Friday, May 16, 2008

Israel Turns 60 – Where Next for the Jewish and Palestinian Peoples?

By Luke Wilson
Friday, 16 May 2008


On May 14th, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, leader of the Jewish Agency in Palestine, declared the independence of the State of Israel. Soon afterwards, the constant fighting between Jewish and Arab militias would erupt into a full-scale war, dragging in neighbouring Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, and displacing over a million people. Though figures vary, it is estimated that over 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes by the nascent Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and Jewish militias. Just as tragically, more than 600,000 Jews fled or were driven from their homes across the Arab world; many would make their homes in the new State of Israel.

60 years on, the problems of this troubled region remain, with repercussions for the rest of the world. The Palestinian refugees and their descendents, now believed to number 3-4 million, still live in squalid refugee camps, and face often daily harassment and terror at the hands of the IDF. On the flip-side, the creation of Israel, which was supposed to solve the ‘Jewish question’ and emancipate the Jews from antisemitism, has manifestly failed to achieve this: Israel’s citizens have had to live through several major wars and a consistent terrorist threat, and an undercurrent of anti-semitism exists today even in the West (albeit at relatively low levels).

So where did the movement to found the modern Israeli State come from? What roles did imperialism and the Soviet Union play in bringing this about? And what does the future hold for the Jewish and Palestinian peoples?

The Historical Roots of Zionism

The term Zionism refers to the nationalist movement with the aim of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Its origin is attributed to Theodor Herzl, a wealthy Austro-Hungarian journalist, who put forward the idea at the first World Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland. Initially, Zionism largely involved wealthy Jews buying land in Palestine from absentee Arab landlords (often leading to the eviction of the existing Palestinian tenants), and donating it to Jewish settlers, who would form collectives and work the land.

Zionism was Herzl’s answer to the age-old ‘Jewish question’, that of emancipating the Jewish people from anti-semitic discrimination and raising them to a level of equality with other peoples. The nineteenth century had seen severe anti-semitic reaction across Europe, particularly in Tsarist Russia, where many were butchered in pogroms. However, Zionism was a bourgeois answer to the question, seeking emancipation by separating the Jewish people from the struggles of other peoples for emancipation from the drudgery and enslavement of capitalism.

In the early years, Zionism attracted little interest from European Jews, wealthy or poor, bourgeois or proletarian. My own ancestors, who were of the German petit-bourgeoisie, had little interest, forsaking the harsh desert of Palestine for more hospitable surroundings in England (though many of their descendents have since ended up in Israel, after the holocaust). For the Jewish proletariat across Germany and Eastern Europe, the class struggle, in the form of the Bund and the Bolsheviks, was more attractive than the isolationism of Zionism. Nonetheless, a steady trickle of Jews, mostly of European origin, entered Palestine throughout the early twentieth century: by 1914, around 60,000 Jews (7% of the total population) called Palestine home, and by 1941 this had risen to just under 475,000 (30% of the total population)[i].

Relations Between Jews and Arabs in Palestine

The manner in which the Zionist movement colluded with absentee Arab landlords to expel Palestinian farmers from their land naturally created hostility between the Jewish settlers and the Arab inhabitants. Nonetheless, there were examples of joint struggle of Jewish and Arab workers against their employers.

In 1920, the General Federation of Jewish Workers in Palestine, or Histadrut, was established. A coalition of various political parties or movements, its roles included absorbing new Jewish immigrants, establishing workers’ cooperatives, and providing basic social services. Already, the industrialisation caused by settlement was attracting Arab workers from the surrounding countries, whose standard of living was on the whole much lower than that of the European Jews. As with all capitalist concerns, the businesses sought to employ these workers at lower rates, thus helping to drive down wages (and foment racism at the same time). However, a contradiction arose: the Zionist movement’s social base was Jewish immigration (it relied heavily on help from Jews outside Palestine to make it happen), and hence there was an ideological commitment to providing work for Jewish immigrants.

In 1921, David Ben-Gurion proposed a programme of creating parallel unions for Arab workers, to prevent them being used to undercut Jewish wages. However, under capitalism, the contradictions wouldn’t go away, and Ben-Gurion gradually came to the conclusion that total separation of Jews and Arabs was necessary, i.e. Palestine had to be partitioned.

