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#AllThatsLeftPod: A Brief History of Anti-Zionist Jews

In this episode, we interview writer and historian Nathaniel Flakin about the history of socialist, anti-Zionist Jews.

Left Voice

November 16, 2023
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Israel’s war against Palestine is often seen as eternal. Many present it as an ancient battle of religions — an intractable conflict between Jews and Muslims. Simultaneously, many also claim that all Jews are Zionists and that Zionism has always existed. Therefore, anyone who opposes the State of Israel must be antisemitic.

However, none of this is true. Anti-Zionism is not antisemitism. And Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived in relative peace in Palestine for centuries. It was only in the age of imperialism, particularly with the beginning of Zionist colonization in the late 1800s, that this so-called “eternal” conflict began. There have always been anti-Zionists both in the Jewish diaspora and in Israel who’ve joined in struggle with Palestinians for peaceful coexistence.

On this episode, we interview Nathaniel Flakin, author of a recent article on Left Voice titled, “A Brief History of Anti-Zionist Jews.” Nathaniel is a historian in Berlin who also writes for our German sister site, Klasse Gegen Klasse, and for ND. In this interview, Nathaniel takes us on a tour of the earliest anti-Zionist Jewish socialist groups, including the Palestine Communist Party, Revolutionary Communist League, and Matzpen. He describes the key historical context surrounding the rise of Zionism, including the age of nationalism, imperialism, and colonialism. Importantly, we also discuss why socialism is incompatible with Zionism. Whereas socialism is an international project, the aim of Zionism is to build an ethnostate. Socialists, as Nathaniel explains, have always been on the front lines against antisemitism.

Finally, we explore the key lessons we can draw from the early socialist anti-Zionist Jews. The solution to this conflict is to fight for a single, secular, socialist Palestine on its historic territory, with democratic rights for all its inhabitants.

In addition to writing for Left Voice, Nathaniel has published a biography of the Jewish Trotskyist resistance fighter Martin Monath and the anticapitalist guide book “Revolutionary Berlin.”

Listen to the episode on Spotify on Apple Podcasts.

Support this podcast on Patreon.

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Left Voice

Militant journalism, revolutionary politics.

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