Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Israe, One Struggle*, LEFT, RIGHT, TURN BACK! 28/01/04

Before leftist activists take to the streets with vigils against the settlements or the oppression of the Palestinians, and in order for them to even be able to formulate a real alternative to the Apartheid policies, massive land theft and low-profile transfer which we are witnessing these days, they must first identify the social conditions that enable the current right wing government to imprison, starve, wound and kill the Palestinian people. The left must also recognize and understand its' own role in creating and prolonging these conditions.

Contrary to the political conditions which make current policies possible (a simple arithmetic majority in the Israeli parliament), social conditions have much stronger, deeper roots (historical, cultural), and enjoy an equally strong hold within the left as they do within the right.

These conditions are interconnected and weaved with one another, however it is possible to isolate two main ones, which are at the heart of the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians: Zionism and Militarism.

The Israeli left cannot become an obstacle for the brutality of Ariel Sharon's government (or Barak, or Netanyahu or Rabin before him), because its' hands are tied in blind obedience to the demands, needs and to the very viewpoint of the Israeli army. The leftist camp declares it does not believe in a military solution to the conflict, but with the same breath declares also that it intends to join the army and give it full, unconditional support, no matter what. Thus, in its' willingness to always and as a matter of principle hand itself over to military service - the left neutralizes its' own potential to halt the Militaristic carnage. If Israeli prime ministers throughout history, from both the left and the right, hadn't known that the army is a sacred "apolitical" tool at their disposal, enjoying sweeping popular support, they would not have been able to depend on it so readily and easily, and one can assume they would have had to stick more rigidly to the road of negotiation and true diplomatic solutions.

We ask, what credibility is there for people who realize that military force is not a solution, and who witness today the high, ever-growing number of victims and the vast destruction that the attempts to implement it bring, and yet are still willing (as well as demand of others) to serve in the army: to become cogs in the very same machine that creates and perpetrates these ill-fated attempts?

A good example of the hegemony of Militarism in Israel is that group of people labeled "Refusniks". As a whole, members of this group are not conscientious objectors in the true meaning of the term, as it is in the rest of the world, meaning people who do not believe in war and combat. The "Refusniks" merely refuse to serve in the occupied territories. They are ripe with the disease of Militarism, since they do not question, not even for a second, the legitimacy of the Israeli "defense" force, and do not challenge the legitimacy of war as a means to solve national conflicts. They are willing to serve the war machinery, to kill and be killed by command, as long as they, personally, do not have to march their little feet across this or that geographic line (in this case the "green line": Israel's border prior to the 1967 war and its' subsequent occupational misadventure).

The rest of the left, institutions such as "Peace Now" and "Meretz", are even more captivated than the "Refusniks" by that old myth according to which joining the Israeli army is not a political act or statement. The uniform and unit pride, like the baton, the rifle and the tank, are not "neutral".

Lending a hand to any and all of these means actively supporting the suffering, wreckage and death they sow among non-Jewish populations. For the more than two thousand Palestinians killed since the beginning of the El-Aqsa Intifada alone, for their families and for the tens of thousands injured, dispossessed and the homeless "our forces" have created - for them there is no comfort in the fact that the soldiers who inflicted this upon them did not do it out of "malice". It does not make an ounce of difference whether those who are crushing their cities under armored bulldozers, imprisoning them in their homes at gunpoint for weeks and dropping bombs on them from the sky, are "right wingers" or "leftists", racists or humanists, believe in military solutions or don't. In the talk-shows on our TV screens the difference might seem significant, but if it was us standing in the shoes of the people in the occupied territories, we would no doubt finally understand the simple fact that there is, in all honesty, no difference at all.

The second social condition paralyzing the leftist camp from rising up against the killing, along with the sanctity of the IDF, is Zionism.

In the official stance and even slogans of mainstream Zionist leftists, one can detect a certain thesis: "Let us pull out of the occupied territories and all will be well" says a student group, "Leave the territories, return to our senses" exclaims the Peace Coalition, and so forth. The thesis is that the military conquest and occupation of the left bank and the Gaza strip were and still are something "alien" to the state of Israel, a kind of isolated historical "mistake" committed in the past, for reasons supposedly unrelated to the nature and essence of Zionism, and if we were only to pull out of them then everything would fall into place and back to normal. The truth, however, is not that simple.

Long before the occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967 (almost twenty years before), in what the Zionists call "The War Of Independence" and the Palestinian people call "El Nakba" (The Disaster), close to 500 Palestinian villages were destroyed by Zionist armed forces (villages which today have no trace of existence in our current geographic or political landscape), and more than half the Palestinian people were expelled from the territory that became the state of Israel (we are talking about 750,000 people who were torn out of their lands and homes, whether directly by forceful transfer or by threats and the spread of fear through various massacres perpetrated by the Zionist side - of which Deir Yassin is the most famous, although not the only one or most terrible).

