In recent months Israel has been dismaying even its closest imperialist allies with its policy of retaliation against southern Lebanon for a single act by a small group of Palestinian guerrillas. The Israeli assault on Palestinian and Lebanese civilian villages has left the world press filled with horror shots of dead women and children at the hands of U.S.-made Israeli planes in what has become the modern equivalent of the Nazi’s ten-for-one policy of retribution.
Also, the Israeli Knesset has given further approval to Zionist expansion plans to move even more settlements onto previously Arab lands. This tiny nation of once-oppressed people has lost almost any credibility with anyone who once held idealistic views about kibbutz socialism, and has left the Jewish nation exposed as the theocratic garrison state that it is. Israel backed the U.S. during its war of annihilation against Vietnam and has trained police for South Africa and several black African dictatorships. Only those who base their view of politics on mysticism and sentimentalism could still maintain any allegiance to this utterly decadent nation.
It is even that much more disheartening when one finds adulation of Israel coming from one who should know better. In the letters column of the May-June Soil of Liberty (P.O. Box 7056, Powderhorn Sta., Mpls., MN 55407) one E.J. Dolgoff of New York City criticizes SOL for calling Israel “colonial” and stating that the root of the problem is “Zionism.” Dolgoff states that Israel is a “progressive humanitarian civilization.” A strange description of a white settler colonialist state and even more startling when coming from the pen of an “anarchist.”
Dolgoff probably missed the May 23 edition of the Los Angeles Times which described the suicide of an Israeli army draftee (very “progressive”) after he was subjected to extreme mistreatment. 20 religious schools have accused the national army of regularly forcing recruits to “stand in the sun and salute the (Israeli) flag for four hours” as well as forced runs in the desert sun and made to drink sea water as a punishment.
More recently, in a legal proceeding that could have come right out of Chile, Michigan State University graduate student Sami Esmail was convicted on June 7 of membership in an organisation “hostile to the state of Israel.” Other charges of espionage were dropped and the only evidence against the New York-born U.S. citizen were his “confessions” that Esmail charged were beaten out of him during an interrogation following his arrest in Tel Aviv after he had arrived in Israel to see his dying father.
Esmail was not convicted of committing any concrete act and yet was sentenced to 15 months in prison, while the Prime Minister of Israel, Menachim Begin, has never been called to account for the mass murders his terrorist organization, the Stern Gang, waged against the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin, where 240 men, women and children were slaughtered for the cause of Zionism in 1948.
These are not flukes, aberrations in a “humanitarian” society, but are reflective of the same mentality that rules in South Africa, Israel’s mirror image. The Dolgoffs of the world become the left cover for a vicious and racist nation when what is needed is a sharp critique of all the reactionary forces in the Middle East—Israeli and’ Palestinian alike—and a clear call for a real revolution in that section of the world.