Blues, beer, 'Bella Ciao' and smattering of Bolshevism
(ANSAmed) - TEL AVIV - In honour of May 1, hundreds of Israelis crowded into a Tel Aviv club where, on the initiative of the Israeli military radio, an evening was held in honour of the Russian philosopher and revolutionary Leon Trotsky. While blues alternated with Russian revolutionary songs from loudspeakers and waiters poured up mugs of beer, screens showed archival images of the theoretician of permanent revolution: from the political rise of Russia at the beginning of the past century to his exile in Russia and assassination by a Stalinist hit man in 1940. Made up of professional journalists and conscripts, the Israeli military radio answers to the Defence Ministry but often allows for expressions of anti-conformism. Yesterday, at the entrance to the locale, soldiers in uniform were seen with red, revolutionary-style pins in front of posters with Trotsky's face printed expressly for this occasion by the Israeli Armed Forces magazine Bamahane. For two hours (broadcast live across the country), university professors, folk singers and actors took turns recalling the revolutionary born into a middle-class Jewish family as Aryeh Ben-David Bronstein.
The myth was reconstructed step by step: from the exhausting escape from a Siberian detention camp (1907) to his becoming commander of the Red Army. And then, after exile, his courageous speaking out against Stalinism. And so it was learned that during his time in Mexico Trotsky received Labour representative Bebe Edelson who advised him in vain to move to Tel Aviv, then under the British Mandate. In reality, Trotskyism never actually got to Israel, except for at the beginning of the 1970s when (in the wake of student uprisings in Europe) the small revolutionary group Mazpen was formed, which seems to have since been definitively dissolved.
And so it is therefore highly unlikely that the evening organised by the inventive journalist-popularizer Eran Sabag will have any direct impact on Israel's political sphere. The commander of the military radio, political journalist Yaron Dekel, told ANSAmed that no one had objected in even the slightest way to the evening in Trotsky's honour. He went on to quote Plato, adding ''there is only one negative things, and that is ignorance. And there is only one positive things: knowledge.'' His broadcaster will therefore be holding other similar events in the event, he said, while the radio ended the evening on the notes of the ''Red Flag'' and ''Bella Ciao''.