You’ve probably heard of the recent action carried out by Anarchists Against the Wall in Tel Aviv; at first glance, I was quite impressed. On inquiring further about the action, I discovered that it wasn’t quite what it looked like, at least not the impression one gets when one hears of the name “Anarchists Against the Wall”. Many of my readers will – I am sure – criticize my criticism of the group, because at least they are doing something. However, that they are doing something does not grant them a criticism-free status.
One would’ve thought that the Anarchists Against the Wall would have adopted a terminology distinct from the dominant nationalist discourse; in this context, my criticism does not deal with their actions, but with their stated objectives, which are as follows (emphasis mine):
The action was carried to remind the people of Tel Aviv of the everyday hardships of Palestinians, resulting from Israel’s apartheid policies and conduct in the Occupied Territories and from the occupation itself. The activists urged Israelis to take responsibility for what is being done in their names, and to force an end to Israeli occupation.
First, let us say that in referring to the “Occupied Territories” they were merely adopting an internationally accepted term to refer to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and not necessarily endorsing the idea that the only occupied territories are the 1967 territories. However, upon closer inspection, one will notice that this is not what they meant. Clearly, their usage of the term “occupation” refers to the 1967 territories only. But what happened to the 1948 territories which were occupied – yes, occupied – and mostly ethnically cleansed of Palestinians? That is not only not a priority for Anarchists Against the Wall, it is also unthinkable.
Make no mistake, this is what they say in the “about” section of the website, in response to the question “why we resist” (again, emphasis mine):
It is the duty of Israeli citizens to resist immoral policies and actions carried out in out name. We believe that it is possible to do more than demonstrate inside Israel or participate in humanitarian relief actions. Israeli apartheid and occupation isn’t going to end by itself – it will end when it becomes ungovernable and unmanageable. It is time to physically oppose the bulldozers, the army and the occupation.
Other than that, their actions are quite impressive. I do hope that in due time the Anarchists Against the Wall will also advocate the return of the refugees, and not fall into the trap of “demographic” discourse. Perhaps someone from the AATW could clarify the movement’s views on this issue (I am assuming they are not a hierarchical organization, so individuals can speak their personal opinions even as “members” of this movement).