Link: “The siege is only a symptom

Original post found at: https://www.972mag.com/siege-symptom-gaza-zionism/

In the summer of 1969, an article appeared in Al Hamishmar, the newspaper of the socialist Zionist party Mapam, attacking the anti-Zionist Israeli organization Matzpen (“Compass”). Mapam, one of the predecessors of today’s left-wing Meretz party, was in government at the time after merging with Labor to form the Alignment, and had joined the relentless chorus of criticism from across the political spectrum against Matzpen’s strident opposition to Israel holding onto the territories it occupied in 1967. The article, written by the head of Mapam’s international department, was titled: “Fighters for Peace or Warmongers?”

In response, two Matzpen activists penned an article in their organization’s own journal, under the heading: “Against the Zionist Left.” Pointing out that Mapam was part of the governments that had been responsible for both the 1956 Suez War and the 1967 Six-Day War, the authors argued that when Mapam talks about peace, “what they really mean is that the Arabs should peacefully accept the accomplished facts that Zionism created at their expense, that they should peacefully accept Zionism.” But a Zionist Israel, they wrote, “can never achieve peace and it can never achieve security.”

What was needed for real peace, the authors continued, was “de-Zionization,” or the “struggle to abolish the Zionist nature of Israel.” This included “the abolition of Jewish exclusiveness (which is inherent in the Law of Return) whereby a Jew living in Brooklyn gets more civil and political rights in Israel and over Israel than a Palestinian Arab who was born here (whether he is now a refugee or even an Israeli citizen).” According to Matzpen, any political arrangement that does not include de-Zionization “will be only imaginary and temporary: the basic problem will continue to exist.”

Good article, and this was a nifty slice of history that I hadn’t heard about before. I always appreciate these stories about Jewish Israeli activists fighting to rectify injustice – of course Palestinian activists endure worse, and their courage inspires me too, but how do I put it? Resistance for Palestinians is pretty much a necessity; they have no way to avoid it. Israelis have the option of sticking their heads in the sand and pretending that everything is fine, which is why it’s a relief to read about those – past and present – who’ve refused to pretend.