First Published: Israel & Palestine Monthly Review, #65, January 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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SHASI, ISRAELI SOCIALIST LEFT Organization (P.O. Box 33076 Jerusalem and P.O. Box 9372 Tel-Aviv) was founded after SIAH collapsed, in the wake of the Left’s general disintegration, two or three years ago. SHASI is a small but important component of the Israeli radical camp. SHASI considers the issue of whether an Israeli defines himself as a Zionist as secondary, in terms of political organizing, and strives for joint action by Zionists, non-Zionists and anti-Zionists. A concensus exists inside SHASI over major issues; but minor differences exist over historical evaluation of the Zionist left and use of the term “Zionism” in explaining negative aspects of dominant Israel. During the 1977 electoral campaign, SHASI joined REKAH, the BLACK PANTHERS ORGANIZATION, and Arab non-Communist town Mayors in an electoral front, but since the elections SHASI’s work is mostly done independently, although it continues to support the front. The group has no Knesset representation.
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Zionism strives to solve the Jewish problem through territorial concentration. All currents in Zionism, including the left current, contend to the that Jewish reality justifies a particularistic solution. Therefore, territorial concentration becomes an end in itself, unconnected or even opposed to the general process of human progress.
The Zionist movement, even when under the leadership of Socialist-Zionism, carried out politics of class collaboration both in the Jewish settlement in Palestine and in the communities abroad. At the same time, the Zionist movement leaned on one imperialist force after the other, while ignoring the aspirations of the indigenous population.
Zionism has indeed achieved certain gains against a background of a series of international crises, but these achievements could not exceed the establishment of a bourgeois state linked with imperialism and in a perpetual state of war with the Arab surroundings.
Israel, which came into existence as the result of a combination of historical factors, is considered by Zionism as its main instrument. According to this view, the purpose of Israel is to advance the goal of Zionism, that is the territorial concentration of the Jews. Thus, Zionism intertwines with Israel which takes upon itself the goals and tasks of Zionism. Today, Zionist ideology and the “Zionist Movement” are simply tools in the hands of Israel’s rulers.
However, the existence of Israel and Israeli reality do not eliminate the very antagonism that Zionism hoped to eliminate.
Neither Zionism nor Israel have insured physical security to the Jews who have come to Israel. Neither Zionism nor Israel have overcome the alienation of the Jew. Zionism was only able to exchange the alienation of an oppressed minority for the alienation of nationalism.
The problem of Jewish physical security in Israel, like the problems stemming from anti-Semitism, remain on the agenda of the revolutionary movement. Only this movement can give the Jews roots here in the region, only it can form a Jewish identity wherein the Jewish and the general-humanistic aspects will reach a new unity.