1990s >> 1996 >> no-1104-august-1996

50 Years Ago: Palestine, the Arabs and the Zionists

The Principal Rabbi of the Federation of Synagogues. Kopul Rosen, writing to the Times (13/7/46). claims that those who work for the return of the Jewish people to Zion, “whether they be Zionists or non-Zionists, are fulfilling not a secular ambition, but the Divine will as revealed in the visions of Israel’s prophets.” Moslem Arabs can, of course, invoke a like Divine mission.

The spokesmen of some Zionist groups talk in a less fantastic but more threatening tone. In August. 1944, David Ben-Gurion, a Zionist leader, made the following belligerent declaration:-

  “We shall go to Palestine in order to become a majority there. If need be we shall take the country by force. If Palestine proves too small. . . .  her frontiers will have to be extended.”

Such threats to crush Arab resistance and to annex neighbouring territory can, of course, be paralleled with statements of a like belligerency by some Arab nationalists. Like all stirring-up of nationalist antagonisms, these statements hinder development towards Socialism, the world’s only line of progress (…)

On the vital question of the welfare of the working class and the Socialist Movement, we urge all workers, Jewish. Arab and others, to recognise their common interest in standing together as a class for the overthrow of capitalism. There are no circumstances justifying working-class support of capitalist governments or movements, including those that masquerade under the name of nationalism.

(From the editorial in the
 Socialist Standard,
 August 1946)