The Most Right Wing Government in the History of Israel plans to divert the Anger from the Capitalist Class to the Arabs and the Ultra Orthodox
by Yossi Schwartz, Internationalist Socialist League (Israel/Occupied Palestine), 25.3.2013
One of the most rotten political blocks in Israel is the block of the settler’s party led by Benet’s The Jewish Home, that openly calls for the transfer of the Palestinians and the Secular racist party of Yair Lapid There is a future. Many people have commented on the Anti-Palestinian outlook that is common to these two parties. Yet their hatred of the Jewish Ultra Orthodox – the Haredim – is striking as well.
In the following article we deal with the growing tensions between the Zionist state and the minority of ultra-orthodox Jews, the history of Zionist collaboration with the Nazis and the consequences for revolutionary Marxists. We outline how we – the Internationalist Socialist League (Israel/Occupied Palestine) – apply our revolutionary program, which includes the Anti-Zionist perspective of a Palestinian multi-national Workers State from the River to the Sea, to the growing conflict between the Israeli state and the Haredim Jews.
“The army draft decree is comparable to a time when Jews are forced to give up their religion”
Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, respectively, have refused to join the government unless Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepts their stance and pushes through legislating mandating Haredi conscription.
Israel’s leading newspaper, Haaretz, commented: “They are achieving the opposite of what they intended: The Haredim are becoming more extreme in their positions, more insular and less willing to consider a compromise. (…) The ultra-Orthodox newspaper Yated Neeman wrote: ‘The army draft decree is comparable to a time when Jews are forced to give up their religion, and at such a time, one must be willing to die even over [a religious principle as seemingly insignificant as] a shoelace. Therefore, there is no room for any compromise or concessions on religious principles,’ stated the headline of last Friday’s edition, which quoted Rabbi Baruch Dov Povarsky, dean of the Ponevezh Yeshiva.“
In the article itself, Povarsky is quoted as saying: “These are times of trouble for the Jewish people. We face a terrible decree imposed by the wicked ones of Israel, the likes of which we have never seen, a decree against the study of Torah. In the malice of their hearts, they wish to uproot everything.’
The editorial lays out the newspaper’s hard line. ‘There is no room for compromise, no room for even minimal harm to those who study Torah, of any age, any situation and particularly the young generation ….’
This well-timed campaign conducted via party newspapers by the leaders of the Eda Haredit – the umbrella group of the more extreme factions in the ultra-Orthodox community – is the worst possible scenario for the future integration of young Haredim into the army, higher education and the labor market.” (Nati Tucker: Lapid, Bennett campaign to ‘share the burden’ emboldening Haredi, Mar 6, 2013)
Yet Haaretz is the one that plays the naïve. The intention of Lapid and Bennet has never been to force the young Haredim to serve in the Zionist army, nor do they want the Palestinians citizens of Israel to serve in the Zionist army. What they want is to divert the anger of the expected new Israeli protest movement, into racist hate of the Palestinians and the Jewish Ultra Orthodox. The election campaign of these two parties could be taken from the pages of any anti-Jewish scripts, for example from the protocol of Elders of Zion the anti-Semite product of the Russian Tsar.
Racism and Anti-Semitism
From the years 1825-1855, Russian Jews were subjected to a number of repressive laws during the regime of Czar Nikolai I. The harshest of these was the “Cantonist” law, in which Jewish boys were required to serve in the Russian army. The Tsar did not need the Jewish solders. What he needed was to turn the struggle against his tyranny into hate against the Jews who according to the Anti-Semite propaganda did not share equally the burden of defending holy mother Russia from its enemies. This is the same ugly game Bennet and Lapid are playing now in Israel.
Racism, including Anti-Semitism, is an old device that has been used many times by the bourgeois to turn a possible or even actual class struggle into an orgy of chauvinism. While racism is as old as class society (Plato in the Republic for example justified slavery by the nature of the slave to serve his master), in modern time it was used for the first time by the capitalist class in the accumulation of primitive capital. Among other means the capitalists used slaves and justified it by various racist ideologies. The more seculars did so by referring to social Darwinism and the church by stating that the slaves do not have souls. The latter quoted for this purpose the bible Genesis 9: “And Noah began to be a husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant”.
The Black Africans that were treated as non-human were according to the church serving the slave masters children of Shem and Canaan.
Thus the message of the most right wing capitalist government in the history of Israel is: “Do not fight the capitalists, fight the Palestinians and the Haredim”.
