On this May Day, we’ll introduce some Communist & Socialist Parties in Israel (edited from Wikipedia entries)
“Maki (Hebrew: מק"י, an acronym for HaMiflega HaKomunistit HaYisraelit (Hebrew: המפלגה הקומוניסטית הישראלית), lit. The Israeli Communist Party) was a communist political party in Israel [Founded, 1948, dissolved, July 1973]. It is not the same party as the modern day Maki, which split from it during the 1960s and later assumed its name. Maki was a descendant of the Palestine Communist Party (PCP), which changed its name to MAKEI (the Communist Party of Eretz Yisrael) after endorsing partition in 1947, and then to Maki. Members of the National Liberation League, an Arab party that had split off from the PCP in 1944, rejoined Maki in October 1948, giving the party both Jewish and Israeli Arab members, while the Hebrew Communists also joined the party. It also took over publication of two communist newspapers, Kol HaAm (Hebrew) and Al-Ittihad (Arabic). The party was not Zionist, but recognized Israel, though it denied the link between the state and the Jewish diaspora and asserted the right of Palestinians to form a state in accordance with the United Nations resolution on partition. [….] In 1973 Maki merged with the Blue-Red movement to form Moked, and subsequently disappeared as an independent party. Moked won one seat in the 1973 elections. Later it became part of Left Camp of Israel (in 1977), then Ratz (in 1981).”
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“Maki (political party) an acronym for HaMiflega HaKomunistit HaYisraelit (Hebrew: המפלגה הקומוניסטית הישראלית, Arabic: الحزب الشيوعي الاسرائيلي Al-Ḥizb ash-Shuyū'ī al-'Isrā'īlī, lit. Israeli Communist Party) is a communist political party in Israel and forms part of the political alliance known as Hadash. It was originally known as Rakah (Hebrew: רק"ח), an acronym for Reshima Komunistit Hadasha (Hebrew: רשימה קומוניסטית חדשה, lit. New Communist List), and is not the same party as the original Maki, from which it broke away in the 1960s.
Rakah was formed on 1 September 1965 due to internal disagreements in Maki. Maki, the original Israeli Communist Party, saw a split between a largely Jewish faction led by Moshe Sneh, which recognized Israel’s right to exist and was critical of the Soviet Union’s increasingly anti-Zionist stance, and a largely Arab faction, which was increasingly anti-Zionist. As a result, the pro-Palestinian faction (including Emile Habibi, Tawfik Toubi and Meir Vilner) left Maki to form a new party, Rakah, which the Soviet Union recognised as the ‘official’ Communist Party. It was reported in the Soviet media that the Mikunis-Sneh group defected to the bourgois-nationalist camp.
The 1965 elections saw Rakah party win three seats, comprehensively beating Maki as it slumped to just one. Rakah’s opposition to Zionism and the Six-Day War meant they were excluded from the national unity governments of the sixth Knesset. In the 1969 elections Rakah again won three seats. During the 1973 elections Rakah saw a rise in support as the party picked up four seats. Before the 1977 elections the party joined up with some other marginal left-wing and Arab parties, including some members of the Israeli Black Panthers to form Hadash. Hadash means ‘new’ in Hebrew, a possible reference to Rakah’s name; it is also a Hebrew acronym for The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality. In the meantime, the original Maki had disappeared after merging into Ratz in 1981. In 1989, members of Rakah decided to change the party’s name to Maki to reflect their status as the only official communist party in Israel. The party remains the leading force in Hadash to this day, and owns the Al-Ittihad newspaper.”
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“The Da’am Workers Party (DWP) (Arabic: حزب دعم العمالي, Hebrew: דעם מפלגת פועלים) is a revolutionary socialist Jewish–Arab political party in Israel, where it is commonly known by the acronym Da’am (Arabic: دعم, Hebrew: דע"ם). It calls for political and social revolution in favor of workers’ rights, the nationalization of key industries, Jewish–Arab coexistence, and gender equality. The name…originates from Arabic and is a reverse acronym for the name Organization for Democratic Action (Arabic: منظمة العمل الديمقراطي, munadhamat al-'amal ad-dimoqrati). The name also means ‘support’ in Arabic.
