Tikva Honig-Parnass on Israeli Apartheid, Matzpen, and the contradictions of the Zionist Left

Tikva Honig-Parnass interview with The Flying Carpet Institute – 30 April 2010

Tikva Honig-Parnass

Tikva Honig-Parnass

Israeli socialist activist Tikva Honig-Parnass fought in 1948 War as a Zionist. Years later she would break with Zionism and join the ranks of the Socialist Organization in Israel, also known by the name of its publication, Matzpen (“Compass”).

Matzpen distinguished itself as a Marxist anti-Zionist group that was active in Israel during the 1960s and 1970s. The group called for the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a regional framework that would involve the unification of the Arab East under a socialist and democratic banner, while also granting Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews equal individual, as well as equal collective national rights. Matzpen exists today as a network of individuals in Israel as well as abroad. Its theory and analysis can be found under a website with the same name.

After obtaining a Ph.D in sociology from Duke University in the United States, Tikva returned to Israel where she is active in various anti-occupation, Mizrahi and feminist movements until this day. Along with Palestinian activist Toufic Haddad, she co-edited the journal Between The Lines, and later they wrote a book entitled “Between the Lines” – Readings on Israel, The Palestinians and the U.S. “War On Terror”. She is currently working on a new book about the Zionist Left. We now publish a full-length interview she agreed to give to the Flying Carpet Institute in her Jerusalem home.

You started out as a committed Zionist and a veteran of the 1948 War. Could you give a description of the factors that convinced you to break with Zionist ideology?

To understand the reasons and the nature of my breaking away from Zionism, I have to emphasize that I crossed over to anti-Zionism from the camp of the Zionist Left, and even the Zionist far Left – the “Marxist” party of Mapam (an acronym for the Unified Workers Party), which called for “Zionism, Socialism and  Fraternity Among Nations” without seeing the inherent contradiction within this slogan.

Besides being a member of Mapam, I was also the secretary of the party in the Knesset  between 1952 to 1955, agreeing fully with its hypocritical stance reflected in its calling for socialism on the one hand, and participating in the great theft of the lands of the Palestinians who remained within the borders of Israel after 1948 –  while they were living under military rule (between 1948 and 1966) – on the other .

It is often argued that Israel was initially founded as a socialist-inspired state since Mapai, the Israeli equivalent to the German SPD or the British Labour, was instrumental in creating the state´s institutions. How was that possible in a capitalist framework?

The Zionist Labor movement, headed by Mapai, lead the Zionist colonial project in Palestine during the pre-1948 period. Its political, economic and ideological hegemony was the product of a kind of division of labour between it and the embryonic Israeli bourgeoisie. I won’t go into the reasons for this agreed-upon division (they are systematically elaborated by  Prof. Zeev Sternhell in his book Nation Building or a New Society? The Zionist Labor Movement (1914-1940) ). It is sufficient to say that the weak emerging bourgeoisie conferred the political hegemony to the Zionist Labor movement, which was responsible for retaining the “industrial quietness” it needed, while collectively building the political and economic infrastructure for the future state.  What I would like to emphasize here, because it has implications for the present, is the role that left Zionist intellectuals, academics and publicists had – and still have today –  in articulating the main narrative of Zionism and legitimizing the Zionist colonial project. Claiming  to possess the “scientific“ or the moral authority, they have  justified the most terrible violations of human rights committed by all Israeli governments – Left and Right alike. The pre-state Zionist Labor movement created the false theory of “constructive socialism”, which was a local version of nationalist socialism: It called for the collaboration of labour and bourgeoisie – the “productive forces of society” – which contribute to the  “collective” interests of state and society. This theory and ideology was easily established after 1948  as the “state-centered” system of values which lies at the center of Israeli society´s culture until this day. What we are dealing with  here is an ideology that sees the state and its “security” as the most important values, having priority over any individual interests. This is something deeply-rooted in Israeli culture – a semi-fascist culture, as described by late critical sociologist Baruch Kimmerling. It admires what Left Zionist social scientists from the Functionalist-Structuralist school, lead in the first decades of the state by S.N. Eisenstaedt, liked to call the “collective goals” of society. These imagined “collective” goals were pointed out as a justification to subdue individual aspirations and rights which, in an apparent contradiction to any liberal-democratic tradition, are regarded as “egoistic”.