Despite this reactionary role by the Histadrut leadership, joint struggles did happen. For example, 1931 saw a joint strike of Jewish and Arab bus and taxi drivers against heavy taxes imposed by the British occupiers. Both the leaders of the Histadrut and the growing pan-Arab nationalist movement vehemently opposed this strike, and it collapsed. A more detailed account of this period can be found in Arab-Jewish Workers' Joint Struggles Prior to the Partition of Palestine.

Sadly, these joint struggles were isolated examples. The reactionary role of the Histadrut and Palestinian Arab Workers' Society (an Arab union formed due to Arabs being excluded from the Histadrut), as well as the treacherous role of the Stalinists in the Soviet Union (who opportunistically vacillated between gratuitous anti-semitism and support for Zionism!), ultimately sabotaged the potential for unity along class lines.

The Holocaust, the Imperialists and Stalinism: Partition, a Crime Against Both Peoples

The Holocaust changed the dynamics considerably. The butchering of six million Jews created millions of refugees looking for a home. Many of these fled to Palestine. However, despite Zionist propaganda, it should be noted that the Zionist movement did not play an honourable role regarding saving these poor souls. Whereas the labour movements of the USA, Britain and elsewhere organised campaigns to open the borders of their countries to Jewish refugees, the Zionist movement and the Jewish communal leaderships played little role: their interest was in populating Palestine with Jews, not saving Jews from the gas chambers.

Nor were the British and US imperialists the ‘saviours of the Jews’. Consistently refusing to bomb the railway tracks leading to the extermination camps, they also vehemently resisted Jewish immigration into their own countries, and Britain severely restricted Jewish immigration into Palestine. The US government famously turned away the S.S. St. Louis, a boat full of refugees fleeing Nazi terror, in 1939 (many of the refugees eventually perished at the hands of the Nazis), and the British similarly refused to allow the Struma to land in Palestine in 1942 (the ship was later sunk by a Soviet submarine).

Contrary to some views on the left, neither the British nor US imperialists gave unconditional backing to the Zionist movement (see Some historical clarifications on Israel/Palestine for more details). Britain promised Palestine first to the Arabs (in 1916), then to the Jews (the famous Balfour Declaration of 1917). Following their historical imperialist policy (replicated, for example, in India), they attempted to maintain control by turning the resident peoples against each other. In fact, Britain was against the emergence of a strong Jewish state: British officers commanded the Jordanian units that attacked Israel in 1948! The holocaust had caused Jews of all political stripes (including… communists) to emigrate to Palestine, and the British feared a Jewish state might fall under Soviet influence.

Amazingly, some Stalinists believe that Stalin was a consistent fighter against Zionism. This could not be further from the truth! Whilst Stalin did indulge in the most obnoxious anti-semitism (including murdering many Jewish Bolsheviks), he in fact supported the partition of Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state, believing he could use it as a bulwark against the British-influenced Arab monarchies. Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia was in fact one of the first states to arm the new Jewish state after the United Nations voted to partition Palestine.

Similarly, the US initially supported the embargo of Israel. It changed its position as a result of its manoeuvring against British imperialism, as Britain’s position weakened in the Middle East. Still, Britain and the US would only come to fully support (and dominate) Israel as the Soviet Union extended its influence over Arab states, particularly Egypt and Syria.

On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly voted to partition Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. Britain agreed to withdraw gradually from Palestine, relinquishing control to the UN. However, as we have seen, it was already manoeuvring to strengthen its own interests. The British occupation of Palestine had seen consistent violence between Jewish and Arab gangs, and between Jewish guerrillas and the British army (in 1946, the Irgun, a Jewish guerrilla group, blew up the King David Hotel, home to the British military command, killing 92 people). In 1948, this broke out into full-scale war. As we have seen, over 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes by the nascent Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and Jewish militias, and more than 600,000 Jews fled or were driven from their homes across the Arab world. Whilst these Jews would later become citizens of Israel (admittedly amongst the poorest), the Palestinians to this day remain refugees.