The party was founded in Haifa in 1995 as a breakaway from Maki, the Communist Party of Israel. In the 1999 elections the party won only 2,151 votes (0.06%), well below the electoral threshold of 1.5%. The 2003 elections saw a fall in support to just 1,925 votes, though their percentage (0.06%) remained roughly the same due to a reduced turnout. Nevertheless, they still did not pass the threshold. In the 2006 elections the party more than doubled its support, winning 3,692 votes (0.11%). However, with the raising of the threshold to 2%, they were even further away from obtaining even a single seat in the Knesset. In the 2009 elections they again failed to pass the threshold and did not receive any seats. In the 2013 elections they received 3,374 votes (0.09%) and again did not obtain a seat in the Knesset. The party did not contest the 2015 elections.”
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“Hadash (Hebrew: חד"ש, lit. New), an acronym for HaHazit HaDemokratit LeShalom uLeShivion (Hebrew: החזית הדמוקרטית לשלום ולשוויון, lit. The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality); Arabic: الجبهة الديمقراطية للسلام والمساواة, al-Jabhah ad-Dimuqrāṭiyyah lis-Salām wa'l-Musāwah) is a radical left-wing political coalition in Israel formed by the Israeli Communist Party and other leftist groups. It currently has five members, as part of the Joint List, in the 120-seat Knesset.
The party was formed on 15 March 1977 when the Rakah and Non-Partisans parliamentary group changed its name to Hadash in preparation for the 1977 elections. The non-partisans included some members of the Black Panthers (several others joined the Left Camp of Israel) and other left-wing non-communist groups. Within the Hadash movement, Rakah (which was renamed Maki, a Hebrew acronym for Israeli Communist Party, in 1989) has retained its independent status. [….]
It emphasizes Jewish–Arab cooperation, and its leaders were among the first to support a two-state solution. Its voters are principally middle class and secular Arabs, many from the north and Christian communities. It also draws 6,000–10,000 far-left Jewish voters during national elections.
The party supports evacuation of all Israeli settlements, a complete withdrawal by Israel from all territories occupied as a result of the Six-Day War, and the establishment of a Palestinian state in those territories. It also supports the right of return or compensation for Palestinian refugees. In addition to issues of peace and security, Hadash is also known for being active on social and environmental issues. In keeping with socialist ideals, Hadash’s environmental platform, led by Maki official Dov Khenin, calls for the nationalization of Israel’s gas, mineral, and oil reserves.
Hadash defines itself as a non-Zionist party, originally in keeping with Marxist opposition to nationalism. It calls for recognition of Palestinian Arabs as a national minority within Israel. Despite it Marxist–Leninist roots, Hadash has in recent times included elements of Arab nationalism in its platform.”
“The Palestine Communist Party (Arabic: الحزب الشيوعي الفلسطيني, Yiddish: פאלעסטינישע קומוניסטישע פארטיי, Palestinishe Komunistishe Partei, abbreviated PKP) was a political party in British Mandate of Palestine formed in 1923 through the merger of the Palestinian Communist Party and the Communist Party of Palestine. In 1924 the party was recognized as the Palestinian section of the Communist International. In its early years, the party was predominantly Jewish.
In 1923 the party congress a position of support was adopted in favour of the Arab national movement as a movement ‘opposed to British imperialism and denounced Zionism as a movement of the Jewish bourgeoisie allied to British imperialism,’ a move that won it membership of the Comintern. The Party was also opposed to Zionist settlement in Palestine and to the Histadrut and its Jewish labor policy.
