work in Israel

 

they stole our bodies: work in Israel

by Mikhael Magid

 (26/2/19: some detailed comments  – critiques and elaborations – have been added to the bottom of this page in the comments box)

In the early 1990s I found myself in Israel. For several years I worked in Israeli enterprises — washing dishes in restaurants, cleaning streets and parks, washing buses. I was an unskilled worker. It turned out to be something completely new for me, although in Russia I managed to work for several months at the post office.

At that time more than a million Jews left the countries of the former USSR, experiencing political and economic collapse caused by the destruction of the Bolshevik state. Most wanted to go to the US and Germany, but the Israeli lobby blocked this route, using all its influence on American and German politicians. The warring State of Israel needed more labour force and soldiers, as well as new Jewish immigrants for its demographic confrontation with the Arabs.

Israel used Russian scientists and engineers to develop the high-tech industry. Most of the schools in Israel are bad, and they do not have too many universities and research centers. Instead of investing heavily in education, it has proved more profitable to import cheap, highly skilled labour. Russian engineers and mathematicians became the engine of the presently famous Israeli high-tech. The Russian state has never been able to effectively use huge intellectual resources: this was the case in the Soviet Union and in post-Soviet Russia.

However, there were too many Russian specialists in Israel. According to Israeli economist Boris Dubson, about half of them had to become garbage cleaners, factory workers or join the ranks of the unemployed. They perceived what was happening as a catastrophe. In schools Russian children were systematically bullied while their parents were bullied by Israeli owners and managers in the workplace. Israelis have noticed that “Russian migrants have fake University diplomas”, “their women are whores who slept with Goys [non-Jews] and “after a million Russian Jews came to the country, the streets became much cleaner, as Russians began to clean up local garbage”.

Many Israelis hated Russians. Especially some Jews from Morocco, who just became crazy. Representatives of the middle urban layer of Moroccan society, jewelers, skilled artisans and traders, they came to Israel in the 1950s and were shocked when they were discriminated by the whites at the top of the Zionist state and business (Ashkenazi and Sabra Jews) over the years. However, some of them became small capitalists and managers. Now they have seen Russian, Belorussian, Ukrainian and Lithuanian Ashkenazi Jews, who are considered even lower than the Moroccans themselves! It was possible to get sadistic pleasure and to force “whites” to pay for everything that had happened to the Moroccans. The Israeli petty bourgeoisie felt they were in a festive atmosphere: Russian white-skinned Jews with teaching, doctor and musician diplomas working for their new owners for a pittance, cleaning up trash in the streets, and even being the target of bullying.

The Israel I saw was a sea of a variety of ethnic hatred. However, these ethnic groups were, to some extent, united by the hatred and contempt they felt for the Arabs.

But there is an interesting fact: elderly people from Morocco behaved differently. They did not have Israeli impudence (“chutzpah”)… They are the usual friendly middle Eastern elderly. I do not know the answer to “why the hell did they leave Morocco?”.

…I had no university education and the work of a garbage man itself did not seem humiliating to me.

 

In the heart of the world

We worked for 8 hours a day, but the road from home to work and back took another 2 hours and bosses did not pay for it. Sometimes the working day lasted 10 or 12 hours. Managers promised to increase payments for additional time but sometimes we did not receive payment for it at all.

Work under the scorching Middle East sun is not as difficult for the body as it is tiring for the soul, although the heavy red-hot sunlight was falling on my head, causing pain and irritation.

But worst of all was the rudeness of the Israeli bosses, especially in one of the companies run by a former military man.

The working class of Israel was very diverse. Russian Jews and  Russians were a significant part of it. But Palestinians from the Israeli-occupied territories, Bulgarian Jews and illegal migrant workers from Eastern Europe worked with us. I didn’t see black Ethiopian Jews. This unfortunate community experienced terrible suffering when they moved to Israel during the so-called “Moshe operation” (Moses). Later, already in Israel, many were victims of attacks by the Israeli police.i Their community is considered to be one of the poorest in Israel, but I did not meet them among the workers.

Sometimes we worked together with Israeli workers from poor families of mizrahim (Eastern Jews) from Morocco or white Jews (ashkenazi) with mental problems. There were also Israeli criminals who were obliged to work with us. I remember a muscular Arab woman Suzy (she robbed a Bank) and her young Jewish mistress.

This was the world in which I lived and worked for several years. And this world has affected all my ideas about society and politics.

I was 20. I came to Israel as a staunch supporter of liberal democracy. I believed the totalitarian system of the USSR was terrible, while parliamentarism and the multi-party form the conditions for real democracy. I was sure the market economy created comfortable conditions for people. It turned out to be shit. That is, I had no reason to think better about the USSR, which I remembered very well. But the Western or Israeli system had nothing to do with my ideas. Very quickly all my beliefs were destroyed.

It was not only about “people participating in elections once in 4 years, have no real power”. The fact that politicians and oligarchs decide everything, and ordinary people make no
decisions, became clear very quickly. But that’s not even the point.

More than half of my time was taken up with monotonous work. We, the workers, were in a state of absolute dependence on the managers. They were constantly insulting us, they could fire us at any moment. They followed us closely, and most of them did nothing at all. They were filthy parasites. We cleaned streets and rooms, planted flowers, built houses, worked in factories. We were the foundation of the system and, at the same time, we were powerless.

Monotonous work destroyed the mind and deprived the body of strength. When I returned home, I only had enough strength to sleep. But then I would see the work during my night’s sleep! It was the hell impossible to get out: even my dreams ceased to be a vacation and turned into a continuation of work.

What kind of freedom could we talk about in such conditions, what kind of democracy, what nation state? Everything was empty! Nonsense which had nothing to do with real life. We’d been robbed. They’d stolen our bodies. They took away our minds and our bodies, which didn’t belong to us anymore.

We learned reality. We were in the heart of the world, and that heart was corrupt.

Most of the people on the planet lived and still live that way. In this case, what do liberals or so-called national liberation movements say? All their ideas are either toys for wealthy people or lies that have no connection with the real problems of the majority.

 

Hate

We hated the bosses. Hatred overwhelmed us. But hatred was paralyzed by fear. We rarely argued with managers. We were afraid of being fired. Therefore, another channel had been opened for hatred directed at other ethnic groups like Arabs, Orthodox Jews, etc. I am still convinced that such sentiments are not created by the media, although the elite need the media to strengthen and redirect it. But the ethnic hatred I saw was merely the result of displacement and transfer of class hatred, its safe substitute. Palestinians and Bulgarians were exactly the same victims, but it was more convenient for many Russians to turn a blind eye.

