Reminiscent of the comments by Chaim Weizmann about his youth in Russia where there was a messianic sense engendered by both Zionism and Marxism, Tzur states that the Jewish emigrants from Eastern Europe and Russia considered that they had “two motherlands,” the USSR and Israel. Tzur writes of this nexus:
A few years ago, a cave used by Jewish soldiers was discovered with the slogan, “Palmach-Red Army” written on a wall. The young members of Palmach were indoctrinated to see themselves as part of a fighting camp to which the Vietnamese and the Chinese Communists belonged. When a party of all the Zionist left, Mapam, was established in 1948, it defined itself, “as an integral part of the revolutionary camp led by the Soviet Union.”
“In this coming war, the international Left must accept commands from one center, which is in Moscow.” The scenario envisaged was of the Soviet Army advancing from the north and reaching Israel’s northern border.
Many hoped to greet it there and we have documented cases of young people who joined the northern Kibbutzim in order to be on the spot when the Red Army arrived. Some Mapam leaders feared that with the advance of the Red Army, the Western powers would try to utilize the Haifa harbor as a logistical base. One of them declared in the Knesset that in this case, the workers would paralyze the port facilities. Of course, the war never came.
In the early days of the Israeli State, Haifa was referred to as “Red Haifa,” states Tzur. On holidays Jewish youth would march through the streets flying the red flag, their fists clenched in the revolutionary salute.
The Palmach was not merely a fringe terrorist group; it was, according to Israeli journalist and author Tom Segev, “the Haganah’s crack military force” of 6000 “ideological fanatics.” The Palmach commander Yitzhak Sadeh, had been a founder of the Haganah. Segev confirms what Tzur has stated, “the Palmachniks also identified with the Red Army and admired Joseph Stalin.”
The USSR provided the wherewithal for the Zionist underground, including not only weapons but also training. At the time The New York Herald Tribune ran a report on the “Stern Gang” which identified this extreme Zionist terrorist faction as having communist origins:
…Abraham Stern joined the communists near the end of World War II, but there was no indication that Sternists wanted to make Israel a puppet state of the Soviet Union, when they said they wanted to divorce Israel from its dependence on the West, to pursue an intense Jewish nationalism and to lean more heavily for international support on the Soviet Union. Their propaganda explained it by asserting the similar position of Sternists and communists. Henry A Wallace who visited the Holy Land last Fall became a Sternist hero because of his views towards Russia and because of his position as a dissident.
A previous report also indicated communist involvement at the highest levels of Zionism the creation of the Israeli state:
A Communist dominated national Hebrew front is expected to emerge in Palestine within a few weeks after the British evacuation. Spokesmen for the Jewish Agency reluctantly admit that the Communists have been gaining strength in direct proportion to the terrorism reported by the Haganah and the other Zionist military organizations.
A symptom of the drift towards totalitarianism is the behavior of the Hanganah’s former commander in chief, Moshe Sneh, who recently resigned from the Jewish Agency’s executive committee and joined the pro-communist Hashomer Hatzair, the strongest of the five Hebrew “dissident” groups.
At the time of Israel’s creation Philip Jessup, US Ambassador to the United Nations, reported to US Secretary of State George Marshall that:
It is not apparent that Communism has any substantial following among the Arab masses. On the other hand, there are apparently a substantial number of Communists in the Irgun, the Stern Gang and other dissident Jewish groups. Beyond that, the Soviet Union, through its support of partition and prompt recognition of Israel, must be considered as having a substantial influence with the Provisional Government of Israel. The Communist influence is, of course, capable of substantial expansion through whatever diplomatic and other missions the Soviet Government may establish in Israel.
At the time, the creation of the Israeli State was a Marxist cause celebre. The New York Times reported in 1948 a 10,000 strong demonstration of communists and Leftist labor leaders singing “solidarity forever,” as they marched under the banner of the United Committee to Save the Jewish State and the United Nations, the Times reporting it as a front for the “internationally minded communists” to take up the cause of “an intensely nationalistic cause, the partition of Palestine.” The grand marshal of the parade was Ben Gold, “president of the communist-led International fur and Leather Workers Union.” The march ended as a rally in support of Henry Wallace, Progressive Party candidate for the presidency, who had served as Roosevelt’s Secretary for Agriculture.
By this time the World War II alliance between the USA and USSR had cracked up, the American dreams of a “new world order” via the UN, with the co-operation of the USSR, had been uncivilly scotched by Stalin, and the Cold War era had emerged rather than the era of One World Government. The USSR was pursuing an imperialistic and nationalistic course and the method of gaining a Soviet foothold in the Middle East, where the Arabs were not susceptible to Communism, was through Israel; large numbers of Jewish emigrants, unlike the Arabs, being inclined towards Marxism and still grateful for the Soviet war effort against the Nazis. Stalin and the Soviet leaders thereafter pursued a policy of realpolitik, temporarily backing the creation of Israel as a means of ensuring instability in the Middle East.
The Zionist state wished to opt for a neutralist position during the Cold War era. There was nothing pro-Western or pro-American about the setting up of Israel. Israel is nothing if not pro-Israel, and that is all. Any alliance with the state is purely pragmatic, dialectical and designed for nothing other than short or long term Zionist gain. The New York Times reported at the time: “It is true that Israel cherishes the ideal of remaining ‘neutral’ between the United States and the Soviet Union, constantly referred to as ‘our two powerful friends…’”
Donald Neff writes in a comprehensive article on this subject:
The policy’s name in Hebrew was ee-hizdahut, “non-identification.” Although the Cold War was in full force at the time, Israel hoped to remain friendly with both superpowers because both had assets that Israel needed—money, people and weapons. Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett said: “Israel will in no case become identified with one of the great blocs of the world as against the other.”
Neff alludes to the lack of Soviet influence in the region prior to Israel, which served as the means of Soviet entry rather than as a bulwark against Communism, as the Zionists and their Christian Fundamentalist and pseudo-conservative apologists had for several decades presented the issue.
Before the Palestine problem grew acute after the end of World War II, the Middle East had been “virtually clean” of Soviet influence, in the words of one British general. But since then it had made some modest gains in Israel because of Moscow’s support of partition, its quick recognition of the Jewish state, its decision to allow Jews to emigrate to Israel and its secret supply to Israel of weapons via Czechoslovakia during the fighting.