As long as the left continues to see the occupation of the Palestinian territories as some isolated historical mistake - the root of the problem instead of another one of its' symptoms - it ignores (quite conveniently) the most crucial chapter of the Israeli-Arab conflict, which is the nature of the establishment of the "Jewish state": at the expense of the Palestinian people who lived here until the arrival of the Zionist movement. That is why the Zionist left fails to comprehend, just as Itzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak failed to comprehend in the Oslo and Camp David accords, the viewpoints and demands of the Palestinian side, which "insisted" on full control of the west bank and the Gaza strip (only 22 percent of Palestinian territory during British mandatorial rule). He who remains blind to this - and this includes of course the Zionist left which enthusiastically supported these accords - cannot see that for the Palestinians, the demand of statehood over the aforementioned 22 percent meant that they were willing to give up 78 percent of the land from which they were expelled and exiled, and was in fact a historical compromise.

The left, the so-called "peace" camp, will never be able to establish a real, lasting peace, as long as it denies the responsibility of Zionism in the displacement of the Palestinian people from their land, and as long as it refuses to understand that a country in which more than a fifth of the population is not Jewish cannot be both Zionist (a "Jewish state") and truly democratic. The best that the Zionist left can afford itself is a "military democracy" with second class citizens (Palestinian, Bedouin, Druze and foreign workers) and "generous offerings" a la Barak or a "recognition of a Palestinian State" a la Sharon, which mean nothing but the establishment of poor Palestinian ghettos, separated and devoid of hope, to become easy dumping grounds for products, sweatshop infrastructures and a source of cheap labor for Israeli industries - Shimon Peres' "New Middle East". Indeed, it is not the least surprising that from 1993 (the beginning of the so-called "peace process") until today, the situation of the Palestinian people has only gotten worse (and the number of settlers on their lands has doubled!).

The only thing that a left which insists on staying inside the parameters of Militarism and Zionism and their historical narrative can offer Palestinians is peace "from a position of superiority", hoping all the while that "Gaza will sink into the sea", as its' beloved martyr Rabin once put it (that same man of peace who ordered the breaking of arms and legs of innocent Palestinians as a determent measure). The headline of the latest left wing mass demonstration says it all: "Get out of the territories, for Israel's sake!" - the other side does not exist, its' demands and needs are irrelevant, and only the Jewish dead are taken into account.

The Zionist left is not capable of rising above its' inherent limitations. Its' political role is reduced to merely playing "good cop" to the "bad cop" of Ariel Sharon and the fascist generals who will follow in his footsteps. It's role is to assess damage control, put a more gentle face on Apartheid policies. It's role is to bomb, kill, destroy, discriminate - only slightly less. To shoot and shed tears at the same time, with drawings of doves, flowers and peace chants in the background. The absolute most it can do is try to impose a "peace agreement" like the ones the right wing and the USA are currently trying to impose: a peace agreement which brings no "peace" and no "agreement", and will be forced under military threat on Arafat, Abu Mazen or any other Palestinian leader willing to sell his people in exchange for the chance to be a corrupt, brutal despot in one giant prison disguised as a state.

The Zionist left is constantly competing with the right wing: which one carries more national flags during its' events, which one sings the national anthem louder, which one is harsher in its' condemnation of “draft dodgers”...

We wish to convey the message that there is no longer a need to compete. You, the left, have become its' equal. The common ground you share - Militarism and Zionism - is stronger and more meaningful than all those cosmetic differences separating between you. The Palestinian people, on whom our fathers, brothers and sons are committing war crimes via the terrorist organization known as the IDF, sure as hell can’t tell the difference.
* Copied from the web page of the Israely anarchist group Maavak Ehad (One Struggle in Hebrew)

Monday, January 26, 2004

Israel, Tel-Aviv, benefit party for the iniative against the apartheid wall* 26/01/04

Greetings, From: mulan on 2nd of febuary, a benefit event will take place in the kosmonaut club, hamehoga st 4 at 20:30. all the income from the evening will go for the continuation of direct actions againset the apartheid wall. the evening will contain many shows from different artists, will have t shirts stands, olive oil, books and more.

sounds great ? and very exciting no? sounds like its going to be hell of a night eh? well yeah, but its up to all of us to make this evening work so we are inviting you to come to salon mazal (simta almonit 3 street) on wedensday the 28th at 18:00 so u can participate in the preparations for the evening so you can step forward and use your talent and help make this evening work, because we need money to pay our phone bills.

we need people to technical work, people to stand at the door, to get the place ready, to put up posters, give out flyers and many other nice little things that need to be done. so be there or be square!

RONEN: 053-561580
*[Ed. Note: Anarchists and others]

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Israel-Palestine, Update from Budrus 15.1.04

Hi everyone, Report from people in Budrus is that today a great demonstration was held, with a van of Israelis* attending. Despite the attempts of the Occupation Forces to crush the resistance by arresting the Palestinian activists, the people went down to the bulldozed land and planted about six small olive trees and two big ones. Some Israeli and Arabic media were there. The families of Ayed and Na'eem are holding up okay. LAWYERS: Kate from IWPS and Jonathan from the Israeli Anarchists have, in consultation with the family, been trying to get a good lawyer. From talks with lawyers today, it seems that at least $1000 (US) will be needed. Israelis who want to donate could call Jonathan on xxxxxxxxxx. ISM please can you put this appeal out on your list. There are ISM'ers who were in Budrus but are now back in their countries who might want to donate. I could not reach Huwaida today but suggest that internationals who can contribute any money should call her on xxxxxxxxxxxx.

