Gideon Spiro | They call that a Left?
Dr. Salman Masalha is a poet and translator who has a column in the newspaper Haaretz. Salman has gifts that are rare in Israel. He is totally immersed in Jewish and Arab culture. He has native-speaker mastery of both languages.
In his latest column (26 July 2011), under the headline above (“There is no Arab left-wing in Israel”, in the English version), he reports to his readers about words written by Muhammad Nafaa, the Secretary of the Communist Party, on the party’s website in Arabic. The Communist Party, the dominant component of the Hadash parliamentary list, takes pride in being both Jewish and Arab. I very much admire that fact. And this is what he wrote: “The Syrian dictatorship, the North Korean and the Iranian, are dozens of times preferable to the American, Israeli and NATO occupiers and all their Arab collaborators, especially in the Gulf states.”
This is a style that takes us decades back, to the Stalinist era, when the slogan was, “better to be wrong with the Soviet Union than to be right without it.”
No one can accuse me of being soft on the Israeli Occupation or the American ones (in Iraq, in Vietnam); but to prefer the North Korean dictatorship that is starving its people, the Iranian one where homosexuality is a crime and opponents are hanged in public squares, or the Syrian one that is slaughtering its citizens, over the Israeli or American occupations, is a very non-Left position. There is no need to prefer benighted regimes in order to express opposition to the Israeli Occupation. As a citizen who has been asked to vote for Hadash, I feel insulted by this style. I expect leaders of the party, Jews and Arabs alike, to dissociate themselves from those words.
28 July 2011
Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent
For Hebrew, press here