In May 2015 Stop the War published an article justifying its position that the State of Israel should not exist.
This is a vintage piece, bringing together all the traditional STW delights of confused “logic”, invented statistics, and startlingly bold omissions of historical fact.
We’re treated to the hectoring self-certainty that is the hallmark of STW and this can only ferment in the minds of those fortunate few who have never had to face any form of genuine difficulty or discrimination and are thus free to concentrate on enjoying someone else’s. A lack of experience of any kind of insecurity, uncertainty, or vulnerability means STW supporters can make the necessary fine distinctions between peoples who are entitled to self-determination even at the cost of stabbing old women in the streets, and murdering mothers in front of their children- for example Arabs – and wicked chancers who shouldn’t expect to find national self-determination or basic safety, i.e. Jews. This is not however to be confused with anti-semitism, because to suggest otherwise would be an act of imperialist racism.
So, we begin with an open call for the disestablishment of the state of Israel, followed swiftly by the standard declaration that this does not constitute anti-Semitism. Aficionados of STW literature will of course understand that it is not necessary to bolster this statement with fact or argument; its assertion by a member of STW being sufficient to observe the traditional niceties.
We move swiftly on to as fine a piece of muddled logic as STW have ever produced- and again a classic for them- the assertion that the only logical resolution of the fact that Israel is a Holy Land to three faiths, would be the establishment of a secular state, beautifully expressed as one in which “Jews, Arabs and Christians all have equal rights.” Not for STW the petty quibble that Arab isn’t actually a religion (or the complexity of Jews as an ethnoreligious group), our bold armchair warrior needs no understanding of culture and faith to muddy his certainties. And the simple elegance of justifying a secular state on the grounds that this is Holy Land is breath-taking in its audacity.
The following paragraphs are the usual dance around history, casually cherry-picking and distorting historical fact with a light-hearted disregard for the concept of objective data. Highlights of an unusually rich selection are the idea that Jews unilaterally announced the State of Israel (no UN resolution 181 apparently), the fascinating mathematical incompetence of population statistics, and the truly original decision to entirely omit the Arab-Israeli war, skipping directly from May 1948 to the end of 1949 and simply missing out the hard to justify bit in the middle. Perhaps a breakaway Ignore the War group is fermenting here?
We move on to a classic section- having teased us so far with fear that the Holy Troika may be omitted, the author finally relieves the tension as here they come: colonisation, ethnic cleansing, and armed struggle. The armed struggle in particular shows all the very best elements of STW hypocrisy; the utter delight in violence, the almost sexual thrill of describing poor barbaric savages driven by a wicked Western Imperialist power into – against their noble better selves – resorting to violent resistance. Stop the War are very clear that they don’t mean Stop ALL Wars. Just stop the sides they don’t like from fighting back. They are besotted with the violence of those groups they can patronisingly consider as poor oppressed peasants. Don’t stop the suicide bombers, the Qasans, the knife attacks on Israeli citizens- these appear to be what Stop The War live for.
Adopting the STW principle that quantity is an adequate substitute for quality or academic rigour, our guide to the evils of Zionism chunters away to himself for an unconscionable number of paragraphs before leading us, equally irritated and bored, to something passing faintly for a conclusion.
And we finish on a joke- Hamas are so popular, we are told, because of their relative “lack of corruption”. A witticism which I’m sure billionaire leader Khaled Mashal – as he contemplates the appalling poverty of the people of Gaza whose international aid he is living comfortably off in Qatar- will appreciate.