DEMONSTRATION AT OFER PRISON: Various people today were discussing holding a demonstration at Ofer Military Prison as soon as possible. Can the Israeli Anarchists and ISM figure out what is a suitable date for you and then we can work together on arranging it.

PHONE CALLS are needed demanding the release of all the Budrus prisoners:

Ofer Prison 02 5884202 or 02 5884348

Minister of Justice, Yosef Lapid
Phone: 02-646-6527
Fax: 02-628-5438

Military Attorney General, Brig. General Menahem Finkelstein
Fax: 03-569-4370
*[Ed. Note: The Anarchists Against The Wall initiative]

Monday, January 5, 2004

Israel-Palestine, Declaration of The Anarchists Against The Wall 5.1.04

In these days, with the building of the system of fences, ditches and the wall of separation which robs the fields and leaves people in enclaves without the necessary means of existence, when hundreds of thousands are cut off from health and education facilities and essential infrastructure and are forced to choose between "voluntary" transfer or death, it is our duty as human beings to struggle against this crime. We forced open the gate at Mas'Ha to open a gap in the wall of hatred and to provide with our actions a living, kicking alternative to the apartheid policy of the Israeli government. We, to whom the future of this land is important, regard the system of the fences and separation wall not only as a huge disaster for the Palestinian people, but also as a direct threat for us and for anyone who desires a peaceful and secure life. This is not a security fence. This is a racist apartheid fence that will cause bloodshed for all of us for many years to come.

We try to live in our daily lives the changes we are striving for. We work in a spirit of full cooperation, without leaders. Our decisions are arrived at by consensus and everyone contributes according to their ability. We believe that justice and equality are arrived at by voluntary agreement between people and that the state is only an aggressive tool of dominant ethnic-class groups.

We are realists and understand that the abolition of state system will not occur tomorrow, but even today we can already demand a way of life with "no rulers and no ruled" - "no masters and no slaves". Direct action is the democratic act when democracy stops functioning. The Berlin wall was not dismantled by rulers and agreements, but by the citizens who felled it with their own hands.

Since we can remember, we have been brainwashed with hatred and fear of our Palestinian neighbours. We have not gone for trips in the countryside without armed escort... We were told that our hand is extended for peace but there is no one to talk to. But these lies were exposed and are clear for every one who participates in the actions against the occupation to see. We have slept together beneath the olive trees (before they were uprooted), we have marched together to the fence and we will continue to struggle together - Israelis, Palestinians and internationals, for justice and equality for all.

For years, good people claim that when the transfer is enacted, they will lie down in front of the wheels of the trucks and buses to block that crime. But, the transfer is already happening now! Depriving thousands of people of the minimal means of existence does not leave them any alternative. Thousands are leaving their villages to find food for their children. The ethnic cleansing is occurring before our eyes and we have only one option: to use the few rights we still have from the remnants of Israeli democracy and break the racist, immoral laws. Yes, to break the gates and fences, to block the bulldozers with our bodies, to enter closed-off military areas, and also to transform the enemy into our friend. Palestinian and Israeli resistance will continue as long as the occupation, which is the infrastructure/root of the terror, continues.

Israel-Palestine, Truth from the land of Israel... Media still focused on the injury of Anarchist Against The Wall activist at Mas'ha 05/01/04

The shooting to hit with live ammunition on Israeli demonstration in Mas'ha against the wall is still in the news. The clear lies of the Israeli authorities is exposed again and again. The video documentary is shown again and again - including the detailed statement of the reporter of the main Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot.

Yesterday late evening, a special investigation reportage in which both the soldiers lying and the evident that exposed it were screened in details. In a nutshell, it exposed also the army policy of shooting with live ammunition on non armed demonstrators called "regulation of detaining suspects" (which is really not in order to detain but to deter) applied in the past only to Palestinian Israeli citizens in few occasions and regularly applied to palestinians - including children.

It seems, the naZionist left and liberals that were not so active in criticizing the shooting policy when applied to Palestinians in the occupied territories reached a qualitative turning point.

The fact that fluent and intelligent good looking Israeli anarchists are good interview subjects contribute too. The various media channels - printed, audio and visual, keeping bringing them again and again.

Yesterday and today the media is bringing in addition the young refusnics who were sentenced yesterday for a one year in jail. This was the peek of a three years initiative started by high school anarchists to whom joined others with less crystallized political consciousness.

The initiative started with a petition of about hundred signatures. At first, the local commander of the army sentenced those whose conscription date arrived but refused joining the army to few weeks in jail for two to four repetitions and then released them as "unfit to service". Later, the army escalated and stopped releasing the refusnics of regular conscription after few terms.

As result, the refusnics refused to be judged by the local commander who could continue to put them back again and again and took the alternative court martial.

After about a year of hearings, the verdict was given and they got one year in prison.

The struggle is not at end yet as they will appeal it to the military appeal court and probably later to the Israeli supreme court.

Saturday, January 3, 2004

Subject: Israel-Palestine, Another initiation of Anarchists Against the Wall - joint demonstration this Saturday, 3/1/04

Following last weekend's events, and marking the end of the activities at the protest tent against the Apartheid Fence in Dir Balut, Anarchists Against the Wall, the people of Dir Balut and Ta'ayush will hold a joint demonstration this Saturday, 3/1/04, protesting the continuing erection of the Apartheid Fence, and the outrageous shooting policy of the Israeli Army in 3 years of Intifada, which was suddenly "discovered" by many Israelis only this weekend. We would like to seize the new public discussion and media interest in what is happening behind the Green Line, and therefore we act with such a rush.