As the Soviet Union extended its influence over Egypt and Syria, Israel would become an ever-increasingly important bulwark of US imperialism in the region. The Cold War turned the Middle East into a battleground, and Israel’s short history has been a bloody one. Even since the fall of the Soviet Union, Israel has been a key part of US attempts to maintain control over the region. Poverty in Israel is also rising. Capitalism has failed to create a prosperous society for Israel’s Jews. Pensioners are reduced to eating rotten fruit thrown out by supermarkets at the end of the day; civil servants go unpaid for over a year; students are crippled with rising fees and debt.

As for the Palestinians, they continue to live as refugees in the Occupied Territories, Lebanon and Jordan, confined to the margins of society. A decades-long guerrilla-campaign by various petit-bourgeois groups around the Palestinian Liberation Organisation has failed to liberate this people; indeed, the PLO leaders have (as in Ireland with Sinn Fein) transformed themselves into collaborators of the worst sort. Hamas cannot provide an alternate to Palestinians.

It’s therefore safe to conclude that Zionism has utterly failed the peoples of Israel and Palestine. What has it done for Jews in the West? Well, despite the relative economic prosperity of Jews in the West (for example, in Britain, nearly 60% of Jewish males and 30% of Jewish females are employed in ‘managerial and professional’ occupations, much higher than any other religious group[ii]), violent attacks against Jews still occur, and are actually increasing. Many of these attacks are by young Muslims, brought up with television images of suffering Palestinians, and encouraged by reactionary religious leaders to attack their Jewish neighbours.

In addition, a section of respectable political discourse centres around disturbing conspiracy theories of Jewish domination, particularly of the US government (Mearsheimer and Walt’s 2006 paper, for example, purports to show that a Jewish lobby directs US policy in the Middle East counter to US strategic interests). The fact that anti-semitism still plays a political role is because the Jewish Question has transformed itself into a national question (something Marx could not have been expected to predict when he argued in On the Jewish Question that Jews would be freed from anti-semitism when they were economically emancipated). Zionism’s gift to the Jewish people is a continuation of anti-semitism.

Is There a Solution?

Capitalism, with its history of pitting different ethnic or religious groups against each other in search of lower wages, clearly offers no solution. Nor can we have any faith in the manoeuvring of the imperialist powers, and their so-called ‘peace-plans’, which would lead to a hopelessly weak Palestinian Bantustan (like the black ‘homelands’ in apartheid South Africa, which were actually just labour reserves for South African capitalism) under the economic heel of Israel, and continued exploitation of Jewish and Arab workers.

Some sections of the petit-bourgeois left give support to Islamic fundamentalism, and argue for the destruction of Israel and its replacement by a single Arab (possibly Islamic) Palestine. Obviously we cannot support any such thing. To begin with, it would have catastrophic consequences for Israel’s Jews, who would be a persecuted minority in an Arab/Islamic state. Secondly, a capitalist Palestine, even an Arab/Islamic capitalist Palestine, would be incapable of raising the Palestinian people out of poverty. Capitalism drives down wages and living conditions, it does not raise them. Thirdly, Israel has the Middle East’s biggest military machine. Whilst guerrilla tactics have had some success in defeating Israeli aggression (Hezbollah’s victory in 2006 is one such example), destroying the state is another matter entirely.

In the last analysis, the only allies the Israeli and Arab workers and poor have are each other. The marvellous workers’ movements across Egypt show that the power of capitalism and imperialism can be challenged. Only united in revolutionary struggle against their common enemy, the vampiric capitalist class and imperialist overlords, can the workers of Palestine, Israel and the wider Middle East transform society into something better.
[i] Israeli - Palestinian - Population Statistics

[ii] See second figure in National Statistics - Employment Patterns



SecondComingOfBast said...

It's a shame the Palestinians wouldn't accept the area they were granted. They had as much territory as was allotted to Israel, but refused. Regardless of what one thinks of the legitimacy of the nation of Israel, the Palestinians had their chance to have a nation that would have been every bit as legitimate. Their leadership threw away a golden opportunity, and for what?

The irony is, they were never an independent nation to begin with. They were subordinate to the Ottoman Empire until after World War I, and after that, the British.

