Zionism and Marxism

Nationalism, internationalism, and history

Few topics attract such controversy as contemporary Israel. No other ethnoreligious conflict polarizes political opinion so completely, nor commands the same level of international interest, as that between the self-styled Jewish state and the large population of stateless Arabs which it continues to displace. In recent years, turmoil elsewhere throughout the Middle East almost eclipsed the decades-old dispute. But the massacre of unarmed protestors1 by IDF snipers along the Gaza border over the past few months, callously euphemized as “clashes” or “confrontations” in the Western press,2 has sparked outrage around the world.

Outrage seldom leads to insight, though, much less effective action. This is not to deny that Israel’s policies are outrageous, of course, since they undoubtedly are. Rather, it is simply to acknowledge that indignation is not enough to adequately grasp a problem — let alone arrive at a satisfactory solution. A more dispassionate approach is thus needed. Leon Trotsky liked to invoke Spinoza’s dictum, explaining that his objective was “not to deride, bewail, or detest human actions, but instead to understand them.”3 Here the materialist method of Marx proves well suited to the task, insofar as it allows human actions to be viewed in their concrete historical development, unclouded by moral prejudice or maudlin sentimentality.

While not quite neutral Weberian Wertfreiheit, this should at least prevent snap judgments and one-sided denunciations. Zionism is a particularly germane object of analysis, moreover, for it singlehandedly throws into relief a pair of questions which have long preoccupied Marxists: 1) the “Jewish question” and 2) the “national question.” Jewish nationalism, not just Zionism but also its Bundist nemesis, can then be related to the trend of Marxian internationalism in the workers’ movement of Eastern Europe. From there, the history of the present strife between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East may be broken into three consecutive phases. Starting with the Yishuv or Jewish settlement in post-Ottoman Palestine under British colonial rule, through the foundation of modern Israel in 1948, up to its eventual emergence as a regional superpower in 1967 and beyond, the article will move in chronological order.

In what follows, then, the argument is divided into two main sections, each divided into three subsections, with a conclusion at the end.

I. Questions Jewish and national

A. Marxism and the Jewish question

1492 marks a watershed in the prehistory of capitalist society, and is relevant to this investigation for a couple of reasons. First of all, because it was when Columbus stumbled upon the Americas, hoping to find a shorter sea route to India. Second, because the joint monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile issued the Granada Edict on March 31 that same year, mandating the Jews’ expulsion from Spain. What Marx in Capital dubbed “primitive accumulation” involved not just racialized chattel slavery across the Atlantic and indiscriminate slaughter of indigenous peoples, but also the mass exodus of Spanish Jews.4 Loren Goldner has highlighted the significance of the “blood purity” laws instituted thereafter to later ideas about race, although for the time these “remained enmeshed with medieval conceptions.”5 Despite not being identical to capitalism proper — the specific relations of which took root in the soil of British agriculture — primitive accumulation nevertheless represented a necessary precondition for its materialization.

The so-called “Jewish question” first began to take shape during the period of bourgeois revolution. Jews flocked to Amsterdam following the 1572-1585 Dutch Revolt, where they were at last permitted to exercise their religion from 1622 on. Many resettled in England at the invitation of Oliver Cromwell circa 1653. Finally, French Jews were granted citizenship and full equality under the law by the official decree of September 27, 1791. Stanislas Marie Adélaïde, Comte de Clermont-Tonnerre, offered the universalist doctrine: “Everything for the Jews as citizens, but nothing as a nation!”6 (Less than three years later, 16 Pluviose Year II [February 4, 1794], France would extend similar rights to its black populace by abolishing “slavery among the negroes in all our colonies.”)7 Certain provisions were rolled back by Napoleon, but for the most part the Jews benefited immensely from his conquests. Restoration after 1815 meant going back to pre-1789 strictures for all unconverted Jews, but legal emancipation gradually spread in most states over the course of the nineteenth and into the twentieth century. Wherever the ancien régime fell, Jewish communities in Europe won gains hitherto unknown in the diaspora.

Until 1848, conversion was nevertheless required for any Jew wanting to participate in modern political life.8 (Marx’s friend, the poet Heinrich Heine, famously quipped that baptism was his “admission ticket” [Entrée-billet] to European culture).9 Already by the early 1840s, however, astute commentators discerned that the Jewish question was not religious but secular in essence.10 For Marx, it was merely a symptom of a much larger question: namely, the “social question” posed by industrial capitalism and its concomitant proletarianization of society. He saw the Jew as a cipher for capital, representative of the money-economy par excellence, untied to any land.11 This was more due to “the real position of the Jews in civil society today” than cultural differences of diet, costume, or confession.12 Since they found themselves in this predicament wherever these productive relations prevailed, the only answer was to overthrow the entire existing order. Or, as Marx put it, “emancipation of the Jews into humanity… [should] not be conceived as a special task for the Jews, but as a general practical task of abolishing the inhumanity of present-day society.”13

In the second half of the nineteenth century, however, alongside numerous improvements to the Jewish lot, popular antipathy steadily gathered force in Western Europe.14 Even Enlightenment philosophers such as Kant and Fichte, both ardent supporters of the French Revolution, described the Jews as “vampires of society” [Vampyre der Gesellschaft] or else a sort of “state within the state” [Staat im Staate].15 Now with the unification of Germany in 1871, and with the advent of the Third Republic in France shortly thereafter, civic and romantic nationalism gave way to “biological” racism inspired by Arthur de Gobineau and groups such as Wilhelm Marr’s Antisemitic League.16 German and French Jews, by then largely assimilated, were disturbed by what they saw as a medieval throwback or sudden recrudescence of bygone hatreds.17 Put differently, they failed to recognize its truly unprecedented character. When Engels tried to address the problem of rising antisemitism in 1890, he likewise dismissed it as “the reaction of moribund feudal strata against modern bourgeois society.” Antisemitism’s existence in a region, he added, “is proof there is not yet enough capital there.”18

Lenin followed Engels closely in this regard,19 insisting that antisemitism was anachronistic (a “residue” or “survival” of serfdom) or bound to soon die out (“this ignorance is passing away, as people’s eyes are opening up”).20 Trotsky was convinced that Jews would sooner or later be absorbed by their respective host nations, integrated into the wider population seamlessly. By the 1930s, though, this no longer seemed a likely prospect. “Earlier in life,” he admitted in a 1937 interview with the Jewish Daily Forward, “I leaned toward the view that Jews around the world would assimilate into the cultures they lived among, and the Jewish question would thereby disappear in a quasi-automatic fashion. Historical development over the last quarter of a century has not confirmed this perspective. Decaying capitalism has everywhere exacerbated nationalism, a part of which is antisemitism, so that the question looms largest in the most developed capitalist state in Europe, Germany.”21 One of Trotsky’s followers, the Belgian revolutionary Abram Leon, claimed “the decay of capitalism renders the Jewish question insoluble within its purview.”22 Just two years after this line was written, Leon was sent to the ovens at Auschwitz.

Following revelations of the Judeocide, leftwing intellectuals revisited the question.23 Besides Trotsky, none of them had foreseen “the physical extermination of the Jews.”24 Many Marxists found it difficult to account for the catastrophe that had befallen European Jewry within the framework of traditional histomat. Some, like the critical theorists Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, now came to see antisemitism as an effect of modern bourgeois relations, rather than a precapitalist holdover: “As bearers of this new mode of life from country to country, Jews earned the resentment of those who suffered under that system.”25 The late Moishe Postone explained in a 2010 conversation that in the antisemitic worldview, “the abstract domination of capital is personified as the Jews.”26 In a less academic vein, others have reached the same conclusion, noting the pervasive tendency to “personalize capital” across the political spectrum.27 Resolving the Jewish question is therefore bound up with the social question as a whole, still others point out, as “the perpetuation of antisemitism goes ‘hand-in-glove’ with the continuation of capitalist methods of production.”28

Zionism promised respite for the Jews, a return to the ancestral homeland, somewhere they could finally live without fear of persecution.29 Nationhood cannot deliver on this promise, though: at best, it just kicks the can down the road; at worst, it complicates their plight further.30 “Under conditions of US imperial decline, the ruling class might use antisemitism to save themselves, thus fulfilling Rosa Luxemburg’s prophecy that Zionism only provides the chance for a concentrated pogrom,” warns Hillel Ticktin.31 Here the national question enters in. But the Nationalitätenfrage is not strictly coextensive with the Judenfrage, despite their shared timeframe, so it must be treated separately.

B. Marxism and the national question

German rabble-rousers in the past were kept apart by the tiny states in which they lived. It was clear to conspirators that no effective blow could be struck under these circumstances… Now some draw the correct conclusion, from a revolutionary angle, and direct their eyes to the union of Germany. This evil idea must be conquered.

— Klemens von Metternich, 1819

Various dates have been proposed for the origin of the “nation-form,” its appearance as a distinct unit of ethnic, linguistic, and cultural affiliation.32 Bordiga held the Hellenic city-states, the Macedonian Empire, and Imperial Rome to be ancient equivalents of the modern nation, drawing upon Engels’ Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884), though there are doubtless limits to this analogy. Kingdoms and principalities throughout Europe under feudalism were by contrast subnational, based on personal bonds of lordship, vassalage, and enfeoffment. These were held together by oaths of fealty, hierarchical obligations to those further up the chain. Christendom during this period was supranational, linked by a common ritual stretching over many lands via the Latin tongue.33 It was the decline of dynastic realms and centralized religious authorities, along with the rise of print media, that lent nationalism such appeal as an alternative source of solidarity. Older loyalties were thus slowly supplanted by these newer “imagined communities.”34

Nations in the narrow sense of the word entailed unitary domestic markets, removal of feudal privileges, and standardized grammatical conventions — in short, the consolidation of bourgeois rule. According to Bordiga’s timeline, at least, this occurred sometime during the eighteenth century.35 Eric Hobsbawm, the Marxist historian, suggested 1780 as the definitive turning-point, around the time that French republicans eschewed the États généraux (which privileged the clergy and nobility) in favor of the Assemblée nationale (representing “the whole people”).36 Patriotic symbols came to predominate, as national flags replaced papal insignias and heraldic coats of arms. Hobsbawm underscored the radical novelty of the nationalist idea, tracing its subsequent trajectory over the nineteenth century. 1848 may have seemed like the dawn of an international revolution to Marx and Engels, but it was popularly remembered as the “Springtime of Nations” [Printemps des peuples], or the awakening of “smaller nationalities.” Forty years on, with the founding of the Second International, debates about the national question acquired a special urgency among socialist parties.37

Sadly for their immediate disciples, neither Marx nor Engels ever elaborated a systematic response to this issue. Marx had mostly stressed the proletariat’s intrinsic internationalism. “While the bourgeoisie of each nation retains national interests, modern industry has created a class which in all nations has the same interest and for which nationality is already dead,” he jotted in an 1845 manuscript.38 Engels had reasoned similarly in an article published the year before: “The proletarians of every country have one and the same interest, one and the same enemy, and one and the same struggle. By their nature, they are free from national narrowness; their disposition is essentially humanitarian, anti-nationalist… Only proletarians can destroy nationality.”39 In their coauthored 1847 Manifesto, Marx and Engels once again reiterated that “modern industrial labor, modern subjection to capital, the same in England as in France, in America as in Germany, has stripped the proletarian of every trace of ‘national’ character.”40 A few pages later, their well-known retort: “Communists are reproached for desiring to abolish nationality, but the working class has no country to begin with.”41

Poland and Ireland would seem notable exceptions to this rule, seeing as Marx and Engels gave priority to national struggles in those countries. Yet their rationale for doing so was highly specific in each case: in the case of Polish independence,42 it was intended to disrupt the reactionary bloc of Prussia, Austria, and above all Russia; in the case of Irish independence, it was intended to loosen England’s stranglehold over the rest of the globe. Russia and England had been bastions of counterrevolution throughout the nineteenth century, outposts of stability while Europe elsewhere descended into chaos. Franz Mehring, one of Marx’s first biographers, wrote: “Just as Marx regarded the Polish question as a lever for overthrowing Russian dominance, so he regarded the Irish question as a lever for overthrowing English world dominance.”43 Hence for Marx and Engels, the rallying-cry “Long live Poland!” meant no more than “Death to the Holy Alliance!”44 Similarly, they believed that liberating Ireland would open the floodgates of popular unrest in England.45 Everywhere their stance on particular national questions was subordinated to the question of international revolution.

