Letter: Overcoming a legacy

David Johnson’s Friday column on Israel takes the airbrush to a crisis-ridden state. This anniversary might instead provide an opportunity for critical reflection on serious problems. Toward that end:

Israel is founded on the colonization and continuing dispossession of the land’s native inhabitants, the Palestinians. This flows logically from Zionism’s deeply anti-democratic founding myth – that the “land without people” is the divine right of an elected folk. However, the national boundaries of the Middle East are not inscribed in the sands by God, but by the legacy of British and French imperialism. Even to this day Israel can scarcely be called “independent.” On the contrary, it is utterly dependent upon billions in U.S. largesse.

The “two state” solution will only deepen the crisis. Palestinians are being ghettoized in economically unviable “Bantustans” where the United States and Israel assign a comprador PLA leadership the duty of policing a desperately impoverished population – fertile grounds for terrorism. Even so, an extreme-right and disproportionately powerful minority in Israeli society – including so-called “settlers” – will not be satisfied short of the appropriation of all remaining Palestinian lands.

However, opposition to this agenda exists among Israelis. Over the past several years a marked polarization in wealth has created increasingly embattled working and middle classes who, like the Palestinians, suffer from the militarist and neo-liberal policies of the Labor-Likud alliance. Yet, this latent opposition finds no independent political expression in what is, in effect, a one-party state.

The crisis confronting the people of the Middle East requires an independent socialist movement of the Jewish, Palestinian and Arab working class in opposition to U.S. imperialism and its Israeli and Arab pawns, and toward the creation of a United Socialist States of the Middle East – the only solution that will overcome the bitter legacy of Zionist nationalism and Western imperialism.

Tom Mackaman

graduate student

Students for Social Equality