During the mid-1920s the party began recruiting Arab members. According to British intelligence sources, the first Arab joined the party in 1924. By 1925 the party had 8 Arab members. In that year the party was in contact with the Palestine Arab Workers Society. Simultaneously the party established relations with elite sections of the local Arab society. According to [Fred] Halliday, many Christian Arabs were attracted towards the party since they, being Orthodox, felt emotional bonds with Russia. However, when the Comintern made its ultra-left turn in 1928 and denounced cooperation with national bourgeoisies in the colonies, the process of strengthening of the party amongst the Arab population was stalled. In 1930 the Comintern did yet another sharp turn, urging its Palestinian section to speedily increase the Arab representation amongst its cadres and leaders. [….]
In 1943 the party split, with the Arab members forming the National Liberation League in 1944. The PCP and NLL both initially opposed the 1947 UN Partition Plan, but accepted it after the Soviet Union endorsed it. The PCP changed its name to MAKEI, the Communist Party of Eretz Israel, after endorsing partition in October 1947. This was the first time the communists had used the term ‘Eretz Israel’ (‘Land of Israel’). However, it had been a widespread practice in Mandate Palestine to translate ‘Palestine’ as ‘Eretz Israel’ when translating into Hebrew. The party still viewed partition as a temporary detour on the road to a binational state. The two parties maintained contact during the 1948 war, and after the war the NLL merged with MAKI (the new name adopted by MAKEI, meaning the Communist Party of Israel) within the new state’s borders.
From 1951 the Jordanian Communist Party organized Palestinians in the West Bank while a new Palestinian Communist Organization mobilized members in Gaza City. In 1975 a Palestinian Communist Organization was formed in the West Bank as a branch of the Jordanian party. In 1982 it severed ties with Jordan and merged with the organization in Gaza to become the new Palestine Communist Party. This Party later became the Palestinian People’s Party. In 1987, it joined the Palestine Liberation Organization.”
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“The Palestinian People’s Party (PPP, in Arabic حزب الشعب الفلسطيني Hizb al-Sha’b al-Filastini), founded in 1982 as the Palestinian Communist Party, is a Socialist, formerly Communist political party in the Palestinian territories and among the Palestinian diaspora.
The original-named Palestine Communist Party had been founded in 1919. After the foundation of the state of Israel and the Jordanian annexation of the West Bank, the West Bank communists joined as the Jordanian Communist Party, which gained considerable support among Palestinians. It established a strong position in the Palestinian trade union movement and retained considerable popularity in the West Bank during the 1970s, but its support subsequently declined. In the Gaza strip a separate Palestinian communist organization was established.
In February, 1982, prominent Palestinian communists held a conference and re-established the Palestinian Communist Party. The new party established relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization, and joined the PLO in 1987. A PCP member was included in the Executive Committee of the PLO in April that year. PCP was the sole PLO member not based amongst the fedayeen organizations.
The PCP was one of the four components of the Unified National Leadership of the First Intifada, and played an important role in mobilizing grassroots support for the uprising. [….]
In 2002, the party’s then general secretary, Mustafa Barghouti left it with some supporters to found the Palestinian National Initiative. In the January 2005 presidential election, the party’s candidate Bassam as-Salhi received 2.67% of the vote. At the Palestinian legislative election, 2006 PPP formed a joint list called Al-badeel for the left wing parties with Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Palestine Democratic Union and independents. It received 2.8% of the popular vote and won two of the Council’s 132 seats.”
- Beinin, Joel. Was the Red Flag Flying There? Marxist Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict in Egypt and Israel, 1948-1965. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1990.
- Buderi, Musa. The Palestine Communist Party, 1919-1948: Arab and Jew in the Struggle for Internationalism. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books, 2010; originally published by Ithaca Press, London, 1979.
- Kaufman, Ilana. Arab National Communism in the Jewish State. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1997.
- Nahas, Dunia. The Israeli Communist Party. London: Croom Helm, 1976.
- Sayegh, Fayez A. “Communism in Israel,” Arab Information Center (Information Papers, No. 4), May 1958.
Translation from Hebrew: Hail May Day
“Towards the unification of workers and peace”
Artist/Designer/Photographer: Naftali Bezem
Publisher: Israeli Communist Party (MAKI)