Generalizing from these examples is tricky, though, especially given Marx and Engels’ deprecatory attitude toward the aspirations of Southern Slavs,46 “nonhistoric peoples” [geschichtslosen Völker]47 whose independence would supposedly strengthen tsarist Russia.48 Nevertheless, the Marxists of the Second International undertook to rearrange these scattered statements, bestowing upon them greater coherence than they originally possessed. As the Social-Democratic movement grew, tensions arose between workers from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. It should come as no surprise, then, that the national question was posed most acutely in vast multinational states such as the Russian, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian Empires. The theories that came out of the debates around the turn of the century were of uneven quality, but can be divided into three major strands: 1) those of Renner, Bauer, and the Austromarxists; 2) those of Luxemburg, Pannekoek, and Trotsky before October 1917; and 3) those of Lenin, Stalin, and the Bolsheviks.49 Rosa Luxemburg’s pointed criticisms of national self-determination will be bracketed for now.

Karl Renner’s brief 1899 pamphlet State and Nation portrayed the issue of multiple nationalities coexisting within a single state as a purely administrative concern, to be addressed by “canton councils,” governing bodies that would handle education and cultural affairs.50 Otto Bauer’s treatise on The Question of Nationalities and Social Democracy (1908) featured a far more impressive theoretical apparatus, of a neo-Kantian cast, providing much richer descriptions of national character and related phenomena. But its prescriptions were practically indistinguishable from Renner’s. “Each nation ought to independently satisfy its own cultural needs,” he argued, “while the state limits itself to protecting those interests that are a matter of indifference.”51 But such proposals had very little application outside of Austria-Hungary, observed Pannekoek.52 He accused Bauer of pandering to cheap patriotic sentiment, of trying to “win over the working class to socialism by acting more nationalistic than the capitalists.” Pannekoek, whose views more or less paralleled those of Luxemburg, derided this tactic as “national opportunism.”53 Lenin was evidently quite impressed with this formulation, citing it in a 1914 talk next to the underlined comment: “Bauer’s basic error is his refined nationalism.”54

When it came to his own theorization of national questions, Lenin exhibited the same basic ambivalence as Marx: on the one hand, unswerving internationalism; on the other, qualified endorsement of movements for national liberation. “Marxism cannot be reconciled with nationalism,” he declared late in 1913, “whether of the ‘most just,’ ‘purest,’ most refined and civilized brand. In place of all forms of nationalism, Marxism advances internationalism — i.e., the amalgamation of all nations in a higher unity.”55 And again a few months later: “Class-conscious workers fight against every kind of nationalism, both the crude, violent Black Hundred nationalism, and the ‘refined’ nationalism that preaches splitting up the workers’ cause according to their nationality.”56 Still, Lenin endorsed the right to national self-determination insofar as it might destabilize the international capitalist order, with revolt in the colonial periphery triggering a revolution in the metropolitan core. “The dialectics of history are such that the smaller nations, so powerless as an independent factor in the global struggle against imperialism, can still play a part as one of the ferments or bacilli which prepares the real anti-imperialist power, the international socialist proletariat, to burst onto the scene,” he contended.57

Luxemburg disagreed with this gamble, which she felt made for strange bedfellows — “alliances with any Tom, Dick, and Harry [mit Krethi und Plethi]”58 — and which she suspected would not lead to communism. For better or worse, the sordid history of national liberation fronts in the twentieth century seems to have vindicated her on this score. Yet Lenin’s contention did not seem so farfetched at the time. Paul Mattick would later remark in 1959 that “the postwar renaissance of nationalism contradicts both Lenin and Luxemburg on the ‘national question,’ since the era of anticolonial uprisings is still not over, but these no longer serve world-revolutionary ends.”59 Either way, the national question converges at this point with the Jewish question on the subject of Jewish nationalism.

C. Jewish nationalism and European socialism

Between 1881 and 1945 or so, the spirit of nationalism gained ground amongst Jews living in Eastern Europe. Unlike their cousins in the West, who were fairly well-integrated but numerically fewer, they had been fenced off into a contiguous urban ghetto known as the Pale of Settlement. Almost a world unto itself, it contained all the socioeconomic strata found in more developed nations: “a financial bourgeoisie as elsewhere, but without much influence; below that a middling bourgeoisie, intellectual and commercial; and finally the vast Jewish proletariat.”60 Nationalist ideology, which had followed Bonaparte across the Elbe in 1812, began to seize the consciousness of the Pale’s five million Yiddish-speaking inhabitants as Russia approached the fin-de-siècle. The proximate cause for this newfound sense of ethnic solidarity was the wave of pogroms that broke out following the assassination of Tsar Aleksandr II.61 Intermittent anti-Jewish riots would continue over the next four decades, reaching a crescendo around 1902-1903. The government response to the pogroms could range anywhere from passive indifference to active incitement as the years wore on.62

East European Jewry during this period was also favorably disposed to socialist ideas. Of course, the most significant segment of this population was the seething mass of socialistically-inclined workers. So there was a great deal of overlap and crosspollination between Jewish nationalism and Marxian internationalism across the region. Historians hold that these ideological tendencies, which pulled in opposite directions and yet were held simultaneously by many working-class Jews, sprang from the same source: the breakneck pace of industrial modernization.63 Modern capitalist production corroded the foundations of traditional life in the Pale, which cleared the way for cultural renewal.64 Rudiments of organized labor soon arose, or were imported from the West, as contact was made with mainstream Social-Democracy. Jewish proletarians adopted its party and trade union structure, learning the latest slogans and rhetoric from their Western comrades. When nationalist ideas began to permeate these milieux during the 1890s, however, they were met with harsh rebuke by internationalists in the socialist movement (many of them Jews), who saw such ideas as divisive.65

Despite the steady barrage of criticism, rival strains of nationalism kept up their pursuit of Jewish workers, recruiting from one another’s ranks. Two strains stood out: Bundism and socialist Zionism.66 Bundism was the worldview of the General Union of Yiddish Workers in Lithuania, Poland, and Russia, otherwise known as the Bund. Initially it promoted legal equality for Jews across borders, but later championed “national-cultural autonomy” à la Bauer. From the outset, Bundists considered themselves part of the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party, but their relationship was always fraught.67 Labor Zionism was the worldview of the “Workers of Zion,” otherwise known as Poale Zion. Poale Zion consistently advocated full political sovereignty for Jews within fixed geographic borders. Although it worked alongside other socialists, Poale Zion was its own party.68

Zionism originated with Theodor Herzl as a nation-building initiative in 1896, but its longue durée stretches back further. Moses Hess, widely seen as a precursor to Herzl, announced his “solution to the Jewish problem” as early as 1862, whereby the Jews would repatriate to Palestine.69 He had been a mentor to Marx, Engels, and other Young Hegelians two decades earlier; Alexander Ruge nicknamed him “the communist rabbi.”70 Engels fucked Hess’ wife in September 1846, causing them to fall out.71 Jean Longuet, Marx’s French grandson, voiced his support for the Zionist enterprise in 1918,72 praising Lenin and Woodrow Wilson for their spirited defense of nations’ “right to self-determination.”73 Borochov, the progenitor of Marxist Zionism, attended one of Lenin’s Belgian lectures shortly before the Great War, lingering afterward to pick his brain on the Jewish and national questions.74 Unsurprisingly, the Bolshevik leader thought Borokhov was confused. David Ben-Gurion, who took over the centrist faction of Poale Zion after Borokhov’s death up to his tenure as Prime Minister of Israel, reportedly told Isaac Deutscher in 1958 that “there was one man who could have saved the whole world, but alas, he missed his opportunity: Lenin.”75 (Allegedly Ben-Gurion boasted of having read all forty Russian volumes of Lenin’s work).76

At least in Eastern Europe, formal Bundist organizations preceded their Zionist counterparts by almost a decade.77 Whereas the Bund formed in October 1897, just a couple months after the inaugural World Zionist Congress convened in Basel, Poale Zion only formed in March 1906. Vladimir Medem, a prominent spokesman for the former, proclaimed that the Jews were a nation unto themselves, but preferred institutional to territorial autonomy.78 Confronting Trotsky at the 1903 meeting of the RSDLP, Medem asked him whether he was a Jew or a Russian. “I’m a Marxist,” Trotsky immediately shot back.79 Medem was friendly with many Zionists in Swiss exile, but distrusted Herzl and was underwhelmed by Weizmann’s oratorical abilities.80 Still, he got along with them far better than with his socialist contemporaries. For instance, Medem despised Lenin, calling him “a born dictator,” while Trotsky was “Lenin’s cudgel” and Luxemburg was a spiteful bitch.81 Like Poale Zion, the Bund was unsure if it should align with the fragments of the Second International or join the Comintern after 1918. The majority of Bundists chose the first option, slouching toward reformism in the interwar period.82 Oddly, the proletarian Zionists proved far more radical during this stretch of time.

Poale Zion’s tempestuous growth after the revolution of 1905 caught nearly everyone off guard, not least of all the Bundists.83 By contrast with their competitors, Borokhovites were adamant in their insistence on “territorialism” — the notion that Jews required a physical homeland in which they could be sovereign. In an early programmatic piece, “The National Question and Class Struggle,” Borokhov emphasized that “the fundamental prerequisite of production is the territory.”84 For members of Poale Zion, the only reason Palestine appeared a viable location was the spontaneous Jewish migration to the area from 1896 to 1906. “Our Palestinism is not a matter of principle,” read their charter, “because it has nothing to do with old traditions.”85 Eretz Israel eventually became more central to its platform.86 Joseph Roth, the Austrian-Jewish author, thus related in one of his journalistic pieces:

The only consciously proletarian East European Jew is the Jewish worker. He tends to espouse socialism of various hues, and is thereby less of a Jew than his bourgeois or semiproletarian coreligionists. Less of a Jew, even if he is a Jewish nationalist and Zionist. But the most nationalistic Jewish socialist is the Poale Zionist, who aspires toward a socialist state in Palestine. Many Jewish workers belong to the socialist or communist parties of the countries where they live, making them Polish, Russian, or Romanian socialists. Social issues invariably take precedence over national ones. “National self-determination” is an intellectual luxury for a group that has nothing more serious to worry about… Yet if any nation is justified in seeing the “national question” as essential to its survival, it is surely the Jews… forced to become a “nation” by the nationalism of others.87

Zionism differed very little in this respect from diasporic nationalisms at the time. WEB Du Bois, the father of pan-Africanism, speculated that “the African movement means to black Americans what the Zionist movement must mean to Jews.”88 Regardless, Borokhov barely lived to see the revolutions of 1917. After he succumbed to pneumonia in December, the bulk of Poale Zion signed up with the communists.

In recent years, Bundism has been made the object of a curious nostalgia. Leftists, who are always eager to signal support for the nationalist strivings of historically oppressed peoples, want a form of Jewish nationalism without either the body count or strategic US backing of Zionism. The Bund seems to represent a “path not taken,” a readymade alternative to the present (albeit one lost to time, which perhaps just enhances its allure). Samuel Farber thus wistfully recounts “Lessons of the Bund,” extolling its doctrine of doikayt. “Hereness,” as it roughly translates, maintained that the right place for Jews was where they already lived.89 “Bundists believed in fighting where Jews were, not escaping to colonize someone else’s land,” another writes, accentuating their difference from the Zionists.90 Marxists a hundred years ago, who regularly encountered both, did not find them so dissimilar. Georgii Plekhanov joked that the Bundists were “Zionists suffering from seasickness [sionisty, boiashchiesia morskoi kachki].”91 Plekhanov’s protégé, Lenin, undoubtedly concurred with this judgment, repeatedly blasting their motion to segregate schools and workers’ clubs by nationality.92 Very few sober and evenhanded retrospectives have been written on the Bund; most of them fall prey to romanticization. Quixotic nationalism offers an easy escape.93

Obviously, this brief sketch does not exhaust either Bundism or Zionism. Kombundists, who received their orders from Moscow, formed a sizable minority within the Bund. Zionism also included more moderate representatives like Weizmann, to say nothing of rightwing hardliners such as Jabotinsky. Weizmann was likewise familiar with “Plekhanov and the arrogant Trotsky” from Switzerland, and was once mistaken for Lenin in Capri.94 Jabotinsky came across Borochov in 1913, and was upbraided for “militant Hebraism.”95 Anyway, both Bundists and Zionists — not to mention Jewish communists! — fought bravely against Nazism: Bernard Goldstein and Marek Edelman belonged to the Bund; Simcha Rotem, Yitzhak Zuckerman, and Emanuel Ringelblum to left Poale Zion. It would be frivolous to tally the casualties of each group, though, especially when the real point is that Bundism and socialist Zionism were both nationalist deviations from revolutionary Marxism. Today they are relevant only as past instances of community self-defense (somewhat akin to the Black Panther Party in 1960s America).96

II. Arabs and Jews in Palestine

A. Palestine in the shadow of imperialism and fascism

The geopolitical landscape of the contemporary Middle East is incomprehensible without knowing the last hundred years of imperialist maneuvers. Early in the twentieth century, most of the region was still ruled by the Ottomans, although the French and British had made substantial inroads. World war hastened the sultanate’s downfall, leading to the establishment of a “mandate” system, in which France and Britain would oversee the territories relinquished. Problematically, however, both powers had previously given guarantees to the subject peoples then under Istanbul’s thumb. Hoping to weaken their wartime foe, a series of negotiations were rapidly conducted: first, the McMahon-Hussein correspondence of 1915-1916; next, the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916; last, the Balfour declaration of 1917.97 Virtually all of the persistent ethnoreligious conflicts that one hears about in the region to this day — between Jews and Arabs in Israel/Palestine, Sunnis and Shi’ites in Yemen and Iraq, Christians and Muslims in Lebanon, Kurds and Persians-Turks-Arabs in Kurdistan/Iran-Turkey-Syria-Iraq — can be traced back to how the Middle East was carved up around 1920.