But Left Zionism’s exclusive rule ended years ago. Isn’t all of this a thing of the past now?

The loss of exclusive rule by Labor in 1977 and the ascent to power of the right-wing Likud didn’t lead to an end of the hegemonical status of the ideology and narrative composed by the Zionist Left. There was no change in the widely accepted image of Zionist Left intellectuals, academics, publicists and writers like Amos Oz as the representatives of consciousness, justice and equality. The latter, however, continued to legitimize every atrocity and every war that Israeli governments, whether Left or Right, have launched against the Palestinians or neighbouring Arab countries. At the same time, however, they supported the peace plans initiated by Zionist Left leaders, whose vision of a two-state-solution ensured the continuity of Israeli rule on a fragmented Palestinian Bantustan.

The hegemony of the ideological and political principles of the Zionist Left continues to this day, because it continued to constitute the various elite groups like the Israeli academia, the legal system, the governmental bureaucracy, as well as public and national institutions. This hegemony reaches as far as the directors of economic enterprises in the private sector and even the capitalist class itself. Here lies what seems like a  contradiction: The Israeli capitalist bourgeois class has in the last decades supported the Labor governments, which in turn represented its interests. Indeed, it was the Labor government that introduced economic neoliberalism in 1985 as part of a US plan for a globalized economy and military dominance in the Middle East. And, of course, the Israeli capitalist class adopted the US-Israeli peace plans since the Oslo Agreements in 1993, which have been perceived as a necessary condition for the survival of imperial interests in the region.

There was never an actual schism between Left and Right about the central premises of Zionism. As emphasized by historian Avi Shlaim, the only difference between Ben Gurion, the leader of the Zionist Labor movement, and Jabotinsky, the forefather of the right-wing Herut and Likud, was in the sequence of the stages that the project of an exclusivist Jewish state in the entire area of historical Palestine had to take in order to achieve its aims.

This basic affinity explains the gradual wipeout of the traditional secondary differences which existed between Right and Left. Kadima and Likud have adopted the “pragmatism” of the Zionist Left, as well as its hypocritical discourse relating to the “peace process”. Beginning with Sharon, who won the elections in 2001, Right and Center have declared their adoption in principle of the concept of “dividing the Land” and of the “two-state solution” – previously the position of the Zionist Left alone. No wonder Labor can participate in the present ruling Likud coalition alongside the racist  Ivet Lieberman, the chair of “Israel Beitenu” – the most extreme secular right-wing party – who calls for the “transfer”, ie. the expulsion of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. The wide adoption of Labor positions, however, signifies a rather Pyrrhic victory for the Zionist Left, since due to this success it lost its rationale for a distinct political existence and has become an altogether irrelevant political force today.

What was the personal impact of Left Zionism on you and at what point did you begin to challenge this ideology?

I was in fact the prototype of the pre-1948 generation, that is, someone who was committed blindly to the dominant Zionist Left discourse, namely, “our” historical right to “return” from exile to the entire “Land of Israel” and to regain its sovereignty in an exclusivist Jewish state. In my youth years prior to 1948, I had read all of the Marxist literature published in Hebrew and never saw any contradiction between it and my own Zionist position. For my generation, the Palestinians were considered a kind of nuisance which should be removed from the way leading to the foundation of the Jewish state. This self-dehumanization, as well as the dehumanization of the Palestinians, prepared us for accepting the 1948 mass expulsion of the Palestinian people that was committed under the leadership of the Zionist Labor movement – Mapai and Mapam. The glorification of the concept of a “Jewish state” permitted the prevailing indifference of my generation in taking part in the 1948 ethnic cleansing without any emotion or doubt.

