Neve Gordon: Anarchists under fire





[Neve Gordon teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University, Israel. He can be reached at nevegordon@gmail.com.]

Over the past five years the Israeli peace camp has dwindled. Last month marked the occupation's 40th anniversary, and no more than 4,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv to protest against Israel's longstanding military rule. Of the demonstrators who did show up, only a few hundred are what one could call ardent activists - people who have dedicated their life to peace and justice

Among the most committed of these are Israel's anarchists. Yet, over the past two years they have been under attack, and it is becoming more and more difficult for them to continue their struggle.

Established in 2003, the anarchists are made up of young Israelis, mostly in their twenties, who work closely with the Palestinian popular village committees in order to resist Israel's occupation. They have no official leaders, no office, and no paid staff, and yet they have managed to accomplish more than many well-oiled NGOs and social movements. They are perhaps best known for their efforts in the small village of Bil'in, where for more than two years weekly demonstrations have been staged against the wall that Israel is building on Palestinian land.

The anarchists are active in numerous other villages and towns as well. Day in and day out, they travel in small groups through the West Bank, supporting non-violent direct action that helps Palestinian farmers gain access to their fields and crops, while opposing the construction of the separation barrier and the confiscation of occupied land.

One of the most remarkable qualities of these young Israelis is their subversive use of their own privilege, employing it not for self-interested social, economic or political gain - as most people do - but rather in order to stand up to power. The anarchists, in other words, exploit the privilege that comes with their Jewish identity and use it as a strategic asset against the brutal policies of the Jewish state. ...



comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to our mailing list