Balfour’s statement, approving “a national home for the Jewish people,” effectively rescinded all the prior promises made to the Arabs. Mutual mistrust soon set in between these two communities, as ethnic hostilities spilled out onto the streets. Settlers continued to pour in to the Yishuv from Europe and America, undeterred by news of violence. Jews from Hashomer Hatzair (“Young Watchmen”) began emigrating en masse in 1919-1920, bringing a collectivist ethos from Galicia.98 “Zionism may well have started as a bourgeois movement, but its only guarantors are young Poale Zion proletarians,” reflected the antiwar author Arnold Zweig in 1920. “For all that is built, worked for, and created in Palestine is done by those molded by this character.”99 On May Day 1921, the newly-formed Palestinian Communist Party (PKP) sought to capitalize on the rapid influx of wage-laborers to the region:

The Jewish worker has not come to persecute you, but live with you, and is ready to fight on your side against the capitalist enemy, be it Jew, Arab, or British. If capitalists incite you against the Jewish worker, it is in order to protect themselves from you… You cannot fall into this trap; the Jewish worker, soldier of the revolution, has come to offer you his hand as a comrade in resisting British, Jewish, and Arab capitalists. We call on you to fight against the rich who are selling their land and their country to foreigners. Down with British and French bayonets; down with Arab and foreign capitalists!100

With the defeat of the proletarian revolution by 1923, or its containment to Russia, the internationalist spirit of these lines ebbed away. Beginning already in 1924-1925, the overwhelmingly Jewish PKP pivoted away from the emphasis on combined class struggle towards uncritical embrace of anticolonial Arab nationalism. Poale Zion’s Palestine branch meanwhile remained a multitendency organization until the end of the twenties, despite splits in the movement elsewhere. Yet its reformist majority followed an increasingly exclusivist line, before breaking off to become Mapai in 1930.101 Kibbutzim sometimes hired Arab farmhands, but prohibited their membership. Non-Jews were not allowed in the General Federation of Hebrew Workers, or Histadrut, either.102 Hashomer Hatzair was the only labor Zionist group that put forth any effort to cultivate relations with its Arab neighbors. Until it dissolved into Mapam in 1947, it was alone in pushing for a binational state.

Revisionism, an irredentist current within Zionism, began to amass adherents after the bloodshed of 1929. Named for its demand that the mandatory borders be revised to encompass “greater Israel” [Eretz Yisrael Ha-shlema], the chief proponent of this view was Vladimir Jabotinsky. Encouraging his ultranationalist countrymen to march on sites sacred to both Muslims and Jews, in a carefully calculated provocation, he managed to goad Arabs into brutally attacking the protesters. Antisemitic incidents took place across the country, with full-fledged pogroms occurring in Hebron and Safed. Fatalities were about equal, as the British colonial military suppressed the riots and the Jewish paramilitary Haganah [Defense] exacted reprisals.103 Jabotinsky’s position was buttressed by fears of a forthcoming Arab backlash, which he used to portray Weizmann as weak (forcing him to resign as president of the Zionist Organization). When mounting tensions again led to war in 1936, Jabotinsky took it as an occasion to crack down on the Marxists and various other “traitors” to the Israeli nation. Opposition within the Yishuv was intolerable to an authoritarian personality such as Jabotinsky.104

Indeed, in his blistering 1937 polemic against “The Brownshirts of Zionism,” the council communist Abner Barnatan did not hesitate to call Jabotinsky a “fascist.”105 (This was not such an uncommon comparison in those days; Ben-Gurion would call Jabotinsky “Vladimir Hitler” to his face). Barnatan had just narrowly avoided capture at the hands of the Nazis, and was staying in Tel Aviv as the Great Revolt began. Jabotinsky’s revisionist maxim, “Judea will be reborn in fire and blood,” had a distinctly Bismarckian ring to it, and he openly admired Mussolini. Hence Barnatan was hardly the only observer to notice the similarities; Albert Einstein wrote an open letter to the New York Times in 1948, taking aim at the terrorist disciple of Jabotinsky, Irgun’s Menachem Begin. “Lately Begin speaks of freedom, democracy, anti-imperialism,” wrote Einstein, “but not that long ago he preached the fascist doctrine of the state…”106 Within three decades, however, Begin was Israel’s prime minister. Primo Levi, who was quite far from an anti-Zionist (he saw Israel as a “lifeboat” for the Jews),107 added his voice to a chorus charging Begin with fascism in 1982.108 Comparisons of Zionism with Nazism — i.e., the unimaginative “Zionazi” refrain — are usually gratuitous and distracting, as even Finkelstein concedes,109 but in this case a rather specific analogy is being drawn.

Extremists also triumphed on the Arab side during this time, as moderates were executed in 1939 at the behest of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.110 A strident nationalist, Husseini extended his support to Hitler and Mussolini, writing that “the Arabs are the natural friends of Germany, because they have the same enemies: the British, the Jews, and the communists.”111 Such rhetoric was disturbing to Jewish refugees from Europe, who traveled to Palestine in hopes of escaping antisemitism. Gershom Scholem lamented in one of his last notes to Benjamin that “Nazi propaganda has more of an effect among the Arabs than is usually admitted, and that is a bitter pill to swallow.”112 On the whole, Zionists tend to conflate Christian/“Occidental” with Muslim/“Oriental” antisemitism, ignoring the latter’s clear derivation from the former in order to construct a unitary “Islamofascist” adversary.113 Derivative or not, though, anti-Jewish hatred is no less potent transposed into another environment, and should not be excused by Israel’s chauvinistic treatment of the Arabs. Hamas’ notorious 1988 charter shows how easily these tropes can flourish outside the West.114

Mandate Palestine lasted a mere twenty-eight years. From the start, the thin strip of land proved to be more trouble than it was worth. Britain sought to rid itself as swiftly as possible of this artifact of interimperialist war. Throughout its brief existence, the national struggle of Jews and Arabs was waged against the backdrop of a fascist counterrevolution in Europe. Leaving aside the scandalous deals that both Arab nationalists and Zionists tried to make with the Nazi government,115 the memory of imperialism and fascism would haunt their subsequent political destinies. Colonialism receded from the capitalist periphery, and dictatorship from the capitalist core, but each informed a postwar movement which strove for self-determination within the same territory.116 Perhaps for this very reason, the Palestinian case epitomizes the insoluble contradictions of capitalism past its expiration date, and society’s inability to resolve any of its burning “questions” so long as it persists.

B. Israel, or the antinomies of self-determination

An article published in Mosaic last November asked, “Who saved Israel in 1947?” Its author immediately responded that it was Stalin as much as Truman: “Not only did the Soviet Union under Stalin vote for partition, it was also the first country to recognize Israel de jure, barely three days after independence. Well before the United States, it spoke in favor of the Jewish state.”117 Few remember these facts nowadays, though, in light of the countries’ poor diplomatic rapport after 1950 or so. Sometime in the mid-fifties, the USSR instead threw its weight behind Nasser, Egypt, and Arab socialism, all sworn enemies of Israel. Given such a stark reversal, one wonders why the Soviets had ever supported the young Hebrew nation. But the rationale given at the time was straightforward: “the right of nations to self-determination.” Underlying this stated rationale, of course, was an ulterior motive that was no less obvious: “the search for anti-Western partners in the Middle East.”118

Once news of the European Judeocide had spread, world leaders felt obliged to address the question of a Jewish homeland. Zionism, which never before enjoyed the support of even the majority of Jews, now suddenly felt a surge of popularity. Even the Soviets, who refused to humor Zionist proposals as long as the Comintern still existed (it was disbanded in 1943), started to entertain the possibility of partition. The USSR’s representative to the United Nations, Andrei Gromyko, thus introduced the proposal on May 14, 1947. “No Western state has so far been able to ensure the elemental rights of the Jewish people,” Gromyko explained. “It would be unjust to deny the Jews their right to establish an independent state, particularly in view of all they endured during the war.”119 Months of debate ensued, but when the plenary reconvened on November 26, Gromyko repeated that “the decision to partition Palestine is in keeping with the principle of ‘the national self-determination of peoples.’ Study of the Palestinian question suggests that Jews and Arabs there do not want to live together.”120 Just three days later the decision passed.

Communist support for Jewish self-determination in the region did not end at that, of course. With war on the horizon, CPUSA members rallied to the defense of the fledgling nation. Roughly ten thousand communists took to the streets of New York City, chanting “Arm the Haganah!” or “Save the Jewish State!” Bands played the Hakitvah, Israel’s national anthem, and others waved the blue and white Magen David flag (patterned after that of the Warsaw Ghetto).121 Driven out by bombing campaigns perpetrated by Irgun and the Stern gang, the British imposed a stiff embargo prohibiting arms sales to the Israeli military. Feeling pressure from its closest ally, the US vacillated. However, Stalin instead picked up the slack, selling Ehud Avriel surplus firearms and munitions through Czechoslovakia — 10,000 Mauser P-18 rifles; 4,500 ZB-37 heavy machine guns; 3,000,000 rounds of 7.92 mm. bullets.122 Pilots received training at airfields in České Budějovice and Hradec Králové, where they flew nine retrofitted Messerschmitt-109s.123 Units comprised of Czechoslovak volunteers went to serve in Palestine, apparently inspired by the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War.124

Israel won its war of independence by March 1949, thanks largely to the assistance of the USSR. Arabs living in the region experienced Israel’s victory as an unmitigated catastrophe, or Nakba. Over six thousand Israeli Jewish soldiers and civilians were killed, versus about ten thousand Palestinian Arab soldiers and civilians (plus five thousand more soldiers in the Pan-Arab expeditionary force).125 Yet the overall cost for longtime inhabitants of the territory was far greater than such figures indicate. More than 700,000 refugees were left by the so-called “population transfer.” Some of them left as part of the temporary evacuation order put out by Arab leaders, whereas others were forcibly evicted, but none were permitted to return once armistice took effect. Villages were emptied, and neighborhoods cleared. “Genocide” would not accurately characterize the events of 1948, as the anti-Zionist historian Ilan Pappé makes clear, but this scarcely diminishes the horror: “Ethnic cleansing is not genocide… It does, however, carry with it atrocious acts of butchery and death… Thousands of Palestinians were savagely killed by Israeli troops of all backgrounds, ages, and ranks.”126

Not long after the Palestinian Nakba came the expulsion of Jews from Arab and Muslim countries. Jewish communities which had existed there peacefully for hundreds of years vanished almost overnight. Pogroms broke out in Damascus, Algiers, Tripoli, Tunis, Baghdad, Cairo. Where they had been citizens — in Libya, Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq — Jews found themselves denaturalized, stripped of rights, subject to exorbitant taxes and fines, their property forfeited or confiscated. 800,000 Mizrahi and Sephardi fled between 1948 and 1972. Retaliatory or not, the banishment of this population turned out to be a massive blunder. Far from undermining the “Zionist entity,” Israel was vastly strengthened in the process, since most of the Jews thus banished made their way to Tel Aviv and Haifa.127 At the same time realignment was taking place as Israel’s allegiances shifted westward, first to France and then the United States. Understandably, Stalin felt betrayed, and lashed out against anyone suspected of harboring Zionist sympathies.128 Communists of Jewish descent were rounded up and put on a show trial, most memorably Rudolf Slánský and eleven other “Zio-Trotskyite” saboteurs in the Czech party hanged in 1952. Even today Jewish communists are often accused of being soft on Israel, despite opposing it like any other bourgeois state.129

However, some Marxists continued to defend Israel after 1948 by invoking the principle of nations’ “right to self-determination.” One noteworthy example was Hal Draper, not a Stalinist by any means, who nevertheless condemned those who had invaded Israel — “some of the most backward kingships and dynasts of the world, semifeudal oppressors of the Arab people…” For what was their goal in all this? “This reactionary invasion was launched with but one end in view,” Draper elaborated, “precisely to deprive the Israeli people of their right to self-determination.”130 Raya Dunayevskaya reaffirmed in 1978 that “the first Arab war against the state of Israel was anything but revolutionary, for the unifying cement of the feudal Arab states was opposition to Israel, which does not suffice to make kings and emirs ‘revolutionaries’.”131 During the 1960s, she felt that progressive Arab nationalisms had at last crystallized, although “Ba’ath and Fatah have their origins in fascism.”132 Yet Dunayevskaya upheld Israel’s autonomy: “Israel has just as much right a to exist as any country, and on matters other than self-determination, Marxist-Humanists do not take sides.”133 Many pro-Israel leftists were also outspoken supporters of anticolonial movements, like the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, a major voice for Algerian liberation in the 1960s. Sartre earlier welcomed the arrival of Israel, writing in 1949 that while he “always hoped the Jewish problem could be resolved within a human community unrestricted by boundaries… no developing society can skip the stage of national independence, and so must be glad Israel has come into the world.”134