In order to comprehend the difference between Zionist Left semi-fascist statism on the one hand, and real liberalism on the other, I will give you a short story: I served in the Palmach unit which conquered the area which included the Palestinian villages of Saris, Beit Jibrin and Zakariya among others, and expelled their residents. I have a letter I wrote to my parents in October 1948 which was written on the stationery of the Palestinian owner of the Har Tuv gas station, who was expelled just a few days before. Typically, however, I don´t even reflect on this fact.

In my letter I´m writing about two Jewish American volunteers, liberal Zionists, who had not been brought up in the ideology of the Zionist Labor movement. They were among many American Jewish veterans of World War II that came to support the Yishuv (the pre-1948 Jewish community in Palestine) military forces in the 1948 War. One evening, they came from a mission shouting that they met on their way back to the base Palestinian women and children starving to death and begging to go back to their villages. They added angrily that “if this new state cannot take care of its Palestinian  inhabitants, then it has no right to exist”. And me, a Left Zionist, who claimed to be a Marxist and an internationalist wrote: “Dear mother and father, I´m sick and tired of these American “philanthropists”. Notice that I used the expression “philanthropists” rather than “humanists”. So this is just an example of the difference between liberalism, universalism and internationalism on the one hand, and Zionist “Left” values on the other.

After the war, I went back to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem to continue my studies. I remember being in a student hall one day when someone burst into it saying that Mao Zedong had proclaimed the People´s Republic of China. We were cheering and clapping at the news, while at the same time a military government was being imposed on the Palestinians who remained after the 1948 War under Israeli rule and their lands and property were massively been confiscated. At the same time, those expelled who attempted to cross the border back to their homes were shot by the Israeli security forces.

My Stalinist approach to the issues of Israel and the Middle East had even been strengthened when I quit my post as secretary of Mapam in the Knesset and moved closer to the Communist Party. Accordingly, I continued justifying the UN partition plan and the founding of the Jewish state, which was supported by the Soviet Union, and whose satellite, the Communist Party of Israel, had signed the Declaration of Independence.

Some years later, in 1961, the book “Peace, Peace And No Peace,” written by Akiva Orr and Moshe Machover, came out. Without access to any official files, which were released over two decades later, and basing their study only on  information published in newspapers and professional magazines alone, they succeeded in proving that Israel was indifferent to the will of Arab states to make peace with it and systematically ignored their peace proposals. This was a big shock for me, since the very idea that the state of Israel refuses to make peace was unthinkable, especially when the ruling propaganda depicted the Arab states as aspring to destroy Israel.

However, the book convinced me to reject the prevailing misleading discourse spread by the establishment. This was the first doubt that appeared in my mind, shaking the firm belief in a peaceful Israel and preparing me to accept wholeheartedly Matzpen’s political position when it was founded in 1962 by a group of about 15 people headed by its four initiators, among whom were Moshe Machover and Akiva Orr.

The meeting with Matzpen was a kind of revelation for me. It wiped out all the misleading beliefs which until then had been part and parcel of my being and self- identity. I learned that Israel was a colonial settler state – a vehicle for implementing and advancing the Zionist project which – long before the 1948 Nakba – aimed at the expulsion of the indigenous residents of Palestine. I accepted the regional perspective of Matzpen which emphasized Israel’s role as the enforcer of imperialist interests in the Middle East and which places the ultimate resolution of the conflict outside the Palestine box. The connection Matzpen made between Marxism, class analysis, anti-imperialism and anti-Zionism has never before – and never again – existed among the Israeli Left. The Communist Party, despite its non-Zionism, failed to draw the connection of the first three elements with the last. It had signed the Declaration of Independence in 1948 and saw the alliance of Israel with imperialism as somehow a matter of choice rather than a central characteristic of Zionism and the state of Israel. Until this day, the Communist Party has not put the challenge of the Jewish state at the center of its agenda. It has focused its struggle on achieving equal citizenship and individual rights for the Palestinian citizens, rather than that for national collective rights which the Jewish Zionist state does not and can not recognize.

