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(en) Israe, One Struggle*, LEFT, RIGHT, TURN BACK!

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 28 Jan 2004 15:32:09 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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Before leftist activists take to the streets with vigils against
the settlements or the oppression of the Palestinians, and in
order for them to even be able to formulate a real alternative
to the Apartheid policies, massive land theft and low-profile
transfer which we are witnessing these days, they must first
identify the social conditions that enable the current right
wing government to imprison, starve, wound and kill the
Palestinian people. The left must also recognize and
understand its' own role in creating and prolonging these

Contrary to the political conditions which make current
policies possible (a simple arithmetic majority in the Israeli
parliament), social conditions have much stronger, deeper
roots (historical, cultural), and enjoy an equally strong hold
within the left as they do within the right.

These conditions are interconnected and weaved with one
another, however it is possible to isolate two main ones,
which are at the heart of the ongoing conflict between Israel
and the Palestinians: Zionism and Militarism.

The Israeli left cannot become an obstacle for the brutality
of Ariel Sharon's government (or Barak, or Netanyahu or
Rabin before him), because its' hands are tied in blind
obedience to the demands, needs and to the very viewpoint
of the Israeli army. The leftist camp declares it does not
believe in a military solution to the conflict, but with the
same breath declares also that it intends to join the army and
give it full, unconditional support, no matter what. Thus, in
its' willingness to always and as a matter of principle hand
itself over to military service - the left neutralizes its' own
potential to halt the Militaristic carnage. If Israeli prime
ministers throughout history, from both the left and the right,
hadn't known that the army is a sacred "apolitical" tool at
their disposal, enjoying sweeping popular support, they
would not have been able to depend on it so readily and
easily, and one can assume they would have had to stick
more rigidly to the road of negotiation and true diplomatic

We ask, what credibility is there for people who realize that
military force is not a solution, and who witness today the
high, ever-growing number of victims and the vast
destruction that the attempts to implement it bring, and yet
are still willing (as well as demand of others) to serve in the
army: to become cogs in the very same machine that creates
and perpetrates these ill-fated attempts?

A good example of the hegemony of Militarism in Israel is
that group of people labeled "Refusniks". As a whole,
members of this group are not conscientious objectors in the
true meaning of the term, as it is in the rest of the world,
meaning people who do not believe in war and combat. The
"Refusniks" merely refuse to serve in the occupied
territories. They are ripe with the disease of Militarism,
since they do not question, not even for a second, the
legitimacy of the Israeli "defense" force, and do not
challenge the legitimacy of war as a means to solve national
conflicts. They are willing to serve the war machinery, to kill
and be killed by command, as long as they, personally, do not
have to march their little feet across this or that geographic
line (in this case the "green line": Israel's border prior to the
1967 war and its' subsequent occupational misadventure).

The rest of the left, institutions such as "Peace Now" and
"Meretz", are even more captivated than the "Refusniks" by
that old myth according to which joining the Israeli army is
not a political act or statement. The uniform and unit pride,
like the baton, the rifle and the tank, are not "neutral".

Lending a hand to any and all of these means actively
supporting the suffering, wreckage and death they sow
among non-Jewish populations. For the more than two
thousand Palestinians killed since the beginning of the
El-Aqsa Intifada alone, for their families and for the tens of
thousands injured, dispossessed and the homeless "our
forces" have created - for them there is no comfort in the
fact that the soldiers who inflicted this upon them did not do
it out of "malice". It does not make an ounce of difference
whether those who are crushing their cities under armored
bulldozers, imprisoning them in their homes at gunpoint for
weeks and dropping bombs on them from the sky, are "right
wingers" or "leftists", racists or humanists, believe in
military solutions or don't. In the talk-shows on our TV
screens the difference might seem significant, but if it was
us standing in the shoes of the people in the occupied
territories, we would no doubt finally understand the simple
fact that there is, in all honesty, no difference at all.

The second social condition paralyzing the leftist camp from
rising up against the killing, along with the sanctity of the
IDF, is Zionism.

In the official stance and even slogans of mainstream
Zionist leftists, one can detect a certain thesis: "Let us pull
out of the occupied territories and all will be well" says a
student group, "Leave the territories, return to our senses"
exclaims the Peace Coalition, and so forth. The thesis is that
the military conquest and occupation of the left bank and the
Gaza strip were and still are something "alien" to the state
of Israel, a kind of isolated historical "mistake" committed in
the past, for reasons supposedly unrelated to the nature and
essence of Zionism, and if we were only to pull out of them
then everything would fall into place and back to normal. The
truth, however, is not that simple.

