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Matzpen Revisited

April 4, 2012

The Zionist state was born in the violent expropriation and expulsion from their country of the Palestinian Arabs, and that process continues today. In open alliance with Western, especially United States, imperialism, and in scarcely hidden collusion with the most reactionary forces in the Arab world, the Zionist state actively sets itself against every step, no matter how faltering, taken by the Arab masses to alleviate the centuries’ old misery imposed on them by colonialism and imperialism.

Within the territories occupied since 1967, the Zionist state employs a system of direct military repression to expel Palestinian Arabs from their lands and secure Jewish colonization of them, and to crush every expression of Palestinian resistance. Within its own borders, the Zionist state engages in systematic national oppression of its minority of Arab citizens. The dark-skinned majority of the privileged Jewish community itself increasingly feels the sting of racist discrimination, as economic inequality increases and social conditions deteriorate.

Far from offering a haven to the persecuted Jews of the world, the Zionist state is leading new immigrants and old settlers alike toward a new holocaust by mobilizing them in a colonial enterprise and a counterrevolutionary army against the struggle of the Arab masses for national liberation and social emancipation – a struggle that is not only just but will eventually be victorious. This state of affairs is, moreover, in no sense accidental. It was the inevitable outcome of the success of the Zionist project to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. And to change this reality requires not merely a change of government or a modification of one or another specific policy, but a revolutionary transformation of the very foundations of Israeli society

These wise, sobering words were written 40 years ago by the founders of Matzpen (“compass”), a small Israeli anti-zionist organization. Even back then, this clarion observation was not new. Long before them, Hannah Arendt and a number of other observers predicted the exact same outcome of the quest to establish a Jewish state on a land populated by non-Jews through an alliance with colonial powers and the use of force and expulsion.

A lot of blood flowed under the bridge since those words were written. Amazingly, despite Israel’s consolidation of power in the Middle East, America’s unprecedented and unconditional support, the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan and the transformation of the Palestinian struggle into a Bantustan solution, Israel still finds itself in the same precarious position as it was 63 years ago, rejected by the entire people of the Middle East, from Tunisia to Turkey to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran.

In light of the events of the “Arab spring”, the ongoing colonization of the West Bank and Israel’s mad drive to destroy Iran in collusion with its imperial proxies, it is perhaps worth revisiting what the wise men of Matzpen so eloquently expressed 40 years ago. It may be time for a candid discussion about the very nature of Israel’s political structure and to consider what it would take to bring about the much needed revolutionary transformation. That is if indeed the people of Israel wish to become friends to their neighbors rather than be servants of imperial interests, in direct opposition to the very basic interests and legitimate wishes of the people of the Middle East.

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