The ISA participated in the racist demo in Tel-Aviv and polished it

Yossi Schwartz, the ISL the section of the RCIT in Israel/Occupied Palestine, 25.01.2023

What is racism?

The Stalinist distortion of historical materialism begins with the reduction of the superstructure of society to the economic base. On this issue Engels wrote: “According to the materialist conception of history, the ultimately determining element in history is the production and reproduction of real life. Other than this neither Marx nor I have ever asserted. Hence if somebody twists this into saying that the economic element is the only determining one, he transforms that proposition into a meaningless, abstract, senseless phrase” [1]

Thus, racism which is an element of the super structure cannot be reduced to the mode of production although the ultimately determining element in history is the production and reproduction of real life.

The racism of the Israeli Zionists cannot be reduced to the capitalist mode of production but to the psychology of settler colonialism that have participated in the robbery and the murdering of the native Palestinians.

Last Saturday 100,000 Zionists and Palestinian supporters of the right-wing Islamist Ra’am demonstrated in Tel Aviv with a sea of Zionist flags and not a single Palestinian flag. In this demo the previous Prime Minister Lapid said: “What you see here is a protest for the country. This is a protest for the country. People who love the country came here today to defend its democracy, defend its courts and defend the idea of shared life and shared good. There are Israel-loving people here who came to fight for a democratic Jewish state according to the principles of the Declaration of Independence. We won’t give up until we win” [2]

What democracy? Even the Israeli Human Rights organization B’tselem recognizes that “Israel is a regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid” [3]

What courts? The function of the Supreme Court of Israel is to protect the war crime of the Zionist state. The latest ruling of the Zionist SC is the ruling in a case of a young boy seriously injured by the Zionist army attack on Gaza in 2014 and denied compensation.

The ruling means that all Gaza residents are banned from any redress and remedy in Israel, regardless of the circumstances, during “acts of war” or otherwise, and the severity of the injury or damages claimed Appeal of Palestinian teenager, severely injured by Israeli military dismissed; Adalah and Al Mezan: The decision justifies an immediate ICC investigation.

“Adalah and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, on behalf of the boy and his family, appealed the 2018 judgment of the Be’er Sheva District Court finding that the State of Israel is not liable for damages. The Supreme Court appeal was filed by Adalah Attorneys Sawsan Zaher, Dr. Hassan Jabareen, and Al Mezan Attorney Mohammad Jabareen.

 On 5 July 2022, a three-justice panel of the Israeli Supreme Court, comprised of Neal Hendel, Noam Solhberg and Ofer Grosskopf, rejected an appeal demanding that the State of Israel pay tort compensation damages for the Israeli military’s shooting and serious injury of 15-year-old Palestinian Attiya Nabaheen in November 2014. Nabaheen was shot on his family’s property near Al-Bureij, 500 meters from the fence between Israel and Gaza, and as a result of the shooting, Nabaheen was left a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair.

 On 25 August 2022, Adalah and Al Mezan, on behalf of the Nabaheen family, filed a request to hold an additional Supreme Court hearing in the case, following the Court’s rejection of the petition on 5 July 2022. In the request, Adalah Attorney Rabea Eghbariah argued that the SCT ruling constituted a new legal precedent that contradicts a previous 2006 ruling, decided by an extended panel of the SC.

At issue in the case was the constitutionality of Amendment No. 8 of Israel’s Civil Wrongs Law (State Responsibility) of 1952, which was enacted in 2012. This law prescribes that the residents of a territory declared by the Israeli government as “enemy territory” – as Gaza was declared in 2007 – are not eligible for compensation from Israel. In the appeal, Adalah and Al Mezan argued that the lower court’s decision and the law violate international law, which requires that protected civilians be entitled to effective legal remedies, especially when the injury resulted from actions not related to “acts to war”.

