with the likelihood of a later continuation of military action as mutual accusations fly about who has broken the terms of that ceasefire.

Here is my response, with one or two small amendments and grammatical corrections, to someone arguing that Hamas can’t be trusted and that therefore, in principle, Israel should have the right to attack the rocket sites and tunnel installations from Gaza into Israel.

I would defend my argument as being as equally valid for the Palestinians – although the urgency for action obviously lies within Israel where the bombardment of Gaza in particular is causing such horrendous suffering of several greater orders of magnitude than that suffered by Israelis. Continue reading

Google translation of Ayelet Shaked – did she endorse civilian atrocities on Palestinians?

There is obvious danger in making false allegations in the present situation in Israel/ Palestine and I have no intention to do that. But neither should falsehoods be tolerated.
Ayelet Shaked, member of the Knesset and the ruling Israeli coalition has denied the accusations that had been made against her about wanting the deaths of Palestinian mothers. She challenged those who believed them to read what she had said on Facebook. They are in Hebrew. Many of us concerned about the situation don’t speak Hebrew. We need a better translation and please someone qualified, make such a translation. But here is how Google translates what she has quoted.
Obviously this is very far from perfect and people should recognise that when reading this. I will link to another approved translation as soon as I am notified of its availability
Pete Radcliff

Facebook entry starts:
Article by Uri Elitzur late has been put away, written 12 years ago:
Palestinian people declared war on us, and we need to fight back.
No operation, no roll, and low intensity, and controlled escalation, and destruction of terrorist infrastructure, and targeted prevention. Vague enough to make up nicknames. This is war. Words have meaning. This is war. And the war on terror, not a war against extremists, not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. Both forms of evading reality. This is a war between the two nations. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask him, he began.
I do not know why so difficult for us to define reality in the simplest words the language provided us. Why should invent a new name every two weeks this war, only not call her name. What’s so shocking understanding the entire Palestinian people is the enemy. Every war between the two nations, and in every war, people started the war, as a whole, is the enemy. Declaration of war is not a war crime. Certainly not the Sabbath of war. Rather than using the word “war”, and a clear definition of the enemy. On the contrary. Morality of war (and there is such a thing) is based on the assumption that the world wars, and war is not a normal condition, and wars enemy is usually a whole, the elders and wives, their cities and villages, property and infrastructure.
And the morality of war know you can not harm the citizens of the enemy. He did not condemn the RAF bombed and completely destroyed the Dresden German and U.S. jets destroyed the cities of Poland and destroyed half of Budapest, places where residents miserable never done bad for America, but had to destroy them to win the war against evil. Morality of war No calls to prosecute the Russian blasting and destroying towns and neighborhoods in Chechnya. He denounced the UN peacekeeping forces for the killing of hundreds of civilians in Angola, not NATO force bombed Milosevic’s Belgrade city million citizens, the elderly and infants of women and children. morality of war gets correct in principle, not just politically, what America did in Afghanistan, including the massive bombing of human settlements, including the creation of the movement of refugees of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from the war, and thousands of them left home to return to.
And our war it is doubly true that the enemy soldiers hiding in the population only because of the support they can fight. Behind every terrorist there are dozens of men and women, without which he could not rope. Participants inciting hostilities mosques, curriculum writers murderous, shelter providers, automotive suppliers, and ITS honor and moral support. All the enemy fighters and all the blood in the head. Now it also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They need to follow their sons, nothing is right that. They need to go, and physical home where they raised their snake. Otherwise grow other small snakes.
But this week there are celebrations and respect in both houses of the two despicable murderers. I guess there opened mourning tents, and all the dignitaries of the city come to honor the mother and father who raised the devil. Both of these homes need to bomb from the air, to destroy and to kill. And should inform that this is done here on every home of every martyr. There is nothing right hand, and probably not even anything useful from it. Hamlet should know that he takes with him his parents and his house and some neighbors. All Om – Jihad heroine sends her son into hell needs to know that she was going with him. Along with the house and everything in it.
Counterterrorism can not be targeted. It’s a war. What focus does not thwart what frustrates unfocused. No snide We started the war that we can not finish it. Keys for a ceasefire in the hands of the Palestinian people. We can only singe their fingers until they want to use them. ”
Facebook entry finishes

Does Netanyahu want an all out war?

