From the 1973 – number 6 issue of The Western Socialist
There are several ways of looking at a problem, depending upon one’s point of view. Take an example such as the latest Arab-Israeli War, the so called Yom Kippur War. The case for the Arabs rests upon their assertion that Israel is a nation of Europeans and Americans that has taken possession of Arab territories in the Middle East and has dispossessed and driven Arabs from their former homes. Further, that the present nation of Israel should be abolished and a new, secular state instituted that would give equal authority to all resident peoples regardless of religion. At least that is their story.
The Israelis and all who support them, on the other hand, argue that the Jewish people have a right to exist as a nation; that their homeland rightfully must be located in what is called the Holy Land; and that the State of Israel must continue to exist. They insist that this is all they ask and that if their borders have expanded beyond the original ones of 1948 this is not because of imperialist activity on their part but because of Arab defeats in the previous wars against them and the need for Israel to maintain buffer territories against further Arab aggression. And that is their story.
There are, to be sure, variations on this general theme. Those who see the Arab world – at least that part of it which proclaims itself socialist – as a Third World progressive force against the capitalist west and the so-called communist bloc in the east are able to see through Israeli hypocrisy and correctly view it as a puppet of U.S. Imperialism. The friends of Israel, on the other hand, and there are many professed socialists among these, too, see the Arab nations as mere puppets of the Soviet Union and a force for reaction, rather than progress.
The main problem with most of the analysts is that they fail to see the entire picture because they are either ignorant of the fact that society is divided into rival economic classes or, knowing it, fail to apply such knowledge in this instance. There is no homogeneous Israeli people with common interests. Nor is there an Arab people in that sense. The Israelis are divided on the basis of a tiny owning class and a vast class of propertyless wage slaves and there is not one single nation in the Arab bloc – nor any place else in the world – where the same division does not exist, In the Arab world there are even conflicts among rival national ruling classes that pit them against one another in open warfare.
True, in a large sense, all of the nations of the Middle East are puppets of one or the other of the super powers despite the clout same of them carry because of their oil deposits. After three earlier wars and now this latest one, it should be apparent that neither Israel nor any of the Arab nations can afford to carry on late 20th Century warfare without continual supply from the U.S.A. or the U.S.S.R. And it is equally apparent that neither the U.S.A. nor the U.S.S.R. is ready to relinquish control of the strings. But this in no way justifies the argument that the workers in the Middle East, or any place else in the world, have any real stake in saving Israel from the Arab nations are saving any of the Arab nations from Israel.
For about three quarters of a century the Zionist movement has pleaded the case for a Jewish Homeland as the answer to the problems of Jewish working people everywhere. After 25 years of this Homeland, those who have settled there have been subjected to continuous warfare, violent “incidents,” and continuing poverty – unless they happen to have friendly and wealthy relatives. Arab nationalists have given and still give out the same nonsense to their working people. The World Socialist Movement has but one answer:
Workers of the world unite far world socialism. You have a world to gain.
Please Note: This article was originally the script of a radio broadcast that was broadcast on WCRB radio station.