The Left Against Zion

Communism, Israel and the Middle East

Communist opposition to Zionism has a long history which pre-dates both the Russian Revolution and the Balfour Declaration of November 1917. Yet the Communist and Marxist critique of Zionism has always had a curious inconsistency, since it is not applied to all nationalist solutions of social problems. Thus Soviet and Chinese Communists regard their Marxist-Leninist ideology as perfectly compatible with Russian or Chinese nationalism, and the same is true of the 'people's democracies' in Eastern Europe or Asia where nationalism has been a predominant force. Similarly, Arab and Palestinian nationalism have been considered 'progressive' despite their very thin socialist content. Only in the case of Zionism, which historically has been a reaction to the failure of European and Islamic societies to resolve the Jewish question on democratic lines, has a major national movement been judged a priori 'reactionary', illegitimate and ultimately condemned to extinction. Anti-Zionism has become the great bazaar in which Soviet and Chinese Communists, Arab and Third World Marxists, Trotskyists, anarchists and Castroists together with feudal sheikhs, conservative Islamic rulers, and oil companies in the West (plus fascist fringe-groups) can find common ground in their antagonism to the Jewish State. Contemporary anti-Zionism is not merely the anti-Semitism of the left - Israel has even become the alibi for reviving the hoary Nazi myth of 'World Jewry' seeking to control and manipulate the fate of humanity. The essays in this book will give the reader a better understanding of the causes and possible consequences of this sinister trend. Mostly written between the Six-Day War of 1967 and the October War of 1973, they remain timely and important for the light they shed on a development whose implications are only now becoming fully apparent. They analyse the complex and changing factors which have influenced the position of the Communist parties and New Left movements towards the Middle East conflict, the significance of the 'anti-Zionist' campaigns in Russia and Eastern Europe, the dissentions and contradictions in western Communist parties, the relations of Soviet, Chinese and East German Communists to the Arab world, and the attitude of the post-Auschwitz New Left to Israel and the Jewish problem. All these disparate elements must be taken into account if one is to understand Communist and Marxist standpoints towards Israel and the Middle East conflict. Subject categories: Anti-Zionism; Communism; Israel; Politics

Copyright: 6/14/1979