Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall

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Tojiah
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Feb 23 2007 10:27
JDMF wrote:
ok, maybe the group is better off without you then grin

Probably. I would raise awkward questions that might be unpopular with the Palestinian masses, and we wouldn't want that, would we? wink

JDMF wrote:
Joking aside - i think this is a dangerous mindset to have to be honest mate. You will NEVER have 100% agreement within a political group, much less in a movement, and those who demand it are destined to be forever insignificant and irrelevant. Only in an online message board environment can one feel some significance with "best politics" and the most purist of approaches.

I think it's reasonable of me to have a list of basic demands from an organization before I join it or help set it up. If there wasn't any kind of leftist organization in Israel, would you tell me to join some kind of centrist group just so that I'm organized?

JDMF wrote:
but i understand what you mean, you dont like the group and dont feel politically in tune with them enough to join them - thats fair enough.

Alrighty then.

JDMF wrote:
I was not looking to hear you slag them off

I don't think I was slagging them off. I think my criticism of them is valid. This is my impression of them. It's not completely positive, especially in terms of what's relevant to this board, which I thought deserved some exposure, considering all the adulations rained over them by previous posts.

JDMF wrote:
or to get that defensive about it

I was getting the impression that Tacks` appreciation for me lessened considerably once he realized that I wasn't really part of the ever victorious AATW. Made me feel defensive. Sorry.

JDMF wrote:
because it is a perfectly valid reason if your politics differ radically from theirs. I just didn't know that the differences would have been so grave...

What can I say: I'm a unique snowflake.

JDMF wrote:
I think co-operation and mutual work in a democratic framework to form policies and actions is fundamental to any class based anarchism, which is why i dont understand unaffiliated class struggle anarchists who rather just go on it on their own because of some tiny political difference while criticising individualists grin In todays tiny anarchist groups people have very little experience and practice working with even small ideological differences which shows in the way infighting flares up just from small issues, or even worse, splits.

I'll tell you what the main problem here is. Most of the activists in Israel don't only know each other now; they've gone to the same high-schools, lived in the same neighborhoods, etc. I, on the other hand, am very much an outsider. I was raised where the most "radical" leftists were Zionist.

I came to the positions I hold late in life, after much deliberation and reflection, and I did not have a nearby high-profile radical clique to join or to interact with. I mean, Eyal was the only person of that character that I really knew before I came to Tel Aviv, and I just wasn't ready back then.

So for me, even setting up contacts with any serious organization has been working from scratch. The only organization which holds regular meetings open to the public in which some ideology is actually discussed is, I think, CPI; the rest I would have to actively seek out.

I've tried connecting with Da'am, which seem to have greater internationalist potential, but they're nigh inaccessible (though they're having a social event next week, I might want to go in there and see if I can talk to someone).

I've found someone who claimed to be a communist anarchist, but she's a lot more focused on animal liberation. I've tried finding like-minded people in, say the Student Coalition (an on-campus leftist group), but I wasn't really fortunate there.

I'll probably attempt to get organized again once I've a job and am out of my down period (though the former may leave me without enough time to do a lot of politics, all of which you can read about in this thread); but I think it's better not to be organized at all than to carry a membership card in an anti-working-class organization.

JDMF wrote:
I guess we would not have any of the great historical examples of big influental anarchist/libertarian movements, groups and moments if folk would have had the same attitude in the past.

There were a lot more big, influential movements that were neither anarchist nor libcommie.

I guess what I could do is contact AATW and send them the fliers I've already made and distributed, see if they might be interested in some kind of co-operation on that subject some time in the future, or maybe to take this over (done). I'd have thought of it before if I hadn't been so individualistic, I guess. sad

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JDMF
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Feb 23 2007 10:39

yeah i think the reason why the grilling is that you clearly would be an asset to any group - good politics, good shit, vegan (wink - just a joke to piss revol off) and so on.

In situations where some even remotely close to our politics are so few even one individual can make a nice contribution, we can see it in our tiny anarchist groups over in UK.

But your plan of trying to map out more libertarian commie class struggle anarho folk is a good idea as well, you may end up with a small network of people and build on that - maybe pulling AATW folk more towards class positions.

I am an extremist about these issues, i always join a group nearby without fail, and will do that no matter which country i'd be in. Sometimes it is a close match, sometimes not quite but i can still get some stuff done while i am at it.

Luther Blissett
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Feb 23 2007 10:45
tojiah wrote:
Yes, what about all of those organization, none of which has any decent class perspective? I get updates on their actions all the time on the ActLeft mailing list. I even go to a few of them. Does that mean I have to join any of them, otherwise I'm lame for not being in an organization?

Solidarity, community and participation in an event is not 'joining an organisation'. You know of Daila, yes? Do you ever go there? The 'Last Wednesday Forum' is actually going to be this coming Wednesday 1 March at 19:30 and will host a panel on freedom of speech in press, community and religion. There's an LGBT meet sometime after - I'm not sure when.

