From Workers’ International News, Vol.5 No.7, December 1944, pp.4-11.
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
The article printed below has been received from a group of socialists in Palestine addressed to the Labour Party Conference. A solution of the Palestine problem is not only a crucial question to the Arab and Jewish masses of Palestine; on it depends the fate of the entire Middle East. Palestine is the Mediterranean gateway for the imperialist domination of the Middle East.
The problem of Palestine raises two important issues. On the one hand it involves the struggle of the Arabs in Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Egypt against imperialist domination and in this sense it directly raises the question of the struggle for national liberation. On the other it involves the struggle of the Arab peasants for and against the stranglehold of feudal domination.
Zionism strikes at the root of these two main streams of straggle. By a thorough analysis of the factual material available, the document traces the roots of Zionism and its impact upon the Arab struggle. It provides the most powerful argument against Zionism in relation to the Arab struggle. Here and there details in the document may be questioned but the main contention that Zionism and the Arab struggle are incompatible is proved conclusively. This is not to say that the Arab and Jewish workers cannot be welded together for a common struggle against British imperialism and for socialism. In fact one of the main planks of attack against Zionism is that it helps in fostering a disunity among the workers for its own reactionary ends.
The main controversy over the document may be raised on the question of closing the gates of Palestine to Jewish immigration. A final solution to this problem can only be found by a voluntary agreement of the Arabs. In the meantime, the American and British imperialists who parade the misery of refugees must throw open their doors to Jewish immigration.
The weakness in the document is that it does not raise sharply enough the question of a joint struggle of the Arab and Jewish workers. Increasingly, such a class alignment without distinction of race will find expression in Palestine and it is the duty of the Revolutionary Socialist in Palestine to raise this class solidarity in the forefront of the struggle.
The draft resolution on Palestine which is to be submitted by the Executive Committee of the British Labour Party to its Annual Convention, has caused a sterns of excitement here in Palestine and will probably have wider repercussions in the Near East.
The draft resolution, which contains the demand to transform Palestine into a Jewish State and to promote the emigration of Palestinian Arabs into the neighbouring countries is nothing but a copy of similar Zionist resolutions. It represents in fact the climax of Zionist expansionist effort which began as a moderate movement and has now, after dozens of years, taken on a definitely aggressive character.
The purpose of this letter is to unmask the real face of Zionism.
For many years the Zionist movement has been endeavouring to prove that it does not prejudice the interests of the Arab inhabitants of Palestine even benefits them. Thus for instance the head of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, Ben Gurion wrote:
Under no circumstances must the rights of these inhabitants (i.e. the Arabs) be touched. Only “Ghetto-dreamers” like Zangwill could imagine that Palestine can be given to the Jews in addition to the right to drive the non-Jews out of the country. No state will agree to this. Even if it seemed that this right would be given to us ... the Jews have no justification and no possibility of exercising it. It is not the task of Zionism to drive the present inhabitants out of Palestine; if it had this aim it would merely be a dangerous Utopia, a harmful and reactionary Fata Morgana. (From We and our Neighbour: Speeches and Essays, New York 1915, Hebrew).
About the Fellah (Arab peasant) and his land Ben Gurion wrote in 1920 in New York as follows:
Under no circumstances must the land be touched which belongs to the Fellah and which he tills. Those who live from their hands’ toil must not be taken away from their soil, not even for financial compensation. (Ibid.)
“The fate of the Jewish worker is tied up with that of the Arab one. They will rise together and fall together” he said in 1924. (Ibid.)
Later on (in 1926) he said:
The Arab population is an organic insoluble part of Palestine. It is rooted here, it works here and will stay here. Though it is not impossible at the present time to expel great masses of people from a country with the aid of physical force, only lunatics or political quacks could accuse the Jewish people of harbouring such a desire.
If that is the case, were those Zionists who inspired this Labour Party resolution, lunatics or political quacks?
Weizmann, President of the Zionist organisation, said in a speech in London on December 11, 1929:
Up till now there has been no case – and I hope there will be none in the future - where an Arab has been ousted from his land, either directly or indirectly.
If such declarations had any value, we could even cite Jabotinsky, representative of the most extreme and greedy Zionist wing - the Revisionists - who once declared one of his fundamental principles to be:
Equality of all citizens.
Equal rights for all citizens regardless of race, religion, language and class in all walks of public life of the country must be maintained.
In every Cabinet where a Jew is a Minister, an Arab will be his deputy and vice versa, etc. (The war in front of the Jewish people, Hebrew.)
These were the lullabys sung by Zionism to the Arab population of the country.
What was, however, the effect of Zionist development in reality!
The overwhelming majority of the Arabs are villagers. The Zionists proudly point to the fact that they have brought combine, threshing machine and incubator to Palestine, that they introduced gigantic progress - in short that Zionism is progressive. It can be argued on this line that Italians have brought motor cars, tractors, modern ploughs as well as the radio to Abyssinia and Tripolitania, which does not at all mean, however, that their colonisation was progressive. The decisive yardstick is whether the indigenous population - here in Palestine the Arabs - derive any advantage from this progress, and whether this colon-Imperialism or rather its consolidation.