It is a paradoxical fact: class hatred transferred to other workers, turned into nationalist hatred, strengthened the power of management. The ethnic and racial divide had paralysed the collective activity of the workers. The more our hatred for managers grew, the more irritation against other workers grew.

I think this transfer was and remains an important method for the psychological adaptation of workers to capitalism. The system survives thanks to national hatred, so I do not believe in hypocritical political correctness.

 

Looking for a way out

But then where is the exit? Consciousness was looking for it. The Soviet Union just replaced one boss with another. Lenin put the state director in the place of a private owner, but he did not destroy the factory dictatorship of management. Perhaps real freedom is the power of the working assembly and the self-governing? I was interested in the experience of Polish Solidarity/Solidarnosc 1980-1981. It opposed both the Leninist system and capitalism. 10 million workers and specialists of the largest factories supported the idea of self-management for labor collectives.

Fortunately, I was lucky. I called the boss a “bastard” and got fired. I got a job at a new place that paid less, but my new boss was an Arab. His name was Nidal. The first thing I told him: I felt a deep aversion to the Zionists, and if he thinks I support those who attack the Arabs, he is wrong.

Nidal never met Jews with such ideas. He was shocked. He took me to a small clean Park, which turned into my permanent workplace. There was absolutely nothing to do. I sat in the shade (a trash can and a broomstick stood next to me) and read books: the history of Polish Solidarity, the history of Ancient Greece (I was interested in the direct democracy of Polis), the history of the East, where I hoped to discover the roots of despotism, the works of Fromm and Marcuse…

However, I was also interested in the idea of inner liberation from the nightmare. Maybe this life is hell? Maybe the world is arranged in such a way that the body cannot be released, but you can give peace and freedom to the soul? So I read works on the history of art, Sermons of Maester Eckhart, and especially books of an Indian philosopher and yogi Aurobindo Ghosh.

Maybe my own path had little to do with many of the modern anarchists. One of the creators of impressionism, the anarcho-сommunist Camille Pissarro, the pre-Raphaelites along with libertarian socialist William Morris are right: Art should bring us the harmony and beauty lost by capitalist civilization.

For example, I can’t stand punk or much of modern painting. This life is a hell of disharmony, enmity and pain. Painting and the music of the Renaissance or earlier Baroque music were trying to treat the minds of people. I can never understand why I need copies of chaos and disgust in art when all this shit is already around me in my everyday life. The visions of William Morris and polyphony of Thomas Tallis are as much a salvation to me as the social revolution.ii

 

Uri Avneri

I was also interested in the critics of the capitalist system: Israeli leftists and the anarchists. Both became a disappointment.

I remember Uri Avneri, one of the fathers of Israel. A Jewish fascist who once sympathized with the Third Reich, he later became a leftist and a supporter of peace with the Palestinians. He broke with fascism.

He spoke against the Israeli occupation, and for the new “Gush Shalom” peace movement.

Avneri supported withdrawal of the Israeli army from Gaza and the West Bank.

He died recently. I also remember how he told funny things about different people who took part in the creation of the state of Israel: what someone said, how another one drank vodka… But now I don’t remember anything.

I didn’t support the occupation. I had nothing against the Palestinians. But all this had nothing to do with the reality in which I lived and could not change it.

SF note (added 26/2/19): Although this comment about Avneri is fairly neutral, it’s remiss to not be critical of this guy. As an Israeli wrote in the comments box today, “Avneri was a despicable leftist intellectual, politician, magazine/tabloid editor and an admirer of Arafat and the PLO.”

Avneri & Arafat, 1982

Anarchists

The biggest disappointment were the Israeli and later Western anarchists. Theoretically, anarchism means fighting for direct workers democracy by methods of direct action. At least that’s how Bakunin and Kropotkin saw it. It is not necessarily a violent action, it may even be non-violent in most cases, but it is always an action directed against businessmen and business women and against state principles and orders. Bakunin’s “revolutionary gymnastics” aims to develop a mass psychology of the workers, based on the rejection of state law and the ruling class. Once in the past anarchists more or less corresponded to such ideas. But…

The most pleasant of them was a Hungarian Jew Toma Schick. He ate rotten vegetables, which were given to him in shops by traders, and, it seemed, did not work anywhere. He called himself a pacifist. All this looked a little unpleasant to me, although I fully recognize the right of people to lead such a way of life. But he was one of the few non-nationalists I met in Israel, and I realy liked that. In addition, he was an extremely intelligent man who knew a lot about Israeli society. Toma Schik helped young people to avoid military service and helped many, explaining what they could tell officials. It was really helpful.

One day, seeing in my hands the book of Aurobindo Ghosh, Toma burst into criticism: ”Perhaps this man was a great revolutionary, but went into mysticism, it’s wrong.”

A well-known anarcho-сommunist Ilan Shalif lived in Israel but I did not know about this. Unfortunately Toma didn’t tell me anything about him.

Much later Toma returned to Hungary. As I heard he was killed in a traffic accident.

But most anarchists were punks or supporters of some subcultural movements: disgusting “music” and anti-fascism. One day they fought at a rally with right wingers, then they were arrested by the police, and I have seen one of these young people, bursting into tears, giving evidence to the police.

Once more. You have problems. You don’t know how to solve it. Your life is terrible. Your work is hell. Your boss is a creature who should not exist. But you heard that Bakunin rejected bosses and advocated a society based on self-government. You came to the anarchists, and some strange guy there suddenly says:

– Let’s go fight with that man! I have to break his nose.
– Why?
– He’s a rightwinger!
– What?! What the hell is that? What does that have to do with my problems?

Many of the Western anarchists I met later were people of subcultures iii. Some others were supporters of trade unions.

Trade unions
I’ve seen unions. Some of my work colleagues, privileged (in salary) Israeli bus drivers, were members of the Union. The Union provided them with some benefits, which, however, did not make them owners. We, workers who cleaned buses, were not invited into the Union. They, holding on to their privileges, looked upon us as their personal servants, though they were workers too.