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I've initiated a few of my own actions, too, you know.

I'm not judging you.

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If I weren't set back by depression and by most people I know who would be into it either being too busy with other issues (like animal liberation or GLBT liberation), or liable to co-opt my ideas into a Leninist framework, I might try and organize a group to continue that zine I made two issues of promoting soldiers dissent among, *gasp*, soldiers, for example.

You know there are other organisations promoting refusenik ideology, and yet personal direct action, is higly effective, so maybe there is a need for you to come to terms with this 'alone' feeling you have?

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Quite a few of them responded very well to an obvious radical leftist actually trying to communicate with them, instead of yelling slogans or playing "let's see how long we can mess around before some of us get arrested" with the police.

It is good that you got a response, and a gentler approach for worked for you and them. I agree that sabre-rattling slogans create a great barrier and prefer the softly softly techniques of interpersonal interaction, such as that espoused by philosopher Martin Buber, whom I greatly admire.

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I refuse to join an organization by default.

No-one joins AATW - they don't keep a membership list. Is this the same for the other action groups, like Ta'ayush, for example?

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I refuse to risk police violence for no good reason. Getting beaten up by the riot police because a bunch of idiots decided that it would be such a cool idea to dress up as clown soldiers, provoke the police and then mock them was the final straw for me. I don't know why I didn't get the picture when I was getting tear-gassed and flash-grenaded by the gendarmie, and also stoned by Palestinian youths, in Bil'in, in a mass demo a month or so earlier than that, where the main body of the protest was comprised of Palestinians calling for national unity. And you know what? I don't think there's anything to celebrate this Friday in Bil'in. Because the direct action there has failed long ago. It's time to move on.

I disagree strongly with you in that direct action in Bil'in could be thought of as 'failed' (past tense) It's obviously not for you, but that's no reason to declare it failure - it's time for you to move on, and that's your feeling, but it's not time for Bil'in demonstrators to move on - that is what the State would prefer, and to hear you in agreement with the State is unnerving.

For the Bil'in demonstrators, it's an ongoing struggle that demands to be expressed. I fear you've swallowed 'the other pill' and this creates a inert state in you - the last thing an activist needs is to be cowed into an inert state by State-sanctioned violence!

The weekly demonstrations in Bil'in are important. There are other ways of participating and making your feelings known, so if non-violent direct action and all the risks this entails in your country are not for you, then there are other ways of protesting - the sandwichboard person who walks through busy shopping areas - the letter writing activist - the handing out leaflets activist - the speak to everyone you meet activist - the student activist, etc.

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I'm sick and tired of endangering myself for no good reason. I'm sick and tired of tail-ending other people's campaigns, just because it's something to do.

Then start your own. You'd make a good sandwich-board person and your physical presence means you'd get alot of attention -your gentler approach has already proved you can turn heads and turn minds onto thinking differently.

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Yeah, there's a need for an organization, but right now there just isn't one, and I, for one, won't pretend that there is.

There isn't one that suits you, but this doesn't mean the others are invalidated. You sound overcome with feeling of futility and activist burn-out.

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One will have to be built from scratch, and I feel like I'm the only one around with the right ideology, and it's beyond my powers at the moment. So I spent a month getting my OP published, and I try to spread my ideas, and that's all I can manage right now. I know it's not as cool as being a member of AATW, but I guess not everyone can be an awe-inspiring anarchist hero.

Use that feeling - maybe design a sandwich board and complimentary leaflets, and maybe take your appealing face and gentler approach to the municipal centres and to the streets - but before you do so, please be certain that you don't undermine the efforts of other activists, or get involved with factional infighting, else you'll be doing the State's work for them.

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PS: And, by the way, I was being sarcastic in my response to Tacks. I'm definitely opposed to entryism, and I sure don't see it as a valid anarchist tactic. I do intervene in CPI meetings, but I don't pretend to be anything more than an inconvenient outsider.

Maybe you could address this feeling of being an outsider, since this will be how the broader Israeli society feel, also they, like you, realise deep down there is a pressing need for action, yet when the pressures on, they'll side, through fear or through exposure to propaganda, on the side of oppressive action, rather than the action of conscience.

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Tojiah
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Feb 23 2007 11:34
Luther Blissett wrote:
Solidarity, community and participation in an event is not 'joining an organisation'. You know of Daila, yes? Do you ever go there? The 'Last Wednesday Forum' is actually going to be this coming Wednesday 1 March at 19:30 and will host a panel on freedom of speech in press, community and religion. There's an LGBT meet sometime after - I'm not sure when.

I know a person who volunteers at Daila; I've also volunteered myself at Salon Mazal, a Tel Aviv counterpart.

The topic sounds kind of bland, frankly.

Luther Blissett wrote:
You know there are other organisations promoting refusenik ideology,

Refusenik isn't an ideology, it's a tactic.

