American Veto and Developments in the Region – 25/2/2011

The Israeli Communist Forum condemns America's veto of the proposed Security Council resolution censuring the settlements in the Occupied Territories (February 18, 2011) which was supported by all of the fourteen other members of the Security Council, and also had the support of almost all members of the UN. In doing so, the Obama government again has shown that fundamentally it is continuing with the same policy as those of former presidents. That vote constitutes support for the policies of the extremist rightwing Israeli government of Netanyahu, Barak, and Lieberman, which thwarts any chance of true renewal of the political negotiations and is liable to ignite a renewal of war in the region. The impressive popular uprisings that have occurred in our region recently, especially in Egypt, present a convenient excuse for an additional increase in Israel's military budgets along with blocking any attempt at political or socio-economic struggle against government policies, with the argument that such a struggle is out of place "in light of the new dangers the current developments have raised."

In recent times the anti-democratic trend in Israel has intensified, and some expression of this is to be found in a chain of proposed blatantly anti-democratic legislation. One of the most conspicuous is the proposal to set up a parliamentary committee to investigate sources of funding of leftwing organizations. This unprecedented McCarthy`s style proposal is intended primarily to deter organizations that expose and criticize war crimes and the activity of all the organizations struggling against the Occupation and the crimes committed in its name. Additional anti-democratic laws are: Declaration of Loyalty Bill, Nakba Bill, Prohibition of Incitement Bill, Financing by Foreign National Entity Bill, Revocation of Citizenship of Persons Convicted of Espionage or Terrorism Bill, and Prohibition of Boycott Bill according to which "anyone who initiates, promotes, or publicizes material that may serve as a basis on which boycott may be imposed" will be compelled to compensate whoever is harmed economically by the boycott (and non-citizens will be prohibited entry to Israel or undertaking business dealings inside its boundaries for ten years). All these in addition to laws intended to harm the Arab population in Israel and to exclude its representatives from participation in the political arena in Israel.

In response to the above anti-democratic attack, there is once again need for united action of all the consistently leftwing democratic forces, both Jewish and Arab, in order to defend democratic freedoms and halt the mounting fascist trends. The demonstration of thousands in Tel Aviv last month, unprecedented in recent years, was a good example of such combined efforts, but similar activities must continue in the future, and they must mobilize additional new forces.

Developments in the Region

The Israeli Communist Forum congratulates the Egyptian and Tunisian peoples on their successful heroic struggles to overthrow the heads of dictatorial regimes in their countries, and sends its hopes for their success in realizing a qualitative change in the policies of these regimes. We express our solidarity with the struggles of the citizens of other countries in the region to bring down leaders like those in Egypt and Tunisia.

The Israeli Communist Forum condemns the hypocritical stance of the United States which has, for example, supported Mubarak throughout the years of his rule, including the period since the election of President Obama, and only after it was clear to the United States government that it would not be possible to stop the popular uprising against Mubarak did the United States government begin suddenly to demand "reforms" and "consideration for the aspirations of the people" in Egypt. Now the United States is doing all it can for the eventual change to be expressed only in changes of personnel in the regime's top leadership and not in substantive change in Egypt's socio-economic policies or the pro-American orientation that characterized Mubarak's regime. The Egyptian masses are aware of these dangers, and it is not by chance that demonstrations of millions of people are continuing to this day, in the hope of bringing about significant changes in the regime in the direction of real democratic freedoms and redistribution of the national wealth for the benefit of the very large number of people suffering from the most wretched poverty.

The impressive achievements of the Egyptian and Tunisian peoples have again shown that there is no basis for the opinion that popular uprisings are phenomena of the past only and that they no longer have a place in the world of current international conditions. The force of the uprisings and their achievements have surprised the United States, Israel, and their allies in the region as well as most of the commentators and would-be regional experts. Until the last hours before Mubarak's resignation, some continued to say that there is no force that could cause his resignation and that there was no chance that the Tunisian version would repeat itself in Egypt. Certain commentators tried to create the impression that the only choice was between the present dictatorial regimes and establishment of a fundamentalist Islamic regime (and for them, contrary to the actual situation, every Islamic movement is automatically "extremist", "a Bin-Laden supporter", etc.), so of course, as they saw it, it would be preferable for the popular revolutions to fail. But as developments already prove, those are not the only choices, and it is certain that there is also a possibility of establishing more democratic regimes – not extremist fundamentalist Islamic ones, but also not elitist regimes consisting of a small group of local billionaires and supporters of U.S. imperialism and its allies as did and still do exist in some of the countries in this region. Of course the way to significant change of the regimes is still a long one, but the unprecedented successes of the popular uprisings thus far are a most important first stage in ensuring that struggles for these objectives will remain on the agenda realistically for the near future at least in some of the countries in this region.