The public meeting held on Monday 28th May to discuss the war threats against Iran, which was jointly organised by Hands Off the People of Iran and the Milton Keynes Stop the War group was a good success. Over 20 people attended and heard an excellent opening from Moshé Machover, Israeli socialist and member of the HOPI steering committee. This was followed by a good discussion with a number of interesting questions and points being raised.
Thanks to Brian Robinson for the recordings and summary of the questions.
Responding to questions (see below):
What bearing do current events in Syria have on Israeli thinking? Doesn’t it seem all part of an Israeli push for war?
Some time ago, towards the end of Saddam Hussein’s rule, there was a rumour going around the middle east about a plan to move Palestinian refugees to Iraq, the alleged quid pro quo being that if Saddam agreed, the West would “get off his back”. The questioner also heard at the same time that the Saudis allegedly backed the plan, as part of their “unholy alliance” with Israel. Was there any truth in these rumours?
There was a report in the Guardian recently about some evidence having been found of a “nuclear clear-up” in Iran. There was no suggestion that it was evidence of military potential, or indeed of any other use, but the questioner wondered how easy or difficult it was for inspectors to distinguish between civilian-use and weapons-grade radioactive material.
We are “at the mercy of decisions made in Israel and Washington” concerning these matters, but how do the Israeli general public feel about them? To what degree is there opposition to an attack on Iran amongst the general Israeli public?
Does Israel really have a nuclear bomb? There is talk that they have a stockpile of simulated nuclear bombs only, but what is Prof Machover’s view? (A. There is no question but that they do have several hundred, possibly even more than Britain.)
A further question as to how Israeli nuclear policy makes sense.
In the early days of Israel, people used to emigrate “with a very egalitarian view of what it was about”, and they lived “like communists”, but that was then and this is now. What would the world’s view be, where would things be in 50 years?
Prof Machover deals with the first part of the question, but declines, with humour, to speculate on the long term future, apart from emphasising that we are now in the middle of a worldwide crisis of global capitalism and nobody knows how it is going to be resolved.
Further question re social media, specifically Facebook and how it might affect developments.
And further to that, what effect might the Occupy movement have?
Question about the situation inside Iran.
The demographic situation in Israel is not tenable, but the questioner felt that further ethnic cleansing would be both unsustainable and unsupportable in the light of world opinion, so what did the future hold for Israel? Do not Israelis suffer from an absence of hope and do they not therefore rather “live from day to day”?