Luther Blissett wrote:
and yet personal direct action, is higly effective, so maybe there is a need for you to come to terms with this 'alone' feeling you have?

Well, as long as you're not judging me, or anything.

Luther Blissett wrote:
No-one joins AATW - they don't keep a membership list. Is this the same for the other action groups, like Ta'ayush, for example?

There are a few hard-core activists who are the face and body of AATW. There's no need to keep a membership list, they all know each other.

Luther Blissett wrote:
Quote:
I refuse to risk police violence for no good reason. Getting beaten up by the riot police because a bunch of idiots decided that it would be such a cool idea to dress up as clown soldiers, provoke the police and then mock them was the final straw for me. I don't know why I didn't get the picture when I was getting tear-gassed and flash-grenaded by the gendarmie, and also stoned by Palestinian youths, in Bil'in, in a mass demo a month or so earlier than that, where the main body of the protest was comprised of Palestinians calling for national unity. And you know what? I don't think there's anything to celebrate this Friday in Bil'in. Because the direct action there has failed long ago. It's time to move on.

I disagree strongly. You've swalled 'the other pill'.
The weekly demonstrations in Bil'in are important.

Why are they important? The fence has already been built. These demos only get people hurt and maybe make some other people feel like heroes. The opportunity for direct action there was closed the minute they finished setting up the fence. There are other places where a fence has not yet been built, and they do work there, too, but why bother taking part in those ineffectual weekly demos in Bil'in?

Luther Blissett wrote:
But there are other ways of participating and making your feelings known, so if non-violent direct action and all the risks this entails in your country are not for you,

It's definitely something that I had no problem doing, but I don't want to risk myself when I feel that there's no good reason to do so. Too many actions are not worth the risk, and seem to be taken just because violent confrontations with the police are cool.

Luther Blissett wrote:
then there are other ways of protesting -

Yes, I know. I don't know if it's intentional, but you're coming off as very patronizing.

Luther Blissett wrote:
the sandwichboard person who walks through busy shopping areas
...
You'd make a good sandwich-board person and your physical presence means you'd get alot of attention -your gentler approach has already proved you can turn heads and turn minds onto thinking differently.
...

I did that once on my own volition. It was pretty amusing, though I was very politically unsettled back then (two years ago or so.. seems like ages now).

Luther Blissett wrote:
- the letter writing activist -

Does writing angry talkbacks on leftist websites count? I did have an OP published online, and am looking for ideas for the next one. Maybe dispelling some myths about the ills of privatization. I mean, those Egyptian textile workers have really raised an excellent point, which must be positively elaborated upon: the problem isn't who the owner is, state or outsider, but what the employment conditions are.

Luther Blissett wrote:
the handing out leaflets activist -

Have done, will do in the future, I expect.

By the way, leafletting and sign-carrying is being done at the weekly vigils in Jerusalem, with much success. I was at the committee where they set it up, and participated in the first three, before my heavy down period started.

Luther Blissett wrote:
the speak to everyone you meet activist

I have preached the Good News at quite a few unfortunates, yes..

Luther Blissett wrote:
- the student activist, etc.

I'm not going to be a student again anytime soon. Still, I have made contact with an on-campus organization... as soon as they're back to doing stuff, and assuming I have the time, there are a few activities I might want to participate in.

Luther Blissett wrote:
There isn't one that suits you, but this doesn't mean the others are invalidated. You sound overcome with feeling of futility and activist burn-out.

I think you're beating down a straw-man, here. I have and will continue to co-operate with other organizations, and I don't think they're all "invalid", I just will not join any of them, and will continue criticizing them.

But, yes, I'm feeling burnt out, not just because of activism, but because of some personal issues I'd really rather not get into here. (I mean, I'd never be able to live down LR's acerbic responses)

Luther Blissett wrote:
Quote:
PS: And, by the way, I was being sarcastic in my response to Tacks. I'm definitely opposed to entryism, and I sure don't see it as a valid anarchist tactic. I do intervene in CPI meetings, but I don't pretend to be anything more than an inconvenient outsider.

Maybe you could address this feeling of being an outsider,

I meant an outsider inconvenient to them, not to me. smile

Luther Blissett wrote:
since this will be how the broader Israeli society feel, also they, like you, realise deep down there is a pressing need for action, yet when the pressures on, they'll side, through fear or through exposure to propaganda, on the side of oppressive action, rather than the action of conscience.

Discontent is rising, and none of it is directed towards the system; instead, as usual, scapegoats are drawn and quartered. Thing is, most radical leftist actions just feed on this, asking for this or that individual to resign, targetting specific individuals rather than the establishment as a whole. I guess it's part of their parliamentarism. (Maybe I should write an OP against parliamentarism? Though that would probably be more relevant closer to the next elections)

Look, my point isn't that there's nothing to do, or that organizations do not exist; it's just difficult to set up prolonged campaigns on one's own, especially with my current personal situation, and none of the organizations that I know of could combine the emotional and tactical support with an ideological proximity to my views. Too many of the organizations accept and internalize the internal/external affairs dichotomy, and the only ones with even an inkling of class analysis are Leninist.