One day, an elderly driver, a Polish Jew, was fired. This man was very nervous. Then my colleague, the cleaner of the bus, a young Bukharan Jew Sholom, expressed his support. The reaction followed immediately. Choking with rage, the Israeli unionist yelled: “Who are you to talk to me? What can you understand about my job?!”

Let me give you another example from Russia. I remember the strike of railway workers on the “Yaroslavl direction”. There was a group of drivers at the station, striking members of the Union (to be fair, I want to add that among them there were those who officially did not belong to the Union). On another platform a bunch of migrant workers in orange uniform (Uzbeks or Tajiks) had gathered. Some of them sweeping the station. They were trying to figure out what was going on. Members of the Union did not even think to invite them to participate in the strike, to call for a meeting held at a distance of 50 meters.

It must be said that some basic cells of this trade union were preparing a strike by radical methods, threatening to potential scabs. However, the leadership of the trade union faced pressure so it ended the strike the same day it began.

Trade unions are unable to eliminate capitalism.

First, they are loyal to the laws written by the oligarchs, and constantly refer to these laws. A special group of privileged negotiators and lawyers is at the head of any trade union. This
privileged layer exists due to contracts and litigations between trade unions and business so they are not interested in a radical change of society.

Second, trade unions can only provide some privileges to certain categories of workers, pushing others away. The Russian revolutionary (s.r.-maximalist) Gersh Nestroev (Tsypin) wrote in the early 20th century that unions do not have the dominant socio-revolutionary ideas, because they are always open to those who only put forward the economic aims of the struggle. Such people are willing to compromise, regardless of the interests of other workers belonging to other professional and/or ethnic groups iv.

Trade unions create castes, making a deep split in the working class. As in ancient India the higher castes are willing to enter into a contract with the kings.

 

Recognition

Much later I learned that there were other social movements. I was struck by the history of the anarchists of Bialystok in 1904-1908. These people created a strong organization of Jewish and Polish workers, organized hundreds of illegal strikes and eliminated the most brutal fanatical bosses. So they tried to prepare society (psychologically and organizationally) for social revolution. At the same time they were campaigning for their ideals, a Golden age of self-government on Earth. But they, unlike the Bolsheviks, never tried to become the new bosses of the workers v.

I was equally struck by the history of the workers ‘ Councils of Budapest (1956): labor collectives occupied the largest factories and created self-government there (such an elected Council was uniting specialists and workers of all categories, not only people of a certain profession).

Maybe the way out of capitalism is provided by a combination of the first and the second. But that’s another story.

———————————————–

Footnotes

The first 2 footnotes are by SamFanto, the rest are from the author.

ii SamFanto note: Without going into detail, this is not indicative of an attempt to understand the complexities of the history of modern art or modern music. See, for instance, these 2 texts, mainly about modern art : http://www.notbored.org/english.html and : http://dialectical-delinquents.com/articles/culture/the-closed-window-onto-another-life/

And also this, about music : http://dialectical-delinquents.com/articles/culture/some-musical-notes/ and this, specifically about punk : http://dialectical-delinquents.com/articles/culture/on-musical-genres/

 

iii  Fascism and anti-Fascism
http://libcom.org/forums/organise/fascism-anti-fascism-18102018 As far as I can see, in the modern world fascism and anti-fascism are often nothing but special youth subcultures. Though there are things related to fascism and anti-fascism beyond these subcultures.

 

iv The Socialist Revolutionaries Maximalists (SRs Maximalists)
https://libcom.org/forums/history/socialist-revolutionaries-maximalists-srs-maximalists-24092014

 

v  The Paradoxes of working class of Russia
http://libcom.org/library/paradoxes-working-class-russia

36 Responses to work in Israel
  1. Jim Katz says:

    This article very much reflects my experience of working and incarceration in the Jewish State. The blind cruelty and pent up aggression of the Israeli citizen; and the powerlessness of the worker in Israel. Equally, it is the experience of the worker/prisoner globally.

    The only free man I saw in Israel/Palestine was a tramp that resided on the sidewalk on a corner of HaYarkon Street. He literally took the piss out of bourgeois mores whenever it took his fancy.

  2. How did he “take the piss out of bourgeois mores”?

  3. Jim Katz says:

    When he needed to take a piss, he would get up from his little camp on the sidewalk, walk to the edge and piss into the gutter of HaYarkon Street. To the best of my memory, I don’t remember if I ever saw him defecating in the same manner.

  4. Jim Katz says:

    Michael’s article speaks volumes about the effect the great influx of capital into Palestine since 1948 (and before) has has on human relations. I would just like to mention the devastating effect capital accumulation has had on the environment of the country. The rivers that run through Israel/Palestine have been so diminished and polluted that at points they are no longer rivers but, more properly speaking, drainage ditches. Ha Yarkon/al-Auja, that enters the sea in Tel Aviv, is so polluted that a footbridge over it was forced to collapse because the pollutants in the water attacked the feet of the bridge. The great River Jordan now finishes its journey as a trickle of slurry.

  5. Thanks for your comments. Of course, it’s obvious that capital accumulation has devastating environmental effects across the planet, but it’s useful to see specific regional examples of its devastation. The main problem, though, is that most movements don’t make a connection between this devastation and capital accumulation, though this seems to be changing a bit even if the understanding of the enormity of what we’re up against is, for the moment, quite limited.

  6. I received the following detailed comments from an Israeli friend who left Israel some time ago and now lives in Europe:

    1. Re. “According to Israeli economist Boris Dubson, about half of them had to become garbage cleaners, factory workers or join the ranks of the unemployed”

    Also security guards – those who search your bag at the entrance to shopping malls and other public buildings (in Israel there is one on almost every entrance to a public or commercial space) and doormen. The only people who man these jobs are USSR immigrants and Ethiopians (if you don’t count young men and women straight after their military service, who get special benefits or something for working in these security jobs).

    2. Re. “In schools Russian children were systematically bullied”

    This was also the case in relatively more “open” and “welcoming” environments such as the kibbutz where I was raised (and perhaps still is).

    3. Re. “Representatives of the middle urban layer of Moroccan society, jewelers, skilled artisans and traders, they came to Israel in the 1950s and were shocked when they were discriminated by the whites at the top of the Zionist state and business (Ashkenazi and Sabra Jews) “

    “Discriminated” is a bit too subtle choice of words and actually very close to the way the State now speaks of its past “mistakes” in regard to the Mizrachi Jews.

