Letter from an Israeli Marxist, 14th November, 2000

A correspondent from Israel describes the situation that is developing in Israel/Palestine

Dear comrades,

As regards the situation in Palestine, it looks as if the new Intifada is going to continue for a rather long period of time of at least several months. On the Palestinian side, it seems that the mass demonstrations are giving way to other kinds of actions such as car bombings, shooting of settlers in the West Bank and Gaza, etc. On the Israeli side, there is a quite clear policy of bringing the Palestinians to their knees through starvation and state terrorism, which extends to the officials of the client statelet in the Palestinian-controlled areas. For instance, a couple of days ago an Israeli helicopter threw a rocket on the car of a leading Fatah activist in the West Bank, killing him and two passers-by. That was clearly aimed at intimidating the "Palestinian officials" in order to force them to increase repression.

Inside Israel the wave of chauvinist-racist-pogromist propaganda in the media is simply unbelievable. They present the situation as if the whole uprising had been orchestrated by Arafat - some arguing that he did it in order to improve his position towards the signing of the "final agreement," others saying that he did it simply because he is a terrorist which wants to kill as many Jews as possible. Apparently ethnic cleansing, military occupation, life in refugee camps, starvation, segregation, daily humiliation, shooting of demonstrators, etc. do not count as reasons for a Palestinian uprising: the real cause is what an old man which has completely capitulated to Zionism and imperialism tells them to do.

I read your article on Palestine on the web and I agree with every word of it. The problem is that Marxist forces have always been ridiculously small here, which is mostly the result of the split of the working class into hostile Jewish and Palestinian sections and partially also a reflection of the ethnic composition of the Jewish public (the leftists are mostly middle-class Ashkenazites while the Jewish workers are mostly oriental Sefaradites). During the seventies and early eighties there was an orthodox Marxist organisation called "Brit Hapoalim" (Worker's League) which produced a series of important documents including an adaptation of the Transitional Program to Palestinian conditions that the try to publicise as much as we can.

Believe me, we do our best to spread Marxist ideas among the leftist militants here, but they reject them completely arguing that "this is not the moment" and that now it is necessary to create a "broad" movement against apartheid and for a secular democratic republic. It is the typical petty-bourgeois Menshevik-Stalinist theory of stages: first, let us finish the democratic revolution and only then let us talk about socialism. Just imagine what would have happened to the Russian Revolution (not only the socialist, but also the democratic revolution) if Lenin and Trotsky had agreed to dissolve the Marxist forces in a "broad" anti-Tsarist movement! Of course the political situation will eventually change, but right now its looks pretty bleak.

Best Wishes,
Israel, November 14th, 2000