Recent accusations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party show some of the stupidity of the left when it comes to legitimately criticising Israel and its policies. Rather than showing that Israel, which has widespread support from the United States and evangelical Christians, and has been condemned and criticised by ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups and those who live in Israel respectively, is a militaristic state that, more than simply supporting its own ethnocentrism, actively expands beyond established borders and has regularly flouted both international law in Gaza and offers of peace by Hamas and other Palestinian groups. Israeli governments have rejected the right to return of Palestinian refugees, refuse to recognise the realities of the Nakba, and continue to steal land from families who have lived in Palestine for decades and centuries.
What’s more unfortunate in this Labour Party debacle is that the whole cadre of pro-Israel lobbies and individuals have come out and connected anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Thus when people try to make legitimate criticisms of both modern Israeli policy as well as the actual founding of Israel, a founding that retained violence on both sides from the Palestinian Mufti and terrorist groups like the Irgun. It also required ridiculous promises from Britain to draw alien borders in the region, guaranteeing states for both the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs. With such stupidity found in statist promises, it is no wonder violence quickly followed false promises.
This of course ignores the earlier migrations of Jews to Palestine, which were relatively peaceful in the early 20th century. Kibbutzim and other intentional Jewish communities were founded which were bordered by Palestinian towns and farms. It is only really after the founding of terrorist groups, which received state funding or arms from American citizens and the British, and the promise of contradictory concepts of power. Moving from this statist history, there exists an alternative concept of development that shows a peaceful route of social borders and recognised differences. This founding should be criticised, and revisionist accounts should be taken seriously.
However, Israel now exists and it isn’t going away. Now things like Jewish settlements and the open-air prison of Gaza are more important battlegrounds for change. For these to work, the tropes of Zionists and their supporters need to be challenged. The laughable idea that Israel is a democracy, a beacon of light in a sea of darkness that is the Middle East, needs to challenged and put on the back foot. It will be said that activists are more interested in a state for Palestinians than for Jews, but this is nonsense. As an anarchist, I’m not interested in either concept, with the two-state solution becoming more and more utopian with the continued militarism and expansionism of Israel. I prefer a one-state solution, with significant decentralisation of power to individual communities and cities, breaking the back of established political power in both Israel and Palestine. I’m not interested in Likud, Hamas or Fatah, seeing each as a collection of false promises that have regularly been broken. This means moving away from Israeli democracy, which for Palestinians has meant the limitation of aid into Gaza to the point of starvation, the lack of voting rights for residents in the West Bank in Israeli elections, and the discrimination felt which has parallels with the Jim Crow system.
The tropes of the Zionists, both within the Labour Party and in general society, mean that anti-Semitism is being weaponised in the same way Islamophobia has been used to silence criticism of elements of Islamic culture. To tackle it, we need to move to a different narrative in the Israel-Palestine conflict that doesn’t blame all Israeli citizens or Jews, and that moves beyond the utopianism of the two-state solution. A decentralist solution, similar to early Jewish migration or even to some of the border communities that existed prior to Israeli expansion and settlement-establishment into Gaza and the West Bank, needs to be formulated that allows for shared Palestinian-Israeli governance systems, as well as intentional communities constructed by Israeli Jews or Palestinian Arabs, which lead to the drawing of social borders between said communities. We need to tackle these tropes that suggest Israel is a model country, when in fact it is extremely militaristic, with trigger-happy police and military and a vile attitude to Palestinians. There needs to be a move past pro-Israel narratives, and toward real solutions for the citizens of a protracted, and unnecessary conflict.