Understandably Karl Dallas’s response to my letter, which argued that Pete Seeger was right to play the virtual concert for Israel’s Arava Institute, is for him to defend his original “open letter.”
Karl sees the Arava Institute as an organisation that must have “zionist” put in front of it. And, if being “zionist” is not enough of a crime, the organisation is also guilty by its association with the Jewish National Fund.
Yet, I still cannot see the Arava Institute as being anything other than a progressive environmentalist organisation working with Jordanians, Palestinians and Israelis and which works on other things with Bedouin Arabs.
But the real issue is not about the nature of the little-known Arava Institute.
The real issue is whether you support boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel and then have to justify that position, or whether you believe in working with progressives in Israel.
I think the latter way is the answer in striving for a two-state solution, the only realistic solution that offers justice for both peoples.
The use of the word “zionist” as an epithet ignores the fact that it is a nationalist movement which carries with it all that other nationalist movements do.
It harbours in its ranks reactionaries who would – and have done – all in their power to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state.
Yet it also harbours a progressive left wing which wants nothing but peace in the Middle East.
To see only the Jewish nationalist movement and the country that it brought into being as exclusively a malevolent force is a disturbing political position when it is never applied to any other nationalist movement or country.
In light of this, Karl’s reference to a “zionist psyche” makes the mind boggle.