The main gathering time and place will probably be at 10:30 in Kufr Qassem, and transportation will leave from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the north.

See also:
English texts:
(en) Israel - Palestine, Tel Aviv - Zububa, Twenty meters of fence removed - in joint Israeli/Palestinian action
(en) Israeli anarchist group - One Strle - initiated an internationalist action against the wall

Portuguese, Italian, Spanish and Turkish translations for some of the posts are avilable too at

Israel-Palestine, Anarchists against the wall initiative 03/01/04

In addition to direct action against the wall and its building demonstrations with with local Palestinians and Israel extreme radicals were carried this Saturday. Few of the initiative and about 50 other Israelis and internationalists converged with locals to a big demonstration at a road block near Dir-Balut. Few hundreds from the main cities who responded to the Call for action by the Anarchists Against The Wall - WITH OUR BODIES AND YELLS WE WILL BLOCK THE WALL! converged in Cfar Kasem village. Around noon on the way to join the demo in Dir-Balut - few hundreds meters from the green line separating Israel and the occupied territories, the police blocked our way.

We got down from the busses ad blocked the road which is a main artery to the central part of Israeli settlements in the occupied zone. After the water cannon failed to affect us the police started to arrest people we did not hold strong enough.

After they arrested 28 activists and we still did not give in, the police cleaned a narrow path in the road for cars by dragging people to the sides. And there was a stand still for a while.

As power relation prevented us from blocking completely the road and as political consideration prevented police from arresting more of us or using tear gas, the police initiated negotiation with two lawyers of our contingent.

It took about two hours to reach agreement and decision it by vote among our people. At the end the majority accepted the police commitment to release all 28 people after 2 hours of interrogations. As not to let the police renegade on the agreement, we regrouped back to Cfar Kasem village, waiting to the release of the arrested.

The police tried to renegade and do hold for deportation three internationalist who were among the arrest's. But, solidarity of the other 25 and the threat of our blocking other roads made them think again.

With two hours delay all detainees were released and we went home exhausted but satisfied... as the media coverage and the constant communication with the ongoing demo was as if we were there in our bodies.


Anothe take on the initiative: today's events in Budrus and Deir Ballut 03/01/04

Last night in Budrus, soldiers invaded the village once again and arrested the co-ordinator of the Popular Committee against the Apartheid Wall, Na'eem Morar in his house. This followed the arrests of four young boys the day before, also captured out of their homes. In the past month, 8 Palestinians have been arrested in this village for holding peaceful demonstrations against the Wall (as well as 4 Israeli activists, 3 Internationals and one Swedish MP). The situation is very bad in Budrus. The bulldozers start working again tomorrow morning and the village intends to try to block them with their bodies once again. This will be the fifth day of direct action against the Israeli Occupation Forces.

Each day the IOF steps up the level of barbarism against the village. The first day the soldiers were forced to retreat after the people did not back down in the face of teargas and rubber bullets. The second day they beat people very badly with sticks and shot many with rubber bullets (45 taken to hospital). The village continued with the peaceful action, breaking curfew every day. The days that followed saw the soldiers gassing TV camerapeople, shooting rubber bullets at close range directly into peoples's chests and heads/faces, including at internationals, and shooting while Israeli TV was watching.

They chased after shebab in the village and fired live shots at them and occupied 2 houses, beating up the families. And the arrests too. Massive amounts of violence from the soldiers are feared tomorrow and the rest of the days this week since this village is totally determined to stop the wall - and they have delayed the bulldozing of their olive trees for more than 2 months now.

ISM will stay there tonight but we need people for tomorrow nite, if anyone can sleep there please call 052 598264 or 09 2516644, especially Israeli activists (and can someone please bring the "don't shoot" banner). There are many houses for you to sleep in. If anyone wants to come to Kate's deportation hearing tomorrow (she was arrested in Budrus this week), call .

Today, 300 Israelis on their way to the direct action at Deir Ballut checkpoint were stopped on the settler highway. The activists got out of the buses and started to block off the highway by sitting on it. Soldiers fired water cannons at them but could not do too much damage to them since there was a row of settler cars backed up behind them. They then arrested 28 activists and now the others are waiting for them to get released.

Meanwhile, about 400 Palestinians, Internationals and Israelis held a demonstration in Deir Ballut. The crowd marched towards the checkpoint carrying a giant banner in Hebrew which read "Don't shoot" and other placards against Apartheid Israel and the zionist occupation. There was a speech about the twins who died at the checkpoint two weeks ago after their mother was forced by the soldiers to give birth on the side of the road at 2am. It was well covered by many TV channels. Some people climbed on the checkpoint blocks waving Palestinian flags and chanting. The rest of the crowd were sitting down in the road and singing freedom songs. After a lot of different speeches, everyone went back to the village feeling happy.

"Ya Sharon, ya majnoon Lesh ibtikla a zatoon"

TRANSLATION: Sharon, you crazy bastard why are you destroying our olive trees?

