An open letter from anti-Zionist Jews to the workers, the poor, and the oppressed by Zionism – Part A

No Security, No Peace, No Social Justice – No Future in Zionism

– An open letter from anti-Zionist Jews to the workers, the poor, and the oppressed by Zionism –

Part A

By Adam Sharonsky

Friends, when the Israeli government repeatedly goes to war and the economic crisis continues to deepen, it is a good time to reconsider support for the Zionist idea.

The Zionist Idea and Its Implications

The basis of the Zionist idea is the notion that Jews are not able to live in peace, equality, and security in the same country as gentiles, and therefore they must establish their own state in the territory of the “Land of Israel.” Such a notion echoes the anit-Semitic idea that the Jew is a foreign element in the countries in which he lives. But as we all know, this very “Land of Israel” was inhabited along its length and breadth by another people, Arabs, who saw it as their homeland and called it Palestine.

Many Israelis believe that the Zionist idea is justified and that the Palestinian Arabs should accept its realization without protest, but one has to be extremely naive to believe that this will ever happen. The reality on the ground is unequivocal – the realization of the Zionist idea and the founding of a Jewish state at the price of expulsions, massacres, land theft, and the systematic and institutionalized discrimination against the Palestinian population means eternal conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian populations, as well as between the Israelis and the Arab (and Muslim) world. In recent years, the conflict has been expanding and is drawing into it ab ever–increasing number of workers, poor, and the other oppressed peoples all over the world who identify with the suffering of the Palestinian people and who seek to boycott Israel in order to force it to recognize the democratic rights of the Palestinians. These, in large part, are the same groups that, for similar reasons, defended the Jews in the past when they were oppressed and persecuted.

Many Israelis believe that they belong to the just side of this conflict, but there is a price in continuing along the current path, one that will be paid in human lives, in personal security, economically, in education, in health and in every aspect of life. If you think that the price is justified and that there is no other way, maybe you should stop reading this article right now. But if there is even the slightest doubt in your heart that this is the case, we invite you to revisit your relationship with Zionism. We, of course, do not delude ourselves that with words alone we will convince the majority of Israelis to abandon the Zionist idea as we, the Jewish members of the ISL, as well as a growing number of world Jewry, have tried to do; but maybe this article will give them something to think about and create a basis for cooperation on issues that concern us all.

Following are a number of examples of the impact of the repressive policies of Zionism on Israeli lives:

I – The effects of the national oppression of the Palestinian people on Israel’s social protest

Last year’s war in Gaza was in fact a campaign of massacre and wanton destruction against the Palestinian people. This time the Israelis also paid a certain price in the disruption caused to their daily lives; the lives of people living closer to the Gaza Strip were, or so they say, unbearable. But this is not all that can be said about the wars which repeat themselves every couple years or so (and when every election campaign approaches). War brings great suffering to ordinary citizens but it also funnels a lot of money into the pockets of a relatively small number of capitalists, while empowering the government which serves that class in its fight against citizens demanding equality and social justice.

For example, the cutting-edge surveillance technology which has been tested and perfected in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, technologies which Israel exports to state-terrorist governments around the world, will also be used against you on the day of reckoning, if and when you decide to go on strike or protest or begin a determined struggle for a better future. The policy of the military government in the West Bank is slowly infiltrating the civilian space in which you live. This is reflected in all the new “security”-related proposals such as the establishment of a biometric database, the one which would oblige internet providers to permanently archive all user transactions, the system of tapping phone conversations of prisoners in Israel (systems adopted from the Shin Bet’s bag of tricks), the use of drones, and particularly violent means of dispersing demonstrations.

Zionist capitalists and their servants in the government and the Knesset will continue to exploit racist hatred and fear of Israelis for Arabs to smash as needed, as they have time after time, the public’s protests, strikes, and social struggles encompassing every aspect of our lives. Consequently, this hatred and fear are the public’s Achilles’ heal and the reason that they’re not really paid any attention to by the government. When their modest most basic demands for education, health care, gas and energy, distributive justice, rights independent regardless of gender and ethnicity seem to capitalists and their servants in the Knesset exaggerated, they’ll find a way to spark another round of violence with the Palestinians or with the neighboring Arab states and issue mobilization orders to young Israelis so that these will sacrifice their lives, their physical and emotional integrity to ostensibly deal with the mess that the ministers have created.

Say what you want about the Palestinians, it’s not so easy to break them. It’s already been 67 years that Palestinian resistance has not stopped despite their military inferiority, despite their abject poverty, despite Israel’s huge investment in spyware and the blackmailing of collaborators, despite the racist separation wall, despite Israel’s massacres and policy of “deterrence,” despite the policy of divide and rule, despite the fake peace process, despite the never-ending land grabs, and much much more. Say what you want about the Palestinians, but when Israelis decide that they want to struggle yet again for justice, freedom, and equality – it’s worth their while to learn a lesson or two from the Palestinians.