Given their first chance for a truly independent country, where they could rule their own destinies and lives, they refused.

I don't say it was handled in the best way by any of the parties involved with brokering the original agreement. Maybe the UN should not have been involved, or should have handled it a different way, or maybe found a different land for them somewhere else. That's all water under the bridge now, and we have to deal with the reality we have to deal with.

The reality is what it is, and the Palestinian leadership, for the good of their people, need to finally face it squarely.

b.f. said...

According to various UN resolutions, the Israeli Establishment's military machine should have withdrawn from all the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967 long ago. Under international law, the Israeli Establishment's government is also legally obligated to allow all Palestinians who were forced to leave Palestine after 1947 to return to the territory of pre-1967Israel.

Once the U.S. Establishment's military aid to the Israeli Establishment's military machine is ended, the Israeli peace movement is successful in pressuring the Israeli Establishment to commit itself to a policy of nuclear disarmament and Palestinians around the globe are allowed to register to vote in Israeli elections, then a democratic election/plebiscite can finally be held in Israel/Palestine to determine what kind of new society people who live there want to establish.

As the example of post-Apartheid South Africa shows, a more democratic political system can be established even in a country where an undemocratic system of apartheid based on racial criteria previous existed (even though deep economic problems of economic inequality based on class and race still exist in post-Apartheid South Africa).

SecondComingOfBast said...

"Palestinians around the globe are allowed to register to vote in Israeli elections"-

That will never happen. It's one thing to demand Palestinians be allowed to return to pre-1967 Palestinians territories, but it is totally unacceptable that Palestinians might vote in Israeli elections.

In fact, I don't agree they should have the right to return. They lost their territory due to their own acts of aggression, so they should live with it. At least, though, you can make a legitimate case for that.

By contrast, the idea of Palestinians "around the world" voting in Israeli elections is something that has no basis in reason.

Mad Zionist said...

It's remarkable to see how Communist thinkers are able to spin any and every conflict in the world into a Utopian Marxist solution.

Like so many cultists who believe their version of God's story will solve every problem in the world, the devout Marxist always has blind faith the Communist savior will fix everything regardless of the scenario.

Foxessa said...

I don't understand at all why this is called Israeli Independence. Independence from whom? Wasn't a conquest?

Love, C.

Frank Partisan said...

Pagan: Oslo was hurt by settlers, Russian immigrants, and religious Zionists. On the Palestinian side, it sparked Hamas.

Bob Feldman 68: Thank you for visiting. The post says that in a one state solution, Jews would be subject to persecution by Islamists. Division is part of capitalism.

JZ: Read the comments at the Lebanon post. hard to argue with your comment.

foxessa: Independence from British imperialism, to the hands of Stalin and the US.

Ash said...

mmm- well interesting dicussion for starters.

but you're right renegade, a division- that is a two state solution is best.

but the area has always been "territory"- the west swoops in and says, state for israel and the rest remain territory!

i told someone else in another blog that before the two can really reach peace, they have to be willing to face each other...and quit pointing fingers- this is an area in which the west is of NO help at all.

b.f. said...

The notion that folks born in Brooklyn or Moscow can just hop on a plane and vote in Israeli elections while Palestinians whose parents were born in Israel/Palestine are both disenfranchised and not allowed to return to Israel/Palestine will always be unacceptable, on democratic grounds, for most people around the globe. And since, eventually, most Palestinians and Israelis will probably end up voting to set up a democratic, secular, anti-imperialist society within a unitary Palestine/Israel, the fundamentalist parties of all religious groups will probably tend to lose their current mass base of support, over the long-run, in the 21st-century.

Were it not for the role that U.S. imperialism and its Israeli Establishment allies played in historically working to eliminate secular revolutionary left Arab nationalism in the area, propping up pro-imperialist elites within the Arab world and, initially, funding and arming certain right-wing fundamentalist religious groups to counter the secular Arab revolutionary left groups, my impression is that the political situation that makes some folks fear what would happen politically in a secular, unitary Palestinian/Israeli state probably wouldn't have developed.

