By Yossi Schwartz (Internationalist Socialist League, Israel / Occupied Palestine), 14.3.2013
The new coalition government of Israel is the most right wing government in the history of Israel. It is a government committed to a war against Iran, military intervention in Syria, expending the settlements in the lands Israel occupied in 1967, deepening the discrimination against the Palestinians citizens of the lands Israel stole in 1947-8, and attacking the working class in Israel made of Jews, Palestinian and migrant workers using the old tactics employed already by the Romans of divide and rule.
Netanyahu’s Likud party which by itself is a nationalist right wing capitalist party entered the elections campaign forging an alliance with the hard line nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party that supports the transfer of the Palestinians. The ultra nationalist settlers party the “Jewish Home Party” and the secular racist Yesh Atid (“There is hope” led by Yair Lapid) are now part of this government as well. The fascists in Israel like Ben Ari and Gevir will find in this government protection even more than before, and will apply violence in order to remove Palestinians from neighborhood in Jaffa, East Jerusalem and other cities. The racists who attack migrant workers will be encouraged.
The composition of this government reflects the ugly racist existing consciousness of most of the Israeli Jews. Gideon Levy reports in Zionist liberal Haaretz on October 23, 2012 of the findings of a survey that reveals deeply-rooted racism in Israeli society. This survey is reflecting the desire of most of the Jewish public to practice ethnic segregation between Arabs and Jews. The poll was conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs, one of the most respected pollsters in Israel.
According to the poll, a clear majority in the Jewish public (59 percent) wants the government to give preference to Jews in the admissions to jobs in the public sector, half of the public wants the government to generally treat Jews better than Arabs, and over 40 percent would like to see separate housing and classes for Jews and Arabs.
The dehumanization narrative dominates the political conversation, and there is zero readiness to challenge the inherent discrimination in the system itself (not to mention the occupation). This poll is therefore not a failure of education – as some might want to see it – but a problem inherent in the system itself based on a settler’s colonialist society. To achieve this we must end the apartheid state from the river to the sea by a struggle that begins with democratic rights including the demand for a democratic state – i.e. a democratic republic with a Palestinian majority – for all its citizens from the river to the sea. Such a democratic republic can only be won by a working class led revolution that will form a workers state from the river to the sea.
As Revolutionary Marxists we reject the reformist-Menshevik-Stalinist two stages theories leading to support the imperialists and the local bourgeoisie that collaborate with the imperialist masters.
The Traps of the so-called “Peace Process” and of the “Two State Solution”
There are still some left leaning people who think that a two state solution is the immediate real solution. However this government that is committed to an apartheid state from the river to the sea is supported by the other imperialists, as the planned visit of Obama to Israel, or the selling of the new submarine that can use atomic warheads by Germany prove. It shows that the empty talk of two state solution is simply a reactionary pie in the sky the imperialists use in an attempt to cheat the masses. For the Palestinians to win the democratic rights it is necessary to defeat the imperialists and their servants, to carry out the agrarian revolution-land of the Palestinian peasants, for the Palestinian refugees to return. No imperialist power in the world will support these rights. Only a successful revolution by the armed masses led by the working class can achieve these rights.
Organizations like Daam say that indeed a solution will come only by the struggle of the masses. But why do they call for a “Two state solution”, i.e. a division of the Palestinian nation, after the workers will take power with the support of the Falahin and other oppressed layer of society?! Don’t they see that this does not only violate the democratic rights of the Palestinian nation but in fact runs also contrary to the needs of a proletarian relationship of production require larger units for example a socialist federation that by itself is already a compromise?!
The leaders of the Communist party and Hadash have to explain to their supporters how come they have supported the Madrid and Oslo agreement that have brought only more misery to the Palestinians in the West Bank Gaza under siege and the citizens of Israel, while these great leaders have presented this imperialist plan as the way forward?
When the so called “peace process” began in Madrid “peace conference” in 1991, aimed at ending the popular intifada that began in 1987, by sowing illusion in the “process”, 200,000 Israelis settlers lived in the lands Israel occupied in 1967. Since then, under four successive American presidents, Israel has continued to steal more lands and to settle more fanatic nationalists on the lands, and at the same time they physically attack the Palestinians under the protection of the Israeli army and police. Today 500,000 fanatic settlers live and oppress directly the Palestinians and the Israeli government is planning to increase their numbers to 1 million.
A report in Haaretz March 11, 2013 states:
“The third Netanyahu government has one clear goal: enlarging the settlements and achieving the vision of “a million Jews living in Judea and Samaria.” This magic number will thwart the division of the land and prevent once and for all the establishment of a Palestinian state. The defense, and housing and construction ministries that are relevant to this issue will be given to Likud MK Moshe Ya’alon and Habayit Hayehudi MK Uri Ariel. They won’t be assuming these positions in order to freeze settlement construction, but rather to implement the Levy report which determined that Israel was not legally-speaking an occupying power in the West Bank and the Habayit Hayehudi platform; or in other words, to gradually absorb the West Bank into Israel. Aluf Benn One million Jews coming to the West Bank Haaretz 11/3/2013)
According to Channel 2 in Israel, the threshold for parties to join the racist Knesset may rise from 2% to 4%, which would keep small parties out of the Knesset. Clearly this change is aimed at the Palestinian parties in Israel that wins less than 4% each. This is in line with the policy of the government of Israel never to allow any Palestinian party into the government. This is also in line with the decision by Israel’s Central Elections Committee to disqualify the Israeli Arab MK Hanin Zuabi from the Balad party over her involvement in the Gaza flotilla in May 2010. This decision was over-ruled by the Supreme Court. However the government is composed of the same parties that control the Election Committee.
