Anti-Jewish pogroms continued in Europe after the defeat of the Nazis, as this report from the US “orthodox” Trotskyist paper, The Militant, of 11 August 1947, shows. The “orthodox” Trotskyists tended to argue that the Jews were soon doomed, whatever happened, short of socialist revolution: see the “Third Camp” heterodox Trotskyists’ debate with them on that.
Palestine last week witnessed a reign of terror against the civilian Jewish population that matched the goriest pogroms staged by the Nazis.
Almost simultaneously those anti-semitic abominations leaped over to the “tight little island” itself, setting the stage for events that have not transpired in England since medieval times. The English Jews who were so confident that such things as happened in Germany could not possibly happen on enlightened English soil are now face to face with stark reality.
In Palestine the main assault took place in the all-Jewish city of Tel Aviv, where according to UP and AP dispatches from Jerusalem, squads of British soldiers and police manned “approximately eight armoured cars” and stormed the centre of the city “firing wildly and sending shots into shops and movie houses”.
Passengers on a crowded bus were caught in a cross-fire and suffered the brunt of the casualties. Passers-by were assaulted by armed troopers and policemen. Store windows were smashed and looted. There are reports of hand grenades being used in addition to clubs and guns. As a result of this pogrom in Tel Aviv on 31 July, five were killed, 18 wounded, with two women reported among the dead.
Jerusalem, Haifa and other cities witnessed similar scenes.
On the next day, the funeral procession accompanying the victims of the previous day’s massacre served as an occasion for another brutal assault in Tel Aviv. According to eye-witness reports, an armoured car manned by British police drove headlong into the funeral procession of 5,000 approaching the synagogue. Three separate bursts of gunfire poured into the defenceless mass, wounding 33 Jews.
The British authorities have disclaimed responsibility for these outrages, depicting them as “spontaneous” reprisals for the hanging of two British sergeants by the Jewish terrorists of Irgun Zvai Leumi. These hangings were in their turn reprisals by the terrorists for the execution by the British of three Jewish youths implicated in organising the Acre Prison break of 4 May.
The denials of the authorities cannot be taken at their face value, any more than the original denials of both the police and the army that their men “were implicated in the affray which turned the streets into a veritable shooting gallery for several hours.”
The method of “reprisals” deliberately inspired from above happens to be a favourite tactic of colonial “pacification”. Far from being strangers to its use, the British have applied it on numerous occasions, in particular, during the 1936-39 uprisings of the Arabs in Palestine.
In any case, thinly veiled threats to employ this tactic had been made several times. General Sir Allan Cunningham, British High Commissioner for Palestine, is reported to have told the head of the Jewish Agency that “the British had reached the end of their patience, and would not endure further insults, kicks, bullets and bombs without reprisals”. This statement, made after the pogroms in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, hardly requires comment.
The fountainhead of the anti-semitic outbreaks in England itself is quite clear. The incipient fascist formations there, headed by Mosley’s scum, seized the opportunity to organise assaults upon the Jewish communities in London, Liverpool, Manchester and other cities. The most ominous note here is the apparent absence of popular resistance to the hoodlums.
A Jewish-owned factory was set ablaze in Liverpool. In Manchester thugs invaded the Jewish area, attacking passers-by, smashing store windows and inciting onlookers to loot. Synagogues in many cities, including London, were the targets for vandals who invariably raised the cry: “Down with the Jews!”
The extension to England of these fascist-like attacks on the Jews is not a passing episode. Jews in England provide as convenient a scapegoat for unbridled reaction as they did in Germany, so they will on the morrow in the United States as well. This is inherent in the decaying capitalist system, which breeds the most bestial reaction regardless of how “democratic” the traditions of a particular country may be. The English pogroms are merely the latest verification of this inexorable truth. Whoever tells the Jewish people otherwise is leading them blindfolded to the same horrible fate they have already suffered on the European continent.
The events in Palestine and England serve once again to underscore the utter futility of Zionism as a solution for the terrible plight of the Jews. The Militant has repeatedly warned that by its policies Zionism could not help but prepare a bloody trap in Palestine for the Jews who have been duped into believing they could find their salvation there.
The pogroms in Palestine, the anti-semitic outbreaks in England, are an anticipation of what capitalism has in store for the Jews wherever they survive.