But it remains unclear why Stalin, or indeed anyone influenced by the Leninist doctrine of a national right to self-determination, would choose to back the tiny Jewish protectorate in Palestine and not the Arab masses who surrounded it. Lenin’s own misgivings about nationalism in the region are instructive in this regard. He explicitly stressed “the need to combat pan-Islamism and similar trends that strive to combine the liberation movement against European and American imperialism with efforts to strengthen the positions of the mullahs and khans.”135 In 1932, Trotsky consulted a certain “comrade Nathan” of Left Poale Zion, concerning the matter of Palestinian liberation:

On the question of the events in Palestine, I am right now only gathering material. In particular, I await the arrival of a Marxist from Palestine. Comrade Nathan of Poale Zion is sending me much that is valuable… I find [Nathan’s] letters very interesting, because they give me a far better sense of the Palestinian situation. This presents me with an opportunity to express a more concrete opinion on the 1929 riots and make out to what degree and in what proportions Arab national liberation (i.e., anti-imperialist) movements are tied to reactionary Muslims and antisemitic pogromists. All these elements were present.136

Most Trotskyists today would be embarrassed to learn their founder attempted to enlist a group like Poale Zion to the Left Opposition.137 Trotsky was no Zionist, to be sure.138 Still, his latter-day followers could use a reminder about the reservations he had backing national liberation fronts freighted with reactionary components. Only the most debased Trotskyist sects lend “critical but unconditional support” to Islamist groups like Hamas,139 while Stalinist remnants like the PFLP poll at around 3% in the occupied territories. Even selecting among these meager options leaves the bankrupt ideology of national liberation intact; a century of dead-end struggles should cast doubt on the entire premise.

Algeria’s independence from French colonialism was not so dissimilar from Israel’s independence from British colonialism. It led to the 1963 Nationality Code, which granted citizenship only to Muslims, or rather individuals whose fathers or paternal grandfathers were Muslim, by jus sanguinis.140 Quite clearly, this bears close similarity to Israeli laws granting automatic citizenship to anyone who has at least one Jewish grandparent. Before France’s exit, almost 140,000 Jews lived in Algeria. Fewer than fifty live there today. Israel’s violence toward Arabs in the region has likewise led to widespread displacement of a long-established group. Reforms typically associated with bourgeois revolutions were reversed in both cases: the old secular Code Civil was replaced with Islam as the state religion in Algeria; Britain’s modified millet system, inherited from the Ottomans, was replaced with a state-run rabbinate in Israel. Such examples are never strictly isomorphic, but both illustrate the serious shortcomings of national liberation ideology.

Historian Arno Mayer asserts that “once Lenin and Wilson, grand ecumenical adversaries, had universalized the Western idea of territorially-bounded national self-determination, there was no keeping it out of the Middle East.”141 Aspirations to autonomy set Arabs and Jews in Palestine on a “collision course” in the wake of Britain’s withdrawal. Despite the extraordinary circumstances of its inception, “[t]he contested and bloody birth of Israel was like the foundation of practically any nation-state.”142 Wars of colonial independence after 1945 were often accompanied by ethnoreligious strife. For example, the liberation of India from British rule in 1947 also led to a partition, dividing Hindus and Muslims. Over one million people died, and some fifteen million were uprooted.143 EMS Namboodiripad, one of the Marxist-Leninists who championed national independence in these years, later reflected: “Not only was the country partitioned, but the division between the two religious communities ended in some of the worst carnage in human history.”144 Pakistan was of course able to found a state, something Palestine has so far been denied. Violence lies at the root of every modern state, however.

C. 1967 to the present

To bring things up to date, a number of phenomena will have to be compressed in this last subsection: the 1967 Six-Day War, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, two intifadas, and the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza that has lasted twelve years now. Given certain limitations of space, the treatment each receives here will be greatly abbreviated. But it goes without saying that these are complex issues, about which more could be said.

1967 was an obvious milestone in the history of the conflict. First of all, because Israel’s decisive military win secured its status as a regional superpower. Second, on account of the way the map was redrawn following the ceasefire. Prewar paranoia turned to postwar euphoria, as the IDF made short work of the Arab armies up and down the Sinai Peninsula. Annexations and occupations soon followed: East Jerusalem, Golan Heights, Gaza, the West Bank. The Israelis “thought they had won,” Segev notes ironically in his chronicle of the war.145 Deutscher drew quite different conclusions in a dialogue published shortly thereafter: “None of the problems that confront Israel or the Arab states have been solved. On the contrary, the all-too-easy triumph of Israeli arms has simply aggravated the old issues while creating new (and more dangerous) ones. Israel’s security has not been increased, as it is today more vulnerable than it was before June 5, 1967.”146 Reading these lines fifty years later, seeing the garrison state Israel has become, it is difficult to disagree with Deutscher’s appraisal. Upon reexamination, Segev concludes much the same.147

Yom Kippur 1973 was not so one-sided. At least in the beginning, the Egyptian and Syrian forces caught the Israeli army off-guard. The IDF regained its footing after the first week, and inflicted three times as many fatalities as it suffered. In spite of the sudden turnaround, Israel’s supreme self-assurance was deeply wounded, while the prestige of its enemies (Sadat, Assad) soared. However, this did little to change the situation of Palestinian refugees, which was miserable as ever.148 When Sadat visited Israel on 19 November 1977, and met again with Begin at Camp David the following September, the Palestinians were left out of the peace negotiations: “Egypt got back the Sinai Peninsula, to the very last inch of it, at the cost of leaving the occupied territories under Israel’s absolute control.”149 Mubarak took over after Sadat’s assassination three years later, but the bilateral agreement held. Civil war meanwhile raged in Lebanon, with Israel backing the Maronite Christian Phalange against Arafat’s PLO militias in Beirut. Having secured its southern border with Egypt, over 100,000 Israeli troops were deployed to Galilee in 1982 with the intent of crushing the Palestinian fedayeen. Begin’s ploy backfired, though: the IDF failed to get rid of Fatah, committing dozens of war crimes in its two-year Lebanese expedition.150

One unforeseen consequence of Israel’s incursion to the north was the creation of the Shi’ite fundamentalist group Hezbollah, which was backed by theocrats in Iran. Yet this was part of a broader shift across the region, as secular Arab nationalism was swapped for religious Islamic fundamentalism — i.e., “a phenomenon which is modern, not traditional, and capitalist, not feudal,” but is for that reason all the more reactionary.151 Discontents continued to pile up in Gaza and the West Bank, where the stabbing of an Israeli businessman, followed by a car accident that claimed seventeen Palestinian lives one day later, resulted in general revolt throughout the occupied territories.152 Initially, the December 1987 revolt had all the familiar markings of class struggle, the self-activity of the Palestinian working class. Soon Israel brought in the hamstrung PLO, which for years it had tried to destroy, to manage the spontaneous uprising (which took Arafat, then in Tunisian exile, by complete surprise), but by that time it was too late: the Intifada was on. “Virtually every day in the first few weeks of the uprising was a general strike,” Andrew Rigby recalls.153 Now a Sunni equivalent of Hezbollah emerged.

Fatah formally recognized Israel’s right to exist near the end of 1988, but Israel stayed coy about engaging in talks until 1993.154 It was during this interim that Hamas threw down the gauntlet against Fatah for leadership of the Palestinian resistance. The Marxist journal Aufheben vividly depicts the early days of the Hamas-Fatah rivalry in a 2002 piece:

A bitter turf war took hold over who was top guard dog on the Palestinian streets. Nationalist gangs were already in rehearsal for their future role as guardians of bourgeois law, order, and property relations. With the intifada steadily exhausting itself, the proletariat in the Occupied Territories was decimated by factional infighting and so-called “collaborator killings,” as more Palestinians were killed by other Palestinians than by Israeli forces in spring of 1990. Many “collaborators” were looters or class struggle militants. Others were part of fairly new groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad… which wished to undermine the PLO but not replace them. Hamas’ more-militant-than-thou competition with Fatah was aimed at guaranteeing themselves a role in the character of the future Palestinian state… as they rejected the very idea of a secular bourgeois state. For Hamas, a Palestinian state by definition had to be a Muslim state. Islamism is a modernist political movement, which nevertheless harkens back to precapitalist forms. Thus, like fascism, it can position itself against both communism and capitalism (its political opposition to capitalism is in reality moral opposition to “usury”). Like antisemitism and anti-Americanism, it is a form of pseudo-anticapitalism.155

By 1993 the First Intifada wound down. Saddam Hussein of Iraq, seen by many Palestinians as the last great hope of the Arab world, was isolated after his disastrous war with the Gulf states. Palestine could no longer count on his support. Yitzhak Rabin swept back Labor into power in Israel after a decade of Likud.

All this led toward the meeting of Arafat and Rabin, ratifying the the Oslo Accords. Their historic handshake on the White House lawn inaugurated the interminable “peace process” of the nineties. Oslo also set up a semiautonomous statelet in Gaza and the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority. Despite no major concessions being granted, many were optimistic for the first time in ages. Rabin’s assassination in 1995 at the hands of a religious Jewish extremist came as a shock to everyone, but Peres promised to press on with the deal. Eleven suicide bombings were carried out over the next couple years, though, mostly targeting buses and marketplaces. Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attacks.156 Jewish terrorists had also carried out sporadic killings, of course, most famously Baruch Goldstein in 1994,157 but the systematic wave of bombings leading up to the 1996 elections pushed Israeli politics sharply rightward. Likud prevailed over Labor, ushering world-class shitstain Bibi Netanyahu into office. Netanyahu’s double-dealings and bad faith buried the peace process over the next three years, until a corruption scandal temporarily torpedoed his career in 1999. What little was left of Oslo fell apart with Arafat in 2000.158

It was Ariel Sharon, another inveterate Israeli hawk, who set off the Second Intifada. Provocation was surely the aim of Sharon’s “impious pilgrimage” to the Temple Mount, site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the fateful morning of September 28, 2000.159 Riots broke out immediately, as Palestinian Jerusalemites hurled stones at worshipers visiting the Western Wall. Police fired rubber bullets at the protestors, but shortly switched over to live ammo. Four Palestinians were killed, with roughly two hundred wounded. Soon the news spread and crowds across the occupied territories took to the streets. Hundreds were murdered by IDF soldiers during the next two months, and thousands more wounded or imprisoned. A couple off-duty Israeli reservists in Ramallah were captured and then lynched — dragged from their cells, disemboweled, bodies set ablaze — in a widely-televised incident. Using overwhelming firepower and force, the IDF responded with its usual heavy-handedness. Martyrdom became the default modus operandi, not only for Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but also the secular Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and even the nominally Marxist PFLP. Civilians in Israel were targeted by a string of suicide attacks, nearly thirty a year between 2001 and 2005.160

Just over 3,000 Palestinians died during the uprising, versus just over 1,000 Israelis. The Second Intifada drew to a close in mid-2005. No sooner had hostilities ended than the IDF disengaged from Gaza. Vacated settlements and abandoned Israeli infrastructure were subsequently disassembled and scrapped for pieces. Elections in Gaza brought Hamas to power in 2006, prompting a bloody civil war within the Palestinian Authority. Fatah retained its hold on the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but ceded Gaza to the Islamists. Governing forced Hamas to finally “go legit,” renouncing bus bombings in favor of mortars and rockets. Because Hamas refused to recognize Israel, a stifling economic blockade was imposed on Gaza that remains in place to this day. Periodic attacks on Tel Aviv and Beersheba resulted in predictably disproportionate Israeli counterattacks, in the form of airstrikes and even ground invasions (such as Operation Cast Lead in 2009 and Operation Protective Edge in 2014). While the IDF claims to exclusively go after terrorists, ordinary Gazans bear the brunt of these assaults. In this respect, at least, the latest bloodshed along the border is emblematic of the entire post-2006 era.

