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(en) Chile, FALV-IFA, Contemporary Israeli anarchism (Acracia n79) (ca, it) [machine translation]

Date Mon, 3 Sep 2018 10:09:23 +0300

Our anonymous interlocutor traces the prehistory and development of contemporary Israeli anarchism, touching on the origins of punk and the movement for animal rights in Israel and presenting a critical analysis of the Anarchists' trajectory against the Wall. He concludes by reflecting on the role of the rhetoric of nonviolence in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. We strongly recommend this interview to anyone interested in the conflict between Israel and Palestine or, for that matter, in the strategic challenges of formulating an anarchist opposition in adverse conditions. ---- Is there any continuity between the contemporary Israeli anarchist movement and the currents that preceded the countercultural rise of the early 1990s? ---- None at all, unfortunately. On the other hand, it may not be so unfortunate.

Over the past hundred years, Israeli anarchists played a role in some successful efforts, but always at an expensive price: the subjugation of the political to the social, which was basically BuberSpeak for trying to build new worlds around the existing one, in on its burning ashes. The kibbutzim (Jewish socialist agricultural settlements) serve as a warning tale - another story of this kind should be necessary - of anarchists becoming pawns in authoritarian projects through tentative collaborations based on the "temporary" commitment of our confrontational and political rejection of the hierarchy.

As strange as it may seem today, many European secular Jews at the beginning of the last century saw a tacit link between Zionism and anarchism. Ghettoized and excluded from the national ethos of their own countries, they gravitated towards tendencies that in their personal lives, if not in the eyes of history, offered opposing magnetic polarities with which to retreat: anarchism, Marxism and Zionism. Ironically, as documented by anarchist writers such as Volin in Russia, much of the Jewish ghetto perceived Zionism as the most insane and utopian of the three.

Thus, in what could be seen as a precursor to the pitfalls of modern identity politics, the ties that bind the old anarchists to their Jewish identity allowed their Umanità Nova, their vision of a new humanity, to be bent and replaced. by the vision of Zionism of a new Jewry, the "muscular Jew" of Israel, ready to replace the scared one of the ghetto. On the ground, one of the ways this substitution took place was the rapid transformation of egalitarian kibbutzim communities into strategic colonial instruments at the hands of a nascent state bent on expelling indigenous populations from the land.

In this sense, it is not surprising that in 1994, the first vinyl record of the first Israeli anarchist hardcore band was titled, simply, "Renouncing Judaism."

With the establishment of a Jewish state, the anarchists of worker Zionism discovered that the operation had been successful and that the patient had died; like his contemporaries in the October revolution, the May 4 Chinese movement and Madero's Mexican uprising - and perhaps yesterday's Occupation movement - his only reward was having been the forgotten players in giving birth to the entity that considered them irrelevant.

The end of World War II and the subsequent immigration of more European Jews to the newly established Israeli state, with some anarchists among them, further galvanized the tension between the political and the social, between the freely chosen identities and the born identities, " Anarchists "and" Jews "- a tension nowhere so critical, of course, as within the borders of a Jewish arche.

Leaving directly from the Polish ghettos, they proved that they did not want or could not get the ghetto out of themselves, and instead of flying the defiant black flag, they simply surrounded the wagons; In your defense, however, surviving the Holocaust could do that to you. They were organized in historical societies, cultural associations, philosophical discussion circles and literary study groups, communicating mainly in Yiddish, a choice that strangely resembles that other closed Jewish medium and dressed in black who turned his back on society - the Jews orthodox jasídicos - and in stark contrast to the first anarchists of the kibbutzim, who spoke Hebrew.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the Freedom Seekers Association, Israel's main anarchist group, produced a monthly bilingual publication called Problemen along with several books, and maintained a library of classical anarchist literature (again, mostly in Yiddish and Polish). as well as a large room in the center of Tel Aviv, attracting hundreds of non-threatening conference attendees where anarchy was theorized to death along with Hasidic parables.

Naturally, introverted and autonomous cultural meetings took place at the expense of agitation, reach and organization, which reminds us of certain punk rock scenarios that we know very well. In fact, it does not seem that there has been even an attempt to build an anarchist political movement.

An anecdote from that era illustrates this perfectly: an agent of Shin Bet (Israel's internal security service) came to an anarchist meeting one day. "I heard they have been discussing the possible ramifications of assassinating the prime minister," he said worriedly.

"That's right," came the reply, "but we were talking about the prime minister of Poland." The agent left and never bothered them again.

I must point out that at that time not everything was so calm on the Middle East front. The famous sailors' strike, for example, the most radical and violent one in the history of Israel, which for 40 days paralyzed the country's only commercial port, took place in 1951. By the way, it was run by a young sailor whose grandson would become in a key organizer of Israeli anarchism from the 90s. In 1962 there were a series of wild attacks following the devaluation of the Israeli pound. Through all this, serious disturbances against ethnic discrimination erupted, led by Jews from the Middle East and North African countries who lived in Ma'abarot, refugee camps. In 1949, during one of those riots, Furious mobs broke the windows and hinged doors in the temporary building of the Israeli Parliament; The following year, a leader of similar protests by Yemeni Jews was the first citizen to be killed by the bullet of an Israeli policeman. This, of course, without mentioning the various forms of resistance in which the Palestinian Arabs were immersed at that time.

None of the above, as far as I know, provoked the participation or material support of the exiled anarchists of Israel, who seem to have been more in tune with the Yiddish labor struggles in the Lower East Side of New York than in their new surroundings.

Leaving aside Zionism and Judaism, another key issue in which the anarchists of the 1990s separated from the old guard was our blasphemous attitude towards the IDF, the Israeli "Defense" Forces. The American painter of anarcho-syndicalist houses Sam Dolgoff, who visited Israel in the early 1970s, captured the prevailing attitude of the veterans (as well as his own, apparently):

"... Israeli comrades are forced, like other tendencies, to accept the fact that Israel must be defended. In the discussion with the Israeli anarchists it was emphasized that the unilateral dismantling of the Israeli State would not be anarchist at all. On the contrary, it would only reinforce the immense power of the Arab States and accelerate their plans for the conquest of Israel. The need for Israel's defense - freely recognized by our comrades - depends on the implementation of the indispensable military, economic, legislative and social measures to keep Israel in a permanent state of readiness for war. The Israeli anarchists[...]know very well that restricting the power of the State in such circumstances offers no real alternative.

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