One comment on “The ISO Responds to the “Anti-Semitism” Slur of the SWP

  1. So according to the ISO, Israeli workers are not exploited by Israeli bosses the way workers are in every other capitalist country. This makes about as much sense as “state capitalism,” “deflected permanent revolution:” and all the other sectarian shibboleths that the ISO has inherited from the late Tony Cliff. Indeed, Cliff was a Trotskyist in Palestinian until the late 1940s when he gave up on the Jewish working class and moved to the UK. I would think that things have changed a bit in Israel since 1948 (or the early 1970s which is when the Matzphen article the ISO cites as “proof” of their case is from.)

    All of this would come as quite a surprise to Israeli working class since Israel has a right wing Tory-type government that has been attacking their wages and living standards with a vengeance when they aren’t busy oppressing Palestinians. They even cut back on pensions for Holocaust survivors! And unlike here in the US, Israeli workers have fought back with numerous strikes. The Israeli peace movement has also staged many large demonstrations against Israel’s acts of aggression against its neighbors. True, they don’t transcend Zionism, but what kind of ideological framework does the US antiwar movement, particularly UFPJ, operate from within? That didn’t stop the ISO from throwing in its lot with the latter during the hey-day of the US anti-war movement, did it?

    While Israel has always been an apartheid style society vis-a-vis the Arabs that they didn’t ethnically cleanse to begin with, it was always one of the least “unequal” capitalist states (at least for Jews) until the middle 1970s, when, like the rest of the capitalist world, its ruling class switched over to neo-liberalism in order to deal with the world-wide economic crisis. Hence the attacks on its working class and huge wave of immigration from Israel to the US and the constant need for a new crop of Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet bloc states to replace them.

    The ISO’s arguments echo those of Herbert Marcuse and the other New Left theorists who wrote off workers in all of the Western world as being “bought off” by the long boom of the 1950s until May ’68 woke them up. Considering the track record of the white working class when it comes to racism in this country and the complicity of the AFL-CIA with the foreign policy establishment of US imperialism, the same arguments that the ISO is making about Israeli workers could be made (and have been made) about American workers as well. I don’t think that any serious Marxist would take them too seriously either.

    The only way that the Zionist state and Israeli capitalism will ever be toppled is by the joint action of all of the workers of that country, including the Jewish ones. It’s a long uphill struggle but, then again, so is the one we need to wage here. And the ISO, with its groveling to Barack Obama, isn’t exactly making that one any easier for us.

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