“Partition of Palestine is reactionary from every aspect – neither the Jews nor the Arab masses have anything to gain from it. It pits Jew against Arab, diverts the struggle against imperialism into a struggle between those whose common interest it is to struggle against imperialism.”
So read the Socialist Appeal paper of the Revolutionary Communist Party (our predecessor organisation) in November 1947. The United Nations – primed as the guardian angel for the ‘free’ and ‘democratic’ world – presented its fait accompli for partition that very month.
Ever since the British imperialists carved up their slice of the Middle East after the First World War, they have deliberately played Jews and Arabs against one another in historic Palestine, in order to maintain their sphere of influence in the region.
British imperialism teased statehood to both Jewish and Arab leaders during the First World War for its own parochial reasons. But the Zionists were running out of patience.
With Britain emerging emaciated from the Second World War, the Zionists began to turn against the British.
As our comrades commented at the time: “British imperialism has been weakened to such a degree that it cannot afford any longer to rule every country in the Arab East directly by its military forces.”
Not for the first time in history, British imperialism’s best laid plans blew up in its face, as a direct result of conjuring up forces it could no longer control.
Begrudgingly, the British imperialists passed the buck to the United Nations.
An internecine struggle broke out in historic Palestine. The Zionists began a six-month long campaign of terror against the Palestinians, imbued by dreams of Jewish statehood.
The Nakba (‘catastrophe’) saw 750,000 uprooted from their homeland; spilling out into the region as refugees with no right of return. This historic crime plunged the entire region into crisis ever since.
Israel was proclaimed on 14 May 1948, over the bones of the Palestinian people. As our comrades forewarned: “There can be no real independence or safety for the Jews or Arabs in partitioned Palestine.”
As 1948 drew closer, the criminal role of the Stalinist bureaucracy also cast a dark shadow over the fate of Palestine. The Soviet Union’s cynical foreign policy had long since abandoned the internationalist cause of the working class.
Stalin gave his personal blessing for the partition plan in November 1947 as a blow against British imperialism in the region. As ever, Stalin’s ‘diplomatic dealings’ had disastrous consequences.
Before then the Palestine Communist Party (PCP) had undergone a protracted process of degeneration, as a result of the decades of zigzags in Soviet foreign policy.
The PCP in fact split in 1943 into two national sections for Jews and Arabs, as a result of its policy of pandering to the nationalism of the mullahs, khans, and muftis.
Though split down the middle, both national sections had agitated against partition as a “malicious plan” to cut across the class struggle, by creating two weak, internally divided states.
Following Stalin’s betrayal, however, our comrades wrote that the Jewish and Arab Stalinists in Palestine “will have to change their attitude”.
A volte face did ensue. The Arab Stalinists, in step with their master, accepted the “new political realities” of the situation and argued in favour of the UN plan. They opportunistically withheld information of the Zionist terrorist activities, preached “peace” in the language of pacifism, and proposed that after the partition the fledgling states would re-unify.
Needless to say, Stalin’s rush to recognise Israel on 15 May 1948 was a hammerblow to the Arab workers’ movement – completely disorienting the communists in the Middle East, and throwing back the struggle for socialism for decades.
In the heat of nationalist fervour, the Revolutionary Communist Party stuck to its guns: agitating against the British imperialists; and exposing the lies of Zionism and Arab nationalism alike.
Our predecessor organisation kept a clean banner throughout this tumultuous period. In direct opposition to the Stalinists, we put forward an internationalist position, and importantly explained the role that British workers must play. As the article in Socialist Appeal finishes:
“The Middle Eastern and the British working class must frustrate these malicious plans… The Trotskyist groups in Egypt and Palestine will continue to expose the hidden policy of British High Commissioners and military envoys, to plunge the Arab East into communal bloodshed.
“British workers! Demand the withdrawal of all troops and communal warmongering military missions from the Middle East!”
The Revolutionary Communist Party of tomorrow continues in this proud tradition of the past.
It remains the elementary duty of genuine communists to expose the capitalist’s warmongering in front of the masses: to turn them against the main enemy at home; hasten the downfall of the imperialists; and struggle for a world free from want and war.