There has always been a hard-line Stalinist communist party or two at the margins of Israeli politics. The main one has gone by various names, including MAKI (acronym for Israel Communist Party), RAKACH, and HADASH.
Originally, back in the 1930’s and 40’s, it was a tiny party of Marxist Jewish ideologues, many of whom had grown up in Eastern Europe. Over time, Arabs joined. The head of the party well into the period of statehood was a Jew, Meir Vilner, who was actually one of the signers of the Israeli declaration of independence – a matter of profound embarrassment to the Stalinists still in the party today. (He signed it because at the time Stalin was backing Israeli statehood to embarrass Britain.)
Over time, the Arab and Jewish Stalinists in the party found they could not get along with one another – an interesting commentary on how well communism produces ethnic fraternity – and split in two. The Jews formed MAKI while the Arabs and a handful of the most anti-Semitic Jewish Stalinists around formed the “New Communist List,” or RAKACH. Over time the former imploded, as its members died off from old age or were sidelined by senility. RAKACH then changed its name to HADASH. Technically a coalition of anti-Israel parties, HADASH in reality remained under the control of the communist central committee, which in time reverted to using the name MAKI.
In other words, HADASH is a typical communist coalition, controlled by the hardest of hard-liners. It picks up a lot of Arab votes, mainly because voting for the party is a nice way Arabs can show their contempt for Israel and Jews. Arab voters are generally not Stalinists, and I suspect they would not believe you if you told them that communism loathes all religion. (Most of the Arab students at Israeli universities are HADASH members and voters, as shown in student union ballots.)
HADASH never quite got around to renouncing Stalinism, even after the Soviet empire collapsed. There are literally dozens of HADASH front groups, mainly “peace” and “women’s” organizations, and usually with memberships that could fit on a park bench. Strongly anti-U.S., anti-West and anti-Zionist, the party supports the world’s few remaining communist regimes, such as the dictatorships of Cuba and North Korea.
Until very recently the HADASH leadership, including its Knesset representation, always included one token Jew, and for most of the past two decades that token was Madame Gulag, also known as Tamar Gozansky. The Arab leaders in the party liked having her as its Rent-a-Jew, and her presence allowed the party to continue to pretend to be a joint Jewish-Arab “peace and equality” party.
A couple of years back, internal HADASH rules forced Madame Gulag to step down from her Knesset seat. There was talk that some other Jewish Stalinist might replace her, but in the end the real leaders of the party – the pro-terrorist Arabs – decided to end the fiction and ran an all-Arab slate.
So, whatever became of the lovely Madame Gulag? No, she is not knitting shrouds like Madame Defarge. What she does do is sit on assorted child welfare NGOs. (When she served in the parliament, the powers that be let her chair the Knesset Early Childhood Committee, no doubt figuring she could not pass on any state secrets from there to North Korea or Syria.)
But posturing as a national care bear for kids is not all she is up to. Believe it or not, Madame Gulag has been hired to teach in the department of education at … drumroll, please … Ben-Gurion University.
Yes, the very same university known for its collection of far-left anti-Israel and anti-Semitic extremists has now hired Madame Gulag as an adjunct in education. I guess she gives a seminar for all teachers interested in getting jobs in North Korean re-education camps or in Cuban torture facilities. As for why she didn’t take a gig teaching at the University of Havana, I presume it was because she couldn’t make do on the eighteen-dollars-a-month salary she’d get there.
Ben-Gurion University, of course, produced the convicted nuclear traitor Mordechai Vanunu, and has given us Lev Grinberg, a sociologist who thinks killing terrorist leaders makes Israel a genocidal state, Neve Gordon, whose articles are published by the neo-Nazi Zundelsite and the anti-Semitic rag “Counterpunch” and who characterizes Israel as a fascist, terrorist, apartheid country, and so many others of like mind. And now it’s employing Tamar Gozansky as an “expert” on education.
Doesn’t it make you want to pick up the phone and call some of the donors and contributors to Ben-Gurion University living in your city or town?
Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book ‘The Scout’ is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.