The Supreme Court ruled that the law is not contrary to international law, and even if it is, “the Knesset [Israeli Parliament] has the power to override the rules of international law.” The Court acknowledged that the law infringes on Palestinian victims’ fundamental rights, namely the right to life, bodily integrity, dignity, liberty, property and the right of effective legal remedy. However, it ruled that the level of protection of fundamental rights afforded to Nabaheen is limited due to his residence in Gaza – an “enemy territory”. The Court further determined that the law serves an appropriate purpose: “the prevention of economic or moral assistance to the enemy”. According to the Court, this rationale justifies the sweeping infringement of the fundamental rights of Palestinian civilians injured by Israel’s armed forces” [4]

Can Marxists take part in a racist event?

The question to ask is: Is it permissible for those who claim to be Marxists to participate in this racist demonstration as the Stalinists and the right centrist of the Socialist struggle the section of the ISA did?

Fighting against oppression has always been central to Marxist theory and practice. Marxists have never counter posed working-class unity to fighting against racism. The opposite is the case. Fighting against all forms of oppression is a condition for that unity for the international working class.

Marx and Engel’s supported every real movement against oppression. Expressing his support for the North in the Civil War, Marx wrote:

“In the United States of America, every independent movement of the workers was paralyzed as long as slavery disfigured a part of the Republic. Labor cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the Black it is branded.” [5]

Marx wrote: “The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the indigenous population of that continent, the beginnings of the conquest and plunder of India, and the conversion of Africa into a preserve for the commercial hunting of black skins, are all things which characterize the dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation” [6]

“Lenin and the Comintern leaders during Lenin’s life pushed the U.S Communist Party to take a better policy on the Black question. Under their influence, the Communist Party broke with the Socialist Party’s policy of color blind that claimed that racism is simply extension of class oppression.

In early July 1917, in East St Louis, a horrific attack against the local black population that left 39 dead attracted national attention in the United States. As historian Winston James known for his Writing of Caribbean History in America: noted that, the roots of this “pogrom” lay in “the customary labor competition between black and white workers, an institutionalized practice of a racist America” [7]

Philip Foner noted:

“White workers kept black workers out of the unions; black workers, like many non-union white workers, engaged in strikebreaking; and employers took advantage of the division. Then on 2 July 1917, consumed by a festering accumulation of racist resentments, white East St Louis exploded into a diabolic orgy of indescribable savagery. Black people in that town were slaughtered and burned alive in the most barbaric and outrageous manner by white mobs; escaping black women and children were pinned down by gunfire or thrown back alive into the raging furnaces that had once been their homes; in other cases, the mob first nailed up boards over the doors and windows before setting homes ablaze”. [8]

The Socialist Struggle support a racist demo

What would Marx Engles, Lenin, Trotsky say about a group that calls itself a Trotskyist while being part of this racist mob even if the group itself will not participate in the actual burning? This question Socialist struggle the section of the right centrist ISA should be asked.

This organization shamelessly writes:

הטריגר להפגנה היה תוכנית לוין ונתניהו להכפפת מערכת המשפט לממשלה באמצעות שורת שינויי חקיקה דרמטיים, כולל פסקת “התגברות” על החלטות בג״ץ. אבל הסיבות להתרחבות המחאה הן עמוקות יותר: חשש מפני פגיעה בחירויות הפרט ובזכויות דמוקרטיות, ובפרט נוכח איומי הממשלה לקדם חקיקה חדשה להתרת אפליה, כולל הדרת נשים מהמרחב הציבורי; חשש מכפייה וקנאות דתית ומפגיעה בזכויות להט״ב+, ומהאופי המשיחי והפירומני של הממשלה. גם יוקר המחיה ומשבר מחירי הדיור מוסיפים לחוסר שביעות הרצון הכללי בציבור. מרות ניסיון מארגני ההפגנה מ’התנועה לאיכות השלטון’ להתעקש שהמחאה צריכה להתמקד רק במערכת המשפט, בפועל היא מתפתחת, ברמת המוטיבציה של ציבור רחב המשתתף בה, כנגד סדר־היום הכללי של הממשלה. לכן המחאה גם זקוקה בעצמה לסדר־יום רחב כדי להמשיך לצבור מומנטום”

