Israel: Democracy Movement or Colour Revolution?


07-04-2023: The protests which have swept Israel for the last three months have garnered international attention, and with good reason. From some angles, these demonstrations do appear to be some of the largest that have ever occurred since Israel “began” in 1948. Ostensibly, the protests have the aim of preventing the undemocratic moves of President Benjamin Netanyahu to rein in the power of the Supreme Court and give the Knesset the right to override its rulings. Also, the repeated mobilisations, on the surface, seem to be a drive by more liberal minded Israelis to combat the ultra-nationalist ruling coalition. Liberalism, however, can easily be used by the world’s foremost imperialist powers not for pro-democratic reforms, but to bring about its nefarious geo-political aims. So is the current movement in Israel an effort to re-gain a liberal democracy, or is it a colour revolution which has its strings being pulled from afar? Evidence now coming to light strongly suggests the latter.

“Movement for Quality Government”

The prime minister’s son, Yair Netanyahu, has recently being using Twitter and a talk show he anchors on a right-wing radio station to claim that the US Biden Administration is using the CIA and the State Department to overthrow the duly elected prime minister of Israel.[1] The right-wing in Israel is more right-wing than in other places, with the historical influence of Zionism predominant. That aside, it is plausible that such a claim is more than just a rhetorical rant. Just last September, the “non-profit” Movement for Quality Government (MQG) in Israel received $38 000 to fund “democracy” workshops in high schools but had been receiving these funds since the end of 2020.[2]  The MQG has received these “democracy” funds while simultaneously heading the mass protests which effectively call for the overthrow of the government. Israeli journalist Caroline Glick has pointedly asked why no one seems to be enquiring as to who is paying tens of millions of shekels to rent buses to transport tens of thousands of people to rallies, buy thousands of Israeli flags, print banners and placards, rent stages and booming sound systems along with advertising campaigns in every newspaper and on many billboards throughout the country.[3]

The sea of Israeli flags saturating the demonstrations against the government is one of the most notable visual impacts. It is also a tell-tale sign of a colour revolution sponsored ultimately by the US state department. In recent years in Lebanon, Peru, Algeria, Sudan, Chile and elsewhere, similar orchestrated demonstrations have featured the national flag as a supposed symbol of resistance. There are other signs of deflected US state interference as well. Bankers have apparently joined the protests alongside young activists, which is somewhat redolent of woke capital backing Black Lives Matter in the US itself. The uprising is also posited as a secular one, against the ultra-religious overtones of a Jewish nationalist state. This might be why some supporters of the government’s moves are settlers, who assume that some parts of the judicial reform package will make it easier to expand the settlements in what they view as Jewish land which has been “taken” by Palestinians.[4] Yet it is not just the ultra-religious or the ultra-right that are backing Netanyahu’s judicial reforms. There are some clams that up to two thirds of Israelis[5] also back the plans to constrain the “judicial activism” of the Supreme Court.

There have also been pro-overhaul rallies held, in an effort to counter the MQG led efforts. Netanyahu himself is alert to the strong possibility of clashes on the streets with the two sides squaring off against one another. In a post on Twitter, he called on both the right and left to “act responsibly and not engage in violence”.[6] Without naming the MQG, Andrey Bystritsky, the chair of the influential Moscow based Valdai Discussion Club, stated that he has “no doubt” that the protests in Israel are connected to the US.[7] He mentioned that such judicial reforms – on their own – could not result in months of protests such as those that have occurred. The high degree of organisation, apparent funding, and direction of the protests does indicate some very experienced colour revolution operatives have been active for some time, inside and outside the country.

The removal of an ally?

Why would the US state want to intervene so drastically in Israel, which for over 70 years has been its strongest ally in the world, and its “cat’s paw” in the Middle East? It is not just a case of removing a conservative illiberal government and replacing it with a liberal one – though that is certainly part of the agenda. A stronger driver of US state backed colour revolutions are its geo-political moves, and in this case, it can scarcely allow Israel free rein when even it can see the East rising and the West declining. Netanyahu, despite decades of loyalty to Washington, in 2018 signed up to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).[8] Since then, Chinese firms have constructed a new port at Ashdod, one of Israel’s three main port towns. They also constructed a light-rail line in Tel Aviv itself. These projects have to be paid back, but the spinoffs include opportunities for Israel’s high-tech and green sector businesses. However negatively it might view socialism, like some of the European Union (EU) countries, Israel cannot afford to stand aloof from the PRC-led development on offer.

If a rapprochement with Red China is not bad enough for Washington, a refusal to side with the US and NATO powers with its proxy war against Russia via Ukraine was what most likely tipped them over the edge. The historical ties of Russian Jews to Israel mean that even a conservative ultra-nationalist prime minister such as Netanyahu cannot directly break with, or confront, the Russian Federation. Many Russian Jews have joint Russian and Israeli citizenship, and Israel has conducted a stance of “measured neutrality”[9] since the conflict in Ukraine began on February 24, 2022. Not only has the Israeli government declined to impose any sanctions on Russia, it has refused to send any weapons to the Nazi infested Ukrainian armed forces. In addition, Netanyahu has steadfastly maintained a close personal relationship to Russian President V Putin.[10] Hence, once Netanyahu returned to the leadership of Israel in January, the US deep state pulled open the floodgates of a colour revolution.