    There were occasions of more and less serious rebelliousness to the State racist oppression during the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s, but those were repressed and later hindered more efficiently in advance with Zionist and citizenist conditioning by the State and its lackeys (the Israeli Communist Party and other leftist parties, NGO’s…), turning the contradictions of Zionism and it’s state into just another issue within the democratic unilateral “debate”, and more recently into a question of identity and representation. [Among these “mistakes”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yemenite_Children_Affair%5D.

    4. Re. “Now they have seen Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Lithuanian Ashkenazi Jews, who are considered even lower than the Moroccans themselves! It was possible to get sadistic pleasure and to force “whites” to pay for everything that had happened to the Morrocans.”

    Interesting. I wasn’t aware of this phenomenon, though it seems very plausible. Perhaps I wasn’t aware because I lived closed-off in the kibbutz bubble and because of the fact that I was only a kid during the 1990’s.

    What is also interesting is that, at least from what I experienced, this also works in the other direction: arrogance and contempt towards Moroccan/Mizrachi Jews from the side of the USSR immigrants, who in this case consider themselves as cultural and civilized Europeans who are forced to put up with all these uneducated, uncultured, primitive Arabic Jews from north-Africa. Though it may be that this is a later phenomenon where the USSR immigrants developed this attitude so they would not feel they are the last in the Zionist food chain, who may have also been influenced by the similar contempt towards Mizrachi Jews from the side of the Ashkenazi.

    But what is more interesting is the phenomenon of love relations between USSR women and Arab or Mizrachi men. I don’t claim to have any statistics or numbers, but from my observance it’s relatively more common for the women immigrants NOT to have this above mentioned contemptuous and hateful attitude towards Mizrachi Jews or Arabs (or at least in a lesser proportion than the male immigrants). It’s interesting especially in regard to love relations with Arabs (usually Palestinian citizens of Israel), since Arab-Jewish love relations are extremely rare and frowned upon – not always officially of course – by both sides (even more frowned upon on the Jewish side as far as I can see). Like the case with other Jewish-Arab love relations (Sabra, Ashkenazi, Mizrachi etc.) it is mostly an Arab man and a Jewish woman. I heard more stories about couples of a USSR woman and an Arab man than about Sabra/Ashkenazi/Mizrachi etc. But again, this is not an historical fact, just my observation and general experience.

    5. Re. “The Israel I saw was a sea of a variety of ethnic hatred. However, these ethnic groups were, to some extent, united by the hatred and contempt they felt for the Arabs”

    True. But you also need to take into consideration the youth and young “drop-outs” within the USSR immigrants, who many times develop a general contempt for the State, its symbols and its institutions, drop out of school or being sent into awful boarding schools or end up in prison, evade military service, develop a sort of street-life/thug mentality, and a lot of times don’t give a fuck about politics and Arab-hatred or at least indifferent to it. Again, I don’t have any statistics nor more knowledge about the scope of this.

    6. Re. “We were afraid of being fired. Therefore, another channel had been opened for hatred directed at other ethnic groups like Arabs, Orthodox Jews, etc.”

    The USSR immigrants, for the most part, are much more “liberal” when it comes to the Jewish laws such as keeping kosher, etc. Since their arrival they have opened many convenient stores and supermarkets (like you have in any immigrant community) where they sell many non-kosher products such as pork etc. and which are in many cases also open on Sabbath (Saturday), the holy day in Judaism (The Jewish law forbids working on Sabbath). Naturally, they developed a hostility towards (Ultra-) Orthodox Jews and the religious authorities, who on their part made it hard for USSR immigrants whose Judaism is “questionable” to become officially Jewish, and had prejudices towards this wave of immigration from the USSR.

    With this in mind, this immigration wave also brought with it people who at the time had kept only a flimsy relation to Judaism as a religion or to the Jewish tradition, their families have “abandoned” Judaism somewhere along the line due to various reasons, some of them have even become Christians. In order to be considered as “Jewish” and to gain the right to a full Israeli citizenship as part of the racial Law of Return you only have to prove your Jewish ancestry (which isn’t easy in some cases). So I guess that some – maybe many, I don’t know – immigrants where officially Jewish but lived differently in their everyday lives and came to Israel because they preferred it to living in post-USSR. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Return

    7. Re. “Painting and the music of the Renaissance or earlier Baroque music were trying to treat the minds of people. I can never understand why I need copies of chaos and disgust in art when all this shit is already around me in my everyday life. “

    It is of course exaggerated and simplistic to say of punk or any extreme kind of music for that matter that is just a “copy of chaos and disgust”. Having said that, I certainly understand where he’s coming from. I’m bored as fuck of how these subcultures are in the most part nothing more than a copy of a copy, a mannerist show of chaos and disgust to be consumed at certain times, in certain atmospheres, with certain outfits and certain looks, the musical accessory to one’s “alternative” identity – this identity being a safe outlet for unsafe feelings of resentment and angst towards society’s contradictions.* In that sense these allegedly rebellious musical subcultures are extremely conservative when it comes to artistic creation and its scope – which is echoed by the conservative political ideologies of most of its members (anarcho-leftism, moralist veganism, identity politics, white privilege etc., in short – all these leftovers of the religious world brought up-to-date to the requirements of consumer society and it’s “alternative” brands) which echoes back on the artistic, in a dialectical a-sexual intercourse. But, the fact that someone plays music that is a part of or that could be considered as belonging to these subcultures of mannerism doesn’t mean that there necessarily couldn’t be anything more to it. One can also détourne while listening.

    * “[…] The alternative spectacle, the world of trade unionism, ecological activism, community campaigns, culture jamming, the open source movement, exhibitions of radical texts in state museums and university galleries, fair trade, alternative medicine, guerrilla gardening, anarcho-punk, protests in solidarity with the third world, protests in general, children’s rights, the New Age Movement and other claims of the paranormal, the World Social Forum, feminism, reduced consumption and other remedies for ‘affluenza’, welfare rights advocacy, the anti-war movement, ‘dumpster diving’, anti-globalization, campaigns against corporate abuses, and the short-term suspension of ordinary life found in rioting. In short, the whole of the lives and lies of those who believe that substantive and desirable improvements to everyday life can be brought about, or revolution approached, by changing one or more aspects of the dominant society and leaving the appropriation of labour and life by the commodity unchanged; of those satisfied with the display or repetition of an inadequate revolt.” [Wayne Spencer]

    8. Re. “Avneri supported withdrawal of the Israeli army from Gaza and the West Bank”

    Avneri was a despicable leftist intellectual, politician, magazine/tabloid editor and an admirer of Arafat and the PLO.
    See for example: https://youtu.be/sMkmuZsA66U

    http://uriavnery.com/en/

    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/index_en.html

    9. Re. “One day, seeing in my hands the book of Aurobindo Ghosh, Toma burst into criticism: ”Perhaps this man was a great revolutionary, but went into mysticism, it’s wrong.”

