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The Last Communist?

08 December 2002

By Yisrael Ne’eman

Tamar Gozansky was number three on the Israel Communist Party list and having served three terms in the Knesset is not allowed to run again by her own party’s rules.  Today the party is identified as representing mainly Arab interests and most of its members are not true communists, do not work for the proletariat or advocate social legislation but rather engage in issues of civil equality and Arab nationalist causes.  This is especially true for the Arab party members who are the vast majority. 

Gozansky dealt with Arab civil liberties issues and is certainly one of the most pro-Palestinian Jewish voices around, advocating full Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian areas and constantly condemning the government.  Yet she also fought for social legislation, sponsoring many bills in the Knesset to help the workers, the poor and underprivileged, including Jews.

Also known as Rakah or Hadash the party has has three members in the Knesset.  As a faction made up of Jews and Arabs, its leader Meir Vilner signed the Declaration of Independence in 1948 as part of a ‘two state solution’ policy.  In those days the party was split 50 – 50, Jews and Arabs.

Years ago the party lost virtually all Jewish support but authentic communists of whatever ethnic background were still acceptable.  Gozansky’s actions were in line with true Marxist understanding.  Her place was to be taken by Dov Chanin, a Jewish lawyer from Tel Aviv.

But this is now in doubt as former Arafat advisor and Palestinian nationalist Ahmed Tibi is working on a merger between his Arab National Movement list and Hadash.  He would get the third slot forcing Chanin into fourth place, a dubious position since it is not clear whether the joint list will poll more than its present three seats.

Although not a done deal, it appears the communists are in the process of completely selling out to Palestinian nationalism, thereby contradicting their own reason for existence.  Chanin is an unknown, and Gozansky was certainly the only real communist in the last Knesset.  The party is well on its way to killing off any ideology remaining on the far left while ensuring no elected Jewish representation.

With pragmatism as a guiding light, ideologically, they are no better or worse than Labor or the Likud.