Category Archives: Israel

The French mandate-era Lebanese army with its rusty artillery and rifles as old as my gramma is being hailed as a hero for “confronting” the IDF. Give me a fucking break.  You call this an army?  Why not follow the lead of the security forces and hire a tea expert? At least that would be a good investment.

This is the same army that folded its arms and did nothing while it too was under fire during the July war. I still remember the “defense” minister saying that “when” the IDF invades the army would fight alongside HezbAllah against the IDF. I guess that “when” never came true for our “defense” minister. Yalla bassita, as they say, el telte sebte.

Anarchists Against the Wall

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).

Gandhi, Palestine, and Violent Resistance

I apologize I have been unable to post much lately due to shortage of time and a very busy schedule, but I have decided to post an excerpt from George Orwell’s essay “Reflections on Gandhi”, which is quite relevant to the question of Palestine and the violent resistance vs. non-violent disobedience debate; I will attempt to post my thoughts on this issue later. Until then, I leave you with this:

In his early days Gandhi served as a stretcher-bearer on the British side in the Boer War, and he was prepared to do the same again in the war of 1914-18. Even after he had completely abjured violence he was honest enough to see that in war it is usually necessary to take sides. He did not–indeed, since his whole political life centred round a struggle for national independence, he could not–take the sterile and dishonest line of pretending that in every war both sides are exactly the same and it makes no difference who wins. Nor did he, like most Western pacifists, specialize in avoiding awkward questions. In relation to the late war, one question that every pacifist had a clear obligation to answer was: “What about the Jews? Are you prepared to see them exterminated? If not, how do you propose to save them without resorting to war?” I must say that I have never heard, from any Western pacifist, an honest answer to this question, though I have heard plenty of evasions, usually of the “you’re another” type. But it so happens that Gandhi was asked a somewhat similar question in 1938 and that his answer is on record in Mr. Louis Fischer’s GANDHI AND STALIN. According to Mr. Fischer, Gandhi’s view was that the German Jews ought to commit collective suicide, which “would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to Hitler’s violence.” After the war he justified himself: the Jews had been killed anyway, and might as well have died significantly. One has the impression that this attitude staggered even so warm an admirer as Mr. Fischer, but Gandhi was merely being honest. If you are not prepared to take life, you must often be prepared for lives to be lost in some other way. When, in 1942, he urged non-violent resistance against a Japanese invasion, he was ready to admit that it might cost several million deaths.

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Seriously, how do they publish this stuff???