An Open Letter to my comrades in the Argentine Left
(This letter is also available en español)
My dear comrades in the Argentine Left,
While people all over the world struggle today to fight the heritage of colonialism, slavery and white supremacy that is deep rooted in Western Capitalist societies and institutions, our people in Palestine are still facing the cruelest forms of active colonization, with all its brutality and blatant injustices.
We are used to the mobilization of all the imperialist forces to support Israel, militarily, economically and politically, in its constant drive to deprive all Palestinians of the most basic human rights. For the likes of Trump and Bolsonaro, their support to Israel is a natural extension of their racist and anti-democratic policies everywhere. But we naturally expect those fighting against racism and for social justice in their own countries to oppose Israeli colonialism and Apartheid and support the just struggle of Palestinians to live as free people in their own homeland.
For this reason, I was shocked to hear of the support of leftist parties in the Buenos Aires parliament to a declaration which is supposed to be against anti-Semitism, but in fact plays into the hands of the Zionist campaign to stigmatize and delegitimize criticism of Israel’s crimes.
In the “definition”, the first censored manifestation of “anti-Semitism” is “targeting of the state of Israel”. The carefully worded text goes on to allow “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country”. We should ask ourselves:
- Which other country expelled the majority of the native population just 72 years ago, destroyed most of the villages and towns all over the country, and prevents the refugees till this day from returning?
- Which other countries hold the majority of the native population under direct military rule with no right of self-determination?
- Which other country, till this day, demolish houses, confiscate land and evacuate whole villages of the native population (all over the country, both citizens of Israel and under military occupation, just because they do not have the right religion) in order to give their property and build settlement on their land for people from the state’s religion?
- Which other country holds 2 million people (many of them refugees) in the biggest prison on earth, surrounded by tanks and snipers, on the verge of starvation, with electricity supplied for a few hours a day, and bombing them regularly?
Sorry, comrades. From the “definition of anti-Semitism” that you adopted I may understand that if I don’t criticize Denmark for doing all these, then blaming Israel with such outrageous accusations is dangerously out of the mark.
The same definition goes on to denounce “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” How could you call a state that is based on systematic ethnic cleansing, expropriation, oppression and discrimination of the native population on the basis of race and religion other than “racist”? In what political lexicon does the “right of self-determination” imply the right to colonize other countries and expel the original population? And, yes, colonialism, racism and white supremacy are not “flaws” in the development of Zionism. They are at the basis of Zionist colonization, like other settler-colonialist movements. The difference is that Israel is still in the most brutal stage of expansionism and expropriation while most of the rest of the world is trying to move to a more civilized stage in the development of humanity.
In another hypocritical defense of Israel, the “definition” denounces “double standards” and demands that Israel would be treated like “any other democratic nation”. What does it mean for million of Palestinians under Israeli occupation that have no right to speak, protest or vote? Would you expect the world to treat Videla and his Junta “like any other democratic regime”?
Defending the crimes against humanity that are systematically performed by Israel in the name of fighting anti-Semitism is doing a disastrous damage to the fight against anti-Semitism, against racism in general and to the cause of the Left internationally. We should not forget the position of the Soviet Union and the Stalinists parties that supported the establishment of the colonialist state of Israel in 1948 and supplied much of the arms which was used to massacre and ethnically cleanse the native Palestinian population. This shameful position, preferring the interests of an European settler minority over the native majority, discredited the cause of Socialism in a very important period in the strategic battle for the future of the world.
We can’t allow ourselves to repeat this kind of prejudice in the 21st century.
I would like to believe that you just didn’t think out well your position. I hope that you would have the political courage and responsibility to reconsider your position and stand out clearly against Zionism, for the rights of the Palestinian people, for the return of the refugees and for one democratic state in all of Palestine.
June 27, 2020
Response from the Buenos Aires leftist deputies
After publishing the open letter above, I received the following response in my Facebook inbox:
ALWAYS WITH THE PALESTINE CAUSE AGAINST THE ZIONIST STATE
We rectify a mistake made in the CABA Legislature Always with the Palestinian cause against the Zionist state.
Statement by Buenos Aires deputies of the Left Front Myriam Bregman, Gabriel Solano and Alejandrina Barry.
The Left Front has been denouncing the prostration to Zionism of the national government as stated in Alberto Fernández’s first trip to Israel to meet with the genocidal Netanyahu, who these days is advancing with his policy of finishing annexing the Zionist state to the Palestinian West Bank.
In light of the aforementioned, it is clear that for the Left Front the table should be voted negatively.
We have always carried out our fight to the death against anti-Semitism on the basis of denouncing Zionism and the State of Israel, built on the basis of genocide and the occupation and theft of land and property from the Palestinian people.
We have made our principled position on this point clear by actively participating in the demonstrations taking place in our country at the Israeli Embassy and denouncing the permanent arrangements of all governments with Zionism.
We are in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their cause. We demand the release of all political prisoners by the Israeli state and all Palestinian demands in the face of an exponential increase in their hardships since the emergence of the pandemic.
To make our position clear, we will send this text to the Parliamentary Secretariat of the Legislature to inform you count our vote in a negative way.
Myriam Bregman, Gabriel Solano, Alejandrina Barry, CABA Deputies for the Left Front (Argentina)
The original corrective statement (in Spanish) was published here.