Socialist Equality Party (United States)
The Historical and International Foundations of the Socialist Equality Party (United States)

The Establishment of Israel

The principle of national-based politics and reform found a somewhat different expression in the formation of Israel in 1948, through the partition of the British protectorate of Palestine. The establishment of Israel as a Jewish state was viewed with sympathy by millions around the world who were repelled by the fascist horrors, including the extermination of nearly two thirds of European Jewry, that were just beginning to come to light. In objective terms, however, the creation of Israel was socially and politically reactionary, based on the principle of ethno-religious exclusion and the expropriation of Palestinians from their homeland. The state of Israel would later serve as the principal military garrison state defending the interests of American imperialism in the Middle East. This tragedy for both the Jewish and Arab populations was made possible by Stalinism, which, through its betrayals and its anti-Semitism, helped turn many socialist-minded Jews toward Zionism. In the 1920s, the Palestine Communist Party had fought for a unified movement of Jewish and Arab workers. However, the nationalist degeneration of the Stalinist parties found reflection in the PCP, which split into two sections along ethnic lines before the end of World War II. The Soviet bureaucracy completed its betrayal of the working class of the region by supporting the creation of Israel as part of its post-war agreements with imperialism. In contrast, the Fourth International advanced an internationalist position based on the unification of the working class. It wrote in 1948:

The Fourth International rejects as utopian and reactionary the “Zionist solution” of the Jewish question. It declares that total renunciation of Zionism is the sine qua non condition for the merging of Jewish workers’ struggles with the social, national and liberationist struggles of the Arab toilers. It declares that to demand Jewish immigration into Palestine is thoroughly reactionary just as it is reactionary to call for immigration of any oppressor people into colonial countries in general. It holds that the question of immigration as well as the relations between Jews and Arabs can be decided adequately only after imperialism has been ousted by a freely elected Constituent Assembly with full rights for the Jews as a national minority.[1]


Second World Congress of the Fourth International, “Struggles of the Colonial Peoples and the World Revolution,” Fourth International, July 1948, p. 157.