Anyway, as regards this thread, which is about AATW, I think I've legitimately presented my critique of their actions and ideology. At some point it became personal, probably because of me being too defensive. If you want to get back on topic, I don't mind; otherwise, I think this should proceed at my very own "I'm a whiney bitch" thread.

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Tojiah
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Feb 23 2007 11:42
JDMF wrote:
I am an extremist about these issues, i always join a group nearby without fail, and will do that no matter which country i'd be in. Sometimes it is a close match, sometimes not quite but i can still get some stuff done while i am at it.

Well, although I'm not an individualist by ideology, I am so in practice. I'm not proud of it, it's just hard for me to connect with people. The closest thing I've done lately is volunteering at Salon Mazal, taking part in their decision-making meetings, et-cetera, but they're more of an ideological and activist clearinghouse than a real organization.

Joining an organization is a real effort for me, so I'd like to know that it's worth my trouble.

Fuck it, I just need to get a job and get out of depression, then I'll be able to do a lot more about everything than just whine about it on these boards. But I could really use some advice on the other thread, wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

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Tacks
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Feb 23 2007 16:16
tojiah wrote:
Tacks wrote:
righty ho. What was the name of your organisation again?

I wouldn't mind reading its list of recent activities.

That's a cheap shot. Sorry that I'm not trying to change things from within and reforming the organization for the better, like all the good little anarchists. Hell, maybe I should join the CPI. I mean, at least they're an organization, right? And it's so much worse not to be organized at all.

WHAT? how is that a cheap shot? Look, you are clearly a highly motivated anarchist with severely sorted politics - far more than me - i thinbk iots reasonable to assume that someone so motivated is active!

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Tojiah
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Feb 23 2007 16:30
Tacks wrote:
WHAT? how is that a cheap shot? Look, you are clearly a highly motivated anarchist with severely sorted politics - far more than me - i thinbk iots reasonable to assume that someone so motivated is active!

wall

I apologize. It's obvious that I'm beginning to read hidden meanings in everything that everyone writes. If Ihad to guess why, it's perhaps because I feel guilty for having been largely inactive politically for the past few months, due to personal reasons.

To bloody answer your question, as opposed to going all defensive and lashing out, I'm not in any organization. The last major contribution I've made was that OP pushing internationalism on an unwilling public, a few months ago. Or maybe it was at that olive planting thing a few weeks ago. I've been to demos, I've contributed to the initiation of the weekly GLBT protest vigil, I wrote and distributed a zine directed at IDF central staff soldiers, but then lost heart after publishing two issues (due to JDMF's prodding, I finally realized that I could have just tried and gotten a non-Leninist group interested in pursuing it, in this case, AATW. Sent them an email just now), I've intevened at quite a few CPI meetings (to no avail), and that's pretty much it, and even that was until about two months ago. I hope to get employed in the next few weeks, after which I can start planning new actions, unless my job takes over my life (which is something that really worries me, to be frank, and makes me feel even more guilty and defensive).

I'm really sorry for having been kind of an ass in this thread. I hope things get better a few weeks from now.

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Tacks
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Feb 23 2007 16:47

ah shit sorry i should have read your following posts before posting that whoops sad

my last post was a bit unneccessary actually; i was being overly defensive too.

when i have a minute i'll send you a list of names of ppl to look out for in AATW who i think it would be important for you to talk with/i know quite well and respect. Whilst it certainly has some dodgy politics, AATW is a very dynamic group that can put out very good propoganda and is clearly full of hard workers.

Good luck with finding a job that is isn't too shit:)

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epk
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Feb 25 2007 23:02

I've just had a short exchange with Jonathan Pollack of AatW over at infoshop.org:

http://paste.turbogears.org/paste/1066/plain
http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20070224045028517

about AatW. I basically argue that they're, well, not Anarchists, although in honesty I need to qualify that statement some.. I'd like to comment about this forum thread but I need to go to bed now, big exam tomorrow...

Luther Blissett
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Feb 26 2007 12:13
Eyal Rozenberg wrote:
I've just had a short exchange with Jonathan Pollack of AatW over at infoshop.org:

http://paste.turbogears.org/paste/1066/plain
http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20070224045028517

about AatW. I basically argue that they're, well, not Anarchists, although in honesty I need to qualify that statement some.. I'd like to comment about this forum thread but I need to go to bed now, big exam tomorrow...

Sure, we all look forward very much to your attempt(s) to justify your viewpoint that AATW are 'not anarchists', here on libcom.