Many people on the left – at least outside Israel – understand that Zionism is racism against the Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims in general. However, many of them have failed to see that Zionism is also an Anti-Semite enemy of the Jewish masses. This aspect of Zionism is revealed now by the Anti-Semite attack on the Jewish ultra orthodox
The Haredim in Israel
Once a tiny minority, ultra-Orthodox Jews—also known as Haredim—now represents a fast growing minority. They total between 700.000 and one million people out of 6 million Israeli Jews. In other words, they make up more than 10 percent of Israel’s Jewish population and 21 percent of all primary-school students. With the community’s fertility rate hovering at more than three times that of other Israeli Jews, Zionist demographers project that by 2034, about one in five Israeli Jews will be ultra-Orthodox.
The ultra-Orthodox Jews are the traditional religious Jews of East Europe. They “have not accepted the Zionist definition of the Jews as a nation in search of a homeland, and have remained faithful to the ancient definition of Jews as a religious community waiting for a messiah. In May 1912, some 200 Orthodox leaders from Germany and Eastern Europe met in Kattowitz (Katowice) to start Orthodoxy’s first organized response to Zionism, Agudat Israel, which still exists today as an anti-Zionist movement in Israel and as a lobby elsewhere. The ideologue of the movement was Nathan Birnbaum, a brilliant intellectual who collaborated with Theodor Herzl in the early days of political Zionism. He coined the term “Zionism,” and then became convinced that the secular definition of the Jews as a nation was inadequate, that secularization would lead to the disappearance of the Jewish people. Orthodoxy had to take a firm stand against Zionism, in the form of a political organization. Agudat Israel was Europe -oriented, and its center between the two World Wars was in Poland, where about one third of the Polish Jews were its supporters. It had elected representatives in the Polish parliament in the 1930s, and its delegates have appeared before international bodies, including the League of Nations and the United Nations.Historically, Agudat Israel has been opposed to the idea of a Jewish state, but the Holocaust deprived the movement of most of its constituency in Eastern Europe, leaving them more of a minority, less anti-Zionist and ready to accept the reality of Zionist success. (Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi: Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox. A Jewish Ghetto Within the Zionist State; in Middle East Research and Information Project, MER No. 179 (1992))
Prior to 1948 the Haredim opposed the Zionist goal of a Zionist state. On June 30, 1924, according to Israeli journalists Shlomo Nakdimon and Shaul Mayzlish, Dutch Jew Jacob Israël de Haan was assassinated by Avraham Tehomi on the orders of Haganah leader Yitzhak Ben-Zvi for his anti-Zionist political activities and contacts with Arab leader (Shlomo Nakdimon; Shaul Mayzlish (1985) (in Hebrew). Deh Han : ha-retsah ha-politi ha-rishon be-Erets Yisraʼel / De Haan: The first political assassination in Palestine (1st ed.). Tel Aviv: Modan Press).
The Zionists mainstream, even though from the very beginning were seculars, they needed the religious outlook of a particular stream – the religious nationalists, or the Orthodox as they are called in Israel. For the Secular Zionists it is essential to have a state religion that can be used to justify the colonization of Palestine. The Boars in South Africa used the Old Testament in the same way. This branch of Zionist-Judaism is not the traditional Jewish Orthodoxy. It is a religion created by the Zionist movement that is closer to fascism than to the Judaism of the traditional East European Jews prior to the Jewish Holocaust. The Nazis who collaborated with the Zionists as we shall show later in this article, destroyed the Socialist Anti-Zionists and the religious Anti-Zionists.
But the Zionists wanted to co-opt the Haredim as well. This could be beneficial for them because it could be used to hide the hate of the Zionists to the Jewish masses. The occupation of 1967 gave the Zionists the opportunity to form a close alliance with most of the Haredim. The Zionists based this alliance with the Haredim on the oppression of the Palestinians. The Haredim were allowed to steal Palestinians lands and settle on these lands as if they were almost good as the Zionists.
Since 1967 most Haredim parties have participated in the robbery of the West Bank and have their own settlements.
Almost 30% of all west Bank settlers are now Haredi. According to Ynet Government transfers to the settlements in the West Bank 2009 were three times higher than grants given to local authorities within Green Line, Adva Center says. State responsible for 50% of building starts in settlements, compared to only 18% within Israel According to the Adva Center report, in 2009 the State transferred NIS 2.1 billion (about $570 million) to the local authorities. An average of NIS 303 ($83) per capita was transferred to each local authority within the Green Line, while settlements received an average of NIS 951 ($260) per capita. The average in Palestinian communities in Israel stands at NIS 776 ($212) per capita. The government’s balance grants are given to the Jewish settlements in the West Bank in accordance with the local authority’s economic situation, which affects its ability to earn an income. The independent income of local authorities in the 1967 occupied territories in 2009 stood at NIS 2,523 ($690) per capita, less than half the income per capita in cities belonging to the “15 well-established cities” forum, which do not receive any balancing grants and fund all services from their income. The large gaps in the local authorities’ income also stem from their residents’ socioeconomic status, but also from the scope of aid they receive from the government, which makes it unnecessary to collect taxes and impose fees and fines. The low income of local authorities in the settlements can be ascribed to the increasing growth in the population of the ultra-Orthodox cities, Modiin Illit and Beitar Illit, whose population made up 28% of the settler population at the end of 2009. (See Avital Lahav Report: Investment in settlements higher 18.9.2011, Ynet)
Zionist Hatred against the Haredi Jews
The world economic crisis and the fear of the Zionist capitalists of higher struggles of Jewish workers and the lower middle class is behind the current cracks in the Zionist fence from a wall to wall.
For years the Ultra Orthodox Jews in Israel were encouraged to study in the religious schools where students were poisoned with racist hate of Arabs. As result most ultra-Orthodox Jews lack the skills to work in a modern economy, having studied little or no math and science beyond primary school (their curriculum focuses almost entirely on religious texts such as the Torah and Talmud). As a result, more than 60 percent live below the poverty line, compared with 12 percent among non-Haredi Jews and 30% among the Palestinians citizens of Israel.
Today, like most Israeli Jews, most Haredim tend to be in support of the oppression of the Palestinians, citing God’s covenant with Abraham granting Jews the land of Israel. However, the fact that the Haredim settlements in the 1967 stolen lands cost more than other settlements and that most Haredim do not serve in the Zionist army has made the Haredim the second most hated target, immediately after the Palestinians, for the Zionists, secular or religious.
The hate directed against the Haredim is not merely a matter of theology or of vastly different dress and customs. That would not prove sufficient to provoke the strong reaction against the Haredim that has emerged over the past several months. The motive for the Haredi bashing is that Israelis – religious, traditional, secular and haredi–light (pro-Zionists) – feel that the Haredim are supported by the general public while contributing next to nothing to the general good and welfare of society. Since the nature of the Israeli society is settler colonialism the hate toward the Haredim is based on the feeling that the Haredim do not contribute enough to the land stealing and to the physical oppression of the Palestinians. The Zionists demand of the leaders of the Haredims to force the young Haredis to serve in the Zionist army or at least to do national service stints – in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, shelters and other welfare institutions. That would not only be a symbolic gesture of political support for the Zionist state but could also release other young Jews for military service.
The Haredim try to avert the wave of hate against them by telling the Zionists that the Haredim contributes to the so called “demographic solution” by making many Jewish children and for this it is in the interest of the Zionists to beef up the grant to Haredi families, so that Jewish kids wouldn’t have to go to sleep hungry. They also emphasize that the Haredim are Israeli society’s leading philanthropists. Yad Sarah, Yad Eliezer, Zaka, Ezer Miziyon, Hatzala, and Chai Lifeline are all haredi initiatives and they serve everyone. They say that the Haredims are the guardians of Judaism classical culture, of Rashi and the Rambam. They put forward arguments like that the Haredim respect the elder, they don’t abort their Down Syndrome babies or that at any given moment of the day, thousands of haredim are praying for all Jews, including the secular ones, even for Jews who hate haredim.
These arguments do not convince the Zionists. It is popular to hate the Haredim and it is easy to identify the male Haredim as they are wearing the traditional garb of white shirts and black suits with typical wide brim black hats. The mainstream mass media is full of stories about the fanatical haredim. They report about their destructive protests in reaction to every perceived breach of their iron-clad principles. In the last year we read many stories about the segregation of women who are forced to sit in separate part of the busses serving the Haredim. The same reporters ignore of course the worse discrimination of the Palestinian men or women.
The Haredim are called draft dodgers, even when in reality growing number of Haredim do serve in the Zionist army in special units. They are called leeches, who don’t work, even though they are doing all the small business in Meah Shearim, Geula, Bnei Brak, Kiryat Sefer, Beitar Elite, Ramat bet Shemesh. Many of the women Haredim work outside the house as workers.
Yes, the Haredim are reactionaries who try to live the lives of the Jews in the East European shtetl. A style of Life that does not exist anymore and among other reason that the shtetls do not exist is the Jewish holocaust that destroyed the lives of million Jews many of them Haredim. The Zionists have used this tragedy to justify their own crimes against the Palestinians. A tragedy the Zionist have used to receive many billions of dollars and German marks as if the Zionist state is the representative of the millions of Jews who were perished under the Nazis, when in reality most of those Jews were either religious anti Zionists or socialist anti Zionists.
In the circumstance in Israel of today with the conflict between the Zionists and the heirs of the populist “Agudat Israel“, we are likely to learn more about the betrayal of the Jewish masses by the Zionists.
Zionist collaboration with the Nazis
The simple truth is that Jews who fought the Nazis did not receive one bullet from the Zionist colonialists in Palestine who produced weapons and ammunition to be used for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. The real role of the Zionists in the 1930s, who collaborated with the Nazis until the beginning of World War II, was to apply pressure to close the gates in the West before the Jewish refugees because the Zionist leaders were afraid that opening the gates before the Jewish masses will damage their Zionist colonialist project.
Lenni Brener – an expert on the suppressed history of the Zionists in the inaugural meeting of Jews against Zionism (18 June 2003) said among other things:
“… in June of 1933 the Zionist Federation sent a secret document to the Nazis which was not published till 1963: ‘…Our acknowledgment of Jewish nationality provides for a clear and sincere relationship to the German people and its national and racial realities. Precisely because we do not wish to falsify these fundamentals, because we, too, are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group. For its practical aims, Zionism hopes to be able to win the collaboration even of a government fundamentally hostile to Jews, because in dealing with the Jewish question no sentimentalities are involved but a real problem whose solution interests all peoples, and at the present moment especially the German people. The realisation of Zionism could only be hurt by resentment of Jews abroad against the German development. Boycott propaganda – such as is currently being carried on against Germany in many ways – is in essence UN-Zionist, because Zionism wants not to do battle but to convince and to build … Our observations, presented herewith, rest on the conviction that, in solving the Jewish problem according to its own lights, the German Government will have full understanding for a candid and clear Jewish posture that harmonizes with the interests of the state…’
By August of 1933 the Zionist Federation worked out a deal with the Nazis called Ha’avara (means the transfer). Any German – Jew or Gentile it didn’t matter – going out of the country with money in 1933 which is the depth of the depression, got nicked for 40% – in other words you lost 40% of your money – no one is letting money go out of their country in the middle of the depression. What the Zionists and the Nazis did was to work out a deal where by if a Jew gave let us say 20,000 marks to the German government, the German government would send 18,000 marks of let us say irrigation pipes to Palestine. The Zionists would then sell them there and give the Jew when he arrived from Germany 17,000 marks. Now that’s still a lot better than losing your 40%. The problem was from the Zionist perspective they had a minuscule colony in 1933-39 in other words they were 12% of the population in 33 and about 24% by 1939 – that’s still very small. So they began to actually sell German goods all over the middle-east, the even tried to sell them here [in the UK]!
To sum up the official policy of the World Zionist Organization – by 1937 the Haganah which later became the Israeli army sent a man by the name of Polkes to Berlin to negotiate with the Nazis. Now we know this because the Nazis being good German bureaucrats wrote down the report and put it in the files and after the war it got discovered by the Americans. And the guy who wrote the report was none other than Eichmann. So he’s describing Polkes – (the archetype of Jonathan Jay Pollard of today, YS)
‘Polkes is a national-Zionist He is against all Jews who are opposed to the erection of a Jewish state in Palestine. As a Haganah man he fights against Communism and all aims of Arab-British friendship … He noted that the Haganah’s goal is to reach, as soon as possible, a Jewish majority in Palestine. Therefore he worked, as this objective required, with or against the British Intelligence Service, the Sureté Generale, with England and Italy
… He declared himself willing to work for Germany in the form of providing intelligence as long as this does not oppose his own political goals. Among other things he would support German foreign policy in the Near East. He would try to find oil sources for the German Reich without affecting British spheres of interest if the German monetary regulations were eased for Jewish emigrants to Palestine.’
So he goes to Berlin and he invites Eichmann to come to Palestine, which Eichmann does. The British however realised that there is something wrong with this guy [Eichmann] who claims to be a corespondent and kicked him out [of Palestine] and he went to Cairo where he met Polkes again. Then again we have Eichmann’s report of what Polkes told him:
‘In Jewish national circles people are very pleased with the radical German policies since the strengthens Jewish population in Palestine would be so far increased thereby that in the foreseeable future the Jews could be reckoned upon numerical superiority over the Palestinians.’
The upshot of this was that after W.W.II Eichmann as we all know was in hiding in Argentina before the Israelis caught him, but what most people don’t know is that he was actually interviewed in Argentina by a Dutch Nazi journalist and when he [Eichmann] was caught he [journalist] took the tapes to Life magazine which at that time was the leading magazine in the United States with a circulation of about 5 million a month. And they ran the tapes of Eichmann. In the tapes we find this:
‘In 1937 when I had been struggling with Hebrew for two and a half years I has a chance to take a trip to Palestine. We were most interested in the Palestine immigration and I wanted to find out at what point the Jewish State in Palestine might be set up. Unfortunately Palestine was then in turmoil and the British turned down by application. I did see enough to be very impressed with what the Jewish colonists were building up their land. I admired their desperate will to live, the more so since I myself was an idealist. In the years that followed I often said to Jews whom I had dealing with that had I been a Jew I would have been a fanatical Zionist – I could not imagine being anything else, in fact I would have been the most ardent Zionist imaginable.’
Jabotinsky is the founder of the Zionist revisionist movement which is the ideological heart of the Likud party. He personally had lived in Italy for three years. He began to realize that the British were just using the Zionists – sort of like they use the Protestants in Northern Ireland so he began to look for another mandatory to take over – it had to be a rival to Britain. So sure enough he began to orient towards Mussolini and eventually Mussolini set up a squadron of Betar – -the youth group of the Zionist revisionists at Mussolini’s neighbourhood academy. From their [Zionist] publication in Italy at the time:
‘…this year there are fourty nine cadets – our human material is extremely intelligent, the majority are university students and thirty of them belong to fascist university youth…’
In other words they were members of the Italian fascist movement – they weren’t just pro-Mussolini – they joined his movement. All of them became founders of the Israeli navy – it was founded by members of the Italian fascist party!
In 1940 Abraham Stern, who later founded the Stern gang, sent a document to the nazis, Again it was found by the allies in the German Embassy in Turkey after the war:
The National Military Organization(NMO), which is well-acquainted with the goodwill of the German Reich government and its authorities towards Zionist activity inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans, is of the opinion that:
‘1. Common interests could exist between the establishment of a New Order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied by the NMO.
2. Cooperation between the new Germany and a renewed volkish-national Hebrium would be possible and
3. The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.
Proceeding from these considerations, the NMO in Palestine, under the condition the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Israeli freedom movement are recognised on the side of the German Reich, offers to actively take part in the war on Germany’s side.’
In Europe they hung you for that, in Israel they elected Yitzhak Shamir who was one of the three who took over the Stern Gang after the British killed him- they elected him Prime Minister and he was Prime Minister for 7 years, You know if you think about Kurt Waldeim for example and all the ferocity that came out against him – Israel had a wanna-be nazi prime minister…” (See Lenni Brener: Zionism, Racism and the Jews, Speech at the inaugural meeting of Jews against Zionism, 18 June 2003)
At the same conference, Roland Rance – who was a socialist activist in Israeli, Palestinian and British politics for many years – said in his concluding remarks:
“For many of us the reason that we are adamantly opposed to Zionism is because yes its committing crimes against the Palestinian people, yes because its condemning Jews in Israel to a life of insecurity and danger, and yes because the Zionist movement ultimately said that Jewish life outside Palestine is not worth savings – the first president of the state of Israel Chaim Weisman referred to the Jews of Europe as human dust not worth saving. For many of us the reason for our adamant opposition to Zionism is not only though it is as well seeing what it is doing to the Palestinians and seeing that there cannot be any solution, any just solution, any lasting solution in the middle-east that doesn’t undo the wrong that has been done by the Zionist movement for Palestinians, but also because we say if there is again an up surge of hatred against Jews, the Zionists will not be the ones to protect us – they will be the ones to betray us. And for me certainly its an absolute fundamental for my whole political existence that Zionism is not just something I am opposed to – it is my enemy. This is part of the reason why we are taking steps to establish an organisation Jews Against Zionism.” (Roland Rance: Zionism is Against Jews, http://www.inminds.co.uk/jews-against-zionism.html)
No other than Ben Gurion in a speech he made to Mapai’s central committee on December 7, 1938 followed Britain’s decision to deny entrance into Palestine of 10,000 German Jewish orphans in the wake of Kristallnacht, instead offering them asylum within Great Britain said:
“If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half by transporting to Eretz Yisrael [the Land of Israel], then I would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of these children, but also the history of the People of Israel.”
The Zionists to justify this anti-Semite remark argue that “this was almost a year before the Nazis launched World War II and several years before the Final Solution (to annihilate the Jews) was methodically implemented. While Ben Gurion believed that Germany’s anti-Jewish policies would necessitate creating a safe haven for numerous Jewish refugees that no other country was willing to accept, he had no way of predicting the enormity of what was to follow” (Ben Gurion and the Holocaust)
This is a very poor justification. Basically the Zionists do not deny what they have hid for years that they collaborated with the Nazis. But do they seriously want to deny that it was possible to know prior to 1942 that the Nazi will kill the Jews?!
Yet on March 22, 1933, the Nazis opened Dachau concentration camp near Munich, to be followed by Buchenwald near Weimar in central Germany, Sachsenhausen near Berlin in northern Germany, and Ravensbrück.
The Dachau concentration camp was the first regular concentration camp established by the National Socialist (Nazi) government. Heinrich Himmler, in his capacity as police president of Munich, officially described the camp as “the first concentration camp for political prisoners.” During the first year, the camp held about 4,800 prisoners. Initially the internees consisted primarily of German Communists, Social Democrats, trade unionists, and other political opponents of the Nazi regime among them Jews. In early 1937, the SS, using prisoner labor, initiated construction of a large complex of buildings on the grounds of the original camp. Prisoners were forced to do this work, starting with the destruction of the old munitions factory, under terrible conditions. The construction was officially completed in mid-August 1938 and thousands of Jews were sent to Dachau where they were perished.
It is a lies that it was impossible prior to 1942 to know that the Nazis would murder millions of Jews.
Nobody had seen as clearly as Trotsky did the horrible possibility of the Holocaust. Already in 1938 he predicted the fascist threat of the “physical extermination of the Jews”:
“Now it is the turn of France. The victory of fascism in this country would signify a vast strengthening of reaction, and a monstrous growth of violent anti-semitism in all the world, above all in the United States. The number of countries which expel the Jews grows without cease. The number of countries able to accept them decreases. At the same time the exacerbation of the struggle intensifies. It is possible to imagine without difficulty what awaits the Jews at the mere outbreak of the future world war. But even without war the next development of world reaction signifies with certainty the physical extermination of the Jews.” (Leon Trotsky: Appeal to American Jews Menaced by Fascism and Anti-Semitism, in Leon Trotsky: On the Jewish Question, p. 29. Emphasis in the original)
In the face of Nazi mass murder Trotsky favoured the migration of the Jews from Europe while opposing the Zionist reactionary project. He warned in 1940:
“The attempt to solve the Jewish question through the migration of Jews to Palestine can now be seen for what it is, a tragic mockery of the Jewish people. Interested in winning the sympathies of the Arabs who are more numerous than the Jews, the British government has sharply altered its policy toward the Jews, and has actually renounced its promise to help them found their “own home” in a foreign land. The future development of military events may well transform Palestine into a bloody trap for several hundred thousand Jews. Never was it so clear as it is today that the salvation of the Jewish people is bound up inseparably with the overthrow of the capitalist system.” (Leon Trotsky: Fragment, in On the Jewish Question, p.12. For Trotsky’s attitude to Birobidjan cf. Leon Trotsky: Reply to a Question about Birobidjan, in: On the Jewish Question, pp. 18-19)
Not only Trotsky knew it. The following is a translation from Yiddish of Jabotinsky’s speech in Tisha B’ev, Oct. 24, 1938, Warsaw, Poland. “It is already three years that I am calling upon you, Polish Jewry, who are the crown of World Jewry. I continue to warn you incessantly that a catastrophe is coming closer, I became gray and old in these days, my heart bleeds, that you dear brothers and sisters, do not see the volcano which will soon begin to spit its all consuming lava. I see that you are not seeing this because you are immersed and sunk in your daily worries. Today, however, I demand from you trust. You were convinced already that my prognoses have already proved to be right. If you think differently, then drive me out of your midst. However, if you do believe me, then listen to me in this 12th hour: In the name of G-D!! Let anyone of you save himself as long as there is still time, and time there is very little. (…) And what else would I like to say to you on this day of Tisha B’ev: Whoever of you will escape from the catastrophe, he or she will live to see the exalted moment of a great Jewish Wedding: The rebirth and the rise of a Jewish state, I don’t know if I will be privileged to see it: my son will! I believe in this as I am sure that tomorrow morning the sun will rise.“(Gad Nahshon: Did Ze’ev Jabotinsky Forecast the Coming of the Holocaust?)
Only a small stream of Haredim known as Neturei Karta (“Guardians of the City”) has remained faithful to the traditional Jewish religion which is Anti-Zionist. The members of this stream call for the dismantling of the State of Israel, in the belief that Jews are forbidden to have their own state until the coming of the Jewish Messiah. This belief made them a target for the racist hate of the Zionists.
A few years ago in a conference in Iran they participated they wrote:
“We affirmed the reality of the mass murder of Jews during the Second World War. And we were not the only speakers there who did so. But (also of enormous significance) we told those assembled that the reality of the Holocaust should not be used as a pretext to strip the Palestinian people, either as individuals or collectively, of their property and land.
It is our Torah based obligation to constantly declare before all humanity that the deeds done to the Palestinian people throughout the last century and continuing to this day are unconscionable. Our experience has shown that the fulfillment of this obligation yields only positive results.
Further, it is our assumption that the approach of Zionism has not lessened the Jewish-Gentile antagonism but has exacerbated it. The trail of suffering created by this movement stretches back over the decades and continues to the present.
These tragedies should come as no surprise to anyone since the Torah expressly forbids the desire or the implementation of any Jewish sovereignty over the Holy Land.” (Neturei Karta: Why We Went to Iran)
A Paper delivered by G. J. Neuberger, a member of Neturei Karta, at the Tripoli Conference on Zionism and Racism states among other things:
“Apart from the Zionists, the only ones who consistently considered the Jews a race were the Nazis. And they only served to prove the stupidity and irrationality of racism. There was no way to prove racially whether a Mrs. Muller or a Mr. Meyer were Jews or Aryans. The only way to decide whether a person was Jewish was to trace the religious affiliation of the parents or grandparents. So much for this racial nonsense. (…)
The infamous founder of political Zionism, may his name be cursed, who only discovered his own Jewishness because of anti-Semitism displayed at the Dreyfus trial in France, proposed various solutions to what he called the “Jewish problem.” At one point he proposed to resettle the Jews in Uganda. At another he proposed to convert them to Catholicism. He finally hit on the idea of a Judenstaat, an exclusive Jewish state. Thus from its very beginning Zionism was a result of Anti-Semitism and indeed is completely compatible with it, because Zionists and anti-Semites had (and have) a common goal: To bring all Jews from their places of domicile to the Zionist state, thus uprooting Jewish communities that had existed for hundreds and even thousands of years. Loyalty to the Zionist state was substituted for loyalty to G-d, and the state was made into the modern “golden calf”. Belief in the Torah and fulfillment of religious obligations in Zionist eyes became a private matter and not a duty for every Jew or for the Jewish people. The Zionists made divine law subject to party or parliamentary votes, and they set their own standards of conduct and ethics. (…)
The love of the land and the Jewish longing for a return to it and for the coming of the Messiah have been exploited innumerable times during the past 2,000 years. Zionism has had many precursors and each has been a curse for the Jews. Individuals who proclaimed themselves the Messiah and messianic movements have sprung up from time to time, from the Roman era through the Middle Ages and down to the modern Zionists. Many of these pseudo-Messiahs posed as rabbis or as national leaders, though some of them eventually professed other faiths; many temporarily – some for longer periods – succeeded in misleading Jews, rabbis, and entire Jewish communities. All were in due course exposed and recognized as frauds, and those who had set their hope on them found only disappointment and all too often disaster.
(…) Agudath Israel gradually began to weaken and to compromise. During the Nazi period, it entered into deals and arrangements with the Zionists, despite the fact that its fundamental aim had been to combat Zionism. After the Zionist state was established, Agudath Israel broke off with its past, participated in the Zionist government on the cabinet level and elected Agudists to the Zionist parliament. Still professing a nominal anti-Zionism, Agudath Israel established a network of “independent” schools in the Holy Land, but today the overwhelming part of the budget of these schools comes from the Zionist government. In view of these developments, those Jews who wanted to continue the fight against Zionism without any compromise left Agudath Israel and constituted themselves as the Neturei Karta, an Aramaic phrase meaning “Guardians of the City,” i.e. the city of Jerusalem. The Neturei Karta in turn became a worldwide movement, known in some places as “Friends of Jerusalem.” The greatest leader of the Neturei Karta was Rabbi Amram Blau, an inspired and dedicated leader whose compassion equaled his courage. He could not keep silent in the face of injustice, immorality, or hypocrisy. He was beloved by Jews and respected by Christians and Muslims. Unceasingly Rabbi Blau denounced the establishment of a Jewish state before the coming of the Messiah as an act of infamy and blasphemy. Under his leadership, the Neturei Karta declared year after year that they did not recognize the legitimacy of the Zionist state or the validity of its laws. (…)
It must be stated explicitly that while not all Jews are Zionists, not all Zionists are Jews. The motives of some of these non-Jewish Zionists, e.g. Lord Balfour and General Smuts, are at least open to question. From the beginning of the Zionist movement, some of the most articulate and fervent Zionists have been Christian clergymen, especially “fundamentalists,” who hail Zionism as an important “religious” movement and welcome it as a fulfillment of prophecy. They also, and significantly, serve the cause of Zionism. (G. Neuburger: The Difference between Judaism and Zionism)
Where are the Haredim going?
Now with the most racist government in the history of Israel and the appearance of cracks in the unholy alliance between the Zionists and the Haredim, the Haredim may be pushed in the direction of Neturei Karta.
It is hard to know how far this conflict between the racist Zionists and the Ultraorthodox will develop. One thing is almost certain: we will see much more of the anti-Semite side of the Zionists.
Which position should revolutionary Marxists take in this conflict? We from the Internationalist Socialist League (Israel/Occupied Palestine) fight for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism and its replacement by a socialist society. Such a perspective naturally includes the consistent internationalist struggle against any form of national oppression as well as against religious discrimination. We therefore fight – together with our comrades in the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) – for the defeat of the Zionist oppression, for the full right to return for all Palestinians to their homeland and for the creation of a single Palestinian multinational workers and peasant’s republic from the river to the sea. In such a state the Israeli Jewish workers and the migrant workers who will join the Palestinian-led workers will be part of the new ruling class in the Palestinian workers state from the river to the sea. The Jewish masses who accept the loss of the Apartheid privileges can live together in peace without discrimination.
From such a proletarian anti-Zionist perspective, the growing conflict between the Israeli state and the Haredim Jews is of major importance. It would be utterly wrong to trivialize this conflict as simply one between two reactionary camps. Surely, the world outlook of the Ultraorthodox Jews is socially very backward. No doubt, the political positions of sects like Neturei Karta are obscure and reactionary in many aspects. Even more, a significant part of the Haredim Jews has been won since the early 1980s for the ultra-reactionary settlement projects in the West Banks.
However, these factors make a possible rift between the Haredim Jews and the Zionist state particular important. Revolutionary Marxists have an interest in weakening the Zionist state. If there is a camp amongst the Israeli Jews who do not want to join the Zionist army and who are moving into opposition against the right-wing government, this obviously improves the conditions for the national liberation struggle of the Palestinian people.
The ISL defends the democratic right of the orthodox Jews not to serve in the army. We oppose any sanctions against them. We take this position both for principled reasons – we support the right of religious minorities to refuse serving in the army – as well for tactical reasons, i.e. it weakens the human basis for the Zionist army.
The progressive potential of the rift between the Zionist state and the Haredi Jews became obvious in the past weeks. Prominent spokespersons of the Haredi Jews now call of a definite break of the Ultraorthodox Jews with the political right and the settler movement. Some even go so far to call for a boycott of settlement products! (See Adiv Sterman: Ultra-Orthodox pundits urge boycott of settlement products. Haredi radio commentators tell listeners to take revenge on religious Zionists for their insistence on a universal draft law; March 5, 2013)
These are without doubt positive and interesting developments. The task of revolutionary Marxists is to deepen the rift between the Haredim Jews and the Zionist State. They have to show the Jewish masses that the Zionists are a class enemy. The Zionist state is a racist death trap for the Jewish masses as well. It is clear that the Palestinians do not have any problem with the Ultra Orthodox the kind of Neturei Karta, and it is in the interest of the working class to stand against the Zionist Anti-Semite racists. Revolutionaries must explain to the Haredim Jews that they must break completely break with the Zionist state and solidarize with the Palestinian’s liberation struggle.
The socialist revolution will separate between state and religion. Religion, or atheism from the perspective of a workers state is a personal matter and under a workers state all believers or non believers will be granted the right to believe or not to believe. One of the crimes of the Stalinist counter revolutionaries was their attempt to eradicate religion by force. While education in a workers state will be based on science and the revolutionary party will spread propaganda based on dialectical materialism and atheism, no person will be discriminated because of his or her religion or will be told how to dress. Workers who are religious but defend the revolution will be allowed into the revolutionary party. Religion cannot disappear by laws and police. Humanity will stop believe only when the entire population will know that they control society and nature for the benefit of the human race.
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