Israel/Palestine: Fighting for socialism in Israel

“The government accidentally helped us with their new economic plan. You get political discussions every time you buy cigarettes as they now cost more. There was a lot of anger in the street that we have to pay for this war both in blood and money.

YUVAL, IS a young member of Maavak Sozialisti (Socialist Struggle), the Israeli section of the Committee for a Workers’ International.

He spoke to The Socialist (paper of the British section of the CWI) about campaigning for socialist ideas in Israel.

CWI online

Fighting for socialism

“They’re taking 13 billion shekels out of a 200-plus shekel budget. It’s not going to leave practically anything for welfare, education and health. Most of the time our policies get good responses.

“What we are doing is not like the orthodox ‘left’ which is not left – it’s based on the middle class and on liberal views. They approach people with antagonistic points of view and emphasise moral viewpoints.

“We approach people on basic needs – security needs and economic issues and not on grand utopian themes. For instance we had a leaflet against the Sharon government’s plan saying we are paying in blood and money for the government’s failure.

“Before the big invasion of the West Bank we had leaflets saying ‘The politicians aren’t afraid but we are. They’re failing to give us security, let’s look at the reason why’.

“Israel is becoming more radical as it’s becoming obvious that capitalists have no solutions. There’s a bit of a wall as most people support the war. Some think it will work, some others say: ‘We know it’s not going to work but what can we do?’ But the wall isn’t as big as with the liberal Left.

“Most of our members are young but the Israeli working class as a whole has been radicalised recently. We’ve participated in strikes such as that by printworkers at Israel’s largest newspaper Yedioth Aharonoth and at a water company where we put forward a plan to stop water going in to factories to hit at capitalism.

“We were involved in the railways strike in the south and in the docks where we gained much respect.

“The Histradut chairman recently made militant noises threatening strikes to finish not just the plans but also the government.

“The Communist Party and the workers list in Histradut say that workers should not wait for the 15 days they’re legally supposed to before striking but strike immediately.

“There’s a struggle for deaf and disabled people’s rights as the government has reduced their living standards even more than other workers’. The disabled workers’ struggle is supported by about 90% of all Israelis.

“There are differences between young Israelis and older though not necessarily in voting.

“One of the particular things that marks out young people from other generations is that the use of drugs has become absolutely enormous. Soldiers for example smoke dope, even in the territories, even in the middle of the invasion. This shows a huge demoralisation, a despair and a search for an escape, which is also shown in other cultural differences between the generations.

“Most young people I meet totally support refusing to go to the war. It’s not a question of whether to support the war or not It’s just a question of how to do it.

“Older people want to escape Israel – they can see there’s no capitalist alternative but can’t yet see the forces for a socialist alternative.

“We explain to both Israeli and Palestinian workers that the socialist way is the only solution.

“The Israeli working class are fed up with organisations which speak purely from a ‘moral’ viewpoint on the situation in Palestine.

“Maavak Sozialisti members obviously have moral standards but politically we stress that there’s not going to be any security while capitalism survives.”

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