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Israeli Communist Party supports Bashar Assad - in Arabic only

The secretary-general of the ICP published an article denouncing the Syrian uprising. The piece did not appear in the Hebrew publications of the party

Veteran journalist Yossef Elgazi (and former Israeli Communist Party member and activist) exposed (Hebrew) the fact that the ICP has taken a double stand on the suppression of the Syrian uprising.

In the beginning of May, the party secretary general, former MK Muhammad Naffa, published an article in a well-known Arabic site, Al Khuwar Al Mathmadan, in which he denounced the uprising. The article drew criticism from many readers, as well as communists in Arab countries. On 2.6.11, Hadash’s site in Arabic published the statement of a meeting of Communist parties in Brussels, which said that “the Communist parties express their support of Syria in the face of the imperialist plots, and demand the cessation of military aggression against Libya”.

On 6.7.11, Hadash’s paper, Al Ithihad, published a shifty article, which in essence called for the end of the popular uprising against the Assad regime. The article was published next to a “report” of the Syrian news agency, Sana, which claimed the rebels killed 120 (what a nice, round number) Syrian security personnel. The Sana piece, which was received with skepticism pretty much elsewhere, was published as is by Al Ithihad.

The main point here is that all of these announcement of support of one of the most corrupt and murderous regimes in the region appear only in Arabic. Those Hadash supporters who read only Hebrew – a small yet influential number – will not hear a whisper of it, unless they follow Elgazi. Basically, Hadash has been caught in what it has been accused of in the past: Speaking in two voices: One to its Palestinian supporters, the other to its Jewish ones.

When Hadash speaks to the Jewish public, it puts in front Dov Henin, a strong, persuasive and magnetic speaker with an excellent resume, one of the best parliamentarians in recent decades. But Hadash has never confronted its old, ugly past as a Communist party parroting the Moscow line, and those shrill sounds – “imperialist plots”, “military aggression” – and the automatic support of old Soviet and current Russian clients should remind liberals and socialists that the old beast was never actually slain. Hadash’s claim – one almost writes “façade of” – being a party of both Jews and Arabs took yet another hit. Furthermore, a party supporting the wholesale slaughter in Syria has no business, not to mention credibility, decrying the much lesser evil of the Israeli occupation. The IDF is a brutish instrument of an inhuman policy, but its evils pale into insignificance when compared to those of the Assad regime. And a party which supports the latter loses all moral ground when it attempts to oppose the former.

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    1. Tom P.

      very important article that could help push the party to finally rid itself of its Leninist roots. The division isn’t necessarily Jews vs. Arabs, there are less dogmatic Arabs and plenty of old-guard Leninist Jews.
      Still – several comments:

      1. the Arab-Jewish partnership in Hadash/alJabha is far from perfect, yet it is much more than in any other Israeli party.

      2. This isn’t an issue of progressive Jews vs. dogmatic Arabs – there are several old-school dogmatic Jews just as there are more progressive Arabs.

      3.There is absolutely no need to use this to whitewash the Israeli occupation, which did kill comparable numbers of protesters during the second Intifada. Assad’s crimes should be denounced regardless of the occupation, and vice versa.

      4. The paper is al -ittihad, not ithihad, and you should check the rest of the Arabic transliterations, out of respect for the language and its speakers.

      Reply to Comment
    2. It is just the old superficial one dimensional “opposition” of the marxist/leninist “communist” parties against the main capitalist agent. Thus, in the opposition to the British mandate of Palestine they supported the division of Palestine by UN and establishment of Israel – never regretted till this day. Thus, they also supported the most reactionary regimes who were in conflict or opposed the main imperialist power – like Sadam Husain, Quagafy, Bashar Assad, etc.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Charles

      Tom P. is right. This is an important and interesting news tidbit, but the author takes it much too far. Why not write in support of the progressive forces inside the ICP (who will probably be in charge when the old guard passes on) instead of condemning the whole thing? Dov Khenin doesn’t only represent a kind of false facade for Jews only; he is a leader, full stop, who deserves to be supported because of what he does and says.

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    4. Ofer N

      Yossi, it’s not that simple. Even those who can’t read Arabic can use Google Translate, and see that Nafaa certainly criticizes the regime. There is room for criticism of Nafaa’s approach here ( in my view too), but the debate has to be informed.


      “We take for the Syrian people the hero and authentic full rights, we are against corruption, against the state security courts, and against the arbitrary arrests against the emergency laws, the suppression of freedom of opinion and many others, but: “

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    5. J Estiphan

      Not really surprising Hadash “speaks from both sides of its mouth” – that’s the way communist parties have always behaved, and why they never get much support from people.

      No question that what is going on in Syria is evil – in any langugage.

      According to eyewitnesses, pattern of aggression lately is for army (or irregular armed groups) to surround and bomb a town or village, shoot protesters, accusing the inhabitants of being members terrorists / supporters of foreign plots; In a number of places, the population, mainly Sunnis, has chosen to flee or been forced out, before soldiers and security agents enter, accompanied by (in this case) Alawite gangs who unleash terror on reminaing (mainly Sunni, but some Orthodox Christian) unarmed civlians. Refugees report theft and the burning of crops, harrassment of women and girls.

      Sound familiar? Like 1947-1949? Like what happens to Israelis from the “wrong” community (mainly Sunni and Orthodox Christian) every week in the areas the IDF invaded in 1967 what with the home demolitions, harassment on the basis of race.religion, use of armed gangs to take over land and property for the benefit and protection of one race.religion over the others – all protected by the army?

      The apartheid planners in the Alawite party will next tell the world that all those refugees (Sunnis and Orthodox Christian) that have fled to Lebanon and Turkey etc cannot possibly be allowed to return home. Why, that would be a threat to the “Alawite” state!

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    6. Michael T

      Yes yes.. fake Imperialistic plots in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen.. ooh those annoying red bastards and their whining..
      I am no Hadash or CPI supporter, but the red-baiting in this article is as refreshing as the CPI’s own line.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Saeed Hotary

      why are you exposing this? This only benefits the zionists.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Saeed, are you seriously asking this question?

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    9. Sinjim

      Why don’t you provide a link to the articles you reference in your post, Yossi? I read the article from May 12 that was linked to in the post, and that’s far from supportive of the Syrian regime and more about condemning Israel and the US. He specifically singles out the emergency laws and the state security for condemnation at the beginning of the piece.

      Did you read these articles, or a translation of them if you don’t know Arabic? Or are you relying on a second-hand report?

      RE Saeed Hotary: This is the same guy Raed Kami. He’s some sort of shit-stirring troll who constantly talks about Jews moving back to Belarus and is most likely not an Arab at all.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Michael T

      SINJIM, The articles are in Arabic and are indeed openly antagonistic towards the Syrian people’s uprising.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Amos

      If Gurvitz can’t even transliterate the name of the website he’s supposedly quoting from, well, that seems to be the quality and depth of the rest of the critique. (And seriously, Dov Henin a “magnetic speaker”? Not even the most starry-eyed Henin fans would dare say that…)

      It’s a pity 972 allows such slander, but giving it a proper dissection would grant it more respect than it merits.

      Reply to Comment