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   Vol.65/No.34            September 10, 2001 
The Comintern and the fight for free Palestine, 1920
(Books of the Month column)
Reprinted below is an excerpt from To See the Dawn: Baku, 1920--First Congress of the Peoples of the East, one of Pathfinder's Books of the Month for September (see ad below for special offer). This congress, which drew 2,000 delegates representing workers and peasants of more than two dozen countries and peoples of Asia, was convened by the Communist International in September 1920 in Baku, the capital of Soviet Azerbaijan. The book contains the complete record of the gathering.

The item selected is titled "The slogan of the Jewish proletariat must be 'Hands off Palestine!'" It is a declaration by the Central Bureau of Jewish Sections of the Communist Party of Russia, which was originally published in Kommunist (Baku) on Sept. 8, 1920. At the time Palestine was under British colonial rule. The Entente, of which the United Kingdom was a member, was the group of imperialist powers that emerged victorious in World War I. Copyright © 1993 by Pathfinder Press, reprinted by permission.


1. It is the policy of the Entente (and particularly Britain) regarding the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, where the overwhelming majority of the population is Arab--a policy backed by the Yellow Second International--that provides the basis for the bourgeois Zionist party's agitation among the Jewish popular masses in favor of Zionism. Under the given conditions, this agitation favors the Entente, especially Britain.

2. Jews are being provocatively identified as initiators and culprits in the parceling out of Arab lands among the victorious powers, including the handing over of Palestine to Britain. This identification serves British imperialism in Palestine and throughout the East as a means to ignite national passions among the working people of the East and to sow hatred between Arabs and Jews. This found expression in the three-day-long pogrom of Jews in Jerusalem in April this year, which enjoyed the open sympathy of the British occupying authorities.

3. The Entente's whole policy is a typical example of colonial domination. It finds striking expression in the "constitution" of Palestine adopted by the San Remo conference of the League of Nations. At the same time this policy endeavors to utilize the capital of the small and middle Jewish bourgeoisie of all countries and to hitch them to the chariot of British imperialism, "the herald of the peoples' liberation."

Under this constitution, the government in Palestine aims to include the Jewish capitalists (through the Zionist party) in the intensified exploitation of the Arab peasantry and to implicate them in this plunder. It aims to ignite a national dispute between Jewish and Arab cliques in the legislative bodies. By this it seeks to retard the awakening of the masses of the East.

Britain's entire policy on Palestine aims at maintaining power wholly in the hands of the British occupiers and ideologically subordinating the Jewish community in all countries to Britain's interests. With the assistance of imperialism's Zionist servants, Britain's policy aims at drawing away from communism a portion of the Jewish proletariat by arousing in it national feelings and sympathies for Zionism. This policy of the Entente is actively supported by the Jewish bourgeoisie. In matters of exploitation and oppression, they solidarize fully with the capitalists of other nationalities. Their own class interests lead them to strive to participate in the plunder of the Arab peasant.

4. In the name of the Jewish proletariat and the working masses, we therefore most vigorously protest that, on the pretense of national liberation, a privileged Jewish minority is being artificially implanted in the population of Palestine. Such a policy is a direct violation of the rights of the Arab working masses in their struggle for independence and for complete possession of the land and of all the products of their labor.

The slogan of the Jewish proletariat, and of every friend of the toiling masses and every fighter for national liberation, must be "Hands off Palestine!"

We also sharply condemn the attempts by certain Jewish left-Socialist groups to combine communism with adherence to Zionist ideology. This is what we see in the program of the so-called Jewish Communist Party (Poale Zion). We believe that in the ranks of fighters for the rights and interests of the working people there is no place for groups that have in one form or another maintained Zionist ideology, concealing behind the mask of communism the nationalist appetites of the Jewish bourgeoisie. They are using communist slogans to exert bourgeois influence on the proletariat.

We note that during all the time that the mass Jewish workers' movement has existed, the Zionist ideology has been foreign to the Jewish proletariat. The social-Palestinian parties have been insignificant groups.1 We declare that the Jewish masses envision the possibility of their social-economic and cultural development not in the creation of a "national center" in Palestine, but in the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the creation of socialist Soviet republics in the countries where they live.

We call on the Jewish working masses of all countries to take part actively in the unfolding socialist revolution and to join the ranks of the Third International through the Communist parties of their respective countries.

1.The term "social-Palestinian parties" refers here to Zionist organizations functioning within the Socialist and labor movements.
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