Friday, January 2, 2004

Another Media post on the shooting of Gil Na'amaty and the AAtW

Fringe benefits By Lily Galili

A strange thing happened this week to the anarchist movement in Israel. In a single moment, to the sound of whistling bullets, it was transformed from an anonymous and irrelevant body into an organization that makes big headlines. Suddenly it has a spokesman, suddenly its members' mobile phones never stop ringing and suddenly the media are courting it.

And mainly, suddenly it has a hero. Gil Na'amati, who was shot and seriously injured by Israel Defense Forces soldiers while he was participating for the first time in a movement demonstration at the separation fence at Maskha, has unwittingly become the undisputed hero of the radical left. At all the Internet sites that deal with these issues, there is mention of his injury at the hands of "occupation soldiers" as a milestone that will always be remembered. This is how myths are born.

But on that same occasion something bad also happened to the anarchist movement. The cry by one of the activists, "Don't shoot - we're Israelis," the result of understandable fear that has been documented in a video film, grates on many ears on the left. Of all people, it was the anarchists, who are disgusted by the state and by any label of national identity, who cried out to the IDF soldiers in a moment of great and natural fear: "We're Israelis."

In an attempt to minimize the damage, the anarchists are explaining that they did this precisely because it is the IDF that discriminates between blood and blood. And they are also saying that the press is to blame for the media "spin" in the wake of which they are not saying that soldiers "opened fire on people," but are saying "on Israelis."

In retrospect, it also bothers them that from their midst, a non-hierarchical body by definition, a hero has emerged. "There's something infuriating in the fact that the whole business has become a kind of national event," says Liad Kanterovitz, a 26-year-old student of Middle Eastern studies and gender studies at Tel Aviv University.

"We recognize the fact that practically speaking, in the eyes of the army our lives are worth more than the lives of the Palestinians. For this reason we make it a point of being in the front line in every action," explains Santiago Gomez, 28, a graphic designer by profession.

"This is a red warning light not for us, but for the racist society itself, which differentiates between blood and blood," argues Yonatan Pollack, 21, who left school at 16 and is now unemployed. "It really bothers us that all the `memorialization' that the media are doing to Gil is along national lines. We are opposed to any attempt to elevate a person to the level of a symbol and a shaheed [Islamic martyr]. Also, this isn't the first time that they've shot at us; it's just the first time they've hit anyone," says Pollack, who finds it difficult to remember how many times he has been arrested and released.

But these fine distinctions have had not the slightest effect either on the moment of glory they have obtained, not to their benefit, in the messages of solidarity that have been coming in from anarchist organizations elsewhere in the world or on the continuation of the activities of "Anarchists Against the Wall." (And throughout the meeting with the three activists in Jaffa, where they live, Pollack never ceased for a moment to follow the protest activity his anarchist colleagues are conducting against another segment of the separation fence, worrying about one activist with whom it was hard to make contact, and moving forces on the ground. (And, indeed, these "forces" took part in a further action this week, at Budrus, in which the IDF used rubber bullets.)

For a moment it seemed, there in Jaffa, as though the young Pollack, the son of actor Yossi Pollack ("Dad's not an anarchist, but he is supportive") was the official coordinator of activities in the territories. Though he, like his colleagues, was not conscripted into the army ("We were found unfit for each other," he explains), during the months of activity that have involved moving around in the territories, including Areas A that are closed to entry by Israel, he has accumulated considerable experience that qualifies him for direct actions by remote control.

Pollack, most probably, would object to every word in that last sentence. Altogether, the conversation with the three anarchists is like walking through a minefield, where the interlocutor is likely to stumble at every turn on a different verbal landmine. It is very clear to them what they are not, but it is hard for them to define what they are. "We don't believe in the state, in hierarchy, in compulsion," they say. "We acknowledge the existence of state institutions de facto, and work within the framework of the reality, though we try to live to the best of our ability outside the system. We totally negate capitalism, but we also do not accept the Marxist assumption about `after the revolution.' Rather, we live here and now; there is no reason to wait for liberty."

Their worldview is also expressed in the way they live. They want to limit the use of money, to live in a communal way and to have as little dependence as possible on state institutions. For example, some of them, like Pollack and Gomez, eat only natural foods and no meat or dairy products and do not even drink coffee because, they say, "The coffee-harvesters in the world live in a kind of slavery." They speak longingly of anarchist groups in Europe and the United States that have the ability to sustain completely independent communities, including alternative housing in squats.

Though most of them voted for Hadash, they define anarchism as a movement that dwells outside the political system. "Everything is connected," says Pollack. "The root of the problem is in the system of relationships between people, in the general view that exploitation is legitimate. This is not a puritanical idea, but rather an effort to understand that the occupation, the slavery of the coffee-harvesters and cruelty to animals - spring from the same root."

From this approach an anarchist group has sprung up that calls itself "One Struggle - Anarchist Group for Animal Rights," which is based on a radical vision of liberating animals as part of ending all exploitation. On the back of a brochure they produced there is a quote from the preface to, oddly, the Ukrainian edition of George Orwell's "Animal Farm." Some of the anarchists are members of "One Struggle" and others join activities ad hoc, like "Anarchists Against the Wall."

In their estimation, there are about 200 people in Israel who define themselves as anarchists, most of them young and Jewish. There are no Israeli Arabs in the group, but among the Palestinians in the territories they have found a few kindred souls and small groups of anarchists, in the refugee camps. In the direct style of action that they prefer, they chose to fight the separation fence not in street demonstrations but rather by going to live in the territories alongside Palestinians whose lives the fence threatens to disturb.