III. Results and prospects

Israel plays an outsized role in the imagination of both its apologists and detractors. For the former, who more or less parrot hasbara talking-points, Israel is almost uniquely benevolent. One hears all sorts of ideological nonsense: Israel is “a light unto the nations,”161 the IDF is “the most moral army in the world,”162 its government is “the only democracy in the Middle East.”163 But for the latter, who simply recite BDS press-releases, Israel is almost uniquely malevolent. Here the hyperbole is inverted: Israel is “the Zionist entity,” the IDF is “guilty of incremental genocide in Gaza,”164 its government is “a settler-colonial apartheid state.”165 Apologists often complain that Israel is unfairly scrutinized, that every action is put under a microscope. Detractors counter that this focus is deserved, in light of the “special relationship” Israel cultivates with the United States.166 Lenin’s metaphor of “bending the stick” in one direction, so as to straighten out a crooked narrative,167 comes to mind. Each side claims to be merely correcting widespread media misinformation, however, with all the resultant confirmation biases.

Comparisons, especially of the historical variety, are often misleading. Gaza since 2005 has occasionally been compared to Warsaw Ghetto, for instance, and attacks on Israel compared to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943. While the IDF’s counterattacks on Gaza have been savage, killing around 1,500 in 2009 and 2,300 in 2014, the Nazi response to Jewish partisans was of a wholly different order of magnitude. More than 300,000 Warsaw Jews were gassed and shot dead over a six-week span. South Africa under apartheid is another favorite historical comparison, with Israelis as the Afrikaner Boers and Palestinians as the native black population. The British-Israeli socialist Moshé Machover, today a Labourite but formerly of Matzpen, argues that “analytically speaking, this label does not strictly apply to Zionist colonization. Using ‘apartheid’ as invective might be a satisfying way of venting one’s feelings, and perhaps can serve as effective propaganda shorthand, but people begin to believe Israel is another South Africa and thus can be dealt with in a similar way.”168 Other longstanding anti-Zionists, like Chomsky, concur: “Within Israel itself, while there is severe discrimination, it does not compare with South African apartheid.”169 If comparisons must be made, it is wiser to look for analogues which are closer, both in space and in time.

Viewed through the prism of the Middle East, Israel resembles many of its neighbors in terms of its mistreatment of a large ethnoreligious minority. Restricting oneself just to US allies, several names jump out as guilty of major human rights violations: Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Turkey, a NATO member and US ally that plays host to several of its nuclear missile siloes, has killed more Kurds since 1978 (45,000 dead, just going by its own estimates) than Israel has killed Palestinians since 1948. Egypt is likewise a military dictatorship friendly with the US, and persecutes Coptic Christians on a regular basis. Saudi Arabia, another US ally, is currently maintaining the blockade of Yemen to its south that, with an estimated eight million at risk of starvation. “Paradoxically, Begin and Sharon are realizing an old Zionist dream,” Primo Levi commented in 1982, “turning Israel into a Middle Eastern country. But they are doing it in the worst possible way, adopting the demagogy, instability, and unreliability that marks out so many rulers in that area.”170 Still, if Israel is no worse than other bourgeois states in this part of the world, it is certainly also no better.

“Every nationalism begins with a Mazzini,” remarked Rudolf Rocker in a 1927 letter to fellow anarchist Max Nettlau, “but in its shadow lurks a Mussolini.”171 Yet this warning has gone unheeded for a century. Picking and choosing between “good” and “bad” nationalisms today has become something of a sport on the Left, as leftists take sides in various ethnonational conflicts around the globe. A spectator sport, of course, since they have no influence whatsoever over the outcome, but a sport all the same. Usually they take the side of the underdog in any given conflagration, cheering on the “nationalism of the oppressed.” Lenin at the end of his life distinguished “the nationalism of an oppressor nation and that of an oppressed nation,”172 but he never called upon socialists to support either one. Nationalist symbols are flaunted, a country’s colors flown, even if the liberation fronts of old have long since lost their Marxist-Leninist tinge. Garcon Dupont remarks:

Class consciousness (the imperative to undo the class relation) and internationalism (antinationalism) are the hard-won response to competing parochialisms. The old political slogan of class-conscious internationalism (“no war but class war”) discloses the rallying cry for a “Free Palestine” as a retreat from the possibility of human community… Leftist support for reactionary nationalism on grounds of siding with the underdog is preposterous and repugnant: a wanton irrationality. Whomsoever brandishes the Palestinian flag sustains the category of nationhood. Yet left sentimentalism is also intelligible. Of more interest than ostensible pop-frontist rationalizations of “my enemy’s enemy” is the how of leftist support for nationalism, which appears in its protest against the demolition and bulldozing of what has been defeated… For the Left always seeks out ways of returning to historically-obsolete modes like religion, the nation-state, sentimentalized cultural specificity… And indeed, this search for ways back is the Left’s main ideological function. Historically, it has fallen to communists to refute this backward drifting of the Left (understood as opportunism and blatant racketeering). National liberation is untenable and in any event incompatible with the human community: no state, no religion, no class are invariable demands communism makes upon society. There cannot, and must never be a “free Palestine.”173

Monsieur Dupont, the older brother, already castigated pro-Palestinian postures in his glorious 2009 diatribe on Nihilist Communism:

Self-determination is an anti-imperialist aspiration that hinges on the idea of one state being the proletariat of another — an assumption grounded in fetishizing victimization and studiously ignoring local tyranny (or explaining it as a natural response to global tyranny). Communists consider every form of nationalism and representative politics based on religion or ethnicity to be false, designed to obscure processes of capital accumulation being carried out by nascent bourgeois factions in the liberation movement… Ideologies of liberation are used to promote their economic self-interest and repress internal class struggle. Put simply, leaders of Hamas do not carry out suicide bombings themselves, and we see from the example of the IRA or ANC how mafia-style operations can hide behind revolutionary pretense until the appropriate moment for its butterfly-like emergence to respectable bourgeois status. The Israeli working class is as proletarian as the Palestinian working class, so there is obviously no side for revolutionary communists to take in this battle. If we were to encapsulate our position into a slogan it would read for the Palestinians: the struggle against Israel begins with the struggle against Palestine; and for the Israelis: the struggle against Palestine begins with the struggle against Israel.174

Josh Moufawad-Paul, Maoist blogger extraordinaire, has thus written an angry review of Dupont’s book: “Nearly half of this is dedicated to defending Zionism and complaining about Palestinian self-determination while using half-assed and poorly thought-out pro-colonial and pro-imperialist logic. Anyone who thinks this garbage is useful is a Eurocentric chauvinist.”175 (In fairness to Dupont, of course, his remarks on Palestine only take up about five of Nihilist Communism’s three hundred pages). Dupont replies obliquely: “Misapprehensions about the nature of its object have resulted in a malicious representation of our critique of leftist support for Palestinian nationalism as ‘pro-Zionism’.” Hence why, Dupont explains, “nihilist communism is only concerned with those contributory factors which situated Israel as the culmination of failed European national liberation projects; the function of the exceptionalist hatred directed towards Israel and forms taken by anticolonialists desiring to appease that hatred; the Left’s reference to Israel as embodiment of a Jewish archetype controlling the world.”176

A similar point was made by Wolfgang Pohrt some thirty years ago, again with reference to Israel-Palestine. “Militant leftists do not see this idiotic conflict between two ethnic nationalisms as an occasion for helplessness or resignation,” observed Pohrt. “Rather, they welcome it as an opportunity for getting involved, fanatically taking sides, and diving into ‘national liberation struggles’ with the full force of conviction.”177 Liberation is meaningless at a national level, unless tied to international revolution, since any new nation-state will be immediately brought under the fold of the global system of capital. By the way, this is what prevents national liberation fronts from ever mounting a serious threat to the capitalist order: national autonomy is forever subverted by the heteronomy of capital. Pohrt was therefore right to stress that “the national liberation struggle of the PLO does not aim to abolish exploitation or oppression, but instead seeks to obtain the conditions for their replication.” With Israel-Palestine, the problem is thus emphatically not that the conflict is lopsided, as if everything would be okay so long as the casualties were even on both sides — the problem is the national form of all the proposed “solutions.”

Kurdistan is instructive in this regard. Many socialists have felt impelled to offer solidarity and support for the besieged Kurdish fighters trapped in the Syrian warzone. Their national question goes back somewhat further,178 to the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and spoils of World War I. Gilles Dauvé summarizes the issue well in his 2016 piece on the “reality and rhetoric” of Rojava. “Some Kurds have been forced to act in the conditions they find, amidst an internationalized war unfavorable to emancipation,” he dryly states. Nevertheless, despite his charitable introduction, Dauvé concludes that prospects for a social revolution there are slim. “Democratic confederalism” and related disavowals aside, any attempt to transition out of capitalism absent a coordinated, simultaneous seizure of power by the international working-class would take the form of a nation-state. It would be yet another misbegotten effort to build “socialism in one country.”179 For as Marx always insisted, “the emancipation of labor is neither a local nor a national, but a social problem, embracing all countries where modern society exists, and depends for its solution on the concurrence, practical and theoretical, of the most advanced capitalist countries.”180 Even Bordigist groups that stick to the old Leninist line on liberation movements reject its feasibility for Kurds and Palestinians.181

The Second International slogan about the “equality of nations,” taken up by Lenin,182 was one of its weaker innovations. Nowhere does this notion appear in Marx’s writings, and Luxemburg was right to reject it. “A ‘right of nations’ which is valid for all countries and all times is nothing more than a metaphysical cliché of the ‘rights of man’ type,” she wrote in 1908. “Dialectical materialism, the basis of scientific socialism, has broken once and for all with such ‘eternal’ formulae, as the historical dialectic shows there are no ‘eternal’ truths or intrinsic rights.”183 Just as Marx criticized vague phrases about the “equality of classes” in the Lassallean Gotha Program of 1875,184 so must Marxists today demonstrate that these theoretical ideals are practically unrealizable under capitalism. Engels explained in his Anti-Dühring (1877) that the demand for equality among the various classes of society has its sole rational content in abolishing class divisions tout court.185 So the demand for equality among the various nations of the world has its sole rational content in abolishing national divisions tout court.

Zionism at one point appeared to be a “nationalism of the oppressed,” if only for a short time around 1948. Its main nationalist rival, Bundism, went up in smoke like ashes rising from the crematoria at Auschwitz. For most of its history, Zionism had been fairly marginal to Jewish politics. “Recall that the majority of East European Jews were opposed to Zionism until the outbreak of World War II,” Deutscher informed an audience in 1964. “The Zionists in our part of the world constituted a significant minority, but they never succeeded in winning over the majority of their coreligionists.”186 Only in retrospect did the idea of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East take on an air of inevitability. Even then, “the triumph of Zionism did not flow from some sort of ontological necessity or implacable logic of history but was rather the avatar and result of the most irrational phase of our era.”187 Hersh Mendel, considered by Brossat and Klingberg “the very archetype of the Yiddishland revolutionary,”188 followed this path: he was first a Bundist, then a Bolshevik, next a Left Oppositionist, finally a Zionist.189

Deutscher, who had been Mendel’s comrade in the Trotskyist section of the interwar KPP, found it hard to sustain his own earlier opposition to Zionism after 1945. With a heavy heart, he confessed: “My anti-Zionism had been based on an historical confidence in the European labor movement, or more broadly European civilization, which proved to be unjustified. If I had urged European Jews to go to Palestine, instead of arguing against Zionism in the twenties and thirties, I might have helped save some of the lives that were later extinguished in Hitler’s gas chambers.”190 Still, Deutscher hastened to clarify that this did not mean he had suddenly become a Zionist; it just meant no longer an anti-Zionist. And indeed, many communists have since criticized the narrowness of anti-Zionism in particular,191 and any politics which fixate on the prefix “anti-” in general.192 Like antifascism, deemed by Bordiga the worst product of fascism, anti-Zionism is the the worst product of Zionism, since it simply pits one part of bourgeois society against another instead of getting rid of the whole thing.193

Regardless, this does not mean Zionism, fascism, or imperialism should not be opposed. Nationalist ideology must be fought wherever it rears its ugly head. Zionism, like every other form of nationalism, divides the workers from one another and their own objective class interest. Once in power, nationalists will turn on any leftists who were naïve enough to make common cause with them, and suppress independent organizations of the working class. For workers, it does not matter whether they are exploited by foreign or domestic capitalists. Their enemy is international capitalism, which honors neither arbitrary border nor national division. Every particular oppression they experience — racial, sexual, national — is integral to the universal relation of wage-labor, and can only be effectively challenged by challenging the capitalist system as a whole. “Partial” struggles, as some have called them, are nonstarters because they cannot be knitted together into some sort of rainbow coalition.194

Perhaps an anecdote and a parable can serve as a coda to this saga. In a 2010 essay, the Israeli author Amos Oz relates: “When my father was a little boy in Poland, the streets of Europe were covered with graffiti saying ‘Jews, go back to Palestine.’ Or sometimes worse: ‘Dirty Yids, piss off to Palestine!’ And when he revisited Europe fifty years later, the walls were covered with new graffiti that said ‘Jews, get out of Palestine’.”195 This illustrates quite well the bind Jews have found themselves in throughout their history. Finally, the parable that Deutscher told his audience in 1967:

A man once jumped from the top floor of a burning house, in which many members of his family already perished. He managed to save his life; but as he was falling, he hit someone standing below, breaking that man’s legs and arms. Of course the jumping man had no choice. Yet to the man with the broken limbs he was the cause of a grievous misfortune. If both men behaved rationally they would not become enemies. For the man who escaped the blazing house would, upon recovery, attempt to help or console the other sufferer, while the latter might realize he was a victim of circumstances beyond their control. Look at what happens when they behave irrationally, though. The injured man blames the other for his misery, vowing to make him pay for it, while the other, afraid of the crippled man’s revenge, insults and kicks him whenever they cross paths. So the kicked man once again swears revenge, and is again punched and punished. Eventually this enmity, so fortuitous at first, hardens and overshadows the whole existence of both men, poisoning their minds.196

As Trotsky wrote to Lazar Kling in 1932, “the Jewish question is international, and cannot be resolved through ‘socialism in a single country.’ Jewish workers know their fate is linked to that of the entire proletariat.”197 Indeed, if communism promises anything, it is a future without homelands, a world in which people can live wherever they damn well please.