    I don’t know much about Schik, but from what I do know and from what I read now, he seems to have been an ideologist of anarchism, what one would call today a “lifestyle anarchist”, and above all a moralist (in short, not that different from most of the Israeli anarchists I had a chance to know). Apparently he was also a member of Gush Shalom (Uri Avneri’s organization, see above), of “Meri” political party (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meri_(political_party) and of Garry Davis’s “Citizens of the World” project.

    This is translated from Toma Schik’s Hebrew Wikipedia page:
    “The house in Benda Street became a support center for young people who tried to avoid military service for reasons of conscience, and he [Schik] knew how to filter-out by long talks those who only wanted to dodge.” [That is, those who wanted to evade military service for reasons other than “conscience”.]

    Reading this last sentence I’m a little bit comforted by the fact that the later (legal and not-for-profit) organization New Profile, despite its fundamental flaws, also helps draft-dodgers and not only conscientious objectors. Well, at least it used to in my day.
    There was also a small Russian-speaking group/network of I don’t know how many people (it may have been just one person for that matter, or twenty) which was called “Target 21” – 21 being the lowest possible medical profile code and which deems you permanently unfit for military service. They had a “draft-dodger manual” and helped fellow USSR immigrants who wanted to avoid military service. They didn’t have any relations or communication with the “normal” leftist/radical refusers or with New Profile.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profile_21

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toma_Sik
    [The Hebrew Wikipedia pages naturally have more information]

    10. Re. “A well-known anarcho-сommunist Ilan Shalif lived in Israel but I did not know about this. “

    Shalif was formerly a Maoist and member of the Israeli Trotskyist organization Matzpen (https://matzpen.org/english/), now a member of the small Israeli Anarcho-ideologist group Unity (which I think was founded by some of 2nd generation USSR immigrants. See their website: (https://unityispa.wordpress.com/english/). During the last decade or so he has been helping to organize the weekly demonstrations against the Separation Wall in Palestinian villages such as Bil’in (See also: Anarchists Against the Wall, or, as a friend calls them: “Anarchists for States”). I met him once when I was 17-18 and just discovering Anarchist ideas, but we didn’t talk much. At one point he tried to found an “East Mediterranean libertarian organization” but I don’t think it ever evolved into something concrete.
    Interview from 2010:
    https://www.anarkismo.net/article/17412

    Personal website
    https://ilan.shalif.com/

    11. Re. “Members of the Union did not even think to invite them to participate in the strike, to call for a meeting held at a distance of 50 meters”

    To this day almost the entirety of cleaning workers (and similar sectors) in Israel are immigrants from USSR and Ethiopia, and Arabs. Most of them are employed through contractor companies (I’m not sure about the exact term in English) and not directly by their employers.

    The history of labor unions (or the lack of it) in Israel is interesting and I have a lot to catch up on it. All I know is that The Histadrut, attached to the Israeli Labor party who ruled the nation from 1948 to 1977, was until recently the only powerful workers sheepdog. In the last 10 years or so a new social-democrat union was founded as a leftist alternative, which had some success in unionizing sectors and professions that were never organized and managed to win some important battles against employers:
    https://workers.org.il/?lang=en
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koah_LaOvdim

  7. mmagid@mail.ru says:

    1) “Discriminated” is a bit too subtle choice of words and actually very close to the way the State now speaks of its past “mistakes” in regard to the Mizrachi Jews.
    There were occasions of more and less serious rebelliousness to the State racist oppression during the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s, but those were repressed and later hindered more efficiently in advance with Zionist and citizenist conditioning by the State and its lackeys (the Israeli Communist Party and other leftist parties, NGO’s…), turning the contradictions of Zionism and it’s state into just another issue within the democratic unilateral “debate”, and more recently into a question of identity and representation.

    =========================
    Perhaps the author of these words is right. I’m not very familiar with the history of Mizrahim in Israel. I read about their protests and riots in Haifa in the past.

    2) “It is of course exaggerated and simplistic to say of punk or any extreme kind of music for that matter that is just a “copy of chaos and disgust”. Having said that, I certainly understand where he’s coming from. I’m bored as fuck of how these subcultures are in the most part nothing more than a copy of a copy, a mannerist show of chaos and disgust to be consumed at certain times, in certain atmospheres, with certain outfits and certain looks, the musical accessory to one’s “alternative” identity – this identity being a safe outlet for unsafe feelings of resentment and angst towards society’s contradictions.* In that sense these allegedly rebellious musical subcultures are extremely conservative when it comes to artistic creation and its scope – which is echoed by the conservative political ideologies of most of its members (anarcho-leftism, moralist veganism, identity politics, white privilege etc., in short – all these leftovers of the religious world brought up-to-date to the requirements of consumer society and it’s “alternative” brands) which echoes back on the artistic, in a dialectical a-sexual intercourse. But, the fact that someone plays music that is a part of or that could be considered as belonging to these subcultures of mannerism doesn’t mean that there necessarily couldn’t be anything more to it. One can also détourne while listening.”

    ===========================
    I would like to add one thing. Punk is part of the culture of modern leftists and anarchists, which is well described by this enumeration: “anarcho-leftism, moralist veganism, identity politics, white privilege etc” I would add modern left-wing or even “anarchist” unions like the modern so-called CNT or IWW. Now, this whole mix, “alternative spectacle” including them, has nothing to do with the social revolution. For more than half a century, anarchists have been associated with all this neo-leftist culture, which has not become the basis of any social revolution. It is obvious that all this is not a form of social revolutionary action. Moreover, it is acquired over time, the traits of a religious taboo. Punk became part of this conservative, boring, quasi-religious leftist “civilization.” All this must be thrown into the trash of history. There is only one form of social revolution known to us – working autonomy in the form of councils are under the control of regular workers ‘ assemblies. Social revolutionary groups and individuals must work in this direction. The left culture must be discarded totally. We need a completely different music and poetry, “air from other planets” that would point to a new world of non-party self-organization.

