Thank You John Spritzler

Every now and then, an individual or group representing BDS lets the mask slip, revealing the actual goal of their movement, not to mention the insincerity behind the tactics they choose to achieve that goal.

It has been quite some time since John Spritzler came across my radar.  During my initial run-in with BDS in 2004 (simply called “divestment” back then), John played the role of chief ideologue of a now-defunct group called the Somerville Divestment Project which tried (and failed – three times) to get my home town of Somerville to become the first city in the US to divest from Israel.  (They never did, nor has any other municipality in the country even considered the subject.)

If you think I go on too long, you’ve never seen one of Spritzler’s 8000-word exegeses explaining why black in indeed white using dense, Marxian, jargon-laded arguments that seemed dated when they were first presented more than a century ago.

In this piece, Spritzler dusts off the original Socialist rebuttal to Zionism from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and tries to present it as a fresh and new defense against accusations that the BDS movement actually seeks the destruction of Israel (not “justice” for Palestine or anyone else).  And because he continues to be a true believer in the power of this this ancient anti-Zionist argument, he feels perfectly comfortable letting readers know that critics of BDS have a “perfectly valid point that the BDS’s stated goals (ending the Occupation, equality for non-Jews and Jews, and the right of return of the Palestinian refugees) logically imply the end of Israel as a Jewish state.”

Of course the BDS movement wants to see Israel come to an end.  And rather than try to hide the genuine goals of the “movement” behind a wall of fluffy rhetoric regarding freedom and justice, Spritzler urges his fellow BDSers to embrace that endpoint openly, but do so while explaining that the demise of the Jewish state will usher in a new era where class solidarity overcomes ethnic and religious strife, when Jews will learn their true history as middlemen in the capitalist exploiters game, when billionaire capitalists will no longer be able to set man against man, blah-bidty, blah, blah blah.

I won’t bother asking why a wannabe 19th century Marxist has embraced a movement designed to increase the number of nation states by creating a new nation of Palestine that is infected with every vice known to Marx and Engels (religious fanaticism, repression of women and minorities, an economy based on crony oligarchy, etc.).  For what is the anti-Israel cause if not a homeless shelter for anyone whose philosophy can be contorted to create one more argument that concludes “Israel Must Go!”?

And I don’t begrudge Spritzler his new-found ideological home, especially since he had done such a brilliant job saying explicitly what the rest of the BDS world wants to say but can’t (even if they do occasionally print it on a t-shirt).

And, before you ask, yes I am procrastinating before getting to the Presbyterians.  And that procrastination must include a look at the second admission I mentioned at the start of this this piece: a tactical hypocrisy which explains why boycotting the Jewish state does not require the boycotters to do anything of the kind.

2 Responses to Thank You John Spritzler

  1. fizziks February 23, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    Of all the logical contradictions of anti-Zionism, one of the most puzzling to me is why hard-core communists and anarchists have decided that the coming world-wide revolution absolutely must start with Israel, and not, say, Congo, Ukraine, Mexico, Sri Lanka, or anywhere else that is simply ripe for revolution.

  2. Barbara Mazor February 24, 2014 at 3:57 am #

    Serious questions:
    1) How was the Soviet Union able to sell itself to the 3rd world as the bulwark against western imperialism while it was occupying 3 sovereign states (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia), and Russifying the indigenous populations and suppressing their languages and cultures in these states and in the regions previously part of the Czarist Empire?
    2) How was it able to coordinate the “Zionism is racism” resolution at the UN in 1975 while persecuting the Jews of the Soviet Union and criminalizing the practice of Jewish religion?

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