According to the Liberal Zionist origination: The Association of Human rights (founded by Haim Cohen, a former Judge of the Israeli Supreme Court, and who, as Attorney General, decided to indict Malchiel Gruenwald for starting the Rudolf Kastner trial) says that:
“The Arab citizens of Israel are discriminated in almost every aspect of their lives – employment, allocation of educational resources, housing, land distribution and planning rights – and they do not have equal representation in most state bodies and institutions. In recent years, there has also been an upsurge of racism in Israel against Arab citizens. ACRI struggles against the discrimination of Arab citizens, through legal, educational, and public advocacy efforts.”
Excurse: The Rudolf Kastner trial
Since not all the readers are familiar with the Rudolf Kastner‘s trial it is important make a detour and to deal with this trial before continuing with the current Israeli government.
In 1953 Malchiel Gruenwald, a rabble-rousing pamphleteer, accused Kastner, a leading Zionist figure in Hungry, of having collaborated with the Nazis by failing to warn 400,000 Hungarian Jews that they were being sent to Auschwitz. A libel case brought by the Israeli government against Gruenwald ended with the judge’s ruling that Kastner had “sold his soul to the Devil.” Turning the court against him were documents showing that Kastner had written letters to war-crimes prosecutors seeking leniency for Nazi officers whom he had bribed to save 1440 Jews mostly rich’ Zionists and his own relatives. But the Israeli state that could not live with this verdict. In 1957 Kastner was assassinated in Tel Aviv by former Security agents, and the appeal court posthumously overturned the verdict against him. Today Kastner is considered a hero in Israel.
The new Netanyahu government will attack also the Jewish masses
But let us return to the Israeli government. Until 1991 most Palestinians, although under Israeli military occupation, could nonetheless travel freely. Today, an entire generation of Palestinians has never been allowed to visit Jerusalem, enter Israel or cross between the West Bank and Gaza. This ghettoization of the Palestinians, along with the unrest of the second intifada of 2000-5 and the construction of seemingly permanent settlements and of an apartheid-style wall, are the fruits of the so-called peace process, which the United States has led and which was supported by all the pro Zionists supporters of the “two states” solution. Such a solution would be a mini Bantustan alongside imperialist Israel on 80% of the stolen Palestinian lands.
The new government is going to attack the level of living not only of the Palestinians but of the Israeli Jewish workers and small businesses. As finance minister under Ariel Sharon from 2003 to 2005, Netanyahu implemented some of the most extensive economic cuts in Israeli history. Welfare transfers were cut, the pace of privatization was quickened, income taxes were lowered, and fiscal discipline was tightened. Netanyahu continues to advocate small government, low income taxes, fewer regulations, and less bureaucracy. In the coming years with the deepening of the worst economic crisis since 1929, the next government that protects the rich will extend its attacks on the Jewish masses as well.
How to break Jewish Workers from Zionism?
We can expect more struggles of Jewish workers in the coming years. We in the ISL will support these struggles as long as they will be directed against the Zionist capitalists and their government and not against the Palestinians or the migrant workers. We will tell the Jewish workers the truth: You will not be able to develop your struggle and defend yourselves from the capitalist attacks as long as you will not be ready to give up on your relative privileges in relations to the Palestinians and defend the democratic rights of the Palestinians including the right of self determination in the entire country and including the right of the return of the Palestinian refugees. To be free you have to join the revolutionary struggle against the Zionist ruling class and you will be free only as part of a socialist revolution as part of a new workers ruling class in a Worker and falahins ‘ state from the river to the sea instead of the Zionist capitalist apartheid state from the river to the sea.
There is direct connection between the political nature of the protest movement that swept Israel in the summer of 2011 and mobilized record numbers of protesters and the formation of the most right wing government in the history of Israel. Leaders of the protests articulated reformist economic views, calling for larger welfare transfers and attacking Netanyahu’s policies as being tilted in favor of the rich. But the vast majority of Israelis who took to the streets were not demanding an end to the repression of the Palestinians. They wanted to improve the conditions of only the lower Jewish middle class. As soon as Israel attacked Gaza the protest movement collapsed.
In 1951, 1962-1967, 1969 and 1971, the Israeli workers struggled against the capitalist class. Most known was the seamen strike in 1951. There were many wildcat strikes in those years because the Histadruth opposed the strikes. Yet they all collapsed rather than developed into revolutionary struggle because the Jewish workers did not challenge the racist discrimination of the Palestinian workers, peasants, small businessmen, youth and women. The Jewish workers did not challenge the establishment of the apartheid state over the entire country.
