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William Gorman

A “Dreyfus Case” in Palestine

(October 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 43, 25 October 1943, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Jewish taxi driver and the leader of the Seamen’s Union in Tel Aviv were not the only ones convicted at the end of the “Arms Trial” in Palestine.

The whole affair was publicly staged as a crude attack on the political existence and hopes of the six hundred thousand Jews of Palestine. It was a well planned blow at the only expression of Jewish self-government in the country – the Jewish Agency. In short, it was one more step in Britain’s imperialist machinations in the Middle East, aimed at consolidating a bloc of Arab countries under reactionary feudal princes, who would only be the richly paid puppets of the British.

Gun-running has been going on in Palestine for many years, but the British colonial rulers never cared to publicize it. However, in this trial a hundred and twenty newspaper men were literally rounded up from all parts of the Middle East, and the usually tight censorship, which never allows political news to leak out, relaxed so that anti-Jewish dispatches could go out daily all over the world.

The British Colonial Office did not miss a trick in its all-out effort to label the Jews of Palestine as “armed trouble-makers.” Once the “crime” is established today, brutal imperialist punishment could be justified tomorrow.

A Policy of Provocation

There is still a more important reason for the gun-running trial. It was aimed as a provocation for the Arab people, who are now supposed to become so alarmed at the “arming of the Jews” that they would appeal to the British for “protection” and “action.” This would fit in excellently with the British plans.

After the last war, the Jews were used as an imperialist pawn against the nationalist aspirations of, the Arabs. Today the process is reversed. The Arabs are being used to frustrate the nationalist aspirations of the Jewish people. Thus, one people is being played against the other, Jewish and Arab blood flows, which enables the British to maintain with ease their hold on the rich and strategic Middle East.

Arab-Jewish Unity

The British imperialists have many reasons to fear what is now happening in Palestine. Jewish and Arab working class unity, which the imperialist bureaucrats have fought against for decades, is advancing slowly and steadily, thanks to the industrialization of the country.

The Arab fellah (peasant) is no longer illiterate and down-trodden or a landless agricultural worker. He can now go to work in the cities, where he fights as a conscious member of the working class to maintain his living conditions. Coming in contact with the Jewish worker, he finds no racial animosity, but only the same militant struggle in defense of labor’s existence in a country where the cost of food alone has gone up four hundred per cent!

The effect is contagious. Arab unions of all shades are springing up and, for the first time, a section of the city intelligentsia is turning its face toward the working class and socialism. In spite of the stringent anti-strike law, strikes are increasing in number. And Jewish-Arab strike committees have ceased to be a novelty.

Coincidentally, the political radicalization of the Jewish working class is going on at an amazing speed. The servile Social-Democratic Party, “Mapai,” once the largest political party in Palestine, cannot command any sizable section of the workers for their policies of betrayal. There can be only one final conclusion of this movement leftward: Jewish and Arab working class unity and revolutionary action by the Palestinian masses!

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