The fascist movement in Israel

Image: Elīna Arāja


Tel Aviv is today the center of the international far right

If Moscow was the headquarters of the Comintern, Tel Aviv is today the center of the international far right. The most immediate origins of the fascist rise in Israel have their roots in the situation opened in the 1970s that began the destruction of the social democratic pact that had been in force in many countries for thirty glorious years.

However, the deepest roots of Israel's fascistization lie in its formation as a national state and in the “monopolization” of the barbarism that six million European Jews suffered under Nazism.

It should be said that the Jews were the victims ultimate, killed on a large scale and using industrial methods. If the German people have an eternal “glory”, it is that of having been one of the most genocidal in history. Still, 27 million Russians died out of a total of 50 million people in World War II. Among them gypsies, Jehovah's witnesses and particularly communists. If this legitimized at the time the creation of a Jewish national state with the support of the USSR and the USA, on the other hand it did not give the Israelis carte blanche to exterminate other people.

This is not about discussing the Israelis' right to existence, peace and security, as the forced displacement of the civilian population is an atrocious crime, a monstrous creation of European colonialism. However, this does not mean that we cannot discuss the raison d'état of Israel. Like all its counterparts, the raison d'état Israeli is an ideological construction that obeys specific interests, within specific historical conditions. Either we understand this, or we admit that history is useless as human knowledge.

From the moment the fascist genocide became – or was captured – by a national memory, it transformed into an ideology of the State and, therefore, of power. The Holocaust – that is, the violence to which Jews were subjected by German fascism – is the main theme of the ideology mobilized by the Israeli State to justify its existence and foreign policy.

For geopolitical reasons, fascist genocides – there were also those of Slavs, gypsies, in Franco's Spain and in the Japanese occupations in Asia – were the object of a depoliticization or silencing operation, as the memory of the Second World War built by the allies needed to exclude the protagonism of the communists in this victory. Not only from Soviet communists, but from all left-wing activists in Europe who fought fascism before and during the Great War – and who were also exterminated.

On the other hand, silencing was a fundamental operation to rehabilitate some States – Spain and Japan, for example – as allies in defense of the free world. However, it is necessary to highlight that this depoliticization, for other reasons, also gained strength in the East. Partially initiated by Stalin for reasons of mobilization for the war effort, but taken to paroxysm by the governments of the Russian capitalist restoration, the transformation of the anti-fascist struggle into the Great Patriotic War was another aspect of this depoliticization. Through these operations, fascist genocides ceased to be the result of the political economy of fascism and became an exclusively cultural, ethnic and racial problem.

This is also how liberalism, big business and Western governments not only reinvented their lack of responsibility for the monster of fascism, but also rehabilitated it politically under the name of “extreme right-wing populism”. It was necessary to exclude anti-fascism from the fight against fascism. And so it was done. From this perspective, what seems like an aporia becomes understandable: Israeli society produced and led its government to a fascist movement.

In the fabric of this memory, not only the pain, victims and survivors of the genocide were instrumentalized by the Western bloc in the reorganization of its interests during the post-war period, but, as a kind of compensation, Jews were granted full citizenship in the citadel. from the center of capitalism. In this new reinvented world, in addition to Jews being promoted to white status, Arabs, and especially Palestinians, were transformed into champions of anti-Semitism. And the Europeans, who persecuted and murdered Jews for 2.000 years, became champions in the fight against anti-Semitism.

The new fascism

European fascism gradually returned in the 1980s. In truth, it never disappeared as a small, marginal, permitted and resilient electoral force. In Italy, the Italian Social Movement regained importance in the early 1970s and in 2023 its descendants govern Italy. In France, Marine Le Pen represents a mass force; in Spain, Vox. In Central Europe (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) fascists advanced in the XNUMXst century.

However, fascists swear that they are democrats, they take electoral disputes seriously, they steal the discourse of difference from the postmodern left, they resume fake the defense of welfare state and say they fight neoliberal globalization. Among their distinctive features is their redefinition of Jews as victims of the Islamic threat.[I] Israel became in fascist discourse an advanced European colony surrounded by barbarians from the East.

This is observable in the changes of the French and Austrian far right. The five thousand members of the German fraternities that function as the base nucleus of the fascist Freedom Party of Austria[ii] had their attention called by the party leadership so that they now exchanged the Jews for the Arabs as their scapegoat. In France, Marine Le Pen had to purge her father to get closer to French Jews.

Obviously fascism is plastic and chooses its victims according to opportunity. In Hungary, Viktor Orban had his first experience of a traditional right-wing neoliberal government. By losing the elections and leaving power to a liberal socialist alliance from 2002 to 2010, he reconfigured the party and the discourse.