— Walt Auerbach

1 Apologists for Israeli militarism will no doubt object that some of the protestors were actually armed, making them legitimate targets. Pebbles, slingshots, and so-called “arson kites” do not constitute a credible threat to Israeli civilians, however, hardly justifying the use of deadly or even crippling force.
2 For example, Isabel Kershner and Iyad Abuheweila. “Israeli Military Kills 15 Palestinians in Confrontations on Gaza Border.” New York Times. March 30, 2018. Also Erin Cunningham and Hazem Balousha. “Gaza Border Clashes Resume Between Palestinian Protesters and Israeli Forces.” Washington Post. April 20, 2018.
3 Baruch Spinoza. “Political Treatise.” Translated by Samuel Shirley. Complete Works. (Hackett Publishers. Indianapolis, IN: 2002). Pg. 681. Leon Trotsky. History of the Russian Revolution [1928]. Translated by Max Eastman. (Haymarket Books. Chicago, IL: 2008). Pg. 353.
4 “The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement, and entombment in mines of the indigenous population of that continent, the beginnings of the conquest and plunder of India, the conversion of Africa into a preserve for the commercial hunting of blackskins, etc., all characterize the dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic procedures are the chief moments of primitive accumulation.” Karl Marx. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1 [1867]. Translated by Ben Fowkes. (Penguin Books. New York, NY: 1976). Pg. 915.
5 “We say ‘proto-racism’ because, even when a specific notion of ‘blood purity’ [limpieza de sangre], underwriting an idea of ‘purity of (Christian) caste’ [lo castizo] began to be implemented in Spain ca. 1450, its aim was still to distinguish Christians and Jews. Nevertheless, the Inquisition, which recognized lo castizo only for those who could prove they had no Jewish ancestry… for three generations, thereby anticipated the Nuremberg laws by nearly 500 years.” Loren Goldner. “Race and the Enlightenment, Part 1: From Antisemitism to White Supremacy, 1492-1676.” Race Traitor. (August 1997).
6 Léon Poliakov. The History of Antisemitism, Volume 3: From Voltaire to Wagner [1968]. Translated by Miriam Kochan. (University of Pennsylvania Press. Philadelphia, PA: 2003). Pg. 217.
7 Albert Soboul. The French Revolution, 1787-1799: From the Storming of the Bastille to Napoleon [1962]. Translated by Colin Jones and Alan Forrest. (Vintage Books. New York, NY: 1974). Pg. 11.
8 “The triumph of reaction on the continent under the Holy Alliance deprived Jews of most newly-won rights. For individual Jews baptism then became once again the passport to European civilization, until the ‘Spring of the Peoples’ of 1848 gave a strong new stimulus to Jewish emancipation, at least in western Europe.” Isaac Deutscher. “Remnants of a Race” [1946]. The Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays. (Verso Books. New York, NY: 2017). Pg. 87.
9 Heinrich Heine. Ludwig Börne: A Memorial [1840]. Translated by Jeffrey L. Sammons. (Camden House. Rochester, NY: 2006). Pg. 21.
10 “The Jewish question is ultimately reduced to a secular conflict.” Karl Marx. “On the Jewish Question” [1843]. Translated by Clemens Dutt. Collected Works, Volume 3. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1975). Pgs. 154-155.
11 “The chimerical nationality of the Jew… is the nationality of the merchant, of the man of money in general.” Ibid., pg. 172.
12 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism [1845]. Translated by Richard Dixon and Clemens Dutt. Collected Works, Volume 4. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1975). Pg. 108.
13 Ibid., pgs. 109-110. Translated modified.
14 “Liberation of the pariahs [Jews] aroused not only complaints and recriminations, but also superstitious anxieties. If the despised class turned into an inferior race instead of disappearing once it had been suppressed by law, it did so because antisemitism had a psychosocial function to fulfill.” Poliakov, The History of Antisemitism, Volume 3. Pg. 460.
15 Johann Gottlieb Fichte. „Beitrag zur Berichtigung der Urteile des Publikums über die französische Revolution, Erster Teil“ [1792]. Gesamtausgabe Band I,1. (Friedrich Frommann Verlag. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: 1965). Pg. 299.
16 Moshe Zimmermann. Wilhelm Marr: The Patriarch of Antisemitism. (Oxford University Press. New York, NY: 1986).
17 “Jews were puzzled by outbreaks of antisemitism; they regarded them as a mysterious atavism, a ghost from the Middle Ages which, with the spread of education, would gradually be laid to rest.” Walter Laqueur. A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the State of Israel. (Holt, Rinehart, & Winston. New York, NY: 1972). Pg. 9.
18 Friedrich Engels. “On Antisemitism.” Translated by John Peet. Collected Works, Volume 27. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1990). Pg. 51. Translation modified.
19 Enzo Traverso. The Marxists and the Jewish Question: The History of a Debate, 1843-1943 [1990]. Translated by Bernard Gibbons. (Humanities Press. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: 1994). Pg. 133.
20 Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. “Anti-Jewish Pogroms” [1919]. Translated by George Hanna. Collected Works, Volume 29. (Progress Publishers. Moscow: 1965). Pg. 252. Translation modified.
21 Leon Trotsky. “Interview with the Jewish Daily Forward.” Translated by Marc Bedner. Writings, 1936-1937. (Pathfinder Press. New York, NY: 1978). Pg. 106.
22 Abram Leon. The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation [1943]. Translated by D. Ferguson. (Pathfinder Press. New York, NY: 1970). Pg. 222.
23 The term “Judeocide” is taken from Arno Mayer’s study of the Holocaust, adapted from Raul Hilberg’s “destruction of the European Jews.” Arno Mayer. Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? The “Final Solution” in History. (Pantheon Books. New York, NY: 1988).
24 Leon Trotsky. “Appeal to American Jews” [1938] On the Jewish Question. (Pathfinder Press. New York, NY: 1970). Pg. 39.
25 Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno. The Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments [1947]. Translated by Edmund Jephcott. (Stanford University Press. Stanford, CA: 2002). Pg. 143.
26 “Antisemitism is thus a revolt against global capital, misrecognized as the Jews.” Moishe Postone. “Zionism, Antisemitism, and the Left: An Interview with Martin Thomas.” Krisis: Kritik der Warengesellschaft. (February 4, 2010).
27 “Neither the Right nor the Left are able to comprehend capital for what it is: a social relation between classes… For them capital must be personified to make it more understandable; but in doing so, they obscure its essentially impersonal nature.” Amos. “Labour, the Left, and the ‘Jewish Problem’.” International Communist Current. (May 6, 2016).
28 KT. “Antisemitism: Rooting out Oppression, or Ruling Class Hypocrisy?” International Communist Tendency. (April 2018).
29 Jacob Blumenfeld. “Negation of the Diaspora.” Brooklyn Rail. (March 5, 2015).
30 Rodinson maintained in his preface to Leon’s work that “[Israel] has not at all resolved the ‘Jewish problem,’ but even aggravated it seriously.” Maxime Rodinson. Cult, Ghetto, and State: The Persistence of the Jewish Question [1981]. Translated by John Rothschild. (Al Saqi Books. London: 1983). Pg. 111.
31 Hillel Ticktin. “Notes.” Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory. (Volume XXXVII, № 2: May 2009). Pgs. 168-169.
32 Étienne Balibar. “The Nation-Form: History and Ideology.” Translated by Immanuel Wallerstein and Chris Turner. Review. (Volume XIII, № 3: Summer 1990). Pgs. 329-361.
See also Kontra Klasa’s article “Left Nationalism: A History of the Disease.” Intransigence. (№ 1: October 2017).
33 “In the classical sense, the nation excluded the masses of slaves and included within these relations only free citizens; in the modern bourgeois sense, the nation includes all those who were born in it. In medieval times, the productive material base was not national but subnational… The linguistic, cultural, and ideological superstructure was not national because it was concentrated around the Roman Church.” Amadeo Bordiga. “Factors of Race and Nation in Marxist Theory” [1953]. Translated by “Alias Recluse.” Libcom. (January 1, 2014). Pgs. 96-99.
34 Benedict Anderson. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. (Verso Books. New York, NY: 2006). Pg. 36.
35 “Because of setbacks suffered in Italy, the capitalist revolution was postponed for a long time, but by the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries it was victorious in England, France, and then Central Europe.” Bordiga, “Factors of Race and Nation in Marxist Theory.” Pgs. 105-106.
36 “Commoners need not assemble with the clergy or the nobility. Some say the Third Estate cannot convene the Estates-General by itself. Very well! It will form a National Assembly.” Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès. “What is the Third Estate?” [1789]. Political Writings. Translated by Michael Sonenscher. (Hackett Publishing Company. Indianapolis, IN: 2003). Pgs. 147-148.
37 “From the 1880s forward the ‘national question’ became a pressing concern for socialists.” Eric Hobsbawm. Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Project, Myth, Reality. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 1992). Pgs. 43-44.
38 Karl Marx. The German Ideology [1846]. Translated by Clemens Dutt. Collected Works, Volume 5. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1975). Pgs. 73-74.
39 Friedrich Engels. “The Festival of Nations in London to Celebrate the Establishment of the French Republic, Sep. 22, 1792” [1845]. Translated by Jack Cohen. Collected Works, Volume 6. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1976). Pg. 6.
40 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party [1847]. Translated by Samuel Moore. Ibid., pg. 494.
41 “National differences and antagonisms between peoples are daily more and more vanishing.” Ibid., pgs. 502-503.
42 See David Riazanov. “Marx and Engels on the Polish Question” [1918]. Translated by Brian Pearce. Marx and Anglo-Russian Relations and Other Writings. (Francis Boutle Publishers. London: 2003). Pgs. 148-189.
43 Franz Mehring. Karl Marx: The Story of His Life [1918]. Translated by Edward Fitzgerald. (University of Michigan Press. Ann Arbor, MI: 1962). Pg. 391.
44 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. “On the Fiftieth Anniversary of the 1830 Polish Revolution” [1880]. Translated by Barrie Selman. Collected Works, Volume 24. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1989). Pg. 344.
45 “In England the antagonism [of English and Irish workers] is the dam holding back the flood of revolution.” Karl Marx. “Speech at the London Conference” [September 21, 1871]. Collected Works, Volume 22. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1986). Pg. 620.
46 David Riazanov. “Marx and Engels on the Balkan Question.” Op. cit., pgs. 190-204.
47 See Roman Rosdolsky. Engels and the “Non-Historic” Peoples: The National Question in the Revolution of 1848 [1948]. Translated by John-Paul Himka. (Critique Books. Glasgow: 1987).
48 “Serbs, Bulgarians, and Slovenes we cannot support. Only when tsarism’s collapse disentangles the national aspirations of these diminutive peoples from pan-Slav tendencies can we let them do as they please.” Friedrich Engels. “Letter to Karl Kautsky” [February 7, 1882] Translated by Betty Ross. Collected Works, Volume 46. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1992). Pg. 194.
49 Michael Löwy. “Marxism and the National Question.” New Left Review. (Volume I, № 96: March-April 1976).
50 Karl Renner. State and Nation [1899]. Translated by Joseph O’Donnell. National-Cultural Autonomy and Its Contemporary Critics. (Routledge. New York, NY: 2005). Pg. 36.