Translated to English

The trigger for the demonstration was Levin’s and Netanyahu’s plan to subjugate the judiciary to the government through a series of dramatic legislative changes, including the clause “overcoming” decisions of the High Court of Justice. But the reasons for the expansion of the protest are deeper: fear of harming individual freedoms and democratic rights, and in particular in view of the government’s threats to promote new legislation to allow discrimination, including the exclusion of women from the public sphere; Fear of coercion and religious fanaticism and violation of LGBT+ rights, and the messianic and pyromaniac nature of the government. The cost of living and the housing price crisis also add to the general public dissatisfaction. Despite the attempt of the organizers of the demonstration from the ‘Movement for the Quality of Government’ to insist that the protest should focus only on the judicial system, in practice it develops, at the level of motivation of a wide public participating in it, against the general agenda of the government. Therefore, the protest itself also needs a broad agenda to continue gaining momentum… In this connection, there were a number of demonstrators, Jews and Palestinian Arabs, who chose to come to the square with a Palestinian national flag, and although many of those present saw this as a legitimate part of the discourse in protesting democratic rights, there were also marginal elements who not only succumbed to the nationalist incitement of Ben-Gvir and Co., but They even chose to be doers of their word and attack verbally or physically. In some cases the police intervened and stopped the party that was attacked…” [9]

If this was true and only marginal elements who succumbed to the nationalist incitement of Ben-Gvir and Co removed the Palestinian flags, then why did the majority of the demonstrators not stop them? It is enough to know who were the political leaders of the previous demo in Tel Aviv. Most of them war criminals The demonstration was attended by former opposition leader, Tzipi Livni, former prime minister, Ehud Barak, leader of the National Unity party and former defense minister, Benny Gantz, former head of the Defense Forces (IDF), Gadi Eisenkot, the leader of the Labor Party, Merav Michaeli, and the leader of the Islamist Ra’am Party, Mansur Abbas

Not only this but something strange happened on the way to the second demonstration: The groups that had played a prominent role in the first disappeared, to be replaced by one organizer, the Movement for Quality Government in Israel.

“On the promo poster for the second rally [on Jan. 14], their logo alone appeared. All the other organizations that had been listed on the poster from the first demonstration were gone. It looked like the Movement for Quality Government was solely responsible for the second demonstration,” said Alon Schvartzer, head of the research and policy division for Im Tirtzu, a Zionist NGO” [10]

In an interview with the times of Israel Eliad Sheraga the chair of the movement for quality government said:

“I don’t sleep at night. We have been in the business of fighting corruption for 28 years, and it has gotten worse. The cancer of corruption has spread everywhere — into the most intimate places of the State of Israel, even into the IDF with the submarine affair.

Look what went on with me (Hebrew link) when I said that an “invisible hand” wrote a letter that enabled the Germans to sell sophisticated submarines to the Egyptians. The whole country was up in arms about this. And all I did was tell the truth: An “invisible hand” — that the head of the Israel naval forces does not know about, that the chief of staff doesn’t know about, that the defense minister doesn’t know about. And that the president doesn’t know about — because like an idiot, [President Rivlin] asked [German Chancellor] Merkel, How come you are selling submarines [to Egypt]? And she replied that there was a letter [from Israel approving the deal]! Do you understand what is happening? People are prepared to sell out the country’s security for a few dollars. This is unbelievable” [11]

Thus Mr. Elad is clearly a right winger.

In simple words not only, socialist struggle participate in a racist demo but they ignored its racist line of democracy only for the Jews and prettified it.

Last Saturday some 100,000 protesters turned out in central Tel Aviv, demonstrating against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government to change the judicial system that protesters say will threaten democratic checks and balances on ministers by the courts. Saturday’s demonstration was the biggest since Netanyahu returned to power last month at the head of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history.

Why are Israelis protesting?

Yara Hawari, the Palestine Policy Fellow of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network wrote the naked truth.

“Some of the slogans on display at the protests proclaimed “the end of democracy” under a “criminal government”. For sure, Netanyahu’s coalition of far-right and conservative religious parties is no proponents of pluralism, civil rights and liberties. They include gun-wielding Kahanist Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is the new internal security minister, and self-described “proud homophobe” Bezalel Smotrich, who has taken on the finance portfolio. Netanyahu himself is also no advocate of the rule of law, having done everything and anything to cling to power and avoid being held accountable for corrupt practices.

