Israel/Palestine

A Question for Caroline Lucas MP

Caroline Lucas had a moment of clarity, in the pages of The Jewish Chronicle last week:

The leader of the Green Party has written to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign questioning why the organisation uses as its logo a provocative map of Palestine prior to the creation of Israel.

Her party’s manifesto in the 2010 election said Israel should be obliged to “end the siege of Gaza, stop settlement expansion and commit to ending the occupation”. In 2008, the Greens voted to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. But the Green leader has always made it clear that the policy is not intended as an attack on Israel’s right to exist.

A statement issued by her office said: “It has been brought to my attention that the PSC logo appears to reflect 1917, pre-creation of Israel, borders and as such could be open to interpretation by some as implying non-recognition of Israel’s right to exist. I am following this up with the director of the PSC since I am quite sure that PSC does indeed recognise Israel’s right to exist, and it is unhelpful and damaging if any other impression is given.

Richard Millett has uncovered a video of Caroline Lucas MP, shot last week, in which a song is sung which also gives an “unhelpful” and “damaging” impression that the PSC does not “recognise Israel’s right to exist”.

From between 2 minutes 20 seconds and 3 minutes 15 seconds she can be seen posing for cameras before joining in with a rendition of the anthem Free Free Palestine. Then a chorus of From The River To The Sea Palestine Will Be Free is immediately struck up.

To give her the benefit of the doubt Lucas would probably explain that the song Free Free Palestine is all to do with freeing the poor Palestinians from the settlements and checkpoints. But, how would she explain From The River To The Sea Palestine Will Be Free?

The river is the Jordan and the sea is the Mediterranean. Between those two geographic points sits a tiny country called Israel. The song seems to imply that these PSC activists want only Palestine to exist between those two geographic points.

Maybe the Jewish Chronicle can contact Lucas again and ask her whether her little boat trip along the Thames gave her any clarity on the PSC’s stance towards the existence of Israel.

The fact is, both the PSC and the Greens support the “right of return” of the descendants of those who lived in Palestine between 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948 to Israel.

This is an eliminationist position. Fully in keeping with the PSC’s choice of logo and its sing-song cruising entertainment. Everybody knows this.

So, has Caroline Lucas received an answer to her question yet?

Peter K in the comments, says:

Lucas is wrong. Palestine was only defined, as such, in 1923 (pre-1923 it was a general reference, but, sans defined borders). The 1923 borders, the ‘international borders’, include what is now Jordan, for the simple reason that, before 25th May 1946, for most of history, Judeah/Syria-Palestina/Palestine included both sides of the Jordan.

She is thinking, I assume, of ‘historic Palestine’, the usual definition of Palestine given by Arabists and leftists, but, this definition only existed for 720 days, from 25th May 1946 to 13th May 1948. of course, legally, Jordan was still part of Palestine until 1948, as it was illegal for Britain to hive off Jordan. The end of the mandate, on the 14th May 1948, meant that, the declaration of country, from almost 2 years earlier, became valid. However, Palestine was not declared as a country, although Israel was. Palestine therefore ceased to exist, and indeed, Britain was the only non-Muslim country to recognise the west bank as part of Jordan.

If this recognision has not been revoked, and I do not know if it has been, then, technically, Britain regards the west bank Palestiniains as Jordanians.

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