By Boris Hammerschlag, Statement of the Internationalist Socialist League, 27/09/2017, http://the-isleague.com/
The necessity of the formation of a united anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist front of the Palestinian citizens of Israel has been crystal clear for a long time, not only to socialist revolutionaries well-educated in Marxism and well-trained in class struggle, but also to most major ‘48 Palestinians. The ideological differences between the 4 parties - Hadash - socialist (albeit reformist), Balad - left-nationalist, Ra’am - Islamist, and Ta’al - center-nationalist, were significant but had no practical implications as far as participation in the Zionist parliament is concerned, since none of the parties ever stood a chance of being accepted as part of a coalition with any major Zionist party, and for obvious reasons, nor dramatically influence any major decision.
Additionally, for decades on end none of the parties, despite different temporary electoral alliances, could gain the upper hand and decisively sweep away public support in its own favor for to lead the Palestinian citizens of Israel in any clear direction. Such stalemate forced ‘48 Palestinian political action to unite over the lowest common denominator with very little to show for it. Demoralization quickly followed, especially since Israel managed to quash the second intifada (2000) with unprecedented brutality, almost without suffering any major international ramifications.
‘48 Palestinian voter turnout plunged in 2001 to 18% after a 77% in previous elections (1999) (1), and it never recovered since, even after the formation of the Joint List - 65%. (2) Nevertheless, those 65% constitute a 9% increase compared to 2013! (3)
However, the Joint List was, unfortunately, not formed as a result of public pressure, but as a result of a foolish move by the Zionist right to raise the electoral threshold hoping to leave the relatively small disunited Palestinian parties out of the Zionist parliament, resulting in an “Arabrein” (4) Knesset. This attempt obviously backfired as it resulted in an electoral unification of the Palestinian parties and an increase in Palestinian parliamentary influence resulting in the Joint List becoming one of the largest factions gaining many committee and access to information privileges.
Many such dimwitted maneuvers by the Zionist right are expected in the future since left Zionism is in such a weak state it can no longer save the right from itself, pushing Israel further into isolation not only from the international community as a whole, but from the world Jewish community as well.
Hadash, despite its claims in the Palestinian media, did not initiate the idea of a joint Palestinian list. On the contrary, it enabled its creation by removing itself as an obstacle! A significant faction within it, led by Israeli MP and self-proclaimed communist Dov Hanin, has been vehemently, however somewhat discretely, promoting since 2010 the notion of uniting Hadash, on an abstract left-reformist ideological basis, with various left-Zionist elements, instead of an anti-colonialist Palestinian one.
That is perhaps why Hadash agreed to form the Joint List only after forcing its own program as the basis of the alliance. Then, it pushed towards signing a left-over-votes-sharing agreement with the left-Zionist Meretz and the center-Zionist Yesh-Atid - which is led by a Zionist equivalent of an American white-supremacist, Ya’ir Lapid (a deal prevented by Balad). Now, it stands in the focal point of an attempt to block the rotation agreement which should even-out the representation of the 4 parties in a 4-4-4-1 fashion. In practice, it means that Yousef ‘Atawne - a self-proclaimed socialist who is married to two wives - would keep his seat in parliament instead of the school teacher and prominent Balad woman leader - Niveen Abou Rahmoun.
In an attempt to push its allies towards a split, Hadash leaders are well aware of the potential ramifications of it being blamed for it. Therefore, it is careful to present, what we deem as deceitful, image that everything is going well and that the unity of the Joint List is important to them above anything else. If that were in anyway true the rotation agreement would have already happened by now. In the meantime, the joint united action front of Hadash and various left-Zionists - “Standing Together” - could very easily be turned into a basis for the new home for Hadash’s Zionist-leaning members and supporters after the Joint List is destroyed from within or without.
As the Joint list was announced, the ISL along with many Palestinian brothers and sisters, changed its position from non-participation to critical support for the Joint List, while warning the masses from the potentially treacherous implications of it being lead by a middle class, reformist leadership. Now Hadash, in its conduct proves exactly what we meant and were attacked for online by Hadash supporters (“Ayman Odeh is “petty-bourgeois leadership” unworthy of the masses’ trust?!”).
As ‘48 Palestinian public opinion quickly reverts back to its comfort-zone of disgust and distrust in its political leadership, demoralization and stagnation deepening even further on one end, and various new “Jewish-Arab” pre-party (Zionist-leaning) formations emerge like mushrooms after rainfall on the other, we urge our Palestinian brothers and sisters not to despair, but instead use this as an opportunity to tell leaders from misleaders, honest from dishonest, loyal from treacherous. In other words, potential revolutionaries of hope from dead-end reformists and centrists of despair.
We call upon all our comrades and friends in Hadash, Palestinian students and youth, those loyal to the Marxist school of thought and Leninist action -
Prove your potential as true communists - patiently explain and help your leaders and comrades withstand all Zionist pressures.
Refuse any political union with Zionism!
Do not allow the Joint List to split at such critical times!
Push for the immediate application of the rotation agreement!
Not one more second of delay!
(1) https://www.idi.org.il/parliaments/3077/3431 - Hebrew source
(2) https://www.idi.org.il/articles/3458 - Hebrew source
(4) The Nazis used the term “Judenrein” to refer to their plan to rid Germany of all Jews