The more I think about it, the more I am coming to the view that Netanyahu, or at least many of the forces around him, want a new all-out Arab-Israeli war.
Israeli expansionists – I don’t use ‘Zionist’ because it has so many different meanings, some anti-Semitic – have always had grand schemes and played a long game. They now see ISIS audaciously carving out a caliphate state on the areas of Syria and North East Iraq devastated by war, communalism and civil war. Despite the fact that this caliphate state will likely be short-lived, it has too many contradictions to survive in its present form, you can see the smile of admiration on Netanyahu’s face. It is the politics of the accomplished fact. Seize the moment brutally and then say to those who disagree with you ‘so what are you going to do about it?’
There has been an incremental, and from the expansionist’s viewpoint painfully slow, undermining of the integrity of the Palestinian West Bank by the expansionists’ settlement programme. At one moment Netanyahu like Sharon before him supported the settlements, at another moment under international and domestic Israeli pressure, they rebuked them.
Much of the ‘anti-Zionist’ left do not see the restraints that the dissent within Israel puts on the expansionists. But it has always been significant. It is understandable when looking at their treatment of the Palestinians that many might scoff at the Israeli’s government claim, accepted by many Israelis, to be a civilised democracy. However, civil liberties in Israel do allow oppositionists to criticise and to hold mass demonstrations against its actions. At least they have so far.
True, if those demonstrations are of Palestinians, they are treated very differently. Surrounded by IDF soldiers, armoured vehicles, snipers and snatch squads, Israel treats those as security threats. That becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy as they often end with physical confrontation, albeit a hugely unequal one with frequent atrocities committed upon Palestinians.
The Israeli government can conduct brutal repression like this and even imprison their own refuseniks because ‘war is different’ and we all know how every government gets away quite literally with murder during military actions. And that hypocritical dualism of a reasonably cultured civil society functioning alongside brutal military atrocities has long been a feature not only of Israel but of many ‘democratic’ nations.
I don’t know how organised or disorganised the opponents of expansionism in Israel currently are. If a mass demonstration suddenly appears in Tel Aviv in condemnation of the Gaza actions it wouldn’t be unprecedented. The mass demonstrations against the Israeli actions in Lebanon took most of us by surprise. But at the moment those oppositionists appear worryingly isolated and weaker than they have been.
Instead there appears to be a wave of anti-Arab feeling sweeping through Israel. I don’t understand its causes fully. The steady but very limited rocket attacks from Hamas and the murder of the 3 Israeli teenagers have undoubtedly had an effect. But Israel has endured suicide bombings with multiple civilian deaths in the past but I don’t think there was a comparable racist civilian backlash to what we see now.
Another earlier mobilising issue for the right in Israel was Iran’s threats to wipe it off the face of the map. But these earlier largely rhetorical threats pretty much disappeared with the demise of Rafsanjani. So again, why now this rise in anti-Arab racism?
The formation of the ISIS caliphate may well be a substantial part of the explanation. The moves towards a Muslim civil-war engulfing much of the area may well have led to a belief that this is some sort of Armageddon moment. Is this what the anti-Arab racists are using to mobilise?
The war between ISIS and Shia forces will undoubtedly cause Netanyahu to speculate that 2 of Israel’s major armed enemies, Hezbollah and Hamas, may be both divided and deprived of support as they are drawn in on different sides of a potential Muslim regional civil war.
What we are seeing from Netanyahu may be a calculated provocation for a new war in the belief that now is a good time.
This might be wild speculation on my part and I am hoping friends will be able to say that it cannot happen for all sorts of reasons – any reason.
For a war would be a disaster – for the Palestinians most obviously. With rising anti-Arab racist forces behind him, international pressure is unlikely to have much effect on Netanyahu although obviously it should be mobilised.
The key still must be not only the self-defense of Palestinians in Gaza and also the West Bank. They will need to defend themselves and they will have massive international support and sympathy. But it is difficult to see the disastrous racist strategy of Hamas towards Israelis citizens being sidelined and that will continue to inflame the situation. There were some indications of democratic opposition to Hamas during the Arab Spring and even afterwards with a Palestinian replica of the Egyptian Tamarood (the Egyptian Tamarood had built a mass movement that last year brought down the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Morsi. Later, shamefully, supporting the brutal military repression by the Egyptian Army). But hopes of a democratic force in Gaza capable of asserting itself either politically or militarily against Israel as well as Hamas looks ludicrously unrealistic – especially in the middle of a militarily bombardment.
The only other serious possible opposition to a siege of Gaza and a wider conflagration lies within Israel. It needs to be as visible and active as it can be.
Those of us outside of this growing cauldron need to be encouraging these forces, seemingly pathetically weak at the moment, in Gaza, elsewhere in the Occupied Territories but most importantly in Israel that oppose the siege of Gaza and any wider war plans of Netanyahu – and can advocate a solution of 2 free states for 2 free peoples, that can end the continuing madness of war. Ultimately they are the only ones that can stop it.

Review of final episode of Shama’s The Story of the Jews

It is to be hoped that socialists and radicals who describe themselves as ‘anti-Zionist’ and give credence to the military destruction of the state of Israel see Shama’s final episode of the The Story of the Jews.
The posing of the dilemma of  the victims of the Nazi’s Jewish concentration camps after their release.  Why would they want to return to the flattened ghettos of a continuingly anti-semitic Eastern Europe?  The footage of the British incarceration of them, again, in concentration camps as they tried to make their way to a hoped-for homeland. The driving of hundreds of thousands of Jews out of Egypt and Iraq as similarly hundreds of thousands, indeed more, of Palestinians were driven from their villages. This complex and tragic story was told honestly by Shama.
He did not unfortunately look at how Faisal’s, as well as the early Zionists’, earlier indications that both peoples would live in peace, was undermined. He hinted at the casual indifference of the UK occupying power to the growing communalism and acknowledged the dishonesty within the leaderships of both sides.
The truth was complex and tragic. It was portrayed, by Shama neither as the liberation of the Jews or a story of predatory imperialism as the ‘anti-Zionist’ left try to present.
No doubt he will be attacked by them as not having looked at the brutality that the Palestinians suffered at the time of Israel’s foundation and the occupations of the West Bank and Gaza. He didn’t and a bit more on that could have placated his critics. But this WAS the Story of the Jews. He was concerned more in how the fanatical settlers and the wall of occupation were undermining both the pride of Jewishness as well as any sense of democratic Israeli identity. He had a right to do that. Indeed within Israel that is an essential critique.
‘Anti-Zionists’ would probably even disagree with that, believing, as they do, that the only things Jews should do in the Middle East is either give up their national identity or get out.
There were only the vaguest pointers for hope – of young Jews and Palestinians working and learning together. Shama whilst being a decent and good historian always seems to fail at the end of his series. He never advances any ‘programme’ for the way ahead. He is not a Marxist and he doesn’t believe in class struggle. But even for those of us are, identifying a way forward in Palestine/ Israel is very difficult at the moment.
We should still be grateful to Shama for compiling this historical account.