But to single him out as a “crime minister” and his government as the one “destroying Israeli democracy” is quite a stretch. There has been no Israeli prime minister that hasn’t been a criminal with hands stained with the blood of Palestinians, and there has been no Israeli government that has actually upheld democracy. The Israeli “democratic state” is and always has been a myth, an illusion built to sustain the oppression of the Palestinian people and continue their dispossession.

One just has to look at who turned up at the “pro-democracy” protests. There was former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who has been accused of war crimes during the 2014 war on Gaza. He told the crowd that they should fight in “all legal ways to prevent a coup”. Then there was former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, also accused of war crimes in Gaza, but for the 2009 war on the strip. She declared: “Together we will protect the state because it is for all of us.”

But “for all of us” it is not. That was made clear when the crowd turned hostile on the small number of anti-Zionists who showed up at the protest with Palestinian flags. Those were quickly pulled down by fellow “pro-democracy” protesters” [12]

It is also worth taking a look at the institution that Netanyahu is accused of assaulting: Israel’s Supreme Court, which supervises the Israeli regime’s commitment to its constitutional framework, also known as the Basic Laws. Protesters say it is an important entity that, if gutted, would diminish the checks and balances within the Israeli state.

But the long record of Supreme Court rulings against Palestinian rights call into question whether it has ever maintained checks and balances on absolute Israeli military power or rather whether it has provided a legal veneer for the Israeli regime’s crimes against the Palestinian people.

For example, in a 2018 ruling on the open-fire regulations used by the Israeli army during the March of Return in Gaza, the court concluded that the army stuck to the principles of necessity and proportionality, which is blatantly not the case. During the two years the march was held in, 214 unarmed Palestinians were killed and tens of thousands injured (many becoming disabled as a result) due to indiscriminate shooting by the Israeli army.

In July, the same court ruled that an illegal Jewish settlement built on privately owned Palestinian land in the West Bank was legal, paving the way for more mass confiscations of occupied Palestinian land, which amounts to a war crime. The same month it also approved stripping Palestinian citizens of Israel of their citizenship if they are deemed “disloyal” [13]

The Rand Strike

It is not the first time in history that groups and parties on the left have taken racist position. A much-known case was the 1922 strike in South Africa. “The revolt on the Rand was confined exclusively to whites. Despite the presence of Africans at some of the rallies they were not involved in the strikes or in the revolt that followed. Nor was there any appeal to black workers to join the strike, although some white miners condemned African workers for scabbing.

Dr Abdurhaman, the leader of the African Peoples Organization (APO), condemned the strike and the crimes of white labor. The white workers, he stated, were only interested in preserving their privileged position in industry and had been content before their own wages had been cut. They had done nothing to improve the wage packet of black workers on the mines.

The slogan ‘For a White Africa’ appeared everywhere during the strike and, in retrospect; this stamped the events of 1922 as racist. For many of the strikers the slogan was undoubtedly racist the position of the CPSA was spelt out in an editorial in the International of Friday 27 January 1922. The editorial called for white South Africa. By using the slogan of the day, the writer of the editorial came close to endorsing the worst aspects of white supremacy. All the attempts to swing the argument against the capitalists (’the only real black man’!) used the same race prejudices that afflicted white society. Despite appeals to revolutionary events in Russia, and rational arguments against trying to hold onto an unreal status quo, the party’s definition of a ‘white South Africa’ was fatally flawed” [14]

The position of “Socialist Struggle” is not a surprise. It is in line with the ISA’s refusal to defend the heroic struggle of the Ukrainian people against Russian imperialism while not giving Zelensky and his regime political support.


[1] Engels to J. Boloch (September, 1890)




[5] Letter to Meyer and Voght, Writings Vol. 3 (1977), p. 169

[6] Marx Capital, Volume I: ([1867] 1976: 915)

[7] Philip Foner and James S. Allen, Eds., American Communism and Black Americans

[8] Philip Foner, Organized Labor and the Black Worker, 1619-1981 (New York: International Publishers, 1981), p. 149





[13] Ibid

[14] Baruch Hirson: THE GENERAL STRIKE OF 1922

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