    Mikhael Magid

    • There is only one form of social revolution known to us – working autonomy in the form of councils are under the control of regular workers ‘ assemblies. Social revolutionary groups and individuals must work in this direction.

      – MM

      This seems rather too much like an ideological hangover from remnants of council communism, assemblyism, the Situationists, etc. It’s too much like simplistic reductionist positive politics for my liking. The Leninists’ constant reiteration of the need for a revolutionary party is replaced with an alternative catch-all solution – Workers Councils, as if there aren’t lots of other different expressions of proletarian revolt. And we can’t reject the struggles of women or blacks, for instance, against the divisions and contradictions hierarchically imposed on them even if we recognise that proletarian women and proletarian blacks have something essential in common with male or non-black proletarians and need to oppose female or black bosses amongst their “categories”.

      As for the ideology of assemblies – well, sometimes assemblies are needed to carry a struggle forward, but often – insofar as they bow to the forms and content of capitalism and class society, they can even have a counter-revolutionary content. E.g. – in Barcelona, what, in the early 1980s, was originally an assembly of dockers with a radical programme (see this: http://dialectical-delinquents.com/articles/class-struggle-histories-2/spain-1980s-dockers-co-ordinadora/ ), ended up voting for unemployment. The assembly form is no automatic guarantee against a miserable content, no guarantee against a content defined by capitalism &/or ideologies coming from it.

      • Jim Katz says:

        “There is only one form of social revolution known to us — working [class] autonomy in the form of councils…”

        It is true that working class councils/assemblies are a prerequisite to social revolution. It just depends on a wide definition of what constitutes a working class council. I can’t think of any instance of social revolution that hasn’t involved atomised individuals coming together on the basis of their class.

        • I agree – but not only are there a million other things to pose before that particular bridge is crossed, it’s also a question of the content of these councils and not just the horizontal form. An ideology of horizontalism, of assemblies and councils, can ignore their content but form and content can only be separated to the detriment of a genuine subversion of dominant social relations.

  8. Jim Katz says:

    I have lived in and visited Israel on four occasions in my lifetime. On the first occasion, I worked as Volunteer labour on a kibbutz in the reclaimed desert around Gaza. My first job was to take charge of the children’s farm, a small zoo. Although I was a youth, with little sense of responsibility, I found the work most rewarding. I cared for the animals in the mornings and the children after noon.

    When this job ended, I did short spells collecting and producing honey and working in the communal kitchens. It was when I worked labouring on the machines in the fields that the brutality of industrial production became more stark. It was here also that I saw the racist attitude of bourgeois Israelis in the clear light of day. On one occasion, we workers were being driven back to the village when we spotted the caravan of Palestinian migrant workers ablaze. Our Israeli foremen took no steps to put the fire out but instead made scathing remarks about the occupants of the caravan. On another occasion, we Volunteers were manning a potato picking machine. One day the machine broke down and our Argentine foreman went to get a mechanic. He left us more than two hours in the burning sun without water or cover. It was then that the foreman came on the end of possibly his first experience of proletarian rage.

    My last visit was a brief one. I flew into Ben Gurion on El Al, was arrested by immigration, placed in a holding cell in the bowels of the airport, and returned 72 hours later. No explanation was given and none was expected on my part.

    • his first experience of proletarian rage

      – how was this proletarian rage expressed?

      And what do you think the reason was for imprisoning you and not letting you into the country? Do you think they had information about your critical attitudes?

      • Jim Katz says:

        Let me just say that rage was expressed. The kibbutz gave us two days off work and apologised.

        I was a member of a group called Worldwide Intifada (https://libcom.org/library/worldwide-intifada-issue-1-summer-1992-price-50-pence) whilst studying at Warwick University. I couldn’t say whether this was the reason for my incarceration or maybe it was simply that I had no money. In the cells were two Czechs, a Christian pilgrim from Indonesia, a Romany and a Dutch Muslim. I don’t think anyone knew why they’d been held.

        The day I was flown back Ariel Sharon made his infamous visit to the Dome of the Rock, sparking the resurgence of intifada.

  9. Tal says:

    A short documentary from 1999 about the short-lived underground Tel-Avivian band Ausweiss, which was formed by immigrants from the former Soviet Union:

    https://vimeo.com/109732559

    • Jim Katz says:

      Heartening documentary film from black communists of Tel Aviv.

      I especially liked Weiss’s reaction to the fight on stage, when he saw blood coming from the Hammer and Sickle painted on his head.

      Shared

  10. Siddiq Khan says:

    Thanks for writing and publishing this, really refreshing to read. Michael, are you still living and working in Israel? How has your experience of things changed now compared to the 90s?

  11. Jim Katz says:

    On the collusion between the German Nazi state, the nascent national socialist state of Israel and the interests (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_Leumi) of capital:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haavara_Agreement

    • the nascent national socialist state of Israel

      Unless you think many of the world’s states are nascent national socialist states (which in any case, would be utterly ahistorical and ignore the specificity of Nazi Germany), use of this term is simplistic to say the least. I doubt, for instance, that Israel will ban all parties other than the ruling one, will systematically exclude Arabs from many jobs, is developing a war economy capable of taking on the most powerful war economies/nation-states, is burning books whose contents don’t conform to Zionist ideology, etc. Fascistic it may well be, or is becoming, but even the term ‘fascist’ loses all sense of precision if applied to countries like Israel.

      • Jim Katz says:

        Before I reply, can I just say that the photo above of Avneri & Arafat could so easily have been Jeremy Corbyn and Yasser Arafat.

        I didn’t apply the term “fascist” to the State of Israel. I don’t think the term does have much meaning. All nation states bind their subjects together. I do think, however, that the way that Israel was formed can be described as national socialist. The creation of a new language, the centrality of the state bank in the formation of the country, the role of the kibbutzim in the establishment of Israel… All these things are national socialist in content. The history of other nation states is qualitatively different. Not better, not worse, but different. The State of Israel is a national socialist country on a par with North Korea.

  12. I took the term “national socialist” to mean “Nazi” as in Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party, not nationalist with a socialist ideology, which the state of Israel doesn’t really have (even though for the first 29 years of its existence the governing party was both nationalist, obviously, and “socialist” in a broadly Social Democratic sense). Even then to say it’s on a par with North Korea, a dictatorial one-party state, is stretching the comparison too far, a comparison that doesn’t clarify anything. For one thing, it’s not – in modern dominant vernacular – a command (ie ‘socialist’) economy – it’s pretty much a neoliberal one as far as my limited knowledge can see.