Luther Blissett
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Feb 26 2007 13:47
tojiah wrote:
Refusenik isn't an ideology, it's a tacitc

I disgree strongly - refusenik is an ideology:

Sassoon's Declaration against the War wrote:

"I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the War is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that this War, on which I entered as a war of defence and liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest. I believe that the purpose for which I and my fellow soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them, and that, had this been done, the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation. I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops, and I can no longer be a party to prolong these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed. On behalf of those who are suffering now I make this protest against the deception which is being practised on them; also I believe that I may help to destroy the callous complacency with which the majority of those at home regard the contrivance of agonies which they do not, and which they have not sufficient imagination to realize".

http://contemporary-anarchist.blogspot.com/search?q=sassoon

This is worth translating for one of your refusenik leaflets, yes?
Written during the first world war, Sassoon, came to realise that insensitive political leadership was the greater enemy.

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epk
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Feb 26 2007 16:20

Well, I said most of it in the link, I don't want to copy-paste. But it is worth noting that AatW is to a great extent a (not-really-but-at-least-supposedly-)direct action group formed by a core of people in their late teens and early 20s (pretty sure I'm getting the age range correctly) who had grown up within or around Tel-Aviv Anarcho-Punk scene. There are intricate and often inexplicit relations between this milieu, on whose fringe you could also find me during my stay in the Tel-Aviv area for 2 years, and that of the social-democratic left, surrounding the Israeli Communist Party and the front organization into which it's liquidating itself, DFPE. If that last sentence sounded complicated to you, then that's good, because I think this is a complex situation, in which organzational inertiae, identity politics and (supposedly) rebellious counter-culture aspects guide the 'free' political development of individuals and small groups along certain paths, or perhaps in certain circles.

Another point I had not made is regarding the question of non-violence and direct action. Almost all of the group's activity is not direct action, but rather protest, as a means of solidifying solidarity, increasing the visibility of the issue, and perhaps effecting Israeli jurists and policy-makers. Some semi-direct-action has been the attempt to get wall/fence gates opened, but AFAICT there have not been plans to actually get the gates opened and pass people through them despite the Israeli military's objection, the gate manipulation has been mostly a symbolic action, drawing public attention rather than "getting the goods". AatW also fail, AFAIK, to publicly discuss the question of _why_ there is no direct action against the wall in Bil'in and in the west bank in general (by Palestinians, I mean; they're too conspicuous to do anything like that without ending up in jail or shot in the head).

What more can I say?

Luther Blissett:

It's mostly a fence, but in some sections it's a wall (e.g. A-Ram, and Qalqilia, maybe some others). The important thing is that if you try to get across it, the frequency of metal in your body is likely to increase in the very short future...

The AatW do have a spiffy website... and it has no group positions or statements on anything (correct me if I'm wrong). If you take away the word 'Anarchist' from the banner you'll be hard-pressed to relate them to Anarchism. Their claim that

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the group has dedicated all its efforts to activities on the ground, and has left propaganda and the drawing of party lines to others

is both untrue and a sort of psychological denial. They do propagandize - in fact, like I said, the very protest is a form of propaganda, plus they appear in mainstream and alternative media. And their line varies from apparently-Anarchist to apparently-Statist, depends on who they're talking to. I won't deny that personally, they would like for there to be Anarchism, they just don't really argue for it, or against developments which are diametrically opposed to it. And the protest seems to be the standard CPI/Fatah fare - Israeli withdrawal to 1967 lines, two states, let's protect human rights, that's it basically.

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I prefer Buber's bi-national solution over the two-state solution

ugh, don't say that, Buber was basically "we have to take their land but it's for the greater good so let's all be really friendly about it". Perhaps you read some third-party account of his relation to the question of Palestine and his views about it?

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it's not time for Bil'in demonstrators to move on - that is what the State would prefer

You should support my position, because not supporting it is what the [insert evil entity here] wants...

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The opportunity for direct action there was closed the minute they finished setting up the fence.

No! In the sense that this opportunity ceased to exist with the completion of the fence, it also did not exist beforehand. But in other senses, it had existed before and exists, still, now. Not for non-locals, though, and not publicly.

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refusenik is an ideology

I don't see how that quote implies that 'refusenik' is an ideology. It can be a consequence of political beliefs and it is a social and political, rather than a merely personal, course of action, but it's still a tactic.

Tacks:
Your post suggests Palestinians living under pre-1967 Israeli sovereignity are not Palestinians... perhaps you do so inadvertantly, but that's part of the acceptance of the partition and two-state logic which is apparent also with AatW.

As for the gap between the living conditions of the average Israeli worker and average Palestinian worker - during the 1980s-1990s it was significant but not as much as Chinese sweat shop labor vs European high-tech work. Of course, this changed after 2000, in which the downward slope of the Palestinian economy took a further nose-dive, and now most people are unemployed and many malnourished. Still, you must also remember that the average Israeli worker lives in a family with an income of a single Israeli minimum wage, and that's something very difficult to get by with. There's a big housing crisis in Israel, for example (e.g. policy of no public housing construction), effective unemployment (not the bogus official statistics, which stop counting you after X months) is 20% or upwards, I think, health and education services are deteriorated and deteriorating etc. etc. Don't judge based on the hi-tech centers in Herzlia Pituach...