Let us consider this first point. The Arab Fellah still ploughs with a wooden plough, consisting of a thick branch into which he drives a big nail, and he scratches the surface of the earth to a depth of 10 centimetres at the utmost. An expert who surveyed Arab agriculture makes the following comment about this fact: “The Arab plough resembles that of the ancient Jews, and it may be assumed that the antique plough was even better” (Vilkanski: The Fellah’s Farm, page 18). Instead of a threshing machine the Fellah uses a wooden plank with stones fastened to it from below, which is being drawn by a donkey or a horse. On this plank the Fellah or his son rides for days and days over his threshing floor. Neither has the incubator penetrated the Arab village at all.
Technical progress multiplies the productivity of labour. Yet the Arab does not profit from the blessings of modern technique. A ton of wheat requires 5.2 working days on a Jewish farm, whereas the Fellah needs for the same quantity 55.9 working days, i.e. ten times as much. (Dr. Horovitz and Rita Sinden: Economic Survey of Palestine, page 41). Not only is his productivity low, his inventory poor, but so is his livestock: his cow - if he has any - produces 600-700 litres of milk annually; while a cow in a Jewish dairy gives an average of 3,000-4,000 litres. The ordinary hen in an Arab farm lays 40 eggs a year - the good breed on Jewish farms lays 150!
The Fellah’s entire possessions including his house are valued at £P55 (Vilkanski, The Fellah’s Farm). This is less than a Jewish farmer invests into the building of a cowshed for a single cow (over £P60.)
This proves the Zionist propaganda to be an absurd lie which says that the Fellah can improve his farm under the existing social and economic conditions by the use of the tractor and combine, by breeding cows of first class stock (one cow cost even before the war £P75-150 or planting orange groves. (1 dunam i.e. 1/10 hectare of orange plantation cost £P75-85). Only rigorous agrarian reforms could open up the way to technical perfection of his farm.
Zionist settlement not only does not further the improvement of the Fellah’s farm - but even results in driving the Arabs from their land and represents a hindrance to agrarian reforms.
In spite of all the Zionist leaders’ declarations that no Arabs will be driven from their land, they were forced to admit to the Government Commission enquiring into these matters in 1930 that 688 Arab tenant families had already been removed from their farms in the Jesreel Valley (Report of the Jewish Agency forwarded to Sir John Hope Simpson). We may assume this estimate to have been made too low. Since 1930 Zionist colonisation has also increased. We may therefore reckon that a few thousand Arab tenants have lost their land.
The Zionist demagogues always reply to this: “But we have paid full compensation for the land!”
What does this compensation look like? In his book Land and the Jewish Construction in Palestine, Dr. A. Granovsky, Director of the Jewish National Fund, writes that compensation amounted to an average of £41,700 per family.
Now, this amount was by no means distributed equally among the tenant farmers. Some families were bribed to assist the Zionists while others had to get off with little or next to nothing. Taking this into consideration it can be imagined what the majority of the ousted tenants received as compensation.
Moreover, debts had to be paid from these amounts. The Government Commission studying the farmers’ situation in 1930 estimated these debts at an average of £P27. (Report of a Committee on the Economic Conditions of Agriculturists in Palestine etc., Jerusalem 1930, Johnson-Crosbie Report).
After these deductions - what real compensation remains in the hands of the tenants?
Not even substantial evidence to the contrary will stop the Zionists from arguing that Zionism brings advantage to the Arabs. They will invent new ones, as soon as an old argument has been refuted. They will even say: The Zionist land purchases have put huge sums of money into the hands of the Arabs.
But who sells land to the Zionists? The Fellah or the big land-owners?
For instance, the Jesreel Valley was bought almost solely from the big Beirut bank owners Sursuk who had acquired vast stretches of land from the Turks in 1872. Thus one family sold an area containing 20 villages, their inhabitants and farms.
Concerning the total surface of acquired land, one of the leaders of Zionist settlement. Mr. Smilansky stated that 90-95 per cent had belonged to big landowners and only 5-10 per cent to Arab smallholders. (Zionist settlement and the Fellah). Therefore the profit goes to the big landowners exploiting the small peasant who only suffers from the whole transaction.
All this goes to explain the strong opposition put up by the Zionist against the Tenants Protection Ordinance. It also explains why the future of Zionist settlement depends on the existence of big feudal Arab estates.
If the Fellah owned the land he tills, he could not be seduced to sell the plot to which he is attached.
Therefore Zionism opposes every agrarian reform and any amelioration of the situation of the Fellah.
