This antifa group was also Zionist, pro-Palestinian and Yiddish-speaking and its trending – Forward

Posted By on June 6, 2020

Read this article in Yiddish

Antifa is in the air. Its on President Trumps lips. Its trending on Twitter, but its not a new thing.

Indeed, it has a very Jewish history. Its an ideology that was born in order to oppose Hitler. Antifa is short for anti-fascist.

Its so Jewish that one of the items being shared widely on Twitter right now is the Yiddish and Hebrew manifesto of the antifa arm of a group that was an offshoot of a Marxist-Zionist political party, Left Poale Zion.

The document and the organization that produced it may seem like a bundle of contradictions, and maybe more so today. The groups members were Jews and Arabs. But they were also Zionists the Arabs, too. And although the official Palestinian leadership sided with the Germans in an effort to end the British mandate, the Palestinian members of this group sided with the allies.

They recruited fellow Arabs to fight against the Germans and raised funds for the Soviet army. On the domestic front, the organization preached unity between Jews and Arabs and sought to integrate the Histdarut, Israels main labor union.

Besides organizing rallies and conferences, Poale Zions antifa group raised money by selling stamps with its emblem abroad.

Here is the text of the manifesto, translated into English:

While contemporary left-wing Jews have no direct connection to this pre-state antifa organization, some on Twitter cite it and similar organizations as an inspiration.

Spencer Sunshine, a scholar of the far-right, antifascist action and the Bund, the Jewish socialist movement that advocated Jewish cultural autonomy in Eastern Europe, noted that many leftist Jews view the Bunds armed self-defense units as a precursor to antifa.

But theres a key difference that likely keeps most contemporary Jewish antifascist activists from embracing this precursor organization wholeheartedly its Zionism. Unlike in the 1930s, said Spencer, few of todays American Jewish leftists would support a binational Zionist platform like the Left Poale Zions: In young Jewish radicals eyes today these nationalists are still Zionists and do not have the kind of legitimacy that makes them want to be looked upon as forbearers.

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This antifa group was also Zionist, pro-Palestinian and Yiddish-speaking and its trending - Forward

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