Americans Out of Vietnam. Matzpen members demonstrating in front of the US embassy in Tel Aviv

(from Matzpen, March 1969)

(Translator’s note: Maki, led by Shmuel Mikounis and Moshe Sneh, is one of the two Israeli communist parties. Unlike its rival, Rakah, it is completely absorbed in the Israeli zionist establishment.)

At the beginning of February, Maki organized a “protest demonstration” opposite the American embassy in Tel Aviv. The aim of the demonstration was quite clear: to obtain photographs documenting Maki’s “anti-imperialist” activities so that those photographs could accompany the propaganda material which Maki is distributing abroad, especially in left-wing circles in Europe. Maki’s spokesman and publications have been serving as propaganda tools of the Israeli Foreign Ministry for a long time. They provide a “left-wing” apology for Israeli policy.

In the editorial board of Matzpen we possess much evidence of how Israeli embassies in Europe and America use the Mikounis-Sneh publications to moderate criticism which left-wing Jewish youth voices against the government’s policies.

For this Maki needs to create a revolutionary, left-wing image. What is easier than to organize a mini-demonstration opposite the U.S. Embassy? Especially when the slogans of that demonstration are very moderate and polite, such as “Nixon, the peoples want peace in Vietnam” or “We demand a solution in Vietnam and the Middle-East”.

Members of Matzpen in the Tel Aviv district joined the demonstration, but carried different slogans, and this made the task of the photographer very difficult, since he could not get a picture which would only contain polite slogans. Some Maki functionaries became violent and started to tear down our slogans, but the police, who had instructions to preserve peace and quiet, restrained them. In one case one of the Mikounis-Sneh functionaries began to shout and kick; he appealed to the police to take our comrades away. Some members of the Central Committee of Maki, headed by Esther Vilenska, instructed their members to move to one side, away from our comrades, to make the photographer’s job easier and so that the public and the Embassy officials would not confuse the polite slogans with the impudent ones.

Among the slogans carried by Matzpen were “The American occupation in Vietnam, is it more or less liberal? (This refers to the official Israeli claim that the Israeli occupation of Arab territories is very gentle and liberal – translator’s note). “Every conquered people has a right to fight for its freedom”, “Long live the Socialist Revolution”, “Down with the government of national unity in Saigon” (This is an oblique reference to the present national unity government in Israel – translator’s note), “Yankees – down with the occupation”, etc.

[Next in the ISRACA bulletin: An Israeli View of the Anti-Zionist Left]