Did Matzpen achieve a degree of significant influence in Israel? What is the status of Jewish (i.e., non-Palestinian) anti-Zionism inside Israel today?

Matzpen was the first group to come out against the 1967 War and was at the forefront of the protest movement against the occupation which spread in the first years after the war. This gained Matzpen support among a rather substantial number of young people. Part of this support was then due to the 1968 impact of the student uprising in Europe and the civil rights movement in the United States. Matzpen’s political positions were seen as the right translation of these uprisings to the local version of the oppression of the Palestinians. However, the adoption of the comprehensive anti-Zionist and class-based perspective of Matzpen has been rather limited.

The only real full impact of Matzpen was on the militant uprising of the Mizrahim (Jews from Middle Eastern countries) Black Panthers, which took place between 1970 and 1972. They were second-generation Jews from the Arab countries who had been brought to Israel in order to fulfill the urgent need of the newly born state to settle the “empty” occupied territories the Palestinians had been expelled from, as well as to increase the numbers of the Israeli army. The Mizrahi immigrants were in fact dumped in places without any real economic planning or productive employment, thus creating the “development towns” which subsequently would become the most neglected Jewish communities in the country. “Emptied” neighbourhoods in originally Palestinian or ‘mixed’ towns, were also re-settled with Mizrahi newcomers, which soon enough turned into pockets of poverty as well.

Under the ideological influence of Matzpen, a young group of Mizrahim Jews in an ex-Palestinian neighbourhood on the outskirts of Jerusalem, the Musrara neighbourhood, began to articulate their rage against their systematic discrimination by the Zionist establishment in class terms. Matzpen formed not only their ideological perspective, but also provided them with logistical support. This was truly a movement with a massive potential. But they were crushed by the authorities who jailed their leaders and activists and harshly persecuted them after their release from prison. Moreover, the Black Panthers’ anti-Zionist and anti-capitalist  message was twisted since then by identity and culturalist-oriented Mizrahi activists and Post-Zionist academics.

For morally conscious intellectuals since the mid-90′s, Matzpen stood out as a role model. Since then, some of the critical among them (Post-Zionist sociologists like Uri Ram and Yehuda Shenhav) made sure to pay homage to Matzpen as the first to depict Zionism as a colonialist movement. However, by taking Zionist colonialism out of the anti-imperialist framework and the class analysis of Matzpen, entirely distorted its approach and failed to create any alternative to Zionist ideology and praxis. Thus the full impact of Matzpen has been materialized mainly among genuine anti-colonialists, socialists or democrats, both in Israel and abroad, who are willing to apply its principles for a full rejection of Israel as a Zionist state.

As I have already mentioned, anti-Zionists are considered by Left Zionist intellectuals, as well as by wide strata in Israel, as traitors who challenge the very existence of the state. The discourse around this issue blurs and confuses the idea of physical existence of the Jewish citizens of this state with that of its existence as a “Jewish state”. Moreover, the Jewish identity of Israel has become synonymous with the notion of its “security” and thus further deepens the commitment of most progressive Israelis to its racist nature as well.

Much is heard in Europe about Post-Zionism. What are, in your opinion, its strengths and/or limitations?

