Kibbutz Sha'ar Ha'amakim had been co-founded by Aharon Cohen, the Arabist, who was a regular critic of Israel and opponent of its policy. He was arrested for spying for the USSR in the 50s.
Its founder, Ya'akov Hazan, described the USSR as a second homeland and eulogized Stalin, writing how shocked he and his comrades were, "to hear of the terrible tragedy that has befallen the nations of the Soviet Union, the world proletariat and all of progressive mankind, upon the death of the great leader and extolled commander, Josef Vissarionovich Stalin. We lower our flag in grief in memory of the great revolutionary fighter, architect of socialist construction, and leader of the world's peace movement. His huge historical achievements will guide generations in their march towards the reign of socialism and communism the world over."
Al Hamishmar, the movement's paper, had a headline which read, "The Progressive World Mourns the Death of J.V. Stalin"
The Forward's Nathan Guttman wrote a clumsy defense/attack of it...
The descriptions seem damning, especially from the perspective of more than 50 years since Stalin’s death and the world’s absorption of the reality of his murderous, dictatorial and anti-Semitic regime.
"Seem" damning. They don't seem damning. They are.
Stalin engaged in the mass murder of Jews (including members of the very Hashomer Hatzair movement left in the USSR that were worshiping him in Israel. By this point he had gotten around to killing quite a few of their Poalei Zion comrades who had been engaged in the extermination of religious Jews as part of the Yevsektsia (Jewish Section) for the Bolsheviks. Not only were his fans in Israel well aware of this, but they violently suppressed Jewish survivors who wanted to speak out about what was taking place in the USSR. Including some of their own comrades who had survived the gulag.
Meanwhile the Forward has a typically nostalgic piece about the Kibbutz itself, which tells us that...
The kibbutz founders had a strong admiration for the Communist system in the Soviet Union.
“Today we know how many were killed there in the gulags, but when the kibbutz was founded, they believed that from Russia will come the truth,” she said. “They called Stalin the ‘Sun of the Nations.’”
A red flag was flown at outdoor kibbutz events, symbolizing the “equality of all workers.”
Some of the rank and file may not have known about what was going on in the USSR, but the leadership knew. They always knew.
And the red flag does not symbolize equality. It symbolizes the blood spilled for the revolution.
But we once again have confirmation that Bernie Sanders was at a Kibbutz that had worshiped Stalin and Communism. The Hashomer Hatzair flag was red. It was probably still being flown when Bernie was there.