But if U.S. anti-war activists can eventually mobilize enough people to end the U.S. Establishment's policy of "bipartisan militarism" in the Middle East and elsewhere, then, presumably, the mass support that various religiously fundamentalist groups have developed since the 1980s in the region on the basis of their resistance to U.S. imperialism and/or the militarism of the Israeli establishment (plus their organizations' social service programs) would tend to shift back to various secular left political tendencies.

In addition, I think a case be made that just as all Christian or Jewish-religious-based political tendencies in the USA are not intolerant in relation to members of other religious groups, it's not necessarily inevitable that the political tendencies that are linked to other religions are going to be particularly intolerant towards non-believers (once the U.S. foreign policies that tends to encourage religious intolerance are eventually reversed by massive U.S. anti-war movement nonviolent resistance to the U.S. Establishment's policies of bipartisan militarism in the Middle East)

Foxessa said...

Ren -- That doesn't make sense to me. Israel didn't fight the UK to take over the territory. The UK let them have it. They fought with the "Arabs" and Palestinians, and expelled them. The UK didn't block them on any matter.

It was an action of conquest, not of independence, as I understand those words.

Love, C.

Mad Zionist said...

Gotta say, the revisionist history and dillusional utopian musings being bantered about are really entertaining.

Larry Gambone said...

JZ, how about coming up with some concrete criticisms of what has been written here rather than spouting mass media cliches?

Frank Partisan said...

Ash: Thank you for visiting my blog. I enjoy yours.

As you know the Middle East is carved irrationally. The only country by normal standards of what constitutes a nation in the Middle East is Egypt.

Bob Feldman 68: There are recently events in the Middle East, as the large strikes in Egypt. Even if Muslim Brotherhood activists were involved, it's events as such, that provide an opening to discuss with Israelis solidarity with Arabs,

The idea of Palestinians voting in Israeli elections is intriguing. I never heard of such a demand from the Palestinian diaspora.

Foxessa: I came to the conclusion I don't know how to answer your question. Something tells me JZ will.

JZ: Go ahead and point out what you think is the worst paragraph, and debunk it. Be specific about atleast one sentence.

Larry: The method of replying to specifics, with generalizations is getting old.

b.f. said...

As we enter the "Post-Zionist and Post-Imperialist" era of world history in the 21st-century, secularism and anti-Establishment populist class solidarity between people of all religious backgrounds will probably tend to replace fundamentalist sectarianism and divisions between economically exploited people, that are based on historically different religious and ethnic backgrounds.

Perhaps a U.S. antiwar movement that eventually engages in the politics of mass-based nonviolent resistance (instead of the politics of "lesser evilism" that just channels antiwar sentiment into ritualistic support for media-promoted Democratic Party candidates who continue to implement the U.S. Establishment's foreign policy of bipartisan militarism and denial of full Palestinian self-determination and human rights), might eventually end the U.S. government's backing of the current undemocratic Egyptian government? Then, presumably, the secular left anti-imperialist democratic political tendencies within Egyptian society will also be able to gain enough increased mass support there, eventually. And the potential alliance between anti-militarist young people within Israel/Palestine and economically insecure, anti-imperialist young people in Egypt, that you hint at, might develop more rapidly.

If I'm not mistaken, Palestinian Arabs who live in pre-1967 Israel currently vote in Israeli elections. And if the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners who are still held in the Israeli Establishment's jails were released (in the same way that the Irish political prisoners in British jails were released in the 1990s, prior to the most recent elections within the North of Ireland) and the Palestinian diaspora were allowed to return and vote, I think that might begin to create the possibility for some resolution of the conflict through electoral means (similar to what happened in post-aparatheid South Africa and post-Good Friday agreement Ireland). Issues of economic inequality and economic exploitation within a Post-Zionist Israel/Palestine, of course, would probably still remain unresolved until the victims of global corporate exploitation and Establishment control of the existing social institutions in a Post-Zionist Israel/Palestine figured out how to stip the local militaristic establishment there of its economic power.

There have been some articles posted on the

site over the last few years that indicate how the growth of the Palestinian Arab population may eventually mean that only a minority of the population in Israel/Palestine will be of Jewish religious background, eventually. So in a democratic election that included everybody it's possible that most voters would choose to set up a Post-Zionist society in Israel/Palestine, eventually.