Workers should be clear on the role of US state backed colour revolutions – none of which are progressive or left-wing under any description. Imperialist backed colour revolutions are used to obtain a political outcome at the expense of the domestic population and to the benefit of Washington and its allies. This is why a colour revolution, or riots, or violence, or other forms of destablisation, can be triggered even against the strongest allies of US imperialism. One only needs to recall the recent bombing of the Nord Stream pipeline,[11] which was ultimately carried out to prevent German industry from benefitting from economic cooperation with Russia, when Germany is supposed to be a US ally. Granted, this was vandalism rather than a colour revolution. However, “progressive rioting” was unleashed in Colombia in April and May of 2021, against the Colombian President Ivan Duque.[12] Colombia has been a US government ally for decades, the “Israel of Latin America”. Yet it was also targeted by the US state department (and George Soros funded NGOs, which never operate anywhere without US government sanction) for destablisation and/or regime change. And this occurred even when the Duque government imposed some of the harshest “Covid” lockdowns in the world – some of which directly led to even more dire poverty for many Colombians.

Covid repression in Israel

The Israeli government was one of the most repressive in the world during the period of the fraudulent Covid “pandemic”. Arguably, it was the most aggressive in enforcing nonsensical vaccine mandates, and put in place the notorious “Green Pass” system, for which Israelis were required to have booster shots to qualify.[13] At the start of 2022, the Israeli government removed the requirement to for a Green Pass at restaurants, cinemas, gyms and hotels but retained it for dance clubs and other events.[14] Yet even imposing draconian Covid terror does not lead to immunity from the rapacious advances of US imperialism against your country – as Russia, China and now Israel can attest. To underscore just how on track with liberal imperialism the MQG is within Israel, the MQG actually criticised the Israeli government for not doing enough to control “Covid” ! They appealed to the government to increase the supply of ventilators,[15] amongst other so-called shortcomings. It’s a short step for the MQG from condemning the government for an alleged lack of action on Covid to calling for its overthrow.

Left parties which capitulated to the state on Covid are thus at a loss to explain why the current wave of protests in Israel ignores the question of Palestine. The reformist Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) notes that the US state supplies some 4 billion dollars[16] in military “aid” to Israel, but then wonders aloud why Palestinian flags have often been removed from the 100 000 strong rallies in Israel waving the Star of David flag. The PSL struggle to identify a colour revolution at the best of times, but other commentators have also noted that the protestors in Israel today seem to be singularly uninterested in addressing the Palestinian/Israeli-Arab/Israeli conflict.[17] This is because a colour revolution is more politically controlled than any other choreographed action. Palestine and its plight is off message, so any Palestinian flags or symbols are removed as fast as you can blink.


While working people in Israel, Palestine and beyond should keep a firm distance from any US state backed colour revolution, the Israeli state with its Zionist ideology remains a class adversary. For example, the Israeli state continues to play an appalling role with its continuation of the proxy regime change war against neighbouring Syria, even after most other US backed Gulf monarchies have moved on from the parts they played in previous years. Since the US led proxy regime change war on Syria began in 2011, Israel has launched literally hundreds of air strikes on Syrian territory, including recent ones on Syrian airports.[18] In February, five Syrians were killed during an Israeli air strike on the capital Damascus.[19] The Israeli state is targeting both Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria, which are assisting the efforts to push all US troops out of Syrian land, and to finally bring the 12-year regime change war to an end.

The Russian Federation came to the assistance of Syria in 2015 by invitation, an act which decisively turned the tide in the US/EU led regime change war. Along with assistance from Iran backed militias and the Lebanese Shia resistance movement Hezbollah, Russia’s superior air power meant that from that point on, Western forces and their ISIS and Al Qaeda proxies would not be able to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic. At that time, Russia correctly came to the view that if the US war machine was not stopped in Syria, it would be the next target. In fact, the US state was already preparing the next proxy war on Russia via Ukraine, with its overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government via the activation of Nazi militias in 2014. While US imperialism was pushed back and almost totally defeated in Syria, this arguably accelerated its resolve to prepare NATO for its Ukraine provocation.

For class struggle

Given the open wars, regime change operations, false pandemics and colour revolutions being carried out across the globe, the impression can be gleaned that the mass of the people are simple bystanders of history, being manipulated and defrauded or ordered into conflicts or just simply accepting the removal of rights by supposed leaders. Marxists reject this and impress upon working people that they are the masters of their own destiny, if they can find the path of class struggle. Wars and colour revolutions are only a terrible symptom of a Western led capitalism which is reaching an end point, but is resisting being shown the nearest exit. In Israel and Palestine, workers face a capitalism which produces massive inequality, on top of the injustices meted out in the name of religion and the nation.

However, the nationalism of both Israel and Palestine cannot offer a solution, whether under a secular or religious guise. Only the joint struggle of Israeli and Palestinian workers, in combination with the political struggle of working people in the Middle East and beyond, can point a way forward. While the non-imperialist bloc of Russia, China, Iran, Syria can be extended military support as a means of defence against Western led imperialism, independent working-class leadership still needs to be forged. This missing link highlights the urgency of the assembly of internationally linked Leninist vanguard parties, anchored with the theory of Permanent Revolution. A disintegrating capitalist world can only be replaced by a socialist order which will relegate imperialist intrigue to the annals of history.



[1] (04-04-2023)

[2]  (04-04-2023)

[3] (04-04-2023)

[4] (04-04-2023)

[5] (04-04-2023)

[6] (04-04-2023)

[7] (04-04-2023)

[8] (05-04-2023)

[9] (05-04-2023)

[10] (05-04-2023)

[11] (05-04-2023)

[12] (05-04-2023)

[13] (05-04-2023)

[14] (05-04-2023)

[15] (05-04-2023)

[16] (05-04-2023)

[17] (05-04-2023)

[18] (05-04-2023)

[19] (05-04-2023)

Photo: The protests in Israel since January 2023 have frequently been saturated by thousands of Israeli national flags. Image from

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