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Palestine On the March

Lily Goldklang

Sep 3, 2021

The John Brown Volunteers made an appearance at a rally Monday, August 16 to show their support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation. Organized by Within our Lifetime, a NYC based Palestinian activist group, the rally took place outside the Israeli consulate on 42nd and 2nd Ave. Chants of “Free Palestine” and “One Solution - Intifada Revolution” could be heard throughout the crowd, as Zionist counterprotesters shouted obscenities and accused Jewish people of antisemitism from across the street.

The Palestinian people’s plight predates the modern state of Israel. For over a century the Palestinian people have been gradually, but violently, expelled from their homes. Modern day Zionism can trace its roots back to Theodore Herzl, who neglected to consider the Arab population already living there. However, Zionism did not become a significant force until the British Empire’s “Balfour Declaration” in the midst of the First World War. After World War 1, when the former Ottoman Empire was pushed out of Palestine, a British Mandate was established over the region. Subsequently, Britain sponsored the immigration of thousands of European Jews to the region, where they would soon begin evicting the Palestinians from their homeland. Eventually, the state of Israel was created in 1949. Not only were the Palestinian people’s villages and homes sacked and burned, but they were not offered any compensation for half of their land being stolen.

Marxists and revolutionary socialists have understood the Zionist issue as a colonial issue, with the exception of the Soviet Union initially supporting the founding of Israel in 1947 before quickly realizing their mistake and switching their support to the Arab people in their struggle for liberation. Their reasoning for initially supporting Zionism was more anti-British than pro-Zionist. We Marxists understand that Zionism, like all colonization and imperialization, is merely an attempt by the ruling class of the imperialist countries to put a damper on the class struggle at home, with racism and chauvinism mixed in. Cecil Rhodes, the infamous British colonizer of Africa, once observed struggling British workers demanding food and higher wages. Horrified at this notion, Rhodes wrote, “If you want to avoid civil war, you must become imperialists.” By giving British workers the power to be bosses of enslaved and colonized people in the global south, Rhodes viewed British Imperialism and Colonialism as stalling the class struggle at home. Just as British imperialism was an attempt to pacify the English working class, Zionism is an attempt to pacify the Jewish working class. While not concentrated into one nation like Britain, the Jewish people in the diaspora have had a heroic and revolutionary tradition, a tradition which Zionism is a slap in the face to. There’s an old Yiddish song from the early 1930s called "Oh, You Foolish Little Zionists” that illustrates this point. The english translation goes something like, “You want to take us to Jerusalem, so we can die as a nation. We’d rather stay in the diaspora and fight for our liberation."

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