Ussishkin, former president of the Jewish National Fund spoke quite openly and frankly. during a teachers’ conference. This frankness can be explained by the fact that this speech was not intended as propaganda material in England but only for the internal consumption of faithful adherents of Zionism. He said:
In this country there is a certain organisation taking care of the sale of chemical fertilisers. It employs a whole staff of agronomists who travel from village to village and teach the Fellah to manure his soil; furthermore, they give him the fertiliser on credit, with easy terms of payment. This surely is a good and civilizing activity and the Arab who yesterday drew almost no profit from his land, has now adopted methods of amelioration and manure, and his income rises year after year. It is obvious that as agricultural conditions improve, the conditions for the purchase of land deteriorate. Besides, considerable propaganda is being made amongst the Arabs for the foundation of an agricultural bank, to serve the Fellah as well as the big land-owner, and if this is realized it will be even more difficult to buy land.”
The improvement of the Fellah’s condition is “surely a good and civilizing activity” but “as agricultural conditions improve, the conditions for the purchase of land deteriorate”. This shows how far the identity of Zionism and progress goes.
It is therefore quite consistent for Zionism to boycott the products of the Fellah, for this contributes backwardness and poverty of the Fellah’s farm; without this boycott it would be difficult to carry on with Zionist expansion. Furthermore, without this boycott it would be impossible to keep the Zionist economy isolated and maintain two absolutely different standards of life - the Jewish way and the Arab.
The difference between the dung-cap - the playground of the poverty-stricken Arab village child, and the pompons children’s house in the Jewish settlements - the difference between the income of a Jewish farmer’s family (£100-150 a year) and the net income of an Arab Fellah (15-20 before the war) is too great to be bridged by modern technique alone. Another bridge is necessary, namely that of the high prices obtained for the agricultural produce of the Jews. Thus, before the war, an egg from a Jewish farm was worth 2-3 mils. Prices of vegetables and fruit were also much higher if produced by Jews than by Arabs.
In order to keep the product of Arab agriculture out of the Jewish economy, the Zionists employed the “progressive and civilized” means of pouring kerosene over the vegetables brought by Arabs to the Jewish market; kicking and beating up these Fellahs and their womenfolk who dared come to the market to offer their products for sale.
This does not prevent the Zionists who are used to double-entry book-keeping, from saying that the Fellahs profit by the sale of their products to the Jews. a sign of the benefits conferred upon them by Zionism.
True enough, in spite of picketing and boycott, a certain amount of Arab agricultural products found their way into Jewish economy - but why? The answer is simple: before the war, Jewish agriculture was unable to meet the demand of the Jewish population; this necessitated the importation of such products and the Arabs too got a certain share in filling this shortage.
Therefore, if the Jews still bought a certain quantity of Arab products, this was not thanks to Zionism, but in spite of it, a consequence of the fact that Zionist expansion had not yet been wide enough.
It is clearly impossible to cover in the limited space at our disposal all the diverse factors in the relations between the Arab village and Zionism (e.g. the question of land hunger, taxes etc.). We believe, however, that the points mentioned above clarify the nature of the “cultural mission” carried by Zionism to the Arab village.
The Zionists declare with pride that they have transformed Palestine into an industrial country. But there is a very simple question which arises in the mind of every Arab worker: what is his share in this development?
Only 18,000 persons are occupied in Arab industry, out of whom 10,000 are workers. That alone shows how small these “industrial” undertakings are. Most of them occupy 1-2 labourers, and none of them more than 100. The capital of this industry amounts to £2,500,000, or an average of only £5-600 per establishment. It is a primitive industry with little machinery, run mainly on handwork. (Abramovitz-Gelfat - The Arab Economy; page 61, Hebrew).
On the other hand, 60,000 persons work in Jewish industry and its production reached the value of £40,000,000. It is equipped with the most up-to-date machinery.
The backwardness of Arab industry in Palestine is brought out more strongly by a comparison with Egyptian industry. For instance, in June 1942 an inquiry into 250 big Egyptian industrial undertakings revealed an invested capital of £125 millions, i.e. an average of £500,000. If you compare the textile factories of Mahalla Kobra in Egypt employing twenty thousand labourers, with the weaving workshops of Majdal near Gaza, with one to two workers apiece, you will get an idea of the vast difference!
In Syrian industry approximately 170,000 persons were employed in 1937 or more than ninefold the number working in the Arab industry of Palestine, while the Syrian population is only thrice that of Palestine.
We do not want to prove by the statistics that the neighbouring countries are on a high stage of industrial development. On the contrary, in these countries too, industry suffers from many factors - social and political and? interior and exterior. We only want to show that Zionism has by no means improved the state of Arab industry.
And that is quite obvious. How could the Zionist economy support Arab industry while completely boycotting its products and to a lesser degree, the products of the Arab fellah and the work of the Arab labourers. The only “aid” could be ... Competition.
The number of Arab workers now employed by the Government gives some idea of how widespread unemployment must have been among them before the war. Some of them were totally without work, while others were idle part of the year and worked partly on their little patch of land. Fourteen Government Departments employed in September 1942 103,411 personnel amongst which about 90,000 Arab workers (Government Statistics). Another 30,000 work for the Army making a total of 120,000.
Even at the time when Jewish labour was extremely scarce, there were never more than 8,000 to 10,000 Arab workers employed by Jews. They worked there in spite of very extensive opposition exercised by the Zionists (picketing in orange groves and ???ion works, beatings up of Arab workers etc.)