This encounter was not at all simple. To the obvious gap between the two societies, the Israeli anarchists added the punk culture from which most of them have sprung. Pollack's arms are heavily tattooed, and Kanterovitz showed up for the meeting in Jaffa dressed and adorned in the best punk tradition. This is not how they set out for the territories. When they went to stay with the Palestinians, Pollack made it a point to wear a long-sleeved shirt and Kanterovitz dressed as modestly as she could. "We have territories clothes," they joke.

To the question of whether the Palestinians understand them, they reply with a definite "No." "We certainly do look strange to them, but they understand that we come from a different culture," they relate. "After five months at Maskha, we started to talk to them about anarchism, a natural diet and feminism, and they showed a bit more understanding."

There is something hallucinatory about the meeting with them. Despite the longing with which they speak about the lives of the anarchist communities in Europe and the United States, where they have spent various amounts of time, they chose to return to Israel "because here is where we influence more," according to Gomez.

Despite Pollack's sweeping declarations that "I have no attachment to the State of Israel - political, national or cultural," it is a very Israeli struggle that they are conducting here. In short, they are as Israeli as anyone can possibly be, a definition that angers them. After all, they are not even certain that they are part of the Israeli left, and Pollack relates that internationally there is a huge debate going on about whether or not anarchism is a part of the left.

In Israel, of course, there is no such debate. In a situation in which the ideological debate inches along the range between Knesset Member Danny Yatom of the Labor Party and Knesset Member Ehud Yatom of the Likud, there is no scope for relating to the expanding margins that are bubbling with new energies. The anarchists are not the only ones. At all the demonstrations of the more established left there are individuals and small ideological groups roaming around peddling their goods, handing out materials and trying to win over takers for what is burning in their bones. Sometimes they look embarrassed and sometimes they wear the expression of superiority of people who possess the truth but are forced to compromise with the reality.

Thus, for example, it is possible to obtain there the manifesto of "In Defense of Marxism," which suggests joining its ranks through Yossi's mobile phone number or visiting the movement's international Internet site,

But there is no point in rushing to the phone. Yossi's number does not answer and the revolution will have to wait. The Internet site, however, in an impressive array of languages, presents the positions of the active Trotskyite movement. The most recent editorial, which was written after the attacks on the synagogues in Turkey, argues that "the attack on the synagogue abets Israeli imperialism" and holds that "it will never be possible to defeat imperialism through the use of terror, and what is needed now is a worldwide anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist front."

Anarchist Yonatan Pollack is very familiar with this organization, and he is alarmed by the idea that the anarchists will appear in the same newspaper article as them. After all, in 1921 Trotsky ordered the elimination of the anarchists who embarked on an anti-Bolshevik strike. And Pollack does not forget.

At another stand at many left-wing demonstrations, a leftist demonstrator can receive a copy of "Dialogue," a publication for discussions between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. Here, the option is offered of ordering a subscription to the publication from Pierre Lambert, whose street address is Faubourg St. Denis in Paris. In a telephone conversation in which Lambert was asked to explain who is behind the publication, he only agreed to declare: "I am Pierre Lambert, the son of Russian Jewish refugees, a Trotskyite." Going by the solemn tone in which he declaimed this statement, it was possible to imagine him standing on a wooden soapbox, delivering a programmatic speech to enthusiastic masses.

The Israeli activists of another organization, "The Socialist Struggle," recognize the Trotskyite trends that are present in Israel too, but are not enthusiastic about them. "After the collapse of Stalinism there are many organizations that call themselves Trotskyites, but they have distanced themselves from the workers," they said this week at the weekly meeting of the Tel Aviv branch. "A revolutionary has to connect to the consciousness of the masses."

"The Struggle," a Trotskyite movement, can chalk up an impressive achievement the likes of which few movements can boast: During the past five years the number of its members had grown twentyfold! In absolute numbers, they have grown from two to 40 members. This is also the only leftist movement in which there is impressive representation of the Russian-speaking public: About 12 percent of the members, that is to say, five activists, are young immigrants from the Confederation of Independent States. It costs money to be a member. Each pays according to his ability, "a sum that will be significant to the comrade, but not break him."

Attending the meeting in Tel Aviv were Yuval Gal (the branch secretary), who works at the Abu Adam hummus shop in Tel Aviv; Sefi Samuelov, a student of the social sciences and politics; Gal Hayyat, an unemployed computer programmer; Eyal Atzei-Pri, a demobilized soldier "who fell into the arms of manpower companies and is working at odd jobs"; Melanie Pallaci, a television broadcast supervisor and very experienced at unemployment, and Amnon Cohen, a software engineer of 40, who is the oldest of them.

Cohen, who immigrated to Israel from England 15 years ago, was one of the founders of the movement in Israel, after having been active in the Trotskyite faction of the British Labor movement. Some of them came wearing red sweatshirts with the movement logo in three languages - Hebrew, Arabic and Russian.