You have to distinguish between the New Historians and critical sociologists  on the one hand, and those I depict as Post-Zionists on the other. The first group refuted some basic narratives of Zionism regarding the 1948 War and the Nakba, but without challenging the very nature of the Jewish state as an ethnocratic colonial settler state (Ilan Pappe is an exception). On the other hand, the Post-Zionists had the intention to disclose and refute Israel’s assumed structural inequality as reflected in the discrimination of its Palestinian citizens, as well as other Jewish “minority groups”. Their theoretical base, however, was post-modernism and its related fields – multiculturalism, post-colonialism and identity politics – which they have wrongly used for their analysis of the Zionist state. For instance, some of them tend to equalize the oppression of the Palestinians with that of the Mizrahim, perceiving both as the victims of the Ashkenazi (European Jewish) Zionist state. They thus ignore the central feature of Zionism which implies the full exclusion of the Palestinians from the exclusivist Jewish state, while the class-based oppression of Mizrahi Jews does not stem from the colonial character of the state of Israel, whose main dividing line is that between Jews and Palestinians. In fact, their “multiculturalism” and politics of identity brought many Post-Zionists to turn their backs to the strengthened Palestinian and Arab nationalism among the Palestinian citizens and to their demands, which are far away and even contradictory to the quest for recognizing their “minority group  identity”.

Post-Zionists have not concentrated upon a thorough analysis of Israel as a colonial settler state. They have not been anti-capitalist or  anti-imperialist, as they never challenged economic neoliberalism or Israel’s role in serving US interests in the region.

Are we witnessing, in your opinion, a radicalization or an erosion of Zionist ideology?

Zionist ideology, its discourse and implementation in policies and laws has enormously radicalized. When the false self-identity as a peaceful state is being crushed on a daily basis, there is a need to strengthen the commitment of the people to Zionism. A main feature of this stage of Zionism is the overt confirmation of Matzpen´s thesis about the regional nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The US-Israeli quest for hegemony in the Middle East and the “war against terror”, aimed at subduing “disobeying” states like Iran and Syria and crushing Islamic resistance  movements like Hizbullah and Hamas, are at the center of public discourse. The establishment, supported by wide strata – including the Zionist Left – has been involved in a determined effort to describe this war as a necessary condition for the survival of the Zionist Jewish state. Indicative of the establishment awareness of the role that Zionism plays in harnessing Israelis to support its war policy, is the opening lecture by Benjamin Netanyahu in the last annual Herzliya conference which gathers Israel´s political, economic and military elites for discussing the most urgent topics that are included in the present agenda of the state. Netanyahu’s lecture focused on the exclusive Jewish right to all of the Land of Israel, i.e., historical Palestine, and the need to strengthen the citizens´ Zionist consciousness.

I will just give you an example from my own experience: Last year, I went to a ceremony at my grandson´s school in northern Tel Aviv, a known bourgeois, secular and liberal area, where most people vote for “Left” Zionist parties – Labour or Meretz. It was a commemoration day for all fallen Israeli soldiers, where all the the pupils and their parents, as well as the bereaved families were present. The event was opened when a boy with a kippa – in a supposedly secular school –  read from the Bible that God said to Abraham, “Look from the place you are there, to the north and south and east and west, because all the land you see, I will give to you and your offsprings until eternity”. This scene just shows the strengthened tendency in education to deepen the commitment to Zionism and the aggressive war policies of the state of Israel. To open the memorial day with this promise of God to Abraham is a message given to the children that you must fight fiercely in the future inevitable wars against the Palestinians and others because this land, which is is exclusively ours, is in danger.

Israel is referred to as “the only democracy in the Middle East“ and the civil rights enjoyed by Israel’s Palestinians are indicated as a proof of this. What is the situation of Israel´s Palestinian citizens?

The Israeli regime encompasses by now all historical Palestine – from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. Israel has settled half a million of its own citizens there; it has extended its own laws there and uses aquifers and airspace there every single day. In practice, Israel has annexed the West Bank without officially declaring it. Many among the Left Zionists adhere to the misleading claim that the West Bank (and Gaza) are exterior to the state of Israel and that the ’67 occupation is only temporary and eventually these areas will constitute the independent Palestinian state. They thus conceal the fact that these areas have in fact been annexed and are part and parcel of Greater Israel – something that allows them to retain the image of Israel as “the only democracy in the Middle East”.