51 Otto Bauer. The Question of Nationalities and Social Democracy [1907]. Translated by Joseph O’Donnell. (University of Minnesota Press. Minnesota, MN: 2000). Pg. 255.
52 “Bauer’s doctrine could only have arisen in Austria.” Anton Pannekoek. Class Struggle and Nation [1912].
53 „Nationalen Opportunismus“. Ibid.
54 Vladimir Lenin. “Theses for a Lecture on the National Question” [January 1914]. Translated by Yuri Sdobnikov. Collected Works, Volume 41. (Progress Publishers. Moscow: 1969). Pg. 315.
55 Vladimir Lenin. Critical Remarks on the National Question [1913]. Translated by Bernard Isaacs and Joe Fineberg. Collected Works, Volume 20. (Progress Publishers. Moscow: 1964). Pg. 34.
56 Vladimir Lenin. “Corrupting the Workers with Refined Nationalism” [May 10, 1914]. Ibid., pg. 289.
57 Vladimir Lenin. “The Discussion on National Self-Determination Summed Up” [1913]. Translated by Yuri Sdobnikov. Collected Works, Volume 22. (Progress Publishers. Moscow: 1964). Pg. 357. Translation modified.
58 Rosa Luxemburg. “Letter to Aleksandr Potresov.
59 Paul Mattick. “Nationalism and Socialism.” American Socialist. (Volume VI, № 9: September 1959). Pg. 17.
60 Alain Brossat and Sylvia Klingberg. Revolutionary Yiddishland: A History of Jewish Radicalism [1983]. Translated by David Fernbach. (Verso Books. New York, NY: 2017). Pg. 1.
61 See Jonathan Frankel. Prophecy and Politics: Socialism, Nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 1862-1917. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 1981). Pgs. 49-132.
62 Ibid., pgs. 135-143.
63 Yoav Peled. Class and Ethnicity in the Pale: The Political Economy of Jewish Workers’ Nationalism in Late Imperial Russia. (Palgrave Macmillan. New York, NY: 1989). Pg. 16.
64 “A process of social differentiation rapidly developed within the Jewish population… coinciding with its concentration in urban agglomerations from the shtetl to the big city.” Brossat and Klingberg, Revolutionary Yiddishland. Pgs. 32-33.
65 “For internationalists such as Trotsky, Zinoviev, Radek, and Rosa Luxemburg, the assimilation of the Jewish revolutionary to the concrete universal party anticipated the society for which they fought.” Ibid., pg. 17.
66 See “Yiddishkeit or Zionism? The Judeo-Marxists” in Traverso, The Marxists and the Jewish Question. Pgs. 92-128.
67 Brossat and Klingberg, Revolutionary Yiddishland. Pgs. 24-26.
68 Ibid., pgs. 26-28.
69 Moses Hess. Rome and Jerusalem: A Study in Jewish Nationalism [1861]. Translated by Meyer Waxman. (Bloch Publishing Company. New York, NY: 1918). Pgs. 140-141.
70 Sydney Hook. “Karl Marx and Moses Hess.” New International. (Volume I, № 5, December 1934). Pg. 140.
71 Friedrich Engels. “Letter to Karl Marx” [January 14, 1848]. Translated by Peter and Betty Ross. Collected Works, Volume 38. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1982). Pg. 153.
72 “Marx’s grandson Longuet, a leader of French socialism, declared in 1918 that a Jewish national home in Palestine deserved support from socialists.” Laqueur, A History of Zionism. Pgs. 424-425.
73 “Longuet thus passes on to the liberationist principle of the self-determination of nations, which was ‘advanced by the Russian revolution but embraced by President Wilson’.” Leon Trotsky. “Jean Longuet” [December 18, 1919]. Translated by John Wright and R. Chappell. The First Five Years of the Communist International, Volume 1. (Pathfinder Press. New York, NY: 1972) Pgs. 105-115.
74 “Lenin laughed and told his interlocutor he was trying to be both ‘here and there,’ trying to sit on two chairs at once. The problem was that Borochov sat on neither of the two chairs, but rather the empty space between.” Mitchell Cohen. “Ber Borochov and Socialist Zionism.” Introduction to Ber Borochov. Class Struggle and the Jewish Nation: Selected Essays in Marxist Zionism. Translated by Moshe Cohen. (Transaction Books. New Brunswick, NJ: 1984). Pg. 1.
75 One wonders if Ben-Gurion meant by this “a world where Israel would not have been necessary.” Isaac Deutscher. “Israel’s Spiritual Climate” [April-May 1954]. The Non-Jewish Jew. Pg. 98.
76 “He told me that he had read all forty volumes of Lenin’s writings!” Shimon Peres. Ben-Gurion: A Political Life. (Schocken Books. New York, NY: 2011). Pg. 39.
77 For more on the Bundism, see “The Bund: Between Nation and Class” in Frankel, Prophecy and Politics. Pgs. 171-257.
78 Vladimir Medem. Memoirs of a Jewish Socialist [1923]. Translated by Samuel A. Portnoy. (KTAV Publishing House. New York, NY: 1979). Pgs. 233-234. He explicitly praises “the great fundamental works by Karl Renner and Otto Bauer” on pg. 263.
79 Michael Löwy. Redemption and Utopia: Jewish Libertarian Thought in Central Europe, A Study in Elective Affinity. Translated by Hope Heaney. (Verso Books. New York, NY: 2017). Pg. 44.
80 On Zionists in Bern, op. cit. pgs. 222-223. On Weizmann’s lackluster oratory, pgs. 261-262. On Herzl, pgs. 292-294.
81 On Lenin, ibid., pgs. 227-229. On Trotsky as ленинская дубинка, pg. 419. On Luxemburg, pg. 429.
82 Brossat and Klingberg, Revolutionary Yiddishland. Pg. 53.
83 For more on Poale Zion, see “Ber Borochov and Marxist Zionism” in Frankel, Prophecy and Politics. Pgs. 329-363.
84 Ber Borokhov. “The National Question and the Class Struggle” [1905]. Class Struggle and the Jewish Nation. Pg. 59.
85 Ber Borokhov. “Our Platform” [1906]. Ibid., pg. 100.
86 Ber Borokhov. “Eretz Israel in Our Program and Tactics” [1916]. Ibid., pgs. 201-203.
87 Joseph Roth. The Wandering Jews [1926]. Translated by Michael Hoffmann. (WW Norton & Co. New York, NY: 2001). Pgs. 51-52.
88 WEB Du Bois. “Not Separatism.” The Crisis. (Volume XVII, № 4: February 1919). Pg. 166.
89 Samuel Farber. “Lessons of the Bund.” Jacobin Magazine. (January 2017).
90 Tony Greenstein. “The Bund: The Mass Jewish Anti-Zionist Party in Poland.” AZVSAS. (December 4, 2012).
91 See also Trotsky’s 1904 polemic, wherein he declared Bundism the rightful heir to Zionism. Leon Trotsky. “Razlozhenie Sionizma i ego vozmozhnye preemniki.” Iskra. (№ 56: January 1, 1904).
92 Again, “Marxists resolutely oppose nationalism in all its forms.” Vladimir Lenin. “Once More on the Segregation of the Schools by Nationality.” Translated by George Hanna. Collected Works, Volume 19. (Progress Publishers. Moscow: 1963). Pg. 548.
93 Nevertheless, a few do still exist. Guy Sabatier. “The Case of the General Union of Jewish Workers in Russia, Poland, and Lithuania.” Translated by Juan Conatz. Controverses, Cahier Thématique. (№ 1: November 2011).
94 Chaim Weizmann. Trial and Error: An Autobiography. (Harper & Brothers. New York, NY: 1949). Pgs. 50, 288.
95 Ber Borokhov. “Hebraismus Militans” [1913]. Translated by Mark W. Kiel. Op. cit., pgs. 143-145.
96 “A new task had been added to our previous ones: ‘self-defense.’ The slogan was issued and action taken to implement it. Our role as initiator and leader of self-defense strengthened the influence of our movement even more.” Medem, Memoirs. Pgs. 267-268. Compare: “The first Jewish self-defense group was organized by Poale Zion two and a half years before the Jewish Socialist Bund in Hamel, September 1903.” Ber Borokhov. “Reminiscences on the Occasion of the Tenth Anniversary of Poale Zion, 1906-1916” [1916]. Class Struggle and the Jewish Nation. Pg. 184.
97 Arno Mayer. Plowshares into Swords: From Zionism to Israel. (Verso Books. New York, NY: 2008). Pgs. 95-99.
98 Laqueur, A History of Zionism. Pgs. 297-308.
99 Arnold Zweig. The Face of East European Jewry. Translated by Noah Isenberg. (University of California Press. Los Angeles, CA: 2004). Pgs. 132-133.
100 Palestinian Communist Party. “May Day Statement, 1921.” Documents of the Palestinian Arab Resistance, 1918-1939.
101 Nava Et-Shalom and Matthew N. Lyons. “Bring on the Bulldozers and Let’s Plant Trees: The Story of Labor Zionism.” Upping the Anti. (Volume I, № 7: October 2008).
102 “Nobody fought Arab workers more vigorously than the Histadrut; nobody preached national, economic, and social segregation more determinedly.” Zeev Sternhell. The Founding Myths of Israel: Nationalism, Socialism, and the Making of the Jewish State [1996]. Translated by David Maisel. (Princeton University Press. Princeton, NJ: 1998). Pg. 252.
103 Because of his agitational role, Jabotinsky was banned from ever reentering mandate in 1930. Hillel Cohen. Year Zero of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: 1929 [2013]. Translated by Haim Watzman. (Brandeis University Press. Waltham, MA: 2015). Pg. 221.
104 See “In Blood and Fire: Jabotinsky and Revisionism.” Laqueur, A History of Zionism. Pgs. 338-383.
105 Abner Barnatan. “The Brownshirts of Zionism.” International Council Correspondence. (Volume III, № 4: April 1937).
106 Sidney Hook, Hannah Arendt, and twenty others also signed the letter. Albert Einstein. “Letter to the New York Times, 4 December 1948.” Writings on Politics. (Princeton University Press. Princeton, NJ: 2007). Pgs. 350-351.
107 Primo Levi. “Interview on the Birth of Israel.” Translated by John Shepley. Conversations with Fernando Camon. (Marlboro Press. Marlboro, VT: 1989). Pg. 54.
108 “For Begin, ‘fascist’ is a definition I can accept… Even he would not deny it… He was a student of Jabotinsky, who called himself a fascist, and was one of Mussolini’s interlocutors.” Primo Levi. “Begin Should Go: An Interview with Giampaolo Pansa.” Translated by Robert Gordon. The Voice of Memory, 1961-1987. (The New Press. New York, NY: 2001). Pg. 282.
109 “Today, the Nazi analogy is gratuitous and a distraction.” Norman Finkelstein. “Interview with Jamie Stern-Weiner.” Open Democracy. (May 3, 2016). Of course, this has not prevented Finkelstein from making further use of the analogy.
110 Maxime Rodinson. Israel and the Arabs. Translated by Michael Perl. (Penguin Books. New York, NY: 1968). Pgs. 30-31.
111 Quoted in Mayer, Plowshares into Swords. Pg. 169.
112 Gershom Scholem. “Letter to Walter Benjamin” [December 15, 1939]. Translated by Gary Smith and Andre Lefevere. Correspondence. (Schocken Books. New York, NY: 1989). Pg. 261.
113 “Arab propaganda against Zionism frequently utilizes arguments and images borrowed from European antisemitism, which is deeply disagreeable, but does not justify identifying the two phenomena. European antisemitism, in the sense of hatred of Jews in their very essence, considering them possessed of a fundamentally maleficent nature, was not born of any actions or initiatives on the part of the Jews… Whatever its real motives, the reproaches it levelled were purely mythical or, if they referred to anything concrete, it was to phenomena and activities connected with the humiliating situation imposed on the Jews for more than a thousand years by European society. Prime responsibility lay with the latter. Arab anti-Zionism, on the contrary, even if it sometimes led to comprehensive hatred of Jews, originated in a concrete initiative taken by certain Jews, to the detriment of the Arabs, namely, the plan to transform an Arab land into a Jewish state.” Rodinson, Israel and the Arabs. Pg. 324. A thoughtful study was written along these lines by Rodinson’s student, Gilbert Achcar. The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives [2009]. Translated by GM Goshgarian. (Picador. New York, NY: 2011).
114 Hamas. “Charter of the Islamic Resistance Movement of Palestine” [1989]. Translated by Mohammed Maqdsi. Journal of Palestine Studies. (Volume XXII, № 4: Summer 1993). Pgs. 122-134.
115 On deals Zionists tried to cut with the Nazis, see Yehuda Bauer. Jews for Sale? Nazi-Jewish Negotiations, 1933-1945. (Yale University Press. New Haven, CT: 1994). On deals Arab nationalists tried to cut with the Nazis, see Francis Nicosia. Nazi Germany and the Arab World. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 2015).
116 Tom Segev. One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate [1999]. Translated by Haim Watzman. (Henry Holt & Co. New York, NY: 2000). Pgs. 487-519.