They work mainly in the field. They go to demonstrations and workers' strikes, link up with existing struggles and suggest strategies and trudge out to employment bureaus, where they meet unemployed people and introduce themselves. It is hard to believe that the phrase "socialist struggle" became an instant hit. "You are mistaken," they say. "At first, even the word `struggle' would put people off. The response was, `Whaddya mean struggle? It's necessary to convince the politicians.' But that's finished. People have already despaired of the politicians, and even socialism no longer frightens young people who are looking for an alternative to the system that is destroying them."

They can see the change even in the attitude of the police towards them. Gal relates that several times during the past year that police at demonstrations took them aside and said to them: "You're right." After all, the police are also working class and screwed, they say.

Because the activists are young, the issue of service in the IDF has also come up in the movement. The position that is emerging is not to serve in the territories, but not to call for non-enlistment in the IDF, "because that's where you meet the masses."

Nearly all the members come from middle class homes, not from poverty. However, the fact that nearly every one of them has experienced unemployment has been an ideological catalyst. "Unemployment influences ideology," says Pallaci. "They don't prepare you for this when they tell you how wonderful capitalism is."

The members of Struggle think and talk in terms of revolution. "There's no alternative," states Amnon Cohen flatly. Alongside the social program they also have a political platform, the essence of which is a socialist Israel and a socialist Palestine as a stage on the way to the establishment of a socialist confederation. All this is written about in detail in their publication, "The Struggle," which can be purchased for NIS 2, or at the solidarity price of NIS 5. This is the main source of income for funding the future revolution, which they have no doubt will come.

They are considered members of the International Socialist Movement, which is struggling in 37 countries for workers' rights. In Ireland they even have a member of Parliament who was interviewed not long ago for "The Struggle" newspaper. The members in Israel are making do at the moment with the founding of a branch in Be'er Sheva

Israel-Palestine, Cal for action by the Anarchists Against The Wall - WITH OUR BODIES AND YELLS WE WILL BLOCK THE WALL! 02/01/04

You are invited to join us to an active demonstration at the Dir Balut village of Summeria (south to the village Mas'ha) next Saturday (3-1-04). Together, Israelis, Palestinians, and internationals, we will protest the continuation of building the apartheid wall and the cruel trigger happy hand of the soldiers of the Israeli army in the occupied territories.

These days, the building of wall in the Dir Balut region is resumed. According to the present route the people of the villages Dir Balut, A-zawia, and Rafat will be jailed in an enclave isolated from the South, East, and West. When the wall will be completed the only way the villagers will be able to reach the near by city Ramallah (at their south) will be through the far away Nobles (at their North).

We will march together towards the road block of the Israeli army on the road to Ramallah and restrict the free travel of the inhabitants of the region. The soldiers of the Israel army who man the road block are systematically abusing the Palestinian population. A week ago (22.12) the road block soldiers prevented a seven months pregnant Palestinian from reaching the hospital. This resulted in the abortion of her twine fetuses at the road block. Few weeks earlier, the soldiers vandalized a taxi cab passing the road block for a debt of 200 Shekels ($45.-) of the driver. The soldiers hit the taxi cab with stones, tear the cab upholstery and stole things and money.

In the direct action against the wall in Mas'ha the previous Friday we experienced on our own flesh the life reality of our Palestinian brothers. By shooting (with live ammunition) us, Israeli activists, the Israeli army took a step with out precedence, and crossed another red line. However, this must remind us the daily continuation of harassment of the army in the occupied territories, where the killing, the blockade, the strangulation, the invasion and the annexation do not stop. Shooting us will not deter us from continuing the active resistance to the apartheid wall built before our eyes and to the cruel occupation monster.

On Friday we breached the gate at Mas'ha, it must be remembered that along the route of the wall the gates are kept shut and the Palestinian inhabitants remain with out access to means of livelihood. We will continue with our efforts to block with our bodies the occupation and to open a breach in the wall of hatred. Even live ammunition will not deter us.


The action in Saturday will be the climax of the protest camp against the wall built two weeks ago at Dir-Balut. The camp, with 24 hour presence of Israeli and Palestinians is located on the route of the apartheid wall in the compound of a school whose building was stopped because of the confiscation of the area for the building of wall. The camp is used as a base for non-violent protest activities and information center about the wall building and its harms.

We call for those who are lured by the sham promises to evacuate of settlements who believe in the army declarations about cosmetic changes of the cruel route of the wall and believe to the lies about its pseudo security aims of the fence - to come and see with their own eyes the lands annexation project and the expansion of settlement carried even in these days.


We will meet in Cfar-Kasem village Saturday morning 10:30 3-1-04 (points of departure) Haifa: Kikar Solel Bone - 9:30; Jerusalem: Binianey Hauma, 9:30; Tel-Aviv: central train station (Arlosorov terminal), 9:45. Details and coordination for transportation: Einat

Thursday, January 1, 2004

Israel, Media*: "A little bit of anarchy won't" hurt By Meron Benvenisti 01/01/04

The incident in which soldiers fired at demonstrators got immense media coverage. One detail however - marginal but symbolic - did not get the proper attention: the identity of the group of demonstrators, called "Anarchists Against the Fence." Apparently the demonstration was not aimed only against the fence, which makes the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians a misery, but was also an ideological defiance of those who belong to the anarchist stream towards the very concept of the Israeli state and the sanctity of its laws. There is no need to overestimate the importance of this group, which represents a marginal left-wing stream, with almost no influence. But one should also not underestimate the ideological and intellectual challenge that anarchists set before a society that attributes to the "Jewish state" an absolute, sacred value, and worships "laws" as though they embody, by their very legislation, supreme moral and social values. There is no democratic state in the world in which statism and submission to the law are the main principles of faith, as they are in Israel.

