Questions of fairness and Israel 1

June 9, 2006

I welcome last week's article by David Cesarani, "The Left's 'anti-Semitism' can't go unchallenged", which makes some very good points concerning the recent resurgence of anti-Israel rhetoric in university campuses.

However, Cesarani fails to address the extent to which Zionism, or more specifically neo-Zionism, is the Israeli state. Neo-Zionism, that is post-1967 Zionism, is identified by the denial of UN Security Council Resolution 242.

Criticising the actions of the Israeli state against the Palestinians should not be seen as anti-Semitic, and I am glad that Cesarani admits that. Similarly, those of us on the Left who criticise suicide bombing should not be seen as supporting Israel's reactions to suicide bombing because such a response is counterproductive.

The Left's guiding thread to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict comes from Isaac Deutscher. "In Israel-Palestine," Deutscher said in 1967, "there are two fundamentalisms, two nationalisms which are both reactionary. But we must be always careful to distinguish between the nationalism of the oppressed from the nationalism of the oppressor, that is Israel." This remains a valid proposition today, and one that Cesarani fails to acknowledge when he accuses the Left of being "anti-Semitic".

Vassilis K. Fouskas

Senior lecturer in international relations

Stirling University

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