After Israel’s May Defeat
The following article was distributed on the People’s Assembly Demonstration in London on June 26th as part of a Communist Fight supplement. The demonstration itself, though worthy enough, did not manage to connect with some of the sizeable and youthful movements that have errupted against racism (Black Lives Matter), environmental degradation and disaster (Extinction Rebellion) as well as some of the mobilisations against the Police Bill. The turnout, no more than around 10,000 as a rough estimate, was quite disappointing in that regard.
The one seriously dynamic part of the demonstration was those who came to demonstrate against Zionist crimes and in support of the Palestinians. A late decision had been taken by the organisers to appeal for Palestine activists to turn out and build a anti-war, pro-Palestinian contingent. They saved the march and gave it a dynamism it otherwise lacked. Our supplement which addressed this head on with the article below as well as another one about the situation with the government and the Labour Party, was well received: we distributed over 200 of them.
May’s Saif Al-Quds (Sword of Jerusalem) war was an important political defeat for the Israeli ethnocracy. It showed Zionism is not all powerful, despite its hi-tech weaponry and the massive military and economic largesse it receives from its imperialist allies with their overlapping Zionist lobbies – Israel’s partners in crime. But Israel will not easily be overcome. Unlike South Africa, its settler colonialism is far more entrenched and aims to eliminate the native Arab population of Palestine, not exploit it. Unlike that previous racist transplant, Israel is far more strategically placed within the Western imperialist powers and its lobby is a powerful imperialist force, albeit of varying strength, within the ruling capitalist classes of Europe and North America.
The Zionist lobbies are a unique formation based centrally on ethnocentric Jewish chauvinist politics within the Western imperialist ruling classes. They are an alliance of similarly minded but sometimes dissenting factions – they are not monolithic. A Jewish-born capitalist in the West is entitled by right to Israeli citizenship under Israel’s racist ‘Law of Return’, and thus to become part of Israel’s ruling class. Many though not all do. Israel is not a Western colonial servant as much of the softer left says. Much of Israel’s power comes from these pro-Israel ruling-class factions overseas. Israel’s ruling class overlaps with the ruling classes of the West, which is why its power is proportionately much greater than its size and population. Without this, Israel’s power would be no greater than that of, say Denmark. But Denmark’s Prime Minister cannot do things like marching into the US Congress to ovations from all sides while denouncing Obama’s Iran deal, as Netanyahu did in 2015. Denmark does not have overseas interests who can do things like sabotaging the Labour Party here, as happened to Corbyn through a torrent of smears and lies.
Elbit Systems, whose facilities in Oldham courageous Palestine Action supporters have been occupying, symbolises what Israel is about. This is not some Western arms exporter supplying arms to a client, like Saudi Arabia in Yemen. This is an Israeli arms company that supplies high-tech weaponry to the West and its clients: to the British armed forces, those of the US, France, Italy, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, the Philippines; from military drones to night-vision equipment and other military surveillance equipment. Its military hardware is marketed as tested in action, i.e., against the Palestinian people. Israel is a far tougher nut to crack than any mere colonial outpost, it is an imperialist enemy in its own right. Therefore, you get the contradictory phenomenon where, while Israel sometimes acts like a Western client state, at other times the US and other Western powers act like Israeli client states. The overlapping of the ruling classes means there is an element of truth in both.
We must know what we are up against. Otherwise, we will be suckers for the smears about ‘anti-Semitism’ that have driven back the left repeatedly. Israel is a key element of world imperialism and will not be defeated or humanised by liberal pressure tactics or boycotts based on moral disgust. While boycott campaigns like BDS have some value, this is only as a step towards mobilising working-class actions. Mass solidarity demonstrations like the ones in Britain are crucial. But even more the labour actions boycotting Israeli ships and/or arms shipments in San Francisco, Italy and elsewhere. These point the way toward internationally based working-class revolutionary action to inflict major defeats on Zionism, and indeed given Israel’s key role as a quartermaster and a centre of neo-liberalism, on world capitalism itself.
It is crucial, but not enough, to protest and mobilise against Zionism and imperialism’s wars, their crimes against the Palestinians, their threats to Iran, to Syria, and the region. What this points to is the need for a strategy of permanent revolution, of the working class acting as the leader of all the oppressed, with the centrally Arab working class in the Middle East struggling for its own power, overthrowing class and national oppression, liberating both itself and the Jewish population from Zionism which is a key mainstay of capitalist oppression.