Anarchism is not a rude word for law breakers but an ancient and glorious social philosophy, advocating that justice and equality will be achieved by canceling the state and replacing it with voluntary arrangements among people. It also says social harmony will not be achieved by surrendering and obeying the orders of the state, for it is a bullying instrument of control in the hands of minority ethnic and class groups.

Anarchism, or "constructive socialism," was a term in the foundation of the cooperative, as opposed to the Marxist stream of the kibbutz, and therefore has a place in the history of the Zionist enterprise. The ideology of the kibbutz, as a voluntary social cell that will aspire to replace the alienated, coercive state, was frontally attacked by David Ben-Gurion, who raised the "statism" banner, and since then "the state" has become Israel's secular religion.

Anyone who dares to imply that there is nothing sacred in a bunch of bureaucrats who assumed power and wrapped it in a mystical mantle of power, and that there is no meaning to the definition "Jewish state," as there is no meaning to the concept "a Jewish airplane," any heretic who denies this will be placed before a virtual shooting squad (and possibly a tangible one as well) as a traitor or "terrorism supporter."

The test of loyalty is unconditional obedience to any decision taken by those "authorized by law," and democracy means the dictatorship of the majority. Whoever wishes to claim the right to refuse - because democracy also means defending the rights and beliefs of the minority - is branded as a law breaker. Anyway, everyone is an expert in defining "a patently illegal order," and everyone is preoccupied with whether the law may be violated for conscientious reasons "if one pays the price." As if obedience to the law is the supreme social test rather than the moral and social values inherent in the law.

"The rule of law" is placed as an ideal that binds all, without distinguishing between "the rule of law" as a concept encompassing universal social values, just and moral, and "the rule by law," which is nothing but a system reflecting changing and sometimes corrupt interests, that are legislated in the Knesset.

Everyone bows their head before the parliament and its members, who are pompous with self-importance and unashamed to make cynical use of this awe. The finance minister readily condemns the Histadrut chairman as one who "undermines the foundations of democracy," because he dared object to a Knesset law, as though it were the 10 Commandments instead of a non-democratic law that passed with a meager majority.

The awe of power, the cynicism and the confusion between the "rule of law" and "rule by law," all culminate in the occupied territories. There, because of a judiciary fiction that is convenient to the occupying power, every general is defined as a "sovereign" and issues "ordinances" determining the way of life of millions of people, without being subject to any effective control system. On the face of it, the High Court of Justice has judiciary control of what goes on in the territories. However, its influence is marginal, and anyway the Israeli High Court's status in the occupied territories is questionable, and the issue does not arise only because nobody raises the question. The "military ordinances" accumulated over two generations to thousands have created a fiction that the settlements, outposts and entire judiciary system conducting the lives of hundreds of thousands of settlers is legal. One can therefore argue about the "legality of outposts," about the "validity of zoning plans" and other legal affairs that camouflage, with a screen of paper, documents and maps, the overpowering fact that this system is patently illegal.

After two generations of occupation, the precarious basis of the legality of the occupation power has been forgotten, and everyone takes the "legality" or illegality of the outposts seriously. So it won't hurt to have a little bit of anarchy, that shouts out: "The emperor is naked."
* Ed. Note: The article appeared in the serious capitalist daily "Haaretz", the mouth peace of the fraction of the capitalist class which prefer the globalization and exploiting Palestinians and neighboring arab countries wage slaves over the old nazionist settler colonialist expansionism,.

Miron Benbenisty - who was long ago the vice mayor of Jerusalem have gone a long way, and even support the one state claiming the two state solution - supported by Zionist left and Communist party, is no more a viable option.

Israel-Palestine, Buddrus, In the continuous actions against building the apartheid wall, Israeli and internationals were injuredand/arrested 1/01/04

This morining a group of international media and israeli activists arriverd at Budrus village. The Israeli army accepted the group with live ammunition gun fire, but after a few minutes the army stop shooting because they seen international media. The soldiers retreated back and the demonestartors went down the hill and carried a noun violent demonestration while the solders were keeping watch. When the activist reach the work site they were supprised becouse there wasn't bulldozers... so how much you can help try. ....After the story of this morining the israeli army entred the village Budrus and conducted an operation to find the internationals and the israeli activists. This day was a very bad day i mean a lot of things was happend like a lot of people injuried in budrus and the army was going from house to house trying to find the activists. In this evining i was recieved a massage that liad arrested after she was going to her hearing in Areiel police station so for anther time you help needed.....

From the media "The activists were demonstrating Thursday for the third consecutive day against the construction of a portion of the separation fence north of Modi'in. The construction, which commenced a few days ago, involved uprooting the village's olive groves, and the fence is planned to surround the village from every direction."

Previous days:
(en) Israel-Palestine, Another initiation of Anarchists Against the Wall - joint demonstration this Saturday, 3/1/04
(en) Israel-Palestine, UPDATE ON POPULAR UPRISING AT BUDRUS Last day of 2003