Statement against Repression

20 July 1970

in Documents, The Other Israel

The ruling coalition of the government of national unity has decided to examine the possibilities of taking legal measures against “Israelis who slander the state while abroad” and of “passing a law through parliament that shall make it possible to cancel the Israeli citizenship of those about whom there will be clear and sufficient evidence that they work at slandering the state abroad.1

It is not hard to understand that this is for the moment essentially directed against people of the Israeli Socialist Organization abroad.

We are not surprised. It has already been more than a year since the Israeli press, helped by all the media of communication, began an unprecedented campaign of slander and incitement against our organization, our comrades and our activities. Public figures such as Ambassador Ascher ben Nathan and Minister Israel Galili have also taken part in this campaign, wholly based on a mixture of tales, distortions and outright lies.

This premeditated campaign as well as the “fresh” suggestion are part of an attempt to find a scapegoat for the bankruptcy of Israeli propaganda abroad. Don’t let the initiators of the. proposition foster any illusions: The greatest harm to Israeli propaganda abroad is brought about by Israeli policy itself. To silence this or that mouth won’t prevent progressive circles in the world from turning their backs to Israel and her policy.

The slanderers – the official, semi-official and unofficial ones – have never tried to discuss with us or to confront our position ideologically. The reason for this is clear and understood. Reactionaries always prefer confrontation with another people’s reaction. It’s easier and much more comfortable. But they cannot stand the confrontation with internationalist positions. Those they prefer to silence; there are laws to that effect, and if those laws don’t suffice, it is always possible to pass “just” laws in a legal and “democratic” way.

So here is a proposition to add to the family of the Emergency Regulations and the administrative decrees already in existence in Israel – a new administrative law, as a necessary corollary of the nature of Zionism in Israel The irreducible internal contradiction of Zionism manifests itself here in a new aspect: The “refuge for Jews the world over” not only endangers the very existence of the Jews living within it, but also rejects the dissenters.

Beware: The attempt to deny citizenship from the small circle of Matzpen people abroad is only a first step. The second step is an attempt to limit “legally” the activities of Matzpen inside the country, and in the wake of this attempt, without qualms, government action against other opposition groups, such as Siah (Israeli New Left) or Rakah (Israeli Communist Party). To allow the first step to be taken is to give the right wing and the center legitimacy for always cutting off the most extreme part of the national unity cake.

The slogan “Be a socialist and a revolutionary at home, and a devoted Zionist when you go out” may once have been good for the representatives of the coalitionist Mapam; it doesn’t fit us. We shall never agree to the division between “inside” and “outside” Israel’s borders or between Jews and Gentiles.

As revolutionary socialists who have raised the banner of struggle against imperialism, Zionism and Arab reaction, well carry on our action on all fronts: among Israeli workers, in youth circles, among intellectuals, among Jews and among Arabs.

We haven’t received from the government the right to diffuse our positions on whatever stage we see fit, therefore the government cannot deny us this right, in which we see a duty.

The struggle for socialist revolution in the Middle East will not be limited to the frontiers of Israel and be bordered by the national unity government In particular, we shall not listen to any moralizing sermons from the spokesmen of Zionist parties, who can be found, highly trained and tooled, propagandizing all over the world for the policies and ideology of the Israeli Government.

Alongside the sea of publications, pamphlets, books and magazines put out with Zionist funds, there will be Matzpen. Small and modest in its dimensions, but revolutionary in its content

Every university campus open to Zionist propagandists of the right or left shall also be open to us. In every place where an Israeli ambassador can make a speech, where a delegate of Betar [youth group of the right-wing Herat Party] can talk, where Hashomer Hatzair [youth group of Mapam] appears, our word will also be heard.

We’ll not be intimidated – we’ll not give up!

The Israeli Socialist Organization Matzpen

 

  1. See Yediot Aharonot and Ma’ariv, July 15, 1970, and also similar information on radio and television in the same week.

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