Ben Gurion has often made socialist sounding statements like this:
“The Jewish workers will never be able to work 8 hours a day if the Arabs are able to work 10 and 12 hours a day. The Jewish worker will not be able to have his 30 Piastres a day if the Arab does this work for 15 Piastres and less.” (Our Land and Our Neighbours, page 74).
And not only this. On page 79 we read
The Histadrut (General Federation of Jewish Labour in Eretz Israel) is willing to accept all workers of Palestine, without distinction of nationality and religion.
However, these are only empty words intended to cover up the facts. In Tel Aviv town, where there are 200,000 inhabitants, there is not a single Arab worker; no industrial undertaking belonging to the Histadrut employs Arabs; no co-operative connected with the Histadrut has any Arab members. And when Solel Boneh (the contracting agency of the Histadrut) which contracts for millions of pounds, is obliged to take on Arab workers for military, government and municipal contracts, then it pays these Arab workers one third to one half the wage to a Jewish worker for the same work. Do the members of the British Labour Party know this?
It is true that the health, education and general standard of living has greatly gone up in Palestine as in all other countries of the Near East during the last 20 years. It is not our task now to examine what the Government has done or has not done in these fields, but the question is: What was the share of Zionism in this?
First of all, here are figures of direct relevance: out of 655,175 persons visiting Jewish hospitals in 1940, there were 2,038 Mohammedans, i.e. one third per cent. (Statistical abstract of Palestine 1941). It should not be forgotten here that some of the most modern Jewish hospitals, like the Hardrassa in Jerusalem, are sometimes honoured by the visits of eminent Arab personalities of the neighbouring countries like the Emir Abdulla, Premier Nuri Pasha es-Said, etc.
There is not a single Arab pupil in any of the numerous Jewish schools of the country. It is significant that when the rich Iraqi Jew - Kadoorie - left in his will a substantial sum for the erection of an agricultural school in Palestine, and the Government, in compliance with his wish, opened not only a Jewish but also an Arab school, the Zionist press from right to left raised a hue and cry.
Obviously Zionism is interested in a low level of health and education for the Arabs; a healthy people, with a certain degree of education, will not suffer to have its country taken away.
There is hardly a colony in the British Empire where we find an autocratic regime in such a pronounced form as in Palestine. There is no representation through parliament nor is there any advisory body. For this lack the Government advances the explanation that the Zionists would not agree to democratic institutions because they would then be in the minority.
These same Zionists in the whole world base their claim to Palestine and their demand for unlimited Jewish immigration on “democratic rights”.
For twenty-six years, Palestine has been ruled with emergency regulations. In this country it is possible to arrest anybody at any time and keep him in prison for years “administratively” - without the possibility of having his case dealt with through the ordinary channels of justice. All this is being “democratically” suffered by the Zionists, who ask for it for the sake of “maintenance of law and order.”
The Zionists very adroitly speak about their solidarity with the peoples fighting for their freedom such as the Abyssinians, Chinese etc. At the same time, they demand a strong hand against the Arabs. There are unfortunately many people abroad who do not realise how cynical the Zionist arguments really are.
Ben-Gurion surpassed himself when he said in an article in 1928:
“For the maintenance of peace in the country, for the protection of the masses of Fellahs from the big land-owners, for securing the immigration and settlement of the Jews and the right to a Jewish National Home - it is necessary to continue the control of the Mandatory Power” (!!).
Undemocratic regime - protection of the toiling fellah - Zionist expansion (i.e. expulsion of the Fellah) What do you make of it? Hypocrisy, cynicism or worse.
The almost complete isolation of the Jewish sector from Arab life has created a deep abyss between all classes of Arabs and the Jews in Palestine.
The Feudal Land-Owners - The majority of these are not only anti-Zionist but also anti-Jewish. They hate every change in the life of the country, longing for the past conditions of the feudal system. They therefore widely propagated terror and the annihilation of the Jewish population.
However, there are sections who are willing to compromise either with British Imperialism at the cost of Zionism, or even with both. An example of the former is Jamal Husseini, who has stated that he would be agreeable to see Palestine transformed into a Crown Colony of the British Empire if Jewish immigration were stopped. On the other hand, a number of land-owners have been found to co-operate with the Jews, since land sales to them is quite a profitable business. They enriched themselves with a few millions of pounds - so what did it matter to them if the Arab tenant was chased away and was, moreover, prevented from finding his way into the Jewish colony which arose on the land which he had tilled before? This latter section has many ties with the bourgeoisie and its most notable representatives are the Nashashibis.
The Bourgeoisie - It is neither developed nor independent. In its large majority it is of feudal origin and connected with the feudal class. It is mainly the comprador of foreign capital. The Arab bourgeoisie is shut out from key positions in industry, which are held by the British; the light industry is almost completely in the hands of the Zionists, and this naturally causes dissatisfaction in the ranks of the Arab bourgeoisie. However, due to its economic weakness, its dependence on foreign capital and its ties with the land-owning class, its opposition is not very consistent, and often ends in bargaining and compromise.