Also, since British imperialism controlled Israel/Palestine until 1948, the option of UK/EU dual citizenship for all Israelis and Palestinians could probably be justified on historical grounds. So if there were any Israelis or Palestinians who prefered not to live in a Post-Zionist Israel/Palestine, their UK/EU dual citizenship status would give them the personal option of living and working in the UK or other EU countries.

But I think the longer it takes for antiwar U.S. activists to more effectively pressure the U.S. Establishment to end its foreign policy of "bipartisan militarism in the Middle East," the greater remains the danger that World War III will eventually break out-- before the world can finally enter the "Post-Zionist and Post-Imperialist Era" of 21st-century world history.

MarxistFromLebanon said...

Actually the Brits did assist the Zionists, except for two years, to import more and more European Jews. The original Balance in 1919 was 9% Jews and 91% non - Jews.Zionism came and interrupted that fact. In fact, the deal came in the middle of World War I when both the Axis and Allies were competing for Zionist support.

Palestine itself was designated for France and England (read From Conquest to Haven: it contains a lot of top official british letters), and the fact England took Palestine by force from France under its mandate was to protect both flanks of the Suez Canal. There logic was prepare the Jews to assist them militarily. However, when the Zionists failed to be obediant puppies, they founded the Sterns and the Irguns which the British authority linked them directly to the Jewish Funds Agency. Moreover, the Zionists were much more advanced than the Palestinians, while the Palestinians (and I include the Palestinian Jews as well in that category as designated by the British Mandate) were rulled by the ottomans. The British forbid any Palestinian syndicate organization, blocked them from organizing them and applied forced censorship. The Brits even protected Jews that were blackmailed by the Zionists to expel experienced Palestinian workers in agriculture to be replaced by non-experienced expensive Jewish Labor from Eastern Eutope. I can carry on forever giving such examples, but I do believe I published on this blog a report done by the British Army how the Irgun and Stern are part of the Jewish Fund Agency.


PS: I still have the keys to my house in palestine... and the title deeds as registered in the British Mandate. What the Zionists did is exactly similar to what Milosevic attempted to do in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Mike Ballard said...

Of course, neither Palestinians nor Israelis are a homogenous national mass. There are lots of consciousnesses here all mingling and being manipulated by rulers or potential rulers who want power.

The key to cutting this Gordian Knot is the repudiation of these failed nationalist strategies for gaining freedom in this geo-political arena.

Frank Partisan said...

Over at Sonia-Belle's blog is somewhat of a reply to parts of this post. I'll comment there, later this evening. It would be a good discussion, if it's not infected with Beakerkin's nonsense.

Bob Feldman 68: What does post Zionist post imperialist mean concretely?

MFL: Interesting summation.

The right to return, has possibilities, since Palestinians were polled, and the number who want to return, is a number that could be handled realistically.

white rabbit said...

the pagan temple writes (of the Palestinians)...

In fact, I don't agree they should have the right to return. They lost their territory due to their own acts of aggression, so they should live with it.

That's false. That's palpaby false. Read Ilan Pappe.

Noni said...

a never ending story......can,t differ and dissociate from other story like all we need to going through this kind of situation for a while or a historical time frame

Matthew Stannard said...

In 1994, in response to the kidnapping and killing of his 19 year-old son by Hamas, an Israeli named Yitzhak Frankenthal founded the Parents’ Circle, an organization consisting of both Israeli and Palestinian families who had lost loved ones in the conflict. Together, promoting mutual dialogue, they called upon all powerful parties “to promote reconciliation as the only way to reach true co-existence and peace.” Their stated method for promoting this reconciliation was to share with each other “personal and painful stories.”
This, to me, is the real model for reconciliation: not the theologically-sanctioned violence of Israel or the hopeless misleadership of the Palestinian "resistance."

Frank Partisan said...

Noni: Thank you for visiting. I enjoyed your Nepal post and your artwork.

Matt: I heard about that peace group on "Democracy Now." I was impressed by them and their story.

Jobove - Reus said...

I am employed at culture, but I am a fan in graphical arts

b.f. said...