    Admittedly, Israel, and the kibbutzim as the avant-garde of its formation, was largely created by those who held ideologies from the old workers movement (including some kibbutzim which were formally “anarchist’ – national anarchist since they excluded Arabs). Though I’m pretty sure that the kibbutzim were a unique phenomena, at least on a national scale. Not like North Korea at all.

    As for Hebrew, yes – it’s modern version is very far from its original one. But then all nation states force on their population a language that probably the majority didn’t really speak at the time of their creation (in 1860, Italian was spoken by less than 3% of Italy; in 1789 French was spoke ‘correctly’ by only 13% of the population, and not at all by 50%).

    • Jim Katz says:

      Prior to the creation of the modern language, Hebrew, it was spoken by no one; and Ancient Hebrew was solely a liturgical language at that time.

      I find it interesting that Italian was spoken by so few in what was to become the Italian Republic. I wonder what they were speaking and how their mother tongues were suppressed and replaced with the national language that is now so prevalent there?

      If you remember, I only referred to “Nazi” in relation to Germany in my original comment. You are quite entitled to disagree that the State of Israel is national socialist. It is only my opinion.

      • Re. Italy; , Massimo d’Azeglio said “We have made Italy, now we have to make Italians”. Hobsbawm wrote: “The only basis for Italian unification was the Italian language, which united the educated elite of the peninsula as readers and writers, even though it has calculated that at the moment of unification (1860) only 2½% of the population used the language for everyday purposes.” (“Nations and Nationalism since 1780”) – which slightly modifies what I wrote above.
        I’m not sure how much, or how, the various other languages were suppressed, but an Italian told me about 14 years ago that in modern Italy in the area around Naples there were still 50 different dialects.

  13. Mikhael Magid says:

    Some remarks.

    1. I may add that my experience was not as terrible as that of Palestinian refugees or Ethiopian black Jews shot or beaten by police.

    2 On the other hand, I want to say that I am not a man obsessed with the fight against Zionism, or specifically with the state of Israel. I mean, it’s just capitalism and the state. Somewhere they are a little softer, where they are tougher, but they have the same essence.

    I’m not anti-Israeli, anti-fascist or anti-zionist. I am an anti-capitalist and anti-state.

    I think if I lived in France or Iran, I would write something similar 😉

    Well, at least as far as I know myself. Just as the hero of one American film said, I can say: “I just do not like the bosses.”

    • Jim Katz says:

      Mikhael Magid said:

      “I may add that my experience was not as terrible as that of Palestinian refugees or Ethiopian black Jews shot or beaten by police.”

      My experience in the Jewish State was also less severe than the experience of other workers in Israel.

      I worked a eight hour day, whilst workers alongside me worked a 16 hour day (including travel too and fro from Gaza).

      I was slapped and dragged by the Israeli police, not beaten or shot.

      However, our position of subjugation to bourgeois order was qualitatively the same: oppressed and oppressor.

  14. Mikhael Magid says:

    3. There is only one form of social revolution known to us – working autonomy in the form of councils are under the control of regular workers ‘ assemblies. Social revolutionary groups and individuals must work in this direction.

    –——— MM

    This seems rather too much like an ideological hangover from remnants of council communism, assemblyism, the Situationists, etc. It’s too much like simplistic reductionist positive politics for my liking. The Leninists’ constant reiteration of the need for a revolutionary party is replaced with an alternative catch-all solution – Workers Councils, as if there aren’t lots of other different expressions of proletarian revolt. And we can’t reject the struggles of women or blacks, for instance, against the divisions and contradictions hierarchically imposed on them even if we recognise that proletarian women and proletarian blacks have something essential in common with male or non-black proletarians and need to oppose female or black bosses amongst their “categories”.

    —– Sam FantoSamotnaf

    ==========================================================

    First of all I want to say that I see no more adequate consistent social revolutionary movements than the good old Councilism, especially if we’re talking about the ideas of Otto Rule (AAUD-E) or or Autonomous Workers ‘ Councils of Budapest in 1956.

    Of course, these ideas can also be criticized.

    Of course, I’m not against the idea of equality for women or black people. All these things are necessary.

    But here I have an important addition. Such a struggle can become part of the social revolution only if it is integrated with the class struggle. Only if we turn to black workers or women who earn their own living, only if we try to integrate them into a common United movement, only then can we count on success.

    Only the struggle of classes is the core of the social revolution. All the social revolutions we know revolved around this core, from the Paris Commune of 1871 to Budapest in 1956 and Gdansk in 1980. All minority movements should also focus on this core. Otherwise we get black bourgeois racism, liberal feminism and… Zionism 😉

    Yes, don’t forget that Zionism, like black racism, was a national movement of an oppressed minority. This minority even wanted to build socialism, but only for Jews. And now look at the result!

    • Jim Katz says:

      Mikhael Magid said:

      “3. There is only one form of social revolution known to us – working autonomy in the form of councils are under the control of regular workers ‘ assemblies. Social revolutionary groups and individuals must work in this direction…

      First of all I want to say that I see no more adequate consistent social revolutionary movements than the good old Councilism, especially if we’re talking about the ideas of Otto Rule (AAUD-E) or or Autonomous Workers ‘ Councils of Budapest in 1956.”

      In this context—the contemporary Middle East—we would be blind and dumb not to cite the insurrectionary workers’ and neighbourhood shuras/councils of Iraq and Syria.

      Again, should we discount recent assemblies of workers in France and elsewhere under the banner of Yellow Vest? Sure, anarchy not organisation is the prevailing spirit in these actions.

      Certainly, there is no need for despondency, which can do nothing but temper the revolutionary movement of the proletariat. At the same time, complacency must be avoided at all costs.

      • “should we discount recent assemblies of workers in France and elsewhere under the banner of Yellow Vest? “

        Whilst we shouldn’t automatically discount these assemblies, most of them maintain a nationalist mentality and framework and some even include fascists. To call for assemblies seems too much of a formulaic attitude.
        Of course some form of assembly is often necessary, useful and potentially revolutionary in certain circumstances, but there are lots initiatives that express revolt against this world which do not involve assemblies at all – eg the 5 nights of riots in Grenoble over the last few days.