Zionism has enforced  its government upon different parts of Palestine in different historical stages. Hence the different levels of civil rights and civil status of the Palestinian inhabitants of these parts – from no civil rights in the West Bank and Gaza, to formal citizenship granted to the remaining Palestinians after the Nakba of 1948, something that was a condition imposed on Israel in order to be accepted as a member of the United Nations.

Therefore, the discussion on Israel’s democracy must include both the obvious and observable apartheid regime in the ’67 occupied territories – to which the Left abroad is willing to admit – and the somewhat masked apartheid within the Green Line (“Israel Proper”), which they are reluctant to depict as such and still regard as a democracy.

Isn’t apartheid a bit exaggerated? The Palestinians in Israel are after all able to vote for their representatives in the Knesset…

Indeed, one should emphasize Matzpen’s thesis which was elaborated by Moshe Machover regarding one essential difference between the Israeli version of apartheid and that which prevailed in South Africa. Accordingly, Zionism, like the North American or Australian species of colonization, aimed at eliminating the native population instead of keeping them as a reserve of cheap labour power. Unlike the Blacks in apartheid South Africa, Palestinians were considered dispensable, which explains the notion of mass expulsion looming in Zionist thinking long before 1948. This “solution” is still adopted by Israeli political and intellectual elites, as explicitly expressed by historian Benny Morris. However, until the right circumstances appear, a consistent policy of ethnic cleansing in slow motion – physical, political and social – has been taking place all over historical Palestine, albeit with different methods and levels; by disconnecting Palestinians from their cultivated lands, banning their access to basic resources of livelihood, not to mention the devastation and massacres which took place in Jenin and Gaza.

The characteristics of the structural discrimination of the Palestinian citizens qualifies Israel as an apartheid regime which is similar to that of South Africa, albeit, as said, intentionally camouflaged. Unlike apartheid in South Africa, which openly declared its racism in all walks of life, what we have seen until recently in Israel is a kind of racism that avoids any racist language which explicitly points to the discrimination of Palestinians. The legal, political and ideological infrastructure of this form of apartheid regime was laid down during the first decade of the state by Zionist Labor governments in which the “Marxist” party of Mapam was a senior member.

As Saree Makdisi shows in a recent article, every single major South African apartheid law has a direct equivalent in Israel today. For example, the Population Registration Act of 1950 assigned to every South African a racial identity according to which each of them was entitled to (or was denied) a different set of rights. This has a direct equivalent in the Israeli laws that assign to Jews and Palestinians a distinct national identity. According to Israeli law, there is no such thing as Israeli nationality. The only nationality Israeli law recognizes is the Jewish nationality, which encompasses Jews all over the world who Israel claims to be their state. Non-Jews, although they can be citizens of the state, are explicitly not members of an Israeli “nation”.

Thus, while the Jewish citizens are recognized as having a national identity, Israeli law strips Palestinian citizens of their national identity and reduces them to a mere ethnic minority, the “Israeli Arabs”. This in itself is the backbone of the discriminative regime, even before any statement is made about discrimination. In Israel, various fundamental rights – access to land and housing, for example – are dependent upon national identity, not the lesser category of mere citizenship.

The system of regulations that determine access to land inside Israel exemplifies a wide range of these rights. They constitute a direct equivalent to the South African Group Areas Act of 1950 which assigned different areas of South Africa for the residential use by different racial groups. Palestinian citizens are legally excluded from residing in officially designated “Jewish community settlements”. Moreover, they are barred from living on state land or land held by “national institutions” such as the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which comprise 90 percent of lands in Israel – most of which had been confiscated from Palestinians. These institutions openly claim that they are “the caretaker of the land of Israel on behalf of its owners, Jewish people everywhere”.

