May Day in Israel

In line with their class collaborationist position, the leaders of the Israeli Labour Party were not even prepared to organise the traditional May Day rallies, leaving it to other forces.

Once again, on this day of working class internationalism, the Israeli Labour movement organisations failed to even unite Jewish and Arab workers living in the same territory. Instead of organizing a mass demonstration of Arab and Jewish working class and youth led by the Histadrut and the Labour party with the other small left wing organisation we had separate rallies.

An Arab-Jewish city like Haifa would be the ideal place to build such unity. Instead last Saturday over 5000 people demonstrated in Nazareth under the banners of the Communist Party and its front Hadash. Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv around 200 youth from Hashomer Hatzayir (the ex-youth of Mapam, a left Stalinist-Zionist party) and Banki, the youth movement of the Communist party marched.

This year’s Tel Aviv rally was much smaller than last year’s of at least 5000 when the youth of the Labour Party organized the demonstration. According to the version of the leaders of the Labour Party youth they decided at the last minute not to demonstrate because they feared that the Anarchists and the Maavak Sozialisti group might disrupt the demonstration as happened last year. The Anarchists and Maavak Sozialisti claim that they were excluded because of the bureaucratic behaviour of the organizers. Probably both are right.

However the real reason for not organising anything serious on May Day lies in the fact that the Labour Party has agreed to join the new government led by Olmert, thus betraying its election promises to fight even for minor reforms, such as a US$1000 minimum monthly wage in a country where no family can survive on such a figure.

In accepting to be part of this government the Labour leaders are preparing to play the role of fireman, putting out the fires of the class struggle. And they started with May Day! But they will not be able to hold back the workers for long. May Day in the coming years will prove to be a day of struggle as it has been in the past.