A "Post-Zionist" society in Israel/Palestine would probably start moving in the same direction that post-apartheid South Africa and the Six Counties in the North of Ireland have begun to move since the early 1990s. All the discriminatory laws that are based on religious background would likely be repealed and any government policies that gave preferential treatment to orthodox or fundamentalist religious sects would likely be ended. In addition, the Palestinian Diaspora would likely be granted the same "right of return" that U.S. citizens of Jewish background who are born in Brooklyn now possess; and all Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails would likely be immediately released. Also, in a "Post-Zionist" society, (as in post-Apartheid South Africa)truth and justice reconciliation committees would likely have to be also set up to allow the families of people who suffered (as a result of Israeli militarism between 1948 and the date when a "Post-Zionist" society in Israel/Palestine eventually is established) to confront on television the Israeli Establishment policy-makers responsible for their collective suffering. Also, a "Post-Zionist" society in Israel/Palestine would likely also declare Israel/Palestine a nuclear-free zone and shut down the Dimona nuclear weapons production facility (in the same way that Sweden shut-down its nuclear weapons production facilities unilaterally in the late 1950s).

A "Post-Imperialist" society in the USA would probably be one in which the Pentagon's current budget was immediately cut by 75 percent, all U.S. military bases outside of the USA would be shut down and all U.S. troops outside the USA would be finally brought home. In a "Post-Imperialist" society, the U.S. government's foreign policy would probably be a pacifist foreign policy that moved towards unilateral nuclear disarmament rapidly. And the USA's foreign policy might shift, in the short run, more towards the kind of foreign policy that the Japanese establishment began to follow after WW II (i.e. no more military interventions in foreign countries) or more like the foreign policies of neutralist Scandinavian countries. In addition, a "Post-Imperialist" soceity in the USA would likely be a society in which the economic power of the plutocrats in the U.S.A. and their corporations would be severely regulated--in order to dramatically change the global and domestic economic set-up, so that the looting of other countries and of working-class people in the USA by the Billionaire Plutocrats would soon become ancient history.

To create a "Post-Imperialist" society in the USA, though, my impression is that U.S. anti-war activists would have to eventually be willing to start demanding that the U.S. anti-war movement be given control over all the U.S. media conglomerates that have been guilt of complicity with the U.S. war machine since 2001; and be willing to stage mass-based nonviolent anti-war protests inside the various U.S. media conglomerate television studios around the USA (analagous to the anti-war protests that were staged on U.S. campuses in the 1960s), before the Militaristic U.S. Establishment drags humanity into World War III.

beatroot said...

The marvellous workers’ movements across Egypt show that the power of capitalism and imperialism can be challenged.

And when were they then> A while ago, now.

So it is good trotting out the usual lines that have been churning around the factions of factions for decades now. Times are a changing and it’s time to recognise that the old language just isn’t good enough any more.

Israel is a very different country than it was 60 years ago. The kibbutz movement, traditional leftwing politics, has gone - just like in the West. The old distinctions between indigenous and recent arrival Jews has gone too. And Arab left nationalism that Palestinians and the rest of the region used to go for has also joined the above in the politics museum. Post 1989 Middle East is a very different place to 1948.

So the conditions to build a left wing, class based politics just are not there any longer and I think you are wasting your time writing such loooooong posts about it.

b.f. said...

Just because the global media conglomerates don't let anti-imperialist U.S., Palestinian or Israeli left activists on the tv screen as much as they used to let folks like Abbie Hoffman on the tv screen during the Vietnam War Era doesn't mean there's not still an historical basis for a mass-based anti-imperialist left-wing around the globe.

Ironically, more people in the USA, for instance, participated in the 2003 pre-Iraq attack protest demos in NYC than were ever there at anti-war demos during the Vietnam War Era. Presumably, once the global media censorship of anti-imperialist left perspectives is broken by some form of nonviolent mass-based direct actionism in this Post-1989 "era of permanent war", it will once again become "trendy" in U.S. middle-class academic circles to reject the recycled 1950s "end of ideology"-type anti-leftist ideologies that the Big Media has tended to promote since 1989.

Frank Partisan said...

Té la mà Maria - Reus: Thank you for visiting. You answered a question I asked on your blog.