Even the formal citizenship granted to the Palestinians who survived the Nakba in 1948 is systematically stripped of any solid guarantee for political and individual rights. Thus for example, political parties and individuals, if they don’t recognize the Jewish state and even use the right to challenge it by democratic means, are seen by the Shabak (the internal security service) as a security threat to the existence of Israel and risk being barred from participating in the elections for the Knesset. The right to citizenship or even residency is denied from a Palestinian spouse from the the ’67 occupied territories or other Arab states.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a highly divisive issue among the German Left. Some leftists have come to the conclusion, given the shift in the region for Islamic movements like Hamas and Hizbullah (and the subsequent weakening of the secular nationalists and the Left) that supporting Israel’s “Right To Exist” is a necessary step to defeat “reactionary” or “medieval antisemitic“ tendencies. What is your response to that?

“Israel’s right to exist” is a slogan that contradicts any aim related to secular democracy. Nor can it replace the role which the current weak Left and secular democratic forces are unable to fulfill in fighting for democratization of the Middle East and defeating Islamic fundamentalism. On the contrary: Precisely this discourse has served as the pretext for the “war against terror” which US imperialism has been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the US-Israeli wars in Lebanon and the bloody assault on Gaza in 2009. Therefore, those in the Left who believe in fighting for “Israel’s Right to Exist” should realize that this implies joining the war against the new demon which US imperialism has created after the fall of the Soviet Union. That is, using “Islamic fundamentalism” as a pretext to crush the resistant forces in the Middle East, be them secular or religious – all this in the name of “secular democracy”.

“Israel´s right to exist” is the right of US imperialism to consolidate its political, military and economic rule in the Middle East. You cannot separate between Israel as the tool for advancing the Zionist colonial project and its apartheid regime, from its role as the enforcer of US imperialist interests in the Middle East. Israel is the US’s one solid, reliable supporter, the US’s very owned armed watchdog against any state or movement that challenges US imperial interests in the region. As such, its total war against the Palestinians is part and parcel of US strategy to abolish any call for genuine national independence.

Indeed it is sad that the  anti-imperialist struggle in the region has not been led by Left forces. However, the Left should recognize that Hizbullah and Hamas are by now the only organized forces which fight against Zionist Israel, the US and the collaborative Palestinian and Arab leaderships. Hizbullah plays the most genuine role in fighting for the national independence of Lebanon. If not for Hizbullah, Lebanon would have been ruled by now by the Lebanese fascist Phalanges – indeed “secular”- in collaboration with Israel and the US.

Hamas was elected to power through the most democratic general elections. The joint American, Israeli and Palestinian Authority total war against Hamas is in fact a war of ethnic cleansing against the entire population of Gaza. This is the nature of the war, cynically claimed to be waged for the “right of the state of Israel to exist”. Therefore, the position of some in the German Left regarding Islamist movements like Hizbullah and Hamas is in fact nothing else but a call to support the US-Israeli efforts to intensify the fragmentation of the people throughout the Middle East. In this case, to prevent the reunification of Gaza and the West Bank, to which Hamas aspires, and to delegitimize Hizbullah and its integration into the Lebanese political system. The right of Israel to exist is in fact the right of the Zionist apartheid state to continue its project of eliminating the Palestinian people and subduing the Arab nation in the service of Western hegemony over the region.

The recently published insight of Left Zionist academic Zeev Sternhell regarding the alleged rise in European antisemitism contradicts the prevailing rhetoric about a “medieval antisemitism” relating to Islamic movements:

“One of the research institutions reported a dramatic rise in events defined as antisemitic during “Cast Lead” [In Gaza]. It is doubtful if the motives to all, or even to most of these events were antisemitic. It stands to reason that regarding part of them, we are witness to escalating anti-Israeli [attitudes]. Past antisemitism was not dependent upon the objective deeds of Jews. On the other hand, there is a clear and consistent connection between hostility to Israel and the deed it commits. It is not by chance that anti-Israeliness is a phenomenon which appeared in the last generation: It is a reaction to the deepened occupation [of the ’67 territories]“.

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