A 'no state solution' is not perceived as an insult as such: The perceived insult is due to the fact that 99.9% of the Palestinian polity considers statehood to be the path of deliverance from Israeli occupation into war-free and prosperous future; for you as an Israeli to tell them "look, I think you shouldn't have a state" is a statement which does not differentiate you from the Zionist position. It takes some explaining to make clear that you think that a struggle for liberation is in order, but a national state is not the instrument you think the Palestinian people should look to. Then you are not perceived as insulting, but rather well-meaning perhaps but completely out-of-touch with the real world and not even worth arguing with. However, supporting two states is much worse, in a sense, because it is the insult which people have been conditioned into accepting despite sort of knowing that it won't do anything much. Ok, that statement requires some elaboration, if you want it, ask for it. Anyway, 2 states is not an interim solution to anything at all, it has been and will continue to be only a recipe for continued shitty political conditions in the middle east.

From what I know I agree with your observation about their courage, but see treeofjudas' observation - sometimes it's courage, sometimes its recklessness or thrill-seeking, sometimes both. As for 'goodness', above criticism notwithstanding, that's also true. Still, about solidarity and money, there are organizations and people in much more dire need of solidarity and money. For example, Ansaar Al-Sajeen have recently been barred from operating in Israel, as it has been made illegal to aid prisoners in certain ways (sending packages, legal counselling, gathering donations, stuff like that), and their charge - numerous palestinian (citizen and non-citizen) political prisoners and detainees in Israel, have it pretty bad. The thing is, these people are invisible to you - they're almost invisible to me, too - and what's more, not having made the official statement "I an an Anarchist", don't make infoshop.org and ainfos headlines. They do get beaten and sexually abused on scales which are far beyond the scale of abuse of Jewish prisoners and detainees (caveat: sexual abuse happens mostly in Israeli GSS 'care' rather than during prison terms). So, I dunno, I would never tell anyone "don't donate", please do donate if you can spare the money, I'm just saying... (sigh), never mind, I don't know what I'm saying.

Quote:
three way interview about the lebanon conflict,

I was one of the interviewees, and it was 4-way, not 3-way IIRC.

Quote:
AATW were the only thing that even looked like an anarchist or even half decent leftist group there.

I think you're applying the wrong criteria. I would say that even 'Isha le-Isha', the Feminist center in Haifa's Hadar neighborhood, which doesn't profess Anarchism in any sense or form, and whose Anarchist or close-to-Anarchist activists you can number on the fingers of one hand, has been much more influential in promoting radical social transformation and even, ultimately, the cause of Anarchism, than any Israeli-and-or-Palestinian Anarchist group I know of (not that there are many, mind you...). I guess nobody on the forum has ever heard of it, though.

treeofjudas:
AatW don't have direct-action tactics. And their non-direct-action tactics have, on the whole, failed - at least as means to avoid loss of land to confiscation and wall/fence construction. Perhaps people here don't know this, but the fence near Bil'in has been completed quite a while ago, and even before that happened, the protests were on the day of the week in which construction wasn't happening. They tried to obstruct the construction a couple of times AFAICR, but they got shot at more seriously, and people got wounded, and I think some one(s?) got killed too, so they stopped. So 6 days a week the inconscientious build the wall, and on the 7th day the people of conscience protest this.

The argument regarding Lebanon - that's a long story, if you want to develop it in conjuction to the discussion about AatW then say so, for now I'll leave it aside.

Quote:
tail-ending

this is a very good choice of words about a lot of what we do. I have a theory about a perceptive framework for the non-Zionist Israeli left (including Anarchists, blah blah post-left etc. etc., never mind that now) which focuses on the consideration of our tail-ending of certain political currents. If only I had the time and attention span to develop it seriously. I think it really hits the nail on the head, with respect to AatW also, as a CPI/Fatah satellite organization.

Quote:
Most of the activists in Israel don't only know each other now; they've gone to the same high-schools, lived in the same neighborhoods, etc.

this is true, but not as such. It isn't the same schools and not necessarily the same neighborhoods in which such affiliations and associations have been formed, I believe. (but I don't have hard data to base this on). You may have this impression because many activists seem very close together when compared to you, an outsider-newcomer.

atlemk:

Quote:
do seriosuly discuss with soldiers, challenging them on what they are doing.

From experience, this is rather impossible. Very few people, if any, are convinced to leave the army by discussion. Even for me - and I consider myself someone willing to change his views if presented a powerful argument - this had not been the case. People like me and I guess people in the AatW often have 'protest discussions' with soldiers, border patrol guards and policemen on various occassions, but it's more a form of venting then an attempt to get them to switch over to our side... oh, I just noticed treeofjudas said the same.