The Arab Working Class - The strongest resistance against the Zionists comes from the lowest class of Arab society, which has suffered most from the impact of Zionism. The tale told by Zionists abroad - that the Fellahs are not in themselves anti-Zionist but that they are being influenced by agitators from the feudal classes - is a brazen lie. Gradually an Arab workers’ movement is growing and so is its resistance to Zionism.
With the tremendous suffering of the Jews under the Hitler terror, the Jewish Problem has become burning and vital, and Zionism claims to solve this problem.
The revolutionary socialists have always declared that the fate of the Jews is linked with that of capitalism. Rising capitalism gave the Jews the opportunity to be absorbed into the economic life of America and Western Europe. (From 1881 to 1914 about 100,000 Jews emigrated to the United States every year). With the decline of capitalism, in the time of crisis, fascism and war, the world has become narrow and the problem of a people constituting less than 1% of humanity seems insoluble. The question of a few hundred thousand refugees looms large in the headlines. Countless conferences are held - instead of opening the doors of the USA, England and her Dominions, with their vast spaces and great natural resources. You may ask: Open the doors of the United States and the British Empire - why not of Palestine? From all that we have said above it should have become clear that the immigration of Jews to Palestine is fundamentally so different from that to all other countries that it is every socialist’s duty to oppose it.
Zionism exploits the utter misery of these refugees from its own propaganda. Its whole apparatus, its huge funds, the weight of its influence are used to convey the false impression to the world that only in Palestine can the Jews be saved. Concentration Camps – Transdnestrin - death on the bottom of the sea as in the case of the Struma death-ship, on one side - or salvation in Palestine on the other side: this is how Zionism represents the problem.
During its whole history Zionism has always supported the reactionary forces of the world. Dr. Herzl, founder of Zionism, made a secret deal with the Tsarist Minister Plehwe (organiser of the pogrom against the Jews of Kishinev) to the effect that the Zionist Movement be used as a lever against the Jewish socialists, in return for which Plehwe would use his influence with the Sultan to obtain a charter for Zionism on Palestine.
Not only did Herzl agree to help the Tsar but also the Turkish Sultan. At the time of the Turkish massacre of the Armenians, he was asked to help suppress this fact in the Austrian press. Herzl did everything he could to comply with this request, as he hoped that this might further his plans. (Proof of this can be found in his Diary, 2nd volume – 7th May to 8th July, 1896).
It is not an accident that one of the most ardent admirers of Herzl was the Aga Khan who was and still is a steadfast supporter of the British rule over India.
Neither was Herzl’s letter to the Grand Duke of Baden dated 10th July 1895 an accident.
It is clear that the settlement of a neutral people on the shortest road to the East can be of immense importance for the German Orient policy. Who may be meant by this? I mean the people which, par la force des choses, is obliged to join the revolutionary parties almost everywhere.
Herzl found most of his allies amongst reactionaries and “anti-semites will make propaganda for it with the governments, on meetings, in the parliaments and newspapers.” (Diary, June 15th, 1895). Herzl wrote the following about the realisation of Zionism: “The anti-Semites have won. Let them enjoy it, for we too will be happy. They won because they were right”. (15th June, 1895).
In view of such statements, was Lenin not right when he said that Zionism is the reverse side of the coin of anti-semitism; that Zionism is built on the belief in the continued existence of anti-semitism and hatred amongst the nations?
One could give many more examples of the close relation of Zionism with the leaders of world reaction. We shall, however content ourselves with one important illustration from history: the Balfour Declaration.
Who was Balfour? The cruel oppressor of the Irish, who called him Balfour the Butcher. This British Foreign Minister, who had, during the last war, associated with the Endeki government (the reactionary, anti-semitic, pogromist Polish party) granted “freedom” to the persecuted Jewish people!
It is not surprising that the Zionists, just as they sought British support, tried to get German aid too. This was the origin of the German “Balfour Declaration” by the then Prince Minister, Bethmann-Hollweg.
For the last 27 years, the Zionists have based themselves on the Balfour Declaration, which was signed by 52 capitalist governments, but not by the representatives of the Palestinian population. How about submitting the fate of Great Britain to the decision of USA, France, Italy, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil and Egypt? Is that democracy?
For 27 years the Zionists have been carrying out their aggressive expansion against the will of the Arab masses, supported by the bayonets of British Imperialism. Even when the relations between the Imperial master and his lackey are temporarily clouded, the Zionists never dare seriously to embarrass British Imperialism.
Thus, Mr. M. Ussishkin wrote:
A Palestine which is wholly Arabic means that sooner or later Great Britain will be forced to leave, just as it is gradually leaving Egypt. A Palestine which is largely Jewish means a political alliance cordiale ... between the Jewish people and the English. (Palestine Review, July 3rd, 1936).
Moreover, Ben Gurion declared at the 19th Zionist Congress: “Whoever betrays Great Britain (i.e. her imperialist rule) betrays Zionism.”
Almost all the Jewish workers in Palestine are Zionists. Why?
