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Vol. 81/No. 6      February 13, 2017

(Editor's comment)

Recognition of Israel key for toilers in Mideast

The article “Capitalist Rulers in Mideast Shift Allies While Toilers Face Catastrophe” in the Jan. 16 issue of the Militant concludes with a quote, with no comment, from former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki saying, “I tell you of the threat that surpasses terrorism which is the Zionist enemy. And we should all stand on one front against this threat.”

Any new reader would have to assume that Militant editors agree with the reactionary former Iraqi prime minister on “the Zionist enemy.”

Regular readers must have been surprised, since the quote is the opposite of the political line of previous Militant articles, the Socialist Workers Party’s program and its political course.

Al-Maliki’s statement fits with the view of the entire middle-class left in the United States, across Europe, and worldwide. Not to mention the Iraqi, Iranian, and many other bourgeois regimes across North Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia — all of whom demagogically posture as defenders of the dispossessed Palestinian people to bolster their own class rule. All of whom oppress and exploit the workers and farmers in those countries.

That is the opposite of the internationalist working-class course of the Socialist Workers Party. As the global capitalist crisis intensifies, the resurgence of Jew-hatred and attacks on Jews and synagogues is a reminder that the Holocaust and what led to it are not matters of “history.” They are growing realities of the brutal imperialist world order today.

Revolutionaries must press for recognition of the state of Israel, and for the right of Jews who wish to go there for refuge to do so. That’s also a political precondition to rebuilding a movement capable of advancing a successful fight for a Palestinian state, and for a contiguous, viable homeland for the Palestinian people.

These steps are essential to break the cycle of bloodshed perpetuated by the reactionary Islamist Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip and its rocket attacks on Israeli civilians; by the bourgeois Palestinian Authority and its acquiescence to attacks on Jews; and by the brutal retaliation and “collective punishment” by Israel’s capitalist rulers and their efforts to Balkanize the West Bank.

The article was also written in largely cross-class terms about states, regimes and religions — “Shiite-dominated forces,” “Sunni-led regimes,” “Iranian-trained Shiite militias,” “Tehran,” “Israel,” and so on. It didn’t help readers see the sharply conflicting interests between the working class and its exploited allies on the land and the ruling classes and their middle-class apologists and political servants across the region.

Finally, the article mistakenly said, “Washington, responsible for decades of war and devastation in the region, increasingly finds itself on the sidelines.”

But the U.S. rulers hardly stand on the sidelines in the Middle East. The 2015 Iran “nuclear” pact reached by Tehran and Washington, along with Berlin, London, Paris, Moscow and Beijing, is the axis of imperialist foreign policy in the region, one the new Trump White House will not likely “tear apart.”

The propertied rulers in Washington are seeking cooperation by the counterrevolutionary rulers in Tehran to contain the class struggle and social explosions in the Middle East. Other capitalist regimes there are looking for alliances with Washington, Moscow, or both to defend their own class interests.

It’s worth remembering that U.S. imperialism deploys more than 40,000 troops between Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan and dominates the region’s waters with the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. Since August 2014, Washington’s military has carried out the vast majority of nearly 18,000 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, and more across Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan.  
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