An article by Bill Levinson on the support for Islamofascism by Vanessa Redgrave raises important issues concerning the degeneration of the neoLeft on the Palestinian israel issue.
Vanessa Redgrave and her brother Corin emerged out of the protest movement of the 60s, the issue of the Vietnam War and out of the theories of Marcuse that the new revolutionary force in the world was the movements of national liberation. It was in that category that the Algerian war against the French fell.
Redgrave brought much of this superficial analysis with her when she joined the Workers Revolutionary Party (or more accurately the Socialist Labour League its forerunner)
Redgrave with hardly two ideas to rub together was given a privileged position by Gerry Healy who knew a pay packet when he saw one.
With an approach based on high activism and scorn for historical research it did not take Redgrave and Healy too long to find out that the PLO was also part of this national liberation movement.
It was around this time that the WRP along with other neoleft groups were morphing into real anti-Semitism. A good example of this was the noted big-mouth of all time Tariq Ali.
It must be emphasised that a feature of this whole neo-Left was its ignorance of history and indeed its distain for history.
I myself ran into the British-based WRP and tried unsuccessfully to get a socialist movement going in Ireland. These types of movements in their early stage especially have got some good aspects and some bad. One of the issues we campaigned on in Ireland was opposition to the Provisional IRA’s bombing campaign on the basis that it divided the working class. We stood on the programme of uniting catholic and protestant. You see it was not all bad.
The line from the WRP was really a liquidation into the Arab anti-Semitic movement. This was helped along the way by the links Redgrave was able to make with the likes of Gaddafi and it is widely suspected that the old desert tent dweller was prepared to put his hand into his back pocket. Healy would have appreciated such a pay packet and such a gesture. Totally corrupt! Redgrave was up to her neck in these Arab contacts.
Healy and others like him were active during the World War, inside the British Labour Movement, taking some kind of abstentionist position towards Fascism.
It may have been that kind of politics that led Healy to miseducate his cadres. In the WRP at no time was any knowledge of the role of the Arabs inside Nazism understood by its members. It is remarkable that Hajj Amin el Husseini, the Arab Palestinian Nazi, was unknown inside the neoleft movement as a whole. Nor were his close familial relationship with Arafat known.
This is important because Redgrave was as Bill Levinson on Israpundit points out at the time prancing around inside refugee camps waving her armalite above her head. What a total idiot!
But what the WRP and Redgrave are based on more than anything else is a complete rewriting of history.
Or rather a complete ignorance of history. As the WRP moved more and more into anti-Israel mode it became in effect anti-Semitic.
But of course there always are tendencies inside such movements who will start to question. On the split-up one person who did question the WRP anti-Semitism was the Ceylonese Trotskyist Mike Banda.
By the way research that I did a year ago drawing on some work done by an Australian writer showed that Leon Trotsky in the period around the outbreak of the War was changing his former opposition towards Zionism. I wrote that he was in fact moving towards being a Zionist.
I called the article Leon Trotsky: A change Too Late and can be reached on http://www.irelandsupportsisrael.com/leon.html
The issue is more complicated, and richer, than many will care to admit.
This is why I hate to see these words Left and Right misused in relation to Israeli politics today. It shows really a lack of research and a lack of historical understanding from another level. But basically not totally removed from Redgrave and Healy’s quite ignorant approach to the issue of the Jewish Homeland and to Jewish history.