A roundtable discussion between Alan Goodman from The Revolutionary Communist Party USA, and Richard Rubin from Platypus entitled “Marxism and Israel: Left Perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” at Hunter College in New York City. Panelists were asked to speak on the role the Left has played in the development of Israel, the Left’s analysis of the role of American intervention in the Middle East, and what a critical Marxian approach to the conflict currently looks like, compared to what it might look like.
Questions for the panelists:
1. Historically, what role has the Marxist Left played in the development of Israel? What would a critical Marxist perspective on Israel, the ideology of Zionism and the Palestinian conflict look like? Has a Left critique historically been applied?
2. What is the relationship between American political hegemony and Israel? How has this traditionally been understood by the "Left", and how is it now portrayed? Has this understanding obscured attempts at political and theoretical analysis? How has it affected the international "Left's" approach to the actual political opposition among Palestinians?
3. Why have leftist approaches to the conflict emphasized a politics of resistance over cogent political visions? Do measures, such as BDS campaigns and the Flotilla effort, that seek to delegitimize Israel and the ideology of Zionism through resistance to its immediate means and policies ameliorate immediate social conditions or clarify political conditions? If not, what sort of approach should be emphasized?
On February 23th, 2010, Platypus hosted an event entitled Which Way Forward for Palestinian Liberation? in which Joel Kovel, author of Overcoming Zionism and frequent commentator on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and Hussein Ibish, political analyst and senior fellow at The American Task Force on Palestine, answered questions posed by Richard Rubin of Platypus.
Hussein Ibish is a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine and is the executive director of the Hala Salaam Maksoud Foundation for Arab- American Leadership. From 1998-2004, he was Communications Director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the largest Arab-American membership organization in the United States, with which he authored, along with Ali Abunimah, the issue-paper The Palestinian Right of Return. Ibish will discuss his recent book, What’s Wrong with the One State Agenda? Why Ending the Occupation and Peace with Israel is Still the Palestinian National Goal.
Joel Kovel is professor emeritus of social studies at Bard College, editor in chief of Capitalism, Nature, Socialism and the author of several books, including White Racism: A Psychohistory, A Complete Guide to Therapy, The Age of Desire: Case Histories of a Radical Psychoanalyst, The Radical Spirit, and The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or The End of the World. In 1998, he was the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senator from New York. He will be discussing his most recent book, Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine.