The IMT on the crisis of the Zionist State

Yossi Schwartz ISL the section of the RCIT in Israel/Occupied Palestine, 17.03.2023

For almost three months the right centrist IMT led by Alan Woods has ignored the worst crisis of the Zionist apartheid. Then it published an article by Ben Curry on 15 March 2023[1] that claims that the demonstrations are mobilized by the majority of the big capitalist class against the government of Netanyahu. By this thesis, he ignores, due to the nature of right-wing centrists, the fact that the essential nature of the Zionist state as an apartheid state is supported by all the Zionists of all classes and ignores the reality that the regime of this state is not a liberal democracy but ethnocracy.

He wrote: “He (Netanyahu) has enraged the majority of the big capitalists, who have taken the unusual step of backing the mobilization of enormous crowds on the streets The present situation has deep roots stretching back through decades in which the entire ruling class of Israel (its conservative and so-called ‘liberal’ wings alike) has deployed a brutal and methodical policy of occupation, land grabs, settlements, and discrimination against Palestinians. And it has used the hatred and fear that its own policy has whipped up between Jews and Arabs to corral Jewish Israeli workers around the state.”

In the real world for years, it was the government of the Zionist labor led by Ben Gurion and the Histadrut (The Jewish Zionist) trade union that expelled around 800,000 Palestinians in the ethnic cleansing of 1948 at a time Israel was state capitalism because the capitalist class was too weak to rule the state directly. The Zionist labor lost its control of the Zionist state only after the war of 1973. It was in 1977 when Begin became the Prime Minister of Israel, replacing the Zionist labor. His party included the big capitalists.

Thus, Ben Curry ignores the Nakba -the Ethnic cleansing by the party and the Trade union federation of the Zionist working class, in order to create the Zionist state with a majority of Jews. He has to ignore the fact that as long as the Jewish workers are Zionists, they will support the repression of the Palestinians. In order to claim that the Palestinians and the Israeli Jewish workers can fight together now with the existing Zionist consciousness against the capitalist class in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. He has to ignore the nature of Israel as an apartheid state of settler colonialists.

Then Ben Curry tells us that as soon as the far-right of Ben Gevir (now Minister of police) and Bezalel Smotrich (now Minister of Finance) arrived in power than “they rolled out a legislative agenda that set the government up for a clash with the bulk of the ruling class. They set themselves the aim of ‘reforming’ the judiciary, such that the Supreme Court would be unable to overrule legislation, whilst a simple majority in the Knesset would be enough to appoint judges.

That Netanyahu’s government wants to change the power relation between the government and the Judiciary in favor of the government is a fact. But how does Ben Ben Curry explain the objection of the big capitalists to this reform?

He wrote: “These reforms have sparked an open revolt by a big part of the capitalist class. Simply put, the capitalist class as a whole demands the separation of powers under a capitalist ‘democracy’, so that no one individual or group of individuals from among their class can tip the system in their favor. This is what all the talk of ‘democracy’ and ‘independence of the judiciary amounts to on the part of the capitalists. They worry that Netanyahu and his clique will use their control over the state ‘unfairly’ to favor themselves”.

Thus, if one believes Ben Curry Israel is a liberal capitalist democracy that the big capitalist wants to preserve. Why? Ben Curry quotes Israel times:

“The Times of Israel explains this fact, in black and white, in an article that is worth quoting at length:“In recent weeks, tech companies, moneymakers, business organizations, policymakers, and prominent economists have repeatedly warned that the judicial overhaul plan, which they say threatens democracy, will hurt Israel’s standing as a stable hub for investments.“The fear is that a weakening of the judiciary system will create uncertainty and scare away foreign investors from injecting funds into companies in Israel. This in turn could force local and international businesses to leave and set up shop elsewhere.

“A number of Israeli unicorns [companies valued at over $1 billion — BC] have already announced that they are pulling significant funds from Israeli bank accounts and placing them abroad due to pressure from concerned foreign investors.”

“Israeli cybersecurity firm Wiz, valued at a staggering $6 billion and backed by US investment firms Insight Partners and Greenock’s Capital, confirmed last week that it is moving tens of millions of dollars out of Israeli banks to diversify investor funds.”

While the capitalist class is indeed concerned with investments this is not the concern of the protesters. Israel has never been a Liberal Democracy but an ethnocracy and the Supreme Court composition is purely Ashkenazi. As we saw in the demonstrations, Placards explain that the weakening of the Supreme Court exposes the Israeli army to trials in the International Criminal Court. As Barak the former president of the Supreme Court said in a meeting of lawyers in Eilat “The role of the Supreme Court of Israel is to provide an umbrella to what is considered war crimes. The Attorney General of Israel opposed the law of immunity to all soldiers whatever they do on the same ground”

“Israel Delays Hearing on Soldier Immunity Bill After AG Issues Stark Warning. Discussion on the bill to grant soldiers across-the-board immunity for acts committed during military activity was halted after Attorney General Baharav-Miara’s opinion warns it would expose security forces to criminal proceedings abroad” [2]

So why does Ben Curry have to claim that Israel is a Liberal Democracy a pro-Zionist position? Simply because he does not want to admit that Israel is an Apartheid state that the protesters want to keep but under the hegemony of the European Jews.

The Marxist solution for an apartheid state is a socialist state of the oppressed people where the settler colonialists have civil rights but not the right to another racist state.

Trotsky wrote on this question in the Apartheid state in South Africa:

“The example of our South African friends again confirms the fact that in the present epoch only the Bolshevik-Leninists, that is, the consistent proletarian revolutionaries, take a serious attitude to theory, analyze the realities, and are learning themselves before they teach others. The Stalinist bureaucracy has long ago substituted a combination of ignorance and impudence for Marxism….

A Black Republic?

The overthrow of the hegemony of British imperialism in South Africa can come about as the result of a military defeat of Great Britain and the disintegration of the Empire. In this case, the South African whites could still for a certain period – hardly a considerable one – retain their domination over the blacks.

Another possibility, which in practice could be connected with the first, is a revolution in Great Britain and her possessions. Three-quarters of the population of South Africa (almost six million of the almost eight million total) is composed of non-Europeans. A victorious revolution is unthinkable without the awakening of the native masses. In its turn, that will give them what they are so lacking today – confidence in their strength, a heightened personal consciousness, and cultural growth.

Under these conditions the South African Republic will emerge first of all as a “black” republic; this does not exclude, of course, either full equality for the whites, or brotherly relations between the two races – depending mainly on the conduct of the whites. But it is entirely obvious that the predominant majority of the population, liberated from slavish dependence, will put a certain imprint on the state.” [3]

But Ben Curry as a member of the IMT does not accept Trotsky’s position on the national question as a pro-Zionist he has a Zionist solution: He says words that do not address the problem. He wrote:

“The status quo ante is no solution. Returning to the severe splits dividing the capitalist class of Israel, history shows us that such divisions in the ruling class are often the moment that the working class seizes the opportunity to burst onto the scene with its own demands. In fact, only an independent, revolutionary, working-class alternative could cut across the barbarism we see, for which all wings of the Israeli ruling class are co-responsible… The question must be addressed of creating a Marxist organization that can unite the workers and oppressed on a genuinely revolutionary program, which can fight for the overthrow of capitalism throughout the region and for the formation of a Socialist Federation of the Middle East. This alone would be capable of providing a future in which Israelis and Palestinians could live alongside one another in peace. This, and not a return to the status quo ante, is what the International Marxist Tendency fights for”

In what kind of a state the Palestinians and Israelis can live in peace is the programmatic and strategic question. In Israel as citizens? In a bi-national state? In a federative state? In a capitalist Palestinian state? In a socialist Palestinian state?

Without a program, it is simply meaningless. But the IMT has a program that Ben Curry hides. This program can be found in “[Video] IMTV: Israel and Palestine – a Marxist perspective where Francesco Merli stated that a one-state solution whether Israeli or Palestinian is not a solution and a solution can be found only by unified Palestinian and Israeli working class and poor.”

This is a pie in the sky as under the existing conditions the Israeli working class is unable to join the struggle for the liberation of the Palestinians. For the Israeli working class to support the Palestinian’s freedom fight Israel must be defeated in a war or the Arab revolution to win.

Just ask yourself how many white workers joined the struggle of the Blacks in South Africa during the apartheid state.

The Jewish working class in Israel is privileged compared to the Palestinians living under an apartheid state and it is part of an imperialist nation of settler colonialists. To equate the conditions of the Palestinian workers with those of the Jewish workers in Israel and hope for a united struggle against the Zionist ruling class and the Palestinian miss leadership is typical of a middle-class outlook that tries to impose their abstract scheme of reality on the oppressed people and block their road to national liberation. at the same time to waste the life of militants joining the IMT.

The program of the IMT for Palestine is very similar to the program of Tony Cliff (Yigael Glückstein) who led the Palestine Revolutionary Communist League that claimed that the Jewish workers and the Palestinian workers could be united against the British Mandate. It also brings to mind the program of the Socialist Organization in Israel, that it’s better known as Matzpen after its monthly publication. Both organizations have disappeared from history because of their wrong program.

Down with the Zionist apartheid state!

For a Palestine red and free from the river to the sea!


[1] Ben Curry Israel: Netanyahu’s judicial reform splits establishment and provokes enormous protests

15 March 2023


[3] Leon Trotsky Letter to South African Revolutionaries (April 1933)

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