Some may claim that true, the Palestinians have not been broken in their struggle but they haven’t achieved any of their goals – not a not a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with its capital in Jerusalem; not a state of all its citizens from the River to the Sea. But the Palestinian struggle is not a static struggle, but one which is continually evolving in light of the challenges posed by Israel. In every period the Palestinians rethink and re-invent their methods of struggle; the very persistence of the Palestinians is awe-inspiring; and at some point they will ultimately find a way to break through the walls of the Zionist apartheid, just as the white Apartheid walls where brought down in South Africa. When this happens, the fate of Israelis will depend largely on who will be the leaders of the struggle at that time.

II – The effect on the Israeli worker of the suppression of the Palestinian and migrant worker

Israeli workers can only dream about competing with the Palestinians and migrant/refugee workers[1] in all that’s connected to physical labor, and the fact that they have been so oppressed and held in a state of poverty for decades makes many of them desperate to work for any wage offered. And as all this continues, a growing number of Israeli workers, who have always taken for granted the conditions of exploitation and oppression of Palestinian workers, find that they themselves have become exploited employees of manpower agencies and contractors. Ultimately, better working conditions for Palestinian workers, migrant workers, and Israeli workers will come about only from a common struggle; furthermore, a position of strength for the Palestinians opposite their exploitive employers can only strengthen the Israeli working class.

Many Israelis complain that the country “has been flooded with Sudanese and Eritreans,” but these Israelis should know that the State of Israel itself has habitually contributed significantly to the conditions of distress and crisis in those countries from which these people have fled. Since the establishment of the state the Zionist capitalists and Israel as a country equips the world’s most brutal regimes, including Eritrea and South Sudan, with the world’s most advanced technologies for killing, torture, and surveillance. The Israeli death industry has reached such levels of absurdity that in the war between Iran and Iraq (1980-1988), the Jewish State the US found themselves supplying weapons to the two parties to the conflict: Israel sold to arms to Iran and the United States sold weapons to Iraq.

III – The Land Issue

There’s no doubt that when it comes to rights to land the status of the Palestinian is significantly lower than that of the Israeli worker, which is not worth much at all in the eyes of any and all of the Zionist governmental authorities (including the Supreme Court). But just as the Zionists are able to steal Palestinian land to settle them with Jews because the status of the Arabs is lower than that of the Israelis, the status of the Israeli workers is less than that of Zionist real estate tycoon (yes, even to the Supreme Court). Neighborhoods like Kfar Shalem and Givat Amal, which were built on the ruins of Palestinian villages, which Israel destroyed and their inhabitants banished between 1948-1947, found themselves a few decades later evacuated by brute force so that luxury towers could be built for the rich of Tel Aviv.

Some Israelis workers may hold land deeds of whatever type which proclaim their ownership of real estate officially recognized by the land registry office, and think that because of this their continued residence in their home is assured (and this is assuming that these same workers are able to afford buying a home without having to mortgage themselves and their descendants to the  banks for a period of decades). But reality reflects a very different picture, particularly if its the destiny of these workers to have been born to a family from Arab or other Islamic countries.

If some capitalist, some real estate tycoon covets the plot on which Israelis are sitting, he doesn’t have to get involved at all with all the noise of bulldozers, nor with the tears of the elderly and of children. All he has to do is convince the local mayor to encourage the influx of “quality population” (which naturally these same “inferior” Jewish workers do not belong to) into their neighborhood in exchange for discounted housing, grants, and various benefits (that you will never because for you “there’s no budget”). And one fine day, as if by magic, the rents, the municiple taxes, even the prices at the corner grocery store will begin to rise rapidly, and anyone who doesn’t manage to keep pace with the increased expenditures will have to look for some other neighborhood for himself or herself.

Another sure way to get rid of the oppressive presence of Israeli workers and poor in the neighborhood is to declare a project calling for “construction and evacuation.” This tactic takes advantage of the sizeable gap in wealth and income between the current residents and the upper middle class and lays the groundwork for an unfair deal by which the former are replaced by a “quality population” of the right color and race. Unlike the Palestinians, Israelis can of course refuse to cooperate and therebyy hold up the project, but here too there is a solution – the refusenik gets hit by a lawsuit for the damage he’s causing to the wealthy investor.

The rest of the article will be published in the near future, when we will deal with matters of religion, state, racism and anti-Semitism, military service and more.

[1] There’s a reason why we don’t take sides in the debate whether our Africans brothers who have come here are refugees or migrants. This is because, for us, it doesn’t matter at all, especially with regard to their right to live a normal life and enjoy justice, security and civil rights in all spheres of life. Those who deal with the question of “immigrants or refugees” are mainly left-wing Zionists who create a hierarchy whereby a refugee is someone who nees to be pitied and therefore should be saved while migrant workers can be deported without qualms.

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