Communism and Zionism in Palestine-Israel: A troubled legacy

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4 Scopus citations


The political marginalisation of the Palestinians inside Israel between 1948 and 1977 has been widely discussed in the literature. The Israeli Communist Party is often credited with being the sole political organisation which gave an outlet during this period to the critical and oppositional political, literary and artistic activities of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. The Party organs in particular have done their utmost to popularise this claim, which has also become an article of faith for many Arab left-wing intellectuals. The question tackled in this article is: Why did the Israeli State grant a margin of freedom to the Communist Party during this period, while denying it to every single Palestinian organisation inside Israel? I discussed this question at a conference on the Left in Palestine held at SOAS in February 2010. While the reader will be spared here the details of the subsequent personal accusations levelled against me in the organs of the Communist Party, I argue here (as in my SOAS paper) that the Communist Party was given this freedom of action for a range of reasons and in particular those to do with the Soviet support for the establishment of Israel and the important pro- Zionist role played the Communist Party during the 1948 War for Palestine. Other reasons are related to the endorsement by the Communist Party of Zionism's tenets and claims in support of the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, including the 'modernising' nature of the Zionist project.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-183
Number of pages15
JournalHoly Land Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Religious studies


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