Long before the occupation of the Palestinian territories in
1967 (almost twenty years before), in what the Zionists call
"The War Of Independence" and the Palestinian people call
"El Nakba" (The Disaster), close to 500 Palestinian villages
were destroyed by Zionist armed forces (villages which
today have no trace of existence in our current geographic or
political landscape), and more than half the Palestinian
people were expelled from the territory that became the
state of Israel (we are talking about 750,000 people who
were torn out of their lands and homes, whether directly by
forceful transfer or by threats and the spread of fear through
various massacres perpetrated by the Zionist side - of which
Deir Yassin is the most famous, although not the only one or
most terrible).

As long as the left continues to see the occupation of the
Palestinian territories as some isolated historical mistake -
the root of the problem instead of another one of its'
symptoms - it ignores (quite conveniently) the most crucial
chapter of the Israeli-Arab conflict, which is the nature of
the establishment of the "Jewish state": at the expense of
the Palestinian people who lived here until the arrival of the
Zionist movement. That is why the Zionist left fails to
comprehend, just as Itzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak failed to
comprehend in the Oslo and Camp David accords, the
viewpoints and demands of the Palestinian side, which
"insisted" on full control of the west bank and the Gaza strip
(only 22 percent of Palestinian territory during British
mandatorial rule). He who remains blind to this - and this
includes of course the Zionist left which enthusiastically
supported these accords - cannot see that for the
Palestinians, the demand of statehood over the
aforementioned 22 percent meant that they were willing to
give up 78 percent of the land from which they were expelled
and exiled, and was in fact a historical compromise.

The left, the so-called "peace" camp, will never be able to
establish a real, lasting peace, as long as it denies the
responsibility of Zionism in the displacement of the
Palestinian people from their land, and as long as it refuses
to understand that a country in which more than a fifth of the
population is not Jewish cannot be both Zionist (a "Jewish
state") and truly democratic. The best that the Zionist left
can afford itself is a "military democracy" with second class
citizens (Palestinian, Bedouin, Druze and foreign workers)
and "generous offerings" a la Barak or a "recognition of a
Palestinian State" a la Sharon, which mean nothing but the
establishment of poor Palestinian ghettos, separated and
devoid of hope, to become easy dumping grounds for
products, sweatshop infrastructures and a source of cheap
labor for Israeli industries - Shimon Peres' "New Middle
East". Indeed, it is not the least surprising that from 1993
(the beginning of the so-called "peace process") until today,
the situation of the Palestinian people has only gotten worse
(and the number of settlers on their lands has doubled!).

The only thing that a left which insists on staying inside the
parameters of Militarism and Zionism and their historical
narrative can offer Palestinians is peace "from a position of
superiority", hoping all the while that "Gaza will sink into the
sea", as its' beloved martyr Rabin once put it (that same man
of peace who ordered the breaking of arms and legs of
innocent Palestinians as a determent measure). The headline
of the latest left wing mass demonstration says it all: "Get
out of the territories, for Israel's sake!" - the other side does
not exist, its' demands and needs are irrelevant, and only the
Jewish dead are taken into account.

The Zionist left is not capable of rising above its' inherent
limitations. Its' political role is reduced to merely playing
"good cop" to the "bad cop" of Ariel Sharon and the fascist
generals who will follow in his footsteps. It's role is to
assess damage control, put a more gentle face on Apartheid
policies. It's role is to bomb, kill, destroy, discriminate - only
slightly less. To shoot and shed tears at the same time, with
drawings of doves, flowers and peace chants in the
background. The absolute most it can do is try to impose a
"peace agreement" like the ones the right wing and the USA
are currently trying to impose: a peace agreement which
brings no "peace" and no "agreement", and will be forced
under military threat on Arafat, Abu Mazen or any other
Palestinian leader willing to sell his people in exchange for
the chance to be a corrupt, brutal despot in one giant prison
disguised as a state.

The Zionist left is constantly competing with the right wing:
which one carries more national flags during its' events,
which one sings the national anthem louder, which one is
harsher in its' condemnation of “draft dodgers”...

We wish to convey the message that there is no longer a
need to compete. You, the left, have become its' equal. The
common ground you share - Militarism and Zionism - is
stronger and more meaningful than all those cosmetic
differences separating between you. The Palestinian people,
on whom our fathers, brothers and sons are committing war
crimes via the terrorist organization known as the IDF, sure
as hell can’t tell the difference.

* Copied from the web page of the Israely anarchist group
Maavak Ehad (One Struggle in Hebrew)

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