        • Jim Katz says:

          A riot is a form of proletarian assembly and it is the fascists—i.e. the police—that violently or non-violently oppose all forms of assembly, peaceful or not. Yet the fascists serve their master, capital, or choose not to and return to the proletariat.

          As I said above all nation states are bound together as a bundle [“fascis”] of straw is bound together. The police, judiciary, social services, state education, psychiatry, bureaucracy… are just so many pieces of string that bind the whole.

          Whatever ideologies (communist, fascist, anarchist, conservationist…) we delude ourselves with makes no odds. It is our actions that determine our history, in my opinion.

          Throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.

          The glorious pages of human history have been written only in those moments when men have been able to act in concert to prevent impending tragedies. By the actions you take you can also illuminate the pages of history.

          • “Whatever ideologies (communist, fascist, anarchist, conservationist…) we delude ourselves with makes no odds. It is our actions that determine our history”
            Writing and speaking are also actions, and they inform, or deform, our other acts – otherwise why would you read things here or write here or speak even..?

            Ideology (whatever the apparent content) is above all an acceptance of and will to reinforce separation//non-communication – and to say it makes no odds ignores so much. Sure we shouldn’t make a hierarchy between writing or speaking ideas and other actions, but you seem to be saying that unwritten or unspoken actions are the only thing that counts. But this isn’t true, and we ignore ideologies (including fascist ones) at our peril. In Weimar Germany, nazis also fought the cops – did these actions speak louder than their words? We live in a time of rarely precedented confusion when fascists, and other nationalists, can participate in riots, attack ATMs, CCTV cameras, etc. alongside people who call themselves anarchists etc.In desperate times, people seek solace in saying certain things “make no odds” but, without reducing people to their ideas (as many ‘revolutionary’ intellectuals tend to do) , we cannot ignore them in the hope of some proletarian miracle suddenly evaporating their shit ideas.

          • A riot is a form of proletarian assembly and it is the fascists—i.e. the police—that violently or non-violently oppose all forms of assembly, peaceful or not.
            Firstly, I can’t see the point in calling a riot a form of proletarian assembly: a riot is not exactly the same as an assembly; an assembly allows for collective public discussion (or should do), whereas a riot is unlikely to involve a public discussion other than with one or two other people, and then only during the peaceful moments.

            More importantly, the police are not the only fascists and ever since Nuit Debout (France, 2016) ideological fascists with no paid policing function have been allowed to speak at assemblies, though in some places they’ve been kicked out.

      • Michael Magid says:

        I did not mean that the workers ‘ Councils of Budapest were the last form of struggle. I mean, they were an adequate form. I absolutely agree with you regarding the workers ‘ Councils of Iraq (Shura) in 1991. I can also refer to the workers ‘ Councils in Iran (Shura) during the 1979 revolution.

        The revolutionary Councils of Syria are a more complex phenomenon, they are more like municipalities with a system of representative democracy and they, as i know, are not of a class character. Nevertheless, I agree that we must study this phenomenon, which is of the utmost importance.

      • Mikhael Magid says:

        Jim Katz says:

        In this context—the contemporary Middle East—we would be blind and dumb not to cite the insurrectionary workers’ and neighbourhood shuras/councils of Iraq and Syria.

        Absolutely! I can also recall the working Councils of Iran (Shuras) in 1979. The situation with the Soviets in Syria is more complicated because there is no class agenda as far as i know and because they are more like municipalities based on representative democracy. But we don’t know much about them and this phenomenon needs to be studied.

  15. Mikhael Magid says:

    4

    As for the ideology of assemblies – well, sometimes assemblies are needed to carry a struggle forward, but often – insofar as they bow to the forms and content of capitalism and class society, they can even have a counter-revolutionary content. E.g. – in Barcelona, what, in the early 1980s, was originally an assembly of dockers with a radical programme (see this: http://dialectical-delinquents.com/articles/class-struggle-histories-2/spain-1980s-dockers-co-ordinadora/ ), ended up voting for unemployment. The assembly form is no automatic guarantee against a miserable content, no guarantee against a content defined by capitalism &/or ideologies coming from it.

    Sam FantoSamotnaf

    =====================================================

    This is a very big question, and there are no easy answers. It was not by chance that I wrote in my autobiographical note that in addition to Autonomous councils, we need ideological groups of influence. It was not by chance that I recalled the organization of the anarcho-сommunists of Bialystok in 1905-1907, which campaigned at the city workers ‘ assemblies, organized ideological groups, initiated strikes and attacked bosses, setting an example of revolutionary activity. At the same time, they did not try to make decisions about how all the workers of the city should act.

    The working Assembly /Council is the only consistent form of struggle. But, according to the definition of the leader of the left SR party, Maria Spiridonova (do not mix left SR with the SR party, it is another organization), the Soviets are a giant social “laboratory”. In this laboratory the working class is experimenting, trying to transform society and themselves. Spiridonova said : if the Assembly withdraws a revolutionary delegate and appoints a social-democrat instead of him, then he did not work well and failed to convince the workers.

    At the same time the left SRS, maximalists and many anarcho-communists were strict opponents of the social-democrats. They never agreed with such decision of the Assembly\Council. But at the same time they were against the destruction of the Soviets and their replacement by the dictatorship of the party, because it meant a return to the oppressed position of workers, who instead of freedom and self-organization get a new dictatorship of party and exploitation on the factories, which were ruled by this dictatorship (party bureaucrats).

    We can condemn many decisions of the workers ‘ Assembly and we even have a duty to do so and to promote ideas of self-organization in the factory and in the area and to promote ideas of the expropriation of the factory and political power. But at the same time, we cannot reject the Assembly / Council as a form of struggle.

    Assembly\Council is a necessary but insufficient condition for social revolution.

  16. Mikhael Magid says:

    5

    I am engaged in Analytics on the Middle East and I can say about the some changes in Israel. But I’m sorry, I’ll take a break for a few days. For now, I can only say that I have problems with terms like “nazism” and “fascism” because they are often used for different reasons.

    But I’ll say one thing for now. Israel is not a country where mass ethnic
    murders is currently being carried out (although it started with that, remember “Nakba”), where books are being burned and where one ideology reigns. But Israel can become such a country in the future. The influence of far-right nationalist parties and religious parties is growing rapidly due to demographic changes.

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