'refusenik' organization is important though. I used to be very heavily involved in counselling military service objectors/avoiders (although I do other things these days). This sort of work is not only personally rewarding, it is very effective in helping people change the course of their lives so as not to be socialized into the Zionist, pro-Capitalist, pro-Statist etc concensus.

As for the animal 'liberation' struggle, that's another sad story of self-liquidation of Anarchist groups into animal-rights-oriented organizations which eventually lose their radical perspective and ending up having websites explaining to school kids how animal rights are compatible with Jewish tradition. It may be interesting to compare and contrast AatW against the 'One Struggle' group, whose members come from the roughly the same 'pool' of prospectives. http://www.onestruggle.org/

JDMF:
You're assuming he can have 90% or 80% agreement with an existing group, and expect him to join based on that. But we don't have even that.

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Khawaga
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Mar 7 2007 11:57
Quote:
They tried to obstruct the construction a couple of times AFAICR, but they got shot at more seriously, and people got wounded, and I think some one(s?) got killed too, so they stopped.

What you write about Bil'in's tactics regarding protesting the Wall is pretty accurate. When I was in Bil'in (I basically lived there for two months) I was very confused as to why the protests were on Fridays and not on the days when construction did take place. Bil'in should have followed the examples of Budrus and Biddu where they had daily protests against the Wall. I know that people from both Biddu and Budrus tried to convince the popular committee of this, but they still stuck to the Friday protests. The reasons for this was, as far as I remember, partly economic (Bil'in is very very poor) and the choice of conducting basically a media war (similar to what you described as AATW's tactic). Most of the actions that Bil'in started to do in April 2005 onwards were designed to be theatrical and performative for the media (and the IDF did play this game as well because Bil'in did manage to get some sympathy in the media). However, in these actions people did not necessarily get more shot at and wounded (and no-one's been murdered in Bil'in so far), rather beaten up and arrested.

Re: discussing with soldiers. This is difficult, especially in places like Bil'in where the relationship is by default confrontational (in Hebron the case is very different. There I found the soldiers very open to talk about the situation. Several times I found myself in 3-4 hour long discussions with groups of soldiers. Though of course, I do not think I changed any minds). The point is not necessarily about soldiers leaving the army (though that is the ideal), but could also just be about refusal to serve in the OPT. However, I know that several AATW and ISM folks (me included) did talk to soldiers and some of them were troubled by what they were doing or did not see the point in what they were doing. Soldiers stationed in Bil'in expressed interest of actually coming to Bil'in as civilians to get to know the situation and place better. Other soldiers expressed sympathy with our actions etc. However, in the grand scheme of things these discussions were opportunistic and personal initiatives by individual activists rather than an AATW line or policy. What Treeofjudas has suggested in other posts seems reasonable. Working with soldiers is extremely important, must be done sensitively (i.e. shouting abuse does not help) and as a concerted effort.

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epk
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Mar 20 2007 23:30
atlemk wrote:
Bil'in should have followed the examples of Budrus and Biddu where they had daily protests against the Wall. I know that people from both Biddu and Budrus tried to convince the popular committee of this, but they still stuck to the Friday protests. The reasons for this was, as far as I remember, partly economic (Bil'in is very very poor) and the choice of conducting basically a media war (similar to what you described as AATW's tactic).

I did not know that, thanks for this bit of info. Now, this is exactly the kind of thing that bothers me about the Bil'in protests: Protesters are treated by the organizers as a sort of a spectator herd, not as political partners. I'm pretty sure 80% or more of the people coming to protest at Bil'in were never told about these considerations and are not even aware this is actually the result of a conscious decision; they come to sympathize with (oversimplifically-perceived) objects, not interact with subjects.

Ilan
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Apr 15 2007 11:24

Israeli Anarchists Agains The Wall have a new and active website at:
http://awalls.org

You can also find texts about us or by us if you do googl search on:
"anarchists against the wall" ( last time goole found 80,000
Ilan

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Jacques Roux
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Apr 15 2007 12:39

Its a big improvement on the site.

We've been asked if we would set up a AATW forum but we thought demand might not that be great, so we might set up a Middle East focussed forum (with the option to create new ones if interest from a particular region/group was high) - would you guys be interested in that?

Ilan
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Apr 15 2007 12:45

After 55 years of activity in the Israeli left and 40 years as libertarian communist, I find it very sad the forum is in the UK and not in a local project.

For sure the AATW activists are not many. Only part of the present activists are self labeled anarchists. For sure the strategy of the group is in line with the older Matspen approach that two states are not the solution but it is non of our business to preach about it to the Palestinians.

AATW can not substitute the Palestinians - we can only join when invited. And for sure can not criticize the partners for taking low risk strategy.

Fo those who look down on Bil'in, just see how the struggle south of Beitlehem started in the region of Um Salmuna and Beit Omar.