Firstly, they enjoy certain privileges over the Arab workers. The wage of Jewish labourer is twice or thrice as much as that of his Arab fellow-worker; the Jewish worker benefits from the existence of a powerful labour organisation which is recognised by government and supported by Zionist organisations. Though his standard of life is lower than that of a worker in the USA, England the Dominions, it is still higher than that of the Arab worker.
Secondly, the Jewish workers live within a closed Zionist economy and society.
Thirdly, the indifference of the allied governments towards the plight of the Jews in Europe makes the Jews here believe that there is no other rescue but Palestine.
Fourth, Zionism immediately met with strong enmity from the major part of the Arab population. Clever minds tried to direct this into the channel of hatred against the whole Jewish people. Instead of drawing the correct conclusion, namely that they should give up their ideas of Zionist conquest, the Jewish workers followed their Zionist leaders who declare that the strengthening of Zionism is a safeguard against the Arab danger.
However an Anti-Zionist wing bound to develop within the Jewish population, under the following conditions:
When the revolutionary wave of the fight against capitalism (the basic cause of anti-semitism) again rises in the world; when a strong proletarian movement will develop amongst the Arab workers of Palestine and the neighbouring countries, which will fight to the utmost any Zionist expansion but will defend the rights, of national and religious minorities, including the Jews.
There is no doubt that the end of the war will see gigantic social upheavals all over Europe and beyond her boundaries; and it is likely that as a result a growing number of Jewish workers in Palestine will leave the Zionist camp.
If the Jewish workers do not join the Arab struggle for liberation, the Jewish population will be used by Imperialism to strengthen its position in the Orient, and if necessary, the Jews will be sacrificed to the hatred of the Orient. Thus the fate of the Jewish State may become that of the Armenian State which was set up at the end of the last world war and was completely annihilated as soon as Imperialism ceased to bolster it up.
The expansion of Zionism is therefore, ultimately, a disaster for the Jewish masses living in Palestine. Only the collapse of Zionism - the sooner the better - can save the Jewish population in Palestine from such a fate.
There is a wing in Zionism whose avowed aim is peace with the Arabs and which opposes a Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine. Instead its advocates the “bi-national” state.
This wing is composed of two main parts; on the one hand the movement of the Hashomer Hatsair, supported by approximately 20,000 electors, and on the other, a small group of bourgeois liberals like Mr. Magnes and Kalvarisky.
Let us examine each one of them briefly:
The heading of the Hashomer Hatsair organ carries the following words: “For Zionism, for socialism and for solidarity between the peoples.” How does the Hashomer explain these phrases in its actual programme? In the speech by M. Yaari, the leader of his movement, before the Inner Zionist Executive Council on Nov. 10th, 1942, he furnished some explanations for the programme of his party. Thus he said:
Even if the Arab Federation comes true, it will only include those Arabs living in these countries. Assuming that there will be 12 million Arabs in these countries (Yaari apparently does not count Egypt, Tripolitania etc. as Arab countries) there are not less than 12 million Jews in the world who are in need of Zionist salvation. We are striving after a complete solution in the frame of Palestine and the surrounding countries, based on the equality of the Jewish and Arab peoples.
He also said:
The problem occupying all of us is: which is the most practical way for the Jews to cease to be a minority in Palestine? (Emphasis by M. Yaari). We must not close our eyes to the fact that our fate will be determined by the victorious powers and we shall not be able to obtain in one day’s time complete independence in Palestine.
Thus the Hashomer Hatsair is against a Jewish state in Palestine (1) because it is not satisfied with it; apparently its appetite is bigger than that of the official Zionists. It wishes not only a Jewish majority in Palestine, but also parity between the Arabs and Jews in Palestine plus the neighbouring countries. (2) It fears even more than official Zionism that it will be impossible to obtain in one day complete independence in Palestine. This is the essence of the doctrine of bi-nationalism and international solidarity of the Hashomer Hatsair.
Of course they are ready to live in peace with the Arabs on this basis. They only forget one small question: Can the Arabs accept this as a basis for peace?
Against the official Zionist programme known as the “Biltmore declaration” which demands the transformation of Palestine into a Jewish Commonwealth, they put up these points:
Therefore, the basis on which the Hashomer Hatsair intends to establish Jewish-Arab collaboration is as follows:
Taking over of all matters of immigration and settlements by the Jewish Agency, which will be concerned (as was its concern until today) with the “development of the Arab economy”. If the Arab workers despise the “socialists” of the Hashomer Hatsair and their ilk - do they lack class consciousness? And if the Hashomer Hatsair people do not take on a single Arab worker, and participate in picketing and similar “civilising” activities, does this not prove that they are the real socialist revolutionaries?
