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John Passant

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Keep socialist blog En Passant going - donate now
If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)



Israel – discussions with a defender

I have been having an email discussion for the last week or so with a defender of Israel.  In his most recent email he tells me the one state solution is pie in the sky stuff and that ethnic cleansing can’t be an apt description for Israeli actions because the number of Palestinians has grown from 1.5 million to over 5 million.  He also referred to Marx as the last of the schoolmen, debating how many angels fit on a needle point.  (I thought it was a pin head, but the point remains.) Here is my rambling reply.

It is true that the opposing forces – Zionism and Islamism – appear irreconcilable. That doesn’t mean history is locked forever in this binary opposition – witness South Africa.

Indeed this is in part why we argue that the road to Jerusalem runs through Cairo. Hamas won’t foster revolution against the friends of the US (or even other dictatorships) in the region, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a time when such a current exists in Palestinian society.

Mubarak looks unsteady, and if the Egyptian masses could overthrow this agent of the US and dictator, then the politics of the region could change dramatically. And the Muslim Botherhood may not be the beneficiary of any revolutionary struggle against Mubarak. People’s ideas change through struggle.

Until 1986 (?) the PLO, which then had the majority support of the Palestinian people, advocated a one state solution. Some in Palestine still do, including, I admit, a very very small number of Israelis.

The PLO’s abandonment of the one state solution, to appease US imperialism, lost it much of its support over time.

Actually I think Israel is intent on a one state solution – an Israeli state from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. That could involve expelling the Palestinians, or more likely confining them to the bantustans of the West Bank and Gaza and destroying the Palestinian nature of the West bank and its viability by allowing more and more illegal settlements. And also destroying the viability of Gaza in any way by controlling all aspects of life there through occupation or, the same thing in its controlling essence, the blockade.

Israel might accept Palestinian bantustans as legal entities, ie continuing the present situation under the guise of a two state solution, with Gaza as a concentration camp.

Facts on the ground? To argue for a position is not to deny reality – it is an attempt to make your vision a political reality. Mandela did it.

Re ethnic cleansing – Deir Yassin and the other attacks that saw half at least half a million Palestinians forced off their land were clearly (to me at least) part of a policy of ethnic cleansing. The last 60 years have been a continuation of that policy – to create greater Israel. The apartheid example comes to mind. The bantustans were attempts to ethnically cleanse blacks from the wealth producing areas of South Africa. The same is true of the Zionist approach to setting up Israel -drive the Palestinians out – and the ongoing blockade of Gaza and the illegal settlements throughout the West Bank.

You also said (in a previous post) that Israel was not racist because a Jew of any colour could emigrate there.

Australia has people from almost every country in the world. Does that somehow make us not racist? I think there are two aspects to racism – within the society and more generally against ‘the other’.

Thus, a recent report (from memory) shows the systemic discrimination in Israel against the Arab population. The banning of two Arab parties from the forthcoming election smacks of institutional racism.

But racism I contend also exists within Jewish Israeli society – it is those of European Jewish heritage who dominate the country.

And of course there is the racism against the Palestinians outside Israel, ie in Palestine. Menachim Begin called them two legged beasts; Golda Meir said the Palestinians did not exist (a Zionist variant of terra nullius, perhaps?).

I am going to put some graffiti from Israeli soldiers in Gaza on my blog in the next day or two which to me shows the essential racism of the Zionists.

As I also say on my blog, the fact that a Jew can emigrate to Israel but a Palestinian cannot return to his or her land or that of their parents or grandparents is racism to me.

As to Marx being the last of the schoolmen, who made the comment and why? I think for example as the economic crisis worsens Marx’s ideas about the tendency of the rate of profit to fall will make sense to more people.



Comment from Peter Quinn
Time January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm

John — Silly, silly, silly. Why don’t you stick with taxes?

Comment from John Passant
Time January 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm


If someone explains why this is silly, I’ll be happy to recant.

I susepct there are two world views which clash here and there is very little room for engagement, until the Egyptian masses (and/or Jordanian, or Syrian or Saudi Arabian) overthrow their dictator.

Comment from Peter Quinn
Time January 30, 2009 at 7:22 pm

John dear —
Racism exists everywhere. We are all racist. So why do you pick on one people? Why not the Saudis who spit on the Palestinians? Why not the Japanese who keep foreign races from living in their country? Why not the Icelanders who’s country remains lilly white to this day? That’s why I suggest you write more about taxes and less about political matters.

Comment from Peter Quinn
Time January 30, 2009 at 7:25 pm

BTW, John — Are you unattached and available?