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Palestine Communist Party

PKP propaganda during the Second World War, calling for support of the Red Army

The Palestine Communist Party (Arabic: الحزب الشيوعي الفلسطيني‎, Yiddish: פאלעסטינישע קומוניסטישע פארטיי‎, Palestinishe Komunistishe Partei, abbreviated PKP) was a political party in British Mandate of Palestine formed in 1923 through the merger of the Palestinian Communist Party and the Communist Party of Palestine. In 1924 the party was recognized as the Palestinian section of the Communist International.[1]In its early years, the party was predominantly Jewish.[2]


  • History 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4


In 1923 the party congress a position of support was adopted in favour of the Arab national movement as a movement "opposed to British imperialism and denounced Zionism as a movement of the Jewish bourgeoisie allied to British imperialism", a move that won it membership of the Comintern.[3] The Party was also opposed to Zionist settlement in Palestine and to the Histadrut and its Jewish labor policy.[4]

During the mid-1920s the party began recruiting Arab members. According to British intelligence sources, the first Arab joined the party in 1924. By 1925 the party had 8 Arab members. In that year the party was in contact with the Palestine Arab Workers Society. Simultaneously the party establish relations with elite sections of the local Arab society. According to Halliday, many Christian Arabs were attracted towards the party since they, being Orthodox, felt emotional bonds with Russia. However, when the Comintern made its ultra-left turn in 1928 and denounced cooperation with national bourgeoisies in the colonies, the process of strengthening of the party amongst the Arab population was stalled. In 1930 the Comintern did yet another sharp turn, urging its Palestinian section to speedily increase the Arab representation amongst its cadres and leaders.[1]

In December 1930, PCP ran in the elections for the

  • Suliman Bashear Communism in the Arab East: 1918–28. London: Ithaca Press, 1980
  • Bernstein, Deborah S. (2000). Constructing Boundaries: Jewish and Arab Workers in Mandatory Palestine. SUNY Press. ISBN 0-7914-4539-9
  • Beinin, Joel (1990). Was the Red Flag Flying There?: Marxist Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict in Egypt and Israel, 1948-1965. Berkeley: University of California Press
  • Connell, Dan (2001). Rethinking Revolution: New Strategies for Democracy & Social Justice: The Experiences of Eritrea, South Africa, Palestine and Nicaragua. The Red Sea Press. ISBN 1-56902-145-7
  • Kawar, Amal (1996). Daughters of Palestine: Leading Women of the Palestinian National Movement. SUNY Press. ISBN 0-7914-2845-1
  • Younis, Mona M. (2000). Liberation and Democratization: The South African & Palestinian National Movements. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-3299-5
  • "Class, Nation, and Political Organization: The Anti-Zionist Left in Israel/Palestine", by Ran Greenstein, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg


  1. ^ a b Early Communism in Palestine, Fred Halliday, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Winter, 1978), pp. 162-169
  2. ^ Communism and Zionism in Palestine During the British Mandate, Jacob Hen-Tov
  3. ^ Younis, 2000, p. 117.
  4. ^ Bernstein, 2000, p. 218.
  5. ^ Communism and Zionism in Palestine During the British Mandate, Jacob Hen-Tov
  6. ^ Radzisnki, 1996.
  7. ^ Beinin 40, 42
  8. ^ Beinin45-48
  9. ^ Beinin 46
  10. ^ Beinin 46
  11. ^ Beinin 52
  12. ^ Connell, 2001, p. 61.
  13. ^ Kawar, 1996, p. xii.


See also

[13] From 1951 the

In 1943 the party split, with the Arab members forming the National Liberation League in 1944.[7] The PCP and NLL both initially opposed the 1947 UN Partition Plan, but accepted it after the Soviet Union endorsed it.[8] The PCP changed its name to MAKEI, the Communist Party of Eretz Israel, after endorsing partition in October 1947. This was the first time the communists had used the term 'Eretz Israel' ('Land of Israel'). However, it had been a widespread practice in Mandate Palestine to translate 'Palestine' as 'Eretz Israel' when translating into Hebrew.[9] The party still viewed partition as a temporary detour on the road to a binational state.[10] The two parties maintained contact during the 1948 war, and after the war the NLL merged with MAKI (the new name adopted by MAKEI, meaning the Communist Party of Israel) within the new state's borders.[11]

During the rule of Joseph Stalin, the party militants in the Soviet Union suffered from heavy purges, including numerous people close to party leader Leopold Trepper. Daniel Averbach, one of the founders of the party, was brutally beaten and went mad.[6]


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