Viktor Orban created a network of civic circles to remake the right from below, reached out to the working class against liberal elites disconnected from the hard-working majority, and defended a society of merit without public spending on gypsies and thieves. The (re)imagined Hungarian community is that of a Christian and European people who must live without immigrants nearby. Although the elites are defined as the Jew Georges Soros, university professors and cosmopolitan liberals, the main enemy is the Roma people. Viktor Orban defended the end of hospital and university fees for Hungarians.[iii]

In Poland, where millions of Jews were murdered by the Germans with the complicity of the majority of Poles (in fact, all of continental Europe collaborated in some way with Nazism), the Law and Justice Party (which came to power in 2015) attacked the Reds and the rainbow (associating LGBTQIA+ and communists) and created the slogan “We are not racists, just racial separatists”. Adopting compensatory social policies without actually attacking neoliberalism, he still at least delivered a speech against the austerity embraced by the left and liberals. Polish fascism also elected Islamists as enemies and spread the idea that 54 zones were under the control of the Sharia in Sweden and that the same would not happen in Poland.[iv]

Poland, while persecuting immigrants, defends social measures for native Poles. It acquired a strong class component by creating a type of family allowance for mothers with two or more children, increasing the minimum hourly wage and reducing the retirement age. At the same time, the rich are grateful because the fascists maintain only two income tax rates and do not bother the bourgeoisie.

Nordic countries with a solid social democratic tradition are not immune. Denmark is conveniently forgotten as the country that politically invented neoliberalism. Before Pinochet in Chile, Mogens Glistrup went on TV in 1971 and defended tax fraud and the reduction of the State. Currently, Nordic fascists are dedicated to influencing the government to take measures such as banning the burqa, which has affected between 150 and 200 women in Denmark. In Austria, the far right also led the government to ban the burqa. The same thing happened in France. In 2000, when the Freedom Party of Austria entered the conservative majority government, the European Union promoted diplomatic sanctions, today this is unthinkable.

This is a double-sided phenomenon: to maintain its dominant position, the right raises the banners of fascism, but at the same time it normalizes the extreme right, increases its strength and makes traditional conservatism itself dispensable.[v]

As can be seen, European fascism exchanged anti-Semitism for Islamophobia. This does not mean that they no longer have prejudices against Jews. But the issue has never been the prejudice that Europeans have for basically all non-Europeans. What we are talking about is its opportunistic political and ideological use by fascism. In the same way that the fact that fascism was led by a woman in Italy and France does not make it feminist.

Israel, by electing a fascist criminal, capable of continually lying and celebrating the genocide of another people, at the same time plays on European guilt for Nazism. But we have to go beyond appearances. Europe needs to domesticate its working classes who are losing historic rights and an effective way is to hand them over to fascism. Israel acts as the advance trench of European fascism against Islam.

The fact is that the industrial displacement from Western Europe to Asia, the end of collective farms and the dismantling of factories in the ex-socialist countries of Eastern Europe no longer allow Europe to simply rely on imperialist exploitation to maintain the standard of living of its population. This continues, obviously. But the basis for valuing European capital has narrowed. Faced with a downward trend in the rate of profit, capitalists seize state resources and reduce direct and indirect wages. Europeans live with lower pay, fewer rights and greater inequality. And someone needs to take the blame, be it the gypsies or the Arabs.

Unfortunately for a people, the Palestinians, who had no blame for the atrocities of the Europeans against the Jews, they are being sacrificed so that class domination in Europe can gain another breath. It is, therefore, not just a problem of “guilty conscience” in the face of the Holocaust, but of the material interest of capitalists. The fight against the genocide promoted by the terrorism of the State of Israel is an anti-fascist fight. That the Palestinians still do not have the same solidarity as the Greeks in 1826 and the Spanish in 1936 reveals something about the European left today.

*Fernando Sarti Ferreira He has a PhD in economic history from USP.

* Lincoln Secco He is a professor in the Department of History at USP. Author, among other books, of History of the PT (Studio). []

Originally published in Maria Antônia – GMarx-USP Bulletin, No. 8.


[I] Colborne, Michael. “Rise of a new far-right. The European philosemites' using Jews to battle Muslims”, Haaretz, October 21, 2017.

[ii] Goldenberg, Anna. “Fraternities are feeding anti-Semitism in Austria”, The Atlantic, November 6, 2023.

[iii] Szombati, K. “Viktor Orban's authoritarian regime”, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, The far right in government. Six cases from across Europe.

[iv] Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, The far right in government. Six cases from across Europe. For a discussion of the international character of neofascism, see Goldstein, Ariel. The authoritarian reconquest How the global right weakens democracy in Latin America, Buenos Aires, 2022

[v] Adler, Katya. Far-right parties on the rise across Europe, with the BBC, June 30, 2023.

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