There are others - liberal bourgeois personalities like Dr. Magnes and Kalvarisky, who profess it to be their intention to live in peace with the Arabs. These men are not backed up by any movement. What is the political programme of Dr. Magnes and his group called “Thud”? In his letter to the Editor of the Economist dated 31.1.44, Dr. Magnes says:
The Thud Association is an ardent advocate of the Union of these four territories (Palestine, Transjordan, Syria and the Lebanon), not only because such a Union is historically sound, and perhaps inevitable, but also and primarily because we think such a Union can be of decisive help to the Jews. Such a Union would create the larger background out of which a more generous answer to the Palestine problem might be given. If there be this Union, which would bring together an Arab population of perhaps five millions, the Arabs of Palestine need no longer fear, as they do today, being swamped by a large Jewish immigration.
Palestine has over 500,000 Jews and over a million Arabs. What the Thud Association advocates is, that the Jewish population be permitted through immigration to catch up with the Arab population, that is, that another 500,000 Jews have the opportunity of entering Palestine.
But Dr Magnes still owes an answer to the following questions:
On the basis of a closed Zionist citadel, no Arab will agree to the additional entry of 500,000 Jews to the country. If, or the other hand, the walls of this citadel should crumble, then the Zionist idea will die a natural death.
Not only is the programme of Magnes, Kalvarisky & Co. utopian, but it is also openly pro-imperialist, because only imperialism can balance the scale between Zionism and the Arab national aspirations.
In a Memorandum written by the Brith Shalom Society (the name of this group at that time) on an Arab Policy for the Jewish Agency in 1930, they propose the following as one of the fundamentals for mutual understanding:
That the political status of the Mandatory Power in the country should be such as would ensure stability in the relations between the two peoples living in the country, maintain its public security, protect its frontiers and guard the specific interests, both British and International, of the Mandatory Power in Palestine.
At present, it is quite impossible to transfer from the Mandatory, responsible to the League of Nations, the responsibility for the government of the country and the enforcement of the Mandate, and place it upon a local representative Government.
It can be seen that this group, out of its love for peace, shrinks back from tackling the core of the problem, which is the fight against Imperialism and Zionism.
The Communist International from its inception opposed Zionism. Its basic conception of this struggle was as follows:
The new line of the Communist Parties no longer aims at the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism. It has ceased to stand for the abolition of the empires (on the contrary, the French Communists, support the Great French Empire and the British Communists support the unity of the British Empire). This new patriotic, pro-imperialist turn, and the dissolution of the Comintern, furnish a fitting background for a pro-Zionist attitude.
The beginning of this development was already discernible in the preface by W. Gallacher to the book by I. Rennap Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Question published in April 1942. After paying lip-service to anti-Zionism, from force of habit, Gallacher then proceeds to say:
As has already been observed, the ‘peculiarity’ of the Jewish minority in a capitalist country is that they are not a part of the main industrial army. It is a minority that follows on behind the main army. In Palestine the position is completely reversed. The ‘peculiarity’ of the Jewish minority there is that, because of its experience in modern science and Western technique, it is right in the vanguard, and could form the economic, social and cultural leadership of the Arabian peasant masses. What an opportunity the Jews have there yet, if they will but see it!
Workers who live a completely different life from that of the Arabs, Jewish workers are entirely out of touch with the national democratic problems of the Orient (such as the questions of the agrarian revolution, unity of the Arab countries etc.)! They are, according to Gallacher, supposed to be the vanguard of the Orient!
Instead of maintaining that only the fight of the Arab workers’ movement at the head of the masses of Arab peasants in Palestine and the Near East can end Zionism - and thus take the Jewish workers out of the Zionist camp - Gallacher calls the Jews the leaders of the Orient!
No wonder, therefore, that after such a preface, Rennap, whom Gallacher calls a good Communist, recommends Magnes, Kaplansly, and Kalvarisky (pages 86-87) as people who can show the way towards a solution.
We have already described their Zionist, pro-imperialist position, and the Communists must be in a pretty bad way if they lean on such authorities.
As in everything, the American Communists have outdone their British brethren. For example, the paper Morgenfreiheit, the Yiddish organ of the Communist Party of the USA) printed in its issue of 26.2.44 an article by one of the editors, under the heading The Struggle against the White Paper, attacking those non-Zionist Jews who dared oppose the draft resolution to the Congress Committee to transform Palestine into a Jewish Commonwealth.
The action taken by the anti-national elements in the Congress Committee was a blow for the persecuted and suffering Jewish masses, some of whom are trying to save themselves into Palestine.
About the White Paper they write
The White Paper was adopted in 1939 by the Chamberlain Government in England - the same Chamberlain who flew to Munich in order to establish permanent peace with Hitler, who pursued an appeasement policy in all fields. The White Paper was a result of his appeasement policy in Palestine.
The White Paper, of course, was an injustice. The world has moved a long way from such appeasement policies. The democratic countries are leading a life and death struggle against Hitler. The White Paper, which is a relic of that shameful Chamberlain period, must be cancelled. The interests of thousands of persecuted Jewish refugees who are seeking shelter in Palestine, demand this. It is the wish of all American Jews, without difference of opinion - Zionists and non-Zionists. Even the heads of the Council of Judaism, who are doing harmful anti-Zionist work, do not dare stand up against the demand for the repeal of the White Paper.