For a significant number of Jewish Israeli workers to join the revolutionary struggle in the region, one of the two events must happen. Either Israel will be defeated in a war, or the working class in one of the Arab states – especially in Egypt – will take power. Thus while the struggles of the Palestinian workers and peasants are leading to a political and hence opens the road to a revolutionary consciousness this is not the case with the economic struggle of the Jewish workers. For Jewish workers to become revolutionaries they must defend first the bourgeois democratic rights of their oppressed sisters and brothers.
The motion in the real world is very much in opposition to the opportunist scheme of the IMT and the CWI that claim that the Jewish workers can gain a revolutionary consciousness through the economic struggle and then after they will gain revolutionary working class consciousness. Basing themselves on this scheme the right-wing centrists adopt themselves to the racist and nationalist existing consciousness of the Israeli Jewish workers. This accommodation takes the form of two “socialist states” (CWI) or a “Federative Jewish -Arab worker state” where the refuges will return only to the Palestinian part (IMT). What these centrist are blind to is the fact that when the Jewish workers will struggle to improve their condition, this government will use the oldest trick of the Zionists, turn the workers anger to another imperialist war.
Unlike the reformists and the centrists revolutionary communists are telling the truth that because the interest of Palestinians workers and masses is a revolutionary, and the Palestinians are a majority in this country even before the return of the refugees, the national identity of the workers state will be Palestinian. However, since we can expect that under the condition of a major defeat of Israel or a victorious socialist revolution in an Arab country, a section of the Jewish workers will join the Palestinian revolutionary struggle, we call for Palestinian-Jewish workers government supported by the Falahins from the river to the sea.
The Importance of Migrant Workers
There is another important aspect to the question of a workers government. The capitalists have imported migrant workers that are super exploited. By the end of the 1980s, approximately 120,000 Palestinians from the 1967 occupied lands worked in Israel, commonly in agriculture and construction jobs that are hard, low paid jobs and for this reason most Israeli Jewish workers do not work in these jobs. As a result of the Palestinian resistance to the oppression and the popular intifada that began in 1987 the Zionist state had imposed restriction of Palestinian movement into Israel, and the number of Palestinian workers has shrunk significantly over the last 25 years. To make up the difference in labor force exploited by the capitalists, the Israeli state has granted the capitalists more permits for migrant workers, whose number is currently estimated to be near 300,000. This constitutes a significant 11% of the entire Israeli labor force, twice the average in OECD members.
Migrant workers largely arrive to Israel from underdeveloped countries in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Large number of the 300,000 migrant workers are in Israel illegally, even though many of them entered the country legally. This is due to their possession of expired visas — many workers cannot afford to travel back home — or as a result of changing jobs or employers. Consequently, their rights are even more limited than they were upon entry, and like undocumented workers elsewhere, they withhold from complaining to the authorities out of fear of arrest or deportation, which occur frequently. This is bonanza for the capitalists who use these super-exploited workers to put pressure on the overall salaries even of Jewish workers. In addition the Zionists are directing the anger of the Palestinians and the Jewish workers against the migrant workers and refugees. Reformist group like Daam helped to spread the lie that the migrant workers are the one who steal the work from the Palestinians. Revolutionaries do not play the capitalist game of divide and rule but unite all the workers against the class enemy.
In 2012, Interior Minister Eli Yishai approved 80,200 permits for migrant workers. This is almost eight times the number of migrants who entered Israel illegally in 2012. Last year while the prime minister remained silent, other arms of the state’s apparatus were busy implementing a racist agenda that threatens the lives of people who came to this country fleeing persecution .Minister of Interior Yishai was vocal in decrying the refugees illegal “infiltrators” and a danger to the Jewish character of the Zionist state. Netanyahu’s racism against African migrants by proxy take away a people’s right to work, leave them to starve without belongings in the streets and prevent them from accessing health and welfare services. Then they pollute language to dehumanize them as a group: resurrecting the blood libel to make the majority of them criminals. They say they are rapists and carriers of disease. They tell us they are “infiltrators,” the government is pushing for pogroms against the refugees from Africa.
Revolutionary Action Programme
It is necessary to demand equal rights to all the migrant workers and refugees. To grant them citizenships if they want to without losing their home country citizenships. To organize the migrant workers as part of the Palestinian-Jewish workers who are ready to struggle for the democratic rights of the Palestinians and the migrant workers and refugees with a socialist revolutionary perspective If we will not organize them, the capitalists will organize the immigrant workers against the revolutionary struggle.
Therefore we say:
Down with the capitalist racist government!
Support the struggle for a Palestinian Democratic State from the River to the Sea!
For expropriation of the major capitalist companies without compensation under multinational workers control!
For a Multinational Workers Government supported by the Falahins from the River to the Sea!
For a Workers State supported by the Falahins from the River to the Sea!
For a Socialist Federation of the Middle East!
For a new Communist International!