Beatroot: There was a recent, very militant strike wave in Egypt, as well as protests about food prices.

The position on Israel is actually unique for a leftist group. Most groups are caught up in nationalism of one side or the other.

My comrades join Zionist groups as the Labor Party and Histadrut, and raise issues.

Hamas's misfired rocket attacks, hit dark skinned and poorer Jews, who live on the Gaza Border.

I expect big changes. The Bush Doctrine will die when Bush is out of office. Israel will negotiate with Hamas, because Abbas is too weak. The two state solution which is equal to what Britain offered, is all that can save a Jewish majority.

The Jewish homeland is the least safe place for Jews.

If the Palestinians get a state, it won't matter much, if it's built on a neoliberal model.

Bob Feldman: You bring an interesting perspective.

Events, events and more events. Who would have expected experiments in worker's control would have occured in Latin America twenty years ago?

Beatroot is into the Spiked Online, left and right are searching for a cause. US is in Iraq, looking for a reason to justify being there, and the left is also looking for a cause.

Daniel said...

"It's a shame the Palestinians wouldn't accept the area they were granted," says Pagan Temple.

I didn't think this view existed anymore. Surely most people realize that Israel has been playing a game all these decades. It talks about peace and a two-State solution while it continues with its creation of Greater Israel.

It's the old pea and thimble trick. Keep them guessing. Say one thing and do the exact opposite. It's worked for centuries. Why should it fail now?

LJansen said...

In response to the post above, about existing views:

yesterday while tabling for Palestine solidarity in downtown Seattle, I was approached by a Zionist who yelled at the top of his lungs that the only good Arab was a dead Arab.

He also asked me if I'd been there (to Palestine) and when I responded that I hadn't, he said then I couldn't know what I was talking about.

I told him that I hadn't been to China, but I knew they had an earth quake.

He said he was a war hero from '67 and they were "going to do it again."

On that note, we parted ways.

Mad Zionist said...

That was foolish to say of the Zionist, though when emotions run hot these things happen.

An Arab is no different biologically than a Jew or an atheist. What he should have said was that the best way for there to be peace between the Arabs and the Jews is for them both to have separate homelands, exclusive to Arab or Jew, and doesn't infringe on either one's religious or human rights.

This can easily be done by transferring the arabs out of Israel and into Palestine/Jordan. No other solution will work, and all other solutions guarantee suffering on both sides. One State solution is no solution, it will lead to the destruction of the Jews under a hostile arab majority, while dividing Israel will be unfair to one side or the other, probably both, and continue the war between the two indefinitely.

Ojalanpoika said...

Could you kindly comment, whether my details are correct in a dissident essay in ?

E.G. "...Before the Second Intifada, there were nearly 200 Israeli companies listed in the Nasdaq, at the Intifada the count dropped to 70. (The number is still greater than from all the European countries combined). It is said that the dollars are green since the Americans pull them down from the tree raw and fresh. The start-ups are imported straight from the garage, and scaling up of production in the "conflict hotspot" has been considered impossible. But the new Millennium has brought a change in tide.

The population of Arabs under the Israeli government increased ten-fold in only 57 years. Palestinian life expectancy increased from 48 to 72 years in 1967-95. The death rate decreased by over 2/3 in 1970-90 and the Israeli medical campaigns decreased the child death rate from a level of 60 per 1000 in 1968 to 15 per 1000 in 2000 at the Westbank. (An analogous figure was 64 in Iraq, 40 in Egypt, 23 in Jordan, and 22 in Syria in 2000). During 1967-88 the amount of comprehensive schoold and second level polytechnic institutes for the Arabs was increased by 35%. During 1970-86 the proportion of Palestinian women at the West Bank and Gaza not having gone to school decreased from 67 % to 32 %. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in West Bank and Gaza increased in 1968-1991 from 165 US dollars to 1715 dollars (compare with 1630$ in Turkey, 1440$ in Tunis, 1050$ in Jordan, 800$ in Syria, 600$ in Egypt. and 400$ in Yemen)..."

Recovering from hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of the brain,

Pauli Ojala, evolutionary critic
Biochemist, drop-out (MSci-Master of Sciing)

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