They came to Bil'in to learn. they even came with a big contingent to one of the Friday demonstrations.

You can belittle the struggle in Bil'in as you wish but the efect of it on the scene of the struggle is much more than seen from quick glance.

Just a short egsample:
When the reactionaries in the village distributed a leaflet against the joint struggle and threatened to attack us - the higher national comity issued a call and sent a delegate to give a speach in the village in support.

When the nationalist and fundamentalists support in public the joint struggle with Israeli anarchists and internationals, you can not say it is not with huge impact.

I wonder what is your take about internationalism in the West of the Mediteranian, but when a Palestinian daily put in the front page a picture of anarchists doing symbolic action by mounting armored vehicles of the Israeli army near Gaza with appropriate text, it is no more business as usual.

You can belittle it as you wish but when thousands of Israelis participated in the Bil'in Friday demos and the main TV and radio media report on it again and again, you must be blind not to sense the change it brings.

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Tojiah
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Apr 15 2007 13:42
rkn wrote:
Its a big improvement on the site.

We've been asked if we would set up a AATW forum but we thought demand might not that be great, so we might set up a Middle East focussed forum (with the option to create new ones if interest from a particular region/group was high) - would you guys be interested in that?

I think a Middle East focused forum would be very useful anyway. I mean, among the Israelis on this website right now, which are four, I think, including me, only one is from AAtW, while all of us are obviously from the Middle East.

Regardless, you can judge whether you think AAtW is libertarian communist or not --- which is a criterion for setting up a special organizational forum, isn't it? --- by reading Ilan's post.

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Jacques Roux
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Apr 15 2007 13:45

I dont really know what Ilan was talking about tbh, if it was in response to me or not. But thanks for your feedback - we will ask some more and think.

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Tojiah
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Apr 15 2007 13:56
rkn wrote:
I dont really know what Ilan was talking about tbh, if it was in response to me or not. But thanks for your feedback - we will ask some more and think.

Oh, I think Ilan was just replying to all of the posts in this thread at once.

Mark.
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Mar 12 2011 11:07

Some discussion of AATW in this article

'The new Israeli left'

Mark.
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Jul 30 2011 09:36

Article on AATW on the +972 site

Quote:
Anarchists Against The Wall is, at least in my opinion, the most important progressive political group to operate in Israel in the last decade. It’s hard to note in a short post the enormous effect the Anarchists have had on grassroots politics in Israel and Palestine, but I will try to make a few points on their actions.

The name of the group might be misleading. AATW are not like similarly named groups in the West. Their main interest is not capitalism or environment, but the occupation. It is a position that assumes real responsibility for their identity as Israelis, and does not shy away from the difficult political reality in which the group operates, in favor of more abstract ideals.

Unlike other organizations working in the West Bank, AATW is not backed by any fund, political party or institution.

While there were Jewish groups that supported the Palestinian cause in the past, AATW were the first to actually join the unarmed protest in the West Bank villages and towns. They did it with considerable personal risk, and while facing extremely hostile reactions from the Israeli public. For years, Anarchists came every day to demonstrations in Mesha, Budrus, Nilin, Bil’in – to name only a few. They were beat up, shot at, arrested and injured.

Contrary to many of the things that have been said about them, AATW joins protest only at the invitations of local Palestinian committees. They don’t take order from any political group – Israeli or Palestinian – but rather come to help grassroots efforts, and only when asked. They are strictly non-violent people. I never saw any of the anarchists throw a stone or hurt a soldier, yet they stand in the front line of protests even in their most intense moments – as can be seen in the video below.
There is no doubt that the presence of the Anarchists has helped “restrain” the army in those demonstrations. The sad reality is that Jewish-Israelis’ lives are not as cheap as Palestinians’. AATW also drew media attention to demonstrations, which helped the local cause. With their support, the people of Budrus & Bil’in were able to move the security barrier that Israel erected on their lands.

I don’t endorse all of the Anarchists’ views or actions, and I guess the Anarchists have issues with many of my opinions (some of them have told me so on various occasions). But I do recognize their importance. Without them, there would have been no Sheikh Jarrah movement and no joint struggle, which is perhaps the last and best hope of ending the occupation. For many years, the Anarchists were the sole Israeli group to constantly oppose the occupation and the subsequent military actions against the Palestinians under Israeli control.

AATW has recently issued an urgent call for donations. It is meant to cover the legal expenses that piled in a decade of struggle. The sum, I heard, is nearing 100,000 USD – also because the Anarchists assume responsibility for the legal defense of their Palestinian partners in the unarmed protest. As always, it is the genuine practice of solidarity that guides AATW’s actions...

http://972mag.com/the-most-important-jewish-anti-occupation-group-needs-your-support/

Mark.
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Nov 2 2016 00:40

Obituary for AATW member Renen Raz

also Farewell to Renen Raz