The Palestine Resolution which is under consideration by the Congress Committee, points to the persecution of Jews in Europe, and therefore the necessity of making available to them a Jewish National Home to save those who can escape. If the White Paper is put into force, it will indeed mean an aid for Hitler in his programme of the annihilation of European Jewry.
The resolution must be supported in its present form. Either there will be agreement on all points or not.
Thus, instead of demanding “Open the doors of America for the refugees” they support Zionism! Instead of the international socialist revolution which will solve the Jewish problem - the Jewish National Homeland!
It also seems that the Australian Communist Party has altered its standpoint towards Zionism. This is indicated by its support for the Zionist Youth Immigration Fund.
Unfortunately, the sparse news we receive from abroad is not very detailed, but it appears that this new line has met with no opposition from the Communist Parties anywhere, except of course, from those in the Arab countries.
It is also impossible to say to what degree the turn towards pro-Zionism in the policy of the Communist Parties is the result of an attempt of the Soviet diplomacy, without losing the sympathies of the Arabs to hinder a much as possible the Federation plans (As is well known, the Soviet Union opposes regional federations in all parts of the world) It should be remembered that when Maiski came to Palestine a few months ago, he only saw Ben Gurion and none of the Arab leaders But it is impossible to say with certainty what the official Soviet policy is at present. They have no fixed line and their zig-zag movements may bring them sometimes nearer to the Zionists and sometimes nearer to the Arab cause - depending upon the circumstances.
In any event, the Kremlin’s rapprochement with Churchill, Roosevelt and Smuts, its support of imperialism against revolutionary upheavals including colonial risings, and the renunciation of the socialist revolution which alone can solve the Jewish problem - prepare the ground for the official recognition of the Zionist ambitions by the Communist Parties.
For years the Zionist leaders have been trying to veil their real aims. In this connection. Ch. Arlosoroff (who later became head of the Political Department of the Jewish Agency) wrote in 1929:
“Such a discussion (i.e. of the Final Aims of Zionism) is out of place today. In any case, it is doubtful if a heated discussion of this kind will be of advantage to the vital interests of the Zionist movement. The later we start dealing with this subject, the better will it be for all those interested Zionism. The final formula we shall reach will necessarily be influenced by the relation of political forces in Eretz Israel” (Arlosoroff’s Works, The Ninth Dominion, pages 85/86).
It seems now that the Zionists deem the time favourable for an open offensive and for the revelation of their final aims. Their estimate is based on the following considerations:
Churchill was from the beginning against the White Paper. His colonial policy was always non-conciliatory towards the Indians, Arabs and other colonial peoples. Smuts, oppressor of the negroes, who form the great majority of the inhabitants of South Africa, quite naturally sympathises with the Zionist aspirations. Roosevelt, who needs the votes of the Jews in the coming elections, and who wants to show his concern over the refugee under-dogs - to be sure, without letting them into the United States - Roosevelt who wants to establish a foothold for American imperialism in the Near East and for this purpose would like to have Zionist support, certainly declares his love for Zionism.
At the beginning of the war, these politicians did not dare to show their claws. As Chamberlain gave the Arabs of Palestine their White Paper, so Churchill gave India her Cripps. To-day, with the prospect of winning the war much more certain than before, Churchill starts to speak in a different language. He asserted that he did not become His Majesty’s First Minister in order to preside over the dismemberment of the British Empire. Halifax recently said that the Indians will not be able to gain their independence after this war because of the Hindu/Moslem antagonism.
At the present moment, British Imperialism has escaped defeat by German Imperialism, and the danger of its destruction by the revolutionary uprisings of the colonial peoples and proletariat at home seems to be firmly settled and the Zionists want to use this opportune moment for a gigantic effort to grab and secure the best possible positions in Palestine.
But the Zionist march of conquest will be stopped.
During this war, the British workers have been increasingly demanding their rights; their collisions with the bourgeoisie and government will multiply and become fiercer in character, as well as with the Labour Party leaders who are calling for national unity and the maintenance of the Empire. The great strikes that have lately taken place in Great Britain are the first signs of their awakening.
The colonial peoples will demand their freedom with increasing vigour; they no longer want to wait for the coming of the “new world” promised at the beginning of the war.
The collapse of German Fascism will cause the revolutionary waves to go far beyond Europe; the downfall of Japanese Imperialism will set in motion a chain of colonial revolutions that will spread to the colonies under Allied rule.
The rising of the colonial peoples against all oppression and discrimination will help the revolutionary workers in the other countries. Britain’s workers will support the colonies in their struggle for freedom, forging a new international solidarity for the building of a new society.
Zionism will perish together with the rotten capitalist order.
Members of the Labour Party, workers, who in your hearts hate all oppression and discrimination we are asking you to protest against the draft resolution of the Executive Committee of your party to suppress and expel the Arab people from Palestine.
You will thus extend your hands to the Arab masses who are leading, together with their brethren in the other Near Eastern countries, a hard fight against oppression by a Zionist state.
With comradely greetings,
Last updated on 1.10.2005