117 Martin Kramer. “Who Saved Israel in 1947?” Mosaic. (November 16, 2017).
118 Arnold Krammer. Forgotten Friendship: Israel and the Soviet Bloc, 1947-1953. (University of Illinois Press. Chicago, IL: 1974). Pg. 52.
119 Andrei Gromyko. “Speech on the Partition of Palestine” [May 14, 1947]. 77th Plenary Meeting.
120 Andrei Gromyko. “Speech on Partitioning Palestine” [November 26, 1947]. 125th Plenary Meeting.
121 Alexander Feinberg. “10,000 in Protest on Palestine.” New York Times. (March 12, 1948). Pg. 8.
122 Krammer, Forgotten Friendship. Pgs. 60-61.
123 Ibid., pgs. 88-93.
124 Ibid., pgs. 107-122.
125 Mayer, Plowshares into Swords. Pgs. 234-235.
126 Ilan Pappé. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. (Oneworld. Oxford: 2007). Pg. 197.
127 Memmi, a Tunisian Jew and associate of Fanon, wrote: “800,000 Jews have left the Arab countries. Three-fourths of them now live in Israel.” Albert Memmi. Jews and Arabs. Translated by Eleanor Levieux. (J. Philip O’Hara. Chicago, IL: 1972). Pg. 110.
128 Krammer, Forgotten Friendship. Pgs. 123-150.
129 Footage of the Slánský trial was recently unearthed in Panenské Břežany. Roger Tait. “Czechs Discover Hidden Film Record of Stalin’s Antisemitic Show Trial.” The Guardian. (April 8, 2018).
130 Hal Draper. “How to Defend Israel: A Political Program for Israeli Socialists.” The New International. (Volume XIV, № 5: July 1948). Pg. 133.
131 Raya Dunayevskaya. “War, Peace, or Revolution? Shifting Alliances in the Middle East.” News & Letters. (Volume XXIII, № 1: January-February 1978). Pg. 8.
132 Ibid., pg. 9.
133 Raya Dunayevskaya. “The Arab-Israeli Collision.” News & Letters. (June 8, 1967).
134 Quoted in Jonathan Judaken. Sartre and the Jewish Question: Anti-Antisemitism and the Politics of the French Intellectual. (University of Nebraska Press. Lincoln, NE: 2006). Pg. 188.
Sartre’s close friend, the recently-deceased documentarian Claude Lanzmann — like Sartre a fighter in the French resistance, a friend of Fanon, and a fervent supporter of Algerian independence — also recalled his dismay at Ben Bella’s stance against Israel in 1962: “In one of [Ben Bella’s] first speeches as head of state, he suddenly announced that the newly created Algerian Republic was planning to send to the Middle East, not emissaries as Abdelaziz Bouteflika had assured me, but 100,000 troops to liberate Palestine. For me, it was over: I had thought it was possible to believe both in an independent Algeria and the state of Israel. I was wrong.” Claude Lanzmann. The Patagonian Hare: A Memoir [2009]. Translated by Frank Wynne. (Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux. New York, NY: 2012). Pg. 349.
Ben Bella himself later came to regard the national liberation front in Algeria as a failure. From a 1982 interview: “I’m faithful to the ideals of socialism, to the struggle against the exploitation of man by man… [National revolutions] have all failed. As long as we have not broken the world capitalist order, we remain exploited by the mercantile relations of production.” Ben Bella. “No Middle Ground” [1982]. San Francisco USA. (Fall 1984/Winter, 1985).
135 Vladimir Lenin. “Draft Theses on National and Colonial Questions for the Second Comintern Congress” [June 5, 1920]. Translated by Julius Katzer. Collected Works, Volume 31. (Progress Publishers. Moscow: 1966). Pg. 149.
136 Leon Trotsky, “Letter to Lazar Kling” [August 7, 1932]. Translated by Marilyn Vogt. Writings, 1932. (Pathfinder Press. New York, NY: 1973). Pg. 172.
137 “I have forwarded to the Poale Zion group in Palestine a copy of all the newspaper issues which have reached me. One of their central committee members, who signs his name as ‘Nathan,’ is a serious comrade gravitating strongly toward the Left Opposition.” Leon Trotsky. “Letter to Lazar Kling” [May 23, 1932]. Ibid., pg. 170.
138 “I am, of course, an opponent of Zionism and all other forms of self-isolation of the Jewish workers.” Leon Trotsky. “Letter to Lazar Kling” [February 9, 1932]. Ibid., pg. 169.
139 Mostafa Omar. “What Do Socialists Say About Hamas?” Socialist Worker. (July 31, 2014).
140 Gianluca Paolo Parolin. Citizenship in the Arab World: Kin, Religion, and Nation-State. (Amsterdam University Press. Amsterdam: 2009). Pg. 95.
141 Mayer, Plowshares into Swords. Pg. 110. See here also Hobsbawm: “Israeli and Palestinian nationalisms must be novel… since the very concept of territorial states of the currently-standard type in their region was barely thought of a century ago, and hardly became a serious prospect before the end of World War I.” Eric Hobsbawm. “Inventing Traditions.” The Invention of Tradition. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 1983). Pgs. 13-14.
142 Mayer, Plowshares into Swords. Pg. 223.
143 See the section on “Partition” in Perry Anderson. The Indian Ideology. (Verso Books. New York, NY: 2013). Pgs. 43-102.
144 EMS Namboodiripad. “Class Character of the Nationalist Movement.” History, Society, and Land Relations: Selected Essays. (Leftword Books. New Delhi: 2010). Pg. 61.
145 Tom Segev. 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East [2005]. Translated by Jessica Cohen. (Henry Holt & Co. New York, NY: 2007). Pgs. 419-585.
146 Isaac Deutscher. “The Arab-Israeli War, June 1967.” The Non-Jewish Jew. Pg. 126.
147 “Israel’s only achievement was actually winning the war. Nothing was gained by occupying the territories captured in the war.” Segev, 1967. Pgs. 15-16.
148 Mayer, Plowshares into Swords. Pg. 276.
149 Ilan Pappé. The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel. (Yale University Press. New Haven, CT: 2011). Pg. 168.
150 Mayer, Plowshares into Swords. Pgs. 295-299.
151 Mac Intosh. “Islamic Fundamentalism: Religious Fanaticism to Reinforce the State.” Internationalist Perspective. (№ 15: Winter 1989-1990).
152 Mayer, Plowshares into Swords. Pg. 311.
153 Andrew Rigby. Palestinian Intifada Revisited. (Zed Books. London: 2015). Pg. 174.
154 Gilbert Achcar. “Where Is the PLO Going? The Long March… Backwards” [1989]. Eastern Cauldron: Islam, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Iraq in a Marxist Mirror. Translated by Peter Drucker. (Monthly Review Press. New York, NY: 2003). Pg. 130.
155 Aufheben. “Behind the Twenty-First Century Intifada.” (№ 10: 2002).
156 Gilles Kepel. Beyond Terror and Martyrdom: The Future of the Middle East [2007]. Translated by Pascale Ghazaleh. (Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA: 2008). Pgs. 89-90.
157 Mayer, Plowshares into Swords. Pgs. 345.
158 Avi Shlaim. “It’s Now Clear that the Oslo Peace Accords Were Wrecked by Netanyahu’s Bad Faith.” The Guardian. (September 12, 2013).
159 Mayer, Plowshares into Swords. Pg. 394.
160 Ibid., pgs. 399-401.
161 David Ben-Gurion. Memoirs. (World Publishing Co. New York, NY: 1970). Pgs. 29, 181.
162 Barak Ravid. “The IDF Did Not Mean to Shoot at UN Facilities in Gaza.” Haaretz. (May 5, 2009).
163 Scott Taylor. “Seventieth Anniversary of the State of Israel.” Congressional Record. (Vol. CLXIII, № 62: April 17, 2018).
164 Ilan Pappé. “A Brief History of Israel’s Incremental Genocide.” On Palestine. (Haymarket Books. Chicago, IL: 2015). Pgs. 147-154.
165 Pappé, The Forgotten Palestinians. Pg. 272.
166 The remark about Israel’s “special relationship” with the United States was originally made by President Kennedy, talking to Golda Meir in 1962. But it has come into wider use. Rod Such. “What’s Behind the US Media’s Special Relationship With Israel?” Electronic Intifada. (June 3, 2016).
167 Sognuli palku.
168 Moshé Machover. “Is it Apartheid?” Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and Resolution. (Haymarket Books. Chicago, IL: 2012). Pg. 272.
169 Noam Chomsky. “On Israel-Palestine and BDS.” The Nation. (July 22, 2014).
170 Levi, “Begin Must Go.” Pg. 281.
171 Quoted in Margaret Vallance. “Rudolf Rocker: A Biographical Sketch.” Journal of Contemporary History. (Volume VIII, № 3: July 1973). Pgs. 89-90.
172 Vladimir Lenin. “The Question of Nationalities, or Autonomization” [1922] Translated by Andrew Rothstein. Collected Works, Volume 36. (Progress Publishers. Moscow: 1966). Pg. 607.
173 Garcon Dupont. “Islands in a Sea of Land.” Insipidities. (July 26, 2014).
174 Monsieur Dupont. Nihilist Communism: A Critique of Optimism on the Far Left. (Ardent Press. London: 2009). Pgs. 97-98.
175 Josh Moufawad-Paul. “Review of Nihilist Communism.” Posted to Goodreads. (June 22, 2015).
176 Garcon Dupont. “A Summer Chill, Part 4.” Insipidities. (August 1, 2016).
177 Wolfgang Pohrt. “On the Radical Left and National Liberation.” Translated by Anthony Fano Fernandez.
178 Il Lato Cattivo. “The ‘Kurdish Question’: ISIS, USA, Etc.” Translated by Endnotes. (2015).
179 Gilles Dauvé and Troploin. “Rojava: Reality and Rhetoric” [February 2015]. Libcom. (May 17, 2016).
180 Karl Marx. “Inaugural Address to the Workingmen’s International” [October 1864]. Collected Works, Volume 21. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1985). Pg. 333.
181 “An end to Kurds’ national oppression can come only with the destruction of capitalism.” International Communist Party. “The Kurdish Question.” Internationalist Papers. (Spring/Summer 1999). If this is true for Kurds, surely it is also true for Palestinians. “The cycle of purely national struggles in Palestine and the whole Middle East has revealed itself definitively bereft of historical prospects.” International Communist Party. “The Palestinian Question and the International Workers’ Movement.” Internationalist Papers. (2001).
182 Lenin, Critical Remarks on the National Question. Pgs. 40-44.
183 Rosa Luxemburg. The National Question [1908]. Translated by Horace Davis. (Monthly Review Press. New York, NY: 1976). Pgs. 110-111.
184 “With the abolition of class distinctions, all social and political inequality arising from them will disappear of itself.” Karl Marx. “Critique of the Gotha Program.” Translated by Peter Ross and Betty Ross. Collected Works, Volume 24. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1989). Pg. 92.
185 “The demand for equality in the mouth of the proletariat has a double meaning… In both cases, the real content is the demand for the abolition of classes.” Friedrich Engels. Anti-Dühring. Translated by Emile Burns. Collected Works, Volume 25. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1987). Pg. 99.
186 Isaac Deutscher. “The Russian Revolution and the Jewish Problem” [October 29, 1964]. The Non-Jewish Jew. Pg. 66.
187 Brossat and Klingberg. Revolutionary Yiddishland. Pgs. 20-21.
188 Ibid., pg. 39.
189 “When I met my old comrades again in 1946, they expressed their astonishment at the fact I had become a Zionist. I explained to them that even if I were not a Jew, it would’ve been my duty as a Marxist and international socialist to place myself under the banner of the struggle for Jewish national liberation.” Hersh Mendel. Memoirs of a Jewish Revolutionary [1958]. Translated by Robert Michaels. (Pluto Press. London: 1989). Pg. 327.
190 Deutscher, “Israel’s Spiritual Climate.” Pgs. 111-112.
191 Il Lato Cattivo. “Letter on Anti-Zionism” [2014]. Translated by Marco Schulz. (April 5, 2018).
192 Bernard Lyon. “We Are Not ‘Anti’.” Translated by Jake Bellone. (August 29, 2016).
193 “Fascism and antifascism, Zionism and anti-Zionism: these are all varieties of bourgeois ideology which can oppose each other violently but also make shady deals among themselves.” Amos, “Labour, the Left, and the ‘Jewish Problem’.”
194 “‘Partial’ Struggles: A Reactionary Dead End.” Platform of the International Communist Current. (December 30, 2004).
195 Amos Oz. “Between Right and Right.” How to Cure a Fanatic. (Princeton University Press. Princeton, NJ: 2010). Pg. 6.
196 Deutscher, “The Arab-Israeli War.” Pgs. 136-137.
197 Leon Trotsky. “Pis’mo Lazaru Klingu” [January 28, 1934]. Arkhiv LD Trotskogo, Tom 7.