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Labor Action, 26 September 1949


Ed Findley

Split in Ranks of Mapam Threatened by Its Pro-Stalinist Orientation


From Labor Action, Vol. 13 No. 39, 26 September 1949, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The progressive isolation of the Mapam (United Workers Party) of Israel – resulting from its fanatic pro-Stalinist orientation – is endangering the precarious unity of that party. Reports in the Israeli press of intense intra-party struggles and factional jockeying for control become more and more frequent. The opinion is widely held that the Mapam’s recent bid for entry into Ben-Gurion’s coalition government stems from a slowly growing realization on the part of the dominant elements in the Mapam leadership that its role as an opposition party, in de facto alliance with the small Stalinist party of Israel, can only lead to catastrophic isolation from the masses and to the splitting of the Mapam.

The weakened bargaining power of the Mapam makes its early entry into the government coalition improbable. Neither the Mapam nor Ben-Gurion and his party appear to be in a mood to moderate their demands. Ben-Gurion’s government has shown itself capable of ruling without the aid of the. Mapam – much to the astonishment of the Mapam’s leaders, who failed, to see that the strategic advantages of their pivotal position in the labor movement of Israel could be nullified by their disastrous pro-Stalinist policy.

Section for Cominform

According to Haaretz, a general Zionist Hebrew daily close to thee Progressive Party, the current intra-Mapam party struggle revolves about problems thrown up by the Stalinist orientation. A section of the Mapam leadership proposed that the Mapam join the Cominform and participate directly in its political activities. Fortunately, the motion for direct affiliation with international Stalinism was defeated by a majority of the top committee. In this connection, Haaretz reports that Meir Yaari, Mapam representative to the Stalinist Paris Conference for World Peace this summer, was promised a personal interview with Joseph Stalin if he would come out for joining the Cominform.

Another issue that agitates the Mapam is what attitude to take toward the “people’s democracies” which close their doors to or place insuperable obstacles in the way of Jewish emigration. For many Mapam members, who are more Zionist than pro-Stalinist, this is a painful and embarrassing question.

A somewhat less controversial question with which the Mapam leadership wrestles is the attitude toward the CP of Israel. The extra Stalinist wing of Mapam calls for closer ties, blocs and even organic unity with the CP of Israel, inasmuch as there exist virtually no important political differences between the two organizations. In this connection, the expulsion of 27 Stalinists (former Mapam members) from the Hashomer Hatzair Kibbutz (commune) “Zikim” came in for a great deal of criticism.

However, here the ingrained hatred for the local Stalinist breed on the part of most Mapamers – even those very friendly to world Stalinism – is an obstacle that the Stalinist wing of Mapam will have difficulty overcoming. Even the former Hebrew Communist Party, led by Alexander Preminger, Knesset (Parliament) deputy, which voted to join the Mapam (Haaretz, August 14) has accounts to settle with the official Communist Party leadership. The decision of the Mapam (Haaretz, August 14) to accept the members of the Hebrew Communist Party (as individuals) tends to strengthen the Stalinist wing in Mapam.

The relative strength of the various contending forces and the names of their spokesmen are not known, due to the fact that the fight thus far has been limited to the secluded confines of the Central Committee. It is inconceivable that it should remain there.

One thing appears certain. On the outcome of these inner party struggles depends Mapam’s survival as an independent political party in Israel.

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